Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Hard to Take a Break

I haven't been on the computer in DAYS.  I place the blame on my ritual post-Christmas obsession with organizing my house and on my husband, who is sick with a lung infection and has taken it upon himself to move files from my laptop to our external storage device thingamajig.  (I'm so glad I don't have to be the techni-geek in this house.)

I logged on this morning and was bombarded with so many wonderful blog posts about Christmas, crafts and photography and now I'm practically clawing at my computer screen, trying to put images and words together in order to post something so I don't feel like such a slacker...and then I realized that I'd much rather continue on in my quest for organization.  So I'm going to go do that.

Sadly, the quest for organization can only be accomplished for one room this year, but I'm making huge strides with it.  I've been tackling the master bedroom and closet, turning it all upside down and inside out so as to consolidate all the necessities of a bedroom AND an office AND a craft room.  We have plans to finally finish the basement in the coming year, so I must make do with all my stuff in MY room, as all the other rooms that my stuff is scattered throughout will soon become other people's rooms.

I also have plans to take some time and sit and ponder how I want to approach this upcoming year.  It's a week of organization, reflection and preparation.  Highly recommended, even if you're not solely responsible for the education of your children.  In my experience, successful families are a result of realistic planning and dedicated execution of those plans.

I hope everyone is having a lovely time with their winter breaks and I wish safety to you in this Season of Ice and Snow.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sweet Pea Hat for a Little Princess

My cousin and his lovely wife just became the proud parents of an adorable little girl in November, so I made an adorable little hat for her first Christmas.  I made a unisex version before the birth of Monkeyboy (which he wore proudly), but I was really looking forward to making it in a definitive gender color scheme.

PatternSweet Pea, by Susan B. Anderson
YarnTahki Cotton Classic (#3446-Pink, and I couldn't read the color number for the green...)
Needles:  US 5 & 7

Needless to say, I think this is an adorable little hat.  This was the first time I was able to use the Cotton Classic yarn, and I don't think I'm a big fan of it.  It's too...crisp.  Which seems like a weird thing to dislike, but dislike it I do.  The colors are beautiful and I love the sheen of the yarn...but it's too crisp for me.  I don't know how to describe it any other way.
It's so much fun now that my family members are starting to reproduce!  I won't commit to making something for every new soul, but I'm definitely going to try to fit in some crafting for wee ones when they come about into the world.

When I logged into my Facebook account this afternoon, I saw that there were new pictures of the wee little and I happily discovered that two of those pictures featured her modelling this very hat.  This marks the infant's parents as knitworthy, which may benefit her in the way of knitted goods in the future.  She looked so stinkin' cute and so very tiny.  Sweet baby girl.  Oh, bitty babies are just so precious.

Merry Christmas!

Posts might resume in this next week, but I reserve the right to continue enjoying a low-stress vacation.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Weekly Report: December 13-17, 2010
A Smidge of Quality Time with Queen Hatshepsut

One day of school.  Yep.  One.
I thought that last week, with all its sickness and craziness, was as inconvenient as it could get...but I was wrong.
I admit it...I was very wrong.

Monday was our full day of school and we hit everything: Math, Language Arts, History, Literature.  Bluebird flew through it without needing to take a single "calm-down period" or being thrown into time-out.  It was awesome.  We rocked!

Monkeyboy woke up about 1:30 am Tuesday morning because he was hungry and when I went to put him back to bed I noticed a funky smell in the kids' room.  Our kitten had been spending a lot of time in there, so I immediately suspected kitty messes and went sniffing around, trying to locate the source.  My nose led me to Junebug's bed, where my darling toddler was sleeping in a pool of puke.  Lovely.  Clean-up took about an hour, after which Monkeyboy would not go to sleep, so I had to spend some more time with him.  Needless to say, I turned off the alarm for the morning.  No one else complained.  I woke up feeling queasy, so I cancelled school.

WednesdayA scary day.  Bluebird woke up and said that her stomach and her throat were hurting; she didn't want to eat any breakfast and she wanted to go take a nap.  We have some issues with her faking sick, but wanting to go back to bed was a big tip-off that she really wasn't feeling good.  She woke up a little later and asked to watch some television, to which I granted permission.  She came out into the living room and quietly informed me that she needed a bowl, which I didn't hear clearly...but before she could say it again she threw up.  Blood clots.  Talk about a quick trip to the doctor!

As it turned out, Bluebird probably had a small tear in her esophagus from a wickedly sore throat.  They ran a strep test, which came back negative, and the vomitting and clots cleared up by the end of the day.  The doctor told me that throwing up blood clots is actually pretty common in kids!  The time to really worry is when the blood is bright red and/or coming out in fountain-style.  (Look, now you've learned something useful!)

Thursday...yeah.  Bluebird still recovering and I had scheduled for a Closet Specialist to come re-vamp two of our closets.  It was noisy.  I tried reading to them all throughout the day, but they were pretty happy to explore on their own, so I let them.  I opted to do a whole lotta laundry and re-organize said closets.  I need to remember to not schedule that sort of stuff for during school, but to wait for our school breaks.  Duh.  (I was just so excited to finally get them done!)

Having a picnic!

 We did make false beards on Friday.  Bluebird was so happy about hers that she wore it for hours.  I gently prompted her to perhaps take it off after a while, and when she removed it she said, "Whew!  That beard is WARM!"  Ha ha ha.  We needed to take my cousin to the airport again, so I didn't attempt for any more school because I was busy getting things in order for that to happen.

We are gonna spank school when we start again in January.  I'm totally taking our full two weeks off for Christmas, despite accomplishing next to nothing in the past three weeks.  We'll hit all this history again at least twice throughout Bluebird's compulsory education years, and she was ahead in everything else to begin with, so I am simply not allowing myself to freak out over this giant hiccup.  (And really, we have moved forward over the whole course of school we've done this year!)  Ten years from now it won't matter that we're not exactly on schedule.  What will matter is that we've spent time together, I haven't gone crazy, and we're strengthening our immune systems.  (Ha ha, I almost believe myself when I say all of that!)

That having been said, I am going to try to finish up reading His Majesty, Queen Hatshepsut out loud to Bluebird during break.  (She is loving that book!) 

I have various activities planned during our break, including a cookie decorating playdate with our neighbors, and I'm making time for me to sit down and do some serious pondering and planning for the New Year.  It should be an enjoyable and restorative break.

Enjoy your Christmas breaks!  I'm hoping to post pictures from our holiday adventures and look forward to hearing about everyone else's!
Find more weekly reports at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weekly Report: December 6-10, 2010
It Was The Most Wonderful Week of the Year.
Oh, wait, the sarcasm font didn't work...

I cannot believe that you want a report on how the week has gone.  Really?  You want me to describe how this week has gone?

You're crazy...but I do adore crazy, so here we go!

Monday:  No school.  Everyone coughing.

Tuesday:  No school, but I informed everyone all day long that we would definitely do school the next day because even though we didn't feel great, we could function at a level sufficient for school.

Wednesday:  I awoke, early, with energy.  I got work in on some things that needed my attention and I even wrote an email to my family telling them how great the day was going to be and how I was going to make some seriously awesome waffles for breakfast.

I made waffles with Penguin.  We ate them.  And then Penguin and Junebug threw them up.

I wrote another email to my family expressing my disgust with the day.

(I placated my homeschooling conscience with reading His Majesty, Queen Hatshepsut out loud to Bluebird, in between vomit clean-up sessions.)

Thursday:  I approached the day cautiously, with none of my former obnoxious optimism.  It didn't matter, Penguin continued throwing up anyway.  Penguin, Junebug and Monkeyboy developed fevers that evening and I escaped for a couple of hours to go to knit night and do some grocery shopping.  (I really needed that break--Michael is awesome for taking care of them.)

Friday:  Michael took the day off from work to hang out with us.  This really messed me up, in that "What day is it today?" sort of manner.  I began the day thinking it was Saturday because he was home.  It wasn't until he asked if we didn't have any school to be done that I realized that it was Friday.

So we did a science experiment.  With more of that smelly cabbage juice.

And some art.  With those awesome watercolor crayons.

And that was our week!  Exciting, don't you think?

Although, really, the projectile vomitting and the numb fingers that accompany carrying your puke-stained bedding out into the yard in order to hose them down in 30 degree weather (the looks on the neighbors' faces...priceless) were wonderfully topped off by having to sit through Quesnel's first veterinary exam today.  It's so much fun to watch a vet stick a thermometer up your yowling kitten's butt.

I can't wait to see what the next week will bring.

Check out more homeschool weekly reports at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Weekly Report: November 29 - December 3, 2010
Cabbage Juice and Nubian Gold

Back to the routine after a week off for Thanksgiving.  Monday required a Herculean effort to keep Bluebird on-task and cheerful about it, and then we settled back down into our normal school routine.  I noticed that she had a runny nose and was sniffling a lot on Wednesday, and when she woke up sounding hoarse I decided to call it good and give her the day off.  She added coughing to her list of symptoms this morning, so we're taking another sick day.

Regardless, we did manage to get some stuff done around here:

Language Arts:  We moved ahead in Grammar, Spelling, Phonics and Penmanship.  We're getting close to finishing Phonics Pathways, which is wonderful.  I've had her staring at the pages of it since she was three years old.  We're both a little tired of Phonics Pathways.  She'll get to move forward, but I just cracked it open for Penguin and am set to begin again.

We also wrote a letter to Santa, which I will have Bluebird copy next week when she's feeling better.

Math:  Bluebird played store and worked on telling time to the half hour.  Penguin learned how to graph counter bears and pattern blocks, and spent time on learning about circles and rectangles.

Literature:  We read Rimonah of the Flashing Sword, which is a "Snow White meets the Forty Thieves" sort-of tale.  It was pretty good.  We also read Temple Cat, which Bluebird and Penguin both loved.

History:  We studied the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, and Bluebird was obsessed about the gold in Nubia.  Her narration page showed this huge barge going down the Nile, stacked high with gold and animal skins.  (She thought it was rather nice of the Nubians to share their gold with the Egyptians, ha ha ha.)

We also learned about the Hyksos invasion of Egypt, and Bluebird was given a page of Hyksos jewelry to color.  Penguin walked by and pleaded for a page of her own, so I copied another for her.

Science:  Always the highlight of Bluebird's week.

I had to boil down a head of red cabbage to get a bunch of cabbage juice, which we used in this week's lesson and will also use for next week's lesson.  (Don't drink anything from the big cup of purple juice in the back of my fridge!)  We used the cabbage juice as an indicator and added it to various liquids to test whether they were acids or bases.

Bluebird was asked to taste each liquid before we added the cabbage juice, and note whether it was sour or not sour.

Acids turned the cabbage juice pink, bases turned it a bluish-green and neutral solutions simply diluted the cabbage juice to a lighter shade of purple.

I've made the decision to end the school day at 2:30 so I can have time to get other important things done, like laundry, washing dishes and other exciting things like that.  As a result, we'll be doing all our art and big projects on Fridays.  Unfortunately, Bluebird's illness escalated to a deep cough on Friday, and I was exhausted from having stayed up a bunch of the night with the newest addition to our family:

The newest tactic in our war against mice, this is Empress Quesnel.
I'm not a fun person to be around when I'm tired, and I've learned that it's counter-productive for me to try and push through the exhaustion because I'm just so irritable.  I'd rather lose a day of school than damage my relationship with my children because I flipped out over something in my grumpy state. 

Highlights of the Week:
  • Bluebird wanting to get through her math flashcards quickly.  She thinks it's great fun to blurt out the answer before I'm done reading the math fact on the card.  I'm all for it.
  • It's not exactly homeschool-related, but Bluebird has a bit of a reputation in our neighborhood as a smart cookie.  At church on Sunday, one of our neighbors was talking to her and turned to me and asked, "So, does she know Einstein's Theory of Relativity yet?"  It caught me off-guard.  I replied with, "We'll study that next year."  And he believed me.
Lowlights of the Week:
  • Monday was rough for all of us.  But we pushed through it, which is good.
  • The kids getting sick means that we can't go up to Idaho this weekend for our newest cousin's baby blessing.  Everyone's a little bummed over that.
Funnies of the Week:
  • Bluebird admiring the Nubians for so being so unselfish with their gold.
  • While boiling the cabbage down, I lifted the lid off of the pot and within about five seconds all three girls popped up from what they each were doing and exclaimed, "EW!  What's that smell?!?!"  It was like a Brooketopian version of "Meerkat Manor."
  • Anytime Bluebird discusses the cabbage juice experiment, she has to spend a few minutes to really drive home how "disgusting" most of the liquids were when she tasted them.
Hopefully we're all feeling better and can do a full week of school next week.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Daisy Scout Rededication Ceremony

I know this is supposed to be a Wordless Wednesday post, but I just wanted to talk about how much I like the Girl Scout Juliette program.  We have a pretty good Juliette program here in Utah--they get to sell cookies, go to the  camps together and we have some activities like this rededication/investiture ceremony.

I was thinking about signing her up for a troop when she enters Brownies, but I like the freedom of Juliettes so much that I'm thinking of staying in the Land of Lones.

So THANK YOU to all the people who makes Juliette Girl Scouting here in Utah so enjoyable!

(And I can't believe that it's time to start gearing up for cookie-selling again...I don't think I've had time to brush the Thin Mints off my teeth!)

Next year there will be two Girl Scouts in our family!