Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - from the (faux) Great Wall

So excited!

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!!! In just a matter of weeks, Casey will be finished with first grade! I spent about 2 hours going through all of her textbooks and planning the remainder of the school year - quite a surprising feat for me since I usually do lesson plans one week at a time. Last night, an ambitious bug gave me a bite, so I scratched! Maybe I should have been planning like this all along. That's not to say I don't plan or at least have a firm idea of what I want to teach, but I've never had something so concrete.

NOTE: I used the word concrete, but I wrote in pencil. Does that mean I'm not completely committed or that I'm just allowing room for change just in case of something unexpected or exciting?

I'm also ready to order our books for the new school year. I've received some used books, but the bulk of what I want either cannot be found used or the used book seller is WAY overestimating the value of the book. (Have you ever seen the movie The Castle? "She wants $25 for The Well-Educated Mind? She's dreamin'!")

However, before the school year ends we'll:
  • Dissect a frog
  • See the Tut exhibit
  • Have 3 concert performances and a piano recital
  • Read, read, read
Oh! I'm also writing down ideas for our yearbook. Thanks to my friend, Nikowa, for inspiring me!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Homeschooling... Daddy-style

I started off our homeschooling day the way I usually do... by reading and discussing a bit of science as we eat breakfast. The routine schedule diverged shortly thereafter...

Casey had a deck of cards at the table and Richard took an interest. Right after finishing breakfast - but before I could get into the activity portion of our science lesson - Richard decided to teach Casey and Will how to play poker. I'm not sure exactly which poker game and, no, they were not gambling. I decided to let him have this moment with the kids; besides, they seemed to be learning something.

While they were playing cards, I was taken over by the need to do ALL of the laundry. So, as the day progressed, Richard and the kids went from playing poker to doing an experiment Casey devised. She asked, during lunch, if she could do an experiment to see how quickly ice melts. Richard ran with it. They had a glass with one cube, a glass with 3 cubes, a glass with one cube in cold tap water, a glass with 3 cubes and cold tap, a glass with one cube and hot tap, and a glass with one cube and boiling water. They observed and recorded the melting times.

By the way, I was still sorting, washing, drying, hanging, and folding laundry. Tired from doing laundry, Tricky and I took a nap together (I fell asleep before she did, but I was awakened by sweet little kisses all over my face). We slept for about 2 hours.

During our nap, I found out later, Richard, Casey, and Will had tea while Richard read some of Aesop's Fables.

Richard's homeschooling day with the kids the progressed to teaching them how to play Chess. Finally, they ended the day by painting - a pirate ship for Will and a picture frame for Casey.

Oh! At some point during the day, Richard must have explained to Casey what affidavits are, because this [see picture below] was on the dining room table when I got up from my nap. If you look closely, it says, "My Affidavits Book!" Can you tell her parents are lawyers?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Young Motherhood

As I was cooking dinner last night, my little Tricky was playing nearby. She had taken four random pillows from around the house and placed them on the floor with a doll on top (face down, by the way). One was covered with my dishcloth, one with a wash cloth, and two with small blankets which Tricky had asked to borrow - no, she did not ask for my dishcloth, but that's okay. At one point when I glanced over, she was sitting among the four babies patting their backs in turn. Sweet, I thought.

A few minutes later, I heard some huffing and puffing. Tricky was standing away from her dolls, arms crossed, with a VERY angry look on her face. "What's wrong, Trick?" (Yes, although my other two children are not called by their online moniker, Tricky is.)

"Santa is not helping me get my babies 'sleep!" she exclaimed, all the while frowning and standing with her arms crossed. She even added a stomp of her foot for emphasis.

I thought I was going to fall laughing right into our dinner. Not only is my youngest in some sort of relationship with Santa Claus, but he wouldn't even help her with the children!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

To all, and especially to my son on his patron saint's feast day,

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

Consignment Sales

I shop 'em. Yes, I do. I've found beautiful things at the two consignment sales I attend twice a year. The first of the two for spring came this weekend and I dragged all three children with me. Before we encountered the festivities, however, I told my children they had to stay with me and if they did, they would be handsomely rewarded - well, sort of.

It was a madhouse! I got there at 10:05, a mere five minutes after the doors opened. I could tell from the parking lot that it would be hectic. I've never seen so many cars at this particular sale. (Another sign of our waning economy, I suppose.) I grabbed my super-huge IKEA shopping bag and reminded the children of their solemn vow to behave - and they reminded me of my solemn vow to get them something - and we braved the crowd.

I purchased a few polo shirts for Will and a cute spring sweater for Casey - Tricky didn't get any clothes... she'll get plenty from the stores of spring/summer 2T outfits I have in the basement. And I made good on my word because the children were so well-behaved (I actually had a couple of people comment on their good behavior)...

Each got a book and a toy (total on those items: $7).

Here's a picture of my favorite purchase - and quite timely, too... upon our return home, we read the SOTW 1 chapter on gladiators!

By the way, the set was $3, and was missing a couple of pieces of the gladiator's armor - and I made the Colosseum from the set! (That Colosseum was brutal to put together... the kids got bored watching me and ran off to play; I gave up on doing it with glue and, instead, used at least 10 feet of tape. But it looks pretty neat.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Learn Things From Blogs... and I'll Prove It!

We don't watch television. Yes, I watch, via the internet, 3 shows - Lost, the Office, and Grey's Anatomy (please don't think less of me) - and we share family movie night on Fridays. However, we have no cable or satellite. As for news, I get that online as well.

So imagine my surprise, as I was perusing other homeschooling blogs, to learn that time changes to Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. tomorrow morning! Good thing I found out - we would have been an hour late to Mass in the morning (as opposed to 5 minutes late as is our norm).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cool sites I've found today...

Here are some neat websites I've found today... Just thought I would share!

  • Online Typing Test. Test your speed and accuracy. If you're one of the fastest typers, you will be ranked and can download a speed-typing certificate!
  • Homeschool Planner. Use this quick and easy tool to make a homeschool planner.
  • Rubberfaces. Okay, this one is just ridiculously mindless entertainment. But funny.
  • Retroland. With taglines such as "reconnect with things that define you" and "who you were then," this site offers toys, games, movies, TV shows, fashions, etc. you can add to your profile - or if you just want a little taste of nostalgia without signing up. [The retropedia was a particular favorite for me.]
  • Movie Mistakes. Find your favorite movies and all the things that were wrong but still made it to the silver screen.
  • Teenager Audio Test. Neat - but gave me a slight headache (I could hear it, but I paid a price).
Train Horns

Created by Train Horns

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I discovered the joys of IKEA in January when my family and I traveled to the big city for a museum exhibit. The exhibit was fabulous, but I fell in love with IKEA.

[PICTURED: Trofast storage system and hanging storage baskets.]

The first time we went, we were there 4 hours. The second time, a trip made in February, we were there for 5 hours - that is NOT an exaggeration. Between all of the furniture displays, the shopping store area, and the warehouse, there are so many things to see. There is also a small grocery area, a cafe (with Swedish meatballs that are so good, Casey was begging for them for a snack!), and - here's the best part - FREE babysitting!

Yes, free babysitting... of course, there is a bit of a catch. The babysitting is only for one hour, the children have to be potty-trained, and the children have to meet certain height restrictions. When you drop your kids off at SmalLand, you fill out a form for each child, they take your kids' shoes and put them in a bin, and they give you a pager (one of the restaurant coaster pagers that flash red lights in a circle and vibrate) to remind you to get your kids. Occasionally, you can hear parents being paged over the intercom system - I suppose they forgot their children because they're having so much fun shopping. I can see how that could happen!! Ha!

And, about the cafe... Swedish Meatballs, with a side (macaroni, applesauce, yogurt, rice, or mashed potatoes with gravy) and a drink (milk or juice) for kids: $2.49! The adult-sized portions are reasonably priced, too - and so good! During our last IKEA trip, we wound up talking to another family about homeschooling as we dined in the cafe.

[PICTURED: Children's dishes - they're the same ones those GREAT kids' meals are served on at the store.]

Whenever we return home from an IKEA outing, Richard starts drawing and measuring and exploring how we can reorganize our lives. I just stare at the IKEA catalog and wait for our next trip!