Friday, August 28, 2009

The Week of the Summer Cold

Brad caught a cold last week and then shared it with the rest of us this week. That made for a not-so-normal week, but we made it through just fine. Now I'm going to back up a bit and replay the past several days. I know you're on the edge of your seat, aren't you?! (In case you're wondering why I share all this, this is sort of my on-line journal, and I enjoy looking back and seeing what we did. I read my blog if no one else does!)

Last Thursday, our dishwasher developed a hole in the plastic tub. The children and I were about to head out, and as I've done often in the past, I turned the dishwasher on to run while we were gone. A few minutes later, I happened to step in some warm water, which I thought was a little strange, and then I noticed the puddle was continuing to get bigger, so I quickly shut the dishwasher down and went about with my day. Later that evening, Brad discovered the hole, and the next evening, he and Matthew and I went to Douglasville to go on a "new dishwasher" search. We went to Best Buy first (since we usually do find the best buys at Best Buy and we always get such amazing help there), and we found a floor model with $100 off the price and that's the one we went with. All of our appliances were white, but I had been thinking in recent months that as each one became un-fixable (my new word I just created), I wanted to go with stainless steel, so we did. I know this means living with appliances that don't match for a time, but I can deal with that.

The dishwasher was not the one we thought would go first. All of the appliances are 10 years old so I guess it was about time, but it had not given us any problems up to that point. The stove/oven has had issues and has had to have some work done, and now the gas burners don't always want to ignite, and we have to use a lighter. The refrigerator sometimes wants to pretend it is a jet engine. It did this in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago. As usual, we got up, turned the temperature down, patted it on the back and told it how much we appreciate it and what in the world would we do with a jet engine anyway, and within an hour or so it comes back to its senses and everyone can go back to sleep. (I remember having a big brown refrigerator while growing up, and that was the only one we ever had. It still worked even after I got married. Unfortunately someone must have fallen in love with it as they stole it away from a rental home that my parents had at the time. I wish things today were made to last like that brown refrigerator, but I guess that's how companies in this day and time stay in business. ?) Anyway, thanks in part to Dave Ramsey, we refuse to replace our appliances until they absolutely cannot be fixed or it costs the price of a new one to have it fixed.

Brad and "Matthew" then took out the old dishwasher and installed the new one on Saturday, and it's been working great. I am very happy with the stainless steel.

Brad and Matthew beginning the "old dishwasher" removal. Note that Brad felt it was important that Matthew wear his "daddy's helper" shirt.

Back to the summer cold now.... I started feeling the effects of the cold on Monday and then on Tuesday we did our school work in the morning and evening and in between went to Carrollton to celebrate my Aunt Jane's birthday. By Wednesday, I knew I needed a resting day and Amelia was also running a fever, so we just read library books and took the day off from school. I was able to start reading a new book by Voddie Baucham titled "What He Must Be if He Wants to Marry My Daughter." I just knew it would be great before I even started reading it, and of course, I was right. He's definitely one of my favorite authors.

Amelia and I were both feeling much better on Thursday, and we were able to do some school work and then have some friends over in the afternoon. It was a very refreshing, much needed visit. Laughter truly does the heart good, and my dear friends always bring that!

Today, I am so thankful to be feeling better. Unfortunately, this morning it was Madison's turn with the cold. We know how to share around here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

School and Such

Cave Spring, Georgia
August 19, 2009

We've made it through two weeks of school, and I'm not gonna lie and say it's been easy! This is probably the hardest year we've ever had as far as the curriculum I've chosen. I think it was time to be challenged (well, for the girls - not necessarily me....), and I'm hoping it will get easier to deal with as time goes on. One of the reasons I chose this one was because I had read many reviews that said it was great for allowing your children to be independent learners. So far, that is not the case. I'm still having to "hold their hand" through some of the subjects, but had they used this in the past, it would probably be a different story. I guess they're playing catch-up in some areas, so hopefully it will all make sense in a few weeks and they'll be able to do more on their own. The Teaching Textbooks for math still gets two thumbs up around here, and Cari (who usually despises math and struggles a bit) is doing quite well. I wish Teaching Textbooks was developed for use with other subjects.

For the past two weeks, we've had to just get away from the house and the books, and the need has been hitting us around Wednesday. Last week, we ended up at Tanner Beach. We had it to ourselves for a little while and we met up with some friends later in the afternoon. This week we went to Cave Spring, Georgia. We toured the cave (it wasn't Carlsbad Caverns, but I was quite surprised at some of the similarities - just on a much smaller scale) and looked at the spring. We also took home a jug of water from the spring, which we had heard you were supposed to do. Evidently the locals take that seriously as we saw one man walking up with a hand truck full of empty plastic containers that he was going to fill with water. I guess there's plenty to go around, and there's no cost. The water was crystal clear and tasted just fine. It tasted like water, so that's what counts. We also fed the fish and ducks (don't worry, they weren't swimming where you get the water. That would just be gross).

I guess that's one of the things I love about homeschooling. We're on our own schedule and do what we want to when it comes to the education of our children. We have the opportunity to get out during the week and explore and avoid crowds while doing so - if we pick the right spot. I hope to be able to get out more this year. I told the girls that there is so much in Georgia that I've never seen, and I think we're going to take the opportunity (Lord willing) this year to see what's in our great state. That's one of the ideas that Charlotte Mason had for her way of education - to get out and enjoy nature as much as possible. While we obviously don't do a complete CM education, I do see advantages to many of the aspects of that type of learning, and I hope I can integrate a little bit of all the great teaching methods that I admire. There's also other landmarks and buildings around the state that I'd like to tour, so I'm hoping we can do some of those once the cold weather hits. Until then, I intend to fully enjoy fall and the great outdoors as it's my favorite time of year (I think I've mentioned that before, haven't I?). It does my mind and spirit so much good to view all the beautiful things that God has created. He is the Artist above all other artists, and I want to take in as much of His creation as He will allow my eyes to see.

My children (except for Matthew, and he's taking a nap right now) are with nana and granddaddy, so I'm enjoying some play time right now. I've been trying to make my blog look better, but I'm not having much luck. I think I'll go fiddle with that some more. Have a great weekend!

Here's some more pictures from our field trip this week.

Matthew watching Amelia feed the fish and ducks

This duck looked like it was wearing a wig. It was hilarious!

Cari in front of cave entrance

Madison at cave exit.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Week in Review

Wow! It's been a busy week, but when I say "busy," I definitely mean productive.

We started off the week with Madison getting all four wisdom teeth extracted on Monday morning. Madison and myself, as well as Matthew and Brad's dad, left early Monday morning for Hiram where the oral surgeon's office is. It only took about 30 minutes for the surgery, and we arrived home around lunch time. Everything went well, but the recovery has been slow. She was finally feeling a little better yesterday and had less swelling, and she rode with Brad to Douglasville - her first time out of the house since Monday morning!

Since we were rather home bound this week and I was feeling the pinch of the deadline for my "summer to-do list," I was able to get a lot accomplished this week. I had prayed for motivation, and the Lord certainly answered that prayer. I am so thankful for the health and energy that He has been merciful to bless me with.

We had been planning to move Brad's office downstairs and make his former office Matthew's bedroom. Cari suddenly decided last week that she would like to make it her room. After giving it some thought, we decided that it should be okay for Matthew and Amelia to share a room for a few years. So I took Cari to Home Depot Sunday afternoon and let her pick out the paint color she wanted. We had originally thought we would get a bedspread first and then draw a paint color from it, but in the end she knew what paint color she wanted, so I told her she could just get a white bedspread and add colorful pillows. She liked that idea. She picked out a shade of green, and I think she did a great job with her choice. She helped me paint, and it turned out to be a great color for her room (although Brad was a little sad to see his burnt orange paint disappear). It matched her furniture perfectly - something we hadn't even taken into consideration when purchasing the paint. I still need to get curtains, but here's the almost-finished look:

We finished that on Tuesday, and then I began to clean out her and Amelia's old room. I had told Amelia that we could paint her room after Nee and Paw Paw went home. They decided to leave Thursday morning, and the minute we walked back in the door from telling them good-bye, she looked up at me and asked, "Can we go paint my room now?" So we headed to Wal-Mart to buy paint (I wish I had picked up some at Home Depot - it was cheaper!) and began painting that afternoon. Cari had not wanted Amelia to help paint her room, so Amelia made it very plain and clear that it was just going to be her and me painting her room. Actually, she did an amazing job for a 4-year-old. She painted with me the entire time and didn't make much of a mess at all! I expected her to paint a few minutes and then go play, but she hung in there for the whole project. Matthew wanted to help, too, and I should have taken some pictures, but I had to clean him up before he started licking the paint! I decided to use white paint since a boy and girl will be sharing this room. Amelia used some of her birthday money to buy a new black and white comforter with pink sheets. It looks nice on her little white antique twin bed. The chest of drawers that I purchased a few years ago at a yard sale for $1 and painted black fits in well, too. I'm going to try to find Matthew black and white baby bedding and use blue sheets. I haven't moved his bed in there yet, and we still need curtains and lots of pictures or something with color, but here's how it looks for now:

We moved Brad's huge desk downstairs (that he purchased for $0.99 on EBay a few years ago). Madison likes to use it for her school work and it is easy for me to work on, too. (Did I mention I started back doing medical transcription in the early morning hours? I'm not doing very much - just one to two hours a day and none at all on some days. They had asked me about a month ago if I'd be interested in helping out when needed, and we agreed on a trial run. I'm actually enjoying it, and it's nice to have our "fun money" again.) I painted a chalkboard and moved the school room to the other side of the basement where we'll have more room, cleaned out the toy room, and made a library/reading room where we used to have the school room. I hope to find a couple of cozy chairs and a table relatively cheap to put over there. Here's some pictures of all that -

The hole in the wall is the entrance to Brad's man cave that he is working on. This will be his future office as well as football game/sports viewing room.

Now I've got to get all my regular housework done today, and then we'll be able to start school on Monday! On that note, I think I'm going to try something different for a few weeks with the housework and see what works better. Instead of doing my "deep clean one room a day" routine that I've done for years, I'm (as well as my helpers) going to try doing everything in one or two days, so we don't have to worry with it during the week and can concentrate more on the school work.

As for our school, I went with Christian Light Education for every subject but math, and Madison and Cari are both going to be using Teaching Textbooks for that. I'm going to start Amelia with pre-K, and she's very excited and keeps wanting to know when it will be "Monday." It will be here soon, so I better run!