A Long Overdue Update

Whenever life gets busy, this poor blog is usually the first to suffer. For weeks now, this is a sample of what my daily to-do list looked like.

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By the time the kids were tucked in bed, essential real-life commitments met, and I was ready to write a post, all I really wanted to do was crawl into bed myself. My brain was far too gone to compose much of a coherent sentence, let alone a blog post.
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Wanna guess why? ūüėȬ†

The mental and physical exhaustion is all for a good cause though, because this little boy is going to be a big brother SOON! Every morning (except on the rare days when I get up before him) he’ll crawl into our bed, put his hand on my tummy and ask, “Baby Ewwa come out now? She SO cute. I wove her.”

And I’m sure he is going to be an amazing big brother. He adores babies and “wittle kids.”¬†All the kids are thrilled. They’ve been begging for another baby for at least a year and Rose was almost in tears when we told them. I’m so grateful for their joy and enthusiasm, especially since the first half of the pregnancy was the roughest of any of them. Or maybe it’s just that trying to homeschool and teach left me sicker and more exhausted than I remember being before. ūüôā

In any case, their sweetness and willingness to help on the many occasions when all I felt like doing was laying on the couch and trying not to throw up made the long days pass much more quickly. Thankfully, the last few months have been so much better, though sleep still makes it to the top of the priority list all too often!

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Decked out for the Early American party in adorable costumes their Nonnie made.

(Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.)  

This spring we studied early American history and celebrated with costumes, traditional food, and stories at their weekly academy. Though I am loving the classical approach and taking a three-year-loop through history (ancient/medieval & early modern/modern) it was about time our kids studied George Washington as much as they did Tutankhamen!

We’ll still keep doing a bit of homeschool through the summer, but the flurry of end-of-school projects and¬†brainstorming for¬†next year’s scheduling and booklists came to a happy end.¬†The highschool literature and writing class I taught wrapped up with Lewis’ beautiful Perelandra and Wodehouse’s ridiculous Jeeves and Wooster stories. It was a delight to get to reread some of my favorite classics and discuss them with some pretty awesome young ladies, but we were all ready for summer break to arrive.

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Will testing out a new sword & shield Josh made… but Ned’s got his stick. ūüėȬ†

Now that summer’s slower schedule kicked in, Rose has been flying through the books. Her current favorites include Strawberry Girl, Bound for Oregon, and Journey to America.¬†Will cannot wait to be reading independently and is steadily plugging along in Phonics Pathways. (I LOVE this program!) In the past few weeks he’s started reading simple books aloud to me. There’s something so magical about getting to open the world of books to your child.

Meg¬†is eager¬†for her chance to start formal phonics this fall, but in the meantime she’s a magnet for all the two-to- four-years-olds in her life. She alternates being their queen, mother, teacher, or doctor and loves it as much as they do.

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We could hardly have asked for a lovelier spring. In the middle of February we stopped by Lowe’s. Meg and I hung¬†out in the seed aisle while the others shopped… and ended up with¬†a huge handful of seed packets (we’d finally used up most of the ones I’d saved.)

It was so warm I just had to pop a few in the ground when we got home, but didn’t expect them to grow and totally neglected watering them. So when I went out to plant a month later, I was shocked to find we already had cute little seedlings thriving. They’re starting to give way to summer crops, but we’ve enjoyed fresh organic salads for¬†almost two months now! ¬†It’s lovely, though rare,¬†when impetuous decisions pay off like that!

If you’ve read this far in my rambling post, thank you.¬†I fully expected my pathetic posting habits to scare off all readers, so was humbled and honored to login to post and see that a steady stream of you keep coming back to check for updates anyway. Now that summer is here, I’m hoping to at least post a little more regularly… and hopefully will have baby pictures to share soon!!

Medieval Party

Step back with me to the medieval ages for a moment. Our weekly classical academy celebrated the end of the first term of school with a history party day.

Knights

Will with his friends James and Nathan

Knights and fair ladies showcased what they’d learned in music and poetry and then listened to stories of Richard the Lion-Hearted and his faithful friend Brondel.

Nun and ladies

My sister and my daughter. <3 I love getting to be their history and writing teacher!

Of the few occupations open to women in medieval times, a nun seemed the most likely to be a teacher… so I turned an old dress, baby blanket, and fancy shawl into a makeshift outfit. The kids thought it quite humorous. It was really quite toasty. I’m not sure how our ancestors survived summer without A/C in so much fabric!

Jeweled books

After story time, students decorated medieval “books” with sparkly gems, to imitate the costly jewel-inlaid books of the era. In this age of cheap paperbacks and almost limitless electronic media, it’s hard to fully grasp just how precious books were in the medieval ages. One copy of the Bible could require a whole heard of sheep, just for the parchment!

Medieval feast

Kind friends helped make snack time a feast. We enjoyed stuffed baked apples, rice pudding, dates, olives, and meat pies (with raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg) in our cardboard castle. I was skeptical at first, but the food ended up way tastier than I expected.

Fencing

A few weeks before the party, one of the dads asked if he could help out with anything.¬†“You don’t know how to fence, do you?” I joked.

“Actually, ” he replied, “My cousin taught me the basics of fencing, and has fencing gear we could borrow.” How awesome was that?! The knights (and a few of the maidens) had a grand time learning the basics of fencing, like how not to get stabbed in the stomach.

Meg in music

Princess Meg with her friends watching their big siblings in music class 

The day ended with lessons in music, art, and Latin, which are essential skills for all knights and fair ladies, of course.

Taking the kids on a make-believe trip to bygone days is one of the highlights of getting to teach history. We came home tired, but happy and grateful to be part of such a fun community… and to get to live in the 21st century!

P.S. Life lessons from last year’s¬†Egyptian party¬†

Making Time for Homeschool Priorities

Homeschool-prioritiesThe glossy sharp points of new crayons are wearing down. The crisp new schoolbooks have a few creases and smudges. The flurry of back-to-school preparation and planning has subsided into a (somewhat) normal routine.

As I was working and reworking the schedule for this school year, I came across this quote on a friend’s wall, ” Don’t prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities.” Frankly, it’s really easy to lose sight of the big picture in the excitement and thrill of a new school year. There’s so much to do. So many amazing skills that would be incredible for my kids (and me) to learn.

This was just the reminder I needed to take a deep breath and think about the big picture. When I do, the excitement remains, but most of the anxiety fades away. Josh and I want to bless our kids with a joyful¬†and¬†rigorous education, but in the end, it won’t matter¬†too terribly much if they don’t know all the state abbreviations, struggle spelling chrysanthemum, and can’t remember which way the Mississippi runs.¬†Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll scrap grammar or geography, but it does help me refocus priorities.

Making a constellation map, so we could find the constellations in the night sky.

Rose and Will making a constellation map, to help identify constellations in the night sky. 

Schedule your priorities

Keep the big picture in view

The tyranny of the urgent has a way of distorting the big picture¬†ALL the time. It’s so important to regularly stand back and look at my¬†long-term goals, as a homeschooling mom.

I want our kids to love great stories, be able to write clearly and confidently, think logically, have a good foundation in math and science, have a big picture view of God’s working in history, and be able to speak a second language (in my dad’s home country, kids are pretty fluent in three languages by the time they’re done with elementary school. Surely we can conquer a second language!) Plus, I want them to have plenty of time to explore their own unique interests in music, sports, crafts, or entrepreneurship.

Maybe I’m naive, but spread over twelve years those goals don’t seem that daunting. But stepping back one step further, I realize that even if my kid totally flunks math or can’t write a paper to save her life, this adventure won’t have been a failure if my children love the Lord their God and genuinely love their neighbors. Because¬†that¬†is¬†our ultimate command as Christians and ultimate desire as Christian parents.

Determine your current priorities

With the big picture clearly in view, it’s so much easier to determine this year’s priorities. Today’s priorities.

Of course, priorities can change drastically from season to season. Two of my¬†summer priorities were helping the older kids become strong swimmers and laying a good foundation in piano so that once school started back up I wouldn’t have to spend every moment of practice time at their side. We’re done with swimming for the summer and Rose is practicing more and more independently. Priorities have shifted for the school year.

Guard their playtime

“Guard their playtime,” many wise older moms have counselled.

Be realistic

I love the feeling of long productive days when I tackle more than I think possible and somehow manage to get it all done. But, the reality is that those days are rare… and I’m usually dragging for a day or two afterward.

Be realistic with what you can accomplish on an average day and leave plenty of wiggle room for likely “interruptions”, like your toddler discovering a set of markers¬†and decorating the room before you notice.

Schedule your priorities

Okay, so maybe schedule isn’t the right word. I really love making schedules. Keeping them for more than 36 hours is the big challenge.

But taking our current priorities and working them into our everyday routine helps make sure that even if all the secondary things get pushed to the side, the priorities are covered.

She loves gardening as much as I do

Little Meg loves gardening as much as I do. It’s an important part of our homeschool.¬†

Block distractions

Our formal school day starts at nine (or as close to that as possible!) From then until lunch, teaching my children is my main focus… which means phone calls, Facebook, and my to-do list have to wait. By blocking distractions during this time, our school day goes much more smoothly because when I’m focused it’s much easier for my kids to be focused too.

Learning to sing with the Kodaly method

Miss Sarah makes learning to sing SO much fun. <3

Schedule your (home school) priorities

Homeschooling is an incredible adventure, but it can be really daunting too. By keeping the big picture in view, honing in on your priorities, being realistic, working those priorities into your daily routine, and blocking distractions, feelings of overwhelmedness* give way to excitement.

Homeschooling can be daunting, but by keeping the big picture in view and focusing on our priorities, it's much easier to be relaxed joyful homeschool moms!

*No,¬†overwhelmedness¬†isn’t a word. I think it should be though, don’t you?

Summer Hopes

I’ve done it again. Let my blog slip to the back burner while life (with colds and another round of the stomach bug) took front stage. Every time I fall behind¬†I think¬†I’ll be better prepared next time.¬†Then life happens, living¬†takes precedence over¬†writing, and I find I’m not that well prepared at all.

Sun Flower

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We recovered from sickness just in time to get ready for our local homeschool convention. My in-laws took the children for the weekend, while I staffed the booth with three friends from our¬†weekly academy. The days leading up to it were filled with frantic preparation. Partly because “if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done” and partly because of that pesky sickness wiping me out all last week.

Now the convention is over and summer break begins in earnest. I counted up the weeks till school starts again and the summer seemed long. Then I thought through the events already planned for the summer and the ever-growing list of homemaking and writing projects to accomplish. The summer instantly felt much shorter.

I really hope to have more time to devote to this little blog over the summer, but want to thank each one of you who has kept coming back, despite my very sporadic blogging. You are just the best. <3

April Goal Update

We’re already almost a week¬†into May. It’s crazy! We’ve had bumper to bumper events plus colds, so the days have just flown by.

Here’s how I’m doing on my goals for the year. I’d love to hear how you are doing!
April-goals

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April Goal Update

Grow a perfect tomato plant

All April, the weather kept teetering between balmy and chilly. I think it has finally warmed up enough to actually get those tomatoes planted. Yay!

Finish my poetry curriculum

Getting SO close. My goal is to have it finished by the time our local homeschool conference starts, which is only a week and a half away!¬†(If you’re interested, here’s the very first poem my kids learned and here’s another fun one.)

Read through the Bible as a family

At the beginning of the year, our pastor really encouraged us to read through the Bible as families. Though we’ve fallen behind several times in April, the way¬†this plan¬†is broken up, it makes it fairly easy to catch up! ¬†So often I take God’s Word for granted, but it’s such an incredible privilege to own a copy of the Bible in our own language and read it without fear of persecution.

Learn how to take beautiful photos

Hopefully you’ve noticed at least a slight improvement in picture quality over the past two months. I am eighteen minutes into this incredibly helpful “how-to” video for my camera model. Those eighteen minutes translate into hours in real time, since I have to keep pausing to practice on my camera. I’m definitely not the brightest student, but¬†am¬†determined. Hopefully determination will compensate for a lack of talent. ūüôā

Master the art of whole grain sourdough bread

Learning how to make sourdough bread!

Sourdough bread (here are a few of the reasons I’m so determined to learn the art of sourdough!)¬†

Excited is a bit too mild for how I feel about this sourdough bread! After killing my last sourdough starter, my sweet friend Aneysa gave me a new batch of starter¬†and¬†wrote out an incredibly simple recipe to follow. It’s delicious! The crust makes that glorious crinkly sound and the inside is perfectly moist.

I decided to aim for “perfect” white sourdough bread first and gradually work in more whole grain till I’ve reached my goal of making consistently good whole grain sourdough bread.

Write 300+ words every day

Busyness, sickness, and life keep taking precedence over writing, it seems. I have mostly been able to stick to this, but a lot of the writing has been in the poetry curriculum!

Habit update: clean for 20 minutes a day

After seeing what a huge difference it makes to clean for 20 focused minutes each weekday, making this a habit has been fairly easy. My home is cleaner than it has been in a long time!

April’s Goal Update

Now it’s your turn. How are you doing on your current goals?

April at our Home

April was¬†another full and busy month. It wasn’t until sitting down to type up this post that I realized just how busy it’s been.

April’s highlights began with Easter celebrations, a crazy fun day trip to a local amusement park with my friend and our¬†nine¬†little kids, and much more.

But a very special highlight¬†(that I actually managed to capture pictures of)¬†was spending the day with my friend Aneysa and her family¬†at their new home…. which is the home I lived in for the five years before getting married. Needless to say, the home is brimming with sweet memories and it was lovely getting¬†to make more good memories there.

Reading with Foflagyns

Will, our friends Esther & Joel, Rose, and Meg

Sadly they weren’t all¬†good memories this time. Poor Meg got stuck on a swing and no one heard her calls for what seemed to her an eternity. It took sprinkle cookies and fun new stories to cheer her back up.

Tadpole huntingThen we headed down to the creek. On the way, we stopped at a big puddle to catch tadpoles.
Catching tadpolesIt was¬†a little boy’s paradise.

Happy MegMeg thought it was pretty great too. Especially when, after multiple failed attempts, she caught her very own tadpole.

Rose at the Creek

When we finally made it to the creek, a flood of memories washed over me. My friend Aneysa (who grew up in the house next door) and I used to walk down to this creek to talk and pray and dream about our futures. Joshua proposed to me by this creek.

Now we, our husbands, and seven kids laughed and relaxed by its soft rippling.

Josh and Ned

Ned was the only one not thrilled by our time. Waking up too early from a nap and then promptly falling into a muddy puddle had something to do with that.

King Ned

A crown, a chair, and FOOD made everything wonderful again.

School Highlights

We’re wrapping up the school year at their weekly¬†classical school and the kids are practically in mourning. I’ll miss it too, but since it’s shaping up to be a very busy May, will be glad to have my teaching responsibilities over for a little while.

Science Class

Will and his friend Robert planting seeds with my sis-in-law Amber (their lovely science teacher)

Roman daughtersRose and my baby sister Kathryn (who is only five months older than Rose!) as darling Roman girls

At the end of each quarter, we celebrate what we’ve learned in history with a themed-party.¬†To wrap up our study of ancient history, the kids dressed in togas, reclined for snacks at a Roman table, and reenacted the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

After a humbling (and exhausting) attempt to “play Martha” at our first party of the year, I’m learning to step back and simply¬†enjoy.¬†These kids are growing up so fast. As their mom and teacher I have huge hopes and dreams for them. But I also¬†need to remember to relax and savor this time.

Garden highlights

Strawberries!

Do you see those strawberry flowers? They’re the fulfillment of a long-time dream. Even since I was in my teens I’ve wanted to grow strawberries, but was never certain if we’d be in a home long enough to enjoy the fruit. Now we have our own little berries forming. I cannot wait to taste our very own homegrown strawberries… and hope the bunnies and bugs decide to stay away.

So there’s our month in a nutshell. What was your April like?

March Goal Update

Even if you only take baby steps toward your goals, it’s better than not trying at all. Right? That’s what I’ve been telling myself after a round¬†of the stomach bug and the mountain of laundry and cleaning that followed. (Like 20 loads in 24 hours type of laundry mountain. It was crazy.)

Here’s how I’m doing on my goals for the year. I’d love to hear how you are doing!

March-goals

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February Goal Update

Grow a perfect tomato plant

Snow was in the forecast this weekend, so it’s still not quite time to plant tomatoes yet. I finally planted the spring garden though and have been watching for signs of growth with an eagerness that borders on ridiculous.

Finish my poetry curriculum

I¬†am giving myself till the first week in May to get the first three levels finished. Having a definite end in sight really helps me feel more motivated to devote time to it! (If you’re interested, here’s the very first poem my kids learned and here’s another fun one.)

Read through the Bible as a family

At the beginning of the year, our pastor really encouraged us to read through the Bible as families (using¬†this plan.)¬†This month it really feels like we got into the rhythm of reading almost every night and it has been such a blessing! So often I take God’s Word for granted, but it’s such an incredible privilege to own a copy of the Bible in our own language and read it without fear of persecution.

Learn how to take beautiful photos

The more I learn, the more I realize just how much there is to learn. I’m loving my new camera and playing with different settings.

Make intentional family memories

It’s been really fun to see both Will and Rose develop interests that they really want (or need) my help with. Rose is itching to learn how to cook and bake. Her goal is to be able to make things all by herself, but for now it’s meant lots of time helping me in the kitchen.

Will is my gardening buddy. Gardeners and five-year-olds share a common passion: playing in dirt. He’s been as excited as I have to dig the soil and watch the seeds sprout and it’s been so fun to share the joys of gardening together.

Master the art of whole grain sourdough bread

This month I succeeded in ruining my sourdough starter, so need to beg a new one off a friend. After attending a great meeting a friend put on about gut health, I am excited to work on making good sourdough. (Any tips or tricks would be very welcome!)

Write 300+ words every day

Thanks to sickness (and busyness),¬†there were a decent number of days I didn’t even open my laptop. But the rest of the time I was able to mostly stick with this goal.

Habit update: clean for 20 minutes a day

I have been amazed at how much of a difference spending just 20 minutes of focused time cleaning has made. I actually look forward to cleaning, because it’s not overwhelming and the difference is so obvious. If you struggle keeping up with the cleaning, I’d love to have you join me on this challenge!

March’s Goal Update

Now it’s your turn. How are you doing on your current goals?

February Goals Update

Getting to share my goal updates with you has been such a good motivation to not let my list sit on the back burner, but to actually chip away at my goals a bit each day.

Here’s how I’m doing on my goals for the year. I’d love to hear how you are doing!

February-Goal-Update

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February Goal Update

Grow a perfect tomato plant

There’s still snow on the ground, so it‚Äôs not quite time to plant tomatoes yet.

Finish my poetry curriculum

I had no idea just how much work I had left, but it’s been awfully fun. I made a bit more progress this month, and also shared a post with the very first poem I teach my children,¬†as well as a few teaching tips.

Slow but steady progress. 

Read through the Bible as a family

At the beginning of the year, our pastor really encouraged us to read through the Bible together¬†with this plan.¬†This month it really feels like we got into the rhythm of reading almost every night and it has been such a blessing! So often I take God’s Word for granted, but it’s such an incredible privilege to own a copy of the Bible in our own language and read it without fear of persecution.

Learn how to take beautiful photos

WE BOUGHT A CAMERA! Woohoo! After hours of research, review-reading, and question-asking, we finally decided on the Sony a6000. It’s way smaller than a DSLR,¬†but supposedly still takes amazing pictures.

The camera just arrived on Saturday. I am still fumbling my way through the dials and wading through the seemingly endless camera jargon, but after some patient coaching from Josh and great YouTube videos, at least I know what aperture means now.

Now that we have a camera, it’s time to really dig in and figure out how to use it well.¬†

Make intentional family memories

It’s funny how just writing something down makes a difference. Of course I have always wanted to make lots of fun memories with Josh and the kiddos, but focusing on it has helped me slow down and savor the moments.

So even if it’s just in baby steps, I am making progress in this goal. 

Master the art of whole grain sourdough bread

I’ve still got a long way to go on this one.

Write 300+ words every day

Remember that lovely mini monthly calendar I mentioned last month? Well, February’s calendar is almost completely¬†checked off! Aside from weekends, there were only¬†two¬†days that I missed writing in February and many days I wrote¬†way¬†more than 300 words.

Habit update: get dressed before breakfast

The last two months I have worked to develop one important (but not very lofty) habit: get dressed before breakfast.  Now that I have paused the morning rush long enough to get dressed for almost sixty days in a row, it really has started to feel like second nature. (All you super-disciplined friends can laugh it has taken me so long.)

Since I’m already snatching a few minutes to get dressed, making the bed is practically no more work. I love starting the day dressed and tidied. Somehow it make the whole morning run more smoothly.

February’s Goal Update

Now it’s your turn. How are you doing on your current goals?

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

Gentle, Natural Foaming Hand Soap {In Less Than Two Minutes}

Make your own gentle, natural foaming hand soap with just three simple ingredients! A few months ago my hands started getting super¬†sensitive. Every time I washed my hands, they stung. I had to rinse and rinse and rinse them until not even a faint scent of soap lingered.¬†Clearly, my skin wasn’t very happy with the regular soap I was using.

I’m not sure whether¬†it was the dyes, scents, unpronounceable chemicals, or maybe triclosan (the active ingredient in most anti-bacterial soaps) that was giving my skin such grief. Whatever it was, I knew I had to find a more natural alternative. (Even the FDA has questioned the effectiveness and safety of anti-bacterial soaps for normal use– read more here, here, and here.)

When I read Katie’s post about the¬†easiest foaming hand¬†soap ever¬†and then Kristen at Smithspirations success, I knew I had to give it a try. It is so easy, so frugal, and an excellent natural alternative to regular soap.

Natural Foaming Hand Soap {In Less Than Two Minutes}

With just three simple ingredients, you can make amazing (soothing) all-natural foaming soap!

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

What you’ll need

  • Empty foaming soap bottle (reusing empty foaming soap bottles works great too, as long as they’re decent quality. That’s what I did. )
  • Castile soap, or your favorite liquid hand soap (this is the castile soap I bought¬†and LOVE)
  • Water
  • Sweet almond oil, optional (Since my hands get so dry in the winter, I love having this non-greasy oil in the soap. My hands are much less chafed than they used to be. The oil is totally optional though.)
  • Peppermint essential oil, optional

(Oh, I just was browsing Amazon and found a castile soap with peppermint oil and a castile soap that already has sweet almond oil in it! Mountain Rose Herbs has a great price on sweet almond oil, but their shipping is more expensive.)

Instructions

  1. Pour 2 T. of soap into the bottle (or just dump a little bit in!)
  2. Add 2 T. of sweet almond oil (or just dump a little bit in!)
  3. Add a few drops of peppermint oil.
  4. Slowly fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. Screw the lid on and that’s it. All-natural DIY foaming hand soap in less than two minutes, for a fraction of the cost of normal soap!

In less than two minutes, you can make your own gentle, natural foaming hand soap... for pennies!

Make your own foaming hand soap

Not only is it incredibly easy to make your own foaming hand soap, it’s a very frugal way to go green… and avoid stinging hands!

January Goal Update

Goals don’t do much good if you write them down and promptly shove them to the back of your mind. So each month I want to review my goals for the year¬†and share my progress (or lack of progress) with you. I’d love to hear how you are doing on your goals!

Having goals is great, but if you don't regularly review them and keep working on them, they probably won't be reached. Here is an update to my goals for this year.

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Grow a perfect tomato plant

With the absolutely gorgeous spring-like weather we’ve enjoyed already, garden fever has definitely set in. But the unseasonably warm snap came to a snowy end this morning. It may be “cheating”, but since I only want a few tomatoes of each variety, I’m not planning to grow them from seed. It just isn’t worth the time investment. So it’s not quite time to start on¬†this goal yet!¬†

Finish my poetry curriculum

I’m still tweaking the organization and adding more ideas and teaching tips. I have worked on it though¬†and hope¬†to be done by April! (Look for a post soon with the very first poem I had my children learn and simple hands-on ideas for teaching poetry.)¬†Slow, but steady, progress on this goal.¬†

Read through the Bible as a family

(We’re continuing through the New Testament in the morning as we follow along with the Church calendar, and are reading from the Old Testament in the evenings as a family.)

We’ve had some very busy days when we didn’t have a chance to read, but have been able to stay mostly on track¬†reading through the Bible with this plan.¬†

Learn how to take beautiful photos

We are getting a new camera this month! I haven’t made much progress yet, but can hardly wait to really buckle down and attack this goal when our camera arrives!¬†

Make intentional family memories

This year I want to be more intentional about making memories and tying heart strings. The kids and I made some fun, icy memories on¬†my parent’s frozen creek bed, Josh and I taught Rose how to play Settlers of Catan, and we’ve spent countless hours reading and playing games together.

This may seem like a very little thing, but it’s a little thing that had been gnawing at my selfishness. Almost every night, Will asks me if I’ll rub his feet. Oftentimes I really don’t want to. All the kids are tucked in bed, we’ve given goodnight kisses, and I feel like I deserve¬†to go kick my own feet up. Instead of groaning inwardly at his request, I’m trying to grasp it as an opportunity to show him love, talk over the day, and tie heartstrings.

So even if it’s just in baby steps, I am making progress in this goal.¬†

Master the art of whole grain sourdough bread

I’ve still got a long way to go on this one!¬†

Reach 100,000 visitors per month

And on this one! 

Write 300+ words every day

I’ve had a few good stretches but there have been plenty of days I just don’t have time or inclination to write. Of course, being¬†a homemaker should trump writing about homemaking, but often it’s just a lack of discipline on my part.

Crystal, from Money Saving Mom, shared a really handy idea for sticking with goals like this one: print off a mini calendar and mark each day.¬†Long-time readers now I’m a huge list fan, so this should really help me stay disciplined and keep track of progress. I have a calendar printed off and taped to my laptop. A bit of progress, but hopefully February will be better!¬†

Habit update: get dressed before breakfast

I also have one habit that I’m working on: getting dressed before breakfast. (Lofty, isn’t it?!) Those of you who always get dressed first thing when you hop out of bed, are probably shaking your head in wonder at how someone could¬†not¬†get dressed right away, but when a morning¬†starts out full-speed with hungry kids and urgent little needs, I find it really hard. Now that I’ve made getting dressed first a priority, it’s amazing how much smoother the morning goes! A sixty second wait for breakfast is definitely worth it.

There have still been days when I’ve forgotten/given in to the rush of the morning, but I’ve almost made it every day. Hopefully by the end of next month, this will be an ingrained life-long habit and I can join the camp of those who *always * get dressed first thing. Hopefully…¬†

January’s Goal Update

Now it’s your turn. How are you doing on your current goals?