Friday, July 24, 2020

We Have a Graduate!!!

The world seems a little crazy right now and there is no telling what tomorrow might bring.  While there are so many uncertainties we are over here choosing joy and choosing to celebrate at A Glimpse of Normal.  It has been a pretty big year for us and although we have had to postpone some things, we are still celebrating.
We Have a Graduate from A Glimpse of Normal
We have our first homeschool graduate!!!  We are super excited to announce that CJ has completed all the requirements and classes to graduate from high school.  We are beyond proud of him.  He wanted to be a part of the Class of 2020 and decided over two years ago that he would work really hard to make that happen.  His hard work has helped him graduate a year early.  Along with graduating a year early, he has started his own small engine business.  The really cool thing about his business is that he has done all the work for creating it.  He did the research, filed the paperwork to get it registered in our county and state, and he does all the advertising, ordering of parts, paperwork, and so on.  The business is completely his and he is doing very well with it.  As of right now, CJ's plans after high school are to continue developing his business and to possibly take some certification classes this fall to get certified with the brands he carries in his shop.  Congratulations CJ!!!
Our graduate from A Glimpse of Normal
We originally planned for graduation and an open house in early May, but due to the pandemic, we had to postpone that.  We finally decided to change up our plans and separate the graduation and the open house so that CJ could be presented with the diploma he worked so hard for.  In the middle of May, we had a very small, immediate family only, graduation ceremony.  It was a beautiful day and we were able to have the ceremony outside and celebrate a little with family.  We are planning an open house for August because life has to go on even in crazy times.  
End of the 2019-2020 school year from A Glimpse of Normal
Along with CJ graduating this year, Missy has graduated from elementary school.  She finished 6th grade and is now officially a middle school student...or at least she will be when we start 7th grade this fall.  It will definitely be different planning school for just one student, but I am looking forward to being able to plan school around Missy's interests.  Our school may look a little different this year, but I guess everyone's will...

Thursday, June 11, 2020

A Small Update

Life hasn't been normal lately.  But you already know that because your life hasn't been normal either.  Who knew that one virus/disease would turn the world as we know it upside down?  
We have been fine throughout all of this so far and for that we are thankful.  Hubby worked from home for quite a few weeks and still has a modified working arrangement as sometimes he is home working and sometimes he is in the office.  We finished up our 2019-2020 school year.  I will definitely write more about that in a different post.  We have also been working on some home remodeling projects.  If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen some of it.  If not, I will get around to blogging about it soon.  It has been a pretty big project so it is taking up a lot of extra time.

Plans have been being canceled and big events that we have been looking forward to have had to postpone until next year.  We get it.  Things just aren't "normal" right now.  Then rioting and protesting started.  It's hard, those are tough subjects.  We had several conversations about it all with our kids.  They need to know.  So I say all this to say...I just haven't had the write words for my blog lately.  No posts can bring back lives lost so far this year whether it be to the virus, rioting, or whatever.  It didn't seem right to be sharing DIY projects when people were losing homes, jobs, etc.  Now that life is starting to get somewhat normal, I plan to get back into the swing of blogging.  I'm working hard to find the words for my posts and get some content out for you all to read.  I'm still around and have been writing in my head, but now I will try and get them written out here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Sneaky Ways to Learn

Hey there, all you unexpected E-Learning families!  I know this wasn't your plan to do homeschool work.  I know your world has been flipped upside down and everything feels a little crazy with all the uncertainty and news lately.  It feels that way to us who have homeschooled all along too.  We are in the thick of it with you.  There are no right answers and methods and perfect ways to do things in homeschooling.  There is only what works for your family, use this opportunity to figure out the best schedule and methods for your family.  You don't have to do what we do or stick to a school day schedule (other than to do the E-Learning work) or set up a schoolroom.  Just take a deep breath and know you will make it through this one day at a time.  I've been homeschooling for over 12 years and we still have the occasional rough day and we have to make adjustments.  More than anything, I want you to know you are not alone.  There are plenty of homeschoolers out there and many of us are more than willing to help you out and give you ideas to break up your day and lessen the stress of the situation.  Reach out to those you know who are homeschooling or who have homeschooled in the past.  With all that said, I have been thinking about things we have done over the years to break up the monotony of bookwork.  I came up with a quick list of ideas for you to try out.  Here are some ideas I have used in our homeschool just to break up the routine. 
Here are some sneaky ways to get in some learning time from A Glimpse of Normal.
Monopoly - This is a great game for teaching while the kids don't even realize they are learning. This game is great for math - counting, money, multiplying (figuring rent, cost of houses, etc.).  This game can also be great to learn some negotiating skills (think trading property fairly).  I know you are going to say "But this game takes FOR-EVVVVER." There are ways that you can speed it up.  Deal out the properties instead of waiting for people to land on them and buy them.  Do an auction for each property if the person that landed on it doesn't want to buy it.  There are several other ways you can speed it up too.  If your kids are a little too young to understand fully how to play, use the board and make up your own rules that are adjusted for what they understand.

Baking - Baking can be a lesson in math and science.  We use fractions all the time in baking without ever thinking about them.  Now is a great time to bake a tasty treat and use some math skills.  If your recipe calls for 1/4 cup, ask what would that be if we doubled it, tripled it, cut it in half, etc?  Also, think about the science behind baking.  What does the baking soda do?  Why do we use baking powder to make things rise?  (If you don't know, you can cheat and use Google).

Scrabble - Yes, I know this game can be pretty complicated, but you can adjust the rules to your child's age and understanding.  When my kids were little, we let them spell out what they could so they could play a word.  We would let them use names, challenge them to play their spelling words, challenge them to rhyme with the last word played, and all kinds of other versions.  Adjust the game to fit what your child needs. 

Read and Watch - There are tons of movies based on books right now.  Read the book aloud to your child or take turns reading it to each other or have them read to you.  It doesn't matter how it gets read, you can even listen to the audiobook.  After you have finished reading the book, watch the movie.  Compare how the book and movie are different from each other. 

Yahtzee or Farkle - They are having fun playing a game and don't even realize they are doing math, practicing decision-making skills, and learning.

Send Out Happy Mail - Have your kids write letters to relatives or nursing home residents.  If they are too young to practice their letter writing skills, have them color pictures.  Who doesn't love getting something in the mail that isn't a bill?

Chore Challenges - One of the hardest things to do when everyone is at home is to keep up on chores.  They pile up faster and seem to be a bigger mess than normal.  Get your kids to help out and teach them how to do chores at the same time.  Make games out of it.  Set a timer for 10 minutes or 15 minutes and challenge them to pick up their room or the play area.  While they are busy doing that, take the time to tidy up a room yourself or do the dishes.  Fold the laundry and leave the socks for kids to match up.  Then as they make matches, they can shoot baskets with the folded socks into the laundry basket.  You can make just about any chore into a game.  If your kids need a prize, give out extra screen time or play a game with them when they finish.

Card Games - There are tons of card games that kids can learn from.  Memory, Go Fish, Old Maid, Solitare, SkipBo, Phase 10, Uno, and the list goes on.  We love card games in our family and end our evenings playing cards many nights.  They are an easy way to learn concepts without it feeling like a lesson.

Meal Prep - Let your kids help at mealtime.  Based on their age and experience level, give them tasks to help make meals.  It could be anything from setting the table to helping prepare ingredients for the meal to actually cooking the meal (for older kids).  Get them involved and let them help you out at the same time.

This list isn't extensive, it is just the beginning.  I will either add to this list or write another post with more ideas as they come to me.  I hope these ideas help and I would love to hear what you have tried or ideas you have.  Just remember to take it one day at a time and this too shall pass.

Monday, March 2, 2020

March 2020 Menu Plan

March is here!  That means I am ready for warmer temperatures and all things spring except for spring allergies.  I am definitely enjoying how we get a little more daylight now, but I am not looking forward to Daylight Savings Time and losing my hour of sleep.  I guess you win some and lose some.  Anyway, I've already noticed the birds singing and there are less 30℉ days in our upcoming forecast so that is good.  I can't wait for the flowers and trees to start budding and the ground to start drying out.  We have some pretty big things going on here that I will be sharing about soon.  They are exciting and time consuming all at the same time.  That means having a dinner plan is super helpful especially on the busy days.  I just check what is for dinner and throw it in the Instant Pot, Crock-Pot, Oven...you get the idea.  So here is our menu for the month:
Come and check out what is for dinner in March at A Glimpse of Normal.

  1. Leftovers - they were easy and needed to be used.
  2. Steak and potatoes
  3. Jambalaya
  4. 30 Minute Beef Penne
  5. Easy Italian Bean Stew
  6. Easy Stromboli
  7. Mississippi Pot Roast
  8. One-Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
  9. Instant Pot Carnitas
  10. Ham & Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
  11. Meatball Sandwiches
  12. Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef
  13. Sausage and Pepper Stuffed Bread
  14. Miss Cindy's Burger Bowls
  15. Mexican Chorizo Rice
  16. Baked Tilapia
  17. Easy Sheet Pan Philly Cheesesteak
  18. BLT Ranch Chicken Wraps
  19. Taco Soup
  20. Cast Iron Pizza
  21. Sausage and Veggies Foil Packets
  22. Taco Salad Crunch
  23. Smoked Meatloaf
  24. Zucchini Skillet
  25. Buffalo Chicken Bowls
  26. Italian Meatball Soup
  27. Grilled Pizza
  28. Garlic & Herb Steak and Potato Packets
  29. Slow Cooker Shipwreck Dinner
  30. Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes
  31. Copycat MexiMelts
This is what is for dinner at our house this month.  As always you can find these recipes on my March Menu Plan board on Pinterest.  There are also plenty of meals on there from past menu plans so you can swap out meals your family might not like.  I hope you have a great March!!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Our Barn Home: Pantry Makeover

Today I want to share a recent home project we finished.  This week makes 3 years that we have lived in our dream barn.  So it is timely that I share a new, completed project with you.  It has been a long time since I looked back and saw what we started with here, but that is why I am happy that I blog and I wrote a post about it here.  The project that we just completed is the room that I called the storage closet in this old post.
Today I am sharing the latest project in our barn over at A Glimpse of Normal.
It has been a while since I shared a project with you.  We had all but stopped work inside the barn last year because we had a rental house (our very first house never sold and therefore we became landlords for 12 years...12 years in which we lost more money than we made and flipped the house at least 6 times) that we had to take care of and deal with.  It took a lot of time, energy, and money to get it where it needed to be so that we could sell it, but it did sell and it has been a huge relief to us.  I do plan to blog about it at some point.  Anyway, we had stopped work inside the barn because the funds were not there to work on both our barn and the rental.  Also, we wanted to get the electrical all done in our pole barn before started any projects inside.  Too many open projects lead to chaos and make my hubby lay awake at night trying to figure out how to get more hours in the day.  At the end of November/beginning of December, we got our electrical work approved on the pole barn and the guys got all the wiring finished up.  On New Year's Day, we had a friend install our garage door openers (no more lifting the door as high as I could above my head and then jumping to get it higher for me...I am sure it gave the neighbors a laugh when they saw me open the big garage door before the openers) and the pole barn is at a good stopping point for now.  We will turn our attention to it again later this year to get it insulated and drywalled.  Stay tuned for that...
This is what the pantry looked like when we moved in.

Anyway, now that winter has set in and it is too COLD to be out in the pole barn working, we talked about what project is next inside our barn.  I know pole barn and barn....it is confusing.  The pole barn is where we park.  The barn is where we live, it really did function as a barn housing animals at one point in time.  I just love that fact.  We know there are big indoor projects like our kitchen and our main level bathroom, but there are a few smaller projects we need to tackle before the big projects to prepare for them.  One of these projects was our big pantry which I had called a storage closet in previous posts, but it really is a big walk-in pantry.  We wanted to makeover this pantry because eventually, we will lose our small pantry when we remodel our bathroom. We plan to change where our bathroom entrance is which means I lose a small pantry (the shelves are only 7" wide and it is like a tiny closet).  So the big walk-in pantry needed to be changed up to make it more functional and use the space better.  

CJ took the lead on this project and I am so appreciative that hubby has taught him so much so that CJ could take the lead.  He emptied out the pantry and then guys began working on taking out the shelves that were in there.  One of the shelves was a metal shelving unit that we had purchased that was always intended to go out to the pole barn so CJ was pretty happy to get that out to the pole barn where he works a lot.  The other shelves were just crude wooden shelves that were painted the same color as the room...lime green.  Hubby and I spent some time looking at shelves that would work for that area and once I picked what I liked, Hubby got to work on building my new shelves and staining them a color that I liked.  Missy even had a hand in the project because she got to help patch places on the wall before we repainted the room.  We painted half the pantry and installed some vinyl flooring before moving out a couple of other big items.  We had to have places to put everything that came out of the pantry before we could move it all out.  We also needed to be able to move around our house while this project was being done.  It was a process.  Cj got the rest of the floor finished and the rest of the walls painted.  Hubby put up the shelves he built for me and Missy started putting items back on them for me.  This past Saturday the guys finished up the details of the pantry.  They put in the transition strip in the doorway.  They built a frame around the bottom of the furnace to make it look nicer and they installed some strip lighting for the shelves so that I have plenty of light in there.  I got some baskets for the shelves for organizing items and need more, but I will buy them as I need them.  I still need to organize the pantry better and still have a few more items to fit in, but I LOVE how it turned out.  We might make a few more changes down the road...like move our furnace to our basement, but it is finished except for organizing it better for now.  
The after!!!   


This is my lighting on my shelf and it runs down the side of the shelves as well (it is hard to see that in this picture).
I love the color of the shelves now.  They are stained with a color called Mocha.
I love adding mixed baskets for the organization.

What do you think?  Now we can start thinking about the next project.  It is going to be awesome!

Monday, February 3, 2020

February 2020 Menu Plan

Welcome to February!!!  I can't believe it is here already.  I am looking forward to the days getting a little bit longer and a little more daylight.  Also if it is February that means spring will be here before I know it.  Although we haven't had much of a winter yet this year so I can't complain.  I like February too because my family lets me be a little more gushy than normal.  Valentine's is a good reminder to me to spoil my family a little more and let them know how much I love them and appreciate them.  I try to stretch it out all month long and help them feel extra loved.  One way I like to make them feel loved is with tasty food and that is why I menu plan.  So without further ado here is our menu plan for February:
Come and check out what is for dinner this month at our house at A Glimpse of Normal.
  1. Vegetable Beef Soup
  2. Crazy Good Beef and Broccoli
  3. Fireman Bob's Crockpot Spicy Sloppy Joes
  4. Meatball Parmesan
  5. Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole
  6. Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie
  7. Deep Dish Skillet Pizza
  8. Roast Beef Po’ Boys
  9. One-Pot Chili Mac & Cheese
  10. Slow Cooker Cowboy Pot Roast
  11. Pasta e Fagioli Soup
  12. Bacon Lovers Creamy Penne Pasta
  13. Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Beef
  14. Copycat Pizza Hut Pan Pizza
  15. Lemon Butter Chicken
  16. Slow Cooker Hoppin' John
  17. Chili & Cornbread Skillet
  18. Love That Quinoa Burger
  19. Mexican Zucchini Beef Skillet
  20. Shepherd's Pie
  21. Meat Lover's Pizza Cups
  22. Slow Cooker Ham & Beans
  23. Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
  24. Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu
  25. Chili
  26. Smoked Meatloaf
  27. White Beans with Spinach & Sausage
  28. Italian Sausage & Pepperoni Stromboli
  29. Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
That is what is for dinner at our house this month.  As always you can find these recipes and some extras on my February Menu Plan board on Pinterest.  While you are over there, take a moment and follow me.  What is for dinner at your house?

Friday, January 31, 2020

A Word for 2020

2020 has come in like a whirlwind.  It started out just as busy as 2019 ended, but that is okay it seems to be our pace lately.  Some days it leaves me exhausted and drinking more coffee than I should, but other times I keep up and have energy left over.  I think that is just how life goes sometimes.  It's a season and though there are days we are busier than I like to be, it is just for right now and not forever.  I tell you all this because while all the busyness has been going on I have been spending time thinking and praying about what to focus on this year.  At the end of 2019, I totally had a word prepared and thought I knew exactly what direction I was going with it, but 2020 hit and it totally changed.  What in the world am I rambling about?  Read on...
This year's word of the year has a lot of potential and power.  Read more about it at A Glimpse of Normal.
Every year for the past several years, I have picked a word to focus on.  It's not a word that runs my life or determines my every move.  The words I have picked have been something for me look for and see how God is using them in my life.  Past words have been JOY and PEACE.  I feel that God was leading me to these words and telling me to look for them, watch for them, and enjoy the moments they were present.  I have seen both of these words play out in my life when I have been looking for them.  When I take my eyes off of joy and peace, I tend to get easily overwhelmed, scattered, and distracted.  When I was feeling like that I knew it was time to refocus and get out my Bible to see what God has to say about JOY and PEACE.  The Psalms are a great book of the Bible for this. 

Fast forward to this year...  Like I stated before I thought I knew what word God was leading me towards at the end of 2019, but then we rang in 2020 and I really felt like God was leading me toward a different word.  This word for 2020 keeps popping up in my daily life and I feel like it is very fitting for me this year because it is an area I really struggle with and really, REALLY need to work on.  My word for 2020 is...
My 2020 word of the year is Consistency.  Check out more at A Glimpse of Normal.
CONSISTENCY - Oh my goodness how this word hits me like a ton of bricks.  I do a lot of things in my days and weeks, but I am not always great at being consistent.  I start out great on a lot of things, but then for one reason or another, they tend to slide or get pushed to the back burner.  This is a huge flaw of mine.  I admit that I get excited about new projects and tend to set old projects off to the side with the intention of getting back to them.  I have lots of great ideas and good intentions, but...  I feel like this year (that has lots of changes coming up), I really, really, REALLY need to work on consistency.  I just need to keep showing up and doing things even when they get boring or there is a shiny, new thing waiting for me.  I need to be consistent in all aspects of my life and that is what I really feel called to this year.  So I'm going to tackle it and see where God leads me for consistency.  I know He has good things for me and big things for me.  I feel like He is calling me to be consistent about the things He has already given me so that I can step into more.  It feels like a big task and kind of a scary task for this girl, but I know consistency has big rewards so I am going to take it one step at a time and trust in the process of showing up over and over.  I'm nervous about sticking to consistency, but I know deep in my heart that it is truly what I need.