Friday, December 31, 2010

People with bodies and hands and feet

K. has been doing a lot of drawing recently.  Just about a month ago he started drawing 'potato' people for the first time.  You know, those early first people drawings which young children do with legs and arms coming straight out of the head.  Since he hadn't done anything remotely resembling a person before this, we were pretty thrilled.  But in the past two days, not only is he drawing people, but his people have bodies... and this one has hands and fingers as well.  (There is also a second, smaller person and a table in this one if you were wondering.)  And to add to his developmental accomplishments, he has also started to copy his name if an older brother or sister writes it out for him. 

I know that to many of you, the fact that a nearly 5 year old is just accomplishing these things hardly seems like news.  Many children pass these milestones two years earlier.  But if you have been following K.'s story, you know that he has overcome many hurdles to reach this point.  To catch the rest of you up, when we adopted K. at two years old, he was the size of a US 12 month old, had no language, and had never had solid food.  He looked and acted like a young baby.  We had no idea what the future held for him and on some level that was scary.  What if there was something more going on than just environmental delays?  What if he couldn't overcome the deprivations of his first two years?  What if... ?  What if... ?  What if... ?  We were committed to him no matter what, but we hoped for the best.

We are so blessed that all of K.'s delays seem to be environmental, we just need to be patient as he makes up for lost time.  His language has exploded and he now speaks (all the time!) at an age-appropriate level... complete sentences, correct use of pronouns, verb tenses, fairly large vocabulary (especially if he is talking to you about cars).  But we had yet to see other signs of school-type readiness... an awareness of numbers and letters, knowing how books work, beginning color recognition and naming, etc.  These things, along with his new drawing ability, are all starting to make an appearance.  To me, it is nothing less than staggering to think about what he has accomplished in the last two and a half years.  I know I have said it before, but in some ways I feel blessed to be able to parent a non-typically developing child.  The successes seem bigger and more joyful; successes I took for granted with my other children.  K. has taught me to rejoice at everything, even what would seem to be the small things.  Perhaps especially the small things.  He has broadened and enriched my world.
If anyone was interested in the Juno Company after my review.  (Ha! I know I made you all want to run out and buy it.)  There is a promotion for a $40 online store credit for $20.  Just copy this link:

If you are interested in this, hurry, because it will only be active for a couple of days.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday Homeschool Resource Day - Link Up - Spot It! Game

We're on Christmas break here and not doing school-y stuff, but we are playing games.  We have always liked visual discernment games such as Blink and Set, and now we have a new one to add to our list:  Spot It!  This was a gift from one of J.'s sisters and it has been fun.  The game consists of circular cards with 8 different pictures on each card.  The trick is that there is only one picture that will match between any two cards.  (For some reason this boggles my mind as to how they figured out how to do that.  When I mentioned my amazement, M. said, with a bit of boredom in her voice, that she was sure there was a computer program which took care of that.)  There are four different games you can play and it takes anywhere from 2 to 8 people.  (Another plus in a large family.)  The games are quick to play and everyone has been enjoying it.  One of the things I like best about it is that to take the card you have to say out loud the picture you are matching.  For some of my children this is extremely good practice for thinking before doing.  I can see it being a great thing to throw in a bag if I know that we will be somewhere there will be waiting.

(Oh, and I'm feeling much, much better.  But, boy, it was a nasty 6 hours followed by another 12 hours of sleeping.)

Now it's your turn. What are your great learning resources to share this week?

Here are the rules:
1. Post about a resource (book, movie, CD, website, etc.) that you have found useful in teaching your children. You can also post directions for a learning activity that you have done with your children. The content of your blog must be family-friendly.
2. Link your post (use the permalink, not your blog's homepage) below.
3. Link back to this blog somewhere in your post so others can see everyone's great resources. You can use this button if you like.

Ordinary Time
Copy and paste the following code into your website or blog.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My turn

And it's not for something exciting.  For the past four or five weeks we have had a stomach bug running through our house.  Well, running doesn't quite capture its movement.  Crawling through our house like a snail would be more accurate.  It hits one person at a time, lasts for 24 hours, and is gone only to return 5 or 6 days later.  For the past month and a half J. and I go to bed wondering if and who we will be cleaning up after in the middle of the night.  And because it is difficult to squelch my Pollyanna side even when my head is pounding and my joints all ache, the whole thing could have been much worse.  We were able to focus on one person at a time.  (Which is a very good thing when one owns a limited number of buckets.)  All holidays and shows were missed.  And, in my case, J. is home all week so I can stay in bed and not try to parent while feeling lousy.

But I'm really done with the whole thing.  I declare us finished with this particular bug.  There is no need for it to travel through the rest of the family.  Really.  And I'm sure the unaffected family members feel the same way.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Day the Music Stopped DVD Review

I don't do this very often, but this post is going to be a product review.  The Juno Company sent me a DVD of The Day the Music Stopped.  It is part of a music education series aimed at preschoolers.  Since the craziness of Christmas has passed, we (the younger part of my crew and I) had a chance to sit down today to watch it together.

The premise is that Juno and her little brother RaiRai take an imaginary trip to the town of Harmonia Springs where they meet their real live pets in cartoon form.  Through a series of events, the button on the Shush Machine is pushed causing the music to stop and Juno and her friends learn about how music is made so they can make their own.

So what did we all think?  Well, it is definitely aimed at preschoolers.  The 7 and 8 year old boys watched it because it was there, but let's just say they weren't entranced.  K. on the other hand enjoyed it... plus it had a train which always strikes his fancy.  And what did I as a parent and music educator think?  Well, first off, I should admit that my tolerance for much of what is aimed at preschoolers and young children is very low.  I find most of it too cutesy and saccharine, often speaking to young children as though they are impaired.  This avoided some of that, though I found the characters' voices to be a bit annoying.  Why can't characters who speak to children speak in a normal voice?  But on the whole this is my biggest quibble.  My smaller quibble is that it was difficult to understand these slightly odd voices when they were singing which became a problem because some of the content about the musical concepts was heard only in the songs.

It was visually clever with the town of Harmonia Springs made of instruments and musical signs.  I also liked that orchestral music, both new and from the symphonic repertoire, was used as the background to the songs.  The content, teaching about the concepts of melody, rhythm, and harmony was age-appropriate and accurate.  By far my favorite part was the section on harmony, illustrated by the singing frogs.  It was clever and the music was enjoyable to listen to. 

I think this DVD is fine for what it is... mainly preschool entertainment with some educational bits thrown in.  I would be unlikely to spend my money on it, but as I said, I don't buy preschool videos in general.  I believe that children (even preschoolers) can learn from "real" things:  books, music, art, and enjoy it without having the cute factor added in.  I have planned a unit on the orchestra for later on this winter and I plan on using both The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and Peter and the Wolf as our resources.  I fully expect K. (my preschooler) to join us and learn from it. 
On a completely unrelated note.  If you are a homeschooler and are looking for a way to connect with other homeschoolers, The Homeschool Village is setting up what they are calling 5:11 groups.  Why 5:11?? Don't worry - you do not have to wake at 5:11. Rather God has already encouraged us to get together at 5:11!! 1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up"

5:11 Groups will consist of 3-4 homeschool moms - who contact each other at least once weekly! Every Tuesday we will post a "group question" for those groups to discuss and share some time interacting during the week.

If you are interested head over to The Homeschool Village and send them an email and they will connect you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pictures from Christmas 2010

Our Christmas morning begins with everyone coming downstairs in order of age.  This was a tradition of J.'s family which we have kept.  Well, actually, the morning begins with children coming in asking if it's time to get up, followed by coffee for the adults and children constantly asking if they can go downstairs.  But eventually, J. and I get things in order and they can come down.  See those pajamas?  That's the reason I spent so much time sewing this past month.  Did you know that 9 pairs of pajamas take a bit of time to make?  All I can say is thank goodness (and my mother) for my serger or else they wouldn't have been finished.
B. with G. (She is playing with one of the stuffed nativity figures I made many years ago.)

The first thing we do is gather together in the dining room to light the Christ candle in our advent wreath, read a Bible passage about Jesus' birth, and say a prayer.  Then we open stockings.
TM and D.

A. with L.

M. with G.

After stockings we eat breakfast which is usually homemade cinnamon rolls and grapefruit.  Then it's on to present opening.  After the chaos the babies caused while everyone opened stockings (I know, it appears calm and peaceful... don't let the pictures fool you.  At one point each baby started to eat her orange like an apple in between running around and grabbing everything they could from other people's stockings),  J. and I decided we needed to pen them for presents.  We brought the pen into the living room so they could see everything, they just couldn't reach it.

G. behind and L. in front

And like all Currys, once they received their new books, they were quite content:

Of course, the presents from Grammy and Grandpa are always popular.  Here is K. admiring his new Lightning McQueen Duplo car:

And P. her Rebecca American Girl:

M., A., and I received wool sweaters from my parents' trip to Ireland:

There were a couple of hand made gifts as well this year.  Here is the jellyfish I knit for A.:

And the octopus for M. (his body is about 4 inches long):

And one of K.'s favorite presents is the oatmeal truck B. made him.  Do you know the book, 10 Minutes Till Bedtime?  It is currently one of K.'s favorites and he particularly likes looking at the vehicles which the hamsters drive.  This is a copy of one of those vehicles:

If you look carefully you can see the little stuffed hamster which A. made for B. to include with the truck:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Girls in Christmas dresses

Here are a few more pictures from Christmas Eve.  My mom sent the most beautiful dresses for G. and L., and I thought they deserved a post of their own.  First L.:

And G:

And why there are fewer and fewer pictures of these silly girls on the blog:

(G. on left and L. on right in both)

More Christmas pictures and the reason why I was tied to my sewing machine on Monday.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We have had a wonderful Christmas and hope you have as well.  The Christmas pageant went off without serious incident (which in my children's choir director's book means no one threw up and no one had an accident).  We enjoyed the company of extended family and ate too much rich food.  Everyone is tired and happy and looking forward to a week of Daddy being home.  And I finally have a picture to use on our (now New Year's) cards.  This is from Christmas Eve just before we left for church.  It looks as though I spent serious time coordinating everyone's outfits doesn't it?  I hate to burst any bubbles, but it was a purely serendipitous moment when we all came downstairs and realized we all coordinated.  I suppose I tend to like the same colors in dress-up clothes, because my main concern was that everyone have something to wear... I truly didn't plan it.  I'm happy to enjoy the results, though.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Giveaway winner

Using a random number generator, commenter #54 has won the sheet and pillowcases.  So, Genevieve at SisterlyLove, look for an email from me to get your information.

I loved reading everyone's ideas of what they would use these thrifted linens for.  There were several ideas that had never occurred to me.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life is one of my all-time favorite movies, Christmas or otherwise, and has been since I was little.  I'm sure it played a huge part in my liking of large, run-down houses.  As an adult I have felt even more of an affinity for the movie, particularly when one of my children plays the same Christmas carol over and over on the piano to accompany the general chaos and every so often someone will knock-off the top of the stairway newel post.

Which has gotten me to thinking about what our life would have been like if we had made different decisions, particularly our initial decision to adopt.  Not only did that one decision have a profound effect upon a child's life, but it also radically altered ours.  I suppose that is not surprising; adding a child always changes a family's life.  But I believe that by adopting TM, we changed our lives in ways far greater and far reaching ways than we could have imagined at the time.

What might be different?  For TM, it is obvious.  He would be living with a different family.  He would have a different name.  He would be a different child.  He would not still be in foster care, he would have been matched with a family, it just wouldn't have been ours.  And I wonder.  I wonder how that family would have weathered his rage and grief.  I don't kid myself that we were the only family who could see him through it.  But I have also heard of many cases where the child's rage and the family's ability to weather it don't match up.  What would a disruption have done to his already fragile sense of stability?  I don't often go there in my thoughts; there is no point, after all.  But when I do I find myself getting upset for my child in this hypothetical situation.  I think I have an overactive imagination.

For us, there is the strong possibility that we would still have just five children.  Having more children opens you up to the possibility of more, after all.  What would it be like to not have TM, K., G. or L.?  I get a little panicky just thinking about it.  That is a major difference to be sure, but it seems to me that the spiritual aspect of deciding to adopt has made the biggest change.  I am afraid that without our decision to adopt, we would have remained in our comfortable middle-class bubble, thinking that we were good Christians and leaving it at that.  We would not have been unhappy, but I think that our lives would have been a bit duller, more one-dimensional, less purposeful, and less convicted about the greatness of our God, the depth of our sin, and the wonder of his grace.

You see, by taking this different path we have put ourselves in situations where we had no control, only God could make it work.  When you come to the end of yourself you find God waiting there, and with adoption, at least our experience with it, you come to then end of yourself fairly quickly.  The whole process is a lesson in letting go of control; from the logistical side such as where you will come up with the money, the extensive paperwork, dealing with not one government bureaucracy buy many and in more than one country, to the emotional side such as accepting a referral, deciding what special needs you are open to, and learning to love a child who you don't even know.  And that's if everything goes smoothly.  The pitfalls that can occur along the way are many and there is no guarantee with any of it.  The whole process is difficult.

This is quite the endorsement of adoption, isn't it?  But that's only half the story.  By allowing ourselves to travel this road, we gave God permission to work in our lives in ways we couldn't imagine.  Money and approvals were taken care of, though on God's schedule, not ours.  He gave us strength to help our son grieve and in the process showed us far more about ourselves and our relationship with Him more than anything else.  And in watching our sons heal and grow and develop and love He gave us joy.  Joy in greater abundance that we would have experienced if life was safe and easy.

And that is really my message.  Safety is just that, safe.  Safe does not provide challenges which lead to growth.  Safe does not allow sadness or despair, but consequently does not allow for great joy, either.  There is no room for God in safe.  And while God promises to keep us safe, He wants us to know that it is in Him where our true safety lies.  Think about it.  It wasn't safe for Mary to say yes to bearing Jesus.  It wasn't safe for Joseph to agree to marry Mary when he discovered she was pregnant.  It wasn't safe for the shepherds to leave their flocks.  There is nothing safe about the Christmas story at all.  The only truly safe path in this life is choosing Jesus... and in doing so your lives will be filled with great adventure and great love.  It is what makes a truly Wonderful Life.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas.  I will have one more post later today to announce the winner of my giveaway and then I'm off until next week at which time I'm sure I will have dozens of pictures to share.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Miniature braided wreath tutorial

[Go here for my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway.]

I've been spending my days working with miles of flannel which means I end up surrounded by piles of flannel scraps.  While I sew, I ponder what I can do with all the scraps.  Then I remembered about the stuffed fabric wreaths that my mother and I made one year as a fundraiser.  They were cute, but large and involved much turning of long fabric tubes and then much stuffing of the tubes.  So I came up with a miniature version which does not involve stuffing and has an easy way to turn the little, tiny tubes.  Here it is:

It's hard to judge scale, but this little wreath is barely 2 inches in diameter.  I will probably use it as a Christmas ornament, though it would also look pretty cute on top of a package.

How do you make it?  It's pretty easy.  First you need to cut three strips of fabric, approximately 8 inches long and 1 inch wide.  I used flannel, but you could use anything.  I would be sure it is not too think, though.  You don't even need to measure that carefully.  The first wreath I made, I just cut the fabric in what looked to be the right size and never even got out a ruler.

Now we need to sew them into tubes.  First, take you top thread and bobbin thread and pull out enough length so that the threads are longer than the tube you are going to sew.  Lay them on top of your fabric strip, with the right side of the fabric UP.  See the threads hanging off the bottom of the fabric?

Now you are going to fold the fabric in half, with the threads all the way over at the fold and sew close to the outside edge.  You must be sure you do not catch the long threads in your seam, or what I'm about to show you won't work.

Once the seam is sewn, you are going to very gently, but firmly pull on the long threads while using your other hand to encourage the seam to turn down inside the tube.  It can be a little fiddly to get it started.  If the fabric is at all stiff, I found it was easier if I opened up the tube a bit by cutting off the corner from the top (where I began the seam).  Be very careful that you don't cut your threads at the same time.

Once the tube starts to turn, it is very easy to pull and turn the whole thing right side out.  Here you can see it halfway done (the long threads you are pulling are the ones you see at the right, attached to the part of the tube which is right side out).

Complete the other two tubes the same way.  You now have three little tubes and you are done with the tricky part.  Take the three tubes and sew them together (sometimes I had to "encourage" them under the presser foot with my seam ripper).  You could also sew them together by hand.

Once they are sewn, braid them and sew the other end as you did the first.  Join the two ends together either by hand or by "encouraging" them under the presser foot.  They are thicker at this point and need a bit more encouragement.  Use a coordinating ribbon to cover the seam and tie a bow.  You're done!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Homeschool Resource Day - Link Up - white board

[Go here for my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway.]

My resource today isn't a book or curriculum, but an everyday object:  my large white board hanging in my upstairs hallway.  I use it for writing things that I want people to read but without asking them to read them... sort of along the same lines of leaving books in the bathroom.  I have found that asking my children to read something can cause automatic disinterest, but if I leave it about it will be read because all of my children are compulsive readers.  If there is print in front of them, they will read it.  With that in mind, I use my white board to write quotes I want them to think about or notices of things they should be aware of or things I would like them to possibly memorize.  (Because if you find yourself reading the same thing everytime you come up the stairs, you will find that thing lodged in your brain.)  So this morning I will be writing out the text of Luke 2... the Christmas story.  My plans for the white board in January include writing lists of sight words so that TM and D. have practice with them.  (You know, through, though, tough, thought, for example... maybe even a little picture for each one to remind them which is which.  What would a picture of 'though' look like I wonder?) 

While the erasable white board is convenient, I would do the same things with large pieces of paper before we had it.  At one time I had posters and signs up everywhere.  I think some of my older children can still recite the poems on the poster of poetic forms which was hanging in our schoolroom for a year.  Heck, you could even cover the cereal boxes at breakfast!

Now it's your turn. What are your great learning resources to share this week?
Here are the rules:

1. Post about a resource (book, movie, CD, website, etc.) that you have found useful in teaching your children. You can also post directions for a learning activity that you have done with your children. The content of your blog must be family-friendly.

2. Link your post (use the permalink, not your blog's homepage) below.

3. Link back to this blog somewhere in your post so others can see everyone's great resources. You can use this button if you like.

Ordinary Time
Copy and paste the following code into your website or blog.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waddling ducks and other baby cuteness

[Go here for my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway post.]

All of you who have been waiting to see the baby ducks from Halloween in action, you have been very patient.  Finally, not only do I have new disks, M. was home long enough to act as tech support and put the videos on said disks.  Here they are, they are easier to view if you click on the little box with the four arrows which makes the video go to full view:

And here is a video of the girls that M. took this morning.  (For those of you who are not friends with M. on Facebook and haven't seen it yet.)  L. is on the left and G. is on the right.  It gives you a good sense of their personalities.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mary was not a teenager

[Go here for my Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway post.]

Oh, she might have been a young woman in her teen years, but she was not the modern phenomenon of a teenager.  The phrase "Mary was only a teenager" is often exclaimed by those who want to emphasize the youthfulness of the mother of the Messiah.  However, whenever it is uttered, not only does the speaker give information about the young age of Mary, but also a whole set of cultural assumptions about who they believe Mary was.  And frankly, in my book, the traits which are implied in "teenager" are neither accurate nor altogether positive.

I know I sound like a broken record about this, but really, what leaps to your mind when you hear the word, "teenager"?  This term is not a neutral description of someone's age; it carries a whole lot of cultural baggage.  "Teenager" forces a set of characteristics onto young people that they don't deserve, but which they often feel obligated to live down to.  For me the term produces images of sullen youth who do not have any patience with adults of their parent's generation and even less for those parents themselves.  I see self-absorption and entitlement coupled with a weariness with the world that belies their youth.  I see young people who would like to have a purpose but are denied any greater purpose other than going to school and getting into the right college. 

I am not saying that all young people are like this.  In fact, I know quite a few who are not.  Which is why I am careful to use different terms for the two types of youth:  "teenager" for the sullen, aimless ones and "young adult" for those who have taken responsibility for their own lives and who see themselves as having purpose and meaning on a greater scale.

But back to Mary.  In looking at the Biblical record, we don't know much about her.  We know she was old enough to be betrothed and was getting ready to be married.  This would imply that not only was she old enough for this to happen, she was also capable enough.  She most likely knew how to manage a household, how to provide food and clothing, how to care for children, and how to function in her society.  Luke tells us that she found favor with God and that is why she was chosen to bear His son.  This would imply that she was devout, a young woman who loved God to the best of her ability.  To love God in this way gives a greater purpose to any life.  This picture of a young woman is certainly not that of a modern teenager.

As you ponder Mary this Advent, don't fall into the trap of seeing her as she would be if she were living here in this time.  See a competent young woman, in love with God, who was granted a unique gift of being used by God.  Not a teenager.

I have a new article about family meals here.  Visit and be amazed that I was able to squeeze into 400 words a topic on which I give hour-long presentations... before questions!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway

Sew, Mama, Sew! is hosting another giveaway day, the day where many bloggers giveaway things they have made or supplies to make things or both.  It is great fun to visit a lot of blogs and try to win cool stuff.  So fun that I thought I would participate this year.

I had great hopes of making a set of coordinating mother/daughter aprons.  But reality reared its ugly head and I came to terms with the fact that my time is not limitless.Instead of aprons,  I must continue to spend quality time with yards and yards of red plaid flannel.  What am I making?  Well, as I tell my children, it is the season not to ask questions... I will be able to let you know sometime after the 25th.

Instead of making something, I went to my favorite thrift store and found some supplies in the form of sheets and pillowcases (some of my favorite raw material).  I'm giving away three pillowcases and one twin flat sheet.

I decided to go with bright, springy colors, because if you are anything like myself, it will be spring before you decide what to do with them and then actually do it.  The sheet could be turned into a summer skirt or yards of bias tape.  It's matching pillowcase could be a sweet little girl's dress.

I love the embroidery on this pillowcase.  The bottom of a dress?  Or use it to make pockets on something?

This pillowcase has loads of possibility.  I love the bright colors, especially with all the grey and white that are outside my window right now.

Cute embroidery you could use on something and three bright yellow buttons.

Here's the back:

So what do you need to do to have a chance to win all of this?  It's simple.  Leave a comment saying what think you might use some of this for.  Be sure to include your email address so I have a way to contact you if you win.  One entry per person.  I'll ship to the US and Canada.  Comments will be open through Friday, the 17th, at which point I will randomly draw the winner.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Parenting top ten list

The washer is fixed (Hallelujah!) and so now we begin the process of digging out from the incredible mounds of laundry.  Plus, the Christmas pageant rehearsals begin this morning.  So, another cheater post.  Here is something I wrote ages ago.  Enjoy.

I attended a baby shower and we were all instructed to give our best parenting tip to the new mother. I like to give advice, so just couldn't stop at one tip, but wrote 10. Here they are:
1. Look for the humor -- Being able to find the humor in a situation helps to make the stressful more bearable. Just realizing that someday the current crisis will be funny can help.

2. Hug your child everyday and say, "I love you" -- Don't assume that your child knows you love him; say it and show it everyday. Sometimes bad behavior is just a way of saying, "I don't feel loved."

3. Be the grown-up -- You are the person who needs to set rules and limits with the corresponding consequences. Your child will have plenty of friends, but she needs you to be the adult. Boundaries help a child to feel secure.

4. Find friends who are at your stage in life -- Friends provide companionship, advice, and a dose of reality. It is so comforting to call a friend and have her assure you that no, your child has not come down with a case of the plague.

5. Find mentors -- Look for women whose older children you admire. Spend time with them and learn from them; their experience and wisdom are invaluable.

6. Read to your child -- There is no downside to sharing stories with your children, but the benefits are legion. You are spending time together, setting the stage for later reading, and expanding their horizons.

7. Imagine the future -- Ask yourself, "Will this be cute when he's 9?" Poor behavior you might think is cute in a toddler is usually not attractive in an older child. Nip bad habits in the bud while your child is still young (and you can still pick him up).

8. Create memories -- Look for ways to do special things with your family. Occasionally that may take the form of special trips or expensive events, but most don't have to be. Look for ways to turn the everyday into something special.

9. Develop family traditions -- Traditions are one of the things that make each family unique. They help to slow us down and to spend time with each other. They can become anchors throughout the year, especially when life gets hectic.

10. Regularly attend your place of worship -- If passing your faith on to your children is important, then they must see that your faith is important to you. Remember that actions really do speak louder than words. Just saying something is important without doing anything about it won't work.

Friday, December 10, 2010

An Ideal Husband - Thin Ice Theater

"Simply amazing!"


--comments about last night's show, made by audience members who have no relatives in the cast.

Don't miss your chance to see this wonderful production of Oscar Wilde's play.  Performances Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 3:00.

B. (on right)

M. (on left)
For the rest of the pictures, go here.  Makes you want to see it, huh?  Plenty of room... big theater... comfy seats... good snacks.

No post

D. throwing up all night.


Broken washer.  Still.

Performances all weekend.

I'll post pictures of An Ideal Husband when they are available.  Come see the show this weekend.  Email me for details.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Thursday Homeschool Resource Day - Link Up - Band of Brothers

When my children were much younger, I went to my homeschool support group's resource night and remember hearing one mother, whose children were several years older than mine, say that Band of Brothers had been her best resource all year.  My first thought was to write it off as something that I wasn't interested in and therefore my children wouldn't be interested in it.  My second thought was that it was an odd sort of resource to suggest. 

Well, I'm here to eat crow.  For B., Band of Brothers is turning out to be our best resource of the year.  He read it as an assignment for his 20th century literature class and has become consumed with it.  After he finished the book, he immediately looked up other things that Stephen Ambrose has written and put them on reserve at the library, he added the movie (and several others) to the Netflix queue, and photocopied the bibliography so he could work on finding the books which were on it so he could read them.  If you know me, you'll recognize the apple doesn't fall far from the tree... I'm so proud.  Right now he is reading a biography of Eisenhower and another book on D-Day.  I'm sure he knows far more about World War II now than I do.  For instance...

Tuesday (the 7th), as he and I were cleaning around the washing machine so the repair man didn't have to wallow in our filth, I thought it would be amusing, since he is immersed in WWII to wish him a happy D-Day.  (Yeah, I know.  Just keep reading. Evidently seeing all the D-Day books lying about my house has addled my brain.)  So I do.


B., "OK."  Another pause.  "Why?"

So I start going on about how it's the anniversary of the day that the Japanese... bombed... Pearl... "Oh.  I mean Pearl Harbor Day."


B., "D-Day is June 6."  And he goes back to the cleaning he is helping me with.  Clearly he knows more than I do.

Now it's your turn. What are your great learning resources to share this week?

Here are the rules:
1. Post about a resource (book, movie, CD, website, etc.) that you have found useful in teaching your children. You can also post directions for a learning activity that you have done with your children. The content of your blog must be family-friendly.
2. Link your post (use the permalink, not your blog's homepage) below.
3. Link back to this blog somewhere in your post so others can see everyone's great resources. You can use this button if you like.

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