The Battle of Weight Loss

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When I was growing up, I was a skinny mini.  I never dreamed that I would become overweight.  But, honestly, shortly after high school, I started putting on a few pounds.  I even had to diet while I was engaged to be married so that I could fit into my wedding dress.  Thankfully, back then, I didn’t have much to lose.  But, after baby #1, I gained a lot of weight and though I’ve tried a multitude of diets, I’ve never maintained well.  And, now after 4 babies and 18 years of being overweight, it doesn’t get easier!

When I was young, I loved going to the pool and swimming for hours!  And, I loved bike riding.  I even rode the MS 150 one year with my dad.  It was so fun!  And, both of these are great exercises that burn LOTS of calories.  No wonder I was able to remain thin back then!  Then, you know, after marriage, work, and having babies, you don’t have as much time to do those fun things like swimming, or bike riding.  I guess they just got put on the back burner.  And, my priority became kids, homeschooling, and other things.

I have tried dieting on my own, Weight Watchers multiple times, Weigh Down, The Flat Belly Diet, First Place 4 Health, and currently I’m doing Trim Healthy Mama.  I’ve learned a lot through all these losses and regains!  Here are some things that I have learned:

  • accountability is KEY.  Lose weight with a friend or two!  Surround yourself with people who will support you and encourage you on your journey.
  • Any diet can work, IF you follow the plan.  Some work better than others and have more freedom than others.  Some are also more healthy than others.  Find something that can become a lifestyle.
  • Find exercises that you enjoy, and doing them with friends can even make it more enjoyable!  I honestly don’t like to sweat.  I know that’s bad to say, but I really don’t.  I love the water, because it cools me, and I love bike riding because if you can get your speed up, there’s a nice breeze (not to mention getting to see God’s beauty through creation as you ride).  I’ve also come to enjoy Pilates for the firming and shaping that results (however, I definitely sweat)!  I also enjoy yoga for relaxation, and I’ve come to enjoy intervals because of the help with metabolism and energy.  I’ve found mixing things up and doing something different each day keeps me motivated, and helps me not to get bored.  And, I honestly think it helps trick my body and trim it quicker because it never knows what’s happening to it from day to day.  Ha!  🙂
  • The more you eat healthy, the less you crave the unhealthy.  It’s amazing what I’ve come to love to eat, and be satisfied with.  Things I never would have tried before!
  • Journaling helps me.  I weigh once a week, and journal about how I did.  Some weeks are very encouraging, others not so much, but when I keep track, I know what to do to improve.

Currently, I’ve been struggling with a weight loss, a weight gain, a weight loss.  Sometimes it feels like this battle will never end!  But, I have to remain positive, and see where I’ve come in only about 18 weeks.  I’ve lost about 35 lbs.  The exciting part is that 35 lbs is the most I’ve ever lost in any weight loss program.  So, this time, I KNOW that I will pass that hurdle, and continue going!  I have about 100 more pounds to lose.  That seems daunting when I see that number, but I truly believe it’s possible this time.  I just have to remain focused on the goal and stop the temptations before I allow them to overtake me!

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

                                                                                                            1 Corinthians 10:13

So, do you have any weight battle tips?  I’d love to hear them!  I am determined to win this battle!  Someday, I may be brave enough to post my before and after photos.  Can’t wait for that day!

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Birth to 18 in 30 Seconds

It is amazing how quickly time goes!  It seems like yesterday that I was holding my precious baby boy in my arms, and tomorrow he graduates!

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I am very much looking forward to the ceremony.  A homeschool graduation ceremony is so much more personal, and we, as the parents, get to hand our son his diploma.  It’s exciting!

The most nerve wracking thing right now is the preparations for his grad party.  I have no idea what I’m doing…this is my first child to graduate.  But, I’ve been to lots of parties since my husband is a youth pastor, so I’ve gotten lots of ideas.  I think it will be fun!  One more stress is making sure our house is company ready!  As you’ve probably read before from this post, I struggle with keeping the house clean.  Things have been going well, and are being fairly maintained, but I want it to look extra special since lots of people will be coming.  But, I am going to pray that I’m more Mary and less Martha for my son’s sake.  When I’m Martha, I’m no fun, and get cranky rather quickly….not the way I want to celebrate my son’s graduation.

We will be displaying lots of past photographs in three open spaces in our walls, along with a buffet table that will have his senior pictures, a few scrap books of his young life, and extra wallet photos for guests to take.  We will be serving bbq brisket and bbq pork sandwich rolls, a veggie tray, a fruit tray, a sausage, cheese and cracker tray, a cheese ball, lots of cake and nuts, and lemonade and tea. Outside at our fire pit we are providing s’mores for the making. We plan to have outdoor games for anyone interested, also.  I think it will be lots of fun!

The color theme is blue and silver, so the napkins will be both blue and silver, and the balloons and tablecloths are also in those colors.   Most of the serving trays I borrowed or purchased and they are galvanized steal, which adds to the silver theme color.  My husband, the tech of the family, made a video of lots of pictures that will also be playing on our t.v.

The post is short this week because of all the preparations!  If you have graduates, congratulations!  It’s a big deal!  Enjoy this time.

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Resources for a Clean & Organized Home

clean-571679_1280I have been doing pretty well with my routines, and things have been shaping up around my house!  Yay!  So, I figured that I would give you all some FABULOUS resources that have helped me.  I have learned to be organized, and keep a home, all while homeschooling!  It can be done!  So, below I will have a list of awesome resources that have helped me along the way.  They aren’t in any particular order, but I will comment on each.

  • Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley a.k.a. The FlyLady – This resource may be one of my Top Picks!  It is extremely practical in helping you learn how to start creating routines and helping you develop good habits.  There is also a daily email reminder list you can get if you like, but the book alone is a HUGE help!  It was often the only encouragement I would get, and it was so encouraging!  Marla truly cares for her Fly Babies (as we are called), and really wants to help people.  Find the website with all kinds of helpful information here.
  • The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark – This was another practical book that helped me to reorganize my home so that cleaning was not so difficult.  It taught me things such as keeping like things together so they are easily found, and placing bins in places that seem to collect messes.
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – I wrote a review of this book last summer.  Here is that review:
    My REVIEW of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (BEFORE implemetation of her method}

    Well, to start off, I have to say that The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was something like I’ve never read before.  I’ve read many books about decluttering, cleaning, and organizing and this one was nothing like the others.  Not at all!  Obviously, by the amount of books I’ve read on the topic, this is an area that I struggle with and have struggled with for most of my life, if not all of it.  In fact, I am a huge fan and follower of FlyLady’s principles and have been for several years.  I have read her book, Sink Reflections, many times.  But, even with her ideas, I still struggle with the 15 minute decluttering sessions, and the detailed cleaning.  I have gone through some great periods of sticking to the daily routines, though, and I did like that part of FlyLady’s program, because if you follow it, it does work.  (But, again, I could never get past the DAILY routines to fit in the rest of the program!)

    So, when I saw some recent posts about the KonMarie Method, I was quite intrigued.  It is the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.  The posts and articles that I read were written by people who had read this book, and who had implemented the ideas or method into their own lives.  They were all very enthusiastic about it and even showed pictures and videos of some of the implementation.  It looked quite inspiring, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the book and see if it would be something that would work for me. 

    Now that I have finished the book, I have mixed feelings about it.  I will detail those shortly.  I think some of the ideas are so different that they took me by surprise and at first I didn’t like them because they were so different.  But, as I continued to read, I came to understand more fully the reasoning behind them and think it might be worth a try to begin implementing them.  However, there were still some things that bothered me.  For instance, the almost worship like behavior of belongings.  That is not something I want to do or ever plan to do!

    So, I will start with the aspects of the KonMarie Method that I do like.  I like that she believes that tidying a little every day will cause you to be tidying forever.  I am not a naturally tidy person, so I would LOVE to not have to be tidying forever, and apparently if you use this method, you won’t have to ever tidy again.  (I do have to mention that her definition of tidying is not cleaning.  It is decluttering.  Tidying is decluttering, and if you do it her way just once, you’ll never have to do it again.  I LIKE that, I like it a lot!)  I also like that she believes that storage experts are hoarders.  That cracks me up!  I can definitely see her point.  I like that she suggests sorting by category, not by location.  I have always decluttered by the room.  I would start in the bedroom by sorting my clothes into keep, give, and trash piles.  Then, I would organize them back into the drawers or closet.  I would go through my entire bedroom sorting and organizing this way until the room was all the way decluttered and re-organized, then I would give it a good cleaning.  After I was done with my bedroom, I’d move on to the next room and repeat.  With the KonMarie method, you don’t go room to room, you go category by category.  Clothes are first, then books, and the list continues all the way to mementos or sentimental items.  At first this threw me way off, but I grew to really like the idea behind working in this fashion.  The next thing I really like is that you are to ask yourself when discarding, “Does this item spark joy?”  If it does not, you tell it goodbye; if it does bring joy, you keep it.  It sounds wonderful to only keep those things that bring joy.  It might become a tad tricky if your pots and pans don’t spark joy, but I do think the reasoning behind her having you ask this for each item makes a lot of sense. She says that if it sparks joy, you will take better care of the item, and therefore, it will last longer and continue to spark joy for a very long time.  I like that she has a particular order of categories to follow when decluttering.  I need help, and her giving the instructions with an order is very helpful.  I like that every item is supposed to be stored vertically.  This includes clothing!  Sounds absolutely crazy, but the pictures and videos I’ve seen are amazing.  This way you truly can see everything you own in a glance, and much less space is taken up.  It’s quite genius, actually!  I like that she says about books, “Sometime means never.”  If I haven’t read it, I most likely won’t read it.  It’s a hard thing to swallow as I’m a lover of books, but it is pretty accurate, I’m afraid.  She also says that the books to keep are those that belong in the Hall of Fame.  I have some of those books, and they are definitely keepers!  I like that when it comes to storage, she says that simplicity is best.  You don’t have to go out and buy expensive storage solutions.  I like that storage spaces are not to be scattered throughout the house.  I like that she suggests keeping things out of the bath/shower and kitchen sink areas.  At first, I thought this was crazy!  But, if you just get your bath/shower items out as you use them, and the soaps/brushes out as needed for cleaning dishes, how much simpler would it be to clean the shower and sink areas?  And, how much nicer and less cluttered those spaces would always look!  I also like how she says that we should appreciate the items we have.  It helps us to take proper care of them if we are thankful for them.  I have to agree.  These are many of the things that I liked about the book.

    Now I will share those things that I didn’t like so much.  I don’t like that photos are to be cherished for who we are now.  It seems like she is promoting getting rid of old photos and there are way too many memories in old photos for me.  Maybe if I stored them properly in a memory book, and that was an item I loved and brought me joy, I could see her point.  But, just discarding anything that is not current?  I don’t think so!  I don’t like that she says to forget about flow planning and frequency of use.  To me, there are some things that are conveniently located for a purpose (because of flow) and others that are placed where they are placed because of how frequently they are used.  So, this doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  Maybe when I begin implementing the rest of her method, it will make more sense, but it doesn’t right now.  Another thing I do not like is the recommendation to empty my bag every single day.  (She is speaking of your purse and/or briefcase).  Why would I do this?  It baffles my mind, even after she explained why, I still don’t get it.  The next thing I do not like is making the top shelf of bookcases a personal shrine.  Won’t do it.  Never will.  I don’t worship things, and that is definitely a cultural thing I will not be implementing.  I also do not like how often it is mentioned to speak to your belongings, greet them, thank them, allow them to help you, and the mention of good fortune that will come when tidying.  I do believe that we should be grateful for what the Lord has blessed us with, and maybe I can turn these suggestions into having a grateful attitude to the Lord rather than to the item itself.  It’s just all kind of creepy and it’s sprinkled throughout the entire book.  For those reasons, I’m not sure I can recommend reading the book.  However, there were many good ideas, and I do plan to try to implement them.  I’m actually anxious to get started and plan to re-evaluate my review after I’ve tried implementing the KonMarie Method in my own home.  Tidying may begin as soon as tomorrow! 🙂

    Now that it’s been almost a year since writing this review, I can give a small update.  I still agree with most all that I wrote!  I did end up getting rid of A TON of stuff!  I think it was approximately 20 boxes and 30 trash bags of stuff, and I was unable to even get to my linens or kitchen!  The one thing that I do disagree with is that once you do this tidying (decluttering) you will never have to do it again.  Because I am a homeschooler, books will always need to be paired down, and because I have kids, toys and kid’s clothing will always have to be paried down.  However, if I lived alone, this would be true!  My favorite thing that was implemented (besides the feeling I got from getting rid of so much stuff) was the drawer organization.  It has made a HUGE difference!  I love the way my drawers look ALL the time, and I can literally see everything I own in every drawer.  I hope to continue with the tidying this summer by finishing the kitchen, and working through all the stuff in our basement.  I can’t wait!

  • Unstuffed by Ruth Soukup – This is a book I’ve most recently been reading.  It is also a lot about decluttering, not only our homes, but our schedules and minds.  I am not completely finished with this book, but I already know it’s one I want to add to this list.

Okay!  There you go.  These are four of my all time favorite resources for helping me to get my home clean and organized.  And, when my  home is clean and organized, it also makes me a better wife, mom, homeschool teacher, and friend.  And, I am better prepared to serve with a joyful heart.  Which reminds me of one more book!  Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver.  Check it out!

I hope these books can help you as they have helped me.  I imagine many of them can be checked out at a library.  Enjoy!  And, because I love to read, I’d love to hear of other great books that you’ve read on this topic!  Please share!

2016-2017 Curriculum Picks

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Here are my curriculum picks for next year!  I’ll start with my oldest still in school and go down to my youngest.

Sophomore (10th Grader):

Memory Verses: Simply Charlotte Mason’s Memory Verse Pack #4 https://simplycharlottemason.com/planning/curriculum-guide/scripture-memory/

Bible: TruthQuest Beginnings Guide                     http://www.truthquesthistory.com/store/products.php?categoryParentName=Books&categoryName=Creation%2FAncient&itemId=42

Character:  Ourselves Book 1 by Charlotte Mason and Character First:  Attentiveness, Obedience, Honesty, Respect, Diligence, Thankfulness with Write Upon My Heart Character Curriculum (each for 6 weeks) http://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/vol_4_all.html and http://characterfirsteducation.com/c/shop-detail/1998143 with http://www.keepersofthefaith.com/category/WriteUponMyHeartCharacterCurriculum 

Worldview:  Cat & Dog Theology Year 2                       http://www.unveilinglory.com/homeschool/high-school-year-2.php 

History:  TruthQuest Middle Ages Guide and TruthQuest Renaissance Guide alongside Beautiful Feet’s Medieval Senior High Study Guide (only using portions)  http://www.truthquesthistory.com/store/products.php?categoryParentName=Books&categoryName=Middle+Ages&itemId=40 and http://www.truthquesthistory.com/store/products.php?categoryParentName=Books&categoryName=Renaissance%2FReformation&itemId=41 with portions of http://bfbooks.com/Medieval-History-Senior-High-Pack 

Since TruthQuest also uses living books, these are the books I’ve chosen along with dvd’s:

Middle Ages and Renaissance, Reformation & Exploration Book & DVD List

(Plus order of use)

Middle Ages

Beowulf with Invitation to the Classics (Literature)

King Arthur and His Knights (audio by Jim Weiss)

Son of Charlemagne

The Arabian Nights with the Audio by Jim Weiss (Literature)

Leif the Lucky

El Cid (Movie)

How Should We Then Live? (DVD) Episode #2

Castle by David Macaulay with the online Video version from the library

Greenleaf’s Famous Men of the Middle Ages

Ivanhoe (Movie)

The Magna Charta

The Story of Robin Hood (Movie)

Cathedral by David Macaulay with the online Video version from the library

Stepping Stone Kit (Craft)

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy

Inspector General (Movie)

Morning Star of the Reformation

The Chaucer Story Book (Literature)

Joan of Arc

Renaissance, Reformation & Exploration

How Should We Then Live? (DVD) Episode #3

The Black Arrow

Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland (library)

Sister Wendy’s 1000 Masterpieces (library)

Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting (library)

The Agony and the Ecstasy (Movie)

How Should We Then Live? (DVD) Episode #4

Martin Luther

Luther (Movie)

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses

Martin Luther’s Defense before the Diet of Worms

Mosque by David Macaulay

Pilgrim’s Progress (Literature)

Greenleaf’s Famous Men of the Reformation

A Man for All Seasons (Movie)

Utopia

God’s Outlaw (Movie)

The Radicals (Movie)

The Virgin Queen (Movie)

Under Drake’s Flag

SCM’s Shakespeare in 3 Steps

How Should We Then Live? (DVD 2) Episode #6

Johannes Kepler

Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves (Literature)

Optional Spine:  Trial & Triumph

You may have noticed that I also included the Literature books for the year in the above list.  I will also be using Beautiful Feet’s An Anthology of Medieval Literature  http://bfbooks.com/An-Anthology-of-Medieval-Literature 

Geography:  Beautiful Feet’s Medieval Senior High Guide and The Medieval World:  An Illustrated Atlas  http://bfbooks.com/The-Medieval-World-An-Illustrated-Atlas 

Writing:  Written Narrations and Essays from TruthQuest’s Think Write Assignments and Beautiful Feet’s Guide as well as Written Narrations on each of the literature selections.  Notebooking from A Journey Through Learning for Middle Ages and Renaissance is also availabe through TruthQuest and I will be using it.

Math:  Life of Fred  http://lifeoffredmath.com/

Science:  ACE Paces Biology DVD Course  http://www.heartofdakota.com/world-history-hearts-for-him-through-high-school-descriptions2.php#biology 

Rotation Subjects:

Picture Study (Valesquez, Turner, and Rembrandt – 12 weeks for each) https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/picture-study-portfolios/

Poetry (Robert Browning and Carl Sandburg – 1 semester each) https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/enjoy-the-poems/

Hymn Study (1 hymn per month)  http://www.amazon.com/Hymns-Kids-Heart-Vol-2/dp/1581345828 and http://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php?id=021294 and www.songsandhymns.org

Composer Study   http://bfbooks.com/History-of-Classical-Music-Study-Guide?sc=21&category=-121

Nature Study  http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/033908 and http://shiningdawnbooks.com/available-units/

Art  http://www.creatingamasterpiece.com/

and Shakespeare (As You Like It)                                                                      https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/shakespeare-three-steps/ 

Electives:  Logic, Speech (through co-op), Piano Lessons, and Gymnastics http://www.rainbowresource.com/searchspring.php?q=Falacy+Detective#/?_=1&q=fallacy detective&page=1 

4th Grader:

Memory Verses:  Simply Charlotte Mason’s Memory Verse Pack #4 – same as 10th grader – see link above

Bible:  Long Story Short  http://www.graceandtruthbooks.com/product/long-story-short-ten-minute-devotions

Character:  The Young Peacemaker (Co-op) and Character First http://www.graceandtruthbooks.com/product/young-peacemaker-teaching-students-to-respond-to-conflict-gods-way and http://characterfirsteducation.com/c/shop-detail/1998143 

Worldview:  Apologia’s Who Is God?                                             http://www.apologia.com/who-is-god/216-who-is-god.html 

History:  Heart of Dakota Bigger Hearts for His Glory http://www.heartofdakota.com/bigger-hearts-packages.php 

Geography:  Beautiful Feet’s Geography Through Literature http://bfbooks.com/Geography-Through-Literature-Pack-PB?sc=17&category=14 

English:  My Father’s World’s Language Lessons for Today Grade 4 http://www.mfwbooks.com/item/30018/ 

Spelling:  Simply Charlotte Mason’s Spelling Wisdom 1 https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/spelling-wisdom/ 

Reading:  Heart of Dakota’s Bigger Hearts for His Glory Classic Literature Pack http://www.heartofdakota.com/BHFHG-classic.php 

Writing:  Draw and Write Through History http://www.graceandtruthbooks.com/category/draw-and-write-through-history 

Math:  Life of Fred  http://www.educents.com/life-of-fred-elementary-math-series-9291.html 

Science:  HOD’s Bigger Hearts Science and Apologia Astronomy http://www.heartofdakota.com/bigger-hearts-packages.php and http://www.apologia.com/astronomy/466-homeschool-curriculum.html

Rotations:  Same as 10th Grader – See above

Electives:  Piano Lessons, Youth Theatre Academy, Children’s Choir

Preschool 3:

The Homegrown Preschooler  http://www.thehomegrownpreschooler.com/?product=a-year-of-playing-skillfully-printed-version

Heart of Dakota’s Little Hands to Heaven                       http://www.heartofdakota.com/little-hands-packages.php 

I usually save throughout the year to purchase curriculum for the following year, and I sell the curriculum we are finished with.  It really makes no sense to me to save curriculum for the next child when each of the rest of my kiddos are 6 years apart.  I don’t like to use outdated material, and prefer newest editions in most cases.  I’d love to hear about some of your favorite curriculum choices!  Please chime in!