Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

I hope that all your houses are being as inundated with fattening, chocolately good candy as my house. Oh yes, DH will be carting part of the stash to work with him.

Today the public school system gave the children the day off from school so that they could stay home and annoy their parents with - "Can we go yet?" "I want some candy." And other holiday utterances. Me, being the mean mommy that I am, so no need to take yet another day off. So I cracked the whip, beat them into submission and forced a hard days labor out of my children.

Can't you tell....

When they begin to revolt against my authority, I decided a forced march through rough territory was in order...

And so that they would learn to respect where food comes from - made them gather their dinner...

Yes, tree bark with some moss and wild mushrooms is on the menu for tonight**.

** Of course we neither picked nor ate any wild mushrooms, tree bark or any other item found on the nature walk. **

And here are my little ones...

Doesn't MB look like Professor McGonagall. And K is a fairy princess.

Have a nice evening!!




It always takes my body time to adjust to the new time in the fall and spring. So I find myself up early this morning with only little EM for company. The other two I managed to keep up late enough last night to adjust their bedtime.

As things in other areas of my little world begin the calm, I am trying to refocus on the things in my life that need to take a priority - namely homeschool. I am ready for Fall Break to be over and to start building to some type of schedule again.

I love being flexible and relaxed. It allows me to be open to the girl's learning moments and moods. But it seems when we are too flexible and too relaxed other things around the house do not get done and I am just moody because I just can't find a lot of 'mommy' time to recharge.

Here are the programs we will be using for the 2nd Half of the Fall:

Horizons Grade 1 Math
SOTW Vol 1
My World Science: Woods
Little Book Devotion: Self-Esteem

Other things we don't use a 'set' curriculum for

Reading - whatever I can get MB to read aloud for me
Phonics - impropmtu white board lessons and various worksheets, Study Dog 1 (K) and Study Dog 2 (MB)
Writing - Various copywork projects, and lots of self-directed creative practice

So, I guess today I will begin again to set aside 2 hours every morning for focused school. This is the time I can make sure we do math, history and science each week. The rest of the day, will be relaxed and open to following the children and their various rabbit trails. The reading, phonics and writing always seem to be done during this period and on into bedtime.

This is the very routine we had fallen into earlier this Fall that I was so comfortable with, I am hoping that it will not take much to restart it.

I better go get the day started if I want to work on this routine.



Saturday, October 29, 2005

You Gotta Love Them

What A Day.

After staying up way too late discussing Christmas and Birthday presents with my mother, we were up bright and early this morning for another round in the yard. She finally left around 11:30 this morning, giving me time to figure out lunch and what we were going to do with the rest of our day. After lunch and an enormous blow-up by K because the girls who came around collecting food for the food bank couldn't stay and play with her, we decided to head out to the library and get the grocery shopping done. I tried to stall and wait for hubby to come home from work, but finally had to head out with all children in tow.

I am hoping that the next time we go to the library I do not see my family's picture on the wall of shame as persons non grata. EM decided that the library was a perfect time to practice her singing pitch, while K refused to stay with either MB or myself. Then as I was trying to rush through checking out the books, K kept trying to stamp EM with a return date.

When I got home from shopping hubby was home and told me that we were going over to his parent's for dinner since everyone was in town for the football game and it was his sister's birthday. There went my plans for a meeting by myself tonight, not to mention I have started dreading heading over there because I just do too many things different for them. The easy relationship I used to have with them has become strained because of school choices and church choices and ....

Honestly I just didn't want to hear it tonight after being so strained with my mother's visit, that I am sure I showed up in a very defensive posture. These past weeks have certainly been wearing on me and grace I did not have tonight. No, I probably didn't burn any bridges but I certainly didn't let things just roll off my back for the sake of peace either.

I can't remember if I mentioned it but this week we learned that our pastor and friend resigned from the church, feeling called to lead somewhere else. I kind of "knew" about this already and kind of "knew" where he was going so I have been preparing for it. In-laws think we should return to Dh's childhood church, a place I never felt comfortable or fed. Not to mention there are some BIG differences, in my mind, that really prevent my from feeling called to be there. I have never told DH where he has to go to church, being that he is rarely the church-going type. In fact I told him to feel free to go back - but I can't.

Anyway, this was brought up different ways several times and I was made to feel like I was doing something wrong. That if I was a *true* _______, it wouldn't make a difference how worship was conducted and that I should "toe the line" because DH and I are __________. Un-uh, I never signed up with a church because of the name on the sign outside. If the church is not the place I feel like I need to be with my family, I am not going to be there. Unfortunately, scenerioes like this remind me of what I so dislike about religion; and how religion has to some become more important than living faith.

When the church discussion became stale - education/school was hit on several times. Finally after it was brought up for the upteenth time about how will MB transition back into public school. I finally told them that I wasn't very worried about it, because I could care-less if she ever stepped foot in public school. That I wasn't interested in working her to the level of a public school education, that I wanted more for her and the other two. They are all aware that MB is working ahead (at almost a grade and a half) of her public school peers, and that she has always leveled out between 6 and 9 months ahead. That is why she was in pre-kindergarten at 3. Yet, they would rather me insert her into a Kindergarten classroom to sit and twiddle her thumbs for another year - because that is what one does.

I do not go out of my way to prove anything to my family about what we chose to do. I really do not care to. Leave me alone, and I will leave you alone. It is so much more important for DH and I to know that all the girls are moving along the continuum - no matter what pace they choose to do it. MB and K have very different movement styles in learning. K tends to be very slow, methodical with progress seeming to move like a glacier until all of a sudden she makes a huge leap forward, beyond whatever was expected. MB her movement tends to be steadily forward, with rare pauses for her brain to sort through all the new information.

Yes, we sat in reading purgatory for six months. The mechanics were there, but MB could not put it together. I fretted and I worried. I wondered what I had not done. But I dropped reading for awhile and we did other things and kept on learning. She kept cruising on the continuum through her math, science and history. Until finally reading has started to click for her. Other things may suffer for a little while as she exerts a lot of energy on reading development. That is okay - because it will even out in the end.

Now, how do you explain to people who very way of thinking depends upon acceptance and use of societal norms. They believe that the best place for a child is to sit in a classroom and fit in with those around them. Every child will catch up or learn to adapt their learning style to the 'greater' one being taught. So, I generally don't try. But like I said lack of grace in my attitude tonight.

Tomorrow will probably be another emotionally jerking day. The visit service since pastor announced his news. We are going to have a potluck after the service and eat as the family that we are. I have been so blessed by this church family, it is very hard knowing that in a few weeks we are going to be out like seedlings in many different places and that it won't be exactly the same family. Some of my close friends will stay with the existing church and try to keep in going, others will move on with the pastor, some will go to other churches and some may not go to church for awhile.



Friday, October 28, 2005


No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Life is going on, it really hasn't been that busy - just not a lot that I felt like writing about.

My mom was up this week, and has decided to stay on till tomorrow. She is working in my yard and it just isn't progressing as quickly as she likes. It cuts down on my computer time because the guest room is also the computer work.

We are adding a new program to the girls education - mommy's recovery. I have found a neat meeting that is very child friendly during the mornings. So about two times a week, we will probably attend. K and EM will play with the other babies/toddlers and preschoolers, while MB plays and does schoolwork with the homeschool kids. The two mornings we have gone this week have gone really well. I have gotten fed, and the girls are actually enjoying it.

This week I also got to meet with the women who were in my bible study last year for a morning directed prayer session. It was very, very neat and we all enjoyed it and decided that we are going to try to make it a regular thing. So, on the weeks we don't have science co-op we will be going to the church.

On Wednesday I had the first SOTW I arts & crafts co-op at my house. It was crowded and chaotic. But I think it went okay. I have another month to plan better, and maybe I will not have an emotional breakdown just before it.

One would think that with all the running around and outside activities that we have done this week - nothing has gotten done. But I am looking at what we have done and am very pleased. Each day we have done math, science, reading and writing. We have done history 2 days this week. Some of the activities have been child-directed and led (yesterday MB showed me a neat experiment from Zoom and explained to me how it worked). Reading aloud has been great!! Last night she read me not one, but two stories. And then today while we were at the meeting she wrote me a story and illustrated it.

I guess I am learning not to stress out too much about how things will work out - because they just will.

And some fun stuff - Today I ordered the book I needed for the science curriculum that we are going to start in a couple of weeks. Since I needed $25 for free shipping I kept shopping, and shopping. Picked up some stuff for birthdays and Christmas. So my $7 book became a $90 order. But I am thrilled. I love book shopping - even from home!!

I better get back to doing things around the house. If anything has been overlooked this week it has been that.



Monday, October 24, 2005

No Snappy Title

I am here and I am doing okay.

Don't really have much to share about today - as we unschooled. But I did do a (as in one) load of laundry and swept. Yep, my house is going to be so ready for that Co-OP on Wednesday.

MB pointed out something interesting to me today at lunch time. K was drinking a store brand Ginger Ale and she was drinking a Sprite. She had me look and confirm that yes it did say that it had the same amount of fluid ozs. in each can. Then she showed me how the Ginger Ale can was just the slightest bit taller and narrower than the sprite. I would have never noticed. "That is because two different shaped objects can have the same volume, mommy."

MB is reading, really reading. Not quite fluently - but she is putting longer and longer stretches together before she has to stop an sound out a word. She doesn't freak out if she doesn't already know the word an instead says to herself "break it down into smaller parts" Tonight she was upset when I came home from a meeting and it was because she wanted to read to me and daddy had sent her to bed. So we curled up in my bed and she read me a story.

I love that I am getting back to enjoying my children again and actually being able to "be" with them without feeling like I am going to shatter in a million pieces.



Sunday, October 23, 2005

Week - END

I am really, really glad to see this week end. It was this time last week that I felt as though my life was about ready to spiral out-of-control. And it kind of did. But there is sunlight on the otherside of the darkness and I am starting to see the faint edges of it.

I am definetly not ready to start-up school again full-swing, but that is okay because we year-round anyway. Truthfully, this weekend it has been very, very difficult to be with the girls. My nerves are on edge, and I have had to remove myself many times just so I wouldn't say or do things that I don't want to do. Still I have found myself sometimes being mean in tone or even actions. Not good.

They say it is darkest before dawn. And I had a very dark day yesterday and into this morning. A close call with my own recovery, and just a general pity party. I made it to a meeting and then to church this morning, although I had to walk out during the final song (Your Love is Amazing). It is my favorite song and I just couldn't handle it this morning.

I did some meditation and praying and writing this afternoon which helped pick up my mood. Then another meeting. I am now tired, but I feel better.

This week my mother comes up. I am not sure if I want her to or not, but it has been planned for a long time and it is too late to change. She is staying for the entire week. Good and bad. Tough.
We are also having our first SOTW I arts & crafts CO-OP here at my house - which is a pigsty. I have to clean and air out all the puppy smell. I don't know why I agreed to this.

Okay Monday - come on in.



Friday, October 21, 2005


Sometimes in life I find myself humming along feeling good. Everything is alright in my little world. Somethings aren't so good, but hey I will ignore them and concentrate on what is good. La, la, la, la
Things are so good and so right, that hey I will get around to my devotion later. God, I will catch up with you when I finish this. I'll just stay up a few more minutes and sleep in tomorrow morning, I can always find a quiet moment later in the day.

Everything is Alright. Why am I so cranky today. I don't have any energy. "Thanks God for my blessings. Hey, stop hitting your sister" "Why, can't he figure out how to put dishes away. Do I have to do everything myself." I'll just turn on the tv for a few moments I deserve the break. :Snore:

Hey, Life can't always be good, and it can be a whole lot worse. You have to do your math, because I am mean and I said so. No, I'm not going to take you to the park. Because I don't feel like it. Where is he? Yeah, God, uhm I don't *really* have anything to pray about. Thanks.

What has happened? Hey, God where is my thankfulness? God, God? Why do things seem so bad. I don't even want to be at home. Maybe I need to pray. Where did He go? I felt Him here a few weeks ago. Now, how do I do this again. Oh, yeah:

Lord forgive me for forgetting Your place in my life


I cannot thank you all enough for your many words that are blessing me even at this moment. Life is moving on and I felt oh, so much more able to cope today than yesterday and the day before.

We got out today, I was starting to feel like the walls of the house were closing in on me. We got in the car before I had any idea where we were going. As we drove I decided hey let's surprise hubby with lunch today. So, we splurged and drove down to where dh works. We took him out to lunch and had a nice time of it.

Since it was 3:00 when we finally got back home (40 min drive each way), I just let the girls run some energy off outside. Every 15 minutes MB was asking if it was time to leave for the party yet. Of course, that was driving me a little batty. Then at 4:30 MB aske where the present for her friend was. OH, NO!! I ha put if off to the end of the week for payday - and it totally slipped my mind. Frantically I dug through our craft box and came up with a little wooden treasure box, some ribbon and pony beads. So, I put MB to work making a bead necklace and bracelet. She also made a ring using pipe cleaner and beads. Then we put the creations into the treasure box. The worst part of the gift making was K's insistance on trying to help, which generally ended with beads on the floor, which EM went after like they were candy.

We dropped MB off at the party. I am sure that I looked like a wreck, panting and hair barely back in my pony tail. Lack of sleep and stress. Friend's mother took one look at me and offered me a *drink*. I think they saw jet flames coming out from the back of the van, I tried to get out of there as quickly as possible.

Shortly after I got home my friend called and asked if we were still on for tonight. YES! I was getting worried because I knew I was not going to stay home tonight, but I could not figure out where I was going to go. So, I went an hung out with her for a couple of hours. We talked about my week and we talked about important things like stove shopping, home repairs and her new part-time job. I got my hugs and I felt refreshed after being over there.

The house was decently cleaned when I got home. The little girls were in bed and asleep - they even had baths. We still haven't heard anything from the party, so I am assuming MB is doing fine there tonight.

As far as myself goes, I am working on incorporating some changes in my life. This week has really awakened me to how many things I have let slide in my life. Some to the detrimental effect on relationships around me. These are not things that have necessarily slide just in the last few months, but over a long period of time.

I am going to have to start taking time for myself, period. This means that I am going to have to find some reasonable form of childcare at least a couple of times a week. Prayer time and devotion have to be moved up on my list of things to get done each day. Making meetings and devotion time are central to my ability to be the mom that I can be.

DH and I are going to have to make a better effort to be a couple, and not just a couple of parents. We have to find the time for date nights and just getting out, or even just staying in and watching a movie that wasn't made for children.

This all took time to unravel, so it will take time to put back together. But, the new seams should be a whole lot stronger.



Thursday, October 20, 2005

One Step In Front of The Other

I'm still here and still plodding along. I want to write about how I am feeling - but really don't think that many would find it interesting. I don't want this blog to become about how bad things are at this moment. In truth, I am trying to find the gratitude in everything. The initial moment has passed, daily I am coping more. I am talking to more people and trying to find the path out of this wilderness trip. But, the thing that bothers me the most is that I feel very alone in it all. DH, made a decision to do something that has brought back the past and affected our future, in very tough ways. We love each other and will work it out, God willing. But, I can't automatically go to my Rock to talk through this. Some people close to us have seemingly chosen to distant themselves at this time. And we are not ready to discuss it with family. So, all day long I get to dwell and think while caring for the children. Stuck and lost in my own thoughts. It is very hard for me to say "I need...", and it is even harder to do it and feel so alone that it echoes back to me.

Peace and Serenity is escaping me at this time. And I am probably feeling things more strongly than I would normally.

Vent Warning

I posted on a homeschooling board for suggestions of how the homeschool in autopilot with young children. I did receive some good information, but relatively quickly a thread was started to discuss a piece of someone's response to me. At the same time, I stopped getting responses. I felt very hurt by it. Whether I should or not isn't the question, but I do. Another day, another time I would have blown raspberries and moved one. But these past few days that has been hard for me to do.

I also sent an email to five wonderful ladies that were a part of an intense bible study that we did last year. We stay in touch and do provide a prayer loop of sorts. I received back an email that basically said: "Thanks for updating us on your life. Here is what is happening in our family."

I don't really know why these two incidences bothered me so much, except that they just made me feel even more alone in everything. The more alone I feel the more I withdraw, the more I withdraw the more I feel like a bad mom. Can you see the spiral happening.

Prayer - yeah I am trying, but I am at one of those times when it is really hard. It is not just trying to find the time I *feel* like I need to be in prayer - but also I have lost the connection that makes prayer so much easier. I know He is there - but I can't feel him right now, and that makes me feel the loneliest of all.


And since this is a homeschool blog and I would like to leave it tonight on a happier note. We pulled out the microscope this afternoon. My sister's FIL found two microscope kits at a yard sale last year. He gave one to my sis for her daughter and one came to us. I have not been brave enough to pull out something with glass slides and thin cut blades; but figured we should probably do something school-y today. Mb an I enjoyed testing it out and had some fun examining some plant slides we made.

I have also received a new science guide, My World Science with units on Woods, Human Body and Rainforests that we are going to start soon. MB is excited about that. The Woods is up first especially with all her interests in trees lately. Plus I think it will be a good time for some nature walks in the woods.

Tomorrow is Friday!! MB has a sleep-over at a friend's house and I am going to try to go visit with a friend of mine, without children. Wish me luck. I will see how much work MB wants to do, but not push it. I haven't all week, why start on Friday. She has seemed to stay on ask much better than I have all week, so I really don't feel like we have missed too much. Let's just call it Fall Break and move on.

Peace to all,


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

So Many Other Things

There are so many other things that I *should* be doing right now. But as it is I am sitting in front of the computer and trying to forget about all the other crap going on. I have been on the phone off and on through the day - talking to people I havn't in years. Trying to get some peace of mind flowing through here again.

If I say the Serenity Prayer enough times, it might actually start making me feel better, not!

Anyway - my life has officially changed. One day - and poof a total change in how you forsee the future.

I have tried very hard to refocus on the girls today. The past two days have been a continuation of last week's fall break.

Last night MB asked if she could read to me. Yeah, I have been that emotionally closed off, that MB is asking to read to me. Then this morning she wanted to do math and then we went outside. We ended up with a very involved nature study on trees. We talked about how different oaks produce different acorns. Then pulled out the tree identification book and MB tried to see how many different trees she could identify in the yard.

MB and K have been playing very well together. Which has allowed me to keep withdrawing as I have needed.

Anyway, keep the prayers coming. I don't know what the future holds and we can use all the help.



Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I may be quiet for the next little while. I am going through a very personal struggle that I don't feel comfortable sharing in this medium. I am struggling with focusing on the girls and schoolwork right now and am doing a lot of other things to try to keep my mind quiet.

I do ask that if you do pray to lift myself and my husband up in your prayers. We need prayers for healing and focus.

I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord;
I make supplication with my voice to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare my trouble before Him.
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
You knew my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see;
For there is no one who regards me;
There is no escape for me;
No one cares for my soul.

I cried out to You, O LORD;
I said, "You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
"Give heed to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my prosecutors,
For they are too strong for me.
"Bring my soul out of prison,
So that I may give thanks to Your name;
The righteous will surround me,
For You will deal bountifully with me."

Psalm 142


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Full House Again

The house is full again - all my loved ones sleeping peacefully under this roof. Boy, was it loud this evening.

MB returned safely and just a bit more spoiled from her weekend with her Aunt and Uncle. She travels easily, and seems to enjoy her time away from us where she can be the only child. Shopping for clothes, doing hair and nails and little girl make-up; the stuff I am just not very good at. Then turn around and head out on a hike through the woods and a canoe trip where she saw deer and wild turkeys.

We enjoyed our weekend too. It was beautiful weather and I spent a lot of Saturday outside moving some plants around and prepping areas for when my mother comes up in a couple of weeks to help us finally landscape. DH came home from one of his clients Saturday afternoon bearing a HUGE grouping of yellow bearded irisis, so we had to find a place for those. He said that there were three of these groupings but he could only fit the one in the back of his pathfinder, they were that big.

Last night, when it got too dark to work outside and DH gave me the evening off I decided to actually finish the master bath project that we started on in July. So I have hung a new light fixture, to replace the wonderful bare-bulbed glamour light from the '80s. And I also laid the new vinyl tile floor. This was a pain because it is a small bathroom, so there were only three full, uncut tiles used. The rest had to be cut to shape. But it is done, kind of. I am thinking some new pulls for the cabinet and maybe hanging a new medicine cabinet, and...

So with the bathroom done and the landscaping for the full being taken care of in a couple of weeks we can turn our attention to the kitchen. We thought about putting it off for the winter, but if we do actually decide to put the house on the market this spring (yes we are thinking of moving, again) I would like to go ahead and finish the kitchen. Then we will only have to worry with the girls' bathroom (soft spot on the floor by the tub -hmmm maybe I should call Dy on that one), and minor cosmetic things like crown molding and new carpet in the den.

Okay, back to the weekend. Today we skipped church an just had a nice quiet morning around the house. We relaxed, played and I got some more knitting and reading done. DH and K drove about two hours away to meet BIL/SIL with MB, while EM and I stayed home. EM napped, I napped. It was a pleasant afternoon.

Then chaos. MB was excited to be home, K was excited to have her home so they ran around the house and played, fought over shared MB's new toys. Finally after a healthy dinner of take-out pizza because the chicken I thawed for dinner didn't thaw quick enough, we actually had a family game night. We have not done this in ages so it was nice. MB picked out Sight Word Bingo for the first game and took her turn reading a lot of the words. I also noticed how much better she is getting at hearing the wor and figuring out which one it is. Then we played Yhatzee. We could not get MB to understand that she did not want to keep trying for full houses.

Tomorrow is Monday and back to the grind, so to speak, after basically four days off. We will see how well we settle back into the groove of things.



Friday, October 14, 2005

A Day Off

At least that is what it has felt like to me. MB left this morning with my BIL and SIL, she will spend the weekend with them at their place in the mountains. So, we did not have 'school' today. Although, Fridays tend to be project days anyway.

K and EM were in good spirits today, even with the cold that EM is recovering from. So we really had a peaceful day. They played together and played side-by-side. EM loves to watch K play, sometimes waiting until just the right moment to destroy whatever K has been working on. But K takes it well.

And, what did Mommy do with her day off?

1. Rearranged the furniture in the family room. Taking the huge, oversized speakers out that were no longer hooked up to anything, moving the sofa around to face the fireplace for those winter cuddles, hung the whiteboard up on the wall instead of leaning in front of the fireplace and created a small comfy reading corner. I like the arrangment, especially for this hard to arrange area. Now it is actually broken into smaller zones which, just might actually help to contain some of the clutter.

2. Cleaned the kitchen, three loads of laundry, bathroom cleaning day -ugh.

3. Started prepping the walls for the future paint job. We have painted paneling and I am trying to fill the grooves in the wall (above the chair railing) so that it looks more like a smooth wall. Although the technique I am trying with wall repair mud is actually going to give it a faint textured look which is fine also. This job is going to take a while, thus starting now for a December paint job.

4. Read and played with the little girls. K is getting so smart, and she is funny!!! It makes me sad that she gets lost in the shuffle somtimes. Of course, MB has a tendency to overshadow all that are around her.

5. Started to process of cleaning out the back of yard along the fence line. I am not sure what we are going to do back there, but it was so overgrown that is was messy looking. I am not a gardner, so I have no idea what to use in such a wet shaded place. The good news is that it has some of the best soil in our yard. Lots of decomposing going on there.

6. Pick up, fix dinner and knit another five rows onto MB's poncho in between puzzle playing with K and feeding EM.

Now I have to go put away all those clothes I washed today and hit the hay. I am tired from my day off.



Tilt To The Right

Okay, after I tell ya'll what I did this evening you will probably discover that I am a little crazy. But I have this problem with my house that keeps driving me nuts. When I sit on the sofa in the family room and look up the hallway I keep feeling like the house is unlevel towards the right. And when I am in the kitchen the same thing.

It has worried me because I am aware that we have floor jacks under the house because of issues like floor joists being too far apart and that type of thing. And, well, this house has had some settlement issues. So I keep thinking that the house is going to collapse upon itself any day. My husband thinks I am nuts. Okay, he thinks I am nuts about a lot of things so we will just add this one to the list.

Anyway tonight, while hubby was out with MB to a football game (which our team lost miserably), I got the level out and went around the house. Everything is level! So why when I look at it everything has a very sharp, definite tilt to the right?

It is just strange. But, I do feel a whole lot better about the house. Now I can just worry about what is wrong with me.



Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Two Things

I am just a regular posting machine today.

They might be a few people coming over here from my link I put up concerning MB's Attitue Chart for a little behavior modification. I have been asked what privileges I assign to the different levels, and my expectations are for certain things.

First off I should say the privileges totally reflect those activities that my daughters find to be most important in their lives (not necessarily my personal thoughts) an as such provide the best leverage. Each person would have to think about what their own children would respond to.

I chose to go with six levels, as opposed to 10.

Yellow (highest) Can go on special trips and errands. All full privileges.

Purple (this is the level of expectation, yellow above is for steady above and beyond) Free Computer and TV time during free play. May go to friends’ houses.

Blue Computer and TV limited to Mom choices. Ride bike and scooter. Have friends over.

Peach Play in the yard and play with Leapster and CD player.

Green Read books, draw, do quiet play and art projects in bedroom.

Pink (lowest) Quiet time in bedroom. Extra Chores.

I should say that she has the rights and privileges of all levels at and below her current level. She has only been as far down as Green once since the inception of the chart. I also do not have set times during the day that we sit and move the push pin up or down. Instead I try to keep an eye out for good behavior an respond, just as I would when she starts to push the buttons.

Our list of expectations are:

Use nice words

Use an inside voice

Share with sisters and others

Listen to Mommy and Daddy

Obey the first time

Keep hands and feet to yourself

Do your chores

Do your schoolwork

Surprise someone by doing
something special

I have tried to keep them positive, instead of dwelling on what "not" to do.

If you would like more information or would like to know where I stole the idea from (Dilley Sextuplet family) visit

Okay, now for the fun suff!

I got to go to the library by myself! It was a quick 20 minute visit, but I had done my homework on the online catelogue before I went. Can you believe that all 7 copies of The Pilgrim's Progress was actually checked out, along with every single copy of Pride and Prejudice.

What I did come home with was:

A Portrait of Jesus - Joseph F. Girzone

This Catholic priest turned writer has had a large influence on the development of my personal faith. He provides very interesting points to chew on and think about. He is also the author of the Joshua books.

A History of the Wife - Marilyn Yalom

from the book cover: ...a study of laws, religious practices, economic patterns, and political consciousness that have affected generations of wives;
Doesn't that sound interesting. It is a tomb, so it might take me a while to digest.

Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

I have not read this since high school. I thought that I would re-read it.

The Lilac Bus - Maeve Binchy

For those nights that I don't have two brain cells left to rub together but still want a good read. I have enjoyed every book by her. It is a little more in depth than standard chick lit, but not so heavy.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Because I am trying to become better self-educated, and no where to start but with the master himself.

The Visionary Christian - C.S. Lewis

Another christian whom I really enjoy and learn a lot from his writings, fiction and non-fiction. This is a book in which they have pulled specific passages from The Chronicles of Narnia, Space Trilogy and The Screwtape Letters.
By the way if you have never rea The Screwtape Letters, I would highly recommend it. It is funny, and cuts to the bone about modern day christianity.

Off to do some reading!!



Wednesday Wrap-up

Our day has gone generally well. We did things a little differently today and it was fun and kind of stopped some of the whining. We all got up a little late, or at least the last time for me. I was up with EM at 5 am because she has a cold and is not sleeping well.

We had breakfast, did some chores and then MB started in on her morning whine about having to do schoolwork. So I shook it up by starting with history this morning. She and K di some coloring, MB a map from SOTW activities, while I read Chapter 6. Then we did the review questions, which MB responded to by saying "I don't know" to each question. Then I pulled the book out to read again, and MB promptly gave a nearly perfect summary of the entire reading. I don't know why she does that. This isn't the first time that she acts like she doesn't know something.

After history we moved into math while I tried to sooth EM.

Math is still review, so MB was able to work by herself. The nice thing is that she is willing to work by herself, at least as long as I give her a grade and a sticker after we review it together. Here she is working on her math lesson.

Instead of the next lesson in 100 Easy Lessons, we did a couple of phonics/word families worksheets and then read an entire story from one of the older reading primers that my mom had given us. She reads so much better out of those. I would stop using 100 Easy Lessons, but we are so close to being done and MB says that she wants to finish it. Word families and writing have really been the ticket this last week. MB loves writing little stories up on the whiteboard.

K spent her day, coloring, playing with her leappad and building train tracks. She is taking a nap this afternoon and has been pretty quiet all day. I hope that she isn't coming down with a cold also. MB is supposed to go out of town this weekend with my bil and sil, and I don't really want to be home with 2 sick babies.

To be filed under - What Will They Say Next

Remember Mom, the problem is that we are little and we don't understand. When we are old like you we will clean better.

Said in response to my question of why she and K put up such a fight over cleaning up. See they lost a good size pile of their toys earlier this week because they didn't clean up their bedroom the first 10 times we asked. So, now they are riding around in the back of hubby's car.

I finshed reading Jane Eyre last night. I do really enjoy that book. The character of Jane is just so much more like a heorine than either of the sisters in Sense an Sensibility. I could go on and on, but this is not 11th grade English, and I don't feel like writing an english composition. I rather admire a woman during this time period that can go out and take care of herself and isn't afraid to know her mind as opposed to women who spend their days worrying about everyone else and who has money, who would make the best match.

I am off to the library, by myself, this evening to figure out what to read next.



Some Old Pictures

Here are some pictures that I have never gotten around to downloading until today. The pictures are from the Heritage Festival we attended a couple of weeks ago.

MB Shooting a Bow & Arrow for the first time.

Watching a woman spin wool. She also spins her dog's hair.

Birds of Prey Program

It really was a very fun event.



Seven Things

Tenniel tagged me for the Seven Things List. So here it is...

And, yes there were a few things that were the same as Tenn's.

Seven things to do before I die
1. Take a vacation in an RV with the family around the US
2. Have grandchildren and be able to enjoy spending time with them
3. Take a trip with just my mother to the British Isles
4. Study Cultural/Societal Anthropology
5. Memorize the preamble to the Constitution (have never been able to do it)
6. Learn to read Latin, Greek and Hebrew
7. Live at the beach again

Seven things I cannot do
1. Sing
2. Dance
3. Remember the names of songs
4. Throw away memorabilia
5. Ride a roller coaster, or any other fast/spinning/noisy ride
6. Eat Liver – uncontrollable gagging
7. Ice Skate

Seven things that attract me to my honey
1. His steadiness
2. His love for his family and friends
3. His jokes
4. His hair – dark, full and soft
5. His love for me and the girls
6. His pragmatatism – to counteract my dreaminess
7. Once I met him, no one else ever caught my eye

Seven things I say most often
1. Stop, No, Wait - remember I have a crawler and preschooler
2. Stop chewing on that – MB has this thing about putting something in her mouth
3. Just minute – normally I am wanted for something right as my hands are the most full, most dirty or I am otherwise indisposed
4. Stop climbing on that
5. Ginger – No! - because we also have a puppy
6. I don't know but I can look it up for you
7. Please find something to do by yourself for a few minutes – to MB who sometimes thinks my life is to be lived to entertain her

seven celebrity crushes
I can probably not do seven, but I will give a few I have had over the years:
1. Sean Connery – I hear his voice and I have to sit down and watch
2. Wil Wheaton, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes – yes most of the male cast of Star Trek TNG, I had a real thing for this show in high school and college

Seven books you love
Most of these are series
1. Little House on the Prarie
2. The Bible
3. Ramona Books; Beverly Cleary
4. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
5. Harry Potter Series – favorite Goblet of Fire
6. Jean M. Auel – Earth’s Children Series (if you can get past Clan of The Cave Bear, and some overly descriptive relationship things, the rest is a fairly good “what life could have been for stone age man.)
7. Little Women – Louise May Alcott

Seven movies you watch over and over again
1. Hunt For Red October
2. Sound of Music
3. Cheaper by the Dozen (original and Steve Martin version)
4. Harry Potter (all, so far)
5. Sweet Home Alabama
6. Midway
7. Swiss Family Robinson (yes, my choice)

I don't have anyone to tag. But if you do it let me know in my comments and I will come by and check it out.



Tuesday, October 11, 2005


My hubby came home with a bouquet of flowers tonight. Why, I am not sure? But, I think we have a date tonight - if only the girls would get the message.

I have been tagged by Tenniel, but it will have to wait.



Schooling In a Playroom

Someone, not online, once asked me how I handle schooling in the same area that we also use as the play area. We do not have any problems with it, probably because I consider just about any toy educational in some way. It also allows me to keep an eye on the little ones when I am working one-on-one with MB.

For K and EM, play right now is their learning. With the right toys at their disposal, anything they pick up is a learning experience. One of those things that makes me so happy during the school day is when MB and I are working on something and I look up to see K playing with a puzzle, or matching up cards or sewing with the sewing cards. To watch EM explore blocks or or her board books. Other times, MB or I may hop and pull out a toy that ends up making the perfect manipulative. Truly though this isn't the most common occurrence, but it happens enough to make me happy with the way homeschooling with two young ones is going for us.

Today was one of those happy days. After the initial reluctance for 'school' today, we settled down and burned through math and the reading lesson. While MB and I worked, K pulled out an alphabet book and the little play computer and proceeded to find the letters on the keyboard. For 25 minutes she did this - "here is a J, here is a K," etc. I would have missed this if the little girls were playing somewhere else during this time.

MB also decided that instead of an oral narration for history, she wanted to try to write a summary.

I helped her with the spelling :), but she created the sentence herself, an I chose to leave it alone. After writing this sentence, she decided to dictate the rest of her summary. But I am so pleased that (1) she wanted to write, and (2) she used lowercase.

The rest of the day was good. We have spent a lot of time in just fun play and talking about things. The discussion in the car today is "why are you worried about gas prices? Why do they keep going up? Will they ever go down?" Wonderful questions, but how do you explain consumer economics and natural diseasters, and human greed to a 5 year old.

Free play is just about over and We are going to clean up the house for daddy.



Monday, October 10, 2005

Some Neat Egyptian Links

Today has been a better day, although MB has been clingy. But, gee I am really tempted to school seven days a week. It seems when we go off our schedule for weekends we get in trouble.

Today we worked through a really neat site for the studies of the ancients. Has some great multi-media activities, although most are for older elementary. There are timelines and articles, and virtual tours. We focused on the ancient egyptians and did the make a mummy interactive, again probably older, as it requires reading skills and definetly not for the squeamish (details of how the brains are actually removed without making a cut.) Then we went to the pyramid builder game, which was even more advanced and kind of reminded me of games like Oregon Trail. The virtual tours inside the pyramids.

The site also offers similar links on rome, greece, britian and vikings. Even if it is a little on the advance site for young elementary it is a great resource for the teacher.

BBC History - Ancient History

Thought I would share.



The Healing Powers of Sleep

I really need to remember to do it more often.

I am better this morning, my nerve endings do not feel so exposed to the air. The new winter curtains are doing their job in the girls room by blocking out the light, so at 9 am they are still snoozing. I am going to let them sleep also...they need it too.



Sunday, October 09, 2005

Amy's No Good, Horrible, Bad Day

It was one of those days when our heorine, Amy, woke up feeling like it was going to be a bad day. Her first thought was to roll back over and close her eyes, but since she had just felt her KISA (Knight in Shining Armor) do that very thing she knew she was to get no relief from him this morning. Again the household alarm of the waking baby, whining puppy and blaring tv of the early waking three-year-old; thus the waking baby and whining puppy sounded. Groggily she gave in and crawled out of bed.

She opened the door to let the puppy out. Joyously the puppy peed at Amy's feet before trotting outside for a roll in the mud. As she began to prepare the bottle for baby's morning feed, the demand for a waffle and milk was made by early-waking three-year-old. Eventually, all needs were met and the morning proceeded with only a few minor hiccups.

Grouchy oldest soon joined the mix, and with it the hourly demand for yet another breakfast course. Soon grouchy convinced early waking to join her in some loud and eventually destructive game, while Amy and her KISA enjoyed the morning paper and feeding baby. That was, until early waking ran in to tell them that something was broken. Upon further investigation it was discovered that the laundry bag's grommets had been ripped out and no longer hung on their hooks due to grouchy trying to put early-waking in the bag.

While deciding what to do, puppy who had just come inside, was found pooping in the bedroom. Amy headed off with her trusty paper towels and plastic grocery bag.

After much fussing and a discussion about what toys are, and what mommy's things are, grouchy and early waking headed outside donning KISA's freshly washed t-shirts to play in the mud. KISA left to slay his dragons, while Amy caught grouchy digging in the mud in the middle of KISA's recently seeded back yard.

At this point the decision was made to forget about the scheduled field-trip to a goat farm, due to rainy, muddy conditions. Amy made her attempt to engage the girls by playing some board games before lunch. All was well, until grouchy determined that life was unfair because she did not win Hi-HO-Cheerio.

Amy fed them lunch and sent them off to play. Early waking decided that she had not pulled her quota of toys out for the day and decided to finish the job. Grouchy determine, finally that she needed alone time. As Amy fed baby, she and early waking began to play an interesting game of matching. Grouchy overheard, and with feelings hurt began to sulk. When sulking did not work she lured early-waking away to find another game in which they could see how many small pieces they could put on the floor for baby to find.

KISA returned to a house that was chaotic and Amy, she just wanted to curl back into bed in the fetal position. But, it was not to be, for although the dragon was slain; the hunting and gathering for dinner must be done. So Amy headed out to the local gathering spot. She hunted and she gathered for a good hour, for she was in no hurry to return to the castle.

As Amy carried her food finds into the castle, whe was surprised to find old dog in the front yard. This made her wonder where puppy was. No sooner, then nosy neighbor showed up with puppy and a lecture about keeping animals restrained, ya da, ya da. Amy secured old dog and puppy again and continued bringing in food. KISA offered to store the food while Amy brought it in. Our heorine made a mental note to reorganize food storage the next day.

Then it was that our heorine realized that the little elves had not come in to empty the dishwasher, nor fold the dry laundry and start another load. Amy made another mental note to fire the elves.

Grouchy and early-waking had entertained themselves during Amy's abscence by building a fort city using every single pillow and balnket in the house. Then nourished their young bodies by eating dry apple jacks out of the box. But grouchy and early waking have eating disorders that prevent themselves from actually ingesting more than half the handful they take out of the box.

Our heroine had reached the point where every noise, every crumb every dirty face, every scattered toy was too much to bear. She turned to her KISA, who stepped up to the plate, and then diappeared into the hinterlands for a mood reviver. Unfortunately, it was slow in happening; and grouchy and early-waking (without a nap by now) were not to be put off. They felt the heorine struggling could recognize her struggle for composure. They were so close to the objective of sending Amy over the cliff today.

Eventually, even heroines sometims have to give up. Amy turned the evening reins to KISA and retreated before any more harm could be done.

Now Amy, she sits and waits for the chance to actually fall asleep. She hopes for good dreams and a better Monday.



Saturday, October 08, 2005

Sense and Sensibility

In an effort to read some classic books that I had not had a chance yet to read, I picked up Sense and Sensibility at the library a few weeks ago. I finally started it earlier this week. I have heard so many raving about it across web, that I was actually very disappointed in it. At least until this evening. For four nights I struggled through it. Small print and heavy concentration was required on my part to follow the conversations. It was all so proper and prim and so heavily leaning towards how much $$ everyone had - that I just could not get into it.

Today at lunch I picked it back up to read while the girls were out with daddy. I got to the part where the sisters are in London and I was hooked. I proceeded to finish the last half of the book this evening. The girls were playing so well and the reading was going so well, we just kind of *forgot* about bedtime tonight.

I enjoyed the last half of the the book so much more than the beginning. It will not rank up there with Don Quixote which often had me laughing outloud and waking hubby. But it was a good read, and I would assume, an interesting view of English society during this time. What struck me the most was how unproductive most of the men and women were, especially the men. The constant talk about how well someone could live off the interest of their savings. I am very glad that the two men who 'won' actually had careers and industry.

I am still working my way through Jane Eyre, but do not feel any press to finish it. Probably because I loved the abridged version I owned in middle school and high school. I know what happens - now I am reading the unabridged version to discover how much I missed the first times through.

All, in all I am enjoying reading and rereading some of these classics, while rereading many of the children's classics to the girls. One side benefit I have discovered is the need for fewer trips to the library for myself. I tend to burn through current fiction and can read 5 novels in as many days. But because the classics and histories and biographies often require a much higher level of comprhension and thought they last me much longer.



Friday, October 07, 2005

End of Week Success

I just want to share a quick success from today and some observations that I want work through.

First of all, the success!! Today has been a reading day for MB. Although we had a small, and somewhat minor tiff over the Reading Lesson, when we did it, it went well. Her reading was flowing and she is starting to find a rhythm, starting to understand that some words tend to follow others and that there is a pattern to sentences and such. All those things that make reading flow smoothly. Later, she had me make out a reading homework sign-off sheet like her ps friends have. I sketched it out with pencil and paper, since our printer is on the fritz. Once that was done we sat down and read for 15 minutes from Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. When the timer went off, she proceeded to read two more pages until she got to a "better" stopping point. It is a very tough book for her, on the high end of her reading level with lots of those 'egyptian' words. We signed off the sheet and reading was completed for the day, or so I thought.

Tonight, at bedtime we picked out the picture books for us to read together. Then MB brought over Go, Dog, Go and told me that she wanted to read a couple of pages. She flipped through and told me what page she was going to stop on - about 6 pages. Then she read all but the last 4 pages. She just kept on going until she became too tired and started missing easy words. I convinced her to stop there so that she would not become anymore frustrated.

She was so very excited. Running to her daddy and telling him all about it. High-fiving me and a huge smile on her face. It was a wonderful moment for me and MB. I have known that she could read for awhile, but it just wouldn't sink in to her. She found it tedious and frustrating. I could get her to read her lesson and maybe a page here and there. But nothing like today. Voluntary reading *shiver*

So what has changed. First of all it may just be the beginning of the 'click.' But also I think some of it has to do with a change in my approach that was so subtle that I didn't even catch myself doing it until today. 100 Easy Lessons focuses on individual sounds of each letter - breaking the word down to however many sounds the word has letters. Recently, I guess, I have started pointing out to her how the words can be broken down into groups that respresent a 'word family' or a single sound. Instead of trying to focus on five or more sounds, she instead can focus on two or three. Why does this work? She doesn't become so distracted and *lost* when trying to sound out words.

Even though this change was unplanned, I think I am going to run with it. We will still continue with 100 Easy Lessons because we are 2/3 of the way through and it is good practice. But I am going to pull back out the phonics workbook again and start working through word families again. If her wonderful, memorizing machine of a brain can absorb the word families - then it will only help in the process. It wasn't that I didn't think word families or sight words were important, I just didn't want to overwhelm her so much here at the beginning of the year. So my plan had been to finish 100 Lessons and then pull back out the phonics workbook, along with a dolche sight word workbook I had for us to work through. I will just start feeding these in throughout the day now.

Anything else? I will be taking bets on whether or not we are even finished with SOTW 1, by this time next year. Unfortunately, she has me, the cultural history diva teaching her, so we spend so long on each chapter studying the ancient cultures and doing arts & crafts or having impromptu plays. I don't want to rush her, or myself, through the process - so it will take however long it takes, and when we are done we will move on. What is the rush anyway. It just feels funny to tell people that we started 2 months ago and we are just on Chapter 4.

The Horizons math program is going well so far. It is all review, but I have not gotten any grief over actually having the lesson or doing the work. MB likes the fact that she does 2 or 3 different activities each lesson.

K broke out yesterday with some strange rash across her face. I still have not figured out what it could be and have been racking my brain trying to figure out if we have done anything different recently. The doctor told me treat it with antihestimine and keep an eye on it. So, she has been fairly quiet. The rash has started to fade today, after a couple of doses, and it doesn't seem to bother her anymore.

EM is *this* close to pulling up. She has also been experiencing many more tumbles because of her new-found abilities. She is fighting being my cuddle-baby now and wants to be down where she is in control. Except for being a mouth explorer (something actually new for us), she has been a really great, easily entertained, and very entertaining baby.

We have a busy weekend planned with some work on the house for the winter planned, hopefully a playdate for MB and then a trip to a local goat dairy. If I don't get back on, have a great weekend!



Rainy Day

It has been raining since yesterday afternoon, and I am not complaining. 57 days without measurable rain will do that. We needed a good rain day around here. In preparation for it we headed to the library yesterday after Co-OP and gymnastics. The girls had loads of fun, making new friends and hanging out in "The Tree-House", a reading area for little children that our library offers. Both K and MB did pick out some reading books while they were there, and although I am sure it was mainly based on the cover picture, they picked out level appropriate books for themselves. MB even picked up a few early readers and beginning to read books that she has agreed to read to me.

So here is our library list from yesterday. I don't have any books on it, but that is okay as I am currently reading Jane Eyre and Sense and Sensibility, while also knitting the ponchos for the girls.

Library List 10/06/05

Read Alouds

Sing A Song Of Sixpence: A Pocketful of Nursery Rhymes and Tales – Jane Chapman
Pancakes For Breakfast – Tomie DePaola
Madeline’s Rescue – Ludwig Bemelmans
Cinderella – Kinuko Y. Craft (illus)
Disney Princess: A Moment To Remember
Deep In A Rainforest – Gwen Pascoe
Jumanji – Chris Van Allsburg
Anansi Finds A Fool – Verna Aardema
Under The Midsummer Sky – Carole Lexa Schaefer
Disney Princess: Getting To Know You
Insects Are My Life – Megan McDonald
There’s A Nightmare In My Closet – Mercer Mayer

MB Reads

Egyptian Gods and Goddesses – Henry Barker
Something Sleeping In The Hall – Karla Kuskin
Trouble At The Krusty Krab – Steven Banks
Soap Soup and Other Verses – Karla Kuskin
Turtle and Snake’s Day At The Beach – Kate Spohn

Egypt Books

History Detectives: Ancient Egypt – Philip Ardagh
Tales Of Ancient Egypt – Roger Lancelyn Green
Myths and Civilization of The Ancient Egyptians – S. Quie
The Egyptian Cinderella – Shirley Climo
The Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt – Leonard Everett Fisher
SightSeers: Ancient Egypt


Loaves Of Fun – Elizabeth M. Harbison

I highly recommend Loaves of Fun, it is a history of bread making from the stone ages, through colonial america and forward. It has easy recipes for breads of different cultures and time-periods. It also includes some kitchen science to explain how the bread making process works. This is the second time I have checked this book out and plan to check it out again and other historical periods that we cover.

Yesterday was busy, and we were in the car alot. We did not do any table work but still managed to cover:

Life Science - Magic School Bus CO-OP
Physical Education - Gymnastics
Reading Skills - Library visit and Reading aloud for 15 minutes; Mom read for 30 minutes
Physical Science - Magnetix
Math - Listening to Addition UnPlugged in Car
Phonics - Listening to Phonics CD in Car
Social Development - Co-OP, Gymnastics, library visit, and playing with neighborhood friends after school.
Faith - Evening Devotion time (Working through The Little Book Devotions:Self-Esteem this month)

I like looking at days like yesterday. I never feel like we do anything because we don't have anything 'organized.' But when I take the time to write it out I realize how much we actually do. It gives me permission to have unschool days, without stressing too much.

Today, we have made our one trip out to buy diapers, since I realized we were almost out last night. We are back home and K is sleeping (since she didn't very well last night) and EM is down for her morning nap. The rest of the day, I hope, will consist of books and games. I promised the girls an afternoon movie since they can't go outside, so I will probably be popping popcorn later.



Thursday, October 06, 2005

Anger Management

I have tried twice to post, and both times have lost most of it after "recovery". This includes a lengthy book list from our library visit and a breakdown of our day today. I am frustrated and tired. I will try again tomorrow.



Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Will Pretend

It is 84-degrees, but I will pretend that it is Fall.

We started getting back on track today, as all of us have been off so far this week. I have decided to take Dy's advice about living intentionally, and determined that I would grit my teeth and make this a happy day for all of us.

I started this morning by offering up the girls' favorite breakfast: homemade oatmeal with real maple syrup and brown sugar. They helped me make it and we had a lovely breakfast while watching The Magic School Bus.

After they finished eating and I finished folding the laundry from last night, we all headed back for a group dressing activity. Keep them with me, and keep them happy. They, for some reason, love to get dressed with me.

School time started, and with it the first sign of a crack in our good day. Instead of fighting it, I decided to let MB and K pick their first activities, while I fed EM. K, played with the shape blocks while MB decided to make her own map of the Nile River region. Pretty good choices all around.

Reading time went well, MB even forgot to think about every little thing and started to read, at least for 4 lines before she realized what she was doing. Sometimes if I could just take that little analytical mind out for a few minutes. :)

Math time, also went well. Still review and MB tried to make it into an addition lesson, but we really did stay on track. She still has a small piece of the assignment that she decided to do as "homework" because her friends have homework.

We read the next reading in SOTW, "making mummies" and then looked through a couple of our extra books at all the different illustrations of mummies being preserved. She answered the questions and she was off for the rest of the morning.

After MB and I finished up, it was time for K and I to work one-on-one. Today was alphabet day. We sang the alphabet song and pointed to the different letters as we sang. Then K, was able to point at the letters and I told her which ones were which. Then we read her Little People Farm Book.

Next was computer time for both girls. MB chose her Scooby Doo Egypt CD-Rom, while K worked with her LIttle People. I began preparing lunch and dinner. Lunch - Chicken Noodle Soup.

For dinner we are having a crock-pot creation of pork chops simmered with green chili/tomatoes, corn, and black beans. I also had MB help me make our first Fall batch of bread to have with dinner. I also made a couple of french loaves to eat with spaghetti later this week. We normally don't make bread in the summer because it is just so hot in the kitchen normally, so I am really excited to get back to making bread.

While the dough rose (twice) we played games, played outside and did some cooperative housekeeping.

Now they have gone to the park with daddy, while I sit here smelling the simmering dinner and fresh baked bread. I have started the second panel for MB's poncho. I am imagining Fall, since I can see it coming on the weather map.

Was the day perfect? No, but much closer to what I would like. It has taken a lot of energy, and some gritting, but we end the day on a happier note than recently - and I do not have a headache, yet :)

Enjoy your evening.



Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Winter Preparations

With all the bothersome, worrisome noises about gas prices this year, I am trying to figure out what we can do to prepare. All around us we are being buffeted with bad news about energy prices. I am soo proud to announce that north carolina has finally made it to the top of a country-wide list. Our gasoline is now the most expensive in the contiguous US. Only in Hawaii and the District of Columbia is gasoline more expensive. That is so comforting, knowing that hubby has to travel 35 miles each way to work in a pathfinder.

(I am being very sarcastic)

I am still waiting for our natural gas provider to let us know that our monthly equal payment bill is going up. They keep announcing that natural gas has gone up 75% from last year. And our electricity is double what we paid last year.

Food is already beginning the climb in the grocery stores - especially the fresh foods. I haven't been to the farmers market recently because it is a drive and the last few times I have been the prices have not been any better than the grocery store. But maybe with the cost of gas to move produce across the country we may have better luck with the fall veggies, although I also have to remember we have had a huge rainfall deficite this summer and the farmers were hurt with that.

So what does this all mean; we as a family have been going backwards in the finance area even as I have picked up some work. Hubby is still determined that what I make will not go into figuring our monthly finances - which is fine because it isn't all that dependable. What we have to do is figure out how to save money for the forseeable future.

1. Prep house for winter.
Older home, wood windows that could use replacing (but there is a huge cost to that). I have a couple of door and window kits for the most troublesome areas. I am also thinking of making some heavy duty winter curtains for the bedrooms. A friend has found a cloth shop that has good deals on upholstrey-type material that would work. This would help to keep the warm air from escaping. I am also on the hunt for those vent covers that force the air into a room instead of straight up. Why they would put a vent under each and every window I do not understand.

2. Hubby is working with other people at work to try and get one of the regional transit carpool vans to use to commute to work. For about $65 a month he will be able to ride in a van, while parking his car just two miles away from our house. Also, with taking the van going out to lunch will not be so easy and he has said he will take his lunch to work more.

3. Live in one room. During the day we will probably close off the family room and use a ceramic heater. That way we can keep the heat low in the rest of the house.

4. Cut back on Christmas and Birthday shopping. I have already started purusing ebay and other discount stores for these upcoming events. We had planned to go in with my mother on a swing set for the girls, but recently a neighbor has offered us her 20-yr old set. Now normally, and you can call us lazy, the idea of digging out a swing set, taking apart rusted bolts, carting it down the street, sanding and painting would drive us quickly to the closests discount store to lay down money on a brand new one. But I believe that we will be taking her up on the offer. Hubby still hasn't been over to do the fine-detail inspection to make sure that it can be moved.

As I write this, I am also overwhelmed with a sense of thankfulness of what we do have. This winter will be tight and financially stressful, but we will make it through it. There are so many others who might not. This might be the winter that sends them into irreversabile financial struggles, if not homelessness. We have a home that we can afford, vehicles that are fairly gas efficient - all things considered, job(s), loving (and very warm blooded) children to snuggle with, and an ability to make filling and good-tasting foods to make us warm from the inside-out. That leaves me time to worry about christmas and birthday, to think about the needless extras we might not have this year.

Is there anyone else out there thnking about how they will be preparing their house and home this winter? Any ideas you would like to share.



Monday, October 03, 2005

Monday MIdday

The title says it all. Today is MONDAY.

MB is struggling with her focus today, so reading took three times longer than normal with three times more mistakes and frustatrated outbursts.

We started the new math book, of course today was all review, so she tried to hijjack the topic into a discussion on infinity and what exactly is the number infinity, at what point is inifinity defined. At some point I just had to say, "Ohhhh, just fill in your 0-10 number line"

Her writing practice was on the white board, so when she became bored with what I was doing - saying sounds and she had to write the corresponding letter, she decided to write her own story. Excellent!

We read our history reading, but then I had to read Osiris again. She seems slightly obsessed with the whole brother killing thing, should I be a little worried?

Everything else has been a struggle. If I can get us all moving in the same direction, I hope to head over the the home improvement store an pick up some yard things. Then I will put the fussy, fighting girls to work with some hard labor this afternoon.

By the way some of my motivation returned. I stayed up until mid-night cleaning the kitchen/dining/family room. It looked great until 8:30 this morning!



Saturday, October 01, 2005

Motivation, Or a Serious Lack of It

My motivation, my muse has flown the coop. For three days I have had a lack of motivation about everything. Wash clothes - naa, don't feel like it; work on "work" - naa, don't feel like it but I gotta do it anyway; wash dishes and fill the dishwasher - only when hubby can no longer reach the coffee pot; eat lunch - naa, eat it later (ate friday's lunch tonight for dinner).

I am going through the motions on the things that have to be done - but no real desire or burning need to accomplish anything has hit me. I have all the thoughts that I have wanted to blog, but when I have sat down and pulled out the keyboard, I am like "naa, I'll do it later." So here I am to fill you in on things from this week.


Just when I thought I was going to have a break, and was really starting to get used to the idea, my boss called to tell me that he had something else come in. So, I have a new project. I have had it since Tuesday, but no motivation to actually do anything with it until yesterday. So I have really been cranking on it whenever I can. I only have one piece left for Monday. I don't know what else will be behind it, but I really am not that concerned. If there is more - great, if not that is really okay too.

File Under - What Have I Done Now

While on the field trip Wednesday I finally found someone else in our homeschool group that does SOTW. She mentioned that there were a few other families. This got me thinking on the way home that some of the crafts and things are really good for groups and wouldn't it be neat if we could get together and do the crafts since the kids are all about the same age. You see where this is going, don't you. So yep, I am planning my first CO-OP. So that I do not totally torture myself we are only going to meet once a month and it will be one ancient culture each month for a story and a craft (or food). I tried to limit it to 6 kids, but so many had siblings that we have ended up with 8. I look around my house and wonder. Our first meeting is the end of October so I have sometime to plan (and clean, and organize, and...)

Kids Say The Darndest Things

"Don't they know they are wasting our gas." Said by MB as we sat, and sat for over 30 minutes in road construction on Wednesday.

I am really glad we got to go

Today I took MB and EM (K got daddy time) to a Heritage Festival at a local lake. This event is sponsored by the state rangers an is totally, totally free. No charge for anything, including food and drinks. They had sawing contests, tables set up for children to do crafts, someone showing children how to use a bow and arrow, birds of prey, skins and mounts of local wildlife, bluegrass music and clogging, plus a free lunch of eastern NC BBQ with brunswick stew. A woman was spinning wool and showed yarn that she had made from the fur of her pet dogs (the german shepherd's was beautiful). Another man was knapping flint into knives and arrowheads and was showing how they were attached to animal bones and wood. There were also other areas we did not even get to.

I had a blast, but for MB it was over after she had done the bow and arrow. I would have really like to have the time to bring her and EM back home and head back over myself. As it was we came home with a bluebird house and a tin punch picture MB had made, and digital pictures of MB hitting the bale of hay the first time she tried a bow and arrow.

A New Math Curriculum

I have decided to go a new direction for math this year. After getting RightStart math last spring and starting it with MB, I soon realize that I had made a mistake in ordering Level A. K really enjoyed it, but MB hated it. Instead of ordering another complete curriculum this year, I thought that I could do the math program myself. Really, how hard is 1st grade math anyway. Both MB and myself enjoy math, it wouldn't be that hard. And, it hasn't. Except, I worry that holes are being created and wonder when I should move on and how much repitition is necessary. Is she really getting it?

A few weeks ago I started exploring other options. MB likes workbooks. I guess it feels more like school to her or something, anyway I knew that a good workbook math program was needed. Saxon was highly recommended and it looked pretty good to me. But, I wanted to go to the bookstore and look at a copy in my hands, as I am funny that way. A local christian bookstore that carries a large number of homeschooling supplies had Saxon, but they also had Horizons. I looked at both. I liked the spiral approach and the idea of working on multiple skills each day. I thought that this would appeal to MB. I had her come over and look at both workbooks, and when she said that she liked the Horizon book the best I figured we would give it a go. So we will begin working in Horizons Level 1 on Monday.

The drawback I see to using a canned curriculum like this is the time. It sets aside a lot of time for each lesson. Some are as long as our structured day normally lasts total. So we will have to see how it goes in that regard.

I plan to keep using the Rightstart book with K. Doing mini lessons with her. And both girls have alot of fun with the manipulatives. So that wasn't a total loss.

There is the end of my week in a nutshell. I am ready for church tomorrow and a day of rest. We will paint the bluebird house and I will organize things for this week and maybe even make a library run.

Have a great Sunday!


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.