Has there ever been a mom in all of history who hasn’t wondered in at least one moment if she was failing at one of the most important jobs of her life as she raises her children? Today, in this tech savvy culture, it is all too easy to compare yourself to other women with just the click of a mouse. Visiting blogs, reading Facebook statuses from friends, and viewing Pinterest pages can all be uplifting and encouraging. They can also be detrimental to your attempts to be a great mom for your kids if you compare yourself to those other moms rather than just taking note of their ideas and using them to suit your home and family. Comparing yourself to others is bound to result in one of two things. Either you may find yourself gloating over your superiority and be glad that at least you don’t do this thing or that thing. Or you may find yourself feeling inadequate wondering why you aren’t able to be as good a mom as another woman is for her children. Neither one of these is a desirable outcome.
I find myself at times feeling like a failure as a mom…
-when I yell at the kids, which I always promise myself not to do again each time that it happens.
-when I find myself pulling my pillow over my head desperately wanting just ten more minutes of sleep rather than cheerfully waking up and greeting my children (or even better, being awake before them so I can be fully engaged and awake!)
-when I fail to resist the temptation of a pizza out rather than a nutritious, home cooked meal. For the second time in one week.
-when I face the temper tantrum of my 3 year old with frustration rather than calmness.
-when I have spoken sharply rather than gently and see the injured expressions on my children’s faces.
-when the baby who is teething has been screaming for what feels like hours and the only thing I want is quiet. (preferably in a hot shower behind a closed door with no interruptions)
-when I realize it has been three mornings since our last morning devotional and Bible lesson though we try to do them daily.
-when I don’t feel much like playing the 100th game of “I spy” in the parking lot because I am just too drained from the day and want to instead text message or read.
The list could go on but my list looks different than yours so I will end it here. You can fill in the blank with whatever your particular struggle is. You want to know something though? The list doesn’t matter. At all. That list is full of lies. Oh, they are things that I struggle with but they aren’t failures. The only failure is in a person who quits trying or never began trying in the first place. I have not quit trying for these children and I began trying for them from the minute I first held my oldest child in my arms.
For every time I have raised my voice there have been far more numerous times where I modeled the appropriate gentle answer. I figure that there have to be many other mamas who are tired and would love a few more minutes of sleep so that is no failure, and I do love to see the sleep tousled hair and pajama clad small bodies every morning. I do my best to feed my family healthy, traditional foods that are within our budget and eating out sometimes won’t hurt us. Frustrations are a part of everyone’s lives but for all of the frustrating moments I am abundantly blessed to be the mother of these children. I love them with all of my heart and they are dear to me in ways that I never could have imagined before I became a mother. I am raising them with the most amazing husband in the world leading our home and guiding us. I could not ask for a better dad for them. I delight in my children and actually enjoy spending time with them.
AND I AM A GOOD MOTHER. JUST LIKE THE OTHER MOTHERS READING THIS RIGHT NOW! Hot showers, date days with my husband, and quiet time to read don’t make me bad. They make me human. I am far from perfect but I am the perfect mother for these children. God entrusted them to my care. Care I will, today, tomorrow, and always. When I feel like a failure as a mom, I simply have to remind myself that I’m not. I will remind you now that you are not. Maybe you don’t need that reminder today but chances are you will, most likely at some time in the near future if you are anything like me. File it away in the back of your mind, maybe print a copy, or pin it to your pinterest board so you will have the reminder handy later. But for today just stop worrying about your so-called failures and be the amazing mama that God knows you are!
I began this blog with two purposes in mind. The first intended purpose of this blog was to document our homeschool journey and allow family members to catch just a glimpse of the activities that we do on a regular basis. I enjoyed taking pictures each week and the kids certainly enjoyed being featured in those pictures and I know at least one sweet granny who was taking a look at this blog on a regular basis to see what her grandchildren were up to during the week.
The second intent of my blog was to be able to share Christ in some small way, even if it was only with a few people. I figured if the people reading were already Christians then the blog may serve as a form of encouragement, which we can all use more of. And I hoped that I might gain a few readers who weren’t and who might be persuaded to study the Bible based on something that they read here.
All of these goals gave way to the busyness of life. October held a ladies day at our congregation that I was on the planning committee for as well as a week long gospel meeting and I found myself promising to post again in November. Then of course November and December were full of the holidays, family time, and again we were a bit overextended. Then in January I told myself that I might resume blogging with the new year yet I found excuses to put it off.
Now it is February. Last Sunday evening I heard a missionary from Tanzania speak and I was inspired. When I was a young teenager I wanted desperately to be a missionary along with a Godly husband serving others in a faraway land. I went on several domestic mission trips during college and the work I did filled me with purpose but also with humility and a serving spirit. Fast forward a few years and I now consider my mission field to be these children that I am raising. And the homeschool co-op we attend. And the church activities that we are a part of. But the speaker inspired me to remember that I can also use this tiny corner of the internet and type out my thoughts. I can be a Barnabas encouraging other homeschooling parents on a journey that is not an easy one to make. I can provide my own inspiration to others with a simple recipe that is nourishing, delicious, and easy to prepare and maybe helps to liven up a menu stuck in a rut. I can shed the light that I found on a Bible verse while I was studying. I can keep it all real and acknowledge the struggles, frustrations, and weaknesses that I deal with. And I can indeed share God and be known as someone who was not ashamed, who stood up and acknowledged the creator of the universe in a world that often doesn’t.
I have another friend who inspired me today on Facebook. He had posted a comment saying that he was hidden by another friend because he often posted religious and conservative views and he was glad that his friend told him that he was hidden. I also share my views on Facebook and consider it an amazing tool available to share but I am going to also use this blog as tool as well.
Whether I have five readers or five hundred, I will be doing something.
Starting again NOW!
I wish I could close this post by saying that I left with a bushel or two of apples (which was the plan!) but unfortunately the orchard we visited was having a problem with rot. The apples there weren’t organic but they used an extremely low spray and only sprayed one time per year. They were selling bushels for only $12 and I would have gladly purchased two. I was looking forward to making apple pies and apple sauce and a few other yummy treats but we left without a single apple. We had a wonderful time though…it was such a gorgeous day and the kids had so much fun. Learning was still accomplished, we were able to have a few good talks about things that might cause apples to rot, how the rotten apples can actually help soil around the trees, and about the butterflies and the bugs visiting all of the rotten fruit. When we left we found a local place to eat that was quite yummy and the drive to and from was scenic. In fact the only disappointing part of the trip was not actually being able to pick apples.
This week we read lots of apple books in preparation for our visit to the apple orchard. My kids loved our apple mini unit, which involved lots of yummy foods in addition to the books. We had our fall family party this week too. The one things we didn’t do much of with our apple unit was make crafts…I am hoping to do a few apple crafts this week.
This week, my son had a math “test” on his last chapter and was able to demonstrate that he understood the material quite well. In our math journal this week we practiced reading tally marks as well as drawing picture graphs. He can fill in picture graphs easily and interpret the results of them but he was still having lots of trouble thinking through creating his own. I found these math journal prompts online but for the life of me I cannot remember where. If you are reading this post and you do know where the cute journal prompts came from please let me know so I can give the blogger who created them credit. We began studying numbers 6, 7, and 8 practicing writing the numbers and doing lots of counting!
This week, we studied the Vikings. My kids loved studying the Vikings and enjoyed the crafts we used to go along with our studies. We did lots of map work finding the countries where Vikings lived and where they explored. We also did an activity that let us explore the compass by gluing treasures on our map where the directions indicated. (again, I thought I had pinned the website where I printed this but it was not there so I don’t have the information to cite it). We made Viking masks and a Viking longship. We also made a toy caldroun the day we talked about what Vikings ate.
We continued to read nursery rhymes this week and also continued to read the second Boxcar children book. We read several poems about autumn. We worked on copywork with four words and practiced rhyming. My son wrote a wonderful creative story about being two inches tall and we read the book “George Shrinks” to go along with that lesson.
My son is reading more and more with each passing day. He is proud of himself and I am very proud of him. He is learning sound blends rather than just the sounds of single letters now.
This week my son practiced writing the letters e, i, and j. I was pleased because his handwriting is growing neater although he continues to dislike writing on the lines.
We wrapped up our study on the rain forest this week. We made a rain forest diorama to go along with the conclusion of the unit. We are about to begin our study of the woods.
My son this week talked about woodwinds instruments and created a trumpet out of a paper towel roll and a plastic drink bottle. He took a yellow snack and talked about healthy yellow and orange food and played games in his gym class. He didn’t bring a paper home about the person he learned about in his heavenly hearts class and I wasn’t able to get him to explain it to me. My daughter made the sweetest handprint flag craft and enjoyed her story and playground time.
I love homemade soups…I love the smell of them simmering on the stove and I especially love eating them. Sometimes they can be time consuming though and it is nice to have a simple and quick recipe on hand. As much as I love summer produce when the beginning of fall arrives I am always hungry for apples, pumpkins, squashes, and other autumn foods. We have to be at our church building at 7pm on Wednesday evenings for worship and it is nice to have simple recipes to pull out for those nights that still allow my family to be nourished. One nice thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t involve pureeing the soup in batches in your blender or food processor and it also doesn’t involve having to get out an immersion blender. With only a few ingredients (all healthy ones) and no chopping or blending, it’s as simple as a homemade soup can get. Best of all, even though this was an experimental recipe my family loved it. (Except for my five year old who is not a soup fan).
1 15 ounce can of organic pumpkin puree
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup of organic half and half (or cream)
3 cups of organic or homemade chicken stock
3 TBSP of honey (I used wildflower honey)
1/4 tsp of celery salt
1/2 tsp of onion powder
2 tsp curry
Place pumpkin, applesauce, chicken stock, and spices into a pot and stir. Turn heat to medium high and allow soup to simmer until well heated. Once soup is heated through add cream and honey and allow to heat for five more minutes. Ladle into bowls and enjoy.
This soup is sweet with a hint of spice from the curry powder. It would be yummy with pumpernickel croutons served on top. Tonight we were in a hurry and I served it with buttered toast.
I have a nephew who just began kindergarten this year and he and my son are quite close. They are almost exactly seven months apart in age and have grown up together for their entire lives since my nephew can’t remember a time before he was seven months old. Their closeness is usually nice, it makes it easy for them to play together. Since they have started kindergarten at the same time though, one in public school and one homeschooling, that has been tricky at times. I don’t want my little boy hearing his cousin talk about the fun things he does at school and feeling left out. When I planned our calendar for the school year I left room for holiday and seasonal parties, just like the ones held in classrooms with a few less kids.
We had one of them tonight as a family. The kids were thrilled that we had our “party” with their daddy rather than during the day with just us. I found a wonderful recipe for caramel peanut butter apple dip which was so yummy and popular with every single family member. (I used sucanat in place of the brown sugar in this recipe and it worked well). We served organic granny smith and braeburn apples with our dip and I cut up a hunk of raw cheddar cheese to go along with our apples. To make things simple and allow our party to also serve as dinner I added croissants to our meal plan. I wish I could have made them homemade but I had been planning on attending a ladies night out with ladies from my congregation tonight so I wanted it to be simple for my husband to throw together. The baby is cutting teeth and has been so incredibly fussy today I didn’t think it would be fair to leave her with my husband. (Said baby is actually fussing right now…ahem).
Our meal was yummy and so simple to throw together. We had fun at dinner talking about what my three year old did in dance and what stories we read today. The kids LOVED their fall party and it didn’t take much effort on my part to make them so happy.
Don’t the yellow plates remind you of fall leaves?
This week was a busy week. My daughter began ballet last week and she had her second lesson this week. She loves her instructors and has been enjoying her classes so much. My son began homeschool gym at the local YMCA, which he loved and which surprisingly wore him up as very little does. That boy is a ball of energy. Poor guy wants to play soccer so badly but he has to wait one more year to be old enough. One of my sisters is out of town this week so I have been helping take care of her children and they are staying the weekend with us. We had our second week of co-op this week too and everyone enjoyed it. All in all, it has been a good week even if it has been busy.
Here is a glimpse of our week:
We continued to work on the numbers 1 to 5 this week. We practiced with manipulatives and the teddy bear counters were their favorite by far. We also played a game with plastic Easter eggs where they were labeled with dots representing the number and he had to match them to the card with the appropriate number on it. My son has been able to count much higher than 5 for quite a while but I love the Singapore approach to math taking things slowly. He continued to enjoy his math journal this week and was able to show it off to his aunt this week. I try to provide opportunities for the kids to share their work with others so they can develop pride in a job well done.
We had several appointments this week that were unavoidable during the day, including having our oil changed. I actually switched out week 6 and week 5 history in order to make it a bit easier for us to stay on track with our schedule. This week we talked about home and family life in Ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt. We also talked a little about how medicine has changed so much through the last few thousand years. The book we used this week was not a Sonlight book but it was a great supplement.
This week we had several creative writing activities. My son narrated one writing journal to me about new friends he has made recently and that sweet boy also felt the need to list his many old friends too. He also had an assignment to talk through the steps of a common activity and he chose to do brushing teeth. We also worked on learning our phone number this week…we might need more practice on that one. We did a very cute craft with a paper plate making a shark. The teeth were the digits in the phone number. I didn’t take a picture of this one since I didn’t want to broadcast our phone number but it turned out very cute. We read “My father’s dragon” this week. We were actually supposed to read the first 5 chapters but my son LOVED this book and we finished the entire thing. For the next week and a half I think we will read the second Boxcar children book during the read aloud time slot. We also did a mini author study on Lois Ehlert and did a few fall crafts to go along with those books.
My son is gaining more fluency every day. He is reading entire sentences now and learning new words all the time. I could not be more pleased with “Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons”. We are a little more than 1/5 of the way through the book and he actually sometimes asks to do more than one lesson.
This was one area where we got a bit off track this week. We actually ended up doing only a few pages of review and didn’t end up practicing any new letters this week. We will get back on track next week.
This week we had fun with science. We did an experiment where we mixed very ripe (read yucky black) bananas and brown sugar and then painted a tree with it to see what sort of bugs we could attract. Sadly, we attracted NONE at all. My son is a bug enthusiast so he was sad by the lack of bugs but we watched for a while and checked after 30 minutes and 45 minutes and not a single bug came to eat at our dessert bar. We did get to have fun exploring the creek. We also talked about flamingos and moose this week.
My children each take three classes a week at co-op. My son is learning about the orchestra in his music class and this week they talked about the brass section. In his gym and health class they play games and also talk about healthy eating and this week he was able to bring a red snack and wear red. He takes another class called Heavenly hearts and this week he learned about Corrie ten Boom. My daughter is taking similar classes. In her music class she is learning about patriotic songs. She has playground time during her gym class and she has a storytime in lieu of the heavenly hearts class. This week her story was: “The rainbow fish”. We LOVE our homeschool co-op and it is so good for the kids.
It feels good to have finished our fifth week and still feel good about all that he is learning.
My children LOVE sensory tubs and it’s been a while since I made them one, so I threw this one together to go with our autumn theme for the month of September. We will be reading plenty of books about fall, including books about leaves, apples, pumpkins, and scarecrows. I plan to use the following books:
I may end up using a few other books as well but these are all checked out from the library and in my possession so these will show up in our lessons for sure.
This sensory tub was literally thrown together, using a combination of things I already had and a couple of purchases from Jo-Ann Fabrics that were 50% off. You could pick up a lot of these items at the Dollar Store right now. I used a bag of dried kidney beans and a bag of dried navy beans as the base for this sensory tub. The red and white reminded me of apples and I didn’t have any apples to put into our tub. I added a few artificial gourds and pumpkins, which my kids will most likely want to borrow from the tub to add to their play kitchen. I added a soft stitched crow and patchwork pumpkin, specially for the baby so that she can enjoy our sensory tub as well. A fall sensory tub wouldn’t be complete without a few fall leaves so I added some of those in. My husband found a pack of adorable glittery acorns (which are a true love of my son who spends an unbelievable amount of time gathering and playing with them) so we threw those in too. I just tossed everything into a small plastic storage tote that I already had and added a couple of scoops and now it is ready for the children to explore.
I have this and a book planned for tomorrow so I will most likely have lots of pictures to share later this week.
Sensory tubs are a wonderful way for young children to explore a theme and practice narration skills talking about the objects inside. If you’ve never made one, I encourage you to try your hand at an autumn sensory tub! Your kids will thank you and you will have a great time watching them investigate the objects inside.
It has been a little while since I have posted and I apologize for that. I always love visiting blogs that have guest writers or posts already lined up during an absence but last week my husband was able to use vacation time and spend a week at home with us for a staycation, which our family desperately needed. My husband has been working at least 50 hours a week and sometimes 60 hours a week lately and we took a break from doing school (except for our reading lessons from “Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons” and taking nature walks) and we just spent time together. We did a lot of yard work and rearranged our living room so it wasn’t totally restful, but it was a good week.
Our homeschool co-op began its fall term last Friday and I am teaching two classes so I was busy last week making final preparations for those classes. Our first day of co-op was wonderful…it was so good to see old friends again and to meet a few new ones as well.
My three year old began ballet last week and my five year old had his first session of homeschool gym at the YMCA today so we’ve been busy getting used to changes in our routine as well.
In the past couple of weeks, we’ve had quite a few picnics with family and friends to enjoy the last days of summer and so things are busy but good here.
I will be posting regularly again now and I already have several posts lined up.