Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald

Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew

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21 May 2010


I think the brain is amazing! I'm always in awe of what my little sponges, I mean children, can absorb! In my effort to keep track of the things I'd like to introduce my children to as well as remember what we've already tried memorizing, I found this great system on the Simply Charlotte Mason website.

I think memorization is a great thing! I'm not talking about drilling scriptures or famous quotes for hours in military fashion, or stating math facts until your brain explodes... I'm talking about a subtle introduction to good things that will stay with you child forever.

This system allows you to create a little 3x5 box that holds the things you'd like to memorize that are of various lengths (for our family it's things like the articles of faith, scriptures, good quotes, the proclamation on the family, hymns, etc.) From there you take the first card and simply read it twice a day. You then continue to read it twice a day for as long as it takes your family to recite what's on the card. From here there are little dividers in the box with days of the week, odd/even, and the numbers 1-31. As cards get placed further back in the box you end up not only learning a new memorization, but you continue to recite ones you've already learned at least once a month! Go check it out! There's even a pdf file that you can print out for all your tabs!

What's important for me here, despite my lack of "structure", is that we are able to review things that we've learned as well as expose ourselves to more great statements that will become a part of who we are. There has been numerous occasions in my life, and even on a day to day basis where I'll recall a scripture or lyrics to a hymn or song that have governed how I've acted in a particular situations. By making memorization an important but not threatening/stressful experience in my home, I'm hoping that my children too will be able to employ the good things in their minds against situations that require additional inspiration!

Posts to Come....

Just in case you're curious about the inner workings of the "special" brain that I call mine, I wanted to assure you that I have plans to tell you more in the near future! I've already written out titles and little tidbits to remind myself of the "wonderful jewels" that I would like to write about. The benefit of doing such a thing when it's midday and I'm somewhat lucid is that it gives me direction of my intentions when I find myself up in the middle of the night with baby and am running on few brain cells! So, I look forward to sharing more with you in the wee hours of the quiet, quiet morning. For now kids, housework, school, (and everything else you can think of) calls my name... and I wouldn't have it any other way.... but I am looking forward to posting later! Although, I'm going to have to learn how to balance my writing with my blog-stalking because time to kill in the middle of the night is my favorite time to spy on other moms and collect ideas! Oh the dilemma of my life!! *laugh*

Triathlon Revisted

I wanted to write about this topic at some point, but since tomorrow is "Day 1" of my training schedule, today seemed like a good day to start!

I wrote awhile back about my goal to do a Triathlon this December. I've researched up and down, am armed with my Triathlon for Dummies Book, and spent time planning exactly how I was going to do this with kids in tow. I had everything figured out and even found a race in August that I was all psyched to be prepared for.... and then life happened! I was told that Mr. Wonderful (aka, my awesome, supportive, fabulous, husband!) would be gone for a month. Okay, no big deal... I'll just get my cardio stuff set up and I'll get in pool time when he gets back. Well, then we find out he'll be back shortly then gone for a little over four months! Okay, fine (small melt down as I try to figure out how in the world to meet my goal). Then I decide to still do it.... then I realize that baby is too unpredictable to get in training outside my house and that having
babysitters here and in the place I plan to race 2-3 hours away and staying overnight etc. was just not something that I am up for right now!

The plan now is to run my training program as outlined (and give you updates at weeks end to keep myself in check), as if I were competing August, but not actually go out there. Then train at a higher standard for the December 11th Polar Bear as planned. Who knows, with family in AZ I might be able to get in some race exposure there too in the meantime!

Anyway, I'll train for the biking portion on my wind trainer, the running on the treadmill an awesome friend lent me, get in my general cardio via workout videos, strength train with weights and gutting my house :-), and eventually work swimming into my schedule when I know I can leave baby with someone and know he won't be cranky while I'm gone! My weaknesses are more on the running and biking side of things, so while I know swimming is necessary for the overall conditioning aspect of what I'm planning, I feel confident that I can hit the water and catch up quickly there when I can.

My biggest causes of concern right now are 1) making sure that I stick to the training schedule and don't allow myself to back down because I'm tired (I know this sounds counterproductive to what people generally say, but I've found that for me, taking time to sleep or just relax and thereby giving myself permission not to do something... say, clean... just drives me batty later and it's better if I just stay up and do the work I have in mind! I actually sleep better when I finally get there!), and 2) Getting proper nutrition. I've been pregnant of nursing for the bulk of the last 6 years, and am currently nursing.... so I want to make sure that I'm getting enough to support me and baby to ensure that I can keep up with my goals and continue this hobby of mine, and not run myself into the ground!

Gutting The House

While I don't care to be a single mom, it's a job that I am asked to take on often. In response, I've noticed that over the years I've developed some coping mechanisms. When Mr. Wonderful would work crazy shifts I would stay up for HOURS cleaning, creating English lesson's for my Korean students and rearranging the room I used for a classroom, and worked for hours on my own school work.... despite having a little baby and later being pregnant as well.

Last year I drove over 55+ hours with 3 kids 3 and under through 7 states, as well as moved from Utah to Texas by myself and unpacked my whole house singlehandedly in 4 days! (Which seems all the more funny now as I sit in my house that isn't all the way unpacked or organized and I had the help of my husband for a few months this time... granted I was super pregnant when we first got into our house here in mid-December and now have a newborn, but still!)

Well, now that baby is 3 months old and semi-nice to me (aka not always having to be in the Maya Wrap for me to do something productive... other than holding or feeding him that is), the stuff I've been itching to do over the last month since being a single mom and only being able to do partially, is now coming out in full force. Operation "Gut The House" is now in effect!

~Seasonal Clothes: This is actually a first for me! Who knew? I have a secret hate of clothes, they're everywhere! My husband has been the same size for the last 15 years and was single with a career and extra cash to spend for 3 years before we got married.... so we (*cough* HE), have a lot of clothing! So, after moving every year for the past 6 years I am finally faced with unpacking EVERY box and finding a home for everything and there is just not enough room! We have a t-shirt collection that can't be rivaled! Solution?? Shh... don't tell anyone! I pulled out the shirts that are actually worn and stuck the rest into a huge plastic storage box. Then I actually pulled out clothes from hubby's closet and the kids that were winter-ish... yah, we live in New Mexico, no need for anything long-sleeved or resembling anything to keep warm, and they met the same fate. My garage and closet are very happy!

**How to keep things Organized in the garage... look to Emilie Barnes! Thanks to my reading of the Duggars book last month I figured out a system that makes sense to my severe mental issues and have subsequently bought the book Survival for Busy Women. Talk about something that makes complete sense! By using 3x5 cards and writing out the contents of every box, highlighting, and keeping storage boxes numbered, you always know where everything is! I've also decided to make this work for keeping track of our books, movies, and other items that I'd like to have a record of should anything happen to the house and we need to put in an insurance claim and re-buy (i.e. electronic info., cloth diapers, school stuff, furniture)... complete with photos).

~Toys: Most of our toys are educational, but there are still too many! I've moved our play kitchen to the garage and all it's food items! The kids like to play with it, but it's a menace to pick up pieces and I'd rather have that mess out of doors. I've also bagged up toys into large ziplock bags and have them nicely tucked away in plastic storage containers (which can be found easily thanks to a note card box that states it's contents). Rotating toys has never been easier or more fun! I'm actually going to be adding more to the boxes. I don't know what the magic number is, but still feel like there's too many toys in the house. The kids are great about creatively using what they have, but I think we'll enjoy playtime all the more with less to put away at the end!

~School Supplies: Again, inventorying what we have is fabuloso! So, that was the first step. From there, the kids each have their own pencil boxes that have colored pencils in them. I know that there are other mediums that would suit little hands better, i.e. crayons, but colored pencils don't create as much of a mess so I'm more inclined to let the kids have free access to them! We also have a 3 drawer plastic thing (from Walmart/Target) that I repurposed as a place for coloring books and paper and placed in my laundry room where the kids can grab what they need. I also created little boxes that I keep their writing books, math stuff, and things we'd like to work on (something from Happy Phonics, Now, I'm Reading Books, etc.). Having a place for everything and knowing what you have is a HUGE way to stay sane while homeschooling. It's way more fun to be able to see what you have so you can actually use it!

~Clutter: Clutter makes me nervous! I'm also going through and trying to give away/garage sale, or pack away anything that's just taking up space! I'm convinced that most things I hate looking at, cleaning around, or trying to find a home for, just don't need to be cluttering my mind! So, while I hate single parenthood, I sure do embrace it when it comes to simplifying the house! Hubby won't be able to see what I'm putting into the 'discard' pile, but just like the clothes (that I'm so POSITIVE he couldn't tell me what's missing.... although when he came home for a few days he did realize it looked like there wasn't anything left in his closet! *laugh*....) if there was something he wanted I could pull it out of the garage easily. I have big smiles looking around the room and enjoy the simplicity!

I hope you have fun gutting your house and find yourself taking less care of stuff and more time with the people in your life!

Feel free to add your organization tricks too! Or coping mechanisms :-)

Putting New Ideas to Work....

I LOVE to spend time checking out other people's blogs... I always find some really fun stuff! Recently I was catching up with my friend Heather's Homeschooling Blog and found a scheduling idea that I realized would work great for us! We basically had this same thing going except ours was written out like a to do list that we did in whatever order, but this one is a lot more fun! Heather even sent me her document with all the pictures she used for subjects, so all I had to do was copy out a few more of each thing and add other little things throughout the day (which is more work then having her do it for me, but what can you do :--D). Anyway, the kids used to enjoy making check marks on our charts, but being able to have a visual of what we'd like to touch on as well as being able to interact by pulling off cards is all the more fun!

There is also a homeschool mom that employed this idea in her home after reading Heather's blog, and she has a file listed of her subject pictures listed in her post. I'm stalking her now... which reminds me.... if you're reading this, hi! I'm Cherie! Your blog is great! :-)

Anyway, I'm excited to put my fun ideas to work! I had fun getting everything together, I have my board... the perfect place to put it, I even had a husband home for a few days that could hang it for me! Well, I took one for the team and we enjoyed Mr. Wonderful being home and making memories with him instead of me bugging him to get the board up, so now I need to learn a new skill and get the drill out myself! Should be interesting! If only I weren't OCD and stressing out about getting it level! Wish me luck!

18 May 2010

Making Your House Fun While Learning!

I stumbled on a web post the other day that offered a free e-book in return for a review on my blog. Who could resist that offer especially when the books' title is, "Finding Educational Activities in the Most Unexpected Places." I'm in love! In a time where there is an unending amount of toy options for your child, complete with the latest and greatest electronic ones that are fun but don't really encourage a child's creativity and pretend play, this book hits the spot! The table of contents alone gets me excited! The simplicity is marvelous, sparks parental creativity, and reminds the reader that everyday household items can provide hours of fun and learning at little to no cost! Seriously, who knew there could be so much fun in cotton balls, laundry, cookie cutters, egg cartons, paper plates, boxes, balloons.... and the list goes on to include about 25 sections in total with an appendix on how to dye pasta and rice.

The author, Angie Kauffman, has a BA in Education, MA in Special Education, is a homeschool mom, and is an in-home therapist for children with developmental delays and disabilities. She knows kids and how to make learning fun!

I HIGHLY suggest this book! There are so many activities in here that I had never considered before and others that I knew were fun but had completely forgotten them. I get no added compensation for this review other than the book, but seriously, this is a book I will treasure forever and I want you to have one too!

Go to http://www.manylittleblessings.com/finding-educational-activities-in-the-most-unexpected-places/ and get a 20% discount code which is good until June 15th by using code: LED20

Additional fun and amazing learning skills are just around the corner!

14 May 2010

A Review of Blessings/Tender Mercies

You know, I am often dumbfounded by the tender mercies that the Lord has offered in my life. I'll just take a minute to write this because it's late and there's much to do before my love comes home tomorrow (it's crazy to think that the last time I wrote he had barely just left!)

Thinking back on 6 years ago I was newly married and thought beforehand that I knew everything, only to realize each day that I know NOTHING (hence the blog title!) Honestly, it was only by a moment of sanity, which didn't come often at the time, that I let my guard down enough to let my husband become a part of my life in the first place..... and it was a mercy of the Lord that my husband even allowed me to talk to him seeing as how I was a colossal jerk for quite sometime before. Anywhozzle! Despite the emotionally closed off work-a-holic person that I was, I decided that maybe it was time to make a change. From marrying my husband and on there is literally no way that I can thank the Lord enough for the woman that I have become and am becoming. (Just as a side note, Mother's Day isn't that great of a day for me since it's a holiday for one, you'll have to wait for a different post on how I feel about holiday's! Yep, if you guessed it has something to do with me being crazy, you're right! It doesn't help that my honey is rarely home for said day anyway, but I couldn't help but get a little philosophical about the whole idea. The moral of that story is that without my husband and kids I wouldn't be a Mother, so from here on our Mother's Day is now officially a family holiday where we celebrate each other and get a family gift like a game we can all play and mom makes a big breakfast and everyone helps make dinner and a fun treat).

Okay, not sure where that tangent came from, but thanks for hanging in there! Why I really sat down to write this is because of the wonderful things that I see everyday. There really isn't enough words in the world to describe my husband and how his words and actions have shaped my character. Things that he's said in passing have caused me to contemplate many subjects and because of them I have become a better person. It's truly because of his love and support that my focus on family and enriching our lives through nutrition, exercise, learning, and anything else that pops into my crazy head, comes to life. I didn't want to be married or have kids before him, and now I can't think of anything else! The Lord is so good! I feel blessed beyond imagination.

The other thing I thought of was my kids. Homeschooling isn't the easiest route to take, but I wouldn't take another one for all the money in the world. Every time I hear my kids discussing topics, or making decisions on their own (like giving back a sucker that contained corn syrup because they knew it wasn't good for them... *laugh* yep, that was a proud yet highly embarrassing moment for me!), or working together to complete tasks, or using proper manners... the list could go on and on, but I'm just thankful to be around for those moments. They really do learn and comprehend so much, and their little spirits are so loving and free of the concerns within the world. Within my home I'm preparing soldiers who will be able to stand strong against temptation and trials because they have embraced true principles and the tools necessary to do so.

As I've thought of the criticism of "sheltering" our children that often gets associated with homeschooling, I have to say that there is a time and place for everything. We don't live on a remote piece of land, (although, I would totally be up for that!), and we don't stay within our home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our children do encounter other people all the time. What I find so wonderful is that in their interactions with others my children have learned right and wrong behaviors and that I am available to help discuss those with them, I wouldn't miss that for the world! My children are young, this is the time to teach! Sending my child out to the world unprepared would be an injustice to them. I am blessed to have children that can come to me to discuss how some behaviors are hurtful and how we don't want to act that way towards others. I am so blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom who decided, and is supported, in homeschooling!

I'm also blessed by very loving and forgiving children who are always willing to share a smile. I'm amazed everyday by the people that they are! We've recently attempted to do more family work despite my anxieties and I have found that my kids are completely capable of taking care of loading the dishwasher and taking care of the laundry. I have serious germ issues, like I can mentally visualize them, so there's some tasks that I just prefer to do alone, but I am feeling so much more free letting the kids do more jobs especially since they literally BEG to do them! I'm always trying to find something else for them to clean or tend to that would be more "age appropriate," who knew that mom once again just needed to drop her guard and let things happen! They also amaze me with how they use their free time. I have seen incredibly intricate lego ships, a box used as a car... then when it broke was shapes, surf boards, tents, and now is a fully colored transformer complete with transforming abilities, and another very colorful robot. My almost 2 year old knows most of his letters and their sounds, counts well, and knows more words then our other kids combined at his age. I am absolutely blown away by how much these little people glean everyday and what talents and abilities are innate to the them.

More tender mercies? Well, everyone on the blog list to the right... they bring me inspiration. To live in a free country (okay, I know some of you are thinking that to be debatable now or in the future, but just run with it K?). To have an extended family as added support. To be healthy. To have a healthy spouse and children. To have children! To be able to read and write. To have access to good books and other mediums of communication. To have the means to take care of my family. To partake in wholesome activities. To practice religion and be able to pray to God freely in thanks and for guidance.

There are so many more! What tender mercies are you thinking of right now?