October 31, 2004

October Reading List

Caps for Sale - Slobodkina, Esphyr
Chicken little - Rader, Laura
I Can Go Camping - Eckhart, Edana
Quick as a Cricket - Wood, Audrey
George W Bush: War on Terror - Wheeler, Jill C (edited for older content)
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom - Martin, Bill
Berlioz the Bear - Brett, Jan
Sailor Moo:Cow at Sea - Wheeler, Lisa
Miniature Cars - Beyer, Julie
Cotton - Oxlade, Chris

Clifford the big red dog - Bridwell, Norman
Marvin K Mooney Will You PLease Go Now - Dr Suess
Arthur Meets the President - Brown, Marc
Cat in the Hat, The - Dr Suess
House is a House for Me, A - Hoberman, Mary Ann
Pond Year - Lasky, Kathyryn
Colors Everywhere - Hoban, Tana
Smile a Lot - Carlson, Nancy
Cello of Mr. O - Cutler Jane
Curious George and the Chocolate Factory - Rey HA

Prog Frince, The - Lamm C Drew
Cabin, The: The Sound of C - Klingel, Cynthia
Consideration - Raatma, Lucia
Coyote The - Mattern, Joanne
Mary Cassatt - Venezia Mike
Oddhopper Opera - Cyrus, Kurt
Going to Town: My First Little House Books - Wilder, Laura Ingalls
Cars and Trucks and Things that Go - Scarry, Richard
Cars and How They Go - Cole, Joanna
Car Wash - Steen, Sandra

Marmee's Surprise: A Little Women Story - Kulling, Monica
Millions of Cats - Gag, Wanda
Frog - Cooper, Susan
Goodnight Moon - Brown, Margaret Wise
Frog and Toad All Year - Lobel, Arnold
Good Morning, Good Night - Mitchell, Melanie
Princess and Froggie, The - Zemach, Harve and Kaethe
Little Blue and Little Yellow - Lionni, Leo
Just a Mess - Mayer, Mercer
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - Viorst, Judith

Rosie and Michael - Viorst, Judith
Cars and Trucks - Rissing, Karen
Just Me and My Dad - Mayer, Mercer
Angelina's Birthday - Holabird, Katherine
Frogs - Gibbons, Gail
One Frog Too Many - Mayer, Mercer and Marianna
God Made All The Colors - Lion Board Books
My Many Colored Days - Dr Suess
Frogs in Clogs - Samton, Sheila White
Cubes, Cones, Cylinders and Spheres - Hoban, Tana

Tale of a Tadpole - Wallace, Karen
Tumble Bumble - Bond, Felicia
Flappy, Waggy, Wiggly - Leslie Amanda
Dear Zoo - Campbell Rod
Ben's Dream - Allsburg, Chris Van
Archaelogists Dig For Clues - Duke Kate
Time for Bed - Fox, Mem
Three Cheers for you: Care Bears - Knight, KR
World Turns Round and Round, The - Weiss, Nicki
C is for Cornhusker: A Nebraska Alphabet - Shepherd, Rajean Luebs

Feeling Sad: Let's Talk About - Berry, Joy
Whoever You Are - Fox, Mem
Clifford the small Red Puppy - Bridwell, Norman
Guess How Much I Love You - McBratney, Sam
Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? - Carle Eric
Little Mouse The Red Ripe Strawberry an The Big Hungry Bear, The - Wood Don and Audrey
On Mother's Lap - Scott, Ann Herbert
Dreamtime Fairies, The - Simmons, Jane
Blueberry Show - Dixon, Ann
Kisses - Szekeres, Cyndy

Tuesday - Wiesner, David
Library, The - Stewart Sarah
Going to Sleep on the Farm - Lewison Wendy
Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day - Curtis, Jamie Lee
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight - Yolen, Jane
If You Give a Moose a Muffin - Numeroff, Laura
Runaway Bunny, The - Brown, Mararet Wise
William's Doll - Zolotow, Charlotte
My Daddy - Paradis, Susan
Crayon Box That Talked, The - DeRolf, Shane

Bread and Jam for Frances - Hoban, Russell
Sir Frances Drake His Daring Deeds - Gerrard, Roy
Frog Alphabet, The - Pallotta, Jerry
Elbert's Bad Word - Wood, Audrey
Diana: Princess of People - Stone, Tanya Lee (has older topics of divorce, bulumia,etc)
Charlotte's Web - White, E.B (unabridged)
Counting Kisses - Katz, Karen
Kisses - Szekeres, Cyndy
Five Little LadyBugs - Gerth, Melanie
Jesse Bear What Will You Wear - Carlstrom, Nancy White

DK Touch and Feel Series (Pets, Wild Animals, Baby Animals, Cats, etc)
Baby Animals: Black and White - Tildes, Phyllis
Playing Poohsticks - Milne, AA (adapted storybook)
Tigger's Breakfast - Milne, AA (adapted)
My Many Colored Days - Dr Suess
Baby Games - Nayer, Judy
Good Morning, Good Night - Mitchell, Melanie
Carrot Seed, The - Krauss, Ruth
I am a baby - Hathon, Elizabeth
Learning Numbers - A Sparkle Book

Where Do Frogs Come From - Vern, Alex
Wish-for Dinosaur - Moncure, Jane Belk
Apples and Pumpkins - Rockwell, Anne
Plumply, Dumply Pumpkin - Serfozo, Mary
Apple Pie Tree The - Hall, Zoe
Ten Red Apples - Hutchins, Pat
Clifford to the Rescue - Bridwell, Norman
Paper Bag Princess, The - Munsch, Robert
ABC - Dr Suess
Doctor DeSoto Goes to Africa - Steig, William

David's Drawings - Falwell, Cathryn
Let's Go Froggy - London Jonathan
Farmer Duck - Waddell, Martin
One Duck - Hutchins, Hazel
May I Bring A Friend? - By De Regniers, Beatrice Schenk
The Funny Little Woman - Mosel, Arlene (retold)
How I Became a Pirate - Long, Melinda
Have You Seen My Duckling - Tafuri, Nancy
Five Little Ducks - Aruego, Jose
Quack, Daisy, Quack - Simmons, Jane

Dozen, Ducklings Lost and Found, A - Ziefert, Harriet
Zathura - Allsburg, Chris Van
Polar Express, The - Allsburg, Chris Van
Petunia - Duvoisin, Robert
Unicorn Dreams - Sheldon, Dyan
Caps for Sale - Slobodkina, Esphyr
Katy and the Big Snow - Burton, Virginia Lee
Tale of a Tadpole - Porte, Barbara Ann
Lill's Purple Plastic Purse - Henkes, Kevin
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Barrett, Judi

Arthur's Loose Tooth - Hoban, Lillian
Arthur Meets the President - Brown, Marc
Whales and Dolphins - Ericson, Anton
Dolphins - Bokoske, Sharon
Curious George Goes Camping - Rey, HA
One Wheel Wobbles - Schaefer, Carole
Raptors - McCourt, Lisa
Just me and my dad - Mayer, Mercer
Just Going to the Dentist - Mayer, Mercer
Snappy little Dinosaurs - Steer, Dugald

Frog Alphabet, The - Pallotta, Jerry
Frog and Toad Together - Lobel, Arnold
Tuesday - Weisner, David
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - Viorst, Judith
Froggy's First Kiss - London, Jonathen
Cat in the Hat Comes Back - Dr Suess
Dance - Schumaker, Ward
Arthur's Family Vacation - Brown, Marc
My Grandmother Works in a Dress Shop - Hughes, Sarah
My E Soundbox - Moncure, Jane Belk

What Daddies Do Best - Numeroff, Laura
What Mommies Do Best - Moncure, Laura
Sleeping Beauty - Treasury of Fairy Tales
Desert Trip - Steiner, Barbara
Whale of a Time, A - Trimble, Irene
Do Your Ears Hang Low? - Church, Caroline Jayne
When I Was Little - Curtis, Jamie Lee
Bread and Jam for Frances - Hoban, Russell
Edgar Degas: Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists - Venezia, Mike
Tea for Three - Zehler, Antonia

Best Dad in the Sea - Disney
Dressing Up Like Mommy - French, Susan
God Made Nightime Too - Mackall, Dandi
Jungle Book, The - Walt Disney version
Jar Jar's Mistake - Krulik, Nancy
Raggedy Ann and Rags - Gruelle, Johnny (adapted)

Rhiannon's Reads
Word Bird Makes Words with Duck - Moncure, Jane Belk
House for Mouse, A - Shook, Babs
Cabin, The: The Sound of C - Klingel, Cynthia
Joe's Toe - Bob Books
Hop on Pop - Dr Suess
Meg - Primary Phonics
Go Bus - Bob Books
Dogs: The Sound of D - Flanagan, Alice K
Day in the Life of a Doctor, A - Hayward, Linda
Sad Cat, The - Bob books

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish - Dr Suess (in progress)
Big Box, The - Clammer, Virginia
Growing Reader Phonics Bible, The - McKenzie, Joy (ongoing)
We Come and Go - Gray, William S, Dorothy Baruch and Elizabeth Montgomery (Dick and Jane series)
We Work and Play, The NewGray, William S, Marion Monroe, A Sterl Artley and May Arbuthnat (Dick and Jane series)
Berenstains B Book, The - The Berenstains

Reads in Progress:
Gulliver's Travels - Swift, Jonathen (abridged - great illustrated classics)
Anne of Green Gables - Montogemery, Lucy Maud (unabridged)

Last updates October 31, 2004

Friday Five on Sunday

1. Did you carve your pumpkin yet?
No unless this pumpkin carving counts!

2. Have you raked you leaves?
No - do I have to?

3. Are you a football fan?
Absolutely not! Thankfully I married a man who could take it or leave it. Unfortunately I moved to a state that lives by it.

4. Is there a difference between apple cider and apple juice?
Yes - certainly by taste and color. Also cider tastes so much better mulled than apple juice does. For the unbeliever, taken from ask yahoo:
"In the United States, apple cider refers to the unprocessed liquid that you get from apples. The apples are washed, cut, and ground into mash before being pressed. The resulting cider usually contains apple pulp and is dark, brown, and cloudy. The beverage is perishable and must be refrigerated. If this liquid is filtered and further processed, the resulting product is apple juice, which has a longer shelf life than cider."

5. Are you or your children going to a costume party? If so, what will you wear?
We already went to one.
Serona - jedi
Tenn - Tenniel Djo (of course)
Rhia - Princess Aurora (in an amazing gown from Disney that daddy bought when alone in Disney!)
Ciaran - jedi (homemade by dad)
Sirah - giraffe - well for about 15 minutes atleast

October 30, 2004

More Activism

Today Serona and I went to see the Bush rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis. This time the kids stayed with some friends from our homeschool group. It was nice but different to not have the kids with us. We were up on the stage behind the president about 12 rows back (too far for most pictures and video clips) and it was a really awesome experience to see the rally from this perspective.

It was also nice to be able to just concentrate on what the president was saying and all that was going on around me. We were surrounded by several little kids and I kept thinking about how I wanted to share this with mine again. Of course they did just attend a rally a few weeks back and probably would not have been up for another and it was nice to not have to worry about the inevitable "I have to go to the bathroom NOW and no it can not wait" that always happens at the most inconvenient of times. At first I felt guilty not having them with us but then I reminded myself they were probably having a better time at their friend's house and they were just here not too long ago.

After the rally we picked up our door knocking materials and headed out to encourage people to get to the polls on Tuesday. The kids went with us and we will do this for a few hours each day through election day, along with sign waving from the bridges. After we were done door knocking we put up some lawn signs and then headed home. Tired now and I am sure it will be a tiring weekend for us all. Be sure you vote on Tuesday!


October 29, 2004

Daily Round-up

Started off the morning with some Miquon math - finding all the addition combinations that add up to 7 and then to 9. Then I gave her a review sheet that I called a test (her first ever) she got them all right (though she did write her 7 backwards) - simple addition problems and I told her she could not use rods, abacus or other manipulatives.

While she worked on those Ciaran and I emptied and reviewed the items in his D sound box and on his D board. I did some letter recognition drills with him on A,B,C and D. I would ask what color letter A was and he would need to find it. I also had him bring me the matching letter from our floor mat. It was interesting he did fairly well if I asked what color a letter was but when I asked him which letter was blue he had a hard time. That was consistent - he could recognize the color of the letter but could not tell me the letter even when he knew the color it was. Not quite sure why. We also reviewed the number three. I had him group animals in 3's and count out three things to hand me. He did very good at this activity.

Sirah played quietly nearby. This morning she was enthralled with her Baby Einstein flash cards, her Neurosmith music blocks and climbing onto the train table. She also wanted to be in the middle of everything we were doing. She was fairly cooperative this morning.

Then we learned how to jump rope both individually and together. Rhiannon was able to get it after awhile but it was too hard for Ciaran. They did enjoy playing though and they enjoyed watching me jump rope to teach them. Rhiannon preferred when Ciaran and I turned the rope and she jumped in the middle - Ciaran preferred jumping by himself. Sirah just tried to stay out of the way.

Then we headed out to run some errands - we walked and rode bikes to get Rhiannon's hair salvaged - she has a cute bob now. We returned videos and got some new ones out (school house rock, wallace and gromit, and peter pan)and stopped at the grocery store to pick up some dinner for our bible study party tonight. We coupled exercise with enjoyment and getting some things done.

Home for lunch (leftover ziti) and then naps for Ciaran and Sirah. Rhiannon and I worked on school and made great time working through Phonics, Language Lesson, History, Spelling, and Poetry in about an hour. She also read a page in her Phonics Bible and worked on playing the slide whistle during her free time today.

Off to clean, make dinner and let the kids watch a video before we head out to Bible Study for the evening.


Nomads Narration - SOTW Ch 1

The nomads moved around a lot. Why? Because when they finished food at one place all the animals would move around and they would track them and move there to hunt. They ate weird food like lizards and snakes. They slept outside in a tent or a cave, sometimes they just slept outside bare.


October 28, 2004

Custard, Frogs and Nuggles

Interesting combination? What better for my date with Ciaran. It was time for some much needed closeness and one on one time with Ciaran. Lately he has been having a hard time of it. A good friend of mine was wise enough to see this and offered to watch the girls and she brought her 6 year old daughter over this afternoon. So after they got all settled we headed out.

Ciaran chose to go to Culver's for some chocolate custard with strawberries, french fries, onion rings and root beer. Then we headed over to a local toy store where we browsed for nearly an hour - looking carefully at all the options. He of course chose frogs - he got a color match frog lily pad game and a plastic frog necklace that lights up when you open its mouth.

We chatted quite awhile and were able to talk about some things that have been bothering him recently. He was able to share that with me and we both were closer afterwards. We came home and played his frog game and gave big hugs and nuggles (our special word for snuggles). I love going on dates with the kids.


First Haircut

No it was not Sirah. Rhiannon decided to give herself a cut or shall I say jagged chop in a variety of places? I do not know when it was done as I simply discovered the hair in various places on the ground and then upon closer looking at her head saw the damage she had done. So tomorrow it will be off to the hair cutters in hopes that they can do something to salvage it. I am guessing it will have to be cut pretty short which is a shame as her blonde hair is very beautiful. I kept my cool but I must admit to being both frustrated and sad. I have no idea how she is going to feel after they cut it more. I asked why and she said she wanted short hair like mine. _Sigh_


October 27, 2004

Rhainnon Narration

Tiny the Snow Dog - Carl Meister

A little tiny dog named Tiny. He was a great big dog, almost as big as Clifford. The page said he was little but he looked big to me. They decided to go sledding one day when it was snowing. Tiny got lost. Where's Tiny? Tiny are you in the trash can? She looked over the hills, over the mountains in the barn. In the trash can. No Tiny.
Oh it's a snow monster. Henry the little boy was so scared he cried "Oh a snow monster" It's only my dog the boy said. He said "Come in Tiny, it's time to go home."
Good snow dog.

The End

PS Lewis

Five Things I Want My Kids To Remember About Me

1. That I loved the Lord and chose his ways for my life.
2. That I loved their father completely.
3. That I loved each of them fully.
4. That I tried my best to learn the truth and then live consistently by it
5. That I loved and was kind to all those around me even those I did not like.

That is the legacy I want to leave behind. How about you? Leave a comment with a link to your post or post your thoughts in the comments section.


Homeschooling Blogs of Note

Someday I will get around to updating my sidebar especially my fellow bloggers section needs a revamp - sorry I simply have not had time. But I did want to draw some attention to some of the regulars I read and some new blogs I have started reading and taking notice of (in no particular order) also please forgive me if I don't mention you here - it is nearly 1am and I am just going off the top of my head! Drop me a comment or email and I will add you.

Classic Adventures - Hi Dy!
Today's Lessons
Number 2 Pencil
Poppins Classical Academy
Marsupial Mom Welcome Back Missy!
Tulip Girl
Routon Homeschool
Never Never Land
Rivers Edge Urban Academy - Hi Katy!
Our Homeschool - Hi Anne!

Prattling Pastors Wife
Happy Homeschooler
Sanity Overrated
Modern Mother
Yet Another Homeschool Blog - Darby
Me and the Boys
Carol's Storybook
Born Again Mommy
Organic Learning

Learning Through Life
Life in Washington
Quiet Life

Why didn't I just update my sidebar in the time that took? Well I suppose I have it halfway done now? Happy reading and thanks for blogging! Many of you are the inspiration that keeps me going and gives me fresh ideas when mine run stale.


Gmail and Homeschooling - aka Love Letter to Gmail

Okay so I am not prone to advertising but here is one I simply can not resist - gmail is great! I was hesitant in the beginning but I have become a true believer and I am almost ready to commit to one email address - besides my usual spam filters (these are the addresses I use for anything online especially shopping) for those who have scratched out over 25+ email addresses for me in the past 12 years you will be happy! To be fair I have lived at over 14 different addresses during that same time period and in 6 states! But I digress. Back to the wonders of gmail.

Here is a copy of the letter I just wrote to them thanking them and praising them for their service.

As a homeschooling mom gmail has helped me organize my curriculum, weblinks, listservs,lesson plans, reading schedule, even my blog and just about everything in my life. It works so seamlessly with google and having all that storage allows me to keep everything in one place that I can access from anywhere with an internet connection - even when I am not on my own computer.

Keeping the emails in conversation threads has made it easier for me to keep my daily, weekly and monthly activities more in order.. It also helps me see if I have answered a particular email and the stars let me know what I still need to do. Filters keep my inbox clean and organized. The type ahead contacts makes my life easier and saves me time. I find myself doing as much as I can through email because it is so easy to keep track of and have everything all together in one place.

Now I can finally send those video clips to the grandparents - they have gmail accounts now too - as do the kids - reaching 3 generations already! They can show off pictures and videos of their grandkids to all their friends anywhere they can connect.

You truly are providing an outstanding service. Keep up the great work!

I would not say it if I did not believe it. They really have made my life easier and my homeschooling more simple or atleast more organized. For those not familiar with gmail yet - it is the free web based email service being beta tested by google right now. Bloggers and others invited by invitation only have been using it for a few months now. They offer each account 1000 free MB of storage! Yes you read me right. In addition to that very wonderful advantage instead of folders you use a labeling system and each mail can have more than one label or category. So when I get that awesome link that fits into math, science, unit studies and holidays I can label it all those things. Then I can find it again quickly - either by using the built in google search engine that scans my email or pulling up any one of those labels.

Your emails are also kept in "conversation threads" rather than individual emails. For instance my bible study email correspondence is up to 15 responses in one conversation - I can easily see all the responses and it is kept together and easy to see if I have replied and what I said as it automatically includes anything I send.

Okay I think you get the idea now. The good news? I have a few more free accounts to give away if you want one. I do not profit from this in any way - but you sure will. Let me know if you are interested - leave a comment or email. I will send them to the first bunch that respond - but I often get more so feel free to let me know and I will get to you as I receive more.


Family Bed OverRun

I can not fit in my bed tonight! Atleast not without moving a child or two. While I am a strong supporter of the family bed I will admit from time to time it does bring around some strange moments. In the 5+ years we have been consecutively sharing our bed with atleast one child we have seen some interesting things.

Like right now Rhia and Ciaran are taking up so much room in my bed that I put Sirah to sleep in Ciaran's bed and I am currently on the couch - deciding whether I want to shuffle them all back to bed, try to push my way into find some room and all pile in together or go curl up with Sirah in Ciaran's bunk bed?

What interesting decisions we parents need to make from time to time. Yet I truly appreciate the closeness we experience as a family as a result of our parenting philosophy.


Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight

We will be treated to a Total Lunar Eclipse tonight into tommorrow morning. Check it out!


October 26, 2004

Monopoly Math

Rhiannon and I played Jr Monopoly (princess version) for math lesson today. She loved it and of course I did not call it math while we played (Ciaran and Sirah were sleeping if you are wondering) when we were done I just told her she had completed her math for the day as we had worked on money, addition, subtraction, counting and a few other skills. She was very excited to hear that. She read two pages from Phonics Pathways and one page from her Growing Reader Phonics Bible.

As a reward we made her a word wand. Very simple and she loves it. We took a popsicle stick and wrapped double sided tape around the top - two pieces wide down from the top of the stick. Then we cut out a piece of colored paper (she picked blue) and cut it to fit from the bottom of the tape to the top of the stick when folded over so it covered the tape. Then I added two more pieces of double sided tape to the inside flaps of the folded over paper. Now she has a word wand (to underline individual words as she reads them or cover up the ends of longer words as she sounds them out) that doubles nicely as a bookmark. She was so excited and it was easy and cheap!

We covered science and social studies work at coop today and for music she made a brief videoclip of herself singing "I love you Forever" from the Robert Munsch book which she sent via email to Serona at work and another clip along with Ciaran of "Happy Birthday" which headed off to Grandpa for his day!


Israel Coop Week Three

Today was our last week of Israel. It was my week to teach with another mom. We started with an attempt to explain the political structure and process of Israel to the kids - it is tough to simplify this process for them but I tried. They had stickers outlining the major balances of power and we talked about how they were elected. Then we did a little exercise to try to show a very simplified version of parliamentary democracy creating government. We split the kids into three groups (yellow, red, and blue) then they had to try to get their color to be the head of the government - they quickly realized they were not going to get their color alone so we talked about how they could get their color to be part of a government by joining forces with another group to get a majority (thus forming either orange, green or purple). In case you are wondering green won the first time by a slim margin and then we talked about vote of no confidence and how they would have to retry to form an acceptable government. We decided not to do the exercise again and I tried to use a simple review showing the colors to show how the balance of power works. It was tough to explain it to 5-11 year olds - never mind the 3 year olds! Then we took a well needed snack break.

After snack my partner did a great presentation on the animals of Israel. She had printed out color stickers (which she so wonderfully took the time to peel and stick on wax paper - way easier than peeling each individual sticker with the kids!) of a bunch of animals. As many of these were unfamiliar to the kids - she read a description of the animal and its habits and asked them to guess. They guessed or knew many of them right away and they seemed to enjoy learning this.

Then we finished up by talking about life on a kibbutz. I began by explaining a little about how a kibbutz community works and how people work together to create a common pool which they all draw from to meet the needs of each individual. We talked about what their lives might be like on a kibbutz as children and then told them they would get to be adults on the kibbutz. We divided them up into three groups (the same groups we used for the government experiment) - each group had one child that was between 8-10, one 5 or 6 year old and one 3 or 4 year old. Each group had a responsibility to do. Ciaran's group was on cleanup, Rhiannon's group had to make the craft project the kibbutz would sell (in our case a coloring book of various people of Israel - Palestinians, Jewish, Bedouin, etc), and the final group made lunch for the group (bagels with cream cheese or hummus).

Some kids did not get to do what they wanted, some had harder or longer jobs than others and I think it illustrated the point well. Even Ciaran got something out of it - though sad to say it was mostly unhappiness. He got to experience the "But I don't want to do that (clean) I want to cook!" Which sadly devolved into a temper tantrum and he did not fufill his job much - though he did eventually come around to help clean when the vacuum came out - he really likes vacuuming for some reason. Rhiannon at first was very excited to get her job - she was making a craft project using scissors, three hole punch and yarn. Though soon she realized that her team's job was more time consuming - plus they were down a person as one of their teammates (predetermined before class) was not there today. Myself and another mother helped them finish and they were last to eat and several were almost done by the time they were starting. We finished with some discussion while they ate lunch about our kibbutz lesson. I asked some of the following questions and let as many kids answer as wanted to (almost everyone answered nearly every question) and I tried to make sure we found varying opinions.

-Did you like/dislike your job? They were nearly evenly split here - more liked it

-Did you think it was fair? Many did not, those who did mostly did because they liked their job, those who thought it was unfair either did not like their job or felt their job was harder/longer, etc?

-Why was your job important? They gave some nice answers here and got to the point about how their job helped all the members of the group. One girl pointed out that her job (lunch) was important so people did not die as they needed to eat!

-What are the advantages of living on a kibbutz? They did a nice job coming up with helping one another, working together and sharing responsibility.

-What are the disadvantages of living on a kibbutz? They were even better at listing these which centered mostly around not being able to do what you wanted and unfairness.

- Would you like to live on a kibbutz? I think nearly everyone of them said no. There was one who at first said yes - she really liked her job but I think in the end she said no.

This was a great kibbutz lesson plan for young children and I think it really helped drive home the lesson in a way they could understand and have fun with. It was also highly productive as they cleaned the room (instead of moms), they put together the craft for the group (instead of me) and they made lunch (instead of moms) it showed them how they can take responsibility for the group themselves and help the group no matter how young they are by each taking a small task and doing it well they were able to accomplish a lot.

It also gave the moms the idea that the kids can help with cleanup and we will be putting them on a cleanup rotation along with the moms!


October 25, 2004

Rhiannon's Thank You Letter

Today for school Rhiannon asked to write a letter to President Bush. I did not ask her or encourage her to but that is what she wanted to do for copywork. In addition to being her copywork for the day she gets some points towards her Homeschoolers for Bush unit study. Here is the letter she wrote out - she dictated it to me and I wrote it word for word and then she copied it on her handwriting paper with manuscript letters. Here is the text of the letter she wrote:

Dear President Bush,
Thank you for all the hard work you've done. When I grow up I will try to be president someday. I am 5 years old now but I hope to grow fast. When I'm 10 I'm going to practice. I've got great ideas to make America great. I think you are the greatest president of all. I campaigned for you. You gave a great speech when you came to my state. I hope you are president for 4 more years.
Love, Rhiannon

We addressed the letter and will mail it tommorrow. She was happy with her work and while she was writing it she said to me "Mom, there is no half-stepping when I am writing to the president, right? I will do my best." She really did a nice job considering how long it was for her to write - it took her 5 pages of her lined paper!

Slowly Recovering

Long weekend here, the kids are on the upswing now and we try to find the rhythm to our days again. The morning was spent easing in the transition back to school. Each time we started something there was backlash even from their favorite activities - so we tried a different approach - a morning of free time. They watched Toy Story, played out in the yard and spent quite awhile with play dough. Ciaran stamped out his name and Rhia made a dozen different items. Sirah is on the end of her sickness and needing to be held all the time. Then it was lunch and now quiet time, except of course that Sirah is not cooperating at all!

Hope your family is all healthy and doing well.

October 22, 2004

Tucking In

We are tucking in for the day. Kids have the flu I think. Ciaran woke up in the middle of the night with a 103 fever, headache and vomiting. Rhiannon followed a few hours later. I finally got to bed after 4am when I woke Serona up to take the morning shift. It was a very tiring and hard night for everyone.

Today is movie watching and reading books, they are not even feeling well enough to play board games. This fever is really knocking them out - they are so lethargic and don't want to move or do anything. After watching about 2 hours of TV Rhiannon and Ciaran both wanted it turned off and Rhia said "Remember mom too much TV is not good for our brains" We moved into the library to read some books where they both promptly fell asleep sitting up! It was so sad.

Well I don't expect we will be doing much over the next few days - though our reading list may increase! I think chapter books and favorite storybooks are in order though instead of our typical library fare.


October 21, 2004

Date Night

Rhiannon and I had a date night tonight and it was a lot of fun. She really is a wonderful little girl and it was refreshing to just spend some one on one time with her. We started at a doctor's appointment - while we waited she read to me from "One Fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish" by Dr Suess while I worked on a blanket for one of her friends. When we left there we headed over to dinner at Panera Bread. I had a soup bowl and she had grilled cheese and we both had soda - she was so excited!

Then she could choose whatever she wanted. She asked to go to the mall! I felt like she was too young for this. Those of you who know me know I am not a shopper or a mall person - but it was her date. So off to the mall we went. Rhiannon was amazingly considerate when I would ask where to go next she would say you need to make some choices too mom - it's not just about me - it is about us. I thought that was very thoughtful of her.

We walked in and out of little girl stores, looking at dresses, sparkly things and jewelry. We visited the hermit crab booth and she really wanted to take another one home but I stood my ground. We walked around hand in hand and had a lot of fun. She got the giggles something fierce and we skipped, twirled around in the mall and just had a good time. We walked around and around in revolving doors and went on escalators and elevators whenever we could. We were able to talk about a variety of things and just have some special time together.

We ate "Cold Stone Creamery" ice cream - yummy. She had strawberry ice cream with marshmalows, oreos and strawberries. I had vanilla cake ice cream with strawberries and graham cracker pie crust. We sat outside on the curb to eat it - it was a nice yet crisp evening. We went to the bookstore and read some books together. "It's Hard Being Five" by Jamie Lee Curtis and "We Love Ballet" by Jane Feldman. We picked up some tights and skirts for her that were on clearance and she got some princess rings.

I kept her out way too late as it was after 10:30 by the time we got home - but it was so worthwhile and a very important bonding time for the two of us. I highly recommend taking each of your kids out on "dates" from time to time. We try to - each of us with each of the kids and I think it really helps strengthen the relationships and helps you see the unique and special qualities of each of your children.


Circle of Friends

I am blessed with wonderful friends. Serona has been travelling often over the past few weeks and it was really beginning to wear on me. Two of my friends came over today with their kids and spent the day at my house with my kids so I could go out and have some time ALONE. While I did not do anything extravegant: ran errands, browsed a bookstore and had a cup of coffee - it was very NICE to have some time alone.

My kids were completely comfortable and in excellent hands. To them these women are extended family. Sirah has gotten together with them once or twice a week since she was born and the kids and mothers all get along well. These are our camping buddies, our field trip buddies, our cooperative buddies and our friends. We are so blessed to be in each others lives. I am very thankful for them and the way we support one another as friends. I am blessed with several other wonderful women in my life. Say thank you to a good friend in yours today.

I am blessed with wonderful friends. Serona has been travelling often over the past few weeks and it was really beginning to wear on me. Two of my friends came over today with their kids and spent the day at my house with my kids so I could go out and have some time ALONE. While I did not do anything extravegant: ran errands, browsed a bookstore and had a cup of coffee - it was very NICE to have some time alone.

My kids were completely comfortable and in excellent hands. To them these women are extended family. Sirah has gotten together with them once or twice a week since she was born and the kids and mothers all get along well. These are our camping buddies, our field trip buddies, our cooperative buddies and our friends. We are so blessed to be in each others lives. I am very thankful for them and the way we support one another as friends. I am blessed with several other wonderful women in my life. Say thank you to a good friend in yours today.


October 19, 2004

Dinosaurs, Ducks and Dragons

Tonight Ciaran and I read a bunch of books on some of our D themes. We read about dragons, dinosaurs and ducks. Of course there was a frog book or two thrown in there as well. We were originally just going to talk about dinosaurs and ducks but he suggested dragons and found two books with dragons in them so who was I to argue with him?

Rhiannon got to choose her subjects tonight as we did not get to school until late in the day and we already had our coop class this morning. She chose to read, do a grammar lesson, memorize a poem and do copywork. She worked on upper and lowercase D, writing first and middle names of all the family members and copywork of her last poem learned "The Caterpillar" by Christina Rosetti. She learned "work" by anonymous tonight and will need to work on it some more tommorrow. We covered nouns, proper names, first and middle and last names in grammar tonight. We also continued to work on our Bible verse Philippians 2:14.

Sirah and I read and she continued to work on her climbing skills and tried coloring with a marker today and drawing on the chalkboard. She was busy, busy, busy all day and the good side of that is she is starting to fall asleep earlier. I even got a nap in today as a wonderful and dear friend took Rhia this afternoon and Ciaran, Sirah and I all got to sleep for two blessed hours!


Israel Culture

Today was week two of Israel. The kids began by working on coloring sheets of kids dressed in traditional clothing and listening to music from Israel. They gathered in a circle and were each given a map of Israel and a sticker book. The teacher today was a mom who spent three years living in Israel, speaks Hebrew and had wonderful things to share. She talked to the kids about a variety of holidays, items, clothing, words and customs from Israel. As she talked about each thing she had them place a sticker on the map. There were times she asked the kids to share what they knew about something like the story of Haaman and Esther and Noah's Ark and Passover. We also discussed certain elements of Jewish culture and she shared some of the customs from her own home and experiences.

Then the kids got to stamp out their names in Hebrew and to learn that Hebrew is right right to left instead of left to right. They had some Israeli cookies and we looked at a photo albulm from this mom's time in Israel. I liked the pictures of floating in the Dead Sea. Then they looked at pictures of art from a variety of artists while the other mom explained about the different artists and their work. She did a real nice job making it real to the kids. They finished up with making a dredel and playing with them.

It was very rewarding and extra special to have a mom who lived in Israel able to teach the class. I have to get moving on our class next week on Israeli government and history.


October 18, 2004

Daily Roundup

Today we started off with a visit from good friends. The kids spent the morning playing well together for the most part with a few normal squabbles and the mom and I shared stories and suggestions with one another. They left shortly before lunch. Then the kids played together in their rooms for over an hour playing paper dolls, cars, and various imaginary games. Then it was naptime - how blessed that time is and how I will miss it!

After naps we finally got down to school work. Rhia did some fun pages from Miquon working on all the various addition equations that can add up to a certain number. She worked on 5 and 4 today - using cuisenaire rods to demonstrate all the different equations and then writing out the numbers for each equation. It was a nicely timed lesson as she was very unhappy with patterns and getting frustrated with math - however she really enjoys both addition and working with the rods so this was a nice lesson to work with her on. It also introduced adding more than two numbers together and helped her think about the essence of each number.

She worked on the letter D for copywork today and we learned our new Bible verse today and kept applying it throughout the day Phillipians 2:14. She read Hop on Pop and a good portion of "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" by Dr Suess. It is great to see how well her reading skills are coming along. She has started saying that some books are easy that she refused to even try reading just a few weeks ago like "Hop on Pop". I attribute much of this to the fact that she has been working (very slowly but steadily) through the Growing Reader's Bible. The stories in there seem very long and difficult to her and there are more sight words and words that are unfamiliar and not purely phonetical. Yet she has been plowing through it and now books like "hop on Pop" seem easy to her and she is less scared to read books other than Bob and Primary Phonics. I have started picking up easy readers at the library with her as well.

Ciaran and I worked on the letter D today. We put up his new board for the week:
Letter: D
Theme: Ducks
Shape: Diamond
Color: Brown
Bible Story: David and Goliath
Vocabulary Word: Deciduous tree

Today we talked only about the letter D and briefly of the story of David and Goliath. We painted our letter D for our collage - he chose yellow. We read "My D soundbox" by Jane Belk Moncure and then worked on filling our own D box. Some items include: doll, deer, dolphin, dog, dress, dori (fish from nemo), dwarf (snow white), dragonfly, dinosaur, delivery truck, and diamonds.

Ciaran memorized Humpty Dumpty - his first poem or nursery rhyme memorized and he picked it out. He also tried to "read" his star wars and frog book to me. He went through the board a few times with me telling me what the different items were. The rest of his day was spent in free playtime.

Sirah was just a busy bee roaming all around while we were involved and climbing on anything she could find. I read a few books to her and played peek-a-boo for awhile with her. She learned how to walk up the stairs today on two feet instead of crawl up and she wants no part with crawling up now. She was very cute at the library tonight - collecting and carrying a wide assortment of animals to me and anyone who would take them and choosing books and sitting on my lap for me to read them. She also enjoyed playing with the puzzles and climbing up on top of the tables. We are done with her highchair and she is sitting in a booster at the table with us and is much happier now. She was almost all smiles today except when Ciaran and Rhiannon did not want to include her when they were playing with their little people things. Then her red headed Irish temper came out flaring. She was thankfully easily distracted by doing a wooden puzzle with me instead. Later I had the kids include her in another Little People activity they were doing. They are struggling to learn how to include her and how to still do things without her. We are working through it.

We finished the evening up with a trip to the library for storytime. The kids enjoyed listening to books, learning new rhymes and dancing to silly songs. Sirah even joined in for the musical parts and roamed around during the other times. Together we found some books for E week next week and for some followup to some work we did with elections and our homeschool coop getting books on Egypt and Israel. Of course we managed to find a few frog books we have not yet read - I did not know there were anymore. I also put in a request for them to order this appropriate book It's Hard to Be Five. Though honestly I may buy it if I can find a good deal on it as it is very fitting for Rhia right now. While I am usually not a fan of books in this style - Jamie Lee Curtis seems to have a knack for expressing what young kids are feeling inside in a way that helps them express it outwardly and can help parents and kids communicate better. Our hs support group did a whole lesson around her other book I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self Esteem and my kids both love Today I Feel Silly. So I have to give a thumbs up to her books. The kids finished their library time with their favorite Clifford computer game - they had to share one computer and did an amazing job taking turns and compromising on what to do when.

Coop tomorrow so will be late blogging again.


Kids and the Election

It has been interesting this election season working with the kids. I can see how kids just pick up their parents belief system. Rhiannon is obviously a strong Bush supporter - though I have never given her the words - I always type what she says. We have had to help her understand that she needs to be more kind in the way she explains things and help her understand that even though she believes President Bush is the best option he might not win.

There have been difficult parts to this election with kids. It seems to be a very partisan and divisive election. We have had signs removed from our yard and there has been vandalism associated with politics in our area. To me that is very difficult to explain to children, heck it does not make sense to most adults either. As we move into the final days when we will be sign waving and door knocking again Serona and I have discussed how to handle if someone verbally attacks us in front of the children. We think it is sad to deal with this but feel we need to prepare ourselves for the possibility.

Perhaps it is because we live in a swing state. Perhaps it is because there has not been a real chance of the state going to a Republican presidential candidate since the 70's. Either way the way people are acting around here is not becoming to democracy or free speech. We need to teach our children better than that. We need to demonstrate to our kids that though we have the freedom of speech in this country there is a place where that stops. We can always express our opinions - but not through vandalism, violence and verbal assaults. We need to show kids that in democracy there are many different views and we all still can and do get along despite the outcome of the politics.

Serona and I may be fiercly partisan this election and strong supporters of President Bush but we have many family and friends and neighbors who feel just as strongly in the opposite camp. Yet we have not let the politics affect our relationships and the way we treat and talk to one another. We as adults need to demonstrate this for our kids. We also need to be prepared to deal with those who do not feel the same and wish to express it in a less than positive way. We need to use this time to teach our kids lessons.

Overall this election experience has been positive for the kids and for us. We will continue to involve our children and to teach them to be active and respectful citizens. Hopefully they will learn how to be solid in their beliefs but respectful of others, a balance that many find hard to acheive.


Rhiannon's Words

George W Bush I think is the most wonderful president of all. I hope he stays president, I hope he gets reelected. I want him to be the best of all. I do like John Kerry but I like George W Bush more. I think if he stays president we will have a more safer, confident and more beautiful world as long as he stays president I think we will always have a happy and safe life. But mostly I think he is good and kind. I think he will be better than he was he before. I hope he will be as the first president was strong and reelected ever time. I hope we shall all be safe for the rest of our lives. Make us be strong and have a happy life. I hope he'll be president for 4 more years. I hope he will be reelected every time. George W Bush is the best president of all. I think he will be the best. I keep saying he is the most wonderful of all. With all he says I shall decide whether he shall be the best government and I shall pray for him. I wonder which one will win. I hope he'll make a safer country for all of us. I hope he has a good happy life forever, even when he is not president anymore.

October 17, 2004

Reading to Toddlers

I have been trying to read to Sirah every day from age appropriate books. As much as we read in this house I found that I was always focused on reading to the older kids and we have so much variety that I had to remind myself to pull out the classic younger child books and read and read and reread them to her over and over again. There is a reason that we have "Goodnight Moon" and "Marvin K Mooney" memorized and can recite them without the book as we have read them hundreds of times between all the kids. So lately I have been rediscovering our favorite younger books and thoroughly enjoying the time I am spending with Sirah. I remind myself when they are this young, repetition not variety is the key so we have settled into a few favorites of mine and a few she has established to be favorites of hers and I pull from these several each day. While this is not an exhaustive list it is pretty representative of the books we are reading to Sirah who is now 14 months old.

Goodnight Moon - Brown, Margaret Wise
Time for Bed - Fox, Mem
Counting Kisses - Katz, Karen
Kisses - Szekeres, Cyndy
God Made All the Colors - Lion Publishing
Five Little LadyBugs - Gerth, Melanie
Jesse Bear What Will You Wear - Carlstrom, Nancy White
DK Touch and Feel Series (Pets, Wild Animals, Baby Animals, Cats, etc)
Baby Animals: Black and White - Tildes, Phyllis
Playing Poohsticks - Milne, AA (adapted storybook)

Tigger's Breakfast - Milne, AA (adapted)
My Many Colored Days - Dr Suess
Marvin K Mooney Will You Please Go Now - Dr Suess
Baby Games - Nayer, Judy
Good Morning, Good Night - Mitchell, Melanie
Carrot Seed, The - Krauss, Ruth
I am a baby - Hathon, Elizabeth
Learning Numbers - A Sparkle Book

I try to read her atleast 5 of these a day - though often it will turn into all of or most of these each day - with repeats of course. Lately her favorites have been "Five Little Ladybugs" and "Goodnight Moon". My favorites are Goodnight Moon, Counting Kisses, Kisses, and God Made All the Colors. She is really starting to enjoy being read to and I love watching her go over and pick out a book, bring it to me and sit on my lap waiting for me. She is so much fun and a wonder at this age.


OT - Politics - Prayer for the President

Having been a member of the Presidential Prayer Team for quite awhile and reading Power of a Praying Nation by Stormie Omartian, I recognize the importance of praying for our leaders. In addition, as many of you know the kids and I have been working through the Homeschoolers for Bush curriculum, you can see our progress throughout the site. We have been very active and have much more planned before the election however on top of our actions I feel a strong leading to pray for the president and for his reelection campaign.

I feel a responsibility put on me this election to take that prayer a step further and to encourage others to pray with me. I am organizing an around the clock prayer coverage for the president. Where he will be prayed for every hour of the day until after the election process is over. I have contacted family, friends, bloggers and others to join me in this effort. If you feel you can please contact me with the following - your first name, state and the hour of the day you would like to pray for the president. Depending on my response level I might break it down further than by the hour - but I will begin by asking for enough volunteers to cover every hour (yes this includes the middle of the night hours). If you are interested please contact me via email at tenniel@gmail.com. There are less than three weeks until election day, please consider joining us in this effort to bless the president and help re-elect him. Contact me today and join us in our effort to cover the president in prayer every hour between now and election day!


October 15, 2004

If Rhiannon Were President

If you were president what 10 Things would you try to accomplish?

I would clean up the whole entire planet (picking up trash and garbage)
I would make lots and lots of speeches
I would take care of this whole country
I would make laws that no one could ever brag or be mean or cruel to each other
If they were mean I would make them move to a different land - like Egypt or something.
I would keep the rules the same for everyone
I would keep America safe by making lots and lots of laws
Working to make our country more beautiful, confident and safer for a better life for all.
I would keep America safe by doing what is right and good.
Thats's all - nothing more - people just need to stop being mean and cruel to one another.

Rhiannon's Recitation

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet
and so are you.

There is one song I made up:

When I was young and I was a little girl.
I was a little girl who loved my mother.
Sometimes I cried but always with others.
I loved to ahhhh.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are

Jack and Jill went up the hill
to fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
and Jill came tumbling after.

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet
eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider who sat down beside her
and frightened Miss Muffet away.

Hot cross buns
One a penny two a penny
hot cross buns
One a penny two a penny
hot cross buns
Give them to your daughters
give them to your sons
one a penny two a penny
hot cross buns
one a penny two a penny
hot cross buns
Boy these are sure hot.

The Caterpillar
Christina Rosetti

Brown and furry
caterpillar in a hurry
take your walk to the shady leaf or stalk

May no toad spy you
May the little birds pass by you
Spin and die
to live again a butterfly.

Another song by Rhia

There is nothing more like others
there is nothing more like others
there is nothing more like others
nothing is like it now.

No, no, no
no we are different
we live different times
every single different song
we cgo to different churches
but we'll always be best friends

forever and ever we should be lovers
and have others keep up.

Do to others
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\Do to others what they would do to you
do to others what they would do to you

Loving to all with others - by Rhiannon

In Ciaran's Words

I will not be president. Thank you for doing all of the things. Thank you for all of the little things. I just want to play and do storygames and play starwars with daddy. My favorite thing to do is look for frogs.

October 14, 2004

Ciaran wants to write

Mom I've gotta say something now. It will be really kind if they don't have lamps that we should send them some. We should send them to people who don't have lamps. George W Bush does not have lamps so I want to send him some for Christmas. In the story they did not have lamps in the White House. In an Arthur story - so I want to write that down.

Thank you for all of our things. All of the things. Thank you for our feet. Thank you for everything you have. Thank you for ourr "puter" (computer) and thank you for frogs. Thank you for two toads and thank you for tree frogs.

Mommy I'm all done I had a few things. You can publish it.

Rhiannon on the Presidential Debate

The president George W Bush - I think it is very important that he said that he must work hard. I think that it is nice and good that he said that very soon we should try to get our kids more safer. I'm excited that election day is coming soon. I wonder who will win - John Kerry or President Bush? I think that George W Bush did a better job - but I did like both, even though I hope John Kerry is not president - I did like his speech and I liked George W Bush's speeches. I thought maybe this would be scored. It is important to watch debates. I wonder if George W Bush will stay president - I hope he will. If he doesn't I hope that not the Senator but the president will still be president for 4 more years.

I think that Goerge W Bush was very good at saying things. We should always be more hardworking for America and try to keep this country more safe. Written by me.

Presidential Debates and Homeschooling

One of the downsides of homeschooling is it is hard to argue with good reasoning. Last night believe it or not I had the kids all in bed by 8pm so I could watch the debate uninterrupted. Rhia did not show interest in watching this and as she watched the first two (getting a little restless the last half hour) and I really did not want to deal with issues like abortion and gay marriage with my 5 year old I decided to put them to bed. In order to do this we had early dinner, nice long baths and then I read 15 storybooks!

About 30 minutes into it Rhiannon comes downstairs and we have the following conversation:

Rhia: "Mom, I need to watch the debate."
Mom: No you need to go to bed.
Rhia: But mom it is the last debate, I need to hear some of it.
Mom: No you already hear the other two and saw the president speak.
Rhia: But this is the last time they debate. I will do a blog.
Mom: You were restless last time - it may not interest you.
Rhia: I will sit right here and be quiet and listen. Who is speaking now?
Mom: _exasperated sigh_ sure come lay down President Bush is talking - but you are not eating anything and are going right to bed afterwards!

Might I remind you she is 5 years old! There were a few times she started asking questions. Sometimes I answered them, sometimes I said we would come back to them and sometimes I told her they were things that she should not be concerned with until she was older. She kept asking who I thought was winning. She did not like that they were wearing the same tie and wanted to know where John Edwards and Dick Cheney were.

In case you are wondering she did sit still and listen to the entire last hour of the debate. She seemed to really be paying attention sometimes more than I would have liked. Though most of the tough questions I was expecting I did not get - I think most things thankfully went over her head. I did put my foot down and sent her to bed before the pundits started talking - though I let her watch their families come up to greet them.

How do you say no to that request and how is it that my 5 year old is using blogging as a bargaining chip?


Sound Box and Patterns

We finally finished off the letter C today. It seems we have been on that letter for quite awhile as we extended it by over a week for campaigning and then cars. I was ready to move on however. Today Ciaran painted his collage C and we cut out pictures to paste on it (a manager to represent Christmas), carrot, crayon, cat, caterpillar, cup, car, and a few others that escape my mind at the moment. He emptied his C box and told me everything that was in it - cat, c "c", car, c "c", caribou, c "c" and so on through the whole box. I am not sure he is really getting the letters that the words start with them but we are having fun and playing with the alphabet is still a great thing to do. He is starting to show more interest in asking me what letter a word starts with though he still can not point to a letter and tell me it's name. I like using the sound box because it provides such a visual reminder and hands on activity - it also has a built in review time as you empty the previous week to get ready for the next week. It is a simple and easy activity and one that always goes over well in our house. I've discovered that Ciaran has a hard time figuring out what goes into the box so often Rhia helps him with that and then we use the box throughout the week to teach him the sounds and the words that match the letter.

Rhia did some copywork this morning. I am trying to wean her from her manuscript letters and encourage her to write on her own properly. She finds that very frustrating and she loves to trace the manuscript letters and loves to free write if she does not need to do it "properly" I am trying to find the balance here so I don't turn her off handwriting but also so I don't allow poor habits to grow even stronger. Any advice here?

We worked on patterns this morning. We used blocks together to make patterns - I made and she followed - she made and I followed. Then I drew on the chalkboard and had her finish it and then we finished up with two Miquon worksheets on the topic. The hardest part for her was figuring out where one pattern ended and the next began. She wanted to count the first object of the next set as the last object of the first and it was confusing to her. She did a good job with matching a letter and character pattern - where there are two rows of different objects (ie letters and shapes) that follow the same pattern. I think we will need to stay with patterns for a little while. It is interesting to me that her mind has gotten around addition and subtraction so easily but patterns are more difficult for her.

Over lunch we discussed ways that we can participate over the next three weeks in the election and helping the president get re-elected. Some of the ideas the kids came up with: put up more lawn signs, vote, knock on doors, wave signs and banners from bridges and the side of streets, pray for the president and his family and the vice president and his family, research (Rhia really used that word) and study more about them, and write them letters. Ciaran wanted to call them on the phone and for some reason has in his head that he needs to send them lamps for their birthday! (I have no idea where that came from).

Rhiannon is now working on her matching skills and earning some money by matching all the random socks we have. To make the job more fun she is listening to "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" by CS Lewis unabridged while she works. Ciaran and Sirah are sleeping and I need to finish up some work around here.


October 13, 2004

Taking the Day Off

Sick, crabby kids and a rainy cold day. _Blah_ we are taking a sick day! Movies, books and board games.


October 12, 2004

Using Books to Express What Words Can Not

As we are a household of readers I frequently find myself using books that we have read to teach lessons or illustrate a point or sometimes just to break a mood. Sometimes I will read the book and other times I will just need to say a line from the book to bring the story to the kids minds.

Today was a perfect example of this. Rhiannon came home from coop in a very bad mood. She left in a good mood excited to go and came home very moody. When I tried to talk to her about what was the matter she just got more exasperated and extreme. I tried to have her blog about the day and it was a very negative blog. She was saying that she disliked or hated everything. The way she was talking and the words she used to brought the book immediately to mind. As all my attempts to get her to talk about it were failing I decided to use a different strategy.

I asked her if she wanted to move to Australia? She immediately got the reference and smiled, nodded and cracked up laughing and said "Yes!" It was the ice breaker we needed and everything improved after that. We were able to talk about how some days are hard or feel like everything is going wrong and we feel like moving to Australia . She was able to smile and get out some of her emotions because of a favorite book we have read over and over again and have as a common reference point. It was a very special moment that I will treasure. Tonight before she went to bed we read that story together and I could see that it helped her deal with her emotions. Her prayers this evening confirmed it as she prayed that tomorrow would be a better day and that God would help her attitude and temper.

Some days kids just get in a funk and it seems that no matter what we do we are not helping. Every once in awhile a creative curve ball can help the situation. Having many common reference points can help with that. One of the advantages we have to homeschooling and spending so much time reading together is that we have these common references and quality children's story books help give children voice to their experiences and emotions in a completely different and powerful way than just words can do sometimes.

Next time you are rereading "Marvin K Mooney Will You Please Go Now" or "I'll Love You Forever" or "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Rotten Day" for the HUNDREDTH time and you want to throw the book at the wall, remember the reasons you are reading together and remember the benefits that come from rereading the same stories over and over again. Of course I need to remind myself this when I read and reread and reread every book published on frogs!


The Dreaded "S" Word

For my fellow Minnesotans you understand all too well as do many of the rest of you. Every year I hope we will get a little further into October (preferably November) before I hear it. Alas to my disapointment (though not surprise) the dreaded "s" word was heard today. Snow! You heard me right, it is supposed to SNOW tommorrow night. _Sigh_ atleast we are still looking at overnight unlikely to stick snow. Still it is the middle of October and it is supposed to snow. It was a beautiful 70 and sunny on Saturday when we saw the president and now it is going to snow. It has been in the 30's at night (sometimes the same day it has been 70 during the day - nothing like a 40 degree swing). No wonder the kids are all sick here (well Rhia is still healthy). Still just today we were driving around admiring the beautiful fall leaves and tommorrow it could be snow. So enjoy your fall and nice weather while it lasts wherever you are because the winter is coming way to fast.


Enchanted Learning

Many of my readers will be familiar with this site - but for those of you who are not be sure to check out Enchanted Learning it is a free and a member site. Members receive many printing benefits that are well worth the $20.00 annual fee. Even the free site is very useful. I highly recommend it and we use it daily.


Israel Coop according to Rhiannon

We sat quiet. We read a book. We read Whoever You Are - it wasn't a very fun book to me. It was about kids all over the world. People put stickers in my passport. I wish I got to do it. We looked at one map and we had to color and I hate coloring. We colored oceans, mountains, and cactuses again. We learned that people are different, they ride donkeys, they speak different, they speak Hebrew. One of the moms when she was young, before she had her daughter she used to live there. One sea called the dead sea no plants or animals live there. There is so much salt that you can float there without floaties. We saw a picture of someone floating reading a book without any floaties. There is the red sea, the red sea has animals in it. The dead sea you can float all the way across. I want to go there, maybe we could have a field trip there since everyone wants to go. You know like Arthur how he took a plane on his field trip. Can we do that? I think it would be fun.

We played duck duck grey duck on chairs. You need to go under the chairs. We made a flag - I wanted to use the glue gun and I'm never able to use the glue gun. Why can't I? Their flag is white with blue stripes and a star in the middle. The star remind me of their king. Israel is in Asia. Israel is a very teeny tiny country. Asia is a big continent. Know how many airplanes we might take - 14 or so because Asia is all the way across the world on the other side of the globe.

Free Online Election Resource

I found a great interactive election tool that helps illustrate the electoral college in a fun way. An interactive map you click on each state to change which way the electoral college vote goes until you find a winning strategy for the candidates. It starts with the results of 2000 as a baseline. You can also see results back to 1980. Check out PBS's Electoral College Map.


October 11, 2004

Car Day

The kids have been patiently waiting for "car day" during our two weeks of the letter C. As we focused so much last week on campaigning with the president's visit being the central focus we let it go. The kids however were unwilling to start D until we had our "car day." So it was today.

We began in Ciaran's bedroom on the floor going through his huge tub full of cars. We pulled them out one at a time and classified them in groups. We would start by asking "What do we use this for?" and then "What kind of car does that mean it is?" and then "What grouping or class of cars should it go with?" and so on for all the cars. We broke them into the following basic groups: service (emergency, fire, police, tow truck, mail, etc), construction (dump truck, cement mixer, lifter, etc), farm vehicles (tractor, plow, etc), recreational (motorcycles, dune buggies, rv's, sedans, etc), trucks, and racing cars. After we grouped them we drove them around and played a few games with them. I would ask them to find an orange service vehicle and then tell me what it was and what it did and then play with it the way it would be used. At one point I was a race car that broke down and they sent a police car and an ambulance and then a tow truck. It was a lot of fun.

Then we moved downstairs and I had them sort the other cars on our train table into similar groups while I prepared the next activity. Then we did "car painting" where I set out little dishes of paint and they get to drive their matchbox car through the paint and all over their paper making different designs with the wheels and the tracks the car makes. After they are through with their painting they drive their car to the car wash (bucket of hot soapy water) and through the rinse (bucket of cold water) and hand dry it (with a towel). This is always a favorite activity in our house and they both really enjoyed it. To make it more feasible and neat with Sirah they had to take turns. One person would paint with me while the other stayed downstairs with Sirah so she would not get into the paint and water.

Then they drew cars on the chalkboard while I nursed Sirah to sleep. Once she was asleep it was story time - we read several books about cars. We named different kinds of cars in the book and actually learned most of the parts that make a car run and what happens when you turn the key on. We talked about this throughout the day. Then it was lunchtime and after lunch Rhiannon did some school work while Ciaran napped. She read from her phonics bible, did math worksheets on simple subtraction and addition. She does these easily with her abacus and is even starting to do some of it in her head. She does struggle with writing the numbers neatly and sometimes writes them backwards. She also did a dot-to-dot of a car and we did several jigsaw puzzles online of a variety of cars at a great free site called JigZone. Fun for kids and parents alike as you can control the difficulty level.

After naps we headed out in the car for a car ride and then of course to the car wash. We cleaned the car inside and out and the kids pretended the car wash was under the sea like in the "Car Wash" book we read today. Sirah did NOT like the car wash and that was the only down side to the otherwise fun day - once we were outside again though she was fine. During our car ride we spent time looking at the wonderful fall leaves.

This year Minnesota fall is beautiful and lasting a bit longer than usual. Fall has always been my favorite season and this year it almost feels like I am back in the Northeast which has beautiful falls. The car day was a success.

We ended the evening with storytime at the library. Sirah ran around the library playing with the stuffed animals, climbing on the chairs, pulling books off the shelves and reading them. Ciaran listened to about half of storytime and then was off to play a computer game. Rhiannon on the other hand LOVED storytime and listened patiently to all the books even though many were designed for younger children.

All is all it was a good day and a nice transition to get us back on track after our unit study last week. We focused so much on hands on activities that I was a bit concerned for the reaction I might get today - but it went very smooth and I think car day allowed a nice transition back into work and activities.


October 10, 2004

Rhiannon's Words

My favorite thing about today at the fire station was taking my picture with sparky the firedog. We got to eat ice cream and one cookie, one lollipop, one piece of candy and one sucker. We got to go in an ambulance. We saw fireman and I asked questions. I asked why the belts were there and why there were so many belts. And the answer is sometimes people are bigger and they need more straps. We got a fire truck ride and I got to sit in the front. It was a bumpy ride. There were flashlights, horns, lots of things we didn't know about. They had lots of radios to talk one another when they needed to.

I got to water up a fire hose. I got wet, my feet at least. I got to spray the fire hose at the firehouse. Well I got to go on the rescue fire boat. I got to wear fire hats, a diver mask and headphones.

I had lots of fun with everything and that's the end.

Ciaran's Weekend in his words

I got to go on a fire truck. Even I got to get to on an ambulance. Even I got to eat chocolate and I got to eat ice cream. I even did not get to win a prize. I love boats and I got to drive one. We got to spray windows and out the water in with the hose. I got to do it myself and I got to take a picture with sparky the firedog. I got to wear a real helmet. I really drove in it. I sat in the front. A fireman drove the truck and he put the seatbelt on for us. He did the siren and the horn for me.

We did all of president things. We made signs, we put them together, we stuck all up. We get to go knock on doors then go to sleep. I really liked going on the bus to see the president.


October 9, 2004

Presidential Visit

It is not often you have the opportunity to see a sitting president speak and even rarer that it happens near your home. The president came to the Twin Cities suburbs this weekend and we had the opportunity to see him. Not only did we get to attend the rally but because we had volunteered so much throughout this week we got to be very close up near him. We were right near the podium about 5 rows back (standing only so we were quite close to the stage).

It was an amazing and very busy week. We were at our local headquarters often and helped with lawn signs, tickets, door knocking and wherever we were needed. The more of the rally we drove along the route the president would be taking and put up more signs. We were able to get into a special section because of all our work.

We were originally even closer than we ended up. However, several people cut in front of us and we decided not to make a big deal about it. It was frustrating and difficult to deal with people who were being rude and inconsiderate and very focused on how close they could get. We decided we were already so close it would not matter. We wanted to set a positive example for our kids. It was a bit disappointing that we ended up just a bit too far back to shake his hand. Of course the people who cut in front of us got to shake his hand. _Sigh_ I must admit that frustrated me but I needed to just be happy we were so close and happy for those who got to shake his hand. Friends of ours son was actually held by both the President and the First Lady!

President Bush's speech was good and I was amazed at how much energy he had considering we were his third speech of the day - in the third state he had been in that day! Rhiannon was able to pay attention through much of the speech though parts of it went over her head and she started to get ancy as he spoke for nearly 40 minutes. Ciaran and Sirah both slept through part of the speech - though both got to see the president.

Perhaps one of the neatest parts of this visit was seeing the whole process from start to finish. It was announced on Sunday night that there was the possibility he was coming and we started working at headquarters and giving out tickets on Tuesday morning after the go ahead was given Monday night. I took the kids to see the site as it normally was before anything started. Then we went several times to see the way they built everything up and how they did it and how long it took. We talked to a member of the Bush Cheney campaign about how they do everything and the amount of time they usually have and whether this was an easier or tougher setup. I took the kids to see the stage and podium the day before and then of course we attended the event. After the event we drove past to see how they break everything down as well.

It was interesting for the kids to see how security worked and how they used emergency vehicles to block off the site. It was interesting for them to see that the inside of the rally was like a fair with food booths and vendors selling shirts and buttons. The whole experience was wonderful and I am so glad we did it. There of course were challenging parts to the day - which started for us at 6am and went on until nearly 6pm that evening. There were difficulties involved in having the kids with us and many of our friends thought we were crazy bringing our kids = but I am so glad that we did it together as a family. Even if their memories are not strong of this day - they will know that they had the opportunity to hear a sitting president speak. This is actually Rhia and Ciaran's second time hearing President Bush live at a rally.

Taking these opportunities are the things memories are made of. I'll take the challenges and frustrations that go along with it. Knowing in my heart that what others may think is the "sensible" choice (ie - leave the kids at home) is not always the best choice for our family. Our children may be young but they live up to and meet expectations and I believe they truly are rewarded and enriched by the experience no matter how little they retain immediately. It is wonderful to do things like this together as a family as well.


Rhiannon's Thoughts on Campaigning

Mom: Do you remember what a campaign is?
Rhia: "We do a lot of work for the president to try to get the president re-elected."

Mom: What sort of work did you do?
Rhia: "Well, I put up signs, went door knocking, gave out tickets, after a couple days of door knocking we made some more signs, that was today."

Mom: What was your favorite part of campaigning
Rhia: "Listening to the president speak. I was glad John Kerry didn't come"

Mom: What did you like about his speech?
Rhia: "I can't remember any words he said. My mind is too full. Hey I didn't tell you to write that down!"

Mom: Oops. What would you like me to write down?
Rhia: (can't stop giggling) "I liked when he said he would never let any of the bad people or bad guys hurt our country. I liked that. I liked when I tried to shake his hand and I liked when I ate ice cream."

Mom: What was the hardest part?
Rhia: "When I had to hold my "tinkies" while the president spoke." (I did NOT want to share this but she was insistent that I write it here).

Mom: What part of campaigning was enjoyable?
Rhia: Eating candy at headquarters. Putting up lawn signs.

Mom: Was any part of campaigning too hard?
Rhia: Giving out tickets because we had to do it so late in the night time - why couldn't we go door knocking during the day time.

Mom: What did you learn about campaigning?
Rhia: "Even though it is hard work to campaign and work for the president I think we should work to it with all our hearts."

Mom: Is there anything else you would like to say about campaigning?
Rhia: "It's hard work to get the president re-elected but everyone can do their part."

Mom: I'm proud of you for doing your part this week.

October 8, 2004

Breakfast Lesson

Rhiannon at breakfast "Why do Rice Krispies pop when you put soy milk on them?

Mom: I'm not sure, I think it has to do with them expanding. Let's look it up.

Google: Returns results.
Mom: Reads from an answer submited by a scientist to Mad Science:
"When the rice crispies are made, superheated steam is used to expand them. When cooled to room temperature, the pressure inside the crispies is slightly higher than outside. The pressure is maintained by thin rigid walls of the pockets in the crispies. When the rice crispies come in contact with liquid such as milk, the cell walls rupture suddenly because the liquid soaks the walls and makes them weak. The popping sound is from the rupture of cell walls. -MVK"

Rhiannon: Oh that is interesting. Let's listen to them.

Ciaran: Mom, have the frogs come out of hibernation yet?

Mom: No if they are already hibernating they won't be out until spring.

Ciaran: Oh that is so long. I want them out now. How do they hibernate?

Mom: They dig holes in the bottom of ponds and go to sleep.

Rhiannon: Do they all hibernate?
Mom: No, some do and some do not.

And so on the conversation went over breakfast.


October 7, 2004


Today we took a field trip and had a great class on birds. The kids began by looking talking about birds and their different body parts and what makes them similar and different from other animals. They had some stuffed birds the kids could look at and touch and they enjoyed feeling them and seeing what they looked like. They especially enjoyed the discussion of bird underwear and seeing what that was. Then they talked about some different kinds of birds, where they might live and what they might eat. Then they played a great game where they got to use different "beaks" to try to catch their food. They pretended to be ducks, herons, woodpeckers and cardinals and used tweezers to food tongs to try to pick up a variety of things. Ciaran's favorite was fishing like a heron - that is all he wanted to do. Rhiannon liked using the tweezers to be a woodpecker and get bugs out of a tree stump. It was a great game and really brought home the lessons they learned.

Then they talked about different body parts on a bird and how a bird digests its food since it does not have teeth. They learned about the birds "crop" and how then they each got a handful of rocks and put some seeds in and mashed them around with the rocks to demonstrate how the crop works in some birds. They thought this was hard to do but enjoyed it.

We finished up with a nice long hike, thankfully it was a beautiful day. We had bird callers (which apparently were just the insides of those stuffed birds from stores)and the kids took turns calling the birds. At first we did not find any but at the swampy area they saw a turtle and then some herons and ducks. On our way back we saw some woodpeckers and chickadees and a few others - they also got to see turkeys. The fall leaves were beautiful and starting to change now so the scene was very pretty as were the smells.

After the official class was over the kids had an opportunity to play the games of catching with the beaks again and to put on a puppet show with some great animal puppets, look at books, color and utilize the other nice opportunities available. It was a good time and I am glad we went - it was a nice break to the focus on campaigning of this week.


October 6, 2004

Friends and Politics

We spent the morning running errands and in power struggles. Ciaran decided today was opposite day - mom says get up - I'll lay down, mom says clean - I'll make more mess, mom says put on pants, I'll take off my clothes. I was drained before 11am. A friend of mine stopped by to pick up tickets to see the President this weekend and we had a wonderful visit. The kids went to the park and played there for awhile and then enjoyed our walk back. They played in our basement and had snacks and made a general mess but had a great time. My friend and I had plenty of time to talk and catch up.

After they left we made dinner and then headed back to BC headquarters and picked up more tickets to walk and knock on doors. It is not every day you have the opportunity to offer people free tickets to hear the President speak. You could see the doubt in many faces and I got a few - What do I need to do or How much does it cost looks? Then the pleasure that came with knowing that it truly was free. We gave away about 40 tickets in an hour and a half. Not bad work for the past two days. We have distributed around 100 tickets to see the president, put up 7 lawn signs in our neighborhood and have a waiting list of several more while we await shipment of more signs. We knocked on nearly 75 doors in the past two days, helped register a voter and get other volunteers involved. We've made lawn signs and information sheets and spent time just up at headquarters. We got set up to volunteer for the Get Out the vote activities for election day weekend and the kids got some treats for all their hard work.

We also did some school work this morning: copywork and reading. Rhiannon was able to read whole pages from Don Freeman's Courdorouy and from a Winnie the Pooh Disney book. I would randomly open to a page so she could not just do it from memory. I was so proud of her she was reading a variety of tough words as well. She has really been developing her reading skills.

For copywork we did another Rule of Civility - our 6th. She also worked on some math numeral writing practice and graphing and charting skills. We read some read aloud books tonight and made a sand art project.

I'm exhausted and off to bed.

The Power of a Good Friend

Today I was on the receiving end of a wonderful blessing - the visit from a good friend. This friend is like a breath of fresh air whenever she walks into my life. We can go months between visits or even talks and it is always the same - a wonderful long visit where our kids get along and we could and do talk for hours.

I was having a very rough day and she just brighten my day and her kids envigorated mine in a good way. All around this family was the best things that could have happened to us today.

May you be blessed with a friend who comes into your life at just the right moment to lift you up when you feel everything else is bringing you down.


ClassRoom Care Service Project

This is a wonderful and easy service project that homeschoolers can do. We work with our hs support group and keep track of our groups donations and Scholastic agreed to match EVERY 100 not just the first, perhaps they did not realize quite how much we homeschoolers were reading. Last year our group donated several hundred books I believe it was around 800. Our family contributed nearly 200 of those books.

For those unfamiliar with the program you keep track of the books your kids read and the ones you read aloud to them and for every 100 books read scholastic will donate 100 books to schools, charities and kids in need. It is a fabulous and easy program and it is meaningful and worthwhile. For more information please visit ClassRoom Care.

So far our tally in our family is up to 217 books since the beginning of the schoolyear. We have until to December.


October 5, 2004

Presidential Campaigning

WOW! What a day we had. We decided to dedicate the day to working for President Bush and Vice President Cheney. We began with a visit to the Republican Headquarters and helped out around the office. The kids put together lawn signs, cut handouts and brought papers to the people who needed them, they helped with sign distribution and just around the office.

We headed home for lunch and a break - after a treat of Culvers Custard as a thank you for all their hardwork and in keeping up with our C theme. Rhiannon chose Caramel Pecan and Ciaran chose chocolate. We stopped at the stores to get the necessary supplies for making our Tshirts then headed home.

We each made a "Homeschoolers for Bush" tshirt with tshirt transfers printed out from the computer. They came out ok - there was some peeling but the shirts are great and got quite a bit of commentary - nearly all positive this evening.

We headed back out to headquarters where we put together some more signs and then got some tickets for the upcoming speech this weekend and we went door to door trying to rally the support for the President and handing out tickets to those who said the president could count on their vote. We continued to knock on doors for about two hours until it seemed too late. We headed back to headquarters to turn in our sheets and find out the plan for tomorrow.

As we moved through our day we used the teachable moments for lessons. When we were putting together lawn signs I told them that they were able to help the campaign in a variety of ways by doing this. They were helping put supplies together for other people to advertise for the candidates. They were also freeing up other valuable resources that could be used doing other things that we could not do. For instance since we were putting signs together two older people could make more phone calls to insure that voters were registered or sending in their absentee ballots, rather than do the work we were doing.

At another point when we were cutting handouts to give to people we talked about how printing two on one sheet can save the campaign money and free it up to be used in other areas. We also talked about how the information we were cutting was very important because it gave people directions on where to park and when to be at the event which would make it run smoother. We were also contributing to the security of the event by giving people the information about what items are prohibited at events. I told them that by their helping give the papers to the right people they were saving those people the time to have to do it themselves and freeing them up to do other responsibilities. We talked about how all the small activities add up and are very important to running a campaign. We talked in terms of how we were working for the president. How some campaign work was fun and easy and other activity was hard and sometimes dirty (we laughed as our hands were very dirty from the metal signposts we were using) or as Rhiannon said "some campaign work is filthy!" I refrained from going into a discussion of dirty politics.

Perhaps my favorite teachable lessons came when we were walking around neighborhoods and knocking on doors. When we started the kids were very enthusiastic and believed everyone would be very excited to see the president speak. It was interesting to watch their reaction to people who were clearly not for the president. I was impressed with the reactions we got - even those who were not pro-Bush were polite and respectful - of course I did have three small children with me. But I could see Rhiannon start to understand that not everyone was excited about President Bush and I think it helped the lessons about elections and voting sink in. We talked about what would happen if people did not vote and we were able to use our election class as a frame of reference.

Then something interesting started to happen - we started to guess what the reaction would be at each house. Some were easy - they have a Bush-Cheney sign won't they be excited to see us. I mean really what better door knocking experience can you do than to offer free tickets to see the President of the United States speak? I was glad this was my kids first experience with door knocking as overall it was positive. Rhiannon noticed something and then we tested her theory and found that in our very minor example she was correct. She started getting excited when she saw American flags hanging outside houses. At first I thought it was because she likes American flags - we spent quite a bit of time on them last month and she was very excited when she learned the Pledge of Allegiance. Then she said to me that people who have flags are usually happy to see us and want to see the president. Sure enough nearly (if not all) every house from that point on that had a flag - either wanted tickets or already had tickets and said that the president could count on their vote. I thought it was an interesting correlation and was proud of Rhiannon for realizing it and pointing it out to me. Incidentally we too fly an American flag at our house, though I do have some friends who fly flags that are not Republican and I am in no way saying that all people who fly flags support President Bush - yet it seemed that was the way things went tonight in our experiment - tune in for the rest of the week to see how things go with that.

Then I treated the kids to dinner and to my luck it was kids eat free night. Everyone was really hungry and we ate an astonishing amount of food - I don't think anyone had anything left on their plate as everyone was eating everyone else's leftovers. By the time we got home it was after 10 pm - the kids tumbled into their Pj's and their beds and were sound asleep within moments of crashing.

I am now facing a household of chores and what feels like more mess in every room I go into and the absolute desire to just go to sleep. Duty calls and I atleast need to get my dishes from the day done - something about dirty dishes in the morning is very tough for me to deal with - it sets a negative tone for the whole day.