January 31, 2006

Timeline Helps

This post is to share a favorite link with other KONOS or Unit Study Homeschoolers... or any homeschooler who loves history and wants to make a timeline. I have found a wonderful link with photographs and helpful instructions to making all kinds of timelines. We plan to try the card-file approach soon due to lack of space for our previous method.

KONOS has wonderful timeline figures and a nifty, hard-as-nails, plastic timeline wall-chart that you can hang on your wall. At one point, we had our big white and blue timeline in the children's room... and then it was banished to the garage (where it didn't get used as much last year). After our move out of state (and out of a large house into a small apartment) the timeline is collecting dust; rolled up in a closet. There is hardly a wall for furniture to back up to in our little abode, so we certainly have no room for a large wall chart. I really pushed to get my better (and possibly more sensible) half to allow me to hang my laminated wall maps we got at Sam's Club this summer in our bedroom/computer room. A card file (or even a notebook) seems the legitimate next step for our needs (we've missed using the big one this year).

So, if you are looking for ideas on how to build a timeline, please stop in at Timeline Helps for tips and wonderful photos (for visual learners like me).

- Image above from Timeline Helps.

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January 30, 2006

Everything that can go wrong... will.

Well, it's been 8 months that I have been a faithful blogger. I have enjoyed it. It started out as a fun little hobby, and through the past eight months, has become an enjoyable JOB. I've added bells, whistles, and what-nots to my site... and recently, the geocities storage dump I have been using has exceeded it's tiny (FREE) data transfer limit because there are so many visitors viewing my files. Visitors are great, don't get me wrong... but most of the ones who come by at this juncture in cyber-time will only see a shell of a front page here at Sprittibee... with many empty boxes where my photos and files once were.

I'm not sure how to remedy the problem.... seeing as how I don't want to pay geocities by the month to host my pictures (although I may have to at this point to keep my blog running), and I don't want to move my blog to my own server just yet (my computer-man/husband is not wanting to spend his weekend setting that up). I did get some offers to help me with a little decorating, but I can't tackle it right now.

So..... Does anyone have any ideas on easy file uploading and storage where I could put a few accessible PDF files (that don't have to be downloaded to be viewed in the browser window) and photos for the blog? Maybe that would solve the problem in the short term.

Soon, I plan to clear up some of these technical issues (in-between homeschooling, homemaking, and deskwork). Tomorrow and Wednesday are our days off this week, so maybe we can get to some of it then. In the mean time, please forgive my empty photo boxes and annoying warning messages from geocities if you try and download a PDF file or see the images on my site. Just wait a while and come back later... the site will still be here (hopefully improving daily).

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January 29, 2006

Updated "Most Googled" Post

Click the link to this post to head over to my updated "KONOS PLANNING FOR DUMMIES" Post. I think this is probably my #1 viewed blog post for the site... and I certainly understand why. Informational posts such as this are much more interesting and helpful than discussions about realtors, sinus problems and our finances.

I've been getting requests and email regarding my blank Konos Planning Pages... so I spent my afternoon today creating a PDF file and uploading it to link on the post. I have revised the post with links, a photo, and of course - the PDF Planner Pages.

I hope you enjoy it while you plan your KONOS Units.

January 28, 2006

Burned CDs May Not Last?

Scary article at ComputerWorld that has me wanting to go and finally print off my thousands of digital pictures on hard-copy....


IBM experts are urging consumers -- and companies -- to consider magnetic tape storage devices if they want to preserve their digital content long term.

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January 27, 2006

Field Trip Foto Friday: Brazos Bend State Park


Today's field trip spotlight is Brazos Bend State Park. Camping, Nature Center, Observatory, Fishing and more! We went on a camping trip with our friends at the end of the school-year and really had a blast. This photo is of Kaden on the gator hike with a little blue dragon fly on his snout. This is just one field trip of the many we took during our first year of homeschooling.

If you head out to Brazos Bend State Park, just beware of the roaming gators (who sometimes bask on the roads in the sunlight) and don't bend your face over the water (you never know who's glassy eyes are peeking out from below)! We got to see some wonderful alligators up close and personal - they were walking, basking, floating, and swimming! There was a huge one under the fishing pier that prevented us from catching anything. The nature center is educational. We even got to hold a baby alligator. The walking paths are enjoyable also. If you go out in the early morning, you can hear the alligators croaking to each other.

The shelters at the park are nice and screened in with electrical outlets (for your fan, light or crock pot). There are RV hook-ups and a little bait store down the road. Be sure to take your mosquito spray if you tend to attract them! I think we came home with a chigger or two, also.

The observatory is a nice plus to this fabulous park. Not a far drive South of Houston, Texas it is a wonderful place to camp and enjoy yourself.

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January 26, 2006

KONOS Rock Unit Fun

Post Updated: 4/26/06!

I have been saving some of our favorite rock-related links and ideas from this unit to post... but quite honestly, I have not wanted to do it yet because we've been doing more academic workbook stuff lately than fun hands-on activities (shame on me). I'm working on getting out of my workbook rut and back into a KONOS hands-on fun routine. I go in spurts with getting to the fun stuff. I blame part of it on the fact that we've moved around so much since we began our school-year this year... from house to hotel to relatives' houses to apartment (from one state to another)... and with our new schedule changes (Tuesday and Wednesdays for weekends instead of Saturday/Sunday due to Daddy's work schedule), and me having to adjust from eating out every meal to cooking every meal... I've been having a hard time getting our permanent routine to STICK.

Kids really need routine. I think we adults need it almost as badly. So, with that in mind... I'm giving myself the go-ahead and writing this "ROCK POST" to inspire myself as much as I want it to inspire you. I need to get busy and finish this unit with a "BANG!" - since we are a bit behind schedule on our lesson plan calendar this year (understandably)... and we are eager to move on to Planets/Seasons/Solar System next!

This post will be especially helpful to those of you studying about Texas and Arkansas Rocks... since we have plenty of both and tons of links about them! Below are some great links that I have gathered while doing planning and research for this unit.


Rock Unit Activities we've done so far:

  • Collected rocks locally

  • Read lots of neat rock books from the library

  • Gone rock climbing

  • Learned about the rock formations in our state/general area (looked at a rock map of the state sent by the Geological Society)

  • Looked at a multitude of gemstones online

  • Learned that there's a beryl named after my daughter - "Morganite"!

  • Mail some crystals we found to friends

  • Rock Vocabulary Words

  • Look through Enchanted Learning's extensive Rock section

  • Learn and write rock Bible verses from our unit

  • Identify as many of our rocks as we could, pick our favorites of each specimen and number/list them for display later

  • Write about our favorite mineral/metal

  • Find some rocks to paint (some dollar stores carry nice round river rocks) - paint rocks (great book on this "Painting on Rocks for Kids" by Lin Wellford - see link below)

  • FIELD TRIP! Digging for crystals in Hot Springs, AR

  • Requested that our friends and family mail us rocks from other states (map these as they come in)

Igneous Rocks are Created by Volcanic Action! Here's Kaden's (age 9) Volcano Artwork which is as priceless as Van Goh to me! He really loves volcanoes, and could have stayed on this unit all year.

Rock Unit Activities we plan to do still:

  • Visit the Crater of Diamonds State Park (hopefully find a huge diamond and get rich)

  • Use acid to clean crystals we've collected

  • Meet up with a Geologist in Arkansas

  • Classify our rocks by color, texture, luster, hardiness, cleavage, and streaks tests

  • Group our rocks by igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary

  • Make a rock display and number our favorite specimens to add to it

  • Finish painting our rocks (great book on this "Painting on Rocks for Kids" by Lin Wellford - see link below... we're going to buy this one!)

  • Finish our Rock Lapbook (that is turning out to be more of a scrapbook/notebook) and post a photo of it in this post!

  • Post info on our two Rock Field trips on the blog's Field Trip Foto Friday series (some time in the future)

Rocks in our collection:
We have pyrite (fools gold), shale, sandstone, granite, limestone, flint, shale, quartz and calcite (amber colored - from Texas). We also have a few rocks we haven't identified yet. Kaden has a piece of pumace (volcanic rock full of holes and very light) from the pocket of his "stone-washed" jeans which is his treasured possession as well (pumace is the only rock that "floats"). Here in Arkansas, there is a ton of sandstone and shale, which is where we got most of those types. When shale is heated and pressurized the sedimentary rocks becomes a metamorphic rock called slate. It is so awesome to find slate layers in a mostly sandstone and shale hill... some of the slices of slate are as thin as paper and black as night (see photo below). The crystals we found yesterday at the Crystal mine in Hot Springs (tons of them) are covered with an orange chemical (iron) that must be removed to make the crystals white and clear. We're working on meeting up with a geologist to learn about this. I have a phone number of someone locally. Maybe we can go do it at HIS lab instead of at home. I'll come back at a later date and post the rocks and minerals we have received through the mail on this post as well. Of course, we also have "exotic" bags of rocks which have been polished from rock stores... many different colors, shapes, and sizes. Mommy even has a Brazilian Amethyst and a Garnet that I keep for Kaden and Morgan (birthstones). I miss our things in storage even more now, because Kaden and Morgan have a rock tumbler in a box somewhere in Texas which really would come in handy right now!

This picture is of a shale and slate formation in the layers of a hill in Arkansas. Kaden said, "It looks like someone caught those rocks on fire and burned them up."

Rocks Across America Project
(Sent By Fellow Homeschoolers and Friends):

Amazonite from Morefield Mines - Amelia, VA
River Rock (? not sure what kind) - Lake Ontario, Canada
Gypsum -Wyoming, MI
Ton of Rocks (all types) - NC - not sure if these actually all came from NC (no labels or info)
Some kind of seashore conglomerate and grey sandstone - Atlantic Beach, FL
Rock and Mineral Set (10 numbered and identified rocks & minerals) - Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources
Granite, Agates, Quartz, and lovely rounded River Rocks (some of our favorites) - WA (Birch Bay)
Black Limestone with Quartz or Calcite veins- Lancaster County, PA

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Rocks: Texas, Arkansas and beyond...

Texas is covered with a lot of limestone, but they also have petrified wood, iron ore, halite, aluminum, marble, sulfur and many other rocks. The Austin hill country is formed by beautiful rugged white limestone hills covered with cedars, twisted oaks, cactus and yucca plants. There are lots of ocean fossils from when the flood covered the earth in the hills surrounding Austin. We found lots of huge spiral shells that were completely fossilized and petrified rock animals when we went on a field trip to search for rocks there! There are also rock clam shells and pretty amber calcite crystals we have from that area. In the central farmlands, there is an abundance of iron ore and petrified wood. My son even has an arrow head from this area. Near the gulf coast there is black gumbo clay and on the beach, you can find seashells. I have heard of halite mines there and wanted to go to visit one, but we have not done that yet.

We took a trip to Hot Springs yesterday to dig crystals out of the ground. I'll have to post a separate post about our field trip and include some photographs later. It was really fun. The great thing about this unit is that the knowledge we gain will go with us forever... because it is one of our favorite things to do (collecting rocks) and we plan to continue it into the future. I can't wait to get the rest of our rocks in the mail from those who promised to send them. I'm expecting rocks from Ohio, Florida, Washington State, Tennessee, etc. We'll have fun mapping them together and seeing lots of interesting rocks we may have not seen before!

Happy rockhunting and homeschooling!

This post updated on 2/14/06.

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January 25, 2006

End of the Spear

So... have you seen the movie? Care to write a review? I have read this one at Breathecast. What do YOU think? If you write a review, please stop back in and leave a comment to link it.

January 24, 2006

Whiskers on Kittens

In honor of the Sound of Music and it's whimsical song that I can't help but hum as I see the words "favorite things" together... Jan at The Joy of the Lord is my Strength has tagged me to respond with my own list. Quite honestly, she probably tagged me before Christmas, but for one reason or another, I never was able to get to posting this... and it got buried on my desktop.

So here goes...
A Few of My Favorite Things
(which should be interesting at 1:47AM)...

1. My favorite color:

A color I call FIRE (bright orange-red). Preferably with metallic sparkles. I love the color of the mandarin garnet. If I were to go out for a date on the town with my husband to someplace nice, I would wear something black and this color lipstick. Which reminds me that it's been too long since we actually did go out on a date.

2. My favorite smells:

My children's heads
(I know this sounds funny... but ever since they were babies, I would burry my face in their little heads. It's a mom thing.)

Gardenias (fresh from the bush or in colognes or candles)

Michael Kors cologne for women

Hazelnuts (roasted)

Baking cookies

3. My favorite sounds:

Music - all kinds

When my children say "I love you, Mommy."

My husband's laugh

4. My favorite tastes:

Indian foods

Lebanese foods

Grande Decaf Hazelnut Latte or Frappuccino at Starbucks

Home made chocolate chip cookies (or just the dough)

Anything from the Cheesecake Factory's menu

Thai Massaman Chicken Curry, Thai Fried Rice and Thai Tea (with plenty of hot spice sprinkled on top of the curry)

5. My favorite texture:

The belly of a long-haired, warm, friendly, cuddly, purring cat. Oh, how I miss my Pug. God speaks to me through cats. I feel His warm, loving smile when a cat crawls up on my bed and lies down on top of my covers and me... slowly cleaning itself. The purring and motion of paws and whiskers rocks me to sleep.

6. My favorite things to watch:

Fireworks (have to steal that from you, Jan)

My children learning something new

My husband and myself growing in the Lord together over time

7. My favorite times of day:

Time with the Lord (which I need to make more of)

KONOS moments when we are learning together (the children and I or the whole family) and doing fun projects or field trips... hands on learning and fun with the kids!

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January 23, 2006

Making Vocabulary Fun

I thought I would share some creative ideas on how to add vocabulary words into your KONOS or Unit studies. This topic comes up a lot in my email loop, and it has been helpful to me as well. We have not been really doing many fun things lately with vocabulary, and I'm looking forward to adding in some more of them going forward. So, maybe this post is as much about encouraging myself as you!

First of all, your kids are never too young to learn vocabulary. You would be surprised what they can learn and remember if you only give them a chance. My six barely seven year old does our big KONOS words. The words from our current unit are:


We have always talked to our children like adults. It is so funny to hear them talking like big people back to us. We went on a field trip not long ago to rock climb (an Ozark foothill), and my daughter said to me, "This was ambitious." HA! She was six then. :) They don't always remember the vocabulary words, but it expands their minds and gives them "pegs" for later years to hang information on in their little brains.

Here are some vocabulary ideas that have been inspirational for me:

  • Play lots of vocabulary games

  • Write the words in shaving cream

  • Paint the words and paint a picture with it

  • Glue the words in beans

  • Shuffle flash cards and see if they can match the definition to the word

  • Have them write the words and look them up in the dictionary online or in the book

  • Sing the words

  • Use the words in a sentence

  • Do a crossword puzzle with the words (see Puzzlemaker.com for easy printables)

  • Put the words in ABC order

  • Do copy work - copy the definition down beside the words.

  • Write a pen pal letter and make them use all the words in the letter

  • Cut the words out and let them do a collage with the words and pictures from magazines or their own drawings.

Vocabulary is as fun as you make it!

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January 22, 2006

Pray for Jackson Bortz

Another case of CPS abuse that is unbelievable to read is found here. Such a sad story. The little brother fell and hit his head and died... and CPS took the family's other child away before the funeral service and is not allowing him to come to be with his family during their grieving. There is a court hearing tomorrow at 9AM. Please pray for them and the prevention of more CPS abuse.

January 21, 2006

Saturday School & Such

I'm alive... just buried under a million to-do items. Time for another one of those priority posts and snazzy little checklists. My husband works weekends sometimes... and this was his Saturday ON, so we were, too (mostly, anyway). The kids have done Bible, Math, Journals, Typing (computer lesson on Mavis Beacon), PE (picnic in the park and an hour of play time), a Writing lesson (brainstorming), and have a list of other things to get to some time tonight which may or may not get checked off. Morgan is reading the Phonics through Poetry book on her own right now. But, I'm going to make her go help me cook while her brother finishes his Math worksheet in a second... I'm pretty lenient on them when they do school on Saturday. Our days off next week are Tuesday, and the following Sunday. We're going on a day-trip field-trip next week on Wednesday with a few of other homeschoolers in my area. I can't wait! I've been planning for that also.

I just wanted to thank the Lord for payday and my little girl's birthday yesterday. She got the Talking Toucan she has wanted FOREVER from the Cracker Barrel (which meant we finally got to eat out after what seems like an endless cooking stint for Mommy!).

Hmmmm... Speaking of cooking, I've got to get something Hindi on the table in an hour for when the Kev-man returns from his off-shift (10-7 today)... so I had better get out of here! See you Monday if I don't post tomorrow...

January 20, 2006

Field Trip Foto Friday: Houston Zoo

I'm checking through some of the field trips we took the first year of homeschooling to see if I still have pictures from them on my computer. I haven't gotten the photo CDs down yet, so there may be more there as well. This is the first Field Trip Foto Friday in the series, so please, come back next week for another peek at what us homeschoolers do for fun. Field-tripping is our favorite way to learn, even though we usually limit our outings to once a week or once every two weeks except on rare occasions when there is too much to do in a week to pass up multiple day trips.

The Houston Zoo is a nice place with lots of great scenery and fun animals. Those little kids in the picture are mine... and they grow up so fast, don't they? Enjoy your field trips while you can. This is one of my favorite spots in the Houston Zoo to stop and rest. Wish I had a yard with a pond (and huge old trees) just like this!

January 19, 2006

Admissions of an 8 Year Old

Kaden says today at lunch:
“Mommy, when I grow up, I’m going to design a video game and you have the honor of being one of the main characters.”

“Oh really?”

“Yes.” He swallows a bit of tuna casserole. “You have a super power, too. When you look at someone in the game, you have green x-ray beams that go out from your eyes and fix on the other person’s eyes… and you scramble their brains and they are YOURS, they do your will.”

Me:I Chuckle (Glad he didn’t make me a wicked witch, but this doesn’t sound much better).

“Yeah, and Daddy is a character in the game, too.”

She chimes in. “Yeah, and he FARTS on people!”

“No”, Kaden corrects her, “He distracts the other players by showing them his video games.”

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Virtual Field Trips

I thought I would post this link for you since I don't have time to sit down right now and type out a post. I also put the link in my sidebar (along with quite a few other new homeschooling links) last night.

We had a day off yesterday, but today we are back "at school". I'll be back later tonight to recap our conversation around the lunch table today. It was too funny!

Visit the VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS Link on your way out...

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January 18, 2006

Link Overload


This guy wins (hands down) in the "Who-Has-The-Most-Links" contest. This is link-chaos at it's finest. Linkage Explosion. Linkarama. My head is still reeling from looking at his page.

Warning - I can not vouch for his content, and I would warn you that the site is NOT kid-safe. I suggest that you fight the urge to follow some of the links he provides. I am just suggesting that you check out his amazingly unique format!

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Begging for Blog Help

OK. I'll admit it. Although I am an artsy person (I draw and doodle endlessly) and love art and music with a passion... and absolutely love web and printed art (I'm much better at desktop publishing), I have little know-how for web graphics and design. I wanted to be a Disney Animator when I was growing up... or a famous artist or children's book writer. Those dreams disappeared into the thin mist of tobacco smoke rings and empty beer bottles... but have been locked up in the back of my mind since childhood. Through learning web design, I hope to renew some of that long hidden talent and give myself an outlet for it (maybe someday even make money at it?)... not just through blogging, but also in design somehow.

One of the reasons blogging has such a pull for me is because of the creative license it gives me. I was one of those kids who journaled and did notebooks back before they were so popular. I used to scour magazines and clip every little word and picture and keep them in a box to glue into notes and spiral bound journals. I get a thrill out of looking at people's animated graphics and backgrounds. Maybe it's a sickness?

So what is the point of this confession? To grovel, that's what. You know who you are... those of you out there with the skill to upload and change graphics, design pages, arrange templates and columns... and I NEED YOU. Not just to help my blog... but maybe to give me a free lesson or two so I can help myself! All I can offer is word-of-blog referrals for your trouble. Alas, I am as "poor as dirt". But, hopefully those of you reading this with a little skill under your belt in the blog design arena won't mind throwing me some table scraps.

Any takers?

January 17, 2006

Scheduling and Screen Time

I discovered this little gem of a blog post at Ian's Messy Desk a while back:

In his classic book, The Time Trap, Alec Mackenzie identifies these 20 behaviors that lead to wasted time:

Management by Crisis
Telephone Interruptions
Inadequate Planning
Attempting Too Much
Drop-in Visitors
Ineffective Delegation
Personal Disorganization
Lack of Self Discipline
Inability to Say "No"
Paper Work
Unfinished Tasks
Inadequate Staff
Confused Authority
Poor Communication
Inadequate Controls
Incomplete Information
I thought this list would be great to share today, even though it hints of office-life and this is supposed to be a homeschool blog. We homeschoolers and homemakers have a lot of the same issues with being side-tracked as the office crew. Today, I seem to be constantly distracted by everything (it might have helped if it had not snowed briefly today and we didn't hang our hands and heads out the window trying to catch and eat snowflakes). I guess it's a good thing we don't have good television reception here, and don't pay for cable, because I know that four hours of the last two days would have been wasted in front of the telly had I been picking up 24! I'm a big 24 junkie, but alas, this year, we won't be watching it, it seems. I guess I'll have to buy the series later or rent it from Netflix.

Struggling with post-Christmas holiday homeschool blahs, we have started a new method of getting things done with our homeschooling/chores/life in general that I shared with another homeschool mom via email earlier this week. Here it is for you lurkers and blog buddies alike:

Sprittibee's Star Chart
I started a new way of getting things done with the kids. I am doing a new type of “star chart” which helps me considerably (as much as it helps them) to accomplish our daily goals. Before, I was telling them what to do after each assignment and they would balk at me and whine. Now, I am writing a daily list on their white-board (and printing it out for their notebooks with little checkmark boxes beside each item) that they have to complete which includes chores (laundry, dishes, cleaning rooms, etc.), hygiene items (brushing teeth, getting dressed, taking showers, etc.), and schoolwork (Konos activities, Math, Language, Writing, etc.).

I block the items off in groups of five in a long list and write them in the order I want them to be done (i.e. Bible first, bedtime at 9:30pm last). They are to complete the items in groups of five things and put a checkmark by each item. When they complete five, they cross through the section and add a star to their chart. Each star is worth one hour of screen time. They can use the screen time when they are done with the list each day, or at other times when I approve them using it, or on weekends. Screen time consists of Gameboy time, PC/Computer game time, TV time, or movie time… and is also used up for free play (Legos, My Little Pony, etc.), but not for reading. Even for fun, reading is not considered star time.

This system seems to be working better than any other system we have used in the past (now if we can just keep it consistent - that's where the prayers are going to come in!). Each day, when they use the computer or watch a movie, we erase their stars they have earned, and each day, as they complete the list, we add them. This is really helping them to take more responsibility and it has given me more free time as well. I don’t always have to be on top of them to remind them of things, other than a warning now and then like, “Have you completed your next five?” or “You know, the fun project is on your last five, so you had better hurry so we can get to it before Daddy comes home.” Or “There’s only three hours left in the day, so let’s see if we can get another five done and get a star before Daddy gets here.”

We had a hard day yesterday (maybe that's just a Monday thing?) and only got the first five items on our list and a random smattering of other things done... so we are working on redeeming the time today and getting a lot more done! If you are looking for a new system or one to adjust to your own scheduling needs, please, by all means, take mine and make it yours! Seize the day... Carpe Diem!

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January 16, 2006

Endless Loads of Laundry

Harriette Jacobs of The Old School House Magazine has raised a question "On The Company Porch" Blog Site today... "Let's Talk About Laundry". I responded to her request on how we all get this menial chore done in her comments section, but I thought I would share our "trade secrets" with you here (to save myself another more polished and time-consuming post!). Don't worry... I'm in Monday gear and am very busy today, but I hope to get some blog time later this week to write some for pleasure! How about you guys? Are there boogie-men in your laundry basket? Do your whites have faded chocolate stains (like my husband's new fleece sweater he forgot to treat last week)? Or are you a Martha Stewart clone who has a stellar laundry method to share with the world? Hop on over to Harriette's post and leave her a line. Be sure to comment here to let me know you did.... so I can go and check it out.

The Bee's Laundry Methods
I go through stages with laundry where I get overwhelmed, but right now, I am in one of those strange acceptance modes... and somehow, it manages to get done without much thought. My children have a list of 20 chores that they must complete each day to earn stars for "screen time". Help with the laundry is a must. They keep a basket in their room for them to put dirty clothes in, and usually about once or twice a week, it is their duty to come and unload it in the laundry area and sort it all out by color.

We do four types of loads... reds and darks, other colors, jeans, and whites. The children are great sorters and have been doing this since they were wee ones. They will even throw the largest load into the washer for me, unload the dryer and throw them all on my bed, and help me sort them by whose clothes they are. While they are doing schoolwork that requires my presence (reading, Bible reading, or even watching an educational video) I will fold the clothes. I hang almost everything, so I don't do much folding. I lay one stack aside for my husband and I - just the clothes laid out in a line (not folded) and right-side-out... and one stack for my children's clothes that need to be hung in the same fashion. Sometimes the kids will help me do this and help me sort the socks. They each take their nightgowns, underwear, socks, hose, and pants (all of which go in drawers in their room) and put them away. I do all the hanging as time permits. If I don't have time to hang, the pile goes near the closet door until I have free time to do it. At least that gets it off of my bed where we do a lot of schoolwork and I do a lot of my planning and paperwork.

We usually do a load of clothes every day, but have in the past done a single laundry day when I had a bigger house and more room to store dirty clothes. As it is now, I have no place to put my dirty clothes sorter bin (which I sorely miss). I live in a tiny two-bedroom apartment right now, and we are adjusting to different schedules and a different lifestyle after leaving a 2500 sf house behind.

The key is to pray about it.... enlist your children's help to promote responsibility and resourcefulness in them (and to help you out)... and to just think of it as part of your normal day like eating and doing school-work. Sometimes the biggest obstacle is to change our attitudes towards a chore so that it is either fun or at least less daunting!

God bless and may your laundry load seem light!

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January 14, 2006

WICKED WASPY THING and Field-Trip Foto Friday

I've been saving this picture since last summer to blog... but never got around to it. I was wondering if anyone knew what kind of horrid bug this is? It sounded like a B-52 Bomber buzzing by and invoked extreme respect and FEAR from me. I am terrified of flying, stinging insects (which makes my nickname of 'BEE' an hilarious irony). Do comment if you know what this evil bug is. I hope I never meet up with one again!

In honor of my resolution to avoid too much time on the computer, I thought I would start a new tradition here on Sprittibee and begin a series entitled, "Field-Trip Foto Friday". It's much easier to do a tiny post and a photo than a lengthy article each post. I wanted to start from the beginning and go back to the first years of field trips... which would require me to pull down the picture CDs and get a few field trip photos ready to blog. Be watching next Friday for the first in the new series!

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January 13, 2006

Resolutions for a Homeschool Mom

Teach us to number our days aright, that we
may gain a heart of wisdom.
- Psalm 90:12

Every day you waste is one you can never
make up.
- George Allen

I am working on #1 today (limiting my computer time). I am especially trying to limit blog-related computer time, although I certainly am not giving up blogging. I have been really blessed by some of your comments and am glad that there are a few of you who are benefiting from my blogging habits... but I can pretty much say for certain that my kids don't benefit from it. Right now, they are writing in their prayer journals, and we are about to say our daily school prayer... so I wanted to cut and paste my resolutions for 2006 in this post for you to check out if you are interested. I hope you have made some concrete goals for yourself and your family, and that you are seeking God's blessing and strength to succeed in keeping them!

Sprittibee's 2006 Resolutions

Distractions steal your day. Time is short. The computer is my biggest distraction, since we don't really watch TV or have cable, and we usually only watch a few movies on DVD each week either as a family or for school purposes. I plan to time myself on the computer and keep from using it when I have not gotten the rest of my priorities taken care of first.

I am a keeper of lists, a pack-rat, a collector of paperwork, a pile-maker. I tend to make lists a mile long and it never feel like I have accomplished anything. I need to work on making shorter lists, keeping less in my to-do stack, handling mail when it comes in and setting aside 20 minutes a day for paperwork instead of letting it pile up… and I need to work on DEALING with a pile/project every week so they don’t multiply and leave me feeling buried.

I need to work on a more user friendly way to keep school books, library books, schoolwork, graded papers, paperwork for my desk, bills, and supplies. It is hard rearranging after a move, especially into a tiny apartment. Part of this goal includes getting my storage unit moved closer to where we live and getting a larger unit so I can unload some of the junk in my dining room and living room that has no place to live in this small space. I want to get a tall thin dresser with drawers (maybe one of those stackable plastic drawers if I have to) and put our schoolwork in the drawers for the week… it would be nice to have a Monday-Friday drawer system with folders that had worksheets, craft supplies, books, etc. for each day gathered into one place. A thin bookshelf would do well for this also (with baskets for the days of the week). It would eliminate the wasted time that we spend in between each assignment gathering supplies from different places and rooms in the apartment.

This is my big goal this year… to plan my school units well in advance and get my menus planned for each week in advance. I want to work on better methods of planning and get ahead of myself for a change. I tend to be the "ADD distracto-mom", and although we do enjoy many interesting tangents and spur of the moment field trips, it is so much more fluent when we plan our days well in advance. I am going to try and set aside a planning time each day and use at least 30 minutes to work on menu plans, lesson plans, family goal planning, academic goal projections for the kids, and planning my personal and my children’s character-training bible study course.

My biggest flaw, if you ask me, is sticking to a coherent schedule. I go through days when I wonder if it is even possible to be on a consistent time-schedule. With my husband’s work schedule shifting between evenings, mid-day, and mornings, it is especially difficult to get our family into a daily routine. I am not sure my lists and efforts are worth anything – except making me feel like I CAN NOT succeed in this area. I am going to put this foremost on my prayer list for 2006! Any ideas and tips that you use to help you in scheduling your time would be welcome in my comments section (especially if you are a stay-at-home homeschool mom with more than one kid and cook most of your meals in the home)!

I wrote about this already this week, but I’m working on making God first in my daily walk (setting aside time for personal bible reading, prayer journaling, devotional reading, and talking with God), my family’s life (making sure we attend church regularly and on time and being involved in the ministry there), and in our homeschooling (doing our devotional reading, bible reading, bible memory and lessons, and prayer time FIRST before all other subjects each day).

This is probably everyone’s goal, and it is probably the goal that most people will fail to achieve in 2006. Each year before, I’ve promised to get into some type of routine, and every year I have come up with an excuse why I can’t follow through. It makes it more difficult for me that my kids are watching me more closely than other moms who may not be around them all day – and my kids don’t have an active PE program at public school to benefit from physically. We haven’t had the money to join a gym, but this year, even if we still can’t afford to join a gym, I want to get involved in some type of sport with the kids… and make an effort to add more physical field trips (like our recent rock climbing experience) into our weekly school. I also want to stay in prayer about this so that God can open up doors for us to be more physically active as a family. Even if we walk to the grocery store or the park (which are both closer now than we’ve ever had them in the past), that would be something!

Another goal I have for 2006 is to be more of a friend to my friends. We tend to let life tick by like the hands on a clock, and we don’t make time for the people we love the most in life. I want to make a chart with all the friends and family we love and make sure to write or call a few of them each week in 2006. I’m going to do a smaller version of this for my kids as well as part of their school curriculum for the rest of the school year. They each have pen pals, friends from the former cities we have lived in, and cousins that they can write to improve their writing and grammar skills.

January 11, 2006

Christ-Centered Marriage

Isaiah 54:5 - For your Maker is your husband—
the LORD Almighty is His name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
He is called the God of all the earth.

The Jesus Secret
It’s my 13 year anniversary this week. Looking back through our years together, I can honestly say that I have never been as satisfied in my marriage as I am today. Marital bliss is not the same thing as lustful passion (although you can still enjoy a healthy version of that passion as well - even after 13 years, amazingly). A Christ-centered marriage is far more rewarding than youthful puppy-love and romance. I've been falling in love with the same person every day – over and over… for over a decade... and still, God renews us each day and it never gets old. I am married to my best friend. We finish each other’s sentences. Even though our attention gets swallowed up by mundane daily tasks a lot of times, there is a wonderful blessing to having complete trust and faith in God's ability to keep us together through the trails of life. There's no magic pill that guarantees you will stay together and have a wonderful union... it all boils down to sacrifice, service, loyalty, thoughtfulness, and Jesus (heavy on the Jesus part).

Reflecting the Lord
I thought I would share a private moment with my husband from our day today (in honor of our anniversary):

I had a meltdown today. I was on the phone with my life insurance company, considering canceling our policy because the monthly fee is needed for groceries and to prevent us from owing our bank a ton of overdraft fees between paychecks. They had me on hold, and I guess a wave of estrogen must have taken my mind hostage, because tears began to roll down my cheeks and I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. Oh, isn't it lovely to be female? Maybe I just needed a good cry. It has been a rough year for us.

Kevin called me right in the middle of my emotional puddle… and there I was, trying to hold it together while I had one phone in each ear. “Are you Ok, honey?”

I sat there and he quietly waited while I regained some composure. I thought of how selfless, wonderful, and hard-working my husband is. He is a good Christian man. He loves his family and works hard to support us. I hate getting depressed and crying because in a way, I feel that it is disrespectful to him, and causes him to needlessly worry. “Yes,” I said through tears. “I’ll be OK,” I told him, “I just needed to get this out of my system. You know I don’t break down like this often. Everyone’s entitled to a good nervous breakdown every now and then.” I tried to keep the conversation light. "I'll call you back when I get off the phone."

I love it that he doesn't try to fix me when I cry. Sometimes the biggest thing you can do for God is just listen to someone and let them unload a heavy burden. What a gift that our Father has given us free access to His throne day and night in heaven if only we would call on Him by Name and make our requests known. I love it that Kevin is an instrument that God has chosen to use to show me how much HE loves me. That's what being a Christian husband or wife is all about - being the hands, feet, and heart of God.... and raising up Godly offspring to honor Him.

Malachi 2:15 - Has not the LORD made them one?
In flesh and spirit they are his.
And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring.
So guard yourself in your spirit,
and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

Recharging Your Love Battery
I have a feeling this day would have gone much better had I started out with an open Bible and some heavy prayer.
I am not such a loving person when I'm running on empty. Without the Lord, I can do nothing... including having the grace to not get upset by the socks on the floor or the spilled orange juice on your dining room carpet. Just like eating, we need the Word to replenish our "fruits of the spirit": love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

John 15:5 - "I am the vine; you are the branches.
If a man remains in me and I in him,
he will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing."

The day seems to disintegrate if I can find no time for the Lord. Today was one of those days. We hardly got any school done between spending time with Daddy in the morning, sending him off to work at eleven o'clock for his 12-9pm shift, having visitors stop in, and having to get dinner cooked by 4pm (and deliver it to Daddy at work). I was feeling very frazzled by the day's end - and like I had accomplished nothing. Go figure!

Romans 7:18 - I know that nothing good lives in me,
that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good,
but I cannot carry it out.

Seeking Wisdom through Fellowship
God has called the older women to teach the younger women. Lord knows, I need a lot of teaching. I tend to learn the same lessons many more times than once (especially the lesson of being consistent with bible study and prayer). I'm glad I went to church this evening. My daughter wrote me a note that said, "REMEMBER 7:00". She's going to make a great wife and mother someday. Being new to my congregation, I haven't been much on Wednesday evenings yet, and I wound up in a new class tonight. After a bit of wandering and a friendly sister in Christ leading me down the hall, I ended up in the older ladies prayer class. God knew exactly what I needed.

Titus 2:3-5 - Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent
in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine,
but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women
to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure,
to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands,
so that no one will malign the word of God.

Immersing Yourself in the Word
Listening to Christian radio is an uplifting way to hear God's message to you during the day as well. Sometimes we listen to talk radio with news, other times we listen to Christian contemporary music, other times we just read our books for school while we are driving. Tonight, however, on the way home I heard a sermon entitled "Know Your Bible" by Dr. Michael Youssef. You can guess what that was about. Yep, setting aside time each day to read through the Bible and spend time in prayer! I checked out his website when I got home and he's offering "The Daily Bible in Chronological Order" with a gift to his ministry this month. I am putting this on my wish list. It sounds like it would help provide organized accountability for your daily study and make the task of reading through the whole Bible less daunting.

So, as a resolution (and as a gift to my husband for our anniversary on this thirteenth year of our blessed union together) I am going to start setting aside time each day to renew my soul. This will not only bless me, but it will bless my husband and children. It will fill my cup to overflowing so that I can tackle the day's tasks with grace and efficiency. It will realign my priorities and melt away all anxiety. I challenge you to do the same so that your 2006 will be your best year yet.

Psalm 119:97-105
97 Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
for they are ever with me.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.

January 10, 2006

Carnival of Homeschooling

For those of you who have never been immersed in the blog world for very long, a blog carnival is a place where many various blog owners submit a link to an article we have written (or what we call a "post"). Usually, carnivals are pretty lengthy and have many links from many different blogs. Some carnivals are all on one particular topic, and others are just a random sampling of blogs.

A new carnival started last week, and this is it's second week up and running (Hosted this week by: On the Company Porch). I submitted a post for the carnival today... actually two of them. I am not sure which post they will use (if either), however. Right now, with the Carnival of Homeschooling so new, many bloggers are going back through their archives and listing important posts with topics such as, "Why I Homeschool". I believe that this is to be the main topic of this week's postings.

If you are new to homeschooling, or just interested in what others have to say (like me), please hop over there to read today's line-up.

If you are interested in submitting a post for next week's carnival... click over to find directions on where the following week's carnival will be hosted, and get the email address of where to send submissions there.

Happy Homeschool Blogging (and reading)!

January 09, 2006

The Hard Topic of Abortion

I ran into a post by Tim at Pro Life Blogs this weekend that I had to read. It was an excellent article by Judie Brown on “What Women Want”.

This is a topic I rarely discuss, much less talk about, because of my own sad and sordid past. I get very angry deep down when liberals accuse me of not understanding the choice issue, when I have been on the front lines (i.e.: cold steel table), and emotionally wounded forever over it. Only God can heal the scar of a woman’s grief over a past abortion – especially one you changed your mind about mid-procedure (i.e.: too late). Even with a healed wound, you continue to carry a weakness in that area that is easily bruised. It is easy to cover it up and not talk about it… especially in the church. With today’s abortion statistics, however, chances are you sat next to someone who’s had one in church this morning (43% of women have had one by age 45). You may never hear about it – and she may even deny it… because let’s face it… it is a badge of shame.

Over the years while living with my memory of that awful day, I have discovered many sites which bring me to my knees in tears and regret. Here below are a few sites that have changed my life forever. I urge you to keep your children away from them, and I forewarn you that you should take great caution upon entering them if you have any un-delt-with issues over a past abortion of your own. Some of the photographs may be graphic, and can invoke strong emotional reaction. I tend to be a realist, though. We live in a fallen world. It is better to know the depths of human evil so you can pray against it and be prepared to fight it. A soldier of Christ must know how low his enemy will stoop… and our enemy is not young women or abortion doctors (most of which are sadly misled and unable to see the horror of abortion for what it truly is). Our enemy is the devil – who would kill every one of us in utero if he could.

The Silent Scream - Video put out by former abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson who was (at one time) the director of the largest abortion clinic in the Western world.

The Silent Scream - A second website that actually has the text and a few non-graphic photos as well. You should go here if you want to read the script and you don’t think you can watch the video.

Abortion TV - Hundreds of links, images, stories, and more. Love their motto: “Tune in to the Truth”.

Gravity Teen - Stories of Abortion Survivors (yes, there are a few babies who live through the process)

If you happen to be a young girl who found this site while searching for information about abortion or abortion procedures… or if you were just looking for a clinic location in your local area. PLEASE consider that this is a child… one that looks like you, and has your eyes… an innocent baby who is a gift of God given to you to hug and love you for the rest of your life. You are it’s angel of mercy and comfort. There is no other earthly title that rises above “Mother”. Please reconsider the death of your child… and if you are unable to keep her or him, please consider adoption.

I have a friend who has been trying to have a child for a long time. She lost a baby after carrying it to term. He died in the hospital. Her precious glory baby. She signed up with an adoption agency because she was afraid that she would not be able to carry a baby to term again and suffer the same loss. She got a call last week and has gone to meet the mother of a baby which will be born in February. This mother is the mother of three other children, and was divorced recently. She has already had an abortion since the divorce, and it so scarred her emotionally that she vowed to herself, “If I ever become pregnant again, and am not married, I will have the child and give it up for adoption.” Her selfless act of love for this child has blessed not only the baby, but a hurting and barren mother. I believe God will richly bless this woman for her choice.

This is the truth that the pro-death culture does not speak about. The choice is life or death. It is not a choice of convenience or inconvenience. An abortion is not convenient. It is the ONE doctor appointment that will haunt you for the rest of your life. That’s not convenient if you ask me. Yes, children are work… but they are also the richest blessing on the planet. More valuable than a house or car, than all the money you could fit in your bank account… they are a crown of glory that will love and cherish you for your whole life – even if you aren’t perfect and make mistakes. Nothing is as precious aside from your walk with God and your loving spouse. Although our culture is dark indeed, there are glimmers of hope in the recent awareness on this issue. It is wonderful that many teens today are waking up to the truth.

Please pray for my friend and the birth mother of this precious child. Please pray for those who may stumble upon this site in the midst of a scary, unwanted and unplanned pregnancy. May the Lord give them peace and wisdom to make the selfless choice of life.

Image courtesy of abortiontv.com.

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