I Don’t Have It All Together. Not Even Close.

I don’t know how many people who read this blog homeschool their children. Maybe a few. Maybe most. Maybe none.

Here’s something you may or may not know, but I feel like sharing regardless:

Homeschooling is hard.

Exhausting.

Aggravating.

Some days, it is down right infuriating.

I am often jealous of other moms. Moms that take their kids to school….and LEAVE THEM THERE. For hours at a time. Then they return home alone or with a little one and do whatever they want. For hours at a time.

Ok, I know moms don’t get to do whatever they want all the time. But some days, I feel like they do. They get to sit and drink coffee without all their children arguing or whining or complaining about schoolwork. They get to do laundry without breaking up a fight over who gets to use the math flashcards first. Or listen to the kid who won the imaginary race to read their chapter fastest tease the slower one.

They get to talk on the phone without having to stop and tell their oldest to sit down and finish her copy work. Or read an email and not have to reread the same line three times before actually comprehending it because she is also having to read off spelling test words for two of the kids.

(Or she can write a blog post without pausing to yell at kids about NOT shoving small toys down the vent.)

Every few months I get in this funk about homeschool. I know it is just me. I understand why we homeschool and I love to do it. I just get grouchy and jealous and I lose focus. And then I see or hear about what other moms are doing – shopping alone or even just shopping for something other than groceries. (Honestly. I spent some birthday money at Target and that was the first time I was shopping for something other than food in a very long time. Maybe even since last Christmas.) Or they are dolling themselves up and going to lunch with a friend. I don’t do lunch….except here at home with the kids. And for some reason, every now and then, it bothers me.

I post about baking and cooking and cleaning and homeschool. And I post all the awesome things about those topics. But I purposely leave out the crappy stuff most days. Because I pretend our days are perfect. I pretend we float through our week with a perfect menu and a perfectly clean home and an amazingly perfect set of lesson plans.

Most of the time, only ONE of those three is actually working well. If I’ve got a perfect menu plan…then I have forgotten to do lesson plans. If I do lesson plans, then I put off the menu plan til the last-minute and the bathrooms are disgustingly unclean. If I have the house sparkling, then dinner isn’t ready on time or we are out of clean underwear.

I keep looking up and saving and printing all these awesome planners. A house cleaning planner. A homeschool lesson planner. A menu planner. An all-encompassing planner (I am certain I have saved 4 of those on the computer). I read them, save them, attempt to put one into practice. And then I fail and give up completely. I have a really good couple of weeks where I feel on top of the world, then something happens and I fall apart. I end up grouchy with my husband, yelling at the kids, and wishing I was a “normal” mom with some down time during the day.

Then I hear from a friend on Facebook about how I’m an awesome mom or a super mom or something along those lines. And I feel even worse because apparently they have never seen me at home.

I’m a mess most days. I like to think I have it together. And I can usually convince myself we are perfect here. :) But I know we aren’t.

I am NOT a morning person, but I have been forcing myself up at 5:00 lately to get a shower and maybe read my Bible for a few minutes. It sucks….to be totally honest. Yes, I feel like I’ve gotten more done each day. But I am SO grouchy. I am falling asleep at 8:30PM on the couch.

I am NOT good with shutting up to end an argument. I always feel the need to get the last word. Always. I hear myself speaking and think “what in the world?! why can’t I just shut up??” I carry on the argument or disagreement with my husband way longer than necessary. Why did I even open my mouth to begin with? Because I need control. Of everything.

My kids will tell you I am NOT good with waiting on people. I hurry them along like there is a fire. Somewhere. Everywhere. All the time. My poor kids have learned to just carry their shoes to the car if they need more than about 30 seconds to put them on. No, we aren’t running late. I just hate waiting. And I don’t really even have a good reason for rushing. I just got in the habit and now I can’t stop.

There are so many other things that irritate me about myself. But, today, those were at the top of my list. And because we homeschool I feel alone. I follow other homeschooling moms’ blogs and read all about their adventures or their struggles. And they are all so far away. My mom is far away. My sister is far away. I just feel alone today. (And it doesn’t help I argued with my husband last night and it carried over into today…..because I can’t shut my mouth. See above for explanation.)

I have these grand ideas to have a homeschool co-op. Because we can’t afford to be a part of the one my friends are a part of. But, the other homeschool moms I know are a part of a group already. Then I feel alone again.

I did have coffee this morning with a good friend. Our kids played loudly in the background, but for a second it felt like we were actually by ourselves. We talked about grocery shopping and other moms things, but it was nice to just chat. Even if we did have to stop every few minutes and break up a fight. I didn’t feel alone for the moment.

There’s no crazy revelation or awesome ending here. This is just what I am working with this week. And I feel like I need to share. Not because you all think I’m perfect or awesome or some kind of super mom. But because if I don’t get it out, I might actually explode.

I know my God is here. I am never alone. And I know a pity party won’t actually make me feel better; I will end up feeling worse and then guilty and ashamed. I know God provides exactly what we need when we need it. And that is why coffee with my friend this morning, during the downpour outside, worked out perfectly. I needed that connection. I needed the break from school and housework and menu planning. I needed to make jokes and sarcastic comments about whatever we thought of.

I am not looking for comments or anyone to say I’m doing a great job. I know we are fine. The kids are learning. They enjoy each other’s company. We have food on the table each night. I have a patient husband. I have so much more to be thankful for than I am listing here. I love homeschooling. I love seeing my children smile when they enjoy what we’re doing. I like talking with them. I love when they share their feelings. I love snuggling at random times during the day just because we can. Because we’re together.

Maybe it’s the weather change. Or maybe I’m on Facebook too much. (probably the Facebook thing) I just really long for a homeschooling mom friend that gets it. That understands the tight budget for field trips and curriculum, the numerous children on different levels in schoolwork, the need for a housework/meal/school plan that works, the trapped-inside-the-house feeling. Someone I can call and have over to complain to but also to slap me and say “suck it up and move on!” Someone that will laugh at me when I write posts like this and tell me there are bigger problems in the world and that I sound like a baby.

So, that’s about it. I have to rush now and make some dinner, so we can rush my oldest to her kid program at church. Rush, rush, rush.

I might have the kids just go shoeless tonight. ;)

 

Recipe: Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Whipped these up this morning quickly for a coffee date with a friend. Everyone slept in today until after 7:00! This is a VERY rare thing, and I was running around like a mad woman getting ready. :) BUT, thankfully, I had the muffin mix in the pantry and was able to just add the wet ingredients and apples. They were ready to go in the oven super quick. I will probably make a second batch later today for tomorrow’s breakfast….they turned out very yummy!

 

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

2 3/4 cups muffin mix

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup butter, softened (I put in microwave for 30 secs and it was good to go)

1 cup milk

1 cup diced apple ( I used a Gingergold….that’s what we had this week)

1 tsp cinnamon (the muffin mix already has cinnamon in it, but I like lots of cinnamon with apple things)

Brown sugar

Combine wet ingredients. Add in apples and stir to coat. Mix in muffin mix and cinnamon. Grease muffin pan. Spoon into muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until tops are golden. Let rest in pan for ten minutes or so. Remove and cool on rack.

I think if I do it again today, I will add some raisins too. That sounds delicious. :)

Bake It Tuesday

I baked last night, since I am super awesome and had my meat already cooked for dinner. ;) But I am counting it as my Tuesday baking. We love peanut butter and chocolate together. These cookies are yummy, but if you don’t want them to disappear too quickly, double the recipe!!

PB Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup PB
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (we used mini ones this time…loved it!)

Cream butter, PB and both sugars. Add egg and mix well.
Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl then add to wet ingredients. Stir well to combine and add in chocolate chips.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until edges just start to brown. Do not let tops brown or they will taste burnt and be dry.

Immediately remove from pan and cool on rack….or eat while warm. Mmmm!

Although not a baking item, I made broth today for the freezer. Soup weather is coming!!

And I saw a FB post about an apple cake I might try today. My eyes are much bigger than the free time in my planner. ;) So that may have to wait!

Menu Plan Monday

I am WAY more organized with meals and my To Do list for this week, so I made a fancier menu than we’ve been having lately. :) Figured we deserved to try some new foods, since I made more ahead of time for this week. On Friday, I went grocery shopping and did some baking (since I didn’t bake last Tuesday). Then, I planned out our meals through the 15th, since that is payday. Yesterday, I had some down time and set two crockpots and the stove to work! I was able to make and freeze/refrigerate the meats for all of our meals this week, except the Ranchero Chicken. But that will be an easy crockpot one, so I am not too worried. I was also able to plan out some better breakfast options!

Breakfast

Creamy eggs, bacon, fruit

Coffee cake, fruit x 2

Potato and egg tacos, fruit

Waffles or Cereal

Banana bread (waffles for hubby), yogurt, fruit

Pancakes, fruit

Eggs (fried or runny), fruit

 

Lunch

Leftovers x 3

PB & J sandwich x 2

PB&J bites

Egg salad sandwiches

 

Dinner

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan

Meatballs, Rice, Green beans

Pasta Frittata (page 17 of the Whole Foods pdf link), Salad

Lawnmower Tacos, Refried beans, Corn

Homemade pizzas, raw veggies

Ranchero Chicken, Carrots

Chicken Salads, Homemade rolls

Snacks

Hippie Chow

Honey Granola

Trail Mix (our honey granola mixed with chocolate chips, raisins, peanuts, whatever else we find to throw in)

Granola Bars

Double Chocolate Brownies (we make a double batch of what the recipe makes)

What’s your menu look like for this week? Are you trying anything new??

Recipe: Helado

I have made helado before, but last night I really had a taste for it. The kids were in bed and my husband was gone, so I whipped it up to enjoy with some chocolate chips mixed in. A super healthy snack for anyone!

Helado

Bananas, sliced and frozen
Any toppings you like on ice cream

1. pulse frozen bananas in food processor until consistency is that of ice cream.
2. Add your toppings and enjoy!

See how easy that was?!? Unless you absolutely don’t like bananas, this treat works! No processed ice cream. No worries about gluten. Easy, healthy, delicious!!

Menu Plan Monday

I realize it isn’t Monday. We spent Labor Day at home playing and cooking. But here is my menu for this week:

Breakfast
Waffles x2
Creamy cheesy eggs x2
Cereal, granola bars x2
Muffins

Lunch
PB&J x2
Leftovers x 4
Snack-type lunch

Dinner
Tacos, rice, refried beans
Savory pork (crockpot), potatoes and gravy
Chicken fried rice
Pizza
Mac and cheese casserole, green beans
Bbq pork, carrots, salad
Creamy potato soup, homemade biscuits

What is on your menu this week?

Spiritual Legacy

We have had quite the Summer. Six deaths of family and friends. I cannot remember another two months when we had so much death around us. Every time we got a call or text, I sort of wondered if it was going to be more bad news. On top of the already crummy situation with our old house and not being able to do a short sale, we were receiving news each week of someone we know/loved dying.

The last funeral I went to was just nine days ago. It was for a great aunt. My most vivid memories of her are from the time my brother had a paper route. Great Aunt Doris’ house was on the weekly route, so almost every Wednesday afternoon we saw her. She would give us cookies and juice or candy and hot chocolate. She had such a nice smile and a sweet voice.

At her funeral, one of her nephews spoke. He gave some stories of her younger days and some funny things about her. But the thing that was shared most by him was about her relationship with God. She prayed for her family daily. She spent time reading the Bible daily. Aunt Doris was not shy about her faith.

I have not seen Aunt Doris in several years. But I am so happy to have known her and have been at her funeral. What a woman of God! And things I didn’t think about as a child mean so much to me now as an adult. I knew she was a Christian bit how awesome to hear about her dedication to church and sharing her faith and being open about her prayer life!

I have learned just how amazing my family’s spiritual history is. I have been born into an incredibly faithful family, who made every effort to bring their children up in church. As a kid, I did not even think about people not knowing the Lord because every last one of us went to church, heard about God, went to church functions, talked about reading the Bible and praying. It was a part of everyone’s daily life. Just now, as an adult, I am seeing how rare that is- to have a family with that kind o spiritual legacy. It encourages me to do all of that as an adult, just as my immediate and extended older family members did their whole lives. A lot of that older generation has passed away. I love knowing they are with Jesus now. And I hope my spiritual legacy is as theirs is. I pray my kids and grandkids can get up at my funeral and be able yo say I was a faithful prayer warrior, a persona who unashamedly shared my faith, a mom who encouraged her kids to seek the Lord’s guidance, a wife that serves her husband faithfully and her God even more faithfully. My parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and so on….such great examples of having a heart for Jesus.

Something to consider: what is our legacy?? What will our kids and grandkids say about us when we are gone?