Monday, September 29, 2008

Paul Newman

I was sad to hear about the passing of Paul Newman, as I'm sure most people were. While I'm not even sure I've even seen any movies that he was in (besides Disney's CARS), we are especially big fans of his salad dressing. While doing school work today, something came up about a philanthropist, and that was a good time for us to discuss all of the good things Paul Newman did for this world. All of the proceeds from his salad dressing, salsa, cookies, etc have gone to charity. His "Hole in the Wall Gang" camp is close to where I am from in CT. The fact that he stayed happily married for 50 years is no small feat either. The world is a better place because of him. (a side note: I just for the first time today checked to see if infact a camp close to where we live now (for terminally ill children), is associated with Paul Newman and his charities and it is...I think the kids and I need to think about volunteering there)

memory lane

I got this from Peter's Peapod, and thought now was a great time to do this because...

15 years ago this week Mike asked me to marry him! I had pink eye at the time and he put the ring inside of a chocolate pumpkin lollipop. We were living in Charlotte, NC.

10 years ago we were living in Danbury, CT and eagerly awaiting our move to Florida. Madi was 6 months old and happiest most content baby you'd ever seen. Jonathan was getting ready to celebrate his 3rd birthday with a Blue's Clues theme. Blue's Clues was pretty new, so we had to make the decoations ourselves.

5 years ago Jonathan was almost 8 and Jake was almost a year old. We were living in our old house and hadn't yet decided to move. We were very unstructured homeschoolers at the time. Jonathan was already involved in Theatre, but Madi hadn't started yet. We were involved in MOPS, and regularly going to homeschool park days on Fridays. We were friends with most of the same people we are involved with today.

3 years ago We had been living in this house for about 6 months. We were planning a huge combination birthday party for Jonathan's 10th, Jake's 3rd, as well as OBM's Mimi's 6th and TJ's 4th. We had a "jumpy thing" and a big train cake.

1 year ago...It is so hard to even think about. Mike was having some abdominal pain,and in the follwing days and the doctor would order an ERCP (a type of scope procedure). The pain was nothing compared to what he (and all of us) would go through over the following weeks when the ERCP caused him to develop pancreatitis. To read more about it you can go back to my posts from last October. I think that's all I'm going to say about it.

Today we've done most of our school work and will enjoy and calm quiet afternoon at home. I feel so blessed that everyone is healthy, and I thank God for that everyday.

Tomorrow I will continue to educate my kids, help Madi babysit and enjoy watching her grow into a young woman, continually be entertained by Jake while at the same time helping him to control his temper, and spend some time loving my "first baby" Jonathan who on Thursday will be a TEENAGER!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

If you haven't yet done the daybook, now is the time...go here.

For Today...Sunday night Sept 28, once again I'm doing this 12 hours early.

Outside my Window...It is dark.

I am thinking...about our "Auntie" who passed away four years ago today and how much we miss her.

I am also thinking...I am pretty sure I'm not a conformist even though I do the daybook. (I don't think I'm simple either)

From the learning rooms... Jonathan and Madi--Civil War and Energy for history and science, plugging along in the other subjects. Jake will be on Day 28 of his curriculum tomorrow, he is having no problems (academically speaking) with the first grade work. (Behaviorally Jake is another story altogether)

I am thankful parents who spent the day with us today.

From the kitchen...milled wheat pancakes for breakfast this morning (and some left over for tomorrow). We had ribs, broccoli, salad, (Jonathan has become a pro at making dressing) and mashed potatoes ( used both crock pots) tonight and we'll have the rest of the potatoes for shepherd's pie tomorrow.

I am wearing...jammies.

I am reading...I just pulled Raising your Spirited Child, The Discipline Book, and How to Talk so your Kids will Listen and Listen so your Kids will Talk off of my bookshelf the other night. I plan to look through them in the hope of gleening some wisdom for what to do about Jake's difficult behavior as of late. I'm on the waiting list for two Jodi Picoult books from the library.

I am hoping...that my family stays healthy all year!

I am creating...DIRT...and I'm excited about it. We've been attempting to compost for about 6 months, but weren't doing anything other than throwing our food garbage into a big pile in the back corner of our yard...guess what it is actually working!!

I am hearing...peace and quiet and loving every minute of it.

Around the house...everyone's in bed.

One of my favorite things...Ben and Jerry's coffee heath bar ice cream (BOGO this week at Publix).

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...the usual school work, babysitting, Theatre, etc plus...I become the mother of a teenager this week...a pretty big deal I think!!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

This picture is to remind me that Jake really does have a generous heart (hidden in there somewhere). Here he is sharing his headphones and some other goodies in his backpack with some friends.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

School at Disney

We are coming up on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil war in History. For us that's more than enough of an excuse for an evening at Disney to see the Hall of Presidents. This is just what Jonathan, Madi and I did on Thursday evening. We were able to go on about 10 other rides too in under two hours!

How's this for the end of a productive school day?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How about this one?

This picture is worth a thousand you see atotallydifferentperson? How about the dress that Grace wears a lot?

The early days of homeschooling

These pictures came off of original website of our homeschool group from before Jake was born. It is all still out there in cyberspace. Do you recognize these kids??!!

More science fun

Today for science Jonathan and Madi made "foaming monsters". First they decorated plastic bottles (Madi made a spider and Jonathan made a tree) then you fill bottle half way with vinegar, a squirt of dish soap, and food coloring. Next you put a teaspoon of baking soda in a tissue, wrap it up and drop it into the bottle. The vinegar and baking soda make carbon dioxide which reacts will the soap to make foam. The foam then pours out of the "mouth" of the bottle.

Yes, now Jonathan and Madi are the ones still in yesterday's clothes, when you homeschool you can do that!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Peanut Butter playdough

This little guy is who Madi takes care of on Tuesday mornings.

Like Jake's costume??

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup oatmeal

Mix thoroughly, sculpt and eat. This is the recipe we used and we doubled it. I needed to add more powdered milk and it was still sticky, in the future I don't think I'll add as much honey as it says. You can store it covered in the refrigerator.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


For Today...Sunday night Sept 21...this is supposed to be a Monday thing, but I'm jumping the gun a little...I'll have a lot more that I should be doing in the a.m. than I have right now. To participate in the simple woman's daybook go here.

Outside my Window...It is dark.

I am thinking...that I should do this quick, so I can go read to Jake while he's in the bathtub.

From the learning rooms...Jonathan is still working on "homework" from friday that he never got done. In the morning, we start on week 6 of our school year.

I am thankful for...a relaxing weekend and a semi-clean house.

From the kitchen...we milled more wheat today.

I am wearing...a green shirt and white shorts.

I am going to start reading to Jake as soon as I get off the computer. The kids and I are finishing up Farmer Boy and I think we'll start Strawberry Girl next. Madi is still reading Caddie Woodlawn (I finished it last week) bookclub is on Friday. I read Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult this week and plan to get another one at the library maybe tomorrow. Also yesterday we finished listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Jonathan had read it and listened to it before. We had been listening to them all on CD from the library over the past year and a half (we'd take long breaks)...I cried at the end!

I am hoping...for a calm week.

I am creating...a happy home.

I am hearing...Jake yelling to me from the tub.

Around the house...we got out the fall decorations today! I love this time of year, but it also makes me uneasy because we are coming up on the one year anniversary of Mike's hospitalization.

One of my favorite things....homemade bread.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...a fairly low-key week. Madi babysits on Tuesday, but we don't have the baby that we normally have on Thur and Fri, I think we might go to Disney on Thur. Otherwise the usual Theatre, AWANA etc...Jonathan won't be able to help out at AWANA anymore because our Church's youth group is the same night. Nothing like trying to be at 2 churches at once!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... Jake and cousin Willis this summer in DE.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Science fun

We had a lot of science experiments today about mixtures and solutions. This one invloved separating a mixture by putting a mark with a magic marker on paper and submerging the tip of the paper in water. As the water moved up the paper it sparated the colors in the mark (ie green into blue and yellow).

We were supposed to see how water dissolves solvents more easily when it is warm. We had to do this with by stirring salt into cold water and then into warm water. It was much easier to see it really working when we made tea in hot and cold water. Here's Jonathan with it can you guess which is which?

Here are Jake and Madi having some fun with goop (cornstarch and water). If you've never tried it, this is a must! Yes, Jake is still wearing the baseball shirt from yesterday backwards so you can you see the number.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Don't worry Olivia...

...Jake doesn't like your Barbie, but he still likes you. He is casting Olivia as Gabriella in his version of High School Musical, he is Troy. He also wants Daniel, Sara, Abby and Joe. I think Joe and Sara are Ryan and Sharpay. Yesterday I had to dig an old basketball shirt of Jonathan's out of Jake's future clothes bin because he needed a costume for High School Musical. Today he is wearing baseball shirt backwards so you can see the number on it (and pretending it is a basketball shirt). I suggested just wearing the baseball shirt, but..."Mom, it's not High School Musical 2!". Can you guess Jake's passion this week??

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hollywood Studios

We made it to Hollywood Studios afterall. We had a perfect morning...until we got in the car...then Jake had some trouble. I'm not sure what's up with him, but eventually he calmed down and humbled himself and we had a good day.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I'm not even sure I've spelled that word correctly. Maybe because we don't use it enough in our family. You may have noticed that our kids' lives are one big party after another. Night of Joy, weekends with Meme and Grampa Carlie, friends over, sleep overs, park days, Disney, vacations, field trips, etc...etc... They do have chores, school work and responsibilites (and we have had to deal with more hospitalizations than one family should have to and too many funerals in the past 4 years). For the most part, however, they lead a pretty fun "cushy" life. They are really good kids and they generally appreciate all of the "good things in life". But they are kids and sometimes they make bad choices. Sadly, sometimes those bad choices go without consequences because we already have a commitment to be somewhere. We can't for example say "you must stay home all day" when there is a play that night and the rest of the cast is counting on them. Last spring we had tickets to a baseball game (mostly because Jake was really getting into baseball), but he behaved really badly on the way down there. It would've been the perfect time for the consequnce of not getting to go, but we already had the tickets, the other two deserved to go, and it was in the 90's outside and impractical and unsafe for me and Jake to stay in the car (and if we went somewhere else instead that too could be considered a reward). Anyway, he got to go to the game even though he didn't deserve it. Well tonight was an opportunity to actually enforce consequences. We were going to get to stay at a hotel with our friends tonight (who had won a two night stay at a Theatre raffle). I think everyone is overtired from another weekend of so much fun and activity, and we didn't have a very good day. We are not at the hotel tonight, but instead going to bed very early at our own house. They still have the possibility of meeting our friends at Hollywood Studios tomorrow, but they must show me, that they deserve it and will appreciate it. We'll see how it goes.

Jonathan's weekend with Grandpa

Julie and Mike's weekend

We landed at Newark airport, you might be able to make out the NY skyline.

Friday morning we woke up at our house in Florida and were in Westport, CT in time for lunch with Mike's father. We frequently drive that same route so we are used to it taking 2 days!

From left to right nephews John and Zack, and Cindy's son (like a nephew) Tucker.

Me and the infamous Cindy (frequent reader and commenter on your blog and mine!)

Me and my handsome brother Rob.

All dressed for the reunion.

The Michael Cleary Band 17 years later. Mike's brother is playing the keyboards in the white shirt. This is only the second time in about 12 years that he's played with them and we were there both times!

Jonathan, Grandma Marge and Sarah.

Cousin Willis is ONE! You can read all about his birth in the early days of my blog.

A fall picture at a small market in CT. We walked in and smelled the cinnamon brooms and said we'd buy one when we got home. Then later Tiffany and Leisa both mentioned cinnamon brooms in their favorite things blogs yesterday.

The end of the journey waiting for luggage at the baggage claim.


For Today...Monday September 15th.

Outside my Window...The sun is already high up in the sky and I have not yet started my day.

I am thinking...about what a fun, whirlwind weekend it was, and how we are having a day of rest today.

From the learning rooms...just reading and math for the next two days because we are on a mini fall break. Jonathan spent all day Saturday in New York City and learned a ton! He will be writing about it.

I am thankful for...our safe and comfortable home!

From the kitchen...something with tomatoes because Grandma Marge sent us home with a ton from her garden (we brought up some lemons for her).

I am wearing...jammies still (sshhh, it's almost 11:00).

I am going to start reading a Jodi Picoult book today when I am finished with blogs.

I am hoping...for a calm week.

I am creating...piles of clean laundry.

I am hearing...not much, Jonathan is building his new playmobile airport terminal that he got at the Toys R Us in Timesquare. The other two are also playing quietly. This morning when I was trying to sleep, though, I did hear a very loud "There's a frog in the family room!" Jonathan managed to get it outside, and I stayed in bed.

Around the house...lots of laundry. (another Monday with suitcases strewn all over from a weekend away).

One of my favorite things...a day of rest.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...sleeping at a fun hotel tonight with Tiffany and her kids and Disney (Hollywood Studios I think) tomorrow. Then getting back into some amount of normalcy for the rest of the week. (although I guess packed fun-filled days really are our normal).

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... The bakery in Mike's mother's town that makes the best jelly doughnut ever!

To participate go here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

from connecticut

I have no idea how this will turn out. I'm attempting to type this on Mike's blackberry as we are riding down the road. At least I'm not driving. We just had a fun afternoon with Rob, Kim, Zack, John, Cindy, Tucker, Dot, Paul, and Allie. Our visit was too short. We are going to Church with Mike's mother and his friend Dave, then Mike's reunion. Then possibly to see the band that we saw on our first date. We know how to pack it all in. Tomorrow is Willis's first birthday party before we fly home.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th


You say you will never forget where you were when
you heard the news On September 11, 2001.
Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room
with a man who called his wife to say 'Good-Bye.' I
held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the
peace to say, 'Honey, I am not going to make it, but it
is OK..I am ready to go.'

I was with his wife when he called as she fed
breakfast to their children. I held her up as she
tried to understand his words and as she realized
he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a
woman cried out to Me for help. 'I have been
knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!' I said.
'Of course I will show you the way home - only
believe in Me now.'

I was at the base of the building with the Priest
ministering to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He
heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat,
with every prayer. I was with the crew as they
were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the
believers there, comforting and assuring them that their
faith has saved them.

I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan ...
I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.
Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew
every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me
for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath.
Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the
smoke and flames; 'Come to Me... this way... take
my hand.' Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.
But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You
may not know why, but I do. However, if you were
there in that explosive moment in time, would you have
reached for Me?

Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey
for you. But someday your journey will end. And I
will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may
be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are
'ready to go.'

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Home Educa-SHE-own

Mike and I and my parents are into saying everything like Doug on King of Queens (like vaca-SHE-own, prepara-SHE-own), I'm sure many of you have no idea what I am talking about, and it is much easier to talk that way than it is to type it, but it's my blog, so I get to do what I want. Just be glad there were no blogs in our rhyming days (Jonathan the bonathan and tuna-da-boona were two of my father's favorites). But I digress...

We are learning so much everyday. At least I know I am! Who knew that Italy wasn't even a nation until about 1861? Until that time it was just a bunch of individual states mostly ruled by Austria. In 1850 for example, to be called Italian just meant that you lived on the Italian peninsula. Then there were a bunch of small revolutions (started by a couple of different guys with the first name Guiseppe), some people wanted Italy to become a republic and others wanted Italy to be ruled by the Pope, but eventually they became a kingdom and Victor Emmanuel was their first king. Do you know why most of us never learned this? I'll tell you why...this was very close to the time of the American Civil War and so anything most of us ever learned in school about that period in history was only about American History! I personally never learned anything about anywhere else from Colonial America up to modern times. I have to say I really enjoy the American History part of it more, but I'm glad to be finally learning about other places too! Not to mention part of our learning about Italy today involved making pizza...what could be better than that?

Then for science we learned some more about water, and the kids had to make paper flowers, fold them up, and float them on the water. First they would float and then start to open up and then eventually as they filled with water, they'd sink.

A good homeschool day right? Well, lest you think I have it all together, in the middle of all of this I was ranting to the kids about how they should stop taking advantage of me (ie leaving socks on the living room floor etc) and loading the dishwahser at the same time (multitasking at its best). I guess I was yelling a little too loud (or slamming a little too hard) because one of my glass 9X13 pans shattered all over in inside of the dishwasher. So there you have it the good, the bad and the ugly. And guess what the pizza was made with store flour (not freshly milled).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It worked!!!

Well the ancient mill actually worked! It isn't really ancient, it was purchased in 1983. This is the story, I had already decided I was going to jump into this whole milling thing, and had ordered a $300 mill. I was at the health food store looking for lechithin (an ingredient I'd need to make the bread when all my stuff came in). While I was in these I saw a small piece of paper advertising a grain mill for sale for $50. I had a few options...first just ignore that I saw that, second call one of my friends and let them know about it and stick with the expensive one I'd already ordered, or third call the number and check it out. I opted for 3, and spoke to a woman much older than I expected who used to grind flour for her family "back in the day". She said it was very heavy and in her car and could we meet somewhere so she could show it to me? We met at Theatre as I was picking up the kids. She had her even older husband with her (90s?), and I sort of felt sorry for them, so even though it looked old, heavy, and questionable I wrote her a check for $50 and heaved it into my car. It was in two old boxes with full of dead bugs and cobwebs. Then I called the bread company and cancelled my mill order. Somehow they deleted my wheat order as well, so I had to call again about a week later, looking for my wheat, and then finally it arrived. Yesterday was to be the day to try it. A change of plans found me at the nature center field trip, then some school work in the afternoon, and finally I found the time to get started. I lifted the 100lb (?) thing onto my counter and tried my best to clean out the bugs, grease, dust, and 20+ years of grime. We weren't even sure where the flour was actually going to come out. By then Mike had gotten home and he and the kids took on the task of getting it started. It falls somewhere in between how the little red hen ground her wheat and how the modern machines actually work, but for $50, I'd say the chance I took actually paid off. Who wants to come over for some cinnamon rolls?