Don't presume...A (polite) Tirade to Impolite People

7:01 PM Edit This 2 Comments »
I am a Christian, home schooling, stay-at-home, biblically submissive wife and mother to six children, although we would welcome any more God choose to give us with happy hearts. There. I said it. What is it about that statement that upsets so many people?

As such, I have to contend with a lot of stereotypes and preconceived notions on a daily basis, and although I must be polite, I don’t have to let it passed un-noticed. This is for all those women like me who were raised, or chose as an adult, to be ladies, not divas.

Don’t presume that I’m fanatical because I home school my children. Although, definitions of fanatical differ wildly between individuals, I assure you I am most definitely NOT crazy. I treasure my children, I treasure their ability to be children and I refuse to allow them to have their innocence stolen by strangers who don’t care a whit about them or their education as long as they keep their funding. (And yes, I do know that there are teachers who DO care, but the system and the people running don’t!) I refuse to have my girls objectified and taught that their worth is in their bodies and not in their minds. I refuse to have my boys grow up into perpetual children because ‘boys will be boys!’. Boys will be boys, but my boys will grow into men!

Don’t presume that my children are brilliant and I’m superwoman because I home school our children. It’s not my fault that my children know who Dionysus, or Alexander, or Brutus was and your’s don’t. It’s not my fault that my children read Shakespeare and your’s don’t. It’s not my fault that my children can appreciate a masterpiece by Delacroix and your’s can’t. It’s not my fault that my children understand natural processes and the scientific method and your’s don’t. It’s not my fault that my kids are eager to learn and your’s aren’t. I teach my children these things… what do you teach yours?

Don’t presume that I’m weak and stupid because I submit to my husband. I can strip down an engine and rebuild it. I can build a house, including wiring and plumbing, from the ground up. I can break a wild horse. I can milk a cow, and a goat, for that matter. I can plant a field and drive a tractor. I can run heavy machinery. I can wield a chainsaw like nobodies’ business. My husband bought me a new ax and a hatchet for my birthday last year and I was thrilled. I have my own set of tools, and they are not pink. I can slaughter a chicken, and dress out a deer. I am an excellent marksmen, with a rifle, handgun, and bow. I am college educated and graduated top of my class. I am well-read, well-versed, and well-spoken. Does that sound weak and stupid to you? I submit to my husband, not only because God demands it, but because he's an amazing man and deserves it.

Don’t presume that we only eat gross or bland food because we eat kosher, or that we can‘t enjoy eating out. Especially if you’ve eaten in my house multiple times and keep coming back for more! We eat well. What’s more than that, we eat healthy. And our choice to abstain from pork, and follow other dietary laws, doesn’t make us kooks, it makes us, US. Oh, and do you children voluntarily choose healthy (kosher!) food over junk, and does your husband and his friends spend hours raving to people they meet about what you cooked for dinner last night? Do you have people beg you to cook your ‘specialty’ for them? No? Mine does and people do. Don’t dog my cooking because I don’t season everything with pig fat.

Don’t presume we’re horrible, strict, mean, or abusive parents because our children behave, have chores, and are held to high standards. It would be completely unacceptable if my husband went to work, did half the job, shoddily, was rude to his customers, and knocked off early because he didn’t feel like working- why should I treat my adults-in-progress as if they are not capable of completing a task without getting distracted or without conducting themselves like brats all the time? I understand each child at each age has limitations, and I expect them to fulfill their potential at that age and ability. Ever wonder why your kids like spending time at my house and actually behave for me when they are hellions for you? Maybe because I don’t let bad attitudes and bad habits slide by ‘because it’s just a phase’- I expect, am given, and GIVE respect! Hard work is rewarding, and completing a job an amazing feeling. Remember, what you learn as a child, you are as adult.

Don’t presume that I’m lazy because you stop by unannounced and my floor needs mopping, my kitchen is a mess, and my kids are dirty. We live here. Our home is not a stop during our daily business, or an inn to sleep in: We love, learn, play, explore, create, experiment, work, study, and embrace life here. Try having 8 people in your house all day long and see if it still looks like a model home. If it does: kudos to you! But most likely, you’ll be pulling your hair out and shouting at everyone to clean up the mess. We clean, and we work hard, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to limit our children by making them stop in the middle of being knighted by the queen for slaying a terrible dragon to have them pick up the blankets and toys they strewed out during their adventure… it can wait until they finish their game! It doesn’t bother me, and if you couldn’t pick up the phone before you left your house for a head’s up, you shouldn’t expect anything less.

Don’t presume that because we live at home that we don’t have lives, friends, appointments, and places to go or are at your very beck and call because we home school
. If my best friend has to schedule an afternoon out with me almost a month in advance, and always calls to make sure we‘re home and available, what makes you any better? We will always genuinely welcome guests and help out those who need it, but don’t assume that you can call on me to run your every errand or visit you everyday of the week. Education, for one example, is not a joke, and it doesn’t spontaneously, somehow magically, appear in children’s heads, even in home schooled children‘s heads. We are too busy to have to deal with your misconceptions, and have too much on our calendar to let you waste our time.

Don’t presume we are geeky because we home school or are home schooled. We most definitely aren’t. We aren’t afraid to be ourselves. We know how to express ourselves, converse with people, and we are not bound by societies notions of ‘cool’. And in case I’ve missed something that makes us very cool. We aren’t afraid of being ourselves, whether it’s spending an entire afternoon at an art museum or hanging out with bikers. My children are dancers, cheerleaders, and soon-to-be football and baseball players. We ‘fit in’ and ‘hang out’ with everyone from Mennonites to professional sports players to actors and singers to scientists to missionaries to regular folks off the street. We are not shrouded by cliques or controlled by peer pressure, but if that makes us geeky… so be it.

I could go on and on, but in the interest of time, yours and mine, I’ll leave it there. I hope I’ve not been too rude or straight forward, but if I have, maybe it will make you think before you begin to judge the next person you meet who is like me.


Oh, and I have to add: Yes, they’re all mine AND my husband’s. Yes, we know what causes it- why do you think we have so many? And Yes, we’re glad it us and not you too.

Peace Out.

It's a strange kind of morning...

2:54 AM Edit This 0 Comments »
It really is.

For one thing, I woke up before my alarm clock this morning (which I never do so I feel uber-productive sitting here at 4:56 am typing away).

For another, I discovered that every drop of my shampoo and conditioner had been used from the bathroom. (No, I'm not complaining! I promise! I just whipped out my DH's new stuff and used it! Who cares if I smell like Old Spice, huh?)

Then I realized I'd forgotten to take the clothes out of the dryer yesterday, so they were wet again from the condensation.

Then my last unbroken coffee mug was mysteriously cracked.

And my cappichino tastes funny (shows what I get for being adventurous first thing in the morning!)

Ah well... I just felt like sharing that. Here's hoping the rest of the day is much more normal!

A Cupcake to Describe Me?

11:55 AM Edit This 6 Comments »
Yummy- A Cupcake Challenge? OH ABSOLUTELY!

I'm all about the kitchen right now, and so when I found out Amy was hosting this Homemaker's Challenge- in the kitchen- cooking- and I get a yummy treat out of it- I am SO THERE!

I went through a personal debate about what exactly should I do? A traditional cupcake with my own personal flair? A super fancy show-off type cupcake? Or should I abandon the idea of an edible cupcake all around?

Well... you know me- I couldn't pass up the chance to drag out my favorite muffin tin- so here's what I came up with!

OK. It's not 100% original. I got the idea from Martha Stewart, the ultimate homemaker who ironically makes her living teaching others to be just like her. (We will leave out the whole 'her kids hate her and she's divorced' part. It's much better to just focus on what she does best!)

But this cupcake was truly me. At it's core, it's a very simple buttermilk cupcake- 1 bowl, and less than 5 minutes in the mixing. But when you take a closer look, there's something really awesome about it's simplicity. It's surrounded by so much flavor and so much color that you just can't help but appreciate the mix of the classic and the bold.

The frosting is really just plain cream cheese- in my opinion the very, very best cheese discovery EVER! I add it to everything I can. It's rich and creamy, just enough to really make it's presence known, but at the same time, melts in your mouth without too much sweetness or tartness. (Yeah... that's my delectable description of cream cheese- not of me! I'm sure it relates some how, though!)

Add in the chance to drag out the crystal tea cups and I think I've made a new favorite! It's SO GOOD!

And the purple goo at the bottom? Homemade blackberry jam. Need I say more?

Menu Planning in a Small Kitchen

8:34 AM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
Now, you may be wondering why I am starting with menu planning when there's so much more organizing that can and should be done in the kitchen. The reason is simple:

The main point of the kitchen is to feed your family!

You can't feed your family if you don't know what you're going to cook!

Ok, maybe you can. But I bet if you do, you end up eating processed foods a lot more than you'd like to admit! We did too, before menu planning became part of my week.

How do you get started menu planning?
It can seem like an overwhelming task- you have to come up all that food you're going to eat, make a grocery list for a week (or more) in advance, and how do you know what your family is going to want to eat on a particular day?

Don't get overwhelmed! The simplest way to start menu planning is to keep a notebook on your kitchen counter and write down a meal every time you eat it, and what all you used in cooking that meal. Then, after a couple of weeks, you have a nice little list of foods your family enjoys along with a shopping list, so you just repeat!

If you're more into instant gratification, you still need to start simple. Gather up your favorite recipes for breakfast, lunch, and supper and put them all together in a binder. You can decorate it if you want, but it's not necessary- just give it a home somewhere that's easily accessible for both cooking and planning (You may need to move that part of your home management into the kitchen unless you want a workout dashing back and forth to check how much vanilla extract is left when you're making out your grocery list!)

Now, get a piece of paper and divide it into 3 rows: Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper. Or you can print out my personal favorite (the one pictured below) from here. Flip through your recipe book and as a meal stands out, write it down and pick a day. (Be sure to check your calendar to see what you're doing that day so you'll know if you will have time to cook that particular meal!)

As you decide on meals, open the cabinets and see if you are running low on the ingredients, and add it to your shopping list.

Now, for the clincher: Take those recipes out of the binder as you find them. Move them all to the front. That way, when you are standing over the stove at 6am with sleep in your eyes, you're not hunting for that crepe recipe that doesn't need to sit over night that you planned on cooking that morning!

See? It's not complicated at all! Before long, you'll be able to plan as you go instead of devoting an entire block of time to it once or twice a week! And being ready to USE your kitchen is the first step to having it organized, regardless of size, for your family!

Making Your Home a Haven: Week 1

2:33 PM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »

Courtney at Women Living Well is hosting a Fall Challenge- Making Your Home a haven. I love reading her blog and I think she's awesome, so I'm so excited to be able to do her Fall Challenge!

I also love this statement she makes:

I believe we women can create a physical environment, as well as a spiritual environment, that can bring peace, harmony and a sense of calmness to our homes if we are willing to be intentional.

Each week, we have a different challenge, relating to making our homes more peaceful for ourselves and our families. Week 1's (which starts today) challenge is this:

October 4 - Go buy an extra large candle and light a candle everyday in your home.
I will be starting mine in the morning! But you can start yours at dinner time. Do what makes sense for your family. I will be placing mine in the kitchen - the main hub of my home. Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home.

Oh, this is so easy for me! I feel like I'm cheating because I already have the required supplies! AND, I already light it as soon as I sit down to check my email the first time in the morning. :)

(Excuse the pile of paper and Dr. Pepper- I'm taking a break from lesson planning to blog!)

The brown blob in the middle (ok, so it's not an oversized candle!) is my cinnamon roll scented candle. I love it and since it only comes out in the fall, I have a supply! LOL.

So each time I sit down here for this or that (which is about 100 times a day) I will be saying a little prayer for peace in my home.

A wise woman builds her home,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
Proverbs 14:1

Will you join me in this challenge?
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