Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An update on our family and schooling...


Homeschool is a journey.

It is what we believe in.

When our teens appealed to us to attend a school outside of home, we prayerfully considered it.
And, in the end, made the decision to try a different sort of school this year.
This school is a advanced pace high school with many electives and community involvement requirements. The teens are excelling there, and at this point we are okay with them being there.

We still "after-school"them. Which means, we require work outside of school and work on things that the school does not work on (such as Apologetics).

We are absolutely still full-time homeschooling Mr. Troy. 
He is doing so well to overcome his challenges and is finally reading AND writing.
This is amazing seeing as though we found out that he was legally blind just a year ago.
Also, he has always had developmental delays, and his motor skills are still quite lagging.
He works so hard every day and I am amazed at his progress! 

As for news as a family, we have certified to be foster parents! 
We have not gotten any placements yet, but they say it will be soon.
We will have two, under the age of two. 
FUN FUN!


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I'm Baaaaaaccckkkk!


I had taken a break from blogging, while prayerfully examining what the scripture 1 Timothy 2:11-14 was saying when it said women are to "be quiet". 

I feel I have found a balance where I can share thoughts and scripture, without "preaching".

I will go back to my eclectic blogging style, blogging about my family, my homeschooling, my schooling outside of the home, the products we use, the places we go, and our many adventures.
 (lol, adventures? maybe not.) 


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Monday, July 30, 2012

Our School Year Plans, 2012-2013


Making curriculum choices is not an easy task.
Especially for someone who is a curriculum junkie, like me.

There are so many GREAT choices out there.
We are an eclectic homeschooling family,
but tend to lean to the classical/Charlotte Mason styles. 

So, without further adieu, here are the final decisions for each child: 


First Grade for T-Roy:

Math:


Handwriting:


Reading:


Bible, Language Arts, Science, History 
(and everything else that a unit study includes):


Spanish:



Tenth grade for Tucker:

Math:


Handwriting:

(Tucker has never developed legible handwriting, due to his learning disabilities. 
We are going to address this now and correct it to an extent.)

Bible, Language Arts, Grammar, Science, History, 
Speech, Drama, Geography, Latin, and various others:


Spanish:


Electives:
(will be tracked via a time log, and 1/2 credit given after 75 hours of work in each subject. 
After 150 hours, they will gain 1 full credit.)

Automotive Technology
Life Skills
Computer Technology
Keyboarding
Agriculture

Volunteering:
Fort Worth Zoo Volunteen
Various Community Service



Ninth Grade for Michaela:

Math:


Bible, Language Arts, Grammar, Science, History, 
Speech, Drama, Geography, Latin, and various others:
(She will be doing this all at the honors level for college prep)


Spanish:


Electives:
(will be tracked via a time log, and 1/2 credit given after 75 hours of work in each subject. 
After 150 hours, they will gain 1 full credit.)

Agriculture
Home-Ec
Computer Technology
Keyboarding
College Test Prep

Volunteering:
Fort Worth Zoo Volunteen
Various Community Service



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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Blogging re-examined...


Should I be blogging, really?

I love reading blogs that convict me, teach me, encourage me. 
I love to write. 
I love to share my heart, my experiences, and my opinions.
 I love the Lord and I love to share what he has done and is doing in my life. 

I started my blog in order to do all of these things. 
I wanted to share with others, and I love the comments I get here and when I share on Facebook. 

I am not a regular blogger. 
I just blog when I have the extra time, or something to say about it. 
I have a long list of blog posts I want to write.

However, lately I have been thinking.

I spend too much time with my technology as it is. 

I recently read this blog post over at Hands Free Mama
It really stepped on my toes. 
You should read it. Really. 

Then, as I was weighing out my time spent with technology, I realized that I have stepped over a line. 
Not a line in technology, a Biblical line.

1 Timothy 2:11-14 tells us:


11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 
12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 
13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 
14 And it was not Adam who was deceived...



 I have not been quiet. Quiet, in this sense, means orderly. 
It means that I have been speaking out on matters in a manner that is not meant for me (as a woman) to speak out on in a public venue.
A blog is *very* public.
I have not followed the proper order of what God has laid out. 

So, I will be more mindful of what I say, and how I say it. 

I will continue to do my Bible studies with other women, because it is private from men. 
I will *not* continue to blog in an attempt to uplift and encourage my sister's in Christ. 
I feel I could be messing up the divine order of things. 
I want to be a Titus 2 woman, and I want to learn from Titus 2 women. 
Until I am sure of the proper way to go about this in a technological age, I will refrain. 

I will blog when I have something to share, but my primary focus will be sharing with my family.

I will not be blogging frequently.

Thank you for supporting me, encouraging me, and your thoughtful comments. 

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Homeschool Planning, the high-school version...



I have been very busily researching and planning our homeschooling for the next year. Well, not just next year but for the high-schoolers, I have been planning out their full high school years so that they have the credits they need to do what they plan to do for college.

You may say "but Heather, you have a girl. I thought you said in your "Escaping Feminism" post that girls should not go off to college, and that the formal higher learning isn't absolutely necessary?".  Yes, I did say something like that, but this does not mean I don't think it is a bonus for anyone to have a high level of education. *MY* children will all have a good education. I do not believe that daughters (or sons, for that  matter) should be running off to University without being well prepared to stand up to the things that come with that decision. I would prefer my daughter stay home for her higher education. At some point, she may make that decision. However, her plan at this point is to go off to Texas A&M to get a degree in Political Science/Pre-Law, and then continue on to the University of Alabama to get her Juris Doctorate. Since these are her wishes, and her goals, it is my job to adequately prepare her for them. My oldest, he is going directly into the military (which I am not happy about, but, then again...I can't make the decisions for them). My second oldest is planning to attend a trade school, which we already have all of the requirements for. This has allowed me to tailor his high school education plan to those requirements and prepare him well for that.

High school planning is sure a lot more intensive than planning for the lower levels, that is for certain. Gone is the freedom to jump around to different curriculums. Now is when we need steadfast and concrete progress. That is not to say that if something is absolutely not working, that we won't switch, it is just saying that we all have to make a more concentrated effort to make what we use work. After all, in college they won't be able to just "switch" if it isn't exactly to their liking.

What did I do to make these plans? Well, first off, I looked at the requirements for admission to the choice school of higher education. For Katie, it meant that she has to follow the advance track credit system for the state of Texas. I went and printed those courses out. Then, I went to the education code and printed out all of the rules in re: to those courses, along with suitable substitutes. After that, I began writing out their plans. For her, it means no less than 26 credit hours. However, she will likely supersede those by a few (more like 32). For Tuck, he only has to have 22, but, he will also have more.  I have everything scheduled in except all of their electives.

I am so excited about these years with them...we have so much to do, but I know the effort will pay off BIG TIME!

(This post is being linked to the "Back to School Monday" Homeschool Link Up. Click on the link below to go visit the other posts in this link-up party.)

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Monday, May 28, 2012

This day, Seven Years Ago


On this day, seven years ago, I gave birth to a perfectly made little boy.

He had the cutest little button nose,
and the broadest shoulders.
Both of these things were 100% like his Daddy.

He had full lips,
and "Flintstone" feet,
Just like me. 

Since Daddy and I both have very blue eyes,
we knew his would be too. 

He was beautiful.
We loved him before we ever saw him.

We loved him fully and completely even though we...
never heard his precious cries
never rejoiced in his lovely giggles
never clapped as his took his first steps
or anything else.

His Daddy and I excitedly anticipated meeting him,
but, he went to meet Jesus instead.

Our precious son, Brody Michael, was "still born".
His heart stopped beating before he left my body. 

He was perfect in every way.
My body stole away his blood supply,
robbing him of life...
and robbing us of him. 

I can rejoice that he will never know sorrow,
or pain,
or heartbreak,
or disappointment,
or struggle of any kind. 

However, every day, I think of him.
I wonder what he would be like today.
I miss all of the things I would be doing with him.
I miss him.

His father misses him.

His brothers and sister miss him.

My mother misses him.

My grandmother, my aunt, and many others in my family miss him. 

My best friend misses him.

He lived, and he lives on in our lives.
Our grief is still very real, though it is in a different place than it was 7 years ago. 

Thank you...
to those of you who still think of Brody,

Thank you...
to those of you who think of us & how our lives were forever changed 
when we said good-bye to our little man. 

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Confession: I am a brand name snob



I know...this is not becoming of a Christian woman. 

But, it is the truth.

I am sitting here thinking over the things I buy and the things I turn my nose up at.

There is something to be said for good quality.

I have bought into the lie that "the higher the price, the better the quality".
For example, I decided that since VS bras were expensive, they had to be good.
Same with their underwear.
So, with my weight loss I bought me some.
Let me tell you, there is no difference in quality of their underwear vs. Hanes. 
Seriously. Actually, I think my Hanes have held up longer.

I buy my little one's clothing from Gymboree. 
This is a case where through experience I *know* that the quality is worth the cost. 
Still, I buy only during sales. 

My challenge to myself is to stop being fooled by advertising and go with the best bargain for quality.
This means I will shop for quality, not for price or brand. 

I have thankfully never bought into the Coach purse fad...
(or any luxury high-dollar fashion trend)

For that I am grateful...



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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Troy Says...on random subjects.


How many people does it take to change a lightbulb? 
I don't know. I'm serious.

(It's okay buddy, it seems to be an unanswered question for a lot of folks.)

What makes a car go? 
Well, a lot of engine, a lot of turbo chargers, and even more than that.

What about gas? 
What about gas?

Does it make a car go? 
YES! Because you pump it way full and then it goes 
*vrrrrrroooooommmmm* 
(imagine boy noise here) 
and speeds off fast!

Where does chocolate milk come from? 
From a black cow, duh. 

Why does a blanket make you warm? 
Just because it is made to make you warm like that.

How do you become a grandpa? 
You just get older and it happens.

What is the BEST smell in the world? 
Armpits. 

(he answered WAY too quickly this time...like he didn't even have to think on it. BOYS!)

What is the WORST smell in the world? 
Armpits, they STINK! Pa-toooey!

But you just said armpits were the best smell in the world?
Well, deodorant on armpits is the best smell in the world! 
And Dad's armpits... I like smelling Dad's armpits.
After he showers.
And puts on deodorant. 

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My "Spot"


This is "my" spot...

the kids call it "Mom's chair"

When I am in it, they usually don't bother me.

"Where's Mom?"

"She's in her chair"

"Oh, well, I'll just ask her later."

They know that when I am in my "spot", it usually means business.

This is where I do my devotions.

This is where I often pray.

This is where I do my homeschool planning. 
(see the crate beside the chair? yep...homeschool stuff)

This is where I do a lot of thinking...and a lot of growing.

When I need a "break", this is where I head for a time out.

It is in my bedroom, but right by the door. 

So, I can leave the door open and have a direct view into the living room...
so I can keep an eye on the kids.
And not be totally disconnected.

But, I can also CLOSE the door and get some private time. 

I have always dreamed of having my own "spot",
and now I have it. 




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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What a view...


"The View".

Not the liberal-leaning network talk show. 

The view from our couch.

The view of the television screen. 

What a blessing a television is.
But something more is it...
a curse.

It draws the children in like a moth to a flame.
It is a pied piper to many adults as well.

I posted a blog back in August about how we were cutting cable
We did cut the cable, and we have stuck with it.
We do have "Netflix" though. 
We have the plan with both streaming & with DVD's.
It has parental controls set up.
However, it is *still* full of messages we don't need coming into our home.
Garbage.
Lots of it.

I am a firm believer in "garbage in, garbage out".

This being said, I am a wimp.
I am ready to cut it off. 
Just the streaming, not the DVD portion. 

Wimp.
Remember that.
I don't want to deal with the disappointment that the kids will express. 
I don't want the attitudes that will have to be disciplined.

Having trash coming in seems easier than dealing with my children being upset. 
But just because it is easier, doesn't mean it's right.
As a matter of fact, it seems the easy way is most often not the right way. 

Matthew 7:13 tells us:

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it".

Wide Gate, broad road...Leads to destruction.
DESTRUCTION

Narrow Gate...not the easy way.

The easy way leads to destruction.
Allowing my kids to have things their way leads to...
destruction. 

So, we will cut Netflix too. 

This stinks. But it will be worth it. 

I love that RedBox is so cheap, and available too. 

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Troy Says-On Life


At what age is a person an adult? 
When they're a Daddy. 

Why do you think so? 
Because then they're older than you.

If could change one rule that your family has, what would you change?
Dad wouldn't give me spankings.

What is something that makes your family special?
They love on me.

Of all the things you are learning, what do you think will be the most useful when you are an adult?
Math. I don't know why, Daddy just says so.

Are you a good friend? 
Yes.

Why do you think so?
Because I make a good friend, that's why. 

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The 5 Stages of Moving to a New Town (Emotions People)


Background:


We lived in a place that I hated.
We had been there for 21 months when the news came that we were being pardoned  transferred.
When I first moved there, I was shocked at how ugly the area was.
Okay, in all fairness I am an East Texas Piney Woods girl who LOVES trees and water.
I even *like* humidity.
Moving to the baren land of West Texas was a shock.
However, I was absolutely determined that is was going to all be okay.
I had heard about how "friendly" West Texans were, and that was encouraging.
Guess what?
Some were friendly.
Most were not.
I have never been in a place where people were so judgmental and conniving. 
That being said, I also met some wonderful, caring, genuinely EXCELLENT people there.
It just took quite some time. 
I began to be comfortable, and decided to bloom where I was planted.
I think I bloomed quite well in the desert...
while still missing the trees, the water, and more friendly people.
I missed decent priced housing too. 
Then the phone call came...we were leaving that place.

1. anticiaption


I was so excited. 
We were going back to an area I was familiar with, though I had never lived there. 
We found a beautiful house and started making the plans.
Things got delayed some, but it was all a go.
Anticipation was killing me. 


2. enthusiasm

A new start in a new town.
A beautiful new home.
Seemingly friendly people.
Beautiful scenery.
Felt promising, so promising. 
It was all very invigorating and comfortable.
I was full of enthusiasm. 

and then...

3. loneliness

Man I miss my friends in West Texas.
I guess it wasn't such a bad place after all.
Sure, it wasn't the prettiest place, but it wasn't the worst place to be.
Man, I really miss my friends.
I have a beautiful home, no one to invite over.
I don't know anyone here in this town, 
and while the people I have met are friendly enough, 
none seem to genuinely like me.
I am okay with that. 
I would rather have friends who adore me, than have people around just for the sake of having people around.
I know I am a great friend. If they don't like me, it's their loss. 
I also know I am an odd duck, and that makes people shy away.
That is okay too. 
What makes me so lonely is...
There is no one to call if I am sick.
There is no one to call if I need help with the kids.
My husband is gone most of the time back to West Texas.
I am needed at work more, but I can't work as much as they need me because it is *just me*
...for the most part.
When my husband *is* home, he doesn't want me gone.
I am homeschooling again, so I can't just leave the kids often.
Plus, I have no one to help me out if I already have things scheduled and need to run into work.
I really wish I didn't *need* to work.
Maybe things will change in the near future.
Geez, this is not all roses like I thought it would be...
Do any of my friends realize how much I really miss them?
I am lonely.

4. hope

We went back to our old church, a little over an hour away, when we first moved here.
We loved being there.
It felt like home.
We wanted to find that here.
We researched churches and their belief systems.
None seemed to be what we were looking for,
but we had a list going in order of ones to "try" anyway. 
We procrastinated. We made excuses.
Then one day, I stumbled upon one I hadn't hear of previously.
It was only 15 miles away. 
We decided to try it, because it most closely resembled what we thought we were looking for.
We tried it, and we liked it.
We liked the people.
I *think* they like us. 
I have been talking to a couple of the ladies, and I am really starting to feel a kinship with them.
Even though we have been only twice.
None of those ladies are from here, nor do they live here.
But, they are not far away either. 
Once again, I have some excitement over being here.
I still miss my friends.
I still love our new home, even though we will probably be looking for one further out in the country come the end of the year. 
I have hope...

5. faith

Throughout this saga, I have never once lost faith in God, of course.
I am speaking of a different kind of faith. 
A faith of what is to come now, after our move.
I am standing on the scripture:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1)
I will bloom where I am planted.
I will make new friends.
I will establish roots here, even if not in this home.
My friends that I miss are STILL my friends, even if miles separate us. 
I am blessed and I live a GREAT life. 
I am full of faith....
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Sibling Rivalry...

Edited: I made this post last night, and set it to post this morning.
We had a particularly bad day yesterday around here.

This morning, they were all peaches and cream.
Troy even said "wow, sissy is in a good mood".
When Tucker woke up, Troy said "Wow, Bubba is in a good mood too!"

So, it's been a good day.

Still doing what was planned though...


I can look at this picture and see the tension.

My kids, they do not really get along.

It breaks my heart.

The teens are all snippy with the little one.
If they aren't being snippy with him, they are "playing" with him...
(which is just another word for torturing him, I promise you this.)
Tickling him...
Holding him down when he wants to leave...
Taking the remote and changing something he is watching...
Picking him up and carrying him when he doesn't want to be held...
You know, stuff like that.

They do not speak kindly to one another very often, and they are constantly trying to find a way to get under one another's skin.

They love to push each other's "buttons".

So, I am going to enact a system of consequences for being "ugly".
We will have a family meeting and talk about these problems,
and the reason for the consequences. 

The consequences will be kept in a jar and as they "act up", they will have to pull one out and do it. 

I know any of them would fight to the death for another one of them, if need be.
I don't understand this rivalry thing, I never experienced it.

We will also be working diligently at character training to get their hearts "right" again.
Without their hearts being right,
nothing will change.


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Monday, April 9, 2012

Troy Says-On Love


What is the proper age to get married?
13

Why 13?
Because when you're 13 your pretty much grown.

Well, your sister is 14, you're saying she should get married?
Um, no. Not her. I meant me, when I am 13.

What do people do on a date?
Get a ring and kiss.

When is it okay to kiss somebody?
When you're 36 and you're already married.

Is it better to be single or to be married?
Married, because well, I don't know it just is. 

Why do people fall in love?
Because when they see each other they feel like they want to marry them.

What does it feel like to love someone?
Nothing. I mean, being sad, being happy, all those emotions.

Why do lovers hold hands?
Because they just feel like it. Like you and Daddy do. 

What do you think about love?
I feel like love is about bunny rabbits.

What about bunny rabbits?
It's good, love is. That's all. Just stop Mom. 

How do you make someone fall in love with you?
By looking at them in the eyes. That's all *I* have to do. 

What are people thinking when they tell someone they love them?
They're thinking dumb. Dumb. 

Is it okay to kiss somebody?
No. When your six, then no. But if you're married it's okay. 

How do you make love last?
By being happy and kissing a lot. 


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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Random Ice Cream Girl


The town we recently moved to has a "Braums", which has just about the best ice cream ever made.
Outside of home-made ice cream that is.

My daughter inherited her grandmother & great-grandmother's passion for ice cream.
She loves it.
I am not sure *love* is a strong enough term to describe her affection for it.

Braums is cheap. We can get a big double dip cone for under $2.
We stop by there...A  LOT!!!

Sweet Katie girl started this thing about a month ago, where she wants to be "surprised" by what two scoops she gets. So, she just orders "A waffle cone with two random scoops of ice cream".

At first they were a little confused, but they have all gotten in on the game now. 
It' almost as though they are excited when she comes through and orders.
One girl told us "This is the third time I have made your order, I try to do something different each time. It's so much fun." 

We have been enjoying the "random flavor" experiment. 
It's always fun to see what they give her.
It's even MORE fun to watch her eat it and try to guess what it is they have chosen. 

Yesterday it was "maple walnut" and "pistachio".

I got to thinking about it...

This is just ice cream, but what if we were like this with God.

We tend to be so specific about the things we desire, that we don't just look up to him and say "give me whatever Lord, and I will be happy with it". 

You see, not ONCE has one of the workers at the ice cream shop come up with a gross combination.
Let's face the facts folks, they could put lime sorbet with butter pecan and make anyone wrinkle their nose. But they don't. They enjoy giving her new combos to try...things that go together.
They don't even KNOW us, much less love us.

God loves us. He wants to give us things that "go" together.
How many times do we "wrinkle up" our noses because *we* don't like the combos he has chosen?

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Southern Fried Family Cooks: Taquito Enchiladas


This is *seriously* one of the easiest, most yummy recipes on earth.

It's way kid friendly too...which is a plus.

It is also very easy to change-up, and do new things with. 

Let's get to the "how-to's" first. 

Preheat your over to 375 degrees

Get a box of taquitos. Usually, they are in the freezer section, but weird stores like Wal-Mart put them in the little floor coolers in the meat section.  You can get chicken, beef, chicken and cheese, beef and cheese, flour tortillas, corn tortillas...whatever your heart desires. 


I make two batches, because one little guy loathes onions in his but the rest of us love them.

I use glass pans. Metal would work too. Whatever you bake in is fine. 

Get you 2-3 cans of enchilada sauce (I feed 6 with 3 regular size cans, 2 big cans)

You can use green, red, whatever. Green typically goes well with chicken. Red with beef.

Open your sauce and pour a thin layer into your pans. This keeps your taquitos from sticking.


Place your taquitos in the pan(s). 


if you are only adding cheese, roll them around to cover them in sauce...


add any toppings you want (excluding cheese)

We use onions, some add black olives


Add more sauce


Add cheese. Lots of it. 


This is where it varies for us. If I use a huge baking pan, I do one layer and stop.

Sometimes I like to change it up and do "layers", so I keep building. 

In these pictures, I will layer the big pan but I am DONE with little man's pan.

I stack another layer of taquitos, sauce, onions, and then cheese...





These bake at 375 for 45 minutes. 

I set the timer for 30 minutes, and at that point I add the small pan.

When they come out, this is what they look like. 


Can you smell that? YUM! 

Now, I have special dietary considerations that require me to have a higher intake of fat, calories, and protein. So, I modified my plate to include more of those factors.

I added a fried egg and sour cream.

Double yum! 



Another modification we have thoroughly enjoyed is getting the "Philadelphia Southwest Cooking Creme" and mixing it with the enchilada sauce before placing it in the pan. Just a thought. :) 
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