Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bracing Ourselves!

Well, according to the weather guys and gals, we have an ice storm headed our way. We should have identical issues to the ones we had for last year's ice storm, which was almost exactly a year ago to the day.

A year ago my Granny passed away. Almost immediately it started sleeting here. We left after the storm - barely - and headed to TX for the funeral. So, we missed being without power for 4-5 days.

I remember the creaking and moaning of the trees all around our house. The occasional cracking and crashing sound of limbs falling from the trees under the weight of ice would startle us. The kids would run to the windows to see what was falling. I always hoped it wasn't landing on the house. Fun times.

It should start sleeting/icing later this afternoon. All night tonight it should last, and snow/sleet all day tomorrow. It may be worse than last year. Someone said we may possibly get about 10 inches of snow with the ice.

We are hunkering down with our food and supplies and riding it out. I just really hope we don't lose power/heat, but I know we most likely will. At least we won't lose hot water. The hot water heater is gas...We also have propane Coleman stoves to cook on.

So, I'm getting the snow days I wished for last week when I was so incredibly busy running the kids and myself around everywhere! Hopefully we stay warm and cozy, and it doesn't turn to disaster...

Here we go!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Growing up

Will I ever get used to dropping my older two kids off at the movies with friends or the skating rink or their friends' houses? I'm always telling them, "Make good choices!" and making them take their cell phone.

My older two boys are playing basketball. The younger boy, age 9, is playing up a year and doing well despite the fact that he is the youngest on his team and probably the other teams, too. On Saturday, my older boy's team won 34-14 and my younger boy's team lost 28-22. It was close!

My girl, age 13, can now cook a full meal and follow recipes well. She just got called as the Beehive president in Young Women's. This summer she'll be away from us for a couple of weeks with Girls' Camp and Youth Conference and EFY. After May 1, she'll also be going to dances. She is excited. I'm not old enough for all this...

My oldest boy, age 12, is 1st counselor in his Deacon's quorum, can cook pretty well, and isn't looking forward to dancing with girls! He still has a while, though.

My youngest son is now older than my oldest child was when he was born. Wow. He'll be 7 in a couple of weeks.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bitter, Anyone?

A friend on our homeschool group's Yahoo Group, just posted a link to a great list of comebacks for people pestering homeschoolers.

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List:

It is funny and rude and so true. I love #12.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Too much to do

In December, we stayed home more than we went out, which isn't typical for us. For about a week and a half I was sick with a cold/flu thing. None of the kids were sick, miraculously, but I could barely move. Then, Chris was in a car accident (he is OK), and we didn't have my Yukon for a week. By then, it was the week before Christmas. For a couple of days, my husband and I were doing some mad Christmas shopping to catch up for the previous weeks. We finished shopping for groceries and everything by the 23rd, though. On Christmas Eve it started snowing and we stayed put for about 4 days. it melted a bit, and we got out of our driveway for a couple of days. Then, we were hit with snow again.

It was blissful being here at home and not having to go anywhere. Just spending time together as a family and playing was fun and relaxing.

It is all over, now, though. Unless we have another snow or ice storm this winter! Now, we are running around to basketball 3 nights per week and youth and scout activities another night per week. Soon our homeschool co-op will start up on Thursdays. Basketball games start this Saturday. Homeschool group activities on Fridays. Hmmm...... I know my kids are ready to be out and about again, but I'm wishing for more snow days...

Meanwhile I'm trying to get our Cub Scout pack to function without a Cub Master, too. We have a pack meeting in 2 weeks and Blue and Gold Banquet next month. A break from Cub Scouts for 3 weeks was VERY nice throughout Christmas and the snow days.

OK. I'm going to try to have a good attitude and plug along. Try not to over-commit myself for the next 12-13 weeks or so. Yeah...I can do it...I think...maybe...I'm hitting full capasity pretty fast.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I love art. I was an art major in college. I love to teach art and do art with my kids at home. Here are some great titles for teaching art and art history for children:

Discovering Great Artists
Childsize Masterpieces
How to Teach Art to Children
Children's Book of Art (Usborne)
any drawing or art book by Ed Emberly
Art Fun
300 Lessons in Art
Masterpiece of the Month
Learning About Ancient Civilizations Through Art
Artist's Workshop Myths & Legends
Arty Facts

There are also a multitude of "how to draw" and "how to paint" books in the Bargain Books section of Borders and Barnes & Noble that we have found. Not to mention calligraphy kits (I consider calligraphy an art) and other craft kits for crafting time.

We also like to just sit and watercolor paint together. They go through sheet after sheet of paper. To help our watercolor paper go a bit farther, I do buy the large pad of paper (larger than the 8 1/2 x 11 size ) and cut it into fourths. I would cut the 8 1/2 x 11 paper in half. This makes for a smaller more manageable piece to paint on for my kids. My youngest who still likes to paint BIG, gets cheaper paper to paint on when he is in the mood to do 20 paintings in a sitting.

So, what do you do with all that art?

I found these and they are so cute I am going to make some:

I also found them in Pottery Barn years ago, but didn't love the price. Making them will be so easy!

By the way, I LOVE that blog - so many creative and USEFUL crafts on there.

I have become...

I have been looking back over the last few weeks thinking, " What if I had just done this a little different..." It is easy to get sidetracked, sometimes.

All of my adult life I have been a parent. I love my children very much. I never planned to homeschool. I sort of fell into it once our oldest turned 5, and I realized I had been doing it all along. I realized I wanted my daughter to be a better person than she would turn out after going through the system. How different would our family be if I had gone out and had a career, instead? Would we be better or worse? Would my younger self have chosen this life for me?

One of my favorite poems:

Lest We Forget

She came tonight as I sat alone
The girl that I used to be. . .
And she gazed at me with her earnest eye
And questioned reproachfully:

"Have you forgotten the many plans
And hopes that I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame
All the wonderful things to do?"

"Where is the mansion of stately height
With all of its gardens rare?
The silken robes that I dreamed for you
And the jewels in your hair?"

And as she spoke, I was very sad,
For I wanted her pleased with me . . .
This slender girl from the shadowy past
The girl that I used to be.

So gently arising, I took her hand,
And guided her up the stair
Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay
So innocent, sweet and fair.

And I told her that these are my only gems,
And precious they are to me,
That silken robe is my motherhood
Of costly simplicity.

And my mansion of stately height is love,
And the only career I know
Is serving each day in these sheltering walls
For the dear ones who come and go.

And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,
She smiled through her tears at me,
And I saw that the woman that I am now
Pleased the girl that I used to be.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Little House on the.....Hillside?

If you have kids and they haven't seen the TV series, Little House on the Prairie, go Netflix it, now!

I have a good friend who told me she was Netflixing it and her kids were watching it on Sunday afternoons. My youngest has taken a Little House on the Prairie class at our homeschool co-op and knew all about Ma, Pa, Laura, Mary, and Carrie. I hadn't read it to my younger boys, yet. The older boy and girl had it read to them when they were little. I'm starting to read Little House in the Big Woods to them today.

I checked out the first disk in season 1 before Christmas. My kids were rolling their eyes at first, but once it started, they were mesmerized! All 4 of them! Little House on the Prairie comes on and they can't tear themselves away from the TV. It is such a wholesome show, too! Teaches some great lessons! I remember loving it when I was able to watch it at my Granny's sometimes when I was little. The shows are also educational in that the kids are learning about life during the end of the 1800s - the technology as it advanced, then, what people had to do for a living, and how their lives were on the farm and in town.

So, we are at the end of season 2. My kids ask me if it is coming in the mail whenever we are between Netflix DVDs. They so look forward to them!

We saw that the entire collection was available at Sam's Club for about $150. I think we may make the investment.

My youngest said we live in the Little House on the Hillside...."but not as little as their's", he said.

Here's the really fun part: Little House on the Prairie is coming to the Walton Arts Center stage this week! Melissa Gilbert, who plays Laura in the TV series, is playing Ma in the show. My friend has extra tickets and invited our older three kids to go with their family this weekend. They are psyched! I'm excited for them!

Our youngest gets to enjoy an afternoon as an only child. We are taking him out to lunch and to see the Frog Princess. He is excited, too!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, no pictures got posted of the lovely cards we made because they were given away or mailed before we thought of it! I'll be making cards throughout the year this year, though, for various occasions. I will post them as India reminds me, since she will be helping me.

My husband was home for 2 1/2 weeks over Christmas. He took his vacation, then since he didn't take much during the rest of the year! So, while dad was home, we didn't do much "official" educating. I've decided to stop calling it "school work" since the idea of school is what we are trying to avoid. We educate, we do not school. There is a difference...just ask John Taylor Gatto.

I read some of Gatto's writings when I very first started homeschooling and my oldest was about 5 (she is 13, now). I have looked at his stuff off and on since then. Recently I reread his essay, Against School.

Every time I read that it knocks me over the head. What I feel and have always thought, he puts into written word. If only the rest of society wouldn't bury their heads in the sand while the school system goes to pot, but rather stand up for the EDUCATION of America's children, perhaps our society wouldn't be in the turmoil it is in today. The family wouldn't be deteriorating so immensely with each new generation. Perhaps our government wouldn't, either, since people would actually grow up into educated people who don't follow the herd, but rather think for themselves.

That has been my goal all along: to raise children who can think for themselves and don't mindlessly do and think what everyone else says they should just because that is what is considered "normal". That is where society gets into trouble. When people do not stop and question, but they follow along instead. Even when they feel and know deep down inside that it things are wrong. Very wrong.

Anyway, we try hard, as parents, to instill this in our children: Think for yourselves! Discover for yourselves! Don't just follow the herd!

OK, stepping off of soapbox, now.

Well, dear husband went back to work yesterday. So, we are back to educating! It is the New Year, also, and we are doing some re-evaluating. Yesterday we still had cousins visiting, so I let the kids play in the snow all day. They don't get snow very often, after all! They had great physics lessons as they went sledding over and over down the road. They also had a bike ramp that they had to get in just the right spot in order to jump it, which was fun for the big 12, 13, and 14 yr. old kiddos.

Today, however, we are doing some other things. This morning we watched an episode of that show about people climbing Mt. Everest. I don't know the actual name. The kids chose it from Netflix, which we are streaming to our TV, now. Later today, I am having my older two do some research on the Himalayas. One of them just informed me that their Wordly Wise lesson is about Mt. Everest, so this is working out perfectly. The younger boys will look up where it is on the map and learn about the people who live there.

Since the Netflix streaming is new for us and we were excited to use it today, we also streamed an IMAX film called Hurricane on the Bayou that was in our queue. A few years ago after Hurricane Katrina, my husband took a business trip to New Orleans. Our youngest was only 4 at the time and we didn't want to leave him, so he and I traveled with my husband. We stayed near the Spanish Plaza at the Hilton. Our youngest and I would take walks downtown and ride the trolley downtown each day. I took him to the Audubon Aquarium there, and we wanted to watch this IMAX film and could never catch it. Today we did. It was about the disappearing wetlands in Louisiana and the effects of that. The wetlands are Louisiana's natural speed bump for hurricanes. This film fits in with our weather study we are starting on. We'll be learning about all types of storms on the earth.

I've been sitting with my youngest teaching him about money today. Also, we practiced his reading. Now, he is working on puzzles.

The older three are working in their books.

Later today, we will have a history lesson. We are just beginning Story of the World volume 3, which covers world history "from Elizabeth the First to the Forty-Niners". We are excited to cover this time period. We have been on ancient and medieval history for a while. I'm learning so much right along with my kids. I really love this history curriculum. The author tells history like a story, which is what it is. This is far from the dry lecturing and dates memorization that I had in school. They do projects, map work, and the younger boys have coloring pages for each lesson.

So, my break is now over. Back to educating! More to come. This is going to be a great year!