Monday, March 31, 2014

Lies. Lies. Lies.

Last weekend I attended the Nebraska Christian Homeschool Educators conference in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is one of my favorite weekends out of the year. I could hardly wait to see friends that I haven't seen since we moved...and some that I haven't seen since the last conference. The nice thing about some friends are, even if you don't see them for a year you just pick up where you left off like no time has passed. I had a great time as usual catching up...and attending workshops.

If you are on the fence about whether or not homeschooling is for your family...or in the trenches with us already...I highly recommend trying out this conference. They have quiet a few workshops for those just starting out all the way up to those families who have high school aged kids.

I usually spend a few weeks writing blog posts about the workshops that I attended. I even had a few friends remind me of this...I will do my best.

So here goes my first recap...of the last workshop I attended.

This workshop was titled Lies Homeschool Families believe by Todd Wilson. Todd is from He was hysterical!! I noticed I had a few tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. Some of my friends attended every one of his workshops...he was just that good. He hit the mark for many homeschool families. I would also highly recommend liking his Facebook page and checking out his website. He is also a cartoonist (all cartoons on this blog post are from Mr. Wilson) and homeschool father of 8 kids.

He started out by telling us to put down our pens...we didn't need to take notes. I am typically a rule follower, however I felt that I needed to take notes...and technically didn't have a pen...I was taking notes on my fingers technically aren't pens...

Here are the lies:

1. Everyone's kids are smarter than yours.

Yep they might be. But who cares really? The nice thing about homeschooling is we don't have to be teaching certain things at certain grade levels. I know my kids are "ahead" and "behind" than some kids of the same age...but again...who cares? I don't and neither should you.

2. Everyone's houses are cleaner than ours.

I admit, if I know someone is coming over I do have our house picked up and clean. My mom was like that, so I just thought that is how things were supposed to be. But come unannounced and you will find books all over and toys scattered. We live in our house and that is just that...we live.

3. Everyone fixes better meals than me.

Yep. That is true. I don't really care though...we just have different "diets" due to our activity schedules. The hubs takes care of himself, so our meals are quiet boring nowadays!

4. Everyone is more disciplined than I am.

Probably. Probably not. I am the kind of person that goes with the flow and doesn't stress out if we don't get everything accomplished that I had hoped to. I don't schedule out our school calendar or make lesson plans. That is just me and how I operate. I know I wouldn't follow them, so why waste my time. So yes most are probably more disciplined, but we are getting done with what we feel is the right amount for our kids at this stage of the all is good!

5. Everyones marriage is better than mine.

In my opinion I think Sean and I have a pretty good marriage. We have our disagreements, but get over those in maybe 10 minutes or so...just kidding...15 minutes or so. Marriage is hard. Knowing what the Bible says about marriages has been extremely helpful and has provided quiet a bit of guidance for us. Are there marriages better than ours...who knows...I am not married to anyone else and have never been. You never know what goes on behind closed doors. The only marriage one should care about is their own...not the marriage of others.

6. You are the only one that feels how you feel.

Homeschooling can be overwhelming. Especially when you have more than one child that your are teaching. Especially when you are trying to compare yourselves to everyone else. Take a step back and be thankful for what you have...and not what others have or are doing.

So how can we combat these lies?

Be real with each other. My close friends know that I am pretty real...hopefully. I will just tell you how it is and don't really care what others think. I don't actually say....hey I don't care what you think...that isn't what I mean. That might rub some the wrong way...but I am confident that where I am at with our kids is where WE need to be. Not you. Not your kids. Not the kids down the road. Our kids.

I think I may have failed though in a sense. I have some friends who keep saying that they love reading about the homeschool activities that I do with our kids. I have come to realize that these posts may have done more harm than good for some. Please believe me when I say...our days are not full of fun, exciting activities all day, everyday. I don't share pictures of a child crying when she misses one spelling word. I don't share the times I have sent a child to their room for throwing a fit over losing at a game. I don't show the hard times. Homeschooling and being with our kids all day is not easy. Some days it is not even fun. But I know that this is where God wants our family to be and I honestly can say despite all of the hard days I wouldn't trade my job for any other. So I hope that my "fun" posts don't discourage other homeschool friends.

The last thing I wanted to share from this workshop is that God gave your children exactly the mother that they needed right now. Your children are going to be exactly what God created them to be!

If you attended this same workshop and wanted to add anything else...comment on this post. This was definetely one of my favorites.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Not out to win a popularity contest...

Looking back on my life I have never been part of the "popular" crowd. I never shared the worldy beliefs of many I was surrounded by in school. I typically don't just brush big things off by saying...what's the big deal like most. I think back to my high school and college days where going to the bars and getting drunk were a common thing. I look at my peers around me that thought I was aweful for not fornicating and sleeping around. How would I possibly know if a relationship would last with anyone if I didn't sleep with someone...they would say.

Here is the thing...what sets me apart from that as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ...I am not set out to be the popular one in the crowd. I am not trying to get everyone to like me and "win" a crown in this world. I am realizing that even if someone claims to be saved...they aren't always the easy ones to get along with because worldy views often trump what the Bible actually says. No one wants to hurt someones feelings. No one wants to be judged by another...but guess what? If someone is also a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and is a fellow believer I am to be bold when it comes to warnings in the Bible.

I have recently failed when it comes to being bold about the relationship with a fellow believer that they had with another and when it was too late and I asked a simple question if this other person was saved...I was called judgemental and offensive by another fellow believer. It breaks my heart that being saved is sometimes thrown to wayside by other fellow believers and obviously not a very important thing to some.

Lesson learned the hard way...I need to be more bold...and not ashamed at what the Gospel of Christ...the Bible...says. Just because someone says they are saved...they may not know what the Bible says or even care.

Please pray for me to be bold.

Please pray for those who are believers... that they get back on track and open their eyes to the word.

Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also the Greek. 17. For therein is the righteousness of God revelaed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who holds the truth in unrighteousness, 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.







Sunday, March 23, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday to my little Easton!

Happy birthday to my sweet boy Easton!! I can't believe he is 5!!

He is an extremely energetic little guy...but always willing to stop everything he is doing to help. He is my Johnny on the spot.

He loves trying to figure out how things work and how things come apart.

He definetly keeps me on my toes and adds an extra element of excitement to our day!

He is too smart for his own good...I have a feeling he will be just like his daddy when he grows up!

Love him to pieces!




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Moving on....

Over the past few months we tried out a new thing The kids took a soccer clinic last fall and they all rallied together wanting to give soccer a try. We are not a sporty family. I don't know if we ever will be and that is totally fine with me. We decided to sign all four kiddos up, because it would be something fun to do when playing outside was not an option. This was an indoor league and all in one facility so I could handle it...unlike in our past city you could be practicing and playing games all over town. That just was not logistically possible for us.

It was a long few months. Maybe I just need some warm-up seasons to get into this whole sports thing. Our nights Tuesday-Fridays consisted of eating dinner and leaving before Sean/dad got home from work and then coming home and the kids giving Sean a quick kiss and hello before they went to bed. I hated that they didn't get to see him much during the season. Thank goodness for weekends! No practices and no games!

We had our final night of games last night...woohoo!!!

Here are a few pics of our munchkins first season!




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Our trip to China!

Ni hao from China! I didn't feel like I should be teaching my kids about husband is much more qualified since he has been there a bazillion times. BUT the great thing about homeschooling is I just learn right along with the kids and if they have a question I can not answer we dig into it together!

We started our country unit study this month and the girls are loving it. I bought my curriculum, Expedition Earth, from Confessions of a Homeschooler blog. So far we love it!

We started off by making our passports. Each girl has their own passport and we "stamp" it by glueing the countries flag in the proper area. We then write the date when we start the unit and another date when we are finished.

We spent several days "visiting" the country and learning what it has to offer. You tube and books from the library have been great sources for us!

There are quiet a few projects that we did together.

The girls made pretend postcards, as if they were visiting and sending them to a friend....the picked me! How sweet:)

They made fans.

and lanterns.

We made paper together. Kind of silly making paper from paper. But we had fun!

First we ripped up newspaper into tiny squares and filled our blender. We then filled the blender with water and blended away until it was pulpy.

We then filled up a large tote with a few inches if water and then dumped our pulp mixture in it.

Next we used a screen (bought from Home Depot) and brought the pulp up and onto the screen until it was flat with no holes. This took a bit of time, but we did it!

We then let the pulp drip dry on the screen for about an hour while we ate lunch.

After it stopped dripping we laid a felt blanket (I used fabric scraps) on the table and then carefully flipped our screen so our pulp mixture was flat on the blanket. We laid another blanket over this and then a towel and rolled the paper flat with a rolling pin.

We let it dry for a few days and then whoola we had paper!

They then painted Ni hao (hello in Chinese) on their new pieces of paper!

Next stop...South stay tuned!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I can do this!

If you have been following my blog or have been a friend for the past two know that I like to run.  Jogging slowly is really more like it.  I was slow.  But hey this quote describes perfectly how I feel:

I read about running.  I talked about running with friends.  I studied running.  I just didn't work hard enough to become a fast runner.  Granted I did reach my milestones of running 1mile in 10 minutes.  I did run my first 1/2 marathon.  I didn't die doing it, like I fully anticipated would happen.  Couldn't walk up stairs for a few days...but I recovered.  I injured my knee this past fall and had to take some time off to let that heal.  But guess what!!!! I am back at it and in full force.

I have been "training" for my upcoming May 4th half marathon since the end of October.  I had read about it and knew I needed to do it, but never really got around to actually doing it--- I need to build my strength.  I am a wimp...when it comes to wimpiness.  I was by no means strong in any way shape or form.  So I worked out for 3 least 6 days a week on strength training.  I honestly can say all that hard work of getting up early every morning paid off.  I feel stronger!

Then my running part of my training started at the beginning of February.  Last year I had to run the rolling gravel roads in Pleasant Dale.  It was not fun. Going to the YMCA was a big chore with 4 kiddos in tow...but I did it as much as I could.  My husband traveled quiet a bit and I bruised my leg really bad.   I know excuses, excuses....I was full of them.  I know I didn't train up to my full potential and basically felt like I winged my first half marathon.  I did hit my 3 hour goal mark...woo hoo!  But deep down I knew I could do better.

Now that we have moved and a Y is now 5 minutes away, I am fully confident that my training will lead to a better race.  I have been either waking up extremely early (in my books) or going during my husband's lunch break.  I have grown to actually like running on the treadmill....a lot.  I know weird, but I really do like it.  I don't have to take the kids and spend time checking them in and out of the day care.  I have stuck to my training calendar...and look forward to the next days workout.  I am actually running faster than ever before!

Another duh moment...that I knew about, but once again never did anything about, was my iron levels.  I have always been anemic, as long as I could remember.  But I strongly dislike taking vitamins...I would just forget.  I surely didn't eat enough iron rich foods.  But after an insurance wellness check...and my iron levels coming back low...I have taken action.  I am now on a super dose of iron and drink iron rich juice every day.  I truly think the extra iron is helping me as well.

So barring any injuries....I am pumped and can't wait to see how fast I can run this year!!

Oh-- and if anyone wants to run with me and a few friends in the Race for is 1/2 way through my training!  You can run either a 2 mile or a 6.2 mile race.  I am doing the 6.2 miler.  I rarely give to charities because you never know where the money is really going to, but this is a local charity that raises money to help families that are undergoing cancer treatments here by providing transportation, food, utilities etc. 
You can click on the link below:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Some things to ponder....

If we didn't have the lovely world of facebook I probably wouldn't have a clue what Christian churches are up to these day....besides for what our church does in Omaha and for the local one we have attended once. I am baffled why churches that have mostly born again--believing congregations are starting to take part in "lent". So I have some questions that anyone might want to think about as people are starting their "lental" season.

~~~Where in the Bible does is say that we...believers...should give up anything? Like not being on facebook. Not drinking coffee. Not eating chocolate. There are several passages that talk about fasting. So yes if you feel the need to fast from food for 40 you can focus on our Lord Jesus Christ...then go for it. If that is what you need to IS biblical. Guess can fast any time during the year! Not just during this "lental season". Guess what! The Bible also says that no one should know. No one. It should be between you and God only. Guess what! No one should command that you fast. is between you and God. So why then am I reading all over the internet what people are giving up? I shouldn't know that you are fasting.

~~~Where in the Bible does it say we shouldn't eat meat on Fridays? This always baffles me. I challenge you to send me an email or let me know in person where it says this. The only thing I can find in the Bible is that it says to eat meat. If we want to start going around making up things...I, Julie...queen of nothingness...declare that on Tuesdays we should not eat hot dogs. Those poor pigs. By not eating hot dogs on will get some sort of brownie points in God's eyes. Ok...that was just a joke about the hot dogs, but do you see how silly it is. I guarantee you...guarantee you, that when you are at the judgement seat of will not have to answer about why you ate a burger on a Friday during your "lental season". It isn't in the Bible. Find it if it is. I must be missing something.

~~~For by grace you have been saved through faith and that it is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God. not by works lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9~~~

~~~That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto the Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:18~~~


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It is coming!!!

I have a lot of things that I look forward to during the course of the year...but one of my (probably top 5) favorite weekends is the Nebraska Christian Homeschool Educators conference.  This year it is being March 28-29th in Lincoln, Nebraska! 

This conference is NOT just for those who home educate...granted most of the attendees will be homeschooling families, but I do know of a few families that attended that do not homeschool and right now have no interest in starting.  The workshops just sounded so appealing for everyday life, why not attend?

  I was just glancing at the conference agenda and there are some great workshops like:
  • Get Right on the Money With America’s Money Smart
  • Family
  •  Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half Without Becoming a
  • Coupon Queen  10 Things You Need to Teach Your Daughter Before
  • She Graduates  Raising Dangerous Sons in a Safe and Mediocre
  • World
  • Raising Real Kids For the Real World  
  • College Knowledge and Finances
  • Love People, Cook Them Tasty Food
  • Childhood Speech and Language Development-What
  • Should I Expect From My Child? 
  • Teaching Kids About Money Isn’t Kids Stuff  
  • How to Get Into the Best College At the Lowest Cost 
  •  Taming the Techno-Beast–Parenting in the Internet Age 
  •  Teaching Strategies for Students with Dyslexia and
  • Reading Struggles 
  •  Is College a Good Investment or a Waste of Time
  • and Money 
and these are just a few of the many that are being offered. 

If you want to read about several of the past workshops I have attended...look at the top of this blog and click on the link:  Homeschool Conferences!

There are also 3 vendor halls jammed packed with curriculum vendors.  Some are filled with games, cash & carry items, school supplies, manipulatives and are others are where you can order curriculum from a certain publisher.  I like going so I can see what I am actually teaching my kiddos before spending the money.
Photo from NCHEA facebook page

I also love reuniting with my friends from all over Nebraska that I do not get to see on a regular basis.  We get to catch up on how our year is going....and eat lunch without the kiddos!  

Another great thing that this conference offers is a kids and teen conference.  My girls have been going for a few years now and LOVE it.  Their conference is at a different church down the road and features music, drama, crafts, Bible verses, games...two days packed full of fun activities.  You can go if you are 5 years old, so Easton will be enjoying it this year for the first time!  
Jocelyn & Katelyn's family last year

If you want to join me and my friends in Lincoln for this conference you can register for the adult conference at the door or:  HERE
You do need to pre-register for the kids conference...I am having trouble finding a deadline for that...I do believe it has you can keep that in mind for next year.