Our Beautiful New Reality

September 4th, 2015

I’ve been blogging in my mind for weeks now.  About a month and a half ago I began to feel myself coming out of the fog.  It was a familiar place in which I lived for about four months after the girls came home.  You see, we packed up and sold our house of almost ten years less than a month before our girls came home.  We downsized from our 2,000 square foot brick ranch to a mobile home.  We have some dear friends who have a large farm and are letting us live in a double wide on their property rent-free while we get out of debt.  Our adoption put enormous financial stress on us over the past three years and we have a lot of debt to pay off.  Most of it was accumulated before we began our adoption, but needless to say, nothing got paid off over the last three years and then we acquired more during our trip to bring the girls home.  It was all worth it and now we’re excited to be walking in our beautiful new reality.  We have seven children in a three bedroom mobile home out in the country and we’re absolutely loving it. All of our neighbors are our best friends.  The kids have acres and acres of woods to explore and trails to hike.  We can see every star in the sky on clear nights and we’re purposefully living a peace-filled simplified life.  Downsizing our home while upsizing our family has forced us to purge and get super organized.  Every room in the house presents an organizational challenge and its been fun figuring out ways to utilize every nook and cranny.  Josh put my clothesline up and Annie went back into her cloth diapers a few months ago.  I suppose that was the first sign that I was coming out of the fog.  I began to make bread again and put meals in the freezer.  I started hanging clothes out to dry just because I enjoy it.  The kids and I make regular trips to places like Target and Costco without any drama, if you don’t count the stares and sometimes inappropriate remarks and questions.  I find myself forgetting that I have seven children and that seven children is far from the norm. Annie is a year old and began walking at 11 months; our earliest walker by far.  She is still our sweet little sunshine.  I can’t even count how many times a day the big kids tell her how cute she is and how much they love her. I decided to try a new schedule for this school year.  Six weeks on, one week off, repeat.  The first six weeks leads us up to our beach trip next week.  We’ve had an excellent first six weeks.  Here’s a glimpse into our day: The kids wake up by 8am, make their beds, get dressed, and come to the table for breakfast.  We start school around 9am with Morning Time.  Morning Time consists of Bible reading (we’re currently doing a “read through the Bible in a year” plan), Shakespeare, poetry, some memory work, and whatever read aloud chapter book we’re in at the moment.  We read Little House on the Prairie in August and all of the kids wanted to keep going with the series so now we’re half way through Farmer Boy.  It’s such a joy to hear the girls ask for one more chapter.  Their understanding of English after just five months home is astonishing to say the least.  They’re doing exceptionally well.  In August they learned the days of the week, months of the year, counting to 20, and are now working on recognizing the letters of the alphabet and numbers 1-20.  Eliana is working hard on learning to read.  She is basically at a kindergarten level and the twins (5 1/2) are at a preschool level with basic coloring skills but no ability to trace letters on a page or hold a pencil well.  It’s so very different teaching children who are school age but so far from being ready for age-appropriate tasks.  It’s also a great relief to know that classical education will work all of that out in time and we don’t have to rush to “catch up” to anyone.  I’m so thankful I can stay home and educate our children.  It’s hard to believe I have two middle schoolers this year.  Joshua is in 7th grade and is doing Omnibus online through Veritas Press.  Jesse is in 6th grade and is completing his last year of Classical Conversations’ Foundations program (at home).  He is basically reviewing all three cycles this year and will join Joshua in Omnibus next year.  Owen is in 3rd grade and continuing on in Classical Conversations.  It’s amazing to hear him recalling all of this cycle’s memory work already.  He’s been hearing and learning CC memory work since he was two.  What a joy to see my big boys progress into the logic and rhetoric phases of learning after building this incredible foundation through CC.  Joshua and Jesse are also taking an IEW writing class once a week and that’s going really well also. The boys are all still enjoying and excelling with Teaching Textbooks math and Phonetic Zoo Spelling. I’m going to start Michael Clay Thompson’s Grammar program with Jesse, Owen, and Eliana soon, if I can ever remember to order it!  I also want to get the first volume of Story of the World so we can add that to our Morning Time routine.  After Morning Time the boys separate to do their independent work and I move to the dining room table with the girls.  We work on learning a variety of new things as well as handwriting for Eliana, coloring, cutting, play-doh, preschool crafts, etc.  I look so forward to fall and the holidays.  I truly began to feel like I would never actually have a Thanksgiving or Christmas with all of my children on the same continent, let alone in the same house.  We are so incredibly blessed and are doing our very best to live our life simply, with joy and gratitude, and always for His glory. So, that sums it up for now.  All of the pictures we’ve taken over the past five months are on my phone so I’ll need to transfer them onto the computer so I can post some pictures.  Everyone has grown this summer–water and sunshine does it every time!  :)



Geography Flashcards

June 29th, 2015

This is an updated post related to my geography cards.  I have created geography flashcards to correspond with all three cycles of CC but only the PDF download of each set is available at this time.  I have seven children, including a baby, and simply don’t have time to devote to making and shipping completed sets at this time.

Most important thing to note:

**Each card is labeled with one location, but there is nothing referencing a cycle or week anywhere on the cards because I don’t want to infringe on any copyright laws and get CC corporate on my hiney.**

Second most important thing to note:

**All proceeds will go toward paying off adoption expenses.  We finally brought our daughters home three months ago after a 2 1/2 year wait.  The grand total for our adoption was $140,000**

I must tell you, I originally planned to sell the download for $10.  It took me weeks to finish these, they’re in color, labeled, ready to print and use.  But then I started to think about the fact that you still have to print them, fold the labels over (each map and label are side-by-side so you’ll fold each label over to the back after you print).  You may also choose to glue the entire thing to a 3×5 index card for better durability, and if you’re like me, you’ll laminate the finished product!  Therefore, I’m only asking$5.

These cards may also be printed in black and white or gray scale to save money.  We have an InkBoy near our house and they do $.01 black and white copies if you bring your own paper.  But I must say, the color adds a lot to the cards.  The only color is the water and the small location on each card.

sample picture of cards sample picture of printed pdf France001 France002 France003

One last thing:  How to purchase.

You can pay using the donate button on the right side of the screen.  Please use the memo/comment box in Paypal to note the email address you would like me to use when I send your download and which cycle you’re purchasing.

Please feel free to contact me via email with any questions related to the cards or our adoption.  audrey@madetoorganize.com

God bless!

Mother’s Day 2015

May 18th, 2015

The Best Mother’s Day EVER.


Mother's Day 2015

Homeschooling in the Trenches

April 23rd, 2015

The boys are doing standardized testing online this week.  This is the time of year that I always usually question whether we’ve done enough, done well, done the right things, etc.  If you’re a homeschool mom I assume you’ve known those feelings at some point.  This end-of-the-school-year feels much different.  We have seven children now and only three of them are schooling.  The rest require my constant attention while they’re awake.  That makes schooling quite difficult.

We’re on auto-pilot for things like reading, math, and spelling because the boys do those things alone and/or on the computer.  But what about the rest?  What about all of the things I’d like to be doing on top of math, reading, and spelling?

Memory Work, Poetry, Shakespeare, Bible Memory, Science, Art, Grammar, and Writing?

We’re trying new things as we homeschool in the trenches for a little while.  I imagine by the end of the summer we’ll begin to settle in to an excellent routine that will work well for us for the fall.  Until then we will have lots of read aloud time for poetry and Shakespeare.  We’re going through A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Young Reader’s Shakespeare version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  We will listen to the remainder of our anatomy and physiology science through an audio version of our textbook, we’ll listen to our memory work in the car, and we’ll slowly figure out how to add grammar, writing, and art back into our schedule.  I know from experience that it’s far better to do a few things with excellence than to pile things on your plate and do them all with mediocrity. We’re pretty much doing all of our normal daily tasks from the trenches right now; school, church, meals, chores.  I’m sure the list goes on.  However, I know at the end of the day the most important thing is to make our home a pleasant, God-honoring, grace-filled place so that remains my goal.  We will look for truth, beauty, and goodness even in the mundane and even in the trenches.

Ameris Big Girls Joshua and Jesse Owen and Annie

Our Current Read Alouds

Our Current Read Alouds