31 Days of Balance as a Homeschool Mom

I'm doing something I've never done before...I'm accepting The Nester's 31 day writing challenge.  YAY!!!  Don't all of you scream at once! ahem....can't say I'm not scared!  Basically, the goal is to write a post every day for the month of October based on a topic of one's choosing.  I guess you noticed my topic?  31 Days of Balance as a Homeschool Mom.

For all of you newcomers to my little blog, two things I swore I'd never do:  Homeschool and drive a minivan!  Guess what?  I now--PROUDLY--do both! 

It's no surprise that I've decided to take the next 31 days to write about homeschooling, but not just that, finding the balance between homeschooling and everything else that being a mom requires.  This new adventure is tough and it took some time to work out the kinks, but after careful planning and adjusting...and more planning and readjusting...I am starting to feel more balanced.

I believe the general assumption is that the SAHM/homeschooling mom has more time on her hands and can get the day-to-day tasks accomplished a little easier/faster than that of a "working" mom. But as a former "leave the house and go to a job" mom, I can confidently say--that's a huge misconception! Being a mom is tough--no matter what you do! Can I get an Amen?  One of the keys is finding B-A-L-A-N-C-E. 

For the next 31 days, I plan to focus on balancing life as a homeschool mom.  It should be fun and I hope you will stick around as I take the challenge.  Also, in an effort to network and become more seasoned, I'd love to meet some homeschooling moms.  Drop me a line or two, I'd love to hear from you.

I went ahead and planned most of my posts for the next 31 days.  They are subject to change, but I'll be linking up each subsequent post below:

Day 1: Introduction to 31 Days
Day 2: Bible Study with Breakfast
Day 3: Schoolroom:  A Place to Get Balanced
Day 4: Public School Teacher Turned Homeschool Mom
Day 5: Morning Routines
Day 6: A Day in the Life {Sunday}
Day 7: Getting Organized {and staying that way}
Day 8: Teaching Reading
Day 9: Learning to Chase Rabbits
Day 10: Teaching Math
Day 11: Contributing Financially
Day 12: A Day in the Life {Saturday}
Day 13: Dirty Laundry
Day 14: A Day in the Life {Monday}
Day 15: Classical Conversations
Day 16: What's the Baby Up To?
Day 17: Involving the Kids in Meal Prep
Day 18: Homeschooling a Preschooler
Day 19: Bad Days?  You Have Those?
Day 20: Taking Time for Play
Day 21: Weekly To Do List
Day 22: A Day in the Life {Tuesday}
Day 23: A Day in the Life {Wednesday}
Day 24: A Day in the Life {Thursday}
Day 25: Five on Friday
Day 26: Just a Closer Walk with Thee
Day 27: Rest Time
Day 28: Family Fun
Day 29: Say Goodnight
Day 30: I hate the phrase "Me Time"
Day 31: Closing Thoughts

I'm hoping that this series will give a little glimpse into what life is like as a homeschool mom, but paint a true picture--no fluff or frills.  I'm just trying to balance it all the best I can!


Dirt Don't Hurt

Y'all get to see those 'Sunday Pics' with the girls looking adorable, but how about a glimpse into what life really looks like around here...

AG hates wearing shoes...just like her momma!

These girls love playing outside and they are entertained for hours with bowls, cups, spoons, and good old-fashioned D-I-R-T!


the good ole' stank eye


Want some?

God made dirt and dirt don't hurt!  

And there you have it...Real Life!

Five on Friday

Just five items on the agenda...

Joy is growing like a weed!  She's awake a lot more during the day, rolling over constantly, cooing, giggling, and really starting to develop a personality all her own! Her 4 month check-up was good--she's 16lbs and 25inches long.  Tell me how she is only in the 50th percentile in weight and 25th in length?  That just doesn't sound right.  According to my records, she's the shortest of the three at this age, but not by much.  All three were around 16 lbs at their 4 mo. check-up, but the percentiles must be off because AG and Edy were both between 80-90%.  It's all just numbers, but it's fun for me to explore--if just for record keeping purposes!

Fall is here even though it's still H-O-T as all get out in East Texas!  I absolutely L-O-V-E this time of year--football games, pumpkin patches, cider, spices simmering on the stove, nights by the fire pit, s'mores, hay!, etc.  It's all just glorious!

Occasionally, I enjoy my morning coffee with Rosie--she likes her coffee warm with lots of milk and sugar. It's so nice to sit and talk with her over a cup.  She's such a enjoyable kid to be around--if I do say so myself!

So happy for this guy and gal!  Looks like my bro-in-law will be getting married this spring.  Good times ahead--good times!

My Rosie is SO domesticated.  She is right by my side on cleaning day--like right by my side!!!!  The other day she told me she wants to be a cooker, a cleaner, and a mommy when she grows up!  Music to my ears, I tell ya! 

That's FIVE!  I missed capturing my eldest in this post, but since the first three years of this blog were devoted to her and only her...I think I get a pass, right?


Sunday Pics

If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I try my best to take a pic of my girls each Sunday before we head out the door for church.  For one, it's a day when we are in something other than play clothes. Plus, it's a visual of how much my girls are growing and changing.  I've been pretty good about sending the family a pic each week...ahem...and they let me know when I forget!  I love them for loving my girls so much!

I've neglected to post the pics on the blog in a while so I compiled them in a collage for your viewing enjoyment...You're Welcome!

For past Sunday pics, scroll down on the sidebar to my labels and look for 'SundayPic'.  


a touch...

It's starting to feel like fall in East Texas.  No...it's not the brisk, cool weather and gorgeous colors of New England, but we'll take what we can get.  At any rate, I've put out a touch...just a touch of fall decor around the house.  I'm still holding out for those pumpkins (of all shapes, colors, and sizes) to start appearing at the local farmer's market.  Then I'll have the finishing elements I've been wanting and I'll call it quits.

A few weeks ago, I found this little antique table and I sprayed it yellow and stuck it behind my couch.  I'm in love. We need something with color behind our dark leather couch.

I'm liking the plush pumpkins I've been spotting all over blogland.  Mine, although not quite as cute as The Nester's, came from Hobby Lobby.

There ya have it!  I look forward to scoping out y'all's fall decor...and pretending that we really have fall in Texas!

Thrify Decor Chick, It's Overflowing, Be Different...Act Normal, Tater Tots and Jello, Six Sisters Stuff, The Shabby Nest, Craft Dictator, Redoux, Texas Women Bloggers,


Where I Am and What I'm Reading

Christians--we all have seasons of ups and downs.  There are times, spiritually speaking, when we stand on the peak of a mountaintop and other times when we fall deep into a valley.  Over the course of the past three years, I have been on some pretty incredible mountaintops. They have been nothing short of amazing and I have grown in understanding and fallen deeper in love with my Savior like never before.  But I have to keep it real and say that I've slid into a valley. And that's not to say that it's altogether a negative place, but it's a steady reminder that I'm in need of my Savior.  It's a reminder that a relationship, especially the most important one I'll ever know, takes work.  I'm in the word daily--continuing to read chronologically and I'm just now finishing up 2 Kings.  I pray, I seek, but unlike the mountaintops where abiding in Him seems effortless, my steps feel a little forced these days and I battle my will so consistently that it's embarrassing.  Still...I strive to be obedient, not out of legalism (can't count as obedience anyway), but because my obedience is an act of worship. 

Thankfully, time spent in His word reveals my sin--idol-worship, pride, deceit, complacency, lack of love, and on and on and on and on.  God's word is filled with truth that brings guidance, strength, assurance, peace, love, joy, and renewal. It's wonderful and I'm so glad that He never gives up on me.

And because I've always promised to BE REAL on this blog, that's where I am and with the Lord's help, I'm trying to stay disciplined--understanding that I can climb out of this valley one step at a time. Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.  I Timothy 4:7

Recently, a few friends and I started a Bible study through 1 John.  We are reading Warren Wiersbe's commentary, Be Real:  Turning from Hypocrisy to Truth.  It's wonderful! I am so thankful for God's Living Word and how it breaks down strongholds and changes, molds, sharpens, and equips us to be His disciples.  

I'm already thinking about and planning our next study.  Suggestions?  What are some studies that you've enjoyed?


little kitchen update

My kitchen got a little update.  It wasn't something I was planning, but when you open a cabinet to find black soot dripping all over the place it's kinda a "have to" situation.

Yeah, my disposal was leaking all kinds of who knows what and it had to be replaced.  But instead of putting a new disposal on my old, cracked sink, we went ahead and got a new one for practical purposes.  And why he was at it, we had him install a new dishwasher too.  Our previous one only worked on one setting and all my other appliances are stainless so it was time for a change.

You may remember that I spray-painted the faucet oil-rubbed bronze (ORB) for a little update a year or so ago.  
*Update: Other than some minor wear and tear, the faucet still looked decent. I would certainly recommend it to anyone wanting a change on a tight budget.

You may also remember me sharing about the time my finger was punctured by a shard of porcelain that broke off the front of the sink.  Not a good day!

I'm a clean freak, but I'm especially particular about my kitchen sink.  I like it to be spotlessly clean at all times.  I hate dishes being left in the sink or wet dishtowels, etc.  This sink has driven me batty from day one because no matter how hard I scrubbed, I could not get rid of those rust/residue stains around the edge.  Which led to me hurting my finger so bad--scrubbing like crazy!  By the way, I still have little to no feeling in it.  It was a doozy!

I love the appearance of a cast iron porcelain sink (like our old one)--it's really nice, but not in our budget. 

Fortunately, I've already got a buyer from Craigslist on our old sink!

We went with a stainless steel sink that is a step up (or two) from the basic square tub stainless sinks.  I learned that you don't put ORB fixtures directly on a stainless sink unless it's a drop-in.  Maybe that's basic knowledge, but it was news to me.  I have ORB fixtures/hardware and I assumed I would get an ORB faucet to match.  The salesman shot me straight on that and I got a satin nickel one to match the sink.  I'm in love with my new faucet.  I've never had one with a pull out sprayer--it's great!  I like having my little soap dispenser too!

Our other appliances are stainless with black accents so we got a dishwasher in that same family.  We didn't get top of the line anything--not in our budget. Even so...all of this: the sink, faucet, disposal, dishwasher, and plumber cost just under 1K.  Whew!  Fortunately, I did get a big discount on the plumber because the salesman misquoted the install by 200 bucks and I document everything and was able to negotiate. So...that was good.

Merry Christmas to me! I'm happy with my little update!


makeshift office

Graham's new "office" is a tad bit comical, but a good bit practical.

In a nut shell:
  • For years, he has been waking up around 5AM and working/studying at the kitchen table while the rest of us sleep.
  • At the end of the work day, his laptop and bag, iPad, etc. pile up in one of the kitchen chairs. *I hate it!
  • On Thursday, he goes to Tyler to a coffee shop for some uninterrupted sermon prep time away from the church office.
This summer, I made it my mission to find an old executive/roll top/or secretary's desk to go in our bedroom for a nice, quiet work space for G in the mornings and on Thursdays.  I totaled up that it would save us around 50 bucks a month if he would work from home on Thursdays instead of going to Tyler.  

I let the ball drop on the desk hunt and let a good deal slip through my fingers but, I remembered an old laptop desk/chair I had stored in the attic from my school teaching days.  For a quick solution, I put it in our master closet (equipped with outlets and air vent).  To my surprise, Graham loved his little getaway. 

Since the trial run went so well, I jazzed the small space up a bit for a little fun.  I thought G would think it was cheesy, but he absolutely loves it! 
I moved our coats from his side of the closet, rolled the small laptop desk into the tiny nook, added a lamp, a filing cabinet, hung some framed photos, and this little makeshift office getaway was complete!

Since our closet is in the furthermost part of the house it is absolutely quiet which makes for a perfect workspace complete with all you can drink coffee!



Ahh...bedtime--an end to another day.  As a parent, bedtime can be a glorious time--just being honest.  It's a time for us to talk uninterrupted, it's a time of quiet, it's a time of peace and relaxation.  Umm...it's a time of empty threats, "Girls, quit talking and go to bed or..." It's a time to "let it slide" and listen from a distance at the giggles trailing in from their bedroom. It's a time of thankfulness--thankfulness to our Lord for the three precious gifts we are blessed to tuck safely into bed each night.

I'll cherish bedtime--the snuggles with my clean babies, the mint-y fresh kisses, and the late night glances of three healthy girls sleeping peacefully in their cozy beds.
Our Joy...His Glory