Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Unconditional Love

It's so easy for me to be judgemental. Truth is I confess this sin everytime at confession. I've even bought and read portions of books about Mother Teresa, hoping to glean a bit of her humbleness and unconditional love for people. Here in blogosphere, everyone is confessing their motherhood mishaps. You know the times when you felt like the worst mother in the world. The candy for breakfast, screaming tantrums, TV babysitters, etc. I just so happened to read this very touching book to my children today, Sidney and Norman: a tale of two pigs by Phil Vischer (Veggie Tale creator). I cried, they didn't really know why, but I did. It's because I can be so judgemental. I'm "Norman". I'm smart, go to church every Sunday, dress neatly, have won numerous awards and am judgemental. All the people of this world who drive me crazy are the Sidneys. They are messy, uneducated, smoke cigarettes, have health problems and show others unconditional love. As I write, I cry. Why am I so judgemental? What can I possibly think makes me any better than anyone else? I have my work cut out for me during prayer time. This book is not to be missed; be sure to read the last two pages written especially for parents.

We're Sick!

Poor Lee, he had a birthday party, sent his friends home, played with his new toys, visited with Grandma, went to bed, then woke at 10:35 p.m. with the urge to throwup. Within seconds we were in the bathroom and he was hunched over the toilet. The family party had to be cancelled and the pumpkin pie would have to wait (for all of us) until he felt better. Sunday was his birthday; he laid on the couch all day. He had a few sips of water and a couple a crackers. Grace and I took Grandma home; we stayed the night and helped her pack up her stuff for Goodwill. She moves to a retirement home in just a couple of weeks. We got back home Monday afternoon and by that evening I was already feeling pretty miserable. Today I'm iffy. I can't say I feel terrible, but I don't feel good either. I'm glad to have a few new movies from the video store; while Ray napped and Lee went out to cut wood with his new birthday hatchet, the girls watched RV (w/Robin Williams). All this sickness makes me happy to have Lysol. I've been walking around all day spraying the faucet handles, door knobs, lightswitch plates, backs of chairs, the counter, telephone, toilet paper dispenser, just about everything that I think might have been touched.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Birthday Party

Today my girls left and in their place four boys came over to help Lee celebrate his 8th birthday. Perfect in every way, they started the day playing hockey (which happens to be Ray's newest favorite word), then off to the big sledding hills, back home again to check out the new 4-wheeler. Everyone took a turn sitting on it, and although I was watching this from the kitchen window, I could tell they were winning the biggest race of their life. Cold, they came in for lunch. We had Portesi pizza, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, licorice and root beer. DH and I joined the boys around the table; wow, is that different compared to a girl party. The boys tried to contort their fingers to match Lee's disgusting finger trick. One boy, realizing he would never be able to compete, chimed in with, "See, I can make my eyeballs disappear." DH talked them into watching a caribou hunt on his newest hunting video. One boy questioned, "Are we gonna see some violence?" The professional BINGO caller in me was able to come out from hiding for an action packed game of BINGO. I went all out with prizes, gum and individual boxes of Kellogg's cereal. Everyone was gunnin' for the Apple Jacks, even the Special K went. One 8 year old proudly walked away with 6 boxes of cereal and 8 packs of gum. We had just enough time to have hockey puck brownies and cookie dough icecream. All the boys left with smiles. It was a perfect celebration.

Now, later in the day, it was time to prepare for the family party tomorrow. The menu: BBQ pork ribs, green beans (Lee's special request), Milwaukee's Midgets, more cucumber slices and carrot sticks, cheese and crackers and pumpkin pie with candles.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Another Day Minute by Minute

6:30 a.m. I woke up, again #5 of 6., read church newsletter, started a load of wash
7:00 a.m. Grace woke up, Lee showered, Grace showered, Ray has a tummyache (diarrhea), breakfast for everyone (toast, blackberry jelly, honey, coffee, orange juice, RubyRed juice, Kix, Shredded Wheat, we're out of milk)
8:00 a.m. clean up kitchen, switch over laundry to dryer, I showered
8:30 a.m. dad and Lou left for town to do some banking, look at riding mowers and get Lee one last birthday gift
9:00 a.m. Ray and I fed animals, Grace started on CHC spelling and journal writing
9:20 a.m. Lee started on his seatwork, Ray and I set a number puzzle (he surprised me by knowing where all the pieces went)
9:45 a.m. worked from CHC Behold and See, Chapter 3
10:15 a.m. changed into town clothes, went to the dentist for sealants, Lee stayed in the waiting room reading magazines, I took Ray for a walk, when Lee had his turn Grace helped the receptionist by putting stamps on envelopes
12:00 p.m. home again, lunchtime, Ray napped, did noon chores, folded clothes
1:00 p.m. Grace and Lee worked on taking down the Christmas tree, finally, I made brownies for Lee's birthday party tomorrow
1:30 p.m. Ray woke up not feeling well, major diarrhea again (actually got on the wall and under the trim work, yuk!), Ray had a bath, I cleaned the floor, the kids complained of the smell
1:50 p.m. carried all the totes to the basement
2:00 p.m. did afternoon chores, I blogged, Grace and Lee watched a movie
3:00 p.m. dad and Lou got back, Lou settled down to watch the movie, Ray played and had a snack of dry cereal

I hear from so many wanna be homeschoolers that homeschooling sounds like a good idea, but they don't know how they would ever fit it all in and get the housework/home management done. It doesn't always happen perfectly. Some days school rules, some days chores rule, some days fun rules, some days helping out family members rules. Life keeps going and the kids learn from it all. School doesn't need to happen during set times or happen around the table all the time; we try to infuse learning into most parts of the day, whether we are helping out friends (character development), doing Math at the table, cooking or other housework, helping dad in the shop or on the marsh or just playing.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

End of January Resolutions

With all that happened in December I didn't have even a minute to think of New Year's Resolutions. I did have the ones leftover from last year.
  • paint and decorate bedroom to be a peaceful and romantic getaway (not done)
  • lose 15 pounds (not done)
  • I can't even remember #3 or #4 from last year which most likely are (not done)

I plan on transferring the first two to this year's list and I added one more, a family chore chart. Down came the advent calendar and up went the most beautiful family chore chart, in full color and saved to a disk so I can revise and print weekly. The list of rotating chores include:

  • vacuum porch rug
  • fold socks
  • feed and water animals
  • collect dirty laundry
  • tidy game/school closet
  • set and clear lunch table
  • help prepare lunch
  • collect eggs
  • Flylady mission with mom
  • put away clean towels and wash cloths
  • kitchen duty (supper)

While I prepared this chart in Word, the onlookers remarked, "look what I get to do today", "I can't believe more jobs", "I hate chores", "Why isn't dad's name on the chart?" "Are we starting this next month?" I don't know which I like more, the looks of the full color chart or the potential for a little added help throughout the day?

Imagine My Surprise

...when I heard Grace and Lee fighting over who was going to play their game with Lou. Would Lou get to play Polly Pockets with her big sister or go sledding with her big brother? Not everyday is like this; many days Grace and Lee don't want her to play with them because she's not careful enough, she whines too much, she wants her way, she won't share.....the list goes on and on. Today is different, in a good way. Days like this remind me why we homeschool, why we spend so much time together, why I allow them to work out their own battles, why we don't have "playdates" every weekend, why we just play and work and eat and read and relax, together. I see my children help each other, battle with one another, work it out, camp out on the bedroom floor together, yell at one another about who gets to sit by dad, play boardgames together, read to the little ones, offer sympathy, help each other with bandaids and mittens, argue and agree on what movie to watch and of course, remind each other when manners should be used. Together time breeds love in this family and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Baking Frenzy

I read at Real Learning, today is National Pie Day. Here at CampHomeschool, we love pie and especially for breakfast. I pulled an apple pie from the freezer, left from last fall's pie making day. It's always hard to use up that last one, the last apple pie, last container of frozen corn, last blackberry jam, last applesauce, last pack of ground venison, last pack of pork chops. It seems that I stock up the freezers and canning shelves and they look so pretty, so ready-for-any-disaster, and then I slowly use the items until they are gone and so is my hard work, gone, and so is the idea that I'm prepared for any disaster, gone. But the pie is going to taste awfully good in the morning. Grace and Lee made a pumpkin pie. They've accomplished this task twice already and this time the only question was, "It says to use 1 3/4 cup pumpkin or 15 oz. canned, since I'm using canned do I still need to measure it?"

Yesterday, Ray "baked" with me. I planned on having breakfast for supper, scrambled eggs, sausage links and brown sugar muffins. Ray helped stir and lick the beaters and then we had a yummy supper that everybody liked, which doesn't always happen.

*Notice the dates. I guess I was just a couple months old when I started baking. I guess I better learn to use the date funtion on the digital camera.

Early American Unit Plan

Like all of our unit plans or learning endeavors, this one had a general plan, to gain knowledge about the early Americans (400-900 AD). I planned to study this for about 2 weeks and then move onto a science unit. Well, two months, one surgery, one hole in the water main, three holidays, four somewhat unplanned vacations and two flu-ridden children later, we finished the unit, or at least ended it. Although the plan in the beginning was very vague, it turned out to be loads of fun and educational, too. Here is what we did, but remember, it was spread out over 2 months.

Day 1 Read Wild and Wooly Mammoths by Aliki. Discuss the world at this time and how early Americans came in the first place. Read First Came the Indians by M.J. Wheeler. This was a good introduction to Indian lifestyles across America.

Day 2 Read Before You Came This Way by Byrd Baylor. This book introduces rock art of the Southwestern tribes and how you might interpret it. Read Native American Rock Art: Messages from the Past by Yvette LaPierre

Day 3 Continue reading from Native American Rock Art. Check on line about Roche-A-Cri State Park. Read about the rock art found there. We looked through our pictures from when we were there a couple of years ago. Read Anasazi by Leonard Everett Fisher.

Day 4 Finish Rock Art book. Make salt dough, create bowls, let dry and paint next week. Making the dough was fun, however, the bowls didn't stay in a bowl shape. They gradually fell into plate shapes. Still, all the kids had so much fun playing with the dough and especially the feel of their skin when the project was done.

Day 5 Read The Village of Blue Stone by Stephen Trimble. Color a map of the 4-state area (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado) where the Anasazi lived. Make a story stick. Check out turquoise in the Rocks and Minerals book.

Day 6 Read One Small Blue Bead by Byrd Baylor. Read Everybody Needs A Rock by Byrd Baylor. We skipped painting the salt dough creations. Lou kept hers on her dresser and the rest we threw to the chickens who pecked at the hard dough.

Day 7 Make cuffs and anklets for the boys and fancy dance bustle for the girls. Make headbands for all. Dance to Songs of the Spirit CD. The day happened to be chilly, but that didn't stop the kids from heading outside all decked out in Indian attire to play in the woods until lunch.

Day 8 Try shell etching. It worked well, but the finished projects never made it into necklace or magnet form. The shells are still setting on the kitchen counter. Read selected stories from Earthmaker's Tales.

Day 9 Make baby doll cradle board and play throw sticks. This game turned out to be a winner and we all enjoyed it so, we played it a few times so we a had a chance to play one another.

Day 10+ We made a variety of Early American foods that might have been popular in the Southwest. Over the course of a week we tried: fry bread, wild rice, squash, real-in-the-kettle-popcorn, fruit leather and peanut butter.

All projects in bold came from the book, More Than Moccasins: A Kid's Activity Guide to Traditional North American Indian Life by Laurie Carlson.

*I would love to make links for all these books, but I haven't found an easy way to import the entire web address, without copying it onto paper and then typing in each one. Anyone have any tips?

The Most Beautiful Sight.....

a checkmark in a green circle next to the word Norton on my desktop.

After days of fiddling with Norton downloads and dial-up internet service, we finally succeeded in becoming totally protected for 366 more days. Amen!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Wish Upon A Star

(while sitting at the table doing Spelling)

Grace: I wish school was never invented.

Lee: I wish I lived in the woods with only a shotgun and knife, kind of like the Indians.....but I don't think I would find any buffalo around here.

Dusting Dilemma

Why is it that when I get out the dusting spray and cloth, intending to thoroughly dust the living room, it looks like so much fun to a couple of children, that they actually fight over who gets to dust. I wanted it done the right way (my way) so I insisted that I dust and (since they want to help so badly) take out the trash and wash the bathroom mirrors. They complained! I ignored! It all got done!

The Sweetest Song

(sung to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle", by Ray)

Mama, Mama, mommy, mom
mommy, mommy, ma ma ma
mommy, mommy, ma ma ma
mama, mama, mommy mom
mama, mommy, mama, mom
mommy, mommy, mommy, mom

I feel loved!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fishers of Men

The need for vocations is great and if ever any man contemplated entering the priesthood, this film could potentially help with that decision. Yesterday our priest showed this film during his homily. It's powerful! It's riveting! It made me cry. It made me wish for a minute that I was a man able to become a priest. I checked out the producer, Grassroots Films, and they have other films available. Use the link to view a trailer. I might suggest to our priest that he order other films. Fishers of Men, is serious and somewhat graphic. Younger viewers, use caution.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Vacations Pics

We are home and in full swing of school again. After the surgery, Christmas and vacation it's actually nice to be home and doing school. After two full days of normalcy I realize just how much we missed our normal life. Vacation was a blast. We were in Fifield, Wisconsin for 7 days. We endured a January rain storm and a few inches of snow, relaxed, read, ice fished, went sledding, almost broke a finger, almost broke a knee cap, visited with relatives, I quilted and read tons of magazines. Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, Home Education Magazine, Quick Quilts, Backwoods Home and Countryside. I read the original Boxcar Children to the kids, which they loved, all of them. The sentence structure is a little choppy, but still readable. However, it is well suited for a 3rd grade reader. Grace mentioned wanting to pick up a couple more from the library to read herself. Check out the following generic vacation pics.

Wild Ridge Cabin - where we stayed and enjoyed the wood burning fireplace everyday. The kids loved the loft and the great sledding hills.

Grace and Sara (dog) look at Sailor Creek after a beautiful blanket of snow fell during the night.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Lou said....

(to me while I filled the humidifier)

Are you filling the potatofier?

Lee said.....

(to me, as he came out of the bathroom)

What's that smell?

Me: Bleach. I just cleaned the bathroom.

Lee: I've never smelled that before, it smells good.

In almost 8 years he's never smelled bleach? I'm sure I've cleaned that bathroom before. I think.

Dad said....

(to Ray who was eating a KitKat bar)

Get that KitKat out of your toes.

Monday, January 8, 2007

I'm Back

December has come and gone. We were without water for a while, DH had spine surgery. Enough said. I had a lot on my plate and, although I thought about blogging, surgery, recovery, Christmas, vacation all came first. Today I have two extra kids here, an 11 year old and 22 month old. It's almost lunch so I better pray for a miracle....kid friendly food.

Mystery Food

(taking the Worcestershire Sauce out of the fridge)

Lee: What is this? Syrup? or Whiskey?