Category: A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life 19

My neck is out and my back aches. Sigh. We got a big snow and I shoveled even though my neck was twinging so my dad could get in the driveway. I only shoveled a little but it was too much and now. Sigh. I am off to spend several hours flat on my back playing Harvest Moon because I can’t sit up for long. Before I go I want to share a couple things:

This morning my “teaching himself to read” child called me over to the table where he sat eating animal crackers.

“Look Mom, this says low fat!”

“Did you read that yourself?”

“Yup.” He grinned and went on eating.

As I said he has been having me “read” a hymn book to him. He likes to help me read the words, which are divided into syllables so he can easily sound them out. He then helps me sing the songs. It is very sweet. (It had never occurred to me that all the old hymn books I collect from yard sales would make such great easy readers.)

My little boy has taught himself to read!

Also, all three kids are very into Edubuntu and are spending lots of time playing GCompris and and several other great educational games. The other cool thing about Edubuntu is that you can go to the Edubuntu site, download the isntaller and burn the image to a cd–which will allow you to run the whole thing off the cd without installing over your copy of Windows. We have two copies running though one of the machines still has Windows on it. It is amazing to see what they are learning from this wonderful program.

A Day in Life 16: When Learning is a Choice plus Doodle-a-day 2-19-08

When something is a requirement it is hard for the rebellious nature not to rebel. When learning is a choice then the rebellious will choose it because they really do want to learn. And when a person really does want to learn something that person will find a way.

  • When we went to the library last week my son asked for Hooked on Phonics: level 1, my daughters asked if they could get books to read. I reluctantly agreed only because we pay quite a lot in library fines because they forget which they got out.
  • Before bed my son read a book with me because he wanted to learn to read it. He also asked if he could play the Hooked on Phonics game in the morning. I told him he had to get his work done first (Mondays he throws all their dirty laundry down the step, move it to the hall where he has to sort it, plus put away all the pots ad pans and plastic items from the dishwasher.)
  • He woke at 8:30 and before he got his breakfast he had done the dirty laundry, not only the upstairs but also all the dirty laundry from the bedroom and the bathroom and he did everyone’s dishes, not just his own. He then came and told me and asked if he could play his game. (He has played it before and knows the answers pretty well but he is a cautious child and wants to REALLY know things before moving on.)
  • He spent an hour playing the Hooked on Phonics game which moves you through reading all sorts of three letter words then asked to go outside after he ate breakfast.
  • He went off to visit our elderly neighbor, who loves having company and happily reads him books, plays restaurant with him, and watches as he builds amazing towers with her set of blocks.
  • He spent hours playing happily in his room with his magnetics, exploring the world of magnetism and time outside with one of his plastic swords fighting off the monstrous trees that have invaded our backyard in search of fair princesses who need rescued or pretending he is a tiny little man inside my father’s back hoe moving sand around our fire pit and covering and rediscovering matchbox cars.
  • He asked to play Number Rings with me (a math game put out by Discovery Toys that requires the players to add, subtract, multiply, and divide 3 dice in order to fill in all the numbers from 1-18.) He then proceeded to beat me with only a little help with multiplication from me.
  • At bedtime he read If You Give a Pig a Pancake with only little help from me.
  • The next morning he he asked if he could do his school work. He then proceeded to get out all his workbooks and do page after page of his phonics workbook–effectively teaching himself all the long a spellings and reading them on his own. This after spending some time outside and realizing it was too cold and putting away 20 items in his room so he could go outside in the first place.

This is the same child who, when told he HAS to do something gets very worked up and can’t possibly get anything out of it because he is too busy being upset. Each of my children are different and he is my methodical self-motivated child. This child would be in trouble constantly in school because he can NOT sit still and can NOT be quiet (he makes noise and moves around all through our church time and reading time although if he is engrossed in a project he can be still). When he works on workbook pages he talks constantly and then gets up and runs around the house jumping off the furniture and shouting cock-a-doodle doo (his latest noise discovery.)

Untraditional Church: How we got here.

I have been thinking that I should post on this subject for a while but am leery of making someone else defensive of where God has them.

So before I explain let me say this--What God has for us is NOT exactly the same as what God has for someone else. I don’t know what His plan is for you other than that He wants you to love Him as He loved you and wants to grow you into the very best person in Him that you can be. I am comforted to know that He has called others to this same place and that we are not alone in this. I also recognize that just as He calls some to keep their kids in public or private school, He calls some to stay in the traditional church institution. At this point I think I will be spending Sundays explaining how we got here, what we do, and why–both from the personal view point and the scriptural. To start I want to explain how we got here and where we come from. It is a bit of a long story so grab yourself some coffee and make yourself comfortable.Read More

IF: Theory

The plan worked better in theory .

Loosely based on my kids who love building Rube Goldberg machines and often have slightly odd theories about how things work.  In this case instead of a Rube Goldberg machine I used my son’s ball track–which also often works better in theory than in actuality.   And this is one of my kids’ favorite way to do things, planning out outlandish activities then testing their theories.

I couldn’t decide between color and black and white–the color is just colored pencil because watercolors wouldn’t work with this paper.

Yes, I have been doing doodles each day but haven’t gotten them posted due to household issues–not only is Rachel less than great but my husband is in pain with an injured back and muscle spasms.  So much has been going on that I shipped the other two to Grandma’s house. 🙂

A Day in the Life 15: Some days are like that, even in Australia

Rachel tried to snow board but her feet were too big for the foot holes. She got in trouble for stuffing her clothes and toys under the dresser, every, single, day–because mommy keeps checking her work. Her mouth and head hurt because she is getting two molars which mean a fever which means she is on seizure alert.

“It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel

Mommy told her to wear a helmet when sled riding and she didn’t. Then she thinks she hit a tree and thinks she hit her head but only remembers suddenly being on the other side of it lying in the snow. She thinks she will wear a helmet now.

Yesterday she wore her footy pajamas and got in trouble for running in the kitchen which she was doing because she wanted bacon and told mommy that and then ran again and her feet fell out from out under her and she landed on her back hitting her head in the place that still hurt because she had hit it on the tree.

“It has been a terrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel

Last night she didn’t sleep well because her head hurt and woke up in pain because her earing was pinching her ear went back to sleep and then woke up with it bleeding from being pinched and her head hurt from being hit and while she was trying to take the earrings out she knocked over a nail polish which broke open all over the carpet. She tried to clean it up with water but that didn’t work and now the bathroom smells like nail polish and remover because mommy had to scrub it.

“It has been a terrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel “Life’s not fair,” she says.

At breakfast she was out of bread and took her zinc without eating so then her stomach hurt and she couldn’t find something she wanted to eat and her head hurt and her ear hurt. Then she got a fever again and had to take a bath which she didn’t want to do because it made her cold. Then Mommy made her change out of her new fuzzy pink sweater and wear her tank top and light pj pants, “I HATE my light pj pants,” says Rachel. And daddy can’t comfort her because his back is out and his neck is spasming and she wants her daddy.

“It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week ,” says Rachel. “And everything is awful.”

She was fighting with her brother and sister and was mad because they wanted to watch one movie and she wanted to watch another and mommy said that they had done their work and could watch the one they wanted because she had just watched the one she wanted. And Mommy called Grandma who came and took her brother and sister because they were fighting and mommy had to take care of both herself and daddy and they get to go play in the snow and visit at grandma’s while she has to lie down and be sick, and her head still hurts and everything is awful.

“It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week,” says Rachel. “And they get to have all the fun.”

Mommy settled her down with some hot carob milk and a pile of new movies to watch and the house is quiet. “Everything is awful, and it has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, ” says Rachel.

“Some weeks are like that,” says Mommy.

On Board Books and Growing Up

The kids are cleaning out their rooms. We do this at least once a year, usually more often. They accumulate stuff they are too big for and need help choosing. This evening I went through their book shelves. I don’t allow too much twaddle up there–if a book doesn’t have great illustrations and good writing it lives a short life in our house. Sure Dragon Tails and Bob the Builder make their way from the thrift shop but they make their way back pretty quick.

This year was a bit of a shocker for me. The girls have begun in earnest to enjoy “real” chapter books. Sure they still enjoy some of my old picture books but most of those got moved to my son’s bookshelf. They were replaced with classic chapter books and favorite fairy tales, the books that get read and reread, and the picture books with incredible illustrations to be used for inspiration.

In my son’s room the baby board books were nestled away into the closet for a future grandchild (not mine, I am hoping my brothers will have children to read them.) It was hard to pack the Stephen Cartwright books away though the Sandra Boyntons stayed to hang out with Patricia Polacco and Dr. Suess, alongside Oxenbury and Rosemary Wells in the hopes of enticing our little man to read and be read to. Other favorite picture books, the ones my son once could not sit still for now reside on the shelves beside Thomas the Tank Engine, waiting for him to find them and ask for them to be read. No Bath Tonight, Say Hello Vanessa, That Fat Hat, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Could Be Worse await him and knowing how they have pleased my brothers and I as well as my daughters I know that soon he too will search them out to read them over and over.

Still it is sad to see Where’s My Teddy? go, and all the Usborne baby books are there no longer. I wonder if he will notice that Tickle Tickle is gone. I wonder if he will miss them. He needed the room for his big kid books and I am sure he will find many new imaginings and inspiration among these pages which have been read by two generations already.

Update: No I am not one of those moms who get all sentimental about baby clothes, its just the books, I am deeply attached to certain books. 🙂 Having written my sentimental stuff I tucked him in bed and he happily settled down with “Snow Day” which had been tucked away on his sister’s shelves. In fact he was having a hard time deciding which “new” book to peruse tonight. 🙂

Doodle-a-Day:2-12-08

Today I spent some time sketching as Issac moved about and built an impressive city out of the memory rocks we keep in a giant bowl by the fire place. He has all kinds of building toys but loves balancing rocks one on another and spent 45 minutes at it after playing out in the snow. Because he was moving about an building as boys do the sketch is more impression than any attempt to capture Issac as he is.

A Mob of Snowmen

Saturday, after 50 degree weather we suddenly got several inches of snow, which then melted by the end of the day, only to be replaced by great winds and freezing temperatures the next day--our weather is a bit odd. The kids took full advantage of Saturday’s snow and attempted to make a village of snowmen. It looked more like a mob to me, especially when several got their heads knocked off or were left partly made because the snow was too heavy.

I was going to show these individually and talk about what was going on but I have been gone all day and just found out I need to go out again to fix someone’s computer. My doodle will have to wait and you can just click on the slideshow if you want to see the whole gallery of pictures.

Day in the Life 13: Kids in the Kitchen

When I was young I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. At some point my mom got me a Betty Crocker Cook Book for Kids and some other weird kid’s cook books (I tried to find them, believe me. One of them had humpty Dumpty on the cover and had recipes for “Purple Cows” and cucumber sandwiches, the other had a child’s hand reaching down to all kinds of awesome cookies, I also had the official Winnie the Pooh cookbook and several others that I didn’t use so often.)

I made a lot of messes and wasted plenty of ingredients but my mom taught me the basics and kind of just let me go in the kitchen–as long as I cleaned up I was allowed to play with food. It is how I learned and I learned a lot. When I was older I would often make desserts and when we needed to take food somewhere I usually whipped it up.

My kids are 6, 8, and 10. I have spent plenty of time in the kitchen with them teaching them to read recipes and measure. All three know how to use the stove and the older two are capable of using the oven. All three love to help in the kitchen.

Lately my oldest has been kitchen obsessed. Our rule is that she is allowed to bake or cook as long as she makes sure the kitchen is clean before AND after. (I don’t allow cooking in the kitchen unless it is clean and the dirty dishes all int he dishwasher.) She is finally to the point where I don’t have to be in the kitchen with her. I am letting her make mistakes (like not mixing the ingredients right and misreading the recipe–it is how I learned and it is how I intend the kids to learn.) Yesterday she decided to make pie crust for pumpkin pie–she can’t eat most of the pumpkin pie ingredients and she didn’t ask me what I substitute so I let her go.
She used Stevia with pumpkin and used way too much Stevia so the filling was pretty much inedible. However, the crust was decent though not mixed well enough. It was definitely edible. 🙂

Today she has decided to make peanut butter cookies. I am staying out of the kitchen.


After yesterdays mistakes she learned to ask more questions before proceeding and to reread the recipe. She is also teaching her little brother and sister to measure, repeating many of the fine points I have taught her over the years. Teaching another is one of the best ways I know to learn something yourself.

If she succeeds with these this will be the first time I have not been involved in the process other to take pictures and answer questions. It will be a real success–especially as she already did all the dishes and cleaned the kitchen unasked so that she could bake, and has already cleaned as she has gone along, instead of leaving a mess for later.

The best part is–since her snack foods are expensive and the ingredients are much less so letting her make her own snacks, even with the mistakes is MUCH cheaper than buying ready made ones. (And reading recipes is a great way for Rachel, my dyslexic child who struggles with comprehension to work on her reading skills.)

Update: The cookies are AWESOME! She did a great job!

Todays doodle to come later–I am intending to work from the pictures I took of them working in the kitchen since they were moving too much for me to doodle while they worked.

Day in the Life 12: Breakthrough and some Pod People

I just stopped what I was doing (working on my doodle-a-day–almost finished and ready to post) because I had made the kids a smoothy and realized that I needed to fill the blender with water (I had left the kids with the full blender drinking their little hearts out.)

I expected to see a table full of empty smoothy glasses and a blender.

I found the blender, and glasses, in the sink, all full of water!

I asked who did it and they replied, “We did!”

Not only did they remember to not leave everything to turn into smoothy cement but no one took credit!

Who stole my kids and replaced them with *pod people?

On the other hand, sometimes pod people is a good thing.

*When I was a kid, when my parents did the weird jeckle and hyde thing I imagined that aliens had come along and zipped on parent like skins–I thought of them as pod people and imagined that if I looked hard enough I would find the zipper marks.