Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I've been quiet here on my blog. We've been wrestling with a decision about a foster care placement but we've decided that this one is not for us. It was a very difficult decision and it was exhausting trying to make it. I feel like a wrung out dish towel now. Exhausted.

I just wanted to let you all know I'm still here, though quiet. I guess now that this drama is over, we'll be resuming our regular lives and I'll update the blog as usual.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Happy Birthday!

It's my oldest son's 16th birthday. I cannot believe it. I've been in denial and every time I say it, it seems so weird. I remember 16 years ago this week when I had to call the doctor and make his first doctor's appointment, how weird it felt to say "I want to make an appointment for my son". Now we have to start thinking about driving. Gulp. I'm not ready.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Homeschool Group.

If you are a homeschooler, I think you should definitely try to find a homeschool group in your area. I think it's worth it. It took me a while to find this one. I had joined 2 different groups before I found this one that fits our family the best. It, unfortunately, doesn't have anyone else my oldest son's age though. I'm thinking of starting my own high school homeschool group or network but I haven't got my courage up yet. I should work on that.

Anyway, our group has things like Mom's nights out, field trips, 4H meetings and art classes. It's very helpful to have that kind of support, not to mention group discounts for field trips. We also collect Boxtops for Education, participate in Pizza Huts Book-It program, do the 6-Flags Reading program as a group, get group state fair tickets and group movie theater discounts. As we've gotten to know each other, we also compare curriculum choices, share videos, books and other resources and even hand-down clothes from kid to kid. It's really been a win, win, win situation for us.

As with any group, we have had to be a little tolerant and overlook some differences in opinions, differences in ways of doing things but we've managed and I think we're all richer for it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Puffball dude.

As part of our new schedule, we are each putting one thing in the Goodwill bag to get rid of, in my ongoing attempts to declutter. This morning, my daughter a little toy in there. It's a made out of a puffy little ball. My youngest son walked by and looked in and saw it in there. He said indignantly "Hey! Who put Puffball Dude in the Goodwill bag?" The rule is if someone else puts something in you want to keep you can trade for it so he did. Good thing Puffball Dude is safe to clutter another day.

Anyone else have trouble with these things?

I have to type these at least 3 times, every time, before I get them right. I wonder what that means? Better not dwell on it too much. :-)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another funny clock story.

Last night my youngest son was looking at our bedside alarm clock. He confessed that when he first started reading, he thought it said "on, off, alarm, time, HORROR, minute" He said "I wasn't going to push that button!"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My clock.

I got a clock at a yard sale a few weeks ago because I had been wanting a clock that chimes. I love the sound of the chimes for some reason. The only problem is that this clock is confused. It is either several hours ahead or behind so it never actually chimes the right number of times. It does show the right time on the face, but the chimes do not match it. I find this funny so it's good for a chuckle several times a day. The other day at 2:00 it chimed a bunch of times and we all lost count. When it finally got done, my daughter said "I think it's fifteen o'clock.". :-)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Last night.

Completely out of character I went to the library and didn't check out any books. How strange is that? I did look at some books on microscopic creatures, but they didn't have anything really good, so I spent the rest of the time utilizing the library's high speed internet to put some new designs on my Cafepress store. It's much easier to work on it up there than at home.

After the library, we had skating. It was good for me to talk to the other homeschool moms. We haven't gotten together much because everyone has been busy getting started with school and our leader has been out of comission after back surgery. The good news is we have 2 new families joining our group. I'm excited about that. More families means more opportunities.

We're also thinking of starting a 4H group for our club. I need to call the 4H leader today. I think I'll procrastinate about that for at least a couple of hours. You know I hate using the phone! Still, I'm excited about the 4H possibilities so I will do it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I had a job interview yesterday. The local hospital here was advertising for a transcriptionist so I went to see what it was about. Actually, yesterday's part was just a test to see if I could actually do transcription. I'm not sure I want to go out to work instead of working at home. There are good things and bad, either way.
I've never once had the option of not working, although I would like a break.

Good things about working outside the home and being an employee rather than an independent contractor:

I might actually get vacation days.
Hourly pay, so that if the computer is not working and I'm desparately trying to fix it, I'm still getting paid.
Fewer interuptions maybe.
Bosses to supervise me and make sure I'm actually working and not exceeding my goofing off goal.
Doctors who speak English (we have very few of those where I work now.)

Bad things about working there instead of here.
Really, really uncomfortable chairs.
Driving there/gas prices.
Maybe being unavailable to family when they need me. :-(

Just some things I'm thinking about. I haven't been offered the job yet, I have no idea what the pay might be or what the hours might be although I do know they'd be second shift so I could homeschool in the morning.

If they do offer it, I've got a lot to think about.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A few more State Fair pictures.

I can't believe it's been almost a month since we were there. I didn't get any pictures of the alligator show, regretably. It was really good but I guess I was too mesmerized to think to get out my camera.

Some state fair pictures. Finally.

A funny thing.

My daughter has decided that she loves this Michelena frozen entree, Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken and broccoli. I mean, she LOVES it. She would like me to buy about 10 of them every week. Originally, I got them for myself but I never get to eat them anymore. They're hers.

The other day, she was eating one and remarked, "These don't fill me up. I don't feel any more full after I eat one than before I eat one, but I do have a better taste in my mouth."


Updates on all my schemes.

I have these plans and schemes in my continuous quest to organize, clean, and homeschool. I'm always coming up with new plans. Some of them are keepers and some aren't. Here are some of the latest things I've tried. You'd think I could just pick something and go with it, but the things that worked well when my kids were 5, 2and 0 don't work now and parenting, as life, is constant change, so I'm always trying new things.

The Dishes Scheme - My plan was to assign everyone a bowl, a cup, a plate and have them wash them themselves to decrease the amount of dishes that I had to wash. It worked like a dream for the first few days, but lately, the dishes have started piling up again. We may need to reassess. I think other people besides me may be cheating. I know I am, but I'm the dishwasher to maybe I have dishwasher's immunity? Like diplomatic immunity? Above the law. That's it.

The Continual Changing of the School Lists Scheme - I've changed them again, but only slightly. Adding in Sheppard Software for Geography, adding in decluttering 1 item a day for each person. Everyone has got their math, spelling, reading, science, computer, art, language arts, geography, civics, algebra etc. covered by the current lists. Nonetheless, I'll probably change them again in 6 weeks or so. That's just what I do.

My Exercising By Working Outside Scheme - This one has lead to a lot of chiggers from working out in the yard. I may need to postpone so much working outside until after the first frost or just spray on some OFF. However, the huge gravel pile is slowly diminishing and the pool area is getting gravel so I may continue.

My Screen Time Limits - After struggling with each child having a certain number of hours a day and my never knowing how much they'd used, if they'd saved up and trying to be on the honor system, I finally put the computer and TVs on a schedule. This is working well. You can tell when it's screen time because most of the noisy interaction and running around stops and everyone gets engrossed in the various screens. As soon as it's over, the running around and noisy interacting starts all over again. This one is definitely a keeper.

The Homeschooling with Checklists Scheme - This is an old one so I forget about it sometimes, but this one works well for us. When we first started homeschooling, we tried schedules and lists, deadlines and every time management system I could think of. We've ended up using simple checklists for everyone. They can do these checklists in no particular order (which my youngest likes) as long as they get them done by a certain time each day, usually 1:00 pm but sometimes we push it back a little depending on circumstances.

If only I could get a housekeeping scheme that we would all love ... dreaming, I know.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


My youngest son finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone today. I promised him I'd read the last chapter and I did that today, so he's done. His first novel!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Iced Tea.

I love tea. My whole family loves it. The trouble is, we like it sweet. We put 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a gallon of tea. So according to my calcuations (you might want to check this!) 774 calories in a cup of sugar plus 382 for the half cup = 1156 calories for the whole gallon. So 1156 calories divided by 124 ounces = 9.32 calories per ounce or about 75 calories per 8 ounce glass of tea. I figure I'm probably getting 200 calories a day from tea alone, so I'm going to try and cut that out and see if I can lose this weight that has been creeping on since May.


I'm not good with things that require self-discipline, but here goes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In a good mood today.

I'm not sure why I'm in a particularly good mood today, but I am going with the feeling. A few good things have happened. I went to the doctor yesterday, a trip I had been dreading for over a month and got it overwith. That's always a good thing. My mom's CT scan results came back without anything really bad, some gallstones and diverticulitis, which we can deal with. I got the first disk of House Season 4 last night from Netflix and watched the whole thing last night. (We don't have cable or satellite, so I just wait for the whole thing on DVD). I was laughing a lot at House and Wilson's antics. Best of all though, my daughter decided to do a bunch of the paid chores on the list I always keep on the fridge and cleaned the bathrooms and swept and mopped in the kitchen and living room. Cool. She's planning to do a bunch more things today including bathing the dogs and scooping the poo out of the yard. These are jobs that I am really, really, really glad not to have to do myself. Also, sales have picked up on my Cafepress store. (one of my newest designs is pictured above) Since gas prices went up, my sales had gone down and just this week they've been pretty good again. I hope the trend continues.

On the homeschooling front, it seems to be going pretty well. Yesterday because of yet another doctor's appointment I had to go to, the kids only did morning lists (AGAIN). Morning lists though, include writing, spelling, math, math review, chores, reading and exercise (PE) for the younger 2 and Algebra and computer, chores and PE for the high schooler. The afternoon subjects are language arts, writing, geography and science. If we end up getting too far behind in the afternoon subjects because my relentless outside obligations, we'll just make it up by doing only afternoon list subjects for a while. It all evens out. I'm very pleased with their progress right now. The older 2 read all the time and the youngest is getting into it too. He's on chapter 14 of the first Harry Potter book. (YAY!) My daughter is becoming a good speller even though we've abandoned our spelling curriculum for the past 6 months and she's just been reading, reading, reading. Overall, I am pleased with how it is going this year, despite how crazy my calendar looks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rethinking again.

Of course I'm rethinking our schedules again. I always do. I've gotten to the point that when I make a schedule, I realize it will only be for a few months and then I'll change it. There are just so many things I want to include and only so many hours in a day. So next week I'm going to switch things around a little, add in a game a week, the typing/spelling program I got last year, and changing our exercise routines. I've decided that I'm going to try and make my exercise routine more useful, instead of just doing leg lifts or whatever, I'm going to work in the yard. The kids and I are trying to move this huge gravel pile from the driveway area into the pool area, 1 bucket or wheelbarrow at a time. I've decided to do more of it each day to try and get the pile moved quicker and to get more exercise. I think I might make an "exercise jar" for the kids with suggstions like Frisbee, badminton, baseball, etc. in there, in case they can't think of anything. I'm kind of hoping they'll get interested in what they're doing and stay out longer and keep playing and of course get more exercise.

Pictured above is Zelda Ziggy, my constant companion when I'm outside. I think I should have named her something like Cindy named her dog "Lucky-he-ain't-been-stepped-on" except change it to "she" because she winds in and out of my feet while I'm trying to carry the gravel. Sometimes I just pick her up and carry her too, cause it's easier.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Nothing scheduled today.

Ahh. It's nice. I think I'll stay in junky clothes all day and try to exceed my goofing off goal. :-) I'm also kind of trying to think of an excuse to be in town tonight during Baskin Robbins dollar scoop night. I haven't thought of anything yet but I'll keep working on it.

All goofing off aside, we need to get back into the whole school routine today. We only did half a day yesterday technically, because we didn't do our afternoon lists. However, the younger 2 kids got really involved in the measuring work they were doing for Math Mammoth. They were measuring a bunch of things in the house and because we don't have a metric tape measure, they were figuring out, on their own, how to use a 12 inch ruler to measure a large object in meters and converting to feet and inches along the way so they could use the large tape measure. They were using pieces of yarn to measure, taping off meter increments on the kitchen floor and really learning a lot. This lasted for a couple of hours and they weren't done with school until almost 4 o'clock, even involving my oldest son in measuring and pacing/stepping off meters at the end. So was this half a day of school or a whole day? I'm thinking a whole day.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Have you read my blog?

I seem to say that a lot lately. We went to a family birthday party today and I found myself asking that when people would ask how I was. It sounds silly, but I'm actually trying to keep from repeating stuff they already know. Blogging adds a new dimension to life in that respect. Sometimes I'll blog something and then promptly forget about it only to be reminded by someone at a family gathering which kind of makes me feel like an idiot. (maybe I should just go with that feeling?) I may hold some stories back off my blog around Christmas so I'll have something to talk about at family parties. :-)

Anyway, today was my youngest nephews second birthday. For blog purposes, I will refer to him as Mr. Cuteness. Happy Birthday!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Educational things.

We've taken the whole week off from formal schooling this week. I've just had too much to do to get school done (or work for that matter). We have done some educational things this week though. We finished listening to the audiobook Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke. It was really good. We enjoyed it very much. We've also gotten most of the way through Joey Pigza Swallowed The Key. It's different. It's about a real kid with ADHD with some pretty severe impulsiveness issues. We're enjoying it too though. We'll see how it turns out I guess. The kids have watched Rough Science, Mythbusters and How It's Made, all somewhat educational. They've done a lot of home-ec and shop type things with their Dad this week while doing home and car maintenance, not to mention all the PE classes we crammed into our rough river trip, about 6 hours of swimming on that one day and our up-close-and-personal skunk viewing that counts as nature study! (They have a skunk at the resort that visits every night but reportedly has never sprayed anyone!) So let's see, we've kind of unschooled Literature, Science, home ec, shop, PE and nature studies. I'm not really counting any of this as school time at this point, but if I'm a day short at the end of the year, I might consider it.

Again, I've exceeded my goofing off goal.

Not everyone can accomplish that before noon, but hey, I guess I'm exceptional.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Our "camping" trip.

The view from the "dining hall".

Nature trail. :-)

Our sand castle.

View from our room, um I mean tent.


Boy enjoying the beach.

As you can see, we were really roughing it in the wilderness. It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Our version ...

We're off today to do our version of camping, which involves staying in a lodge/hotel that is close to a campground, eating in the restaurant and swimming in the pool. We also plan to swim in the lake and build sand castles and maybe play a little bit of putt putt golf. We're taking part of this week off from school, maybe all of it. We took off yesterday for the holiday and when we get back, I've got to make up any work time that I was gone, plus take my mom for a couple of medical tests and we've got 2 birthday parties this weekend. I don't get any kind of paid time off from work, so I need to get busy!


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