This has been a good week.  It started out a bit rough, but ended so nicely.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I was in a funk.  The news is depressing, our church is going through some upheaval that is depressing and frustrating, some of my family is going through some tough things that are depressing and I was feeling overwhelmed by my responsibilities as a wife, mom, teacher, housekeeper, chef....you know "the LIST" that never ends!  My dear husband watched the kiddo's for me (even Little Bit) for a couple of hours so I could meet a dear friend and I came home feeling much better.  Then my dear husband and I had a great talk and I felt even better still. 

Isn't it odd, that even though I *know* God is in control, that I still choose to take on worry that isn't mine?  My DH gently reminded me that God can handle all that is happening, that He has a plan for all that is happening and I need to just rest in Him and pray.  He also reminded me that our family is different than others and just because something is happening to them, doesn't automatically mean it will happen to us.  I tend to have the "wait for the other shoe to drop" mentality and he is so good about reminding me to let it go!

So, by Thursday morning I am feeling like a gray cloud has lifted.  We cleaned house off and on all day Thursday to prepare for friends coming over and it looks awesome!  Our friends brought us a wonderful meal and fellowship.  We really enjoyed their company and the kids had a great time playing.  After they left, DH and I watched "The Lovely Bones" and just enjoyed the peacefulness of a quiet evening and clean house. 

Yesterday morning was spent at the eye doctors with Adam.  He had to get glasses!!  He thinks they are pretty cool, too, thank goodness!  I hope this will help some of the difficulties he's been having.  The eye doctor also recommended vision therapy, so I need to do some research for that.  I spent the rest of the afternoon rearranging the school room and sewing room.  A friend gave us a nice table and 4 chairs for the school room.  It looks so much more inviting and warm than our 6 ft. craft table.  I still have a lot of sorting/tossing to do in the sewing/craft/Little Bit's room, but I'm making progress.

The kids and I have been having so many good days. Praise the Lord! I've been praying more and talking less and I can see a huge difference in my attitude toward the children and their antics. I can also see a huge difference in how they respond to me and each other because of it and it's been wonderful. 

Last night might have been the most peaceful entrance into the Sabbath that I've experienced in a long time.  Lately we have been so busy, always on the go without a moments rest that we crash into the Sabbath on Friday evening out of breath and our surroundings a mess.  It's not very restful to look around at the laundry that needs to be folded, the kitchen that needs to be cleaned, the living room that needs to be picked up, the desk that needs to be cleaned off, the school table that needs to be organized.  Last night was peaceful.  A sweet, sweet rest that God commands us to take and that I am so thankful to be able to truly enjoy it after this crazy week!

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TOS WannaBe™ - When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Firefighter

The WannaBe™ Series from TOS offers information packed e-books on many of your kids favorite vocations!  From farmers and pilots to chefs and firefighters.  I have 2 boys and a girl that are school-age (K, 2nd and 4th grades) and of course, my boys think this is the neatest thing since sliced bread and my daughter is begging to do the study on veterinarians!!  Since they are only $8.95, are complete (meaning I don't have to find extra resources) and even have some math, science and language arts included, we will be doing another one!

It is jammed packed with information that even I had never heard of before.  Did you know that independent fire companies would fight for business, sometimes sabotaging the efforts of others in their attempt to collect the insurance money?  You can still see the plaques on the sides of buildings in Philly indicating that they were insured for fires. 

The first part of the e-books contains several chapters on the history of firefighting, the life of a firefighter and then how to become a firefighter.  Your children (especially boys) will love learning how they can be just like their heroes!  After you finished with the reading selections, which also have special copywork pages included, you move into the science, math and language arts activities of the study.  They include science activities like learning about robots and creating your own RMS (remote manipulator system) out of Styrofoam and pipe cleaners.  There are coloring pages and games to be played that even your youngest can enjoy.  My mathy son enjoyed the "Firefighter Math" while my daughter liked the included word search and crossword puzzle using the vocabulary from the reading selections. There is also a section on additional resources that can be used to flesh out the study like book suggestions, websites and related occupations like being an EMT.

After you finish your study, you can pick from several end of unit activities and themed party ideas.  We were already planning a trip to the fire station this summer and my children are looking forward to it more than ever.  I think this study has prepared them to notice and learn even more than they would have otherwise.  It's also reminded me to plan our fire escape for our family!

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Homeschool Review!! TOS Download 'n Go

                                          Australian Expedition

Coming from a rather scatterbrained mama that generally shies away from all things "lapbooky" and that has a very short attention span when it comes to activity based learning, these new Download N Go unit studies from The Old Schoolhouse Store and Amanda Bennett are pretty awesome!  Just 5 days of lessons with weblinks to educational videos and maps plus easy to do lapbooking activities make these great for spur of the moment studies!  And since it's only 5 days we can finish it before we (o.k...just me) get bored and can start looking foward to the next one.  I love that I don't have to try to gather up a bunch of things to get started either, I can literally download the e-book, print out the pages and we are ready to roll.  That is crucial to me since we have a new babe in the house and I am all about EASY these days!!  My only complaint (and it's a very small one) is I wish that it had a note indicating which pages to print for the lapbook and which to print for the notebook.  It really didn't take long to figure it out, but it would have been nice to have it mentioned for me!

We worked through the "Australian Expedition" and my kids had a ball.  They love the hands-on of the lapbooking, but I'd never attempted it before because it looked too time consuming and hard to put together.  The directions in the Download N Go unit study are easy to implement and don't require a lot of time or extra materials.  You can't beat the price either at just $7.95 each.  TOS also offers bundles so you can have a variety of studies ready to go when things are looking a little bleak and boring in your regular routine.

I used "Australian Expedition" with a young K'er, 2nd and 4th grader.  I'm not requiring my youngest to do any of the writing, but he has enjoyed the multi-media links that are included in the study.  My older 2 are enjoying the mapwork and the many different activities.  My 4th grader is a crafty girl and so thankful that we are doing "fun" stuff for school! 

The study consists of a "themed notebook" that contains great color graphics of maps, foods and animals that we are studying.  It is also where we have been recording the different information we've learned as we go through the study such as maps showing the different continets, different vocabulary of the Aussie's and types of animals.  When we finished with the study we had a really great (did I mention easy-to-do?!) lapbook as well.

I've been looking at several other titles to use this summer.  *I* think the one on Ireland would be fascinating and my kiddo's would enjoy the one on Ben Franklin and Whales.  Guess we might be doing summer school...but shhh...don't tell the kid's it's "school"!
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Organizing, Lesson Planning version 5.0

Little Bit is 6 weeks old already!  He's sleeping pretty well, nursing like a champ and is a very happy baby.  I'm feeling recovered from labor and delivery and I'm not completely exhausted, so that is good.  Now it's time to re-group our family.  Laundry is everywhere, the kitchen floor is gross and I have no idea what's for breakfast, let alone dinner.  School, appointments, the proverbial "to-do list" are scattered on various bits of paper or lost in my memory.  I need to figure out something and fast, or we might be lost in the pile!!  LOL  So, I went to the library and checked out a few inspirational and motivational how-to organize books.  Sure...I've read them all before and I *know* what I need to do, but I need to get some excitement and inspiration.  And maybe I'll learn a new trick or two.  My husband calls it "Routine version 5.0".

First book...."Steady Days" by Jamie C. Martin.  So simple, so encouraging and so inspiring.  A homeschooling mama of 3 children who reminds us that Motherhood is a profession and that we should treat it as such.  That "Steady Days" offer us an opportunity to have a "Steady Heart".  That we should be intentional in our mothering (and schooling?!)   Best part, it was written by a mama who knows we have limited time to read..especially for ourselves, so the chapters are short, sweet and to the point!  I finished it in a couple of days reading here and there as I had time. 

Enter the second book..."Organizing for Your Brain Type" by Lanna Nakone, M.A.  Oh my gosh!!!  And I thought I knew what I needed to do.  Organized filing cabinet, detailed weekly planner, work in 15min. time slots, everything stored in it's place out of sight, but readily available.  Ha...not for my brain type.  Not even close! 
I am so thankful and blessed to have had this book pop up on my organizing search!  I can see so many reasons why conventional organizing wisdom doesn't work for me.  It has also given me a lot of insight into our homeschool and how my brain type affects it.  I'm still processing and internalizing the ideas that were given to me in this book, but I can see how I will *finally* be able to get my mind, home, space, homeschool organized in a way that will make sense to me and work with how my brain works.  BTW..I'm an "innovating" type, very right-brained, visual and creative.  Who knew?! 

I'll be posting a lot more about changes I am making as I read and re-read this enlightening epistle on organization!!! Pin It
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