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Showing posts from May, 2007

Me Pushing Dolly

I don't know which dolly I'm pushing in the picture but thankfully I never named my children the same names as my dolls. Otherwise my kids would have names like, "Bwubbin."

"Daytag" is a Rip-Off

Don't even try to defend them. If you're working for them and want to say something nice about the company, I'll understand in the same way I'll understand an RJ Reynolds CEO telling me that cigarette smoke doesn't REALLY kill people. People kill people. Just admit that "Daytag" stinks, and we can still be friends.

Actually, we have a dishwasher we're pretty happy with from them. It's making a lot of noise when it washes the dishes but it seems to be working reasonably well for being about six years old. We're pretty ok with the dryer as well.

We *used* to be happy with all of our appliances from Daytag. We (idiots!) decided we'd like to use the local place for everything. Maybe we'd pay a little more, but we'd have the satisfaction of knowing we're buying products locally and blah American blah blah service and stand behind your product blah. I even bought the overpriced warranty to go with my appliances!

Hey, a word about the ov…

Daily Devotionals

Over at Peter's blog, we're discussing the value of daily devotions in the Christian family. In our family, we've been doing a short daily bible reading and prayer time for about 10 years now. I can't say that it is ALL of us as a family though. D is a relatively recent Christian and I don't think has come under conviction in this area. It would be nice though.

I started having a brief time of prayer and Bible reading when the boys were about 2 and 3. It *used* to include singing a couple little songs but I've stopped doing that, probably around the time I started singing at my children instead of yelling all the time. Yes, I'm working on fixing one thing at a time but I think singing, "You'd better stop it or there will beeee lots of trouble la la laaa..." sounds a lot better than someone screaming. Maybe. But now if I'm singing otherwise my six-year-old will cower and say, "You're yelling at me!" *sniff*

Each child …

Another J picture

Yes, it was taken at the same time as the last one, but since I think he's cute, you have to see this again...

Some Hints for a Happy Life

Please do not look to me or to this blog for amazing organizational hints. Because I'm not one of those truly amazing women who will keep a management binder and then ACCOMPLISH the tasks she sets out for herself. I stink!!

I will literally set out to dust and vacuum the house. Sounds like it can be done in one day, easy enough. Oh, but to DUST this room, first I must get the laundry out of the way. Then I have to move everything around so I can dust. Then I have to let the dust settle for a bit (no, really, I do... I find it discouraging to dust something and look back 30 seconds later and see DUST again. You know it just fell a second ago.)

Oh, but NOW all the bedding is dusty!!! I'm starting some laundry, but see more laundry in the washer. And the dryer. And on the floor. Sigh.

Then I've gotten involved in straightening out a kitchen drawer. This pile goes upstairs, this pile goes downstairs. I will leave the "upstairs" pile on the dining room tab…

The Emperor at Home

Homeschool Planning and Surprises

Hi folks!

I'm going to talk a little bit today about how we started out homeschooling our Elf and how things have evolved from there.

When we started homeschooling, it was very SUDDEN. But he was just mid-way through first grade and didn't know his math facts or how to read fluently, etc. So about anything I chose to teach him would be new stuff! We stayed home and read Dick and Jane. We used a dry erase board and a marker for spelling. (Do I need to buy a curriculum to teach the Elf to spell C-A-T?) We got some worksheets from Sam's Club for mathmatics and English and used index cards to teach basic 2+2 math facts. I learned so much about how the Elf learns in those first couple of months teaching him at home.

I'm really glad I didn't rush out and buy a curriculum RIGHT when we started homeschooling. I would have bought something that did not fit his needs at all. One thing I'm finding... that I don't really see discussed on other homeschooling blogs... is th…

The Emperor Graduates From Preschool

My Children Wait So Politely!

I know hardly anyone was there yet, but could we PLEASE get a NORMAL picture next time??
The Emperor was in good form last night at his Preschool Graduation. We are going to miss his teachers and aides so very much. This preschool has been everything that is RIGHT with public education in regards to the Emperor these last couple of years.

It hasn't always been that way. It used to be when G tested (or bombed LOL!) into the system that the entire month of October was spent talking about ghosts, witches, and pumpkins with faces on them. The old preschool was in a dirty basement with peeling lead paint that was impossible for wheelchair-bound kids to access. The attitude of the director, from her comments to me on the phone when she did not know I would be sending a child there, was that the parents generally have ignored raising their children and that's why they're behind or need help. Little fliers would come home in the backpacks each Friday encouraging parents to "get their GED" or sign up for free lunches. How condescending. But G is autistic and r…

More Fashion Sense!

Perhaps I inherited my innate sense of the cool, the hip, the now, and the groovy from my parents.

Interview Me!

Daja over at has kindly "interviewed" me with the following five questions. If you have a blog and would like to be interviewed, leave a comment with your email address (I will not publish it; comments are "moderated") and I will email you five questions. I promise they will not be SICK questions like I've seen on some blogs. But you will have to answer the five questions in YOUR blog.

It's kind of like a chain letter but totally voluntary and without all the threats of bad luck and cooties if you don't participate.
What is your favorite charity and why? My dh and I contribute to City Union Mission in Kansas City. It helps homeless people and I think truly tries to serve "the least of these" and present the gospel to all. I know a "graduate" of their program and see that people who apply themselves there can lead happy and productive lives. They also have a camp for children of homeless or very low-income people so they can get away from what is probably a bad situation at home for a week or two each summer.
Which is more annoying, NOW (National Organization of Women) or PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)? Why? Actually, I don't find these organizations "annoying" so much as "threatening". They're both very outspoken and radical. I would have to say I dislike NOW more than PETA. PETA, if it were toned down a LOT, actually has some good arguments. I really am not into torturing my food before eating it, you know. I'm all for more humane methods of preparing food. It's even a biblical idea that we're going to give an accouting for every animal's blood. Honestly, I think the tactics and arguments they use are a real shame because there are a lot of people concerned with basic human kindness who will never be members of their organization or think about their line of reasoning b/c they are so self-righeous in a way that a conservative Christian would never DARE to be in today's time.

NOW is just way too radical. I try not to think…
If there is a fire, which would you grab first, the family photos or the important documents? I'm going to be a "rebel" here and say the kids first. Then the documents. If I have time, the photos. I just know what a pain life is without documents, especially if you're going to have to rebuild your house, re-enroll kids into school, rent a place (no ID? good luck!), drive or whatever. Now, one of these days the government is going to come out with a very HANDY solution to all this. It will be some sort of identifying mark on the right hand or forehead.
What is your favorite beverage? I drink coffee mixed with hot chocolate powder and milk. I'm trying to copy a Starbucks mocha without the mega-money. I also drink lots of diet soda so that my body will need no embalming after my death.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? Well, D had to stick his two cents in while I was reading this and tell me that he would have the superpower to predict the stock market. Then he could buy all the other superpowers.

But I'm not such a carnal Christian. I'd want superpowers so that I could make time go backwards and re-do things so they'd always turn out the way I wanted! I can't tell you how many times I've said or done something STUPID, and would just like that thing to "go away." I think I'd keep going back in time and redoing things so that I would become a three-year-old with an IQ of 9,000, as well as someone with a lot of money. I would skip college. Well, no, let me re-do that one. I would go to college but not spend as much time learning about the imperialist new colonialism of the multinational corporation. I'd be too busy enjoying all my money and stuff to do that.

Oh, I'd also buy a really big older house an…

I Am THE Fashion Guru!

Just admit that you guys will NEVER equal me in my fashion sense, and that you are envious.

WHOSE Standards?

I'm sure that on the one hand, no state wants a bunch of children growing up to be adults who cannot read, write, or hold down a job. On the other, the idea of the STATE telling ME as a parent what is best for my child to learn and when is a little tyrannical. Where does it stop?

It *might* (and even this is debatable) be a good idea to have every seven-year-old know his addition and subtraction facts up to, say, 10 minus 10. Maybe. Is it also a good idea to require me to teach the kid about Islam, or Black History Month, or "gender equity" over my objections? (These things are in our public local school curriculum.) And at what point would you say a homeschool parent is "failing" their children? I'm seeing entire public school districts providi…

The Emperor In Action

Please Pray for the Dudeks

And for other homeschooling families in Germany:

Remember, these policies were instituted under Hitler. Hitler did understand one thing very clearly, and that was that educating a young child forms ideas in his or her mind that will last a lifetime. Now, you and I both know that kids can reject the things they have been brought up in, but the ideas are still there.

I know some of you are asking as you are reading this ... why fight this? Who cares if kids all go to public school? What's so bad about public school? It was good enough for me/ my kids/ whatever... I would just counter that the children ought to belong to the PARENTS.

But, you may say, some parents will abuse their kids. Some parents would never educate their kids. Some parents are just plain messed in the head. Yep. And the children belong to those parents. They shouldn't be wards of the state…

On Sexism and Autism

Two of our five boys are autistic. They have been diagnosed at a Childrens' Hospital and not a psychologist using a checklist... and I think the diagnosis is (unfortunately!) probably accurate. The other three either have not been tested, or are given some catchall label in the (VAIN!) hopes of getting help from the school district.

Don't get me started on the school district...

We've had some great teachers over the years. We really have. One in particular, the Emperor's preschool teacher, is going to be VERY sorely missed when the Emperor graduates in a few days from the program. She teaches a mostly special-needs preschool and is really gentle and energetic. She knows how to integrate the therapies the kids need into the school day so they think they're playing! In short, she's awesome.

G also has a *wonderful* case manager in the middle school. I can't say enough good things about her. G has a lot of difficulty sometimes in school and really needs help wit…

The World of Blogs

Hello! Right now, I am probably off reading YOUR blog. I look at some blogs, and then look at the links in those blogs, and then the links in those blogs... and that's probably how I found YOUR blog. I think it's really interesting to see how different blogs are all related and how you'd be surprised at how some people pick their online "friends."

I used to hit the "next blog" button a fair bit. Then I discovered that about half the blogs are in Spanish and most of the others have porn or bikini ladies, or German-Finnish something writing in them. Every now and then I come across something interesting and of value. But not very often, so I haven't been doing that very much lately.

So I read about 20,000 blogs each day but hardly ever comment. But I *love* comments on my blog. So if you're reading be sure to leave one and say HI! And leave me an address so I can come say HI back sometime if I haven't already!

Family Fun Night

We went to the Family Fun Night at Worlds of Fun last night. It's an event given each year by the company D works for. We really had a lot of fun! D refused to go on any rides and cuddled with the baby the whole time. I gather that lots of passers-by had to admire how thin and underfed the baby is, and how small! Ok, not really. He might be a little chubby, maybe.

The bigger boys ran off to ride on the crazy death sorts of rides that I don't want to know about. They had a good time, but I didn't really want to hear about it. I was just glad to see that they were alive at the end of the night.

The younger boys (Elf, 6, and Emperor, 5) and I wandered off to the boat rides. We went four times on the boat rides and they had a LOT of fun on those. The Elf was screaming almost the whole time because he was so happy. His whole body was shaking. We went on the rides in the little kid section of the park. The Emperor is just about an INCH under the maximum limit for the…

We're Getting a Will (Finally!)

I know some of you family members are scratching your heads and going, um, we were TALKING about who takes what kids in the event of your death LAST YEAR.

Yeah. We saw the lawyer in January and only in the last week have we received a draft that is acceptable. You know, one without incorrect childrens' names and all the money not going to my dad? (Too bad, Dad!) We sign off on the will on Monday afternoon. I'm usually a pretty patient person, but I'm thinking it's about stinkin' time they got around to it. And yes, I did start hounding them after the first couple months went by with no draft. I *was* told that it would be at least a few weeks though.

I started to think that we would all be dead by the time the will was finalized! And then it would be no good unsigned! Wouldn't that be a kicker!? Hopefully we don't get a bill charging us for five months of work...

Please Pray for Melissa

... and for homeschoolers worldwide. Whose children are these, anyway? The state does NOT know best how to raise our children and what sort of theology they need to learn. God help us all. I will be joining the HSLDA over the summer when Elf turns 7. That is the age in Missouri when he is "required" to be educated, although the state legislature is thinking of lowering that very soon.

Backyard Flowers

Allergies and Asthma

My son Patrick has some pretty severe allergies. We had him tested a couple years ago and he is HORRIBLY allergic to dust mites, and somewhat allergic to almost anything else you could think of. What is really strange is that we had never thought to get him tested before our Elf was tested for allergies because of his asthma. I just didn't know allergy testing existed, or what it entailed. I had no clue that allergies and asthma were related. I think we're figuring it all out now and the drug companies at least are very grateful.

Our allergist has been most helpful in keeping the Elf out of the hospital. Sure, he's on about seven different things and seems *FINE* to any doctor examining him. We had one physician doubt that he even has asthma. But despite all you hear in the news about physicians receiving kickbacks and big money for keeping people on brand-name drugs, let me tell you: these (expensive) drugs really do work in keeping things relatively stable for the Elf. I …

G, age 12. He's our second son.

On Educating Boys

I suppose it's *just* me, having all boys and maybe a bit of a bias toward my children in most situations. But it seems to me that almost anywhere you go, girls are more valued and praised, especially when they're in the younger grades.

How often do strangers gush over your five-year-old boy's Spiderman or Bibleman shirt? Or ask your child whether the dirt stain came WITH the trucks on his pants or was added later for a bit of authenticity? Ok, not as often as they'll gush over a little girl's hairbows or matching shoes and purse.

And there are big compliments for nice, quiet girls. Noisy little boys who "bother their neighbour" during library story time are frowned upon. In school, teachers will get the boy into trouble far more often than the girl in almost every circumstance. I can think of a particular series of "difficulties" we had with Patrick's teachers throughout grade school. The little girls would very quietly whisper and gig…

An Old Picture of Me

This was taken last year after all the flowers came in!!

Spelling R Us

We've been working SO hard on spelling. Still, the Elf spelled words like "dozz" for "does" on his test. It shouldn't be a surprise what's on the test because we're using the PACE system. The 40 words listed at the beginning are the 40 words on the test. It seems that no matter how much we practice, he still BOMBS the test. And throughout the booklet there is copywork, using the word in a sentence and a definition for each word with a picture.

He can read well enough, but the reasoning skills aren't quite there. He can read a story about Stella going to the store at 3 p.m., but when the questions ask what time it was 20 minutes before she left for the store, he'll have no clue! We use the Judy clock for illustration. I'm getting to the point where I don't really expect him to complete those worksheets on his own. He'll sit with me and we'll use the Judy clock together. I'm hoping that eventually it will just clic…

My Bathroom Blog

OK, I really do have other things to talk about besides my bathroom. But I'm going to talk about my bathroom anyway.

Yesterday I heard some dripping BEHIND THE WALL in the downstairs bathroom. This is a very bad thing. I just envisioned horrible water seepage and mould everywhere. All the walls and the flooring having to be pulled out and re-laid. The water being shut off to the entire house for a full month. The only other useable bathroom in the house is directly above this bathroom.

I had all kinds of dollar signs dancing in my head last night instead of sugar plums. I was not happy to get up at 5 with the crying baby and dread those hours (tick, tick, tick) until 8 a.m. when our plumber would answer the phone. But it didn't turn out as horrible as I had imagined. And he didn't dress like Super Mario as the Emperor had hoped.

Our plumber couldn't hear the dripping I heard, no matter which order we flushed toilets and ran sinks throughout the house. Now, I K…

Eight Random Things.

I'm seeing on some interesting "random" things about her. Thought I'd post my eight "random" things about me as well.

1. You know, I keep thinking there is NO WAY one can just figure out eight "random" things. They all have to have a reason to be included in the blog. I mean, "I am breathing air" is a random thing about me, but not particularly interesting...

2. I have tried to waterski, but never figured out how to do it.

3. I use a baby wipe to wipe down the keyboard, mouse and desk area every time I use the computer. Germs, you know.

4. We like to play "The Price is Right" in our family. Whenever I get an overpriced catalog, I will show the boys a picture and ask them to name the price of an item. Closest without going over "wins." The little ones are getting better at not giving guesses like, "500 and a million dollars" although you would be surprised at the number of times …

REAL Flowers in My Backyard!

On Idolatry

Oh, boy. We've been having a problem with fights over the PlayStation and the Nintendo. Who had the longest turn and who erased which saved game... Sigh. We're very careful about the CONTENT of the games (they're allowed race car games and that sort of thing, but not the teen-type with the blood and large-chested women) we allow our children to have. But another thing we need to look out for is how IMPORTANT these games become to them. It's hard for me to define. I mean, my computer is very important to me and I'd sure miss it if it were to go away tomorrow. But I *hope* that I would still be a pleasant person to be around, or that if I were called away from my computer to do an errand or something I could do it without sassing or complaining...

Well, we all have some work to do. We have to live in a world with all kinds of useful little gadgets and devices. I know we're commanded to live in the world but not of the world, and that needs to be reflected…

Baby J

My Front Door

Yes, I do use fake flowers. They look much better than dead "live" ones.

This is the Bathroom

It's *reasonably* clean. My second son G cleans all the toilets each week in exchange for a dollar. Then he tithes on that. So my toilet isn't as sparkly as some but you can't beat it for the price LOL!

This is What My Kitchen Really Looks Like...

Happy Mothers' Day!

Now that most of my children are past that cute stage where they don't talk and can't go anywhere unless you carry them, I understand my mother SO much better than I did growing up. Now I understand why tossing a fully shaken purple pop on a newly-cleaned white rug just MIGHT elicit a pretty angry response from the local housewife. I understand what it is to be unappreciated at times ... just every now and then. I know the frustration of FINALLY getting five loads of wash done and folded to find that some little boy has draped his socks on the DOORKNOB and behind his dresser. Five of them, and only two matching. I also know what it feels like to learn that 50 plastic cups must be purchased for some important event... tomorrow morning. What it feels like to get a phone call from school. How "volunteer" work is really anything but. And how being a mom is a pretty easy job, if only it weren't for the hours. So I want to wish all you moms out there a happy Mothers'…


I've snooped around here a bit and I *think* I've made it possible for anyone to make a comment, without signing into the google or whatever system. Please somebody give it a try. I would ask that all comments are "signed;" that is, you put "Mom" or "Bob" or "Smurfette" or some other identifying information on it. You can use a pseudonym if you like ("Patrick" did) as long as you are consistent about using the same one each time.

Baby J

I'm hearing grousing from dh that I am loading all HIS pictures onto my blog. So I found a picture I'm SURE he didn't take! This one is from the hospital where baby J was born. He looks like he's doing the wave!

OK Last Pic...

Yes, there were actually PEOPLE living in this room at one point. There is even a small smeary handprint in one of the hallways.

More Bathroom Pics

Step Into the Parlor... CAREFULLY

Want to go Downstairs?

Sorry, Dh wasn't brave enough so we'll wonder forever what could have been lurking down those stairs!!


There really WERE people living here. In the winter. In Missouri. With their children.


How pretty this house must have been 100 years ago!!

More pics

The eviction notice! And the price! I wish I could have the house in good condition for that price... sigh.

Welcome Home!!

I KNOW you guys want a tour... Here's the beautiful yard. It really is a gorgeous place and I'll bet once all the trash/ needles/ cars/ rusty tools are cleaned up the house truly will be a gem.

Want to Buy a House?

I know I'm receiving bunches of comments on the blog and in my personal mailbox asking, how on earth are you keeping your house so CLEAN? And I even got a comment wondering if it's even MY bathroom?

And I'm *tempted* to say that it isn't really my bathroom, it's just the BOYS' bathroom and we let them use it when we release them from their cages each afternoon. But somehow, I thought if I typed that I would get a visitor from the state requesting, nay, DEMANDING, to come in and smell my French Toast candles for themselves. So I'll have to tell the truth. (Doggone it! It would have made my day to see the British nanny show people come over as well. I coulda been on TV!!)

The bathroom and the kitchen you see are actually taken from a REAL house in which REAL people had been living just before the photographs in question. It is about a mile up the road from us and was a very old and in its day surely a very beautiful place. History tells us that the owners of th…

Home is Where the... Heart Is

Keeping the house tidy is a little difficult sometimes with five little boys. But I find the French Toast scented candle in the dining room really helps mask those day-to-day odours between deep cleaning days!

Homeschool in the Kitchen

Sometimes, while I'm homeschooling, I leave all kinds of papers about in the kitchen. I'm always sure to tidy up after we do our schoolwork so that my countertops are free for YUMMY food preparation.

Oh, come on somebody leave a comment before I post a BATHROOM picture.

Elf Feeding Baby J

Teaching Mathematics

When we started homeschooling, what I did was use a lot of pretty close to free stuff. The dry erase board and markers, and some flashcards and paper pretty much was the sum total of our mathematics curriculum. I used some worksheets from Sam's Club. You can get about a TON of math worksheets in some of those workbooks from Sam's Club for about $7 each. The only thing I don't like about those workbooks is that they tend to repeat themselves... that is, the first grade workbook has a bunch of sheets you already did in the kindergarten book, or the book on "time and money" would include the same worksheets you just did in the first grade book, etc. But for 300- odd sheets per workbook, the kid doesn't notice so much when you repeat a few. Plus it's extra practice!!

The Emperor gets all the easier worksheets or ones with a lot of colouring to do. He will do homeschool with us while he is home in the morning. If he is a good boy, he will get a "h…

Do NOT Mess With the Force!

This is the Emperor. He is going to be six in a few months. He doesn't suffer from low energy at ALL. He likes to fight with cardboard tubes, plastic light sabers, sticks and whatever happens to be lying around. He is in almost constant motion except when he is playing GameBoy or sleeping. Isn't he cuuute?

A Discussion About Freedom

This is my first official "homeschooling" post. By the way, after I've blogged a billion little posts, and you want to go back and review your favourite one, look at the BOTTOM of this blog. I'm starting to organize them by category. Hopefully I don't wind up making a million categories and confusing everyone. But the "labels" are at the bottom of the page should you ever need them. I rock, but not enough to figure out how to MOVE the labels to the side of the page...

I just want to talk a little about the freedoms we still do have in our country. I know EVERY homeschooler in America knows about the Busekros family, but for those of you who might not be aware, homeschooling is ILLEGAL in Germany. As in, they will fine you thousands of dollars and take your children away for psychiatric help. That kind of illegal. If you're not up on this issue, you might want to go look at the HSLDA website and educate yourself if for no other reason than to…

The kitchen fiasco

Someone was kind enough to ask about my husband in the comments before. I know thousands of you are reading this blog but just don't know whether to comment. But anyway, yes, I have quite the husband. I'm going to tell you more about him because I *know* people reading this blog want to know all the details about him that are fit to print (or blog, or whatever...).

Now, this won't be one of those husband-bashing blogs. I have read some that practically tell you that the fellow's mommy still brushes his teeth for him or the latest "I can't believe my husband didn't buy me a dozen roses on Valentine's Day. The JERK! **Sob!!**". I cringe when I read those. Actually what's worse are the COMMENTS on those blogs. "Well said, Whynee! You go girl!" and "OH, my husband was even worse because he bought me a new vacuum instead of the bracelet I asked for... waaah."

But I have a great guy for a husband. He would practically die to get th…

I'm going craaazy here.

OK, ever look at a blog page and see this horrible, pathetic little blog with, say, three posts and no pictures or links or anything good? And the blog is about three years old and you know no one is ever going to visit the thing again to fix it or update it?

I'm beginning to understand the people who MAKE THOSE BLOGS. OK, I'm trying to do all kinds of cool things and make "links" to other sites I like or maybe just add a smiley face or something here and there. Good grief. You would *think* you'd need a whole year of schooling just to begin such an endeavour.

I like the little "help" articles Blogger has though. So clearly written, with nice big print. Most third graders would be able to read and understand it. But somehow, regular English words and COMPUTER English words do not mean the same thing. They just don't. I have a BA in English, people, and I can NOT for the life of me figure this thing out. I'm sure once I know how I will ju…

The strangest blog I've ever written!

I have stupid old strep throat. I'd *really* like to know where I got it from. I never go anywhere! The only place I had been to this whole week was the dentist's office and I'm pretty sure they at least rinse the instruments off between patients... I heard in the news this week about a lady who got Hepatitis B from her dentist's office and they had already been following accepted sanitation procedures... scary. The only other possibility is that someone brought the germ into the house without getting it themselves... and somehow *I* got it and they didn't.

Or, it's the melamine-tainted chicken. Anybody else paranoid about this? Like, oh, a bunch of chickens have been eating PLASTIC and we went ahead and sent thousands of them to be slaughtered and brought to the local grocery to be put on your dinner table. But there's no problem. Our government tells us that it's SAFE to eat chickens with melamine. And that Agent Orange doesn't really cause medical…