Tuesday, January 29, 2013


The other day Asher was being a pickle at the dinner table; just plain old disagreeable and miserable.  Since we try to offer the kids choices as much as possible, he got the typical dinner time response of, "happy or stairs?"  He has been hearing this since he was one year old and he knows the routine.  Usually he decides to cheer right up, but once in a while he thinks that sitting on the stairs sounds like more fun than eating whatever we are eating.  In that case we wave a happy good-bye and he grumpily walks himself to the stairs, sits there for a few minutes until he decides that we sound like we are having a lot more fun in the dining room than he is all by his lonesome on the stairs, and he decides to join us again and eat his dinner with a happy heart.

This day however it took him a lot longer to change his mind and after about 20 minutes I thought something was up.
Hmmm....I guess we should have said "happy or bed?" in this case. 

In all seriousness though offering choices has saved the day around here many times.  No more power struggles, yet you still retain your authority as the parent. 

We just finished up facilitating a parenting class with the videos based on the book "Loving Our Kids on Purpose".  While we still need to work on things ourselves we can not recommend this book enough, and those who went though the class found it enormously helpful and practical.  We feel like it is the best book we have found that really helps us show the heart of God to our children and be the type of parent that He is to us.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Learning to read and memory

The most effective way I have found to teach the kids how to read, at least for me, is to use the McGuffey Readers.  I try other things here and there:  The Bob Books, One Hundred Easy Lessons and such but I always end up back with McGuffey.  However, there comes a point even with McGuffey where we just seem to get "stuck", for lack of a better way of explaining myself.  They are moving along alright but the fluency just is not there.  

At this point I thought to myself, as I usually do when I get stuck on something, what did they do in the proverbial "old days"?  I really do not need another curriculum because that surely wasn't the answer when our country was the most literate country in the world, yet "curriculum" looked nothing like it does today.   So I pull out the bible, pick a fairly long passage and have them plow through it, laboriously at first, until it slowly becomes easier, over and over and over again until they are reading it fluently and on their own.

It really seems to be the breakthrough in their reading every time for our first three and from there they are ready for some easier chapter books.  

Recently we told the kids that if they read their bible, on their own daily for 3 months they would each receive a special prize.  Grace and Aiden picked a different passage every day but Naomi, since she was just starting to read the bible, read the same passage every day.  After three months she came to Christian and asked him to "test" her.  Test her?  She handed him her bible and recited the whole thing nearly word perfect.  

Bonus!  Not only did she gain reading fluency and learn a ton of new vocabulary, but she made gazillions of neural connections from the act of committing such a large chunk of scripture to memory.  And this all on her own with no help from us!

In the following video you may here me correcting her a couple of times where she may have jumped ahead or cut something out but she was not coached in any other way.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Reminder for March for Life

Just a friendly reminder that the annual March for Life is being held next Friday the 25th.

We're heading down.  Are you?  

I had some people out there mention that if they knew about it ahead of time they would go too.  So there you go.  Now there is no excuse.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kitchen Makeover

Our kitchen has been in need of some help for a while now but we hesitated starting because we felt like if we couldn't fix all of it, it wasn't worth fixing any of it.  Well, the fact that our floor was peeling up in several places and we still hadn't fixed the ceiling that had fallen down from a leaking toilet 3 years ago made us decide that we needed to do something.

I forgot to take a "before" picture of the floor so I had to go waaaaay back in the archives to find one.  This is Asher last Christmas and it is the best picture I could find and even this one hardly shows any of the floor, but it`s better than nothing.
This was the cheapest, easiest floor we could manage to get when we put it in 6 years ago.  We figured it was better than the carpet that was in the kitchen.  Yes, carpet.  Yes, gross.

So we decided to continue with the same flooring that we had in the dining room.  Our favorite, durable, reasonably priced, easy to install Allure, vinyl flooring.
I like it.  I think it suits the old house.  We had looked into getting the floor tiled, but it is so uneven it would have taken a lot of work and a lot of time and expense that we weren't willing to put out.

Next job was the ceiling.  I don't have any pictures of the ceiling before except of the following ones where Christian and my Dad are working on it.  I always strategically angled my camera in the kitchen so you couldn't see the ceiling.  I am really good at making the house look better in pictures than it is in real life.  Ha!

So my Mom and Dad came up on New Years day to help with this major project.
Oh my, the mess!

My Mom did what she does best and that was read to the kids.

Claire did what she does best and that was look cute.

All the drywall is now up and spackling and sanding is waiting to be finished.  Lord have mercy!  I think we are going to try using a drywall vacuum sander in hopes that it will keep the mess at bay.

I know I have promised pictures of the finished girls room so I finally got around to taking some pictures.  My amazingly talented sister-in-law spent a large amount of time up there working on this....
So cool huh!  We are planning on adding a bean bag and the "reading nook" will be complete.
Typical Naomi.  I can hardly get a normal smile out of this girl.  

The girls LOVE their new room and do a great job keeping it clean and organized.  I'm so proud of them!

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