Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Anyway after walking down the hill in the dark and icky for 3 days, I cancelled school and told the kids to shovel.
At last it was warm enough to melt away the last traces of snow. Yay for 50 degree weather!!!
Hopefully it will be that warm tomorrow as we do the Klondike Derby with the cub scouts. I'll try to take pictures.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Yes you can resell used clothes, books, toys and what-have-you for kids but, and this is a big but, the seller is liable if any of those things don't meet the new testing requirements.
Also all the little shops that make custom or specialty or not hasbro/mattel type products have to test their stuff and this is financially impossible for many of these businesses.
Here is a great little movie that explains the problem http://ceska.typepad.com/little_ida/2009/01/craftsbury-kids-cpsia-interview.html
Then check out this http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/archive/cpsia-cultural-genocide-another-win-for-congress/ This law will create "cultural genocide" for the Native American culture. If you can't raise your children and dress them in a way that promotes your family's beliefs and culture, then the next generation will not learn the culture and it will die.
For the Native American's (or any group that dresses children in a non-walmart way for certain events or reasons) how are they suppose too allow the kids to participate? Well if they can make their own or if they have heirlooms in which to dress the kids, then they are fine. But for people who don't have means to make their own or hand-me-downs. They are out of luck.
And along those same lines, my family does medieval re-enactment. Luckily I am blessed enough to be able to sew and make our stuff but what about the parents who have more money than time or don't have the skills. What are they to do?
This law has such far reaching consequences that haven't even really been considered. Please write your washington people and ask them to fix the law!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
- I have 2 wonderful kids.
- I have a loving and generous husband.
- Girlie is making wonderful improvement in speech.
- The insurance will cover 30 visits to a speech person in a calendar year.
- I have a sister who sends me yarn.
- She sent to good stuff!!
- I have a mom who will drive 35 miles each way to see the kiddos play soccer.
- I get to keep my kids at home with me.
- Cuddles whenever I ask.
- A husband who understands that while I will share my cereal with the kids but I don't like to.
- Friends who have been homeschooling long enough to be able to answer questions and mentor me.
- Games day!! Wonderful social time for the moms and kids.
- My father who so kindly provided the wifi for Christmas this year. Thanks!
- The people on Noggin who taught my kids so many important things (though they really need a news ticker so the parents can know what goes on in the world)
- Pinky Dinky Doo- who taught Girlie what assume meant without using any bad words. (hey you try to think of a meaning without using the word a@@)
- My hubby who supports my homeschooling the kids.
- I am thankful that even though my boss at work is harping on cutting costs, he hasn't laid anyone off yet and is actively looking for more ways to generate income.
- New friends who have kids the same age as Girlie and Boyo.
- Hubby's work which has said that there is no worries, no lay-offs and no cut-backs.
- Friends that I have known my kids entire lives.
- Girlie finally being potty trained.
- Big Al for providing the genetics that gave my kids the "humpf" that is so endearing and frustrating at the same time.
- My mom who would drive to vist weekly when Girlie was small.
- Affordable linen (the fabric store)
- Boyo's health
- Girlie's personality
Ok that is all I can think of now. Not too bad for an off the top of my head kinda thing. What is on your list?
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association has weighed in - Homeschoolers will not be affected too badly by the new law. http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/20091130.asp Basically, used books, toys and clothes are safe to be resold as long as the person selling has the done their best to make sure they are safe. So no selling recalled things. Isn't that just common sense?
Oh but it gets tricky. What if an item was recalled and unknowingly donated. Is the resale shop suppose to check every item against the recall list? The purchase date isn't included when stuff is donated, how would they know? And if it did manage to slip through and was caught or made a child sick, the resale shop is liable. http://www.narts.org/NARTS_CPSC_PR.pdf
Even the libraries are getting involved. The law is written as to be retroactive so all the kid books on the library shelves would have to be pulled and tested. This would be a great expense not to mention think how long it would take the books from all over the country to filter though the 3 (yest there are only 3) testing sites! It would take years. http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=1322
So the libraries have issues, the resellers don't have issues unless they let something slip through. But for people who make things for kids; new things, not resold or used things, there are still issues. Even though as a producer of kid stuff, you try and make sure the buttons are sewn on really well on toys or clothes, that the fabrics and yarn you choose are the best, there is still the need to get your products certified to be safe. As a new seller this would be horribly expensive.
Moms who make kids products (home based businesses mostly) have banded together to file a lawsuit against the testing requirement. http://reformcpsia.org/2009/01/class-action-lawsuit/ The petitioners want the language of the law changed so that it isn't so vague to cover products (like clothes and books) that are not likely to have any lead content anyways.
With a bit of prayer, luck, positive thinking, and writing your congress people, this law could be fixed. Please do your part.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I have been in a mitten mood. I guess it goes along with girlie's fun-gly socks. Might just be a knitter thing though. Anyway I adapted a pattern (Dullan Mittens). Really, I tried it her way first and while it is very easy, as a sock knitter I disliked her thumb design. Plus, I just had read Favorite Mittens by Robin Hansen and I wanted to try out one of her techniques. So I combined the two and tweaked and here is my pattern. It is named after the tree at the library where one can donate mittens, hats and scarfs for Shepard's staff.
Special Techniques- "Roll the fleece" This pattern requires roving. I bought mine at Knit one for $5. There was enough roving for 2 pairs of mittens.
- Tear off a bit of fleece as thick as your knitting needle and about 6-8 inches long.
- Wrap fleece around yarn in between stitches, sorta like when carrying a color while doing fair isle.
Materials- worsted weight feltable wool, wool roving, set of 4 double pointed needles (DPN)Directions- Cast on 40 stitches over 2 DPN. Being careful not to twist the stitches, join in a round. Work in K1P1 for 2 inches. Knit the next row increasing 6 stitches evenly around.
Start rolling the fleece around yarn and knit 9 rows. At the beginning of needle 1, start working the thumb.
Thumb- K 12 stitches. Slide remaining stitches onto needle 2. Use the backward loop cast on method to make 12 stitches on needle 3. Thumb will be worked on needles 1 and 3.
Knit 7 rows of stockinette, remembering to roll the fleece around the yarn. Then start decreases.
Row 1: Needle 1- K1, K2tog, knit to last 3 stitches, K2 tog, K1. Repeat for needle 3
Row 2: knitRepeat rows 1 and 2 until 8 stitches remain total. Graft end or break yarn and thread though loops (2x) and tie off.
Hand of mitten- Pick up 12 made stitches, plus 1 or 2 stitches on either side of thumb (as needed to close gap) Knit 1 row remembering to roll fleece around yarn. Next row K2 tog on either side of thumb (as needed) 39 stitches.
Rearrange stitches to have 13 stitches on each of the 3 needles. Continue to roll fleece and work in stockinette until mitten measures 2 1/2 inches from thumb join. Then start decreases.
Row 1: On every needle- K2 tog, knit until 2 stitches from end, K2 tog
Row 2: knit
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until 12 stitches remain total. Break Yarn and thread though stitches (2x). Tie off. Repeat for 2nd mitten
Knit an I-cord if desired to attach mitttens though back of a jacket.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
A friend gave me a great idea of how to use all the broken crayons that breed in our house. She melted them into little patties and they are great for coloring or making rubbings.Here is how we did it. First collect all the broken bits and peel off the paper.
Then fill a muffin try about 1/2 full with crayon bits and stick it in a 250 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Take out and cool, preferably outside. Once the patties are totally cool they pop right out and are ready to use.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
There is a law that is meant to reduce lead in children's products. Sounds good so far, right. It defines children's products as anything made for use by a person under 12 years of age. So think about that for a minute. That is pencils, notebooks, desks, stuffed animals, clothes, BOOKS, science kits, the list is endless. The only things given an exemption are electronic devices.
Now I agree there should not need worrisome amounts of lead in things that kids will eat, and I see the reasoning on jewelry or tea sets. We all know that they go in kids' mouths. But what kid over 5 really still eats paper? And who lets their little one ruin books and eat them to the point where the small amount of lead that could be in the pigments in the ink would make them sick. I think the paper would make them sick first.
Anyway here is the law- in pdf http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsia.pdf Page 7 is where it gets interesting.
Here is a blog that explains this better than I ever could Learning at his feet
And here is one bit of good news. Before today, this law applied to consignment and used clothing and toys. Now re-sell stores are exempt.
This law, as written, will do terrible things to the small business community. Many mom-and-pop shops will be forced to close. I urge you to write to your people in Washington. Tell them that this is a bad idea for the economy.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
One of the moms had never heard of lapbooking so for any of you know don't know, lapbooking is using a folder to hold a bunch of little "minit" books. Minit books are interestingly folded bits of paper that ask and answer a question or hold information on a topic. Well that is pretty not clear huh?
Maybe a better explanation is made by using a visual-
Here is the lapbook.
Forgive the data stick. It was to cover Boyo's name.
Here is the inside. You can see all the minit books.
The story summery is a matchbook, The amazing speckled bull is done with a fan fold. Vocabulary and where did Becon find? are both shutterfolds.
For more information on lapbooks, to find free ones, and directions on how to make your own, check out http://www.homeschoolshare.com/
Monday, January 5, 2009
Girlie is in a clinic for the 5 year olds. When I went out I bought shin guards but I wasn't thinking about socks. Really couldn't regular socks work? Evidently not. After making her play once in her brother's socks and once in Daddy's, I felt bad for the kid. So I knitted her up some lovely, fun-gly (fun but ugly) socks.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
To a homeschooler, or to a parent for that matter, not much is as important to a kid's education as learning to read. After teaching Boyo to read (there were days I thought he'd never get it) I find that he reads pretty comfortably at a 3rd grade level. Not bad considering that he is 7.
With Boyo we did the systematic phonics approach. First the -at words (cat, bat, hat) then the -ag words (bag, tag, lag) and so on. Then we introduced some sight words (and, the, said). Then with the help of MCP phonics and Leapfrog videos, he made it. He is reading. After a while he even found a set of books that he really likes.
With Girlie the challenge has been different. Even though I started them at the same age, Girlie just wasn't getting phonics. So we stopped and I let her grow thinking that it was because she is more immature than her brother. Then this past September I tried again. She memorized the sight words with no problem, but even though she has known all her letters and letter sounds since she was 2, she just couldn't blend them to make words. Plus even when she got the pattern for the words (ie. all the -at words; cat, hat, fat) because of her speech she couldn't say the words differently enough that I wasn't sure that she wasn't just saying the same words over and over.
So we stopped again. We gave up on phonics. I thought since the public school system, in their infinite glory, did away with phonics in the early '80's, and since I was just one of an entire generation who learned to read without phonics, there had to be something out there that teaches whole language and not phonics as the basis of their reading program.
Well there is and there isn't. There is nothing I found for a homeschooler that doesn't use phonics as its basis other than just reading with your kid. Pointing out the words. Letting your kid guess the next word in the story. So that is what we did.
Then once Girlie had about 30 words that she just memorized, I found these wonderful readers.
Progressive Phonics has these readers that you download and print off. The first few of each set are FREE!!! But it gets even better! (sound like an infomercial) These are short rhyming stories that are each about a page long. The kid reads the big RED word and the parent reads all the other words. Well, that is the way they are suppose to be used, we adapted it a bit.
When Girlie reads a page, we highlight all the words on the page that she knows. It doesn't matter if they are red words or not. If she knows the word we highlight it. Then we read the page. It is sometimes surprising to her when she realizes that every word on the page is highlighted. We try to read a new page plus an old page every day. When we finish a book I see if she can read the entire book (the highlighted words) and I pay her $1.
Yes we bribe our kids. I figure their job if to learn and I get paid at my job so they should get bonus if they do really well at their job.
We have only used the Progressive Phonics since November but she is picking up reading so much faster than before. We added in MCP phonics and while it seems too easy (should have gotten B instead of A) I think it is a good review and might even be helping with her speech a bit since it forces her to sound out the words.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
6. Repaint the living room or at least touch up the spots that need a second coat ( I colored it because I can't figure out the how to make it a strike through)
Boyo doing Girlie's makeup. At least they are watching the Discovery Channel. But I digress...
Once the paint is dry I need to get out the trusty stud finder (so many jokes come to mind) and figure out how to hang the DVD cabinet. I am feeling empowered so I won't go wake hubby.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Here is my plan for 2009 (and sub lists for Boyo and Girlie)
- Research insurance coverage for private speech therapy
- Learn to cook 2 new recipes that picky hubby will eat
- 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 (the one I made for Xmas was too small, I plan on frogging it and redoing it)
- 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
- 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
- Lapbook the entire Andrew Lost series and get it bound
- Finish Singapore Math 2B and 3A
- Take a reading level placement test
- Finish History Curriculum
- Learn to knit with 2 colors
- Learn to play chess (to earn the cub scout belt loop)
- Fight at practice every day while at Pennsic
- Become a better, more detailed writer
- Learn to read at a 1st grade level
- Take a reading level placement test
- Learn to speak well enough to not need speech therapy
- Take a tour of the local elementary school in case she does end up there
- Learn to count to 100 using English words (thirteen instead of 10-3)
So it isn't as huge a list as it could be, but it still is plenty to work on this year.