Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Annual,not Christian at Christmas blog

So here I am in the bible belt of the country.  Beautiful North Carolina.  I am happy here.   After five years I can say I would not want to live anywhere else.   I don’t want to go back to Las Vegas, California can take a hike.  I am happy here in the South.

Being a stay-at-home-mom and a homeschooler, a lot of people assume I am Christian.  HA! Not so much.  I am Pagan.   I am happy and nope, I don’t care who knows it.   Also I am not offended by anyone or their religious beliefs. To each their own, I say.   What path you choose to make yourself happy and fulfilled is fine with me, as long as you don’t try to make your path mine.

That said, I get angry at the war on Christmas.   Seriously, people, get over it.   It has been around a long time and it is not going away. It does not even resemble the celebrations of old and it is so highly commercialized that it has very little in common either its pagan roots or the holiday the Christians tried to make it.

“Merry Christmas” is not a vulgar term, it is a well wish.  I take it for what it is.   Sometimes I say “Merry Christmas” other times I say “Blessed Yule” or even “Yuletide greetings”.   If your faith is so weak that you are offended by a well wish and you fear you will become a Christian by just hearing spoken words, you need to rethink your path.  As a Pagan, I am not offended that my holiday was stolen, or that most of the traditions of the holiday are pagan in origin. It’s pretty funny to me.  So I put up my Yule tree, and enjoy the yule log, and celebrate in my own way.  I put lights on my house because they are pretty and I decorate because it is FUN.   

There are things to fight over. There is evil in this world. Take the well wishes with the good cheer they are intended, and if you are at a lack for something to say, how about “happy merry everything”, or just a simple “you too”.   Stop getting offended by kindness.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Grammar Police and Other Things You Don't Know About Me

Did you know that spelling ability is not a sign of intelligence?  Read this article; I hope you will learn about my struggles with dyslexia, and grasping the nuances of spelling in the English language. I have an editor or two for my blog so that I don’t make any glaring mistakes here, but left to my own devices, and without the aid of spell check, you would be amazed at how bad my spelling really is.

As a homeschooling mom I am blessed with a child who is a natural speller.   He often corrects my spelling of things.  I figure it is great practice for him.  I do not hide the fact that I am a bad speller, or that I need help to spell on a regular basis.   In fact, I have have come far, and I am proud of how well I do, versus how how I did even a year ago.

I love to read, and fought for years to be able to figure it out.  Dyslexia was some foreign concept. As I got older I learned that I had Fibromyalgia as well, and anyone who suffers with Fibro Fog can tell you that some days it is hard to remember in what order to make the coffee let alone spell it.  

Now, that is not to say I don’t try.  I really do.  I spell check, and ask for help, and change my words when I can’t spell the one I want to use.  Sometimes this is to no avail. I still screw it up and I don’t have an editor for my Facebook statuses, or my text messages.  

My awesome close friends have learned to deal with my spelling mishaps, and are good about just letting it go.  They know I try.  Sometimes I will even note that I have no idea how to spell a word but I need to use it so they know what I am trying to convey.

All that said, it still stings when my lack of ability is pointed out in a public forum.   I guess I could stop using public forms, or just get a thicker skin.  It is hard when you know your spelling just sucks. I am not giving up though.   I will keep trying to do better, and keep learning and working hard to overcome my shortfalls.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Seasons Change

So here we are at the change of seasons again.   Changing of the summer to the winter clothes.  Time to work on planning Thanksgiving, Yule shopping and winter baking. Time to send my son on his fall trip to my mom’s house.  Let us not forget our 30 days of thankful on Facebook.

I love Autumn.  I love the weather, the colors and smells.  I love my fuzzy socks and jammies, and the cooler weather.   I do NOT like the weather change.   As someone who lives with Fibromyalgia the weather change brings on PAIN.  Pain for weeks until the weather stabilizes.  So I am in my loose clothes and praying for the bipolar weather to end.

Caleb has turned 12. YIKES.  My last baby is a tween.  We are doing well in school, so he is in the middle of a two week trip to his Nana’s house,  where he gets two weeks of time to relax and I get to try to rest up for our next few months of school.   

I have my menu planned for Thanksgiving and I am working on my Yule presents. Every year I swear I will be ready; one of these years I will be.  I enjoy this stuff: cooking big family meals, planning to have the family all together for the holiday.  This brings me joy and peace.

So I am on the bandwagon and doing the 30 days of thankful on Facebook.  What I have discovered in doing this, is that people have no idea what it is to be truly thankful.  Not to say that is everyone is off base; it bothers me to see how shallow some people really are.   I need to let this go.  Go outside and ground myself by looking at the beautiful colors.

I am excited to get over this flare so I can do some baking and enjoy this season.   I try not to dwell on the few weeks of pain but on how great things will be when it passes and I can enjoy this, my favorite season.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Never All Grown Up

Never All Grown Up

Life is short.   Way too short to take yourself so seriously. If I have learned anything in my forty years on this planet, it is that you need to enjoy life to the fullest extent possible.   We all have responsibilities and problems, but we can not allow them to eat away at our enjoyment of life.   To that end, I chose to express my silly side during Halloween.   
My modest decor only hints at my love of this holiday. My children's costumes give a much bigger clue. Of course, I always dress up; however, usually my focus is on the kids. With my older two living away from home I focus my energies on my one remaining child.  My soon to be 12yo son gets the brunt of his parents love of the holiday.  
Every year I say we should do something easy. I lie to myself often, it seems.   I swear I will not be sewing a costume,  or that we will not do something that takes hours of makeup. One day I will learn to not make such proclamations and just go with it. In the end we enjoy this time of year.
I leave you with some examples of our love of Halloween
Halloween 2013

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2011

Friday, October 18, 2013

You just know

Even before my eyes open I know what kind of day it will be. I lay there trying to decide how I'm going to attack the day.  When you deal with chronic pain you just know how your day will go.  As I slowly get out of bed, I make note the most painful parts of my body. I take a grim stock of my pain level for the day.  Head hurts, hmmm, my skin hurts. My knees, neck and lower back all hurt.  Wonder what I did to trigger this flare.  
I am tired of the daily fight to be productive.   I know better than to give into the pain.  So I mentally go over the things that I wish to accomplish and start to prioritize them.  Getting dressed is not as important as homeschooling. Do I do laundry or dishes?  Vacuuming the steps can wait for another day. Dinner is easy if I can hold the migraine at bay.
Some time ago this would have been frustrating,  but now it is part of my routine.  The years I have spent with chronic pain have taught me to meter out my energy in small doses.   My "do a little,  sit a little" mantra rings loud and true.   Still, I can't help feeling a little down as I shrink the list of things I will accomplish today.  
Wow, the energy required to shrink my list makes me need a nap.  Guess a second cup of coffee will have to do.  I am required to assist in math review.  Sometimes it hurts to exist, but I would not change my path. I am strong in ways I never thought possible.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Homeschool Adaptation

Monday morning on a busy week.   Time to wake up and get started.   Wake up my sleepy boy and make sure he gets fed.  We watch our episode of Pokemon, a daily occurrence here at Casa G, and then our day starts.

My pre teen son goes off to do his morning grooming and I review our lesson plan for the day.  We have pressed hard over the last few days to make sure that we are ready for tomorrow.  We will be out of the house for most of the day, so he has worked hard to make sure he does not get behind as we take a day off to run errands.    

I am not the catalyst for the push, he is.   I have worked hard to instill in him the importance of hard work and honesty.  Each year of our homeschool journey, I have given over to him more and more of the responsibility in his studies.   This has not always met success.   There have been more than a few bumps in the road.    

My end goal is to have a young man who understands that hard work and focus are needed for success, that his success is dependent on his ability.   I have chosen to use a curriculum because my son seems to crave some structure.  The curriculum is not the end of our education.   He is learning to to cook, a skill that will prove useful his whole life. My husband is teaching him to work in the shop.  

He plays with kids of all ages, both online and in the neighborhood.   My son, who will soon be 12, loves to play his keyboard.   This child who did not like to read is learning to have a love of books.  We just had to find something that interested him  .

No two homeschoolers are alike.   We are like snowflakes.   What works for one family may not work for all.   The joy of this homeschooling journey is that you and your child(ren) get to choose the path that works for your family.  Some kids work better sitting on the floor, some at a desk,  Some learn by reading aloud and some by quiet study.   

One of the very best parts of this journey is that you adapt it to your life.   My son likes to sit on the floor, we are not really desk people I guess.   He likes to read aloud, he is very verbal.  The young man in my house likes to do his learning in the early day.  He would rather have his afternoons free.  Some kids are more receptive after getting some  exercise.  I found this to be true when he was younger but not so much now.  

When you choose this path remember, the road will wander.   Sometimes you will have a bad day or week, but you will find your way back to the path you have chosen.   That sometimes a lesson is a trip to the store with a list of things for dinner. I am thankful daily that I was able to take this path with my son.   I think that we have both learned much for the time we have been on the road.   I know there are more lessons to learn right around the corner.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


As a homeschooling mom, I find that sometimes I need to help my son gain motivation.   This is the first year I have really run into resistance with him.   After talking to other moms and reading other blogs, I know I am not alone here.    Somedays, I just feel lost in how to reach him.

I am not going to lie:  Not every day here is sunshine and roses.   Sometimes we struggle to make it through the day.  I do my best to keep my cool and not get angry; I don’t always win that battle.   I am human and as such, I make mistakes.   I take my role as teacher very seriously.  My son takes his role as student very seriously, sometimes too seriously.  

Most times, I try to lighten the mood; sometimes I have to walk away and count to ten.   Mostly, I try to change the problem into a learning experience for us both.  When your child is testing his boundaries and pushing his limits, when his hormones are beginning to stir, life as a homeschool mom can be stressful on both of you.   

I try to meet each day with a positive attitude no matter what the day before held.   You can’t hold on to the negative. If we have had a bad school day, I try to give us both some space to cool off after.  Then we go on about our day with the negative forgotten.   Again, we are not perfect, so this is something we have to work at.

For the most part we do great, and my son does his work with enthusiasm, but we all have hard times.  Facing the frustration with calm and a positive attitude can change a fight into a giggle, and hard times into productive learning opportunities.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

If I can do it so can you

Homeschooling is a choice.  It is a lifestyle. It is a family decision.  Once you make this decision you feel overwhelmed and unburdened all at once. My family, when backed into a corner by the public school system, had no choice.   We decided that the best thing for our son was to take him out of the system.  This would give us a freedom to teach him the things that we felt the school system was lacking.  Now with Common Core in full swing, I am so glad we made that choice.

When you tell your friends and family that you are going to homeschool you get all kinds of responses.  Mostly about how your child will miss other kids, and that you can’t do as well as a teacher with a degree.   Well I am here to tell you I have done just fine.  My son is at or above grade level in every subject.

The one thing that makes me laugh is when people tell me “I could never homeschool.”  My answer is, if I can do it so can you.   I have listened to every excuse under the sun, from “I don’t have a degree” to “I don’t have the patience.”  These reasons are pie crust excuses - easily made easily broken.  As a high school graduate with no degree, and little to no patience, I can tell you that you will be amazed the change in you and your child once you take the indoctrination of the public school system out of the equation.

So three years into this homeschool gig I have to tell you,  my son can stand in a line, take turns and even play with peers.   All things that people believe your kids can only learn in the public school system.  It seems amazing that he learned these skills without a “teacher” to guide him.   With him being my only child living at home, how could it be that he knows these important lessons?   Well he is a kid.  If he wants to play with other kids he needs to take turns, and as for standing in line, we do it at the store, at the movies, and many other places.   

My son plays well with his peers, and kids both younger and older than him.   It seems amazing that a child who is basically being raised as an only child has learned to play with kids of all ages.   Frankly, he has been exposed to kids of all ages his whole life.   If he were in school he would not interact with kids of so many different ages.

My son is learning to study and learn with minimal adult direction.   Now I do give a lot of credit to Calvert School, this amazing curriculum has been a wonderful guide for our educational path.   Homeschool gives us the option to take a lesson and expand it so that our whole family learns.  I am my son’s learning guide, but my husband is the Science guru and helps him with experiments.  Homeschool, for us, is a family event.   We all participate.  Even my older girls have been known to jump in and help from time to time.  

Before you tell yourself that you could never homeschool, take a moment to consider that it is a growing movement (interesting article).  You no longer have to go it alone.   With the amount of Co-Ops and online resources available, you can find support for whatever you needs may be.  Think about the simple joys of not having to catch the bus, or pack a lunch.   Parent teacher conferences that will happen around the dinner table.  

I know this path is not for everyone, each of us need to make our own decisions and do what is best for our family.  However, I honestly believe in the growing movement.  I have seen my child remember what it is like to enjoy learning.  Our family has grown closer as we all pull together to help our child learn.   The dissenting voices have been quieted, and I am happy to be able to choose what I think is important to learn.

Before you say “I can’t do it” remember my mantra, If I can do it, so can you.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Even If.....

Friendship is more than pressing like on a Facebook status.   I have met tons of amazing people on Facebook, Miio and other social networking sites, people that I have created bonds with.   Men and women who I pray for and care about their lives.  Being a homeschooling and single car family, I don’t get out much.  Ok, let’s be honest here, I am a homebody and I am afraid of crowds, so I stay in my safe zone.  

Years ago I was blessed to meet a group of ladies who really make me feel like a part of a wild extended family.   We live all over the country.  We laugh, cry and share our lives.    If I had the money, I would bring them all here for a visit.  (yep, homebody).   They were my sanity when I moved 2600 miles from home and lost contact with my friends back home.   They all kept my chin up when my husband (our only income) was unemployed for six months.   I love this group of ladies like sisters.  We are all different and come from varied backgrounds but we all share our joys and sorrows.  

I have long been a pretty social person (homebody issues notwithstanding), and when I moved, I craved adult interaction outside of my little family.   In doing so I have found a group of people who have become close friends.   It’s nice to have people to invite over for dinner, and go out with.   We have met amazing couples and I have met some wonderful ladies.   They have all been warm and friendly.  

All in all, my friends, both virtual and close at hand, make me a better person.   They all make me remember diversity, kindness and joy.  For the most part they love me…..

Even if I can’t spell.  Yep, I can’t spell.  Spell check has been known to tell me to get a clue. I don’t use commas correctly, oh, and we won’t even get into my love of the :) and ellipses…

Even if...   Yep, I have an issue, I tend to tell it like it is.  It’s not always the best of ideas, but hey, it’s who I am.  I call ‘em how I see ‘em and let the chips fall how they may.   I have however learned in my years to temper my statements with kindness.  

Even if….  I am a big ‘ol Pagan.   I tell ya I really had a fear of moving from CA to NC and having to hide who I am.   I decided early on to just be me.  Although it has lead to some interesting conversations and even a few lessons, I have been met with kindness and no one has burned me at the stake yet.

I guess my point here is that friendship requires that you overlook flaws and differences, and to be a friend you have to accept a person for who they are, not who you want them to be  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Heads down butts up and other important lessons learned

Talking to my mom the other day, I had a revelation, a big one. Well, it was for me, anyway.  I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up.  I went over summers and lived with them for a year.  So they shaped a lot of who I am.   I can still remember the silly songs my grandma sang to me that her mom sang to her.   Looking at my mom and at myself, I can see the lessons I learned that came from her parents.  

Work ethic is big in our family.  You work for what you get in life.  Always work your hardest.  Now this was never really said as much as it was modeled.   My grandpa had a job and a side job at all times.  I can remember helping to clean offices with him.   Even when he moved to NC, he still cleaned a church and sold stuff at the flea market, and that was after he retired.   Even now, he goes out there occasionally to see what is going on.   He is in pretty good health for 94.  I guess all that hard work paid off.  

If it’s not yours, don’t touch it.  This is a great rule that I have passed along to my own children.   It does not matter if it is mine or your sisters, if it does not belong to you, don’t touch it.   This is a great thing, that again was never really said, just implied.   I asked permission to play my grandma’s piano, to play in the den.   I never assumed what’s your’s is mine.   

Don’t waste money or food.   Depression era folks are big on this one.   My grandparents always had a pantry stocked with canned goods.   For a long time I thought everyone had that. Don’t take more that you can eat.  You can go back for seconds, but don’t waste.  My grandpa was an extreme couponer before it was cool, or even really a thing.   I remember trips to the store when I was able to get whatever I wanted (joys of being a grandchild), and my grandpa pulling out his huge stack of coupons.  It never occurred to me to be embarrassed, it was just how he saved more money.

Mean what you say.   Your word is your bond.  This has become an antiquated idea, but one I try to live by. I do my best to not make promises I can’t keep and to be truthful in my speech.   Being honest and trustworthy are important.

Mind your business.  You don’t tell the world your problems.   So, maybe I did not learn this one so well, seeing as how I share my life here on this blog.  Keeping your personal troubles in your own house was a big thing.   You did not tell anyone about your fight with your husband or kids.  You did not go telling everyone why you got grounded.   You kept to yourself.  

Heads down butts up.   Silly sounding but something my grandpa still says.   When walking down the street ,keep an eye out for money on the ground.   A penny saved is a penny earned.   I smile when I see my husband or my son do this.   I married well!!

I look back at the time I spent with my grandparents, listening to stories and such as happier times.   I miss my grandma but see her in my love of reading and music.   I don’t get to see my grandpa as often as I like, but I think of him when I hear my son relay the exact amount of money he has saved, and how it sucks that he is too young to get a job. I am proud to have learned the lessons of an older generation, they were hard working, family centered, and honest people, and our children could do worse than to learn these lessons.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Not stuck in a box

So, I have been reading other homeschool blogs and I am always amazed at the number of them who have had to post about socialization.  Let’s face it, you are already bucking the system if you unplug your child from the matrix, so many people figure you are going to ruin their lives by them never interacting with other people….ever.

As for me, I did deal with this.  My mom was concerned that my son would have no friends.  That he would not learn to deal with other people.   I just never worried about it.   From the time he was born, he was exposed to people of all ages.   My husband taught karate for years, and in doing so, Caleb, from an early age, had kids around from every age group, plus adults to interact with.   As a result of this, his vocabulary blossomed and he has shown an amazing ability to interact with people of all ages, at their level.

Now that is not to say he does not act his age.  Trust me, there are days when I am very aware of his 11, almost 12, years on this planet.   Watching Pokemon, or laughing over fart jokes, really reminds me he is a boy after all.   That said ,he can carry on a meaningful conversation with an adult about current events, and talk intelligently about  a wide range of subjects.   

My child is a fan of Minecraft, as a result, he interacts with people of all ages, and frankly, most assume he is much older, until they hear his voice.   This has happened on several occasions, and some of the results have been amusing.

I am not a member of any co-ops, we don’t have music lessons or other activities, but he seems to be social all the same. He knows all our neighbors, more so than my husband and I.   Having two older sisters who never played down to him, he learned early that he has to play at the level of the people he is with.  

Nope I don’t worry about if he will learn to take turns, or wait in line, or if he will learn to respect other’s beliefs, because he already does.    

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Not Girly

Everyone has something they are good at.   We all have strengths and weaknesses.  I learned in my time in business that you should always point out positives before negatives, so here we go.  I can cook, I keep a neatish house, I homeschool ( this should count as a superpower).   I keep abreast of current affairs, even try to help out when I can.  Then it strikes me….I fail at being girly.  

Now, this is not a tragedy by any stretch of the imagination.  I am sure my husband is happy to not have a high maintenance wife.  Yet everytime I try, I feel like there is just a disconnect.   My toes are a mess and painting them myself usually ends up in tears.   Everytime I pick out nail polish it is the same damn color. We will not even talk about my hair style, or lack thereof.

My shoes never match my bag, and I only wear heels when I can’t get away without.   I learned a long time ago walking in heels is just not for me. I might be able to do a wedge if I try real hard. It seems everyone I know owns a Coach bag, and I just can't see spending that much on something to carry a wallet in. Hell, I carried a diaper bag for way longer just so I did not have to find a purse.

I really don’t know why this bothers me.   My husband likes how I do my makeup and hair.  He has never complained about my pony tail, or flats.  He usually says very little about how I dress.   Even when I ask…. Smart man!   

It just seems that I lack the gene to be girly.  I don’t see shoes and swoon. I don’t count a trip to Ulta as fun. I don’t get my nails done; truth be told, I am a nail biter so it is a battle for me to even have nails. I hate shopping; the thought of it makes me break out in hives.  I don’t want to deal with picking out matching clothes, and frankly I would rather find a new kitchen gadget or sofa or anything but pick out clothing.

Alas, I have to be presentable, and I am very well aware of this.   So I do my best and cross my fingers that when I leave the house I don’t look like Punky Brewster (oops just dated myself).   I only apply makeup when I think the situation calls for it, and the twice a year I am called upon to wear heels, I cringe.  

I wonder if there is a class on how to be girly.  Oh, well, I would probably fail.  I will stick to canning vegetables and making dinner, drying herbs and making laundry soap.  Things I know, things I enjoy.  Easy and comfortable, that’s me.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Sometimes I feel like no matter how hard I try, I just can’t win.  I am fighting with chronic pain due to fibromyalgia and a bad case of being a comfort eater.  I have struggled with my weight most of my adult life, and after years I am finally getting on track.  In true form, as soon as I get on track something knocks me down.  I lose ground and I have to fight back.

Walking with a friend, lifting weights and doing some core work are all part of the plan.   On the food side, I am keeping healthier choices in the house and practicing gentle eating.  I am also working on thinking before I eat.  I ask myself if I am really hungry or is there some other reason I am at the fridge.  Usually, if I get a glass of water I forget I was “hungry” and I have saved myself the calories that I would have taken in.

So today while on a family outing, I tweaked my knee.  I don’t even know what happened.   I was walking up the stairs and suddenly stabbing pain under my kneecap.  I pulled myself up the rest of the stairs and we took our seats to see the show.   I sat and wondered how long this was going to keep me down.  Then I had a thought….. I will not let this keep me down.   I am taking off today so I can give it a rest, then I will evaluate it and see how I am.   Having been down this road a few times I know not to overdo it, but I also know that you need to push yourself to get healthy.   

So for now, it’s a wait and see, along with a call to my doctors office, I guess.   

Friday, September 6, 2013

Random Reflection

Friday is exciting to me, not because it ends the work week but because it means two days with my boys.   After almost 15 years with my husband you would think I would get bored or not be excited to spend time with him.  In fact the opposite is true.  

We have lived here for almost five years.  Five years ago, my husband took a leap of faith and moved with me to North Carolina.   Three months from decision to leave California until our arrival here in Clayton, North Carolina.   The move was not easy, and the first few years were hard on all of us, but I would not change it for the world.  

When I gave up working for being a stay-at-home mom, I was sure that I was going to screw it up; but it seems that despite my shortcomings my son is learning and growing.   Our family has grown closer and stronger.   We have learned to work as a team.   What started out feeling strange now fits like the most comfortable shoe.

Our family seems to have hit a happy place.  Everyone is exercising and eating better.  My husband and I are exposing our son to all types of performance arts, and we have started homeschool grade 7.  

We have found some wonderful friends here in NC, and enjoy having people to dinner or throwing a party.  Spending time with each other is still our favorite activity.

So bring on the rest of the year.  We have things to enjoy, and time to enjoy it  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

We have all heard the “it takes a village” theory of parenting.  Now I am going to introduce you to an old radical theory made new again.   It does not take a village; it takes loving parents with a view of the end game in mind.  

Ever aware of the parenting culture, I have become increasingly angry at what has now become a complete coddle culture.  The concept of consequences for your actions has gone largely by the wayside.   I don’t want my child sick, but if he plays outside and get’s dirty….. Guess what …. He washes.   I don’t eradicate every germ that comes into my home; as a result, I have a child with a great immune system. (Even though we are homeschooling)  There are times when I have wanted to be that overprotective parent, but I fight it, because I know what is best for him is to learn to be a productive healthy member of society. Consequences for your actions and taking responsibility for your mistakes and wrongs - these are the important lessons a parent must teach.  The things that made our country strong.  It seems to me that the more affluent our society the more coddled the youth.

Parents have been trained to the “village” mode and figure it is the governments responsibility to teach our kids, to keep them safe, even to teach them about their bodies.  I was one of the masses, my older girls went to school and I was involved, but not really.   They learned, and I accepted what they were learning was true.  After all the people teaching them have degrees, they must know betting than little old me.  

I have learned that my job as a parent is to raise a productive member of society.  That it is my husband and I who should have the most influence.  It is our job to teach morals, ethics and standards.  A big part of that is to model correct behavior.  Helping others, personally not just with a donation, is a big part of this.   A good marriage/relationship with your spouse is another.   Teaching tolerance and understanding for people who are different.   Also, and this is a big one, letting them know shame and disappointment.   Not everyone gets a trophy; sometimes you lose the game.  You lie, cheat, or steal and you will be punished.   None of this ‘time out’ stuff either; the punishment fits the crime.   Trust can be broken and rebuilt, and cheating and lying are not an option.  

It is scary, that moment when you take personal responsibility for your child and their behavior.   No blaming society or the schools when there are issues.   No blaming MSG or Global Warming.   The responsibility for who your child is belongs in your home.  Teaching responsibility and empathy are your job.  This is a mission that should not be undertaken lightly; it is the very foundation of the future of our race.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It can be done.... It's all about a decision

I have been homeschooling for three years and I am about to embark on year four, which for us is seventh grade. It all started with a decision.   We had to do what was best for our child.  That, for us, meant taking him out of the traditional situation.  

I felt totally unequipped, but I knew that with the right guidance and a lot of coffee and internet research I could succeed.  I met with all kinds of resistance; my mom was worried about socialization, the school told me that I could not educate him without all the degrees and training.  I was scared, but I knew that the system was not the place for him.   It was not right for our family.  

My husband and I did our research, gave our son a placement test.   We took a leap of faith and placed our order.  Suddenly I was not only mom, I was a teacher.   That one decision had a side effect that I had not thought about.   With me being mom and teacher suddenly I am not available to go back to work.

We were suddenly and permanently a single income family.  My husband makes decent money but we always had the option of sending me back if we needed to.  I started to look for ways to save money for our household.  Some things worked, others……. Well, not so much.

We use cloth napkins, dish towels, and real plates.   Now, I go through maybe a roll of paper towels a month and buy paper plates about once a year.   This was easy.  I am home, I can do laundry (even if I hate it).  Next up was making my own laundry detergent.  I am a true convert.  I love it:  Borax, Washing Soda, and Kirks Castle Soap.  Other things I am currently looking at are wool dryer balls ( again can be used for years); no more dryer sheets or softener.   

Yet another money saving idea is getting rid of cable.   We are just starting to move on this one.  Most of what we watch is on the computer anyway so I really don’t mind letting it go.  I think this will also cut out time that is currently wasted on TV.

The big one…. We only have one car.   After years of living in CA having one car is a foreign concept.  At first I was sure I was going to go crazy.  Now, after so long, I have learned to deal with it.  When we have doctor appointments or play dates, I take my husband to work. Most of the time I just work around it.   

One by one you can make small changes that end up saving a lot money.  With that obstacle gone you can cross one more barrier to homeschooling off your list.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In the blink of an eye

In the blink of an eye

Where did the years go?  It seems like only yesterday we were having fun at birthday parties and dancing on the coffee table, yet on Friday my daughters picked up the key to their own place.   It’s not much - just a little two bedroom trailer - but it is a big step in maturity and independence for them.

No one has ever accused us of being normal, with my step-daughter being on the Autism spectrum, and both our girls from our own broken relationships.  We did our best to teach them to be good people, to be responsible, to have common sense. Some days I feel like I have won the battle but others.... Well, not so much.

It has been a rough year with our girls.  They have had to learn some lessons the hard way.   It is painful for any parent to see their child struggle, and even harder still to let them go and learn on their own.   

My laughing, singing and dancing girls have become young women in the blink of an eye.   I have gone from kissing booboo’s to giving advice on life’s bigger problems.  Some days I am proud as a peacock, others I wonder what I did wrong.  

They will make mistakes and stumble along the way - we all do.  But I still love them for who they are and who they are becoming.  I am always here to give advice and offer a shoulder to cry on, and sometimes even offer the tough love that they need to see when they are headed in the wrong direction.

Cherish your little ones because before you know it, in the blink of an eye, they are grown and gone.