Monday, April 30, 2012

Books, Books, Books!

Have I told you lately that I love books?  I do.  They are wonderful.  You can learn about interesting people, travel to faraway lands, and learn some really interesting and important things from them.

This is the time of year when many home schooling families start selling off the curriculum they no longer need to help subsidize next year's purchases.  While we aren't ready to pass on curriculum yet, thankfully, we have been able to benefit from some of that!

This past week the kids and I went to a sale, where everyone sold out of their trunks in a church parking lot.

On the up side, you can pick up things you would have paid full price for (like all those flashcards) and you can add to your library things you've wanted, but put on the not really necessary list, like A Child's First Book of Virtues and A Child's Garden of Verses (until all of the sudden the book is only $3 instead of $25 or the cards to go with your spelling curriculum are free--score!).  There is the benefit that you can look at the programs you've considered (like Wordly Wise) in person and even talk to the person selling about what they and their children thought of it.

On the down side it is easy to get carried away.  I had a hard time walking away from several items and I picked up the Five in a Row: Character Development book on a whim, but when it is only a $2 whim at least you aren't out much...and I have to admit, I've heard great things about FIAR and will enjoy using it with the littles.

My most expensive purchase was $10 for the set of spelling and thesaurus books.  The spelling dictionary has already gotten good use, so I think it was money well spent.  I got all of the books and cards for less than $25.

These sales are much better if you go with loose expectations, like 'some type of poetry book' or 'a book to round out our geography unit,' not a specific text--though sometimes you'll luck into something.

My next strategy to getting used texts is by contacting other parents directly.  You can find some books on craigslist, but that can be time consuming.  I put out a list of 6 specific items I wanted on a local home school listserv.  I was able to get one of the items already at half price.  I've heard back about the possibility of three other books too.  If I'm able to get all four, I will have saved over $40 by purchasing used texts and gotten exactly what I wanted!  The down side on this is the coordination of meeting up and having to bow out of a sale with inflated prices and incomplete workbooks.

Then there is the very best way to get books--gifts.

Thanks to my parents for the box full of items that were on our wish list.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I hope your week is going well.  It is spring cleaning week around here, so I've been a busy Mama.  I've washed windows and curtains, scrubbed toilets and floors, laundered blankets and pillows, and done my annual dusting.  Oh, you're supposed to do it more often than that?  Oops.

I am big on clean bathrooms and kitchens.  I clean the floors regularly.  Unfortunately dust and clutter don't really faze me.  And while I do dust more than once a year, it is definitely not every week!  So this week I'm doing some of those things that get put off and pushed aside.  And then there is the dumping ground: our bedroom is the dumping stop for confiscated things, all things in need of repair, and clothes outgrown.

The littles think it is grand fun.  Windows without curtains are great for looking out of, laundry is fun to toss in, it is fun to 'clean' with damp rags, and Mama sure is funny carrying all those things from one room to another.

I got my nifty pop-up book in the mail this week.  I'll have to tell you all about that and my latest used book sale soon, but for now I'm off to make some lunch for my munchkins and then head back to clean!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Looking Ahead

I have a nice detailed list of the curriculum we're planning to use next year.  There are things I can justify as needs, others that are on the it would be really nice to have (it looks like we may get all of these!), and some items that are on the that would be great if it fits in the budget, but definitely not necessary.

Next fall we are planning to continue in:

  • Singapore/Primary Mathematics (we are currently in book 2A and will not finish it before next fall)
  • Story of the World (we will finish volume one soon)
  • We'll do unit studies in geology and geography in the fall, as we did for our biology this year
  • Writing with Ease (our text goes through 4th grade)
  • McGuffey Readers (we're currently in the 3rd Eclectic Reader)

We will be adding:

  • Spelling Power, from Evan Moore, which was a simply and easy program, but I like the idea behind Spelling Power and got a great used copy for much less than it sells retail!
  • Rod and Staff for ArtPack and health
  • Song School Latin (this was just on my wish list, but Justin is encouraging this purchase to encourage the children in language studies at younger ages...and in a fun way)
  • Exploring Creation with Astronomy (It doesn't side step the creation/evolution debate, as I would like at this grade level, but I got it used at a good price, so we can sidestep it if Miss Kate doesn't read ahead.)
  • I also added a grammar workbook I got at a used book store

Then there is Miss Gabby.  She will tag along for science and social studies.

She'll get to do a simple handwriting practice book, The Complete Book of Math (this is listed as 1st-2nd grade book, but I found that Kate, with very little background picked it up easily), a Bible stories coloring book (also by Rod & Staff), and we also have a kindergarten workbook.

We also read in McGuffey and Dick & Jane books.

We lean heavily on the library in kindergarten, and I suppose all the way through, but I have less of an agenda in kindergarten aside from learning to read and figure out how to figure!

Supplemental we use:
Flashcards for math
Holey cards for math drills
How the World Works (for geology--it is a pop up book--I can't wait until it gets here!)

It would be nice to have:
GeoPuzzles (both the world and U. S.)
Tennessee a First Pocket Guide
You Can't Smell a Flower with Your Ear

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Funnies: Synonyms

Nate, looking at my earrings, "I wike you ea' jingles."

Gabby, while showing me her hands, "I'm dirty-worty-firty-kurty!"
"You're dirty-shirty-firty-kurty?"
"No! I'm dirty-worty-firty-kurty."
"What does that even mean?"
"I'm messy!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Four and One-Half

My Gabby Girl is four and a half today. She's funny and sweet and growing very fast.

I thought I would ask her some questions to remember how she was at this age.

What is your name? Gabriella Georgia-Marie

How tall are you? 85-60 (actually 3' 7 1/2")

What are you really good at? painting

What is you favorite toy? bouncy ball

What is your favorite game? Trot a Little Horsey

What is your favorite thing to eat? pasta

Where is your favorite place to go? the playground

Who is your best friend? Violet, Lila, and Josey

What have you learned this year? I think school work (She asks to do preschool worksheets during Kate's school time.)

What is you favorite thing to study? Belle

What is your favorite thing about Daddy? Tickle

Mama? Hugs

Kate? Helping me clean

Nate? Play

Monday, April 16, 2012


Our elliptical trainer went kaput this past week. I run on it 3 or 4 days a week for about 45 minutes each of those days most weeks, so I consider myself in fairly good shape.

We're going to be getting a new one, but for the moment, we are without. Yesterday I took Miss Kate out to get some exercise. Generally we walk with the little ones, but it was just the two of us, so we ran. Girl can run! And I found that my 'running' on the elliptical is using a different set of muscles than I was using to run with Kate. Oh my stinkin' ouch!

She's got short distance speed and I have more stamina, so we pushed each other well. We may have to keep this up, even with a new elliptical.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Funnies

We've been enjoying the beautiful spring weather by being outside more, which the little man loves.

As we were outside the other day, he looked up and saw a couple of airplanes.

"I can't reach it in da sky, " he told me reaching his arms to the heavens. Then he looked at me resolutely and stated, "I need a stool."

After we came in, he told me, "There's a sandcastle in my shoe!"

I hope you're enjoying a sunny, lovely Friday the 13th too. I've decided they aren't so much bad luck after all, since a Friday the 13th brought me a funny little boy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Days Like This

Some days are just so bad you have to laugh.

I loaded up my little crew and drove downtown, not a short drive for us these days, to register a car at the DMV, just to be told I have to have another form filled out. I stopped by the Golden Arches to pick up a soda to soothe my stomach that has been a tad sour since Gabby's ickiness the other night.

I drove home, where I managed to knock some furnace filters off the shelf (they were hanging off a little bit because I'd been raiding the shelves for Easter goodies). Those landed between the tires. I had to open both sliding doors of the van, so I could lean across my starving children to retrieve the filters (that our house requires three of !?! at a time). I placed them all the way on the shelf this time.

I parked the van, unloaded the children. I was holding a stack of DMV papers, my purse, a soda, and trying to work the handle on the sliding door when the cup fell from my hand. The thing did not just dump, no the bottom burst out and there is now an entire soda on the floor of my garage, my jeans, and (thankfully) my flip flops.

While I was using half a roll of paper towels to sort of clean up the mess, Gabby comes to the door and announces that she broke a tooth. No, she didn't fall. No one pushed her. She just got so mad that Kate was in 'her' chair that she gritted her teeth together and broke it. Before I got up the stairs, Gabby handed off the tooth piece and Kate 'lost' it. After looking at her tooth, it is a tiny chip, but still!

I'm hoping for a more peaceful day today, but it started with spilling bleach on my clothes, so maybe I shouldn't hold my breath!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

I hope you had a wonderful Easter!

The girls and I went with spices and perfume to find our tomb (made of clay this year) empty before going to get the men and tell them.

There were baskets of goodies, eggs to hunt, and new dresses (and a tie for the little guy) to wear.

We took a few pictures after church.

We had a ham dinner with coleslaw, deviled eggs, rolls and a cheesecake (with cupcakes for the little guy, as even Lactaid can't save him from cheesecake).

Unfortunately something didn't sit well with Gabby and she did not retain her supper last night. Ick. We are quite thankful though that once we got her all squared away and laundry washed we were able to sleep through the night, even if we headed to bed rather late.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Big Plans

Gabby is always talking about getting married and being a mama. I'm not sure if that is a trend that will continue into her adulthood or not, only time will tell. But for now she talks about babies, husbands, and weddings often.

Over dinner the other night she was telling us all about her wedding plans. The bride will wear a dress of purple-y sparkly material. A game of tug-of-war will be played (We have yet to determine if it will be brides' side versus grooms' side or girls verses boys.). And a pickle pie will be served at the reception. She also insisted, "If you're still alive Daddy, you must come."

He agreed he would attend, enjoy the game of tug of war, but not partake of the pickle pie.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Do you have weeks that it seems everything is running perfectly and others that it seems like if anything can go wrong it will?

A couple of weeks ago we had one of those truly wonderful weeks. We had dear friends who had occasion to be in town and stopped by for a short, but wonderful visit.

We had dinner, the children turned our family room into a gymnastics exhibition site, and we had lovely conversations.

That week I also had two emails from friends that I treasure who haven't been in as close touch as we once were. We got to travel to see my family for an early birthday celebration for my Daddy. And even when it seemed the van was broken, it turned out to be perfectly fine.

Then we've had the last couple of weeks. We had 12 straight days of one or another of the children running a fever. The downstairs toilet started leaking, just as I decide to push Nate on potty training (despite his, "All done potty!" stance). Then the other night as I closed the garage door and heard an odd noise. When I looked, the bracket that held the garage door to the part that opened it was no longer attached!

Well, now we are rid of the fever and down to the lingering cough.

The toilet is fixed, and the garage door is operational thanks to Justin.

And Nate is number 1 potty trained, aside from dinner time, for whatever reason (thanks to Cars underpants, dried cranberries, and M&Ms).

I hope that means we're on our way to another good week. And maybe I'll even find time to write about it.