Sunday, August 31, 2008

17 years ago today...

Mike and I went on our first date. We went to see the band that his brother played in. The date didn't start until 9:00. I had to meet him in his dorm room. When I got there his door was open and he was looking out the window. He was wearing tan pants and a navy blue golf shirt. He doesn't remember this, but he didn't even buy my drink (a wine cooler that the bartender made by mixing wine and 7up--Mike got one too, he paid for his own). At least he drove, and I think he held the door open for me. On the way he told me he was a Yankee fan (and I debated getting out of the car right then...I've been a Red Sox fan since third grade). He didn't care so much that I was a Red Sox fan (the Red Sox weren't much of a threat to the Yankees then), but he wasn't too sure about me when I told him I liked Barry Mannilow. I'm not even sure why I told him that, I do like Barry Mannilow, but of all the musical groups I've ever liked, I'm not sure why he was who I picked to talk about that night. We've come along way!

13 years ago today our first neice, Sarah, was born. She is a teenager today. I was 8 months pregnant with Jonathan when Sarah was born. In 32 days I will be the parent of a teenager!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Here's our new little buddy, Baby X. We will be babysitting him on Thur and Fri afternoons. Madi was in her glory with him! Madi will also be babysitting another little boy at our house on Tuesday mornings, we'll call him Little S.

Science experiments

Today's science experiments involved surface tension...pretty cool!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


This was Jake's latest "character" while doing school today. he called himself Spike (and he used a different voice!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Can you believe it...

...I actually put a picture of myself on here!? I still don't really like it, but at least it's acceptable, compared to most pictures of me. Mike joined "facebook" this weekend, and we've reconnected with some people that we'd lost touch with, who may or may not be reading this. So again it is time to make the request...if I know you and you read this fairly regularly, I'd love it if you'd let me know!

We got completely soaked at EPCOT last night. At one point, I heard this mother telling her family how all winter when she wasn't busy at work, she was checking Disney websites planning for their summer, once in a lifetime, vacation. Then there's us..."hey let's meet at Disney tonight," the thing is I still think we appreciate it as much as those people that plan for it all year (maybe more)!

School has started, and so have the annual conversations with public and private school mothers who are already (less than one week into it) becoming disenchanted with their child's schooling and are considering homeschooling. I'm attempting to perfect my answers to why and how we homeschool, but it is so hard to explain. It is just who we are. The socialization issue is especially hard to explain. Not only do my kids and I have tons of friends, we are so closely involved with so many of them on a daily basis, our friends, too, are part of who we are and what we do. I often find myself sending people to my blog so they can see how much we "get to socialize." To borrow a quote I've heard from others...Yes, socialization is a huge problem for homeschoolers, we do so much socializing, we don't always have enough time to actually school!!

Monday, August 25, 2008


A Simple Woman's Daybook for today, August 25, 2008 to particitpate go here.

Outside my is sunny, clear, and beautiful.

I am thinking...about how sore my legs are going to be, Mike and I went for a bike ride last night and another one this morning! It is fun, but hard on our hills. It is easier for me to get out of bed with plans of a bike ride than it is for a walk though. (hopefully the novelty won't wear off...we bought the bikes from neighbors about 2 years ago, but haven't used them much at all)

I am thankful...that we got so much done this weekend. I think I mentioned that when Mike found that the attic was leaking, he also found that we have much more storage space up there than we thought we did. We spent yesterday laying boards up there (I was the one in the 200 degree attic) and moving stuff out of the garge into the attic. We were even able to get a car in the garage (we've done that even less than we've ridden our bikes!). I'm also thankful that the attic and family room carpet are both dry now (the family room courtesy of our new dehumidifier).

From the kitchen...I've got pinto beans in the crockpot for my first attempt at making refried beans. Right now the kids are having "tea party" (AKA school snack) down there, while I've snuck upstairs to update my daybook.

From the learning rooms...Jonathan and Madi have already done Language Arts, History (a review of Colonial days), and Religion, Jonathan has done some reading and Madi has done some math. It is time for me to get my butt off the computer and do some work with Jake!!

I am creating...nice kids!!?!

I am take the kids to Barnes and Noble this afternoon to get the free books that they earned from the summer reading program. We are then going to meet Mike at Diseny (EPCOT probably) because he is at a conference in Orlando that gets done at four. The kids don't know this yet. Aren't we so spoiled to have Disney passes??

I am wearing...the usual, shorts and Tshirt.

I am reading...Caddie Woodlawn.

I am hoping...that the kids are super cooperative and deserve the reward of going to Disney because we are going anyway.

I am hearing...same radio, same station. (these questions are getting a little boring)

Around the house...Jake's room is a mess, but everything else is pretty good. Jake's back on the Schoolhouse Rock kick, because we got the DVD of all the songs at Target for $10 this week. He and his stuffed animals and the people from guess who are busy creating the set (his room), his Guys and Dolls props are still out too (dice, cards, hats, shirts, vests, and ties) and his Wizard of Oz stuff, AND all of the more typical 5 year old toys too (blocks, games, books...)...a true work in progress.

One of my favorite things... Disney.

A few plans for the rest of the week... school work, bike rides, date night on Wednesday when the kids have AWANA, babysitting a new baby on Thur and Fri (he's 8 monthds old, but new to us).

A picture thought I am sharing...the attic!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Changes, Flooding, and Fun with Friends

I changed my blog bookshelf and put some books from our curriculum on there, so you can see where I get some of my brilliant ideas. I also rearranged my blog songs, and put some "storm" songs on in honor of Fay who started out slow for us, but eventually did some damage. You can't see the water damage on the carpet, but the fan and shop vac are there because we had rain coming into our wall and soaking the carpet in our family room last night.
We also had rain coming into our attic and soaking the ceiling in the hallway.
While Mike and the boys were home "hunkering down" in the storm and surveying the damage, Madi and I were celebrating one of her closest friend's 10th birthday with some great friends.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Could you keep a straight face....

...if you were trying to teach this guy??!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A little bit of reality

I'm still loving our school work, and we've gotten through most of another day, but I figured it was about time to let you in on some "behind the scenes" secrets. While I'd like to think I'm writing this only for our own memeories, I often think of my two categories of readers--other homeschooling Moms and family and old friends who are interested in what we are up to-- when I am typing away. My feeling is that the old friends and family are interested in the braggy type posts and the other homeschoolers want more of the behind the scenes "we aren't as good as we might look" kind of stuff. So, here is where I will indulge the homeschoolers, by admitting that on day 3 we had the "talk" today. You know the one..."Do you really want to homeschool because if you're going to argue about everything, I can sign you up today and you can start public school tomorrow. I'm sorry if I let you play so much and be with friends all the time when you were younger, but now you're in 7th and 5th grade, and even though I know you guys are so smart (and Jonathan, you could probably go out a get a job right now if you were allowed to), it is time to focus more on the academic things that schools and our society praise so much. Madi, next time we're in public and you don't know what a word says, don't say it too loud, it will make us (and everyother homeschooler) look bad. Jonathan I know Singapore math is 2 years ahead of the US, but lets hurry up and get out of this book with the '5' on it!!! blah blah blah" Then there's Jake....he's going to be one of those kids that needs to do everything perfect for himself (I've never had one of those before). Then second he thought he was wrong about something he immediately screamed "I knew homeschooling would be PATHETIC!!" I could go on and on. Really we are having fun, and doing great experiments and I've not exagerated any of that stuff at all, but sadly I didn't exagerate today's post either. Please tell me I'm not the only one who says and does this stuff!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2 days down 160ish to go!

Well, we had another productive school day today. Our curriculums (Jonathan and Madi-- My Father's World 1850-Modern times and Jake-- My Father's World first grade) jump right in with activities and experiments. Jake got to make cornstarch playdough and then mold a "pottery jar" out of it. (in old times, pottery jars were used to hold scrolls, the Bible was originally written out on scrolls) Madi, also, made a pottery jar (heart-shaped). Jonathan and Madi's science this year is Chemistry and Physics with tons of experiments. Today we made plastic out of milk. Apparently the casein in milk is in long strands and when you heat the milk and add some vinegar, the casein separates into lumps that can be molded and will harden. For a "sensory girl" like me, this is really cool! We also got to make meringues while watching how the egg white changes when it is whipped. The meringues are a little flat, but Jonathan and Madi liked them (Jake and I like a treat with a little more substance!). Both of these "chain reaction" experiments came from Usborne's 100Science Experiments. And no, I am not so creative as to come up with all of this, it is part of the curriculum.

For those of you out of state (Cindy is the only one who comments, but I suspect I have other lurkers at least occassionally), Fay's path changed, so inspite of the fact that it is pouring at the is really no big deal. Public schools are closed today and tomorrow, but the weather isn't even as bad as a typical summer thunder shower.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Simple Woman's Daybook for today...August 18

Outside my window... the clouds are rolling in...tropical storm Fay is on the way!

I am thinking...about how well our "first day of school" went today.

I am thankful for...the opportunity to homeschool my kids.

From the kitchen...Mike and I are having buffalo chicken pizza (I can't wait!). The kids are having left overs (actually our chicken is left over too).

I am wearing...My red homeschooling Tshirt in honor of our first day and tan shorts.

I am reading...Farmer Boy to the kids and Jake and I read the first Junie B Jones between last night and today. It is Junie B Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus. When I first read that book to Madi I said "silly" smelly bus. Sadly, stupid is one of Jake's favorite words, so I just said it!

I am hoping...that Mike gets to stay home tomorrow and we have a cozy day with lots of rain, but not bad wind.

I am hearing...the radio's tropical update and the kids and OBM's kids playing house. Just heard the public schools in our county will be closed Tue and Wed because of Fay...we will be up and running...maybe by candlelight.

Around the house...We started school inspite of the mess in the loft, and some of it actually got cleaned up. I need to get the clothes off the line before the rain starts.

One of my favorite things...reading to the kids.

A Few Plans for the rest of the week...Tropical Storm and school work. Also, on Thursday Madi and I get to go to a 10th birthday party that is overnight at a bed and breakfast, how cool is that?! (we will school through the storm, but not on Friday...homeschoolers can do that).

A picture thought I'm sharing with you...Jake and his tongue hard at work this morning.

To participate in the Simple Woman's daybook go here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Little by little I've been able to add some pictures. I did it one post at a time because I wasn't sure if it would keep working. Jonathan played Harry the Horse. The hat he is wearing belonged to Mike's grandfather. The hat was frequently covering his eyes and it was funny because he was in Guys and Dolls when he was 7 and then he wore black pants and a white shirt and had a big hat over his eyes. He's a lot bigger now! He'll be 13 in less than two months. He is down the street at his friend's house right now, that friend starts high school tomorrow.

Finally Guys and Dolls pictures!

Here's the thing, if I don't click on done the computer doesn't crash. Jonathan is the one with the red tie.

picture test?

The famous actress Cheryl Hines (she is in Waitress and RV) came to Guys and Dolls. Madi was working in the box office with me and I quickly snapped the picture with my phone. Cheryl is the aunt of one of the kids in Theatre, she worked with the kids at their last rehersal also. Jonathan had her sign his script.

Computer trouble

Guys and Dolls was great and I'm still unable to get a picture or video on here. Whenever I can get to it, there will be a lot to catch up on. Jonathan was great and decided to be in the next show (Aladdin Jr) instead of just doing the lights as he had planned. This means all three kids will be in Aladdin! Guess what video they want to watch today? Jake is going back and forth between acting out the Wizard of Oz and Guys and Dolls. I think the satellite TV guy who was here on Friday found it a little strange to see a five year old boy listening to Luck be a Lady and Bushell and a Peck (I'm sure he didn't really even know those songs though). The good news is I think our TV monitor etc is finally fixed (I don't think I've blogged much about it, and maybe that's because I'd love to say we don't watch TV at all, but we do, and I have spend hours and hours this summer dealing with Dish network). The guy basically replaced everything (and didn't charge us anything except for the previous aggravation), and now it works. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten that far with the computer from my father. I'm not really sure if I should be dealing with our internet provider or the computer company, so I'm just not dealing with it at all. I want it fixed though. Jonathan's computer keeps crashing and I think it doesn't have enough memory to support my blog habit.

We are "starting school" tomorrow. I've got a schedule planned (that we'll probably abandon pretty early on) and it will be interesting to add Jake into the mix after two years of preschool at a school building. I'm looking forward to it, and looking forward to not needing to drive the kids anywhere for a while. I did almost cry the other day though when I drove by St Edward's and realized it was preschool open house. We really miss Miss Shawnie, but have plans to go visit. Our loft is currently in a mess because of the parts of the old computer and new/used/not working computer, and that is where we ideally will be doing our school work. I don't really feel like cleaning it up though (more of my not dealing with the computer), so we'll have to see where we end up doing school. I had been thinking of working with Jake in his room, but right now his room is the set of his production of Guys and Dolls (did I mention Buttons (Jake's Build-a-bear who wears a Buzzlightyear costume) is in Guys and dolls with Jake as well as the people from the game Guess Who. I've proably neglected to mention that when Jake gets "into" something, he doesn't abandon his other interests so the people from Guess Who and backyard baseball are usually in the cast of whatever it is he is performing.

I'm probably typing on borrowed time here, as Jonathan's computer has not yet crashed, so I'll stop for now, not knowing when or where my next blogging opportunity will come.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guys and Dolls

Tonight Jonathan has his part in Guys and Dolls. Last night was opening night, and he did the lights. On Tuesday our homeschool group got a sneak preview performance. I've been trying for the last 30 minutes to get picture on here and it isn't working!!


Just now as I was tying Jake's cape around his neck (he's not a super hero, he's the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz--earlier today he was the lion (lion headband and tail) and before that the tin man (funnel on his head and turkey baster for the "oil can")...but I digress. As I was tying his cape I said, "You are the cutest little boy I know." His response was "And you're the best Mom, I ever had." Well, I know lots of little boys (and all of yours are cute too!), but I'm the ONLY Mom he's had!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jake's recital

Jake's recital was last night. They performed Snow White and then some songs and dances. Madi was a helper and narrator.

Monday, August 11, 2008


In addition to learning Guys and Dolls, Jonathan's Theatre camp has included guest teachers in the afternoon working on singing, dancing, improv, scenes and monologs. Tonight was the recital of some of that. Madi and cousin Sarah helped Jonathan run these lines when we were on vacation. Here's the video of his scene.

Theatre workers

Jonathan got to work the lights tonight until it was his turn on stage.

Usually Madi, Hannah, and Grace are backstage (or on stage), but because they've been taking a break from the second summer camp, they got to work concessions tonight.

One show down, three to go...

Here's Jonathan in his "dance camp" dance. He's got jeans and a light green shirt on. Because of missing all of one week for our vacation, he basically learned this dance in 4 days.

A Simple Woman's Daybook for today...August 11, 2008

Outside my window...I can see the Oleander that I just planted this morning.

I am thinking...about what a full Theatre week it is going to be.

I am thankful mornings and evenings when I can be outside and not worry about the sun.

From the kitchen...we'll be making a lot of sandwiches this week to be eaten in the back of the Theatre.

I am wearing...jammies (Red Sox Tshirt, Mikes' gray shorts).

I am reading...the same Fannie Flagg book as last week and haven't gotten very far. Also Stopping at Every Lemonade Stand, a book about creating a positive community for kids.

I am feel motivated and ready to start school next Monday.

I am hearing...Jonathan's radio, what else?

Around the house...the kids are getting ready for the last week of Theatre summer camp.

One of my favorite things...watching my kids perform.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...Performances every night...Jonathan's recital (dance camp and scenes and monologs) tonight, Jake's recital tomorrow-- Snow White...he's a Dwarf (Madi is a helper with this), Guys and Dolls Jr Wed and Thur.

Here is a picture story I'm sharing with you...
We got rid of some of our dead grass in the front yard, by planting some trees and bushes.

To participate in the simple woman's daybook go here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Green, thrifty, and other thoughts...

...for a Wednesday morning. Weeks ago L recommended that we post money saving tips on "Thrifty Thursdays", and since I've yet to do that I figured I'd catch up now. First and foremost for any of you locals...CHBS Thrift Store currently has children's clothes for 25 cents each. This morning, I was headed to Walmart ( I don't enjoy Walmart) to look for pants for Jonathan for Guys and Dolls, and decided to stop there first. I thought the sign in the window said 25% off, was I thrilled when I realized it actually said 25 cents each!! I was able to find two pairs of black pants that will hopefully fit Jonathan, a shirt for Jake, and pants for Madi. If I had the patience to look longer, I'm sure I could've found more. I love thrift store shopping because it is both green and thrifty!

One of Memere's most popular phrases was "waste not, want not". We generally joked about this because she often took it to the extreme, once packing a green pepper in a box when my parents were moving from CT to FL. As I have gotten older though, I've become a big fan of the "waste not, want not" mentality. I hate seeing food go to waste! Mike and I are both big on this, finding creative ways to use food before it goes bad. Deli Turkey that has seen better days can be heated up with gravy and mashed potatoes (kind of a senior citizen type of a meal, but still pretty good). We often joke about the fine line between food and garbage at our house (food usually winning out). Then of course even if it does become garbage, it goes in the compost pile so even then it isn't wasted. It really bothered me on vacation to be throwing away perfectly good banana peels that could've been used for compost.

We have really perfected to art of taking our ecobags with us to the grocery store, but inevitably we still get a fair amount of plastic bags in our house. Not only do they line all of our small garbage cans, but in our kitchen garbage can, we first put a regular white kitchen trash bag, but then a smaller store bag where we hope to get most of the garbage (Target bags are the best because they are slightly bigger and fit over the whole can). This way we take the small bag out when it is full and haven't used up the big one. We generally only throw a kitchen bag away about once a week. Saving the environment and money (again green and thrifty).

We also use cloth napkins and often reuse them if they aren't yucky. This does not make more laundry because we just throw the few napkins in with regular laundry we are doing anyway, then hang them on the clothes-line. We reuse plastic water bottles and even sometimes reuse ziploc bags if they've had dry things in them. We also try to use more reusable containers and less disposables, and we do a pretty good job of it.

We find ourselves going out to eat and in hotels more than a lot of people, but often the hotels are paid for by Mike's work as it is a lot of times a business trip, also we have hotel points on our credit card (which we use for most things and pay off every month), so we often have free hotel rooms from that. We almost never buy soap (and shampoo) because we take home all of the samples from the hotels. At restaurants we are good at splitting meals, taking home leftovers, and drinking water.

We do a lot of other odd, frugal things, but this has at least gotten me caught up from the last few weeks, and I better save some for "Thrifty Thursday". Tell me how you and your family are green and thrifty!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Mem!

My Memere would have turned 89 today. She passed away in April, we miss her so much!

Monday, August 4, 2008

For Today...August 4th.

Outside my Window...the sun is very bright and sure to be hot.

I am thinking...about all of the things I have to do today to get back in the swing of things after vacation.

I am thankful parents who celebrated their 40th anniversary yesterday.

From the kitchen...I thinking of making "Caryn's meatballs" in the crockpot for supper, I think they are really called sweet and sour meatballs. As soon as I finish typing this I'm going to have honey nut cheerios with fresh blueberries and strawberries.

I am jammies (Red Sox t shirt and red and white striped sleep shorts).

I am reading...Welcome to the World Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg.

I am get the house back in order by the end of the day.

I am hearing...the ceiling fan.

Around the house...the kids are hopefully almost ready for theatre, I want to be early today because we missed all of last week. Jonathan is performing in Guys and Dolls next week and hasn't been there since he got his part. This is the first show Jonathan will have been in twice!

One of my favorite sleep.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...UGH! too much to think about right now, dealing with all of the chores I put off when we were going on vacation including finally dealing with the social securtity office, calling dish network about our broken DVR, dealing with my tooth that STILL hurts, getting the kids to Theatre, Jonathan to golf this afternoon, Mother-Daughter bookclub on Thursday, and much more that I can't remember right now. (not to mention Mike is having a CAT scan tomorrow--to check how everything is continuing to heal and I'm trying not to think about it...brings back to many memories).

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

Jake playing Disney Sorry with Mickey Monkey, Peanut, and Buttons.

To participate in the simple woman's daybook go here.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

August 3rd

Forty years ago today Marie Elaine Robert married Carl Randolph Trahan. It was apparently such a hot day in Willimantic, Connecticut that the candles were melting on the tables (unlit). That night on their way to their honeymoon in Hampton Beach, NH, they got a hotel room in Massachusetts, and 19 year old Marie held tight in her hand her handbag that contained the marriage certificate (afraid someone was going to question them). Part way through the week, they returned to Willimantic and picked up Marie's parents and 14 year old sister and took them back on their honeymoon with them. I can picture the whole thing even though I wasn't even born yet. Marie and Carl are my parents and these are just some of the stories that have been passed down. My parents have the best relationship you could ever imagine. They are such an inspiration to everyone who knows them. Twentysix years after they took my grandparents on their honeymoon, Mike and I took them on ours! Actually, I wish there were words to describe how wonderful they are, I am so blessed to have them as my parents. We met them for breakfast this morning on our way home from our vacation. I wish for them that they could be spending this day with the kind of celebration it deserves, but the truth is with them it doesn't matter. Except for our breakfast this morning, they are spending the day, just the two of them together at their house and my father has a bad cold, but they are still the happiest people I know and they love each other as much as two people can love each other. They have each other and their family that loves them. They have great memories and many more to come, who could ask for more than that? Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, we love you so much!

P.S. When they read this and hear the new music on my playlist, I'm pretty sure they'll be dancing right there in their living room!

a little more of the trip

OK, I really hate pictures of myself, but here's one anyway. I'm including this for two reasons, to show what a fun Mom I am and to show off my big purchase... a swim shirt to protect my high cancer risk skin! The hardest part of a vacation...unpacking!! Here's one more video...a fun time at Funland!!

Day 6

On the last night Grandpa Sal made us lobster...YUM!! (As you may have noticed I do a really good job of staying out of these pictures, don't you think?!)

...and the kids didn't have lobster!

This might be the only picture I ended up getting of the pool.