Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I messed up.

I messed up Halloween tonight by doing things backwards. The time change thing made 5:00, the normal trick or treat time seem weird, because it was still really light. So we felt like we would be going to peoples houses too early. We decided to go to a couple of local church's Trunk or Treats since we missed the one at our own Saturday due to the party. This took too much time and by the time we got back to our own little street where all our favorite people, aunts, uncles and cousins live, we were too late. They had their porch lights off and I figure they'd given up on us. The kids got mega bags of candy but we missed out on a lot of the visiting that makes Halloween fun for me.

I never know what kind of title to write.

I almost always want to put "Today" as the title. Maybe I should just type the date?
Anyway, here's a picture of our 3 pumpkins, yet to be carved. I guess maybe we should get to that today, as it is Halloween? Since we had the party the other night where the kids had to wear costumes, the costumes are already done and we don't have to do any last minute sewing or anything. That's good. I hate last minute costume issues. I do need to hunt down my youngest son's black sweats, which are somewhere in the laundry process.

In other news this week, I've been reading the Carnival of Homeschooling. Here it is and we're still doing some cleaning and renovating.

We had a bit of excitment last night having to do with our flooring renovation. While we were pulling up the carpet, my husband had pulled the truck up to the front door. It has a topper on it and apparently, the kittens enjoy climbing up into the truck and sleeping on the carpet. Last night, he moved the truck back to the driveway and the kitties got to go for a little ride. It was funny. My daughter was yelling, 'the kittens are in there!" and we ran out to make sure they were okay. They were a little surprised, but fine.

That's it from here. We're still on fall break and I guess we'll go back Monday. It's going to end up being 10 days off because I get to count the 2 field trips. There's been quite a bit of learning going on with renovations (wood shop?), watching Mythbusters (science), dividing 5 enchiladas amongst 3 people (math) and of course the 2 field trips which were Mad Science (more science) and the Museum of Art and Craft (art), but still, we need to get back into our routine. I think it will actually be more restful! It's been a very busy couple of weeks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ta Da.

Here are the sculptures. The alien was done by my oldest son. The creature attacking a building was done by my youngest son and the giraffe (which is now sans the pointy things on it's head (are they antlers?)) was done by my daughter.

Monday, October 29, 2007


The field trip to the museum of Art and Craft was great. The kids made an animal out of polymer clay, wood, fabric, ribbons, wire, etc. A good time was had by all, I think. My youngest son who hasn't been in a classroom situation had a slight problem with the teacher telling him what to do at first, but we had a little talk and he decided to listen to her. Funny how that works. I can't share pictures of the creations right now because my camera is not working. I might see if I can get my husband to take some pictures with his camera so I can post them.

Another field trip.

Today, we're going to the Museum of Art and Craft to make polymer clay animals in a workshop. It sounds like fun. The only thing we don't like about field trips is the getting up early. The kids are spoiled to sleeping until 9:00 or 9:30 every day and this 7:30 a.m. wakeup call I'm about to give them is not going to go well.

On the home renovation front, we got our carpet taken up. The floor underneath it looks awful but it's a step in the right direction. Our beautiful laminate floor is on it's way. (Actually, it's all piled up in the kitchen, but you know what I mean!)

Later today we need to tackle cleaning my teenager's room, which is not going to be fun. Anyone want to come and help?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Day of Rest?

At least today is more restful than yesterday. We got to sleep quite a bit later. Yesterday, we had to get up early and went to the class and then straight to the party (with an hour and a half of driving, give or take). We didn't get home to stay until around 10:00 last night. We're all kind of tired. Still, we need to work on our floors and I need to work at my job. As usual, work has been kind of slow all week, until the weekend got here and then they're begging for help. I guess I should be thankful I have a job and that I don't have to leave home to do it and since we homeschool, I don't miss my only opportunity to be with my kids by working on the weekend. I get to see them during the week.

We really enjoyed our little party with the homeschool group last night. We made smores, had a hayride, ate a wonderful meal and just had a good time. That was the parents. The kids ate a quick meal and then ran amok the entire time, wearing costumes and carrying swords and light sabers having a ball. Tomorrow, we have a field trip to the Museum of Art and Craft with a polymer clay workshop. I hope it is fun.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

We're off to class.

I'm really tired and kind of sore from cleaning yesterday. I think from moving the bunk bed by myself, probably a mistake in retrospect, but hey, it's done now. After our class, we will have to hurry home to grab the pot of chili we made last night and head out to a halloween party. The kids are going as a Jedi, Herminone and a dragon ninja. Last night, my daughter decorated the dragon ninja's sword for her younger brother with a dragon that she drew and put flames going all the way up the blade. It's pretty cool. I had to do some bargaining with my oldest, who wanted to go as Boba Fett from Star Wars instead of as a Jedi, but the Boba Fett costume was going to cost 75 dollars and I just can't see that for a halloween costume. I told him he could be that next year when he has a job and for this year, he can be a Jedi. (He already had the cloak from a couple of years ago.)

Uh oh! Time to go!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The War on Clutter.

Today, the children and I fought for several hours in the war on clutter. It was exhausting, but the house does look better. We got several bags of things that can go to Goodwill or consignment and some things that we were just ready to throw away. The Flylady would be proud. I, personally, am tired.

Busy, busy.

I do like to stay busy. Sometimes on my days off, I don't know what to do with myself. That said, I'm just a tad bit busier than I like to be right now. We've got foster care classes all day tomorrow and a Halloween party with the homeschool group tomorrow night. We need to work on the flooring on Sunday and we've got a field trip on Monday. We have our foster care first homestudy meeting on Friday with a home walkthrough/safety evaluation, so of course we have to clean our house a bit (okay, A LOT) and put our medicines in locked boxes. My bedroom, which tends to be a storehouse for all the stuff we don't know where else to put and my teenager's room, which is a total train wreck, need to be cleaned up. I'll be glad when all the classes are over. Tomorrow is our last all-day one and then we only have half a day next week. That will be a relief to have our Saturdays back and to be DONE.

We will also have to start back to school at some point! I really don't think a 2 1/2 week fall break is appropriate but it might be necessary to get this all done. I may have to think of some independent study type things for the 2 younger ones to do. Maybe Grandma would like to go over their fractions with them? Probably not.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Making my day.

I had 2 comments today that kind of made my day. My youngest son was talking with the receptionist at his doctor's office and told her that we homeschool and told her that "other kids have to worry about whether they'll like their teacher, but I know I like mine." and also said that his mom had a hard job because one kid is in 9th grade, one is in 6th and he is in 4th and she has to teach all of them, but "she handles it really well." What a compliment coming from my 9 year old! (That is the way he talks, sounds like he's 9 going on 30 sometimes!)

Then later tonight, at Wal-mart, the lady put the prescription slip in front of me to sign then said "You are over 18 aren't you?" LoL. I loved that one. I don't know if Wal-mart's new policy is to flatter the middle aged, but I'm all for it if it is!

Fall Break continued.

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We did have fall break yesterday and it's looking good for today too. I have several things I need to do and youngest son has a doctor's appointment mid-day at 1:00. I think we may even stay 'off' until Monday. The public school kids around here took 7 or 8 days earlier this month, so this shouldn't put us behind them in the number of days. I do like to finish in late May or early June about the same time they do, but hey, we can take an educational field trip on a Saturday or Sunday to make a day up. We have been watching Mythbusters, is pretty educational, although I'm not counting the hours or anything!

When we start back we'll be covering the American Civil War in our history lessons, so I've been looking around for some good books to read to go along with it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This week.

I'm not sure what we are going to do this week, as far as school goes. We have quite a few things to do that are not school related. I have something written on my calendar every day this week. We may need to take a bit more fall break and try to get this other stuff done or we may just dive in and do work, school, housecleaning and a bunch of errands all at the same time. I'm not sure. We might do a half day of school each day this week so we can get 2 1/2 days done. I have to go to the grocery, pick up prescriptions, do fingerprinting for foster care, get the rest of that foster care paperwork done, finish halloween costumes, make something to take for the foster care dinner on Saturday and make chili for the homeschool party on Saturday night, plan Awana, set it up and teach it, get groceries, take youngest son to a doctor's appointment on Wednesday that is a half an hour drive each way and lasts an hour and somehow, get this house cleaned up and I need to do it while working around 30 hours this week and homeschooling the kids. With my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, I also have to have a little rest period (okay, nap) each day. It's just one of those busy, busy times that hit every now and then. It seems like everything happens at once, doesn't it? When it rains, it pours.* My November calendar is looking pretty blank and I think I'll try and keep it that way as much as possible!

*Speaking of rain, it actually is raining outside! We got an inch of rain yesterday and it's looking good for today too. We really needed it.

Monday, October 22, 2007


We had the co-op with Mad Science this morning. I was a little disappointed. I thought it was just going to be so cool, and it was just okay. They did a cornstarch and water slime thing and a crystal growing thing, both of which we've done at home a couple of times, so for us, both of the experiments were kind of old hat. I think that I could have done at least as good of a job teaching it myself, and for a lot less money.

As my youngest son's friend wrote in a letter last week, "I am out of words."

Sunday, October 21, 2007


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This is one of the pictures my daughter took that did not have a cat or a dog in it, so I thought I'd share.

As far as this weekend goes, we got through another foster care class. I think we really lucked out by going to another county and getting these instructors because they're really good. That took up most of the day yesterday. For today, I'll be working. My job now only seems to have a decent amount of work on weekends for some reason. I hope this is just a temporary thing because I really don't want to have to change jobs.

For tomorrow, we've got a co-op tomorrow with our homeschool group and Mad Science is going to come and do a science class. We're all looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, I'm off to work.

Friday, October 19, 2007


We did our second day of fall break today. Since there wasn't much work in my job queue (actually none at all) we worked on halloween costumes. We got my younger son's dragon ninja almost done and my daughter's Hermione almost done. My oldest son, I think, is going as a Jedi again this year and he already has the cloak so that should be pretty easy. I hope. I got a couple of small things done around the house too, but no where near what I wanted to get done. My back started hurting halfway through the day and continues to hurt despite Tylenol.

Anyway, speaking of Hermione and the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling has done an interview about the Christian imagery and message in her books. It's here. I love these books.

In other news, there is work in the work queue now, at 8:00 pm, so I'm going to start working. I guess I should be thankful that there is work, but I'm feeling a bit whiney because my back hurts and it's late and I could be relaxing with my family now. I guess I'd better quit whining about it and just do it, shouldn't I?

I gave the camera to my daughter and told her to take some current fall pictures.

Here's one of the ones she took. About half were of the pretty trees and about half were of our cats and dogs.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fall Break.

Okay, I did it. I declared today at least as fall break, probably tomorrow too. I have a some things I need to get done and I'm going to try and get as many as I can done in the next few days.

*This picture is from a couple of years ago, but it this tree looks very much the same right now and I'm too lazy, I mean, um too busy to go out and take another picture. ;-0

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Today's Notebooking Pages.

We read about the underground railroad, Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe today and these are the notebooking pages they made. My daughter's is about the 2 Harriets and my son's is of a stop on the underground railroad with a secret door hidden behind a bookcase. I really like notebooking and the kids really seem to be enjoying it too.

Labeling things.

I got a pack of sight word post it notes at Walmart the other day on clearance. I thought maybe they'd help my youngest with his reading. So today, I let him and my daughter go label things around the house as a game/reading lesson. They got creative and started writing their own labels after a while!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Really enjoying this craft book.

This is the craft book my daughter brought home from the library the other day. It has tons of good stuff in it. My daughter made cool marbled paper from the book and my son was making boats from empty soda bottles last night, not beautiful, but they floated. He spent some time floating them in the tub last night. I'm thrilled with anything that encourages this old fashioned kind of play and keeps the kids away from video games and TV.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday's Field Trip.

The field trip went well. I don't know if we really learned anything, but we had a good time.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Biting off more than we can chew.

Our homeschool group has planned a bunch of stuff for this month. At first, it was going to be co-op classes, but then we decided to do field trips and other things too, so we've got another field trip tomorrow. We're going to a farm/orchard and the kids will get to pick out a pumpkin. (The picture is of last year's pumpkins.)

Halloween is coming up quickly. We really need to get going on the costumes this year. We usually make homemade costumes, but it looks like we might have to buy them this time because our free time is so scarce. We're trying to put down new flooring in the living room, which isn't going well, because we're also doing foster care classes every Saturday this month and field trips pretty much every Monday. Two days a week of busy-ness thrown into our already busy schedules is kind of tough and then add home remodeling onto that ...

I really would like to get that flooring done before the first homestudy visit but I'm not sure how we'll manage it.

My kids may get their fall break this week so we can get a few things done.

We'll see.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The math we use.

We use Math Mammoth for the younger 2 kids and Key Curriculum Press for the older one. I'm happy with both programs. For the first part of this year, the younger kids had been reviewing multiplication of large numbers and division. This week, we started fractions and went back into the Math Mammoth workbooks. We hadn't been using them since June and when we started using them again, I was impressed all over again with the explanations in this book. They are so good and they make it so that the kids can really understand what they are doing, not just doing the steps. It seems to work really well for both of the younger kids and they actually enjoy it. My daughter, this week, has been saying "Can't we do 1 more page, please!" Can you believe that? You can look at previews of the pages at the homeschool estore. I can't figure out how to link to a product so you'll just have to search for Mammoth Math when you get there.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Trying to Outsmart the Dog.

Our fence finally gave up and fell down in the backyard. We have a new one ready to put up but nobody wants to attempt to dig post holes with the ground being dry and hard as concrete. Anyway, this allows Lucy, our outside dog, access to the back yard, which was previously the cats' domain. She's really taken a liking to cat food and wants to go in the backyard and keep the cats from eating their food. I put it on the patio table for them and she can't reach it, but still, she feels the need to guard it and keep the cats away from it. This morning, I fed the cats on the front window ledge to keep her from getting their food. They make a cute picture don't they?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kinda weird.

I'm actually posting from the library while my kids are at the last tween event for the week. This one was game day and they felt that they really didn't need mom hanging around while they played Wii and other Nintendo games, so I got to browse the book section. That lasted about an hour and I got really bored and so decided to sign up for a computer. It's the first time I've used one of the library's computers and their really, really fast internet. Oh, I could learn to like this. At home my connection is unbelievably slow, so this is really fun. I may have to visit some of the blogs that have videos that I've never gotten to watch and watch them. I don't know. It feels kind of weird being on my own blog with my big old face staring back at me. This monitor is huge and makes my picture look big. I hope you all don't see it that large!

Anyway, I'm off for some really fast internet surfing.

See ya.

Here's the sword and the wallet, both made of colored duct tape.

These are from the library craft class. I haven't taken pictures of the many friendship bracelets yet.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's funny.

It's funny how little things we do will translate into a few hours of learning for the kids. Yesterday, we did the craft thing at the library and my daughter was making crafts for hours. She's still making friendship bracelets. She's made a whole bunch of them. She looked in my embroidery yarn and found a pattern for some different kinds so now she's trying them. This has got to be educational for something? Maybe art?

During the bracelets tonight, my youngest son saw a bead with Roman numerals on it. He became facinated with Roman numerals and had me print out a page about them and then he studied it on his own for half an hour or so, pointing out interesting facts to me. (The whole time I was typing a report for work but that's beside the point!) Any little thing can be a leaping-off-place for some learning.

When my mom found out we were studying American history this year, she got a placemat with the presidents on it. My daughter has found this facinating and every chapter we read in the history book, she's got to look at the placemat and we've got to discuss who was president when each event happened. On her own, she started drawing the presidents and writing their names along the bottom of our American history timeline.

Tomorrow's the day that the grounding for my youngest ends. It's been an interesting 2 weeks. I actually think he's kind of enjoyed the time and revisited a lot of toys and things he hasn't played with for a while. He played with the castle building set, the lincoln logs, the bionicles, the paint and all kinds of different things. Anyway, it's over when he wakes up tomorrow morning. I wonder how tomorrow's school's going to go.

If you hear whining tomorrow, it's probably coming from here.

Yesterday's School Report.

We did do school yesterday. Everyone got their morning lists done by at least 3:00 p.m. The younger 2 kids also got their afternoon lists done and then we went to the first ever tween event at the library. (Tweens are kids from 9-12 in case you didn't know!) They've set up 4 events for tweens this week. The first was a movie on Monday, which we didn't go to and then yesterday they had a craft party. It was pretty cute. They had friendship bracelets to make out of some kind of crochet yarn and then they had crafts to make out of colored duct tape, which included a wallet and a flower/pen. Very cute. My youngest, always the free spirit, made a sword and shield in addition to his wallet and affixed a change pocket to the side of his wallet as well. I'll share pictures later. Then we all browsed the shelves and came home with a wide selection of books. One of the books my daughter picked up was a craft book and she spent some time making crafts out of it last night.

Today, the library is having a pirate party and tomorrow, game time. It sounds like a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Always late.

It seems like we are always late for everything. We didn't used to be but we've gotten really bad lately. It looks like today is going to be no exception. I've been trying to get myself and the kids ready to go to the library for a tweens event for the last half hour but we've all had to use the same bathroom because someone else is in the other one. I'm not going to mention any names but it rhymes with Baddy. The kids all had 'take a shower' on their MORNING lists but as usual, begged off until the afternoon. We barely finished our afternoon fraction lessons and then we all started competing for bathroom time. I really don't like being late.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Report on the Field Trip.

The firefighters gave us a tour of the place and let the kids climb in one of the big tanker trucks. The kids also got to look at through a type of thermal detector which was very cool. We talked about what to do to make our homes safe from fire, including installing smoke detectors in every bedroom, sleeping with the door to the bedroom closed, crawling on the floor to get out (Stay low and go.) and having a planned meeting place outside. It was very informative. We also talked about other kinds of rescues that the firefighters do, which was pretty cool. I think we all had a good time.

After the class, we got lunch and went to the park. The mom's had a planning meeting and the kids played. It was a pretty good day.

Field Trip!

We're going on a small field trip today. Since October is fire safety month, we're going to the fire department for a class on fire safety and then we're heading to a park. When we planned this outing a month or so ago, we were expecting the weather to be cool this second week of October, but no, it's going to be in the 90s. Nice and warm. Very, very warm.

Here's a link to a bunch of lesson plans from Scholastic on fire safety. in case you want to teach it this month.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Last weeks UpWords Game.

I wish I didn't have to work this weekend.

Friday, October 05, 2007

An easy week.

I've let the kids have a pretty easy week this week. They've all had colds and haven't felt their best and so we've used educational games and found easier ways to get things done. I would like to have some good history movies for them to watch as well. Hopefully, by Monday everyone will be back to normal and we'll get going again. I'm going to start the younger 2 on a new math unit next week. I have all of the Math Mammoth books on CD (somewhere) so I've just got to get that and print one for them.

My youngest son has been enjoying a castle building set this week. It's from Klutz books and I bought it last year when we were studying the middle ages. He's rediscovered it this week and first he built robots out of it (that's one in the picture, above), then he built a castle for the robots to destroy. He's spent the last couple of days building cottages, outhouses and dog houses from the patterns in the book. It's funny how if you hide toys away then rediscover them later, they're like brand new toys again.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Here's our version of the gold rush game.

It's fun making a game board. I got this map for free somewhere, I think at a restaurant. We had 2 routes, 1 across the main part of the country and one down through the isthmus of Panama, which wasn't actually on the map, but we improvised. It was funny, because my youngest wanted to put a space that said "go back 10 spaces" and we told him that was too many but he insisted. Guess who landed on that space 3 times!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Confession was good.

The kids watched me like hawks yesterday, so I got my list done. It's weird how I need to be held accountable, but hey, if it gets me exercising, I'll just accept that strange part of my personality and just learn to work with it.

We did get school done yesterday. We played a couple of dice games for math, all of us together, and had some good laughs over it. Mom really lost big and they thought that was hilarious. (Not due to math skills, but bad luck with the dice!)

Today, we are going to be talking about westward expansion and we're going to use a big map of the United States and make it into a board game. I found the instructions yesterday here.

I really, really, really, really want this Hands and Hearts History Kit but just don't know if i want to spend the money. I really want it though.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I guess we have to go back to work and school today.

It sure was nice having a couple of days off, but I guess we need to get back to it today. I confessed to the kids that I haven't exactly been doing my lists and they are going to check on me today. Honestly, it's so silly that I need that to get me motivated to do anything. But I do. Hopefully, they'll keep me in line.

For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, we use a list method for homeschooling. Each child gets a list and mom gets a list. Mine involves exercise, household routines and getting a certain amount accomplished at my job. Theirs have things like exercise, chores and their schoolwork. We have this deal that if I don't get the morning part of my list done, they don't have to do their afternoon school list. They get the afternoon off. This is a big motivator for me because I don't want their schoolwork to be neglected.

Silly, yes, but I seem to need it.

I'd better get busy.

Monday, October 01, 2007

What we did with today.

Not much actually. We had to take Zoey back to the vet to get her stitches out. We worked a little on rearranging the kitchen, so we can put some of the living room furniture in there while we're re-doing the living room floor. I made a nice chicken pot pie for lunch. I stopped by and saw my parents for a few minutes and went walking with a friend while my kids played with her kids. We watched Night at the Museum together. We did no school at all, but that's fine. We can miss a day here and there. We got a nice early start this year and the public school kids are on break all week, so we might get a few days ahead of them. I don't care if we stick exactly with the public school schedule, but when June gets here, I want to be done or close to it. It's nice to have a easy day once in a while.

Cats in the dog house.

Another photo taken by my daughter. At least it's not quite so close. I don't think our outdoor dog, Lucy, is very happy about the fact that the cats have been getting in her house.


I'm undecided what to do with today. It's my day off work and we were supposed to have a field trip to an orchard but it was cancelled for various reasons and so we have an unexpected day home. This weekend we were supposed to have put down new laminate flooring in the living room, but we didn't get very far on the project. We got the laminate, in the packages, as far as the kitchen floor, but none of it is installed yet. We may take some time and work on that today. Or not. Like I said, I'm undecided. The local public schools are on fall break this week, but knowing how bad we are at getting started back when we take a whole week off, that's not likely.


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