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Monday, August 31, 2009

Making it official

On our way to take the affadavit package to the school district office.
After we got our reciept and started leaving Leanna asked me, "Am I an official homeschooler now?" (I'm actually not sure if it counts now, or if it's not until the letter arrives-about a week-letting us know everything was accepted).

Sunday, August 30, 2009


We stopped at Wegmans the other night and I picked up a bag of lemons for $2.00, I figured it'd be fun finding new stuff to make with them. I've tried lemon cake, lemon bars, and lemon cookies so far. I found this and thought it was interesting:

Excerpt from Lemons by Stephanie Jaworski:

Waverley Root in 'Food' tells of the Roman belief that eating a lemon is the antidote for all poisons. This was reinforced by the story of two criminals who were said to have been thrown to venomous snakes but the one criminal who had eaten a lemon beforehand survived the snake bites. This story doesn't seem that far fetched when you think about the fact that although the existence of Vitamin C in lemons was not discovered until 1928 by a Hungarian Scientist, its medicinal powers have been used for centuries.
Known by the 16th century to be a cure for scurvy, Portuguese sailors would stop and plant lemon and
orange seeds on distant shores during their sea voyages. Women have used the lemon for centuries to help relieve colds, sore throats, asthma, rheumatism, upset stomachs, sweeten breath and whiten teeth. It was even used by the ladies of Louis XIV's court to redden their lips.Read more:


PS. Thanks Jamie for the new free blogger template site! It was about time to change things again anwway!

PPS. Bought some sunflower butter tonight, we'll see how it tastes!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

This is what I need!!


I came home last night and Justin greeted me at the door, arms open, smiling as he said, "Mommy's Home!" Then he quickly told me that he helped make the floor pretty (they had spread blankets and sleeping bags all over the floor) for me. And he rushed to help me carry stuff in, as he always does. It kinda makes my night to come home to something like that. Today he was helping me unload and re-load the dishwasher. He is starting to be a helper, which I am more than a little proud of. : )

Helping/Messy House

I am extraordinarily proud of Justin's beginning to help because it's of his own volition. Helping, coerced or not is not easy here. My children don't seem to take to that role easily, it's more like kicking and screaming and dragging their feet! Our place is always a mess, it doesn't seem to matter how much I clean. It just all comes undone so fast. I know that my Mom (frequently) tells me how she had her kids all cleaning their rooms and drying dishes, etc. etc. by the time they were five. Things are a little more complicated here. I know I've read about large families where all the kids are doing chores by two, and are taking care of themselves and are well mannered and it all seems to come easy. I read those stories and I think, where did I go so horribly wrong??!! I did start Leanna at two helping to fold wash clothes and dish towels. And the boys also have small jobs-things along the lines of washing the kitchen cabinet doors, washing the stove/dishwasher/refrigerator, folding laundry, helping me collect and carry laundry downstairs, etc. But I don't think I'm consistent enough with it-it needs to be every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I think I was just exhausted with the constant demands of pregnancy and caring for infants the past five years, and didn't have enough energy left over to do things exactly as I should. I think normally the Dad would step in and help, but in our case the Dad started working extra hours while I was pregnant with child #2 and then started his own business and just didn't have any energy left over to help either. So we've just been doing the best we can, and although it wasn't enough, hopefully we can make up for it now. And I'm not positive, but maybe boys take a little longer to learn to do this without "persuasion." Or else it's just like everything else, where each child has their own timetable, and it's just something my kids pick up a little later thanks to their extreme stubborn streaks. And I am aware that it's more than just teaching them how to clean, it's also teaching them to pick up after themselves-every time! But again I plead, a late start, combined with strong personalities and bad habits. Once something is already a habit you have to work so much harder to instill the correct behavior. It's definitely not anywhere even close to as easy as it would have been to teach this behavior from the start. Then putting one thing away before getting something else out would be the automatic setting, and my job would mainly be just maintaining that standard.
I've mulled this over many many times, and I think our problems with keeping things clean and getting the kids to help out are just a result of multiple things that worked against us:
1.)Both Tom and I ended up in situations where our lives were all work/no play and we had very little money and time as a couple and time as a family. This completely drained our energy and we didn't have as much to give.
2.)Our children have naturally strong, stubborn, and resistant personalities which means we have to work a bit harder even just for regular behavior, letting alone trying to change bad habits. (I'd like to state that although people tend to think that having strong and stubborn personalities is a negative thing, there are many positives to this as well. I just have to work a bit harder to ensure that the positives are more prevalent.)
3.)Having the boys so close together was hard because I really do lose energy when I'm pregnant.
4.)My parenting style is very time consuming for the first year or so of life and that made it harder to keep up with cleaning as well.

I would hate to have people think it's just a result of having so many kids. I really don't think that's the cause at all. I mean, it would be easy to blame it on that, but the reality is much more complicated. Lots of people have large families without the mess and chaos. We just have our own unique combination of events that got us here.
I am NOT writing this for advice on how to get the kids to clean or to listen better. I cannot emphasize that enough! People I love dearly have been trying to tell me what I'm doing wrong and I may just go completely insane if one more person tells me something I already know or have already tried. This is just an explanation of why we are the way we are, and who knows, maybe one day someone else will stumble on this post and it may help them. I guess I'm just asking for understanding, and at the same time letting people know that I am trying to change things. It's just a very slow process.

Friday, August 28, 2009


First full day with allergic boy=twice he ate a bar that he wasn't supposed to eat. It's very difficult because he's old enough to be aware of his regular food and his preferences, but not old enough to understand that he can't have something. Luckily, it's not a huge deal, he had a couple bites of a food he's had many times before. I'm lucky that he's not extremely allergic and that the consequences aren't more serious. I did have to talk to his siblings about not giving Jacob any food without checking with me first, and to not to let him have certain things that I already know he can't have. As I go to get things I'm checking ingredients.......but it'll take a while before I know basically which things he can and can't have without having to look first. Soy's in everything! I am lucky that he's not allergic to milk and wheat!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My allergic boy

Twenty three tests! Just skin tests though, not shots or anything. The allergy appt. was this morning. So we have some answers. Finally!
Jacob is allergic to: soy, peanut, cataloupe, trees, grass, ragweed, weed, and dust mites. There could possibly be more, they only tested for some of the more comon allergens.
Lots of info to process. Every day I must bathe Jacob for 15 mintues in lukewarms water with mild or no soap, patting the skin dry and IMEDIATELY applying Eucerin or Auqaphor to his entire body. (Plus twice daily) In the AM he gets Zyrtec and in PM he gets Atarax. At night I have to do a "wet wrap" which means I put wet pjs, socks, and gloves on with a pair of dry pjs and socks overtop. Once a week we have to do a bleach bath ( 1/2 cup bleach in 1/2 tub warm water for 20 minutes).

We now have to carry an Epi pen just in case. Most likely won't be an issue but wow. They gave us a bunch of info and a few websites. I now have to join the careful label reading club.

We will have to get allergy covers for beds.

(I think Jamie may be my new best friend for a while, LOL, I might need some advice!)

We go back in six weeks and then hopefully we can go to minimal standards to keep his skin ok. Which means the drugs are (hopefully) temperary. And bleach baths and wet wraps, etc. I am GREATLY relieved to know a cause and to know there is a lot I can do to help him. It is amazing what a happy boy he is considering how miserable his skin's made him!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Almost Ready to Begin!!

Yesterday I called to check on Leanna's medical records (again! It's only taken 3 weeks!), and I found they were ready and waiting for me! They had lead me to believe they'd be mailing them to me, so I was checking the mail everyday, waiting for them to arrive. So we trekked out and picked them up, only to find that they had noted that we hadn't returned for Leanna's TB shot site to be observed. I was all worried this would be a problem, but a call to the school district today assured me that the TB shot wasn't required for school and would not be a barrier. She said if I wanted I was welcome to have the shot re-done though!
Just to be safe though, I included a short note explaining that I had discussed it with the school district and gotten the ok, plus a medical paragraph explaining what you are looking for at the site of the shot (because it's easily identifiable). So I'm kind of excited now. I've printed out the list of educational objectives, I have her medical and dental records, the immunizations, and I've printed the affadavit. All I have to do now is get the affadavit notorized and turn them in! Kind of hard to believe it's actually real. And I'm really truly going to do this!!

Inquiring minds

On our long walk (see the post below this one) Justin also had several interesting questions for me. And they come out of nowhere too. He just may be a scientist, you never know. I can't remember all of them, here's the one I can remember now:
He wanted to know if he could yell loud enough for the whole world to hear, could his Daddy hear him then too? (Oh, I had soooo many sarcastic answers for that one, mostly having to do with selective hearing, but I controlled myself nicely!) He may be quiet, but his brain is always going.


We had to go for a long afternoon walk on Monday, and the way there and back was full of knock-knock jokes and kid jokes. Out of nowhere Justin said to me, "what do you call a baby dinosaur?" I didn't know, and he said, "a lamb!" and proceeded to laugh like crazy at his joke. Leanna had a bunch too that mostly didn't make a lot of sense or just weren't at all funny. As we got to our destination she said to me, "Why don't you get most of my jokes?"
Timothy just kept repeating everything his brother and sister said, sometimes completely messing up the words, which is typical right now. He just has to say everything that they say.

The knock knock jokes were mainly like this:
Them: Knock-knock!
Me:Who's there?
Them: Your pants are on fire!! (hysterical laughter)

It was a loooong walk. : )

Monday, August 24, 2009

A less formal approach to elementary years......

As I'm looking for reassurance article by Debra Bell about a more carefree beginning of education leading to an easier time in the harder years later on. And a follow up she did because so many people wrote in asking questions, here.

Also somewhat related, her article on what type of learner your child is. Part one is here.
I think I've found Leanna! "I tag our final learner as the "Hey, everybody, look at me!" kid. For the purposes of our discussion here, let’s call her the global learner."
At first I was finding a little bit of her in each type, until I came to this one and said, oh yes!! This sounds quite a bit like her, and me(minus the hey look at me part).

Recent favorite pictures


I generally let the older kids dress themselves and don't worry about it unless we're going somewhere where impressions are important or if it's weather inaapropriate. This can be interesting. This is what Timothy came downstairs in when I sent him up to put on pjs tonight. He had on two shirts, and pair of PJ shorts and then a pair of pj pants overtop of them. And a book sock on his head. He told me he was spiderman.

Trying to find some good......

*We got a new washing machine last week.....not brand new, but not used more than a few times and new to us! And for only $50.00! (From an add in the treasure hunt, some wealthy construction business owner had bought it and it didn't work right. Someone came to look at it and said it was broke so they bought another, meanwhile another person came to look at the broken washer and fixed it.) Ours had died the week before and couldn't be repaired.

*Our computer mouse broke, again, it's an old one. And Tom found one from his supply of old computer parts and it works so great in comparison! It's still an old mouse, but in comparison with what we had, it's fantastic, so much quicker. For about two weeks I had trouble even highlighting and it scrolled so slowly!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

McDonalds Dolls-AG

If you get happy meals from McDonalds but don't want the toy-ask for a girl toy and pass it along to Leanna. Right now they have American Girl paperdolls. We're fans of A.G. here, so that's a big deal. I got one for her-she now has the one with Kit (depression era). She had a lot of fun setting this up and playing with it and even had me film a couple scenes. Very cute.

Homegrown hoagie

I was explaining to Leanna how it is more cost effective to make your own hoagie rather than buy the premade kind. We bought some french bread and turkey and made our own sandwiches today. We added some oregano from either my Mom or Aunt Cindy's garden (not sure which) and some freshly picked lettuce from my Mom's garden as well. Delicious AND nutritious. Ok, fine, sort of nutritious. Hey, it had tomatoes, lettuce, red onions, and oregano! That should count for something!


Just a few pictures of the lizards, hanging out on top of the cage. We found an egg in the cage, but that doesn't necessarily mean babies. Apparently they're like chickens, the male has to fertilize the egg for it to work. Tom was looking it up last night.

If you give a kid a camera......

If you give a kid a camera, then they're going to want to take pictures of everything!
Then you're going to end up with a few strange pictures(at least a few!)

To present the other side.....(sort of)

A post on one Mom's decision to send her child to public school, instead of homeschooling. Although it's a conflicted choice, she has reservations. I thought it was a good example of how life isn't so black and white, that there truly is no one right choice for everyone.

(Also, in the comments there is a good general reply, and I love that the author and the person who comments on the post are able to discuss it without getting angry and judegemental with each other. That is so rare on the internet and heck, in real life too!)

If Only........

A post on some questions to ask older relatives, I'd love to one day put together a little book of these questions answered by the grandparents and other relatives, and add our own info to it as well. That would make a great present for the kids one day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Share words of encouragement

Anyone have a bible verse, quote, mantra, or saying that they use when times are tough?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

After-party surprise

Tom's helper brought two lizzards back from Florida, and we had them for about a week, but they both died. So he went out tonight and bought two new ones from a pet store. A lady next door to someone he was working for gave him a tank filled with bedding already. The kids were thrilled. He had the older kids trying to catch bugs to feed to them. They thought it was great fun. Justin and Timothy held them-and not always intentionally either, once it just jumped from Tom to Justin and then to the floor. Tom and the boys were just standing there, watching them....male bonding time! Leanna's fine with them as long as there's no possibility they'll jump on her. I feel about the same, only I don't care to catch bugs for them. Just so long as it's not a bat. We had a bat caught in our house late last night. I had to call Tom on his cell phone to come out of the bedroom and get rid of it cause I wasn't going anywhere near it!!!!

Birthday Cake

It's a purse for Laura, not my best work at all. My apologies for that Laura. I didn't know we were doing the party tonight until last night and I had other stuff planned for today. So I didn't spend as much time on it as I would have liked, and I didn't get a chance to do the proper colors and designs. I was rushed and at the end I had Jacob hanging on my arm.
I really need one of those flat sheets to put cakes on. Or two! I have no idea where you would get them from though?? Let me tell you, I've been loving those pampered chef icing containers my Mother-in-law got me!!
But I do have to say, if you're a fan of chocolate, the iceing was awesome! I added cocoa powder and it was delicious!!

More pictures

Cute picture of Jacob

Another cute picture of Jacob

Blowing out all two candles!

Leanna, rockin' her own look, as usual.

Birthday Presents & stuff

Pretty BRIGHT bag from Beckers
Board Leanna painted for Laura, it has a penguin on it.

A pencil holder Leanna made (you put the pencil behind the screw to hold it)

Tom and Jacob. He was a holy terror, jumping from one dangerous thing to another all night (electrical outlet to electrical outlet to grammy's purse to the cake, to the shredder etc.!)

Timothy got a kick out of sitting in the high chair....he misses that seat.

Laura's birthday

A fancy shmancy bag with gifts inside.......

Chocolate ice cream with peanut butter stars, pretty good!

CrackerJacks that we didn't eat cause they were way to big to put in the pinata.....

And the pinata, which was filled but then not used since we couldn't find a place to hang it. I thought it was better to wait for Timothy's birthday to use it anyway.

Friday, August 14, 2009


A link for a story about a woman and her family who try an experiment with not complaining.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cute idea for finances

If you've heard of the envelope system for keeping $, this is a green way to do it. She made her own fabric envelopes with zippers, so they don't rip or tear or need to be replaced and they fit better than a bulky pencil case. (she gives links to explain the envelope system for those who don't know).

What Makes a Good Parent?

A post about how perception plays into the idea of having a good parent. Some of the comments are interesting too.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Birthday food

The birthday cake, which reads, I just can't quit you! because try as she might
my Mom can't seem to get away from them. She's mostly raw, but those cravings die hard! (And a few chips were eaten, but she wouldn't let me get a picture of her eating them!)

I don't know what you call this, but it's a bunch of vegetables cooked together and it's actually good.

It's kind of strange but my Dad has entirely stopped arranging my Mom's parties. I think she was the one who usually bought all the party supplies anyway. But in recent years he's decided that it is her children's responsibility to plan and carry out all of her birthday party. Claire drew a picture on the mirror for the party. This year Laura took on most of the burden, doing the home cleanup beforehand and hanging the pineapples and banner. She bought the tablecloth and ice-cream and soda. She also made the burgers for those of us who weren't eating raw. Thanks Laura! I made the cake and had the kids make the birthday banner. Doesn't sound like much, but both were time consuming. And I had to buy indgredients and supplies for the cake as well. This was the first time I experimented with fondant. The chips around the edge were fondant and the red and yellow circle was fondant. (all words and the chips on the cake were homemade iceing) And it was lightly sprayed with butter spray to give it a bit of shine like a real bag of chips. I never realized how much work goes into having a party. By the time I was old enough to be throwing them myself, I had children and wasn't able to be as much help (to my Mom, mother-in-law, and other people at get-together's we've attended) as I'd have liked. I've always thought that was a real shame-that once I realized how much help was needed, I was unable to give much. So I would like to thank anyone who's ever invited us over, for whatever, and apologize for not being much help. When I get to the point where I don't always have a baby-in-arms, or have to be supervising so nothing gets broken or anyone injured, then I will gladly help out more. Please bear with me until then!!

Umbrellas for fun!

I picked up a pack of umbrellas for a dollar, just for fun! Leanna got a kick out of choosing some for people and delivering them. And a picture of part of my Mom's cookbook shelf. Just because I'm amused by the title, "Vegan With A Vengance."

Birthday Banner

Timothy's "T" for Timothy

Justin made a smiley face (entirely his own idea, I might add) and also some "J"s for Justin

This time I was really pressed for time so I only let Leanna used paint on the banner. She wrote the words. Oh, except for the yellow parts. I cut a potato in half and had the kids each dip the potato in yellow paint so they would look like potato chips to match the theme. The boys used marker to write their letters and such.