Wednesday, December 19, 2007

12 Days

Woah! Too cool!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ice Storm

Yesterday we were hit by a big ice storm. It has caused a lot of problems, needless to say. We were very blessed. We went 1 1/2 hours yesterday without power, and again today for the same amount of time. I know a lot of folks are still waiting for their power to come back on. The ice is melting quickly around here. These pictures were taken yesterday.

Even with the bad effects, the ice on the tree branches is extremely beautiful. I can't help just staring at it. The sound of tree branches breaking is not a lovely sound, though. I am going to research the best trees for resisting breakage, both in wind and in ice. Hubby says we will lose one for sure, perhaps two. I want to plant more in the spring or we'll be tree-less in a few years!

Gift Idea: Hot Tang Tea Mix (with labels)

My 6-year-old, Junior, is making his own Christmas presents. One of the most popular requests is Hot Tang Tea Mix. This is also called Orange Spiced Tea and Russian Tea, our family just prefers to call it Tang Tea.

This is pretty easy for a little one to measure and stir up. You don't really need exact amounts, so kids can do this without a lot of hands-on from you.

Hot Tang Tea Mix

2 c. powdered Tang
1/2 c. powdered instant tea
1/4 c. lemonade
1 1/4 c. sugar
dash salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves

Mix everything together in a large bowl. To make tea, add 2 heaping teaspoons to one cup of hot water. Adjust to taste.

Hot Tang Tea is a great drink for wintertime. If you feel a little stuffy and have a scratchy, dry throat, the combination of hot water, cloves, and the tart orange taste are just perfect.

Just for you, I have included a printable recipe and some labels for your gifts. Everyone loves it, and it looks really nice in a clear jar.

Friday, December 7, 2007

This year for Christmas, let's stop focusing on others

That sounds pretty weird, huh? That was just to get your attention, of course, but read on, and trust me that there's a good point to this.

I’ll tell you a true Christmas story, from a few years ago. I only tell it because many of you have had a similar story, so you can relate. I was working in the Physical Therapy department of a middle-sized hospital. We decided to do an outreach project one Christmas. It was easy to find someone who needed help, as you might expect, since we were at a hospital already. On the hospital campus was a small inpatient drug and alcohol rehab for women with young children. Women could check into this clinic and their children could stay with them while they were being treated. The kids were safe, fed, and cared for, but the moms were not able to get presents for their children. So we decided to “adopt” the center, providing toys and clothes for the little ones, and even a stocking of personal care items for the moms. We would throw a little party for them one day close to Christmas and just generally show them a good time.

The day of the party arrived. As many of us as could be spared went over bearing sacks of gifts, cookies, veggies and dip, and every good thing. We sang carols with the kids and everything was great. Until the gifts were passed out, that is. Our well-organized event that could have been so picturesque, turned sour quickly. One child got something better than someone’s child…another child did not get the specific thing on his list. Now mind you, the complaining was all from the mothers. I do not think any of the children were upset, at least during the party while we were there. However, it’s a well-known fact that almost anything delightful can be spoiled for a child when the adults start whining themselves. We all walked back a little older and more jaded than before.

I’m just telling that story as an example of how you can have this great idea in your head of something wonderful that you are going to do. People are going to be happy and grateful, their lives will improve, and the littlest one will stand up and say, “God bless us, every one!” That’s not always the case, and though sometimes you will get that scenario, I would bet that much of the time, something similar to the above happens.

So that’s why I say to get the focus off of others this Christmas. Put you focus on Christ and what He has done. Please do something for someone else if at all possible. But do it “…as working for the Lord.” Out of your gratitude for God’s gift of Jesus, and not merely for the joy on the face of another human. Keep your eyes open for those special moments, where you see the light in a child’s eye, or a tear on an older person’s cheek. Those are rich blessings, but they are a “fringe benefit” of service.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Update - Vintage Christmas Music

I found a couple more sites for the free stuff. Now I am having to wait in line, because a lot of these free file hosting sites limit you a bit. Oh well, it’s worth it!

Free Christmas Music Today they have a link to “Rhodes Christmas” which is a Christmas album all played on a Fender Rhodes piano. The Fender Rhodes is an electric piano that was used a lot in the 60s and 70s. My husband tells me it is coming back “in style.” Well, that’s a good thing. There is something so warm about it, even if it is electric. Think about the theme to “Taxi.” That was on a Rhodes, and Richard Carpenter often played a Rhodes. So there you go. If you love Christmas music, you are probably a Carpenters fan, right?

Way Cool Music Hey, here is a bunch of Disney music! Cute stuff for kids.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Making Mini-Offices

This year we switched from using school desks to working at the kitchen table. I know a lot of homeschoolers never think of using school desks, but it was helpful at first to have a chair that fit the child. If we tried using the table, Peanut would sprawl and slump and just generally be uncomfortable. But the desks were an eyesore, there was no out-of-the-way place to put them, and they tended to catch all the clutter that the kids didn’t want to put away. So we gave them to another family, and now we are at the kitchen table. We have some storage bins that will turn upside down for footrests for both kids. I use the rubber-y shelf liner for a non-slip surface so they don’t kick them around. Too much.

The other problem I had to solve was that we were able to use number lines and alphabet strips on the desks, and we can’t really use those on the kitchen table.

While searching the Internet, I found some ideas that classroom teachers are using to help their students. They call them “mini-offices,” and they are simply a little study corral with the needed information posted inside. They are made out of 2 or 3 file folders.You can put just about anything on these corrals. I decided to put a number line, a small handwriting chart, a 100s chart, a chart showing different coins, and a chart that illustrates how to tell time. I tried to make a chart listing some common words that my kids might use in their writing, but it was too cumbersome.

The kids like having these. We personalized them by letting them pick some of the contents, as well as the color. We had three color choices in the package of file folders we had purchased. Kids could also decorate the outside of their folders.

The best websites we found for mini-offices are at Busy Teacher’s CafĂ© and at Teaching Heart. Both have instructions and printables that you can choose and print out for your mini-office.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Vintage Christmas Music

I knew the whole thing by heart. What I didn't remember was that it was really not so great!

Some people get tired of the satellite-feed Christmas music often heard on the radio these days. I know I do. Yet long before Thanksgiving, I had tuned my XM radio to the only Christmas channel that was on-air at the time. I can’t help it, I just love Christmas music! But it didn’t take long for them to start overplaying certain annoying songs. (I think I have often mentioned “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” as one of the top offenders!) That is why I’m glad I found This is a blog that devotes every December to a list of 25 songs that the author has found on old LPs that have not been republished on CD. The songs are doled out one-per-day like treats in an advent calendar. He usually highlights the album that the song came from as well. Each year, after the countdown is over, you have a complete collection of songs so you can burn your own CD. He even has cover art for your new disc! Last year I was fortunate that they even had uploaded an album that I remebered very well from childhood. It was the only kids' Christmas album my brother and I had, and we had listened to it hundreds of times. It was quite a rush, finding that crazy thing again. I sat at my compter and listened to it. I knew the whole thing by heart. What I didn't remember was that it was really not so great! But still, sweet memories!

Since, I have found a few more blogs that have the vintage Christmas albums that round out the season a little more. There are:
Ernie (not Bert)
Music You (Possibly) Won’t Hear Anyplace Else
Check the Cool Wax
A Christmas Yuleblog-- *This one is new to me, I just found it last night, so I haven't tried it yet.

All offer free music just for the downloading. I have added plenty to my mp3 player over the past couple of years. Great stuff. I will caution that you have to be one that enjoys music that leans toward the easy listening sound, because that is mostly what you will find. At least at the blogs I have listed. Does anyone know of any more?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Making a Chicken Mummy - Part 1

We decided to do a chicken mummy this year while studying about ancient Egypt. I read a few of the "recipes" online, but I decided to go with the directions found in the activity book that goes along with The Story of the World.

We used lots of gallon-sized baggies, gloves, rubbing alcohol, lots of paper towels, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and of course a chicken. To make the baggie stand up, I clipped it inside and ice cream bucket with clothespins. We found we needed a lot more salt, and some more baking soda and baking powder for the later stages, but this amount was a good start.

The chicken is a small Rock Cornish Hen that we got in the freezer section of the store and thawed in the refrigerator for a couple of days. A small chicken takes less salt and stuff. We named her "Henshepsut" after Hatshepsut, who was the first female pharaoh. (I voted for "TutenkahmHen," but I was outvoted!)

To start with, we rinsed Henshepsut very well, finishing up with rubbing alcohol. Then we dried her with paper towels, inside and out.

Then we mixed two containers of table salt with 1/2 box of baking soda and 1/2 can of baking powder. This is supposed to be close to the natron that the ancient Egyptians would have used.

We put some of this mixture in a plastic zipper bag, put the chicken in upside down and filled the cavity with the salt mixture. Then we poured the rest of the salt mixture in around her. We zipped the bag and put it inside a second bag with her name written on it. This part is important later on.

To change to fresh salt, we put on gloves, take Henshepsut out of the old salt mixture and dust her off. We have always have to push the salt out of the inside cavity because it becomes moist and clumps up in there a bit. Then we put her in a new bag and follow the same procedure that we did at first, filling her up with more salt and pouring salt all over her. Last, we always double bag, using the outside bag with her name on it.

Once, I almost threw her away, thinking I was disposing of the bag of old salt. Luckily, I realized it in plenty of time. So that is why it is important to have the one bag with her name on it. She is always kept in that bag, and you make sure not to throw it away.

We started out changing the salt mixture every day. After 5 days, we went to every other day because the salt was not getting all that moist. Now we are changing every five or six days. On one website, we read that the smell was very bad, but that must have been because they were not changing the salt often enough. Henshepsut has never had a stinky smell. She has a kind of "greasy chicken" smell, but it is not strong, and she smells more like leftovers than anything.

We have not finished our "mummification" process yet. We will update when we are finished. We are preparing some oil that is full of cinnamon and cloves, and it smells great. We'll rub that in, and wrap her up in cloth bandages. We need to make her a little sarcophagus too.

Please leave a comment if you've done a "mummy" project like this! Or if you're just thinking about it...

Bookshelf cleanout

It gives me a lift just to see it looking orderly.

Before we started school this year, we had moved furniture around so that I could use both of my livingroom bookshelves for the school area. Everything had been moved into them, but I didn't really have a good system yet, and it wasn't organized. I had everything handy, it just didn't look right.

Monday I got some time to clean out the shelves and put things back nice and tidy. I started off with this:

Most of my shelves are adjustable. The shelf that is about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom is stationary, and it is very sturdy. That is a good place to put heavy, hardback books. The adjustable shelves are decent, but they are held up by little brass pegs, so they are fine for paperbacks and smaller books.

I do not have a system for classifying my books, really. That is why it works well for me to just arrange them by size. It really does look nicer that way. I just divided them up into heavy vs. lightweight books. The "grown-up" books are on the right side bookshelf, and the books we use for school are on the left side. It works out that most of the books I pull in and out during a regular day are on the same shelf.

I have found that it does look neater to pull all the books out to the front of the shelf, even if they are narrow and can be pushed back. That way the spines are all even. That is easier said than done, so I wait until I am putting things back at the end of the school day. That seems like a lot of trouble, but it is a little thing that makes a huge difference in the way the shelf looks.

Here is a picture of what it looked like three hours later. Three hours, but I didn't work on it the whole time, since I had a baby to take care of!

If you look closely at the lower right corner, you will see my little helper checking it out. Get out of there, you little mess!

There is one little part that needs to be finished. The kids DVDs and CDs are still out of order, and they might need to be moved. The DVDs are pretty secure from baby brother, but the CDs fall right out of the cases when he gets a hold of them!

Our school area is part of the kitchen, and it is very visible to the rest of the living area of the house. It gives me a lift just to see it looking orderly.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Math for "right-brained" learners

I love my eight-year-old. She is very artistic, creative, and has a great imagination. But it is very hard to get math across to her. It seems as if she makes things too hard. She will understand the general lesson, but when it comes to working the problems, she has so much trouble getting through it. I feel like she just freezes sometimes.

I know she needs to drill some of these addition facts, but she tenses up whenever I mention it. She is very worried if I try to give her a time limit, but I know that her dependence on a number line is going to make math harder for her later on.

Last spring at our local homeschool convention, we had a chance to hear from Dianne Craft. I missed her talk about right-brained learners, but I snagged a handout. There was my sweet little girl, all described in black and white on the page. I went over to her table and got a copy of a lecture that she had done about right-brained learners. She was selling a set of flashcards to teach multiplication to right-brained kids. I did not buy it because frankly, I didn’t want to think about multiplication until we got past the obstacle of addition and subtraction!

One day this past summer, I found a couple of books on Amazon. They are called Addition the Fun Way, and Times Tables the Fun Way. They are written by Judy Liautaud. Dianne Craft says on her website that, “Right brainers learn anything easier when emotion, color, or stories are added to the learning method.” These books fit that description perfectly.

We have not tried the Times Tables book yet. The addition book is going so well, I want to give that a chance to take hold. I can tell you that she is enjoying the new way of doing math. The speed isn’t quite there yet, we’ve been doing this such a short time. But she is changing her attitude and is much more relaxed about math. She wants to do it, and has fun telling me the story that goes along with each addition problem I give her.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Classical Music for Your Kids

There is quite a bit of free classical music available via the Internet...

There is quite a bit of free classical music available via the Internet, and much of it is downloadable. If you know the composer or the title of the piece, look it up on Classic Cat. This is a website I’ve been using and it seems to be updated regularly. They do not have MP3s on their site. Instead, they have a database with links to the site where it can be downloaded. Much of the music is provided by local orchestras and even individual musicians, often students. The US Air Force Bands have a site for downloading some MP3s here. Here you can find lots of classical, patriotic, and marches, as well as ceremonial music, such as Hail to the Chief.

I have found some sites that are dedicated to educating kids about classical music. One is a radio program that is archived on Classics for Kids. It has composer information as well as several songs you can listen to. Two other good ones are from Dallas Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony. They have some games and little educational activities, related to the orchestra.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Some of my LA Lessons

Here are a couple of the Language Arts copywork lessons I wrote for my daughter, who is 8 years old and at third grade level. These are provided so that you can see what another family is doing. I'm in no way saying, "Do it this way!" I will say that my daughter has done these two lessons and they were neither too easy nor too hard.

Lesson One
Lesson Two

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Deciding between the Grammar Approach and the Natural Approach

This summer I’ve been re-reading some education books by Ruth Beechick. She is a proponent of the natural method of learning to write. This is the way children learn speech, and the short definition she gives is this: Children learn to write by writing.

This is the method I’ve been using so far with Peanut. It has been working, but I started wondering if this year I should just get her some grammar workbooks and go that way. It is a hard decision to make. So far, she has been doing copying and slow dictation, as well as some writing on her own. Her own writing is usually to describe her drawings or to write small books that she is illustrating. According to Beechick, she would benefit from writing from models, instead of so much of her own creative writing. It does not help that she is a pretty reluctant writer, especially when it comes to something that she did not think of herself, but I suppose that is how most kids are.

The little booklet I have, A Strong Start in Language, does have a checklist of objectives. That is helpful. It also has some sample lessons, and those are very helpful. I am going to use those to make some lessons that come directly from our daily reading. I plan on sharing some of those lessons here in the days to come.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Schedule for this year

This is my first year to make my own curriculum schedule. The past two years we have used Sonlight 1 and 2 with Peanut. This year, in an effort to get both kids on the same page in some subjects, we are combining Sonlight 1 and 2 in one year, but making a few changes. It will be a review for Peanut, but I don’t think it will bore her. We are going to add a few more activities and switch to The Story of the World, instead of the books that Sonlight recommends.

Sonlight sells a conbined schedule for doing 1 and 2 in one year, but I waned to make some changes, so I made my own schedule. It was kind of a confusing experience, but I finally have made a schedule that will take us almost to Christmas. I got us through the first volume of Story of the World, anyway.

Here is what we will be using:
Bible and Bible Memory
Will follow Sonlight 1 & 2 schedule loosely. The kids will probably do AWANA at church as well.
History and GeographyThe Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer and Missionary Stories with the Millers by Mildred A. Martin.
ScienceConsidering God’s Creation by Betty Smith and Susan Mortimer.Eagle's Wings
MathSingapore Math – Primary 1A for Junior, and Primary 2B for Peanut
PhonicsExplode the Code 3 and Really Reading(free resource!) for Junior.
Language ArtsDoing my own based on Ruth Beechick’s 3-R’s series “A Strong Start in Language” for Peanut. More on this later...
HandwritingHandwriting Without Tears – My Printing Book for Junior, Cursive Handwriting for Peanut.
SpellingPeanut - finish Sequential Spelling Book 1, then begin Book 2
LatinPrima Christiana for both kids. These are short, sweet lessons. The goal is just to teach the basics of Latin to help with vocabulary later on.
CharacterCharacter Building for Families Vol. 1 by Lee Ann Rubsam
CopyworkWill usually come from the Character lessons or Bible Memory.
ReadingStart out with The Beginner’s Bible for Junior. I am still working out a list of books and a schedule for Peanut.
Music and PianoWe will use My First Hymnal, then go to the church hymnal from there. Every 6 weeks, we will do a unit on a different composer. We will start out with Bach, then Handel, the Mozart, and that takes us through December. For Piano, we are using Alfred’s Prep Course: A for Junior, B for Peanut.
Read-aloudsThis will follow Sonlight 1 and 2 loosely. We will have to leave some out, but at least since Peanut and I did these before, we have an idea of which books we could skip, and which books are must-reads. Since they are old to Peanut, we will probably select some really good books for her bedtime, that way she has something new.

This has been a tough job and I am just half-way through. Scheduling is not easy. For one thing, there were too many chapters in The Story of the World to get it all done in 18 weeks, which is the goal. So I had to go through and cut some chapters. Then with science, I started out just going through the book from the beginning. That was fine until I got to Plants. I figured out that we would be starting on that at the end of October. So that would make it difficult to go out and find flowers, leaves, etc. So we will need to do the chapters on plants first. I hope that the second half of the year is easier.

Friday, June 15, 2007

First Post

This is now going to be our homeschooling blog. I decided to take down everything with pictures of my kiddos for privacy sake. Nothing was wrong, it's just that once those pictures are up and public, you can't control what happens to them. So after some careful thought, I decided to keep up the homeschooling part of the blog, because I like the idea of exchanging ideas and what works for us with other families.

If you are trying to get to our family blog, email me and let me know!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Weekend project

I hadn't really planned on a weekend project, but little Bubby's "standin' upper" seat had torn and was getting to be unsafe. So I took it out, cut it apart to make a pattern, and tried to make one like it. I got some fabric at WalMart that matched the colors on it so well, I think I like it better than the old one. I laid the old one on a piece of paper to make a pattern, then cut some fabric and batting. I did some machine quilting on it, the old one did not have that, but his boucy seat is made like that and I think it is nicer that way. Then I sewed it together and bound the edges with some bias tape, which was much too narrow. I definitely needed it to be wider! Oh well.

There were some little plastic snap pieces to hold the fabric seat on and they had broken. I think that was part of the problem with the seat tearing, so we attached it back on with cable ties. You can see them, so I must have made the openings in the wrong place. But I was mostly pleased with the way it turned out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The other day we were talking about ants, and I told Peanut, "You know, the Bible talks about ants..." She said, "I know, I know, 'Go to the ant, thou slugger!"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hallelujah Nuns

I am pretty sure these are not real nuns. But this is the coolest thing! Stay with it until the end.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Punny Cartoon

Sorry for so much absence. Things are busy around here and have gotten worse since the baby has been sick. He has to have breathing treatments, and besides that is not sleeping well, so naptime isn't too dependable. I'll be back soon, I think.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

WFMW: Another use for baking soda

Baking soda has got to be one of the most useful things on the planet. It seems like I am always hearing or reading about a new use for baking soda.

Now I have another one. I read it in Paula Begoun's Don't Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me. When you feel like your face could use a little exfoliation, do not reach for something harsh like a ready-made scrub. Instead, put your normal amount of liquid cleanser in your hand, then add about a teaspoon or so of baking soda. Wash your face as usual.

I find that this smooths out the places that tend to get a little rough, but it never leaves my face red or feeling irritated.

And here are more Works-for-Me tips!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How cute is this?

I saw something on the Internet this weekend, called a Wubbanub. This is just the cutest thing, and they're not too expensive if you get them from the right place. I think I'm going to order one, but of course I had to try making one for myself. It is not "safety approved" but it's a temporary thing. Peanut donated a little stuffed bear and I sewed one of his pacifiers onto it's head. It works great! Bubby was not a paci boy at first, so he did not really learn to keep one in his mouth. Now that he is teething, he likes to have one. But you have to sit there and hold it in. He chews it and works on it so that it doesn't stay. Now he can hold this sweet little bear and the paci stays right there!

Whoever came up with this was a complete genius!


Two funny comments:

Peanut was trying to teach Junior a new tongue twister. He was supposed to repeat it back to her, but he said, "Betty Botter bought some butter to make her bottom bigger." True. I think I like that one better.

Dad walked by Junior's room the other day after bathtime and overheard this: "Underwear, prepare to Do Your Duty!" We didn't even ask...

Monday, March 19, 2007


I am trying to put a column on here that would show what we are all reading, but I never get more than a handful of minutes at a time. Peanut and I just got finished with Strawberry Girl, and now we are reading Pippi Goes On Board. We love those Pippi books! By herself, she read a book called Cora Frear. Junior is reading a few pages at a time in Grasshopper on the Road by Arnold Lobel. He wrote the Frog and Toad books. I didn't know if he'd like the Grasshopper book, but he finds it quite funny, and that is his requirement in books.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday - Tiny Recipes

I have certain recipes that I use often, but not often enough that my little mind can get them memorized. I ended up getting out the recipe book just to remind me whether that was ½ tsp. of salt, or 1 tsp. of salt.

I finally had a brainstorm. I opened up my Word program and wrote out my most used recipes in the smallest font possible. I posted these recipes on the inside of the cabinet door that is closest to my stovetop. Later, I improved this by making a table in Word and typing each recipe into one of the cells. To save space, I often just write the list of ingredients.

To do this yourself, just tell your word processor program to create a table. I’ve found that three columns works best. Set your viewer to 100% and pick a font. You can make it as small as you want, just make sure you can see it on the screen without difficulty. Start typing recipes, one recipe per cell, adding a row to the table when necessary. If you have the recipes on your computer already, you will only need to cut and paste, then select the text and shrink the font.

I think you could also do this with a spreadsheet program, like Excel.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

WFMW: Potty-training Idea

When my older son was a little over two and a half, I was trying hard to think of some kind of reward to use while potty training. One of the things he loved, and still loves, was to be told how something worked. He would ask over and over again the way some children ask for their favorite bedtime story. One day I asked him if he would like for me to show him how the toilet worked. He was very interested in that, so I told him the next time he went potty, I would take the lid to the tank off and show him what was inside. If he wanted to, he could flush the toilet and watch it work.

This worked very well for him. Each time, after he went to the bathroom, we would reward him by taking off the tank lid so he could see inside. Sometimes he wanted an explanation of what was going on, and other times he just silently watched the “show”.

We found an added benefit to this when we were visiting away from home. Our friends and family almost always gave their permission to remove the lid to their tanks. Toilets basically work the same way, but the internal parts are often slightly different. This was exciting to our two-year-old, and helped him not to forget a trip to the toilet when he was having fun away from home.

This should be a good tip for those who have children with a bent towards things mechanical. It worked for me and my little guy! For more tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Works-for-Me Wednesday - Double Sheeting

This is my first Works-For-Me-Wednesday post. I have gotten a lot of great ideas, so this week I’m going to play too.

Double-sheeting my kids’ beds has made life a lot easier for me. It came in handy just this week as my son had a stomach bug. I have talked to some moms who don’t know how to do this, so here is how:

You will need the following to double-sheet the bed: Two waterproof mattress pads and two fitted sheets. Put a waterproof mattress pad over the mattress, and top with a fitted sheet. If you are not working on a crib, go ahead and add a flat sheet and a folded pillowcase. That way you have a complete set underneath.

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Now top with the second mattress pad, and finish making the bed as usual.
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Now, whenever you need to, you can quickly remove the fitted sheet and top mattress pad to reveal clean sheets! This has helped me on so many levels. When my babies were small, I sometimes found myself standing at the crib with a sleeping baby in my arms. I would look down and see a drool ring on the sheet (or a worse ring!) In that case, the crib sheet and pad could be taken off with one hand before putting the baby down. It worked so well that I kept it up when they got older. It worked during night-time potty training, but it has been most helpful when a child gets sick in the night. I won’t be graphic, but you know what kind of “sick” I mean. This is usually accompanied by crying and chills. By double-sheeting, you can quickly remove the mess, and the sick child can crawl back into a nice, clean bed.

Another bonus: We use Peanut’s bed for a guest bed when we have overnight company. Since I double-sheet her bed, there are always clean sheets ready for the guests, I just take hers off to wash and put the blankets and bedspread back on.

For more great ideas, go to Rocks In My Dryer.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Jane Austen Adaptations

While we were iced in a while back, I had the chance to watch two Jane Austen movies. I just love her books, so I was excited to get to see two of them I hadn't already seen.

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My mom lent me her copy of Pride and Prejudice. It is the new one with Kiera Knightly. I knew ahead of time that it was not going to be as good as the BBC miniseries. But it was enjoyable, and when you think how little time they had to tell the whole story, it wasn't bad. I know a lot of people like the fact that it is more realistic when you look at the differences in the Bennet family's conditions vs. the Darcy estate at Pemberley. Maybe so, but still it bugged me. And you can't convince me that they would let a pig actually walk through the house.

I also had an issue with one scene where Elizabeth is talking to Charlotte Lucas about Charlotte's new engagement to Mr. Collins. It ends with Charlotte saying, "Don't judge me!" Oh please. That was so out of character. I've heard that that was one of the scenes that was rewritten by Emma Thompson. Hmm...She did a really good job on her version of Sense and Sensibility. I wonder what else she changed in the screenplay?

Then, by accident, I found myself watching Clueless on TV one night. I had never seen that movie. I had heard that it was based on Austen's Emma. It took a little while, but I finally figured out how the movie was going to parallel the book in a few places. It was actually pretty cute. I liked how it didn't stereotype everyone like all the high school movies tend to do. The rich, spoiled girl was actually pretty sweet. And the new girl in school, who I thought was going to get on drugs and be a wreck, was kind of cute and dumb like Harriet Smith in the book. I just really enjoyed it, and I think I will watch it again sometime.

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Friday, February 2, 2007

New State Song for Oklahoma

Have you seen this yet? Oklahoma’s new state song. This is for all the whiners, and that includes me! I wish I knew who wrote it.

with the cold fronts sweepin' down the plain,
And the piles of sleet beneath your feet
Follow right behind the freezing rain.
ev'ry night my honey lamb and I
Travel home from work and hope some jerk
Doesn't wreck our car in passing by.
We know we belong to the land
But it could use more salt and more sand!
And when we say
Yeeow! Ayipioeeay!
You're slick as snot SNO-klahoma,
SNO-klahoma, Oy Vey!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A New Tradition

" have given me the heritage of those who fear your name." Psalm 61:5b

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(Sorry about the picture quality. This was all I had close to my computer, and I didn't want to take up a lot of time hunting for a better.)

I am late in posting this. Yesterday would have been my Grandma Mayme’s 101st birthday. I got to thinking about this the day before, and I wondered if there was anything I could do to mark the day. Peanut remembers her, Junior doesn’t really.

At bedtime, I got out a little booklet that my cousin Nancy copied off for us. It is a little handwritten booklet that my grandmother wrote for her telling some of her memories of her growing up years. I went in Peanut’s room and told her what day it was, and I read her just a few paragraphs from the book. Peanut just loved it. She kept asking me to read her more and more. I finally had to stop because I still wanted to read to Junior, and they were already getting to bed late.

Junior had the same reaction. He kept saying, “Turn the page, read me more.” I also shared some of my memories with them. Somebody in my family will have to help me with something. There was some stuffed item at her house that was stuffed with pantyhose. I can’t remember if it was a pillow or what. But there was a little hole in it, and I remember pulling out the pantyhose and stuffing them back in.

Here is one of the exerpts I read to them:

Gertie and I found a lot to play with. We used our imagination in those days. We could make dolls from corn cobs and even sticks. We had stick people, glass people (from broken dishes,) and an out of date Sears or Ward’s catalogue was special. We had families and they went to church. We made towns from flat rocks, the rocks were their houses. We marked rooms. Christmas was the only time we’d see toys in the stores. I remember how thrilled we were to get to go see the toys.

Junior couldn’t quite imagine that part about toys not being in the stores all year.

So we’ve decided to start doing this on each of the great-grandma’s birthdays, just share memories. Todd reminded me that we actually did this on Gram’s (his grandmother's) birthday back in November. It was right after baby Bubby was born, and his folks were all here. They remembered that the day was her birthday, so everyone was just naturally talking about the things they remembered about her.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Junior helps with spelling

Today I let Junior help when Peanut and I did spelling. I always give her the word and then a sentence using the word. Junior wanted to read out the words, and Peanut begged me to let him give her the sentences also. I was glad I did, though I wouldn't do it every day. It turned out pretty funny, and there was too much laughing on Peanut's part. Here are a few of his sentences he came up with:

ruts:  "The pumpkin ruts."
putts: "I splashed in the putts."
bids: "I watched a Bids cartoon on TV." (I don't think there is such a thing!)
forbids: "There are forbids cartoons on TV." (Think about that one!)

I am not sure how many of those he meant to be funny, and how many were just innocent mistakes. Hmmm.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Math Video

This is very interesting. It takes about 15 minutes, but if you have time, watch it. I was not surprised, as I have been reading about this, but I’ve never actually seen what they are talking about. It kind of makes your head hurt.

I was pleasantly surprised that she mentioned Singapore Math at the end of the video. That is what we use. It is different than what I was used to, but I can see where they are going with it. They also teach “alternative methods” for problem solving, but their methods often are directed at the goal of being more able to do math in one’s head. (Example: You can figure out 49 – 24 because you know 50 – 25.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Last night

I'm just now getting around to putting this up, it's been over 24 hours, though.

Last night we had a bit of excitement. Someone in our family ( I will just let you guess who) put a Hot Wheels® wheel up their nose and it got stuck. It was quite a frightening few minutes for Mama, but Daddy kept his head and figured out a solution. The person could not figure out how to blow their nose, and ended up sniffing instead of blowing out. Not good.  Tweezers were just pushing it up farther. So Daddy twisted up the corner of a tissue into kind of a stick. He stuck it up the other nostril until it made the child sneeze. This child managed to sneeze twice through the mouth, so the third time I slapped my hand over said mouth and out came the wheel. So keep this in the back of your mind in case something like this ever happens to you. With the bad roads, it would have been a difficult night to be driving to the ER. I'm thankful for a hubby who can think under pressure, that's for sure!

I asked the child today what they would be putting in their nose. The child did not think this was very funny and said, "Nuthin'."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Junior's lapbook

Here is our first attempt at a lapbook. Junior's kindergarten this week is about cows, so we made a little file folder book about what we had learned about cows. Junior loves stuff like this, so we just jumped in and tried it. It was fun. We used some stuff from, and from The Coloring Spot. For the words, they were just typed in Word in different colors and fonts. We cut each one out and talked about what it had to do with cows. He really had fun doing this, and we also realized that he had forgotten how to use a glue stick. That kind of bothers me because I know they use glue sticks a lot at Sunday School. I hope he hasn't been making a huge mess there like he tried to do here. But once I showed him the way to use it, he was like, "Oh!" and he did it the right way from then on. Here is what he came up with:

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Maybe we will do some more of these. I quizzed him the next day and he remembered everything we had talked about, so I think it helped with retention.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Good thought

Yesterday was kind of odd because I woke up earlier than Junior. He usually comes and wakes me up about 7:30, but for some reason he decided to sleep late. I got up and was enjoying a cup of coffee, watching Today because I hardly ever get to do that anymore. Then I heard Junior in his room, talking. I figured he was getting dressed. Most mornings he will get up, dress himself, leave his pajamas on the floor, leave his bed in a mess, and come get me up so I can turn on one of his "shows." Later, I come in and make him straighten up his room and make his bed.

In a few minutes, I saw him streak, undressed, down the hall, then back again. More talking in his room. I had expected him to come in the living room in a few minutes, but he had been up for a while and I didn't see him. Finally, I got up to check on him. He was making his bed...without being told! (or fussed at!) I said good morning to him. He was all excited because I had caught him being good. "DON'T help me!"

I told him I wasn't going to help him, but I was proud of him for making his bed. Then I said, "This morning I saw a little naked boy running down the hall. Do you know anything about that?"

He said, "Oh, that was me. I was just putting my clothes in the hamper."

"Your pajamas? Why are you doing all this stuff so early, and without being told?"

"I just didn't want to have all that work to do today. You know, and you telling me, 'Now go do this, go do this, this, this, this!' Aaaaagh!"

Wow! That is a pretty good idea for me, too.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Our week

This week Todd has had some kind of cold/sinus thing, and baby Bubby has it now. I feel so bad for him. Mornings are the worst for him. It is hard for him to eat and breathe at the same he just gets mad instead. The baby...not Todd!

We are gearing up to start school back next week. We did a little this week, just to get back into things. Peanut is studying about Elizabethan England. I found a neat article called "Young Will" that we will use to talk about Shakespeare. I don't think we'll delve too deep here. There is a biography written for kids that I put on reserve at the library, and a book called Tales From Shakespeare, which has summaries of some of his plays.

Tomorrow is errand day. I haven't been out of the house since Sunday afternoon, so I'm looking forward to it. We will go to the library and dance class, then a fast food lunch. There is now a Chik-fil-a just down the street from dance, and it shouldn't be too hard to talk the big kids into that. Yum! They might get to go visit Grandma and Grandpa for the weekend.

Peanut has been playing with clay today. This is a mermaid, an eel, a fish, and an oyster.