Saturday, March 21, 2015

Starting a New Chapter

First, I want to thank everybody for reading my blog and supporting me. Second, I am writing this because I am changing my blog to Creations by Leah Inspired to promote my wood art. I don't even know what to call it yet! It started out as name signs on wood, and I have recently stretched myself and it has become something I love, and feel like I can do more with.

I found my happy place! Between working for Lifebushido (AKA Best Agent Business), homeschooling, and working on my new art on wood adventure, I just don't have time for my blog.

Again, I appreciate you all sticking with me through my inactivity. I would love if you stayed with me while I change. Here is a link to my new Facebook page and here is a link to my Etsy page

Please stop by and visit me. If you see something you like, let me know. I love feedback!  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Chef's Wife

Do you know a Chef?  Do you know a Chef's wife?  It sounds like the best job a husband can have! And the wife, well she should be thrilled to have a husband who cooks delicious food, and has a great job!

Think again!  

I am a Chef's wife. Let me tell you, it is a hard job! Yes, my husband cooks awesome food. No, I do not get to taste it very often!

I have a great husband, and this is in no way an attack on him, but let me tell you a little about being a Chef's wife. First of all, a Chef cannot just "ask for a day off." Not how it works. They are the head of the kitchen, and if there is business, they cannot just "take the day off". So what this means for friends and family of a Chef: don't get upset that they can't be at your party or event. The wife will be there with the kids to show her support. 

As head of the kitchen the Chef is responsible for filling in wherever and whenever needed. Calls at 4am, 7am, 9pm, or anytime really is NORMAL, and to be expected by a Chef's wife. And don't be surprised if when he hangs up the phone the words "I have to go in" comes out of his mouth! Be prepared to cancel any and all plans you made for his supposed to be day off.

Holidays do NOT get celebrated on the actual holiday. My husband and I have been together for 14 years and I can count on one hand how many holidays we actually celebrated on the right day. People like to eat out on holidays, so he has to be there to support his staff, show them that he will work right beside them, and that they are not the only ones who are not with their families on the holiday. If the restaurant is closed for the holiday, you might see him, but he might have to go in and do inventory or prepare for a party the next day.

Your kids will want to be Chefs. This is not a bad thing, but a fact. Our boys are constantly "making fish orders" on their pretend phones, cooking up awesome cuisines, and my 2 year old told my 6 year old yesterday "pass me the chicken stock" when they were cooking at their play kitchen. They know kitchen terms, and the correct names for kitchen appliances and tools. The boys go to work with daddy to help with prep and wear their chef's hats and aprons to be just like daddy. They will definitely know the meaning of hard work, and will have no illusions of what being a chef really means.

Expect to never see your husband. If it is the busy season he might go 3 weeks without a day off. And it isn't a 9 to 5 job. Depending on the restaurant, he might go in as early as 9am and not get home until after midnight. This is normal! And don't expect multiple calls throughout the day to chat with him or tell him about your day. This will not happen, and most times I don't hear from him until after the dinner rush around 10pm. He really can't chat or text when he is elbow deep in fish, or with a line of tickets in front of him. As for days off during the off season...well he might get one a week. The way it works is that he needs to cut his staff in the off season, and because he is on salary, he needs to pick up the slack and work the stations that he no longer has staff for because he had to cut them for the budget. So no matter the season, you might see him 1 day a week, but don't make any major day-off plans because he might get a call at 4am from his fry cook.

Being a Chef's wife isn't an easy job, and being a Chef isn't either! So if you like going to events by yourself, having only the kids to keep you company during dinner, having to cook everything all the time, never seeing your husband, celebrating holidays on non-holiday days, getting woken up at all hours of the night by the phone, and not being able to make any real plans, then a Chef is the perfect husband for you!

So if you know a Chef's wife, maybe come over her house for dinner sometime so she can have some company; come over for coffee and some conversation one day; or just give her a call so she can talk to somebody besides the kids! The next time you invite them to an event, don't be upset that the Chef couldn't make it. And remember next time you go out to eat that the people in the kitchen have probably been there all day so that you can have a good meal. Go easy on them.

Anybody else a Chef's wife? Ever want to start a Chef's Wives Support Group?  What can you add to the list?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Homeschooling Your Way!

I am totally new to this homeschooling thing being I've only done it since September. I have been having a lot of doubting thoughts like Am I doing it right? Am I doing enough? Why is my kid not doing this or that yet? Do I have to force subjects on them they don't want to learn right now?

I talked to a good friend of mine and she gave me some good advice. Make up your mind to not compare yourself to other people and their kids. 

At first I was thinking "I don't do that!" And then I thought more about it and realized I do it without even realizing it!  It's hard to stop wanting your kid to be the best. It's hard to feel like you aren't meeting up to the "standards".  

But you know what? You are the only one who knows yourself and your kids. You are the only one who can set their standards. Of course, depending where you are, you will have required educational standards. But that doesn't mean you need to go above and beyond those. Nor does it mean that just because your friend's kid is writing cursive, and dissecting frogs that your kid is ready. Or that your kid even wants to do that. 

Remember why you are homeschooling. One of my reasons is the freedom to teach him what he wants to learn about. Right now he wants to learn about the moon and butterflies. I bet there are some kids his age who don't have any interest in that. The same way he doesn't have any interest in biology. Every kid is different, and every parent teaches differently.

None of those ways are wrong!

Have faith in yourself, and think long and hard about where you want your kids to be, and make it happen.  You are the one in control, and it is ok to make mistakes, and to not be sure where to go from here. You are not alone in that boat! I don't think anybody knows everything.  And that is OK!!

I hope you find your Homeschooling Way, and look past everybody else. You and your kids are the ones that matter, and you decide what is best for them without comparing yourself and them to others.

What is your favorite part of homeschooling?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Kindergarten Homeschooling

In September I kind of threw myself into the world of homeschooling. I jumped into a small co-op, field trips, and anything I could find. I have since realized I need more structure in my days and my priorities needed to change. 

From September to December my days were filled with a whole bunch of nothing. I felt like I was doing 1000 things but really not getting anywhere. I didn't have a written lesson plan, no goals, and since I was told by many people "it's just kindergarten, it's more important that they just play", I wasn't making school a priority. 

All of that changed over the holidays. I was talking to a friend of mine and I was telling her how I felt like I wasn't doing my son any justice and I didn't know if I should follow the "it's just kindergarten" input I've received. She said "think of it this way, it's not JUST kindergarten, it's his first year of school."  You know what?  She was totally right!  

Why am I going to essentially hold him back?  He's excited about learning, he absorbs everything, and he's smart. Who am I to say "it's just kindergarten?" 

I am not saying playing isn't important, but us doing all if our lessons, minus crafts and games, takes about a total of 30-45 minutes out of the whole day. And that is doing language arts, math, Spanish, a unit study, and added reading throughout the day. And intentional playing is just as good as unguided playing. They get plenty of both. 

I am learning a lot about my teaching style and his learning style. I am learning a lot about how much is too much for us, and how to pick a topic and stick with it. I want him to learn so much, and he's so interested in everything that it is hard for me to pick and stick with something. 

I have found that they both love for me to read out loud to them. I'm talking real and informative books. We started "The Story of the World" not too long ago and they love it. They want it read after dinner, during bath, and pretty much any time they are playing quietly. And it's a history book!  

I find that if I use the read aloud time to read other topics other than what we are studying it helps his curiousity and still gives him good, true facts. 

A friend of mine, who just graduated her oldest son, suggested a simple weekly schedule. Cover the bases you want to cover, decide how often you will have school, and don't put specific days on your schedule. I put a date range, a week, to keep me on track but it is nice not feeling like I missed things because I didn't do them that day. Life happens, interests change, and we try to make everything a learning experience. 

I am still tweaking things, but I think I am on the right track!  What does your day look like?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reflecting on 2014

It has been awhile since I have posted anything, and I am sorry for that, but unfortunately my time has been in high demand. I guess it is a good thing because I have gotten more hours working from home with Lifebushido, and I get to stay home with my 2 very active boys who keep me on my toes!

With it being New Year's Eve I decided to reflect on this past year and list some things that I have learned. I feel like I have changed a lot as a person and have taken on challenges and hurts that I never thought I would.

The first and most important thing that I realized this year is that everything does not work as planned. I have never ever thought of homeschooling. I have never been interested in it, and I always thought that when it was time to take them to school, off they would go. All of that changed when it came time to put Z in school! I was literally filling out the paperwork for enrollment, had already taken him for his physical, and I just couldn't do it. My husband works crazy hours, and honestly public school scares me. We made the split decision to try it out for Kindergarten and see how it goes. So far it has been great! He gets to see Daddy every day in the mornings until about noon, and we found an awesome small co-op group that has been great to be a part of. The kids all get along and are around the same ages, and I am currently looking into a PE class and other co-op opportunities. Hubby and I have decided that if Z passes his tests at the end of the year, we will probably homeschool again next year.

The next thing I learned is that some things just don't last forever, and it is OK to walk away. I have had a very difficult family situation that has been really going on my whole life. It took me having kids of my own to really understand the depth of things and that nothing will ever change. In order for me to protect myself and my kids, I had to make a difficult decision. People that I thought were a very large and special part of my life decided that they would remove me from their lives. It is unfortunate that this happened, but I have a lot of people in my life who would never ever even consider cutting me and my kids out of their lives without even telling me why. As sad, and as hard as it has been for me, it is what is best for me and my family and I cannot imagine them doing this when my kids are old enough to understand. Sometimes letting go is the best thing, even if it is the hardest.

One more thing I learned was that I don't need to keep everything!  I tend to keep knick knacks and toys, and crafts, and pretty much anything that I might one day need!  A good friend informed me that I do not need to keep everything and that it will make me crazy if I do. She was totally right. I have been clearing out and cleaning up and it feels great to have less clutter everywhere. It is not perfect, but my house is actually getting organized!

Something that I already knew, but became really aware of recently is my disorganization and lack of time management. I am terrible with figuring out how to manage my time and most of my time I spend looking for stuff because I am so disorganized.  It is terrible! I am really working towards being better with time management. So far I have set up 'work hours' that will be the times I spend in the office at home working. I have set up a google calendar to try to keep my work, and Z's school stuff organized and actually written down.

And last but not least, I have found out that asking for help is a good thing. I have been in therapy since my family issues started, and it has been so helpful. My therapist is great and gives me tips on how to deal with the situation. She also helps me understand why the kids act how they do sometimes, and how to handle those situations. It has been a great help in keeping my cool, and getting the boys to listen without having to yell.

All in all, I think I have grown a lot this past year. I also think I have learned a lot about myself and am focused on making myself the best I can be and letting go of things I cannot change, even if it's hard.

What have you learned in 2014?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teaching Kids About Gift Giving

Do your kids like to give gifts for Christmas?  My 5 year old loves to give gifts. It makes him very proud to do it. We do multiple crafts so a lot of our gifts are homemade.  He decided that he wants to buy gifts too.

I don't believe in handing my kids everything, and I feel like if they want to buy gifts for people then he should earn money to do that. I think it is great that he is thinking of others, but I also feel like teaching him now about money will prevent problems for him in the future in regards to his finances. I think it also teaches him responsibility and that things don't happen immediately, and that sometimes you have to save up and wait for what you want.

So I asked him who all he wanted to give gifts to. We made a list, and then we went back through it and wrote down who he wants to buy something for and who he wants to make something for. It ended up that there were only a select few he wants to buy gifts for. We established a budget of $20, and he is planning on doing chores to reach his goal.

We are making a graph to chart his progress.  After we were done planning he said "Mommy, if I have extra money after buying everybody their gifts I will be able to buy extra gifts for them!"

I think I am doing something right...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Homemade Table Tent

If you have boys, you know that tents are the funnest thing in the world to them!  One day I was browsing Facebook and came across a picture of a tent that went over a table.  I thought "wow, the boys would LOVE that, if only I could sew!"

So I emailed my mother-in-law the picture (AKA Grammie).  She can most definitely sew.  She said it wouldn't be a problem and she got to work.  I wish I could tell you how she made it, but I have no idea!  All I know is that it is one of the boys' favorite things.

It has 5 windows, all with screens.  Each window cover can be rolled up and held open with velcro straps.  The door opens up also, and there are 2 mailboxes and the boys beg me to put mail in them frequently!

All in all it is a great invention, and they will play in there forever.  They have push lights under it and always ask to eat lunch in their tent.  If you know somebody who can sew, I suggest you get them to make you one!