Friday, November 21, 2014

Our Week in Review

This week went by quickly.  I guess because of how I've reshaped myself in it.  (I'm making time over the weekend to reflect on the intentions set for this week.)

Monday was spent with our homeschooling community. We are reading a few books together over the course of this year. A few of us completed the book, Calm and Compassionate Children: A Handbook by Susan Usha Dermond. Our discussion was centered around the importance of preparing our environments for our children and all that entails. With that being the focus, I made it a point to be early so as the purposely set up our space. We changed how things usually flow so the everyone would take note of it.  It worked. Many of the comments made during our sharing time spoke to each of the things we intentional adjusted.  Then we encouraged one another to try some of the things mentioned in the book in their homes--one or two.

As far as my children are concerned we spent time learning more about birds and sharing what they'd learned so far with their peers. They also got time to play and talk freely. The treat during their time together was watching a movie together before our time was over. (This was not a typical Monday for sure.)

Tuesday is typically my 'recovery day' from being out of the house all day on Monday. It's also the day the children take it upon themselves to study further and get into the things they enjoy doing most. We passed by the library to drop off and pick up books and over all had a pretty calm day.

Wednesday we ran a few errands in the morning before meeting some friends for lunch. As I am never always sure just who will be joining us when I invite our friends (different schedules and commitments), I decided not to share with my children just who they'd see. They were all pleasantly surprised to see some faces they hadn't seen in awhile along with those we see regularly. A great time was had by most (I say most because the little one in our midst spent a good bit of time in tears.)

During errand running, I was able to secure some yarn for the gifts I'm making this season. I caught a sale too--which makes it even better.

Thursday we celebrated the birth of my eldest daughter. She has been with us now for 12 years. The day was full of music, some dancing, cooking and baking, opening cards and gifts and speaking to dear ones on the phone.  We did do more study for our bird unit and worked on our 'Gratitude Garland.' One of the rituals we do around birthdays is taking a 'Last Day as [age]' Photo Shoot the night before the birthday. Then on your birthday we do another photo shoot to start the new year.  I started this years ago when things were getting crazy with moving and unpacking and not having time to scrapbook or record things as I'd wanted to. Also, since we don't take 'school pictures,' I wanted a way to document visually each of their ages. It's something they look forward to each year. So do I.

Friday has been, well, much like most Fridays. We're glad it's here as it's the beginning of the weekend--time for rest, rejuvenation and whole family time. We've been working on completing our list of chores--everyone has their specific jobs and then jobs they do in pairs. We also have a few 'entire group' chores to get to as well. I put on some music and we danced as we cleaned--which made cleaning time move along quickly. We completed our tasks today in just an hour.

I've been in the kitchen as I got a hankering to cook.  We'll be enjoying an early dinner of acorn squash, sweet potatoes, black rice with coconut milk, black-eyed peas, corn and green beans.  Oh, and some corn bread.  Yeah, I don't know just want got into me--perhaps I'm just hungry.  It smells so good.  So, I'm going to end now so we can enjoy it.

Here are a few pictures that capture some of the things I just shared about.

Our 'Prepared Environment' at the Rec Center

Lunch with friends

Yarn I snagged on sale

Working on Bird Lap-book

Lego construction

Researching Blue Jays

drawing a dragon

Birthday Photo Shoot
Photos by HeatherJamesPhotography

12th Birthday Cake

Preparing fruit to put in our morning smoothie

Making the leaves for our 'Gratitude Garland'

This post is linked up with Weekly Wrap Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.  You can find out more about linking up yourself here or read the blogs of those who link up weekly.

Hope your week was filled with fun, learning and together time.  I'd love to hear from you so comment below.  If you're hopping over from the link-up do say hello. Thanks.

Be well.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday & Rituals

I am thankful for life today.
My life, of course, and the life of my first born, in particular.
Twelve years ago today she came into our world.
When I close my eyes, I can remember it like it was yesterday.
I've been blessed to be with her almost every day of those 12 years.
She's funny and creative, introspective and thoughtful.
She enjoys creating and being in nature.
She's curious about the world around her and goes 'all-in' on subjects she's interested in.
She's becoming such a wonderful young woman already.
I'm so proud of her and can't image my life without her.

Today I'm thankful that she's in our lives.

Blessed born day my sweet girl.


The children and I have a weekly ritual of sharing the things we're thankful for aloud at the end of each week.  Just the other day I found this creative way to visibly display the things we're thankful for.  You can read more here.  I decided to take this idea but change it a bit to make it more conducive for our space.  I like finding other ways to incorporate new ideas into our way of being.  So, instead of a 'thankful tree' we've created a thankfulness garland of sorts.  Perhaps this will trigger ideas of how you can take this idea and make it your own.

I recently re-read a favorite reference book, Calm and Compassionate Children by Susan Usha Dermond, with some mommies in my homeschooling community.  One of the things the author shares is the difference between rituals and routines.  Routines are things our children can do alone, yet rituals are practices that we involve our children in with us.  The key to creating rituals is involving our children in them.  Like our being thankful ritual at home, and the one here on the blog, we also have rituals around birthdays.  These practices involve each of us and are something we look forward to year after year.

What are you thankful for today?  What rituals have you created with your children to put being thankful into practice?  I'd love to hear from you so take a moment to comment below.  Thanks so much.

Be well.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Sharing Monday

Good Morning all and Happy Monday to you.
I hope that this day finds you in great spirits.

Here's one of the books we've been reading and shared with our homeschooling community a few weeks ago.  We've been learning about artists--well known and little known.  Today's books shares an artist that we didn't know at all:  A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

The story begins with his beginnings.  He loved drawing and copying pictures from his head and from things around him.

Horace entered a drawing contest and won his first set of art supplies.

During a war, he was injured and lose the use of his right arm.

Because are was "in him" he pressed through the pain and learned used his left hand, assisting his right hand in creating art.

Horace painted well into the night.  It took him a few years to finish his pieces now.  But he never gave us.

Here's a photo of Horace Pippin. 

My son took to his story immediately as he found that Horace did many of the things he's presently doing now.  Drawing and painting is something my boy enjoys.  I enjoyed this story as well.  It reminds us that even when there are challenges and setback to overcome, we can do it.  When we're passionate about whatever it is we do, we can find success in being determined.

What books are you reading with your family today?  Link up with us here or simply leave a comment below.  We'd love to hear what books you recommend.  Thanks so much.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Intentions, Plans, Goals, Action?

I talk about these a lot with the women in the different communities I belong.  Over the years the ways in which these things are communicated have changed.  But no matter who I'm talking with or listening to, I have found that we are excellent at talking about our intentions, our dreams and our goals--even our plans. Some make distinct differences in what each word means/represents to them personally.  Others use them interchangeably.  No matter how you use these words, at the end of the day, if you're not putting things into ACTION it doesn't matter what you call it.

Every year I read through two books--yes, the same two books.  Every year, I find that I'm in a different place and so they speak to me in different ways each time.  I recently shared this with the homeschooling community to which I belong sharing it as an example of how reading good books help you change.  With things going as they've been in my life, I'm more about the action part of things now. I am good at planning; at balancing different priorities; adjusting and being flexible; yet keeping my goals every before me.  I've decided that in addition to my weekly planning for my family overall (meal plans, weekly schedule, learning opportunities, down time, music lessons, etc.), I need to be extremely intentional about creating regular time and space for myself.

A mother-friend of mine recently shared how she was being intentional about her family life.  Her husband made it a point to her to make sure she included time for herself and her personal development.  That was powerful to me.  Not because it was new.  Not because this was something I hadn't tried.  It was powerful because it involved her partner.  He is one who pushes her towards her continued development--and not only that, he helps make time for it weekly by being fully present with their children during that time.

After hearing this from her and speaking my with own husband (who, I must say, has been a support and encourager all these years), we have come up with a better schedule for our lives now that includes intentional time for both of us to pursue activities that continue to keep us at our best.

So as I get through my weekly planning today, I've decided that I want to set some intentions at the beginning of the week.  Intentions that I can then put into action right away.  I will be looking for practices that will stretch me yet reinforce these intentions.  I'll check in later in the week to let you know how things are going.  What's working and what needs some adjustments.

  • I intend to be fully present, specifically with my children & husband; secondly with those I'm with over the course of the week.  I will practice listening, giving eye contact, seeking to understand first before being understood.
  • I intend to make time this week to create.  I am working on warm hats, scarves and making gift items for the upcoming holidays. 
  • I intend to reach out and make plans with three friends to engage them in creating/crafting.  By week's end I hope to have those dates on my calendar.
  • I intend to spend time three times this week working on my professional and personal development classes online.
  • I intend to make time daily to read, for myself and aloud to my children.
  • I intend to make time daily to write for one hour on my book projects.
  • I intend to make adjustments in my bedtime and change my overall sleeping patterns.  I will begin this evening by getting to bed by 11pm and practicing this all week.

Honestly, I have a lot more I'd like to add, but am stopping myself now. (This might need to be one of my intentions as well, keeping things simply and not overdoing just because I can.) I want to be successful at this. I know that although I may be able to do more part of being intentional, for me, at least, is to put this list into ACTION.  No longer just on paper or on a nice check-list or chart.

I'm wondering if this might be something you already do. Perhaps you have some tips to offer me as I begin.  I would love to hear your experience with moving plans, goals, intentions (whatever you call them) in to action.  You're also welcome to cheer me on should this be something new to you.  And I would be remiss if I didn't invite anyone of you to join me in this practice of setting weekly intentions and then making them happen through immediate action.

Your comments are welcomed below.  Thanks for stopping by and reading today.

Have a great week.


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