Thursday, April 10, 2014

Search for a Day Planner

       Each spring the inevitable happens.  I must note something in my day planner for a date beyond its pages.  I jot down my appointment or reminder in the final pages and groan.  The hunt begins again. The annual hunt for the perfect day planner begins again.

       I know. I know. Most of you are groaning and thinking, "Just use an eCalendar on your phone or iPad." Honestly, I wish I could.  It would be so convenient.  I have tried two different versions.  Either it is too slow to load and bring up the correct date or the monthly view is so small, I only get to see a dot indicating I have something scheduled at some point in time during the day. I have also been frustrated in that I will enter an appointment on the iPad and it won't show up on my phone calendar and I do the embarrassing "double-book" and have to make rescheduling phone calls hours after the appointment was first made.

     So I rely on the old-school paper versions.  Even with that, I have to search for just the right layout.  I like to see the whole month at a glance followed by the weeks of that month for my appointments and activities.  I have tried a larger calendar with only monthly pages, but those don't fit in my purse or tote easily. I have tried smaller calendars that fit in my bag of the day with only weekly pages, but then I can't get the overall picture of the month to see if I have booked three consecutive weekends without family time. 

      On top of all that, I don't want to spend a lot on something that I will only use for a year.  I have seen day planners from $.50 all the way up to $120!  I understand for many people, myself included, their lives would fall apart without an organizer/day planner to keep everything neat and tidy, but spending half the weekly grocery budget seems extreme.

     I have consulted my friends, my sisters, my family, and sometimes total strangers (if they are shopping for day planners beside me) for the best layout or calendar they have used.  I have received many different answers.  I know I can't use the same style organizer as someone who has no children and works outside the home.  Also, someone who doesn't plan their weekends because that's their time away can get away with the small unlined squares that denote Saturday and Sunday.  As someone who must schedule around two different ball teams with games on the weekends, those little blank squares just don't cut it!

      I am trying to keep track of the activities for our family of four, as well as plan weekly menus. From a previous post, you all know I homeschool, that is even more information I need to log and keep on top of.   If a calendar could have a spot for each of these items, that would be super!

      While I was at the Great Homeschool Convention I attended a few weeks ago, I told my sister (and fabulous hostess) once again of my day planner search.  She grabbed hers from a couple years before and said I needed to check it out. 
     It has most of the things I was looking for: homeschool subjects for each day, store lists tucked in the front, and even a space for weekly menus.  While the weekend spaces aren't  giant, they should work for us.  I placed my order.  After weeks of waiting (this high-speed world has spoiled me, I'm used to getting orders within a few days), it finally arrived. I have never been so excited over a day planner.  But, the first month is JULY!! I have to wait 2 and a half months to use it!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Up and Coming...

I haven't posted in way too long.  Life is full of activities, accomplishments, and awards that need to be mentioned here.  Over the coming weeks (hopefully, once a week) I will be covering the achievement of a black belt - which happened in November; wild life and snow at our new home; a new black belt rank for me and one for my awesome man; and life in general.

So thanks for being patient, and stay tuned!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Yes, we homeschool.

Three years ago, my husband and I decided to pull our boys out of the public school and teach them at home.
Three years ago, I began teaching a third grader and a first grader in our dining room.
Three years ago, people started asking me, "What made you decide to homeschool?" "Do you like homeschooling? What do your boys think?" "Are your kids involved in activities outside the house? I mean, do they play with other kids? What about their friends?" "What was wrong with their school/teacher/classmates?"

I have been honest in answering these questions, even when I am amazed at the people who ask them.  Some people asked out of curiosity. Some asked wanting dirt on the public school or teachers. Some people asked wanting information to make a schooling decision themselves. Some asked trying to find out the type of person I am.

So for the record. Here are the answers:
There was no one main reason we decided to homeschool.  It was an ongoing discussion Mike and I had been having for years.  We did not have a problem with the public school system, our specific school, or even the teachers.  Homeschooling is a decision each family has to make for themselves. Maybe even for each member of their family. We felt God was leading us to homeschool. We felt the burden placed on our shoulders, not only to educate our sons, but to be more directly involved in shaping their character with our morals and values.

We love it. All four of us are involved in learning, teaching, and experiencing opportunities in so many different settings.  School doesn't just happen in desks or around the table.  Learning isn't  limited to the hours between 8:30 and 3:30.  The boys have thanked us on multiple occasions for homeschooling them.

If you have read this blog before, you know we are a busy family. Yes, the boys have other actives. Yes, they have friends. They know how to speak properly and respectfully to adults. They even know how to play with children younger than they are.

Are my kids perfect? No. Is everyday full of laughter and ease? No. Do I think we have made a mistake deciding to homeschool? No.

As I said before, each family should make the decision for themselves what type of education their child should have. We decided to homeschool.

Three years after our decision, we are wrapping up sixth grade and third grade. Are we homeschooling again next year? Yes.  Each year Mike and I look at our options for educating our boys. We still feel led to keep them home and continue down this fun and exciting path where we learn as much as the boys.

So in a nutshell, there it is.  If you have anymore questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tonight for supper, we are having...

"What's for supper?"
The most dreaded question a mom faces at least once a day.  Of course, it is only dreaded if you have not faithfully planned out your menu in advance (even only one day in advance counts). The closer to the evening meal this question is aired, the more dreaded it becomes (in my house).

It is a beautiful week (and a rare one at that) when I plan out the evening menu. My step is lighter, the sun shines brighter, and my family knows the answer to the "dreaded question" days in advance.  So why don't I plan ahead more often? The only answer I have for that one is "Life happens, and times moves on."

This morning, I was planning ahead. I was thinking through the day and planning on chicken with vegetables, apple sauce, and homemade rolls.  Great! I was rolling!  But when I went to grab the chicken out of the freezer, it wasn't there.  Oh yeah, we had Italian chicken last week and I didn't get any more chicken on the four store trips I've made this week. (Four?!? Yes, I know. I need to plan ahead so much better)

So feeling a little disappointed with myself, I decided I needed to earn some points in the "Mom Is Great" column.  Pulling out an old standby I announced, "Tonight for supper, we are having CHILI!" This was greeted with whoops of joy from the two growing boys working diligently on their schoolwork. But then a small voice was sounded, "With cornbread?"

"Yes, with cornbread."

Whoops returned. All was well and the "Dreaded Question" was answered before it could be asked.  Today is gonna be a good day.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Another name

Remember this post about my grandma and all the wonderful names she had?  On September 3rd, she was given another name, Good and Faithful Servant.

Grandma took her last breath, with her daughters by her side.  She meant so much to so many.

Even without a high school diploma (a fact that bothered her most of her life), she was a very wise and smart woman.  Many times she talked with someone wrestling with an issue and helped them see it from the other side of the coin. Just talking with her eased the wrestling.

Grandma could have given any chef or cook a run for their money in the kitchen.  Her bread and cinnamon rolls are legendary.  Every time I make bread I wonder if it will be as good as hers.  It never is.  When asked for her recipe, she answered, "A pinch of this," or "a handful of that" with instructions to knead it and add flour until it feels right.  I dream to cook and bake like she did.

I learned more from her than baking and cooking.  I learned about family, loyalty, friendship, and generosity.

At her funeral, I learned things about Grandma I had never known before.  Each lesson and advice given with glowing love and humility.

Grandma, you will be missed by a whole community, your church, and mostly your family. I know you are now at peace and I hope our loving Savior showed you where the stash of chocolate is.

Martha Virginia Liston
February 10, 1922 - September 3, 2013

To read more about this wonderful lady, click here to go to  And here to go to They say it much better than I ever could.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Missed picture

I can't believe I don't have a picture of it. Such a big moment in my boy's life and I didn't capture it "on film", so to speak.

I didn't have my camera because the day was a usual day. Nothing out of the ordinary to warn me this event would be happening. The usual activities.  

Even if I had the camera with me, I would have missed it anyway.  It happened so fast.  The normal became extraordinary in the blink of an eye.

Even if I had the camera in my hand, I would have missed it anyway.  I was so caught up in the moment, I wouldn't have remembered to take the picture. 

Even if I had the camera in my hand and snapped the picture I was cheering, moving, and trying not to cry. The picture would have been blurry anyway.

It was a mid-season 9-10 year-old baseball game. My guy had already been up to bat twice, and struck out twice.  It was the middle of the game. Our team was winning, so there was no pressure. 

My young man told me he was feeling great about the day, the game -in spite of the strike outs.  Now it was the bottom half of the fifth inning. My player is the lead off hitter for his team.  As the first pitch leaves the pitcher's hand, I can see it is going to be near the strike zone.  Which is not always the case when a  9 or 10 year-old is throwing the ball.

I see the bat move and hear the sweet ping as the ball meets the metal bat.  My guy takes off down the base line as the ball flies into the outfield.  
"Go two!" The coach yells as my ball player streaks toward the bag.
"Go THREE!" The coach yells as the runner rounds the base.

Focused on second base, he continues to run full speed. Touching the bag, he glances at the 3rd base coach, who is waving him on. Head down, he never breaks stride. Almost at 3rd base, he looks for direction from the coach, who is still waving him on toward... HOME!

The ball had carried over the left fielder's head and rolled to the fence. As the  opposing team ran to get in position to get the ball back to the infield, my boy, my slugger, ran the bases.  His first ever home run! 

And I have no picture to remember the day. I was yelling and cheering and jumping up and down! So even if I had had the camera and been ready I would have missed the moment anyway.

But the coach did give my boy the game ball.

Friday, April 19, 2013


So much has happened since the last post.

We have put our house on the market.  We have purchased a new house. We waited 78 days. We closed on the new house. We have had 7 open house Sundays to try to sell the old house.  We have had two karate tests.  Baseball season has started for both boys. Awana is almost over. I almost forgot to mention, Valentine's Day and Easter were celebrated too!

To say we have been busy is a slight understatement. with all the above going on, we have all our normal activities too! Karate classes, homeschooling, housework, piano lessons, moms' group, church, doctor appointments, and all that life gives us.

I have a confession to make:  I'm tired.  I would love to get away for a few days, just the four of us and ignore the rest of the world.  Disappear and just be us without interruption for a long weekend.  Take a few moments to touch base with each other and talk, play games, laugh. Just be a family.

But that would require laundry, packing, reservation hunting, planning, and cleaning the whole house so that if anyone would happen to come by to look at it, it's ready.  And that takes more energy than I have right now.  So I will just make another cup of hot tea and go swing on the front porch for ten minutes.  I have the energy for that.