31 August 2007

Ever Have This Feeling?



You know you probably ought to start cleaning soon, but you just lose energy thinking about where to begin? I've heard of the "room" approach to cleaning, and the "task" approach to cleaning. With the room approach, you start with the dusting and vacuuming. Then you pick everything up and maybe dust and vacuum again. What I find is that this multiplies my task sometimes though. It would force me to make 50 trips to other rooms with "wayward" stuff. The task approach is best for a quick touch-up, though I must admit the results aren't as tidy as the "room" approach.

Steamed Crap, Anyone?

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=3544799

Just thought this one was funny!

"Hungry visitors to next summer's Beijing Olympics won't have to choose between "steamed crap" and "virgin chicken" if Chinese authorities succeed in ridding restaurant menus of mangled English translations."

Hopefully they recruit NATIVE English speakers who truly understand the language as well as connotation to do the translating. Otherwise good result have not well. Or something like that. It makes me wonder what on earth a native ENGLISH speaker must sound like in Chinese LOL!! We've *got* to be very funny people ourselves...

30 August 2007

Are You Sheepish?

http://www.sheepcomics.com

I think you'll like this website. It's about Lionel the Lamb and his adventures in church. I like the little editorials that go with it as well.

29 August 2007

Check Out This Blog!

http://hoardersson.blogspot.com

No, I don't really identify with the EXTREME nature of the hoarding going on in these posts. Having all these little boys to pass clothes down (from age 13 to 8 months); I DO keep all useable clothes in a bag for the next child. Of course having a child who is 5 ft. 8 and an infant on the way means that I have a LOT LOT LOT LOT of clothes and toys to store. Obviously Patrick does not play his alphabet blocks any more...

I ought to post a pic sometime of all the "hoarding" at my house. I do have a *purpose* to the hoarding, however, and will be glad to give stuff away when we are DONE having little children about. Meanwhile, the Elf and the Emperor were very excited because I got out the "magic bag" of "new" clothes for them. Of course it's the stuff Patrick and G wore 6 years ago. I need to buy new socks and that sort of thing but otherwise I've saved everything. Baby beds. Toddler potties. Shoes. The children are spaced so that the old car seats are gone now, though.

Wanted: Cheerio Bandit!



Can you identify the culprit from his "wanted" sketch?? Patrick drew it last night!

This is Interesting...

British cigarette packets sold after September must have a picture warning rather than the usual written warning about the health risks of smoking. I wonder what the person with the "healthy" lungs died from?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6967160.stm

28 August 2007

I'm Going to Eat the World!

OK, he might have said it if he could talk. This little child is scooting everywhere, and getting faster. I have scooped quite a few interesting lintballs, small pebbles and cheerio remnants from his mouth. What's sad is, I *just* vacuumed, but he finds things tucked in corners or up UNDER furniture.

27 August 2007

Dinner!

Mom's two sweet little chefs help mix and prepare the dinner. The children thought it was hilarious that dough was supposed to feel like a baby's bottom. They decorated with sauce and toppings like true artists. Mama mia, it was a good pizza! At least that's what Mario would probably say. This photo was taken before the pizza went into the oven and I soaked down the table.

26 August 2007

It Looks Like a Lot Less When It's Folded...

Before I get around to folding laundry and putting it away I let it sit in LARGE MOUNTAINS in about every basket imaginable. There is nothing more discouraging than folding everything, getting it put away, and then having another batch that needs to go to the same place. So it gets washed as it arrives in the laundry room, but folded and put away maybe every three days. I've heard of other families who make their children TOTALLY in charge of laundry. I *had* to do this to my older children when I was on bedrest. You would think laundry is easy, but it's a lot of timing and is a difficult organization task even for an older child. Elf is in charge of folding all washcloths, but otherwise it's just easier right now to let me do it all. When the next baby comes in the winter... and I'm doing triple the amount of laundry, it may have to change. MUCH easier to wash a pair of shorts and t-shirt than a HUGE sweater and long jeans and an undershirt. Times seven. During this summer at least when the older kids were home from school and didn't go anywhere (where am I going to take them if I can't get out of bed?? LOL) they didn't need a shower or clothes-washing every day. Now they will because those schools are very dirty. You can't just wear the same shirt two days in a row or do without a shower on a PE day... I know a mom of 11 kids who says that homeschooling is just EASIER when you think of the laundry and the conferences, school lunches to prepare each day and the homework... she may be right!

25 August 2007

I Wish I Had Money For "Pell-O" Windows!

I can't keep my windows very clean in the kitchen. It's located way up away from the deck in the back of the house so there's no way to clean from the outside when birds leave smeary deposits. From the inside it's behind the kitchen sink and when the windows are opened (tricky: it's an older house!) you can't get the vacuum wedge in where you want it to go to get all the cobwebs. I reason I don't want to Windex just 1/4 of the window from the inside (no, your arm can't go up all the way between the panes!), or the other 3/4 looks like... well... not nice. And curtains and blinds just aren't really an option right over a sink. I saw an ad in one of those ritzy magazines for "Pell-O" windows, with the shade built into the window. I know I can't afford them because the same magazine touts the family that had the Italian designer personally fly in some rock samples from the "Snorgfli" region, because he works well with the designer who flew to France to personally select the French furnishings that would go best with the new Modern Greek Revival in the Spanish Style that will be built on 165 rolling acres in the middle of New York City... That kind of magazine. I had the "Pell-O" ad all cut out and thought of calling. But I know they would quote me a price there's no way I can afford or look at my buggy windows and laugh. I've already covered some of the worst bird-smeary panes with childrens' artwork. Maybe we should paint directly on the glass for that homey-homeschool look? Then we won't see the moths dangling from the spider web in the central pane (ugh... NOT pictured).

When Chubby Babies Attack...


G is constantly picking up baby Woodjie and pretending to get squished. Or cuddling him on the couch. Or making silly faces while he says silly things! Woodjie often cries if G tries to leave the room.

24 August 2007

Hey, Guess What...

I thought I just felt my cheese sandwich move in my stomach! I think it has little feet, too.

Flat-Head Kid

I don't know if you can tell by this picture, but baby Woodjie has a perfectly FLAT head in the back. We're talking flat as a book. I've talked to the doctor about it and asked about special helmets, etc., but he said that only very young babies get those, and only then if things are very, very bad. He said maybe you won't notice so much when his hair gets a little thicker. I'm just glad that it's the back of his head that is so flat, and not the sides. Otherwise, instead of D calling the child Flat-Head Kid, he might be nicknamed Frankenstein or something. Yuck.

23 August 2007

Yay For Pickles!!




The Recipe For Pickles

This recipe is from "Martha" on the MOMYs board. I find the MOMYs board to be a big source of help and encouragement though I don't post often. Most people there have much larger families than mine!!

****PICKLE RECIPE****

4 T salt
4 C water
2 C white vinegar

Bring to a boil.

1 clove garlic per quart jar
1 sprig fresh dill per jar OR 1tsp dill seed per jar

Put cukes, garlic and dill in jar, pour boiling brine over the top, seal. I sterilize my canning stuff by running it in the dishwasher on wash/dry "HOT." If you don't have a dishwasher, wash your things in hot water, run a bit of boiling water over and put in a 200 degree oven for a little bit.

To seal, I just followed the advice on the MOMYs board and turned my jars upside-down on a tea towel for a couple hours. Then I stuck my pickle jar upside down in the fridge for about a month.

The children wish I had made several more jars of these pickles; they really are good.

This Would Be Funny if it Weren't So... Sad.

Before you think about reincarnating into your next life after you die, you'd BETTER ask permission from the Chinese government.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20227400/site/newsweek/

I'm not sure what their law says about, say, an American who reincarnates as a new Chinese citizen. Would he have to pay taxes on his old life before he could be a full citizen? Or worse, what if a worm became a person in the next life? How is the worm going to petition the government for permission to be human after he dies on the sidewalk in the next rainstorm? Oh, the poor guy is going to be held in Buddhist worm limbo or something because he doesn't have permission to reincarnate yet.

OK I'm joking around but I think it's *interesting* that the Chinese government wants that much control over religion. Maybe Buddhists have some weird beliefs but it does sound like a form of persecution to me...

20 August 2007

We Keep Adding Stuff!


At this rate, all our homeschool papers will cover every wall and window. I like the bulletin board though.

Finally.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8R4OQQ80&show_article=1

Ok, here's a woman who comes into our country ILLEGALLY twice. She STEALS someone's Social Security number so she can get work cleaning planes. While she's here ILLEGALLY, she has a baby who, due to our automatic granting of citizenship to anyone born here regardless of circumstances, is here "legally." (I think the law should be changed to exclude situations of this kind!)

I'm hearing throughout this article and in other comments that it is unfair for the US to deport her. It's mean to "break up a family" like that. Um, she *could* take her kid with her, you know. She also wasn't supposed to be here in the first place to HAVE the kid on our soil anyway. I fail to see where there is such a rallying behind this woman. She STOLE someone's Social Security number to get work! Does that fact not just jump out at you? Identity theft is not a problem, so long as it's a Mexican trying to get work?? Sorry, but no. I had rather she went to jail, but that would entail more money from our system to support illegals.

Now, you could argue that the laws ought to be changed so that we could legally allow many more people from Mexico into our country, and I might agree with you. I might agree that the current system even exploits folks from Mexico. Why hire someone legal for the going rate of, say, $15 an hour to do a job when these undocumented folks will pile 8 into a one-bedroom apartment and accept $7?? How fair is that to the citizen who misses out on a $15 an hour job, and how fair is it to the immigrant who has no recourse to the authorities if his employer decides not to pay at the end of the week??

But I won't agree that it's racist. If *that* were the case, why would we allow anyone from Cuba who can make it to Florida to stay, but NOT Haitians? How could that be racist against Hispanics? But I'll agree with about anyone who posts that our laws need a little going-over.

Or how could the debate over which kinds of people are allowed into our country be painted as purely racist? As a *nation,* we ought to be looking at the kinds of people that will help our country the most, not the people who would most benefit from our system of social services! Why are there tons of people from Africa, Europe and Asia waiting for visas (and frequently denied them) when all someone from Mexico has to do is hop a fence and sneak in?

In my opinion, if Canadians were the ones coming in and using our services (welfare, hospitals etc.) and decreasing the number of jobs poor citizens have available, NO ONE would be crying about how racist it is. You'd have a hotline in about every major city to out suspected Canadians, eh?

18 August 2007

This is Precious!!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20327909/from/RS.3/

OK, I usually don't post cute stuff about other people's kids, but this little baby is the sweetest-looking thing! She looks just like those "lifelike" Franklin Mint dollies people spend a fortune on... you know... 48 "easy" payments of $49.99 each. Can you believe people can arrive so small and still live well?? This child has astounded the doctors from what I read in this article.

Quote of the day

Some claim there is a wall of separation between church and state. The real wall, however, is between the family and the state. Part of that wall is made of laws that limit the reach of officials yearning to expand their power.

-- From the HSLDA website describing a case in Virginia, where school officials are pressuring families to give out more information and submit to more regulations than is required by law.

17 August 2007

Monkeys? In the Sea?


Today everyone was finally able to see the little sea monkeys. Opinions differ as to exactly WHAT they look like though. I would tend to think they look like little tadpoles with some sort of flagella thing going on in their stomachs. We also have a vote for catfish and a vote for stingray.

16 August 2007

Do NOT Drink This Water! I Mean It.


From the bargain bin at Target, I spent about $2.50 on a cheap Sea Monkeys kit. The container it came in was really awful, so I'm using this water bottle. We began the process three days ago and I can see ****tiny**** little things swimming. But you have to really look. The children do not see the creatures yet. They look like floaters in the water. The water is blue-y green now. Elf says this is science for homeschool. Yay!

Office Max and the Free Bags of Clothes (ramble)

http://www.officemax.com/

I have to tell you homeschooling moms out there to go to Office Max on Thursdays until Sept. 13. It's FREE laminating!

While I was there I picked up a teacher card and I will get $10 back for every $75 I spend. I wish I knew about this when I was shopping for all the boys' school supplies. I spent maybe $5 at the store, and $2.99 of that was on jelly pencil grips for the Emperor. I am really working on his handwriting (numbers and letters). Nothing seems to work, so this is in the "let's try it and see how it goes" category.

I got some crayon packets for **4cents** each. Yep, they're cheap. But I bought the limit (5) and figure I'll need them later or can throw them in with a small child's care package sometime. I also bought some composition books for 50 cents each. For some reason, I use these to log the Elf's hours. I like writing in them. Nothing else seems to "work." You know how it is; if you hate doing something eventually it won't get done any more... and I NEED to keep track of the Elf's homeschool hours or else (I don't know what would happen but I assume it's bad LOL!).

I've also noticed the Emperor has outgrown about every piece of clothing he owns. Had to drag out boxes and boxes and boxes and then DIVE for the correct sizes. I got out a bunch of size 10 to 12 stuff for the end of the summer and this winter. What I have is always "free." I think this winter we will be in need of socks, and that's about it. Some of the clothes are not in the greatest of condition, but the child goes and gets dirty anyway you know...

How has everyone else been faring on the school bargains? Anyone else diving into their storage bags like me?

Emperor's First Day at Kindergarten

Well, I was really dreading this day. And this morning, the traffic was even MORE crazy than it was last year. Imagine a school of well over 600 students, where many live within the "parent responsibility" area and have no school transportation. Now imagine a parking lot that contains one small loop for all these parents to drop their children... and... (get this) they cannot be dropped off before 8:10. They are considered LATE and marked as such if they arrive at their classroom after 8:25. Then add some parking to the MIDDLE and SIDES of this strange loop, and throw in a couple contradictory arrows on the pavement. Sprinkle about 50 small kids walking between vehicles at all times as well. Fun!!

But in fairness, I don't see how they could make things too much better unless they allowed parents to drop off a earlier and let kids sit in the cafeteria for a little bit. But that would mean *gasp* a few extra teachers' minutes and MONEY for the sake of safety. Ya know that's not happenin'!

Elf and Emperor were having some sort of school conference this morning and Elf was letting Emperor know what to expect. Thankfully, Elf told him that they don't really lock you in the closet when you're in kindergarten, and there are some fun things to do. He actually has some pretty fond memories of kindergarten and his teacher. I think everything in public school went down for the little guy in first grade.

I picked up Emperor at noon. It is a much more difficult procedure than simply fighting my way through traffic though. Have to park, unbuckle everyone and buzz myself into school. Have to walk to the office and sign the kid out. Have to make small talk with the office staff.

The kid got ESCORTED into the office by the principal and vice-principal. Oh, great. Had to hear about how he had "difficulty keeping his hands to himself" and required several breaks throughout the day. How he is a little energetic. I made my responses as noncommittal as I could. I mean, I'm not going to AGREE with them, but arguing with them would be pointless as well. Let the EMPEROR tell me about his day.

We were on our way out when he shouted at Elf, "Guess what? They didn't even LOCK ME IN THE CLOSET!!"

I thought I heard my heart hit the pavement! Am I going to get a visitor from social services? I guess if I do I'll do the HSLDA checklist thing... but you know what? I have nothing to hide because *they* were the ones that locked Elf in the closet last year. (Yeah, they call it a "recovery room," the nerds.)

To hear Emperor tell it though, this is a place he can play all day and they give lots of breaks. He got to flip eggs in the air in the kitchen area. Not as fast as Spongebob though. He is a great chef. The snacks he brought were all eaten and it was some kid named Madison's favourite. (Madison used to be such an unusual name... but now I think every class is required to have at least two of them.)

Not everyone there is friendly. Many of the kids were "ok." But not perfect like Jesus!

I think I like the Emperor's account of his day better. I'm sticking with it!

15 August 2007

The Amazing Time Line!

This is the Elf's completed timeline from the Bob Jones Bible curriculum. We are *almost* done with second grade work in Bible. I went ahead and stuck the last three people on the timeline so that we would not lose any of the "Heroes of the Faith" to the carpet sweeper, or tucked into a corner somewhere. I see next year's curriculum has pretty much the same thing, but different people are on the time line. It begins with the creation of the world (date unknown, but a tad before 2500 BC on the line) and ends with the return of Christ (date unknown, but just a little past "today"!).

I Have No Idea What to Title This Craziness...

http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3479449&page=1

Don Imus is being sued for violating the civil rights of one of the Rutgers basketball team ladies. As you well remember, he called them "nappy-headed hos," which wasn't very nice... but... I can't say that this really violated their CIVIL RIGHTS and therefore these ladies are eligible for megabucks from this guy.

True, he's said nasty stuff for YEARS in order to bolster his ratings. Years. So, how much emphasis do you think the American public gives to this guy when he calls someone a naughty word. I mean, he hasn't changed MY opinion about anyone. I don't even know these people!!

The only thing is, he DID call her a ho. Which is pretty meaningless in today's society. It's a derogatory term which would mean that she sleeps around... but... I can't imagine that it would be the same thing as, say, Dan Rather telling us all that Mother Teresa has had a series of one-night stands with the Pope during the nightly news. Not the same effect.

I guess I'm wondering... the guy has lost his job and personally apologized for this remark. What else do they want? Oh yeah, some money to alleviate that pain and suffering.

14 August 2007

No Balloons, No Bubbles, No Fun.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=070814122358.iyblgf2i&show_article=1

I understand parents being protective of their children with allergies. I really do. Patrick has a TERRIBLE dust mite allergy and you might as well forget thrift store shopping with him, or going to the clothes store at the mall, or the fabric store. Thankfully it's not a life-threatening allergy like a peanut allergy could be.

But banning balloons seems a bit... too far. Can they not publicize that the guy has a BALLOON ACT so that those few parents with allergic kids can steer clear? Yes, the stuff gets airborne. But aren't there a million other things made of latex in our environment? Am I just being insensitive here?

I'd like to see companies and politicians apply this same thoroughness to things like the drug war (ha!) and the deteriorating communities some people have to live in. Don't we have other things to get all upset and picky about? Maybe it's just me.

A Little Weeding






G did a bit of work in the backyard pulling some grass. He did not get any tall weeds or small trees, or *anything* but grass. This is because I wanted to leave him unattended and know my flowers are safe LOL! He got some work done but much more needs to be accomplished. Second pic: I meanwhile did the front area near the mailbox. See how it compares to the "before" pic in a previous post? That was a lot of work. Last pic: I suppose that I should be gratified that I am not the only person in the neighbourhood letting the weeds get a little... out of control.

13 August 2007

More Strange Things in My House


My very old owl andirons. If I had a fireplace I would certainly use them. When the fire is lit, the eyeballs glow! OK, it's kinda creepy and eerie. But fun too. These are VERY heavy, although they look like you could lift them easily. Now, when I think of THESE, I think of eyeballs in the fire... for good reason LOL!

Can't Hurt to Ask, Eh???

D has been concerned that Elf is not getting the same sorts of things taught at home as he would in public school. Now, I *cannot* be a public school teacher... I don't have the training or the patience. But now, I can use the public school curriculum in addition to our Horizons math any time I want to. I had asked the school if it were possible for them to tell me where I could find a workbook, or if I could buy a workbook from them. I got a way better deal! They're "upgrading" to a new version of the same stuff. So they sold their curriculum to a used book dealer, and saved me TWO BOXES of stuff... all the way through grade 5!! Now, some of the pages are written in and I *imagine* these are the ones they couldn't sell due to condition. But... who cares when the price is free. The only thing is, it comes with teachers manuals which are probably very expensive. But for the life of me they don't make sense!! I may have to sit next to a dictionary sometime and try to decipher the teach-ese. (And I was an English major in college, too...)

Murderous Cake Toppings Strike Back!


The Emperor's birthday was a few days ago and we bought him some little figurines to play with. We thought we'd top the cake with them first after a good washing. This guy fell over and began stabbing the cake. Naturally the Emperor LIKED this and thought it was an improvement. We had to keep it, and instead of the usual "Happy Birthday" wishes, etc, we have the cake itself expressing its displeasure.

12 August 2007

Too Hot For Yardwork




OK... so... I'm on bedrest for almost a month and I'm really tired. Now I'm not *so* tired anymore but the temperature is over 100 degrees! How much yardwork do you think has been done in these last two months?? Aside from lawn-mowing (D's "job"), NO work has been done on this wild mess of a yard. I cannot even bring myself to show you the BACK yard. Oh, no. I have four-foot trees and weeds growing there, I kid you not. Sigh. But I really *mean* to get to it. I'm not usually this horribly behind this early in pregnancy.


11 August 2007

I Don't Know How to Explain!

I've been part of an internet board for some time. Maybe almost three years? I'm sad but relieved that I have just sent this letter (obviously names etc. altered):


"H":

I know you're REALLY busy moving and I'm not going to expect you to reply. I just wanted to let you know that I am deleting (board name) from my little favourites column. I feel that when I express an opinion, it is misconstrued and misinterpreted often. I also feel that several people who feel the same or similarly as I do on certain topics are silent because they don't want the same treatment. Or, perhaps they have learned that the board is a nice place to say hi and give internet ((hugs)), maybe talk about the events of the day.

But serious disagreement on controversial issues does not seem to be tolerated very well.

I've enjoyed my time at (board name), H, and I'm truly not leaving angry. I just posted even this morning, but was impressed during my prayer time that this is not somewhere I should be right now. I hope you understand.

I am sure that some of the other posters are going to have a few *interesting* things to say about me and my opinions in my absence. I don't want to know what those are! I want to leave while I'm under the illusion that I'm on good terms with the majority of the posters on your board.

Many blessings to you, H, and I hope your move goes very smoothly. I'll miss ya!

"Mrs. C".

This is a place I've spent a lot of time and made friends, including "Aunt B." But it's just time to move on...

10 August 2007

Two Related Stories! Sort of.

http://news.aol.com/story/ar/_a/man-sues-florist-for-revealing-affair/20070810160709990001

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20216302/

It is all the florist's fault that Mr. Slug (not his real name LOL) has to pay money during a divorce proceeding. It just plain old isn't FAIR that they sent the receipt for Mr. Slug's dozen long-stemmed roses and a smoochie love letter off to the same house the fellow's WIFE is living in, instead of his @*#! ... I mean... affair partner. They should have to PAY because this revelation is gonna cost him money in court! They should be delivering flowers and not letting anyone know what's going on, ever.

Um, I don't see where sending a receipt to the fellow's house is a problem. Now, mind you, if their computer system were hacked and his credit card info stolen, he'd probably get ZERO dollars in court. But something like this, I don't know. You would *think* the guy would be ashamed of his dalliance and move on, but some people have no sense of shame. By the way, he would have my sympathy if his credit card were stolen by hackers... just not in this instance unless his poor wife had her name on the account LOL!!

And an EZ Pass system tracks your every move on the highway. You know this going into it. Sure it saves you a lot of time at the toll booth. Sure it saves you finding exact change and the potential hassle of lost tickets. I would *think* Big Brother tracking your moves would be a way more frightening thing to most people rather than the prospect of having a secret love affair uncovered. I don't see where you should be able to protect information like where your car went from your spouse... it makes no sense. But I am concerned about the implications of people being able to track your whereabouts at all times and tell other people about it.

Happy Elf Fun Day!
















A few days back, I had big plans to surprise the children with "Happy Elf Fun Day." It's a homeschool bonanza of all kinds of new and unique activities. We had the science five senses tie in when we watched, heard, smelled and tasted popcorn on the stove. Of course, the two Jiffy Pop things I bought each had a gash in the side and the top picture is what it looked like after the FIRST cleanup LOL!! Later, at lunchtime, I thought I would make some milkshakes with my blender. It didn't seem to work, and I heard, Mom, the blender is on fire... Sure enough, smoke came out very thick and I evacuated the kitchen. Smart me put the blender onto the wooden deck in the back until D informed me that this is NOT such a good idea... So here it sits waiting for trash day. I was disappointed. The blender is only about 16 years old and I bought it *new*. Sigh. The boys had a LOT of fun despite the fiasco-laden day... and they are asking when the next "Happy Elf Fun Day" might happen...





09 August 2007

I Took 50 Pictures of Patrick Today...

And I still wound up having to use an old photo of him trying to hide from my post! He needs to smile for the camera!!

We HATE Playing With Play-Doh!




I Have No Idea

why G insists on wearing this Lego-box hat inside the house so frequently.

Another Skinny Kid Pic


Friday's Homeschooling Post

Friday, August 10---CurriculumWhat curriculum do you use? Where do you buy it? Have you found a "gem" that you must share with others? Was something in particular a complete failure for you and your kids?

I think I've mentioned before, I really *love* Bob Jones Bible curriculum. About everything you need to teach that year is inside their kit. I had to order a couple paperback reading books for some extra activities, but these are good quality books and certainly tied in well with the subject matter.

The teachers' manual is very helpful and goes with the KJV Bible and the workbook very well. There are timelines that really help the students put things into perspective. As we study a character in the Bible (no, we don't study them ALL.. I think they concentrate on different ones each year) we'll add him or her to the timeline. We can tell, for example, that "today," we can't get to know Isaiah or go for a walk with Jonah. We can tell that Isaiah and Moses could NOT have been friends. I tend to do all kinds of exercises on the timeline that are not included like that.

I was so mightily impressed with the Bible curriculum that I ordered their Social Studies. Now, I *like* their Social Studies second grade book. It has a lot of colours and it is fun to read. I learned something new in almost every unit. BUT their notebook exercises are a little wimpy and not of the same high-quality depth that supplements the lesson in their Bible stuff. The teachers' manual doesn't really help teach the lesson to the same degree the Bible curriculum was helpful. These are all questions one could *naturally* think of while reading the book. For example, the crops of farmer Brown might show a chart of wheat, corn and tobacco. Look at the bar graph and tell me what farmer Brown grew in the greatest quantity on his farm. I didn't need to spend $50 on that!!

Do I really need an expensive teachers' manual like that? I'm stretching this Social Studies curriculum out... I don't know why... and adding books from the library on colonial times, or community helpers, or whatever that is on their reading level and "goes" with the lesson we are learning. At this rate, the curriculum will last two years instead of one and I'm hoping something cheaper or easier... or even free... comes up in the interim. I suppose I ought to look into devising my own third grade curriculum myself with library materials. The younger years are not *too* heavy on the dates, and I get the idea that small children are not quite expected to understand the continuity of history as we do, or the idea that while "this" was happening in Asia, "that" was happening in Africa or Europe. That may be too much.

Thursday's Homeschooling Post

Thursday, August 9---If I had only known...What have you learned on your homeschooling journey? What would you/did you change? This is an opportunity to encourage others who are just starting out or who are struggling with issues that seem unsolvable. It is also a perfect opportunity to tell us about one of those days made you want to throw in the towel. A funny story? Perfect!

One thing I am in the *process* of learning is that we need to slow down a little bit. I started homeschooling the Elf last Thanksgiving, and he was behind then in first grade. Now, he is almost completely finished with second-grade math and able to look things up in the dictionary and read *almost* anything. Do I really need to push him? Does he really need to spend six hours almost straight on worksheets and drills? Did I *really* need to not give him any summer break at all?

But I am afraid of falling behind or something. Elf is *good* at sitting for long, long periods of time and cranking out the work. I need to quit it!! It's too tempting to throw the work at him and watch him GO!

It would be helpful to me if the Emperor stays home next year because oh, my goodness, that child needs breaks! He probably has to do a ten-minute break every twenty minutes. It seems that way in any event. Even while he is writing, he is squiggling in his chair and going on and on and on... Do you remember in the Anne of Green Gables books where Anne would do entire monologues about stuff that would last for about a page? She had nothing on the Emperor. You almost forget what he is talking about and start to get on the "uh-huh autopilot." Which is a dangerous place to be if he's just asked for explosives and a bungee cord. Ok, he hasn't thought of that quite yet, but I'm just saying.

You know, my circumstance may be a little unique. I've never really seriously considered sending my Elf back to public school. My first thought is always about how they locked that precious boy in the closet so often. The fights D and I would have over the Elf's school behaviour; D is more inclined to respect the school's professional judgment than I am... I am absolutely certain Elf could have functioned well if they gave him his very own aide and his own small classroom. And I am convinced he *needed* those things to function and never received them; there is no way to prove that other than to show that the child did NOT function at school at the time we pulled him out.

I'm just so glad to have my Elf home.

08 August 2007

Extra-curricular Activities, Community Involvement

Wednesday, August 8---Getting out there...Extra-curricular activities, community involvement, volunteering, sports teams, music lessons, making sure your kids have opportunities to be social, co-ops, etc., etc., etc...

Ok. Know what? All those stereotypes about homeschoolers staying home and never going anywhere, or having friends, or participating anywhere... that's US!!

Two of my children have autism and it is somewhere between difficult and impossible to have a good, safe place for them to be. Elf runs away in groups. Basically if I am not with him, or he is somewhere unfamiliar, it's a bad situation.

I *had* had the children signed up for Upward Sports, but we discussed what happened there. I had also at one point had the Elf signed up for swimming and other activities. But I refuse to sign stuff saying that no matter WHAT I would never sue. Even if the other guy is recklessly negligent, I promise I won't even think about it... do they really think that? And to my mind signing something like that's like saying, you know, if you kill my kid because you weren't careful, I'm not going to do anything about it, double-swear promise.

Sorry, I find that SICK. Not that I'm sue-happy, (I've never sued anyone, and I'm nearly 40!) but good gracious.

I'm guessing that in a few years things will change somewhat for the better. I don't mean to say that three years from now we'll be doing a slew of activities; I'm just saying we may do a thing or two by then without worrying *too* much.

06 August 2007

Tuesday's Post on Monday Night

Tuesday, August 7---How do you homeschool?Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be "mom" and "teacher" at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc...

I'm not sure how to answer the question of "how I homeschool." We start around 7 a.m. after we've read the Bible and said a short prayer. The little Elf does most of his subjects now at his desk in the family room downstairs. We used to do everything in the kitchen, and it was more convenient that way because I could see both little boys' papers at the same time, and we could look at the same books at the same time. But baby J is getting bigger and something else needed to be worked out that is fair to everyone. Now Elf and the Emperor have desks on the opposite sides of the room... it just worked out that way due to the room's configuration and the fact that there are some "givens" like doors, hallways and a woodburning stove to work around.

I am technically only homeschooling the Elf. Emperor is going to go to the local elementary school for kindergarten. It used to be we would plow through our homeschooling subjects in the morning, have lunch, and then Emperor would get on the bus to preschool. Now, the Emperor must be driven to school by 8:20 (no bus service!), and G will be leaving at 7:20. No idea when Patrick is leaving yet, but it will be a different bus at a different time. I would guess around 6:20, because that would just be the most perfectly horrendous number I could think of at present. Too much new craziness will be introduced into our house soon, schedule-wise. I am not sure frankly how it will all work out.

Now, my big budget-breaker in terms of homeschooling supplies are the Bob Jones Bible curriculum things. Yes, I have spent over $100 on that one subject because I bought the kit AND an extra notebook. But I love it so much. I am really logging that down as social studies, but I could fairly log it down as literature instead. A lot of reading, reasoning and learning about Bible culture and times. Elf is learning to use a table of contents and finding the chapter and verse.

The easiest subject for the Elf is mathmatics. He will certainly be done with second grade math by Christmas time. He certainly did not get any such talent from me!! Our most difficult subject is English, which you would THINK would be the easiest subject. Poor little Elf really tries. His spelling is, um... creative. We work on that. But it remains creative. The grammar is also very strange. I think that's an autism thing, though it could be developmental as well. I am just working on basic "write a sentence" kind of stuff and some easy worksheets from Sam's Club. Not a defined curriculum. It is such a tough subject for him that whatever's out there for cheap will be something new to him. Every time we do it; even if we did it yesterday. Interestingly enough, he can READ very well. He is, I think, about where he should be in reading. He does need help with some words in the KJV, especially the whosoevers and the like. Some of the words he is starting to just recognize like the word "spake."

Thankfully, the getting kids to help with chores isn't a big deal here. The Elf folds all the washcloths. Emperor feeds the cat each night. They make their beds and clean their toys. That's about all I expect at this age, along with some basic babysitting while I make dinner. (OK that's not really "babysitting," more like "entertaining and keeping out of Mom's hair"!!)

Ok I'm going to hit "POST" and go snoop everyone else's blog before bed. 'Night!

Mrs. C.

Are You Feeling Altruistic?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20143806/

Here in our country, when we donate an organ, it goes to the first person on the transplant list in that area. Doesn't matter if it's a convicted child molester, or someone with a drug problem who is going to ruin the organ within six months. Doesn't matter if it's an 85-year-old who we all know is going to die within 10 years anyway.

AND, we're hearing in the news about doctors allegedly hastening the deaths of patients who are listed as organ donors. Actually this confirms something I've been feeling for a long time. It's a conflict of interest when you think about it. I want to stay alive and well for as long as possible. "Dr. Jones," however, may look at my body as up to 40 spare parts and the potential to save or enhance lots of lives, and glory for his hospital. Can you *really* tell me that there is no way EVER ever EVER that certain drugs would not be given to me b/c of the effect they may have on my organs, or the fact that they might make them unuseable altogether? Or that doctors might not do everything they can, knowing that I've signed that little card giving up these body parts after death?

So to my mind, it really doesn't make sense to be an organ donor. And as an organ recipient, you have to be just about too close to death to have a good chance of recovery once you receive the organ. If you get it before you die.

It makes perfect sense for people in poorer countries to sell their organs. They take great risk but earn a good deal of money (for them) that they otherwise would never receive. One would imagine they would be able to say yes or no to the recipient just as birth parents do for adoptions in the US today. The only thing that really bothers me is the use of organs from executed criminals. I mean, how much "consent" do you think the prisoners or their families are really giving? That's just plain creepy. But if my CHILD were going to die, would I say no to travelling to China for an organ? Would I? I have no clue. I'd like to think I would not. But then, if embryonic stem cells somehow magically provided the cure to all cancer, can you say you would never ever take the cure?

I'm interested in everyone's comments. What do you think about all these things? I'm not sure about a lot of them. :]

05 August 2007

Doing Monday's Post on Sunday.

I'm just that kind of person.

What started us homeschooling the Elf has been covered here before, but briefly speaking... the school made it pretty clear that they would not be able to meet his needs humanely. Now they never SAID that... you know... all children being entitled to a "free and appropriate education" so that they can "achieve their maximum potential" being the "primary focus of the institution." Mm-hmm. Thankfully D was able to see how necessary this step was. Unfortunately he saw it well after I did, and we had a horrible friction-filled family life for some time.

Elf would only attend school for three hours, and of those three hours, he would be told to stay home on all field trip days because they couldn't handle him. He was suspended five days on different occasions for behaviour related to his autism. He was locked in a closet when they found his behaviour to be out of control. But really, if you don't let things *get* out of control, all this becomes unnecessary. And they didn't want to spend the money or the time to create an environment where that was possible. That's what it really comes down to.

Since homeschooling the Elf, you would not be able to tell him from any other child and his autism is not noticeable. As long as I am with him. As long as the environment is familiar. As long as the schedule is followed.

Yes, we have a big bunch of work to do in that area and I'm not really sure how to begin.

What we DID start doing is working on the academics. You may well imagine how he was behind in public school, despite my tutoring at home. The fact is, when you as the PARENT are doing the TEACHER's work the way the TEACHER wants it done, it's much harder for you to teach the material.

I feel so very free in being able to teach things the way I think they need to be presented to the Elf. In a way that *I* understand it. In public school the children actually learn their long addition from left to right and I just can't do it!! Elf is learning it "backwards" from right to left as I was taught.

Now that I am homeschooling, it's very hard for me not to cringe at the OUTRAGEOUS things my other kids must bear at public school. All that tolerance and multiculturalism make me SICK! And it's assumed that my kids will learn about sex in health. Do I get a form sent home to let me know this? NO! You have to go figure out what they are putting into those little brains and tell them no, no, no, no every stinkin' semester! It's just one of those things that, now that Elf is home, I realize how hard fighting the school really is, and how much energy I am still putting into it as I still have three children attending public schools.

But I'm so glad to have at least Elf home for now. Maybe Emperor soon if the Lord convicts D. I will say in favour of public schools that they do a lot of things it would be difficult for me to provide for my children. Patrick will be playing cello and taking an advanced English class next year. His science and math are beyond what I'd be able to "jump into" teaching him. (Not impossible, but very difficult and would take some time!)

I think with Elf I will get to review these concepts as we go. It's not that I'm stupid. But having moved around a lot as a child there were concepts I was never taught, or things I need to review. I'll ask Patrick, what's a perimeter? And after he tells me I know "what they mean" but maybe the word "perimeter" just threw me. Does that make sense?

I'm hoping to scoot back to the other blogs that are participating and read a little bit about how other families got started on their journeys.

Blessings to you guys!

Mrs. C.

Homeschool Week August 6-10

http://ihavetosay.typepad.com/randi/2007/08/back-to-homesch.html

Ok, somehow I stumbled across this blog clicking on friends' links. We're talking about the basics of homeschooling for our individual families. Feel free to participate... could you let me know if you do so I can look at your blog?? The author says you can do all the days, or just one... whatever you want!

Monday, August 6---What led to your decision to homeschool? Why do you do what you do? What brought you to homeschooling? What factors played a part in your decision?

Tuesday, August 7---How do you homeschool?Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be "mom" and "teacher" at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc...

Wednesday, August 8---Getting out there...Extra-curricular activities, community involvement, volunteering, sports teams, music lessons, making sure your kids have opportunities to be social, co-ops, etc., etc., etc...

Thursday, August 9---If I had only known...What have you learned on your homeschooling journey? What would you/did you change? This is an opportunity to encourage others who are just starting out or who are struggling with issues that seem unsolvable. It is also a perfect opportunity to tell us about one of those days made you want to throw in the towel. A funny story? Perfect!

Friday, August 10---CurriculumWhat curriculum do you use? Where do you buy it? Have you found a "gem" that you must share with others? Was something in particular a complete failure for you and your kids?

Feed Me!

I brought baby J to a new church today. There are at least two other kids about his age, but they are much smaller. One was wearing the three-month size in clothing. J wears a 2t. He will probably get a little thinner when he starts to walk. The only thing that gets me a little nervous about leaving him is that he looks older than he is and people might assume that he can sit up or crawl. So I make sure to tell them how very small he REALLY is. He turned 8 months old today.

04 August 2007

If I Close My Eyes, She'll Stop Taking My Photo!

Patrick "loves" having his photo taken. Here he is practicing his cello. He had his friend E overnight yesterday. We watched one of the Lord of the Rings movies and the boys all played Nintendo stuff and some chess. Patrick LOST to E, which never used to happen. The child must brush up on his skills. E has just returned from China, where his family is from. Of course the younger children had all kinds of embarrassing questions for E like why people in China don't speak English and, well, do all black people like you speak Chinese? **cringe** Next time he comes over everyone but Patrick and I are NOT ALLOWED to even say hi to him LOL!

Super Mario Happy Birthday Number 29

OK whatever. I can't keep up with all these games. How can "Mario Party 6" be ***totally*** different from numbers one through five?? They are all equally confusing.

In each of these newer games, our old friend Mario appears in the familiar red "M" had and blue overalls. But he is now joined by about a million other characters including Luigi, some evil ghost thing named Boo, Princess Peach, some mushroom headed guy, super BABY Mario, BABY Luigi, a turtle, Wario (a convoluted Mario of some kind), Donkey Kong and many, many stars with eyeballs on them. Oh, and Donkey Kong is a GOOD guy now, but I'm not really sure what his purpose in the game is yet.

I think the point of the game is to collect all of these eyeball stars, and not be hit by tomatoes from the "audience" watching you in the game. There is also some "Bowser" character who is supposed to be bad as well. Maybe he hasn't had any work since Sha Na Na and has plunged to new lows LOL!!

OK, probably no one reading my blog remembers Sha Na Na. Or Donny and Marie. Nevermind I said anything.

Even my five-year-old somehow has picked up on the intricacies of the Mario world. Now, I think I'm just as smart as a five-year-old, but as someone tries to explain the whole thing to me it's too overwhelming. There is TOO MUCH going on, all at once. You have to multitask with your brain just to watch someone ELSE play. Does anyone over the age of 25 really understand this stuff?

I think Nintendo needs to come out with a very basic book for moms and dads. With pictures. Say I want to find out about Princess Peach. I would want to turn to find her picture in the P's and get a brief history. But unfortunately, to make it more confusing, the folks at Nintendo make the characters "good" in one game and "bad" in another, or in still others, it's a "good" character under "bad" mind control LOL!

I can't win!!

Here's Something New!

http://www.pr-inside.com/print194508.htm

I have never heard of Tom Tancredo before, but he has some interesting ideas. He says that we could possibly bomb the "holy" sites of Mecca and Medina in response to a terror attack in the US. I can't say the idea hasn't popped into my head before. It just *seems* that the Islamists get to use any tactic at any time, and then hide behind their CHILDREN like the cowards they are... and the US forces must all march in a straight line, follow "humane" treatment rules and be sure to never feed their prisoners anything they might not like... or let them not have the Koran... or let the Koran even touch the floor... The US troops can be blown up in an instant by an IED, but if proper protocol is not followed exactly by a US soldier he or she can face court-martial.

Good grief. There is a point where being "nice" is being stupid. And I think all the teachings of Jesus about turning the other cheek and going the extra mile are for individuals and not governments. Can you imagine a government claiming it's taking good care of its own people, just forgiving people who bomb them repeatedly and taking no action? But that's the sort of tripe I hear from the liberal camp. Muslims are our friends.

It's strange.

All these convoluted hypothetical questions coming out in the media. OF COURSE Hillary Clinton will not "rule out" the use of nuclear weapons! I actually respect her for that... and *just* that maybe. You just can't say, "I'll never do this... or that" and then have some strange situation come up and prove you a liar. And her saying she's not sitting down with certain leaders as things are at present is also very respectable, although it doesn't look "nice."

I didn't say I'd *vote* for her though, because she has enough opinions that are... in my opinion... absolutely contrary to scripture. There is no way at present I could pencil in that little dot with a good conscience.

02 August 2007

You Guess!

Is this a boy or a girl? I think he or she looks very much like the Planters Peanut man lying sideways. No cane or top hat though.

01 August 2007

More Yummy Squash Photos!


I like to pretend to be worried that baby J is just not chubby enough. Look a that thin little emaciated face. Awwwww...

The Emperor is Like a Turtle.

He's so lethargic all the time. He has no energy whatsoever. He has no enthusiasm in his voice. He never bounces. Things are always boring when he is around. He's usually sad. Yup. Please notice that this is *my* blog and I get to take a little creative license sometimes.

Star Trek Roller Skating!

Woodjie LOVES the audience.  I made these little outfits for the children and they danced to the Star Trek: Next Generation theme...