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Mother’s Journal – July 2017

My lack of posting here on Harmony Art Mom should have clued you in to the fact that life sort of ran away with me. The days were filled to the brim with good things, both here at home and on the East Coast as I visited with my kids. I know many of you subscribe to my Handbook of Nature Study blog and follow me on Instagram, so you saw some of the highlights as they unfolded.

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Selfie with 3 of my 4 children- July 2017

But, here in this entry, I am going to keep my focus and talk about my mama thoughts. For those that keep track, I now have two children in their early 30’s and two in their early 20’s. Hardly seems possible!  I’m still anxious for them as they navigate the world on their own. The two younger boys will be coming to stay with my husband and me for a short time starting in late August. They have not led conventional ‘after high school graduation’ lives. There has been no real college. Much of what they’ve done is volunteer work. But, in my estimation, they have both grown in skills and qualities that will make them amazing men.

I hate to talk too much about them and their specific paths on the internet for their privacy’s sake. But I will relate an experience that made me know this has been the right direction for these two particular boys.

Mr. A is my child that was always busy building things, creating things, and tinkering with tools. He is a visual spatial learner who spent lots of time figuring out how things work. Everyone loves Mr. A because he’s an easy going and friendly sort of person. College would have squashed Mr. A, but it has worried me that he couldn’t find the kind of job he would be happy in unless he did some kind of college, perhaps a technical trade school. Mamas worry about things like that.

I was also worried when he decided to move so far away from home that I couldn’t “finish” training him. He was only 19 when he moved to New York. He seemed too young to be off on his own.

I needn’t have worried.

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He started with one job and switched several times, landing in his “dream” position. Remember, this is the RC helicopter, airplane pilot, video making, LEGO maniac child. What do you get when you mix all that together? You get a drone camera operator! This was a sweet spot for him and he balanced that with being the head of a crew of women old enough to be his much older sisters.  As this position unfolded, I could see the drone operator part easily enough but the leading of four women sort of made me raise my eyebrows. Mr. A supervising four women? We talked several times on the phone about how to handle the emotional side of leading women…something he had little experience with.

Well, a few weeks ago when I visited him at work, I was greeted by these 4 young women with big hugs. They had actually asked if I could come in and meet them because they wanted to thank me for raising such a great son. They all had nothing but good things to say about how he treated them, how they felt he listened, and how he created a team atmosphere that got things done. One of them told me how they appreciated Mr. A’s diverse skills and willingness to learn.

This humbled me and made my heart soar.

It’s all going to be okay.

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Love this girl!

I don’t care what my children do for work if it allows them to grow in skills and character. I walked out of there with my head and shoulders held high. I had learned a valuable lesson. Create in your children the eagerness to learn and grow, to be humble when they need to learn something, and to allow them to take a chance on a job that might not be exactly what you want in the beginning and see where it takes them.

For homeschooling moms that are in the trenches of homeschooling young boys, hang in there and remember that working on good character qualities will be the foundation of any future success your child will achieve.

I continue to be humbled as a “homeschool” mama.

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Harmony Art Mom – Creative Month December

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We are enjoying some winter weather and that always makes me feel as if it is time to stay inside and do some creative work. This year is especially interesting since I have started decluttering my arts and crafts items, giving most to homeschooling friends who will appreciate them. This has brought several unfinished craft projects to light and it energized me to get going again.

One of those projects was crocheting a few dishcloths for myself. I’m happy to report that I have successfully finished two of them and I am about half way done with the third. This will use up most of my Sugar N Cream yarn…which is a good thing. I have vowed not to purchase any more yarn until I complete this project. I passed along to a young friend a whole stash of yarn and she was thrilled!

crochet dishclothThose dishcloths came in the nick of time to adorn my remodeled kitchen. This was a vision of mine that my husband and son made into a reality.

house-improvements-november-2016-master-bath-and-kitchen-5We had new granite countertops cut and installed but my men did everything else including the new lighting, paint, and appliance installation. Along with the kitchen remodel, came the long awaited gift of a Kitchenaid mixer. This has had me mixing up a variety of new things and lots of our favorite cookies. It is a gift that will truly keep on giving. (He used Kohl’s cash and a deep discount and free shipping!)

pumpkin-pecan-cobbler-1One new dessert that I made (not using the mixer) was this Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler. It is like a chocolate lava cake but with pumpkin and spices. Amazing! This recipe is a keeper!

Shutterfly dishclothShutterfly is my favorite photo printing website and I have over the years created many gifts using their products. This month I took a chunk of time to create a photo book with the photos from our family portrait session. I think I was able to create an amazing keepsake and ordered one for each of the kids (using a 50% code and free shipping!). I also created a 2017 calendar, photo gift cards for family, and had printed some larger prints to give in frames as gifts to our parents.


My creative month always includes listening to music of all sorts. This one has been my theme song this month: It’s Going to be Okay (Piano Guys). Only listen if you want to smile and find yourself clapping and singing along…it’s that good.

My young friend showed me her bluetooth wireless speaker (808 CANZ) and I was hooked. I marched right down and got myself one to use with my ipad and iphone. It is an amazing device and I can listen to music or podcasts now while I wash dishes or clean house or do just about anything because this little speaker is powerful and portable. I leave my ipad on the kitchen counter and I can keep the speaker with me as I move from room to room. It’s the little things. The link above is an affiliate link to Amazon. I purchased my speaker with my own money and love it!

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Of course, I have been taking lots and lots of photos of the amazing colorful world around me. I love this way of capturing the moments that touch my heart. This tree was just so beautiful on this particular morning and now I can savor the image as long as I want.

So what have you been doing this month to be creative?

Have you participated in Sketch Tuesday?

Have you listened to Music Monday?

Don’t forget to do something to feed your creative soul!

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You may wish to read this entry from my archives:

Creative Atmosphere in Your Home

 

Mother’s Journal – November

homeschool-mothers-journal-november-2016-harmonyartmomFirst some serious thoughts about homeschooling, graduation, and beyond.

Mr. B (my 21 year old son) and I have enjoyed long conversations about homeschooling and life. He never set foot in a public school but enjoyed a wide variety of social situations including Suzuki violin group lessons, dance classes, chess club, and lots and lots of time with our Christian congregation.

After graduation he opted to postpone official college courses and has spent his time volunteering, traveling, and working part-time at a variety of jobs.

As a homeschooling mom, I had lots of worries and concerns about how well I was doing as far as providing a good balanced and practical education for my children. So much of what I worried about has not come to fruition.  All four of my children have proved to be more than capable of “catching up” where they need to, in most cases it hasn’t been by more formal schooling but by educating themselves through a search on the internet or from finding a mentor. Plus, they all have pursued multiple interests including learning additional languages and acquiring skills through volunteer work.

Here are some things that have come from our conversations about homeschooling that I think you may find interesting.

Thoughts from Mr. B About Homeschooling (High School)

  • He felt lots of reading of literature by different authors and viewpoints was valuable.
  • Experiencing all kinds of art by viewing and creating art was a good thing.
  • Although he hated that I made him write so much, he now sees how good it was for him. Writing and communicating thoughts are skills he uses now.
  • He felt I should have challenged him more…to think more.
  • He thinks that strategy games should be a part of a high school experience, playing games with people and not video games. He sees video games as quick fixes and he is glad I didn’t allow too much of that during his high school years.

Does that ring true in your home? Do your grown homeschooled children talk about how they view their high school years?

Now for some random things that I want to share with you.

Charlies Soap

Charlie’s Laundry SoapThis has been the perfect laundry soap for our family. It is fragrance free and so gentle for members who have sensitive skin. I find that using just a small amount will clean even the dirtiest of clothing (even my firefighter husband’s work clothes come clean). I highly recommend it and wish someone had told me about it sooner. (I purchase mine on Amazon.)

Acorn slippers

Acorn slippers – This are hands down the best slippers I have ever owned. They are not only comfortable but they keep my feet warm even on super chilly mornings. I love the feel of the inside and the soles are tough enough so  I can wear them out to feed my animals. I am thinking about buying my husband a pair! (I bought mine from Amazon.)

The Crown – I just finished watching the first episode of this Netflix series and am anxious to watch the next one. Nothing like a really well done historical drama.

We are in the middle of a big kitchen remodel and that sort of project always causes me stress. I try to get out and breathe the air if it gets too noisy or dusty. We are progressing quickly and I hope to be done next week. Then, the week after that, we are tackling a shower renovation. Our work schedule was rolled forward when we learned our son is leaving for South America again soon…he is our big helper and my husband relies on him for a strong right hand man.

Hopefully next month I will share photos of the successful finish to both projects.

Thank you to all of my loyal readers who have emailed me about my transition time from homeschooling mom to empty nester. It makes me very warm inside to know that I am not alone in my struggles to get my feet under me after such a big life change.

Happy November!

 

 

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