Monday, March 23, 2015

Quick Update

Hello, dear readers!

I am thrilled to announce that I finished my project of updating our family booklist, and thus I have lifted my self-imposed and occasionally-obeyed blogging break.

However, I am still super-busy, so my posts may still be a bit scarce.

Here are a few brief snippets of what's going on around here lately:

Homeschool bookkeeping: This week, we will finish up the 2014-2015 school year. After a five-week break, we'll be starting the next school year. Translation = I have a lot to do! In addition to all the usual odds and ends of finishing one year and starting the next, I am:

  • Preparing to start teaching piano lessons to the 8yo. I can't say either of us is particularly enthusiastic about this, so I am working hard to make this a positive experience.
  • Trying to turn our master bedroom closet into a children's-clothing-box storage space. The only other option is to start stuffing boxes up the chimney, so I need to get busy before they chase us out of the house. 
  • Summer break itself is quite a project, and it's not really much of a break for mama. Children have the unfortunate habit of still needing food, clothes, diapers, discipline, etc., whether we're in school-time or not! However, I have made a check-off list for our break in order to focus on having fun together as a family.

Lemons, lemons everywhere! Usually around March 1st, we realize, "Oh, shoot - the lemons are dropping and we forgot to do anything with them!" This, year, however, we've been more diligent. Here are some of our lemon projects from this year:

  • Lemonade
  • Lemon meringue pie
  • Lemon cake
  • Lemon sorbet
  • Lemon cheesecake

Plus sending lemons to family and giving them away on Freecycle and juicing/zesting for the freezer. We're also hoping to make lemon curd and German pancakes with lemon sauce before the season is over completely. 

I am working to discipline my computer skills. My current daily plan is:
  • 15 minutes writing (blogging) 
  • 15 minutes business (i.e. my to-do list)
  • 15 minutes email

I am also considering forcing myself to get up early to blog (or skip writing for the day) so that I can better focus on household tasks. (Like Facebook, blogging can be a time-robber if I let it.)

I'm also working to stay on top of my email, meaning no more year-long turn-around reply times. I'm still not as diligent as I would like, but I'm improving.

Speaking of computer time, I have now completed a full quarter-year off of Facebook! Do I miss it? Yes. Do I plan to go back? No, not really. Time will tell. 

We've also been keeping busy with holidays:
  • St. Patrick's Day - We had Irish Soda Bread, corned beef and cabbage, and green ice cream. All were a complete hit!
Now I'm planning for upcoming holidays:
  • April Fool's Day - Believe it or not, I actually did some advance research and have a few plans in mind! I'll try to take pictures to share!
  • Easter - Next week is Holy Week and Easter, which will be a busy time. We will do (or try to do) Benjamin's Box, an egg hunt, another egg hunt with our homeschool group, hot cross buns, resurrection rolls, egg dying, church on Good Friday and Easter, and Easter dinner with family. 

We're also preparing to enter our family's biggest birthday season (May/June), which will be a busy time. We enjoy this time, but it's absolutely exhausting. I always hit the first of July promising myself that I will never celebrate another holiday, let alone another birthday, ever again. I'll do my best. 

Also, it's time for SPRING CLEANING - I was planning to wait until May, but the state of my home is driving me a wee bit batty, so as of Monday, it's time. I'm hoping to work for 20-30 minutes per day on various projects. 

And also, I'm working on something else very important - sibling relationships. Folks, I knew that this time was coming, but now that it's here, it's worse than I thought it would be. Sibling bickering is really, really, really taking it out of me. If I can make time, I'll blog about it some time. Until then, would you pray for me? I need serious help in this area. And for you more seasoned mamas in the audience, please - do feel free to leave any advice for what helps in this area. 

(And if this blog goes silent permanently and you hear of me in an over-the-border insane asylum, you'll know what took me there.)

In the coming weeks I'm hoping to use my limited blogging time to polish and publish the large number of half-written blog posts that I have in draft form at the moment. That too will keep me busy. 

Dear friends, I hope that your spring is going well! I'll be around - sooner or later!

Love to you all.


  1. Sibling relationships are such an important and crazy making thing to work on! I've tried a variety of things and different ideas worked for different siblings. Sometimes it is pairing up those who nit pick at each other to work together on chores. Sometimes it is not allowing those who are at each other's throat to play together or do anything together (so they see what they are missing). We've done consequences for what they are doing (ex: calling names or pushing have specific consequences). We've read stories about siblings who get along well and about people who are not nice to others and talked about them. We've had them sing a hymn about loving others or about family when they need reminded of how we want our home to be. We've tried to spend more time pouring love into each of them. There is no one perfect solution, or at least there hasn't been for us. Also, learning about the 5 Love Languages and applying that - because sometimes kids are acting out because we're not loving on them in the way they feel it best.

    1. Thank you, Tristan! I think we are very much in that experimental phase - just trying things and seeing what works. I sure wish that there was a sure-fire one-way solution, but it doesn't seem that way. I have a lot of praying to do, a lot of learning to do, and a lot of girding-up-my-loins-and-diving-in work to do. Primarily, I just can't leave the two of them together right now - at all, because the screaming starts within two minutes, usually less. Oh, goodness. But right now I'm so upset about their behavior that it's giving me the energy I need to tackle it with absolute determination, so we'll see where we go. Like all aspects of parenting, this one is really slapping me in the face with cold, hard reality, and it's taking a while to find my feet.

      Thank you for your suggestions!!

  2. Yours are kind of little for this plan, but perhaps they can grow into it or you can adapt it. When we get kids who are bickering too much we set them on stools and have each child think of 5-10 (depending on the severity of the argument) nice things about the other. They're free to get down and go about their business when they've finished saying enough nice things. This doesn't cause an instant cure, but it usually restores some balance and joy to the household for at least a little while.

    I wish you well. I've got a set of two siblings that bug each other more than all of the others combined. But really, overall, the kids are really good friends.

    1. Anne, thank you for that suggestion! I used it this morning, and I have also copied it down (along with Tristan's suggestions, above) into a document I'm compiling for our family's use. I really appreciate the help!!

  3. I just learned a couple of weeks ago that you can freeze the zest of lemons. They only get shipped in once a year, so I'm super excited to try that when they come through again. I suppose if you already have lemons, you already know that--but it was exciting to me. I'll be watching for that lemon cheesecake--my two favorite flavors combined. Mmm...
    I suppose with everything else we guide our children through, we must be ever prayerful for the Lord to reveal to us what the heart issue is (jealousy, selfishness, attention seeking, over-stimulation, etc.) and deal with the issue rather than concentrating only on the behavior. (Which I am so guilty of at times.)
    When a patient comes into my ER to have a fever treated, I can do that--but it only masks the fever. The best thing is to address the underlying disease so the fevers don't come back or other symptoms don't manifest.
    You can retrain a behavior, but it doesn't heal the heart. Will pray for strength and discernment for you. If the heart issues haven't been revealed to you already, may He show them to you and may He teach you how to speak best to your child's heart. (My repeating prayer for myself as my children grow...)
    Sounds like you are too busy for Shepherding A Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. If you feel like an extra book--this is a must read to heal a mommy's soul.

    1. Deborah, thank you for visiting! You are so wise in what you say. Yes, it is a heart issue, and I need to address that as well as the behavior itself. I need to write that down as a prayer item for myself.

      I will have to dust off "Shepherding a Child's Heart" and give it a good review! Thank you for the suggestion!!


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