Sunday, September 27, 2009


For today...Sunday night September 27, 2009. Our "Auntie" who we miss so much passed away 5 years ago tomorrow.

Outside my is dark, by the end of the week we should be able to turn off the AC and open the windows.

I am thinking...about so many things not the least of which is what a fun and FULL weekend it was. Yesterday we met Meme and Grampa Carlie for lunch and because it was "free museum day" we went to an art museum and sculpture garden, then we went to 4:00 Mass, then came home to eat supper, then Mike and I had Theatre work to do including selling tickets and watching a funny play, in the middle of all that we also cleaned out and defrosted our refrigerator and got the fall decorations down from the attic, and Jake perfected his ability to ride his bike without training wheels. Then today we went to Disney and then to BJs on the way home...I am worn out!!
Never one to hide his feelings, walking into the museum Jake said, "Whose idea was this anyway?"

Eventually the kids decided to be statues themselves.

I am thankful...that we are getting 15 months of Disney for the price of 12, and with the amount of times we go it amounts to about $5 a day!!

From the kitchen...the delicious smell of bread baking if filling the house, the only reason I'm still awake doing this is because I'm waiting for the bread to be done. Lots of yummy meals to come this week, since we just made a BJs run!! Chicken cobbler casserole is on the list, vegetable soup, and much more.

From the learning rooms...Catholic book club tomorrow. Jake will continue a few more days of The Bee Tree for FIAR, then I think we'll do Ferdinand next over the course of a week and a half because we have some busy field trip days coming up. Jonathan's Algebra 1 arrived in the mail and if his other math isn't done by the fifth, he'll be doing two different math programs each day. Madi's science was about the sun this week and as I was reading some of it with her I couldn't help but wonder how people who don't have the comfort that comes from the belief in God actually get out of bed in the morning. I mean everything about the placement of the earth, the heat of the sun, gravity, is so specific, if something changed a miniscule amount everything would be different. I mean we know God made it all and is in control, but how to people who don't know that fuction each day?

I am reading...I put A Tree Grows in Brooklyn aside (even though I'm liking it a lot) to read The Prince of Tides for a bookclub that I probably won't attend anyway (I mean how many bookclubs can one person really be a part of?) is REALLY long, and I have a really LONG way to go, but I'm liking that too. As a family we are listening to the Trumpet of the Swan. I'm also thinking I should read Charlotte's Web to Jake before we go see that play next week.

I am praying...for many people and enjoying watching those prayers be answered.

Here's a quote to ponder...
Isn't that a perfect homeschooling mom's shirt?!

I am listening to...the kids laughing hysterically downstairs when they really should be getting ready for bed.

Around the house...the bread "beeped" and I can go to bed shortly.

In our yard...the raintree is full of yellow flowers.

One of my favorite things...Disney!!

I am "googling"...after the Journey concert I googled them and found out that they found this new guy (who sounds EXACTLY like Steve Perry) on you tube!! He was in a Journey cover band in the Philippines!

I am DVR-ing...still Dancing with the Stars and the Brady Bunch. We have a lot of Leave it to Beavers to watch too!

I am sleep good tonight (I hope!).

A few plans for the rest of the addition to the usual, we will be celebrating Mike and Jonathan on Friday...Mike because two years ago on that day he almost died, and Jonathan because 14 (yes FOURTEEN) years ago that day he was born!!! Mike's not working that day. We'll go to EPCOT for Jonathan to get his Disney birthday money, then home in time for Theatre. Then Mike and I will prepare for the onslaught of a bunch of big boys here for pizza, cake, football, a fire, movies, games, and lots of laughs.

Some picture thoughts...
I've kept my haircut a secret from my blog and facebook because I wanted to surprise my mother in person, but now that she's seen it, I can put it here. Keep in mind I hate pictures of myself and I think I have "hat head" in this picture.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thoughts and pictures

I like fall as much as the next person, and I'll be thrilled when the high temperatures are about 10 degrees cooler than they are now, but I get very tired of the argument that Florida doesn't have a change of seasons. You just have to know where to look. Granted we don't have the vibrant colored leaves of New England, but for that beauty, Northerners also have to endure 6 months of grey. I'll take the few kinds of Florida trees that gradually change color and lose their leaves continuously from November through February. Especially because during that time most everything else stays green, and different flowers continue to bloom. Green is better than grey anyday!! The kids have been spending countless hours over the last few days riding bikes and scooters outside...they didn't do this in June, July and August during the day, it was too hot. They can do it now though, and for the next nine months and be quite comfortable.

Diwali is an Indian Hindu New Year celebration. Followers of the Hindu religion hang beautiful sand art paintings on their door to welcome visitors during this celebration. Interestingly enough, these are very similar to the saw dust carpets that we learned about and made last year, that Roman Catholics in Guatemala make and lay out as part of Palm Sunday celebrations.

Buddhist Monks in Medieval India painted "frescoes" on wet plaster on cave walls.

Last week while studying the Byzantine Empire, Jonathan and Madi made mosaics.

Not only just Jake use accents and intonations when he reads aloud...he does it upsidedown!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


For today...Sunday night September 20, 2009.

Outside my is dark, there was some far off lightning before, but I don't think it's going to rain.

I am thinking...about the the girls in the CCD class that I am teaching.

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

From the kitchen...Mike made yummy chicken on the grill with rice and corn tonight. We are trying to clean out our refrigerator because the water on the door is frozen and the only way to defrost the freezer is to defrost the refrigerator too.

From the learning rooms...Jake is going to do The Bee Tree for FIAR this week and we're also setting up a science basket with bee books that I got from here. Jonathan and Madi are moving right along, we are in chapter 5 of Story of the World vol 2 and will be learning about the Medieval Indian Empire. Jonathan had some cool science experiments of Friday in cluding making boats out of cardboard and giving them different motors (one made our of gum, one made with a tissue and one with soap) the "soap boat" cruised through the bath tub because soap breaks the surface tension of the water. He also did my favorite experiment with the pepper sprinkled on the water and when you touch it with soap the pepper moves away.

I am reading...A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, I just started it today. I'm reading the same books as last week with the kids.

I am praying...for Mike's mother and a lot of other people.

Here's a quote to ponder...Do It Anyway
Sign In Mother Teresa's Office

People are unreasonable,
illogical, and self-centered,


If you do good, people will
accuse you of selfish,
ulterior motives,


If you are successful, you win
false friends and true enemies,


The good you do will
be forgotten tomorrow,


Honesty and frankness
make you vulnerable,


What you spent years building
may be destroyed overnight,


People really need help but
may attack you if you help them,


Give the world the best you
have and you'll get kicked
in the teeth,


From a sign on the wall
of Shishu Bhavan,
the Children's home in Calcutta

I am listening to...Jake calling me into his room to read to him.

Around the house...everyone's getting ready for bed.

In our yard...we see the hummingbirds every night now!!

One of my favorite things...fall.

I am "googling" image of a palm tree for out "symbol" for the football pool that Mike is invloved in.

I am DVR-ing...Dancing with the Stars which starts tomorrow and the brady Bunch which we never get tired of.

I am read to Jake and go to bed.

A few plans for the rest of the week...out with friends tomorrow night, Mike and I are going to see Journey and Night Ranger on Wed night, we might make an offer on a pop-up camper, and in between lots of school work, babysitting, driving kids, etc...

Some picture thoughts...

Friday, September 18, 2009

So much to blog... little time!! I don't even know where to start. Jonathan's schoolwork is getting harder. I'm thinking regular adults generally function at around a 7th grade level because most of the stuff that he is doing is not anything I (or anyone I know) uses on a daily (or even yearly) basis. Last night Mike had no idea about Jonathan's math, and although I picked up on it (and was kind of enjoying it) I know I've not done any of this since high school. It involved solving inequalities with combined operations, graphing linear equations, and finding the slope (remember that...change in y over change in x--no, I didn't remember it either!) As I watch Jonathan grow taller everyday, and am surprised by the man voice that is starting to come out of him, I can't help but wonder why society decided that the hardest schoolwork should be done at a time when everything else is changing too. Jonathan needs 10 hours of community service as part of his Confirmation class this year. He already does this by volunteering with homeschool PE, so he's already got 2 hours done...he'll actually end up with about 60 hours by the time he is confirmed. Jonathan is also a volunteer at AWANA in Jake's class, he wasn't thrilled with doing this intially, but he's enjoying it now.

Madi's work is taking less time than Jonathan's so she is frequently the one I turn to when I need something done..."Madi go get my wallet", "Madi answer the phone," "Madi please hang the clothes on the line," etc... She is Ti Moune in Once on this Island...which is very exciting! Mike's mother (whose surgery went well on Wednesday...will be coming down for the play). Madi is continuing with AWANA the same way she left off...flying through it. The teacher tries to challenge herself to learn the verses of a different girl every week (the girl's name is picked out of a hat)...she got Madi's name for this week and was telling us how she was hoping it wasn't Madi because Madi learns so many verses at once. She does this all on her own. Madi started church choir this week. It wasn't really her idea, but it is a good ministry for the church (not to mention a way to get free voice lessons). I told her it was the least she could do since I have volunteered (or more acurately was dragged kicking and screaming) to be the CCD teacher for her 6th grade class. Actually, the class went really well, and I enjoyed it...I'm confident she'll like choir as well.

Jake's ministry for church this year is that once he turns 7 (in about 5 weeks) he can no longer lay down on the kneeler, ask "how many more minutes" etc... during Mass. So for the next 5 weeks he can act like a two year old in church and I won't even complain, but once his birthday hits...the party's over!! I don't know where he came from sometimes! Today he read an entire story from an old fashioned, yardsale, first grade 'reader' in a dramatic British accent! I wonder if this is what it was like for Robin Williams's mother. He had a little chaffing kind of boo boo on his private part yesterday. When the kids came home from PE yesterday (where they had swimming) he showed me how he had put a bandaid on it. "Tell me how this happened," I said. "It's the same boo boo," he replied. Me: "I know, but how did you end up with a bandaid on it?" Well apparently he told the teacher that he had a boo boo "under his bathing suit", so she gave him a bandaid and he put it on in the bathroom....phew! In case you're wondering how the bandaid was going to be removed, he just showed up at my computer with the bandaid dangling from his all is well. (then he tossed it onto the coffee table, so I had to yell..."YUCK...throw it away!!") Jake has been watching Ratatouille lately and has decided he's going to be a chef (for this conversation he uses a French accent). I was trying to finish my book last night (the new Nicholas Sparks...I didn't like it so much in the beginning, but eventually it was really good), but he dragged me into the kitchen to teach him to cook because as he said, once he learns to cook, he can do all of the cooking and I can read all I want!

Jake has had this plan to have what he calls a "Jake age kids activity" at our house. I said we could do this once a month, so he had a few friends over here the other day for crafts, stories, snacks, and games. One boy who isn't fond of crafts told me, "If I knew this was what we were going to do, I wouldn't've come", but overall it was a pretty fun time. I was afraid in the morning that most kids weren't going to be able to come, and was worried for Jake (even though he can have such an attitude sometimes, if I were 6, I might not have wanted to come either...this is a sensitive area because when we were growing up, my brother went to a birthday party--he didn't want to go, but my mother made him...and he was the only kid that showed up...the boy was Sean Peckham...I'll never forget it!) Anyway, in the end almost everyone was able to come.

Monday, September 14, 2009


For today...September 14, 2009

Outside my is a little cloudy and breezy. It is slowly starting to get cooler and the air conditioning will be shut off soon.

I am thinking...about food because it is almost lunchtime and I'm hungry.

I am thankful...that my parents live close to us and kept Jake while the rest of us went to Night of Joy this weekend (they met us and hung out at the hotel Saturday evening and yesterday morning).

From the kitchen...I made blueberry cobbler this morning...much healthier than a poptart for breakfast! On the list this week...ravioli with green beans and pesto, baked potato soup, probably tacos, some kind of chicken, and maybe ribs.

From the learning rooms...Jake has another week of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs activities, today he made a food groups collage. He is on lesson 39 of Singapore Math 1 B and is reading very well.

Madi is enjoying her Astonomy Science, she has about two weeks left of her math (Singapore 4 B) and then will move into the next book.

Jonathan is reviewing the unit 2 in his science (Apologia General Science) and will have a test tomorrow. He has about 3 weeks to finish two different math books (Singapore 6B and a small "prealgebra" workbook then he will be starting Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 (I've given his birthday as the deadline).

Jonathan and Madi and I are enjoying the Middle Ages, we're starting Chapter 4 of Story of the World Volume 2 today, they've taken a test after each chapter, and Madi got 100% on Friday's test.

I am reading... The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks; St Philip of the Joyous Heart to Jonathan and Madison; and Ramona the Brave to Jake.

I am praying...for Mike's mother who has her surgery on Wednesday

I am also praying... for the patience to listen more and talk less.

Here's a quote to ponder...Everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. James 1:19

I am listening to...Madi "huffing" about her math.

Around the house...we were only gone for two nights and yet there's tons of laundry, suitcases, snacks, put away.

In our's all about maintaining now!

One of my favorite things...finding old friends on facebook.

I am "googling"...Fracesca Battistelli.

I am going...nowhere today (well except to take Mike to pick up his car at lunch--his tire was going flat) {and maybe to take Madi to church choir tonight if Mike doesn't get out of work in time}...around here those are as close to "going nowhere" as I'm going to get.

A few plans for the rest of the week...typical stuff, homeschool PE starts tomorrow, overall a fairly calm week and weekend ahead...I think!

Some picture thoughts...There's nothing like milkshakes at midnight!

Grandparents' Day breakfast with Meme and Grampa Carlie

Monday, September 7, 2009

Daybook-- Labor Day edition

For today...September 7, 2009

Outside my is a beautiful day and there is a slight breeze blowing through the trees.

I am thinking...Duh! I was wondering where my Godson and family are today then I realized...Oh yeah, probably getting his free stuff at Disney! Happy Birthday TJ!

I am thankful...for free chicken sandwiches at Chick-fil-a.

From the kitchen...more chicken tonight...chicken and chips with green peppers and corn on the cob, not sure about the rest of the week, long weekends kind of get you out of the everyday meal planning habit.

From the learning off today, except for Jonathan who will be taking a science test later so he can start his new unit tomorrow.

I am reading...nothing else today...I FINISHED two books today...The Secret Garden this morning, and then I read all 280 pages of Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech--it was a GREAT book!! Madi and I will be discussing it with other mothers and daughters at bookclub tomorrow (she finished it last night). The new Nicholas Sparks book also comes out tomorrow, so I will probably be buying it on the way home from bookclub. His are the only books I buy new and I buy them the minute they come out. I am reading Ramona the Brave to Jake. We had been reading the same three Berenstain Bears books over and over everynight (the Sitter, the Doctor, and get the gimmies per his request) and last night while I was talking to Caryn on the phone I was sending him to bed and said I'd be in in a minute to read...she asked what we were reading and I told her about the same three books over and over, she said she and Sara were reading a Ramona book, so I convinced Jake that we should too, he fell asleep last night before the end of the first chapter.

I am praying...for our country...primarily for all of the negativity to know how much I try to avoid political posts, but I just can't deal with all of the negativity surrounding the president's upcoming speech to is about setting educational goals for goodness sake!

Here's a quote to ponder...You can't keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair. This is from Walk Two Moons.

I am listening to...Madi and Jake playing the wii, they've gotten far too much screen time today!

Around the house...what would you expect when I've been reading all day, Jonathan and Mike are working in the yard, Madi and Jake are glued to the screen, AND we cleaned out my car earlier (read-- brought all of the junk from the car into the house). Oh, and 4 boxes of Pampered Chef stuff arrived the other day!! On a positive note I moved the couch in the library (front room), it doesn't necessarily look that good, but I was ready for a change.

In our yard...the never ending mulch pile is ALMOST gone!!

One of my favorite things... reading.

I am "googling"...we googled a "star chart" last week so Madi can pick out some of the stars in the sky as part of her Astronomy.

I am go for a walk at least once a day until our cruise.

A few plans for the rest of the, bookclub, Theatre (Madi got the lead--Ti Moune, Jonathan is her father Ton ton, and Jake is Daniel's son), AWANA etc... Thursday we are taking Jake to my parents and Mike, Jonathan, Madi, and I are going to Night of Joy Friday and Saturday.

Some picture thoughts...

Friday, September 4, 2009


Well we're two weeks into school for the year (about 6 weeks for Jake) so I figured it was time for a little update. It is different this year, and going pretty well. In the past Jonathan and Madi have done most things together and most of those things have been with me directly involved. This year they are doing most things separately and I am much less involved. It is weird to be "letting go", I'm trying to get my head around the fact that it is THEIR education and not my own. It is funny to think that parents of kids in a "building school" have to do this kind of letting go so much earlier in their kids' lives. As for Jake, I'm still holding on tight, and I'm a very active player in all he is doing. I'm loving doing Five in a Row all over again. For those of you who aren't familiar with Five in a Row and wonder what I'm constantly talking about, it is a curriculum created by a homeschooling mother where you read the same children's book for five days in a row and each day you do a different educational activity associated with it. You might do a math activity one day, science another etc... We just finished Mr Gumpy's Motorcar today. Next week we are going to do Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs which techinically isn't even a Five in a Row book, but there are TONS of activities that we can do regarding that book and the movie is coming out this month. We already found a lot of activites here. And a fun game here. Jake is reading a book outloud each day, doing a math lesson in Singapore Math 1B, doing a lesson in First Language Lessons, he's also working on Faith, cleaning up, and, in general, being a productive member of our family (somedays are better than others).

Jonathan and Madi are still doing History together and I am very much involved in this...I'm not ready to let go of this!! We are learning about the Middle Ages using Story of the World volume 2 including the Activity Book and tests. We have the actual text on CD read by our favorite Jim Weiss. Madi does best when she reads along while she listens and Jonathan listens best when his hands are busy doing something else. A lot of our Faith Study this year is combined with History as we are using books on the history of the Church including The Story of the Church and The Old World and America. The time period that we are studying begins with the fall of Rome. We've learned about the Celts and when the Anglo-Saxons came to Britain. I've learned more about Beowulf this week than I ever did in school (I vaguely remember something about it in my senior year English class).

Jonathan is in 8th grade and is doing Apologia General Science. This is very "school at home-ish" including experiments, study guides, quizes and tests. It is a good college prep science. I gave Madi the option of doing it with Jonathan, but she opted out which is fine considering she is just in 6th grade. Right now she is doing Our Universe, interestingly enough both of them have covered similar things these last two weeks and they've each had quite a few experiments.

Jonathan is finishing up last year's math and some pre-algebra and will be getting Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 in the next few weeks. Madi is finishing up Singapore Math 4 B. Kids in Singapore have consistently scored higher than Americans in Math over the last decade, and the grade levels are generally 1 to 2 years ahead of the US. This math is has a very strong mental component and not a ton of "busy work".

Jonathan and Madi have also been doing some Critical Thinking work including logic and reasoning. We are really starting to think about the standardized tests/ college boards that will be a part of their future.

Well with all of the links (that no one will read probably) this has taken me way longer than I'd intended. The kids are doing more, but that's all that I have the patience to write about. Two of them are currently breathing down my neck with math questions and they need to get to Theatre in a few minutes. They get their parts for Once on this Island today...all three of them are in it!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


More than one person has asked me for recipes recently on facebook, so I'm putting them here...

Creamy Herbed Chicken
(this is in the homeschool fuel cookbook with pork chops, Tiffany told me they love it with chicken and so I tried it yesterday)

Chicken cubed (I used two large boneless breast (for me and Mike...the fussy kids just had PLAIN chicken))

Saute in a heavy skillet, when cooked add...
1/3 cup grated carrot
1 Tbs Parsley
2 tsp flour
(for pork chops you use 1/2 tsp tarragon...Tiffany uses dill for the chicken...I didn't have either I used 1/2 tsp Thyme and 1/2 tsp oregano...I think it would be good with rosemary, but I didn't have that either)
1/2 tsp bouillon (I didn't have this)
(this recipe is very forgiving)

add 2/3 cup milk or cream (I used milk)
2 Tbsp white wine (I used a little extra wine) {as my grandmother- Memere- used to say, "I always cook with wine, and sometimes I put it in the food"}

Simmer until everyone is home and ready to eat...this was the hardest part for me yesterday! We had it with wild rice and carrots.

Also here is the easy bread I've been making in the bread machine a few times a week...

BREADThis is for a 2 lb loaf...different machines will require different amounts...

1 1/4 cup warm water
3 Tbs oil
3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
4 cups flour (I used freshly ground) plus I add 1 tsp gluten
1 Tbs yeast

Then I just set the machine for basic bread, 2 lb loaf, light is done in three hours...EASSSYYY!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Take a chance challenge #10

10. Movie/Book Comparison. Find a book that you haven't read that has a movie based on it that you haven't seen. Read the book and watch the movie within a few days of each other. Write about your reactions to both the book and the movie and compare the two.

I read the Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, and I liked it. It was a little confusing because it jumped back and forth in time, but once I got used to that, it wasn't too difficult to follow along. My one real complaint about the book would have to be the language. It was definitely explicit and crude. (close to X rated) The movie, on the other hand, is rated PG 13 and avoids the language of the book. That is one reason that I think this movie may be as good as the book (which we all know is almost never the case). The movie, like all movies, had to leave some things out, but I didn't really feel like anything essential was missing. The characters were portrayed very well, I especially liked the children in the movie. My husband and I both enjoyed the movie, and it is one that we will probably own someday. Overall I would recommend both the book and the movie (but for teenagers I'd only recommend the movie).

To see more take a chance challenge book-movie comparisons go here.

Take a chance challenge #5

5. Phoning An Author. Pick a random last name out of the phone book. Find an author with the same last name and read a book by them. Write about it. (I'm flexible ... if the first random name you pick is Xprxyrsss, you can pick again!)

I randomly picked the name "Chippendale" out of the phone book, what can I caught my eye! I chose to read Triumph of the Imagination the story of writer JK Rowling by Lisa A Chippendale. It was great!! It is a very short easy read. It is in a series of biographies about over coming adversity. The forward is written by James Scott Brady...did you know he and his wife championed the Brady Bill not because he was shot along with Ronald Reagan, but because when their son was 7 years old he found a loaded gun, and thinking it was a toy, pointed it at his mother? (this was written in the forward)

JK Rowling is a true genius! She overcame major adversity and went from being a single mother on public assistance to being the richest woman in England. I must add that she was only on public assistance for a short time, and she really hates how that is brought up so frequently. I personally believe she is among the greatest storytellers of all time. Even as a young girl she wrote stories and collected interesting names (if you've read any of the Harry Potter books, you'll know how great she is with names). I enjoyed this book, and now my 13 year old son (huge fan of anything Harry Potter) plans to read it as well.

To see more phone an author challenges go here.