Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Tiny Tots with thier eyes all a glow"

This time of year is filled with the hussle and bustle, sales and deals, traffic and parking spots, dwindling bank accounts and time...Not to mention pick a tree, decorate it, water it, bake, wrap, send cards, party's, ect....
it is easy to forget what it must be like to be Christmas time at 4 yrs (or 1 yr)! Amongst all that goes on during our busy lives in December are the small people (the children) standing at our legs watching us closely as we "hussle & bustle", having no thought of stress or worry.
Here are a few snip-its of my children's Christmas experience (very different from the adult one)....
M-"OOOHHHH Christmas lights Mama, to your left! PPRRREEETTTYYY!"

M-"I am going to ask Santa for a marble run. And a truck for James"

J-Completely dazzled by the first snow! Just standing there watching it as it gently floats from the sky.

M-"Mama..Shhhh...there is a Tuffted Tit Mouse on the feeder on the window..shhhhh..."
J-"tweet tweet"

M-"Santa needs to have 3 choc. brownie cookies,milk and we have to leave 9 carrots, one for each reindeer.

M-"Do you think Santa will think our tree is sooo beautiful?"

J- Fascinated by how the wrapping paper tears into strips.

M-" How do the men get the tree on top of the car? Do we have to bring their rope back?"

J-"Having a great time poking all the ornaments on the tree"!

M & J- Thoughtfully picking out Toys for Tots for a 5yr old boy & a 1 Yr old boy!

M- "I think I will give Guy one of my Thomas the tank engines since I have 2 and he might not have one yet."

M&J- Enchanted by the Enchanted Village, especially the snow!

M-"I think I see Rudolph's red nose over there...Nope just a tower light, I am going to keep looking, Mama you look out your window in case he is over your side. (the whole ride home on Christmas Eve from Marshfield!)

M & J- with their eyes all a glow as we walk (James ran) threw the very decorated and light up Taunton Green! So Precious!

I got everything I could ever ask for this Christmas just taking the time to STOP and watch my boys filled with true Spirit of the Season!
Very Merry Christmas to you All!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Socialization not a problem

*The Washington Times*December 14, 2009*Washington Times Op-ed—Socialization not a Problem**by J. Michael SmithHSLDA President*

One of the most persistent criticisms of homeschooling is the accusationthat homeschoolers will not be able to fully participate in society becausethey lack “socialization.” It’s a challenge that reaches right to the heartof homeschooling, because if a child isn’t properly socialized, how willthat child be able to contribute to society?

Since the re-emergence of the homeschool movement in the late 1970s, criticsof homeschooling have perpetuated two myths.

The first concerns the abilityof parents to adequately teach their own children at home;

the second iswhether homeschooled children will be well-adjusted socially.

Proving academic success is relatively straightforward. Today, it isaccepted that homeschoolers, on average, outperform their public schoolpeers. The most recent study, “Homeschool Progress Report 2009,” conductedby Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, surveyedmore than 11,000 homeschooled students. It showed that the averagehomeschooler scored 37 percentile points higher on standardized achievementtests than the public school average.

The second myth, however, is more difficult to address because children whowere homeschooled in appreciable numbers in the late 1980s and early 1990sare only now coming of age and in a position to demonstrate they can succeedas adults.Homeschool families across the nation knew criticisms about adequatesocialization were ill-founded—they had the evidence right in their ownhomes. In part to address this question from a research perspective, theHome School Legal Defense Association commissioned a study in 2003 titled“Homeschooling Grows Up,” conducted by Mr. Ray, to discover howhomeschoolers were faring as adults. The news was good for homeschooling. In all areas of life, from gaining employment, to being satisfied with their homeschooling, to participating in community activities, to voting, homeschoolers were more active and involved than their public schoolcounterparts.

Until recently, “Homeschooling Grows Up” was the only study that addressedthe socialization of home-schooled adults. Now we have a new longitudinalstudy titled “Fifteen Years Later: Home-Educated Canadian Adults” from theCanadian Centre for Home Education. This study surveyed homeschooledstudents whose parents participated in a comprehensive study on homeeducation in 1994. The study compared homeschoolers who are now adults withtheir peers. The results are astounding.

When measured against the average Canadians ages 15 to 34 years old,home-educated Canadian adults ages 15 to 34 were more socially engaged (69percent participated in organized activities at least once per week,compared with 48 percent of the comparable population).

Average income forhomeschoolers also was higher, but perhaps more significantly, while 11percent of Canadians ages 15 to 34 rely on welfare, there were no cases ofgovernment support as the primary source of income for homeschoolers.

Homeschoolers also were happier; 67.3 percent described themselves as veryhappy, compared with 43.8 percent of the comparable population.

Almost all of the homeschoolers—96 percent—thought homeschooling had prepared them well for life.

This new study should cause many critics to rethink their position on theissue of socialization. Not only are homeschoolers actively engaged in civiclife, they also are succeeding in all walks of life. Many critics believed,and some parents feared, that homeschoolers would not be able to compete inthe job market. But the new study shows homeschoolers are found in a widevariety of professions. Being homeschooled has not closed doors on careerchoices.

The results are a great encouragement to all homeschooling families and toparents thinking about homeschooling. Homeschoolers, typically identified as being high academic achievers, also can make the grade in society. Both “Homeschooling Grows Up” and “Fifteen Years Later” amply demonstratehomeschool graduates are active, involved, productive citizens.

Homeschoolfamilies are leading the way in Canadian and American education, and thisnew study clearly demonstrates homeschool parents are on the right path.*Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal DefenseAssociation. He may be contacted at (540)338-5600; or send email tohttp://us.mc320.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=media@hslda.org.*

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Birthday # 33

Today is my birthday.....it started out like any regular day.
-laundry to be done
-kids to be fed,changed,napped dresses etc...
-errand to run, , feed store,
Adorable side story--We get the the feed store to buy rabbit and chicken food and Mason says to me.
"Mama I know what I want to get you for your birthday present!"
(I had a pretty good idea what he was talking about, we collect the Audubon Society Birds)
"but I want to get it for you by myself, so you don't see"
so I give him some money and off he goes to the bird tree...and I went to the register to explain what he was doing and could they help him with the money part, they of course thought this was just so sweet and were wonderful!
He pick out a bird, brought it to the register behind his back, sent me to look at the rabbits! and they took him behind the register counter (so I could not see) and put it in a bag all tied up (so I could not peek!) and he payed all by himself!
He was so PROUD!!! (so was I).......

Bank, food shopping and a stop at Jesserie's house to pick up photos were still on the list.

*Then I decided I need a little birthday celebration before the day was over, so me and the boys stopped at a tiny ice cream stand in Norton and indulged in home made ice cream by Bliss Bros. farm while swinging on a wooden bench swing!! So nice.

And before I knew it it was all about my birthday.....
Warren and the boys treated me to dinner at my fave restaurant, the Chatue.
(and they little boys were so great, for a restaurant that was not Friendly's!!)
Mason kept "Not wanting to tell me about a secret"

When we got home Mason wanted me to open my present....he was so excited!!!
He said"I pick out the Blue Jay because it is a bird that we get in out yard that we dont have yet!" (we are tring to collect all the birds we have in our yard, we have about 15 of them alreadly!)

Then the big surprise happened!!!
Michelle,Gillian, Emily and Sabrina showed up with cupcakes!!!! (This was Mason's secret!)
I was so happy I haven't seen them in ages and it really made me feel special that Shell would work all day and drive all the way from JP with cupcakes in hand just for my birthday! Thanks you guys so much for that wonderful party!!! Truly heartwarming.

and to get lots of happy birthday wishes from friends on Facebook too!!
I am feeling the LOVE Vibe!!! (Much needed too)

My birthday used to be my favorite holiday...this year it defiantly is!!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lessons in Food Preservation!!!

So as the garden is reaping Warren's rewards...I am trying to preserve most of it as fast as I can! I have decided i do not have enough room in my freezer to freeze the garden, so I am trying my hand at canning. I already ruined my whole crop of peas :( (what I did not eat out in the yard!)

Lesson 1. Do not heat up the cannier on HIGH it will burn the peas!

Lesson 2. When making homemade strawberry jam make sure the pot is big enough, or you get a big STICKY mess!

Lesson 3. Do not try to wash,cut, and can 3 large bags of string beans after 9:00 at night....it take way to long!!! I think the next batch I will sit outside with the beans and a bowl and snap the ends off while the kids are playing, then can them at night!

Lesson 4. When making blueberry jam, a recipe that dose not call for PECTIN takes a LONG time to get to the gelling point....like 40 mins

I am sure there will be more to come!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Homestead Wish List

When we first saw the land that we own we knew we would love living here! We knew that we wanted it to be a back to nature kind of living...it has taken alot of work! First of all this yard was a DUMP!!! litteraly we have found tons of trash, shingles, asedaline tanks etc buried in the ground!!! And lawn mowers, batteries, old dish washer and lots of @#$%? in the woods.
We have cleaned it up and have not used ANY chemicals on the property in atleast 4 years.
What we have done so far to become a earth friendly homestead..
  • huge garden
  • compost all food scraps (not meat of grease)
  • no chemicals inside or out!
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!!!!! (this works great cause we are both pack rats!)
  • planted trees!!!
  • make better purchasing choices for the house
  • have chickens!
  • attract birds, and humming birds with homes, feeders and water
  • Teach Mason and James eco friendly living as a way of life!
What we would love to do..........
1. To become completly self serficiant. ( probably not going to happen.....)
2. To grow all of our own food . ( working on this and we do grow ALOT of food)
3. To buy a freezer!
4. To stock the freezer with a cow and a pig!
5. To rid the house of all plastic for eating purposes ( this is almost done! James has 2 plastic sippy straw cups he got for his birthday that are PABA free!)
6. To someday get solar panels!
7.To someday get a generator
8. To someday dig a root cellar
9.To become a better canner!!! (Heather is helping me with this one!)
10. To make our own bread (again help Heather!)
11. Warren would like to raise some of our chickens for food?
12 Would love to have a woodburing furnace!
13. I want a composting toilet!
14. To have gutters on the house to collect rain water!
15. Warren would love to make Bio-deasel
16. To plant only native plants and become certified as a wildlife habitate
17. To have the vernal pood certified!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What ever happened to good old fashioned morals?

I am trying to raise my children to be thoughtful of other people. To not be greedy, Be kind to all living things (except mosquitoes). To have good manners, like hold the door, offer a seat, please and thank you and to ask before you take something. I feel even at 4 years old my son already has a good grip on this concept and he makes me proud everyday for it.
So how come my 4 year old knows the difference between right and wrong, yet other ADULTS in my life seem to be completely oblivious to these same common courtesy's!

I recently had something stolen from me, from people that I thought were honest and trustworthy. From people who I foolishly assumed loved me and would not purposefully hurt me?
This kind of behavior has had me reevaluating my open and trusting personality? How can I believe that the people within my own close circle are......kind and honest, is it naive of me to want the world (at least my world) to be Peace, Love and Happiness? This is what I wish for my world!

I watch the new, I read the papers, I know the world I filled with people who have no conscience, no morals, no common courtesy's for others..........
This has been a sad and tough week, reflecting, contemplating....
This is a trial of my forgiving nature.......
How do I teach my own children to have a good moral base and to be trusting and forgiving, when I myself am now in a moral conflict?
My hope is my true nature will prevail and I will have learned a lesson from this experience (although I am not yet sure what that lesson could be as of now?)

I am hoping for strength and peace!

July 29,2010: Strength and Peace at Heart!
During the year since I wrote this post I continued to struggle with "forgiveness".  I had a hard time trusting people, even people I love and trust.  I felt as though for awhile I had a nagging feeling of sadness that always lingered in the back of my mind.....then if you can believe it I learned a life lesson from a movie Amish Grace it is a Lifetime movie.  In the movie Grace learns the Amish way of forgiving is to let all feelings of hate and anger be given up to a greater spirit (in this case God), in my case Karma.  I learned that it is not good for your heart to hold on to negative feelings and sadness.  I now believe if you let it go.... the person you hold such feelings for will have to eventually answer to a higher power, or their own conscience.  So LET IT GO and trust that justice will manifest in some form. I actually am grateful for this experience now, it has helped to to let go of allot of pent up feelings I was holding from years past.......
I also know that Karma has come back to me for times I have hurt others. (I do believe that this experience is do to my own past actions). 
I  feel sorry for those who still struggle with living without kindness and a moral conscience and hope that one day they will learn to listen to their heart.nds herself struggling with her community’s belief in the transcending power of forgiveness.herself struggling with her community’s belief in the transcending power of forgiveness.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Precious Time

Wasnt I just 7 years old, running around with no shoes on, playing all day, going to the "General Store" for penny candy and all I had to worry about was what time I had to be back at the summer cottage for dinner!? Those times are long gone and my own son is turning 5 soon! I want for him and my other 1 year old son to have the same care-free childhood that I had, I want thier summers to feel endless as mine did.....I want thier childhood years to last for ever!!!
But sadly I know that they will grow up to soon and I will no longer long for my own childhood years,but for the time I had with thiers!
I have triied to make a commitment to myself to kick back a little and relax more so I can stop and really listen to my son when he talks to me (no matter how repetative or silly) and not brush him off with a "just a minuet ,Hold on a minuet, I'm busy", ect.....
To remember the baby's innocent eyes and simple smiles, his wobbly legs standing on his own for the first time!
My commitment means:
more reading for mom, less worring about dishes!
more playing cars! ENDLESSLY!
more tickles
more laying in the grass
more chalk drawings
more bike rides
more cooking together
more talking together
When they are grown and dont need my attention anymore I will then....
I will worry about housework!