Thursday, October 31, 2013

Emma's 16th Birthday

We don't do "friend parties" every year for our kids.  Frankly, it's a lot of work that results in organized chaos, and the kid gets a bunch of presents that they may or may not care about.  We've limited friend parties to ages 7, 10, 13, and 16.

For Emma's 16th birthday (a couple of weeks ago), I gave her the choice of a friend party OR...a weekend with me in Green Bay.  She chose me!  I felt really honored.

After dinner, we checked into our room at Fairfield Inn.  It was really nice, and the staff was so accommodating.  We got a discount on our room, so we were able to afford a king room with a couch.  Here's Emma enjoying said couch.

Light Blue Gatorade & Cheetos ~ Emma's Faves

We went for a dip in the pool and a soak in the hot tub after we got settled.  The pool wasn't very big--only four strokes across--but it felt good to be in the water.  (I need to start swimming laps again.)  The hot tub

Squeaky Clean
We had some snacks and watched a few episodes of American Pickers.  All I can say is, "One man's trash is another man's treasure."  A few things they found were pretty neat, but I wouldn't pay what they were planning to ask for retail prices on even the neat stuff.

The hotel had a lovely, complimentary, hot breakfast.  Great coffee, too--even the decaf I had the night before was good.  We are not mall people.  I mean, I knew that about myself already, but I wanted for Emma to figure out how exhausting, overstimulating, and expensive malls are all on her own.  She did.  We had lunch at the food court and then wandered around in and out of various stores.  I did see something that tickled my fancy.  Well, really it just made me laugh.  Out loud.  I was crying.

The laughingstock of the dog and pumpkin communities.
With yet an hour left to kill before our evening activity, we were done.  We found a Culver's outside of the mall and ate some frozen custard while we chatted for a little while.  Quiet. Comfy. Delicious.

The finale of of our weekend was an evening at the Cup o' Joy--a Christian Music Venue in Green Bay.  They mostly have music groups and open mic nights, but they occasionally have comedians too.  We saw a guy named Daren Strebelow, a Christian comedian from Minnesota.  He used to work on Disney cruise lines.  Not quite Tim Hawkins, but still pretty funny, and a lot less expensive.

The next day was Emma's actual birthday.  Instead of a cake, she just wanted some peanut butter cookies.


This is Emma's special cat plate that I got in Door County
 a few years ago.  (I bet you're so jealous, Craig.)

Happy 16th birthday, Emma!  = )


Monday, October 7, 2013

Hi, 21st Century. Sorry I'm late!

Lydia has swimming lessons on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.  She likes for me to stay in the building with her, so I run/walk on the treadmill in the little--and I mean little--weight room while she's in the pool.  My MP3 player was lost for all of summer, and I finally found it in the strangest place--the very basket where it belongs.  I swear I looked in there four different times.  Either it's so tiny that I missed it every stinkin' time, or...someone's messing with me.

Anyway, I've been taking ye olde CD player with me for my workouts.  I set it up on the magazine rack of the treadmill, and it's fine there for when I'm walking.  When I run, though, the music starts skipping like a flat rock on a smooth pond.  I end up holding it in my hand like a big doofus, and I can really only pump one arm while I run.  So, you can imagine how pleased I was to find that MP3 player.

In the past, Dave has uploaded songs and podcasts onto that baby for me, but I wanted to see if I could do it myself.  Last night...TA DA!!!  I ripped a CD onto my laptop and then uploaded the album onto my MP3 player all by myself.  AND, I did it all without getting frustrated and/or crying/yelling at my laptop!

Today, our worship pastor emailed to ask if I'd sing during the offering on Sunday (he'll be out of town).  Formerly, I'd need enough time to order an accompaniment track from or someplace and have it mailed to me.  But today, with my new confidence in all things digital, I downloaded the album and then burned it onto a CD (my first time!) in about 15 minutes.  Again, no crying or yelling whatsoever.

What's next for this technology maven...?  My new skills have me feeling like this....

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Easy Being Green

Yesterday I cleaned at camp for about seven hours--in the rain.  Okay, so I was indoors for most of it, but I was cleaning four different buildings and had to carry my cleaning supplies from one place to another.  Since my tennis shoes were caked with wet sand and dirt, I ended up removing them as soon as I entered each cabin.  My feet were freezing, but at least I wasn't undoing my hard work--or adding to it.

Today's weather was a most welcome change.  It started out wet (leftovers from yesterday), but by the time church was out we had blue skies and temps in the mid-60's.  Nice.

Our neighbor's tree with a clear blue sky backdrop

Knowing we don't have too many more days like this before the cold sets in (I saw gobs of geese headed south yesterday),  I decided to make the most of today by actually walking to the grocery store.  We have this nice little local market about a half mile from our house.  Their regular prices are slightly high, but sale prices are great.  I shop the flyer.

42% ?  That's a new personal record!!!

I bought a grocery cart some time ago, but all I'd ever used it for before was library books.  (You know you're a homeschooler when...the biggest tote you own isn't large enough to use for returning your library items.)  Today, my grocery cart appropriately held groceries.  Dave calls it my "Granny Cart".

Walking + Reusable Shopping Bag + Cart = Green

Yeah...yeah.  There's one plastic bag in there, but we'll reuse it in a small trash can later.

The main reason I went for this walk was to get some exercise.  I've lost eight pounds in the last eight weeks, but I've got seven more to go.  Today would've been a perfect day for a run; however, I had too many chores left on my to-do list since camp gobbled up my Saturday.  I thought that walking to the store would kill two birds with one stone.  Isn't it ironic that my "healthy" walk brought back 36 cans of Mountain Dew?  (Just focus on the bananas and Clementines, if you will.)

Edited to add this disclaimer:
Normally I drive my mini-van two miles to Walmart and bring home at least a dozen plastic bags.  It was "Easy Being Green" today since the weather was so nice and I didn't have to buy a million things.

Friday, October 4, 2013

First Day of School

We've just finished Week Five of school, so this post is a bit tardy.  Nevertheless....

This is my first year teaching all four of my kids.  Our house isn't super-huge or anything, so I was trying to figure out where to put everyone so they wouldn't disturb each other too much.  Here's where they all ended up:

Emma (10th grade) studies in her room, which is just off of the dining room.  Except for French, she works independently.  We do a daily discussion time (Bible, history, literature, papers), but I'm not really teaching her as much as we are exploring together.  It's nice.  She'll do a research paper later this year, so I expect I might be guiding her a bit more through that process.
Bible ~ OT Survey (2nd half) by Craig MacDonald
Math ~ MUS Geometry
Science ~ Apologia Biology
History ~ Sonlight 200 (Church History--very interesting!)
English ~ Essentials in Writing (Grade 10); Sonlight 230 (Classic Literature); 
               IEW's Windows to the World; Vocabulary from Classical Roots 
French I ~ BJUP 
Health ~ Total Health

Jeffrey (8th grade--sort of) works at the dining room table.  (That's the door to Emma's room behind him.)  They share many of the same books since Jeffrey caught up to Emma pretty early on, so it makes sense for them to work near each other.  Plus, when I give them their French lesson, it's easy just to duck back in Emma's room--away from the noise and bustle of the younger two who are taking a break at that time.
History ~ My Father's World: Rome to the Reformation
                  (although we're doing a unit on Ancient Greece first)
English ~ Essentials in Writing (Grade 8); Progeny Press Study Guides;
                asst. literature to go along with history; Vocab from Classical Roots
Bible, Math, Science, French, and Health are the same as Emma's.

Lydia (3rd grade) works up in her room at her desk.  This is the cleanest her desk area has been in these five weeks, believe it or not.  I don't know how she works in all that clutter.  It drives me nuts!  I was the type of student who always needed to have her room clean before doing homework or studying.  Lydia is so much of a mini-me--except for this characteristic.
Bible ~ Awana; Answers for Kids (by Answers in Genesis)
Math ~ MUS Gamma
Logic ~ Building Thinking Skills (for gr. 2-3)
Science ~ Answers in Genesis Human Body with The Body Book (1st semester)
                Apologia Astronomy with Jr. Notebooking Journal (2nd semester)
History ~ MFW: Rome to the Reformation 
               (Again, we're doing a unit on Ancient Greece first.)
Lang. Arts ~ First Language Lessons & Writing with Ease (Susan Wise Bauer);
                    All About Spelling; Cursive handwriting (I make up my own sheets);
                    Readers and Read-Alouds from Sonlight lists
French ~ First Start French (We haven't gotten very far in this yet.)

And Samuel (K) does his seat work in my walk-in closet!  I teach Lydia and Samuel together for history and science.  We do that either on my bed or on the floor of their bedroom (they share a room).  They do Bible, math, and language arts separately, so I created this little study nook for Sam in my closet.  He loves having his own little desk, even though the ambience leaves much to be desired. 
Bible ~ Awana; Answers for Kids (Answers in Genesis)
Math ~ MUS Primer
Logic ~ Building Thinking Skills K
Science & History are with Lydia.  (Once we're done with the unit on Greece, 
                My Father's World will cover Bible, history, and some other things.)
Lang. Arts ~ Sonlight K; Get Ready...Get Set....Go for the Code;
                    A Reason for Handwriting K; All About Spelling (He sits in on 
                    Lydia's lesson--and likes it!  I wasn't planning on him doing spelling
                    this year yet.)

So, that's what we're up to!  Whew!  No wonder I'm tired!  = )