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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Books I've Read: September 2015

I started out the month on a roll from last month, reading a book fairly quickly and then starting more.  And then for some reason, I didn't pick up another book right away after this one, and I fell into a non-reading rut.  Hopefully I can change that next month!

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.  This was my introduction to Moriarty's books, and, as with Rainbow Rowell last month, this wasn't my first choice, but it was what the library had available, so I went with it.  This was a fast read.  It was an interesting concept for a story: a woman falls at the gym and hits her head, and the last ten years of her life vanish from her memory, including her three kids and the reason she's getting a divorce.

So.  I liked this book, for the most part.  I think Alice with the memory loss was a lot more likable than it sounds like regular Alice turned out to be, although her character growth as a result is pretty much the point of the story, so I get it.  The parts about the kids testing their limits with a mom who doesn't remember the rules made me laugh, because that's totally what kids would do.  Of course we stay up late and eat treats before bed and jump on the couch!

I didn't like Gina.  Maybe it's because the character only shows up in memories and flashbacks, and you don't actually get to experience her at all "in person" (if that makes sense), but she just didn't seem like a fully formed character, and what we did find out about her wasn't exactly the greatest either.

Overall, I liked the book, and I want to read more by Liane Moriarty.

Total books read this month: 1. Total books read this year: 14.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Weekly Goals: September 27-October 3

This little buddy of mine turned 6 this week!  

Last Week's Goals:

  • Post something on the blog.  Done! I had lots to work with this week, what with a birthday and all...
  • Start reading Women of the Word.  Does reading the first couple pages count?
  • Make a blue Lego ninja cake for Jonah. Done!

This Week's Goals:

  • Get everything packed for our trip to pastors' conference, without forgetting anything important!  We're not doing school while we're gone, but there's still a lot of stuff to remember when traveling with babies. Plus, I'm bringing along a few crockpot meals to help keep costs down.
  • KonMari something! I've been doing little bits of decluttering when I get the chance, but I really need to pick a category and work on it.
  • Read something! I should have a few naptimes' worth of reading time while we're in the hotel.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Extra Fun Homeschool Activities for Jonah's Birthday

Even though it was Jonah's birthday on Wednesday, we still had school.  But instead of all of our normal things, we did some extra fun activities.
We did a Dinosaur Dig!  We've been learning a bit about archaeology in history, and this week was Letter D for letter of the week.  So I printed off and laminated the dinosaur silhouettes in this post, and made the clay recipe linked there as well.  I should have made my clay dinosaurs thicker, because they kind of broke into more pieces than the three to four I had cut them into.  It was still a fun activity for the boys though!

We played Kitchen. I got the idea from this list of A-Z Sensory Play Ideas, and we did this for the first time last year for our Letter K letter of the week.  Ever since, Jonah asks to do this all the time.  I usually say no, because I don't want to use up all of my food supplies, but every now and then I let the boys go crazy, and it usually ends up that they "cook" for 40 minutes or so.

These are obviously not everyday activities, because they took extra prep work and made extra messes, but every once in awhile, it's fun to have a day like that.

Jonah's Blue Lego Ninja Birthday Cake

I like to let my kids request what they want their birthday cakes to look like, and then I try to make it happen.  It doesn't always work out, but they seem to enjoy it anyways, and I like the challenge.

I was proud because this year I actually got the colors to turn out right!  That does not always happen.  In case you do not have young boys in your house, this is Jay the Lego Ninja:
I think I got pretty close.

Also, here's a tip for you.  When making round cakes, first spray the cake pan with nonstick spray and line with wax paper.  Use a sharp knife to cut around the edges, so that the wax paper is only on the bottom.  Pour batter in and cook as normal.  After cooling 10-20 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the cake, flip it out, and peel the wax paper off.  Comes out clean every time!  My mom taught me that one...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Jesus Was My Age

Earlier this month, I turned 29.  It's not a milestone birthday by any means, but it's another year gone by on the calendar.  I was reading this post about the book of Luke, and one line really caught my eye:

"At 30 years old, at just the right time, it was time for them to begin their ministries."

And for some reason, this is the first time that I realized that Jesus and John the Baptist were about how old I am currently when they did all those things we read about in the Bible.

I guess I've always thought of Jesus as some grown up doing miracles, teaching other adults, being very much older than me.  But now, I'm that age.  If I lived in Bible times, Jesus would be one of my cohorts, my contemporaries.

I don't know why this is so weird to me.  It's one of those taken-for-granted facts of the Bible that I never really applied to myself before, never fully thought about before, and now it's a little strange to me to think of Him that way.

What extraordinary ordinary Biblical truths have you found lately?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

How Pancakes Reminded Me About Being Frugal

It was the day before our big twice-monthly shopping trip, and I was supposed to make pancakes for dinner.  Our usual gluten-free pancake recipe calls for 3 cups of oats.  I started measuring, and got to about 1 and 2/3 cups before I ran out.  In the past, I would have run to the store quickly for that one ingredient.  But I knew there had to be something else I could use.
So I grabbed the Rice Krispies off the shelf, measured out the missing amount, and mixed the whole thing up with my immersion blender.  It looked fairly close to normal, so I kept going.
The Rice Krispie pancakes did not flip well at all.  They definitely weren't pretty to look at.  They actually tasted fine, although Jonah didn't appreciate that the banana flavor came out more than usual.
But they taught me that we almost always have something we can use to make do.  I need to remember this more often.  To look at what we have before I go look for something new.  To see what I can substitute to save money and a trip to the store (and not just for food necessarily).

We're trying to pay off debt, mostly school loans.  And it's slow going.  But these little things do help, slowly but surely, to add up to bigger things.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Homeschooling Is A Little Like Having Another Baby...

For me, homeschooling is a little bit like having a new baby in the house.  There are all sorts of adjustments.  Routines that used to work have to be shifted to accommodate this new thing.  Everyone gets a little bit less one-on-one time because something else has taken that spot.  I stay up late at night thinking sometimes, wondering if I'm doing the right thing, or if I'm going to completely mess this one up.  I feel both completely awesome and utterly inept in the span of twenty minutes.
As with each baby addition, I look back fondly on how much time I had before.  It doesn't matter that just two months ago, I felt like I had no time whatsoever, that I was super busy, and that I was always behind on something.  Now I look back at that person and laugh.  I just added in 15-20 more hours of stuff each week!

Past me had it so easy.

I had that same mentality after each kid.  I notice this especially on Saturdays.  Saturdays have become my get-things-done days.  I do most of my cleaning, a lot of my food prep, and whatever else I can knock out in all those hours between waking up and going to bed.  (Lest you think I ignore my kids, they get plenty of extra books read to them, and extra time to play outside because they're not doing schoolwork).

We've adjusted pretty well.  Somehow, everything that truly needs to get done still happens.  While there's not a ton of time for extras right now, I am enjoying the things that I do get to do.  And I certainly feel accomplished when I prep six freezer meals (plus a few other things) in two hours.  Sort of like a few months after having a baby, when things start to settle into a new normal...