Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Tree

Last weekend, for Mary's birthday, we drove up to the mountains to visit with my BIL and SIL at their church camp/conference center. We had a wonderful time even though the temps were very arctic on Saturday (before warming to just above freezing and a cold rain overnight - just like home).

Saturday morning we drove down to the little village to find ourselves a Christmas tree. We've never had the chance to go to the mountains so close to Christmas and pick our own tree out.

What a great time playing hide and seek among the fields of trees.

Everyone found their own 'perfect' Christmas tree, but finally before our noses and toes froze, we found our tree.

That afternoon the girls had a blast at the yearly Christmas festival at the camp.

They decorated sugar cookies, made ornaments for our tree, listened to local folk music and ode on several (very cold) hay rides up the ridge and back, including one after dark.

The next day the skies began to clear and we had this beautiful view as we left the mountain.

Back home we gradually set up the tree, hunted the stores for more white lights...thankfully my mom came to the rescue as every store was already sold out of white Christmas tree lights.

Friday night we cranked on the Christmas music, popped some popcorn and decorated the tree.

The tree is in our front sitting room, and it takes up just about all of the space in there. Our eyes were obviously bigger than our space in the instance...but, it is a beautiful tree.



Friday, December 18, 2009

The difference a month makes

Let's revisit where we were a month ago...

This is what we were doing after lunch today...

It has turned back over to sleet now...we'll have to see if anymore white stuff will fall this weekend.



Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday Project

Our project for Tuesday was making popcorn balls. A fun little, traditional 'candy' I have never made. The girls had a blast making these treats, especially after they finally waited for the candy to cool. I don't dare try one for fear of pulling out another crown...but the kids seemed to enjoy snacking on them while we finally got around to watching "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince".



Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Getting Crafty

We are wrapping up this semesters work, so things are pretty much winding down in our 'school' for the next couple of weeks. The weather has turned cold, damp and generally wintery-feeling for mid-state NC. It is time to pull out the crafts I have been putting off.

This weekend I worked on my first quilt, ever. I received quilting supplies for my birthday in June, but have not had the time to do more than flip through books and get some ideas. Here is what I was able to accomplish with some devoted time this weekend.

I really like quilts that are not 'perfect'. I like the ones that do look like they are made from recycled materials. This one is being put together using scrap material my mother and I collected over the years.

Over the fall I knitted scarves for all three of the girls to match their new winter coats. I figured it was time to make something for myself.

This will be my winter shawl for this year. Very basic, and easy to make while I'm sitting with the kids or watching a movie.

Finally, I am committed to figuring out how to make socks. I will do it one of these days! Found a pattern to make tube socks (without having to make a heel) and thought I would give that a try. Mary has been the loudest begging for more fluffy socks to wear around the house, so she is my test model.

This is going pretty well, and doesn't look like it is made to fit a giant. But, it requires a bit more concentration and thought. How people just whip up a pair of socks in a day or two I would love to know.

I've got another week or so of "lite" school and relaxing before we have to kick all the birthday/Christmas festivities into full gear. Planning on taking advantage of it.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Ending the week with a bang

This week has been pretty much a nothing week. Well, nothing exciting anyway. School is moving along, although I'm thinking we are all just going through the motions until we break for Christmas. I've been in a cleaning, cooking, knitting mood - kids watch out. Of course, by the state of my house I was long overdue for a cleaning mood.

On Tuesday the gift I ordered for myself for Christmas came in...Seasons 1-7 of the Waltons a 1/3 the price. Cheaper even than the season box sets I was eying at the local used book store. Since I am such a kid at heart (a kid who is tired of PBS Kids in the afternoon), I allowed myself to break out the 1st season to watch between now and Christmas. The other 6 seasons will get wrapped up for Christmas morning. I'll be so surprised.

I can say that my increase in energy and contentment is probably related to watching The Waltons. For some reason, watching that show has always made me more grateful for what we have. The recession has been so depressing for me, especially this fall...It feels good to finally get off my butt (again) and just aim to doing the best I can.

I cooked up a pork roast in the crockpot for dinner on Wednesday. Mary made the sweet potato casserole to go with it while I put together my first loaves of fresh bread since last Spring. The leftover pork will go into a Brunswick Stew I am making tomorrow for our wintery weather (40 degrees and rain). Last night DH got creative with a packet of alfredo sauce, pre-cooked chicken I found in the freezer and pasta. That was really good. Too bad the family had eaten all the bread from the night before.

The high point for this week is apparently going to be the doctor's trip Katie and I have to make this morning. She came to me yesterday complaining that her earring was hurting her. So, I took a look and the back was missing and this crusty stuff was on the back of her ear. cleaning off the ear I realized the back of the earring had not fallen had cut inside her earlobe. The nurse at the pediatric office comforted me that they had seen it before and knew what to do.

Poor Katie, this has been her year for doctor visits.



Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankful Thanksgiving

We've had a wonderful long weekend. Full of friends, family and food. Laughter, hugs and tickles.

We've watched a horrible NC State team beat their ranked, ancient rivals UNC by one point at home.

I've worked on projects involving going through all our pictures taken this year --- and am truly grateful for all the gifts we have been blessed with this year.

This morning we will head to church for the first Sunday in Advent where we will sing one of my favorite hymns (only sung today and Easter): Hosanna, written by Christian Gregor in the 18th century.



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shopping, Planning and more GS

Getting back from the beach I thought we might get in two 'school' days this week before the Thanksgiving Holiday. Silly me.

I got a call Sunday evening from the father of Mary's bestfriend. The one that moved away this summer. They were in town staying with him for the week, but he had to work on Monday. Could I help him out. Mary was beyond thrilled as she got to spend a whole day with her best friend. We also had dental check-ups on Monday for Mary & Katie, so everyone got to go hang out in the waiting room.

The girls' check-ups went great, and the really good news continues to be that we may be able to avoid any orthodontia work. Plenty of room in their jaws and every tooth coming in straight. We need news like that.

Yesterday I signed the girls up for their classes at the rec center for this coming winter. Even though the cost per class is reasonable, multiply that by 3 children and you get ouch. Mary and Katie are going to take a month-long class on Weather & Meteorology, Mary is going to take two months of art classes, Katie will do two more drama sessions, Emily will have 2 months of art classes and 2 months of Kinderdance. Those classes will take us through the end of February/early March (except for Drama which will run into April) when it starts getting nice again and sports start.

Katie wants to learn to play the flute. She has talked about it for nearly 6 months. DH and I decided to get her a flute for Christmas and I have been racking my brain trying to find reasonably priced flute lessons for her. My MIL came to my rescue by reminding us that our church offers beginning band lessons starting at age 7...for free. They can get her up to speed on learning to read music, hold the flute, make sounds and play notes. If she is still interested and willing to put in the practice, then we can look again at lessons. DH is totally on board with that. He started on the trumpet through the church's beginning band program and went on to be one of the best by high school. He said he will take her to the lessons so that he can work on getting his lips back on the trumpet by Easter.

I also managed to find time to finish Christmas shopping yesterday. Point. Click. Check Out. Yep, mostly an on-line Christmas for us. Now, I can just concentrate on stressing out about a lot of other things between now and Christmas.

We had another GS meeting last night with the Juniors. It was a really good meeting, and we really needed that. Mary was scheduled to give a presentation on her "Rocks Rock" badge she had finished. She worked a lot on Tuesday putting together the collection she was taking in to display and wandering around muttering to herself all the words she generally stumbles over. When we got there she set up a whole display, and as soon as the girls came in they all crowded around the table -- which made the whole presentation a lot less 'formal' and much more comfortable for Mary. She did a really great job pulling it together.

When we got home Mary insisted I teach her how to sew on badges so she could start doing that herself. It was nice to just sit with her and talk while we sewed. She did a pretty good job too. Those badges can be thick in places and hard to get the needle through.

Holiday starts today for the PS so I am sure my door will be revolving in a few hours as the kids in the neighbohood enjoy their freedom for the day.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Space Exploration and sewing

We came back from the beach on Friday so that we could be in town to go to the Planetarium at UNC with Mary's troop Saturday morning. It was a very early morning for everyone. And, I should point out that Mary wore her Duke coat to UNC. I tried to get her to wear her State sweathshirt, but she wanted something easy to take off when she got hot.

We watched a 3D film (on the curved ceiling) on the Past, Present and Future of Space Exploration. Then, broke into small groups for the activities. The girls got to build their own kites and fly them, make film canister rockets (fueled by alka-seltzer and water), fold paper airplanes and test fly them, and try astronaut ice cream.

Mary had a great time!! Except for the ice cream I don't think there was anything she didn't enjoy doing. In fact, after we came home we had to go back out and buy some Alka-Seltzer so that she could show the neighborhood kids.

The other girls, I'm not so sure about. It is going to take me awhile to get used to spending time with public school kids at activities. I am so used to being with homeschool groups or just my family that I take for granted that kids love these types of experiences. It is so foreign to me to be around children who are just so negatively focused on doing ANYTHING. Even though nothing major happened, I was very upset by it all when we got home Saturday afternoon.

I think I have just come to the conclusion that I will do what I can for the troop, but for Mary we will also just go and participate in more individual activities. Mary, is very focused on her scouting and has definite goals, that in all honesty this troop of girls could hold her back from accomplishing if we only did what the troop wanted.

Sunday, I finally got to BE at home. I pulled out the girls' scout vests and caught up with all the sewing of patches and badges. So many people have had issues with iron-on patches falling off I've just decided to sew them all. My finger still aches from the number of times I managed to stick myself. It took most of the morning to work through the stack in my jewlery box.

The girls helped me clean the rug and give Ginger (our golden) a much needed bath. DH built a fire and I used the leftover fried chicken from Friday's dinner to make a yummy chicken tetrazzini for dinner. We settled in for a family night of games, watching "Amazing Race" and roasting marshmallows in the fireplace. It was a wonderful, peaceful Sunday night!



Friday, November 20, 2009

So I can remember

I should be organizing all the stuff I unloaded from the car, but this is so much more fun. We just got back from a whirlwind trip to the beach. I had a thing to go to for a friend on Wednesday night and we just decided that it would be nice to hang out for an extra day.

For this trip I decided to introduce them to one of my favorite places: the beach in the fall at sunset. As a teen, many sunsets would find me walking along the sand finding peace in the only place I could at that age. For my kids I thought building sand castles and watching the sunset would be up their alley. Silly mommy...

It started off well enough

But then took a decidedly memorable turn

That was just too much fun for the girls

He thought they will a little crazy...

They thought it was great swimming in the ocean in November.

What a wonderful sunset at the beach for me...



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recitation..Mary's Way

So, Mary was practicing her poem "The Owl and the Pussycat" this morning when it went off in a direction that is very 'Mary.' I laughed so hard that I made her do it over for the camera.

It isn't the whole thing and she took some liberties...but I thought it was pretty good.



Long School Day

Yesterday was a really, really long school day. The kids' creativity was in full-force, which meant everything seemed to lead to something else more interesting to do. And, since I've never been one to curb creativity it seemed I was just along for the ride.

Katie kicked it off by gabbing the play laptop first thing. She has been playing Hotel with it for the last week or so. But, then she found out that she can compose music and save it to replay. I could do nothing else but let her go with it for awhile before I started lessons.

Robbie and Emily "re-found" the Little People that had been ignored for the last six months or so, and proceeded to set up a village on our back deck. Thankfully, the weather was perfect for them to hang outside all day.

Katie and I still had to make up the nature observations and do our tree bark rubbings from last week. After we finished she ran off with Mary for awhile to check on the colony of lizards that live near our old garden. Those lizards are their very own soap opera...the have names and personalities. "No one likes the little one with no tail. He is mean and chases all the others."

I finally got them settled so that we could start working on memorizing the poem for this week: "The Owl and the Pussycat". After going through it several times - Mary had already managed the first stanza, they decided it would make a great play to act out. Off the two girls go to find props and set up the stage (family room). An old hoop earring of mine, some foreign coins we have collected, a green blanket became the boat, Emily called into service as the pig. Then 20 minutes of reading the poem TO THEMSELVES and deciding on lines.

Seriously, am I going to stop this just because math wasn't done or history wasn't read???

In the end, their skit was very good. And, they put it on again later for their ps friends. We got math done and put off Latin, Mary's science, and history for after it got too dark to play. And, they did good! While dinner simmered and we waited for daddy to get home we sat down and reviewed our Latin vocabulary (I'm not moving on until they know all the vocabulary from the first 5 lessons 100%), Mary read her science book and updated her science notebook with new vocabulary.

When DH came home he reminded us about the Leonid meteor shower overnight, *sigh*, which meant that we had plenty of time to read everything while we waited until 1:00am. For once, the skies were clear and we might actually get to see something.

We read history, and then since we had finished "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" Sunday night, I gave them a choice of their next book. The girls chose for me to start reading the Harry Potter series. This is going to take awhile....So, we read until 1:00am when we bundled up and went outside to lay in our neighbor's yard.

Mary was the first one to see a meteor, but it didn't take too long for us to see a few more. Being cold, slightly damp, and hearing unknown noises in the bushes behind us, we came on inside and headed off to bed after a very long school day.

Needless to say we are sleeping in a bit this morning.



Monday, November 16, 2009

Beautiful Weekend

Our rainy, miserable weather this past week ended with a beautiful weekend. We also had no soccer games to organize around for the first time since August.

Katie had a field trip with her Brownie troop to a local corn mill. After she was picked up I realized that the sun was out and it was time to tackle the garage. The past few months with all our busyness and not generally feeling well, the garage had becoming the dumping place for everything. It had gotten to the point I could no longer get to the freezer without worrying about breaking my ankle on something.

The kids spent the day outside as much as possible, making up for not getting outside for the last four days. Which, meant I got to sit on my now clean front porch doing little more than reading my current book; a very excellent biography of Abigail Adams.

Sunday, Mary spent the afternoon at a local State Nature Park. My co-leader took her niece and Mary to the event, where they did a service project (raking a fire line) and then hiked with a ranger. Since the whole troop did not decide to participate in this, I didn't have to go. I love that my co-leader is open to taking Mary to certain events without me as that was one of my concerns about being a leader to Mary's troop. I want Mary to experience activities without me being along. Most of the time I will have to be there, but I will take the opportunity for Mary to spread her wings without me when they are offered.

This coming week is probably going to be a bit disjointed. Last week, a friend of mine lost her brother and father. They were fishermen, not sure what happened, but during the storm last week their boat had problems and they went missing off Cape May. The memorial service is Wednesday and I am going home to offer moral support. The kids are coming with me and we will be visiting my mom until Friday. I'm reworking our to do list and am planning to pack up the school boxes. The girls are not very keen on this idea, but with Thanksgiving break just next week I don't want to fall off our rhythm.

I better get back to work this morning so we can hit the ground running.



Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Our Friday the 13th got off to an early start. All day on Thursday my computer gave me fits. Running slower and slower until finally this evening it all but stopped loading any programs. Sure enough, after waiting 20 minutes for my anti-virus program to actually open and start scanning the hard drive, I found several 'trojan' programs had infected the system. It took until nearly midnight before I could finish cleaning everything off the computer and get it back running at a decent speed again.

So, here I am at 12:30am waiting for my melatonin to take affect. It has been one of those days where everything has just been a little 'off'. It could be the fact we didn't have school on Wednesday, or the nasty weather, or just the fact that the earlier part of the week went sooo smoothly. The kids never could get really focused on school work. It was the day for the drill sargent, and I didn't necessarily want to be it.

But, even with all that we did manage to finish most everything on the lists, and got Emily to her kindergym class on time. Yeah us!! The only things we didn't get to were Katie's assignments to observe squirrels and journal about them, and the tree bark rubbings for her 'woods book'. But with it blowing a gale and tree limbs falling left and right - it wasn't the day for nature studies. We will try again over the weekend.

Later today, when the sun rises again, we have another full day of work. Plus, I have got to get out to the grocery stores. We have begun to run out of items in the pantry that could cause a mutiny by the children, like ketchup. They have even eaten the dregs of cold cereal that they don't really like.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mid-Week Round Up

Today is our "off" day for this week. Being Veteran's Day the school kids our off, and since I'm attempting to recover from my masochism tendencies, I decided my children would also have the day off. Since we have a 4-day week, it works out fine. The only thing that would make it better would be if it wasn't pouring down rain and 50 degrees. I know my house will be trashed before the day is over, but I will also enjoy watching the games the children invent to keep them busy.

The first two days off our new "stepped up" schedule has gone well. Mary and Katie first put up a fuss about the new lines on their To Do Lists, but once we got into it they realized it wasn't that much more difficult...and kind of fun. I'm thrilled with what we have done these two days...maybe mostly because I've actually been able to balance the children so much better than before.


~ Completed Chapter 2 in Math Mammoth. Her review sheet was completed at 98% accuracy, so we skipped the test. Thursday we will begin Chapter 3.
~ Continuing to read a chapter per day in the Ben Franklin biography.
~ Completed the Review of Chapter 2 (Landforms) in her Science Book. For her "test" she choose one land form and drew a picture of it, along with a paragraph or two about the land form. Mary chose a volcano.
~ Completed Chapter 10 (Pilgrims) in "The Story of the USA" workbook.
~ Read the first chapter in George Washington's World
~ Made a model of a traditional colonial cabin from construction paper (Activity from History Pockets)
~ Reviewed all Latin vocabulary in lessons 1-4, began working on Lesson 5
~ Began working on the poem "November" by Alice Cary, underlined the adjectives
~ Began Lesson 7 in Simply Grammar (Adjectives)
~ Lesson 1 in Intermediate Language Lessons (Narration of the Story of Moses)
~ Continued phonics review of "th" sounds
~ daily cursive copywork
~ listened to reading on Tree Squirrels in Burgess' Animal Book. With Katie, looked up different types of squirrels in our Mammal Identification book.

~ Continued work on subtraction.
~ Began reading and studying "The Three Little Pigs" for Literature Pockets. She has read aloud two versions of the story and made the pocket to hold the other activities.
~ Read & narrated Chapter 1-2 in "Paddle-To-The Sea"
~ Completed Food Web worksheet, read pages 12-13 in "One Small Square:Woods", read about Tree Squirrels in Burgess' Animal Book, colored squirrel worksheets, and looked up different types of squirrels in Mammal Identification book.
~ Drew a picture of a volcano and identified the different features of a volcano
~ Orally reviewed Latin vocabulary words for Lessons 1-4, introduced Lesson 5 vocabulary
~ Daily handwriting practice
~ Introduced the poem "Whisky, Frisky" and talked about descriptive words
~ Listened to reading of George Washington's World (Chapter 1) and made a model of a colonial cabin with Mary.
~ Daily phonics review - short vowel words

~ began working through RightStart Math - counting objects to 6
~ The Letter F; she has matched beginning sounds and made a fish using a ovals & triangles
~ Reading short 'i' words in HOP
~ Enjoying reading through the Bob Books I got at the Library
~ Playing "Memory" and Pictionary Jr.

~ reading a lot of board books
~ flipping through Alphabet books and talking about what we see
~ Playing Memory
~ building train tracks
~ coloring

We have also read through Chapter Six in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" as the family read-aloud in the evening. I found a copy with Michael Hague's illustrations and we are enjoying this book, especially once we got past the third chapter.

Last night Mary, Katie and myself also attended a flag event for Girl Scouts, where we watched a presentation on the history of the US flag. Very, very interesting for Mary (my flag lover). She was probably the one of the only ones in the room who knew that the British Union Jack came from the flags of England (St. George), Scotland (St. Andrew) and Ireland (St. Patrick). Except for having to drive a car full of girls across town in heavy rain during rush hour, the evening was a success!

A busy couple of days so far this week. Today I will just be around to keep a lid on the creativity so it doesn't totally explode all over my house, and hopefully complete Katie's scarf I am knitting.



Sunday, November 08, 2009

November - a time for tweaking?

It seems as though November and March are the two months I do a lot of tweaking to our homeschool for the year. Why should this year be any different? This year is going great and I see no major overhaul. In fact, I'm not going to change a thing that we are doing. I'm just going to add a bit more to it. I've also sat down this weekend and planned out our next six weeks, taking us right into the Christmas break.

Through the fall we have been looking at early settlements and early colonial period of US History. We've been reading literature, biographies and non-fiction, while also doing the History Pocket set from Evan-Moor. Mary's assigned reading has come from her history during this term. She has read a biography of Pocahantas, Carving in the Tree, Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims, and is working through a biography of Ben Franklin currently. As read-alouds to Mary and Katie we have finished: Pocahantas and the Strangers, Life in Jamestown, Pilgrim Stories, Felicity books (1-5), and The Magic Tunnel. Plus many other non-fiction books we have looked through and discussed. The girls have also really enjyoed watching Liberty Kid's, even though they are set during the Revolutionary War.

Both have also worked through a "50 States" workbook and have enjoyed trying to learn the names of the Presidents.

We have spent this fall concentrating on Earth Science. Our units have covered rocks, layers of the Earth, erosion and weathering, earthquakes, volcanos, and floods. Mary is using a school textbook that was passed along to me as her "spine", but we spend a lot of time using worksheets from Enchanted Learning and non-fiction books to flesh out the very limited material for both her and Katie.

Katie is going to split off from Mary at this point, and for the rest of the school year she is going to be learning about different biomes and habitats. I have a lot of very interesting materials left over from when Mary studied it a few years ago that I want to share with Katie.

Mary will study soil and conservation until the end of the term. And in January we will begin a unit including weather and the solar system to take us through the end of the year.

I'm sure if it is like everything else, Mary will be involved in Katie's projects and Katie in Mary's. So, we will actually be covering two sciences this year.

Language Arts
The biggest changes to our curriculum going forward is going to be in language arts. So far our language arts has pretty much been limited to crossover with history projects, phonics, handwriting, a weekly lesson from Simply Grammar (for Mary) and Katie's Literature Pockets (focusing on folk & fairy tales). All of that will stay, but we are going to add in weekly poems to study, and Intermediate Language Lessons (for Mary), an emphasis on formal narration and more copywork for both. Katie and I are going to start reading through some of the book list for Ambleside Online year 1.

Both girls need help in expressing themselves, which I think that the new add-ons will be very useful.

I have combined Katie's reading into her work with the Literature Pockets from Evan Moor. For each of the short fairy tales we find other versions of the fairy tales and she reads the different versions as we work through the activities. Both the girls enjoyed her recent unit on the Gingerbread Man. So much so they worked together and wrote their own "Cookie Man" story. We have several more units in the current Evan Moor book I have, and then I will get the next Folk and Fairy Tale one that has the longer stories in it to finish out the school year.

I am making no changes to Math. Both girls are liking their Math Mammoth program and are doing well. Mary is finishing the chapter on working with large numbers and will be moving into multipling this week. Katie is working with subtraction and subtraction facts.

We are slowly working through Prima Latina. Latin seems to be the subject that is most quickly dropped during busy weeks. It is on Mary's list to do, but Katie does have her own book and follows along learning the vocabulary words. We are only on Lesson 5, but the girls do seem to be retaining the vocabulary due to random quizzes and the liberal use of the CD.

Art and Music

Art and Music are kind of hit or miss. They are picking up a lot through interest-led work and external activities. Around Christmas we will be attending the Nutcracker performed by the NC Ballet.

Emily is working with me through the Hooked on Phonics K book and loves to read short little phonetic readers. So much that I have trouble keeping up with her. I find myself printing off little books to make for her to read. She is a good little reader.

We keep working through her letters and phonics worksheets. Which she enjoys as long as she doesn't have to do much writing. She really enjoys the arts & craft activities.

In math she knows her shapes, sizes, numbers and so on. After Christmas we will start working with basic time skills, money and addition.

Handwriting is the bug-a-boo for Emily and I am tempted to purchase yet another curriculum for her and Robbie to share: Handwriting without Tears and the wooden letter set.

Robbie loves letters. He knows his letters and the sounds most of them make. One of his favorite activities is to be read to and to find letters in the words.

We are working with him on counting and colors. And, just learning to occupy himself without taking apart the house.

As you can see we have had a very good fall this year.



Thursday, November 05, 2009

Laughter is GOOD Medicine

Katie did gradually get better yesterday, although she did not want to do much beyond sitting on the sofa watching the movies we got for her. She has fallen in love with "Andre". She chuckled and laughed throughout the movie and then wanted to watch it again and again.

Later in the day Mary, Katie and I curled up and read all together "The Pancake Man." Katie is studying the Gingerbread Man for her literature and we are reading different versions. It gave the girls the idea to write their own version of the "Gingerbread Man", which led to even more laughter. So much so that I don't think they ever finished it.

Mary did her best to entertain all of us, she put on a hilarious costume show that kept us all in stitches.

By bedtime; Katie's temp was almost normal, she had color in her cheeks and was not ready to go to sleep (a good sign she had turned the corner). Some of it was the medicine, but a lot of it was all the laughing she did yesterday.



Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Yesterday my heart sank as I sat in the doctor's office and heard him tell me that Katie had pneumonia. Flashes of recent news reports showing children laying in hospital beds in induced comas while breathing tubes stuck own their throats rushed through my mind. She was only a little sick over the weekend, how did she end up Tuesday morning barely able to stand with a 104 degree temperature.

He said it was a little spot, she could be treated at home and gave us a prescription for a high dose medicine. And, if she got worse to proceed directly to the ER.

At the pharmacy I had to wait, and wait for her medicine. It ends up Katie hasn't had a prescription filled since she was less than a year old. Katie doesn't get sick. While I waited I looked through the $5 DVD bin. I figured since she was going to be stationed on the sofa for a few days some new DVDs would be needed also. We got Nim's Island and Andre; little girls and their wild animals - perfect for Katie.

The rest of the day we sat and watched movies and watched Katie. Slowly her temperature fell back to 100, she began to sit up, to talk, to move.

Mary, became Katie's guard dog. She too had seen the news reports and being almost 10, understood that this wasn't just a cold. She made Katie get well cards, watched the same movie over and over (because Katie wanted to), and got Katie popsicles to suck on.

Last night the three of us slept in the family room. I dozed, waking every hour to check Katie's temperature and make sure she was breathing. She was, thankfully, and no wheezing.

They have not woken yet this morning. She is sleeping comfortably...which is good. But, I'm a worry wart and I don't know when I will sleep comfortably again. I have 3 other children who were a little sick over the weekend also. I've been warned that any one could get better and fall back very, very sick again quickly.

To steal a line from one of my favorite bloggers: "Kiss those babies".



Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Somedays it is all about entertaining him

Planning school, teaching school and making sure the girls stay on task is not the most difficult part of my day. Lately, he has been very into taking things apart. It isn't unusual for me to find a screwdriver hidden away in his room, along with batteries removed from his toys or other things actually deconstructed.

It has become my mission to find ways to entertain him in my line of vision, while I teach the older ones. I felt really lucky when I pulled the mega blocks out for him yesterday and he spent the entire day building garages for his cars. We had a great school day!!



Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween Picture

This isn't the best picture of the kids and an example of why I don't often have them post for pictures. Shortly after it was taken the children all dispersed in several directions. Mary (as Ginny Weasly) was trick or treating with a friend and her parents, Katie (a devil) was with her friends and their parents, DH took Robbie (the firefighter) around the block, while poor Emily (the fairy) was too sick to go. But, don't worry, everyone shared their candy with her.



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Williamsburg Field Trip - Part III

Friday morning we headed over to the Visitor Center for Colonial Williamsburg where we caught the bus into Williamsburg.

Our first stop was the Governor's Palace, where Lord Dunmore served as the last Royal Governor. We had a really great docent giving the tour. He was funny and entertaining, and kept the three girls interested as we walked through the palace. I have to say the decorations left a bit to be desired. I think he had enough guns and swords on the walls to outfit half the colonial army.

When Lord and Lady Dunmore evacuated the Palace they took 13 wagons of goods with him. Yet, there were enough valuables left that when Patrick Henry took possession of the palace as the first governor of Virginia, he had a "yard sale" to raise money for the Patriots.

Capital, where the House of Burgesses meet.

Emily fell in love with the Hotch Potch alphabet blocks in the Wythe house. She bought a copy of the Hotch Potch doll with her money.

Here we are visiting the Printer. DH's grandfather ran a print shop, that while a little more mechanical than this one, still required the type to be set and was similar.

After the Printer we stopped by the Blacksmith.

They were busy making pieces for the new coffee shop that will be opening next month. We enjoyed our conversation with the Blacksmith.

The girls stopped by the Bakery to get some fresh baked cookies while I took a little break. Then we walked down the the Millinery shop. Mary fell in love with a yellow and blue silk dancing dress. The shopkeeper was very interesting and explained how there were no patterns and the material was not often cut. Instead it was wrapped and folded around the lady and then sewed. I couldn't get over the white baby dresses that all children wore until they were 5 or 6. White....seriously.

We stopped by the capital building, but it was crawling with school groups and did not feel like waiting until the next tour. We will hit it on another visit.

We made one last stop at the Jail.

We learned that almost any offense could get you hung, but most offenders were not hung. Most offenders were pardoned by the priest. The only two unpardonable offenses were murder and stealing a horse.

Then we caught the bus back to the Visitor Center and our car. Time to drive to Yorktown.

We did not visit the Yorktown Battleground, but went to the Virginia Museum. similar to the Jamestown, there was a very well done indoor exhibit through the timeline of the Revolutionary War. Many stories told through journal entries.

Scout Mary
DH talking with the doctor.
I think I need one of these signs above my laundry room.
Keeping track of all the supplies.
American army encampment

From the defeat of the British army we move on to what would have been an average 1780s farm.

All too soon it was time to re-enter the 21st century and head back home.

The trip was wonderful. Almost no crowds and could generally avoid the school groups. We got to talk extensively to almost everybody we meet. And, learned quite a bit back ground information. We will go back again in a few years, when US History study rolls back around.

We are already planning next fall's trip. It will be near the time we study the Civil War and we will go back to Virginia to visit the battlefields and DH wants to go to Gettysburg, PA.


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.