Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Off to the wilderness!

Well, we had a busy day today, with piano lessons, shopping, errands, laundry-folding, training chicken-sitters, etc. The kitchen and living room are clean, the laundry is all done, so I will come home to a clean house. Yay! I wish I had been able to plan our summer school term, but at least that will be all I need to focus on when we get home next week. We are almost ready for our summer vacation. We take off tomorrow for Icycle Creek, near Leavenworth. This is our yearly big early summer camping trip. I think we have between 6 and 8 families coming this year. After a couple days there, we head to Soap Lake in Eastern WA, to celebrate a friend's 40th birthday, which coincides with the town's 4th of July celebration.

Some of the things I hope to enjoy/experience this weekend are in no particular order or correct grammar phrasing:
A birthday party/brunch
the rushing of the river
sitting in the hot sunshine with an icy cool Mike's Hard Lime in my hand (I rarely drink- this is a splurge for me!)
watching kids (and a few foolhardy men) play and swim in the icy river
listening to birds and watching the clouds over the mountains
enjoying the company of good people and laughing a great deal
drawing in my nature journal
eating lots of good food- lots and lots of good food
singing around the campfire

I know there will be more, but right now, I still need to pack up the food and my clothes. I will talk to you soon, off to enjoy the wilderness, my kids (wish me luck on tomato-staking while camping-should be interesting!), good friends, and not having to worry about teaching (much).


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tending my little tomatoes, kids, and chickens

Hi. It is Tuesday evening. Kids are reading and playing piano. They will soon be getting into jammies and brushing teeth. Papa is out weed-wacking the back forty. I am sitting on the front porch listening to the sprinklers, the piano, and the baby wrens in the nest here on the porch. I had a donation sitting on the porch in a brown paper bag, and these adorable little wrens made a nest in there, on top of an old acrylic toilet seat rug-cover-thing. Now there are 5 (that I can see) little peeps in there, and whenever I sneak a peak at them, they all have their little mouths wide open, making lots of hungry peeping noises. Today Sassy Cat got out while we were working in the yard, and knocked the bag over. Girl came running out to me in tears. I set the bag back up, and touching them as little as possible, put the babies back in their comfy spot while the kids found the cat. I watched for a few minutes, and the mama wren (I call her Jenny, after the wren in the Burgess Bird Book) did come back, with a bug in her mouth. She took her own sweet time getting back to the nest- darting here and there to distract any possible predators, but she did go to them and feed them, so I am hoping that means they will all be okay.

Today the kids and I did a lot of yard work. They weed-wacked the back field while I weeded my asparagus bed, and transplanted some lettuce, basil, and pepper plants I got the last time we partied at the B family's home. It has been hot, hot, hot here. We let the chickens out while we were gardening. They are getting so big! About half their adult size now. It is fun to watch them interacting with each other and exploring the yard. The bad thing, is that they like my gardens. They nibble tomato leaves (I thought they were poisonous?), eat my blueberries right off the bush, and poop on my lettuce plants. Sigh. I think I may have to put wire around my gardens. If they eat blueberries and tomato leaves, they will probably try to eat the tomatoes when they ripen. I do have several tiny green tomatoes on the 5 ft tall plants. That is cool!

After the kids sweated and worked hard, we had a nature study class. We drew the trees we have adopted, and hiked up to the little waterfall. Good but sweaty time. Tonight it is much cooler outside than it is inside- much better than last night.

Yesterday morning was not good here. The kids were disobedient and rude. Soooo, we cleaned the kitchen. They scrubbed floors, walls, backsplashes, cupboards, the sink. They washed the table and chairs, and did the dishes at least 4 times. It took all day. In the afternoon, they did music practice. Other than that, all they did was pushups- every time they backsassed me or spoke out of turn. This parenting gig is harder than it looks. I hope I am doing okay.

Well, the piano has stopped, and so has the weedwacker. I best go supervise the tooth brushing, and let the Papa Dude know it is time for Twenty Thousand Leagues.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Remember how proud Iwas of the kids the other day- that they had folded an entire couch-ful of laundry while I was laid up in bed with a bad back? Remember how I positively glowed about how full of integrity they were? Guess where I just found my favorite short kicky summer skirt? Under- that's right, I said UNDER the couch with a whole lot of other clothes.

Sigh. Guess what the kids are doing today? The training never ends, does it.
LB, off to physical therapy and a much needed lunch date with another mom of tweens.


Well, I got the quiz to post, but I didn't do something right, cuz I can't link to it. Here (hopefully) is the link to the quiz.

Guess who I am?

You Are Ernie
Playful and childlike, you are everyone's favorite friend - even if your goofy antics get annoying at times.
You are usually feeling: Amused - you are very easily entertained
You are famous for: Always making people smile. From your silly songs to your wild pranks, you keep things fun.
How you life your life: With ease. Life is only difficult when your friends won't play with you!
The Sesame Street Personality Quiz

Friday, June 23, 2006

How did you live today?

Inspired by yesterday's post at Mental Multi-Vitamin, here is what I did today:

I took a long hot soak in the tub. Washed and brushed my hair. Went barefoot all day.

I put a buffalo roast in the crockpot, and a load in the clothes washer.

I listened to my son practice Mozart's Horn concerto, and my daughter play Chopin with such feeling my eyes teared up.

The kids and I all snuggled in my bed together, all reading our own books, and sharing good bits.

I hand-fed and petted my daughter's chickens. I put drops in one of the cats' eye, and played fetch with him.

I took a two hour nap and awoke to find chamomile flowers laid on my nightstand by my daughter.

I snuck two oreo cookies, twisted them open, put the creamy sides together and dunked the double cookie in a mug of rice milk.

I read a challenging book. I looked up two hard words in the dictionary.

I ate popcorn and orange juice in front of a movie with my kids. Afterwards, we discussed the moral integrity of the main characters.

The kids and I met Papa after work at the local Japanese Gardens. We hiked up to the waterfall. I kissed my mate on the bridge over the koi pond.

I opened a can of olives, lovingly bought as a surprise by my husband, to brighten our crockpot dinner.

I called a friend and we made a date for a Mom's only lunch out tomorrow.

I told my children that I loved them. I called my Mama and told her I loved her, too.
I rested, loved, and lived.

What did YOU do today?

Why we don't read "twaddle" here.

Or at least not much. Sure, Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield cartoons come into the house on occassion, and the Boy read Captain Underpants when he was in that potty humour stage at age 7 (which differs not greatly from the potty humour he engaged in at age 10, and again at age 14-seems to come in 3 to 4-yr cycles,lol), but for my part, I have really worked at only bringing classic literature into the house. Here in a nutshell, is why.

From Norms and Nobility by David V. Hicks, pg. 137. Quoted in The Latin Centered Curriculum by Andrew Campbell, pg. 47

"One cannot help but observe the trend in modern schools to substitute light "escape" reading for the more difficult classics. The practice is defended in the name of getting students to read. The assumption is that because students learn to read by reading, schools must provide books that students will want to read, books that will not overtax their patience, their limited vocabulary, or even their more limited intelligence. A corollary to this assumption, as we have seen, is that students cannot enjoy reading serious classics with their demanding styles and remote contents. Clearly, the classical academy rejects this thesis. Not only does it refute the notion that classics are inaccessible or unenjoyable to young readers, but it reminds us that the purpose of learning is discovery, not escape. Substituting the literature of escape for the classics is not education, but an attack on learning; it is not intellectual, but anti-intellectual. It represents a capitulation to the adolescent appetites of our students and our race."

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Hello Friday!

Good morning! I am feeling much better today. I took another vicadin last night and went right out. Sleep really can be a cure-all!
Now on to chores and breaky!

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I was getting ready to take the Boy to his last day of band this morning, was packing to go to Gramma's afterwords, and making sure the Girl practiced piano for her lesson this afternoon, when all of a sudden my shoulder blade started to seize up and I had terrible muscle spasms so bad I couldn't breathe. The kids helped me to bed, called everyone and cancelled all our plans for the day, fetched me a vicadin and 2 anti-inflamatories, made me drink a full glass of water, and tucked me into bed with my heating pad. They were so gracious about the activities they were missing, and so concerned about me being in pain. They then proceded to fold a couch-ful of laundry, do the dishes we left from last night's supper, made lunch for me and brought it to me on a tray, then do the lunch dishes, read their history, and practice their Latin chants. What amazing children I have! They are playing outside right now. They deserve a little fun.

I feel better- not 100 %, but better. I am not supposed to be on the computer, but sneaking it in while they are outside so they won't tell the Papa-Dude. My laptop now has internet, but other than that, it is bare. I need to get it back to normal, but that can wait. My shoulder feels better, but I am a bit down. So much for 8 weeks of massage therapy, hmmm? I will call the Dr. tomorrow and see what she suggests. Until then, I better get off this thing, and back onto the heating pad. Lucky I have a good book to keep me company- I am reading the Latin Centered Curriculum by Drew Campbell. Check out the site, and his blog. He is one of my daily reads.
P.S. If you talk to the Dude tonight, I was no where near the computer today, okay?! ;-)

Dy, thanks so much for the enjoyable phone visit today- that really helped. I was getting bored.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The ABC's of Me meme

"The ABCs of Me"

Accent - None that I know of, but I have picked up the use of Y'all, and that confuses folks sometimes.

Booze - Well, I am not supposed to drink right now, but things I used to like the taste of include Amaretto, wines, spiced rum with pineapple juice, gin and tonic.

Chore I hate - Cleaning up cat messes- hairball barf or worse-I make the kids do it since the cats are technically theirs.

Dog/cat - 3 wonderful cats, no dogs, but the Girl has 10 chickens.

Essential electronics - My laptop Computer, which currently has no internet, which I miss terribly!

Favorite perfume - Hmmm. I don't wear perfume due to allergies, but I do love Patchouli oil now and again.

Gold/silver - I have a large ring collection, which I never wear, due to arthritis in my fingers, but I love silver. I make lots of beaded jewlly, but give it all away.

Hometown - Tillamook, OR.

Insomnia - Most of the time.

Job title - Homeschool mom.

Kid(s)- One Boy, 14, and one Girl, 11.

Living arrangements - A 1943 Cape Cod style farmhouse on 1/2 acre that has a beautiful yard and lots of gardens, and still needs tons of remodeling inside, but who knows when it will be accomplished!

Most admirable trait - Well, if you need something I am there! I also really try not to gossip about anyone. Harder than it sounds!

Number of countries visited - Hmmm. Germany, Austria, Holland, Ireland, England, Belgium, France, Canada, North America. That makes 9.

Overnight hospital stays - I was in the hospital for nearly 2 months at birth. Just one as an adult, when my thyroid problem and seizure disorder were first being diagnosed. I hated it so much I had both babies at home!

Phobias - Heights, enclosed places, and poisionous bugs or snakes or scorpion-type creepy-crawlies.

Quote - "No matter where you go, there you are." from a fave mug.

Religion - Seeker. Not a *Christian.* Mostly just try to follow the Golden Rule.....

Siblings - 2 half-brothers, 2 half- sisters, and 1 sister.

Time you usually wake - 6:45-ish AM

Unusual talent - Hmmm. I can squish my nose down flat on my face, due to not having the proper amount of cartilidge there.

Vegetable I refuse to eat - None- haven't met one yet I don't like.

Worst habit - Nagging my kids!!!

X-rays - Just had my first mammogram, had some done after the car accident.

Yummy foods I make - Too many to list. I love to cook Indian food. I do seem to be one of those naturally good cooks. I get lots of compliments, and I like it.

Zodiac - Pisces.

I got this from Gerrie at Crazy for Fiber a while back. She does beautiful quilts, if you are interested in that kind of thing.

I won't tag anyone, just let me know if you do it on your blog, or put it in my comments.

You know what they say: Someone else's trash.........

Yesterday while cleaning off the topmost shelves in the 14 yr old Boy's room:

Mama: What's with all these dishes hiding up on this shelf?

Boy: I'll get them.

Mama: Yeah, that's what you said last month when we did this then. What's with the tiny black rocks in this orange cup?

Boy: Noooooooo, not THAT one!! That one has my fake caviar in it!

Mama: Fake Caviar?! What IS it?

Boy: I told you, it's my fake caviar, for when I need to pretend I have caviar.

Mama: You don't even LIKE caviar! What is it in real life?

Boy: Those are pieces of new asphalt road I got at a construction site. PLEASE don't throw them away, please, Mama. I NEED those!!

Mama: But Boy, they don't even look like caviar.

Boy: Yes, they do, if you imagine that they do. When you get them wet, they look just like caviar.

Mama: Sighing, Well, at least put them in a plastic baggie, so I can have my cup back.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Update, and fun at the convention

It has been a busy weekend. I didn't have internet access from Thursday night to Monday, so I just lived life instead of blogging about it, but I will try to do some for you now.

On Sunday, the four of us spent some time visiting Gramma, doing some yard work for/with her, and went to a party at the B family's home. We picked strawberries and rhubarb, and had wonderful crisp made from same. We also enjoyed smoked salmon and oysters (not me, I do not like them!).

On Thursday, we learned a lot about world views, and I had a wonderful philisophical discussion with some wonderful ladies. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and felt so energized by the conversations we had. Self-education can really be delightful.

On Friday and Saturday, the keedunks and I went to The WHO convention. It was a lot of fun and very informative. The kids listened to Jim Weis speak twice (without me- while I was listening to another speaker- and they behaved beautifully! Yay!), and I got some insight into creating homeschooling contracts with tweenagers, and accessing the community a bit more in your homeschool. I saw many people that I knew, and felt very reassured just being in the company of so many families who have made the same decision we have.

I spent a bit of money, but it was all on books for our next history cycle. We will be using History Odyssey for the Ancients time period. I bought as many of the books as I could find there. That way, I won't have to fork it all over in August, rather making the purchase of over $400. in books in increments. Some of the books (I won't link to them, but they are all described at the History Odyssey site.) I purchased were Greek Myths by Olivia Coolidge, Theras and His Town by Caroline Dale Snedeker, The Boys' and Girls' Herodotus by John S. White, and Modern Rhymes about Ancient Times- Ancient Greece, by Susan Altman & Susan Lechner. These are all required reading for one or the other children (and myself) for our ancients history course starting in September. I also have purchased the following books, at my local used curricula store, Homeschool Potpourri. These titles include The Aeneid and The Illiad both translated by Robert Fitzgerald, Plato's Republic and Last Days of Socrates, and The Epic of Gilgamesh by N.K. Sanders. I still have several more books to buy, but this is a goodly chunk of them.

I also purchased a few things from BrimWood Press, by the woman who taught the class on Thursday, and led our discussion that evening. Good stuff. I may write about them later, but in a nutshell, they support our history work.

Today the kids focused on cleaning their rooms thoroughly. It only took all day, and a couple of temper tantrums, but it got done, and they do look much better. Remind me to tell you a story about room-cleaning tomorrow. We will focus on tidying up the house this week, as next week we will be on vacation, and the week following that is the start of our summer term- you know, the one where I have to push them really hard so we can finish our books from this year and start on time in September. I hear-tell from the Principal-dude that he is giving me a teacher inservice day either at the end of this week or the beginning of next so I can prepare for our summer term. I need it!

That at least does it for a re-cap of the weekend. I just wanted to let you know I was still alive- Dy called me today a bit worried as she hadn't heard anything from me in a week! I am here, I am here!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Whirlwind History tour

Today we are off to the East Side very early. We are attending an all day worldview history class writen by the author of and based on this curriculum. Should be lots of fun, and hopefully we will learn something, too! I know I haven't been blogging much about school lately, but we are trying to finish up our study of American history so we can get back to the Ancients this fall. Right now the kids are studying the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and memorizing the Presidents. So this class today should be a nice review of 5000 yrs of history in a nutshell.

Also, very quickly, these are the movies we have watched this week. I am not linking to them, but check them out for yourself. The whole family (and yes, we are exposing our tweens to this stuff!) watched the first three: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Murder by Death, and Papa and I watched Dead Again (Dy, I think you would like this one!) last night. Good stuff.

Gotta go- the Boy is still in bed, dang it. Someone hand me a pitcher of water!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Busy Tuesday and allergies

Allergies! When I woke up this morning, my throat was (IS) so sore it hurts to talk. My eyelids are crunchy and heavy, I can't stop sneezing, my throat and ears itch really badly. Allergies!

We are supposed to have nature study, Redal has both playing tests at band and a horn lesson today. Busy day, and all I want to do is crawl back into bed! Sigh.

Gotta go roust the kids- I can tell they crawled back into bed like I want to, lol. I will try to blog without griping in a little while.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm still here

Hey all,
I apologize for not blogging lately. It has been crazy busy the last two weeks, and I am still parenting hot and heavy. I will try to blog a bit more regulary, but to be honest, I find it harder to blog on the old dinosaur in the basement, and really miss having internet on my laptop. It was much easier to blog wherever the kids were, plugging into whatever room I needed to be in, blogging while cooking, doing laudry, and teaching. Now I have to come down here into the dark, dank basement, and leave the kids to their own devices while I work on the computer. It just isn't conducive to free-flowing blogging, but I will try harder to make it a priority.

Friday, June 02, 2006


In fits and starts, in bits and pieces, here is at least the beginning of an update on this week. I will start with last weekend.
We spent Saturday and Monday at Folklife Festival. We took part in more drumming workshops, ate way too much good food, and listened to music from all over the world. We really enjoyed music from many regions of India this year.

On Sunday, Papa worked in the yard all day, the Girl tended to her chickens, the Boy played Legos, and I visited my Mom. It rained and poured hard all day.

We watched several movies this week. Out of six that I picked out, we watched five, and of those five, four were given the thumbs up. We saw Duane Hopwood (Do not waste your time or money on this one- Schwimmer did a good job, but did not portray a sympathetic character- especially if you and your movie date both happen to be adult children of alcoholics. Our only thumbs down vote.), Cassanova (very sweet and romantic telling of the story.), Elizabethtown (Orlando did a great job and Kirsten Dunce was great- what else is she in that I would like?), and Hoodwinked, which was funny and worth a laugh or two. A real beauty of a family movie was The Blue Butterfly, based on a true story. William Hurt did fab, as usual. We also rented Corpse Bride, which we didn't get around to watching. We Girls were willing to watch it, but the Boys vetoed it. Plus, we just plain ran out of time- 6 movies is too many at one time!

Well, I am not nearly done, but we all need to get to bed early tonight, as the Boy has a band concert competition and a field trip after that to Wild Waves. We (yes, I stupidly said yes when his band teacher asked me to chaperone, sigh.) will be gone from 6:45 a.m. until at least 7:00 p.m.. There are supposed to be hundreds of band students at the amusement park tomorrow- I may need a sedative tomorrow night! So, I will sign off now, and check in with you later.