Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fire - and a Limbo Contest

In our homeschool this week...
We caught things on fire.
Different chemicals burn with different colored flames.
Our $30 chemistry set was a BRILLIANT purchase - if I do say so myself.

Then, my youngest son won a limbo contest in his public school music class. That meant he got to move on and compete against all the other class winners - in front of the entire school. The teacher told him to "go home and practice." Boy, he took THAT homework seriously! My living room was limbo central all week long. I need to find a way to excite him this much about History...or Writing...or long division...
Competition day came on Friday, and that little stinker won second place. Guess all his practice paid off.

It's actually been a perfect school week. We only had two days of "normal school" and then we started Spring Break. Because the boys still went to Music and Gym classes at the public school all week, we will have 3 days next week where I don't have to STOP and drive someone to class. (which means slightly shorter days and long stretches of focused time) *big happy sigh*

In my life this week...
After a bit of a Valentine's flop (in his defense, we were traveling), Clay declared that I should have a birthday MONTH. Yep, you read that right.
On March 1, he gave me a birthday card to start everything out.
He was intentional about planning (and taking me on) a few dates, and I often got to hear the beautiful words, "Well, it's YOUR birthday you pick."

I gotta say, I've been impressed - and it all came to a peak Thursday. (on my actual birthday)
I woke up to 4 birthday cards.
It was sweet.
Of course, 3 of them were along THIS line:
This card was from my nephew who is visiting us for a few days...
Evan told me HE picked it out, but let his cousin give it to me.
The fourth card  I received was handed to me by my little shmoozer.

It was sappy and sentimental -  I was sniffling and struggling to focus through tears before I had finished the front cover. He also hand-wrote a special note. (I'm telling you, he's "good".)
I would show you the handwritten note, but he wrote it in pen and messed up a bit (and since I'm a competitive homeschool mom, I'll stick to showing you only the impressive or funny stuff.)
*Can you see me rolling my eyes at myself?*

I also was honored by three Lego sculptures.
Happy B-Day
Lego Mom...with very pointy perky boobs.
A Flower...and a note that says "Top of the Morning To You".
I think Micah has turned Irish.
I pretty much ATE my way through the special day. Omelet breakfast made by friends, Taco Bell bean burrito for lunch bought by other friends, a few hours - without food- with other friends (but it was food for my soul, I tell ya) and THIS:

Thank you Pinterest!
Yep, you are seeing that correctly. My men took cake batter and poured it in the waffle iron to make me a chocolate waffle ice cream sandwich. We froze the leftovers for later...and I think they will be perfect stuffed with mint chocolate chip ice cream and maybe drizzled with chocolate. *drool* My oldest thought they still needed a layer of icing or whipped cream. (gotta say, that's not a bad idea either)

Well, if you were hoping to get great homeschool ideas from this post, you are stuck with waffles...or maybe the limbo. I was obviously WAY too wrapped up in my wonderful day to focus on much of anything else.
I've decide that my birthday should happen once a month if I can keep getting treated like this. I don't even care if it means I'll be 80 in two years with birthdays that frequent - I think it might be worth it.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Solution for Artwork Clutter Blues

I read a blog about "Organizing Your Kid's Schoolwork" 
It was a good blog, but I have a different approach that might also come in handy.
I was going to share my helpful hints in the comments of her blog, but thought, "Wait! She blogged about organization...people blog about all kinds of things...maybe, just maybe, this idea is blog-worthy."
So here we go...

I was an art major in college. I know what it is like to be attached to something that I have worked on for hours and hours. I made a LOT of very large, very awkward-to-store-or-put-in-a-portfolio art projects. I had a storage dilemma.

Fast-forward 20 years. I am a mom.
Trying to get children to part with anything is difficult. I have even "heard" that some moms wait until the kids are gone (or napping) to stealthily hide items in the deep depths of the garage trashcan.
*flashback memory of one boy DISCOVERING said items in bottom of trashcan...*

When facing this oh-so-familiar artwork dilemma, I tend to apply the solution I discovered in college:
I keep the most recent artwork (and one or two frameable favorites) on display. Then, when it is time for a project to get buried in the basement, put in a drawer, or stuck in a folder - I take a picture of it instead. 
Viola! A keepsake for all a digital file or arranged neatly (and miniaturized) in a photo album.
The large photo was a drawing that was originally 24x30 inches.
I photographed it and printed it 12 inches wide to put in a  portfolio. (Items can be printed out any size.)
This concept can be applied to any clutter keepsake that needs to be remembered, but takes up too much room. ((LEGO creations, baby outfits, well-worn toys)

I have discovered that including my boys in the photo-taking process is beneficial. It allows them to capture their projects in a NEW artistic way - which helps them release the need to hang on to the original version.

I hope this little solution helps solve some of your schoolwork chaos conundrums (and cleans up your basement a bit).

Added bonus: If desired, the photos can be given to your children as well as kept by you so everyone can re-live those special memories for years to come.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

For me?

"Look what my yo-yo string did...It's for YOU!" 

I'm a sucker for a loving gesture...and he knows it.
Not that he isn't a sweetheart - he is...
But sometimes he does things JUST so I'll sappily sigh "Aaaaaw" and hug all over him.
He knows how to make an impact...and he plays me like a violin.

I am praying now for the day when he realizes that this super-power might actually work on OTHER girls  - who aren't his Mama. God be with us.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What I Learned This Week...

This is a comic strip my son created yesterday. 
He said, "Mom, I'm not sure that you will like it, but Dad and Evan think it's hilarious."

click on image to enlarge it if you can't read it
(Proud art teacher moment: happy with the different perspectives he chose.)
This week, I learned that the testosterone-filled humans in my life have rubbed off on me. This "Absurdly Painful" cartoon made me giggle. I think I may need to put on something pink and go watch Anne of Green Gables...

What is working...

I LOVE to "interact" with my prayer journal.
I don't just write. I doodle, I scribble, I make block letters..and I draw stick figures.
Call me artsy-fartsy, but I gotta express myself.

So, while stalking reading this homeschool blog, I stole got a BRILLIANT idea.
I decided the timing was right to give our boys their very own prayer journals.
I started off by showing them mine.
My oldest shrugged, took an ordinary pencil, and quietly disappeared to write a verse down (so he could finish the journal "assignment" and then pray to God without using any sort of writing utensil).

But my youngest, HOO BOY! He grabbed a selection of multi-colored pens and Went. To. Town.
All week, he has disappeared with his journal when he was happy, processing, sad, angry...
We've found an outlet for all that emotion!
He has always been a bit flighty when it comes to interacting with God or FOCUSING on Biblical concepts...but I think we found a method that resonates with him.
Simple, sweet, pictorial conversations with God.
(He showed me his journal - one entry had a tornado drawn in his mind, complete with cow mooing as it flew through the air. It was next to request that God take away the anger he was feeling.)

He is VOLUNTARILY writing A LOT. (He usually fights me when I make him write more than a paragraph.) So, I learned this week that what energizes me can ALSO energize my kids.
They aren't "babies" anymore. I need to let them into my grown-up world.
I also learned that there IS ALWAYS A WAY to reach them...sometimes I just have to keep digging to find it.

In our homeschool this week...
We CRANKED up the theme to Ghostbusters...and went hunting for prepositions.

Pinterest led me to this little jewel of a lesson. 
Lollipops wrapped in Kleenex with faces - and then I hid them.
When my boys found them, they wrote sentences using prepositional phrases.
"I found a ghost under the chair in the dining room."
They could not repeat a preposition.

I thought it might be "below" the level of my 5th grader, but my 3rd grader NEEDS this kind of kinesthetic activity. He has no space in his mind for subjects taught by rote.
Instead, he remembers that we play Adjective Eye Spy, and that Conjunction Junction does have a function. (School House Rock in the car has been our grammar salvation.)
And now, when I want him to remember prepositions, I'll just say, "I ain't afraid of no ghost," and he'll remember searching for ghosts all over the house "under, around or above" other items.
The thing is, my 5th grader ALSO had a lot of fun with the song - and hunting ghosts.
So, this week I learned (again) that it's always good to do something a bit goofy and different.
I love to be silly in life, and I need to be silly in school too.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Husband, The Saint.

Last night, I was snarky to my husband.
I only saw him for a few moments...and they were a bit "tense".

He pointed out my bad attitude.
I deflected. "I didn't mean to be harsh, why are you being so sensitive?"
We dropped it.

Well, apparently I didn't drop it...because I fought with him All. Night. Long. 
Yep, my dreams convicted me. Vague arguments, hazy frustration, a night of yucky half-conscious emotion.
I woke up exhausted...and sad.

So my husband started this morning with a wife who cried and sniffled on his shoulder before he went to work. I felt disconnected. I needed things "fixed", but he had to go.

"This is horrible!" I said. "I had a bad attitude last night, and now I'm a splotchy mess of tears and emotion. You shouldn't have to go to work and think of THIS all day."

"Yep, " he replied, "I get to think of a hot mess all day long..." (I winced) "but since you are a HOT mess, I think I can handle it." *he winked* 

And with that...everything was OK.
A man of few words...but he sure knows how to pick the right ones.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

10 Things: Homeschool Blog Link-ups

This silly little blog-o-mine led me down a path where I discovered OTHER Homeschool Mom Blogs. They have blog parties where they link-up with each other.
At first, I thought it was genius! All those blogs in ONE PLACE.
Then, 10 hours later when my eyes were blurry from staring at the screen and reading blogs all night...I started to re-evaluate this whole process.
I still love the link-ups to discover interesting, fresh ideas - and (probably more honestly) some good laughs,  but here are some other discoveries I made while traveling through homeschool cyberspace:

  • I want to KISS the moms who are SPECIFIC with their blog titles. If they label their link "Mod-podge activity for 4th graders" rather than "Homeschool Week #52"...they AT LEAST deserve a medal (since a kiss from me might be a bit off-putting to some.) No offense to the mothers of preschoolers, but I've been there, done that, and don't have time to read about it all again. I need to know which links are the most beneficial use of my time.
  • Other stay-at-home-moms need adult interaction (and someone to be interested in their school activities) just as much as I do. (And I can be pretty hard up some days.) 
  • In a list of blogs, I am much more likely to read a blog named "I School Crazy People" than something called "Biblical Mommyhood."   I have enough serious in my life. I'm happy to learn something new...but while you teach, could you try to make me giggle? 
  • Some Mom-bloggers are just plain CLEVER. My school has gotten WAY more interesting since I started stealing learning from other teachers. The creativity in the projects is awe-inspiring. No, I should say it's actually enough to inspire...LEARNING. *big happy sigh*
  • Speaking of clever inspiration, some of these homeschool bloggers are FUNNY. I am a much better sidekick than I am a headliner. I'm always ready with a clever retort, but some of these moms should go on the road. They approach a blank screen and leave it giggling with humorous homeschool fodder.
  • I love Google Reader! If I find a fellow mom who "gets" me, I can get updates without having to re-find that little link over and over and over again.
  • Reading "highlights of the week" from someone else's homeschool can be detrimental to a fragile homeschool mom psyche. (At least I GUESS it could be...ahem) Highlights don't often include bored moments, arguments, or assignment flops. Pretty photos of smiling kids and active, creative, inspiration can be hard to look at if your hair is sticking up on end and children have been sent to opposite corners of the house. 
  • I find myself glancing down a blog looking for pictures and links that look interesting or helpful. (I guess I should make sure I include a picture or a link when I write my own blog if I want people, like myself, to stick around and read MORE.)
  • I love Homeschool Moms. I love their hearts. I love their effort. I love their failures. I love their desire to help others. I love their adoration for their kids. I love their struggles. I just love that these moms let me climb into their worlds...and I hope a few choose to climb back into mine.
This list is linked up with Top Ten Tuesday and Hip Homeschool Hop

Out Loud Faith

Photo Rights
I want to live Deuteronomy 6. 
When speaking about God's Words, it says:
 "7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

I'm thinking about this topic because of a friend's blog.
Feel free to read it yourself. 
She says, "Its a long one. Get a drink first."

It WAS long...but it challenged me.
Stephanie survives life by clinging to scripture. 
She is weak, but God's Word makes her strong...and she is passing this knowledge to her children.
While homeschooling them, she uses the Bible for her textbook as much as possible.
I love that. 

I want my boys to turn to Scripture for answers to EVERYTHING.
I want them to know the Word of God and meditate on it day and night. can they learn this habit if I am not modeling it for them?
How will they know to find answers in God's Word if I don't SHOW them?

Right now, my children are immature in their faith.
Honestly, they experience the Holy Spirit most often through the faith of their father and I (or other church leaders). When I focus on that fact, I feel an urgency to SHARE my Holy-Spirit-moments with them more often.
We encourage our boys to listen for God's direction on their own (and sometimes, God does move in "forced-to-be-alone-with-God-by-Mom" moments), but that is not the "norm" right now.
It's OK , we are still discipling them toward God.

This week, I am challenged to SHARE every time I experience God (even subtly) in my day.
I am also challenged to admit moments when I depend on self (rather than God) - when everything explodes.
I am challenged to spontaneously PRAY OUT LOUD in front of my kids - not just quietly in my head or at the dinner table or before we start our day.
I am challenged to QUOTE SCRIPTURE in the face of weakness or conflict (which means I need to know and learn scripture!).

My faith needs to be visible.
When I see the faith of others, I get exhilarated.
God wants to use me to motivate others as well. He wants me to have an "Out Loud" faith. do something about all these challenges.
Am I up for it? No.
Good thing I'm not alone in this.
Lord, help me live my faith OPENLY.
Please give me a thirst for you, a unquenchable desire to KNOW you (and your Word), and the wisdom to always seek your will.
Only through YOU is it possible.
Thank you that it IS possible.

Monday, March 19, 2012


I watched a video by Francis Chan while washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen last week. He said a few things that made me think, but this verse took the cake (while it was halfway up to my mouth):

Ezekiel 16:49-50  “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen."

Famous Sodom (whom God destroyed) - "arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."
*crickets chirping*
I was speechless (for a moment).

No more jokes about my pants getting tight. (No more today, anyway.)
There is nothing wrong with having plenty of food to eat,
BUT I have become acutely aware - and gently reminded (with a flick to the noggin)- to be vigilant and alert...and always evaluating my family's attitude about the "blessing of excess" that we have been given.

I embedded the video - just in case you have an hour while you are folding clothes or cleaning the kitchen or something...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

In my life this week...
This post should just say, "Zzzzzzzzzzz...."
I'm tired due to excessive SUNSHINE. It makes me skip, and walk, and play, and clean...
No worries, it's a good's just my muscles revolting after months of lethargy.

At least it was a good tired for most of the week.
My husband has been gone, and today the tired took a different track. We ALL  (the boys and I) hit the "living without Dad" proverbial wall.
I need reinforcements. The boys need to wrestle...
We are tired of holding down the fort.

I started my week out laughing at this cartoon and ended the week feeling a bit like this Mom..:
Comic by Todd Wilson (author of The Official Book of Homeschool Cartoons)

My boys haven't had issues with fractions...but I have DEFINITELY felt that I might die trying before they "get" that I want them to LOVE each other in their responses...or clean up their sports equipment...or eat with their mouths over their plates...or quit complaining about writing...or...
I love a good laugh.
I love that this comic reminds me that I'm not dead yet...and I still have tomorrow - after Prince Charming returns.

This week in homeschool...
We supplemented our curriculum with a bit of Pinterest school.
I only recently discovered this handy little tool. Everything I stumble across on blogs or Google located in ONE PLACE? Jackpot!
So, here are some of the ideas that I stole pinned from others and USED this week:

We did sentence diagramming: 

We celebrated Pi Day (March know, 3.14)

We compared finding the perimeter of a square with finding the circumference of circle.

Found a great little lesson online which EXPLAINS what Pi is. Good times.

We made not one, but TWO pies on Pi Day.
Pumpkin for Big and Chocolate Peanut Butter for Little.
After EATING two pies, the circumference of our waistlines probably increased by AT LEAST 3.14...

And good thing Daddy is finally getting he can "help" dispose of the school projects.

We had Art Club again this week.
I teach a once-a-month class to make sure my children do "proper" art on occasion. (They draw comics, build Legos and construct cardboard guns ALL THE TIME...but those only kind-of "count")

This week, the art element we covered was TEXTURE.
The artists we discussed were Van Gough, Jackson Polluck and Anselm Kiefer.
We also came up with ALL KINDS of methods for creating textures:
Crayon/Chalk rubbings
Torn/folded paper
Patterns and shading 

Found objects 

We talked about painting over the found objects to make them cohesive

Glue Art (draw with glue and let dry, paint over it
and put some shoe polish on it to help glue stand out)

Of course, we discussed:
Adding sand and grasses to paint (like Keifer)
Splatter painting (like Polluck)

And finally, I introduced them to a technique called
Quilling (or filagree) where paper is rolled to make neat things like this:

Click here for instructions
at Dick Blick 's website
I CAN'T WAIT to see the finished projects...and to spend this month MAKING them.
Woo hoo!

Things I'm thinking about...
I'm thinking that this blog gets really long on Fridays when I highlight the "extra" projects we do in a week.
I get so excited as I look back and realize all the fun we had (that too often gets forgotten under piles of worksheets and grading and whining about writing assignments).
I love being part of the learning process.
I love learning a little more each day myself.
Now, I'm off to blog-stalk and steal pin some more GREAT ideas from other teachers and moms who want the best for their students as well.

Monday, March 12, 2012


We've been reading the Bible as a family.
When we read parables in Matthew, I explained their meanings to our boys.
While reading the parables again in Mark, I was looking for a different message to "share with the kids"...and I got smacked in the head myself. *Why does that always happen?*

If you are unfamiliar with the "parable of the sower" in chapter four, here is an excerpt where Jesus explains His main points:
Mark 4:13-20 New International Version (NIV)
 13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

I wonder if my family could actually HEAR the sound when verse 20 hit me. (It was a pretty hard slap.) My life is supposed to be producing a CROP - maybe thirty, sixty, or a hundred times what was sown. *eyebrows lifted, eyes big*

I know I haven't been unfruitful. I know God will produce fruit as I make disciples out of my little boys...but I need to teach my children more than how to bring up a couple little disciples of their own.
I need to be an example of how God MULTIPLIES what He has sown.

What if I am someone God wants to use 100 fold? What about 1000 fold?
  • Do I need to let God change my language so that EVERYONE I meet (not just the people who read my blog) sees Jesus in my life?
  • Do I need to let God change my lifestyle so that EVERYONE (even my own children and husband) see Jesus in my actions?
  • How does a "good soil" believer live?
I've been a bit of a lethargic believer the last few weeks. I've gotten consumed by my own life, the worries of this world, and desires for other things. I have not been proactive about getting out in the fields so God can sow more seeds through me.

Sounds weird, but I want to be a big ol' patch of poison ivy.
Hard to kill, spreading like wildfire...and infecting anyone who rubs up against me. (OK, so here the analogy breaks down a bit...I want to infect others with the love of Chist...not itchy, seeping bumps.)

Poison Ivy photo found on Flickr, taken by Mullica

It's amazing how God uses scripture that I've read over and over and over again to get me off my butt open my eyes in brand new ways. I hope you are spending time in His Word so He can give you a smack help you to grow as well.
Have a GREAT day growing deeper roots...and infecting those around you.

Friday, March 9, 2012

My New Habit

Last Friday, I summarized my homeschool week in a blog post.
It was cathartic. It made me realize I do a few things well. I think I need to make it a habit.
So, here goes:

This week I read...The Shadow Children series to preview it for my 5th grader.
(Yep, all seven books.)
Book 2 had a slight romantic twist at one point. It's the only section of the series that deals with romance - and it irritated me. My husband laughed as I quipped, "I don't mind if someone gets shot, but WHY did they have to put that part in about kissing?" (Guess that tells you what I'm most worried about my boys facing in this world.)
I decided to allow my son to read the series...and we are discussing each section as he goes.

Side note: I was reminded (again) that I should not be allowed to read fiction.. Nothing gets done if I have a good book (or 7) least THIS time I could say it was "for the sake of my children!"

In Our Homeschool...
Our family has been obsessed with Schoolhouse Rock lately. It's the only thing I will let them watch/listen to in the car. It amazes me how much actual knowledge is crammed into those entertaining videos.

I shared here about a brainstorming activity we recently did to name the "new-to-us" car containing the DVD player. This week, the boys learned that brainstorming can lead to further "breakthroughs" that never made the original list. We had Lolly on our list as a potential name (from a Schoolhouse Rock video); but as we drove around running errands, we played off that idea and decided that Mr. Morton was a better fit.

Mr. Morton is a big, respectable guy with a white top and a cinnamon-colored tie...and he finds a family with whom he can live "happily ever after". It's a perfect name for our big, respectable car with a white top and cinnamon body who found our family to live with - happily ever after. "Welcome to the family, Mr. Morton!"

Math/English/Social Studies
Our boys take gym and music at the local elementary school.
Because of this partial enrollment, they were required to participate in Indiana's state testing this week. This meant that I had a few hours of quiet coffee drinking (while I tried not to get an ulcer).
My oldest has "been there, done that, and scored well", but my youngest spent the week a bit worried - and Mama felt it. I discovered that I should NEVER go grocery shopping when I am deep in prayer over my children. I came home with a cart-full of junk food. Cheese puffs, snack cakes, Sprite...I didn't even realize how much I slipped in the cart "for the boys" until I got home and looked around.
They have no doubt I was thinking about them. I bought enough that they would almost agree to taking state tests EVERY week if the pay-off was always this good.

With all the "serious" testing, we had some fun in other areas this week.
We pulled out the book, American Adventures: True Stories from America's Past, 1770-1870; and read about the Orphan Train, camels used by the American military, and Emperor Norton (the emperor of San Diego).

American Adventures: True Stories from America's Past, 1770-1870

We also read excerpts from American History Mysteries (grades 4-8). A grandfather and his 2 grand-kids travel the USA solving historical mysteries.

My youngest thrives on this kind of history. He really paid attention to the camel stories since he loves animals, and the mysteries were relational enough that he climbed right into the interactions. (My oldest just loves ANYTHING history-related...he's easy in this area.)

Geography - 
We played a few rounds of "Defend the Country" for Geography.
It is not a game you can buy at the store. It is a game my husband made up (at bedtime no less, so the boys could be RILED up before he threw them in bed.)
I digress...It is the PERFECT way to teach little boys Geography.
We have a 5 foot wide world map hanging on my son's wall.
We also have a set of GEO cards. The cards are not necessary if you are more geographically knowledgeable than I am. (My kids once asked me where Lower Slabobia was, and I had to pause a second before I realized that Slabobia is NOT an actual country. At least it was only a second...they kept the babysitter busy for at LEAST 15 minutes.)
GEOTOYS GEO-116 GeoCards World
At first, Clay would say, "See if you can hold your finger on Brazil for 3 seconds while I defend the country."
The boys would then find Brazil on the map index, use the grid to locate the country, and put their finger on it...all while their father was jostling them, or tackling them, and making the task quite difficult. They worked as a team and got quite good at knowing their countries without having to use the grid.
After learning that Georgia is more than a state in the south, we started having races to see who could locate (and yell out) the CAPITAL of a country first.
Today I said, "What is the capital of...UGANDA?!" They pushed each other, threw stuffed animals to distract each other...and giggled a lot while being "educated" about Africa. (Warning: this game should only be played when children and parents are in good moods...otherwise it can get a bit violent - "game over.")

I've been thinking about...spring projects, warm weather and school outside on the porch. We had a few days of sunshine and 60 degree temperatures this week which got me skipping down the driveway and dreaming about daily meals cooked on the grill.
I think my dreams are a little ahead of reality, so I'll just grab another cup of coffee and let my planning for warmer days carry over into excitement for TODAY.

Have a good weekend!

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Thursday, March 8, 2012

About That Hair...

My oldest son wears his coat with the collar tucked in so he looks like a hunchback.
It's not a purposeful choice - it's just what tends to happen.
I don't know how it can possibly be comfortable. Actually, it probably isn't - but the discomfort is worth the inconvenience of fussing with it.

I'm fighting the same losing battle when it comes to the long hair that my boys choose to keep. Both of them  look GREAT when they have recently showered and let their shaggy hair air-dry. It ends up all flippy, and shiny, and adorable.
BUT (there's always a but)... they play sports each night, come home all sweaty, and take a shower right before GOING TO BED. They wake up clean - and with bedhead that would give Don King a run for his money.
Each day, their hair is in a new configuration. I should probably document their morning manes...I'm sure we could win money if we found just the right kind of competition...
Unfortunately, my boys are content to spritz a little water on the top of their heads (because I MAKE them); and then they go out in public looking fuzzy and disheveled every single day.

I already discussed here that they have no shame, so they see no need to jump in the shower and tame their somewhat-golden-locks. Even the thought of sticking their head under a faucet is daunting to them - and the ONE spot that ends up wet if they DO bend over the sink never ends up being the lopsided, sticky-up part anyway.

I really can't complain.
It's my own stinkin' fault. Well, it's my fault - AND that handsome man that I've been sleeping with. (It's OK, we're married.) We have apparently been quite successful over the last eleven years as we strategically convinced our boys that they don't need to impress girls until they are ready to marry them - and that any boy who cares more about their attire than their attitude isn't a friend worth having.

I should be happy, I know.
But is it so wrong to want the best of BOTH worlds? Healthy kids AND "flippy and adorable" hair in the pictures I take to scrapbook for all eternity? How nice would it be to have pictures that my sons WON'T look back at and say, "Mom, did you REALLY allow me to walk around looking like that as a child?"

Oh well, off I go to get my camera. Might as well EMBRACE our current situation (and see if I can win some money in the meantime.)

Monday, March 5, 2012

I'm a Cheerleader


If I'm a cheerleader, my job is to cheer for my team.
It doesn't matter if they aren't winning the game.
It doesn't matter if they miss every basket.
It doesn't matter if they step out of bounds EVERY time.
I need to look for each tiny success and CHEER.
If I can't find ANY successes...I must encourage them toward success.
Maybe they just need someone to believe in them...

I may never have put on a short skirt and waved pom-poms in public, but the uniform is not what matters.
As a Christian job is to cheer...not criticize.
As a Christian job is to cheer...not control.
As a Christian in a world of other struggling people (both Christian AND non-Christian) job is to cheer...not judge.

I want to take my job seriously.
I don't want to buy into a culture that looks for another team when things aren't going their way.
I want to be a fan of my husband and my children even when they aren't doing "their" jobs.

I grew up a Cleveland Brown's fan, so being a die-hard fan is not foreign to me.
I want to apply this concept to the rest of my life as well - faithfully.

I want you to know that I am also on your team...and I'm here to cheer.
If you need me to, I might even be willing to buy some pom-poms.

God Bless,

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Even Our Cars Get Nicknames

We had a 1991 Buick Century that we called Li'l Brudder.
He was 18 years old and just kept "scrapin' along".  He was "such a trooper."
He had "the heart of a Champion." 
We joked that he was going to be in NASCAR someday.

That nickname (and our comments) came from the following Strongbad Email Video:

If you think less of my family after watching that video. I understand. 
Strongbad can be an acquired taste.
We actually had a Red Ford Windstar van that we named Strongbad. (My husband went through a stage where he was quite hooked on this Internet cartoon.)
Well, we recently traded Strongbad (the van) in for a "new to us" Ford Flex.
Is this picture blurry or is it just me?
As part of school yesterday, we did a brainstorming activity to properly name this new member of the family. (He/she will probably be with us for the next 18 the name needs to fit.)

Below is a list of name choices – and the reason why we picked them:

Big Red or Big Cinnamon – the car is big and cinnamon colored
The Clown or Bozo Jo – because it's “funny looking” a clown!
Lolly – schoolhouse rock plays through the radio...on every trip we take in it (Lolly, Lolly, Lolly get your adverbs here...)
Mr. Sunshine – it has sunroofs
Milky way – it is roomy, SPACE-ious. (like outerspace)
Jupiter – (biggest planet, still space themed - must always be said in a goofy voice)
Mars - (spacey and red)
Snob - not sure my family is "yuppy" enough to ride in this boxy vehicle.
Flexy, Flexmeister, Flexinator - (Like Dr Doofenshmirtz from Phineus and Ferb)
Dr. Doof's Flexinator -  (Doof for short)
Money bags, The Drain - (all our money goes into the drain)
Uptight-inator, No-Burgers (said as one word) - We aren't allowed to eat in it - per Dad
Cookie - (as in: don't lose your cookies in it, don't EAT any cookies in it, and we can no longer AFFORD to buy cookies to NOT EAT in the car)

We may never actually agree on a name...but I'm sure one will eventually float to the top.
All that really matters is the fun we have as a family in the process.
Hope you are having some fun too. Whether it's reading this blog - or laughing with your own family. (Oooh, you could read this blog TO your family!)
Have a fun week,
Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Friday, March 2, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up Experiment

I'm trying something new and posting for the Weekly Wrap-Up over at Weird, Unsosocialized HomeschoolersI don't normally post much about our classroom, but have had some requests. goes. :)

Highlights from this week:

We started an art unit on Proportion. We've been covering Design Principles and Art Elements throughout the year. If you aren't sure what those are (or how to explain them to a child), I linked the words to a great webpage that shows a graphic representation of each.

This month we are going to create art that is OUT OF proportion.
Proportion is why it is SO HARD to draw a person and make it look like the person you are drawing. If we draw the eyes or the nose just a little too big or too small...the drawing doesn't look “right”.

What type of feelings does this kind of artwork create? Fearful, humorous, uncomfortable...
We Googled all kind of images to get more input from examples.

My boys had to produce three "thumbnail drawings" (mini-drawings that brainstorm possible ideas for their projects). The project will then be drawn in pencil, traced in pen or marker, and color will be added last (like a coloring book).

I had the boys write about a pet they would choose to have if they could have ANY PET. Apparently, we would have a cheetah and a corn snake. (I didn't even know what a corn snake was before I read my oldest son's paper.) I love the things I learn from homeschooling.
Oh, and I've been getting my writing prompt ideas from this website: Super Teacher Worksheets

My two little musicians took on another English assignment in their own time. 
They composed a song. Lyrics and music. I wrote it down for school BECAUSE I CAN. It's a song about a crazy comet. It's pretty cheesy, so it should become a top forty hit any day now, right?

My church is spending 40 Days in the Word. We are on week three of the six week series. 
My pastor has been focusing his sermons on the Bible. 
This week, I had my boys listen to his sermon from week one (while they worked on their art project). He discusses archeological, scientific, and prophetic reasons  WHY the Bible is Trustworthy.

My boys take music and gym at the local elementary school. Because of this, they are required to participate in state testing.  So, we've been reviewing Math and English State Standards this week. There is also an odd little battle going on in my head. 
I tell my boys that the test doesn't matter, and that they should just try their best. (BUT I secretly hope they score higher than everyone else in the school so I am "validated." My oldest DID score really high last year...but little brother is up to bat this year - and I wonder if the teachers are watching to see if he will follow in his brother's footsteps.) *sigh* I KNOW what really matters in this world...and it is not test results. Now I just need to get my straight-A, honor roll, public-schooled mind to SHUT UP and focus on what it KNOWS.

We had some great character-building moments this week (read that: highly tense, extremely hard moments - that had nothing  to do with state testing). I guess it was just time to learn some relational lessons.
I wouldn't change those moments. Each one brought opportunity to learn, quiet conversations where we could connect, and eye-opening ways for God to move in our lives. 
Thank you Lord for another good week.