Posts by Stephanie :

Looking for Beautiful!

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Today I was at Church and there was reading from St. Paul (to the Philippians if you are wondering) that really touch my heart! So I will quote it for you:

“whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worth praise, think about these things. Keep doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the peace of God will be with you.” Phil 4: 8-9

Wow! What a message. To me, hearing that we are to look for the beauty, joy, and goodness is life is a lesson in letting go. Letting go of fear, of guilt, and of comparisons to others. Good things come from God and we are constantly being blessed with moments of goodness, but so often those moments are swallowed by the fear we encounter in life and online. Do you ever read an article online that just makes you feel like we are all going to die and there is no way you could ever protect your kids? (Yes? Me too! Hello Ebola). When I start to focus on these things, they grow to crazy HUGE worries that start to cripple me. I just want to take my husband and kids, hunker down into a hole, and never leave (kidnapping, sickness, fire, gunmen……the list of worries way too long sometimes). But what does that do for your life, for your faith, for your peace…..NOTHING! When we find something horrible it is crazy easy to hang onto it.

However, I have noticed when we find something amazing and beautiful, we are quick to see it and move on. Why? I know that this is not just me. Take a look at anything in the media. The nurse that adopted the son of her cancer patient and took them both to live with her family while the patient is sick…….beautiful. We heard about her and then she was gone. But the Ebola scare…..while real……is EVERYWHERE and endless. It gets in your head and never goes away. Now every time your kids sniffles, you are certain they are going to die! (Ok maybe not you…..but me maybe) 😉 How much would life change if we merely acknowledge the bad things, and focus instead on the good. I am not totally unrealistic. It is good to understand, and analyze the bad things so we can move past them and even end them. It is good to understand the dangers that are there, but there comes a point where those things can be over exploited. Why don’t we hear more about how the doctors are working to find new ways to try and end sickness? Why don’t we hear more about the deeds of the soldiers who are stopping attacks in the Middles East? Why don’t we hear more about the good? And why do we not look for it?

We should and must see the good. We need to find the blessings and joys. Find Honor and Justice and Excellence! What a change we would all feel! I believe that the word in the bible was PEACE. Don’t we all want that? Peace that God is overseeing it all and has his hand in all parts of life. He is protecting and guiding, even through the bad things. When we can look for the beauty, we can better see God and when we see God we can allow ourselves to be free. And with freedom comes peace. We are enough, we are safe in his care, and we are loved. This is the legacy I want to leave my kids. Educations is important, money is necessary, but the knowledge of how to find beauty, to find God, in every part of life is the best thing I can think to pass on to them. I want them to find beauty even in the hardest, most challenging part of life. There is always some tiny scrap of beauty to find, even in the darkest places. So look for those things, think about them, reflect on them and find peace!

What about you? Do you think that good is found everywhere? Is it something we need to focus on more?

When We Feel Things Deeply

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Last October, my brother broke his ankle. Not just a little bit……like shattered it! He needed surgery and got a plate and seven screws! It took months to recover and lots of family support. Well recently, he was having pain again, and after some investigation, the doctor discovered that the bone was growing around the plate and causing pain! Ugh. So he got to have another surgery…..and that was today. I was at my mom’s with the kids (substitute teaching…..homeschool style) and helping make sure that everyone had help where they needed it. And the day was just a little crazy……seriously! Everyone was having issues randomly! And I just couldn’t understand what was going on. Even Pup and my little sister (who is the same age) who usually run off to play, just weren’t. Then, my brother got home and people went nuts…..it was like a celebrity was returing home ( yes I had my camera and was the paparazzi)! There was a flurry of activity and excited chatter as we got him on the bed and stuffed with pillows and packed with ice. All the while, the little girls were sitting near by watching him very intently. When the activity calmed down, my mom looked at the girls and told them that they could hug my brother. They were scared at first, but they did! When my little sister hugged him she burst into laughing tears (you know…..where you are laughing and crying at the same time?). It was then that I realized that the poor buggers were scared, unsure of how he would be, and worried about what would happen. Suddenly it all clicked. The kids were all worried……and when people are worried they don’t always operate at their best. And I think that was going on. Even at young ages kids can and are very capable of understanding when something is not right. They pick up on the tensions and the stress that flows around difficult situations. They don’t often tell us their thoughts and so as adults we think that they live in the happy bliss of not knowing. In reality, they do know, even without total understanding. Kids often don’t have the words to express their feeling so they just let it out……in ways that we don’t always appreciate! 🙂 It is always interesting to me to see behavior is a new way…..or to see it for what it is. I was really frustrated with my kids (and siblings at some points) and now I see that they were all waiting and worried…..not just being a pain. So here is a lesson for me…..sometimes bad behavior is just deep feelings, being felt deeply, by deeply beautiful people!

Have you ever noticed something like this with your kids? Do they seem to get mean when things are hard?

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Time to Stop Gawking…..Seriously!

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Sometime too much of a good thing is bad and sometimes too much of a bad thing is good! Everything in life is all about balance. Balancing out the good things with the less good things and making it all work out. Sometimes I find that without the proper balance in life, things seem to get really hard……really stressful. And that is something that pulls everything down in your own little world. And when your own little world is a hot mess, everything else seems to be too! The schedule doesn’t work out, the kids seem out of control, and laundry……well it never seems to get done unless someone needs jeans RIGHT NOW! (Not that I have any experience with this at all). It is just so easy to sit. Sit on the computer, sit on our phones, sit in front of the tv…….and all this sitting is good…….but too much is bad. On top of that, when people get stressed they tend to jump into some unhealthy things……..like overeating (again I am sure there is no personal experience here). Sure, this all very old information and pretty common knowledge right? And yet don’t we all keep doing it to a certain extent?

Ok……maybe not you, but I do. In fact I am sitting here right now. When did I decide that this is how I wanted to spend my days? Oh it’s not that I don’t do anything or that I am somehow not busy, but it seems that I am so busy that sitting feels so good, and I can sit my whole free day away. Yikes! When that happens, I inevitably feel the pull of guilt later in evening of all the things I meant to do or wanted to do but didn’t. I wanted to clean out that cupboard (you know the one with the containers falling out every time you look at it funny) or I wanted to take a walk with the girls (even if they didn’t want to go anyway) or even to do that craft project that I found on pintrest that looked amazing (if I am really honest I should do some exercising too). I find so often that I sit. The girls tell me I do it all the time, “Mom you are always on the computer”. And my excuse is that everyone is posting new things and awesome thoughts that I just have to read…..but do I really? No (not that all of you bloggers out there aren’t amazing and totally interesting). When did my happily ever after become reading about someone else’s?

You see, I love to see what friends are up to, and what insightful post that blogger wrote, and those things are good……but too much of it is bad. Connecting is powerful thing, but only if the connections are personal. Reading about someone’s day or seeing someone’s pictures is fun, but it can only be called connecting when you comment or talk or somehow share your thoughts with the person whose work you are viewing. Otherwise it is just gawking. And unfortunately most of my viewing is that. I don’t comment much (I am lazy people…….seriously! I love you all, but sometimes I am lazy) and I am notorious for following a blogger and never saying a word (and being a blogger I know that this is really rude……even when there is like 100 comments, you still appreciate comment 101). So I am not connecting with the world. I am too busy gawking to connect with my kids. And what does that really give me…….not much. I am becoming a passive observer of life rather than an active participant. Bottom line is that I need to change how I am……no more random sitting and not staying focused (see the post before this one on that) and more real connecting. If you comment, I will answer. I will like photos you post, and share love on posts I read! I will talk to my kids more and watch the computer less. I will make sure that they see me loving and connecting with them. I will get up and be an active part of my happily ever after and a less passive observer of it all! This our one chance to be everything that we want to be, so why waste it all gawking? Connect…..for real time……not just screen time!

What do you think? Weigh in! Is internet making us more or less connected?

A is for…………

Today is the first day of the Photo a Day Challenge over at Fat Mum Slim. This month she is doing one letter of the alphabet a day. I love this idea! It not only fun for me to get me taking pictures everyday, but I can do it with the girls! We are all going to do this together! What a fun way to connect and play together. My goal is to finish and have fun with it…..with my girls! I will not post all of them here! Follow along on Instagram to see them all!  Here are the pictures for A:

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Here is Bunny’s Picture:
A is for Apple Cider and Apple Pie

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Why Stay at Home?

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Today I read a post by Danielle at Today’s the Best Day about being a stay at home mom. She shared her reasons for dropping her career and becoming a stay at home mom. It made me think about why I stay home. Like she says in her post, I HATE the mommmy wars. There is no one right way to parent or live as a family. We are all doing our very best for our kids and my best wont be yours! What we do here, may never work at your house and that is perfect! If we could all do the same thing, then the world would never work at all. For me, I never had a real career and my plan was always to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to see my little people grow from itty bitty babies to the young women they will become. I want to see their happy smiles, their moments of discovery, and to help them through the hard times. I want to laught with them, and cry with them. They are part of me and my husband and I want them to be a part of our life. I even went father with this idea them some people and kept them home to homeschool them. We are now learning together and becoming better people together too. For me it is a blessing to be a mom at home. This is what I remind myself of when the days are hard and the insecurities set it. I am not perfect and they know that! We have times when I feel like I am bombing it pretty badly and that being home doesn’t make me a productive person. I yell and they get snippy with me (and each other). And I feel awful when I spend more time on the computer then I should. But what I am learning is we are working together on this. They see me loose it , but they also see me apologize. We can work on changing tones of voice and the way we respond to each other moment by moment. We work on it all day, not just bit by bit when they get home from school! I am in the thick of it all the time and as my mom always told us, if you cant be nice to everyone a home, you cant be nice to other people! So we work……some days we work harder then others! But we are also happy! Isnt that what life is really truly about though? Living together, working to be better, and learning all the way? It is the thought that keeps me going day by day, and even without a paycheck, I feel like this is a gift I am giving to my girls and to the community. I am giving them a chance to be kind, real, able to think outside of the typical ideas, and to know how to better themselves. It is not an instant process, it is a long one, and I am blessed!

What about you? Do you stay home? Why do you do what you do?

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No More Stuff!!!!

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My husband and I started a new company this summer that allows the people in our local area to recycle their brush and other yard waste. With this new venture come some days that need someone to work and that worker is me! The property that we have is pretty wide open with lots of space for material to come in and a cute little shed for an office that is now doubling as a school room a couple days a week! Since it is a start up the business is a little slow……which can be a blessing and a curse!  It leaves us lots of time to do school work and lots of time for them to wander and explorer without reserve! While we are out there, we have very little stuff. Everything we need we have to bring with us, so we keep it simple. The have their bikes, their school work, some games, and a swing set……and they are happy! They are active, and creative, and having big adventures…….after school of course. What I am learning is that less is more. I am sure that a lot of you heard about the mom who took all of her kids stuff away and didn’t give it back. She was fed up with her kids attiudues and inablilty to be happy with what they had. So she lost it a bit and took their stuff away. And they helped her! The after math was that they were happy with just a few things. It turns out that this has been true here to! With less things, less tv, and less of everything, they are free to jump into longer deep play, which in my humble opinon is totally crucial to the metal health of kids……heck of anyone! They have time to be board…..which allows them to find new things that they may not have found interesting before. And they have time to get dirty…..really dirty! All of this freedom and simplicity has brought me to wonder, what do we accomplish when we are able to really focus because we have less? Less stuff, less stress, and less distractions. People seem to accomplish so much more, work is so much better, and life is so much happier. Less stuff takes the pressure off of us to multi task as much as we do. For example, as I write this I am watching tv, talking to my husband here and there, answering random texts, and of course writing……how much better would this be if I stop doing 20 things? Well probably a lot! 😉 If I don’t have the tv, or the internet, or the messy house to clean up, then I may be able to concentrate better on writing a properly spelled and grammatically correct post! You see I have spent a lot of time cultivating concentration in my kids, and sometimes I don’t really model that. I wonder what would happen if I was able to stop and think a little deep, work a little hard, and play a little more attentively. Would life get better? Would my mind be sharper? My body happier? Hmmmm……less and more. I wonder if I can do it. Can I be more focused on one task at a time? So I thought that this would be my challenge…..focus on the task at hand 100%. Next week I will write up a post to let you know how it goes! Wish me luck!

What do you think? Will it help? Want to join me for the week?

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Fall~ NOW it is pumpkin time!

So here it is! What do you think? Do you like the new blog layout and style? I hope so. My dear brother has been encouraging and helping this along! I am loving the new colors and I hope you do too!

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This week was the long awaited first day of fall. To be honest, it is something that I neither look forward to nor really dread. I love all the seasons and frankly when they are timely they all bring some joy! Who can resist snowflakes falling gently on a hill while you sled and kids covered in piles of auburn leaves? No one, right?! Who can resist Popsicle on a pool filled day or the bright new green of spring leaves in the sun! Each season is awesome……but only when they come in their time. Everything seems to start soon and end sooner then ever! I get especially bugged this time of year. Pumpkin lattes in August……no thank you! I am one who staunchly refuses to make pumpkin treats before fall and to put up my Christmas decorations before December! I will not carve a jack-o-lantern before October and I dont start pulling out green until March. What is the point of rushing things along? After all the feel of the season comes with the actual weather that is part of it! Pumpkin farms when its 80 degrees are not fun!  The beach when it is 50 degrees can be fun(…..but only because I love the water). Its way too cold to enjoy! Rushing things along never really makes them better. You cant force things to make them happen faster…..as much as we (me included) would prefer it. Hmmmm…this is a really important thing. Happy moments, sad moments, and life really, happens only in its time. As much as we try we cannot force it along, we cant. Enjoying your life, your happily ever after starts with loving your daily small moments. If we wish moments away by trying to move life along faster, all we get is a life waiting for happy instead of a life full of happiness! So choose happy and slow down…..after all there will still be pumpkin lattes in November (and I will let  you in on a little secret…….they sell pumpkin all year long at the store, so you can make a sneaky treat in May too! Shhhhhh).

Where was your happy moment today? Was it a pumpkin latte? 😉

Sept. 24, 20141 Sept. 24, 201419(Here is Bunny’s Fall Pumpkin Stand she made to honor the season!)

Coming Back with a Bang!

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Well everyone, I am going to restarting this blog, giving it a new face, and some new content! I have decided that I don’t want to be solely an education blogger. I want to be a life blogger. SOOOOOO…..this is going to change quite a bit. It is going to be about me, my life with my family, and my certainty of life with a happily ever after (and maybe the not so happily ever after too). I hope you stay with me though this transition, but if you are looking for Montessori inspiration or early childhood play ideas……I may not be your girl. But if you are still remotely interested in us here, then stick around! Its gonna be fun!

Working a New Plan

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School has been very simple here of late. We have transferred out of Montessori work almost completely. Pup still does a bit here and there, like the hundreds board or the golden bead…..but really just to illustrate a point in the book we are learning from. She is as happy as can be learning Math from a book and so far she is doing amazingly! I am keeping a close eye on how well she is grasping the concepts, but so far she picking them up and able to use them at any moment! I am using the Orange Book from the Miquon Math series for her. Plus we have our large assortment of Cusinarie Rods that she uses daily with that. This year Pup is learning to read and with Bunny having such a hard time, I decided that I needed to have a program for Pup. We started All About Reading level 1 with her and she is doing great! She loves the readers and the games, an I am loving the short sweet lessons! 🙂 Another thing that we are doing this year is some at home religion instruction. For pup we are using the Image of God series book for Kindergarten. She loves it, I love it……what else can I say! 😉 Science has been a bit of an issue for me. I cant find a program that I really like and so far we are hanging in limbo. Right now our science is all about watching the monarch caterplillars we have turn into butterflies! Super cool and super fun, but we are just about done there. After that I am not quite sure yet!

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Bunny’s work is much the same as last years. We are using First Language Lessons for grammar and this year we are in the third grade book. She doesn’t love it and she doesn’t hate it……for grammar its good! I like that it focuses on the parts of a sentence much like the Montessori grammar boxes…..but without all the cutting. 🙂 For math she will be finishing up the Miquon Series. We are in the green book now, and she still loves it! She was able to pick it right back up after a summer off and keep going! She has a good head for math and this program allows that to shine. I got her a reading program this year as well. All About Reading Level 2 was supposed to be summer work, but we didn’t get to it! lol. So instead we are doing it now. This summer was epic because she started reading for real! She can read books on her own and I couldn’t be happier. If you have followed along here for a while you know that this has been a struggle years in the process! So the reading program is easy for here, but the tools they teach is worth going through for her. Spelling is All About Spelling level 2 (and hopefully 3) this year. We are moving ahead with that and it is working out……if its not broke don’t fix it right!?! History is Story of the World 2. She loves reading this and I love she is into history. I got the activity book, but aside from coloring pages, we don’t get to much of it. However, she is retaining it and loving it. Pup joins in on this too. Religion for Bunny is Faith and Life Series for third grade. We just read and discuss. She seems to like it and it does get us talking about stuff we may not have other wise gotten to, like prophets or angels. Science wise I am in the same boat as with Pup. Nothing is really jumping out as something that will work for us. I don’t want to focus on just one thing the whole year ( I think that they will hate it) so I am looking for something that touches on some of the main areas of science (chemistry, physics, geology, etc). I am will keep looking, but until then there is butterflies! 🙂

So there you have it! Simple, Sweet, Effective. This is our plan for the year! We are doing an art class with our homeschool group once a month and things like that, so there is other add ons, but this is the spine of our work this year! SO share some thoughts. What you doing? Did you stick to your stuff from last year or change it all up? I would love to hear what you are doing (especially for science)! 🙂

Back To It Week!

Hello! Anyone there? Boy I hope so! It has been a million years since I wrote anything and SO much has happened! I was thinking about giving up blogging but I found that I miss it. Part of me has been confused about what to write since we are not doing a lot of Montessori work anymore. But then I figured that you will care about us….not just our schooling method! So here we are! Back to blogging, back to school (today is the first day), and back to sharing ideas! I hope you feel free to join us on our life adventure! As always I wanted to share what we are learning about this school year, what our space looks like (it is  ever evolving), and how we are changing! So, I will start with the grand tour of our basement! It will look pretty similar to last years, but there are some changes! So jump right in and let me know what you think of it all! We put all of our chairs together to make a couch (every homeschool family needs a couch) we also made the small work shelf a book shelf. Finally we have the new green crates to hold the girls books. We are going to need these since I am working for e our business two days a week and we are going to be there (more pictures of that space later)! So far it is working out for us. You do see a few bits of Montessori since it is dear to my heart (plus Pup is still going to use a few math materials). I hope you enjoyed the tour. Stop back for more about our plan for the year later this week! Happy Schooling Everyone!

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