Names have been changed to protect the innocent...and my husband...and me...but not the dog. His name is Dexter.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016're a homeschooler?!?

It's a question I hear a lot.  Some people are very surprised that we homeschool.  Other people aren't surprised at all.  I actually had people assume that we homeschooled on several occasions before we made the big leap.  Honestly, some days I fall on the surprised side of us homeschooling.  It was never something I planned on, that's for sure.

But let me go back a few years......

Imagine me, a cute little third grader back in 1980-something.  I knew of only one family that had taken their children out of public school so they could homeschool.  And I'm not gonna lie....they were weird.  Like, super weird.  That was my only personal experience with homeschoolers.

Fast forward ten years....I'm a freshman in college and my best friend had been homeschooled.  She was (and still is) far from weird.  People often question the social skills and experiences of homeschooled children.  She was the least socially awkward person I knew.  Quite the opposite really.  She was a social butterfly and pretty much knew everyone.  And still remembers most of them.  I barely even remember college. It's rather annoying.  Anyway, at the time I thought that her (and her family) must be an exception to the "homeschoolers are weird" rule.  Because, homeschoolers are weird, right?

Fast forward a few more years.  Let's say.....fifteen more years.  (I know! It's hard to believe I'm that old!  That math was upsetting.)  My sweet Lolly girl was a cute little first grader and I had just found out that the older kids at her elementary school were snorting over the counter drugs during recess.  In elementary school!  I was appalled. 

I happened to go to dinner with another friend who was a teacher and school administrator.  We were discussing my frustration and going over my options.  I was just at a loss.  I told her that I would love to homeschool my kids but I didn't want them to end up being weird!  She looked at me, laughed a little and said, "of course they wouldn't be weird because you're not weird!".

It was a total Oprah Ah Ha Moment. 

Those homeschool kids I had known when I was a kid were weird because they were weird.  It had nothing to do with homeschooling.  They were weird when they were in public school too.  Now, I'm sure they've grown up to be functional adults, even if they're still weird.  Let's call it quirky.  As an adult, I'm a lot more accepting of weird/quirky.  I've grown up to be a functional adult as well.  Most days.  And my friend from college was socially successful because she was raised by socially successful people. 

This Ah Ha Moment has gone on to help me in a variety of ways.  Not only in my journey toward transitioning to homeschool (which didn't happen for three more years) but also in my interactions since making the decision.  The socialization card is frequently played by those that don't agree with homeschooling and it's an easy way to make a new homeschool parent second guess themselves.  Or if they're like me, 472nd guess themselves.  It's a passive aggressive way of saying "you're totally messing up your kids by homeschooling them" since a child couldn't possibly have any social skills if they're not in public school.  But here's another little nugget of wisdom that has also helped me.

Forced association is not the same as socialization.

That's right.....association is just not the same as socialization.  And if you're planning on the public school system teaching your children all their social skills then you need to rethink that plan.  Teachers have more to do than they have time to do it all.  They are trying to work miracles in their classrooms where there just isn't enough money, time, teachers, resources to go around in order to teach all the core subjects.  They shouldn't have to worry about teaching social skills.  That's a parents job. 

Well, that was  a little more ranty than I had planned on.  I guess it's no surprise that I feel strongly about the parents role in parenting.  Mainly, I feel like parents should, ya know....parent.

So, here we are now....just a couple months left of our first year of homeschooling.  I have learned a lot.  I hope my girls have learned a lot.  It's so easy to get caught up in all the little details of school that's it's easy to forget the why. But the why is the most important part.

Why did I decide to homeschool anyway?  Sometimes I feel like it chose me more than I chose it.  It was just something always hanging out in the back of my mind, nagging me with the potential.  Last winter as I went back and forth trying to decide what was best for our family I often thought I had either lost my mind or was becoming so much more enlightened.  Was it possible that we could be happier not doing what everyone else was doing?  Could we really live a more fulfilling life if we ventured off the beaten path?  And maybe, just maybe.....not everyone is meant to go through life in the same way.  Maybe homeschooling could be amazing for us just like public schooling is amazing for some families and charter schooling is amazing for other families and private schooling is amazing for other families.  Maybe....there isn't only one right way to do everything.  And maybe that's okay.

Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. ~Steve Jobs 


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tap, tap, tap....Hello? How are you?

2015 has a new name at our house.  2015 will now and forever more be known as The Year of Epic Change.  Epic change, I tell you.  Good change, but it was a level of change that cannot be simply summed up in one post.  I'll give you a little bullet point list for now, but I'll be going into more detail later on. Way more detail.  Possibly too much detail.

Presenting, my bullet point list!

  • Deciding to homeschool! (yes, really)
  • Deciding to move! (yes, really)
  • Building a new house
  • Selling our old house (quite the adventure)
  • Living in my inlaws basement while our house was completed
  • Getting a part time job
  • Homeschooling
  • Getting another part time job
  • Quitting both jobs 
  • The Holidays! (oh my gosh...)
And now here we are.  I have realized a lot of things over the course of the last year, but one thing is for sure.  I've missed blogging.  I got caught in the trap of thinking I needed to be making money from my blog in order to spend time on it.  But I was wrong.  I just like writing.  I love documenting the crazy journey that is my life.  It gives me perspective.  And I love looking at old posts of things I had forgotten about.  

So, here I am.  Here's to a boring 2016!  A year with a lot more blogging and a lot less crazy. (maybe) 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Recipe Swap Wednesday-Cherry Chocolate Popcorn

This originated with a yummy holiday treat that I found on Our Best Bites for Peppermint Bark Popcorn.  My family loves it and I wanted to try a variation that was less holiday specific.  But since we have a holiday coming up that this would be perfect for I figured this was a perfect time to share.

Cherry Chocolate Popcorn

16 cups popped popcorn
16 ounces almond bark
1/4 teaspoon cherry flavoring oil (or 2 tsp cherry extract)
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet but you can use whatever you want)

Measure out the popcorn into a large bowl.
Melt the almond bark in the microwave on 50% heat until smooth.
Add the cherry flavoring and then pour over popcorn.
Mix well until all popcorn is covered.
Spread out on cookie sheets or wax paper.
Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over the popcorn mixture.
Allow to cool and harden completely (I would give it at least an hour) and then break into small pieces and store in an air tight container.

This is a pretty simple treat that goes together quickly and is great for parties. And if you're feeling really festive you can always add a little food coloring.  Because everyone loves pink chocolate popcorn for Valentines Day.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Book Of The Week! My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock

This was one of those books that I just picked up on a whim.  I liked the cover and I'm a big fan of picking a book by it's cover.

This is a non-fiction book that read like fiction.  It's a popular style of book right now.....writers take on a new project or lifestyle change for a year and then write a book about their experiences.  This particular book was about a writer who had just lost her professional celebrity gossip blogging job and wanted to get her life back on track.  It was fun to read about her experiences, but I also really enjoyed all information she shared about Eleanor Roosevelt.  I've always respected Eleanor Roosevelt but learned so much from this book.  It honestly made me want to read some of the books that Eleanor herself wrote.  Especially this one....

So...have you read any good books lately?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What Are Your Superpowers?

Just last week I had the AMAZING opportunity to attend the Alt Summit Conference in downtown Salt Lake.  I won a ticket through Instagram last month and it was a crazy mad dash to get ready in time. Or kind of ready.  It's really hard to prepare for something that you've never been to before and can't image the extent of the experiences that you will have.  None the less, the time came to attend the conference and I was half excited and half terrified.  Mostly, the excited half won out.

On the first day, I attended an early bird session hosted by Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks.  The session was a vision exercise to help you determine what your business/blog is about and what direction you want to go.  She went over techniques on building your about page, mission statement and elevator pitch which is great for any small business, online or not.

We started out defining what we are about and she asked some great questions.  We jotted down quick answers but they were questions that really could benefit from some deeper examination.  The first two questions were as follows:
  • Who Are You?
  • What Are You Passionate About?
The answers were many and varied.  Knowing me like you do, you know my answers ranged from "Mommy" to "Talker" and everything in between.  But the last question was the one that really got me.
  • What Are Your Superpowers? 
Not "what superpowers do you want?" but what superpowers do you have.  I looked around at the rest of the room and saw everyone scrawling things quickly into their notebooks.  And I just sat there.  I could not think of a single superpower.  Not one.  After a few minutes, people began sharing their superpowers.  Hearing each one made me so happy.  I was sitting in a room FULL of amazing, talented people and I loved hearing about their unique ways of contributing to the world around them.  But it still didn't spark any ideas for me.

As the conference progressed, that question just sat with me.  Nagged me.  Occasionally taunted me with my lack of superpower or even the imagination to think of one. On the one hand, we all know people who are so arrogant and obnoxious with telling everyone how fabulous they are and I certainly don't want to be like that.  But still....not being able to think of a single superpower?  Lame.

This weekend I took that question home with me and decided to do a little research.  Generally speaking, my research usually starts with subjecting my children to whatever experiment I have pinging around in my head.  They're still young enough to enjoy it so I need to enjoy it while it lasts.  I asked my girls what their superpowers were and they gave me some awesome answers.  Here are a few snippets from our conversation.

Lolly's Superpowers: "I'm really good at naming stuffed animals and stuff like that.  I may not use it much now but it's definitely going to come in handy when I'm a grown up.  And I'm really good at finding the word someone needs.  Ya know, like adjectives.  And I'm good at helping people"

Babs' Superpowers:  "Math!!  I make a really good sidekick.  And I'm good at helping my friends and family." 

They asked me why I was asking and I told them about the class and how I was interested in hearing their answers.  And then they asked me the inevitable awkward question....what were your answers Mommy?  I'm not a great liar so I confessed....I couldn't think of any.  Not a single one.

My girls, being the awesome girls that they are, started spouted off all the superpowers they thought I had.  Starting with making yummy food and going from there.  They are the sweetest girls ever. 

Lolly shared one that has stuck with me ever since.  She said, "Mommy, you're really good at seeing when someone needs something and then helping them out."

Oh, my sweet girl.  She always says the things that just make my cry from the beautifulness of it all. 

I don't know if that's true, but gosh I hope so.  That's the kind of person I want to be.  The kind of person who sees a need and steps up to help.  To keep trying to make a difference, even if it's just a tiny difference.  I may not have a lot of superpowers, but I'm the luckiest mom I know and that, my friends, is the best superpower of all. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Highlights of 2014

The last two months have just flown by at lightening speed.  FLOWN BY, I tell you.  It has been a whirlwind of dancing, homework, baking, wrapping, delivering and getting sick.  But I guess that's the holidays for you.  At least, that's what they've become for me.

I've seen a lot of  Top Ten posts on blog floating around the internet.  I'm not totally sure I actually have ten blog posts that people have read, let alone a top ten list.  So, in my slacker way, I'm going to highlight some of my Top Ten Experiences of 2014.  Although there probably won't be ten.  There will be.....some. Instead of most popular down to least popular, I will go chronologically because it's easier for me to find pictures that way.  Assuming I even took any pictures........sigh......

Without further ado, I present to you 2014 Chaos Style!

Dexter grew a mustache.  This poor dog.  He is so loved.  I promise.

Babs turned 7!  And also got her first hair cut shortly after. 

June was a big month for our family.  First we had dance recitals.  This was not your average dance recital.  It was a full show.  It was so amazing I'm not really sure why they call it a dance recital.

And then we met Martha Stewart.  No, really.  We met Martha Stewart and she loved my girls.  There was also an extremely unflattering picture of me in the newspaper.  Yay for that. 

 Then we took an EPIC vacation to Orlando, Florida which is going to get a post all on its' own.

Started school, much to this mama's sadness.  Fourth and Second grades this year.

And Lolly turned 10!  TEN!  Double Digits.  I can't believe my baby is ten.

Our fall was busy with Christmasy stuff.  Both girls were in the school choir (which started learning Christmas songs in September) and danced in a local production of the Nutcracker which started rehearsals in October.
 And had some awesome (easy) Christmas hair!

It was quite the year and we loved it.  Our New Year's celebration included thinking back on everything that we learned and did last year and making goals for the coming year.  But that's another post for another day.......

Monday, November 3, 2014

I'm Not That Great, Really

A few weeks ago I was invited to a small ladies lunch.  I was surprised by the invitation because....well, I'm generally surprised by any social invitation.  I'm not exactly drowning in friends and social invites in my neighborhood.  But I was excited to go.  Nervous, but excited.  The problem is that when I get nervous I tend to talk too much.  Mostly about nothing.  And it's annoying.  But that's another problem for another day. 

My RSVP was a solid maybe since I had been sick.  Oh my gosh, I had been sick for so long.  Bronchitis, then was really just ridiculous.  I am feeling better now, thanks for asking.  Since my attendance wouldn't be concrete, I didn't end up bringing any food contribution to the luncheon.  But every other member of the group brought something....soup, rolls, dessert, etc.  It was really a lovely afternoon and I quite enjoyed myself.  Except for the nervous talking.  That was lame. 

While we were eating lunch something happened that really stood out to me.  Something that has probably happened at just about every lunch or dinner party I've ever been to, but for some reason this really stood out to me.  And it made me sad. 

When the meal began, our lovely hostess apologized for not having a large enough matching set of dishes for everyone.  There were enough dishes for everyone to use, but they didn't all match.  Here she had graciously invited us all to her home, but felt the need to apologize for a super hero cup.  As each of the items were tasted and complimented, a similar thing happened. 

"Oh, it's just soup from a mix.  Nothing special."
"If I can make this, anyone can."
"It's just the three ingredient cookies.  It wasn't that hard."

These kind, talented, funny, dedicated, amazing women felt the need to essentially put themselves down when given a genuine compliment.  To explain how their efforts were nothing special.  There was only one woman there who simply smiled and replied that the soup she had brought was a family favorite and she hoped everyone would like it.  I can't help but think that the fact that she was not raised in the United States was a contributing factor to her being able to accept a compliment without letting you know how much she doesn't deserve it.

I'm certainly not pointing fingers here.  There is not a doubt in my mind that I would have done the exact same thing.....had I actually brought something to contribute.  (Other than my awkward over-talking)  I can't even begin to count the number of times that I've made some sort of excuse as to why someone shouldn't be complimenting me.  I'm not sure why we do it.  Is it so we don't appear prideful and arrogant?  Is it because we feel that we are too flawed in other ways to accept any kind of compliment?  Or is it because, as a society, we have trained our girls to not feel like anything they do is enough?    

I just don't know.  What I do know is that I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure my girls know that they can graciously accept compliments and not feel like they have to let the one giving the compliment know how they don't measure up.  I'm going to do my best to teach my girls that doing their best is good enough.  And I'm going to start by reminding myself (probably every. single. day.) that doing my best is good enough too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tip Tuesday--Another Use For Your Jar Lifter

I know I'm not the only one out there that still home cans food for storage.  And if you are a canner, then you have a jar lifter.  (If totally should...they're awesome.) 

Life has taken a turn from crazy to so crazy I can't remember what day it is.  In order to curb the crazy, I've been making and using freezer meals so that I have one less thing to wake me up in the middle of the night.  But sometimes those plastic bags full of raw meat and less than solid ingredients are all over the place.  Sometimes things get spilled.  And I want to avoid those sometimes. 

That's where the jar lifter came in!  Just yesterday I was making this recipe for Chicken Enchilada Rice (freeze the chicken, green chilies and melted butter and add the cream cheese and milk according to recipe directions) and needed to get the ingredients into a quart size plastic bag.  So I turned over the zip closure top and put it around the non-rubbery end and was able to put everything in the bag and close it up with nary a drip to be found. 

It probably won't work with anything bigger than the quart size bag but it works for that so it's all good.

Happy Canning Season!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Favorite--Simply Eden Lip Balm

A few months ago my cute little family headed to Ogden for the Earth Day Celebration at Ogden Nature Center....which I highly recommend you attend if you live anywhere within driving distance.  We had a great time! 

Along with the animals (alpacas are my favorite) and other exhibits, there were some local businesses.  One that caught our attention was called Simply Eden.  She sells various bath products made from goats milk.  From her own goats!  Plus, her name is Athena and to my Greek mythology obsessed children, it was amazing.  Of course I had to smell and test pretty much every single thing she was selling.  I wanted one of everything, but ended up purchasing a lip balm.  This lip balm.  The lip balm that is now known as "the best chap stick ever" or "my favorite chap stick". 

I may have almost cried when I realized that I lost it on our recent vacation.  Well, that's a little dramatic.  But I was pretty bummed.  I haven't replaced it yet, but I hope I will soon.  Plus with a flat shipping rate of $5.75 I should probably buy a few other things so I'm not buying a $10 chap stick.  The bar soaps and creams were seriously amazing so it wouldn't exactly be painful.  And if I buy six items (half of which will probably be chap stick....I have very dry lips) that means it's only $1 shipping per item.  That's just good math.  In theory, these would make great gifts, but then you have to give them away.  Maybe a "one for them, one for me" approach would work. 

And the best part about these items is they're all made of organic, natural ingredients.  Plus, her soap cake is adorable.  It literally looks good enough to eat.  I would probably just put it in my pretty glass cake saver and look at it everyday.  But I don't have the room for that so I'll have to admire it from the Internet. 

**Disclosure:  I was not compensated in any way for this post.  I just really love that lip balm and because I'm missing it, I've been thinking about it lately.  I like sharing the things I love.** 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Book of the Week!--Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple

This weeks edition of Book of the Week is brought to us by my fabulous book club.  My friend chose this book and it was such a fun read!  It was quirky and engaging.  I just loved it.

To be honest, I didn't love the ending.  It all seemed to wrap up into a neat little bow a little too easily.  It was kind of like one person wrote the entire book except the last couple of chapters and then someone else stepped in to finish it but was trying to sound like the original author.  It just lost it's flow.  That being's still a fun read and I would totally read it again.

Warning....there are some swears so if you don't like swears you might want to skip this book.  Or ignore the swears because it's a really fun book.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...