Thursday, May 31, 2007
I'm sharing my laundry details, not to say look at me, look at how my clean clothes are in the closet and not on the dining room table, but to encourage anyone who is laundry challenged to find a system and stick to it. The rewards are great.
Here's what we do:
AM - The child on dirty laundry pickup collects it from every room in the house and places it in the laundry basket in the laundry room. This is one of the AM chores in the monthly rotation. The assigned child does this every morning for one entire month.
Throughout the day, every single day, I sort and wash clothes. I use this laundry soap which keeps my laundry room smelling pleasant and like a room I want to be in. It only takes a minute to sort out the lights, check for stains, Shout it out, throw in the washer, add soap and start machine. Sometime later I stop back in to transfer clean, wet clothes to the dryer. Typically when I open the dryer there's a dry load to be folded. I do not place these clothes on my dining room table or couch or living room floor. I stand in front of my dryer, pulling out each item and fold it. I place the kids clothes in four piles on top of the dryer. The bathroom towels go in one pile, kitchen towels in a pile, laundry bathroom towels I put away immediately since I'm in that room. My clothes and DH's clothes are folded and placed on top of washer and all socks are put in a pile, unmatched and unfolded. I then take DH and my clothes to our room and hang and put away. I go back for the socks and Ray's clothes. The socks get put in the sock basket (picnic basket with lid) and I put away Ray's clothes. He's only two so I still do it for him. Although I'm sure he would put them away, just not my way. The older three's clothes are left on the dryer. Each and every morning they put away their own clothes after breakfast. The dryer is empty and so I throw in the wet clothes and start it up. Now the socks are still hanging out in the sock basket waiting for the assigned child to fold them and put them away in the morning. This is another of the rotating monthly morning chores. There are three, one for each child; the other is taking care of the animals. The bathroom and kitchen towels are still on top of the washer waiting to be put away by the assigned child during afternoon chores. The afternoon chores also rotate monthly. I'll have to post about those another time. This system saves me from having piles of clean, wrinkled clothes on my table or living room floor. It might sound like I'm in the laundry room all day, but I'm not. I typically do two loads of laundry every day, sometimes only one.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Lee: What does deer fly larva look like? I know what dragonfly larva looks like. I saw them on the bulk head boards. Did you know that female praying mantis' eat the male? When can we stay up late and look for stag beetles and June bugs again? All said in one breath.
By the way, it's time to sign up for Pizza Hut's BookIt program.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Ron Roy has a website with info about all his mysteries and games for kids. So far my favorite has been, The Empty Envelope. These audio books have helped to pass the time on many a drive to town in the last two weeks.
School started for Lee promptly at 8:30; he pulled out his book and began reading, then did spelling. I quizzed him on his words, orally and then he took a short break to help me make sandwiches while we waited for Grace to be ready for math. Today's lesson was plotting coordinates on a graph. They both picked up on this quickly. They took a division timed test. Lee got 99/100, Grace 78/100. Both had improved from last week. Basically, school is done except for math (one lesson left=1 day) and spelling (two lessons left=8 days) and of course they will continue reading all summer. Lou wrote some letters, sounded out a few simple words and did a page in her workbook. Grace did her spelling and reading and then we moved on to more fun.
Today from 10:30 - 2:30 was our annual homeschool pool party. We meet at an area campground, pay a small fee and use their pool. The weather cooperated; we had a sunny and warm day, perfect for swimming and lounging poolside. Old friendships were rekindled, a few phone numbers swapped for hopeful summer get togethers and cheeks pinkened by bright rays of sunshine. The moms swapped reviews of favorite books, stories of dreadful swimsuit shopping and summer vacation plans. Some moms even shared their zealous summer homeschool plans. Blech! No thankyou. I say that now, but come August 1 I will be chomping at the bit to get started. I thrive on the routine of our school days.
Once home, we had a snack of cheese and crackers and Kool-Aid. Grace and Lee went for a canoe ride. Ray napped. Lou played with horses under the table. I prepared chicken potpie for tonight's supper. Yeah, it's Tuesday and we're supposed to have pizza and a movie, but for reasons too long to explain things changed. The winds picked up so Lou and I picked up the yard debris (toys, hoses, watering cans). The rain never came, it went North, but the yard looks nice anyway.
The plan changed again; DH needed to work tonight so everyone piled in the van to take Grace to violin. While she learned music theory, we walked to the grocery store to pick up coffee and bananas. Then I treated the kids to Taco John's since the pizza/movie night was cancelled. I thoroughly tired out four children today and now I'm reaping the benefits of an early tuck-in. I get to relive and blog my day in peace.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Baby Galileo: Discovering The Sky - 30 minutes, Lou and Ray enjoyed this movie a couple of times, definitely for the younger crowd
Eyewitness - Planets - 27 minutes, recommended for grades 4-8, we all enjoyed this movie even though none of us are in the recommended age category, it did discuss many of the theories regarding the birth of the solar system, except for creation, it did highlight some of the early astronomers and their beliefs, which was interesting
Behold and See 3, Suchi Myjak - chapter 4
Fascinating Facts About The Solar System, Jane Walker - extremely kid friendly, just the right amount of info on each page, this book was a favorite and we had fun with the quiz at the end
The Sun and the Solar System, Franklyn M. Branley - this book was used as a reference book as to what the planets look like, there is a nice chart at the end with lots of useful information about each planet: size, distance from sun, revolution, rotation, composition of surface and atmosphere, moons and rings, this made for easy comparison and reinforced the value of charting information
The Solar System: A Vision Book, Maura Gouck - used mostly for its pictures, although I did read some of it and found it to be quite interesting, but too wordy for a young child
Stars and Planets (Nature Company Discoveries Library), David H. Levy - full of facts and tidbits
Blast Off! A Space Counting Book, Norma Cole - two lines of text, one is the basic counting part and can be enjoyed by the littlest of littles and two is the detailed text on each page, Ray couldn't quite sit through the entire book, although the older three enjoyed it very much, Grace even read it to Lou again
Friday, May 25, 2007
The geese are traveling as families, now that the goslings have hatched. The pair in front of the house have two and the upper pond pair have at least six goslings. We've been watching a Bald Eagle fly over quite often, one time with a fish in its talons. Quite possibly it's waiting for the Loon babies. Last year one baby perished by the talons of an eagle, hopefully this year the Loons all survive. The bullfrogs are out in full force. Last night they were calling loudly, garumph, garumph. Today the kids were trying to catch them in the main ditch, no luck. The nets were worked hard last year and not much is left to them. We'll have to check out the dollar stores; that's where we found them last year for two bucks a piece. More than worth it. Wednesday morning we noticed the swarms of dragonflies. That could only mean one thing, the deer flies are out. Dragonflies feast on deer flies, which make them my friend. Not to mention their lacy, and sometimes colorful, wings and bodies. DH has actually had a dragonfly swoop down, capture a deer fly and munch on it right on his arm. Snake season is upon us. This is the time of year I do not wear flip flops around the yard. Those sneaky snakes have a way of appearing out of nowhere. Yesterday DH and I saw an almost 5 foot pine snake on our way to the mailbox. Sara, the not real bright dog, just walked over top the snake, stepped on its head and then was snapped at and looked at us like, what just happened? We've seen a couple of garter snakes on the road sunning themselves, as well.
Now, in the line of plants. The roses are beginning to bloom. It's going to be a spectacular bloom year, all the bushes are just loaded with buds. Blackberry picking, in August, can't come soon enough for Lee and I. We've been noticing the brambles are loaded with blooms. We've had good rain this week, with just enough warmth that pollination should be good. The petals are fully
open and inviting. The kids and I took a wildflower walk this week. Grace brought along her Wildflowers of Wisconsin book and we noted all the flowers we found.
White and Blue Violets
False Lily of the Valley
By just slowing our walk to an almost crawl, it's amazing what can be seen when one peers closely at the forest floor. This week's walk was in an upland deciduous habitat. Next week we plan on taking a walk in the creek bottoms where we'll have a different variety of wild flowers.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
*The night out was a blast. Tons of laughter, a few tears, lots of great stories.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
While reading Maureen Wittmann's article, I discovered many suggested reading lists to peruse. I came across a book which happened to fit in so well with our little run in with Lupine and it was a complete coincidence. Today Grace read Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney to me while I started my bread machine with foccacia bread dough. How excited we were to find out that this book is about a lady who is supposed to make the world a prettier place. And she does it by sowing Lupine seeds on every hillside and in every prairie. Later I'll have to read this to Lou as well, she'll just love the message of the story, which happens to be: do something nice for others and you will feel better yourself.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - made a quick appearance, stopping at the impatiens
Rose-breasted Grossbeak -we have two pair frequenting the bird feeder
American Eagle - with a fish in its talons
Owl of some sort - today on the way home from church
White-breasted Nuthatch - saw only once on the trunk of the Oak on the South side
Common Loon - we listen to them calling every night around 10:30
Eastern Bluebird - although I haven't cleaned out the bluebird houses in years, they still come back
Purple Finch - seems to be only one traveling with the Goldfinches
Whip-or-Will - haven't actually seen it, but we sleep with our window open and it actually woke me up one night from its continual call
White-crowned Sparrow - the bird book says it's not in our area, but seeing is believing
Killdeer update - two of the five eggs hatched, but no little ones scattering about yet
Canada goose - lots of goslings now
Red-bellied Woodpecker - very skittish, but does seem to like black-oil sunflower seeds
Bird watching is so much fun and not something that has to take a lot of time. I used to think that I had to spend time walking the woods trails at 5:30 a.m. to see a variety of birds. So untrue. With a few, or in our case, one bird feeder and one hanging cage type feeder, we attract many birds. Whenever I go by a window I take a quick glance out, looking at the trees, ground, fence or feeders. By just getting in the habit of looking, we've seen so many more birds. That's how we had the hummingbird sighting. Grace just happened to peek out a window down at the new flower basket and their it was. Then we all came running and away he flew. I also like to have a couple different field guides. I like them to be arranged differently. In my National Audubon Society FG, birds are arranged by general group and then by color. Very handy to have when I see a bird I don't recognize. I can scan through that color and narrow it down. Then next time I see it I can look for any distinguishing features. I also have a Golden Guide which is arranged by species of birds. I like this for those times I know it's a sparrow, but just don't know which one. I can page through the entire sparrow section narrowing down the possibilities. It's also easier to check differences between male and female in a book arranged by species. One last tip is to keep a pair of binoculars nearby and not in the case. I keep mine focused in at the distance from my kitchen window to the main feeder. In a matter of seconds I can pick them up and glance at a new bird at the feeder looking for distinguishing characteristics.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Did I mention the man around here is only eight years old. He's learned from a real man, his dad, my husband.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
And yes, those chickens are in the house. I couldn't get outside fast enough with the camera so they brought them to me.
If you email the person you bought books from, through Cathswap, early in the morning wondering where your stuff is, the mailman will deliver the items that day making you look impatient and maybe even a bit irritating.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I explained to the kids that we were going to make Mary May Altars, but instead of placing a statue and flowers, we would use pictures and flower stickers. I got out some supplies: decorative scissors, stickers, matting paper, glue and the kids went to work.
While putting together their Mary boards, I even had a chance to tie in the virtue of patience. Grace and Lou worked together; of course (being 9 and 5) they had differing opinions of just how many stickers should be displayed next to Mary. Grace had a good lesson in being like Mary and excepting that beautiful comes in many forms. Lou had a good lesson in being like Mary and not fighting for her way.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
And what did I do for myself. Well, I decided today had to be the day to start potty training Ray. I washed tons of training underwear, pants, socks and even a set of bed sheets. Just a gentle reminder of what it means to be a mother. A real mother.
I'm promising, dear Jesus,
to follow you today,
and to obey your every rule
in all I do or say;
to always be a loving child,
helpful, kind, and sweet;
to give the love you give to me
to everyone I meet.
But if this promise I should break
or if I bring you sorrow,
then help me to begin again
and keep my promise tomorrow.
This looks like a great morning offering prayer. The kids should find the language easy to learn and understand.
"Men are what their mothers made them." --Ralph Waldo Emerson
"All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother." - -- Abraham Lincoln
And here is a list of words from the Mother word search.
DAUGHTER OF GOD
HUGS N KISSES
Looking over this list can be a little daunting. As mothers we have so many opportunities to be an example. Today I vow not to become overwhelmed by the many motherly ways listed above, but stand tall and take pride in being a mother and rejoice in all I can be for my children. And again, Happy Mother's Day!
**originally I had a link to the wordsearch, however it had other inappropriate material; I deleted it
Saturday, May 12, 2007
We deliver our children once, in joy and pain,then deliver them a hundred times more—to school, to practices, to doctors’ appointments.Watch over us, Lord, and keep us safe, as the mother eagle who guards her young.
We teach our little ones to stand and walk, carefully coaxing balance,then jump in when we can to teach them balance in work, in friendship, in serving others.Guide them Lord, and keep them upright, falling neither into harm nor selfishness.
We congregate as moms and family, whispering about worries and passing on what works,sharing wisdom from Grandma or Oprah, stories heard in parking lots or bleachers.Teach us, Lord, to lead with our love instead of our fears, trusting that you are there beside us.
God of Leah and Rebekah, of Elizabeth and Mary, be ever near all mothers today—in minivans and meetings, in busy mornings and tired evenings, and grant us your peace.
--Mary Lynn Hendrickson
Friday, May 11, 2007
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open it to page 161.
3. Find the fifth full sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
Don't search around looking for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.
Here's mine (actually the book only has 146 pages so my line is from page 61)
The white man is charged with attempted murder, but acquitted.
This is the main quilt top.
These are the four pieced borders.
My newest fabric purchases.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
More on Tom Pease
Click here, scroll down to Love Grows One by One and click to hear
Click here to see our favorite album
Monday, May 7, 2007
- Grace - $10.32
- Lee - $10.73
- Lou - $0.30
Here's the work in progress:
Lee... tired after counting 1,073 pine cones.
Grace...just plain tired. Do I see more pine cones in the background?
Baked Ham in Crock-pot
Chicken Salad on Croissants
Mashed Potato Casserole in Black Roaster Pan
Homemade Apple Sauce
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Fresh Veggies w/Dill Dip
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Zucchini Chip Bread
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Tomorrow's the day Lee will receive the fullness of Jesus into his body. We've prepared intensively for this day. We've read and read, played communion (don't all Catholic kids do this), and made a good First Confession. He seems more prepared than I was five years ago when I became Catholic. Now for today, we will be preparing the clothes and for the gathering. First the clothes, ironing, sewing, finding missing tights for Lou, snugging up Lee's shoes with heel huggers (still need to buy). Then comes the food.
- Bake ham and slice
- Pull chicken from the bone and make into chicken salad
- Prepare deviled eggs
- Cut fruit and arrange
- Cut veggies and arrange
- Prepare mashed potato casserole
- Make cinnamon swirl bread
- Make cranberry sauce
- Pick up cake and rolls and dill dip
Then comes the house preparations. Not to much needs to be done in the line of cleaning, but lots needs to be done to organize the house the hold and feed 27 people. We need to rearrange the furniture and add some tables. Then cover tables and set out the candles and table settings. Just writing this, I'm getting slightly nervous about it all happening before bed tonight. So I'm off to work.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
My list of shrubs and perennials to buy this year
Euonymus (burning bush) - after all the Moses studies we have to get one of these
Phlox - the tall species, in reds and white
Anything hardy and colorful
Grace and Lee put out a new seed block in the hanging feed outside Grace and Lou's window. We've found that the birds do not like the peanut butter and suet block, they like the Bird Watcher brand of seed blocks. Lou sat in the rock garden watching the window feeder and identifying birds. It's quite amazing what all she said she saw. We measured for yard sprinklers and went to the drive-in for supper.
Today wasn't all fun, er I mean nature study. We did control ourselves enough to get some seat work done. Grace and Lee did a math lesson, finished their Egypt chapter books and practiced their spelling words. Lou wrote the alphabet and made a birthday card for her friend. She set up a tea party for her and Ray and set a puzzle with him. They rolled balls down the hallway and played dress-up. It was one of those days I could have never planned for.