Friday, December 31, 2010

Quick Takes Friday

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Christmas was exhausting around here...maybe I'm a wimp, but three solid days of family celebrations was a bit much. On Christmas Eve we hosted both sets of parents and both sets of siblings, plus hubby's grandpa and great uncle. I made German food and our exchange student made wienerschnitzel (which was eaten much faster than my sauerbraten, so maybe next year I'll switch) then we had my family's (Norwegian side) tradition of hiding an almond in rice pudding. The person who finds the almond gets the prize, which then must be shared (I'm sure that's just something my grandma insisted upon...) This year hubby's brother got the almond. Then, for Christmas, my parents came to our house in the morning and we did our gifts and their gifts, then we went over to MILs house, where we did more gifts and had a Christmas dinner of prime rib, then in the evening, the girls and I went up to my parents hotel (an hour drive away...they are kinda nuts!) to swim, and then had sandwiches at the hotel restaurant. The next morning we went to church, then started to get ready for hubby's extended family Christmas. Fortunately, the girls and I got to go home for several hours in the middle of the party because hubby had to feed the cows, but after a good long nap for the girls and some down time for me, we headed back into town for the rest of the party.


2-
Between the three Christmases, our house kinda looked like Christmas threw up all over it...(well, parts of it still look this way!) Charlotte got 15 barbie dolls (okay, two of them were boys, and most of them were Disney princess barbie type dolls). Eva got a ridiculous amount of stuff, too. The playroom was messy enough that I didn't want them to take all their new toys in there until I got it cleaned out. Well, it took me more than 3 hours with a tall kitchen bag worth of trash and an overflowing tall kitchen bag worth of giveaway, but it looks beautiful now! (I should have taken some before pictures, but I couldn't bring myself to do that!)


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I won a copy of the book "Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms" by Tami Kiser over at Catholicmom.com and that book was definitely my inspiration for getting the playroom taken care of...I thought a few of her ideas were just mindblowingly good, so I'll list a couple here. I am only halfway done with the book, and it is just awesome. I highly suggest you buy it (or at least get on the paperbackswap list for it!) I took all of the girls puzzles out of their broken boxes. I cut a small picture out of the box, I took sharpie markers, and for each puzzle I put a certain color mark on all of the puzzle pieces, the picture of the completed puzzle and the sandwich bag the puzzle is in. This way, if the girls dump together two or more puzzles it will be much easier to separate them into the right package...plus the sandwich bags (our biggest puzzle right now has 100 pieces...with bigger kids it might make more sense to use gallon size bags) take up far less space. I took this a step farther and got rid of all the nice wooden boxes that Melissa and Doug toys come in, and packaged the toys in gallon zip top bags. For instance, we had three different sets of lacing cards, and the cards hardly ever made it into the boxes, and the strings were just all over. All three sets plus the strings fit in a gallon zip top bag. So do all our viewfinder discs and view finder, etc.) I am also implementing the tip that if I tell the girls to clean up, and they don't do it, or leave stuff out, I will put it in a special basket in my closet, and they will have to do chores to get them back (she has her kids pay for stuff, but mine are still kinda little for that, so I'll just make them do more work!) An idea that I haven't implemented yet: Keep a trash can or hamper lined with a trash bag in your closet for giveaway items. Then when the bag is full put it in the car and take it buy the thrift store (of course, it's not quite as easy as that when you are as far away from a thrift store as us, but I love the trashcan with liner idea!)


4-
We are planning on having family over tonight for new year's eve. I had originally intended to make appetizers and call it good enough, but before I knew it, my MIL had talked me into making prime rib instead (the farm was given 3 by a vendor, so each household technically should get one...of course, I have never made a prime rib before, so I am crossing my fingers that it's not too hard!) We are planning on ringing in the New York new year this year...since the girls have been going back and forth between being sick and healthy.

5-
Speaking of sick kids...I didn't make it to Mass for Christmas. Charlotte started throwing up a couple of hours before midnight Mass, and so someone had to stay home with her, and then hubby had to work Christmas morning (the cows don't take a day off) so I might have been able to leave our exchange student at home with both little girls and gone to Mass in the morning, but I thought that it would probably be better if I were to stay home and make sure the girls were feeling okay before we started going to even more Christmas family stuff. They are still not at 100%, but they seem to be taking turns on who feels the worst (yesterday it was Eva, today it is looking like Charlotte is feeling worse.)

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The kids weren't the only ones that got way too many Christmas presents...hubby and I did, too. My favorite gift was a Kindle from MIL...I have been having too much fun finding free books for it. Currently I am reading The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. I haven't bought any kindle books yet, because I am trying to figure out what I would like most. Any suggestions?

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I really, really, really need to get to cleaning the house since I am having people over tonight, but part of me is saying "eh...they're family!" so they know what my house looks like. But, I guess it would be nice to start the new year with a clean house, so I guess I should go get started!

More quick takes at Conversion Diary!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Quick Takes Friday

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Last night, my bible study had our Christmas party. It was a ton of fun, the hostess did fondue, we did an informal cookie exchange, and we opened secret sister presents. Well over a year ago, we tried to do an absolutely horrible study titled "Praying with Women of the Bible" by Bridget Mary Meehan (I would link to it, but I don't want anyone to think that I am recommending it...I do notice it is available on Kindle now, though...) we made it through two chapters, on the day we were supposed to do chapter 3, I pretty much was willing to beg them to do something...anything else! I felt fairly responsible for the book, because I had suggested it...I hadn't read it, but one of the women who used to be in the group had gotten a copy from someone in her family who thought it was great...she suggested it, we decided we didn't want to do it then, and I put the book on my paperbackswap list. Well, it is very well known how much I hate this book. Last year, at Christmas, part of my secret sister gift was a copy of this book wrapped up with a note and some money so that I could go buy a book (she said I was an intimidating person to buy a book for!) Well, this year, my current secret sister ALSO wrapped up her copy, and it was part of my Christmas gift. I am pretty much figuring I am doomed to see two more copies of the book before everyone has run out of copies.

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Tonight (hopefully) hubby and I are going on a date, out for dinner and then to see the new Harry Potter movie. Our religious anniversary (the date of our church wedding) is tomorrow, so it will be his anniversary present to me. I have to say hopefully because he ate the last little bit of cookie dough raw that I didn't roll out and bake...AND that cookie dough had been in the fridge for more than a week...maybe two...so, he's paying for his really dumb move and not feeling to great. He is at work though, so I guess hopefully he will be well enough to go out tonight (although he may not want to eat!)

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Today is going to be our last official day for school this calendar year. I am way behind on crafty-type projects in our History curriculum, so we'll do some of those over break. We've already stopped working on Seton Religion, Math U See, and Handwriting without Tears. I'm looking forward to a nice long break (three weeks) and some time to get the house all clean again (okay, it's not too bad, but getting pretty cluttered, and I haven't really vacuumed the commercial door mats in the mud room or mopped out there in a while, and our bathroom could really use a cleaning!)

4-
I am working on our Christmas letter. I swore off Christmas letters a couple of years ago, when one of hubby's relatives started bad-mouthing me because of my Christmas letter from the previous year. But, since I didn't send out any Christmas cards last year, and we've had so many changes, I feel as though I owe an explanation to those people who we don't see very often. So, I'm working my way through writing one that will go to friends and my side of the family only. It is in a newsletter format, and I am trying to make all of the subheadings song lyrics, because deep down, I am a giant dork!

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Okay, it's been a while since I posted a youtube video on this blog, and I already shared this on Facebook, but I just think it is pretty hysterical (not quite as funny as the turbotax rap, but I think I am one of the few who rolls around on the floor laughing during that one!)


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In the "our local school district is dumb" department...our exchange student found out that she doesn't have to take final exams because she hasn't missed much school...so if we were okay with that, we had to sign a form (that came in the mail yesterday) that had to be turned in today. Now, I personally thought that final exams were supposed to show how much the kids had learned or hadn't learned. But instead, it is based upon how much school you attended or didn't attend. Of course, it appears that any absences from class for school events (like sports) don't count against you, even though you were clearly not in class. Our exchange student missed several class periods 7 to 9 times during softball season, but she still qualifies for skipping finals. But, if someone had a sickness that took them out of class for even half that many days, they would have to take finals because they missed class...never mind sports kids missed WAY MORE actual class that the kid that was ill...Maybe dumb policies like this are another good reason to homeschool.

7-
Well, it seemed like there was something I thought would make a great seventh quick take. I should have just typed a number 7 and written it out, because now I can't remember what it was...oh well!

More quick takes at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Small Successes

Well, we have been extra busy around here the past couple of weeks (like pretty much everyone else, I bet) but here are a few of my small successes this week:

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I hate that I always have to put this as a small success, but I went to confession at our parish penance service on Tuesday. It felt really good to do so, but I always dread confession so much...I really should do it more often.

2-
I made snacks for girl scouts last week. Banana muffins for 26 girls...and I managed to squeak 27 muffins out of a double batch, so Charlotte could have one too. The girls really seemed to like them. Disturbingly, it appears that I have not made muffins in quite a while, because I could not find my muffin tins, and thought perhaps I had gotten rid of them before our move (they are in rough shape), but it turns out that my MIL borrowed them long enough ago that I forgot that they were ever in this house.

3-
Went to a doctor's appointment that I have been putting off for about 9 months. I had a full blood workup done (which cost $1500, a big shock since our insurance now is an HSA plan, and we have to pay the first $6000 out of pocket, although we do get a reimbursement from the farm, but that's every 6 months) and I ended up cancelling my next appointment when we were supposed to go over the blood work...and then it took me about 3 months to get an appointment that would work out (Since this doc is about 3 hours away, I really try to get appointments coordinated with my MIL's doctor appointments, which is easier said than done!) So, I found out that most of my blood work is fine, but I am now on a OTC vitamin D, because my levels there were low, so here's hoping OTC works, or when we recheck my blood work in 3 months I'll be moved to a prescription vitamin D.

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Quick Takes Friday


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Eva lost her second tooth last night...and by lost, I mean hubby pulled it out. That's tooth number two where the adult tooth was growing in behind the baby tooth. Both Eva and MIL thought that she should have the second one pulled by the dentist, too. The "tooth fairy" (I tell Eva that Daddy dresses up in a tutu when he is the tooth fairy) left a bonus. Thankfully I had a little cash, or the tooth fairy would have to leave an IOU. So, Eva was happy to find $1.50 this morning...it was either that or a $5, and we thought that would be a bit much.

2-
Thanksgiving really messed up my library schedule (which is that I go in every Thursday and try to get books for the following week's preschool topic. I guess the good news is that SIL works at the elementary school library and is willing to bring me home books when I forget or can't find anything at the library. This week, I had her bring me some books, but she couldn't find enough books about nursery rhymes in her library, so on Monday I went to the public library. The librarian found me another book, plus a few collections of nursery rhymes, and put a book on hold for me that she thought would be good, but was out with a daycare family and was due at storytime on Wednesday. So, yesterday I dropped off the DVD we checked out on Monday(they are only good for 1 week) and the librarian had two books waiting for me. I also completely forgot to look for books for next week's topic (which to be honest, I haven't checked to see what it is yet...gotta be more organized at some point.)

3-
We've been trying to plug away at school, but getting back to a regular schedule is proving to be difficult after thanksgiving and while recovering from sickness. Eva had a reaction to her Amoxicillin, and so now she's on benedryl and has an allergy marked down on her chart. With all the calling and waiting for calls from the doctor's office (not to mention the Girl Scouts and errands in town yesterday afternoon) we didn't get any school done yesterday. We did car schooling on Tuesday to take MIL to a doctor's appointment, so we'll need to do some school today, and possibly might do some more school tomorrow. Our exchange student has the day off today for a teacher inservice, so my little girls have to do school, but she doesn't have to go. I don't think the little girls have figured out she's still here, which is good, otherwise Charlotte would probably go wake her up.

4-
Hubby and I are taking a mini-vacation as our Christmas gifts to each other. I booked the hotel yesterday, so there is no looking back. He has to go to a Knights of Columbus state meeting in January, so I booked a room in the same hotel for two nights before the meeting, and we are leaving behind the girls and the exchange student. Eva and Charlotte will stay with MIL and FIL. SIL will come over here to stay with our exchange student. It's not in the most exciting venue on the planet, but it should be fun to have some time away from the farm.

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Speaking of the farm...our bottle calves are being weaned right now, so before too long we will have no personal cows. Of course, one of hubby's uncles has a whole bunch of cows on the circle by our house, so we won't be cow-less. Our poor cats, who seem very attached to the cows, might be a little sad to see them go.

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On my to do list - call the vet to have the cats spayed and neutered. Take the car to the body shop (again). The day after I got the chips filled on the windshield (1 week after I got the bumper replaced), I hit a pheasant driving to bible study. It cracked the cover on my passenger side headlight. Well, the headlight has been working sometimes and not working sometimes. On our way home from church and seeing the movie "Tangled" last weekend, we got pulled over for a nonworking headlight. So, I guess I really need to get it taken care of...but I am a little afraid of what I might do to the car next if I take it into the body shop again...

7-
We are going to have a very busy Sunday this week. We usually go to Mass on Saturday nights, but Eva and Charlotte are going to sing the offertory hymn with the Religious Education program, I am substituting as cantor (and MIL is lector, both positions sit on the altar for the whole Mass here...so I really hope hubby and SIL are willing and able to come and sit with and help with the kids). Then, in the late afternoon the Religious Ed classes are having their advent program, followed by a dinner (and Santa...as much as I have pleaded that we don't need Santa at a church thing, no one listens...) Then, at night, hubby and I are teaching our first virtual NFP class online. It looks like we'll have one couple in California, one in Texas and us here in Colorado. I am really hoping it all goes well and that the technology isn't too much for us!

More quick takes at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Small Successes

Well, it's Thursday again already. We've been having a very busy week, and Eva has a pretty nasty looking rash right now, and I'm afraid she might be having a reaction to her antibiotic...
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So, on to my small successes:

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I am DONE Christmas shopping! The only person I might buy a few more small items for is our exchange student (I think I only have one stocking stuffer for her right now), but hubby is done, Eva is done, Charlotte is done, our parents are done, hubby's person for the sibling swap is done, and my person for the sibling swap is almost done (he wants a book that doesn't come out until December 15th, so I'm waiting to see if it will be available on Amazon, since straight from the publisher they are charging $8.50 for shipping). I also haven't gotten food products for stockings, but I do have chocolate coins waiting for St. Nicolas Day.

2-
I started back up with scrapbooking in the last two weeks, and I figured out that I am three pages away from finishing family album number 2! I do still need to get some photographic evidence of some occasions (like Charlotte's 2nd birthday and Christmas 2008...) and add them to the album, but I went ahead and ordered album #3 from Creative Memories this week.

3-
I had a mommy-daughter day with Eva yesterday. She asked for a one on one day, so Charlotte went to some church stuff with grandma, and Eva and I stayed home. We made lunch, made cookies, she read me a book, watched some VeggieTales silly songs, played bananagrams and pet detectives, watched VeggieTales story of St. Nicolas, ate some cookies, I read her a book, colored pictures, played Candyland, and just pretty much had a good time doing what she wanted to do. Charlotte had a great time with grandma, too, so it all worked out well.

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, my pie dough is chilling in the fridge, the girls are watching a TV show, so I thought I'd pop in and blog about Thanksgiving books while they are still on my mind.

Since I am doing Little Saints Preschool with Charlotte this year, I have been reading more picture books than ever. Of course, since the curriculum was written in 1999, a lot of the suggested books are hard for me to find (it might not be such a big issue for people near larger libraries, but our small town library has very few of the suggestions in stock) and the Thanksgiving books suggested were no exception to that rule. So, after realizing that I didn't have ANY books about Thanksgiving (and Eva is 6...I feel like a bad mom about that) I went ahead and searched the internet and found recommendations from a variety of homeschool bloggers. I purchased 4 books and found two more that were recommended at the library. So, here are the books and my thoughts on them:

The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh - This is a very good book, perhaps a little old yet for my kids. Eva did well with it, but Charlotte rolled around and was a punk while I was reading the book. Lots of information in it, and I liked how it focused on a set of siblings of the baby born on the Mayflower. I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of the illustration style, but I am definitely glad that I purchased this one.

The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern - I loved the details in this book, I loved the focus on what the children had or did not have and the work the children did. I also liked the illustration style better than the first book. The text was probably a little better for my girl's ages and attention spans (6 and 4). Glad I bought this one.

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B.G. Hennessy - Cute book, right about at Charlotte's level. Probably the best replacement for the books in the Little Saints Preschool curriculum because it is just the right level of read aloud for my 4 year old. Eva put up with it well, but I think she liked the other two books better. Not sure if I am glad I bought this one or not...I'll have to wait and see next year how the girls react. If I had another little one, I would say yes, but since as of now Charlotte is the youngest, I'm not sure how many Thanksgivings we will read this one.

Thanksgiving Is... by Gail Gibbons - Generally I like Gail Gibbons books, not so sure I am crazy about this one. It is also at a reading/attention level more appropriate to Charlotte's age, and it does have some interesting information in it, but I am not so sure that I am glad I bought it...I would prefer to own either of the two library books instead.

Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin - Very cute book. I like the storyline about the grandma and granddaughter inviting one person each Thanksgiving, I like when things turn out differently than the grandmother expects, and the cranberry bread recipe in the back of the book is very tasty (we left out the raisins and did all cranberries...I also didn't get my timer set right on my new oven, and tried to depan the bread too soon, so it doesn't look as pretty as it could!) Very cute, although not an informative book about Thanksgiving, it does involve a thanksgiving meal. I may have to check it out of the library again next year!

Thank You, Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson - This one is too funny! Eva loved the whole "Thanksgiving needed a superhero" thing, and the book is all about a woman who helped Thanksgiving become a national holiday. I never had heard anything about her before, but I learned a lot in the book, and it was a lot of fun to read. Definitely a fun one to learn about how Thanksgiving became the holiday it is today!

Well, Happy Thanksgiving! I should get back to making some food!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quick Takes Friday

Well, it has been quite a while since I did any quick takes (I have to admit that three small successes seems less daunting than 7 quick takes these days!) But here it goes...

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Charlotte will be 4 (4!) this weekend...I started this blog while I was pregnant with her, which means two things...I have been blogging for too long and my baby is getting too old.

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I am absolutely loving the fact that softball season is over and I no longer have to take a daily trip into town. Of course, now MILs exchange student is playing basketball, so she has to take trips into town everyday...plus she is nice enough to let her exchange student participate in jazz band in the mornings, which means she has to take him to school twice a week in the morning and pick him up every evening. I still seem to have plenty to do without softball practice, so I am still trying to decide whether or not to put Eva back in piano lessons. I'm leaning towards perhaps buying her some piano books that I can teach her out of, since I really don't see a need to make another trip into town (particularly since her piano teacher has 6 pm or 7 pm as possibilities for piano lessons on Tuesdays...which would get us home at 7 or 8 pm...)

3-
I got a notification from Snapfish this week. Apparently, they will store your photos in albums there indefinately, as long as you make a purchase every twelve months. I have one week before my 12 months are over...this isn't a big deal because of the photo storage, but it is a sad commentary on how scrapbooking has been going since we put our old house on the market a year ago. So, instead of cleaning my house for Charlotte's birthday party this weekend, I've been uploading photos and blogging...yep, I'm a procrastinator.

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My SIL who recently moved back home has been helping me a lot with cleaning the house. Pretty much every weekend, she is willing and ready to help me...between having a much larger house than I am used to, homeschooling both girls this year, and having our exchange student, the house seems to get very cluttered over the course of a week (some weeks it is getting really bad by Wednesday!) but SIL is willing to help out (and even does things like disinfect my trashcan lid...which I would hardly ever do...) This past weekend, she helped me dig out our walk-in closet (that wasn't a walk-in when we started...) and we pulled out seven trash bags and two boxes of giveaway stuff. I'm trying not to turn my closet back into the dumping ground of things I am not sure what do to with. It's very nice to be able to walk in and get our coats, since it started snowing yesterday.

5-
Eva sold candy, nuts and magazines for her girl scout troop. With the money raised, the troop was able to buy tunics for all the daisies and sashes for the brownies and junior girl scouts. Eva sold the most of anyone in the troop, so she ended up with a whole bunch of incentive awards...and she felt bad that her friends didn't get as many prizes as her. I had to remind her that we didn't sell stuff for the prizes, but we sold to help her troop...and that she made a big difference in helping everyone get their tunic or sash. She's been cracking me up with her stuff...a lot of the prize options were monkey related, and she just loves monkeys...so she got a very large stuffed monkey, a little stuffed monkey and a monkey t-shirt, which she wants to wear for the first time to Charlotte's birthday party...Charlotte wants her to wear a "happy heart" shirt instead.

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This Sunday, hubby has a Knights of Columbus meeting in the nearest large-ish city, so the girls and I are looking forward to doing some shopping. I am most of all looking forward to buying a booster seat for Charlotte...YEAH for no more carseats!!!

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I'm running both out of time and things to say (of course, I will think of 10 more things immediately after I post this and leave the house!) so I guess I will end my quick takes here.

More quick takes over at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Small Successes

Well, it is Thursday again, and it's been a while since I posted, so I guess I'll do a quick small successes before hurrying into the shower and getting dressed before hubby is home for lunch.

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We have been starting school early and finishing school early...not really thanks to me, but thanks to the time change and the sunlight that wakes my girls up at 7 am. I have found that I need approximately 1 1/2 hours to wake up before I can tolerate book work with the girls, so where before the time change we started around 10 am and ended around noon (which made lunch a challenge!) We are now getting started at 9 am (or earlier) and finishing up by 11ish...and of course, now hubby is getting home a half hour later...go figure!

2-
I ordered a new stove (YEAH!!!) after living with my broken one since February. I also ordered a garbage disposal (YEAH!!!!) after living here since February without one. Hubby called an electrician (YEAH!!!) so that we can have a switch put in for the garbage disposal, which is the ONLY reason I didn't order a garbage disposal the day we moved in...this will be house number 3 (out of three) where I will have a garbage disposal put in...I just can't put into words how much I love them. House #1 had a broken disposal, house #2 was unfinished and was missing a lot of things (I got a garbage disposal before I got doors for my kitchen cabinets there), and this one, when it was remodeled, they didn't even put in a switch...grrrr...

3-
We are finishing up first quarter for school. Next week we will start quarter 2, which means that we are done with (almost) 10 weeks of school. Eva is done with Science, almost done with history, done with her map skills book (which she loved), and is slightly behind where the book wants us to be for phonics, and taking math at a slightly slower pace than I had anticipated, but is learning it well. Charlotte has done almost 10 weeks worth of Little Saints preschool, and is more cooperative some days than others. I don't think that I have cursed any particular book we are using so far this year, so that's a pretty major accomplishment!

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Small Successes

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1-
I made it to a softball game this season for our exchange student. Of course, she didn't actually play in the game (she's on the JV team, and it was the Varsity game at the state championships...but that meant we had to drive 3 hours one way to see it!) and they ended up losing in the first round, but I guess the good news is that they ended up losing to the new state champions. I also got a chance to catch up with a college friend for a few hours before heading home.

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Our CCD program's All Saints Festival was last night, and we got it all ready and all cleaned up, and it ran smoothly. We ended up having St. Cecilia's musical chairs (which I was in charge of...who knew that my 3rd and 4th grade class would enjoy musical chairs so much?), Fishing with St. Peter (which I can't find the link for, but basically, the kids threw a fishing pole over a blue sheet and a piece of candy and a holy card were clipped on), St. Therese's Little Flower Toss, and St. Anthony's Lost and Found. We also had a Saints Parade for those who dressed up, and had popcorn and clear koolaid (SO cool! Totally clear, but tasted like cherry koolaid, and no pink stains on all the tables!) for snacks, and prizes for those who dressed up and played all four games.

3-
Hubby and I discussed budget stuff for the first time since we moved into this house (the transition to farming and the redecorating of this house have not been good on the budget), and we decided to move away from a cash budget (which I have been kinda sorta doing this year) to using the debit card for everything, so that we can keep track of where money is being spent. It's a little harder budgeting with a debit card (it is easier to go over the amount than with cash), but doing the cash thing with no real budget wasn't really helping either...so now it is just a matter of getting all spending under control, and sticking to the amounts we have planned out.

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Small Successes

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My small successes for the week:

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I finally got the car into the auto shop after I backed into another car in the church parking lot a little under a month ago. The shop had gotten the parts in a couple of weeks ago, but I just didn't get it in because of harvest. Bonus, they got it done in one day, so I was able to pick it up after our Religious Education classes yesterday.

2-
I cleaned the whole house (okay, at least the upstairs...and I washed our exchange students sheets and she cleaned her bathroom...otherwise the basement was left alone) on Saturday and Sunday...and it is not completely trashed yet and it is Thursday! Woo hoo! Although, mostly that is due to the fact that I am hosting my Bible study tonight and I have been more on top of things this week because of it.

3-
I finally bought myself some new clothes...I hate shopping for me (I'd much rather shop for the girls!) but I was looking at the fall weather and what clothes I had available for fall, and thought I'd better get some more cool weather clothes. So, I got a pair of jeans and a pair of slacks (should've gotten two pairs of jeans, but one ended up being out of stock) that I absolutely love (Lane Bryant Right Fit), and I got three shirts and a new pair of PJs. I've also done some shopping for hubby (more jeans and t-shirts...he rips through them a lot working with the cows) and Eva and Charlotte (winter PJs, new robes, and some sweat pants).

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Small Successes

FaithButtonHere are my small successes for the week:

1- Not particularly small, but I must brag a little bit...SIL and I got together and made 60 Runzas, 30 Calzones, 36 Banana Muffins, 1 Apple Pie, Homemade Ice Cream, and some cookies from the leftover pie dough...in one afternoon! We are planning on getting together again tomorrow to do some more bulk cooking to keep the harvest crew happy and full.

2 - I have done school EVERY WEEKDAY without taking a day off since we started school on the 8th. The real test comes tomorrow, when our exchange student has the day off from school, but still needs to be in town several times during the day (homecoming parade in the early afternoon, volleyball game in the late afternoon, and possibly the homecoming football game) and then has to be in town several times on Saturday (an away softball game, then home to get ready for homecoming, then to an aunt's house for hair, and then I am not sure if her date will be picking her up and bringing her home or not!)

3- This is the third week in a row that I have actually planned out a menu...and although it doesn't always work out quite as planned, it is less stressful to have an idea of what to make and (for the most part) have the ingredients in the house!

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quick Takes Friday


I am starting to wonder if the fact that I spend 10 minutes trying to log into blogger means that I should blog less, or if it means that my computer can't seem to remember that I have a blog...

So, on to the Quick Takes!

1.
Eva is SIX...and I am still in shock. Her party was a success, although I didn't have the house as clean as I would have liked. Since I picked up a cold three days before (that I'm still fighting...) had one day where I just didn't feel well enough to do much, one day of leader training for girl scouts, and my parents showed up two hours early for the party, I guess it was what it was. Eva had a great time, and we had 18 guests (a small party for this family!) I found out that three pounds of steak and 1 1/2 pounds of chicken is just the right amount of meat kabobs for that many, but that I over cooked on the vegetable front. My mom was teasing me about the amount of food I was preparing, but most of it was gone by the end of the party.

2.
We took a family vacation to the black hills over Labor day weekend, and FIL even gave hubby the time off to come with us...so it was me, hubby, the girls, our exchange student, MIL, and her exchange student. We rented a cabin that could sleep up to 12 (it would be a tight squeeze with 12 people) and had a really good time. Our first stop was for lunch in Alliance, NE with a quick stop to show the exchange students Carhenge.


3.
Next up on our trip was Storybook Village, a free attraction in Rapid City. The little girls had a great time, and the exchange students were very nice about spending a couple of hours in a park with over sized storybook toys and displays. Eva and Charlotte had a great time on the train ride (the engine was a riding lawnmower covered with wood to make it look like a train) which was the only charge in the place ($1 per ride). Grandma had a great time in the gift shop. Then we took the big kids to the mall (both forgot to pack something for the trip) but the first thing they both bought were cowboy hats!

4.
Mount Rushmore was next. Both Eva and Charlotte completed the Junior Ranger program...Charlotte's was pretty simple, but Eva was old enough for a much harder book, so she had to find out a lot more information. We stayed for the night show, which includes a movie, and is very patriotic. The exchange students thought this was a little strange, as at home, they do not sing the national anthem (unless it is at a national football game!)

5.


Next day we took a tour of part of the Wind Cave at Wind Cave National Park. We left Grandma and Charlotte above ground for the 450 stair cave tour, and they talked to everyone who came into the vending area, and bought out yet another gift shop (Storybook Island, Mount Rushmore AND Wind Cave). Eva did a great job on the tour, and it is just a very interesting place.

6.
Later that day, after taking the big kids out for dinner at a German restaurant (which was dubbed pretty good, but not authentic...they had a good laugh about Wiener Schnitzel being on the menu, because it is from Vienna, not Germany. Honestly, my mom always told me that it was called Wiener Schnitzel because it is made from veal, but our Austrian exchange student assures me that it is usually made from pork, and the name comes from it's origins in Vienna.) we went to Crazy Horse Memorial to watch the night time laser show. It was also very interesting, but a little strange. Both very almost angry about how native Americans have been treated, but also very patriotic (flag waving, God Bless the USA, etc.) I had a good laugh that the first sponsor of the laser show was US Smokeless Tobacco.

7.
On our way home, we stopped at Evan's Plunge, which was fun, if a little bit pricey (okay, it was by far our most expensive stop of the trip!) The little girls had a great time, and both even went down the big water slide (with a parent, of course!) We probably spent close to 2 hours playing in the pools, and afterwards we were all tired and ready to get home. Our absolute last stop of the trip was at McDonalds. The exchange students, who think of McDonalds and America as going together have been here close to a month, and had not been in a McDonald's yet. They wanted to stop at one for lunch in Rapid City, but we never could find our way back to the one we saw. So, we made a special stop for dinner on the way home. Our exchange student was excited to find out that ketchup was free. I told her that Americans would not put up with being charged for ketchup at McDonalds!

Now we are happily back home, and trying to get in the swing of the new school year. I keep thinking that at some point I may spend a little more time at home doing housework, but between homeschooling and running around after our exchange student, I fear that I am going to be away from home most of the year!

More quick takes at Conversion Dairy!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Small Successes

FaithButton

Well, it's been awhile since I participated in the weekly small successes at Faith and Family LIVE! So, here are my successes for the week:

1. We started school yesterday, even though we haven't had a day spent completely at home in more than two weeks (I am hopeful that Friday will remain free, except for picking up our exchange student after her softball games). We got through all of Charlotte's preschool for the day, Eva watched her Math U See DVD, we read one chapter out of King of the Golden City (I was hoping to do 4 or 5 chapters per day over the course of a five day week, but that is not going to be happening) She also did a page of phonics, a page of handwriting, and did some math games to reinforce her first lesson.

2. We started Catechism classes at church last night, and I survived. I'll be teaching a 3rd and 4th grade combination class, and being the meanest of the teachers, they have reading assignments for the year. I helped get most of the kids registered, wrote out lists for the teachers of their registered students, never got my copies made because the DRE (otherwise known as my MIL) didn't remember to unlock the parish center so that people could get in there for copies or classrooms. We had 15 minutes with our classes, and then we had birthday cake for Mary. It was exhausting, but a success.

3. I would love to put some cleaning task here as a success, but since I still have streamers and balloons hanging in the living room from Eva's birthday party 11 days ago, there has not been much in the way of cleaning going on around here...but I have been keeping up on the dishes (not that we've had many, since I haven't been home to cook much) and the laundry isn't too backed up (I think I only have two loads that I need to do today!) so I'll call that success number 3 this week.

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Quick Takes Friday

1-
Eva has started a countdown to her birthday (or more importantly, her birthday party, which will be this Sunday) and I am in complete denial that my baby girl is turning SIX! She also had her loose tooth pulled by the dentist this week (since the adult tooth had broken through behind it). I am not ready for her to grow up so fast...there's something about loosing baby teeth that just makes me wonder how she got so big so fast.

2-
I have to admit that I've started a countdown of sorts until Charlotte's 4th birthday...not because I am anxious for her to grow up (although if her birthday reduced the amount of whining, I wouldn't complain!) but I AM anxious to move her to a booster seat and put away carseats. Moving from car to car will be so much easier when I tell the girls to grab their booster seats and get in another car. Moving a carseat sucks...

3-
Our exchange student has a date tonight (okay, I think that the boy called it "hanging out", but the hanging out will be at the movie theatre in town, so being old fashioned I call it a date. Actually, I am kinda wondering if "hanging out" involves the guy expecting the girl to pay her own way...Since I haven't ever "hung out", and haven't been on a "date" in more than 11 years (not that hubby and I don't go on dates...but it really doesn't matter who pays for the date because it all comes out of the same paycheck!) I feel a little out of touch. I thought it was hilarious...I didn't see the exchange student all day yesterday (she gets on the bus around 7 am, stayed in town for sports practice and a club meeting, and was picked up after I went to Bible Study), so when I got home at close to 11 pm, she came to talk to me to get permission for her date. Well, I told her it was fine, worked out the details (call when you are ready to be picked up...he's going to meet her after sports practice...movie at the movie theatre okay, movie at his house...no way!) So, after she went down to bed, hubby told me that he had already given her permission to go...but she wanted MY permission.

4-
I really should be doing a major cleaning of the house today, but I'm feeling kind of yucky (darn public school germs!) Tomorrow I have an 8 hour training meeting for Girl Scout leaders, and it is in a town almost 2 hours away...then Sunday is Eva's birthday party at our house...then the usual weekly stuff...and then MIL and I are taking the exchange students and my girls to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore over the holiday weekend. I'm excited about the cabin we rented, and it should be fun. I wish hubby could come, but I think they will start cutting silage about then (silage is wet corn cut, stalks and all, that is fermented and fed to the cows, for those of you who aren't rural dwellers.)

5-
I put in my first interlibrary loan request at the library in town. I asked for 8 books for Charlotte's first week of preschool...I didn't mention to the librarian that it was 1 weeks worth of stuff yet. I was amazed at how nice the librarian here has been about interlibrary loan...in our old town, I requested one book through interlibrary loan during the four years we lived there, and I got a huge lecture from the head of the library about how much interlibrary loan costs...all I asked for was a book about VBACs, which the local library didn't have...with the lecture I got, you would've thought they spend hundreds of dollars on postage for that one book.

6-
I think we may have oversocialized one of our cats. Twinkle is still a little afraid of people (other than hubby), but Tigger starts meowing, purring, and winding around your ankles as soon as you step outside as long as he is out of the shop. We are still keeping the cats in there at night until they are big enough to defend themselves. When I took Bubba to the vet for his yearly checkup and shots, I got distemper shots for the cats, and hubby got to give them the shots. They are still a little too young to get fixed, so they will get rabies shots when we take them in for their surgeries.

7-
SIL laughed at me the other day...I was planning Eva's birthday party on the way to the dentist, and asked Eva what she would like to have to eat at her party, and she replied with "steak and strawberries". I told her that we could do steak, but I wasn't sure about the strawberries, because it isn't really strawberry season anymore, so they might be expensive or more difficult to find...then we determined that strawberry flavored cake was okay. SIL laughed at the fact that I told Eva that steak was fine but strawberries were too expensive, when the rest of the world would probably say the exact opposite. I pointed out that I have a couple different cows' worth of meat in my freezer, including plenty of steak...but yeah, I'll admit that it's weird.

More quick takes at conversion diary!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Versatile Blogger Award

Well, Christine at Christine's Contemplations nominated me for this award, so I am just now getting around to posting this (it's been a busy couple of days!)

So being nominated, I must do the following:

Thank the person who nominated me.

Thank you Christine for the nomination. Christine and I were very close friends in high school, being a big chunk of the female low brass contingent. She even lived with me and my mom one summer, and we worked together as waitresses at a restaurant, where she broke more plates than I did, but also probably made better tips, since she has always been extremely friendly and outgoing.

Christine is now a mom and a step-mom...and not the wicked kind, either ;)

She has an adorable 1 year old daughter and one on the way, and actually looks cute while pregnant (I'm just a LITTLE jealous of that!)

I must post 7 things about myself:

Not that I don't do that already, pretty much weekly, but I'll try to stick to just me rather than my hubby and kids...

1- I love to read...not in the normal I like to pick up a novel and read when I have spare time. More like, I feel compelled to read everything that I see (I used to even read the really long user agreements for computer things...now that I have very hyper kids, I just skim them like a normal person).

2- I am left-handed, which means that hubby thinks I do things the "left-handed" way, which I like to refer to as the "correct" way...since his dad and his brother are also lefties, I think that he just needs to learn to be normal, like us.

3- I am very bad at math, unless you can turn a problem into something with dollar signs. I guess I just need the problems to be applicable to my life, and money works as a good motivator. I also don't seem to understand math problems in the same way as my right handed daughter, so I am hoping to learn a lot using Math-U-See with Eva this year.

4- I really wish I had some impressive talent...maybe being a great writer, or a great seamstress, or a great knitter, or a great scrapbooker...but basically, I am a jack of all trades, master of none.

5- I have been blogging for a little more than 4 years, and I think that I have about 4 readers who are not related to me...and maybe another 4 readers that are related. I have to admit, my blog is mostly a dumping ground for my random thoughts, so it's not really surprising.

6- I am a planner...I married into a farm family...this is not a good combination. However, I have managed to come to terms with never being able to plan an event in advance in the last 11 years. My mother, however, has not really come to terms with that yet. She asked me again today (for at least the 3rd or 4th time) if I had come up with a plan for Eva's birthday, and I had to tell her no...I mean, her birthday is still 8 days away! Am I really supposed to have a plan already? On the other hand, for things that don't involve my hubby or in-laws, I plan WAY too much (probably just to get the planning out of my system.) In my google documents right now, I have the following planning lists: Little Saints preschool list, preschool syllabus, physical education, science syllabus, 1st grade homeschooling stuff for Eva, History Syllabus, 1st grade Syllabus...not to mention shopping lists, lists I am currently done with, and completely miscellaneous lists.

7- I'm an extrovert who would usually rather stay home. I do get energized being around people, but I am also a little bit shy, so don't really like going out into groups of people. I think maybe that just makes me weird...but I guess it is one of very many reasons.

I must nominate 5 other bloggers:

If I only knew 5 other bloggers...

But I definitely would like to nominate the other Christine over at Good Company.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Quick Takes Friday



1-
Our exchange student started school yesterday, and seemed a little unimpressed. I guess several of the kids in her math class were mean to her, one of her classes doesn't start until next Wednesday, and another class she only has one other student and the teacher in the classroom with her (the other students are participating by TV from other area high schools.

2-
In the "I forgot to mention it last week in Quick Takes" department (probably because it was something I put all over Facebook), we have a second bottle calf. FIL took the exchange students to a livestock auction, and bought a bottle calf ("It looked like a good deal for a good calf" is his explanation, but I am suspicious that it really was so that both girls could have a calf...) for us. Hubby thought his dad said it was a "he", so originally the calf got named Duke-Duke (from Veggie Tales Duke and the Pie War), but then BIL checked when he dropped it off at our house, and it is a girl (which is apparently what FIL said to hubby, but it got all confused) so, her name is now Daisy Duke...so we've got Flower and Daisy now, and are going through a 50 lb bag of milk replacer (I like to call it calf formula) in about 2 weeks now. Good thing I can just charge it to FIL at the feed store!

3-
Since our Austrian exchange student has never seen (and never heard of before coming here) The Sound of Music we have the DVD from netflix and we plan to watch it tonight with the kids...she also took the soundtrack tape that hubby found (yes, I apparently still have a cassette tape soundtrack to The Sound of Music) and listened to it last night while she worked on homework. I think she was relieved that it wasn't terrible. She said she liked "My Favorite Things" and "16 going on 17".


4-
Update on Eva's tooth...one week later, and it still hasn't fallen out...but we can see the tooth starting to come in behind it...so, how long does it normally take for a tooth to fall out, and at what point does she need a tooth pulled? I know that I had to have 4 baby teeth pulled by my dentist, and BIL had a couple that had to be pulled too...so any advice on what to do?

5-
Charlotte, after getting her hair cut professionally, decided that she wanted it shorter, so she found some scissors at grandma's house, and took matters into her own hands. So, I had to take her to hubby's Aunt, who was able to help out by repairing MOST of the damage (though the self cut bangs are going to need some time to grow out...so here are some before and after pictures.



6-
The girls have been driving me crazy at bedtime again recently. Two nights ago, when hubby went in to tell the girls to knock it off and go to sleep, he opened the door to find them STANDING ON THEIR DRESSER...I still don't know why. Last night, however, I had a great success. The girls were thrashing around, kicking the walls, running around their room, talking and fighting, so when I went in (after hubby gave a warning) Eva was out of bed, so I took her out of the room, gave her a spanking and put her in the corner with the instruction that she was not to move or talk. I set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes. About 2 minutes into this punishment, Charlotte freaked out, started sobbing saying "I need Eva!!!", I gave her a spanking as well (for coming out of her room twice in the first two minutes, tucked her into bed, told her to stop and go to sleep, and that she could go to sleep without Eva. I pointed out that they weren't sleeping and they were both in trouble, and told her if she kept up with the crying and fussing, I would ban trips to Grandma's house for the weekend. She settled down, Eva (who was crying quietly in the corner) got done with her 10 minutes. I gave her a kiss and a hug, told her she needed to go to sleep, and both girls did! We didn't have to do any more reminders, yelling or punishments. There were a couple of minutes of whispering when Eva went back to bed, but they went to sleep! Yeah!

7-
I have been working a lot on getting Charlotte's preschool stuff ready to go. Yesterday, I went over to MILs house, and made a bunch of copies (probably around 200 from the pattern packet for Little Saints Preschool Program), MIL didn't realize that she had already used her spare black toner cartridge, and I used it up without realizing it (I mean, don't copiers usually say "toner low" at all times?) Well, her printer/fax/copier is too smart to trick. We tried putting in a cyan cartridge to get a fax to print (because FIL was very upset about not being able to get his fax) but the dumb...err....to smart for us printer KNEW it wasn't a black cartridge and wouldn't print. So, MIL had to drive up to the nearest big town (an hour drive) to get a new one...never mind that I am taking the exchange students up there tomorrow to do some school shopping...there is NO WAY to get a fax to print on a color cartridge if you run out of black toner. Of course, it will let a color item print in black and white if a color cartridge is out. When I confessed to hubby about just how many copies I had made (I figured while I was making copies, I might as well make all that I could!) he told me that I should have gone to get the cartridge instead...I would've volunteered, but both girls really needed some rest time.

More quick takes over at Conversion Diary!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Quick Takes Friday

1-

Our exchange student has arrived, and she is starting to settle in, I think. We have her registered for classes, have figured out how to plug in her computer stuff, and she has spent many an hour playing with the girls. She has expressed interest in seeing me teach (homeschooling does not appear to be common in Austria) and I am sure she will before the end of the year. The one thing that everyone seems to think of when she says she is from Austria is "The Sound of Music", which she has never seen. I think it will be moving to the front of our netflix cue so that she can see it before school starts. I'm having a hard time explaining why EVERYONE knows and likes The Sound of Music.

2-

We had a great time at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference. My favorite part was that Charlotte was old enough to go to the kid's classes. Last year she was VERY squirmy during the adult sessions, and this year I heard them in peace. We stopped in Hayes, KS the first night and stayed at the Ramada there...I don't know that I'd recommend the rooms, but they do have a really nice pool with a waterslide. Once I bribed Eva to go down the slide, she had a lot of fun. It was also nice that we dragged hubby's sister along. I even coerced her to go to the young adult singles social event.

3-

In the "I haven't been home much" category...last week, we moved the above mentioned sister out of her apartment in the city. She and I went up to pack on Monday. Tuesday hubby and his brother brought up a trailer, helped load it up, drove it home, and unloaded it in a storage unit. Wednesday, SIL had an interview, and I was running around with the girls getting errands done, taking Eva to Girl Scouts and packing. Thursday we left for the conference. Got back late Sunday night. Monday, met our exchange student (who had to be picked up by MIL, since we were in Wichita when she got here) and got her registered for school. Tuesday took MIL to her doctor's appointment in the city, then picked up her exchange student at the airport. Thursday, a trip into town in the morning, and my bible study in the evening. I am hoping to stay home a little more often soon.

4-

I still have plenty of planning to do for the upcoming school year, but I have laid out a school calendar for my girls. We will be starting the week of Labor Day and we will finish the last week of June. That's 40 weeks with at least two week long breaks, and I am sure we will have some long weekends in there, too. As for the local school calendar, it appears that they have no school very often. In the month of December, they have the first friday off school (actually, they have a teacher inservice EVERY first Friday...I told hubby that I need a teacher inservice once a month, a day with no students all day long...) and then they have the last two weeks (minus one day, but then the break goes 4 days into January as well). So, I think that they are in school less than out of school.

5-
Hubby has written his first article over at the Rural Republic. It's on subsidiarity, and it only took him a good month to research and write (he's such a perfectionist...) I think he makes some really great points, so go check it out: Subsidiarity in Rural America

6-

My bible study group had a Charismatic prayer night last night. I was teasing hubby that I would be as late getting home as I was when MIL and I picked up her exchange student at the airport (got home at 1 am), but in reality, I got home early...just after midnight. I have to admit, I am not particularly charismatic in my prayer life, but I participated...and I think that is pretty good. One thing that came to me during our prayer was the story of Mary and Martha, and I was thinking about how this was a Mary moment (and not one I am particularly comfortable with, to be honest) and I had this sudden urge to go find the story in the Bible. When I borrowed someone's Bible to look it up, I of course ended up having to flip around looking for it (I still don't know which Gospel it is in) but my eyes fell on this passage, and it really hit home with me...and when I continued on looking for Mary and Martha, I found the same story in another gospel, and decided maybe it was what I was supposed to see:

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs taht fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly. Matthew 15:21-28

7-

Eva woke me up this morning with the news that she has a loose tooth. I told her she wasn't allowed to have a loose tooth yet, and that she'd better stop growing. After patiently explaining to me that she did have a loose tooth, and that it is normal at her age (a friend of hers that is 3 or 4 years older than her told her so...) she explained that it was only one, and it would take awhile before she lost all her baby teeth and got all her adult teeth. I have to admit that I am not ready for my baby to loose her baby teeth.

More quick takes this week over at Betty Beguiles!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Quick Takes Friday- Fair Edition

Here is my very late in the day quick takes...it has been a long one at the county fair.

1-
Hubby got the girls up at 6:30 this morning. After getting them all dressed up in their western wear, Eva and hubby took our bottle calf "Flower" to get shots (because some family members were giving their calves shots today) and into the fair. Eva showed Flower in the bucket calf class, with one little girl and her calf "Lucky" (who when asked what something cool about her calf was said "she's lucky to be alive...that's it.") and another little boy with another little calf. They were all very cute, and all got blue ribbons and a halter as a prize for showing. Here's a picture of Eva talking with the judge.

2-
I entered 20 items in the foods category...a decorated cake, 2 pies, 2 unfrosted cake layers, 5 cookies, 1 quick bread, 1 yeast bread, 1 candy, 1 cookie tray and 6 canned goods. I got at least one blue ribbon, but no best of show this year. The girls entered some crafts and photos and the "decorate a vegetable" contest, but alas, the cucumber horse and cucumber princess did not place.

3-
After a long day at the fairgrounds, I wasn't really relishing the idea of going to the outdoor community barbecue and talent show, so I talked most of the family into going to an air conditioned restaurant instead. Very good plan...way more relaxing than sitting on the grass in the heat and swatting mosquitoes.

4-
I had to bake all my entries at MIL's house, because our oven door doesn't stay closed during cooking (it pops open, so doesn't hold in heat) and I really didn't want to hear what the judge would have to say about things I baked in it...so MIL didn't start on any entries for foods until first thing this morning. She made dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls, which made it into fair, but she also made pie dough and pie filling, and then went to get out her pie plates...and remembered that all of them perished in a cabinet shelf collapse a few months ago...so no pies from her.

5-
Tomorrow we have the fair parade in the morning, then have a tradition of eating lunch at hubby's great uncle's house (he lives on main street, so we have a good parade watching spot there...) and eating our pies leftover from food judging, but this year because MIL didn't make any pies, I am not sure we will really have enough to go around. That's okay, though, because other than pecan or cream pies, I really am not a fan (even though I bake several every year).

6-
MIL bought the girls new western wear for the fair, of course (grandma will use any excuse to shop for them!) and they both have very cute new pink boots...not to mention several western shirts and cowgirl jeans. I think they make Eva look way too grown up!

7-
Speaking of the new boots, both girls have sores on their legs from their boots rubbing all day today. I didn't even think about it, until they showed me at bedtime. A couple of princess Tiana bandaids did wonders for them...but we've decreed that no boots be worn tomorrow, since it may well be another full day at the fair.

More quick takes at Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eva's School Books - or Stop ME Before I Buy Any More Curricula for this Child!

I remember when hubby and I decided to enroll Eva in Seton for her Kindergarten years (we did two) that one of the reasons was because I could spend a million dollars trying to come up with the perfect curriculum for her, and still leave gaps in her education.

Well, it turns out that since I wasn't 100% satisfied with all that Seton had to offer (not saying they are bad, or anything...) I found their Math program hard for me to teach (I needed more instruction on how to explain basic math) I did not care for the Science book...the experiments were okay, but too much work for me and too scattered for me...and finally, the music CD that was included for Eva's music class made her cry (it made me want to cry, too...I am not so crazy about the philosophy of some children's music that insists on including kids who sing off key on the CD because some kids at home can't carry a tune in a bucket...)

Back to the million dollars - I didn't spend quite that much, but I am sure I overbought for first grade. I really need to learn that I can always buy more (and I'm not guaranteeing that I won't end up buying more...I have this problem with books!)

So, here is Eva's school stuff. At a later date, I will do the same with Charlotte's preschool stuff...but as I am not sure I am done buying yet, it may be a couple of weeks!

Religion:
Seton Religion 1 for Young Catholics ($.50 at homeschool used book table)
Great Adventure Kids Pack ($22.45 Barnes & Noble)
You Can Understand the Bible -Peter Kreeft ($17.96 at local bookstore...for Mom, of course)

Phonics:
Seton Phonics 1 for Young Catholics part 1 and 2 ($30 Seton)

Handwriting:
K-3 Handwriting Book ($6.88 Sam's Club)
Draw Write Now Books 1, 2, 4, and 5 ($24 CathSwap)

Reading:
Reading-Thinking Skills Level A by Continental Press ($7 Seton...also bought level B for $1 at used book table)
Reading for Comprehension Level A by Continental Press ($9.45 Amazon)

Map Skills:
Maps Charts and Graphs Level A by MCP ($7.65 Sacred Heart Books and Gifts)

Math:
Math U See Alpha teacher's pack and student pack ($55 MathUSee Swap)
Skip Counting and Addition Songs ($7.50 MathUSee Swap)
Math U See Blocks ($27 CathSwap)

Science:
Harcourt Science 2 - used in grades 1 and 2 by Kolbe Academy ($18.35 CathSwap)
Harcourt Science 2 workbook ($12.20 Amazon)

Spanish:
Berlitz Kids Spanish materials (101 basic words sticker book, 101 animals sticker book, the five crayons, a visit to grandma, the missing cat) still using from last year
Usborne Farmyard Tales First Spanish Word Book - still using from last year
I can Learn Spanish CD and coloring book, La Isla Fantastica (an Usborne First Bilingual Reader), LinguaFun tape and card game ($16 CathSwap)
El Mejor Libro de Palabras de Richard Scarry ($11.47 at local bookstore)

Physical Education:
Homeschool Family Fitness (I bought this last year, but didn't really use it...the plan is to use it this year!)

Homemaking:
Lessons in Responsibility for Girls - still using from last year

and finally...

History:
Connecting with History Volume 1 ($30 St. George Books and Gifts)
King of the Golden City ($16.10 Sacred Heart Books and Gifts)
Blackline Maps of World History CD-ROM ($24.95 Rainbow Resource)
New Catholic Picture Bible ($6 CathSwap)
The Genesis of It All - Luci Shaw ($3.64 new hardcover Amazon)
Noah's Ark - Peter Spier (PBS)
Tut's Mommy Lost and Found - Judy Donnelly (PBS)
Usborne Time Travelers - Pharoahs and Pyramids; Rome and Romans ($14 CathSwap)
What's Your Angle, Pythagorus? - Julie Ellis ($.25 homeschool used book table)
Old Testament Days:An Activity Guide ($10 CathSwap)
Classical Kids:An Activity Guide ($10 CathSwap)
Archaeologists Dig for Clues - Kate Duke (PBS)
The Great Pyramid - Elizabeth Mann ($8.95 BN)
Famous Figures of Ancient Times ($13.57 Amazon)
The Librarian Who Measured the Earth ($12.23 Amazon)
Alexander the Great - Jane Bingham (out of print, but I gave my credit card info to the Usborne book rep at the homeschool conference, who said she could get it for me...I haven't heard anything to the contrary, so I am still hopeful!)
Tales from the Old Testament CD - Jim Weiss ($10.95 BN)
Gilgamesh the King; Revenge of Ishtar; Last Quest of Gilgamesh - Ludmilla Zeman ($18/set CathSwap)
Egyptian Treasures: Mummies and Myths CD - Jim Weiss ($10.17 Amazon)
Jewish Holiday Stories CD - Jim Weiss ($13.45 Sacred Heart)
Exodus - Brian Wildsmith ($14.95 Rainbow Resource)
The Egyptian Cinderella - Shirley Climo (PBS)
The Story of Queen Esther - Jenny Koralek ($11.90 Amazon)
Greek Myths CD - Jim Weiss ($11.06 BN)
Favorite Greek Myths - Bob Blaisdell ($1.70 Sacred Heart)
The Story of Hercules - Bob Blaisdell ($.85 Sacred Heart)
Aesop's Fables Coloring Book ($3.25 Rainbow Resource)
The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks Won the War - Emily Little (PBS)
Julius Caesar and the Story of Rome CD - Jim Weiss ($14.95 St. George)
Lysis Goes to the Play - Caroline Snedeker ($7.60 Sacred Heart)

and the one book that I haven't gotten yet, but plan to get in a little under a week at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference:
A Triumph for Flavius - Caroline Snedeker ($10.15 Sacred Heart)

Yeah, I may need therapy...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quick Takes Friday

Wow...I just noticed that it has been over a month since I last posted.

So, here's my quick takes from the last month.

1-
I survived three weeks of swim lessons. I managed to register the girls later than I had intended, so they ended up in different sessions, which meant that I got to sit in the hot and humid indoor pool for an hour a day for 12 days. Eva got demoted to level 1 (which is where she needed to be, but they were all full, so I put her in level 2) and in the end, both girls will be repeating their current levels again next year. They both came close to passing, but had a few skills they still couldn't or wouldn't do by the end of the lessons.

2-
We visited my parents in the mountains for the 4th of July. Actually, it was a pretty strange trip. Hubby was going to stay home (because his dad had freaked out over wanting three weekends off during the summer), so the girls and I left right after swim lessons. I got about 10 miles out of town, when hubby called to tell me that if I wanted to come get him, his dad had just told him that he could go with us. So, it was much nicer having him along, rather than travelling by myself with the girls.

3-
I went to the Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educator's Conference, which was awesome. I got to see Danielle Bean speak her keynote "8 Things Happy Homeschoolers Know" and her session on homeschool burnout. I also got to meet quite a few nice women there. I have to admit, I am a little jealous of those women who have other Catholic homeschoolers within a reasonable distance. I also got most of what I still needed for Eva's school next year (I have placed my Amazon order as well) and I am only in search of 1 more book (hopefully!) as the Usborne book consultant there was going to find an out of print book for me. The last book I should be able to get at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference.

4-
My SIL came over and helped me to create a play room in the "junk room" (a small, windowless room off of the mudroom) since the girls did not like to go down to the basement to play. I guess I should be flattered that they want to be near me. It is nice to have all the rest of the "stuff" out of there...although I was not so happy to find a few things that have been nibbled by mice...I am still in denial about the little rodents being in my house, and am contemplating bringing the cats "Tigger" and "Twinkle" into the house.

5-
Stopping here because SIL is back today to help me start priming the walls and epoxying the floor in our guest (soon to be exchange student's) room. Our exchange student will be arriving while we are in Wichita for the Midwest Catholic Family Conference...so I'll have to figure out who will pick her up for us!

More quick takes at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Small successes

Wow...things are getting busy around here. I just worked on getting the kids activities on my calendar last night, and I don't think I'm going to be home much this summer. I'll either be in the car, waiting on the kids, or traveling out of town. I need to figure out something that I can work on during my waiting times.

Here are my small successes for this week:
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1-
Our bottle calf Flower has been with us for over a week, and she is doing just fine! She now has no trouble sucking on her bottle, and gets done with it very quickly...then she sucks on the bars of her pen for quite a while after she eats. The kittens are also doing well, and getting a little more used to people.

2-
Signed the girls up for swim lessons...unfortunately, I hesitated when I first called to make sure the time would work for our schedule. It took several more days of trying to call (I only seem to remember when the pool is closed!), but yesterday I stopped by the pool during our trip to town (we signed up for summer reading program, got books, dropped Eva off at Girl Scouts, went to the general store for home improvement supplies, went to the pool, played at the park, went to the post office, went grocery shopping, get a Sunday paper, and then picked up Eva from Girl Scouts) and it turns out all the level 1 classes were full. Eva failed level one last summer, so I had to choose between a platform class (where they stand on a platform and learn how to blow bubbles, etc) or level 2 (where they learn arm strokes and leg strokes for crawl and backstroke). So, Charlotte is in the platform class in the first time slot, then Eva is in the level 2 class in the second time slot. I need to take her to the pool a few times before lessons start to work on getting her used to having her face in the water (which is the main reason she didn't pass level 1 last year.)

3-
Eva and I had eye appointments this morning. I am still as blind as ever, but will have new glasses in a week or two. Eva is a little far sided right now, but no glasses needed, as the doctor thinks that she will eventually be nearsighted like everyone else in the family.

In the big successes department, hubby has gotten up shower walls in our upstairs bathroom! First, he had to chip off a gazillion tiles from the walls (about two feet high, all the way around. Then he had to patch, spackle and prime. Then I got to paint the bathroom (he helped with some of the edging over the lights and bathtub...I'm just a little too short for those). Then the walls went up, and silicone sealant went on. Tonight he is planning on caulking the bathtub and installing the faucet, knobs, and hand-held shower. He also got curtains up in our bedroom. Next on the list (after a few more small items in the bathroom) is either the exchange student's room or the junk room...depending on whether or not the window guy will be cutting a hole in the wall of the junk room to make it a usable bedroom space.

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Quick Takes Friday

1-
Some time this morning hubby is bringing home a bottle calf from the feedlot. Since MIL still has a cast on, we decided that it would probably be better if we take care of it. Well, better for MIL anyway...I'm not so sure about the calf.

2-
Remember Bitey and Scratchy? Well, both cats have since disappeared. At one point hubby found a possum in our shop (where the cats lived) and then he put away the water and leftover cat food so as not to attract more wildlife. Then, he noticed the good mouser at the feedlot had a couple of kittens with her, so he kit-napped them. They are currently being held hostage in our carpetless room in the basement while we try to get them used to people. I'm still thinking that this isn't the greatest idea ever, since neither hubby or I are cat people. But, I guess we do need something to help with mice, because I still haven't seen a snake here, and when I do, I'll be moving out until I calm down (could be weeks...)

3-
When I mow the yard (which is WAY too big for me to keep up on. I talked to the aunt who lived here, and she just did it all in one shot, and when her kids were little, she just had them play outside while she mowed. I'm a little more paranoid than that, so the kids have to be inside while the mower is running...so max, I can do about 2 hours at a shot...which is about 1/3 of what we have...) I have plenty of time to think of strange thoughts...but one that I think of most often is "what if there is a snake somewhere out here, and it doesn't get out of the way of the mower, and it bites me, and the kids are inside resting, and I don't have my cell phone..." Okay, so I do paranoia REALLY well.

4-
My mom is now retired...my mom is now on Facebook...this is a bad combination. Another bad combination is her and her telephone, because she is calling A LOT! I am hoping she finds some hobbies pretty soon, because every time she calls, the girls go nuts and start doing annoying and dangerous things.

5-
Charlotte now says at least a couple of times a week "I wish we could have TWO baby brothers!!" Usually in public, so I feel as though I need to tell people that no, I am not pregnant. Particularly since right after I had Charlotte, one man at church asked me when I was finally going to have that baby...to which I had to say "I did, she's over there".

6-
Eva is very much enjoying Girl Scouts. After the confusion with the first meeting when the troop leader didn't show up, I was pretty worried...but she had her meeting this week, and it was for 2 hours! I thought the meetings were only going to be an hour, but I guess that will be the school year schedule. Although, I have to admit, I found it strange that the troop leader was gone again (she had to work), but at least the regional coordinator came down to run it!

7-
I just found out that swim lessons in town are coming up this month. I think I may need to stop by the pool soon and sign the girls up...particularly Eva, who is still a little afraid of the water. Charlotte, on the other hand, needs to be a little MORE afraid of the water!

More quick takes at Conversion Diary

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Small Successes

Well, I have actually accomplished quite a few things this week, but here are the small successes at the top of my list.
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1-
Helped MIL and SIL plant half of our second community garden plot. I had no IDEA how big an area FIL plowed up...it doesn't look that big when I drive by, but we planted 17 tomato plants (the leftover plant is going in a topsy turvy planter that I bought for Eva) 12 sweet peppers, 5 hills of spaghetti squash, and four rows of beans. In the other half we are eventually going to plant summer squash, butternut squash, maybe some more beans and maybe some more sweet corn (we have a partial field planted). In our first garden that we planted a few weeks ago, we have rhubarb, strawberries, cucumbers, and pumpkins. We also planted a new strawberry patch at our house (the aunt who lived here before us had a great patch, but got sick of dealing with it, so planted a bunch of irises to kill off the strawberries...)

2-
CLEANED OFF MY COMPUTER DESK!!! Okay, I have to admit that there are a few items on it, but for several weeks I've had a stack of Eva's first grade curriculum (over a foot high) several personal books, pens, pencils, notes with random phone numbers, mugs (just one per day, I only have two big cups for my morning tea...) AND I had a TV tray set up next to the desk filled with overflow stuff. That's a lot of junk cluttering up the walkway between our kitchen and living room (where our desk lives.) I moved my cookbooks off of my "office bookshelf" onto our new china hutch, and put Eva's curriculum on the shelf that used to have my cookbooks. So, right now I only have an ipod shuffle (need to charge that one...), my mug, the book I am currently reading, a notepad I am typing from, Eva's science text and workbook, and my Sidetracked Home Executives card file (that has been ignored more often than used recently.)

3-
Planned the first quarter of Science for Eva (which is why her books are still on the desk...I'm hoping to knock out at least quarter 2 today!) I even have a list of materials I need to gather, materials listed for each week, and a bright highlighted reminder the week before we are supposed to observe the growth and change of mealworms (YUCK!!!) I even googled to find out where to buy mealworms, and it appears that pet stores may be a good place to find them. Now I just have to figure out if there is a pet store within an hour or so of our town that has mealworms in stock. There's part of me that is contemplating taking Eva for a week long visit to her (now retired) biology teacher grandma so that I don't have to deal with mealworms...but maybe I should just suck it up, rather than drive 6 hours round trip to avoid them.

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Small Successes

Well, I have been struggling this week with the ambition to do anything...other than obsess over what curriculum to buy to use next year with Eva. Last weekend hubby had Saturday off, so we borrowed a horse trailer and went to visit my mom, who just retired from teaching. We took off her hands a china hutch, a leather chair and ottoman, a tea chest, a wine fridge, a four drawer file cabinet, and a lot of miscellaneous stuff...of course that was a MAJOR success, but thought I'd add it in here.

On to the small successes (all from today, YEAH!)
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1-
I changed the girl's sheets. I have been meaning to get to them all week, but this morning I finally did it (I will admit it got done because Charlotte had a small accident in them...but it's still done!)

2-
I loaded the dishwasher, took the trash to the burning barrel (which I hardly ever do), and packed up three books from paperback swap, got my registration form for the Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educators Conference ready, and took them all to the mailbox, instead of waiting for hubby to get home and making him do it. (My old habits of having my own personal mailman are a bit hard to break, so I'm proud that I did it myself!)

3-
I CLEANED OUT OUR WALK IN CLOSET!!!! Yeah! Okay, this one counts as a major success, too. We have this giant closet in our bedroom, and it just kinda got stuffed with a lot of miscellaneous stuff during our move, so I sorted through the heap of clothes from our vacation to Hawaii, found about 16 sizes of little girl swimsuits, our camera(yeah!), the disk drive for hubby's netbook, my mending pile, a giveaway pile, and about 6 suitcases in various stages of unpacking. I also found my summer clothes, and given the temperature in our house today, I don't think it was a moment too soon!

Bonus Success-
I cleaned our fairly disgusting toilet this morning, which is always a success. I've been trying to clean it weekly, but I'm pretty sure it had been at least two weeks. Today I opened my new flushable wipes from Method (I bought them at Target) and I think I am in love! Previously, I had been using Watkins flushable cleaning wipes, and they worked okay, but I usually needed to use 3 of them to clean the toilet. ONE Method wipe cleaned the WHOLE toilet (started at the top, and worked my way to the rim. They are very thick, and worked wonderfully. Now, I know that flushable wipes aren't necessarily that great for one's plumbing (or septic system, though they do say they are septic safe) but I am just loving them.

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!