Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Stuff Christmas Letters are Made of

I originally started blogging almost 4 years ago as a kind of continuous Christmas letter. It was becoming the "thing to do" and it was a good way to document the goings on in the family; the good the bad and the ugly. For about three years I literally "thought in blog". Everything was fodder for a blog post. Now blogging, mine and everyone else's, is not always a top priority. We are, however, knee deep in the middle of some exciting (and a few not so exciting) things that are all "Christmas letter worthy", just in the last few days!

*Jake got his first lead role! He is "Ugly" in the summer camp production of HONK! (a musical version of The Ugly Duckling) He got the part yesterday and opening night is in two weeks. Today on the way to Theatre he told us the "one bad thing about having a lead", "since you have lines on almost every page, you are much more likely to get a paper cut!"

*Our family size will increase temporarily today when we pick up two foreign exchange students who will be with us for 2 1/2 weeks, a 15 year old girl from France and a 16 year old girl from Spain. This will be an intersting opportunity for us.

*Mike had a wake up call regarding his bloodsugar, and yesterday at his doctor's appointment his A1C told us just how important it is to watch what he eats. He is back on the right track thankfully!

*Jonathan and Madi's mission trip. It was two weeks ago, but they are still reveling in it. They had "the best time ever"! On Sunday after Mass there will be a reception for the kids who went on the trip to share some information and pictures with the rest of the parish and those who made the trip possible. Madi will be speaking at it.

*We went to the American Idol 2011 Top 11 concert on Sunday. It rocked!!

*We got a new car on Saturday.

*Got the results today that two spot (one was a mole and the other a weird growth) that I had removed from my arm last week are A OK.

I now have approximately 15 minutes of quiet left in my day (and during that time I have to shower), then I have to get the kids at Theatre, take them to a meeting at church, pick up books at the library, swing by Walmart, get Jonathan back to the Theatre, pick up "our girls", and go out to dinner at Chili's where we are having a Theatre fundraiser.

Bread recipe

Enough people have asked me for my bread recipe lately that it makes sense to put in on here so it is easy to point people to it in the future. Let me be perfectly clear though, it is not MY bread recipe, it comes from Bread Beckers.

1 1/2 cups hot water
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp salt
1 egg (optional, I always use it)
2 Tbsp Lecithin
1 tsp gluten (optional, I always use it)
4- 4 1/2 cups freshly milled flour
1/2 cup ground flax seed (optional, I usually use it)
1 Tbsp Yeast

Combine water, oil, honey, salt, and egg. Add Lechithin, gluten, half the flour, and flax. Mix thoroughly. Add yeast and the rest of the flour, enough to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5-6 minutes). I do this in my Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook. Cover and let rise for about an hour. Spray bread pans, shape into pans, cover, and let rise again (about another hour). Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I was thinking about posting about some health issues because health issues are on my mind, but that's not fun. Strange (and sometimes not so strange) health issues tend to be a cross our family has to bear. I'm glad I'm not superstitious (knock on wood--hahah) because often when I write about health issues, they tend to blow up right before my eyes. SOOO... I'm not writing about health issues, if you want to pray for us though that would be great!

I am going to write about the books we are reading and listening too. I think I am the biggest fan of audio books in the whole world. I love them so much! Audio books are truly a multi-taskers best friend. Don't think I 'm just talking about getting stuff done like housework either. They are also amazing for doing 1000 piece puzzles like the one that is taking up residence on our dining room table right now. Not to mention the car thing! Mike and I have currently traded cars and I now have the one with a 6 CD changer (and temorary XM satellite radio). For years I drove the other vehicle, the one in which 1 year old Jake inserted coins into the CD player. I'm making up for lost time by having a CD player now! Madi and I had appointments an hour away yesterday and we had a few minutes to browse in a library first. This is a library from the neighboring county, one that I have a card for too. I am a glutton in the library. Sometimes I think it's worse than chocolate. Sometimes I think I spend more time just aquiring library books and CDs than I actually do reading or listening to them. Yesterday I checked out Gossamer by Lois Lowry. She is the author of one of my favorite books of all time. So I'm waiting for Madi to be ready to listen some more (while I work on the puzzle). Jake and I are currently listening to Henry Huggins. We are listening in English, I think that link was in Spanish. Jake is also listening to Harry Potter 4, I can't say enough about how Jim Dale is the best audio book reader ever (well, and Jim Weiss). He is also listening to all ove the A to Z Mysteries all over again (no link this time, getting lazy). Meanwhile Jake is reading this.. Together we are reading Farmer Boy. I'm also still trying to read every good picture book that's out there (perhaps a tad too lofty of a goal) before he gets too old. The current library picks are The Hickory Chair and The Hatmaker's Sign. I remember reading these with Jonathan and Madi, but they are even better than I remembered. I am reading The Penderwicks. I'm not sure how I missed this before now. I'm on the second one right now and should be on the third by tomorrow. Madi is reading this series and loving it as much as I did. We also both read Three Willows this summer and loved that too. A few weeks ago I read the book about the original sisterhood ten years later. It was a very good book, but it didn't go the way I would've written it. Now I'm patiently waiting for other people to read it because it definitely needs to be discussed. Another book that I read this summer that needs to be discussed is ROOM, I LOOOVVVED it!! Jonathan, the light master, is reading scripts, that is when he's not making movies. I've got a huge backlog of library books checked out and on hold, so


Math games

I just found this link and it looks pretty cool. We're all about games around here!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter

It seems that the Vatican and I have the same beliefs with regard to Harry Potter too!

Schooly stuff

I was going to go on facebook and post something like, "after 10 years of homeschooling I'm actually going to do some lesson planning," then I thought better of it. Not the lesson planning, but the posting of it. It doesn't really sound right and it definitely doesn't convey truth very accurately. So I came here where I can babble and it doesn't matter if I make sense or not.

Today is the last full day that Jonathan and Madi will be away on their mission trip. They have had a great experience. I'm so thankful for texting because without it I wouldn't know much! I've only spoken to Jonathan twice and to Madi only once (and if she didn't happen to walk by Jonathan while he was talking to me, I might not have talked to her at all). This post isn't supposed to be about them and their trip though. It's supposed to be about me and lesson planning. Wait a minute, isn't lesson planning about them anyway? The lines between "me" and "them" are so blurred, I can't tell what's what. Ere go my point about lesson planning. My whole life (well the last 16 years of it anyway) has been about planning for the kids, until today I just never used term "lesson planning" to describe it. So my quiet week at home is coming to an end (I had no Jake either on Monday and Tuesday), and I'd really wanted to come up with some sort of a schedule, lesson plan, whatever, to lay out the year ahead. I haven't done much of that yet. I'm not much of a scheduler. I feel like I've said all this before, but we tend to accomplish a fair-to-good amount of stuff around here each day and it's all happened without a schedule. We eat and sleep every single day. We do a lot of reading, playing, visiting, learning, even exercising most days. The house is no show place, but it is generally passable. We get stuff done. This makes it harder to follow a schedule. It's sort of the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' mentality. Every year, I want a schedule though. Every year at this time I read Managers of their Homes. For years I borrowed it and recently I bought a used copy of my own. I don't even like that book, but I read it every year. I want school work to get done (and chores etc) without the reminders (nagging, yelling). Maybe this will be the year that we'll figure that out (I think that every year). So today, in addition to reading that book, I'm attempting to organize, make lists, and mentally prepare for the year ahead.

I'm too lazy to put the links in, but this is what the school year is looking like so far.

Jake 3rd grade
American History- lots of it. We are more or less using two or three different curriculums that we are altering to fit our needs. There will be a lot of reading (aloud and silent) of a lot of real books. We could very well burrow into certain time periods and get buried there for weeks at a time, so I am tentatively thinking we may do this for two years.

Science- I just decided this morning that he will use God's Design for Life: The Animal Kingdom for Science. He told the homeschool evaluator that he want to do more science in the coming year.

Math- same as always Singapore (3A & 3B). 3A is missing somewhere in our house right now.

He will use Catholic Heritage Curriculum for Spelling, Language, and Faith/ Reading.

Madi 8th grade
American History and Literature- Sonlight Core 100

Math- Teaching Textbooks, she started Pre-Algebra in January and at the time wanted to finish before September so she could do Algebra 1 in 8th grade. I'm not sure how far she's gotten, but I'm quite sure he hasn't touched it in over two months. So she'll do that until she's done then she'll move to Algebra 1.

Science- Apologia General Science

Spanish 1- FLVS

Faith- Confirmation preparation

This doesn't look like very many "classes", but there is an excessive amount of reading (and writing) with the History and Literature, so for now, this is the plan.

Jonathan 10th grade

Science- Apologia Biology

Math- Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2 AND Alpha Omega Consumer Math. Is it crazy to do two "maths" in one year? Probably, but it is weird how in (building) schools college bound kids don't have any classes on balancing checkbooks, doing taxes, budgeting etc. Our homeschooled college bound kid will!

English 2
Spanish 2
World History
(all with Florida Virtual School)

He will need to make the gym more of a priority this year and assuming that is the case will get a PE credit (possibly in conjunction with another FLVS class).

College Prep Genius SAT prep (which I think is a half credit course)

I'd also like him to do that Understanding the Scriptures class that we bought last year, but I'm not sure where the extra hours in the day are going to come from. He will definitely do this class someday, just not sure when.

I'm still not completely sure what we're calling Theatre for Jonathan. He spends more time there than he does sleeping on a lot of days. His official transcript (which I officially haven't started on yet) will have 1 credit for Theatre this past year. From February 1st through April 30th he had spent 279 at the theatre. It hasn't really slowed down since then. Some of it can be "volunteer hours", but he's not really lacking in those either because of ushering at church and the mission trip. At some point in the next year he's going to have to let them know that he won't be able to "work" there as much and will need to get a part time job. Maybe they could start paying him and kill two birds with one stone, we'll see.

Some of what's been floating around in my brain is now here in black and white, but the scheduling part of it is still a mystery. I imagine when I revisit this type of post next year at this time most of this will have been accoplished and the scheduling will remain a mystery.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chit chat

I'm sitting here trying to decided if I'm going to have a bowl of ice cream or not (cookies n cream) and I figured I might as well blog while I decide.

Ok change of plans, the reason I was sitting around trying to decide about ice cream is that I thought I had to be up for another hour and a half waiting to pick up Mr Lightman Jonathan at the theatre, but I had barely started typing when I got a text from him saying I could get him now. My very wise son decided to leave during intermission because A-he wasn't actually running the lightboard tonight, B-he needed to finish packing for the mission trip tomorrow, and C-sleep might not be such a bad idea either since on said mission trip they have to get up every morning at 6:15.

Did you ever answer the phone and feel like the person on the other end was already in the middle of the conversation before you could even register who they were or what they were saying? Sometimes I think my blog is like that. I'm going along talking about lightboards and mission trips assuming you the reader already know about the current focal points in our family right now. Since I'm pretty sure I've not picked up a new reader in the last few years and most of you (all?) of you know us in real life, I think I've made a pretty safe assumption (is there a p in that word? {yes there is because I just spell-checked it}).

So here I am still no ice cream, but now no need to stay up because the little chicks are in for the night. Well the big chicks are. The little chick is staying at Meme and Grampa Carlie's house for a few days. Yes, so if you've been following along (on my conversation that I jumped right into before you even answered the virtual phone), Jonathan and Madi leave for their mission trip tomorrow and Jake is at "camp Meme and Grampa Carlie". This means I will have some quiet time at the beginning of the week (and Mike and I will have quiet time tomorrow). I'm not sure what I will do with myself. I have a lot of things I'd like to accomplish like possibly actually making a pseudo-lesson plan for the first time in over a decade of homeschooling, but I also have a good amount of books to read and some puzzles to do. I just today finished a really great baseball puzzle (and it is available for loan).

The kids had their homeschool evaluations today so we officially have a 10th, 8th and 3rd grader around here. Jake went last, and he was a little nervous. Keep in mind this evaluation is basically just talking to a woman we've known since before Jake was born and showing her some of last year's work. He likes to play the shy card. He's not really shy per se, just uncomfortable talking to people one on one. When you combine that with the fact that he doesn't care a lick about what other people think, it can make Mommy a little nervous too. Well I kind of hung near the room where they were when it was Jake's turn and I heard him first talk about how he is more comforatble on stage than he is one on one with people. Then I listened to him go on to describe his favorite book "in which Dink, the main character, invites his favorite author to speak at the library. When the author doesn't show up, Dink and his friends must find out what happened to him...."

Sometimes I conjure up worries that are unfounded.

Time for some ice cream!