Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Review: Progeny Press Study Guide: The Green Book

   It's summertime!  Which means my kiddos get a break from school (we do a little here and there, but we aren't stuck on the everyday schedule, and have lots less structured school time) so its the time of the year that Mom takes lots of time planning.  I really enjoy finding things and letting the kids work on them a little to decide what is a good fit for next year.
   We have basically done the same things for the past couple of years...  so as I was planning this years school year, I knew that I wanted to change some things up.  Sometimes you just need something new, something fresh to work on, so the kids don't start to dread everything.  One of the biggest things I wanted to change this year was my kids reading programs.
   The past few years we have used the same things, with the short stories and questions to answer in the books.  This year I decided I wanted to use some sort of study guides, but there are so many to choose from.  I like the idea of my kids reading novels and learning to comprehend them as well as short stories.  So since that's what I was leaning toward, I was very excited to get the opportunity to review study guides from Progeny Press!

  Progeny Press is a company that provides literature study guides from a Christian prospective!  I was very excited to see this!  I can't tell you how long I have spent researching books to find good content for my children to read, and even more time trying to find study guides to match up to them!  This company is fantastic.
   The Progeny Press website offers an excellent description of their company and what they offer, as well as what their goals are as a company itself.  There is a website dedicated to informing customers entitled How to Use Progeny Press Study Guides.  I love that their purpose says that they want to "help students better understand and enjoy literature by getting them to notice and understand how authors craft their stories and to show them how to think through the themes and ideas introduced in the stories."  The study guides include activities, background information, vocabulary, content questions, critical analysis questions, and of course, an answer key.
    These study guides should take somewhere from eight to ten weeks to complete.  There are also "overview" sections that could serve as tests for your students.  I also like that the recommended credit for high schoolers was one-fourth credit for each study guide.  Being a Mom of a high-schooler, this is great information, as I could use four study guides through the year to give my daughter a literature credit.  This company has excellent information for parents!

    The study guide that I choose to review was a review for a book called, "The Green Book" by Jill Paton Walsh.  Honestly, I hadn't heard about this book before seeing it on Progeny Press, but I'm glad that we had the chance to read it!  The book is about a young girl and her family, who are refugees from Earth, set in a time where Earth is dying.  They board a small ship with minimal supplies and flee to a nearby planet to colonize.  Once there, they are faced with the issues of trying to build a life on a strange planet.  I believe this book to be an easy step into the world of science fiction for young readers, and we did enjoy reading it!  Then again, we are pretty big sci-fi fans...  :)

Week 19: Thankfulness, back to Linky parties

   Hello friends!  It's been 19 weeks since I started this journey.  Wow, I've done this for 19 weeks, intentionally.  That's hard for me to believe.  I'm happy about that, and proud of myself for at least sticking to something...   even though its been a few weeks since I've had a significant loss, at least I've made it through 19 weeks of accountability, and that's got to mean something!
   This week, I lost that 1.6 lbs that I had accumulated over the past couple of weeks, which is great!  Naturally I would like to see me go further downward, but the fact that I did lose should be encouraging to me.
   Actually, lately I've been listening to Chip Ingram podcasts, and the one I've been listening too is called "Enough! The secret to happiness."  I'm only two sermons into it, but I really have enjoyed it.  He's a fantastic bible teacher, and since down here we have KLove which is, in my opinion not even comparable to 106.9 (they play Christian music but don't have the preaching and teachings :( ) I have really missed hearing him!  There's a HUGE need for that kind of Christian radio on this side of the state.  But alas, I will have to settle for the podcasts.  One thing that he's mentioned is being thankful.  He talks about thankfulness, and how you should always go into life being thankful for what you have.  Not only does it breed contentment, it makes you happier.  We get stuck in the "When this happens I'll be happy" trap, and without being thankful we fall into discontentment.  I really thing that has been what has happened to me lately.  I keep thinking that I can't be happy until I lose X amount of weight, or until I'm a smaller size, or until this or that...  but I really need to refocus.  Refocusing on thankfulness is not the same as giving up.  I'm still wanting to lose.  I'm still wanting to reach my goal weight and my health goals, but I need to start being thankful for what God HAS done in my life.
   He has helped me to lose 18 lbs in 19 weeks.  He has helped me to find a doctor and get some medications that have helped me to feel better.  He has provided the money for us to have health care, for us to make appointments for vision and dental.  He has provided this year for us to start to learn how to take care of us.  He has provided things that I've wanted, and things that make my heart happy as well as things that I have needed.
   So as much as I wish the scale was somewhere different, I'm going to focus on being thankful its not where it used to be.  As much as I wish I looked better, I'm thankful that I don't look like i used too, but more than that, I'm SOOOO thankful I don't feel like I used to feel.
    So, I am thankful for this journey, and going into this with thankfulness is life-changing.
   Week 20 will be a fantastic week.  Both of my sisters, their husbands, my Mom and my Dad will be in town this weekend.  Seriously, my heart is about to explode with the excitement that I have about that, and my eyes fill up with tears just thinking about it.  I get to spend the whole weekend with them, then spend the following week with my nieces and nephew's!  My birthday is next Wednesday, so I'm gifting myself a pass week on my weekly weigh in lol!  So I'll update again on week 21 :)

This weeks Loss: -1.6
Total Loss: 18 lbs

Also, I'm going back to the linky party! Hope you will link up with me with your scale and non-scale victories in the Wednesday Weigh in Linky!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Week 18: We aren't going that way!

   This pic was taken the week that I started my healthy journey.  My hubby and I went on a rare daytime lunch date to the local coffee shop downtown.  I remember drinking unsweet tea and looking at the journey ahead of me like it was this huge mountain I wasn't sure if I could climb.  My blood sugar levels had been high, and they had ordered an A1C test to see if I had diabetes.  I was nervous, and didn't think that I had it in me to lose any weight.  
    I try to remind myself of that day, and how it felt when I have days that I don't do so well.  This was the first week in a long time that I have gained  I was absolutely devastated when I saw the numbers go up when I weighed in Wednesday.  So discouraged...  but if it did nothing else, it helped me to re-evaluate.
   I haven't been eating the way I should, and I know that.  I've been allowing way too many sweets, and even drinking tea and soft drinks again! :(  I know better, I know how bad they are for me, and I went for a long time without any.  Why did I think that it was okay to start on them again?  Why in the world have I been letting myself has as many sweets as I want?  
   It's going to stop.
   I've came WAY too far to go back where I came from.  
   So here are this weeks stats, like them or not...

This weeks Loss: +1.6
Total Loss: 17 lbs

   It happens.  But I refuse to let this get the best of me.  It's a sign that I need to try harder next week.  
   My husband went to the dollar store and bought several cheap ice cube trays.  I spent over an hour Thursday evening making green smoothie cubes to put in drinks next week.  I juiced kale and cucumber, added a can of pineapples and one peach.  I froze all of the cubes, and hope to find some recipes to mix them with fruits for next week.  If you do this, remember that it takes a little more time for this to freeze than regular liquid.  My kitchen was absolutely destroyed...  but I'm hoping that this can be good motivation for me to start having some greens in my diet, and adding some fruit to suffice my sweet tooth!  

   I also absolutely must start working out this week.  I did the 30 day shred just one day last week.  It absolutely whooped my tail in 20 minutes.  Surely I can find some time to do this workout throughout the week!  Only 20 minutes of my time, and a great workout.  
   I've really been convicted lately about my morning routine.  I really just don't prioritize my time with God in the mornings.  Most of the time I spend it staring at my phone and checking email for the few minutes that I'm up before my kids.  By the time school starts back, I really want to be in a routine where I can get up, have some quite time and have a quick workout before school starts.  So as much as I'd like to spend my summertime sleeping in, I really need to get a routine going.  
    I think its all about owning your life and controlling it.  It's all about finding out who you are and what makes you happy.  It's about finding your identity in Christ..  and that's what I'm working on.
    So here's to another week, a LOSS and not a gain.. 
   And just to keep myself motivated, a pic from February and one from last week!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Homeschool Reviews: Math Refresher for Adults Review

  I was very excited to begin reviewing products for the Homeschool Review Crew a few months ago!  However, I was even more excited when the opportunity to review a product from Math Essentials became available!  There is a place in my heart for this company, because one of my first attempts at homeschooling the really 'tough' math courses came with help from a product from Richard Fisher.
   My oldest daughter was 13 at the time and it was her first year of homeschooling.  Public school had failed her mathematical education, so we found ourselves trying to drudge through Fractions.  I was very lost and frustrated.  This was very early in our homeschooling years, and the magnitude of curriculum that was available to me was just so much to choose from!  We tried a couple of things to no avail, and finally, happily landed on Richard Fisher's Fractions workbook.  Working through this really helped my daughter wrap her mind around fractions.  Better than that, she could work through it pretty independently, which was great- because my math skills were a little bit foggy.


     Over the years her math skills have improved, but mine still remain tucked away in the back of my mind. It isn't that I am completely terrible at math, its just the fact that college is now 12 years behind me, which means that high school is 16 years behind me (HOW is that possible??) and I haven't done any upper-level math in at least that long!  So I was very excited when Math Essentials- Math Refresher for Adults arrived at my doorstep!  Lacey's two years of middle school and three years of high school math have been difficult at best.  I've basically relied on online teachings and DVD programs to teach her the math skills that she needs.  We have even enrolled her in math programs at public and private school systems.  It helped us for the moment, and we got through it somehow, (next year is her senior year!)  but if I know one thing, its that I don't want to make the mistake again of not being able to sit down and 'teach' my child something that she is struggling in!  I can't tell you how many times I have struggled and tried to jump right in the middle of a lesson to teach myself how to do something that she was doing, only to become frustrated with it, and eventually turn to someone else.  As my youngest daughter begins middle school this year, and my two sons are upcoming elementary students, I know that the need for me to freshen up my math skills is absolutely something I need to make a priority!  So I'm very thankful for this product, and how well it works to gently 'remind' us former students of how to work through some problems that our kids may have when they are struggling with math!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Week 17: Sometimes we get defeated


Ya'll. It's been a tough week.

   Not emotionally, or with family. With family its been a fantastic week. But physically, the way that I've felt about myself, its been a tough week.

   I suppose that we all go through hills and valleys, and mine has been a valley. If you would have told me almost 20 lbs ago that if I lost those 18 pounds I would still have times when I felt really bad about myself, I would not have believed you. I imagined losing any weight would consistently make me feel like a million bucks. But, even after some of the weight is gone, apparently you still have days when you just don't feel great about yourself.

  That' me, recently.

I know how hard I've worked.

I know how many times I've said no when I wanted to say yes.

I know how hard this has been every moment.

But when weeks go by and you see yourself falling back into old patterns, you can just feel defeated.

So I've felt defeated, and I kind of just accepted that defeat and went back to my normal ways.

  Also, I have been so busy, so defeated and just out of sorts that I forgot to call and get my medication refilled. So I didn't have it this weekend. By Monday morning I felt so good, so much better than I had felt in months. But then I started taking it again on Tuesday and I'm feeling tired, a bit nauseated, and just... blah. So it also makes me frustrated, because something I hate so much. And I just feel defeated.

Although I haven't gained weight, I'm starting to slip back into my poor eating habits. I literally had to force myself NOT to have a second cupcake last night. A second cupcake! This is coming from the same girl that a month ago ate literally a small piece of donut, leaving an entire box of Krispy Kremes on the table for days without touching them. What in the world happened to that girl?? The one that was so motivated, so excited?? How did I go back to eating corn dogs for lunch and sweets after sweets.

I don't know how I got back here, or how in the world I'm going to get back to where I was, but I do know that this HAS to stop.

I feel terrible, I feel bad about myself, and I'm tired. But I can't give up. I can't give in. I can't go back to where I was before this year started and before I started taking care of myself. I can't back peddle and gain the weight back.

I have GOT to stop.

But its not going to happen overnight.

   I remember when I started taking care of myself I had to take baby steps. First I had to get my heart back in the right place with God. Stop being "Martha" so much and learn to be "Mary." Stop doing so much and learn to sit at his feet a little. I've really burned myself out. Between lots of ministry commitments, and trying to do do do so my kids are busy busy busy, I've really just hit a place where I'm exhausted.

I've been staying up too late, and sleeping too late. I need more sleep. I need less 'screen time', in all aspects, from my phone to television. I need less on my plate. I need simplicity. I need peace.

So rather than push myself to my limit and make a long list of goals. I'm going to live a little more simply and work on taking some baby steps, and work my way up.

So here's to a new week- of simply working my way back to where I was, not having a lot of expectations, and seeing where we go from here...

Week 16: Happy Anniversary to Me!

16 weeks! I'm proud of myself for sticking it out so long! Yay me!

   This week was super special. It was the week of my 12th wedding anniversary! My Mom came into town this past Thursday, and since now I work on Saturdays she kept the kiddos so my hubby and I could have a day out on Friday. We got to spend the day at the beach and it was great! We went into some little shops we haven't been in before, had a great seafood dinner, and spent some time walking on the beach in the evening when its not so hot, which is something we've actually done on our anniversary a lot of times! I remembered while we were at Myrtle Beach on our honeymoon, walking on the beach with my new husband... it was surreal and exciting lol! Never would I have thought that all those years later we would be on a beach in North Carolina, and that we would actually live there.

Honeymooners... 12 years ago in Myrtle Beach! lol

   I've been a little frustrated about my weight this week. We took some pictures on the porch before we left, and I just wasn't feeling it. I still felt like I looked really big. It was a bit discouraging. Also, I'm frustrated about clothes. I still wear all the clothes that I had before, and although some of them are really big on me, and all of them fit differently, I haven't went down a size yet. I feel like after 18 lbs I should at least fit into one size smaller. When I bought shorts for work the other day I could get into the smaller size, but they still weren't as comfortable as the 14's that I've worn for years now. It discourages me a little, but I'm trying to stay positive. Hopefully the time will come that I will have no choice but to clean out my closet, and the huge box of 10's I have in storage and have had for a few years now, will have to come out. But for now, I'm still in my old clothes. I should be more thankful though, because as I mentioned and as I've shown in my before/after pics, they do fit me really differently than they did before!

So here are my weekly stats....

This weeks Loss: -0.4
Total Loss: 18.6 lbs

   So basically, I maintained. Which I suppose is better than a gain. I really feel like that's pretty good though, considering I really haven't been watching what I've been eating at all lately. I really have to get back on the wagon, I would really like to lose a little more before my birthday at the end of July! I can't imagine what it would be like if I was more than 5 lbs smaller then, I haven't been in that 'tens' place in around 10 years! That would be fantastic.

However... I am having a lot of issues getting motivated to work out. What motivates you to get started, and what keeps you going?

And here's my picture from my anniversary last year and this year...

Monday, June 25, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday: June 25, 2018

Hi friends!  This is one of my favorite linkups, and I'm glad I had the time to share this week!
Joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom with Happy Homemaker Monday!

The weather....
   It has been HOT.  This is our first full summer not in the mountains lol, and we are feeling it!  The heat usually doesn't go noticed as much when you're on vacation, but when you live where everyone goes on vacation, its a different ballgame.  It's swealtering!  Our air condition has taken a beating, but we are thankful for it.  But yes, its been HOT, and doesn't seem like that's going to change anytime soon.