Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weekly Intentions

This week has been very full--full of emotions; full of reading, listening, talking, thinking and planning; full of reflection.

With the news from Ferguson in, we've sought to make sense out of nonsense. We've looked for hope through all the despair. We've tried to keep perspective while acknowledging the truth about just where things truly stand here in the United States of America.  All while being present with our children, living life, learning, cooking, keeping house, watching nature, doing chores, etc., etc.

I will say, right up front, that my promise to myself about heading to bed earlier than normal each night didn't happen most of the week. There was something that kept me awake most nights, even when I was in bed.  I did get ample rest, though.  After awaking early each morning for personal time of prayer and meditation, I climbed back under the blankets in my bed and slept in most mornings. I even got in a nap one afternoon.  I love that my children know how to care for themselves--this allows for it.  Also, their daddy has been home.

We kept a regular schedule, for the most part. This Monday we didn't have our usual homeschool meet-up so I did some errands that afternoon.  I've completed a lot of the reading that I wanted to do along with additional things--articles about our current events.  I've even found time to blog. I've begun two of the projects I have on my list and should be completed with both of them by this evening--keeping my fingers crossed.  I've also done some work on two of my professional development classes.  I met up with one of the three friends I've been intentional about crafting with and have the other two on the calendar for this new month. (Can you believe it's December already?)

In the midst of all of that, I've been able to give each of my children some individual time where we were able to talk and share and do something they wanted to do with me.  Drawing with The Boy. Reading with my SweetiePie. Talking about life and upcoming events with my PrettyGirl.

I count this week, even with all the emotional changes, a rather successful one.  I am thrilled that a few of my friends have joined me in being intentional about their weeks.  (If you'd like to join in and want a re-cap of where it started, click here.) A couple have shared in the comments section here; others have spoken to me directly or via social media.  What makes all this more than just a list to check off is the accountability aspect of it. Knowing that there are others who matter in my life that will hold me accountable to what I'm setting out to do keeps me mindful.  Although everything may not have taken place as planned, I made sure that I kept most all of the promises I made to myself.

So what does this new week look like?  Well, today is the last day of November. Tomorrow we begin a new month.  The children and I have a little ritual that involves changing the wall calendar and acknowledging the change of month with a new play list on Spodify.  We will do that together this evening since tomorrow morning will be full of getting out of the house.

Here are my intentions for this week:
  • Donate the items I've collected from around the house.
  • Go through two bookshelves and weed books out (for donation).
  • Start and complete another hat/scarf set
  • Reading time for myself
  • Make list of 'fun' activities with the children for this month
  • Make our cards and get them in the mail
  • Contact three people (from list) to talk about the specifics of our community building
  • Run at least three times this week.
  • Slow down and enjoy the moments
I want to continue with some of the things I've already been doing--getting enough rest, meditation/prayer time, being fully present with those I'm with.

How did things go for you this week? Were you able to get through your list? Were there any challenges or unexpected events that kept you from it? How did you adjust?

Let's take a moment to celebrate the little steps we're each making towards the life we want. We are engaging in a powerful, life-changing practice--speaking those things which are not into being.

Now, what are your intentions for this coming week? What plans are you making for yourself and your family? Write them down somewhere where they can been seen by you easily. I encourage you to share them below in the comments section. I would love to know what you're working towards. Your words can encourage the next person reading this post to join us too.

We will check in again with each other next Sunday. I look forward to hearing about your progress.

Be well.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Good Morning!
I have so much to be thankful for and for that I am grateful.
I'm especially thankful for warmth.
For my children
For anticipation of newness 
For possibilities
For friends who care and invited us to dinner today (big smile)
For neighbors who look out for us
For being able to give to an elder-neighbor-friend
For my partner
For my mother and father
For my siblings
For my grandmother
For my aunts and uncles and cousins
For my communities
For stillness and meditation
For slowly but surely finding my tribe!

For singing birds
For sunshine
For fresh fruit
For good food
For music--good music that speaks to my soul
For good stories to read and re-read
For laughter and cheer even in the midst of pain

What comes to your mind today that makes your heart swell up with gratitude?  I bet you have a long list too.  Care to share a few? Oh, come on, it will just take a moment. :-)  I'd love to hear from you so comment below.

Wishing you a day full of peace, love and hope.

Be well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Community Building

Unless you've been living under a rock, or have the privilege/luxury to do so, you have heard the news from Ferguson, MO. There are many thoughts and feelings I could write well into the night about.  I will spare you all of that, for now.

I want to take a moment to write about one thing: Community Building.

I read a comment on a social media site of a friend.  She wrote,
"How do you defeat an unjust system? You rely on it to the least extent possible. How do you do that? By relying on each other to the greatest extent possible. Did you get that?"

And I, too, ask, "Did you get that?"

Over the passed several years, I have sought to be about what I'm looking for.  I have talked and hoped and dreamt about it and have been searching for others who are looking for the same. I have been in search of the communities we often speak of from days gone by. The ones where you knew your neighbors. You could go next door to ask for an egg or a cup of sugar. Everyone looked out for everyone else's children. Men-folk did the fixin' of things and mothers always had something good to eat to share. Things weren't always easy but everyone had what they needed and when they didn't others were willing to share what they had so everyone had enough.

We've lost a lot of that. I'm sure you can list along with me reasons why this is the case. We no longer live close to family and friends. Our jobs/career choices lead us to places outside the community we wanted to live in. Times are hard and we can barely provide for our own let alone someone else. We don't have time to do that with all the things we're involved in (in other places/spaces).

I think these are valid. I know there are many more. But I believe the main reason for all those reasons is this:  We've been chasing someone else's dream.

Sit with that for a minute or two. Take a moment to really think about that and all that it means.

What are your dreams? Are they truly yours or are they ones you've been told to dream? Conditioned to dream? 

I recently started writing out my intentions here on the blog and invited you to join me.  Several of you have (Yay) and we're seeing first hand how simple this can be in getting the ball rolling.

Community works much the same way. When we find people we can do life with everyone can benefit.

Unfortunately, this type of community just doesn't happen anymore.  Especially if you're attempting it with people who you're just getting to know. This community building takes time, energy--from all involved, and resources.  It takes risking and trusting and being open to getting hurt in the process. It requires honesty--showing up as who you are; not simply sending your representative.

Too often, in many of the spaces I belong, we do a lot of talking, wishing, hoping, dreaming and not enough trusting, risking, asking, acting, moving--bringing things into being. If you always have a reason or excuse as to why you can't do it or what you need to get first before you can do it or how things need to be for you personally before you can offer something to someone else--we will continue to be in a place with no real community ties.

What I have learned from what has taken place in our nation over the last few days via the media (yes, I realize it's all a show), social media and from listening and talking with people around me is that if we really want things to be different we are going to have to do it differently.  There are ways of being that we already know work. Our elders have taught them to us or at least tried to. We may not have valued them then but we can reach back to that knowledge and pick it back up.

It's going to be hard work--there are no shortcuts to this kind of community building.

'Living simply,' 'being green,' 'living off the land,' 'unplugging'--all of these are ways of reconnecting ourselves to what our grandparents knew and lived daily. (If you're a millennial, perhaps it's your great-grandparents?) You purchased a few things that were needed and you made or grew everything else--or you knew someone who did and bartered with them.

I'm hearing over and over again that our money is where our power lies. If this is true, then shouldn't we be spending it differently? Wouldn't budgeting be worth our time? Why aren't we spending it wisely and within our own community? I know. These answers aren't always easy. I'm rethinking my choices now, too, and looking to make better choices myself. I know I have a certain level of skills and a good amount of talents. I personally several others who do as well. If we decide to put what we have together, our resources will automatically multiply.

Side note: I see, all to often, that we run in droves to the dominate culture to [re]acquire many of these skills. (To list a few: gardening, canning, cooking, sewing, quilting, knitting) We invest our money in classes and workshops in which they show us what many of our parents and grandparents already knew/know. Might I suggest that if we must spend money, we spend it with those from our own community first? There are many mature adults who would love to share their skills with you and your children, if you'd only ask.  Yes, another reason why community building is vital for our future.

Another friend I've spoken to over these passed two days said that she has been hesitant about this level of community because there are "so many people" out there that just "want to take what you're offering" and have no intentions of giving back.  Sadly this is true. We have been groomed into 'consumers at all costs'. Typically when we show up into a space we want to first know what it's going to cost us and then what we're going to get out of it. This way of thinking doesn't translate well when we're looking to build an intentional community. We'll never fully reap the benefits from it nor will we make the connections with others that are meaningful. If we change our perspective and ask instead 'Does this community match up with what I want for myself/my family?' followed by "What can I bring and add to what is already here?" We will probably move closer to what we're hoping for and will receive more in return than we can tangibly show.

Community building is tough, sometimes lonely, work.  But the rewards totally outweigh the hard work involved.  I guess this is why I continue to do so.  I have found success in some spaces; others, not as much.  But this type of investment is what is required.  This is the change that I see that can have lasting affects on our community, our children, our future.

I am even more determined to connect with and draw others into this intentional community I am seeking to grow. You may hear from me personally over the next few weeks. It's important to figure out just how we can all work together, what resources we have, what skill-sets we bring and ultimately what our dreams are for ourselves and our children. Not every community is for everyone. However, we can be of encouragement and support to each other. We can tell the truth. We can honor each other with our wisdom and insight. We can listen. We can share. And ultimately, move forward together.

Be well.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Sharing Monday

It's Monday again and that means we have another book to share with you and your family.  As I shared last Monday, we have been learning about little known artists with our homeschooling community.  Here's another one we found at one of our libraries.  It's Harlem's Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills by Renee Watson, pictures by Christian Robinson.

As a young child, Florence enjoyed music.

At this time in history, things were segregated.  Florence and her family and friends were unable to enjoy the shows and performances.

She imagined being able to sing on a stage and seeing her name in lights on Broadway.  Her dream did come to fruition.

Her singing career didn't last as long as she had hoped. She still gave of herself despite this.  She spent time caring for sick children in hospitals (singing and reading to them) and giving food to those who needed it.

My children noticed that being famous isn't the most important thing. Although she "faded" away in people's minds, she did a lot of good that should be remembered.

What are you reading with your children today?  Have you found something you'd like to share with us?  We enjoy reading and love recommendations.  Why not join us--more info here.  You are also invited to leave a comment below.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Intentions Review/Preview

If you have been with me this week, you know that at the top of the week I wrote out some specific things I wanted to put my energies toward.  You can take a moment to read them here if you're just joining me today.

I'll wait. (smile)

There is something about writing things down and then putting them out there.  Whether it's a private journal page or a public blog--getting those ideas, thoughts, plans out of one's mind and onto paper gets things moving forward.

My goal was to not just write them down but also share them so that I would have some sort of accountability.  I also wanted to honor the promises I've made to myself.

This week I have been successful in completing several of the tasks I set out to do.


  • gotten up earlier each morning and spent time alone in meditation and prayer.
  • made time each day to read--for myself.  
  • read three evenings with the children (two of them, they opted to read to each other)
  • made time twice this week for writing on my projects
  • identified the projects I want to work on and gathered the needed supplies to make them happen.
  • worked on one of my professional development classes twice this week.
  • made it to bed most evenings by 11pm. (This is huge, if you know me.)
  • connected with each of my friends and have plans on the calendar to get together with each of them.
  • been more present with my family this week.
No, everything didn't happen exactly as I had thought--nothing is life really does, does it?  But I felt more empowered this week. I felt more like myself.  I have been clear with my family about these intentions and what that involves from me and what expectations I have for them making room for this--some things are new, others just haven't been in place for a while.

I'm learning that being able to articulate these intentions and expectations has assisted me in setting new boundaries within my home.  Everyone is now old enough to do their part and each of us needs to see how each one is needed in making things run smoothly.  This example that I'm setting is not only good for my well-being but also for my children to watch and mimic.

This practice at home is strengthening me and allowing me to continue in setting and maintaining healthy boundaries in other places with other people.  I can be 'all-in' without 'giving it all.' And that is growth.  I made some requests in a community that I am typically a 'giver' in--something that I don't often do.  Whether or not I was heard (which I believe I was) doesn't matter as much as it was for me to make the request.  Boundary setting is a powerful thing.

For this coming week, I am setting these intentions:
  • I will continue in making my rest/sleep a priority.
  • I will make time each day for personal reading.
  • I will be present with my family.
  • I will seek the best time for my personal growth and development classes.
  • I will find time within our schedule to create those hats and scarves.
  • I will continuing in awaking early for personal time in meditation and prayer.
This week will not be our typical week. We will celebrate one of my favorite holidays--Thanksgiving.  Not because it has anything to do with Pilgrims and Indians, but because it's a time to reflect on what has been, what is and what will be--and be thankful.  It's a time to be with family and dear friends.  It's a time of abundance, sharing, giving and showing gratitude.

We will also not be meeting with our homeschooling community or seeing the people we typically see over the course of the week.  My intention is to slow down a bit, too, and enjoy the time we have together.

What intentions did you make last week?  How did they show up for you over the course of the week?  Are you going to continue in them or make some adjustments?  What are you intentions for the coming week?  How will you use your time?  I'd love to hear from you so take a moment to comment below.

Be well.

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.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap-Up

We've made it to the end of another week.  We have spent a good deal of time enjoying each other and catching up with my dh.  The kids have rituals that they've missed while he's been out of town.  When they were younger I used to try to still try and make them happen.  But now I respect that they're his things to initiate and engage them in--and so I allow that time to be 'special time with Daddy.'  (It also alleviates the added stress on me--win-win.)  

Here are the highlights of our week:

Monday--Homeschool Classes:
We started a new unit studies on birds.  The children continued their P.E./Health class taking about more healthy habits--how to read body language when playing with others.  They also practiced group juggling.  We found that it not only takes coordination and concentration but takes a lot more practice than we first thought.

Learning to pay attention to body language.

We have been blessed with a husband/daddy who is focused on nutrition.  Monday began with a breakfast smoothie using fresh fruits.  This particular Monday it came in quite handy since we were running a bit later than we had hoped.  We drank it on the ride to the rec center.

Fresh fruit

Monday evening I attended a book reading and signing with a couple of the mothers from my homeschooling community.  Author Ritu Sharma read from and discussed her book Teach A Woman to Fish.  I will share more about this event in an upcoming post.  Suffice to say that it was very stimulating and we had a rather lively discussion afterwards as well.

The boy had a birthday recently.  He's started taking guitar lessons and we were blessed with a guitar from some dear friends earlier this year.  He's been using that and doing quite well--even though it's a bit large.  Grandpa sent us a better sized guitar this week.  Isn't it a perfect fit?

New kid-sized guitar
For the better part of the day the kids spent time with their father.  I GOT THE DAY OFF.  I caught up with a dear friend who I haven't had time with in a rather long time.  We sipped and chatted.  I then caught up with another dear friend for dinner.  Cussing, fussing and tons of laughter ensued.  I needed this break.

Daddy fixed breakfast and then we headed to the library for our weekly library time.  We had lots of books to return and several we on hold for us--we're researching and studying about birds.  Our library branch has been adding new books to the shelves and today they were in the process of adding when we arrived.  The children were excited to see more new books and checked out several of the graphic novels. 

The day ended with soup!  Tortilla soup to be exact.  All made in a matter of 6 minutes.  Yes. Six.  And it was delicious. I'm learning about other recipes and just started a board on Pinterest to hold them.  You're welcome to check it out.

Making soup.

Yummy Soup!!

My eldest just completed The Giver by Lois Lowry.  She's been reading it for her reading/literature class.  We've been discussing it as she's read it and completing vocabulary and comprehension work as we go.  I found a test of the entire book online to give her tomorrow.  This book has many layers to it--we've shared many good discussions.

The boy enjoys building with Legos, yet his first love is writing stories and illustrating them.  He spent much of the afternoon writing and illustrating the story he created using the Legos he built.

My no-longer-little second daughter enjoys creating as well.  Today she wanted to paint--and so she did. (smile)

My eldest has started the Harry Potter series.  This is one of the books she reads for entertainment/enjoyment.  I agreed that she could watch the movie AFTER she read the book.  She finished this first one a few weeks ago and is already well into the second book.  We checked out the DVD from the library this week and she watched it with her father.  She enjoyed it and has been able to compare/contrast it with little help from us.

We have plans to read together later this evening and maybe invite some friends over. We'll see how things go. We're also looking forward to a relaxing weekend. There are a few things we have planned but for the most part, I'd like to continue with the easy pace we've had this week. Thankful to be able to do just that.

How did things end up for you this week? What things did you get into? How did you learn with your children? Want to join in? Click here for the current Weekly Wrap Up to read it and those who have joined in this week.  Click here for further information.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I used to link up with several other blogging mamas, but none of them are blogging now....or at least doing this blog hop.  So I've decided to start it again here and invite any one of you to join me.  You are welcome to add your link in the comment section (just below this post) and I'll add you to the 'Thankful Thursday' list.  You can also click here for further info and to grab my button.

Today I am thankful for:
  • being able to sleep in
  • warmth of blankets
  • children who can take care of their things (their doing their own laundry as I type)
  • birds (we're studying them presently)
  • connection with family (spoke with three extended family members this morning)
  • a husband who provides
  • good books to read (will have to write another post about this one!)
  • women who challenge me, support me, encourage me
  • a day full of possibilities

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Sharing Monday

We have been reading books that are illustrated by one of our favorite illustrators--Kadir Nelson.  My children have always enjoyed his real to life pictures and coloring of people.  Today's book is Coretta Scott written by Ntozake Shange and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

It's the story of Coretta Scott.

The story begins with her as a young child.

As she is in school, she meets Martin Luther King, Jr. and they become fast friends.

Coretta was just as much involved with the Civil Rights Movement as her husband.

I liked how the emphasis was put on Coretta in this book.  She believed and fought for the same things her husband, Martin, did.  When he died, she spent her life continuing to seek justice for all.

I'm sure you'll be able to find this book at your local library.  Perhaps you'll add it to your personal library at home.  Either way, we hope you'll do some reading today.  Share a book of your own whether below in the comment section or through a link to your own 'Book Sharing Monday' post on your blog.  If you'd like to join in, here's more info.

Happy Reading!!


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