Thursday, January 31, 2008

Book Meme

Tamara, over on A Woman of Noble Character , has a fun 'meme' for books.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the
nearest book (of at least 123 pages.)
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.


So, here it goes.
::: knocking over pile of books on the desk ::

Okay.

"The orchard, with its great sweeping boughs that bend to the ground with fruit, proved so delightful that the little girls spent most of the afternoon in it, sitting in a grassy corner where the frost had spared the green and the mellow autumn sunshine lingered warmly, eating apples and talking as hard as they could. Diana had much to tell Anne of what went on in school. She had to sit with Gertie Pye and she hated it; Gertie squeaked her pencil all the time and it just her - Diana's - blood run cold; Ruby Gillis had charmed all her warts away, true's you live, with a magic pebble that old Mary Joe from the Creek gave her."

Taken from our read aloud book,
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery.

For tags, I pick Gina, Mandy, and Tena. I know that isn't 5, but it will have to do for now.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Grammar, Shakespeare and my sanity...

Oh, it's been a long week in homeschool-land. What?
It is only Tuesday?
See. Long week.

I have one child learning the beauty of sentence diagramming, one on her 3rd year of diagramming (predicate nominative anyone?) and another who has entered the world of Shakespeare.
My life is fun.

Are you on a similar journey? These links may prove helpful. They helped me breath earlier. Breathing is good.


Shakespeare High
AP Language
Diagram Sentences

I found this on my search for sanity. It didn't help. Do you know what is being diagrammed in this picture?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Do you Bento?


Raise your hand if you remember the 80's iconic movie, The Breakfast Club. If you didn't raise your hand, kindly leave the blog. :: smirk ::

Anyway, in the movie, Molly Ringwald's character, Claire, is preparing to eat lunch. She pulls out a pretty box and proceeds to eat her meal with chopsticks. I knew I was intrigued by the artfully prepared lunch, but chalked it up to "Hollywood" stuff and didn't give it much thought. That was, until about 3 months ago.

I was reading through a couple of magazines and came across the cutest lunch ideas for children.
Basically, you tried to use loads of colors and shapes for the meal and place them in a reusable container. The good people of Japan have mastered the art of Bento and I'm told the stores are stocked to the brim with all sorts of containers to aid them in the process.

My kids are pretty adventurous eaters and like to try new things. I love to cook and create, so this seemed like a wonderful idea, especially in light of our hectic schedules. On a trip to Target I found some durable containers (Fit & Fresh and Snapware) that work well for my Bento attempts. You can use all sorts of items to help separate, hold and mold -- small Rubbermaid pieces, empty spice bottles, toddler snack cups, cupcake liners, etc. You are only limited by your imagination.

Earlier I mentioned that Japan has been using this method of eating for ages and my forever friend, who happens to live in Japan, is going to be my 'supplier' for the real Bento goodies. I am so excited!
In the meantime, for those still interested in the process, here are a few links that may prove helpful....
1. Lunch in a Box
2. Bento Yum

You can run a web search and find tons of ideas.
Another plus to this way of eating -- portion control! I'm all over that!


Monday, January 21, 2008

A day in my life

It is Monday. It is the Monday after a terribly busy weekend. Those are the worst kind of Mondays.

1. Walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Yay me!
2. Inventory the pantry. I've had a few helpers in this area over the last couple months and now -- I can't find much of anything except the industrial size bag of napkins, ketchup and chicken broth. All important items for this house, but a meal they do not make..... (I swept the pantry floor. It's a start)
3. Prepare and organize lesson plans for Wednesday church. My main helper will not be there this week. This makes my hand tremble. (1/2 done)
4. Help the kids go through our bookcases and homeschool closet. Get rid of tons. Give away or toss a large quantity of items. (bookcase done, closet ignored)
5. Laundry. (washed - done)
6. Laundry. (dried - done)
7. Laundry. (folded - done)
8. Laundry. (put away --- not done!)
9. Give 3 tests, grade numerous book reports, and review upcoming lesson plans (done, done, not done)
10. Dust/vacuum my bedroom.
11. Mail a package to my forever friend who is very patient.
12. Remember that it is a holiday and curse yet another day that I didn't get to the post office.
13. Help 2 of the children make lava for their science project.
14. Scrape lava off the floor, counter and trashcan.
15. Take Sarah to gymnastics and stop at Starbucks on the way home for "Mommas little helper" - a grande skim latte w/one raw sugar and no foam.
16. Go over vowel phonics, again. :: thumps head on deak ::
17. Get Mercury, the homemade dough planet, from the mouth of the hound-dog. Gross! Poor Mercury.
18. Start dinner only to realize that I am out of brown rice - see #2. Grab sweet potatoes instead.
19. Rescue cat from two boys racing a baby doll stroller through the kitchen.
20. Help boys sweep up flour that was spilled as a result of #19
21. Chase after children, waving the chore chart in the air. Subtle, huh?
22. Dream of spring and warmer temperatures so the children can go outside to play.
23. Make dentist appointments.
24. Grumble at our new dental insurance.
25. Settle a disagreement between Boy #1 and Girl #3 over #13.
26. Discover that the dishwasher has not drained and refuses to clean anything.
27. Hand-wash everything after kicking the dishwasher.
28. Call Jeff and have him pick up wine on the way home from work.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

"A year off sale"

What would happen if we took a year off from shopping? Chris has a great blog called, A Year Off Sale. Check it out!


Friday, January 18, 2008

Count your blessings, one by one...

I have a lot I could share but not a lot of time to spare....so I will list a few things that have blessed me recently.

1. Heart of the Matter, a fantastic blog for homeschooling parents. It is full of tips, cheer, insight, and Word.
2. Flower deliveries
(I love my church - Pastor Andy, if you are reading, thanks again!)
3. Friends. Where would we be in this world without true friendships?
4. A supportive husband.
5. A merciful God who provides love and forgiveness.

Take a moment to count your blessings. Encourage someone you love to do the same. Watch what happens.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Table for Eight"



So, my online pal, Meagan wrote a book called, Table for Eight.

Meagan, a mother to 4 children, used her experience, as well as other 'big family' parents to come up with this new book. Meagan asked questions to several of us over the course of many months and the end result is this insightful, practical and easy-to-read book.

I received a signed book in the mail today. Terrific job, Meagan! Thank-you.
Want one for yourself? Check her website or Amazon.com

And yes, because I am just so tickled to be a (small) part of her project, you can 'see' me on pages
34, 46, 84, 98, 99, and 100.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The early years - memory bank #1

I've been doing a better job at writing down memories from my childhood. Now that I am a mother, I understand how important it is to share this part of myself with the children and preserve the time-line for future generations.

I grew up in Western New York. I was born in a tiny village about 40 miles outside of Buffalo.
We lived in this general area (many residences) until I was 9 years old. A lot of my family is still in that area.



This is Allegheny State Park. I have a lot of fond memories from this park. We had family gatherings, picnics, camping trips and plenty of time to be a carefree child. It is here that I learned to catch tadpoles, skip rocks, decipher regular bushes from poison oak, roast the perfect marshmallow and grow closer to my cousins.

I remember one time my mom and I went here with my grandparents. I must have been about 6. We had a picnic and afterwards, we all ran around the park, chasing each other and laughing. My mom lost her footing and fell by one of the slides. She broke her collarbone. We ended up staying with my grandparents for a few days while mom recovered. It was at that time that I left my beloved blankie behind, never to be seen again. Oh, I was so upset.


These are the roads that got us to Point A from Point B on a lot of our trips and errands. I didn't realize the simplicity of the roads at the time, but later, when we moved to Southern California it was a huge shock to see freeways and black asphalt everywhere. To this day, one of my favorite things to do is jump in the van and head for the country roads around our area. I could spend hours exploring the paths.

This particular road reminds me of the road my aunt and uncle used to live on (up until about 4 years ago). I was back there not long ago and nothing much has changed. It is comforting. My cousins and I used to spend long summer days exploring the woods behind their house, playing hide and seek in the cornfields, chomping on fresh from the tree apples, and chasing bulls in the pasture across the street (I don't recommend that for a childhood past-time by the way!)

It was on that dirt road that my aunt, fed up with our loud mouth ways, pulled the car over and ordered all of us "OUT!" We stood there laughing our guts out until we realized that she did in fact, drive away, leaving a trail of dust. We waited for a few minutes, confident that she would return, but she did not. I tell you, that 1/2 mile trek to the house seemed to take forever in my young mind. Upon returning to the house, we discovered that my aunt had locked us out of the house. Boy, we made her mad that afternoon (wish I could remember what we did.....)

I was blessed with many cousins (31 in total) and most of us lived in the same general vicinity.
They were wonderful childhood companions. Sadly, a lot of us have drifted apart through the years, but most of my fun memories surround their faces and antics. We did lose one loved cousin at the age of 16 after a tragic car accident. He was my age and it was his mother that we tormented in the story above.

On these dirt roads, I spent many stolen moments on the lap of grandma or grandpa, learning how to steer the old car down the road. I thought I was such hot stuff. I also remember stopping along the way to pick plump concord grapes right off the vine. I know that may sound 'bad' but when everyone knows everyone else, it really wasn't big of a deal. It was either a critter or me. I won. Ever have a deep purple concord grape? Wonderful!


The famous and beautiful Niagara Falls. I was fortunate to visit this marvel on many occasions. For those wondering, the Canada side is a far better experience. We were there a few years ago and unlike long ago, it takes citizenship documents and security checks to pass the border now. Times have changed. The area around the Falls has really changed too. Very touristy and busy. I remember when the Falls were surrounded by rolling green hills and parks. The parkways are still there, but they are in between museums, restaurants, bars, hotels and shops.

This is a hidden secret to most people. It is Zoar Valley and simply breath-taking, especially in the fall. This valley is right outside the small village I was born and raised in. Through the years, motorcyclists, hikers and nature watchers have discovered this natural beauty. Fair warning, don't try to maneuver through this area in the winter months.

I look forward to sharing more in Memory Bank #2 (in the coming days).
Stay tuned.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

One way or another, more time will be spent at home!

With the exception of a quick run to the market, I have been home since Thursday. This is a rarity. Unfortunately, we are home from church today as well.

Why?

Cause the darn van decided to cause problems. It was towed Thursday afternoon and (hopefully) will be available for pick-up tomorrow afternoon. Without a van, our family is pretty much stranded at home, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I mean, we do have Jeff's car, but it can't seat all of us. Plus, he was on a business trip all last week (with his car) so things were quite comical on Friday. Thank goodness for helpful neighbors and friends (running to the store and car-pooling for kid activities).

Anyway.....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A post where I shall share my, um, nose troubles...

I wanted to put a rather descriptive word in the title but I figured I should maintain some sort of dignity, given the subject matter.

I never had allergy problems until moving to to the Midwest several years ago.
I was buying stock in Claritin and Kleenex and praying for relief with each passing month.

A fried suggested a Neti-pot for my situation. She went on to describe this item in great detail and how it all worked. When I regained my composure (I laughed like a madwoman) and did a bit of research, I headed to Walgreens.

I scouted the store and located them on the bottom shelf, under the array of allergy medications. I plopped the box into my cart and headed to the check-out lane. There, I had the fortune of meeting Millie, a kind elderly woman who took great interest in my purchase.
"Hey, is this one of those things I saw on Oprah a while ago? Yes, I think it is. You know what you have to do with this right? I don't know if I could do that. Is this for you? Have you used one before? Do you think it will work because if it works, wouldn't that be something? I should tell my daughter in law about this. She gets horrible sinus infections." Before Millie could regal me with sinus infection symptoms and stories, I handed her my money, thanked her for her help and quickly made my exit.

I got home and faced even more questions and snickers from the children. The teen age girls were especially grossed out at the product sitting in the bathroom. Oh, and the boys -- oh, the boys! They thought it was the coolest thing ever and I wouldn't be surprised to find my neti-pot missing one of these days. I should do a preemptive strike and let them know now that, "NO, dogs and/or cats do not like, nor need, this nose flushing."

So anyway, I tried the neti-pot last Sunday. It was easy to use. There was no discomfort. I few blows of the nose after and I honestly felt like a new woman. It was amazing. I didn't need a Claritin that day, nor did I use 50billion Kleenex.
The next morning, I woke up with no congestion or stuffiness. That is a true rarity.
I ventured about my day with no problems. I was happy!!

On Tuesday, I woke up feeling a bit stuffy. I pulled out the trusted pot (well, that doesn't sound right at all) and viola, success again! It is now Thursday and I am breathing deep with no sniffles or sneezes.

My neti-pot has replaced the Claritin box in my cabinet. YAY! I should go tell, Millie.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Movie recommendation

Please rent Welcome to Paradise. It will bless you.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Business of Being Born

A powerful message!
Business of Being Born

Friday, January 04, 2008

The day I had a brilliant, albeit simple, idea!

So, in an attempt to de-Christmas my house, I ended up making a chaotic mess all over the first floor. I mean, my house is used to chaos, but when you throw in 4 trees and upteen boxes, along 6 children and various pets, it was pure mayhem.

I emerged victoriously from the living room and made my way into the kitchen and dining room. I failed to instill the fear of my wrath on the children before leaving the area, because less an hour later, the once spotless living room was a mess. It wasn't terrible; mostly books, pillows, water bottles and throw blankets.
Still, I felt the frustration bubble down deep. I took a swipe at the innocent...
pillows. They look so nice and inviting in a room, but they never stay put around here. I find myself saying....

"Dude. Put the pillows on the couch, not on the dog."
"Please don't step on the pillows."
"Please do not jump on the pillows."
"Don't throw the pillows."
"Did you just spill ___ on that pillow?"
"Did you hear me the first time (insert above comment)?"
"How can you vacuum if there are 6 pillows on the floor?"
"Don't let that stinky beast (boy or dog) lay on the pillows!"

...several times a day. I annoy myself with the redundancy.

(Dim) Lightbulb moment! I grabbed a large trash bag and plunked all but one of the pillows into the bag and threw it in the garage. I feel free! Hey, I told you it was a simple idea.

On the upside, The Hub and I are going out on a date tonight. He received an excellent review at work today so we are going to celebrate. Plus, school lessons start back on Monday, so I need to make sure the 'Kim-tank' is filled to the top before it gets zapped repeatedly.

And because this is my blog filled with my thoughts -- Iowa, what were you thinking?! Huckabee? A lot of his policies do not match up with conservatism (taxes, immigration, education, etc.) We can do better!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The post in which I do not make any resolutions....

I no longer make resolutions because I don't stick to them. It's just that simple.
I would like to think that it is my 'rebellious, carefree' attitude, but honestly it is just a, 'my brain can't handle too much structure, therefore, I am letting myself off the hook' attitude.

However, in an attempt to pacify my need for lists and the written (typed) word.....


Five things I would like to accomplish in 2008

1. Get rid of 10 things in the house each month. Why 10? I don't know. I don't question my brain on matters of organization. It is better that way. Just ask, Jeff.

2. Clean out my walk-in craft closet. If I don't do it soon, small children and/or pets
could go missing.

3. Get all library books back in time. The city won't like this accomplishment since I'm pretty sure our family funded a floor in the new main library.

4. Cut back on caffeine. You know that scientist in Meet the Robinsons? The one with the patch? She is my soul sister.

5. Read my lists after I write them. Better yet, find my lists after I write them.

For those sitting there saying, "Gee, Kim, for someone that doesn't believe in resolutions, that list sure shares a striking resemblance" to which I reply, "Don't fuss with me over semantics."

Cheers and blessings for the New Year!