Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For today, February 1, 2010 (written on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010)...

Outside my window...the sun is shining, birds are arguing over the bird feeder, the neighbor's horses are lazily swishing their tails enjoying the sun, and people are walking their dogs around the dry (ish) lakebed.

I am thinking...that I need to incorporate more hand's on activities to our homeschool.  I get caught up in completing books/worksheets.  I need to remind myself that sometimes the best lessons can't be put in a folder.

I am thankful for...the fact that the not-so-great things that have happened this past month could have been much more horrible.

From the learning rooms...we are learning about money, metaphors, magnets, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin root, "port,"  and starting to learn all about horses.

From the kitchen...I am hoping that I somehow get struck with some creativity.  I am in a serious food rut.

I am wearing...jeans (always), white shirt, fluffy red sweater, and thick, thick socks (for some reason, my medication makes my feet freezing!).

I am creating...the last touches on a website for a great organization, LOT318.

I am finish the laundry today and I'm not going to grump at anyone ALL day.

I am reading...I just finished City of Thieves by David Benioff (loved it!) and am starting Cutting for a Stone by Abraham Verghese tonight.

I am hoping...that my husband will get a long term job WITH his trailer on rental...please, please, please.

I am hearing...All I Can Say by David Crowder Band over and over again.

Around the is quiet.  The dogs are sleeping, everyone is at church with me stuck at home with my feet up hoping my blood clots heal quickly (whine, whine, whine).

One of my favorite things...a regular football Sunday (church, lunch, football, friends).  I'm kind of sad that Superbowl is already upon us.  

A few plans for the rest of the week:  getting haircuts at friend's home so my I can keep my feet up, getting bloodwork done, steam cleaning the shower (I know, weird...but I LOVE my steam cleaner), touching up the paint in the den, and praying the whole time that we can cope and provide for our family.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...this is our "horrible" winter in So. Cal.  (taken on Saturday morning):

For more daybooks or to join the fun, go to The Simple Woman's Daybook!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up: Leaks and Surprises

This has been one crazy week for me. I'm still on house arrest because of my blood clots (read here for my love of Yaz) so life is not as busy as a month ago. It's amazing how much time I used to spend in the car!

T woke up with snot and feeling slow so I was kind and we concentrated on her favorite journal program, WordSmithery from Sarah's Small World, and her other favorite, The Story of the World. All was good. Peace reigned.

Then, the water guy came. I had noticed that my water bill was double (an extra $200 to come up with this month). We had used THOUSANDS of extra gallons during the previous month. I was certain they had misread the meter....uh, no. He confirms the reading and informs me that we must have a leak. He further determined that it must be somewhere from the meter to the house. OK, we have a super long driveway and the water main goes in the most circuitous route to finally get to our home. This is not great news.

"Is the ground soft anywhere?" he asks.

"Uh, gee, we live in So. Cal. and just had the five rainstorms move through here."

"No," he says "like 'sink hole' soft?"

"Awesome, I'll call a plumber or someone with a divining rod."

T wakes up feeling better. We start on the dreaded math. What was I thinking? I must have been feeling reckless. I second guess my starting subject, but we trudge forward. It is money...and she loves it...and totally gets it! Huh? I'll go with it.

Her success frees up my mind and I think we shouldn't call the plumber, we should call a leak detector guy first. I cancel the plumber and call the leak guy. Leak guy can't make it until Wednesday since it is, again, raining in our world. OK. Deep breath. This leak has been there for at least a month, I can wait a day.

The best part of today:  T started an art class at a local KidsArt and this is what she  made during her FIRST session...and she loves, loves, loves it!  Oh, to have happy kids; it makes my day!

Leak guy shows up. Found it. ($400) Call the plumber while counting blessings that the leak is under pavers and not concrete.

We met with T's charter school today to turn in work, etc. I love that the paperwork is a mild inconvenience to her. What she really wants to do is have T show her favorite work and read her essays. I know a lot of people bristle at the whole charter school thing, but we are having The Best experience. I get encouraged. T gets encouraged. It's all good.

Plumber shows up. Fixes it. ($700) There goes my mad money. I keep almost saving enough money for new carpet and then life happens and it goes away. *sigh

Can you see our $1,300 leak? Yeah, neither can I...but they fixed it, I promise/hope.

We work on math again, hoping to ride on yesterday's success.  Nope.  Bad idea.  Did NOT dig Singapore Math today.  I did the minimal (can't give up, right?) and tied an apron on her, gave her sticky notes, and set her to work pricing her "store."  Phew!  That worked.  Her store now has multiple locations (her room and the basement), a sign, and flyers inviting her sisters to her "Sale!"

I don't know if you can see the prices, but the piano is $3 and the Olivia lunchbox is $42.83!!  lol

Sale! Day...totally fun!  It was a nice end to a hectic week.  I am so glad that I listened to Jimmie on Jimmie's Collage and took her advice for some hand's on math.  Lots of change making went on today.  Better than a worksheet any day!

Now, I think that I am ready for the weekend!

I hope you all had wonderful weeks!  Don't forget to visit Kris to find out what everyone else did this week at the Weekly Wrap Up!

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Daughter is a WordSmithery Fan

Little T is a fan of journal writing.  Wait.  Let me repeat second grader is a FAN of journal writing!!   Sarah at Small World has created a wonderful program to encourage writers young and old (er...older).

T even uttered the words, "Journal is my favorite!  Can we do more?!!"  Seriously, can you believe that?  This is my daughter that would tell you the most amazing story, but write bare bone sentences with three letter words.  Now...she's sneak writing in bed.

If any of you have reluctant writers, then hop on over to Sarah's WordSmithery.

The only drawback is that there are only eight weeks....and we've just completed T's favorite week so far (just so you know, she says that every week!), Week 4.  What will we do in four weeks?!  (hint, hint)

Here is her Simile Rainbow Project:

If you can read her rainbow, you'll see that she is still quite the realist.   However, her journal writing has opened up a brand new creativity.  For one of week 3's assignments (write a recipe for crocodile pie) she wrote a recipe for Nile Kibble Pie.  It was a very icky, full-of-crocodiles pie for her dog.  I love it.

So this is my gushing fan blog for Sarah and her WordSmithery!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

WFMW: Spelling Salt

I don't know about your little one, but ours...not a fan of spelling practice. I've tried a bunch of different ways to practice; rainbow words (each word written in a different color), sentences (zero fun), white board, drawing what the words are with the letters (fun, but not really effective), etc., etc. But I think I have come up with something that has made her happy and has resulted in her actually remembering the words in her other writing projects. Writing in salt. Yep. That's it.

I had an old blue drawer organizer thing (it should be a dark color) and I just threw some salt in it. She draws the words in the salt, shakes it, doodles, draws another get the idea. Fun, cheap, and effective (at least for her).

That's what works for us, check out what works for others at Kristen's Works For Me Wednesdays.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mini Office Madness

As always, I am copying motivated by Jimmie at Jimmie's Collage. In my quest to give T more independence while working, I built her a Mini Office. She helped me choose what to put in her Mini Office.  Anything that doesn't have a link I generated on my own and didn't save the file (*slaps forehead - doh!).

History Section:
 English Section:
 Math Section:
Science Section:

I gave it to her today...she's already used it, feeling very grown up looking things up on her own.  I'm not sure which was more fun; finding out what she thought should go in it or watching her use it!  Thank you, Jimmie!

      Wednesday, January 13, 2010

      WFMW: Multiplication War

      I've been inspired by Jimmie at Jimmie's Collage to play more math games and not be such a freak about completing all of those work sheets. We decided to play multiplication war.

      She's only worked on multiplication up to 5, so I made my own die with numbers 0-5. Each time we lay down a card, we roll the die and multiply to get our answer. Our answers then go to "war" with each other. She's had lots of fun and has painlessly studied her facts for over an hour (these games can go on forrreevveerrr!)

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

      Sunday, January 10, 2010

      Gone Fishin' with Think!

      Other than with my medical drama the last week, I have been trying to spice things up academically around here.  T is a "sparky" learner; she trudges along being compliant, but maybe not too thrilled...until...a spark!  Then all bets are off.  Her excitement over whatever it is that interests her is contagious and pretty soon even the 19 year old is talking ancient Rome or Pokemon or archeology or whatever with her.

      I have never really figured out what triggers the spark.  I mean it could be anything; story, a conversation, a picture...anything.  I thought that maybe I would to help fan the flames (so to speak).  Then I found Think! -- love it!  This week I presented T with her supplies and her task.  She was to build a fishing rod with a reel and reel something in with only using a few household items (here is the task on Think!). She had so much started the spark!  Thanks Think!

      A little frustrated that I gave her such crazy supplies for this task.


      Fishing for a "dogfish!" Didn't work so well.

      What about this? (The notes reads: "Do you want to come over?")

      Fishing for the neighbor boys....yikes! I hope she outgrows this!


      Friday, January 8, 2010

      Weekly Wrap Up: Homeschooling While Harpooning

      Wow.  What a week.  I'm glad it's over.  (I always thought that was a creepy way to look at you're glad part of your life is over??)  This week, however, I'm glad is over.

      I had a week of doctor fun for myself and learned how to harpoon myself (twice daily injections) and take rat poison (I do not lie) for my monstrous jello blood (big ol' blood clot - thank you Yaz).  I was worried that we would get behind this week, but the enthusiasm of getting back into the swing of school kept us on track.

      This is my first year homeschooling.  I have an almost 20 year old daughter.  I am used to the week back to school as a sort of depressing time (they are not thrilled to be back at school, I am not thrilled that they were back at school, etc).  This homeschooling business is amazing!  We were both in a great frame of mind.  It was as if she had missed her studies and was anxious to get back to them.  This is a bit of a phenomenon to me.  What is it?  Do you think homeschooling encourages a true love of learning?  Oh, I so hope so!!!

      I am constantly amazed at how many little snippets I would miss if I weren't homeschooling my 7 year old.  Here is my Weekly Wrap Up as quoted from my 2nd grader:
      • "There's no way you would find me in a catacomb...totally structurally unsound!"
      • "History is the coolest ever!"
      • "You'''re just like Julius Caesar!"  (said to big sis being a big sis)
      • "Seriously, Mom, why don't they just start out with makes everything so much easier."
      • "Ok, so let me think a minute....OH, OH, OH I GOT IT!" (and she did)
      What a blessing to be witness to this kind of learning.  I know it's not like she's an astrophysicist, but just to be able to be a participant in her excitement of learning...what a gift!
        Don't forget to visit Kris to find out what everyone else did this week at the Weekly Wrap Up!

          Wednesday, January 6, 2010

          Yaz Can Be Deadly

          So, I know this post won't have a lot to do with homeschooling....but it has everything to do with ME homeschooling T.  I was diagnosed today with a major blood clot clots in my leg.  Major.  It goes They go from my groin to my calf.  I now have to give myself injections twice a day and take Coumadin for 6 months, plus the added bonus of weekly blood tests.  Oh joy.

          All of this because I wanted more regular periods and a clearer face.  Ugh.  Yaz is a birth control pill that was prescribed to me for both of those purposes.  The doctor informed me that the risks were just like any other birth control pill.   Wrong.  Yaz contains drospirenone, a "fourth generation" progestin that no other pill uses.  They think that the progestin is the cause of the blood clots.

          Ironically, I am still at risk for a pulmonary embolus or stroke.  Stroke. Pulmonary embolus.  Neither of those would work very well with homeschooling.  I'm guessing that my nagging feeling and my relatedness to Superwoman/Jedi Knight Anissa was a serious message.  Would I have gotten that weird red line on my leg checked out as quickly as I did if I had not been praying for Anissa?  Maybe not.  I love a mysterious God.