Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Passion of Christ

UPDATED: Just to let you know, my beautiful, and very talented children did NOT make these videos! Sorry if I was misleading! I found them on YouTube thanks to another homeschooler who passed on the link. I believe the names of the talented gentlemen are at the beginning of the first video.

My kids made a nice little video, but these must have taken hours of work. They're beautifully done!

Oh, and you might want to stop watching #5 at around 2 minutes if you want to save Easter for, well, Easter.

I just wish my kids had the patience and skills for this kind of work. But they're too busy watching American Idol and Full House.









Sunday, March 29, 2009

For Your Sunday Viewing Pleasure

The crew wanted to make a video for Holy Heroes Lenten Adventures, but I didn't want to go through the hassles so I'm just posting their video here. Enjoy!


video

Friday, March 27, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday



~~~1~~~

I'm always shocked when I get up in the morning and I find Jen's 7 Quick Takes on her blog. Is it really Friday already? Where did the week go and, more importantly, where is that feeling of impending relaxation that should go with it? Sometimes we get surprised with a peaceful weekend, but more often than not, Friday is just the beginning of 3 days of complicated scheduling, driving, and more driving.

~~~2~~~

Adding to the frustration of the weekend tangle is the fact that we're already a little tired from Hitch's late evening drama practices all week long. I try to remember that it is probably harder on him than on me. After all, when I go pick him up at 8 p.m. there isn't any traffic problem, and I get to come home and go to bed at my usual time. He still has homework to do and tests to study for starting at 9 p.m.!

~~~3~~~

I had to make another trip to Joann's yesterday for more costume supplies for our homeschool plays. I love looking at the fabric selections and dreaming of the possibilities, but that is not what I was there for! Nevertheless, in the clearance section I found a gorgeous lightweight linen in my favorite, favorite color---a bright, bluish turquoise! They were also having a "stock-up" sale on Butterick patterns---only $1.50!!!!--- and I found the pattern for a dress they had on a mannequin last year that I loved. I guess it should go without saying that I bought both the fabric and the pattern and I'll be making myself an Easter dress.

~~~4~~~

The kids and I have been using our monastery bell for the past couple of days and it's great. I know we're still in the "honeymoon" phase, but I'm hoping we can develop some better habits this way. And, yes, we really do have a bell. It's a beautiful little hand bell that the Pipster gave me as a gift. He saw it at the Catholic shop at our parish and tried to buy it. The owner said that it wasn't for sale; she had gotten it in Rome. Seems like there was some connection to JPII, but I don't remember. Anyway, she just gave it to him because he's so cute, I guess. We keep in on the Green Thing in the hall and use it to call the family to prayer, or just to call the big boys who are way down in the basement and can't hear!

~~~5~~~

It's almost time for the bell to ring and my 7 quick takes are taking tooooo long, as usual!

(So I'll cheat!)

~~~6~~~

KT is supposed to be coming home sometime today so she can see Hitch's show. I'm looking forward to her and seeing "Harvey" too. I hear from the grapevine that he is one of the most entertaining parts of the production.

~~~7~~~

Oh, I'll close with this....how many of you clicked on the ShamWow video and watched it the other day? I was shocked that no one commented on it. You have to watch it; it's a hysterical parody of the ShamWow commercial, which I have never seen, but the kids have and they somehow stumbled across this song. They (okay, WE) like it so much that they've put it on their Ipod! I think it's like the movie Napoleon Dynamite: it gets funnier every time you watch it. Here it is again for your Friday Fun:




I want to hear how much you enjoyed it!!! Oh, and if you have tried ShamWow, let me know!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lenten Calendar


We're trying a little bit of a different Lenten observance this year for a change. We're having a little trouble adapting to the change in routine, and some is too much for us to keep up with, but we're trying!

I painstakingly cut and pasted all the readings from Jessica's blog for the "Jesus Tree" and we're reading them every night just as we do during Advent when we read the scripture passages for the Jesse Tree. We don't have a Jesus tree yet, nor do I think we'll acquire one because I don't know how we would attach our foam ornaments. So far, we are content to apply the symbols to our Lenten calendar (which we also copied from Jessica!) And we don't have the cute felt ornaments that Jessica has, but we're making our own out of foam sheets. I'm finding the foam to be a lot of fun to work with! I spent a good chunk of today's table time catching up on them. Just a few more to do and we'll have them finished for the rest of Lent.

I'm thinking it's just about time to acquire the materials for our "Garden of Arimathea." That's one of my favorite Holy Week traditions. I don't know if we've done it in the past few years, but I like it. We used a lid from a paper box which is nice and big, and deep. Lined it with foil and filled it with potting soil to make a couple of hills---calvary and the tomb with a path between the two. The kids find sticks to make the 3 crosses with and we drape Jesus's with purple. Then they make a path with stones gathered from outside. We used a little mirror as a pond and a paper cup on its side and covered with dirt for a tomb. Don't forget a big rock to put in front of the tomb! On Good Friday we put Jesus in the tomb and seal him in. On Easter morning the children find that He has risen and there are flowers all over the garden! The flowers are usually from our Playmobil sets, but they could be real if you were a mom on top of things like that. Some people plant wheat grass in the dirt which might be fun. We've never tried it. The kids enjoy the opportunity to play in the dirt and I like the visual reminder on the kitchen table of what this season is all about.

Skirt Picture!


Here's a picture of my new skirt which I can't wait to wear, but I have to get some sandals to wear first!

Almost Blog Silence

I don't know what's up with me these days. I just have nothing to bore you with talk about. Maybe it's that I'm staying pretty busy, trying to keep up with schoolwork. We're trying really hard to dot our i's and cross our t's, but it's still hard. The sun and flowers beckon outdoors when we're not too sick to enjoy it!

My little crew, TMax, Pipster, and the Princess, have been in varying stages of unwell with some version of Hitch's virus. A little fever here and there, a lot of congestion, a bit of coughing....just enough to keep us indoors too much and prevent them from doing a full day's work.

I did take advantage of TMax's sickday on Monday to make a skirt for myself while the others worked at the table. It went together pretty quickly and I think I did a great job on it. The kids are proud of me and they love it and can't wait for me to wear it! Now I'll have to keep my eyes open for some more fabric to make a couple more of these. It's a very flattering style for me---knee length and flared. It "twirls" very nicely and LP likes to see me spin (and get dizzy!).

Keeping up with my Lenten cleaning is also keeping me somewhat busy. I'm finding it hard to find the time every day because some rooms take a lot of time! I think we're embarking on the playroom today! I did a (very) little of it yesterday, but the kids will have to help me go through all the toys and games for giving and throwing away.

This is also a difficult week in that it is the last week before Hitch's school play and he has rehearsal every night until 8 p.m. Madden still has to be picked up at the usual time and then someone has to go back for Hitch. It's a lot of driving. Thank heaven Madden's track meet for today was canceled and he won't need to be picked up at 10 p.m.! Hitch's dress rehearsal is Thursday and then there are two performances Friday and Saturday. Dh or I have to be there to sell tickets for each performance, including Thursday's. I think we're each going to see the show on different nights.

But today is The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and I'm determined to squeeze in a little celebration---Mass and a special dessert for everyone else to enjoy while I'm at choir rehearsal. I guess it's appropriate that yesterday I talked to the kids about answering the summons like monks do. And Our Blessed Mother!


Have a beautiful day!

Friday, March 20, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday


~~~1.~~~

Busy weekend ahead. Co-op today, dropping Tmax off for a Boy Scout campout, fish fry tonight, drama rehearsal tomorrow for Hitch; I'm working the Father/Daughter Sock Hop from 3 pm onward. I hope the Lil Princess will be well enough to go! She was feverish again yesterday at American Heritage Girls. In fact, 2 girls there had fevers! I have AHG paperwork that has to get done tomorrow, too. I'm so glad Sunday is a day of rest. I think Hitch has drama rehearsa, but he can drive himself!

~~~2.~~~

This week will be full of drama rehearsals and late pickups at school since Harvey opens on Thursday. Looking forward to seeing Hitch in it; it's one of his favorite movies. The School does great drama productions.

~~~3.~~~

Not much happening on the creative front. I finished those costumes and haven't started anything new---although I washed the fabric to make myself a skirt. If that goes well, I may make several more.

~~~4.~~~

We've also slacked off on the Lenten plan to clean a room a day because we've been so busy trying to get our schooling done. But then, KT cleaned Hitch and Madden's room with them when she was home (and that was a monumental task!). Thanks, sweetie! I did do major work in the kitchen and we're working hard to keep the clutter at bay. Maybe this weekend we can do some of the easier rooms and get those checked off!

~~~5.~~~

On the health front---Pipster recovered very quickly from his fever the other day. It seems to be the same virus that Hitch had, but he didn't get it as badly. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Hitch had such a bad case because he is perpetually exhausted from their school shedule. The Little Princess is a little worse than Pipster. KT reports from school that she's getting it, too. I have a slight tickle in my throat and am taking Emergen-C religiously to keep it away! The other 3 men are too manly to get it evidently. This virus is making its way around town.

~~~6.~~~

I'm loving the weather right now and the trees budding. When we got home from Oklahoma, the redbuds were in bloom and now the pear trees. The cherry trees aren't completely there yet, but they are my favorite. I love their bark.

It was interesting to make that long drive at the tail end of winter. There were not many signs of spring that I recall, but I realized that it is so much greener here in Georgia. There are so many pine tress that we have a lot more green than other places do.

~~~7.~~~

Did I ever mention the devastation in Kentucky? Practically the entire time we were in Kentucky, the roads were flanked by broken trees. Some parts were worse than others----simply devastated. Trees down everywhere. One area that we drove through was not on a major highway, but a 2 lane road through small towns and it was like driving through a tunnel. The trees limbs were piled high right up against road. I vaguely recalled the winter storm that we'd heard about a couple of weeks earlier. My brother said the state was declared a disaster area, and they were still working on power lines when we drove through.


~~~Visit Jen for more Quick Takes~~~

Thursday, March 19, 2009

50 Questions About Me!

Shannon tagged me for this so I thought I'd play along!


1) What is your salad dressing of choice?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar

2) What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?

P.F. Chang's

3) What food could you eat for 2 weeks straight and not get sick of it?

Quiche?

4) What are your pizza toppings of choice?

Mushrooms and black olives

5) What do you like to put on your toast?

butter and jam, if I ate toast

6) How many televisions are in your house?

2, not fancy.

7) What color cell phone do you have?

Silver; I wasn't about to pay for the pink one!

8) Are you right-handed or left-handed?

Left

9) Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
As Shannon said: Do babies count?

6, if they do. Oh, wait, the childhood warts. Lots. I know, TMI!

10) What is the last heavy item you lifted?

The Little Princess

11) Have you ever been knocked unconscious?

Not that I recall.

12) If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?

no

13) If you could change your name, what would you change it to?

I love my name. I'm a princess, a daughter of The King!

14) Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000?
"My body is a baby-making temple. No."

Oh, that's Shannon again, but probably not. Depends on if I needed to pay for a car repair.

15) How many pairs of flip flops do you own?

One.

16) What’s your goal for the year?

To be better than last year.

17) Last person you talked to?

Madden

18) Last person you hugged?

Madden---he still hugs me at 15!

19) Favorite Season?

Spring, spring, spring!

20) Favorite Holiday?

Easter!

21) Favorite day of the week?

Wednesday---choir

22) Favorite Month?

April

23) First place you went this morning?

To the kitchen to see the Master of the World

24) What's the last movie you saw?

I can't even remember. It wasn't THAT long ago, but I'm lame like that.

25) Do you smile often?

Not as often as I should!

26) Do you always answer your phone?

Not the home phone. Only if I know who is calling.

27) It's four in the morning and you get a text message, who is it?

KT

28) If you could change your eye color what would it be?

They're blue and I'll keep them.

29) What flavor drink do you get at Sonic?

Diet coke? Do they have sugar-free limeade? Do I ever go to Sonic unless I'm in Oklahoma or Missouri?

30) Have you ever had a pet fish?

We have one now and her name is Gloria.

31) Favorite Christmas song?

In the Bleak Midwinter

32) What's on your wish list for your birthday?

A gold crucifix and miraculous medal. hint, hint

33) Can you do push ups?


Yes. The girl kind.

34) Can you do a chin up?


Hell no.

35) Does the future make you more nervous or excited?

Excited

36) Do you have any saved texts?

I have the dozen roses dh sent me, but I didn't understand it at the time.

37) Ever been in a car wreck?

Yes, a couple. The most memorable when I was very little.

38) Do you have an accent?

Depends on who hears me. I really don't think so unless I'm around my Oklahoma family.

39) What is the last song to make you cry?

Can't remember.

40) Plans tonight?

American Heritage Girls.

41) Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom?

Yes.

42) Name 3 things you bought yesterday.

Milk, eggs, eggs.

43) Have you ever been given roses?

Of course. My husband loves me.

44) Current hate right now?

What Obama is doing to our country.

45) Met someone who changed your life?

Each of my kids has changed my life - for the better. My husband too. (Copied that from Shannon, but it's true.) Not to mention the Catholic homeschoolers we met in Richmond, VA who truly lived their faith and set such a great example for me.

46) How did you spend this past New Year?

I think we watched a movie as a family and banged pots and pans at midnight, and then shuffled everyone off to bed immediately.

47) What song represents you?

Summer Lovin' from Grease.

48) Name three people who might complete this?
Three people as pathetic as me. Hmmmm, thanks, Shannon!

3 people who need something to blog about. Kathleen, Shelley, and Rachel!


49) What were you doing 12 midnight?

Sleeping??!!

50) What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?

Dear Sacred Heart of Jesus, I offer you this day through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with all its prayers, works, joys, and sufferings, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, for the reparation of sins, the intentions of my friends, and the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen.

Interview with (some of) the Kids

I thought this might be fun. They all answered the questions separately and didn't hear each other's answers. P(ipster) is 10, T(Max) is 13, and Little Princess is 7.

1. What is something your mom always says to you?

P---Go to bed.
T---Get to work!
LP---Do your schoolwork!

2. What makes your mom happy?
P---nothing
T---Being around your family.
LP---because we're your children.

3. What makes your mom sad?
P---sins
T--eating carbs
LP---that KT is not here.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
P---tickle me or tell a lame joke.
T---With your stupid comebacks when I say, I just thought of something, and you say, "Did it hurt?"
LP---I don't know.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
P---how am I supposed to know?
T---Quiet, but had a lot of friends.
LP---I don't know.

6. How old is your mom?
P---44
T---44
LP---44

7. How tall is your mom?
P---5' 9"
T---5 foot 9
LP---I don't know.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
P---playing Outdoor Challenge on Wii
T---talk to your girlfriends
LP---play games.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
P---How am I supposed to know? I'm not around!
T---clean house
LP---cook

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
P---Best Mom.
T---creating a brilliant knitting design.
LP---Catholic singing (I think she means cantoring!)


11. What is your mom really good at?

P---knitting
T---knitting
LP---Catholic singing

12. What is your mom not very good at?
P---Video games
T---video games, specifically the Wii
LP---making jokes.

13. What does your mom do for a job?
P---teaches us.
T---teaches
LP---teach your kids.

14.What is your mom's favorite food?
P---salad
T---quiche
LP---Pesto

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
P---cuz you're my mom.
T---You handle teaching 3 kids full days of school pretty well.
LP---Because you're a wealthy and caring mom, and I love you.

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
P---Elmer Fudd (???)
T---Minnie Mouse
LP---a Bugs Bunny lady

17. What do you and your mom do together?
P---Drive for an hour to go get the older boys.
T---drive all over Atlanta
LP---go on vacation, shop, cook.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
P---We're humans.
T---We share the same views on a primal lifestyle. (See #3)
LP---Our haircuts.

19. How are you and your mom different?
P---You're a girl, I'm a boy.
T---I'm an intellectual and you're creative.
LP---Because you're a mom and I'm a kid.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
P---You say it every night when we go to bed.
T---You come in my room every night even though I'm 13.
LP---By hugging me and kissing me and saying I love you.

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?

P---He's your husband.
T---Considering you're married to him, probably everything.
LP---that he's your husband and he's funny (finally, someone got that answer!)

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
P---the mall
T---Church
LP---Heaven.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

We're almost there; I can feel it! Even though we're still only halfway through Lent, we are almost out of the dark, dreary doldrums of the homeschooling year. I think everyone agrees that January and February are the worst months for homeschoolers. It's dark and cold and the festivities have come to a screeching halt as of December 26th. Many of us try to hang on and keep the faith through Epiphany, but it's difficult when everyone else gets back to "business as usual" and we're the only ones left celebrating. But after that, it's back to school along with everyone else. And it is hard.

After many years of struggling through the first few months of a new year with short tempers and sleepy children, I've given myself and the children permission to relax during this time. We try to have more fun and get out of the house to get sunshine whenever possible. I introduce more crafty stuff to the school day. This year we've been working on lapbooks together. We're reading more books together instead of just learning out of textbooks. I don't stress as much about checking off every single subject every day because there are all kinds of ways to learn and it doesn't all come from a text.

And you know what? After being more relaxed with our schooling for these past 2 months, now that the days are longer and warmer and everyone is cheerier, we're in a much better position to cross all our t's and dot our i's. I can feel how ready everyone is to get their work done and finish those textbooks so they can play----this afternoon and all summer long!


I think this part of the school year is a lot like Lent where we go into the darkness and strip away the extra stuff. We sort of hibernate and pare our school day down to a more spiritual level where we nourish our souls with books and more creative activities. We're preparing for the resurrection---the glorious resurrection of our Savior, and ours from the darkness of our homeschooling doldrums.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sew What?!

That's the question of the day....What is Sara sewing now?

Today I finished up the Little Princess's "Poodle" skirt and petticoat for the Father/Daughter sock hop coming up this weekend. She's very excited. Except it's not a poodle skirt; it's a scottie skirt. I talked her into a scottie because I didn't feel like sewing 25 puffballs all over the poodle! He's very cute and she jazzed up his collar with lots of stick-on jewels. I didn't get a picture yet, so stay tuned!

Then I had to whip up a tunic for St. George. The Pipster is St. George in our homeschool drama production and he needed a tunic with a red cross. Fortunately, I don't have to make the chain mail pants, shirt, and helmet because someone else already had those in the right size. I think it turned out pretty well considering the pattern I have is too small. And I didn't think it would go over his head, so we're going with the velcro-up-the-back. Works for me.




He's not modeling his tunic because he is down for the count. He succumbed to The Plague today and was asleep on the floor in front of the fireplace when I took this pic of LP. He was singing the Sham-Wow song in his sleep. LOL.







~~~~~~~~~

I guess I never gave you an update on our big trip out to Oklahoma. The highlight of the trip was visiting with my Dad, stepmom, and brother Saturday afternoon before we came home on Sunday. This is my brother sitting in the back of his pickup, playing his banjo. He was a hillbilly in another life, evidently. You'd never guess if you saw him in a suit going to work. Well, maybe you would.

Dad took us across the state line, from Missouri to Oklahoma, to a new casino for lunch. Very swanky as those things go, I hear. Not that I've ever been to one before. After lunch, my brother went out to play the slot machines and spend the $5 that was burning a hole in his pocket. I went with him to visit and he taught me the "method" my dad and stepmother use to add to their retirement funds. Very interesting.

It was funny place to go to because you had to enter the property through Missouri, but the casino was in Oklahoma and the parking lot in Kansas. So here are the young'uns at the marker, each in a different state.




Exciting, no?

It's okay, you can say no.

We drove back through Galena, KS, which (no offense to any of my readers!) is one of the saddest looking towns I think I've ever seen. I love old towns, but this one is in sad shape. We went that way so they could show us the biggest mansion in Missouri. About a mile and a half from Galena. It was pretty amazing but I kept wondering where there was a grocery store that was up to their standards.

Friday, March 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday


I can't believe it is Friday already!

~1~

Our precious KT is home for the weekend from her spring break trip. We're happy to have her home in one piece!

~2~



Crafting has slowed down a bit here since I finished the socks. I finished the quilt top for LP's bed just as my sewing machine broke down. But I got it fixed by an old-timer who wants to retire. Who will fix sewing machines then???? My 20 yo machine runs like a dream, now. But so far I haven't been motivated to work on the backing or putting the quilt together. Soon.

~3~

In the meantime, crafty urges are being met by sewing costumes for our homeschool drama production and a poodle skirt for the Little Princess's father/daughter dance next weekend. Every little (and big) girl there will probably be dressed in a pink skirt. No other color would do for my princess!

~4~

The Pipster says "Hi" He had a lot of fun with this glove and taking pictures of it in various poses.


~5~

I'm still working on Spring cleaning a room a day. I just love the new look of my library since I did a fair amount of decluttering in here the other day. I even got the Silly Putty out of the rug! The question is: how long with these spaces remain uncluttered? I'm keeping after the kids to pick of the little items they leave in their wakes. I swear, they just shed clothes, socks, earrings, Webkins, paper airplanes, etc. wherever they go! It's going to get tough when I get the kitchen and family room done---the two rooms where the most clutter accumulates!

~6~

I discovered Caveman Cookies over at Son of Grok's blog. He developed them and I'm totally loving the newest incarnation of them: banana flavored! I made them with almonds and walnuts and they taste like banana bread. An excellent addition to my "Saint" diet since they're yummy, filling, and don't contain sugar or grains.

OTOH, I'm dying to make cake pops which I discovered at Pioneer Woman's blog. Who knew Bakerella has her own blog? These are definitely NOT on the saint diet. I don't want to eat them, just make them. Who am I kidding? I do want to eat them, too! I'm sure the kids would have a blast making them. Actually, maybe watching kids roll up cake balls with their bare hands and dip them in chocolate would be enough of a deterrent from eating them. After all, they're not getting baked in a hot oven after handling!

Can you hear the debate going on in my head? I think we need to steer clear of these babies!

~7~

I started drinking coffee again, some of my friends will be glad to know. I needed the caffeine for our trip out west! I don't plan to drink it every day since I've been drinking more tea, but I really enjoy a hot cup of coffee. When I'm out, I'll usually get a decaf, but I needed a jolt yesterday (probably DST sleepies!) and got a cup from Dunkin Donuts. Half of it had me jittery the first half of the day and wired the second half!

Visit Jen's for more Quick takes!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just dropping in to say "HI!"

because I have nothing to blog about. I'm spending all of my time on Facebook.

Not.

Just kidding. I have no interest in spending all my time on FB, unlike many of my blogging buddies who have left their blogs high and dry in favor of "social networking". You'll remain nameless here, but you know who you are!!!

I'm trying to get back into the groove of being home instead of constantly in the car as we were last week. OMG. Driving from place to place with Mr. Flu in the car and putting zillions of miles on the car. It was a long week; I'm glad to be home.

It seems that the bloggers who aren't FBing are cleaning their houses for Lent. I decided that was a worthy way to spend my free (ha ha) Lenten hours. Cleaning a room a day. Actually, that's a huge improvement over the way I've done it in the past, which is to clean the whole. dang. house. during Holy Week. Doesn't make for a very holy mama, let me tell you!

So, like another buddy who gave up blogging temporarily, I'm cleaning my house in the mornings. I've already done 2 rooms in one day---the easy ones: living and dining (the easy ones). They're lovely. Not just clean, but slightly reorganized and decluttered. Since I brought home a slew (slough?) of new paintings that my sweet Mom painted, I'm hanging them and just generally rearranging household decor.

No links for you today---If you want to know who some of the slackers are ;-), you can check my sidebar and see who hasn't been posting!---I'm just doing a quickie post so I can get my library whipped into shape before dh comes home. It's really a 2-day room, not one.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. It's Saturday here. Yesterday I was at my grandmother's funeral.

2. We've driven halfway across the country with a sick child who has actually been too sick to attend any family functions and stayed in a strange house, or hotel, alone. He's 17, don't worry!

3. Today we're spending some time with my dad. Leaving Hitch in the bonus room at my sister's where he can use his computer or the wide screen tv. 200 DVDs to choose from and cable.

4. Leaving early tomorrow for home. Praise the Lord! But we have put so many miles on the car in the past few days.

5. Wondering who will be sick next? Will we leave this influenza-like illness in our wake? Will we all get it from being in the car with him 12 hours a day?

6. I didn't get any of the things done over spring break that I wanted to do! I go home to a heavy homeschooling schedule and a messy house. I guess it's just like this week never happened.

7. I'm not terribly sad about Grandmother. She was 95 and had been ready to leave this world for several years. She was in pretty good health until the end and had just a few bad weeks that started with a heart attack last month. The hardest part of it all was that it was an almost identical repeat of Mom's funeral a year and a half ago. Same funeral home, same viewing room, same church, same luncheon, same people. We didn't really like having to re-live one of the worst times in our lives.

I can't wait to be home!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Homeschooling Preschool

I got an email today from a young mom who went through our parish Pre-Cana program a few years ago when dh and I were teaching. She was having trouble finding a pre-school curriculum. While I have homeschooled for 14 years, I don't know much about pre-school! I'm one of those people who believes that children learn plenty by being actively involved with mom and their siblings. We did send KT to a pricey, exclusive preschool that required snacks to be packed in reusable containers with a cloth napkin (also reusable), but none of the other children went. I don't think we ever gave it another thought after we started homeschooling, except on those occasions when I was overwhelmed by mothering a lot of little ones and wanted a break!

And if you're concerned about socialization, make sure you get together with other moms and their kids during the week. Seriously, the socialization is for the moms, not the kids. Lol.

Personally, I liked Little Saints, though we didn't do a lot of it. It was the first preschool program I ever bought, for the Pipster. Yep, #5. We ended up barely using it. At that point, I had several children in my one-room school house. To make it easier on myself, and give them each focused time with me, I developed a schedule where the older ones each rotated through a half-hour with the pre-schoolers. I had a can full of slips of paper with activities written on them. So no one got bored, they drew a slip of paper when it was their turn to "teach" and did whatever activity was on the paper. All those great, educational toys that I bought from Discovery Toys? Yes, they finally got used. They read; they played games; they did puzzles; they dressed up; they danced; they colored; they read books; they played outside; they practiced the alphabet. I think it was best preschool program I never developed!

Everyone probably already has lots of learning toys and doesn't need to buy much. Add in religion and math and you're all set. It's just a matter of spending focused time doing things with children daily. The oldest, or only, child gets to do a lot of stuff with mom that counts as a great preschool education if he's not just left in front of a TV. If you're concerned about all those topics I mentioned, just make out a little schedule and make sure you cover them every week.

For math, try books from the library (I think there are "living math" books listed on 4reallearning forums. Play math games. We've had a lot of fun with Elizabeth Foss's Gnomes and Gnumbers. Or if you wanted a "real" text, I like Saxon Math for the first few years. You could get their K text and do that with a 4 year old, being mindful of the fact that he's a little young and stopping a lesson when he's tired, or it gets too hard. Do it with the idea that it will take at least 2 years to finish. If he's 3, just numbers and counting throughout your day.
For religion, The Image of God series is good for the pre-K and K years. I would include saint stories and reading through a toddler Bible. There are some fun games on the EWTN kids site if you want to include computer skills! Catholic Heritage Curricula is another great resource that has a preschool curriculum. Their books are all beautifully Catholic. I discovered CHC fairly late in my homeschooling career, but we've thoroughly enjoyed everything that we have used.

I'm sure some of my faithful readers have something more to add that I forgot, or never heard of. Please leave your comments!

Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, March 2, 2009

One Sock, 2 Socks, Striped Socks, New Socks!


Finished at last! I even managed to Kitchener the toe on the second one without any difficulty---other than neck strain and mental exhaustion.

I'm wearing them and they are soft and warm and comfy. In fact, I like them so well, that I might actually knit. more. socks. Unbelievable.

I hope your tootsies are warm today! The only thing left of our blizzard yesterday is cold and wind. Brrrrr!

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