Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I have lived in California all my life but in the bay area for only about 7 years. Last night was the first earthquake that I have ever really felt. There I was folding clothes like I do almost every night and suddenly I felt like I was on a cruise ship again. I felt the ripple roll under my feet and I watched the pictures and books sway on the bookshelf in front of me. Nothing actually toppled over or fell off just shook a little. The kids didn't even react which is kinda funny. They thought it was interesting that Mom and Dad got excited about it. When we told them to all come and stand in the doorway they thought it was exciting. They loved it that within a few min we could look up on the internet where the quake started and how strong it was. After a short lesson on why earthquakes happen we brushed teeth, said prayers and went to bed, grateful to be safe and happy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Top 10 Tuesday - Halloween Candy

Wow are we enjoying all the lovely candy we have collected at all the different parties. Some people say to let your kids have as much as they want and make themselves sick and then it is done. This is what I remember doing as a kid. My parents wouldn't collect the candy, they let us have it and choose how we wished to eat it. I remember trying to just eat a little and save it for a long time but it never worked. It was always gone within a few days.
At the moment I collect all the candy and we have a piece or two after lunch and then after dinner. I don't know if this is the best approach because my kids now have a constant sugar high. I am thinking I may just let them gorge on the candy one day and have it done and out of the house. Either that or just throw some of it away. The ones we don't really like.

Here is a list of the candies we always love to find in our Halloween bucket at the end of the night.
    1. M&Ms - In all their different varieties
    2. Twix - I always get twix bars to hand out. The parents like this one the best I think. At the Trunk or Treat on Saturday we had a number of adults visit our Trunk because they wanted a twix bar.
    3. Kit Kat - My kids feel like they won the jackpot because there are two bars inside.
    4. Peanut butter cups - I don't really care for the caramel ones. Just the original, plain old peanut butter cup is the best.
    5. Tootsie pops - My kids love these. They don't like the blow pops. I personally don't care for them but they are Sophie's favorite.
    6. 100 Grand - I love this candy bar and the Halloween size is just the perfect size. It is kinda rare too which makes it all the more exciting when you get one.
    7. Hershey bars - My kids love the plain old chocolate bars the best. They don't care for all the peanuts and caramel.
    8. Dots - My kids always go for the candy in the boxes first. And dots for some reason are the first to go.
    9. Tootsie rolls - My kids love tootsie rolls especially the flavored ones.
    10. Smarties - easy and clean. My kids love these.

These are the 10 that I could think of off the top of my head. I am sure if I went through the candy stash I may change my answers. I personally have a hard time passing up chocolate so I will be happy when we are just down to the non chocolate candies.

Monday, October 29, 2007

As You Like it

We watched Kenneth Branagh's latest Shakespere adaptation last night. I am still trying to figure out what I really think of As You Like It. I did enjoy it. As with all Kenneth Branagh productions it was very well filmed and very beautiful. I loved seeing so many british actors in it that I recognized from other places. (I do watch a lot of BBC t.v and Movies) It was interesting to have the story take place it in old Japan. The ninjas, rock gardens and Sumo wrestling were a bit strange when you think the story is Shakepeare, but I guess it shows that the stories are timeless and could take place anywhere.
I haven't ever read this Shakespeare play but I think I will have to. I guess that is as good a recommendation and you can get. If the movie makes you want to read the book it must have been good.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Busy Saturday

Ian had another soccer game Saturday morning. I am staring to understand how hard it is to have kids in sports. Having a game every Saturday is wearing on us. I don't know how people do it when they have multiple children all doing different sports. They must stay all day at the field. But Ian is having a good time. There was no trouble today getting him to go out there and play. He actually was a bit too aggressive and pushed one boy down while trying to kick the ball away from him.
Sophie was very excited to finally get to carve our pumpkin. It has been sitting on our porch since we went to the pumpkin patch 2 weeks ago and Sophie has been begging to carve it. So finally today with Dad's help they carved the pumpkin.
We also went to two Halloween parties on Saturday night. The first was our ward "Trunk or Treat" where the kids played carnival games and then go trick or treating to different cars. My kids came home with more candy than I care to think about.
Here is Ian, who really really wanted to be a cowboy for Halloween (Henry is the cute little butterfly. He didn't want to wear the kangaroo costume that Ian wore last year) lucky for us the dress up box had most of what we needed and a cousin gave us some cowboy boots. When Ian came home he couldn't get one of the boots off. It was stuck on his foot. After I yanked it off I figured out that that Tootsie Roll somehow made its way into the boot and got smashed into his sock which stuck fast to the boot. Ian had a good laugh at this. He kept saying "There's a tootsie in my boot". It wasn't a great laugh for me since I had to figure out how to get that tootsie out of the boot.
Take a look at this great costume. This little guy wanted to be a John Deer Tractor so his very creative Mom made this great costume.
I just don't have the energy to time to be this creative. But WOW! He will remember that forever!
The evening party was for the parents so not nearly as fun and exciting for the kids but nice for the grown-ups.
Sunday has actually not been too bad despite the late night and too much sugar. But I am happy that they are in bed now and I can finally relax.

Friday, October 26, 2007

This has been a long week

I know we did more then I think we did so let me review the week and see what we accomplished.

Monday - We watched the movie of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. We had listened to the soundtrack a few times so it was fun for Sophie to see the songs performed. (I did skip the Potiphars wife part). She was signing the songs the rest of the day. We did do our devotional which is always a good thing. Sophie choose to start with science so we read a few books about muscles.We attempted Math but it was our undoing. We ended up at the park for the afternoon. The crazyness continued when we got home. Henry went out into the yard and found a mud puddle. He of course had a great time. And the others had to join him. This ment that I had a whole lot of clean up after the fun. I had to scrub the kids, mop the floor and wash a bunch of muddy clothes.

Tuesday - We started with a Devotional. Math went a little easier today but Sophie fights it. A little everyday will be good for her. We read though our Kids Discover magazine about Muscles. We had looked at it when it came a few months ago but got more out of it this time around. She read a book to me.

Wednesday - Sophie had her hearing test in the morning and then our park day group met so the kids had the morning off. We did go home afterward and Sophie did read to me a book, colored a picture for me and copied a Holloween poem. We watched an epidsode of Bill Nye the Science Guy about Archeology. Sophie has been picking out Bill Nye DVD's when we go to the library. They aren't my favorite and she even has said they are "too jumpy". But she likes them and this one applied to our studies so that was good.

Thurday - Devotional to start as usual. We went to the library for story time as usual. We listened to the next chapter of Story of the world about the Code of Hammurabi. Sophie did great explaining to me, and Grandpa again later, about what that chapter was all about. She loved the fact that she recognised Hammurabi from playing Civilization with her Dad. She already knew he was the Babylonian leader. We worked through another section in the Math workbook. I made her an abacus to use but she prefered her fingers to do the addition. She really fights learning Math. I try to teach her tricks or different ways to think about adding numbers and she just doesn't get it. Sometime it will click for her. I don't want to move on to Subtraction until she is able to do more simple addition in her head. I really like the way Singapore tries to teach different ways to think about adding. I just wish Sophie would be more teachable. We listened to Scott Joplin in the car today as we drove around. Sophie is tired of listening to him I think. She complained about it for the first time. I guess it is a good thing to be switching to another composer in a few days. We also broke out the blocks and legos and built step pyramids.

Friday - Sophie decided she didn't want school today but I wouldn't let her get away with that so while we did a little craft project she told me all about muscles. She could tell me all 3 types of muscles and what we need to do to keep our muscles strong.and about Hammurabi again. I had her read The Rules to me and then we discussed what she could remember about Hammurabi's rules and what our house rules were. So a good review. We also read through a few of the books recommended in the Story of the World activity book for the last few chapters. They finally came in at the library.
Abu Ali : three tales of the Middle East - Sophie really thought this was funny
Zekmet, the stone carver : a tale of ancient Egypt - This had all the kid's attentions. They loved the pictures and story. Then the kids spent a good amount of time playing trains today. I helped build a super track which always gets them excited.
They also went out and had a great time in the mud again. The washer is currently trying to scrub all that mud out of their clothes.

There was also a lot of informal schooling going on all week. Cooking, chores and some Halloween arts and crafts. We were busy! It actually looks like an O.K. week. We did get a lot in.

The Halloween festivities begin tonight. There is a a party tonight and then another 2 tomorrow night. We are going to be overloaded with candy very soon! No wonder it is my kids favorite holiday!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Do you ever get the feeling that you are just juggling too many balls? Trying to keep them all up in the air. I am feeling this way of late. I think I just have said "yes" too many times and now have too many things on my plate. My husband told me that I need to start saying "no" more often. I tend to think I can do it all. I usually can, sort of, but as he explained to me as we discussed this last night, I use up a lot of energy getting the jobs done.

I tend to be a perfectionist. My mom told me that when I was small I didn't talk for a long time. I was 3 yrs old and didn't do much more then point and grunt. But then one day I just started talking in complete sentences. (Ian did this too!) My husband said that is how I face challenges. I tend to think and plan behind the scenes and then come up with a perfect product. I just don't like to do something unless I know I am doing it well. But as a result I am tired. Not sleepy tired just drained. This is what I am feeling at the moment.

Maybe I am feeling this way because it's coming to the end of the month and holidays are on their way which adds more balls to juggle. For what ever reason... I went to bed and couldn't turn my brain off. I just kept mulling over the things I had to do the next day (today now) and get done before the end of the week. You would think a stay at home mom wouldn't have that much to worry about. But a mom who has 3 small energetic children, runs a household on one income, tries to homeschool, has a number of church callings (I just got a new one last week!) as well as all the other day to day things that turn up, is bound to feel a little tired and in over their heads at times. Or maybe it is just because today happens to be my birthday.

Another year older! That will make anyone feel tired.... Right?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Another Hearing Test

Sophie had ear tubes but back into her ears in August because of a hearing test that she took in July. They found that she was having a bit of trouble with one of her ears. There was fluid in there that was causing her to not hear as well. Tubes were supposed to solve the problem and today we finally got back to the ENT to have another hearing test to make sure the tubes were doing their job and that that was the problem with her hearing. Sophie went in and didn't have a problem at all with the tests unlike last time. She put the equipment on without complaining and followed directions perfectly. And Hurray! Her hearing is back in the normal range. The tubes are helping. That is nice to know. And I am so glad that Sophie cooperated this time. But of course as a result we didn't do our normal morning school routine. We will try to fit in a little work this afternoon hopefully.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Top Ten Tuesday -What's in Ian's Pockets

Ian is almost 4 years old and suddenly he seems like such a little boy rather than my little toddler. I have recently started looking for clothes for him in the little boy sections rather than then baby and toddler sections. But one of the most profound boyish things I have noticed of late is that Ian loves to have things in his pockets. All those books that describe a mom emptying out the pockets of her boys before doing the laundry are true! Boys love to fill their pockets with all the necessary things of life. Here are some of Ian's favorite things to carry around with him in his pockets.

1. Bob the Builder - Ian is a big fan of Bob the Builder and almost always has one of his little figures in his pocket. Bob goes everywhere with him

2. Little People guys - Bob needs friends I guess because Ian usually has one of the little people mechanics with him as well.

3. Rubber Bands or pony tails - Rubber bands are almost always wrapped around this little guys. I don't know exactly why the rubber bands are necessary but I guess it is easier to attach string to them then.

4. String - I find myself being asked to untie knots and then retie knots in string all day long. Ian loves to have his Bob the builder trucks drag each other or blocks or even people around and string is necessary for this.

5. Tools - Ian has a number of plastic play tools. He often has these stashed in his pockets. He has a little wrench that often travels with him. He used to have a little pocket knife that made it here from Grandma's house but I haven't seen it in awhile. Dad can't seem to find the tape measure from his tool kit. I am sure it ended up in Ian's pocket and then left somewhere where we haven't found it yet.

6. Green bendable ties that you can get in the produce section of the store. - Every time we go to the grocery store Ian picks up a new supply of these twist ties. I don't know what exactly he does with these but he loves to fill his pockets with them. I find them all over the car and the house.

7. Little dinosaurs - He recently found these little dinos at the bottom of my diaper bag and they have quickly been added to his stash. He loves to use the strings and then swing them around.

8. Popcicle sticks or blocks - Ian needs something to haul around with the Bob trucks or something to tie the strings to so he has raided my supply closet recently and took a few popcicle sticks.

9. Barrettes - Sophie's drawer of hair supplies is dwindling fast. Almost all her ponytail holders and barrettes have been taken to either adorn her animals with or to be used on Ian's strings.

10.Yo Yo - Ian has been begging and begging for a Yo Yo for weeks now. At the dollar store last week we found one that he now keeps a tight hold of. He loves it and carries is around with him. He is actually trying to use it as a yo yo at times but mostly it is another string to tie up other toys with. It ended up with us a church on Sunday and that along with one plastic dinosaur kept him quiet though the meeting. Not the most reverent but he was quiet and not fighting with Henry. He really wanted it to go to Nursery with him but I had to put my food down and say no because I didn't want it to get mixed up with their toys. But when I went in later to pick him up evidently he had a few other items in his pockets including a piece of string and a few hair ties.

I think Ian needs a few pairs of Cargo pants to hold all these toys in!

Monday, October 22, 2007

One of those days.

This afternoon, after trying (roll eyes here) to do some school this morning I decided we needed to get out and enjoy the sunny warm weather and some fresh air. We drove over to one of our favorite parks and ran around for a bit. While the kids ran around I sat under a tree and just watched the birds skitter about the trees. Then I saw a squirrel up in the tree and pointed it out to the boys. They too sat down with me and we just watched this little gray squirrel balance on a tiny branch and reach out for some little branches. It was intent on eating what ever it found there and we just enjoyed watching it. I was surprised at how long the boys sat and watched it. Ian even pointed out that it uses its tail to balance itself. I guess we have read a few books about squirrels so he know that information and when he saw it in real life he recognized what he was seeing.

We had a pleasant visit to the park and I think the kids got some wiggles out. Hopefully schoolish type things will happen tomorrow. At least we got in scriptures, sort of, and Sophie did read me Nate the Great and the Haloween Hunt before things got too out of control this morning. I was actually really surprised that Ian was able to tell me the story of Jospeh so well. I guess he does pay attention when we are reading books.

Now I need to take the boys and bake some cookies. I promised them they could help me make something. So I am off to the kitchen to throw together some Chocolate Chip cookies. Just what we all need some sugar and CHOCOLATE! YUM!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

End of another week

I can't say it was a particularly eventful week. We just seemed to do the usual.

I think we mostly read books.
We read all sorts of books for history. Our Story of the world chapter this week was about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph so we read tons of story books about these men and their families. Sophie really enjoyed doing the word search from the SoW activity book.

We also read a bunch of books about the skeleton. Sophie really liked learning about the skeleton this week. I often found her curled up in the chair with a skeleton book. She is now full of information about the skeleton that she likes to share with the rest of us. The kids all loved it when I gave them white crayons and black paper so they could draw skeletons. Ian was especially proud of his and couldn't wait to show it to Dad when he got home that night.
She also got excited when she saw that I had brought home all sorts of books about muscles for next week. So it should be another fun week.

We slacked on Language lessons this week. We didn't even do one new lesson, but we still found proper nouns in the books we read. So I guess we reviewed this week. I need to do better next week.

We did listen to a little Scott Joplin music as we played and cleaned house. We also watched a movie about Scott Joplin. It was good to actually see someone playing the famous ragtime music on the piano.

We also actually did a little art study of Michelangelo. Read about him and did our art project which I discussed in my previous post. That was fun. Sophie does glance through the Michelangelo books. She may be a little too intrigued by the naked statues but I am not going to make a big deal about that one and draw her attention to it even more by saying something. I usually just try to point out other things about the statues and move the focus elsewhere.

We picked up a new Singing time video at the library and the kids really enjoyed this one. Zoo Train was a big hit with my kids. They loved acting out all the animal signs. I am always thrilled that they love signing so much. Henry uses his signs all the time. Ian doesn't sign much even while watching the videos but he knows them when I "quiz" him on them as we read books or the words come up during the day.

One lesson that I we did and ended up being a total failure was a lesson on how to tie a bow. Sophie got a pair of shoes that require laces so I thought it was high time she learned this vital skill. I broke out some large strings for us to practice with and tried to teach her how to tie a bow on one of stuffed animals. She had a total meltdown. She just started screaming and screaming about how she couldn't do it and that it was just too hard. I finally had to put her in her room to calm down her tantrum had got me all worked up so that was end of lesson. We tried again on another day to the same end. So now my 6 yr old still can't tie her shoe laces and hates to even look or think about learning this skill. Any help here would be very nice!

Oh... I almost forgot about Math. We are still working through Singapore Math. We only did one lesson in the workbook because I can tell Sophie really needed to do something else. She really isn't a workbook type girl. So we played games like pyramid 10 (Thanks Lee) and Sum Swamp. It was good for her to just play games this week. Hopefully we can progress through the Singapore lessons in the future. I just know we will be playing a lot of games along with our math lessons.

Sophie still reads a book, draws me a picture and does some kind of copy work each day. The boys play and play and then read and read with me and then play some more. They love it when we take our park trips or play outside which we have done quite a bit recently due to the nice weather.

I miss rowing books.... I think I am going to have to schedule them in. I think the boys would get a lot of that and Sophie wouldn't mind a review of some of the books we really enjoyed. And there are still several that we haven't done.

That is my review of our week.... It is good to know that we actually did a lot. It didn't feel like we did much this week but once I wrote it all down. We actually did a lot.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Artist Study

Here it is the middle of the month and we finally got around to doing our artist study. We are supposed to spend October studying the works of Michelangelo. This week we finally broke out the books I got from the library about him. I can't say Sophie was all that excited about these books. She did enjoy looking at all the pictures of his statues and painting and even some architecture. She loved it when I showed her my scrapbook from when I went to Italy and saw the David. I never made it to Rome so didn't get to see the Sistine Chapel. But this was her favorite thing to look at. She loved it that so many of the pictures were bible stories. She could even tell me what they were depicting without me prompting her.

So as a follow up to our look at the Sistine Chapel on day. I thought it would be fun for her to see what it is like to paint on the ceiling. No I didn't break out scafolding and have her paint the ceilings. I just put some butcher paper on the underside of the kitchen table and let her paint.

Sophie kept saying how difficult it was. She said the paint kept dripping and that her hair kept getting in the paint. I explained that Michelangelo had similar problems when he painted the Sistine Chapel. Maybe we need to watch "The Agony and the Ecstasy". I haven't seen that film in years. I am sure my kids wouldn't sit through the whole film but parts of it would be interesting.

Henry of course had to join in. He could tell this was fun so grabbed a brush and quickly started painting. Ian was good and just watched. Sophie and Henry both needed a bath afterward because of the paint in their hair. But I made sure to use washable paint so it came right off the table, floor and clothes.

The finished product looks a lot more Jackson Pollock then it does Michelangelo but I guess it was a fun activity and with Sophie there always needs to be a project.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Responding to comments.

I am really new to blogging. I have been doing this for what 4 months now. Gee... that sounds like a long time but I still don't feel like I know what I am doing and I am learning new things all the time. But I have a question for anyone who also uses Blogger.

I love to receive comments. It is always fun to see what other people have to say about what ever I posted about. Plus it just makes me feel like I am actually talking to someone other than myself. I have actually received a few questions via comments and feel bad that I don't know how to reply except to comment again on the post.

I get an email in my gmail inbox that tells me that someone commented and what the comment says but the email is always sent from a noreply@blogger address. So I can't reply directly to the person who commented. Do I have some setting that is making it do this? and if so how do I change this. Or is there some other way to respond without having to just comment again on my post. I would like to make sure the person who commented knows that did read what they took the time to write. I would like to be able to actually respond to questions and such but am just clueless... not rude.

Can anyone help?

One of the questions that I never answered:

Lee asked how I prepare my salmon that I splurge on.

There are a few ways I cook salmon.
Often I just make it baked with lemon juice and lemon pepper on it.

I also sometimes bake it in teriyaki sauce.
It is a different flavor than I usually expect for salmon but it is fun to have variety.

But my family loves it when I make it fried with stewed tomatoes.
I can't find the original recipe anymore and I couldn't find a picture on the web that even closely resembled this recipe. I will just try to explain how it is made. I don't know all the cooking terms. I am not an expert.
I just use the frozen Costco Salmon that has each piece individually wrapped. Roll the thawed salmon in a bit of flour until it is coated. Then put the pieces in a medium hot skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the salmon a few min on each side until it is golden brown. Or until you know it is cooked through. Remove the salmon and place it on a plate. Then open a can of stewed tomatoes and pour that in the hot skillet. Chop up a clove or two of fresh garlic and let that simmer a little while.Lightly salt and pepper the salmon on the plate. Then add a dash of basil to the tomatoes in the pan. Fresh if you have it but I often just use dried. Put Salmon back into the tomato mixture and let it sit for a min.

I usually serve this over a little pasta. The whole thing takes no longer then 20 min. It is seriously great! I wish I could find the actual recipe. I got it from a Real Simple magazine a few years ago. It also had a few variations on the page that we have tried but we love the original recipe the best.

I hope that makes a little sense.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Top 10 Tuesday - things I should be doing

I really shouldn't be sitting here at the computer. I have a bunch of other things to get done but yet I am here.
Here are 10 things that I am avoiding at the moment

1. Laundry - I think I started some this morning and now it is ready to be folded and put away. I think it can wait until tomorrow. There will be more to do and then I can just fold it all at once.

2. Make Corn Bread - I am supposed to bring a pan of Corn Bread to Enrichment Meeting tonight. I really can't put this one off to much longer or else I will have to skip my cycling class.

3. Clean up the front room - We have had books and more books piled on the side table by the "story telling chair". They all could be put back on the shelf. But we just get them out again so I guess I could just leave them there.

4. Make my Bed - Somehow that never got done today. My husband usually makes it but I was still in it this morning when he left for work so It still sits unmade.

5. Read my book - I am reading " The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" at the moment. I am about 1/3 of the way through the book and really like it but it just isn't a book I can pick up and read a bit and be interrupted and then come back to so it is taking me a long time to get through. Non fiction is a bit harder for me to stay focused on.

6. Interact with my children - Sophie is playing on her computer at the moment and Ian is watching her. Henry is actually napping which hasn't happened in a bit so it is very quiet.

7. Put swimming suits up to dry - We went to the YMCA today and went swimming and I still have to hang up all our suits to dry. I really should do this soon or else mine wont be dry in time for me to wear it again tomorrow for my aqua aerobics class.

8. Get the mail - I haven't done this yet today. Maybe I will send Ian out to get it.

9. Clutter - We tend to get cluttered and I tend to ignore it until we are expecting guests but I really should put a stop to it soon

10. Read through this new CM carnival
I actually have already read through some of it but suddenly remembered it was Tuesday and needed to write a top 10 list. Now I am feeling like I really should get off the computer and get going on some of these other things that I need to get done.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Inspire not Require

One of the principles of a Thomas Jefferson Education is "Inspire not require". This has always been something I have struggled with. It is so much easier to just require. And I do a lot more require then I should. Here is one way in which I am trying to inspire while learning a great skill at the same time.

Sophie has expressed interest in learning music. Her primary teacher plays the organ at church. Sophie has been telling me for a while that she wants to play the organ. I, and her primary teacher, have told her that she should start by playing the piano. I don't play the piano. I took lessons for a short time when I was little but just didn't catch on. I did play the flute and in high school switched to the Euphonium. So I can read music and know a lot of music theory and such. I just couldn't play both hands together on the piano. I know this just takes a lot of practice. So I borrowed some of my old piano books from my youth, my Mom still had them. And I also bought a few easy piano books. We also splurged and bought ourselves a keyboard that is touch sensitive just like a piano. So now I practice playing the piano every day. I can already see a lot of improvement. Not that I am playing anything substantial. I can play a few primary songs and a few hymns and I can play most all the songs in the 2nd grade piano book. I am enjoying this practice time each day. It is very relaxing to sit and practice. The best part is that Sophie is taking a lot of interest in playing. Not that she is ready for lessons yet. I did buy us a book called "Teach yourself how to play piano" and have gone through the first few lessons. Sophie can play a few little tunes. I need to give her more "lessons" but she has a lot of fun just making up tunes on her own and playing those few short pieces that she has learned.

One day Sophie asked me "Why do you play that same song over an over again?". I told her it was because in order to get it right I have to practice. So if nothing else she is learning that you have to work and practice at something. It isn't coming easily. But at least I am getting slowing better and I can tell I don't stumble through nearly as much and learning new tunes isn't as difficult.
Hopefully I am inspiring her to one day want to play as well. I would love for her to play music. I am happy for now to just learn something new myself.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ian actually played!

Today Ian had his third soccer game. This was the first one that he actually would play in. Not that his team didn't need him in the other games but Ian wouldn't go out there and play. He was in the first game just long enough to have the other team steal the ball from him and score a goal. He left that game in tears and wouldn't go in the rest of the game. At practice Ian is great. He loves to run around and dribble his ball and kick goals but once there was another team to play he didn't want anything to do with it. His 2nd game he wouldn't go in at all. We sat on the sidelines trying to convince him to go out there. He wouldn't do it and was in tears because we were "working" on him. I thought maybe it was just too early to sign him up for soccer. He is only almost 4. And I have tried really hard to teach my kids to take turns and share. This stealing balls from other kids just didn't jive in his mind with what we have taught him.

His team is dwindling quickly there were only 5 kids at todays game so each of those 5 kids played a lot! I think a lot of the kids his age are having a hand time dealing with such a demanding sport.

Our Week

I am enjoying having to recap our school week. It helps me evaluate what went well and what we still need to work on. We had a really good week. But there is still room for improvement.

We read through our Story of the World chapter about Sargon, the 1st Sumerian Dictator. I can't say it was the most exciting chapter so we also read the stories of Abraham and Issac this week as well since they lived in that area of the world. And we are going to do the story of Joseph next week. We also talked about the Tower of Babel and how it probably was built in that area of the world and we read the story from the Book of Mormon of the Brother of Jared. We put a number of cards on our wall timeline for each of these men and events. We also read a number of story books that are Middle Eastern tales. The Golden Sandal and Alladin and the magic lamp. More than anything else we got a sense of where the middle east is on the globe and some of their ways.

Sophie started a actual Math program this week. I broke down and bought Singapore Math for her. I know she doesn't like workbook type work so I was always hesitant to do this but so far she hasn't balked too much at it. We started 1A and she already knows most of what is covered so we quickly went through 10 lessons this week. We will slow down once we come to a place she needs help. We also had more lessons with money. My kids love the feel of pennies and dimes and nickels so we break them out a lot and do counting exercises with them. We worked mostly on counting by 2s and 5s. Sophie is finally getting this! Ian just likes it that I let him put his 10 pennies in his piggy bank after each lesson.

Our study of Scott Joplin is going well. We listen to his ragtime music often. Sophie really enjoyed sitting and listening to the Classics for kids programs about Joplin and about ragtime. We added him to our wall timeline as well. I found a movie about joplin at the library we will watch that next week. As well are read a few books about him. I finally found a few at the library.

Sophie has a very quick mind and sometimes I have a hard time slowing her down so we as we have been working through our First Language lessons it has been good to focus just on learning out to narrate. We read the aesops fable of the turtle and the rabbit and she had trouble telling me the story back. She wanted to jump right to the ending of the story and the moral. So we had to practice telling each step of the story. She got it a bit better when she narrated the story back to Dad at dinner.

We are still reading lots of bird books but we going to be moving on to the Human Body. Since Henry is so interested in the Human body lately. (That book still goes all over with us.) We just did an overview of the body this week and will do the skeleton next week. I already know these lessons will be a big hit. The boys will participate a lot.
Here is Henry holding up his new little skeleton man that he got at the pumpkin patch. He loves this little guy.

Sophie is reading very well and continues to read a book to me everyday. I have gotten a bit slack about the writing a sentence for me each day. But she does do the titles for all the cards we added to the Wall timeline this week. She also wrote a little book for me at the YMCA while I went to my water aerobics class one morning. It was a "Book for Boys". She drew pictures of all the things boys like, balls, trains, bob the builder, etc. and labeled all of them and even put a roman numeral on each section. She loves roman numerals for some reason. We learned them while rowing "The Glorious Flight" last year. Ever since she puts them on all sorts of things. Funny what sticks with kids.

One thing that we haven't done is our Artist of the month. Here it is half way through and we haven't even done more than glance at a book about Michaelangelo. I am going to have to get more inventive and make artist study a little more interesting. This is one to work on for next week.

Other than trips to the park and a few nature walks to gather a bunch of fall leaves and of course our trip to the pumpkin patch, that about sums up our school week. We have also been reading tons of books about Halloween and Fall. I love this time of year! We have also really enjoyed the rain we have been getting and I know more is expected for next week.

Here are Sophie and Ian at the Pumpkin Patch posing in front of the pumpkin pyramid.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Halloween books

Today at the library I picked out some Halloween books. Our library pulls out all the Halloween books and has a special section of them all through the month of October. Last week I had picked out a few without reading them first, just a quick glance through and I was very disappointed in them. They were promptly returned this week. I don't like books that get too into the evilness of halloween. Why would anyone make that kind of Children's book? One was just a halloween alphabet book and I didn't make it past letter D before stopping. I just couldn't read it my children any more. So today I picked out a few books that I remember getting last year. We own a few good Halloween books because it is Sophie's favorite holiday so, trick-or-treat books seem to make it to our house a lot. Just before bed tonight Sophie was quietly reading Cranberry Halloween. We love these Cranberry books. FIAR intoduced Cranberry Thanksgiving to us and we have now read many of the other Cranberry books. We really like them and I look forward to reading each of them for the different holidays. The recipes at the end are also fun to make.

My kids love Berenstain Bears books and we have their Trick-or-Treat book which is fun for Halloween. Teaches a good lesson too.

We enjoyed Gail Gibbons Halloween book today. It was a fair overview of the history of Halloween without going into too much detail.

There are a few others that we read but none of them are that exciting. Nothing that really stan out as great books. Does anyone have any Halloween books that they like? My kids love this holiday but I am having trouble finding good books. I would love some ideas!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Guilty Pleasure - Mind Candy?

I almost hate to admit this but at the same time it makes me giggle at myself.

I have spent the last few days catching up on The Princess Diaries. Last week when we went to the library I walked down the C aisle of the "older" children's books, probably chasing Henry around the library like I usually do, and I noticed that there were about 3 new Princess Diaries books that I hadn't read yet. And there were a bunch of half books that I hadn't read yet either. I was way behind!. Where have I been? So of course I grabbed the ones I hadn't read and have spent the week quickly catching up on Princess Mia's life.
The "half" books went really quickly, an hour tops. This was good because I had a number of them to read. And the others took me a little longer but not much. I don't know why these books have any draw for me other then I can relate to how bizarre teenagers are. When you read my journal (diary) from those years I sound almost just like Mia. What a freak I felt like at the time (and probably was)! Only I wasn't a Princess on top of the crazy teenage mania. And I have a somewhat normal family in comparison to hers. Your family is never "normal" when you are a teenager!
I have finished all those that I borrowed from the library and thought I was all caught up then I went to amazon to find a picture for this post and found out there is one more... no two more. They weren't there on the library shelf last week. I guess I will have to put them on hold. Along with Eclipse, from that other teen series I am hooked on. Eclipse has been on my hold list for weeks. I am now #57 on the list for that book. I was over 100.

These are the Princess Diaries books that I still need to read. I think there is still another one that has been published too. These would be my "mind candy" as my Mom calls some of her books. We go to the library tomorrow.... we will see what is there on the shelves this week!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Top Ten Tuesday - Henry's Favorite Books

My little, now 2 year old, Henry loves to read books. For this I am truely grateful. Here are a list of some of his favorite books. I don't know if all 2 yr olds would like them because I know some of them he likes because we read them to the older 2 all the time. But these are the ones I read to him a lot or that I can actually find him looking through on his own.

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar - this has been a favorite of his for years now. We own 2 copies one that sits on the shelf at home and one that travels with us in the car. I have recently added something new to our reading of this book. With all the Signing time videos we have watched we can sign almost all the different things the caterpillar eats and their colors so we often review our signs while we read.

2. The Little Engine that Could - Train books are kinda a new on Henry's list but he loves to look at them. This one in particular is one that travels with him in the car a lot. Very colorful and fun pictures to look at I guess. I hear a lot of "Choo Choo" from the back while I drive.

3. Little People Lift the flap book - I find Henry on the floor looking through this one a lot. I am always a little scared when things get too quiet. Henry is usually into something but sometimes he is just sitting on the floor with this book open and looking at all the pictures and lifting all the flaps.

4. Inside guides the Human Body - On Saturday we went to a wedding of a work friend of my husbands. Henry decided that this body book had to come with him. I thought it was fine for the ride in the car but no he had to bring it along to the actual ceremony. So while this couple was exchanging rings and reciting vows Henry was looking at the urinary system. He loves the page with the kidneys and bladder for some reason. It is almost always open to this page.

5. Good Night Sweet Buterflies - This one is in our go to church bag. Again we sign the colors and some of the animals on the pages but the holes in this book are the draw for Henry. He loves to grab my fingers as I poke them through the holes. Not the most reverant activity for Church but he does giggle quietly at least.

6. I Spy Spooky Night - Henry loves all the I Spy books. We poor over them all the time and he knows where to find them at the library but Spooky Night is his absolute favorite. He can find the skeleton on every page and loves to point it out. Yesterday at the pumpkin patch we went into their shop and found a little bendable skeleton man that looks just like the one in this book. We had to take it home and Henry took it to bed with him last night.

7. Curious George - For his birthday I gave him the complete collection of Curious George books. We have checked them out of the library so much I figured it was time we just owned them. We read through at least one of the stories every day now.

8. Berainstain Bears - All my kids love Berainstain bear books. When I can't find Sophie at the library it is in the Berenstain Bears book section I usually find her. We read these ones all the time too. Henry loves the Spooky Old Tree and Bears in the Night a lot but any of them will do. I think it is the animals he loves to look at.

9. What do People do All Day - Richard Scarry Books are a favorite around here. Henry of course has picked up on this and now brings these big books to me to read to him. What do People do All Day is a current favorite but he also loves Cars Trucks and Things that Go and Busy Busy World book ever.

10. Magic School Bus - I don't know how much he understands from these books but these are another one that he often picks off the shelf for me to read to him. He doesn't really have a preference for any one in particular he just loves them all.
I perfer the ones by Joanna Cole over the ones based on the TV show but my kids love all of them and luckily we have found just about all of them on the used book shelf so we have a bunch to choose from.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Corn Was A High as an Elephants Eye

Dad was home because of the holiday so what did we do? We went on another field trip. We drove down to one of the best pumpkin patches in the area. We watched a short video about the life of a pumpkin. And then we took a hay ride around the farm. This was the highlight for me. I loved seeing the fields of sunflowers and marigolds that they have planted there along with a lot of pumpkins. And the ride weaved through a corn field as well. The kids loved this because the stalks of corn were so tall that it was like riding through thick green walls. Henry loved being able to lean over the side just a bit and touch the corn stalks as we drove by. We picked out a nice big pumpkin to take home too.

We had a lot of fun!
We did actually do some school today too. We showed Dad what a normal school day (at least morning) for us is like.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What did we do for school last week

It was a good week for school. We actually started school with the pledge of allegiance and a prayer each day. This is something I had wanted to start the day with for awhile but it just never seemed to happen. Now the kids are asking to do it. Ian is even starting to catch onto the words of the pledge. We also were really good about devotional too which for some reason has been a bit hit and miss. But we read scripture and a story from the Friend magazine each day. This has a very good thing.

We also started First Language Lessons which seems to be going alright. But Sophie always seems to already know what the lesson is trying to teach. But each day I have tried to keep to the lesson. The first few lessons are about nouns We made it up to the lesson on proper nouns. So now Sophie is pointing out nouns all around us. On cereal boxes in every book we read even driving down the street she points out nouns that she sees. So I think she gets the idea of what a noun is.

We also did some history lessons and read a lot of books about Egypt. We really like The Winged Cat. Sophie decorated her cardboard mummy case (I still haven't taken a picture of it). I was going to mummify an apple or something but she actually didn't seem that interested so we skipped that and just colored pictures from our Egypt coloring book. I think she will be happy that we will be starting something a little different in the next lesson.

For math this week we broke out the piggy bank. The kids had a great time counting money. We discussed the different values of each of the different coins. We also talked about how many pennies would equal the value of a nickel, dime, quarter. This concept took a little while before she understood and I still don't know if she does. We may do this lesson again. She is able to tell what each coin is worth so that is a good step forward.

I have had some really good luck on the used books this week as well. We got a fun book via paperback swap. Birds do the strangest things I also found Crinkleroots guide to knowing the birds at the library used book sale. They have been fun to look through this week. I love Crinkleroot books. We check them out of the library often.

We have been listening to a lot of music this week as well. Scott Joplin is our musician for the month so we have been listening to a little ragtime each day. I also introduced Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat to them. A little early since we will be studying the story of Joseph next week I think for history. But Sophie actually really loved it. Which reminds me I need to put the film on my Netflix queue. My friend Amy told me about A Year with Frog and Toad. Sophie and Ian have suddenly had a renewed interest in the books and have found them on our crammed shelves to read them again. They were so excited to see the stories in the books after listening to the music.

That is about it. We have read a lot of books and played a lot and of course had our trip to the zoo. So it was a very busy but fun and successful week I think.