Friday, December 23, 2011

Quick Takes Friday - Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!  I am taking a break from my travel preparations.  We will be spending Christmas with my family in the mountains, so I have been doing a lot of cleaning and laundry.  I still need to pack, load the car and take a shower before noon - so that's not too much to do in two hours, right?

We picked up Eva's glasses yesterday, and she was amazed at what she could see (like distinct headlights on cars on the way home) and she looks awfully cute, but I haven't gotten a picture of her yet, so I'll try to remember to post one here when I do get around to it.  Her glasses are purple with butterflies on them, and they make her look just a little more grown up, which makes me a little sad, since she is growing so fast anyway.

I am recovering from a cold, my worst day was Monday.  Well, last night hubby went to lie down for a few minutes when the girls went to bed at 8pm.  I ended up doing four loads of laundry, getting the cat into his carrier to sleep in the house (since it was supposed to be so cold last night, and he just was neutered on Wednesday.) and going to bed.  Hubby woke up at midnight, surprised he had been asleep at all.  I think he must have caught my cold.

NO MORE SCHOOL FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR!!!!!  Can you tell that I am excited about that?  I am in need of a good break, particularly from the running Charlotte into town for preschool part.  Still trying to figure out what to do for Charlotte next year, but at the moment, our top idea is a virtual charter - particularly if they do get the contract with a speech pathologist in the nearest big town that they are working on!

We've let Simba, our kitty, into the house a lot more than normal in the past few days - mostly because we feel bad about him being out in the cold alone right after getting fixed.  It's pretty funny.  Bubba, our pug dog, seems to think that cats should run when he barks at them and chases them.  Simba came from BILs house, and they have a very hyperactive dog that is bigger than Bubba, so Simba isn't scared by Bubba.  Well, that makes Bubba scared of Simba - when hubby and I and the animals were home alone (the girls went to CCD with Grandma, but I skipped because she was showing a movie to everyone, and I wasn't feeling too great) Bubba kept trying to scare off Simba, but Simba would just chase Bubba around the living room.

We had our 12th church anniversary on Sunday.  Problem is that I didn't remember at all that day, and hubby didn't remember at all that day (we had his extended family Christmas that day), and in fact I didn't remember until my MIL told me she felt bad about forgetting it, and I had to fess up that I hadn't remembered until she mentioned it.  Hubby didn't remember until we mentioned it to him when he got off work.  Yeah, we are pathetic now!

We'll be doing Christmas with hubby's siblings (and parents) on Monday after we get back from the mountains.  I'm  supposed to stop and pick up some take and bake pizzas on the way home.  That's my kind of Christmas get together - pizza, salad, beverages, and a chance for Eva to try out her new Wii games with her aunts and uncle!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Quick Takes Friday

Well, it's official.  I am going to have a little four eyes running around the house.  Actually, with how bad my vision is, I find it surprising that Eva managed to not need glasses before age seven.  It looks like Charlotte is following in her footsteps, too.  The eye doctor warned me that she would probably need glasses for near-sightedness in the next year or two as well.

My Bible Study group just finished up "A Biblical Walk Through the Mass" series last night.  I would like to say that I finished it, too...but to be honest, I put my Bible study bag away while cleaning for Thanksgiving, and didn't get it back out until yesterday morning.  So, I read PART of the book, but didn't do any of the questions.  Hopefully I'll get ambitious sometime soon and go through and finish it up.  Good news is that we aren't starting a new study until January - just having a Christmas party.  In January we will be starting the long Great Adventure study.

Our Advent program for Catechism is coming up soon.  Father scheduled the Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Wednesday night (anticipatory) and won't be doing one in our town on Thursday.  Of course, he scheduled it 30 minutes into our CCD classes - and that was supposed to be the last class before the program.  So, on Wednesday we assigned parts, practiced, and did one run through as a group.  I begged MIL to just BUY something this year, but yet again, she insisted on writing something.  So, I spent the time figuring out lighting cues ( cues?  For an Advent program?) and trying to simplify things (I nixed the living nativity set hidden behind four queen sheets painted to be a backdrop...the background is now going to be a painted tri-fold board.)  I am hoping that we either use the church's nativity scene - which would require getting special permission from the family who donated it to the church (they only allow certain people to touch it for putting it out every year...hubby is one of the few allowed to touch I fear it will become our responsibility to do it after the siblings who donated it pass away, since only one kid is Catholic and lives cross country, and the local kids all go to protestant churches now...) or that we can find a nice large nativity that someone else will let us use for the night.

Our winter neighbors have moved in...I hear them mooing right now.  It is pretty fun to watch them sometimes, because they are cow/calf pairs and the babies can walk right under the electric fence - so they are often in our yard.  There is, however, a downside to them coming into our yard...(I'll just let you figure that one out!)

I am just about done Christmas shopping.  YEAH!!!  I might get a thing or two more for hubby or the girls, and I still need to do some stocking shopping (I know it is not wise to buy candy for stockings yet...) and I still have my parents, my brother, FIL, and my secret sister from Bible study to buy for - and still struggling for ideas for all of them.  I do have the girl's St. Nicholas gifts ready (I still need to wrap them) and I did remember to buy chocolate coins when we were last shopping, since the Feast of St. Nicholas is really sneaking up on me!

This year, I decided to try a Jesse Tree, so I bought an ornament kit that looked really cool.  I knew I'd have to assemble it, but I didn't realize we'd have to color it, too!  So, today (since it is the first day of Advent that we aren't running all over creation) we are going to get several ornaments colored and glittered.  I had to have MIL pick up glitter glue for me (since I forgot while I was shopping!) and she still has it, so either I have to leave my house today (which is not something I intend to do) or convince her to come over with the glitter glue and help us decorate (she LOVES to make crafty messes, so hopefully this is the option that works out today!)

Last year, Eva bought a pink pre-lit Christmas tree for $5 at an after Christmas sale, so as part of their St. Nicolas gift, I decided to get them some decorations for the tree.  I found them a hot pink tree skirt and star topper, and a tube of colorful and tiny ball ornaments (thank you Target dollar spot!)  So, they'll be getting those soon.  Of course, I am intending to use the pink tree for the Jesse Tree, so they won't get to decorate it right away.  My hope is that we can do all 12 ornaments between now and the 3rd Sunday of Advent (our traditional decorating day) and then maybe do the O Antiphons?  I've never done those either...but I think the girls will want their tree decked out when we decorate our main tree...and I don't want to have to find something else for the Jesse Tree.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Quick Takes Friday

I really might as well have gone to a four am black Friday sale...I honestly had a terrible time sleeping last night.  When I got up the second time (at 3 am) I noticed that our living room, which is on a different heating system of the house was still 70 degrees (the programmable thermostat goes to 62 at 10pm) which leads me to believe that hubby set the temperature in the main part of the house way too high because my family is sleeping in our usually a little cold basement.  I turned the heat WAY down at 3, and tried to go to sleep again around 4 am - succeeded, and here it is before 8, I am up so that I can be a nice host to my family.

Speaking of black Friday sales - I had originally intended to go to Wal-Mart for their 10 pm start of toys, etc.  but in the end I wimped out on the two hours of driving, and my SIL who lives in the same town as Wal-Mart volunteered to go for me - in the end, she didn't get there in time for the Wii game that Eva really wants - and she called to let me know it was crazy.  Apparently she saw women throwing punches over a trampoline.  I don't know if she got anything (though I assume she probably found some of the items) and she is going this morning with a friend to  a real city to go to craft stores for their sales.

Thanksgiving went well.  My turkey got done over an hour before I expected it to - but I left it in for an additional 30 minutes just to make sure it was okay.  We had 21 people and 5 dogs.  I had a little bit of a freak out a few days ago about dessert, because I wasn't sure if anyone was bringing any, so I called my mom and switched her from relish tray to pie.  They stopped at Village Inn on their way down and brought two pies.  Hubby's aunt who usually brings pie brought 2 pies.  MIL brought 2 pies because she knew I was worried about it - and I had a pumpkin cheesecake.  No lack of dessert - although 4 of the pies were varieties of pecan pie.

I really haven't had much of a week off considering we took the whole week off school between having the girl's pictures done, cleaning and cooking...hopefully we have a nice quiet weekend.  My family will be heading home today after lunch, and I really don't plan to do much before Monday.

I never did find a good deal on a banquet table - but in the end, we rented some tables from the local hardware store (that I need to drive in and return later today).  The lady who we talked to when we reserved them said she didn't know if they were 6 ft or 8 ft or 10 ft.  I thought that was a pretty big range.  They turned out to be 6 ft, so we rented two and put them side by side in our living room.  I figure $10 wasn't a terrible price for a decent, sturdy second table.

Some of the thanksgiving activities that were enjoyed here were: blowing up a barrel with explosives, trap shooting (hubby's family), playing several games of bananagrams, some fairy uno (little girls and whatever adults they could sucker into playing), pet detectives (same thing), lots of Wii games - Just Dance and Mario Kart being the most popular, watching the movie Monsters vs. Aliens, reading books and napping on the couch.  Thanksgiving generally begins at around noon, and lasts ALL DAY  -  I think that the last people not staying overnight left when I told the girls it was time to go to bed around 8:30 or 9 pm.

Being the dork that I am, I have been doing some black Friday shopping online - but there is not much I want to get.  MIL is trying to buy a new TV for SIL - so I keep calling to tell her to look at different deals, but generally she misses them.  Just found one at Amazon, called her and she answered her phone.  Of course, it's been live for 3 minutes and is 37% gone, so we'll see if she manages this one or not.  I guess I just love an excuse to look on Amazon about every 10 minutes all morning.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quick Takes Friday

Charlotte is 5 now...5!  I'm having trouble getting over that fact.  She had a really fun swimming party on Saturday, which we then followed with a trip out of town for a visit to the library, church and dinner at her favorite restaurant (she's 5, so it's probably no shock that her favorite restaurant is McDonalds.)  A pretty awesome day all around until we got home and took her temperature because she was acting really fussy, and found out it was 103.  But, we got it down, sent her to bed and she was fine the next day.

This week was insanely busy - Charlotte had an extra day of preschool (for their Thanksgiving feast), we all had dentist appointments, and then there was Catechism classes, Girl Scouts, Bible study, and hubby had an eye appointment.  That's a lot of driving around.  Good news is: today is our last day of school until after Thanksgiving.  That being said, I guess I'm not feeling too ambitious today, since it is now 1 1/2 hours after our normal school starting time, and the girls are happily playing in the playroom (and I am happily playing on the computer!)  But, since we don't have to leave the house today, I have ALL afternoon to do school (YEAH!)

Well, we don't HAVE to leave the house today, but Puss in Boots (in 3D) is showing at the movie theatre in town, so we may leave the house this evening to celebrate the beginning of our Thanksgiving break!  Bonus for me, maybe I can convince the family that popcorn is a legitimate dinner option.

We are finally starting EPIC, a study of church history this weekend.  Not really sure how many people are going to be able to come this first time, but EPIC has 20 sessions, and we are planning on once a month - of course, taking off time for summer and harvest most likely, so I think it will be about a 3 year study.  I guess that works out fine, because right now we are doing Volume 2 of Connecting with History, and it is used in Volume 3, and I assume will be used in Volume 4.

Monday will be Homeschool Picture Day - sad news is that I usually schedule it during our planned school time, so the girls usually get an unexpected day off.  This year, I managed to schedule it for during our break.  It should be fun, though.  The girls have very pretty purple dresses, and I am contemplating taking in their pink Christmas tree (that Eva bought on clearance last year) for the pictures, or is that too much?  We'll also be doing birthday pictures, so I still need to figure out what the girls will wear for those.  I'm only 2 1/2 months late on Eva's birthday, but for the first time, Charlotte is getting her birthday pictures taken AFTER her birthday!

I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year, so I am excited about having everyone over.  My parents and brother are even coming down (and my brother finally found a job after being unemployed more than 2 years!  Yeah!)  We will have 21 people, which isn't that big of a deal (I don't think I've had a holiday with much fewer than 15 since we've been married) but we are having difficulty figuring out what to do for tables.  I'd like to get a big folding banquet table (like 8 feet long) but they all appear to be around $150.  I can find 6 ft tables for under $40, so I was contemplating getting two of those, but I bought tablecloths for Thanksgiving (because I don't own any, and I hate having to borrow and iron MIL's tablecloths) and the bigger one I bought is too short for two 6 foot tables (120 in).  We will just have to see if I find a creative solution that doesn't cost an arm and a leg!

Hubby's grandpa is so funny.  He is always worried about how much I spend when we host Thanksgiving - last time, he tried to give me money for the meal (and to be honest, I think I spent less than $50 last time - since everyone always wants to bring stuff, I don't have to make too much stuff), and this time, he asked hubby if I had bought the turkey yet.  Well, no - because we just got a huge amount of beef in our freezer, and haven't had time to use it - so grandpa said that he'd buy the turkey.  Not only that, he called hubby a few hours later to ask him if a 14 lb turkey would be enough or if he should buy two (since it was the biggest one he could find).  Since I have MIL bringing an extra meat (not sure if it will be ham or prime rib, or what) I think 14 lbs will be more than enough.  So, basically, I am down to making stuffing and a pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake (with the pumpkin Charlotte got at preschool) and cooking the turkey - so I think I'll buy some wine this year!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Quick Takes Friday

Still busy, busy, busy around here!
Roman Centurion Helmets
1 -
Charlotte is almost 5...5! That means that I have been blogging (or not blogging all that often) for more than 5 years. She's very excited to be having a pool party a week from tomorrow. I think it should be fun, too. The good news is it doesn't require too much out of me. Grandma will make some sort of cake, and other than writing a check and providing juice boxes, all I have to do is enjoy the pool. (Okay, there's the small matter of addressing and mailing the invitations that haven't been hand delivered...)
Simba, who wanted petting, not photographing

In our super busy life right now (I am spending at minimum 15 hours per week in the car/in town) I was kind of lamenting that the girls weren't going outside to play very often at home. That all changed recently. Sadly, one of our two outdoor cats died, and we ended up getting a new cat. The girls named him Simba, and they pretty much are driving me crazy asking if they can go outside and play with the cats. On the plus side, they are finally getting outside regularly without me forcing them to go. On the down side, I know that eventually the novelty will wear off.
Rapunzel (for Charlotte) and Tinkerbell (for Eva)

I really do enjoy many things about girl scouts. I think it is good for both of my girls, and I enjoy working with the girls (I'm usually pretty exhausted after meetings, because Daisies and Brownies are so hyper!) but last night hubby just delivered the last of the fall fundraiser stuff (nuts and candy) last night, and on Monday, I have to drive 1 1/2 hours with some other leaders to cookie training...Cookies start in January...that means I have two months between fundraisers. Our troop does need the money (patches are expensive, books are expensive, and some of the families have trouble even paying the state registration fees.) but I'd like a little bit of downtime between them. To be fair, I probably should have delivered the candy several weeks ago, but oh well.
Eva as Tinkerbell
This is supposed to be our last week of quarter 1 for school. Things are not quite going according to plans. I don't know why I am surprised by this...I am very glad that most subjects I didn't plan out by weeks, because those that I did plan like that, I am behind in. Okay, I am behind in the ones I didn't plan out by weeks, too, but I don't feel like I am! I should finish up at least 2 weeks of science today, and Eva has a lapbook that she needs to finish up - we haven't made about 1/2 the mini books yet, but if we put our minds to it, I'm sure we can finish that up. History is a subject I didn't plan by weeks, but I had a general plan. I think there are 7 units in Connecting With History Volume 1, so I had figured on doing 2 units during 1st quarter. I'm not even halfway done with unit 1, so it looks like I probably will be carrying some of it over to next year unless I really get my butt in gear. Besides the running around all the time portion of this year, I have to admit that IEW's Primary Arts of Language is the other reason we are behind in everything. It is great - I love it, the girls love it, but it takes time - as in most of every morning. Probably 1 1/2 to 2 hours per day by the time we do the reading lesson together, play the games for 30 mins, Charlotte does her work page, Eva does her writing page, and Eva and I do All About Spelling. I guess that morning section also includes some work in their Handwriting Without Tears workbooks, but that's a pretty minimal amount of time.

Charlotte as Princess Belle
Hubby offered to buy me a nice new bookcase for my birthday, but in the end I decided that it was too much money. Now I am looking around my house and kicking myself for saying that - it probably was too much money, but the books are piling up. So, my new mantra involves some nice bookcases when we get our tax refund in the new year...and maybe a new recliner, since the one we inherited from hubby's grandma keeps having random screws pop out of places.

At the park with Bubba, the pug who loves hugs...

Speaking of furniture, I have a seam that has come out of a leather ottoman, and a rip in both of our couches where the back cushions attach to the back of the couch (thanks to our dog lying on top of the cushions) and I have absolutely no knowledge of upholstery repair. Any tips on what to do? I'm wondering if I can sew them all, but I know that my SIL had sewed the rip on one of the couches before for me, and it came out. My other idea is slipcovers. If there is a slipcover over the rips and seams that are coming out, I won't notice it. Of course, slipcovers aren't exactly a dime a dozen. I really should go see if I can find a youtube video on repairing upholstered furniture.

Older pic, but someone is having a growth spurt again.

With about a zillion things to do this month, I decided it was about time for me to host Thanksgiving again. Actually, it worked out better than I thought it would. The preschool has the week of Thanksgiving off entirely, and I had scheduled to take it off, so other than the Christmas/Birthday pictures I have scheduled for the 21st, I have the whole week to cook and clean.

More quick takes at Conversion Diary!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hmmm...over a month since my last post, it must be time for...

Quick Takes Friday!

The "no, I haven't given up blogging completely...I've just been running around tearing my hair out" edition!

I thought about figuring out the new Quick Takes template, but I just told the girls to eat breakfast so we could start school soon (an hour later than our regular schedule, but I have a strong opinion that you should let sleeping children lie.)

Charlotte (my almost 5 year old) is going to be the death of me.  She is WAY to creative for my own good when it comes to getting into trouble.  I've heard that moms with boys have to make all sorts of rules that they never would have come up with on their own because of creative misbehavior, but Charlotte seems to be doing that very well as a rather rambunctious little girl.  Of course, right now I am having trouble coming up with one of the better examples.  The most recent, however was I had to state on the way home from grandma's house last night "Charlotte, we do NOT throw dog treats or anything else in the car...particularly not at my head while I'm driving" (pretty sure she was just trying to throw the treat at our pug dog Bubba, who was in the passenger's seat...)

I thought having an exchange student last year was going to kill me with trips into town, but now I know that's just not the case.  THIS year might do it, though.  At least with softball season, there was an end in sight, and musical practice ended late enough that hubby was home to help with pickup.  This year's schedule for my LITTLE girls requires:  Monday, leave home at 12:30, get home at 4-4:30 (Charlotte has preschool for speech therapy from 1-3:30).  Tuesday, stay home except for one Tuesday a month when MIL has an appointment in the city.  Wednesday, leave home at 12:30, get home at 8-8:30 (again, preschool 1-3:30, then CCD from 6-7:15, of course I have to set up for my class, and to drive home and back to town would take an we just hang out in town all afternoon and evening.)  Thursday, Girl Scouts so leave home (theoretically, if I ever get better at being on time for it, which I should, since I am leading Daisies and Brownies this year) at 3, get home a 5-5:30.  Fridays at home (TGIF!!!) and then church Saturday night or Sunday morning.  And I get to keep this up for a whole year...and this list doesn't include anything irregular.

Not so impressed with the speech therapy so far.  I don't blame the speech pathologist, but when I signed up, I was told that sometimes it would be group speech and sometimes it would be individual.  Well, Charlotte hasn't had any individual time that I am aware of, and there are a ton of kids in her preschool group that get speech.  Plus, half the time when I ask her if she had speech she tells me not today.  I am dragging her to town twice a week to preschool pretty much only because she is supposed to get 20 minutes of speech therapy each day she is there.  Not happening, I'm getting slightly annoyed, but on the plus side Charlotte enjoys preschool (although I do have to hear that some other kids got to paint TWICE and she has only gotten to paint ONCE!)  We will have to see if I decide to keep her in preschool all year, or if I pull her out at Christmas.

Eva is doing very well...still very bossy with her sister, but her school work is all very good right now.  I was about to pull my hair out reviewing Math-U-See Alpha with her, and I wanted to finish the last 5 lessons before we moved on, but honestly, I couldn't take it anymore.  So, Teaching Textbooks 3 came in the mail the other day, and she's done all of lesson 1 well.  I am enjoying the fact that I don't really have to do anything!  I do think she is going to need more math drill with it, so I am thinking I should give her mad minutes or something once a week.  Anyone know of a free printable math worksheet site that would work for this?

Corn harvest has been off and on so far - I think they are still doing wet corn (I really try to keep on top of farm details, as you can tell!) which means that I am not seeing a whole lot of hubby right about now.  I guess that's okay, as I am sure he'll be home more in the winter, when no one else wants to work (of course, he'll still have to feed the cows, but if he is just feeding, it only takes 5-6 hours a day, instead of 12.) Speaking of cows, here's a picture of our old bottle calves Flower and Daisy. I think they are even bigger now. The other day the girls asked when they were going out of the feedlot (or, going to the packing plant to become beef) and it's going to be in the next month or so. The girls don't seem too upset by it...I'm still pretending they went to a happy cow farm where they will live forever...but that's the suburban girl in me!

Most exciting news in my life? (Yes, I am a dork...) Kindle books are now available to borrow through the Across Colorado Digital Consortium.  Of course, our local tiny library (where Eva and I are spending about 5 hours per week) doesn't participate, so I'll have to go get a card from the nearest city big enough to have a decent library/WalMart/fast food/whatever else you can't find out here in the boonies.  Until then, however SIL has a card number, and has welcomed me to use it - I think you can have 8 items out at a time, and she doesn't think that me getting a book here or there would push her over the limit.  Of course, I'm pretty sure with an 8 item limit, I would be pushing it most of the time, but I blame that on getting stuff for the girls.

More quick takes at Conversion Diary

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Homeschooling stuff 2011

I am just about done with shopping for next school year, and I have officially sent in my notice of intent to homeschool for the very first time. So, since hubby is very sick of hearing about the deals I got on school books, I thought I'd list them here again.

Math U See Primer complete set, I got a great deal on an old comb-bound edition $17 CathSwap
Last 5 lessons of Alpha, carried over from last year.
Math U See Beta, teacher pack $30 MUS Swap
We had been looking for a price break on the MUS student materials for Beta, but haven't found any, and the shipping cost from MUS directly is insane (they need to learn about media mail for sure!)  I ended up looking at Teaching Textbooks some, to see if maybe it was something we would like better for 3rd grade (since they now have 3rd grade materials) and when I looked at the placement test, it looked like something Eva could do, so when she barged in on the demo (she loves computer stuff) she was very excited that she might be able to do the math program.  I gave her the placement test, and she got 14 out of 15 on part one, and 9 out of 15 on part 2.  Teaching Textbooks says that a score of 10 and 8 respectively is sufficient to do the program.  So, after we finally finish up the last 5 lessons of Alpha, we may end up switching to Teaching Textbooks (which will put me slightly over budget...bummer!)

Cost (so far): $47
Savings (so far): $43

Handwriting Without Tears
preschool workbook and wooden pieces(carryover from last year)
Letters and Numbers for Me (Kindergarten) $5 CathSwap
Printing Power workbook and instructor's guide $12 CathSwap
Cost: $17
Savings: $5.50

Speech Therapy (for Charlotte):
Super Star Speech $18.95 Amazon

Cost: $18.95

Language Arts:
Primary Arts of Language - Reading $69
Extra Phonetic Farm $19
Primary Arts of Language - Writing Package $98.75 (I bought this partway through last school year, and it included the shipping costs and the DVD "Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Build Forts All Day" although in my house it would be "Children Who Would Rather Play Princess All Day")
All About Spelling Level 2 $39.95 Sacred Heart Books and Gifts
Fantastic! Wow! Unreal! $6.99 Amazon
Behind the Mask PBS (Paperbackswap)
Mine, All Mine! PBS
Many Luscious Lollipops PBS
Up, Up and Away PBS
A Cache of Jewels PBS
Kites Sail High PBS
Merry-go-Round PBS (it took a couple of years to collect most of these via paperbackswap, but I think it was worth the effort since I only had to buy one)
Eats, Shoots and Leaves (children's illustrated edition) $6.18 Amazon
The Girl's Like Spaghetti $6.80 Amazon
Twenty-Odd Ducks $6.80 Amazon

Cost: $253.47
Savings: $85.42

First Communion Prep (Eva):
King of the Golden City (used for school last year)
The Weight of the Mass $7 CathSwap
Patron Saint of First Communicants: The Story of Blessed Imelda Lambertini $5 CathSwap
Study Guide for Patron Saint of First Communicants $3 CathSwap
Saint Joseph's First Communion Catechism (borrowed from Church library as they have several copies not in use)
What I See in Church Faith Folder (bought several years ago and lost in our move)
10 Commandments Faith Folder
Holy Eucharist Faith Folder
Confession Faith Folder 3 for $25 summer conference special

Cost: $40
Savings: $20.35

Music for Little Mozarts (lesson, discovery, workbook, flashcards, CDs and teacher's guide) $30 CathSwap
Additional workbook $7.95 Amazon
Alfred Piano All-in-One Book Level 1 (free from Amazon with the 4 for 3 promotion)

Cost: $37.95
Savings: $31.65

How To Use Child-Size Masterpieces PBS
Steps 1,2 and 3 Easy $10 CathSwap
Intermediate $10 CathSwap
Advanced $10 CathSwap
(We also have 4 Draw Write Now books from last year)

Cost: $30
Savings: $32 (bonus, all the cards were already put into the folders, so I don't have to do any prep work!)

Learn Spanish with Grace complete set $35 CathSwap, which included more workbooks than I needed that I was able to resell to other people, bringing the actual cost down a little bit.

Cost: $35 (plus some white out, paper and tape)
Savings: $60

Noeo Chemistry 1 instructor's manual $20 CathSwap
Young Scientist Club Set 1 $17.52 Amazon
Young Scientist Club Set 2 $18.73 Amazon
Young Scientist Club Set 3 $18.51 Amazon
Young Scientist Club Set 4 $17.55 Amazon (these include 7 extra experiment kits for future years or just for fun)
Ein-O's box kit Molecular Models $9.99 Amazon Used
What's Smaller Than A Pygmy Shrew? $6.99 Amazon
Marie Curie's Search for Radium $5 CathSwap
Super Science Concoctions PBS
How to Think Like A Scientist $6.61 AbeBooks
Simply Science Atoms $8.94 Amazon Used
Simply Science Solids, Liquids and Gases $6.66 Borders
True Books The Periodic Table $5.25 Rainbow Resource
True Books Hydrogen and the Noble Gases $3.46 Borders
True Books Calcium $3.46 Borders
True Books Carbon $5.86 Borders
True Books Oxygen $3.46 Borders
A Drop of Water $5 CathSwap
How We Use Plastic $5 CathSwap
DK Eye Wonder Rocks and Minerals PBS

Cost: $167.99
Savings: $25.18

Connecting With History Volume 2 Syllabus $20 CathSwap
St. Valentine PBS
The Man Who Never Died - St. Peter PBS
Usborne Time Traveler (carrying over from last year)
A Life of Our Lord for Children $9 CathSwap
Land of Our Lady Founders of Freedom $20 CathSwap
Once Upon a Time Saints $8.50 CathSwap
More Once Upon a Time Saints $8.50 CathSwap
The First Christians The Acts of the Apostles for Children $10.17 Amazon

Mary My Mother $1.39 Sacred Heart
St. Patrick (Tompert) went out of print right before I ordered, so ended up getting it used $3.97 Abebooks
St. Peter the Apostles $1.39 Sacred Heart
Spend the Day in Ancient Rome $11.00 Sacred Heart (due to a small bend in the corner, I got a further discount)
The Apostles of Jesus $1.39 Sacred Heart
The Story of King Arthur (dover thrift) $1.70 Sacred Heart (on backorder...urgh!)
Vikings Dress, Eat, Write and Play Like the Vikings $6.95 Rainbow Resource
Ben Hur - A Race to Glory DVD $13.62 Sacred Heart
The Blackbird's Nest St. Kevin of Ireland $12 CathSwap
Caedmon's Song $11.50 Borders
Celtic Treasures CD $11.50 Rainbow Resource
Good King Wenceslas $12.20 Borders
King Arthur and His Knights CD $10.91 Amazon
Leif the Lucky $8.50 CathSwap
Mary Mother of Jesus (Joslin) $11.47 Borders
Miracles of Jesus (de Paola) $5.89 Borders
Pompeii Buried Alive PBS
St. George and the Dragon $5 CathSwap
St. Meinrad Coloring Book $3 CathSwap (was supposed to get St. Philomena coloring book, but got this one instead)
The Adventures of Saint Paul $8.45 Sacred Heart
We're Riding on a Caravan $6.69 Borders
Who Were the Vikings? PBS
Brendan the Navigator $6 CathSwap
Parables of Jesus (de Paola) PBS
Christopher the Holy Giant (de Paola) $4.99 Amazon Used

Cost: $237.07
Savings: $110.62 (not including 4 out of print books that I got used)

Misc. Books and Supplies:
Lessons in Responsibility for Girls Level 1 (carrying over from previous years)
Lessons in Responsibility for Girls Level 2 $13.75 Rainbow Resource
Choreganizers $17.75 Rainbow Resource
Battery Operated Crayon Sharpener $5.25 Rainbow Resource
Shipping on Rainbow Order $7.28 (everywhere else except IEW had free shipping, and I only bought 1 thing from IEW, so the shipping cost per item was way easier to calculate)
Reading/Thinking Skills B (I bought this over a year ago for $1 in clean condition)
Maps, Charts and Graphs B $6.50 CathSwap
Reading for Comprehension B $7 CathSwap

Cost: $58.53
Savings (on reading and maps workbooks): $11.95

Total Cost: $942.96 (currently under my $1000 budget!)
Total Savings: $425.67

Friday, July 15, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday

Well, it has been forever since I did a quick takes-but since I should be doing any number of last minute things before leaving town, quick takes seems like something I should be able to accomplish.

As soon as hubby is done with work this morning (hopefully in the next 30 minutes or so) we are off to the Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educators Conference for our 36 hour retreat (gotta love farm life!) I'm looking forward to buying some more school books and hearing some talks - not to mention getting away from home and staying in a nice hotel.

The girls are staying with their aunt for two nights (we will be getting back pretty late) and they are super excited about it...although they are a little worried about the whole "Aunt doesn't have TV service" thing.

In the "I don't actually take care of my kids anymore" department, the beginning of this week the girls stayed with my parents in the mountains. I had MIL take them up to the front range and meet my parents, who had them for 3 days. They went to a day camp and had an awesome time (they are still singing all their camp songs!) and they pretty much exhausted my mom, I think, who seemed to think that they needed 20 different activities during their short visit.

Eva had her first trail ride at day camp, and she was the only kid that had ever been on a horse before. When the counselors asked her if she had been on a horse before she said "Of course! I live on a farm!" They also had to go back and get her a medium sized helmet, since they assumed a group of going into 2nd graders would all need size small.

Next week we have Totus Tuus, which the girls are very much looking forward to. MIL is DRE, so she is in charge of organizing everything (not her strong suit) and the local priest announced a few weeks ago that he was going on a long vacation, including the week of Totus Tuus, so MIL has called around to all the priests in the area, and we have some coming every day for Mass. The furthest are traveling 2 hours for daily Mass, which I think is really cool.

My house is a pit - so bad right now. I really prefer to leave a clean house when we travel, but it is not happening right now. I have done a lot of cleaning (I did 7 loads of sheets yesterday, I just finally got around to washing the sheets in our basement from about a month ago.

Hubby thought it would be fun to try to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 tonight at a city megaplex theatre. I looked it up the other day, and one theatre still had tickets available, but to buy them online, it would have been $11.50 EACH - I couldn't believe it! No wonder so many people don't go to the movies. I think our local theatre is $6 for adults, so for about the same price we can see it at home (I'm thinking maybe on our 12th anniversary on Tuesday!)

More Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Homeschool Speech Therapy

Charlotte, my 4 year old (isn't she cute?) has some speech articulation issues. Actually, I think it might qualify as a lot of speech articulation issues - I had her evaluated by the local school's speech therapist and she had 42 errors out of a possible 77. I guess it clearly could be worse, but I feel like I've got my work cut out for me over the next few years. For next year, she will be attending 2 -2 1/2 hour days per week at the local preschool, and we will be moving on to Kindergarten work at home (I did Eva's kindergarten over 2 years, and I am planning on the same for Charlotte.)

Obviously, the goal is to make as much progress as possible over the next year, as she will not continue to qualify for speech therapy services unless I enroll her in the school district (I am looking into alternatives like virtual charter schools, just in case I still need a lot of help!) So, I am looking for any advice or resources from anyone who has been there and done that with a child in speech therapy. Here are some things that I am aware of - I would love opinions or reviews of these, or any other programs/books/curricula/games you know of that might help with speech articulation issues.

Speech Tails - online speech learning program at a cost of $25 per month. Looks like it is mostly speech therapy videos, there is a week free, so it might be something I try, but at $25 a month, it could get pretty expensive to use!

Heads Up Now! - Has materials for all sorts of special needs. The speech articulation workshop was recommended to me at one point, but the shipping cost for just that is super high (workshop is $5, shipping is $12.58...seriously???) They also carry Speechercise level 1 and level 2, which are both significantly cheaper at Amazon. I'm never very sure about the whole CD with printables thing, so I wouldn't buy those without a firm recommendation.

Super Star Speech - These look the most promising to me, books to give me ideas of how to train speech that don't cost an arm and a leg, and don't have a monthly cost.

Speech Buddies - These look pretty cool, as most speech problems are related to incorrect tongue placement. I like the idea of something to help feel where the right placement is, but at about $300 for the professional set (includes all the speech buddies, and with Charlotte's speech issues, we would need all of them, plus would need to work on other sounds as well) it is quite a bit more money than I would like to spend. It is cheaper than a private speech therapist, though (and since we don't have any of those in our rural area, more convenient, too.)

Thoughts? Recommendations? Thanks!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Native American Unit Study

The girls and I recently got home from a 7 day, six night trip that covered the Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, and the Grand Canyon. Earlier this year we saw Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial. Since many of our trips have been to places that have or had Native American tribes, and since I have a problem with books (and National Parks have such good bookstores!) I purchased several books to do a study on Native Americans - not sure how in depth we will get, but here is a list of the items I have so far. I think this will be a summer project, as I already have history planned for next year.

More Than Moccasins by Laurie Carlson
We have both Old Testament Days and Classical Kids Activity Guides from our study of Ancient History this year, and Eva LOVES doing all the fun activities in them!

Southwest Indians Coloring Book (Dover) - Peter Copeland
I couldn't really decide between this one or a book of Native American Patterns, so I let Eva decide which one looked better.

Anasazi Coloring Book by Sandra Stemmler
This book has fairly simple pictures, and tells a story, so it was my choice for Charlotte.

Corn is Maize The Gift of the Indians by Aliki
Oh Aliki, you never disappoint me! I hope I like this book as much as all the others we have read. It is nice to find books that are fun and educational and at an easy reading level.

I is for Indians of the Southwest by Judy Rosen and Biff Baird
This one is a really cool Alphabet book - it has the usual "A is for Anasazi, B is for Baskets" with a short paragraph about each letter, but it also has whole pages explaining some things in greater depth. For Charlotte, I'll probably read just the Alphabet part, but Eva will love all the extra information.

Life in a Pueblo by Amanda Bishop and Bobbie Kalman
Very informative book about what the Pueblo people did - about food, fun, clothing, art, beliefs, etc. I am thinking that Eva will be able to read this one with some help.

The Goat in the Rug by Charles I. Blood
This is a very cute book about Navajo weaving from the perspective of a goat. I think both girls will get a kick out of this one.

The Unbreakable Code by Sara Hoagland Hunter
I am very much looking forward to reading this children's book about the Navajo Code Talkers in World War II. Honestly, I only really know the vaguest amount about the Code Talkers, so I am excited to learn with my girls.

What other books would you add? Obviously, most of my books deal with Native Americans of the Southwest, should I expand further, or leave that for another time?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Small Successes

Well, I feel like I don't have very many successes this week - the house is a mess, the girls are spending most of their time watching TV and playing Wii games, but I am calling this spring break, so I guess that's okay. I think we all need a break around here!
1 -
I have been frustrated for some time with Eva's phonics program (Seton), and I decided that for the last quarter of the school year, we will stop with phonics and move to PAL writing and All About Spelling (from The Institute for Excellence in Writing) - so my biggest success this week was the prep work for All About Spelling. I assumed that the magnetic tiles would come as, well...magnetic tiles! However, they come as two laminated pieces of card stock and sticky backed magnets. So, in about three hours, I got all the tiles cut out, magnetized, and organized. Also in that time I broke apart all the cards for the program (I am so thankful those were scored pages and I didn't have to cut all those, too!)

2 -
I have had magnetic primer and chalkboard paint sitting in our school closet since we moved into the house, basically. But now, my magnetic chalkboard closet door project is underway. The closet doors are down, and I am just about done with sanding the old finish off - I have to pick up a couple of foam smooth rollers for the paint application. Originally, I was going to get them yesterday, and spend today doing the painting, but I didn't get to the general store in town before it closed. That's probably just as well, because there needs to be seven hours of drying time between the five coats of paint - and with girl scouts this afternoon and bible study this evening, I don't know that I could have finished the project. I have a good incentive to get the project done, because I can't park in our garage until I am finished.

3 -
Hubby hasn't been feeling well, and when I suggested that maybe he needed to see a doctor, he agreed. So, I made him an appointment (gotta love his job, I made it for 11:30, so he went to work early to get the cows fed, then we went into town, and got back in time for him to feed in the afternoon, too.) While he saw a nurse practitioner, the girls and I made quick trip to the grocery store, and played at the park. I think that going to the park is probably the only thing about living in town that the girls miss - we used to go often, but when you are 16 miles out of town, it makes it hard to just go in for a park trip, and we usually have so many errands to run in town that we just run out of time.

More small successes at Faith and Family Live!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quick Takes Friday - April Snowstorm Edition

Well, it is 7 am, and we've had power for about 30 minutes, so here's to hoping the power doesn't go out again before I finish my quick takes. I've decided to do a themed quick takes today, because basically everything quick take-able happened in the last 13 hours!

1- Yesterday morning it was drizzling and overcast. I had plans to take Eva into her Girl Scouts meeting, go to the bank, and go to the grocery store. At lunch time there were a few flakes of snow. By two fifteen, hubby called to tell me not to take the girls into town (we were planning on leaving at 2:30) because the show has heavy and very wet, not to mention that there was almost no visibility. Since the girls were disappointed about not getting to go to town, we drove over to grandma's house (a little over a mile away) and stayed there most of the afternoon and evening.

2- Our poor exchange students were on a school bus that slid off the road into the ditch for two hours. We thought most of the time that they would be home any minute (seriously, they both have cell phones, but neither one called - we heard all the details from a cousin who's kids ride the same bus!) Finally, we got a call from the same cousin telling us that our students were waiting at a farm site in some random guy's pickup (I guess he might have been in hubby's class in school, but'd think the exchange students or the bus driver would have called us to come get them!) So, after FIL picked them up, I got a call from the guy with the pickup to tell me that our student left her Trig book in his vehicle. So, he said he'd have it taken into the school office.

3- They finally got into the house, where MIL and I were trying to get dinner made before the power went off (it was flickering) and we got the noodles boiling and a package of hamburger defrosted before it went out. Then I had the fun experience of learning how to brown a pan of hamburger on the grill out in the garage. We also thought about taking the show on the road to our house (we have a gas stove), but we hadn't filled the bathtub with water for toilet flushing purposes, and since MIL had a full bathtub and a big pitcher of water (for drinking) we figured we might as well stay there.

4- After dinner, we came home. It took me 8 minutes to drive about 1 1/2 miles - the roads were not fun (my BIL tried to put us in a ditch when we came over earlier to put my 1/3 beef in my freezer), when we got home and found candles and flashlights, we all sat around the kitchen table and told "popcorn" stories (I guess in Eva's Religious Ed class they do "popcorn" reading, where when one kid wants to stop they say "popcorn *another kid's name*" and that kid has to take over where they left off.) Charlotte mostly had the princess marrying the prince and living happily ever after, I had to keep coming up with trouble for the princess. Then the girls went to bed a little bit early.

5- I spent the evening playing solitaire - it's been long enough since I've played it with real cards that it took me a long time to remember the rules. For quite a while I was using the layout for one type of solitaire, but using the rules for another - that didn't got very well. Then, after I finally won a round, I got out my kindle, changed the type to much larger and read by candlelight for a while.

6- It was very cold by the time we went to bed (no power, no heat! No fireplace!) so I ended up wearing slipper socks and gloves to bed. Even hubby broke down and got out extra blankets.

7- I discovered that hubby's alarm goes off even with no power - it started beeping, and for a minute I was so excited that we had power, but no power, I guess the battery backup that allows it to set itself also allows it to keep track of an alarm and beep a little bit. Hubby called around trying to find out about school, and right about the time he called the dispatch office (who said that school was still on to the best of her knowledge, but that both highways out of town were closed, so she didn't know how the buses were going to pick people up!) our power came back on. Our living room thermostat said it was 52 degrees when the power came on. Then, shortly after that, we got a reverse 911 (that's what the school calls it, but then they use it for things like "Remember the Partners in Education Carnival tonight!" At least this was a legitimate use!) that school is on a two hour delay. So, our exchange student was happy to have power and two extra hours to take a shower and get ready, and the little girls are still sleeping (not that they aren't usually still sleeping at 7:30 in the morning!) I am just happy to have heat, and Internet and a cup of hot tea!

More quick takes at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Small Successes

Well, I am buried under a wave of clutter, but here are my small successes for the week:

I cleaned out the school closet - it took longer than it should have, because I hadn't dealt with it in a long time. I didn't take a before picture, but here's an after (there was one large kitchen bag full of trash, about a dozen things for the thrift store, and about another dozen things I listed on CathSwap) The crates at the bottom hold the girls books, the next couple of shelves games and craft supplies, up higher craft supplies they need permission for, and completed work. The other side of the closet holds some kids games, coloring books and about 100 or so books currently listed on paperbackswap!

We made it to Ash Wednesday at church, even though hubby didn't get home until 5:36, had to feed and water the calves, and had to shower (you don't what to know how much manure was on him!) and we live 16 miles from town, our dirt roads were very sloppy, and we had to park a block away from the church - AND we made it into the church before the first reading was over. MAJOR accomplishment for us!

I baked a cake last night (here's a tip - don't bake a cake on a day of fast and abstinence, or if you must, offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory!) and frosted it this morning for the girl scout swim party this afternoon, which will celebrate the end of cookie season, and hopefully get all the moms to drop off whatever cookie money they have left.

Finally, a prayer request - please pray for our town. In the last two days or so, we had one high school student killed in a car accident, a classmate of Bret's died unexpectedly (in his mid 30s), one of the girl scout moms lost a baby at 8 months pregnant, the house of a family with a high schooler burned down, and it has just been a hard week for the town. Please pray for those who have lost loved ones, for the souls in purgatory, and for all of us in the town that we might respond to the needs of these families. Thank you!

(and just because they are so cute, here's a picture of the girls with their faces painted after Family Fun Night at church a couple weeks ago)

More small successes at Faith and Family!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Small Successes

Does participating in small successes count as a small success?? I'm just asking...
I have not lost my mind with girl scout cookies - I have gotten half of Eva's cookie orders delivered, I have been the parent helper for two cookie booths (both at the local grocery store, both an hour each) I have not lost the several hundred dollars in cash from cookie sales, booths. etc (hopefully I can make it a few more hours until Eva's girl scout meeting when I can turn it in!) Eva has now sold about 160 boxes, and her goal we set was 200 boxes, so we are almost there!

I did our finances for the first half of the month. I found a free yearly budgeting template titled "Family Budget Planner" at this site. We sat down at the beginning of the year and figured out what we wanted our budget to look like for a year. Hubby got a raise of a little over $100 per month (take home) and we decided to save $300 per month in IRAs and College Savings plans ($100 per month each for retirement, and $50 each for college savings) - it has been going amazingly well! I don't really even come close to the amounts I budgeted at the beginning of the year (I budgeted too little for groceries, and too much for eating out/entertainment stuff) but we were under budget for January overall, and doing great for February. With a part of our tax refund, hubby and I are going shopping for a new dining room table set tomorrow - I am unbelievably excited about having a better table...probably because I serve 2-3 meals per day on it, and spend about 2 hours on school work at the table each weekday.

I've started thinking about Lent - haven't figured out what I am going to do or give up for Lent, but at least I've started to think about it! Plus, I still have almost two weeks to figure it out! (Much better than my usual start thinking about it on Ash Wednesday plan!)

More small successes at Faith and Family!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Small Successes

I can't believe that Small Successes at Faith and Family is already at the 100th volume! It doesn't seem like that long ago it started! On to my successes for the week.
I cleaned the toilet. Honestly, I am not really sure how many weeks it had been since I cleaned it - I really do mean to clean it once a week, but that hadn't been happening...and it got worse and worse until Monday when the do in "Small Steps for Catholic Moms" was "When you see something that needs doing today (laundry to put away, a bed to be made, a table to be cleared, etc.), don procrastinate and make excuses. See God's will for your day in the sight of those tasks and just do them." Thus, I finally got around to cleaning the algae ring in our toilet (gotta love well water!)

I finally finished planning Eva's history class for 3rd quarter...and while I was at it, I knocked out 4th quarter planning, too. We started quarter 3 on Monday. I finished planning for it on Saturday. I procrastinated planning it since August. Of course, I currently have a ring of craft stuff around my chair in the living room because in all the planning for 3rd quarter (and doubling up on phonics so that we could catch up to where we should be) I completely forgot about all the prep work for Charlotte's Little Saints preschool stuff - so I have gotten two weeks worth of prep done, and am hoping to get 8 more weeks of prep done before I put everything away!

I ordered "Learn Spanish with Grace" from someone on CathSwap, and remembered (after I paid, but before she sent the materials) that my stupid paypal account kept changing my address back to the house we sold over a year ago. So, I emailed her with the correct address, and finally (after about a half an hour of tinkering with the dumb thing) managed to change the address and delete the old address. Apparently, my problem was that in order to delete the old address, I couldn't just go in and change it (which I had tried before), I had to first go into my credit cards (of which it appears two that were listed were debit cards from our old account in our old town, so I just deleted those) and change the address there before it would let me change the address on the main page. So, when I start to get serious about buying books for next year, I won't have a problem like last year when my package was mailed to our old house, the post office in that town intercepted it, and forwarded it to our p.o. box here, and then we had to pay again for the shipping (because technically it should have been returned to sender, not forwarded...)

More small successes at Faith and Family Live!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Small Successes

Well, it's Thursday again, so it is time for small successes! There are a lot of things that haven't gotten done around here recently (like the laundry I've been putting off for three days, and the toilet cleaning that I have been putting off even longer than that...) but today I will focus on the successes.
I survived two snow days...not for the little girls (they still did school), but for the exchange student. I like having her around, but early on in the snowstorm our exchange student was disappointed that we weren't going to MILs house (her exchange student had been sick) which when I pressed further wasn't because she wanted to see their exchange student, she wanted to play Super Mario Bros on their I had hubby borrow it from his mom. Well, in two days (one day with just our exchange student and Eva playing, for the most part and the second day with both exchange students and Eva playing almost ALL DAY LONG) they got to level 8, which I guess is the highest level. They haven't beaten Bowser to save the princess yet, but they got further here in two days than they have gotten in several weeks at MILs house. When hubby and I drove to town to get pizza last night, I swear I could here the coin collecting noise rattling in my head. While they played on and on, I read all 5 Percy Jackson novels...probably should have cleaned, but oh well!

I finished our taxes! (YEAH!) And we will be getting a pretty massive refund (thanks mostly to hubby's former employer's buyout that we got in this calendar year, which they withheld a huge amount from, given that we don't pay much in taxes being relatively poor with two kids. Now we just need to decide what to do with that money. I know that some of it will be going towards a new dining set (and we will say goodbye to my great-aunt's set that was made in Yugoslavia) and I know that some will be going into our emergency fund....but we are tempted to replace the carpet in our kitchen. I don't think we'll be able to afford to replace it right now, since our kitchen is huge (not well laid out or anything, but a lot of square feet of flooring involved).

We got our cats spayed and neutered. In fact, I need to figure out when I need to pick them up from the vet's office. Tigger, our loud tom cat, had wandered over to the neighbor's house. She had girl kittens she was planning on taking in to get spayed. She called MIL to ask if it was her cat (MILs cats are not at all friendly) and she told the neighbor that she had a yellow and white cat, but she didn't know the gender, and good luck catching it. The neighbor mentioned how sweet and loud the tom was, which made it clear to MIL that it was our annoying (but kinda cute) cat. Well, the neighbor's son brought him home, and then offered to take him to the vet for us. In the end I had hubby call, because I wanted both cats taken care of, and I wanted them to get rabies shots as well. So, in the end our neighbor's son took both our cats to the vet for us, and I need to pick them up today.

There are more small successes over at Faith and Family LIVE!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Quick Takes Friday

This week MIL had her monthly doctor's appointment with her neurologist, and so the girls and I drove her to the appointment. The morning of the appointment, FIL got frustrated with all the change on his dresser (which, to the best of my knowledge is put there by him...) and told MIL to give the change to the girls. Well MIL found her giant box of change and added FIL's change to it...we went into the bank and had the coins the end, there was $34, so each girl had $17 to spend on our trip.

Eva, being my little frugal shopper, and I found a 3 1/2 ft tall prelit pink Christmas tree on sale for $5 (originally $20) and thought it would be fun for their room, she also found a $10 barbie movie, and bought some candy with the rest of her money. Charlotte found a really great deal on a barbie doll at first ($10, originally $49) but I vetoed it based upon the 15 barbies currently in her collection (at our house...that's not counting any at grandma's house or her aunt's house). In the end, we found princess dresses, shoes and purses for barbie dolls at a reasonable price, so she got two dresses, 6 pairs of shoes and 6 purses, as well as a sticker book and some candy.

My big exciting purchase was a hanging bar for the girls' closet. Charlotte can't reach the high bar (Eva just barely can) so their dresses always ended up all over the floor. I found a bar that hangs from the higher bar, and it works great! Most of Eva's dresses fit above the bar (with the exception of her two traditional Austrian dresses) and Charlotte's all fit on the bottom bar. They have a much nicer closet now.

Yesterday was Charlotte's feast day - the Feast of St. Angela Merici. Yesterday was also a pretty crazy day. So, for lunch, we had frozen pizza and salad from a bag, and we lit her baptismal candle (we light them every year, but Charlotte's never gets lit on her baptism day, because she was baptised on Christmas). In the evening I had bible study, and everyone else went to hubby's aunt's house for a birthday party for his cousin. I guess there is video of hubby playing Wii Dance Party with Eva and dancing to "Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun" I must see if I can get this video from SIL.

Today is "Charlotte and Mommy Day". A few months ago, Eva asked for a mommy daughter day, so Charlotte stayed with grandma, and Eva and I had a day together. Well, Charlotte requested one now, so after I am done with my tea, I will be taking Eva over to grandma's house for the day (and then she will ride in the feed truck some this afternoon with daddy) and then I will have a day full of princess games and barbie dolls (where she gets all this girliness, I don't clearly didn't come from me!)

I finally have collected 9 milk jugs...for a home school project for Eva...if I wanted to do two of this project, I would have needed to collect 18 milk jugs...that is a lot of milk jugs lying around. Since Eva is going over to (crafty and fun) grandma's house today, I think I will be packing up 9 milk jugs and an instruction book marked with several projects that she could do with Eva.

Last week while I was in the public library, one of the librarians asked me how our Christmas was, and I told her it was fine, the girls got way too many presents. She asked if I got everything I wanted, and I told her that I got a Kindle. She was a little skeptical of the whole idea of e-readers, so I showed her what a book looked like on it, and she was very surprised. So, this week when I went in, the main librarian was also there, and so the librarian I had talked with the previous week asked me if I had my kindle with me (of course!) and asked me to show it to the head librarian. She was also impressed, and really loved the way you can change the font size. We had a discussion about electronic resources and was a pretty interesting conversation.

More quick takes at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Small Successes

Gotta celebrate the little things, right?
We taught our second virtual NFP class this weekend, and all went well. We even managed to figure out the technology that allows both of us to talk at the same time in time for class two. Our second class series is already full, and I've gotten another inquiry about it...I'm starting to wonder how many couples is too many to teach virtually (since in the real world, we've never taught more than 2 couples at a time!)

We are just over two weeks away from being done with the first half of the school year! YEAH! I even went over what I had hoped to accomplish in the first semester to figure out where we are behind. Mostly in phonics...I've been taking it more slowly than necessary, so we are doubling up for the next two weeks, and we should be close to halfway done. We were also behind in history, so I've been doing some crafty-type projects with the girls. Also slightly behind in Eva's Catechism book, but we should be able to catch up next quarter.

We've been super busy the last two weeks (and it looks like we'll be pretty busy next week too) but the laundry is mostly caught up on and the dishes are mostly done, and meals have mostly been cooked at home. I even got down most of the Christmas decorations. Of course, I haven't vacuumed in longer than I'd like to admit, and it looks like a library threw up all over the house with the number of library books scattered on the floor...not to mention that I can't find some of my counters under the piles of stuff...and I won't even go into the explosion that appears to have happened in the school cupboard.

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's my favorite time of the week

Well, at least for the dorky home school mom in's Tuesday afternoon, the girls are having their rest time, and the Carnival of Homeschooling is up at Alasandra's Homeschool Blog!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Blast from the Past...with Blue

Charlotte is now finally getting to the point where she wants to do more school. We've been doing Little Saints Preschool program this year with Charlotte, and we are now getting into the alphabet as well by doing a "letter of the week".

With Eva, I basically just did a letter of the week for preschool. I didn't really have much idea of what I should be doing with her since I was new to the whole homeschooling thing, and we enrolled her in Kindergarten through Seton right after her 4th birthday.

Charlotte, being the younger one, gets a little better put together preschool, though clearly not as much one on one time with me. She's done tot school, a preschool coop and this year we are finishing up preschool, I think. I am looking forward to starting Kindergarten work with her next year.

We aren't too far into our letter of the week portion of school yet, as last week we did the letter B. It took me back to when I was doing preschool with Eva, because both girls made Blue from Blue's Clues for the letter B.

Here is Eva's "Birthday Blue" and letter B - looking back I wondered why I didn't take a picture of her holding her crafts. Well, I vaguely remember that I had a plan to make an alphabet scrapbook with Eva...I never got to it, partially because we ended up starting Kindergarten earlier than anticipated, and partially because scrap booking is relaxing for me, and crafts with kids are stressful...why ruin my relaxing hobby by trying to do it with a preschooler??

Here is Charlotte with her "Winter Blue" - we were doing the theme of "Winter Fun" in Little Saints, so I decided to go with the winter themed Blue. I love the different types of hats available for this craft! If we were on the letter B this week, we could use the police hat (Safety Friends) or we could use the Chef's hat for "Let's Eat Out" or the USA Hat for "My America". Lots of great options there! With Eva, the obvious choice was Birthday Blue for the double B. These weren't around when Eva was a preschooler, but Charlotte is getting some of her alphabet crafts from Catholic Icing - Catholic ABC's.

I did get a picture of Eva with one letter - Q is for Queen and Quilt (she was so little then!) Since it made more sense for the Queen's crown to be worn I guess she got to be in the shot! Of course, she looks younger than Charlotte in the picture because she was! I was so ambitious in the early days of homeschooling (and I'm probably still more ambitious than I will be in a few more years...) Pretty much all of Eva's ABC crafts came from DLTK-teach Alphabuddies section.

Of course, just to show you how time flies, here is Charlotte, while Eva was doing little baby is getting all grown up!

Okay, last picture, because they are so cute...Eva, Charlotte and Daddy this morning with Charlotte's fire truck picture. (Yes, we do a lot of school in our PJs these days...we live 16 miles out in the country, it's not like we have a lot of people stopping by!)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Quick Takes Friday

Why is it that I think of things all week long that would be great quick takes, but when it comes to Friday, I can hardly think of anything at all? One of the great mysteries of the universe, I am sure.

We watched "Ramona and Beezus" last night, it was a very good movie. This girls are going to watch it again tonight with our exchange student before we send it back. I really loved Beverly Cleary's books when I was little, but I have to admit that until watching this movie, I wasn't so sure that the Ramona books were something I would introduce to my girls.

I really need to take down the Christmas decorations before too long, but the task just feels overwhelming...I think overwhelming describes January pretty well. I'm behind on dishes, behind on picking up, behind on school, and really don't have a lot of ambition at the moment.

Hubby and I will be teaching the second class of our virtual Natural Family Planning series on Sunday night. I still need to figure out what to do with the girls...I haven't asked SIL to come over and watch movies in the basement with them. I guess we could probably get by asking our exchange student to watch the girls, but I'd feel a little bit bad about that...I don't really know why.

I would consider having the girls spend the night on Sunday at grandma's house, but they stayed there for five days last week while hubby and I took a mini-vacation/went to a Knights of Columbus meeting. On one of our fun days, we went to a little gambling town. We agreed that a max to lose would be $40 each (which is pretty much double what we had ever agreed on before!) so we played penny slots most of the day, and I kept winning a little, and hubby kept losing a little. Towards the end of the afternoon, we both ended up winning on some penny slots, I got five dollars up, and hubby got twenty dollars up, so we decided to go crazy and each blow $15 on quarter slots before we left. Well, I lost mine pretty quickly, but on hubby's 3rd or 4th pull he won $400! So, he got paid, and we played a few more minutes on penny slots, and left with $400 more than we had come with.

In the "my girls have spent to much time at grandma's house" category...I let them watch a movie one afternoon this week, and when I turned up the volume on the TV and asked if it was okay, Eva sighed and said "I wish we had Surround Sound!"

Our exchange student is going to be in the musical this spring, and practices have started. Coming from a suburban area, I am used to the idea that kids have to choose between sports and theatre, but since that would mean no plays in a rural school, she has to wait in town until play practice begins at 6:30 in the evening. The good news is SIL has a house in town now, so she can go there and do homework during the sports time. She has to be picked up in town at about 9pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for the foreseeable future. The bad news is, that is pretty late when you have little kids (so nights when hubby and I have meetings will get a little dicey) the good news is, hubby is home from work, so he doesn't seem to mind driving in to pick her up!

Charlotte just brought me a Christmas ornament hanger that she fixed...maybe I should take that as a sign that I should wrap this up and get the girls started on another day of school...

More quick takes at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Small Successes

Well, it really is January now, isn't it? I'm starting to feel the blahs of the season, so everything has felt like a struggle recently (though, on the plus side, I could come up with a ton of small successes!) So, here go a few of my small successes recently:
I got my annual hair cut. Seriously, I think the last time I had my hair cut was last February, so it was a little early ;) AND, my new, much shorter haircut is forcing me to do my hair every day. I was getting into a really bad habit of wearing my hair in a ponytail all the time. But, since I can't do that, I am being a lot less sloppy in my personal appearance. Yes, I still have many days where I do school in my jammies, but I have been trying much harder to be showered, dressed, and hair done by the time hubby gets home for lunch.

We are doing school...I'm not so sure I want to be doing it, Eva doesn't seem so sure she wants to do the not so fun parts of it, and Charlotte is finally getting to the point where she wants to do school (of course, most of her school is fun and crafty at the moment, but maybe she will be ready to start Kindergarten next year after all!) I honestly would rather be planning for next year right now, but since we probably need to finish this year first, I guess I'll just have to suck it up. The thing that is making me slightly crazy right now is that I didn't plan any breaks in school between now and Easter...and Easter is far later this year than it was last year. I may have to take a long weekend or something in there...maybe a field trip. Something to break up the really long months of solid homeschooling.

I have been making the girls keep the playroom in order. After all the work I put into it, I just am not willing to let them mess it up again. I haven't even had to take away any toys from the playroom yet (I did have to take away Eva's Leapster because she was being mean to her sister, but not playroom related) and I have been making them play with their toys IN the playroom as well. I do have a basket, and if I tell them to pick up the playroom, and I go in and find something out of place or on the floor, it will be going into the basket, and onto a high shelf in my closet until they pay me back in chores.

More small successes at Faith and Family LIVE!