A Spoonful of Sugar

Making every day life as a mom just a little bit sweeter.

My Big Fat Plans March 3, 2011

Filed under: Homeschooling,Juicy Little Mommy Tidbits,Oh My!,Parenting 101,Teenagers! — Janine Chance @ 6:09 pm

Ok, so I won’t go on and on about how I haven’t blogged….

life changed….things were hard…blah, blah, blah…love me or hate me, I’m here now. Enough said.


During my ‘absence’ a new development took place in the Chance household.

My oldest daughter, (now 13…holy toledo ‘I’m feeling old-ER’) is going to a local Christian school.

Yes, me, the die-hard home school mom actually agreed to this preposterous plan. Hmm.

Sometimes I wonder about myself.

Actually…it’s been the best thing for her.

Not necessarily the best thing for ME, but like I’ve always told you guys….



I so wish it was!

However, I started noticing that she was losing her ‘joy’……

not good for a 13 yr. old girl whose middle name should’ve been Joy.

Here’s the story.

She came to me in mid October and stated that she’d been praying for months about going to school.

She said she was praying about whether it was just because she wanted to be there,

or if God wanted her to go.

She also talked about being ‘bored’ and that is practically a cuss word for a home school mom.

How do you argue with that? Not very successfully, obviously.

After many talks, including one where I told her she needed to ‘do her homework’.

She needed to talk to a panel of her peers and find out the good, the bad, and the ugly about both sides.

Home schooling verses Christian school.

I also told her she needed to obtain wise council from adults that she knew and trusted

and that knew her….her pick.

I thought that was fair..to her and to me.

(No, I didn’t sabotage the process…although I was tempted!)

She had already talked to her dad who of course stayed ‘kinda’ neutral.

He was ‘for’ her going, but understands the purpose behind home schooling.

Alot of help he was…kidding.

So, my incredibly motivated, determined, smart, sweet,

and absolutely integrious 13 year old first born girl did what she does best.

Exactly what I told her to do.

I was impressed with who she chose to draw her guidance from….not biased…very honest and fair.

Within 2 days, she had made all of her phone calls, made all of her lists, and presented me with her case.

Of course, all the while I was praying…..after all, what’s a mom to do?

Ok, I admit it, I prayed WHILE doing the laundry, and the dishes, and the…..well, you get the point.

The result? I had more peace about her going to school than I care to say.

After all, MY plan…my BIG FAT PLAN was to ‘home school my kids all the way through school….

to go on amazing field trips and make school so absolutely incredible

that my kids would never want it any other way………….’


Needless to say, Kaitlyn started Christian school in November, uniform and all.

She made the A honor roll, and a 4.0 GPA her first semester there, cheering,

all the while still keeping up with her ministerial obligations at church.

Oh, and not short of that, my girlie made

Homecoming Queen for the 7th grade only 2 months into it.

Go figure.


Totally kidding.

So, who was I to get in the way? The mom who says it’s ‘my way or the highway’?

I always promised God, my husband and my children that

I would have an open spirit to what God wants for them….including school.

The result? A much happier 13 year old girl….much happier….which makes me happy….

even though I still cry about it every day.

Well, almost every day.

I miss her. Terribly.

But, like I’ve been told…it’s a part of life.

I still feel peace through my tears, though, and that’s what’s important.

Life takes turns, mama.

That’s why you should always wear your seat belt and have your hands at 10 and 2.

You never know when that curve is gonna come.

So, my ‘big fat plans’ changed……what else is new?

Here’s my girl as ‘Homecoming Queen for 7the Grade’ 2010.

Think she needs a paci?

……maybe not so much, mama.

Thanks for listening.


May Moving Madness~In the Midst of Chaos…Success! 2 for 200 May 21, 2010

Filed under: Calling all bloggers!,Homeschooling,May Moving Madness! — Janine Chance @ 9:14 am

I had posted awhile back about my very first blogging award. It was so amazing to think that someone actually read my blog…and LIKED it! Enough to actually think of me when they had the opportunity to hand out an award! Well, with the month of May being pretty crazy over here because of moving and having my home turned upside-down, I didn’t really think my blog was going to be as ‘exciting’…you know, me being kinda distracted and all.

Well, I went online late last night (after packing until I had about broken every nail on both hands), and lo-and-behold…I received TWO Blog Awards!!!! Can you even stand it? An amazing, accomplished woman named J.B. Vadeboncoeur from Purplume’s Blog awarded me with not one, but TWO awards yesterday! You can read about just a few of her accomplishments here. I am so honored to be on her blogroll, and that she thinks enough of my writing to recognize it with an award!

So Ms. Vadeboncoeur, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! It really means a lot and you have really made my day!

Here are the awards that I won:


So cool!

Tomorrow I will be awarding other bloggers with these awards, and sharing the rules and details with you.

I know, to some of you master bloggers out there, it’s nothin’ but a thing. But me? I THINK IT’S AWESOME! In my own little blogging world, it does make me feel fantastic that someone out there in bloggyland actually gets something out of my heartfelt posts! I never thought I would love writing as much as I do.

Here’s my story:

I only started blogging about 3 and a half months ago. My very best friend, Robyn, who I so endearingly call Charlie, is the one who got this blog train rolling. You really need to check out her website, Vivevita.com! She’s a Mompreneur of 9 children with some really rockin’ good products. She’s smart, talented, beautiful, kind, and well, just an amazing person! Love her!

Anyway, My girls and I threw our schoolbooks in the car and took a trip to see her at the end of January, as we so often do. (Reason # 697 why I love home schooling!) Altogether, we have 12 kids between our two families. My oldest is 12, and her youngest is 10 months old, so you can just imagine the excitement, much less the noise level that accompanies our time together. However, we love it and wouldn’t trade our time together for anything. One of the best parts is that our husbands feel the same way…BONUS! We have the absolute most incredible friendship, so when she started talking to me about this whole blogging thing, I had to at least listen.

She said to me, “Charlie, (BTW…she calls me Charlie, too. Weird, I know, I’ll explain some other time) you have GOT to start blogging! You would be so perfect! You would do so great!” Even now, I can hear her sweet little sleepy voice convincing me. (Sleepy because the baby was only 5 1/2 months old at the time) “I don’t know, Charlie…” I said so not convinced, “I don’t even READ blogs! Why in the world would I ever write one? I’m not a writer! No one would read my stuff!” But Charlie was not relenting… “C’mon…how many people have told you that you need to write a book? They would so read your blog! I would read your blog!! You have too much to share, and can put it in words we can so relate to! You can do it!”

Then her husband Dave started in…and if you think Charlie (Robyn) can be convincing, you should hear her husband. If he weren’t a doctor, he could so pass for a motivational speaker…(and his homemade roasted coffee is the bomb! That’s another story…) So, I told them I would think about it, and I came home.

So I came home, signed onto WordPress.com, and wrote my very first post on January 21, 2010. It was short but sweet, and honestly I thought it would be my last. I had myself convinced that I was not a writer, so why in the world would anyone, in this vast blogging universe, want to read about what I think?

Well, that wasn’t my last post, and to date, I have people in 54 countries who have read, are reading, or at least are visiting my blog. How cool is that!? Giving myself heirs? No way…I laugh at the thought. I have to write it to believe it myself. Am I as popular as some of the amazing blogs out there? Nope… not even close. But I found that as I sat in front of my computer three and a half months ago, everything that I had wanted to share with every exhausted mom I saw in Wal-Mart began to pour out into my hard drive. I’m not brilliant, I’m not a genius, I will never claim to be perfect, and I could write you a book on my shortcomings that would hold up the end of your coffee table, but I love being a mom, I have amazing kids and an incredible husband. That’s got to count for something.

So, those of you who read my rantings, thank you. And to my dear friend Charlie, thank you.

This is my 200th post….and I received two awards from a writer today.

As insignificant as it may seem to some, I feel accomplished today.

That’s my little success story, and I’m stickin’ to it.


Giggle of the Day! April 23, 2010

Filed under: Giggle of the Day,Homeschooling,Laughing out Loud — Janine Chance @ 4:00 am

I gave my 7 yr. old a spelling quiz today.

One of her words was ‘ahead’.

I said, “Ahead…..’The girl ran ahead of her mom at the park,’… ahead,”

as always, saying the word, using it in a sentence, then saying it again.

She looked at me, and said. “That’s not a good one.”

I said, “Oh c’mon…that’s not such a hard word! You can spell that one! Just try.”

“No,” she said, “I mean she shouldn’t run ahead of her mom when they’re out at the park! That’s not good!”

Gotta love a kid with a conscience… and, gotta love home-schooling!

This all occurred on the couch, cuddled up in our favorite blankies!

Ok… as great as that sounds?

{{{{{Only 21 more school days until we pack away the school books and plan our days at the beach and the pool!}}}}}

…but who’s counting?

Uh, that would be me!  Oh yeah, baby!

This post is linked to Feel Good Friday at thegirlnextdoorgrowsup.com


The School Monkey’s Ride is Comin’ to an End! April 15, 2010

Kaitlyn bustin' out the Daily Grams!

One of the beautiful things about home-schooling is that we can operate a lot like Burger King. For the most part, you can ‘Have it your way’. Some families school all year, some don’t. Some un-school. You can home-school on a shoestring budget if you have to (in which I’ve been blessed with plenty of experience), or you can go for it and get all of the really cool stuff that’s out there (which I’ve also been blessed with). How you go about it is based mostly on your personality type, I think, anyway.

Me? I’m the home-schooler who likes to finish each book to the end. I know, some of you are thinking…’what a psycho!’…or that maybe I just suffer with OCD. Neither of those thoughts are completely accurate. I just think if you can finish, why not? I mean, we do pay for the books, right? We are on our own schedule, right? We do still pay taxes even though our kids don’t attend public school, RIGHT? So why would we leave the last 7 pages of knowledge building, personally chosen, educational nuggets of wisdom BLANK if we don’t have to?!?! *Breath taken here*

Disclaimer: NO, I’m not saying if you leave pages blank you’re a terrible home-schooler. I, myself, have done it. I can let go, when necessary.

On average, our school year usually starts in mid to late August and goes through until the end of May/beginning of June. We continue through the summer with a light math and reading schedule, just so our brains don’t go to mush. I take advantage of rainy days where the beach isn’t really an option and we’re needing a break from the sun anyway.

We do fun projects and student chosen book studies just to stay in the ‘learning groove’. This is a time where

Madelyn carefully reading her instructions for Language Arts!

the only ‘required reading’ is what they choose to read!

We will be officially moved on June 5th, so I scoured all of the girls’ books last week to see where we were at in each subject, and when we would be done. All three of the girls will be completely finished with all curriculum by May 21st! Yay us! They are finishing different subjects at various times over the next month, but after May 21st, I get to put the ‘monkey’ in it’s cage! That will give us a week to finish packing without having to feed the primate! Oh, I can just smell it! (I’m so glad it’s a virtual monkey cage)

McKenna taking one of her last practice Spelling tests for the year!

I know, I know, you’re never ‘behind’ when you’re home-schooling, but for me, knowing I can pack away the 2009/2010 school books, send in my final report cards to the state, and move without that ‘school monkey’ on my back is an amazing feeling! We can take the time we need to unpack, set up at our new house, (which by the way, we found out JUST YESTERDAY that we secured…YIPEEE!) and start our summer stuff when we’re rested and ready! We can take our reading poolside!

I am SO thankful to be a home-schooling mama!

What are your questions about home-schooling? I’m not perfect, but I may be able to help!

Leave your question in the comment section. I’d love to share what I know with you!

This post is linked to :

and  Gratituesday


Home Economics Students Shine! April 14, 2010

Filed under: Home Ec Happenings!,Homeschooling,Teenagers! — Janine Chance @ 6:26 am

I had a very specific topic of instruction for my Home Economics students this week.

Not just for their benefit… it’s for their moms, their future wives, and husbands… an invaluable lesson.

Someday, they’ll thank me for it…I hope.

It’s my job as the instructor to provide the opportunity to learn.

This is how it went down:

Warning : The images you are about to see may be extremely disturbing for SAHM’s.

They are not for the faint at heart. Proceed with caution…and coffee.

Yes, my girls and I made the mess….on purpose. It was extremely difficult.

I still shudder at the thought…making the mess, and walking away. Gulp. It was a sacrifice, but worth it.

The lesson begins…

Folding their towels and aprons…organizing their bins…

Look at it sparkle! Ahh, yes, the look of ultimate satisfaction! They’re getting it!

I didn’t know cleaning could be so much fun! (Yes, those are my words, not his.)

The end result, summed up:


In the end, they proved to me once again, that these awesome teenagers are capable of getting the job done.

Great job, guys!

Give them a round of applause!

This post was linked to Wordless Wednesday at 5minutesformom.com and Wordful Wednesday at sevenclowncircus.com.


Extra Extra! Read all about it! March 9, 2010

Kaitlyn and Madelyn tearin' it up on their ripsticks!

A lot of people think that when you home-school you have to miss out on extra-curricular activities for your kids. So not true! Since I have been a home-school mom, I have always felt it was extremely important to make sure my kids got P.E., music, art, and other courses that they would have gotten in a public school setting. These are just some of the ways we’ve made it possible for our family:

Physical Education:

McKenna getting in her 30 minutes on the treadmill...

Now, this is what we’ve been doing recently, because we live in a small town without a lot of options for sports teams, etc.

When it was possible, they participated in soccer, and took dance, which gave them great opportunities to work well with other kids their age.

Different times in life call for different activities. We just roll with it!

When the weather is permitting, I kick them out of the house and require a certain amount of time be spent on their bikes, scooters, ripsticks, or other cardio activities of their choice. Getting time in the sun is extremely important, too, since schooling around the table doesn’t supply much vitamin D!

Home Economics:

Madelyn cleaning onions from the garden...

Kaitlyn bustin' out the laundry!

I’ve said it before, cooking is a lost art in today’s society, for the most part. I have always tried to instill in my girls the importance of knowing how to grow, pick, prepare, and cook food. I just think it’s important. We started a garden last year, and the girls were a big part of it. It was great! Whenever possible, I involve them in the dinner-making process, besides having times when I teach them individually how to use different kitchen tools, or cooking methods.

I teach a home-economics class on Tuesdays in my home for 9th-12th grade kids, and allow my girls to help and be a part of

Madelyn took this picture with her mad photography skills...also extra-curricular!

that as well. They are the ‘junior sous chefs’!

I tell them all the time…”You don’t have to love it, you just have to learn how to do it. If you and your husband someday choose to eat out every night, that’s your prerogative, but it won’t be because I didn’t teach you how to cook!”

McKenna making her fave...chocolate chip cookies!

I also think it’s important for them to learn how to run a household and keep up with every day chores. Allowing them to realize how gross it is to find bunched up, dirty socks in the hamper, or letting them see that cleaning up their room and throwing clean clothes in the hamper only makes for MORE LAUNDRY! Ugh!

It gives them a feeling of ownership in the home and allows them to take a little more pride in their surroundings.



The Why… March 3, 2010

I so enjoy home-schooling my girls. No, it’s not because I am a glutton for punishment and love to add extra work to my day by marking papers, giving spelling tests, re-learning the division of fractions and having my dining room look like it’s having an identity crisis. It’s because of this:

Spelling Tests! (Notice the bottle of Tums...who said it was perfect?)

McKenna’s Reading Class

Kaitlyn, Madelyn and McKenna participating in Home Ec…with our friend, Hannah!

These are merely just small examples of why we do the thing we do…and love it!

Have a question about home-schooling or curriculum? Post it under ‘leave a comment’!


Stop, Look, and Listen! March 1, 2010

I have a really bad habit of half-listening to my kids. Part of the reason for that is that we home-school, so they are with me 24/7, and they talk to me ALL DAY LONG! Especially my 7-year-old. She is definitely my chatty Kathy. I often tell her to breathe, for fear of her passing out due to lack of oxygen going into her lungs and the excess going out. (I only have myself to blame for that one…I myself could talk the hind leg off a horse!)
All three of my girls are funny, energetic little people, and I really enjoy who they are, but sometimes I feel like all that comes out of my mouth with all three of them is “uh-huh…yeah…wow”, but with very little excitement or enthusiasm. I get preoccupied and just listen, instead of really hearing them.

I noticed this the other day, and it bothered me. I don’t want to get to the point someday when my kids are all grown up, have families of their own, and I have regrets. I don’t want them growing up thinking that I am ‘too busy’ for them. Yes, I talk to my kids all day, but am I showing them that I am really interested in what they’re saying?

Really hearing our kids takes energy. Not because you don’t love them, or because you don’t care, or they don’t talk loud enough. It’s because a lot of their topics of conversation don’t particularly interest us. When they’re telling us about the latest ‘Sweet Life of Zack and Cody’ episode, we’re not always waiting on baited breath to hear how it ended. It may not be on the top of the list, but we still need to be attentive. Now I’m not saying that we have to stop everything we are doing, drop it all to sit in front of them like a groupie, but I know for myself, I need to stop, look and listen. Stop humoring their conversation, look at them, which shows them I’m giving them my attention, and listen to what they have to say and respond accordingly. I want to be their best audience! Even if it means telling them to ‘hold that thought’, until I can be completely attentive.

We hear all the time that ‘communication is the key’…well, communication goes both ways. I certainly expect their undivided attention when I am speaking to them, so I think it’s only fair to do the same, don’t you think? It shows them respect, and keeps those lines of communication wide open. It’s just another example of preventative maintenance. Being good listeners as moms gives the best example of how they can learn to do the same. You just never know what you might miss if you’re not really listening! Today, it may be about a Polly Pocket, or a Transformer, or about the latest Zack and Cody episode, but someday, it’ll be about a boy or girl they met, and we certainly wouldn’t want to give an inattentive ‘wow, really..uh.huh’ kind of response to that one because we weren’t really hearing them! Or even worse, because we haven’t listened all along, which translated to them means we just don’t care, they’d rather just text their friend about it. Yikes! That new episode of Zack and Cody is sounding pretty exciting right about now!


Giggle of the Day! February 26, 2010

This is so cute! From an awesome friend and reader in Va. Thanks Jamie!

When Noah (now 14) was 3 years old we were talking about how his brother Hunter had asked Jesus into his heart. He told me he wanted to go to heaven too!!! So the three of us got down on our knees and prayed the sinners prayer.

After we were done I told him, “Noah, you’re gonna be in heaven with Jesus!” He just smiled. Then I asked him what he was going to do when he got there? He said, “I’m going to beat up the soldiers that where standing guard at the tomb!”


Just say ‘NOPE’! February 25, 2010

Nope. It’s really as simple as that. Let me ‘splain… (Explain) I have an arsenal of trust built up with my kids. They trust that I have their best interest in mind; they trust that I love them like crazy, and they trust that I tell them the truth…even when I tell them that there will be consequences for certain actions. They trust that I will do what I say I will do. No gray areas.

The lack of gray in our lives has allowed us to communicate in an extremely black and white, clear-cut, simple way. I use one very powerful word…NOPE.

When I walk past their room and hear them arguing over toys, or whatever, I simply peek my head in, shake my head, and just say, “Nope.” It’s like magic! The arguing stops and I’ll tell you why.

It’s not because I am this super, all-powerful person, the world’s most amazing mom, or that my kids are the epitome of obedience. And no, it is not because of all of the times that I have said to them, “If you argue over that Barbie accessory, I will take it and give it away.”

It’s because I’ve done it. Done what, you ask? I FOLLOWED THROUGH. Very important! Muy importante! Très important! Get it? I actually GAVE THE BARBIE SHOES AWAY! I did the unthinkable! I have actually put brand new toys in the trash can, and in the yard sale bin! (With a sick stomach, I might add!) It’s not easy, but we have to follow through, Mom! Be consistent. It’s really as simple as that.

No matter how hard it is to give that toy away, or see them cry because you sent them to bed early, or watch them mope around because they are not allowed to go to the sleepover.

(NOTE: I have also done the opposite…meaning NOT followed through, so I’m telling you from experience, it doesn’t work. It bites you in the end, I promise.)

I don’t always say or do things as a mom as calm, cool, and collected as I want to. I have my ‘Calgon, take me away’ days, for sure. However, I do know that the reason I am still sane today is because of consistency.

Don’t threaten what you can’t deliver! I have heard parents in the grocery store say to their 3 yr. old, “If you don’t sit down, I’m going to take you out of this cart and leave you here by yourself!” Ok, let’s be realistic. You aren’t really going to leave your 3 yr. old at the grocery store alone because they stood up in the cart. If you are, then maybe that 3 yr. old would be better off! Oh, and if you really aren’t going to throw away your teenager’s $200.00 cell phone if they don’t get off of it, don’t tell them you will. Tell them you will make it your $200.00 cell phone. That would be a major mommy bonus! You catch my drift.

I have told my girls that I would give their things away, or make their bedtimes earlier if they didn’t change the behavior they were displaying, and they know I mean business. No empty threats here, ladies! I can’t afford it. Empty threats make for a miserable day for me, and I don’t intend on living my life in misery.

You’ve all heard it…”Spare the rod, spoil the child.” What’s your rod? We’re not always talking physical discipline, but whatever the rod, don’t spare it! Say what you mean, and mean what you say. The first time you don’t follow through with a threat of discipline, you have just set the precedent, and it’s so hard to go back…not impossible, just a whole lot harder. I vote for preventative maintenance!

So, I am now at the place with my kids where I can just say NOPE.

When I see my 7 yr. old carry a plate of crackers toward the living room…nope! When I see my 12 yr. old texting her friend while we are about to sit down to dinner as a family…nope! When my 10 year old goes to walk out of her room after changing clothes and leaves a cotton tornado behind…nope!

Ah, yes, four beautiful little letters which make up an amazingly clear path of communication. Just say NOPE!