Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kitchen Explosion!!!

This is to inform those of you who haven't yet learned this by experience...Turn Off Your Stove Burners!!!!!!!

I decided that to be more frugal in this now very expensive world, I would make my own granola bars. I usually buy Kashi bars for me and the kids because they are relatively healthy and an easy snack for all the grab and go occasions.

It turned out to be a not so frugal move on my part.

Oh, the bars looked beautiful when I pulled them out of the oven. However, one mustn't eat granola bars with an extra layer of GLASS! Sigh Yes, I left the burner on after heating the honey, brown sugar and peanut butter. Yes, I set my glass casserole dish on top of the stove to cool. No, it didn't cool, but in fact got very hot. Yes, the whole thing exploded and shattered all over my kitchen. No, no one got hurt in the process (THANK GOODNESS! I seriously would have had to go to the emergency room if anyone had been in the kitchen at the time.) Yes, I just wasted more money than a box of Kashi bars. Yes, the boys thought it was cool. After all, there was a "volcano" in the kitchen. What boy wouldn't find that cool?!?

Yes, I'll try it again after I've had time to recover from the trauma. And buy a new casserole dish. (There goes frugality! I'm heading to Goodwill in the hopes that one will be there.)

Bird Rescue

Those Japanese Beetles are here!!! They're attacking my grape vines and my rose bushes. So I got out my sprayer and hosed the plants down with neem oil in the hopes that it would get rid of them. We'll see.

So after being out in the hot sun today, I needed a big glass of ice water in the shade. As I'm peacefully sitting there, along with my trusty timer to let me know when the tea water will be boiling, I look to the left of our swing and see a little baby bird on the ground just wriggling away. I was horrified because he was a teeny tiny thing. Still all pink. Then I'm even more horrified to realize that there's not just one of them, but THREE!! Someone must have attacked the nest. Grrrrr!!!

About 4 years ago, we found a sole baby bird too young to fly under the trees. The King took one of those tiny plastic tool caddys that they sell for kids, drilled holes in it for drainage, hooked it to a stick with a long shoelace, filled it with pine needles and inserted the stick in the ground. We put the baby bird in that and don't you know that the parents found him and fed him until he was old enough to fly away. Too Cool!!

We still have that stick with the caddy attached, so I put all three baby birds in it. I watched for about 20 minutes but nobody came to the rescue. I thought for sure the birds were goners, maybe the parents were dead. A few hours later, I was eating a snack looking out the window and saw a bird go to our Homemade Nest. I got out my trusty telescope (can't use binoculars because of my vision) and discovered that they are Tufted Titmouse babies!!!! I love the titmice, they flit around so fast like they are ADD or something. LOL

There only seems to be one parent feeding the babies. I'm guessing somebody got eaten and the babies dumped in the process. Hopefully, they'll survive. There is one I'm especially worried about as he was the most listless. Thankfully, I was sitting there and got them when they were still in decent shape. And before the dog ate them. Ewwww! As soon as I picked them up, they opened their little beaks and started squawking for food. You can sometimes see the little heads come up from the top of our Homemade Nest because they are hungry and want something NOW. he he I don't think they're being fed fast enough.

I did what I could. Now it's up to momma (or perhaps Papa- I can't tell the males and females apart)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Goings On For This Week

First I have to tell a funny. Last night, during our family bible study, we were discussing the story of the Israelites worshipping the golden calf. Towards the end, Tigger starts talking about how a king killed some of the Israelites.

Me: You mean Pharoah?

Tigger: Yes, I mean no. Another king.

Me: (in the interest of trying to figure out which king he meant I proceed to ask) When did this happen?

Tigger: Uh, 1845?

ROFLOL. He is such a hoot, sometimes. Later that night, when they were having their before bed snack, I heard something drop but it didn't sound like breakage, so I didn't think anything of it. Next thing I know, Tigger is snuggling up to me and in a very little voice says, "Pooh broke your cup and he's very very sorry." Then I see Pooh standing there with a very sad face. All was well and I reassured them I wasn't upset.

Thankfully, it was an already cracked cup. LOL

For the rest of the week, I'll be squeezing in some school work with getting ready for this year's District Convention. I have clothes to get ready, food to organize and prepare and keep up with the regular routine as much as possible. Pooh also has an early morning dental appt on Thursday. I found a piece of one of his molars missing last week and it wigged me out. Eeewwww! I hate the dentist anyway but am trying to keep a calm demeanor for his sake.

Well, I must go finish cleaning up all the glass in my kitchen. I just about half an hour ago (in the middle of blogging) heard a crash. I had put my glass pan of freshly made granola bars on an evidently still on burner. Result: a glass explosion. It is swept but needs vacuuming. So toodaloo!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

My New Habit

As part of our new schedule, I'm trying a new habit for myself. Early Rising. Anyone who knows me will get a good chuckle over this one. I'm terrible at waking up. I don't hear alarms or the sound gets incorporated so well into my dreams that I end up punching a dresser. :O

My goal is to be getting up at 6:30. Yes, this is early for me. I usually am a 8-8:30 kind of gal, but by then the morning is half over. So The King and I have devised a little schedule of sorts for getting us both up and going in the mornings. His new summer schedule at work is to go in for 10 hours 4 days a week. That means he has to be up at 5:30 (his alarm goes off and no I never hear it). He gets ready and wakes me at 6:30 when he's ready to leave. His waking me is just enough so that when my alarm goes off (NPR), I start hearing it and the news stories wake me up. Buzzers just kill me. I hear them, bang them, then ignore them. It has to be a very loud NPR.

I actually did very well this week. I was up between 6:30 and 7:00 every morning except this one. I think the week caught up with me today and I had an allergy thing start during the night, which always throws my sleep off. So I feel fairly successfull at my new habit. I was even vacuuming before 8am the first two mornings!!!!

Our problem now is getting in bed at a decent hour so that this habit doesn't cause a lack of sleep. Life just seems to make early to bed very difficult. I'll let you know if I can figure something out with that one.

Ahoy Maties!

The boys love anything to do with pirates. They dress up all the time and find all sorts of items to change into pirate-looking costumes. They've been known to walk through Walmart and visit the post office in full gear. When they're dressed up and in a store, I'm the captain and give orders for helping load the ship. ;D I've been known to order them to 'swab the deck' ie mop the floor for all you landlubbers. Pooh's favorite author is Robert Louis Stevenson because as he says: "He loved pirates too!" LOL Earlier in the year they memorized the poem Pirate Story and they love Treasure Island and Kidnapped. They haven't yet heard the story Kidnapped but Pooh watched a version on PBS with The King last year.

This year, in honor of Tigger's potty training, he got to pick the theme for their summer party. Pirates!!!! Of course. he he So, I've already found some of the supplies at the dollar store and will be getting supplies for making a pirate cake (too expensive to buy one and they just don't look as good as some I've seen on line).

Here are a couple of pictures for your enjoyment.

Just for fun I'll give you a couple of photos from last year's summer party with the theme of Space. There was an Earth cake and Alien cupcakes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Best Buddies

Even though they harrass each other, threaten bodily harm and a lack of brotherly feeling at times, they do love each other and these photos are proof that I can show them! ;D

Side Note

Just in case any of you caught that Tigger (who is only 5 years old) is trying to do Pooh's narrations, let me reassure you that I have never either asked him or encouraged him to participate in this stuff. He just doesn't like to be left out of anything. That's another reason I'm trying to get them a little separated, he needs to stay young as long as possible without trying to be in on older brother's EVERYTHING!

Today he was just sitting beside Pooh while Pooh was drawing. I suggested he do his own drawing. "No thanks. I just like to watch Pooh!"


Monday, June 16, 2008


I'm in full scheduling mode. I'd actually like to create something that is workable and not overly ambitious. (Wouldn't we all! LOL) As homeschoolers, we do tend to be overly ambitious and most of us really get into the paperwork of scheduling. Putting it into practice is where I tend to start falling apart.

This year I'm planning on adding in separate times for Tigger to receive readings. I think he needs his own time. One, because he's five and craves the attention. Two, because he is taking over Pooh's narration time. They inevitably argue over who narrates first, how long each one is taking and "he said what I was going to say!". It doesn't exactly promote brotherly affection.

So, I've been pouring over the books I have, Year 0 Ambleside Online suggestions and googling to my little hearts content over how to incorporate their schedules so that we don't have interruptions, both are getting what they need, and I still have a brain when we're done.

I'm hunting down ways to go over character/habit training too. I saw a cool idea (don't know that this will actually get done but it's a good idea!) for a Tree! You could call it a 'value tree' or 'quality tree' or whatever. The basic idea was for a classroom. You have one of those trees on posted on the wall like what public school teachers use for names or whatever, but instead you have leaves for each quality you will discuss. One week per quality. You could conceivably make as many of these leaves as you want and have one separate one for each week of the year. As I said, I like the idea, I just think it might fizzle out as the year goes on. However, we might could just post the qualities somehow. If I presented it as a ship with sails and having good qualities as a sailor, that would go over even better with my boys. LOL

Today we actually tested out a little schedule that I've come up with. I'm going to continue it for a week or so before posting it here. I want to make sure it doesn't fizzle out like so many things. It went really well today. Very short lessons. I knew what was coming next and it didn't take an incredibly long time. It actually went a little quicker than what i had down on paper. Woo Hoo!!!

Our one big problem is getting going in the mornings. We have morning routines posted for the boys. They have breakfast and then are supposed to start on their chores. These aren't complicated by any means, but it seems to take them a long time and I'm constantly having to go behind and keep them moving. I have to make a rule for Pooh that there's no book reading until he's done. He'll just stop for a while and look at a book if I don't keep on top of him. Tigger is known to be found staring at the list for a good length of time without actually moving. When he is moving, it's in the wrong direction. He keeps coming to tell me every little thought that pops into his head.

I'm really open for suggestions on this last part. What's worked for you?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Robins, Chickens and Wrens Oh My!!!

Looking out our kitchen window yesterday at lunch, we noticed a Robin. I casually mentioned that he was picking up bits of straw or dead grass. Then I said, "I wonder what he's doing that for?" (notice the declarative sentence?!?)

Pooh: "I don't know."

Me: "He sure it picking up a lot of it."

Pooh: "Maybe it's for his nest."

Me: "I think you're right!" (said in astonishment as if I had never even thought of it ;D)

So while lunch was cooking, we got out our nature notebooks and drew a picture of a robin, the neighbor's chickens and the wren nesting in our shed. I used my handy-dandy RDI declarative language for the drawing as well. "I wonder what color I should make the robin's beak?" Pooh right away knew it was yellow. I opened my bird book and there it was! I don't know why I was so surprised that he knew the right color. I guess I just never realized the detail he picks up on his own about the animals. He doesn't talk about them much.

Tigger, meanwhile, was busily drawing the nest of the wren and making sure it had the three baby birds in it with their mouths open. Yes, we've already peaked and they are so cute. They just have fuzz right now, no feathers yet.

I followed up today by reading the small paragraph out of (drum roll please) the Handbook of Nature Study! Yeah, I did it!!! LOL It's officially my Green Hour Challenge Number 1. After two months of having the print out and my book by my bed, I got around to doing challenge number 1. Eeeeek! Now, I need to prepare for number 2!

Anyway......the paragraph we read was about the robin's nest. Yes, they use straw and dead grass, but did you know they also use mud? Then, they allow the mud to mold to the mom's body while it's still damp. Cool, huh! We decided we should try to find a robin's nest. No easy feat since we're surrounded by pine trees. Maybe the neighbor will let us peak into her maple to see if there's a nest there.

So, how do you like our Nature Study RDI style? :D It was loosely planned and very fun. I hope we can continue the interest there. Pooh was a little resistant to pulling out the nature notebooks, but when I mentioned drawing the chickens that changed his tune.

So, I guess we're into birds. LOL

Masterly Inactivity

So yesterday I'm weeding the garden and the boys are once again 'wild chicken hunting'. They were gone for longer than I felt comfortable with so I called them back. I talked to them about being gone for too long and that I wouldn't know where they were.

Pooh says, "I have an idea. Why don't I make a map so we can find our way back?"

Me: "How will 'I' know where you are?"

Pooh, "ok, you can take the map" He also got the walkie talkies and decided that when they found the chickens they would call me and I could mark the map with an X for where they were.

I felt like saying, "You mean you want to work on one of Charlotte Mason's List of Attainments for a Child of Six? Sure, honey, you go right ahead!"

Attainment #7--Done!! He He Just kidding! We still could work on this some more, but I just love when they start this stuff on their own!!!

(For those of you unfamiliar with the list of attainments, the list can be found at Ambleside Online on the Year 0 or Kindergarten page. I would copy and paste that section but I think that's off-limits.)

Seed Update

These are the seeds that have already come up this week: Pole beans, chinese long beans, black beans, cukes, zucchini, squash, lettuce (made for heat), corn. That was fast!! Sometimes I start this stuff in cups and it's slow. I'm going to see how this year goes and maybe I'll start sticking more stuff directly in the ground from now on. This year I didn't really have to time to start everything in cups. Also, some of the seeds were a year or two old and I'm amazed at what's coming up.

Just goes to show....