Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Testing

This has been a week of testing. Testing of my patience, testing of my stamina, testing of my children's abilities.


It's standardized testing week for our homeschool group. For some reason, I agreed to be the testing coordinator. Praise the Lord for a wonderful homeschool group full of sweet Christian ladies, who are always willing to step up and help out - fourteen ladies who have stepped up and volunteered to give tests, to act as monitors in testing rooms, and keep the nursery. Fifteen, actually, since one mom answered my call for help today to fill in for someone who couldn't make it. I am so blessed by all of the helpers because there is NO way this could be pulled off by just me.

Testing my patience - there is a LOT that has to be done to make sure testing goes well. There's a lot of pressure on me to make sure that things get done, and it's stressful. Usually, this is when I lose it. I get snappy with the people who live in my house. I'm not a lot of fun to be around when I'm like that. This year, I'm trying to be different. I'm leaning a lot on the Lord because He is my strength and He can provide me patience to get through the tough times. Like I mentioned above, He's provided me with a wonderful group of ladies who support me and are always willing to help out.

Testing my stamina - Even though I'm used to teaching my own small people every day, testing is a different beast. From 8:30 to noon each day, we meet at a local church. I don't work nearly as hard as I do teaching my children, but I'm worn down by the time noon rolls around. I'm mentally drained, and I'm not even the one having to think - that's the kids' job this week.

Testing my children's abilities - I don't HAVE to have my children do standardized testing. It's not required under the accountability group I'm with. I know their strengths and weaknesses and could probably tell you today what their results will be without even knowing what they've marked on their answer sheets. However, I think it's important for them to do standardized testing. It helps to hold me accountable; I can see where there are gaps in their learning and make those a priority for the next year. Although the plan is for us to homeschool through high school, only God knows the future. There is no guarantee that my plans are His plans, so I think it's important that they know how to take a test. Not only that, but we plan for them to go to college. I don't want the SAT to be the first exposure they have to taking a standardized test.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Weekend to Remember

Robb and I just spent a wonderful weekend together. We went to a Family Life Weekend to Remember marriage conference. Oh, my goodness, it was such a great way to spend a weekend!! 

I learned so much about how to be a better wife. One of my favorite sessions was entitled "We Fight Too" where they shared very practical tips for how to handle the conflicts that arise. It was nice to be reminded that EVERY marriage has conflicts and that ours isn't the only one, but that with God's help, we can learn to resolve those conflicts without it turning into a major battle. Also, because Robb decided we should sit on the front row, we were given the book Fight Fair: Winning at Conflict Without Losing at Love.
Image from Amazon.com
I highly recommend attending one of these conferences! (No, I'm not getting paid to say this; I just really had a great weekend and learned a lot.) If you are:
  • engaged to be married
  • having a difficult time in your marriage
  • remarried
  • or simply in a good marriage that you want to make better
then this conference is for you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - State Cup

The Boy's team played in the State Cup this past weekend. They went 1-1-1 for the weekend. Since he received a concussion a few weeks ago, he has to wear the headgear when he plays. He's not real fond of it, but he wears it without complaint. Most people just think it's a headband.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Servant's Heart

One thing I want to instill in my children is to have a servant's heart. I want them to understand that life is not all about them and that it is important to spend time serving others. The company where Robb works does many volunteer projects around the community every year. For the second year in a row, we've joined them to volunteer at Special Olympics.

Last year, we got to lead a school group in the opening ceremony, and we helped with preparing drinks. This year, we got to be more involved with the individual athletes. Because my children are young themselves, they had us helping in the young athletes' stations. The Boy, of course, helped at the soccer station, where the athletes kicked the ball at a small goal. The twins each helped with other stations. It was so exciting to hear the three older ones be so encouraging to the athletes.


Little Red and Sassy Pants aren't quite old enough to help the athletes, but they were old enough to shag balls. Two of the stations had the athletes either throwing or hitting balls, and Little Red and Sassy Pants had a great time going to get the balls.

While we were waiting for the athletes to come to their stations, my small people got to play on some of the stations themselves and to take pictures with the characters that came to hang out that day.







Little Red always has such a playful attitude, so I wasn't really surprised when I turned around at one point and saw her in the tunnel, dancing around. She said she wanted to look like those tall, tube-like dancing things you see at some businesses.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Welcome To Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

Ultimate Blog Party 2012


I am so excited that you are here! Let me introduce myself:

I'm TaMara. I'm wife to a wonderful man for almost 16 years and mom to 5 blessings, who I lovingly refer to as "the small people." (I'll introduce them in a moment). My days are crazy - filled with homeschooling the small people and acting as taxi driver as I carry them to their extra-curricular activities. What I share here at Tales of a Pee Dee Mama is life as we know it. Life at my house is usually quite entertaining, providing for a variety of interesting stories to share. Since the majority of my day is spent homeschooling, you might want to check out why I homeschool. You can find some of my favorite recipes here.

Here is a glimpse at the small people who make my life so fun and interesting:

First, my oldest and only boy. At almost 12, we've hit the age where I rarely get a decent smile out of him for pictures. Fluent in the language of sarcasm and maker of random noises, he is obsessed with all things soccer and is also active in our church and boy scouts. Here's a post from last week about what a great young man he is. He's not afraid to be an individual. Being a red-headed boy makes him stand out enough, but on the soccer field he often wears 2 different bright-colored cleats.
He's the one in blue.
Next in order are the twins, who are almost 9. They couldn't be more different!
Soccer Girl is older by 2 minutes, but those are 2 very important minutes. She also loves soccer, almost as much as her brother. When she's not playing soccer, she's my little helper and a second mom to the littlest girl.

Ballerina is the other half of the dynamic duo. She's our ballerina, often seen dancing through the house. She also LOVES books. It's a good thing we have a great local library because we couldn't afford to keep her book supply stocked if we had to buy them.

My only red-headed girl, Little Red, is 7. Spunky and fun-loving, she has her own sense of style. She also dances, but I think her first love is basketball. She played for the first time this winter and had a blast. Of course, I think it helped that she was a head taller than almost all of her teammates.

And then there's the littlest. At only 4 years old, Sassy Pants has certainly made her place in our family. She's a spitfire and definitely keeps me on my toes. In fact, just last week she gave herself a haircut. She also has all of the older kids wrapped around her finger.



So, welcome! Can't wait to get to know you better. Feel free to stay and look around. You can also find me on Facebook at Tales of a Pee Dee Mama.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The 5 Love Languages of Children - review and giveaway

John tells us in 1 John 3:18, "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." It's easy to tell our children that we love them, but sometimes it's hard to come up with ways to love in deed. A wonderful resource for parents, grandparents, or anyone else who has a significant child in their life is The 5 Love Languages of Children, written by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.

About the book:
To be their best, children need to feel loved. But if you and your child speak different love languages, your affection might get lost in translation, affecting the child’s attitude, behavior, and development. Dr. Gary Chapman’s groundbreaking Five Love Languages series has helped millions of couples communicate love more clearly, and Dr. Ross Campbell M.D. has applied the innovative system to children as well. The 5 Love Languages of Children gives practical suggestions for learning how your children interpret love and creating a sense of security in which they can thrive.

 If you aren't familiar with the 5 Love Languages, they are:
  • Quality Time - spending special time with people
  • Words of Affirmation - kind words and praise
  • Gifts - giving and receiving gifts no matter the size
  • Physical Touch - hugs, snuggles or even friendly wrestling
  • Acts of Service - doing nice and helpful things 
 This book not only goes into great detail as to the different Love Languages, but it also gives very specific ways to show children love in each language. The authors repeatedly remind the reader that children need to be loved in ALL of the Love Languages in order to have a full love tank, but they respond best to their primary Love Language. Other chapters in the book discuss discipline and Love Languages, learning and Love Languages, anger and love, how to speak Love Languages in single-parent families, and how to speak Love Languages in marriage. At the end of the book is The Love Language Mystery Game to help you determine your child's Love Language.

I really enjoyed this book. I especially appreciated the lists of ways to show love in each of the Love Languages. My Love Language is Words of Affirmation, but none of the others in my family share that as their primary Love Language. Having specific suggestions of how to show them love in the language they best understand is really helpful.

Giveaway
One lucky reader will get their own copy of The 5 Love Languages of Children. Please leave a separate comment for each entry and your email address in one of the comments so I can get in touch with you if you win.

Here's how to enter (There are 10 different ways):
1. Leave a comment telling me your child's Love Language. (Or that special child in your life - grandchild, niece, nephew, neighbor, etc.)
2. Go to the Love Language site and take the quiz to determine your love language. Leave me a comment telling me what your love language is.
3. Follow Tales of a Pee Dee Mama with Google Friend Connect on the right side of the page.
4. Like Gary Chapman on Facebook. 
5. Like Tales of a Pee Dee Mama on Facebook. 
6. Follow Gary Chapman on Twitter.
7. Follow Pee Dee Mama on Twitter. 
8. Share this giveaway on Facebook.
9. Tweet this giveaway on Twitter. Leave a comment with a link to the tweet.
10. Blog about this giveaway. Leave a comment with a link to the blog post.

This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, April 24th. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, April 25th.


 “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baskets of Fun

We don't "do" the Easter Bunny at our house. We also don't "do" Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. I've been told that we've stolen the fun from our children for holidays by not incorporating these fictional characters into the special day. I argue that my children still enjoy their holidays, and that it allows us to keep their focus on the real reason for celebrating Easter and Christmas. The Boy has even thanked me several times for choosing not to lie to him and his sisters about Santa Claus.

In spite of not having the Easter Bunny "visit" our house, we still have Easter baskets on Easter morning. We still dye eggs and have an egg hunt. I try to find at least one non-candy item to put in their baskets. This year, The Boy got a small Ninjago lego set, Soccer Girl and Ballerina got bracelet making kits, Little Red got a marker by number, and Sassy Pants got 2 puzzles and a pair of colorful socks.





We also dyed Easter eggs on Saturday. Because I can't stand chaos, only 2 small people could dye eggs at a time. Otherwise we would have ended up with a crazy mama. The Boy and Sassy Pants went together since The Boy's able to do his on his own and I could focus all of my energy on Sassy.









Yesterday we had an egg hunt after church. The older kids said I didn't hide the eggs hard enough. I reminded them that I have to make them relatively easy to let Sassy Pants have a chance. Maybe next year I can make it a little tougher for them.







All in all, we had a very nice Easter. (Even without the bunny).
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