Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween- and book winners!

Happy Halloween!

I spent my early morning (4:30 am) feeding horses for someone out of town...and stuck in her driveway in the snow.
I had to call The Man of the House halfway to work, to come rescue me. 

In all fairness, it was a long, steep driveway and very deep snow!
Long story short, I finally got home- tired and deeply, deeply annoyed with snow in October.

Not a good way to begin Halloween day.

However, things have perked up.  I took my three youngest trick-or-treating downtown, and am getting ready to take them and several others through the neighborhoods soon.

And then,
And then,
I am going to bed.
No scary movies for me, and maybe not even any chocolate.
I need sleep so much more.

But first: I need to announce the winners of my homeschooling book contest!
Thank you so very much for taking the time to read my blog.
And, because I'm so thrilled for having someone read my little ol' blog, I'm going to give away three books instead of two.

The winners of 'Homeschooling and Loving It' by Rebecca Kochenderfer are:
Anna Walker
Theresa Walker

Congratulations, ladies!  Keep up the good work.
I will get those sent out to you.

My little witches downtown. 
(Good witches, of the Rocky Mountains)  ;o)
Gotta love those striped leggings! 
And Abby, our dog, was just happy to be part of the festivities.

At the down town trick-or-treat festival, many children brought their dogs.  My girls begged to do the same.

Here is Chuck's knight in shining armor, carrying him so his little legs wouldn't have to work so hard.  
Who says chivalry's dead? 

He was able to leisurely check out the various costumes and booths. 
Lots of new sights and smells!
And back in the truck, ready for a nap....while the girls noisily devour their candy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Snow Day!

This is the view out my window this morning.
Luckily, our out-of-state guests left two days ago and made it home safely. We had a wonderful, sunny wedding here.
(more about that in another post)
And now Fall seems to have turned to Winter!
Halloween should be interesting....

All I know is this:
My husband gets to stay home from work, he is making biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast and cleaning the kitchen.  
We might watch movies later, huddled under a soft quilt.
And I get to wear pajamas all day, do very little school work with the children and maybe play Boggle later.

Oh, happy snow day!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Homeschooling Give-away!

Life has been busy around here!

With homeschooling, regular day-to-day responsibilities, planning and attending a funeral out of state and everything else that life can throw at me.....I haven't had much time to sit and blog.

I mean, who can blog when their laundry pile is the size of Mt. Vesuvius?
And about to erupt?

And the sink never seems to be completely rid of dishes for even an hour.

Don't even ask about the bathrooms.
The kids have been in charge of those zones.
And I haven't checked them.

Not to mention the dog needs a bath....rather badly.
And my kids are lookin' none too clean as well.

Does it count that they swam in the hotel's pool right before we came home?

Just asking.

By the way, they also soaked in the hot tub. And had showers every day we were gone. And a few have had them since we got home. I'm just not sure they all have, from the looks of them.

But this is life for a homeschooling mother. This is normal.
Really, it is.
I promise.

Life is never smooth and perfect, with children silently working in a clean, organized home.
Raising their hands quietly when they have a question, putting their books away and getting right to their chores without being asked.
Okay, sometimes this does happen. And when it does, I make a wish.

It's more likely to find my children building a fort under the dining table in order to do their math somewhere fun.
Or to have a child bring in their book and question while I'm loading the dishwasher or cooking.

And even for me to find them playing with Legos, quietly getting I walk away and allow them some time before tackling History.

They're kids, after all. And life is not about homeschooling.
Homeschooling and family-centered education is about...
Family and Life and Learning.

All together, not separated, no substitutions.

And, because I think other homeschooling moms deserve something special now and then;

I'm having a contest!

I'm giving away two free copies of
Homeschooling and Loving It!' by Rebecca Kochenderfer.

If this works well, I may have another contest soon.
We'll see how it goes!

All you have to do is tell three friends about the contest.
Homeschooling moms, those who know homeschooling moms, and those who are even thinking about homeschooling.
Anyone who might enjoy this book.
Just send 'em a link.

Then, in the comments section, answer the following question:

Do you think home education rocks? Why or why not?

That's it!

Contest winners will be announced October 31st.
While my kids are downing their candy.

Love, Jess

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Where I've been, what I've seen....on the web.

A new blog about a family experimenting with the slow food movement. Neat!

At NieNie Dialogues, her post Oprah show comments....and I remembered yesterday to record the program! It was great. And I cried.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Saying Goodbye

This weekend our family is traveling out of state.
We are traveling to pay our respects to my husband's father; a man who died too young.

It is a strange thing: A living, breathing person passes on.
And his life is now reduced to memories, photographs and things he left behind.
Perhaps more importantly, people he left behind.
His sons and his daughter, his grandchildren, his relatives and friends.
His legacy.

Life is a fleeting thing. All the hopes and dreams of childhood.....

The love and care of your parents and family....

Growing up and discovering your world and who you are....

Creating a family of your own....

Experiencing fun and adventure in life....

Making memories with your loved ones....

Finding your hobbies and talents.....

Making people laugh...

This is a man who had a strong work ethic, a love for the outdoors, and a sense of humor.

And while it's not respectful to speak ill of the deceased, I don't think he'd mind at all to hear me say that he was also ornery, cantankerous and stubborn as all get out.
In fact, I think he'd be pleased.
Maybe it's his southern roots, his own personality (see above) or the people who molded and shaped him through his formative years.....but he was definitely a character.

A few favorite quotes of his:

"It blew my skirt right up over my face."
Translation: I was surprised.

"The buttons are popping off my chest."
Translation: I'm proud of you.

"Come here, Honyock."
Translation: Come here, child/grandchild.

Thank you for my husband. I hope we'll meet again....

Attributes of Mothers

Motherhood. It's not for the faint-of-heart.
No job is more demanding, challenging, or fulfilling!

You never know what each day might bring.

It involves a lot of cuddling, teaching and protecting when neccessary.
(Not to mention nose-wiping, spill cleaning, fight-settling, and bedroom purging)
Or is that just at my house?

A lot of feeding, food gathering and preparation.
And hearing children complain about hunger or even the food that was prepared for them.

Being in high-demand. At no other time of your life will you feel so very wanted and needed.

"Mom? Are you there Mom? MOM! Where Are You!?"
"....Oh, you're in the bathroom? Sorry. But when you come out, I have a question for you."

*knock, knock* "Mom, I know you're in the shower but I need to know if I can call my friend and have her over today. Also, can I have the last two pieces of bread for toast? And, by the way, the boys aren't turning off the t.v. like you said they should. And I wanted you to know that I finished my book. Can we go to the library today?"

Children reach certain ages where it suddenly seems okay to either talk all-the-time or voice their opinions in a heated manner.
And you stare at them and wonder who they are. And where they came from.

And where your real children might be.

As teens they have ravenous appetites and you see them eyeing that last pork chop or piece of chicken. Then you see your husband doing the same....and you quickly grab it and throw it into the fridge as a left over.
Before someone gets hurt.
Funny no one ever does that over the salad....

Motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes, different ideas and talents.

I truly believe each mother receives inspiration for her children.

And I have some thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of mothers.
I see some of the following characteristics in myself from time to time as well as other mothers I've known throughout the years.

Consider the following:

The Hummingbird.
Cons: Always on the fly, always in a hurry to get everything on her list accomplished. Has a hard time slowing down and 'smelling the roses.' Not always very accessible to her children. May have them over-scheduled.

Pros: Great at multi-tasking, usually very dependable and punctual. Accomplishes a lot!

The Mother Hen.
Cons: Can be over-protective, too watchful of every move her children make, a micro-manager of the worst kind.

Pros: Can be sweet, generous and always there for her children. Her children are comforted knowing she's so accessible and willing to listen.

The Magpie.
Cons: Can talk too much. Often telling every detail of her life and her children's lives to others. The children have no privacy and even the checker at the grocery store hears the story of their birth or the fact that they have a nail-biting habit or got a 'D' on a test.

Pros: The children grow up in a very verbal atmosphere, learning the art of language from day one.

The Wren.

Cons: This mother is often a martyr. She is so focused on her children and their needs that she doesn't take care of herself or her marriage, for that matter. She often dress shabbily, needs a haircut, and rarely buys anything for herself without feeling guilty. Her children may come to disrespect her and her husband may wonder where his wife disappeared to.

Pros: This mother is truly giving and Christ-like. She sacrifices much for those she loves.
But there must be a balance.

The Peacock.
Cons: More and more mothers these days fall into this category or even the next. They are often seen shopping for themselves, getting their hair and nails done, and dropping their children off at daycare in order to have a lunch date with their girlfriends and spend even more time being self-absorbed. They may think of themselves as a 'trophy wife' and can even go so far as to have their children through a surrogate in order to keep their girlish figures. You can find sexy pictures of them on their Facebook or Myspace pages, right next to their family portraits.

Pros: It is important to feel good about yourself.....but tempered with a little modesty and compassion for others.

gari.baldi's photostream

The Eagle.
Cons: Sharp-eyed and often sharp-tongued as well. This mother can be very demanding and expect only excellence. She often has her children in a myriad of activities; requiring them to be the best at everything they do. She's known to brag about her children while also giving unwanted advice about other people's children. More often than not, her children feel they can never live up to her expectations.....or they turn out just like her.

Pros: Having a high standard can be a good thing- as long as this mother realizes her children are....children. And lets them have some unstructured fun!

The Crow.
Cons: Picks at everything, cannot ever be pleased. This mother is perpetually unhappy with any and all results of her children's efforts.

Pros: ??

The Biddy Hen.
Cons: A cross between the Magpie, Eagle and Crow. She is a major gossip, critical of others and likes to poke her nose into other people's business. She gives unwanted advice and loves to spread rumors.

Pros: May mellow with age....or get worse!

The Blue Jay.
Cons: Aggressive in her mothering, this woman can come across as nosy and domineering.
She often feels she knows what is best for other people's children.

Pros: She is often the director and planner of activities for children, a mover and a shaker.

The Sea Gull.
Cons: This mother can often be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal. Lives a highly unstructured life, allows her children to live the same. This often creates very unruly children- known to be rude to adults and disrespectful of personal property and any authority. There are rarely any boundaries set, anything of importance accomplished. These children may have a hard time living and functioning in 'normal' society.

Pros: The children get plenty of unstructured play time, which is important in their formative years. They tend to be highly creative, flexible people who have no problem thinking 'outside the box.'

There you have it.
A few of my
observations and ponderings on motherhood.

While I try very hard to be a good mother, I am hopelessly imperfect.

Thank Goodness we aren't graded on a curve, but by our own personal impressions, talents and skills.
And while we may teach our children many important things.....we are, BY FAR, learning so much more.

A few more thoughts, from what I've learned:

Bounce ideas off of your friends, share stories (privately and using familial tact) and learn from others. Women and mothers of the world are the greatest resource out there!
And don't be afraid to see life from different points of view....

Seek out wise women.
Many mothers whose children have grown are full of wisdom and great advice.
And they have that great gift called hindsight.

But most of all,
Cherish this gift of motherhood.

There are many seasons of life but no other season is so fulfilling, so needed.
No other season brings little voices that call you 'Mama', little hands that slide notes to you under the door, unconditional hugs and kisses, teens that are impressed by your knowledge, children who think your cooking is better than anyone else's.
Eyes that light up with wonder, firsts of every kind to witness, skills to be taught and learned.

Children are truly a gift.

So, be like the Chickadee. Full of good cheer, kindness, and warmth. Bustling around, busy at her work and leading a wonderful life.

Enjoy Motherhood!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Great Book Contest!

For those of you who would like help with stretching your food dollars each month, ideas on how to make easy homemade meals (that don't take all of your time) and general tips on motherhood and balancing a family; I present this book and a way to win a free copy!

Check the book out and then look below for the contest:

For the contest, go here:

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