Thursday, February 19, 2015

Yep, I Got Behind---Catching Up???

It was really inevitable. I KNEW I would not blog every week. I knew it. But I gave it a shot. I have been trying to exercise, clean house, follow THM eating as much as I can, get ready for co-op, get kids to rehearsals and activities, teach bible class and LTC drama group, and school the kids. Plate of life is full. Blogging is in last place.....

So I decided to do a monthly overview since apparently I haven't blogged since week four, which was last month! Here goes...short and sweet (maybe?).

Week 5:  That was the first week of February. I was very busy getting ready for our co-op planning and registration day and that was not too bad. Most things got sorted and taken care of. The aftermath of the planning day is exhausting though. Anyway, my kids ended up with great classes like biology dissection, law and order, drama, German, cupcake decorating, Discover Great Artists, Top Secret Adventures, Loom knitting for Raffa, Food Art, Art of War, Farmer Boy cooking and Texas History. I am teaching Advanced Sewing and directing the co-op. It is going to be a fun semester.

Week 6: This week was CRAZY. Karen and Tara and I sorted classes and adjusted schedules and worked through problems. It took HOURS. We were very tired. The week was a blur. Enough said. That Friday we had orientation and made name tags, filled teaching baskets, and assigned classrooms. It went very well and I am excited to work with the group of moms and dads. They are outstanding! Oldest two went to T3 (www.t3commission.com) over the weekend. It is always a great spiritual growth weekend. LTC practices are every Sunday leading up to Easter weekend competition. That all seems to be going well, too (www.ntltc.org).

Week 7: This is now. Tomorrow we start our co-op classes and I have been ordering supplies and packing the van. It is DH last week to work in Minnesota. Tomorrow I am taking oldest girl to English Country Dance to see Jadon. He's a really great kid. Holly and her mom are going with us. My other two girls are having a THM cooking sleepover with a wonderful trustworthy friend. The boys have the night with their dad. Oldest girl bought a cell phone since she works now. Oldest boy is still looking for a regular job. Drama teacher is on our prayer list. Cedar pollen is a terrible evil and is causing major issues for our family. School has been going well.

So that is about it. Today, school will be short and shopping will be long. My two youngest girls have grown multiple inches and need leggings, skirts, tank tops, and dresses. One needs shoes. All of the kids are two sizes behind in undergarments, and the socks my oldest kid wears really shouldn't be referred to as socks. They don't cover much of his feet due to the numerous gigantic holes. Oldest boy needs one more pair of jeans. We need to accomplish much, get home to eat supper, pack for co-op and get teens to high school bible study before the day is over.

On that note I will say my goodbyes. Maybe I'll blog next week, but don't hold your breath. You are more likely to turn blue and pass out.

May the Lord direct your steps as you plan your way through life!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 4: Our Spring Schedule

Homeschooling five kids is an ever changing entity.  Each semester somehow looks slightly different. This one is no exception.

So here is what it looks like this spring:
Instead of four kids taking dance at Timbrel School of the Arts, I just have one. She is taking ballet. The youngest dropped ballet for this semester. The oldest girl dropped tap, and the oldest boy dropped theater. Why? Because the oldest two auditioned and are now in Hello Dolly's summer production. That entails six hours of practice each week--minimum. The youngest just wanted a break. The oldest is working about once a week on a construction project in a nearby town, and the second oldest is cleaning a house twice a month for her job. Oldest is still seeking employment but scheduling is difficult. All five kids are invovled in our annual LTC competition (www.ntltc.org). That means every Sunday is filled with four hours of practice. Everyone will be involved in the homeschool co-op too.
So the week, in a nutshell, goes something like this:
Monday through Thursday we try to accomplish as much schooling as possible before afternoon activities. Math, language arts, reading, bible, science, history, art....And then we have the activities.

Monday--ballet at 5:15
Tuesday-Dolly rehearsal from 1-4, sometimes house cleaning job twice a month on this day
Wednesday: Dolly rehearsal from 1-4, bible classes, once a month youth activity
Thursday: sometimes house cleaning job on this alternate day, high school bible study at 7:30
Friday: co-op until noon, then finish any leftover school
Saturday: whatever
Sunday: worship, practice from 2-6 (only until Easter), worship, devo

All in all, not too bad. With five kids, I expect we will have activity. Kids are enjoying good times with good friends. we have a family we hang out with and watch Blacklist and just visit. Kids regularly invite people over, sometimes they do English Country Dance. We hang out with Austin, Daniel, Kendall and her whole family, Jadon, Sarah, Elizabeth, Holly, Amelia, SarahF, Dylan, Xander, Ashley, Alyssa, Blake, neighbors...among many others. I see the hand of God in many ways guiding our directions.

I have to admit, it is a very fun time. Good bonds are being formed.
Hope your semester is blessed!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 3: Self Defense and Auditions

This week I am completing a self defense course with my oldest daughter. I took the course two years ago and highly recommend it for every woman. You need the skills to defend yourself should anything happen. We are learning to fight and it really is fun! Next year my middle daughter will take the class!

I would enjoy it a lot more if I hadn't injured my tendon last year. Apparently ten months of healing gets the swelling away, but re-injury is easy. I found that out last Thursday when we did sweep kicks. OUCH! But three days of ice and compression wraps did the trick! My daughter, on the other hand, is doing great! She missed the second class due to illness, though. We will learn those moves tonight.

After self defense, my oldest daughter and son went to the local dance studio for auditions for Hello Dolly. There will be a teen musical of this famous show in June, and the vocal auditions were Friday, dance and monologues were Saturday. Some kids got a call back. My oldest son was one of those. Call backs lasted five hours. When it was all said and done, by daughter got a role in the ensemble with a singing spotlight, and my son got the lead as Horace.

Now there is much work to do. The self defense should help out in being ready for doing a very active musical! Part of the prep is to do daily jumping jacks and push ups, while singing!! Not really...but since you have to sing and dance at the same time, why not? May as well get in shape!

As for me, my role will be in the costuming and seamstress department. Not very active, but my foot says that is just fine ;)

 This week we are enjoying the sunshine! Hope you have a great week!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Week 2: Over 40 Fashion

This week I am going to talk fashion. I have LOVED clothes since I was a preteen. When I was a teen I had multiple spiral notebooks with my own personal fashions drawn and colored on every page. I taught myself how to accurately shade the human face and accurately draw proportions and shoe styles. I even applied to the Fashion Institute at Dallas at age 14.

I have tried to dress well for most of my life and to change with life's seasons. Sometimes I fail miserably. Case in point--this past Sunday. Lately I have decided to update my wardrobe for a stylish 40 something. Some of my items needed to leave the closet. So Sunday comes and I was dressing for church. I chose a calf length black gored skirt, green fitted sweater and multi colored blazer. Then I added black flat boots. When I checked the mirror, I realized I was modest, but VERY FRUMPY and looked like I must be 85. Not happy. No time to change clothes. I felt awful because I knew I wasn't pleased with my outfit, and for me, outfit affects mood. A better pairing would have been a pair of red heels, a more modern jacket, and a silky fitted top.

So...I have been hunting for clothes to fit ME and MY STYLE. And I ran across this great blog in my journey: Walking in Grace and Beauty. It is written by Cyndi Spivey. She is a preacher's wife in Kentucky and she is over 40. She gives great advice and photos on hair, skincare, and clothing. I LOVE her clothing. She posts lots of pictures of her outfits and tells where she shops. SO HELPFUL! Cyndi puts together outfits that are age appropriate, stylish, modern, modest, and fairly affordable...meaning she isn't getting all her stuff at Nordstrom...the lady likes Target, Old Navy, and outlets. Awesome. I pinned a lot of her outfits over on pinterest because her style runs along the same vein as mine.

So, if you are an over 40 and looking to update your style, check her out.
www.cyndispivey.com

By the way, I made sure my evening Sunday outfit was making me feel awesome: red cable sweater, dark wash denim jeggings, black heeled boots, burberry style scarf, and black tailored coat. Felt fabulous....
Now if you'll excuse m,e I need to change out of my leopard pajamas into something unstylish so I can go clean a house--not mine.

Remember: beauty is not only about taking care of yourself on the outside, it's more about the beauty of your heart and who you are in Christ.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy 2015!!!! WEEK ONE

Once again I have fallen off the blogging wagon.  I'm not terribly surprised. Sometimes I blog frequently and sometimes I have long dry spells.

So here I am after a busy spell. November and December brought work for my oldest two, two major productions, and time home with family, which is worth not blogging. So let me tell you about our homeschool and general life this winter/spring.

Our oldest is still seeking permanent employment while doing random construction work and cleaning. The second oldest is cleaning a home twice a month. Both are about to audition for a summer production of Hello,Dolly. Both are dropping dance classes. Both are participating in LTC with our church. They are in high school, and loved going on winter retreat with the youth group, and they look forward to the upcoming T3 conference, and spring break mission work.

The middle kid is making good progress with schoolwork at her own pace. She and the oldest recently had to have emergency case braces. That was super costly, but will be worth keeping their teeth! She is taking ballet and LTC. She is having a hard time with youth group because so many in her age group do not attend many youth activities. This kind of breaks my heart because she was looking forward to having a great time. She did enjoy youth winter retreat. But as her older siblings pointed out, life is just that way sometimes. Sometimes you don't click with other kids...but you still have to know how to be kind and friendly regardless of circumstances. And find the people worth hanging out with.

The youngest boy is improving with diet and meds, and he has made great gains in what can be accomplished. This fall was so much better than the last two years! He has been inviting friends over, though we have to keep a close eye on them. Mischievous little things....But all in all, it is going well for him. He did some PE classes, but decided against it for spring unless a sister goes with him.

The youngest has decided to take the semester off ballet--shocking, I know! But lots going on with her daddy and the need to bond with siblings before they start graduating may be the driving force of that one. She is so improved with diet and meds and oils. I cannot describe how good that has been for everyone.

The Lord has really been walking the tough roads with us and shown us who we can count on to help, be supportive, and point us in some good paths. Some of them are within our congregation, and several are not, but all have been Christian. I am so very thankful for each and every one of them who offered help and suggestions and friendship and support. Praise to God!

I am still director of our local co-op. Honestly it gives me a sense of drive and accomplishment. I love the energy of it. I love the people and the interactions. I love the work,  albeit unpaid. And one day I will miss it. Spring semester is to be planned soon and it will be great!

As for my husband, he is not working tons of hours six days a week anymore and for that we are thankful! He had most of December off work and that was lovely, so all kids stopped outside activities and we just lived as a family....of course that has all changed now. But it is not a bad change. Just different. Isn't that the way life is? Constantly changing.

As for me, I have transitioned into this stage of life, finally, and made peace with it. As a nearly 45 year old I am ready to make some changes to my wardrobe, so that's pretty fun. I am at that stage where I've lived long enough to be secure in who I am and who I am becoming, and not really care much what everyone else thinks...but sadly I sometimes find myself struggling with younger moms, and less tactful moms, who haven't had the life experiences to get them to the point I am at (I was once just like some of them :(  ). Not that I have arrived...I never will. I'm always a work in progress and secure in my salvation as daily I am trying to live the scriptures. ,I also learned a lesson along the way that you better be careful of your judgment of others based on your personal standards. You never know what life will throw at ya! So unless you've walked in those shoes, in those circumstances, be VERY careful of your assumptions of others! And make each day count. It may be the last chance you get, to love.

So, that is what has gone on in our lives. I had grand plans to blog once a week this year. So this post will be week one. We will see how the rest of the year plays out ;)

Blessings this year to you and yours.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tex Mex Supper Was a HIT!

So I plan to share my meal from last night, in recipe form. It was a huge hit.
Cheese enchiladas with queso sauce, spanish rice, black beans--serves with diced avocado, tortilla chips and salsa.

Earlier in the day I soaked the beans  and then set them to simmer with salt to taste and two chicken bouillon cubes. Done. Cooked, and set aside to warm later.

Enchiladas:
We used white corn tortillas and heated them in a skillet until pliable, then filled each with shredded cheddar and rolled up. Placed them seam side down in a 13 by 9 pan to make 16 enchiladas. Truth be told I would have added diced, sauteed onion if it were up to me, but the moans and rejections I would have encountered just weren't worth it, so they were minus the onions.
Next I made the sauce--which I made up as I went- from 3/4 can Las Palmas enchilada sauce (Taco Bell or Old El Paso or Gebhardt is fine too), about a cup of mexican velveeta, and a can of cream of chicken soup. I microwaved it until creamy. Poured it over the enchiladas and baked until bubbly at 350.

While that was baking I brought to a boil, 4 cups of water, 1/4 cup of the reserved enchilada sauce, 1 tbsp each of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic, black pepper, and salt. I added 3 chicken bouillon cubes. When it was boiling I added 2 cups jasmine rice, reduced heat, covered, and simmered, stirring now and then to prevent sticking, until most liquid was absorbed.

Set table, set out avocado, chips, salsa, beans, rice and enchiladas and we dug in. It was hailed as the best cheese enchiladas and rice/beans yet.

Guess we have a keeper....

Monday, October 27, 2014

Answered prayers

I was going to post the weeks menu, but it is changing quickly. The kids ate several of the ingredients and meal choices in advance, so I am scrambling to figure out food for the week until I get to ALDI, Sam's and WinCo to restock. No one realy wants to know that todays breakfast was Halloween candy and lunch will be leftover chicken BBQ meat, some beefy rice, a few meatballs and three GF chicken strips...possibly served with the last half of a bag of GF pretzels....so I am going to post about answered prayers.

I have a 16 year old and he wants to get some filming equipment before starting to earn steady income for insurance, gas, and cell service (at which point he can get his license). Unfortunately his  efforts at employment were not fruitful. So as his mom, I prayed for something to come along that fit his schedule and activities and for it to be the right timing for him.

So about two weeks after I began praying I saw a FB post that a friend needed twice a month house cleaning. I jumped on it and employed my oldest two. All I ask is $5 gas money. Then a friend called and asked Jacob if he wanted to work on the renovations of their rent house. Sure! Opportunity to work and learn about construction. Win win.  Then he got a call to help someone move items from a storage facility to their home. Done. Then his sister got called to work a shift as a fill in at the local Christmas tree farm and offered her services when needed. She also learned they need boys to work. He is applying today. So God's timing for these odd jobs has provided cash for the teens and references for future jobs and much needed experience. We are so grateful. They may end quickly, but the Lord provided the work needed, at the right time.

I had felt that maybe this wasn't the time for him to have a regular job, given his drama performances and the prospect of doing community theater in spring. God provides. Also, the boy has decided he might just extend his high school by 6 months to a year so he can work more and finish schooling before starting to save for a car and pay for college costs. The process will be slow, but all in His hands. And he will learn the value of the dollar and hard work. Besides, these teen years only happen once and when they are gone, that is it. Adult life kicks immediately into high gear. Might as well enjoy the end.

How has God worked in your family's life lately?