Monday, August 28, 2017

A Great Day for {Frisbee} Golf

We celebrated Mr. Butler's birthday this weekend with some frisbee golf at a local park we hadn't tried out yet.  It sounds goofy at first, but it the sport really is a low key way to spend time together and get some exercise in as well.  The Racecar had a great time sleeping most of the morning. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Everyday Family Chore System: An Everyday Homemaking Review

Everyday Homemaking
The hardest part of my job as a mom/teacher/wife/house manager is keeping up with household chores.  I know they are necessary, but in my heart they aren't nearly as important (or fun!) as the relationship and educational stuff.  The cleaning and ordering of a house with three kids just goes on forever which makes me even less motivated to be a slave to the to-do list. So, chores.  Not my strong suit.  My latest product to review, The Everyday Family Chore System from Everyday Homemaking, is something I needed to review.  My kids are good helpers, but they certainly weren't better than the (mediocre) example I set for them.  After the race car was born, I have had a lot to recover from and needed a lot of help to do it.  This short ebook really set me straight on my goals for household management and the tools to get there! 

The Everyday FAMILY Chore System
Part One, Laying a Foundation, discusses child training in general and how important it is to everyone's success.  Part Two, Implementing the Plan, breaks down how you go about teaching skills and motivating attitudes.  Part Three, The Actual Chore System, is filled with printable cards and a discussion of how the system can work for you.
The author, Vicki Bentley, begins by sharing a story about when she had to leave her husband and children at home for several days while she cared for a sick parent.  Most of us would expect things to fall apart pretty quickly and come home to a mess, but her kids had been trained so well in the daily tasks of caring for a household that they simply continued on as normal.  The oldest sibling knew very well what mom would expect and she guided in her absence.  When I read that all I could think of was "I want that!"  My children are 6, 4 and 4 months old.  As I continued reading, I grew in confidence that it wasn't too late for this ship to change directions!  

Teaching kids to do a job and do it well is sometimes so overwhelming and seems much easier to just do it yourself.  What this book highlights is the goal of producing an adult who is proficient in household skills AND working myself out of a job as a mother/teacher.  To that end, there are age appropriate jobs, a box full of How-to-do-it cards, zone approaches, and a few different ways of assigning jobs.  There isn't one hard and fast way of doing it, but several options suggested depending on your household needs.  We have begun implementing the card box and job assignments in conjunction with the new school year beginning.  The methods are very useful and versatile.  The availability of all the printables pushed me further into organization than I would naturally go. As with most things, anything new is exciting and motivating to J, at least for a while.  He has certainly thrived with more responsibility the last few weeks and that makes me hopeful for more success down the road. 

However, as good as all these things are, the greatest impact from this book originated from the beginning discussions about the heart of the matter.  One of our main purposes in homeschooling is guide our children intentionally so that their hearts and minds are equipped to serve God and serve others with success, self-discipline and joy.  This Everyday Family Chore System is a way to keep their hearts focused on Him instead of getting burdened down with tasks that will be necessary their entire life.  How many fights in your house result from someone dragging their feet or all out refusal to complete a task?  Too many in our household I'm afraid. I'm happy to say we're working on changing that!

If you would like to get this handy book or one of the other books Everyday Homemaking offers, my readers can get 10% off until September 5th using the code TOS10books. 

Keep Up With Everyday Homemaking on Social Media: 

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Special Day Sickness: Do You Have It?

The last couple of weeks my news feed has been packed with "Back to School" photos and parents scrambling to make the appropriate preparations.  The new normal of cute pictures and mountains of school supplies is regularly being discussed and rehashed.  What struck me most recently was the anguish many parents (moms) feel about making the last days of summer special.  Full disclosure, I, like my mother before me, feel compelled to make anything from presents to field trips extra special just because.  Things like holidays, milestones and anything iconic, it is not only fun to document, but it almost feels like you're a bad parent if you don't.  It is a bizarre reality we have with social media giving us constant information about how others are living, but even that is filtered usually to show only the best.  Honestly, no wonder mental illness is such a burden in this country.

As I was thinking about the moms who feel like a failure or a 'bad mom' if they didn't have time to go above and beyond this time around, I couldn't stop this thought:

Your mundane is so much more important than the special.

Like the characterized parent who is gone 90% of the time, but comes around once in a blue moon with an over the top present or something.  That present might be cool in the moment, but that special thing is pretty insignificant to that child when they think about all the days that parent is absent.

Mundane: A baby sleeping, a little girl coloring on the floor, a boy playing with a ball and glove, and my cluttered work space.  It's probably not going to be a memorable day, but the safety, security and love that (I hope) is present here will mean much more.

Or the 80/20 rule.  Whatever you do/eat/think about 80% of the time is far more important than the less than perfect 20%.  Life isn't those extra special moments 80% of the time.  It's full of grocery store trips, clean towels, struggling with self-control and learning what to do with those hurt feelings.  A good parent is built in these mundane activities that will happen over and over again.  Of course, we all remember that one birthday or 3rd grade program that was extra special because of something  someone did for us, but without all of those mundane building blocks, the special thing might be pretty empty.

So, frenzied mom, are you meeting the physical needs of your children, teaching them to obey God and showering them with hugs, kisses and encouragement? Then know you are a good parent and let the special moments come and go as they wish.  I love social media for many reasons, but to live a mentally healthy life with it, we need safe guards and that includes not believing lies.  Goodness is not determined in the extra special (that's just icing most of the time).

Your mundane is so much more important than the special.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Butler Weekly News

My little race car is 4 months old this week and I'm trying to act like a mother of three who isn't several months behind on her life.  He's doing well and we are so thankful for his sweet smiles and his strength.  

A couple of weekends ago, my brother put on a mini Singing School for our congregation and J had a great time.  I am certainly biased, but those piano lessons sure do help song leaders!

Pocket Poetry

Not actually, but the feeling.
Brick walls in place of the exits.
Outnumbered.  Over-touched.  Crowded  and out of space.
And it is Wednesday.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

In the Reign of Terror: An Heirloom Audio Production Review

Heirloom Audio Productions

Our technological advances of the day are pretty amazing and have much to be celebrated.  However, they come with a price tag that really takes it's toll on our imaginations and educational experiences.  When looking at a screen is the only way our brains are used to taking in information,  we are really hindering the growth possibilities of our brain.  My latest review is something we can use to pull our brains out of screen mode and let exercise our imagination muscles!  We're talking about the latest Audio Adventure In the Reign of Terror from Heirloom Audio Productions.   

In the Reign of Terror

G.A. Henty was a large man who lived an adventurous life complete with boxing, yacht racing and being a war correspondent.  More importantly for us, he was a master storyteller who wrote 122 books in all that were eventually required reading in many English schools.  We received the latest story from Heirloom's series,  “The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty,” a 2-disc audio set of In the Reign of Terror with access to Heirloom Audio's new Live the Adventure Club.   It takes place in the midst of the French Revolution and, like all of the adventures, explores history in a unique and engaging way.  That is one of those periods of history that I think I spaced out on a little mostly because it was just so violent and harsh. These audio adventures, akin to the early days of radio dramas, do a beautiful job of bringing the humanity to light and highlighting good people doing good in the midst of very difficult and dark times.  Without a screen to lead you, you are left to explore these events with your ears and your imagination.  That's a wonderful day at school, if you ask me!

Some familiar faces are featured in this Audio Adventure!

This was our first time to listen to one of these adventures and I was a little hesitant because of the age of my children (6 and 4), especially with the title being In the Reign of TERROR!  Still, the lack of pictures or video seems to allow your brain to bring the extreme emotions to your level of understanding, making it more palatable in many cases.  Another great thing Heirloom has done is provide some fantastic bonus material in through their Live the Adventure Club including a detailed Study Guide and Discussion Starter (over 50 pages worth), a Soundtrack, Posters, a downloadable Script, and the original In the Reign of Terror ebook with a few fun graphics.

If you used only the audio story and none of the extras, you will find a great form of family entertainment.  When you incorporate things like the Study Guide and aligning it with other historical curriculum, you have a wonderful resource for feeding the fire of learning!

There are several other stories in this series that may interest you as well.  To find out more about those and any new ones in the future, follow Heirloom Audio on social media:

Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial

Read what others had to say about In the Reign of Terror:

In the Reign of Terror {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Long before our picture perfect lives were plastered all over the internet, people were still getting sucked into the it crowd and not realizing how lonely the homecoming queen really was.  The impression people give us usually isn't the whole truth.  So, no matter what kind of standards you think everyone else is living up to, those aren't trustworthy to judge yourself by because they are most definitely false.

Look around when you are setting goals for the future, but once you're living in it, only use your yesterday as the thing to beat.