Monthly Archives: January 2007

My Floor Needed Cleaning Anyway

A loud thud and an exclamation by my husband sounded from the kitchen. I jumped out of bed and ran to see what was the matter (hmm…that phrase sounds familiar doesn’t it?). I saw my husband quickly lay the baby down on the living room carpet and scramble back to the kitchen, grabbing any towel or washcloth he could. The kitchen floor was a pool of white liquid with one large rivulet of it quickly making its way toward the the dark recesses under my stove. The first thing I did was jump in and stop that from going any further. No, thank goodness, it wasn’t Elmer’s glue, just the jug of milk. I didn’t even ask. I just responded to my husband’s question on what to do by telling him to get the mop and a bucket. He helped for a bit before he had to leave for work, leaving me to spend the next hour wiping up the floor, the cupboards, the stovetop, under the oven, the table,… The funny thing was I knew I should have been up and starting my day, but it had been a bit of a rough night with thumbsucker. So, I had been lollygaggin’ in bed. Joe had taken thumbsucker, who was crying, out of the bedroom to let me continue sleeping. Then the milk spilled…Of course, there’s no use crying over spilled milk, so I just focused on cleaning up, still in my bedroom attire with my littles looking on wanting brownies for breakfast and asking for a show on TV.
It was then I decided to wipe up the whole floor while I was at it. My floor needed cleaning anyway! I already knew the day was not going to go as planned, so taking full advantage, I declared it a “special day” and gave the kids brownies and milk for breakfast (sorry mom!) and turned the TV on for them. I decided to tackle some things I’ve been wanting to take care of, and I told the girls they could help me when I needed them. They spent the morning drawing and creating other art projects. Hey! Some school did get accomplished! Check off art for the week 🙂 Actually, Bythebooks rabbit drawing was very nice. I’ve posted the book she used and the drawings she’s done below. I do so like the flexibility of homeschooling. I’m sure we will still get accomplished what’s necessary for the week. After all, it’s only Wednesday.

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Filed under Children, Family, Homemaking, Homeschooling, Mothering, Parenting

How it typically goes – an example using a science lesson

After seeing that there is discussion on the 4RealLearning forum on whether or not Charlotte Mason thought of toddlers spicing up the mix while trying to teach, I thought I’d lay out today’s science lesson to show what often happens here with the whole gang.

We began the Life Science chapter on animals today from Behold and See 3. My goal is to cover pp. 104 -108. All the kids and I start seated around the kitchen table (baby is currently sleeping). They all came willingly because I told them they could have an ice cream sandwich as a special snack today. Eating commenced along with some informal discussion on Genesis 1:20,24, all the differents kinds of animals (using pets and the zoo as fodder), and how scientists group animals, or classify them, to help them study and learn about many animals at once. We look at the colorfully painted opening page of the chapter that shows many different animals with the Genesis verse printed in the center. My 5 and 3 year olds are so excited to shout out different things about animals (and some completely UNrelated things as well, I might add!) that it causes the two year old to begin babbling loudly so as just to sound like he’s contributing too. I calmly remind them I can only talk or listen to one person at a time, and that they should only talk about animals right now. Once I realize the younger boys are just going to go on and on about their favorite animals, I tell them that’s enough and I would like to move on to sharing the list of words we’re going to be learning about. They sit quietly through this and a few more comments by me until I ask what kind of babies cats have. With a lurch, the talking train is off and running again with the contest being who can tell me the most animals and their babies’ names. My three year old can’t get a word in edgewise, which makes him cry. I shush everyone and let him tell me about a couple animals. I also ask my two year old to please get off the table. He does, and my five year old takes advantage of the lull in conversation to state he’s hungry and can he have another snack? I say no and don’t bring it up again while we’re doing science. I then summarized the points they were to take away from this discussion on baby animals and moved on to asking them to tell me what animals eat. Once again, there was no problem generating plenty of ideas! I then asked my two oldest, 10 and 8, to select six animals from the list provided. I announced to the younger boys that their sisters were going to do some research (reviewed what research is) and we would come back together when they were done. The girls headed to the encyclopedias, the boys ran to play Lincoln Logs and I got up the crying baby. I managed to tape up two large pieces of paper to the pantry door with one hand while holding the baby in the other. Then I got water for the boys and cleaned up the table from the ice cream. After about 15 minutes, the girls said they were ready, so I called the boys, set the baby in his seat with an apple piece to chew on (it was in a handy little mesh holder so he can’t choke) and began to go over what the girls found out by charting it on the paper I’d taped up. My oldest made many trips off her chair to return the apple in its holder to the baby, but I know she has the ability to do that and still pay attention 🙂 . Once the girls finished presenting their information (10 minutes or so), I could tell the boys were losing interest. I told them to go play because I needed to work with just the girls for a few minutes. By now, I needed to hold the baby as the apple wasn’t good enough anymore. I had the girls get out their sketchbooks and enter in the three terms we learned from the list at the beginning of the chapter and their Latin roots. I called back the boys and asked them if they wanted to paint (of course they did!). We looked at many of the pictures in the chapter and determined they were watercolor and ink. I sent the girls downstairs to fetch the painting supplies while I got newspaper and paper out for the boys. I asked them to try to paint some animals like the ones they saw in our chapter. I asked the girls to label the animal and classify it when they were done, using the encyclopedia for help. I nursed the baby for most of the painting session, then I painted as well (which the kids always like). The boys drifted off one by one as they were done, with my oldest and I being the last at the table. My 8 year old then asked if she could go outside since she was done, and I said yes since I was done with what I wanted to go over with them for now. The two oldest helped me get the boys dressed, and once they were out the door, I turned to face the painting mess on the table (only from the boys – the girls know to clean up after themselves). By this time, though, the baby had had enough and wanted to finish nursing. Needless to say, he cried a bit while I quickly cleaned up. This is a pretty typical scenario for us, although I will say I’ve experienced worse way too frequently! Of course there are times that are very nice when I work a lesson with just my older girls because the boys are very caught up in what they’re playing too.

Below are our pictures from today:

Both the girls drew their animals from memory (I did not 🙂 ) It’s far from the best work the Sweettooth can do (the wolf), but I could tell her heart wasn’t totally into it today. (We’re working on this issue!)

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The giraffe is on the left below the sun in case you couldn’t tell 🙂 Bustruction worker and No fear are below. Bustruction worker claimed he couldn’t draw an animal, and No Fear doesn’t care – just does his own thing!

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Last, but not least, my humble painting.

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Make Tomorrow’s Meal Tonight!

A yummy recipe from my friend Cathi that’s super easy to make (have one of your kids give you a break and have them assemble it!) and great to throw in the oven the next day.

EGG CASSEROLE

9 eggs, well beaten (I used 12 – more to feed!)
3 c. milk
1 tsp. salt

1 box croutons
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 pkg. brown & serve sausage, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
OR 1 lb. bacon, fried and broken/crumbled

Beat together the eggs, milk and salt. Add remaining ingredients.

Pour into a 9×13 pan, lightly greased. Refrigerate overnight.

Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees, 1 hour.

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Loving the Real People

Over at Trinity Prep School, Maureen had this quote:

You are not a saint because you keep the rules and are blameless; you are a saint if you live in the real world, going out and loving the real people God has put into your life.
SISTER WENDY BECKETT

My friend Ann is on her way to sainthood in this respect, I’m sure of it. This morning a friend and I hosted a baby shower for her and her fourth baby. She had never had a baby shower, so we were excited to give her the experience and celebrate this new life with her. True to her character as I know it however, she didn’t bask in the glow of fun with friends and gifts alone. You see, as I was preparing invitations, Ann requested to share her shower with another woman she knows, Mary. Ann told us how blessed she felt in her life with good family and friends for support and the blessings of home and such, but she knew that Mary didn’t have any of this. Mary didn’t have a great life story to tell, or money to buy even the necessities, and Ann knew it. Yet Mary was welcoming a new little girl into this world despite her circumstances. We all agreed it deserved celebrating too. We asked everyone invited to bring a gift for either Ann and baby or Mary and baby, and Ann assembled wish lists for both of them. Mary received as many gifts as Ann; the women were so generous! Mary was too uncomfortable to join us, since we are all complete strangers to her, but Ann relayed that she was overcome with emotion when she learned people she didn’t even know cared enough to give to her and her little girl. I only wished I could have shared in the fun she probably enjoyed this afternoon as she opened her gifts with Ann! I don’t know how or why Ann even met Mary in the first place, but I do know that Ann did indeed take the time to love a real person God put in her path – as did all the wonderful ladies who brought gifts too!

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Housekeeping Meme

Saw this housekeeping meme at KC’s blog, and since I read it, I was tagged! How about you?

Aprons – Y/N?
Not usually, but I do like one when I do wear it. My grandma always wears one. Hers are usually pretty and flowery. Mine is a denim Pampered Chef apron. My girls have matching kids aprons.

Baking – Favorite thing to bake:
Pretty much anything, but I especially like baking things from scratch that these days others may think only comes out of a box! I also like baking my grandmas’ and other favorite family recipes.

Clothesline – Y/N?
Yes, and much to my husband’s chagrin, I don’t use it nearly enough. I do love the smell of clothes that have dried in the sun vs. the dryer!

Donuts – Have you ever made them?
No, but my great grandma was supposedly famous for her donuts – I’d love to try them, and I’m sure my family wouldn’t mind either!

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day:
Dishes (dishwasher and by hand) and laundry. My girls take out the garbage and clean the bathroom sinks everyday.

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?
I have an extra upright freezer in the basement and a chest freezer in the garage along with a freezer, that doesn’t really work well, as part of a side-by-side in the garage.

Garbage Disposal – Y/N?
No, and I never want one.

Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
I have Home Comforts by Mendelson, which I don’t use much, but I like the book! FlyLady has probably had the most influence on my planning for housekeeping.

Ironing – Love it or hate it?
I like it, but with so much else to do, it usually lies around until dear husband decides he’s just going to do it. Luckily, we don’t have too much we need to iron!

Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it?
Yes – two in the kitchen, one in the laundry room, but really, it’s not junk – it’s really useful!

Kitchen: Design & Decorating?
LOVE it – have no time or money for it! It was my second college degree (Interior Architecture). I would love to start from scratch and design our own home someday. The older I get, the further from reality that dream seems J. I do like “decorate with what you have” types of philosophies and try to make my home look nice – even if I am the only one who cares or notices!

Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Making meals for my family, keeping our home relatively clean and not too cluttered, and making it seem warm and cozy so we enjoy spending time here.

Mop – Y/N?
Usually I mop, but when a deep clean is called for – it’s down on the hands and knees. Nothing beats it!

Nylons – Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
I know it should be by hand, but I have neither time nor space for such a thing – in the washing machine they go!

Oven – Do you use the window, or open the door to check?
Now I turn on the light and look through the window, but with our old stove I opened the door since the light was broken.

Pizza – What do you put on yours?
My hubby and kids are sooo traditional – pepperoni and cheese respectively. Me, I’d opt for sausage, mushroom, onion and tomatoes OR Canadian bacon, pineapple, onions and tomatoes OR best of all, hamburger and sauerkraut!

Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?Pray. Nap. Read – a book, a magazine. Occassionally, I spend time checking my favorite internet sites. If I’m pressed for time, my “quiet moment” is used to get my weightlifting in.

Recipe card box – Y/N?
Yes! Unfortunately, it’s not nearly big enough to hold all the recipes I like. So there are scraps of paper with recipes on, manila folders with recipes in, a big bowl on the counter with recipes in, ….

Style of house –
Full basement story-and-a-half with attached garage. Style would be considered rather traditional with front porch and dormers.

Tablecloths and napkins – Y/N?
Tablecloths occasionally, but I’ve never owned napkins. I love Bounty toweling! Now that I have a new large kitchen table, I’m going to need some new tablecloths. Who knows, maybe I’ll buy some napkins too?!

Under the kitchen sink – Organized or toxic wasteland?
Organized, but not always perfectly clean. The kids aren’t the neatest when it comes to getting garbage in the garbage can.

Vacuum – How many times per week?
Once a week – spot vacuuming in between when needed on the carpets. Vinyl floors a couple times per week, with the kitchen getting it everyday! (Since we’ve lost our dog, we’ve had to vacuum the kitchen everyday – haha)

Wash – How many loads of laundry do you do a week?
TOO MANY! I hate laundry.

X’s – Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off?
Yes, I do, and my husband always laughs at me for it. Yet, who does he come to when he needs information about our schedule???

Yard – Who does what?
DH does the lawn mowing and trim, pruning of the trees and really, most any yard work we do do, which isn’t that much unfortunately. I take care of any plants, flowers, our raised garden beds and keeping the yard toys in check!

Zzz’s – What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
It varies, but it is usually one of the following: dishes, something with schoolwork, laundry, or misc. tidying up.

This was fun! If you would like to participate, please consider yourself tagged!

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Bread n’ Butter

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He seated himself on the corner of the table and began his dinner. Heidi grasped her bowl and drank and drank without stopping, for she was thirsty after her long journey. Then she drew a long breath and set down the bowl.
“Do you like the milk? asked her grandfather.
“I never tasted such good milk before,” answered Heidi eagerly.
“Then you must have some more!” The grandfather filled the bowl again to the brim and placed it before her. He spread her bread with toasted cheese as soft as butter. It tasted delicious, with frequent drinks of milk.
-excerpted from Heidi

Okay, so Heidi had toasted cheese and bread not bread and butter, but often when I eat a thick slice of homemade bread spread with freshly made butter, I think of Heidi up in the Alps sitting in a flowered meadow eating the lunch grandfather packed her, which consisted of milk, bread, and cheese. There seems to be no snack around here as popular as warm bread from the oven and butter made from our friends’ raw cream! It can’t be beat in smell or taste.

For Christmas, my husband indulged my request for the very practical, albeit expensive, Bosch mixer. I sold him on it by talking about how easy it would be to have homemade bread all the time. I am still experimenting with recipes to get the perfect loaf of bread, but this last batch turned out pretty well (shown above!). I used hard white berries which I ground in the Family Grain mill with an adaptor attached to my Bosch. Immediately after grinding the flour, I made bread. Flour doesn’t get any fresher than that!

Speaking of recipes, here’s another keeper. It’s Elsa’s Cider Beef with Cheddar Smashed Potatoes from a recent Rachel Ray episode. You must try this, it is delicious and quite easy to make! Don’t let the fact that it contains turnips turn you off – it was a great way to get this vegetable in our meal in a way that nobody minded. I topped the leftovers in the dutch oven with the leftover potatoes and just heated up the dutch oven the next night for another supper – almost like a shepherd’s pie. If you have a large family or big eaters, you probably won’t have any leftover’s! Although we have five kids eating, they are small enough they don’t eat me out of house and home…yet 🙂

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Thumbsucker is showing a great interest in food and eating lately, but he spits up so much, I’m holding off giving him any food until he outgrows this a bit. See how excited he is looking upon seeing the bread and butter?

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Vacation is over

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Okay, so my Christmas break from blogging was a bit longer than I anticipated. Doesn’t everything take longer than you think it will? I have been trying, quite unsuccessfully, to get back into a regular routine, which includes back to full schooling since Thumbsucker is now 4 months old. I had vowed it would all begin this past Monday, and although I did manage to do more than usual this week, it still was not what I had hoped. Not losing faith though, I have set the same goal for this coming Monday, and I will give it my best effort!

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*Our new read aloud is : Mary Poppins
*Our artist study this month is: Clementine Hunter
*We have yet to determine our next music study, so in the meantime, we continue to listen to the classical music we enjoy, with a little Trans Siberian Orchestra and Contemporary Christian Music thrown in.
*We will beginning RC History’s study of Ancient History next Monday – this week I am brushing up on my background reading for it as well as watching The Great Adventure Bible Series by Jeff Cavins
*Both girls are moving ahead nicely in MathUSee, with BytheBook beginning a new level this week. At this rate, both girls will be up to grade level by next school year.
*The girls seem to be enjoying reading the books that I have on their reading lists this year. Currently, BytheBook is reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Sweettooth is flying through various classics like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White as well as beginning The Princess and the Goblin. The boys and I continue to read a variety of books, with Outburst’s latest favorite being The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.
*Piano and violin continue to be played, and all the kids entertain me with a play now and then. I also get a kick out of seeing what they pretend play throughout the day!
*Ice skating lessons are a weekly occurence once again for the next 10 weeks. The girls have also been cross country skiing a bit lately. Of course, all have been enjoying regular sledding outings.
*Daily Bible reading, Saint of the Day, prayer, and Faith and Life move along steadily.

This is what needs to get going yet: Primary and Intermediate Language Lessons, Science/Nature Study, and consistency with handwriting, spelling, vocabulary, narrations, copywork, and dictation. Hopefully we will be co-oping Latin class again this semester, and the kids would like to begin learning some Spanish at home. I had hoped to begin the Artistic Pursuits program this year, but financially, it is going to be pushed back until next school year. Plenty of informal art projects are always in the works!

The Homeschool group continues to be active this semester. Upcoming events include a Father/Daughter dance in February (Joe and I will be providing music), a Presentation Night and Chemistry program in March, and the Little Flowers Tea Party in May as well as the usual First Friday Meetings. 4H marches along as well with the much anticipated rollerskating party coming up in the next month or two. We are determined to visit the Shedd Aquarium in February to take advantage of our yearly membership before it expires, and we also are going to get to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, WI as promised to Sweettooth too long ago.

As I write all these things down (and I haven’t accounted for what Joe and I have going on) it’s no wonder Joe and I feel too busy too often and there seems to be a constant pile of laundry and dishes! Although I may complain occassionally and often feel overwhelmed, I know that I wouldn’t want to not be doing what I am doing at home and homeschooling the kids. The kids seem to agree – at least they tell me so!

Probably not the most exciting blog entry in the world, but my intent when I started this was to help keep all my family and friends informed of our life…so consider yourselves informed! Until next entry…

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