Does English Seem Like a Foreign Language Sometimes?

360/365 - 09/23/10 [365 Days @ 50mm] - Alphabet Soup
I admit it. I’m totally a phonics geek. I love the phonetic aspect of language, and I love the challenge of untangling the mysteries of the sound-spelling relationship of the English language. I get practically giddy when I contemplate the various spellings of the long sound “a”, and I happen to think that homonyms are all sorts of fun.

You, too?

Or maybe not so much?

No matter which camp you’re in, you’re going to love this book that I discovered recently: It offers jewels of spelling insight that will delight the most decorated spelling bee contestant while at the same time clearing up mysteries of English phonetics that have left the rest of us scratching our heads in puzzlement our entire lives.

Uncovering The Logic of English, written by Denise Eide, answers the following questions (and more!) that have been plaguing you:

What’s with all the silent “e’s”?!

(With only a few exceptions, each silent “e” serves a distinct purpose.)

Are there any actual rules governing this language or is it just a big jumble of exceptions?

(There are definitely rules, and not as many of them as you might think; and they are far more consistent than they seem at first glance.)

Why do I have to add an “r” to “prefer” before adding the suffix “-ing”, but not when adding the suffix “-ence”?

(The answer lies in the accented syllable.)

Denise Eide walks her readers through a logical progression of the rules that govern our oft-maligned language, wording each rule in the clearest language possible so as to avoid confusion and generalizations. You won’t find such pithy statements as “When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking” in this book, because that’s simply not true. I mean, have you ever encountered words like “niece” and “launch” that totally defy this frequently quoted but grossly inaccurate “rule”? It’s not that “niece” and “launch” are exceptions to the rule; it’s that the rule is wrong.

Denise takes the confusion out of the rules and states them accurately and clearly. In doing so, she proves that the exceptions to the rules are not nearly as frequent as we have often been lead to believe: In fact, she asserts that the 30 rules she has compiled in this book govern 98% of commonly used English words, leaving a mere 2% as true exceptions. 

Uncovering the Logic of English was, for me, a quick and fascinating read. I did not agree with absolutely everything stated in the book; there were some phonograms not listed that I thought should be included, and  once or twice, I thought it would be easier to state certain words as exceptions rather than creating an entire rule around them. But even so, I believe that every English speaker (and English writer and reader!) should read this book. Maybe even a couple times! You will no longer be confused by the seemingly irrational spelling patterns that have developed through the centuries, and will gain an appreciation for the logic that does indeed exist within the phonetic system of English!

If you homeschool (or teach) and have students that struggle with spelling and/or reading, then you need this book. I am confident it will be of more help to you than any other spelling or reading resource you might find.

Uncovering the Logic of English is available on Amazon.com for $13.60, or you can get the Kindle version for $7.99.

Denise Eide has also authored a cute little children’s alphabet book called Doodling Dragons that takes the time to teach the multiple sounds each letter can make in a simple and engaging way. Most alphabet books stop short with each letter’s most common sound, but this book briefly illustrates all the sounds each letter can make. The Boys find it funny and interesting, and it’s short enough to keep their attention from beginning to end.

Disclosure: I received both of these books for free at a conference, but was under no obligation to write a positive review. I was just really fascinated and wanted to share it with you. 

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Dealing With the Side Effects of Cancer Treatments

Touched by Cancer - a series at Authentic Simplicity Have you been touched by cancer? Maybe not you personally, but a close friend or family member? Then this series is for you. In honor of a dear friend of mine who was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year, I dedicate this small space of the internet to spreading hope and compassion in the face of a terrible disease. Hope for prevention and treatment, and compassion for those suffering. Please share the posts in this series with anyone you know who has been touched by cancer.

Cancer. It is a word that brings fear to the depths of your soul…especially when it is being experienced by you or a loved one. I know this fear that can grip you. We have experienced cancer in our own family several times. My family has always approached it differently than most and sought natural help for cancer and chemo side effects.

I am always happy to share with others information that may help them on this new and frightening journey, but am careful not to overstep any boundaries. You have to know someone well and sense if they are open to your suggestions. If you put the information out there and they want to know more, they will ask. If not, they have made the decision that they believe is best for their family.

I was 13 years old when my mom told me she had breast cancer. I had no idea at the time how bad it was and how close I came to losing her. She had stage 4 breast cancer. The doctors gave her 6 months with chemo and radiation.My parents had always sought out alternative practitioners when possible. This was no exception. So, they went to Mexico for treatment. This was before all the options there are in America now. She did have surgery and a little chemo, because her cancer was so bad that even the natural doctors recommended it… on a smaller scale. Thankfully, her side effects from chemo were not as bad as most people experienced.

I am very thankful that I still have my mother with me…24 years later. My brother recently experienced thyroid cancer and beat it naturally.

Hopefully you will find some things to help through cancer, chemo and radiation. Although I believe that cancer is largely preventable, many people still choose the conventional route for numerous reasons. Conventional treatments usually overload the system with many toxins.


To help the body deal with the side effects of these toxins, there are things that can be done to help detox and relieve the side effects of cancer treatments:

Water ~ Drink lots pure water. This is the most natural way to flush out toxins. Add fresh lemon or a pure, therapeutic grade Lemon Essential Oil to boost the immune system and stimulate the lymphatic system. Other beneficial essential oils are Grapefruit, Tangerine and Orange. Add 1-2 drops to water during the day. These oils are high in limonene and effective against cancer and help to boost the immune system. Peppermint Oil will give you energy and stimulate the immune system.

Detox Baths~ Epsom Salt baths are very beneficial. Toxins are flushed from your system as your body absorbs the magnesium it needs to help heal. Add baking soda to the bath to make your skin smooth, while neutralizing the effects of radiation. Apple Cider Vinegar added to the bath helps soothe sore muscles and joints. Add Lavender Oil to help you relax. Rotate with a Bentonite Clay Baths using Living Clay to help pull out toxins and heavy metals.

Boost the Immune System~ All of these things in this post will help boost the immune system, which is crucial to healing. A supplement that can help is Inner Defense~ an oil blend of Clove, Cinnamon, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, and Citronella in an Olive Oil Base in capsules. Frankincense Essential Oil is also very beneficial to boost the immune system, calm the nerves and may kill cancer cells. It can be taken internally, rubbed on the feet and problem area. *NOTE~ the only oils that I am referring to are Young Living Essential Oils due to their pure, therapeutic quality.*


Alkalize the Body~ A person who is going through cancer, chemo, or radiation has a very acidic system, which makes the body even more susceptible to disease.

  1. Eliminate Sugar & Processed Foods~ Sugar feeds cancer. Stay away from artificial sweeteners also. Use Stevia, an herb, to sweeten drinks or food. Avoid white flour and food coloring. Our bodies do not know how to deal with these chemicals.
  2. Eat Raw Foods~ Avoid meat during this time, especially red meat. Eat lots of green vegetables~ have a salad with every meal and use a lemon/olive oil dressing.
  3. Drink Green Juice or a High Quality Green Nutritional Drink~ It is important to feed the body what it needs as it is fighting cancer and dealing with side effects. Juicing is the best way to help the body heal and get rid of toxins. The “greens” are so beneficial~ spinach, kale, parsley and cucumbers. Add in ginger and carrots. It is not always possible to make high quality juices, nor does the person feel like the effort involved. My brother used Nutritional Dreams three times per day. It is a green superfood drink that you mix with water. It is flavored with stevia and peppermint, so it is yummy. It is a normal part of our routine to keep us healthy year round.
  4. Ningxia Red~ an antioxidant drink that helps reduce the acid in the body. Helps with heart and liver function as it energizes and fortifies the body.

Ginger ~ Ginger helps nausea and vomiting. Put it in a smoothie or make a tea from it.

Stop Using Synthetic Personal and Cleaning Products~ Our skin is the largest organ. When we put chemicals on our skin that we would not eat, we are adding to the toxic overload in our body. Avoiding using antiperspirants. These contain aluminum and is very damaging to our body. Try to find a natural deodorant or use coconut oil and lavender oil.

Exercise~ Although one may not feel like exercising. It is very important to help cleanse the lymphatic system. T-Tapp is a 15 minute fitness routine originally designed by Teresa Tapp to help cancer patients deal with the effects of chemo. Her mother died of a brain tumor and she had a desire to find a way to help people. It was discovered that is was helping heal from the inside out. It cleanses the lymphatic system, boosts the immune system and gets oxygen flowing through the body. Inch loss is a plus! The lymph system has to have help to cleanse itself…ie T-Tapp, rebounding and body brushing as recommended through T-Tapp. T-Tapp is now used by all ages and health situations, not just cancer and chemo patients.

Emotional Health~ The emotions play a huge role in our healing. A person experiencing cancer is on an emotional roller coaster. Fear, dread, anger, sadness, worry, guilt all play a part of this roller coaster. Our thoughts can be as toxic as pollutants or the cancer itself. It is important to take every thought captive and not be controlled by them. Prayer, reading scripture, meditating on worship music are the most important helps in this. A book I highly recommend is Who Switched Off My Brain? by Dr. Carolyn Leaf. It is full of helpful tips and scripture to learn how to deal with emotions and thoughts. Essential Oils that are helpful in this area are: Valor, Peace & Calming, Joy, Harmony, White Angelica, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Hope.

Get Plenty of Rest & Accept Help~ Two things that are very hard to do. Rest when you need it. This is very important for your body to heal. Accept help, even though it may be hard to do. Now is the time to focus on your health and getting better. If people offer to bring meals, help with the children, clean your house….let them. Accept the gift.

I hope that these suggestions will help you or someone you know in this journey of cancer. Start with one or two things and add to them as you can. Any step you take toward your healing is better than nothing.

Disclaimer: This isn’t intended to diagnose, treat or cure any condition. This is for educational purposes only. Consult with your doctor.
Mary is a farm girl and homeschooling mom to 2 sons. She has been married to her sweetheart for 14 years. She is passionate about her faith and family and strives to find balance in home life, farm life, homeschooling, and healthy living. She blogs at The Encouraging Home where she tries to encourage others and offer a variety of resources for life. She also helps to educate people on the health benefits of pure essential oils through her Young Living Essential Oils business, beautiful skin through Nerium AD, as well as help other moms establish a home business. Mary hopes that you will find a place of renewal and refreshment when you visit her blog, as well as many help from the many resources she has researched for you.

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

4 Ways to Prevent Cancer {Touched by Cancer}

Touched by Cancer - a series at Authentic Simplicity Have you been touched by cancer? Maybe not you personally, but a close friend or family member? Then this series is for you. In honor of a dear friend of mine who was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year, I dedicate this small space of the internet to spreading hope and compassion in the face of a terrible disease. Hope for prevention and treatment, and compassion for those suffering. Please share the posts in this series with anyone you know who has been touched by cancer.


Annually, ten million people are diagnosed with some form of cancer, and approximately seven million die from the cancer. Cancer is alarmingly on the rise with numbers increasing each year. I believe this calls for a reason to stop and evaluate our modern-day lives. If cancer is not something contagious, but a disease that develops in the body, is there a way to prevent it?

One of the biggest culprits is poor diet.

Years ago when cancer was rare, people depended on wild food, fresh fruits and vegetables that they grew for a large portion of their diet. These foods contained living enzymes and nutrition. Today our food comes from the nearest drive-thru or a box off a shelf, which contains almost no nutrition.

Suppose you filled your car with rocks, dirt, or jet fuel? Would you expect it to run correctly? We all know the car would have major problems! When our body does not have the proper nutrition that God designed for it to have, our bodies will not be o.k.. Poor nutrition leads to poor health, which results in disease and possible cancer.

So what does a healthy diet look like? The ideal diet is all organic, and at least half being raw foods; never going to a fast food restaurant, never purchasing something in a box…. This kind of diet is not realistic for most. I encourage people to start where they are and do what they can.
Do you eat out all the time? Begin making homemade meals more often than buying something from take-out.
Do you eat things from a box often? Start making most meals from scratch.
Do you never eat fresh fruits or vegetables? Train your body to eat and enjoy fresh food. Work toward eating at least 50% raw.
Do you eat whatever, not considering with what’s in it? Learn to be an ingredient reader. Avoid foods with harmful ingredients like MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and aspartame.

Many people get discouraged because they can’t jump straight into an ideal diet; don’t be. Start where you are and begin making changes. You will notice a great improvement in your health as you work towards that ideal diet.

Cleanse yearly.

Because of environmental toxins and toxins from personal care products, the average person has a very serious need to detox on a regular basis. It is said that the average person carries 10 lbs. of waste in their bodies! Cleansing the body clears toxins, and creates an environment that is more resistant to disease.

The cleansing order recommended by many health-care professionals is:
Colon
Parasite
Kidney
Liver/Gallbladder
Blood

I also love to take bentonite clay baths! Bentonite clay pulls toxins and heavy metals from your body, leaving you feeling so refreshed and clean!

Exercise faithfully.

We’ve all heard for many years how important it is to exercise, and that’s because it is! Exercise rejuvenates cells and gets the lymph system moving.

Rebounding is considered to possibly be the best exercise for rejuvenating the lymph system. Rebounding is simply jumping on a mini-trampoline. This exercise not only increases the lymph flow, it also strengthens the immune system and gives more oxygen to the blood. It is recommended to rebound 10-15 minutes a day.

Add healthy herbs and supplements to your body.

A few suggestions are:
Flax
Coconut Oil
Red Raspberry Leaf
Nettle
Alfalfa
Red Clover

Green Tea

Elderberries
Indian Gooseberry/Amalaki

I personally love making different mixtures of herbs into teas! I keep at least a gallon {sometimes two gallons} of tea in my fridge all the time for my family to drink often.I also enjoy a cup of hot tea in the winter months! Flax and coconut oil are great to add to oatmeal for its amazing health benefits!

What natural things do you do to help prevent cancer?

Jill is a
Christian and has been married to her dear husband for 12 years. She’s
a homeschool mom of 4 and is thankful for God’s goodness in her daily life. As a certified family herbalist, her passions include reading and researching about health and home remedies, and sharing
with others the knowledge she gains. You can find her blogging at and connect with her on and Pinterest.

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My Simple Preschool: A Touch of “Unschooling”

Join me every week as I show you how me and my 4-year-old Certain Little Someone do simple preschool at home.

No curriculum, no pressure, but lots of learning! 

Having come from a very traditional schooling background with an emphasis on classical education and a splash of Montessori thrown in, “unschooling” really isn’t on my radar as an educational alternative for my children. However, I think there is great value in being intentional about discovering what interests and intrigues them, and then developing those interests in an educational setting.

That’s why, after Bible, Phonics, Reading, Handwriting, and Math, we have a subject I like to call “Other”. It’s very purposefully left vague so that we have the freedom to explore different topics of interest throughout the year without being restricted by a topic like “Science” or “Social Studies”. Preschool is the perfect age to explore a variety of subjects because children are like curious little sponges, always desirous of soaking up knowledge about the things that catch their eye.

The possibilities are literally endless, and depend entirely on your child’s interests and what is going on in your life at any given time. Here are some ideas of topics we’ve pursued and/or intend to pursue soon.

Holidays

You can incorporate holidays into the other subjects by choosing worksheets, games, and reading materials that reflect the holiday in question. But you can also choose to focus on the holiday a little more specifically, and learn about its history and the way it’s celebrated today. For example, Thanksgiving is coming up in the next couple weeks, so we’re going to spend some time learning about the Pilgrims and Native Americans and the First Thanksgiving. We’ll read some books, do some crafts, and focus on the quality of Thankfulness over the next week and a half.
Preschool Veggie Picking Field Trip

Science

Preschoolers are so curious about their world, and it’s a great time to take advantage of that curiosity and explore it in depth. Any number of scientific subjects can be taught at their level with field trips, books, movies, crafts, experiments, and more.

  • Animals – Kids LOVE animals. You can group animals by their habitat (farm, jungle, desert, etc.), or by their classification (mammal, bird, reptile, etc.). Or you can just start with whatever animal in particular your child loves and go from there. Your child will love to learn about things like life cycles (for example, egg-larva-caterpillar-pupa-butterfly), habitats, diets, and other aspects of the animal kingdom.
  • Weather & Seasons – We actually just wrapped up a “unit” (if you want to call it that!) about the weather and seasons, and My Certain Little Someone found it all very interesting. We learned about how the sun affects the seasons and weather, and about the water cycle. We learned about the four different seasons we experience in our hemisphere, and what kinds of weather to expect in those seasons. Since we were learning about autumn right when the season changed to autumn, we spent a good deal of time learning about why and how leaves change color, as well as some very basic scientific information about pumpkins and apples and how they grow. We also took the time to read a rather lengthy – but very interesting – book about Johnny Appleseed, which we both enjoyed very much.
  • Plants – So much can be taught and experimented with regarding the growth process of plants, especially flowering plants and those that produce fruits and vegetables. Hands-on opportunities abound with this subject, so much so that you could probably spend an entire school year focusing on this topic alone. Even if you’re not a green thumb (Hey, I understand!), you can still experiment with growing beans in a jar or planting seeds in eggshells. And if all else fails, plan a field trip to a local farm and learn about how food is grown!
  • Transportation – I don’t know about little girls, but both my boys are fascinated by any kind of transportation! Race cars, trains, plains, boats, motorcycles, trucks… you name it, they love it. We read books endlessly about them, but one of these days, I’m going to take some time to learn about some of the basic scientific aspects of how vehicles move. Like, for example, the fact that wheels are round. Or that planes have wings (and helicopters have blades). Or maybe why boats don’t sink (most of the time).

Community

By “community”, I mean the people and institutions that make our modern world go around: firemen and fire engines, the postal service (my Certain Little Someone went through a stage where he was VERY inquisitive about how mail got from one place to the other), farmers, police officers, traffic lights, etc. Most of our education about these matters has taken place outside the context of our school time, but we’ve intentionally taken advantage of opportunities like visiting a local firehouse at their open house, and taking a ride on a train in a nearby city, or visiting local farms during special events. And, of course, we read lots of books from the library about things like garbage collectors, and construction workers, and police officers. Lots and lots. Those are pretty hot topics for little guys, apparently!

Current Events

Some of my friends took the time during this past election season to teach their little ones the very basics of the American system of government and elections. Of course, there’s not a great deal a child this age can understand, but at this point, it’s mostly about introducing a subject to open the door to later learning. Other major events could include:

  • The Olympics – History, science, math. geography, and physical education can all come into play here. My Certain Little Someone was SO fascinated by the Olympics this past summer; he even developed an interest in Michael Phelps!
  • Natural Disasters – Hurricane Sandy, anyone? This is a great time to learn about extreme weather, as well as the importance of community and service to one another. Depending on where the disaster occurs, you can also teach some geography!
  • Local Events – Perhaps there’s a bicycle race in town one weekend, and it piques your child’s interest. Or maybe an Irish festival, or the county fair. Each such event is a great opportunity to expand your child’s knowledge about his world, if you just take the time to explore it in depth a little more.

montessori preschool world

Geography

By “geography”, I mostly mean getting a taste of different cultures, and creating an awareness that there is a great big world out there outside the limited experience of your child. Preschoolers are only just beginning to understand that whole concept, and maps and globes will mean very little to them. However, they will be fascinated by the dress, food, language, and customs of different countries, and it’s fun to teach, too!

Arts, Crafts & Music

Little kids love to get crafty! And learning to use scissors, tape, glue sticks, paint brushes, markers and crayons are all important fine motor skills that need to be developed. And the crafts do NOT have to be extravagant. You’d be amazed by the simplicity that delights a child!

Music likewise does not have to be anymore complicated than listening to music or singing children’s songs. Learning about different types of instruments would be very interesting to most little learners. Hey, you can even experiment with making your own instruments!

Art can also be explored at this age. Don’t be afraid to take your child to an art museum (just don’t expect their interest to hold for TOO long!), and point out some different types of art, like sculpture versus painting for example. Children have so much fun learning about primary and secondary colors, and experimenting with mixing them in different mediums. Read a children’s book like “Katie Meets the Impressionists” or watch the short movie “Linnea in Monet’s Garden“.

Literature

It’s not as stuffy as it sounds. Truly, the English language is blessed with a bounty of beautiful children’s literature that delights, fascinates and educates. Fairy tales, folk tales, tales of imagination and fancy, rhymes and poems… the possibilities are endless. In fact, I would say that it’s impossible for any child to experience the depth of English literature available to them. A few categories or genres stick out to me as excellent ones to explore during the preschool years:

  • Mother Goose – Rhyming is an important element of pre-reading development, and will aid in better reading, writing and spelling later on. Plus, you can have a lot of fun with these (frankly, rather odd) little ditties.
  • Jan Brett – Jan Brett is my favorite current children’s author because she intentionally reaches out to her audience and engages with them. She’s got all kinds of activities on her website that you can incorporate into your schooling. Plus, her books are so full of amazingly detailed drawings and whimsical characters that it’s hard not to be drawn into the stories whether you’re a child or an adult. (Although, I will say that my DH is not fond of her books. He says they have no point. And he has a point. But I still love them!)
  • Winnie the Pooh – I am going to be very firm with you here: NOT the Disney variety. Please. I beg you. The original is superior in every way: language, art, whimsy, and even humor. Winnie the Pooh has got to be one of my favorite classics of children’s literature, and I absolutely love A.A. Milne’s writing style. It might be a bit much for 3-year-olds, but my Certain Little Someone (who is 4 now) is capable of enjoying the real thing now, which makes me very happy.
  • Beatrix Potter – As I mentioned already, kids love animals, and Beatrix Potter’s stories are replete with adorable animal characters who are very relatable to small children.

The How-To

The only question remaining is, how do you go about teaching these subjects? Thankfully, that’s pretty easy. Don’t waste your time planning out lengthy lessons that will only bore your small child. Instead, choose  one of the following activities to participate in each day on any given topic until you’ve exhausted your resources… or your child is exhausted!

  • Books – The library is where it’s at! The librarians at the children’s desk are always more than happy to help you find books on any given topic at your child’s level of understanding. Thankfully, these days, there is a picture book for just about any subject you might ever consider researching!
  • Crafts – A quick google (or Swagbucks) search will likely yield tons of craft ideas for any topic you desire. If all else fails, you are sure to find an appropriate coloring page somewhere!
  • Printable Worksheets – Likewise, workbooks, activity books and online printable worksheets abound on various topics, especially more popular ones like animals and plants.  Scholastic is a great place to start.
  • Hands-On Activities and Experiments – For some subjects, this will be easier than others, but for the vast majority, you can probably come up with simple activities yourself. For example, when we were learning about fall, I cooked up a pumpkin, then cut it in half and we looked at the cross-section of the pumpkin and talked about the different parts inside the pumpkin. And of course, we ate some yummy pumpkin stuff! Remember, it doesn’t need to be complicated.
  • Field Trips – If at all possible, go to where the real action is. Experiencing something is the best way to learn about it!

I could go on and on about ways to enhance your child’s learning by taking advantage of his or her natural curiosity… but I think you get the general idea!

Other posts in this series:

Phonics-Phonics, Part 2-Reading-Reading, Part 2-Handwriting-Math-Days of the Week-Bible-“Other”

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My Simple Preschool: Bible

Join me every week as I show you how me and my 4-year-old Certain Little Someone do simple preschool at home.

No curriculum, no pressure, but lots of learning! 

We’ve covered Phonics, Handwriting, and Math in this series so far, but honestly? By far, the most important subject in our preschool homeschool is Bible. We begin each school session with prayer and a simple Bible lesson in an effort to establish a routine that honors God first and foremost. Truthfully, all true knowledge proceeds from God, so it just makes perfect sense to begin our learning by kneeling at His feet first.

In each Bible lesson, we read a Bible story or learn a Bible truth, and also commit Bible verses and truth to memory. We don’t necessarily follow a systematic approach – no curriculum, remember? – but we do use some tools to provide a sense of order and sequence to the process of learning.

In this post, I’ll share with you the tools I use currently or have used in the past, as well as some exciting new resources I’ve recently discovered.

 

Bible Knowledge

At this age, Bible stories are the most effective way to communicate Biblical truth. If those stories are combined with pictures, so much the better! Almost any children’s Bible or series of children’s Bible stories will work; in fact, for K3, our entire Bible curriculum consisted of the Sunday School papers my Certain Little Someone brought home every week! If your child attends a Sunday School class that includes lots of take-home papers, I think it’s a great idea to utilize them to reinforce at home what he’s learning in church. And since those Sunday School curriculums generally follow a progression of some sort, you don’t have to worry about coming up with your own system. (As the children get older, of course, they will require more systematic and thorough instruction, but I think it’s an ideal solution for the littlest ones.) 

Other resources we have used (and continue to use) include:

The Beginner’s Bible

My First Study Bible  - I love how this one gives some background to each book of the Bible, plus it introduces the main characters and authors. Each story also comes with a probing question, and includes some additional facts about the story.

The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos – This one’s a classic, and for good reason! It’s ideal for slightly older children (at least 5 years of age), but it goes through the entire Bible in such beautiful language, I cannot help but include it here. You might think the language too stuffy for young children, but year after year, my class full of 5-year-olds sat enthralled through each story. And there were tears in every eye – including mine! – whenever we read of Jesus’ crucifixion and death.

Arch Books Bible Stories – This collection of rhyming Bible stories will engage younger children and still teach Bible truth. They are typically readily available in Christian bookstores on a rack in the children’s section.

The Jesus Storybook Bible – This is a favorite of many, although I don’t personally own a copy. Yet!

The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes – I grew up on this, and still have very fond memories of listening to the recording of it, as well as listening to my mom read it.

A is for Adam – We are currently working through this great resource from Answers in Genesis. It teaches the Gospel by telling the story of Creation and the Fall of Man through the use of alphabet rhymes. Admittedly, the rhymes are kinda cheesy, but my Certain Little Someone is enjoying memorizing them… and internalizing the truths they contain! Each letter of the alphabet and its rhyme come with an eye-catching picture and several different teaching and learning activities. We are working through it pretty slowly, one letter each week, in order to really have time to delve into all the truth that’s taught.

The Beginner’s Bible – This one is a favorite of My Certain Little Someone. We have an older edition, but we’ve worn it through! I think half the pages have fallen out, so it’s about time to invest in a new one.
Open Bible

Bible Memory

Small children are like sponges – now is the perfect age for them to commit all kinds of Scripture and doctrine to memory!  You can choose one of several different systems to help you choose what Scriptures you want your child to memorize:

  • Character-Building Verses: Choose verses that focus on character qualities you want to instill in your child’s life. Wise Words for Moms is a great place to start.
  • Famous Passages: Now is the time to teach children lengthier passages of Scripture they will remember throughout their lives: The Lord’s Prayer, The Shepherd’s Psalm (Psalm 23), The Love Chapter (I Corinthians 13), The Armor of God (Ephesians 6), etc.
  • Coordinate with the Bible Study: Pull verses from whatever Bible stories you are working through.

Currently, my Certain Little Someone is in the AWANA program at our church, so those are the verses we work on throughout the week. We also work on the stories and activities in his book so he can get full credit for those.

We’ve also been working through a Baptist Catechism for Little Children, although we don’t do every single question. There’s a whole list of catechisms for children here if that one doesn’t suit your fancy.

Other posts in this series:

Phonics-Phonics, Part 2-Reading-Reading, Part 2-Handwriting-Math-Days of the Week-Bible-“Other”

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My Simple Preschool: Days of the Week Printable

Join me every week as I show you how me and my 4-year-old Certain Little Someone do simple preschool at home.

No curriculum, no pressure, but lots of learning! 

Last week, I confessed my ineptitude when it comes to math, and shared how I’m dealing with it by going really low-key throughout the pre-school years.

One thing I’m really focusing on this year is the concept of time: years (seasons), months, weeks, days, hours, minutes. Since I know how to tell time, this is a concept I can handle! Also, my Certain Little Someone had been asking me incessantly about things like days of the week, and what time it is and what time it will be when, etc. etc. After answering the same question approximately 1000 times in one day, I decided it was about time to teach him how to figure these things out for himself.

Like other aspects of math, time can be an abstract concept, so I knew I needed to visualize it in some way. In particular, he was very curious about the days of the week, so I started there and made a printable chart. I hung it up on his school magnet board, and as we go through the week, we rotate a round magnet through the cycle of days.

I’m sharing this printable with you in case you, too, have a curious little pre-schooler who wants to know what day it is today, what day it will be tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that. You can hang it on your fridge or a bulletin board and use any kind of marker to keep track of the days – magnets, push pins, etc.

Click here to download the days of the week printable.

We also sing a little song to keep the days of the week in order. I keep it very simple, of course. (That’s how I roll, as you might have guessed.) It goes like this:

Sunday (C)

Monday (D)

Tuesday (E)

Wednesday (F)

Thursday (G)

Friday (F)

Sat. (E) Ur. (D) Day. (C)

Those letters in parentheses are the notes we sing in case you didn’t catch that! Really we just sing up and down a pentascale (5 notes in a row) – like I said, simple! It really helps my Certain Little Someone memorize the order of the days of the week.

And, of course, you don’t have to be home-schooling to benefit from this little tool! Just make it part of your morning routine so your little one can easily and quickly learn the days of the week.

Other posts in this series:

Phonics-Phonics, Part 2-Reading-Reading, Part 2-Handwriting-Math-Days of the Week-Bible-“Other”

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My Simple Preschool: Math

Join me every week as I show you how me and my 4-year-old Certain Little Someone do simple preschool at home.

No curriculum, no pressure, but lots of learning! 

I’m just gonna be honest and come right out with it: Math and I do not get along. We’ve kind of formed a truce over the past few years, but only as long as not too much of me is required in this relationship.

The basic stuff I can handle: counting, addition, subtraction, division and even long division on a good day. Anything beyond that, though, is really stretching it. Oh, wait, that’s not true! I am quite adept at figuring out percentages and decimals because those are required for bargain shopping. But anything beyond that is definitely a stretch.
Math
Thank goodness for Saxon math! It was a lifesaver for me in my Kindergarten-teaching years (I actually learned a few things from the Saxon I material. Yes, yes, I did!), and I have every intention of using it when my Certain Little Someone is old enough. I know for sure I simply cannot teach math in any sort of reputable fashion without some serious guidance; the very thought makes me feel all at sea!

Our Math Non-Curriculum

Which is why we’re being very relaxed about the whole thing in pre-school. I am not using a curriculum of any sort, and I’m not too terribly concerned about how much we do and do not learn. (“We” being the royal “we” this time. I’m actually pretty good at pre-school math now.) I think it’s too early to start a serious for-real math curriculum, personally. There’s time enough for that later on!

In fact, my goals for pre-school math are pretty basic. Here’s what I’m hoping we accomplish before he enters Kindergarten:

  • Counting to 100 (although I’m totally cool with counting to less than that. So far we’re pretty good up to 30, then it gets a little hairy.)
  • Understanding More or Less using manipulatives and objects (bonus if he grasps more and less with just abstract numbers, i.e. 7 is less than 8)
  • Counting Backwards 10-1
  • Skip-Counting (maybe)
  • Basic Concept of Addition (probably not going to start memorizing the facts until K5)
  • Shapes (good to go on this one)
  • Size (pretty good with this, too)
  • Patterns (getting very good at this now)
  • Basic Concept of Subtraction
  • Writing Numbers
  • Recognizing Number Words
  • Ordinal Numbers
  • Counting Objects
  • Calendar/Days of the Week/Months of the Year
  • Basic Concept of Time
  • Identification of Coins and their Value

Pumpkin Seed Math

Manipulatives, Manipulatives, Manipulatives

Since math can be a very abstract concept for little guys, it really helps to use objects they can handle and touch and count when learning various aspects of math. You don’t even have to buy any fancy sets of linking cubes or geometric shapes or what-have-you. Look around your house, and chances are, you have some awesome manipulatives just sitting around waiting to be used:

  • Legos (or Duplos) – I use mine over and over and over again. One thing I learned from Saxon math is to build towers with the Legos: Keep them all the same size and build them only as high as ten blocks. Once you get to 10, start with a new tower. This teaches counting and place value all at the same time. These towers can also be used to learn addition and subtraction. Plus, since the Legos come in different colors, you can do sorting and grouping activities as well.
  • Beans – The larger and more sturdy the bean, the better, but any will do.
  • Dry Pasta
  • Raisins – Practice subtraction! “If you eat one, how many are left?”
  • Magnets
  • Army Men

You get the picture. Any kind of object that comes with multiples (hey, how’s that for a good math word?!) is fair game for use as a manipulative.

Math is Everywhere

Don’t forget that math plays a large part in everyday life, and all you have to do is draw a little attention to it. Here are a few examples:

  • Cook together in the kitchen and learn about measurements and time.
  • Time different activities, like cleaning up. Look at the clock and point out what time it is now, then say “At such-and-such a time, we will do XYZ. Let me know when the clock says such-and-such.” (Insert real times where you see such-and-such. Please.)
  • Give your child opportunities to pay (with real cash, not cards!) at grocery stores and the like. Also, make sure your child has a piggy bank, and when you find spare change around the house, help him or her identify what kind of coin it is and how much its worth, then place it in the piggy bank.
  • Make your child do simple but fun mathematical activities. For example: ask your child to help set the table, and give him 3 napkins. Say, “How many napkins do you have? How many people need a napkin? Four? OK,  how many more napkins do we need to get?”
  • Counting practice can be done pretty much anywhere and everywhere with anything.

Resources

Other posts in this series:

Phonics-Phonics, Part 2-Reading-Reading, Part 2-Handwriting-Math-Days of the Week-Bible-“Other”

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How to Cook Any Whole Grain {Get Healthy & Fit, Week 6}

Welcome back to the Get Healthy & Fit series here at Authentic Simplicity! Joining me are 18 other bloggers, all desirous of improving their health and raising their level of fitness. We each have a different goal in mind and a different plan to reach that goal; and you can follow each blogger’s progress here. Follow along on Twitter and Pinterest as well!

I discussed my personal goals at length the first week, but to sum up, this is what I’m hoping to do in the course of these 12 weeks:

  • Kick my sugar habit
  • Lose approximately 10 lbs. and a few inches
  • Fit in my clothes
  • Develop sustainable habits like eating more proteins and fewer carbs

Although I’m going low-carb, I’m not eliminating carbs entirely. Instead, I’m almost completely eliminating sugar from my diet (replacing it largely with stevia), and focusing on the healthiest carbohydrates possible. To that end, when it comes to grains, I am trying to minimize the amount of flour (any kind) I consume, and instead eating the grain in its entirety.

This is kind of new territory for me, to be perfectly honest. I’m familiar with whole-grain flours, but eating the actual grain whole is another matter altogether. I’m finding, though, that there are delicious ways to enjoy whole grains at any meal, and that cooking whole grains is a lot easier than it seems. 

How to Cook Whole Grains Quickly and Easily

Most people cook rice and other grains in a 1:2 or 1:3 (depending on the grain) grain-to-water ratio. Rice, for example. The recipe on a package of brown rice generally suggests cooking 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water. The problem with this is that depending on a lot of different factors, some of them beyond your control, the water will cook off or absorb more quickly than the rice does. Or, alternatively, the rice will be done before all the water is absorbed, and you’re left with mushy rice. Neither scenario is appreciated during the dinner rush hour!

Furthermore, this process takes at least 40 minutes, and the same is true for almost any grain. Although I try to keep ahead of the game and have an extra batch of rice (or other grain) cooked up in the freezer, it still takes forever to cook grains with this method.

Here’s where I owe a huge thanks to my readers! When I posted about my method of cooking rice a while back, I asked my readers for their favorite method of cooking rice, and I got some great responses. A couple people mentioned a method I had never heard of, and it intrigued me so much I had to give it a try. It worked so well that now I typically cook my rice in such a way, and I also cook all other whole grains in the same fashion.

What I love about this method is that it takes less time than the more common method. I don’t know the science of how all that works, but I know it’s true! You can easily cook a grain in half the time by following this simple method. 

Oh, you want to know what the method is? I guess I shouldn’t make you wait any longer, huh? 

How to Cook Any Whole Grain

Cook It Like Pasta

Honestly, I can sum up the instructions in one simple phrase: cook it like pasta. Fill a big ole pot with water, and bring it to a boil. Add your grains, leave the lid off, and let it boil away until the grain is tender.

That’s it. It typically takes about 20 minutes, sometimes a little more (only when I’m in a hurry, of course!), depending on the grain and other factors.

But if you need more specific instructions, here ya go:


Once your grain is cooked, you can do whatever you want with it! You can turn it into a dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, limited only by your imagination. If you’re not familiar with cooking with whole grains as an ingredient, just imagine that every grain is rice, and then fix it like you would rice. Nine times out of ten, it will work just as well.

But if you need more inspiration, I will be sharing with you some ideas for preparing whole grains next week! Be sure to subscribe if you aren’t already, so you can get that post delivered to your inbox or reader.

This Week’s Update

Woot! The numbers on the scale continue to go down! Little by little! The other measurements, unfortunately, are progressing at an agonizingly slow pace. I am thankful that at least they continue to trend downward for the most part.

Here are my current stats that I will update every Monday:

Weight: 133.6 (3 lbs total weight loss so far!)

Waist (inches): 29-30

Butt: 39-40

Find out how the other ladies are doing with their weight loss efforts and other goals by clicking on the image below.

How do you cook whole grains?

Read more inspiring and informative posts at these link-ups: Motivation Monday, Mom’s Monday Mingle, Homestead Barn Hop, The Bulletin Board, Better Mom Mondays, Natural Living MondayTip Me TuesdayTrivium TuesdayMom’s LibraryTitus 2sdayTeach me TuesdayHip Homeschool HopTitus 2 TuesdayDelicious DishesOpen Call TuesdayTiny Tip TuesdayHealthy 2Day WednesdayFrugal Days Sustainable WaysWorks for me WednesdayWomen Living Well WednesdayReal Food WednesdayWhole Foods Wednesday,Allergen-Free WednesdayEncourage One AnotherLife in BloomThought-Provoking ThursdaySimple Lives Thursday, Homemaking Link-UpTastetastic ThursdayKeep it Real ThursdayFrugal Thursday RewindHomeschooling on the CheapFellowship FridayFight Back FridayFeast in Fellowship FridayFrugal FridayI’m Lovin’ ItWeekend Bloggy ReadingSnacktime SaturdayShow & Share SaturdayWeekend Whatever,

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My Simple Preschool: Handwriting

Join me every week as I show you how me and my 4-year-old Certain Little Someone do simple preschool at home.

No curriculum, no pressure, but lots of learning! 

If Phonics and Reading are my favorite subjects, then Handwriting is my least favorite. I have come to the conclusion that handwriting is rarely fun for either teacher or student! Sure, there are ways to reduce the pain, but in the end… it’s just not fun. It’s more work than any other scholarly subject, and there’s no way around that.

Handwriting - free texture
Because of that, I keep handwriting lessons short and sweet. Very short, and as sweet as possible.

And I teach cursive first. 

“Say what?” I hear you ask. Yep. Cursive first!

The Philosophy

Think about it for a second: what on earth is the point of teaching manuscript, if, 3 years later, you’re going to force the child through an agonizing process to learn how to write all over again, completely frustrating the child to no end and, furthermore, totally undoing all your hard work teaching him or her to write in the first place. I’m a simple girl, and that just doesn’t make sense to me.

When my kids were babies, I loved the book “The Baby Whisperer”, and in that book, the author repeats a phrase quite often that goes like this: “Start as you mean to go on.” This is such wise advice with lots of applications, and it fits perfectly with the whole handwriting situation. If you want your child to know how to write cursive, well then, start with cursive

But”, I hear you ask, “BUT! Isn’t there a good reason for teaching manuscript in the first place?” 

The short answer: No. 

The long answer: Until the 1930′s, children in the United States were always taught cursive from the get-go. Manuscript was not even considered because people didn’t write in manuscript; they wrote in cursive. Why try to teach a child to write in a way that nobody else wrote? In the thirties, the “whole-word” or “whole-language” method of reading instruction (otherwise known as sight reading) swept through the nation and among its casualties was the cursive method of handwriting. The thinking went something like this: children will confuse cursive letters with the printed letters in their reading books, and will delay their reading instruction.

It seems like a valid point, doesn’t it? Not really. Children had no problems differentiating between printed and cursive letters for hundreds of years prior to 1930, and they still don’t have any problems. There are no studies – that I am aware of – that were used to prove that learning printed letters for reading and cursive letters for writing ever hindered a child’s ability to read or write. It was just a guess based on faulty logic, and unfortunately, generations of children have been forced to struggle through the process of learning not only one, but TWO, systems of writing. 
Layer Texture Paper With Handwriting
Furthermore, it’s actually easier for children to write in cursive than it is for them to write in the “ball-and-stick” format. This was proven to me over the course of many years as I banged my head in frustration attempting to teach children to begin forming their letters from the top, and, for goodness’ sakes, to PICK UP YOUR PENCIL before you form the next line!!! Oh yes, I remember that frustration quite well!

See, for children, their natural tendency is to begin a stroke from the bottom, which is where the majority of cursive letters begin. Their other natural tendency is to keep the pencil on the paper to create one continuous stroke until the letter is done, which, again, is how cursive letters are formed. The “ball and stick” or manuscript method requires children to begin strokes at the top and to lift up the pencil between each stroke in order to form neat letters, which feels completely unnatural to the child. Also, consider what kind of strokes a toddler makes when they first pick up a pencil or pen: scribbly lines and loops that closely resemble cursive writing. It just comes more naturally to the hand.

My frustrating years of teaching handwriting with the ball and stick method only intensified my determination to teach my own child cursive first. Mind you, it’s still not easy, as I have already established. It’s a fine motor skill that takes years to develop, so in the beginning, it’s essential to go very slowly and make sure your expectations are reachable. 

The Process

We don’t yet use a curriculum for handwriting, mostly because the ones that teach cursive are few and far between, but we do use a few tools, and we are working systematically through the process, beginning from the easiest point possible.

Our handwriting training began when he was a toddler, and I gave him plenty of opportunities to use crayons and pencils without instruction on my part. Just getting used to holding a pen or crayon is part of the process, and sometimes you have to make sure it happens.

When we started doing official “preschool” work at the age of 3, we stuck to lines and never even once tried letters. I found tons of printable worksheets online that contained tracing lines (straight ones, squiggly ones, angular ones, all kinds of lines!) for pre-schoolers to practice their writing skills. At this point, I still didn’t worry too much about the proper position for holding the pencil, because frankly, holding the pencil properly was too difficult for him. If he did hold it properly, he couldn’t write very well anyway, so I never enforced a proper hand position at that age.

We also did letter-forming exercises without a pencil. There are a lot of ways you can do this:

  • Felt letters – trace them with the fingers
  • Sand or Salt box – fill a box with salt or sand and trace letters in the sand/salt with the fingers
  • Ketchup bag – fill a zippered plastic bag with ketchup and seal it well, making sure air is removed, then trace letters on the outside of the bag, pushing through the ketchup so the letter will show clear
  • Sandpaper letters – same idea as the felt letters, but with sandpaper.

In K4, our handwriting instruction has become more intentional, but it’s still moving very slowly. Here’s the process we’re following:

  1. Begin with elements of cursive: loops, swirls, circles, etc.
  2. Begin on a whiteboard, chalkboard, or paper without lines. Just practice making loops, swirls, and circles.
  3. Use large lined paper, with at least an inch of space for children to write the letters. At this point, begin giving them a frame of reference regarding size and proportion. Letters begin on the bottom line and either stretch up to the dotted line or all the way to the top line.
  4. Almost all handwriting at this point is done by tracing, with the opportunity for the child to practice their own samples once or twice after completing the tracing.
  5. Keep practicing the elements, and introduce some of them as letters: a tall skinny loop is “l”, a circle is “o”.
  6. Keep tracing! Introduce all the letters.
  7. Keep tracing, but increase the opportunities for the child to draw their own samples.
  8. Reduce the line size as the child gains confidence.
  9. Practice, practice, practice some more.

Since I’m not  using a curriculum, I just write the letters myself and have my Certain Little Someone trace over them with his pencil. Sometimes I will start the letter (or part of a letter, like a loop) and have him finish it by himself. At every lesson, I give him an opportunity to write his own letters, but he gets frustrated easily by his inability, so I don’t push it. He will learn to write soon enough!

Resources

When it comes right down to it, all you need to teach handwriting is a pencil and a piece of paper. But these other supplies (and even curriculums) will come in handy:

 

Other posts in this series:
Other posts in this series:

Phonics-Phonics, Part 2-Reading-Reading, Part 2-Handwriting-Math-Days of the Week-Bible-“Other”

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How to Use Stevia Plus A List of Stevia Recipes

Welcome back to the Get Healthy & Fit series here at Authentic Simplicity! Joining me are 18 other bloggers, all desirous of improving their health and raising their level of fitness. We each have a different goal in mind and a different plan to reach that goal; and you can follow each blogger’s progress here. Follow along on Twitter and Pinterest as well!

I discussed my personal goals at length the first week, but to sum up, this is what I’m hoping to do in the course of these 12 weeks:

  • Kick my sugar habit
  • Lose approximately 10 lbs. and a few inches
  • Fit in my clothes
  • Develop sustainable habits like eating more proteins and fewer carbs

Types of Stevia, and Which Ones to Use

I’ve mentioned before that I’m using stevia more and more as a sweetener, and I’ve almost completely eliminated sugar (cane sugar) from my diet. I don’t eat sugar at all at home, and I try to keep my consumption of it minimal when I’m eating elsewhere. Personally, I think it’s the best thing anyone can do for their health!

Stevia is a great replacement for sugar because it doesn’t raise the glycemic levels, which is good news for people like me who are purposely reducing carbs and sugar for that very reason. Of course, food manufacturers see the money available here, and are doing everything they can to profit from this trend, which inevitably results in a watered down, less-than-healthful product.

Consequently, you’ll see all kinds of stevia sweeteners popping up in stores everywhere, but not all of them are created equal. Real Food Forager and Kitchen Stewardship both have done a lot of research about stevia and have written great posts about the different kinds and which ones you should use. Since my information on stevia largely comes from them, I will direct you to their work instead of attempting to reinvent the wheel.

Suffice it to say, your best bet with commercially available stevia is the liquid form, preferably glycerin-based rather than alcohol-based. Powdered stevia (with the notable exception of the SweetLeaf brand) is often highly processed with added chemicals and sugars, which, in my opinion, makes it a less desirable option. I do still occasionally use it, but mostly because I received a whole package of different types of stevia in a giveaway, and I hate to waste them! (You know how I feel about food waste!)

In an ideal situation, you could grow your own stevia and make your own stevia liquid from that. I was actually attempting to do exactly that this year, but something happened to my plant and the whole thing turned black. I am thinking it was a little cold snap we had, but since none of my other plants were affected, I’m not really sure. I still plan to order some dried stevia online and make my own liquid, which is also an option if you’re not up to growing your own stevia.

Stevia Plant

How to Use Stevia

Since stevia is a LOT sweeter than sugar, you only have to use a few drops of it per serving. As you can imagine, this complicates the process of baking, where the ratio of dry to wet ingredients is important. I also find that stevia – even liquid stevia – can negatively impact the taste of the finished product unless you use the more highly processed powdered stevia products that act as a one-to-one sugar replacement. My personal opinion is that I don’t really like baked goods made with stevia alone, so when I do bake with it, I usually prefer to use part stevia and part other sweetener (such as honey or palm sugar).

I use my stevia all the time in beverages and raw foods, though. You have to play with it a bit to find your personal level of desired sweetness, but I find that 5 drops is the perfect amount in my cup of coffee.

Other easy uses for stevia that don’t require a recipe:

  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Smoothies
  • Tea
  • Lemonade
  • Dips (I love to mix peanut butter, plain yogurt, cocoa, and a little bit of stevia for a great apple dip!)
  • Whipped Cream

I also have used liquid stevia with good success in vinaigrettes and other dressings, as well as tomato sauce. I just add a few drops until I get the desired level of sweetness.

Stevia Recipes

If you’re not familiar with stevia, it’s best to start with recipes that have already been adjusted rather than attempting to substitute your favorites. Once you’ve experimented with it, you’ll get a better handle on how to work it into your regular recipe repertoire (hey, say that 3 times fast!).

To get you a head start, here are some great recipes (most of them I’ve tried myself, but some of them are on my to-try list) that use stevia:

This Week’s Update

Unfortunately, there was an upward trend on the scale this week, which I am blaming entirely on Aunt Flow (Dad-Blast that woman!). The measurements continue to creep downward every so slowly.

Here are my current stats that I will update every Monday:

Weight: 135 (up almost a pound)

Waist (inches): 30-31

Butt: 40

Find out how the other ladies are doing with their weight loss efforts and other goals by clicking on the image below.

Sharing at Homestead Barn HopMom’s Monday MingleThe Bulletin BoardBetter Mom Mondays, Motivation MondayOpen Call TuesdayDelicious DishesTeach Me TuesdayTitus 2sDayHip Homeschool HopTiny Tip Tuesday, Titus 2 TuesdayTip me TuesdayTrivium TuesdayHealthy 2Day WednesdayAllergy-Free WednesdayWorks for Me WednesdayWomen Living Well WednesdayFrugal Days Sustainable WaysReal Food WednesdayWhole Foods WednesdayKeep it Real ThursdayTastetastic ThursdayHomemaking Link UPSimple Lives ThursdayThought-Provoking ThursdayLife in BloomFrugal Thursday Rewind, Fellowship Friday, Fight Back Friday, Feast in Fellowship Friday, Frugal Friday, I’m Lovin’ It, Weekend Bloggy Reading, Snacktime Saturday, Show & Share Saturday, Weekend Whatever

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