Friday, November 28, 2008

Gonna Be A Bear

In this life I'm a woman. In my next life, I'd like to come back as a bear. When you're a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with that.

Before you hibernate, you're supposed to eat yourself stupid. I could deal with that.

When you're a girl bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you're sleeping and wake to partially grown, cute, cuddly cubs. I could definitely deal with that.

If you're mama bear, everyone knows y0u mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too. I could deal with that.

If you're a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling. He EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.

Yup, gonna be a bear!
Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Poem

I received this poem from a friend (thanks Lori!) and just had to share it....I am not sure who the author is.

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mouse House Update

The babies are now 2 weeks old and are really starting to wriggle around. A few have "escaped" the nest and are pretty fun to watch as the crawl around since their eyes still aren't open. We did see one last night that had open eyes. They sound like little birds when the squeak. I finally cleaned the cage last night. The mommies were a bit nervous but I made sure not to get any of the babies into the garbage!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mous Baby Update

The babies are now 1 week old and the mommies have moved them into 2 different spots in the cage because we kept peeking at them. They now have eyes instead of little black bumps but they are not open yet. The moms have made a nest in one of the tubes of the Critter Trails. Today we were watching and one of the babies rolled out of the tube. In a couple of seconds the mom stuck her head out of the tube and sniffed around and grabbed the baby by the scruff of the neck and arm and pulled it back inside the tube....It was pretty funny. A few minutes later 3 of the babies and rolled and wiggled out of the tube and were squirming around the entrance of the cage. Out popped the mommy's head and one by one she grabbed them with her sharp little teeth and pulled them in. I am amazed at how gentle her grasp must be on their tender little skin. There is a little bit of fuzz on them now. I will get a picture next time they "fall" out of the nest.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Homeschool Matrix

I got this story in an email from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I wanted to share it to encourage homeschoolers when those doubts haunt us.......

The room was brightly lit and cold. She was sitting at a table, across from an empty chair. She knew the questioning would begin any minute. The door opened and a man bearing a remarkable resemblance to Hugo Weaving walked in and sat down in the empty chair.
“Mrs. Anderson,” he began, “we’ve been monitoring your homeschool. Apparently, you have been living two lives. In one life, you’re Katherine A. Anderson, homeschooling mother and wife in a respectable community. You have a homeschool curriculum. You have a schoolroom. You volunteer . . . to help out with your homeschool support group. The other life, Mrs. Anderson, is lived in your pajamas. Your kids are unable to complete their assignments, and if you can get them bathed and dressed before your husband returns from work, you consider it a good day. One of these lives has a future, Mrs. Anderson. The other does not.”
She just stared across the table at this man. “Who was he?” she wondered. Why was he accusing her of these things?
The man opened up a folder and began leafing through it. “As you can see, we’ve had our eyes on you for some time, Mrs. Anderson. I think that you should look long and hard at how you are failing in your role.” He pulled out a single sheet of paper. “Your son is 6 years old and yet he cannot read. Your 11-year-old daughter spends half her time daydreaming and staring off into space. She hasn’t scored better than a D on her spelling quizzes all year. Your teen, this . . . Melissa, I believe her name is . . . she hasn’t prepared for the SAT test. If you really loved your children, Mrs. Anderson, you would have your children at their desks and hard at work by 7:30 each morning.”
Tears started to well up in Katherine’s eyes. Was she really that bad at homeschooling?
“As far as your curriculum goes, you’ve switched back and forth from A Beka to Saxon to Bob Jones and back to Saxon again in just two semesters. I have to wonder, Mrs. Anderson, if you are teaching them correctly. How can you jump from curriculum to curriculum without causing your children to become hopeless, blathering idiots?”
Mrs. Anderson made no effort to wipe away the tears that were now flowing down her cheeks. She knew all these accusations were true. There was nothing she could say to refute them.
“Tell me, Mrs. Anderson. What’s it like, living in your pajamas? Do you enjoy being a slob?” His words began to cut deep, and somewhere deep inside her soul, a wave began to form.
“How many times did you yell at your kids yesterday, Mrs. Anderson? Can you really say you love them if you treat them this way?”
The wave began to build, quickly becoming a surge. Mrs. Anderson’s anger was rising above and beyond the shame and fears this man was exploiting.
“Your best friend, Laurie, doesn't have any trouble getting her six children ready to go to eight different activities each week, yet you always manage to run late . . .”
“That’s enough!” Her waves of anger burst over the dam and began to pour from her lips. “I don't have to listen to these accusations. I am a loving wife and mother, and I care deeply about my children. We may not get to every activity on time or complete every assignment, but we are trying. My children are well fed and clothed, and they are learning so much more than they would learn anywhere else. My son is a gifted engineer. He dismantled three phones last week to understand how the buttons work . . .”
“You consider that school?”
“Absolutely! He is learning mechanics and science. If I can get him to put things back together so that I can answer the phone, I’ll be all set. By the way, Melissa doesn’t need to study for her SAT test right now. She’s 14! We will prepare for it when the time is right.
“Another thing. My daughter may not always study with perfect concentration, but she draws the most beautiful pictures. She understands forms and shapes so much better than her brothers or sisters do. She is a very bright girl, no matter what your files say.”
These bold statements took the man aback. Mrs. Anderson’s outburst, though somewhat controlled, was clearly not what he had expected to hear in response to his accusations.
“You say I yell at my kids, and that’s true. I do lose my temper when I clean a room and come back in thirty minutes to find it in worse shape than it was before I cleaned it. But your files don’t show the breakfast we had yesterday when we sat around and talked about three things we like about each other. I enjoy my children so much more than you could imagine. And we truly love each other.
“I stay in my pajamas some days, that’s true. But we are at home and like to be comfortable while we do our work. Learning is more important than appearances.”
“But are your children really learning, Mrs. Anderson? I show that you have lost ground every time you’ve tried to set a schedule. How effective are you if you can't even maintain a schedule?”
“We may struggle sometimes. I admit, we don’t hit the mark with schedules, but we do a good job setting goals. We know what direction we’re going, and we do a good job, even if we don’t end up completing our workbooks. If anything is out of line, it’s my own expectations.” An idea began to form in her mind.
“What? We are not to blame, Mrs. Anderson!”
“Of course,” she thought, “it all makes sense now.”
Katherine looked straight into her accuser’s eyes as she spoke calmly and deliberately. “I know who you are! You’re my own expectations. You’ve been trying to trap me.”
“Nonsense. We don’t need to trap what we already own.”
“You don’t? Then you would have no problem if I made pajamas the standard school uniform?”
“Uh . . .” Suddenly, the man became quite anxious.
“And you wouldn’t mind my going to thrift stores to buy more phones and other things for my son to dismantle?”
“Wait . . . this isn't what we wanted. Stop!”
“Why? Don’t you want to hear about how we’re going to stop going to so many activities and start spending more time together as a family? I've got some great ideas, including a bug collecting expedition and a board game night.”
“Board games don’t constitute an education! They . . .”
“Oh, yes they do. Colors, numbers, counting, reading, and strategy all work together to educate my children. And the best part is that they don’t even realize it’s school.”
The man was becoming transparent, and he was quickly fading from view. “But what about your curriculum? You can’t change in the middle of the year! It’s . . . ”
“I can change our curriculum whenever I think we need to. If something isn’t working, we can try something else. That’s one benefit of running your own school. I would rather find something that works than have my children suffer through an entire year of work that doesn ’t meet their needs.”
She could see that the man was livid and shouting angrily, but now, along with his appearance, his voice had faded. He was almost gone from view when she said, “Oh, by the way, school starts at 10 a.m. from now on.”
With that, he disappeared.
Mrs. Anderson was about to scoot away from the table when she awoke with a start. Rolling across the screen on the television in front of her were credits for a fantasy film about people fighting the forces of artificial intelligence. She quickly pushed the “off” button and headed upstairs to bed. After all, she had a bug hunt to plan tomorrow.

Steve Walden lives in Colorado with his wife, and together they homeschool their three children (ages 12, 9, and 5). Steve is a freelance writer and editor. When he’s not blogging at, he’s searching for new opportunities to write about a variety of topics, including homeschooling, coping with disabilities, and connecting with God. Steve’s desire is to help others rediscover God as their first love and the source of their strength.


Sorry the picture is blurry - it makes me a bit sea-sick looking at it but it was the best picture I could get with them burried.

The babies were born Tuesday night. We have 11 tiny, pink, hairless mice that are making faint squeeks! They are so cute but the mommies have them hidden really well and don't like us to uncover the babies. We just peek in once or twice. Today the black and white mommy nipped at me while I was trying to get a peek.

We are not sure if Josh's mouse had babies too or if they are all from the black and white mouse. If they are, Josh's mouse is a great NANNY!
Here is a picture of Jacob's mouse on Tuesday night before we went to bed. She could hardly fit through the tunnels and was trying to "run" on the wheel. You can see her little tummy bulging.

THINK Project - Catalog Tower

The CHALLENGE - to build as large a tower as possible with only a catalog.
The first tower was crumpled pages put in a pile....didn't hold very well. SOOOOO.......Mungi explained that when she was young her family didn't have money for staples so the tore little "flaps" to hold paper together. She showed us how to make the blocks and then use the "flaps" to hold them together. Then we discovered that since we had so much crumpled paper we could put a ball of paper in the block and it would be sturdier.
Jacob wanted his own picture with the tower because he liked the look with 2 blocks on top of the tower.

This project ended up being a multi-generational project! Mungi (our name for Grandma) and Mom made the blocks for the tower and the boys stuffed the blocks with crumpled paper and then stacked them into the tower. It ended up measuring about 18" tall and 13" square at the bottom. It could have been much larger but we needed to get Math done today as well! There are a LOT of pages in the JC Penny Christmas Catalog.

Of course they had to end the building session by rolling in the left over supplies. Then we had a race to see who could pick up the most paper.....I think Jacob won!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trick or Treat

I am a slacker costume pictures! Can you believe it??? I will make the boys dress up again and take a picture to post later. Josh made his own costume and Jacob used his costume from last year becuase he didn't have enough money to buy the costume he wanted the first time we saw it. When he finally had the money, the costume was sold out.

We took the boys trick-or-treating around our house and then went to Clint and Angie's for a party and they got to go AGAIN around their neighborhood. Thank goodness the rain stopped in time. It was even warmish - or at least not cold!

Josh enjoys sorting his candy but not quite as much as eating it! He hasn't weighed his yet but when he does, be sure there will be an update!
Jacob's goodie weighed in at 5 pounds! I'm sure his doctor at Children's will be thrilled! We will definitely ration it and maybe trade it in for a prize.....then Dad can take it to work so Mom won't eat it!

Obbie even got in on the goodie sorting....he picked out his piece and guarded it! Of course, after a while he got distracted and left it so we could throw it one wanted to eat it after he added his doggy slobber to it!

Halloween Party

OOPS! I found a post I started a LONG while ago. We went to Clint and Angie's for a Halloween Party. Jacob was the only one to dive in and bob for apples.

Ken was a good sport and volunteered to be wrapped in toilet paper as a mummy. This was a race and his team ended up the winner. Then we added bunny ears and goofy glasses to complete his costume.

THINK Project - Halloween Candy

The boys did this week's THINK project today. The directions were to use 5 pieces of Halloween Candy, 4 toothpicks, and 2 straws to create an animal - real or imaginary. Here are the final creations!

Jacob created The Floopy. It is like a flounder becuase it lays on its side in the ocean. He did use the straw (only pieces - once again, not sure if this is cheating) for eyes.

Josh created a Sucker - it sucks blood and lives on the bottom of the ocean and in the air - like a whale: breathes air and lives in the water but can fly also (not like a whale, obviously).