Monday, February 28, 2011

In which sushi was eaten. And Chi comes to visit.

The church ladies came over and we giggled (yes, church ladies giggle...and occasionally snort) over sushi mats and bowls of warm rice wrapper water.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls, assorted Sushi Rolls, and Inari Sushi. I also made a peanut sauce for dipping. You would like some? Too bad, so sad. I ate it all. Cough, ahem..I mean, uh...WE ate it all.

Not pictured: chocolate covered strawberries, oreo balls, and chess cake squares. And yes, thanks for asking, it was all delicious.

Not as delicious as this little guy, though.

Cousin Chi (short for Malachi) came to visit. I cannot get enough of those cherub cheeks and hazel eyes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thrifting on a Saturday

You might ask yourself how this mid 50s tin plate depicts myself and Sir Cohen in the midst of our favorite pastime. I wondered the same. But there we be. It now has a content home above my kitchen sink window.

And this plate, also. I tend to thrift in color schemes, though I don't realize it till I am home and placing things. I just LOVED the flower detail in this pie plate, especially the 'barely there' lacy brown buds in the background.

It met nicely with a simple reed placemat in the center of our dining table.

Also found among the dusty thrift shelves was a very loved copy of the South Pacific soundtrack on vinyl, Emile and Nellie wrapped in a passionate embrace on the cover. And, yes, the children giggled as I twirled little Harry around the room cooing about some enchanted evening...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Montessori Giveaway!

---------------------This event is over-----------------------------

I am a huge (HUGE!) supporter of the Montessori method. Being a "hands-on" type mom and teacher, this method really fits our home. What better way to teach kids math, grammar, science and the like than with manipulatives?!
There are plenty of websites that offer help and one in particular actually makes a full preschool (for ages 3-6) program for homeschoolers. It has been getting some great reviews.
And, guess what? They are offering a FREE program ($999 value) to one lucky homeschooler that leaves a comment on their page. If you post a link to your blog, you get to put an extra comment and receive an extra chance to win. (well, duh, I said to myself. why not do it?!)
So...go, go! What are you waiting for?!

Montessori for Everyone

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Day in the Life (on a Monday)

This is an unglamorous, but fairly typical version of what our school day looks like. Monday...

(times are approximate, notes scratched onto paper throughout the day and then typed up during free moments, and I have tried to correct the present and past tense mistakes as much as possible, but a few might have slipped through the cracks. be kind.)

[Child key: Ashton - daughter, oldest child, 9 years old, 4th grade; Keaton - oldest son, 7 years old, 2nd grade; Cohen - son, 3 years old, preschool; Harry - youngest son, 1 year and 4 months old, drooling and pooping.]

7:15- Wake up. A bit earlier than usual, but there are too many bodies making too much noise for one to sleep any later. I am awake, but hide under the covers until I must make an appearance.

7:45- I start the water for Harry's oatmeal, take some tylenol and ibroprofen (for my ever present headache), and settle back under the warm covers for just a few more minutes.

7:55- I let Harry's oatmeal cool in the freezer, have the boys put away their breakfast (Keaton makes his and Cohen's cereal) and they get dressed and ready for school {requirements are: dressed, teeth brushed, school books on the table, and animals fed}. I put a roast in the crock-pot : salt, pepper, 4 cloves of garlic --minced, and a jar of red currant jelly.

8:15- I open my daughter's door in hopes that all the noise will wake her up. I feed Harry. Keaton starts a load in the washing machine.

8:30- I break up an argument between my two older boys, which ends with the oldest sent to his bed until school starts. My daughter is now up and eating breakfast. I change Harry's diaper and sit down with a bowl of Grape Nuts and fish through emails and facebook notifications. The children finish getting ready, clean up any messes made, and make their way to the school room. My husband and I communicate through texts about a big housing decision (after months of time and stress about getting our house ready to sell, we decide it is NOT the time in our lives to be doing this and we back out of listing it--I was to turn in the paperwork to list it TODAY) and we coordinate a time and way to get our van, which decided to breakdown this weekend, into the shop. These are little things, but take a lot of time to discuss.

9:30- School starts*, later than usual--we try to start between 8:30 and 9:00--, but it's Monday, it happens, and I just have to deal. Harry roams around or sits in my lap while the three olders sit at the table. Ashton and Keaton recite their Memory Bible Verses (Psalm 56:3-4). I then start Cohen's preschool while the older two complete their Bible reading and answer questions in their workbooks.

10:00- I finish Cohen's preschool, but the others are still working on their Bible. I turn on a movie for Cohen while I make a cup of coffee and clean up the breakfast mess. I feed the littles (Harry and Cohen) some bananas and put Harry down for his nap.

10:15- I am back at the table for Math and Reading help. We are taking a break from Math lessons this week and focusing on rote memory (this actually makes the kids pretty happy and they fill out their fact sheets in a flurry). Cohen's movie is done and I feed him some graham crackers with peanut butter, then he sits on the floor with a huge truck book and a couple of books on bugs.

10:45- Keaton moves onto Cursive and Ashton finishes up her Math and moves onto her independent English work. I take this time to type up half of this blog post. I grade Math facts and have the kids correct their mistakes in-between typing and finding new books for Cohen.

11:20- I am back at the table for Spelling (I do both children's lessons at the same time) and then instruct Keaton in his Grammar. Cohen is ever present and ever distracting. I give him a pair of scissors, a strip of contruction paper, markers, and some stickers and have him make "something" at the dining room table.

12:30- Phone calls and appointment changes interrupt much of that last hour, Keaton is still diagramming sentences. Lunch time is way overdue. I make Cohen's lunch and Ashton picks up the house (without being asked--this is actually quite abnormal behavior--she deserves much praise here). Ashton then makes her own lunch. I make Harry's lunch and then get him up from his nap. He had been crying for a good 15 minutes in his crib. Bad mom award...right here *points to self*. Lunch consists of PB&J or grilled cheese, leftover soup, and grapes.

12:45- Keaton cleans off the school table and makes his own sandwich to go with his lunch. I clean up a spilled lunch plate mess and Cohen's craft session mess. I am, at this point, very grateful that I ate that bowl of Grape Nuts because it looks like my lunch will have to wait until after afternoon school.

1:10- I finish putting away all the lunch items and Ashton sweeps up under the kitchen table, picks up the school room floor, and starts dishes. I clean up Harry and I play with him a bit before he wanders off and gets into mischief (which today includes pulling down all my vintage aprons off a shelf and taking batteries out of the VCR remote). I type up some more on this blog, while I wait for Keaton to finish eating so I can wipe off the counter and move onto afternoon school.

1:20- Cohen starts cleaning up the boys room and we put on a Baby Einstein movie for Harry. I settle down on the school room couch to do our History reading with the older two {usually the littles are taking a nap at this point, but our whole schedule is off, so we make do with minor interruptions here and there}. This is my favorite part of the school day. History was my major in college and I still really love the subject. We read about the Visigoths, Stilicho, and the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The kids draw their favorite parts of the story, including Cohen, who didn't hear the story, but had finished cleaning so he wanted to join in on the fun. I change Harry's diaper and check the roast in the crock-pot, which is beginning to fill up the whole house with fragrant loveliness (the roast, not the diaper).

2:00- School is done. The kids do their afternoon chores. Keaton sorts the clothes from the dryer into their appropriate spot**, gets the wet clothes started in the dryer, and cleans up what Cohen didn't quite clean up correctly in their room. Ashton folds her portion of laundry, and finishes cleaning up her room. I start a load of diapers, put away my things in the school room, and serve the littles their afternoon snack (leftover treats from my last Bookclub meeting, which included Valentine cookies, sugar cookies, and brownies. SCORE for not having to make a snack).

2:30- I take a picture for the blog (shown above), give the olders their snack, clean up crumbs from table and counter, and sweep the floor. The littles go down for their nap. Ashton has her free time and disappears into her room while Keaton, who had his play and electronic privileges taken away this morning sits on the school room couch with a stack of books (and pouts).

3:00- Lunch time for me. My meal is the same as the kids, except my grilled cheese is on cinnamon bread (seriously the best combination of bread and cheese EV-AR!). I type up the remaining notes into the blog while I munch and upload the picture I took earlier onto the laptop. I catch up a bit on facebook and emails, too.

3:30- I proofread the blog, start the next cycle of diapers, and escape to take a shower (I was able to wash my face and brush my teeth before school, but remained in my jammies and stinky armpits until now).

4:00- Fresh, clean, and slightly pickled, I emerge from the shower. Cohen is now awake and
apparently very grumpy. He cuddles his pooh bear, takes his thumb, and starts his afternoon movie. I turn the crock-pot off, pull out the rest of the dinner ingredients, and settle into the couch next to Keaton (who is still pouting) for a few minutes while I wait for Daddy to come home and Harry to wake up.

5:00-7:00- These hours were a blur of packing kids into one van to drop off the other van at the mechanic's and getting dinner put together (aforementioned roast, butter and parsley mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, and wheat rolls), eaten, and cleaned up. All the family chips in to finish after dinner chores. The boys clear the table, Asthon washes dishes, I wipe down the counter and kitchen table and arrange leftovers in the fridge, Daddy sweeps the floor. Harry is given many kisses and put to bed. I finish the last wash cycle for the diapers and check emails one final time.

7:00-8:30- The children play quietly until about 7:30 when Keaton and Cohen go to bed, and Ashton plays a little on the Wii before she is down for the night at 8:30. She is allowed to read in bed until 9:00.

8:30-11:00- This is the time of day when all our continual cleaning up has payed off. Relaxing for the next few hours is heaven. The husband and I chill until bedtime watching a movie and playing (he plays, I watch and give support) on the Xbox. I put the load of diapers in the dryer and pack a few things for a trip to the dentist in the early morning (some school subjects will be done in transit or while in the waiting room). We are both asleep by 11:00.

Like I said, unglamorous, but there it is. I should make a point to blog on the days where we do our big co-op or when we have super cool projects to do...but, those can't cover up the "real". And THIS is pretty real...

*You can see what we use as far as curriculum here.
**You can visit my "paying" gig here to view our laundry routine.


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