Raising Arrows http://www.raisingarrows.net Large Family Homemaking and Homeschooling Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:35:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What We Are Reading – August 2015 http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/08/what-we-are-reading-august-2015/ http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/08/what-we-are-reading-august-2015/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.raisingarrows.net/?p=24757 The books our family is reading in August | RaisingArrows.netI’m pretty proud of myself!  I am doing another of these posts only 3 months after the last one!  That is a huge accomplishment!  I love these kinds of posts,
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I’m pretty proud of myself!  I am doing another of these posts only 3 months after the last one!  That is a huge accomplishment!  I love these kinds of posts, but I seem to easily forget to do them.  So, yay for me!

Without further ado, here is the list of books our family is reading in August…The books our family is reading in August | RaisingArrows.net

{affiliate links included}

The first book on my list is one you might have noticed in this photo from my last Day in the Life post:

What We are Reading - August 2015 | RaisingArrows.net

At the top of the pile is a book I’ve had for several years and never got around to reading – Queen of the Home.  It is now out of print, but you can pick up a copy from Amazon.  I’m enjoying the notion of being Queen of my Domain!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen my role as such, and it’s given me much to gnaw on.  The book itself is a compilation of essays and poems and blog posts on the topic.  I read short snippets when I am sitting in my nursing chair.  It’s been a good remedy for the feeling that what I am doing is mundane and drudgery.

I am on a Charlotte Mason kick right now.  I am revisiting Charlotte Mason Homeschooling in 18 Easy Step-by-Step Lessons

What we are reading - August 2015

I’m digging in deep with the Charlotte Mason Companion:

And I just purchased Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study (this thing is HUGE!):

And I’m reading Pocketful of Pinecones aloud to the children (which they are loving and so am I!):

A little Charlotte Mason immersion, anyone? 😉

My 17 year old is reading David Copperfield – the novel Dickens considers his favorite.

You can get David Copperfield on Kindle for only a $1.00!

He and my 14 year old are both reading from The Gift of Music as part of their assignments with Tapestry of Grace (you can read about how we do Tapestry of Grace HERE):

This book is also recommended as a companion to How Shall We Then Live.

My 14 year old daughter is reading The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (she picked this up on her own).  You can get this book for only $.99 on Kindle!

She is also continuing to brush up on her ASL via The American Sign Language Handshape Starter:

This is a book her ASL teacher recommended. Megan also uses Lifeprint to study ASL in every day scenarios and work on her receptive skills for reading signs and fingerspelling.

Our 10 year old is reading Moccasin Trail.

My 9 year old is reading a biography of Samuel Morse and a book on WWII.

My 6 year old is continuing to become more and more proficient at reading, and I believe my soon-to-be 5 year old will be following in his footsteps rather quickly! Learning to read comes with the privilege of owning your own library card – big incentive for little guys!

So, what are you reading?

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50% Off ALL Downloads from my Favorite Lapbook Company! http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/08/50-off-all-downloads-from-my-favorite-lapbook-company/ http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/08/50-off-all-downloads-from-my-favorite-lapbook-company/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.raisingarrows.net/?p=24744 AJTL Lapbooks I thought I had missed this sale — but a little birdie told me it was extended, so I didn’t actually miss out!  Yippee! {AJTL is one of my affiliates} My favorite Lapbook
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I thought I had missed this sale — but a little birdie told me it was extended, so I didn’t actually miss out!  Yippee!

AJTL Lapbooks

{AJTL is one of my affiliates}

My favorite Lapbook company – A Journey Through Learning is having a HUGE Stock Up Sale – 50% off ALL DOWNLOADS! (ends August 16)

***Use Coupon Code Deal50 at Checkout!***

These are some of the easiest lapbooks you will find – and this, coming from a mama who DOES NOT LIKE a lot of extra work. These are grab and go, ready to create lapbooks.  Super easy to do!

One of our favorites is the Prairie Primer Binder (this is one you do as a notebook rather than a lapbook and can be used even if you are just reading the Little House books and not actually doing the curriculum).

A Journey Through Learning Lapbook Download Sale!  50% off!

READ MY REVIEW OF THIS BINDER HERE!

I also noticed they have added a ton of other Curriculum-based lapbooks (Classical Conversations, TruthQuest, Apologia, The History of US, Diana Waring, Answers in Genesis, and more!), so see if there is one that corresponds with what you are studying this year!  This is a great way to do something hands-on that solidifies your children’s learning but doesn’t require a lot of extra work for you.

I’ve had several people ask me about curriculum for younger ages lately, and AJTL would be definitely be one of my recommendations.  Look through their suggestions for Monthly Ideas or History Themes, and snag some of those lapbooks.  This will give your youngsters good cutting and gluing skills, writing and drawing skills, all wrapped up in a solid education.

And of course, don’t miss the FREEBIES PAGE!  This will give you a taste of what AJTL is all about!

Sale ends August 16, so don’t delay!

AJTL Lapbooks

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Large Family Laundry Solutions http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/large-family-laundry-solutions/ http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/large-family-laundry-solutions/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.raisingarrows.net/?p=24734 Large Family Laundry Solutions {mega post} | RaisingArrows.netSeveral months ago, I asked on my Facebook page what one thing my readers found extremely difficult about homemaking. Laundry made the top 3.  Not surprising. In a large family, laundry
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Several months ago, I asked on my Facebook page what one thing my readers found extremely difficult about homemaking. Laundry made the top 3.  Not surprising.

In a large family, laundry is mega-sized.  The typical organization advice to do laundry once or twice a week, or even to do one load of laundry a day is laughable (and slightly maddening) to the large family mom.  That’s why I put together this mega post on large family laundry solutions with systems I’ve used and systems other large family bloggers have written about on their blogs.

Time to tackle Mt. Washmore!

Large Family Laundry Solutions {mega post} | RaisingArrows.net

1.  Teaching Your Kids to Do Their Own Laundry – This is the system we currently use.  It keeps me from doing all the laundry by myself.  In a large family, it isn’t ALL the kids doing their own laundry, but older children assigned to do certain “groups” of laundry.  Read the post, it will make more sense. 😉

2.  Room-by-Room Laundry System – This is how I managed the laundry when the washer and dryer were located in the hallway.  It is a good system to have in play when you don’t have the luxury of a laundry room.

3.  Shelf & Basket Laundry System – This was the system we used when there were a few less children in the house and the laundry room was in the basement.


4. Individual Laundry Bags – This system uses no sorting and a pop-up laundry bag for each child.

5.  A Larger Shelf & Basket System – This large family mom still uses a shelf & basket system effectively.  She also mentions how having large capacity machines save her time.  I agree with this (you can read about our large family washer here).

6.  Mega-Family Laundry System – This post has tons of great tips from a mom of 15, including how to only wash towels once a week, and the idea of creating a sock station.

7.  Large Family, Small Laundry Room – This post is a detailed explanation of how a family of 11 manages to keep up with the laundry.

8.  Simplified Large Family Laundry Routine – Don’t miss the link to her Family Closet post!

9.  Laundry Closet – This is a different take on the “Family Closet” idea – a wooden shelved closet with baskets to keep things organized.

10.  Laundry Hacks for the Large family – including color-coded laundry baskets and a community sock drawer!

11. Laundry Tubs –  Really great post that gives a lot of ideas, including the use of tubs to sort.  I’d also encourage you to read about her “dot system”.

Large Family Laundry Solutions {mega post} | RaisingArrows.net

12.  Using the Washer as Your Hamper – This post has a lot of neat ideas for your laundry room too!

13.  Large Family Laundry Tips from Huffington Post – Great list of large family laundry hacks aggregated by Huff Post.

14.  Large Family Laundry at the Laundry Mat – This post is focused on how to catch up with the laundry when it has grown beyond your control, but I know there are large families who have to use the laundry mat on a regular basis.

15.  Laundry as a Timer – This mom of 4 does her laundry at night and cleans while she waits on the dryer.  She got the idea from another mom who does the same thing at 5 in the morning.

16.  Five Laundry Hacks from a Large-ish Family – includes how she reduced the number of clothing the children own to help out with the amount of laundry she has to do.

17.  Grand Laundry Station – Tour of one large family mom’s laundry room and system.

18.  Laundry Tips from a Household of 12 – This post has some good suggestions for getting it all done, including finding a place to fold that works for you and teaching all ages and abilities to put away their own laundry.

19.  Video Tour of Family Closet – Stephanie from Keeper of the Home transformed the master bedroom closet into a Family Closet.

20.  Simplifying the Laundry Process with Simplified Sorting – This mom brought her sorting to a super simple level – rags, items that need to be washed separately, and everything else!

21.  Mama’s Laundry Talk Pinterest Board for Laundry Routines

Large Family Laundry Solutions {mega post} | RaisingArrows.net

22.  Detailed Laundry Routine – Every day of the week has a specific purpose for the laundry.

23.  2 Washers, 2 Dryers & a Laundry Counter – What a blessing!

24.  Duggar Family Laundry Room Video Tour – Had to throw it in – a girl can dream, can’t she?

Large Family Hacks - learn the little things that make their homes run smoother! | RaisingArrows.net

Click here to read more Large Family Hacks!

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How I Do Tapestry of Grace {Large Family, Loose Schedule} http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/how-i-do-tapestry-of-grace-large-family-loose-schedule/ http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/how-i-do-tapestry-of-grace-large-family-loose-schedule/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.raisingarrows.net/?p=24714 You donI feel it’s important I begin this post with a disclaimer:  I use Tapestry of Grace as a GUIDE with other things thrown in.  I do not follow it to
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I feel it’s important I begin this post with a disclaimer:  I use Tapestry of Grace as a GUIDE with other things thrown in.  I do not follow it to the letter.  I’ve never followed it to the letter.  I’ve never been able to make it work for our family “As Is”, but of all the curricula I’ve tried, it is Tapestry of Grace I come back to time and again.

I probably won’t win any Tapestry of Grace Awards (if there were such a thing) for being a great TOG mom, but I am a fan of the curriculum…the way I use it.

So, if I haven’t scared you off, read on…

You don't have to follow the entire schedule to a T to use Tapestry of Grace - this post shows how one family does TOG (planning, teaching, and tweaks) | RaisingArrows.net

Tapestry of Grace is divided into 4 age/reasoning levels – Lower Grammar, Upper Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric.  Think of these as Early Elementary, Older Elementary, Jr. High, and High School…ish.

I focus most of my attention on the 8 & up crowd, letting the 7 & under crew float in and out of the lessons.  In fact, of late, I’ve instituted a Rest Time for those ages during our Tapestry Time.  The 3 littlest boys are more distracting than anything and I figure their time will come when they are more mature.  So, in Tapestry terms, that means I have 2 Upper Grammar students, 1 Dialectic (who will soon be moving up), and 1 Rhetoric (who will graduate this year).

So, now that you know WHO in our family does TOG, I can start at the beginning of an actual lesson plan and give you an idea of what that looks like and how I implement it.

Lesson Planning for Tapestry of Grace

Tapestry of Grace comes in 2 forms – Print Edition and DE (Digital Edition). I prefer having the hard copy of TOG, but DE automatically updates.  This would be especially helpful for Year 4 (Modern Times).

Toward the end of each week, or over the weekend, I open my Tapestry notebook to the next lesson.  Marcia Sommerville (author of TOG) has graciously given things to look out for the next week at the end of every chapter, so I glance over those and make a mental note as I begin my planning.

I use a notepad and pen as my main tools, and I keep an internet capable device nearby because I find there are several things I want to look up as I work.

How we do Tapestry of Grace homeschool curriculum | RaisingArrows.net

To lesson plan, I go through the Threads for the week and the Weekly Overview (shown above – the colors represent the different learning levels) and jot down everything I want to cover.  I look over ALL levels because often there are projects or topics I want to use from other levels, or I have a child more or less advanced and would appreciate the assignments from a different level.  If need be, I write the child’s name next to the assignment on my list, but that is usually only in the case of reading assignments.

Note:  Most of the things we do in TOG, we do together.  I’ve seen a tremendous benefit from having everyone in the same room, no matter the learning level of the material being covered.  Information gone over once gives a child a taste and may be enough to pass a test.  Information gone over multiple times in multiple ways gives them understanding and mastery.  For instance, my oldest daughter has been reading in Victorian Internet about the telegraph.  The younger kids are studying Samuel Morse this week at their level.  Megan was able to add information to their study as I read to them.  Doing so solidifies her understanding of the material.  This kind of education is priceless.

How We Do Tapestry of Grace {large family, loose schedule} - this post shows how one family uses TOG as a guide from lesson planning to actual teaching | RaisingArrows.net

As you can see from my notes in the above photo, I’ve put names next to specific books – some of those are carry-overs from the previous week and some are new ones I found in the Reading Assignment pages of Tapestry.

NOTE:  At the beginning of the year, I use Tapestry’s website to PRE-plan books I will need, so I’m not scrambling for resources.  (click here to learn more about finding the books used in each year plan)

After I have all my “plans” on paper, I will reorder them if necessary, but most of the time I know where I want to start and what the general order should be, so I simply cross off as I go throughout my week.

It is also at this time that I make notes on any items I need to shop for (pinata and candy in this case – I just don’t feel like making a pinata this time).  I also research any internet links I may want to use and either put them on my TOG Pinterest boards (shown below) or drop the links into Evernote.  (Truth be told, there are many days that I research as I teach, pulling up maps and photos as I go.)

Follow Amy Roberts {Raising Arrows}’s board Tapestry of Grace Tips & Resources on Pinterest. Follow Amy Roberts {Raising Arrows}’s board Tapestry of Grace Year 1 on Pinterest.
Follow Amy Roberts {Raising Arrows}’s board Tapestry of Grace Year 2 on Pinterest. Follow Amy Roberts {Raising Arrows}’s board Tapestry of Grace Year 3 on Pinterest.
Follow Amy Roberts {Raising Arrows}’s board Tapestry of Grace Year 4 on Pinterest.
Note: You can see we are currently in Year 3 by how many more links there are on that board.

Where Does Tapestry of Grace Fit Into Our Day

Tapestry is an afternoon thing here.  Our morning hours are spent mostly in workbooks.  Tapestry of Grace is a sort of “slow-down” to our day.  It usually consists of read-alouds, projects, and discussions.  It never takes more than 2 hours.

Note:  The reading assignments from TOG are to be accomplished during morning school time.  They are not factored into this Tapestry Time.  So, for instance, Megan read in Victorian Internet during the morning time, and we discussed Samuel Morse during the afternoon hours.

What a Tapestry of Grace Week Looks Like

MONDAY
I always start by reading the General Information page from the chapter aloud to the children.  This gives them an overview of what the week will be about.  Then, I read from the History Core and In-Depth sources I’ve chosen.  In this section’s case, the resource is Abraham Lincoln’s World.  I usually choose a resource from Upper Grammar or Dialectic to read to the group.  We all learn something without it being over anyone’s head.  Lastly, I hand them their Reading Assignments for the week.  They are welcome to start reading or put it away in their box, knowing that the reading has been added to their morning school time for the rest of the week, and I will be checking in on their progress during the week.

TUESDAY
Tuesday is usually spent discussing the main history threads and people focused on for the section.  And here’s where I lose my Tapestry of Grace Mom Award – I read directly from the World Book notes in the Teacher’s Notes. *gasp*

How I Do Tapestry of Grace homeschool curriculum - from lesson planning to actual teaching | RaisingArrows.net

As I stated earlier, I firmly believe that information should be digested several different ways, so even if the children are reading about a topic in their Reading Assignments, I still want them to hear it read aloud during our Tapestry Time.

For some people, the idea of reading from an encyclopedia sounds super boring, but I learned a knack for reading aloud with passion from my mom (THANKS, MOM!).  I read with fervor, I interject questions and tidbits of my own, and many discussions ensue.  I am not a teacher who refuses to stop for questions and comments (and diaper changes 😉 )

Another reason I am perfectly comfortable doing this is because Marcia has notes on the pages to keep me from being sucked into World Book’s worldview (yes, World Book has a worldview).

This also allows me to avoid a lot of pre-planning.  The World Book sections are included so mom can pre-read and know what the children are learning about.  I don’t do that. (another *gasp*)  I digest the information alongside my children.  It works for us.

The last thing I do on Tuesdays is hand out any relevant notebooking pages (I have a membership to NotebookingPages), and I help the children remember and write down pertinent information for Presidents, countries, etc.  I file those away in a collective TOG Notebook I keep for the children’s Tapestry of Grace pages.

WEDNESDAY
Wednesday is usually the day we go over Tapestry of Grace Geography.  This day is spent at the table with tea and cookies because our maps are on the dining room wall.  We live in a smallish house and this was the best place for the maps.  (We print our maps from this site.)

This is also the day we start any weekly projects I’ve decided to tackle.  I usually go for the easy projects – something that can easily be accomplished in 2 days.

Tapestry of Grace project | RaisingArrows.net

THURSDAY
This is the day we tie up loose ends.  We work through the remainder of the list, and we finish projects.  This is also the time I would have any discussions from Rhetoric that need to happen.  I do not do all the major Rhetoric discussions since they are more for a classroom setting, and we can accomplish just about the same amount in a family discussion over the World Book material. (see Tuesday)

FRIDAY
We do not school on Friday because of Home Blessing.  If we are doing a Unit Celebration or other related party, it occurs on Friday or Saturday.  You might have noticed in my notes, we are having a Mexican-themed party this weekend!

Now, let me give you a little broader picture, so you can see what I’m NOT doing…

What I Leave Out of Tapestry of Grace

1.  Writing – I have my own standards here, so I assign essays and research papers as needed.  ALL of my children write creatively on their own.  They got that bug from their mama.

2.  Philosophy – We do an overview of philosophy, but I’ve never been a fan of the “dialogues” included in TOG.

3.  Most worksheets – I don’t like busy work, and while the worksheets in TOG are well done, I can tell if my child is retaining information without the aid of worksheets, so we skip these.

4.  Anything I feel is unnecessary for my child – This could be just about anything.  Perhaps I know they have already studied a topic extensively or I don’t think they are old enough to understand myths or I don’t want to go as in-depth as TOG has them go on a subject.  This is MY homeschool, I can use Tapestry the way I want/need to use it and still be a good mom. 😉

I Don’t Do All of Tapestry, but I Still Think it is Worth It.

So, perhaps you are wondering why I still like Tapestry of Grace if I don’t do it 100%.  Why not just use another curriculum that doesn’t have the extras?  Why not piece together my own?

Well, I tried piecing together my own.  It was a disaster.  Tapestry of Grace keeps me on track, and as I said before, it is the curriculum I return to time and again.  Here are a few of the reasons why…

1.  The hard work is done for me.  I cannot imagine the countless hours Scott and Marcia Sommerville put in to make TOG what it is.  It is massive, and everything I need is right at my fingertips without me needing to do all the hard work of gathering the information.

2.  If I needed the extras, they’re already there.  If sometime in the future, I decide to teach TOG a different way than I am now, I don’t have to scrap my old curriculum.  Everything is there and next time I teach this unit, I can choose to do more (or less) without needing to go back to the drawing board, so to speak.

3.  Our worldviews match.  I am a Protestant Creationist Christian who believes God touches our lives every day in everything we do.  This curriculum is decidedly from the same worldview.  Yes, you can use it if you are not all of these things (and Marcia does a good job of letting you know where there might be a worldview clash), but I don’t need to filter a lot of stuff from this curriculum.  For a busy mom of many, this is a huge time savings.

4.  The answers are provided.  There are other curricula out there that do not help mom formulate answers.  They offer questions and discussions, but no answers to those questions.  I can’t manage that kind of curriculum.  There are days when I am sick with morning sickness, have newborn brain, or just don’t have the energy to wrap my brain around difficult concepts.  I need someone to chew the information for me.  I may not fully agree (but, I did say our worldviews match, so that helps), but at least I have something to go on.  Thank you, TOG!

5.  The chronology and interwoven topics suit my style.   I like to study history chronologically.  I like to know the whole story.   I like to see God’s hand in history.  I like to have my school subjects weave in and out of each other.  I have never found another curriculum that does this as well as TOG.  Yes, I add in my own stuff, but like I said before, Tapestry of Grace is an indispensable guide for me to work from.  It is what ties our entire homeschool together.

So, now you know how Tapestry of Grace can work for a family that wants to use TOG as a guide rather than a full-tilt Classical curriculum.  (Note:  You will need to add in Math and Science no matter how you choose to use Tapestry.)

Let me finish by saying that I believe history should be the basis of every homeschool education.  It is so rich and deep, that an understanding of it is the gateway to a well-rounded education.

“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

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A Day of Raising Arrows {Episode #2} http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/a-day-of-raising-arrows-episode-2/ http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/a-day-of-raising-arrows-episode-2/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.raisingarrows.net/?p=24584 You may have noticed Raising Arrows has slowed down a bit.  It’s been very peaceful here in my neck of the woods, and part of that is a slower attitude all
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You may have noticed Raising Arrows has slowed down a bit.  It’s been very peaceful here in my neck of the woods, and part of that is a slower attitude all around.  (See my post on what I’m doing about all the stress this world causes.)

{affiliate links included}

I’ve started getting up earlier (Thank you, Make Over Your Mornings!), and enjoying about an hour of time before the children start straggling into the kitchen.  The children get their own breakfasts (with help, of course), but my breafkast of choice these days is oatmeal with 1 tsp coconut sugar and a sprinkle of chocolate chips because I’m doing Trim Healthy Mama without stevia.  The oatmeal really keeps me going throughout the morning hours when school is in full swing.

Morning is spent on workbooks and “every day” school subjects.  Today, I managed to sneak in a chapter from Pocketful of Pinecones.  It inspires both me and the children!  I’ve decided when we head out to do our Back to Homeschool shopping (even though we school year round), I will purchase Nature Notebooks and clipboards for my 4, 6, 9, and 10 year olds.  Even the simple reading of this book has made them more aware of the nature around them.  I think I will also buy a copy of Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Sudy from Amazon.  I own the free e-version, but at heart, I’m still a real, live bibliophile (plus, I said I was going to spend LESS time on the computer. 😉 )

About 11 am, Aspen wants to nurse and take a nap, so I head to my room and curl up in my ugly gold chair and put on a mom movie – something like Miss Potter – that I’ve downloaded to my Kindle or stream from Amazon Prime (Miss Potter is available right now for Prime members).  Not many people in the house want to watch mom movies, so this is my time to catch a few minutes of a movie that is more my speed.

A Day of Raising Arrows {episode 2}

Aspen now sleeps in a playpen in our room, having outgrown the Snugabunny.  I lay her down, and quietly sneak out of the room to return to school with the others.

I spend my time on the floor with my little boys while my olders work on their own.  Blake has finished his Economics course, and is working through Chemistry.  He will follow it up with David Copperfield – his first ever Dickens novel, outside of A Christmas Carol.

Megan is racing through her school work in order to get back to crocheting a black hoodie – a pattern she found on Pinterest.  I’m anxious to see the finished product.  I’m amazed by all the things that girl can do – she is truly a Creative.  She’s been spending most of her free time this week doing “quiet” crafts because last week was a busy week for her as she worked as a Counselor in Training at a Deaf Camp.  Her dreams of becoming an interpreter seem nearer and nearer.

In between working with the middles and littles, I switch laundry loads and fold the clean clothes on the couch.  My older girl’s and my toddler boy’s clothes are piled together – the girls will sort them out and get them put away since his clothes go in their dresser.  My two oldest boys are piled together as well, and then there is a pile for my clothes along with my husband’s and baby girl.  The little guys (age 4 & 6) are sorted according to the drawers in their heavy-duty plastic “dresser” so they can easily put things away where they belong –
Micah – daytime clothes
Garin – daytime clothes
Jammies (mixed)
Socks/Undies (mixed)

They are so close in age that most of their clothing is interchangeable.  In fact, I find when it’s not me doing the laundry, their things get mixed up.  I also secretly culled a few long-sleeve shirts my 4 year old has been hanging on to – and yes, wearing, despite the 100 degree temps!  After lunch, I will call them all to put their clothes away as part of Tidy-Up Time.

Around noon, I call my 17 year old son in to start lunch.  Today, he chose a frozen pizza we had hanging around in the freezer and the myriad of leftovers lurking in the fridge.  I had a salad with diced chicken and spicy ranch dressing.  We didn’t bother to clean the toys from the table before eating – some days it just makes sense to eat with knights and Army men.

By this time, Aspen was awake and wanted some “real” food too.  I’ve been buying organic baby food from the store.  I know I could be making food for her, but this is one place I’m willing to “cut corners” and save myself some time and energy.

As the older kids work through their Table Chores, I send the little boys (ages 2, 4, 6) to the bathroom and then to Rest Time.  This is a fairly new “revival” of our old Rest Time.  The first day was a test of my patience, but the second day didn’t even require me to stand guard outside the door.  The 4 and 2 year old are in one room.  The 2 year old goes to sleep and the 4 year old is allowed up after an hour.  The same goes for the 6 year old in the other room.  I could put the two of them together, but I’ve found they don’t really “rest” when they are together.

While they are resting, I do Tapestry of Grace with my olders (ages 9 and up).  Today, however, was a project just for my middles – moccasins made from brown felt.  I traced around their feet, added a top and back sewn on with embroidery floss, we cut fringe, and my 10 year old daughter added beads.  This was a 2 day project studying the Plains Indians.  I read about the various tribes and how they lived while they hand-sewed their moccasins.  The children were so pleased with the lessons, they ended up playing “Indians” with their brothers when they got up from Rest Time.

Tapestry of Grace project | RaisingArrows.net

During the rest of the afternoon hours, my oldest son worked on a website he is building for his airsoft team, and my daughter crocheted.  Eventually, Aspen was ready for her long nap of the day, so we went back into my room to snuggle and nurse.  The computer I am currently using was in my room, so after she fell asleep, I took a bit to type up a few of my thoughts and answer a couple of emails.  My MacBook is in the repair shop, so I’m using a computer I’m not used to.  Funny how using an unfamiliar laptop can make typing a chore.  I ended up spending more time gazing out my window at the sunlight in the trees than actually writing anything coherent.  But, nature is a better break than a computer screen can ever be.

A Day of Raising Arrows {episode 2}

Upon leaving my room, I packed away into storage the Bumbo.  Aspen can sit on her own now, and I’m never one to leave baby paraphernalia out any longer than necessary.  But, I will be honest, it’s difficult watching her grow up. Baby Aspen is 7 months old now.  It seems so surreal.  She is near the age Emily was when she passed away.  She is so like Emmy, yet so different.  It is still strange to me to have a little girl after all these years.

A Day of Raising Arrows {episode 2}

Because it is Aspen’s 7 month old “birthday”, once she awakens, Megan and I head out to do a quick photo shoot in the front yard.  Since she is sitting up, I put her in a flat-bottomed basket near a tree.  She wears an outfit that reminds me of Emmy.  Megan used to call Emily her little strawberry, so I put Aspen in a “little strawberry” outfit with a bright pink headband, and Megan spends a good hour shooting photos with her new portrait lens.

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I’m thankful supper is already simmering. We are having roast in the electric skillet.  It’s best this way.  Sear it on both sides and then add some water and spices, and let it simmer.  Pair it with broccoli and you have a wonderful meal to end your day.

At the end of the meal, we tidied the house to ready it for the evening.  A friend recently called it “putting the house to bed.”  I like that.

Once the house was finished, I cut boys’ hair and got them showered and jammied.  We ended the evening by reading in Heidi and discussing the upcoming weekend.

Since Ty was gone for the evening, I did a little redecorating in the kitchen, turning my hideously bare pot rack into something that makes me smile.

Decorating the pot rack {A Day of Raising Arrows}

The grater was my grandmother’s.  The other things are items I have collected and decorated with over the years.  I once had a landlord who laughed at my love of foliage inside my house.  Perhaps I am a tree hugger at heart – in the Creationist sense of the word, that is.

It felt good to crawl into bed and pull the covers up to my chin.  The sheets are cool and the quilt is just the right weight.  I set the alarm on my phone and place it on the windowsill.  When I awake, I know my little daughter will be in my arms – the thought of this makes me smile myself to sleep.

What is your day like?  Have questions for me about my day?  Leave a comment!

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Stressed, Overwhelmed, & Anxious – But What Do We Do About It? http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/stressed-overwhelmed-anxious-but-what-do-we-do-about-it/ http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/stressed-overwhelmed-anxious-but-what-do-we-do-about-it/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.raisingarrows.net/?p=24694 Americans are some of the most stress, anxious and overwhelmed people on the planet. Homemakers and homeschoolers are no exception. But, what can we do about it? Let's discuss! | RaisingArrows.netThe other night I was contemplating the WHY behind so many people feeling anxious and overwhelmed when we’ve been doing the same things other people have been doing for hundreds
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The other night I was contemplating the WHY behind so many people feeling anxious and overwhelmed when we’ve been doing the same things other people have been doing for hundreds of years.  In fact, we have more help than ever, and yet, we are more stressed out than ever.

This article seemed to offer the most reasonable explanations for WHY, but it didn’t offer any remedies.  For a moment, I wondered if there were any remedies, or are we Americans doomed to a life of worry?

I just can’t accept that.

Americans are some of the most stress, anxious and overwhelmed people on the planet.  Homemakers and homeschoolers are no exception.  But, what can we do about it?  | RaisingArrows.net

The article cited above gave 3 main reasons for anxiety and stress in America.

1.  Loss of a real life community.

2.  Information overload. (Remember, when I wrote about Homeschool Information Overload?)

3.  The inability to sit with our feelings without medicating them in some way.

I agree with these findings.

My happiest memories of my adulthood involve being a part of a church that was like family, having wonderful neighbors who spent time together, and having family nearby.

I also know I am bombarded by more information than I can possibly sift through every single day.  I’ve felt my anxiety level rise as I’ve lifted the lid on my laptop, knowing my inbox would be overflowing, my Facebook feed teeming, and voices from every direction sharing ideas, suggestions, and how-to’s that are guaranteed to make my life better.  Except they don’t.

I’m also familiar with the desire to run from my feelings…or eat them.  Food is my medication of choice.  The numbing effects of chocolate and sugar rescue me from feeling bad.  I’ve also used the computer or other media to drown out the sadness or fear or loneliness.  I don’t want to feel bad.  Who really does?

Can you relate? Are you affected by a lack of community? Do you feel like there is too much information bombarding you every day? Are you afraid of uncomfortable feelings and turn to “medication” to avoid feeling them?

But, let’s not stop there…

Like I said, I’m not willing to throw my hands up and say, “Oh well, I guess this is just the way it is.”  I KNOW a slower, simpler, less stressful life is possible.  And for those suffering from anxiety, adrenal fatigue, and any other condition exacerbated by stress, it is IMPERATIVE we learn how to fix this.

So, first issue –

What can we do to foster a REAL LIFE sense of community?

 

1.  Go to church.  Actually, don’t just go, BE A PART of things.  We may not always be able to be near family, but the Church offers that family atmosphere in a God-ordained community. I know personally how tough it is to keep going when you aren’t rooted in a church.

2.  Work on friendships.  Friendships are difficult for a mom of many who homeschools, but they are possible.  They often come from relationships built at church or homeschool groups.  You will also have to make an effort to build friendships.  But, you don’t have to make it hard on yourself.  Invite another family over.  Have a cup of tea together.  Loan a book.  Learn more about the people around you.  And PRAY for godly friendships!

3.  Go outside and be visible.  This might strange on the surface, but think about something for a moment…what happened to front porches?  Do you know very few homes we have lived in over the years have had front porches?  We currently live in a house that does, and we have met more people simply by sitting on the front porch!

Next issue –

How do we sift, filter, and slow information overload?

This one is tough for me.  I like information.  I like to dig for answers, try new things, make notes and bookmark tidbits.  But it is killing me.  I don’t manage it well because it truly is unmanageable.  We are living in the information age.  Information bombards us at the speed of a keystroke.  It’s in our inboxes, on our social media, it’s pinging our phones, and popping up in the corners of our lives every second of the day.  We are drowning in it.  And getting out from under it feels impossible because so much of our lives involve “devices.”

I’m not even going to pretend to know all the answers here, but I can tell you what I am doing to slow the flow of information.

1.  Spend less time on the computer.  The less time I am on a computer or phone or tablet, the better I feel.  The more I live life, the better I feel.  I may not be writing as much here on Raising Arrows, but rest assured, when I do write, it’s because I actually have something to say that has been sparked by my REAL life.

2.  Shut off the notifications.  Yes, I may miss something.  It won’t be the end of the world.  I don’t need all those emails, notifications, pings, and promises clogging up my real life.  If God wants me to see that information, He will put it in my path!

3.  Put the internet in its “box.”  My life is made up of boxes of time that act as boundaries and regulations.  The computer needs to be in its box.  It can’t be allowed to invade every other box of my life.  This means when I pull up information for a homeschool lesson, I either need to print it off or I need to make a concerted effort to avoid going down a bunny trail, checking my email, or jumping on social media for a second.  And when it is time to check email or social media, I do that, and then I’m done.  This may mean shutting off the computer, putting it in a room that isn’t easily accessible, or choosing not to have my phone near me at all times.  Yes, I do miss calls and texts and emails.  Even if no one else understands, I know that my life cannot revolve around a digital device.

And lastly –

How do we cope with feeling sad, angry, or lonely without simply putting a bandage over it and pretending it isn’t there?

There’s really only one answer to this…

Cry out to Jesus.

There is pain in this life.  Constantly running away and avoiding it makes us reliant on ourselves (or a magic pill – that doesn’t REALLY help).  We have to allow ourselves to feel.  We have to allow ourselves to just be.  We have to allow the Lord to work in our lives because we know fully well we can do nothing else.

Something that article, and any other from a secular source, will never tell you is that you NEED to be SAVED from all this worry, stress, and strife.  But, it isn’t a WHAT that is going to save you.  It’s WHO.

Faith is tough, folks.  It’s not the easy road. There are a lot of voices out there telling us we should think for ourselves, we should “get help”, we should do whatever it takes to get away, all the while avoiding the TRUTH.  The answer isn’t a better ME.  The answer is a perfect Savior who doesn’t need me to meet a certain standard, feel a certain way, or have the perfect plan.

Sometimes we try too hard.

 

 

This slow-down is an ongoing process.  It takes time to build, repair, and learn the art of abiding.  Thank you, Jesus, for saving me from myself!

Now, it’s your turn…

Are you struggling?  Have you had victories?  Share them here!  Raising Arrows isn’t a REAL LIFE community, but the readers here REALLY DO CARE!

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Cilantro Lime Chicken & Rice – Easy, One-Dish Meal http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/cilantro-lime-chicken-rice-easy-one-dish-meal/ http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/cilantro-lime-chicken-rice-easy-one-dish-meal/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.raisingarrows.net/?p=24662 Cilantro-Lime Chicken & Rice (super easy one-dish meal!) | RaisingArrows.netI like simple.  Especially when it comes to meals for my family.  When meal planning, I tend to look for dishes that won’t require a lot of time taken away
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I like simple.  Especially when it comes to meals for my family.  When meal planning, I tend to look for dishes that won’t require a lot of time taken away from them, and won’t require a lot of clean up afterward.  I want to spend the majority of my time feasting and celebrating around the table with them, so I want a meal that is simple, tasty, and perfect for all ages.  This dish fits that bill perfectly!

Cilantro-Lime Chicken & Rice (super easy one-dish meal!) | RaisingArrows.net

Cilantro-Lime Chicken & Rice

3 c. instant brown rice
2 1/4 c. water
¼ c. lime juice
fresh cilantro, chopped
10 chicken tenderloins
lemon pepper & salt

Spread rice in the bottom of a 10″ x 15″ casserole dish.  Add water and lime juice, and gently stir to mix and saturate rice.  Sprinkle cilantro leaves across the rice, and lay chicken on top of the rice and water.  Season, and cover tightly with foil.  Bake in 375° oven for 50 minutes.

This is an E meal for Trim Healthy Mama.

Cilantro-Lime Chicken & Rice | RaisingArrows.net

This is a great dish to serve to your family on a busy night or when you have company over because it leaves plenty of time to just be with your family and friends.  The flavors mix perfectly, and there’s really no need to add anything else to the meal.  However, if you feel like there needs to be something else, a green salad with an Italian dressing or vinaigrette would be yummy!

Cilantro-Lime Chicken & Rice - a super easy, tasty, and beautiful one-dish meal! | RaisingArrows.net

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Trim Healthy Mama One Week Meal Plan Without Stevia http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/trim-healthy-mama-one-week-meal-plan-without-stevia/ http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/trim-healthy-mama-one-week-meal-plan-without-stevia/#comments Sat, 18 Jul 2015 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.raisingarrows.net/?p=24636 One Week Trim Healthy Mama Menu Plan Without Stevia | RaisingArrows.netI wasn’t quite prepared for the response I received from my post on making Trim Healthy Mama work without stevia!  Apparently, that’s been an issue for quite a few of
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I wasn’t quite prepared for the response I received from my post on making Trim Healthy Mama work without stevia!  Apparently, that’s been an issue for quite a few of you.  Going through my first week doing THM without the stevia has been wonderful!  I did end up having some Crossovers I hadn’t planned (not listed on the menu – more on that at the end of the post), but I was still down a pound!  I know many of you have been waiting anxiously for the menu plan I promised, but I needed to make sure I had tested a couple of things before letting you see it.  Plus, it’s been a super busy week (thus, the reason for the Crossovers I hadn’t planned on!).

I’m going to do my best to answer questions I think you might have in the post itself, but if you don’t see your question answered, leave a comment, and I’ll answer you there (or I’ll write another post if I think I need to say more to cover your question!)

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To start with, I am using an editable THM planner courtesy of Sheri Graham.  You can get yours HERE for free!  These are VERY handy!  They include 3 meals + 3 snacks.  Now, you may not NEED all your snacks, but you will find that if you plan your entire week WITH snacks, you stay on track A LOT better!

And be sure to keep a hard copy of every menu plan you make!  These will be indispensable to you!  Even if you end up tweaking the plan or going off of it for a meal or two, you will want to have these past copies to help you menu plan in the future!  I keep the current week’s menu in a plastic protector sleeve in my THM notebook.  (yeah, I still haven’t written THAT post.)

So, here’s a quick look at my week of Trim Healthy Mama (no-stevia style)!

*correction – Thursday lunch is a FP if you are using Dreamfields; although, I have seen some documentation that Dreamfields still spikes blood sugar the way regular pasta does.One Week Trim Healthy Mama Menu Plan Without Stevia | RaisingArrows.netI’m going to go day by day for you, so hold on tight…
(Pinterest recipes can be found on my boards HERE, but I have tried to include the original recipe links.  And if the rest of this post is too tedious for you, just screenshot my menu and call it good!  You won’t hurt my feelings.)

SUNDAY

Breakfast – Crepes (p220) with turkey sausage patties (S)
notes:  I made the crepes without gluco, xanthan, or sweetener.  You don’t really need any of those.  Do make sure you get your pan coated well.  I purchased the turkey sausage at Aldi.

Snack #1 – 1/2 c. Greek yogurt with 1 tsp All-Fruit jelly stirred in (FP)
notes:  This is an old standby of mine especially during the summer months.  

Lunch – Summer’s Cup Soup (p289) & E bread (E)
notes:  I made this with yellow squash and without the coconut oil.  I used an immersion blender to blend it in the saucepan, but I didn’t blend all the chunkiness out of it.  Because of that, I ended up not wanting the garbanzo beans in it (I’m not a big bean fan anyway, in case you had forgotten 😉 ) I ended up eating this soup with a low carb pita.  Had I only eaten half the pita, this would have been a FP. 

Snack #2Cheese Crisps with Salsa (S)
notes:  Be careful with this one!  Cheese can quickly get out of hand, and truth be told, I ate TOO MUCH of this.  Not sure I’ll do this one again as a snack.

DinnerTaco Bake & Salad (S)
notes:  Ranch is a good option when it comes to pairing a salad with an S meal.  All the Ranch dressings I’ve purchased from Aldi have had 2 or less carbs.  Go light on the cheese and other S type add-ins for your salad because of how much fat is already in the Taco Bake.

Snack #3 – Joseph crackers (p394) & light cheese wedge (FP)
notes:  After a big S meal, a FP is a nice “light” snack.  I buy my Laughing Cow-ish cheese wedges from Aldi.

MONDAY

Breakfast – Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes (p223) with All-Fruit Jelly (E)
notes:  These DO NOT need the stevia.  Throw a smear of jelly on them, a few berries or even actual sugar, honey, or maple syrup if you must.  Remember 1 tsp = 4ish carbs, so don’t overdo it!

Snack #1 – Blue corn chips & pico de gallo (E)
notes:  I’ll be honest, blue corn chips that are on plan (baked) are hard to find.  I did not end up eating this snack.  I did make this pico and paired it with some avocados later in the week for an S snack.

Lunch – Unwich (Romaine lettuce leaf with cream cheese & deli meat rolled up inside) (S)
notes:  I don’t like big lunches most of the time.  I like easy lunches that I can grab and get back to homeschooling.  This one fits that bill.  I learned it from Jimmy Johns where you can order this right off the menu.  Make this a FP by trading the cream cheese (or mayo) for mustard or a light cheese wedge.

Snack #2 – Cucumber slices in cottage cheese (FP)
notes:  You can really dress this up as seen HERE.  It could be an entire meal if you let it.

Dinner – Fajita Nachos (S or E)
notes:  I didn’t actually use this recipe, so I cannot give you a thumbs up or down on this, but I will say that I LOVE me some fajita nachos!  As soon as I am able, I’ll post a recipe for my original version of these, and I’ll let you know how my makeover version turned out.  Basically, you are talking fajita chicken (I like to buy the bagged stuff from Aldi) with green peppers and onions.  These are S if you skip the chips and go full-tilt or E if you use a lighter cheese sauce and use the blue corn chips.

Snack #3 – Popcorn (E)
notes:  You will want to see p84 in Trim Healthy Mama to learn how to have your popcorn.

TUESDAY

Breakfast – Hard Boiled Egg & Cottage Cheese (S)
notes:  Boil up a whole slew of eggs and keep them in a carton in the fridge marked “Hard-Boiled” all over the carton – and I mean ALL OVER!  That way no one can blame you when they try to crack one for scrambled eggs the next morning.  However, be aware that once your 4 year old realizes there are hard-boiled eggs, he will not have the discernment to look for the words “Hard-Boiled” on the egg carton before trying to peel an egg for his snack.  This will lead to a mess life lesson. 

Snack #1 – Chocolate Greek Yogurt w/ nuts (p251) (S)
notes:  I was beyond excited to try the whey protein powders from Swansons.  They are the only ones I’ve found not made with Splenda or Stevia, and the calorie count is lower too.  They are made with xylitol, so if you are sensitive to xylitol, be aware.  If you just want to go with unsweetened protein powder, you can safely add a teaspoon of sweet without going over the carb limit.  By the way, without the nuts this is a FP.  

LunchBig Mac Salad (S)
notes:  I REALLY like this salad!  The version I linked to is NOT the one I usually use, but sadly, that recipe disappeared from the web.  This version will need a little tweaking.  Trade the sweet relish for dill, skip the sugar, and use a sugar-free ketchup.  The THM Ketchup found on page 411 is REALLY good and absolutely does NOT need the stevia listed.

Snack #2 – Celery with light cheese wedge (FP)
notes: hmmm…I can’t think of anything to say about this!

Dinner – Turkey meatballs with brown rice (E)
notes:  I buy my turkey meatballs from Aldi (see the reoccurring theme here?).  This is a super simple meal.  Cook your rice and warm your meatballs, toss together with some herbs, salt, and pepper, and enjoy!

Snack #3 – THM Pan Bread (p266) with light cheese wedge (E)
notes:  This is a nice versatile bread – no stevia required.

WEDNESDAY

Breakfast – Oatmeal with Berries & 1 tsp sugar (E)
notes:  You may not need the sweet if your berries are sweet enough.  1 tsp sugar, honey, or maple syrup is approximately 4g carbs.  1/2 cup of uncooked oatmeal is around 20g carbs, so adding in that extra 4 isn’t going to break the carb bank.  But, experiment first and see if you really need it.

Snack #1 – Apple slices with Greek yogurt and cinnamon (E)
notes:  I learned this from my friend Jamie.  You do not need any sweet added to your Greek if you are dipping apple slices in it.  Additionally, consider buying a high quality cinnamon.  We highly recommend THIS CINNAMON.  It is naturally sweet, and a world apart from your run-of-the-mill store bought cinnamon.

Lunch – THM Pan Bread (p 266) with chicken, mustard, and celery + pepper sticks (E)
notes:  If you made Pan Bread the day before, you probably have some left over for a quick lunch.  Use a chicken breast or chicken in a can, mix with mustard and celery and a good dash of salt and pepper.  Slice up some pepper sticks for a side.

Snack #2 – Fajita Chicken with onions and green peppers (FP)
notes:  This can double as a FP meal if you’d rather.  And again, I really like the fajita chicken in the freezer case at Aldi.

Dinner – Roast (in crock pot), broccoli, and Marcy’s Cheesy Rolls (p272) (S)
notes:  Put the roast in the crock pot in the morning when you have a busy day ahead of you.  Broccoli is an easy side, and if you have the time, Marcy’s Cheesy Rolls (p272) are delicious!  I do use gluco in these, so I’m not sure how these would turn out without it.  If you aren’t keen on that, try this recipe – it is uber yummy too! 

Snack #3 – Cheesecake Berry Crunch (p373) (S)
notes:  I could eat this in a house, I could eat this with a mouse, I could eat this here or there, I could eat this anywhere!  This is one of those snacks, I cannot wait to eat!  And you do NOT need the stevia listed in the recipe.  I buy frozen mixed berries from (you guessed it!) Aldi.  I pick out the strawberries and throw them back in the bag, add a few walnuts, a couple of spoonfuls of cream cheese and throw them in my Vitamix.  Give it a whirl, and treat myself to a bowl of bliss!  And now, I’m hungry…

Cheesecake Berry Crunch (Trim Healthy Mama without stevia) | RaisingArrows.net

THURSDAY

Breakfast – Spinach & Cheese Omelet (S)
notes:  throw a handful of fresh spinach in your buttered skillet, let it wilt, add your eggs and cheese, let it set on low with the lid on and do its thing.

Snack #1 – Cottage Cheese (FP)
notes:  Buy the 1% stuff to make this a FP

Lunch – Spaghetti & Meatballs (FP or E)
notes:  Use turkey meatballs and Dreamfields pasta for FP.  Or you could try a whole wheat pasta in moderation for E – I need to look into this a bit more.  Use a sauce that has no sugar or make your own.  Pair this with a veggie that doesn’t need butter.

Snack #2 – Chocolate Strawberry Fat Stripping Frappe (FP)
notes:  this is that thing you saw me sipping last week!

Dinner – Cheeseburger Pie (p326) and cabbage (S)
notes:  This is one of my favorite THM meals from my beginning days!  It is yummy!  Don’t miss it!

Snacks #3 – A handful of nuts (S)
notes:  For some people, this is NOT a good bedtime snack.  Replace accordingly, but on a day like this, it is probably good to end your day with an S snack.

FRIDAY

Breakfast – Hard Boiled Egg (S)
notes:  This was all I needed that morning.  I was in a hurry and very glad there were still a few hard boiled eggs left for me.

Snack #1 – Cucumber slices (FP)
notes:  This is a simple snack that takes care of the urge to crunch something.  Salt and pepper them if you like.

Lunch – Chicken Breast & Cottage Berry Whip (p379) (FP)
notes:  The Cottage Berry Whip is another one of those recipes that does NOT need stevia.  The frozen berries are enough sweet in my opinion.

Snack #2 – Cheese Stick (S)
note:  I buy mine at…oh never mind…you already knew that.

DinnerPizza Bites and broccoli (S)
notes:  I ended up not making these, but plan to this week.  They look so yummy!

Snack #3 – Chocolate Chip Cookie/Scone (S)
notes:  This is another of those recipes that no longer exists in its original home on the web.  I had to ask on a Facebook group if someone had the recipe.  Thankfully, they did.  I really like this recipe!  The reason I say in my menu plan that this is off plan is because I use milk chocolate chips when I make this.  The recipe below gives you an on-plan version:

Chocolate Chip Scone Recipe

SATURDAY

Breakfast – Oatmeal with 1/2 banana & apple pie spice or cinnamon & nutmeg (E)
notes:  Contrary to popular belief, you CAN have a banana on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  Well, HALF a banana that is.  If you are wanting your banana to sweeten your oatmeal, it needs to look like this:

Make sure your banana is plenty ripe to sweeten (Trim Healthy Mama wihtout stevia menu plan) | RaisingArrows.net

Don’t forget to get the good cinnamon, and enjoy a hearty breakfast!

Oatmeal without stevia from the Trim Healthy Mama no stevia plan | RaisingArrows.net

Snack #1 – Celery with light cheese wedge (FP)
notes:  I don’t have anything to say about this but all the others have comments, so I didn’t want this one to feel left out.

Lunch – Chili Relleno Casserole (p325) & cauliflower (S)
notes:  This is another really great casserole from the book!

Snack #2 – Tummy Tuck Ice Cream (p368) (FP)
notes:  You will notice on my menu, I put 1 tsp of sugar.  I actually ended up using frozen strawberries as my sweet. 

Dinner – Cilantro Lime Chicken & Rice (E)
notes:  Recipe forthcoming, but here’s a sneak peek:

Trim Healthy Mama without stevia | RaisingArrows.net

Snack #3 – Apple slices w/ 1 tsp almond butter (E)
notes:  Keep it to 1 tsp to make this an E.  Almond butter is the bomb, by the way.

So, there it is.  I know this menu offers a lot of variations, but remember, if you find something you like, you can eat it a second (or third, or fourth!) time in a week!  It’s ok. 😉  And I NEVER eat 3 snacks, but knowing they are there if I need them makes me happy.

Not relying on sweets does take some getting used to.  Concentrate on the spices and flavors, and use berries as much as you can as a sweetener.  If you need to add 1 tsp of sugar to something, it’s ok – that’s about 4g of carbs.  Try to stick to E & FP type foods when doing this so you aren’t mixing fuels.  And always be aware of what you are doing, so you don’t overdo it!

And I’m human, so if you see something I got wrong, call me on it and help me fix it.  Thank ya much!

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How We Teach Homeschool Economics http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/how-we-teach-homeschool-economics/ http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/how-we-teach-homeschool-economics/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.raisingarrows.net/?p=24263 Even if our state didnEven if the state we live in didn’t require us to teach economics, we would.  It is THAT important.  I’m not teaching it the way the public school would, but
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Even if the state we live in didn’t require us to teach economics, we would.  It is THAT important.  I’m not teaching it the way the public school would, but rather from a Christian worldview – one that is responsible, charitable, and stewardship-minded.

Even if our state didn't require us to teach Economics in our homeschool, we would.  It is imperative we get these principles into our children's heads - here's how we do it (plus a time sensitive 25% off coupon!) | RaisingArrows.net

It is imperative we give our kids a solid CHRISTIAN foundation in economics.    This doesn’t just affect our cash flow and stance on debt, it affects how and when we give of our time and resources, policies we support, and how we view governmental systems and agencies.  This is important stuff!

Because most of us are not stock brokers or Economics professors, we will probably need a little help.  So, let me give you a run down of how we teach Economics.

{includes affiliate links}

How We Teach Homeschool Economics | RaisingArrows.net

1.  Start with Economics for Everybody.  (There is an old audio-only version of this series.  It is not as engaging and informative as the series produced by Compass Classroom.  Please, do not mistake the two.)

Let me explain WHY we start here.  This is the foundational piece.  We need to give our kids a solid foundation in how economics really works from a Christian worldview.  Economics for Everybody does that.

The series features R.C. Sproul, Jr.’s teaching complimented by video illustrations that help connect the concepts for you and your child.  (YES, I highly recommend you watch these WITH your child – you WILL learn something!)

To give you an idea of how this works, take a look at this trailer for the series:

**Get the first 3 lessons in this course for FREE!**

The reason this kind of teaching works so well is because it brings in both auditory learning AND visual learning together.  Children (and adults!) learn best if they experience concepts in more than way.  Using the Economics for Everybody series will give your child the best chance at actually learning and retaining the information.

In fact, ALL of my children sat and watched the class!  That is how engaging and well-done this course is.  However, for those of you wondering about age recommendations for this course, it is geared toward middle school, high school, and adults.  And yes, you can have you middle schooler take this class and count it toward their high school credit – ahhhh, the freedom of homeschooling!

There are a two ways you can use this course:

1.  Full Economics Credit –  If you want your child to get a FULL credit in Economics – no fuss, nothing extra to buy – you can do that by purchasing the Homeschool Set.Teaching Homeschool Economics | RaisingArrows.net
The Homeschool Set includes 2 DVDs, the Study Guide, and the Basic Economics textbook by Dr. Clarence Carson and Dr. Paul A. Cleveland.  (You can download the entire Scope & Sequence for the course under RESOURCES on the main Economics page.)

~or~

2.  Half Credit in Economics – this is what we chose to do.  The reason for this had nothing to do with not liking the textbook (in fact, I’ve never even seen the text), but because I already had some other resources I wanted to share with my kids…more on that in a moment.

If you are doing the half-credit, you will need to purchase either the DVD set or the Downloads (which you can also stream – WAHOO!)

After you have given your kids a solid foundation in Christian Economics, you can move on to…

2.  Bring in resources that compliment the fundamental concepts your student has already learned.  We are big fans of Whatever Happened to Penny Candy.

This book on its own is not enough to teach economics, but it is a good book, and I think everyone should read it.  I read it to my kids several years ago, and they still remember many of the concepts.  Now that my oldest has finished the Economics for Everybody course, I’m going to set everyone down and reread this book aloud.

I am sure there are other great resources out there that could be used to compliment, but this is the one we had on hand, and we really enjoy it.

3.  Stretch their knowledge and application.  This is where it gets fun!  Pull out newspapers, watch the news, discuss giving to the poor and giving to the Church.  Economics for Everybody gave you the concepts, now flesh them out!  Listen in on financial radio shows and talk over the advice being given.  Have your teens consider their own guidelines for saving, giving, and exhibiting fiscal responsibility.  Everyone in your family will be challenged!

 

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Doing Trim Healthy Mama Without Stevia http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/doing-trim-healthy-mama-without-stevia/ http://www.raisingarrows.net/2015/07/doing-trim-healthy-mama-without-stevia/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.raisingarrows.net/?p=24633 Doing Trim Healthy Mama Without the Stevia | RaisingArrows.netI wanted to go back to Trim Healthy Mama after my latest birth, but one thing about it has always made me a little uncomfortable – the stevia. First of
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I wanted to go back to Trim Healthy Mama after my latest birth, but one thing about it has always made me a little uncomfortable – the stevia.

Doing Trim Healthy Mama Without the Stevia | RaisingArrows.net

First of all, there’s the taste.  It just doesn’t taste like sugar.  I don’t care how you salt it, hide it, mix it up, it will never taste like sugar.  And most people notice a major icky aftertaste.  Yes, you CAN get used to that weird taste (most describe it as “bitter”), but there is something about it that screams Don’t Eat Me!  Because of the taste, I found myself not wanting to eat stevia-laden desserts – they weren’t as satisfying as the ones that contained real sugar, maple syrup, or honey. Because of that, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick with it – I would eventually cave due to my desire to have something that tasted REAL, and more than likely, OVEREAT the sugary stuff once a morsel crossed my lips.

Then, there’s the color.  My brain had a difficult time wrapping itself around the fact that stevia is a plant and it shouldn’t be white.  In my past experiences with stevia, I purchased it through Frontier in bulk packages and it was GREEN – like a plant.  It still didn’t taste great, but it looked like a plant.  Pouring white powder from a packet that said it was PURE stevia sort of weirded me out.  (Yes, I know there is a process the plant goes through in the factory to end up looking like that white powder, but remember, this is my story – I don’t begrudge anyone else for being perfectly fine with whatever color their food may be.)

Then, there was all the conflicting reports of the side effects of eating stevia.  Everything from infertility to anxiety and all the rebuttals in between.  (sometimes I hate the internet!)  Unfortunately, once something gets stuck in my head, I have a hard time getting it out.

And then, I actually experienced my own stevia-related side effects.  It took a while for me to realize what was happening, but once I connected it to the stevia, I couldn’t make myself go back.  My symptoms were even lower blood pressure than I already have, feeling sick to my stomach and muddled in the head (probably blood sugar issues), and finally, searing abdominal pain that doubled me over day after day.  (please note, I was eating stevia several times a day.)

So, I stopped doing Trim Healthy Mama.  I was convinced I couldn’t do it without the stevia.  This is also why I’ve been so quiet about Trim Healthy Mama here on the blog.  But, you might have noticed I’ve been quiet about weight loss altogether.  The reason was because there was nothing to talk about – I wasn’t losing weight.  I stalled 17 pounds over pre-pregnancy weight which happens to be the place I ALWAYS stall at.  (Those of you who remember, this is the weight I was when Emily died, and my brain doesn’t like to go below that.)

I tried other diets as well as going to a whole foods diet, but the carbs were killing me.  I simply do not know when to quit when it comes to breads and cookies.  You can make them super healthy, and I will still eat them all gone.

So, back to me not losing weight…

I knew my body needed the kind of eating THM promotes.  I knew I needed the structure and the support THM offers.  I knew I needed to separate out my fuel sources because my body doesn’t process them together very well.  But, what about the stevia?  Could I really do Trim Healthy Mama WITHOUT the stevia?

Trim Healthy Mama Without the Stevia | RaisingArrows.net

Honestly, many people believe THM is ultra-reliant on stevia, and if you don’t like stevia (or xylitol), you can’t do the diet.  But, I beg to differ.  The biggest reason stevia is included in so many of the recipes you see floating around out there with the THM name slapped on them (including my most popular recipe) is because we like our sweets!  We like the idea of eating sweets and losing weight.  We like to have cake for breakfast, cake for lunch, and cake for dinner, and the only way to make that work is to stick to a no calorie sweetener in that cake.  But, let’s be honest…that’s NOT what Trim Healthy Mama is really about.  In fact, I am living proof that if you don’t practice BALANCE, you will stall out your efforts to lose weight.  You can’t eat all S, all E, all FP, or all STEVIA.  So, even if you LIKE stevia, it would be a really bad idea to eat it all the time!

There is a lot of information out there on stevia, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out who is right and who is wrong.  Ty and I decided to quit using it, but that doesn’t mean we have all the answers, it simply means WE decided to quit using it.  You have to make that decision for yourself based on your own reactions and research.  No matter what you do, stevia or not – remember MODERATION and BALANCE.  It really isn’t healthy to eat cake 3 times a day, and I’m pretty sure Serene and Pearl never meant for you to do that.

So, to the question, “Can you do Trim Healthy Mama without the stevia?”  my answer is YES!  And you can even have some of the treats mentioned in the book and online!  Here is a menu plan that shows you how!  A menu plan that finally brought the numbers down on the scale!  CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!

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