Degas and the Little Drama Queen Aged Six

Degas and the Little Drama Queen
Degas and the Little Drama Queen Aged Six

On Pinterest this morning, I noticed several photos of Degas’ Little Dancer Aged Fourteen on fellow Pinner Rowena’s feed this morning. It reminded me of our recent trip to the National Gallery in Washington D.C., where I had the privilege of seeing the sculpture up close.

However, after dragging my children through the rest of the museum (“Isn’t this fun, kids?” “NO! This is TERRIBLE, mom!”), when we got to the basement floor, where sculptures are kept, my daughter Leah was literally bored to tears and threw herself on the floor. Her disobedience was no laughing matter at the time, but I did snap a photo and it makes me chuckle to look back on the moment!

If I ever do decide to go back to an art museum with my children, I think I’ll use some of these great game ideas from the No Time for Flash Cards Blog to make the trip more interesting!

Below are some more photos from our visit.

"Is this the painter who cut off his ear?"
“Is this the painter who cut off his ear?”
The Larder by Antonio Maria Vassallo
The Larder by Antonio Maria Vassallo (My favorite painting in the gallery! I would love to have this on my dining room wall!)
Micah as "The Thinker"
Micah as “The Thinker
Mercury Fountain in the National Gallery. (Here's a beautiful photo that does it justice! It's a breath-taking room!)
Mercury Fountain in the National Gallery. (Here’s a beautiful photo that does it justice! It’s a breath-taking room!)
Degas - Woman Ironing (If I ever remodeled my laundry room, this would be a cool print to have in there. I love art portraying people doing things!)
Degas – Woman Ironing
(If I ever remodeled my laundry room, this I would love to have this print hanging in there. I’m inspired by art portraying people doing things, and a lot of inspiration is needed to do ironing!)

PS: The Little Drama Queen turns seven today :) Happy birthday, Leah!!

Work: Evaluating Our Hearts

As part of the children’s school, we’ve been reading through CMI’S Christian Character Curriculm Vol. 2. This is from the lesson on Virtue:

“How would living (working) to please God differ from what we commonly call ‘good works’?

The former follows our submission to God, while the latter, all to often, are done to find acceptance with God.”

Eh… I don’t quite agree with the implication that “good works” is negative — it is a phrase positively used in scripture. I do, however, appreciate the opportunity to evaluate the motivation of my own heart. I’ve rewritten this quote to help apply it to me:

“Am I doing this work because I love God, or because I’m trying to get Him to love me?”

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. – Ephesians 2:4-10

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. – Colossians 3:23-24

The “I’m Still Here” Round-up

So… what are you doing this summer?

June 6 was the last day of homeschool for us. We loved our evaluator at Upattinas School! Home Education Director Kim Coffin thoroughly went through our portfolios and took an interest in each child. She asked about their hobbies, favorite reads, and their observations on Japanese culture amongst other things. The Upattinas campus is beautifully landscaped with gorgeous flowers as well as wild honeysuckle and berries. It has an atmosphere of peacefulness. Kim invited the children to sample the edibles and assured me that no pesticides were used on their property. If you looking for a homeschool evaluator who combines academic excellence with common sense, and who has a genuine heart for children and families, please do give Upattinas a call!

This coming school year, we’re switching to K12, with Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School as our local anchor school. My hope is that the prepackaged, goal-oriented program, and activities organized by someone else besides me , will streamline our schooling and make for more cheerful school days. We will still continue our family devotions (we are currently going through the Shorter Catechism and its proof-texts as a guide) as a Biblical education is important to us. Although the curriculum itself is secular, our children will still be at home and we will certainly have the opportunity to discuss materials together as a family as they are being taught.

The big news for this summer is that Tom will not be going to Afghanistan. Although he had his weapons training, a bazillion immunizations, and dog tags made, a botched filling from Japan kept him from being deployed. It’s absolutely bizarre and strange to have to regroup after having gone through such extreme mental and physical preparation, but the door was clearly slammed shut. The kids and I had planned to go to Indiana for three months while Tom was away, so we are regrouping as well. However, I can’t be happier. Tom was laughing today in the living room, and his laugh, as always, is the kind that makes everyone come running in to see what is so funny. I’m thankful he’s home.

Our house is still for sale, after nearly ten months. While it passed inspection and is approved for rental by the City of Coatesville, renting it out would not provide the down payment needed for the purchase of a new home. God is gracious, though. Last week, Tom’s boss gave the “okay” to work remotely from Pennsylvania. He will not have to be in D.C. as frequently. Hopefully, without having to pay out-of-pocket for gasoline and hotel expenses, we’ll be able to replenish some of our savings as well as pay off the necessary repair of our front porch.

Recently, we started cracking down on kids’ chores in our home. Lack of self-discipline is one of my biggest sin areas, and post-chore inspection as well as keeping the kids on schedule for chores is pretty grueling for me… so much, that I have a goal-defeating habit of doing all the chores myself, when I should be holding kids accountable for their work. After about two weeks, though, it’s paying off. The work ethic in our home is improving, and I’ve also noticed that the kids are taking care to make less mess, as they know that it will increase the amount of time it will take for them to be done. Tom pointed out that clearly defined chores help the kids to know when they will be done, vs. a never-ending ambiguous sorta-list that changes every day. This morning, my friend Perry reposted Jay Adam’s confessional pray on discipline, and it choked me up a bit. (I never did make it all the way through Elisabeth Elliot’s book Discipline: The Glad Surrender (because it was too painful to read!) but I’m thinking I should probably pick it up again.)

After a recent ear infection, we discovered that Aiden is allergic to penicillin. He was a trooper as he endured a terrible head-to-toe skin rash that lasted for nearly two weeks.

I, too, had a fun little medical scare. After a physical where I mentioned irregularities in my cycle, a complex ovarian cyst, which had solid mass and fluid build-up, showed up in an ultrasound. I’ve never received a call so quickly with results as I did from that ultrasound, along with the insistence on getting an MRI to determine if the cyst was malignant. What an ordeal, and relief to hear the results. Not only was it benign… the cyst was just plain gone. I’ve had my share of issues with my crazy body, and that doesn’t even include my pregnancies! I’m thankful that I’m okay.

Speaking of pregnancy, I’m excited to be teaching Bradley Method natural childbirth classes again this fall. This week, I updated my affiliate website. I love and teach the Bradley Method because it prepares the body for an optimal birth. For four out of five of my pregnancies and births I used the Bradley Method. After seeing excellent results first hand, I’m quite passionate about helping others to have good birth experiences. If you know of a natural-birth minded expectant couple, please do send students my way!

I’ve also been asked to do some tutoring in writing for students who could use a little nudging. The age group will be tweens. Again — feel free to send students my way! I love to help people learn to express themselves through writing.

In other news, I now have a gym membership and have been going several times a week. I’m getting faster (15 minute mile down to nine minutes!) and stronger and it feels really good.

Last weekend, we went to Penn Lake and had some quality R&R with our extended family. One of the highlights was floating on the lake, tethered to an large booze-filled cooler, with 20 other women. Oh the conversations! What fun!

Finally… if you love apples, you need to make a Whiskey Apple Crumble (preparation process photo shown above) with the recipe from Bubby’s Homemade Pies. It’s the kind of dessert that inspires a backyard party with friends.

Well… the motorcycle is done being inspected. Time to go pick it up.

I’m still here.

You are loved.

Review: The Young Peacemaker

This is from The Homeschool Lounge:

Some of you may have some experience with this, and (while that hurts me to think you’ve lived with it) I need a little help from those who have had some real success!

For those who have had a child who could fire up and respond in anger quickly, I’d love to know more about some of the Godly responses and tools that helped you through it.

Please consider this is a boy about the age of 7. He can become easily frustrated, and it builds rapidly. Sometimes we don’t see it coming, and even when we do, I often say or do the wrong thing.


Thanks in advance!

Hugs to you, Jennifer!

After experiencing similar anger/tattling/conflict/fighting problems, I decided to incorporate The Young Peacemaker into our day by doing a page or two each morning for our devotional segment of school.

Studying the topic of peacemaking preemptively, instead of only talking about it when there is an anger outburst, has made a huge difference in the atmosphere of our home by reducing the number of kid-conflicts. Reducing, not erasing! :) We still have at few each day! But, because the foundation has been laid, they are easier to work through than before.

My seven, five, four, and three year old are doing a fantastic job of memorizing the verses for each chapter (we do about a chapter a week).

If you put good things in your heart, good things will come out of your heart. Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)

There is even a resource page dedicated to using The Young Peacemaker as part of homeschooling.

I hope this helps. I certainly have learned a lot from doing The Young Peacemaker with my kids – and I’m a moderator at! It certainly gave me a new perspective when training my children vs. talking to adults about the same topic!

Much love,

From Peacemakers:

The Young Peacemaker is a powerful system that parents and teachers can use to teach children how to prevent and resolve conflict in a constructive and biblically faithful manner.

The system emphasizes principles of confession, forgiveness, communication, and character development, and uses realistic stories, practical applications, role plays, and stimulating activities.

Although the material is designed for 3rd through 7th grades, it has been successfully used with preschool and high school students.

The lessons in The Young Peacemaker may be summarized in Twelve Key Principles for Young Peacemakers:

1. Conflict is a slippery slope.
2. Conflict starts in the heart.
3. Choices have consequences.
4. Wise-way choices are better than my-way choices.
5. The blame game makes conflict worse.
6. Conflict is an opportunity.
7. The Five A’s can resolve conflict.
8. Forgiveness is a choice.
9. It is never too late to start doing what’s right.
10. Think before you speak.
11. Respectful communication is more likely to be heard.
12. A respectful appeal can prevent conflict.

The Slippery Slope

The Young Peacemaker uses a simplified version of the Slippery Slope to help children understand the various responses to conflict.

The slope is divided into three zones:

  • The Escape Zone: Deny, Blame Game, and Run Away
  • The Attack Zone: Put Downs, Gossip, Fight
  • The Work-It-Out Zone: Overlook, Talk-It-Out, and Get Help

  • The Five A’s of Confession

    Children, like adults, can learn to confess their wrongs in a way that demonstrates that they are taking full responsibility for their contribution to a conflict.

  • Admit what you did wrong.
  • Apologize for how your choice affected the other person.
  • Accept the consequences.
  • Ask for forgiveness.
  • Alter your choice in the future.

  • Four Promises of Forgiveness

    Children can learn to forgive one another in a way that models the forgiveness they have received from God through the gospel of Jesus Christ:

  • I promise I will think good thoughts about you and do good for you.
  • I promise I will not bring up this situation and use it against you.
  • I promise I will not talk to others about what you did.
  • I promise I will be friends with you again.
  • These promises may be summarized in a poem that is so easy a four-year old can memorize it:

    Good thought
    Hurt you not
    Gossip never
    Friends forever

    California Court Deems Homeschooling a Criminal Offense

    Here’s a news story I’m following:
    California Court Deems Homeschooling a Criminal Offense

    More on the story from the Home Education Foundation:

    Home Education Foundation,

    “As WND has reported, the Longs had their children enrolled in Sunland Christian School, a private homeschooling program.

    But [Justice] Croskey, without hearing arguments from the school, opined that the situation was one of a “ruse of enrolling [children] in a private school and then letting them stay home and be taught by a non-credentialed parent.”

    ….The school’s website notes it offers a homeschool/independent study program that is accredited. It began in Los Angeles in 1986 with 24 students and now serves more than 3,000 families.”

    Continue reading “California Court Deems Homeschooling a Criminal Offense”