Sunday, December 19, 2010

The New Year

I realized something yesterday.  I'm more excited about the upcoming new year than I am Christmas.  Re Christmas - can we get on with it so I can start plaYing with the new year?  I enjoy Christmas, but I'm excited about the opportunity for a fresh new start, new calendars, and new books to read.

My favorite planning calendar.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crater Lake and Oregon Caves

I wrote this for other homeschoolers to read but thought I should share it here too.  There are so many things about this trip that I want to share (stars reflecting off the surface of Crater Lake, going to sleep to a Grateful Dead cover band, watching my handy hubby change a flat in the middle of nowhere on a gravel forestry road at dusk, camping with cows, etc.).  Maybe later.

Just back from a week of vacation.  No school for a whole week. Wow! But, we certainly weren't idling the day away next to the pool.  Nope. We were learning.  We spent a couple of days at Crater Lake National Park, a day at Oregon Caves National Monument, and a couple of hours at the Klamath County's Main Museum.

Klamath County's Main Museum has an awesome hands-on exhibit for kids - "Forests for Everyone: Klamath's Living Legacy."  The exhibit shows how forests can be shared by sportsmen, preservationists, foresters, and recreation seekers.  There are many displays about the Modoc Indian Wars along with a huge washtub collection.  But, you know what was really amazing?  The actual newspaper pages from the 1940's taped up on the walls of the bathroom stalls.  It made for great reading along with the 1958 Rand McNally poster of the universe.

Crater Lake was beautiful of course.  We learned how the collapse of Mt. Mazama formed the caldera over 7,000 years ago.  There were so many geological features to see and cliffs to pull the 8yo away from.  Aside from the regular view the movie, drive around the rim, and take a hike, we also decided to stay and view a moon rise over the lake.  A natural forest fire provided the smoke necessary to create a deep orange moon as it peeked over the rim of the lake.

Oregon Caves was nothing like I imagined (I guess I was thinking of Mt. Timpanogos).  The drive was steep with hairpin curves for a good 8+ miles.  The guided tour had strict guidelines - no children under 42", no carrying children, no food, no flashlights, no back, breathing, or heart problems.  I knew I was too out of shape for the entire 90 minute tour, so I bailed at the 110 step exit.  But, what I did get to see was fun to share with my family...especially when the lights went out.  Oh, and on my way down the trail I was able to hang out with a group of five deer.

We even had an educational experience at the primitive campsite we stayed at, Huckleberry Mountain Campground (camping with cows was scary and fun all at same time).  While chopping wood for a fire, Dad exposed a fat grub we think may have been a mountain pine beetle larva.
 Later the 12yo showed me the white fat grub and announced that she was going to eat it.  Crunch!  It was just biscuit dough.

Thank you, Ken, for dragging me out of the house.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cheese, Hairy Legs, and Gift Shop Knives

Saturday we drove to Tillamook to tour the cheese factory.  We decided to take in the local air museum also.  8yo began whining before we hit the air museum parking lot, so I volunteered to sit out in the Westfalia with her.  Shortly after settling in, I remembered that I had brought some of her school books with me in hopes of doing a little planning during the drive up to Tillamook.  I retrieved them from my parents SUV giving 8yo quite a shock .  Once she realized that mom wasn't kidding, she sat back in her seat, pulled out her tourist knife from the cheese factory gift shop, and proceeded to trim her leg hairs with the scissors attachment.  The doors were closed to keep the dog inside.  The windows were closed to keep the rain out.  The 8yo was happily trimming her hairy legs.  We were reviewing math and science.  It was all very muggy cozy.  

BTW, my legs received a trim also. ; )

Monday, September 6, 2010


We started school last week.  I was going to wait until after Labor Day but... why not?  We did a light schedule so the younger girls would have time to play with their neighborhood friends.  Here's my take on the first week:

The first day was tough.  It was like trying to ride a bike with a rusty chain.  Lots of exertion without moving very far along. Add in some awful squeaking noises.  12yo - compliance with frustration and tears.  8yo - non-compliance with copious amounts of whining

Day 2 - It was like someone oiled the chain.  Not as much exertion needed.  Moved more easily.

Days 3&4 - Did someone put a new chain on the bicycle overnight?  School went smoothly and ended a couple of hours earlier (for the 12yo).

Day 5 - We're in the groove.

I love the moment.  Ask me tomorrow and I might confess that at times I hate it.  Sometimes I experience both of these feelings all in one day.  Yeah, I'm the Bipolar Homescholar. ; )

This week we'll be adding more subjects and early morning seminary.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Book 31

Suzanne Collins

Third and final book in the Hunger Games trilogy.  Another page turner though not a feel good type of book.  Breaking free doesn't mean a happy ending.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Book 30

The Austere Academy
(A Series of Unfortunate Events #5)
Lemony Snicket

Not quite as funny.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Book 29

The Miserable Mill
(A Series of Unfortunate Events #4)
Lemony Snicket

I keep finding the funniest quotes in these books.  I've tried to share with my family but they don't seem to appreciate it in the same way. ; )

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Book 28

The Wide Window
(A Series of Unfortunate Events #3)
Lemony Snicket

This one made me want to watch Meryl Streep as Aunt Josephine in the movie again. 

Book 27

The Reptile Room
(A Series of Unfortunate Events #2)
Lemony Snicket

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I used to have a rule: No gum.  I softened and the rule became: Gum stays in your mouth or goes in the trashcan.  Today we reviewed the rule after... 
This little devil
+ this little devil
became this mess.
The tools


Book 26

The Bad Beginning
(A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)
Lemony Snicket

Friday, July 30, 2010

Book 25

Neil Gaiman

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book 24

The Doll People
Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin

Sweet book for 8-12yo girls. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book 23

Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book 22

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

So many of the folks over on TWTM homeschool boards have given this book a thumbs up, I had to read it for myself.  I would definitely recommend it. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Book 21

The Last Apprentice:
Clash of the Demons
Joseph Delaney

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Book 20

The Last Apprentice:
Wrath of the Bloodeye
Joseph Delaney

Monday, May 31, 2010

Book 19

The Last Apprentice:
Attack of the Fiend
Joseph Delaney

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Book 18

The Last Apprentice:
Night of the Soul Stealer
by Joseph Delaney

Good but the climax lacked something.  "Oh, that was it?  Did I miss something?  Let me back up and reread the paragraph.  Nope, didn't miss anything."  Just a little flat after all the build up.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I've decided...

I've decided to join the Catholic church.  I believe it is the one and only true church, and I believe that everyone should join the Catholic church.  I'm especially worried about my grandchildren.  I know this is the church they should be members of but their parents are Mormon and don't agree with me.

I feel really strongly about this, so I've come up with a plan to convert my grandchildren to Catholicism.  When their parents aren't in the room I'm going to tell them about how wonderful the Catholic church is.   I'll compare it to their parents' church and show them how much wiser it would be to attend a Catholic church.   I also plan to take them to church with me so that they can see first hand how much more fun it would be to attend church with the Catholics rather than with the Mormons.  I know their parents won't be happy about this, but I know being Catholic is the right choice for everyone.  I'm sorry that I have to undermine my daughter and son-in-law's parental authority, but they just don't understand how their choice to raise their children in the Mormon church is going to screw up the kids' lives.

No, I'm not going to join the Catholic church.

Go back and insert "public school" for Catholic church and "homeschool" for Mormon church.  See where I'm coming from? 
  1. Thank you to those of you who may not agree with homeshcool but are still supportive.
  2. If you do have a beef with homeschool, talk to me not my kids. Privately would be nice.
  3. I believe homeschool is a choice.  I do not believe it is better than public or private school.
  4. I will not try to talk your kids into choosing homeschool.  I trust your parental right to inspiration.  You know what school choice is right for each of your children.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Book 17

The Last Apprentice:
Curse of the Bane
Joseph Delaney

Okay, now I know why these are in the young adult(YA) section and not in Juvenile.  This one got a little more gruesome.  Still enjoyed reading it but thinking that maybe I shouldn't read these before bedtime.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book 16

The Last Apprentice:
Revenge of the Witch
Joseph Delaney

Young adult fiction.  Yes, this does have witches in it. If that isn't your thing, skip it.  It was a quick (one day) read, and I already have the second book in the series on hold at the library.  I enjoyed it though I do think it would have scared my younger kids. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Book 15

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
Rhoda Janzen

I was drawn to this book because we use textbooks from a Mennonite publisher.  The title piqued my interest which led to watching an interview with the author. 

There were times I laughed.  There were times when I couldn't figure out what she was getting at. 

I would rate this book a PG-13.  The language that the husband used and some of the situations were a bit out of my comfort zone. 

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Where have I been?  I love this song. Lyrics

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Woman in White

 The Woman in White
Wilkie Collins
I am surprised by how much I'm enjoying this book.  It was published in 1860, but I'm finding it to be an easy, fun mystery.

Edited to add (May 9th):  I LOVED reading this book.  It has been my favorite read so far this year.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Music and Books

The kids have taken to Peter Fox.  Since I don't know German, I hope the lyrics are tame.  His music is fun to listen to.
Peter Fox

In the past month I've read six books which is a lot for me.  Still reading Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison to the girls.
Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison, City of Ember, Starship Troopers, The Last of the Mohicans, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and The Wizard of Oz

Thursday, March 18, 2010


DD8 was baptized this past Saturday.  Such a big milestone...and our last one.  Grandma O. did a great job of telling about it.
 Thanks to everyone who shared the day with us.  DD  was having a hard time dealing with her emotions and was very glum until she saw Curtis in the church gym.  Her mood immediately lightened when she saw him.  Curtis, thank you for helping Ann Marie be happy on her special day.

I am now forty-sick.  I mean forty-six. ;)  I received my birthday present a week early.  New windows!  And, DH painted the windowsills to match. .

What keeps my mind off of sitting in a freezing cold van in the morning?  Time passes much more quickly when you have a great read!  George made it through the American Revolution one more time.   Good job George!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gotta Love the Friends of the Library Sale

The Young Nation: America 1787-1861
10 Volumes

 The library's loss is our gain...$25 vs. $379.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pets - the things you don't know.

Apparently we have pet fleas and didn't even know it.  Lots of them.  Okay, I really did know about the fleas, I just didn't know the "lots" part.
Yesterday I finally felt guilty about my cat pulling his hair out (allergic to flea bites) and my dog panting from her desperate attempts to find the fleas above her tail.  The dog was stinky, had a red rash, and had chewed the hair off the top of her tail.  I applied flea insecticide to both animals.  The cat's worked, the dog's didn't.  While the 11yo read her Latin lesson to me this morning, I picked fleas off the dog.  The infestation was worse than I had imagined. Guilt, guilt, guilt!

My guilt bought the dog a trip to the groomer.  I know, it's cheaper to wash the dog at home, but there are some things I'm not willing to do.  One thing people don't tell you when trying to share their cute little puppies with you is that dogs occasionally need help emptying their anal glands.  That my friends, is one of the perks of taking your dog to the groomer.  You do not have to know about or have to deal with anal glands.

Thirty-six dollars and two hours later, I picked up my dog minus the musky odor.   But  that isn't the worst part.  Nope, thirty-six dollars isn't so bad.  What really hurts is the flea control.  Three tiny vials of insecticide is going to cost you $60.  Yep, twenty dollars a month.  Ouch!  Our total is now slightly over $100.

And there's more.  Did I tell you that while the dog was in town being groomed that the cat attempted to puke on MY side of the bed?

Pets, companionship, man's best friend, fleas, worms, cleaning up warm cat puke....hmmm....I don't know.  What were we thinking? 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Am I a Plant?

I noticed a pattern a few years ago.  I always have a crash in February.  I mean CRASH. Some of the worst depression I have ever experienced has happened in February.  Big, bad, scary!

Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy?  Honestly, I've wondered that myself.  Every year I convince myself that it is just a coincidence.  Besides, who can be depressed in Oregon during February?  This is one of the sunniest winter months.   In fact, last year when I made it to the end of the month and nothing had happened, I was sure that somehow I had made up this whole thing.  And then, BAM, I felt like a zombie.  I had to think about getting up off the couch.  I had to force myself to move.  I had to think about each step forward.

I joked with my sister that maybe I had some plant gene in body and that my body was reacting to the coming of spring.  I know what you're thinking - completely fruity and off the wall.  

Fast forward to this year.  For a week the frogs have been serenading us at night and now I see that the tulips are already 4-5 inches tall.  And me?  Yesterday I was so agitated that my skin felt charged.  I had this feeling that if the 7yo touched me I might literally explode (her incessant chattering was having the same effect). Before the evening was over I had experienced an "ugly cry."  

This morning when I let the dog outside, I saw the tulips and thought, "Yep, I'm a plant." 

Monday, February 8, 2010

52 Books - Week Six

1-2-3 Magic
Thomas W. Phelan

I'm still in the process of reading this book.  I'm hoping that putting it on my blog will motivate me to finish it this week ;)