Saturday, February 28, 2009

It's Saturday!

Hooray! I love Saturday.

Today I must sort out the fridge, inventory contents, make a menu, make a shopping list, go shopping, prepare for Andrew's birthday, tidy and clean house, do laundry.

Yikes.


Sorry this one doesn't fit. But it's funny anyway. =)

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

Thursday, February 26, 2009

And now for something completely different.....

.....funny Lolz. Giggle. Enjoy. You're welcome. =)



funny pictures
moar funny pictures



funny pictures
moar funny pictures



funny pictures
moar funny pictures


funny pictures
moar funny pictures



Sorry this one's rude. Sorry Sorry sorry sorry sorry. But I likes Monty Python.
funny pictures
moar funny pictures
And your father smells of elderberries!!!!


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


funny pictures
moar funny pictures



funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals


funny pictures
moar funny pictures

funny pictures
moar funny pictures




funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Public School Woes

Fabulous teachers are at it again, being a wonderful example to our children. Awesome. (See also below for article)

In other news, Ben got pushed around on the bus yesterday. And we got ding-dong ditched last night. I just love public school.




Franklin coach, teacher faces drug charges

Posted: Feb 25, 2009 10:12 PM

A high school girls' basketball coach is suspended without pay after police found marijuana in his car at a basketball game.

Stanley Eggleston coaches girls' basketball at Franklin High School where he also teaches English.

Metro police said they found pot inside an Altoids can in his car parked at Hunters Lane High School Tuesday night.

He was there watching another team's game.

Williamson County Schools' spokesperson Carol Birdsong said school officials Wednesday met with his players and their parents.

"The administration met with the players and most of the parents around noon time [Wednesday], shared the information about the situation with them and they kind of as a group decided they wanted to focus on being successful in the tournament," she told News 2.

The girls are scheduled to play in a regional tournament this weekend.

Authorities said Eggleston has taught at Franklin High School for two years.

He has been suspended from coaching and teaching pending the outcome of the investigation.

Metro police charged Eggleston with misdemeanor drug possession

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Awesome Contest

Anne Bradshaw is having a wonderful contest right here. Those books look absolutely fabulous!!! Go check it out. =)

Obama quotes that scare the bejeepers out of me.

“It’s not about helping banks – it’s about helping people.”
AGHHHHH! Stay out of the banks, stay out of my wallet. Just quit sticking your nose into stuff that has nothing to do with you!

"For seven years, we have been a nation at war. No longer will we hide its price.”
But we will, presumably hide the good stuff it's done. No good stuff! Nothing good has happened! Don't believe your lying eyes! There is no democracy here!


“And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country”.

Yes! That's right! We believe in taking away your right to decide your own future. You may not decide your own future! You WILL stay in school. You WILL get good grades. You WILL not sin. I will force you not to sin! Everyone will return to Heavenly Father and I will get all the glory!
Oh....wait...sorry, I got my people confused there.
(For those of you who aren't LDS; it was Satan's plan to *force* everyone to be good and not one soul would be lost, all would return to Heavenly Father because no-one would have the choice - and then Satan would get all the Glory. Unfortunately, that idea messed up the whole point of the exercise which was for the Children of God to LEARN and GROW and show God they love him by CHOOSING to be faithful and follow Him...which is the wonderful plan Jesus came up with. FREEDOM to choose.)

To the troops: “we honor your service, we are inspired by your sacrifice, and you have our unyielding support.”
"Yeah...well....sorta....but only in the stuff that I want to support. Otherwise, you're on your own y'o." It irritates me that not only can Obama not say "You know", he can't even say "Y'know". He just says, "Y'o".


“For history tells a different story... government didn’t supplant private enterprise; it catalyzed private enterprise.”
Everyone run away screaming right now. The man is insane.


“I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture.”
This is a blatant lie. It was torture hearing his voice.


“As we stand at this crossroads of history, the eyes of all people in all nations are once again upon us – watching to see what we do with this moment; waiting for us to lead.”
Actually - and I speak here as someone who was not always American and lived among those who were not American, so I know what I'm talking about - the rest of the world honestly and truly just wants us to shut the heck up already. They're sick of us! They want us to go away with our loud voices and arrogance and loud golfing outfits and large bellies. Most of the world looks at America and goes "Ew".

So what do I do? I become American. =D I love this country. But not its liberals because crazy liberals are destroying this marvelous place!



“...there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father...”
Now that is what we can agree on. Right on!!! So get your nose out of my life already!!! Let me be a parent.

Oh...or maybe you mean "There is no program or policy that can substitute for the kind of mother or father that we think children should have so we're going to force you to be that kind of mother or father. And if you don't parent the way we say you should, then we'll take your children away. You have no choice."



Because, let's face it, crazies are not about choice. Yes yes yes they talk a good game about "freedom to choose" - but only the choices they WANT you to choose.

Do you chose to be gay or support gays? You MAY NOT choose anything different.

Do you chose to abort your baby or support abortion? You MAY NOT choose anything different. You MUST pay your taxes (Unless you're a member of congress), and those taxes will be used to pay for abortions. You have no choice.

Crazies are not about choice. They are about taking away your freedom of choice.

Babies!!!!

Crystal's goats at Homemaking Homesteader had kids!!!!

Awwww, they're so cuuute! =)

Go look at 'em.

Almost makes me wish I had my own little goats.

Or not, because some of 'em can be ornery and I don't like being butted or nibbled on.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The most amazing post I've ever written

So, I was in the shower and I had an amazing thought hit me. Hands up who does their best thinking in the shower? =D Actually, I have some pretty nifty ones when I'm walking, but that's beside the point.

So anyway, I had this thought hit me. It was profound. No messing around now, it was one of the most amazing things I've ever thought. It was truly a gift from God. It occurred to me that this thing was so amazingly profound that it would be important to share it with the whole world. I know my blog is private, but you have my permission, should you also find what I thought amazing, to copy this post in its entirety and put it on your blog. Or in an email. Or just tell people about it. It's that important.

This thing is so important, it will change your life. It will change the life of whomever you share it with. If it's not twisted. Anything can be twisted and taken out of context, and that, of course, would ruin the purity of this amazing gift. Taken, however, exactly how it is, it is not boastful of me to tell you that your life will be changed if you read what I'm going to write and follow it. Honestly. Research it - I mean, research it from its source. Don't waste your time by reading twisted authors who attempt to turn it into something it's not in order to salve their own conscience. Because, of course, this thought of mine is challenging. It will make you somewhat uncomfortable. If you do not take it lightly, if you do not twist it, if you do not blow off my words as "just this idiot who blogs", then it will take you out of your comfort zone and change you. Change is not often comfortable - but the right change is always worth it.

Yes, I know I'm only a middle-aged housewife in the middle of the US and most of the time I post a bunch of drivel. But without doubt this is the most important thing I have ever posted. I hope it touches you as it touched me. I hope it changes you as it changed me.

It's so important you might want to gather your family members to you. Gather them around the computer to read this amazing thing. Gather them, and give them the opportunity, too, to look into their hearts and throw away pride and come to a true understanding of what this life is really all about. It will honestly answer all their questions and put them on the path that leads to great joy and happiness. Who wouldn't want that for their family members? =)

Do you have them there? Are you ready? Please, open your hearts to this amazing message. I know I'm not a very smart person, but sometimes profound things are given to those who aren't massively intellectual or anything.

Ready? It's not a very long thought so if your family is busy that's ok. In fact, my preface is several hundred times longer than the actual thought. =D Ok. =) I'm so happy to tell you about it. Here it is.





























Jesus












.

"Wouldn’t you just love to wipe that serene look right off her smug face?"

I don't think I've ever looked serene in a grocery store. Furthermore, I don't have stair-step children, as much as I wish I had. And even more, my beloved middle child just went back to public school...where he's learning nothing but "social skills" that involve telling a boy to back off when he's in a girl's face calling her filthy names and using appalling language.

Lord, please help me teach Andrew all he needs to know before he hits puberty. Please help me to be serene in a grocery store. Please help me to be a good mama.

Here's the linky:
Methinks American middle-class people are uncomfortable around the home schooled for the same reason the alcoholic is uneasy around the teetotaler.

But I also decided to put the whole essay here, because I like it so much and I'm afraid it'll disappear from the link thing and that would be sad.




SONNY SCOTT:Home-schoolers threaten our cultural comfort

6/8/2008 9:39:01 AM
Daily Journal


You see them at the grocery, or in a discount store.

It's a big family by today’s standards - "just like stair steps," as the old folks say. Freshly scrubbed boys with neatly trimmed hair and girls with braids, in clean but unfashionable clothes follow mom through the store as she fills her no-frills shopping list.

There's no begging for gimcracks, no fretting, and no threats from mom. The older watch the younger, freeing mom to go peacefully about her task.

You are looking at some of the estimated 2 million children being home schooled in the U.S., and the number is growing. Their reputation for academic achievement has caused colleges to begin aggressively recruiting them. Savings to the taxpayers in instructional costs are conservatively estimated at $4 billion, and some place the figure as high as $9 billion. When you consider that these families pay taxes to support public schools, but demand nothing from them, it seems quite a deal for the public.

Home schooling parents are usually better educated than the norm, and are more likely to attend worship services. Their motives are many and varied. Some fear contagion from the anti-clericalism, coarse speech, suggestive behavior and hedonistic values that characterize secular schools. Others are concerned for their children’s safety. Some want their children to be challenged beyond the minimal competencies of the public schools. Concern for a theistic world view largely permeates the movement.

Indications are that home schooling is working well for the kids, and the parents are pleased with their choice, but the practice is coming under increasing suspicion, and even official attack, as in California.

Why do we hate (or at least distrust) these people so much?

Methinks American middle-class people are uncomfortable around the home schooled for the same reason the alcoholic is uneasy around the teetotaler.

Their very existence represents a rejection of our values, and an indictment of our lifestyles. Those families are willing to render unto Caesar the things that Caesar’s be, but they draw the line at their children. Those of us who have put our trust in the secular state (and effectively surrendered our children to it) recognize this act of defiance as a rejection of our values, and we reject them in return.

Just as the jealous Chaldeans schemed to bring the wrath of the king upon the Hebrew eunuchs, we are happy to sic the state’s bureaucrats on these “trouble makers.” Their implicit rejection of America’s most venerated idol, Materialism, (a.k.a. “Individualism”) spurs us to heat the furnace and feed the lions.

Young families must make the decision: Will junior go to day care and day school, or will mom stay home and raise him? The rationalizations begin. "A family just can't make it on one income." (Our parents did.) "It just costs so much to raise a child nowadays." (Yeah, if you buy brand-name clothing, pre-prepared food, join every club and activity, and spend half the cost of a house on the daughter’s wedding, it does.) And so, the decision is made. We give up the bulk of our waking hours with our children, as well as the formation of their minds, philosophies, and attitudes, to strangers. We compensate by getting a boat to take them to the river, a van to carry them to Little League, a 2,800-square-foot house, an ATV, a zero-turn Cub Cadet, and a fund to finance a brand-name college education. And most significantly, we claim “our right” to pursue a career for our own
"self-fulfillment."

Deep down, however, we know that our generation has eaten its seed corn. We lack the discipline and the vision to deny ourselves in the hope of something enduring and worthy for our posterity. We are tired from working extra jobs, and the looming depression threatens our 401k’s. Credit cards are nearly maxed, and it costs a $100 to fuel the Suburban. Now the kid is raising hell again, demanding the latest Play Station as his price for doing his school work … and there goes that modest young woman in the home-made dress with her four bright-eyed, well-behaved home-schooled children in tow. Wouldn’t you just love to wipe that serene look right off her smug face?

Is it any wonder we hate her so?

Sonny Scott a community columnist, lives on Sparta Road in Chickasaw County and his e-mail address is sonnyscott@yahoo.com.

Appeared originally in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 6/8/2008, section 0 , page 0




And, furthermore, I feel like a good Mummy today. =) Poor Andrew has a double ear infection and the flu. He's pretty sick, especially at night. Last night I held him until the wee hours in the morning because he would cough terribly whenever he wasn't upright. I was tired, but it was a very sweet time. He was so very hot, and it was imperative that I kiss his sweet little head every couple minutes. I was happy to serve as his upright bed for a while, until his cough quieted.

My gosh, children are so stinkin' sweet.

I think about all those sweet little children out there who are verbally, emotionally, physically and...otherwise abused. It makes me so sad and I've often cried to the Lord, asking him to please come soon so those little ones won't have to suffer. Maybe one day we can open our home to one or two. Maybe we might be able to help a little to counteract all the lies they were told, and tell them how sweet and precious they really are.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pizza and French Fries Soup

Well, not really.

When Ritsumei was here I fed them soup. Ben really liked this soup. WOW! Considering what was in it, I was astonished. He instructed me NOT to tell him what was in it, so I told him it was pizza and french fries soup.

Without further ado:

Pizza and French Fries Soup
previously known as Sneak in the Veggies Cheddar Cheese Soup.

I found it here: http://www.recipezaar.com/Sneak-in-the-Veggies-Cheddar-Cheese-Soup-194889
by EmmyDuckie

I post here the original recipe, with my alterations in bold italics.


* 1 lb potato
* 1 large onion
* 1 medium yellow bell pepper (I used half of one - it's what I had left)
* 2 large yellow squash (I used 2 small because it's all I had)
* 1 (8 ounce) bag baby carrots
* 1 quart chicken stock or vegetable stock
* 1/2-1 teaspoon turmeric (Didn't have any. I threw in rosemary (I love rosemary and use it every chance I get), thyme, and possibly parsley.)
* salt and pepper
* 1 pint half & half light cream (Ok, here's a handy hint to y'all. If you buy half-and-half specially for a recipe, DON'T buy it enough in advance that it's smells REALLY icky by the time you get around to use it and thus you have to use 2% milk and 1/4 cup marge instead.)
* 1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese (I used regular. It's cheaper. And tastier.)

1. Roughly chop potatoes, onion, squash, and bell pepper if using.
2. Add to large stock pot along with carrots, stock, salt and pepper to taste, and turmeric. (If the stock doesn't quite cover the veggies, add a little water). (I added a little more stock than it called for, but even so some of the veggies weren't quite covered)
3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let simmer until vegetables are tender.
4. Puree soup using a stick blender, or in small batches in the regular blender.
5. Add half-and-half and cheese, heat just until cheese melts.
6. Serve topped however you like.


This soup is RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS! If I didn't have guests around, I would have licked my bowl. Instead, I used bread to wipe around the bowl to get up every last bit of deliciousness. And Ben liked it too. How can you go wrong?

If you're making this soup, before you add the half and half and cheese, divide the soup in half. Make half with the dairy stuff and half without. Taste both to see which one you prefer. Both are SO YUMMY.

I seved Rosemary and Olive Oil bread. It was AWESOME.


I also served a salad - just the mixed greens thing from Kroger - but I served my own homemade salad dressing. It's fabulous. Try some.


Really yummy sweet dressing
I may or may not have lifted this from the Miserly Moms book. I can't remember.

¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp onion salt or garlic
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup oil
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp parsley

Combine all ingredients except parsley. Beat. Stir in parsley just before serving.
(I didn't measure the spices - just bunged them in. Also, use olive oil and balsamic vinegar. OH my GOSH. My mouth is watering just thinking about it and I may just have to eat a salad RIGHT NOW so I can have some of that dressing.

In which Ritsumei visits and I discover a fabulous article entitled "Ten Cinematic Cliches That Must Die." Enjoy.

"Note to Hollywood: Do any of you realize that Judeo-Christian values are the foundations of modern liberalism?"

10 cinematic cliches that must die.

Awesome article! =)



In other news:

Ritsumei and her family came again! Hooray! =)

As you can tell from a previous post, it was rather a busy day, but we managed to have dinner together.

Here is where a picture of us having dinner together would have gone if I'd remembered to take any.


Andrew and Monkey got along like a house on fire. We didn't see them much the whole time the Ritsumei family were here because they were off in the other room making noise and enjoying themselves. =D

Here is where a picture of the two cuties playing together would have gone if I'd remembered to take any.


I talked too much. It was embarrassing.
I tried to fit too much spinach into my mouth at once. It was embarrassing.
At least I didn't drip soup down my shirt. That would have been embarrassing.


Here is where a picture of me making a noodle out of myself wouldn't have gone even if I'd remembered to have taken it because I wouldn't have taken it even if I remembered.


Ritsumei forgot the Monkey robe. Or maybe Monkey didn't like it. One of the two.


Also, Ritsumei and Mr. Ritsumei, Bert was late for New Beginnings so you probably wouldn't've been able to meet him anyway. =)

On the way to New Beginnings Ben said, "You forgot to take pictures."

GAH!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hey, Ritsumei

What time are you coming? Or are you coming? Because I called your phone and there was no answer so I know you're not there, and I called your cell phone but I must have the wrong number because it called me a doofus for trying to reach you.

Ok, it didn't really, but it said "Oi! This number isn't the one you want!" or something like that. I don't know. It was a recording calling me a twit. =D

Call me...or write to me... or something, because I'm going to be out of the house pretty much from about 3pm on soooooooo don't come then! Come for lunch, will ya? =)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Australia Fires

I have some relatives that live in Australia. My Great-Aunt Mary sent me these pictures.



That's a plane in front of the smoke.









Hazlewood Power Station





Kinglake


Marysville

















Nothing left

Email from my sister

Received this email from my sister. It was pretty funny. =)







This is India
It's where you call when you have a technical problem with your computer.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Scripture

Sorry I haven't done this in a while. =Þ

D&C 109:7-8
7 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith
8 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;


Fleur's Translation:
Teach each other the good things about God from good books. Study these things, and have faith.
Organize yourself. Get ready for what's coming.
In your own home:
pray
fast (abstain from food and drink for 2 meals or 24 hours once a month)
have faith
learn good things
get your house in order
this will make your home feel wonderful, and God will be comfortable there.



I'm trying to do these things. I fail, most of the time. Thus I make plans and hope I won't fail with them. I ALWAYS fail, but I ALWAYS make plans. Hope springs eternal. I'm good at making plans - not so good at actually carrying them out. =Þ

I'm sorry, Ritsumei, I haven't even called the guys yet to clean the carpets so they're really bad. I apologize in advance. I wish we had hardwood floors throughout because then I could mop the little buggers and be all done.

ANYWAY

Here's my tentative new plan. I only pulled it together about five minutes ago so it needs tweaking, but this is the basic outline. I stole the outline from Jen, but then tweaked it quite a bit to fit me. Think it needs more tweaking, but that'll happen as I implement it. I was already doing some of the stuff, so that'll be easy to continue....it's the added stuff that will make life interesting. =) I'm sorry I said "tweaking" so much in this paragraph.


Morning Routine
Starts at 5.30am. Uggggghhhh. It's hard getting up that early but I'm always grateful I did it once I'm up.
Up, Teeth, Calendar, What's for Dinner?
Scriptures, Journal, Joseph Smith Book, Personal Progress
Feed Birds, Water Garden
Make breakfast, eat breakfast, Family Scripture Study, dishes, shine sink
15 minute zone, 15 minute papers, 15 minute pick up downstairs, 15 min daily task (listed below)
Andrew hair and teeth brushed, dressed, make bed
M: Home blessing
TWTHF:exercise
shower, clean bathroom, dress, make beds, prayer, make-up, laundry, dishes away
15 mins in one room.
Andrew's homeschool: Calendar, song, prayer, journal, geography, math, 100 easy lessons, Bob books, workbook, craft, play outside


Afternoon Routine
lunch, dishes, shine sink, clean counters, laundry, start dinner, Andrew's quiet time, pick up downstairs
1 hour study
1 hour emails
Andrew up, snack, play outside
MW: Errands TTH:Swimming F:Gym


Nighttime Routine
Finish making dinner
dinner, dishes, shine sink, clean counters, pick up downstairs
Andrew in bath, pick up upstairs, put away laundry
Andrew teeth and hair brushed, lotion, potty, pjs, pick up bedroom
Prayer, story, sleep


Monday Home Blessing: 10 mins each
Dust
Clean toilets
Clean window sills
Clean glass mirrors & doors
Toss last weeks mags & catalogs
Vacuum traffic areas
Change sheets

Emily vacuums all non-carpeted areas and brings all rubbish downstairs
Ben mops all non-carpted areas and takes out black bin



Tuesday: Get ready for shopping
Clean out refrigerator
Inventory food on hand
Make meal plan & grocery list
Clean out purse

Emily cleans her sink, toilet and mirror
Ben cleans downstairs sink, toilet and mirror, brings in black bin and takes out recycling.


Wednesday: Shopping and Joy School
Andrew to Joy School
Shopping
Put Shopping away

Emily cleans her shower and washes shower curtains
Ben picks up the floor in his room


Thursday
Catch up on what I wasn't able to do earlier in the week

Emily picks up the floor in her bedroom, putting all clothes neatly away.
Ben tidies his nightstand, table and dresser


Friday
Vacuum upstairs

Emily tidies her dressers and dusts
Ben vacuums his room and does his laundry


Saturday
Outside tasks
Family Fun Day

Emily vacuums her room, tidies her closet, and does her laundry, washing it, drying it, and PUTTING IT AWAY.


Cool things I want to do
make my own soap
make my own condiments
make my own cleaning products
make my own bread (Get a breadmaker? If so, which kind?)
get food storage in an organized manner
grow sprouts
somehow get my family to eat sprouts
get my family to eat ANYTHING healthy
take family bike rides
Make my own clothes
Learn how to match colours so my clothes don't look awful
improve my handwriting. Why can't I find a good handwriting class? I don't want to learn calligraphy, I just want my writing to look better.
get rid of cable and read together as a family.
keep the house clean, tidy, and guest-worthy at all times.
have frozen dinners in oven so we don't go out to eat as much.
finish Saxon Pre-Algebra, R&S 5 & WW8



Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

He doesn't quite understand the concept of time....

Andrew and I are in the park on the swings.

He says "Do you want to play wolleyball with me?"
"Sure!" I say
"You kick it like this."
"Isn't that football?"
"No, it's wollyball"
"Oh. When did you learn how to play that?"
"Oh, last year when I was older."

Alrighty then. =D



In other news, it was difficult being told that I'm not Christian. *sigh* WHY do some people think that? Even they think it in the sweetest, nicest and most loving way. It's so hurtful because it's patently obvious that it's a falsehood - which means those that think it are either deliberately misinformed or...I don't know what or. Maybe you can fill in the or.

Competition for today!!!!! Fill in the "or..." Please. I'm really interested in your "or..."s. =)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dang it!!!


StupidTester.com says I'm 12% Stupid! How stupid are you? Click Here!


Because Ship Full O' Pirates was totally smart - 0% stupid. Dang! Wish I'd got that score. =D

Ship Full O Pirates also has a nifty conversation going on about Mormonism in her comments here

I believe I will jump in and add my 2 cents. =)

Huh, interesting

I find it quite interesting the Fox News has this posted on their website.

Do they have anything like it for any other religion, I wonder? Are they attempting to familiarize the US with Mormonism so Romney is more palatable next time round?


Can you imagine if Romney were president right now? Holy cow. The economy would be in WAAAAAAAY better shape, and we wouldn't be putting such a huge load of debt onto our descendants' shoulders. Oh how I wish Romney was our pres right now.

Monday, February 09, 2009

OCD Attack

I believe Ritsumei is coming to visit tomorrow. I think it's tomorrow. I'm not sure, maybe it's next week. Or maybe it's tomorrow. But I don't know what time.

So anyway, I'm having a panic attack because the house is not fit for human habitation, nevermind visitors. Ok, maybe that's a teeeeny bit of an exaggeration - but it's not tidy. Furthermore, I need carpet cleaners in because a winter's worth of teenagers and toddlers is showing its face plainly upon my beige carpeting.

Whoever thought of putting BEIGE carpeting in a house? That's nuts. Dark blue is the perfect colour. Or that horrid berber stuff. Hides really terrible stains. Some say hardwood throughout does the trick, but you've got to CONSTANTLY clean that stuff otherwise you get furballs from the dog. Gag me gross.


ANYWAY!!!!!!!!!!!

So I vacuumed the carpets in the music room (or living room or parlour or whateveryouwanttocallit) after picking up all the myriad of cars in there, and suggested to Andrew that he bring down his legos. This is because I knew he was going to ask to watch TV and I didn't want him to.


So there we were, playing legos. I made an ambulance. Andrew made an orange car.





I made a dog.





It was great fun. I took some pictures.

And then I had to quit playing.

WHy? Why? you ask.

Take a look at this very fuzzy (sorry about that) picture here.




Do you not SEE the legos? What MORON at Mattel decided to put a dip in the lego bucket? A dip perfectly sized for trapping little lego pieces. Are they INSANE?

Those legos. They call to me. They cry for me and beg me. Can you hear them?

"Keeley! Keeley! Sort us into colours and sizes and put us in little plastic bags because then we'll be all neat and tidy. Oh please Keeley! Little plastic bags! Please!"

I had to run away before I ruined my son's life by categorizing and obsessively organizing his legos. It was the only sane thing to do.

I Stink

A while ago while we were at the library I noticed a book on the librarian's desk. She sets them out just before storytime. The books are right at the children's eye level so they can pick out what they like.

I saw this book:




And after I flicked through it I thought "Not on your nelly, baby". I didn't like the words in the book. The attitude was very off-putting. I thought Andrew would probably like the subject matter but I did not like the book at all. I hid it behind another one.

You can start laughing now. You KNOW they find exactly what you don't want them to, don't you?

Andrew SAW that dang book when he came over to the table five minutes later. He saw it even though it was hidden. He gravitated to that thing like Fred to Ginger. He grasped that book tightly in his little mitts and was enthralled.

During art time he put it down on the table. I did not remind him to pick it up.
He got up to dance around on the carpet. I moved myself and all our stuff - except the book - to a chair near the carpet.
It was time to go.
I got his coat.
We were walking out the door.
I thought I was home free, but at the last minute he remembered, "MY BOOK!!!"

Dang.

We brought it home.

It has been in our home for FOUR dang weeks. FOUR WEEKS! I am so sick of that book. I didn't like it before. I don't like it now.

This video shows what Andrew thinks of it:


video



Yes, yes, yes, he's incredibly cute with his little giggle. Ridiculously so. But oh I hate that book.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Classical Education

I admit, I have a HUGE desire to give Andrew a classical education. I'm just in love with the whole idea of learning Greek, Latin and Logic. I love the idea that he will be able to not only read great classic literature, but understand it, talk about it, discuss it, and thus enter into the great conversation. I think this type of education will enable him to:

a) understand the world around him
b) understand the history of the world around him
c) and therefore make logical inferences of the consequences of choices
d) have an understanding of classical literature
e) and therefore be able to read pretty much anything he puts his mind to because some of that stuff is pretty difficult
f) understand language and the etymology thereof; there are many words in our language that have their beginnings in Latin and Greek
g) and plus, Latin and Greek are just dang cool


and so on and so forth.

My problem with this is:
1. I wasn't given this kind of education myself, so how do I teach it?
2. I haven't been able to read those kinds of books myself, s0 how can I discuss them?
3. The whole pride thing is rather disturbing
4. Maybe I'm just trying to make him super intellectual so that I can feel like we made the right choice homeschooling and that's just plain wrong
5. It all seems so overwhelming. There are so MANY great books to read, so MANY good books to read that I get panic attacks thinking "We're never going to be able to do all this!"


Enter in Memoria Press' "Latin Centered Curriculum", a sample of which I found here. It was very calming:

After talking about the twaddle often taught in schools; easy "chapter books" discussed for weeks, the book makes this observation:

"Some programs go to the opposite extreme, rushing students through the whole Western canon in a few years of Great Books, with reading lists based on those of university programs. For example, the formal reading list for the seventh grade presented in one popular guide includes a dizzying twenty-one books, ranging from Don Quixote (an abridged version is permitted) to Pilgrim's Progress to the Grimms' fairy tales to Pride and Prejudice. And this is only for English! Another curriculum lists eighteen titles for the same year, taking the student through all fifty chapters of Genesis in a week and the whole of the iliad in five. At the same time, the students are also expected to read a work of theology, a study on ancient cities, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and a challenging adult novel by C. S. Lewis. Even with wonderful, meaty selections like these, one has to wonder how much young teens are really getting out of speeding through the Great Books at such a break-neck pace.

By contrast, Simmons reminds us that "schools of the best kind have always aimed high while keeping feet to the ground. They didn't try to do too much; they tried to do the most important things."


WOW! That's reassuring. We don't have to read ALL the great books or good books. Furthermore, we don't have to rush through them.

Now here's another problem I have: I think Pilgrim's Progress has to be about the most boring book I've ever laid eyes on. So if I think these classics are snooze-worthy, how can I teach them?








And here's another thought: I have distinctly felt the spirit on at least two occasions as I looked through and thought about the Rod and Staff curriculum. It's not classical, but it is traditional workbook. In fact, frankly, Rod and Staff is just about the antithesis of the homeschool movement, isn't it? It's school at home! So why do I feel this way when I look at it? Why do I cry when I look at their books during curriculum fairs? What the heck is with that??? It's so dang embarrassing!!!!

Soooo anyway. Thoughts? Is it possible to have a classical education AND a Rod and Staff one?

sorry about that

Sorry about the boatload of political articles and links. Sometimes I get to thinking and when I think I read and when I read I discover that other people have said it so much better than I ever could. Thus, the links. =)

I encourage you to read "Understanding Iran" especially. It's very interesting.

"Noise Pollution" is also a must-read. I used to listen to Crown Financial podcasts in the car all the time, but since I read that article I've been leaving my ipod at home and just having it quiet in the car. It's been weird, having it so quiet. However, I've noticed Andrew has started talking to me more. I was always shushing him before. I think if I continue having it quiet in the car it could create a space where he will feel comfortable talking to me and hopefully that will continue as he grows. The underlying message will also be that he is someone I ENJOY listening to, whereas I think that with all my shushing what I've told him is that the Ipod I was listening to was much more important. =( Ouch.

Understanding Iran

"IF YOU READ the news carefully, you will find a notable story about Iran every morning. Nine times out of ten it is hilarious. Today’s Iran story is that the head of its armed forces announced that it has a new missile with a range of 300 kilometers or more, manufactured with technology that has never been used before in the history of the world. There is neither a picture of the missile nor any information about the nature of the missile, and, in fact, you can be quite sure that there is no such missile at all.

Just within the last month Iran released a photograph of a missile launch that initially caused great consternation in the West. It showed four missiles being launched, more or less simultaneously, with wonderful contrails behind them. This was supposedly a new intermediate range missile that could hit almost any target in the Middle East, including U.S. military bases. Upon examination, that photograph turned out to be a double phony. First, there was only one missile, and the Iranians replicated it to make it seem as if there were four. Second, the missile was two years old and was not an intermediate range missile at all. A few days later, the Iranians announced that they had a fighter airplane and produced a photo of it. Upon examination, this airplane turned out to be a plastic toy made by Mattel with Iranian markings drawn on it.

Continue reading Michael Ledeen's insightful article here.






NEXT YEAR IN ALASKA we are celebrating 50 years of statehood. We are still a very young state, and we’re still experiencing some growing pains, perhaps, as we seek opportunities for Alaska to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on the federal government. And the key to our becoming self-sufficient—and doing our part for our fellow Americans—is to develop further our state’s vast natural resource wealth.

Fifty years ago, this was our deal with the federal government—that we pull our own weight. And we’ve already come a long way from being known as “Seward’s Folly,” back when Alaska was purchased from the Russians for two cents an acre. We’re earning our keep, largely by tapping our energy resources such as crude oil and liquefied natural gas. In fact, Alaska has our nation’s only liquefied natural gas export facility, located in the south-central Alaska town of Nikiski. But Alaska could and should be doing much more.

Continue reading Sarah Palin's speech here.






IN THE COURSE of fighting a global war against Islamic terrorism, a gross strategic failure has occurred: The United States has not fully prepared itself against a ballistic missile attack. To be sure, the U.S. today possesses—after seven-and-one-half years of the Bush administration—a very limited missile defense system consisting of a small number of ground-based interceptors; and soon it will have more capability, when a limited sea-based system comes online. But President Bush will leave office in January with the nation still essentially undefended against Russian, Chinese, or ship-launched terrorist missile attacks. Although Mr. Bush has accomplished more in this area than his predecessors, including Ronald Reagan, this failure is unacceptable.

Nowhere is it written that America is invincible. Yet the threat of nuclear attack has somehow seeped out of our consciousness. Because it didn’t happen during the Cold War, perhaps we presume it never will. But Islamic terrorists did fly planes into our buildings, and if they obtain nuclear weapons, they will not shrink from using them on us. Nor do they pose the only threat to America of nuclear attack or nuclear blackmail.

Let us examine the three countries that present the greatest challenge to U.S. interests and security.

Click here and scroll down the page to continue reading Brian Kennedy's speech.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Noise Pollution

S. Michael Wilcox and Stephen Weber are institute instructors who are finding it increasingly necessary to remind students to "be quiet."

The appeals, however, have nothing to do with discipline. They instead have everything to do with the gadgets that monopolize the students' senses while outside the classroom.

Whether it's coming from a decade-old television in the family room or from the latest "Bluetooth" headset, noise is ubiquitous in modern society. And some, like Wilcox and Weber, think that if unchecked, it can be to our spiritual detriment.

Wilcox refers to it as a "solitude famine." Continue Reading...

FYI

The Washington Times
February 2, 2009

Washington Times Op-ed—Homeschooling Popularity Grows

by J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

Recently, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the Institute of Education Sciences under the U.S. Department of Education, released a study on homeschooling demographics. The first survey from the NCES on homeschooling was conducted in 1999, the next in 2003, and now the current survey, which is based on information compiled in 2007.

The 2007 survey estimates there are 1.5 million homeschooled children in the United States, representing 2.9 percent of the school-age population. This is up from 1.1 million in 2003, which represented 2.2 percent of the school-age population. In 1999, there were an estimated 850,000 homeschooled children, which means homeschooling has grown 74 percent since 1999, and 36 percent since 2003.

The survey also asked parents their reasons for homeschooling. The largest category selected by the parents was a concern about school environment with 88 percent. This compares with 85 percent in 2003. The next largest category was concerns over religious or moral instruction, which was chosen by 83 percent of parents. Seventy-two percent of parents cited this concern in 2003. The third highest category was dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools, with 73 percent agreeing with this statement in 2007 compared with 68 percent in 2003.

When the parents were asked which one of the selected reasons for homeschooling was the most important, religious or moral instruction was the highest with 36 percent. For 21 percent of parents, the most important reason was concern about the school environment, and for 17 percent, it was dissatisfaction with the academic instruction
available at other schools. Other reasons, including family time, finances, travel and distance, were cited by 14 percent of parents.

The obvious conclusions that can be drawn from the survey is that homeschooling continues to grow at a significant rate. Because it is unlikely there will be any major change in public schools in the near future, it's reasonable to believe homeschooling will continue to grow.

Because the modern homeschooling movement has been around for more than 25 years, it is becoming a more diverse education movement. Almost everyone knows at least one homeschooling family. Additionally, the outstanding academic and sporting achievements of homeschoolers are widely reported. For example, Heisman Trophy winner
Tim Tebow was homeschooled until he entered college.

Another possible explanation for the rapid increase in homeschooling is that it's much easier to homeschool now than even five years ago. More and more education programs and curricula are being produced for homeschoolers and are available through DVDs, the Internet, satellite TV, etc.

It is well-known that the average homeschooled child scores well on academic tests. This is because, in part, homeschooling parents can shape their educational program to their child. This contrasts with a school setting where the child has to conform to the educational program that is provided.

Some parents, especially as their children get older, have been concerned their children might miss out on the extracurricular activities available at the public school. Homeschool networks across the country, however, have stepped up their efforts to provide a wide array of extracurricular activities for homeschool students. Sports leagues, band, drama, debate and many other activities are now being
provided for homeschoolers. Even football leagues are available for homeschool students.

The bottom line in the continued growth of homeschooling is that every responsible parent wants to see their child succeed, and they realize the upbringing and education of the child will determine, by and large, whether that child will be a successful adult. For more and more parents, homeschooling is being viewed as the best way to raise their children. The success of the homeschooling movement shows
they are making the right choice.

Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at (540)338-5600; or send email to media@hslda. org.

Peace and quiet is weird.

You know what I'm doing? I'm sitting on my bum with my feet up drinking milk and eating a chocolate bar and NO-ONE is talking to me or asking me for some or asking me to do anything and it's QUIET in the house.

Ok, yeah. Now y'all just pull yourselves up off the floor where you fell in abject envy. I shall tell you how this amazing situation happened in a mo.


NOTICE TO ALL HOMESCHOOLERS!!!!! ATTENTION BURNED OUT HOMESCHOOLERS!!!!
If you think that your children are behind, think again. I have looked realistically at the work Ben has done over the past 2 3/4 years and it doesn't compare to the work that Emily was doing in charter school or the work that I was doing at this age.

EVEN SO!!!! Ben slid right into public school with NO problems and is AHEAD of his peers. I joke not.

SO!! If you are burned out, if you are thinking what you're doing isn't enough, if you are worried about the progress of your children, if you are just plain freaking out because you feel like you need to be Ms. Superheroine Homeschooler - calm down. I promise you from experience that you are doing WAY MORE than public school does.

At least, public schools in TN, which, admittedly, are almost the absolute worst in the US.


Ben is on his third day of ps. He loves it. The work is so easy he just can't believe it. I have to add here that this IS only his third day. Wait for the next couple of weeks when he gets a project or whatever - or when he ACTUALLY gets some HOMEWORK which hasn't happened yet (I joke not) - and then maybe he'll sing a different tune. But anyway, Ben says going to school isn't like school at all. He says it feels like you're just hanging out with friends. Yesterday in his digital photography class one of the students asked the teacher, "Can we just have an easy day today?" and the teacher replied, "Yes, sure."

*Bangs head against wall*


So that was one part of my house quiet: Ben was gone.
Emily was at school, Bert was at work. Andrew was at joy school.

Thus. Quiet. And chocolate. And milk.

And now my rest time is over, for I must pick up the boy from Joy School. I bet he had a blast. =D

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Okay, NOW I'm going to cry

I got a speeding ticket.

It's the first one I've had in I don't know how long. Maybe a decade? Something like that. According to the policeman I may or may not be able to go to traffic school rather than have points on my license because Andrew was in the car with me.

Oh man, I'm so sad. =( This has not been a good day. Know the kind where you just want a do-over? Yeah. *sniff*. =(

Hillsboro Middle School

Things my son said this morning:
"I don't want to go to public school" (said quietly, without real meaning)
"I think I'm going to throw up"
"I think I'm going to wet myself"
"I told myself this is going to be the worst day of my life to prepare myself"


Things I said this morning:
"You chose this" (I wish I hadn't said that one)
"I love you"
"You'll be fine, Ben"
"You'll have a really fun day, and, furthermore, I won't be there, so it'll be great" (His reason for going to public school was because it was driving him nuts being around me all day)
"Ben, if this is the worst day of your life, you'll have had a pretty good life"



I took him in because they couldn't let the bus know in time that he would need to ride it this morning. Also, they needed another utility bill. So I took him into the office, gave them the bill and said, "So, I'm good to go?" Yep, they said, you don't have to stay. So I kissed Ben goodbye, told him he'd be fine and would have a great day and that I love him. And then left.

It occurred to Andrew while we were in the office that Ben was not going to be home anymore. He wanted to go with Ben to school and go to his classes with him. It was a little shock and he was sad when we said that Ben was going to go to school like Emily now, and that we'd see him when he got off the bus. Andrew cried, but that was more because we had to go through the left-hand side door instead of the right-hand side one because the right-hand side door was locked. Or maybe the door was just the excuse for him to bawl his eyes out that Ben wasn't coming to the car with us.

I drove away and my heart was so full it crept up my throat and I had to breathe deeply to calm down. I came home and there were no cars in the driveway. I was so hoping Bert would still be here so I could have a hug. But there was no hug. So I'm writing my blog instead.


In an hour we're going to the Publix bakery for Andrew's Joy School field trip. He's so excited because he'll get to eat a cookie. Life goes on, whether Ben is at home or in public school.


It's so quiet.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

speechless

Today I put my middle son in public school.