Showing posts from November, 2010

Mr. Nobody

There are some days where I feel as though we must be the source for all the Mr. Nobody-s of the world.  Amazing things happen in our home that seem to happen all by themselves since every single person under the roof avows any knowledge at all.  Somewhere up in the attic must be the Mr. Nobody laboratory where new Mr. Nobody-s are created.  We then provide the training ground for teaching the new Mr. Nobody-s how to do their stealthy work before they are sent around the world to other unsuspecting homes.  At least that's the only explanation that makes sense if one really believes the protestations of my children.  Perhaps we need a lesson in Occam's Razor... where the simplest explanation is often the correct one.

Do you know Mr. Nobody?  It's one of my favorite poems to quote at my children.

Mr. Nobody
Author: Unknown
I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse, Who does the mischief that is done In everybody's house! There's no one ever sees his face, And yet we …

Back to life as usual

Well, as usual as life gets around here.  A. starts her tech week today for Much Ado About Nothing.  I have a carpool set-up this week, so it will be much less driving for me than last time.  (Hooray!)  It also means that I will have a few (5) extra children here every morning who will be bringing their school books with them.  It's worth it to me to not have to drive and to be able to stay home.

We have Christmas music playing all the time now.  I love Christmas music, but only during Advent.  Perhaps it's because I completely overdose on it during that time and need a break from it the rest of the year.  The same thing with eggnog.  Mmmm... eggnog...  Probably just as well I can't buy it the rest of the year.

My annual Christmas sweatshop sewing projects are in full swing, and once again, as I do every year, I'm beginning to panic that I bit off a bit more than I can chew.  Sewing/creating in a panic does take a little of the enjoyment out of the whole process.

And m…

Thanksgiving and the day after

We've had a wonderful couple of days here celebrating Thanksgiving.  On Thanksgiving, we tend to eat late.  This gives us most of the day to relax, enjoy visiting with family whom we don't get to see very often, get the tables set, and not feel too rushed preparing food.  At 4pm or so, people start changing into their dressier attire.  I didn't get a chance to take a group picture of everyone this year, but we did get some photos of G. and L. in the new dresses my mom sent.
 G., while L. was getting dressed.
 G. on left, L. on right
 G. on left and L. on right
No matter how well prepared we are, there always seems to be a frantic last half hour in the kitchen while everything is made ready to serve.  Following dinner, everyone moves into another room to watch the movie, A Child's Christmas in Wales together.  For us it seems to mark the end of Thanksgiving and ushers us into the Christmas season.  It is often very late by this time, so as soon as the movie is done, tired c…

Happy Thanksgiving!

For home,

And love,

And all things true, We give our thanks, O God, to You.
For food that's sent to us each day,

 Accept this grace that we now say.
This is one of our family graces which we say at mealtimes.  It came to us from J.'s grandmother, and so contains a double heritage... a family connection and a God connection.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
_____________ The Homeschool Resource Link-Up will resume next Wednesday.

Thank you!

Look what was sitting on my doorstep this morning.  A really adorable apron (it's reversible!) and a box of pumpkin muffins.  What a lovely surprise to greet me on a day of hectic pre-Thanksgiving preparations.

There was no note in the box, but thank you to the incredibly thoughtful person who did this.  You made my day!

Thankful leaves

(To all the Hearts at Home readers. Please enjoy this post from a couple of years ago about one of our Thanksgiving traditions.)
Traditions are important for families.  They provide ways to mark the year and help to provide security for children.  (There was something so comforting to both of our adopted children when they experienced family traditions for the second time.  It reassured them that they belonged.)  One of our traditions for Thanksgiving is to decorate our table with leaves which we can write on.  Each person has two or three leaves  with their names on them.  (Which is why I turned them upside down.)  As Thanksgiving approaches, we take turns at dinner telling each other what we're thankful for and I write it on their leaf.  It is a wonderful record of what is happening in our family and the stages our children go through.

A record, that is, if you use the same leaves each year.  You'll notice that the leaves we are currently using are made out of construction …

My love affair with baking soda continues

I've already written about how useful baking soda is in cleaning stinky laundry.  Yesterday was the day I had scheduled to do some serious kitchen cleaning.  We have a lot of family coming in for Thanksgiving and I didn't want them to think we actually lived in the mess we normally live in.  (Note to all the family coming in for Thanksgiving:  That last sentence?  Just a joke to make other people feel better about the state of their kitchens.  Ours is always pristine.  Always.)  It's one of the reasons I invite people over... it forces me to clean my house.

I had several things that desperately needed some real cleaning and I had been reading about the various uses of baking soda as a cleaning agent, so I thought I would put them to the test.  So, really, letting my kitchen get rather dirty was a public service so I could test these concoctions for you.

First up, was my stove which had many months of cooked on food stains that wouldn't come up no matter how hard I scru…

Happy accidents, or why one should really make a muslin

This is the skirt I made for A.  At least it started out being for A.  I checked out the book, Sew What! Skirts, from the library.  It had a bunch of really cute skirts to create, plus easy-to-follow directions for drafting the patterns.  I took A.'s measurements, did all the calculations, and drew the pattern just as instructed.  I even held it up to her to visually gauge if it was going to fit.  I had the skirt nearly finished and had her try it on.  The waist was about two inches to big.  Ugh!  M. was across the room happily volunteering to try it on, but J. looked at it and suggested I try it on.  It fit.  Perfectly.  So perfectly, it was as if I had drafted it for myself.  So now I have a new skirt, and even better, a well-fitting sloper from which to create more and more skirts which fit.  A. was a bit disappointed.  Now I need to go back and make her another skirt.  Do I dare make it out of the same fabric?  (Fabric which I found on one of my thrift store forays... $2.00 fo…

Because I know you just come 'round for the baby pictures

The babies are 17 months old now and I suppose sometime soon I'm going to have to stop calling them babies.  They walk and go up and down stairs and are beginning to learn words.  Here are some pictures from the past couple of days.


G., though I don't know why she is looking so squinty in these pictures.  I had to have J. reassure me this was just a face she makes and not something I need to worry about.  I'm like that, you know.

 One more of G.

L., being goofy, as she often is.  A. and P. decided that the babies needed their hair done.  L. was much better than G. about leaving the barrette in.
And now having lured you here with baby pictures, I have some news to share.  M. received the "big" envelope from the college she applied to in the mail yesterday.  Yes, she was accepted into college.  This is probably bigger news for me than it is for her.  There are certain milestones in the life of a homeschooling mother that are notable.  Milestones which confirm that y…

Charlotte's Web

I know, another post on my children's theatrical endeavors.  But, this is my life right now.  Well, that and driving.  Here are some of the rehearsal photos from Charlotte's Web

TM, as the Gander, P6 as the Goose and P9 as Wilbur the Pig.  Three of the P family children are in the show as well.

Wilbur with D. as Lurvey, the hired hand.  Those black plastic bags are hay bales which are covered for protection until the actual show.

And  P. as the Lamb.  (Notice the ears on her mob cap.)  Tonight is opening night and everyone is very excited and perhaps a bit tired.  I'm sure they will perk up again as it gets closer to curtain.  J. and I will once again be tag-teaming with our attendence.  The baby girls just would not be good audience members at this point in their lives, so they are not invited and will be staying home.  K. is thrilled that he is old enough to go to the actual night performance and not just the last dress rehearsal.

All the Thin Ice Theater shows have a…

Thursday Homeschool Resource Day - Link Up -- Historical songs

Have I mentioned I have to drive a lot this week? Yeah, thought so. Between the driving and the rehearsing, there hasn't been much time for anything else. Since the commute to the theater is about 25 minutes one way, I decided to take advantage of my captive audience. We have been listening to Colonial and Revolution Songs with Historical Narration in the car while we drive.  It is a really unique telling of early American history.  A narrator will give a brief description of what is happening historically, then connect how the musical selection ties into it, followed by the entire song which was discussed.  Now, be forewarned, folk songs are history at its most unedited and some of the folk songs do make me raise my eyebrows a bit.  (Nothing explicit, but life was hard and brutal and the songs reflect that.)  It is interesting to hear some songs that I vaguely recognize and to hear the story behind them.

It is the perfect car ride CD.  My children find it interesting to listen to…

Schoolroom makeover -- a small beginning

I have finished the new cover I made for the futon in the schoolroom.  (If you want to see what was on it previously, go here.)  I used the former cover as a pattern, but it was tricky because I didn't have enough of the main, striped fabric.  I found it on sale and there wasn't quite enough of it to completely cover the futon.  So I bought some coordinating yellow fabric and crossed my fingers.  I don't enjoy sewing home dec-type projects... I find it stressful.  Clothing?  Even clothing with pleats and boning I'm all over.  But looong straight seams which require nice square corners?  Not so much. 
Without further ado...

Notice the new lamp shade I picked-up at IKEA.  It's hard to tell in the picture, but it is the same colors as the futon fabric.

Other things I have done to make the schoolroom a bit more hospitable:  I took down the ugly mini blinds.  Of course, now I just have empty uncovered windows, but it is not often used as a bedroom so it will do for right…

There's no business like show business

Yesterday marked the beginning of the first of three tech weeks we have in the next month.  P., TM, and D. are all in Charlotte's Web and have their performances this weekend.  It is TM and D.'s first experience doing a full play.  Tech weeks can be grueling... long hours every day, having to pack lunches (which is a real pain for those of us who never have to pack a lunch), more driving than usual, and some very tired children by the end of the week.  But in the end it is all worth it.  The directors of our homeschool theater group are excellent and encourage all of the actors, even the youngest, to do the very best jobs they possibly can. 

I was a musician and also very shy, so the idea of being on stage never appealed to me.  But, I have to say, after watching my children learn the craft of acting, that I am impressed by what my children have gained from the experience.

First, I am always impressed with how comfortable my children, especially the oldest ones, are in front …

Big night out

On Saturday night J. and I went out to a benefit for the Merit School of Music.  One of J.'s students is the Director of Operations for the school and had invited us to go as his guests.  It was quite swanky and we had a lovely time.  We both felt very grown-up.  There was only a moment of disappointment when we didn't win the silent auction item we bid on.  But that quickly passed as we thought about how much happier our checkbook would be that we didn't win and we helped raise the amount of the final bid.  The entertainment was provided by students at the school.  A jazz quartet played during the cocktail hour and the before dinner a string ensemble played.  They were both exceptionally good.

The people seated at our table (in the "Champagne Circle") were very nice and we enjoyed a very nice dinner and conversation.  I have to say that having 9 children is an instant ice breaker and provides one with plenty of topics of conversation.  It was also rather gratify…

Yummy, yummy banh mi

Did you notice what we're having for dinner on Wednesday night this coming week? The description of it doesn't do it justice. You need to see a picture. I'm very excited about this and will be anticipating it all week. Plus, there is a Vietnamese bakery near where J. works that makes phenomenal banh mi loaves, so he will pick some up for us to use.

The website, Ravenous Couple, is a new find that a friend forwarded to me. I don't know why it never occurred to me to look up Vietnamese cooking blogs. I mean, I read blogs on every other topic, why did I not think about Vietnamese cooking? Especially since we love Vietnamese food around here. In fact, the somewhat embarrassing truth is that we were nearly as excited to return to Vietnam to eat as we were to bring K. home. Nearly. It was a definite perk.

I am grateful that we live in an area that is home to a large Vietnamese population and consequently many Vietnamese restaurants and markets. (Yeah, I just need to keep te…

Sewing guilt, or finishing unfinished projects

Does anyone else do this... not let yourself begin any new projects if you have a couple of unfinished projects hanging over your head?  Especially if those unfinished projects involved an outlay of money?  I do this all the time.  Part of my reactionary nature involves never wanting to do the things I have to do, even if they are self-imposed 'have to's'.  I love beginning things, but have never been so good at finishing them.  But then I feel guilty about not finishing them so I can't enjoy my new project, and so on, and so on. 
Well, this week, I alleviated some sewing guilt.  First, I finished a dress I had been working on for P.  I didn't mean for this to turn into a long term project, but it was a far fussier pattern than I had anticipated and took twice as long.  I love the way it turned out, and better yet, P. likes it.  But since it has taken me so long to finish she will have to layer a turtleneck underneath to wear it.
The front (the blue fabric is some I…

Thursday Homeschool Resource Day -- Link-Up -- Everyday Science Sourcebook

One of the most popular nights at my homeschooling support group is the annual resource night, where everyone brings one or two favorite resources for learning and shares them with the group.  I thought why just have something like this once a year?  So, I'm going to create a weekly link-up where I'll share some of my current favorite resources and you can join-in and share yours as well.  I know that many of you who read my blog are not homeschoolers, but you still do creative and interesting things with your children so feel free to join in as well.
To start things off, I'm going to introduce you to one of my best science resources, The Everyday Science Sourcebook by Lawrence F. Lowery.  We don't use a planned curriculum for very much around here because I prefer to come up with my own ideas.  That's why this book is so useful.  It is really just lists and lists of science activities and experiments.  Some are very simple, some are things you might come up with on…