Friday, October 2, 2009

Random thoughts

Realizing that some days, lists and random thoughts just happen when blogging (see the Yarn Harlot)

1. At some point continuing on when the outcome doesn't look good could be a sign on character. Continuing on with a sweater which has already been proven to be more than 12" too wide with the hope that washing it will cause it to shrink up is possibly not the character I want to project on the world.

2. I'm still not ripping out the sweater (for the 4th time!)

3. Unschooling is a wonderful way to teach kids when Mama is sick with a cold.

4. Watching UK's "You are What You Eat" just makes me hungry.

5. Girlie's girl scout troop is hoping to go camping in the spring if we can raise enough money from the cookie sale. We are looking at going here- Plus go tubing on a local river.

6. Girlie has decided to be a songwriter, Boyo has moved on from wanting to be a policeman- I think.

7. At some point I have to buy more yarn for the too large sweater.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


We have just joined a yahoo group that trades Flat Travelers. These are little cut out "people" who go to different places and have adventures. Sorta like Flat Stanley

Currently we have Flat Baxter, Flat Owen and Flat Nan visiting us. What I like about this idea is that you don't have to plan special stuff to do with the flats, just regular day to day stuff for your part of the world/country. Flat Owen is from Indiana, so while the farm life around us might not be new or different for him, the woodpeckers and squirrls might be. Also it is fun to see how different families work. One family who is hosting a flat drives a 15 person van with 8 car seats.

We will be trading flats back next week so we will get to see what adventures our flats have been on while they have been on vacation and then send them off again.

To join the Flat Trravelers Group-

Monday, September 21, 2009

College of homemaking

OK I am still working on the College of Homemaking stuff. So far it is going well.

1. 2 knitting projects in the works, Getting closer to done on the mitts and almost to the armholes on Hubby's sweater.
2. I made Baking Soda biscuits. I liked them, the kids ate them some and Hubby wanted me to buy a sifter. Since I now have a sifter I'm going to try it again and see if they turn out better.
3. Make an embroidered item: Still working on Hubby's Russian Garb. I just need to do the embroidery at the bottom.

As it is getting colder here, Hubby's sweater is a priority.

Oh and as a "yay" (something good that you do for yourself or others) I make the kids a list of what school work they have to do each day. I have started making one for myself with housekeeping chores on it.

Today's chores were -
  1. Wash the windows inside and out-- done
  2. Laundry Remember to get the stuff from the line before dark --done
  3. Practice Violin -- done
  4. cook some beans to freeze-- done
  5. Make all the beds -- done

I figure 5 chores that I don't normally do a day will eventually lead me to better habits and a cleaner house.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I was thinking last night about Girlie's birth. It was a traumatic experience for me- I don't know how Girlie took it, I can't remember. After being induced I had a short-ish labor (5 hours), no drugs except that sleeping pill which the nurse promised me would let me sleep during the early stages of labor (not really) and ended up in the OR after delivery. I'm guessing the hospital birth was a better plan than the birthing center with the midwives.

One of my favorite pics of Hubby and Girlie. Both taking a nap. I'm guessing the birth was traumatic for them too.

If you look close you can see Girlie smiling. Sorry for the quality of the pics. I had a terrible room for recovery.

Girlie is now 6 years old and I am amazed at how she has grown and changed. She is a sweet, loving, funny, opinionated, dramatic, "balls to the walls" kinda girl.

As we are getting ready for a test at the hospital next week, that will require Girlie to be sedated, if you have a moment please send some good wishes her way, and for Hubby and I too, as we are all a bit concerned over the procedure. Even though we have been assured that it is "routine" and "nothing to get excited about" she is our baby and the thought of what is to happen is scary.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My fighter boy

It has been a long week. Between scouts (girl and boy), schooling, dentist visits (oh yuck thy name is dentist) and generally crummies I am ready for the weekend. So now that we have made it to Thursday I thought I'd share some lovely pics my sister took of Boyo in July when he went for a visit.
Boyo is in Red

And if you can't win.... Retreat with style!

Monday, September 14, 2009

College of Homemaking

I found this cute blog a while ago and the owner is setting up a "College of Homemaking" co-op. I figured it was worth a try. My homemaking skills are pretty good- no comment on the housekeeping ones. But I thought that it would be fun.

You can check the blog for the older list of requirements for the degrees but if you join the yahoo group (where all the fun is!) you can see the newer 21st century version with requirements that are applicable to us today -facebook, renewing books online, programming parental controls.

My tasks that I am working on:

1. Knit an item -- I have 2 in progress, Raven's Xmas mitts and Hubby's knotwork sweater. I know at least one will be done by Dec. Hopefully both!!!

2. Learn to quilt or make a quilted thing -- This will be done when I teach the girl scouts for the Quilt it try it

3. Make baking powder biscuits. Planning that for dinner tomorrow. We will see if that happens.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Do you remember the day?

For every generation there is an iconic day. For my husband it is the day of the moon walk. He remembers watching it in his house in Cuba as a 4 year old. I can see him sitting watching on that old TV looking very much the way Boyo looks but probably with a better tan.

But for me, my iconic day is Sept. 11, 2001. And like everyone else today I think back to where I was when I heard. I was 8 months pregnant working at Catholic University in Washington DC. Hubby was home on sabbatical watching the talking heads on CNN. He called me at work and told me about the first plane. Honestly my first thought was "What a terrible accident, I wonder what was wrong with the plane?" Followed by a brief prayer to protect the people and that there wasn't a child care center in the building. When hubby called back a little while later, he said there was a second accident, and still confused (like many women with a baby in their belly- my mind worked oddly) I thought, "Guess that pilot shouldn't have been rubber-necking the other crash." Then hubby said it was terrorism and he was coming to get me.

By the time the towers fell and cell service was cut, the University gathered in the main hall with the priests and there was a prayer service going on. All of the staff and I were in the balcony watching and praying when a call came into the receptionist desk. It was hubby and he was downstairs.

It is a terrible feeling seeing the destruction of hate while holding a new life in your belly. On one hand there is terror but the other hand is hope. Can I protect this baby? What will his life be like? Will he grow to be an adult or will hate cut him down like so many others? Or will my child make the difference? Will he find a way to solve these problems? Will he grow up as a protector to the people he loves?

Two years later when September 11th rolled around again, I again held a new life, this time a 7 day old baby girl but my feelings were different. There was still the terror, but it was a more common new baby terror. But with the strides our country had made in only 2 years I was hopeful. I knew my daughter would have a good chance, I prayed that neither of my children would ever be touched by hate. And as a sat feeding Girlie, I remember marvelling at the loss so many had felt and the pride at what had been accomplished since then.

Now 8 years later, I still pray for those families. That they have found peace, that all the mothers who had newborns or were pregnant with their husbands in the towers have found a way to survive and to thrive. But most of all, I pray that something like this never happens again.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's Magic Try-it Lapbook

Ok first off I am sorry I have been gone so long. We had a huge family vacation and with getting back into the whole schooling thing... well let's just say it took a bit of time.

But for your enjoyment I have finished a Magic Try-it Lapbook. This lapbook is based off the try-it from the River Bluffs Council

This council is dissolving so it is tricky to figure out where to order the try-its so I will help you out. :) You have to call them directly at (618) 692-0692 / (800) 345-6858 and ask for the store. Then ask for the It's Magic try-it. They currently have them in stock for a dollar and change.

They will not be available after Oct. so Order them quick!!

I used left over minit books from other projects to create the books for my daughter. So the PDF books might look different.

Here is a picture of the inside Girlie's Lapbook. Picture of the front is at the top of this post.

Here is the link to the PDF for the lapbook and as always I hope you and your family enjoy making it. Please drop me a note telling me what you liked/didn't like.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Where do I get the try-its?

It has been asked if my Girlie is a Juliette (a girl scout without a troop). She is not, only because I was given the gift of BFF's mom who is also a homeschooler. She was in a homeschool troop before she moved to my little corner of the world and when she called Girl Scout Central she was given to someone who knew I homeschooled. This lead to BFF being in Girlie's Daisy troop. After finishing our Daisy year *(Daisy should only be 1 year not 2 IMHO) we left our Daisy troop and helped to form a homeschool, multi level Troop. We have 2 daisies, 3 brownies and 2 Juniors.

My family uses Scouting (boy and girl) as the spine for our curriculum. To that end, history, science, community studies and so forth are all introduced and as we move through brownies and Juniors they will be reinforced.

As to where I get my resources, well pretty much all of them are online. a list of many different council's try-its same list for Juniors

You can search at different council sites for "council's own" and find all the fun and different try-its, patches, badges and so forth. And with a little forethought you can go though them and find which stuff relates to wherever you are going on a trip or what your intrests are as a family.

For example my family is going to camp for a week (yay pennsic!) The try its that Girlie will work on are :
outdoor skills
Take a Hike
On stage
Medieval Maidens
American Frontier
Navy Pride
Leave no Trace

Patches (open to any level):
Jr. Ranger
Women in History

We will not complete all of these patches and Try-its but more likely do one or two requirements for each thing and then do more at home. This camping trip is just such an opportunity to get so many things knocked out, between sleeping in the "wild," having access to literally hundreds of people who the kids can talk to including Navy personnel, park rangers, historical re-enactors, researches, and so on.

All it takes is knowing what patches are out there and making a bit of a plan as to what can be learned.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

First Aid Lapbook

We have completed our first Brownie try-it lapbook --Birds. Girlie learned a lot about them, which I guess is the point of try-its. Sometimes we rush though the activities but I am not that concerned about it since she loves to go back through the lapbooks and reread them. I figure that helps cement the knowledge.

Anyway with the first brownie lapbook completed under our belts I have started to put together resources and activities for the next lapbook- First Aid.

Here are the requirements for the try-it.

Instead of re-inventing the wheel I wanted to see what minit books I could find to fit the requirements of this try-it for free online. I was surprised to find so many of them.

Here is the list of links to what either meets the requirements or is a nice addition to flesh out the unit. (only the sprain minit book) glue in the pictures of who would use first aid (Expansion)

Be prepared isn't a requirement but I think it is a good expansion to flesh out the unit, also a good thing to get the little minds working if you plan on taking your kids camping.

The Emergency Wheel teaches about what to do in an emergency so even though it is not a requirement I think it is important.

For the sprain Don't forget R.I.C.E. Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate

The only things not covered by all the wonderful free minit books I found is care for shock and burns and also what things to be aware of in certain weather. To that end I added my own minit books to the list above so that these topics would be covered.

My plan is to work on this book with Girlie over the next little while. I'll post pictures when we are done.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Twitter and Pennsic Sewing

I can't be the only person who has long indepth conversations with herself while sewing. Especially sewing at the machine without the TV. Also I can't be the only one who cracks herself up as she enters the 4th hour of Tabard sewing with odd thought.

As I sat sewing some things occured to me. Mny of my favorite blogs now have twitter and while I decided I am just not that dedicated or interesting to use twitter I played tweets though my head as I sew.

Hour 1 : Cut out all the red tabards, double checked that that I had the right sizes for the guys.
Hour 1.5: Started to sew using black thread
Hour 2.5: Sitched to red thread
15 minutes later: Is it just me or does C&C dual duty thread not seem as good as it use to?
Hour 3: Up stairs in front of the TV pinning while watching Deadliest catch
Hour 3.1: Oh watch out for that wave!!!
Hour 3.5: I am so glad I am not his mom- what a potty mouth! 3 tabards pinned, 2 edges pinned
Hour 4: Back at the machine, back to red thread

I just don't see that as an interesting afternoon to anyone.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Great news for Reading

I just got an email today from my favorite reading program *ever* Progressive Phonics. It seems that they have found a sponsor and are now offering their wonderful books, not for the $10 I paid as a teacher but for Free, Yep you read that right F-R-double E, Free!

Can you tell I am excited? I thought that this was a great system when I wrote about it back in January. But now 6 months later I can see the progress that girlie has made and it is impressive. 6 months ago she fought her way though Bob books (Mat sat on Cat) and now she is reading beginner chapter books. Boyo wouldn't move out of the books with pictures until this year so she is doing really great.
If you are teaching your little one to read, try these books. You will be amazed at the progress!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I have a new phone!!
The phone I had was older than Boyo and had chew marks from when he was cutting teeth. It was time for a new one.

Verizon had a deal with hubby's work to get a discount so we not only got me a new phone, Hubby got one for himself too!! Yay! Now we don't have to share and I might be able to actually get a hold of hubby when I want him (insert laughter here as if Hubby would answer).

I am so excited about the phone!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

misplaced priorities

The other day I had only 1 kid. I like when I can get one on one time with a kid but that is not what this post is about.
Kidlet and I went to BJ's to get some gas and I saw things that made my blood run cold before it started to boil.
On the other side of the pump was a mom. She had her 10 year old son pumping the gas for her (issue 1) while she had her toddler out of the car (issue 2) near the pump (issue 3). When her son was done she told him not to top off the tank, "it is bad for the environment" (issue 4) Both kids got in the back set and Mom drove away from the pump (issue 5).

Issue 1: 10 year olds should not be pumping gas. Especially at a busy gas stations. If they really need a job skill at 10, how about weeding or gardening? Stuff that won't kill brain cells or put them in danger from unaware drivers.

Issue 2: Why get a toddler out of the car for the 5 minutes it takes to pump gas? You just have to buckle them back in which takes another 5 minutes. If they really need to get out and stretch their legs, unbuckle them but keep them in the car. Little people can run fast and at under 2 1/2 feet drivers wouldn't be able to see them if they ran into the road.

Issue 3: Little kids brains are developing so why expose them to toxins that kill brain cells (fumes from gas).

Issue 4: What mom cares about the environment when she puts her own kids at risk like that? Yes one shouldn't top off the tank, I guess, I mean I do it, but whatever. But then why is she playing fast and loose with her kids?

Issue 5: Both kids got in the back and mom drove off. Little kid was not buckled or even sitting down when she started the car and drove. Older kid did get the little one down and buckled but is it his job? Did a 10 year old have this toddler? I am all for siblings helping out and I have had Boyo help Girlie buckle but I don't move the car until everyone is buckled in. It is my job as the mom and the driver to make sure everyone is buckled and safe before I move the car.

I was so annoyed at this mom! I;m sure she didn't see anything wrong with how she was acting and it isn't my place to judge other people. Tell me what you would have thought if you saw what I saw. Was I far off the mark?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Fun

Life has given me a special chance this summer. Since I will only be working minimally, I will have lots of time to do fun and interesting things with the kids. Since you know how much I love lists- here is my summer to do list.
  1. Go to the free movies at the movie theater with the kids
  2. Make 15 tabards before Pennsic
  3. do park day at the creek regularly
  4. Boy scout camp
  5. Girl scout camp
  6. Pennsic (maybe 2 weeks!!!)
  7. Summer reading program at the library
  8. Make new summer garb for Hubby
  9. Make new garb for me (new dresses with embroidery!!)
  10. pick fruit at Bauger's
  11. Take a playdate to a horse farm (and hopefully avoid the hospital due to allergies afterwards)
  12. Spend time doing Math with Girlie
  13. Spend time reading with the kids and having them do quiet reading everyday
  14. More Playdates!!

Friday, May 29, 2009


We have decided to teach the kids Latin. We started last year with Minimus but I got more out of it than the kids. Now we are trying again with Getting Started with Latin. I love the approach that GSWL takes. Each lesson takes a whole 5 minutes and reviewing previous lessons is still in the under 15 minute range. We have knocked though the first 5 lessons on the drive home from speech (10 minute drive).

I love that each lesson is on one thing. Not tons of words or lists of words with topics and confusion but literally 1 thing. Lesson 1 introduces "Nauta," which means sailor by the way, and that is it for lesson 1. By lesson 3 you are making sentences, not great huge things but simple stuff like "Sum nauta" (I am a sailor.) When we combine lessons 1-5 with a couple words I remembered from Minimus we were able to make more sentences.

We are not teaching the kids Latin so that they will get a better grasp of grammar (though it won't hurt I guess) or so they can have an easier time when they move to Spanish (still a good thing). We are teaching them Latin so that they will have a bigger vocabulary and score better on their SATs. Well that and it is more fun to hear Paene advenimus? rather than Are we there yet?

To go with our Latin, I made a notebook page to keep track of the words we learn. It is designed with 2 sheets on one page. I printed off about 10 pages worth of sheets (10 words) and cut them into half sheet pages. Then they were bound into a small book that the kids decorated to give them a sense of ownership. You can do as I did or keep them 2 on a page and just hole punch and put into a binder. Whatever works for your family.

The link to the Notebooking Page:

Please if you use my stuff. Leave me a comment so I know it was useful to someone. Thanks!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Home from Sapphire Joust

First a thought about today- As the Baroness of Care Bear (not the real name but funnier) mentioned yesterday. As a Medieval recreation society, we play at war. But there are those who are fighting the good fight and serving far from home and loved ones. Let's give them a moment in prayer or good intentions or thought that they may be safe and protected. May they come home whole and hale. May they be forever remembered if they do not.

Now to the playing at war...

We were at Sapphire Joust this weekend to some fighting, camping and general good times. This was the first camping trip for both kids that wasn't Pennsic and they both loved it!!!!!

Boyo authorized and fought in his first tournament. He is in Red.

He fought double sword the entire tournament and did exceptionally well with them.

And he won the division!!

Boyo with his prize, a treasure box full of chocolate. There was a bit of a mix up at the first court but it was all straightened out and Boyo had a large cheering section with Heads and Anglesey there to support him. The populous made funny comments when he walked down to the Baron and Baroness. Silly things like "Awww, he's so little" "look how cute he is!"

Then when Boyo took a knee in front of the Excellencies (he all but disappeared from sight given his size, hopefully Ursas got a picture of that) There were more Awws.

It was a wonderful presentation for Boyo and he was so proud!!

Some of the mix up was because Boyo wasn't identified as Hubby's son. All the paper work on him was under my name so Boyo is trying to decide on a medieval name.

His choices...

A. Boyo of Headclan

B. Boyo Borsson

C. Boyo the conqueror.

Personally I am voting for A or B as Girlie could be Girlie of Headclan or Girlie Borsdotter.

Log your vote and I'll try and convince the boy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Birds Lapbook

Sick kid is better so here is the bird Try-it lapbook I have been working on. This one is a bit different from the Chemistry one in that it is more fleshed out for a homeschool unit. I added some minit books based on Konos activities in addition to the activities for the try it.

For the try-it requirements-


For the lapbook- Lapbook for unit and try-it

I hope you like it and please leave feedback if you pick it up. It is nice to know that someone else is using my stuff.

More bird related good stuff- Part of the way down the page.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lapbooks and sick kids

Well I was hoping to put up the birds lapbook file to go with the Birds try it that I have finished planning but life got in the way. Girlie started yesterday with a 103 fever and after a trip to the doctor today (I hate that the Dr. isn't open on the weekends) we find out she has a UTI. This is not her first one by any stretch of the imagination but it is the worst one she has had so far. So hopefully she will be herself again tonight or tomorrow so I can post the lapbook for you. Please send good thoughts Girlie's way, she isn't much fun when she is sick.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Public Apology

I would like to make a moderately public apology to my wonderful, loving and understanding sister.

I am horribly, terribly sorry that your birthday gift (that had problems right from the get go) is suffering from SSS.

For those of you not in the know, this is Second Sock Syndrome. It is what happens when you try a new pattern that can't be done 2 at a time and while it is a fun and interesting pattern, it is tedious the second time though.

So, sister dear, even though I love you and cherish that you took time out of your busy week to visit Girlie when she was in your neck of the woods, your gift has been set aside for the quick feel good of ribbing on the monster sweater for hubby. My hope is that I will get bored of ribbing soon and the second sock will revive my interest. If not, I set the goal of completing them by Pennsic.

So next stop Amazon. Thank you for setting up a wish list for those of us who have SSS and planning issues.

You loving sister

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Chemistry Try-it

I am so please to announce I made a lapbook to go with the Black Hawk Council's Chemistry Try-it.

As I told you yesterday, Brownies can earn try-its at the national level or from different councils. The Chemistry try-it I found is out of a council in Wisconsin and is a great introduction to chemistry. Since I plan on using try-its as my homeschool curriculum I need a way to record and document what Girlie and Boyo learn. I have found Lapbooks are a great way to do this.

So without further ado...

For the council's requirements- Chemistry try-it Requirements

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Scouting - Homeschool style

Since Girlie is moving up to Brownies. (yay do a happy dance!) I have been checking out the try-its that she can earn. This past year we used Boy's beltloops for parts of our history and science curricula. As I research the different try-its I feel confident that I will be able to do the same thing for Girlie.

Plus I discovered some really cool stuff! There are 60 try-its available through GS-USA. There are at least that many available through the different councils around the country.

Huh? you ask. Well there is the national over-group. Then each area has its own council. This area is usually a couple counties. For instance the nation's council is for Washington DC, Montgomery, Frederick, Charles, Calvert and PG county in Maryland and some other counties in VA. I have to say I think that is a really big geographical area except for the fact all the highways are centered around DC so it is pretty easy to get to the different areas.

Anyway, the GS-USA has try-its and each council can develop their own try-its also which are sometimes made available to troops outside of that council area. So using what I have found online for the different council try-its Girlie (and by extension Boyo since they will both do the work even if Boyo doesn't get a try-it) should have lots of variety and learn so much stuff next year.

Since the homeschool troop is small and just starting out, I will end up paying for the try-its but I have found there are tons on ebay and since each patch is only $1 or so plus shipping, I still figure that it won't be too high a cost for all the knowledge the kids will gain plus it is cheaper than some of the boxed curricula I looked at.

graphics from

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bridging to Brownies

It is getting near that time of year. Bridging time. Boyo will soon move to Bears in Cub Scouts and Girlie will move to Brownies.

In Boyo's old pack they gave the boys new handbooks, kerchiefs and slides. We only had to buy the hats. I hope they do something similar in this new better homeschool friendly pack.

Since Girlie is moving to a new troop (yay this one is just homeschoolers and I am not the leader!!) I get to fund the change in uniforms.

This is where I get to have fun. It is like a huge treasure hunt. I try to find some of the stuff on Ebay so I can get a deal. I also check freecycle and then I comparison shop the online stores for the rest. I love the hunt! So sue me I don't get out much.

I am so pleased that we are moving to a homeschool troop, plus Girlie will be with BFF so we will be able to move at "homeschool pace". But best of all BFF's mom will be the one planning the meetings so that will be one stress off me.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The only child

This week while Girlie is at Oma's (being a much adored only grand) Boyo is home with Mama being an only. So lacking the need to rush off to speech or Girlie to get her brother up and moving at 8 am, it has been a slow start. We do have some stuff on the list to do today, like the library and work but so far other than breakfast this is what Boyo has accomplished.

Yep, he is gaming. Diablo to be exact. I jumped on the computer to print off a lapbook for him to work on this week and he jumped on too. On the plus side he did get dressed and now that I have everything together for schooling, he will save and log out before we hit the library. I have a feeling that Boyo will be doing schoolwork at work today.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Today we are off to Pittsburgh to visit my mom in her new house. Girlie will stay the week while Boyo and I will be back after the weekend.

I am excited about Girlie getting the opportunity to be the first one to stay, even though the thought of not having her around for 10 days is worrying to me.

Since we are still doing school, (20 some days to go!!) I packed up Girlie's books and speech work and wrote directions for how they are to be used. Hopefully Girlie will do her work without too much trouble so that she and Oma can spend time exploring.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My sister

For her entire life my sister has had to share her birthday with Willy Shakespeare. Well, being born more than 300 years later will do that, I guess. Really most people don't know that April 23rd is his birthday or that it is also the day that he died, but that is neither here nor there.

For my entire educational career people have told me how great ol' Willy is and how there is no higher literary works that his plays. Ok sure. Good themes but how sad is it when the movie is better than the book? That is just not how it is suppose to be.

That all being said in honor of Willy (a day late because that is just how I roll these days) I would like to share with you my favorite Quote (actually it is the only one of his stuff I like and I recite it for the kids every Halloween)

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

I would like to thank whatever person who decided to print that bit on school folders back in 7th grade. That is the only reason I learned it.

And for my sister, well she is quite a wonderful writer in her own right, not Willy but that just means her stuff is actually good. I invite you to check out her latest work. It is near and dear to me since it is about homeschooling.

Lilka's Dream

Happy birthday (again a day late but still)!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Girlie Talks

For those of you who haven't heard Girlie talk in a while, Listen to how good her speech has gotten!!

It is a very short clip but her speech is so much better, we still have a ways to go though.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The weekend and Wikki stix

I have been sick this weekend. Sorry to share but I don't get the whole lay on the sofa and not move for hours kind of sick very often. This was it though. I feel much better today by the way. So other than updating you on my life what did this have to do with anything you might ask.

Well while I was sick on the sofa, Girlie opened her present from the homeschool fair. I had gotten her a big package of wikki stix which are wax covered strings that can be molded and shaped in to different things. See picture above.

Speaking of the Homeschool fair, BFF-Mom and I had a wonderful time. We met up with one of her friends and shopped together. I found some cute history comic books for Boyo and I have at least a grade and a half of math for each of my kids. We are also going to try some Charlotte Mason Language Arts this year with a nifty workbook from Queens Homeschooling. Each kid has one. The link shows the one Boyo will use. We have used Charlotte Mason LA before and Boyo learned a ton but he didn't like working from one book into a notebook. Boyo prefers workbooks for LA and math (he actually told me so) so that is how we roll.

I also picked up a creative writing program for him as the LA I chose is heavy in grammar, picture study and copywork but light on creative writing. I choose Write on Target to develop his creative and functional writing. I like that they use graphic organizers and they give a sample in addition to the prompt. Also because each grade level covers the same topics, just in more detail, I could use the same program for both kids for Girlie's 2nd grade and Boyo's 4th grade years.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

2009 list

So here it is April, everyone has paid taxes by now. If not, you are late buddy!! So what's new?

I am going to the homeschool fair tomorrow. I've had 2 mama's nights out this week. Well one was to check out a new homeschooling option and one was the boyscout round table but I didn't have the kids with me for the first and someone else watched them for the second so I was mostly kid free.

But I was reminded to check my list to see how I have been doing on my goals for this year. Here is the list again in case you forgot: (updated with what I have accomplished- I even figured out how to do strike though!!)

  • Research insurance coverage for private speech therapy
  • Learn to cook 2 new recipes that picky hubby will eat I have 1 so far
  • Put all recipes that picky hubby will eat in a binder so I will know if it is an actually thing he has tried and liked.
  • Knit a new sweater for Boyo
  • Knit a baby sweater for Jessica's bun in the oven
  • Repaint the living room or at least touch up the spots that need a second coat
  • Hang the DVD cabinet
  • Organize school stuff
  • Buy bookshelves for living room
  • Buy baskets for daily school stuff, one basket per kid, so the daily getting started will be easier
  • Separate the kids into their own bedrooms
  • Paint the kids' bedrooms
  • Put curtains in all the windows of the house
  • Dry clean curtains for living room window
  • Get the right kind of hardware for living room curtains and hang them
  • Blog at least 3 times a week Trying but I =can't think of much to say
  • Offer the Andrew Lost lapbook templates to the homeschooling community for free
  • Post knitting pattern for bitty baby socks and bitty baby sweater from sock yarn
  • Make Girlie a dress to wear to the girl scout Daddy-Daughter Dance
  • Get Jessica's recipe for Mac and Cheese
  • Make everyone entire new wordrobes for good linen and wool for Pennsic
  • Boyo's List
    1. Lapbook the entire Andrew Lost series and get it bound
    2. Finish Singapore Math 2B and 3A
    3. Take a reading level placement test
    4. Finish History Curriculum
    5. Learn to knit with 2 colors
    6. Learn to play chess (to earn the cub scout belt loop)
    7. Fight at practice every day while at Pennsic
    8. Become a better, more detailed writer

    Girlie's List
    1. Learn to read at a 1st grade level
    2. Take a reading level placement test
    3. Learn to speak well enough to not need speech therapy
    4. Take a tour of the local elementary school in case she does end up there
    5. Learn to count to 100 using English words (thirteen instead of 10-3)

    So I am not as far as I was hoping to be by April but I am not too far behind either. I think I will move the kids and paint thier rooms this summer when I can have the windows open (better than doing it in the winter!)

    So little by little I hope to chop down my list. How is your list going?

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    The Quarry

    Boyo at the quarry

    BFF's middle brother E. overlooking the quarry.

    Today we had a field trip to a local Quarry with Boyo's cub scout pack. Girlie and BFF were the tag-a-long Daisy contingent.

    It was a wonderful time! The kids were taken to watch the entire rock process. First, we watched them blast some rock loose from the walls of the quarry.


    Notice the 12 holes drilled in formation? The blasting caps and other boom making things are in those holes. Yep, I know, really technical terms. I was wrangling a kid when they were talking about the explosives.


    To see it in action- Sorry my camera only shoots for 5 seconds and I am just figuring it out. Turn on your sound. The biggest laughs you hear at the end are Girlie.

    After the explosion, we drove into the quarry to get a closer look at the different machines and to watch the guys (only guys, didn't see any female workers) load up a truck full of the rubble from the explosion.

    Then we got back into our cars and drove to the crusher (Sorry again, I deleated those pictures by accident) When the rubble was dumped on to huge conveyor belts and moved this way and that to a big orange box that rattled and shook. This crushed the rocks into smaller chunks for landscaping stone. It it also crushed the rocks smaller into aggregate for concrete or asphalt.

    We were given a chance to pick though some rocks that were dumped into a special field for us. Many of the boys found Calcite crystals, along with bits of quartz and marble. Some of the boys even found Metabasalt (metamorphosed basalt) which they called coal since it is dark and layered looking, like coal. (Many kids in this area have coal stoves so it is normal for black rocks to be found, they just assumed that all black rocks of a certain size and look are coal. The difference was explained between coal and metabasalt. The main difference being that coal will burn in a stove and metabasalt won't).

    Thank you L# Quarry for the wonderful field trip! (I'd put the real name of the quarry but I have privacy concerns.)

    Sunday, April 5, 2009

    Homeschool Plans

    It is that time of year... Spring flowers start to peak out of the ground, bird reappear and the homeschool curriculum catalogs flow.
    Over the next week or 2 I make my lists, research my options, price check, compare and converse about homeschool curriculum, all leading up to the Mache Cric fair. This is the one chance many homeschoolers get to hold the curriculum and books in our hands, get the "feel" of a program and talk to people who are knowledgeable about the products.
    There are so many different programs out there that it is really had to choose one, let alone talk to another person who might know about it. The unfortunate part is that the fair only lasts 2 days. If you see something you want, and you don't want to have to pay shipping on it, you have to get it then. So this doesn't give you a lot of time the really think on products.

    That all being said, I spent the last month figuring out what products I wanted to look at close up, what I think will work best for my family and what levels I think my kids will be at come September.
    Of course all that planning was blown out of the water when I looked closer at a program and saw that they had changed it for the newest edition.

    So my new plan (subject to review and change)

    Language arts from Queen Homeschool for both kids. I like the Charlotte Mason Language arts method.
    Singapore math for both kids
    History co-op with BFF's family using lapbooks from Homeschool share and Homeschool Journey
    Science Co-op also with BFF's family Noeo Science Chem 1+2 (depending on the kid)
    BFF's mom is going to teach Art history since she has the posters and knows what she is talking about.
    Music- I am still working on, maybe a book on recorder since we have 2 already (and ear plugs!!!)

    I like to have a plan, and this is a framework. The kids will also do Library science classes and other co-op classes as they are offered. Girlie will continue with Speech Therapy, plus both kids will have Scouts. I think it sounds like a good year.

    Science- Human Body

    We have been working on the Human body for Science. So far we have covered blood, lungs and heart. Our project Friday was to figure out how all these different parts go together.

    We traced Girlie on some banner paper and Boyo and Girlie colored it. Then I cut of the body parts and name tags for the different parts and the kids worked together to put them all on the body.
    And because I didn't show you pictures of Boyo's new hair cut...

    Before After
    Which do you like better?

    Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    Happy April Fool's Day

    I'm not a big prankster, mostly I am the butt of jokes.
    Girlie got me with a good one today though. I got home from work late this morning and it was all quiet. I knew Boyo would still be asleep since he was up gaming until 11:30 pm but I expected to hear the TV on for Girlie. The living room was all quiet and there was a pile of blankets on the sofa but that was all I saw. When I sat on the sofa to watch a little news before getting schooling stuff together, Girlie popped out from under the blankets and scared me.
    She thought it was funny, I laughed too but it took a couple minutes for my heart to start beating again.

    Monday, March 30, 2009

    Leapster meets Didj

    We have been a leapster family for a while now. My dad bought the kids one a while back and since then Boyo has progressed in math by leaps and bounds. Girlie has done well too but it really isn't her medium.

    When the kids were little they watched the Leapfrog DVDs and that gave them a good idea of how the whole reading thing worked. The Leapster handheld games did the same thing for boyo when it came to multiplication. When we hit that section in his math book, I was so surprised that he already knew almost all the basic facts that he breezed though the end of the book with no problem.

    But like all things, Boyo became too advanced for the Leapster games. So last Christmas I looked at getting him a Didj, being the next step up from Leapster without crossing over to a Nintendo DS which doesn't have educational games. But it was too expensive and the reviews weren't that great and it was too new so there were kinks to be worked out.

    Last week when the kids and I were at Walmart (don't judge me it is a small town) we went for a walk through the toy aisle and low and behold- the didj was on sale for more than $40 off!! After a brief chat with Hubby, I picked it up and also an extra game for Boyo.

    Boyo spent 3 days playing it consistently before the batteries wore out and had to be charged.

    So There is the pros and cons for the Didj


    • Educational

    • Great graphics

    • ability to go online to change or adjust the level of difficulty on the problems

    • adaptable -it can be scaled back to Girlie or made tougher for Boyo

    • Lots of different math games


    • Expensive

    • not a lot of games yet and most seem to be math games

    • Most language arts games are not aimed at boys (Nancy drew is the only spelling game I have found)

    • doesn't come with a cover like the Leapster so screen can get scratched up.

    All in all I really like the games, I wish that it could use the old Leapster cartridges but I see the difference in quality in the graphics so I understand why it can't be so. I really hope they put out more games and continue with more of the older grades (3+).

    Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    Princess Power

    Hands of a Child was ever so kind of offer me a lapbook to try out and review. Girlie and I wanted to have a special day with BFF so with this lapbook in mind I called, made plans, printed and cut and got everything ready.

    Armed with markers, construction paper, glue sticks and snacks, it was time!

    Girlie kept a watch at the window for BFF to arrive, then once she was at the door it was a case of "I want to hide and surprise her." Eventually everyone who was staying was here and those who were leaving left. It was time to start!

    Princess power is broken up into 2 mini lapbooks. One is on fairytale princesses and the other is on real live princesses. Since we all know that Girlie is a princess, it was easy to make the real live princess section about Girlie and BFF. The different secions we put on different colored pages.

    We read a version of Sleeping Beauty that was different than one the girls had heard before, then we discussed how it was different and filled out the different minit books. After getting though all the wonderful minit books on the fairy tale princess, it was time for a break.

    After a snack and some playtime, we pulled ourselves back together and started on the Girlie and BFF part. It was great fun listening to them talk about the different questions,

    "Where were you born?"
    "At a hospital, I came out of Mommy. But Boyo made Mommy cut open."

    Once they finished all the minit books about them, they decorated the books while I fixed lunch. As I set out a lunch picnic in the living room, they finished up and I stapled all the pages together into a book. (we use construction paper pages stapled instead of file folders- it just works better for my family).

    The girls played the rest of the afternoon and when BFF's mom came back, the girls didn't want to separate as they had been having so much fun.

    I heard later that BFF's dad loved the lapbook, and Girlie was excited to show it to hubby and tell him all about her day.

    Girlie liked that she could continue the fun on her own with the puppets that come with the lapbook. The stories that she came up with are incredible.

    Friday, March 20, 2009

    Princess Power

    Hands of a Child has offered me the chance to test one of their lovely lapbooks. To that end, Girlie, BFF and I are going to have a girls day working on "Princess Power." We are going to lapbook about a fairytale princess and then do a seperate section on the little princesses we know (Girlie and BFF). I spent the past day or so cutting out many of the lapbook mini-books and getting everything ready. I hope the girls have a good time with this project.

    Monday, March 16, 2009


    My mom took me and the kids to Pittsburgh over the weekend. It is always such an adventure to go to the big city.

    Saturday Risko kept the kids at a yarn store. Boyo has a "job" there pricing balls of yarn. Girlie helped him. From what I understand it was quite an adventure. There was the yarn store, food, parks, and finally back to the hotel. (thank you hotel staff that recognized my kids even if you didn't recognize the woman they were with and let them all back into the room- 2 thumbs up!)

    Sunday my mom the kids and I went down to the strip district. It is a great fun sort of place. We explored the green grocer, the fish market, a Pittsburgh Steeler merchandise store (nothing in the kids sizes other wise they would have been sporting some steeler stuff today). Compared to our little town where food is either from the farmer's market , BJ's or Weis, this was a fantastic experience!

    Girlie has decided that we should all move to Pittsburgh. She feels a real attachment to the town.

    I told her maybe Daddy will take her to visit next time there is a business trip to CM.

    Friday, March 13, 2009

    Happy Friday the 13th

    As I was walking out of work this morning I wished one of my little guys a Happy Friday the 13th and since my kids were there (Hubby is off to Gulf wars), they asked why I said that.

    Which lead to a conversation on the Templars, which lead to the King Phillip, which lead to the Holy Grail, which lead to crucifixion, which lead to the Da Vinci Code, which lead to rites and obligations of a Rabbi, which lead to sang rial, which lead to the Pope, which lead to Medieval Homeland Security issues, which ended with "What do you believe?"

    And to think our drive home from work only takes about 4 minutes.

    So Happy Friday the 13th, may you not have any Kings out to get you. And for the Templars- I'm sorry for your loss.

    Saturday, March 7, 2009

    Hair Day

    So after taking the pictures of the kids and Mr. Bunny the other day, Girlie got fed up with the hair falling in her way (if she had tucked it behind her ear it would have solved the problem) but being 5 and a rather impatient sort of girl, she took the scissors and did some damage.
    Friday we got it fixed. Here is Girlie before-

    Notice the hair on the left side of her head? Hours later it was missing (surprisingly the stuff hanging in her eyes in the picture was still there. The logic of a 5 year old mind astounds me)
    We went to the local hair cutting school and they couldn't figure out what to do about Girlie's fallen locks until I suggested this...

    Thursday, March 5, 2009

    Owl Pellets and Mr. Bunny

    We have had a great homeschool day. Currently Boyo is working on an animal study of animals in the woods. It is handy that we live in the woods, he can just look out the window or explore in the woods to get a feel for the subject.

    One of the projects we are doing relating to woodland animals is dissecting owl pellets. Boyo and Girlie have done this before at the library science class. (Best thing ever that the library offers free science classes and runs then twice, once for the general public and once for homeschoolers). Two Christmases ago, Boyo got a owl pellet kit in his stocking. Yes, Santa believes in education. So today we cracked it open and started dissection. It was fun for Boyo and I. (Girlie watched as she ate lunch). We found a bunch of ribs, a couple legs and at least one jaw.

    And for those who wanted more pics of Mr. Bunny: