In a homeschooling house full of 7 kids & 3 guniea pigs....there is never a dull moment! A lot of people show genuine concern for us and want to know how we are doing, as the road we've left behind was not a pleasant one. So, here I am, to tell some of our stories...share some of our days...and open up a part of our world to you! Come join us on our journey so you won't miss the moments that take our breath away!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

This Week's Menu

People are asking for our weekly menu's, I will begin posting it again.  Currently, our grocery budget is about $200-300 a week.  We are feeding a family of 9.  We buy a lot of things in bulk usually shopping about twice a month, however, recently, I have not had the leisure of shopping this way and have been shopping once a week so our normal $200 budget has increased up to $100 a week by not being able to buy in bulk.  Unfortunately, we have not been able to eat as healthy as we used to...this is one of those things I try to improve constantly.  I have joined in some couponing groups and hope to learn from these ladies who get so many products free or very cheap as our grocery budget includes toiletries and non food necessities and I've gotten some helpful advice from a few friends on saving money on different things as well.  We frequent Sam's Club and we've fallen into the easy trap of processed foods simply because they are cheap, quick and easy.  With all but one or two days taken up by sports, it's been very hard recently to have quick and easy healthy foods so I will be trying to change this in the upcoming weeks.  We do hope to have a nice size garden this summer and hope that will help with our grocery budget as well!. 

This week's menu/recipes can be found here. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

5th Grade Calvert has arrived

 Eagle's school year starts in January.  This is because I made him repeat the third grade...when he was in third grade.  With only two months to go to complete his third grade year, I just didn't feel he had learned or retained enough to progress at that time.  The beauty of homeschooling is, he has repeated a year...but so far, has never failed a grade.  I still do not regret my decision, as I feel it was by far one of the best homeschooling decisions I have ever made.  He has come so far since switching to Calvert!  We have worked very hard to try and recover from the half of the year we fell behind when repeating that third grade year and we've advanced a few months.  He has a complete 12 months to complete his curriculum but we do hope to finish "early" to get him more "caught up" to his peers.  

Nothing is more exciting than starting a new year and today Eagle's boxes arrived!  

We are seasoned Calvert users so unpacking and getting things organized is a very quick process for us!  Here's what was in his box.

Everybody has their own shelf to keep all of their curriculum.  This is our shelf.

This is Eagle's shelf

Basically, all of the worksheets and manuals are stored in a crate.  All of his textbooks and workbooks are to the right on the shelf.  All of his novels and other materials are kept up out of reach because of the little ones.

The older kids are able to do a lot of things independently so we are moving back to the workbox system.  Eagle will use his system independently and Macaw will be training for the second semester of this year so that next year she will be able to work more independently as well. This system always worked well for Eagle, but we have not always had the space to do it so we haven't used this system for a while. We got a nice rolling cart for Eagle's workstation.  All of his assignments will be loaded into his boxes.  Each box will contain the things he needs to complete each assignment.  Any work that needs to be completed with me will be marked with a * and he will know that is a teacher led assignment.  He will complete his independent work (I answer questions and help as needed when I am available).  Teacher led lessons will be taught at our scheduled times.  At the end of the day I will grade his work and fill his boxes for the next day.  Any work that needs to be corrected will be worked on the next day.  He is responsible for filing away any graded work and keeping his notebook neat and orderly.  

Here are his workboxes

I immediately set up his boxes and he quickly got to work! Here is his first day of boxes...

Close up of Math box

Close up of Grammar Box

Close up of Spelling Box

 Close up of Science Box

 Close up of History Box
Close up of Reading Box

Close up of Art History Box

Hope this helps those who are always asking how we set things up.  Hopefully soon I can give a more detailed look at how our classroom is set up now since we have moved.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

In 2014 I will be a VOICE...Will you???

Happy 2014!  I'm making this year a turning point for me!!  It's time to find "me" again and time to somehow find a way to move forward!  It's time to start making my hopes and dreams reality.

I feel renewed and hopeful and a bit fearful for all the things this year has in store for me and my family but I will be optimistic!

Today, marks another "anniversary" for us, but it will also mark an anniversary now for a friend and right now, I have no words...

6 years ago today, I left my home with my kids safe in tow and I turned my husband into the police for the crimes he committed against at least one of my children.  No physical evidence...just the TRUTH...words from a strong and courageous child who should never have been put in her position, a man who testified on his own behalf , along with a jury and judge human enough to make the right decision!  We are beyond blessed that the judicial system did not fail my daughter.  My husband is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, which trust me is far less than what he deserves for his crimes.  However, the judicial system is still failing others.  

THIS is my friends precious, violated little girl who must not only live with what has been done to her and her family BUT she also has to live with knowing justice was NOT served for her and the fact that her abuser is now enabled to continue to victimize others (and this was not his first time getting away with it).  THIS should NEVER happen.  Today should have been a victory for them, not a third chance for her abuser!  

They left a prosecutor's office today without the ability to seek justice for her daughter or the ability to stop him from striking another innocent child again.  The pain and "that" feeling in my stomach that I felt on those days 6 years ago...(Jan 4 when my daughter told me, Jan 6 when we left and I turned him in, Feb 22 the day of his indictment, that day trial was supposed to begin in August, the 3 days of trial in Oct, the day of his conviction, etc)...the way she feels right now, it NEVER goes away, EVER!!  Whether justice is served or not, no matter how happy she is in her life...I can say, 6 years later, the pain is just as RAW as it was this day 6 years ago.  So, this news hits me very HARD, especially today!  Words can not describe the way I feel for her right now.  Even though my husband got life, it still feels like it's not enough so I can only hope that the horror stories you hear about the life these pedophiles life in prison is true and that he fears every single day he wakes up for the rest of his undeserved life.  To have the system turn their back on my friends little girl and to enable the cycle to continue with this young man leaves me with one of the most sick feelings I have ever felt!!  

I will continue to raise awareness.  
I will keep sharing our story.  
I will keep advocating! 
I will fight...
for my own children, 
for your children 
and for their children's children...
and ALWAYS...
for as long as I live!

In 2014, I will be a VOICE....will you?  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Our 6th year anniversary!

It was this day 6 years ago that I learned exactly what it feels like to have one of the most trusted people in your life do the most unthinkable to your child! It's a pain, feeling and sickness one can never forget! No amount of time, happiness or healing could ever make that feeling go away. It's a day filled with such mixed emotions because there are no words to explain the pride or admiration I have for my amazingly strong and courageous daughter who was able to make the choice she did that day! In a way, this day is a day of victory and celebration, but it is overshadowed by such sadness as well, there is no day less bitter sweet! No matter how I progress in my life, I live in an unexplainable fear that very few people could ever understand! There is nothing more painful for me than the daily reminders of the "life sentence" that I was handed to me at the cost of protecting my children. I'd do it again in less than a heartbeat, but that doesn't make my life any easier to "deal" with. Some day, I hope that laws are different and that women don't have to live their life the way me and my family do. I am ever so grateful and blessed to have a man who loves me and is strong enough to walk this (often ugly) path with me, to put up with the effects this has on me emotionally and to tolerate the walls and obstacles that are in the way of our life and future together and for all of my friends and family who have loved, supported and encouraged me along the way, who have never left my side and those who never let me give up and still push me to keep going....for all of you who are on this journey with me...THANK YOU for being there for me and for everything you've done! This year will be the most difficult for me..I am fearful, but I am ready and I hope that on this day next year I can post something much different and celebrate it for the victory and celebration that it truly is!

Time Fly's...usually....but it's our 6 year anniversary and really, in a way it seems like it's been the LONGEST 6 years of my life.  

The past few years have been the most happiest years of my life and yes, that time has flown but this time of year is always very bittersweet for me.  I rejoice but yet, I relive the pain of that day over and over.  It's a feeling you just never forget.  The pit in your's just always there the same as it was that day.  

There is so much left unsaid about our story.  So much, that people don't know.  You hear stories like this everyday, but people never think about the aftermath that follows or where people like me go from here.  Few people know what my life has been like since all of this or what I still have to do to protect my kids.  People just assume life goes on...but unfairly, it doesn't.  My life came to a screeching halt.  I've been stuck in a marriage with this man and for all these years have been unable to get help.  The laws don't work in my favor, legal aid refused to help me with my case every time I applied and I can't afford the legal costs to hire an attorney to handle my case as I was told by not one but two attorney's that my case could cost in upwards of $20,000.  It's not as simple as "just getting a divorce".  There is so much more to it than that.  It was always expected to get ugly...very, VERY ugly and I was always told to stay married to him as long as I possibly could.  Everyday is a constant reminder of this life sentence I got, unable to move on with my remarry and have my kids adopted by the man who already claims them as his own.  

This is the year of courage...the year I try to find a way to move forward with my life!  It will take a lot of support & encouragement and reaching out to strangers for help but I feel ready to break free from the prison in which I live and as I pave this path for myself, I hope to find a way to help others so that no one else has to endure this same journey!