Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Politically Incorrect Kids

Zsuzusanna posted today about her children being politically incorrect. Her incident reminded me of one that happened Wednesday at our first doctor appointment. I'll have to fill you in on some background info first.

We were all sitting around while I was filling out paper work. Jeremy was keeping the littler ones entertained. We had turned some heads because of "so many" children. One lady in particular struck up a conversation with the kids. She was so very nice. She was showing the kids pictures on her smart phone of all the backyard creatures her little ones had caught. When her kids catch a frog, lizard, salamander, etc. they give it a name and write its name on its belly with a permanent marker. I thought it was really cute. After this the lady sweetly started telling our kids that her kids had identified many different species. I said to her, "Wow! You're great at that sort of thing. You seem like you'd make a great homeschool parent." She explained that she used to be a public school kindergarten teacher (don't miss that) and that she had often thought about homeschooling her kids. She said that her son falls under the autism spectrum and that he does better in school. I said that I understood; one of my friends has a daughter who falls under the autism spectrum and she thrives in school, while our homeschool evaluator is in the same place and her son did better in homeschool.

Anyway, all this homeschool talk John worked up. He excitedly explained to the lady that "my mommy doesn't like those public schools. They leave God out of everything ... on purpose! You just can't learn where God isn't welcome since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Then there are Christian schools and, well, they're just like the public schools. They just sprinkle a little God on top..." And on he went.

I was so completely embarrassed. I mean, not that he repeated what we've taught him, but instead the way he told this public school teacher exactly what we had told him at home. Guess that's what kids do though...

Monday, March 28, 2011

More Homeschool Thoughts

I had so many very helpful comments on a recent post that I couldn't possibly express my replies in a comment back. So here is a post instead. :-)

First, thanks so much for the encouragement, well wishes, and prayers from all of you great ladies! It's so great to hear positive comments from ladies who've been there or been through that.

Deborah, don't you EVER worry about making a long comment on my blog. I can't say how much I love comments, especially the long ones. Your daughter's birth story was such a blessing. I get truly excited when I hear about someone who takes their health into their own hands.

Katerina (The Bobbin Aubins), I too have been in the exact same place. We were sort of impatient for a new baby. I had shared that fact with a very few people, and some of them had the reaction, "Another one?! ...Already?!?!" I guess I've never said it, but my thought is "And you don't?!?" I think that I am equally surprised, and perhaps appalled, that some people don't want kids.

Twylia (Twinkle Toes), I know what you mean about having 2 toddlers running around. Of course, I don't have 6 others that are in school, lol.

~~~~~~

Now onto the school stuff. I think I'll start with why I'm turned off to A Beka. I find it to be laid out well with easy to understand lesson plans. I think that it moves pretty quickly, but that a good foundation is laid before a new concept is introduced. A Beka places huge emphasis on writing: something I sorely missed in school. I didn't even start to write organized papers until 11th grade! What I HATE about it is that A Beka is truly a classroom curriculum. Our families' evaluator has often told me that what works in the classroom doesn't often work in the living room. She is right! The kids can usually do the worksheets independently, but the instruction time can sometimes be too time consuming with A Beka.

Another thing with A Beka that leaves a sour taste in my mouth is this: I find some of the graphics to be inappropriate. There are frequently times where children are swimming. That, of course, I have no problem with. The problem is that the children are in modern swimwear. My kids don't wear swimsuits. Period. Lydia and I swim in dresses. The boys swim in below-the-knee shorts and dark colored shirts. This is what we wear when we go to the creek and what we wear in the backyard water sprinkler. When the kids encounter a graphic like this in a story or on a worksheet, they spazz! "Mooooom, there is naked on my school work!!!" Unexcusable. Also, very often there are girls pictured in shorts, sometimes to the mid-thigh. There have also been stories that are magical without using the word "magic." For example, Cinderella was a short story in a reader.

I remember in K4 that we had a problem with some of the stories from an academic stand point. In the reader the sentences to be read, for example, would be "See the red hen? The hen has an egg." What would be pictured would be a red hen standing above an egg. There were times that I knew that the kids would skim the words and decipher the rest from the picture.

The only two curricula that I have at all had any sort of peace with are Landmark and Rod & Staff. Landmark is an Independent Fundamental Baptist curriculum. I am an Independent Fundamental Baptist, and I feel that our families' choice of curriculum should reflect that. Maybe that's crazy talk to some, but that's just how I feel. My pastor also told me that when he was assistant pastor and Christian school principal, their school used Landmark. He said that it was much like A Beka, just not as "flashy."

Rod and Staff, a Mennonite curriculum. There will be no problems with dress. The readers will always be character building. There will be doctrinal issues. The curriculum only goes up to 10th grade though, but I'm sure that we can cross that bridge in high school. The highest math they offer is accounting. I see no sort of algebra, geometry, trig, pre-calculus. From looking at the overview of their science, even their highest science looks like it belongs in 6th grade. I see nothing even close to anatomy, chemistry, physics, biology or anything. I really don't mean to offend anyone using it. If you love it, great! I just have my doubts.

Another place that concerns me is cost. I realize that Landmark is cheap, but I get most of our homeschool stuff CHEAP!!! We live sort of near Pensacola. A Beka is a publication from Pensacola Christian College. Many, many people here use A Beka in the homeschools. Last year I spend about $15 dollars per new student worksheet book, coming to $90 per grade. I bought them from Pensacola Christian Academy and didn't pay shipping costs. All other things I got at a fabulous homeschool consignment shop in town at a fraction of the cost.

Here's a rough break down on last year's cost for John:
readers: 10 books at $5 each= $50
teacher book, math and language/phonics $15 each = $30
teacher spelling book= $10
science, health, history student readers $8 each= $24
test books, 2 at $5 each=$10

That's about $125 in stuff that can be used again and $90 in consumables. If Landmark is completely consumable then it would be considerably more expensive.

Anyway, that's all my musings. All the comments have been extremely helpful.

I sure am ready for this morning sickness to lighten up. :-)

If Obstetricians Ran the Cable Company

As a disclaimer first, we do not have cable television, nor any other type of television. We have had it in the past. I picked up this little beauty from another blog today and thought it was sarcastically hilarious.


If Obstetricians Ran the Cable Company

“UnicableSystem, may I help you?”

“Yes, I’d like to sign up for basic cable.”

“Certainly, sir. That will be $79.95 a month. That includes the local networks, the first tier of cable channels, and all the premium channels, including five versions of HBO, Starz, eight foreign language movie channels…”

“But I don’t want the premium channels. I just want basic cable.”

“Sir, it is our experience that someday you may want to watch a premium channel, so we bundle everything together.”

“But I don’t speak any foreign languages, so giving me movies in French or Russian –”

“You may learn those languages someday. Trust us on this.”

“But eighty dollars a month is quite a lot.”

“It’s worth it to have the peace of mind from knowing you have the very best entertainment.”

“I guess so. When can you turn it on?”

“First we’ll have to send a technician out to your house to install a cable box and test your television. If your television meets all our requirements, then we’ll get you started on your programming.”

“And if there’s something wrong with my television, can you fix it?”

“No, most of the time we can’t. We can, however, wish you better luck in buying a new television. We’ll come to your house about every month or so to make sure that your television is still up to our standards. We’ll also make sure that your furniture meets our requirements.”

“My furniture?”

“Yes, sir. If you’re literally on the edge of your seat watching an exciting sports competition, we don’t want to risk that you’ll fall off the edge.”

“Don’t you think that’s a little far-fetched?”

“A layman may think so, but it could happen, and we want to be prepared. We will also install mattresses around the viewing area to cushion you should you fall over.”

“What if I just lie on the floor to watch television?”

“What? That’s such an unnatural viewing position! Plus, it makes it difficult for our technicians to make sure you’re watching correctly.”

“Your technicians watch me watching television?”

“Well naturally! How else could we make sure you’re not sitting so close to the television that you’ll ruin your eyeballs?”

“That’s really not –”

“Of course, that’s not so much of a problem any longer, now that we’re mounting the televisions on the ceilings.”

“You’re going to bolt my television to the ceiling?”

“We’ve found it prevents unnecessary channel changes.”

“You know, I don’t think I like all of these precautions.”

“You would think of jeopardizing your entertainment?”

“You’re taking all the enjoyment out of watching television!”

“And you, sir, are running unnecessary risks if you don’t do everything we say! We are entertainment professionals, and we know everything that can happen. It’s people like you who make our industry so difficult. Television is not meant to be enjoyed — it’s just something to get through.”

“It’s not supposed to be enjoyed?”

“Quit thinking of television as anything more than a means to an end. In fact, our most satisfied customers have requested the all-in-one cable package, in which we have them come to our facility, where we anesthetize them and then play an entire feature on HBO, shutting it off before they awaken. It’s really for the best that way–they know they cannot possibly view anything which might offend them.”

“But there are things we can do so that we’re not offended by what we watch. We can change channels, or read reviews–”

“Entirely too much work, sir. Now, you do understand that you’ll have to keep the television off for 23 hours a day.”

“What? Eighty dollars a month and I can’t even watch it?”

“You’d risk burning out your television set if you watched whenever you wanted. The average person watches one hour of television a day. That’s why we’ll make sure you watch exactly sixty minutes of television every day–no more, no less. So, when do you want to schedule your installation and be fitted for your anti-radiation goggles?”

“Forget it. I think I’m going to head to the library instead.” *click*

“Talk about backward. If he gets eye-strain, he deserves it, the wacko.”

Friday, March 25, 2011

More Baby Details

I have known for a while that we were going to have a new baby. I am now reluctant to share the big news. We, of course, are thrilled. We lost a baby to a miscarriage at 11 weeks in 2008 (between Lydia and Josiah). It's difficult beyond words to go through the elation of a new baby and then the depression of losing one. Furthermore, everyone wants to offer their "comfort" which often does nothing but rub salt in the wound. The most comforting thing was a dear older lady in our church who came to me with puddly eyes and said, "I'm sorry and I understand. I lost one about 45 years ago. You never forget and you never stop loving him."

Anyway, from that point Jeremy and I decided that the easiest and most practical thing to do was to just wait until we're out of the first trimester and we've been to the doctor. The kids have known for about 2 weeks. Something Ethan said to his Sunday school teacher made her ask if we were expecting, but all-in-all they kept it quiet. I was really proud.

We mentioned the new baby at church Wednesday. Our church doesn't have any large families and only one other medium-sized family (5 kids). We weren't sure how the news would go over, even with church people. I think it was mostly well received, but there was some head shaking and frowning. Do people really think that their opinion matters to us? Or maybe they think that our reproductive life is their business. I did have some come to me with sincere well-wishes though.

This will be our fifth baby and fifth c-section. I wish that my first doctor had cared enough to examine the shape of my pelvis with my first or second breech baby. I wish I would have known then what I know now. I would have immediately sought chiropractic care to fix my sacrum. I mean, I knew that I had a misaligned spine, but it never caused me much discomfort. I never made the connection. Hindsight is always perfect vision and dwelling on the past can't change the present.

Anyway, let's not end this post so bittersweet. :-)


"Mom, I was going to get out of bed ... again ... and then sleep happened."



Why is behind the couch the best place to play?


Brothers :-)


Waiting for Dad's goodnight kisses.

~~~~~~

We are on the home stretch in school. We should be done April 30th if we take no spring break (and I don't think we need one). I have to decide on what we will do for next school year. When I had Josiah we started back the second week of July and took off the entire month of September. Then we ended up taking off another month when Josiah was hospitalized. I'm really sure that I want to do something else with science. I've never been impressed with A Beka's science program. I've been praying about other core subjects and still have peace with nothing. From what I see of other curricula, deciding on what grade level to put them in is the toughest decision. Ethan would be in kindergarten if he were in the government's school. He's in A Beka first grade right now, a year ahead. With some of the curricula I've looked at, he's already covered whats taught in their 2nd grade. Putting a 6 year old in 3rd or 4th "grade" is intimidating. I've always thought that the hardest part about homeschooling is not actually teaching your kids, but being sure that they are getting what they need.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Check Out My Sidebar

See my new ticker? More details to follow because I need to make supper!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cleaning Recipes Collection

I have been making my own cleaning products for about a year now. Some have been wonderful; some have been a total flop. Here are some that work for me.

First laundry soap. I originally used a recipe similar to what the Duggar family uses, but it was a lot of trouble to make. I also had a lot of mess because I had to keep mine in 1 gallon jugs to save on space. I tried a powdered recipe and a can't say how much I love it. It does an amazing job. Example? The hand towel in the kids' bathroom is white. Ethan came in and "washed" his hands. He dried them on the white towel leaving red clay all over the towel. Oh, you've never heard of red clay? Well, consider yourself blessed because it simply does NOT come out of clothes. I tossed in the towel with the whites, a double scoop of the laundry soap and 1 scoop of Oxiclean. No elbow grease, no pretreating. It came out looking brand-new. It's a snap to make.

Laundry soap

  • 2c real soap, grated (I use Kirk's Castile because it smells better than Fels Naptha or Ivory imo)
  • 2c baking soda
  • 2c washing soda
  • 3c Borax
Use 1/8 cup per load. I typically double this recipe when I make it and it yields about 150 loads. I was having trouble finding washing soda. I get it from Ace hardware and ship it site to store, but I was using pH increaser (the pool chemical), and using half as much since it is concentrated. I never had trouble with it.

"Windex"
  • 1c water
  • 1c rubbing alcohol
  • 1tbsp white vinegar
Keep this in a sprayer bottle. I got a huge bag of about 10 bottles at Sam's. I put tape on each bottle with the entire recipe on it. It's safe that way! I'd give this recipe 4 stars out of 5. Avoiding ammonia makes up for the lost star (not to mention the money saved). Sometimes if you just have a yucky mess on your window, you'll need an all purpose cleaner first. It wipes clean and usually streakless. Sometimes I'll see a streak or 2 in bright sunlight.

All purpose cleaner
  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 2 parts water
This cleans ANYTHING.

"Pledge"
  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 3 parts oil
The recipe originally called for olive oil, but required you to keep it in the fridge. That's not an option. So, I tried mineral oil. Yes, I know the mineral oil contains petroleum products which are neither healthy or "green." But I figured that it was better than whatever is in Pledge. It didn't work for us mainly because the oil and vinegar didn't mix, meaning you had to constantly shake it. The spout on the spray bottle would be clogged up too, making a mess. It did, however, leave an amazing shine. Not clumpy or gooey, just a nice pretty shine. And a little went a very, very long way.

Tubs/showers
Magic Eraser was my go-to for the shower. One day I couldn't find one in the house and had to make do. Here's what I came up with: Wet the shower. Spray it over with the all purpose cleaner above, wait 10 minutes, then rinse. Sprinkle in baking soda (1/2 c to start with) and scrub with a handheld scrub brush. Dirt melts off and the vinegar is a natural mold killer!

Toilets
1/2c white vinegar in the bowl, scrub, and let rest for 15 minutes. (or as long as you can since one of the kids will probably need to go before that amount of time. haha) Spray the outside with the all purpose cleaner and (if you want) double sanitize by spraying hydrogen peroxide after the vinegar has dried.

Baby wipes
I can't say how much I wish I would have known about this 8 years ago! My kids sometimes get very bad diaper rash. When I'd wipe them with store wipes, they'd scream so loudly. They never, ever scream with these.

  • 1 roll high quality paper towels, halved so that each half has an intact brown core. (I use Kleenex Viva and they do pretty well)
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1 tbsp natural baby wash (I use Avalon organics from iHerb. The nearest Publix carries it also)
  • 5 drops tea tree oil
Now, this is modified from what I found online. The original recipe called for 2 cups of water, which seemed to be too much for the Kleenex paper towels. The original recipe also called for 2 tbsp wash. This much left bubbles on Josiah's tushie. It also called for oil (jojoba, e.g.). I leave it out now because it didn't go throughout the entire roll of paper towels. Okay, for the steps:

Boil the water, lid on, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add baby wash. Gently stir it in since you don't want to create a bubbly mess. Lastly add the essential oil. Pour this into the core of the paper towels. The glue will loosen and you can easily lift out the core. Viola! Centerpull baby wipes.

Notice one very important thing. There are not a lot of different ingredients. I clean everything with the same stuff. It just makes sense and saves the $$... or the €€€€. :-)

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A random picture, because everyone likes pictures.


Someone's getting closer to the terrific twos!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Random Little Thoughts

My blogging has become sparse as of late. What's been on my mind has been issues of privacy. Let me explain.

I wondered about trying to find an old friend of mine. I had one particular friend in middle school and high school who was very dear to me. She was almost more like a sister than a friend. We got along so well. In the 6 years that we knew each other, we never once fought. We had everything in common. I still thing about this friend very often, although I haven't seen her in about 13 years.

I got the crazy notion in the early part of the week, "You can find anything on the Internet. I wonder if I can find her phone number." After digging for only about 20 minutes I found her phone number, address complete with a map to her house, husband's name, children's names, occupation, level of education and other information.

Let that sink in a minute... I find it down right SCARY. I'm, of course, not going to use any of this info for anything bad. I probably won't even get the nerve to call her up. But it's really given me a look at what it means to live in a world where the Internet stores EVERYTHING and compiles it into a searchable database.

I am at a crossroads. Part of me wants to delete the blog, or at the least protect it. Part of me wonders if that would be overreacting. Maybe I should give all my kids and myself aliases, but it would take a lot of work. I guess the short of it is that I just really don't know what to do.

~~~~~~

On a lighter note, I had the cutest thing happen to me yesterday. My little Josiah comes into my bedroom where I am making my bed. He is grinning from ear to ear, so proud of himself. He has in hand my coffee cup, half full of of cold coffee. The cup was dripping from the sides and coffee had sloshed onto his pajamas. My first thought was "oh no no no no! No messes." He was so proud though to have thought to bring Mommy her coffee. Surely Mommy would be so happy! He lifted the coffee cup up to me and I pretended to take a big gulp (it was cold after all). "Oh thanks 'Siah! Mommy loves coffee." He clapped his hands together and giggled and happily walked out of my room. I took the coffee cup to the sink, got a towel, and cleaned up the trail of coffee splashes on the floor.

That's the stuff memories are made out of.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Cute Little Giveaway

Zsuzsuanna at ARE THEY ALL YOURS?!?? has gotten quite good at making play food from felt. I absolutely love these adorable play foods. You can enter to win too. Several sets will be given away, so your chances of winning are pretty good. The winner may choose from a set of sweets, a sandwich kit, or a set of breakfast foods.

Likely, you just see a tiny corner of a huge image. I'm sorry, but I'm just not gonna worry with fixing it. To see these precious little play foods click the image.