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Showing posts from November, 2008

Setting the Captives Free

Jesus came to set the captives FREE! Did you know that there are millions of slaves in the world even today? And that many are children in the sex trade? This broadcast on Family Life Today was a real eye-opener for me. We talk about "freedom" and such in very general terms, but I'm sure these people in true bondage could tell us that that's not really what it's all about. If you have a little extra time, I'd strongly encourage you to take a listen to these broadcasts. God bless ya!

New Addiction.

Have you tried online puzzles? I went to this site and you can adjust the puzzles from very easy to impossible. What I like about them is that they don't force-fit. I'm one of those people who will bend puzzle pieces all kinds of ways until they fit. If I think they fit. :]

Scrolls. And Blueberry Bread.

We needed some berry juice to make this ink, so we made blueberry bread. Our scrolls are some paper that came with packages, held by two sticks. Emperor's reads, "Flee from temptations," but he rolled it up before it was dry. Elf wanted to write something very long but I dissuaded him, thinking it would be practically impossible to write a lengthy piece of prose with a straw and some blueberry juice. I find, however, that his writing is reasonably passable and he may have been a good pioneer student with a quill pen. Poor Emperor. He's so very smart, but so very energetic. I have gotten upset at him several times for charging through the kitchen while the stove is on. Mom let him know that when he flees from temptation next time, he has to do it slowly when the stove is on in the kitchen.

My Linty Coat.

Well, I've been taking this lint shaver and fixing up my coat for winter. D came in and said, "That would be GREAT to use while you're wearing it!" * "Aargh," I told him. "The directions SPECIFICALLY tell you not to do that. It has razors inside it, for crying out loud! Don't you know you could CUT YOURSELF doing that? That would be reeeeally stupid to do." * Later... * D comes in and claims maybe the lint shaver would be good for his beard instead. * "AAargh!" I said. "The directions SPECIFICALLY tell you not to do that. It will pull your skin in and cut it! Don't you see these big holes on the bottom! That would be really dangerous!" * Later... * D comes in and says the lint shaver would be good for hedge clipping. * "Have you been reading the directions so you could come in and bug me about each thing you're NOT supposed to do!?" Wait. NOW I've caught him! He's pulling my leg because we don't have any he…

Cranberry Sauce

******* Today, we made real cranberry sauce using cranberries, water and sugar. The children hate the canned cranberries that aren't perfectly jellied, but they'll eat this kind they made at home, which is pretty much the same thing. Only fresher. We were going to use a recipe for "ink" we found online using berries, but cranberries just do NOT fit the bill for that. Their juice is entirely too light.

How About YOU?

"What is the hardest place to take your autistic child?" asks the Bishop's Wife.

For us, that depends on which child we're discussing! G is perfectly fine just about anywhere, but saves all of his "difficult moments" for our at-home time. Usually he strongly prefers to give us unending trouble during long breaks or other "unstructured" time. Then at church or around town we're asked how we ENJOY our Christmas break. It's lovely, thanks...

BEST of all, he gets himself into so much trouble that we can't let him play Nintendo or other games during this long, awful break. I wish he'd just nod his head and say "Yes, Ma'am," like the oldest does when he disagrees with me. You know, just pretend to go along with whatever... so I can feel respected, and then he can go off and do what he wants to do? Kind of a trade thing. G doesn't deal in that currency, though. He just notices when HE is feeling disrespected. R…


Picked this book up at Michael's craft store for about $5. It has "how to" step-by-step instructions on drawing monsters. After we drew some monsters, I had the boys make and cut out their own symmetrical monsters, draw background and tape the monster down. Elf's monster has glasses because Elf got very upset thinking about how this large monster can't see people, and keeps stepping on them and killing them... *sniff* because he can't see... Well, I think I've fixed it because Emperor had some pink paper left over. Elf thinks pink is a strange colour for the monster's glasses but I assured him that NO ONE would make fun of his monster's glasses considering that the frog-monster accidentally squishes very tall trees without them. Emperor's monster must see very well (with all those eyes!) and lives in the lava.

It's Too EASY.

I have taught Elf and Emperor to play Clue. Naturally, I'll act all suspicious of "Colonel Mustard" when I have his card right in my hand. Elf will about BUST because he KNOWS I have Colonel Mustard there and can't tell. I can make some offhand remark about how, you know, it's really probably that Professor Plum character we need to look out for. Because Elf is making his way to the ROOM where the murder happened. And we both know it.

Elf is mad when Emperor jumps to "suspect" Professor Plum in the next turn... pulling Elf's character all the way across the board away from the ROOM in question. I laugh gleefully. Next turn I 'suggest' that Colonel Mustard is the bad guy in the dining room, and wouldn't you know Emperor shouts his ACCUSATION against the Colonel during the next turn?

Bwa ha haaa. He opened the envelope in the next room. You could tell each card was a tragedy. NO!!! he'd yell. Then silence.



"But …

Elf Wins!

Apparently, since Dad got his hand pictured on the blog after he won against Mom at Parcheesi, Elf is entitled to a photograph and several reader comments as well. His pieces are, of course, the green ones. Elves like green, especially if they're little woodland elves who work in the Keebler factory.

Insufficient Funds.

Well, we have to have spending priorities, or we're going to see that phrase a lot. Worse still, having "insufficient funds" doesn't get you out of the overdraft charges. Oh... and even worse still, in this beautiful day of electronic banking, your checks can get bounced about a billion times before you figure out what's going on and do whatever it is you have to do to rectify the situation.

I find the financial world befuddling. Perhaps that's why I vote more on social issues than whether my economics trickle down from some rich guy who buys property in Montana. I'm figuring if you're honest, forthright and moral, you can't go far wrong. Though I'm sure there are plenty of honest, forthright and moral people in poverty. I just like to think that they don't maliciously pass bad checks in their personal lives, and wouldn't want to bankrupt our country. Well, I think that.

Now, I'm not saying there aren't certain economic p…

A Recent Pic of Emperor.

Emperor's a bit of a duckling right now. Can you see that he snipped his hair, right next to the scalp, in the middle? Around it are my attempts (feeble) to even it out. He has lost two teeth on the bottom and the top two are wiggly. Lookit those cheeks, though. His skin is soft and perfect, too. He could never be ugly. We'll just say that he's going through an awkward phase, though.

Pioneer Log House.

If the pioneers were all about seven, and had to build their log cabins out of pretzel sticks and peanut butter, not many of them would have survived the long, cold winter. This is in part because little children like to eat candy houses. How did the wicked witch in the Hansel and Gretel story ever make it through a good hailstorm? It's what I want to know. Thanks, Zimms Zoo, for this fun idea. It was too cool to wait 'till Tuesday to make.

Snuffly Girlie.

I follow her around with a hot washcloth to wipe her nose. She sees me coming and tries to hide her face... but I'm stronger than she is. Poor lil kiddo. Do you see she's getting two teeth on the bottom and has just eaten squash? I'm not sure how we're going to marry this one off. She's messy and prefers her brothers' clothes. But she likes talking and just sitting near friends. She is a wonderful imitator of sounds. I will be asking Woodjie, are you DONE with food? DONE? DONE? And I'll hear DONE... but it isn't Woodjie. It's the Girlie. She will be talking for him before long.

How To Frustrate Mathies.

Little mathies like Emperor would HATE public school. He's the kind who instinctively get the answer correct, but couldn't tell you how he did it. Or worse, he can tell you how, but you don't understand the explanation because it makes no sense. (Would YOU multiply 55 x 13 by multiplying 13 by 50 and then adding it to 5 x 13? In your head? Or do long division like that and not show your work? Me neither. But I guess he likes doing it that way, which is fine until we get to 52834 x 234, in which case he will learn that he should have listened to Mom and done it her way. But I think by then he'll have figured out some other strange method. Love him.) Lefty gives us the rundown on how teachers "ration" grades so that everyone feels warm n fuzzy about themselves and get a nice, average B. Level the playing field. A little snippet:

1. Don't collect homework; leave it up to kids to hand things in. Many smart but disorganized children will lose points to this.

2. …

I Deal With This a Lot.

Emperor wants all the baby things. He wears bibs constantly in the house. I've found him tucking bibs up under his shirt to bring to church. "Everyone loves babies!" he reasoned. "If I wear a bib, people will like me and forget how annoying I am." Awww. I took the bib away anyway. And, yes, I heard reports later about how "annoying" he was in church, too. He has just lost two teeth and given himself a haircut. A more recent picture would be considerably less flattering. This one is from last week.

Financial Stimulus Voucher!

We done gots ourselves a free key with this here financial stimulus voucher package, too. If the key works, it's OURS. D pointed out that since they sent the key in the mail, it's ours anyway. But look! Doesn't it look like the car place is trying to put one over on the not-so-sophisticated shopper? You know, the one who might think that he's getting some sort of bailout?

Building Log Cabins

***** Snow is going to be flying soon, so what better time to imagine Frontier living? We tried stacking some sticks to make a resemblance to log-rolling, but that sure didn't work. I think the pioneers had to have been very careful as to which logs to select. Apparently you need reasonably straight ones to make a house.
So we tried making our own home with brown paper, milk cartons and a construction-paper roof. I think that worked out a bit better, although it wouldn't hold up very well outdoors. Note the attempt at a "wood shingle" roof and the boys each wanted to colour the pioneers' garden that our book tells us had to be planted the SECOND year the settlers were there. The first year is all about selecting a homesite and getting those walls up before the cold weather traps and freezes you on the open prarie.

Parental Accountability and School Marketing?

Oh, boy.

I was following this link that was posted on Dennis's blog to learn more on "how to restore order and respect in public schools." And Dennis did an awesome job of presenting a positive synopsis of the major problems and methods for handling discipline in large suburban and urban schools. But what struck me was that some of these educators started discussing parental "accounability" and hopes that the Obama administration was somehow going to teach to the "whole child." Frightening, indeed.

More than that, at least one discussed how local media needs to be "marketed" to so that it portrays public schools in a good light. We don't want any negative attention on the public schools, you see. That makes the public unhappy with local schools and demand that things change. And by the way, administrators who keep misbehaving children in class rather than disciplining them make the schools look better on paper... Well, until the next schoo…

Jesus in Japan.

How to tell your Japanese friends the Good News? Sue explains in this post, which I am quoting from just a tad here:

"There is no cultural reference for the concept of only one God. Japan is the 'land of 8000 gods'. Our God is considered a foreign god -- the Western god. This thinking is very hard for Japanese converts to go up against. They must find a place in their minds and hearts where they can be Japanese and a Christian at the same time. Do they have to completely throw away the Japanese culture to become a Christian? This is sometimes a controversial topic among Japanese Christians even. How much of their culture do they have to give up?"

You know, the more I think on these things, the more I wonder which path is the one which would lead to a closer walk with God. Is it easier spiritually to be a true Christian when everyone around you seems to profess, but the culture is evil? Or would it be easier when the line between YOUR God and the gods of those around…

Elf is Worried!

Please don't take him to the doctor for this rash! The doctor will think his mommy doesn't take good care of him and he's scared the doctor will give him nasty medicine! And it will taste bad! You wouldn't bring him to the doctor if YOU were his mother, would you??? Mean old Mom made him go. It turns out he has an allergy to Baby Magic shampoo. I thought I'd save $1.50 instead of buying the Johnson's stuff, because non-baby products hurt his eyes. Now I'm out a $25 copay and have an unhappy Elf. Lookit all the money I saved by switching brands, though. Sigh.

The EVIL House.

Ever sit down and talk to a missionary who serves in a faraway land? Ever hear strange stories about the power of God, and of evil? Yes, I've seen the wackos on TV claiming that God can give you gold dental fillings if Pastor Richdude touches the prayer cloth you send in with your "best gift" of $2,000 or more. No, I mean... real missionaries. People who have given up just about everything you could think of to go live somewhere just about nobody wants to live.

I've heard stories. Usually they're not as dramatic as the ones you hear ninteenth-hand about the minute the church in the US prayed, this big legion of angels scared natives away who were planning a raid on missionary settlements. And there were the exact number of angels as there were praying on the carpet at Whatever Baptist Church at 3 p.m., etc. That story's about as overused as the preaching on the frog-in-the-pot. But I've heard dramatic stories about people who really ARE demon-possessed, an…

McCain Nation

Acre for acre, McCain won the land. Do you notice the pattern here? Large cities and some of the coastal areas went Democratic. "God's country" voted Republican. I live in the red area just above that blue dot in western Missouri. This link has many interesting maps, and different ways to view the presidential election, including shades of purple maps and state-by state maps. Hat tip: Daddy Forever.

Do You Overparent?

"Overparenting is kind of a way of life around here, whether in directing your every energy to taking care of a disabled son whose communication skills are—-while better with each day—-minimal and not always verbal; in writing daily emails to his teacher to explain all the things that he doesn’t; in strategizing how to spend another long afternoon together in a (hopefully) at least semi-productive way."

"Again, I’m not sure I could adequately take care of Charlie without being over-scrupulous, closely considering (if not obsessing) about minute details of his education, health, reactions to food and things that happen, sounds, the weather."

-- Excerpt from Kristina Chew's post on Overparenting.

It's very hard to know when to let go and when to step in even if you have a child who meets all developmental expectations and functions well in social situations. Do you call the mom of that nasty bully? Do you phone the school? Do you let your kid "tough it out,…

Church Membership.

Ok. Going to open up a can of worms, leave the comment section open for a bit and see what you think. Rick recently posted a story about the Catholic Church sparring with the Obama administration on the abortion issue. "I really don't understand why the church doesn't just toss people out who actively promote ideas directly contrary to the church's doctrine," he writes. "It's one thing to complain about the apostates, but without action the complaints are meaningless."

Last I checked here in America, nobody MAKES you become a church member. So, if you become a member, you're agreeing to adhere to whatever rules the church makes up, right? I'd like to think the church rules are based on biblical principles and etc. etc. But, the bottom line is, if you ask to be a member, you're agreeing to certain things the church teaches. If you don't like it, there's the door and quit calling yourself a Catholic. It's a brand name :]. You ca…

Frontier America

The American Frontier map will help us put times and places into perspective. We'll be learning about the settlers moving west, the Trail of Tears, and related notable people in this unit.

Teaching History

We're learning about how Lewis and Clark made it to the Pacific, and at great peril. One book we read mentioned that easier ways to get from here to there have been found.

But did you know that that way was found by James Beckwourth, a black man who became a scout for the army? And that there are a pass, a mountain, a town AND a valley all named for him in Nevada? These are things we weren't taught when I was in school, but I think important parts of history. Think how many lives this pass saved, when the mountains are practically impassable otherwise. I think that's really cool, and maybe something to look into a bit deeper. I just looked ahead a bit, and it looks like we'll be talking about him for at least two more days.

I probably never would have come across Beckwourth were he not mentioned in our Bob Jones book which presents American history, and from a Christian worldview at that. I couldn't imagine teaching my children about him ONLY because it's "B…


Girlie is Very Sick.

She started in with a bit of a fever and nausea on Friday night before last. She hasn't kept down ANY formula since then. None. The kid has been living on Pedialyte, Cheerios and baby food since then. Any tiny taste of formula will send her into horrible retching all over everything, everybody, and all her clothing and blankets. Truth to tell, it's been an awful week and a half.

I thought it was the shots she got on Friday. Stupid DTaP. I don't like giving her shots, but especially with the older kids in public school I go ahead and do many of them anyway. Two years ago, there was a pertussis outbreak in the schools as well. I'm not a purist either way about it because I see both sides of the debate as being a bit manipulative. I note that some of the harshest anti-vax critics want to sell you a book or a vitamin system. Whatever. Balance in all things. Which wouldn't comfort me very much if she were permanently affected by the shots, or got a disease that I did NOT…


I don't know how he did it, but Elf actually dragged his mattress almost all the way down two sets of stairs. Since D had to work ALL night Friday, it was time for a sleepover. All five of the boys ate pizza and popcorn and stayed up watching videos. The house is totally trashed, but I was able to wrap a couple Christmas presents for the children and catch up on some friends' blogs.

A Teachable Heart.

Do you have one? Or do you call the people who want to correct you "judgmental and self-righteous?" From A Pondering Heart blog:

"It seems no longer can Christians correct one another in edification. You can no longer tell your brother or sister in Christ anything without them either getting upset with you or being viewed as judgmental. You are supposed to 'love and accept' everyone for who they are. Yes, we are to love one another as Christ loved us, but no, we are not to accept everyone as they are in their sin. That is of a new-age religion mindset. We are not suppose to accept sin. We are suppose to turn from it. Paul makes that clear we are not to keep company with those who don’t keep the Word, and we are to not count him as an enemy but admonish him."

That being said, I don't take correction very well. I think it's because I've lived through many, many instances where the person doing the "correcting" is really trying to be man…

YES! And... No.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright has come out and told everyone in the media that the media used him.

Yep. And I'd agree.

Sure, people ran really old clips of the guy saying some stupid and outrageous things. Well, maybe it's possible to say some of that was taken out of context, though I'd have to wonder if "out of context" really means "outside this audience because YOU weren't meant to hear it." And sure, nobody agrees with everything their pastor says. But you betcha if my pastor said we all need to convert to Bahai next Sunday or silly things like that more than once every zillion or so years that I'd be staying home instead or sending my money to "real" evangelists like Benny Hinn. (no, not really! But I wish I could see the look on your face when you read that...)

But does no one remember the dog and pony show he put on not too long after video after video hit the web? I about cringed every time I saw him smirk as questions were being read to …

Action Needed?

I'm signed up for the school district's "news" emails, mostly so that when school cancellations occur, I'm able to find that information in my inbox that morning. Today I'm just sharing some excerpts from a mass-emailed letter I received today.

The county's health department occasionally inserts items of interest into the letters I receive, which is fine if there are measles or diptheria cases in the county that parents need to look out for, etc. I get a little tired hearing about every little thing that might go wrong and how health this or that is so important... I signed up for this stuff so that I could see *school news* and cancellations, not to be harrangued. Even if I enjoyed getting the "health news" part of the newsletter, I think we're going over the line with wacky statistics WARNING parents to TAKE ACTION to PROTECT YOUR CHILD'S HEALTH NOW in big capital letters... with the following:

Last year, 9 out of 10 children who were…

Because I'm High-Class.

I wrap Christmas gifts in the brown paper I find stuffed at the top of the boxes they come in. This is an "Ancient Egypt" stamping set and little book for Elf. Emperor will get a "gladiator in a box." I have also purchased a Jonathan Park CD set for Elf and Emperor just because it looked like so much fun. The little children are difficult to buy for because Woodjie throws everything or eats it, and Girlie wants to play with everything nicely, but Woodjie will take it away from her and throw it or eat it. Really. Girlie can't even have a hairbow without Woodjie chomping on it after he rips it out of her hair... The older boys want mega-expensive stuff like an entirely new game system, and that just isn't happening this year. It may be that I just hand them money and say, this much is from this set of grandparents, this is from us and this is from the other set... go buy your own gift... Yes, I am very high-class indeed. I think the masking tape ju…

Thoughts From Terry.

This post is one of the most thoughtful I've seen to date on the election results:

"The reality is that our current president has done much to speed up this nation’s descent further into socialism. He has done it in the name of protecting from foreign enemies. President elect Obama will take the train to the next stop in the name of protecting us from our incapable selves. The church, by and large, has embraced the materialistic, me first, mindset embodied by this culture that has lead to this current climate of looking to Washington to do for us that which we have been too lazy and greedy to do for ourselves. Now is the time for us to get back to Bible basics: fervent prayer, sacrifice, caring for others, strengthening our families, working hard, and simplified living. We need to be the salt and light that we claim to be so that those who don’t know the Savior will be drawn to the only hope of salvation."

You really want to read this one for yourself in its entirety.

Got Hope?

I hope that I'm wrong in concluding that Obama will do our country much harm in leading it away from some of the precepts of our fathers:

The right to be left alone. I'd like to continue homeschooling without any interference from the state "just checking to make sure everything's ok." Hey, I have two children in public school and like the almost all the staff who deal with Patrick and G. I just don't want bureaucrats to have any authority over my homeschool. You have your kids, and I have mine. Good luck to ya. Our family decided public school was best for the older children, and the younger ones are at home. Not that that's any of yer bizzness if you run the local school. :p

Thou shalt not murder. Kinda a basic precept, and not one the Bush administration followed, either. (just saying... OK, now all my Republican friends are gonna jump me in the comment section) I'm not eeeeven going to get into Leviticus or the New Testament, because a lo…

Aboard the Elf Express

Elf is pushing G all over the place. I think G might be just a little too big for this car he got for his third birthday. But no, it's HIS car, thank you.

Beep... Beep... Beep.

That's the sound of me backing up a little bit in our math work. Time to review some concepts and get strong before we move to the next level. I've discovered that the children could use some review in long division, multidigit multiplication, word problems and tally graphs. I think every now and then, it's useful to throw a review sheet at the children and see how they do. It helps me to know where their areas of strength and weakness may be on work we covered recently.

We have an anniversary coming up! We will have been homeschooling two years as of November 18. I bought little bottles of bubbly cider and we will make a cake! Elf wants *extra homeschool* to celebrate; can he have (shaking) mooorrre worrrk pleeease? Well, maybe if you're really good, kid.

Elf just learned to do long division. You see, it LOOKS hard, but it really isn't if you line your numbers up correctly. We need our math so that we can work at the Keebler factory properly, doubling and …

The Food Groups.

This dish is one of the few Tupperware things I bought new years ago. This dish was new when Elf was a baby. I can't imagine ever relegating it to "storage;" it's just that useful and handy. Sure, it separates baby food, but even I could see myself eating from it on occasion. Since I'm a fatty, it would help with portion control, too. Can you see that all the important food groups are represented in this meal for Woodjie? (Guess what we just got finished studying in science?) Woodjie's food is on a towel because I took several pictures for a laminated book for him, and it needed a white background.

Woo-Hoo! I Was Worried.

You Should Be Allowed to Vote

You got 14/15 questions correct.

Generally speaking, you're very well informed.

If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for.

You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.

Should You Be Allowed to Vote? This website says I should be allowed to vote! I'll just tell the nice lady at the registration desk that when I show up tomorrow. Hat tip: Luke. I'm still wondering which question I missed.

Studying Indian Civilization.

Or Native American, or Amerind, or some other entirely different name, depending on your textbook. I think it's rather like studying "White Civilization." The little I read about this matter indicates to me that just as I have little in common with the Finnish, it isn't really fair to do a unit JUST on "Indians" as a general one-month topic and leave it at that. And yet, that's just what I'm doing during this year's studies. Still, it's a month "off" our curriculum, in addition to some work we're doing on Lewis and Clark. It seems that most curriculum I've seen kinda skips over Indians entirely, or confines them to a short two-week period in November. I think it's more important than that. I also think that it's easy to demonize the white settlers as greedy when in reality, history is never so simple. We're reading about farming people and hunting people, and the fact that people living by the oceans wi…

D Wins, Finally!!

Literally, we could play the Parcheesi game for years and D would always lose every time, just by a little bit. When he won yesterday, he insisted on having this photograph taken for my blog so that all my readers will see real, substantiated photographic evidence that he won. (once, anyway...) Do you see how close the game was?
I'm an embarrassment to Barack!

I only scored 13 on the Obama Test

So, what's your score? Hat tip: Harry.

Jesse James

Elf's artwork has been featured on Casdok's Faces of Autism blog.