Valentine “School” 2016

It’s been a long week… a long, exhausting month, really.  I can’t say it’s been bad.  I am just a bit worn out.  When that happens, I usually try to push-through and stick with the plan, but the kids know when I am worn out.  My temper is shorter.  Our “fun” includes lots of Mom yelling, “Why did you spill this?” And, “Hey, I need some help over here.”

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I really don’t like it when I am short-tempered with my kids.  It hurts my heart when I reflect on my day.  Thankfully, kids are quick to forgive when I apologize.  I am so grateful for a God who allows us grace!

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Yesterday I knew I was done with school for the week.  My long list of to-do’s didn’t get a single item crossed off due to me feeling awful, as well as my poor kiddos still struggling.  This girl, in particular, has had it extremely rough.  She has been sick for a week, and for the last 3 days she has woken up with a different new symptom.  Today, she had an eye infection.  But, she was a trooper and still joined in some of the fun anyway when she wasn’t stuck on the couch!  And so, today was out with “school” and in with Valentine fun!

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We started with Sierra’s plastic nails she got for her birthday.  They didn’t last long, but they were sure fun to try!

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We also made salt dough pendants to turn into Valentine necklaces for friends.

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Finally, our Valentine’s were little match sticks.  I tried to teach the kids how to make little origami boxes to put them in, but it was a bit difficult for them.  So, I will probably be making quite a few tomorrow.  I found the idea on Pinterest and thought it was too cute to pass up!  My 6 year old didn’t even know what a match stick was!

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We ended with making bookmarks and using our new Valentine stickers.  I think that was Natalie’s favorite part.

With all I have still on my to-do list, I really should’t be blogging.  But, somehow this is therapy for me.  I like seeing all the pictures without hearing the kids arguing, or stepping on messes left behind in the kitchen.  Our activities took most of the day, and the kids seemed to enjoy them… but one kid had to ask, “Is this all we’re doing?”  (You hear the voice she used, right?)  That’s all it took on a day where I gave it my all despite running on fumes to make my heart sink.  Normally, I would laugh it off or shrug it off — kids.  Today it sinks deeper, but blogging about it somehow makes it seem ok; this is just life.  The good, the tough — they are all a part of parenting, and all a reward.  Blogging allows me to step-back, re-focus, and be grateful for the good.  (And there really was much good to our day!)

Hope you find time for some Valentine fun this weekend!  I am sure we have more hearts in our near future…

Fun Little Project

I am itching for spring, as you may have noticed from yesterday’s post.  Mostly because that is the time I declutter, re-organize, and sometimes actually get to be creative!  Right now is the start of friend birthday season for me, and I am so excited to do this little craft for some of my friends.  I found some glass water bottles on sale at Target, and they have an Orla Kiely design.  Orla + glass = love.  I wanted to personalize them, so I got some metal tags from Hobby Lobby, and used my metal punch set.  It was a simple project, but lots of fun.  (I purposely left my letter punch set out for the kids to find and play with afterward!)  I wanted to use little nails to put the metal onto the lid, but decided to use my favorite E6000 glue instead.

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When I was done, I just wiped away the excess glue and it was set.  Now I have to decide if I want to give my last few away or save one for myself, too…

Peaches and Sunsets

This is our 5th winter in this home, and yet it surprises me every time — peach blossoms in mid-January.  From the looks of things, we may have another prolific year.  (It’s very hard for me not to count my chickens before they hatch!)  I took these pictures today after a night of horrific winds.  I’m thankful these beauties survived, though our entire avocado tree fell and our garbage bins were down the street!

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I’ve been remembering to close the chicken coop up every night, and love seeing a beautiful sunset as I leave the chicken yard.  No more chickens for you, Mr. Bobcat!  And, I can’t wait to kick Malachi and his diggers out of our garden boxes and start getting veggies and flowers, again.  (Praying for a better gardening year than last year!)

Best Lunch Ever

Here’s the conversation I had with myself tonight.

Me:  Go to bed

Me:  But you have to blog

Me:  Can’t it wait… I’m tired

Me:  No!  You have to record your most special lunch ever!

Me:  OK, you win…

And that’s about how it went.  Truly, we had one of the most blessed days ever yesterday.  In fact, it was quite the weekend!  Friday we went to see Matt Maher after getting a call Wednesday from our local radio station that we won tickets.  Despite feeling sick, it was an AMAZING concert, and so much fun to have a date!  Sunday was our anniversary.  Let me skip right to dinner.  While the kids were at AWANA, we enjoyed a fun dinner of Spanish Tapas in Claremont.  As we both love trying new foods, (and this place was SO good), it was a lot of fun!

And now for the best lunch ever… Our girls gave us a list of ingredients they wrote from their new cookbook, and made us a wonderful lunch and dessert for our anniversary.  The table was even set with real flowers.  PRECIOUS!

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Daniel helped minimally, and I did nothing.  I think I kind of like having bigger kids.  Oh, and thank you Grandma for giving Allison the cookbook!

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I only took one picture of the food and it was blurry.  Bummer.  But, both Daniel and I truly loved it all.

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For dessert, homemade tiramisu.  Sadly, the kids didn’t really like it — after all their hard work!  (I think Allison made it by herself.)  But, Daniel and I liked it.

Thank you for such a special anniversary surprise, kids!  You are a huge blessing, and loved more than you know!!

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Somehow, after Christmas I always seem to re-evaluate everything.  It is not even a conscious writing of goals or resolutions, though I sometimes wish I were so disciplined.  Mostly, I like to de-clutter, (which I am guessing is a common post-Christmas activity for moms), and in so doing reorganize, which makes me re-evaluate everything!

All that to say, we are back in the full swing of homeschooling, yet I am re-thinking it all and planning next year in my head while this year is barely half over!  Why do I always do this to myself?

One thing I am thinking about is simply more freedom for the kids.  It is ironic, because if you were to ask me my biggest struggle with homeschooling, I would probably tell you I am not structured enough.  And yet, I am still leaning toward more freedom.  I want the kids to continue to love learning.

January seems to be an excellent time to experiment with all of this.  We have many beautiful days outside, where the kids have been on scooters, making bug houses, and enjoying the chilly sunshine.  I could listen to them for hours as they make up games based on their books or imaginations.

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Then we have the cozier days where we are inside sipping tea, (and espresso for me using my new Christmas present), playing with animals, painting, or reading.

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I laugh every year when I get new ideas and think, “This is it!”  Really, every year is so different and every year we find new and fun ways to homeschool, (as well as new ways to fail!)  There is no magic “it.”  If you would have told me that when I began homeschooling, I probably would have freaked out and been determined to find the right way.  It is only over time, and trusting God, that I have become comfortable with the constant change and realizing no other mom has it all together and could do it better.  God has trusted me with these kids, and it is up to me to trust Him every day for what I need to teach them.  He is faithful!

Looking Back…

Blogging can be so unpredictable for me.  I wonder if other bloggers do this…. Sometimes, I just go into my pictures and see what’s been happening, not having a clue what I am about to blog about.  A picture will catch my eye, and boom — that’s it!  Such was the case tonight.  I looked back and realized there were a few things I never blogged about before Christmas because I didn’t want my Mom, (#1 fan), to see before she got here.

  1.  Pierced Ears.  Our two oldest girls finally got their ears pierced.  They wanted to surprise their Grandma, so I wasn’t allowed to blog about it.  We thought it would be a quick process, but with the paper work and Christmas crowds, it seemed to take forever.  The two youngest were so sweet and encouraging and I was VERY proud of them; especially Sierra, who can’t wait to get them pierced herself.  And Malachi, who was exhausted.  And Daniel, who was stuck in a crowded girly shop holding Malachi.  And Allison and Natalie who were super brave.

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        2.  Another biggie: Sierra learned to ride her bike without training wheels.  The irony is, she hardly rode it with training wheels.  She did much better without!  I don’t remember what prompted Daniel to take them off, but he did and off she went.  Great job, Sierra!  (I think Malachi is almost ready, too!)

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       3.  Our Christmas picture.  I never put it on here so our cards wouldn’t be spoiled.  I actually should have zoomed it in a bit, but we had fun taking the picture in our chicken yard.  I’m glad I don’t have to think about it again until next year!

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So I guess that’s what I am blogging about today!  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.  :)