Monday, January 30, 2012


This is the kids white board school chart.  They decided that they wanted to be able to move things around from day to day and so they used this magnetic white board, magnets and wrote their assignments on card stock.  It's been working really well.

You wouldn't think

that this time of year would be prime out-of-doors time but it is.  The sun is shining.  The temperature is in the high 50s and the kids have been outside every day..   The sunshine, exercise and fresh air is good for them.  I probably need to join them.  I could seriously use a boost of mood and a change of attitude that a nice walk in the sun might provide.  I'm almost done with work, thank goodness. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I just realized.

That today it's been 2 years since my Dad passed away.  Tomorrow would have been his 82nd birthday.   I still miss him every day..  I noticed a week or so ago that I was thinking of him and smiling not tearing up, so I'm progressing.  I definitely don't cry every day anymore, only once in a while.  I've done some thinking about grief over the past 2 years, how everyone grieves differently.  I had a moment at the funeral of my aunt, with a friend of hers who was talking about her grandson's death.  She said that she had not visited the grave.  I told her that I hadn't visited Dad's grave either, other than the funeral and once to look at the tombstone and make sure everything was spelled correctly.  That's it.  She said that she felt guilty for not visiting the grave, but she just couldn't.  I said that everyone grieves in their own way and that she was doing nothing wrong and she hugged me for the longest time.  She said "I thought I was the only one in the world."  We all have our strange little quirks and I'm glad that our shared quirkiness helped her feel better.  I walk on the sidewalk past my Dad's grave all the time, but don't visit it.  I still haven't looked at the clock in the church sanctuary that has a plaque dedicating it to my Dad.  I've never read that plaque.  Not even once.  I wanted generic, not personally meaningful songs sung at the funeral because I felt like personally meaningful songs would have made it even more difficult and it was difficult enough.  I realize that my way of grieving is odd to some people but it's mine.  Some people bottle things up.  Some people need to vent.  Some people need to visit graves on a regular basis and some don't.  We all just need to be respectful of these differences. 

Impromptu History Lesson

Last night and today my youngest son has been watching This is America Charlie Brown which we have on DVD.  It's pretty interesting and informative.  I enjoy Snoopy as a wild west cowboy with a mustache. :-)    We also have The Story of Us on DVD but someone has borrowed that.  After we watched the part about the transcontinental railroad today, we took a few minutes to look at the Amtrak website and daydreamed about taking a cross country trip by rail.  That is something I'd like to experience some day.

Now screen time is over so the kids have gone outside to enjoy the sunshine.  It's really  a beautiful day for January.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Saying yes.

Last night my youngest son wanted to play UpWords instead of doing his regular spelling and I just said yes.   I think it's important to follow the schedule and the rules most of the time, but sometimes, it's nice just to say yes to a more relaxed way of doing things.  It was good for him.  He got the rule of doubling the consonant at the end of a word when you add -ed or -ing reinforced over and over throughout the game.  He beat me, but I gave him 150 points to start with so I don't know if he really gets to have bragging rights.

Work, school and life lessons.

It's Friday and I wonder at how fast the weeks just zoom by.  I am not feeling great today due to a bruised tailbone and an aching neck, but I am working.  I pretty much never take a day off, but I would sure like to today.   It is surprising what physical demands a job like mine places on the body.   It's a strain, sitting and typing all day.  One of these days, I'm going to have to do something else.  Maybe soon. I'd kind of like to get a standing desk, but I'm not sure what I'd do about the foot pedal.  I use a foot pedal to play, rewind and fast forward the recorded dictations that I type.

The youngest kid got up this morning at 6:00 a.m., did all of his school work and then fell back to sleep on the couch.  Now he's got the afternoon off to do as he pleases.  The girl got up at noon, as usual (beauty sleep!) and is doing her school work now.  She's got a guitar lesson this afternoon.   Time management is one of the things they are learning, I suppose.  Her Dad took extra time with her this week on math and she's back up to speed and doing fine.

I learned a lesson on envy yesterday.  There's this woman I've met online whose life I have kind of envied.  They are wealthy.  They have traveled and adopted kids from overseas and were starting a nonprofit to help others. She seemed to me to have it all together.  Then yesterday she went public with something that gave me quite a shock and reminded me that no one's life is perfect and made me very thankful for the life that I have.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

January 26.

I love my day off and I had a lot of things planned for today.  Usually it's our clean the house day but the house is in relatively good order (for our house) , so I was thinking of doing some organizing or perhaps putting down the floor tiles I got black Friday (Yes, in November!).  I've been dreading that and putting it off because I really don't think I'll be very good at it and I tentatively set today as the day.  Unfortunately, I got up feeling quite bruised in well, as Junie B. Jones would say, my behiney and I don't feel good about the thought of sitting on the cold hard floor for hours.  I have no idea why this has happened.  My son said I sit too much and that is true, but I've been sitting and doing medical transcription now for many years and I've never actually had this issue before. It's odd.  So, today I have done things that don't require that amount of sitting.  I've taken out the garbage, cleaned up the kitchen, baked chocolate chip gluten free cookies and made my son a gluten free dairy free pizza while my daughter made herself and youngest son a gluten-y, cheese-y one.  My oldest son, bless his heart, said that the pizza was really good, although it just looks sad without cheese. Now I am uncomfortably sitting and blogging and ruminating about what else to try and accomplish today.  I may work on my version of this tablecloth which is halfway done and would involve lying on the floor and not sitting.  :-P

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Useful things.

I was looking around for notebooking topics and ideas yesterday and I uncovered a lot of interesting things on Squidoo.  Here's the main search page.    This is a cool page showing all different types of notebooking.   Here's a page on anatomy.   Here's one on chemistry.   Here's a page on geography notebooking.  Right now my kids are notebooking their way through all of the simple machines.  This is going to take another week, probably and then we'll choose something else.  Now I know where to look.

Monday, January 23, 2012

School Today.

I got up and got my work done pretty quickly today.  The kids, as usual, did not follow my example and started their work right about the time I was finishing mine.  The girl was having quite a few problems with today's algebra lesson.   I try to stay out of all discussions which involve math, so she was asking her younger brother for help on every problem.  He's kind of a math wiz and although he doesn't really like math, he's good at it.   She probably got a good grade, but Dad will need to go over this a few times with her so that she gets it.  The kids started imagining the future when they are in college and he has to help her with math and she has to help him with writing, which will probably be the case.  Really, I don't think everyone should have to do higher math for every career path and I really don't think everyone needs to learn to do a research paper.  I mean, yes, it's good brain exercise, but what good does it do you later on in a career?

Addendum:   What I was trying so inelegantly to say the other night was this.  The training for career paths could be more specific.  There are careers for which writing a research paper would be an excellent exercise and good practice for life and some where higher math is definitely a must.   Sorry, sometimes I just write things and don't realize until later that I have not expressed my point well.  My oldest son wants to be a graphic artist.  He wants to avoid math.  Therefore, he's looking at getting a career diploma instead of a degree.  Should he?  I don't know.  He feels like general studies in college would just be high school all over again and he only wants to study art.  Should he have to study things that won't affect his career path? 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Give Up and Escape Button.

My youngest son was playing one of his video games tonight and said that he had messed up so he had to push the "Give Up and Escape button".  Oh, wouldn't it be nice to have one of these in real life?  Like when you impulsively get in a drive through line for a snack and then you're there for 20 minutes and you think that you really didn't want a snack that bad anyway ... hey, it's Give Up and Escape button time.  Haven't you been to parties that make this seem like a good idea?  Classes?  Can you think of any other real life applications?  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Grocery shopping again.

Have I mentioned that I don't like grocery shopping?  I had to go again today and I have had such a headache all day that I imagine that an axe handle must be sticking out of the top of my head, it feels that awful, but it had to be done, so I went.  My husband had given me coupons that had come in the mail and one was for 16 dollars off my order if I went above 160 dollars.  They know that 160 a week is above my grocery budget because they track spending with those plus cards, so they are trying to make me get in the habit of spending more.  I know that, but 16 bucks?  I had to go for it.  My youngest son was with me.  We stocked up on expensive crazy things like peanut butter (really only 1 jar but it was a biggie) and toilet paper and we threw in a few things we really didn't need like Goldfish crackers.   We got the 16 dollars off but we had gotten a little carried away and were over budget even with the 16 dollars off and a few other coupons.  I felt bad because I always feel bad if I go over the budget.   It's a personal challenge, that budget.  I came home and looked up average grocery budgets and found this.   Apparently, according to the FDA, I am even under the lowest estimates for a family of 5 which includes 3 teenagers (AND 3 dogs and 2 cats) and we pretty  much never eat out.  I feel somewhat better, but I am still absolutely determined to stay within budget from now on.  :-P

PS.  I wore the same pants that I blogged about before here. but I've lost some weight and now they are way baggy on me and so they no longer have the same effect.

PSS.  I did have a grocery list today as well as a meal plan, but that coupon made me go kind of crazy.  That's my excuse.:-P

PSSS:  Also, I had a headache.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I really just don't know what to blog about, but I'll tell you what I am up to this morning.  I am off work today and it's cleaning day and I've gotten started on that.  In between house work chores, I've checked Facebook, blogger and g-mail and took a tiny look at Pinterest.  I signed up for Youtube for educators in the hopes that I can find some good videos for the kids to watch on there.  I haven't explored it much because I'm just bouncing around between things today.  I don't really have much to say about homeschooling today because Thursday is their lightest day for school and they haven't started yet. 

I've read the first chapter of Wheat Belly.  I don't know why I get these books, it is just disheartening because  I have (2) friends and (5) family members whom I think would benefit from a gluten free diet and none of them will even consider it.  (I put the numbers in there because certain people who read my blog think that I think that everyone should go gluten free when really out of all the people I know, it's only 7, 2 with Crohn's disease, 1 with lupus, 1 with myasthenia gravis, 1 with rheumatoid arthritis and 1 with fibromyalgia) so :-P to those people.)   Wheat Belly is another book written by a doctor (I've read several) in which, when people took wheat out of their diet, they started feeling better in rather unexpected ways.  Their joints stopped hurting.  Rashes cleared up.  Brain fog and headaches went away.   Restless legs stopped being restless.  This all has happened to me too.  I feel so much better, but no one I have mentioned it to wants to even consider that it might help them or even try it for 1 week.  It's discouraging because I hate to see people suffer when I think they could feel better.  

Anyway.  Back to what I'm doing.  Right now I'm going to take a break from my up and about activities and sit for a few minutes, possibly watch a video and cut out the Boxtops for education for our homeschool group.  Through the year, I just tear them off of whatever package they are on and put them in a ziplock bag.  Then, this time of year when they are due, I cut them out more neatly, because I know that our homeschool group leader has to put them on some kind of form.  Last year we got 50 bucks for our group and I think it will be more this year because we've all been going to the salvage grocery store a lot.   (Chex gluten free cereal for 1.45 and a box top!)  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Busy Day Planned.

We have a busy day planned today.  It's our monthly 4H meeting and I'm going to teach the lesson.  We're going to do Mod Podge again.  Last time we did it I got it on my favorite shirt and on my jeans and in my hair. Today I'm going to try and be more careful.  That stuff does not wash out.  I had to cut it out of my hair.  :-/    Then we are going to eat dinner together and plan our homeschool group's activities for the next few months.  We've gotten into the routine of planning a quarter at a time, because if we try to plan too far in advance, we end up canceling and rescheduling a lot.  I got up early this morning, hoping that I can get my work done before we need to leave at 2:30.   Above is a tiny picture of our homeschool group.  The big one wouldn't load.  I'm 3rd from the left standing.  I think it's left.  :-)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Staring into space and other things.

I'm kind of having a stare into space marathon today.  I just don't feel like I can focus on much of anything.  The younger kids are having a Pokemon marathon.  They decided not to do school today since it's a holiday.  My husband made sure that they understand that they have to do 180 or 185 days (I have to look that up every single year in May) and if they miss today, that's just another day in the summer they have to do school work.  They assured him that they understood and they took the day off.  It's funny for me to listen to them playing Pokemon because they frequently burst into song.  Earlier today it was "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" and then for a while, it was the Harry Potter theme, and then about an hour ago they started with "The Grapes of Math" another Veggie Tales song.  It tickles me.

Right now things are pretty routine around here but there may be changes a coming.  My husband's work schedule might change dramatically over the next month or so and that will be interesting.  I'm not sure how that will impact our family's routine.  I guess we'll see.  

P.S.  Now they're singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  :-)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A random act of blogging.

Often, my thoughts do not gel into any kind of a coherent blog post idea.  I have a very random brain.  I work with it.  Anyway.  Here are some of my extremely random thoughts of today.

The snow is melting.  We stayed home today and the kids got to sleigh ride a tiny bit last night and for about an hour this morning.  They got to break in their new Christmas sleds so that's good.  I was afraid we'd jinxed them for no snow this winter by getting them sleds for Christmas.  :-)  Now they are back in drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream.

I've been doing housework today, which I think I should call Random Acts of Housework, because that's what it is.  I do a bit here and a bit there.  My mom used to call it "a lick and a promise" but I call it "a lick and no promises" cause, you know, I'm pretty random.

Here's a question I ask myself.  I'm watching "The Proposal"  and I wonder why in films people carry around empty coffee cups?  Okay, I can understand the potential for spillage and ruining nice movie sets and clothes, but couldn't they weight them down so they would at least look like they had something in them?   Here's another question, when the people are casting a movie do they pay any attention at all to the actor's ages when they cast them? 

And finally, there's a really interesting article on Psychology Today about Cognitive Outlaws, basically people who have learning disabilities and have learned to work around them and become very successful.  It's fascinating. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Unexpected snow!

I was planning to take my daughter to meet her friends to see Beauty and The Beast today and as we were getting ready to go, we noticed that it was snowing.  We didn't really think that much of it since it had just started and we have a 4 wheel drive Suburban. We got in the truck and started out, but by the time we got to the main road, it was clear that it was slick.  Even on 4 wheel drive we were sliding a bit much for our tastes.  We decided to turn around and come back home.  Now, when the movie should be letting out, we have 2 inches.  The kids are out sledding.  At one point in the last couple of hours, it stopped snowing for a few minutes.  My youngest went outside and yelled at the clouds to keep snowing.  I said "you yelled at the clouds?" and he said "I wasn't rude and hey, it worked."   This picture, though you probably can't tell is my youngest from a few years back.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday night, again.

Vincent Van Gogh, Wheat Field Under Threatening Skies
It's Friday night at 8:23 p.m.  and no one's done with school.  They do have plans to finish up soon, so does that count?  I'm rolling my eyes here, though you can't see me.  I was hoping when I started working at home again that my get up and get it done early work ethic would wear off on the kids, but it most definitely has not.   I got my work done today, went to the library to get some books, and then to Walmart for a few minutes and then did the dreaded grocery shopping.  Wow, those prices just go up and up.  We were out of everything and that did not help.  The store brand peanut butter in the size I always get (although I kind of think it might be smaller now) has went, in the last 2 years, from 4.99 to 8.99.  It's crazy.  Right in the middle of the grocery shopping, it suddenly hit me that I was exhausted.  (The left side of my back started hurting and now I think I may have a kidney infection.  Oh.  Joy. )  It was, of course, not as bad as the before-I-went-gluten-free-constant exhaustion that I used to have, but still, it was kind of bad.  Pretty much nothing makes me feel as bad as eating wheat does.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Get Er Done Day.

Today my youngest son has declared it to be Get Er Done Day.  He set his alarm for 7:00 a.m. and has spent the morning catching up on the school work he needs to get done this week.  I mentioned last week that they had went off grid for their lessons and no longer follow a set schedule, but have a magnetic/white board and they have all the lessons for the week on there.  They might do all of their writing lessons on Monday, all math on Tuesday, whatever they choose.  Last week, it extended into late Friday night but this week seems to be going better.  My daughter was done with all math for the week yesterday and my son is taking responsibility and getting his stuff done mostly today.  I suppose if I want to add a new subject to their list, I can just write it on an index card, hand them the book and say "find a way to work this in".  My job just gets easier and easier.  I guess that's the point with parenting.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Food of Champions.

My daughter and I have set a goal this year.  We want to walk a couple of 5K walks and maybe, possibly do a half marathon.  I know she could do it.  She walked about 8 miles today, but me, that's a different matter.  I did work hard to get my Presidential Active Lifestyle Award last summer and then this fall I did barely enough walking to get a reward from my insurance company,  about 20 minutes a day.  Today I wanted to buy Cheetos (my addiction) and my daughter said "You can't eat Cheetos, you're in training"  Then my youngest son said "Mom needs some Wheaties.  Or maybe Wheat-Free Wheaties."  Hmmm.  I kind of doubt they make those.  :-)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Kind of a pet peeve.

I have kind of a thing about TVs at parties.  I have been at parties where the TV is the loudest thing in the room and I can't hear the person next to me because of the TV.  I've been to Christmas dinners where the TV is left on with something inappropriate and/or scary and I've had to take my kids out of the room (when they were little).  One of the parties this Christmas season, I was at a party where the Disney channel was on with about 10 kids watching.  They are cousins and haven't seen each other in a year, probably have a lot of other things in common besides liking the Disney channel, but will they ever know?  Not if they just stare at the screen and don't talk to each other.  :-(

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Merry Christmas?

We are going to another Christmas party today.  My youngest son wanted to keep our tree up until now, but I just couldn't stand having the living room crowded up any longer, so we took it down last week.  It feels weird, going to a Christmas party today, but I don't mind eating and socializing, so that's okay.  It's a really pretty day.  The kids might even get to venture outside during the party.  We're taking the game we got for Christmas, Curses, so that should be fun.  I tried very hard to think of something I could cook that would fit the criteria that my husband said we'd bring, sandwiches and a salad or a dessert, that my son could eat, being gluten free and dairy free.  I decided to make peanut butter fudge for the dessert and take a ham I bought at the grocery the other day, a loaf of regular bread and have my son bring his own gluten free bread.  I'm also gluten free, but I don't each much bread, so I don't need to bring bread for me.  It's too expensive.   I'll just roll my ham up in a lettuce leaf.

Friday, January 06, 2012

I'm better now.

I've got today behind me and I feel better.  I just really got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.  Certain kids around this house are still doing school work tonight.  They had this idea to change from a printed chart to a white board and they'd keep up with their work on it.  They asked if they could do all their chores in one day, all their writing in one day, etc. and I was fine with most of it.  So this week. they've been doing it and there has been some procrastinating going on and now it's Friday night and my daughter has had to do 3 writing lessons today, 2 French lessons, practice guitar, math, notebooking and I don't know what all.   She's been busy all day and it's 8:10 p.m. and she's still working.  The youngest son has a similarly long list.


There's just no other way to say it.  I'm stressed.  Working more hours, schooling, raising teenagers dealing with my mom's needs, dealing with my own health problems, trying to keep this house from being condemned ... it all there.  I was just read an article that said that this generation of women are stressing themselves out to the point that we will be the first generation of Americans not to outlive our parents.  I've got to figure out how to somehow get taking care of myself into the equation.  :-(

I knew going into this week with several doctor's appointments, my job with no paid time off, the post Christmas winter blahs and starting back to school (even though the kids are pretty independent with school) was going to hit me kind of hard.   :-P

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The not so good and the good.

1. I had a doctor's appointment that I kind of thought was tomorrow, but then I called and it was today, so I had to hurry up and go today without any preparation (my own fault, but still), like getting up earlier to get a good start on work before I went.  Consequently, I'm still working at 6:30 p.m.
2.  The appointment took a lot longer than I expected because apparently I have some stuff going on and needed some tests.  Very, very, very unpleasant tests. 
3.  I'm still working at 6:30 p.m. and no where near finished.

Some good things:
1.  I got to ride on a glass elevator.  I enjoy them.
2.  The kids did their school work while I was gone.  My daughter "almost got 100%" on her algebra test.
3.  I hit a really good after Christmas sale at Kroger on the way home and got some neat little things for 70% off.  I'll use some of them as 5 dollar gifts next Christmas.
4.  The stuff I ordered from Barnes and Noble came today so it feels like Christmas is still happening.

I really feel list-y this week apparently.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

5 Good Things.

5 things that were good about today.
1.  I woke up in a better mood today.  No blahs.  This is critical to how the day turns out.  Sometimes I just have a funk wash over me and I can't seem to do much about it.  Thankfully, not today.
2.  I made vegetable soup.  It's good.  I used up a can of peas that didn't have a label on it.  I had been wondering what was in there and in the hopes that it was a vegetable, I opened it today.   That worked out.  Pineapple would have been weird in the soup. :-)
3.  The kids did their schoolwork with minimal nagging from me.  There was some nagging but not too awful much.
4.  We have finished the read aloud of the 39 Clues book that is a book that I have to read and have gotten to the next one which we have on audiobook and I can listen (and possibly fall asleep).  
5.  The mail came today and I got 2 of the books I ordered myself for Christmas.  One is a gluten free recipe book and the other is a Katie Fforde book that I haven't read yet.  I enjoy her books, which are romantic comedy. 

Monday, January 02, 2012

January 2012.

Wow.  It's already the second.  My amazement at how quickly time passes, never goes away.  We are back to school today, much to the dismay of certain kids in the house. I've been looking at Amanda Bennett's site because she's having a sale.    I'd kind of like to kick off the year with a unit study or something fun, but we'll probably just do the usual because it's easier.  We stayed up until midnight and celebrated the New Year with crazy revelry, playing board games.  Then yesterday,  we had a family Christmas party.  It was nice, really low key although I must admit, some of my relatives kind of drive me crazy.  They were on their best behavior for Christmas though.

My New Year's resolution to start walking has not started all that well.  The kids walked yesterday, but I did not.  I felt tired all day from going to bed late and getting up early, burning the candle at both ends and I didn't want to walk.  Today is another day and I'm going to do it today, along with all the in-town errands I planned to do yesterday afternoon and didn't.  :-P


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