And together we learn

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Did that really happen?

I feel so magnanimous this morning. I actually said this:

"All right, after we do all our family work, you may do some math."

I love homeschooling!

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

A short and sweet meme

My dear friend Sarah tagged me for this oh so funny little meme.

So, here’s the new meme and it’s short and “sweet?”:

What word or words or sounds do you hear from your kids that just drive you totally nutso (in a good “I’ll look back on this in 20 years with such endearing affection” way)?

That would so have to be, "Nobody loves me in this house, except Hazel, and Calvin, and Daddy, but NOT MOMMY!!!"

This is of course accompanied by throwing ones self on the floor and sobbing hysterically, over such a heinous occurance as the mean mommy asking, say, for her to put away her shoes.

I hope I'm laughing in 20 years about my wee small drama queen!!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Every simple machine needs a good fulcrum

I saw someplace that in the typical (if there is such a thing) homeschooling life, there are 2 great days, 2 days where you get the minimums done, but not much else, and one humdinger of a survival day. After I saw that, I have been noticing, and it does very much seem to follow that rule of thumb.

Yesterday was one of the good ones. One of the best yet! I've been struggling with some major attitude on the part of Hazel. But after a few (large) punishments, she's started to get over it. Yesterday she was a dream child. None of the snotty looks and comments--she was a joy to be around.

The girls were thrilled to do all their jobs, going beyond what I asked and we got everything done in a hurry. We had fabulous scripture reading, complete with impromptu acting out of Helaman 8. We did copywork, and Hazel didn't just do a little, she was enthusiastic and kept asking for more and more sentences. All day long! And then, she went beyond just copying them to writing her own sentences. Major breakthroughs, that.

The kids played outside in the fresh snow for hours, then came in for some hot chocolate. Steve was installing some door latches in the bathroom cabinets for my sanity.

So Hazel and I were helping, and we started talking about simple machines. We discussed the different kinds, then built our own using a bar of soap, a toothbrush for the lever, and the fulcrum was a tampon. Hey--it worked, and it was very very spontaneous!!!

We had family night with my darling brother and sister-in-law and it was a fabulous end to a great day.

Now the trick is to recreate it today!!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

A recipe and a milestone

First, the milestone. This is post #100!! Incredible. What a random collection of musings and silly kid stories this has been. But oh, so fun. And I've made some wonderful friends along the way.

Next, the recipe. I made a great soup last night. I am such a non-measuring, dump and adjust seasonings kind of cook that if I don't write it down, it's gone forever and will never be exactly duplicated.

Chicken Corn Chowder

Little bit of bacon--maybe about 1/4 lb, chopped into small pieces
1 onion, chopped
around 6 potatoes, cut into chunks
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked cubed chicken
1/2 cup powdered milk made w/ 1 cup water
1 can cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup
1 can corn
1 small zucchini, cut into very small pieces.

I browned the bacon, then set it aside. Using just the teeniest bit of the bacon grease, add the onion and cook until soft. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth, then add the potatoes. Cook until they're soft. Add the corn and can of soup, then add the milk. Toss in the chicken and add the zucchini(it will cook pretty fast). That's it. Lots of black pepper would be good, unless you had my children then you would have to avoid it like the plague.

We sprinkled a little bit of bacon on the top. A little cheese would have been good sprinkled, if you don't want bacon.

Anyway, it was delicious, easy, and so not bad for you as most chowders go. Using the triple strength powdered milk gives it the same kind of feeling as cream, just without the fat and calories. Optionally, evaporated milk will do the same thing.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Which came first, the bacon or the pig?

Conversation with my 3 year old while making dinner:

Me: I'm going to cook a little bacon to sprinkle on top of our soup.

Chloe: Mmmmm, bacon. How do we get bacon?

Me: It's from pigs.

Chloe: Oh, so the pigs go and get all the ingredients and make some bacon powder and that's how we get it?

Me: No, the pigs ARE the ingredient.

It never quite sunk in. She's still happy believing in porcine kitchens where happy porkers are slaving over their recipe books. Oh well, real life will catch up with her soon enough.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Closer to the digestive tract than you want to be

I don't think there are many things in life more disgusting than the little bits of food that have gone from plate to mouth to stomach, back up again when the baby throws up, through the washing machine, then you find them clinging to the sides of the washing machine after they've been washed.

It's pretty gross. I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Food coloring fun

A neighbor of mine had some complications with a C-section, so I've been watching her two little girls for a couple hours today.

I thought it would be easy enough to watch the extra kids, make and decorate sugar cookies with them, and make dinner to take to the family. Easy as pie, right??? Yeah. Right.

The kids were fine. You know how it's sometimes easier when there are extras around because they all just play together? It was Calvin who was in rare and impressive form. I had out my cake decorating box because we were doing sugar cookies. It was up on the middle of the counter and Calvin was busy doing something. I ran into the other room, and when I came He found the food coloring, opened it, dumped it all over himself and the floor, and played in it! In roughly 30 seconds!!!!

This was one mess that I didn't run for the camera first.

Normally I'm a really good cook. I love to cook. So I made chili and cornbread (pink, in honor of the day, of course) for the family. I soaked my beans overnight, and I thought I was being so clever by doing a mixture of black, pinto and kidney beans. Well, those horrid kidney beans would not soften. The others were disintegrating, and they were rock solid. So, I sorted that gigantic pot bean by bean and got rid of the kidneys. What else can you do when people are waiting for their dinner? Fortunately, it turned out great and the pink cornbread was beautiful.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Love hurts

Fast forward three and a half years, lots of patches, lots and lots of love, and you get this...

I thought I'd better get a photo of the beloved 'Purple B' before it disintegrates completely.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Stuck at six

School has been going wonderfully lately. This should come as no shocker to anyone, but routines really do work! The structure of our days is directly proportional to how much we get accomplished. I know, I know, Flylady's been telling me this for years. But I'm really slow at getting some of these concepts.

So we've been very good about our morning routine of breakfast, dressed, scriptures, chores, then school. Ususally by school time Calvin is ready for his nap, so we're able to work without his 'help'.

I got Math U See at the beginning of the school year, we did it for 3 days, then I very promptly lost the DVD. Gone. I looked everywhere!! So we kind of shuffled through not very much math for the last couple of months until I decided to just buy the dang thing over again. I need the help of a curriculum. I'm just not organized enough to do this on my own yet.

We started at the Primer level because Hazel really really needs lots of reinforcement with each concept. She's been begging to do math at all hours of the day, and has blasted through the first third of the book. But she's limited in how much farther she can go, because she is NOT recognizing her numbers.

Every time she see's a seven, she asks Chloe "What's the pointy one?", to which 3 year old Chloe, with a bored expression, answers. There's 'two circles' (eight), and 'up circle' (nine) and 'down circle' (six).

We've played game after game to try to get this. Jumping games, hit the numbers sort of match games, bingo style, she asks me phone numbers and dials them, we try to incorporate numbers in everything, but this isn't sinking in.

So, wise internet, how do I teach number recognition for 6, 7, 8, and 9? Any great ideas? It's hard to move much farther in math until you know what the numbers are!!


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bu Xing!!

Steve left this morning and my sister graciously took him to the airport. Somehow, 3 kids in a compact car just doesn't leave much room for luggage. He forgot a very important doohickey, so we piled in to race it to him at the airport before his plane took off. No problem.

I so got pulled over for speeding. Dang it!! But as the officer was writing up my ticket, I couldn't help but think he looked awfully familiar. When he came back to my window, I asked him if he was Elder F., and didn't he serve a mission in Taiwan with me? Ok, so he didn't remember me. But apparently a little connection goes a long way. He changed the ticket to a warning, then instructed me sternly to slow down. In Chinese.

Yet another blessing for serving a mission!!


Friday, February 02, 2007

Wordless Wednesday--- While Mama showers...


In which I become crafty

Look--I MADE these!!! And I didn't just start them, I (long pause for much emphasis) finished them.

InCREDible. I have large containers of unfinished projects, projects never started, and supplies that once had high hopes of being projects. The cross stitch dancing bunnies, started so optimistically my sophomore year of high school, are still in a box, doomed to dance no more.

So this is truly something remarkable. The girls love them, and I absolutely loved making them. It was EASY!!! And quite addictive. I've started some dishrags so I can learn how to work patterns in a non-threatening project.

I feel so dang crafty!


Thursday, February 01, 2007

On breakthroughs and Soul

Hazel has had a major block about reading, and for that reason I've backed waaaay off. We'll play phonics games here and there, but any time I ask her to sound out a word or anything, she gets stressed. I wasn't sure what to do. On the advice of my wonderful Sarah friend, I decided to work with her on a really simple level for a couple minutes a day, then if she continued to resist after a week, I'd back off for a long time.

On Dy's recommendation, I checked out Old Fashioned Education and printed off an old fashioned reader.

After 2 sessions, it clicked. Really clicked, for the first time. She's been pseudo sounding out words for a year, but always with one eye on me to gauge my reaction. But she really, truly, was understanding the relationship between sounds and words. I wrote and abysmally silly little book that we illustrated, and she read it to every person who came over. She put Chloe on her lap and read to her. She read it to Calvin. She was so delighted that she was reading!! That's the first time I've ever seen her excited about it. What a moment!!

This is why I homeschool. I was there for that moment. I saw the joy and pride on her face. Not a teacher, but me. I was discouraged about whether I'm making the right choice in hsing, but this reinforced it so strongly. Yippee!!!!!

Now the soul part. Hazel got a Stevie Wonder CD for her 5th birthday from my brother in law. I thought it was a slightly weird present, amid the Strawberry Shortcake and fairy princess stuff. She glanced at it, said thanks, and set it aside. Recently, she discovered it and has been listening to it over and over. She definitely inherited her daddy's 'rockin out' gene.

The other morning, I went into the kitchen and saw one of the sweetest sights of my life. Steve and Hazel, facing each other dancing, each with their hands in the classic phone position ( you know, with pinky and thumb extended) singing with all their hearts "I just called to say I love you." So incredibly tender!!!!

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