Monday, January 31, 2011

Trying to get things done and making a little progress.

The eight things on my to-do list grew into 9 things overnight.  As of right now, though, 3 are done.  One was kindly done by someone else, and I don't know if that counts, but hey, done is done.  I crossed it off.  I still need to mail some things, take some things to the library, pick up my new contact lenses, mail a return to Amazon and something else ... but I think I'll have them all knocked out by Wednesday.  The ones I did today were the dreaded phone calls and since I have a terrible case of phonophobia (the fear of making phone calls) I am very proud that I got those done first.  I would have gotten more of the things done if I hadn't had to make an unexpected trip this afternoon to deliver a child someplace.  I am starting to think I should charge them for chauffeuring time, with payment back in the same amount of housework.  They'd be doing 3-4 hours a week of housework, I think, between the 3 of them.   (and yes, I did have to look up how to spell chauffeuring.  That's quite a word)

The kids are still doing school. It's math day and day 107 in our homeschool.  Since they are pretty much what we refer to as self-service on their school, I can chill now and watch the Netflix I got in the mail today while they finish up.  They should start earlier in the day like I do and one day, they will realize that.  I think. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Many things to do.

I have a list of 8 things that I really need to get done this week.  Really.  Some of them I have been procrastinating about all winter.  Some are new this week or last week.  I absolutely need to get on them this week!  This procrastination thing has been getting the better of me lately.  Oh how I hope it doesn't snow!!!!!!  That will just give me an excuse not to do them and I certainly don't need any more excuses! 

For some reason, I felt like cooking today.  A lot.  I cooked steak, potatoes, corn, cornbread, spaghetti and impossible pizza pie.  We'll have leftovers for days and days.  

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Doing okay.

Today is one year since my Dad passed away and for today, right this particular moment, I'm doing okay.  My grief does not seem to come at predictable times, but I just go with it. Sometimes it bowls me over and knocks me down, but it's not today and I'm not going to question it.  I'm treating this day like any other, working and going to the grocery and I find that keeping busy helps.  My mom and my brother, both of whom I have seen today, seem to be doing okay also and that helps me a lot too. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A couple of free things.

One is for people with younger kids just learning to read and is only free until the end of January.  It's the Funnix reading program, which is usually over 200 dollars, free for download for a few more days.  Here's the link

Next is always free and is for high schoolers and middle schoolers.  It is the Khan Academy and has all kinds of videos to teach such things as algebraic functions.  I haven't watched any videos because I am home today and therefore have the world's slowest internet service.  Anyway, here it is Khan Academy.

We are going to watch a DVD we got from the library called Doktor Kaboom.  Sounds fun.

**Updated to add, Doktor Kaboom is fun.  We had done a lot of the experiments previously in our homeschool, but had never made an air cannon, so when the DVD was done, we went into the kitchen to make air cannons and blow smoke rings.  It was very cool.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This, that and the other thing.

First thought in my head today is that I'm getting a little tired of snow.  It has snowed more this winter than any year I remember.  I am happy now to have my 4 wheel drive vehicle, but as my son says, "What good is it to have a 4 wheel drive if everything is closed?"  Kentucky is southern enough to close most things with an inch of snow on the ground.  It's kind of frustrating.   The kids youth group was canceled tonight and the library was also closed.  I needed to go back to the library because we returned the audio book of The Chronicles of Narnia last night (it was past due and accruing fines!) and we couldn't re-check it until today.  Then the library was closed, so we'll have to wait again and I'll have to read it aloud tonight.  Luckily I did also check out the book.  The audio book is on 31 CDs. There's almost no way to listen to the whole thing before it's due back!  The kids are kind of mad at me for not canceling school today but I didn't even think about it.  Snow just seems to be a constant thing around here lately!  They have to do 185 days this year, regardless so what does it matter?  I say get it overwith! 

Second thought in my head is that I have a really, really bad case of I-don't-want-to-do-anything-itis.  I don't want to do anything around the house.  I have been doing some work on some computer things, my book and a tiny bit on my Cafepress store, but mostly I've kind of been in a daze.  A year ago this week my Dad was in the hospital for the last time and I've been very conscious of that fact. His birthday is also coming up so I'm sure that has something to do with my lethargy and lack of ambition.

A third thing and this has been kind of helping with the second thing, is that I got a free book from Booksneeze.  The book I got is called Same Life, New Story by Jan Silvious and it is very good so far.  It is about changing your perspective on the things in your life you can't change.  I have to write a full review after I get finished reading it and then I can request another free book.  How cool is that? 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kind of a normal day.

It seems like such a long time that we've had a normal day - regular work, regular school, going to the library ... it's nice.  Although I enjoyed going to get my new-to-me vehicle yesterday it did make for a busy, busy day and I'm enjoying today more.  I worked and got my 4 hours of work done in 3 hours and then I've been trying to get a few things done at the house, waiting for the kids to get done with school and then I'll get to get back into my wonderful new vehicle and go to the library.  I know the newness will wear off, but right now it's fun to drive.  I kind of wish it wasn't white because it's pretty much always going to look dirty, being my car, but oh well.  I like everything else about it.

The only hitch today is that with all our cleaning last week, we misplaced a few things.  LIke our novel workbook and the guitar DVD. We found the guitar DVD which someone had placed on my desk, but the novel workbook seems to well and truly lost.  My daughter is the best at finding things in our house and she has looked everywhere she can think of.  I figure a certain boy, and I'm not naming any names here, just shoved it somewhere last week, while 'cleaning'.   It will probably turn up someplace odd.  :-) 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Good times.

We've had a really good weekend.  We went yesterday and did a little car shopping, because I have desparately needed something to drive.  The van has been dying in traffic which causes the power steering to go out and has had various other issues.  I would too, I guess if I had 218,000 miles on me.  (No smart comments on that!)  Anyway, we went yesterday and looked at a 4 wheel drive Suburban and it got 10 thumbs up from our family so today we went, got a cashier's check from the credit union and bought it.  My husband is transfering the title and driving it home right now, while I go ahead and start work.  It's exciting because I haven't had a new-to-me vehicle in 8 years. 

We also took my husband out to eat for his birthday yesterday and had a really fun time stuffing ourselves at Chili's.  We ordered 4 dinners and split them and you would think that 5 people could eat 4 dinners, but we couldn't, so we  had to bring 2 boxes of food home.  Crazy how big portions are in restaurants.  A piece of steak (not that we got steak) that will feed 5 of us at home, feeds 1 to 2 people in a restaurant meal. 

I need to get really busy now and get 4 hours of work done in 2 1/2 hours and the kids need to somehow get their math all done in the same amount of time.  There's probably some whining going on at home, but since I'm at 'work' I don't have to listen to it.  :-P

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Plan S for SNOW.

I'm working today but I had to have a new experience (driving the truck) and an old experience that I didn't want to repeat (walking up my mom's driveway in the snow) to get here.  After this, I'm going to go to the grocery to get a few things and then home.  We need basically everything at the grocery, but we are only going to buy a few things, in case we have to carry them up our driveway.  We may need to re-think this family trait of building our homes on high hills with lloonngg driveways.    When I was a kid, sometimes we could not drive up the driveway for weeks at a time and would have to carry groceries and things up.  I was in better shape then.  :-(

I suppose we'll start back to school tomorrow (whoops, I mean Monday)  I have managed to print out a few things I'll need for this week and have made a few plans.  We got some things done on the house and we still need to do some things but we can't take off school forever.  I kind of regret taking the week now, but at the time, it seemed like a good idea.  Oh well.  We're still not behind and some of those days were snow days for the local public schools.   We;'ll have our 100th day of school on Monday.  I Googled 100th day of school celebrations and it says that they usually happen the last week of January or the first week of February, so we are doing okay.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Plan B again.

We've got about 4 inches of snow now and with the truck not working, I'm also not working today.  I'll enjoy the day off, I'm sure, but I really need to work for the money. I don't do it for the joy of it.  I would like to have a job that was just something I did for the pure enjoyment of it and got paid as a bonus, but that's not what I've got.  Anyway, the kids and I will work on the house and they are planning to build a snowman or two since this doesn't seem to be a sledding kind of snow.  If there's anything that life has taught me, it's how to go with Plan B.  Or C.  Or whatever. 

This is an old snow photo, but basically, it looks the same. ;-P

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Plan B.

Yeah, we went with plan B.  I canceled my appointments then the kids and I got to work on the house.  I had a headache most of the day and that made me pretty crabby, so I sent the kids to work in a separate room from the one I was working in.  This way, we got quite a bit done and no one got hurt.  Just kidding.  I wouldn't hurt them, but this way, they got to retain their good humor because I wasn't around them whining about my headache.  The work on the house is going pretty well.  We expect to be able to go back to school next week with most of it done.  It snowed 3 or 4 inches today and our 4 wheel drive truck stopped working last night  so I'm not sure if I'll be able to get to my mom's house to work for my medical transcription job so I may be working on the house, a.k.a. plan B again tomorrow. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Two busy days.

We've had 2 busy days with work, cleaning, doctor's appointments, 4H, youth group, etc.  I have another busy one planned tomorrow, but I may not be able to make it to some of the things I have planned.  My van wouldn't start tonight and had to be jumped last night, so if I were to go anywhere, I'd need to use my husband's car and it is supposed to snow, and my husband's car does not do well in snow.  My alternate plan for tomorrow is waking up, calling and canceling everything and then having a pretty easy snow day/work on the house day.  In  this case, I think I'd actually prefer that it did snow and I had to implement plan B, but I guess we'll see. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sprucing things up.

View from where I park the van, November 2010.  I love the way the trees look in November.
We are taking the week off school and sprucing things up around the house.  We've been scrubbing doors and door facings and baseboards and touching up some paint here and there in the kitchen, decluttering, washing windows and generally, like I said, sprucing the place up.  I'm not sure why boys seem to feel that they need to slide over the door facings when they go through a door but their bedroom door facings always need a good scrubbing.  The kids are okay with cleaning this week because they know it will be good for us to refinance and their father keeps mentioning a vacation.   We are going to hold him to that.  Anyway, we are still doing some schoolish things this week, 4H is today, so we'll have an hour and a half of home economics class.  We are also still listening to our book, right now, The Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis, part of the Chronicles of Narnia.  We spend about 45 minutes a day on that.  We had a good discussion yesterday about the civil rights movement and reviewed about Martin Luther King Jr and a little bit about Martin Luther.  I'm going to make a note in my attendance book of these hours and maybe count them as a half day later if we need it.   I remember one time when I was in public high school, we missed a lot of school one year due to snow and we had to go to school on a Saturday for half a day.  We went in, watched cartoons, ate lunch and went home.  And it counted.  As a school day.  Part of my educational background.  Honestly, most of my education as a child came from the World Book encyclopedias that we had at home.  My parents bought a set from a traveling salesman when I was in elementary school and from then on, whenever any of us had a question about anything we looked it up together -- which reminds me, my youngest was frustrated with typing last week and asked me what in the world semicolons were for and now I need to look them up and refresh my mind about the rules of the semicolon so I can make sure I tell him correctly.  I may see if I can find some punctuation worksheets and do a review with everyone.  ;-)  Hey, there's a good use for a semicolon - the emoticon wink.

Happy Birthday to my husband today.  I forgot the cake, but I will get it and bake it sometime this week!  For the next 3 months, we're only a year apart.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Needing to plan the next week.

We need to sit down as a family and plan what we are going to do this week.  The original plan was to do a regular week, second full week of school and also hopefully finally get to have our homeschool planning meeting with the group we meet with and do 4H, in other words, back to our normal life.   However, we're also thinking about refinancing our home and if we do that, there are some repairs that we've been procrastinating about and some decluttering that definitely need to be done around here.  I had a plan to do a little of each every week anyway (I always do have something going on like that) but it might be better to take a week off of school and get it all done this week and then next week we can go right on with normal life and the work will be DONE and we can proceed with the refi much sooner.  I need to count the weeks and see when we'd be finished with school if we took this week off.  Let's see.  Hmmm.  Right now we are on target to finish school by May 10 if we do not take the week off and do not take a spring break.  I think we have enough wiggle room.  I'll have to see what everyone else says.   I'm not sure how much I can get done.  My entire upper body still kind of hurts from whatever is going on with my muscles and I am having a hard time even typing this blog post today.  :-(

Friday, January 14, 2011

Really uneventful week,

well except for the muscle cramps in my shoulder, back and neck.   I went to the doctor today and she's checking my potassium.  I guess I'll find about about that later.  When I came home today, the kids were all working together on their novel writing lesson, watching the DVD and then doing the workbook, all on their, own, unsupervised.  It's actually quite cool to be gone and come home and find them calmly doing their work.  I'm absolutely sure though that my youngest would not do his work if his sister didn't enforce him a bit.  She's 22 months older than he is and the day he was born, she appointed herself to keep him in line.  It has made my job somewhat easier, but I have had to step in and protect him quite a few times because she is way more strict than I am.  There have been times when he's come to me and said that she said he has to do something and does he really have to.  Most of the time, no, but she does come up with some really good ideas as other times. :-P

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Homeschooling goes on . . .

I am feeling somewhat better today, though the pain is not gone.  Despite how I have been feeling, our homeschool goes on.  We started homeschooling when the kids were in first, third and sixth grades and over the years, it has changed from needing me to participate every minute to our current situation which is that my husband and I check in several times a day to see how it is going, but we don't do much of it.  We have co-teachers now from DVDs and books and computer programs, experts in their respective fields, teaching our children.  :-)

Here are just a few: 

Fred Gauss teaches prealgebra.
Life of Fred

Jean Welles teaches guitar.

Wes Olsen is teaching Biology 101.

and of course Mavis Beacon teaches typing.

The textbooks themselves are teaching Algebra 2.

As working, homeschooling parents who almost always seem to have a million other things going on, we appreciate the help and our kids are learning a lot. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What I'm trying to accomplish today

Is trying to get into a comfortable position but with my neck/shoulder/back spasm that is not an easy task.  I took off work today in the hopes that not typing today (other than this blog post, which is going to be pretty short)  would help the spasm relax.  I debated going to the doctor, but I really don't think there's anything they can do.  Some of the medicines they'd give I can't take.  I did take some pain pills left over from my son's surgery last year and they didn't help, so I'm sitting here with a sock filled with rice on my back and it keep moving it around to different areas since this is such a BIG pain.  Every now and then one of the kids will come get it and microwave it for me so I have a moist heat pack.  Oh I hope tomorrow is better! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We've got snow

Again.  I guess, from the news, it seems like everyone has some snow right now.  We did half a day of school and the kids went out and sledded  sleighed, rode their sleds for a little bit.  I decided that I could go ahead and work despite my back pain and that was probably a mistake because it's worse now.  Everything hurts;  moving, breathing, hiccuping and I don't even want to think about sneezing.  My face has even been hurting because I've been walking around with a frown on my face and my jaw clenched because of the pain.  I think that's kind of weird, but I can't seem to help it.  Despite the pain, I've managed to get a few things done including making a big pot of chili.  We got the movie Despicable Me from Netflix today and we may sit down and watch that in a little while.  Our meeting with the homeschool group is again postponed, last week it was the flu and this week it's the snow.  Maybe we'll get to see them next week?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Math Monday.

Okay, so we're back to reality now.  Math Monday began with the kids procrastinating even starting school until almost 3:00 p.m.  and right now it's almost 10:00 p.m. and 1 of them is not done.  He is working on it and expects to get done in the next half hour.  The other 2 managed to hurry and get done a little bit after screen time started at 7:00. 

I'm not having the world's best day today because my back is out.  It was fine when I got up and I started working.  Sometime in the middle of work, I put my arms on the chair arms to reposition myself and suddenly my back seized up.  It's been hurting pretty darn bad all day long, despite taking some pain medications.  Middle age can just be so fun.  :-P 

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Overall, a good first week.

I don't know if 2 days of school counts as a "first week" but its my blog and I can call it a week if I want to.  The kids did not complain about school either day.  They just did it.  This is (knock on wood!) the easiest transition back to school activities after a break we've ever had.  I guess they're just growing up. We'll be done with homeschooling before we know it.  It kind of makes me sad.  I've had a lot of fun with homeschooling over the last 6 1/2 years.  :-(

It worked well adding in more work on their adventure novels.  I decided not just to do that for my daughter, but to add it in for all 3 of them.  They did quite a bit of work on the novels yesterday and seemed to enjoy it.  My daughter has come up with a new idea for her book.  I think this is her 3rd, but whatever, she was very happy about getting a good idea.   All 3 of the kids were very happy, silly and noisy yesterday.   It was one of those good homeschooling days that you wish every day was like.

Friday, January 07, 2011

It went very well and I'll tell you why.

For one thing, we started on a non-Math day.  That's huge and my daughter took that into consideration when she begged to start on Thursday and insisted on 2 weeks off for Christmas break.  ;-P    Thursday is also a day when I am home and don't have to work, so that helped.  Also, and this is the most important thing ... my youngest son had gotten a Gamestop gift card for Christmas and had spent it on-line and the games arrived yesterday morning.  I told him that since he had new games, he could have screen time as soon as he finished school.  Also, Netflix came, bringing a show that everyone wanted to watch so voila, school done by 2:30 with no whining.  I love it when a plan comes together.  :-P   Something that helped me in making the extra screen time decision was that I knew we were going to the skating rink that night during regular screen time and they would be exercising there, at least a little.  One skates, one plays air hockey and one runs around with his friends the whole time.

I think today will go pretty well since Friday is our easiest day. 

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Plunging in anyway.

We're going to go ahead and start. I've learned that if you don't start things until you're totally ready and everything's perfect, you'll never get anything done.  I altered the lists a little bit and printed them out and hung them on the wall and at least one kid has started checking things off already.  My solution to my language arts dilemma is to add in more work on the novel study we're doing for now.  We haven't really done that much on it and we need to, so that works out well.  The foreign language idea is a good one also and I picked up a French learning system at the library last night.  It was actually for myself since I took 3 years of college French and now can't remember much of it, but my daughter is interested in learning it too, so we may do that.  I went to CurrClick last night and looked around too.  They are my go-to place for buying, downloading and immediately implementing a new curriculum choice - great for fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants people like me.  I downloaded some sample chapters of things I may add in in a few weeks.  It's a good thing my kids aren't terribly resistant to change, because around here, things are frequently a-changin', especially when it comes to school.  I like the freedom of being able to toss out a subject when we're done with it and start something else and I don't like feeling bound to finish out a semester with a book or subject that's just not clicking for us.  With CurrClick, I can download things, print out the pages I want to use in triplicate and not use the rest. A lot of the units are free or really cheap, so I don't have to feel guilty about it. 

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late!) we're starting school today. 

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

So, supposedly,

we are going to start back to school tomorrow.  I have made none of the changes I planned to make to the schedule and have procured none of the materials I was going to get.  We may just do what we usually do for a few weeks until I can pull myself together.  (IF!)  The only thing that really needs to change is that my daughter needs a replacement for spelling since she doesn't need to waste time on that anymore.  It needs to be something she can work through on her own.  She's really good at working through things on her own, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find something that will work.  I just need to get on it.

I'm very conscious that my oldest son is a senior this year and this is his last semester of high school.  I need to pull all my notes together into a coherent transcript for him.  I'm not ready.  How has this come so soon!?!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Easing back in to the routine.

Okay, we have not started school yet.  Since I made the kids go longer in December than the public schooled kids, I'm giving them a few days here so that they get 2 weeks off.  That means we start on Thursday.  Meanwhile, we've already re-imposed the normal screen time restrictions for the most part and we've been doing things like taking down the Christmas stuff and cleaning, so we're easing out of down time and back into regular life mode.  Tonight we've got our first meeting with the homeschool group since the Christmas party and we're really looking forward to it.  We've missed everyone! 

It's nice to be able to ease into things instead of boom, waking up at 6:30 and leaving the house for the day and coming home absolutely exhausted.   I don't miss that.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


Every time I think about the New Year, I think about an old song that used to play on the country stations, called "Lord, I hope this day is good."  It was by Don Williams who was one of my Dad's favorite singers.  It was kind of a prayer from a person who was feeling tired and overwhelmed.  I feel that way about the new year.  2010 has been kind of rough and I hope/pray that this next one is better.  I'd like to spend a lot less time in emergency rooms, intensive care units, surgical waiting rooms, pain clinics, orthopedic offices, physical therapy centers and, most of all, funeral homes.

On the up side of 2010 that I'd like to continue onto 2011, is I hope that school keeps going well and I hope to keep losing weight.

I'm not going to make any resolutions but I did order an exercise/stretching video with my Barnes and Noble gift card that I hope I will start doing and keep doing.

In our make a small sacrifice and give to others initiative, the kids and I raised enough money to buy 5 ducks for a needy family through World Vision.


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