Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fit or Fat for Forty Continues…

Day 3 - Another -2.2 pounds down or so says the scale. Today ended with me helping serve in the nursery at our CC host church. There were only two ladies with the small babies and since I didn't time my meals correctly. I ate an Oatmeal Raisin Crunch Bar(one of my meal choices) ASAP.  I should have been eating my lean and green during this time. I ended up eating my lean and green meal after 11:00. Then I went to bed. Will this hurt my progress?

Day 4 – Today's the DAY! Do I feel different? Absolutely! First I am relieved to have dropped another -2.2 pounds for a total of 8 pounds plus I feel great today! No I don't feel like going out for a run but I definitely feel a surge in energy. Maybe tomorrow I will add back in a little exercise! Tonight I have to work in the nursery again but I will be better prepared and feel more energetic. After working for those four hours I felt thoroughly exhausted and only made it through a single bite of my 11:30 Strawberry Crunch Bar.

Day 5 – The scale says I only dropped .2 pounds today. But I am not discouraged, that simply means I've averaged 2 pounds per day! The big accomplishment today was adding back in some exercise. I started with 15 minutes on Wii Fit, but also took the boys to the exercise room and went shopping – both of which meant more walking for me. I did have to make myself come home at the appropriate time because it was time to eat my lean and green meal. I sure hope my dh sees this as an added bonus to this diet! Will my weight fluctuate or the loss rate begin to taper off now that I'm in fat burning mode? Can't wait to find out.

If you would like to follow along on this journey of weight loss that would be great.  Accountability and encouragement are always welcome! 


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Check out Raising Rock Stars at 1+1+1=1

Have you visited the blog 1+1+1=1? 1+1+1=1 Several weeks ago while blog surfing, I clicked through the Tot School blog to this addition savvy site purely for curiosity's sake. Instantly I knew this was a blog worth following. As I read, "To the world it makes no sense but to God it is perfect sense" I knew what she meant, but after reading the explanation for her title, my heart felt a kindred spirit with the author. The name took me back 17+ years to my own wedding preparations as we used this same verse as the theme for our big day. It is still our prayer to remain a threefold cord!

As I dove into this site, I came across Raising Rock Stars Raising Rock Starsand it literally brought tears to my eyes as again I connected with her purpose and plans for the littles God entrusted to her care. My heart screamed, "Me too! Me too!" I feel such relief finding Raising Rock Stars for our youngest. I've printed off the notebook cover and some of the inserts, I'm preparing to incorporate most of these suggestions into Timmy's day. I love the flexibility and personalization it allows, and it will be easy to add in our CC memory work as well. I'm still exploring and reading the link ups and am excited to include our home centered preschool in the mix! If you have a toddler or preschooler you absolutely must check out this site. I'm positive you will find just the right resource to encourage you along in this homeschooling journey.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fit or Fat for Forty?

40 is staring me in the face. May 25th is lurking right around the corner and I still haven't been able to budge the 14 years of pregnancy weight (can I still call it that?) from off this figure! Well my hope has been renewed as I spoke with a friend who had recently lost thirty pounds. Her husband has lost even more! Hook, line and sinker, I dove straight in and ….

Day 1 – The meals taste good. Today's menu included a Strawberry Shake, Oatmeal, Chicken with Wild Rice Soup, Grilled chicken with veggies and a spinach and cucumber salad, later on a PB Bar, and pretzels. I had a slight headache in the evening but went on to bed and slept well.

Day 2 – The scale reads -4.6 this morning but I will hold my breath a few more days. Today's menu included a dark chocolate shake, an oatmeal raisin bar, scrambled eggs, and banana pudding. I have to work tonight so a strawberry cream bar will go in my purse and when I get home I'll enjoy a lean and green meal before bed! I am hopeful that the scale will sing a softer tune in the morning as well but I have been known to fluctuate 5 pounds or so!

They tell me I will adjust to small pre-packaged meals by the 4th day when I go into fat burning mode! Can't wait, maybe I'll buy a new dress for my Birthday and celebrate a lighter me at 40! Feel free to join me on this journey back to a more fit and healthy me.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal Week 3

In my life this week… …The Homeschool Mother's JournalI sponsored a dear friend on this weekend’s Emmaus Walk but at the last minute. There was a lot of scrambling to get done what needed to get done on this walk. I was so excited she got to attend this amazing weekend of spiritual refreshment and felt blessed to be a part.

In our homeschool this week… Our last week of Foundations and Essentials was this past Tuesday. My son tried out for memory master with his dad and I but couldn’t pass the timeline. I think I was the only one bummed as he seemed relieved that he didn’t have to test with his tutor. He still learned an amazing amount of information this year. Challenge A has 2 more Tuesdays until we wrap up our year and so the students will be meeting in my home the next two weeks rather than at the church!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… This is Easter Celebration Week. And other than Community Egg Hunts not much will be happening outside our home for the next couple of weeks. We will enjoy an Easter egg hunt during park day with our local homeschool support association, an Easter Egg Hunt at our church this Saturday as a community outreach we call Resurrection Celebration, and that will be followed by another hunt at my husband’s work. Whew, talk about egg overload! As I’m writing this, I would also love to take the family to Fields of the Wood. It’s a Biblical Park in Murphy NC that is awesome for family picnics. They have Easter sunrise service, and special singing all weekend! This would be a great day trip for the family!

My favorite thing this week was… being able to attend a ladies luncheon with a couple of friends on Wednesday. I had volunteered to help in their nursery but the Life Action Team insisted that we attend the luncheon. The speaker was engaging and I left feeling refreshed and renewed. She spoke the storms in our life. Amazingly, later that evening my husband taught his Wed. night bible study class almost the exact same lesson. He used a lot of the same scriptures and main points! I did have to ask myself ”What are you trying to say Lord? Should I be battening down the hatches? Is there a storm coming my way?” I hope I will need this to encourage someone else in the Word, if you know what I mean!

What’s working/not working for us... the weather is causing all kinds of havoc around here. One day we are turning on the heater because it is chilly, rainy and very wet and then the next day it is flip flops weather. My youngest son is constantly sniffling and coughing with what I’m beginning to think are seasonal allergies. Children’s Nyquil seems to work for us!

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have… What curriculum do you use for high school? My intentions were hopeful for a Challenge 1 program at Classical Conversations but that doesn’t appear to be happening. The closest group is 45 minutes away and so I am back to the research and prayer stage!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal Week 2

In my life this week…The Homeschool Mother's Journal

It seems I’ve ran errands all week. The week started with a trip to the Dentist so he could pull two of Christian’s baby teeth. Later in the week I enjoyed a pampering session at the beauty salon for a new do.  Unfortunately the color chemicals burnt my scalp slightly. We quickly applied a generous amount of Aloe Vera gel only to trigger an allergic reaction to the aloe.  I now know school is possible even when Mom is loopy from taking Benadryl!  It’s better today, thankfully.  The end of the week ended on a high note as my friend Krista received her confirmation to attend next weekend’s Emmaus Walk. 
In our homeschool this week…
It’s planning time again!  We have one more week of CC Foundations/Essentials and three more weeks of Challenge A, so I’m trying to focus on wrapping up their CC studies, planning out the month of May and trying my best to hold off on plunging into next year!  I am however keeping a note book so that I can write down those “I’ve must remember this” thoughts for next year. 
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
We stayed close to home this week, although I seemed to guzzle the gas with various errands and quick trips to just pick up this or that.  Makes me more determined to follow a menu this week!  The weather is warming up and I know incorporating a little more exercise into the routine would boost my energy level!  Looks like time to lace up the tennis shoes, load up the van and head to the greenway with my kiddos! 
My favorite thing this week was…
Networking with the other Classical Conversations directors across Tennessee during our weekend business training session has been awesome. I was expecting boredom and mundane technicalities instead we were blessed with rich dialogue among the directors and our state manager did a great job! 
What’s working/not working for us
Using Classical Conversations as our homeschool curriculum spine is working wonders in providing the kiddos with a home centered education. 
For my older two I post a daily checklist for them to check off their assignments as they go.  I tried several different styles and found them lacking or taking too much time to fill in assignments.  Now I print and hang one sheet that covers every day’s assignments for the week on one page. I used an excel spread sheet homemade check list of what’s required each day on our command center. Everyone can see a glance what must be done for the day.   
Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…
Our Classical Conversations group added Challenge A this year and plans to add a Challenge B but unfortunately my son needs Challenge 1, so I am gathering my thoughts and reviewing what we will use for high school. What high school curriculums are you using or will be using with your teens?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Why Classical Conversations?

We are finishing our second year with Classical Conversations and honestly I am just as excited about this program as when I sat in our director’s living room after that first information meeting.  CC was and has been my homeschool life preserver.  Our family has homeschooled for the last 8 years and although I do not regret the decision to bring my son home from public school kindergarten, it hasn’t been as easy a road as some may think.  In fact when I first heard of CC, I was contemplating throwing in the homeschool towel and putting my boys into public school.  My husband and I sat in that first meeting and listened to an explanation of Classical Conversations.  I remember thinking that this just might be what I need to make homeschool work at our house. The level of accountability and support for me and the boys would definitely help, so we bit the bullet and jumped in whole heartedly. I dropped my entire curriculum, except math and enrolled our oldest 2 kids in the Foundations and Essentials programs, and then soon after I agreed to tutor one of the Abecedarian Groups.   

Before the new school year could begin I had to have tutor training.  I drove the 45 minutes each way to a small Baptist church that to my amazement was full to capacity.  I honestly remember thinking, “I know how to teach a small group of kids after all I was a successful public school teacher before deciding to be a SAHM.”  Boy was I in for a surprise, I sat in the morning session listening to a lady named Mary and silently prayed no one would notice my tears.  With every word she spoke, the tears flowed and her words penetrated my heart.  Before the first hour ended I knew this would forever change my view of homeschool, of education, of learning. I had one aha moment after the next that week and couldn’t wait to apply all I had learned from this parent practicum. 

As it turned out Classical Conversations was everything I needed.  My boys enjoyed their Tuesday classes, I enjoyed teaching the kindergarten age kids and all of us built relationships while learning. It seemed my boys learned more that year than all the previous years of homeschooling combined, and had fun at the same time. We practiced our memory work religiously, wrote our IEW papers weekly and analyzed dictated sentences daily.  We would do science experiments, music and art activities, hear our new memory work, practice the old memory work and hone our public speaking skills on Tuesday mornings. In the afternoon we would tackle English grammar, Composition and play some fun math games.  Through the week the boys got their lessons ready for CC day without nagging and best of all I didn’t stress (well maybe a little on Monday nights).

The second year, Christian participated in Foundations and Essentials Cycle 2 and Jeffrey moved on to the Challenge A program.  I moved from tutoring the young class to tutoring the Challenge A program. I’ve been stretched and so have my junior high students.  We have learned a tremendous amount of grammar; we have discussed and asked why in every seminar.  We have emphasized and analyzed, researched and written papers.  We have played games and ate pizza!  It’s been an incredible year!  With every week my excitement for learning has grown, every assignment has challenged my students and brought out the best in them. 

For those of you not familiar with the Challenge program in Classical Conversations, it is a complete upper grade program that presents each seminar strand using the trivium of classical education.  Unique to this program is six learning skills or strands.  They are language, debate, logic, rhetoric, exposition/composition, and Research.  For the Challenge A program our weekly seminars mix grammar and dialectic materials and introduce your student to rhetorical skills. This past year our weekly seminars included Latin 3 and 4, World Geography, Math, Clear Reasoning, Children’s Literature and Creative Writing, and Biology/Natural Science.  Challenge programs meet once a week for thirty weeks of the school year. We are on week 27. On CC day my students meet from nine in the morning until three thirty in the afternoon with a half hour break for lunch.  It’s a long day spent discussing and analyzing previous assignments, listening to new assignments be introduced and questions answered.  Parents are always encouraged to attend but it isn’t mandatory.  I’ve watched my middle school son grow so much this year.  I’ve seen him achieve more than I thought imaginable.  He has been stretched and he has risen to the challenge.  I am proud of him and all he has accomplished this year! 

Next fall I will have one in Challenge, one in Foundations and Essentials, and one beginning Foundations.  I am already anticipating an amazing year for my three sons!   I am gathering my materials, laying out my plans, and have already registered for my third year attending the free parent practicum.  Before CC I was barely keeping my head above water.  Classical Conversations threw me a life preserver.  Their direction, instruction, and accountability helped to ignite a stronger passion for home centered education.  Check out if you want to learn more. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal Week 1

In my life this week…
The Homeschool Mother's Journal I set up an account with so that our church could provide meals to one of our young mothers that had to have emergency hip surgery.  I hope this will encourage her as she is recovering.  Her husband is stationed overseas in the Middle East for an entire year and then to lose your health for a while.  Whew, here is an overwhelming opportunity to surround someone with love and support.

In our homeschool this week...
our preschooler has continued to practice his ABC’s and 123’s.  We’ve watched Leapfrog videos until we can all sing along!  We’ve counted books, pennies, toys and well just about everything.  His proudest accomplishment this week though was helping Jeffrey make chocolate chip cookies to surprise Mommy and Daddy.

Our fifth grader worked mostly on his memory masters challenge for Classical Conversations.    We’ve been reviewing and practicing this week, and next week we will practice even more.  He has weeks 1-15 (out of 24) memorized for History, Geography, Math, Latin, English, and Science. Woo Hoo!!!!!! 

Our middle schooler continues with his Challenge A work, drawing and labeling geography maps and human body systems, memorizing catechisms, places, definitions, vocabulary and Latin paradigms.  The most exciting thing is that we will actually finish our Saxon Math book this month!!!  I am excited to proof his character analysis paper on Robin, from the book The Door in the Wall.   

Places we're going and people we're seeing...
Daddy’s home after four days away at a conference, so we were most excited to be all together at home.  We’ve been to CC (Classical Conversations), AWANA, and Family Movie Night.  Tomorrow I plan on hitting some stores, doing the marketing as well as half price Saturday at our local Goodwill Store. 

My favorite thing this week was...
...  blog surfing and finding a ton of great sites to use as I’m planning next school year and this summer.  Mom on a mission, tot school and 1+1+1=1 are my current favorite blogs.   Each one struck a chord deep within me and I felt encouraged and refreshed after reading these.  Not to mention they will save me a ton of preschool shopping time. 

What's working/not working for us...
Too much TV/Game time for my little one.  This makes him very irritable and hyperactive so limits must be enforced!