Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Changing Blog Platforms

I have decided to switch over to Word Press for my blog. So if you have been following me here, switch your reader to the new one, or start following the new one. I'll be working at getting more content and moving some of the posts from this site there. I will still leave this one up as I'm not going to transfer everything onto the new one. So from here on out this will be my new place to blog. Thanks for all your support!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Can you help me out?

I have been looking into some options for ways we can help supplement our homeschool supplies and curriculum. One option requires that I have a certain number of followers on my blog. If you'd be interested in following it or helping me out that would be great! Just go to my blog and click on the follow me button on the right side. Thanks you guys!

A Huge Blessing - Our Homeschool Co-op

It is always amazing to me how the Lord tends to know what I need, even better than I do myself. Around the middle of last year I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with homeschooling and needed some support.  I had great friends who were supportive, but I really needed someone to talk to that understood the unique situations to homeschooling.  I ended up pouring my heart out in prayer one night, asking the Lord to help me find someone that understood, and could be supportive.  Two days later in church, out of the blue, I had a lady come up to me and said, "I hear that you're homeschooling? I homeschooled all of my children for years." 

I had never had such a direct, fast answer to a prayer. I was so emotional.  We talked for a bit, and she gave me some great resources and ideas to find some connections with other homeschoolers. I soon joined some online support networks, and it wasn't long till a mom posted that she was soon moving to Provo, starting her homeschool journey and was looking for some other moms to meet.  She lived right in my neighborhood. We connected, and the Lord has opened up doors and opportunities since that has been unbelievable.  

I slowly started to get to know this mom better, who introduced me to some of her friends. By the end of the summer three of us had decided we needed to form our own co-op.  We were led to two other amazing mothers and before we know it we had it all set up, planned and having been enjoying the ride ever since.

One day a week we get together. Here is a rough look at our schedule. Although we don't follow it exactly we still keep the same structure.

10:30: Meet and get started - Devotional together
11:00 - 12:00: First Class
12:00-12:30: Lunch
12:30 - 1:30 Second Class or clubs
1:30 - break up: Free time, play, go to the park if good weather, sit around chat with the other moms.

It eventually breaks up when we feel we can pull ourselves away from each other in time to make it home to throw dinner in. We started out with 5 families and right now are currently at 4. We take turns teaching and have the kids divided up into 2-3 groups depending on the subject. We have our littles class which is preschool - kindergarten ages, and then our other group is children 7-11. We have a nice variety of ages, a good mix of boys to girls.

Here the little class is trying sushi and chopsticks for the first time based on their lesson about Ping from the FIAR curriculum which we decided to do for this semester.  We've had history classes looking through cultural cases from the BYU Museum of People and Cultures. It's a large trunk filled with artifacts, activities, and information from various cultures and civilizations.  They are really awesome. Our only regret was not extending each culture out for a couple of weeks so we could do the activities, as well as go through all the great artifacts from the culture.

We've had science classes, creative writing class, history on famous Americans, and art classes. This photo was our day of shooting off our volcanoes we created for science.  Right now we are trying to incorporate some more club type of classes that the children' can choose from or help teach. Things like cooking, legos, crochet, board games, outdoor games, dancing, balloon tying, cake decorating, etc.

This experience has been so amazing for me.  Not only has my children benefited from knowing and being around other families that have chosen to homeschool. But they are making strong friendships with both the other mom's and children. They are learning, having lots of fun, and being built up by some amazing families. It has been great to see my kids do work and write for these other moms when it is a subject that they would fight me about.

I personally have gotten so much from the co-op. It has truly been what I have needed. Friends that I can talk to about the various aspects of homeschooling and life. I feel like my own education has grown as I've learned from the skills and talents that these ladies have. These moms are doing things for the right reasons, and are so focused on following the Lord's will for their kids, that it's inspiring.  They have impacted me in ways that I won't be able to ever forget them, nor will I be the same person I was before I had known them.

I love it when Thursdays roll around.  I get to leave all my cares, worries and other obligations behind, and I can just go relax for the day teaching these great kids, visiting and sharing with the other moms and coming home rejuvenated to go for another week.
If you live in the Utah Valley area,  and are thinking of homeschooling or already are, there are a couple of great online forums where you can get information on events, play dates, field trips and lots of other great info. Here are some links to where you can sign up.

WHEN (Wasatch Home Educators Network)

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Why the Absence

I can't believe it. I'm actually writing a blog post.

I didn't mean to just jump ship and go almost 4 months without a single post. Especially since I really want to keep this blog as a personal and family history.

But life happens. It tends to accelerate sometimes and you're not sure how to slow it down.  You can't figure out how to eliminate any more things from your life, or how you can add one more thing. Somehow it happens.  Right after my last blog post I was called to be the Relief Society president for our ward. (For those of you that are not LDS, that just means that I am now the spiritual leader for the female organization  in our church congregation and watching over the individual women in my ward.)

It has taken me a few months to get my bearings. It was NOT in my radar, nor my plan, but it is amazing how the Lord can prepare you slowly and get you to the point he needs you at very quickly. From some difficult weeks prior to this calling, I learned a lot.  I grew a lot. I went from completely incapable and wanting a break from service to being ready and willing when the call came (literally huge changes within days). The Lord prepped me. When I hung up the phone, knowing I was going in for an interview with the Bishop, I knew I would be extended this calling. I had peace and knew that despite the last very difficult month, and being completely overwhelmed with life, I would be ok, he would support me and I would be able to do this.  It has been amazing to see the enabling power of the atonement take an effect so quickly and so powerfully in my life than in these last 4 months. I have SOOO much to learn, and so many ways to grow. But I have learned in the last few months that he can enable me to do anything... and so I look forward to seeing the growth and learning opportunities I will experience, and how I will be able to fulfill all of my obligations with his help.

So my kids have been getting used to mom being gone more for Relief Society business.  We are getting better at scheduling between both Beau and I's callings. We are learning how to fit and do school within the early part of the day so that I have time to meet my other obligations. We're learning how to have the kids serve with us. We're learning how to make the most of those nights, weekends or days when we don't have anything going on and spend quality time together as a family.

We enjoyed the wonderful holidays with extended family and our own family. We enjoyed dad having some time off from work. We've been excited to see Beau's company grow and get clients. We've enjoyed all the snow that has been dumping. We've also survived 2 solid weeks of major sickness, and are slowly recovering right now. I am so done with sickness. I did get a few new products created somewhere in my few moments of spare time, so here are a  few layouts about what we've been up to with all this snow.

We made snowman pictures one day for some holiday decor in our house. We talked about the different angles or perspectives you can, and had them try drawing their snowman in 3 different perspectives. I always love how the artwork turns out. I've been lucky to be teaching art to the kids in our homeschool co-op. It has been fun to see everyone's individual style emerge and how much joy they get out of creating something.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Our Tough Muddy Dad

This weekend Beau participated in the Tough Mudder Competition that was here in Utah. As they say "probably the toughest event on the planet."  He was part of a team of friends and a couple of his brothers.  After lots of rain the previous day and evening, he knew it looked like it was going to be a pretty chilly day.  I ended up deciding that it would probably be best if I not go and take the kids.  They wouldn't have lasted that long in the cold, and I don't know if I would have lasted long physically or emotionally myself if I was dealing with meltdowns all day while I still recover. We sent our love and support and told his parents to take lots of picture and videos so we could watch. 

Here they are getting ready to begin, those happy smiles won't last too long.

This was the course of  12 miles and 21 obstacles.  Most of the obstacles were out of view for those watching, and so most of the pictures we have are of only a few of the obstacles.  

The first obstacle of the day - the kiss of mud.  Lucky for them the live wires weren't quite working yet.

 Mud pit after mud pit.


Lots and Lots of water.

Hurting, cold, tired, hungry and exhausted.

By this point near the end of the obstacles they had no grip left in their hands, and with the bars rolling it was impossible for any of them to stay on it.


Everest or the half pipe was one of the last obstacles. By this point they were so sore and exhausted. All of them but one was able to make it up.

The final event is here in video.  Electroshock therapy.  Next time Beau will just walk past it. There's one thing to prove and push yourself in a tough obstacle, and one that just hurts and gives pain.  You'll see one of his team members in the video get hit wrong. It make him black out, fall and implant his open eye into the mud and straw.  It came out caked, and took a while for the EMT's to clean it out, and they still missed peices. Hopefully it didn't damage it too bad.

Hours later, exhausted, hurting and cold they officially finished!  

 He said it was a lot of fun. He enjoyed seeing how he could push himself, he loved the camaraderie that you feel with everyone, as your helping strangers and other team members so that everyone can finish. He'd do it again except for the Electric Shock.  So we'll see come next June when it's in Utah again if they're up for another round.

The kids were so excited to hear all about it. They had been watching all the videos online to know the obstacles and what he would be doing.  Isaac wanted to keep his headband he earned by finishing. I told him he didn't earn it, he'd have to earn his own someday.   The kids also made a poster for him when they he got home.

 Here's Isaac's.  His dad with the electric shocks and the half pipe he had to climb.

Savannah's showing how tough he is in protecting our family.

Mirians. I just love this one.  They all have mustaches, because many grow them for it showing their manhood and toughness.

Here's Caitlyn's.  Mud all over his face and the wires that he had to climb through. I love how they all have their own interpretation of it.

He can hardly walk now, exhausted and drinking lots of fluids, and need of a massage, but had a great time doing and we are proud of him! Way to go Dad!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Last Weekend

 As I mentioned in my earlier post I was excited about our opportunity to hear from our prophet and church leaders at our bi-annual general conference. I really do look forward to this time of year and we have tried to find ways to help our kids enjoy the 8 hours of conference.  Last year we took a family home evening right before conference to talk about what General Conference was. I had some cards of the prophet, the quorum of the twelve and the first presidency.  They had fun facts and information from their lives, and we had each of our little kid pick their apostle they wanted to learn about and pay special attention to at general conference. We had them learn about the apostle and then share something what they had learned with the rest of the family.  We should have done it again this year, but due to recovery it didn't happen. It didn't matter of course because they still remember their apostles to this day, and ask us to reconfirm that when they suddenly see them speaking. "Is this my prophet?" "Is this Mirian's prophet." It's so fun to see them recognize them, know something fun about them, know their names and are more willing to listen to them because they feel like they have a personal connection. (Sorry for my blurry pictures. Not sure what is up.)

The best part is how excited they get to watch it. Beau and I awoke Saturday morning to "Isaac don't do that! You're ruining our desks for general conference."  I hadn't felt well all week to make them conference packets of activities, bingo, and note taking pages.  But that didn't seem to matter to them. They knew it was conference and they were taking matters into their own hands.  They had pulled out the benches and had set up their "own" little cubicles for watching conference. Snack cups, pencil holders, paper, crayons, etc.  They were ready to go.  I am so glad they have a positive feeling and experience with conference. I hope they love to watch it their entire lives, slowly gaining more and more from it as they get older.

My dear friend Amy stopped by right before the first session unexpectedly with a conference basket for the kids full of crayons, activity books, treats, snacks and lunch for us. It was so sweet of her and totally made my kids whole day. 

At the end of the two days I asked my kids to tell me some things that they had learned about conference. It's always amazing that they can each tell me at least two or three concepts or directions from talks, even though they aren't able to hold out for all 8 hours. Mostly 2 hours, and then the prophet's talk. But they were telling me things from talks that I wasn't even sure they were listening to.  I love seeing them even leaving with one thing they remembered from the talks.

Mirian and Savannah did a page about their favorite talk in the morning session. It made me smile which one they picked.

Between sessions Beau and the kids worked more on the yard, by Saturday night they were filthy and the bathwater was basically mud.  We are getting so much closer to getting the yard back to semi-normal.

We were also excited to hear about the change in ages for missionary service.  I was excited, and although it didn't have an immediate impact on me (since Isaac is only 5), I did suddenly think, that it's very likely that my girls will now have the opportunity to serve missions. They could now be serving missions too, which I don't know that I ever really counted on. I'm feeling that if I really teach them right, and help them develop that desire to serve that it's very likely they will go, and that is exciting to me. 

And what better way to end a post than with this cutie.  

My baby, running around and loving her green smoothie popcicle. Seriously. Can you get any cuter than this?  Here's to a great weekend in our home, I hope you were able to enjoy yours as well. 

Friday, October 05, 2012

The Lord will do nothing....

"The Lord will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."
Amos 3: 7

I love this time of year. It's the time of the year where the prophet of God will give the Lord's desires to all who will listen.  I believe that God has called a prophet and apostles to give direction to us today, just as he did in the Bible.  God still loves and cares for his children. He has always had a spokesman and prophet that he called and gave revelation to concerning all things.  I know for myself they are men of God, and have been called into the special calling of Prophets and apostles. I have been in congregations with many of them, and have felt the spirit testify that he has called them to direct the world today.  Why would he call Prophets through all dispensations of time and leave this dispensation alone, with no direction or guidance. He hasn't.  I love the fact that I can hear that direction and guidance regularly through the internet and other resources, but especially twice a year during general conference.  For two days they speak the will and mind of the Lord for us now.  I have been inspired, uplifted and given direction every time I have taken the time to sit down and hear what they have to say. Every time I have come to general conference with a question in mind... I have always received guidance and direction as to what I should do.

I think it's also a great opportunity to find out what the Mormon's believe. What we preach.  You can hear it straight from us.  At this time there is such a huge light on Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate, and being a Mormon. Many wonder what it is that he believes, what his faith is about. Who are the Mormons.  Here is your chance to sit and listen for yourself to the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints.  You can hear for yourselves what we preach and believe.  We'd love to have you join us.

It's broadcast here over the internet, 10:00 am MST and 2:00 pm MST, Saturday October 6 and Sunday October 7.  If you choose to listen, you will hear over the two day period from Thomas S. Monson who has been called as a Prophet of God, his Counselors, and the 12 apostles who have been called as special witnesses of Jesus Christ. You will also have the chance to listen to other church leaders who serve in various capacities over the youth, women, men, children or humanitarian efforts.

If you can't listen to it then. It will be posted on the internet here where you can re-listen, watch or read it after it concludes. I always love to revisit their messages through the years and next six months until they speak to us again.  I think if you sincerely watch and listen, you will have answers to your own questions answered, you will receive direction in your own life, no matter what denomination of faith you belong to. You will be uplifted and have a desire to be better, no matter your faith.  I hope you'll join me, and feel free to share your thoughts and experience watching it.  If you have any questions about it you can also feel free to email me or comment and I'd be happy to try and answer them for you.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

My New Chore Method

I just want to thank all of you that have sent me well wishes, condolences and uplifting notes. They mean a lot. We are doing better. There's nothing like getting your hair cut to help you feel better too. (Thanks Marie for the home visit! ) We've had wonderful people taking our kids for part of the day so I can sleep, with visits and phone calls from many of you. We feel so loved and appreciated.

Right now my husband is doing my dishes, while watching a movie rigged to the window from his little tablet. According to him, they are almost tolerable (like running on a treadmill), if you have something to watch. (So your lucky Amanda, he'll spare you having to do the job.) Unfortunately it also takes him as long as the movie to get them done... so I'm still waiting to head to bed.  So here's a lighter blog post for you.

Oh I love them. My kids adore them. We live for them. Yeah I wish. That has not been the attitude in our house. It has gotten a little bit better and I thought I would share my simple solution.  I have had a thousand different methods to getting them done. Chore charts, allowances, zones they were responsible for. You name it. The problem I kept running into was the arguing. "His zone isn't messy, it's not fair that I have to clean up his mess in my zone."  "I'm sick of doing the same chore over and over!  It's the hardest one."  I'm sure you've all heard them.  It also wasn't really helping in getting jobs done that needed done.  They'd be doing their assigned chores, but those weren't the messy areas or the jobs I needed help with.  So I changed my plan. So far it's been working out great.  So here it is:

I want my kids to get dressed and ready for the day as soon as possible. Make beds, pick up rooms, brush their teeth.  I don't want them in their pajamas still at noon. Which happens more frequently than it should.  I'd ask them to get ready and do their chores. I'd have to ask again, and again, and again... it was getting frustrating.

The next day I approached it differently. I declared that the first one ready for the day got to pick his chores first. The last person ready for the day had whatever chores were left.  These kids were dressed and ready in less than five minutes. They've never moved so fast. That's our new method of getting ready now. It actually happens quickly.

As for the chores... I now look around my house at what jobs actually need done.  I don't assign too many in the morning because I want to get started on school.  But if I have laundry piles, that goes on the chore list. If the floor needs picked up, that goes on the list. Only jobs that actually need done are on the list. I put enough chores on the list for 2-3 chores per kid. They get to pick which chores they would like in the order that they were ready for the day.  First one ready gets to choose all of his chores first from the list and write his name next to them. Then the next child ready gets to pick. And so on. The arguing has almost stopped. I now only hear complaints from the last person ready who didn't get what they wanted. It takes me explaining to him or her that they were up 2 hours ago. They could have gotten dressed and been ready before anyone else even woke and been the first one to choose. Instead they waited till last minute.

They now happily do their chores because they get to choose from the list. I usually have a couple of extras on there so that even the last person still feels like they have a choice. It's no longer so horrible to do the chore because they own it more.  Plus now the work that needs to be done is finally getting done.  If they get ready for the day, and do their morning chores then they can mark off their daily list to earn their extra money.

I've been doing it about a month, and so far it has beat all my other systems. Now I want to focus a bit more on training them to do a good job with their work and doing it correctly. How do you guys do chores. I'd love to hear any suggestions or tips.