Monday, February 29, 2016

FREE Short Story By My Amazing Hubby!

You might remember me mentioning that my husband is an author.  Unfortunately he can't be a full-time author yet as we still have bills to pay.  But he will be some day!

He has had a few short stories published, they are more adult sci-fi and fantasy.  He has also had a children's counting book published.  He will be having a second children's book published in a few months.  This one is a middle grade chapter book.  You will definitely be hearing more about that!

If anybody would like to read one of his stories you can read one for FREE online at the Interstellar Fiction website.

The girl is loosely based on our daughters.  The dad in the story is loosely based on my hubby himself, he is not an animal lover at all.  And the animal the daughter finds is even more loosely based on our cat that was abandoned and we took in.  (Yes, we still have her and we are all still fine!) I did ask him why there wasn't character based on me and he said that I would have gotten everything taken care of in two paragraphs so there wouldn't be a story.  I'm flattered, I think!?!

Let me know what you think about the story!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Thanks, but. . .

A few days ago I did a blog post about my love language being words of affirmation.  This rings so true!  I want to hear this thing I just made looks or tastes.  Or how good I look, especially if I put time into getting ready.  Or how great my girls are.  Or. . .You get the idea.  I crave these compliments.

But what do I do when I get a compliment?  Like a lot of us I would say something like, "Thanks, but I totally messed up the hem right here." Or, "Thanks, but the cake looks nothing like I had imagined it would."  Or, "Thanks, but this old rag?"

How many of you have done this same thing?

I call it the Thanks, but syndrome.  I know it drove my hubby crazy!  I would tell him that he was biased or that he had to say those things because he loved me.  Here he was giving me a compliment, words of affirmation, things I craved and what did I do?  I would turn around and throw away that compliment.

It wasn't until I heard my girls doing it that I realized just how awful it sounded.  But I had no one to blame but myself.  After all they had learned it from me.  

I had to take a step back and reevaluate what I was doing.

Adding that but to the end of thanks can seem like a slap to the face or that you're telling them how stupid they are to think that.

And honestly if that's the reaction you get when you are giving a compliment why would you keep giving them compliments?

I started to make a conscious effort to say thank you and stop, not say anything else.  It was so hard and felt so awkward and fake for me.  Close friends and family have commented on how they feel better because I stopped adding but!

Am I perfect at this? Not at all.  In fact some days I revert back to my old habit of adding but. Old habits die hard!  But I am better than I was.  And hopefully just saying thank you will become the habit.

So, I'm giving everyone permission, (not like you needed my permission) to just say thank you.  No but or explanation or anything after.  Just thank you!  Who's willing to take this challenge with me?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Love Languages - What Speaks To You?

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article. By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything. Totally up to you!***

I took the 5 Love Languages test at Gary Chapman's website  I also had my hubby take the test as well so we could talk about our results.

After being married for 16 years there was a lot of stuff that we already new about each other.  Things that we had observed over the years and learned from trial and error.  But, some of the stuff we learned about each other came as a surprise to us.

The 5 Love Languages as described by Gary Chapman are:
                                        1.  Words of Affirmation
                                        2.   Acts of Service
                                        3.   Receiving Gifts
                                        4.   Quality Time
                                        5.   Physical touch

My highest one was words of affirmation at 10 points.  Which was closely followed by acts of service which was only one point behind.  This totally made sense as I crave compliments, whether it's about I look, something I made, or even how well my girls did at something.  Another sure fire way to win my love is when someone pitches in and helps without me having to ask for it.

As an example I love it when my hubby and I go somewhere and when we leave my hubby will say, "Well, once again I was the luckiest man there."  I love that he loves me enough to feel like no matter who else was there that I am still the one for him.  Shouldn't every man feel like they are the luckiest man just because who they are with?  And vice versa?

My hubby's #1 love language is physical touch.  This was not surprising to me at all, this was actually a full 4 points ahead of his second one.  Physical touch encompasses all touch not just sexual touch.  He loves to hold hands, rest his hand on my knee while driving, hugs, Sitting close to each other on couch, etc.

What did surprise me was to find out that he had a big fat zero for words of affirmation!  It's not that he doesn't need to hear the words, it just means that the quickest way to his heart is not words.

Suddenly things began to make more sense to me!

When he would get into a writing funk, work funk, or whatever funk and is discouraged or lacking confidence about something, guess what I did.  Yep, I fed him words of affirmation!  Did this help?  No!  So what would I do?  Feed him more words of affirmation.  Which would cause him to feel like I didn't understand hi, and he would get more discouraged.

Which would leave me feeling like he was taking things way to seriously and allowing these things to get to him and affect him d=for too long.  And when he was in these funks it would affect all of us and after awhile I would get upset that he was being so selfish and only thinking about himself.  And a lot of times I would end up fuming and think, "Suck it up, Princess!"

And of course he could sense I was upset with him which would cause him to pull back.  And because he was pulling back I would pull back and just hope that he would get himself out of whatever funk he was in faster than the last one.

Oh what a collusion we were in!  (Check out Anatomy Of Peace to learn more about collusions, how we get in them, and how to get out of them.)

My hubby has a some writing deadlines coming up and one that just passed.  These deadlines will usually have him going into a lack of confidence funk.  Instead of throwing words of affirmation at him instead I just gave him a hug and held him him.  I consciously made sure that I was touch him more often in those days when he was super stressed and keeping my mouth shut more!

He went into his office and wrote and got that first deadline in on time.  Without the usual worrying and questioning that he usually does.  He just did it.

Granted he could be learning how to deal with the stress easier but I can't help but think that my being willing to learn what he needed the most helped.  I stopped talking his ear off about how he could do it I was able to give him the physical contact that he needs to fill his love bucket!

What is your love language breakdown?  Why not hop over to and find out?   My break down is:
                          10 Words of Affirmation
                            9  Acts of Service
                            6  Physical Touch
                            4  Quality Time
                            1  Receiving Gifts

They also have a love language test for kids that I am so having my daughters take!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Attitude, It May Not Be Everything But It Is A Lot!

You've all heard the saying, attitude is everything. I am going to disagree a little here. Yes, attitude is a lot but if something truly terrible happens to you that sucks and you should be able to express what you are feeling. Whether it is sadness, anger, hurt, whatever. You need to be able to express yourself, or you become a fake person that no one wants to be around. But after your initial expression of what you are feeling is done then attitude becomes everything.

You get to decide whether you are going to do. Are you going to continue to wallow in whatever you are feeling or are you going to grab yourself by your bootstraps and move on? You can let the pain fester inside you until you are such a miserable human being that no one wants to be around you or you can decide to see the positive.

I personally can be a very fake person to the world. Everything is always "hunky dory" when you ask me how it's going. It doesn't matter if my dad's in the hospital, my car broke down again, Christmas is coming and we just heard that the Christmas bonus we count on to pay for Christmas won't be given this year, my girls have 3 different theater things going on,. . .you get the picture. Life is always grand! Granted there are those people that just ask out of politeness and don't really care so giving them the standard, "Everything's great!" will work in those situations. But for people who truly care and are my friends I don't need to pretend with them. (But if your eyes start to glaze over as I'm talking I understand that I put more value in the friendship than you do so I'll go back to giving you the pat "Everything's great!" answer.)

But on the other hand I can't spend the whole time bemoaning my sorry lot in life because then you will start to avoid me. Am I the only one who will turn and go the long way to avoid certain people at times?

I think you need to find a balance between the two. (If someone figures out that perfect balance please let me know as I am still trying to work this out myself.)

And sometimes I need to shake myself and say, "Snap out of it! What do you have to be grateful for in this situation." And sometimes that is all I need to start seeing the positive and consequently be a happier and more enjoyable person to be around!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Schoolhouse Rock

***Disclosure there are affiliate links in this article.  By clicking on them I do earn a commission, or you can just go to whatever website you want and I don't earn anything.  Totally up to you!***

My hubby grew up watching Schoolhouse Rock and still sings the songs to this day.  We didn't have TV when I was growing up so I only saw a couple episodes here and there in school.

When we, my so supportive hubby and I decided that we were going to homeschool the first thing he said we HAD to have was the Schoolhouse Rock dvds!

We have used them and still do use them many many times throughout the years.  When my daughters were younger they would watch them for fun.

Just last summer while visiting family in Northern California one of the local colleges was doing Schoolhouse Rock Live.  My kids and hubby were so excited that his Aunt bought our family tickets to see the show as a birthday present for him!

It was a great show and such a fun evening and the whole weekend they talked about what songs were and included in the play and which of their favorites from the dvd were not.

So if your homeschooling or just looking for good educational dvds I highly recommend Schoolhouse Rock!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Making Memorizing the Multiplication Tables Fun!!!

First, I want to apologize for not posting for a while, I have been sick a with a cold.  It doesn't sound like much but immune system is so bad that anything I get hits me harder and longer than everyone else.  I'm still sick but at least I am starting to have more energy and feeling better.

I remember when I was in elementary school and hating 3rd grade because that is when we had to memorize our multiplication tables.  It was so hard for me!  I remember failing timed test after timed test to the point that I would have to miss recess to retake test after test after test until I  passed.

Because of this I had a fear of math and especially teaching math.  I remember this was the one thing that worried me while I was contemplating homeschooling my two daughters. How would I teach math?  But I really felt that the answer to my prayers was that we were suppose to homeschool, so I trusted in the Lord and jumped in.

And almost jumped back out just as quick.  The first math curriculum we chose was a horrible fit for us.  The next two as well!  And this was just Kindergarten and first grade math what was I going to do when I had to teach Algebra or Geometry!

Then we found Math U See, and this math curriculum just clicked for all three of us!  Finally, math was making sense for the first time ever for me and my girls were learning as well!  I really think that the curriculum will make it or break it for you as teacher especially if it is a subject you feel you aren't so good at.

But when it came time to memorize the multiplication tables my girls struggled with this as well.  At first I just made worksheet after worksheet up so they could "practice."  This only frustrated them and me as well.  And I started to have nightmares of being back in 3rd grade and having to pass the timed tests and failing, but this time I was an adult trying to squish into 3rd grade desks!  I knew I couldn't keep doing this or they would end up hating and fearing math as much as I did.

I was doing some research and reading and came across where it was said that sometimes a student that was having trouble memorizing things needed to do a physical activity while saying it aloud.  A light bulb went on and here is a list if some activities we did while memorizing our multiplication tables.

1.  They would jump rope while saying the facts over and over so if we were working on the twos table they would say, "2 times 1 is 2.  2 times 2 is 4. 2 times 3 is 6," and on up.

2.  We would play catch in the backyard with a ball.  I would start out and say, "4 times 3,"  And toss the ball to one of my daughters, she would answer back with, "12,"  And then she would state the beginning of some multiplication fact and toss the ball to someone.  Whoever caught it had to answer it before tossing coming up with the beginning of another multiplication fact and tossing it to someone to answer it.

3.  I wrote on our driveway in sidewalk chalk the sum/answers to all the multiplication facts we were working on.  I would start by taking turns calling on each one and giving them the fact and they would have to run and stand on the answer.  Then when they got good at that we moved up to them standing beside me I would give them each a different fact and they would run to their answer and stand on it.  Then we progressed to they would both be running for the same one.

4.  We would play card games like Go Fish, but when they would lay down a match they would have to pick a fact and say it and answer it correctly.  So if they laid down 2's they would have to say, "2 times (any number of their choice) is (the answer)."  We did this most of our games whether it was the number that came up on the die while playing Chutes and Ladders, or how many spaces they got to move in Candy Land to get to the next red space.

5.  They would bounce a ball repeating the multiplication tables much like we did with jump roping.

By doing this they got the multiplication tables memorized without being in tears over worksheets!

What are some things that you have done to help your children conquer a hard subject or idea?