Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Weigh In

Okay friends, how did you do this week?

I got out a box of too small clothes and guess what? I wore some of those clothes Thursday night to a Bible study! Whoo hoo!

I just weighed and again didn't lose a single pound! I don't feel too bad about it though because I met my goal of exercising twice as much-I walked four times and I think I did pilates once. I really wanted to do pilates 3x in the week but it just didn't happen. I was under the weather on Friday and it threw me off a little, but Saturday I got a good walk in before getting ready for for my little brother's wedding.

I worked on portion sizes but I was stressed Sunday and totally soothed my soul via my mouth. It didn't help that Shane made BBQ sandwiches for lunch! Is there anything better than BBQ?

So, jumping into a new week means a clean slate! Set your mini-goals and get to work! Let us know how you did in the comments. And for those of you playing along at home but not commenting, I hope your week goes great, too! Feel free to jump in here anytime. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Slow Down

As I'm going about my life these days, I keep running into a new movement. The Slow Movement. I think I like it. Not sure how to grab hold of it, but I want to anyway.

I've specifically read about Slow Food-an opposition to fast food. The general idea is to establish American food traditions that honor where our food comes from (the farmer, not the factory). The image I get is a family around a table taking much pleasure in each other and their day's stories as they enjoy food that's simmered on the stove all day. Doesn't that sound so much better than a harried momma barking an order at MickeyD's drive through? I've done both, and believe me the feelings you get from circling your family around the table with home cooked food are beyond good.

Another slow movement is Slow Birth. There's a lot of pressure to give birth by the due date (even though two weeks after is considered "on time"), and then to get labor moving fast. In most cases, there's not a great reason to be induced, especially before term. Babies need time. I hear mommas all the time hope for an early delivery, but even just a couple of weeks can be too early for some babies and they have trouble breathing. Wait. Wait on the baby to be ready. And birth-why does there have to be set time for a mom to deliver if she's progressing? This is why many women are birthing at home or at least out of the hospital. They just want time. They want their body to do what it was made to do, without pressure of an arbitrary schedule leading to interventions.

So, I know these two things are pretty unrelated, but the topic of slow has me thinking. I want to slow down and savor. Savor my children. My husband in our youth (while it's slipping away!), fully take in the people around me at any given moment. Not thinking of the next thing which often so characterizes my life, but digging in and living today.




Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Works for Me!

One of our school books is the original story Cheaper by the Dozen. In the book, the father is an efficiency engineer. As I read about his stop watch and silly antics trying to get everyone dressed or fed or out to the car faster and more efficiently each time, I smile to myself. I love this man!

I do love me some efficiency!

I'm therefore always looking for ways to do school in a "more better" way. Not to rush through it, but to just cover the same ground in a wise way.

One change I've made this year was by giving each "student" a box of their own for their daily work. I have read about this for years, as many homeschoolers do it but I just couldn't figure out why I'd need boxes/crates when I had a school cabinet. It was neater to keep all the books lined up on the shelf, that's true.

However, as I am now doing three cores (Sonlight's word for one year's worth of instruction) plus some Pre K books for Jaika, my beloved school cabinet is overflowing. More space is a plus, but that's not why I started the crate thing. I have been reading about workboxes, but I just can't justify the expense or space needed for this system.

So, my adaptation works like this: I found some $3 tubs at Wal-Mart near the dish drainers. One for each schooling girl and one for me. In the girls' tubs is all they need to complete one school day, and any extras I want them to do. Oh, and sometimes there's a treat like a snack or a game included. I write things like practice piano, jump rope, watch the Schoolhouse Rock DVD etc. on note cards and drop them among their books. Mine contains teacher stuff: manuals, stickers, and my wonderful red pen.

Why is this good?
They can visually see what work is expected each day.
They enjoy the variety of extras we're now getting to.
They like to know what's next-now it's all right in their box.
It's portable, so they can take it to the front porch swing, their bedroom, or even to Grandma's if needed.

All of this adds up to more motivation and school seems to be going smoother and faster. Love it!

Monday, September 21, 2009

7 Pounds in 7 Weeks Weigh In

Okay friends, go grab your scales! Oh, some of you still don't have scales? Well, I bought the old fashioned kind for under $7 at Wal-Mart last week. The kids keep jumping on them to watch the numbers fly up and down which uncalibrates them (I'm sure that's a word!), so I am forever adjusting it back to zero, but hey, they work!

So, you don't have to tell your weight, but share with us how you did this week in the comments. We'll check back each Monday.

Okay, so I didn't lose a thing this week, but that's okay. I doubled my exercise which means I worked out in some way four times this week. I'm going to redefine my goals to walking four times and pilates 3 times in one week.

I'm also going to work harder at portion sizes this next week. I gave it a little try this week but mostly noted that I was overeating--hey, just being real here! I also stress ate once while trying to figure out some school planning on Saturday night.

Good news-I had to put a pair of pants in the garage sale pile as they were just too big! I did a little research and figured out that I've lost 14 pounds in 2009. Not a fast drop, but I'll take it and hopefully have a better number to show at the end of the year.

How about you, how'd you do?

Friday, September 18, 2009

My friend Blackstrap Molasses is the topic for today. I've been using molasses for a nutritional boost for at least a year or so. Its a sweet & inexpensive way to get in some key nutrients. I bought my Tree of Life brand 32oz bottle for about 6 bucks at our local health food store. Go for the unsulphured kind, not Grandma's Molasses. Organic is even better.

So, what does this natural sweetener do for you?

I looked it up today on The Worlds Healthiest Foods and here's what I found out. Check out the WHF website for a more in depth look.

It's an excellent source of manganese and copper and a very good source of iron and calcium. I also like that it gives me some vitamin B6 and selenium. I am low on vitamin B6-like a lot of Americans. It's especially helpful for menstruating women who have higher iron needs. This website suggests 2 tsp a day in your coffee, smoothie or even your beans, but I just take a regular sized spoonful alone each day. I love getting vitamins and minerals from real food, not just my multi-vitamin.

Molasses has a funny (well, kinda) history-In 1919, the year my Grandma was born, there was a leak in a Boston molasses storage tank holding something like 2 million gallons of the thick, sticky liquid! That's hilarious to imagine, but its sad that some lives & property were lost. Can you imagine a flood of molasses moving down your street at 35 mph? The site says there were 30 foot tidal waves! My brain just can't get there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The B-I-B-L-E for the Masses

We're starting our 8th year of homeschooling this year. Eight down, Eighteen to go!

One thing that's helped our school day go smoother is grouping the girls together in as much as possible. Each day I have all the school age girls around the table and we read the Bible, poetry, and science. It may seem strange to add science into that list, but we use a very conversational science program that fits grades K-6th, so they all listen together (Ashlyn wants to continue to listen this year, but she'll still have to read her own book now that she's older). I've added in other books to this time like Everyday Graces and The Princess and the Kiss, but essentially the Bible, poetry and elementary science are the foundation of our group time.

How do you read the Bible to such a varied age group? Well, if I have a Pre-K student, I read her little Bible-my favorite, the Family Time Bible and she's not required to listen to the family Bible time, but often does anyway. For our group time, I choose a version of the Bible that fits the youngest child (aside from the PreK child). Last year it was Hope's Bible, the NIrV and this year it'll be Bethany's Egermeiers Bible Story Book. Yes, these are too immature for the big girls, but they can always use a simple review of the Word and they have their own Bibles to read during their independent time.

As for poetry, I have used the oldest child's book (it comes with her "core" or one grade's worth of work, from Sonlight). Last year all the girls enjoyed Favorite Poems Old and New. I am not after a deep understanding of poetry, just an ear for it. By reading real poetry out loud as a family each school day, even the younger girls can naturally know how poetry is supposed to sound and their appreciation for it grows. With this type of exposure, I don't feel the need to read the poetry books from the younger girls' cores, we'll just cycle through them again once Ashlyn moves on to higher levels. It allows me to cover poetry while dropping a book or two from the daily list.

As I teach four children this year (I usually don't teach 3 year olds, but I have one who's insisting so she has a few great picture books and a finger play-rhyme book to call "school"), I have to be efficient with my time, and I've found working our group time this way has been a huge time saver.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Andrea, a friend of mine challenged a group of us to a 7 pound weight loss in 7 weeks time. I lost my 7 lbs and am ready to lose 7 more. Would you like to join the challenge?

As an additional challenge this round, Andrea suggested we double our exercise amount, so if you usually work out once or twice a week like me, beef it up to two to four times.

Are you in?

Seven pounds by November 1st.

The next challenge will be to keep it off through the holidays!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Things I Love

I've done this fun thing before but my friend Alisha, who is also a new blogger, challenged her readers to it and I'm not good at passing up challenges.

*Sensitive hard working husbands. I've had one all along, but he's even more so today.
*Dryers with lights inside. I'm getting one today and I'm quite excited about the light.
*The beautiful frailty of a newborn.
*Grassroots anything.
*People with big goals, especially when those goals result in others being lifted up.
*My daughters who are all as different as can be.
*My first born's varied tastes and that she walks to the beat of her own drum.
*My second born's strong gifting in hospitality. Someday she'll have a Bed & Breakfast and you'd be blessed to make reservations.
*Bethany's freckles.
*Jaika's southern twang. Her favorite dress is pink and her version of pink rhymes with spank. Pank.
*Audrey...I love surprise babies. Oh my, especially when they're as laid back as she is.
*Exploring new adventures with my children through their read alouds (thank you Sonlight!).
*The hum of a working household
*The smell of morning.
*My grandma.
*Sweaters...and sweater weather (all two weeks of it we might get here in Texas).
*People who think outside the box.
*My camera.
*Rebels like midwives, homeschoolers, minimalists.
*Sunny windows.
*Naps-for me, for the babies...
*Fall and Christmas smelling candles.
*Quilts, especially when combined with candles, read alouds, and Bethany's freckles.
*Hearing my children use mature vocabulary and think nothing of it (ahem, this does not count Jaika's newest phrase: "Oh, Dangit!" but I must admit he twang and the word dangit is pretty funny.
*Good debate.
*Good friends.
*My favorite apron and blue & white striped pitcher. They make working in the kitchen fun.
*My God who loves, redeems, draws, and restores.

I'll pass the challenge on. If you're short on time, just throw some favorites into the comments, if you're inspired to count your blessings this way, then you're hereby commissioned to go do it on your blog-tell me you're doing so in the comments and we'll all go read yours too!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

7 Takes

I admitted to my friend the other day that I have about 50 or so blogs in my feed reader. A handful of those blogs are updated very rarely, so it's not like I really read that many posts in one sitting. One of those blogs does a cool little thing on Fridays called 7 Take Fridays. Well, I'm going to attempt to copy that, but today is Sunday and I'm not sure about 7-could be more or less, let's see.

I really like having my own lap top. I'm hiding right now in my dark bedroom reading blogs. Of course now I'm blogging, but you get the idea. I'm not sure I'll come out of here. Ever.


I also like Firefox. Spell check is built in. Oh, y'all just thought I worked on my spelling over the summer didn't ya? Sorry, didn't happen. I firmly believe amniotic fluid washes out brain cells and y'all know 5 kids equals out to a whole lotta amniotic fluid!


I love cookies. Shane hates them, but he only signs into about three sites: Facebook, the Sheriff's Dept email system, and Hulu. I sign into that many email accounts alone! So, yeah, my laptop allows cookies even if his desktop doesn't.

I'm ready for a new blog layout but I like the picture at the top of this one. It reminds me of my girls. Plus I have a hard time finding pics that fit in the header and I'm not good at resizing. So, until I get in the mood to track down a new header, the red blog stays.

I suspect Shane & I have an unspoken agreement. He doesn't get upset with how often I'm using my laptop if I don't care how often he goes fishing. Of course today I almost got the 3 middle girls out of the house as well, but Shane came up with a valid reason for them not to go this time (something about snakes out after a rain....not sure it's true, but he knows all he has to do is mention snakes). So, I'm adding another unspoken agreement: if he goes fishing and leaves me with all the girls, he gets to do the dishes. Hmmm, I might have to speak that one to him though, I doubt he'll figure it out on his own until the dishes are sky high at which point I'll feel sorry for him and do them.

I wish my laptop's keys lit up for when I hide in the dark bedroom and read blogs.


One of my favorite new blogs to read is called At Your Cervix. Cracks me up. She's a labor & delivery nurse working on becoming a midwife. I love catchy titles, but I can never think of them.

Okay, I got 7 and hopefully didn't lose anyone. I know, you all have to go click through and read the cervix one. It's pretty cool if you're into that kinda stuff. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This is Bliss

This feeling right now-this is what life is all about. Well, okay, not spiritually, but just hang with me.

Shane is about to be home for a long weekend (as if we aren't blessed with long enough weekends, we are extra excited that he actually gets holidays off now!). The house is mostly clean. The kids are playing nicely with a friend over, and I'm catching up on my feed reader while watching Audrey toddle around the dinning room. (Y'all know she's walking now, right? She's almost 10 months old and has been walking for a good month or so).

We have plans for Life Group at our house and some friends we've known for about 15 years are coming over this weekend. The guys will go fish or something while the moms take the kids to the park and then cook dinner together. The weather is mild and I'm about to go turn on my tart burners to release the butterscotch aroma Audrey and I picked out when buying tarts the other day. It just feels good. My heart is content.

I know it's not much, but as a recovering perfectionist momma to five starting out the school year, it's a lot to feel this good right now. I hope your Labor Day weekend is equally blissful as you absorb the special moments going on all around you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Is this good or bad?

Okay, I love Tim Hawkins and I love to laugh.

I hate what is happening in our government right now. Sometimes when I think about it long enough I start getting into Y2K mode. I think it's serious and I fear most Americans are mostly only willing to joke about it and blow it off.

So, I laughed at this, but was left feeling unsettled inside. What say you?

PS Let me be the first to put it on the table that I'm a serious gal, sometimes too serious.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Life Defining Questions

These questions have been on my mind lately. If you have answers, don't hold back. I may be emotionally stuck here until I can figure these things out. Y'all don't want to see me emotionally stuck, believe me, it ain't pretty.

Why is "google" not in Google's dictionary? I'm thinking if I'm typing the word google on a Google owned site, it should NOT come up as a misspelling. Oh, I think I am getting it-when it's capitalized, it's not underlined in the you-are-so-dumb shade of red. Well, Google-gods get with it, in America, google is also a verb!

Okay, here's another one. It's for you quasi-counselors out there. Why is it easier for me to be angry with one person than with myself? When I have an issue with just one person, it's much easier for me to move on with life than when I'm mad at me. When I'm mad at yours truly, world watch out! No one can do anything right when I feel I'm failing. Why, pray tell is that?

Another techy question: Google like owns the internet and has a ton of add-ons for iGoogle, right? Why can't I consolidate several of my gmail accounts all in one place? I can forward my yahoo! mail to my gmail account daily (in theory anyway, it seems to really just come in bursts every few days) but I can't just log into my iGoogle account and check all my (two) gmail accounts. It shouldn't be that hard, really.

Why is it that I can make myself keep up with my blog reading (in theory, again!) but my Bible reading gets missed so easily? Maybe God should blog? Yeah, like I'm sure it's God's fault...Wendy needs to get in gear. Oh, that leads back to being mad at myself! I think I spend my life going in circles, don't you? Well, please don't answer that.

Why were we egged yesterday? Again. We've been egged before, but I think it was around Halloween, so we chalked it up to pranksters. This time, I don't know. We had three outside dogs and all of them died this summer-two within a week of each other. Shane, being the skeptical pessimist thinks they may have been poisoned. Add that to the egging and I wonder if we're not on someone's hit list. Of course, it could have been just silly pranks (the eggs, not dogs). Why does it hurt me to be egged? It makes me want to cry!

Okay, blogger scholars-what type of mental case am I? Oops, no, this isn't a Facebook quiz...(just fyi-Blogger thinks Facebook isn't a word-can't all these sites just get along?). Well, go ahead, diagnose me if you can't identify with my questions, but if you're mean I'll just go hang out on Facebook like I did most of the summer instead of blogging. ;)

Peace Out