Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So many thoughts.

I went to a homeschool meeting tonight with a guest speaker,  Joyce Herzog.  We had a wonderful discussion about learning styles and education and now my head is so full of thoughts, I feel kind of overwhelmed.  Kind of like a food for thought buffet where I over-indulged, big time.  Now I just need to sort them all out and decide if what I learned tonight is going to change the way we homeschool.  I think it probably will.

In other news, I went to the doctor about my foot that's been bothering me since the state fair and it was diagnosed as tendonitis.  I got what the doctor's office called a "soft cast" which really looks like an ace bandage but feels different and I can't take it off or get it wet for 2 weeks.  My daughter calls it a tiny, invisible cast. 

Multitasking boy.

He's exercising outside, walking laps around the yard, carrying a sword and reading a book.

Monday, September 27, 2010

18 years ago today.

I became a mom.  I've been trying to think all day of just the right thing to say about what a great kid he is and how this experience of being a mom has been life-changing, but I just can't find adequate words to express it.

My first baby is grown up now.

Happy Birthday Son.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

One way

 to maybe get in our schoolwork is to do some things on the weekend.  So, we had woodworking class today.  Hey, whatever works, right?  We're trying to make an outdoor chair.  We actually my husband and the kids, got the chair about halfway done today.  :-)   It's from the Knock Off Wood site but I can't post a picture of it because I'm at home right now and our internet's too slow.  :-(

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's about that time.

It's about time for us to sit down as a family and evaluate our school year, what's working and what's not.  I know that we're not getting as much time to do things as I had originally hoped.  The kids do not want to start doing schooly things while I am gone and have been spending a ton of time reading and working on their own various projects.  They have been a little bit better at it this week since I told them that I wanted them to be at least halfway done when I got home.  My oldest is teaching himself programming with Python and told me only half jokingly, that he was "too busy learning to do school".   Anyway, we need to try and work things out so that we at least get most things done ...  

Friday, September 24, 2010

A couple more pictures.

This is the wedding cake from the wedding I went to the other night.  My cousin, who is an R.N., not a professional baker, baked this cake and decorated it.  It has a fountain in it!
The sunset from that same night, orange and pink, just like the wedding colors.  You know how I love taking sunset pictures. 

The latest sewing project.

I can't share any pictures when I'm at home because our internet service at home is too slow.  So I'm doing this while waiting for some work to be transmitted.  Here's the latest stuffed animal my daughter designed and made.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010


We went to town today to run some errands and my youngest wasn't interested in several of the stores we went in so he was walking through the stores reading a book while my daughter and I shopped.  Three different people asked me how I got him to enjoy reading.  I didn't know what to say.  Later, I asked my kids how I got them to like reading and they said that I read to them but didn't make them read.  I also bring home interesting books from the library all the time and I used to model reading to them.  Since my Dad passed away in January, I've went from reading several books a week, to almost not reading at all. I've only read a few books in all those months.  I'm not sure why, but I just haven't been able to read very much.  What I have read has been nonfiction, books on being gluten free mostly..  I still check a bunch of books out of the library every week, but they are all things I think the kids would be interested in.   :-/

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Miekie asked what 4H is and I had to think how to explain it.  It is a United States youth development program run through the USDA.  It started out as primarily a program for farm youth, to teach them new farming techniques, but it has branched out.  I looked it up. Here's a quote from the 4H web site.

Head, Heart, Hands, and Health are the four Hs in 4-H, and they are the four values members work on through fun and engaging programs.
Head - Managing, Thinking
Heart - Relating, Caring
Hands - Giving, Working
Health - Being, Living

4-H’ers participate in fun, hands-on learning activities supported by the latest research of land-grant universities that are focused on three areas: healthy living, citizenship, science. Youth can experience 4-H by becoming a member of a 4-H club, attending a 4-H camp, or joining school-based or after-school 4-H programs. 4-Hers can compete with their projects in contests at the local, state, regional or national levels and also attend conferences and events.
Today, 4-H has an expansive reach, serving youth in rural, urban, and suburban communities in every state across the nation. Youth currently in 4-H are tackling the nation’s top issues, from global food security, climate change and sustainable energy to childhood obesity and food safety. 4-H out-of-school programming, in-school enrichment programs, clubs and camps also offer a wide variety of science, engineering, technology and applied math educational opportunities – from agricultural and animal sciences to rocketry, robotics, environmental protection and computer science – to improve the nation’s ability to compete in key scientific fields and take on the leading challenges of the 21st century.  4-H also has an expanded global presence through the development of the International Farm Youth Exchange. The Exchange helped to develop similar 4-H programs in more than 80 countries throughout the world. 

Our family got involved in 4H initially because I was looking for things for the kids to do that were free.  Someone mentioned 4H and I looked into it.  We joined the small pets club first and it was great,  then the following year, we took woodworking classes, then art classes, then science classes and this year, we're doing home economics.  It's a good supplement to our homeschool program. 

Sorry, Miekie, it's not in South Africa yet. :-(


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Good day.

I got my work done in record time and the kids got a passable amount of schoolwork done and we were on our way to 4H by 1:30.  We had a great time.  The kids made sour dough bread and played board games while the bread was rising.  Then we went to Fazoli's for our once-a-month dinner with the homeschool group.  I can't eat anything that Fazoli's sells, (except the salads, which I don't like) so I took some chicken salad and some of the gluten free bread I made the other day in the bread machine.  We had a very nice time.  I do need to plan what we're doing for 4H next month, so I should work on that soon, before I forget.  We're thinking of doing home ec type things.  I did talk to the 4H lady about the Reality Fair idea I had and she gave me a whole book on how to do it.  Cool, huh?

Hurry, hurry, rush, rush.

I got a call this morning letting me know that 4H was unexpectedly moved back to an hour earlier so I am hurrying, trying to get my work done very quickly so that we can make it.  I'm doing a quick blog post while downloading.   We're doing home-economics/life skills for the kids in 4H this year.  I think it would be interesting to do one of those things where the kids pretend to get a job and a paycheck and see how much is taken out in taxes and health insurance and then try to see if they could afford an appartment and a car and all that.  It would be fun if we could somehow arrange it so that they could actually go to a car dealership and the grocery and see an apartment in their price range.  We may have to see if we can arrange something like that.  While looking that up, I saw this web site which looks interesting.   http://lifeafterhighschool.info/

and now back to my own real life experience ... can I fit it all into one day?  That is the question.

Monday, September 20, 2010


It's been a pretty good day.  I was not expecting much from it to be honest.  I knew I had to work, that I had quite a few phone calls to make that it was math day at school and that I had to go make a payment on my Dad's tombstone.   Despite all that, it was surprisingly okay.  The kids were in a very silly mood most of the day and that helped.   My youngest came to hug me this morning and said he was "just happy." 

Tomorrow we've got 4H and I don't have to teach it so that will be good.  After 4H we go to a local restaurant and I'll get some time in talking to the other homeschool moms which I always enjoy.   That sounds good.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The other day...

at my son's occupational therapy appointment (for his handwriting/dsygraphia) he kept yawning.  The therapist asked him why he was so tired.  I told her that I'd made him go to bed at the regular time but had heard him moving around quite a bit later and had to tell him several times to "just go to sleep".  He didn't go to sleep but just got quieter so that I would go to sleep.  His therapist, Ms. Joyce, asked him what he did after he was supposed to be in bed and he said "First I built a fort in my bunk, then I invented a board game and then I read for a while." 

No wonder he was tired.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Why I share.

Okay, I debated putting some whiny posts up this week.  Sometimes when I am blogging, I go by the "if you don't have something nice to say" rule and sometimes I won't post for a couple of days.  This week, however, I decided to just be real with it.  Sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes homeschooling gets put on the back burner for a while.  When things get difficult, I am not tempted to put the kids back into school.  I know this difficult time will pass and more rewarding times will come  and i also know that having 3 kids in 2 different public schools  in 2 different towns would not be easy.  We've done the public school thingy and we don't like getting up early, following other peoples ideas about what we should learn and when, doing homework or wearing uniforms.  I know my older 2 kids would give me an awful battle about ever putting on a school uniform again. 

I really don't want anyone reading my blog to think that it's always easy, it's always wonderful and I never have any trouble at all balancing school and work and elder care and a marriage -- that it all comes easy to me and I never have any down time.  I do and that's real.

So if you're a new/young homeschooler and it's not going all that well, know that everyone has difficult times and be good to yourself.  This too, shall pass.

I hope soon.

Not my favorite week.

This has not been my favorite week of all time.  Way back when, when my husband scheduled the vacation time and I scheduled mine to go along with it (I remembered to do it in time!) I had thoughts of going to the beach and I started looking for beach bargains on my favorite travel sites.  Then we decided to work on the house and get some things done.  I was happy about that too.  Finally, we were going to get the repairs done we've been waiting on for 2 years.  Unfortunately, we didn't get the work done either.   My mood has gotten increasingly awful throughout the week, partly due to the fact that we didn't get the work done, partly due to the various yucky stuff that's going on in my life this year and partly due to hormonal issues.  It has not been fun for anyone.

Sorry about the whining. (again!)

Last night we did have a good time.  We are reading Ranger's Apprentice book 8 the Kings of Clonmel and it had some funny lines in it and also I was so tired that I kept messing up.   The kids think it is hilarious when I mess up so we got some good laughs in.  Thank goodness for the times like that, the giggles that help me get through.

I also saw a good quote about reading to your kids:

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a Mother who read to me.

Strickland Gillilan

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Working someplace else

is not the same as working at home, even if it is my mom's house and I don't have to do my hair, wear makeup or follow any type of dress code.  I'm still a work outside the home mom who can't throw in a load of laundry, load the dishwasher or put something in the crock pot any time I want.  I can't nag encourage the kids to do their school work on a regular basis.   It's made, so far, for a very frustrating school year as I try to figure out how in the world to cope with it.  Add 2 times a week occupational therapy to that, 4H, youth groups, etc. and I feel like I am out of the house all the time.  I have told the kids that they need to get everything done that they can before I get home, but today I couldn't even come home between work and therapy.  I had to go straight to therapy, then when we got home from there, it was time to take the 2 older kids to youth group, then back to mom's house to type a couple more jobs to get my line count up to the minimum and then back to pick the other 2 up before finally returning home at 8:00 p.m. 

Just going back to work.

We,re not getting anything done around the house this week. Since I had it scheduled, I took yesterday off but for various reasons, we did not do any of the projects that need to be done. We did school but little else, so today I am just going to go ahead and work.  I might as well earn some money, right?   The kids will be doing school as usual. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A couple of good educational websites.


This one has astronomy lesson plans.


This one will help you study. (Thanks Carolyn for sharing this one.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Some pictures.

 Since I am at my mom's where I have high speed internet, I thought I'd share some random photos that I haven't shared before.  
Hanging baskets from the state fair.  These things are so beautiful.

There has got to be some miracle grow involved.

Youngest son's lego creation, it's a dragon.

The chicken pot pie I made because of requests to "cook things like you used to cook" after my daughter had had her serving from the exact geographic center of the pie.  It looks gross, but it isn't really.  

My 'garden gone wild".   In the tomato cage, there is a tomato plant, a pumpkin vine and a potato vine all competing for space.  You can't see it in this picture but a pumpkin is hanging about 8 inches from the ground.


There seems to have been some kind of glitch in the computer system at work and they are sending on email distress calls for help in my hospital so I may go ahead and work today.  My husband is hopeful that he can finish the car today and maybe we can work on the house tomorrow.

So new plan - I'll work at work, kids will do math and husband will hopefully finish the car today and tomorrow, we'll attempt to work on the house.  Hey, on the bright side, I'll be resting my foot today.

A day off.

My husband is on vacation this week and we're supposed to be doing some work on the house. I'm not sure how that's gonna go because his car needs work.  Sigh. It is so frustrating waiting so long for the repairs that need to be done to the house but he needs his car to get back and forth to work.  I'm going to go ahead and take my day off today and do what I can on the house, considering that I'm supposed to be taking it easy on my foot.  Double sigh.  Oh well.  That's how my life goes lately. 

Sorry about the whining.

As far as school goes, it's my husbands day/math day and I'll let them do whatever he decides they should do.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


It's become obvious as this school year has went on that some things need to be adjusted.  Over the summer, I adjusted my work schedule from the old 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm to during the day and now I work at my mom's house, so I'm not here to prod/nag the kids into doing school.  So I usually get home between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm.  If its Monday and they've been doing math with my husband, they are usually done.  Any other day of the week, they likely haven't even started.  Of course we have the rest of the day to do it, but it would be nice if they'd gotten their individual things out of the way so that our group activities are the only ones left and then we can enjoy the rest of the day. Sadly, I'm going to have to require that they get it done before I get home and give them some sort of penalty if they don't. 


Friday, September 10, 2010

Today, therapy and cookies and other things.

Today I took my youngest for his occupational therapy appointment.  He's doing really well with his handwriting.  While I was there, one of the physical therapists noticed my limp and assessed my foot, which he said looked like a sprain of a tendon on the inside of  the ankle.  He also advised rest, ice, elevation and ibuprofen, but I'm not sure how much rest I can give it.   I'll try though.  The good news is he didn't think it was too serious.  It sure hurts though. 

After the appointment, we went to the grocery where we saw some gluten free, egg free, dairy free cookie mix.  My youngest said he could imagine the advertisement for those cookies, "Anyone can eat these cookies!  They taste terrible, but anyone can eat them!"

Then we went to a Chinese restaurant to get fried rice to go with our crock pot beef and broccoli.  I let my son have the fortune cookie and it said "A quiet night with friends is the tonic for a long day."  He said, that it wasn't a fortune cookie, but an advice cookie.  Then he said he'd rather have a true fortune cookie, a cookie with a fortune in it.  :-)   I said "you'll probably have a quiet evening with your siblings tonight" and he said 'yeah, they're my 2 best friends."

My oldest son is not feeling well today, he has an upset stomach and a slight fever and feels kind of icky.  I don't know if it is still some of what he had last week or something else.  While youngest and I were gone, he was lying down and my daughter finished her school work and ran the dishwasher on her own without being asked!  I loved it.

I can be such an idiot sometimes.

A few weeks ago we had a homeschool group planning meeting.  We all brought our calendars and pens and sat down to discuss what types of things we want to do this quarter. We set dates for our 4H meetings, planned field trips, restaurant trips, Mom's night out, etc.  I was looking at my calendar just now and realized that I sat there and agreed to planning all of the field trips on Fridays.  There's just one small, teeny problem with that.  I have to work on Fridays.

What was I thinking?  I don't really feel comfortable asking for a Friday off every single month.  Sometimes I forget that I'm not like all the other moms.  :-(

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Just resting my foot.

I have been having some foot pain since the state fair.  I finally decided to go to the doctor about it today and now I have to rest my foot as much as I can.  I asked the doctor to give me a note saying that the kids had to do all of the housework but he didn't give me one.  :-(   Hopefully, this will go away with a week of rest and ibuprofen. 

Random thoughts for Today, Thursday, September 9, 2010.

Okay, sometimes I'm here and I'm thinking and planning and on top of things and really with it, but this is not one of those times.  I'm kind of scattered or something this morning. It may be that just haven't had enough coffee yet.  I do have a list of things I need to do today and the list doesn't seem impossible, so that's good.   Yesterday turned out well.  I got the arrangements taken care of for our homeschool 4H club.  I got a couple of things done for my mom that I had been meaning to do.  We went to the library and I got a bunch of books for the educational practice of strewing that I have been practicing a lot lately.  I don't make the kids read the books, I just bring them home and put them on the couch or the kitchen table and before I know it, the kids are reading them and telling me a bunch of things they are learning.   That part of school is going well although the more formal part of school has been kind of hit and miss lately. 

After 6 years of homeschooling, I've come to realize that this is just the way it goes.  We will probably have a period of  time soon when things are going really well with the formal part of school.  This will most likely happen the first week or two of October when the public school kids go on fall break and I'll be reluctant to tell my kids about fall break because I won't want to mess up the wonderful momentum but then someone we see out somewhere will say "Are you enjoying fall break"? and my kids will turn to me with that accusing look in their eyes ... and then we'll take a fall break and it will be right before Christmas break that we hit our stride again ... 

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Back burner.

That's where homeschooling is this week as I juggle appointments and work.  My husband has been doing math with the kids and they have been doing some things on their own, but I find it very hard to homeschool when I am not home.  Lately, we have done a few school-y things on Saturdays and Sundays and I think that the kids are just going to have to get used to that.  We may just have to do it when we can do it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


I had to work today and I had to stop in the middle of work and take my mom to the doctor then come back, so I was about 3 hours later than usual getting done with work. When I did get home, I wasn't enthusiastic about doing school and neither were the kids.  We decided to combine the half day of work that they did yesterday and do a half day today and count them both as 1 day and basically, take the labor day holiday after all.  We did the minimum of school work then sat down to watch some episodes of Hoarders that I had recorded at my Mom's house.  Facinating stuff. It made me have the overwhelming urge to clean out my closet!   Now I have a great answer for my youngest when he asks "why do we have to clean?"  So we won't end up on a reality TV show!.  I've explained about neglecting housework and I've explained over and over and over that we can't keep everything but that show really illustrates the point in a very visual way.  It's kind of like a train wreck, you want to look away, but you can't!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Celebrating Labor Day ...

by working.  Both my husband and I are working this labor day.   Personally, the only holidays I take off are Thanksgiving and Christmas.  My husband sometimes even works on those days.  I'm at my Mom's house now, working using her faster internet, and I've left it up to my husband whether or not the kids have to do school today.  Obviously, the school system model of getting off for every holiday and a couple of weeks at Christmas and the summer too doesn't continue into the adult lives of most people, unless of course, they work for the schools.  We've got a birthday party later this afternoon, so even if they have to do some school, they get to party later and that should make up for it, right?

Our pumpkin crop.  Will it last until October without rotting?
The crock pot layered dinner from the other day.  Yum.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Supper in the crock pot again.

I've really been enjoying the A Year of Slow Cooking blog.  I was in and out of the house today, first going to work, then back in, the to go get my daughter at her birthday party and get a birthday present for my nephew and then to take my oldest son's friend back to his parents.  During one of my in the house times (5 minutes!) I threw in the ingredients for the Crockpot Layered Dinner.   The crock pot baked the potatoes, steamed the corn and made the steak wonderfully tender.  Now I feel like a magician or something, cooking 3 things at the same time, each perfectly well done, while driving my minivan up and down the road.

Busy day.

My oldest son has a friend over today, my daughter has a birthday party for another friend that she's going to (although it's an outdoor pool party and its kind of cold today!) and I've got to work.  It's a shame we homeschoolers don't get out more, isn't it?  Seriously, my kids have some good friendships with some really great kids and I'm glad to take them where they need to go to see their friends. 

It's really cool today.  I think we're supposed to have a high temperature in the 70s with a low in the 50s.  Just being out in the cool air for a few minutes this morning made me start to crave chili.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to make a good chili that I like now that I'm gluten free.  I had a very particular recipe that I really liked and the seasonings I used contained gluten, so now I'm going to have to do some experiments to see if I can make some good chili.   I do have a nice white chili recipe but it's not the same. 

I cannot believe how quickly the summer passed!  It may get warm again next week and if it does, we may head down to Rough River for a day trip.   I hope it doesn't stay cool.  As much as I like it, I would like to get a few more summer things done ...

Friday, September 03, 2010

Better today.

My oldest son is better today.  Apparently this thing he has will go away on its own and it is not contagious, so we're going to proceed with life as usual.  I got my work done this morning and went to the grocery and the butcher shop and still got home before I usually do.  Now that I am gluten free and I feel better I can really go fast around the grocery store.  It also helps that I've been gluten free for a while and I'm more familiar with what to buy and where it is located.  Now we've got to do school but with our block schedule, Friday is the easiest day for that too. 

It's also my husband and my 22nd anniversary today.  We'll probably go out to eat on Sunday to celebrate.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Yeah, still, always something.

I took my oldest to the doctor for some abdominal pain that he started having late last night.  After 5 hours in the office, lab work and a CAT scan, it was determined that he does not (thank God) have appendicitis, which was the concern, but mesenteric adenitis, which should go away on its own and is not too terrible.  He's got some over the counter meds which should help and hopefully he'll be feeling okay tomorrow.  

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

This morning.

My husband and I made the very grown up decision not to go on vacation this year (sigh) and stay home and get some work done on the house. (sigh.)  Then, what should come in my email but a link to this article, Getting Away.   Here's a quote from the article.

"In a nine-year study, Brooks Gump, an associate professor of psychology at the State University of New York, Oswego, found that men who skipped vacation for five consecutive years were 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took at least one week's annual leave. Even skipping one year's vacation was associated with an elevated risk of heart disease."

On second thought, maybe we should go somewhere?

On third thought, we did take a little trip in February so maybe we'll be okay? 

On fourth thought, the study was about men, so maybe I'd be okay anyway ...


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