Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Some Updates & Stuff

First of all, I have to share with you a cute homeschooling story because I've waited two days for an opportunity to blog it and finally, here I am.

For our 7-year-olds, who are just in the beginnings of learning to read, we do a "Word of the Day" most days.  These are service/sight words that come from the Dolch word lists.  The other day, our word was: at.

When we introduce the word of the day, I try to get them to sound it out (some of them are hard to sound out like "the" and are better memorized) and then we play a rhyming game with the word before having them each create a complete sentence (verbally) using the word.

So on the at-day, they listed off some obvious rhyming words: hat, mat, cat, rat... and then I gave them some clues for a few more.

I said, "The tire is ___."

They responded, "Flat!"

I said, "I didn't stand, I ___."

They responded, "Sat!"

I said, "Mama sure is ___."

J responded, "Skinny!"

O responded, "Pretty!"

Neither rhymed, but I'll take the compliments any day.  Most days, parenting isn't really great for the ol' self-esteem, but there sure are moments when they just fill me up to the brim.


On the coupon front, I have slowed down a bit.  I was starting to make myself a little crazy (which I feared I would do from the beginning), but I'm still using some and especially loving good deals for dinners out.  LivingSocial and Groupon are continually wow-ing me with some of their deals!  But even restaurant mailing lists have been pretty nice.  We dine at Chili's regularly (mostly because of its proximity to our church), and they send me coupons for free kids' meals or free appetizers at least once a month.

It was getting to the point where I was afraid to buy things for fear that I didn't currently have a coupon for the product and I might in the near future.  A mama of five can't live like that.  Plus, shopping with coupons is kind of time consuming when you get all psycho like I do about it.  So basically, I'm finding some balance with coupons.  Use them if I have them ... don't worry too much if I don't.

On the bright side, I did discover a great program to help out our military families using expired coupons or other coupons I receive in the mail that I don't plan to use myself.  And if you have this situation, for the price of a stamp, you can be involved, too.  The family we connected with are stationed in Tokyo, Japan.  We get to know a little about them through email -- like penpals -- with a coupon exchange as part of it all.

Check out this video:

My back is feeling better.  I'm still taking it fairly easy, for fear that it'll start hurting again.  Most of the time, there is little or no pain, but when I sit on the floor too much or lift too much, I find it's still pretty tender.  So I do my best to avoid those things for now.

After four nights, I stopped taking the muscle relaxer because it was just making me a little too dopey in the morning and a dopey mama isn't an effective one.  I'm not taking Tylenol with any regularity either.  Hopefully, by the time I get to physical therapy, they'll help me with the prevention kinds of stuff like my sister suggested in one of her comments.

Thank you all for the prayers!


Today, we picked up the prescriptions for S's upcoming surgery (Friday).  She is getting more anxious each day and her schoolwork is pretty much at a standstill this week because she's fretting so much; she's distracted.  She's gotten some work done and she did go to the farm yesterday to do her volunteer work, so that counts for a bunch in my book (especially when she brings home fresh chicken and duck eggs for the family).

Oh, speaking of the farm and bringing stuff home to the family, S was so thoughtful and bought something for me at the farm shop for no special reason.  I gave up chips and french fries "for Lent," and those are two of my favorite splurges, so it's been tough.  She wanted to encourage me and found these adorable chip clips that I can use after Easter (though, I did use one on a bag of Quakes I have going currently).

Look at these cuties:

So heavy-duty and nice, too.  They'll last a long time, I think.  I guess this is one benefit of getting our girl her own savings and checking account.  She loves being able to surprise us with the occasional gift, purchased with her own money!


I'm currently reading the book, That's My Son.  Some of the information is stuff I've picked up from being married to a man and watching our three boys grow.  But a lot of it has put into words things that I've observed, but couldn't really define or understand.  It's really a great book for mom's with sons, but also for any woman who wants to better understand the male psyche.  The author is really compassionate towards the reader and doesn't talk down at all.  It's a good read so far.

It's been particularly helpful regarding our oldest son who is just starting to go through puberty and man, do I feel lost!  I love the advice Rick gives in the book for dealing with certain things and I hope to be putting them to good use over the course of the coming years.

Boys are a great challenge in my life, but they have also brought me tremendous joy.  I wouldn't trade them!!  (At least not most days.)


I also recently read a book that I picked up secondhand in hopes of using it as part of our geography and culture lessons we're doing with H and Z.  The book is called:  I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced.  The story is a biography of a young Yemeni girl who was forced to marry a man three times her age.  As many relationships with these dynamics seem to go, Nujood was mistreated by her husband and in-laws.  She did not garner the sympathy of other women in her culture and community because there, women are not permitted to complain about their circumstances or think for themselves, etc.  Nujood found the courage within herself to speak up anyway and was granted a divorce.  Her story has inspired many other women in Yemen and surrounding areas to follow suit.

Now, regardless of your view on divorce, I found this story to provide quite a lot of interesting detail about the culture of the Middle East, about the plight of women in that part of the world and Islamic tradition.  These are all things that I think will benefit our studies when we get to that place on the map.

I am hesitant though about the appropriateness of the subject matter for our boys -- especially Z, who is only 10.  The word, "sex," was never even mentioned in the book, however, Nujood does detail repeated violent rapes she endured as a child-bride.  I just am not sure that our boys will be able to look past that level of detail and listen to the cultural aspects of the book that I believe are important for them to understand about our world.

I did talk about it with S one day and she suggested that maybe I just read certain chapters or sections that demonstrate the information I want to convey, but limit the amount of detail I include to explain Nujood's experience.  I think she may be onto something there.  But for now, I'm just thinking about what to do for sure and how much to include (if any).

It was an interesting book and I am glad to have read it.  I did recommend the book to S, who is nearly 17 and would be able to read the whole thing with a certain maturity and compassion that I can't yet expect from our boys.


Well, the time has come to go pick up kids from youth group.  C is still at work.  My poor, tired husband has been into work before 7:00am each day this week and here it is after 8:00pm with no end in sight.  The team is working on a project with a rapidly approaching deadline so everyone there is pitching in for as long as it takes.  May God bless them and their families and my C be able to keep his eyelids up when it's time to drive home!


  1. Thanks for the book suggestions.. maybe I should read That's My Son. Sometimes I realize how clueless or impatient I am partially because I (we) didn't grow up with brothers. It would help me to better understand what is normal. Sometimes I think about how Dad must've felt being around all women in our family and not having a guy to side with him on some stuff. There are some subjects, like guns and motorcycles, that men are more naturally interested in, for instance.

    I hope S can get some peace about her surgery. (Not that they even consider that surgery anymore.) But sometimes you gotta just feel the anxiety so that after you can be all, "Oh...I was worried for nothing!" and apply that lesson elsewhere. At least I find that to be true of me in a lot of cases, especially medical.

    I need to be careful about my longer comments--the longer I talk, the more easily I slip and say full names. I just had to change the reference to S up there. :)

  2. PS I had more to say! I wanted to mention that I think it's common for couponers to fall into that trap of feeling some anxiety about whether they're getting the best deal. I think the fact that you're recognizing it so soon and being logical about it is good. It just shows that you're a much more reasonable person than a lot of those people they have on reality shows or whatever (isn't there a couponing reality show?).

  3. Love long comments! :) Thank you.

    I think you would like the book for lots of reasons. I think you're right, though, that it is hard to grow up with all girls and dad and then know much about men. Maybe I didn't pay enough attention to Dad. :) I'm understanding him better over time.

    Thank you for thinking I'm logical about something. I find logic difficult sometimes being so highly emotional and all. :) I do overthink the couponing thing though so yes, it's good I discovered things about my ways earlier on.

  4. P.S. Yes, there is a reality show called Extreme Couponing. Our sister has watched it, but I have not.

  5. Very interesting blog:

    I love your kids response to rhyming words.

    So glad S's surgery is over. I'm very proud of her continuing to volunteer at the farm. She seems to be much more responsible. (The bag clips S bought are adorable!)

    How was your PT?

    I, too, think "That's My Son" would be a good read! Since I've been babysitting for C who is 10, I've seen him get so discouraged and I haven't been a very good help. Some of his problems stem from being first-born, too. Which is not my forte, either.

    Thank you! Love, Mom