Hello, dear friends!
Happy summer! It's definitely that time of year. The house is closed up, the air conditioning is on, and the children are outside only in the early morning and late evening. (We're going crepuscular yet again.) Palo verde trees are finishing their beautiful blooms, it's birthday season for our family, and we're busy working through the first term of our school year.
Life is full and very, very busy.
Speaking of busyness:
I am convinced that the one skill necessary for motherhood is the ability to stealth-eat. To eat without making one tiny sound. Because the moment that tell-tale clink is heard...
That's right. A herd o' young varmints immediately gathers to get in on whatever mama is eating. The above picture is what happened when I tried to do something crazy like "eat breakfast" a few mornings ago.
Unfortunately it's really hard to make eggs on the sly. The low-carb lifestyle was definitely not created for the convenience of homeschool mamas.
We finished up our unit study on the state of Alabama a few days back. It was a great success. We celebrated by making a down-home southern dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and cream gravy (using Smockity's video to learn how to make the gravy - see her left sidebar for the video).
Here is my first-ever fried chicken! Barring the piece that we charred to a cinder (forgot about it till we smelled burning oil), it came out beautifully.
Next up in our state studies is Oregon. So far the only big subject I've turned up is the Oregon Trail and pioneer life, but that's good enough for a start. We're spending three weeks per state, so we'll finish next week before our first break.
Speaking of southern cooking, I've also been working on my pie-making skills. As you can see, they could use some improvement. However, it tasted good. I made an extra for church, and I had to fight like a wild hyena to snag the last piece away from a herd of angry parishioners.
Okay, not really. But it was delicious. Sometime I'll post the recipe.
Speaking of super-healthy foods, I have started back on the VLC diet. Again. For the third time this week.
But in all seriousness, I have had to reinstate my N.O.B. policy - Not One Bite. No matter what, I stick to the diet. Not One Bite of anything else.
You see, when I try "just one tiny bite" of whatever-it-is, I am suddenly overwhelmed with a wave of "Well, I just blew it, so I might as well...." [insert wave of cheat-eating] Not good.
Not One Bite it is.
Along the same lines, I am working on re-incorporating lacto-fermented foods and various supplements back into my diet. Capitalizing on my dislike of clutter, I am intentionally using clutter to force myself to take my supplements. Here is my latest:
When I take the supplement listed on the top of the spice bottle, I get to put that bottle away. Bam! OCD tendencies to the rescue. This really works for me.
In case you're wondering, the supplement label-tabs stand for...
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Kombucha
- Raw pickles
- (I've since added one for coconut oil)
We started our science experiments with a perennial favorite - soda bottle rockets! These are a treat for the whole family. My husband is now using his air compressor instead of a hand-operated bicycle pump, meaning that we can work through a huge amount of these critters in twenty minutes.
Speaking of children, I have of late wondered who this hulking teenager is who is walking around our house - you know, the child who is about to turn nine. He has lately been stealing my shoes (see above), and now he is actively pirating my sock drawer. And the socks fit him. Good grief. Can we say "growth spurt"?
I'm definitely seeing physical growth that is more along the lines of tween-teen rather than child, and that is... intimidating. Yes, rather intimidating. I've feared having teenagers since before we even had children, and that challenge has loomed large in my mind for a good decade.
Ready or not, that challenge is on its way.
Over the past few weeks, I've wondered why on earth I've been so tired. Tired, and possibly a bit overwhelmed. It's just school time, and we've only added one subject this year. Right?
Well, not really. *Officially* we just added English to our schedule, but in reality we're in a whole new phase of school life. This year we've added:
- Composition in the form of notebooking
- Bible study
- Character studies
- History studies with lapbooking
Not to mention having a preschooler in the depths of the terrible threes, a new baby, and all of that.
But one way or the other, I am feeling stretched. Like butter scraped over too much bread. Except that it's not the One Ring sapping my strength, but just whole lotta family life and homeschooling.
Right now my day feels like this: Get up, work unendingly, finish the day with a hundred undone items on my to-do list, fall into bed. Repeat.
It's good. But it's definitely stretching.
However, I find that family life is a constant stretching experience. The Lord forces me to grow, and grow, and grow. Each bit of growth is painful. But thankfully, I can look back at former times and say, "Wow! I've actually made progress!" That's encouraging, even though growth is so challenging.
Each time of growth reveals more weak areas that need (and receive) work. My temper, my patience (or lack thereof), my self-discipline - God uses this family of mine to show me my weaknesses and work, slowly, to correct them.
Right now I'm experiencing a lot of growth in the areas of homemaking and cheerful parenting (by which I mean disciplining with love and cheerfulness instead of impatience and ill-temper).
I am so thankful for my family. Without them, I would have been left in a pit of selfishness and uncorrected character faults - and not even known it. With my family, I am forced daily to confront my (many) weaknesses as they are revealed in my family interactions, and to work on them. God really knew what he was doing when he placed human beings in the context of the family. (Surprise, surprise.)
Dear readers, I hope that you all are well! I can't guarantee that this blog is going to be too active. Most likely it won't. But I'll check in when I can.
Here are a few pictures to finish up:
In a family-heirloom baby gown (100+ years old) :
Engaged in his favorite activity - finding a toy and sitting on it. This time it's the monkey that falls prey to his rapacity for squishing:
In her usual wardrobe of boy hand-me-downs.
Have a wonderful week, dear readers!