Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Are you SAD?

I think it's safe to say that the majority of the country has been fully experiencing winter this year so far, and sadly, according to our local weatherman, it doesn't look like spring is coming anytime soon.

"…February is likely to bring a lot of nasty weather our way. To repeat… I do NOT think we’ve had our biggest snow, yet." -Chris Bailey, our awesome weather man

So how are you holding up?  Are you enjoying all the snow and sub-zero temperatures?  Can't get enough of bundling up and freezing your buns off just to take the dog out?  Loving piles of wet, snowy clothes from the kids?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Winter can be hard to get through.  For most, it's just an inconvenient nuisance.  Some love the cold and snow.  If it's within the month of December, I'm one of those that welcome it!  However, if you are like many of us out there and have a hard time making it through the cold winter months you might be suffering from a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D.

Some of the common symptoms of S.A.D. include :

  • Sluggishness
  • Increased sleepiness
  • Increase in appetite/weight gain
  • Less energy
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Loss of interest in work or other activities
  • Social withdraw
  • Irritability 
  • Sense of unhappiness
The main cause of S.A.D. is actually very simple. Lack of sunlight! When the days grow shorter it means fewer hours of sunlight.  This can mess with your internal clock which tells you when you should be awake and when you should be sleeping.

A reduction in exposure to sunlight also causes a reduction in serotonin and melatonin in our bodies, each of which greatly affect our mood. Who knew the sun, which CAN pose some serious health risks if we don't take the proper precautions and limit our exposure, is also the main key to our mood and level of energy!

However, since most of us can't run away to a sunny beach for a few months every year, what are we to do about this?!  Well, here are some simple things you can do to help fight the symptoms of S.A.D.

  1. Number one on the list of things you should try to do is to get your daily dose of natural sunlight.  I know this isn't always easy to do in the winter time, but even on the grayest of days if you can get outside for just 15 minutes you'll be surprised at how much this will help boost your mood. Investing in aclear umbrella will ensure you can still take a short walk even on those rainy days. Or maybe eat lunch outside if possible. Believe it or not your body will still absorb some Vitamin D even on cloudy days and your mood will boost!
  2. If you can't get outside, make sure to try to let in as much light as possible. Open all the curtains and blinds in your home and let the light flood in. If this isn't enough you may want to seriously consider light therapy by purchasing a special light that mimics natural sunlight! I don't have one yet, but I can't wait to get my hands on one! I have friends who use this to help with their S.A.D. and swear by them!
  3. Even though you may not feel like doing it, exercising and increasing your heart rate will increase serotonin levels which will in turn increase your mood. It's best if you can exercise in the morning to help set the mood for the rest of the day.
  4. Making healthier food choices will go a long way in helping how you feel throughout the day. High carb, high sugar foods might make you feel good for a little while, but will soon cause you to crash and make you tired which in turn only adds to the feelings of depression.
  5. Stay busy! Use this time to keep your mind and hands busy by tackling those unfinished projects you never seem to get around to or maybe take the time to learn something new! Maybe try your hand at sewing or take a class you've always wanted to try! Find something that interests you and that you will get excited about and look forward to doing. One thing I find that helps keep my mind distracted is to tackle a room or closet that's needed cleaning or reorganizing for a while. Not necessarily 'fun', but it kills two birds with one stone, keeps me busy and gets my house clean!
  6. Laugh!  The Bible says that laughter is like a good medicine and it's true! Watch a funny movie and laugh yourself into a better mood!  
If you have found other things that have helped get through these rough winter months, please share with us!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Teaching Responsibility, Even When It's Hard

Two of our children have cell phones,one because she's a driver now and the other because he's in public school and getting busier as he gets older and needs a way to stay in communication with us.

From day one when they received their phones we warned them to always keep a protective OtterBox case on them in case they ever dropped them. My husband and I had seen shattered phone screens and it made us wince in pain each time we saw one.

They listened, for a little while. But as time went on they got comfortable with their phones and chose to change their cases to more cool/pretty/decorated ones that aren't even close to being protective. While I wanted to be the protective mom I've always been and MAKE them keep their OtterBoxes on their phones, I knew they were getting older and needed to learn responsibility as well as understanding that there are consequences for the choices we make, whether good or bad. Not that choosing a different phone case can be categorized as either 'good' or 'bad', but choosing to listen to the wisdom of your parents or choosing to do your own thing usually results in consequences we're not always happy with. We had told them repeatedly that if they chose to not keep the protective Otterbox on their phone and something happened to it because of it that we would NOT be replacing their phone.

I'm guessing you can see where this story is headed.

Last week, our son's phone fell to the hardwood floor and the screen shattered. As luck would have it, his warranty was up last month. He can upgrade his phone for free... but not until December of this year. And considering it shattered at the bottom of the screen where the keypad is, making it nearly impossible for him to type, I don't think he's too happy about waiting nearly a year to have this problem resolved.

So, we went searching to see what options he has. We found this iPhone screen replacement kiton Amazon and it seems to have the highest reviews from buyers, so when our son decides he's had enough of his busted, nearly-unusable phone screen and finds a way to earn the money needed to buy this replacement kit, we will help him get his phone back into like-new condition.

You may be thinking that this sounds a bit harsh, making our 14-year-old son pay to repair his phone when it was clearly an accident that it busted. However, I feel like this is what's wrong with so many young people in our society today. Everything was either given to them or done for them and they don't know what it means to take responsibility and work for what you want or need. Our son will soon turn 15. Another year and he'll be driving. Another couple of years after that he'll be graduating high school and making decisions that will affect the rest of his life. If we don't help him learn lessons like this now, then when? It's our job as parents to help our kids learn these hard lessons now, while they're still under our protective care. They're human. They're going to make mistakes. If we truly love them we won't jump in to save them every time but will instead give them advice, pray for them, help them (as opposed to doing it for them), and let them learn these lessons that will prove to be invaluable to them when they're older.

Oh, and by the way, the Otterbox has been back on his phone ever since it fell to the floor. *sigh*

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Got a Young Seamstress in the Making?

One thing I love about homeschooling is that it allows our children the time and freedom to pursue things that interest them. True learning often doesn't come from a textbook, but instead comes from spending time doing things that interest us, getting hands-on experience learning a new skill, visiting with and listening to and learning from an expert, or maybe watching instructional videos or reading from a book specifically geared towards something we are interested in. When learning is fun and interesting it's no longer something that 'has' to be done but instead becomes something we WANT to do!

Our 12-year-old daughter has talked for quite a while about wanting to make clothes for her American Girl dolls, and considering the price of those things from the AG website, I am MORE than happy to hear that she is interested in making her own! My goodness, those clothes are just as expensive, sometimes more so, than the clothes I buy for HER, my real-live little girl! I LOVE that she wants to learn to make her own!

To help her do this we bought her her very first sewing machine for Christmas last month, a SINGER Pixie-Plus Craft Machine.It's a cute little thing. Just perfect for her to begin to learn how a sewing machine works and to begin to make her own little projects! I'm sure one day, if she stays interested, she'll move up to a bigger, more expensive model, but for just starting out, this little machine has proven to be perfect.

It has eight different stitches and comes with thirteen spools of thread, twenty-three pre-wound bobbins, an accessory kit that contains everything a new sewer (sewer? sew'er? sew-er?) would need to get started, as well as a foot pedal.

She couldn't wait to get her hands on it so after a few short lessons from mom on how to thread the needle and using the foot pedal and reverse stitch button, she dug into my box of scrap material and went to town, trying out all the different stitches, making her own version of a little bag (with its own handle!) as well as a 'pocket'. Yep, a pocket! lol

Now, since her idea is to one day have her own etsy shop where she sells her hand-made doll clothes, I thought she might need a little more instruction in the area of sewing projects that actually look a bit more professional than a pocket. (Not that a pocket isn't a handy little thing. Where would this world be without pockets?!) To help her out, we also gave her the book, A Kid's Guide to Sewing for Christmas.

I love this book! Its perfect for the new young seamstress! Here's the description of it...

"In this book by well-known modern quilters Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr along with their 11-year-old daughter Sophie Kerr, kids will learn how to navigate a sewing machine, make smart fabric choices, and use basic sewing tools. Sixteen kid-friendly projects run the gamut from clothes to bags to accessories while clear, step-by-step instructions from Weeks and husband/design partner Bill Kerr walk kids through the creation of each. Throughout the book, tips from Sophie offer design and construction advice from a kid's perspective. The book "grows" with the sewist, offering more complex projects as the reader's skills develop."

Now doesn't that just sound like the perfect little sewing book for beginning young ladies?! Kristin loves it and can't wait to get to all the projects in it.

Last but not least, as I was walking past the craft department in Walmart one day in December what to my wondering eyes should appear but Simplicity 18" doll clothes patterns! I had no idea they made these but I knew right away that our Princess would love them! I couldn't find the exact ones we got her, but here are a couple I found on Amazon to show you what they look like...

I am truly loving this special time with my 'baby' girl. I really enjoy sewing and wish I had more time to devote to it so I am thrilled I have a daughter who is showing interest in it as well! Helping her learn is causing me to take the time to slow down and spend quality time with her doing something we both love. It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks that are constantly calling out our name and let these precious, fleeting moments with our children pass us right on by.

I can't tell you the joy it brings my heart to watch my daughter sitting at that machine, using her imagination to create her own little masterpieces!  And the joy it brings her, the confidence I see it building in her, well, there's just nothing else like seeing that in your children.

So, if you have a young lady who is interested in learning to sew, this might be a good place to start. Naturally this machine isn't going to last her forever if she continues to show interest in sewing, but it's a good one to begin with to let her test the waters to see if it's something she truly does want to learn and continue doing. No sense in investing hundreds of dollars in a sewing machine if it's going to wind up only collecting dust and not something she is going to be interested in continuing, right?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Changes To Our Homeschool

Since the last time I regularly blogged, the look of our homeschooling has changed. We now have three children being homeschooled and one in public school. There are so many different emotions that have been going on inside of me for several months since this change has occurred, but I'll save that for another post at another time.

Our oldest is still home and is now a senior in high school. She'll turn 18 in April and we will celebrate 12 years of watching her grow and learn at home at her graduation in May. My goodness, how our lives are but a fleeting moment. How can our baby be old enough to be making plans for college?! Wasn't she just learning to multiply and divide?!

Our second oldest is now in public school. He's in 8th grade and this was a decision much prayed over, although I'm still not sure we have done the right thing or not. (Again, another post for another day.) The ONLY reason he is going to school is so he can play football, a great love of his. (Although 24 other states have passed some form of a Tim Tebow bill where homeschooled kids can join public school sports teams, if you live in the state of Kentucky the only way you can play is to enroll in public school.) It seems he has been blessed with some talent in the area of football and although school had already started by the time he got signed up to go, the very first day he was at football practice they put him in at quarterback and that's where he stayed.

Our second son is currently in 7th grade and I'm afraid I may also lose him to public school next year as well because he desperately wants to get back to playing football also. I'm pretty sure, if he decides to go, this son will decide that public school and all that comes with it simply isn't worth it just to play football but, I could be wrong. But mommas know their kids and I just have a hunch he isn't going to feel as strongly about football as he thinks he does right now.

And then our youngest, our 'baby', is 12 and in 6th grade. Unless God hits me over the head with a hammer and makes it abundantly clear she is to go to school at some point, she will be with me for the next six years and graduate from homeschooling just like her sister. That thought makes me very happy!

I always try to see the positive in every situation. Make no bones about it, it's my dream to homeschool ALL our children through high school, that was always the plan in my mind as well as in my heart, but for now we are in a different season of life. I don't know exactly what the Lord has planned for each of our children, but at least I can blog with knowledge about both sides of the coin, homeschooling and public schooling, and believe me, I plan on doing just that. I may have to be careful and sensor what I say on Facebook (several public school parents there that I don't want to offend), but here on my personal blog I will inform you guys of anything I feel needs to be shared regarding public school education because I know I'm not the only one facing this kind of situation. Even if you don't have children in public school and never plan to, I dare say most of us have nieces, nephews, friends' children, possibly even grandchildren in the public school setting and it's important we're informed of exactly what's going on and what's being taught to children. Regardless, today's children are our future leaders! God help us, literally, if we're not informed and involved!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


WoW! It's been soooo long since I've blogged on a regular basis. But when, on a whim last week, I paid a visit to my nearly-forgotten blog, my love for blogging and reaching out to fellow homeschoolers was instantly rekindled inside my heart. As soon as the page opened up I just felt like I had finally come back home after a much-too-long hiatus.

So, expect to see a whole lot more from me starting this week! I've been doing some early Spring cleaning and sprucing up the look of my home here on the web. After not blogging in a couple years there were several updates that needed to be done. While I'm still working on that part, I'm jumping head-first back into blogging and I can't wait!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Our Curriculum for 2012-2013

I've had some dear friends asking me what curriculum we have chosen to use this year and while I'd really like to do some in depth blog posts about some of the things and tell you WHY we choose what we did, that will have to wait for another time.  For now I'll just give you a quick run-down of what each of the kids will be using in one form or another this year and maybe you'll find something you didn't know was out there!  That's always fun!

Ok, here we go.  From oldest to youngest:

*Kaity (grade 11):
-Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 and 2
-Exploring Government (1st semester) by Notgrass Company
-Exploring World History (2nd semester) by Notgrass Company
-Analytical Grammar
-Essentials in Writing
-Biology 101 DVDs, The Rainbow Science/Biology section, Apologia's Biology (our own mixture of the 3)
-Tell Me More Spanish
-Total Health- Choices for a Healthy Lifestyle
-The Inner Man (Bible study) by Positive Action for Christ
-Mapping the World by Heart
-Meet the Masters (art)

*Caleb (grade 7)
-Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra
-Mystery of History Vol. 1 & 2 (since we've already done U.S. history we're doing ancient/world with this)
-Exploring Creation with General Science by Apologia
-Analytical Grammar
-Jump In! Writing
-Sequential Spelling
-Word Voyage
-Wise Up (Bible study) by Positive Action for Christ
-"Don't Check Your Brains at the Door" (apologetics book for him to read and get the 'why you believe what you believe' teaching)
-Tell Me More Spanish
-Mapping the World by Heart
-Meet the Masters (art)

*Cameron (grade 6)
-Teaching Textbooks 7
-Mystery of History 1 & 2
-Real Science for Kids
-Growing with Grammar 6
-Jump In! Writing
-Sequential Spelling
-Word Voyage
-Winning the Race (Bible study) by Positive Action for Christ
-Tell Me More Spanish
-Mapping the World by Heart
-Meet the Masters (art)

*Kristin (grade 5)
-Teaching Textbooks 5
-Mystery of History 1 & 2
-Real Science for Kids
-Growing with Grammar 5
-Jump In! Writing
-Sequential Spelling
-Word Voyage
-Possessing the Land (Bible study) by Positive Action for Christ
-Tell Me More Spanish
-Typing Web
-Mapping the World by Heart
-Meet the Masters (art)

There you have it!  Hope this helps you discover some new things out there you weren't aware of!  I just love finding new, fun curriculum.  Don't you?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

God Can Use Anyone!

Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Gideon was insecure, Thomas was a doubter, Sarah was impatient, Elijah was depressed, Moses stuttered, Zacheus was short, Abraham was old, and Lazarus was dead!

God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.