Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nick's Funny

Nick asked me for a banana, sliced.  I placed the banana on his plate and walked away to get a knife.

He said, "Mr. Babana, I find you! I missed you so much!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Better Than a Nice Pile-Drive to the Face

Outside break today was spent examining nature, from a jumping spider to the ever-popular dirt:

By the way, I highly recommend playing an album like the soundtrack to Nacho Libre as you work around the house. You can't help but feel light-hearted.

"Tonight, I will fight the seven strongest men in town...maybe the world. And I will win. Because our Heavenly Father will be in the ring with me. And he and I will win 10,000 pesos."

House cleaning is better than "a nice pile-drive to the faaaace, or a punch to the faaaace."

But, while cleaning, remember that appearance isn't everything. "Beneath the clothes, we find the man. And beneath the man, we find...his...nucleus."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Today's Free Things - ebooks, education deal, coupon

this photo of Xander's cracks me up

Today I took a look at The Prudent Pantry for a list of ebooks that are currently free, though the price could change later. I got the Weekend Homesteader for October. Hey, you never know.

This post at Money Saving Mom lists some good educational deals and freebies. I created an account at XtraMath, a free online math program.

There is also a free chicken sandwich coupon for Sonic here. (You have to buy a chicken sandwich in order to get the next one free.)

We also had a lot of free candy and other sweet things at Nick's preschool Halloween party today. Does that count?

The party included playing with Halloween-themed learning games and the regular items in the preschool room, listening to music, eating treats, and then playing in the big play room. When I asked about their favorite part of the party, both boys mentioned something they played with in the play room. Xander liked playing with a little stuffed animal joey that fit into a mother kangaroo's pouch. Nick liked the rice sensory station.

I was proud of the reading they did in the play room. Xander read aloud to a little girl in the room while Nick put on headphones to listen to an audiobook, turning the pages when the chime sounded. I was also happy to note that they both chose favorite things for the day that did not include candy. Not that a party would be complete for either one of them without treats.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Finished Knitting...

Today I finished knitting a hand towel for our master bathroom and a quick tooth fairy pouch. Xander has need of one tonight.

Sandy's Birthday (Lots of Pet Pictures)

When we bought Sandy (our male guinea pig) for Xander's birthday last year, he decided that Sandy's birthday would be April 2nd each year. The math didn't quite add up because he was about four months old when we bought him at the end of March, but no matter.

A few days ago, Xander decided to move up Sandy's birthday. To that day. Because he had gotten so much bigger. This new birth date makes more sense. Who knows? It may only be a month or two off the guinea pig's real birth date. He is now officially about one year old.

He wanted to eat his party hat...but we did get one picture that looks like he's wearing it.

He also got an orange-bell-pepper-and-oranges "cake" and some raisins for treats.

Xander loves him very much. Sandy is comfortable with him and shows it by chattering happily as he sits or scurries around Xander's lap.

First Tooth Lost

It is an exciting day around here. Xander pulled out one of his loose teeth.

He's had four loose teeth for a month or so, but the top right was the first to go.

It is adorable to hear him lisping.

In the second picture, you can see the new-to-me sweater I picked up at Goodwill. It is so soft and drapes so nicely! Here is my Goodwill haul for $15.08:

soft sweater and embellished tank

matching long-sleeve tan shirts in each of the boys' sizes, matching brown sweaters, long-sleeve Amazing Spider-Man shirt for Nick, Primary Mathematics 5B (Singapore) for Xander in the future

That's everything!

Erik made another Garden & Gun recipe last night: Butterscotch Pudding with Snickerdoodle Cookie Crumbs and Bacon Whipped Cream.

This was my serving: I could only eat half at one time because it was so savory and rich. Truly delicious.

Garden & Gun's article

And now Nick is playing with the wooden blocks while I play on the computer and Erik and Xander play chess at the library.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fable Fest

Today we went to the Fable Fest put on by our local library. Much of the proceeds of ticket sales and purchases went to the library. I heard 100%, but I think some of the vendors were setting their own percentage, like 10%.

It was perfect for our kids. Older kids would not have had as fun a time.

  • rode the kiddie train (Nick and me)
  • played in the inflatable (Xander)
  • rode ponies (Xander and Nick)
  • entered the petting zoo (the boys)
  • checked out pool-noodle crafted medieval weapons and shields
  • checked out wooden and metal armor from the sports jousters who were present
  • watched a sports joust (they try to score points on each other rather than trying to present a show or spectacle - oh my, but the horses were beautiful, and the knights in their armor were not bad either)
  • played carnival-style games and won carnival-style prizes
  • got free fake tattoos and toothbrushes and chapstick and toothpaste (the boys)
  • tried archery (Xander)
  • posed with a fully dressed knight (Xander)
  • got our picture taken for either the library or the newspaper, I imagine (the boys and me)
  • watched part of a play
  • listened to part of a band's concert
  • played on a nearby playground where someone was having a birthday party with a pinata and a parent felt bad for our kids and sneaked some of the pinata candy to them
  • checked out vendor booths
I was very disappointed I forgot my camera. I do have two pictures on my phone (which I cannot transfer in any way but I can make them my camera wallpaper), one of Xander posing with the knight and one of him trying on an adult-sized authentic metal helmet. Think Spaceballs.

We hurried home after all of that so that Nick could have a nap and Erik could watch the Gator game.

Today's Free Thing - Folgers

I just "Liked" Folgers under my promotions/coupons/samples Facebook account and will receive a free sample of Folgers coffee in a few weeks. Click here if you want to do the same.

I have multiple email addresses so that I can use one address just for deals where you have to give your email address. I never have to visit that account or view all the company's ad emails they send me if I don't want to. To set up my promotions/coupons/samples Facebook account, I used that email address. So I also never visit that particular Facebook account unless I'm trying to score a Facebook deal.

Apologies to Erik and my Facebook Friends: Sometimes I click through and "Like" things when my real account or Erik's is already signed in. If you ever see something that looks strange on Erik's account, it's probably me Liking things in a hurry.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This Week's Goals

Time for a goals update. Last week:


1. Run three times this week, at least.
2. Knit about 17 rows per day on a hand towel for the bathroom. {I've knit about 90 rows total.}


4. Most nights, focus on Erik when I get home from running and have nightly chores done.
5. Have a Game Night again.
6. Firmly establish a no-complaining rule, for my own sake as much as everyone else's. Complaining zaps joy from a moment; since I have a very happy life, it would be silly to zap joy from my moments.


7. Take Nick to preschool - with homework finished.
8. Catch the kids doing nice things to take care of objects around the house so I can put buttons in our newly instated Care for Things jar.
9. Continue Xander on 10-15 minutes reading to himself before bed to count for Pizza Hut's Book-It program.


10. Continue a No-Spend month. {When I listed my acceptable exceptions last week, I forgot to mention that I bought Nick new shoes that were at a very good sale price. I also tacked on two $5 long-sleeve shirts to our WalMart grocery shopping trip. And then another one for Xander.}
11. Take a look at our financial goals and do some thinking.

Next Week's Goals:


1. Take Nick to preschool - with homework finished.
2. Catch the kids doing nice things to take care of objects around the house so I can put buttons in our newly instated Care for Things jar.
3. Continue Xander on 10-15 minutes reading to himself before bed to count for Pizza Hut's Book-It program.


4. Have a Game Night again.


5. Get up to do a half hour of journaling/devotions in the morning each morning.


6. Run 9.5 miles this week.


7. Knit 90 rows on the hand towel to finish it.
8. Knit two booties to finish the project for my friend's baby.
9. Keep following along with 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home and Houseworks Holiday Plan.


10. Continue a No-Spend month.


Last night we had neighbors over for dinner. They are such nice people, and it is a joy to have people like that in our home. Of course, we didn't know in very much detail what they were like until we had them over. I am so grateful that we did.

I get really nervous having people over. I stress about all the details that someone could judge me on. I take a close look at every place I haven't been able to get a stain out of grout or give something a new coat of paint or sew on the pillow cover straight. In fact, I obsess over these things before I do the basics: put on a tablecloth, sweep and mop the floors, wipe down the bathroom, air the house. If I can say one thing I'm proud of this time around, I did make the food before obsessing about the things I couldn't change in time. I also did the basics halfway through the obsessing instead of half an hour before company was scheduled to arrive.

Still need to work on being patient with the kids and husband while preparing for guests. If my kids aren't sitting perfectly still, they are most likely messing up something. But really: do I want them to sit perfectly still all day while I clean around them? That does not sound healthy.

I am proud of my family for being so welcoming. They are always happy to say hello and invite people into our home. Xander had a great time playing with his former classmate. Nick giggled after he got a chance to tickle the baby's feet. Erik is good at doing things guests will enjoy because he sees the big picture instead of the stain in the grout. They set up such a nice atmosphere.

Today's plan is to get Xander going on his Grace Week list (yesterday, he told Erik that "I was able to get quite a few of the things done already," which is true) and then take them to the library for preschool story time. I am going to be slowly but steadily but calmly working on tasks around the house.

One of the women who watches the siblings in the preschool playroom while the preschoolers are in "school" mentioned that Xander was so smart and imaginative. She recommended that I check to see if he could test for and take advantage of any of the district's gifted program. He does have a magnificent imagination. He also has a large vocabulary. He uses multi-syllable words, the kind you don't usually expect to hear out of a six-year-old's mouth, and he uses them correctly. He doesn't know he's doing anything unusual. Nick is coming along in the same way. He hears these words from his parents but also from his older brother. For him, foods are "delicious," not "yummy." Not that there's anything wrong with using the word yummy. I like to have words of many lengths and levels of formality at my disposal. :)

Here are some pictures of our simple fall decor. When I start to decorate, simpler is better, believe me.

our Thankful Tree; on it we hang construction paper leaves where we've written something we're thankful for

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Today's Free Thing

I've mentioned before how I love Money Saving Mom. The more I read her personal posts, the more I think she has her head screwed on straight. No, she doesn't run around getting all the deals and freebies that are posted on her site. She doesn't even research all of them because she hired assistants to help her run Money Saving Mom. Her life is lived pretty simply but not at Little House on the Prairie standards, either. She lives in the 21st century. Overall, I like the balance she strikes.

So when I realized she was selling her new ebook, 21 Days to A More Disciplined Life, for $0.99 today, I considered, and then bought it.

There was a free download of matching calendar and planner sheets with my purchase. I don't know if I'll ever use them, but I thought I would mention it as today's free thing. :)

Now, I would go read the ebook right away, but I think in the spirit of being more disciplined, I should finish getting ready for our dinner guests instead.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Today's Free Things: toothbrush, Lego catalog, and Airborne Immune Support

The Peaceful Mom got me onto this one: I went to and printed out the coupon on the lower right corner for $1 off a CVS brand oral care product. Allegedly, one can buy a CVS brand toothbrush for $0.99, but I have not gone over there to buy one yet.

She also put me onto free Airborne Immune Support samples here. You have to fill out your name, birth date, address, and some survey questions. I am careful to whom I give all my information. Should I admit that I am not too careful to double check my correct birth date on these things? What do they need that piece of information for, I wonder?

I am watching my older son pore over a free Lego holiday catalog right now. Both boys will "read" this thing carefully several times a day. A friend of Erik's passed it on to us and it serves us as free entertainment. We have tried to make sure through the years that the kids know they can't have just anything they want and to pare down their Christmas gift expectations a teensy bit, so we haven't had problems with them begging for any of the Legos shown.

Xander gets a free subscription to the Lego Club Jr. magazine, which he loves. The first child in any household can get a free subscription but the subsequent children have to pay for one. But why not share? Here is the link to the Lego Club membership signup, which gives kids a free two-year subscription to Lego Club Jr. It doesn't come every month; it may be on an every-two-months schedule (I haven't kept track). People living in Australia and New Zealand have to pay for the subscription. :(

Preschool Progress

I'm not sure that Nick knew the name of a triangle before last week. Our preschool homework was to talk about the shapes we wanted carved into our class jack-o-lantern, so we looked at examples and talked about the shapes we saw. We went on a walk to find shapes around us. This week, Nick definitely knows what to call a triangle.

He also immediately found his name for signing in. I've mentioned it is on a list of all the names of his classmates in pretty small type. There was no hesitation today - right to Nick to sign (scribble) in.

At preschool, he does other activities as well as the sensory ones now: number games, drawing with and on various materials, reading books, sorting different colored vehicles... I noticed some really good sharing among him and two male classmates today.

Our First Grace Week

This is the beginning of our first Grace Week, per Lindafay's practice.

learning about evergreens on our last nature walk

we found a couple of mushrooms

and these flowers, Engelmann's Daisies, I think

Xander's first nature journal drawing of the daisies

We went to Nick's preschool first thing after breakfast. That was a wild and woolly session, during which the teacher carved a jack-o-lantern right in front of us, polling the kids as to which shape to use for each part of the face. Picture a group of ten three-year-olds having to stay near their mothers so as not to get in the way of the carving knife, while intermittently standing up when the shape they wanted to vote for was called, while also ignoring the misbehavior of children around them. Nick did fine because during the group portion he becomes a bit overstimulated and sits quietly on my lap.

At home, we ate lunch and made plans. Nick went to his independent playtime (his request is always the same, to play with dinosaurs, figures, cars, and trains) and I helped Xander brainstorm activities for his self-directed schooling this week. This is the final list for the week:

  • finish Skyrim drawing (based on a computer game Erik plays, started at the preschool playroom)
  • Leapster Star Wars Jedi Math
  • help cook dinner for Tuesday night - we are having an old classmate of his and her family over for dinner
  • play outside
  • play ancient Egyptian soldiers (he bought that Playmobil set with his saved allowance)
  • the Build-a-Saurus game we borrowed from the program that does Nick's preschool
  • read a book to Nick
  • go to preschool story time at the library
  • the Oh Noah! site from PBS that teaches Spanish
  • do puzzles
  • draw a picture to send to cousin Bailey
  • make a fall art picture using a hole punch and fall-colored construction paper, found on Pinterest
  • number worksheets I found on Pinterest
  • this weekend, go to the annual Fable Fest put on by the library 
He said he did not want to practice recorder this week, but I may lay it out on the coffee table one day just to see if he picks it up.

reading together last night
happy homeschooler

I have my own list of things to tackle, like blog posts, computer work, house cleaning, finishing How the Scots Invented the Modern World, knitting a lot, making food ahead for our dinner guests, running at least three times, cleaning the dining room chairs, collecting acorns, finishing fall decor, and such.

I made dirt 'n worms, Xander's idea

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blog Gone Public

Hello, dear readers. Up to this point, Day by Day has been a private friends-and-family blog. I just went public yesterday.

Some of the changes:
  • You can now subscribe to posts by email (see the right hand sidebar).
  • Your comments will be viewable by anyone who stops by.
  • Those of you who had an invite to view the private blog will no longer need one. You can bookmark the blog, if you like, and view whenever.
  • I have done my best to delete pictures and comments that people requested be deleted if the blog went public. I have also done my best to take off any photos of other children unless I have their parents' permission. Please let me know if you see something I missed!
I don't think my content will change much, but this public mode should be more convenient for several of us. My photos and content may reveal fewer details of our lives; I don't want to put it all out there when I don't know for sure who will be reading. Please keep this in mind when you post comments, too.

There may not be any change in readership at all, which is fine with me! :)

Today's Free Things

Today, I got a free download of McGuffey's First Eclectic Reader for my Kindle app. I'm not sure if we will use the first one; I can see that the Higher Up and Further In curriculum calls for the Second Eclectic Reader in year two. Better go nab that second one while I'm at it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Today's Free Things

Today, I got for free:

  • Sample pack from Green Mountain Coffee - you have to Like them on Facebook. I truly do like Green Mountain Coffee because they are an ethical company with fair trade products who treat their employees fairly. We used to subscribe to their delivery service for our coffee but we ended that in a period when we were trying to save money any way we could. Like now!
  • Squidoo account - It is free to get a Squidoo account and then you can write "lenses" on any topic you choose, as long as it's your own original G-rated (or R-rated, classified as such) work. Then you can potentially get revenue from ads, Amazon purchases through your links, and other revenue devices. At this point, you get 50% of pooled revenue and 50% of any revenue that might be tracked directly back to your own lens. I imagine that I will get about $7 two months from now, after writing content. The only reasons to do this are: 1) You know a lot about SEO or 2) You want to write content anyway and don't care if or how much you get paid for it. I don't always have time to write, but I do have a one-hour slot set aside every day to write Homemaking Cottage articles and blog posts. I could easily set aside part of that hour for Squidoo. Time will tell. (By the way, the links above are affiliate referral links, so I would get rewarded if you use that link to set up an account AND earn your first $15.)

A Hard Day

Lindafay of Charlotte Mason Help says that there are occasional hard days, birthdays, and other situations when they just do the reading portion of their school work and skip all the rest.

I wouldn't say that today was a particularly hard day, but it has been a week of more complaining than usual. Xander said his throat hurt this morning, although I couldn't see anything wrong and his head was not hot.

For our day, then, we did this:

  • Calendar time
  • Pledges to the flags
  • Half a math hole-punching activity
  • Two Aesop's fables read aloud 
  • Two stories from Among the Night People

We skipped the part where he would normally narrate back to me. We skipped half the math activity. We skipped recorder practice. (He is progressing well with the recorder anyway, so I don't mind him taking a day off from that.) On a normal Thursday, we would also read from This Country of Ours and write a sentence from the book to put in his My America binder, but we have caught all the way up with that material until next school week.

This afternoon, if all goes well, we will go to a science materials open house held by the school district. There will be science activities for children to do and I think the boys will like it.

Meantime, because Xander is finished with school for today and Nick has fallen asleep, I get to work on my 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home and Houseworks Holiday Plan projects. This morning, for the 4 Weeks project, I cleared out the contents of the refrigerator and thoroughly cleaned it. I even put the shelves and drawers in the bath tub to scrub them up. It looks marvelous! I am so glad that all that nasty stuff (that I didn't know was there) is now gone. I also wiped all the counters and cupboard doors in the kitchen, which was nice.

Next week will be a Grace Week, as Lindafay calls it, so I should have time to catch up on projects around the house and for the holidays. We will see. Sometimes not doing things according to routine makes the kids more out of sorts, even though it means more potential free time.

Health Food Shopping and Annual Retreat

The other day I went to our local health food store. I've never been a big shopper at these stores because our pared-down budgets usually don't leave a lot of room for health food. The other big reason is that the more stores I go to and the more shopping trips I take, the more I spend. It seems more economical, considering my spending propensities, to go to one place once a week.

But at this health food store, for $43.55, I got:

  • local corn tortilla chips
  • a bag of organic apples (not pictured - eaten)
  • two avocados (not pictured - eaten)
  • a bell pepper (not pictured - eaten)
  • Rice Dream rice milk, half gallon
  • a bottle of B12 lozenges, 100 count
  • Bob's Red Mill creamy wheat cereal
  • a loaf of Rudi's organic sourdough bread (not pictured - eaten)
  • Brown Cow plain yogurt
  • Glutino gluten free whole grain crackers
  • a can of sesame tahini
I might be forgetting a thing or two, because I foolishly decided to post about a grocery trip that happened a week ago.

I was pleased enough with this trip that I just might go back.

This Saturday, I am going on my Annual Retreat. Last year was very fun, and I spent about $10 total for two whole days off. Erik took care of the kids while I spent from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. of Saturday and 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. of Sunday out on the town. I told him all I really wanted was a break from getting all the kids' meals prepared and then cleaning up them and the dining room and kitchen several times a day.

First, I went to Starbucks and had a small breakfast and coffee. I read and wrote while I was there. Then I went to our local library and browsed to my heart's content. I sat down to read a big stack of books and also wrote a little there. After that, I drove to a nearby cute town which houses a university. I spent time in their university library doing the same sorts of things. In the afternoon, I did price-comparison trips to our WalMart and a couple of other stores, without buying anything. Then I bought several household items at the Dollar Tree for a total of about $8. I ate a lunch-snack from the Dollar Tree and waited to eat dinner until I was at home. The kids were already in bed. Then Erik and I spent a regular evening together.

The next day was more of the same, but I missed my family a lot, so I went home in the afternoon and made dinner for everyone instead of staying out until after bedtime.

This Saturday, I plan to do similar things for one day. Only one day because 1) I don't feel as much of a need to get away and 2) Erik has a work trip coming up so I want to spend one full day as a family. Erik plans to take the kids to a boat race being put on by his friends. I'll buy frozen pizzas for them to have for dinner.

It's nice to have a day to myself before the busy holiday season.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Plugging Along


Xander has been learning to play the recorder. He is officially on Lesson 2 of our Progressive Recorder Method book, but unofficially he is practicing ahead on Lesson 3. I have been surprised by how much he likes to practice and how well he can read music. I have to stop him when practice time is over. He can now make three notes and play little practice songs that contain two different notes, rests, half notes, and repeats. I shouldn't be surprised that he can handle learning this at a slow but steady pace, but I keep thinking how I learned to play flute in 5th grade. That's 11 years old! Now that I think about it, my grandma taught me the beginning basics on the organ when I was younger, but I never took off on that instrument.

Nick still really appreciates music and sounds. Any time he hears a sound out of the ordinary, he immediately mimics it. This morning, he's been listening pretty intently to A Child's Celebration of Classical Music and A Child's Celebration of Folk Music.

He is learning fast at preschool. He now explores other games and activities in the room - not just shells and Moon Sand (it helps that they change up the sensory materials every once in a while) - and cleans up right away when it's clean up time. He participates just fine in the group time. Since starting preschool, he describes what he is doing or drawing in a more comprehensible way. Though the homework assignments always seem a bit beyond his grasp, he learns through doing them. For example, his assignment last week was to draw a picture of his family. He drew a lot of circular squiggles and said they were a shell. With my prompting, he did get around to talking about the members of his family and (presumably) drawing them, too. It's not in the assignment but in his talking and playing the next week that I see the learning. My idea of having him plan and draw what he will do at preschool before he goes each week is catching on with him. He naturally makes a simple plan now.

At preschool, they use flashlights in group time to practice the actions of pointing it up, down, in front of, behind, to the side, in circles, etc., which is pre-writing work. Nick is able to do this pretty well.

I've discovered that Nick knows the names of most of the letters when shown them and seems to recognize that words on a page make up the story being read. He doesn't seem to find his name on the preschool sign-in page without help, but in all fairness the page is printed in small type. He loves to type on the computer when I pull up a blank page for him.

When asked to draw details on a face, he knows the right areas for different body parts, but uses scribbles to represent them. When asked to draw lines from one point to another, he does so, and that does seem to "improve" his free drawing in terms of his using more shapes and lines.

Art appreciation and Xander: I don't know if it's a passing whim, but Xander says he did not like the last two paintings we examined by Raphael. He admits to liking the big, bold modern piece he chose to pose in front of at the museum a few weeks ago. I will have to look that up on their website and let him study that a little bit.

Erik started making a salt dough map of Egypt with Xander last weekend. They have formed topography and pyramids, and placed flags. They still have to paint it and place more flags and possibly make some other tweaks.

Xander decided to use his allowance to get a Playmobil set of Egyptian soldiers. We are studying ancient Egypt in some depth, so I think this is great.

These are the school books we have been using:
  • Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling
  • James Herriott's Treasury for Children {finished}
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne
  • A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (Xander laughs aloud at some of these poems)
  • Everyday Graces: A Child's Book of Good Manners edited by Karen Santorum (this book uses stories and excerpts from classic literature, so I love it)
  • This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall
  • Pocahontas by D'Aulaires {finished}
  • D'Aulaires' Norse Gods and Giants (one of Xander's favorites)
  • Exploring the Ice Age by Margaret Cooper {finished} (I just read that this is for grades 5-8; Xander loved it, though)
  • My Brother Martin by Christine King Farris and Chris Soentpiet {finished}
  • Champion: The Story of Muhammad Ali by Jim Haskins and Eric Velazquez {finished}
  • Progressive Recorder Method for Young Beginners
  • The Philharmonic Gets Dressed by Karla Kuskin
  • Among the Night People by Clara Dillingham Piers 
  • The Usborne Internet-Linked Ancient World
  • The Aesop for Children
  • Everyday Number Stories by Emma Serl, Florence Elledge, George Baker Longan
  • Singapore Math 1A textbook and workbook


Aaaaaahhhhh! Nick has entered a weird sleep zone. If he sleeps too late during his nap, he gives us a lot of trouble at bedtime, getting up, laughing, crying, and all that. Yet I want to try earlier bedtimes for him because he has been getting up in the morning even before my alarm. (This is what he does with later bedtimes.) He naps best at a later hour, but when you put all these variables together, they don't quite fit.

I am considering letting him get up in the morning and going about my quiet morning routine with him there. He will have to journal, look at books, and all the things I am doing without getting breakfast until breakfast time. Naptime can be between 1:30 and 2:00 and bedtime can be about 8:00. These are my happy mediums I'm going to work with next. A time change is coming up. I hope that doesn't mean Nick wakes up at 5:00 in the morning!

Xander seems to be staying awake long past lights out and getting up pretty late. Today it was about 9:00. The only tweaking to be done there is to enforce lights out and go in around 9:00 at night to make sure he's actually trying to sleep. He does get a small book light to use between 8:00 and 8:30 to read to himself. Last night, to gauge how well he can read to himself, I had him read a beginning reader book to me (Small Wolf). In my opinion, it was long enough and challenging enough for his age to be a good gauge. He read the whole thing just fine. (It is meant to be for ages 4 and up, but Xander would not have had the stamina to read this whole book at age 4, and he would have stumbled over many words.)


Erik says just wait until they are teenagers. He says at that point we should stock up on meat and teach them how to grill to satisfy their teenage appetites. He's right. I shouldn't make a big deal about how Nick wants to eat EVERY THIRTY MINUTES. When he is allowed to eat, it doesn't spoil the next meal for him. I have gotten into the habit of buying bags of apples and allowing him to pick out apples, wash them himself, and eat them when he is hungry. Xander, on the other hand, does not eat as often. He could almost go without snacks - almost, but not quite. He eats a hearty meal sometimes and other times does not.

Nick is a good helper in the kitchen. I have him help me pretty often. I remember not wanting to go to that trouble with Xander. I don't know if it's more my loosening up or more Nick's temperament that has him "cooking" in the kitchen with me more often at an earlier age than Xander. Xander is handy in the kitchen, but at this age doesn't seem to want to make the foods he knows how to make. On the other hand, he does get into helpful moods and will get Nick what Nick wants if I am otherwise occupied.


They have spent so much more time outside this fall. I have tried not to turn on the TV for days on end. As long as the other boy is outside, too, they love to play outside for an hour or so. We also try to get to the playgrounds to meet up with other kids once or twice a week. In fact, this afternoon we are meeting brothers who are the same age as Nick and Xander at a park.

Now I just have to get a handle on how I want to structure our nature studies (and how much I want to structure it).  But as far as simply being outside goes, they are doing great. I hope the neighbors don't mind their play yells.

Field Trips

Field trips to date this fall:

  • the homeschool group Not Back to School party
  • the art museum
  • the military forces museum
  • geocaching twice
  • Dino Day at Champion Park
  • Sea World Homeschool Day

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This Week's Goals

How did I do on last week's goals?


1. Lose 2.5 pounds by eating mostly vegetarian and whole grain.
2. Knit about 17 rows per day on a hand towel for the bathroom so that it is finished in a week. {I'm half-finished.}
3. Take as my new motto "Without Haste, Without Rest" (Goethe) so that I can steadily and carefully complete projects around the house, especially basic ones like cleaning up after meals and enforcing the kids cleaning up after themselves.

4. Focus on Erik when I get home from running and have nightly chores done. Forget about what I haven't yet completed for the day, or the week, or the month.
5. Have a Game Night again.


6. Take Nick to preschool - with homework finished.
7. Catch the kids doing nice things to take care of objects around the house so I can put buttons in our newly instated Care for Things jar. I am trying to substitute behaviors like wiping up marks, straightening chairs, and cleaning for more careless behaviors like standing on the couch, running pell mell to the bathroom while "accidentally" wiping dirty hands on furniture, and leaving toys out to be stepped on.
8. Continue Xander on 10-15 minutes reading to himself before bed to count for Pizza Hut's Book-It program.


9. Continue a No-Spend month. {Did this, with a few acceptable exceptions: a good set of clippers instead of spending money on a haircut for Xander, taking the kids to Sea World Homeschool Day, getting my own dental work done while Erik can watch the kids, and spending $3.50 yesterday and today, total, for a sample of men's body wash, 140 customized return address labels, two iTunes songs, and two school books for Xander.}
10. If I want to buy something, like a book, check for my Swagbucks gift card so I can get it for free.

It doesn't feel like it, but I guess I accomplished a lot of my goals this week.

Next Week's Goals:


1. Run three times this week, at least.
2. Knit about 17 rows per day on a hand towel for the bathroom.


4. Most nights, focus on Erik when I get home from running and have nightly chores done.
5. Have a Game Night again.
6. Firmly establish a no-complaining rule, for my own sake as much as everyone else's. Complaining zaps joy from a moment; since I have a very happy life, it would be silly to zap joy from my moments.


7. Take Nick to preschool - with homework finished.
8. Catch the kids doing nice things to take care of objects around the house so I can put buttons in our newly instated Care for Things jar.
9. Continue Xander on 10-15 minutes reading to himself before bed to count for Pizza Hut's Book-It program.


10. Continue a No-Spend month.
11. Take a look at our financial goals and do some thinking.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dino Day

A park in our county parks department put on a free Dino Day today. Dino Day was a short distance away in a beautiful park we had not yet been to. They offered helium balloons, pencils, erasers, petting of adoption dogs, a bounce house, dinosaur bone digging in their covered sand pit, squirting fountains of water, a little dinosaur bone replica playground, hot dogs and chips and pink lemonade, seedball forming, live entertainment in the form of a karate school and a young singer, and sno cones. I am not sure about the sno cones, because we didn't try to get any, but everything else was legitimately free and convenient. Beautiful park. We loved it. We only stayed an hour and that was the perfect length for an easy family outing.

Xander saw a former classmate there which was a delightful bonus. They played a bit and we ate lunch with her and her mom and grandma.

Speaking of Xander's friends, yesterday afternoon we went to a small Halloween party at a friend's house. Almost all of the local people I know were there, though it was a small party. ;) Almost all the kids from our regular playground group were there, plus one of Xander's best friends from his class last year. They were excited to see each other. The kids played games like Halloween Twister, batty bean bag toss, pumpkin painting, and cupcake decorating. They also had spooky snacks and a craft and lots of running around playing games they made up. I am so glad to have those kinds of opportunities for Xander now that he is homeschooled.

Xander's addition to our decor

Xander taking pictures of Nick taking pictures

same as above

Erik getting the ingredients ready to make a fabulous cake
like pistachios

for making Brown Sugar, Pear & Pistachio Cake with Ginger Buttercream Frosting

this is after we decorated it with the oven crisped pear chips that Erik made

it is a three-layer cake
which had to be cut down to one layer for some of us to be able to eat it!

a cowboy and a knight with their ponies, ready to ride to the Halloween party

at Dino Day