GARDENING: I can't wait to go all out this year growing our own organic food. I'm so excited! It's going to be a family affair. I want to teach the children how to plan out a garden. The boys are going to help Dad build one more raised bed for us. They're all going to participate in planting, caring for, and harvesting our family garden. My goal: that one day, when they each have their own families, they know how to grow their own food. We will spend time on Fridays working on this project as part of our learning. I can't wait! I've got my copy of Backyard Homestead on my side table ready to get my creative juices flowing.
FITNESS: As motivated as I am to grow our own food this year, I'm just as motivated to get fit! I started working out three days a week with a friend who loves working out (unlike me). We just work out in our homes with dumbbells doing a boot camp-type workout. I don't enjoy exercising that much, but I love eating well. I've been enjoying a few websites that share ideas on eating real food (which I call "God-made food"), such as 100 Days of Real Food and Vintage Remedies' 8 Weeks to Real Food. Much of my current eating habits were sparked by watching Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives on Netflix. I also have it on my agenda to watch another documentary that some friends suggested entitled The Beautiful Truth. Although I am not a vegetarian, I do strongly believe that eating a diet that consists more of organic fruits and vegetables than anything else has the greatest degree of health benefits. I'm loving my weekly delivery of organic produce from It's Organic.
While the transition in thinking is challenging, I'm trying to make fruits and vegetables the center of my meal planning, instead of meat. I also strongly believe that, if we just ate what God put on the earth for us to eat in its most natural form, and also used the plants He made in their most natural form to cure our ailments, we'd all be in much better health. Both my husband and I are on the fast track towards being healthier overall, getting rid of as much toxins as possible, and trimming down.
GOOD READS: I'm going through my life-transforming book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, a second time right now, ensuring that the message God has for me truly sinks in. I also subscribe to the author's blog, A Holy Experience, and am THOROUGHLY enjoying getting a daily dose of the same message and more. I have been enlightened to so many new ideas as well as resources through her blog.
In addition, I had ordered Created to Need a Help Meet by Michael Pearl before Christmas, and Amazon had it on back-order. I ordered it because Created to Be a Help Meet by Debi Pearl so RADICALLY changed my life about five years ago, I couldn't wait to see what her husband's version of the book had to say. What a delight when the back-ordered copy arrived at my doorstep this week - the week of Valentine's - so I could pop it right into the gift bag I had already started for my husband! We just returned from Lake Tahoe with some friends, so we took the book on our trip and read through it together. It sparked some great conversations, and really reminded me how my husband's mind works. Couldn't be better timing as we prepare to sit on a panel this Sunday evening for our church's Marriage Tune-Up event.
FINANCES: OK, so we're sometimes a little slow with this stuff, but this week, our friends whom we traveled with turned us on to Mint, which is a free online service to manage ALL of your finances. Once they told us all that it does, we were excited. We've always used Quicken, but because I use it on my laptop, my husband rarely gets to see it and keep track of it. So this service provides just what we were looking for, and more. I've spent the last two days getting our account set up and exploring the site, and it provides lots of personalized financial advice and other things - we're still learning all that it does. I think it will save us a lot of time not having to enter all our transactions, as well as keep us both aware of where we stand financially on a daily basis.
CHILDREN'S EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: Probably the most motivating factor in us using a charter school (Visions in Education) for homeschooling is the funding available for each of our children for extracurricular activities. Many of the activities they are involved in, we would not be able to afford to keep them in on our own. The only activities they won't cover are organized sports. We don't put our children in activities just for the sake of keeping them busy. We only choose activities that help them develop a skill or talent they seem to have naturally or have an interest in. A few of the kids are starting new activities right now, which is always fun!
Hannah (12 yo): Hannah's our creative one, and she is quite musical. She's learning more and more each day about piano, vocals, and most recently, guitar. She comes to our worship team rehearsals for our church to observe and learn as much as she can. Sometimes, we let her jump in there and give it a shot. Her dream is to be a worship leader someday. In addition, she goes to art classes twice a month, which she just LOVES.
Joshua (8 yo): Josh is opposite of Hannah. He doesn't care much for music (although I still teach him the basics of music in our homeschool just because I think it's good to know, so he's currently learning his scales and the formula to create them). Josh is our athlete. He's just starting his second season playing baseball in a Cal Ripken league. His dad (who played some college baseball) has been practicing with him every night, getting him ready for the season.
Luke (6 yo): Luke follows Hannah in creativity. I'm teaching him piano and music theory as well. Ultimately, though, we are looking for a good drum teacher for Luke, as we see a natural gift for rhythm. Luke also does art class twice monthly with the same teacher Hannah has. It's like his FAVORITE class! We recently signed Luke up for taekwondo. Luke, of all our children, has a personality that is more spontaneous and less self-controlled. He tries hard, but something in him just likes to do crazy, off-the-wall things. Daddy really likes the principles taekwondo will teach, such as respect and self-control. We're going to give it a try for six months. If Luke doesn't enjoy it, he doesn't have to continue after that.
Noah (4 yo): Noah follows suit with Josh in athleticism. Even at his young age, we see tremendous coordination. He will be playing his first year of t-ball this year. He really doesn't know what to expect yet, so I can't say he's excited. He's also learning scales on the piano, not because I was particularly trying to teach him yet, but he just had a desire, so he sat down and started plucking them out.
Nathan (3 yo): Nathan is still glued to my hip. He's not much for classes or teams of any kind. He's the baby of the family. We're also still watching him to see what gifts God has put in him, so we can steer him in the right direction. We already know that he is very rhythmic and has an intense love of music, and already plays a steady drum beat, but he also loves building things. He can sit for an hour putting together train tracks that go all over the playroom floor. He likes Legos and building blocks. He even uses Jengas to build elaborate towers and structures. We won't enroll him in anything this year. We'll know when the time is right.
So that's the latest in the Seiler household. WHAT'S GOING ON IN YOUR HOME?