Tuesday, March 31

balance of another kind

In order to once again attempt to live my life in balance, I have chosen to wear a turtleneck with snowflakes on it to reflect the wintry weather outside my window AND to wear a pair of flip flops to reflect my hope and desire that spring really isn't that far away.

Let's hope my feet stay warm enough that I won't have to revert back to my fuzzy socks which would completely throw my life out of balance and in favor of winter :-p~

Enjoy this last day of March whatever the weather in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

storing *stuff*

When you begin homeschooling, you often don't think about all the *stuff* that will accumulate through the year. There's papers and projects and workbooks and other *stuff* that builds up throughout the year. Initially we had a big box in which everything got thrown into which I realized was a HUGE mistake when the box began overflowing and I had to sort through the entire mess figuring out which item went with which child. YIKES!

Then I found a cardboard storage box that worked well and bought one for each student. During the year items were put into it and the box easily held a few years at a time. When all my children were at home, I just kept adding more boxes. Let's just say that the little storage room in the garage where they were stored became quite FULL. YIKES again!

When the older ones began graduating, I took on the task of sorting through these boxes. It really was quite an amazing journey that spanned from before pre-school with their early scribblings through high school. It was fascinating to watch their handwriting mature, their thought processes in essays they wrote grow, and their creativity found in everyday work. And even more amazing was that I really could be discerning enough to pick through all those things to narrow the work down to one folder per year which all fit into one storage box. When our homeschooling years wind down in about twelve years, I should only have nine storage boxes kept in that room with some miscellaneous projects on shelves.

I still use this system today, but have learned NOT to wait until they graduate to begin sorting through all the boxes. Instead, I go through the process every few years.

Because I already have all the boxes which are still in good condition, I will continue to use this storage method for the lower grades. However, nowadays with rubbermaid type containers so popular for storage, I believe that would be an excellent way to store all the different things that come with homeschooling. My hope is to transfer each child's permanent schooling *stuff* into a plastic container which will serve as protection from possible water or, um, chipmunk damage while being kept in our garage storage room.

The key is to find a way to store all these homeschooling materials that will work the best in the space you have. And learn to be discerning about what you keep as there will be LOTS of *stuff* through the years.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, March 30

simple woman's daybook for March 30


For today March 30

Outside my window.....the skies are currently clear and blue with a temperature in the mid-teens. I'll enjoy today's sunshine as rumor has it that the weather is going to turn nasty wintry in the next day or two.

I am thinking.....about all I want to get done today and honestly don't know where to start!

I am thankful for.....
a simple less than five minute phone call from a son.

From the learning rooms.....the books are getting a lot thinner these days! YAY!

From the kitchen.....I think I should probably soak some beans for a country bean soup since hopefully our soup days will come to an end in the near future and I'd like to use up my bean collection before spring really does get here.

I am wearing.....my black exercise pants, a dark green hooded sweatshirt, and slippers hoping to warm up a bit.

I am creating.....a list of interesting games for AWANA Game Time tonight which will go with our theme of Pajama Night.

I am going.....
to dance a jig when we turn the calendar page to April this week!

I am reading.....a bit here and there in various books as I've been working my way through my bookshelf trying to determine what I want to keep. (A note to my daughter-in-law to spare her alarm....I will not discard anything without checking with you first!)

I am hoping.....that everyone in my family who has this lingering cold would totally get over it!

I am hearing.....the washer and dryer running downstairs.

Around the house.....there are wisps of cat and dog fur as they begin to shed their heavy winter coats.

One of my favorite things.....are the set of gel pens I got for Christmas. Boy, I LOVE to write in color!

A few plans for the rest of the week.....
include AWANA tonight, hopefully training at the pregnancy center unless the weather turns nasty that day, signing the girls up for the soccer season which will begin later this summer, and the AWANA Grand Prix car race on Friday night.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.....

This is our team's game pin from the AWANA Games that were held on Saturday. After many challenges along the way that led up to this day, our team pulled together magnificently for the event doing their best and taking first place! I'm so proud of those kids!


If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go to Peggy's Place

Enjoy your last Monday of March!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, March 28

the big question

Yesterday during our devotional time, we began the book Second Chronicles in the Old Testament. Having just finished First Chronicles and King David's final days as he passes on the throne to Solomon, as well as the instructions for the building of God's temple, the first chapter begins with a bang.

God appeared to King Solomon at night and said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." (verse 7)

Within King Solomon's response, he gives his request, "Give me wisdom and knowledge,that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?" (verse 10)

Because of his unselfish answer, not only did God give him what he asked for, but gave him abundantly more in the form of wealth, riches, and honor such as no king before him had ever had.

Thinking about this, I wondered what *I* would say if God asked me the exact same question. Of course, I would hope that the words coming out of my mouth would be much like wise King Solomon's response. And I think they could be very similar if God asked me during the daytime.

But if He woke me up during the night and asked me this question, I'm afraid I would say, "Oh awesome God! I have not slept a full eight hours in a almost three decades. A full night sleep would be a blessing indeed!" or, "Oh God of order, please send my pets, children, and husband away for a week so I could spring clean my house from top to bottom because I don't think it's been done in three decades. An orderly and clean home would be a blessing indeed!"

Yup, now you know how shallow I really am!

So as I begin my day, I will ask God to give me wisdom and knowledge to deal with every situation that crosses my garden path. And perhaps I'll be blessed with a moment or two of cleaning as well!

Enjoy your Saturday!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, March 27

organizing your records

It's the fourth week of the Organized Homeschool Carnival and this week's theme is organizing your records.

Take a minute and head over to check out all the contributors for Week 4 as they give you ideas on how to organize important records such as grades, tests, attendance, state forms, etc. Hopefully you'll find an idea or two that would work for your own recordkeeping purposes!

Blessings,
Tammy
~@~

Thursday, March 26

the LEAST favorite sign

Time to interrupt all the wonderful cheery talk about spring coming (insert last year's picture of flowers coming up).......

.....to talk about another common sign of spring found in this woodsy location.

Yes, let's talk about my absolute LEAST favorite sign of spring on a day when it's only around 30 degrees, there's snow in the forecast, and spring still seems like it'll be at least another six weeks until arrival.

Yup, ten minutes ago my husband pulled the first wood tick of the year off the dog. A WOOD TICK! ALREADY! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Puuullleeeeeeeazzzzze tell me we don't have to start checking for deer ticks and wood ticks on pets and people already!

:::::THUD:::::

Quick! Someone hand me some chocolate so I can get through the rest of the day! Better yet, supply me with enough chocolate to get me through until it actually is spring! LOL!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


shift into PARK

TODAY was the day that my husband was going to take all the kids to Grandpa's house for the day. They were going to spend the day in Grandpa's workshop cutting and carving and sanding their AWANA Grand Prix cars. They've been looking forward to this time to spend with Grandpa and the bonus of getting lunch at the little local A & W Restaurant.

TODAY was the day that I was going to get several hours alone to myself in my house to do whatever I wanted to do. The plan was to catch up on a few things around here that are impossible to do with all the moment-by-moment interruptions that happen to me within the span of a day. I've been looking forward to this time of quiet refreshment since it is such a rare treat.

TODAY was.

Today will now be spent with everyone at home as we shift our AWANA cars into PARK. As the family was waking up this morning it appears we have a *bug* that is hitting a few people. I'm not sure if it's the *bug* my college son so generously brought home with him last week or it's the *bug* that I've heard is going around town.

:::::sigh::::

Guess I have to do a Paul and forget about what lies behind and press on to what lies ahead, eh?

Hope you have a good day whether in drive or park!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, March 25

swinging into spring

There's nothing like being on the third day of gray cool gloominess weather....plus being gone most of the day from home....plus driving for an hour and wanting so desperately to take a nap because this kind of weather is sleep inducing....and then finally entering town with only a few miles left to go until pulling into the driveway of your home when suddenly you are greeted by SNOW FLURRIES!

You know, some days it would be easy to be slide into depression.

And then....and then God puts a ray of sunshine into your life as a reminder to count your blessings!

Here's the ray of sunshine I found in my emailbox after pulling into the driveway and getting settled back at home. It's a picture taken of my sweet grandbaby when she was visiting here last week while we were outside enjoying the gorgeous whisper of spring weather in the upper 40's. She absolutely loved swinging in the baby swing!

She's such a sweet little thing, isn't she? And definitely the ray of sunshine her grandmama needed on such a day as this!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, March 24

organizing records

Organize your records

An important part of homeschooling is keeping organized records. Some of the records that you need to keep may be mandated by your own state's homeschooling regulations. Other records are more for your personal use and are a way of tracking your students progress.

There are many homeschool planners that are now available that can be done by hand or by computer. However, back when our family began homeschooling that was not the case and I had to come up with my own methods of keeping track of essential information. And since the word "change" makes me get a bit bucky, I have only minimally modified my methods through the years as I'm comfortable with the system that has worked well for us.

Each year I have my main pocket folder which holds all the essential information for that particular school year. In it is the form that is filed with the state, our proposed calendar (see my post about "charting our course"), a list of the curriculum used for each student, and throughout the year specific information of all our special activities is also added. During our early homeschooling years, I also kept a spiral notebook for my students in which I noted everything we did in a day and the amount of time it required. It was VERY time consuming and I gradually realized that we had abundantly surpassed the state's requirements and that keeping a proposed calendar outlining our daily schedule was indeed sufficient. Below is a picture showing the spiral notebooks as well as several of our yearly main school folders.

Each year each student has their own folder which they use to keep their weekly charts, any tests, special essays, and various odds and ends. One of the favorite back-to-school things the kids look forward to is picking out their special folder for the year. At the end of the school year this folder will go into their individual larger file box with all their other schooling materials from the year.

Although I have not given grades in subjects during the K - 8 years, I do keep detailed records of grades in each subject area during the high school years which are necessary for writing up our transcripts. Initially I made my own record forms which worked just fine, but now we use the DVD courses for high school through A Beka Academy and they provide the necessary record keeping forms which we personally maintain. These records are kept in a file box with folders for each high school student.

Besides their yearly high school subject grades, I also keep other information necessary for transcripts such as activities they actively participated in during those four years or jobs they have been employed at which can provide references in the future. Also kept in the files are ACT/SAT results, copies of college applications, and scholarship information.

The main thing about organizing records is finding a system that works well for you and then keeping it organized! Doing a good job in this area will save you much time in the future!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

left behind

Over the last couple of weeks, my son has been going through a sorting process. There's the things he doesn't want at all that his siblings can have OR there's the things he does want but probably not for a long time which need to be in more permanent storage OR there's the things he wants as soon as he'll be able to have them.

The last category were more the last minute type of things that he was sorting the night before he left. Or that morning as he handed me the final laundry to be washed and kept for when he can have his favorite clothes. Or moments before he left as he kicked off his flip flops to put on regular socks and shoes.

Ah yes, his flip flops. Something he'd wear even during the snowy cold winter months as his mother shook her head at him. A trademark of his. A trademark that made me smile as I tucked them away for a short time until their owner can claim them.

Hmmm, it makes me wonder what MY trademark would be. I'll have to ponder that a bit. What about you? Is there something that people would immediately associate with you? Hmmm....

Enjoy this day whether it be flip flop weather or not!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, March 23

an extra long moment

It's become a recognizable moment in the life of this mom.

The final hug that you give a child as they leave home.

Your heart is jumping up and down with excitement as you consider the adventure before them....yet....you hold them tight for an extra long moment as you know that life will change the moment you let go and they walk through the door. It will never ever be the same.

Letting go. Letting God.

God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

Even through the tears.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

simple woman's daybook for March 23


For today March 23

Outside my window.....
the skies are mostly cloudy with the anticipation of a breezy, rainy day ahead.

I am thinking.....about how quiet our household will become this week.

I am thankful for.....my family and dear praying friends.

From the learning rooms.....we hope to get back on track after doing minimal schooling last week.

From the kitchen.....
I'm tired of cooking, but will bake my AWANA Chums a cookie treat for tonight. Good thing there's rain and cool weather in the forecast this week as I'm hungry for a simmering pot of chili!

I am wearing.....
my black exercise pants and a Curves t-shirt. Time for my shower!

I am creating.....floss bracelets.

I am going.....to decide on the last couple of things in my garden order so I can get it sent in the mail!

I am still reading.....Secure in the Everlasting Arms by Elisabeth Elliot.

I am hoping.....that we don't get the nasty *bug* that is going around right now!

I am hearing.....
my girls quietly talking at the kitchen table.

Around the house.....we have a couple boxes to go through and things to put into storage.

One of my favorite things.....
are the smiles and laughter of my kids when they are all together.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....
AWANA Club tonight, Bible studies this week, training at the pregnancy resource center, AWANA Games practice on Friday, and AWANA Games on Saturday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.....

This picture was taken over five years ago of one of my older sons and our littlest one. This morning we kissed and hugged him good-bye as he headed off to Basic Training far from home. My heart is sad for this little sister who is too young to understand this big change in her life. She will miss this big brother who loved her so! (but he did leave behind his Nintendo DS for her to use at mom's discretion....I'm not sure I'll tell her that yet!)

If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go to Peggy's Place

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, March 21

by faith

While reading my devotional this morning, these were the key verses which are often claimed as life, year, or favorite verses for believers:

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

My immediate thought was that they were the perfect verses to send off with a son headed to boot camp in a couple of days.

Then I read the devotional portion. It talked about a student pilot who learns by sight all the things he needs to know with an instructor nearby. By the end of his training, he has learned to fly by himself with the use of instruments which is more commonly referred to as "flying blind". He needs to learn that skill in order to get his instrument rating.

"Every parent, teacher, and leader knows his proteges will one day encounter darkness, storms, and unfamiliar terrain in life. The key to their graduation and promotion is learning to live by faith, not by sight. 'Flying blind' in life doesn't mean closing your eyes; it means keeping them on the Lord." ~ David Jeremiah

Yes, my son has been taught many things by sight with a parent nearby that have led to this point in time. His training will now continue and as he keeps his eyes on the Lord through unfamiliar territory he will learn to live by faith.

By faith he will be strengthened.

By faith I will be strengthened at the same time.

And for that I can praise God!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, March 20

spring? really?

How come when the calendar says it's the first day of summer, autumn, or winter....it actually feels like that season, but when it comes to spring it never does?

This is a picture I took this afternoon while it was lightly snowing outside. Uh huh. My daughters and I were sitting in these chairs during the lunch hour this past week when the temperatures were up in the 40's. Now that it's the official FIRST DAY OF SPRING the weather is cold and snowy.

Personally, I think the First Day of Spring should be on April 20th when it may, yes, it may actually feel like the First Day of Spring!

Hoping your weather is better than mine and you are celebrating this special calendar date!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
Tammy

organizing school schedules

On to the third week of the Organized Homeschool Carnival! This week's theme is organizing your school schedule.

Take a minute and head over to check out all the contributors for Week 3 as they give you ideas on how to organize an important part of homeschooling by giving you ideas for writing out your schedules, reviewing various planners, learning how to allot time for subjects, planning out a calendar year of schooling, etc. You'll be sure to find an idea or two to apply to your own homeschooling!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, March 19

dog-proof flowers?

From my gardening flip calendar:

"If only you could teach a dog to bury bulbs." ~ Author Unknown

Wouldn't it be nice if dogs could do that? They have such efficient digging skills, don't you think? :::sigh:::

The vegetable part of my garden order is all made out and sitting on my desk. The flower part of my garden order sits blank. There are so many things I'd like to add to my order this year, such as perennials and shrubs, but honestly, I don't feel I can do it. The damage our two dogs did with digging and ripping through flowerbeds to pursue chippies and squirrels last summer, well, it wasn't pretty and I spent most of my time being the one who growled at THEM!

What makes it even harder is that one of my daughters really wants to save money and buy some of her own flowers to plant this spring. Yet I don't want it to be a situation of throwing money out the window because of the ruckus the dogs engage in whenever a small brown or gray rodent is within sight.

Even as I consider starting a new flowerbed in a different area of the yard, I realize the exact same thing could happen.

What to do? What to do?

I may have to once again plant my favorite annual flowers within my vegetable garden to insure they will bloom and grow for an entire season within their fenced in harbor.

As we have a new light covering of snow on the ground this morning, I guess I have a few more days to ponder....

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, March 18

lint of many colors

While I was waiting for the town clerk to make out the dog licenses this year, I picked up a booklet on the counter that the town published about recycling. Paging through it, I found an interesting paragraph about compost:

"Composting is a type of recycling. The things you are recycling are dryer lints, eggshells, fruit wastes, coffee grounds, grass clippings, and hair."


Dryer lint?

This stuff?

Having never heard of throwing my dryer lint into the compost pile, I did a little research online and found that indeed you can use it. It's clean stuff having been washed and dried before being added to your compost mix. The bulk of the fibers that are in dryer lint tend to be cotton which do break down in the soil plus there's often pet hair mixed in which is also good.

The main recommendation which would be more difficult for me to follow is NOT to use dryer sheets in the dryer because of the chemicals which would cling to your dryer lint. With the dry static in our winter air, I'm not certain I could go without using them in the dryer cycle of laundry.

Since it sounds like dryer lint does break down a bit slower, in theory it may be a good addition to the garden as it would hold a little more moisture in the soil. Hey, I'm all about less watering!

Be a good recycler and try this easy step to benefit your garden.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Tuesday, March 17

the incredible four


Not one. Not two. Not three. But four!

FOUR ROBINS were just sighted out my bedroom window! The first robins of this year were hopping around in our snowy with grass patches field! Spring is a'comin'!

Woo hoo! I'm so so excited!

Okay, you may get back to your regularly scheduled blog reading of the day....

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

charting our course

Organize your school schedule

One thing I LOVE to do is make charts and forms. Give me some graph paper, a ruler, a nice fine black marker, my husband's copy machine and I'm as happy as a bug! (are bugs REALLY happy?) I especially like the various charts we've used through the years which have helped keep our schooling organized and running more smoothly. I've tweaked forms to work for the students we have at the time and I've also stopped using various forms as well.

Although I love making charts, I'm not as good at making photos. So, you'll have to bear with the samples I've taken pictures to show you.

This first form is the master version of a yearly school calendar. I sit down with my calendars and determine our proposed school calendar for the upcoming year.

Once figured out, I write out the dates we anticipate to be schooling and the dates during the weeks we intend to take off. What is typically not figured into this is calendar are extracurricular activities that occur during the week, on the weekends, in the evenings, or on days scheduled off. These extra activities may be sporting activities, music lessons, drama classes, field trips, museum visits, etc, and in my binder I keep a listing on a separate sheet that lists these extras which do add into our state requirements of 875 hours per school year of educational time. From the master form I also print off one copy per student to mark 'P' for present each day during the year.

Once I have my calendar school year figured out, I use this master form to write out my individual courses for each student.

The school weeks are noted and vacation times listed as OFF. Shown is this year's planned schooling schedule.

Each subject for each student is then written out. I keep my handwritten copy for my record keeping binder and a copy of each chart will be in the student's folder as they cross off the weeks of completed work. I've used the same materials and this system for so many years that often I can write this up quickly using a previous students chart for a subject.

This was a form I used for my first two students in the early days of our schooling which outlined our day. I found that it didn't work as our family grew making it hard to stay anywhere close to what our proposed times were for particular subjects, especially since some students fly through math and others need more time to work through problems. Plus I needed more flexibility with babies in the house and the harder subjects would need to be done when the babies were napping which didn't line up perfectly with the schedule. Now each student has their own order of doing subjects which works for them and gives them complete flexibility....no charts needed.

Again, this comes from our early days of two students when I'd write out a chart for each week which could be checked as we completed work.

My hope is that something here is helpful for you if you like a more structured organized approach that is helpful for record keeping. It is the old fashioned way as I know so much more can be done on a computer with charts, planners, etc. But, I'm from the old fashioned school, so it works for me! LOL! If you do have any questions, please feel free to email me at tam.gardening@yahoo.com

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, March 16

simple woman's daybook for March 16


For today March 16



Outside my window.....
the skies are blue and it is suppose to get up around 50 degrees today! Woo hoo!

I am thinking.....about actually putting together my garden seed order since my daughter-in-law left the catalog out on the kitchen countertop which reminded me again about doing that task.

I am thankful for.....a close knit family.

From the learning rooms.....we'll be doing a little bit of schooling, but it'll be a lighter load with older ones here this week.

From the kitchen.....
I'll be cooking favorite dishes of an older son.

I am wearing.....my black exercise pants and a long sleeved dark carnation colored top from Maui as I just got back from Curves. (HA! I wish I just got back from Hawaii!)

I am creating.....memories that I hope I remember! LOL!

I am going.....to sit outside for lunch in a lawn chair in the sandbox covered with snow. Hey, it's warm out there in the sunshine!

I am still reading.....Secure in the Everlasting Arms by Elisabeth Elliot.

I am hoping.....that this week won't go too fast.

I am hearing.....my husband at the moment as he sips his coffee while doing his devotional time and my oldest daughter just walked into our bedroom.

Around the house.....
there are little reminders that a baby is playing here this week :-)

One of my favorite things.....
is seeing the love between brothers and sisters.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....are just hanging out with family, evening Bible study mid-week, AWANA Games practice at the end of the week, and enjoying the sunny outdoors a bit.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.....


Yesterday I grabbed my daffodils and set them on the deck to show the contrast between winter and spring that exists here. The grass patches on the yard aren't true melting spots as it is where my husband makes the path between the wood pile and the house. If the weather stays warm this week, we'll lose a lot of snow and perhaps the daffodils in the yard will start thinking about actually coming up!

If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go to Peggy's Place

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, March 14

a new season of LAST

As a mom, it seems most of my history has been full of many *firsts* with my children. First smiles, first teeth, first steps, first bed, first bike riding, first car driving....and throw in a handful of other things that are our children's first experiences which we are blessed to witness and mark in their lives.

Before you know it, these children grow up and suddenly you realize you are in a season of *lasts* as they are ready to go off into the world to begin a new history of *firsts* without you. It is a process which you see coming as you begin to help them with various things in those final days before they leap out into the world.

And you know, I've done pretty well with that process having walked through it with three children so far . It's been an exciting time as I sense their readiness and willingness to embark on the next step of their adventure into life. Yes, there's been tears that come with those good-byes, but great joy, too, as I look forward to hearing about their days ahead.

However, I've realized something in recent days....just how soft my letting go experiences have been. All three of my children have moved away to places which are within reasonable driving range. I can call them, email them, or visit them whenever I want. It's easy to arrange when they'll come home for family holidays and events. What a blessing it's been to have these situations with my adult children who I enjoy as part of my life!

Yet, now I'm faced with a different letting go situation. As I compare the previous ones to this time with my fourth, the difference is startling. Yes, there's still the joy and excitement of seeing a child whose readiness and willingness to embark on the next step of life's adventure is very present. However, this time I won't be able to call, email will be limited, and future visits are unknown and possibly unpredictable. Our family get togethers for holidays and special events will likely be without him. Although his immediate future location will be known, much of where he'll be won't and being in harm's way is definitely on the ticket. The sharp pang in my mother's heart if I think on these facts for more than a moment causes my eyes to fill with tears.

Yes, I've had it easy the other times; this one is hard.

Our family now enters into the final week of *lasts* for him. He's had his *last* night of serving in youth ministry and soon his *last* worship service for awhile in the church he was born and raised in through the years. Friends are making connections with him throughout this coming week to say their good-byes and family will be traveling over the next two weekends to spend some time hanging out. He will finish packing up his things where he's been living and will spend the last days living back at home.

As I treasure all these things in my heart as we say our goodbyes, it comes with the knowledge that there is never a LAST with a believer in Jesus Christ. There's only a FOREVER. No matter how limited our contact is in the future or where the army takes him, there's always FOREVER. And until then, this son will have a piece of my heart!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, March 13

unexpected fudge delight

What could be more grand than an expected blessing that arrives right on your doorstep? Late yesterday afternoon while correcting schoolwork, our dogs did their bark bark bark thing outside. Looking out the window revealed a friend stopping by....with her arms full....and attempting to get something else out of her vehicle. So, I ran out there to help her and see what gifts she was bearing. She had a large container of ice cream leftover from youth ministry night AND a batch of her awesomely delicious hot fudge sundae sauce which was still WARM!

After Sunday's annual youth spaghetti dinner I had commented to this friend that I had missed seeing her hot fudge sundae sauce on the dessert table. Her response was that no one had requested she make it this year. WHAT?! Obviously the new youth pastor doesn't know about this wonderfully delicious treat!

My appreciation was definitely rewarded! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

My apologies for making everyone's mouths water! LOL!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

organizing mornings

The carnival is still in town and and with more organizational ideas than ever!

Take a minute and head over to check out all the contributors for Week 2 as they give you ideas on how to organize your morning: morning routine, time with God, chores, breakfast, getting off to a good start, etc. As an early bird, I'm especially looking forward to hearing how the night owls do mornings!

Enjoy!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, March 12

it's coming

There may not be many, however there are a few signs that spring isn't too far away! Knowing that makes me more than thankful. I may even have to say, "WOO HOO!" a few times.

*Although it's EIGHT DEGREES BELOW ZERO right now, the forecast for the weekend is temperatures in the FORTIES! Instead of staying below zero for several days at a time, these teasers of warmer snow melting weather are a good sign that spring is indeed not too far away.

*A friend I talked to last night will begin tapping his maple trees this weekend. That only happens when the temperatures begin warming and seeing the bags hanging from maple trees means spring is getting closer.

*My children noticed that some of the trees have signs of buds on the branches. They aren't real noticeable, yet I could see them as soon as they pointed them out to me AND once I put my glasses on...hee hee.

*The dogs are happier lying out on the snowbanks on the sunny days.

*The pages in our schoolbooks are definitely narrowing down. My kids are much happier doing their schoolwork when a noticeable end is in sight.

*The grocery store is offering bulb plants for sale right now. The other day I picked up a handful of budded daffodil stems which are now opening up in a vase on my kitchen window. Nothing says spring like those happy yellow faces!

What signs of spring are you noticing in your neck of the woods? Or city?

This month Thankful Thursday is being hosted by Lynn. Do take a moment to stop over and see what everyone else is saying on this Thankful Thursday

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, March 11

picture this

The question is....can an old dog learn some new tricks?

The digital camera I've had for quite awhile died a sudden death a couple of weeks ago when the display screen went out. I looked online through all the problem solving areas for the camera I owned and determined it was not something I could rectify or get repaired and decidedly declared the poor thing officially dead.

As a mom who has taken LOTS of pictures through the years and has many photo albums, being without a camera wasn't an option.

What to do?

First, make sure we were getting a tax refund and check with my husband to see if a portion of it could cover the purchase of a camera. Once that was approved, I began my search.

Kind of.

I decided that it was an overwhelming task and contacted an amazing online photography friend, Angie, who is one of the co-owners of IHeartFaces. She very kindly sent me the link to a wonderful point-and-shoot photographer who has wonderful tips over at Ree's place - Pioneer Woman. From there I did a bit more researching and finally made my decision.

Canon Powershot SX10 IS

Having always used Canon cameras - with the exception of my first digital camera - I was pretty excited to order this camera. And even more excited to get it in the mail late yesterday.

And now that it's out of the box.....I'm terrified! YIKES! As I look at all the buttons and everything that comes up on the display screen, there's obviously a whole new big learning curve ahead of me!

But I'm so so excited at the same time. I'd love to learn some new photography skills and hopefully get better at cutting off heads....hee hee...

So bear with me and my picture taking in the days ahead....PLEASE!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


a mighty wind

All night long the wind has been been roaring outside our windows as a cold front has entered our area. As the light of morning came, it was amazing to see the effects of the wind as the mighty trees swayed and the new snow swirled.

As I was sitting doing my devotions, my thoughts went to the wind that came upon the followers of Jesus in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. The different translations describe this wind as:

*a rushing mighty wind

*a violent tempest blast

*a violent rushing wind

*a violent wind

*the roaring of a mighty windstorm

Wouldn't it be awesome if the mighty powerful wind I'm hearing out my window was not a cold front moving through but instead the wind of the Holy Spirit moving revival through our land? That the prayers of God's faithful for our country would cause those who have lost hope to instead hunger and thirst for righteousness acknowledging in their hearts that only God can save them?

Wow.

A girl can hope, right? A girl can pray, YES!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, March 10

a morning routine

Organize your mornings

As an early bird for as long as I can remember, I LOVE my mornings! It's my favorite time of the day and can be useful for setting the tone for the rest of the day.

My morning routine has stayed pretty much the same through the years. There's seldom been a need to set an alarm as my eyes have a way of just waking up on their own anywhere between 5 - 6 AM. This is my typical pattern:


*A quiet time with the Lord
which includes a devotional, Scripture reading, prayer, and a cup of coffee. In my pregnancy/nursing days, it was a hot cup of tea that helped start my day.


*Exercise
is the only thing I've added into my morning routine now that we no longer have babies in the house. For years exercise was a hit or miss kind of thing in my life, but I have found it a daily essential in reducing stress and feeling better in general. Ideally in a week, my exercise routine is three mornings at Curves and two mornings walking with weekends off. I have yet to regret ever pushing myself out the door to include this as part of my morning, but do wish I would have began this habit during the baby years.


*A bit of uninterrupted computer time is enjoyed while the house is still fairly quiet. Email is checked, my blog is written, and Facebook Scrabble is played.

*A quick shower
to finish waking up. The shower is one of my favorite places in the house because the kids have learned that if they come in to ask me a question or tell me something, I'll just reply, "I can't hear you!", so they tend to leave me alone. Of course, solving the problems of the world does take time and sometimes they do have to shout to get me out because I'm in a hot water trance! Ahhhhh!


*Getting breakfast ready for the kids. Sometimes it may be making something hot like pancakes or oatmeal or eggs. Other times the choice is limited to cold cereal or muffins. No rhyme or reason or plan. It depends upon what sounds good when we walk into the kitchen each morning.

*Starting our school devotional time at the kitchen table as close to 8:30 AM as possible. We've tried earlier times but they've never worked well and this time has been the best as it accommodates early birds and those who enjoy a little more sleep. We typically use a devotional for this time as well as working our way through the Bible by reading a chapter of the Old Testament and a chapter of the New Testament, then closing with prayer.

*After devotions our school day gets going. Morning chores are minimal and we can typically jump right into our schooling. I work with my littles, monitor the middle graders, and the high schoolers work on their own.
Before we know it, lunch time has arrived!

This routine has worked well at our house for many years and continues to help our daily life run smoothly. The only disadvantage may be that sometimes the early bird needs a catnap in the afternoon! :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, March 9

simple woman's daybook for March 9


For today March 9


Outside my window.....the skies are blue and it looks like it's going to be a wonderful day!

I am thinking.....
about Bible study last night and the reality that we live in a culture that is held captive by deception. The worldview is the opposite of Truth.

I am thankful for.....for knowing and trusting Jesus as my Savior for He IS TRUTH!

From the learning rooms.....we are going to double up a bit on our studies as I don't know what next week will bring with a college student's spring break.

From the kitchen.....we NEED to bake some banana bread as well as cookies :-)

I am wearing.....my jammies and flannel bathrobe. A shower is next on my list right after I finish typing this daybook entry.

I am creating.....a list of the seeds I need to order for my garden so I don't get late like I did last year and had to pick up seeds packets locally!

I am going.....
to take one dog and one cat to the vet this morning for their rabies vaccinations.

I am still reading.....Secure in the Everlasting Arms by Elisabeth Elliot. I wish I wasn't so tired when I went to bed at night which is my reading time!

I am hoping.....that I enjoy the movies my husband brings back from his hunting trip. Sometimes they get a bit, um, long and boring to this female eye.

I am hearing.....just my desk clock tick ticking.

Around the house.....
I'm dabbling with several things as I've been decluttering. I actually think I'm ending up with more piles as I sort rather than fewer. YIKES! (And no, this isn't an invitation for my oldest daughter to come and visit! I'll keep working through those piles...promise!)

One of my favorite things.....
are the smiles of people I love and care about as I watch their faces light up :-)

A few plans for the rest of the week.....are to continue working through my decluttering process, finish up a little photo album, maybe travel for training at the pregnancy resource center unless the weather is nasty as forecasted, AWANA Club tonight and then Games practice later in the week.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.....

This is a doll I picked up for my daughter when my husband and I were in Hawaii three years ago. We never had a honeymoon and missed doing anything special on our 25th anniversary due to the loss of my mom and father-in-law that year, so we took a belated honeymoon for two weeks on the Hawaiian Islands. It was the most wonderful trip EVER! :-)

If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go to Peggy's Place

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, March 7

reducing

"Reduce your interests to a few. Don't try to know what will be of no service to you." ~ A.W.Tozer

When I read this quote, my mind immediately went, "Yes, YES, YES!!!!"

I've been living in a season of wanting to simplify. To be subtracting instead of adding. Why? Because through my years of mothering I've been adding, adding, and adding some more. Trying to learn how to do this and that and the other thing. Perhaps homeschool moms are even more driven to do this as we don't want our kids to miss anything that may be important? My shelves are full of books on just about any topic you'd want to learn or read more about.

Little boxes and bags are filled with wonderful things I've started....and never finished. I think of the little workshops I've taken on scrapbooking, soapmaking, macrame (yes, that dates me, doesn't it? LOL!), all of which are meaningless in my life now.

My interests have been so diverse that in the last couple of years I've begun realizing how thinned out my knowledge is after dabbling for so many years. And sadly in the process I've noticed that the things that I love to do - and am perhaps gifted to do - have fallen away because I don't have quality or quantity time to spend on them.

:::::sigh:::::

I've even been convicted a bit of that recently in my spiritual life,too. Not that you can ever have too much Bible or teaching as it's all good stuff, but this is what my schedule has been. Personal devotions, devotions with the kids, adult Sunday School (Love and Respect) and a Sunday morning sermon during worship, a Sunday evening Bible study (The Truth Project), a Wednesday morning women's Bible study (Philippians), a Wednesday evening home Bible study (The Beatitudes). Sooo, when I do have a little extra quiet time that I could do more study I'm torn between which one I want to dig further on. Should I follow up on the Scripture challenges that came with the Sunday morning sermon or do the extra application questions in Philippians or look up parallel passages that go with the beatitudes verse we are discussing this week? [To clarify....I would never suggest that Bible study should be eliminated. If anything, everything else should be reduced and all the Bible studies kept in place! I love the fellowship, the discussion, the Scripture searching that goes on! It's my fuzzy brain that has a harder time keeping up :::sigh:::]

Perhaps it's just this season of fuzzy mindedness that causes me to ponder since focus is a general problem I'm having these days. Or perhaps A.W. Tozer had it right as he struck on the importance of priorities and being more single minded in our interests?

Because when it comes right down to it, I think I'd rather be an awesome gardener or quilter instead of knowing only a little bit about scrapbooking or soapmaking or a thousand other things. And perhaps I'd rather know the beatitudes inside and out rather than saying, "I remember reading somewhere in the Bible about that......"

My advice....stick with A.W. Tozer's advice! Don't pursue those things which really won't be practical in your life and focus on those heartfelt interests God gives YOU!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Friday, March 6

organizing space

The carnival is in town and it's perfect for moms! No rides to make your stomach turn upside down or sticky cotton candy. Just lots of great ideas for organizing your homeschool days.
Take a minute and head over to check out all the contributors for Week 1 as they give you ideas on how to organize your physical space whether it means cutting clutter, ways to store all the "stuff", or working in small spaces.

Enjoy!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, March 5

notes of thanks


As I spent a good chunk of time yesterday more seriously cleaning off my desk, I was blessed by the little notes I ran across. They were caught up in the piles of papers instead of carefully placed in the nook where I like to keep them. What a blessing it was to read each one! I am thankful that someone took the time to write a few precious words of encouragement to me which linger on paper for me to read. Typically they stay in the nook on my desk until that gets too full, then I move them to a basket on my bedroom dresser until that gets too full, and they get moved to their final resting place which is my personal storage box in the garage. However, I do like the idea my pastor shared about keeping notes of encouragement in a folder that can be pulled out at any moment, especially when going through a difficult and challenging time. Perhaps those notes which have blessed me the most could have this special place of honor instead of being mixed in with so many other things in my storage box.

Just as I am thankful for the notes received by other, what a wonderful reminder to take a few minutes to write others a note of encouragement! We never know how much of a blessing it may be!

This month Thankful Thursday is being hosted by Lynn. Do take a moment to stop over and see what everyone else is saying on this Thankful Thursday
Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, March 4

everything in its place

This week begins 8 Ways to a More Organized Homeschool Carnival sponsored by Heart of the Matter Online. If you are interested in participating, just click on the button on my sidebar to get all the details.

*Topic for week one - ORGANIZE YOUR PHYSICAL SPACE*

Organization is an important topic to talk about because it is so essential in helping your homeschooling days go well.

When we made the decision to homeschool, it was late August as the public schools were beginning a new year. We didn't have time to really prepare our *school*, but jumped in headfirst. The downside was that things weren't well organized and most of our schooling was done at the kitchen table. My husband quickly became frustrated when he came home from work to find books all over the table, charts randomly put on the walls, papers and crayons everywhere, not to mention the toddler's mess making of the day. Something had to change.

And it did. We converted an outside storage building into a schoolhouse. New paint on the walls, carpet on the floor, a heater installed, shelves put up, a large chalkboard on the wall as well as bulletin boards. It was wonderful! Everything we needed for schooling was carefully organized in one room out of the hands of the toddler who had his own basket of things to play with during our schooling time.

At the time we began using that building, there were only three children to go in and out. But our family continued growing and there were lots of ins and outs as kids went back and forth from our schoolhouse to the main house making it challenging to keep track of everything - kids, school supplies that traveled with them, chores in the house, snacking out of sight of mom, etc. Also, going back and forth during our cold winter months was not a wise decision regarding heating costs or for our own good health. So after a few years, we moved all our schooling back into the house.

This time we did a bit better schooling in the house because we had picked up several older desks at a local school sale for our schoolhouse. The kids could keep their things inside the desks and my teacher's guides had a shelf and a rubbermaid container for storage. Lots of bookshelves downstairs could store all the other books and as well as craft and art supplies (which continues to work well to this day). There was still some kitchen mess depending upon what we were working on and their desks could so easily become places of clutter and junk piles. Again, that would frustrate the dad of the house at times.

The kids grew and rotated through desks as the older ones moved into their bedrooms which allowed them a little more quiet and the benefit of real desks. Life went on until about five years ago when we remodeled our kitchen. Where the kitchen wall had recessed for our desks, a built-in China cabinet now stood. Bye bye, desks! I had designed this area to allow cabinet space for schooling purposes (and I'm certain I can fill those cabinets when our schooling years are done!)

The upper middle cabinet stores school supplies like markers, glue, and rubber stamps in separate containers on its lower shelves. Our main schooling cabinet is located in the left lower cabinet area.

The top shelf is separated between the books of the three youngest with some containers also located there that hold pencils, pens, erasers, and miscellaneous sharpeners. I also keep our devotional materials on the far left corner of that shelf. The lower shelf has two rubbermaid containers stacked on the far left - one filled with colored pencils and the other with stickers. Then there are two boxes with all my current year teachers guides/correction books - one for the lower grades, one for the high schoolers.

Random things get stuck in cabinet depending upon what we are working on at the time. Right now there's a couple clipboards and an abacus. Often there's coloring books for the littlest, random notebooks, or "how to draw" books. The high schoolers continue to work in their bedrooms and the lower grades work at the kitchen table. However, we are right next to the cabinet and things get put away as soon as we are done.

After years of homeschooling, our current design allows our homeschooling days to run the smoothest. The best organization truly does come down to the saying from the 1800's - "A place for everything and everything in its place." When you abide by that principle, everyone is happy, including the daddy of the family!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, March 3

the tune of winter

As I took pictures down by my garden at the end of February, it was with a big :::sigh::: Four months of winter down, possibly two more to go depending upon the weather. We have had a colder than average winter so far and it makes me wonder what kind of spring we'll have once it does arrive.

March is such a LONG month and it's easy for moms to be singing the Cabin Fever Blues after so many months of being confined to the indoors. It's especially easy to sing several verses of the song if you are an older mom also dealing with the shifting hormones of perimenopause! YIKES!

Today over at Heart of the Matter Online I've shared some tips to help moms get through these long final days of winter. Be sure to stop over and share some tips that have helped you though the long days of March!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, March 2

simple woman's daybook for March 2

For today March 2

Outside my window......
at 7AM the skies are blue and it's MINUS TWENTY DEGREES! Is this really March?!

I am thinking.....about my digital camera and how its display is no longer working. Time to consider options available and pray for a tax refund!

I am thankful for.....flannel sheets to wake up in each cold morning!

From the learning rooms.....I need to pull out some old phonics stuff to use with my littlest since she's catching on to sounds.

From the kitchen.....
I will be baking plain ol' sugar cookies for my AWANA chums tonight.

I am wearing.....
my jammies, warm flannel robe, and fuzzy socks.

I am creating.....a new project list now that March is here. There's many things I do NOT want to be doing indoors once spring does come!

I am going.....to AWANA Club tonight and hope to have a lowkey week at home for a change!

I am still reading.....
the book Secure in the Everlasting Arms by Elisabeth Elliot.

I am hoping.....
this headache decides to leave sometime today as it's been visiting long enough :-p

I am hearing.....the clock tick on my desk as my house is that wonderful rare quiet at the moment.

Around the house.....
it is very quiet as the grands have left after a weekend of activity. We still have some toy picking up to do today.

One of my favorite things.....is snuggling sleeping babies.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....include AWANA Club tonight and no other activities on the calendar. My goals are big since I don't have to leave the house much. We'll see how much I actually get done, eh?

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.....



This is a picture of my grandson napping in our crib. The sheet was a hand-me-down when his daddy was born and it's still in wonderful condition. Most special though is that he's covered up with the patchwork quilt that my mom made his daddy, our firstborn, many years ago. Yes, he needs to use that old quilt because this grandma is still working on a quilt for him. Perhaps I need to STOP working on putting together a fancy quilt design and just do a simple patchwork quilt, eh? They obviously work just fine :-)

If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go to Peggy's Place

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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