Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's Not Too Late for Summer Goals

Tomorrow is July! Can you believe it? {Why are we surprised by the passage of time?}

How are you doing on summer goals?

I always have a running to-do list, although I seldom write down seasonal goals. I have a mental list, even though that sometimes slips into the recesses of my consciousness.
J

So, goals? I'm talking about the big stuff, the once-a-year or once-every-five-years goals. What do you want to accomplish this summer? It's not too late!

I had three rather specific goals in mind {as well as a few other minor goals that correlate with the big ones}, and I'm woman enough to admit that I'm a little behind in all of them.

Goal: Prepare curriculum for the next school year {which we typically start right after the Fourth of July}.

Plan of Attack: The boxes of Abeka books that I ordered in April have been sitting in my entryway since they arrived. I probably should have opened them by now and begun my organization, but the only grade that truly needs prep work {primarily hole-punching for binders and highlighting lesson plans} in order to get the year started is tenth grade for my oldest. That I can work on piece by piece, including during the first few days of school. I feel more behind than I really am.

Goal: Start another novel aimed at Love Inspired Suspense.
Plan of Attack: First, I need to finish revising the current manuscript. Then, I can move forward with prayer and planning. It's only the beginning of July. With approximately 1,000 words per day, I can make a significant dent in a new story before mid-August.

Goal: Declutter!
Plan of Attack: Nearly every day I ask myself why we moved as much stuff as we did into the new house. I'm attacking this goal bit by bit, and I hauled to Goodwill a large load just this past Saturday. To keep myself going, I'm joining in with Ruth Soukup's Living Well Spending Less "31 Days to a Clutter-Free Life" challenge in July. I've never done this before, so I'm not sure that every single day her goal will apply to my specific situation. But surely just the daily email will motivate me to do SOMETHING. 


And SOMETHING is better than NOTHING, right?












How are you doing on your summer goals?


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Uber-Importance of Table Manners

{In a final assignment for school, my 15yo was to write 300 to 500 words on the subject of table manners. To have a little fun and to encourage her, I challenged her to see who could get 500 words first. Of course, the contest was unfair because I can type at about 90 words per minute and she was hand-writing her composition. But she was a good sport and found it entertaining. I thought I’d share my largely unedited composition here.}

Table manners are crucial to the well-being of a family and their time at the supper table. When I was a child, my brother kept insects in a jar at the table. He also kept piles of gross, used-up gum on ceramic gum-keepers that my mother bought for him. I didn’t have to sit next to him, which was a blessing, but all children ought to be discouraged from keeping collections of any kind at the family supper table. What would have happened if his pet spider had escaped the confines of the glass jar? Screeches and screams and scattering would have ensued, pandemonium all over the room. And that would have just been from me.

Now that I am a mother, the family table is the best part of our day. It’s a time when we all sit down together, block out distractions, and connect, building further our relationships. A lot of good food also helps the eagerness for this special togetherness time.


So much of our cohesiveness relies on manners, though. I don’t see how we could have any reasonable conversation if a child was throwing food, chomping with an open mouth like a cow with its cud, or making demands to the detriment of everyone else at the table.

So what is acceptable at our family table?

Smiles
Laughter
Prayer
Genteel discussion of the day
We ask each other questions. What was the best part of your day? What good thing happened to you today? What can you thank God for? What was the low point of your day and why?
We offer each other praise and encouragement.
We joke.
Politeness – Please and thank you, yes ma’am and no sir.
Serving – When someone asks for something, whether it be a dish or a napkin or the salt or pepper, we pass it to that person first and then ask for it back if we need it. As needed, the Bigs help the Littles that sit next to them.
Helpfulness – Does your little brother need cleaned up? Do it. Is another serving utensil needed? Go get it. Are the dishes ready to be washed? Roll up your sleeves and stick your hands in the suds with me.

It’s easy to let instruction on table manners slide. I’m a busy mom, and I’m usually tired by the time we get supper on the table. But a quick glance into the future assures me that I must persist. What about when my family dines with friends? I want him to be well-mannered. What about that day when my daughter dines with a suitor’s family? I want her to be well-mannered. What about when my adult son is invited to a job interview over lunch? I want him to be well-mannered.

Efforts to train today will pay off over and over and over tomorrow. J







What good behaviors do you encourage at your family table?



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Friday, June 5, 2015

Our Family Trip to Washington, D.C. ~ Homeschool Week Wrap-Up

Happy Friday! J


What better way to wrap up a school year than a family trip? We spent last week in Washington, D.C., and every day was a field trip. {Shh! Don’t tell the children it was educational. J}

The national museums are free, although open some days only until 5:30 p.m., as well as Arlington National Cemetery and the National Mall with all its monuments. Riding the Metro {their train/subway} was fun and convenient although there was a cost.

Let's jump right to the photos!




A flag had been placed at every grave and every plaque in Arlington.


Military families came to place wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

We were at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day. We were on the last shuttle bus to the amphitheater when they announced that the Wreath-Laying Ceremony had been closed by the Secret Service. L So we walked around, read the tombstones, heard the 21-gun salute as the President’s limo crossed the Potomac River, and cried in gratitude for the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.


Lincoln's eyes really do follow you around the memorial.


We did pay for the International Spy Museum, and it was super-cool!



Wilbur and Orville Wright's first flyer at the National Museum of Air and Space.



We popped into the National Museum of Natural History to see the Hope Diamond. This photo doesn't do it justice.



Some of the architecture around downtown DC is incredible.



George Washington's clothing at the National Museum of American History. This was my personal favorite museum. The Star Spangled Banner is there...the flag that flew over Fort McHenry that inspired the poem that became our national anthem. It is so brittle and delicate now that photos are not allowed.



The Smithsonian Castle...not much to see on the inside but absolutely breathtaking on the outside.



The Gutenberg Bible at the Library of Congress.



Well...another personal favorite. The Library of Congress.


I wish I could sit down with a cup of something hot and go through photos with you, friend, but this is all that will fit reasonably in a blog post. J



On the blog this week…

Big Word Alphabet Game for the Car ~ We made up a game on our drive, and I wrote a post about it.



Have a terrific weekend!









How was your week?


{I have a deadline looming, so I’m taking a blogging break for the next week or so. See you soon, and thanks for reading!}


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