Sunday, May 24, 2015

Homeschool Power Time

I've been following a blog recently called Foreverforalwaysnomatterwhat.  I like many of the ideas she posts about and one in particular recently caught my attention enough to pull my blog up after a 4 month hiatus and share the info.

You should really check it out for yourself (whether you homeschool or not...this is a great idea!)
Homeschool Power Hour

In our particular situation I don't expect to get a power hour in every day....I'll be happy with 30 minutes a couple times a week!  But it got me thinking about all the little things that I have wanted to do but haven't made a priority.  We've had a few challenges (illnesses, hospitalizations, etc. ) thrown our way over the past couple years that have caused me to scale back and really focus on the basics.  Well, the basics plus FLL Robotics, but that's another story :)

For our Homeschool Power Hour I intend to use:
  • Saint of the Day stickers:  Either add them to our timeline or put them on the calendar.
  • Memory verse of the month for our once a month co-op
  • Mommy It's a Renoir:  I've had it for years...
  • Memorize some poetry:  We'll start with something simple and fun and move up from there.
  • Mad Libs
  • Geography
  • Composers:  Might be something as simple as pulling out our "Mozart Lives Upstairs", etc. CDs
  • The list could go on and on....
but the point is...I intend to put these things in a basket and pull them out a couple times a week and do what we can. 

 It's better than we're doing now.....with all this stuff hiding in the back of our school cabinet!

I might even start something this summer :)

Saturday, December 27, 2014


As a family of 10, I'm often asked what we do with the kids for Christmas.  Do they give each other gifts, do they draw names, etc.  Funny, I remember asking moms of larger families the same questions when we were starting out.

This Christmas as the kids gave their gifts to each other I was reminded of the reason we chose to have every child get something for every sibling.   The 2 oldest have jobs and sometimes pool their money together to buy things for siblings.  Some of kids make their gifts or give away some of their old special toys (i.e. this year our 15 yr old split her old Playmobil toys among her 3,6, and 9 year old siblings - they LOVED it!). 

For the kids who aren't old enough to hold a job we "finance" their gift giving at the cost of approximately $2-$3 per person.  So, each child gets to spend about $14-$21 combined on their 7 siblings.  (My husband and I don't buy stocking stuffers  - that's what many of the sibling gifts are).

Some years I wonder why we bother.  It's hard to get them out shopping at a number of stores to get all their gifts, especially when I don't take them all together...and it can be hard to find gifts for only $2-$3 per person.  But we make it work.    I've asked the older kids for inexpensive ideas and they've come up with things like pens, tape, snacks, etc.  The younger ones are easier (dollar store whoopee cushions, matchbox cars, etc.)  I also have a box of small gifts that we've accumulated over the years that they can choose from.  They really put a lot of effort into choosing the best gift they can for someone.  This year was a little extra challenging due to shopping time cut short by sicknesses.  But it all worked out.


When we settled down to open gifts...the kids didn't search out gifts with their names on them.  They searched out gifts that they chose for each other.  It was beautiful to sit back with my husband and watch the kids excitedly carry their wrapped gifts to the recipient and eagerly watch them open them.  Even our 3 year old was excited to carry her gifts to her brothers and sisters and watch them open them (though she did pick out a couple gifts from the grab box to wrap for I was a little worried she wouldn't understand the giving...but she did!) Only after all of their gifts were exchanged did they start opening presents from us.

GIVING!   Yes, they were very excited to receive.  But it was amazingly beautiful (as it is every year) to sit back and watch the kids be so excited about giving!  For that reason, we will continue this tradition.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Family is so important.  We frequently remind the kids, "Look around, see your siblings?  These are the people you will know for the rest of your life.  These are the people you will call on in good times and in bad."  I have one dear friend I've known since grade school, and a couple others I've met in the last 20 years.  But my family will always be there.  I only have one sister.  And I cannot ever forsee us not talking to each other or being there for each other in times of need.

My husband and I both have families in which people won't speak to each other.  On my side of the family we have a couple instances of relatives that would not speak to each other for over 20 years.  Really.  20 years!  They were NEVER in the same place at the same time; they avoided each other.  Thankfully, both relationships were restored before they died.   FAMILY!

Today we attended the funeral for my 78 year old uncle.  He was a really strong tall man, he owned a junkyard most of his life (and yes, that junkyard dog used to terrify me!)  But he was one of the most kind and genuine men I've ever met.  His smile lit up his face.  As I was talking to my aunt today after the funeral she asked if he had ever shared his story of the moon and the cross.  [My aunt and I both married Catholics and share the same faith....while many of our relatives do not.  I think that's why she wanted to make sure to tell us this story.]  He hadn't, so she did.  He used to tell her that when someone dies to look up at the moon and you will see a cross behind it.  It means that person made it. :)  She said that once they saw a huge cross behind a moon; the cross reached all the way down to the horizon.  They figured someone very holy had died, maybe a priest of something.  Her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer just 2 months ago and had frequent visits by the priest.  The night he died she woke up and saw the moon - with a cross behind it!  She went to check on him and saw the pillows on the bed where he lay were glowing.  It was beautiful and very comforting!  FAMILY!

My aunt (and dad) have a brother that had distanced himself from the family over 10 years ago.  My aunt frequently reached out to him sending him letters, etc. She was so sad that he wouldn't contact her.  Well, he and his family came to the funeral.  Oh that made her so happy!  FAMILY!

There was another funeral today that we were unable to attend.  A relative's husband (on my mom's side) was killed in a hunting accident.  There will be struggles.  There will be family.  I pray that their family holds fast to one another.  FAMILY!

Never underestimate the power of the FAMILY!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Scheduling my interruptions ?

Before I quit working almost 20 years ago, I had an interesting boss.   I learned a lot from him and some of those things I carried over in my new job as SAHM.  But there is one thing I learned from him that I had forgotten....until tonight.

Scheduling interruptions!  My job was probably not a whole lot different than most.  I had a list of things to accomplish but was constantly bombarded with questions from various people.  At first I would set aside what I was working on and answer questions or research it immediately.  But when I went to my boss with a question he told me that unless it was urgent, he'd meet with me at 2:00 to discuss it.   I remember that well, because in addition to discussing the question I had, he taught me that he scheduled his interruptions....He set aside 1-2 times during the day that he planned on getting back to people with questions....that way he didn't lose the momentum of what he was working on at the time...and, he said, most people really figure it out on their own if given a little time.... (remind you of anyone?  all those folks living in your house that are shorter than you?)

So how does this really work for a SAHM much less a homeschooling mom?  Well, we'll find out...because I just remembered this.  But, do you ever feel like you have a lot of things to get done but you are so often putting out fires along the way?  And by the time you get back to what you were working must move on to something else?  I do, especially when it comes time to take care of myself. 

As mom's, most of our interruptions can't be scheduled (diaper change, something spilled, someone is fighting, etc.) but if our day is filled with things to complete, then whatever we were working on often doesn't get done.  Or, if it's something that can wait I forget and never get back to the poor child (I'm not talking about a kid sitting on the potty chair here.....I'm talking about a kid wanting access to a computer program to sign up to volunteer!) etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.  

I plan to set aside some time every day as my scheduled interruption time.  Whatever it is, I can try to do it then. 

But there's something else that I will use that time for....and it's what got me thinking about it...

Long story last ditch chance for exercise this evening didn't really work (and didn't work yesterday either....) - those last ditch times rarely work!  10 minutes into the walk I got a phone call that my little one was inconsolable.  I turned around and headed home, wondering why I can't seem to get time to exercise?!  Now, if I was anywhere near the size I was when I got married I'd say....ah whatever...tomorrow...but maybe that's what got me here.  Now...I need to exercise!  Why can't I just get 30 minutes in per day!!!!  Because SOMETHING very often comes up during my normal exercise time and I don't have a scheduled interruption time.  There is no other time to do it! 

So, we'll see how this all pans out...but I think there really is something to this....I certainly helped me in my job!  A set time every day when I plan to do NOTHING because SOMETHING will need to be put there.

...and before you start thinking my dh should not have called me 10 minutes into my walk when my little one is 2 1/ wasn't him....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dear Mom Letters Flash Give Away

I've been enjoying reading this site for the past couple of months.  One word to describe motherhood - beautiful.

Dear Mom Letters Flash Give Away