Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
...use Vaseline instead! Remember the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Her father thought that Windex was the cure-all for everything. Got a cut on your finger? Just add a squirt of Windex! Well, in our household, our cure-all is Vaseline.
Chapped lips? Spread on some Vaseline.
Dry patch of skin on your (insert body part here)? Add a little Vaseline.
Sore throat or scratchy neck? Vaseline. Yes, that one actually seems to work for The Prophet. A couple of weeks ago, he was complaining of having a sore throat & his shirts seemed to irritate it. Casinodad suggested putting a little Vaseline on his neck & Voila! he was instantly healed. Now whenever his neck is bothering him for any reason, he just asks for some Vaseline.
Monday, November 26, 2007
We had a suprise guest at the bonfire last night. Captain Jack Sparrow came all the way from the Caribbean. Someone asked him where the Black Pearl was & he said that it was broken up & used to start the bonfire, after removing all the rum of course! All the kids got a kick out of that & the adults as well! My cousin was the one who dressed up & he did a remarkable impression of Capt. Jack. I think he had just as much fun as the rest of us.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my oldest munchkin! I love ya, kiddo!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Okay, remember my post last month about how I have this thing about shots & needles? Well, this morning I went for an allergy test. Basically, it is just to cover all the bases from the ENT appointment I had a few weeks ago. Other than seasonal & a couple nuts, I've never had a major problem w/ allergies.
I had gone in because of fluid in my ear that I'd had for at least 5 months. At that appt., he didn't find any fluid, but he did discover that I have chronic sinusitis. No surprise there, but I've never had any major problems - maybe an infection once or twice a year & all the rest I took care of w/ OTC stuff. Anyway, he wanted me to see an allergist, have a CAT scan of my sinuses (this coming Monday), & start using a sinus rinse & a steroid spray.
Knowing that I would have the allergy test today, surprisingly I wasn't all worked up about it. Once she pricked my back w/ all the allergens, it didn't feel bad at all. In fact, it just felt like someone was scratching my back. She left the room & said the Dr. would be in shortly to check for the results. I still felt fine. I read my book for a bit, then all of a sudden, I started to feel strange - dizzy, cold sweat, dry mouth, slightly sick to my stomach. I put my book down, put my head between my knees, & pulled the trash can over (just in case!) I contemplated going to the door to ask for some water, but didn't think I'd make it w/out passing out. Next, I sat down on the floor & rested my head on my arms while leaning on the chair. That seemed to help & after a couple minutes, I felt fine. I know it wasn't a reaction to the test, just my own nerves I guess.
So now you want the results? The doctor walked in the room & said "Oh My!" (Yeah - that made me feel better?!?!) They use a four point scale in measuring the welts from the test & on my back there were about 3 welts that were 4++. The welts were about the size of a half dollar. & were for dust mites, ragweed, & grass. I wasn't surprised by the first two, but I'd never noticed a problem w/ grass. There were a couple other minor reactions (pets & histimines) & none for the nuts. She was concerned about the nuts because of the metallic taste I get in my mouth from certain ones. She wants me to keep an epi-pen on hand & to also have a blood test to check for the allergy since it didn't show up. She also suggested allergy shots, but I really don't see a need at this point. The seasonal allergies have never made me too uncomfortable & OTC meds seem to help the congestion from them. She want me to continue the sinus rinse & nasal spray.
Casinodad went through all this allergy testing about 7 months ago. He does the same treatment & the shots as well. He's been telling me since then that the sinus rinse would be great for me, but I just kept putting it off. He finds my situation humorous & keeps telling me "I told you so!" What a loving husband I have :)
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Casinodad took them in our neighborhood the night of Halloween, but not many people were handing out candy this year. It seems like the numbers have dwindled in the past couple years. So, luckily they got to go on that Sunday. They're still working through the candy supply. (The parental supply is just about depleted, but fortunately, our munchkins like to share!)
Our Small Church Community has a large jar that we put out doing our gatherings. In it, we place any pocket change or extra money that we happen to have on hand. We've done this for a little over a year, but had not decided what to do with the money we've collected. Well, a couple months ago, we decided to send that money to a center run by a Franciscan sister in a poor county not too far from us. Twice a year we drive down there to donate clothing, toiletries, etc. They do not take those donations in November & December because they are focusing on purchases of food & gifts for children during the holidays.
This morning, I mentioned to the munchkins that our group had saved over $300 in our jar & I was going to get the rest of our family's donations added to it. All three of them gathered their piggy banks & gave some to help out. The Archangel & The Princess gave me a small handful each. The Prophet dumped all his money onto the kitchen table & proceeded to give me 4 1/2 handfuls of his change, almost half of his money. I told him that he didn't have to give that much if he didn't want to. He told me, "But I want to. They need it more than I do." I am so proud of his compassion for those children less fortunate.
Friday, November 9, 2007
The Prophet lost his second tooth yesterday. It's been loose for quite some time, however, it wasn't completely ready to come out. He asked at least twice daily if it was ready & finally it was. He had lost his first tooth the same day as his dental appointment back in May & the dentist had given him a little treasure chest to put it in. He used the same one this time & the Tooth Fairy left him a "whole dollar!" He came running into our room this morning, waving it around.
A little while later, The Archangel came up to our bathroom while I was getting ready & said that The Prophet gave him the dollar. When asked about it, The Prophet said that he felt bad for his brother because he hasn't lost any teeth yet. Wasn't that just the sweetest thing?! We've been talking about The Beatitudes in Religion this week & we'd had a big discussion about putting others before ourselves. It really does my heart good to see & hear that he is using his studies in life. I pray that he will continue to grow in his generosity.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I just put the Princess down for her nap a little while ago. When I covered her up, I laid down w/ her for a minute. Here is our conversation:
Me: I'll miss you when I go to work tonight.
The Princess: You go work 'gain.
The Princess: You tan't.
Me: Why not?
The Princess: There bad guys. Be tareful.
Me: Okay, I will.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I usually turn on the news in the morning to check for the weather. I was in the kitchen getting my breakfast ready & The Princess was sitting at the table with hers. She looked up & said, "Weather says be cloudy 'day." A few minutes later, the report came on again. The weather forecaster was talking about the Halloween segment that was on just before she came on. The Princess said, "Weather be 'pooky 'day."
Took the munchkins for their flu shots yesterday. Originally, Casinodad was planning to go w/ us, but he got a later appointment to also check for a sinus infection (which he did not have, by the way!) So, I called my mom to see if she could meet me there for support. I didn't think I could console all three kids while trying to calm myself down, too! See, I've always had this thing about needles. In high school, when I got a booster shot, I made my mom pull over so that I could get sick. I just seem to work myself up over them. Last year, after my flu shot, I had to pull over because I felt dizzy & sweaty. Now, you'd think that since I've been through childbirth three times, I wouldn't mind this little thing, wouldn't you?!? Knowing my fear of needles, when my sister had her first child, she had a picture taken of her arm, focusing on the IV.
The Archangel asked prior to his shot how long it would hurt. I said it would probably sting for about 10 seconds or so. As we were walking out of the doctor's office, he said, in his normally loud voice, "That only hurt for one second, I thought it would hurt for ten!" The nurses were still talking about his comment an hour & a half later when Casinodad went in for his.
On the way home, The Princess said, "Me not know Dr. xx have bandaids!"
And, not to leave out The Prophet on comments - my mom brought along the Halloween bags that she gives the munchkins each year. I told them that she decided to mostly give candy this year because of all the toy recalls. The Prophet, who's been worried about all the recalls, said, "Mommy, I want you to call everyone & tell them I don't want any toys made in China for my birthday or Christmas because of the lead paint."
By the way, I survived the shot this year! My arm is still a little sore, but other than that, no sickness, no weakness, & no dizziness (other than the normal motherhood dizzies :)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
October is Respect Life Month. Check out this beautiful book about a baby & its Guardian Angel. I got the link from one of the mothers in my Catholic homeschool group. It’s a great picture book for adults & children. You can read it online. It only takes about ten minutes (faster if you have better internet service than me!) & is well worth multiple readings! www.angelinthewaters.com/onlinebook/coverpage.htm
I just finished reading “Coffee With Nonna: The Best Stories of My Catholic Grandmother” by Vincent Iezzi. As a young boy during WWII, he spent most of his time with his grandmother while his father was in the war & his mother was working to help the family & soldiers. Many of the important lessons he learned in life were a result of the stories his grandmother would tell him as they sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee. For the most part, the stories were not true, but they provided Vincent with a great faith background & ways to handle the situations he faced at school, in the neighborhood, & at home.
His grandmother was born on October 2, the feast day of the Guardian Angels & she had a great love of angels. One day he asked her if angels talked to babies. The following is her response (from page 139-140 of the book).
“Oh, yes! They talk to babies while the babies are sleeping. You can tell when an angel is talking to a baby because the baby will be smiling. Remember, the souls of babies are just moments away from God, and they are still blessed with the memory of being with Him.
“Angels talk to the babies and tell them about all the good things God created in life. They also tell them of the good things they can do to help others that will make God happy. They tell them how they can help spread God’s Holy Word. And they always remind them of the promises of the good and holy things of heaven.
“Now, when babies cry in their sleep, it means that the angels are telling them they will soon forget having been with God, and soon angels will stop coming and speaking in their dreams. The angels do promise that they will always be with them and will watch over them at all times. They also tell tabbies of the bad and sad things in life that they must grow up with but stay away from.
“When a baby is not crying or not smiling and is just sleeping, his guardian angel is singing a lullaby to him. During these times the baby is calm and at peace, and the baby sleeps and grows strong. Angels are often talking to babies in their sleep, because things are new and still uncomplicated. As we grow, angels still visit us in dreams, but their visits are disguised and confusing, and we may not understand what they are saying. That is because the older we get the more complicated we get and the more confusing we make things.”
I, too, believe that babies can see & talk to angels. I remember numerous times when The Prophet was a baby. He’d be lying in his bassinette staring at one spot on the ceiling with the biggest grin on his face. He would coo & giggle like all babies do. I could actually sense him having a conversation with his guardian angel. Babies’ minds are not crowded like ours with the stress & worries day to day, so their minds are free to accept an angel’s presence.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
About a week & a half ago, we took the munchkins out to play since it was such a beautiful day. I got out the sunscreen & told The Princess that I was going to start w/ her & put some on "All Y'all!" She looked up at me & said, "Me not All Y'all, me (Princess)!" I then asked her who All Y'all was & she said, "The kids." Apparently when we talk about the kids, she doesn't think she is one of them - it's just the boys.
A few nights later, I was taking her up to bed. She walked straight into the boys room & said, "Me kiss the kids."
Sunday, October 7, 2007
My dad called this evening to let us know that the International Space Station would be passing over tonight around 7:30. So, at about 7:25, Casinodad, the Munchkins, & I headed outside to look for it. As we were watching the southwestern part of the sky for it, a bright light suddenly appeared (almost out of nowhere!) & we watched it for about a minute. Because it was moving toward us, it looked like it was moving very slow, almost at a stand-still. Casinodad said that it wasn't what he expected & was about to go inside. All of a sudden, The Princess points over our house & says, "There two stations!" We said no, there was only one, but she kept pointing. I stepped off the porch to look & sure enough, a light was steadily moving over our house, heading northeast.
So, what were we watching for the first minute? you ask! A bright, shining star!! Thank goodness we had a 2 1/2 year old looking out for us or we would have missed it altogether!
Casinodad went out with his friends last night, so after I got the Munchkins in bed, I decided to watch a movie I'd gotten at the library the other day - Sweet November, with Keanu Reeves & Charlize Theron. It came out in 2001 & I couldn't remember if I'd seen it. Turned out I had not. What a beautiful story! Keanu's character is work-driven & who has no time for fun & freedom in his life. Charlize's is the total opposite - she left a huge career & became a free-spirited individual, who takes time to enjoy life. She meets him & says that she can help him. All he has to do is stay at her apartment for one month, not doing any work. The movie really makes you think about your priorities in life. What really matters in the long run?
I've like Keanu Reeves' movies off & on over the years. He's had some good ones, but also some not-so-good. Out of the few romantic movies of his, this is the first where I could actually feel his romantic side. In the others, he was too stiff of an actor & the story actually felt forced (like A Walk in the Clouds).
Sweet November is rated PG-13, so I wouldn't recommend it for kids. There are a couple romantic scenes & some questionable characters, but the overall storyline was beautiful & heartfelt. (P.S. - Make sure you have a tissue or two!)
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
AFI 100 Years, 100 Movies
The movies I have seen are in bold and the ones I really liked are also in italics. Some of these movies listed are beyond me as to why they are in the Top 100. I could definitely think of better ones!
1. Citizen Kane (1941)
2. Casablanca (1942)
3. The Godfather (1972)
4. Gone With The Wind (1939)
5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
6. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
7. The Graduate (1967)
8. On The Waterfront (1954)
9. Schindler's List (1993)
10. Singin' In The Rain (1952)
11. It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
12. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
13. The Bridge On the River Kwai (1957)
14. Some Like It Hot (1959)
15. Star Wars (1977)
16. All About Eve (1950)
17. The African Queen (1951)
18. Psycho (1960)
19. Chinatown (1974)
20. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
21. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
22. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
23. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
24. Raging Bull (1980)
25. E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
26. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
27. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
28. Apocalypse Now (1979)
29. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)
30. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
31. Annie Hall (1977)
32. The Godfather Part II (1974)
33. High Noon (1952)
34. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
35. It Happened One Night (1934)
36. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
37. The Best Years Of Our Lives (1946)
38. Double Indemnity (1944)
39. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
40. North By Northwest (1959)
41. West Side Story (1961)
42. Rear Window (1954)
43. King Kong (1933)
44. The Birth of a Nation (1915)
45. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
46. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
47. Taxi Driver (1976)
48. Jaws (1975)
49. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
50. Butch Cassidy and the Sunshine Kid (1969)
51. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
52. From Here To Eternity (1953)
53. Amadeus (1984)
54. All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)
55. The Sound Of Music (1965)
56. M*A*S*H (1970)
57. The Third Man (1949)
58. Fantasia (1940)
59. Rebel Without A Cause (1955)
60. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
61. Vertigo (1958)
62. Tootsie (1982)
63. Stagecoach (1939)
64. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)
65. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
66. Network (1976)
67. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
68. An American In Paris (1951)
69. Shane (1953)
70. The French Connection (1971)
71. Forrest Gump (1994)
72. Ben-Hur (1959)
73. Wuthering Heights (1939)
74. The Gold Rush (1925)
75. Dances With Wolves (1990)
76. City Lights (1931)
77. American Graffiti (1973)
78. Rocky (1976)
79. The Deer Hunter (1978)
80. The Wild Bunch (1969)
81. Modern Times (1936)
82. Giant (1956)
83. Platoon (1986)
84. Fargo (1996)
85. Duck Soup (1933)
86. Mutiny On The Bounty (1935)
87. Frankenstein (1931)
88. Easy Rider (1969)
90. The Jazz Singer (1927)
91. My Fair Lady (1964)
92. A Place In The Sun (1951)
93. The Apartment (1960)
94. Goodfellas (1994)
95. Pulp Fiction (1994)
96. The Searchers (1956)
97. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
98. Unforgiven (1992)
99. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)
100. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
At about 9 this morning, as The Prophet sat doing his Religion worksheets, I had the urge to go to the zoo. It was simply beautiful outside & I thought it would be the perfect impromptu field trip. We've been studying fish in science, so we decided to start w/ the Coral Reef building. The munchkins got to pet starfish, urchins, crab & snail shells. Then we walked through the rest of the area where there is a huge floor to ceiling aquarium. We got up close to the tank & tried to pick out as many different types of fish that we could find. There were bottlehead sharks, stingrays, & hundreds of fish in different shapes & sizes. The Prophet found it really neat to see their gills & scales up close as they swam near the glass.
Our next stop was the manatees. They only have two now. We were there in the Spring & there were at least three then. From what I gathered, the others had been released back into the ocean. Because manatees have such large lungs, they can hold their breathe under water for quite a long time. We got to see them push off from the bottom of the aquarium & go up to the top for their breath of air. It was so cute to see their little snouts just above the water.
We also went to the reptile building, where the munchkins got to pet a snake - even The Princess wanted to pet it. They had some amphibians in the building too, including a blue poisonous frog. The Prophet enjoyed seeing it since we had studied frogs a few weeks ago. He was fascinated by the Poison Dart Frogs we had read about then.
We took a lunch break & ended up table jumping because the bees were attracted to our PB&J sandwiches. Ever since The Princess got stung last month, she is very tentative around any flying insects. Finally, we decided to just eat as we were walking!
Next stop, Asia - elephants, cranes, red panda, rhinos, & tigers! I got a reallly good picture of the three elephants together (actual elephants, not the munchkins - although I did get some cute pictures of them, too!)
On the way out, I let them look around the gift shop a bit. There are some really neat items there, but very pricey! So, all in all, we had a great trip to the zoo. Another great benefit of homeschooling - we can take off on field trips anytime & not have to worry about permission slips! Besides the great weather, it wasn't crowded at all. There were a few school groups, but even those weren't very big.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
It is gone! We drove past the intersection the other day where that very offensive radio station advertised on a billboard & it has been replaced by a local grocery store ad. Unfortunately, I never did get around to sending my letter of complaint but hopefully someone else had & that is the reason it is gone. Next time, I will be a lot quicker on voicing my opinion!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Took the munchkins on a field trip yesterday to our local art museum. We met my sister & three of her four boys there. All the kids had a great time. There was on exhibit featuring a local artist. In her 3D work, she used buttons, clothespins, patterned ties, & all kinds of other neat stuff. I had the kids look closely to see how many different household items she used. It was really neat.
In the European Art section, The Prophet kept wanting to know what the painting titles were. I had told him to ask at any time if he wanted to know. There was one about Christ's triumph of good over evil. When I told The Prophet the title, he said he thought that was Jesus.
We spent about an hour & a half exploring both floors of the museum. The kids enjoyed the kids section where they could actually touch things. There was a series of stations for children to draw, trace, stamp, etc. I think we spent most of our time there. Once we got to the photography section, I ran through it first to make sure there were no pictures to disturb the kids. It was a series of B&W photos showing life in a poor country & some of the photos would have bothered a couple of the kids. Both my sister & I have at least one child who gets scared / worried easily.
Overall, we had a really nice time & the kids were quite good for their first visit to an art museum. We also found out that teachers get in free. I called the museum later in the day to ask if Homeshcooling mothers counted & was told yes!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
One of our local radio stations (hard rock) has purchased advertising space on a billboard near an intersection I frequently go through. It is a close-up picture of a woman's ample chest & she is wearing an extremely tight white tank top. Their slogan is "Listen to ***FM & Pray for Rain!" Why, I ask, WHY is this allowed to be in a prominent location? I understand that people have a right to advertise, but this is something that I can't shield my children's eyes from when we go by it. We have a choice to listen to the radio stations we want & to avoid the ones that we don't, but I don't have a choice in avoiding this billboard. I am going to write to the radio station & complain, but can one little voice have any effect against the media? Probably not, but it's definitely worth trying.
Well, I guess it has been a while since I've blogged. I have not forgotten you, my dear readers! We've been busy lately with school & work.
School is going much better now. Sure, we still have our bad days, but don't we all? Reading has been going so well & I am very proud of The Prophet. We stopped using The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading for a while. He did great with the first 35 lessons or so, but then got himself so frustrated & worked up. It was such a fight to get him to read. Now, he's picking up so much between his spelling book & the Little Stories for Little Folks from Catholic Heritage Curricula. It is a set of 45 individual readers & he loves them. We usually work on two at a time - one that he knows fairly well & one that he's just learning. Once he does the first one perfectly it's time to move on to the next book.
This week in History, we've been talking about Abraham & his family. The second part of the chapter was the story of Joseph being sold by his brothers & ending up working for the Pharoah. Tomorrow's craft project is to make Joseph's Coat of Many Colors. I bought a men's large button-down shirt at Walmart last week. He's going to paint it w/ fabric paints. He's really looking forward to it.
He's gotten to the second poem for memorization in his language text. Once again, he amazed me & gotten most of it down on the first day after hearing it only 3 times. Why doesn't he remember the things I've asked him to do as well as he memorizes his poems?!?! Hmmmmm!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Well, last week was our first official week - instead of just Science & History, we're doing it all! It did not go as well as I had hoped. The Prophet really enjoyed all of his school subjects except when we got to reading. As soon as I pulled out The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading, he started complaining that he hates reading. This is the same book we used last year & even though he picked up on reading quickly, he still balked then too. I thought this year might be different. After many frustrations on both sides & a stressed out email to my sister, she suggested we put the book aside & just concentrate on reading regular books together. He also likes to do worksheets, so I found some phonics ones on various websites. So, for now, that is what we are doing & things have been a bit more peaceful.
The other tough part of our official week was keeping The Archangel & The Princess occupied while I worked w/ The Prophet. I would give The Archangel some worksheets to do on his own, but the problem is that he seems to need affirmation after each page. I just couldn't get him to realized that I needed to work w/ his brother for a bit. I'm working on putting together a box of toys & activities for them to do just during school time. Hopefully, that will keep them busy, at least for a few minutes!
So that is where we are at the moment. Sorry it's been a while since I've posted. Last week just wasn't a great week. We're off to a good start this week, though.
Friday, August 24, 2007
The other day, I went to get The Princess up from her nap. I layed down in her bed w/ her for a few minutes just to spend a little extra time w/ her. She kept hugging me & saying that she loved me. I told her that I was going to miss her when I went to work that night & she said she wanted to go w/ me. I said she couldn't, then asked her if she knew who was in my heart. I was expecting her to say "me." Well, her response was, "Jesus." I told her that that was right, Jesus was in my heart & that he was also in hers. Then I asked who else was in my heart, thinking she would say that she & her brothers were. Nope, again I was wrong! She said, "Dod." (God) Wow! To know that at 2 1/2!
So far, so good! This is our last day of week three & so far we've managed to stay on track w/ the lessons I've planned. We did have a few days where we got behind, but were able to catch up the next day. Yesterday, we even did a little extra science. We were studying seals & sea lions. The opposite page had information about seahorses & The Prophet said he wanted to read about them, too. So after he did the narration on seals & sea lions (the best so far in stating in his own words what he's learned) we read about the seahorses. For that narration, he wanted to draw a seahorse & did very well. He was meticulous in choosing what color crayons to use.
He has definitely come a long way in coloring. From the beginning, he's never really been interested in coloring. He's a great artist, especially if he's drawing something from Star Wars (go figure!) Whenever he had to color the back of a handwriting page in Kindergarten, he would just scribble though. One day, he really took his time & did a great job. I let him pick a sticker to put on the page. For most of the days after that, he did much better & spent time making it as neat as possible. Now, he puts a lot of thought into the colors he chooses for his pages.
For History, we've been studying Ancient Egypt & he is loving it! One of the women in our homeschool group suggested the Discovery Kids website so I checked it out last night. They have a section where you can type in any word or name & see how it would look in hieroglyphics. There is also a section where you go through the steps of making a mummy to preserve the body before burial. He had a great time w/ both. This is another great thing about homeschooling: you can take time to study subjects of interest further instead of having to move on w/ the rest of the class.
The Archangel has been doing well w/ his schoolwork. I have a great supply of worksheets & preschool books that he loves to work through. Last year, I just pulled out a few at a time for him to do. This year, I put together a week's worth in a folder: several pre-reading/handwriting sheets, science pages, & some math work. He also does some of The Prophet's art projects if I feel it is something he's able to handle. Last week, they made their own cave paintings on paper grocery bags. They crumpled up the bags for the wall texture, spread them out, then used black acrylic paint for the drawings. They added beige & reddish-brown for shading the images. Both of them did a great job!
So far, The Princess has been napping during school time, but that will change on Mon. when we add the rest of our school subjects. I'm going to put together a box for her & The Archangel that includes various things they can play w/ only during school time. He will still do his worksheets, but I won't expect him to work all day long. I will also do a few things w/ The Princess, but hers will not be structured. I'm going to start the day w/ Circle Time, where we will open w/ a daily prayer & devotion, read the Gospel & Saint of the Day, sing a few songs, go over the calendar, & say the Pledge of Allegiance. Hopefully, this will help to get us into the mindset of school for the day.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
...I just thought it would be one of the boys first! We spent about two hours at Children's Urgent Care this evening to get stitches for The Princess. She has a Little Tykes dollhouse in her bedroom that she likes to climb onto. She's always needed someone to get her down, until this evening. She decided to jump off & ended up hitting her head on the bed frame. I was downstairs & when she came to me she was holding her foot, so I thought she'd just twisted it. After about five minutes of crying she started holding the right side of her head. I lifted up her hair & saw a bubble gumball-sized bump with a 1/2 inch cut on it - not a scratch, but not quite a gash. I called my dad & he said it would be a good idea to have her looked at. So, I called Casinodad at work & asked him to meet me.
Once there, instead of using a shot to numb her temple, they squeezed a cold, gel-like substance on & wrapped gauze around her head like a headband. Then we waited for about 20 minutes for it to be numbed & were called back to get three stitches put in. She was very brave for the most part. She sat very still when the nurse took her temperature & blood pressure. She cried when the gel was put on, I think because it was so cold on her cut. Then she cried during the stitches, not because they hurt but because she didn't want to be laying down.
To top all of this off, she's just getting over a stomach virus that left us w/ quite a few not-so-pleasant diapers. Her little bottom is so sore from the rash the virus left for her.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Well, we're off to a good start, I think. We started w/ the family reunion last weekend, incorporating The Prophet's history lesson. He interviewed about twelve family members for his family history book. (I even learned things about family members that I didn't know before.) Once each interview was over, I took a picture of him w/ each person to put in the book. We decided that he will also interview our parish secretary because she is like another grandmother to the munchkins.
The other part of the history lesson was to learn what Archaeology was. He really enjoyed it. In addition to reading the text from Story of the World I, we read some supplemental books from the library. He was fascinated & couldn't stop asking questions. He even said that he thinks he wants to be an Archaeologist when he grows up. I've been telling him about topics & activities coming up in the next couple weeks for history & he's very excited. WOO HOO!
Our science topic this week was Mammals. We read the information on Mammals in The Kingfisher First Animal Encyclopedia & talked about different mammals. On Thursday, we did an experiment on being warm-blooded. We took his temperature inside & outside, then compared them. Other that being a few tenths off, we found that warm-blooded mammals keep the same temperature no matter what the outer temp is.
Tomorrow we add A Reason for Handwriting to our schedule. By Aug. 28, we will be working all day on all the subjects for First Grade.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
I read an article in our local paper this past weekend that made me thankful (again) of our choice to homeschool. The article was talking about the price of supply lists for schools these days. Huntington Bank created, for the second year in a row, a Backpack Index. The Elementary School (Gr. K-4) backpack added up to $102.67. And what does that total consist of besides the regular crayons, glue, pencils, etc.? Well, a $25 backpack, $10.99 for headphones (why?), $2.99 for sanitizing wipes, $3.38 for 2 boxes of tissues, among other things. Some schools are now asking parents to provide teacher supplies like Ziploc bags, Lysol wipes, & liquid hand soap. I'm sorry, but shouldn't that be up to the school district to pay for classroom items? I know my MIL spent a lot of her own money on books & supplies for her classroom. Where does all the money go that schools continue to ask for every election? (But that's another rant in itself...)
I was talking to one of the parents from The Prophet's T-ball team shortly after she had gotten her daughter's supply list for 1st grade. Their school even says that particular brands of crayons (Crayola), pencils, etc. be bought. Why should that matter? What if someone prefers RoseArt crayons over Crayola?
Anyway, this is just another of the many reasons I'm happy with our choice to homeschool. There are many reasons, & perhaps another day I'll elaborate on them, but for now I'm off to relax a bit before bed.
Friday, August 3, 2007
On Aug. 2, I sent in the Homeschool Notification form to the superintendent of the public school The Prophet would have been going to. In our state, we just need to fill out the form of our intent to homeshool & list the textbooks we plan to use. It is in no way a request for permission from the school district, just notification. Now we wait for the letter from the superintendent, letting us know that she received our form. I sent the form by Certified Mail w/ Return Receipt & surprisingly enough, got the receipt in today's mail. (We send our Federal Income Tax the same way, but usually don't receive the receipt until months later - well after we've gotten our refund!)
I've had all our school books since March & am anxious to start. We had planned our first day for yesterday (History & Science because there are more lessons than weeks of the school year & I want to cover as much as possible), but I didn't realize that was the date we'd be coming home from our family reunion out of state. But, since his first history lesson is about family, we're going to tie it into our reunion. I read the textbook portion to him on Saturday. Then, at the reunion, he went around to "interview" family members for his Family History book. We also took his picture w/ each person to put in the book.
Up until a couple weeks ago, The Prophet wasn't looking forward to school. He kept saying it was boring & dumb, no matter how much I told him that there would be a lot of fun things too. Well, we met my supervisor at work one day & she told him that her son just finished first grade & loved it. Since then, he's been very excited.
The Archangel is also looking forward to school. He's in preschool & loves to do worksheets. I have a bunch of activity books I've gotten from stores & teacher friends, so he will have plenty to do. Last year, he'd do 10-15 at a time if I'd let him! He especially likes mazes & connect-the-dots. It's amazing how much he's picked up on just listening to his brother's lessons last year. By Christmas last year, he only knew a couple letters & by the end of the school year he knew them all! Just today, he was playing a number type game. When Casinodad walked in from running a few errands, The Archangel ran up to him & said, "Daddy, six & five make eleven." WOW - to know that at the age of 4! The Princess will also take part in school - working on shapes, colors, counting, & other things.
I have some doubts about my patience levels at times, but I know w/ God beside me, these munchkins will thrive in homeschool.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
How about a MIL who retired from teaching this past Spring & has lots of books, reference materials, etc. to donate to her DIL who is homeschooling!?! Yes, my MIL taught third grade & just retired. I helped her clean out her classroom at the end of the school year & in the process brought home several boxes of picture & chapter books for our home library. These are lots of great books: Tomie dePaola, E.B. White, Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, & Dr. Seuss just to name a few. For Kindergarten last year, I read the first 25 Magic Treehouse books to The Prophet & he loved them. Those were also in the boxes from MIL, as well as a couple of the next books.
This past Sunday, she came over to watch the Munchkins while Casinodad & I went out for our annual anniversary dinner w/ my parents, my sister & her DH. When she arrived, she had six Xerox sized boxes (mostly full) of more books from her basement. Most of these books were nonfiction science & history that will be great supplements to our studies. I felt like a little child at Christmas when I started looking through them. Right now I have the boxes stacked in the dining room until I can sort them out & figure out where to keep them.
Monday, July 23, 2007
I am an avid fan of organizing & cleaning - tips that is! I love to find new ideas & occasionally one or two of those ideas will even be implemented around the house! Here are a couple I've found that really did work:
1) Inside of your microwave dirty? Just place a medium sized mixing bowl of water w/ a cut-up lemon inside & set the microwave for about 3 minutes (enough to boil the water). When done, take a cloth & the inside wipes clean very easily. (FYI: If you don't have a lemon, a few teaspoons of lemon juice concentrate will also work.)
2) Are your glass shower doors filled w/ soap scum? Daily, we use a squeegie (like the kind used to clean the car windshield at the gas stations). Scum still builds up. Take a used dryer sheet & scrub clean. (Works best when the down are still a bit wet.) The dryer sheet not only cleans off the scum, it builds a layer to help keep scum from building up.
3) Hat-Tip to my mom on this one: When wearing slides (the shoes, not the playground equipment!) sometimes your heel can slip. Spray a bit of hairspray on the heel of the slide & it will help keep your foot from slipping.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
As I was lying in bed this morning, wide awake from the storm that hit around 3am, I was reminded of my childhood fear of storms. My fear did not stem from the bright flashes or the loud cracks of thunder that followed. No, my fear came from The Flintstones & other cartoons! I specifically remember an episode where Fred was running & the lightning kept striking his derriere. In my child's mind, I thought that was the lightning's target. So, I tried to keep my bottom from it. I would walk around the house w/ my back against the walls, I would only sit in furniture that was facing the windows, & I would sleep flat on my back.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Just wanted to write a quick note to let you know that I am still here! It's been a crazy, busy week w/ my working, The Prophet's last two T-Ball games, & waiting to hear back from roofers to check on a leak in our upstairs bathroom. (We still have dial-up, so I didn't want to tie up the phone line.)
Prophet Speak: The other day we were talking about angels & he asked if I knew any bad ones. I said that other than the Devil, I didn't know any. He innocently asked, "Mommy, do you think the Devil will ever decide to be good again?" Now, wouldn't that be the ultimate repentance?
Friday, July 6, 2007
On the way to my sister's yesterday afternoon, The Archangel mentioned that I hadn't yelled at them today. I told the boys that I was proud of their behavior throughout the day, but I couldn't help but wonder if someone had gotten in & taken over their bodies.
The Prophet's response, "I think it was God who got in me!"
Thursday, July 5, 2007
“There is no doubt—in the parable or the painting—about the father’s heart. His heart goes out to both of his sons; he loves them both; he hopes to see them together as brothers around the same table; he wants them to experience that, different as they are, they belong to the same household and are children of the same father.” (pg. 105)
Isn’t that just like our Heavenly Father? God loves all of us equally. He knew all about us before we were even born, because He chose each of us. He wants us to love one another, no matter how different we are. We belong to the same Heavenly household; we are brothers & sisters – children of God. Nouwen sums up the entire painting in one sentence: “It is the human expression of divine compassion.” (pg. 92)
For the past year or so, I have been going through a period of spiritual growth. I’m a “Cradle Catholic” & have gone to church all my life. I went through CCD & did everything that was expected of me. Even in college, when many young adults sort of take a break from their faith, I never stopped going. Sure I might have missed a few Masses here & there. Then I got married & had children. I began to realize that children’s questions would be along soon & I wasn’t sure how I would reply, so I started to research. In trying to learn more about my Catholic faith, I realized how much I really do not know.
I had lunch w/ a friend a couple months ago, someone neutral to my situation who could be a sounding board for me. In those three hours, she helped me to understand several things – the first of which was that I wasn’t so much in a slump like I thought, but a growth period. Everyone goes through them at least once in their life and each ones helps you to grow stronger.
Another subject we touched upon was “Making the Choice.” Many of the books I’ve read were written by those who had converted to the Catholic faith. They had made a choice to become Catholic, whereas I had grown up in the church. All my life I’d done what was expected of me & just went with the flow. Now, it is my turn to make the choice. I am amazed at how just three short hours could change my thought process & help me to feel better about myself. While I still have a long way to go in understanding my faith, I don’t feel like a failure.
On pg. 106, Nouwen describes his struggle in life to find God through prayer, readings, & helping others.
“Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not ‘How am I to find God?’ but ‘How am I to let myself be found by him?’ The question is not ‘How am I to know God?’ but ‘How am I to let myself be known by God?’ And, finally, the question is not ‘How am I to love God?’ but ‘How am I to let myself be loved by God?’ God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.”
I, too, have struggled to sense God in my life & am finding that I need to be more open to the little things – that near miss on the freeway, the way the sunset looks, that beautiful double rainbow, the laughter of my children. All are present in my life by the hand of God.
Reading this book has also been a great help in my spiritual growth. Another dear friend had loaned me a grocery bag full of books she thought might help & this was one of them. So, MJ, thanks from the bottom of my heart!
What a busy week it's been! Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! Because of my working & The Princess being scared of the firework noise, we didn't go to any displays this year. Actually, we haven't gone in years. I think the last time was before The Prophet was born. We can see several of the local fireworks from our bedroom windows.
I had my first day of working at Target on Mon. evening & it went very well. I spent the first hour or so running through a training manual on the register, took a break then shadowed another team member at her register. After watching about four transactions I took over for her. She was there to help out if needed. When she left at 9pm, they put me on my own register. It was quite easy & I picked up on everything quickly. Last night I was on sales floor training -- straightening merchandise, moving things that were out of place, etc. Friday night I'll be training in the fitting room & as operator, which will be my official position.
It feels different, being back in the working world after staying home for four years. It's nice to be able to help out w/ some of the bills & to be around other adults. But, it's also very tiring.
We've been eating outside a lot lately. The weather had been great until yesterday's storms, so we had picnics in the backyard. Casinodad (DH as he will be referred to from now on) grilled out some hot dogs & angus burgers for us. Because of the storms yesterday, he grilled inside using the George Foreman grill he'd gotten me for Christmas. Those angus burgers (Kroger's Private Selection brand) were delicious.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
There is a discrepancy between the Parable of the Prodigal Son & Rembrandt’s painting. In the painting, the elder son is present upon the younger son’s return. This seems to be Rembrandt’s holding to the spiritual battle & the choice the elder son has – to choose for or against his father’s love. Rembrandt had chosen to represent the father & younger son in light, while the elder son is shadowed except for his face.
“As I look at the lighted face of the elder son, and then at his darkened hands, I sense not only his captivity, but also the possibility of liberation. This is not a story that separates the two brothers into the good and the evil one. The father only is good. He loves both sons. He runs out to meet both. He wants both to sit at his table and participate in his joy.… [God’s] love does not force itself on the beloved. Although he wants to heal us of all our inner darkness, we are still free to make our own choice to stay in the darkness or to step into the light of God’s love. God is there. God’s light is there. God’s forgiveness is there. God’s boundless love is there. What is so clear is that God is always there, always ready to give and forgive, absolutely independent of our response.” (pg. 78)
Through careful study of the painting & the parable, one realizes that the elder son is holding in a lot of anger, resentment, & jealousy towards his younger brother. He does not trust in his father’s love & therefore does not feel deserving of any gifts. The “…resentment blocks the perception and experience of life as a gift. My resentment tells me that I don’t receive what I deserve. It always manifests itself in envy.” (pg. 85)
Nouwen explains that gratitude, the opposite of resentment, is more than “…a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice.” (pg. 85) Each time we make a choice of gratitude, it becomes easier until one day it’s become habit – a good habit.
Just as Nouwen saw Jesus in the younger son, he also sees him in the elder son.
“Thus Jesus is the elder Son of the Father. He is sent by the Father to reveal God’s unremitting love for all his resentfully children and to offer himself as the way home. Jesus is God’s way of making the impossible possible—of allowing light to conquer darkness. Resentments and complaints, deep as they may seem, can vanish in the face of him in whom the full light of Sonship is visible. As I look again at Rembrandt’s elder son, I realize that the cold light on his face can become deep and warm—transforming him totally—and make him who he truly is: ‘The Beloved Son on whom God’s favor rests.'” (pg. 87-88)
There was so much in Part Two that jumped out at me. It’s really interesting to see how Nouwen relates the parable of the Prodigal Son & Rembrandt’s painting to his own life journey. Next step, Part Three on the Father.
Friday, June 29, 2007
As we come to the end of June, I'm just realizing that 2007 is halfway over. Is it just me or has this year flown by quickly? I look at the munchkins each day & wonder where the time has gone. Oftentimes, they seem to sprout overnight!
June has been a month of anniversaries for our family. Within the span of one week, we celebrated three anniversaries: DH & me on the 20th, my sister & her DH on the 21st & our parents on the 25th. Sister & her DH are currently celebrating their 10th anniversary in the Caribbean. Each year, the six of us go out for dinner at the local Japanese restaurant. Because of all our busy schedules, we won't be going until July this year, but it's definitely worth the wait. I'm looking forward to a glass of plum wine, scallops & their excellent sauces! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Speaking of June anniversaries - many of us have heard why most people marry in June & why brides carry a bouquet. Urban legend has it that in the 1500s, people only bathed once a year in May & were still smelling pretty good in June. The brides carried a bouquet to cover up any beginning "scents." Well, according to www.snopes.com, it is just that - an urban legend. They did have ways of bathing more than once a year, just not a full, relaxing soak in the tub like we can enjoy nowadays. It was too time consuming to fill a tub & keep it heated. Just a little tidbit of info for you!
Posted by Maria at 8:50 AM
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I love to read & always have at least one book going. Occasionally something in a books jumps out at me & I love to share it with others. So, from time to time, I'll post a few snippets I've picked up.
I am currently reading "The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Henri J.M. Nouwen. Many years ago he came across Rembrandt's painting of the Prodigal Son & was captivated. He spent years studying it & this book compiles his thoughts on the Prodigal Son, the Elder Son, & the Father. I've just finished the Part One on the Prodigal Son. Two ideas specifically jumped out at me & I'd like to share them with you.
1) The Prodigal Son's asking for his inheritance is much more than just wanting to go his own way. It is a rejection to his father & family. He requests not only his inheritance, but the right to dispose of his part so that his father cannot live off the proceeds.
"Then in the silence, looking at his Son and all his children, since his Son had become all in all, the Father said th his servants, 'Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet; let us eat and celebrate! Because my childrne who, as you know, were dead have returned to life; they were lost and have been found again! My prodigal Son has brought them all back.' They all began to have a feast dressed in their long robes, washed white in the blood of the Lamb." (pg. 57)
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
One of The Archangel's favorite things about turning four was that he can finally chew gum. One of the things I've been struggling with him on is that he likes to play w/ it - pulling it out of his mouth, stretching it, etc. Today he decided to stretch it all around his neck. Well, in the process, he got a line of it stuck around the back of his neck. Not a pleasant thing to pick off of a child! I picked off as much as I could w/ my fingers. He was screaming all the while. I finally grabbed a bottle of canola oil, poured it on my hands & rubbed it onto his neck. Once his neck was well-oiled, I took a wet wash cloth & got the gum off. Think he learned his lesson? Hmmm! We'll just have to wait & see.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Well, we are quickly finding that The Princess is quite an adventurous sort! In the past several weeks, she has done numerous things to keep us on our toes.
1) I went down to the kitchen one afternoon while the munchkins were watching TV (or so I thought). As I walked by the fridge, I noticed two little feet sticking out from one of the cabinets. Upon opening the door I found The Princess sitting there, her mouth full of gum (five sticks to be exact)! She had climbed up onto the stool to reach an unopened pack of gum, proceeded to open it & all five pieces, stuff them in her mouth, sat in the cabinet, closed the door & chewed away.
2) She's officially out of her crib. I had set her in the crib one day w/ the door open as a sort of time-out because she had hit one of her brothers. After I went back downstairs, her crying seemed to get louder. Hmmm! She had managed to climb out of her crib, by way of the bed next to it. Well, I thought that moving her crib farther from the bed, she wouldn't try it. Boy was I wrong! I caught her a few days later climbing on the side rail of the crib, standing & jumping the foot & a half to the bed. Yep, the crib came down shortly afterwards.
3) At my mom's last week: We were all in the family room & kitchen. After a bit, I realized that The Princess was quiet & went to find her. I walked down the basement steps & there she was, sitting on the floor among about four empty bottles of spices & candy sprinkles, 3 bottles of partially filled spices, & a huge pile of spices & candy sprinkles. "Mommy, me eat!" she says. And sure enough, she was eating the candy sprinkles. I think she'd tried a few peppercorns too.
4) At my sister's a few days later: She came up from their basement showing me that her hands were messy. Yes, she had gotten into her extra shampoo sample bottles, poured them onto the floor & proceeded to play in them. This was after she had gotten into my purse & dumped the entire contents all over my sister's dining room floor.
I could go on & on with these escapades. She's definitely more adventursome than the boys had been. My mom suggested putting bells on her. Then when the bells stop, we go find what she's up to. Yes, a great idea that sounds better each day!
Sunday, June 24, 2007
What a weekend! For the seventh year in a row, our Small Church Community participated in the American Cancer Society's main fundraiser: Relay for Life. It was started by a doctor in Tacoma, Washington in 1985 as a way to raise money for cancer research & awareness programs. Since then it has grown to over 1,000 events across the country. Relay is a unique walk-run event in which teams keep at least one member walking or running the track throughout the overnight event.
Seven years ago, we decided that we wanted to do something to give back to the community. We chose Relay for Life because cancer has affected all of us in one way or another - family, friends, even members of our group. Little did we know when we began, that one of our members would have cancer. He lost his battle a few years ago.
Our team has managed to raise over $25,000 in our seven years. This year has been our largest, currently at just over $4,640 (& we still have donations coming in).
DH & I took the kids yesterday & had a great time. The kids did very well, considering that the event started at Noon & we didn't leave until almost 11pm. The Prophet & Daddy had gone at 8:30am to help set up. We all did a lot of walking & eating. We took plenty of snacks & also bought food there. The kids got to play some of the games that various teams sponsored.
This is a wonderful way to teach the kids about helping others. We've talked about how the money goes to help those who have cancer. The Prophet & I had a great conversation when we were walking the track together. We named those people we are walking for - those who currently have cancer, those in remission, & those we have lost. He & I also talked about other things we, as a family, have done for those less fortunate. At one point he looked at me & said, "Mommy, we've been talking a lot about God." He has such a caring soul at six years old.
Cancer has touched so many lives & there are so many different forms it scares me. I told DH a few weeks ago that I don't fear whether I will get cancer at some point in my life. No, my fear is which type I will get. Pray for those with cancer. Relay's motto: "There's no finish line until we find a cure."
Posted by Maria at 9:08 PM
Friday, June 22, 2007
Welcome to my blog! For those of you who've been waiting - yes, I've finally created one after saying for at least a year that I should do it. As to what I'll have to say, well you'll just have to keep checking back with me to find out! My plan is to share my family escapades, home education stuff, & whatever else happens to come to mind.
We are a family of five: Dad, Mom, two boys, & one girl (The Prophet, The Archangel, & The Princess). For those of you who know us, you know the significance of their nicknames. (For privacy purposes, their real names will not be revealed on this blog.) Dad works full-time for a bank & I have been a stay-at-home mom since The Archangel was born four years ago. That will change though at the beginning of July, I'll be going to work at Target part-time.
We just finished up our first year of homeschooling - Kindergarten for The Prophet & Preschool for The Archangel. Everything seemed to go well for us. We had our ups & downs, but that is to be expected. We are looking forward to the Fall when we start first grade & get more indepth in our studies.
Well, that's it for my brief introduction. Come back to visit! I can't guarantee daily posts, but I'll try for at least a few times a week.
Posted by Maria at 8:55 AM