Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yikes

Learning how to manage schooling two kids and occupying the other two is keeping me busy.




Friday, July 27, 2007

Free Literature

Yay! Free stuff!

I was browsing around iTunes the other day, because I have fallen in love with podcasts. So much stuff to listen to, so little time. Then I found something else to fall for. I'd noticed the iTunesU section, but since I'm not in college and have no real desire to go back to college (unless I could live in a dorm by myself and have someone clean the bathrooms and feed me -- then I might consider it -- if I could have my 19 year old body back) I didn't pay much attention.

Then the name of a children's book in the popular downloads caught my eye. I clicked on it just for investigative purposes and discovered that the University of South Florida has put up a huge children's literature curriculum for teachers with recorded poems and books on iTunes and the full text and teaching suggestions on line at Lit2Go.

My kids and I love to listen to books on the iPod when we're driving around and although I can check a bunch out from the library, I'm like a junkie when I find another source. Now my only problem is not filling up the whole 30 Gigs with kiddie lit.

And those without an iPod can still download stuff to their computers and listen there.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

School? Already?

I can't believe the time has passed so quickly, but here I am planning the first week of school for the kidlets. The seven year old will be beginning second grade and I'll be starting to do Kindergarten work with the four year old since her birthday is coming right up in September.

I really thought that by the time school rolled around we'd be in our own house, but obviously that is not the case. Instead, I want to get started next week so that when we eventually (I hope) get to move into our house, we'll have enough school behind us to take a bit of a break and settle in.

I plan to start school next Monday and so I've been writing up a preliminary schedule. I know full well that we won't stick to it precisely, but I want to have a plan. When I followed it more or less and planned out a week at a time last year, things went much more smoothly than when I sort of haphazardly just grabbed something and started working on it.

Teaching two kids this year will complicate matters, I imagine, especially since it isn't like the baby and the toddler are going to sit quietly in a corner while I endeavor to educate the older ones. I imagine we'll either be doing a lot of group activities or a lot of guided "here's your work, now go do it" types of things.

My goals for the year include more religious education, foreign language instruction, a better concentration on art, and continuing the progress we made in other subjects.

The four year old is very excited at the prospect and the seven year old is wondering what's in store. I admit that I am too. I can't believe it is already time to begin.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

House Work

Last Friday, my friend Meredith watched the kidlets and I got a little painting done at the Purple House. Not as much as I would have liked, which is the story of my life these days.

Saturday we got up, ate breakfast and went back to the other house. We finished hanging panels on our side fence (after two trips to Lowes for fence boards -- somebody and it wasn't me had a problem calculating and counting). Once again I got to use the reciprocating saw. Something about wielding power tools is kind of fun. We figured out that we have been working on the fence for the last 5 weekends in a row. We will need at least one more to trim out the fence that's finished and then we'll need to begin work on the sections of fence that will close off the back yard. The fence on either side of the house will be shorter than what we've already built, but it will be at least as much work. We'll be building three gates (one of them a double gate for trucks).

Our carpenters have started fixing the rafters and dormers upstairs. They claimed before they started that they'd be done with everything including framing the rooms out in two weeks, but I'm beginning to wonder. Sigh.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Be Careful What You Stick In There

The Baby sprouted his first tooth yesterday. I spotted the tell-tale white line on Sunday, but could feel it until yesterday. I haven't been bitten yet, but judging by how hard he would chomp down before any teeth were involved, I imagine a few screams of pain are in my future.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sneaky Education

Every one likes a little break now and then. The Boy and I are enjoying our summer vacation, although it would be wrong to say that all learning has ceased. Some is still overt. I'm making him read through his math fact cards once a week or so and work on a lesson or two every week in English For The Thoughtful Child, but it's always more fun for all of us when the summer time education is a little more hidden.

One thing my son and I are especially enjoying is Scrabble at http://scrabulous.com/. Not only are we practicing spelling and vocabulary, but also math as we add up various scores and figure out what words will score the highest.

Hooray for Scrabble!

Tales From a Guilty Conscience

I was out weeding and mulching one of the flower beds at our new house the other day, when I heard a voice say, "Excuse me ma'am. Can I ask you a question?"

I looked up and a policeman on a motorcycle was sitting on the end of my driveway. I'm pretty sure I don't have anything to hide, but I still flinched.

"What's that orange flower behind you?" he asked.

"Oh, um, ah...it's a sunflower."

"Does it have seeds?"

"Yes."

"Are they good to eat?"

"I don't know."

"Okay. Well, thank you, ma'am."

And with that he was off on patrol once more.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why Are You Going to Jail?

Last night at dinner my husband announced that today he was going to have to visit a jail for his work. The immediate response from the children was, "Why are you going to jail?!? What did you do?"

Despite reassurances that he was in fact merely going to be a visitor at the facility, the four year old asked this morning if he was going to have "those chain thingies put on his arms and legs." Again, we tried to make the kids understand that they don't usually shackle the visitors to the local jail.

When I talked to my husband this afternoon, the two year old asked, "Is Daddy out of jail now?" This will be fun to explain to all our friends.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hermione

You scored as Hermione Granger, You're one intelligent witch, but you have a hard time believing it and require constant reassurance. You are a very supportive friend who would do anything and everything to help her friends out.

Hermione Granger

65%

Albus Dumbledore

60%

Ron Weasley

60%

Remus Lupin

55%

Severus Snape

50%

Sirius Black

50%

Ginny Weasley

45%

Draco Malfoy

40%

Harry Potter

40%

Lord Voldemort

35%

Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
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From the Llamas.

Turtles, Ghosts, Actors and Calamities

Although there are a great many children's books that I love, I hardly ever find one that I love so much that I find myself recommending it to adults right and left. I have one such book now though and I understand why my librarian friend stuck it in my hand and said, "You must check this out."

The kids and I are listening to it on CD in the car, and it is utterly hilarious, bizarre, and quirky. I can't quite get over how much I love it. The book is The Neddiad: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood, and Saved Civilization by Daniel Pinkwater. The author reads on the CD and if you've ever heard him on NPR, you'll know he has a great voice. His delivery can be perfectly deadpan and serious in a way that makes me laugh frequently. Frankly, I'm not sure the kids love the book half as much as I do, although The Seven Year Old seems pretty into it.

The story is set shortly after WWII. Neddie Wentworthstein, a kid in Chicago and the son of a shoelace king, reads about the Brown Derby restaurant out in LA, mentions to his dad that he'd like to eat there some day and so his dad decides to pack up the family and move West, so that they can. Neddie gets on a train with his family and over the course of his travels to and in Los Angeles meets a shaman named Melvin, a ghost named Billy the Phantom Bellboy, actors, bad guys, and a mysterious, but powerful, turtle figurine.

I'm definitely buying a copy of the book at some point (we're listening to a library copy right now), so The Seven Year Old can read it to himself and Justin can also get a chance to read it, but I'm not entirely sure I'll love it quite as much when it isn't being read by Pinkwater. In print or audio though, I think Pinkwater has produced one of his finest books yet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

First Blood

The baby was the slowest of all to crawl. He didn't start until 7.5 months. He's making up for lost time though by pulling up on everything already. I've found him stuck inside the legs of a chair where he'd crawled, pulled up and was standing with no idea how to get down. Things on the coffee table are no longer safe and as we discovered today neither is he.

He pulled up on the coffee table, reached for something on the ground and when he let go of the supporting table, smacked his lip into the edge. Now he's got a fat lip and a little scab, but thanks to the great comfort of nursing, he didn't cry too much and shortly thereafter, I found him standing up, holding onto a box.

It's hard to let go and let them take their bumps and bruises, but so the learning process goes.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Gone Some Where?

Have you been on vacation? Done something fun? Are you dead?

Nope, not really.

I don't have any particularly great reason for not blogging anything last week. Plenty has been going on. Enough to keep me busy and exhausted, but nothing too interesting, I suppose.

Last week we had intended to go out of town to visit my folks, but since our workmen were working, we stayed home to supervise and work on our fence. Some of you may remember that we're building one. Most of you probably forgot a long time ago. But we are building a fence and it is a huge project. The yard is 100 feet wide and about 275 feet long. Our neighbors built a fence down one side, but we are fencing the back, down the other side and then across the middle of the house to enclose the back yard. We've now almost finished 160 or so feet and we have about 70 feet left to go on the side fence, before we can start on the fence that will go across the yard on either side of the house.

It's hot, sweaty work, but I got to use a reciprocating saw for the first time and that was pretty fun.

Anyway, other than fence building, we went to a small town on the Fourth (after working on the fence in the morning) to visit my sister-in-law and let the cousins all play together. We saw fireworks and stayed up way too late. Then we worked on the fence some more the next few days. On Saturday, we worked on the fence a little and bought cheap mulch from the city and I finally started mulching my flower beds.

And that's life as I know it.

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