Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Daybook

Outside my window~ It finally feels like Florida again, I wonder how long this will last. It looks a lot browner than I'd like though (especially in the backyard!)

I am listening to~ Jake hic-upping.

I am wearing~ jeans and a green sweater, no socks or slippers (which have been constantly on my feet for about a month and a half!)

I am grateful for~ Mike who is home today.

I am pondering~ ways to slow down and do less. A lot of people are talking about naming their year and I've seen thoughts on a year of "yes" (as in Mom, will you play with me? yes and Mom, will you read to me? yes) Those are ultimately great ideas, but for myself I need to turn it around and say no to some of the other things that might ask for (or demand) my attention so that I will be able to say yes to the best things. Just because something is free or fun or even educational doesn't mean we have to do it. This is going to be my year of "no"!

I am reading~Lunch Money by Andrew Clements (yes, it's a kid book and I'm reading it all by myself) We love Andrew Clements around here some favorites are School Story, Frindle, Things that Are, Room One, and The Report Card.

I am creating~ A huge laundry pile for the new washer that will be delivered this afternoon. Our old one died earlier in the week.

From the learning room~ We'll be back at it on Monday. My last post was all about this so I'll spare you anymore details. (Although I did want to add, I realized that I might've come across a little braggy about all the kids' A's. Maybe I am a little braggy actually, but the thing is we've never done grades before, they've never even taken "real" classes before so it is just nice to know that our little "homeschooling experiment", delayed academics and all is really turning out just fine).

To live the liturgy~ I got this book and this planner so I'm ready!!

Around the house~ Most of "Christmas" will get packed away on Sunday ;(! We'll try to keep some of it out in our home and in our hearts all year though!

From the kitchen~ might make some more cookies today. We are drinking a lot of coffee over here with this new Keurig! As long as I have flavored creamer (and mostly decaf coffee) I'm loving it! Madi is too!


One of my favorite things~ Christmas!

A few plans~ Trying to keep the slower pace of this past week, when we ease back into reality next week. Jonathan and Jake have well visit Dr appointments on Wed (they were postponed from Nov) and we should find out the results of Madi's latest bloodwork. We've still doing all we can to "treat" her thyroid without medication and would love to see that it is working. Actual Theatre doesn't start until the following week, but there is a "meet and greet" at the new theatre on Tuesday.

Here's a pic of Mickey enjoying his Christmas rawhide bone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

This is a homeschooling blog afterall...

I think I've posted more today than I have in about 2 months. One reason is because I've spent the better part of the day on the real computer (as opposed to quick checks ipod!) The kids are on here all the time because of their virtual classes, but since this is more or less a week off, I've had some time on here. What am I researching? School! More virtual classes, book lists, and (dare I say) even college admission requirements. So since we are half way through the school year and the computer is in my possession, here's a quick (or maybe not quick, we'll see) review of the year...

Jake is cruising through math like there is no tomorrow. Today we were discussing our soon to be implemented chore plan, and I was saying a part of that will also involve less screen time and consistent silent reading time. His quick reply was, "I read my math!" He is a good reader for a second grader, he just doesn't, at this point, choose silent reading as an activity (it isn't very active afterall). He will be done with his Language Arts Curriculum well before the end of the school year, and may move right into the third grade book before summer.

Jonathan and Madi got all A's on all of their virtual school classes. Madi's Art class is done and she got 100%. She will continue with her science class next week and may pick up another half year virtual class. I'm thinking Career Education. I had Career Education in 7th grade. I remember it well because it involved a lot of field trips. Madi's will be a little different because it will mostly involve sitting at the computer, but since her whole life is field trips, I think it'll be OK. I googled a lot about virtual classes offered by other states and came to the conclusion that our state definitely offers the best and brightest virtual schooling option. My current outline for Jonathan's sophomore year is heavily weighted in the virtual school direction (like to the tune of 5 virtual classes and one computer based math class). I may change my mind on this (and he will have some say too), but these classes just make perfect sense for high school homeschoolers. Jonathan's Spanish teacher was taking a while to post his final grade and come to find out the reason was that he was thisclose to an A, so she had him resubmit a few assignments and there came the A!

Our History is a little lagging this year. For one thing it's Ancients, we're more of an American History family. The other reason is all of us are doing it together and getting me and the three kids all in the same place at the same time is a little challenging. Also, the idea of a "real" teacher on the other side of the computer tends to put more pressure on the kids (and me) to focus more on those subjects. Lastly, for the last 4 or 5 years History has been our main focus, so it's fallen down a peg or two to give us a little more focus on other stuff.

Jonathan is exactly at the half way point in his Physical Science class, and I have to say he and I are both liking it a lot more than the Apologia General Science we did last year. Madi is taking a pretty good virtual general science class this year, so I think she'll go right into Physical next year. Jonathan was cruising like Jake in his math (Geometry) and somewhere around Thanksgiving that seemed to take a backseat. He'll still be done in plenty of time to get a summer break though. And the good news is this is the first year that everything didn't come to a screeching halt at Thanksgiving, so I think we're doing pretty well. His Driver's Ed is done (I think he got 100% in that) and we will be heading to the DMV in the next week or so....aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

So much to say, so little time!

Christmas was (is, actually because it's not over yet... today is just the 4th day of Christmas) fantastic!

Some of the highlights of Christmas Day in no particular order were:

Jake being excited about getting industrial size bottles of ketchup and ranch dressing (his two favorite food groups!)

The knowledge that we didn't have to get in the car the next day for a three week trip to the freezing cold north like we did last year. (Although it is pretty freezing here, I had to scrape my windshield with a credit card this morning)

Our pet this year is a healthy dog as opposed to the dying guinea pig we had last year (RIP Minnie!)

Our traditional low pressure Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my parents.

Madi and the choir singing like angels at the 4:00 Christmas Eve Mass.

Madi and her friend Emma singing like angels with the adult choir at the concert before midnight Mass. (I didn't take pictures or video, but I'm on the lookout for some)

Jonathan got an ipod touch so he won't steal mine anymore.

Madi got the pogo stick she wanted and is taking lessons from Jake. Her record so far is 24, Jake's is 1010.

I got a "cruise" in my stocking, Mike and I set sail on January 24th!

I also got a machine that transfers videos to digital recordings, Jonathan is working out the kinks with it and our wedding video is currently stored on his laptop.

Jake got a director's chair and a "take clap board". (If you have a Jake age kid, get ready for some "Jake Acts" in the New Year!)


We got no phone calls on Christmas day (we made some!), but we did get three Christmas texts, we will be forced onto the texting bandwagon in the New Year (much to my daughter's delight!)

We (mostly Madi) got a lot of fun games and have been playing (and sometimes yelling) up a storm.

The Keurig coffee maker that we got from my parents.

Good health.

As excited as the kids were to open the many gifts they received this year, they are still even more excited for the rest of us to open the gifts they've gotten for us!

Christmas Morn video

videoI just realized that after the initial coming down the stairs video, I never got anything else, but here's a little peek at our early still dark Christmas morning.

What Christmas looks like around here

Christmas morning








Christmas Eve













Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas card 2010

Some Christmas cards were hand delivered, some were mailed, some were "facebooked" and a few emailed. I'm pretty sure that anyone who reads this would be in one of those 4 categories, but in case I have any lurkers out there that I don't know about, or if all of a sudden my blog becomes suddenly popular in the blogosphere... here it is again...


Christmas 2010
“For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you. He is Christ the Lord” - Luke 2:11

We’ve had a hard time getting started on the Christmas letter this year. Between blogging and Facebook, it’s like we’re writing updates all the time. We couldn’t let this year go by with no letter at all though so we decided on a blogging tactic of seven quick takes to update you on the major happenings for the Scaringellas in 2010.

Jonathan is a highschooler and officially the tallest one in our family. In addition to his homeschool curriculum he is now taking some virtual classes including Spanish, English, and ……….Driver’s Ed. He is nearly ready for his learner’s permit. He continues to enjoy the technical aspects of theatre and has been the stage manager for a few adult shows this year in addition to all his work with the children’s theatre. This interest paid off this fall when he had an opportunity to be a production assistant for a movie that was being filmed locally (Ryan Waters and the King’s Sword). The movie should come out late this summer and he also will appear as an extra in the last scene. This may be how Harry Potter started.

Madi is in seventh grade and got her braces off this fall. She continues to shine onstage and in church choir. She took a babysitting class and is looking for work. She started taking virtual school classes this year including science and art. Madi is still everyone’s best friend and is counting down the days until her thirteenth birthday when she can have her own Facebook account. Madi was also an extra in Ryan Waters and the King’s Sword.

Jake is eight years old and preparing for his first Holy Communion in the spring. He finishes his second grade school work very quickly and spends his free time “casting” shows that he plans to direct, riding his bike and scooter, and playing the Wii. He is enjoying theatre, but hasn’t yet shown the public the level of commitment he puts into his shows at home. He has become infatuated with the American Presidents and knows them all.

Julie is the one who spends the most time updating cyberspace on the happenings in our family. You can check it out at www.winchesteracademy.blogspot.com. We are always looking for more Facebook friends as well. In addition to teaching our own kids (24 hours a day) Julie is teaching fifth grade religious education at church and just began substituting at the preschool that Jake attended. Also Julie and Mike were asked to be facilitators for a small group church program called “Why Catholic”. The first six weeks of the program were a tremendous success and the group will continue meeting in our home over the next four years.

Mike’s health has been great and he feels his ordeal from 2007 was a blessing; Julie still doesn’t quite see it that way, but time heels all wounds. Mike has kept all of the weight off and is in the best physical shape since his days at UCONN. Mike is still the Director of Sales and Marketing for Handex Consulting and Remediation. He continues to succeed in this role and will be a speaker at an upcoming industry convention in Orlando. His topic, “EPA’s Proposed Rule on Coal Combustion Residuals and its Impact on Beneficial Reuse” may not seem exciting to you, but your interest will peak when you see your electric bill rise significantly if it passes. This year’s focus was client diversification especially in the southeast. This has meant fewer trips north; if you want to come see us, you know where we are and you are always welcome to stay with us….we will even shuttle you to and from the airport.

Despite our hectic lifestyle, Mike is always planning the next weekend camping trip to explore the Florida state park system which offers outstanding educational opportunities for the kids and fun for the whole family. We love our pop-up camper and are using it a lot. We even got to see wild ponies on one of our trips.

We finally added to our family size this fall when we adopted a dog. Mickey, a Welsh Corgi, came to us from dear friends who sadly had to move away. We now have a nice fenced yard for our dog to run and play in. Mickey looks forward to meeting you when you come to Florida for vacation.

May you and your family have a Merry Christmas and blessed New Year. With all of love
Mike, Julie, Jonathan, Madi, and Jake

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Go go go Joseph!!

We are smack dab in the middle of another show weekend. You have two more chances to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Tonight at 7 (all three kids are "brothers" Madi is Reuben, Jake is Benjamin, and Jonathan is Dan) and tomorrow at 2 (Madi is an extra brother, Jake is ensemble, and Jonathan is the tech guy).







Tuesday, December 14, 2010

writing slump

I think I'm in one. A writing slump that is. I'm thinking maybe there are seasons for writing and I feel more like I am in a reading phase than a writing one. It was like pulling teeth to get our Christmas letter written this year. Ironically, it was because I feel like I blog a "Christmas letter" all the time, although not much recently. Blogs and facebook have changed keeping in touch. We don't need to wait 365 days to find out who did what this year. Still I wish more people would write and send a Christmas letter every year. I also wish they'd blog and update facebook, but maybe that's because I am in a reading phase.

It is cold right now! So cold we opted not to go to Disney today even though we were free until 4:30 (unless you count housework and schoolwork). Our Disney tickets expire this weekend and that's always a sad time for me. Jonathan, too, is a big Disney guy. He really wanted to go today, but eventually Madi and Jake convinced him that home was good too. They are currently watching the Jim Carey Grinch as a sort of reward/bribe for staying home.

I am trying very desperately to do less. I am also trying desperately to keep track of all of the things that we must do. Twice recently I've "double booked" us. Both times it has worked out, but I'm hoping this will teach me a lesson. I ordered a "planner" this morning and my New Year's resolution is to actually use it. AND to go back and look at what is already planned before I plan something else.

I was sick last week. I think it was the flu. I think that because I felt like death and because Mike got a flu shot this year and did not catch whatever it was I had. I felt really bad for 3 days. My voice still isn't right and I still have a little cough, but otherwise I'm as good as new. Once again Silver Shield came to my rescue (well that and oscillocoxinum and elderberry and vitamin D and emergen-C). I'm convinced that if I wasn't popping immune boosters like crazy, I'd still be sick now. Because of my sickness, we crossed Disney off of our "things we will do" list three times last week. That is what makes the end of the tickets even harder. The thing is we've gone about a bazillion times in the 15 months of our passes, but still it's sad to see it come to an end. I think was is especially hard this time is thinking things like...the next time we have Disney passes Jonathan will be driving us down there! You see it's not so much the Disney passes as it is the passing of time that is getting to me!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Cheer

















...and did I seriously never even get Thanksgiving pics on here yet?




Packing up the meals that we delivered...