Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Homeschooling: The Early Years

"In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mothers first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air." Charlotte Mason

Several years ago, no one could have told me I would have the mindset I currently have on home education. Before Lily was born, I had the strong desire to home school. I even read articles and books well before it was time. My aspirations were to get started early in preschool and teach her to count and her ABC’s and how to read and write well before she needed to. God has made me much wiser since that time. I have come to see this time is precious and I have many years to come for “education.” Our focus now is building a firm foundation of godly character and having fun.

This is how we home school in the early years…

IMG01143-20101027-0947We play with Play-Doh…

IMG01146-20101027-1108We finger paint…

IMG00510-20100415-1007 We paint birdhouses…

IMG00517-20100416-0914We play in the kitchen…


We write on chalkboards…2010_10260026We fly kites…

IMG01099-20101004-1001    We play outside…


and we help Daddy in the yard.

So, it is really quite simple. We educate with life and nothing forced…all with in the security of own home. We talk about God and we talk about character. We show them they are loved and do all we can to make sure they never feel they are burdens to us.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blog Anniversary!

As I finished up The Home Series, this old blog celebrated it’s one year anniversary! I must say, I have enjoyed blogging and a lot of exciting things have happened in the last year.

My baby boy turned one, my baby girl turned three, and the little unknown made his or her presence known. I failed miserably at keeping all my resolutions, but still ran the race. (And some of them needed to go anyway.) I went from Finding Michelle to Losing Her.

By blogging about showers, doctrine, marriage, hugs, recipes, frugal living, a little more theology, and parenting…I have declared myself the Most Random Blog on the Block. It is true. You may never know what random thought I will put out there. I know I have a lot more thoughts to put out there than actually make it.

I had the joy of meeting a blogging friend in person! That was a treat and a great cyber friendship has been formed!

Analyzing my posts, I found it hilarious that some one actually googled “Jesus shaped bacon” and my blog was the link that popped up. The top 5 posts that receive “hits” are:

I must say…I love it. Whether I have 1 reader or 50…it remains an extension of the writing outlet I have used since I was 9 years old. This is what I do for me…and sometimes without ever knowing it God may touch someone by using my words. More than anything I appreciate all the thoughtful comments and emails I get from my readers. Those messages serve as a reminder to me that God works in ways I would never imagine.

P.S. It took me an ETERNITY to link all those posts…so you had better click on at least one! Grrrr!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Piece That Holds It All Together

The past couple of weeks I have painted a picture of order and peace with a splash of beauty. I have shared the way I manage to accomplish things and why I think order is such a necessity in family life. However, as I finish off this series of post, I must add the most important part… the awareness that no home is the same, no situation is the same, and no mom personality is the same. For a good look at different personalities, check out A Slob Comes Clean; this is a recent find of mine that I love…she has a great way of keeping things real and in perspective for the anti-procrastinating, neat freak type like me.

I was also reminded of how different situations can be as I spoke with my very pregnant friend a few weeks back. She has three times the amount of children I do and her husband leaves very early and comes home a little later because of his drive to work. As I spoke of my little orderly world, she reminded me of exactly how blessed I am on a day-to-day basis because of one reason.

See, I have something some of you may not have…it’s that guy we refer to as “Nate” on this blog. Without him, the order and peace would be a lot harder. First and foremost, he supports what I do as a homemaker. He lifts me up and praises me. He makes my life easier by usually having a pleasant and supportive attitude. He gives me that support because he believes as much as I do that home is where the wife and mother belong.


Nate also has a little awareness of how weary a mom can get doing the tasks of the homemaker…especially when you add in godly character training for the children. We see him most every day for lunch. After work and on the weekends, he doesn’t go off with his buddies frolicking like so many other men. He is home with us because this is what makes him happy. He doesn’t want to miss his children grow into adults; he wants to be there for it all. He even once said, “I can’t wait to come home every day.” And not only is he home, he is involved.

After dinner, when most moms have the entire load of kitchen and baths and bedtime to handle, Nate is there with me. Every single night I can count on him to give the babies their baths and entertain them before bed…which leaves me time to clean the kitchen and pick up the house from the busy evening. Because of that consistency, every night from 6:00- 7:30PM, our children know that Dad and Mom will be spending family time with them. And Mom knows that everything will be taken care of before bedtime, so I can just relax and have fun.

I know that without him, maintaining my vision for a godly home would be a lot harder. My patience would be thinner and I would grow much wearier. So all that order and peace, he is what holds it all together…or maybe he’s just what holds me all together.

The Piece That Holds It All Together- this post!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why Order Is Important

“…that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2: 4-5

The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1

Growing up and several years into womanhood, homemaking was not on my agenda. Even as a Christian, I did not understand this was God’s role for me in His plan. I still receive chuckles from old friends and family when they see who I am now compared to what I was then. I believe more than anything, it saddens me at all the years I wasted peddling my time to trivial matters of the world when I could have been working on my calling based on God’s Word. But, my excuse…nobody told me!

I see young ladies all around me preparing for marriage with no knowledge of how to care for a home and family. They are in the same situation I was in and sometimes worse. Because I lived on my own for several years before marriage, I at least knew how to care for a home and a few basic meals. At a very early age I learned the responsibilities of housework because my both my parents were away working. But there is something much different between checking off the to-do list and putting your heart and soul into a home for the glory of God. “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11. The word “minister” means “to serve.” As I serve my husband and children daily, my prayer each day and each night is that God be glorified in the work of my hands.

So, what does all this have to do with order and calmness? Well, I imagine our life without order. I imagine our life where the children make their own schedules and run free with no obedience or boundaries. I imagine that the work I do, if any, is immediately done in vain as my children run about with no instruction or understanding of what is acceptable behavior. I imagine that because of this, I become stressed. Not only do I become irritated by the building chaos but also I snap and yell at my children. My husband comes home from a hard day at work to clutter and disorganization. He must wait on his dinner. In his hunger and frustration from a hard day, he becomes irritated because now it is up to him to try to gain control. He becomes angry with me for not maintaining control and of course, my response to him is one of harshness and not love. I believe I may have just described most homes in America…with or without fathers.

However, this is not the vision God has for us. God calls us wives to allow our husbands to see our beauty inside… “rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:4. The above scenario does not lean towards a quiet and gentle spirit, at least for me it does not.

Order, calmness, and routine in our home and with our children allow us to have peace in a chaotic world. When husbands and wives, fathers and sons, and daughters and mothers are turning against each other…let us turn towards each other. (Malachi 4:6) I challenge you to follow God’s plan and lay down your own needs and frustrations and serve your family with the joy of the Lord.

The Piece That Holds It All Together- upcoming

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Little Taste of Home

Come with me and take a walk inside…let me share with you some of my favorite things about our home. This is post 3 in The Home Series. As you will see, I adore cozy and country. So, grab some sweet iced tea and come on…

These are two views of my all time favorite room.

home series 001

This room is usually toy free…it is where we enjoy our meals and can sit with no distractions. The low lighting of the lamps are perfect for cozy.

home series 002

I believe fresh flowers are wonderful and I don’t put them out enough. So, ladies, next time you make a trip to the store…treat yourself to a fresh bouquet. It will really add freshness to the room.

home series 010

Nothing says country like an embroidered pillow thrown in an old chair…

home series 015

I also like to change up my decor with the seasons…

home series 014

This is our Wedding Sampler located in our bedroom…Genesis 2:24. Hanging below is an antique towel rack I use for my necklaces.

Antique towel rack used as for necklaces...

So, there is a taste of some of my favorites. What do you like about your own home? We spend our days worrying about what is not right. Take today to think about the things you love and what God has blessed you with in your home.

A Taste of Home- This post!
Why Order Is Important- upcoming
The Piece That Holds It All Together- upcoming

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Order In the Home

I hope since my last post you had a chance to check out Fly Lady. My home was never in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). But Fly Lady’s routines were right up my alley. I love schedule and routine. Since having children, there have been a little fewer schedules and a lot more routine. I believe routine is pertinent for the development of anything, but flexibility is just as important for our mental sanity. (That’s another post for another day.) My purpose today is to talk about how we can handle our weekly chores.

Explaining weekly chores requires a little bit of explanation about our day. It is very important for Mommy, especially Stay at Home Mommy to be up and at it before anyone else in the house. (If not, Mommy may not get a shower…I know we’ve all been there. And please don’t forget to brush your teeth.) On an ideal day, my day starts between 5:30 and 6:00. I use this time to shower and get myself ready, clean my bathroom, iron Big Daddy’s clothes for the day, and make my bed. On my better days this is when I exercise or read for the day.

I have a few chores that I complete daily. Obviously, staying home means dear ol’ kitchen is cleaned around three times a day. Other daily chores include kitty litter, sweeping the wood floors, and whatever Fly Lady Zone I’m working in. (The daily chore from Fly Lady divides your home into zones. You work on one zone per week leaving no need for spring-cleaning. This coming week we’ll be in the kitchen.) Another daily thing for any mommy wanting to keep her home clear of clutter is a pick-up. Often pick-ups seem overwhelming but if everything has a place this should only take 5-10 minutes. I usually do this twice a day. Once in the morning and once before the kids go to bed while they are doing toy pick up. I also try to do small pick ups throughout the day just to maintain some kind of control.

Now to those pesky weekly chores, this is what my weekly chores look like:


I can’t imagine trying to do all my chores in one day with two toddlers. I remember my mom worked and we usually had a cleaning day. That was when I was older and there was only one child. I know for me things changed a lot from even one to two. I also can’t imagine what it will be like as our toddler and preschool world grows. I do know without some sort of routine, CHAOS will wreak havoc.

I try to finish all my daily and weekly chores by 9:30 and 10:00AM so that I am available for my babies…the real reason I’m present in this home. Besides, with potty breaks, diaper changes, meals, and squabbles…I really don’t have time for housework to be in my way!

I really hope this is as informational, (and maybe even a little inspirational), as I want it to be. I believe we can all have more peace when there is order around us. There are more posts to come, including the favorite things about my home, why I think order is important, and maybe even…my least favorite things about my home. I know many of you mommies are a few years ahead of me on this game…so, please, any tips you would like to share would be great! Let me know if you have any other ideas or questions about having a clean and quiet home.

Order in the Home- This post!
A Taste of Home- upcoming
Why Order Is Important- upcoming
The Piece That Holds It All Together- upcoming

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Home Series

The vision I have for my home is one of calm and control…two things that have not been in existence for almost a month now…let me quote a recent Facebook status: “After a month of birthdays, a funeral 2 3-day trips, two rounds of a weeks worth of poo, a yard sale, and changing out closets for the season... I’ve made an attempt to get this house under some kind of control. After replacing an entire shelf of books back on the book shelf, I walked over a container of dumped out crayons, passed a bowl of cheerios dumped in the kitchen floor, made myself a warm beverage and for the first time sent my kids to their rooms and said, I need a minute.” Because I did, I needed a minute. I needed an hour…or two. I wanted someone to just come get them so I could get this place back to a clean slate. I seriously almost started crying when J.J. sat down, dumped the Cheerios in the floor, and in the back ground I heard Lily wanting me to change her shirt because she dropped yogurt on it.

Today…I have found peace in a clean home. And I have decided with the beginning of my favorite season and the month of October, I will share a little taste of home. How do things work around here? What are some of my favorite things about home? Why do I think calm and control are so important?

Along with this little series of posts, I’m going to do a Daily Do on my Facebook page for one week…not on a blog page but that little Facebook badge down there on your right. If you are not already, “friend” me to get the “To Do’s.”

The list of chores I give you will help put you ahead where you will never have to spring clean your home! Each day you will do something small to get yourself a step ahead of the game. Several months ago I became acquainted with FlyLady. It didn’t take long for her 20 trillion emails to overwhelm my account and I signed off. I believe I have found a method that will help calm the email chaos and want to share the love with you. I’ll handle the emails and will post my daily “To Do’s” for you so you don’t have to check it out. Rather than using the email method, following FlyLady on Twitter or Facebook allows you to choose what you want to read without taking too much time and space with your email account.

I do suggest checking out FlyLady to learn about shining your sink and 15 minute clean ups.

I look forward to getting a handle on all the messes with you! Stay tuned for my upcoming post about how I handle daily and weekly chores.

The Home Series - This post
Order in the Home- upcoming
A Taste of Home- upcoming
Why Order Is Important- upcoming
The Piece That Holds It All Together- upcoming