25 November 2015

Wonderful Wednesday

Nine beeeeeautiful daughters, Six available to pose for their momma today!

11 November 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Habits and their easy formation!

This makes me think of my dad. He was forever "watching" his children growing up and continually cautioned us in our behavior. It wasn't like a nagging always on our case kind of thing but simply more like corrections. Like we do when we see a misspelled word in our children's writings. More like he would point them out to us and sometimes he might have been compelled to also deliver a wisdom filled short lecture of sorts. 

I feel like I do this with my kids. Kind of watch and hopefully deliver the same wisdom filled talks. However in my many weaknesses I'm pretty sure my children see it more of nagging rather than a discipleship which is where my intention actually lies!!  Okay, I admit that I too call it nagging!! I'm working on the whole idea that you can catch flies easier with honey!! (Probably got that wrong but you get the idea).  I digress. I just wanted to share because it made me think of my dad and brought back childhood memories. Life was slower and simpler back then, at least for me. We didn't have the constant goings to and fro all the time that these days seem to bring and thereby afforded parents much more time to observe and correct as needed! 

I think another reason I wanted to share is because I needed to hear it. Life has been so crazy busy lately that I've discovered not so good habits creeping be into both my own life and that of my children. Hopefully with the colder weather life will slow a bit and better enable me to watch, listen, and learn! Oh, and hopefully fly far away from being nagging and to try harder to follow the example of our Master Teacher which is Jesus Christ while realizing my first tool  in my journey is a mirror! That's where the biggest challenge lies!  


From: Simply Charlotte Mason <contact@simplycharlottemason.com>
Date: October 27, 2015 at 11:07:34 PM CDT
To: vpsmith14@yahoo.com
Subject: 3 Little Words for Habit Training: Watchfulness
Reply-To: Simply Charlotte Mason <contact@simplycharlottemason.com>

Simply Charlotte Mason — Helping you homeschool with the Charlotte Mason Method.

3 Little Words for Habit Training: Watchfulness

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Have you ever noticed how some things jump out at you once you start thinking about them—things you didn't notice until someone brought them to your attention? For example, portion sizes. My husband and I eat out a lot when we're traveling around the country doing conferences, but I never really noticed how large the portion sizes are getting until I read a bit in a book about how the size of food portions has grown over the years. Now I'm watching for it, and I see it all the time!
Maybe you've experienced the same thing with cars or boots or bags. You finally decide to buy a new one and suddenly you start noticing how many other people have them and what kind each person has.
It's not that the item hasn't been there before. It was, but you didn't notice it because it wasn't on your mental radar. Now you're watching for it.


That's how it is with habits. Once you are aware of habits, you start watching for them. In fact, Charlotte Mason believed that the mother's watchfulness was an important factor in the habit-training process.
"Tact, watchfulness, and persistence are the qualities she must cultivate in herself; and, with these, she will be astonished at the readiness with which the child picks up the new habit" (Vol. 1, p. 122).
We talked about tact last time, and it applies as we consider watchfulness too. Charlotte was not talking about a heavy-handed "Don't forget that I've got my eye on you" kind of watchfulness. Rather she was encouraging mothers to grow in their awareness of what is going on around them and how those situations might relate to the habits our children are cultivating.
She wanted mothers to notice, to be watching for . . . what kinds of things? Here are a few that come to mind.
  • Watch for opportunities for the child to practice the habit you're working on. It seems easiest to notice those glaring times when the child fails to practice the habit—when you have to correct him. But you will see better results if you take a proactive approach. Watch for situations in which you can plant a little seed of an idea; then a bit later, perhaps, casually present an opportunity to put the idea into practice without your dictating what to do. Yes, it takes more effort, but the rewards are great!
  • Watch for ideas to encourage good habits. You can motivate your child to cultivate a good habit through living examples, through consequences, and through encouraging looks and words.Be on the lookout for books that feature good examples of the habits you're working on. Be careful to use them with tact; sometimes the less said, the better. Simply put them in the child's mind and heart and allow good literature to do its work. So keep your radar up for any book suggestions that might help with the particular habit you're working on or plan to work on.
    The same goes for consequences. There are so many variables involved in children's personalities and all the aspects of a situation that there is not one-size-fits-all list of consequences that are guaranteed to work. That's impossible. But you can be watchful for potential consequences. When mothers whom you respect talk about situations they encountered and how they handled them, you might pick up a valuable tip or idea. Watch for those.
  • Watch for indications that a child is growing in a new habit. Maybe the growth is very small, but it's still growth! Look for it. Acknowledge it. Affirm it. Celebrate it!
  • Watch for clues about which new habits you should work on in the future. Charlotte recommended you focus on one new habit for six to eight weeks. That means you can tackle at least six new habits in a year. Keep your eyes open for areas that might benefit from a new good habit. Keep a list, if you want to, to remind yourself of what you could work on next. If you have several habits listed, look over the list and decide which should take priority for the next six to eight weeks.
    This list will help you not panic the next time you have a bad day. You know what kind of day I mean; the kind when you think, These kids are monsters! I can't believe they did that/said that. I'm a failure as a mom! But before you go dust off your Bad Mommy trophies, sit down with your list and think through which habit or habits would have helped in that situation. Put them on the list and remind yourself that no, your kids are not perfect yet, but you have a plan to help them continue to grow and improve.
Watchfulness. It's a gentle reminder from Charlotte to be tuned in, keeping your mental radar up, observant of what is happening around you as it relates to habit training. The more you can cultivate watchfulness in yourself, the more you "will be astonished at the readiness with which the child picks up the new habit."

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07 July 2015

Beautifying the home

Which is exactly what my girls love to do!  I'm not much into creating beautiful spaces but I enjoy them nonetheless.  My girls are great at spicing up our home.  That's a good thing because their Tomboy mom isn't very good at it.  Here are some random pics I found in my photos that made me really appreciate the girls and their efforts to "make pretty" our home by using ordinary measures!

Homemade ginger ale

Homemade ginger ale is easy and delicious.  Once you get the ginger bug made then it's smooth sailing from there.  The first photo is the ginger bug and the second the completed batch of ale.  If you want to give it a shot click HERE for the full recipe and wonderful and simple directions!

Kitchen Creations

June here in Wisconsin brought some amazing strawberries.  We were very blessed to be able to go pick twice at a berry farm nearby.  The girls and I packed away 35 pints of jam and 12 gallon size bags of frozen strawberries.  There is just something amazing about strawberry jam.  And spread with homemade cream cheese on a warm, toasted homemade roll is the best.

Freezer strawberry jam

Picking strawberries

Homemade cream cheese is truly delicious.  Once you try it you will never go back to store bought.  And the crazy thing is is that it is super easy to make.  HERE is a very simple recipe.  If you already have your yogurt made just skip to the cream cheese section.  All you need is a quart of plain homemade or store bought yogurt, a cotton tea towel or cheese, and a bowl to catch the whey.  I find myself starting a new batch around 3-4 times a week because it disappears so quickly.

Once it has drained overnight this is what you get!  Not to mention a couple cups of whey to use in recipes or to drink.  Which my husband grabs up and drinks before I can get a chance to use it!

My bread recipe turned rolls!!  I usually make a batch every other day.  I tend to make the dough into rolls since they are so much easier to slice and toast than a loaf.  But then it's most likely me since I cannot shape a loaf to save a life!!  Recipe is HERE

Chocolate chip cookies are a must in every home!

Homemade soaked oatmeal granola.  LOVE this.  Recipe is HERE.

16 January 2015

Staying in touch

I think I have mentioned in the past that technology is a wonderful thing.  In particular, technology helps me to be able to keep up with my 4 married children and their little ones on a regular basis and see how they are all growing both physically and spiritually.  I love checking in on Facebook and seeing new posts they submit to their blogs.  As we all know blogging comes on a regular basis at times and sometimes it takes a back seat.  Either way, the updated posts they each make are a joy to see when you live 100's of miles away.  So as you may have guessed, this post is about thanking technology and on sharing the blogs of my kiddos.  JULI is a photographer and I love seeing the latest posts and updates of her darling kids.  HEATHER (daughter in law) is also a photographer and I love seeing her precious kiddos as well and keeping current with their lives.  Christie hasn't come around to the world of blogging yet but at least I get to see her and her little on Facebook!!  ROBYN is the newest of our family to enter the blogging world and she does well updating too.  (unlike her mother)  She loves to write and share all about her life with husband Luke and beautiful new baby daughter Charlotte.  

As I have said, this is a post about sharing and loving technology.  That said, (again) I invite you to share in the musings, sighs, events, photos, ups, downs, and all the simple and complicated things that motherhood can bring to us all, including now, the lives of my girls.   Click the names below the pics to check out their latest blog post!!!

Oh, and speaking of technology AGAIN......
We got these little gems on Amazon (did I ever say how much I love amazon?) for Christmas.  We use them all the time.  Who would have thought?  Trips to the Y, when the girls take the dog on a walk, when running around the park, or wherever or whenever we need to stay somewhat connected. They are way cheaper to run than cell phones and have up to a 30 mile radius.  They were so worth buying.  We've decided that we need to at least purchase on more pair and by putting them all on the same frequency keeping up with the locations of our kids will be even easier.  Like next week we plan to spend a week at Wisconsin Dells and I am sure these will come in handy more than ever!!

Click the pic to read more about these awesome little "toys"

A note about E-readers

E-readers are not new as we all know.  They are simple to use and relatively cheap.  But the rewards are incredible.  The opportunity to be able to store hundreds of books in a place that takes up the space of a book.  We currently own 3 nooks and trust me, they are used often.  I would like to share our favorite sites for ebooks.  I only have a few, but I'm sure there are many, many places in which one can find a great book in electronic form.

Yesterday's Classics is most likely my favorite.  THIS package of books is a great deal and the book titles are amazing.  And HERE is their main page with lots of free titles you can read online.
Good ole Project Gutenberg.  This site is massive.  And did I say free?
Of course Amazon.  My favorite.  
Others include Christian books Distributers and Barnes and Noble.  Okay, that's pretty much all I know.  If you have a favorite ebook site please contact me and share!!