Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 5th, 2013

Yesterday it was 80 degrees and we went to the park. Today, it's 34 degrees and looks absolutely miserable outside. No rain yet but I hear it's coming. Texas weather is so bizarre! While we were getting back in the car after playing in the park, Lily was telling me how sweaty and hot she was. I told her that it would be cold today and that if we ended up having to go anywhere, she'd probably get to go in her warm pajamas. I love her sweet response "Really, Mommy? In my pajamas?? Well, you're very nice. And you're very sweet." That sort of reaction more than makes up for all the times she says "You're not fair. That's very rude of you."

I thought Izzy would find it interesting to know we can make our own vanilla extract by putting vanilla beans in vodka. Apparently, tho, vanilla smells weird and it looks gross once it's in vodka. Who knew? I'm almost tempted to take a sip of the concoction to see if the vanilla makes vodka more palatable but... no. I'm not that brave. I'll just wait for it to turn a deep shade of brown and then I'll put it in everything I bake. :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 3, 2013

I used to think that I was fairly adept at multi-tasking. After all, how can a mother NOT end up with more than one project requiring attention at any given time? Lately, tho, it seems that I cannot get anything done. I start clearing a counter and before I'm done, my attention has been redirected to making a meal, starting someone on their school work, switching out a load of laundry, or fending off a dog's attentions. Briefly, I considered getting up at 6 every morning just to have time to start a project and get it well under-way before having to make breakfast/beds/school-plans/everything else. Pretty sure I abandoned that thought somewhere between "I could get up at 6" and "that would mean I should get to bed by 10pm." Neither one is going to happen. 

There's no way I'm going back to look but I'm fairly confident that I start every blog-year with lofty goals of decluttering, organizing, and becoming more thrifty. And I end each year with "well, that didn't work". This year will be no different. hahah! Oy...

School is going well. I'm not sure how many days into the year we are but it feels like FOREVER. haha! Reading is still slow-going but I feel like there's steady progress so I'm not discouraged. Lily still has her days when she doesn't want to co-operate at ALL but for the most part, she's learning something every day. She's just about abandoned her monster drawings for spelling words on every surface to which she has access. Today, she was far too quiet while I was reading aloud and I discovered her writing her name and ABCs on the leg of my antique table. Ugh. Thank goodness for magic erasers, right?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Adolescence: A modern plague, but there is a cure | The Matt Walsh Blog

Adolescence: A modern plague, but there is a cure | The Matt Walsh Blog

I've come across this topic a few times lately. I'm sure it's just coincidence but it hasn't escaped me that, 2-3 times a month, we have an opportunity to help one of these 'teenagers' grow into the adult he's meant to be. It's quite the challenge...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 17, 2013

We're in our second week of school and, taxing as it is, I feel so lucky to be able to home educate. I don't have a rigorous schedule of tests, reports, standards, or levels to administer/file/adhere to or otherwise get bogged down by. I know some 1st graders are already doing things we're not and some are still reviewing things we covered in pre-k "classes". There's such a range, depending on region, district, teacher preference that it amazes me. I'm so glad I can skip things that are too repetitive, introduce new things when the opportunity arises, and move at a pace that suits us. Lily can join Izzy for nature study, spelling, science, and reading time, moving along to other things when necessary.

Here's where we stand on subjects: (So I can look back at the end of the year and see if anything has changed)

Math - Izzy still doesn't care much for the repetitive nature of it, Lily has a pretty firm grasp of numerical value
Science - I think this is Izzy's favorite. She loves drawing pictures representing whatever we've just read about. Lily listens pretty closely.
Spelling - Izzy still hesitates to READ words but seems to like all the word/letter games. Lily likes to yell out the letter sounds.
Literature - We're reading "All of a kind family" right now. I think the chapters are a bit long for the girls but we'll move on to something else when it's done. Izzy has already requested more "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle". I think she likes to hear about kids getting outsmarted.
Nature Study - We're coloring pictures of birds, reading about what they eat and where they live. Lily likes to color all her birds jet black.
History - We're moving right along with "A Child's History of the World". I really like the way it's written and it sparks some great conversations and artwork. Lily just thinks it's about The Croods so far. haha. We're not doing an official geography class but we look at the globe/maps when we read our history chapter and try to make note of what part of the world is being discussed and how it differs from other regions.
Bible - We started our kid Torah over again and we're trying to memorize verses each week. Might have to change that to a verse every 2 weeks.
Handwriting - I think Izzy prefers HWOT to the SCM copybook but that's probably because the script is different. My bad. Lily is working really hard at her letter/number writing and is becoming more strongly left-handed every day. :)
French - We're watching the Little Pim dvds. I think I like them more than the kids do but we'll just keep using them and see how it goes. I kind of wish I had saved the money I've spent on little things like picture dictionaries, music cds, etc. and just put it into Rosetta Stone. Then the girls would have been able to use the computer and would have thought they'd hit the jackpot. haha

Here's something that is perpetually frustrating to me: we have no designated class/work area. I hesitate to take over the playroom bc it would mean getting rid of a lot of toys or having to brainstorm a new storage system. I am always considering both of those things but I just don't feel up to the challenge right now.

A Google search just makes me feel worse. I mean, really...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 22nd, 2013

In 2 weeks, we start school again. I don't remember now exactly why I picked the 9th as a good starting point. I think some of it was just waiting till after Daddy's birthday/Rosh Hashanah but now I feel like we should have started this week. I've got 3 weeks of lesson plans done and I just want to START ALREADY. It occurred to me today that I could at least start with Torah reading, hand writing, and craft work. Ease into it a bit, I suppose. Maybe they won't rebel this way... haha

My brain is tired. I am tired. I am ready for summer to be over so we can start school and get back into a routine but I'm still a little resentful that we had no time off as a family this summer. At least with home schooling, we might be able to take a long weekend at some point and road trip somewhere.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22, 2013


This month started off really well. A new, adorable nephew was born on the 4th. School has gone well - Izzy is getting more confident in her reading capabilities, Noah is following directions better, Lily is... Lily. 

Oh wait. My cough got crazy again at the end of last month so I spent a couple hours on April 1st getting that checked out and picking up meds. Ok, so maybe not 'really well' PERSONALLY but in other, more extended ways, this month started off nicely. 

And then craziness. The bombing in Boston that struck a whole new fear into people's hearts. The explosion in West that damaged so much of a small town. The man-hunt for the bombers that locked a city inside their own homes for hours. An earthquake in China that, last I saw, had claimed more than 160 lives. 

On a more personal level, this cough is still not going away, I'm always short of breath, and someone rear-ended me yesterday morning. I already dislike getting up and leaving the house by 7:30 in the morning. Hitting me at a stop light, while running a last minute errand before class-time was just MEAN.

I think I'm ready for April to be over already. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013

With Passover starting tonight, this coming week presents interesting challenges. What to make for meals? What should our educational focus be? Will this be the year that kitniyot is also avoided?

 I can pretty much answer that last one: no. While I gravitate towards the Ashkenazi practices in most ways, avoiding legumes, corn, rice, peas, and the like during the week of Passover is just more than I can really see us accomplishing. We're already a mildly picky bunch... don't take away our corn and peas!

 I figure this is a pretty good week to start the 100 Days of Mini-Pledges from 100 Days of Real Food, though. After all, if we can't have noodles, bread, crackers, biscuits, bagels, tortillas, or cereal, what else can we do but eat more fruits and veggies? Right? We will never be this regular again. Roughage, ho!

 Honestly, I'm looking forward to the Week 2 challenge - real drinks. Coffee, tea, water, and milk. Juice once a week, wine once a day. (yes!) I HAVE to have this glass of Moscato, kid. It's like you taking your gummy vitamins. I don't make these rules, I just abide by 'em. Ok, I know she actually advises red wine but... you know. Sometimes it just doesn't go with the meal.

 I'm not sure I can cut out sugar as a sweetener but I do miss making my own creamer with maple syrup so I'll just suck it up and follow the rules. Hot tea with honey sounds fantastic right now. I can see where this is going. I will do like I did with the de-cluttering project (which is still ongoing. I'm just not good at updating!) and end up mashing all kinds of week-specific challenges together into one week and then I'll get confused and stop.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 6, 2013

More often than I would really care to admit, I feel an overwhelming sense of falling behind. This year, I've been attempting to take better control of finances (um. Yikes.), cleaning (ack!), and just over-all time management (ha!). And just for emphasis: HA!

What do you do when you're trying to follow the 'never leave a room empty handed' guideline and your children seem to be following the same rule,  but in a bit of a reverse mode? Look, I've just got these two hands! And between my 2 kids, they've got what seem to be 8. You can imagine the effect that has on one's morale. 

I currently have 2-3 trash bags full of items to either take to Goodwill or put in a yard sale. I'm leaning toward a one-day yard sale and then whatever doesn't go, Goodwill can have. I just need it gone. There's this habit of hanging on to a thing in case it becomes useful again - dumb. Or hanging on to items in case someone else needs them - uh, what? If someone needs them, they will find it AT GOODWILL. Right? Yeesh, self. 

I'm trying to build a little garden area in the back yard but I'm just not sure how well it will go. About 60% of my seedlings that I repotted once they were 2-3 inches tall have been decimated by... something. I'm guessing birds or rabbits. Either way, I am not pleased. I understand that the lettuce had little to know chance out there but my zinnias and marigolds? Really guys??

One of my nephews has started coming over a couple of times a week for school/play time. He's somewhere between Lily and Izzy in familiarity with letters/numbers, which I think is actually kinda good. I'm hoping that working with him on being more confident in recognizing letters/numbers will help Lily be more interested in actively learning. As it is, all of her education has been passive so far. Not that I expect any different with a 3 year old, I'm just excited to get her on the path to active learning. Izzy loves this new arrangement... I think it thrills her to have a classmate to share in the fun.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

January 3, 2013

The year is 3 days old and I'm just now gonna try to put together a goal list. Last year's list went pretty well, I think. 7 Serious Things and 6 Fun Things and I think I really only failed one of the 'fun' things: watching Gilmore Girls again. Well, maybe I failed at my spending diet a bit but since we only attempt to cut back and don't set specific limits (this frustrates me), it's hard to tell. 

This year, I think I'll go for 7 and 7. 

7 Are the Days of Creation

1. Organize the office
2. Clean the garage. 
3. Paint the play room. 
4. Spend less!
5. Start First Grade with a SMILE. 
6. Paint the shed. 
7. Declutter 2013!

7 Like the Wonders of the World

1. More date nights. 
2. Open a booth at an antique mall.
3. Create real flower beds in front and back.
4. Play outside more!
5. Replace the play house.
6. Take more walks. 
7. Walk the dogs... more? at all. haha

I'm pretty confident that this will be a productive year, at least with one of those lists. haha. I've started the de-cluttering and organizing process and while it sometimes seems like surely we could knock it out in a few weeks, I'm attempting to be more realistic and keep in mind that it will absolutely take all year. And then I can start the process over again next year, right? It's the list that keeps on... listing...