Tuesday, September 30, 2008

anatomy in the Garden

One of my FAVORITE things about gardening is CUTTING LIMBS!

There was a whole system of veins to pull out of the ground. Roots all tangled and interconnected. After enough digging I think I found the heart.
You can see the ventricles and arteries on it. It's harder to see in the photograph, but it did look like a heart with the chambers and everything.

Then onto planting my new plants. This one was nice. I like it. It is small and round. Like a little brain. It reminded me of if someone had yanked the brain out of someone so hard the spinal cord was still attached. maybe a hedgehog brain.


And no garden is complete without toes----

Monday, September 29, 2008

numbers and the wheelbarrow

I feel odd (opposite of even) when I have more entries in the month than there are days for the month. It's like the number day is my blog limit. Today is 29th and I have 28 entries so I can go ahead and do this one that I wanted to do tonight. I think I will do a bullet list entry of today's events.

  • Gavin wrote a blog in which he lamented his state of boredom.

  • So at 11:30 I took them on a walk so he'd have something that made today different, so he can remember it, as he has been saying all his days are the same and flow into one which makes it seem like time is slipping by and nothing happens.

  • On our walk we saw a neat spider....

  • ...met the new friends down the street who homeschool and sold (gave ) me a lot of great plants for my yard...

  • ... we met Lu at Coffee Diem and she enjoyed talking to the boys and used a little Spanish with them. She told the boys they could call her Nanna Lu...

  • ... went to the mall, to the game store. Signed up for the mailing list and looked at their gaming room. Boy, so I miss Krystal Keep! ...

  • ... ate lunch in the mall. (Chinese and Sbarros)

  • ... stopped at Coffee Diem for their Student Special $1 fruit smoothies. I knew Connor wouldn't like his so I didn't order one for me. After he tasted his and gave it to me, I gave him a $1 for some mini powdered doughnuts. (crack doughnuts as Brian and I sometimes call them due to their addictive nature and white powder)

  • walked home down Cat Street. I was the 1st to point out the cats. 2 of them today.


  • I talked to the Game Store owner about starting a Board Game on Thursdays. Sundays seem to be somewhat open and Saturdays only seem to have one function, I'd like to so some Kid Game Days maybe. I also talked to him about demoing Looney Lab Games.

  • M from down the street, who sold the plants to me stopped by and looked over what landscape I have to work with and helped with some ideas (and gave advice for my gnarly, deformed lemon tree).

  • The boys and I are going geocaching tomorrow. I plan to hit 2 caches. I need to pack dome trinkets and food/water tonight.

  • We are going to the Reagan Library Friday. It's a long drive. I am not looking forward to that part.

  • The AFB finally got someone for boys gymnastics so my boys can start taking that class. They keep asking about it and when they can take gymnastics and telling me how much they want to. So we now have this gas usage event on our calendars.

PHOTO/Story. On Sunday I took my blue wheelbarrow all the way to Park Street to the Plant Sale. I wanted to walk, it's just 3 blocks- a waste of gas. and I didn;t want to carry a bunch of cacti home in my arms, so I got the trusty wheelbarrow and rolled it all the way down the street. I figured if the trucks and trailers can make all that commotion on the street as early ad 5AM, then I can rumble down the road with my blue wheelbarrow at 8:30 AM. After I pick out a few plants, M offers to just load them in his truck and take them to my house so I didn't have to push them in my blue wheelbarrow as it might tip. I told it was fine, my dad taught me well in the art of wheelbarrow-ing. He said he didn't doubt my wheelbarrow talent, just thought it be easier.

It was fine. Not off balanced or anything. I could have done an obstacle course with the blue wheelbarrow of succulents. But is was nice of him to offer and he came by with more plants later. I'll have to have wife and girls over for a picnic sometime. (the boys and I got to say hi to her and her girls today on our walk)

Here I am with my Blue Wheelbarrow and my new plants---

Queen of the Wheelbarrowers!

**** coming soon--- pictures of my plants!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

For SEPTEMBER 29, 2008

Outside my Window... A New Day begins without waiting for the sun. I, personally, like to wait for the sun to begin my day with it's warmth and light, but big ol' delivery trucks and Fast Food places don't seem to want to wait for the slow sun to make it up over the mountains and out west.

I am thinking... If Brian had brought the cat in last night I'd still be sleeping, like the sun.

From the learning rooms... aren't they all learning rooms somehow? What about from the learning backyard? Today will be a fairly structured day as we need to get back into doing school. Ki and his Missions and Zoology, Connor-geology&civics, Gavin-physics and economics, bible, math, reading for all...

I am thankful for... our church we found (link here). My mom has a blog(link), so she can keep me up to date with things back in Ohio.

From the kitchen...the dishes finally have given up asking to be washed and the floor is resting in the realization that it might not get mopped till later. And PANCAKES are for breakfast.

I am wearing... PJ pants and a sweater.

I am reading... Same thing as last week. Three Cups of Tea. and my Bible. Ki's science book to him and Gavin's Economics to him.

I am hoping... I get my Base ID ....... someday

I am creating... something for Ki.

I am hearing... Cars, Trucks, Sleeping Boys (someone has a cold), cat food being bitten, and of course the keyboard clacking

Around the house... not doing enough house cleaning- as always. I'd rather go outside and play and do things with my kids. I guess it's enough housework for me.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... ENT, Orthodontist, Homeschool PE, Elections Class, Farmers Market, school planning, planting succulents, walking to a new friend's, biking, Discipleship class

PICTURE FOR TODAY: The trinket I took from the cache. a green carabiner. I left colored pencils & a large butterfly paperclip. Read about my 1st GeoCache adventure here.
Click on the Simple Womans Daybook Picture to read more "Simple Woman's Daybook" entries or click *HERE*.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Today I did my very first GEOCACHE hike! (using your GPS to find hidden treasures) I dragged my husband along. He had fun- I think. He puts up with me well. Me and my "bright ideas". He was thinking a half mile walk on the beach. Not a 2 mile hike up a winding hill. But he had his camera and took lots of pictures of birds, bunnies and bugs. He has to convert them so I can access them to put here. He converted a few for so I could put them up today.

Before I left I collected a couple things to leave in the cache. A big Butterfly Paperclip and a Die in a Die- a 10 sided in a clear 10 sided die- really fun. I came down from getting my jacket and the die was gone and in it's place was a handful of colored pencils. Ki said he thought we should keep the die (or is it dice if it is 2 in 1?) and he found some extra colored pencils I can give them instead.

"Hmmmmmm. It's a little farther than I thought."

"If we cut right through there we can get there sooner" (what's a couple little ravines? we can make it)


Filling out the Cache Log.

My husband who is good at going along with my crazy ideas.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I have been DE-NIED! (a Three-peat)

No Base ID for me! apparently this Air Force Base is unable to prove that my husband works there or have clearance there (though he have a ID card there that they issued to him) so they WILL not (not just can not) give me a ID to get on base. So for now, it's back to just calling fellow homeschool moms who live on base to MEET me at the visitors center and help get my kids on base for HomeSchool Classes.

This is the 3rd or 4th time we have been in their trying to get an ID for me to get on base. Short of flying BACK to Ohio and having them re-issue my Wright Pat card, I am not authorized to drive myself onto base here.

How did my husband get clearance and an ID card if they can not verify he works there? I think they just don't know what to do with me because we do not fit the general mold of people working on base (because my husband is still considered an employee of a different base)

But, there is another step or two that might yield results. For now I will continue to be a leech.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Walk with me to the Coffee Shop (2)

To see the pictures/read the entry for the 1st post of pictures on the walk to the coffee shop click HERE-Part 1 this is just a 2 part post.

Some people use trees and bushes for their walls/fences.

A house along the walk. It's big- so is the yard.

Another house with lots of plants and flowers. The have plum trees, orange trees and lots of flowering cacti in the back.

The Coffee Shop I walk to once a week. It is next to the library. This is also the route we take to the Farmer's Market. But this is about 2/3 the way there.

Can you see the muntains? every street you are on here in town you can pretty mcu see mountains in the background. It's mountains all 3 sides and the ocean to the West.

Walk with me to the Coffee Shop (1)

Yesterday morning I enjoyed a lovely morning of school lesson planning. I also enjoyed a walk to the coffee shop. Here are some pictures. This is house has a common to see yard. No grass, just flowers. It seems easier to keep flowers watered enough to live than to keep the grass pretty and green.

This is a picturing walking down my street. I wonder if I will get used to having palm trees on my street (and in my back yard are tropical palm-looking trees). And cacti in my yard and in the neighbors yards. Still I think "WOW! We have PALM TREES!!! and CACTI! how cool is that!" everytime I see them

This is the section of Speed Street between Mariposa and Las Flores. It's a fun section to ribe my bike on the sidewalk and to walk. See how the sidewalk wiggles- And the yards here have lots of well manicured flower gardens (not the 'overflowing wildflowers instead of grass' look)

Here are some of the them. I like how in a lot of the yards there are perfectly seperated flowers with flat smooth dirt. It looks clean and orderly. No one here uses mulch or those little garden pebbles or lava rocks to cover the dirt.

This house has no grass, just flowers. But they also have little paths and fountains- also common to see here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One Chilly Morning

The sunlight always looks different on chilly mornings. It's a little extra chilly today. The weather here is a bit different. It's like mid-spring all the time. It is always a little chilly every morning with a sea-mist fog. The fog (or sometimes just overcast cloudiness) usually clears around 9 - 10AM. Then it is about 75 degrees by 1PM and is nice and warm until about 6PM. The evening starts to cool off as the mist rolls in for the night. It's actually still very nice all evening till bedtime, just a little cooler and mistier.

The odd thing in the warmth of the day is that it doesn't matter if you wear a tank top or a jacket. It's just as comfortable either way. I am used to if it's warm enough for a tank top then it is way too warm to wear a jacket and vice-versa.

'My' avocados should be ripe in 2 months! I only have about 8 or 9. They really aren't mine. They are just on my side of the 8 foot wall. I want to make avocado-cilantro hummus.

Gavin is getting over a cold. He was pretty achey yesterday. I have been giving him echenacia and it seems to be a very short lived cold. It never got as bad as his colds often get.

Both Gavin and Connor are sleeping in today. It's 7:35 and I don't hear them yet. I love that they can sleep in when they are tired and need a little extra sleep. Ki is usually the one to sleep in late. Both Brian and Ki were up early. They must still be on Ohio Time.

We aren't doing much school this week, so I really don't have anything school-y to write. The boys have home school P.E. today. I'll be trying to get my new Base ID.

Monday, September 22, 2008


For Today... SEPTEMBER 22, 2008

Outside my Window... The Scrub Jays seem to be announcing their presence to whole city. And I see purple flowers.

I am thinking... I am very glad my husband and youngest son made it back safely! I have really missed them!

From the learning rooms... No real plans today. Just Life Learning.

I am thankful for... running water and electricity. and my Son and Husband are home!

From the kitchen...The cat is crying

I am wearing... Blue PJ pants with light blue polka-dots. a light blue tank top and a black cardigan sweater.

I am reading... Same thing as last week. Three Cups of Tea. It takes place in Pakistan, which used to be India, so a lot of things that happened to the American are just like what we experienced in India (except we didn't get lost on a icy mountain top and almost die)

I am hoping... I get my Base ID this week.

I am creating... a work area for my sewing

I am hearing... Clicks, clacks, cats and cars.

Around the house... a cuddle day with my kids.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... Unpacking Ki's bags with him. Birthday dinner and present for Ki, getting my Base ID, Homeschool PE, Elections Class, Farmers Market, school planning

No Picture today

Friday, September 19, 2008

Does "Crying It Out" work?

How long till they stop crying all night?

She cried off and on all night. I tried to let her cry and not go to her. I know if I just let her drink like she wants that'll I can get to sleep. But then she just CRIES again later on. But it might be worth it to give in. Then she'd just cry 2-3 times at night and not every stinking hour! How long? How many nights till she figures it out and just comforts herself?

Wait. What's that? What did you say?

You know I don't have a baby. All my kids are boys? How can this be?

I confess. It is not offspring that is crying to drink all night. It is the Feline of the House. You see, my husband taught her to drink from the bathroom sink. Which means she needs someone to turn the water on for her. Being that she is 16 (OLD for cat), she is too arthritic to jump up there herself and in her old age, I think her kidneys aren't the best and she is thirsty ALL the time.

So she YOWLS ans CRIES and YELLS for someone to lift her up and turn the faucet on many often. I would make my husband get up and deal with, since he taught her this lovely trick. Well, he's away on a business trip. I was tired of Pumpkin YELLLING at me all the time to lift her up and turn on the water. I didn't want to just leave her to drink from the water bowl downstairs, because we have another cat and what if he drank all the water and there's none left for my poor little Pumpkin?

So I brought her water bowl up to my bathroom. Soksey knows NOT to go in my bathroom when Pumpkin is there. (which is all the time).

I filled her bowl with fresh water before bed. Then when she CRIED I got up and set her next to the water bowl and showed her it was there. I flicked at the water with my finger even. Then I went to bed. She Cried some more, but eventually stopped and I heard her lapping. The next time she cried that night I let her cry (YELL HORRIBLY) a while, then went in and reminded her where the water bowl was. She didn't want it. She cried forever!!!

I kept that up during the day. Once she did 3 short cried, stopped. I peeked at her and she was at the water bowl drinking. I thought YEAH! She'll leave me alone tonight!

WRONG! She was mad last night. MEOWR! MEOWR! MEOWR! MEOWR! An and on. I went in and showed her bowl eventually after forever. I couldn't take it anymore. Well, that make her mad.

I was too tired to do anything. She Cried and Yelled at me all night. I wonder how much those water bowls with the bottle that pour water out (in a cycle like a fountain) cost??


As I was sipping my breakfast fruit smoothies, I said to my boys (15 &13- the youngest is gone today):
"I think I'll go get dressed and walk to the coffee shop and enjoy a caramel latte while my children stay home and are miserable because they have school work to do."
This makes them laugh and talk about how while I am gone Soksey (their cat) will be the king and they will be his slaves.

Connor has his Geology Study. He asked to learn about geology and I know he'd not do well with any sort of book or curriculum (unlike G&K who are using Apologia to learn their chosen sciences). So I wrote a unit study tailored to Connor's learning style and personality. He opened his book Monday and say a few questions and assumed that was the ONLY page he ad to do this week so He just did half of page 1. I think their were 4 or 5 pages of hand written questions - which isn't much, his notebook is smaller than a full page size and I write large and skip spaces for him. Anyway- he had enough geology to keep busy quite a while. But he only has one math question. He did all his math by yesterday except the LAST thing. He thought it'd be fun or funny or something, to stop right at the last thing and save it for today.

I really do not know what Gavin is doing today.

Sharing some random thoughts that attacked my brain the other day:

I remember Granny Clampett waving her soup spoon at her clan. Sometime telling them it was time for Badger Stew, sometimes mad at Jethro for..whatever new thing he was up to...

I remember the cartoon The Tick! Remember that one? The Tick had a battle cry:

Remember the Show Everybody Loves Raymond. Marie had that large Wooden Spoon hanging on her wall. (you can see the handle behind Ray's head)

The Spoon seems to be a reoccurring theme in TV. Then along come a movie that gives us some inside information on the SPOON.

There is no spoon.

Kinda reminds me of unschooling. The world all knows what the spoon is. The spoon looks like a spoon to everyone. A spoon is a spoon. Everyone knows what a a spoon is and what it does and what it needs to look like to be considered a spoon. There are certain things that require the use of a spoon.

Kids in Public School are the kids with spoons to eat their soup.

Then you have homeschooled kids with all different kinds of spoons that look varied and weird and only sort of spoon like at times.

Then you have us unschoolers who just look at everyone with a tilt to our head and say: "Free Your Mind. There is no spoon." (and the soup probably doesn't really exist either)

This is what I was thinking about while biking home from Target the other day. I missed the turn onto my street becuase I was thinking about spoons.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blue Moose

I decided it was time to review paragraph writing. (this whole essay on the SAT test has me a little concerned) So we reviewd sequence again. This was doine by having each of the boys tell all about what they did that day or the day before- but tell it to me totally out of sequence. Connor loved it! He did a great job. Gavin actually had trouble. He'd tell 2 things swapped. ike the 2nd thing, then the first thing. The 4th thing then the 3rd thing. The 6th thing thent he 5th thing.

After that we moved to outlines. Roman Numeral One- What I did Satturday--
I. What I did Satruday
A. Morning
B. Afternoon
So on and So forth. Like always, Connor asks me if it's allowed to be fiction. I always say yes.

Connor (13) (to whom no spoons even exist):
---1. I woke up
---2.I fell asleep
---3. I woke up again
---1. I ate breakfast.
---2. I ate Lunch
---1. I got dinner
---2. fell asleep
What i DID Sunday
---1. made evil plans
---2. Went to church
---3. Ate breakfast
---1. I took a nap
---2 I ate a snack
---1. I ate dinner
---2. I did the evil plan (blew up the planet Earth with a 1,000,000 megaton anti-matter bomb)

Then we talked about adding adverbs, adjectives and prepositional phrases to sentences. I tolf them that I wanted 8 adverbs, 9 adjectives and 10 prepostional phrases.
I What i DiD SaturDay (he often capitalizes all 'd' s)
--A morning
---- I woke from unDer the Bed.
---- I fell asleep unDer the Bed
--- I woke up again unDer the Bed. ( also, 'b's are almost always capital- funny the ending 'd' is right)
----I ate a slimy Breakfast Quickly.
----I Slowly Had a Good Lunch (not sure why so much is capitalized there.)
---- I got a Blue Dinner over a Poorly Built moose.
----I clumsily fell asleep at red Jupiter.
II. What I DiD SunDay.
-I quickly made evil green plans in a Beetle.
- I slowly went to a spikey, Blue church under a rat.
-I quickly took a yellow nap in a Bowl. (this kid needs more variety in adverbs)
- I softly ate a sticky snack under a fast cup.
-I DiD the evil plan in a sock

A few Favs and a 'bright' idea! (not)

This Weeks Homeschool Memoir Theme is Favorite Websites and Blog. There is a list of categories and she has multiple entries under the different categories of sites she visits weekly.

I do not have that many online places I visit. My favorite things in life are life, not online websites. Not that her favorite things are online sites, but she sure has a LOT of online browsing weekly to visit all of those.

BLOGS- the blogs I visit are listed on my side bar. My 15 yr old son has a blog, so does my mom, and my top favorite homeschooling mom's blog. I'll mention those in particular. But I always read all the blogs listed on the sidebar! Go say hi and meet a new blogger friend!

BLOG MEME SITES- I frequent the Homeschoolblogawards site to get a new theme and read what other homeschool moms have done. And on Mondays I go to the Simple Woman's Daybook to read what other moms write and do my on Monday Blog with her Meme.

OTHER- I read my Gmail and I have a little group for housewives. we talk about balancing housecleaning and family and stuff like that. I use GOOGLE frequently to research. I guess that's about it for online blog/website type favorites. My kids have some school stuff online.

Another of my favorite things is just to blog about my day and share it with friends and family.

Yesterday was my youngest son's birthday. He is 12 now. He and my husband are in Ohio (we live in CA). So they got to celebrate Ki's birthday with grandparents. I'm so happy for Ki to be able to visit back in Ohio, but I really miss him. I miss Brian a lot, but I am used to being with Ki most the day, every day and I'm used to Brian being gone 10 hours a day often (with driving and a little extra work time) and being gone on occasional TDYs. So I don;t miss him as much during the day when I'm used to him being gone I guess. Whenever I talk to Gavin and Connor or take them somewhere or call them, I keep looking for Ki.

Yesterday I rode my bike to my doctors appointment. Gavin calculated my average velocity, my MPH, the distance, changed miles to kilometers and told me it'd take me an hour. I doubted that. Then I got out my GPS unit and it said the distance was only 5.2 miles. So I figured allowing 40 minutes would be plenty. I learned it is mostly UP HILL to the doctors and that Wendy (my GPS) must have calculated the distance as the crow flies. I also learned that Gavin's physics lesson are beneficial.
So- it was about 7 miles and it did take an hour to get there.
But coming back was down hill and took 43 minutes.

FAVORITE DAY- Wednesdays are my favorite day of the week right now. I ride my bike (about 1 mile) to the Farmers Market. Connor is going to come with me today. He has never come. G&K have. I'm not sure if Gavin is coming today or not. Wednesday are WAFFLES for Breakfast. Today Connor made them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

SIMPLE WOMAN & the Ohio Hurricane!

Outside My Window... A male olive tree swaying in the breeze, the sky, the Phone Line and a Pine Tree. (2nd story- can't see much)

I am thinking... About the Hurricane in ohio! (whre my parents. in laws live & Husband and youngest son are visiting. GAVIN WROTE A BLOG about all the damage and has pictures! Check it out!)

I am thankful for... Their safety and my parents have power, so Ki can stay there and they can help brian and his parents, too.

From the kitchen... only chaos and workcomes from my kitchen today

I am wearing... Jeans, a flowy, garnet colored top with braided straps, my pink slip on shoes that have palms trees and Hibiscus flowers on them.

I am creating... a cacti garden, a blog, a safe lerning environent for my kids. A haven for my husband.

I am going... To be praying for my parents, in laws, Ki and Brian and others in Ohio.

I am reading... "Three cups of Tea"- finally started it.

I am hoping... you read gavin's blog he wrote about he damage to his grandparents house.

I am hearing... hum of the computer. Click of the keyboard, cars, birds, boys talking.

Around the house... lots of stuff that I need to clean today.

One of my favorite things... My palm tree shoes

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: relaxed schooling, checking in with Brian to make sure they are OK, house cleaning. Homeschool PE on Tuesday. Farmers Market on Wed. Youth Group on Thursday.

Here are picture thoughts I am sharing...

DAMAGE to Grammy and Pappy's house

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Lessons Life Teaches

Today, Gavin (15), learned how to use his Google Calendar to send reminders to himself and record things like PE class and birthdays.

How to make his own blog and use webcam photos for his profile. (he has an interesting take on a secular science experiment)

The 13 yr old
learned that though it's fun in a way to be barefoot and step on a cactus, digging them out with a kitchen knife does not make mom happy and the subsequent trip to the Urgent Care costs time and money.

And that he actually likes waiting till Friday to his weeks worth of schooling and having to get it all done. Eating a banana for lunch while taking notes and reading online because he doesn't want to waste time taking a break for lunch

the 11 yr old learned that airplane food is too expensive and to keep your snack bag with you, not in your suitcase


Sometimes on Fridays, the Homeschool Blog Award place has FOTO FRIDAY. I decided to use the /PH/ for both instead of the /F/ for both. And while I'm at it, why not mess with the spelling of Friday. We all have been taught phonics I think- so should be able to sound it out as Friday.

There is no FOTO FRIDAY on the HSBA memoir blog, but that s just TOO BAD! Because I choose my photo last night.

When Gavin turned 15 (last week), Brian took him to a parking lot and let him practice driving the Miata.
On the Homeschool Memoir Blog there is a Fun Friday Post. A story about a little boy choosing to do less on a test to get into an easy class. I have a story along those lines from when I was in school.
When I was in 3rd grade I was moved to the ‘advanced group’ for Spelling (or reading, I forget). The advanced group- in 3rd grade- had up to 60 spelling/vocabulary words a week. with ALL definitions listed for that word in the dictionary and writing a sentence. After a couple weeks I quickly decided it’d be best to flunk out of the advanced group on purpose. what 3rd grader wants all that work daily and testing weekly? It did NOT seem like a way to reward those who were good in reading and spelling.
(From the best I can remember. My childhood memories are a bit scattered and incomplete)

IN OTHER NEWS: Brian and Ki left yesterday and are in L.A. They will be flying to Ohio in a couple hours!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Something New

This week's topic at Homeschool Memoirs is "Something New": "This week I hope you’ll share something new you’re using, why you’ve decided to use it, and if you have used it how you like it. Make sure to include the publishing information and where you got it from so others can look into if they like."
We always do something new, but in that sense, it's not new to try something new, because it's the thing we always do- trying something new.
The biggest change this year is that my boys actually requested to try some curriculum. This is our 8th yr homeschooling as we have never really used a curriculum. We have take a part of 2 from a curriculum and made it work for us, but have never just used a curriculum. "Here's the workbook, read and do it daily like it says"
My youngest asked to use a 'curriculum' (something we buy that is all planned out with each page and we just do it like it's written and says). He said he wanted to actually work through the same thing until we get all the way through to the end. I guess he's not as "ADD" as my brain is- always hopping from 1 thing to another in search of that PERFECT lesson.
I decide the best (easiest & cheapest) way to try out a curriculum for a subject would be to just get some ACE workbooks for Social Studies. (I don't want to mess up math and science and Language Arts with a boring curriculum, LOL. I like to mix those up and do different things. I am not good at, nor do I like, patching my own Social Studies together). And a Bible Elective.
So I gave them a list of what was available and let them choose.
Ki choose Missions (a missionary study with is just reading biographies and a lot of boring questions that I decided we can just do orally) and a General Social Studies.
Connor chose Civics and Life of Christ. But I messed up my order and forgot the Life of Christ- Oh well.
Gavin choose Economics and Early Church History.
Also, new this year, is we decided to go with Apologia for the Science that Ki (zoology) and Gavin (physics) chose. Ki with a Textbook and Gavin wanted the CD-ROM course.
So we are going through those and doing them like the book/CD-ROM says. the notebooking, the tests, the questions, the experiments. i also bought the Experiment Kits for them, so they can look in their book, read what they need for the next experiment, go to their kit, and get out their supplies.
Last Spring we found http://www.aleks.com/ for math. Brian really likes it (I do too, but I am happy with our 'uinschooling math') and Brian actually said he wanted the boys to use it. So we use that for math. They can choose their levels and choose which areas they do and what to do first and they can keep track of the progress and play a few games. So it's nice.It's thorough and yet not strictly scheduled. (it's not a 'do this today and that tomorrow'). Ki just used the Multiplication Drill on it and he chooses other things to do for math. So he does the http://www.aleks.com/ quicktables (multiplication drill) M/W/F and I have him work on the regular Aleks stuff for his Monday math. He's perfectly fine doing it like that because he knows his dad likes him to use the ALEKS. And he gets a Chocolate Covered raisin each time he does a problem.
Our waffle iron makes round waffles. Today while I was making waffles, Connor called the next waffle. when it was done he told me to throw it to him. So I did. I flung it like a Frisbee. So the other 2 asked their waffles to be thrown, too.
Today was Waffle Throwing Wednesday.
http://homeschoolblogawards.com/ for other Homeschool Memoirs

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Listening and Memory Skils

A repost for someone:

these can be played very, very simply or made as complex as your child likes.

1. Play ‘Repeat’ – Tell your child you are going to play a secret game. A game with a secret word and she can’t tell anyone else the word but you and she has a mission to tell you this word anytime you ask her. say a word (like ‘cookie’)and have your child repeat it. Have a secret code word that whenever you say, she knows to say her secret word. Like whenever you say “poppadiddle’ she says her secret word. . Tell her the secret word and have her repeat 5 times in a row. Wait 10 seconds –say YOUR secret word and have your child repeat HER secret word. Increase the time between “Secret Word”. Go for 10 secind, then 15 seconds, then 45 seconds, then repeat it over and over and tell her you will ask her again in 5 minutes…… then 15 minutes
Go as long as you and she want and have time for. Later increased from 1 word to a 2 word phrase.
You can also use just SOUNDS.. have her secret word be the making the sound of a car or dog, or making the sound of a secret letter. (boys are good with this one)

2. .Play the classic simple game of Memory Match- with the cards that you have to find matching pairs by remembering what you have turned over.. but start with half the cards. Or 5 pairs- something smaller- with less to remember.

3. Play “Hidden Treasure”—hide 50 cents. Show her the money first. Then hide it. Tell her where it is. Have her repeat back where it is. Ask her to draw where is it according to what you have told her. Wait 20 seconds (OR however long you think would be good for her) then tell her to find the hidden treasure by remembering where you told her it was. Gradually increase elapsed time and details of where it is hidden (like instead of “under the blue pillow on the couch” have it be “ 5 feet from the cat’s bowl”… or “turn LEFT at the chair and walk 3 feet then turn right and measure 18 inches”…

4. Play the word Card game (or picture card or number card).. have a card with a word/picture/letter, etc…. show it to her, have her tell you what it is. Then turn it upside down on the table and have her tell you what it is and turn it over to show her. Then wait 20 seconds and ask her what is on the upside down card. Turn it over to show her. If she got it correct, wait longer next time, if she got it wrong, don’t wait as long for the next time.

5. Hand Letter- write the letter of the day on her hand. Frequently throughout the day ask her to look at her hand and go over the letter sound with her. Soon, JUST ask her the sound of the letter in her hand without going over it with her.

6. Put a little red X on one of her toes . Just one toe, either foot. Throughout the day ask her which toe it is (without her looking), then she can take off her sock or shoe, etc to see if she is correct.

7. “What’s Next” At the beginning of the day give her a small itinerary. “after breakfast we will read a book. After we read he book we will go for a walk” While you eat breakfast talk about what is next (the book) and what is after that (the walk). Then when breakfast is done, ask her what is next--- see if she can remember it is the book. If she can, ask her what is AFTER the book… the walk. Increase your list as she gets better with it.

8.“what’s missing”—have a tray with 3-5 items on it (unless your child can handle more). Take the tray away- remove one item, show the child and have them tell you what is missing. As you increase, you can have 10 things and remove TWO and see if the child can tell you both missing items…..and increase as your child is ready

9. “Sequence”—have 3-5 items. Call out the names of two items (make sure they are NOT next to each other) and have your child touch them (or pick up and place in front of them) in the order you called them out. Increase to saying 3 things in order, then 4 then 5…… We do this with letters and numbers and words, too. OR, instead of calling out the names of the items, have your child carefully wacth as YOU touch a sequence of items and then they have to touch the same things in sequence.

10. “What did I say”? Say a list of 3-5 words to your child and have her tell you the FIRST word you said. Make sure you tell her how to play the game first- tell her- “This is a game where I say 4 words and you have to tell me the first word I said.” Then give her an example. “If I say the words ‘cat, bear, cup, ball’- the first word I said is CAT- so that is what you need to say back to me.” ---If 4 is too many, start with 2 or 3.

11. how to make a sandwich- Pick a task (making a peanut butter sandwich or making a bed) and have her describe EACH STEP involved. Write down the steps she says, then do them like she said them. So if describing a sandwich and she says- get out the bread and put peanut butter on it” you would get out the LOAF of bread and set the peanut butter jar on top the loaf- Then help her learn the specific steps in detail—you get the loaf of bread out of the drawer. Set the loaf on the table, open the bag, take out a slice of bread, put it on a plate. Get the jar of peanut butter out of the cupboard and put the jar on the table. Get a spreading knife out and set next to the jar, take the lid off the jar and set it down. Pick up the knife and scoop peanut butter out of the jar with the knife….”

Tuesday Tour and Monday's Update

Our First Day Of Homeschool (click road sign link get to other blogs with this theme)

was nothing fancy or exciting. Last year for our first day we walked to the park to see a juggler and as we were the only ones there, he gave all my boys lessons and let them use his stuff. When the boys were younger we always started with a fun short unit study. There were a couple years we statrted with a homeschooling camping trip with other homeschoolers and fun activities (F.I.R.E. Camp)

This year there was nothing like that. We have just moved from Ohio to California and were still in boxes. We moved into this house around July 9th and school slowly started the first week of August. Due to moving issues we didn't do much school as of April last year. Once we got to April the boys just read daily a did multiplication drills on the computer or the Leap Pad.

Over the late spring and early summer they decided what they wanted to study and what kinds of things they wanted for a couple of the subjects. Gavin wanted to do physics to get ready for his career in robotic engineering and Connor decided on geology as he has always liked shiny rocks. So I gathered some websites that talked about different careers in those fields. Ki choose aquatic animals, zoology.

The 1st week of school all they did was read and do 30 minutes of math every other day. The 2nd week they did 30 minutes math daily, read, I read to them from Story of the World and Gavin and Connor read through their websites about different careers in their fields of science they are studying. By then the things I had ordered had mostly come and we took time to look through our schooling stuff and wrote names on notebooks, etc.

By September we got pretty much into school full swing. Ki has a daily list of work in the areas he asked to study. He can do them in any order. Connor has a weekly list (math and reading daily). Gavin has a list that is due Jan 1st with math and reading daily.


Monday- Gavin finished his physics test quickly. We walked to the coffee shop down the street and had muffins and a hot drink while he took his test. He had a blueberry muffin and Mexican Hot Chocolate. I had a blueberry muffin and Chai Latte.

Ki and I read in his zoology book some and I helped with making his notebook. He read part of Gloria Rising which is a book by the author who wrote the short story he read last week. This is about the same character. Then we looked up how to make a paper kite. This is an activity he choose from the story he read last week. I really do not know what Connor did. He did his daily stuff and a bunch of push ups for extra computer time. I don't know if he did Social Studies or Geology.

I had a nice little bike ride. I rode to Target to buy some flea drops for the cat. Then I stopped in a fabric store on the way home to get the other fabric I need for my sewing project.

In the evening I went to a Homeschool meeting to get tips on filing the Private School form for homeschooling in California.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Outside My Window... Tree tops and some roof tops. The bedroom is above the garage, I just see treetops, wires and a couple roof tops right now.

I am thinking... That I am tired of hearing people worry about what curriculum they need to use to homeschool their 3 yr old and where they can get workbooks and worksheets to do with their 2 yr old. Threatening to spank a 5 yr old daily when he gets frustrated with homeschooling that doesn't work and upsets the mom.

I am thankful for... Opportunities (to homeschool, to be a mom and wife, to live in a new place, everything is an opportunities.

From the kitchen... I can hear the dishes calling-"Please Clean Me!"

I am wearing... my Salwar Kameez from India (pic not of mine, but similar)

I am creating... a plan for my Sewing Project

I am going...to take some Excedrin soon

I am reading... right now? This meme. I am about to start a new book for a ladies book club called Three Cups of Tea

I am hoping... Ki has a great trip and a great birthday in Ohio with his dad and grandparents!

I am hearing... the neighbor's gardening with the weed whacker thingy, Connor Playing Regnum, a ball bouncing, the dishwasher, occasional car

Around the house... things are getting organized.

One of my favorite things... my olive tree.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Do some gardening, help Ki get packed for his trip, buy some fabrics and have my sewingmachine cleaned and tuned.

Here is picture thought I am sharing:

Brian took this picture. I like how it did a double moon picture.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

For Maddy

I like this little guy eating the dead flower leaves. I guess some snails prefer the taste od dry leaves.

Now I could have sworn I posted these here already. But I can't find them either- so I am just reposting them.


Worked on school lists for the week.

___Morning Chores
___Breakfast started by 9
___Going Places [1]-Correct problems in red Notebook Sept4 [2] Read from your Gloria Book 30 minutes
___MATH : Aleks
  • Elephant 8s (15) and water
  • 15 minutes quicktables
  • 8minute break & CrissCross Marches (20)
  • 20 Minutes Aleks Pie w/ Choc Covered Raisins *paper&Pencil

___ work on Zoology Notebook with mom for 20 minutes

___Do the first "Try This" in your Zoology Book

___Find Your Duffle bag for your trip, clean it out if needed


___Morning Chores

___Breakfast by 9

___Going Places: With mom-Google How to Make a Kite, write supplies in your notebook and gather needed supplies

___Math *Play PIG with mom. Maybe with brothers. (game/link- Thanks to TribeOfAutodidacts)

___Read in Zoology book with mom then Work in Notebook is still not done

___ Make sure to have all your clothes for the trip gathered so I can wash them is needed


___Morning Chores

___Breakfast by 9AM

___Going Places:

  • Make Kite with mom
  • Read in Gloria Book 20 minutes

___Zoology Book:

  • Read (with mom)
  • Do the 2nd "Try This"
  • Finish Notebook



___Choose what is for Breakfast tomorrow


___Morning Chores

___Breakfast by 9

___MATH: Aleks

  • Choose a Brain Gym Activity, drink Water
  • 15 minutes QuickTables
  • 10 minute Break and Brain Gym
  • 20 Minutes Aleks Pie w/ Choc Covered Raisins (have paper and pencils and water bottle)

___ Turn in Your Science Notebook to mom

__Grab your Bags and leave with dad to the Train Station!!



  • To be finished by 3PM on Friday
  • 'Daily work' done by 2PM for 45 minutes Computer Time
  • 'Weekly work' (all school work) to be finished by 3PM on Friday for 45 minutes Friday Computer time. (if not-no Friday Computer. If not done by 6PM- no Saturday Computer)
  • Morning Chores to be done by 9 (before Breakfast)
  • Shower after lunch (& before After School Computer)



  1. Morning Chores before Breakfast
  2. Read 50 minutes
  3. Aleks 30 minutes a day- or more if needed to get to Weekly Goal


  • Finish ALEKS. You have about 2.5 hours of work until your level is complete. When it is complete you are done with math for the week. In fact, no more math until Sept 29. You get a break!
  • Geology: 3 sessions @ 40 minutes each session
  1. Read Current Events and write about 2 of them in your Science Journal.
  2. Do Rader's GeoScience. Take the Quiz and record score in your Science Journal. Then Click the link :Next Stop on Site Tour and read on the site the remaining time.
  3. Look at Rock pictures Online. Choose 1 rock from each category to draw a color picture of in your Science Journal (and label the rock with name and type)
  • Social Studies: Read pages 5-8 sections III & IV. Do questions 66-104. I suggest You just read 1-2 paragraphs at a time, then answer what you can from that reading. I also suggest you do about 10 questions a day so you do not have 45 to do on the last day.



*Monday he and I are going to the Coffee Shop for Breakfast and Physics Test. He asked if he can bring his notebook and I told him yes.

*I will send an email reminder that his notebook is due for a check next week and also to remind him do keep an eye on what needs to be done and how much he has left and make sure he gets it all worked on as needed.

*and he is still doing the S.A.T. Question of the Day most days

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sewing Suprise!

I have a sewing suprise! A plan I hatched. Now I will be motivated to get that Sewing Table organized and ready!!

The 4AM Friday Post

Why am I awake at 4 AM? To make myself some tea and do some pre-morning blogging, of course! It's not like I have anything better to do then lie awake at 3 AM for an hour and then decide I might as well get out of bed.

Wait. I did get out of bed at 3AM already. 4 wasn't the 1st time. Why did I get out of bed at 3 AM? To take a walk in my back yard of course. I had to check on my precious olive tree. Besides I wanted to make sure once and for all the "FSHOOOOOOOOOOOO-CHIG-CHIG-CHIG-CHIG-CHIG-CHIG-FSHOOOOOOOOOOOO-CHIG-CHIG-CHIG-CHIG-CHIG-CHIG-" really was coming from the neighbors sprinkler system and not coming from a group of sprinklers all strategically placed directly outside my bedroom windows.

I was right. It's the neighbor who thinks the lawn is best watered at 3 AM.

Then the big loud trucks start zooming down Stowell Rd and vibrating the house. But not at a constant stream. A few whizz by then it is total silence for 4 minutes. Just as I am about to fall back asleep another group of 2-4 rumble down the road.

The awakedness sets my mind to spinning with a dozen thoughts that all overlap each other as they vie for priority among the synapses.

  • do I need just 1 laptop or 2 when Gavin and I go to the coffee shop for Physics test on Monday?
  • Should I go over the Going Places questions with Ki or just mark the ones he needs to correct and let him do it himself.
  • Is it worth it to just cure 6 olives? and if so, do I do green or black? Probably green, but I have never seen an olive in between the stages of green and black. I want to leave 1 on the tree to watch it ripen. Then I am curing just 5 olives.
  • I wonder if I can find a good hummus recipe to make use of the avocados- which won;t be ready to pick till MAY!
  • I really am not sure Sarah should be a VP. I think her kids need 100% of her right now, esp that new little one. I guess I am just sexist and overly Conservative.
  • I wonder if the FOTO FRIDAY post is up yet?
  • I need to go to Trader Joes on Saturday
  • and the thoughts continue. They won't let me sleep.

The hope is that typing them all out will get them out of my head on the laptop and I can catch a few ZZZZZZzzs before 7AM

**Then I wonder--- "what if my neighbor read this? Would he be upset that I didn;t bring the problem to him first before blogging about it? Would he say "I wish you would have told me, I didn;t realize it woke anyone. I'll reset the timer."?

now I feel slightly guilty

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ki and the Pearicot

That is the new pear I bought. The man called it a Friar Pear and it was marked as such. But it looks like a pluot. The inside is NOT like the flesh of a pear, but like that of the golden variety pluots. maybe it's part nectarine?

Going to the Farmers Market has been good for Ki. Riding bikes is great exercise for him and therapy for his dyspraxia. Exercise is good for the lungs and helps the body fight against asthma.

And visiting the Famers Market has encouraged him to try new foods.

Ki is my Little Eco Friendly, Jr Environmentalist. He loves when we use our own grocery bag and it was his idea to switch to organic milk- when he was 7. When we stopped for out fruit icee yesterday he inspected the cup. It was recycle Number 1 and he was a little disappointed they coffee shop didn;t have a recycle bin and almost brought it home to put in our recycle bin. My bike baskets were full of our farm fresh produce and he didn't want to put trash with those. He picks up trash when we go for our walks or at the park.

Ki loves farm fresh food- or atleast the IDEA of farm fresh foods. Even though he is too picky to eat much that would come from a farm. But at the Farmer's Market they have fruit samples out at a lot of the stands and they talk to Ki and offer him a piece of fruit and he'll often try it, or if I try it and say it's good and buy it, he'll try it when we get home. Because the farmers grew it without chemicals like the fruit at the grocery store.

He and Connor like the Flat Bread I buy there. They were out of Boboli mini pizza crusts and tried a flat bread. They didn;t expect it to be nearly as good as the Boboli, but to their surprise they like it better! So they figured out the cost. I can buy a bag of 5 flat round flat breads for $3.33. The 2 Pack Boboli minis are about $4. Now the Bobolis are a teeny bit bigger, but for the price they decided the Flat Bread were still worth it and tasted better. They don't like the added spices and cheese in the Boboli Crusts.

CONNOR'S MODEL he was working on.......... a ballista

Connor posed this and had me take a picture of the AFTER from the ballista

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Feeling Bloggish

Wednesdays are my NEW favorite Day of the week. Wednesday is FARMERS MARKET DAY! It's a nice bike ride and one of my boys usually goes. Ki or Gavin. Never have both gone at the same time, oddly. But it makes it like a little date. Today Ki came with me. He was tired on the way back, so we stopped at Coffee Diem and split a Mango Ice drink. It was the special of the day. $1. It's nice to be able to just ride and talk with one of them and get a little treat. It was too warm out for Churros today. I wonder if I can talk Connor into coming with me next time. I can bribe him with a churro.

The pluots were very soft. Like they should have been eaten yesterday. The farmer had me try a Friar Pear. WOW! It's very much like a pluot, only better!

It is similar to a pluot in it's looks, but green and almost pear shaped. The inside is orange colored! So I bought 3 of those along with gapes from his stand. $2 a pound.

And the berry farmer had yellow colored raspberries today, along with the strawberries and red raspberries. So I bought a 3 pack (one of each) for $8

I bought grape tomatoes for Gavin. Sometimes I get the cherry tomatoes for him. Grape Tomatoes are his favorite. They are 50 cents more a pound. not a big deal at all. But he'll choose the cherry if he's with me because they cost less. (so I spend $1.50 instead of $2- not a big deal, LOL)

I bought veggies for making my own tabouli to go with the avocado hummus and flat bread that I like to buy there.

The tabouli is made. Gavin is already having it, before it's chilled. I added parsley, a touch of cilantro, tomatoes, onions, a bit of green bell pepper, sea salt, lemon juice and a touch of oil. (to the couscous)

~The berries are washed and bagged. separate bags for my frozen berries for my fruit smoothies.
~Gavin's tomatoes are washed, bagged, half eaten.
~We ate a Friar Pear already.
~I need to wash the grapes and other friar pears.


In Other news:

Gavin did his first science experiment today, took great notes, and did more calculations then was required. He also took 4 other pages of good notes.

Connor is 87% finished with his math program and so far has had 100% retention at the assessments.

Ki is enjoying his Missions studies and his science project. And he did all his reading yesterday. He is normally a slow reader, so I split his stories up into 3 days. He read his whole story in 1 day.


GAVIN Checking his morning email. Some from friends, some from his teacher (me) about his assignements.

Connor reading his Rocks Magazine and doing some of the questions- as he sits in the workshop and pauses to work on a model.

Ki is working on his OceanBox for his Zoology Study.

The Ocean Box activity from his Aplogia book. He was excited about it! Every lesson he is to add a couple animals (from that lesson) to his Ocean Box.


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