Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I hope that this scanned right and that you can see it. This is what Reilly did yesterday in F.O.F. She came out and said. "I wrote you and Papa a Christmas letter!" which was, in fact, a thank you note for her Christmas presents. I was so proud of her! Not only for her good penmanship and the structure of her letter (which is something that we've talked about lately), but simply proud of the fact that she knew that it would be a nice thing to do. She's growing up so fast that I can hardly stand it! I love how well she signed her name in cursive and think it's cute that she left the front "wall" off of her "y".
Today in school we went back and reviewed building numbers with the MUS blocks. I was glad that we did it because she had a little bit of trouble understanding how to build a teens number. (One 10 block and then however many units blocks you need) So we did a bunch of those and then I had her "teach" me how to build numbers. She loved this, of course, and really got into the whole role play.
On a personal note, it's snowing again. I've got to say, my midwestern bones are tired of all the snow. Three times in a month is a leeeetle much for me! (And I always said I wanted to move up north! Bah!)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Glue and Maps

I got a book last week at Mardel called Map Skills which has become one of Reilly's favorite activities. Today, she cut out a map of the United States and then she had to pick her "favorite" state. She chose Ohio! (Yay for Aunt Linda!) Then she had a worksheet where to do about what was around her favorite state. We talked about what a map key is and she did a page about that subject.
One thing that is really nice is that her reading ability has grown by such leaps and bounds lately that she can read the directions by herself and is becoming more independent in her work. This allows me to go and do some things with Declan...or heck, to go and fold the laundry in my bedroom! I've actually stopped doing reading packets and have just been having her read things aloud, usually just a book that she picks out. Today, she chose Nate the Great and the Giant Sniff (or something like that, I don't currently have the book in front of me!) which is actually a short chapter book. She made it through the first chapter, so we'll continue that book tomorrow.

Math U See is going really well! We've kind of skipped over a couple of the lessons - I don't think I need to re-teach her how to count to 20! - but we started working on adding +2 facts today and it's fun ! She really enjoys using the MUS manipulative blocks which makes it much easier for the facts to sink in. One of the things about MUS is that you proceed at the pace of your child, so I'm fighting feeling like we need to move onto the next lesson tomorrow. We'll stay on this lesson until she "masters" it, and then we'll move on.

Monday, January 29, 2007

We Gave Up On Mary Poppins

Well, I've been reading Mary Poppins to The Kids at lunch lately, but we decided to give it up. Mary Poppins in the book was nowhere near as pleasant as Mary Poppins in the movie! She was quite conceited and rude and short with the children in the book, not to mention the fact that the book was quite wordy and a little boring. Makes me wonder how they came up with the screenplay for the movie, which is one of our new favorites since The Kids got it for Christmas.

We kind of petered out with school at the end of last week. Women's Bible study started on Thursday and while I had every good intention of having school when we got home, we ended up going out and having lunch with Troy after we got done. Reilly and Declan were SO excited to get to have lunch with their Papa! Then on Friday morning, I woke up with a hankerin' for some Krispy Kreme donuts, which was only magnified by the "Buy a Dozen, get a Dozen Glazed Free" coupon that was burning a hole in my wallet, so we got dressed and headed for Krispy Kreme. I swear, I used to think "Good grief, a donut's a donut!" and then I had a fresh, hot KK donut and was immediately converted to the ranks of People Who Wax Poetic About Krispy Kreme Donuts! Mmmmm, makes my mouth water just thinking about it! So we went to the donut store, then to Mardel where I got three new schoolbooks - a map activities book (map reading and using a map), a "word families" workbook, and a language arts book with cut and paste activities in it like, "Cut out the nouns and glue them in the person, place, or thing columns". Reilly loves that sort of thing!
But on Friday we didn't do ANY of the new activities because we decided that Troy needed a donut since he didn't get to go to KK with us. So we drove out to the area of his route with the idea that we would surprise him at one of his stops. I ended up having to call him and find out where he was because we drove around for about half an hour, looking for him. Four square miles didn't seem quite so big when I hatched the plan!
Today we did our second set of lessons in Math U See which is our new math curriculum. Reilly seems to really be picking it up fast and enjoying the lessons. It's got so much use of manipulatives that it doesn't surprise me a bit that she likes doing it. My only problem is getting her to stop playing with the blocks!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I just love how my daughter's mind works!
Yesterday in school we were talking about questions and how you write and punctuate them. The worksheet that she was doing had her looking at a little drawing of a cartoon panda and then writing a question that she would ask the bear. The first picture showed the bear blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. Her question? "Do you put your name on your birthday cakes?" The second was a picture was the bear in a chefs hat, holding a pan of cookies. She asked, "Do you make cookies with bamboo?" In the third picture the bear is reading a book and she asked, "Do you read books about bears?". The fourth picture was the bear making a snowman, to which she asked, "Are snowflakes black?" and she asked the last bear, who was pulling a rabbit out of a top hat like a magician, "Do you like magic tricks?"
The thing that makes me smile about these questions is the fact that she sees things in such a different way! I think that anyone else looking at the same pictures would have asked questions like "How old are you? What kind of cookies are those? What are you reading?" She didn't want to ask general questions...this was a panda bear! She wanted to know about him! What kind of cookies do pandas make? Do they make their birthday cakes like we do, complete with their name? Do pandas like to read books about other bears? Oh, and she'll freely admit that the third question was silly. She knows that snowflakes are white, she just thought it would be funny to ask a panda if they are black because pandas are black and white!
I love this side of her! It's so neat to see how her imagination works.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I Want a Nap

Last night, Bear hollered and woke me up, which usually isn't a big deal, exept this time it was to tell me that Supey was on her table, trying to get into her fish tank, and would I please take him out and click the door shut behind me? I had a little talk with her this morning about NOT waking me up to do things like that for her because it took me about an hour and a half to go back to sleep! Which means that I came out into the livingroom, surfed the web, went back to bed at 5:00, slapped my alarm at 6:50 when it went off, and snuggled back down under my down-filled comforter, dozing off just in time to hear Bear say, "Moooom? Can we get up now?" *sigh* \

The unfortunate thing that I realize when I get up at the same time as The Kids is that I really need about an hour to fully wake up and feel human! Usually I'm up at least that long before they are, so I've got time to drink my coffee and come to life. I tried really hard not to snap at The Kids too much because I didn't want to take my sleepiness out on them...although I did point out to them that there are people aaalllll over the world who sleep past 7:00! I'm not sure they got the hint, though.

So, since we're expecting 8 inches of snow to fall on Saturday, which might severly limit leaving the house anytime soon after, I decided to make a run to Target (aka My Favorite Store Despite the Fact That They Don't Let Bell Ringers Stand in Front at Christmas). Deco is in desperate need of new jeans, so I picked up some of those for him, as well as a couple of other things, one of which is a game called "Imaginiff" which looked really neat as I read the box but looks quite complicated once I opened the box and fully read the directions. Hmmmm, I wonder if I can take it back?

Oh, yeah. School. This is a homeschooling blog, after all, isn't it? Well, when we got home, Bear did a crossword puzzle of her spelling words, an addition sheet where one of the addends was missing and she had to figure out what the number was, and then we talked about the concept of alphabetical order. I had a worksheet that I'd printed online that had her putting set of 3 letters in ABC order, and then I got out a set of sight word cards and showed her how the concept applies to whole words. I'm going to have her read....something, I don't know before we have Rest Time (aka Mom Needs a Nap After Her Midnight Awakening), and we'll call it good. It's just so HARD to have school when I know that allllll the other teachers in town are off! It's no fair!

I titled this picture "Will The Real Animal Please Step Forward?"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

An "Unschooling" Kind of day

This morning, I decided to start school with a craft project. It's been too long since we did something fun like that, and Bear loves to make things. She and Deco both got suncatcher making kits for Christmas and I thought today would be the perfect day. She was SO excited! Deco's so funny, though. We got about 8 minutes into the process of putting the miniscule little beads into the little wire frame and I realize that I'm the one sitting at the kitchen table, doing all the work, and he's back in the schoolroom, playing with his pirate ship.

I said, "Deco, do you want to come and do this or should I put it away until you're interested in it?"
He said, "Oh, just put it away until I'm intwested, Mom." (He says his "r's" like Elmer Fudd!)
"Do you just want me to finish it?" I asked.
"Yeah!" he replys.

I guess he's just not the crafter that his sister is! But, hey, I enjoyed it!

The whole process took a lot longer than I thought it would, so it was 11:00 before we got done. Then I got a call from the optrician's office at the mall saying that the contacts that I had ordered were in, so I decided that we needed to get out of the house. A little lunch at Chick-Fil-A, a little playtime on the indoor playground, and then back home. Bear read a book to us and I decided that we'd call it a day. I think that after dinner, she and I might make some chocolate chip cookies...or maybe we'll do that tomorrow. Today was a good day, though!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


...well, wasn't really anything special. Although I do feel like I had a couple of good ideas for ways to do old things in a new way. I've reeeaaaallly been trying to have spelling words each week during this school year, and have done pretty well. I give them to her on Monday, we practice them through the week, and on Friday she has a quiz. For practice, I'll have her do anything from writing them in PlayDoh to putting them into a crossword or word search. (I make the crosswords online, lest you think I'm some sort of genius for hand-making crossword puzzles!) This week I decided to do "Silly Sentences". I typed up sentences using a spelling word in each one, but leaving a blank where the word was to go. Then I wrote the words on slips of paper and taped them into the wrong spaces, making sentences like "The queen wears a town on her head" and "Sometimes when you look up into the sky, you see a car". She had to read the sentence and find the correct word, and she really got a kick out of the way the sentences sounded with the wrong word.

Another thing I changed was how we were drilling for math facts. I printed out some flash cards that have the problem with the answer on one side and without the answer on the other. I'd flash the side with the answer at her, then the same problem but without the answer, so she was saying each problem twice...anyway, it all sounds very boring when I write it down, but I also let her SCREAM the answers at the top of her lungs, so it was fun. Screaming in school is always fun!

I have to point out that this picture wasn't edited on my computer, it was taken like that. There's a feature on our new digital camera that allows you to take up to 4 pictures and it composites them together. I took the one of Bear first, then the one of's cool.
Oh, and here they are, out in the, wait. That's not snow, it's a SOLID SHEET OF ICE!!! You don't even make footprints when you walk! Heck, I backed the car out of the driveway and the car didn't leave TIREPRINTS! IT's INSANE!

And here's Supey, back in school. He decided it was time to further his education a little more.

My Little Big Guy

This morning I was in the kitchen getting breakfast and Deco came in behind me.

"I dressed myself!" he said.

I turned around and, sure enough, he had. Complete with boots and everything, and with his pants and underwear both on frontwards. (He has, in the past, put those items of clothing on backwards!)

It's funny, the feeling that this gives me. It's such a combination of proud of how much he's growing up and a feeling of panic of how fast it all seems to be happening. I know that I don't want my kids to be babies forever. Heck, there are some days I'd give my right arm for them to just be able to make lunch for themselves! But there are times like today where I want to just have time stop so that I can hold them and play with them and be silly with them forever. (OK, the silliness will never stop, no matter how old they get! It's in my genes!) But time marches on, kids get older, and I have to remind myself to just simply stop and enjoy now and quit worrying about how soon "later" will come.

On a side note, I was playing with my new camera settings and thought this was just a red border with the "ZoomIn" letters on the side...then, when I downloaded it, I realized there is all the other text on the other side. Oops! Oh, and I don't know if he put on socks or not!

Ice School!

Well, we retained our power, which is a good thing considering how many people in our area did not. I think that my biggest fear about losing power was not having heat, so I had gone out on Friday to Academy and bought an indoor-safe propane heater. I think that this purchase was what guaranteed that our power would remain on because it seems that when you prepare for the worst, the worst passes you by. So I think that I deserve an award or something for single-handedly preventing the worst of the storm from reaching our city! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Yesterday, Bear was complaining that her stomach was bothering her, so she spent most of the morning lying on her bed, listening to "Ramona Quimby, Age 8" on the tape player. Sometimes I have my doubts when she begins to complain of illness, but I hate to assume that she's faking it only to find out that she's really sick. That's one of the benefits of homeschooling, I guess! I don't have to worry about keeping her home from school because she's "sick", only to find out she is fine and I don't have to worry about sending her to school thinking she's faking, only to have her puke on the teacher or something. We just started school at about 10:30 and finished up after lunch!
* On a side note, I don't really think she was faking. Usually when she's faking, she gives it up in about 15 minutes and is up and running around. Yesterday morning, she was quiet in her room for about 2 hours!! *
I'm starting to get a wee bit stir crazy. I like not having anywhere to go, but at the same time, seeing as I've not left the house in 48 hours now, I'm feeling the need to go somewhere. Anywhere. I don't care where. Target*, the grocery store, the library, the gas station...makes no difference to me, I just need to see something other than these walls. I guess I might change my mind though, once I feel the bitter, eye-numbing cold outside. It's easy to want to go somewhere when you're sitting, snuggled warm in your bed with your laptop, listening to The Kids playing and singing "Hevenu Shalom Elequem"! (Forgive the horrible spelling, I'm not actually Jewish so I don't really know how to spell Jewish words!)
*I'll make practically any excuse to go to Target!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

What I Have NOT Done Today

Today I have not done anything productive, whatsoever.
Did I mention zero?
Due to the icy weather that we were hit with beginning on Friday, I've hardly left the house since Friday afternoon. OK, well, yesterday we went sledding. Or maybe we should call it "ice sliding" since there was a distinct absense of both snow (nope, only ice) and sleds. One of our sled discs got busted in the last snow we had and the other, we believe, is buried under the current ice that is in the backyard. So The Kids were "sledding" in laundry baskets, which actually worked fantastically well, especially since it was on ice and not on snow. Too bad I didn't have my camera. Especially to take a picture of ME going down the hill in a laundry basket. I'm sure that was quite a site.
And then, yesterday evening, The Kids went to my mom's house for a sleepover since she didn't have anyplace to go, so we left the house to take them over there. Then we've had to make two trips to the store for necessities (once for butter and once for coffee...and Tums). Oh, and Ched and I went to the neighbors house to play games last night. So I guess I actually have left the house quite a few times in the last couple of days. But nothing of value has been accomplished lately.
But, oh boy, was it NICE to sleep until 7:45 this morning!! I don't think we've slept that late since before we had kids!!! And then, when we did get up, we stayed in our pajamas until time to go and get The Kids from my mom's house. HEAVEN!!
So now I'm going to try to get my lesson plan done for this week. Then I can feel like I've done one productive thing this weekend!
Maybe if I get my act together I can actually plan some fun things to do so I can post pictures of them instead of just writing!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Blog Envy

I'm having some serious blog envy today. I have lots of blogs that I love to read, some quite obsessively. (I thought I was going to pass out when Y over at Joy Unexpected didn't blog for something like 2 weeks because her children were sick!) These blogs make me laugh and think and usually laugh again, and it's amazing how I can feel like these people are my friends even though I've never actually heard their voice or met them in person. Sometimes I think I have more cyber friends than I have real, flesh and blood friends! (Except that my cyber friends are, in fact, flesh and blood...hopefully. Ummm, I've never thought to check. I don't think any of them are cyborgs or anything weird like that.)
Anyway, I'm having blog envy because I want my blog to be funny and hip and cool but I'm so NOT hip and cool. (To toot my own horn here, I think I am a little funny. At least I think the things I say are funny! I'm a great audience of one!) But hip and cool? Ummm, no not me. Oh well.
Hey, I blew up a 13x9 Pyrex casserole dish the other day. I accidentaly turned on the burner underneath it and when I realized what I'd done, I got it off the stove and set it on the sink. I think that some of the water from the running tap hit the pan because it immediately exploded into thousands of pieces! We were wiping glass dust out of the sink! Freaky! I'm just glad that it didn't hurt anyone!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

DeLurk Today!!

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So, for the hundreds of you out there who read my blog...OK, all 3 of you....this is National DeLurking Week. For those of you who don't even know what lurking is, it's when you read a blog but the author (that would be me) doesn't know that you read it because you don't leave comments (that would be the other two of you who read. Sherri always comments. I love you, Sherri!) So, hey, if you're here and you'd like to let me know you're here, I'd love to hear from you. DeLurk today!
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As Chris from Notes from the Trenches said, "Do it for your country!"

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Man, I've got to say that the past two days have been HARD as far as school goes! I was so frustrated this morning that I could feel it vibrating through my body I wanted to pull my hair out. I just felt like I was talking in circles and that nothing I was teaching was being retained at all. Add to that the fact that it was taking Bear about 3 times longer to complete everything she did and mix in the fact that it seemed that I couldn't leave her side for a moment and it made for a pretty nasty cocktail. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Bear decided that she wanted to learn about ballet, so we made a trip to the library to get some books on ballet. She's super excited to get started reading those. Actually, I am as well, because ballet fascinates me. I think that's because it's something that I could never do! I love looking at pictures of the dancers, although I find an actual ballet to be pretty boring after about the first 45 minutes! Short attention span, I guess, but I've always thought that I'd love it if I could buy a half ticket to a ballet so I don't have to sit through the whole thing!

*Editor's note: I started this yesterday and I'm just now getting around to finishing it. I had the "lightbulb" realization that, truthfully, the bad situation was all my fault. I sit in the morning and say my prayers and ask God to guide my day and then abandon His support as soon as my feet hit the floor. Then I try to go into school and teach and things fall apart because I'm trying to rely on my own strength and not His.
One other thing I realized is that a lot of my frustration stems from having expectations that are really too high. Bear is a smart girl but that doesn't mean that I should expect her to remember exacctly which words are capitalized in a book title when we've only talked about it once! *

Today was much better! We started by getting out the magnetic poetry words and just making sentences on a cookie sheet. Bear loved this and had a great time making both silly and realistic sentences. Her first one was "I love my teacher"
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We switched from doing addition and subtraction to doing some measuring worksheets today, so that was a nice change.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


One of the things that Bear asked for, over and over, for Christmas was "a kid's sewing set". Well, she got one from her Aunt Melessa and she was THRILLED! It's a kit that came with three felt "sewing" projects, a cross-stitch project, and a needlepoint project, and it's just perfect for her age and skill level. I think she's asked almost every day since she got it if she could do one of the projects, so on Wednesday, I decided that we could make sewing part of our school day. One of the things that Bear struggles with a little bit is losing her concentration while she's working and taking FOREVER to finish tasks. So I told her that we would do sewing as our last activity if she got the other things done in a timely manner. As you can see by the pictures, she got her stuff done and had a great time making her purse. I had to help a bit with the knotting of the yarn and braiding the handle, but she did the rest of it herself! I was so proud of her!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Our First Day Back

Well, we're back in the 'ol grind! Not that that's a bad thing, by any means. In fact, Bear really seemed excited to get back to school. I wish that I'd had something fun planned for our first day back at school, but I didn't. Bear did a new reading packet and practiced some math flash cards. (We got a kick out of trying to say "math facts flash cards" without messing up! It's harder than you might think!) Bear also started writing her thank you notes for Christmas presents. I think that one a day is probably all we're going to get done, so some people might still be getting their thank you's in February! I tried using a four-square grid to "map out" her thank you before she wrote it - the present in a box in the middle, then four things around that that she wanted to say - but I'm not sure that she really got the concept of what I was trying to do. Heck, I'm not even sure that I got the concept! Oh well! We got one note written without any huge problems, so whatever we did worked!
I'm at a point this year where I'm beginning to feel at loose ends as far as the teacing aspect of school goes. That's the problem with not using a set/boxed curriculum, I think, because I remember it happening last year. I begin to worry if I'm teaching everything that she needs to know and wondering what things I'm leaving out, and since I don't have a manual or something telling me what to do, I begin to panic. But I hate to think of buying something new in the middle of the year because I don't want to only get through half of the first grade level before summer break. (That happened to me last year with math and I'm bound and determined that it won't happen again!) I feel like I'm in a rut and I want to break out of it, but I'm at a loss as to how I go about doing that. Argh.

Monday, January 01, 2007


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How's everyone doing this fine, first day of 2007? Me, I'm doing great! I spent the morning taking down all our Christmas decorations and while the house doesn't feel as festive as it did a few hours ago, I'm relieved to be back in the routine. I absolutely love Christmas and everything about it...I think I may have mentioned that about a bajillion times in previous posts...but there is something comforting about returning to normal. I think we're going to go back to school on Wednesday, using tomorrow to just relax and enjoy our last day of holiday. I still need to get the kids "handprints" embroidered on our tree skirt, so that's the one last thing that is left out as far as Christmas decorations go. Unfortunately, last year I forgot to trace their hands onto the skirt, so 2005 will be skipped which makes me a little sad. I know that Bear's hands probably haven't changed in size much in the last year, but I bet Deco's have.
We had a really fun New Year's Eve, even though we didn't actually stay up until midnight. Our friends who live across the street invited us and another family we're all friends with over to eat and play games. We played Battle of the Sexes which was a lot of fun, and the guys won. We all got a kick out of that because the fact that they won means that they know a lot more about "girly things" like "What wrinkles less, silk or linen?" than we knew about "guy things" like "Where was the latest Steven Segal movie set?" One wonders if they should be proud or scared that they won!
So, now it's time to make the resolutions for 2007. I'm not going to share them because I don't want to be held accountable if I break them, but suffice to say that I just want to be "better" this year - a better Wife, a better Mom, a better witness for Christ.
Cheers to you all and Happy New Year!