Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Homeschool Break?

Do home schoolers break for the Christmas holiday? We do and I would imagine most home school families do break for this time of year. But we are not the typical home school family. Unfortunately, I am bound by our public school calendar for the most part. It's hard to get AH to do anything when his public-schooled brother is still in bed or going out with his friends. When I step back from my worrying, I realize the learning doesn't stop. AH is fervently working on the new Lego sets he received for Christmas. Amazingly for him, he picked out a new chapter book to begin reading. AH is also making his way through the Planet Earth series (a birthday-Christmas present from big sis and her boyfriend). These chances to learn without Mom overseeing everything is what I try to re-create during our official "schooling" days, but there really isn't anything like the real thing! Besides, it's Christmas break and breaks are for kicking back and relaxing, too! This also gives me a break to organize my files and plans, to make sure we are on track, and do some rearranging or editing of some units. Of course, this gives me time to do some things I've been itching to do. I'm working on my crocheting much more. Doug and I have had some time to spend together. And the education room is looking much better since I de-cluttered it and put things back into their rightful places. Actually, the WHOLE HOUSE is looking better since we've been on break! We also can't dismiss the importance of mental breaks...for student and "teacher"!!! I know I am looking forward to returning to our regular schedule, but will cherish the breaks I'm provided by the school district as an opportunity to break out of our learning ruts and patterns and spark some self discovery!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Best Christmas Present...EVER!

My husband and I agreed that this year we were not going to exchange expensive gifts. But making things was okay. I once received a beautiful poem from him when we were young and poor and I mentioned to him this year that I would love another one. Doug loves to tease me about my fascination with the Twilight series of books. He often comments that he is my Edward and is always on the look out to save my life. Not much call for that here in central Minnesota. So when I opened up the card that came with my present and it said, "A love story Greater than Edward and Bella..." I expected a love poem about Doug and me, but what I received was much different. He wrote a love story about our youngest, AH, and me, his mother. By writing this poem, I get to see my relationship with our youngest through Doug's eyes. I debated whether I should show you a picture of the gift because it contains our son's name, but decided that it was worth it. It is entitled, Austen's Song, and Austen (or AH, as you have come to know him) decorated it.

Austen's Song

By Doug

She saved his soul

his self esteem

She made him whole

with eyes that gleam

a broken boy

now restored

Her rescue ship

to climb aboard

Her arms outreach

they search and find

She loves to teach

She sculpts his mind

A boy of length

his wondrous ball

He gains strength

She'll catch his fall

She gives every care

She ensures the fun

Journeys everywhere

She sees each run

Her gentle touch

His tender disposition

They love very much

their own tradition

from the very start

their love so pure

joined at the heart

the perfect cure

She loves his smile

and his frowns

Her love for him

knows no bounds

For him,

there is no other

no better friend

Only his mother

His song

sung for you

His love

forever true

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Monday, December 15th, 2008...

Outside my window... is a cold, frigid day but a blanket of snow was laid last night making everything clean and beautiful.

I am thinking...that I have a lot to do before Christmas!

I am thankful for...the time I spent with my family yesterday.

From the learning rooms...Just the basics this week (Math, Reading, Writing, Spelling) plus a fun Christmas story and craft each day.

From the kitchen...hopefully, cranberry cookies, since we will be reading Cranberry Christmas today.
I am wearing...jeans and a sweatshirt(gosh I'm boring!)

I am creating...memories!

I am going...to drop AH off at Scouts while I do some quick shopping!

I am reading...Twilight...again!!!

I am hoping...I can feel better soon, I was laid up in bed Friday and Saturday and I still feel drained!

I am hearing...my beeper go off! Time is up! Back to our studies!!!

Around the house...Christmas decorations make me happy.

One of my favorite things...is having a Christmas tree to look at.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Shopping, picking up our lamb at the butchers, baking, having fun!!!!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Maggies Favorite Cranberry Cookies!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Birthday Wrap Up

Well, the weekend of celebrating came to a quiet end last night. It all began on Thursday night when we celebrated AH's birthday with a family dinner. AN and MB joined us for the carbo-load that AH planned for us! They were brave souls!!

On Friday night, AH had his buddies over for the night.

Six energetic 10 and 11 year olds, pizza, cake, snacks and pop! I'm sure you get the picture!! They claim they were up until 4 am, but when I woke up around 3 am, there was no sound coming from downstairs. They say they were just being quiet! Anyway you look at it, AH had a fabulous time with his friends. What a great bunch they are! Saturday was a quiet day at home for all of us. I think we needed some time to decompress. AH spent the day putting his new Lego sets together and having a nerf tag war with his older brother! On Sunday, I took my mother to an Icelandic language Christmas service. The liturgy and most prayers were in Icelandic, but the sermon and 2 songs were in English. It was a nice quiet late afternoon service. Afterwards she and I stopped in to our favorite coffee shope (the Dunn Bros. Coffee shop on Fairview Avenue) for a cup of coffee and a treat! Their roaster is great!!! I've never had a bad cup of coffee there! When we got home, I pulled out our Christmas decorations and put up our tree while listening to Christmas music. AH and I decorated while AD did homework nearby, Doug made dinner, and my mom watched, supervised, chatted, and ate with us.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy 11th Birthday, AH!!

Today my baby turns 11 so he gets to plan our dinner:

Tortellinni with Pesto
Crescent Rolls
DQ ice cream cake

Big Sis is coming to dinner for the celebration too! Our family will truly be together tonight!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs #16: Candy

This week it’s seriously going to be just fun. This week share your favourite candies. I know from being on the HSBA Post team that Sprittibee and Dawn love gummy-bears, and maybe Bunny too. Have fun with this… and you’re welcome to post a photo of YOU eating your favourite candy. Haha!
God’s Word is also like sweetness to our souls. His sweet love, forgiveness, comfort, peace, and more is what makes our lives seem a little more bearable when things get rough. Whenever you eat your sweet piece of goodness remember that God loves you and will always be there when life seems sour.
Share a scripture for this week as well. One that lifts you up when you’re feeling discouraged.

Candy, huh?!
Unfortunately, I have a wicked sweet tooth, so I can enjoy many different candies. But there are two I cannot live without! I believe, like so many women, that life without chocolate would hardly be worth living! I enjoy dark chocolate with a cup of coffee. Mmmmm...(Is it too early at 9 am for chocolate?! I've got my coffee right here!) Sometimes, though, I like a little fun in my chocolate and the only thing that helps that craving is M&M's! I like to buy several kinds and mix them all up.
The second candy I cannot live without is Icelandic licorice. And, yes, it HAS to be Icelandic! It is black, a little sharp and absolutely delicious! Unfortunately, I don't live in Iceland, so I depend upon the goodness of my visiting relatives (have I mentioned that I'm 1/2 Icelandic?) and friends from Iceland to fill my larder with licorice. The absolute best way to enjoy Icelandic licorice is to use it as a straw in real Coca-Cola. Mmmmmm...my inner 10 year old is calling to me! Alas, I'm out of licorice right now. If any of you readers are in Iceland right now...hint, hint, hint....
My scripture today has nothing to do with sweets, but really keeps me going at all times (much like chocolate!):
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
- Philippians 4:4 - 9

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, December 1st, 2008...

Outside my window...A beautiful blanket of white covers our lawn.
I am thinking...about making a quilt for AD using his old sports jerseys and t-shirts
I am thankful for...My new dryer!!! (see picture below!)
From the learning rooms...Vikings, Vikings, and more Vikings!!!
From the kitchen...will come one of our favorite dinners: Stir Fry!
I am wearing...a dark gray hooded sweatshirt and jeans
I am creating...a plan for AH's birthday dinner on Thursday and for his sleep-over on Friday night.
I am going...shopping this afternoon to get art supplies for the party and for school, then to the grocery store for vegetables for dinner
I am reading...Nothing! I've finished everything in the house!
I am hoping...to find something interesting to read
I am hearing...AH working on some handwriting (lots of muttering!)
Around the house...not much is happening. We usually wait until after AH's birthday to decorate for Christmas
One of my favorite things...is my new dryer!!!
A few plans for the rest of the week:Cub Scouts, ball room dancing for Doug and me, a visit to my sister-in-law, batting and throwing practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays starts this week for AH and me! AH's 11th birthday is Thursday and we have his sleep over party on Friday night!
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Heaven on Earth!
Thank you, Peggy, for this wonderful idea!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gardening in November?!

I've got a definite theme going with some of the books I've been reading lately. The list includes The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollen; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver; The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen; and the best one of all, This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader by Joan Dye Gussow. I know I'm too busy to do a big garden next summer, but I want to rededicate myself to my existing vegetable garden which has languished the past 3 summers because of our demanding schedules. I would like to try to produce more of our food. Not just a few dinners or side dishes here or there, but really try to make the most out of my garden space. Since I've had such limited time for the garden, the first thing on my agenda is to amend and enhance the soil. What I did today is to layer newspaper over my garden and covered it all up with crunched up leaves. It is a beautiful fall day today, the sun is shining and the temperature is very mild! It felt so nice to go outside and get my muscles moving and blood pumping. Of course I have pictures!

Above you see my main vegetable garden. We had to fence it in to keep out rabbits and other critters that roam our neighborhood.

Along our fence I have a mix of flowers, vegetables, and herbs. This is much more like a cottage garden and I enjoy the way it looks much more so than the fenced portion.

We have been trying to buy locally produced foods as much as possible for the last 2 years. My milkman lives on a hobby farm and raises chickens that we buy each summer. They are field raised and humanely butchered and they taste wonderful! He is offering grass fed lamb right now, so I have ordered a whole lamb that is at the butcher. I have a good store of chickens and, soon, lamb meat in my freezer pantry! It just feels right that our food is seasonal and local. Of course we're not perfect and we also have a budget to consider, but I believe that anything I do to reduce our dependence on industrial agriculture helps our health and our planet.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs

This week, you guessed it, is going to be about having a thankful heart! Yes, of course, we should always be thankful for everything we’re blessed with, but it’s not too often we actually sit and ponder what. This week please join me in writing 27 things you’re thankful (There’s got to be at least 27things!). I picked 27 because this year Thanksgiving is on the 27th of November.
Also, share a Scripture verse for this week!

27? Easy! Here they are as they came to mind (no particular order!)
1. Douglas, my husband and the love of my life! 2. AN and MB, my daughter and her boyfriend 3. AD, my son 4. AH, my son 5. my home 6. my faith 7. my wonderful mattress! 8. the opportunity to stay home 9. books! 10. our fireplace 11. family close by 12. my new dryer 13. music 14. friends 15. the blog, Blogwyn, and my enduring friendship with that blogger who I have known since college and was my maid of honor!! 16. our community 17. my garden and yard 18. a good glass of wine! 19. that my mom and dad are still here and close by 20. to be homeschooling 21. my computer and 22. the internet, so that as a home-schooler I don't feel so isolated! 23. My local home school group 24. the blog, By Sun and Candlelight, for the inspiration and positive energy 25. my family's health 26. the ability to laugh 27. that my country doesn't have civil war or genocide happening within our borders 28. that my husbands firm is full of people of different faiths, colors, nationalities and that we all love each other!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Perks of Homeschooling

Today is a brisk winter day here in the north. Here is one perk AH and I enjoy to the fullest during the winter months.

Gotta love this independent reading time!

Solvay is making sure AH counts his spaces correctly while we play Fast Track (a homemade math game)!

Boom Site

Yesterday AH and I prepared to host our Cub Scout den meeting. We were to meet our den at the Boom Site on the St. Croix river and do some hiking, garbage collecting, tree ID-ing and trail mix munching while we were there. This is a popular place to hang out near the water but I hadn't been there for nearly 10 years, so I was looking forward to it! AH and I planned the activities and snacks. We stopped by our co-op and bought trail mix and Vruit (AH's very, very favorite juice!) for snacks and ducked into the bookstore next door for a Minnesota Tree Guide to help us ID those trees (without leaves I need help!!!) Well, unfortunately, our den never showed, so I lead a disappointed AH on the hike. It was great fun exploring a cave, finding a wonderful fire pit, throwing rocks onto the ice and water. We didn't stay as long as we would have with our den, but you know me, I had my trusty camera and I took some pictures.

AH found a cave to explore and, of course, a stick to carry!

Walking along the beach (with the aforementioned stick!)

Birds heading for warmer weather (or are they just escaping from Wisconsin to Minnesota?!)

A rocky area of the shoreline. Yes, that is Wisconsin across the river!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, November 24th, 2008...

Outside my window...
I see our dog, Solvay, playing with a paper bag she somehow snuck outside
I am thinking...
that I really CAN be handy if I try hard enough!
I am thankful for...
my husband who loves me more than I deserve!
From the learning rooms...
Viking weapons, helmets and music!
From the kitchen...
I'm hoping to make banana bread today.
I am wearing...
a Mickey Mouse hoodie and my favorite jeans.
I am creating...
an agenda for our den meeting this afternoon
I am going...
to run errands this afternoon before our den meeting
I am reading...
This Organic Life:
Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader
I am hoping...
my brother in law feels better!
I am hearing...
Junkyard Wars on TV and my new dryer humming away.
Around the house...
everywhere I look there are dropped suitcases, backpacks, coats and toys from our long weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's house!
One of my favorite things...
is a day with nowhere to go!!! (it happens so rarely!!!)
A few plans for the rest of the week:
boy scouts, baking, cooking Thanksgiving dinner and avoiding malls!
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

AH working clay to make a Viking runestone.

Thank you, Peggy, for this wonderful idea!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


My heart is happy to be back at home after a long, but fun, weekend with my in-laws. I'm relishing the thought of my comfy bed and pillows that are waiting for me this minute! But the pull of another post has me here in front of the computer tonight. We have in our extended family two who are suffering with painful illnesses. It tears me apart to see them suffer. I am thankful, though, that love and compassion are shining so brightly within our family. I am seeing brother help brother. A sister take control when she had to. A devoted husband caring for his wife. And I saw my own children come to the aid of their uncles and grandmother and aunt to help, each in differing, but compassionate ways this past weekend. It is in these instances that we realize that our children are caring, loving people (despite their inability to clean their rooms in a timely manner!). It also reminds us of what is really important in this life. It is always good when one can glean hope and love in times of worry and pain.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cousin Capers

We are lucky to have a cousin, CA, visiting us from Texas. He and his mom are up to celebrate an early Thanksgiving this weekend with my husband's family. She has been spending quality time with her mom and dad, my in-laws, while we've had CA to ourselves since Sunday. AH and CA are close in age and they have been playing more than they have ever played in their lives! They certainly have managed to wear me out. We spent Monday at the Mall of America exploring Underwater Adventures , building with legos at Lego and riding some rides at Nickelodeon Universe. Here are some pictures I managed to take:

A Stingray decides to take a closer look at the boys.

The boys built cars and raced them on the race track!

On a ride!

Today we spent most of the day at the Science Museum. I was upset with myself that I had forgotten to take my camera with me this morning, so I have no pictures of this afternoon! Anyway, the Science Museum has an exhibit there right now called CSI:The Experience that we found fascinating! We showed up at our appointed time and were handed a clip board with a colored worksheet and pencil. Next, we were ushered into the exhibit with a small group of people and told we were going to examine a crime scene and use forensic science to figure out what happened. There were 3 crime scenes and we were to solve the one that matched the sheet we were given. CA, AH and I worked on Crime Scene #2. I think they gave us 4 or 5 minutes to take careful notes at the crime scene, then we had to go to different stations and answer the questions on our worksheet. At the end, we gave our results to a computer and then were told if we had solved the case correctly. AH, CA and I are proud to say we did solve the crime and are now rookie investigators! We ended up spending about 3 1/2 to 4 hours at the museum. Now I am desperately trying to catch up on my laundry! My new dryer was installed today so the obscene piles that threatened to take over the laundry room are now being systematically attacked! I'm not sure I'll be able to post until next week since we are headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house tomorrow to play and celebrate Thanksgiving a little early. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs

This week I’d like to invite you to share what YOUR “Mom” help is. Some drink coffee, soda, or chia-tea. Others check email or read their favourite blogs. Some talk a walk…. what do you do when you need to clear your head and take a breather?

You mean some homeschool moms have only one crutch?????
I am addicted to coffee, coca-cola, my computer, my books! These are all my helps. But my absolute favorite activity to regain my sanity is a bubble bath, a book , candlelight, and 3 hours to myself.
The last time that happened was, oh, 1987!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

November 10, 2008
Outside my window...
the sun is making a rare November visit. It is sunny and clear!
I am thinking...
I have much too much on my schedule today!

I am thankful for...
being home with Austen today.
From the learning rooms...
a unit study on the vikings is underway!

From the kitchen...
will, hopefully, come some homemade Boboli crusts, pancakes to freeze for quick breakfasts, and banana bread, just for fun!

I am wearing...
a red v-neck sweater and jeans.

I am creating...
a frozen pantry full of homemade "fast food"

I am going...
to stay inside with Austen, who is suffering a sore throat.

I am reading...
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

I am hoping...
Austen is better soon.

I am hearing...
the hum of my various machines working while I blog!

Around the house...
our guinea pigs are running around their cage, the cat is napping, and the dog is begging for food.

One of my favorite things...
is learning right along with Austen!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
A Cub Scout pack meeting, a high school baseball meeting, high school conferences, baking, visitors from Texas, along with our regular schedules.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Thank you to Peggy, for this lovely idea!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Let it Snow!

I awoke this morning to AH's voice announcing to his dad, "It's snowing out!" Of course I HAD to look, too. And, sure enough, the white stuff was coming down and accumulating on everything but the ground. It has been a beautiful fall and I'm ready for the snow to come!

We headed out into the snow to visit the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota today. We learned about the sport of falconry and got to tour the facility and see quite a few raptors. AH's favorite raptor is the Golden Eagle. I was intrigued with the beauty and grace of all these magnificent birds! I had no idea falconry was still practiced today.

Red Tailed Hawk

American Kestrel

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Our Halloween

What with election day and homeschooling, I've been remiss in posting about our little Halloween party. Of course, it wouldn't be Halloween without carving and pumpkin seeds! But this year was tough for us. This was the first year AH and I were the only ones carving. AD, our 17 year old, didn't join us for the first time ever. I think it was a little sad for AH, but he seemed to go with the flow. Our finished products:
Notice the bat? We got this idea from the recent issue of FamilyFun magazine.
Every Halloween we put the firepit in our front yard and welcome anyone and everyone to sit with us for a spell. Inside the house we have mulled cider, some kind of stew or soup, and munchies.

We play halloween themed music and give out candy and talk with our neighbors. Oct. 31st is my father's birthday, so my mom and dad join us later for a birthday celebration. This year our daughter, AN, and her significant other, MB and two of her high school friends joined us. MB's birthday is November 1st, so we had a double celebration. Here are the birthday boys:

Of course you can't have Halloween without costumes!
AH before he went trick or treating with a neighbor:
AD was off to a party in this costume:

It is interesting to note that my husband is a high school football ref. Hmmm, is this a dig at his dad?!

Thoughtful Friday

The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.

Thomas Moore

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs

This week I want to invite you to share what different games you use for learning in your homeschool. Outside games, board games, or card games, and what purpose or subject you use them for.

Games, huh? Who can live without them?!

Here are our favorites:
Sequence States and Capitals Game - Geography
Timez Attack - Math
Go to the Dump - Math card game
Corners - Math card game
A book we have used quite a lot is Games for Math by Peggy Kaye
Think Fun Rush Hour Safari- Logic

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Our Election Day Party Pictures

As promised, here are some pictures of our election night dinner.
AH prepares his red/white and blue/white rolled cookies for the oven:

The finished product:

Our Red, White and Blue Sundaes:

Our coffee table downstairs:

Our Flag Pizza before cooking:

Election Day

What a great country we live in! I am such a geek when it comes to voting. I take my responsibility and my privilege to vote very, very seriously! My husband had an appointment this morning and came back (a 45 minute drive one way) after so that he could vote early today. AH and I joined him. AH has been fascinated by this election. He is ten, so this is probably the first presidential election that he has been able to really process the information (and non information!) that has been flying around. We've had some great family discussions about issues, people, candidates, and decision-making this past 6 months. It really does help when our (immediate) family agrees on a lot of the issues, but I'm so proud to say that they are respectful of differing opinions. AD, the 17 year old, is so bummed that he won't be voting for a president for 4 more years. But he told me last night that he can't wait until next November so that he can start being heard. I'm thrilled that my children have followed in our footsteps in that they appreciate the opportunity and responsibility of this process to elect our own leaders.

Anyway, AH accompanied me into the voting booth and had some great questions while I was filling in the ovals on my ballot: "What is the green party?" "Why don't we hear more from the other parties?" "Why is there only one name in this section?" "You can write in someones name?!" And there were plenty more questions. Each of my kids has come to vote with me at one time or another and that has helped them become interested in the process and, hopefully, made them into proud, American voting geeks as well!

Speaking of being a geek, tonight we will be eating in front of the television tonight, watching the results come in. On the menu, lots of little tidbits: A flag shaped pizza; popcorn; red and blue corn chips and salsa; and red, white and blue cookies. I'll post some pictures tonight so you can all see how geeky I can be!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Tuesday, Oct. 28th,

Outside My Window...
the sun is shining through the tree limbs and making patterns in the grass

I am thinking...
that AH and I should spend some time outside today

I am thankful for...
my friends

From the kitchen...
I'm smelling the wonderful scent of coffee brewing

I am wearing...
a grey zippered sweatshirt and jeans

I am creating...
a cozy, loving home

I am going...
to play with my 3 year old niece today!

I am reading...
The third book in the Twilight series: eclipse

I am hoping...
to start planning a unit study on Rocks and Minerals

I am hearing...
the washing machine churning away

Around the house...
I am still cleaning up from our bonfire on Saturday night

One of my favorite things...
an unexpected hug from my AH

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Read, play, love

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Monday, October 27, 2008


Today is the first weekday of my voluntary unemployment. I just loved my job at Starbucks. It was fun and I was privileged to meet so many wonderful people that I would otherwise probably never meet. I have friends for life from that one little store. I consider myself blessed. When I was at work, it was pure fun and it was all because of my co-workers and customers! And it was perfect in that I could leave any worries at work and not bring it home. However, all things have a time. It was getting very difficult to plan our home-school days, work, chauffeur, and take care of a house and family all at the same time. I have been stressed for weeks. I was reaching a breaking point and the closing of our store was a blessing for me. I say that with some reservation, however. I won't have the opportunity to spend so much time with my friends again and that is very bittersweet.
Today I am looking forward to making a nice dinner and sitting down to dinner as a family again. What is on the menu? I'm torn, but I think I'll go with the ultra popular tacos! I feel like it's too easy and that I should be fixing a traditional, labor intensive, meat and potatoes kind of dinner. But my boys love tacos and it's really the act of sitting down and talking with one another that is important.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Today was tough. We are trying out this Orton-Gillingham method of reading and spelling. I've given AH the assessments and now we are working on his lessons. He really knows most of the sounds, it's just getting him to really sound them out. He only made one mistake today and when I asked him to look more closely at that word, the tears just flowed. I don't think I really know the depth of his hurt or frustration in learning. He is an absolutely brilliant boy. He is detail oriented with a fabulous memory! He is creative and thinks outside the box! He is definitely my nature boy! It broke my heart to see those tears. He really didn't make a terrible mistake, but I think he feels like such a failure when he is not right. I really hope it isn't me. I want so much to help him. I try so hard not to say the words "you're wrong, no, etc" I just asked him to look at it again and he didn't say anything, put his head down and I saw the tears stream down his cheek. I think he is wounded and a whole year after leaving school, the hurt is still there. We switched subjects and I told him we would continue tomorrow with the reading and spelling. He seemed fine when we were listening to Story of the World later. I guess I bring it up only because I am worried. I wanted this to be a happy blog, never a complaint. I wouldn't trade our decision to home-school AH, but this threw me. Ah, well. Most everything seems better after a long nights sleep. Wish me luck...

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, October 20th

Outside My Window...
a sea of red, orange, and yellow leaves under our sugar maple

I am thinking...
that I really, really hate to rake!

I am thankful for...
the opportunity to stay at home and focus on my family

From the kitchen...
it's left-over night: pizza slices, homemade mac and cheese, tuna casserole, served with homemade bread, a salad and cheesecake

I am wearing...
a pink polo shirt and jeans

I am creating...
a cookbook of our favorite recipes for my husband, who loves to cook!

I am going...
to pick up the next book in the series of books that I'm reading

I am reading...
I just finished the first Twilight book and can't wait to read the second

I am hoping...
to finish planning our next unit study on Vikings

I am hearing...
Austen putting together a lego set and car doors slamming. AD must be home.

Around the house...
I am painting AH's old dresser with chalkboard paint

One of my favorite things...
the quietness of a late afternoon before the bustle of dinner preparations and Doug and AD get home.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Read, decorate for Halloween and finish that unit study

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

The St. Croix River at dusk