Sunday, January 20, 2013

The year Mami became (more) weird...

As I mentioned in a previous post, I didn't make New Year's Resolutions.  Instead I came up with a phrase for the year (a variation on the idea of 'One Word').  My phrase was borrowed from a book I was reading at the time am still reading - "Seven" by Jen Hatmaker.  I'll have an official post about the book and my thoughts to come, but it is fair to say that it has rocked my views on things quite a bit.

Oh, and if you don't recall, my phrase for the new year is 'mutiny against excess'.  There is a lot of excess in this life of mine and 2013 will be a year where I aim to do away with much of that excess.

So I've been reading a lot and trying some new things and developing some plans for the year.  Here is a big one - getting rid of excess in the kitchen.


I'm learning more and more about how harmful much of what I've ate in the past has really been to my body - and as I learn, I'm becoming less and less okay with consuming whatever is quick and easy.  Especially so with regards to what my kiddos consume...I realize I've allowed them to be sugar junkies.  But excess sugar is on it's way out.  Here's some things I'm implementing already:

As processed and junk food that we already have in the cabinets run out, I replace it (if it even needs to be replaced) with clean eating versions.  So this last week I made this homemade sandwich bread and made clean eating BBQ sauce (review coming soon!).  I have plans to create clean eating versions of pancake mix and taco seasoning, and clean eating chocolate syrup this next week.  I've also explored a couple of the handful of health food stores on the island, bought natural PB (which I'm currently mixing with what I have left of the Skippy PB in my cupboard to help my kids me get used to the less sweet, but more natural version of PB).  I was elated to find true maple syrup in the health food store too, though if we begin using it as a sweetener we'll have to find a more economical source for it.  We also found a dinky jar of coconut oil that cost about the same as the giant tub of coconut oil we ordered online (should arrive next week!).  I made these energy bites that are reminiscent of my favorite butter and sugar laden no bake cookies and everyone in the family loved them.  Like loved them so much I'll have to hide the jar of them so that they don't disappear too quickly!

photo credit: gimme some oven
This week our nice soft spreadable margarine (which I learned is just one molecular variation away from the same structure as PLASTIC) will be running out and I've already stocked up on bars of real butter, which will be taking "nearly plastic" spread's place indefinitely.

In fact, when I walk through the grocery store now, I realize that 90% of what is in there is actually poisoning us.

Wow.

We have some new friends we've made recently.  One family moved to Puerto Rico from Washington State to live in a beautiful dream home that they purchased for a crazy low price.  They came from a hobby farm where they raised chickens and goats and they have all sorts of wisdom about being self sustaining.  We visited them at their new property, overlooking the mountains of PR with a distant view of the ocean.  Gorgeous.  Peaceful.

They had just purchased a goat and our kids got to experience milking time!  We learned from our new friends that goat milk doesn't have to be 'goat-y' tasting.  Somehow I was able to be talked into trying some of the goats milk.  Mind you - not only is it goat's milk, but it is RAW goat's milk.  And beyond that, anyone who knows me knows that I don't even like drinking pasteurized cow's milk (because of the taste).  But guess what y'all?  I tried it and it was good!  Not like "I'm never drinking anything but goat's milk ever again" good, but it tasted exactly like cow's milk to me!  Nothing like the pungent goaty taste I was expecting.


While at their house they served us an amazing chicken lasagna made with ricotta cheese that they made themselves from their raw goat's milk.  And it was SO GOOD!  And they served fresh homemade bread topped with passion fruit jam that they made themselves from the passion fruit that grows on the trees in their yards.  Ridiculous.  Delicious.  I can't even tell you about dessert...description escapes me - it was that amazing.

And it was natural and nearly entirely homemade from fresh unprocessed resources.

How did we (and by we, I mean the American society) get so far away from this way of naturally fueling our bodies?  It wasn't really that long ago that people were canning fruit and veggies from their own gardens, making their own bread daily, drinking milk from their own cows or goats, eating eggs from their own chickens.  We exchanged this art for convenience and speed, but in return all we've gotten is rotten health.

I'm not willing to continue making that exchange.  So I'll put 4 hours into making fresh bread each week.  And probably several more hours into making other 'made from scratch' goods for my family to consume.  I'll use the fruit that grows on the trees in my yard instead of letting it go to waste.  I'll dry out the almond pods that fall off the almond tree so that we can eat beautiful homegrown organic walnuts.  I'll say no to my kids when they beg for highly processed and highly sugared foods - and instead teach them how wonderfully God has provided for us what we need in food in it's natural state.

Our chicken catalog came in the mail yesterday.  Not sure when it will happen exactly, but I believe we'll add chickens to our crazy crew in the not-too-distant future.  Hubs has even wondered aloud how much a goat might cost.  Haha - I'm not quite ready for the goat yet.


But I am ready to get rid of the excess in my kitchen (with the hopeful side effect that the excess on my hips and thighs will disappear as well!).

And just so you have something to look forward to, here are some other changes percolating in my heart that I'll be experimenting with soon...

**going 'no-poo'
**skirt wearing
**minimalist living
**natural cleaners
**and I'm even (fellas, you can skip reading this part) considering making the change to cloth (may even make my own) for my monthly feminine needs.  (I've read about that Diva Cup thang and I just don't know if I can go there.  But cloth freaks me out a bit too...stay tuned...)

SO...2013 just may be the year that my children remember as the year Mami became a little bit more weird...


**all photos free stock images from sxc.hu unless otherwise noted
**there are no affiliate links in this post



Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Mutiny Against Excess for 2013


We are just a few days away from clicking on over to the year 2013.

2 THOUSAND THIRTEEN.

That sounds so sci-fi.  So high-tech.  So modernistic, futuristic.  But now 2013 is "hoy en día"... today.


And of course, as we (speaking of general society) do when a new year rolls around, we consider our accomplishments (or, perhaps, failures) of the past year and make new goals for the year (or, if you are like me, repeat the SAME goals-you know, the ones I didn't succeed at achieving-from the past year).

This tradition of 'New Year's Resolutions' is made fun of by modern media and society.  And with good reason.  As statistics and studies have shown, most goals are abandoned by mid-January...mid-February at the latest.  Some die-hards may even continue to make progress on their goals until May or June...but hardly any finish the year having met or exceeded their resolutions.

But regardless of the statistics and my own lackluster history when it comes to goals, I still like the process of assessing the past and making goals for the future.  And I am already planning my 2013 goals now.  Actually, with my 38th birthday at the beginning of the month of December, I started mentally considering 2 year goals - goals I'd like to achieve or make significant progress towards before my 40th birthday.  My 2013 goals and my 'before-my-40th-birthday' goals will be wrapped together.


I'm all for being specific when planning something.  A boss I had for many years that I greatly respect had a penchant for being specific with goals.  Whenever I would turn in my quarterly employment goals, no matter how specific I thought I had been, he would find ways to make those goals even more specific.  Being specific help makes goals achievable too.

But there is also beauty in simplicity.  

Sometimes being too specific destines us to failure.  For many years I have set the goal to lose weight...but specifically to lose as much weight as quickly as possible.  Goals of losing 2 pounds or more a week.  Some weeks I'd lose 5!  But then when week after week of only losing a half a pound, or worse, ZERO, I would lose hope and realize I was so far off my goals that I might as well just give up.


This year a friend posted on Facebook about seeking her 'word' for 2013.  She posted a link to this blog post to give further insight on what she was talking about.  I was intrigued.  I like the idea of the simplicity of one word.  For example, this friend explained that in a previous year her word for the new year was 'patience'.  There are many ways that patience could be exercised and developed during the course of the year.  Patience with our children.  Patience with our spouse.  Patience with the Lord when a prayer request we've been persistently praying for seems to continue to go unanswered.  Patience with ourselves.  Etc. and so on.

As I read through the above linked blog post a thought began to percolate in my head.  Being the verbose woman that I am, one word wouldn't suffice.  But I think I can manage to get by with a short phrase.



I picked up one of the books I got for my birthday earlier this month...the book I'll start the new year reading.  It is a book by Jen Hatmaker (check out her blog here) called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  It is about her family's experience battling back against "the machine of excess".  For seven months Jen and her family chose seven different areas of excess in their lives and made a plan to fight back against that excess and overindulgence.  Though I haven't yet read the book, the sentiment of it strikes a chord with me.  I don't think our family lives a particularly indulgent life.  As missionaries our income falls below the U.S. poverty line for a family of five.  We did handmade gifts for several of our children's gifts this Christmas, and re-gifted others.  But we still have plenty and live much better than the majority of the world.  There are areas of excess in my life.  Perhaps not so much monetary or material excess, but excess nonetheless.


So my phrase for 2013?  I actually stole it off the cover of Jen Hatmaker's 7 book.  I want 2013 to the year of my...

"mutiny against excess"

Immediately a related Scripture comes to mind--you probably know it, it goes like this:

"25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."   (Matthew 6:25-34)

The Bible talks here about battling excess...excess worry, materialism, selfishness, stress, etc.  And in 2013 I will battling against the excess in my life.  As people who live pretty simply to begin with, what sort of excess could I be talking about?  Well here are a few thoughts to start with...

A mutiny against the excess of...

*weight
*negative thoughts
*selfishness
*waste
*arguing
*fear
*media
*possessions
*time-wasters
*spending
*distractions
*food
*people-pleasing
*stress

Several of these are categories addressed by the book, and others are ones that are specific to me and/or my family.  I want to spend the next several days fleshing out a few specifics in regards to this new phrase for 2013 and how I hope to see it play out in my life.  I'll update here - hopefully frequently - about my experience during my 'mutiny against excess' experience of 2013.



HAPPY NEW YEAR!



Monday, December 3, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: The Top 10 Edition

Since I'm slowly getting back into blogging, I'll take the easy road on my Weekly Wrap Up this week!  As I sit here thinking over my week, both the positives and negatives come at me in bullet point fashion...so that is how it shall come at you too.  Shall we start with the good news or the bad?

Okay, we'll start with the bad - only it's not really bad...just least favorite (but still humorous in some instances)

The Top 10 Least Favorite Things About This Week

1.  Mountains of Laundry ... obviously laundry has to be done, and I don't mind doing the laundry (even though it involves hanging clothes on the clothesline and a need to time things right to avoid the rain).  It's the folding of the laundry that KILLS me!  I make my big kids wash, dry and fold their own laundry (I call it learning life skills...), but the laundry that me, hubs and little one create is enough to put me over the edge!  As I type we have no less than 3 laundry baskets full of clean dry clothes and towels hidden away in my bedroom to be folded.  My approach to it follows the mantra of Scarlett O'Hara... "I'll think about that tomorrow"

2.  Stinky Dogs ... my big dog has gotten much stinkier since he became an outdoor dog - including his breath (which I admit was not stellar to begin with).  But oohweee, I love to snuggle with the cuddly fella, but I can't handle the stench!  Dog baths are already on the to-do list for Saturday morning...


Stinky Boys 
3.  Mosquitoes ... one would think that with living in the tropics, I'd be immune to the mosquitoes by now!  The reality is, I don't think mosquitoes here are nearly as bad as they are in Minnesota in the summer!  But recently a new batch of mosquitoes have hatched around here that are ruthless!  (this is especially concerning since dengue fever has had an epidemic year in PR...I spend my afternoons going around the yard and tipping over anything with standing water).

4.  Dead Iguanas - our big stinky dog (see #2) is a born killer.  Though he is sweet and affectionate to most humans, he instantly turns into a vicious killer when an iguana enters the yard.  Once he catches it he won't let it go until he is assured it is dead.  This last week he killed 5!  Poor son has to dispose of them into the ravine next door to try and keep the decaying smell away from the house.  But when the wind is just right....pewww!


The Iguana Disposer
5.  My Child's Hickey!  - Yes, I have two teenagers, but thankfully this hickey doesn't belong to either one of them.  Unfortunately the young one just learned (today, as a matter of fact) what happens when suction is applied to the skin.  She decided to mindlessly suck on her arm while she was reading...and then came screaming to me wondering what happened to her arm!  I wonder how many people I'll have to explain her big reddish-blueish-purpleish 'bruise' to at church tonight...


Thankfully it faded fast!
6.  Colorful Dogs - I have a 7 year old, 13 year old and 15 year old.  Why then did I find our little white dog colored on with blue magic marker?  (one guess as to which child decided to express their creativity on this living canvas...)


I'm Blue! (da ba dee ba da ba daba DEE daba da)
7.  Turkey - Actually I love turkey...but after eating it for probably 15 out of 21 meals since last Thanksgiving, I was sick of it!  We had Turkey Noodle Soup, Turkey and Rice Soup, Turkey Sandwiches, Turkey Bowls and more.  Tasty, but glad it's done.

8.  Apathy - my own apathy bothers me as much as anyone else's.

9.  Black birds - Ugh, we have a ton of small black birds that like to raid our dog's food bowls and poop all over our outdoor furniture.  We've recently moved our homeschooling back outside now that it is 'cooler' and that tends to keep the birds away!

10.  Unfair Treatment - It's crazy that girls and women in some parts of the world are shunned from their villages and forced to miss school or work for an entire week EVERY MONTH, simply for lack of access to quality feminine hygiene supplies!  (Thankfully I have friends in the area that work to provide resources for such women - through an organization called Days for Girls.  I was able to help with one 'sewing party' a few months ago...hope to help again soon!)


That's me in the green, sewing liners for the shells

Now on to the GOOD part!


Top 10 Best Things About This Week

1.  My husband making breakfast, dinner, coffee and washing dishes SEVERAL times this week...for no reason other than wanting to help his family get off to a good start in the morning!

2.  My kids' new love of hunting annoying blackbirds (see post #9 above) with their homemade bows and arrows!


Hunter-Gatherers
3.  Creating abstract art with the kiddos and celebrating their creativity!


Laura's masterpiece
4.  Having "girl talk" conversations initiated by my 13 year old...I'm glad she feels comfortable talking with me about whatever is on her mind!

5.  Seeing said 13 year old still wanting to play with toys (under the guise of playing with her little sister, of course).  I want to keep her heart young and innocent as long as possible!

6.  Getting EVERY.SINGLE.ITEM on our homeschool lesson plans completed this week for all three kids.  This has happened exactly ZERO times since we moved to Puerto Rico, so I'm definitely celebrating it!

7.  The way that God brings together believers of all walks of life and stages of faith for good discussion.  I enjoyed an interactive discussion on Acts 2:42-47 with friends just the other night!

8.  Sam's Club "Tres Carnes" (3 Meat) Pizza.  $10 bucks to feed the entire family something other than turkey that no one had to cook is definitely good news!

9.  The fact that I have ALL the ingredients in my kitchen RIGHT NOW to make caramel apple cheesecake bars (which you can find on my scrumptious Pinterest boards . . . or go directly to the recipe from Lulu the Baker!)

10.  That we received news that some of our favorite peeps books tickets to visit in January, meaning we'll have visitors with us for half the month of January (yes, that is a good thing...though it does guarantee that #6 will not be happening either of those weeks!).


The post has been linked to the Weekly Wrap-Up over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.





Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tyranny of the Meaningful

Wow, it's been 11 months since my last post!  Crazy to think it's been that long, since I think of blog post ideas nearly every day!  The reality is, I love to write.  I may not be exceptional at it, but I find it is a sort of therapy for me.  A way to organize my thoughts, to share with the world, to vent, to wax eloquent...

But yet 11 months pass without a single blog post from me.  Why does that happen if I enjoy it so much?

Life.

Life gets in the way.  Life like this...

Traffic Jams 

Health & Fitness

Vacation

Family Celebrations

Sickness

Road Trips

Car Accidents

Playtime

Family
 Obviously not all these distractions are bad.  In fact, a lot of them are good!  I love spending time with my family.  I love that I get the opportunity to homeschool my kids.  I love the ministries I'm involved with and of course I love days at the beach!  I love the program I'm in right now to work towards my Masters degree, I (usually) love cooking dinner for our family and researching ways to live economically and eat healthily, and of course I love family celebrations (like the recent wedding of my little bro!).  I don't love traffic jams, car accidents, sickness or any other trials that come our way - though they are a reality of life.

In a Bible study I was in several years ago, we discussed the concept of the "tyranny of the urgent".  The tyranny of the urgent is the idea that we spend all our time doing, doing, doing - busy, busy, busy - but for what?  What do we have to show for always responding to the urgent, filling our schedules with activities and our to-do lists with tasks?  We are responding to the urgent with lightening speed...but is the urgent truly important?  The tyranny of the urgent is a trap that beckons us to stay busy, to keep ourselves so overly occupied and scheduled that we don't ever decompress.  We don't ever process life.  We don't ever spend time evaluating what we are spending our time and energies on.  And thus days, weeks, months and even years pass and we look back and wonder where the time went...why the passions that God has given us to serve or use our gifts and abilities for good continue to go unused or underused.

The tyranny of the urgent.

What if we turned it around and made our lives revolve around the tyranny of the meaningful.  Rather than filling up our schedules and to-do lists with 'one more thing', let's empty them as much as we can so we can have room for the meaningful.  Room to respond to a friend or neighbor in need.  Room to devote time and energy to a cause or ministry we are passionate about.  Room to really spend time with our families - not just sit in the same room together while we are all connected to different electronic devices.  Room to put effort into developing an ability or gift that we want to develop.  Room to write cards to people instead of e-mails or Facebook statuses.  Room to read for fun.

Tyranny of the meaningful.

I like the sounds of that.




(PS - the concept of 'tyranny of the urgent' was introduced to me through THIS Bible Study series from NavPress that I highly recommend for foundations of the Christian faith.  However it appears the term was originally introduced to the world through an author named Charles Hummel who published a booklet by the same name in 1967.)




Monday, December 26, 2011

Making Over Me: The Sequel!

When I first started this blog, it was intended to be a journal of my weight loss journey.  And I journaled that journey here...until I stopped that journey.  Why did I stop?  No real reason.  One goal I had made for myself way back when was to run in a 5K.  I trained for that 5K (using THIS program) and I completed my goal.  Along the road to completing that goal, I lost 20 pounds or so.  I was feeling good, looking better.  But then it was as if reaching that goal signified the end.  When in reality I was far from it.  I stopped working daily and soon my eating habits were back to their old destructive selves.  And I gained back the 20 odd pounds I had lost.  I didn't do a great job of "Making Over Me".

Later I thought about changing the name of this blog, because I was still blogging here on occasion, but it was mainly family life and day to day occurrences.  But then I started thinking about it.  Whether it is weight loss, growing in my faith, or working towards other goals, daily I am, in some way, making myself over day by day.

Over the last month or so, I believe the Lord has impressed upon my heart the word "Purposeful".  Through a Bible Study I am in with other women, God brought the perspective of being 'purposeful' to my mind.  As I have mulled over that thought, I have decided to make my goal for 2012 to be about being more "purposeful" in many ways.  I want to be more purposeful with my time.  More purposeful with my words - what I say to others.  More purposeful in the choices I make overall.  And more purposeful with my health.

So, I'm kicking off the 'Making Over Me' sequel!  But it won't just focus on weight loss...and it won't always focus on my efforts to be more purposeful.  Sometimes it'll just be a post about a funny thing my daughter said, or something I read or saw that I want to pass on.

A gift I believe I've been given, and something that I want to hone in 2012 and beyond, is my love of writing.  Therefore I will be writing more.  On this blog, and hopefully on a novel that has been 'in the works' (in my head) for years!  Time for it to be put into action!

Stay tuned my friends!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Fresh Homemade Lemonade

In our new casa, there are several fruit trees.  We've got grapefruit, mandarin orange, mango and lemon.  There is also an avocado in the growing process, but it probably won't start producing fruit for another year, as it is still a baby.

But out of all of the trees, the one that continues producing all year round is the lemon tree.  Daily there are new lemons reading to be picked.  These aren't the big bright yellow ones you can buy in the produce section at the grocery store.  These are smaller, round and only turn a very soft pastel yellow...but can be used while they are light green in color too.

We had several lemons that had accumulated in our fruit bowl, as the kids had been going by the tree daily to check for ripe lemons.  Truly some that they had picked were not yet ripe, but I wanted to find a use for all those lemons (and the lemons to come...)!

Of course, lemonade came to mind.  But I've made fresh lemonade before and usually what happens is the lemonade comes out bland and watered down, with a sludge of sugar that sank to the bottom at the bottom of my glass.

So I decided to look up 'recipes' for lemonade.  I found this one at Simply Recipes.  OF COURSE!  Why didn't I realize that I needed to dissolve my sugar in order to keep it from sinking to the bottom and creating the 'sugar sludge'.  So here's a pictorial of our homemade lemonade creation.

Our lemon tree outside in the yard.  The lemons in the tree are still green, not ready to be picked...

But once they turn light yellow, like this, they are ready!

I squeezed 7 lemons in order to get just barely 1 cup of lemon juice!

While I was squeezing lemons, I had one cup of water and 3/4 cup of sugar boiling on the stove, to dissolve the sugar.  The recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, but it also said we could reduce the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup if desired.  I figured we get plenty of sugar in our diets, so why not cut back a bit?

The leftover lemons after all the juice got squeezed out of them!

The final steps, which I did not get pictures of, were to combine the lemon juice (I poured it through a strainer into the pitcher in order to strain out seeds), the boiled sugar/water mixture, and 3-4 cups of cold water to dilute.  Refrigerate until cold, then top off the pitcher with some ice and slices of freshly cut lemon if available.   



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weekly Homeschool Wrap Up: My First Ever!


I haven't written any blogs about homeschooling recently...mostly because we haven’t actually started full school yet.  I know, appalling, right?  But that is the beauty of homeschooling...the flexibility!
Now if you are new to my blog, don’t get concerned...I’m not a lazy homeschooling mom, unable to get into the swing of the new year!  Our family moved to Puerto Rico one month ago, and have been getting settled into the area in order to begin ministry to high-risk youth and young adults in the area.  We’ve found a permanent house to move into and will be moving into said house on October 1st...yay!  We’ve had a wonderful temporary furnished rental to stay in for the meantime.  But during all this time, all of our belongings, including the majority of our homeschool materials and curriculum, have remained in the moving pods we moved our belongings in.  We have the pods delivered to the new place on Sept. 30th, we unpack and move in on Oct. 1st and we will be starting OFFICIAL school on Oct. 3rd!  Only a month behind schedule...we’ll catch up!
But, like most homeschooling mamas out there, I couldn’t travel with my kids and not have some sort of educational materials with us!  The kids have been working through some grade level ‘challenge’ sort of workbooks since we left the ‘mainland’ in early August.  However in the last couple weeks I really needed to put together some sort of homeschool structure...especially since our main tasks of finding a car to buy and a house to rent had been accomplished.  

After consulting with my husband, we determined some skill areas that the kids are weak in and designed, in conjunction with their ‘challenge’ workbook, a homeschool structure designed to get them in the routine of school and help them work on some areas where they are still struggling to catch up to grade level in.
So with that in mind, here’s a walk through the various subjects we covered in our week this week!
Morning Board:

This "Morning Board" we go over all together every morning.  It is intended mainly as a tool for Sassafrass to learn how calendars work, ordinal numbers, counting, etc., but we all have a lot of fun with it.  Plus we've added in a little extra Spanish review work as part of the "Morning Board".  We are really liking this new routine and start to our day.  If you are interested in doing something similar, I found most of my printables through Mama Jenn and Homeschool Creations.

Thought I'd give ya a close up of the weather for the week.  Sunny, sunny, sunny - like usual!!


Math:
Both big kids fully grasp the concept of multiplication, but because they’ve been doing so much ‘catching up’ in that department, they haven’t had enough focus on getting their multiplication tables memorized.  So when they are asked a simple math problem, like 8 x 7, they have to take several minutes to figure out the answer.  Because we’ve been focusing on catching the kids up on concepts, we have focused less on rote memorization and more on making sure that they understood the concepts.  However, knowing ones times tables is an important and beneficial skill.  So Daddy gave them a challenge to memorize all their times tables 0-12.  

In addition to a few math concept pages in their workbooks, the two older ones worked hard on flashcards and some fun times table games I found HERE.  For the soon-to-be 1st grader, she was to be tested on her alphabet letters and numbers 1-30.  She already had her capital letters down pretty good, but was still getting confused on some lowercase letters.  Numbers she knew verbally through 20, but by recognition only through 10.  We found some fun printables to challenge her in these areas HERE.

History:
I’m putting together a year long ‘elective’ study of the history, people and culture of Puerto Rico.  I call it elective b/c it will be over and above the history program that comes with our curriculum.  But it is not truly elective b/c my children have no choice in whether or not they attend the class/do the work!  ;)  It has been fun to begin to learn more about the country of Puerto Rico and the history - some of which is a painful history replete with situations where the national people of Puerto Rico have been victimized by other nations many times over.  But it is also a history rich with storytellers, art, music and culture.  So far we are using these two books:

One is actually a coloring book, but it has a lot of child friendly pictures and information based on the culture and history of Puerto Rico.  The other is a Spanish textbook about the history of Puerto Rico.  I’m reading it in advance, both to learn and to challenge my Spanish reading and comprehension, but also to learn about the history and culture of PR.  I then re-tell the history to the kids.  This week in particular we learned about the capital of Puerto Rico - San Juan.  Did you know that when Christopher Columbus discovered and subsequently named the island, he originally name the capital city ‘Puerto Rico’ and named the island ‘San Juan’?  But somehow the message was later reversed and that is how the island was named Puerto Rico instead.  The Taino (the original island inhabitants prior to the discovery of PR by the Europeans) name for the island was Boriken and Puerto Ricans often today will still refer to themselves are Boricuas - paying homage to their ancestral roots!
Science:

Okay, we aren’t doing any formal science right now, but since we are staying right across the street from the Atlantic Ocean, there is some informal science happening every day!  For example, nearly daily the kids will find and capture hermit crabs and create a habitat for them.  This has spurred discussions on habitat and questions from the kids on things like “What do hermit crabs eat?” and “Do hermit crabs poop?” (that came from the boy...) and random questions like “Is a platypus poisonous?” (still have to Google that one...).  We also love exploring the exposed reef along the shore, looking for crabs, and discussing the various forms of sea plants we see there - we are especially intrigued by the black sea urchins with the red center!

Spanish:

With the move to Puerto Rico, we’ve had to step up our Spanish language acquisition.  We’ve been doing Rosetta Stone Spanish for the past year back in MN and though our two oldest are fluent in Spanish, they are a bit rusty in speaking.  Plus Robert, Sassafrass and I are still learning more every day.  However our Rosetta Stone is packed (we get our pods delivered next week - hooray!!), so our Spanish language work has been more informal.  I try to keep to the premise of only speaking Spanish amongst ourselves when we are out and about in the community.  Sometimes we’ll launch into informal conversations in Spanish around the house and my favorite game is to say things in Spanish and have the older two kids translate for little Sassafrass.  

Language Arts:
Language Arts is the area where my kids are probably weakest...in all areas of L.A.  So we’ve focused most of our homeschool time on work on subjects such as grammar, spelling, writing and reading.  Their workbooks are heavily loaded with these topics, which is why I chose those particular workbooks.  However we’ve also used flashcards (homophones/synonyms/antonyms for the older two;  sight words for Sassafrass) and brought back our weekly spelling test.  Sassafrass had her first ever spelling test and she did great - 100% A+ with a sticker!


P.E.:


'Nuff said.  :)


Socialization:  (hahahahaha!)





My Homeschool "Room"...:

...is actually a 'homeschool cooler with a buncha stuff piled on it'...
T-minus 5 days til our move!  I won't get a homeschool room then, 
but I will get much better organization!

This next week we are moving out of the temporary rental home into our more permanent rental home.  We are excited to have our pods delivered, have more clothes to wear than the few pairs we’ve been wearing over and over again for the past 3 months, and have all of our homeschool materials and books!

Linking up for the first time ever to the Weekly Wrap Up that Kris hosts every Friday over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.