My Family Rocks! Sunday: Cherish the Moments

 Note: I’m going to post some of our moments in between writing. We’re still doing advent so these pics are apart of that. Please check out the awesome blog links at the end.

Michael and I ready for our 2nd mother-son date. We ate at a nice restaurant and then saw The Nutcracker ballet. Michael’s Nutcracker tie is too cute! At first, little man was against seeing a ballet but once we got there he said “This is nice”. Now he wants to take me on more dates and I’m trying to teach him how to treat a lady when he takes her on a date. I’m thinking of his future wife….those dates. I’m more for courtship rather than casual dating.

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Hello dear ones, I pray you are all well. We had a tragedy over here in the states. Several children my son’s age were killed in a shooting at an elementary school. It breaks my heart and makes me want to hug my son tighter. Please pray for the families.

This holiday season I’ve really over done it and I have mom friends who are burnt out as well. In this fast paced society, we are pushed to go, go, go. We want to achieve more….be on every committee….help every worthy cause and still have a house like June Cleaver.

As homeschool moms we are expected to have kids that excel academically, show good character, & become active members in the community. Many of us try to keep healthy homemade meals on the table, budget wisely, and make sure our husbands are loved and respected. We make sure the family makes it to church and that the kiddos are involved in social activities. Somehow the house is supposed to stay clean and we are to have time in God’s word each day…..also keep up our appearance…keep the romance burning in our marriage etc. Some of us are taking care of elderly or sick parents too. The pressure is really on because the world already thinks we are weird for homeschooling. What if our child doesn’t socialize well? What will all those people who frown at our choices/callings think if we fail? It’s a downward cycle of pleasing man instead of God. If God is for us then who can be against us?

Chris and Michael dressed up silly for caroling in the park for RA’s (boys church group).

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I personally have felt the pressure and often find myself comparing my teaching to that of public school. It’s strange because when God called me to this journey I didn’t want to be like public school. Most people homeschool because they disagree with public school methods. Yet, I’m trying to keep up with everyone else? I was really bad about this in the beginning.

My friend Sheri, who died of cancer (I did a post on her), was one of the most laid back moms I know & I loved the way she really enjoyed her children. Her kids learned the basics and are smart kids. They took a field trip to Cambodia :). Yeah, she knew that people should live while they are alive. How many of us walk around like zombies? We do what’s expected of us and never take the time to actually live. We keep waiting for things to get better, rather than enjoying the simple blessings already around us.

Chris and Michael making mini cookie cutter pizzas

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I’m pretty sure that the parents of the children who died don’t care now if their kid was on the honor roll or how good they could kick a soccer ball. I bet they are thinking of all the special moments they spent holding their child, reading to their child, watching their child explore the world in wonder.

I want to cherish my son’s childhood. Yeah, I’m glad he can read but that only matters to a point. Truth be told, people fail “subjects” all the time and it doesn’t matter one lick. I barely passed Highschool math and honestly I haven’t used much of anything I learned in school except the basics (reading & arithmetic). I want Michael to love Jesus & to have character above all else.  He may be a loner or he may be a social butterfly. I went to public school & I’m a loner. God has more of a hand in who Michael is and becomes than I do. I want Michael to be who HE’S supposed to be….not who some other kid is supposed to be. This is easier said than done. It’s time I put action to my words.

Mmmmm yummy, fun, but WAY too sugary ice cream cone Christmas tree. A cone, green icing, and m&ms!

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I love to read Hodgepodge’s blog and to see how she teaches with simple nature studies.

http://www.hodgepodge.me/category/hmscl/natst/

I love the Montessori ideas at Let the Children Play : http://progressiveearlychildhoodeducation.blogspot.com/

Michael and I have some wonderful moments. I think we can have more though if we took off some of the load. December has been just as physically draining as November was mentally draining (NaNoWriMo). Sometimes less is more. Quality not quantity. I’m pretty sure our homeschool methods will change in January atleast some. I don’t know how it’s going to happen but I’m praying  for God’s guidance. After all, this homeschool thing was His idea. Why am I trying to be in control?

Singing Christmas songs while baking cookies & making salt dough ornaments. Yes, a spoon is the best microphone!

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Michael was up til midnight helping me and I was up til 5 am finishing. We got tired of Christmas songs and watched several Christmas movies while waiting for things to bake, cool..etc etc. Our selections include: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Precious Moments, The Story Lady, & Seasons of the Heart. The last two are feature family films and soooo good!

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These cookies were made for the nursing home and for Chris’s office. Our naughty cat, Chester, decided he wanted some gingerbread and sugar cookies. I was so surprised that he went as far as ripping open the ziplock and eating three cookies! Dang cat! Thankfully I had just enough to make another bag.

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I am reading this book to help me learn how to simplify. Also I’m enjoying this homeschool mom’s great blog (Karen De Beus). She uses the Bible as her main teaching tool. For instance, a study of Noah’s ark spurred them on to study fossils and history. They learned naturally by childhood curiosity. I’m sure they will retain their learning better than most. You ought to check her out:  http://www.simplylivingforhim.com/p/simply-homeschool-ebook.html

I encourage you to get her book. It’s only 99 cents on Kindle! I may be looked at funny for doing things out of the box and you may too. But the smiles on our kids’ faces and most importantly the beauty of God’s guidance in our children’s lives will outshine criticism. If God’s leading then it’s all good :).

Chris helped us paint salt dough ornaments. This was his first time doing it and he did really well :). We painted a day or two after baking these.

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Please be in prayer for us as we explore uncharted waters. I’m nervous about going against the grain but I know God has laid this on my heart. Things have been really stressful lately and I know that’s because I’ve been doing things my way instead of God’s. I don’t like messing up my planner and I worry what people think. Plus it’s so hard to throw out curriculum when it’s just not working. I’ve learned with math lately that work books are so much easier than hands on. Still, Michael learns better with hands on. So I really have to put in the time to make it exciting. I’m a control freak and a perfectionist. God help me!

We helped my Mom and Step Dad move yesterday. This really has been a BUSY week! Pic below of Chris “napping”  in the moving truck.

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Everyone taking a well deserved break at the new house. My parents moved from a one bedroom apartment to a 3 bedroom house in the country. I am SO happy for them and can’t wait to move in with them…..I mean visit often ;P lol. I’m talking girl time at mom’s! Yaaaa!

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Everyone schools differently and children are so different. One method may not work for one child yet does for another. That’s why we must follow God’s leading. He knows our children better than they know themselves. I am learning that parenting isn’t as simple as following a guide book. Children learn differently and surprisingly they have to be disciplined differently, if we are concerned with character not just obedience. Helping a child into their calling is not easy and one size doesn’t fit all.

Our Sunday School had a dirty Santa a.k.a white elephant party Friday. It’s where everyone brings a gift and people can steal the presents from each other. It was fun and there were many goofy moments! We brought a Spongebob ice cream set & Star Wars mugs. I feel guilty for stealing my own gift. We now have the ice cream set :P.

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Our host had a HUGE Christmas tree!

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Please enjoy the holidays and this beautiful advent season. Jesus Christ came to us simply…..as a baby. He was born in a humble place but his birth brought peace to the world and his life, death, & resurrection brought salvation to all. We only have to accept his free gift of love and mercy. So amidst the holiday rush, stop…take a deep breath and remember the simple beauty of that holy night.

       Last year, we went to this thing called Journey to the Manger. It was a live Nativity with a maze to the “city” of Bethlehem. We were led to a quiet manger and then to a cross. The gospel was presented afterwards. While we walked the path through a corn field, Michael said with awe “It’s like magic!”. There was no Santa, no gifts under the tree, & no twinkling lights everywhere…….just a simple manger & a reminder that everything we need is found in one person….the God-man, Jesus Christ.

I got picked at a bit for having a cartoon character on my shirt but I like the Grinch and I was being festive :).

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God bless, Merry Christmas, & remember that the High King lives! ~Amber Dover

PS: we used this recipe for cookies: http://www.dominosugar.com/cookiestarter/

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