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Ordinary & Holy

My boys were sick last weekend.  First Ezra, on Saturday morning and then Isaac through Saturday night and on Sunday (and randomly on Monday night… at the top of McDonald’s play place…).  I hate when my children are sick but I feel so connected to them as their mother as I care for them during such a vulnerable time of need.  Cleaning up their germy mess, holding them close to make them feel better, and sometimes even sleeping with them (like I did on Saturday with Isaac since he’s too young to have any control when he’s sick) — it’s all a risk to my own health and yet I do it for them — because I’m their mom.  They are sick and vulnerable and needing someone and I get to be that person for them.

I can’t help but think about how God loves us so much that he came down from Heaven into our sinful mess and cleaned us up.  He touched the lepers, he dined with “sinners” (aren’t we all?”).  God sacrificed his Son for usbecause he’s our dad.

I’m learning a lot right now about the normal stuff, the sacred mundane, the extraordinary in the ordinary.  I’m learning how fighting back against the waves of messes, the mountains of dishes and laundry, breaking up of fights and diffusing arguments, taking care of my little ones when they are sick and when they are healthy… This is the holy work I’ve been given and I forget that almost every day.

I’m praying that I’ll start to remember that these moments are holy, and that I won’t grumble and complain about the work that God has given me, the very work I asked for… And to be thankful for every moment.  Even if that means climbing to the very top of the McDonald’s playplace in front of everyone to retrieve my sick little one, pull him close to me and slide down together.

My Ezra

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It was a beautiful day today so we went out to the park as a family.  On the way home, Ezra asked if he could sit in Isaac’s seat in the stroller, and he wanted me to turn the seat around so he could face me.  On our walk home I asked, “Ezra, who is your best friend?”

“Eva,” he responded in a sweet voice, looking up at me with a coy expression.  ”And Snowflake,” he added and then thought for a moment.  ”I have two best friends.”

Me: “Aww, that’s so sweet, Ezra, that Eva and Snowflake are your best friends.”

Ezra: “Yes, thank you, Mommy, for getting Snowflake for us.”

This is just one example from this week of how sweet my Ezra is.  Of course he isn’t always sweet and sometimes drives me crazy (when he teases his brother and makes him scream) but I can’t believe what a nice little gentleman he has turned out to be.  I want to bottle up his radiant smile and the light in his eyes; these are the moments I want to remember always.

Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker – Book Review



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I have read Lisa-Jo’s blog for some time now and I have participated in her Five Minute Friday challenge, and I was absolutely thrilled when she announced that she would be having a fourth baby: a book. Lisa-Jo writes with the love, the wisdom and the gentleness of someone who genuinely cares. Lisa-Jo paints beautiful word pictures of all that is wonderful in life, but also what is painful, and she does so in such a way that you see the wonder that is there too in the pain.

This book is Lisa-Jo’s very heart, and we get to hold it in our hands, open it up and take a good look inside. This is the story of her journey to motherhood, the girl who swore to never become a mother after her own mother passed away when she was just 18-years-old. A love story, a healing story, a Jesus-story — and it is beautifully written and inspiring.

Surprised by Motherhood” is the true what to expect when you’re expecting: Lisa-Jo removes any masks of perfection and shares her true feelings and true frustrations that often accompany motherhood. The things that we aren’t discussing at our moms and tots groups. She shares the wonderful things too, and her transparency gives all of us mothers a soft place to land. Lisa-Jo is a cheerleader for moms and believes that “motherhood should come with a superhero cape”. I have to agree with her.

I believe that “Surprised by Motherhood” is a timeless classic that will bring me joy to return to again and again; when my babies are grown it will be a reminder to me of the brutality and the beauty of these early days. And that “great love is always born from great sacrifice”. “Surprised by Motherhood” will be my baby shower go-to gift from now on.

(Also: I now see my huge need for South African tea time in my life. Thank you, Lisa-Jo.)

Restless – Jennie Allen – Book Review

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This isn’t a book, you guys, this is a journey. I’m serious. Have you ever felt like there’s just one way to be a Christian? Have you ever wished you could really passionately serve God but you just don’t seem to fit into “the way things are done”? Do you feel like you were made for something more in this life, more purpose, more passion than what you are living but you just can’t figure out how to get there? THIS BOOK, you guys.

Anyone who actually reads these reviews I post knows that I love Jennie Allen. I already have two of her bible studies and her book “Anything” and I recommend them to anyone. This girl has a transparent, spirit-led heart and she is just so real and relatable that it really does feel like you’re having an encouraging coffee with a friend. Jennie gives me courage to follow Christ more passionately because of the way she does, and how honestly she admits the ways she doesn’t.

But anyway, this book. Ok wait, let’s talk about “Anything” for a moment. “Anything” was about that prayer “God, we will do anything.” It was about completely surrendering your life to God, recklessly following after him with full abandon. I read that book, which led me to pray for Peter and I, about us fully living a sold-out “yes-life” for God again (saying yes even when it’s hard with full trust that God knows best”). I never told Peter I was praying for him, or for us, in that way, but a couple weeks later he called me from a youth conference, he walked out of one of the sessions to call me because his heart was so stirred and he felt like it was time for something new, something more. He was restless... This led to even more prayer, wrestling, seeking and eventually resulted in the planting of Northern Hills Church, which I know sounds like some neat-wrapped-up little story when I write it that way, but it has been one crazy spirit-led journey!

So, yeah, “Anything” had a pretty big impact on our lives. Northern Hills Church just had its third service this past Sunday. Enter “Restless”.  ”Restless” is the perfect follow-up for anyone who read “Anything“ or it is totally great on its own.  Like I said, it isn’t just a book, it is a journey.  It’s about how our gifts, passions, places, and relationships aren’t random, they are deliberate and meaningful, and not only that, but about how our suffering can actually be used for good, to give something back to the world.  Jennie takes you on a literal journey through your own life, who you are, the threads of your being and asks you to journal and sort through yourself with God so that you can see that you don’t have to fit into some cookie cutter image of what it looks like to be a Christian, but rather, see the plan that God has designed and dreamed for you.

Go get this book now, and start your journey towards a more purposeful life.  You don’t need to add anything to your to do list, you just need to stop and listen right where you are.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

February 6, 2014 - 12:04 am Jill Slywka - This sounds so good! I need to order a copy for myself!

February 6, 2014 - 3:17 pm Melanie - Hey Chelsey! These sound great! I just went on to the Library site to see if I could order them. I typed in Restless and 211 items came up! I guess we have a bit of a theme going on in the world! Then I typed in the author and found both it and Anything. I'm looking forward to reading them!

One Word for 2014: Peter

The new year.  All around me I saw people choosing words to be the banner over their 2014 — words like hope, dream, balance… I thought about it for a bit and wrinkled my nose, deciding that I wouldn’t be choosing a word this year.  I do have goals for this year that I hope to accomplish, but I felt too much pressure picking something that I might end up not even being able to do at all.

But then I saw a post that really piqued my interest.  Sarah Mae (who wrote Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe) wrote a post about how she was making her husband her word for 2014.  Wow, I thought to myself.  Now there’s a word for 2014.  I mentally cheered her on, and clicked away to the next thing in my feed.

I had no intention of picking a word, but after reading Sarah Mae’s post, I kept turning the idea over and over in my mind and my heart.  A few days later, I read Glennon’s post about how “happily ever after is not a thing” and how “you have to start over every day” and THIS:

“Sometimes I feel like marriage is more a constant relationship with myself than it is with Craig.  I’ve learned to quit listing things he could do to be a better partner and ask myself instead what I can do to be a better partner. If I get stuck in comparison induced self-pity and start feeling like others have better love affairs than mine- I don’t need to look for another person to love, I just need to start actively loving the person I already have. Because love is not something to wait for or hope for or look for –it’s something to DO. Do not measure your marriage by how much love you feel today- measure it by how much love you’ve offered today.  When you don’t feel love – DO LOVE. Feelings follow doing, not the other way around. Lasting, True Love is not about being swept off your feet. Sometimes love is just sweeping the kitchen and being grateful that there is a kitchen and a partner who is contractually obligated to share it with you forever.”

After that, I just knew that I needed to make this year #HusbandYear.  I knew “Peter” had to be my word for 2014.

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I experienced divorce first-hand when I was 4.  Divorce is not something that just happens and is over, it affects you for the rest of your life.  I still feel the effects of my parents divorce at 29-years-old.  The next first-hand divorce I experienced was that of my father and his second wife, when I was 21, and last year, my mom and her husband’s marriage began publicly crumbling as well.  I am deeply saddened by all of this and even more fiercely determined to cultivate, to nurture, to tend to my marriage.  Right now, my marriage is in a good place.  It is hard to imagine that Peter and I could ever be at that point — but I know too many people who have experienced their own divorces or intense marriage struggles, and never would’ve thought it would be them either.

Peter and I are currently in the busiest, craziest time of our life with three littles, homeschool and oh yeah, planting a brand new church that is about to launch in T-10 days.  I couldn’t get it out of my head that there is no better year than this year to really pour intention and devotion into my marriage.  Though I have other roles within our new church, I really feel that my main role is to support Peter in whatever way that I can so that he is able to lead the church.  Sometimes that means taking care of things at home, sometimes that means literally supporting him by working alongside him, helping make decisions, being a sounding board, etc.  I am going to take it even further than that, and try hard to do little things to build him up this year, whether it’s bringing him a latte and an encouraging note in the afternoon when he’s working, planning special dates for us, rubbing his shoulders, picking him up a little something that he’d like from the store, praying fervently for him, etc.  More than just doing things for him, I’m going to lean into scripture and remind myself what God’s plan for marriage is and what his plan for wives is.

Here are some places I’m tapping into:

Please share in the comments if you are making your husband your word for 2014 and any plans you have for the year!  I’d love to hear more ideas of things we can do to be good wives to our husbands.

January 9, 2014 - 12:34 pm Mama - Great thoughts Chelsey and wonderful words about being instead of expecting in our marriages. I had many if these kinds of conversations with my mom in love, marge. I am in. My word is Kerry and he is amazing so I join you in the hourney if helping our hubbies know they are lived unconditionally beyond reason and that they rock. I love you Chelsey. Praying for our men is the best and greatest thing we can do. Hug.

January 31, 2014 - 10:49 am Melanie - Wow, this is right where I'm at right now. God has made it clear to me very recently that my husband is my ministry this year. And possibly my only ministry, except for my kids of course! What a blessing for your husband that you would choose to do this in a season of life that is busy but also where your marriage is already good! God will bless both of you for your obedience and reverence of marriage. We also never thought that marriage difficulties would happen for us! We were happily married for 15 years before things really got hard. For us, this is our toughest time in our marriage so far. For awhile I could only see what 'he' wasn't doing in and for our marriage. Now God has gotten my attention and has shown me that it's not about that. God wants me to change, not so that my husband will change, but because God wants to work on me and wants my obedience. He wants my obedience so that he can bless my husband through me. He's not guaranteeing that my husband will change though! That's the hard part, to have the right intentions all the time for what I'm doing. God before husband! So my word for this year will be 'husband'! May God bless you and your family!

January 31, 2014 - 10:55 am Melanie - I forgot to say that the ideas that God's given me as to how to be a good wife to my husband have mostly been coming from a blog I follow: www.peacefulwife.com In the past when I've read the scriptures pertaining to respecting and submitting to our husbands, I thought that I was already doing that. After reading many of the posts on this blog I realize that I have been unknowingly disrespectful to my husband in SO many ways! This is my assignment for this year: how to be respectful to my husband!

The 21-Day Sugar Detox – Book Review

As many of you know I have been on a health journey for the last while (since April 2012) and have been working at getting myself healthier in the kitchen and stronger in the gym (er, living room).  Mostly what I do is try to eat as clean as possible, and exercise regularly.  While I have never committed 100% to paleo, I do base a lot of how I eat on the rules of that lifestyle, trying to choose the most nutritious foods as possible, with the majority of foods being vegetables, complemented with a good portion of animal protein, and some fruits (I do eat grains, dairy and legumes occasionally).

Sometimes, I really need a reset and so I like to regularly challenge myself to give up certain foods for a certain amount of times to challenge my relationship with food and to get myself back on track.  Last May, I decided I’d give the 21-Day Sugar Detox a try.  At this time, it was an e-book program and I was able to complete 17 days of the challenge before I went away for May Long Weekend.  When I saw that Diane Sanfilippo (New York Times best-selling author of Practical Paleo, another book I highly recommend) was turning the 21-Day Sugar Detox into a print book, I was pretty excited and even more thrilled to be able to receive a copy to review and give the program another try!

What I love about this program is that there are three different levels, so anyone can truly participate!  This book is FULL of simple and straightforward information on how to naturally bust your sugar and carb cravings and is based on real, whole, nutrient-dense foods — no supplements or magic formulas to purchase here.

This book is huge on information but small enough to carry along with you in your purse so that you always have it on hand while you are participating in the program.  The 21-Day Sugar Detox is made up of three sections:

  1. Program Basics: how to prepare, what to expect, and where to find support
  2. Program levels and meal plans, including modifications for nursing or pregnant moms and athletes, pescetarians, and those with auto-immune conditions.  (The first level also includes full-fat dairy, if you aren’t ready to give everything up!)
  3. Recipes: over 90 easy recipes that are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and, Paleo-friendly.

You might be thinking, “gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free… how good can these recipes be!?” – but I think you will be surprised!  Granted, if you are where I was just over a year ago and fully on the Standard American Diet made up mostly of grains and processed food, then eating real, whole foods might take your taste-buds some time to get used to but it is one of the best gifts you can give yourself to push through and give real food a chance!  It has honestly changed my life for the better!

Some of my favorite recipes from the program are: coco-monkey smoothie; carrot pumpkin spice muffins; mustard-glazed chicken thighs; smoky chicken tortilla-less soup (seriously SO good, even Peter wanted to eat it and he doesn’t even like soup!  I didn’t share, I was on the detox and he wasn’t, sorry dear!); not-sweet cinnamon cookies (good with a spread of almond butter on top!); and moo-less chocolate mousse.  There are so many recipes in the book that I didn’t get to try them all yet, so you will have more than enough to try out during your 21 days!  Diane is also releasing a companion cookbook soon that is all recipes, so you’ll definitely have to check that out as well!

So if your New Years’ Resolution is to eat more vegetables or to tame that sugar dragon, I definitely recommend giving the 21-Day Sugar Detox a try!  You will learn so much about how food affects you, your relationship with food, and you might even surprise yourself with how much you start to enjoy eating vegetables and other whole foods!

Check out the 21-Day Sugar Detox website here.
Check out Diane’s website, Balanced Bites, here (for tons of information even beyond the 21-Day Sugar Detox).

 

 

January 31, 2014 - 11:09 am Melanie - This sounds like a great book! I have been on a health journey myself and God has taught me a lot in this last year. My journey started unfortunately because I was already 'unhealthy'. I had been diagnosed and living with a disease for a couple of years. I was on so many medications and wasn't really present in my life because of them. About a year ago God spoke to me about it, he told me that I didn't have to be a victim to my disease that there was something I could do to be a part of the healing God wanted to do. It was okay for me and others to pray for healing but God wanted me to have an active role as well. So initially he showed me that I needed to completely cut out sugars and wheat. Later in the journey he showed me that it was time to cut out grains completely as well. Well I'm only telling you all this to say that such diet changes, whichever ones God leads you to make, can change a persons life. I am now off all 8 of my medications and feel like I'm actually present in my relationships again. I feel so much better and my body continues to heal from the damage of the disease. There was also an exercise component and spinal care involved with this as well as minimizing the toxins in my life but the diet changes were HUGE for my healing! Thanks for sharing about your journey with food! I would say that previously I would have been considered a sugar addict!

Isaac’s Words

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Last night the kids and I spent some time watching some of the videos I posted to facebook of them.  Agh.  It is so fun to have those little clips to look back on of the kids at different times in their lives.  I’m not a huge video person, so I don’t take a lot and I post even less, and the ones that we have taken just sit on discs somewhere, not even watched.  How sad is that?  Even worse, I’m a photographer but I haven’t printed any personal photos since BEFORE Eva was born.  Oh my.  I’m overwhelmed thinking of all the work I need to do (and money to spend) on getting the last 7 years of photos printed.

All that being said, I was reminded yet again of how quickly these days and moments and childhoods are going by so I wanted to start blogging more of our lives again, to keep track of things a bit better.

It is amazing to me how much English Isaac could understand before he could speak.  For some time now, I’ve been able to give him instructions and he will completely understand and follow through… although, as he approaches two, the follow-through is happening less and less…

I digress.  Slowly, Isaac is starting to speak and I wanted to document some of his little words before I completely forget all of them!

Isaac’s Words (22 months)

mama, dada, no, ow, uh-oh

googa – for cookie, going to the pantry door and asking me for googas all day long now

oh boo – while holding his bottom, to let me know he did you-know-what

gunn – a true hunter’s son… sigh.

goalllllllll – every time he sees sports on TV

back-it-bah – basketball (this one impresses me, for a 22 month old)

gehn – again

bah – just a plain ball

vroom – any vehicle

baba – puppy especially but also other animals or human babies

deeeee – cheese, when he wants cheese or unfortunately when i hold up a camera (how do they learn this!?)

wawa – water

soo – soother

ma – mine

ow dah – all done

bubbo – bubble

dohhhh – toast

geeko – motorcycle

mom-oh – nemo, used for fish

Someday I’m gonna really miss all his little baby words and I’ll be really glad I have this list.

(Picture is from July, and he has marshmallow on his face.)

9th Anniversary

This past October 2, Peter and I celebrated our 9th anniversary.  I was not expecting anything to happen, we’ve both been very busy and we both aren’t very high maintenance.  Besides, next year is the big T-E-N so I was thinking “it’s totally fine if we don’t really do anything for our anniversary this year because next year he better be taking me to Paris” (so much for not high maintenance!).

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Peter got up with the kids and let me sleep in on our special day (that was basically enough of a gift in my mind, sleep is more precious than rubies to me) but then he came and woke me up around 8 and said I should get ready to go out for breakfast and that our friend, Hope, would be here soon to watch the kids.  I quickly did so and was excited because going out for breakfast is such a treat for parents.  We went to Cora’s, which has been so hyped up to me over the years and I hate to say that I was disappointed.  The food was fine and my handsome hubby was wonderful company, but seriously why are people so obsessed with Cora’s?  Felt similar to a Smitty’s to me, or any other chain restaurant like that.  Sorry, Cora.

Because I was so not expecting anything to happen on our anniversary, the day before I booked a hair appointment for myself for 11:30 (I hadn’t had my hair cut in over two years so it was definitely time!) and so I went off to that shortly after we got home from Cora’s.  I came home, frightened my husband with how short it was (way shorter than the picture I showed the stylist but what can ya do?) and went upstairs to put Isaac to sleep.  When I came back downstairs there were some unfamiliar boots at the front door and I soon discovered that my friend, Stefi, had come over to babysit for us.  More surprises!  Turns out she was the first in a string of three other babysitters who would come and Peter had planned a day trip to Lake Louise and Banff for us!  I grabbed a warm coat, my camera and off we went!  (I love surprises.)

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We did a long walk around beautiful Lake Louise and had an amazing, uninterrupted, talk!  Then we went into Banff for supper.  We ate at Giorgio’s for supper which is where we first ate on our honeymoon and then again when we went to Banff for a couple of nights for our anniversary three years ago.  Then we headed over to a French restaurant (can’t remember the name right now!) for creme brulee (which we also ate three years ago  on our anniversary trip but is also a nod to our engagement, which took place in Paris).

If I have to own a mini-van with anyone, I’m glad it’s this guy.  Love our life.banff_1 banff_2

November 2, 2013 - 6:30 pm Kait - Yes! Mini vans are pretty awesome when we get to share them with such awesome men. Your trip looked like such a great time.

February 15, 2014 - 11:25 pm Elise Hoeppner - You are a beautiful couple! Love your blog, Chelsey!

Halloween 2013

Last night was Halloween and naturally my kids have been looking forward to it since November 1, 2012.  Eva plans and replans her costume all year long.  I have so many fond memories of trick-or-treating around the small town where I grew up and it is a lot of fun to see the kids all dressed up and so excited about such a simple thing as candy.

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This was Isaac’s first year trick-or-treating and at first I just pushed him around in the stroller but eventually I let him get out and go up to the door with his little bucket for candy as well.  I knew he’d be hooked after that, and I was right.  He loved going from door to door, holding out his little bucket for candy, and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over all the decorations coupled with excited pointing.

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Peter and I decided to do something different this year and along with handing out candy we also prepared huge pots of hot chocolate and apple cider to pass out too chilled parents and kids.  Peter manned the candy and drinks while I took the kids around (which was another change this year, I haven’t gone out since Eva was two!) but I was still able to take part a little bit in meeting some of our neighbors and getting to know them better.  Not only did we get to reconnect with the neighbors that we had already met but we got to know some neighbors who have been living across the cul-de-sac from us all this time but we have had the chance to chat with, as well as many others who live all around us.

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What a happy Halloween!

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Eva’s Grade 2 Homeschool 2013-2014

I wrote about Ezra’s curriculum and our first day of school, so now I am going to share about what Eva is doing this year in Grade 2!

Let met tell you, I tossed and turned for months over what school/curriculum to go with for Eva this year.  I’d been looking into Sonlight, School of Hope, and Ambleside Online.  I came full circle and finally decided to register Eva with the School of Hope and to supplement with some classical curriculum from the book The Well-Trained Mind.

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Here is a glimpse at where I store all of my homeschool supplies: binders, curriculum books, art supplies, math manipulatives, etc.  It is actually a scrapbooking cart that I got on clearance at Michaels.

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I store Eva’s binders up on the shelf and then each drawer on the right of the cart holds her workbooks for various subjects.

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One of my goals for this homeschool year was to be organized.  We sorted all the markers, pencils, crayons, pencil crayons, and the glue & scissors and put them each into their own clear (except for one) school supplies container that I bought at Dollarama (of course, where else?).  They are all stored in the larger top drawer on the left of the cart.  The next drawer holds a container of various math manipulatives and the bottom drawer holds various other art supplies.

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I chose my own bible curriculum and we are reading through the Jesus Storybook Bible on the iPad (I got it for really cheap one day, like $3).  I love this bible.  Even in all the Old Testament stories, it always points to Jesus and really clarifies a lot of details that would be harder for young children to grasp.  It also has beautiful pictures.  I hope to get this in print some day!  After we read our bible story, Eva spends some time journaling what she remembers most or what stood out to her.  I love watching that part!  We are also going through Leading Little Ones to God (which helps to nurture a child’s personal relationship with God) and I Heard Good News Today (which shares various missionary stories).   I also am really interested in going through Our 24 Family Ways but I haven’t worked it into our routine yet.  I love Sally & Clay Clarkson and it looks like an awesome resource.

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Every night before bed, I’ve been getting Eva to draw in her journal about her day.  She then dictates to me and I write down what she said.  Eventually I will get her writing it on her own, but she still gets very overwhelmed when she has to write for a long time so for now I’m doing it for her.

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The first picture shows Eva’s three binders, divided up by subjects.  The second picture shows what we are using for Language Arts.  We received a full Alberta curriculum from the School of Hope, so they sent Modern Curriculum Press Plaid Phonics, Spelling Power and the Step Out reader which is the first reader in a set of three.  They also send Home Educator’s Guides for every subject so I know exactly what to say and how to teach each lesson for each subject!  It makes it very simple for me!  I decided to add First Language Lessons For The Well-trained Mind Level 1-2nd Ed and Complete Writer Writing With Ease Level 1 Workbook as recommended from the Well-Trained Mind (you should definitely check out WTM if you are interested in classical homeschooling!).  Lastly, for Social we are using Our World: Canadian Communities (as supplied by School of Hope) and we are studying ancient history by going through The Story Of The World (as recommended by the Well Trained Mind).  I am super excited to learn all about the story of the world, and so far the book is really awesome.

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We have a huge basket of library books and Eva is quickly filling up her reading log.  I can’t believe how fast she can read now!  Most of the books in here are seasonal, but we will soon be adding some that supplement our world history curriculum.

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We are also reading the third book in the Little House on the Prairie series, which goes by the same title.  And we are trying our hand at lapbooks for the first time!  I’m excited to see this come together.  Usually I read a chapter at bedtime, and once the boys are asleep (Eva gets to stay up a bit later than them) then she will get to fill our her lapbook pages.

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This is another cart that i got on clearance at Michaels, for only $17.50!  It’s mostly full of various educational toys for Isaac and Ezra to play with during school.  The basket on top holds various encyclopedias and other educational books.

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I got one of these locker totes from Target and keep most of my teacher books in there, at least ones I’m not really using yet.  At frst I was holding all of them in there but now I’m storing most of mine on the first cart.

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This is how I’m keeping myself organized this year.  I made myself a pretty little home management binder.  It’s my first time ever really having one of these so I’m sure I’ll be tweaking it, but for now, this is how it goes.  You can see that I’ve done a lot of menu planning so far…

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In addition, we are also going to be doing Nature Studies this year.  We haven’t done any yet, but this Friday we are heading out on our first nature walk and Eva will be picking up various natural items to research and artfully record in her Nature Journal.  We are using the Handbook of Nature Study (which I have on the iPad, but borrowed from the library) to learn more about our findings.

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I also bought this amazing chalkboard this is going to be hung in our kitchen where our beloved Tallinn picture is.  Don’t worry Tallinn, you will be moved to another spot in the house where we can still look at you and dream of when we will return!  I can’t wait to get my chalkboard hung up!

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And finally, here are some books I recommend you check out if you are interested in homeschooling.  They are all lovely.  (Educating the Wholehearted Child, The Well-trained Mind, and When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Masons Philosophy for Today.

I am by no means an expert on homeschooling but this is what our family is up to for this year!

 

September 25, 2013 - 7:48 pm Kait - Could your homeschool set up be a little more cute?! Love it!!

September 25, 2013 - 8:06 pm chelsey - Thank you, Kait!

September 26, 2013 - 9:54 am Ruth - We love Story of the World. I totally recommend the CD's that go with it. I love your organizing. It was easy with one last year, not so this year with three. Did you homeschool last year?

September 26, 2013 - 11:10 am chelsey - I homeschooled last year from January on. It is hard with the little ones around. This year I am also doing some preschool stuff with Ezra so I find myself spinning in circles a bit as I try to teach Eva, deal with the little brothers and show Ezra stuff too. I'm hoping it gets easier and easier as they get more and more used to the new routines -- and as I do too!

November 3, 2013 - 6:49 pm Haleigh Oberkirsch - Hey Chelsey! Such a cute home school set up! How is your home management binder working? Also, the math makes sense books are what we use in SK too. How do you like the workbook for Eva? H