Saturday, February 25, 2006

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

It's been a while since I posted, but that doesn't mean there's been nothing to write. The reason is that we've been in a whilwind of activity. Last weekend it was so cold, we were waking up to -30 degrees. We holed up in the house for the most part, except Sunday. We went to church and then DH took off like a space shuttle for the rest of the day. He took Grace and Lee to a friends for a rollerskating birthday party and then headed to the theater with Lou to see Curious George; he picked up the others, encountered a brief choking/throwing up moment with Grace and then it was off to swimming lessons for Grace and Lee. I, however, spent a pretty much quiet day at home with Lee. Our week was changed up a bit due to Lou's dance teacher beinig on vacation. Tuesday we ended up leaving early for the library, to beat the 10:00 toddler rush. Dance was after that. We started a new unit on Force and Energy. Read a Let's Read and Find Out book and then did some matchbox car experiments. We spent a day with my mom just hanging out and another day had Kattie, Brian, Marian and Matthew over. Daddy Lee has been sanding the cranberry beds. He got #1, #2, and part of #3 done. Last night we stayed we too late at Peaslee's playing cards. Today more company.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Just a quick list of the books we read today:
Mei-Mei Loves the Morning by Tsubakiyama
Huan Ching and the Golden Fish by Reeser
The Cookie House (Lee)
Into the Night (Grace)
By the Shores of Silver Lake by Ingalls Wilder

Last week we made rice paddy hats like the ones worn in China, so this morning at the library I found a couple of fiction books that highlighted Chinese customs. We just finished our unit on the continents and now we are moving onto a unit on force and energy. I haven't any concrete plans yet, just a pile of books to peruse for ideas.

When I Grow Up......

Grace was sharing with me what she wants to be when she grows up and her list is quite eccentric. She wants to be a doctor because she likes to work on people. She wants to be a singer because she likes to sing and dance and last but certainly not least, she wants to be a Pizza Hut worker because she likes to make bread dough and wants to throw the pizza crusts. I can't wait to see what dream comes true for her.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Busy Day

It's Monday again, which means time for the Monday Home Blessing. One of the jobs is, vacuum middles of all rooms in 10 minutes or less. The girls room is typically a complete disaster and today was no different. As I approached the closed door I read this message taped to the door:
owt of ortere
do not de
Grace was telling me there was no need to even open the door because the floor was completely undercover.

Books read today: Geography From A to Z: A Picture Glossary
New True Book: Asia
Hi, Harry! The moving story of how one slow tortoise slowly made a friend
(Lee read, it's a great beginner book)

We also made North, East, South, West signs and posted them around the house on the appropriate walls. We watched a video about Egypt and then the kids set muskrat traps before Lou had to go to dance class.

Dinner tonight will be leftovers: brat patties, chili, orange slices, spinach salad and hopefully homemade bread.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

More Geography

Again we watched a video, this time of South Korea. We located S. Korea on the globe and determined it is in Asia. We talked about the Orient, oriental, chopsticks, learning English and persimmons. We'll have to check the grocer to see about buying one next week.

Tomorrow DH and I are going away to LaCrosse for a night. It will be the first time leaving Ray overnight. He's still nursing, usually just before bed or a nap. Sometimes he gets so tired that he falls asleep on his own, too. I'm hoping this happens on Friday night. Besides that weighing on my mind, I am totally psyched to spend time with DH alone for 24 hours. We can eat at any restaurant we want, go to any store we want, do anything we want. Sometimes it feels like we lead a G rated life and have to be so stuffy. Our kids watch and emulate every move we make and sometimes I feel that if I even make one mistake or "let loose" they will follow my lead and it's so hard to get them back on track. Reading what I just wrote, I realize I can't convey my feelings on this issue completely. I'll just leave it at that and maybe after the 24 hours away I'll be able to think more clearly.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Ahhh....the smell of fresh baked bread

Starting at this afternoon, and working in reverse, we baked bread. This is such an easy recipe, tastes good and the kids love to knead away. The mess is usually minimal and the result is a pleasant smelling home for DH to come home to. We'll be eating all this yummy bread with split pea and ham soup and canned pears for supper. All the school work was complete in record time today. I like Wednesdays, it's an easy day. We start off with music lessons at 9:00 and don't get home until around 11:15. But the kids read silently or aloud in the van and Grace and Lee take along their travel math workbooks to do on the way. I stopped by the library with Lee, Lou and Ray. Lee read to me some of the baby board books while the other two played with the train. They both wrote letters to friends, which is their typical Wednesday writing assignment. They love sending mail and of course receiving mail.

Monday, February 6, 2006

What Happened Today

Grace and Lee checked traps in the morning. We finished On the Banks of Plum Creek and started By the Shores of Silver Lake. Lou set puzzles, while Ray played with magnets. For subject of the day we all watched another video - Israel. We located Israel on the globe and talked about this being a very holy land. They noticed Jerusalem and Egypt and we talked about the turmoil in that area today. We had planned on making bread after lunch, something Lee has been wanting to do since Grace's First Reconciliation retreat. However, Lee and Lou were asked to unload the dishwasher and chose to fight and hit the whole time so we postponed the breadmaking until Wednesday. Obviously I didn't get "Mother of the Year" award for that one. Grace cut up the veggies for split pea and ham soup, Lee built playing card structures, Ray napped and Lou went off to dance with dad. We got out the home movies; the kids were entertained with their silly antics of toddler life for over an hour.

Yesterday I made about 7 quarts of spaghetti sauce, so tonight it's spaghetti and meat sauce for supper, along with a big spinach salad and sliced apples. I love easy menu nights. We learned a new card game, Nerts. We'll probably play that after supper before bed.

The kids are heading outside and reciting their favorite lines from Shrek.

Friday, February 3, 2006

An Unschooling Life?

I struggle with my desire for an unschooling life. I truly believe in my gut that kids will learn what they need to know when they need to know it. For example: walking, talking, using eating utensils, riding a bike, tying their shoes, writing their name, etc. I like to believe that this will continue throughout their life of learning. It's just I have a hard time with it. Sewing, cooking, trapping, fileting a fish, using a map, painting a house, balancing a checkbook........these things are easily learned as you go. But, long division, phonics rules, grammar skills........does anyone ever have a burning desire to learn these things? They are important and required for some higher learning to take place, and that's where my struggle comes in. I want my children to be well educated, that is, have basic information committed to memory, be able to have an intelligent conversation, and know how to learn what they desire to know. Somedays my kids run around like cavemen all day, appearring to do nothing but drive me crazy. I secretly yearn for them to be cuddled under a blanket on the couch reading about sharks or...... the theory of relativity, anything other than running wild through the house picking on one another. Reality sets in and I realize that for my sanity I need my kids to a little real math and phonics each day and then we move on to the subject of the day (pure fun).

Today for subject of the day we watched Families of the World: Brazil, located Brazil on the globe, and discussed the climate and topography. Grace read a Rookie First Reader, Europe, and then we made "stained glass" to hang in the windows. Stained glass was invented in Europe about 700 years ago. It was a simple project; shave crayons into a coffee filter, top with another coffee filter, layer between many paper towels and iron to melt crayon shavings. Punch a hole, tie on a string and hang in a window. This project was great because they found out which colors complement one another and the results are beautiful.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

It's Been Awhile

Continuing with our study of the seven continents, we've been watching the "Families of the World" video series. These videos are so interesting that even I have to sit down and watch them. We locate the countries on the globe and determine which continent they are on and then practice saying the seven. Both Grace and Lee just about have them memorized. For some reason Asia and Europe are the hardest to remember.

Earlier this week we went to the Museum of Natural History (UWSP). Half of it is under construction, but was still worth it. We saw a T-rex skull, ball python shedding its skin, an exhibit of African animals including half a "dead" zebra with fake blood. That last one was really the highlight of the museum, according to the kids.

Lou spent two nights at Grandma's and brought home 6 too many boxes of sugar cereal and Oreo Pop-tarts. What was Grandma thinking? Honestly, I get very frustrated with her. I have told her many times that one box of sugar cereal is plenty. I've offered suggestions like Raisin Bran, frosted Mini-Wheats (fiber), etc. but she doesn't listen. She claims, "that's what she wanted".

We started listening to Caddie Woodlawn on audiotape. What a great story, again I have to take a break and listen. Why don't they listen to boring books on tape so that I can get some work done?