Saturday, December 30, 2006

Kids' Vacation Budget.

How did we get to the place where our kids are taking the family on vacation?
They had been saving for a puppy.

In spring of 2005, Dave told them they could buy a puppy if they saved $200. At that time they thought it was impossible. Then in spring of 2006, they realized they were just about $20 from their goal. I was anxious and Dave was adamant - the time for the offer had expired. However, he hadn't told them there was a time limit. What's a loving parent to do (when you REALLY don't want a puppy?) We decided to divide and conquer.

Mama - "So, what would you do with your money if you didn't get a puppy?"
Kids, flatly - "We're getting a puppy."
Mama - "Well, but let's say you already had a puppy and you had this much money. What would you want to do with it?"
Ds4 "Go to Chuck E. Cheese."
Dd10 - "Buy books" (that's my girl).
Dd8 - "Go to the dollar store" (her dream store).
Ds6 - "Get a puppy."

So, then it was just a matter of getting them to dream of their individual goals rather than their group goals.
"Wow, Chuck E. Cheese would sure be cool." , "What's a book that you'd really like to own?"...
Ds4 was the easiest to break. "Your little brother has decided to take his money out of the puppy effort and go to Chuck E. Cheese. Once a person breaks from the puppy effort, the deal is then expired for that person."
Dd10 agreed, "O.K., I'd rather buy books."
Dd8 chose candy at the movies.
Ds6 was nonpulsed. "That's fine, I'll just save for a puppy on my own." Given enough time, he could have done it. So, Dave and I tried another tactic with him.

"Someone is giving away hamsters for free, so you could have a hamster, if you bought all the accessories to take care of it. I think that would be about $50." That did it and we've had no more serious puppy discussions.

This vacation will be our traditional January visit to our favorite state park inn. We stay in a suite that sleeps 6 at the 2-for-1 winter special they have going from Dec 1 - Feb 28th. I didn't think we'd be able to go this year. Dave's emergency appendectomy this fall put a crimp in our financial style. So the kids counted their pennies and asked me to add up the credits they had on their chart that wasn't in their money cups yet. They were thrilled to discover they had around $250 if they added it all up together. They'd been saving money from July - December througout 2006. Well, ds4 wanted the family to go to Chuck E. Cheese, so he took $25 of his money in June or so to do that. And Dd 9, spent around $10 at various dollar stores and another $10 or so buying sweets at the dollar movie this summer. Ds6 bought a hamster cage, toys & bedding for $50 this fall.

$25.00 - Tithe
$120.00 - 2 nights at the Inn
$50.00 - Dog Sitting fees for 6-7 visits to our home for provisions, potty & play
$50.00 - 2 Craft Room Visits for 4 kids
*Groceries for vacation to eat in the room $50 - Mama & Daddy
**Meals out ~3 $100 - Mama & Daddy

*Eating out of our room is so much cheaper. The room has a mini fridge & mini microwave. The room also had a private exterior patio and door. Last year, I thought I'd be smart and pack a cooler with more fridge supplies like cold meat slices & cheese and leave it outside on the patio without ice - it is winter in Indiana, after all. Can anyone see where this is going? (I didn't). Well, I guess racoons are really good at opening coolers and there was no food in the completely opened, overturned cooler that was dragged off the patio by the morning. It was that next morning that Dd10 told me she'd seen warning signs at the nature center about not leaving coolers outside overnight due to smart racoons. She hadn't said a thing the night before when I told everyone my brilliant idea.

**Eating at the restaurant at the Inn is REALLY pricey!! So, we don't do that. But the little town just outside the park has several restaurants, so we do get a few meals there after all my ice has melted in the cooler.

We ususally have the empty Inn and full-sized pool and hot tub almost to ourselves. We take sleds and boots for snow play. We buy flashlights - we never seem to keep one intact year to year - for evening hikes (I stay in the room and start the hot chocolate - I'm not an outdoorsey girl). We swim and go to the nature center where the naturalist focuses on our children, who are the only ones at the center. We bring one family read-aloud and laze around in between trips to the gameroom and craftroom. It's 2 1/2 days of lazy quiet. The kids still talk about the year we did an indian unit study while we stayed there and the things they learned.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Lovely Gift Idea

I'm sure the last thing you want to think about 2 days after Christmas is more gifts! However, I thought this one was worth considering as a 'throughout the year' gift (Birthday, Anniversary, etc).

This is lovely gift idea. You could use photos or kids' drawings .... just a darling little rememberance for an inexpensive "I love you" gift.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


We do give our kids allowances (as evidenced by the fact that they're spending it to go on vacation for a couple of days). They have to tithe off what they earn, but then the rest is theirs.
  • They have certain jobs they do that aren't for pay : cleaning their rooms, making their beds, folding and putting away their own laundry, etc.
  • Then they have assigned jobs that they have to do that they can get paid for if they do the job joyfully: taking out the trash, sweeping the kitchen, emptying the trash, doing laundry...
  • We also have a list of jobs they can earn money for if either I ask them to do it or they choose to do it.

We do this on a sliding scale and give credits for jobs done. Each credit is worth a quarter until they have 10 credits in a week. Then we double it and each credit is worth 50 cents until the end of the week when they start over again. We want them to be eager to work hard. On weeks that I highly encourage them (like we're having a Christmas party) and they're not doing school, dd10 has earned $14 in a week. Her average is about $2, though - she ususally doesn't quite reach 10 credits in a week. The younger kids tend to earn less as money isn't as big a motivator to work for hours at a time. Our credit system used to just sort of work, but as the kids are getting older, they are utilizing the ability to make money more often.

  1. I went through each room and wrote down all the jobs I was willing to let the kids do (they aren't allowed to clean out the fireplace no matter how many times they ask).
  2. Then I assigned how many credits each job is worth. For example in the kitchen, washing down all the counters with bleach water is worth 1 credit. Moping the tile in the kitchen & dining room area (which is joined together) is worth 2 credits. Scrubbing the tile on their hands and knees with a cloth is worth 3 credits. Also, jobs I intensely dislike they can earn alot of credits for because I'd rather pay them than do it myself. (I despise matching socks, so 10 matched pairs out of our overflowing large basket of unmatched socks is 1 credit).
  3. Finally I decided if they could do that same job daily for credits, weekly or monthly.
  4. Then I posted a chart organized by room.

My house still isn't the cleanest or most organized on the block, but this system has worked really well for us. I have a different chart we put with our calendar with columns of the kids' names at the top and rows of weeks and months listed. Then we use tally marks to keep track of credits.

If you'd like copy of any of my charts, just e-mail me, and I'll send it!

Christmas 2006

At the MNI (Mom's Night In) I was working on an evening's work, while I teased everyone in the room. Ruthann is such a good sport. I gave it as a Christmas present before anyone got a chance to see the finished project, so I thought I'd show it to whomever cared. The middle flower is actually a baby blue, but the colors got messed up in the pictures somehow. It looked even cuter on my neice. This is the pattern I used from Lion Brand Yarn. I crocheted from about 8pm - 1pm (poor Lisa - I didn't leave her house until 1pm!) Dd10 suggested I sew a vine going around the crown of the hat. I liked the idea alot! (What a creative girl!) My FIL posed for a picture with the hat - he didn't quite do it justice...

This Christmas I've been wrapping presents in all my dad's paper and his cheesy stick-on bows that I inherited from his house. It's with joy of the continuation of his life and sadness at my loss and hope for the future that I do this. Every wrapping session has brought tears and lots of emotion. Each time I stick one of those bows on (I'm a curly ribbon kind of girl myself) I can't help but think of him. I've got one more session to go, and I'm sort of putting it off.

All this emotion has really helped me examine my own parenting and focus on the areas that are lacking. So far, I haven't made much progress which is emotionally draining to see all my faults and not be able to push past them to "just fix it". I am continuing to pray about it and am confident that Jesus will walk hand-in-hand with me to accomplish this most overwhelming task of learning to love as He does.

We are doing the O Antiphons, but I couldn't find a house to do it with, so we're just singing them with our Advent Wreath lighting at dinner. It's a lovely prayer - finding new (although old steeped in tradition that I never knew - so, new to me) names for Jesus. www.wdtprs.com/blog/
There is a little-known fact about the order of these ancient O Antiphons. This
is not apparent in English, but it can be seen clearly in the official language
of the Roman Catholic Church: Latin. The Latin versions of each of the titles of
the Messiah: Sapientia (Wisdom), Adonai (Lord), Radix (Root), Clavis (Key),
Oriens (Dawn), Rex (King), and Emmanuel (Emmanuel). Take the first letters of
each of the titles and write them backwards, thus counting down the days of the
feast: EROCRAS or "ero cras." This means in Latin "I will be (here)
tomorrow".The song "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is simply a slightly modified sung version of the seven O Antiphons.

Many questions have been going around about Christmas plans. We usually have Christmas with Dave's family early because one of his brothers takes his family out of state. We did that one last weekend (thus the hat). We'll try something new and see if it works for us. Dave and I will split up for Christmas Eve. I'll take the girls to my step-dad's family and Dave will take the boys to his Grandma's celebration. There's things we each like about each of the parties, but going to all of them is too much for us. I'm not exactly sure why, but I've been better at saying 'no' this season to all sorts of things. I think I'm still pretty busy dealing with pain from my dad and only have so much space in my brain to care what anyone thinks - therefore I end up with what I think is best weighed with what I actually want. Trying to please people doesn't even weigh in this year. Good or bad? I'm not sure - but more relaxing! I'm not sure if we'll go to Christmas Mass (it sounds so redundant since the original meaning of the word Christmas was really Christ's Mass) before we open presents or after - or in the middle. After Mass and presents at our house, we'll end up at my mom's about 3pm. Dave has the next day off, so we can rest and enjoy each other. Then we have a Christmas party with my extended family the next weekend, friends over New Year's Eve and my neice will spend the night that week before school starts.

So.... we're not as busy as in past years, but still a little busier than Dave and I prefer. It makes January a lovely month, along with the fact that dd10 will become 11! OH, and we'll take a few days up at an Inn that we love then, too. Actually, the kids are paying for it with their combined allowances they've saved since July.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Shhh...Christmas presents

Thanksgiving was WONDERFUL! Everyone had a lovely time. I ended up with a cold that went into my chest and I ACTUALLY had to go to the doctor. Did you know that if you are a healthy person who doesn't need the doctor often (I went 4 1/2 years ago?) that they drop you as a patient after 3 years? (I thought doctors strove for healthy people!) I'm all better, now, however.

We've been spending lots of time doing advent activities and crafts... I'll post more about that later.

For Dd #2's Christmas present, I'm crocheting her an apron & hot pads
and I'm making her a little sweets cookbook of all our family's favorite recipes. I'm adding food jokes and sifting through lots of other jokes to find them. I liked this one

Bad joke of the day:

What's the best thing about Pagan friends?
They worship the ground you walk on.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Welcome back to fall

As we fall back into sickness - 3 kids have colds, 3 kids had the flu each kid was sick with something and we have 4 kids -- you do the math (it sounds like dd10's critical thinking workbook. Create a table...)

we fall back in time - I REALLLLLLLY dislike daylight savings time - what a waste of logic. None of the reasons given in the newspaper for switching make any sense to kids who have to go to bed during the sunlight of summer or make up for the effort involved in trying to "turn off" a 4 year old's internal clock who has gotten up at 6:30am almost everyday of his life....

Quote of the Day : dd6 to dd4 - "You're a really great worker. The job of taking out the trash would have taken me a long time, but with your help it went really quick. You're my best bud."

we fall into the holidays: This is the exciting news!! I'm so very excited. I get to have Thanksgiving. I had bought our previous house with having big Thanksgivings and inviting just anyone who wanted a place to come...and now a different house later, it's finally happening! I'm so excited! Some family is coming, but not all (I don't think I'll know who until they show up at the door) and lots of friends are on the invitation list! I can hardly wait!! My house cleaning is coming along and I'M CLEANING WITH GLEE!! (can you imagine? that's totally out of character for me). I've been on butterball's website and found how big of a bird I need to get for that many people!! I'm so VERY excited! I hope it's a blessing and a lovely time for everyone!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Drama Class

Is putting on a play considered a drama class? I don't really know. But we are. We're doing a Christmas Pageant this year. A few years ago, I was anxiously looking for an Advent Play for our Catholic group to put on. I ended up writing one since I couldn't find one that fit. This year we're doing a Christmas Pageant, instead. I'm a little disappointed that the timing won't be liturgically acurate (we'll perform it December's First Friday), but it was a group decision. In case anyone was looking for material, I put the scripts on my website. www.thmg.com/highlanddove/plays.htm

"I'll never be a saint, so I'll have to be a martyr." - St. Joan of Arc

If she didn't think she could be a good enough person for sainthood, no one will convince me that I'm supposed to be confident or impressed with my own measley attempts at obedience. It's my validation for a healthy dose of insecurity. When a person sees her faults smack in front of her face all the time, there's room for improvement, there's motivation for effort, but not much room for pride.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Poetry procrastination

All the kids wrote poems for the library's poetry contest. I didn't turn them in on time. Bad Mama, bad mama!

Who Are Your Friends At the Library?
By DD #1, Age 10

Who are your friends at the library, library?
Are they young or old, new and bold?
Who are your friends at the library, library?

The books are my friends at the library, library.
They are warm and cold and cannot be betrayed for gold.
The books are my friends at the library, library.

How can books be your friends at the library, library?
They cannot talk, they cannot walk.
How can books be your friends at the library, library?

The books are my friends at the library, library.
Any person they can outtalk.
They may not walk, but they can fly like a hawk.
The books are my friends at the library, library.

October, 2006

I Love My Library
By Dd #2, Age 8
You can go anywhere
Or anyplace,
My mom just loves it
Seeing my face,
Laughing so hard
That I fall off my chair,
Crying so much
That I float up into the air.
You can read about science
Or geography
That’s why I love
My Library.

October, 2006

The Book : Lost and Found
by Ds #1, age 6

There is a book
A hook grabbed the book
The cook read the book
He had the hook

The cook liked the book
A crook stole the book
He hid it in a nook
The crook read the book

The police caught the crook
The cook found the book
The hiding place was the nook
The library was the nook

October, 2006

Jenn, how are you doing since your dad's death?

I get this question alot lately. So, here's my answer.

I've been feeling very mixed. Some sadness, some releif, lots of intense apathy followed by guilt over the apathy. I didn't know apathy could be intense. I've been praying for my dad ALOT. It really helps make me feel better - like I'm still a part of his life and making a difference in loving him. I've been surprised about how many nice memories and sweet rememberances I have around me - things he's given us that I scoffed at before and now mean so much now that he's gone (like a checker set the kids were playing with this weekend.)

It definately doesn't hurt as much, but it's more like a "sweet sorrow."

All Saints Day Party

I can't believe we actually made it to one of these. We're usually sick around this time of year, but I guess we got it over with early (I'm not saying we won't get sick for Christmas). It was so nice. We haven't had one of those school days in a long time - Mass, a homeschool activity, then go out to eat. We used to do those all the time!

The kids dressed up as St. Michael, the Archangel / St. Francis / St. Cecelia, patron saint of musicians / St. Philomena. The girls noticed that during the Eucharistic prayer on Sunday, St. Philomena and St. Cecilia were mentioned for intercession. They thought that was really cool. I sure do like living out our faith in such a hands-on way with a God who is so interactive with all of us.

This week I'm trying to get my house clean this week while I don't neglect the kids' school... I'm not overly optimistic, but figure the effort is better than none.

The week before Dave took all the kids and a friend trick-or-treating. I was supposed to, but wasn't feeling well, so I stayed home to pass out candy (which is what I like about Halloween anyway). The kids were a pumpkin, St. Francis, a basket of laundry & a german girl. Our friend had just woken up out of bed.

Well, it doesn't look like I'll get a digital camera for Christmas. While we were shopping this weekend, I saw a George Forman that was a huge rectangle. It looked like I could actually make an entire dinner for us on it! It was $50 and mine is on it's last leg (my dad gave it to me several years ago and it has been USED alot since Dave says that "you can't fool me, I know grilling is cooking" and he's not about to do any of that, so I use my George Forman ALOT.) I also accepted this as a Christmas gift, because I ordered pretty expensive tupperware and Mary Kay this month and didn't exactly tell my husband, yet. We'll find out how much he checks my blog now that he's started his own Insurance Insider.

We had a perfect homeschool picture (in our heads, no digital camera) this Saturday night. Dave lit a fire, the kids were all in their new sleepers playing checkers on a rug checker set that my dad got them years ago in front of the fire -- while one of the kids practiced Christmas hymns for the upcomming homeschool Christmas pageant and the other one played with the hamsters...that room happened to be recently cleaned... it was just soooo sweet! Then Dave roasted marshmellows over the fire for the kids (even though he won't eat them - he doesn't like the taste!) What a wonderful dad! I pray to God that our children choose wisely and God grants them a wonderful marriage. It makes such a difference in good times and in bad.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Park Day

What a beeee-auti-ful day! The kids got all their school by lunch time, so we packed a lunch and joined 8 other families at the park! It was wonderful! The leaves, the wind, the slight chill of the air and warmth of the sun...We were there for over 4 hours. What a wonderful last hurrah!

We're around the 80 day mark as far as how many days of school we've done, and we're right on track for where we should be in our curriculum... so a day of reasonable accomplishment with lots of free form fun was very well-placed. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

30 Day Cooking

Whoa! Yesterday was shopping and cooking:
  • 7 lbs of taco meat
  • 8 lbs of sloppy Joe
  • 4 lbs of browned hamburger with diced onion
  • 16 lbs of shredded beef (for sandwiches)

Today was cooking:

  • 16 cupcake sized individual pumpkin pies
  • 2 full-sized Paradise Pumpkin pies
  • 2 mini (pot pie) sized blackberry pies with lattice
  • 1 Blackberry Cobbler
  • 1 Batch of fudge

It was really a "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie..." type of cooking.

  • I had left-over canned pumpkin in the fridge from this week, so we started the individual pumpkin pies.
  • When we'd mixed that up we had more pumpkin left, so we made Paradise Pumpkin pies.
  • We'd made my grandmother's pie crust recipe for the individual pies and had left over crust, so I made more crust and let ds6 make his own mini pies and he chose Blackberry from the options I gave him.
  • That only used up half the Blackberry filling, so we made a cobbler.
  • We were out of evaporated milk, so I substituted 1/2 whole milk and 1/2 condensed milk for the paradise part of the pumpkin pie, so I had 1/2 can of condensed milk left over and had to use it - so I found a fuge recipe...

I really love 30 Day Gourmet and what they do for my freezer. I find myself proselytizing for 30 Day cooking all the time! I'm just so excited at how much it helps:

  1. my physical exhaustion at the end of the day
  2. my mental exhaustion after teaching all day (I don't have to think about what I've got in the pantry, what that recipe takes...)
  3. my emotional exhaustion (I end up screaming at the kids more when I'm cooking dinner than at any other time of the day).

Tips from today - wear hot mitts to sort the freezer. This made a HUGE difference for me! I sorted the freezer - basically, took everything off 1 shelf at a time and sorted it into "breakfast, sweets / side, sauces & condiments / chicken & fish / meat / and a it won't fit anywhere else shelf"

Other Tip from today - As I have just a few spoonfuls leftover from rice, vegetables, the main dish, desert, etc. - I put it in a freezer bag labeled as a "Frozen Meal" and the contents. Then when Dave comes home from working late and asks the inevitable "is there anything to eat in there?" He can pull out a full and varied dinner and nuke it. Otherwise, he might wake up in the middle of the night and find my stash of cookies or raid the penut butter...

Shredded Beef

I'm a little disappointed with the capabilities of this blog. I know it's free - but I can't download any files unless I have a picture of them as a thumbnail or something... and then if I got that digital camera for Christmas....WOW!

This weekend I'm doing 30-day cooking. It's really more than that. I'm hoping I've planned well enough to take me through Christmas with just a "booster" shot of cooking.

When I went to Aldi's and bought 3 carts overflowing ... you should have seen the looks I got. Then I went to Sam's. I've still got some stuff to pick up at Kroger that I couldn't get at the previous 2 places. Several people asked if they could join the party I was obviously having. I told them they're welcome to. When I got home, Dave had cleaned out the garage that I had trashed (well, I'd been tossing stuff in it while I cleaned the house) so that I could back into the garage - it was pouring that day. Of course, I couldn't back in and ever since that first accident the first day he put me on his car insurance policy, he's pretty cautious about me and vehicles, so he backed in for me. I sure wish I would have gotten my freezer defrosted before this fall. With my dad's illness and death, there was just no way. I did it early spring, but then the kids left the freezer door cracked open overnight... Dave was as hot as the freezer! So, we have snow mountains in the freezer and I'm trying to squeeze the food in around it...

This is my most expensive recipe, and such a yummy one!

Shredded Beef
  • Beef Roast
  • Onion Soup Packets (1 per pound of beef)
  • Water (1/2 cup per pound of beef)
Boil the roast for about 30 minutes. Put it in the fridge to cool - possibly overnight. Scrape off the grease & dispose of it. Use the boil water in the above proportions for the crockpot. Cook on high 6 hours or low 12 hours (I like to do mine overnight). Turn off crockpot & take off lid to cool. As soon as it's not going to scald me with steam, I put it in a big bowl, trim any remaining fat and shred it using a scraping motion with 2 forks (one to hold the meat, one to scrape). Then I add the crock pot juice and put it in quart freezer bags (about 2 - 2 1/2 cups per bag for our family. The recommendation is 1 1/2 cups per meal for 8 buns, but that's not enough my crew. They LOVE this one) 8lbs of roast makes about 6 meals for us.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics

It's election time! I'm posting this link for our Catholic friends and family. The Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics does an exceptional job of outlining the factors we must prayerfully consider when discerning who deserves our vote in any election.

This booklet gives clear and concise official Church statements on five issues that do have moral implications:

Embryonic stem-cell research
Human cloning
and homosexual "marriage"

These issues are "non-negotiable" when it comes to their moral standing—and Catholics must not compromise on these issues.

The Insurance Insider

Dave has created a personal blog called Confessions of an Insurance Agent. You'll find great information about reducing your insurance premiums as well as the inside scoop about the insurance industry from an agent's perspective.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Homeschool Student Planners

It's sort of funny, how I come back to the same things over and over. As I told you all on my homeschool website, I've used Pflaum Catholic Student Planners and been reasonably happy with them. They do the trick, have a few saints in them and the reference for the Gospel that week. DD 10 likes it, fine. Dd8, not so much. I've tried the kind with one week on a 2 page spread and no lines - she didn't like it (and I didn't like how much I had to rewrite things day after day "Practice Spelling Words", etc.) She preferred a weekly list. I was so proud of my diligent daughter who wanted something so grown-up as a concise goals sheet. Well..... the kid in her turned up last week. She was less than diligent. To help her along this week, and for the rest of the year as far as I'm concerned, I made up a 2-page spread weekly student planner in an Excel document. It's got 5 days as the header of the rows, although since Wednesday is our field trip, co-op day, it only has 2 lines as opposed to the other 5 days having 6 lines each. The 9 columns I created are for 1. Days of the week (really short column) 2. Math / Latin (they don't go together, they're just both short entries) 3. Religion 4. Language Arts 5. Science *then there's a page break* 6. History 7. Memory (we do lots of this) 8. Other (Piano, field trips, etc.) 9. Spelling words (this is a long column and takes up as much space as columns 1 & 2 put together). The Spelling Words has numbers running down the column to fill in the weekly spelling words.

Donna Young has some very specific examples and descriptions and options on her site. http://www.donnayoung.org/forms/planners/planner.htm

If you look at the sample pages of any of the student planners online, you get a great idea of what you want.

I typed in specific instructions for specific days that are recurring (Monday is always get new spelling words / Friday is always spelling test, etc.) There's a lot in our school that can't be planned too far in advance.

Science occured for 2 hours this morning and the kids kept asking for more throughout the day.

I'm pretty happy with the planner. We'll see what she thinks when she wakes up tomorrow....

Friday, October 20, 2006

History, Sept. 2006

This was the culmination of a month's worth of history work and was completed at the end of Sept, 2006. We're using RC History - Connect with History, volume 1. This was what she chose for the "telling" phase of Unit 2 [connecT]. It was a comparison poster of the 4 cultures : Israel, Mesopotamia, Egypt & Ancient China in their religion, technology, writing & contribution to today's world. Each picture lifted up to reveal the paragraph underneath for that culture and category. She was awful proud of it, and so was I!

Cemetery Field Trip

That was really cool. The head of the cemetery had information for us about their specific cemetery, plans for gardens in the future, habits of people who visit the cemetery, local well-known families, historical figures buried there, saints chosen to represent various parts of the cemetery and why, specific anecdotal information about saints and their orders today, weather, weathering, ground upheaval, stones for monuments (headstones), statues, buildings and how they hold up after years and what specific conditions affect which kind of stone....

Friday, October 13, 2006

Radio Station Field Trip

Wednesday, we went on a field trip to a local Christian radio station. All the kids asked very good questions, but my 4 year old's questions were the most interesting:

"Have you ever gone fishing?"
"If your roof is broken, do you climb up there and fix it or does someone else?"
"Who's the oldest person here?"

To clean or to kite

I was sort of thinking of using this blog as a daily (or weekly or whenever I get to it) log of our activities. I thought rather than archive things, or in addition to it, I could copy and paste and eventually have a diary of my thoughts & cute actions of the kids.

Today, the kids are outside trying to fly kites. It's pretty windy out. The preschooler has been done with all of this school since 10am and has been patiently waiting (or not so patiently, depending on the hour) for the 1st grader to get done - who didn't start until 11am. They both have been waiting until the 3rd grader got done - now they're busy flying (or trying to fly) kites in our fenced in backyard.

The dishes are done, but the table isn't cleared from lunch & afternoon snack. I've got to get off the computer and get it done before Dave comes home and accuses me of being a lazy homeschooler! Poor Dave. I have fights with him in my head about things that haven't happened. I can just picture the fight we'd have if he actually called me that...he never has...and he probably never will. Of course that time in the hospital when he was having an alergic reaction to the drugs he did actually yell a little... BUT THAT'S OFF THE TOPIC.

-- oops, I have to go fix a kite first (is fixing a kite more important than clearing the table? which is being lazy?...hmmm....) "Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest height. Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring. Up to the atmosphere, up where the air is clear. Oh, let's go -- fly a kite."

Lazy Homeschoolers

As promised, I got those articles on laziness posted to Dave's homeschool site. (He made me PROMISE I wouldn't mess anything up. He's such a worry wort. It has nothing to do with the car I crashed when we were engaged, or the one I totalled when my sister and I went on a "cheesecake run", or... I guess crashing his website scares him as much as crashing his car.)
Dave's site still isn't quite as "pretty" as I'd like, so I apologize. This weekend we have nothing to do but paint the exposed wood on the house before winter, mow the lawn, fix the garage door opener, clean the house, plan for 30 day cooking and a pandemic flu, get the kids over their residual cough and fight over who gets to use the computer.
Along the lines of full disclosure and the "Lazy Homeschoolers" title of this post...I should come clean with my laziness. I called Dave today to ask him how to do the code for the website and he asked me if I'd been on the computer all day. I had. He asked me if we'd gotten school done. Some of the diligent kids had, but the ones who struggle with laziness hadn't. His implication, although he's too sweet of a guy (and values his life enough) to ever say it outloud, but the implication was -- while you're playing with these articles on Laziness, have you been lazy doing what you want rather than what you should...ummnnn...uhhh... I sort of was pretty silent on the phone. I have been working hard...but ...mmm. Yeah.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Freaky Weather

The kids have had so much fun today. Just after lunch the weather was totally weird! It was sunny & snowing in mid-October! They all ran outside bare-footed screaming about the snow. (and I wonder why they've had so many colds...) So, I did the mom-thing and yelled at them all to come in and put on coats and shoes. They all put on their snowboots for those few flakes. I thought it was wishful thinking, but then it started to REALLY SNOW HARD (for all of 3 minutes.) They were so excited. Then the sun came out again and I let them play outside for about an hour. I plied them with hot chocolate to get them in and once in they started school again. One of the girls brought the boys' desks into the family room and sat a kitchen chair in front of them and took charge of the boys' school. They all looked so cute "playing school." Really, she used their workbooks and actually taught the boys school today. I told the boys it was time for them to read to me, and they asked if their sister-teacher could do it. SURE! I love days when we get our work done and everyone is happy. Not all days in homeschooling (or family life) are like that, so I'll enjoy it when it comes around. One of these days I'll be writing that I'm pulling my hair out at these frustrating kids. Today, though, they are just the most adorable children in the world...

Laziness in children

Today, a friend asked me what I do to combat this. I have too much experience in this because not only was I a VERY lazy child, but I struggle with laziness to this date. (Don't tell my husband I EVER admitted to this! I go on and on to him about how hard I work. And I do, sometimes.)

I ended up typing out a few articles on Laziness in children sent them into the IAHE. There was one thing I didn't put in the articles, but is something I do in our family. It's very effective. As background, I'll copy a little from "Diagnosing Laziness (part 1 of 3)" :

We love our children, how can we label our children with such a sinful sounding word?
It just sounds…yucky. Cancer doesn’t go away because you ignore it. My dad died of colon cancer 5 years after he started having symptoms because he didn’t want to admit there was a problem. Not that your child will die from laziness, but it won’t go away or get better because you make it sound nicer. It is what it is. Because you love your child more than life itself, you’re willing to wipe their bottom and their snotty faces and look at what they need – pleasant or not – and provide for them.

Here's a snippet from "Diligence versus Laziness (part 2 of 3)":

There are two underlying principles at work in these answers. The first is a habit must be replaced by something rather than just eliminated. ... The second underlying principle is the same motto that my husband and I have in this and many other areas of child training : make disobedience more painful than obedience. Obedience is joy. Disobedience is painful.
...Specifically, these are tactics we use to wage war against our children’s baser instincts. I must insert that we are NOT waging war against our children. Our greatest desire is to love, nurture and provide for our children. These small (or large) battles should never usurp that primary objective to love, nurture and provide for our children. The challenge looms large, but is achievable. These tactics of battle are to be executed with tenderness and caring, not with anger, as much as is in our power to do so.

Rules of Engagement – You are the parent. Your mission is to be the parent in this battle. Anyone who is not the parent, can not take or maintain the authority of the parent. They do not have the wisdom or loving discipline to effectively handle the authority. Hostile take-over or pilfering of authority away from the parent will not be tolerated. You are the parent.
The one idea that I left out of the article "Battle for Diligence (part 3 of 3)" is the following:

One of the things that work best for my kids is not to give them the carrot ahead of time: “We've got a field trip we can go on if you get done with your work.” They tend to choose not going over working hard and quit trying. So we tell them what they've lost when they've lost it; it's more of a shock and seems more painful that way. (Remember the motto : Obedience is joy. Disobedience is painful.) At 3pm to say, “I feel bad for you guys because today we were invited to a birthday party if you were done with all your work by 2:30, but the party is about to start and I had to call and tell them we weren't coming because you weren't done.” No threats or me yelling, just an unintended consequence. My feeling is that they are choosing laziness over the fun I want to give to them, so they should know that. "I was going to make cookies this afternoon as a mother-daughter activity if you were done with school before dinner, but you didn't do your school work and by your choices to play around, we can't do that fun activity, now."
Another tactic is Martial Law - for just one kid who has been totally lazy. I take away all privileges during Martial Law for a specified time period, for example a week. The first few days they fuss. The next couple of days, they comply, but resentfully. By the end of the week they are joyfully obeying and diligently doing their school work. We are all happy to remove martial law and go back to normal life and fun times with children who appreciate the gifts in their lives.

Homeschool Diligence: part 3 of 3 Battle for Diligence

Read the first 2 articles entitled “Diagnosing Laziness (part 1 of 3)” and “Diligence versus Laziness (part 2 of 3).”  Now you’re ready to read about the nitty-gritty of battle.

These small (or large) battles should never usurp that primary objective to love, nurture and provide for our children.  The challenge looms large, but is achievable.  These tactics of battle are to be executed with tenderness and caring, not with anger, as much as is in our power to do so.

Battle Tactics -
 Use an assignment list or a student planner – I use lists for younger children and student planners for older kids.  I write out everything for the week or month.  I include all social engagements.  I need to keep track of how ahead or far behind the child is at least daily, if not several times a day.

The most useful tool in our school – is my digital kitchen timer. I keep it with me wherever I go while school is going on.  It works out best if I tell the child what subject to do next and give a time limit, "You need to be done with math in 45 minutes."  When the timer goes off, they have to quit, even if there is only 1 problem to finish.  Setting the timer for the next subject, telling the child what subject and time limit, I have them respond with an acknowledgement of understanding, “Yes, Mama.”

 Isolation - Whatever subjects aren't done after ample time (according to the timer) have to be done in their room.  If all of school isn't done by the end of our day, the child has to go to bed without being able to read or watch TV or whatever fun stuff we're doing as a family.  Sometimes, I'll make sure we're doing fun stuff, like dancing or a game of Uno just as the child has to go to bed.  Remember the motto : make disobedience more painful than obedience.  Obedience is joy.  Disobedience is painful.

Loss of Privilege - I take one away at a time until we end up at Martial Law or they change their behavior.  Privileges that work for us are:
  • In between meal snacks
  • Sweets
  • family meals – loose eating the same food as the family (they may have to eat peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly) and water for dinner and sit with us when I fixed a great meal we're all eating in front of them.  This will be more painful to a sensitive mother’s heart than to a rebellious child.
Remember the Rules of Engagement – You are the parent.  Your mission is to be the parent in this battle.  Anyone who is not the parent, can not take or maintain the authority of the parent. They do not have the wisdom or loving discipline to effectively handle the authority.  Hostile take-over or pilfering of authority away from the parent will not be tolerated.  You are the parent.

More privileges we take away:
·        reading except for school .
·        toys
·        TV
·        talking
·        freedom - They are attached at my hip and have to join me everywhere I go including sitting outside the bathroom door on the floor while I'm in there.

Saturday School - If school isn’t done by Friday’s end, due to laziness, my child has to do a full day of Saturday School.  Not only finish school from the previous week, but do a full 5-6 hours worth of assignments in addition to Saturday chores.  We have them recite Proverbs 12:24 "The diligent hand will govern, but the slothful hand will be enslaved." I only have to impose 1 or 2 of these a year for them to work like a demon on Fridays.

Playdates - we don't skip these. With the permission of the other family, we'll go to a playdate and the child who still has school to do has to take it with us and can't play until it's done.  It's shocking how quickly and correctly they will do the work in the car on the way there so as not to miss the playtime.  It’s a very motivating experience.

Exit Strategy - Initially, you may only have a modicum of success.  Take it and run with it.  Your parenting job will still require huge effort, so revel in the small successes.  However many years it has taken laziness to take hold in your child, give consistent, loving discipline that many additional years to instill diligence.   Diligence will replace laziness and you will have given the world a hard working, competent, reliable adult who contributes to the good of society.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Homeschool Diligence: part 2 of 3 Diligence versus Laziness

First read the article entitled “Diagnosing Laziness”.  After you've lovingly decided it is laziness that is keeping your child from doing their work, then read on.

What is an environment that will provide for the laziness to retreat while diligence takes its place?  Or in other words – what am I supposed to do about it?

This is a sticky area of parenting.  A little yelling and a certain amount of anger are reasonable responses to someone you are spending your life’s blood, effort and money on who doesn't appreciate it at all.  How dare they act like children!  Yet, children they are and parents we are, so we have to do something.  Yelling doesn't work for long.  Anger only expends the limited energy we have left after teaching school and doing the laundry.
There are two underlying principles at work in these answers.  The first is that a habit must be replaced by something rather than just eliminated.  In the void of obtaining a virtue, vice will creep back in, so laziness must be replaced by diligence.  What is an environment that will promote diligence?  Obedience is joy.  Compliment your children when they show even a small amount of diligence.  Praise them and cuddle them.  Reward them with a quick tickling.  Be proud of their effort.  Tell them how proud you are of them.  They just overcame themselves to please you.

The second underlying principle is the same motto that my husband and I have in this and many other areas of child training : make disobedience more painful than obedience.  Obedience is joy.  Disobedience is painful.

Specifically, these are tactics we use to wage war against our children’s baser instincts.  I must insert that we are NOT waging war against our children.  Our greatest desire is to love, nurture and provide for our children.  These small (or large) battles should never usurp that primary objective to love, nurture and provide for our children.  The challenge looms large, but is achievable.  These tactics of battle are to be executed with tenderness and caring, not with anger, as much as is in our power to do so.

Rules of Engagement – You are the parent.  Your mission is to be the parent in this battle.  Anyone who is not the parent, can not take or maintain the authority of the parent. They do not have the wisdom or loving discipline to effectively handle the authority.  Hostile take-over or pilfering of authority away from the parent will not be tolerated.  You are the parent.

To read the application of these principles read the third article entitled,  Battle for Diligence.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Dave and I went to a pro-life banquet last night. It's always so inspiring and moving to hear of others who are so dilagently using the time given them in this life to help save others' lives. Sometimes it feels like my contribution - just being with my children and cleaning -er- not-cleaning my house is so small to the cause of solving the world's problems. But my children need me. They need me to understand the complexity of life's issues and to slowly explain it to them while they are being protected and nurtured to grow into strong, capable citizens capable of making a difference. My little life looks even smaller in light of these huge problems and the incredible efforts of others to make a difference. I pray. I vote, write letters and try to stay informed. It all seems so little compared to 4,000 babies killed every day in America to abortion!

However, I don't live my life based on my feelings, but on the objective truth that I KNOW. I know this world is a better place because my children have a mother who stays home to nurture and educate them. I have to allow myself to live in the middle of that truth - rather than be distracted by the wonderfully worth while causes to which I could dedicate my time. *sigh* someday when I don't have little ones...God willing, but today, I need to do the dishes and grade a math paper or 3.

Homeschool Diligence: part 1 of 3 Diagnosing Laziness

 Ouch.  Even the word is painful.  We love our children, how can we label our children with such a sinful sounding word?  What if it isn’t laziness in our child and there are other issues?  Aren’t we all guilty of this at some time or another?  How can we attend to this issue in our children when we struggle with it ourselves? I’ll answer these questions backwards – last to first.
How can we attend to this issue in our children when we struggle with it ourselves?
Do people who struggle financially work and strive for something better for their children?  Yes.  Is it possible that your child, due to your efforts, can achieve heights greater than you did?  Yes.  Does this apply to virtue?  Yes.  Are our children worth the effort? Yes.

 Aren’t we all guilty of this at some time or another?
Yes. That doesn’t mean we should allow our children to be less than they are capable of because, from our own experience, we see the same in ourselves.  We must strive for the good in our children with at least the same effort, if not more, than we strive to better ourselves – all at the same time.

 What if it isn’t laziness in our child and there are other issues? 
That must be the first thing we look at.  Is our expectation of the child reasonable?  I had a 2nd grader who could do grammar with her hands tied behind her back with almost no teaching required on my part.  I've had a 4th grader who couldn't find a noun if it was the only word on the page no matter how much I taught her. 

·           Everyone has natural strengths and weaknesses that are not laziness.  We should utilize our children’s strengths while working on their weaknesses in a way that doesn't discourage the child. 
·           If your teaching style isn't your child’s learning style, you’ll have to make accommodations for your child’s needs – this is the primary responsibility in parenting and teaching in the home.
·           If your child has behavioral, medical or learning disabilities these all must be taken into account where your expectation of them is concerned.  It also must be considered when choosing curriculum and executing activities.

If you've looked at all the above issues and either discarded them as inapplicable or attended to them, often you’re left with laziness.  My child just doesn't want to do the work and so isn't.

 We love our children, how can we label our children with such a sinful sounding word?

 It just sounds…yucky.  Cancer doesn't go away because you ignore it.  My dad died of colon cancer 5 years after he started having symptoms because he didn't want to admit there was a problem.  Not that your child will die from laziness, but it won’t go away or get better because you make it sound nicer.  It is what it is.  Because you love your child more than life itself, you’re willing to wipe their bottom and their snotty faces and look at what they need – pleasant or not – and provide for them.
What is an environment that will provide for the laziness to retreat while diligence takes its place?
You’ll have to read the next article entitled 
      Diligence versus Laziness in your homeschooler & Battle for Diligence in your family

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Home Depot Kids' Project

WOW!! That was a kewl free activity for us to take 6 kids at Home Depot!! The kids all really enjoyed it and the thing actually came out!! Dave was helping 5 kids, while I struggled to help 1, and they all came out!! We took them out for Chinese, and the 2 kids that are spending the weekend with us both ate it! Then, we brought them home and painted our firetruck banks. They had a serious BLAST!

Quote of the day: "Mama, this day was so fun, it could last me a MONTH!!"

Friday, October 06, 2006

Today's musings...

I've been heartbroken over the school shootings, expecially the Amish school. Thank God that he's ultimately in charge of this world instead that yucky devil who encourages this kind of sin.

I've started reading "Clutter's Last Stand." We'll see if it helps. God knows I need help in this area.

One of the kids is running a fever today. I can hardly believe that this is a 5th illness on the heels (or in the middle) of the cold we all had this week. Everyone is at the end stages of their colds (residual caughs, stuffy noses) except the sick kid. No one else ran a fever - I hope it's the same thing, but... it looks like she's got 2 things at the same time. I sure hope that this means we'll all be healthy at Christmas. I don't know if our vitamins got exposed to ultraviolet light and all the potency got sucked out of them or WHAT! Thank you, God, that it's just annoying illnesses we're dealing with rather than life-altering diseases or injuries and please be with those people who are dealing with such life devestating events.

Quote of the Day "Thank God that He gave our kids 2 parents instead of 1." (This was in reference to the question about Dave's sled - as mom's we're not nearly as adventurous with our kids as the dads are - is that good or bad or just God's design?)

Garbage Recipe

We've got friends coming to spend the night. Even though I've still got a sick kid (or two) we're hoping to have a fun weekend. We'll take all the well kids a free workshop at Home Depot. We're going to make a lego cake . Family Fun has the picture and directions.

I got special permission from our friends to let the kids "Do the sled." Dave created this sled on wheels with the kids using 2x4's, plywood, rollers & cabinet handles. It's just a rectangle that's long enough for a kid to lay on his belly with his knees bent, legs held in the air, hands on the sides holding onto handles - all on rollers. Dave hooks it onto the back of his bike and takes them to an empty parking lot. It looks alot like a boat with an innertube. They sure do have a good time. I wont' really have anything to do with it, but from what I hear, I'm not a very fun mom.

My kids would like to introduce their kids to Garbage for breakfast. We've introduced these kids to a few dishes they now like (nachos - for whatever reason they wouldn't eat it at home, but will at our house, and Egg-in-the-bread -sometimes called Chicks-in-a-basket)

Garbage 15 minutes
Cindy's Diner

Use what you have and what you like. If I were making it for me, I'd use green pepper, mushroom & tomato in addition to the pared down kid version below. This is for a family of 6, so pare it down for less.

2 Potatoes, diced
1/2 Chopped Onion (Diced if it's for the kids to "hide" it)
Breakfast meat, cooked (we use whatever is convenient. My family's favorite is ground sausage. I keep it in meal sized portions cooked and frozen for just such a recipe on the fly, but I've chopped up sausage links, ham, bacon...we don't use very much meat in this - 6 saugsage links, or 1/3 lb of cooked ground sausage)
6 Eggs
1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

I often use shredded or country-style frozen hashbrowns instead of diced raw potatoes. If I've made sliced fried potatoes the night before, I'll toss those in instead. Toss in onion, if you're using it - a little if even just for taste, to cook with the potatoes. Fry in scant oil or butter. Add in cooked breakfast meat to heat it up. After the above ingredients are cooked together, break the eggs in the skillet over the other ingredients and stir up together. You don't have to scramble them, and you don't need as much for an omlet, just really to coat the potatoes. Top with cheese just to melt and hold it all togehter (since you don't have very many eggs in it, it just falls apart). It HONESTLY looks like garbage.
The filling thing about this is really the potatoes. I serve it with sour cream (we lOVE sour cream with all our potatoes including hashbrowns). We'll see how the boys this weekend like it...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Quote of the day

In a loud, harsh voice from Mama, "Flush your hands and wash the potty!" The boys couldn't stop giggling.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Picture of homeschooling

This picture is my image of homeschooling: a brisk spring day after a long winter, children who can't bear to be inside another hour wrapped in blankets able to do school with the wind blowing through their hair, a child whose mind has exploded into understanding reading who is sharing her new excitement with her little sister.

Ancient Egypt

We're done with Ancient Mesopotamia and are immersed in Ancient Egypt. We'll spend 1 month here while we simultaneously learn about Abraham - Moses. The kids are LOVING this unit of RC History. They are reading books and re-reading them. Since everyone has colds today, I think we'll spend the rest of the afternoon in Ancient Egypt. We were supposed to go to our co-op Academics Club today and have a play date with our cousins, but 5 sore throats is enough to keep us home.

coloring pages:
Horus god Anubis with a mummy Nut, the sky goddess Hershef

geography in story form

I love this guy's site : Mr. Donn Ancient Egypt

There is a cool example of using 1 piece of cloth to make a woman's draped dress in the left column of Pharaonic Egypt - Garments - truth be told, the entire site seems EXCELLENT for information.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We've been "Ghosted"

We don't do much for Halloween. We allow the kids to dress up & trick-or-treat and we hand out candy. The kids go to a homeschool Harvest Party or an All-Saints Party on November 1st...
Today, both girls (& Mama) were sick with colds, so school was going along at an easy pace squeezed in between naps and doses of Motrin (I swear we should buy stock in that company - we buy an obscene amount in the winter.)

Then the doorbell rang. No one was at our door. A lunch bag was on the porch with 2 pieces of paper & candy in it. One piece of paper had an outline ghost with cute big eyes that said "You've Been Ghosted" and another piece with instructions to make 2 copies of each sheet and secretly "ghost" 2 neighbors. Then put the original "You've been ghosted sign" up on our front door and watch the neighborhood throughout the month to see how many homes get "ghosted." My kids went ballistic. For being sick they sure got excited. It was just adorable. So they're plotting who they can surprise (as soon as I get to the store for early Halloween candy - we always eat it if I buy it early and we have to get more.) It was such a silly little thing, but the kids were so animated for a "sick day." I wonder who did it to us.....

Chinese Pepper Steak

Post a comment of one of your family's favorites...
Chinese Pepper Steak 15 minutes
Jenn’s Mom - - This is what I cook when the Pastor comes over for dinner.

1 lb. Round Steak (cut in strips)
3/4 C Water
2 T Oil
4 t Soy Sauce
1 med. Onion, sliced
1/2 t Ginger
1 med. Green Pepper, sliced
3 C Cooked Rice
1 env. Au Jus Gravy Mix

Brown meat, onion & pepper in oil. Stir in remaining ingredients, except rice. Cook 5 minutes more. Serve over rice. This is so easy and tastes AWESOME!
Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency.
-Natalie Goldberg

Crab Rangoon

4 oz Crab Meat, drained & chopped (1can)
¼ tsp Garlic Powder
4oz Cream Cheese, softened
30 Wonton or Egg Roll Wrappers
½ tsp A-1 Sauce
1 Egg yolk, well beaten

Combine crab meat with cream cheese and seasonings in a medium bowl and blend to a paste. Place heaping teaspoon on each wonton. Moisten edges of wontons with egg yolk (or water). Gather the four corners of the wontons together at the top and pinch the edges together to seal. Heat oil to 375*. Add wontons in batches and fry until golden brown; about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with Chinese mustard, red sauce or Sweet & Sour sauce.
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln

Vegetable & Seafood Wontons 25 minutes @ 350

1 env. Lipton Recipe Secrets Vegetable Soup Mix
1/8 t Pepper
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
40 Wonton Wrappers, refrigerated or thawed frozen, from produce section
1/2 lb. Imitation Crabmeat, chopped
1 T Olive or Vegetable Oil
1/4 t Garlic Powder

In medium bowl, combine vegetable soup mix, ricotta cheese, crabmeat, garlic powder and pepper. Place 1 tablespoon ricotta mixture on center of each wonton. Brush edges with water; fold corners into centers. Press to seal. To dress them up, you can tie an edible leaf, like green onion, around the ‘package’ like a ribbon. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet; brush with oil. Bake 25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown, turning once.
VARIATION: Use 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked shrimp in place of crabmeat.
Cover filled wontons with damp cloth until ready to bake, then brush with oil. These take about an hour to wrap, but are a big hit!
The things that one most wants to do are the things that are probably most worth doing.
-Winifred Holtby

Hey, I'm Jenn.

Dave & I will be blogging on this site together!

I am...

  • an almost 40 yr old hs mom of 4 dc ages 10-4, married to Dave - 12 years
  • intrigued by families who can actually keep their house clean - Are you one of them? HOW do you do it?
  • getting better at not yelling at the kids as much - this is more God's accomplishment than mine
  • mourning the loss of my father who died in August, 2006
  • a little overwhelmed at teaching 5th grade this year - dd#1 is doing GREAT, I'm the one feeling overwhelmed (I say this every year, BTW)
  • happy that my 4 year old is so excited about reading
  • trying to be patient with my ds#3 (6) who doesn't like to read, yet. It took Dd#2 until almost 3rd grade before she "discovered" reading could be fun.
  • looking for a new stew recipe - chicken or beef - post a comment of your favorite
  • teaching myself to knit
  • wishing I had the courage to parachute jump, although my back gets sore just getting out of bed
  • really content that I'm too chicken to parachute - Dave wouldn't let me, anyway. He's an insurance agent and doesn't even like me to burn candles in the bathroom.

Come visit my website at http://www.thmg.com/highlanddove to get a better idea of who I am - or visit my blog a bit.

This is a Word Snapshot of my website (Highland Dove is the name of our homeschool.)

Put one on your blog or website free from http://snapshirts.com/

My husband's homeschool website is http://www.homeschool101.net/ - well, I'll help with it, sometimes.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Homeschool 101

Welcome to our Homeschool Blog! My wife and I have been actively homeschooling our four children since 2002. We cannot imagine a better way to educate our family.