Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Review: The Painted Table

Every now and then, a book comes along that I can't put down.  And not only can't I stop reading, the story and the characters stick with me after I've finished the book.  The Painted Table by Suzanne Field is one of those books.

The plot is intriguing.  Over the course of her life, Saffee watches her mother descend into mental illness, and she watches as her father tries to protect her mother from the consequences of her mental illness.  Part of the way her mother tries to cope with her descent into madness is by painting, repainting, and painting again a table from her childhood.  After Saffee marries, she inherits the table.  She doesn't want the table; she fears the table and what it represents of her mother's illness.  But her husband encourages her to restore the table, and through this restoration project, Saffee's heart is healed.

This is truly a beautifully written story.  I felt as though I were standing next to Saffee throughout her life, experiencing firsthand the ups and downs as she experienced them.  The pain and embarrassment and awkwardness Saffee felt drew me in, and I found myself pulling for her family, including her mentally ill mother.  Honestly, I was afraid that the book might be depressing.  It doesn't have a perfect Hollywood ending; instead there is true to life joy that has sprung out of the sorrow.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Working and Homeschooling

The only thing constant is change, right?

We're in the midst of a big change here.

I wasn't looking for a job, but I've ended up with a part time job.  And I feel like it's right where God wants me to be.  Craig is on board, and the boys are on board.  I'm excited.  

Thankfully the job is close to home, so I won't lose commute time.  And they're willing to work with me to figure out the best hours.  And it uses my giftings, and it's at a place I'm passionate about.

Now, to begin the arduous task of figuring out how to balance homeschooling with working 16-20 hours a week.  This is definitely a step of faith; I'm not sure how it's all going to work, but I feel strangely at peace about it (not normal for me when there are unknowns).  It's going to be challenging, but it's a challenge I'm looking forward to.

My first order of business is to solve how to keep track of the work the boys complete while I'm working.  We've been using weekly checklists, but I think I need to move to a daily checklist for each boy.  With the weekly checklist, they're tempted to move along in subjects they enjoy, while losing ground in the subjects that aren't their favorites.  I'm considering having them paperclip their completed work to the assignment sheets once it's all done, and when it's handed over to me, I'll give them their next sheet.  I don't know; I'm still working it out in my head.  We're wrapping up this week, and then we'll be on Christmas break so I hope to implement a new system when we begin in January.  

Monday, December 09, 2013

Christmas Countdown

A handful of years ago, I started this Christmas countdown tradition.  I considered skipping it this year, since the boys can all read a calendar now.  But on December 1st, the pestering begging requesting began.

To hang it from the mantle, I staple a piece of twine to the top.  To make the countdown clips, I glued numbers to tagboard gift tags I bought at Target, and then used hot glue to attach them to clothespins.

Each little stocking holds 5 pieces of candy (the real reason the boys are so insistent this goes up, I think).  I've used different things over the years to hold the candy--paper sacks, cellophane bags with tissue paper--but this year I found these little stockings at Walmart for a reasonable price.

It's nice that the boys look forward to simple traditions!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Packing Lists

Both Micah and Nicholas came home from Sunday School with a list of ten items they would take on a long trip.  It's interesting to see how the young male mind works.

Micah's List:
  1. Clothes/Food & Drink
  2. Computer
  3. Crapple (Craig's Chromebook)
  4. Stuffed Animal/Horse
  5. Punching Bag
  6. Bow and Arrow/Armor
  7. Duck Tape
  8. Sword
  9. Pillow
  10. Blanket/Tent
  1. Clothes
  2. Crapple book (Craig's Chromebook)
  3. Tent
  4. Food
  5. Punching Bag
  6. Bible
  7. Wallet
  8. Pillow
  9. Blanket
  10. Car
They both plan on stealing Craig's Chromebook.  It also looks like they both plan on spending time getting out pent-up aggression with the inclusion of a punching bag.  I'm impressed they both remembered to pack clothes, and from the look of Micah's weapons cache, he expects some trouble along the way and Nicholas remembered he'd need money.

They make me smile!