Thursday, February 28, 2008

Daddy's little helper






















Wednesday, February 27, 2008

About Homeschooling

I read this on another blog today and rather enjoyed it.

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List:
(From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1)

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

Mother Earth News


While at Barnes and Noble last night I found this great magazine. I have always been a fan of Mother Earth News, but this is a special issue that they put out for Spring 2008. It has some awesome energy saving ideas. And great ideas for efficient, sustainable housing. Check it out! Worth the price!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Did I get hit by a bus or what?

For the benefit of those of you who don't read my other blog, I copied and pasted my entry from there today.

I woke up around 5:30 the first time and felt like I had been hit by a bus and left for dead! I hurt from head to toe and every little joint and muscle in between. I lay there unable to get up to even get some pain medicine. Finally around 6:30 I mustered up the strength to call my supervisior at work and let her know for sure that I wouldn't be there today. Then fell back into bed, unable to move. About 7:30 hubby got out of the bath and brought me a couple of tylenols and some water. By this time, Megan and Noah were in bed with me asleep. I started feeling okay enough to go to the bathroom and move to the recliner in the living room. Andrew fixed me a toast and Noah some breakfast sausage so we could eat a bite or two to get our tamiflu down. Then we slept in the recliner more. I finally got up a little bit ago and got Megan a toast so she could take her meds. So we have all had our first dose of the day and since Noah was sick a day before us, I think he is doing better than we are. I still hurt all over and don't feel like moving around much. This is the first time since 2001, when we lived in Kentucky, that I have had the flu. Now I remember why we all piled up in the living room and stayed there for several days until we got over it. It was just to hard to move back and forth to the bedroom. So since we were all down with it, we just piled up and slept through most of it.
Hopefully by tomorrow the worst of it will be over. I just despise being sick. It is so hard for mom to be down and unable to get things done.
Well, my head is feeling ill again so I will end this here. Hope everyone that has been sick, is doing better, and this epidemic will soon pass. I heard on the news that the flu epidemic had hit every state in the nation except for Florida. I guess there is something to be said for the sunshine and all those oranges!!LOL!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My little sickie!




Noah woke up this morning with a cough and runny nose. He definately isn't feeling well because it is 11:00 and he is already napping. He has just lay around all morning. I think he may have a slight temp also. So it looks like we will be staying in on this cold, wet, winter day.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Morning Soap Box

Well it has been a little while since I posted here on this blog. I have been posting some on my other blog http://www.homesteadblogger.com/countrydreams/ so if you don't see anything new here, then check out the other blog to see what is going on.

I had to work Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I was so tired by Saturday evening, I couldn't stand myself. Saturday it was cold and rainy, so I got wet while out on the route. When I got home, I got into a hot shower and stayed for a while until the water started running cool. It felt so wonderful to have those work days behind me and know that I had a few days that I could just stay home and rest.

Church was good yesterday. The pastor preached a great message Sunday AM, called "You have the Tools". It really spoke to me. Sunday PM, Bro Nathan preached and although I know it was good also, I wasn't able to stay in and listen to all of it due to Noah being fussy and not wanting to sit still. We are still experiencing the terrible two's, so sometimes we spend more time out of the sanctuary than in. I am hoping that in a few months he will be a little more managable and understand that he is suppose to sit down and be quiet in church when the preaching is going on. He will be three in September. I have noticed that around three or so, kids usually settle down more and although some still have to be taken out, they stay in more than go out.

I posted recently about a book I had read called, Choosing Simplicity by Linda Breen Pierce. You can see that post here. Anyway, in the book there are several references to the book, Your Money or Your Life Transforming your relationship with money and achieing financial independence by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. I found an earlier edition on Amazon for less than a dollar and I bought it. I haven't had much time to read in it lately due to having to work, but I sat down and started it. So far it is saying what I have been thinking and feeling for a while now. And based on what I have read so far, I would highly recommend the book to anyone who is dissatisfied, like myself, with this notion of more is better and for those of you that are tired of owing your lives to the company store. If you are tired of the "rat on a wheel" scenerio that you life has become, then I would suggest that you find both of these books and read them. I got the Choosing Simplicity from the library, but am looking for an inexpensive copy to buy so I can add it to my library to reread when I forget what I am trying to achieve in my life.
I believe it is essential to be reminded of our dreams and why we are doing the things we are doing. I am a firm believer in the practice of writing down your desires and dreams, or plans for your life. I think the very act of putting them in print causes you to take those things more seriously and subconsciously we believe they are possible if we see them written down. The same goes for something that we read that touches us or moves us into the direction of our dreams, we need to keep that near, to read and reread over and over until we have fulfilled those dreams. So for that reason I try to find and keep books, magazine articles and other things that push me into the direction of my longings.
In this case, I have for some years now, wanted to get out of the rat race that has become our existance, and live our lives instead of just existing to pay the bills. And to my surprise, there are many people who have suceeded in doing just that. They live happy, fulfilled lives and aren't caught up in this idea of the American dream. Which for so many, has turned into a nightmare. We as Americans have been fed a lie about this American Dream. In order for the economy to bloom and become the what it did, it was dependent upon consumers. We were targeted by millions of dollars of advertising to believe that in order to be successful and achieve the American dream, we must consume, consume, consume.
Remember when you bought something and kept it for years, because it still worked? For example, how many can openers did your grandmother own? Think about it. Maybe one, possibly two in her lifetime. How many have you owned? I have probably owned five at least in almost twenty years of marriage. Why? Sometimes it was because I wanted the newer, shiner model, sometimes because the one I owned quit working. Why with our technology being so great today, should a can opener quit working after a year or so? When Grandma's worked for twenty years or more?
This is just a simple example of what I am talking about. What about cars? Since my husband and I married we have owned about 13 vehicles! We will celebrate our 20th anniversary in August. For a while he drove a company vehicle and we only owned one vehicle for the family. Thirteen vehicles in 20 years! Why? Because we thought we had to, we bought into the lie that more is better, newer is better and you have to keep striving for more is better! But many times more is just---MORE!
I looked up the word consume in the dictionary and here is what is says, " to destroy; to use up or waste." Why do I need a new this or that, when the old one working fine? Because the economy depends upon me the consume-r to be wasteful and fickle. We have been trained like Pavlov's dog to salavate when we see a newer, shiner version of whatever has come out, and to go and buy it. To take our hard earned money, and throw it at them so we can get that shiny new toy, that will satisfy us for all of ten minutes then we are off to find the next shiny new toy to throw our money at.
The problem for most American's is they don't have that money to throw away on shiny new toys, they borrow the money, by using CREDIT! So instead of paying retail price for the things, they end up paying for their new toys for years to come and paying a much higher price because of the interest they pay on the credit cards! Isn't that foolish? So the thing they just had to buy, has been long forgotten and thrown away by the time it is paid for, if they ever get it paid for! Does this sound like the kind of life you would want? Not me! Not anymore.
They had me hypmotized for several years, but a few years ago, the blinders fell off my eyes and I now see it for what it is. A way to rob your life. And I want no part of it. We are working on a solution to this problem. In an earlier post I said that there were three things I needed to do toward a more simple life;
1. declutter, downsize, and organize. 2. pay off debt (car notes). 3. Find affordable/efficient housing .
We are working on number one, and thankfully today I am going to take care of number 2! The Lord blessed us with some extra money, and we are going to use some of it to pay off our debt!!! Hopefully with the pay off of the vehicles it will reduce our insurance payments also, hopefully putting $1000.00 a month back into our household, then into savings toward our larger goal of early retirement!!!

Well, I have made this long enough, I am sure that I lost some of you way back. But for those of you who stayed with me, I hope you will get these books and read them. It could change the way you view what you have always thought was success. They definately have reaffirmed for me what I have been feeling. And has helped me move toward that simple life I seek.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Blog give-away winner!

I realized that I had neglected to announce the winner on this blog for the give-away on my other blog. The winner is...(drum roll please!) The winner is Alyson at http://www.threepsinapod.blogspot.com/ . The photo frame is in the mail now on its way to Alyson. Stop by an visit her blog sometime.
Congrats Alyson!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Journey Toward Simplicity

I have just completed the book, Choosing Simplicity by Linda Breen Pierce, and it was wonderful. It really spoke to where I am at right now. Although some of the people you will meet in the book have taken the idea of living simply a little to the extreme; much more than most of us are willing to go; many of them will offer great ideas for you if you are leaning that way. I have reached a point in my life where I am tired of the clutter of all these things that are filling my life, and I am seeking a simplier path. I find the commercialism of our society is not a recipe for happiness. I too, like many of you, started out seeking the American dream. The fast track career, bigger houses, more expensive cars, fine clothes...all that stuff that we seek after on the road to SUCCESS. I was programmed to believe that those THINGS equaled success and happiness. I became very disillusioned when no matter how much stuff I accumulated, I didn't have that feeling of "I have arrived" or this is it, this is what I have been seeking. Because with each new level of achievement, the prize still remained a little further away, just a little more, if I just had this or that, then...
We have been programmed to believe that we are defined by our jobs, our homes, the cars we drive.

"Oh, he/she must be a success, look at the car they are driving"
OR
"They live in a big fine house, they must be SOMEONE"
I bought into the lie that if I didn't have those things, I wasn't successful or of value. Maybe it was the curse of growing up in the middle class, when middle class once meant something. Now middle class is just a catagory for those of us who make to much money to get any type of help from the government, but not enough money to pay for our kids college education. We are in the catch 22 position. We can't live up to the expectations of our class status, but we try to, so we are all in debt up to our eyeballs and will spend our whole lives trying to pay our way out. Forget retirement, there is no retirement for the middle class, we are locked into the system. Somewhat similiar to the workers in mill towns or in mining towns of old; the mill owners/mine owners owned everything, and they offered credit to the workers in the mill store, they lived in mill owned homes, and when payday came, they had to turn it over to the mill owners for their housing and the food and dry goods that they had put on credit all month long...catch 22...they will never get a clear paycheck, because they had to rely on the mill system to survive until the payday came. Then it was all for nothing. They basically worked for their stuff. The difference is, their stuff was the necessities of life; food, shelter, clothes for their families. The basics...but we have gone beyond the basics--
So far beyond that we are just working to keep our stuff, the stuff that we have no time to enjoy because we are working all the time, to pay for the stuff. In the mean-time we are making the middle men wealthy. The credit card companies, banks and large merchants(think Wal-Mart).
So it is in this state of disillusionment in my life, I have seen beyond the facade, I have looked beyond the religion of consumerism, and I see a better way of life. I am a nomad on a journey to find the promise land. A place where peace and tranquillity reign supreme and we aren't worshipping the almighty dollar. When we have freedom to decide how to spend our time.
I am compiling a list of ideas that will help us reach this point of nirvana, well as close as we can get in this life. So here is what I have so far:
  • Declutter, downsize , and organize This is the very first thing that we must do. We can go no futher on the journey to simplicity until this step has been achieved. Like so many people we have far too much stuff. I am embarrassed to even say this, but we rent a storage shed to house stuff. We have a double garage that is so full of stuff that we can hardly find a path through it, much less park a car in there. Our house is full of stuff, and if that isn't enough, in another state, behind my mother's house is a 12x24 storage building full of more stuff!!! Most of which I don't even know anymore what is in there, just stuff. Now why should any human need so much junk? Why? So first step, get rid of the stuff. Keep what is needed, get rid of the rest. My plan of attack: Start in the garage. The rented storage shed is next. How rediculous is that? Pay money to keep my stuff that isn't worth what I have been paying each month to house... crazy!
  • Pay off car notes Get off of the system of buying a car and before you get one paid for, you trade it for a new one, with a higher note, or longer term. The cars we have are good cars, with a little maintanence will last for several more years. Who needs a new car when the one you drive gets you where you need to go? A car is just that, a means of transportation, not a status symbol. Who cares what the Jones's think! I am not trying to keep up with them anymore. The truth is, the Jones's are just deeper in debt than anyone else, that is why they have more stuff.
  • Find affordable, energy-efficient housing we moved back to the city last year due to several different factors, one being that it was too expensive to live where we were living because everything we did was in the city. Work, church, other activities. We lived about 25 or so miles out of the city and many times we had three cars going back a forth to the city everyday. Hubby's job keep him working long hours and he had no time to tend to things around the house. We had our son two years ago and I wasn't able to maintain everything and see to a baby. So it became overwhelming to us. That coupled with a few other hazards of this society and the plight of the middle class in America. So we are now renting a house in the city. Paying a grand a month for the privilege! When you start looking at things, is it worth it? That doesn't include the cost of lighting and heating the place, then you throw in a little city water, sewer and trash pickup, well your out another $500-$600 a month, depending on the time of year and if you have to run the air conditioner all day and night just to survive, or you have to crank up the gas heat to keep from getting frost bit. Either way, they get your money. And of course we haven't even fed the family yet, or least I forget, we haven't insured the cars that we are in debt for. Count them, one, two, three...we are a five person family, with three drivers thus three cars. So with car notes and insurance, we are out another grand and a half each month. But I digress to the above statement---pay off vehicle notes!

As you can see, so far I only have three steps toward the simplicity path, but I have a feeling these three could take some time in completing. Yes I do have longer term goals that I would like to see come to pass, but in order to get there, I must go through these three places. One long term goal that my husband and I are talking about is his being able to retire from full time employment in ten years. That would put us at almost 52, as opposed to his retiring at 62 or 65 or 67 or NEVER! So we have some ideas, and as we get further along this journey, I will share more of those with you. For now, we have enough to keep us busy for some time. Today I am going to Goodwill with a load of things, and come warmer weather we are planning the MOTHER OF ALL YARD SALES. So if you are in the neighborhood stop by--cause like they say: one man's junk is another man's junk for the right price!!

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