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Showing posts from December, 2013

One Word ~ 2014

This graphic has lots of words, but they are all components of my ONE word for 2014 …. Steadfast.

I want to be faithful in my time with the Lord.
I want to be committed to growing the strength of my marriage.
I want to remain dependable to my children.
I want to be trustworthy to my friends.
I want to be reliable to those whom I have made commitments.
I want to help make steady progress in our becoming debt free.
I want to be devoted to fulfilling my savings plans.
I want to be a staunch devotee to exercising, eating healthy, and taking care of my body.
I want to be a true visionary in all of the atmospheres where I teach.
I want to produce solid reviews for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
I want to keep God as a constant companion and confidante.
I want to be loyal to my call to teach my children and give it all I have each day.


Steadfast.


One Word ~ 2013 (A Look Back)

My One Word for 2013 was Less. You can read all about my reasons behind choosing that word by going to that post.

How did I do? I would say I did well, but still left room for improvement. I started strong and ended strong. That is what is most important.


Financially/Materially Less. We continued to live in our little, old house this year without any major improvements. In fact, our HVAC went out this year. As there was no money to replace it, save another payment plan, we found ways to do without. We purchased a couple of window air conditioners to get us through the summer. We had a few hot days, but we survived. For winter we purchased several different heaters, an infrared quartz and some electric heaters with thermostats. We have had some negative temperatures, but have stayed cozy warm in the main part of our house by shutting the bedroom doors and blocking off the entryway to the kitchen. We only heat the bedrooms at night, and the kids sleeping in the basement have warm electr…

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Where NO Schoolwork Was Done!

In our regular life this week…
It's been a glorious week of family and fun! After celebrating Eli's 10th birthday on Sunday, we moved on into our Christmas festivities. We had such a nice time as a family. Then we took down all of the inside Christmas decorations on the 26th and even sorted through all of our tubs to pare down to only the decorations we plan to use in the future. We are keeping it simple from now on. Christmas decorations are festive and fun, but we just prefer regular life.


In our homeschool this week…
Other than finishing up the final two episodes of Liberty's Kids, building with Legos, and getting in some P.E. by way of bowling league and basketball practice, we haven't touched a school book or worksheet. And we won't until our break concludes on January 13th!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
We went to "town" yesterday so that Kyndal could give haircuts to Rick, Eli and me. She gave me an awesome haircut! And, Eli got his hair…

Oh, What a Merry Christmas Day

Well, folks, it just doesn't get any better than this Christmas!


We started our celebrations last night with dinner and gifts at my mom and dad's and then Christmas Eve church service. We had a wonderful dinner of barbecue brisket, hash brown potatoes, homemade rolls, green beans, corn, pasta salad and fruit.


Church was amazing with our whole family attending! We took up a pew and a half. I played in the bell choir. Eli and Brynne passed out candles and then started the lighting of the candles while the congregation sang "Silent Night". It's a tradition at our church.



After we got home and opened our traditional Christmas Eve pj's, we put Eli and Brynne to bed upstairs in Dawson's room, turned on Christmas Vacation and started "Wrap-a-thon 2013". It only took Rick, Collin, Kyndal, Dawson and myself 2 1/2 hours to get it all done. We were soooo ready for bed at 1:30 a.m.



Kyndal came bounding into our room at 8:00 a.m. this morning ready to open …

Merry Christmas from The Taulmans!

Reflections on a Decade

Ten years ago today Eli entered our world. He was a fragile little guy at just 5 1/2 pounds, and had suffered from IUGR (intra-uterine growth retardation). He was born with neurological delays that would present themselves over the course of a few years. With the possibility of autism looming, we had him evaluated as a two year old and determined that something was, indeed, amiss. He had many of the classic symptoms of being on the spectrum.

Eli is certainly a special kid. I would say that he is a normal 10 year old boy, but he is not. He is extraordinary! I do not know what we would do if he was "normal". He is so serious and honest and probably the most loving and affectionate kid you have ever met. He never meets a stranger and thinks of everyone as his friend. I have never met someone with more of a gift of encouragement than him. He enjoys each and every ordinary moment of life. He has had a lot of best days.

Over the past 10 years Eli has overcome many obstacles with …

Weekly Wrap-up ~ 500 Hours and 10 Years

In our regular life this week…
The beginning of this week was BUSY! After a busy weekend in Tulsa and then our children's Christmas program at church on Sunday, we were beat on Monday! I spent the majority of the day getting my Business Law class loaded for the class start date of Tuesday. Then Tuesday morning it was time to deliver all of the gifts and food baskets for W. Children's Christmas Fund. We kept it quiet the rest of the week.


In our homeschool this week…
We basically just spent the week wrapping up a few things. The good news is that we have completed 500 hours of school this first semester, so we are now free to take our Christmas break! I have calculated our proposed days of school for the Spring semester and decided we are safe to take a break from school until January 13th. So we are on an extended Christmas break! Yay!!! Other than little organizing projects, this is what I am planning to do:


Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
It was a little overwhelmin…

The Phil Robertson vs. A&E Debate

I just thought I would put in my two cents on this issue. Here is what I think is sad. The issue is not about whether or not Phil Robertson believes homosexuality is a sin or whether or not he proclaimed it for the world to hear. We should be worrying about what God thinks about it.

Isn't it just like satan to take a God-fearing man like Phil Robertson and use him for his glory? I wonder if the Robertsons have even taken the time to consider that.

I love how people, some of whom I know personally who are eons away from declaring God's power in their life or that Jesus is their Lord and Savior, have taken on the platform of proclaiming Phil Robertson as some sort of hero. He is being idolized, which is exactly what satan set out to do.

Gazillions of people are backing Phil Robertson. I wonder how many of them are God-fearing Christians who back what God, Himself, says?

We do not watch Duck Dynasty. And this is just another example of why we won't.

I think it's great th…

Delete

Each morning when I look at my e-mail account, it is flooded with junk e-mails. If I do not have time to deal with them right then, then before you know it I have about 600 e-mails that need sorted. It is overwhelming!

As I feel the suffocating effects of clutter in my life, both physical and mental, I feel the need to delete some things. And I have started with my e-mail account.

Each morning this week I have spent some time unsubscribing to e-mails from companies. I have especially unsubscribed from companies where I would be tempted to spend money! I do not want to know what percentage I can get off from Hollister or Old Navy or Kohls any longer. When I know how much money I can save, it tempts me to spend. And I need to spend less.

I do not want to know what exotic place I can vacation at a greatly discounted rate. I am not going anywhere, and all it does is cause me to feel a lack of contentment because I am not going there.

I get e-mails from Twitter and Pinterest, and I do not…

Be Blessed

Do you want to feel blessed?

Hug the neck of some mamas as you deliver Christmas gifts and food boxes to them.
Give a couple extra dollars in a tip to the young, single mom at Sonic, even when the service you received wasn't the best in the world.
Find extra meaning in your fortune cookie that says "You will bring sunshine into someone's life", because you know that you have today.
It's been a good day.
What can you do today to be blessed?

A Holly Jolly Weekend

The kids and I headed to Tulsa this past weekend to spend some time with Rick doing our favorite holiday activities.


We stayed at a fun hotel with a mini-waterpark inside. Eli and Brynne had lots of fun playing on the lily pads.



We visited Toys R Us for some birthday money shopping, went out to dinner at Los Cabos, and celebrated Christmas with Rick's family.

Then we went to see this guy.



We came home late on Saturday night because we had our church's children Christmas program on Sunday night. I directed the program which included a fun Christmas pageant. Brynne was one of the narrators and Eli was King Herod. They did a great job! I was so proud of all the kids!


Bowled Over that He's Almost 10!

Eli's 10th birthday is coming up in a little over a week. We try to have his birthday party at the beginning of December each year to put some distance between it and Christmas. This year he wanted to have a bowling party. He is really into the video game Pitfall: The Lost Expedition and wanted that to be the theme of his party. So, he and I picked out a cake design and some party favors (that included candy and some small plastic jungle animals) and got to work making it "the best birthday party EVER!" He always says that.


I will say, though, that he seemed to have more fun this year than he has ever had. I don't know if it's because of his age, or that he enjoys his friends more, or if he just appreciates all he has (I tend to think it's the latter). But, he is one kid who can just have a great time and is just so joyful. His happiness is contagious!


I can't believe my little guy is almost a decade old. It's just crazy to think that a short time ag…

How to Teach About Electricity for Ages 8-13 by Susan Kilbride {Review}

Susan Kilbride has some of my favorite science unit studies! The kids and I have done her plants study, her atoms and molecules study, and reviewed her book Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers . She recently gave me the opportunity to review How to Teach About Electricity for Ages 8-13.


Susan's unit studies are very well-organized and planned out. This electricity unit study is set up like all of her others. The beginning of the study has a "Materials Needed" page that lists each and every thing you will need to complete the unit study. Some of the materials are those you have on hand, and some are those that will need to be purchased.

I appreciated that Susan had a chapter on Safety. As the experiments involved electricity, she had specific dos and don'ts for how to perform the experiments.

Two of the chapters and experiments we covered were on Static Electricity and Electrical Currents.

The Static Electricity chapter contained three fun activities …

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Exchanging What is Good for What is Better

In our regular life this week…
My brother Tim, sister-in-law Shawna, and niece Bell, are visiting this week. They have consumed our regular life as we try to squeeze in every second we can with them. We took some family photos while we were all together. Unfortunately we had to gather at night because of school and work schedules, so we didn't get any outside shots with good lighting. We just did the best we could.




In our homeschool this week…
School is good. Family is better. We did get lots of school work done this week, but we condensed it into shorter amounts of time because we wanted to maximize our time with my brother's family, and we have a special time planned with daddy in Oklahoma this weekend.


Spelling - Best Guess was a success this week. And, both kids got 100% on their Pre-tests so we don't have to take a final test. They learned about the long e sound using e, ea, ee, ei, ie, and y. They had the pleasure of learning the "i before e except after c" ru…