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What I Learned About The Brain Today

One of the things I have added to our homeschool is Goldie Hawn’s program..Mind Up.

I also added Foundations from Classical Conversations and it matched up for Science we learned about the 3 parts of the nervous system, the main one being the Brain of course.

Using Mind Up, I taught the kids about our brains specifically. We learned how the prefrontal cortex is the orchestra leader and is what makes up process and think, the hippocampus is where our memories are stored and the amygdala is what helps us sense danger. This is where out flight, fright, freeze comes from.

To briefly summarize I taught them how the amygdala cuts off the rest of our brain when we sense danger so we can react quickly. This is a good thing, however sometimes this can be activated when there is not a real threat of danger. Maybe it’s a stressful situation, something overblown in our head and until we quiet it down, we cannot think clearly.

We talked about examples like when a kid might sense a monster in the room. The fear can be paralyzing but it’s not real. We must learn to shut the panic off to think clearly or logically. The best way to do that is with deep breaths. Throughout the day we do a lot of shallow breathing especially when hovering over a screen. Taking a deep breath is as powerful as anti anxiety medication because it releases dopamine. This is what I have read at least and I do believe that.

This is because breathing deeply releases endorphins in your brain. … The autonomic nervous system and dopamine are connected, so when you breath deeply, you activate the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system, which in turn releases dopamine into your brain.Nov 1, 2017

How often is the advice given to calm ourselves down to take deep breaths. This is one quick way to quiet the amygdala to then use the rest of our brain.

Many times we tell our kids to use their brains, but we don’t explain how.

Reading Goldie’s book to parents, I am reminded to be present and mindful. So many of our parenting freak outs, overwhelming moments, can be helped with just mindfulness. I know I react poorly when my amygdala is set off in my home and how a few deep breaths could make a difference in my parenting.

This afternoon I started something called couch time. Where one by one I invite each kid to sit next to me and just look into their eyes, free of any distractions and let them just talk to me. I ask if there is anything they want to share or show me. Today Izzy showed me her art book one page at a time and I really delighted in her work and I could tell that made a difference. It was better than the usual, “Oh good job” as I swept or made a meal.

Elly talked to me about how she knew she wanted to stick it out with piano.

Josh told me how he doesn’t like it when his sisters wake him up early and Genny who overhead him, spent her time telling me how it was Joshua who woke them up. But we talked about a solution.

These are fast times we are living in. My goal is to be more mindful.

Americans are the second least happiest kids on the planet. They come right before UK kids for being the most unhappy. How can this be? Is it the screens? Wi-Fi? Overscheduled?Divorce?

I can work on the things I have control over and that is my brain and hopefully I can give my kids the tools to control theirs.

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Life Lately

I felt so terrible that the one Sunday my husband had off, I came down with something. I was out for the count. He knew it was bad when I just could not get up. This was probably the closest I can have as a day off being a mom at this stage. He let me sleep in, I woke up for lunch and had a little bit of food. Then I took a nap with the toddler. She got up, I didn’t. I slept until the evening sermon. I was sweating it out and cold at the same time but by the evening service I felt much better. I guess it’s that fast and fierce bug going around.

We put the kids down and cleaned up the messy place, and a dear friend made our night by bringing some treats over.

Today Monday I was slowly getting back in the groove. I hadn’t keepers for the school week so that’s always a negative. Also laundry was a nightmare. So I did what I had to do to keep sane.. I decided I wanted to learn how to play Hans Zimmerman’s Interstellar instrumental soundtrack. Well then all the kids wanted to learn and so we spent a large portion of the day on and off taking turns playing it with a YouTube tutorial. It’s SO SO true, whatever the parents do.. The kids will want to do. So if you want your kids to do something, just model it.. Reading, sports, writing etc.

We didn’t miss our Minecraft Monday’s. As always I checked out the new book area. This book by Warren Jeff’s daughter caught my eye, how she escaped the FLDS cult. I read it while I waited for the big kids and the little kids played in the little kids area. Oh my, I kind of wish I didn’t. It wasn’t too graphic but it was graphic enough to make me sick. That man was a total pedophile sick freak. I don’t even know if he is still alive.. I couldn’t finish it. Part of me wanted to tell a librarian this book shouldn’t be in a library.. But I guess it’s someone’s story and shows people what an awful sick cult it is.. But I still shoved it in the book return hoping it would at least be out of circulation for a day or two. My heart was just really heavy on the ride back home, for those kids born into it with no choice.

It will make you count your blessings for sure.

On a much happier note, Joshua cheered me up by making me these little presents while I was sick.

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Weekend Fun and Thrifty Finds

Friday we had a great time at the homeschool Science fair we hosted. I definitely plan to make it an annual thing. It was so cute to see all the little presentations. Joe came for the judging with Sophie and he was so proud of all of us.

That night we had a keepers of the faith meeting at our church and I am so excited our church is starting this program. Joe and I are familiar with it since we tried to start a club ourselves back in Marietta. I think we had one boys and girls activity and realized it is a lot of work to host. Our church though is pretty big now and filled with moms and dads with all kinds of skills, so many hands make light work for sure. The space as church is perfect for it. My skill will be stenciling for the little girls.

After the meeting I visited with a friend, a lady from our church who was in the hospital. It was a full day but I slept with a full heart.

Saturday Joe took the kids to do a big kids activity in the a.m and I took the little kids shopping in Apache Junction. I stopped by this thrift store where everything was half off. I LOVE thrifting. I much prefer it sometimes to buying new things because I enjoy the hunt and finding something of value for a fraction of the cost. Somethings of course I only want to buy new but things like furniture, books, toys.. There are deals to be made.

I got a nice desk chair for the boys for 1.50, a baby and grocery cart for Sophie for $3 and a bunch of books I really liked for half off..including this giant print KJV Bible. I always buy Bibles whenever I see a good one at a thrift store.

I really like finding the old Richard Scary books and score.. The first published book from Kipling!

I also separately scored this secretary desk for only $5 on offer up!

Right now I am reapolstering two chairs and almost done with the first one and I can’t wait to share the before and after pics. It’s my first time so be merciful, ha! I realized it is sort of a relaxing hobby…but I am so torn because while I do it, I think.. I could be reading right now.

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This week…

I am hosting a Homeschool Science fair and while it’s fun.. I also had to help put together 5 project boards. Luckily I only had to help the last 3.

I remember growing up in public school, my mom was very involved. She made my cheerleding squad pom poms made out of grocery plastic bags. She was the head of the PTA with her very minimal Spanish. She organized days of clean up around our school in the not so great area of LA.

Today kind of reminded me of that while I put together the prizes and goodie bags for the fair. We really do it all for our kids and to see them excited about something.

It made a mess though, let me tell you… Ooohwee that took a while to clean up.

I am that mom version of if you give a mouse a cookie. So today it went if mom is going to clean up a big mess, might as well clean, organize and label everything in the kitchen.

My husband kindly bought pizza tonight so I could just wrap it up and swim with the kids before bed.

Tonight I also prepared everything for our detox, cleanse, fast day of torture on Saturday. We have been eating not so great, and feel not so great, so this is our fresh start and reset date. I got my recipes from Molly Sims, Everyday Supermodel book and Kate Hudson’s Pretty Happy book.

Question.. Why does turmeric have to stain everything? My vitamix container is now dingy yellow forever.

Joe is at a steak night with the guys from work so I am relaxing with a face mask and taking out all the staples to this chair I am reapolstering. It’s surprisingly relaxing.

Tomorrow will be busy but looking forward to it.

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Minecraft Mondays

I’m a woman who likes change. I’m constantly looking for ways to move furniture around to make each space more usable, I’m always experimenting with ways to streamline things better and be more efficient. Last night I actually rearranged my kids bedrooms while they were still sleeping. I moved a queen size bunk bed without waking the girls up.. Skillz ha!

To balance this out for my kids, I like to give them some familiar touch stones to bring comfort and something to look forward to. Meal times and bedtimes the same, Bible time every morning, church 3 times a week and certain themes during the week.

My kids look forward to Friday Family Fun, Super Saturday, Taco Tuesday and one of the most favorites.. Minecraft Monday’s.

We do this at our local library. We have tablets I sometimes let them play educational games on but no real game consoles. This isn’t something I would be comfortable with them doing at home.. But on the library server where I can physically see who they are interacting with and with 2 teacher guides.. I’m OK with it…for half an hour. They love this. They raffle off a little gift each week too. Meawhile I quickly gather my books for the week with the younger 3.

The whole car ride home I hear stories about what they built. What they did etc.

In previous years when I only had little children, we did the library story time.

They had a great library sale and I picked some some good books. Tonight for our read aloud we started “Heidi” before bed. I’ve never read this. I’m really enjoying their childhood because in a small way I feel like I am joining them. I am learning more homeschooling them than I did in school. We are giving them the chilhood Joe and I really wanted. It’s such a blessing and gift to all of us.

Today in the car, I opened a seltzer water can left too long in the car and it exploded. I laughed so hard with all the kids. I give myself permission to be a kid with them sometimes to balance the times when it feels like a heavy responsibility.

So in short.. Be a kid again sometimes. Balance the areas where you know you can be extreme and don’t take for granted the gift that you have in front of you..even simple things like being able to read them a bedtime story or learning alongside with them.

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Little Chef

Joshua really likes to cook and experiment in the kitchen. Recently he has been asking me to prepare his own meals. Today I said yes to him making his own lunch and he made this..

Really? Is my cooking that bad that raw carrots and jalapenos on turkey is better?

This was my lunch by the way.

But he ate. it. all. I couldn’t believe it. Well.. Maybe this is how Gordon Ramsey got started, right?

I started to come down with the cold that was being passed around and feeling really yucky by this evening and he made dinner for everyone but I supplied the ingredients and directions. I’m so glad he wants to do it.

This morning at church our pastor preached an excellent sermon on discipline. It’s encouraging to me but also great for my kids to hear. Check it out here.. Invest in your children, train them up the way the Bible says, and let them live their lives.

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Super Saturday-Soulwinning and Shopping

Trying to start something new and in my area, some of us ladies from church started getting together every other Saturday morning to go soulwinning for one hour. We meet at my house and just walk to the streets around me so there is no time spent traveling. I really wanted to start something SUPER doable for busy moms. I know how it is, moms need to be back in time to make lunch, evenings are too crazy, going for too long can be a bit much for the dads (let’s be real) and even every week can feel too constricting with family schedules. I think a great balance at this stage of life is every other week, for one full soulwinning hour with little time to waste before and after and getting to a location. Sure, it might not seem much for the ones who go much more often but here are the pluses..

People getting saved, of course.

Something on the east side for ladies.

Covering an area that is completely untouched on our church map.

Still using our soulwinning skills, being a silent partner during those challenging motherhood years or those in tight schedule situations, in a way that is not burdening to the family.

Family friendly time with the duration being short enough where kids can come.

Honestly.. If it wasn’t for soulwinning these last 4 years in Phoenix, my Spanish would probably be very rusty. I only really spoke it with my parents back on the east coast so I’m grateful for such a great way to keep using Spanish.

This is such a short list, I could go on and on of the benefits of going soulwinning even for just an hour every other week. Of course I want to go more but in this season of life with my husband working a very physically demanding job and now per his work going back to school to become an engineer… This is what is doable for me.

Today was interesting. My partner and I witnessed 3 people give the right questions, all saying they had Baptist preacher fathers. We tried to get one older Catholic lady saved but she admitted she would rather stick with her feelings than what the Bible says.

So no one today but that’s OK because my motto is soulwinning is ALWAYS winning.

You are obeying the call to go preach the Gospel, you plant seeds, and sometimes you reap them too. No matter the last two, you always win with the first goal.

After lunch we had an interesting experience with cop cars swarming all over our front and back part of the house. Police were looking for some kind of auto theft suspect and they told us he could be armed and dangerous and maybe hiding in a backyard on our street… So we thought it would be a good time to head out to goodwill and some stores.

We stayed in the car while they searched our yard with the dog, something we already had major reservations about but thought these guys are nice… Then we get a tap on the window that the dog pooped in our yard and they would be back to pick it up. Oh come on.. To their credit they did.

After that we went to a few stores. I can’t miss goodwill half off day, ha. I always find the best stuff at the one by my house. This time a phonics kit brand new in the box. I’m going to try it with Josh since he clearly hates what I am using now.

Saturday’s is the last day before Joe goes back to work and it always feels like winding down. I make a special dinner, we play some games, and go to bed earlier since Joe has to wake up at 4.30am.

With our homeschool science fair coming up, we tried out some of our experiments.. Like a marshmallow shooter with yogurt cup and balloons.

I know it’s been a full day when kids start to fall asleep around 5pm like this.

Have a great rest of the weekend and enjoy church tomorrow wherever you are!