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2008 December » Philoxenos

Philoxenos

Tightening the proverbial belt

3rd December 2008

Tightening the proverbial belt

On Monday several people were laid off at my husband’s office. It’s a financial services company and, like many other financial institutions, they are having to tighten their belts. The company is still doing very well, but over the last couple of years they have grown quickly and now they need to make sure that they are still doing what’s in the best interest for a healthy company. This means making some very tough choices. Although it’s a business decision it’s a decision that involves people and their lives. These are people that my husband worked with daily. In some cases he knows their spouses and the names of their children. When he came home last night after a very emotionally charged day, he was kind of worn out. His prayer at dinner was very simple - “Thank you Lord that I still have a job. Amen. ”

We aren’t worried about him losing his job. It’s highly unlikely because of the kind of position he has. However, it has made us somewhat adverse to spending money unnecessarily! But as we are thinking about Christmas we have been encouraged by the fact that we won’t have to make any changes in what we’re spending because we spend so little in the first place. I make most of our gifts and I buy all year long in order to do that so it’s not like I have to go out and spend $200 in order to get what I need.

So we thank God for His Provision.  We have a warm house. We have a car that runs dependably. Gas prices have dropped drastically (we’re down to below $1.70/gallon). We have a freezer and pantry full of food that I’ve bought at rock bottom prices over the last few months. And for the time being Handsome has a job. As I said we don’t think this will change, but this situation has helped us to think even more about what we believe God has been asking us to do.  More on that tomorrow!

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3rd December 2008

Am I an unschooler?

Unschooling is a homeschooling term for a method of education that doesn’t rely on a set of curriculum but is entirely child led. Usually refers to families that don’t have a schedule of when they’re going to study what subject. What they study is determined by the child’s interests. The idea being that ‘learning to love learning’ is the most valuable aspect of homeschooling so don’t squelch it with too many ‘to-do’s’.

Well, I think we’ve gotten the math book out once in the last week. And actually I can’t find the math workbook at the moment. But we spent a lot of time counting Snickers bars yesterday when we were doing some baking. And we worked on telling time when she wanted to know how much time she had left before she could get off her bed from quiet time.

And we’ve not really been working on handwriting that much either lately. But she did do some writing when she wrote a story to accompany the pictures that she had drawn. And she was learning how to use the keyboard to type words she knew when a visiting friend was working with her on his laptop.

We do read lots of stories out loud. And Precious is spending more and more of her own time reading books. Last night she read our Bible story and this morning she wouldn’t come eat breakfast until she had finished her Bible story, so she’s getting lots of reading practice. Oh, and she reads her way through the grocery store, reading all the propaganda signs, telling me that we need to buy such and such because the sign says so!

Do I feel bad because we don’t really work to a schedule? Well… kinda. The thing is, Precious is soaking up information so quickly that every time I set a new schedule I have to throw it out the window in about a week because she just shoots ahead of me. I recently looked through the kindergarten standards for the State of California to see what they think she should have learned by the time kindergarten is over. She had met all those standards by November. I told my dad and said, jokingly, that I guess I can quit teaching until next August! He frowned for some reason.

It’s because of this that I’m not worried. I know that at some point we’ll probably need to add a bit more structure, but with a house full of little people I’m not going to stress about it. Most days I’m happy when we’ve all made it to lunchtime without the need for a bandaid.  Handsome and I are obeying God’s command to raise our children in God’s ways and that means that we sometimes spend more time in the day doing character training than working in a book. It’s all learning.

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2nd December 2008

Baking flops

This being the holiday season, I am doing a lot of baking. I rarely buy gifts for people, but I do like to give gifts that are homemade and baking fits the bill.

I was flipping through a Taste of Home magazine that my mom had and saw a cookie recipe that looked intriguing and I thought I’d give it a try. I kinda wish now that I had just kept on flipping, but then I wouldn’t have anything to blog about!

This recipe had three ingredients, which should have been my first clue. Basically it’s a bite-size Snickers bar wrapped in sugar cookie dough. Store bought sugar cookie dough. The kind that comes in a tube from the refrigerated section. Second clue should have been the fact that I don’t like store bought cookie dough.

Just a few minutes ago Precious and I ate our first cookie, fresh from the oven. Mediocre at best. Definitely will never make these again, nor will I be gifting these to anyone. And if I add up the cost of the dough and the Snickers, it comes to $4.50, which is way more than it would cost to make homemade cookies.

Lessons I’ve learned:

1.  Don’t ever buy store bought dough. I can always substitute homemade dough when it’s called for.

2.  Don’t try new, weird things for gifts. Stick with what I know.

3.  Don’t abandon being frugal! It works for me and has for years. I normally regret when I splash out on something food      related because I usually end up thinking that I could have made it better and cheaper from scratch.

So tell me some of your holiday baking flops! Make me feel better :)
3.

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