Our Latest Food Experiment & an Unexpected Result

Trying to deal with Mr. Picky is really a full time job. He doesn’t like a lot of foods and he doesn’t like foods that touch. If it was up to him he would eat white food and that’s it, but it is a process. We keep trying and we keep seeing what we can accomplish. Enter Weelicious, I bought the first cookbook awhile ago, but no interest was generated. Then the lunches book came out and, suddenly, we had interest. A lot of interest. We have been experimenting with recipes for both breakfast and lunch and we’ve been having fun.

This week, we tried Cinnamon Roll Sushi. The recipe is only available in the cookbook Weelicious Lunches, but it is so worth it. Anyway, one of the ingredients is cream cheese. Mr. Picky was suspicious at first and didn’t think he would like it, but he’s apparently now a fan. He loves this and has eaten at least four times this week. It’s been awesome.

The unexpected side effect of having the whipped cream cheese in the house happened yesterday. Sam is on a VERY tight pill schedule. She has to have them at precise times or we see her go into serious pain. It was time for her meds and I discovered that we had used the last of her peanut butter that morning. I was tossing ideas around in my head (which didn’t involve the car and loading kids into it), when I thought about the cream cheese. She’s never had it (I know 15 1/2 years old and never had cream cheese; yes, I’m a terrible person), and with Sam it could either be a good thing or a bad thing. So, I loaded her pills into a wad of cream cheese, rolled it up to look like a meatball, and took it to her.

Sam is a naturally suspicious dog. She believes that every person approaching her with food is doing so with the intent to poison her. She checks out everything before she eats it. So, the head came down to look at this weird ball of stuff in Mom’s hand. After determining that it wasn’t an explosive, she sniffed it. I got the fish eye. This usually means she’s going to reject whatever it is, but today, she decided to give it the lick test. The tongue came out for a small taste.

And then it happened. Her eyes lit up, and she scooped up the cream cheese ball and wolfed it down. And then licked my hands completely clean. That NEVER happens.

So not only is Weelicious introducing my son to food that he might never otherwise eat, it is helping me keep my elderly dog properly medicated. Have to love that :).

Homeschool Mother’s Journal — 2/22/13

Last week was just too much for me to do much with. Between funerals, anniversaries of deaths, and the science fair project, I didn’t stand a chance. Add in a particularly hostile work student and end of term and you have a perfect storm for not keeping up with what we’ve been doing.

  • In my life this week… It was all science fair, all the time. I think we’re starting to recover and I hope that next year will be somewhat less stressful. I went to centering prayer on Monday, which is one of the highlights of my week. I find it hard to center at home (I can’t imagine why), but that hour really sustains me. We started a Lenten series for the Gathering at church based on Same Kind of Different As Me. The book is different from the study series, but it’s an interesting contrast.
  • In our homeschool this week… We spent A LOT of time working on the science fair. Making the graphs was nearly the death of Ben, but he managed to draw all three and he was pretty pleased with himself for doing it. As mentioned in my previous post, he is planning to do something with rocket science for next year’s fair. This should be interesting.
  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… Science fairs are a lot of fun but a lot of work. What I think was most valuable about this experience for Ben was learning how to organize information and draw conclusions from it.
  • I am inspired by… my assistant rector.
  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Dance and science fair. Isn’t that enough for one week?
  • My favorite thing this week was…Discovering that Ben’s project was more than just awesome in my eyes. That second place finish really gave him some affirmation from outside that helped him way more than I imagined it would. But hearing him say, repeatedly, that it didn’t matter if he won or lost, just that he’d worked hard and learned something that made me happiest.
  • What’s working/not working for us… Right now we’re having a lot of behavior issues. I am doing a metric ton of research on how to handle this and I’m trying to get better at it. We also discovered during the course of this project that Ben has some challenges that we were previously not aware of. We are now assessing options to get him the assistance that he needs.
  • Questions/thoughts I have…Trying to figure out how to work the we homeschool but we use an umbrella school issue.
  • Things I’m working on… Grading. I’m behind and need to get myself back together.
  • I’m readingParenting the QBQ Way, Creative Thursdays
  • I’m cooking… absolutely nothing.
  • I’m praying for… more direction than “brave” and “step out in faith”.
  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share… We are in so much trouble. That is her brother’s bike 🙂
     photo 2013-02-18115601-1_zps5809d4d5.jpg

This post is part of the Homeschool Mother’s Journal blog hop sponsored by iHomeschool Network. To find out what other families have done this week, go here.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

September 3in30 Challenge: Final Report

3in30 Challenge

Clean Out the Bookcases.

This project is not complete, so it is likely to carry over to next month. I knew it was a big job, but I didn’t realize how big until I got started. I also didn’t realize how much sorting I would actually have to do, so I’m okay with it taking two months rather than one. Heck, it may take three months, and you know, that’s okay, too.

Create a mission statement.

If you go back to my post from Monday, September 19, you can see a completed draft of my mission statement. I’m still happy with this and plan to continue working with it over the next few months. So far, so good.

Fifteen minutes of recharge time daily.

I missed my nap today, but I managed it most other days this week, which is a good sign. Although, this is when the grading really kicked in, so it may not be a good sign that I didn’t get the nap in. We’ll see what happens over the next few days. I’m hopeful that it will continue because I know I feel better and work better when I have that time, so it has to be a priority for me.

As promised, here’s the link to the weekly link up. Make sure you check out how others are doing, too!

September 3in30 Challenge: Week 3

3in30 Challenge

    1. Clean Out the Bookcases.

there are no pictures this week because I’m honestly too sore to go get my camera. For reasons not worth going into Ben kicked me in the knee, the “bad” one and then Peyton very accidentally head butted the same knee. It’s a tad swollen at the moment and prefers me to rest it, so resting I am. I have now finished book case #2 and started work on my grandmother’s desk. I’m still waiting for box removal to happen, so this is probably going to turn into a two month project rather than a one month project. Oh well, one of my hallmarks is that I vastly underestimate the time it will take me to do something. On the plus side, I’ve been selling what books amazon wants back to amazon. I’ve made enough doing that to purchase the keyboard stand and bench that P and I have been talking about getting. Now I just need to finish with the boxes so we can set it up in the location I’ve chosen (by my grandmother’s desk).

    1. Create a mission statement.

If you go back to my post on Monday, you can see a completed draft of my mission statement. I’ve copied it into my planner and I’m living with it. So far, it is helping me choose priorities and make sure that I’m prioritizing the right things. Let’s hope that continues.

    1. Fifteen minutes of recharge time daily.

I missed my nap on Saturday, again, due to scheduling issues with flights. I also missed it on Monday because I just didn’t feel like it, but otherwise I’ve been doing well with this. I ended up putting the Pzizz app on my iPad as well as on my phone because it doesn’t always seem to work on the phone. Go figure. Anyway, the upcoming week is the real test. The school I work for started today. I do not tend to take particularly good care of myself when I am working, which I’ll be doing a lot of from here to December. I suspect there are health goals in my future (hi October, I see you looking at me), but for now, just trying to make sure I take those 20 minutes is important enough for me.

As promised, here’s the link to the weekly link up. Make sure you check out how others are doing, too!

Seasons of a Mother’s Heart: Chapter 3

Synchronicity seems to be the name of the game for this chapter. I was on a trip this week for work and I took a long a different book The Not So Big Life by Sarah Susanka for reading on the plane. I know, I know, a real, paper book, but they don’t let you read e-readers during take off and touch down and that’s when I need to read the most. Anyway, this book touched on a number of topics including that people have a deep need for both belonging and significance. It also identifies the fact that people need time or space to be on their own for a bit to restore their deepest intuition/soul/being, whatever you choose to call it.

In the parenting course that P and I are taking Positive Parenting Solutions the absolute core principle of the course is that every person needs a sense of belonging and significance. Failure to provide those two things are what result in most of what we view as misbehavior. Since she talked about this part in the free seminar I attended, I don’t think I’m giving anything away here, but believe me when I say there is a lot more to the program and we’re really learning about ourselves and our parenting by doing this. You can also read her book, If I Have to Tell You One More Time… if you’d rather. The book is a condensed version of the course — a sort of desktop reference, if you will, but if that’s all you have time for I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The other thing that both Susanka and McCready talk about is the importance of time. McCready is focused on time with the child, but seems also to suggest that parents need some time to themselves as well. So imagine surprise when Clarkson also suggested that an important component of her life is her “alone” time. I found this somewhat surprising in the light of the last chapter where she was discussing the submission of will and the idea that she sacrifices for her family. It almost seems contradictory to me, but then I realized that it’s truly not.

We do make significant sacrifices in order to homeschool our children and to bring them up in the way that we want them to go, and to some degree or another one of those sacrifices is our ambition or some of our personal/professional goals. But it doesn’t mean a total sacrifice of self. As she pointed out in this chapter, even Jesus took a break from the multitudes once in a while.

When I think about that I realize that it’s okay that sometimes I need that break. I need that refreshment of spirit in order to be more available to my family and more able to demonstrate and embody the values that I want them to learn/absorb/practice. I need to learn to not feel guilty about being away from them and to focus on the refreshment and engagement with God that I seek as I take that time.

Books mentioned in this post:

To see how others are responding to this book check out Home with the Boys and the link-up at the bottom.

As always, links are amazon affiliate links and can make me a small amount of money if you decide to click on one of these links and purchase.

September 3in30 Challenge: Week 2

3in30 Challenge

  1. Clean Out the Bookcases.
  2. there are no pictures this week because I’m out of town at a work thing, but I have almost finished with the bookshelf I was 3/4s of the way down last week. My progress has been slowed, ironically, by my public library who wants my books (the fiction and non-fiction in good condition), so I have to resort a while bunch of boxes when I get back to cull out what the library wants. They also only want it one box at a time, so that will slow that part of the removal, but P promises to remove and return with empty boxes a whole lot of things next week, so there should be some significant progress to show.

  3. Create a mission statement.
  4. I’m still working on my action statements I wrote my roles and dreams in my journal so I could think about it during down time here. We’ll see if I actually have any downtime to think about it.

  5. Fifteen minutes of recharge time daily.
  6. I did really well with this until Tuesday and Wednesday. Those who follow me on Twitter know that Ben hasn’t been feeling well and was diagnosed with strep on Tuesday. Once we’d finished with doctors, etc., on Tuesday there wasn’t time for a nap. Yesterday, my flight from Atlanta was delayed over an hour, but again, not really the place for a nap. Hopping to get one today between return to the hotel and lunch. Wish me luck.

As promised, a link to the other 3in30 participants. Hope you’ll stop by some of their blogs and encourage them on their journeys!

Seasons of a Mother’s Heart: Chapter 2

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how this chapter was going to go. I’m not convinced that I’ve ever heard a specific calling from God for me to do anything. I wonder sometimes if I don’t listen carefully enough or if I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be hearing. I believe, though, that my career trajectory happened the way that it did for a reason. That reason is so that I would be in a position to homeschool my children when they needed it.

If I had made it on the tenure-track somewhere, I would not have been able to take the time that Katie needed for her recovery. I would not have been able to slow down and design the way I want my career to blend with my home life. I do believe that what happens in my home is one of the most important things that happens in my day each day. My connections to my children and what they learn from me about the world, about God, and about His place in their life cannot be replicated elsewhere. If I had made it on the tenure-track there is a very good chance that Katie would have to have a second surgery just before she turned five, but because I homeschool, because I chose differently, throughout my career trajectory, she gets an extra year. It allows me to make a curriculum that interests and intrigues my son and find resources that teach my daughter at the speed she is capable of.

I know that part of my resistance to this chapter is the sense of submission which is a hard word for me to accept intellectually. This is an area that I struggle with daily: the notion of submission to God’s will and accepting that he has a plan for my life that may not look like my plan. Of course, I’m a lousy planner, so some divine guidance would really be appreciated. I have found that choosing this path is seen as criticism of other paths that I didn’t choose. It can be challenging to cope with that, at times, but that’s where I lean on the rock and hope that I answer graciously and kindly.

I think what sticks with me most from this chapter: “The biggest sacrifice for me has been in the areas of relationships and harmony” (Clarkson, 2009, p. 50).

Following this path has led to strain in some relationships. It has caused some disharmony where harmony previously existed. We don’t quite fit in anywhere anymore and, for me, that’s okay if a little sad. I feel for the kids, though, when the inevitable school discussions happen and they say they homeschool. Most kids either don’t know what that means or think that they do and offer up their interpretation of what the kids do. It’s usually not accurate and we have to have conversations about others’ assumptions afterward.

All that said, I love this path. I love this life. It’s hard. It takes time, dedication, and sacrifice, but I wouldn’t change it. Not for a second.

If you’re interested in others’ reactions to this chapter, please go check out this link.

September 3in30 Challenge: Week 1

3in30 Challenge

This has been a good week. I’ve gotten a lot done since I started this, though I’m currently at a stand still on the books. I’m dependent on P to remove them. I fill the boxes, he takes them away, and brings them back empty. I am not asking what happens to the books because I don’t want to know.

  1. Clean Out the Bookcases. You’ll be able to see before and after pictures below, but I’ve completed one bookcase, and made it 3 1/2 shelves down on the next one
  2. Create a mission statement. This goal is almost complete. I have managed to complete all but the action statements step of writing a mission statement. I should have mentioned, previously, that I’m using Mission Statements for Moms to help me develop my mission statement. I’ve found her approach really useful and I think that I’m developing a truly workable, meaningful mission statement from working with her e-book.
  3. Fifteen minutes of recharge time daily. I’m easily suggestible, I admit. I read Gwen Bell’s blog posts and am truly inspired by what she does and what she’s doing. But this post took from admiring her to researching a tool she uses and finding an Android version of that tool. There is, in fact, an Android version of Pzizz and the Android version includes the sleep version that is mentioned on the “wish list” for the iPhone app. I started with a 20 minute power nap and moved up to a 25 minute power nap by the end of this first week. My husband noticed such a huge difference that he was the enforcer by Sunday. Keeping the kids away so Mom could take her nap. It’s amazing how much this one thing is helping, but it is helping more than I could have imagined.

As promised, before and either after or in progress pictures.

Bookcase area #1 (before): Photobucket

Bookcase area #1 (after): Photobucket

I discovered, much to my surprise, that I am not actually “responsible” for the shelf that’s currently hidden behind boxes. That is filled with my husband’s things, so I can’t make more improvements in that area without his cooperation. He still wears shirts from high school, and he’s forty, I think you can imagine how much cooperation I’m likely to get here.

Bookcase area #2 (before): Photobucket

Bookcase area #2 (in progress): Photobucket

Not only did I get a good portion of the way down the shelf with this one, but I also started some basic organizing including getting the children’s memory books all in one place. That by itself provides me with a huge sense of peace. I know where they are and I can’t lose them this way.

Now, go check out the 3 in 30 link up page and see how the other participants are doing.

Seasons of a Mother’s Heart: Chapter 1

My new motto, also? Two section headings from chapter 1: “Choose to be thankful” (p. 34) and “learn to be content” (p. 36).

When I decided to read this book and “join” this book club, I wondered if I was going to “fit” with it. By this, I mean that I’m a thinker and an arguer by nature. My relationship with God is characterized by struggle. Nothing about my faith journey has been easy, and I don’t suspect that will change at this stage in the game. People for whom faith comes easily have my envy and my respect simultaneously. I wish it could be that “easy” for me, but it is not and I’ve come to see that there are many different kinds of relationship with God (actually, though reading the Bible in 90 days last year) and that there are those who have my sort of relationship and it’s okay.

What resonated with me in this chapter, what made me stop and say, wait, it’s not always that easy for her either was her descriptions of her vision/expectation of events and the reality of those events. The Christmas cookies stood out for me because that’s me. I go into things full of expectation of how it will go and the things that will happen, and when things don’t happen according to my plan, I come a little unglued. Okay. A lot unglued.

And even though I know that countless women have gone through the same thing before me, for some reason, this time, reading it in this book made it click. It’s not about the cookies or the chapter in the math book or the spelling words or the way the painting looks. It’s about the moments that I’m spending with my children doing these things. Those are the moments that I should be and am thankful for. It’s those moments that are “God sightings” (to use the phrase that Ben learned in VBS this year). Those messy, crazy, sometimes awful moments are just as much God’s doing as the moments when Ben or Katie shows me in some way how much they love me.

What I know I have to work on now is contentment. I need to learn to be content with circumstances as they are, as God has presented them to me, and accept. It sounds so easy, but I know that this will be the hardest work that I do as a mother and as a person. It takes an astounding amount of faith to accept all that happens as God’s will, God’s choosing, God’s timing, and believe that it is as it was meant to be.

About ten years ago, P and I had some serious relationship troubles. The kind that led to a trial separation. One of the things that I learned during that separation is that my expectations tend to be too high for anyone to meet and so I am always disappointed. When we were working on bringing ourselves back together (which clearly we did), I repeatedly reminded myself that I needed to have no expectations of how something would go or what something would be. Somewhere in the last few years, I’ve lost sight of that and chapter 1 has reminded me that I need to get back to the place where I have no expectations (well, I’m going to stick to always expecting that we’ll live through the day because that gives me peace, but otherwise).

How much better could our lives be if, instead of setting insanely high expectations for ourselves and our children and our homeschool, we accepted each day as it comes — as the gift that it is from God?

That’s my goal, and and that’s what I learned from reading chapter 1 of Seasons of a Mother’s Heart.

If you want to know what others who are reading the book learned from chapter 1, please visit Home With the Boys and check out the links.

*As always, where possible book links are to my affiliate account at Amazon. Every little bit helps when it comes to homeschool materials.

September 3in30 Challenge: I’m In

3in30 Challenge

I can’t believe that I’m doing this, but I’m in. I probably shouldn’t be trying to do a challenge at all, but this one seems to have a high probability of success. The idea here is to choose three goals to try to complete in the month of September. I think I’ve chosen three goals that I can successfully complete. We’ll see.

  1. Clean Out the Bookcases. Thanks to Ben’s birthday party I have clear access to all of my bookcases for the first time in a couple of years. I’m going to take advantage of this a clean them out. One of my doctor’s points was all these books are harboring dust mites and other critters that could be making my asthma worse. He’s a BIG fan of the Kindle for that reason.
  2. Create a mission statement. One of the things that I think will help me get a handle on where we want to go as a family and what our goals are is to create a mission statement that we can all live with. As a starting point, I think I need a personal mission statement that will help guide me in building the kind of life that I actually want rather than the a life that is lived getting from a to b to c.
  3. Fifteen minutes of recharge time daily. This can be time that I use for guided relaxation, power napping, or gentle yoga, but I know that I need to commit to doing this every day in order to be healthier and a better parent/partner/person.

So, that’s my 3 in 30. I’ll be reporting in weekly this month to see how it’s going and we’ll just have to see what happens. To get an idea of where I’m starting from:

Bookcase area #1: Photobucket

Grandma’s Desk: Photobucket

Bookcase area #2: Photobucket

Bookcase area #3: Photobucket

By my desk: Photobucket

This is what *was* on the floor of my office and is currently residing in the back of P’s truck: Photobucket

These two tubs? Full of books: Photobucket

The opposite side of my desk: Photobucket

The cookbook area (admittedly not as bad as the rest): Photobucket

This should prove to be an interesting challenge, but I think it’s a goal I can reach. I’m intentionally leaving out the ten or so boxes of books in the attic. Part of me says they’ve been up there for over three years, so they could just be taken and pitched wholesale. We’ll see if I go through with that or not.