Friday, October 29, 2010


Some time ago, around the time I was planning for this school year, or back when Tyler was still a newborn, or maybe even before he was born, I made a note to myself that I wanted to take time to really enjoy him.

To purposefully spend at least a few moments every day playing and talking and loving.

And I am happy to say, most days, that is happening.

But I want more.  I'm not satisfied just to do those things.  I want to remember them.  All of those tiny moments that make up our days and weeks and months that pass so quickly.

When this little one has crossed over from baby-hood to childhood, I want to remember:

How his face lights up when we start a game of pat-a-cake and he grabs my hands to 'help' me clap.

The way he buries his face up into his stuffed lamb when it time to go to sleep.

The softness of those round baby cheeks, and how much we both like it when I stroke them.

The adorableness of those two bottom baby teeth shining when he grins.

How he looks around the room to make sure all eyes are on him, and sharing a smile with everyone present.

Photo credit: the pictures in this post and the previous one were all taken by my mom and her fantastically awesome camera. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scheduling - Again.

I don't know about other homeschoolers, but our approach is constantly changing.

Here we are at the end of October, and Greg and I are rearranging our homeschool day for at least the third time.

While I am fully aware we will never find the perfect flow, I am certain that we can find something that will work well for our family on a consistent basis.  For a season, anyway, right?

We started this school year with a pretty structured schedule.  We went for 3 or 4 weeks with something slotted for almost every 30 minutes, and sometimes every 15.  

That seemed to serve it's purpose for transitioning us from summer into a new school year and we began to relax it until finally, we arrived at the point of having NO schedule.  Barely even a to-do list!

This week, after a day or two of off and on discussion, I handed Greg a pencil and paper and said, "You make us a schedule!"

To really appreciate this, you should know #1 - I love planning and making schedules and the like.  Love it.  It is what I do.  #2 - Greg isn't even here during the day.  He leaves well before breakfast and gets home just in time for supper.  

But I trust him, and his ideas for how this home should be run, so off we went. This is what he came up after only a couple of adjustments from me:

5:30 - Wake up (Mama)
5:45 - Exercise
6:15 - Shower
6:30 - Personal Bible Time
7:00 - Start breakfast / Internet time
7:30 - Breakfast for boys (waking them up if not up already)
8:00 - Morning Red Zone (chore time)
9:00 - Memory verse box and Bible Time
10:00 - Play time (Nap for Tyler)
10:30 - Math for Dale, Preschool activity for Alan
11:00 - Lunch (wake Tyler after 1 hour of nap)
11:30 - Afternoon Red Zone (chore time)
12:00 - Play
12:30 - School (Subjects here will vary)
1:30ish (earlier if possible) - Read aloud
2:00 - Rest/Naptime (naps for Mama, Alan, & Tyler, reading for Dale)

You can go here to see our schedule from August.  Looking over it just now, I see that this new one is actually very similar, only simplified a good bit. 

This change in schedule comes hand-in-hand with a shift in our schooling goals and priorities.  Hopefully I will be blogging about that within the next week.

So, is it just me, or do you change how you do what you do every time the wind blows?  Have you found The Thing yet?  Or are your 'seasons' as short as ours?  And please, do tell.... what would happen if you handed over the scheduling pen to your husband?

P.S. Our new schedule was made on Tuesday evening.  Our first time through it was Wednesday (it went well) and then this little thing called the World Series came along and 4 out of 5 stayed up way past their bedtimes.  New schedule to resume asap.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Wreath Cookies

The boys had a grand time making cute and fun fall cookies today.  I did not come up with the idea myself, but I can't remember where I saw it.  Some creative blogger out there in the whole wide web... wish I could remember so I could link back!

At any rate, I loved the simplicity of these, and the fact that I could cut my boys loose instead of hovering over them making sure every step is done juuuuust right.

Not that I'm ever one of those kind of moms.


As I was saying:
Super simple. You'll need:

- A package of 'ring' shortbread or butter cookies.  You know... the kind you wear on your finger and nibble off, right?
- Any kind of icing/frosting and gel food coloring.  We used powdered sugar/milk icing and made ours orange.  Great color-mixing lesson!
- Fall leaf sprinkles.

Ideally, I'd love to show you a pretty plate full of adorable fall cookies.  However, that lone cookie at the top of this post was made specifically as a gift for Mimi, which is the only reason it survived long enough for the photo-op.  

As for the rest of the cookies.... well... they didn't stick around long enough to be admired!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What? Blog? Me?

- We went camping.  I didn't take one single picture.  I am okay with that.

- I cut my finger making cole slaw to take on afore-mentioned camping trip.  It was deep enough I had to call my Nana to come to the rescue to look at my finger and make sure I didn't need a stitch or anything.  It was nice to have another adult to take a look.

- I still ate the cole slaw.

- After spending most of the summer and all of the fall watching baseball games, our Rangers are going to the World Series.  For the first time ever.  This is very exciting.

- We got bunk beds for our big boys today.  This is also very exciting.

- Is anyone really reading any of this stuff?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How does a homeschooler change a light bulb?

I read this at CurrClick's new blog, and it totally cracked me up: does a homeschooler change a light bulb??

First, mom checks three books on electricity out of the library, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography of Thomas Edison and create a lapbookbased on his life.

Next, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles.

Next, everyone takes a trip to the store where they compare types of light bulbs as well as prices and figure outhow much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a five dollar bill.

On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the five dollar bill.

Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the light bulb is installed.

And there is light.

Ha!  Do you love that or what? 

The above is part of this week's science related blog-hop and giveaway, so head on over to read the original post if you are interested in participating.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Making a Wind-vane

I am equal parts Plan Ahead and Fly-by-your Pants.

Maybe leaning a bit toward the Fly-by-your Pants side.

At any rate, we are learning about weather these days, and when a hands-on idea came to Dale and me last week, we jumped in with both feet.

I saw a picture of a make-your-own wind-vane using balsa wood in a DK book we had from the library.  It looked easy enough, except for the fact that I don't keep balsa wood on hand, ya know?

Long story short, here's what we came up with using what we had on hand:

1 curtain rod with rubber tip
1 drinking straw
1 extra long straight-pin or needle

Ours worked in the fact that it turned when the wind blew.  

However, due to the fact we were standing between a house, a fence, a storage shed, and no fewer than half-a-dozen very large trees, we weren't exactly able to tell which direction the wind was coming from.

I am certain our beautiful little contraption would work in a more open area.  Hopefully we'll remember to bring it along on our next trip to a more open area.  

And hopefully it will be windy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Make a wish, Alan

One day, several weeks ago, Alan sat at McDonald's between me and his Daddy, across the table from "a very nice lady" who had come with a bag full of goodies and One Big Question.

Half an hour later, Alan left McDonald's with a green toy tractor, a stuffed horse, and a new package of crayons.

His new friend left with the answer to her question:
Alan's wish.

Piece by piece, Alan's wish has been playing out before him, and yesterday, one very big piece came true.  In fact, one very big piece came.... right to Alan's house!

It rounded the corner, led in parade-style with a police escort - lights, sirens, everything.  Alan caught his first glimpse:

And then ran to meet it.

Oh, the joy and excitement when that big truck hauling his big wish pulled into his backyard!

The little man in him couldn't resist helping out and giving a few backing directions:

It was a day made for little boys...

Little boys who couldn't (and didn't) wait to start playing.

It is more than Alan, or his mom & dad, had ever imagined.  Both inside...

...and out!

Amazingly... there is still more to come.  
The finishing touches for Alan's wish will come this Sunday, at a party in his honor.  You can be sure details and pictures will be posted here!