Monday, January 30, 2017

January ReBoot Check-in

It is the end of January already which means it is time to check in on how I am doing on my Rebooting challenge for myself.  You can read my original post about it here and December's progress here.  I started off strong and got through December okay, but January has been a hot mess.  I have to be completely honest and tell you that there were days I tried really hard and there were days I couldn't even pretend to be getting everything in order.  We have had A LOT of stress with A LOT of ups and downs.  There has also been a death in my family (my cousin passed away) and that led to some stress/comfort eating.  I will be sharing more in February about what has been going on that has been so stressful, but for now I can't really share about it.  Anyway I am sad to tell you that I refuse to step on the scale this month to see where I am at.  My ticker will say that I haven't changed from last month, but it is just because I don't have the courage to step on the scale and see the damage.  I know it isn't good.   While I am not happy to have a setback and not eat well this month, I have had a couple of break throughs that will help me move forward.  Break through #1 is that I am letting go of a situation that has really weighed me down for the last couple of years.  I have been praying and praying about this situation and feel like we have finally gotten some closure about it by letting go and putting it completely in God's hands.  Break through #2 is that I have hit my step goal more often than not this month because we have been BUSY.  For February, life will continue to be a little crazy and unpredictable, but I am planning to do the best I can.  I am leaving my goals the same and going to do what I can do each day.  I hope to have a better check in at the end of February.
  • Restarting Trim Healthy Mama - I didn't make great eating choices this month and I absolutely know that I can do better.  I plan to do so in February.  I would love to see a 5 pound weight loss between now and the end of F
  • Exercising - Again I started off great with this and then we got C-R-A-Z-Y busy so my routine exercising went out the window.  I was still moving just due to being busy, but not officially exercising.
  • Getting My Steps In - Most days this month I did get my steps plus more in due to being busy.  I plan to continue trying to hit my goal every day.
  • Water - I have definitely started drinking more water, but I could still get in even more.  I have drastically cut back on the soda and focused more on water.  I am getting there and water is not tasting as boring as it usually does so I guess that is good.
Are you working on getting healthier?  Do you have any goals I can cheer you on in?  I would love to hear all about them.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

10 Reasons I Love Homeschooling

We have been blessed to be a homeschool family from the very beginning of school in our house, so our family doesn't know what it is like to not homeschool.  We just know that we love homeschooling.  Even on the rough days where it seems like nothing is going right, it is still a privilege and honor to be able to teach my kids.  I pray that I never forget that or take it for granted.  This week I thought I would share with you 10 Reasons I Love Homeschooling just for fun and encouragement.  This list is in no particular order, just the random order I thought of things.
  1. We Make Our Own Schedule  - We typically like to do our school in the morning so we have our afternoons free, but sometimes we have to flip our schedule around and because we homeschool it isn't an issue.
  2. Struggles in Subjects Can Be Addressed Immediately - All kids struggle in the different school subjects at some point and homeschoolers are no different.  The great advantage that we have is we work one on one with our kids and when there is a subject they are struggling in or just not getting we can deal with it right away.  I remember way back when Buddy was little and just couldn't get the concept of changing groups of hundreds into groups of one and ten.  I must have taught him 20 different ways, but it just wasn't clear to him.  Hubby came home and sat down with him and within 5 minutes Buddy had figured it out.  I was so glad that we were able to figure out how to help him with this instead of having him fall behind.
  3. We Get to Choose Our Curriculum - This is HUGE!  It is a huge burden, but it is a huge blessing at the same time.  We know each of our kids well and we can find something for each of their learning styles and pick the curriculum that fits each of them best.  We don't have to stick to just one grade level if they work ahead and we can add in the electives they are really interested in as part of our school.  
  4. We Can Teach and Learn About God and the Bible - One of the main reasons we started homeschooling was so that God could be a part of our school and we could make sure that our kids had a good Biblical foundation. 
  5. I Don't Have to Worry About What My Kids Are Learning - This one sounds completely backwards, but let me explain.  I do worry about what my kids are taught by picking their curriculum.  What I don't worry about them learning are  things that the public schools here teach at far too early of an age in my opinion.  I don't have to worry about them learning about inappropriate topics in school.  I don't have to worry that what is being taught goes against our Christian beliefs since I am the one teaching.
  6. We Are Flexible - My kids are really, really good at just rolling with whatever comes along.  If we need to adjust they go with it and they don't fall apart or make a big deal about it.  They know we can adjust our day, adjust the assignments, or switch things up and still accomplish what we need to accomplish.  We take the odd appointment times at the orthodontist, dentist, and doctor because we can get in and get out since we can adjust our school schedule around the appointment.  We don't have to try to fit it all in before or after school and they aren't going to get in trouble for having to be pulled out of school for these appointments.
  7. I Get to Watch My Kids Learn - I love seeing my kids learn.  I love when they get excited about learning.  I love seeing when the light bulb goes off for them when they have been struggling and then they finally figure it out.  It is rewarding.
  8. We Get to Dig Into Topics - If there is something one of the kids is really interested in, we explore it.  We dig into their favorite topics and help them learn even more about them.  We can spend a day on a topic or a few weeks learning more.  Buddy loves wolves and a couple of years ago he did a fantastic research paper on them.  He spent a couple of weeks finding all the information and digging up the facts.  He put them altogether and presented an amazing research paper.  It was fun to watch him explore.  Little Miss loves math and so there are days when she does 3 or 4 days of math in one day.   If she loves it, why stop her?
  9. We Read A LOT - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading.  We read a lot of school and while my kids aren't always a huge fan of reading like I am, they have gotten so lost in books they won't stop reading until they are done with the book.  I love that we get to read for school and that my kids get introduced to so many different types of books.
  10. We Can Turn Just About Anything Into a Lesson - We have made baking cookies a science lesson.  Interesting things happen when you leave out things like baking soda or baking powder on purpose to see if your theory is right.  We have done grocery store math, by having the kids round up prices on what we buy and keep a running total in their head or on a calculator.  We have made our own levers and catapults rather than just reading about them for science.  The list goes on and on.  Sometimes you just have to make lessons hands on, real life, and we can do that in our school.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for what I love about homeschooling.  I am sure I could come up with a much longer list if I sat here typing longer.  Like I said before I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to homeschool.  Do you homeschool?  What do you love about your homeschool?

This week I am joining my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew as they discuss what they love about their homeschool.  Click the banner below to see what they love.  I know I will be.  This round up will open on Friday, January 27, 2017.
The things we  LOVE about  Home  Schooling

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

17 Goals for 2017

January is always a time of reflection for me.  It is a great time to think about what went well last year and what I want to change for this year.  It is a great time to set up some goals that I want to accomplish for this year.  I have done a lot of thinking about this and I have come up with 17 things that I want to accomplish this year.
  1. Keep Up on Scripture Writing and Devotions -  It is easy to find excuses not to get these done, but I don't want to do that anymore.  I want to spend time with God every day.
  2. Get Healthy - For me this means losing pounds, drinking more water, exercising regularly,and eating healthy.  
  3. Read 100 Books - I love to read and I would love to tell you that I would only count the books I read by myself, but then I probably wouldn't make it to 100.  I usually count the books the kids and I read for school (not our text books, but our readers for language arts) in my count too.  We usually do something fun when we hit our goal of 100 books for the year and I am not sure what that will be this year, but I do look forward to it.  If you wonder where I keep track of the books I read, you can find me over on Goodreads.
  4. Teach Little Miss to Sew - This has been on my list for awhile now.  Starting this spring we are going to add in a sewing class to our school day so that I can start teaching her how to sew.
  5. Complete 2 Cross Stitch projects - I finally finished the wolves I was working on last year for Buddy.  Now I have the bug to start 4 different cross stitch projects, but don't worry I only started 1.  I already know what the other 3 projects will be, but I really just want to start out finishing 2 projects for the year, if I get further that is fantastic.
  6. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter - We started this at the end of last year, but with every area I clean out I feel better about our house and keeping it clean and organized.
  7. Blog Better - I know this one only makes sense to me, but there are tons of things I want to share with you guys.  I want to find things to share with you regularly and consistently, but I don't want it to become stale so I am sure it will be a learning process this year.
  8. Stop Just Pinning....and start doing.  You know I have a Pinterest addiction and this year I want to start creating.
  9. Spend more time with Family and Friends - In the past couple of years we have been so busy that we haven't been able to make regular time to hang out with extended family and many friends.  This year that is definitely going to change.
  10. Try More Freezer Meals - Last year through a review product I got to try out freezer meals.  I loved how easy it was to make dinner once I had the meals in my freezer.  They came in very handy during some very busy times for us.  I would love to do more of this and have meals ready to go whenever we need them.
  11. Be Outdoors More - My family loves the outdoors, but I can't always say I am a huge fan of outside.  So this year I will try to be more intentional about being outdoors more.
  12. Be More Adventurous - The older I get, the more set in my ways I get.  So this year I just need to be willing to take more risks and just go for it. 
  13. Learn to Knit - I knit a scarf once but that was a long time ago and I have no clue how I did it so I think it is time to actually learn how to knit.
  14. Get Organized - I do really good on some things, but others I fall way short.  I want to finally get it together and get myself organized.
  15. Decorate More - I spend much of my Pinterest time looking at decorations for my house this will be the year I actually use some of those ideas, along with various other ideas I have found.
  16. Bake More - I know this may sound like it goes against getting healthy, but just because I bake it doesn't mean I have to eat it.  I love baking, it is therapy for me and I just need to do more of it.
  17. Be a Better Friend - I am blessed with amazing friends and I want to bless them like they bless me.
So these are the things I am going to work on this year.  What are your goals for 2017?  

This week I am linking up my post with my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew.  Click the picture below to read more posts about the goals we all have for 2017.  
Homeschool Review Crew Goals for the Year Ahead {Link Up}

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Review of the Yearly Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com

As a homeschool family we are always on the lookout for resources that work for both of our children and offer a wide variety of classes and materials to use.  This is exactly we we found when we received a Yearly Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com to review.  This is a site that is full of courses, encouragement, resources, and more that we truly love in our family.
High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}, SchoolhouseTeachers.com, Online Classes, Online Electives, Elementary Homeschool Courses, Middle School Homeschool Courses, High School Homeschool Courses, Homeschool Parent Support, Rightnow Media, Homeschool Planners
Let me tell you why this is one of my favorite sites for homeschooling.  It is packed full of courses, ideas, activities, help, and even videos for EVERYONE in your homeschooling family.  This site is useful for parents, students, teachers, and the entire family.  There are so many good things on this site that it can be a little overwhelming, but as you start exploring you will find things that your family can really use.  Their "New Members Hub" is fantastic and ir really explains how to use this website effectively.  It took me through what I would find on their site, how to use what I found, and areas I would find of interest among other things.
High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}
We are not new to SchoolhouseTeachers.com since this is our second year on the Homeschool Review Crew, but I find new things to use on this website all the time.  I love their selection of  courses offered.  I am always blown away by the amount and variety of the courses offered.  They have just recently added a ton of new courses.  One of the new courses we can't wait to work through is "Drive Thru History."  I have these scheduled in for us to use in February.  We currently use their Schoolhouse Spelling for both of the kids.  Little Miss does the Phonics Based Spelling and Buddy does the Topic Based Spelling.  Both kids are doing great at it and I am seeing their spelling improve.  We have also done some of the Geography lessons on the website.  If Buddy had his way, he would do every single Geography lesson offered as this is his favorite subject.  He does has really enjoyed the lessons we have done on this subject.  We also use the various Language Arts lessons from time to time to reinforce concepts or to just change up what we have been working on.
There are many other perks of the Yearly Membership at SchoolhouseTeachers.com.  They have many resources for members that include planners, resources for teaching, current and back issues of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, monthly menus and the list goes on.  The site also has a media library that is AWESOME!!!  I love the women's study videos on their site.  They are very encouraging to me.  Buddy is also going to start using some of the Bible Study videos for teens for his Bible time each day.
Schoolhouse Teachers Half Price Discount
We have found that the Yearly Membership from SchoolhouseTeachers.com is invaluable to our family.  It fills in gaps, gives us curriculum, provides encouragement, and so much more.  This is definitely a membership that is worth every penny you pay for it in my opinion.  Please go and check it out for yourself and see if it meets your families needs.  You can find SchoolhouseTeachers.com on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.  You can also check out what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew think of this website by clicking the banner below.
High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}
*Please note affiliate links are included in this post.  This means if you use my links I will earn a commission if you decide to purchase anything.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

One Word for 2017

For many years in January I have read blogs that my friends write about their word of the year.  I have always thought it was pretty cool that they were able to pick a word and focus on it, reflect on it, and try to live it out through the year.  This year starting at the beginning of January, I started seeing these word posts pop up and I started thinking about picking my own word.  God has laid a word in my heart and He actually started working with me on this word quite awhile ago, but it was just recently that I started to really, really get it.  My word for 2017 that I am choosing to focus on is:  FAITH.
One Word, A Glimpse of Normal, Faith

One definition of faith is belief and trust in and loyalty to God.  This is definition I am focusing on this year.  I fully believe that God currently has our family on a faith journey and I can't wait to share it with you very soon.  I know, I know I keep teasing you guys with telling you about what is going on with our lives, but I really do have to wait for the right timing and then I will completely tell you all about it.  Anyway, like I said I fully believe God has our family on a faith journey right now.  We have been specifically praying about some situations for a couple of years now and God is finally opening doors for us.  Instead of just rushing through those doors, we keep praying and asking God to lead our feet.  We step each step we take in full FAITH that God will show us the way and the part that just blows us away is that God is doing it.  Every time we respond with prayer and faith, God responds with opening and closing the appropriate doors.  He gives us clear answers and He is providing in so many ways.  Now I totally believe that He was doing this before too, but the difference is I wasn't looking for it every single day like I am now.  I am relying on my FAITH and God is answering and He is answering in BIG ways.

So my word for this year is FAITH.  I will continue to look for it every day.  I will continue to pray and wait for God to answer because He will in His time.  I will have faith and not rush to do what I think I should do, but instead be patient and wait for God to open or close the right doors.  I will have FAITH and let God lead.

This week I am linking up to a Blog Hop with my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew.  Be sure to click the picture below and hop on over to the other blogs and check out their word of the year.
Homeschool Review Crew Reflecting on 2016

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January Menu Plan

I am so sorry this post is late.  Somewhere between having the flu over Christmas and being on Christmas break for school I lost a few days.  Now it is already January and we are going back to school tomorrow.  I can't believe how quickly the time passed between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.  Of course we have a few other things going on that I can't quite share with you yet that is making the time pass even quicker, but it just means I need menu plan more than ever.  So without further ado, here is our menu for January:
  1. Finger foods at a New Year's Day party
  2. Meatballs
  3. Black-eyed peas and collard greens
  4. Chili
  5. Crunchy Taco Cups
  6. Dutch Oven Pizza
  7. Baked Penne
  8. Cheesy Sausage and Broccoli Rice Cups
  9. Vegetable Beef Soup
  10. Baked Pork Steaks
  11. Slow Cooker Chicken and Quinoa Chili
  12. Sour Cream Beef Enchiladas
  13. Fooled Ya Pizza
  14. Pasta Fagoli Soup
  15. Chicken, Black Rice, & Pinto Bean Casserole
  16. Sausage, Pepper, & Onion Pizza Hoagies
  17. Burgers
  18. Italian Meatball Soup
  19. Fajitas
  20. Chicken Fajita Pizza
  21. Black Bean Tostadas with Cilantro Lime Sauce
  22. Burrito Bowls
  23. French Dip Sandwiches
  24. Texas Lasagna
  25. Spaghetti
  26. Quinoa Taco Bowls
  27. Pizza Soup
  28. Parmesan Meatloaf
  29. Bacon Parmesan Penne
  30. Taco Soup
  31. Stir Fry
As always you can find the recipes on my January Menu Plan board on Pinterest.  There are extra recipes on there as this is the start of my second full year menu planning and I figured you might want some options.  I would love to hear if you try any of these recipes.  Also do you menu plan?  What is on your menu this month?