Monday, August 31

and so we begin

Although books may have already been opened a bit over the past couple of weeks, today was our first official day of homeschooling for this school year.

The students ranged from a very excited first grader to sleepy high schoolers and everything in between.

My intention is always to continue our morning devotional time through the summer, but somehow that fades as the days pass and everyone does those own devotional time. So it felt wonderful to once again open our Bibles together this morning. And God's Word once again did not disappoint. We picked up in the Old Testament where we last read at the end of the school year....Second Chronicles chapter 31....a chapter which ended with the following verses:

"This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God's temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered." ~ Second Chronicles 31:20-21

Aren't those wonderful verses to ponder when you have a whole school year stretching out before you? Do you have favorite verses to encourage you as you begin a new school year?

May we, like Hezekiah, seek out God and work wholeheartedly doing what is good and right and faithful before our God! And may our schoolwork prosper from doing so!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

P.S. Summer lingers here as does our garden work, so our first day of school involved not only books but bean picking and cutting for canning!

curriculum hopping

Welcome to my entry for the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop and this week's theme....selling gently used homeschool curriculum.

The materials I have available for sale are all high school level A Beka materials and are in very good to excellent condition. The prices listed do not include shipping and I will only ship within the United States. If there is anything you are interested in, please contact me directly at my email address tam.gardening@yahoo.com to arrange payment and shipping options.


***Trigonometry Package - $25.00
-Trigonometry with Tables student book
-Trigonometry Answer Key to text
-Trigonometry Solution Key
-Trigonometry Teacher test/quiz key

***Analytical Geometry Package - $20.00
-Analytical Geometry Student Book
-Analytical Geometry solution key
-Analytical Geometry teacher test/quiz key


***Biology Package - $30.00
-Biology Student Textbook
-Biology Field and Laboratory Manual
-Biology Teacher Test Key
-Biology Teacher Quiz Key


***Science in Action - Science Project Guide $4.00

***Bible Doctrines for Today student textbook and Teacher Test/Quiz Key - $7.50

If you are a homeschooling family and are interested in selling some gently used curriculum, stop over at Darcy's Blog Hop - Curriculum Week for all the links!Link
Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, August 29

a home school open house

Welcome to my Homeschool Open House! This event is being sponsored by The Homeschool Lounge If you are a homeschooler and haven't visited there before, please do stop in. It's a wonderful online place to find fellowship, encouragement within specific groups, open discussions on every topic available, and the opportunity to design your own homepage. In other words, it's a fun place to hang out!

Our family is about to begin our 23rd year of homeschooling as we open our books again this fall. With the four oldest already graduated, our school will include five students who are in first, fifth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade. Quite a range which keeps life interesting!

Our mainstay curriculum through the years has been A Beka as it is very thorough and uses a gradual learning system. Although it is a highly structured program, we use it more loosely through the grade school years and add other materials with it. Our handwriting program has always been A Reason for Handwriting which we really like for many reasons. We've also used a variety of materials for Bible through the years. Our high schoolers now use A Beka's DVD program which allows them to work independently. I actually enjoy sitting in on their classes once in awhile and am getting a whole more out of high school than I did way back in the 70's!

This year we're going to try adding something new into our learning - lapbooking. I think my youngest three will really enjoy lapbooking since they are very creative girls and it should be a good way to get them more interested in subjects such as history and science. I purchased the book The Ultimate Lap Book Handbook which has received outstanding reviews to begin our journey with lapbook learning.

Back when we started homeschooling there weren't a lot of curriculum choices available. Our family stayed with what worked well for us and invested in building up our materials through the years with a particular curriculum. *IF* I were to just begin our homeschooling years now, I would be very interested in using Sonlight as I think it would be a wonderful program for all ages of learners. The books used in this curriculum look amazing and I hope to add some of their books into our reading time.

Even after all these years, homeschooling continues to be an option that works well for our family. It has been well worth all the challenges through the years and I've thoroughly enjoyed being home with my kids while watching them learn and grow.

Any questions?

Enjoy this day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, August 28

one thousand and a last first

It came so quickly that I barely caught it! My one thousandth post! Woo hoo! Perhaps I should have been more organized and planned a giveaway of something or other? I mean, what do you give away for an event like that? A notebook with a fancy pen to write down future blogging topics? Hmmmm......

We've also had another big event around here and that was the loss of a tooth. Not just any tooth, let me tell you, but the FIRST tooth of my LAST child.

It's just a part of the heart tugging melancholy series I'm calling "Firsts of my Last" knowing she's the last one of my children that will experience these first things.

The tooth had been getting wiggly and I told her that before she brushed her teeth that night before bed we would take a "before" picture, pull the tooth, and then take the "after" picture. But before we ate supper she exclaimed her tooth was OUT! When we asked her if she had pulled it she said "no!" but that her top two teeth had pulled it out (she must have been gritting her teeth to feel the wiggle?). It was a very exciting moment for her and since it was a little tooth very ready to come out there was not a drop of blood involved which is very good because I don't think a band aid would work in her little mouth!

Now if only the mothers of my grandchildren can survive the coming in of teeth as I reassure them that before you know it those very teeth on their way out!

Enjoy your day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, August 27

finding the abundance

"Abundance is a cornfield ripe for picking." ~ from today's page on my gardening calendar

:::::sigh:::::

Last week I took this picture in the midst of my corn patch and was delighted by how awesome the corn looked.

Late yesterday afternoon when I walked through the garden to pick veggies for supper, I went through the corn patch without a camera and saw that the corn that had looked awesome wasn't actually awesome at all. In fact, we couldn't find a single ear growing on a corn stalk! YIKES!

Abundance? Far from it.

Abundance of fall decorations. Yup, all those corn stalks will work for that purpose.

Ever get in a situation where everything looked awesome bringing your heart delight until you actually looked closer and the nitty gritty showed something quite different? Often it's too late to step totally out of the situation and you have to change your attitude and find the good that can still come from it.

It brings me right to the verse...."And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." ~ Romans 8:28

It seems like I could use that verse for a variety of situations in my life right now and am ever so thankful that I do love God and can trust His purposes.

May you find abundance in your garden even if it means changing your attitude a bit!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

P.S. As I've been picking beans this morning to do our first big canning, I looked up and noticed two little silks in the corn patch. So, I got up to look closer and can see two tiny ears of corn starting. It's kind of late in the season plus the weather is in another cool trend, so I don't know if we'll actually get to eat them, but it did make me smile!

Wednesday, August 26

widgeting back

Yesterday I popped a new feature onto the bottom of my posts - a fun little widget. It gives readers an opportunity to read a few more posts. Since I like a clutter free simple looking blog, I'm still not certain if I like this feature or not. However, I'll leave it on for a trial period before being too hasty in my decision to keep it or not.

One thing I am certain of is that this little feature totally distracts ME! I'm amazed at the ancient posts it pulls up and then, of course, I have to go and read those ancient posts. Yes, time consuming, yet memory jarring, too, which is good for my mind these days.

So do take a moment to widget back and let me know what you think!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, August 25

a break from overflowering

Prepare yourself for this picture.....

Yes, I'm sorry to say it's a head of broccoli gone wild. And yes, I'm sorry to say that it seems to happen every summer. I see the broccoli start coming, we begin to eat heads of it, I miss a couple days of cutting it due to the busyness of life and I come back to profuse broccoli flowering :::sigh::: Then I go over to my garden post and hit my head over and over as I regret not taking a few minutes to cut it all when it was ready and sticking it into the freezer :::another sigh:::

Too busy.

My life was filled with overflowering.

Time for a break.

A quick decision was made to pack up the family with essentials and head further north to our cabin in the woods as soon as the girls' soccer games ended on Saturday. The last time I had been there was over Memorial Day weekend and only made it a day before having to leave to attend a birth.

Summer had been too busy.

Our calendar had been overflowering.

Time for a break.
It was wonderful to set my devotional books out on the picnic table and read while overlooking the lake. Interruptions came in the form of having to stoke the campfire or check someone's fishing line and my return back to the picnic table guaranteed little pine needles all over my books when the breeze gently blew the nearby tree.

The weather was pleasant and sunny allowing walks through our property and back through the woods where we found lots of wild raspberries growing....

....as well as some wild blackberries mixed in here and there. The kids forts were checked and bird nests inside them noted. Books were read, cross stitch completed, and learning how to crochet rugs was attempted.

All in all, a time of getting away was just what the Master Gardener had ordered and I'm glad I took Him up on it!

Ohhhh, the calendar is still full and my household work is overflowering, but it's so much easier to tackle after a time of refreshment!

May you take spontaneous moments of refreshment in your garden when the Master Gardener sends them your way!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, August 24

our school days

Welcome to my entry for the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop and this week's theme....a day in the life of your homeschool!

Funny how we've been homeschooling for a long time but some things never change in our days such as a cat actively taking a bath on someone's books or desk!

Over the years our homeschooling day has kept the same basic structure. As an early bird mom, I like to get my devotions, exercise, breakfast, and a shower out of the way before starting our school day. Once I'm all set, I make the rounds to make sure all the children are ready.

Each school day officially begins around our kitchen table around 8:30 AM when we have our devotional time. We often use a devotional study book and we include the children taking turns reading a chapter in the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible. We close our devotional time with prayer and everyone goes to their place of schooling.

The older boys are at high school level and work independently in their bedrooms at a desk with a monitor as they use a DVD curriculum. The girls work at the kitchen table for the most part, but will wander elsewhere inside or outside to do their reading subjects except on winter days. The littlest and I spend our schooling time sitting side by side at the kitchen table. Mornings tend to be the time of day that the bulk of our schooling is done. In fact, sometimes my children have often completed subjects before we do our devotional time which gives them more time in the afternoons to do other things of interest.

We typically break for lunch at 11:30 AM and our break lasts until 1 PM which gives the kids an opportunity to get outside for a bit to exercise or stay inside to do something else.

For those who still have schooling to complete such as the high schoolers, the afternoon session usually goes from 1 PM until 3 PM. That tends to be the time of day when I can help the older ones if they need it. And that's it for formal schooling for the day. The only day that tends to go later than that is Friday which is the day that I do my main school correction work.

Once done with our schooling, it's time to get supper ready and prepare for whatever evening activities our family may have planned.

Although this is the standard routine that has worked best for our family, we've had many "seasons" when our routine was disrupted and an important lesson was reinforced during those times - that even when we weren't doing school lessons we were learning important life lessons. Learning never stops. New babies every couple of years. Family vacations in different parts of the country. Flu viruses that would knock out our whole family one by one for extended times. Home remodeling - twice. Cancer diagnosed in loved ones. Death of loved ones. It was during those times that I learned what my real priorities and responsibilities were, developed the flexibility I needed, and received God's perfectly measured strength. It often meant taking off my teacher hat and just simply being mom.

Realize that your homeschool day will reflect your individuality as a family. Find what works best for you and go with it. And always ALWAYS cover your day with prayer!

If you are a homeschooling family and want to share about your homeschooling day, stop over at Darcy's Blog Hop Day-in-the-Life for all the links!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, August 22

rocky blooming

You know the saying....bloom where you are planted!

I say....how about blooming where you are not planted? Like these sweet little Johnny Jump-ups that like to pop up in my rock garden all over the place and share their little happy faces.

Sometimes we find ourselves planted in rocky places of life that are definitely NOT where we were planted but have been thrown into by unplanned circumstances. It's hard to get our roots back down and feels very uncomfortable. Yet, God is still there and promises to never leave you. Growing there may seem to be impossible, however with each step you take to trust God, He'll be there helping you and before you know it there's be lots of things to be smiling about!

"Hear my cry , O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy." ~ Psalm 61:1-3

Rocky ground isn't such a bad thing if it leads you to THE Rock!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, August 21

a sweet sales pitch

Remember my garage sale a few weeks back? Not only was it a good way to get rid of some of our *stuff* and earn a few dollars at the same time, but it was also a wonderful learning experience for a few girls in my family.

Real life experiences are often filled with more practical lessons than any book I could put into a perfectly designed curriculum and this little journey into selling lemonade and fresh cookies is a good example of that. Jump over to my article at Heart of the Matter Online to read more about what the girls learned by selling Real Life Lemonade and Cookies.

If you decide to let your own children tackle a little side business like this, do check into your local ordinances about proper permitting of the sale of food and beverages so that you don't end up with something like this little girl lemonade salesman did in New York! Yikes!

Enjoy this summer day in your garden! Hopefully it is a lemonade and cookies kind of day where you live!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, August 20

unseen beauty

How's this for your most interesting picture of the day? It's easy to get interesting pictures when you have interesting little girls at the end of your family who do interesting little creative activities throughout the day.

This was one of their *makeover* activities and the littlest wasn't suppose to watch what her sister was doing to beautify her nails, therefore her face was covered with scarves. I think it was hard on the littlest because she couldn't see what her sister was doing and I'd hear an "ouch!" every now and then when her sister was a little too rough on the nail cleaning or cuticle pushing processes. However, when her nails were done, she was very happy with the results and said the ouches were worth it!

Ahhh, so much like life, isn't it? God is constantly making us over and we can't see what He's doing in the process yet we know He has a plan. The word "ouch!" escapes our mind more than once, doesn't it? And yet, with hindsight how often do we see that everything God has allowed in our life was worthwhile?

So when you can't see clearly remember to trust your Creator knowing there is beauty at the end of the process!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, August 19

the bells are ringing again

Ohhhh, it's so hard to keep a secret that makes you want to dance! But sometimes you have no choice because it involves a surprise that needs full cooperation when it comes to secret keeping. And it's even harder when you have to wait weeks for everything to fall perfectly into place.

A wonderful event happened a little over a week ago at a fountain much bigger than this one and in a city much much bigger than our hometown. A son knelt down to ask a beautiful young lady to marry him and she said, "YES!"

With great joy they were greeted as they arrived at our home a few days later as my son was a groomsman in a friend's wedding this past weekend. And it was a delight to take a few pictures of them, too, to celebrate their special occasion.

The ring is beautiful in its simple yet full of sparkle design. The bride-to-be has eyes which hold the same sparkle!

Plans are still in the very early stages, however it looks like they are leaning toward late spring or early summer of next year to celebrate with a wedding.

And how unexpected but completely appropriate that they came on the weekend when Mark 10:5-9 was preached about marriage by a gentleman who has been married for sixty some years. What a beautiful testimony it was to watch and listen to him and his wife read together a small section from the book of Song of Solomon.

Ahhh yes, it's nice to hear the sound of wedding bells ringing in our family once again!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, August 18

the annual cabinet cleaning

Look at how neat our school cabinet is was! Let's just say it didn't look like this when I decided to clean it out yesterday as I begin to prepare for a new school year. YIKES! No, I did not take a picture and instead posted a picture of how it will hopefully look as we begin school.

Everything had to come out and I vacuumed and cleaned the shelves well. Then the sorting through all the stuff that has accumulated all summer process began which revealed a few things that never got completed last school year.

This process will continue today as I make out my list of what supplies we'll need to get started since I really want to nudge my children into starting a bit now. The cabinet which is now empty with stacks on the floor next to it will begin filling up again as I find the books my children need and the teachers keys I need for this year.

On one hand, this is a good thing as the kids are definitely ready to get back into a routine. On the other hand, this is a bad thing as I'm definitely not ready to get back into a routine. The canning part of my garden is about to begin as well as the anticipation of family gatherings in the weeks ahead. It's hard for me to focus on school when there's other things distracting my mind.

Anywho, I hope I can stay on track with this project so we can more officially begin our school week on Monday the 24th.

How about you? When does school - home, public, private - begin for your family?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, August 17

from then to now

Welcome to my entry for the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop and this week's theme....photos of our students!

Since we haven't officially started our schooling for the new school year, I haven't taken our official standing-in-front-of-the-old-schoolhouse picture yet.

Instead I thought it would be fun to share a picture of my very first homeschool student. This picture was taken in September of 1987 (yes, I did say 1987) and it was taken next to the old desk that he used that year. My first student is now married to another homeschooled student and they are second generation homeschoolers teaching their own children. Besides him, there have been three other homeschool graduates in our family.

As we begin a new school year in a couple of weeks, our school will include five students who are in grades one, five, eight, ten, and twelve. Yes, quite a range of learning going on in our household and it certainly keeps me sharpened as I work with a beginning reader and correct the compositions of a senior in high school with everything else in-between. No wonder I'm tired and need catnaps during our school day!

If you are a homeschooling family and want to share pictures of your students as they are busy learning, be sure to stop over at Darcy's Blog Hop student photos this week!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, August 15

lament-free day

The morning is heavy gray and humid with sounds of crickets and mourning doves echoing through the woods. Soon the house will be busy as the girls will be up and getting ready for soccer. Within the hour we will be out the door and landing on soccer fields teeming with activity.

And yet, I hear the mourning dove lamenting as I enjoy these last moments of quiet. It makes my heart lament about the final days of summer so quickly passing. So much to do. So much to do.

Fortunately there is joy in the midst of this day as we will be celebrating with friends while we witness a wedding this afternoon.

So until tomorrow I will be free from the sounds of so much to do so much to do....

Enjoy this summer Saturday in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, August 14

un-lost

This morning a favorite guest told me she was going to go out for a run. Although she has done this before when visiting, she has gone with family members who know the backroads through the woods well. So, I briefly reminded her of the turns she'd need to make to do the big block around the lake and off she went.

As time passed, I realized I hadn't asked her how long she expected to be gone. It had been quite awhile and my mind immediately began thinking back to when I first met my husband and how I got lost the first few times finding and leaving this house. I mean, when you are in the middle of the woods, all trees can quite easily look the same unless you can pick up on some key landmarks among these winding roads.

So, I jumped on my bike and went down to one corner. Nothing. I turned around and went down to the other corner and there she was. Just fine. Lapping the block a few times. My concern was for naught as she was confident of her route, but I had done my job as a mother looking out for her guest and felt better.

Life can kind of be like that sometimes. We are running along on what may seem to be familiar territory until we realize we are on a new path. That happens frequently when raising a family and suddenly in the midst of our daily routine we notice we have a new path before us which could be tackling potty training, starting schooling, preparing a new driver, looking at colleges, considering weddings. And for a moment we are lost! A whispered "HELP!" and we realize God is right there and we aren't lost at all because He's been on the journey all along keeping His steadfast eye on us. Whew!

Enjoy your summer paths whether familiar or uncharted as God promises never to leave you!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, August 13

the best remnants


My ears always perk up when I hear the words "fabric" "stash" "giveaway" and reading Randi's post this morning was no exception! She's cleaning out some beautiful remnants from her store Fresh-Squeezed Fabrics and is doing it in the form of a giveaway. I love to stop over at her store and allow myself to deeply and contentedly sigh over the thought of using any of her incredible fabrics for quilts. And remnants would be perfect for pregnancy center quilts!

So, if you are a fabric lover, do stop over and enter Randi's stash giveaway And if you aren't a fabric lover, don't feel you have to stop over there because it'll give me more of an opportunity to win OR enter and send ME the fabric when you win! LOL!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

get wet!

It may have taken a long time to get here, but it finally truly feels like summer outdoors right now. The daytime temps are climbing up in the 80's, humidity is increasing, the sun is shining, and for the first time in a long time I left the house early this morning to go walking without my fleece thrown on. Too bad it waited until mid-August to come, yet we will enjoy it while it's here knowing its visit will be short as fall approaches.

Unfortunately what has NOT been coming at all is RAIN. Our county has been included in a severe to extreme drought state of emergency. Last night the meteorologist said that since 2003 we have fallen almost 35 inches below normal in precipitation with only a 1/2 inch of rain falling this month. It certainly explains why our lake is turning into a puddle and why people are losing their wells and needing to re-drill for water deeper down.

Probably the hardest part is keeping the garden well watered since everything the sprinkler sends out seems to instantly evaporate. Usually I water in the late evenings or early mornings to have the best opportunity to keep it moisturized a bit longer. It's especially challenging because everything is hitting the peak of production and it needs the water to produce good crops.

So, I do what I can and wait for the good stuff. The rain from heaven that perks everything up in my garden like nothing else. Rainwater must have a good dose of nutrients in it because the results after a rainfall is simply amazing!

And you know, our spiritual lives can be like that, too. We can go through dry spells when we fill our lives with a bit of this devotional and a bit of that Christian book, but what we've read can evaporate so quickly from our lives. Yet, when we get a good dose of reading right from God's Word the results are simply amazing!

"...God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit..." ~ from Romans 5:5

How can you not thrive and grow on this amazing stuff?!

May God's Word pour His love into your garden today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Wednesday, August 12

endless energy

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary......" ~ Isaiah 40:28

These are the beginning words of those famous eagles wings verses, but how often do we really think about the fact that God doesn't get tired? Ever. I mean, God is as old as time itself yet He does not weary!

More often I'm thinking about how much more quickly I tire as I age. Big projects can no longer be tackled like before as the boundless energy of youth is waning. Pacing myself in projects seems a bit more kind these days. Giving myself a little more grace on my "to do" list is becoming acceptable. Stopping to smell the roses really is okay!

Nooo, I'm not ready for the nursing home quite yet, but I'd be glad to take a break and sit on the porch with you any day!

In the meantime, I'll continue to count on the strength of my Mighty Everlasting God to give me His boost of endless energy I need to start a new day.

May you be energized on this day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, August 11

like a chippie on a fence

There are days when I can perfectly relate to nature. Like yesterday. A bunch of barking was going on outside my bedroom window and I witnessed a typical scene in our yard which we usually call "chippie entrapment". The dogs chase the chippies until the chippies land in a safe place which could be up a tree, in a wood pile, or in their ground holes. Barking ensues. Dogs gets bored and leave. Chippie leaves.

This time the chippie ended up on the top of my garden fence above the doorway. This end of my garden is heavily covered with kiwi plant vines so the chippies commonly run into the vines and hide. This little chippie apparently climbed all the way to the top.

Dog stands below and paws at the fence barking like crazy thinking the chippie will come down. (Ya right.....)

Dog stops barking and comes out to assess the situation. The next time I looked out my window both the chippie and the dog were gone. It tends to be a short lived game in our yard.

Yesterday *I* felt like that chippie on the garden fence. I was stuck in a place that had me immobilized for most of the day. So many things were pawing for my attention that it was hard to stay focused and concentrate. The big never ending August "to do" list, waiting to hear from a son and how his plans were going to unfold, waiting for another family event to unfold at the end of the day, having writing that needed polishing, and dealing with girls who wouldn't stop fussing at each other about every little thing all day long.

:::sigh:::

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." ~ Lamentations 3:23

Yay for God's great love, His compassion, His faithfulness! They are new every morning!

Today is a new day and I'm off the fence! Time to scurry and get busy!

May your garden day not be spent on the fence, but filled with the freedom of knowing God's love, compassion, and faithfulness!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

*For those who don't live in our household, a *chippie* is our family's word for a chipmunk!

Monday, August 10

a room or two or more

Welcome to my entry for the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop and this week's theme....school rooms!

Our home schooling has evolved through the years. We began at our kitchen table, converted a storage building into a school and used that for a few years, came back to a kitchen with desks for many years, remodeled our kitchen, and have settled into what works best for our family now. To get a better peek into our school room journey, feel free to check out my link everything in its place

Our school day always begins around the kitchen table for a devotional time. Once that is completed, each child heads to where they typically do their school work.

My high schoolers are currently using a DVD curriculum which they daily tackle in their own rooms. They each have a desk with a small TV where they view their classes and do the required homework.

The three grade schoolers work at the kitchen table a majority of the time. All their main books and materials are in an easily accessible cabinet (the link above has a picture) so only what is needed at the time is on the table which keeps the daddy of the family much happier.


Sometimes I'll find one of them working on the kitchen peninsula but that tends to be when they are nosy about what mom is doing in the kitchen or when they are tired of a sister's chatter at the kitchen table.

The older girls will wander off when they have reading to do. In the winter this could mean a comfy chair by the woodburner or snuggled under a blanket on top of their beds; in the warmer weather it may mean out on the deck or lying on the trampoline.

So what's the bottom line on our school room? I guess it's any place in our home where learning is taking place which could mean a room or two or more!

How about you? If you are a homeschooling family, do you have a particular place you like to do schooling or a great way of storing all your schooling supplies? Share your thoughts over at Darcy's Blog Hop school room

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, August 8

the blogging sometimes

There's been something about the past few weeks that has made it difficult for me to stick to my unspoken rule about getting my daily blog post up by 8 AMish. That *something* seems to be a too busy schedule which begins at the same early time as always, however is much fuller than usual. I'm able to get my exercising done, get my devotions done, get my first couple of cups of coffee done, and get my blog started, but then I somehow lose it. It's during the blog writing that I seem forced each day to hit the SAVE button because I must move onto the next task.

*Sometimes I can come back and pick up where I left off.

*Sometimes I can come back and my mind goes blank.

*Sometimes I can come back and have a hundred other things I could write about instead.

Goodness, it's turning into a daily dilemma that I've never experienced to this extreme before!

Let's just say that the same thing happened today and here I am having landed on option three. There are sooooo many things swirling around in my head at the moment. However, I can't take the time to write about any of them because I am feeling highly motivated to get one of my household tasks done which means I need to strike while the iron is HOT since it doesn't stay HOT for very long!

So, if you've hung around long enough to read this rambling....thank you! You are a dear reader to me and I appreciate your devotion. I hope to be back to a more normal routine around here on Monday which will hopefully mean a a return to my regular Garden Glimpses posting.

Until then, may you enjoy the waning summer days in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, August 7

now rather than later

It's been a rather wacky week and I'm feeling way off balance.

There was no doubt that I knew it was going to be difficult coming off of last week with my total involvement in our garage sale and the knowledge of how far behind I was in my household tasks and garden. But I hadn't really factored into that difficulty the commitment of this week.....an incredibly awesome online homeschool conference.

This conference has daily filled my mornings and a bit of the afternoons which has kept me at the bare minimum completion level of household tasks. Actually, bare minimum would be an overstatement.

Yikes!

Yes, I know I could have downloaded these sessions later, but I also know myself well enough to realize that I will get caught up in life again and totally forget about downloading each session when they are available. So the best option was to listen NOW. Take notes NOW. Check things out online NOW. Print out handouts NOW. Get really excited about homeschooling NOW.

Which means a whole lot of other things did NOT get done NOW.

Yikes!

So in a few hours NOW will be over and LATER will be upon me!

Yikes!

I just may need a catnap as I have a feeling my LATER duties will be much bigger than anything I've been doing NOW!

Hopefully your NOW and LATER are not as wacky as mine are at the moment! LOL!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, August 6

be prepared

IF nothing happens today that would be an infraction, my son has completed his five required jumps and should have wings pinned on his uniform tomorrow morning at Army Airborne graduation.

WOO HOO!

Throughout this week of jumping out of planes, he's called with the details of each jump. Yes, it's probably more information than this mother needs to know! Yikes! But his siblings love listening to his stories.

What was actually more interesting to me - perhaps because it didn't contain danger! - was what occurred in the pre-jump activities. The platoon had to be up early (usually 3 - 4 AM for formation) and would then go and get completely geared up for the jumps of the day. Once geared, they would be officially inspected and approved as safe to jump. Then they would be put into a hold position sitting on the ground. For hours. They could not talk to anyone. They could not touch the gear on their bodies. They could not move. For hours. A minor infraction in any way would boot them out of the program. He said that the only movement you would see would be guys quickly elbow nudging the guy next to them when they saw them nodding off. Yes, fully prepared, yet waiting for hours.

That scenario kind of reminded me of yesterday and my volunteer work at the pregnancy center. The over an hour ride driving time was spent in prayer. Once everyone for the morning shift arrived at the center a devotional was read, Scripture was shared, music was listened to, and our time closed in prayer. Then we were all fully prepared for the morning ahead. But yesterday was different.

It was quiet. My regular clients either canceled or didn't show. The phone was quiet. There were no walk-ins. For hours. We were all prepared, but put in a wait mode.

At least we could talk to one another unlike my son's waiting time. How important that was when two urgent prayer requests came in during the morning which could be lifted up to our Heavenly Father immediately.

At least we could move and do things unlike my son's waiting time. My morning was spent hand addressing envelope, folding brochures, folding letters, and looking over materials.

There are times of waiting in our lives. Sometimes we must be still. Sometimes we must continue moving with the things that are before us. But always, always we need to be prepared! It's Scriptural - "...be prepared in season and out of season." Paul was speaking about preaching the Word of God to use it to correct, rebuke and encourage. Be prepared with great patience and careful understanding. (II Timothy 4:2)

Always be prepared whether there is a time of waiting or moving ahead for you. God will use your preparations for His purposes!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, August 5

mom charming

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." ~ Marcel Proust

Immediately we may think of someone who makes us blossom, but as mothers we have such wonderful opportunities of helping our children blossom with the combination of our tender care and God's love shining down upon them.

Be a charming gardener today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, August 4

a handwriting favorite

Every once in awhile, some event that I can't resist comes up online that prompts me to write about our homeschooling. I think when you've been homeschooling a long time, it does just blend in with life and you really don't think about it as being something separate that you need to talk about much. I mean, I don't talk about doing dishes or laundry or making my bed. Well, sometimes I do, so here's one of my sometimes posts on homeschooling.

Darcy is hosting a special weekly event for a handful of weeks called the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop (button on my sidebar) and this week's theme is about curriculum....what you like, what you don't like, what you're looking for, etc.

As I thought about it, there is one thing that I've really liked in our curriculum which we started using right from the beginning and it is A Reason for Handwriting series.

The series runs from kindergarten through sixth grade and is a daily handwriting task which my kids have always done first thing in the morning for some unknown reason. For the first three days they work on letters of the alphabet or individual words. On the fourth day they write out for practice an entire Scripture verse. Then on the fifth day they get to color a picture and write out the Scripture verse for the final time.

Unfortunately I haven't ordered my new handwriting books for this year yet and extra final sheets are hard to find because my kids tend to use them up. But here's a small sample. Most of the pages will have a design or scene to color, but there's always the option to use one of the pages that has the handwriting lines and the rest is blank to design your own picture.

A simple handwriting program which we've always taken one step further. When they write out their final verse, they also need to pick someone to send it to and will use the rest of the lines on the sheet to write a brief note. It is like a mini ministry that my children can be involved in to bless someone else. We've only had one unfortunate incident through the years when my daughter sent one to a close friend and the girl's mom called wondering if we thought her daughter had a problem with "lying lips". Yikes! So, if you decide to do this, please check the verses that are being sent out to others when you are in a non-deprived sleep state of mind!

The last two pictures posted here are actually handwriting done by my oldest son who is now married with two children. I ran across them when I was sorting through a box and recalled an interesting story. When this son was a senior in a Christian college, he was chosen to be interviewed with a handful of other students for an article in a large newspaper. Written in the article was an observation by the reporter - my son's roommate had Life posters on his side of the room while my son had "drawings and notes from some of his young siblings" on his wall. Yes, it was a collection of handwriting sheets that provided regular mail for a brother away at college. And much to my daughter-in-law's dismay, he has kept every one of those handwriting letters! (I wonder where he gets his sentimentalism?)

If you are interested in ordering any book in this series, why not support a fellow homeschooling business by checking out this Rainbow Resource Center link

And if you are interested in participating in Darcy's blog hop, please click the link above or the one in my sidebar.

Happy handwriting!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Monday, August 3

simply scrappy!

It was hard to resist following a link that a new friend on Facebook posted as it was a giveaway of a bright fun scrappy quilt! I cannot get the button to post and work on here for whatever reason tonight, so you'll just have to go and check it out yourself. Please don't feel you have to leave a comment there as I'd like to reduce the number of people entering the giveaway so that I may win it for MYSELF! LOL!

Check it out here - Scrappy Quilt Giveaway

Enjoy!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

the "after" lull

After spending all of last week walking back and forth to my garage, here I am today wondering where to begin catching up? I want to package all the energy and organization and ideas I tapped into last week for my garage sale and use it for this week as I need to get my house back in order, tackle my August projects, and implement some new ideas. But I'm not having much success finding any energy or organization or ideas. Does anyone know where I can find find them? :::yawn:::

AND it isn't helping that this week is the Parenting and Home Education Online Conference organized by the Amies over at Heart of the Matter. Yes, I know that I could download the sessions later, however, I'm not very good at remembering to download things later and do much better "in the moment" in this season of my life. I don't know if you can still get tickets to this conference, but I'm lovin' it! It is awesome to put voices to online faces I know plus gain knowledge in the process. It gave me a chuckle this morning to have one of my children ask me why I needed to attend this conference since I already know everything I need to know about homeschooling. I just smiled and told them that I can always learn something new and get some fresh ideas for our homeschooling! If they only knew how many more things I could still learn about homeschooling as we begin our 23rd year in just a few weeks.....

Anyway, time to get busy with a few household tasks before I listen to the last session of the day in less than an hour.

May your day be filled with more energy, organization, and ideas than I've had so far today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, August 1

how can it be?

Someone please come and turn my calendar page because I don't think I can do it!

AUGUST?

:::thud:::

People around here are still talking about this being the summer that never came. Today's high temperature is to be in the upper 60's. The week ahead shows a forecast of temps in the low 70's. In August. I'm not complaining as it feels like spring to me and I love spring. But it does seem odd to always have a sweatshirt thrown on all summer long.

But you know, it isn't even the fact that it's been cool all summer. It's the fact that it's August already! YIKES! How does the summer always get away from me like that? Or is it just the fact that I'm getting older and ALL time gets away from me like that? And the biggest question of all is how come WINTER doesn't ever go this quickly? LOL!

Okay, that's my thought for the day. Off to the last morning of my garage sale, a wedding, taking down the garage sale, and then finally contemplating the list of all I have to get done during the month of August!

What's happening in your garden on the first day of August?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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