Sunday, September 28, 2008

Family Night with the Viking Crew

Guess what WE did tonight? LOL

Friday, September 26, 2008

ADD is...

...looking at a handful of silverware, 2 popcorn bowls, and one sauce pan in the sink and feeling overwhelmed by having to do the dishes.

...looking at a stack of 2 workbooks, a story book, and two teacher guides and not having the energy to tackle 45 minutes of homeschooling.

...realizing that, despite Fridays being a laundry day for the last. seven. years, it's nearly noon and you haven't started the first load yet

...looking at three things on your to-do list and they just seem initially insurmountable despite two being "drive-thru" errands.

...looking at the list of possible dinners on the fridge and having 6 choices is just too many to decide.

...looking up at the clock and thinking - I just finished the breakfast dishes and it's nearly time for lunch and we've gotten NOTHING done. *sigh*

What's worse is that it is all internal dialogue so no one else knows how completely mind-blowing and will-numbing it feels to not be able to make just one.more. choice. when everything in your head is buzzing from constant noise, constant questions, and constant distractions.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thank yous are not enough

The Happy Housewife shared this this morning and I can't stop watching...

Praise God for those that have served before and are serving now. I never truly understood until I walked in a more mature understanding of my faith and until the Vikings arrived how very precious our freedoms are and how brave our men and women in uniform are who defend them.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Prayer Request

MIL's knee replacement surgery (originally schedule for 2nd week of October) has been moved up to THIS Thursday. Prayers for her, her surgery, and her recovery.

Also, FIL's post-op/biopsy infection (and resulting hospitalization) were not getting better with the oral antibiotics they sent him home with. Re-tested last week due to a new fever and he found out it's E Coli! Prayers for him and his healing.

Breakfast at the Vikings Hus

Learning going on all the time! LOL

Monday Playgroup Photos

I so love our playgroups with our Parents as Teachers group. I'm so bummed that come January Pojke will "age out" of the program which focuses on pre-preschool-aged kids and their development and skills.

All this plus reading time and a free books each month!

Callapidder Challenge: Fall 2008

Can't believe it's time for another one of Katrina's reading challenges! Geez, where does the time go!?

According to my archive, I've never done a FALL challenge but I did participate in her
Spring 2007 and Spring 2008 challenges with some modest success. LOL (Maybe I'm just overambitious in what I pick for reading material! *wink*)

And, speaking of overambitious, I've got seven books on my "wish list" for Katrina's 13-week challenge. While that may not seem like much to anyone else, let it be known that I just barely made my New Years resolution last year to read one book a month! LOL So, 7 in 1/4 of a year seems like A LOT! LOL

But, here's what I'm hoping to tackle for Katrina's Fall 2008 Reading Challenge (and a note to me where I'm getting from):

48 days to the work you love by Dan Miller (lib)
A Childhood Remembered by Helene Cooper (?)
Yesterday's Weather by Anne Enright (on hold at lib)
The absorbent mind / Maria Montessori (lib)
Eats, shoots & leaves : the zero tolerance approach to punctuation by Lynn Truss (lib)
Cranford by Elizabeth Crandall (
Friends for the journey by Lucy Shaw and Madeleine L'Engle (en route via ILL)

Cranford already arrived in the mail and I picked up the Enright over he weekend from interlibrary loan. So, I'll be starting on those first. Good luck to all the other readers and stop by Katrina's Mr. Linky to see what everyone else picked to read.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Three Weeks In

It's been three weeks since the Viking household all went back to school.

DaHubby started the first full time semester as required by the new scholarship he was awarded as part of the new nuclear energy program at Lake Michigan College. He's attending 12 hours of lecture a week while still maintaining 45 hours a week at work.

And, at Flicka's request, we began her second year of "homeschool preschool" the same day as Daddy's first class. Meanwhile, this is Pojke's first time experience with "school."

So, in anticipation of all this change, of all this activity, and of all the time DaHubby would be absent due to work and school, I decided to buckle down with a strict schedule for a while. My ADD makes this extremely hard to do but extremely necessary for accountability, productivity, and all our sanities! LOL

I had heard several folks (most recently The Happy Housewife) sing the praises of the "Managers of Their Homes" or MOTH system of scheduling for homeschooling parents. Now, there are plenty of reviews out there - some good; some scathing - so I'll leave that up to Amazon and Google but I thought I'd reflect on what the process of getting ready for and implementing our schedule for three weeks has taught us.

With being brand new homeschoolers and with only an hour or so per day for actual planned schooling, this was more about getting me organized than the anything. I read through a copy of MOTH that I got through interlibrary loan with our local library. It's a quick, easy read and immediately struck me as very similar to the Dave Ramsey books I've been reading in several ways.

Dave Ramsey repeats over and over and over on his radio show, DVD's, and books about budgeting with the idea in mind that "every dollar has a name" in your budget before the month begins. The most important thing to remember when trying to figure out a monthly budget is that every dollar has a name on paper on purpose. Spend all your money before the month begins." MOTH is pretty much a system where every chunk of time has a name before the day or week begins.

Our experience with Financial Peace University required us to step out of our brains for a bit, out of our financial habits, take a fresh unbiased look at our spending, reflect on what we had been doing, and think outside our box about how to fix the financial hole we had dug.

MOTH requires you to start with a list of your activities and makes you prioritize them. The old adage that if something is important to you, you will make time for it is true. "Suddenly" I've had more time for Bible reading, snuggling the kids, and other activities that just a few months ago I was always wishing I had time for.

In a DR-styled budget, your bills are prioritized from most important to least. You take the money you earn and go down the list. When you run out of money, you draw a line. And, those creditors "below the line" just don't get paid that month. You have to come up with another plan for those.

Well, MOTH requires you to take your "income" of minutes in a day, start at the top of your priorities, and go down the list 'til you run out of minutes. When you are out of minutes, those activities "below the line" are cut...or another activity somewhere has to sacrifice some time for you to add it.

It took about two days of time here and there for me to sort out a homemade Excel chart of our day (I couldn't use the ones in the book since it's a library book, of course). And, there are already things I would tweak but some observations:

One - before this system, I spent WAY WAY WAY too much time at the computer. Not a major revelation but I'm one of those "show me in concrete" type of girls so having only so much time each day for computer time showed me how much additional time I was giving to my technology and not to my kids, home, and hubby.

Two - I have never spent more time on my hands and knees and at the Vikings' level playing and interacting than I have in the last three weeks. LOL And, the results of that attention have been A-MAZ-ING! There are still sibling battles over ME but overall their behavior has been significantly improved. And, my fear of "daddy's-gone acting out" has been a waste of time. The kids miss him greatly day to day but we've made it a priority and set aside time for the kids (individually and together) to have Daddy's attention.

Three - I find myself having more joy and peace as well as being more in the moment the last week or two. When I know everything is accounted for, everything has a time and a place to get done, I'm able to enjoy what I'm doing right at that moment without my mind wandering off to what's coming up and/or what we're missing.

Now, that being said, life happens as it does for any mom with little ones (or even older ones) and this has not turned into some kind of crazy regime of clocks and timers and such. But, now the kids and I can have a conversation that sounds like this:

"I wanna go to the park."
"Well, if you want to go to the park, then we have to do school now and then you'll have to give up computer time later."
"But, I want to go NOW!"
"School and jobs first, fun later. After school, do you want to go to the park or have computer time?"
"Go to the park"
"So, you are giving up computer time for the park?"
"Yes, Mom."
"Okey, dokey. The park it is!"

Finally, what seems to be the most revolutionary thing about this are the results of the prioritization. Everything that *needs* to get done is getting done for the most part. And, it simplifies requests from others in terms of can we participate in something.

Now, again, please don't misunderstand. Weekends have no schedule and on more than one weekday, we have thrown the schedule out the window, did schoolwork when it fit in, and ran off for a morning of visiting and/or lunch with DaGrandparents. But, the structure of knowing what we are doing when (at least in the ball park LOL) has smoothed over so so SO many behavior problems without adding anymore with Daddy's continued absence due to school.

The Vikings are thrilled with time to snuggle Mom alone and their individual computer time. Nap/quiet times (most recently called "a re-boot" but that's another story LOL) have normalized again as have more regular bedtimes.

And, yet, there are still wrinkles to work out...

What to do when we travel? What to do when one Viking is sick? Group reading time needs to be scheduled some other time because now it is just being sucked up into school time and/or our morning block of activity. While morning chore time has ROCKED with success, the evening one hasn't been successful at all. And, my "alone time" in the afternoon that is supposed to include school prep, computer time, crafty time, and my own quiet time has been un-structured somehow dealing with "leftovers" and a desperate need of nap lately.

One last thing that's challenging us is outside interruptions. The authors of MOTH describe how they've even gone so far as to turn off the phone at certain times or that the dad working outside the home knows to call only at certain times when the mom is "free" from other responsibilities. This just doesn't seem to mesh with our needs and/or capabilities at this point.

When family calls (whether my parents or DaHubby's), in theory the schedule continues until an opening so to speak. The priorities you've set are still your priorities whether visitors are around or not. But, my parents and their respective spouses drive over 3 hrs to see us and the Vikings. I'm not gonna make them wait 'til we're done with something to fit them in. And, when my in-laws call and want the kids for the day, their school work waits.

Now, I feel a little uneasy about this because I know from reading other veterans' stories and advice that as a homeschooler it is critical to stay on track, accountable, and responsible for getting work done. So, setting a precedent like this now worries me because I feel like it puts us in a no-win situation.

If we bend the schedule to accommodate family, it could give the impression that our homeschooling isn't "important enough" to us or that we don't take it seriously so others won't take our choice seriously either. Yet, if we don't bend the schedule, we're inflexible, rude, and non-hospitable. So, I'm still gonna have to work that one out between God, DaHubby, and myself! LOL

Overall, it's been a real eye-opening experience. And, it has started what I think will be a lifelong habit I'd like to keep - adjusting the schedule as our needs and commitments change. I've always known that as an ADD-er that imposing some kind of structure on my days would be a benefit. And, while I don't think hardcore MOTH fans would say I'm a success at that particular plan, it HAS opened my eyes and the information in their book *really* connected with me through my recent financial conversion to all things Dave Ramsey.

Looking at my time like I've been taught to look at money just makes sense to me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Slow Fade?

Things have been so insanely busy here due to our new schedule which mostly involves me spending A LOT of time with un-napping Vikings and me spending very little time seeing DaHubby before he falls into bed exhausted after his nightly class and/or nightly 1-3 hours of reading.

I feel like I'm still "just hanging on" each day and haven't had the free brain cells to put together a decent non-picture post. LOL But, during our recent and apparently yearly flooding episode, I did have a random, could be significant and maybe even profound insight. LOL

During our first major basement flooding, we realized that not only did the former owners of this house have a cat and dog but they had animals that were left for long periods of time without access to facilities to relieve themselves *ahem* If ya know what I mean. The water slowly taking over our home's lowest level was "reactivating" all the animal urine that had dried previously - leaving our house smelling so bad, we nearly had to stay with others 'til it dried back out.

As result, last summer DaHubby ripped all the carpet out of the basement except for a small 3 ft by 12 or 15ft long piece of carpet in the "closet" under the basement stairs. That piece remained due to the large shelving unit we made in there and the subsequent things stored on it. Basically, we were too lazy and too tired at that point to move all the stuff, dismantle the shelving, and relocated it to another part of the basement.

And, it is that one remaining piece of carpet that has been stinking up my house. Oh. my. goodness! And, poor DaHubby had to go pull it out of there Tuesday night half-asleep after a 10 hrs shift, a 3.5 hr class, and 2 hrs of homework...bless his heart.

Then, yesterday, I was signing along with another of my many favorite Casting Crowns songs:

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

As Christians, we often get arrogant that we are out of the reach of Satan and his evil lies. While we are definitively covered by the blood of Christ and his mercy, grace, and forgiveness, we can still be tripped up. What greater victory is there for Satan than to trip up a believer!?

The devil isn't stupid - he knows that is he throws a large boulder in our path, we'll immediately see it, know it's him, and avoid it. But, it's the pebbles that trip us up. It's the little stuff. That one piece of something we let in or the one little piece of something we leave behind and don't *really* repent of or have God cleanse us of that will come back to trip us up every time.

Then, it's a slow fade...

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

It was the one little piece of carpet that stunk up my whole house. And, it could be one little thing that leads a family, a father, a mother, a child initially astray.

Something seen...on the computer, the TV.
One thing heard...gossip in a conversation, an inappropriate joke.
One thing said...hurtful words, insincere comment.

We must remain constantly vigilant. We must NOT be arrogant or overconfident.

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

What "little things" have your little eyes, feet, ears, and hands been doing that they probably shouldn't be? And, are you sure that you're sure that you're sure it's not leading you away...into a slow fade?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A blogoversary request

If you have a moment, it's a blogoversary event for the crazy, wonderful, talented, off the wall Robin over at Pensieve. It was her imagination that came up with the poetry carnival I used to participate in regularly. She is also an amazing photographer. And, most importantly, sometimes she just cracks me up! LOL

So Miss Thang is having her blogoversary and wants 100 comments to celebrate. Can ya do the girl a favor, stop by, and say "hi"? LOL

Wordless Wednesday - a little early

(Another good reason to avoid McD's out the bump on her head!)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom unit

With many thanks to Carisa and her Tot Books at 1+1+1=1, our first unit was a BIG success! We completed most of the unit last week but finally was able to do the big finale activity tonight.

Among other things, we did math and counting (blocks to measure how tall different pics of coconut trees were)...

We did colors and fine motor (coloring, cutting, and pasting)

We did social studies (those are 9 of the 10 largest producers of coconuts in the world plus Hawaii marked on the map).
And, we did a little science...botany, I guess! LOL Tonight we finally cracked open a real coconut! No milk to speak of and the meat wasn't particularly tasty but the $1.50 for the fruit was MORE than worth the look on Pojke's face when he tried it and pronounced "Uck-ee".

Thanks again to Carisa who got us smoothly through our first full week!

Flooding day three: Holding our own

While it is not currently raining right this minute, dark clouds are on the horizon with more rain in the forecast along with several different types of flood warnings still in effect. I was able to run outside for a few and snap some pics of our Viking Flooding of 2008 (which up to this point has been significantly easier than the Viking Flooding of 2007). Please excuse the mess...LOL

This is where all the standing water is gathering just outside our back door. The utility pump is in that bucket (which has holes in the bottom and keeps it from sucking up the rocks and such). This pump has the maximum capability of 1100 gallons an hour and was unable to keep up yesterday. And, once it overflows that 2X4 border you see, it runs right up the the back of the house.
DaHubby's makeshift dike to channel water that overflowed that 2X4 away from the house and...

...down the driveway along with the hose from the pump.

The SE corner of the basement...and YES that is the LARGE power box for the entire house and garage on the wall above the water! *sigh* This is our main water access point problem. Normally, this wouldn't be too worrisome as the floor drain is just to the right of the pic...HOWEVER! The floor is not slanted as it should be so the water then runs along the south wall to...
the SW corner in the front of the house where there is no drain! *sigh*
This is the NW corner and what used to be our classroom. That dike DaHubby build is in front of a window just to the left of this pic.

So, this is the water status as of this morning. Hardly earth shattering but, as that lovely musty, moldy smell is finally starting to gain speed, definitely annoying.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Raining and Flooding day two

DaHubby stayed home from church since the pump is unable (at a rating of 1,000+ gallons an hour) to keep the rain water collecting in a low spot in our yard. That low spot holds the water right near the house just long enough to let it seep in.

We are starting to get water from places we've never gotten water before. DaHubby's changing to a large/wider hose to hopefully catch up. And, we're wet-vaccing regularly to keep up with the spread in the basement.

I'd take pics but all the rechargeables are in the charger and no AA's in the house! LOL

This is still better than the actual CURRENT of water that was running through the basement last summer and (obviously) WAY WAY better than anyone living in the Gulf coast area is dealing with so we praise God.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Flooding update

Well, good thing I cleaned up and "water proofed" the things stored in the basement because, after our house-wide naps this afternoon, it's official. We're flooding. So, for the first time, we had to use our emergency fund. DaHubby's en route home from Lowe's with a new utility pump to use for draining the low spot in the backyard which is over-saturated and on an incline right towards the house.

We're damp, inconveninced but nothing major yet...but we're expecting three more days of rain.

We interrupt this weekend for some weather

Not that I'm complaining because I can't imagine what folks on the Gulf Coast are dealing with right now but I'll be MIA for a bit. Two days of rain saturating a primarily sand and clay environment means...wet basements. So, I am double and triple checking and everything that is not water-friendly in our basement is up off the floor and cleaning up all my "sorting into piles" piles on the floor of the school room as we are experiencing the beginning of flooding in three of four corners of the house.

Praying everyone who is getting similar weather is buttoning down their hatches and getting out their swampers/Wellies and remains safe.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wow...just wow!

Was reading Romans 4 this morning and COULD NOT get passed the WOW moment over these lines...

(formatted this way for emphasis to show how each few words hit me right between the eyes)

Against all hope
Abraham in hope believed
and so became the father of many nations

Without weakening in his faith
he faced the fact
that his body was as good as dead...
and that Sarah's womb was also dead.
Yet he did not waver...
But was strengthened in his faith
and gave glory to God
being fully persuaded
that God has power to do
what He has planned. (NIV)


God, grant me that simple yet world-changing faith like Abraham.

Let Us Not Forget; Let Us Pray

Moment of silence at 8:46am EDT

And, join with the Vikings, myself, and others at noon you local time for this event.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

(I know I know - it's supposed to be wordless...but, by way of explanation: On a whim (of mine), I thought Flicka could use some cheering up lately so we had a mini "half birthday party" for her last weekend. With brownies, snacks, and 5 of her friends, we headed down to our local beauty college. And, for 90 minutes and $10 each, the girls had their nails, hair, and makeup done. So I give you...the before and after shots! Ta-da!)

For more WW, go here and here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Inadvertant Montessori Moment? LOL

With last month's hospital visit, DaHubby's sudden full-load of college classes while still work 43 hrs a week, and re-starting homeschooling, I've been missing several weeks of Montessori Mondays. With school-type, learning-related stuff more on my mind, I've captured and/or noticed more teachable moments lately like this is one...

The Vikings are responsible for emptying the silverware and sippies from the dishwasher after a run. Once day, I was doing it myself in the interest of speed and Pojke frequent "I help" voice sounded from behind me. So, on an impulse, I said "then put the tops on these and tell me what color they are." He was so excited to help he forgot his kitchen stool! LOL

Now, Pojke's still a little rusty on his colors...still answering "pink" to any one color word he can't immediately come up with...but this was fun and turned into a 2-3 minute mini-lesson on colors, matching and sorting.

For more Montessori Mondays ideas, stop by Barbara's site later today.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More than 6?

The literature "classics"? Remember those? LOL Most college students I know worked their way through at least Norton anthology during their post-high school years. And, like most, at that time I wondered why I had to read all these "old dead white guys."

Once I was back after my bachelors to be certified to teach then I realized that there is canon of literature that all were expected to read and/or have knowledge of that provides a basic base of info for our citizenry. One would be considered well-educated for having tackled a basic, minimum number of these classics. And, what's even more exciting is now the definition of a "classic" has expanded as multicultural literature gains grown, voice, and prominence.

The NEA website states that their 2004 report found that not only is literary reading in America declining rapidly among all groups, but that the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young. They also found that the average American has only read 6 of a list of 100 canonical pieces of literature. So, they begun The Big Read.

This meme is related to that and has been going around for a while. I stumbled onto it at I'm a Drama Mama. It goes like this:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline (or mark in a different color) the books you LOVE

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (the COMPLETE works? Geez, I was an English major AND an English teacher and have never read ALL of them! LOL)

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So, how did YOU do?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Stress management and ADD

A wonderful post over at Stacks and Stacks' Clutter Control Freak blog which is from Jennifer Koretsky, founder of the ADD Management Group, LLC and author of Odd One Out: The Maverick's Guide to Adult ADD

If you have someone around you that seems to handle stress particularly badly and seems to "shut down" when it all becomes too much, this is a good description of what's going on in a ADD person's brain at that time! LOL

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rainy Day Preschool Science

Well, if I was to be honest, I was so wrapped up in watching the RNC convention last night that I forgot to prep for school today. Then, woke up to that lovely (enter sarcasm here) misty rain that says "autumn" all over Michigan. LOL

So, the light bulb in my teacher brain finally kicked in about 9:30am when I remembered that
one of the things on Flicka's scope and sequence for this year was discussing alive vs. inanimate objects. And, as we've been sorting and cuttin'/pastin' fools so far this week, I stole an idea from my lloonngg ago days at summer camp: a rainy day hike!

We took a camera and went to a local park that has more green and growth than playground area and just happens to be on a pretty large river around here. And, with our
"swampers" on and the rain just barely falling, we went on a scavenger hunt to find examples of "alive" and "not alive" things.

Within 5 minutes of locking up the van, they not only found the puddles...

but also these two examples. Along with some not as willing to look back at us...

Then, we went home, dumped the camera, and quickly printed out 4 alive things and 4 non-alive things (4 to a 4X6 piece of photo paper). Then, Flicka's job (Pojke had lost interest at this point) was to cut, sort, and paste the pics in the correct part of the fancy, shmacy chart you see in this photo (LOL): A little soggy but a good morning for all!

Repost: And, in Viking frugal news...

(Reposting for Tackle It Tuesday)

I have the coolest, most talented hubby anywhere! LOL But, I'm a little biased I guess.

With him heading back to school full time, he was interested in having his own work space/desk to do his school work. With money being what it is around here (ala Dave Ramsey) and with the hospital bills from last month starting to arrive, it wasn't really an option to *buy* a desk.

However, in my initial post-college days when money was equally tight, my dad and I conspired to locate an inexpensive desk. So, I bought two 2-drawer file cabinets and proceeded to give my dad the dimensions of the top and the drawer clearance on the front.

My dad then made a desk top with sufficient blocking underneath that it fit exactly over top of the file cabinets making my first computer desk. It's so cool and still comfy height-wise that I still have it yet it is being held up by alternative means as I've taken the file cabinets for homeschooling in another area of the house.

So, DaHubby was in a quandry - how to make a new "bottom" for the desk top.

My smart-as-a-whip wood-workin' hubby wonder scrounged around in the garage and found a stack of wonderful wood he had gotten FREE at the end of a local garage sale in June and made THIS:

And, then we added the desktop back on:

*big smile* How cool is HE!?

(For more Tackle It Tuesday conquerings, go here.)

Our new chore chart

We started a modified "Managers of Their Homes" schedule this week as everyone but me headed "back to school"! LOL

DaHubby is gone three nights and one morning a week for his college classes. And, the Vikings and I are "chore training" and getting in the swing of things with homeschooling for this year.

So...since I have 2 pre-readers in the house, I made chore charts with pictures and clip art.

Each Viking has a few things to do in the morning (the sun side) and in the evening (the moon side). For example, Flicka's morning chores are teeth brushing, getting dressed, picking up shoes/clothes/books in her room, making her bed and checking the dishwasher for clean silverware that she can put away. And, in the evenings, Pojke gets to pick up the books/toys/cars in his room and empty any washed silverware from the dishwasher.

And, I have been amazed at how enthusiastic the kids have
been about their chores!

It's been wonderful and the house hasn't been this clean in I don't know HOW long! LOL

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

For more WW, go here or here.

First Day of (Home) School 2008

Due to the fact that I poorly planned and seriously under-budgeted for curriculum (I kept getting outbid on Ebay and I had NO clue how quickly it would all add up), we're getting a late start homeschooling this year. But, to our credit, Michigan schools started today anyway! LOL

Much of my curriculum is still en route so I planned on using last year's "Before Five In A Row" which teaches multi-subject content via classic children's books to get through these initial weeks.

Today was Corduroy. We read Proverbs 17.17: "A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity" and talked about what makes a good friend. We then read Corduroy. We talked about the female character's manners: being obedient, polite, patient, all those things that we all wish we were. LOL Then, we talked about how she saved up her money and came back for Corduroy. So, we counted coins and talked about how 2 quarters, 5 dimes, 10 nickels, and 50 pennies all add up to fifty cents.

And, then we talked about colors then counted and sorted beads.

Then, we made little paper Corduroys using scissors for small motor skills!

It only took about 30-40 minutes but not a bad start!

A new day

[Through] the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. [They are] new every morning; Great [is] Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3.22-23

Starting a new day, a new schedule, a new month, and a new school year.

Had the realization of some pretty nasty parenting mistakes this weekend - thank God for His mercies, His wisdom, and His guidance. And, praise God for a new day to try again.

We are starting a new homeschooling year today...with a new schedule.

Another need for such an elaborate schedule? DaHubby starts school tonight - one of his four classes this semester while still working 40+ hours a week. He will be gone three nights a week and from 9-noon on Saturdays til Christmas.

With this schooling, we were hugely (and can I say REALLY hugely) blessed when DaHubby was one of 10 students selected from over 100 of his classmates to be awarded a full-ride tuition and books scholarship for the 2008-2009 school year. However, with DaHubby having to drop his standard overtime, money is still getting squeezed a little tighter. And, the hospital bills from last month are now starting to roll in. A new month; a new budget.

Trying to make sure each day is re-focused on Him and to His glory and I'll let Him take care of the rest.