Friday, March 28, 2014

Where Have I Been

One of my summer classes, along with a cup of sweet tea.

I have spent the last year attending Liberty University Online AND homeschooling my three children. I take 3 classes for 8 weeks at a time, twice in a standard semester. That's a total of 6 classes in the Fall and Spring. I have even taken classes during the summer semester.

Rationally, I should be exhausted most of the time. However, I'm not. I have a week when overwhelmed from time to time. I have a day or two when I cannot focus on regular homeschool, but overall we are still on track for everything.

How is this possible?
By God and those He has placed in my life.  It is by only Him that I'm not mentally and physically overwhelmed all the time.

Support System
On days when I have papers due and our homeschool is ahead, Mrs. Sarah (another homeschooling mom who also attends LUO) will trade babysitting duties with me. She is a true God-sent-friend because I can ask her to watch the kids during appointments and on days when I need to run errands but don't want to drag the kids everywhere. I will do the same for her. We can talk about anything.  She and I will spend hours talking about life, kids, Jesus, husbands, and Army life. We are both Army wives. We share a lifestyle that is unique and that makes our friendship stronger.

My husband is a HUGE help as well. There are days when I have to finish homework and he will take care of the kids once he is off work. He helps me by proof reading my papers because I tend to think faster than I type. He also listens when I'm starting to stress. As a man, his natural tendency is to "fix" things. Many times he offers ideas and suggestions for schedule changes that I had not considered.
My kids are a help to me as well. I'm an education major. When I have an assignment that involves lesson planning or creative learning, I test it on my three children. My kids are all combinations of the different types of learners (kinesthetic, audio, visual, and a mix). They enjoy it because they are leaning and helping mom!

Daily Life
Routines are very important.  I am not the type to schedule hourly like typical schools. (See my future post about why hourly scheduling does work for me.) I am more of a right-brain thinker and I get these "creative whims."

For our homeschooling, we do a Montessori inspired approach.  I present information to the children, and then they dig deeper into the subjects they like most.  They learn all of the required materials but the passion for a deeper learning takes place based upon their interests. (I will write more about this at a later time.) 

When do I do my school work? 
Usually in the afternoons, evenings, and nights. If it is a week when I have multiple papers due, I will double up on the children's homeschooling for a couple of days then take the nicest day off that week. Then I will call Sarah for reinforcements if I am far behind. (The weather app is a favorite tool.) We placed our trampoline near the kitchen window, so I can watch the kids play while I am researching or writing.

However, the majority of the time I spend working at night. Typically, I'm in bed by midnight, occasionally as late as 2:00AM.  Of course, I am naturally a night owl. I tried waking early to do my work, but I DO NOT MORNINGS! I am not a morning person. I wake up between 7-9AM. We eat breakfast and immediately start school work. If it was a late school night, I am honest with my children, "Mom was up later than usual last night. I need a little more time to wake up and drink another cup of coffee. We are moving sign language/latin to the morning time and math to the afternoon."

How do the kids react?
Most of the time they do not notice, because I am an active part of their lives. I schedule my study times around their lives and activities. I try to work out extra play dates or outings, so that I am filling up their love banks and mommy time.  However, there are times when I say "Sorry. I can't do ______. I have homework that is due." It will bother them. My oldest reacts the worse and complains that he hates it.  I hold him and reassure him that I will make it up to him. I explain to him, that I understand how he feels. (I felt the same way when my mom started back to college when I was in the 4th grade.)  Then I discuss with him, how giving up time now will help years later. We talk about long term goals. (I want to be an online professor. So that after military retirement my husband can enter full time ministry and I can still homeschool my children.) We talk about his goal of going to a military academy or being an scientist. I explain how I am helping him meet those goals now. This provides a bridge for him to understand.

Do I get overwhelmed? 
YES-over time! But it is worth it. My sweet husband will tell me when he thinks I need time away. I have gone over night to ladies retreats or homeschool conferences...alone.  Matthew (DH) knows my heart is for my children and I love to be with them. Being away for more than one night is too much for me, but that one night recharges my battery.  When he is able, he will wake up early on a Saturday to watch the children so I can sleep in. Sometimes I simply go walk around Hobby Lobby without anyone tagging along.  I might go sit at Starbucks for while or meet a friend for dinner.

Hardest Part
The hardest part of being an education major and homeschooling was when I realized I was not teaching to meet the needs of my children.  I was using Abeka and we were struggling. Don't get me wrong I LOVE Abeka's curriculum. I recommend it to those who have children who learn the way it is presented.  Again, let me say THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ABEKA.  It simply did not meet my children's learning style.  My oldest child does not like worksheets or a lot of writing. He likes to talk and do. My daughter is a combination learner, she struggles with math concepts. My youngest is a four-year-old boy who has the nickname "Monkey" for a reason...he never stops moving or climbing!  I started looking at hands-on learning, differentiated instruction, and Montessori.  I could rewrite and change the way that I presented Abeka BUT that would mean I have workbooks that would never get used. So the realization and the change of curriculum was the hardest part of this past year. We are still getting the kinks worked out in our "official" routine.  Once that has happened, I will share how I homeschool in a Montessori inspired environment.

Would I recommend this to others?
I would have not thought I would be doing all of this, with my other obligations not mentioned, as well. However, it was the Lord leading me to go back to college. We do not have a long time left until military retirement. We have 9 years remaining. That may seem like a long time, however, it provides just enough time to be able to prepare for our final goals. If you are feeling the Lord leading you to attend college, then obey His leading and He will be your provider and will sustain you. Take it slow and do only what you KNOW you can handle.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How To Age Copied Paper To Look Antique

I found an old wooden traveling salesman case and thought it would look amazing as spice cabinet. Well the inside wouldn't look attractive with information about earplugs as the background. So I decided to visit the Fort Sill Gift Shop, "The Post Trader" and see what I could find there.  Well I didn't find anything old looking but I did find a cookbook with old Southern recipes in it. {LIGHTBULB}  I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to use it but I knew I wanted it to be part of my spice cabinet. So I took it home and put it with my file of "old cooking info."  In there was also some handouts I received from Mammoth Springs State Park in Arkansas. I sat it aside for a bit then went to get a cup of tea. While folding cloth diapers I spilled some tea on the table and it got on one diaper:  "Oh man this is going to stain!"  {LIGHTBULB} STAIN+TEA=TEA STAIN!!!  Yes, that was a great idea. So I made copies on our printer of the cookbook I just bought. I tested one page to see if the ink would run...NOPE!  SPECTACULAR...I WAS NOW IN BUSINESS.... So here's the steps:

Coffee (Optional)

Cooling rack or old towel
Old rag, heavy duty paper towels, sponge, or sponge paint brush

***ALWAYS DO A TEST RUN FIRST!!! If your printer ink runs, try a friend's printer or a copier.***
1) Boil a pot of tea for 20-30 minutes or longer... WATCH YOUR WATER LEVELS SO YOU DON'T BURN YOUR POT (yes I've done that  

2) Have your papers ready and an area to dry them out. A cooling rack works great or an old towel.

3) Take an old rag, heavy duty paper towels, sponge, sponge paint brush, or you can use the tea bags and dip it in the tea, allowing excess to drip off. (I used the tea bags)

4) Lightly dab the paper with the rag, don't rub it. You are simply dabbing softly to stain the paper. 

5) Allow to dry. This will give you a light tan or gray color.  

6) If you want a darker/more brown paper, add instant or a strong boiled coffee to your tea.  I wanted the more brown/older look, so I added instant coffee to the tea.  This gave me the look I wanted.
 7) When the papers dry you won't be able to see through them like you can in the above picture.

This is what I started with:
Earplug Traveling Salesman Case

Once my papers dried I used "Mod-Podge" to decoupage the inside of the traveling salesman case.
 I decided to mix a little Mod-Podge with about 1/8 of a cup of water, 1 TBS instant coffee then paint over my previous decoupage layer. This is what I ended up with.  I LOVE THIS!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Future spice rack!!!

I am going to be turning this old traveling sales man earplug case into a spice rack.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Check out this Homeschool Curriculum Giveaway From Currclick

This is a GREAT giveaway.....   Homeschoolers check it out.  Montessori based which is GREAT for kids who need more hands-on learning.

Here is the quote from the blog giveaway page: Fa
"Crestview Heights Academy is dedicated to creating high-interest, hands-on materials for active learners. Stephenie McBride, a homeschooling mother of two, is the owner and materials author for the company.

Finding that traditional approaches to education didn't always work for her children, Stephenie set out to create activities that would teach the same concepts with less writing and more fun. The materials cover a range of topics and use various homeschool philosophies, from Montessori to unit study to lapbooks and notebooking. All items are available as pdf downloads from the Crestview Heights Academy store. Click here to checkout her blog! "
 This is a giveaway that everyone should check out!!!!!

Be sure to check them out of Facebook too!

Don't forget to like me on Facebook and to follow my blog!!!   Follow me on Twitter too!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Power of Seven For Homemakers

I was sitting here today content on not doing anything but relaxing. Then rushing around in a messy house later, trying to get everything ready for church tomorrow.  Then I was praying for energy because I'm tired today.  It's like my "get up and go" has "got up and went".   Then I God said "I created and rested in 7 days. What can you do with 7 minutes?"     WOW!  Powerful thought.

What can I do with the next 7 minutes that God gives me?

I'll take the challenge and see....

OK, in that 7 minutes (using the kitchen timer) I was able to put clothes in the dryer, new load in the washer, and swept carper of the movie area of our living room.  (Our living room is a great room divided in half: movie area & homeschool area).  Oh yeah you did read that right... I swept the carpet. My vacuum was broken in a recent move and I'm waiting to get it fixed. However, the sweeping quickly helped pick up my heart rate and I'm not feeling as sluggish. Of course, I was rushing to do as much as I could in 7 minutes. I'm a competitive person so I like a challenge.  My heart will be better now that I've got it pumping faster than if I had sat on the couch "resting".

Now let's see if I what else I can do in 7 minutes...

WOW!  I worked for 14 minutes. My oldest son (5) woke up and wanted to help me clean (RARE). So I kept working.  In the first 7 minutes, I finished sweeping the carpet in the living room, opened the curtains, and swept half the kitchen. In the second 7 minutes, I finished sweeping kitchen and the laundry room, which is behind the kitchen, and we cleaned off the table.

I think I will base my cleaning upon "7".   I have read and used the Flylady system, which is a good system but it doesn't work for moms of little ones. When the kids are awake, 15 minutes is a large amount of time for them to stay busy without bothering mom, whereas, 7 minutes is perfect. If they are loving what they are doing then I can keep going with another 7 minutes giving me 14 minutes total.  I get a better feeling of accomplishment.  However, if I try working for 15 minutes and get interrupted and don't meet my goal I feel like I'm defeated. I see a win-win with 7 minutes.

UPDATE:  I'm able to clean anything even lacking motivation when I tell myself it's only 7 minutes.  To get my house all clean I bounce around between rooms every 7-14 minutes depending upon the task I'm doing.  Plus 7 minutes helps me realize I can quit after the 7 minutes are up. Some days my energy is too gone because I'm feeling ill, one of the kids are sick, or I was up late at night for whatever reason.  The only tasks that I must devote more than 7 minutes to are planning (menu, homeschool, budgeting, etc),  cooking, and doing taxes.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Top Essential Oils That Every Mom Needs

Essential oils have been used for centuries for their healing and relaxation properties. In my search for healthier living, natural remedies, and frugal/natural household recipes I have found the benefits of essential oils. I can't remember if if was my grandmother or great-grandmother who told me "God created everything we need." 

Many essential oils need to be diluted using a carrier oil.  I prefer "pure oils" like almond, extra virgin olive, grapeseed, coconut oil as carrier oils.  Pure oil is a term I use to describe oils that are made from pure natural ingredients. Vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil are not, in my opinion, pure oils because they contain corn, soybean, cottonseed or other plant based materials that are KNOWN to be genetically modified.  Enough long term research has not been done to determine if GM/GMO foods are dangerous to health. It's best to avoid things man created to "improve" God's creation without knowing any negative effects on the body.

Always keep essential oils out of reach of children.  Whenever choosing an essential oil for a treatment have on hand a guide to essential oils (available at any health food store or major bookstore). You can also use the internet for a guide.

*Scientific Name Matters 

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia*):
Strong antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, fungicidal, parasiticide, and expectorant  properties.  Some resources say that tea tree oil is an immono-stimulant.

The benefits of Tea Tree Oil are so numerous that I can't list them all.  This oil is the FIRST that, in my opinion, every mother needs in her medicine cabinet BEFORE commercial first aid products. Only in recent years has the properties been proven scientifically. Tea Tree Oil has been used in Australia for centuries by the Bundjalung people.  (1)

The American Cancer Society reports:  "Tea tree oil is toxic when swallowed. It has been reported to cause drowsiness, confusion, hallucinations, coma, unsteadiness, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach upset, blood cell abnormalities, and severe rashes. It should be kept away from pets and children." (1)  However, many other countries and literature available list Tea Tree Oil as being non-toxic, but can be an skin irritant to some.  My best advice is to avoid ingestion and to use as directed for the use you are needing. I have seen Tea Tree Oil as an ingredient in toothpaste and it has been used in treating periodontal diseases.

The following list is from a new age website. I DO NOT agree or support this website or it's beliefs in ANY way. I believe in Jesus Christ as the ONE and ONLY true God, who created the plants the oils are derived from.  I only reference this site because it has the largest list of conditions the oils will treat. 
Quoted From Earth Child:  "Dandruff, mouthwash, cuts, insect bites, pimples, abscess, acne, athlete's foot, blisters, burns, cold sores, herpes, oily skin, rashes, spots, veruccae, warts, wounds, asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sinusitis, tuberculosis, whooping cough, vaginitis, cystitis, colds, fever, flu, infectious illnesses such as chicken pox. "

Lavender Oil:

The known properties of lavender oil are antiseptic, analgesic, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, bactericide, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrisant, cordial, cytophylactic, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, nervine, rubefacient, sedative, sudorific and vulnerary. (2)

Many consider Lavender to be the first essential oil to purchase. I rank it in TIE FOR FIRST. I think Tea Tree Oil and Lavender should be purchased at the same time. I use both of these in making my baby wipes.  

Lavender is consider to be one of the safest essential oils. But if you have a reaction to it, discontinue use. Caution should be exercised when purchasing lavender so that you are getting lavender NOT LAVANDIN. Lavandin is a weaker oil and should be avoided for home medicinal uses.

Lavender is a calming herb and oil. It has been used to help with fussy babies, ADHD, tension, and relaxation.  It is one of the few essential oils that can be used "neat". Neat meaning this one doesn't NEED to be diluted with an carrier oil.

Quoted from Earth ChildAn excellent first aid oil. It soothes cuts, bruises and insect bites. One of the most versatile therapeutic essence. It is used for nervous system disorders such as depression, headache, hypertension, insomnia, migraine, nervous tension, stress related conditions, PMT, sciatica, shock and vertigo. Lavender is useful in treating skin conditions such as abscesses, acne, allergies, athlete's foot, boils, bruises, burns, dandruff, dermatitis, earache, eczema, inflammations, insect bites and stings, insect repellant, lice, psoriasis, ringworm, scabies, sores, spots, all skin types, sunburn and wounds. Other applications of lavender is for the treatment of disorders such as lumbago, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, sprains, asthma, bronchitis, halitosis, laryngitis, throat infections, whooping cough, abdominal cramps, colic, dyspepsia, flatulence, nausea, cystitis, dysmenorrhoea, leucorrhoea and for flu.

Clove Oil:

Only recently did I had Clove Oil to my medicine cabinet and I wish I would have added it years ago. Recently my oldest son had a toothache. It was a Friday and I couldn't find a dentist who was good with children. It was also late in the afternoon and most businesses were closing. I bought clove oil to get him through the weekend because I read that it was good for toothaches and pain.  IT WORKS.  It's not a cure all so it didn't end the pain, but it stopped it for a period of time.

Clove oil is known as a "analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-neuralgic, carminative, anti-infectious, disinfectant, insecticide, stimulant, stomachic, uterine and tonic."(3)

Precautions: Avoid in pregnancy. Possible irritant to sensitive skin. Do not use on children under age 5.(4)

  • You can add clove oil to your diet as a wonderful health nutrient by mixing ten drops of clove oil in half a glass of warm water. It also refreshes the mind, removes mental fatigue and stress, and results in good sleep; hence it is used to treat insomnia as well.
  • Ingesting it also helps in curing bronchitis, asthma and any other respiratory disorder. It also helps in purifying the blood.
  • Due to its anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties, clove oil is widely used in the treatment of toothaches. Diluted clove oil is applied on the affected areas of the teeth and gums. It gives you immediate relief from the nasty pain that is characteristic of tooth aches and gum sores. It is therefore used to make gum paints and medicated toothpastes as an active ingredient.
  • Clove oil can be used for improving blood circulation. Mix a few drops of oil with sesame oil. Massage gently all over your body till the oil vanishes.
  • It is an excellent pain reliever as well. If you happen to suffer from joint pains, mix a few drops of clove oil with some other essential oils like sesame oil, rosemary oil or lavender essential oil, and massage it on the affected area. It will prove to be highly effective in relieving the pain.
  • Gargling with a few drops of clove oil added to some lukewarm water can also help soothe and heal a sore throat. It also helps in getting rid of bad breath. Due to this property of clove oil, it is used in the making of mouthwash products.
  • Due to its antifungal, antibacterial and stress relieving properties with its specific pleasant aroma, clove oil is added to some bathing soaps.
  • Clove oil is also used in making perfumes and cosmetic products like body lotions and antiseptic beauty creams.
  • These are some of the many uses of clove oil. You should be careful when using this oil as it is very strong; it should be diluted before use. Do consult your health care provider before using it as a treatment for any medical condition.

Patchouli Oil: 

The properties of patchouli oil are antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, deodorant, diuretic, febrifuge, fungicide, insecticide, sedative and tonic. It is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing, but the smell of patchouli oil may be a little persistent for some people and large doses may cause loss of appetite in some individuals. (5)

According to AromaWeb "Unlike most essential oils that oxidize and diminish in therapeutic and aromatic quality over time, Patchouli Essential Oil improves with age like a fine wine."

 The known uses for Patchouli Oil:
Anxiety, allergies, cellulite, dandruff, hypertension, skin conditions (acne, eczema, dermatitis, scaring, wrinkles, soothes inflamed skin, tightens sagging skin, tissue regeneration or fades scars), digestive problems (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting), hemorrhoids, vein tonic, water and fluid retention, weight reduction and wounds.This oil also assimilates toxic material in the body! (6)
 I have used Patchouli and Lavender Oil in my homemade laundry detergent.

Thyme Oil:
The EPA has approved thymol, which is a chemical component in thyme, as a disinfectant. I've use a product for years which is thymol based for disinfecting instead of using bleach or "lysol". I will be searching the internet for thyme oil which has not had any chemical components removed. However, this oil can be toxic if not used properly.  See this TLC link about Aromatherapy for more information about Thyme Oil. 

Other oils I'm considering to add to my medicine cabinet, along with links to show their properties:

Sandalwood: Experience Essential Oils