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U is for Underwear

Earlier this week, I found underwear in my crisper drawer.

Little girl skivvies that somehow got tossed in just the right direction at just the right moment.

Underwear in my refrigerator, people. This is how we roll. My life is running in such a way at the moment that finding underwear in my crisper drawer wasn't even all that much of a surprise, nor was it hard to imagine how they got there.

I shared it with just a few people the day I discovered it, you know, for grins. But since I'm a full week behind in my ABC post and because I know there is a mom out there somewhere who is despairing because she thinks she is the only one living in chaos, I thought it best to be real and literally air my dirty laundry for the world.

*edited to add: my brain is also operating at the same level of chaos as everything else in my life right now and I did not think at all when I did an image search for "underwear" to share with you. Don't search for underwear images. Just don't.

Daily Planner - a review

The end of summer leaves me inspired to get everything in order. Down with chaos! Down with clutter! Our schedule is busy this year and I need to work hard to keep it from being cluttered as well. I recently tried the The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner by The 7 Minute Life as a tool to help me organize my days and keep them focused.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner ReviewThe planner begins with many pages of instructions or you can watch the mini videos to follow instructions. The instructions walk you through the first part of the journal. This is where you work through your goals, your hopes, your priorities. It helps you determine your purpose with a big picture view and then make a game plan for reaching your goals. It also encourages you to recognize the things that get in the way and find ways to avoid those distractions.

Image Sources

I've recently discovered some new creative commons image sources that I want to share!

Freepik - this one has tons of great vectors, but does require you to reference Freepik.

Photopin - I've shared this one before, but it's worth mentioning. It does require you reference the artist, but it has great search options. Attributes get old and I hear they can even get sticky sometimes.

Unsplash - this has no search feature to speak of, but the photographs are breathtaking. They are perfect for pinterest posters. They also do not require any attributes.

Morgue File - this has a great search feature. I haven't run across any pics require attributes, but I haven't found a disclaimer promising that none of the images will require it. Always check the fine print with them first.

Pixabay - great search, free images, zero attributes required. Not as huge a selection as some, but great stuff and headache-free.

Do you have another favorite source for free images?

Training Hearts and Teaching Minds

This post is not a book review, though I am referencing a book in it. I'm sharing because it fits in strongly with the lessons God has been teaching me about living out what I say I believe. There are so many good things available for us to do, but there is no way to fit them all in. I've been learning to cut back and not let the good be the thief of the best. When I find the good things that help us achieve our goals, I grab hold of them.

As a mom, teaching my children and raising them up to follow Christ is my purpose. One way we do that is to sit down together for family devotions at night. It's only 5 or 10 minutes long, but it is vital. I'm always excited when I find a devotion that fits my whole family. I've tried dozens of books, but few have fit us well. I'm surprised there aren't more devotions geared towards the whole family. Here is one that we all approve of: Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism.

The idea of learning a catechism was foreign to me when we started. Since then, I've come to love the idea. There are some basics that get answered with much detail as we walk through life and study together and at church, but it's amazing how hard it is to answer some basic questions when they are posed to you.

For instance, the question of why we are here is a hard one. Why was mankind even created? Why did God make me specifically? What is the point of it all? The catechism helps you easily memorize and understand the answer: Man's primary purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That is what it's all about.

The answers are all found in scripture and this book does not teach us anything new, but it helps us understand the answers and have them at the ready when the doubts and questions in life crop up. It helps build a Biblical foundation of understanding.

As I said, we've had a few other favorites, and I think I have shared them in the past. I would love to hear of new ideas for us to use when this book is finished. I could easily see us just starting over with this book though. It is basic, but sometimes basic is exactly what we need.

52 in 52 Summer Edition

We apparently don't like movies in the summer. I haven't updated our family movie goal since....well, a long time.

We have watched a handful of things since then and I'll share them here. Rather than a movie a week, we barely scraped by with a movie per month.

The Lego Movie

It was very random and hysterical. It contained lots of crass humor and said, "Dang it!" a lot, but it was still something we were all able to enjoy together. In fact, we were able to share it with some awesome friends. Interesting fact: the movie is distracting enough that you can hand your husband a chilled bowl full of mashed potatoes covered with chocolate syrup and he will in fact think he is eating ice cream for a full second before spitting it out and gagging.

North and South

No, not the Civil War movie. When you get to the industrial revolution in your history studies, you really have to include this movie. Because you can. And because Richard Armitage. Honor, my 10 year old, developed her first crush while watching this movie. She squealed when he almost smiled. "Did you see that!? He smiled!! Well, it was only a half smile, but it wasn't his usual scowl! It was a beautiful smile. He should do it more often." It's a great movie. My boys don't appreciate it nearly as much as Honor, but my 17 year old kind of liked it.

Brewster's Millions

I saw the Richard Pryor version as a child (not child-appropriate), but I didn't realize it was a remake of an old 1945 movie. I ran across this one on Netflix. We all loved it.

Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Widow and the Wardrobe

I love sharing Doctor Who episodes with the teen boys. Unfortunately, most are not appropriate for the younger girls. We have shared a few episodes with them after previewing. There were actually several that we've watched, but this one is an absolute favorite.

Other movies worth mentioning:
The boys didn't join us, but Chris and I sat down with the girls to watch our first Tinkerbell movie. It was about a pirate, so it didn't feel too terribly-sparkly-girly. Chris and I actually enjoyed it nearly as much as the girls.

On another night, just we girls stayed up late and watched Pride and Prejudice. It was just the Keira Knightly version, for a first run. They loved it. Honor wants to see it remade, this time following the book more closely and with Richard Armitage. The boys have been assigned the book, which means the movie will eventually follow and make the family movie list.

New Endeavor

I have a new adventure starting this week! I am now a contributing writer for Year Round Homeschooling, a site that helps encourage and educate families on schooling year round. I'll just be contributing once a month, so it isn't a huge strain on my family's time, and I'm really excited about it. On my publication day, I also get to man the helm at the facebook page, so drop in to visit!

Here is my introductory post about how we came to school year round.

First Day of School 2014

I found a reason to be very glad we didn't move before starting school: First Day of School pics! We always take them in front of the hearth and I get to gauge how much they've grown over the years. Oh, goodness! I just remembered another thing we always do on the first day, which I haven't done yet, but will rectify tomorrow: our updates and goals for the year page

Starting School

We pushed hard this summer to move in to the new house before school starts, but it just wasn't possible. We're still working hard on renovations, but school will have to begin before the move. We'll keep working and will hopefully move within the next few weeks.

Usually, we start school on Labor Day each year. We school year round, but we always commemorate our "first day", celebrating that we've finished most of our old books and that we get to crack open the new ones.

Our first day always begins with a scavenger hunt. I love these as much as the kids do. It gets harder and harder to come up with creative ideas for the clues, but I guess that adds to the fun. I get a challenge just like they do. The scavenger hunt always leads to the treasure of a yummy treat for breakfast. We always do some sort of coffee cake or muffin with streusel topping.

After breakfast, we begin our regular routine, though we don't actually accomplish a whole lot. We sit down for our Circle Time, just like always, but for our first day we will discuss things we want to memorize throughout the year rather than work on new pieces. We'll still review old material.

Rather than moving on to math, like we would on a normal day, we'll go through our old notebooks after Circle Time. We'll remove old material and keep some in a binder because I'm a packrat and can't bear to part with anything. We'll set up dividers for the new year's binder and all of the great material that we'll accumulate. I'll go over our lesson plans for the year and show them what is coming.

We'll read and we'll read and we'll read. We'll eat lunch. We'll maybe tackle a little bit of actual work. And then we'll walk away, feeling prepared for the next day which will be our real first day with actual work.

The thing is, I usually spend 2 months preparing all of our books. Every book in the house gets reorganized. I figure out all of our reading material for the next year, matching up literature selections with historical era studied, and I line it up for the whole year. TWO MONTHS. I haven't spent two HOURS prepping yet this year. School Starts Tomorrow. I want to put it off. I want to finish the new house. I want to make pretty lesson plans. But if I keep waiting, I'll never be ready to start.

So we'll wing it. We'll get up and get started. We'll work on it step by step, day by day, and we'll love it. I will invest all of today to at least narrowing down what subjects we will study. I will listen to Circe seminars to get my head in the game. I will find a yummy recipe for zucchini cake. I will make up an awesome scavenger hunt to beat all scavenger hunts. And we'll start.

I'm finding this mindset is fitting for a lot of areas in my life right now. Preparedness is important; it really is. But sometimes you just have to start. Right where you are. Do something. Anything. Start. That is really hard for me, but stretching is good for me. So we start! Hurrah! 

BBP #7

The summer got away from me, and I didn't finish all I wanted to cover in the blog makeover series, but I thought I'd share some great links for anyone wishing to continue blog improvements. Here are some great sites and ideas to check out:

share button

design tutorials

color wizard

design elements


103 ways to improve

lots of blog improvement posts