Saturday, September 6, 2008

This Week's Wrap-up

Another busy week, complicated by the girls & I all having a cold (at varying times and to varying degrees). We were able to finish up our study of the American Indians (though I got lazy & we didn't do the suggested crafts), and we started using the Proverbs Paper Dolls for Bible. The girls had asked that we do something different than the Ladder of Life books we'd been using, and I was also finding them to be abit "young" for the girls, so I went hunting for something different. I had the first set of the paper dolls that I got as a free download at some point ( has one ebook to download free each week, and occasionally does special promotions w/ lots of freebies, so during one of those I'd gotten the paper dolls set free. In this case, their freebie paid off (for them LOL), I looked at it and decided this would be an excellent resource for us so, while they had the rest of the sets on sale I went ahead & purchased the II-IV bundle. The girls had recently started enjoying some other paper dolls (that I'd gotten cheap somewhere along the line and, now that we're using them, I'm not so impressed with) as a quiet activity in church, so this is working well as something we can build up into a nice church activity. Each day I present them w/ either a new paper doll or a new outfit for one of the paper dolls and we talk about that day's verse in Proverbs, I read it to them, we talk about the discussion questions suggested, and anything else that might come up and then, since they WERE enjoying the copywork that I'd been including w/ the Ladder of Life series, we're continuing that and I'm giving them all or a portion (depending on the text) of that day's Proverb as copywork. I also write that day's text on the back of that days doll/outfit, so as they get older (and learn to read), if they continue to play with the dolls, it will also remind them of the lessons learned.

I've finally found a solar system book that is IDEAL to use with our solar system unit. It goes through and has 3-4 pages describing each planet in order, so I can just read that week's planet section. What we did this week was I read the pages about the earth and then had each of the girls tell me 3 things about Earth that they wanted included in their lapbook minibook, that worked well and is the approach I plan to continue using.

This week we also had a playdate with our friends Jacob and Anika (and baby Mathias), as seems to always happen when we get together, it took quite awhile for the 3 big kids (Jacob and my girls) to warm up to each other, but once they did, they had a blast, and didn't want to leave LOL. I also discovered a way that L will eat green beans. Carmita made a yummy supper of garden produce (yum, we used to do this often when I was a kid, but it doesn't work so well for me to do it now since dh barely tollerates vegetables LOL), and instead of just steaming the green beans like I normally do (and A and dh both like, but L won't eat), she sauteed them w/ onions and garlic. They were yummy, though I like them fine steamed too, and L ate hers and then took seconds (and perhaps 3rds, I wasn't watching real close). I asked her, on the way home, if she liked them and would eat them if I fixed them that way and she said she would so it looks like from now on when we have green beans we'll be fixing them 2 ways LOL.

Mama and Papa came and spent yesterday with us to celebrate my, and dh's birthdays. I think my dad pretty much finished my "project list" or at least came close. We now have a keypad lock on our basement door woo-hoo!!! The landlord has been unable to find us a key for that door and while I will go down the steep stairs to get to the basement when I'm in the house, it's annoying to get home from errands, have clothes on the line that need to come in (but the laundry basket & apron I use to hold clothespins are INSIDE the basement, so despite the fact that I park my car right next to the basement door I've had to go up the steps to the front door, in the house and then down the steep basement steps to come out the basement door. PLUS I'm paranoid about being locked out of our house, our last house had a garage w/ a code on the garage door so I always knew that if I somehow went out w/o a key, but now we don't have a garage, and it was making me nervous. SO we solved both problems by getting a keypad lock and putting it on the basement door. Now, if I'm outside & want to get in the basement I just punch in the code. AND if I end up locked out of the house, I can go through the basement and unlock the front door. Dad also put up my knife bar (magnetic bar to store knives on) which frees up an extra drawer in my kitchen. The girls weren't so sure about the idea (they like being "big enough" to carefully put the sharp knives in the drawer when they unload the dishwasher, and now they can't reach the knife bar w/o a stool) until I pointed out that having the knives in the low drawer wouldn't be safe for the baby. I'd also been wanting 2 additional clotheslines a "rainy day" one on the covered porch for days when it's rainy but I REALLY need to do a load of laundry, that one was easy, I just didn't have a drill to drill the holes for the hooks. But then I also wanted additional outside (in the sun) clothesline space, my original clothesline held one load of laundry, which works fine most days since my normal routine is one load a day BUT if we're on vacation and laundry backs up or it rains several days in a row, then it would be very helpful to be able to do 2 loads a day. AND cloth diapers will likely add 2 loads per week to my current schedule which will also require 2 loads at least one day per week (right now when I'm caught up I generally have one day each week (besides Sabbath) when I don't have to do any laundry). So . . . I wanted to at least talk to Dad and figure out what kind of clothesline would be best to add, turns out he went ahead & put it up yesterday too, so now, in addition to my little clothesline by the basement door I have a pulley clothesline (woo-hoo, I can stand in one place instead of walking back & forth to the basket!) right outside my front door :) AND since it's a pulley, the girls can stand on a stool or box or something and hang clothes on it which they are THRILLED about. So at the moment the only project I have on Dad's "to do list" is to somehow tack down the cords that run through our laundry chute and occasionally catch some of the clothes but that requires a ladder and he didn't have one w/ him, so it'll wait for another visit. And of course, when it gets close to time for the baby to be born we need cosleeper space added to our bed (the space between my side of the bed and the wall is very close to the width of a twin mattress, and our bed can shift whichever direction to make it exact so Dad will build a platform to put our extra twin mattess on between our bed and the wall, making the room big enough to comfortably have the baby sleep with us) but until we get closer to the time I'm thoroughly enjoying being able to actually get out on my side of the bed after 5 years of climbing off the end (because we didn't take down the cosleeper at our old house until we moved). Mom also brought lots of yummy food from Grandpa's garden s we had a delicious garden supper that we grilled and ate out on the porch. And since the girls don't think it's a birthday w/o cake (I'm actually not a huge fan of cake, and was perfectly happy w/ the banana split I had at DQ on my birthday) mom brought the ingredients for the one cake that I DO like and she and the girls made it for me.

Yesterday dh also cleaned out the sandbox I'd been meaning to clean out for months (years) and filled it with sand, the girls got back from an "adventure"/walk w/ Mama to find it all ready to go, and promptly spent most of the rest of the day in it (when we weren't doing other things). Hopefully it will continue to keep them well entertained LOL.

Today we're finally getting our share of Gustav (or whatever that hurricane was named) which thankfully at this point just means a day of steady rain. The girls spent quite awhile this afternoon outside in their swimsuits happily playing in the rain LOL.

And finally, the fact that the other kids in SS can read (since everyone else is Primary age (around 7-8)) is, I think, starting to bug A. The teachers are great about it, finding other ways for the girls to participate when the big kids are reading things, but still, A doesn't deal well w/ not being "the best" LOL. SO . . . whereas up until now, L has been the one interested in reading (and at this point L is content to "read" mostly by memorizing books and quoting them back, though lately she's started paying more attention to the actual words on the page), now A has asked me to "teach us to read". I did some looking through the resources I already have. I have Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons which I've heard good things about from various homeschoolers, and looking through it, I can see that it would work well, BUT it assumes starting from scratch with no knowledge of the alphabet, letter sounds, or any phonics, I think to attempt to use it at this point with the girls (when they know their letters, sounds, and can sound out simple phonetic words) would just frustrate them because it would take so long for them to feel like they were making any progress. So I kept looking and found the free reading program from Tanglewood (download is in the red box). This looks more in keeping w/ my kids' current skill level and I think will get them the basics of reading quickly enough to keep them satisfied and challenged, and hopefully when we finish the 21 lessons I'll have a better feel of how to move forward. Additionally, the site lists recommended easy reader books for children who haven't read at all (as well as higher levels) which makes it much easier to request books from the library :) so I went through and reserved all the books in the "absolute beginner" pack, and hopefully the girls will enjoy being able to read "real books" as we work through them, and the lessons, trying to decide if I want to buy the recommended phonics workbook to go w/ it or just use other phonics worksheets that I have or can print-off . . . it's on for $2 from a seller I like, so if I can find a few other books I want to get (to reduce shipping per book) I'll probably give it a try.

Anyway . . . that's where things are at around here.

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