Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thankful Thursday

I must say that today it's rather challenging to focus on the positive when surrounded by so much negativity--right here in my area, around the country and around the world. But I will pause a moment and meditate on what is going well.

-the creativity of my children: i'm watching them create their entries for a local lego competition.

-new online homeschool community: created today by another homeschool mom where we can pool our resources to do group buying of resources for our families--helping our little dollars stretch.

-the sun: yes, it's out today. i've spent several moments just standing/sitting in it, absorbing it's rays. powerful stuff.

-books filled with words of wisdom, courage, truth, healing and power written by women.  i'm presently reading a few poems by Assata Shakur, in her autobiography; Alice Walker from her book Hard Times Require Furious Dancing; bell hooks' Sisters of the Yam: black women and self-recovery; and A Healing Grove: African Tree Remedies and Rituals for Body and Spirit by Stephanie Rose Bird

-time: to rest, to think, to plan.

-family: those that are near and those that are far.

What are you thankful for today? Take a moment now to reflect on those things.

Be well.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Weekly Intentions :: A Practice

Glad you stopped by today. I hope you've been enjoying your weekend.

We're getting ready for a birthday celebration this week. It's a milestone year for my Sweetie-pie and we've made plans this week to gather with some of her favorite people.

How did things go for you this week? Was it how you'd intended it to be?

I was able to stick to most of the items on my list. I even got to a few more things I didn't list. Laughter has been a big part of the week and I got a bit more cleaning done than I had planned--wonderful bonus!! (big smile) I also finished one of the books I've been reading and have started on another.

For this new week beginning I'd like to give myself to the following:

Meditation, quiet time and reflection--doing this daily is truly keeping me centered and grounded. With so much negativity happening around the world and here, locally, things can be quite overwhelming. It's good to take time to just remember to be human and be present with those I love.

Yoga practice has been a part of this, too. We've been doing it as a family once a week with friends and then three more days here at the house. I'm finding that I'm physically feeling better.

Continued exercise--simply walking for 30 minutes and then some basic calisthenics at the house.

Food prep--it seems like today, Sunday, is the best day of the week for me to do this. In so doing I set myself up for greater success in having actual meals during the week.  It's been giving us time to read together as a family in the evenings instead of preparing dinner, from scratch.

Reading--yes, this will always be on my list.

Planning for our learning time for next school year and for our home school community's time together. I am already pulling resources but need to put them in better order. Then write out specific goals and plans for each of my children. This will involve some conferencing with them to find out if their interests have changed and/or what things they'd like to learn about. There are a few online connections and meetings to be had this week in that regard (home learning).

Gathering with our community. This week, because of the celebrations, and our regular rhythm, we will have four community shared meals. I'm looking forward to this time for myself and for my children. It will be good to be with friends and enjoy some good eats.

What plans to you have for yourself and your family this week? Are you writing them down somewhere? Do you go back and look at what you've done? I'm hoping that this practice is of encouragement to someone. I've found it useful in helping me keep what's important at the top of my list each week.

Wishing each of you the best as you begin another week.  I'll look for you next Sunday.

Be well.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Freebie Friday

We all love a freebie now and then.  In planning for next session for my children, I've come across a good number of them--some that I can use and others that I thought you might be interested in knowing about.

I'm sharing them by category/subject/topic. Leave me a comment below if you find something that works for you.

If you've happen upon a good resource--do share! (I like freebies, too.)

Happy Learning!

Math Mammoth Light Blue Series
Hooda Math (Games for Levels 1-6)
Calculation Nation (Games for levels 3-8)
Math Practice (Level 5 and up)
Pre-Algebra & Algebra

Language Arts
Literature Network (middle school & up)

Worksheet Genius (will use to create word searches, crosswords, etc.)
K-5 Games

Anatomy Arcade (middle school & up)
Human Body Resource
Virtual Lab
Biology (borrow-free dissection alternatives)
Periodic Table Lessons
Middle School Science Curriculum (several on this site, various topics)

Mapping History (levels 5-12)
Civil War Interactive (middle school and up)
Ages of Exploration (levels 5-12)
American Constitution (middle and up; lessons and activities)
American Constitution Interactive Timeline

The Arts
Free Sheet Music

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Today I decided to sleep in a bit longer. Not a weekend day, but I needed the extra sleep. I'm thankful that I was able to do that.

There is much to be thankful for today. The sun is out and the birds have been singing for a good while now. (A perk of having bird feeders around the house.) We've spent a good bit of the week cleaning and now I have three spaces that I can relax in.  I'm thankful for friends who keep me laughing!! I'm also thankful that at this very moment my children are helping each other without fussing.  Not sure how long that will last--lol.

Today we're headed out to a library and I'm thankful that we have them along with librarians who assist us regularly in all the ways we need.

Want to join in? Leave a few from you list below.

Be well.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Out in the Streets

April begins festival season in our area. This is the time when the city comes alive with people in the streets--for various reasons (smile).

Even with all the rain that has been part of our forecast recently, we've braved the weather and armed with umbrellas (which actually worked at keeping the rain away) have attended a couple these last two weekends.

Here's a peek at just a few things we saw.

What activities in your area are you taking your family to? There is much to be learned just by being out and exploring.

Be well.

All photographs have been used with permission from Heather James Photography. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

On Community -- Fun, Food & Fellowship

A few weeks back I mentioned that we would be gathering with friends and family to share two meals communally.  Well, they were both a success. We gathered for different reasons, yet the outcome was the same--fun, laughter, good food and fellowship.

It's the little steps we make in opening ourselves up to the good around us. Being willing to share what we have with others and allowing them to share what they have with us. It can be risky. Many of us aren't as trusting of others as we say or as we'd like to believe of ourselves. I don't mean on the surface level--it's actually quite easy to be in non-commital, casual relationships. Yet the ones that reap the most are those that ask us to be vulnerable--to show our true selves.

I am blessed to have people who do life with me and my family. We've been looking for this; have hoped for and lost in the process of allowing others to be who they are (believing them and allowing them to move on). It's been worth the wait and we're looking to continue in adding others who are looking for the same and willing to give as well as receive.

Here are a few pictures of both of those gatherings!

Our second gathering:

Looking at them again, I am reminded of all the laughter, lively conversations, good food and plain 'ole fun! We are truly blessed by all these wonderful people who have arrived right on time in our lives.

How are you creating your circle? What activities do you engage in regularly? A meal is always a good reason to gather. I encourage you to call up your special people and enjoy some time together!

Be well.

All photographs used with permission from Heather James Photography.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Intention Setting :: A Weekly Practice

For anyone who has been following me, you have noticed that I've been away on these last two Sundays. I hope that my not being online hasn't kept you from setting intentions for yourself. Although I haven't been here, I have been writing down my intentions and giving myself to them.  So much so that I've only had a few moments to blog over the past two weeks.

There has been so much we've gotten into as a family. I did snap a few shots and will share those over the course of this week and the next.

I did want to share one thing right now. I finally did some of the meal prepping/freezer meals I had been wanting to do. Let me tell you--it was a LOT of work--but I was so thankful to just be able to pull out the meal from the freezer this evening and heat it up. I was able to give myself to a few other chores during that 45 minute time frame. This is definitely something I want to continue doing.

This week my intentions are as follows:

Make time for family reading. As I shared a few weeks back, we've been finishing up some of the books we've been reading as a family. We are also going to start listening to a series together in the evenings before bedtime. I'm looking forward to unwinding in this way together.

Daily mediation, quiet time and exercise. I do this daily, for myself, and often encourage my children to do the same. We've been doing yoga as a family for the last few weeks and will join some friends this week in that practice.

Of course, my personal reading time is topping the list. Can I tell you how many books are still on my night stand, side table and on the floor next to my bed? I just picked up another book this weekend--one I have been interested in reading. I haven't started it yet--got to get through these others first.

Cleaning, sorting and purging. It seems as though this one thing never seems to be complete. I do have some more deep cleaning tasks I really need to give myself to, but for this week, I'm only going to do one. I need to focus on getting through papers and resources I've been using (or have never used) with my children. Lighter is better and I want to complete more of this task this week.  This will involve make a trip or two to our location donation center.

I am beginning a major project with involves my photography and designing skills. I have made a mental list of all the things that I need to do to make it happen. Actually, as I was dreaming last night it all came to me--I awoke during the night and thought through each piece. This week I want to make time to 1) write it own out and 2) start checking things off the list.  This will involve enlisting some assistance from my friends and other community folk. I'm excited about this and will share more once things are coming along.

Laughing. Yes, I have to make time for this. The kind of laughing I'm speaking about is the gut-busting-can't-control-yourself-it's-so-funny-kind-of-laughing. So, this means that I must connect with my friend who also has the same twisted sense of humor. If only for a few minutes--it's truly like medicine.

What things are you hoping to do this new week? How might you make them happen? Will you prioritize?

I'm wishing each of you a great week and hope that everything you put your hand to do, you do with all your might.

Be well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hiking :: Learning :: Fun

Today was our final hike in a series we've been doing with our homeschool community. On Arabia Mountain, a Nature Preserve in DeKalb County, there is a rare flower that only grows there--the Red Diamorpha. We've had the pleasure of watching it develop over the course of three months. Today we were finally able to view a few of the open flowers.  It grows in wet beds of water that are located atop and along a stone mountain.

Of course the day wouldn't have been complete without enjoying the hot temperatures (it got up to 81 degrees), playing in the cool, clear mountain water and enjoying lunch together.

As we all know, I picture is worth a thousand words and so I will share a few here so you can see just how beautiful this natural habitat is.

Another fun day learning outside of doors!


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