Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Mother’s REAL “To-Do” List

Crash at the end of the day

Here’s what a typical mom’s “To-Do” list might look like:

  • Read the Bible
  • Vacuum the van
  • Get caught up on laundry
  • Water the plants
  • Return merchandise to the store
  • Call Betsy
  • Take the kids to the dentist
  • Thaw meat for tomorrow
  • Look into family vacation options
  • Plan meals for tomorrow’s grocery shopping

Here is how a mom’s REAL “To-Do” list looks:

  • Read the Bible and get interrupted by a waking child
  • Wipe up the spill in the kitchen
  • Answer the 1,000th question for the day
  • Clean up the mess the kids made and/or train them to do it!
  • Wrack your brain to figure out what you are making for each meal, as your child asks you what’s for snack because he’s hungry
  • Break up the kids’ squabble
  • Quickly dump a load in the washer because someone doesn’t have any more clean underwear
  • Muster up the energy to make a dinner that some people in the house won’t appreciate or even like
  • Scurry to the dentist while holding the Velcro toddler
  • Ax some many of the things on today’s “To-Do” list because they just.aren’ done.
  • Crash at the end of the day and hope you have strength to do it all again tomorrow.

Yes, it’s true.  Oftentimes we have big goals and dreams for our days, and things just don’t get done.

When making, doing, and then evaluating our “To-Do” lists at the end of the day, we must remember these things:

We will not get everything done.
We must prioritize.
We must be flexible.
We must do our best to follow God in calmness and godliness.
We must keep relationship first!

Be encouraged, moms!  Do your best and let God do the rest!

Love your children and enjoy the life God has given you!

Monday, June 24, 2013

It Takes Work to See God


It doesn’t take work to see imperfection and sinfulness.

Relational havoc.
Natural disasters.
Sex trafficking.
Corrupt political leaders and laws.
Fallen ministries.

It doesn't take much to see sin and the enemy at work.

In the midst of it all, people say, "Where is God?". I admit; there are times when I have even said it myself.  However, we know right where God is - seated in His throne, watching over the sons of men, waiting for them to recognize Him, seek Him, and give Him glory.

The truth is - if you want to see God, you must seek Him.

The Bible says, "Seek me and you will find Me". 

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

We don't have to seek sin, trouble, or the devil's works.  They are continually before us in this fallen world, a type of world God didn't intend.  He made a people for Himself and they abandoned ship, rebelled, went their own way...

Are you hoping to see God?  Do you want to see Him?

Then seek Him.

Seek Him and you will find Him.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What to Do with Your Summer

Brian ziplining - blog

Now that I’ve established that it’s okay to take a summer break when you homeschool, your brain may be burning lots of fuel as you think about all of the grand possibilities for your extra time!

Here are some of my ideas:

  • Household projects.  Spring cleaning galore.  Deep down cleaning of windows, baseboards, cars, garage, whatever!  Remodel or redecorate a room.  Organize cabinets and closets.  Declutter!
  • Outdoor work.  If you like to plant flowers or a vegetable garden, the warmer weather provides ample opportunity for taking care of your landscaping.
  • Outdoor play.  Bike riding, picnics, swimming, canoeing . . .
  • Vacation.  Don’t forget the value of day trips!
  • Spend more time with family and friends. Make a list of the people you would like to see more often this summer and make goals so these desires don’t get lost in the shuffle.
  • Put away last year’s school stuff.  File away the important papers.  Get rid of the rest.  Record grades.
  • Prep for the new school year. Order curriculum. Make a schedule for your days, weeks, and/or year.  Set goals for learning and field trips.
  • Spend a lot of time with your kids!  Make memories!
  • Make a bucket list for each family member.  Find out what your husband’s and children’s goals are as well and do the best you can to fulfill some of everyone’s wishes.

Have a great summer!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

To School or Not to School Throughout the Summer?


When my children were younger, we schooled all year round.  Schooling year-round enabled us to be more flexible throughout the year, and I appreciated that!  When we did school in the summer, we mainly did core subjects, like math and English.  It was a lighter schedule, but it was still year-round, so we never really had the mental break from school.

As my children are growing, along with their workloads (and mine!), I see the blessing of having more of a summer break.  All of us feel the need for a break, and I need more time to recharge and regroup.

Our current school habits combine the best of both worlds – taking a good, long break for a while, but also doing some school throughout the summer to keep brains fresh.

When planning your school year and summer, consider the following:

Taking a longer break after finishing a year celebrates your accomplishments!  You and your family will feel a big relief and “hurray” and appreciate a longer break to rejuvenate.

Think about doing light school in the summer, with a certain amount of time totally off – not three months.  When people usually think of summer break, they think of “all or nothing”.  You don’t have to finish one year on June 16 and start the new one after Labor Day.  You can take June, July, and August mostly off with the month of July completely off, for instance.

Doing some school in the summer can help your days and your children.  A bit of schoolwork provides some discipline and structure, encouraging thinking skills and progress in curriculum.

Simplifying and/or eliminating school in the summer gives Mom and kids a much-needed break!  When the warmer days hit, after several months of grinding at the wheel, our motivation dwindles.  We are ready for some relaxation, enjoyment, and a change of pace.

One huge benefit to a summer break - Mom doesn’t have the pressure of school weighing over her head and can focus on other homemaking tasks and goals with her kids.

Want some ideas for occupying your summer days?
Stay tuned for my next post.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Fruit-Infused Water and Pitcher

Strawberry-Lemon-Mint Water

Perhaps you’ve seen it introducing itself around the internet, “Fruit-infused water”.

I first ran into the novelty on Pinterest last year and tried an interesting mix of cucumber, lemon, and mint, otherwise known as “Sassy Water”.

When I started my relationship with flavored water, I did not own this beautiful pitcher I now possess – the Takeya drink maker 2 quart pitcher with fruit infuser basket. I love it!  It keeps the food items in and out of your water, at the same time.

You can try all sorts of mixtures:

  • Strawberry, lemon, mint
  • Raspberry, lime
  • Apple, pear, ginger
  • Orange, lime, lemon

Even if you don’t have a fruit-infuser basket for your pitcher, you can still try making your own delicious, healthful concoctions!

You can find these types of pitchers at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Costco, and other fine stores.  Takeya also has its own web site.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Making the Best of Family Vacations


Recently my husband and I took the family on vacation.  We were feeling desperate for vacation.  We pictured blue skies, sunshine, and the two of us, alone, on a secluded island with some good books.  Well, not exactly, but I think you get the gist.

We were quickly reminded that we had four children who were on vacation too.

"What are we doing today?"
"Can we go swimming?"
"I'm hungry."
"I'm bored."

Ugh... so much for vacation, at least that's what part of me thought.

Family vacations can be tough, especially if we have the wrong expectations. 

Here are some things to consider to help make the best of your family vacation:

#1 A family vacation is just that.... a FAMILY vacation.  It's not a second or third or whatever number honeymoon for you and the hubby.  Remember that you have people with you who have needs and desires of their own.

#2 You are building memories for your children and for your family!  Family vacations are etched into the fiber of our beings.  I remember camping with my family, taking a long tour out West to see the Grand Canyon, the Badlands, the Painted Desert, and other wonderful attractions, seeing Niagara Falls, and more!  Family vacations strengthen bonds and create memories.

#3 Try to get some alone time, by yourself or with your husband.  Put a good movie on for the kids.  Take turns with your hubby, watching the kids for each other so you can have some quiet or alone time.  Go to bed later than the children.  Think of ways you can regroup personally and also as a couple.

#4 Try to consider everyone's desires when planning events. Sometimes it will require sacrifice for some people.  That's ok.  Reward them with something they want to do later.  Make the vacation pleasant for everyone.

#5  Have fun!  Even if the vacation is different than you expected.  Do your best to relax and enjoy yourself.