Monday's Daybook

For Today:
Outside my window... dirty melting snow

Praising God... our small group gathering

In prayer for... wisdom about the future

I am thinking... how long to run bible study before the summer chaos hits

I am thankful... for our new-to-us minivan

In the kitchen... toast crumbs all over the counter and recycling that needs to be emptied

I am wearing... jean, pink shirt, pink sweater

I am creating... lesson plans.... always lesson plans

I am going... to go grocery shopping

I am wondering... why my father-in-law pulled in our driveway and pulled out of our driveway without stopping

I am reading... Shelter of God's Promises by Sheila Walsh

I am hoping... the oil truck comes sooner than later

I am learning... about waiting 

Around the house... kids in the tubs, kids playing Wii, and clothes to be put away

I am pondering... which study will be best for the ladies

A favorite quote for today...  "the christian faith is not a cruise ship where all your needs are met, it is a battleship, fighting the good fight!"

One of my favorite things... bacon 

A few plans: the menu for the Pearl and Noble Gentleman this weekend!

A peek into my day...  

Monday's Daybook

I saw this over at Simple Woman's Daybook and I thought it would be fun to add on Mondays....

For Today:
Outside my window... waaaaaay too much snow

Praising God... for a little extra cash to pay for the car repairs

In prayer for... finances to complete Dave Ramsey's BS#3

I am thinking... the day is slipping by too quickly

I am thankful... to be a teacher

In the kitchen... clean dishes finally!

I am wearing... brown pants, grey sweater, and black turtle neck

I am creating... a research project for my princesses about puppies

I am going... to see the Lego movie

I am wondering... if all this snow will melt before weeks end

I am reading... I just finished The Bronze Bow with my princesses

I am hoping... spring comes early

I am learning... how to schedule my homeschool day 

Around the house... are piles of things that need to be put away

I am pondering... my lesson plans for this week

A favorite quote for today...  "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13

One of my favorite things... a good Starbucks latte 

A few plans: my getaway with Prince Charming

A peek into my day...  family movie nights

Barely surviving here in brokenville

Ok remember when I told you about brokenville here?  Guess what happened after that....


I am not kidding here....

Our minivan that has been in and out of the shop for 6 weeks.  The mechanic working our van thought he had it fixed and took it on a test drive and the thing caught on fire and literally burned up on the side of the road.  Literally! Stopped traffic on a major highway for an hour!  Firetrucks, cops, the whole works!  I am not making this up people!

But oh wait it gets better... so we still have one good car right?

WRONG!

Our other vehicle which we just put $3000 dollars into 6 months ago hit a HUGE pothole on the way to a weekend getaway my hubby and I were going to and cracked the rim on the car which of course caused the tire to leak.  When we went to have it fixed the strut, ball joint and sway link are all broken as well... (told you it was a huge pothole under snow) so now it needs work done it.

So here I am still barely surviving in brokenville... and I can't help up wonder... What is God doing? 

Lesson Plans the Erasable Way

I have found the best pens EVER!!!

These are FriXion Point Erasable Gel Pens

In my lesson planner I color code my kids work... blue, purple, pink... each little Princess gets her own color.  But I am constantly changing and rearranging my schedule and these pens have this neat little white tip that erases the pen perfectly and unlike pencil erasers they don't wear down.  

Then throughout the week as we accomplish task I highlight it... 
what doesn't get done moves to next week or skipped.
(this is a good week look at all that yellow!)

It has made a world of difference for me in my lesson planning.  I love the bright colors, I love the fact that they are erasable.   Go ahead try these pens for yourself.

Surviving here in Brokenville



Things keep breaking!  In the past two months we have had our minivan break (going on 6 weeks in the garage), the truck we are borrowing break while our van is repaired, the printer break, the coffee pot break, the microwave break, the humidifier break, and a tray table break.

On top of that we live in upstate NY that has gotten 2 feet of snow with wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour.  Which means plowing and plowing and more plowing.  We are house sitting and the house we are watching got drifted in and the heat shut off for a few days bringing the temp down to 44 degrees... so more shoveling and digging out to get the heat to work again.  

I am done!  I am tired, worn-out and mentally spent.  

Now, in the long run is a humidifier a horrible thing to loose?... not really.  I get that.  

But I am just tired of chasing the broken.  

...I am tired of giving up a whole Saturday that was supposed to be about finishing trim in an unfinished bedroom for an emergency plow job. 

...I am tired of having to throw another appliance out and spending money on a new one. 

I don't want to spend anymore money on these things.  I want to spend money on a new outfit, I want to spend money on a vacation.  I want, I want, I want.... there in lies the heart of the issue....  

CONTENTMENT

I have always struggled with this issue and it only seems to intensify this time of year.  I not sure if it is the snowed in, bitter cold, nasty weather or the just spent a ton of money at Christmas and hoarding money now attitude... but still I feel stuck.  

My dad keeps saying at least it's things that are breaking and not the people in your life... but in way I feel broken.

We are working on Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace steps and are on Baby Step #3... It is HARD!  It is taking forever!  We had hardly any debt to begin with and we had a little saved to begin with so steps #1 and #2 were easy peasy!  But since we did not have to really debt snowball we didn't have anything to roll over into building this emergency fund.  We did not have car payments, cable, eating out, or huge spending habits that were easily cut.  We already live on a minimal budget, trying to make a savings out of that is HARD. On top of that we are living on one income and homeschooling... so the money that is not dedicated to just making this household run (and currently just fixing things) is just trickling in.  It is sometimes frustrating...  I don't like it!  (ahem... free spirit speaking here)  

ok... but back to CONTENTMENT... the big ugly word in my life right now... the thing I don't want to admit is really the broken thing in my life.  

I am leaning on the words of my lovely sister-in-law right now, "don't hang on to it anymore, throw it at the feet of Christ."  So here is little ol' me working through this... 

I am gonna throw this insatiable desire for the things of this world right where it belongs... down at the feet of Christ.  

...I am not gonna worry about how much money is in our bank account, I am just gonna keep working on not overspending and keeping to the budget that my nerd of a Prince Charming has set before us because that is honoring to him.  

....I am not gonna freak when something else falls apart, because I will remember we live in a broken world and things will break.  

...I will be ok with not going on an expensive vacation even though I feel like I deserve it, because in reality, I don't deserve it.  

What I deserve, I didn't get.  It was death.  It was separation from the holy and loving God. 
And I didn't get that because someone else did.  

...Jesus Christ did.  

He took himself, a perfect and sinless God and poured himself in a man.  He than made himself of no reputation, scorned as a matter of fact, by the very creation he made.  He then took my sin (ahem... lack of CONTENTMENT) upon himself and said here let me that for you.  

So from now on I choose to remember that 

...things of this world will break, 

...people of this world will fail me, 

...my bank account will probably never be where I want it to be, 

...and I won't get what I think I deserve.  

Instead I got Jesus and that will be enough.

The saga continues so here is the rest of the story

The Messy Teacher

I am a teacher and here's what I think I look like....


But reality strikes and I realize I am one of those "messy" kinda teachers.  Ya know the kind that if given a choice of 3-4 activities to "enhance" your subject I am always gonna pick the painting, dig in the dirt, glue lots of little pieces of paper to the paper kinda project.  I love when kids dig in a get dirty with the projects!...












 What I have trouble accepting is that while messy teachers are fun teachers, "messy" teaching creates- well, messes....








I am working on being ok with my piles.  I really am!  I am working on finding the balance between fun "messy teaching" and cleaning up after myself to create a home that is welcoming and well cared for.  It is a not an easy balance for me.  I struggle more often than I care to admit and my Prince Charming and little ladies generally get the brunt of my frustration.  

Today I am feeling a little overwhelmed with my piles of stuff and yet balancing that with my looming lack of preparation of lessons for this week.  Someday I really hope that I find a balance between what I should do and what I want to do... but for now I really need to go get cleaned up and plan some school lessons....


All About Spelling

Have I told you how much we love All About Learning Press materials?

I started using All About Spelling and All About Reading with Princess #2 because she is an extremely tactile learner and she was slightly behind in her language arts.  I wanted something that was hands on and I liked the the idea so using tiles. I saw an immediate improvement and she liked it.  In spelling we made a quick run through Level 1 and slowed down 1/2 way through Level 2 and we are now starting Spelling  Level 3.  I put her directly into All About Reading 2 and she improved her reading right up to grade level within months.  I can't wait to try All About Reading level 3

Princess #3 started another phonics program that she keep saying was boring so I switched her to All About Reading level 1 and she loved it immediately.  As a matter of fact she is progressing so quickly  I think I am going start her with Spelling Level #1 soon to see how she does.

Shortly after that Princess #3 who is an excellent reader and speller started listening to the lessons and started asking questions and finally asks "when will you start me on the tiles?"  Umm... Sure!  So we did a real quick run through Spelling levels 1-3 and landed in All About Spelling Level 4.  Next year is All About Spelling level 5 and level 6

I love that my girls will pick spelling first almost every time.  I love that the lessons are scripted and only require a few minutes of my time. 

 What I don't necessarily like is the large board I need for all the tiles because we travel often.   But one of my Christmas presents was this portable board and that helps....

 I did try different smaller travel options 

but when we can't take our board I found this app for our iPad that works ok.  This app is not from All About Learning Press and it does not have all the elements that I love; but it works.  All About Learning does have a free app for the phonograms sounds but I would love an official app that has the tiles for "on the go" learning.  

One more small thing... I wish the teachers manuals were spiral bound to lay flat. 

There it is, my favorite Spelling and Reading programs... What about you?  Do you have a favorite curriculum?

If you would like to try either program, right now Teaching Stars is having an All About Spelling Giveaway... head over there and check it out!

Now I am off to do my lessons.  

Living in a Rural Area

For all of you who are out there in blog-world when I say I live in NY state you immediately think of this don't you?


You would probably be surprised to find that my area looks more like this



Pretty huh?  Well to be honest today it looks more like this....


Somedays it is pretty tough living in an area so rural... Here are some random facts for your useless knowledge bank so I can rant a little....

My dear Prince Charming has to drive 30 miles one way to get work...literally over the hills and through the woods (it takes him about a hour each way)

The nearest grocery store is about 7 miles away but it is small and expensive, the second closest is 20 miles way (about 30 minutes) so there is no "quick run to the store'" for us

We do have a really nice metropolitan area once you get there about 30-40 miles away... I generally make there once every few weeks... Usually has to do with some doctor or business appointment because that is the closest we have for most everything.

Our local school is 20 miles away and if my kids rode a bus it would be a 45-50 minute bus ride.

Our little town consists of one small corner store, a post office, a bank, a library, and a church, and one manufacturing plant.  Yup you read that right not a restaurant or gas station in the town... There is a gas station 3 miles away but you can guess that they are not always the best deal in town.  The closest restaurant?  Subway is 7 miles, but other than that it is roughly 30 miles in any direction so there are not a "let's go grab a cup of coffee" for us either.

Living in NY state also means that we have an 80 year old house in need of repairs on about 3 acres of land and we paid double what we would pay in almost any other state for the same house.  On top of that our tax payment each month is equal to or exceeds our mortgage payment.  


Why do we live here?  Well for one Prince Charming grew up here (so did I) and we have family here...


But also more importantly... God put us here... So here is where we stay... Rant done!

More Wedding Bells


Remember Mr. Fitness and the Southern Belle got married a few months ago... well the wedding fairies must have been working overtime that day because one of the Sweetest Girls I know (a.k.a. Sarah) decided to get married to Mr. Caregiver (a.k.a. Brian, the nursing student).  We enjoyed some time this summer to get to know them a little better.   Here are some pictures from their engagement gathering...






We look forward to see where God will take this new couple.

A Visit from the West Coast

Over the summer we were honored to be able to enjoy some time with our West Coast counterparts otherwise known as Prince Charming's brother and family.  Since they live across the country we do not get to see them often so time spent with them is precious.  I just love how our kiddos just "pick up" right where they left over playing with each other even though it can be as many as two years between visits.






West Coast family

Princess #2 with her godmother

The whole gang together again

We made slime


We had tons of pool time

Bonfires and firefly hunting

The Little Hungry Man turned two

PopPop's Big Bessie was a big hit

Told ya we had tons of pool time

Brothers

 Where it all began

Just a few good men...

Princess #2 waiting for her "surprise"

Breakfast with her godparents

Time to say goodbye to the West Coast family