Friday, December 26, 2008

Creativity






We try very hard to spend as much time with our kids as possible. We are not those parents that try to get rid of their kids at every opportunity. Of course, we like date night as much as the next guy. But we try to spend time with them to let them know that they are loved, and the world can be a great place. So here's what we did tonight.

We had some left over prime rib that hubby's dad cooked yesterday for Christmas dinner. We sliced it thin, put it on some hoagie rolls, topped it with cheese, and popped it in the oven. Hubby and I added sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms to ours. And it was fantastic. After I was done I read the last Christmas story to them that we have. And then we decorated ginger bread men.

I had to stop at the grocery store this afternoon after the park and they had kits for 50% off. They only had four men in them, so hubby and I had to share. Which that actually was ok for me because hubby doesn't like ginger bread. Here are the pictures. Hubby did mine, and the kids did their own. And we had a blast. Then hubby beat us all at tennis on the Wii that we got for Christmas. He had some great competition, though. He didn't walk all over us like he did last night.

And the TV didn't get turned on until now. That is so nice.

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Traditions

What are some of your traditions during this time of year? Some of ours are from childhood, but a lot of them are from our time as a family. But they are traditons that hopefully mean something to our children and will be carried on.

Christmas Eve is when we open presents. When I was a child we always opened presents then. And when hubby and I spent our first Christmas together that was one of my first questions. He's an Eve, too. That was such a relief. I have a hard time waiting for Christmas Eve, much less Christmas Day.

Our first Christmas in our own place, we had a sad Charlie Brown tree. We paid $5 for it from a discount store. When we put it together we realized why it was so cheap. It was missing some of it's branches and what there was of them didn't spread out enough to cover the tree. A friend had given us a bunch of ornaments she no longer used so that helped. But the poor thing still needed some serious help. So we took all the cards we got and put them on the tree. It looked fantastic after that. It looked full and beautiful and you couldn't see the bald spots. That is something we still do to this day. All cards go on the tree even though we have a great tree now.

Our stockings are always filled by us. I'm not real sure where it came from, but that is something we have always done with our kids. Santa leaves a present, we fill the stockings. And the kids are alright with that. They actually look forward to what Mama and Papa have done.

And then there is the cookies. Our kids always put out chocolate chip cookies. I know, Santa usually prefers sugar, but that doesn't stop him from eating the chocolate chip ones. But he never cleans up after himself. He always leaves crumbs and a yucky milk glass. But that's alright, too. He always leaves presents wrapped in Santa paper.

All the presents he leaves have Santa on it, and I think that's really cool. But the really cool thing is that he uses ink that only Mama and Papa can see to put the names on the packages. The kids are so upset they can't see his writing. But that's a new one that started today ;).

I could go on and on, but that would take forever. I hope you have traditions that you enjoy. And I hope you all had a Merry Christmas.

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fun at the Park











The boy would be so angry if he knew I was doing this. But this is what has happened to him the last two Fridays at the park. The first one he ran into another boy and got smacked in the face. They were running at each other, not looking in front of them. The boy thought he could make it around his friend, but alas, he didn't. Black eye followed. And it got ugly for a couple of days. The second happened yesterday. A boy threw a stick at him and one of his friends. Guess who got the brunt of it? It is not pretty. But I butterflied him up and he seems to be doing fine. He went right back to playing. What's that saying? Oh, yeah, "Boys will be boys."

The pictures are backwards, but you still get the idea.

And for those of you who see my boy regularly, not a word. You are hereby sworn to secrecy!

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Lap Books Are Done












We finally got them finished. We all had a great time. The kids have asked that we do more. I'm really glad to hear that since I have some planned for our science next year. Yeah, I have science planned for next year. And the year after that because I am a freak that way. So here are the things we did and some pictures.

The first day we glued bookmarks on the front. They have John 3:17 printed on them and I was able to download them 4 to a page. That was good since we needed 4. I also printed these really cute mini books and we each wrote our favorite thing about Christmas. You cut it out, put it in order, and staple. Decide where you want it in your book, then glue. Then we colored pictures of the three wise men, and Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus. Cut, place, and glue.

Day two we put together a mini book that was the Christmas story. It is an 11 page mini story that you cut out, put in order, and staple. Then you place it and glue. We read the story together and talked about what Mary and Joseph went through to get to Bethlehem. We talked about the meaning of Advent. Then we wrote what advent means to us and glued it. It is a fold over. You lift the flap and the writing is in there. Then we copied a prophecy verse that told about the coming Savior. It is also a flap. You fold the top down to cover the bottom, place and glue. We had a list of verses and we each picked the one that meant the most to us. Even the baby did it. She didn't copy all of it, but she got a great start.

The third day we all picked our favorite Christmas carol out of 22 I downloaded. It has music and lyrics. We glued that to the back. Then we talked about the Advent candle and what each one means. We colored an Advent candle, fold, place and glue. Then we had a flap book that went on the front that is the history and lyrics to three different songs. The names of the three songs are at the bottom of each flap and you can flip to which ever song you want to look at. We read the history of each song and then sang two verses of each. The songs are "Mary Did You Know", "Angels We Have Heard on High". and "O, Holy Night". The last one is my favorite.

Today was day four and the last one. We colored a mini coloring book and put it together. You know the drill by now. Staple, place, and glue. Then we did a mini book that was a map. It was the journey of Mary and Joseph. That got placed and glued. We have a small flap that asks "Who is the light?" The kids wrote Jesus inside and glued that. Then the girls did a small book on Mary and the boy decided he wanted to do Joseph. I'm good with that. Then I let them fill the empty spots. We had a cut out nativity scene that we ended up not using. They cut out some of the people and animals from that and glued them onto their lap books. I did, too. There were a couple of spots that looked like they needed something.

We had a really good time. It was fun and it was work. We talked about the bible, the Christmas story, and what Jesus means to us. It was an awesome way to spend time with my kids and talk about some really important stuff. And once you know some basics, you can adapt it to anything. And if you have any questions, just ask. I couldn't get all the pictures posted, but hopefully you get the main idea.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Family Reading

One of the things that I like about Park Fridays and co-ops is that I get to talk to other homeschooling parents, usually moms, and get ideas that I really like. I also get to find out that my family is, are you ready, normal.

If we don't school one day and I happen to mention that, several moms inevitably say, "Neither did we!" I love that. It makes me feel so good. If someone mentions that their son would rather walk barefoot across broken glass while his hair is on fire than work on his handwriting, I just sigh and think, or say, "Mine, too." What a great thing it is to belong. To know that someone else has the same problems or dilemmas that I do, and that I am not alone.

One of my favorite things is hearing what other families are doing in their adventure called homeschooling. The park is a place to get new ideas. Or to get new ideas about an old concept. Or a new way to teach an old concept. But it is also a place to get fresh ideas for our families.

One of the best things you can do for your children, and for yourself I think, is to read out loud. It helps your brain learn and function in a different way than reading silently. Look it up, there's a study somewhere I'm sure. A friend of mine reads to her children while they are eating their lunch. They are reading "A Christmas Carol." So I have taken that idea and sort of spun it around and made it our own.

I read at the dinner table. Every night we sit together at the table. That is something that I can remember doing in my home when I was growing up. As my sister and I got older, that fell by the wayside. But I always remember that we could talk about our day and just be together. So that is something that is very important to hubby and me and our family. And after I'm done with my dinner, usually I'm the first, I read to the family. We just started late last week, but it has become something that we all enjoy.

The first book I read was "The Fright Before Christmas". It was a cute little story that had the character Bunnicula in it. If you don't know who Bunnicula is, he's a vampire rabbit. But don't worry, he only drains vegetables. Read some of his stuff if you haven't. He plays a minor role in this story. It is set in his household and is about how scared the new puppy is of Santa. The kids loved it, and there were even a couple of laugh out loud moments.

The next book we read was "A Christmas Tale" by Geronimo Stilton. We love his books. I have blogged about him before, but if you don't know, he's a mouse. He is the editor of a local newspaper and quite a good writer. All of his books are about his life. This one is about how Geronimo was going to have to spend Christmas alone. He was devastated. But his Christmas was saved. I won't tell you how, but it's a nice little surprise.

We are now reading a Little House Chapter Book. This one is "Christmas Stories". They are cute little stories based on the Little House on the Prairie series. I was hoping the big girl would start reading them, but they are not really her style I guess. So instead, I'm reading some out loud. We are enjoying it. It is something that the kids don't normally look at in the library, but they crowd me every night when they are done eating.

We are concentrating on Christmas right now. Tomorrow we go back to the library and pick out some new books. I have three that already have to go back. This has been a fantastic way to spend together as a family and I highly recommend it. Find a good book from your childhood to share, or find one that can be passed on to your children's children. Just read. Your kids will love it, and so will you.

Have a great day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lap Books







I mentioned lap books on my other blog. We started a Christmas one, and the kids are loving it. They are fun and give you a more well rounded lesson, almost like a unit study. They are a unit study if you think about it. But here is the one that I completed. When we are done on Thursday, I will post the pictures of the kids'. Each one is a little different, because I didn't pick the file folders that had the same tabby. Next time.

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Alert

It was a great day today. This last week has just flown by. I think it was because we were so busy. So here's the update.

I got to go Christmas shopping today all by myself. It was so much fun. I love that part. My mother in law gave me the money to shop for her for our family pod and boy did I ever. We already had something for the boy, but I got to pick out the stuff for hubby and the girls. Hubby gets to shop for my stuff, hopefully tomorrow. But I might make him take a couple of the kids. Hubby had the kids at his parents house all day. And he's bringing home dinner. And a fresh out of the oven apple pie. So far my feelings are not hurt.

I went to a couple of big box stores, and even went to the mall. I found some pretty good deals and got the stuff everyone has been asking for. We have already purchased the gift for our family pod. And we only got one. But I think we will all enjoy it. I even got a couple of things that we need to complete the gift today. And the mall wasn't as packed as I though it was going to be.

As I was standing in line at Target, I spoke to a couple of really nice ladies. They were sisters and were very friendly. One of the sisters was buying all of the Christmas gifts for the other sister's kids. One sister was having a hard time financially because her husband had been laid off. He builds high rises and that industry has dried up around here. They have been living on unemployment and are two months behind on their mortgage. That is a hard story to hear. So many are without this season and some are even homeless. It definitely makes me grateful for what I have.

I got to come home and wrap everything. My mother in law offered to wrap it, but that is my second favorite part. I got to spend the rest of the afternoon playing with ribbons and bows and wrapping paper. It was so much fun. I love gift bags and tissue paper. I love my wrapping station that holds it all. And I loved having some time to myself. The tree looks so much better with presents.

Friday was park day. It was cold and windy, but that didn't stop alot of us from showing up. We were even one of the last two families there. We planned a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" coloring book exchange for next Friday. I love the fact that we can do things like that. And I love the fact that people participate. You can't do that in public school.

Thursday the boy had two teeth removed. He needs the room to let some of his teeth come in, and maybe straighten them out a little. He didn't have pemanent teeth removed, just baby teeth that weren't going to be loose for a long time. He got to be numb and everything. I always loved that part. The dentist said he was such a good boy. She said if the rest of her patients for the rest of the day were that good, it would be a banner day. I was so proud. And those suckers were huge! They still had the root attached and they were cool. The boy was so excited about the tooth fairy. His cousin told him that when he had teeth pulled, he got $2 a piece for them. The boy got $5. And the tooth fairy let us keep one for show and tell. I wrote a note and asked if we could keep one, and she let us. Maybe I'll get a picture and post it.

No science co-op on Thursday. Our facilitator was having a busy week and cancelled. She didn't have the time to prepare a lesson and didn't want to do bad job. I whole heartedly agree. It was a busy week for us as well, and that gave us some time to ourselves. We were able to get some catch up work done. It also let us get a big nap. I really needed that.

Wednesday was our last JAM until January. We partied and had a really good time. We had sloppy joes, chips, and juice boxes. Then we did a really great relay race based on Christmas carols. That was so much fun. When I have a little more time, I'll explain it to you. And we did our giving craft. The kids "shopped" in magazines and catalogs and "bought" things for other people. Then they glued the picture inside a "gift box" and decorated the "box". Then we watched "The Nativity Story" and had popcorn. That is such a great movie for relaying the danger and hardships Joseph and Mary went through to bring Jesus into this world.

Tuesday was party day for our other co-op. Everybody brought something to share and a gift. We had drawn names for a secret Santa and made a gift. I am so not artsy, but we did pretty good. We did reindeers out of popsicle sticks, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners. They turned out pretty good, but I had a hard time getting the sticks to stick together. Thankfully, the other moms have hot glue guns, so they can piece them back together.

Monday was "do as much school as we can because we have a busy week" day. We crammed as much as we could into that day. Thankfully the kids were pretty receptive to the idea. And don't forget dance all week long.

That's a look into our busy week, such as it was. Hubby is home, and he has dinner. I love dinner I don't have to cook. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

CHRISTMAS decorating









Just so you know, it is Christmas in this home. We do not put up a holiday tree, or a season's greetings tree, or any of that nonsense. We firmly believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We are grateful to our Heavenly Father that He saw fit to give us a savior and to allow a closer relationship with Him through His Son. We don't wish people season's greetings or happy holidays, we say Merry Christmas.
Now that I'm down from my soap box, here's some quick shots of our night tonight. We pulled all the decorations out, made hot chocolate and popcorn, and watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas". It's kind of a family tradition.

Have a great day!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Science Experiment




You may be wondering what the pictures are. They are the science experiment that hubby did with the kids this evening.
When we got home from dance, hubby made a quick dinner (it was leftover night) and did this really neat experiment. You take a plastic bottle, any size, with a lid and fill it with hot water. Let the water sit for one minute, then quickly pour it out. Place the bottle in the freezer for one minute and see what happens.
The point is that cold air is denser than warm air. It was an experiment about thunderstorms and how the temperature of the air contributes to the intensity of a storm. And since cold air is denser than warm air, it holds more water vapor. And since the air in the bottle was warm from the hot water, the cold air of the freezer put more pressure on the outside of the bottle, causing it to collapse. It was really neat and to watch the kids learn is always fantastic.
If you want to have a little fun, you should try this. We always have a good time with our experiments. We like them better when they involve chocolate, but really, who doesn't?
Have a great day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Vacation is over and it is time to get back to it. That doesn't mean I want to, it just means we have to. We had such a great time in Texas and when we got back, there wasn't time to breathe before it was back at our busy life.

We got back at a decent hour on Monday. We had stopped at the grocery store to pick up milk and bread and ended up picking up something for dinner, too. I just did not have it in me to cook after our two day road trip. The kids helped us unpack and unload with a minimum of whining. There had to be whining, it just was done mostly out of ear shot or there would have been trouble.

We did come home to a couple of unexpected visitors. There was a dead mouse in our bathroom. We aren't real sure what killed him, but he couldn't have been dead for long. The house didn't smell and I was glad for that. Then later as I was putting snacks in the pantry, I heard rustling. Apparently, the dead one had a partner in crime. We spent some time trying to catch it then flush it out of hiding, but no luck. So now we have a mouse trap set up in the pantry, and hubby gets to go under the house Saturday. As long as they don't get mail at our house. I don't know how things work where you are, but in Florida, if you get mail at a residence, it's your residence. I really don't want to start eviction proceedings, because we probably won't see a dime from the little rodent.

Tuesday started off with gang busters. When I originally did our lesson plans, I wasn't expecting to be out of town for Thanksgiving. I had work planned for Monday, so we spent Tuesday trying to catch up. And then Wednesday, and then Thursday. I think we are almost caught up. The kids have a science test for tomorrow. Yes, I planned a test for Friday. Take a breath, it'll be ok. The boy has to do his spelling test as well, and that's all. And then the park!

We had a co-op on Tuesday. I got my times mixed up and we were early (for a change). But it was our kings and queens day and we also talked about the Magna Carta. We did a quick lesson, then a little review with a Cloze activity. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's basically a fill in the blank. It was a lot of fun. Our facilitator even gave the moms one. I was the first one done out of everybody and I got them all right! I didn't get a prize, but I got to spend some time with three really great ladies while the kids played outside. That was prize enough.

Wednesday was our busy day. Dance class was fantastic. The ladies are trying to get me to be in the recital. I don't want to. I keep saying no, but they aren't listening. The kids were great at my in-laws, but they always are. I picked them up and off to JAM we go.

We had a guest speaker. His name is Lew Clayton and he is the illustrator for a new book, called Archie's Christmas Tale. It is a fantastic little book. I highly recommend it for those of you who are looking for a new Christmas book. It is about the mouse that was stirring on Christmas Eve. He brought gift bags for the kids and taught them how to draw Archie. All the kids had such a fantastic time.

And today was our science co-op. I really enjoy that class. Today we talked about magnets and the kids learned how to make an electro magnet. I don't know one child that doesn't like to play with magnets. It is such an interesting class. The kids are usually antsy during the lesson, but come time for the activity they are all eyes and ears open. They are so funny.

And of course, we still had, and have, dance this week. The big girl missed her class because we were on the road. I didn't even think about it until we passed dance class on the way home. Neither did she. She was a little bummed, but was tired from traveling and really didn't mind.

We have two more weeks of school after this. And then we break for Christmas. We are working next week. But the week after is a light week and we are going to work on a Christmas lap book that I think the kids will enjoy. It will be our first, but hopefully not our last. I want to do some with our science next year when we study animals.

Enjoy your week. I hope you had a great one. I hope your Thanksgiving was as fatastic as ours was. I am so thankful for the time we got to spend with family and friends. It was much needed on this end of the country. We love you and miss you all already.

Have a great day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Grateful, hateful

We made it. We're here. And I could not be happier.

We took the long way here, and it was beautiful. We cut across to the coast of Florida, up to Georgia, and across Alabama. And we took all the back roads to see things we had never seen before. It took us almost thirteen hours our first day, but it was well worth the scenery and the family time to get to Mississippi.

The back road in Alabama made me long for a time that is no longer part of our culture. It was back woods, down home and something that hubby and I want for our family. It was about making do and working the land, and everyone pitching in together to help when help is needed. I know. It sounds like a fairy tale. But there are still parts of the country where that happens.

We would see signs for towns that were established in the 1800s and wonder where the town was. Now granted, we may have only seen a small part, the part without a Wal Mart or a grocery store or modern civilization. But we loved what we saw.

We saw roads that looked like roller coasters. We would even hold our hands up and yell on the down side. It was so much fun. We saw small churches with cemeteries next to them. We saw lots and lots of cows. We saw houses that had been abandoned and trees growing through them. We saw barns that needed painting, but the look didn't seem to bother the live stock that was inside. We saw telephone wires that hung precariously from the poles, which hung precariously onto the side of a hill with a very steep drop off. Hubby said he's glad he didn't have to work on those. Me, too!

And along the way we saw great signage. The one that struck me the most was this: Be gratefully humble, do not hatefully grumble. I always wonder who comes up with those. I wonder because I am grateful for the sentiment and the direction. Just when I would start to grouse about something on the trip, I would remember that sign, and shut my mouth.

So at this time of Thanksgiving, here are a few things that I am grateful for. I am thankful for a safe trip, that we arrived safely and soundly. I am grateful for my family that lives in the great state of Texas, family that I love and miss. I am thankful for the time that I get to spend with them, each moment more precious than the last. I am grateful that my children love their Auntie, their uncle, cousins, their Uncle Jessie, and especially their Mermie. I am thankful that I get to spend quality time with family. I am grateful for friends that I have not seen in forever that I get to hug and touch and spend time with. I am thankful for the beauty and grandness of love.

So this Thanksgiving, we are going to play and love and cook and eat and laugh. And we get to take a family picture, something that has never been done before with us. So enjoy your turkey and your family and all the small things that make life fantastic. I am. I plan on a turkey coma come Thursday.

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gobble, gobble

We are so close to vacation. I can almost smell it. Can you smell turkey and stuffing, pies cooking, and fresh bread? I can. And it is divine. It has been so long since I have been home for a major holiday. And I need some serious family time.

Hubby came home yesterday from work with a movie for us to watch. He had a couple of dollars and stopped and rented Kung Fu Panda. What a cute movie. And it is filled with some fantastic sayings. For instance, "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, which is why it is called the present." Wow. If that doesn't make you stop and think for a minute, nothing will really. And it makes me realize that I am grateful for the present.

I broke down and bought the movie for vacation. But I bought the one that came with The Furious Five and the pc video game. It will not come out of the plastic until we leave for the trip. I am not getting worn out on it before an almost 1100 mile journey.

We have had a busy week. Monday was relatively quiet, except dance for the big girl. Our youth at church did a fund raiser at a local restaurant that night. We stopped by early because of dance. Hubby met us there and we got to eat together. It was fantastic to see so many of our congregation show up and support the youth. We had people from all three services show up, which was incredible considering all the strife that we have been going through. We filled the restaurant three times that night, and the youth raised over $400. They were hoping for $200.

And the big girl's dance teacher picked their recital song already. They are doing "It's Tricky" by Run-DMC. That just happens to be one of my favorite songs and one of the first I downloaded onto my iPod. The big girl is so excited she can hardly stand herself. I love that she is so dedicated to something she loves. I wish we could afford for her to take all the classes she wants to take. Hopefully we can get the bills paid off and she can.

Tuesday brought a flurry of activity. We had a co-op lesson. I love our co-ops and so do the kids, which is really the point. We learned about Greece. We all learned some really neat things that we did not know. And my friend had actually visited Greece years ago when her father was stationed in Italy. So she had a little first hand knowledge as well. The kids did a mini Olympics that they thought was fantastic. But any time you get a bunch of kids running around like that it's a good time.

And the baby had dance. Hubby got home in time to take her. I was very thankful for that. It gave me time to get dinner made and the big kids got to finish their work they didn't finish because of co-op. But they got it all done before dinner. I love the flexibility of homeschooling.

Wednesday was JAM and busy, busy, busy. I had dance. Hubby took the day off to help us. He had to work Saturday, so he got a day off during the week. He likes to be able to participate in things like that with us. He likes to be able to share the family activities with us. It was quite a success and we are so blessed to have the volunteers we have. This program would not happen without them. And we get to spread the love of Christ and show the kids what it means to do that.

Wednesday night we had a church dinner for Veterans Day. There was a ton of good food. The church provided the meat (sloppy joes) and we all brought a side dish. I brought cracker salad. I had two plates of food, shame on me. The kids ate really well, but they also had to in order to get dessert. Then anyone who had been in the service could get up and share stories. That was a lesson in history and pride and dedication and patriotism if ever there was one. It was a privilege and an honor to be in a place with all those veterans.

Thursday was our science co-op. We made s'mores in solar ovens. That was neat. I had never seen the pizza box solar ovens before. It took a little work, but melted chocolate, graham crackers, and melted marshmallows were worth it. I would have preferred a charred marshmallow, but it didn't slow me down much. Or the kids, either.

And Friday was park day. I know I do not have to go into the song and dance about park day. Let me just say, it was fantastic once again. And we may start an art co-op that meets once a month. Yes, another co-op. But when it comes to learning and being with your friends, the kids and me, it just cannot get much better than that. But I'll fill you in on that later.

So that's our week in a nutshell. I will fill you in this week as we get prepared to visit the great country, sorry, state of TEXAS!!!!! And we will send greetings and blogs from the road. Look out world, we are headed out onto the roads. You may pull over now!

Have a great day!

Monday, November 10, 2008

African Body Art







The last time we were at the park, I found out that another family was doing the same history curriculum we were doing. And they are only a week behind us. I thought that was very cool. There is so much curriculum out there, that when I find someone doing the same thing we are, to me it seems pretty rare. Anyway, listening to some of the cool things they were doing with the curriculum was making me a little jealous.

The reason that I chose the program was the variety of activities that comes with the study guide. Having a friend loan me the curriculum and not paying for it was a big plus as well. When I sat down to do the lesson plans (yeah, I'm a freak that way), I had planned to do more of the really neat things that they have listed. Then our schedules got crazy with dance and co-ops and more excuses than I can count. Throw some lazy in there and the combination can be quite volatile, or nap worthy really.

But I have been inspired. I have started taking more time with the kids to do the fun stuff, not just the boring work. I have a craft planned for Thursday that I think the kids will really like because they get to drag out their paints.

Here is a craft we did last week while studying about ancient Africa. It's African body art. And while I didn't want to paint their bodies, we did the other suggestion and traced hands and feet. Then we could draw geometrical symbols on them. We had these foam stickers that the kids wanted to use. OK, no skin off my nose. Even the baby participated. Hopefully they'll post in order starting with the baby, then the boy, then the big girl. But we'll see how good I really am.

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Do you remember those annoying commercials for the monster truck races? Every now and then hubby and I do that and crack up laughing at each other. Maybe it's just us.

What a day. It was good, it was productive, and it is breakfast for dinner. We're ready for the kids to go to bed and we haven't even had dinner yet.

We went to church today and somehow ended up teaching Sunday School. The two ladies who normally do it never came over. I guess they thought my friend was teaching, but she was only doing upper elementary (3-5 grade). When they failed to show up, I couldn't leave her to do K-2, so I went upstairs to teach. She had already wrangled the little ones into her classroom. I stayed and helped, and then hubby came up since all three of our kids were there. It went really well. Melanie had gotten two DVDs that had songs and kids singing them and doing motions to the words. So we filled our time with that. The kids had a blast and so did we.

When we got home we realized that we hadn't stopped and picked up milk, of which we had none. The kids had been given free frosty coupons from Wendy's. We had a couple from Halloween, so all in all we had 5, one for each of us! So we packed everybody up and went to have frosty's and pick up milk. We stopped to talk to the neighbor on our way down our driveway. He is such a great neighbor to have.

Hubby and I have a 14 year game of slug bug working with a few new rules added after time. One is no slugging while eating. You can call it, just not count it. He kept trying to call a red one circling the parking lot at the mall and we kept telling him no. He is persistent if nothing else. I got him on the way home. Go, Mama!

We had such a great time. We try to take advantage of family time every opportunity we get. The boy got a vanilla frosty. I didn't even know they had vanilla. That's how often I eat frosty's. The rest of us had chocolate. I was the first one done. Hubby did the "Look, there's Superman!" distraction, which backfired when he grabbed my empty frosty container. We laughed. Ha, ha, got ya.

On the way home we passed a yard sale at the end of our street that was putting out a free pile. We came back to the house, put our milk away, and piled into hubby's truck to see what we could scavenge. We managed to get a chair for the big girl to sit in at her desk. She's had a desk for at least a year, but no chair for it. The boy got a set of kid golf clubs. There were only three in the bag, but he didn't put them down until we went to ride scooters. He also dragged home a number of toys and odds and ends. Out of all of us, he made out like a bandit. The baby got a stuffed bunny and a Tigger magnet.

Hubby and I worked around the house and cleaned up around our shed. I can't stand a trashy yard and ours was. Partly still is, but we're working on it. We measured for a deck out front. Not that we have the funds to build one yet, but my brother in law has roofing for it and wants to know how much we might need. We figured it at 10x13, which is about the size of the kids' rooms. It will be nice to eventually have a nice covered deck to sit on and enjoy.

We drove a bunch of trash to the road and let the kids ride back to the house in the back of the truck. They rode on the tailgate and thought that was the best thing since sliced bread and velcro. Since our driveway runs three acres to the house, I wasn't worried about traffic. I walked back and could hear them laughing the whole way. Then they wanted to ride scooters.

There is a cul de sac just down the street from us that has no houses on it, so we went down there to ride. There were three little boys down there riding their bikes having the time of their lives. One had gotten stuck in the grass covered in stickers. Hubby went and carried him out, then pulled the stickers from his socks and legs. What a good hubby. The boys got back on their bikes and rode around with us. They had plastic bottles shoved between the tires and the tire covers. They made these noises like and an engine revving up, a lawn mower engine maybe. It was really cool. I had never seen anything like it and neither had hubby.

The baby fell a couple of times but jumped right up and got back on her scooter. When she noticed the miniscule amount of blood on her knee, it was time to come home. And boy was there ever drama about that. But I don't even have the time or the strength to go into that. And I smell bacon. Bacon, bacon, bacon!

Now I need to go wake a baby up and put her in the shower and start the drama all over again.

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ick!!

I would say that this had been a boring week except for one thing-all the kids have been sick and so has hubby. My nephew got a flu shot and a couple of days later, he had the flu. Of course, his parents didn't bother to tell us that on Halloween when we were all together.

Sunday, the big girl started sniffling a little. Then she started sniffling alot. No, no, no, no, no. Well, that didn't help. She even missed dance class on Monday because she didn't feel good. She never had a fever, but her nose ran and ran.

Tuesday night was dance for the baby. She loves her dance class, and she does so good. It was a little chilly in the evening and the boy was wearing a jacket. And wiping snot all over the sleeves. It was so nasty. But he wouldn't go get a Kleenex. And it was either wipe his nose on his coat or let it run. Bleck! Bless his heart. He was in a pretty good until dinner time.

The boy had a melt down. He was tired and sick and he wanted to go to bed. I made him eat a little to get something in his belly. Then I poured medicine down his throat, put him in PJs and sent his whiny butt to bed. Bless his heart. He had a fever the next morning, which meant no dance for Mama. I couldn't drop him off at my in laws when he's that sick. We also missed our JAM program. None of us were happy about that. The boy kept blaming himself, but I told him it was just something that happened.

Then Thursday morning dawned with more fever from the boy. It never went very high, and I kept an eye on it. I try not to give my kids anything until it gets above 101. Fever is a good thing for your body, and allows it to fight. We missed our science co-op on Thursday. But again, I wasn't taking anyone anywhere with the ickys.

Thursday night was a little rough. The baby was up and down and whiny and I knew exactly why. Friday morning she asked for a waffle for breakfast but only ate about two bites. That was clue number two. Clue number three was her coming to me, no matter where I was or what I was doing, with her arms raised, a sad look, and a pitiful "Hold me." Poor baby. So needless to say we missed park day. We really weren't happy with that. But it happened. And the boy missed dance Friday night.

And all week, my poor hubby has been fighting the same thing. He hasn't had it nearly as bad, thank you God. But he can't take a day off either if we are coming home for Thanksgiving. He had an extra day, but he blew it feeling lazy one day. That'll teach him. No, it really won't. But he stuck it out and was really glad for Friday night to come. I even let him sleep a little late on Saturday. He was already up when I came in, about to get in the shower.

We ran some errands today, but we also doped everybody up good and proper. And the kids were so good at the checkout at Wally World. They even got a compliment on how great they behaved. Of course, the cashier asked if they were my grandkids. I could have slapped her. I'm only 38. Hubby said she must have been smoking something really good. I think it's because people don't normally discipline their kids. I am trying so hard to give her the benefit of the doubt. Or a great big slap. No, benefit of the doubt.

Hopefully, they'll all be better soon. Lysol is being sprayed generously, everything that has a surface is being Clorox wiped, and chests are being rubbed with Vicks Vaporub. I am so ready for a vacation.

Have a great day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sorry

It was busy around here last week, so I'm sorry I haven't posted in a couple of days. Where do I start?

Halloween is a good place. Friday was also park day. The park has a dock that leads to a very small lake. But you can still fish. The wind coming off the lake was so cold. It was beautiful at my house so I had on shorts and a tshirt, my usual park attire. The two big kids were wearing shorts and tshirts, but the baby had on a tshirt and a pair of sweat pants. My goose bumps had goose bumps, and they were cold, too. The kids didn't notice a thing, specially as they ran around the park playing and playing and playing.

Every year we go to hubby's parents house to trick or treat. We get together with all the kids and go around the pond they live on. This year it was a little disappointing. There have been so many foreclosures in the neighborhood that many houses were empty. The old crowd was still there, the ones that have lived in the neighborhood forever. But there weren't many trick or treaters this year either. It was kind of sad. We even went to a different part of the neighborhood that we haven't been to in a long time. Now that the kids are all walking and there were no strollers there was a little more complaining. But we just ignored them and pimped them out for more free candy.

The kids recycled costumes this year. The big girl and the boy did pirates from last year. The baby wore one of the big girl's witch costumes from Halloween past. We still had the hat that went with it. That is amazing in itself. I bought a pirate set for the big girl that had a hat, eye patch, and a hook to wear over her hand. She hung her bag on that and you could hear people laugh when they went to put candy in her bag. It was pretty amusing.

Wednesday was our fall party at JAM. We had a blast. The kids got their pumpkin bags with the school supplies, but there was also candy in it. We had a donation of candy and when I picked it up from the church office and looked at it, I cracked up. It was body part candy. They are gummies and shaped like parts of your body that have been cut off or out. They looked disgusting, but the kids loved it. We had to put two gift bags together for each child because we had so much candy from different people.

We had hot dogs, chips, and juice boxes for a snack. Then we ran them outside for a while. We gathered them and took them to our youth house, where the middle and high school kids gather. The youth had decorated it for Halloween and we went there to watch our movie.

I popped popcorn, and we had a ton of junk. One of our volunteers stayed up until almost midnight the night before making treats for the kids. He made cookie "fingers" with almond slivers for the nail and red icing around it to make it look bloody. He made witches hats out of Rice Krispie treats layed with melted chocolate and adorned with black licorice. We also had dirt pudding complete with gummy worms. And my favorite part was the caramel apples. He and his wife melon balled apples to make bite size pieces and covered them in caramel. They used toothpicks for the sticks. They put them in paper candy cups and they were the highlight of my day! Yummy, yummy, yummy!

I'm sure there was plenty more last week that I have left out. But it was a busy one.

Here is my shameless plug. GET OUT AND VOTE!!!! This election is so important to our country and our states. I ask that you pray for guidance and don't leave your chads hanging. We take hubby to work in the morning, so we will be at the polls early. Do what you think is right for your family. But vote, please.

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's About Time

Finally we are coming home. Although I have lived in the state of Florida for 14 years, I still consider Texas to be my home. I was not born in Texas, but I agree with the bumper sticker: I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could. I am also known for saying: Any good Texan is a proud Texan.

We finally get to see Mermie's new house. We are all excited about that. They have done a ton of work on it and we didn't get to see the before. But we get to see the after. She wants a small farm, but she doesn't have one yet.

And I get to see my sister. I haven't seen her in almost two years. We talk on the phone often, but it's different when a hug comes with it. And my nieces are probably huge.

And Scott. Who can not be happy about seeing him? And his partner Jeff is an incredible person in his own right. We are excited about that as well. I'm not sure when or where, but we'll work out the details.

We have so much to do when we get there, but it will be well worth the visit. I know when the trip is over we will be ready to be home in our own beds. But we will tuck ourselves in and know that we have special memories of special people. That is what I will be thankful for this year.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cooking Out and a Busy Week

Whoo wee! Am I glad that it's Friday. And not just for the obvious reason that Friday is our favorite. It has been a busy week for the kids, and for Mama, too. Monday was actually our slow day this week. I liked Monday.

Tuesday started off by taking hubby to work, early for us. We had to leave the house about 7 to get there in time. Then we had to come all the way home because the big girl didn't bring a brush. Let me tell a story. When hubby is on call, we take him to work the first day. That way he doesn't leave his personal truck at work. When he's on call, he brings the work truck home. When the kids were in school and we had to do this, I would barely get the kids there on time. It's almost an hour and a half round trip. Tuesday morning we had our volunteer day at our church's food pantry. The big girl was dressed, but hadn't brushed her hair. So all the way home for a brush. She said she would just wear the hood on her jacket, but I told her no. It really wouldn't have worked out, I've tried that. It turned out to be a really long day with a little extra work at church. We didn't get home until after 12. And then we had to school.

Wednesday is usually our busy day. But this week it seemed like it wasn't that bad. We got a lot done in the morning before we had to leave for my dance class. I got everybody dropped off and headed off. My dance teacher seemed a little discombobulated. Usually that's me. Class was fantastic, though. I always have the best time. We ran a little late, but my mother in law had the kids ready. Except the big girl. She is so slow moving. My mother says she is just like my Mamaw, not in a hurry. We had to make two stops on the way. We had to stop at 2 dollar stores to get trick or treat bags for the school supplies that were donated to us at church. They didn't have enough at the first one which is why we stopped at the second one. And on to church.

This was our last week of Noah. Next week is our Fall party. Then we start Christmas Around the World. I am really looking forward to that. We did missions with our kids and took them on a mini field trip around our church. We took them to the food pantry, the preschool, and then the sanctuary at our church. We discussed the stained class windows and what each scene means and is. My kids knew each one, but that's our church. We talked about how each of us has a mission, a ministry. And although it may not be a pulpit that we stand behind, our lives are our ministry. The way we act, talk, and interact with others is our ministry. And with one wrong word, or right action, people will either embrace Christ or deny him. It actually seemed to get through to several of them. It's the planting of the seed.

Thursday was the first day of our new science co-op. It was really fun, and for the kids, too. We talked about energy and the different types. There were 14 kids there, but only 8 really participated. The other 6 were 5 and under, and wandered off. But that was ok, too. The kids did a really great worksheet that listed several different items. They had to tell which type of energy each item started with and what they ended with. They learned that energy is neither created nor destroyed, but changed into different types of energy. They made windmills out of straws, colored paper, and brads. They turned out really well. The kids went outside and the wind was blowing pretty good. The windmills just spun and spun. It was fantastic.

Friday was park day. Today was our cookout. I brought the charcoal and everybody else brought something to throw on the grill. It turns out we all brought hot dogs, except for one family. They brought fantastic looking and smelling marinated chicken breasts. Yummy. It rained on us for a while. Shortly after I got the charcoal going, it started to rain. I covered the grill with foil to help protect the coals. It worked and we ate about 30 minutes later.

Everybody brought a side dish to share. I made a fantastic Italian pasta salad. We had homemade macaroni and cheese, banana pudding, and a cake that was simply sinful. And we had chips and dips and grapes and all sorts of goodies. Then we did our candy exchange. We had all brought candy to share and swap. I went with another mom to round up kids. We told probably 3 kids, and they spread the word about candy faster than we ever could. It's a magic word with kids. It was fantastic.

Nobody wanted to go home. But, alas, it was that time. We all headed out about 4:30 and planned to meet again next Friday. One of our moms let us know that her husband is going to "sponsor" park day once a month or so and send a couple of cases of bottled water to the park for everybody. He runs a local Sonic, and wants to try to set up a night where we can all come and get free ice cream. He is not hurting my feelings at all. Free ice cream and a chance for us all to socialize? Where do we sign? You should see the kids holding court at the park. It's hilarious.

Tomorrow, we go to church to clean out the closet we use to store our supplies for our JAM program. It is so crammed, you can't walk in there if you wanted to. Hubby got asked by one of his brothers to play in a golf tournament tomorrow. I said no! It's my turn. And I need the help. I certainly can't do it by myself with just the kids. I'd end up driving myself crazy. There won't be anyone else there, so I don't have to worry about the kids disturbing anyone. But they would be all over me every couple of minutes, and I don't have that kind of time. And Sunday I teach Sunday school. And one day comes rest. I don't know what day, but one day.

So that's us in a nutshell this week. It was long , productive, and we had a great time. Next week is Halloween. The big girl and the boy are wearing the same pirate costumes from last year. The baby is wearing a witch costume that was the big girl's several years ago. I'm all good with that. I'll post the pictures if I remember to take them.

And we are coming home for Thanksgiving. I am so excited. I need a family fix really bad. I usually get bummed out from about Thanksgiving to Christmas because I miss my family. I'm hoping this will be enough to get me through. I am excited about seeing my mom's new house and seeing my sister and some of my friends. So look for trouble come November!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Great days

Today was a little busy, but not as busy as our normal days. I'm really glad that I have the opportunity to spend time with my kids, doing things that they would not ordinarily get the chance to do.

Today is the Tuesday after the third Sunday. The third Sunday is when our congregation is encouraged to bring food for our food pantry. Every day is good, but the third Sunday is what we really aim for. Anyway, today was volunteer day. We bring the food from the collection bin to the pantry to stock it. Then we go to our activity building where our contemporary service is held and collect the food from there and stock it.

We were almost done when our pastor came and asked if he could speak with me. Sometimes it feels like being called to the principal's office. But it was good news and I wasn't in trouble. Amazing isn't it? We were blessed with a large donation of school supplies. When we were done stocking the shelves, the big girl and the boy and I went to our conference room and made 22 packages. Each package had 2 folders, 1 package of notebook paper, 2 spiral notebooks, 2 pencils, 2 pens, 2 highlighters and a glue stick. It turned out to be more than I thought we would have. So each of our kids in our after school program is going to get a nice little package. The rest I gave to our preschool. There were several things that I didn't have enough of to give to everybody. Those went in the box for the preschool, too. They ended up with two boxes of stuff.

The baby was a little feisty this morning. We were all up very early this morning. We had to take hubby to work. He's on call as of today, and gets to drive his work van home. Instead of leaving his truck at work for a week, we take him to work. The baby decided that she didn't want to help us when she saw the little kids on the playground. I asked if she could play and they were more than happy to have her. They even let her go into the classroom when playground time was over. She had a much better time than she would have had with us.

We didn't get home until noon. Then I made lunch and made every one lay down and take a nap. I was so grumpy, and the kids were getting that way. We didn't get our together stuff done until after 12. Then the kids worked on their other stuff after they got up from a nap. Hubby came home and took the kids to dance for me so I could get some errand running done. It was nice not to have to buckle and unbuckle, repeat.

This is still a busy week. I still have dance and so does the boy. Our after school program is tomorrow. We have picked up another co-op lesson on Thursdays. It's a science lesson and experiment and we are all looking forward to it. Then park day on Friday. This Friday is a cook out. I'm bringing the charcoal and everybody else is bringing something for me to cook. We have had a lot of response from people that don't normally come. So it's a banner week.

Enjoy your week. I almost feel like some of the pressure has come off. Aaahh!

Have a great day!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thankful

Today is Friday. You all know how much I love Fridays. It is a great day. The big girl had some work to finish, and the boy had to write his bible verses from Wednesday and Thursday. But they got them done in record time. We all got ready and hit the door, but I was a little late. I was going to make bologna sandwiches, but I forgot to take the bologna out of the freezer last night. It completely slipped my mind until this morning when I was going to make sandwiches. We stopped by Subway, which upset me a little. I had been holding on to my $20 since early last week and hadn't spent it. Well I spent it today! But we all had a great lunch.

My friend Melanie called me as we were getting in the van outside of Subway to ask me if we were coming to the park. It was almost 11 and nobody was there except her. That is so something I would do. But that's my insecurities showing through. Apparently, nobody from our group was there and usually the place is swarming with them. I told her I was on my way, and eventually a large group of us did show up.

The thing I like most about the park is the conversation. The topics are large and varied and can create very emotional responses, or can reduce everyone to a howling pack of wolves. Either way, today's conversations made me realize that I am grateful for so many things.

I am so very thankful to be the mother of brilliant, beautiful, hilarious, independent, free spirited children that love life, their parents and God. All of my children are so different from each other, but at the same time so very much alike. They look alike and sometimes act alike, but they think so very differently from each other. I have a quiet (yes, I have a quiet child. But really, who can get a word in edgewise?) brilliant oldest child that can be very emotional and insightful. The boy is loud and boisterous and thinks his Mama is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen (what a good boy!). His mind takes the long way most of the time, but watching the journey is amazing and magical. And the baby is exactly that. She is the baby. At two she could draw happy faces with spacial placement of facial features that was spot on. At four she is reading and reading well. She never really had to do anything for herself because her brother and sister would do it for her. But she is as independent as the day is long. Stubborn, too, but she gets that from her father (ha, ha. If I don't laugh I fear the lightning bolt.).

Being a mother to these children is definitely a blessing and I am grateful for the opportunity to even be associated with them. My prayer is that we will always be close and loving.

I am grateful for my friends. I have made some incredible friends that support me no matter what kind of junk comes out of my mouth. Sometimes it's good junk. but it can be stinky junk, too. I am grateful for the friends that I have kept, the friends that I have made, and the friends that I have reconnected with. I am thankful that I have a network of support and am a support to those who need it. I am encouraged and challenged and loved by those that I call friend. And I support and challenge and love them as well. I am here for you no matter the time of day or night when you need a shoulder or arms or whatever I can give you.

I am thankful for my husband. Our relationship is strong and loving. I love my husband. I cannot imagine a day of my life without his quiet strength and loving arms to hold me close. I am grateful for the time that we spend together. I am thankful that we have both chosen to spend time with each other working to strengthen always the bonds that hold us together. He is good to me, but he is also good for me. He lifts me up when I need to be lifted, but he also does not hesitate to knock me down a peg or two when I get too big for my britches. He is my heart.

I am thankful for the fellowship at the park. Sunday is a day for church, but every day is good for fellowship. The parents that I have met are fabulous, diverse people from many backgrounds and we still find that the most important thing is the love we have for Jesus Christ. With that, we are able to spend time with our children and spouses and friends and know that what we do, we do for a better purpose than our own.

I am thankful for my friends and family that are interested in the ramblings of a crazy Hawaiian chick that loves to hear the sound of her own voice. Or at least the sound of the clicking keys. It means more to me than you know that you have taken an interest in our lives and care about what is going on in our lives. It makes my heart sing when you leave comments and are supportive of what we do. Homeschooling is not what some of you would have chosen for us, yet you support our decision and encourage our growth. Thank you for what you do for me and for my family.

So there you go. I know this was not a typical post, but I wanted to shake it up a bit today. You know me, I'm not happy unless I'm shaking some body's tree. I hope I have encouraged you to think about the things you are thankful for.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One day...

...life will slow down. Won't it? Please?

It has been a day. Today was co-op day. Not only co-op day, but our day to host. Like I have time for people to come over. I cleaned a little Sunday, but a little more on Monday. I got all of our laundry washed, dried, folded, hung up, and put away. The kids cleaned their rooms. But that didn't mean I didn't have 6 errands to run before everybody got here.

Thankfully, it doesn't start until 1:30. I was up about 7, making PB& Js for hubby to take to work today. I didn't tell him I have $20 in my wallet, because he would take it and spend it all today. Not happening (sorry, Baby).

Then I got the big girl up and got her in the shower. She made her bed and cleaned her room a little first. Then I got the boy up and got him in the shower. The baby got one yesterday, so I skipped her this morning. One thing off my list. They always drag their feet in the shower, and it's worse in the morning when they are tired. Or when I'm tired. Or a combination of the two.

Then I loaded the dish washer and got breakfast ready. We did our bible study while the kids ate and then moved on. Science was next and then history. Then the baby had to get her reading lesson. Out of seventeen words, she read 14 and sounded out 3. I am so impressed with her. I didn't think I could do it, but she is so fantastic. Then the two big kids moved on to their other stuff and I jumped in the shower.

After my shower, the kids had to finish getting ready and at 10:45, we were out the door. I had to stop by the post office, but that was a drive by and a drop off. I had signed up for a subscription for The Old Schoolhouse magazine and it came with some freebies. I had to mail the reply cards for the freebies. Then off to drop off some clothes for charity. I cleaned out our closet and a couple of drawers yesterday, and the stuff had to go. The dollar store was next. I needed a couple of things for the co-op today, drinks and snacks. And the kids were having a fit that we didn't have dental floss for their teeth. That only took us ten minutes and the kids did not ask for anything. Not one time.

Then to church to pick up the curriculum for our next topic at our after school program. I won't have much time after dance tomorrow to stop and pick it up, so I did it today. Then the library. I have been trying to get to the library for the kids to check out some books, but time has not been very agreeable with that. I had to pick up our video for the after school program that we are going to watch tomorrow. Then, last but not least, the grocery store. The kids didn't ask for anything there either, except a balloon from the cashier. Thank you babies for being so great for Mama.

When we got home, I put groceries away and made lunch. Today we had grilled cheese and tomato soup. I made mine with pepper jack and ham. Yum! But I didn't have soup. I have to cut the calories somewhere and today it was the soup. Then I finished loading the dishwasher, cleaned off the island, wiped down the stove, counters, and island, and swept the kitchen. I was tired before anyone got here. And I made Tang, with Sprite instead of water. The kids couldn't get enough when they all got here.

I had to prepare things for my lesson today. I did reference books. I went over the types of reference books and what was in each of them. I had examples of a few different ones. I didn't realize we had so many. I had them do a dictionary scavenger hunt that I got off one of my favorite web sites. Then everybody went and played, and the moms got to sit and talk. Like adults. Wow. They finally left about 4:30.

I did some work on the computer and answered my emails. I gave the baby a quick bath and scrubbed her dirty knees, legs, and feet. They jumped on the trampoline and it makes them black. The baby had dance class tonite, so she needed to be clean. Hair in a bun, leotard on, everybody go potty, get shoes and socks on. We had to stop at Target and get a pair of pink tights. I forgot that the baby had put a huge hole in her last pair and needed another. I changed her in the van and off we go.

When we got home, I had to make dinner. The boy wanted a bath, so hubby ran him one while I cooked. Then get kids ready for bed, read our story, and good night. My friend Melanie says I do more than she ever could. I just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. If I stop too long, I think about all I have to do and end up overwhelmed. But I usually sleep pretty good at night. Until the boy and the baby come in. Then I end up in the boy's bed, because the baby's is too small. Another productive day down.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 10, 2008

You know what day it is

Of course, you do. You can tell by the happy voice. It's Friday. I will try not to say for the millionth time how happy I am about Fridays. And what a week to end.

The week started busy and never seemed to slow down. Even Thursday, my slow day, turned ito a run around errand day. On Thursday, I loaded dishes, washed white shirts that were donated to our JAM program, dried and folded them, cleaned potties, went to the church to drop off paperwork, find two books, drop off freshly laundered shirts, and turn in ink cartridges that have been in my van for two weeks. Then the library to drop off our Geronimo Stilton books on CD. And then the grocery store.

I needed to go to Wal Mart, too. But I knew that would be an ugly scene with the mood I was in. I was tired and grumpy, and felt like I hadn't had two seconds to myself all day. I knew it would turn into me yelling and fussing at the kids and I didn't want to go there. It was just easier to get what I needed from the grocery and call it a day.

Before we left for church, I also sorted through six bags of clothes that a friend of mine gave me for the baby. She just sold her house and her daughters have outgrown the clothes. And her mother in law does most of her shopping. She usually goes high dollar, so I got some really nice clothes. I had to sort through them, figure out what I was keeping and what was going to be given away. Then I had to wash what we were keeping because they have been up in her attic for awhile. Then I had to bag up what was being given away, clean out the baby's dresser and closet so the new stuff would fit, and find a place for the stuff that is too big now, but won't be for long.

In the midst of all that, I still had to school my kids, give the baby her reading lesson, and create a vocabulary test for the big girl. I ended up falling asleep on the couch at about 5. When I woke up, the big girl had given the boy his spelling test for me. I have great kids.

Then it was time for dinner. I ended up making burritos because they are quick and easy and I was tired. So I needed Friday. And so did the kids. They ran and played all day. And so did I. I got to have some great conversations with people that have different opinions than mine. It was fantastic. I hope you all have a gang of people that you can have conversations with that make you open your mind.

And on a side note: Hey, Mike. It's been a long time. I'm glad you read my blog. I hope you enjoy a look into our life. It's crazy, it's fun, and I love it.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our Trip to Court

What a great time we had. I am so glad that we went on this field trip. It was a nice way to ease ourselves into the world of field trips.

We got to the courthouse a little early. Don't think, by the way, that this some grand courthouse in a large city. Tavares is the county seat, but it is large by no means. It is about 15-20 minutes from our house and is across the street from our church. We were listening to Geronimo Stilton on CD to pass the time and went in at about a quarter after 1.

As a side note: What a great series of books. Geronimo Stilton is a mouse. He has written this series of books about his life. He is the editor of a local newspaper and finds himself in all sorts of trouble. We laugh out loud when we listen to them. Edward Hermann is the narrator and what a fantastic job he does. I couldn't stand Herman Munster, but I love most of the things he's done since. What a phenomenal actor he is. He is a big reason we started listening to these books. If you have kids, these are great stories to read or listen to together. Sorry, back to topic.

We all had to go through the metal detector. Even in small town America, podunk Florida has to have things like that. What a shame. I got to put my stuff in a little bowl and watch it get xrayed. I left my purse in the car because I didn't want to deal with that nightmare. I herded the group through the security and we found our group.

The bailiff let us in and the judge was waiting for us. He was a very personable man. He welcomed us into his courtroom and we almost filled it up. The boy sat in front of me with a friend of his and the girls sat beside me. A few times, I had to just put my hand on the boy. He started to get a little loud talking to his friend.

The judge talked to us about how to be a judge, how long it can take to get through law school, and about the way our judicial system works. Then he answered questions from the kids, and some of the parents. He even asked our kids a bunch of questions, and they got most of them right. He even told us about some of the cases he had tried, no names, no specifics.

I was really proud of how most of the kids acted. There was one little girl that is quite a handful. It was her mom that arranged the field trip. She had started to irritate the boy, but he did what I always tell him to do. He removed himself from the situation. He got up, walked around the girl, and came and sat with me. She couldn't get to him, and he wasn't being aggravated. I am so proud of him. The rest of the kids were very polite and respectful. They raised their hands, and were polite, and didn't jump around like monkeys. Yea!

We didn't get to see the judges's chambers. I was a little bummed about that. But he spent over an hour with us and never once looked like he wanted to be somewhere else.

It was a good time. And I'm glad that our first field trip was successful. The kids had a great time and so did Mama. And the boy minded his manners and his mouth.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Field Trip

Tomorrow is our first official field trip. One of our home schools moms used to work for a judge. She knows his clerk and asked if it would be possible for our group to come see the courtroom and the chambers and stuff. He said yes. We go at 1 tomorrow.

I'm really excited about this. There are always free golf lessons and field trips to places that are free or really inexpensive. There are several times they give a group rate. But we haven't been able to go to any of those. This is the first time we go with our group. Just like a big field trip at school.

The big kids are excited about it, too. They are excited to see their friends and go somewhere they've never been. The baby is excited because the two big kids are excited. She keeps saying, "We're going to see the judge!" with great big eyes and lots of excitement in her voice. The boy said he wished the judge would give them all gavels. I told him that would be asking for trouble. Then the boy said he hoped they got a souvenir. That's been his big kick lately.

We almost missed it. I had it on my calendar for Friday. The same day I get to see the periodontist(?). My friend Melanie mentioned it on Sunday and I had to go look up the post to make sure. Wouldn't you know it, she was right. I was thinking we would miss park day, but I was alright with that. I really would have been mad come Friday.

Here we go. I'll let you all know how it went. Pray for us that the boy watches his mouth and his manners.

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

First day of JAM

It's over. And it was fantastic. Our first day of JAM. That's our "after school " program at our church. I have taken a volunteer position and it has been a little stressful planning this and making sure that everything was ready. I do the administartion work. I make the phone calls, make sure everyone knows who are volunteers are, get volunteers, coordinate the kids with the bus, blah, blah, blah. The list goes on and on, but I have had fantastic help.

In past years the program has had up to 60 kids. But this year we are very small. We had 19 that showed up and we were grateful for that. This year we also have no youth volunteers. So it is just us six adults. We have "leaders" that come in and lead a certain portion. Yesterday was Arts & Crafts and Games. But our two leaders this week were also two of our volunteers.

One of our volunteers is a fantastic asset to our program this year. She is phenomenal. She loves to do arts & crafts and she can handle a classroom like nobodies business. She taught the kids a great song that had to do with Noah (which is our topic for four weeks). She says her husband is even better. Wow! She doesn't go to our church, and as far as I know, doesn't go to any church. But she heard about our program and wanted her daughter to join. And since she is off on Wednesdays, it worked out. I am thanking God that she has joined us.

Even snack went well. We did apples with peanut butter and or caramel. Yum! I have had this thing for apples lately, and can't seem to get enough, so I was happy about that. We also had pretzels and juice boxes. Our snack coordinator is fantastic. She is a very healthy eater and likes to do good for you stuff. We have a "party" week coming up and she suggested that we ask the parents for the sweet stuff. She is a very good friend of mine and she cracks me up.

The kids seemed to have a good time. They liked the smaller groups and I think liked the set up. I know they enjoyed the games. You could hear them screaming all over he building. It was a hoot.

So a good time was had by all. We had kids show up and were excited to be there. The bus from the elementary school showed up on time with the right kids. And we all had a great time. I am so grateful for the opportunity God has placed in front of us to make this program a success.

Have a great day!

Monday, September 29, 2008

I can't stop!

I am out of control. I can't seem to stop. And as soon as I'm done with this blog, I'm going back to it. I am planning curriculum for next year. How sick is that? We are six weeks into our school year and now I'm planning next year. There has got to be some kind of support group out there.

A friend of mine gave me some books the other Friday at the park. I looked through them a little, but didn't really get into them until I got home. One of them is God's Design for Animal Life book. It has text and questions and quizzes and all that good stuff. Now it would only get us through half a year, until Christmas break. But I figured we could do the human body for the second half of the year. On the Internet I go to see if I can find a book like it.

When I signed on I read the one email that I had. It was from another home school mom inviting us to her house on Thursday's for a quick science lesson and experiment. The curriculum she was using was God's Design For. She even included the website in her email. And sure enough, there it was. It was made by the same company that created our science curriculum this year, only under a different name. And they have the human body. But it gets better.

As I was looking at it trying to figure how I wanted to separate the sections and plan lessons, I realized that the material would have to be supplemented. Some I will supplement with the library, but there are a ton of great web sites out there and that would be one less trip to town. And since we go to town five days a week now, one less trip would be great. I have a membership that is about to expire for a teachers website that has printables and different resources. I got on the Internet and went through their curriculum and my book, and downloaded and saved the articles and worksheets I want to use to supplement. And I listed all the ones that I saved on a sheet of paper I clipped to the inside of the book. Sounds great. Only we won't be using it until next year!

This is my cry for help. I am a junkie and an addict. I need professional help. Or a donation to the Kula A Hale Na'auao Akamai so I can get all the curriculum I ever wanted.

And on a side note: here's a baby girl learning to read update. Today we had about thirty minutes of reading time. The big girl and the boy sat down with their books and I sat down with the baby girl. We read "Fun with Dick and Jane". It's a collection of many Dick and Jane books. The baby girl had to read Spot every time she saw it. I had to nudge her, but after awhile, she got used to seeing it and just said it when it was her turn. Then I pointed out words that she has been reading in her lessons. She sounded them all out and got them all right. At one point all the words in one sentence were words that she could sound out. And she did. I told her she was reading a real book and the connection was made. I could see the shades lift off her eyes and the dawning of new knowledge. And she was so proud of herself. I am so very proud of her and you should be, too.

Have a great day!

Light Bright Fun





When it was the boys turn to spend the week with his grandparents, he brought home a light bright. His grandmother, hubby's mom, loves to visit thrift stores, or as she affectionately calls them, junk stores. And the kids get to go with her. This is the fun they have been having for the last few weeks. I didn't think to take the pictures until a few days ago. So here are the pictures of the genius stuff my kids can do with a light bright.


Have a great day!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Science Experiment







Hubby has been working so much lately, he hasn't had the time to do our science experiments. Well, today was the day. He got home a little early from work and got started after he changed his clothes. The experiment was about heat and cold.

You need a plastic bottle with a lid, a straw, some modeling clay, tape, and a small piece of cardboard. Cut a hole in the lid of the bottle. Try to make it just big enough for the straw. Fill the bottle with water and put the lid on as tight as you can. This helps create pressure. Stick the straw through the hole about half to three quarters of the way. Use the modeling clay to put around the straw where it comes out of the lid. You want to try to seal the hole, smoothing the clay out as much as possible. Tape the cardboard to the straw, with enough room to make markings. Let sit for one hour to settle.

After an hour, you put mark where the water level is. You can drop food coloring in the water before sealing the lid to make it easier to see the water level through the straw. Place the bottle in a bowl of hot tap water. Watch the water level rise as the water heats up. Mark the top level of the water. Take the bottle out of the hot water and place it in a bowl of cold water. Mark the lowest level of the cold water.

It turned out to be pretty fun getting the bottles together. It was trial and error with the lids and straws and the modeling clay. But hubby finally got it done. Yea hubby! While he was putting the experiment together, I sat down and wrote a quick 4 question quiz to make sure the kids were paying attention. It worked. I know how my kids get. I posted some pictures.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Whoo Hoo!!

It's Friday, it's Friday. We love Fridays. Friday is the day we can be with our friends and laugh and play and have lunch. Friday Rules!

It has been a long week. The issue this week has been the lack of motivation on the part of the kids. I've been motivated to get it done. Granted we had a busy week, but still. There were some nights that the kids were working at 6pm. That was their own fault by the way. We had over two hours to work in the mornings before we had to get ready to go, but they chose to play instead. I absolutely guarantee that no work got done for the twenty minutes that I was showered and dressed. Our errands were to places that we weren't going to be very long, certainly not long enough for them to get any work done. And they chose not to bring their work in the van.

One night, hubby was working outside and the baby was jumping on the trampoline. It was killing the kids to watch her outside while they were working inside. The big girl got done first. It took her all of ten seconds to get outside. The boy just couldn't help watching his sisters outside, and that killed him. I went outside to help hubby move some stuff out of our shed, and the boy was beside himself. I had to stand in the kitchen and make him work. He only got to go outside for about twenty minutes. And before you start feeling sorry for him, you should know that one of the places we went was church. And the boy ran and ran for the whole time we were there. He also got to run at one of our other stops as well. So I don't want to hear it.

The big girl got that way by the end of the week. She was great at the beginning, but it was so busy, I think she just couldn't get into the groove. She fought the good fight, but alas, she couldn't hold on. She and I had a couple of discussions and she seemed to perk up, but pretty soon, she was back at slacking. Even with that, she is such a great child. I am such a lucky mama to have my children. She got finished before the boy a couple of days this week and that's rare. She was happy, happy, happy the day she got done first and got to go outside. You could see the flush of freedom on her face.

The baby is doing so good with her lessons. I save all the work she does as well as her siblings. By Florida law you have to keep a portfolio or a sampling of their work. I keep it all because I love having it. I've been showing hubby her work, but he hadn't heard her read yet. So I dragged her book out and had her read for Papa. She did so good. She sounded out her words and read for him. He couldn't believe the progress she has made. He told her how fantastic she was, and she just beamed. She almost glowed she was so happy.That was such a great moment for them to have and I'm really glad I was there to see it.

Here was our big lesson for the week. We had a science quiz this week. We reviewed on Wednesday using the same questions on the quiz. When the kids took the quiz on Thursday they bombed it. I was so upset. I thought how in the world could they have answered the questions the day before and not answer them the next day? My feelings were that although the information and questions can be tailored to fit younger elementary grades, I try not to do that too much. It will help the boy in the long run, and I've already seen a difference in the way the big girl thinks and answers questions. But then I thought that maybe changing the format of the questions would help them. So I retyped the quiz using some matching questions and answers and the kids did much better. I had three Q&A type questions, and they did better on those, too. I think the next quiz review, I'll have them do the Q&A type questions for the review, but retype it in a different format for the actual quiz. We'll see how they do.

The two big kids wanted to take their scooters to the park today. I let them with the understanding that when we start our next week, we won't have another one like this one. I told them that they couldn't bring their scooters next week, or play Club Penguin, which is an online "club" from Disney. They have to earn scooter and computer time now. They seemed to be agreeable, but we have to actually get to next week.

We always have a good time at the park. And the weather was fantastic. It was about 85 today and was partly cloudy and gorgeous! Two of my friends stayed and we were the last families there. We decided at one point to take a walk around the park. We ended up doing four or five laps around. It was fantastic to be with friends and enjoying the splendor of a blue sky day. I needed the camraderie of these ladies. Without it, it would be impossible to keep my sanity somedays. Its comforting to have the support of people who share common ideals and goals.

Monday I had a dentist appointment, so hubby did the schooling. I didn't fuss about the way he did things, because he got it done. They got a little bit of a late start, but the kids seemed to be good with it. It threw me off of my week a little. It was slightly past 11 when I got home, and all was well.

I love the fact that hubby will step in when we need him to. I've been slowly going over where everything is and how to keep the records and all that stuff. He also is our experiment guy. He's worked really late the last few weeks, so we're a little behind, but we'll get caught up. It makes me love him even more that he supports and wants to be included in our schooling. He is a wonderful man and father and husband.

Enough for now. It was a great week. It was an opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and go new places. We expanded our vocabularies, our horizons, and our minds.

Have a great day!