Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy 2011!!

Things Our Family Did in 2010:
  • Worked like crazy to put our house on the market, stressed trying to do school and have showings at the same time....and then took it off when our house didn't sell
  • Finished our 2009-2010 homeschool year with lots of friends, parties, and fun field trips
  • Vacationed for a week in a cabin in Wisconsin in July
  • Visited with family at the holidays (Easter, Thanksgiving, Grandma Simpson's Birthday)
  • Welcomed my parents home from their mission
  • Welcomed a gorgeous new niece into the world
  • Celebrated 8 years since the beginning of this wonderful ride:)
Things I did in 2010:
  • Took a trip to Seattle to surprise my parents after their mission (this picture is in Seattle with my siblings and parents...first time we'd been together for a LONG time!)
  • Went to the homeschool convention in Chicago. Parts were were weird. Not one that I will attend again anytime soon.
  • Went on a Women's Retreat in May with some of my best friends. Fun times!
  • Stayed home (at least a little:) to homeschool Natalie and Levi
  • Became the ward Cubmaster for our church and continued to be the choir director
What George did in 2010:
  • Practiced all his handyman skills to get the house ready to sell (including knocking out the wall in this closet pictured above and drywalling it)
  • Wrote many computer programs for me to use in our homeschool
  • Bought a gun and a membership to a shooting range
  • Continued working at his software engineering job and is still loving it
  • Taught Levi's primary class at church
  • Watched the kids while I ran around the country:)
What Levi did in 2010:
  • Started piano lessons with a teacher that is not Grandma:)
  • Sharpened his Wii and computer game skills
  • Attended Lego Club at the library
  • Made lots of friends in our new homeschool group
  • Loved studying about robots
  • Turned 7!
What Natalie did in 2010:
  • Tried out ballet lessons and watched the ballet of "Snow White"
  • Met lots of friends at homeschool gym and swim
  • Enjoyed playing outside, watching and handling bugs, climbing trees, and riding her bike
  • Turned 6 on Thanksgiving!

What Sam did in 2010:
  • Got potty trained:)
  • Loved playing with toys, building with blocks and legoes, and loved playing with the neighbors
  • Attended Bugs and Butterflies camp during the summer
  • Spent his school time tracing letters and doing connect the dots and learning to spell his name
  • Turned 4 two weeks ago!
What Seth did in 2010:
  • Became a very rambunctious 2 year old in March
  • Wanted to "do school" every day
  • Loved singing, playing, destroying, chasing, and yelling and generally adding to the raucus
  • Learned to climb out of his crib and changed our lives forever:)

I want to say how grateful I am for my Savior, Jesus Christ. His atonement makes my life and happiness possible. Without Him, there would be no hope. I cannot live in a world without Him. I am thankful that He loves me enough to include me in His wonderful plan. Merry late Christmas to all of you and your families, and have a fantastic 2011!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge

George here. Levi's piano teacher has a contest for her students, the "1 minute club", which is to be able to name the notes on both the treble and bass clefs, from shuffled flash cards, in less than one minute. Since putting something on the computer always makes it more fun... I made a program for him to practice. If you or your kids want to try it out, just download it to your PC, unzip it, double click on the "musiquiz.exe", and it will start. Hopefully. I haven't tried this on anybody else's computer yet :) Then it will show a note on the staff, and if you type the correct note name, it will move to the next one.

Download musiquiz

Cleaning off the camera

Can you tell that my floor is heated due to my hot water heating pipes? LOVE IT!

These next pics are from playing "Just Dance" on the Wii at Thanksgiving. This is Natalie and Sam.

Here's one of Grandma getting in the fun:)

Nat's bday fell on Thanksgiving this year, so we celebrated the Wednesday night before. She loved the castle cake...even though it was a bit crooked.

Here she is making a wish. Isn't that a great face?

A picture of the done cake. I really should have waited until I had the right tool to make the cuts flat, but I trimmed them myself and it didn't quite work. Also, those dumb ice cream cones are harder than than they should be to make them look nice. Boo. Natalie LOVED that it said "Princess Natalie" and she loved the hearts and the princesses. She didn't care that it was lopsided. It was a fun cake to do:)

My kids always want their picture taken with their creations, so here is Sam. He has made an ancient Egyptian pyramid:) Gotta love homeschooling!

Here's Nat's block creation.

A few weeks ago, we had some excitement in our neighborhood. A house fire started across the way in the cul-de-sac. It ended up being a 6 truck fire! The boys were glued to the front window for at least an hour and a half.

On top of the fire trucks, it was also trash and recycling day. My 2 youngest were so thrilled at all the trucks. I am sure that my neighbor was not too thrilled when to get around all the trucks, people had to drive up in his yard!

Straight vs. Curly

Yes, this is a hair post. So, as you all know, I have been a "curly girl" since March. I have not straightened my hair ONCE since then. I started this crazy hair routine and have stuck to it. But lately, I have been losing my curl and wishing I could go straight...just once!

So, I did. I decided to just try it and see if it was as easy as I remembered (compared to the curly routine). It took FOREVER! My hair has grown quite a bit since March and it was a process to blow-dry and straighten it. And it was straight. And boring. No mystery! No suspense in waiting to see what the hair would look like after it was completely dry! Just boring.

I believe that I am now officially a "curly girl" :) A convert. But I am glad that I did straighten it, because now I can stop wondering and wishing it was straight. I can just be thankful for the curls.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ready for the Holidays!

Ok, so I am not physically READY, but I am ready to have a good time with family and food for the next 6 weeks! We are finishing up our "4 weeks on" this week and I am ready to be done. We decorated our Egypt notebooks today and we're moving on to fire safety (just a one day unit). I think we will make a fire plan, a meeting point, and check our smoke alarms tonight for FHE. We will also practice getting out of our beds and crawling out of the house. It should be fun!

If I can get to the library tonight, then we will start our Thanksgiving unit tomorrow. I did get Amanda B's Thanksgiving unit and it has tons of good stuff. I always like the picture books to go along with the lessons. I should just scour my bookshelves...I am sure I have some Thanksgiving books somewhere. There are just so many to go through.

I sorted toys today and just have this huge urge to just get rid of most of them. You know the reason I hold on to most of them? Because of other people's kids. I don't want kids to come to my house and say, "Don't you have any toys?" or "I'm bored!" Isn't that SUCH a silly reason? All my kids need are books, furniture, and blankets for capes and they are good! Maybe I will just box them up...not get ride of them, and see if anyone even notices.

The next couple of weeks are filled with fun things....Harry Potter midnight showing, Enrichment, crafting with homeschool buddies, Stake Conference for church, Natalie's birthday, and my brother and his family and my parents here for Thanksgiving! YAY! The Saturday after is the Jones family Thanksgiving and that is always so much fun and quite crazy with 30 of us:) Good times!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Food Storage in the Garage a.k.a. Answers to Past Post Musings

As I was reading past posts, I thought I should put in a post about this. Back in the spring, I wondered if our food storage was ok in the garage. It wasn't. Or at least some of it wasn't. Our big problems were moths and heat. The moths got into everything that was bagged (rice, powdered sugar) or bagged and in a cardboard box (baking mix, cake mix, hard taco shells). This last weekend, I opened a can of evaporated milk and it was solid-I think it got cooked!

So, my advice is be careful of what you put in the garage. If it's all in big tubs with lids, less of a problem. But watch things in cans because they get so hot. I'm just sayin.

Polaris Press

Wow, it's been a while with no news from our schoolroom, so here it is!

We started the year learning about Veterinarians, and then moved on to Robots. It was fun and informative. Levi really got into it. And if nothing else came from it, Seth learned to say "robot" instead of "bobot."

From there, we have started our Ancient Egypt unit. This one has been so interesting! There is so much information that it gets hard to sort out what should be taught. It's hard to not want to teach them everything! But the eyes eventually do glaze over, so I try to stop before that point. We have been doing a read-aloud (The Curse of King Tut's Mummy) which is a fun, true story of Howard Carter discovering King Tut's tomb. In addition to this, each day we try to do some Egypt related activity. We have built pyramids out of cardboard, made papyrus, written in hieroglyphs, and done geography worksheets, to name a few. This schedule seems to work well for us. Through the day, we also fit in vocabulary, spelling, math and reading.

We still do lots of extra activities. I think we will close up our Egypt study by going to the Indpls Children's Museum. They have an Egyptian room there that will be fun to visit now that we know lots more about Egypt.

We will take the week of Thanksgiving off and then back on for 3 weeks and then off for 2. I am thinking of doing a Thanksgiving/Christmas Holiday unit. I bought Amanda Bennett's Holiday Unit Study and am hoping there will be lots in there we can use. Her Unit Studies are SO full of info that I get a bit overwhelmed. But hopefully, I can go through and pick and choose what I want to use.

I can't believe that we are already to the holiday season! I am really excited to have my family here for Thanksgiving. It's always fun for me to be hostess! Except for the cleaning the house part:) Hoping to do some decluttering in my time off school the beginning of Thanksgiving week. That means I will need to have school planned for the 3 weeks before Christmas before Thanksgiving week. So, I have until the end of next week? Time just goes by SO fast, these days!

Well, if I don't post before Thanksgiving, now you all know why! Enjoy your holiday!

PS Does anyone have any "to die for" Thanksgiving recipes that they want to share? :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Homemade Wheat Bread

I have decided that I really want to be an awesome bread maker. I want to find a yummy recipe and perfect it. I want to grind my own wheat, use honey from Harry and Linda and feel like I am really doing my part to provide for my family. I had this same thought last year, but then began to diet and bread was pretty much a no-no so I put bread-making on the back burner.

I have decided I have a bit more self-control with my eating and that I could practice making bread. I have made quite a few loaves and found a recipe I really like. It takes a long time, but as long as I am home and doing school, it works really well.

Except for the above batch. This batch was VERY depressing. I forgot the salt. A seemingly small omission, only 1 TB for 4 loaves, but the bread was no good. And I had decided at the beginning that I wasn't going to feel bad about throwing away practice loaves, so they went to the compost. But they looked good. And had the best texture so far. So sad.

I am not deterred, though. I will continue my bread-making practice. And from now on, I will not forget the salt.

Halloween Pics

Red Power Ranger, Ballerina, and Buzz Lightyear (with no wings or helmet, so he was only the toy Buzz...when he saw another kid in full get-up, he said,"There's the REAL Buzz Lightyear!")

Here's Seth as Tigger. The kids don't have much choice in the way of costumes. Whatever we have got in that size. Maybe someday, I will be creative, but it was not this year!

We enjoyed 4 Halloween parties and a Trunk or Treat at church. We didn't trick or treat on Sunday, so we ended up with lots less candy than last year, which is a good thing! I have eaten my fair share, though. Good times!

Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Indianapolis Temple

I was so excited to read this announcement:

New Indianapolis Temple Information: "It will be located in Carmel. The property has been identified, the purchase price agreed but the sale has not yet closed, so they will not disclose the exact location at this time. It is anticipated to be 50% larger than the Louisville Temple…. It takes about three years from property purchase to temple dedication, so this might be anticipated in the Fall of 2013. Groundbreaking ceremonies typically occur one year from property purchase, so anticipate this in Fall of 2011. There are anticipated to be only three dedicatory sessions, with attendance by special invitation. All members will be invited to attend a closed-circuit broadcast in their meetinghouses. This will be for all baptized members 8 years and older who receive a special recommend from their bishop or branch president."

Carmel is a great spot and on the north side of Indy....closer to us! Google maps says 2 hours and 10 minutes:):):) Plus, my parents (and a wonderful brother-in-law and sister-in-law:)are on the way so I can drop off the kids and visit the temple! So exciting! I can remember this temple being promised to us in a regional conference when I was young. What a great thing to see happen!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I love Mondays!

This school year has become crazy for me! We have so many scheduled activities happening that I feel like I am always running somewhere. I know, it's probably not nearly as bad as most people, but coming from this summer, when my friends made fun of me when I said "I have to check my schedule"and it was always blank, to this. It's quite a change. This brings me to loving Mondays.

Most people do not love Mondays...dread them, even. But to me, Monday is the day where I have nothing scheduled. It's the day where I get a good start on my weekly laundry pile. It's the day where the weekend dishes get cleaned up. It's the day when the house gets straightened from it's weekend "tornado" state. It's the day when no one calls. It's the day we have a good, productive school day. Yippee! Today was a good Monday.

After Monday, I shift into survival mode. Any laundry not done may take the rest of the week to finish. Dishes get done late at night or early in the morning, if I am lucky. We run to swim lessons, ballet classes, gym and swim class, Lego club, Cub Scouts, science classes, field trips on Fridays, and piano lessons. I teach a music class and switch off babysitting once a month as well. I am sure that this doesn't seem like too much to the average American family, but it is crazy busy to me:)

The hardest thing about the schedule is motivating the kids to do school late in the afternoon. My group is still young and they are tired by early afternoon. I really like to be done by 3 and sometimes, that's when we are starting! Ah, it all works out! Today was a good day and will hopefully lead to a good week. Thanks for reading:)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Unschoolers and Socialization

I am trying to decide if I am an "unschooler". Maybe some of you are wondering what that may be? Well, it's a term from a man named John Holt that describes a child driven education, where the child learns what he needs to know from life experiences not curriculum. I make my own curriculum, using the interests of the children as my guide. Do I fit in? I can't decide. Not that it really matters, I suppose. I have met many new homeschooling families lately, many of them declaring that they are "unschoolers." So, I was just wondering:)

This week I had to stop and laugh at a worry that many people have about homeschoolers. How do they get socialized with other kids? Here's our week:
  • Monday-library day. The kids spent time in the Discovery Room and easily found kids to play with and had a great time.
  • Tuesday-play date at the park where we met many new friends and spent a good hour playing with 20 kids of all ages and also, swim lessons/Childwatch where there was much interaction with many different kids.
  • Wednesday-attend a homeschool Gym and Swim class at the YMCA with many other homeschool kids
  • Thursday-kids go to Lutherhaven which is an outdoor science day for homeschooled kids that is as long as a public school day
  • Friday-zoo day with Grandma and Grandpa-the best kind of socialization you can get!!
  • Plus, everyday many hours are spent outside with the neighbors!
I just love it! Because we are trying out a year round schedule (4 weeks on, 1 week off), this isn't even one of our school weeks though it seemed busy enough to be!

We have finally settled in, stopped whining:) and are gearing up for our Robot/Simple Machine unit study coming up (any ideas for a good field trip for this topic?). We just finished our Vet study which was a lot of fun. The kids' spelling has improved dramatically since we started back up and we are finally getting into a math groove. We have read 3 read-alouds that have challenged their vocabulary skills. We made notebooks that showed some of our work. All in all, a successful first month. Yay!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Polaris Press: Fun and productive school time

Had a great time today at the park with some new homeschool friends. Yay for friends! Also had a great time at the Animal Shelter. We were really wanting to bring home a four legged friend, though. I didn't think that it would be so hard for me. I am not that much of an animal person. I think I could do cats though, if George wasn't allergic to them. The kids loved seeing the animals and learned about bite safety, which I think was very good for my kids. They don't have much fear around strange animals.

Monday, I learned that the key to a good homeschool day/week is staying at home and NO phone calls. We had a fabulous Monday! On top of getting lots of good schooling in, I also got 3 loads of laundry washed, dried AND put away!! Unheard of! I got some things planned that needed to be planned and my bookshelves mostly organized. Well, at least as of now, all the books we have can fit on some shelf. Whether they will stay there or ever get there again is an entirely different story!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 1...the kids are excited!!!

It was a wonderful, relaxed summer, and now, we are back! Polaris Academy is in session. Year-round this year, I think. I hope it will keep us from getting stressed and burned out. We actually started on August 12th. I really love my new room set up and am trying to get into the swing of the schedule. This year, we are starting at 10am and I like it! Last year, we only did the afternoon, but now I have more I want to fit in.

Our schedule:
  • 10 am Read Aloud and Vocab words
  • 10:45 Instruction on Unit Study (this could be reading, lecture, or an activity)
  • Noonish Lunch
  • 1:30pm and on: Nap time and we start doing math, dictation, Time 4 Learning, Silent Reading, and some other individual activity
It was rough at the beginning, but we are slowly settling in and getting reminded of the schedule. I had some serious whining issues. You know, the "this is too hard!!" line? So, Geo came up with a great idea. Give the kids 2 "It's too hard for me right now" cards and they can use them through the week. If the don't use them, they get a reward (donuts on Saturday). They can also earn stickers on their own for not using them. It's been good so far...a kid gets grumpy and I say, "No grumping, just give me your card." They stop and think about it, and then finish the assignment! It's much better! Mostly, this comes with math, but also some writing. Math is a struggle for us. The Math-U-See that saved us last year, is not doing so well this year. Argh. Gotta find something that works for them. I am reviewing lots to see what we have just forgotten and what we really just don't understand. We'll get there. Hope you all are enjoying your free time this school year. If you get lonely, come on over:)

Pictures of our vacation!

We always go camping Up North and have since I was little. This year we changed it up a bit and got a cabin not to far from the old campground and really enjoyed being inside. When you have a 2 year old, it just nice to have a building to be inside. We really enjoyed our week and especially being with my brother and sister-in-law and their adorable kids, which for some reason I don't have any pics of on here. We DID camp out for one night on the lawn of the cabin. We got a taste of roughing it. Ha! It was a great week!

This was the end of the trip, stopping at the Chicago cousins. So fun!

Gaming with cousins

This was the hike from "you know where". I thought it would be a great idea to go on this 2 mile hike with our group at the end of an exhausting vacation week. Ha. Seth fell asleep in the backpack and gave George a crick in his neck. I ended up carrying Sam the last half mile or so. Funny story: My absolute favorite spot in the world is on this hike. It's a grove of pine trees that sounds so peaceful is just gorgeous. Anyway, we get to this spot...a little further than half-way and George says, "This is mom's very favorite spot." By this time, the kids are whining and begging to be done and Seth is screaming his head off. Levi asks why, so, through the screaming, I lamely explain that I love it because it's so peaceful and calming:) At this point, we begin to run away because the mosquitos and biting flies are so bad. Sigh.

These pics are from a petting zoo that we rode a train out to. I am not sure which was the favorite, the train or the petting zoo. Depends on which kid you ask.

At just about any point of the week, you could find some member of my family with Smores on their face:) It was a camping staple! No wonder I noticed an 8 pound weight gain:)

This was the one beach picture I got. Our cabin was only about 8 minutes from Silver Lake and it was a really nice beach. George and I got pretty sunburned (I have NEVER itched so bad in my life!!!) but the kids loved it and swam out pretty far to a diving pontoon. I was impressed. They were pretty tired after that!

The fire pit really "made" the cabin. It was so nice to be able to cook everything in the kitchen and then make smores or just sit out and watch the fire all night. Definitely one of the best parts of the vacation!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Off the market and under construction!

At this moment, George has cut a huge hole in a wall in our home. I loved it when we called our friend Carol (the home improvement guru) for some advice and she said in a cutsy little kid voice, "You two are becoming such handymen!" She's allowed to say that because she and I go way back and she has helped us do MANY home improvement projects. So we borrowed her "saws-all" and now there is a hole. Hopefully, it will become an enlarged storage closet for buckets of wheat and other food storage.

Also this weekend, we moved all of our stuff back in from JB's garage (she was letting us use it as a storage unit). We now have our comfy seating back in our family room! Yay! We have also rearranged the room. Now, it's more like 2 rooms. Very functional. One side is 2 couches "L" shaped facing the TV and the other side is a school room! Funny how the "school room" has changed every year:) I am sure that someday, I will find a set up I like! So now, our family room isn't pretty, but oh, SO functional! I am thrilled! Becca helped me organize it today. I still have some things that need homes, but we will get there!

Here's a question for you: Where is your food storage? Currently, ours is in the garage and I like having it out of the house, it too hot? And is it only too hot for the long term stuff? What if I will use it within a year or two? Then is it ok to be out there? That would be super handy if I didn't have to move it all again and got to keep a whole room of my house.

Alright, should be doing laundry, prepping school units, or moving all the junk that came out of the closet that now has a huge hole in it, somewhere else. Fun times!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


As I read through my last few blog entries, I noticed that the last 3 are pretty much the same. I guess you can tell where my thoughts and interests are at the moment:) I guess I shouldn't blog so late at night when my brain is off. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Loving summertime!

We are busy doing a bunch of whatever! It's so great. The kids have had lots of fun just spending hours outside. We had a great 4th of July party at Harry and Linda's (see their blog for pics...I don't know what my problem is:) and a water party for Levi's birthday. I am now gearing up for a week of camping/cabin-ing up in Wisconsin. Can't wait for that! Also prepping for a homeschool convention in Chicago! Yay!

Time is flying. School is starting on August 9th and I am hoping to be really ready by then. Today, I went through all the school stuff I have to organize it and see what I have and if I can use it this year. I am prepping for Unit Studies based on this fabulous book by Jennifer Steward called Everything You Need to Know about Homeschool Unit Studies that I picked up at a garage sale a few months back. It has been extremely helpful and I am hoping this will help us not to get burned out. I am also hoping to do school year round. I think I will do 4 weeks on/1week off. This will give us about 6 weeks in the summer. I think it will be good for all of us. We will see.

We took our house off the market today. :( But, I am ready to move on and excited to move things around a bit. We are going to try schooling in the family room this year. It's out of the way and there are plenty of surfaces to pile things on:) ALso, lots of wall space to hang up maps and white boards and such. I hope it works! We have lots of things that we want to do to the house now that it's off the market. It's too bad there's no money tree in our yard, that would be so helpful:)

Hope you all are enjoying your summer! Thanks for reading:)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


What a strange couple of days. Levi is going to science camp all week so he is gone from 9-4. The baby naps in the afternoon and the other 2 play very quietly together, inside or out. I can't believe how peaceful it is and how unmotivated I am to do anything. I wonder why this is? It reminds me of the Depeche Mode song "Enjoy the Silence", because that is exactly what I am doing! I can see how moms could really get used to having their kids in school all day! :)

I am in the midst of planning my Unit Studies and have my Veterinarian one almost completed. I am looking forward to trying this "new" method of homeschooling.

I web-cammed (is that really a word?) with my sister today. It's her birthday! I usually just chat on the phone, but with the webcam, it was like we hung out for an hour or so. Loved it! I have really missed her lately. I love being with my family! I wish we all lived close together still. :(

I am a bit tired today. It's too bad that going to bed at 1am and getting up at 7am just isn't enough sleep for my old body anymore. But, I am married to a night owl, and I am sure that our current trend will continue on. Ah well, sleep is overrated!

Well, this post is pretty random. Hope nobody minds:)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Just a quickie!

I don't have much to say, except that I am LOVING summertime! It's fun to do summer things and have friends around to do things with (except this week:) It's fun to plan big things like camping trips and road trips. It's great to get together with family. I just LOVE it all!

I looked back a few posts ago and saw my summer "To Do" list. Hmmm. I am loving this lazy Summer. The kids love it, too. So I am not crazy to do all of those things...though some will happen anyway. I thought we would hit that "I'm bored" phase, but it's not here. I think this is a blessing of homeschooling. The kids have lots of time to themselves and enjoy filling it how they want. So when summer is here, they know how to entertain themselves. Now, don't get me wrong, I still hear the occasional, "I'm bored" but it's not that often.

On another note, George and I have decided that if our house doesn't sell, we are going to use our TV/family room for the school room. It's perfect with built in bookshelves and lots of wall space for maps and our white board. We will use a collapsible table that we have in the garage. That way, we can move our food storage back in the house...I am sure that it is too hot in the garage, really. Also, George wants to knock out the back wall of the closet under the stairs and make more storage room in that closet. It should be a substantial amount of storage.

We're off this weekend, first to Chicago and then south to visit my parents. Yay for parents being home on Mother's/Father's Day! It's nice to be able to just "run down" and visit them. I have really missed that!

Friday, June 4, 2010


It's been a long year...well, at least May was long. I think it wasn't so bad until then. It's amazing how homeschool days are so different. It all depends on the kids moods and what they are excited about. We had some good and some bad things go on this year, but all in all, the kids learned a lot. I think we just really got burned out at the end. Does this happen to public school kids too? When the weather starts to get nice, it's just hard to sit through school work.

Hopefully, that will ALL change next year! We are going to do actual Unit Studies-meaning I include all subjects (except math and phonics) in our topical study. I picked up this wonderful book for $4 at a garage sale entitled "Everything You Need to Know About Homeschool Unit Studies". I have read it once and am ready to read it again. I started last night planning a Veterinary Unit and it was so simple! I am excited! I just need to get to the library and write my final plan. I hope this method will help us to get lots more done with less complaining. It should just streamline the whole process and have lots more reading time. The kids will be begging to "do school" :)

I am also going to get rid of morning TV, which may perhaps, cause mutiny. More field trips. More projects...because I will be better prepared. For each subject, we will keep a notebook so the kids will have something to show all the people that say "What did you learn in school today? while my kids look at them blankly. :)

I think it will go well. Luckily, homeschool is pretty forgiving. If something doesn't work, you throw it out and try something else. Good times!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

7 Days Left

We have only 7 days left of school. Yay! I am ready for summer! I have some things that I would really like to do this summer. Here's my list:

  • Find 10 (free or cheap) places to explore in our city with the kids
  • Camp
  • Read whatever I want
  • Prep an entire school year's worth of unit studies
  • Go to the zoo and Y often, and some museums around here
  • Do a 5K both at the beginning and end of the summer
  • Do a little gardening with the kids (hopefully with Gma's help)
  • Continue my Curly Girl routine and try new products
  • Vacation with the family
  • See "Eclipse" at midnight on June 29th
  • Take the kids to kid's fests and free movies and splash parks with friends
  • Grill
  • Move! (if only our house would sell)
What a funny list. Quite random, really! The summer is just not really that long, is it? When I was a kid, the summer was endless, it seemed. But now? We have a little over 2 months before needing to start school again. 2 months! Not long enough, if you ask me. But we certainly will enjoy it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hair Obsession

Ok, so here's why I haven't been on the blog for a while. I have a new obsession...HAIR!! It started when I went to Seattle and saw my SIL's beautiful hair and she says, "I never use shampoo!" What?? Who has ever heard of this?? So, I got the book. Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey (sp?) It has changed my life...or taken over my life. I haven't decided which. I know which one Geo would say:) The book led me to the website and that was it. I was hooked! Now, every day I read blogs and forums about curly hair. I read about products and find the best prices on them. I talk to complete strangers (curly-haired ones, of course!) about their hair care regimen. Too funny!

Here's pics of my naturally curly locks and then I will tell you the secrets:)

Here is my regimen (does that word mean what I think it means?):
  • Shampoo-I only shampoo once a week and use a Burt's Bee's shampoo that is sulfate-free.
  • Conditioner-I do something called "co-wash" all the other days. I wash only using conditioner (my choice is Suave Naturals Coconut b/c it's cheap and it seems to work). I put it on my wet head and scrub my scalp trying not to disturb my hair. I comb my hair with a VERY wide-toothed comb and try to collect the ENORMOUS amount of hair that comes out of my head. After I rinse this out with cold water( if I can stand it), I put a tiny bit of conditioner on and leave it in.
  • Styling-I haven't really figured it out yet, but right now, I scrunch water out of my hair with an old T-shirt and scrunch in Biolage gel while my head is upside down. I use 3 small dollops that I rub in my hands first. The rubbing does something...uh, the word escapes me:) At this point, your hair should feel and squish like wet seaweed :P
  • Plopping- this is BY FAR the best part! After the gel, I lay the old t-shirt on the toilet seat so it looks upside down to me. The hair plops straight down into the t-shirt, I grab the arms, sausage roll them, and then tie them behind my head. Voila! My curls are nicely plopped on top of my head and will stay there, undisturbed, for 20-30 minutes...or until someone comes to the door!
  • After plopping (some call it plunking), turn upside down, untie the shirt, and shake out my curls. And that's it. It does take a long time to air-dry, though, and today I used my hair dryer with a diffuser and I liked it a lot!
Now, I have only been doing this for 2 weeks and I don't really have any idea about all of this. Seriously, it's a religion for some of these people! Real "Curly Girls" NEVER brush their hair, use shampoo, or use a towel. They NEVER would DREAM of blow-drying hair straight or *gasp* flat-ironing it! I must say that I am not sure that I am really there, but it's been a fun journey and I like the results.

Woment's Retreat

Food, friends, and Fun!! What more can you ask for???
These are some highlights from our Women's Retreat this weekend:

Me, Becca and Cynthia preparing to sleep outside on the deck. It was a GORGEOUS night, so clear and starry and not terribly cold. A tradition has started!!

JB and Kate jumped in the VERY cold lake. Hilarious to watch, but I wasn't about to get in.

Me, Jess, and Maryirene in front of the rustic cabin. This was their first time up.

Me and Lisa in front, Jana and JB in the back. This was on our way to a bulk food store where I made purchases like chocolate-covered almonds, cinnamon bears, and gummy teeth:)
Here's Becca and I in front of the cabin and the lake.

It's so beautiful up there and we all had a blast. We played some games, talked mostly, and ate SO MUCH good food. We did the Blue Gate (an Amish yummy pie restaurant) and watched "New Moon"...that was kind of funny! Becca and I were up was cold and dewey out there on the deck so we went in for hot chocolate. Becca went in to cook her quiche. It spilled over and REALLY stunk up the cabin and everyone woke up to that smell. It was kind of funny:) We ate some more and talked some more and then went back into town. We headed home in the evening and a few of us met to do dinner...our last fling before going back to reality.

I loved being in the company of these wonderful women. I love talking to them and learning from them. They are amazing. I hope that we can do this every year!!! I don't know what will happen when word gets out that it's so much fun, and then everyone wants to come. It's going to be crowded:)

Happy Birthday to me!!

This is not the best picture of me, but that's how it goes these days. I turned 32 and it was a nice day. The kids got along well (I told them that's what I wanted for my bday). The only part I was sad about was I had to make dinner. Plus, the food didn't sound good because I had "tasted" the birthday cake all day. The cake didn't taste great either...I mean it did the first few times, but by the time I ate it for my bday dessert, I was sooo caked out. Silly, eh?