Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!!!

Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and Queen Amidala - our Star Wars theme Halloween:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our Week Ending 10/30

I feel as though this was a much more productive week than previous weeks have been (or felt, at least).

Casey is plowing through addition and has started some subtraction, too. Language arts studies (Explode the Code, First Language Lessons, R&S Phonics, Seton English 1 and Spelling 1) are continuing as scheduled. We're still studying Ancient Greece - this past Sunday, we built a campfire in the backyard and told stories of Odysseus just as they did when the stories were (relatively) new! I think the kids really enjoyed it and I enjoyed it as well, once the fire was lit, that is.

Science was our fun foray this week. Still on our Ocean study, I made a special snack: a jello ocean, complete with Swedish fish, a graham cracker beach with macaroni shells, and a paper boat.

Will is quite excited about the letters he's learning. At home, the letter for the week was t and at preschool, the letter h.

Oh! And, fully feeling my self-worth as a homeschool teacher (remember, last week I was having doubts?), we've almost finished our Elections lapbook!!! One final touch will be to add a top-folding flap with a map of the United States, which I (given that Casey will be in bed when most of the election returns are rolling in) will fill in with red and blue. The pièce de résistance of our little project.

Good week, I think!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gone again it seems.

Well, it looks like the WTM Forums boards are down again. This episode's cryptic message:

We'll be back. Later.

As with the last time, I need someone to fill me in. Although, I have started visiting (and even posting a couple of times) again. I guess I'm just missing out on all the controversy regarding the social groups. I'm a member of a few - I even started two, but they're pathetically inactive (I'm blaming myself and my recent lack of visiting). I guess I just don't get the appeal of the social groups. I like the general board and the K-6 board the best. That's just me.

Again, let me know what brought it down this time!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mama Y. and Granny

Someone once told me that as long as you have a grandmother, you have someone praying for you...

I miss my grandmothers. My dad's mother, Granny Clara, passed away in January 2001. My mother's mom, Mama Y., has been in a nursing home for the past 4 1/2 years.

Granny was your typical short little Southern grandmother. She often wore smock/apron-like blouses that seemed persistently covered in flour. Granny was tough - red hair and all (she liked it that color). Growing old gracefully wasn't her style - she was a worker. The mother to six children, she was constantly taking care of everyone, or at least trying to. When I spent a week or two each summer in her little trailer in the Georgia mountains, she and her sisters and I would "go to town" once a week to get groceries. (Two of her sisters lived in trailers nearby - one across the street and one down and around a bend in the dirt road.) Granny lived simply, but loved Avon. Granny gave Christmas presents to everyone even when she barely had money to buy things for herself - and when I say everyone, I mean all of the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, spouses, and other relatives. I miss my Granny. I miss walking up to her front porch and having her soft little body enveloping mine. What I would give for a biscuit, a smile and a hug.

And my Mama Y. Where to begin... She never told me, but I honestly believe I was her favorite grandchild. I am the youngest of her three grandchildren and the only child of her only daughter. My Mama and Papa Y. would take me camping with them in the summers. I remember many mornings being awakened by my daddy so that he, Papa Y and I could go fishing. Papa Y. had a stroke when I was 14 or 15 and could no longer work. Mama Y. had never handled the bills, the money, the checkbook. All of a sudden, she had to - and it scared her. Ten years later, another stroke killed my Papa. But Mama Y. still made food for Christmas dinner a month later. She always made red velvet cake for Christmas dinner. She also made me chicken dumplings without the chicken from the time I can remember until the last time she made a big meal for the family. During the summers I would spend with my grandparents, Mama Y. would show me old pictures and tell me who all the people were - but I didn't know and couldn't remember most of them. I would help her in her garden - shucking corn, stringing beans. And I watched her can, freeze, and cook more food than I could consume in a lifetime. I remember the last time I saw my Mama Y. as the Mama Y. I knew as a child... it was a week before she had the stroke which landed her in the nursing home permanently. I gave her a hug and a kiss, loaded myself, my husband, and our then only child into the car and drove away. I did the same thing I'd always done while leaving her house... I turned back to watch her go inside. And that was it... That was the last time I saw her standing, smiling, truly living.

Mama Y. doesn't know who anyone is any longer. I visit occasionally - not nearly as much as I should, I know, but it's so hard. When I go, I never stay more than 5 minutes and I cry for hours afterward. I wish she didn't have to linger, to suffer - but that's God's call, not mine. So much has happened since she went into the nursing home. People she knew and loved have passed away - and some of those deaths would be devastating to her if she knew. There have been divorces. There have been births. In addition to the five she knew of, she has two more great-grandchildren. I hope I always remember that last image I had of her - turning to go into her house as I drove away.

My oldest daughter is named after my grandmothers. We also call her a nickname which combines their names. I wish my children could have known my grandparents. Mama Y would have loved all of them, as would have Granny - even though I know my Granny had an extra-soft spot in her heart for little boys and my little boy would have fit right in.

Our hallway is lined with pictures going back 5 generations on both sides of our family. Sometimes, we stop and stare at the pictures. Sometimes Richard or I will tell the children about a particular person in a picture. I suppose it's the best we can do - share memories if we can't share the person.

So, every night before the children go to bed, we have a litany of people we pray for - the names roll off our tongues like words to a familiar song. Thirty names every night. In our household, it's not only grandmas who pray for someone. I just wish I still had my grandmothers praying for me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Blog Award!

Guess what! I found out what my message was! It's a Blog Award from Angie at Cuppa Dangie! What an honor - I'm so happy! It really does make it feel like this blogging experience is worth it knowing someone is reading and appreciating. Thank you again, Angie!

Here are the details of the award itself:

“This blog invests and believes, in ‘proximity’ [meaning, that blogging makes us 'close' - being close through proxy] "They are all charming blogs, and the majority of them aim to show the marvels of friendship; there are persons who are not interested when we give them a prize, and then they help to cut these bows; do we want that they are cut, or that they propagate?" Then let’s try to give more attention to them! So with this prize we must deliver it to eight bloggers that in turn must make the same thing and put this text.”

Here are the details of the award Angie bestowed to me personally:

Angela makes me laugh with the pictures of her kids she posts! I like to see what she is up to and think her blog design is beautiful. I'm amazed she can juggle so many hats and even has time to blog!

As part of my award, I must pass the award on to 8 more bloggers... Let's go!

The Striped Rose. I would be remiss if I didn't include my very dear friend's blog. Of course, I get regular updates from Michele either on the phone or in person, but I also find out what's going on by peeking at her blog! Beautiful pictures of her girls, flowers, and cross-stitching abound, intertwined with writings of her beliefs and homeschool journey. She also inspired me to blog and I'm so happy she did!

Living Water Christian Academy
. Rhonda and her family have so many outings - I love to see where they'll wind up next. Pictures of nature walks and visits to the lake - Rhonda always makes me long for the great outdoors!

Litten Lamm Academy. One of my first blogging friends! Monica's site is a wonderful expression of what homeschooling a young child with an even younger one running about can entail. She also injects quite a bit of humorous sarcasm - the very best kind - in her posts (see the post about the shoes and the lack of velcro - that's my life).

Our Place. I stumbled upon Sherri's blog one day and noticed she had pictures from her local zoo. I think I might have frightened her a little when I told her my family and I had been to that zoo many times even though we don't live in that state. I believe we're okay now - and she knows I'm not stalking her! LOL. I enjoy dropping by Sherri's blog to see if I recognize other local attractions she frequents!

Knowledge House Academy. I visit Nikowa's blog often. And I was excited to see a video introduction where she pronounces her name (I was pretty close)! She's the mother of two boys and is very active in their scouting, often posting pictures. (I can't wait until my son can join up!) Thanks, Nikowa, for entertaining me with your blog! By the way, you don't sound any more (or less) southern than I do!

King Alfred Academy. Brittney's blog is so detailed with the things her children are studying - I only hope I can be thorough with my children as our homeschool adventure progresses.

Simple and Sweet. I love, love, love Lindsey's blog. Lindsey is mom to three little girls and a baby boy. Just reading her blog, you can tell she cherishes her children and their education. Lindsey, I'm jealous of the postcard project. I HAVE to do that one - so tell me how!

Our Nest of 3. Dawn always exhibits fantastic school work on her site. Her boys are SO creative - and Dawn is, too. Check out all of her beautiful handmade cards!

Alrighty... go and visit these blogs! And let all of these ladies know what a fabulous job they're doing!

Our Week Ending 10/23

The beginning of our school week, Friday, October 17, started well enough, but the remainder of the weekend was a bit rocky. Casey and Will spent the night with friends on Saturday night. Michele and I had some discussion about sleeping arrangements: Where should Will sleep? She suggested that Will and the Chipmunk bunk together... after all, they're only 3 and 4 (and I thought, wouldn't that make a funny story for them to share one day); while I suggested that Will and Casey could share a bed - they've done it before. Well, Will wound up sleeping on a sofa - if my understanding is correct - because he was keeping the girls awake, so they kicked him out!

Once the kids were home on Sunday afternoon, we continued our studies and played catch up on Monday.

I'm still working on teaching Casey about the elections process. She and her brother had both a secret ballot election (for their favorite type of candy) and an open election (to vote for their favorite kind of animal). I'm hoping we can actually get to the lapbook this weekend.

Of course, we also did math (I'm skipping a couple of lessons in Saxon 1 - she gets 0 and 1 addition), language arts, and science. As for history, I think I could stay on the Ancient Greeks for months on end. I love it!

Will is still learning his letters and is so proud! He's pointing out all of the letters he's learned and I keep reminding him that before too long, he'll start learning to read.

It was a good week, but I feel like we're slipping behind a little. Maybe it's just my own doubts, insecurities, inadequacies. Whatever they are, I just want this guilty feeling to go away! Maybe it will if we get that Elections lapbook finished!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Has Happened at WTM Forums?!

Okay, I admit that I've been slacking on my WTM Forums posting lately - well, with the exception of posting my Wordless Wednesday for this week. I just went to the site and this strange, cryptic message popped up stating,

"The forums are off for the moment ...because the complaints have reached unmanageable levels. They will be turned back on when the moderators have time to deal with them."

So...all of you who are regular posters there: WHAT'S GOING ON?

I can only imagine that it has something to do with the imminent Presidential election. I know things have gotten pretty heated there in the recent past and threats by the powers that be were rampant that if things don't settle down, the boards would be turned off until after the election. Has that finally come to pass? The threats had some follow through? Let me know!

By the way, I noticed that I have a private unread message there, but I cannot access it. If you left it for me, let me know. Having unread mail drives me crazy!

I love my jobs!

I have to say, "I love my jobs!" Both of them...

I love being a homeschool mommy. I relish the thought of teaching my children something new, as every parent does (or, at least, should). But I feel as though I'm even more blessed because I've taken on the responsibility of their education. Of course, anyone would feel proud when another adult praises their child for reading well or excelling in math. I am even more proud because I know I introduced, developed, and honed those skills that are being praised!

I also love being an attorney - and I don't know many who do, including my husband. I'm very fortunate in my role at my office. I work part-time and I have very little stress at my job; but I'm able to interact with clients and do one of the things I love most: research. I love research - any kind of research. I'm known for popping open a window to Wikipedia if something comes up at the office and someone needs info fast.

Being a lawyer is not something I dreamed of as a child. I actually made the decision after speaking to one of my undergrad professors who pointed out that I could get a Ph.D. in History, but there's no guarantee I would secure a job. So, law school seemed like a better option - and that's what I did.

Being a wife and mother is what I dreamed of while growing up. I knew I wanted to marry a man who would want as many children as I want. I knew I wanted to be a loving, attentive, active mother.

My job at the office, which I am fortunate enough to enjoy, allows me to be the kind of mother I dreamed of being as a child. I'm happy to say: I'm living my dream!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs #10

10 Facts About Me? Oh where to begin...

1. I am an only child. (Maybe that explains my desire to have a house full of children.)
2. I am scared of the dark. I like the dark, but I'm afraid...very afraid.
3. I am obsessed with TP and paper towels being on the hook the right way. The right way is: paper going over the top. That's the way it's meant to be. For you nay-sayers...look at the print!
4. I really despise open-toed shoes. Yes, I have a few pair now, but I still don't like seeing them. Especially in winter!
5. I love to sing!
6. Every afternoon around 3:00, I start blinking funny because my contacts are killing me.
7. Speaking of contacts, without them, I can't see anything clearly beyond 5 inches in front of my nose.
8. When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be a monkey.
9. I wish I could have a cat - but my husband is EXTREMELY allergic to them.
10. I once rode in a blimp after winning the trip from a radio station.

Okay... I don't know what you can do with that information, but there it is!

Wordless Wednesday & Office Outing

Okay... so my Wordless Wednesday isn't exactly wordless this week. I'm sorry to disappoint you if you were lured here under false pretenses.

Last Thursday, our law office went on an outing. For the three years since working at the law firm, I've heard about all these great trips they used to take - shutting down the office, going on hikes. Back this summer, I'd finally heard enough! So, I took it upon myself to schedule an outing. The date was changed a couple of times, but it wound up sticking at October 16.

We rented a Ford Expedition - because seven of us were going on the trip and we didn't want to caravan. We loaded up at 9:30 - half an hour late - ate a HUGE breakfast at a local (fabulous) restaurant then drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We went on a hike - a bit more strenuous than what the boss man led us to believe it would be - but once we were on top of that mountain looking around, it was worth it!

We then traveled to a little town called Waynesville. We walked around for a while trying to decide where to eat lunch. We wound up at the place I had suggested - a little bakery/sandwich shop (I'm all about bakeries). They stopped serving lunch at 3:00 - it was 3:20. They were so nice, the fed us despite the time. Great sandwiches.... and even better desserts!

Then, we were off to Lake Junaluska. Breathtaking! Roses were in bloom, mixing with the fall colors of the surrounding mountains. (That's where the rose picture was taken.) After walking the trail that goes around the lake, it was time to go home.

It was such a beautiful day for an outing. Finally, after three years of hearing the talk, I finally got to go on one!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Red Lemon by Bob Staake

About 3 years ago, while looking for a few interesting children's books to check out from the local library, I ran across The Red Lemon by Bob Staake. More than anything, the illustrations caught my eye. I checked it out, took it home, read it to the children, and it was an instant hit! Three years later, it's a family favorite.

This morning, I read it again. I've got most of it memorized - from the sing-song rhymes to the beautiful pictures. We even have a special way of reading some of the lines and the children know all of those parts by heart.

After the thousandth or so reading this morning, I decided to do some research: Are there more books by the author? What else has he done? Does he have a website?

Yes! There are more books:

The Donut Chef (written and illustrated; published last month)
Mary Had a Little Lamp (illustrations)
This is NOT a Pumpkin (written and illustrated)
Little Golden Picture Dictionary (illustrated) [We have this one, too!]

And even more!

I also found Bob Staake's website. Available on the site is a link to print a cute cut-out house which is Staake's studio. Here's what the finished product will look like:

I also found Staake's email address and dropped him a quick line to say, "Thanks for writing such a great book." You know what? Within 20 minutes, he wrote back. Neat!

At the end of every year, I buy 10-15 copies of a book to give as presents the following year. I've decided our 2009 gift book will be The Red Lemon!

Edited to add: Richard and I were further exploring The Red Lemon site I linked above. There are games, views of the book, and red lemon recipes at the website. DH made red lemonade:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our Week Ending 10/9/2008

Another week down!

Casey has started studying the Oceans section of My World Science. She's excited about it. I'm excited about dissecting a starfish, but that's a few weeks away.

I also decided, given the upcoming Presidential election, it is time to discuss the election process. Casey has been quite interested in the election for the last few months, but I finally got the materials I needed to teach her about the process. One book we're using is Vote! by Eileen Christelow. Cute, cartoony book - perfect for Casey's age - about the election of a town mayor from the viewpoint of two dogs and a little girl. Casey read the typeface print and I read the dialogue between the cartoon characters. As part of our elections lessons, Casey and I (and probably Daddy and Will, too) are going to play The Political Machine 2008. It's a computer game, which makes Daddy happy; and it's about elections, which makes me happy. And I feel another lapbook coming on!

We've finally started our Ancient Greece study. I'm so excited, as is Casey. In addition to the reading in Story of the World I, Casey is reading The Greek Gods and Goddesses of Olympus by Aliki and The Adventures of Odysseus by Hugh Lupton and Daniel Morden. She's already telling her Nonnie all about Odysseus and the creatures and people he encounters. I love it when she finds a passion!

The other subjects are going well, but I think I'm about to throw in the towel on The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. Casey is bored with it. I'm bored with it. She already knows how to pronounce most of what the lessons cover (although she may not know "why" she knows), but she isn't going to remember all of the rules anyway. I might check her on some of the various rules from time to time, but now that we've gone through 141 lessons, I think it's time to move on to something else.

And, Casey started gymnastics this week - and LOVES it! So much so that she tried to make a vault in our living room out of a small step stool and the piano bench. I heard a crash and saw her writhing on the floor in pain. After the boo-boos were kissed and cleared of signs of breakage, I explained that we don't have the same kind of equipment at home as they do at the gym. She then proceeded to tell me that "gyn-nastics is so much better than ballet." I guess while the likelihood that she would break a bone attempting a ballet feat at this level is slim, the adventure of flipping and tumbling is far more exciting to her.

Will is almost finished with Get Ready for the Code. His preschool teacher left a note for me today that said Will knew every instance of the letter "F" as they were studying that letter this week. He can write it, identify the sound, identify the letter, and identify the pictures corresponding with the sound. Ahh... I LOVE the Explode the Code books!

Will has also recently discovered his talent for singing - he and I have even started singing a duet from a CD we got from Chic-Fil-A. I hope he keeps his love for music!

On Tricky's development front, she's decided she wants to potty train. This is not something I encourage at this age (I like to wait until around 2 1/2 years of age), but she's willing to do it, so who am I to stop her? I just dread the mess.

I hope everyone had a fabulous week!

The Big Read

I borrowed this from Michele's blog...

The Big Read

  • The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.

    The Rules:

    1) Look at the list and put one * by those you have read.
    2) Put a % by those you intend to read.
    3) Put two ** by the books you LOVE.
    4) Put # by the books you HATE.
    5) Post.

    **1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
    **2 The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
    *3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
    *4 Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling
    **5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
    **6 The Bible
    *7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë
    *8 1984 - George Orwell
    9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
    %10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
    *11 Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
    *12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
    13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
    %14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (I've read some, but not all.)
    **15 Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
    **16 The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
    17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
    *18 Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
    19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
    20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
    **21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
    **2 The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
    23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
    %24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
    25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
    %26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
    %27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    *28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
    *29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
    %30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
    %31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
    %32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
    33 Chronicles of Narnia- C.S. Lewis (I've read the first 3)
    **34 Emma - Jane Austen
    *35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
    **36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis -
    *37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
    38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis de Bernières
    *39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
    **40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
    %41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
    #42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
    43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
    45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins -
    %46 Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
    47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
    **48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
    *49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
    50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
    **51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
    *52 Dune - Frank Herbert
    53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
    **54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
    55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
    56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
    %58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
    59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
    60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    **61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
    62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
    63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
    64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
    %65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (Richard says Dumas is GREAT)
    66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
    67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
    **68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
    69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
    *70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
    71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
    ***********72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
    **73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
    74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
    76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
    77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
    78 Germinal - Émile Zola
    79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
    %80 Possession - A.S. Byatt
    **81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
    82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
    **83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
    *84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
    85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
    86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
    **87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
    88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
    %89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
    91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
    *92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery - in French
    93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
    **94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
    *******95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole (currently reading for the second time)
    96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
    97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
    **98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
    %99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (my 5 year old is reading it)
    *100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Awards? For simply doing this?

Okay, so I'm relatively new to the blogging world... I just found out there are awards for blogging. Who knew?

The Homeschool Post, as of October 13, 2008, will begin accepting nominations for the best blogs out there - at least those relating to homeschooling. There are 24 categories, which can be found listed here. I've also got a link on my sidebar to the Homeschool Blog Awards.

So... shameless plug for Category #23, Best NEW Homeschool Blog. I think I can do that!

Happy nominating!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Little Flowers Meeting 10/4/2008

We had a GREAT Little Flowers meeting - despite the fact I forgot to look up the meaning of the word virtue.

We discussed the virtue of faith and reviewed what we had learned last time about St. Catherine of Sienna. The flower associated with faith is the sunflower - because the sunflower's face faithfully follows the path of the sun.

As one of our projects to earn a badge, we were to plant sunflower seeds. Well, it's not the season, so instead we made faux sunflower arrangements. Given that I came up with the idea as I was whizzing through Wal-Mart on Friday, I think they turned out lovely.

We set our schedule through the end of the year. We'll be discussing St. Monica, St. Agnes, Hope, and Love of God. We'll also have a sashing ceremony, a Christmas Party, and lots of fun!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our Week Ending 10/2/2008

We had a fun-filled, busy week!

On Saturday, we went to JapanFest. So. Much. Fun. After spending the better part of two weeks studying Japan, and armed with her lap book, Casey was well-equipped for the festival celebrating Japanese culture. We saw Sumo wrestling, ceremonial archery, a tea ceremony, and a very entertaining Japanese band called Sinatra. We also made kites, bought Japanese snacks (candy, crackers), and saw some gorgeous flower arrangements. In exchange for some of the squares she had earned, Casey got a kokeshi doll (actually, the one she got isn't made of wood). I did learn one very important thing while there: I am not a fan of Japanese cuisine.

We also covered the basics: Saxon Math (for both Casey and Will), Language Arts (spelling, Ordinary Parent's Guide..., First Language Lessons, English for Young Catholics - all for Casey), continuing to read The Odyssey to the kids, religion, and Get Ready for the Code (for Will).

Sadly, Casey was sick this morning, but fortunately, Daddy was able to stay home with her. (I had to go to a temporary custody hearing - that turned out quite well for my client!) She bounced right back around mid-morning - you know how kids are!

Also, did you know homeschoolers can sign up for Pizza Hut's Book It program? We got our materials this week. Casey has to read a book of my choice within a month and she gets a free personal pan pizza. If you're interested, you can sign up here! This month, Casey is reading Stuart Little - tonight, while going to bed she asked me if she'll get her pizza if she reads the whole book tomorrow! BTW, I'm also reading it - it's fun bonding time while we each read our own copies of Stuart Little, bundled up on the sofa together and little brother and sister are napping.

All in all, a productive week, but now I'm ready to get back to our normal routine - and get back into history!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs: #7 Snack Foods

This week's theme is Snack Foods:

For the kidlets:
  • applesauce cups
  • yogurt
  • bananas, tangerines, grapes, apples
  • pretzels
  • popcorn
  • graham crackers
  • dry cereal
  • string cheese
  • raisins
  • Fig Newmans (yummy)
  • and, yes, cookies and brownies (hey, I'm not perfect)
For me:
  • many of the same things as the kidlets
  • cookies - Kashi is a recent favorite, but my very favorite is a nice, warm homemade double chocolate chip cookie. I love, love, love cookies.
  • Starbucks or other similarly sweet, creamy coffee concoction. Yes, I count it as a snack since I have them so rarely.
By the way, I'm not a huge fan of microwave popcorn. I actually get out a big pot, some butter, and the kernels - and occasionally, some sort of special seasoning - and I pop it on the stove top. Instead of dumping a lot of salt on the finished product, I put a little bit of salt and add some freshly cracked pepper. A GREAT addition to our Friday Family Movie Nights.