Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Long Time No Write

I cannot believe it's been since the end of October since I wrote on here!  Well, I guess I can believe it.  We were very busy the month of November with Ellie's 10th Birthday and first (and last) slumber party.  We were also getting ready to host Thanksgiving for Thomas' siblings from all over the country.  I still have two days of painting in the basement, just around the edges where our desks and file cabinets sit.  I just ran out of time, but painted so close to them that nobody noticed till we pointed out the deficiency.  The younger of his sisters and her hubby, two sons, and one daughter stayed with us.  We had loads of fun.  Her hubby and I got picked together for the three-legged race during the Turkey Trot and won!
Wyatt's keeping up with the winning team!  Outside, inside, outside...
Thanksgiving was also Wyatt's 8th Birthday.  This is the second time in his life that his birthday has fallen on the actual day of Thanksgiving. There was Rummikub playing, music, dancing, and plenty of food.  The kids got along great.  There were a few fuses when the boys were building a fort in the living room, but they were so minor.  We took some nice family pictures; though it was challenging with the cold weather... we wound up moving furniture and taking them in the basement.
My Family :)

Hubby's Side of the Family (minus the bro-in-law overseas)
 Then December was Christmas, and practically a blur.  Ellie mentioned this year that Christmas was so commercial, she wasn't even sure that we should put up a tree.  I was totally okay with that.  Well, she changed her mind by the time Thanksgiving was over and we had to put up some of our familiar decoration.  I didn't clear the mantel and replace everything on it with Christmas decorations, but we put up the tree, stockings, manger scene, and some red bows.  We had some great dinners with family and friends all throughout the past months.  I did not get all my sewing projects done that I had lined up for Christmas presents.  Poor Ellie still doesn't have her new curtains for her bedroom.  She's just living with white window shades.  I have a stack of aprons that was going to make for the ladies on both sides of the family... still waiting to be put together.  I've taken down all the Christmas decorations, except for the manger scene... might just leave it up year round.

I also felt like chaos descended on my house sometime over the holidays.  I know part of it was the interruption in what had become a pretty good and regular time with God (all my fault).  We also had taken a long break from "regular" homeschooling... and our basic schedule!  Ugh!  Even chore time has been messed up... which results in a messy house and a discouraged mom.  So, I have punished myself with not writing on my blog... telling myself that I could write when I got "things" done.  Well, I still haven't printed out and mailed our New Years Letters, but the pictures are in envelopes with addresses on them.  I still haven't finished all my sewing that was supposed to be for Christmas (luckily I have an understanding family).  I do feel the chaos lifting though.

I have made new chore charts for the kids and that is going great.  I have also made new Clean Bedroom Charts... but have yet to implement them.  I even made myself a new chore chart!  I am getting ready to make an "If-Then Chart".  We've had House Rules for a long time, but never a standard chart for the kids to know what the consequences for breaking rules were (which means Daddy and Mommy sometimes have different consequences, and that is not nice for the kids).  I learned about the "If-Then Chart" from Doorposts last April at the big Homeschool Conference.  I really liked the idea, but I got to thinking about the chart again when I attended a free online Homeschool Conference last month on  Teaching Self Government.  I got some great tips from Nickoleen Peck who has written a book, has a seven hour seminar, a great website, a newsletter, and helpful videos.  She and her family were also part of a television show on the BBC (they live in Utah, not the UK).

I am also working on longer menu planning (my usual is one week at a time, but I hear that month at a time is the way to do things).  My problem is that we usually have leftovers sometime in the week.  I try to use them the beginning of the next week, if we have things leftover from the weekend.  If we have leftovers from the end of the week, I make the family eat them on the weekend.  I'm not sure how to plan for that, because I don't always know if I'll have leftovers or not.  Well, we'll see how it goes. Monthly planning is supposed to be more economical and time saving.

I've already promised to share my charts and things on the blog, so that will be coming soon.  I also can't wait to share pictures... or maybe a video (after a year, I'm starting to get the hang of my new HD video camera... I still can't make a dvd though! Argh!) of the changes in the basement.  There is also a book that I can't wait to share about!

Currently, we're living through blizzard conditions.  Oh!  That reminds me... January... we had a couple of big snows.  I was so thankful that Thomas and I both have 4-wheel drive now.  We sold our old suburban (only 4-wheel drive we had last year) and he got a 4-wheel drive 3/4 ton Chevy pickup; we got rid of my car and got me a 4-wheel drive Envoy.  I am also very thankful right now for a working furnace.  Ours went through two parts in two days last month... meaning no heat for two days.  We do  have wood burning stoves, but thankfully the insulation Thomas and our friend, John, put in the attic last year, combined with the new vinyl siding on the house (when Thomas and Chad built the gorgeous new deck) held the heat in so well that we never went below 62 degrees in the house.  So, we just layered and stayed close to the space heater.  We probably would have just fired up the stoves, but we don't have a large stock of wood this winter... so I'm glad we saved what we have... just in case.

Okay, now that I've done my cathartic catch up writing, I think I can go to bed... and write again another day.

P.S.-Remembered that "my" computer died.  That was the last computer that still had my Kodak software loaded on.  Thankfully, I had backed up my pictures.  I cannot find my Kodak software cd, and my camera doesn't have a normal link to the computer... so I had to figure how to get my pictures from the camera to the computer with just the software already on this computer.  That was quite a learning process.

My sister-in-law, Lori, taught me about the essential oil Thieves.  I had bought a set of Young Living Essential Oils over a year ago, but didn't know how to use them all.  Thieves rubbed on the bottom of your feet (lasts longer mixed with olive oil as the directions say) is a great way to keep from getting sick.  Trouble is, we've missed two days and then all gotten sick!