Chelmont Academy: First Day in Pictures

For the last few weeks, I've been preparing hearts and minds to let go of our lazy relaxed summer schedule to return to fuller school days. Our official start was on Monday and I just kept snapping pics of these sweet kids. (I know, I'm biased, but they really are sweet!)


Almost got them to all look at the camera. . .
Son in the red hat is crying because we're too close to the tree. :)

The kids thought I needed a sign and a picture, too.
They're so sweet!


Oldest sister making funny faces and the other two giggling...

Back to work, while oldest is still smiling at whatever it was they thought was hilarious!
We stopped for ice cream, cookies for the littles, and free iced coffee for Mama!
Waiting to pick up medical record forms for Fall Soccer....
Bored and sleepy
Still happy from eating cookies
These two went with me to a homeschool meeting later that evening.

Our day was full, it was fun, and we are blessed. When I think of it, I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach my children at home, so they may learn the ways of the Lord.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
-Deuteronomy 6:4-9


Hot July Has Come and Gone

We are in the thick of summertime. The air is heavy and sticky, and it is just plain old hot outside!! My oldest daughter is enjoying the weather immensely because this is her favorite season.
My little ladies. . .
Kids #1 - #4 are swimming twice a week this summer and they are having a ball and are progressing nicely. My oldest son is now swimming with his sisters in an hour long class and he feels cool because he's with the "older" kids. And, the 3 year old is conquering his fears and is learning to blow bubbles and put his face in the water! :)

This is my 4th born. . .y'all remember when he was born??
Time flies!
And. . . guess who's 8 now?!?!?
He was so excited about this birthday, because that means he'll be old enough to take an introductory music class at the University in the spring. Also, he thinks he'll be tall enough to ride most of the rides at Six Flags! Every where he goes, he's telling people, "You know, I'm 8 now!"
Green icing face!
Home-made number 8 cake. . .

. . . with green icing, requested!
We are trying to cross off some things on our Summer Bucket List; we're getting there. We had friends over for The 4th and created a sort of impromptu "splash zone" in the back yard for all of the kids: water balloons, squirters, super soakers, and the good ol' garden hose. Cheap fun!!

We went to a very small local farm, which is an old favorite for the kids. We haven't been in a few years, so I think it was first time situation for a couple of the little ones. This particular farm is located in a huge park, with walking trails, camping grounds, sports facilities and more. So, we also stopped by the Nature Center to see a few rescued animals and then finished up the day with a carousel ride. Fun, fun, fun!

She was able to get the chicken to "talk" to her

The peacocks would not spread their feathers for us.

Pig in the mud. . .my youngest son was terrified!

The boy wanted his picture take with the pig. . .who was on her way back inside the hut.
Totally uninterested in taking a picture.

Carousel ride at the farm. . .
I cut one of my daughters out of the picture--oops!

First carousel ride--totally happy!!

First carousel ride: one terrified, one not so sure why the other one is crying...
We've made home-made ice cream from a few simple ingredients and one of them was Kool-Aid!! No special equipment required! We made grape and watermelon flavors and guess what. . .it was delicious and we'll be making more! My husband says it reminds him of Italian ice more so than ice cream. Whatever you want to call, just know it's good and it's something fun the kids can make. (Check out the recipe here.)

I have been chugging away at planning for the coming year, purchasing curriculum, and dreaming up ways to conduct our regular school schedule. I'm in prayer over my homeschool, as I want to do what the Lord wants concerning educating these precious children. Homeschooling is certainly a labor of love. I hope to share my curriculum choices and such with you all soon.
No Idle Bread Preschool
Can't believe August is already here!! What ways have you been enjoying the summer???


Longing for Jesus

It's on my heart more and more...
Craving, hungering, thirsting after what is righteous.

There is so much evil in this world, spiritual darkness, wickedness lurking . . .
It sickens me, saddens me, breaks my heart.
Because what I'm learning is the more I align my thoughts with the Word of God, and the more He works in me, the more sensitive I become to what is not like Him.
Granny called it "higher heights and deeper depths. . . going deeper in the Lord." (We understand that as sanctification.)

I am not perfect, of course I stumble, but by His grace, I want to please the Lord, to obey what He commands, to live where others want this, too.

And I ache for a place:
Where I can raise my family and the love of Christ is abundant
Where we're not odd because we whispered prayers of gratitude before a meal
Where the commands of God are reflected in the laws of man
Where I'm not ridiculed for Biblically submitting to my own husband, or for having all these kids, or for staying at home to keep my house
Where I see people actually loving each other as themselves
Where I am readily encouraged by my neighbors to wholly follow the Lord
Where I can live in community with other believers, worshiping together, witnessing together, sharing life with each other, helping each other
Where that older woman is lavishing her wisdom on the next generation of wives
Where younger women humble themselves and take heed to that wisdom
Where men are men, not slacking in their duties of prayer, provision and protection, honorable and strong. . .
Where is that place? Where are those people?

And, as I mull these things over with my husband, as our hearts rage and grieve over a sin-sick world, as we discuss the future--how to raise up these children of ours for the cause of Christ--the Holy Spirit whispers: it's Me, it's Me.

I realize it's not just about finding like-minded mamas for lunch and play dates, it's less about twisted laws that promote and celebrate sin, it's not really a little protected community where all is well. . . It's Jesus that my soul wants. I'm longing for Him.

The reality is, there is nothing that this world can offer me that will soothe my achy sorrow, or fulfill this deep, deep need for true Life and real Love. It's Jesus. That's Who I'm longing for.

I understand now why my Granny used to sing, "This world is not my home, I'm just a stranger, I'm passing through. . ." I didn't get it as a little girl, but now? I feel like I'm yelling at every turn: "Oh, just give me Jesus!"

Or, in the words of John:
". . . Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20)


Saying Good-bye to our Science Tree

Last night, we were out. . . living it up. . . at Pizza Hut. . .at my son's baseball pizza party! LOL

He was awarded a medal and recognized for being an all-around player, willing to play whatever position the coaches asked him to. He was so happy and we're proud of him.

Meanwhile, an all-out storm began to rage, with heavy wind, rain, thunder, and lightening. The rain finally eased up, we made it home safely, but quickly realized our beloved Science Tree was damaged.

After school today, we went outside to "survey" the damage before Husband called in the "Tree Man" to have it chopped down. My kids told me this was a "solemn occasion" so we couldn't run outside as usual.  :)

{{Later, my 10 yr. old daughter--in the blue below--went to the piano to play a song to "lament the Science Tree" she said! LOL Who says "lament"? That would be my child! It was sad, but funny at the same time. We all chuckled about that one!}}

The kids (and mama) are pretty upset by this because the Science Tree afforded us the opportunity to observe many of God's critters. We've seen the regular squirrels and chipmunks, red cardinals we lovingly refer to as "Ben", tons of ants, butterflies and other insects, and even a few woodpeckers.

My kids have also seen chipmunks and squirrels sitting in these holes, happily munching on whatever they've found. Over time, the tree was slowly being hollowed out. Also, a few summers ago, the electric company came and heavily trimmed the tree on one side, so that it was now unevenly weighted toward our fence. It was weakened. Husband was going to have it cut down some time ago, but he delayed it, knowing how much we enjoyed it.

So, by week's end, the Science Tree will be a stump. But I wanted to note for the record (and for my kids) how much we enjoyed it!!


Grocery Time: Making a Master List

So it was our grocery week. We try to do the majority of our grocery shopping once a month. This isn't a "large family" thing for us. It's just something we've always done since we got married. Some of you know from a Facebook post that my baby girl had a cold, couldn't sleep, and woke my husband up, too. Since he couldn't go back to sleep, he decided to go ahead and do our grocery shopping at 4 or 5 in the morning, alone! (Sweet, sweet man!)

Well, I've been trying to make our grocery trips easier. Shopping for 8 is not for the faint of heart. My issue: sitting down each month and writing out a grocery list, taking an inventory of what we need, and making sure it's included in the list. Ugh! But, I know that if I don't write it down, I'll be wandering in the store--I have no time for that sort of thing. And, even when I write the list, I'm still missing something.

I searched through various homemaking blogs and Pinterest and saw tons of grocery list printables, but they just didn't meet my needs. My biggest issues: they didn't have enough lines under each category and the categories were in the wrong "order" according to the way I moved through the store. Plus, I still had to write everything down. I don't have an i-Phone or other cell phone with all the app capabilities (old school here!) so that wasn't an option either. {I did hear that the Anylist app was great if you do use your phone for making grocery lists!}

Type EVERYTHING out. Yep, that's it. Nothing fancy. (No printable either because our stores and eating habits are different!)

I just sat down and literally typed out EVERYTHING that I EVER get on a REGULAR basis, sorted by category, in order the way I move through the store. Then I print it up, and go through my fridge, freezer, and pantry, highlighting the items I need to purchase. I can easily write in quantities next to the items if need be. I shop at Wal-Mart and Aldi, so I can use 2 highlighters to indicate which items I'll be getting from which store. I also left some room at the end to write in any add-on items that aren't a part of our normal shopping, but we may need to pick up. Another benefit: I can price compare. I can quickly note the price of an item at one store and since I'm using one list, I can check the price of that item at the other store. (I'm trying to buy more at Aldi if I get enough quantity at a lower price.)

Over the next couple of months, I'll probably have to add a few things to my master list to make it complete. But, preparing for the store now is SO much simpler. My husband got to have a first go of our new system and it worked well for him. Plus, he brought the list back home so I could use it to go get the rest of our grocery items from Aldi. I really wish I'd done this a lot sooner. I got the idea a long time ago from another homemaker who no longer blogs anymore. What took me so long?!

I hope this tip helps you out. Next "grocery" related item on my to-do list: make a running inventory list on what is in the deep freezer. I want to post it on the outside of the freezer so I'll know exactly what's in there without having to dig in it. Yeah, you should see this barely-over-5-feet woman digging around in a deep freezer! I promise, it's straight comedy!!!

Any grocery shopping tips you'd like to share? What makes your grocery shopping easier and more enjoyable?

Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth
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