Friday, April 30, 2010


I came across this video about kids with food allergies, and realized again just how fortunate I am that although my children can get quite sick from eating the wrong foods, they do not have anaphalactic reactions.  Everyone should watch this video.  You never know when you will meet a family who does have to worry for their child's life when it comes to the food they eat.  Just knowing that you care enough to try to understand means the world to these parents!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Johanna!!

Oh happy birthday to you, a happy birthday to you, I pray each day of the year, you will feel Jesus near, oh happy birthday to you, a happy birthday to you and the best year you've ever had. (Sing it, baby)
Isn't she lovely...(I'm full of songs today)
Okay, now we may still be the same age but um...I'm older.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Have you ever...

...bought your one year old a Dr. Pepper and opened a bag of Teddy Grahams before ever reaching the check out to get through a shopping trip?  If you only have one, or maybe even two children, the answer is probably no.

Have you ever let your one year old play while putting objects into his ear for fun just because it makes him really happy?  Well, if you've ever done either of these things, you sure won't be getting any judgment from me!  It's amazing that children born third or after even grow up to be healthy, normal people!  I'm just sayin'...


Spunky sure does have a couple of interesting posts up about a couple of pieces ABC did on unschooling.  I'm definitely not an unschooler; I need more direct proof that the kids are learning things I think they need to what nouns and verbs are and the logic behind math.  I don't think unschooling should be illegal though.  More government intervention is hardly going to improve the state of education in America.  I think the government should spend its time worrying about its own sorry educational system than stick its oar in to the homeschooling and unschooling crowd.

Clips (There are two; I found the second one at the ABCNews website)

Spunky's take

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Hate Math

I just thought I'd show you just how much Aaron hates math.  See the look on his face?  The look of sheer torture?

This is why I love my math program.  So I have moments of doubt when the lesson seems a bit dry too many days in a row, but then we get to a gem like this one!  Aaron tells me all the time that he hates school and hates math and hates writing and get the picture.  But I think it is all a front, because once we get going, he really enjoys himself.  This game was called "Corners" and was amazing.  Not only was it really fun for me and Aaron, it required Aaron to really exercise his math muscles!  When we finished, he looked at me and said, "Man!  That's a lot of stinkin' math!"  He won, by the way, with 365 points all totaled in his head as we played (no paper).  Yep, that's a lot of stinkin' math!

Ethan wasn't about to be left out of this one, so he grabbed a calculator and kept track of Aaron's score, too.  You know, he just had to make sure his big brother didn't mess up the calculations!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

School Planning 2010/2011

We…or should I say I am trying a new approach to school next year. Every year after Thanksgiving I find myself in a schooling slump. I have all sorts of school planned, don’t do it, and then we end up playing catch up for two months after the New Year. I know a lot of people avoid this by not putting specific dates on specific lessons, but really, I have to have dates on lessons. I’d likely not finish school ever if I didn’t have that goal. I find that any time I take a break during the school year, I have a hard time getting back into the swing of things.

I’ve tried several approaches to planning my school year. The first one was to plan a week off about every six weeks and a couple weeks off at Christmas. This was a dismal failure. I was constantly playing catch-up and then by the time May and June rolled around I was sick of school and ended up not finishing the math lessons. It was very frustrating.

The next approach was to schedule no time off at all in the fall except for a week at Thanksgiving and 4 weeks off around Christmas/New Years/Anna’s birth and then a week off a couple of times in the spring. This was bad, too. More catch-up. Add into that the fact that I was pregnant and we moved into our house and sheesh. It went better than the first approach though.

The third approach was to schedule no time off at all. Knowing that I have a hard time getting back on the wagon, this year I scheduled one week off a Thanksgiving and one week off at Christmas. That’s it. Plus, it’s only a four-day school week, which has been a real blessing. It’s been working much, much better than either of the two previous years. There is still the factor of my being pregnant and very sick and so we get behind in school, because I just don’t do it while I’m sick.

My plan for this next year is the one I’m most excited about so far. We are only going to take six weeks off this summer starting around the beginning of June. In the middle of July, using the four-day week again, we will start school and go until Thanksgiving when we’ll take 6 weeks off, then begin again in January. I am hoping that this will dispel any school exhaustion and allow me to sew like a banshee for that time – I always find myself wanting to sew instead of school at this time of year…plus I have to sew two new stockings; one for Anna and one for Isaac. If we need any other time off we can take it, but must do extra work on Fridays and the weeks before and after to make up that time.

So our schedule will look something like this:

Finish this year’s school on May 28
Summer break from May 29 to July 18
School for 18 weeks from July 19 to November 19
Fall/winter break from November 20 to January 2
School for 21 weeks from January 3 to May 27

Other good things about this schedule are that from the middle of July on through half of September, it is deathly hot around here and the kids hardly go outside so we might as well school during this time. Then about the time we take the fall/winter break the weather is still really nice and the kids can spend a lot of time outside. When we start up again will sort of be around when it can start freezing and being too chilly to go outside much. Not that it ever gets that cold or that I can predict the weather, but still, the schedule meshes well with typical nice weather patterns.

So that’s my current tentative schedule. I’ll post a more thorough one in the near future, PLUS what new and fun curriculum I’m going to get. WOOHOO!!  It's been fun figuring out what my own schooling schedule should look like.  How true it is that there is no one HS schedule for everyone and you have to spend a few years learning what you need to do to get on a good rhythm.  FUN STUFF!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Getting To Know Aaron

Aaron created this book during his "nap" time the other day.  He doesn't really take a nap, but he has to stay in his bed for a set time each afternoon and read, do school work, listen to music, play legos, whatever...but I need a bit of peace, so into bed they all go.  Anyway, I found this and it is just priceless!  Here's the front cover:

I Like and I Don't Like
Notice the proper apostrophe placement.  That's my boy.  Okay, so there is a capitalization issue and his spelling of "yuck" is a bit lacking, but hey, the kid's in 1st grade, alright?

I don't like school
Funny.  He says this all the time, but during school, he smiles and asks me to do more than I have scheduled a lot of days.  Oh, and the idea for this very book came from an art booklet we school.

I don't like nap.
Too bad, buster.  I *love* nap, so you lose on this one.

I don't like ties.
It starts young, people.

I don't like thro up.
Oh, man! Me neither.  The funny thing about this is that he caused me more throw up than any of my other children while still in utero, so I consider his throw up to be cosmic payback, baby!

I don't like geting hurt.
Awwww.  I'm sorry.

I don't like LDA.
You and me both, son.

But never fear!  It is not all negative.  Here is the flip side.

I like ice cream.
My tongue likes it more than my hips.

I like Tee ball.
You're pretty good at it, too!

I like Toy Story.
The funny thing about this is that he's never seen all of Toy Story...

I like art.
Doesn't this conflict a bit with the "I don't like school." thing?

I like Legos.
I *don't* like stepping on minute, clear Legos stuck in the carpet in unlikely places!

I like Oregon.
You are your mother's son.

How awesome is that for insight into a child?

Monday, April 12, 2010


After five girls, I can hardly believe we're having a boy.  We laughed so hard that we will name him Isaac. 
*I took out the boy part picture; I just couldn't handle it.*
She gave us some 4D picture, too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

School, school, school...

I have started thinking about next year's school recently.  I *love* Sonlight, and have no plans to stop using it at this point, but I am thinking about doing something different next year for one reason:  I want to combine Aaron and Ethan so that they are doing the same Bible, history, geography, science, and art/music each year.  They will each still have their own age appropriate math and language arts.  This will greatly cut down on my hands-on instruction time and allow me to homeschool all four children a bit better when they are all old enough for that.  So far, Aaron has completed the first three "core" curriculum packages from Sonlight, and if I move him on to the next one for next year, Ethan would not get much out of it and I think would be frustrated much of the time.  I think it would be better to do a Sonlight K option with Ethan next year and do something totally different with Aaron, then combine them for their 1st and 3rd grade years with the next core package from Sonlight.  This opens up so many options for Aaron, and I am getting so excited about the possibilities as I think about it!  I have always been interested in Galloping the Globe.  This is a geography program that covers all 7 continents in 36 lessons.  It has Bible, science, history, art activities, cooking, and literature along with the geography for each country, so alone it covers quite a bit.  I also have wanted to try Bible Study Guide for All Ages.  Doing this would also allow me to focus more on art, music, and foreign language with Aaron for a year.  I think it could kind of be a good year to do all those things that look great but that I don't have time to add to my Sonlight core right now. 

Anyway, since the sky's the limit here, I'm curious to gather ideas from all the other home schoolers that I know to put a great 2nd grade year together for Aaron.  What things do you think I should look into?  What have you loved doing with your 2nd grader (or close to that age)? 

Oh, and I need ideas for his reading for next year.  He can read at a much more advanced level than he can handle topic wise.  I am at a loss as to what to do for him.  I don't really want a "reading" book full of selections that have been written by B-rate authors to fit a character quality or theme to make a well-rounded reader. I'd much rather have something critically acclaimed or classically relevant or spiritually significant.  Ideas?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring...Then Comes Summer

I am grateful for winter only because there are fewer baths/showers, less dirt in the house and hair is actually clean of sand.

Ella would like to demonstrate the state of the children every day by 5 o'clock.
Don't try to look innocent Ella.  I know you can't see the dirt on her face but that is because she's already tanning like crazy.  Lucky girls with such lovely, tanned skin.  They better be grateful!

Hands and shirt.  Pictures don't do it justice.  You should see the bath water.  Actually, the bath doesn't actaully get them clean; they have to shower or they're just bathing in their dirt.

FEET!!  What is she, a hobbit???  Her feet are only about 1/2 and inch smaller than mine.  But take a closer look at those dirty feet.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Mini Post Monday

  • The other day, Ethan burped at the table.  Jerry asked him, "What do you say when you burp?"  His reply?  "Brruuuuuuhhhh."  Well, technically he did answer the question that was asked. 
  • Ethan has a new thing with sticking out his tongue when he knows his picture is being taken.  This was our best family Easter shot, except for the whole tongue thing...
  • The kids were outside playing Saturday morning, and Jerry and I couldn't help but smile when we heard them shouting, "He's crucified!  Take him off the cross and get him in the tomb!"  I wonder what the neighbors were thinking?  Of course, they balanced it out.  After some angry sounding shouts about crucifixion, I heard uncontrolled giggles followed by, "Ethan tooted!"  It's all about ballance, y'all.
  • Family Easter picture.  Aawwwwww.
  • I decided to skip the traditional ham or roast for Easter this year.  Instead, I made chicken fajitas with sauteed onions, peppers, and summer squash, guacamole, black beans, maple walnut cookies, and lemon sponge pudding cake.  My mom added fruit salad and chips to the meal.  Yummy!  What did you have?
  • The older boys hunting for Easter eggs.
  • I am starting something big today.  I am really tired of feeling so weak and soft.  Once upon a time, I was in shape and strong.  I used to run and lift weights and look nice in shorts.  I miss those days.  So when a friend posted about these six week challenges, I decided it was just right for me.  On Mon., Wed., and Fri., I will be doing the push up challenge.  On Tues., Thurs., and Sat., I will be doing both the squats challenge and sit ups challenge.  Anyone care to join me?  Not as a competition or anything - not that I'd be a threat.  I did the initial test for the push ups this morning using a modified push up from my knees and maxed out at 21.  Now my arms feel like jello.
  • Aren't my parents so lovely?
  • Hmmm....Who do you think I resemble?
  • I actually did something crafty!  Check it out here.
  • My children have a way of making any activity into a game and have fun.  While sorting laundry this morning, there was more laughter and singing from them than I have in a whole day most days.  There's a lesson to learn here.
Does this look like laundry sorting to you?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Reflections on Easter

Last night, my family went to the Good Friday service at our church.  I had been reflecting on what Christ's death and resurrection really meant for me for a while already, and during the service I became overwhelmed by how great a sacrifice He made for me.  Our society thinks that man is basically good.  People think that if they are just "good people," it is enough to get through this life and "if" there is an afterlife, to get to heaven.  I don't understand this feeling that man is basically good.  Even thinking back to my earliest memories, I know I have sinned.  I know that I have lied.  I have been intentionally mean and rude to other people.  I know I have thought inappropriate thoughts full of hatred or lust.  I have been gluttonous.  I have yelled at my kids to satisfy my own anger.  I have been rebellious against authority in my life.  If God really is perfect, and He is, how can I even begin to be good enough to approach Him?  It is a real problem.

You know, God didn't have to do anything to fix this problem for me.  But because He loves the imperfect people He created, he wanted to fix that problem.  Even when I didn't know of my need, or even want to be right with God, He showed me the ultimate love by providing a restored relationship with Him through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus.  Wow.  I wouldn't give any one of my sons to save you, and I have three of them.  God gave his only one in order to save me.  Because Jesus was willing to take on the guilt of all my sins, of all the ugly things I have done or thought, I can approach God.  I can relate to God as a perfect father, and run to him with all my joys and sorrows just as a young girl runs to her earthly father with things crying, "Daddy, Daddy!  Look at this!" 

I think it is good to think about the enormity of this sacrifice and grieve the fact that it was my sin that required this sacrifice.  The grief I feel when I think of it motivates me to have a true relationship with God and to try to know Him more and serve Him more.  A few months ago, I wrote this poem when I was struggling with sin in my own heart and reflecting on how God still loves me, still accepts me, and still forgives me - despite my sin - because I have accepted His son and the sacrifice He made for me.  I hope it will mean something to you, as it has meant so much to me.


Sometimes this world calls out to me,
Tempting me with all its sparkle and shine –
The diamonds are glass, the gold an imitation for fools.

And yet I listen.
“It will be pleasurable!”
“You will be powerful!”
“It will bring you comfort!”
“It’s no big deal!”

And yet I listen.
The temptation conceives and gives birth to sin
And the blackness overcomes me.
My strength turns to weakness.
My flesh gives in and I feel myself
Falling under its weight –

But my Savior rushes in –
Christ Jesus is his name!
My Savior lifts me up and washes away my shame!
He sets me on high places and renews my strength.
He bestows upon me mercy and grace –
And I rise under its weight.

My God is mightier than sin!
My God is mightier!
My God is mighty!
Holy is His Name.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Things That Really Chap My Hide

This won't be the most positive post I've ever written, as you  might have guessed from the title; but I have noticed that there are some things that regularly bother the living daylights out of me.  Whatever that means.  Anyway, I thought I might just turn it into a Top Ten Thursday post!  So here goes...

10. When my boys put stickers on random objects that they know they are not supposed to add stickers to.  Of course, they never really come off well, either.

9. When bananas go bad long before they can be eaten.  This didn't bother me when I could just whip up some banana bread with them, but the no wheat/rotate egg/rotate banana thing kicked in, that just wasn't much of an option anymore.

8. The airline's new(ish), rediculous weight restrictions on suitcases that make it impossible to actually fill a suitcase all the way without it going over the weight limit.

7.  Stainless steel.  If anyone had told me just how hard it is to keep stainless steel polished and free from water marks and finger prints, I never would have filled my kitchen with it!

6.  The way boys keep their dresser drawers.  No matter how many times I show these kids how to keep the clothes neatly folded in piles, their drawers look like this in a matter of hours.

5.  Getting beat in Scrabble, especially by someone who looks this happy about it after the fact!

4.  Ants.  Enough said.  (And yes, that ant is on my kitchen counter.  He was there with about 18 of his buddies the other morning.  I killed all his friends before taking his picture.  Then it was off with his head as well.  Bwaahaaahaaahhaaa!)

3.  When dishes pile up immediately after I wash them.  Why does no one else in this house wash dishes???

2.  Saying goodbye to people I love.  Joanna doesn't look any happier about this one than me...

1.  Kids who continue to grow up no matter how many times you tell them to stop!