Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Resolutions and Fears

I have never really been one to make resolutions on New Year's Day.  However, this year I feel a bit reflective and need to really take stock of me.

I have been struck by the immense responsibility that is homeschooling.  I have read and been praying for superwoman Anissa, who was suddenly struck with a stroke.  This is my year for taking better care of myself.  Not that Anissa could have prevented her tragedy, but there are times when I am out of breath just going down stairs and her story reminded me of how lucky I am to have the opportunity to change my own chances.  I'm overweight, but not tremendously so.  Regardless, I actually made an appointment with the good ol' doc for tomorrow.  This time I will be honest with her.  This time I will get my cholesterol checked.  This time I will put my fear on hold to look honestly at the state of my physical self.  This time, because so much seems to be riding on me not checking out quite yet, I will take the time to walk, to put down the cookie, to drink the water, to respect this body the Lord has given me.

That's it.  My resolution.  My resolution to stick around.  Wish me luck and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesdays

Why didn't anyone tell me how wonderful it is to homeschool your child?!

For more Wordless Wednesday posts, visit  Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Crazy Christmas Crayons

We are in the midst of the craziness of the holidays.  We host my family (sisters, bro, etc) on Christmas Eve and I always get into a bit of a cleaning frenzy before they come over.  This year is no different.  However, since we are homeschooling this year, everyone is home to witness my craziness!

I had neglected to account for the running around and cleaning I did in the time that they were in traditional school and somehow thought that I would magically find the time to Do It All.  Not so.  I am frazzled. 

The other day I got a bit, um, cranky and started barking orders to clean this, pick up that, etc.  The girls helped and all was good except for this nagging feeling that I was out of line in my delivery.  I took a moment and remembered that "perfection" is never the goal.  There are other ways to ask for help if I am feeling overwhelmed (which was exactly why I was being so cranky).

Take a deep breath.

Phew.  That felt better. 

So, instead of washing windows...T and I decided to make dinosaur crayons.  Yes, nothing screams the Season like dinosaur crayons!  Hey, I had found a bunch of old crayons in my cleaning frenzy and had seen this great tutorial at one of my favorite blogs, Whimsy Love.  They were the only molds we had that I was willing to delegate to crayon making.  After spending a movie unwrapping crayons (a little meditative, I must say), we put those dinos in the oven.

The end result, a few broken necked dinos (my bad) and more than a few fun dino crayons.  We'd totally do this again.  The colors are fun to combine and the big chunky crayons are perfect for rubbings.

Why do I always need to be reminded to DO?  I have no problem keeping up on tasks and chores, but the fun stuff?  I'm not so great at remembering to put those fun things on my ToDo List.   I know, I know....how about I just resolve to try to have more fun! 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

WFMW: Monster Making Mood Elevator

This has been a rough week for me. Physically I don't feel all that rockin' hot, mentally I feel only half present, and emotionally...I am drained. And all that for no good reason. Every once in a while I think I just get weary of the chaos that is our life and I need to sloooooooow way down. I believe this is one of those times. For me...T, however, seems to be having one of those hot streaks in learning and far be it from me to get in her way. That being said, I am trying to keep pace, but trying to stay sane at the same time. Thus...the focus on the monster!

We got this great idea from Sarah at the Napping House about designing and making monsters.  We started this project a couple of weeks ago, but got a little distracted.  This week, I decided, would be a great week to finish.  And, you know what?  It was good to finish.  And it was good to rediscover the sewing machine (not as though I had any great prior relationship with it...but nice to know I can help with monster making).  Helping with the monster making actually helped me to take a deep breath and I now, officially, feel better!  Bring on more chaos!!

First T drew what she wanted her monster to look like:

Then she sewed on the accents (buttons, bead eyeballs, smile).
I helped her secure the hearts and sewed him/her/it together.  T turned him/her/it right side out (quite the exciting process!).
She finally stuffed him/her/it with the scraps and stuffing.

I do believe that taking a moment and producing something with your own two hands can be quite exhilarating. Monster Making seriously elevated my mood. I helped to accomplish some thing.

It worked for me.  Find out what is working for everyone else at Kristen's Works For Me Wednesdays.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

WFMW: Wireless Internet Control

I am a mom of two teen-aged daughters who loves her wireless...however...I still want C * O * N * T * R * O * L !! They have laptops that they use for schoolwork Facebook and I know how addicting spending time on the internet can become.

My solution is a power strip that has a timer. I just plug my wireless router and my dsl modem into said strip...and I still have some control over their internet browsing (sort of). I have set the timer to shut off power around 11pm and to turn on around 5:30am. It's easy enough to override if the need arises.

It works for me.  Find out what is working for everyone else at Kristen's Works For Me Wednesdays.

Tackle it Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme
So I have decided now, of all times of the year, it is Time to Declutter!  We are wanting to put our house on the market and as I look around all I see is stuff to clean up to make it "ready."  I made the comment in passing that we need to get rid of the clutter and keep the house super-tidy.  My little T took it to heart and promptly went to the basement and went through her toys.  Wow!  Talk about motivation.  Now we have piles of "give away," "keep," and "broken."  Now what?

Well, I spent last night on our local Freecycle site and listed them.  This morning they are ALL spoken for and now I just have to wait for everyone to pick up their goodies...some have already been picked up! 

It's funny how just one little job tackled and completed gives you such a sense of accomplishment!

Check out what others are tackling on their Tuesdays at Tackle it Tuesday!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm Joining the Advent Conspiracy!

This weekend,  I was struck by the craziness of the season.  I made the mistake of thinking that I could run into Costco to pick up my Mom's favorite broccoli salad and some wine.  Uh....what the heck was I thinking?!  It's December.  And it's Costco.  I think Christmas makes people a little crazy.  I know, a totally novel idea!

I did, however, come home with a greater resolve to bring more of the real Christmas to my home.  Then, lo and behold, I stumble upon the Advent Conspiracy!  Oh yes!  Just what I'm after.  I am joining the Advent Conspiracy and would encourage others to bring more presence to their Christmas celebrations and fewer presents.   Check out the site and see if it inspires you to make a change or two. 

Merry Christmas!!  I'm officially back in the spirit of the season!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Weekly Wrap Up

This week felt as though it was a lot of hurry-up-and-get-on-track for us.  I think when I made my plans I didn't include the craziness I would feel just before Thanksgiving!  Instead of being...uh...flexible (!)...I crammed it all in this week.  Awesome learning, huh?!  Give me a list or a set of rules and watch me go.  Grr (at myself).  Next year, I will plan to take the whole week of Thanksgiving off and just play and prepare.

Not to beat myself up too, too much...here are the fun things we did do this week:

Ok...so we did have some fun this week!  I felt like such a drill sergeant though; I really need to work on my flexibility!

Don't forget to visit Kris to find out what everyone else did this week at the Weekly Wrap Up!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Vocabulary with Latin Roots

I thought that I would share what is working for us with vocabulary. T is working through Greek and Latin Roots by Trisha Callella.

We decided to try the folder approach. I wrote the words on coin envelopes (I bought a bazillion of these for some reason ages ago at Staples...they seem to work). Then I glued them on the folders. I wrote the definitions on strips of index cards (highlighting the root).  She simply slides the definition strip in the matching word envelope.  After we go over the words initially, this becomes an independent activity.

 She especially liked that the first two roots were ped and man/manu....so what did we do after completing the tests?  We had a little manicure/pedicure day!  Of course!!  She chose her colors to match the rubber bands on her braces (there's a Christmas theme going on with her!).  Thank goodness I have teenagers with crazy nail polish colors!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bye Bob

We had to say goodbye to Bob on Thanksgiving Day.  sniff sniff
We love him and we are forever thankful to him for guarding us, playing with us, teaching our littlest to walk with the utmost of patience, and loving us.  You were a faithful friend.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Roman Road Building...our way

Today we tried to get some school done.  I'm a bit distracted with the whole Colorado thing and...well...there is that holiday coming up on Thursday!  We still managed to get lots done and finished off by making our own Roman Road.  We are reading the Story of the World and have been enjoying all of the projects that can come with it.  I just thought I'd share this one:

First she took a graham cracker and crushed it up for the sand.

Then she spread some whipped cream a whole graham cracker for the ... um ... well to make the sand stick.  Next she sprinkled some chopped nuts for the small stones.

Spread some yummy homemade store bought frosting for the cement.  Then she placed the cut up small marshmallows for the large cobblestones.

Ta Da!

Then we all had to eat her "Edible History" (her words).  It was disgustingly sweet and truly pretty gross.  But, hey, it's all good fun.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pictures can be oh SO deceiving!
Home Hunt Update:

But first, Bob seems more himself (so say the reports from home!).  I know his time is coming, but thank goodness it is not just yet.

OK...back to the house.  Our dream house.  The House.  Wow.  It was amazing.  Not in a good way.  In a how-the-heck-is-this-the-house-in-the-pictures way!  This bucolic home in the pictures could be the set for Saw 6 (or whatever sequel they are on)!!  I've never seen the movies, but I know that they are super creepy.  That was this house...super creepy.

We have dubbed it the serial killer house.  No lie; it had a fire safety sticker that a child slept in a concrete room off the barn with a drain!  Maybe it was a recycled window and the room was for milking cows.  Maybe.  I'm going with the serial killer theme. 

On the other hand, we really did find a spectacular home.  I won't yet bore you with the details or jinx it by talking about it too much...let's just say it has something for everyone in the family.  Now we just have that minor detail of selling our home in So. Cal.  Anyone want a home in Orange County?

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Here we are getting ready to go away for the weekend to look at homes in a different state and our dog of over 13 years is failing...quickly.  He has been so brave and such a great companion to all of us.  Is it our packing suitcases that is hurrying him along?  Is it some predestined time chosen long ago and it is our poor planning that sends us away when he may need us most?

Should we stay home?  Should we wait for him to tell us more clearly that he wants some help dying?  I feel so creepy.  We'll be home Sunday evening.  Will he wait?

We have a dear family friend staying with Bob while we are away.  I had to call the vet and give my consent to let Bob die should it become clearer to our friend that it is time.  How the heck do you know?  I am praying that he will stay with Bob and pet him as the vet injects him for the last time.  I can't make him stay with Bob as I would, but I can ask and I can pray he will find the strength to stay with Bob.

I'm thinking I'm done with pets.  Just too darn sad.  I know, I know... but right now, that's how I feel.

Bye, Bobby

Monday, November 16, 2009

OC to CO

So Friday we are getting on a plane to Colorado and looking at homes...all of us; even E!  It is becoming clearer and clearer to us that we need to seek some financial peace.  Living in the OC with the giant mortgage and killer taxes is just not cutting it.  I do believe it is time to take a big bite of humble pie and give up the charade.

This is no small feat.  I do not believe that Coloradians think kindly of Californians.  We will need to be brave.  Actually the hardest part of this plan is the idea of leaving my folks.  The house in the picture actually has another little guest house with it.  Financially that particular house would not be giving us that financial peace...but...if my folks came with us (even just for extended vacations)....

See, here I go already pushing the financial envelope!  What happened to being frugal?  It's not like we would be buying any house outright.  No matter what we'll end up with a mortgage.  So why would I even think of looking at a house that is priced beyond our "financial peace" price?  I'd like to say because I would love to have my Mom and Dad live with us....and that IS part of it.  But, really, I think I don't want to take that giant of a piece of that humble pie.  I am a bit ashamed of myself.

On the other hand, I am very excited that all five of us are going anywhere!  Once you have adult children it seems as though these together-times are just heaven sent.  None of us knows what to expect out of this weekend except that we are going to explore the area, the homes, and on Sunday....The Tattered Cover in Denver before we catch our flight home (oops, I think my nerd is showing!).  I'm thinking we'll come home knowing that our clothes aren't warm enough and with a new resolve (hopefully) to get our present home on the market.

This Semester's Curriculum:

Since this is our first year homeschooling all of the choices are a little overwhelming to me.  This is what we came up with (and seem to be enjoying) so far!
We are having loads of fun and manage to get most of this done in 4 (or so) hours 4 days a week.  We have been making special efforts to get out and about at least a couple of days a week.  There has not been a lack of opportunities for fun around here this year!  We have done park days, picked our pumpkin at a farm, gone to an aquarium, taken a couple of classes at the Discovery Science Center, played at our local Recess on the Ranch, and lots of days playing with friends.  It's all good.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I chose this picture for my very first post since it seems to capture the relief of the escape!  We have three daughters and have tried just about every version of schooling available.  With one in college, one in high school, and the littlest in 2nd grade I figured it was about time to try homeschooling the 2nd grader.  Why the heck did I wait so long??  We are having a great time.  I mean, so far we are having a great time.  We only started this school year...but still!  I regret not giving it a go with the big girls.

This picture was taken at a rehabilitated seal release.  My T and her friend pulled their money together and sponsored a sick harbor seal so they were invited to the release.  Very cool experience!  Those svelte little seals flap-flopped their way right into the waves.  They were obviously relieved/thrilled/happy to be in their ocean.  I'm sure the boaters and fishermen would have different ways of dealing with harbor seals in need, but I'm glad that my little T felt the need to help a creature.

Click here to see the release on YouTube.