As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Ten Minute Tidy

Over at the Nesting Place, The Nester has been taking us through a series of 31 Days to a Less Messy Nest. I have been following closely, because I love tips for neatness!

When my house is tidy, I can pretend that it is spotless. But even when my house is clean(ish), if it is also messy, then I cannot convince myself that it is clean(ish) no matter how hard I try! (We all have our issues.)

Yesterday The Nester invited us to share our our own tips for a Less Messy Nest, so I decided to let you all in on one of our best secrets: the Ten Minute Tidy. Here's how it works.

We come to the end of a productive homeschool day. We set a timer for ten minutes. Bekah pushes start, yells Go!, and we all spring into action and tidy up everything in sight!  

We begin in the kitchen/school room/sitting room. We gather our coffee and tea mugs from the table or our reading area, clear the counters, load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and pick up the stacks of books we've been reading and return them to their rightful places. We tidy loose papers and mail and stray shoes, plop the pillows back on the loveseat, and put away the craft supplies. All the time we are moving as quickly as possible.

No cleaning is taking place. We're just making things presentable.

If time remains, we all migrate into the living room. (This is usually a quicker clean up, as we have usually not spent the day in this room.) We put away DVDs and magazines and the newspaper, making sure that all surfaces are clear of Stuff That Shouldn't Be There. Then, we'll do a pass through the dining room, but since that is our least used room, it generally is tidied lickety split.

Unless the house is extremely messy, a Ten Minute Tidy can put it to rights. (In the case that it is extremely messy, we may decide to set the timer for another ten minutes and have at it again.) And keep in mind that, for us, ten minutes is really thirty minutes since there are three of us working.

We might call for a Ten Minute Tidy...
~ before Dad arrives home from a day at work
~ when a friend calls and says she'll be over to drop something off
~ when my brain is not at peace because of the visual distractions
~ before an actual cleaning session (because who wants to clean around clutter?)
My sense of order is restored and then I feel free to move on to another task or another part of our day or greet my friend or welcome my husband home. It is amazing what a difference ten minutes can make!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Celebrating His Grace

Thirty-eight years ago today, the Holy Spirit wooed my heart and, as a twelve-year-old girl, I accepted God's gift of grace in the person of His only Son, Jesus Christ. And oh how great I have found His grace to be!

I continue to be overwhelmed by His mercy!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:12-14

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Teaching Notes: Grammar

Grammar has never taken a front row seat in our homeschool.

I have taught grammar to each of my children, but only for a season, never in an all-year-every-year style. I believe that if children hear correct grammar used in the home on a daily basis, and read an abundance of great literature, they learn it!

During a "season" of grammar, I may work through a section of a textbook or a workbook. We have also learned some Grammar Songs, and I have had my students do a ten-minute-per-day exercise in Daily Grams. I admit that I am the Grammar Police in my home (it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it ~grin~) and point out incorrect usage when I need to do so. I must also admit that, although my high school senior's spoken and written grammar are excellent, she just might give you a blank stare if you asked her to identify an infinitive or an indirect object.

When I read this article on teaching grammar at the Simply Charlotte Mason web site, I silently cheered. (Hey, my husband may not have understood if I had loudly cheered an article about grammar.)

I loved the analogy the author used...
"You mean I don't have to teach English grammar all year long in every grade?" Esther was astonished.

"You're already teaching the correct way to use words every time you have the children read or write or tell or listen. 'Grammar' just means the set of rules for speaking and writing a language." Beth smiled. "Think of it this way: Let's say you wanted to learn how to play chess. Your household was full of chess players already, so you had ample opportunity to watch them play and try your hand at playing too. Would you learn how to play correctly?"

"I would think so. I might need a little coaching now and then, but I would pick up a lot on my own," said Esther.

"Exactly," replied Beth. "Now, if I asked you to recite all the rules of chess, you may not be able to do that right away. You could probably come up with many of the rules just based on your own observations and experience. But if I insisted that you formally study the rules, it wouldn't take you very long to learn them, especially because you were so familiar with chess anyway."

"That's true," Esther agreed.

"It's the same with English. Your children are learning the proper way to use that language every day, by hearing and reading, telling and writing. You have to coach them sometimes on proper use, but they're picking up a lot," Beth explained. "Along the way, you will want them to formally study the rules, but it's not going to take them twelve years. So use the early grades to let them get familiar with the language in all the ways it's used around them, and save the formal studies of grammar for when they're older."

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

And while you're there, home educator, nose around a little at Simply Charlotte Mason! I think you'll find some treasures for your homeschool!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October Is...


...colorful mums

...outdoor projects apple donut for breakfast

...a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

...TV treats outdoor picnic

...a birthday bash

...and another

...a wedding

...autumnal ambiance.

The most beautiful month of the year.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hard Words

if I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying "Peace, peace," where there is no peace;
if I forget the poignant word "Let love be without dissimulation" and blunt the edge of truth,
speaking not right things but smooth things,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~ Amy Carmichael, missionary to India

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Friend Ben

There was once a baby named Benjamin who laid on my sofa. So tiny, so new, so sweet.

newborn Ben

I loved Ben, as I have loved all of my grandbabies.

But Ben wasn't so sure about me.

Whenever I held him, he screamed. Screamed.

He did not feel that way about everyone. He loved Aunt Kati. In fact, I may have been the only one who elicited such distrust. So I let Ben have his space, and smiled at him and talked with him from afar.
One-year-old Ben

Somewhere along the way, Ben decided that Gran could be trusted. Now we are fast friends. We sit beside one another at dinner each Sunday. We read stories together. He brings his pajamas to me so that I can dress him for bed before he leaves on Sunday evenings. And I can almost always get a hug or a cuddle or a big grin.

One-and-a-half-year-old Ben

Today Ben is two! He is a busy toddler who talks. a. lot. What a vocabulary this little boy has! He is funny, loves his Veggie Tales music, eats almost anything, and calls himself Benny.

I am blessed to be Ben's Gran...and his friend.

Happy Birthday, Benjamin!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blogger Missing in Action (Action Being the Key Word)

Yes, I have been neglecting this blog a bit lately. Ever since we picked Kati up from the airport exactly one month ago, it seems that we have been in action. We began our school year. There have been rounds of appointments—doctors, orthodontist, haircuts. Death has visited our extended family three times. We hosted a baby shower. Our car broke down. And somewhere along the way, we have cooked meals and done laundry and gone grocery shopping and watched Ken Burns' Civil War documentary (all eleven hours!).

So this week Ron is on vacation and our schedule remains discombobulated. In a good way. This one is a working vacation. Poor Ron will have to return to his desk job to get any rest.

And perhaps this blogger will return to her computer desk...
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