October 3, 2010

Update On Us

It's amazing how things always happen in God's timing. I had a lot of second thoughts on starting school extra early this year. We started the last week of July.

My husband had knee surgery (arthroscopic - both knees) a week and a half ago and we took two weeks off to care for him. Now that he is semi-mobile again it's time to get back to the books and we are still right on schedule.

So far the girls are loving the new books we chose for school this year. My 8 year old is not too fond of math at this time so I am going to try to find some fun math games on line that will help her enjoy it more. My 10 year old now LOVES math (she disliked it when she was 8 too). Our 6 year old is learning to read and we're so proud of her. She's had a lot of pauses in her reading instruction due to life happening along the way but she's still keeping up and doing great.

Since Daddy is off for the next couple of months it's going to be an awesome time for us to include him in some of our schooling. He always has wanted to participate more in our day to day school schedule but his work schedule prevents him from getting as involved as he'd like to. We are going to take advantage of this time as much as we can.

September 9, 2010

One Down, Lots To Go

Making a little progress on our to-do list. I did all the school bookshelves today. I think they look great and I can think a lot more clearly now that I know where to find everything. Let's see how long we can keep them this way! On to the next project tomorrow.... :)

September 2, 2010

To Do List

Ever have one of those days when it seems like there is just not enough of you to go around? That is what today was like. I have all 4 girls sick with colds today so you would think it would give me more time to focus on other things since we are not doing any school work today. But it was quite the opposite.

I walked around and felt almost overwhelmed looking at all the projects that I need to tackle. Most of them are long past due. So where do I start?

When I am in a situation like this, I like to make a list. Or should I say LISTS. Having a list of what needs to be done always motivates me and keeps me on track. Even if I have a hounded things to do, I feel accomplished if I have a list and get to one or two things each day. So, that being said, I have added me "To Do List" to the left sidebar here. I hope to get the majority of it done by the end of this month. My goal is to tackle one item (at least partially) each day.

September 1, 2010

Reading to Children

One of the main parts of our homeschool day is reading. My girls love to read and to be read to. And I love to read to them. Reading is one of the best ways to develop language skills, both written and oral. The art of writing a sentence, telling a story and comprehending what is told all come from being read to from an early age. Here are some tips that I have picked up about reading to children that have really paid off for us.

Read at least two hours a day. I know that sounds like a lot, at least to me it did. I could not imagine spending that much time reading when we had so much more to do with our school work. However, now it often doesn't seem like enough. We always read at breakfast and lunch and if daddy is working late, we read a dinner as well.

Go above and beyond. I always choose books that are above my children's reading level. I don't pick books with popular characters like Dora and Elmo for read aloud. Those books do exist in our home but they are for one on one time when a child gets to pick a favorite book. When I read to the girls as a group, I always choose something that would be a bit of a challenge even to my oldest to read on her own.

Read it again. One of our favorite book series is Little House On The Prairie. My girls beg me to re-read those books over again and I always do. They learn something new each time.

Require them to listen. I make sure all my girls sit and listen while I read. They are allowed to color or work on a craft during this time if they are finished with their meal but they are not allowed to wander off or choose to skip listening.

Ask Questions. Each day I ask re-cap questions about what we read the day before. Often I just allow them to tell the story back to me without any specific questions.

Instill a love of reading. Once your child can read on his or her own, take them to the library and book store often. If you have a reluctant reader, don't start off with difficult or classic books they might not go for, let them choose what they enjoy and build from there. Have them tell you what they read or write what they recall in a book report.

Teach them to read aloud. Have your children read to you or to each other. Encourage reading aloud as much as your encourage them reading to themselves.

Incorporate other subjects. If reading seems to take up too much of your school day, incorporate other subjects into their reading. Instead of dry and boring text books, have them read "living books" about various times in history or about science topics they are studying. It is much easier for a child to recall information told in story form than bland statistics listed in a standard school text.

Reading is the true basis for education. If a child can read and has good comprehension, he or she can learn anything.

August 29, 2010

Homeschool Progress

Our first month of school has passed by in a flash. So far things are going very well. We started off in review mode, using the same materials we has from last year and continuing on. I wasn't prepared to buy everything we needed at the start of this month, so I thought it would be good to pick up where we left off. This was a good idea. It really helped me see where the girls were at in math as well as get them back in the mode of school without the confusion of a bunch of new things that are not familiar.

Yesterday I finally ordered all the new books so those should be here in a few days. The girls are very excited and so am I. Our 10 year old is going to be getting into more formal geography lessons this year which she is really happy about. She loves maps and is very good at learning to find things and memorize them as well. Our 8 year old is especially happy to be learning cursive this year. Our 6 year old is really getting the hang of reading and is so proud of herself. And baby girl is quickly learning letters, colors, shapes and so much more. They all love school and I am so happy that they do. :)

I made a list of what we are studying this year in the left sidebar.

August 10, 2010

Our Daily Schedule - Revised

This past school year we were very scheduled. It was necessary for various reasons, but honestly I find it more stressful to operate in such a structured way. It just doesn't work well. In my opinion, life doesn't fit into a "box".

This year we have chosen to go with a more natural schedule. So far it has been working very well and the kids and I are all more relaxed because of it.

We don't have a particular starting time in the morning. We have set goals for each day.

Unless we have a specific appointment I don't set an alarm in the morning. Sleep deprivation has been a big issue for me personally the past couple of years so sleep is high on my list of priorities. When I get at least 6 hours of good sleep the whole day is better for everyone.

Generally I am awake by 8:30. If the girls wake before I do they play or read until I am awake. Then we move in blocks.

Block 1 - Morning

- Wake up/Grooming
- Chores/dinner prep
- Breakfast
- Bible Study
- Table clean up
- Start school (2 subjects)

Block 2 - Afternoon

- lunch/read-aloud
- table clean up / quick house clean up
- play outside time
- back to school (2 more subjects)

Block 3 - Evening

- project, computer or TV time for kids (varies by day)
- baths/dress for bed
- dinner
- family time

Block 4 - Night

- kids prep for bed (brush teeth, get a cup of water, book, etc.)
- tuck kids in
- time with hubby
- my computer time
- bed time

Two things that I really need to work into the schedule somehow are sewing time and exercise. Those will be added in (somehow) in the weeks to come.

August 9, 2010

Back To Homeschool!

It's that time of year again, time to get back to the books and learn some new things :) We started "back" to school last week and things are going great! We still have quite a bit of material to cover from the books we have from last year so we will be working on those for the next couple of months. Then it will be on to more new things.

At this point our main focus is.......

10 year old - work on handwriting, more focus on composition writing, computer skills.

8 year old - work on all math facts, handwriting practice

6 year old - mastery in reading and remembering all numbers to 100 by sight

3 year old - learn colors, numbers and letters by sight

We will be working on a much looser daily schedule this year but I am still scheduling in blocks. I'll post that schedule tomorrow.

June 6, 2010

Diet Update

I have been making progress on my journey to better health. I am still striving to lose more weight but have been making great progress. 12 lbs. down and 20 to go. Praise God for His faithfulness, without Him I could not do this!

So, here's what I have been doing in an effort to lose weight....

* I quit eating sugar. Except for natural sugars like honey, agave or pure maple syrup. And I use those VERY sparingly.

*I cut down my food portions.

*I cut way back on bread. I rarely eat bread now, I used to eat it very often but now not so much.

* I quit eating packaged and processed foods and junk foods. I stick to whole foods, foods in their natural state as much as I can. Shop a lot at Sprouts, buy organic, etc.

*I gave up whole milk for almond milk. which has not only helped me lose weight but has also helped my allergies a lot! Dairy is really bad for any type of allergies.

*I don't eat any artificial foods (fat free, low fat, artificial sweetened, trrans fats, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, etc.)

*For cooking I only use real butter or olive oil or coconut oil.

*I only drink water or herb tea. No sodas or sweet drinks. Wine on a very rare occasion. Almond milk. Coconut water.

*I only eat beef about once a month.

* I don't eat pork.

*I take Extra Virgin Coconut Oil daily. 1 Tbsp. in the morning in oatmeal or in a green smoothie. There are two excellent books on the benefits of coconut oil for weight loss and health in general. "Eat Fat, Lose Fat" by Sally Fallon and "The Coconut Oil Miracle" by Bruce Fife. Also, www.nourishingtraditions.com.

*More recently I have been trying to transition myself onto a "high raw" diet (50% or more raw foods on a daily basis). That, I think, has been the biggest contributing factor to my loss and especially my increased energy and overall well being. I found a lot of great info on-line about this kind of a diet/eating lifestyle. A good place to start is to Google Phillip McKlusky and Angela Stokes-Monarch.

*I've been drinking green smoothies for breakfast most days, which seem to keep me full till past lunch time. I can give you recipes if you are interested, they are awesome and easy and very filling.

*I have been working out 3 - 5 days a week, 30 minutes to an hour each time. Walking, doing the Gazelle Glider, workout DVDs,... This has really helped boost my metabolism.

*I drink a lot of water.

*I try to eat dinner before 6 pm.

*I don't take any prescription or over the counter medication unless absolutely necessary.

*I take a few supplements (Fish oil, Vitamin C, Bioflavinoinds, Probiotics, B-12)

*I eat three meals and two very light snacks (usually fruit or nuts and raisins or a few corn chips and salsa). For breakfast if I don't do the smoothie I will have a bowl of oatmeal with the coconut oil mixed in, lightly sweetened with honey and stir in some pecans, coconut and ground flax seed. Or an omelet with spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and a little cheese topped with salsa. For lunch I do a salad with turkey or tuna or chicken and a little cheese and a few crackers on the side. Or maybe a raw soup or fruit salad or raw cereal. For dinner it varies but I try to stick to one serving of each item on an average sized plate (1/4 grain, 1/4 meat (chicken or turkey or bison or fish), 1/4 fruit and as many vegetables as I want) This portioning of the plate came from The Sonoma Diet and seems to work well.

Now, I do have to say I have not been perfect in sticking to this plan. I would say I eat this way about 85 - 90% of the time. There are days when we are super busy and eat out and I do the best I can on those days... or then there are the days when the hormonal cravings hit at certain times of the month and I give in and eat late at night or eat something sweet. But in general this is what I do and it has been working!

June 3, 2010

Our New Business - Finally! :)

I have continued to mention a new business that my husband and I have been working on in my previous blog posts but am jut now getting time to explain :) Please excuse my tardiness in blogging, it's been a busy time here.

The new business is called Higher Vision Wellness. As of now we offer one primary product that has really helped us both in bettering our health. It is called Nopalea and you can read all about it on our brand new website and blog. We offer some other great products as well and more about those can be found here. We pray that God is going to allow us to continue to build up this business and offer more and more products that will help enhance the lives of others in bettering their health. Getting fit and healthy is a passion of ours... a new road we are embarking upon and we want to share all we have learned and found with others. I also share my own personal testimony by video on our new site. You can view that video here.

Aside from business, we are about to kick off a busy summer. We have a week long VBS program for the kids, a homeschool convention to attend, a new niece about to arrive into the world in August and many other things like planning the next school year, sewing projects... the list goes on! I am hoping to share lots of photos and news in the weeks to come.

Praying you are all having a blessed and safe summer!

In Christ,

May 8, 2010

Raw Foods Are Amazing!

I've been doing a lot of reading up lately on the raw foods diet. What this means, in case you have not heard of it, is eating all of your foods raw. No cooked food at all. The healing that many people have experienced from this type of diet just amazes me. There are lots of sites and articles out there on the net, just hit up Google if you want to find out more.

That being said, I began to think I wanted to try this way of eating. As you can imagine, my kiddos were not amused at this suggestion. It's bad enough that mom has taken away most all the junk food around the house. And my second oldest daughter HATES most all fruits and veggies. My husband was on board mostly but not 100%. I was disappointed but not dissuaded. I decided to works towards a more raw way of eating on my own.

So, at this point I am about 50% raw in what I eat. I begin most days with a
green smoothie of some type, veggie juice or just a couple pieces of fruit. For a snacks I eat some type of nuts and dried fruit or some type of veggies. If I am in a hurry I will do salsa and corn chips or carrots with dip. For lunch or dinner a salad of some sort. The other meal will be mostly cooked and although some of it is cooked it will contain mainly veggies.

I can't begin to explain how much healthier I feel since I started eating this way. My energy levels are soaring and I actually crave vegetables which normally I have to remind myself to eat. I don't know that I will ever go 100% raw, just for convenience sake (not having to prepare two meals 3 times a day when I am the only raw foodie here) and also due to the high cost of produce. If we lived in a more garden friendly environment I could change my mind, but for now I will continue to eat a "high raw" diet.

Our new website should be up in about a week or so. More info on that to come soon. :)

April 30, 2010

Can't believe how long it has been since I have posted! There has been a lot going on in our lives. We are finally getting caught up on school after a long winter of various illnesses. We are planning to continue school through the summer on a part time basis. We are also planning to move within the next couple of months. We have outgrown our house and are going to be moving to a larger one. We have also been working on a website for our new business. That should be up and running in a couple of weeks. So, lots in the works around here but it is all a good kind of business.

I'll be planning out our homeschooling curricula for next year during May. We usually start our school shopping in June or July. Next year will be a bit different because not only will I be helping my husband with our business but we will have a preschooler in the mix as well. I am going to try to find something that we can use that will allow me to teach all the girls together for most subjects. I have always wanted to try this method of teaching so I think it will be fun.

I will be starting a new blog after all. Not to replace this one but a new one that will be for our new business. I will add a link here for it as soon as it is up and running.

I hope all of you out there in blog land are doing well!


March 6, 2010

A Chance To Win!

A sweet sister in Christ, DeNiece, is hosting a give away at her blog today. If you have a chance, drop by Organized Homemaking For Christ and enter. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

February 25, 2010

Praising God

Our 5 year old daughter was baptized this past Sunday. It was such a blessing, our children's pastor and my husband baptized her and it is just beautiful to see the happiness and love of the Lord in her shining eyes. God is so good! She has such a deep love for Christ. Her faith is so strong for one so young.

We also had a birthday party for our 8 year old this week. Her first party just for her :) She and her sisters and friends has a wonderful time.

To finish off the week, I caught a cold that the girls and my husband has last week. They have blessed me so much by taking care of everything around the house and allowing me to rest up. I feel much better tonight. About to go to bed and get a little more rest.

February 19, 2010

Green Goodness

When I first heard of "green smoothies" my first thought was "Yuck!" I could not imagine putting spinach into a drink with bananas and honey. Then I finally got up my nerve to try one and I am so glad I did! Not only is this smoothie really good, it gives you so much energy. If you can't stand the sight of it, just close your eyes and take a sip. You'll think you just took a trip to your favorite smoothie bar for a tropical treat :0)

Michele's Favorite Green Smoothie

1/2 c. vanilla almond milk
1/2 c. cold water
1 large handful of baby spinach leaves (not frozen spinach)
1 frozen banana
1 c. frozen strawberries
1/2 c. frozen mango chunks
1 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil
1 Tbsp. honey

Put almond milk, water and spinach in blender. Blend until fairly well blended. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Drink immediately.

February 17, 2010

I'm Still Here :0)

I have been in a blogging rut for a while now, hence the lack of posts. I thought I should at least poke my head in and let any readers I still have know that I am still alive, LOL! :0)

We have had a A LOT going on since the year began. Praise God all of it is good and He has been blessing us beyond measure.

We have a new church home. Actually, it is our original church home which God has lead us back to after many years. We are very happy to be back there as it has been obvious to us that is where God wants us to be.

Our 5 year old daughter is going to be baptized this Sunday. We are so blessed to see the work that God is doing in her life. She has such a love for Jesus, it is a blessing to see her grow in Him.

My husband and I have become involved in a new on-line business (more on that later on) which has also been a great blessing for us.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been really focusing on our family's health lately. Due to various health conditions, I felt it was time that I really delved back into the world of healthy eating. We are not only aiming for weight loss but for general health and well being.

If you visit me here regularly, you will be seeing a lot more posts related to that topic. I felt that instead of starting a new blog I would keep posting here ... vary the topic as life's seasons change for us. After all, that is what life is all about... God growing us and changing us. :0)

January 6, 2010


There are so many changes that are upon us right now. I haven't blogged much because I haven't had much new to say. I have been focused a lot on food lately, with trying to lose weight and trying to make healthy eating choices for my family. I feel led that maybe I should start posting on my old blog again but unsure of where to go with that. Maybe a new blog? I'm not sure. A bit confused right now... If I don't post much just know that I am still here, just taking a little break.

January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's been a wonderful start to 2010! Although we are only into this year by 4 days, each one has brought it's own special blessings.

Today we are back to school. The girls are excited to be back to our normal routine after a couple of very hectic months with lots of illnesses and other things that took out time away from learning. They got right back into the groove of things with out any problems and the day is going quite smoothly for us all.

My husband and I have been busy creating a family plan for the year that is really going to help us stay on track with organization, planning and school among other things. This is always our favorite time of year because it always feel so great to "start anew" with everything in our lives.

One of my goals for the year is to lose weight and keep it off. I tend to be able to easily drop 5 lbs or even 10 if I really work at it but after that I just level off and stop losing. I know that exercise is key so I am making a very big effort to work on getting in shape as well. Not such an easy thing for me as I am not naturally a very active person... I tend to love to do things that involve sitting like sewing or reading. So getting in shape will be a challenge, but well worth it I know! I lost 10 lbs. in November when I was sick and have kept that off so I am aiming for another 20 lbs. Candy is hosting a weight loss challenge on her blog so if you are on a weight loss journey too, drop by and join in. It's great to have partners when facing a challenge :)

Some of the other things I am hoping to accomplish this year are:

  • to finish up the girls quilts for their beds
  • to teach my older two girls to use the sewing machine
  • to read a couple of books on homeschooling that I have been wanting to read
  • to finish cleaning our our master bedroom closet and garage
  • to find a permanent place of service in our church
  • to stick to my daily Bible reading plan

Hope all of you are having a great start to your New Year!