Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent begins

I've been looking for some good Lenten resources for my family to prepare for Easter. They're not easy to find. Then this morning, Freebie of the Day sent me a link for Lenten Tree ebook : Lent Activities for the Family. It has 49 simple activities and a tree to count down the days of Lent. You can download it for free from the author's blog Sharing the Journey. I also have another book coming through Amazon. I had it shipped expedited, and this is the 7th day of the "1-7 days" that expedited shipping is supposed to take. The post office isn't exactly known for its punctuality any more, but I'm hopeful that it will arrive today.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Not Magic

Daddy: "Rosie, did you write on yourself with magic marker?"

Rose: "No, they were real."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Homeschooling Update

For those of you who might be interested in what we're doing this year:

Bible - Brian does this Bible study with Anna Kate and Ethan in the evenings - they love it! Earlier in the evening he reads the corresponding Bible story from Catherine Vos' fantastic The Child's Story Bible to all of the children. Anna and Ethan also use Samaritan's Purse prayer journals that focus on a different country each month of the year and have a Bible verse for the month. I'd like to get back on track with some more substantial Bible memorization for them soon. This has been a rough year for me.

Math - Anna is almost finished with Horizons K-5 math. Ethan is doing Singapore Math this year and has gone from hating math to loving it as a result. I'll be using Singapore for both next year.

Reading- Anna Kate uses ABeka's Handbook for Reading and some old Dick and Jane books, as well as lots of other kinds of readers and books. She reads everyday, but not always the same kind of things. She can read all kinds of Level 1 readers and when I compared them to the last few Bob Jones kindergarten readers she was far more advanced, so I think that she's reading very well. Ethan reads at least a chapter from a book each day. It's not always quality literature, but he's made great strides this year, and I have focused on providing him with materials that encourage him to love reading. Right now he's reading a Star Wars book. He's read some Usborne readers, including Greek myths and the Canterbury ghost, and also enjoyed some Magic Treehouse books, both the fiction stories and the non-fiction books, like Magic Treehouse:Space.

Writing- The year started with alphabets (Anna manuscript and Ethan cursive) and different copywork sheets, but I frequently got behind finding and printing the free resources that I usually use, thanks to being sick all year. So I finally gave up and bought A Reason for Handwriting. Anna Kate is in book A, and Ethan in book C. They enjoy it, and I don't have to think about it, which for this year, is a very good and helpful thing. We also have Draw-Write-Now Book 3, which they thoroughly enjoy and we use topically. They did the Pilgrim section at Thanksgiving and we're using the Native American section now.

Social Studies - This has been primarily topical. Ethan did read the majority (so far) of ABeka's 2nd grade Social Studies book, but mostly we've done topics, including the Inauguration, Abraham Lincoln, the Pilgrims, 50 states, etc. We also use God's World News : Taking Off! editions for current news. Right now we have several books for Black History month. This week and next week, however, are primarily dedicated to the study of Native Americans. I also want to nail down some world geography objectives soon. Ethan also recently began Cub Scouts which provides us with new social studies and science project opportunities.

Science - Also primarily topical. We've done studies on space and the planets, and I frequently get books on science topics to read - animals, atoms, health, etc. I hope to get in some substantial coverage of electricity and magnets and one on water and the ocean before the end of the school year. I'm also ready to send in our coupon for the butterfly eggs to go in our little pavilion that we bought. I think that that will go well with Lent and Easter topics too. :^) I've been able to read the ABeka K5 science book to Anna Kate, I've just saved the ocean chapter, she also just studied animal groups.

The Arts - We're blessed to have many opportunities for student performances of theatre and music productions. We've seen several children's theatre productions and The Nutcracker, among other things. We recently dedicated a couple of weeks to a study of famous composers. Art projects usually go along with topical studies, and I like to throw in books about famous artists or books of fine art too. Anna Kate also takes ballet lessons and Ethan does piano with me (unfortunately sporadically again this year), and also wants to begin lessons on his new guitar.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Best Gluten Free Pizza

This gluten-free pizza crust by Bob's Red Mill is amazing! It is the best crust that I've made so far and got rave reviews from Brian and Ethan, as well as my extended family which has also used and loved it.

It takes about an hour from start to finish, but is very simple, as that includes rise time and baking times, so you're not working most of the time.

I've tried plenty of "from-scratch" recipes without much success. We do like the frozen crusts by Kinnikinnick, and our favorite pre-made frozen crust is from the Whole Foods bakery, but this is a rising crust pizza.

So what are your favorite gluten free pizzas or crusts, brand or recipes?

The 1000 Page Bill That No One Had Time To Read - and the democrats passed it anyway (doesn't that tell you something?)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Our Valentine's Day

I finally got our traditional strawberry pancakes with strawberries and Smuckers Strawberry syrup and whipped cream and colored sugar done. I didn't, however, get the pancakes cut into heart shapes - and I heard about that!

Then they got surprises from us - the girls got their first Barbie Peek-a-boo Petites from the Ballet Bunch - they were thrilled. And Ethan was equally happy with a new Star Wars action figure. Brian got Ghiradelli dark chocolates, cabernet sauvignon, Irish Cream, and a card that plays our song ("You're Still The One").

For lunch, we were invited to Gran and Pa's house (Brian's parents) for a venison roast they'd been saving. I'd picked up some flowers to take to Gran, then I found out that Gran Gran (Brian's grandma) was going to be there, so we stopped on the way for more flowers. Of course, we pulled up to the house to find Aunt Eloise (Brian's great aunt) was joining us as well - so back to the store I went! But the ladies were all equally pleased with their flowers - Gran got a purple African violet in a purple pot because that's her favorite color and the children know it, Gran Gran got a beautiful red miniature rose, and Aunt Eloise three red tulips - all dressed in Valentine finery.

My surprise was waiting there too. I knew that he'd been working on something creative during his lunch breaks. Isn't he the sweetest guy ever???

Click to enlarge

The poem is from Amici Forever's song "Whisper of Angels"

I was yours before the first morn broke

Before the sun that woke the earth

And I was yours before rain kissed the ground

Before the first dawn's sound was heard

I'm the rush-the fire in your veins

Across the desert plains I ride

I'm the ache the sound that midnight makes

A streak of star across the sky

I'll be the whisper of angels

And I'll be the frost on your glass

And I'll be the shadows at twilight

I'll be your first your last

We all got a fantastic dinner, then the children got suprises and treats, including some late Christmas gifts from Aunt Barbara and Uncle Roy that were a real hit. Then the kids settled in to watch Wall-E . And I got to take a nap. :^)

Friday, February 13, 2009


I'm grateful to Kelly for giving me this award for a good attitude of gratitude.
I'm passing it along for great attitude and gratitude to:
Now I'm taking up the challenge to live that attitude of gratitude in my home today and every day. Even as the children are currently creating a many challenge as possible to keeping that attitude. :^)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial - February 12, 2009

  1. Pick up some storybook biographies of Abraham Lincoln at your library, or dig out the stories and books you have at home.
  2. I even lucked out with a Lincoln Logs building guide book. We'll be making Lincoln Log cabins for our table centerpiece again.
  3. Apples4theteacher has a nice selection of coloring pages.
  4. Check out the National Lincoln Bicentennial website. Several states have their own sites. Check the left sidebar for events near you. I like the kids section better than the teacher's section.
  5. Four variations on a pretzel log cabin here, here, here, and here.
  6. An Abraham Lincoln bank craft for all of those pennies.
  7. A Paper Plate Abe Lincoln Hat.
  8. An Abe Lincoln maze.
  9. Mr. Lincoln's White House is a rather fascinating site.
  10. Time for Kids has Lincoln worksheets in PDF files here, here, here, and a cut and paste activity here.

More ideas from last year.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It Might As Well Be Spring

We're having a stint of days in the 70s - heaven! So we spent Sunday at the park and zoo.

The playground has been completely redone and is very cool.

Don't you love the nosedive pic.
But those recycled tires really work - no permanent damage. :^)

Rose wanted to know why the lions didn't have any babies.
I told her that I dodn't know, but that I was sure
the zoo would be happy if they did.
She replied, "Maybe them are not married."

7 months and counting.
Oh, and my first chance to wear my pretty $4 thrift store find.
Wait 'til you see the dress I found this week for $1 -
I'm saving it for Easter.

Friday, February 06, 2009

My favorite tea is in decaf!

Apparently Twinings makes most of their classic teas in a decaf version, but this is the first time that I've seen decaf English Breakfast Tea in the grocery store. It made me happy. And it tastes so good....

CA counties say "we're not gonna take it"

Tax revolts, Boston Tea Parties, yeah, this is starting to get good. Here's to the second American revolution! Tell the out of control government that we're not gonna take this anymore.

Glad there are still a few good men in the Senate

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I'm Still Here, or I'm Back, or Something Like That

Just a little update before I start throwing out random posts.

My Nanny (paternal grandmother) died two weeks ago and the memorial service was in PA this past weekend. So we drove back up last Thursday and home again Monday. It was a smooth trip and the service turned out very nicely. The children hated the long drive, but were good sports and delighted to be back at Gramma and Pappy's so soon.

They even got to go sledding with Daddy and Pap on Friday morning thanks to a nice Wednesday snow that had stayed nice and frozen for them - wish I had pictures of all that, but I was running errands with my mother and sister and didn't think that Brian would appreciate juggling three kids, toboggans, saucers, and an expensive camera.

I'm still having a typically lousy pregnancy. I came home pretty wiped out again, but not quite as bad as Christmas. I think it might be partly connected to my iron level (or lack thereof). I can't keep vitamins down, so I've been eating Total, but I never think to take it along with me.

The kids started on another round of colds the night before we left. Rose is still pretty sick with it, but the other two seem to be recovered. Brian's pretty much had a cough/throat thing since New Years, but I don't know if it's the same one, or if he just keeps getting the kids colds and that's just how they affect him. I'm doing pretty well with the cold thing. I did catch the first round - my first cold in ten years! - but this round I just had a random cough. It contributed to the pregnancy issues, but wouldn't be worth mentioning otherwise and seems to have gone away.

So I've stocked the fridge with Dole fruit juices and the cabinets with teas, honey, and apple cider vinegar. We also have stockpiles of Delsyn and Sudafed, and boxes of lotion Puffs (my kids think that only Puffs are soft enough for sore noses, so I just go with the flow.)

We're still studying composers and are also doing some other fine arts stuff. This worked out well as we were able to listen to several CDs on our car trip - composer stories, classical CDs, etc. I picked up some books at the library this week to go along with my plans for the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday this month. Also our traditional small stack of African American biographies for black history month and some books on George Washington, so I think we should sail smoothly through February. I'll share more details if I have time.

Well, there's my traditionally random catch-up post. Hopefully I'll be around more often now.