Friday, September 30, 2011

Get ready for some spiritual uplift!

No not from my post.  From these amazing posts that are giving you ideas on how to get ready for General Conference:

*Middle-aged Mormon Man: 4th Quarter Comeback

*We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ-Unique General Conference Ideas

*Diapers and Divinity: General Conference MemePreparing Children for General Conference (+packet links)

Maybe one day I will be as cool as these people and inspire you to get more out of General Conference. Until then I will just link you to their awesomeness. :)  Enjoy General Conference!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

You have to read "Little Women"!

I finished reading Little Women ,by Louisa May Alcott, a couple of days ago and it is a new favorite. I am starting to realize that every classic I read becomes my new favorite book. A classic is a book that is worth reading over and over again.  They are so full of truths, morals, and goodness.  Little Women is one of those books were you can take anyone in your life and compare them to one of the main characters and you will see that person in a new light, because all the characters are so likable.  Kind of like Winnie the Pooh: everyone knows a Rabbit, Owl, Tigger, (etc.) and you can't help but love them all.  From now on if I come across a person that  is hard to get along with I am going to think of what character from Little Women that they would be and learn to see the good in them.  I won't go into the plot-I am sure most of you saw the movie (or have heard of it) when it came out years ago.  It was an awesome movie, but it doesn't compare to the book at all.

Whenever I read a classic I am also reminded just how spoiled we are in this day and age. Hard work is in some ways a thing of the past.  I also feel a longing to have lived back then (in some aspects-not all).  They talk in the book about being children when they are in their mid to late teens.  I wish we still considered young people to be children.  It seems like in our culture we give up playing so early.  Jake is 10 and often mentions he wishes he had a friend that knew how to play-not video games-imagination play.  They also spend their life working on their talents and gaining knowledge-and they had to make dinner from scratch every night!  They must have been amazing time managers....that is probably why I didn't live back then.

There are so many quotes from it that I love!  I love my Kindle for holding my quotes-as you read you just highlight and go to it later with no problem. This book is full of wonderful life lessons and mothering lessons but I narrowed it down to these 7....I know that is a lot but you will love all of them as much as I did I promise:

"It's highly virtuous to say we'll be good, but we can't do it all at once, and it takes a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull all together before some of us even get our feet set in the right way."  

"You have had the bitter, now comes the sweet. Do your best and grow as happy as we are in your success."

"Why should I complain, when we both have merely done our duty and will surely be the happier for it in the end? If I don't seem to need help, it is because I have a better friend, even than Father, to comfort and sustain me.  My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning and may be many, but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that or your earthly ones.  The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness,and strength.  Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother."

"Into each life some rain must fall, some days must be dark and sad and dreary."

"Have regular hours for work and play, make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life become a beautiful success, in spite of poverty."

"..but it does seem as if the more one gets the more one wants, doesn't it?"

"Don't you feel that it is pleasanter to help one another, to have daily duties which make leisure sweet when it comes, and to bear and forbear, that home may be comfortable and lovely to us all?"

Oh, I just want to go read it all over again as I type these quotes!  I want to be just like Jo, Meg, Beth, Amy, and especially Marmee (their mother, Mrs. March).  It almost makes me wish I raised Jake to call me Marmee instead of Mommy!  :) Marmee and Anne (of Green Gables) are neck and neck for my all time favorite book characters...I shouldn't think to hard about that or I will start adding more names to the list...READ IT!  I know you will love.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Homeschooling is hard...That is my excuse for not blogging.

I knew it would be-don't get me wrong.  I just hoped we would have it all figured out by now...but we don't.  I know it is what we are supposed to be doing.  (I keep telling myself that when Jake is driving me crazy. :) ).  I have to admit: I heard the bus go by last week and wondered if I could chase it down and make them take him with them...But that was for one brief moment and then I was reminded that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.

I had a plan.  We were going to follow the Thomas Jefferson Leadership Education style of homeschooling...But I wimped out.  I still want to because it makes so much sense: to teach Jake the love of learning again.  Some where a long the way that gets lost in the conveyor belt that is our public education system....But it is SOOOO much harder than I thought letting that system go.  It is in grained in me that we  must go chapter by chapter in a book that teaches exactly what they are supposed to learn for the test at the end of the year...That isn't a true education.  That is teaching for a test-one of the many problems with our school systems and one of the reasons we decided to leave it.  I want Jake to study the things that interest him, so that he wants to study even more because he loves learning...I guess that part takes a while and we are not there yet...Especially since we are pretty much on the conveyor belt just at home...

We had a break through day last Monday.  We started really early and got done what we "had to do" and moved on to celebrating Aaron's birthday.  (Yep-that's right I have been so preoccupied that I didn't even post about it birthday...Happy b-day Aaron!...)  We had to run an errand and in the process we decided to surprise Aaron and clean out  his Jeep.  Because homeschooling had gone so great it was exciting to be doing this little unplanned act of service with out murmuring.  There has been a lot of murmuring going on lately in our house..."Do I have to do that right now?"..."No I haven't finished started reading my book club book yet" (even though it was a book he loved and choose himself and he has read like 5 other books instead...)..."Can't we just take the day off?".  I have to admit I have threatened, daily on occasion, to send him back to regular school the VERY NEXT DAY if he doesn't focus, stop complaining, and JUST DO IT!!!!!  Yes, I am the one murmuring right now...

I know that this is what we are supposed to be doing.That is my new mantra.   And yes I will admit: for every bad day there is an amazing day too.  We all have had head colds this past week so it was a LONG week.  We didn't get everything done we needed too...But the world didn't come to an end and there is still time to cram it all down Jake's throat another day. :)  Just kidding...I think...

The good part of the struggle is that I have had to rely more on the Holy Ghost (to remind me that I really do like my child.  I love him, but on occasion it is a little more difficult to like him...).  I have felt that peace reminding me that I can do this, because this is what Heavenly Father wants me to be doing and he doesn't give us anything in our lives that we can't handle...I keep telling myself that and when I forget to tell myself that the still small voice reminds me.  It has made me be even more excited than I usually am for General Conference, because there are specific questions I have, that I am anxiously awaiting guidance on.  I know that I will be comforted and hear exactly what I need to hear-because I always do during Conference.  It is a great reminder that the Lord is mindful of me and my family. 

Is homeschooling a walk in the park? Nope.  But maybe taking a walk in the park would help...Can we do this? Yes.  Will we kill each other in the process?  I hope not. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

I am over here today...Being a part of this...

I am a guest poster over at Welcome to the Madness today and am lucky enough to be a part of :

  If you haven't been over to Welcome to the Madness, Chocolate on my Cranium, The Redheaded Hostess, and We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice In Christ than you are really missing out!  They have amazing prizes you can enter to win just for reading and being involved in Celebrating the family.  I have been so busy enjoying the Celebration I haven't had time to post on my own blog.  I will get back to that eventually. For now I am going to sit back and enjoy being inspired by some very amazing people in the LDS blog world. :) 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Our Families Mission Statement..A short and sweet post. :)

The first Christmas (I think) after Aaron and I got married we got an amazing gift from Aaron's sister Ranee.  She had crossed stitch a quote by Lucy Mack Smith that had kind of become the family mission statement for the Harmon family.  Aaron's father, Harold (or Papa Harmon as we call him), had shared it with his family years before and thought it was something they should follow. I love this quote, I love the family that taught it to me, and I love the women who said it.   I would put a picture of it up if I could...but since I used up all the space on my blog (apparently there is only so much space for blogger to hold pictures and I have maxed that wonderful husband is trying to solve that problem for me...), I will just share the quote with you:

"We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another, and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together."  Lucy Mack Smith

I need to get it put into another frame.  The glass and frame itself broke in one our moves.  Luckily it didn't damage the cross stitch and all the hard work I know Ranee put into it.  It is such a great reminder and I think it says it all. 

What is your family mission statement? Be inspired by other people by checking out: Welcome to the Madness, Chocolate on my Cranium, The Red Headed Hostess, and We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ.  They have some AMAZING ideas to do to make a family mission statement!  I know what we are doing for Family Home Evening tonight!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

If you have a family (and we all do) then you MUST check this out...

  Four amazing blogs ( Chocolate On My Cranium,   Welcome to the MadnessWe Talk of Christ, We Rejoice In Christ, and The Redheaded Hostess.) written by four inspirational, fun, busy, honest, understanding, and incredible ladies that are getting together and celebrating the most important thing to all of them: Their FAMILY.

Something we all have in common: We are all part of a family.  Our families may be large or small, "Leave it to Beaver"-ish or dysfunctional, close knit or once a month check in's to make sure everyone is still breathing...No matter where your family is in life...Is there something you could learn or share about families?

I am so excited to be able to spend the next 2 weeks learning from other people what their families mean to them.  What they have learned works and doesn't work in uniting families together.  I have a testimony of  the importance of family.  I have a testimony of The Family: A Proclamation to the World .  We live in a world that is trying to tear the family unit a part and this is your chance to be strengthened by other people that understand just how important family is. 

Spend some time in the next 2 weeks being lifted up and inspired by other peoples experiences in learning to  support, love, unite, and strengthen their families.  There is so much bad out there on the internet this is your chance to be a part of creating a little bit of light and joy. 

If you don't go anywhere else in the blog world in the next 2 weeks you must go and check out The Celebration of Family!  I know I am.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Brain Declutter...

 Jake is doing science right now with Papa G. so I thought I would take a minute to declutter my brain a little.  Papa G. is a pilot so he is the perfect person to teach Jake all the fun weather related stuff you are supposed to learn in the 5th grade.   And it gives me a few minutes to do something productive...or blog!  Blogging is productive right?

*We did a quick Science experiment yesterday with salt, water, and eggs.  It was pretty cool to see the egg float in the salt water.  Picture Jake right here doing the science project because yes I did take a picture of it...but my blog won't let me upload any more pictures.  I have really been wanting to blog, but I really don't want to have to figure out this whole "no room for any more pictures need to fix it" thing...So,  I am avoiding blogging...But my brain needs a declutter so here I am.
*We got a new car!  New to us at least-it is a 1998 Chevy Malibu.  Jake wants to name it Kirby but my brother-in-laws, brother (did you follow that?  He is the one we just picked it up from.  It was my brother-in-laws car, he gave it to his brother, who then gave it to us) calls it the Malibomber and I am kind of LOVING that name.  I spent a couple of hours cleaning it the other day and it looks like a brand new used car!  It talks to you while you drive.  The blinker dings off and on a lot. Even if you aren't turning and it is off.  I guess it should be annoying but I am just assuming it is talking to me.  How can you be annoyed by a free car!? Thank you Tina and Allen!
*I hadn't received the follow up email saying we were in fact approved to homeschool so I called them and they resent it to me.  Just to let you know, if you emailed me between June 30th and July 20th I didn't get it...Not sure what happened but I have no emails (including spam) between those dates and that just doesn't happen...The point of this ramble was really to tell you that I saw our homeschool name (you have to have a name in NC for your school), Harmon's Learning Academy, on the list of homeschools and was AMAZED at the number of schools in just the county we live in!  I will have to go back and count them when I get a chance.  I had to keep scrolling down just to get to the H's!  Now if I could just find a homeschooling group that has kiddos around Jake's age.  I was looking on line and there was a lady starting a "homeschool group" for her 18 month old...Isn't that just a play group?  Is it really called homeschooling when your child is 18 months old?
*Aaron is on his last semester of school!!!!  HORRRRRAAAAY!!!! He graduates in December and we are just a little bit excited to not be living the crazy schedule we have been living the past 18 mos.  Say a prayer that he finds a teaching position starting in Jan.!!!
*Have you ever heard of a "Common Place Book"?  (I mentioned it a long time ago.)  Thomas Jefferson's mentor had all his students write what they had learned in a "Common Place Book" so they could share the knowledge they were gaining with each other.  I really wanted Jake's blog to be called "Jake's Common Place Blog"...Get it?  He wasn't feeling it, but that's okay it's his blog...But anyway we made our own "Common Place Book" so we can all write down what we are learning.  You will never believe what we just missed!  I was on line looking up cheap or free places to take Jake on field trips and there is a plantation museum that actually had a class for homeschoolers on September 2 in which they made "Common Place Books"!!!!  We are so going to check this place out!  It also has this class that he can take for $5 called "Plantation Children's Life".  They get to see what children that lived on plantations here in the South would have done during a normal day.  FOR $5!!!  I am so excited to check it out.  I want to do it too!!!  I love homeschooling!..Even though I wanted to ring Jake's neck yesterday because he wouldn't stay on task and it was driving me CRAZY!  He just doesn't seem to get that he could be done with whatever it is he needs to do a whole lot faster if he would just do it-instead of spending 10 minutes trying to get out of it!!!!  Love that kid even when he is driving me insane. :) Is it wrong for me to threaten to send him back to public school if he is being disobedient? :)....
 *Our first field trip (or what we are calling it any way) is tomorrow and we are going to the homeschool store that is about 15 minutes away.  How cool is that?  There is a homeschooling school in the next town over! 
*I also found out while looking for cheap or free things to do in our area that there is a park that is fenced in that is a leash free park!  Sadie will love it.  After running free for a month in Vermont she is not loving having to be back on her leash AT ALL.  I don't blame her.

Well that is all I have time for. Jake and Papa just finished up and Jake is getting ready to do his "Wednesday's Wonderful Words" post over at his blog.  He is also doing an online book club that you or your kiddos can be a part of.  He is reading (we listened to all the Chronicles of Narnia on our car rides to and from Vermont and he loved them all!)  "A Horse and His Boy" by C.S. Lewis and his book club is going to be on Friday September 30th.  I am trying to make writing bearable  fun for him.  It is like pulling teeth to get him to want to write anything...These math and science guys are really hard for me to figure out. :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

There's no place like home...

...And we are finally here!  We survived Hurricane Irene (who knew we would leave the South only to get hit by a hurricane in Vermont...), ate a years worth of creamies with jimmies (soft serve ice cream with sprinkles for any of you non-New Englanders that don't know what I am talking about), and swam A LOT.  We had an awesome trip and I will post about it after the laundry is caught up, I figure out how to make more room for pictures on my blog (this doesn't sound fun...I am thinking about starting a new blog instead of fixing the problem...Just kidding...kind of...), writing the guest post for Welcome to the Madness (that I was supposed to already have gotten to Jaime but a bump to the head prevented it...Long story-Hurricane Irene's fault. Thanks for understanding Jaime-I will get it to you today.) and when I do about a million other things on my To Do list!

Note to self:  A month is too long for a vacation...At 2 weeks we were ready to come home...Remember this next summer when I am tempted to live out of a suitcase for weeks on end...