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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Topics covered week March 24,2014

List of topics covered week of March 24,2014:

Chinese New year
Chinese folk lore and the Jade emperor
History of Chinese lanterns, dragons, and Ba Long gu rattle drum
Lunar Calender and signs of the Chinese Zodiac
Tao Te Ching
chakras and alternative medicine
Chinese medicine
healing uses of Jade
Fortune cooking cooking and Chinese Food
Dividing  fractions   and multiplication
math games
seasons and new birth
Health( drug use and the effects of drugs on the body)
dwarfism and how people should not let a disability define them
Yin-yang and how all things in creation have both a male/female energy
Paper fans
Chinese traditional music and Chinese pop music
moral stories in literature
different species of cats and the nature instincts associated with cat behaviors

Next week we will be on a week long camping trip with other homeschooling families. During that time we will visit University of Georgia's Veterinarian Program. I am looking forward to writing about that great adventure but will not post much until we return.

Learning to see your own true beauty

Two things have inspired me to post this all natural selfie. One the TED talk below I hope at least all my female friends will take the time to watch that.Two I have lately seen people posting natural selfies for cancer awareness. My selfie is not for cancer though it is for something the just about every single person is in some way effected by...LOW SELF ESTEEM. For ten yrs I starved my body to fit what society seen as beautiful. I exercised sometimes 4-5 hrs a day. In the process I started to even loose my life. I won the battle but not the war because like most everyone I still have some self esteem issues to work through. It is strange because my husband seems to think I am the most beautiful person on the face of the earth(even without make up). I have all those things we women do not like like bye byes under my arms( you know that little bit of skin that wiggles when you wave), I have stretch marks from having children, I have roles of extra fat, I have the muffin top, the thunder thighs, dark circles under my eyes, blotchy skin tone, freckles, wrinkles, you name it. Sure I can cake on the make up and look like a totally different person. I can even jump and pull my self into some spanks so that everything will stay put while I am out on the town. I can color the gray out of my hair, wear something that accents my so called better body parts so that instead of me they see my boobs,lol. Yet that is not me at least not the real me and those things and that way of thinking is what I would like to bring awareness to. So I say to everyone we don't have to fit societies idea of beautiful we can choose to just be ourselves. Here is me all natural and showing the world that we can be brave enough so that others too will be brave but not on facebook or blogs but in their everyday life.

We will all age and the other beauty will slip from us as our years go by. True beauty comes from within. It is the very essence of your divine being. I wish that my message could inspire just one other woman/girl to not harm themselves for a moment of what society thinks is beautiful but will strive to love themselves and their own inner beauty more. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

China and the Healing properties of Jade

For the last week China as been the major topic of our interest here. We have read many of the Chinese fairy tales, watched movies, made lanterns, shuttlecocks, mask, and dragons. Last night we even made fortune cookies to go with our Chinese dinner. The Jade Emperor is mentioned many times in Chinese folk lore and that lead me to pull out some of my own old school books from when I was learning about the healing properties of crystals. My children are very much aware of the many uses of crystals as they have seen me balance my chakras, crystals lay around my house for energy purposes, and even watched me give crystals to love ones for healing use in their own home. It is not something I have taught them just something that is in their awareness because it is a norm in my home.

So I decided that our study of China was a great way to also expose my children to the healing properties of Jade. Jade is said to bless whatever it touches, serving mankind across the globe for nearly 6,000 years. For primitive peoples in the British Isles, its toughness, and ability to polish and sharpen made it a favored stone for axe heads, knives and weapons. Indigenous tribes of Mexico, Central and South America, and New Zealand carved it into deity masks and ritual artifacts, even cast it into wells as an offering to the water spirits for fresh and plentiful water. Jade has been the most highly esteemed stone in China throughout recorded history, and was valued for its beauty and powers of healing and protection. An endless variety of gems, vessels, incense burners, beads, burial items and statues have been wondrously carved from Jade, as well as musical instruments and pendants inscribed with poetry.

 Jade is the stone of calm in the midst of storm. Its action balances nerves and soothes cardiac rhythm. A piece of Jade kept in a pocket or on a pendant to stroke from time to time recharges energy, and traditionally guards against illness. Jade may also be used to temper the shock or fear of the very young or very old being cared for in the hospital or away from home and family. Green Jade also fosters chi, or Life Force energies, and is excellent for hiking, gardening or relaxing out of doors. Jade is a powerful cleansing stone, enhancing the body's filtration and elimination organs. It is excellent for treating the kidneys, spleen and supra-adrenal glands, removing toxins and balancing the fluids and water-salt/acid-alkaline ratios in the body. It is helpful to the bones and joints, especially the hips, and for treating bacterial and viral infections, cystitis and genito-urinary infections, and bed wetting. Jade has a restorative property, allowing for both the cellular and skeletal systems to re-bind themselves, and assists in the removal of pain associated with the body's healing of itself. Jade also helps stitches to bind and heal properly, and has been used to diminish cramps and "Charlie horses.  Jade is a "dream stone," releasing negative thoughts and irritability and soothing the mind. It stabilizes the personality, integrating mind with body, to stimulate ideas and make tasks less complex and easier to act upon. Placed on the forehead, it brings insightful dreams.

Personally Jade is one of my favorite stones to work with. It works wonders of balancing the heart chakra. Green Jade is an abundance stone, representing the flow of Divine energy into the reality of one's life. It brings harmony and happiness in business and family relationships, as well material abundance. It is a reminder to smell the flowers, touch the ones you love, and share your heart with others in affirmation of plenty. For some families these type of ideas of using a crystal for healing both physical and spiritual issues might seem strange but for us it is very normal. So today I am taking my kids to my favorite crystal store to pick out their special piece of Jade to work with.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Dream

I pretty sure it is human nature to dream of something better. I often look out the windows of my home at a neighborhood I wish I could just make disappear. I live here in this home because of many reasons. It is a part of a much bigger life plan. By moving into this not so nice neighborhood we were able to keep my father-inlaw from loosing this house that he had paid 17 yrs on and in return once the house was paid off it would be ours. That would allow us to own the house in 6 yrs. We figured if we lived here ten yrs we would have a good little cushion on our dream. Ten yrs can seam like forever and it can fly by in a blink of a eye.

I do dream of the cute little home in my head. The one that is off the grid, has a garden. The home that is away from so much of the madness in the world. Like my own little piece of heaven on earth. I very much am in love with the whole tiny house movement. My husband and I have spent countless hours watching videos and reading blogs about all the different types of tiny homes. Now the land is a whole other story I don't want tiny I want acres 10+ acres. I want enough land where I don't hear the pounding music my neighbors play at all hours of the night. I want the land where I can look up and clearly see the stars in the night sky. I want the land that I can help nurture love back into. I want that land that I am so connected to that it feels my presence. I sometimes worry with so much corpt. greed and government control by time I have the funds for that dream they will quash it away like they do so many freedoms.

My dreams go bigger than my little piece of heaven to grow old in. I dream of a clean and healthy earth. Where the water doesn't have chemicals and drugs added to it under the cover of what the government things is best for us. I dream of fresh air that isn't polluted and no Chemtrails crossing the sky like a tick tac toe board. I dream of a world with no wars fought in the name of freedoms when really it just boils down to oil and control. I dream of a world were every community has a garden of fresh non GMO foods that are free for the taking. A world were their is true liberty and freedom. I dream of a world where I don't have to strap a gun to my side to go grocery shopping and can still feel safe. I dream of a world where the family is valued over all. A world where schools do not teach to a test but allow the true passion and creativity to be exposed through loving guidance not stress and pressure to be in the top of the class. I dream of a world where all humans are equal. I dream of a world where the next generation actually has a bright future. A world where both parents don't have to work just to keep food on the table. A world where there is enough free time for the families to connect and love their journey together. I don't know if any of my dreams will ever come true but that doesn't stop me from dreaming and fighting to make them happen. I fight everyday in some way to see these dreams come true. I fight to stop Monsanto from gaining control of the seeds and the food. I fight for parent rights. I fight to expose chemtrails. I fight for a stop to the government wars full of lies. I fight for the children in schools even though I have removed my own from the damaging effects of the public school system. I am involved in organizations that help spread awareness and come up with solutions to the gross neglect of humans across the globe. I fight for my children and the next generation to have a bright future. My personal dream of a tiny home on a plot of land may never come true because really that dream doesn't matter in the bigger picture of things. That dream is a selfish dream when you look at the state of our beautiful world these days. If you ask me we should all be fighting because if we are not brave enough to do so we will be leaving nothing worth a shit to our children. How good would that land be if you have to give 50% of it to the government or the soil is so poor it won't even grow food. How bright will the next generation be when the water isn't clean and the air is killing them. What kind of future do you dream the human race will have? Are you willing to fight to make it happen? Are you willing to give up that brand new home and fancy car so that you can put more focus on family time and real world issues? Or do you prefer to live out your life with blinders on pretending that next year it will get better?

Are you Attached to your Homeschooling Method

When I first started homeschooling it was suggested to me that I one find out what type of learner my child is and two what homeschooling method I plan to follow. I thought it was brilliant advise when I first started and knew next to nothing about homeschooling. I may even still give that same advise to other new homeschoolers because it helps to narrow down the curriculum search. At the same time I am a bit leary of giving that advise because I see so many others become so attached to their method that the have placed themselves inside a box.

Well Waldorf homeschooling says we have to do some kind of handcrafting everyday. Or we need to delay reading until after a certain age. Waldorf also suggest you not introduce any kind of technology until the children are I believe middle school age. See that would put me into a box that I feel I don't 100% agree with. Now I am not saying children should be overly exposed to technology but let's face it we live in the technology age and I have see the 1,000 upon 1,000's of resource for learning that technology offers. Yet I am in love with the aspect of Waldorf that focuses on the spirit of the child.

Montessori method says to allow the child freedom within limit. It also suggest large blocks of learning in one area. I love the idea of mixing ages because I feel that is very normal in society or at least it once was. I also like the freedom of the child to learn at their own pace. Yet for me personally it is the large blocks of learning I find my children have an issue with.

Charlotte Mason method uses a ton of living books instead of dry textbooks and I 100% agree in that area. Yet I feel the focus on copy work was a bit much for my taste.

Unschooling/radical unschooling - I guess first I should say that even though these two follow the same guidelines for the most part when it comes to education they differ some what in parenting. I love the freedom to completely follow the child's interest and the strong sense of trust and respect. I personally feel it is my role as the parent to say No in some cases even when it goes against the child's desires.

Now these are just a few on the major methods they are in no way all of them. My point was that even though I can clearly see pros and cons to just about every method I also have some reservations to each personally. If there is one thing I have learned on this journey with my children it would be that there is no perfect way to educate. If there were then everyone would be doing that one way including public schools. Every family and even every child is different. They are even different at different ages. What worked great last year may be a total flop for what the child needs this year. Yet I see so many homeschoolers attached to their method. It worked for little Susie so it has to work for little Johnny too. I also see the parent loves the method so that is it bottom line we are doing this. I also see the other side of that coin. I really wish my child would learn to read yet they have no interest so we are not going to push it in any way. I feel these parents have become attached to their methods. Sure I can agree that in the end the child is not going to be harmed by learning to read later in life. I can also argue that they would learn more on their own if they did read earlier. Wouldn't it be great if we didn't become so attached to these methods that we could jump outside the boxes to address the different needs/desires/ weakness of each child better. Wouldn't be great if we could say for the most part yes we unschool but I still make sure my child learns to read around 6-7 yrs old. I still make sure that my child gets the basics in math. Sure I agree there are some guidelines for each method but they are just that guidelines. Remember that all educational methods are not set in stone not only can you be flexible you should be flexible. Don't be afraid to drop a guideline if it isn't working or borrow something amazing that is from another method. Make your homeschooling journey your own. I am no educational nor homeschooling expert. I'm just one mom on an amazing journey with her children attempting to allow my self and my children the flexibility to use what works whether or not it fits in side a method box or not.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Homeschool Groups and their diversity

I am a member of 100's of homeschool related groups. They each have something to offer in their own way. Not saying they don't come without their fare share of drama of issues. Being a student of world religions I tend to view my homeschooling groups from a very similar light as I do different world religions with their vast amount of diversity. Maybe in some strange way my study of the different religions and my acceptance of their beautiful diversity has helped me in my acceptance of the diversity of so many wonderful homeschoolers as well. I do not label myself a follower of any one religion just as I prefer not to label my family as a follower of any one method/system of learning. I do how ever very much enjoy reading the views of others whether I agree or not with how they address learning in their individual homes. I am not a Christian yet I see the beauty in a Christian based homeschooling family with their love of Jesus and their strong faith in the bible. I see that this form of homeschooling has brought to them a connection in something much grander than just themselves. I love some of the aspects of a Waldorf inspired homeschool with the amount of handcrafting they do and the connection to the more simple things in life. I love Montessori homeschooling with their deep literature content and how they truly bring books to life for the children. I even love those interesting radical Unschoolers with their unbreakable trust in their children and their sense of instilling a true freedom as a human being. It hasn't been hard at all to see the beauty in each of these types of homeschooling, yet I am none of these in their totality. Like religions and spiritual practices I take what benefits my family and I leave the rest. In a way I find it sad that so many will only allow certain aspects into their awareness because they feel it breaks some underlined rule of that form of education. I feel like they are missing out on the grand diversity that is out there because of this. I love these groups and many of the members yet sometimes I do not post because I know it doesn't fit into their boxes of what that particular group is about. For example I would never go on a Christian based group and start spouting off about evolution because it is not something they want. Nor would I go onto a Radical Unschooling group and talk about the benefits to having a sleep schedule for a child. I am not there to change their views no more than I would attempt to change someone's religious views. I am their to learn, grow, and take away from them those tid bits I think would work for my family. I try my hardest to not allow myself to be connected to some of the drama that takes place and believe me they each have their own special type of drama that will come up from time to time. I am fascinated  by how these adults handle such issues. I wonder do they grow from this drama? I think in a way they must. For some it is a very personal experience that really effects them so maybe it is a mirror of a deeper issue that they need to learn how to deal with. For the most part I only take part in those groups that are more general with no clear define method/style of learning or when I do take part in a group with a clear defined method I only post on threads that fit my family life style.  However I do enjoy reading the post on all of these groups like watching my own personal reality tv show on homeschooling. I would like to say that I feel every single homeschooling family is different no matter if the deeply connect to a label. I also feel that the all have one very basic thing in common...They want to give their children the best they can. For me it is all about growing/learning and attempting to do better today than yesterday.

Seeing my family doesn't fit any method/style I thought some of you might wonder what an avg. day in our home looks like. So here it is. Usually my children are up early without me waking them. Early to me is like 6:30-7:30 a.m.This is the time they usually watch a favorite T.V. show( much like I did as a kid while waiting on the school bus) and they eat breakfast. Most mornings we have a circle time because my youngest enjoys this. We will either read a few books and discuss them or we will do some dance/movement type learning. We always end our circle time with a meditation/ intention that we send out to the world. Sometimes that is for peace in the Middle East or it might be for better weather in the north or just for everyone to feel loved today. After that we usually work on something that would fall under the subject of math. It might be baking cookies or playing dice games it changes from day to day but all the children get exposed to math concepts. I try really hard to do this outside of any form of curriculum yet my daughter does enjoy an online program called Aha Math and will sometimes ask to work on it. After that we will watch a movie. We recently worked our way through the series called Blue Planet as we learned more about Marine Life and have moved onto the series called" The Adventures of Young Indian Jones." I love this series because it bring up so many different topics from geography, history, science, and even art and cultures. After that the children usually go off and do something they are interested in for about 7 months that has been Minecraft. They will either play Minecraft or they will watch youtube videos about the game. They have taught themselves how to play via these videos. I usually leave a snack tray out for the kids to snack on through out the day with some of their favorite food like fruit, crackers, cheese ect. We usually eat lunch around 1:00p.m. and after lunch I will try to get them involved in something arts and crafts. This varies from day to day it might be something having to do with a theme we have been learning about or it might just be a fun painting. If weather is nice we go outside around 2-3:00p.m. and just play in the dirt, build forts, ride bikes ect. If it is to wet or cold usually I will play board games with them during this time and sometimes we will play the wii. I just leave that up to them and what they feel like on any given day. After that usually they will go back online with Maverick(4) heading to abcmouse or funbrain to play and Alyssa(10) will go to a number of different educational sites. I do not tell them what sites to go to they do this because they enjoy them. Around 4:00p.m. we either watch something fun like magic school bus or cyber chase or I will let them pick a book for me to read to them while they relax on the couch. At 5:00 we do what we call " The Mad Rush", it is a quick pick up of toys and what not so that when daddy gets home the house is nice. This is also the time when Alyssa will feed the inside pets and my oldest Doug(17) will feed the outside ones. I usually start dinner somewhere between 5:30-6:30p.m. hoping to time it being done around the time Daddy gets home so we can sit down for a family meal. Family meal time is also when we talk about how everyone's day has been or anything interesting we learned to daddy. After dinner I usually have one of the older two children help me with cleaning up the kitchen. From 7:00p.m. on is pretty much a free time until around 8:45-9:00p.m. when we do a family reading time. We like to all pile up in the living room and each person reads a couple pages from a book we are reading together right now it is Huckleberry Finn. In the past we have read all the Hunger Games all the Harry Potter books and many many more. Most night I read 3-5 books to Maverick(4) as he goes off to sleep but sometimes he will ask Alyssa(10) to read to him. Them two are very very close. Alyssa will usually watch a t.v. show like My Little Pony until around 10:00p.m. when she drifts off to sleep and Doug(17) goes to bed when he pleases I actually think most nights it is around 1:00a.m. From the time Maverick falls asleep until around midnight is mommy and daddy time. Just a few hrs for me and my husband to connect and talk. So there you have an avg day or at least avg day that we do not have any events going on. I do however try to plan at least one outing a week for the kids most weeks we have two+.

Events galore in the next few weeks

The next few weeks will be super busy with many events going on that we plan to take part in. This Wed March 19th we will visit Cochran Mill Nature Center to learn about the benefits of rain barrels. Friday we have a park day with homeschoolers. Then the whole following week Atlanta is having a week long Science Festival with events all over on each day between March 22-29. It took me awhile to decide which ones to go to because their are so many options to choose from. Here are the ones we are going to

Saturday 22-Geoscience at Stone Mountain Park-$10
Sunday 23-Adventures in Science and Decoding What Dogs Think- both are at Fernbank Museum of Natural History- Free with membership
Monday 24- Robots at Kell Robotics Innovation Center- free
Tuesday 25-Frog care and feeding at Atlanta Botanical Gardens- free with admission
Wed. 26- Zoo Atlanta - free with membership
Thursday 27-Potentially Catastrophic Science at Little Shop of Stories-free
Friday 28-Homeschool Day at Atlanta Botanical Gardens- $9.00
Saturday 29- The big Event Science Expo with over 100 booths of activities at Centennial Olympic Park-free

needless to say we won't be doing much else that week other than our field trips. Then 4 days later we will be leaving for our homeschool camping trip. I guess I better catch up on my sleep this week because the next two weeks will be super busy.We leave for our camping trip at Fort Yargo on April 3rd. While there we will visit UGA for their Vet Day on April 4th. We come home from camping on April 6th. There is a Fire Safety event at the library on April 9th. Homeschool Day at Atlanta History Center is on April 10th. So yeah looks like we have events galore planned for the next few weeks. I know I am excited and I hope the kids enjoy them all as well.

Over view of what we did week of March 10th

We are continuing with our Holistic approach to learning. This week it was all about games. We played Payday, grammar games, high and low( great card game for multiplication practice), fraction pizza, and sum swamp. We took advantage of the nice spring weather and built some play houses and two shelves one for each of the kids. They then painted the shelves to match their rooms. We started a new video series off netflix that I can't even express how amazing it is because it has brought up tons of topics for us to talk about. It is called" The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones."  One episode of Young Indian Jones and we have learned about The African Safari, Food web, live cycle, Endangered Animals, President Teddy Roosevelt, Native African tribes,Breastfeeding and why women have to wear shirts while men don't, means of travel, Steam boats, sail boats, France, Paris, Renaissance Artist, The Mona Lisa,modern art,puppet shows,black smithing, Picasso and that lead to us looking up some examples of his work and how he used cubism , les miserables( which I told her maybe tomorrow we can watch). All I can say is not only are these episodes interesting they bring up tons of topics to talk about. We read a book about President Teddy Roosevelt and an art piece in cubism due to this episode. Both of the younger children have continued to play Minecraft daily learning about trees, plants, minerals, weapons, building, and survival. They have also taken to playing Vet Zoo where they are learning tons about different animals. We learned about chemical reactions while making slime and density while pouring different liquids into a mason jar and dropping different items into it. We visited a STEM expo at our local fairgrounds where we learned about Robots, alligators, snakes, the two species of peppers, engineering, archeology, rockets, pandas, and more. Alyssa practiced how to multiply fractions and whole numbers to fractions. Maverick has started to read short sentences with 2-3 letter words. All in all it was a great week.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Taking Advantage of Learning Opportunities in Our Community

Like many Homeschooling parents I am always on the hunt for something new to do in and around our community. I think now that we are moving in the direction of a more Holistic Interest Led approach it is even more important for me to seek out learning opportunities for my children to get exposed to new and fresh ideas. I came across a post for a STEAM Expo that was happening at my local fairgrounds. For those who do not know STEAM means science technology, engineering, art, and math. From my experience most things like this are heavily geared toward common core. Since we do not in anyway follow common core usually in the past I would stay clear of such things but I figured what the heck let's go see what it might have to offer.

I have to say we had a blast and learned a great bit. First we met the leader of the Coweta County $H Robotics Team. He was very kind to not only allow the kids to play with the robots but to sit down with us and explain in great detail how they work and what awesome features they had. He talked to us about how to build our own robot at home and where to find the best deals on parts to do this. We exchanged emails so that he could keep me updated on events the kids might enjoy attending in the future. Big Thank you to him and his team for sparking some excitement in Alyssa there. After that we met with the ladies from Camp Invention. It is a week long day camp that focuses on Upcycle and re-engineer with gears and gadgets, developing critical-thinking skills and creativity. It definitely is something for us to think about the kids doing if we have the funds. We moved on to pet a snakes and an alligator from Cochran Mill Nature Center. We learned there are only two species of peppers and you sort them by shape.George a Civil Engineer taught us about different soils use in foundations. He also gave as really awesome engineering site for kids so I figured I would share that here

We met Adrienne Stephens from U.S. Space & Rocket Center other wise known as Huntsville space camp. She helped up build a rocket that you blow to blast off. We helped piece together artifacts with the ladies of the Archaeobus. which is Georgia's Mobile Archeology classroom. You kind visit their site here. . All in all we had a blast and I am glad I didn't let my judgments of common core keep us from taking advantage of this event and learning more about some of the learning opportunities in our community that we can take advantage of. 

Some of the other booths I didn't write about because we already knew of them and take advantage of their programs are:
1. Chattahoocee Bend State Park
2. Big Thinkers Science Exploration
3. Zoo Atlanta
4. CDC
5. CPO science

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Allowing your child to express themselves even when others don't agree

I guess I was lucky I had parents that were a good bit liberal and allowed all of us kids to express our individuality vie dress, hair styles/ piercings you name it. I think it was one part of my upbringing that really set in stone that I didn't have to fit some elses box but could look anyway I choose to. I knew as a parent I wanted my children to have that same freedom of self expression. I don't tell them how to dress unless it is something that is showing parts of their body that would be seen as indecent for the majority of society. But as far as if they wanted piercings, hair dyed, crazy mix matched outfits, they are free to explorer and figure their own style out for themselves. I have met so many other parents that do not do this. They would never allow their child to have blue hair or even where something that wasn't acceptable via their church. I didn't want that for my children. I also didn't care if the lady ringing me up at Wal-mart approved or not. To be completely honest I don't even care if other homeschooling families approved. The way I see it if your judge me or my child based on outer appearance then your not the type of people we would want in our lives. I want to raise children who think for themselves, that are not afraid to be different, that follow the beat to their own drum. I didn't want to raise children that will just blindly do what everyone else does and I sure didn't want to raise kids that do not question everything. Personally I think allowing my children this freedom helps them on the path of being true to themselves as adults. They will know that they have the freedom to be what ever they want to be. So for me I think allowing your children to express and discover who they are in all kinds of different ways is highly important and I would advise others loosen up and give them some wiggle room to do so. My daughter just dyed her hair blue and she has had pink before that. What is it going to hurt to allow them to experiment with different forms of self expression? Do you say no because your friends at church will look down on you? Do you say no because some stranger will give your child dirty looks at the grocery store? What if someone says something to your child that is mean and rude is the question I get asked. Well I tell them off. Seriously I have no problem telling them their opinion of my child's hair means nothing and they should mind their own business. i will usually throw in a " judge not less the be judged" or a " treat others the way you would want to be treated" usually that shuts them up. To be honest I'm a bit weird, my family is a bit, strange, we all follow our own path and if someone else has an issue with it that is their issue not mine. I want my children to grow up to not care what others think of them and to know it is only what they think of themselves that truly matters.
I'm not judging you if you are a more conserved  parent. That is fine only you can choose what is right path for your family but it would be nice if you showed me and my family the same respect. What I would really like to express to the world is we should focus more on what makes us happy and less on what makes others happy about us. There will always be people who don't like you or the way you are whether you have blue hair or not. Someone is always judging how you should change so why live life for them why not live life in a way that brings joy to you. If that means tattoos then get tattoos, If that means dressing in skirts down to your ankles then wear skirts down to your ankles. As a society we spend way to much time worrying about the Jones than we do worrying about living a joyful live and staying true to ourselves.

Turning Trash into Something New and Beautiful

Ok, First off I am one of those kind of people if I can save money I will try my hardest to do that. I am about as far from a materialistic person as you can get. I rarely buy anything new and just about everything in my home was either given to me or bought used. About 12 years ago I was given a used living room suit from my husbands uncle. It was not in perfect condition and def. not a pattern I would pick but hey it was somewhere to sit and free. We have made due with those couches this whole time. About 5 yrs ago my nephew body slammed my son on the loveseat and totally broke the supports in the bottom. P.s. do not body slam each other on the furniture please,lol. So here we have these worn out, stained, broken, and in some areas even ripped couches. I had been wanting something newer for yrs. I had loaded the loveseat up in the truck to be hauled off to the dumb thinking it had seen it's last day when the idea hit me. I wonder if I can refurbish that loveseat. I had never done anything like this. I have no wood working skills and I know nothing about refurbishing furniture. But I figured what can it hurt to try. Now I forgot to take a picture of the loveseat before I started so this first one is about half way through the stripping down process.
I stripped all the old material off it and pulled out all the staples. Believe me there are about a thousand staples so this took a few hrs. I tried to save as much of the cushions and foam as i could because that cost a good bit from your local craft store and I wanted to save as much money as I could in this process. Here is a picture of the couch all stripped down to nothing but the frame.
The following day I went to Lowes for wood and to Johan Fabrics to pic out some fabric. My suggestion get something normally used to cover furniture even though it cost a bit more it will last longer. I end up going with a light tan color that feels very soft and for my loveseat I used about 5 yards of material. Wood wise I bought two sheets off wood with a nice natural design in it. I also got a can of chestnut wood stain. I used a jig saw to cut the curved pattern of the arm rest so that it was a perfect fit. Instead of making cushion covers I attached the seat cushions to a piece of ply wood the covered the whole thing with material and stapled it to the under side of the wood. Advise her make sure you have a nice quality staple gun because you want these staple to stay in the wood nice an strong. I covered the back support as well with the old cushions and the material again using the staple gun to secure everything in place. I reused the foam for the arm rest but I only covered the top half with material and the bottom half with the stained wood. 

The finishe project cost me close to $150 in materials counting the two throw pillows. It still saved me somewhere in the price range of $250-$350 if I would have bought a brand new love seat. Here is a picture of the finished project.
I really didn't know how I would feel about that much wood but I ended up really liking it when it was finished. I think it looks very stylish but a bit rustic. Maybe if you have an old couch that has seen it's day you too will decide to bring it back to life instead of hauling it off to the land field. It is both better for your pocket book and the earth.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Over view of what we did for week of March 3,2014

Usually I blog about things that are on my mind or having to do with a certain topic we are learning but I thought my blog would also be a great place to just jot down what we did each week.

Week of March 3,2014

This week has been all about learning in non-traditional ways. That means no textbooks. We did cover some math and grammar through our online programs which are Aha Math, Mobymax, and Study Ladder. Since Marine Life is Alyssa's interest at this moment we have been working our way through the BBC series Blue Planet- Sea of Live watching an episode or two a day. We also have been reading 3-4 books a day about Marine Life. We created clay sculptures of starfish and whales. Meverick is interested in Dinosaurs so we created fossils using clay and fake bugs for him. I also read 2-3 books a day on his topic of interest. So really both kids are covering two topics together. Instead of textbooks and worksheets Alyssa practices her multiplication by playing a dice game. Maverick usually played on Abcmouse for about and hr. a day. I have started using more educational games in our day because it is a fun way to cover basic skills and it also helps Maverick with his fine motor skills. This week we played Sum swamp, Grasping Grammar , Pay day, Clue,Synonyms( which is a board game from Lindergraff company),and Funglish. We created stories using our story cubes. I continue to allow free time playing Minecraft because I have seen the things they are learning from it like rocks and minerals, math, shapes, spelling, and plants and animals. They enjoy the game so I think we will continue with that. Alyssa has taking to spending more time reading right now it is the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books so usually you will find her first thing in the morning curled up reading. We did a good bit of cooking with her reading the instructions and measuring out everything. Learning to do it all on her own including the clean up process. We went through everyone's room to get rid of items we don't use any longer. It was a good learning experience and a great way to teach needs, wants, and materialistic mind sets. This took us into a discussion about our carbon foot print and how living a simple minimalistic life style helps the environment. We also watched Cyber Chase which is a math teaching cartoon Alyssa is into right now. If you haven't seen it you should check it out on Netflix. I introduced Alyssa to some basic algebra problems which became a fun game for her because she also got to learn about using a calculator which she has never done before. I def. think we will do that again next week seeing she enjoyed it so much. Our trip this week was to a resale store. This one is a bit different than a thrift store it has a mix of antiques and handmade items using old items. I think we spent two hrs in there looking at and talking about some of the older stuff like a 1950's t.v and an old iron that you have to heat with no electricity. We came across a entire section of Asian inspired furniture which really got Alyssa excited so I think we will start a Chine unit soon.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

The benefits of minimizing your life.

I am completely fascinated by the tiny house movement and other ways to minimizing your life. Not only do I think it will lead you on a path of self sufficient living , but I think there is a sense of spiritual release from the whole process. On a personal level I am a being who is concerned about the ecological issues we face in the world today. I am also someone who doesn't want to be mortgage or power bill broke. It has been a slow process of redefining what really has purpose in my life. Now you don't have to go to the extreme of living in a 200sq foot home or even living completely off the grid to actually benefit from this kind of mind set.

Some of the ways I have started to change things in my life to live a more simple and minimal life style are things like gardening so I am not spending as much on grocery bills. Three years ago I started my very first garden and I learned how to can what I grew. Then I learned how to dehydrate food as well. I took up sewing and crocheting to make house hold items like bed spreads and wash rags. This is an afghan I made for my son.

This week it has been all about purge the house of items that either we no longer use or do not really benefit us any longer. There was a wonderful experience of me finally after five yrs, releasing those size zero jeans that I wore before I got pregnant for my last child. It was a process of not only excepting  my new body shape but realizing that I no longer have to try and fit into what society says is beautiful. In case you are curious before my pregnancy I weighted 95lbs and wore a size zero I now weight 133lbs and wear a size 6. Me throwing those jeans into the get rid of pile was a symbol of me loving who I am and a release of the ten plus years I had starved myself to be skinny.This first picture is me before I had my last child.
and  this is a picture of me now
So you can see I truly was way to small and unhealthy and now I'm at a healthy weight. My point is it was a huge step to healing for me to release those jeans.

I started to wonder what else in my home could we live without. I am at heart a huge book lover. I love everything about books from the journey they take you on right down to how they smell. I have a huge collection of books and by huge I mean thousands,lol. Being a homeschool family books are a big part of our days and our curriculum so I knew getting rid of most of them wasn't even an option. yet I wondered are there books I am holding on that no longer serve a purpose on my path right now, that have essentially become nothing but dust collectors. What better way to share my love of books than to send them out into the world to be read by others. That is what I am doing today.I am going through every book shelf to decide what to pass on and what to keep. Every room in my house has books including the bath rooms,lol so this is a big job that may take days. You can see a picture of just one of my book shelves here.
Don't laugh I told you I was a huge Book lover.

So this morning as I was having my morning cup of coffee and reading some of my homeschool facebook groups I noticed I am a member of over 150 groups. Some of which I never really get around to visiting and other I have found I just do not fit. I noticed that more and more some of the parents on these groups were so set in their ideology and methods of a certain style of homeschooling that they will actually attack other parents who do not perfectly fit that style. Now I am not saying they don't have a right to express that what you are or are not doing doesn't fit the method of that group but I think they could be kinder about it. I realized that spiritually these groups were not benefiting me in any way. That in a sense they were spiritually harming me by effecting my mood after reading how they treated others. I decided that this was another area of my life I could and really should minimize. When it comes to homeschooling my take is every family is different and that if they want to pick one style or even blend multiple styles together that is great as long as it works for their family. I don't personally feel the need to say we are only this way or that way. I just do what works for us. At the same time I am one of those people who enjoys helping others so if someone post looking for thoughts or ideas I most definitely will throw in my two cents on the topic. In some homeschooling groups it seems this is frowned upon. If you comment and it doesn't fit the ideology to a T then others will rudely comment that you should not even speak. That blows my mind because homeschooling is in my opinion a lot about personal freedom. So instead of getting upset about this I figured it was best for me to take a leave from groups that are ran this way. For me life is about living as drama free as I can.

I look forward to continuing my journey of living a more simple minimized life style. I do plan on living in a small home but that will be yrs down the road. My husband and I have a plan. We will have this house paid off in about 5-6 yrs then we will live here for another 5 yrs mortgage free to save up more money. The way I see it we should have 60,000 saved that way not counting what we will get buy selling this house when we find the perfect land to build our tiny house on. Now we want a bit more than 200sq foot home. Maybe something close to 600-700 sq feet with a small guest room for our one day grandchildren to visit. We want to install solar energy and a well. Grow our own food and raise a few cows and chickens. We have a plan and are doing tons of research now so that when the time comes we will be able to do this on our own and in the most cost efficient way. I know for some this is not the life style you may want to choose but for us it feels just right.   


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Be That Parent Willing to Fight for Your Children

The deliberate dumbing down of the American education system is direct relationship with the control systems that so many people are waking up to. So I ask if you are so willing to fight those systems for your freedoms then why are so many parents still buying into the educational system? Why are you not making the connection that they want to keep you and your children in the educational system so that you are easier to control as a slave race. Where do you draw the line of this fraction is worth fighting for but that one is not? Do you choose to allow your children to be programmed into obedient sheeple because of lack of funds or do you still really not see the connection? Do you really believe that the gross teaching to a test is a real system of education? I'm not trying to say hey I homeschool so I am better than you and please don't take it that way. What I am saying is through the journey of waking up the the control systems of the powers that be that pretty much oversee ever single area of our lives I realized that the public educational system was also a huge part of what makes those systems keep us locked up. I realized I had to walk my talk. I couldn't say I am willing to fight the powers that be that have controlled the human race yet not fight also in the area of education that was so clearly a piece of that control. We are fighting for radical change in government, in health care, in clean energy, in safe food, ect.. But how many of us our fighting in the area of education? If you ask me this is one of the most important areas to fight for. Why because first it directly in this moment effects our children. Those beings that we have been blessed to guide through life. 2nd through freeing our children from this area of the control system we are helping them to become free thinkers. The world needs free thinkers to come up with plans to not only end the control system but to create new sustainable systems to take it's place. You cannot solve a problem from the same mind set that created the problem in the first place. I know first hand the idea of homeschooling can be very scary. I know that we fear we will some how fuck it up. But ask your self after you have researched the educational system, the common core, the history of why public school system was even created, could you do any worse?? Even if you do not choose to take the homeschool route are you proactive in fighting for real change in public school or are you just excepting it is what it is? who is more important to fight for than your own children? If you care about ending the control system then get involved. If you care about where America will be in 20 yrs then get involved. If you care about the education your children are getting then get involved. Be that parent raising hell at the school board meetings. Be that parent writing your state representatives in the area of educational changes. Be that parent that supports your child in pursuing alternative educational routes. I write this because I care. I care that we are loosing freedoms. I care that corporate greed controls everything including the educational system. I care about the future of this world. I care about the future of The United States. I care about what we are leaving to the next generation. I am passionate about my children and I am passionate about human rights. I know I am not the only one that cares but are there enough of us attempting to do something about it? Are enough of us willing to Fight for the rights of our children?