Sunday, September 30, 2007

The REAL Vikings!

My kids are vikings!

We got sick and tired of Butch being out of town all of the time lately. He got a job up in Alexandria, MN where I used to go visiting an aunt's family who lives up there. When we were little, we would go to the local museum that had a replica of the first fort that was built there and all kinds of viking and Indian artifacts.

I figured we could get some education about these things, get out of the house for a short vacation, and spend some time with Butch all at the same time. So, off to Alexandria, it was!

It's only about a two hour trip (with bathroom and snack stop) so it was pretty bearable for me to do alone.

Once we got there, we stopped for lunch at Burger King. It was great because they had a big, blowup jumpy thing in the back and Niklaus had a ball. With all the "normal" kids in "normal" school, we pretty much had free reign all over that town! I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING!
We next drove right to Butch's work site. They were building a small structure right in the middle of the downtown area and it was pretty impressive for Niklaus to see the crane up close. Daddy was busy working, though, so we headed to the Runestone Museum which was only a block away from the work site.

The history of Alexandria and the Kensington Runestone is so, very interesting! It seems that Alexandria, MN is one of the oldest settlements in MN, founded by two brothers. One brother's name was Alexander (thus the name of the town). A third brother stayed while the other two went on to other pursuits. That brother died shortly after settling and his wife, Clara basically held on with her children until she found another family to sell the settlement to. The husband of THAT family died early on, also, so his wife carried on for years. She is the true founder of the town and had a big hand in plotting out the town streets, and other functions. You can see on a map of the area her genius in forethought. There are tons of lakes in the area and the roads are so neatly, strategically placed around them. It's an enjoyable, beautiful place to visit.

The Kensington Runestone is a very interesting object that is the highlight of the museum. I won't talk about it here because I get all excited and some people might find the subject rather boring. You can look up that link and see what you think! Here is the actual stone with some weird kids standing next to it:

Totem kids:

The museum had a terrific, interactive, play area. It included: a cornbox (sandbox with corn instead of sand), viking games, dress up area, rune magnet board, coloring page station, and a cool painting of a huge viking to take a picture by.

"Katrina" in runes:

Peg game:


Outside is the recreation fort along with some relics from an older time. There was an old caboose, a school house from the turn of the century, a huge shed with old farm equipment and a 3/4 size replica of a real viking ship (didn't get a picture of that one, darnit) that was once part of a Smithsonian display, a viking cutout, a small stage for plays or speeches, a blacksmith shop, an old cannon, and a mercantile store:

After the museum, we went back to try to talk to daddy. Boy, was Niklaus surprised when Butch had him hop up in the crane to do some "work"...At the playground we went to afterward, Niklaus was trying to replicate his experience. I doubt it compared to the real thing!

It was a great trip and I really look forward to doing this sort of thing again. Maybe we can learn a ton more about our state (and then, maybe I won't have such a crappy attitude about the weather) and have some more fun in the future. I guess Butch's travelling a lot isn't such a bad thing after all? He always comes home for the weekend, and the "out of town" trips usually are in-state, so he isn't too far away.

OH! About the title of the post: My kids really are Vikings! Their dad is 1/2 Danish and 1/2 Swedish. It was kind of funny to see their faces when I pointed this out to them. I said, "Hey! These were YOUR people!". I am not one of them. I would be a tribal outsider, or maybe even a slave (my people were all from Germany). They really liked the thought of that!
Hmmmm, after doing a little bit of research, I found out that it is thought that Leif Erikson (famous, Viking explorer that may have even travelled to MN...who knows, maybe HE left that runestone here?) was educated by his GERMAN SLAVE!

I guess what goes around, comes around!

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'm Shocked

Sheesh! Nothing like a little humble pie to knock you down a few notches!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thirteen Years Ago Today

...maybe even this very minute, I was sitting in my hospital bed ecstatic that I could actually be counted in the ranks of "mother". I was in the club! I had fought the good fight, experienced the agony of delivery, and WON THE PRIZE! I had a beautiful, exactly 8lb, baby girl to show for all the hard work and worry. She was fuzzy headed and had a dimple (still does) on her right cheek. Her feet were long, much longer than I expected of a teeny, newborn baby! She had an amazing smell. There is just nothing like that smell. It is intoxicating! I was struggling with nursing because it was my very, first time at such a task. I couldn't believe how hard it was to do something that was supposed to be "natural". HA HA! Well, we found our way. I was so determined to nurse her because so many people didn't or said they couldn't. I was still a rebel and I loved proving everyone wrong. It's a good thing we figured it out because Matty turned out to be allergic to milk. So, the way I figure it, Trina paved the way for Matty to be healthy and safe as an infant!

She paved the way for all of the children in this family. With the later ones, she actually helped to smooth the path by helping me with babysitting, housekeeping, and care of everyone.

I was so hoping she would be a girl because I could relate to being the oldest girl (I didn't know at all then that we would be such a big family, like mine was!) and I wanted her to have as happy a life as I had had. I couldn't wait to show her how to find that happiness. She is a very good child and has wonderful friends that are totally spazzy, and super sweet. Just like her. I love that she ends up liking and finding girlfriends who I trust won't lead her down a bad path, but build her up and make her feel confident and loved.

I do not fear the "teenager" years. I actually look forward to them (I dreaded them when she was about 8 years old) because I love the teenager she is becoming. To tell the truth, she probably started the "teen years" about 3 years ago, so to me, this isn't very different. She is not at all like I was at her age. She's a lot more life savvy than I was, and a lot smarter in general. She knows herself and her place in this world a lot better than I did. She may be like me in a lot of ways and in temperament, but the things I don't like about myself, I don't see as much in her. She's like an upgraded version of me and Butch...

"Trina 7.1", the improved model!
Comes with: genuine artistic ability, good sense of style, ability to accessorize appropriately, straight and shiny hair with many style possibilities (not fuzzy like the older, outdated "Laura" model), ability to make lasting friendships with good people. Price:(Currently out of stock...only one model available and it is not for sale).

Happy Birthday, Trina! We all love you so much!
(she is having a 9-friend sleep-over party on Friday, so I'll post pics then)

Monday, September 17, 2007

My Glass Is Always 2/3 Full!

Today was a good day.

We had an ordered school day. I went grocery shopping with the three littlers with no breakdowns. We got home, had tea time, finished school, and took naps with no protests. We met Trine and kids at a new park and ate supper at Perkin's with no major blow-ups or breakdowns there, either. We got home, cleaned up and called Papa to come over to watch the kids while I went to RCIA. I came home, got the kids in bed and now I'm posting in peace.

Every time I felt my blood pressure start to rise, it settled and I thought about how blessed I am to have this family, this life, your prayers, and these many freedoms. I felt (and you KNOW how much I distrust "feeeeeelings") like God was helping me take care of my family today because I needed some extra help in Butch's absence.

Thanks God.

You make me happy.

The end.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bigger News

I think I'm gonna puke.

My doctor called tonight and told me several, disturbing things. She seems to think that, according to my calendar dates, I should stick to my original due date. She seems to think that I am "just having another one of your big boys!". When I told her how confident the tech was about the baby measuring 16 weeks, she just said again that that wasn't necessarily so.

My thyroid med needs to be raised again, but that's no big deal.

She never mentioned anything about the fibroid tumor because she told me that the ultrasound showed that I had something called Amniotic Band Syndrome (I thought the tech had spent an unusually long time with me for the reason of the suspected date discrepancy...she never mentioned that she had spied these "amniotic bands") and that after my 17 week/20 week (whichever, still not sure about the due date, remember) appointment, she will direct me to a place where I can get a higher level ultrasound to determine if the ABS is or will affect our boy.

Go ahead, check out ABS and try not to puke.

I am not sleeping and it's 3 am because I only just checked it out right now. We had guests earlier when she called and I was so tired that I went to sleep intending to check this out in the morning. Butch got home from Iowa one day early and we are going to Mass at 7:45 this am so I went to bed early. So much for that. My doctor said that the good news is that it looks like there's a lot of space between these amniotic bands and the baby. I did see that usually the ABS affects babies most severely in the 1st trimester (which by both dates, I'm out of now). I just can't get the mental image of one of those evil bands wrapping around my baby's umbilical cord or neck at any point during gestation and then...

Another good thing is that (from looking it up on the internet) I found out that it CAN be misdiagnosed on ultrasound. Maybe when I go for my next ultrasound they will find everything normal and fine? This ain't my first rodeo. I'm not supposed to have any surprised after all these kids, right? Right? How the heck am I supposed to wait for 4 weeks to find out if my baby is going to be missing digits, have cleft lip or palate, missing limbs, or die in utero?????

Sorry to draw you into my worry party.

Okay, I have this theory. What if my "monthly" that I had at 3 weeks gestation was really a loss of a twin? What if that caused the amniotic bands to form? What if the doctor is right and I really am only 14 weeks now instead of 17 and my baby is big and that will help when the baby has to be born early because of some complication due to the ABS? All of my other babies were due date predicted by the size of the baby during an ultrasound and were all spot on. That makes me think that the tech was right and that I really am now 17 weeks along. If the doctor is wrong on my date and I deliver too late or what if she's right and I'm wrong and it's too early (thinking I'm terribly overdue, or too early) what if the baby's lungs are immature, or what if the baby is too big (they tend to be too big ANYWAY)? Oh, I really hate all of the combinations of this line of thinking.

I'd better go to bed now before I drive myself even crazier.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Fall Harvest

It's Fall Harvest Orchard time again! We love this orchard/farm so much. I tried to get the kids to try a different one (maybe closer to home?) but they said, "NO!". They love this place and everything there is to see and do. Here are just some of the more than 100 pictures and videos I took there. I might put more on a different post. Fall is my favorite season for SURE! You can probably see it on my face! The kids were so well behaved and everyone was so happy to run around and be crazy. There were no meltdowns, crankiness, mad moms, NOTHING! We met my sister and sis-in-law, mom and dad there and we celebrated my niece, Lucia's birthday. I only posted pics of my own kids and one of Bubby (Wyatt, Trine's son) because he was SOOOOO HAPPY when the tractor started for the wagon ride! Also, I had to post the picture of Polly with the corn (not sweetcorn, it's for cow feed...but I don't think she discriminates) because she was going to TOWN on that thing!

This is one more reason I love homeschooling the kids. We can do things during the day and not have to fight the crowds. We can take field trips whenever we want with NO permission slips!


This last one is priceless! Matty had that look because he is allergic to peanuts and the driver was showing us their attempt at a small peanut crop this year. He looks like he want to run away or something!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Big News!

I went to my first Dr. appt. yesterday for this baby and found out something interesting.

First, I laughed when I heard the heartbeat because I almost always convince myself before that first appt. that I was imagining things and that I must not be pregnant (the test was wrong, I'm just getting fat, it's just indigestion, it's a tumor). So, I told the doctor, "Hee hee, I guess it's not a tumor!" She thought I was funny after 5 kids that I still have those doubts. She also thought that my uterus was huge for only being 13 weeks (twofer?) so she ordered an ultrasound. Was I freaked out?

What do YOU think?

I made the appt. asap for today and brought all of the kids. At the last second, I brought Niklaus in the room with me (to take at least ONE out of the mix and maybe save the people in the waiting room from all the chaos). The tech kept asking me what the date of my last you know was and I kept telling her that I was 100 percent sure of the date so she plugged it in and put the due date (like the doctor and I did) at March 15th. Weeeeeelllllll...

I found out that the reason my uterus measures bigger is...I am a full three weeks further along than I thought! My new due date is Feb. 24th!

Oh, and because I was so far along, she was able to do most of the things that they do at the 20 week ultrasound. I got to see all of my baby's structures; brain ventricles, bones, heart chambers, spinal cord, fingers, toes, stomach and even...

Yup, we saw IT.


Also, it's a tumor!

I have a fibroid tumor which I am not worried about, because I think it's just God's way of playing a little joke on me and I actually laughed when she showed it to me. I know that fibroids can be complicated, but they can also be totally benign and I've never had a problem with these things before.

I am so mystified by the date thing, that I can't even think about the tumor thing. WHAT IS THE DEAL? I only had one monthly because I was still nursing Mari and it really was just a normal, monthly thing. It doesn't make ANY SENSE! Maybe it's not something I'm ever supposed to figure out but I am just mystified. I also know that some people have their periods throughout the pregnancy but I never have! And how weird to just have only one period...oh, whatever! I'm just so happy that I'm 3 weeks ahead of where I thought I was and that tech was SURE. She did about a gazillion measurements because I was just so positive about the date and things weren't adding up.

Ahhhhh. Life is good.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Please pray for my sister to find an ideal job when she comes back from Alaska! She found this posting for a museum caretaker that would be SO PERFECT for her. She fits all of the qualifications and is such an "attention to detail" kind of person, it's sick. I know we're supposed to pray for God's will, but pray that the people there REALLY CONSIDER my sister for this job. It would keep her close to us and enable her to live independently.

Here is a snip of the posting:
Duties include: cleaning, dusting and vacuuming in galleries; inspecting galleries for cleanliness; monitoring and recording changes in temperature and humidity; cleaning metalwork and glass on view and in storage according to approved conservation methods. Requirements include: college degree, with BA in art history or studio arts preferred; 1-2 years of related museum experience; knowledge of proper handling and environmental standards; ability to perform delicate and repetitive tasks with dexterity and precision; ability to work alone and be self-directed.

Can you believe how perfect it is for her?
Remember this?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Question # 463 For God When/If I Get To Heaven

What on Your green earth did you invent yellow jackets for?

They completely freak Analise out to the point that she becomes totally unhinged. Because she's more afraid of being left home alone, she moans and hollers, cries and howls for about HALF of the daily walk that we take when we have a break right before lunch. I surely can't WAIT until the first couple of freezes when we don't have to worry about these things anymore. She's become so jumpy, that if she even sees a friendly, little dragonfly, she makes this howl/scream noise that's enough to make me want to crawl out of my skin. I absolutely CANNOT reason with her (and they say that 7 is the "age of reason"...HA!), nor convince her in any way that it's safe to go outside and that even if one of those things bit or stung her, she would live. I have NEVER been stung by one of those things and I've been here a heck of a lot longer than her, but she's not buying it.

Okay, enough about that.

My wonderful mother-in-law called me the other day and said to me, "So, your oven's not working?". It seems she gets the latest messages from our local yahoo freerecycle group and saw my message that asked if anyone wanted to get rid of their toaster oven (until I figure out what to do with...well, you know). So, tonight I actually made COOKIES in the toaster oven she lovingly gave me to use and they were fabulous! I didn't have a teeny pan to put them on so I was talking to my cousin and she suggested I use aluminum foil (duh, I thought to myself, why didn't I think of that) so I could make more than one at a time (I couldn't find anything small enough except Analise's easy bake pan) It worked great! The only thing is, now I think it will take longer to figure out what to do about the oven situation. Oh well, I've bought a little more time!

School is going great! We are getting into a very good routine of keeping the little ones busy while the biggers are rolling along with their books and studies. Katrina really likes her new math program (I urge you to check it out! She really likes the explanations at the beginning of each lesson and we haven't even seen the cd-rom lessons yet because our cd-rom needs to be replaced) Matty's math won't be ready until this December so we are using his 4th grade MCP book that he never started last year because he had been a year behind in math anyway. He's really good at basic facts, but he lacks the patience for longer problems and word problems. Our doing the Mad Minute every morning is working wonders for their basic fact recall! Especially since we chart their progress every day and they can see how much better they do from day to day.

I give them a lot of credit for doing all of their work and not complaining much about the noise that Niklaus and Mari make (even though I TRY to keep them occupied). I joke with them that, "I'll bet your friends in school don't have the extra challenge of all of this NOISE while they're trying to do their school work!". Trina just laughs and puts Mari on her desk while Mari "helps" her do her math problems. She is like a school mascot and keeps us laughing.

Niklaus has been pretty good and is calming down juuuuuuust a tad (the playdoh has helped). He comes up with the craziest stories. I've come to the conclusion that if I DID send him to pre-school, the teachers would be calling me for daily conferences or maybe even questioning my parenting skills for the following reasons:

1. He often says nonsense words that he thinks are hilariously funny and repeats them until the kids scream, "STOP!" then he laughs and says it one more time.

2. He has an imaginary friend named "Dah-doo-beeder". Say it really fast, I'm not sure how it's spelled so I had to spell it out phonetically so you can see how funny it sounds when he says it. He used to say that word when he was just learning to talk and we never knew what it meant. Since he started watching Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends, he learned of such things and now that word is actually a name for his "imaginary friend". He knows there's no such thing but we humor the attention that he gets and loves by asking him what Dadoobeeder looks like, what size he is, what he likes to do, etc.. When there is an empty chair, or the horse at the store is not being sit upon and things like that, a little light will go on in his head and he'll say, "Hey! Dadoobeeder is sitting there!" or "It's Dadoobeeders turn!". He laughs because he knows he's just being funny and that's what I like about it. He reminds me a lot of my brother, Pete. He is full of beans most of the time and has lots and lots of really long, involved stories to tell.

3. Because of his VERY active imagination, his stories can get really scary. Today, for instance, we walked past a dog that had an invisible fence. I knew this but Niklaus didn't and he freaked out when the dog stopped short about 4 feet away from us and started barking REALLY LOUD! So, after we passed the "danger zone" and the dog stopped barking, we discussed "dog safety" like how you shouldn't run up to a stranger dog, or run away from them. So, Niklaus started telling me this story about how...

"One time, this doggie was chasing Matty and he was so scared and crying and I had to go get him so I grabbed a knife and I poked the doggie with the knife and I KILLED him and there was blood EVERYWHERE and Matty was so happy that the doggie was dead and it couldn't get him anymore!"

Um. "Niklaus! Was that a dream?"

(smiles sheepishly) "Yeah, it was a dream and it was SO SCARY!"

I SWEAR I don't let him watch the nightly news. I never have let him watch anything more violent than spongebob. He is not exposed to violent video games or any kind of violence at all. I think he hears bits and pieces of news stories that the bigger kids talk about, or maybe hears bits of stories on the radio that I have on in the morning and that fuels his imagination? Whatever the cause of his overactive imagination, can YOU imagine what other people (i.e. pre-school teachers) would think about some of this stuff? Okay, lest you think he is hopelessly weird, I have to tell you that he is fiercely protective of my belly button region and tells Mari all the time, "Don't jump on my baby brother!" and tickles the baby through my belly button, and covers my belly with a blanket so the baby will be nice and comfy. No, I don't know if it's a boy or a girl but apparently he does. I used to think he lives in another world and doesn't pay attention, but really I see that he pays SUPER attention to a lot of things and is really, hyper-aware of things most people aren't. I swear, if there's a crane (or any kind of large machinery) within view (even if it's 20 miles away), he'll spy it and tell everyone all about it.

Here is a pic of the kids that I took yesterday during 3pm "tea time".

(Notice how Mari just watches her brothers and sisters. Can you imagine having those goofballs to follow and copy everything they do and say? She's learning a lot of things that I maybe wouldn't choose to teach her, but they do add character, that's for sure!)

We read Catechism during this time and I ask them questions. I read a chapter of that book about the periodic table too. Even though they groan and laugh and complain when I whip it out, it's become sort of a joke because it sounds like the most boring book you could ever imagine, but actually...they're learning all kinds of stuff from it (I think they know that, but it's more fun to make fun of it than admit that they secretly like it)! Matty just keeps going on and on about, "when do we get to the part about Mercury? I just like Mercury!".

He's another strange one.

Monday, September 03, 2007

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

I wrote a while ago that I would post about our homeschool. I don't write often about it because I am living it and it's just so much a part of our everyday lives that I forget sometimes that most people don't even have a clue about what goes on in that kind of lifestyle.

I don't think of myself as the best teacher in the world (or even in the town) or the best example of what to do to teach one's children in the best, possible manner, but the kids are happy, learning, and want to do it for one more year so here we go!

This year I have:
Katrina, 7th grade

Matthew, 5th grade

Analise, 1st grade

Niklaus, Wish I could send him to preschool, but hopefully we can come up with enough things to occupy his time. I did buy a new thing of play-doh the other day, and it will probably be cracked open by 9 am tomorrow! I have lots of ideas to keep him busy and the biggers will have to take breaks to help teach him. I hope they will learn a little patience in this as well.

Mariela, will bother everyone because she never plays with toys, only her brothers and sisters who will be otherwise occupied when we start school tomorrow. She does like the learning to read dvd's and I am going to borrow some of the signing time ones from Trine. Her kids love those and if the stinkin' tv is going to be on at all, they should have something sort of educational to watch, at least!

I am not a naturally organized, list making kind of person so this time of year is hard for my brain. I worked really hard last week to come up with a school plan to make the year run smoothly, but truthfully, it gets harder and harder with each little one we add to the family. I cleared a whole bunch of junk cupboards and desk drawers and even cleared a "curio" cabinet and made it into sort of an art and activity center because the hall closet was getting awfully cluttered and crowded! When I get overwhelmed, I constantly have to remind myself that GOD is in control of our school year, not me.

I just finished (well, not really, we kind of tweak our plans all year long) the final copying that I had to do for this week. We run a four day week and if they get all of their work done and with reasonably good behavior, we do something special on Fridays. The four day week might seem lazy, but we pack a lot in during the week and with five children, we need possible free days for special things like field trips, dr. and dentist visits, various appointments, illness or family emergencies, you get the picture! I have pretty much done this the whole, seven years and it works well.

Here is Analise's desk with her books for the year all lined up, and ready to go! Also, is a closeup of her schedule so you can get an idea of how we order the day (all three biggers have these, I only do one week at a time because our plans can and do change from week to week. Basically, this will be the format for the year.)

I did realize that this week is off by one day because of the holiday, so I'll have to adjust a teeny bit, but we will still attend Mass on Friday morning. We'll come home and get our school done and try to go somewhere fun. The kids haven't decided any suggestions (Keeping in mind it can't involve the out of doors yet, because Analise is deathly afraid of being stung by a bee. Today she folded multiple loads of laundry with a smile because Butch said if she did that, she wouldn't have to go outside!)?

Here is Katrina's desk and a view of her "corner of the classroom" with her drafting table desk that she inherited from Anna who has graduated college and has no place to put it (we can't wait 'til she comes home from Alaska!). Analise inherited Trina's old desk and Niklaus got Analise's. I love family recycling!

Here is Matthew's desk and his fish, which lives there. I'm surprised that thing is still alive considering Niklaus' easy access to him and the funny things he likes to plop in the tank on occasion. One time, the water was pink. I'm still not sure what caused that anomoly, but I'm pretty sure it involved a certain three-year-old who likes to bug his brother. A LOT. I wonder if the fish is smarter for being so near all of those books and learning?

Here we have the dining room/library. I had to move the bookshelves out of the classroom because of too many desks! We have such a small, broken up house for so many people to fit in, so I can't have a lot of clutter or junk taking up space and need every available nook for useful things. I just love maps, can you tell? I need some more framed maps for my walls. Maybe it's my secret (not anymore!) wish that my kids will absorb good geography skills through some kind of visual osmosis? Oh well, it certainly can't hurt to have lots of maps around!

Okay, if I haven't ho-hum bored you too much by now, you're in it for the long haul so I'll show you two more pictures!

This one is of my corner, kitchen "closet" which used to be a huge, hodgepodge MESS until I cleaned it on Friday. Now, it is a media cabinet/sewing cabinet/toy cabinet. I hope to clean Mari's and Niklaus' toy boxes that we are tripping over in the living room, reduce their toys down to the things that they actually play with, and tuck them into this cabinet and Niklaus' desk drawers. This will free up a lot of space in the living room for wrestling, and fighting, and tickle torture fights.

Back to our school work. I have some extra books that all of the kids will be working on. These are books that I keep on my shelf that we will work on every day, time permitting and that I have to guide them through by reading and asking questions appropriate for age and skills.

The Mad Minute is a math book that acts a little like flash cards and charts their basic skills. I'm excited to do this because they are a little rusty after summer and this challenges them back into the swing with less pressure than a huge math lesson right off the bat. The American history book is one we did two years ago and I think it's so important that they understand how this country was founded that I am doing it again for all of them this year (especially since the trip to D.C. is still fresh in my mind and we can look up so many things that I remember on the internet as extra study). I hope to develop a time line for them that we can post around the classroom or down the hall (or maybe up the stairs?). I think they will think that is fun!

Butch asked the other day, "Hey, when do they learn the periodic table?" so I found this book all about it. It presents the idea in sort of a novel form so I will read it out loud for all of them and post a periodic table for them to learn the symbols. It will be good and relevant for them because they also have a big interest in geology and mining because of all of those Discovery channel shows they watch!

I didn't show it, but I'm starting to teach them Latin this year. I will be learning at the same time, so it will be an adventure, for sure! I hope to get some cds for the van of some Latin church music or repeat-after-me-type ones for reinforcement. I won't start this until next week. I am bringing the lesson book to adoration with me this week so I can make a plan for the year and figure out how it will fit in with their schedules as they are now.

Okeydokey, now you have the story. I do want to add that there are some really, handy things that we like to have around for our schooling:

-Tabbies for marking where we are in our books and notebooks (3m)

-Dymo Letratag labeller for multiple uses. I got this for about 5 bucks last year at Target when they were clearancing their school supplies. I'm hoping to find some clearance re-fills this year!

-3 ring binders (for loose art drawings so they don't take over the house...they are ALL so important, you simply CAN'T throw any of them away, you know!)

-Staplers, mechanical pencils (I hate sharpening and hearing, "I can't find a pencil...I can't find a sharpener!" so I buy them in bulk), multi-subject notebooks, folders, rulers, manymanymany pairs of scissors (they always seem to disappear), copier/printer paper (we use it for everything, it's so cheap that I don't mind wasting a little).

Bigger things that I find invaluable are:
-paper shredder
-Copy/printer/scanner (an absolute necessity!)
-High speed internet
-laminator (just bought one super cheap from Walmart, about 26 dollars and about 7 for the sheets)
-LOTS of easy to prepare/healthy groceries for breakfast, lunch, and snacks (3pm tea/snack time will be new this year, I hope it goes well)

These are the rules for the school year:
-set our our clothes the night before/shower or bathe either the night before or before going down to breakfast in the morning.
-mom sets alarm for 7am every morning and we try to start school no later than 8:30
-we get dressed, eat breakfast, do morning cleanup, pray, then start school!
-1 hour of TV only per day
-NO Nintendo DS before chores or school are finished for the day and behavior was good.
-We end the school day with prayer and snack time (at the same time) and then find out if our friends can play or talk about what we will do with the rest of our day (or finish things we missed earlier).

One, more thing! Every morning, the kids will wake to find a little surprise on their desks. Tomorrow morning (oops, today!) they will find two chocolate kisses. I stocked up on chocolate for just this purpose! Sometimes it will be something non-chocolate, but I love surprising them. I'll be sure to blog about their reactions!

Laura's Fresh BAKED Peach Cobbler...Sort Of

Can of cherry pie filling
Stick of butter
box of cherry cake mix (it's the only one I had in the cupboard)
peaches (I had about 4 fresh and I sauteed them in butter and sugar first to make them softer)

Directions: Without cursing out your really fancy, totally worthless, non-working oven, mix the cherries (or whatever pie filling flavor you happen to have) with the peaches in a MICROWAVE dish. Pour the dry cake mix over it and kind of flatten it out a little and mix it juuuuuuust a tiny bit into the fruit mixture. Melt your handy, little stick o' butter in the oh, so wonderful MICROWAVE and then pour it all over the dry cake mix. Cackle vehemently about how you're about to foil the oven gremlins in their quest to destroy your baking abilities while you cover the whole thing VERY TIGHTLY and put it in the MICROWAVE for 15 minutes. While you're waiting, make some dream whip or something to lick on because you're going to need something cold to soothe your burning tongue because you couldn't wait a half a second for it to cool because it's just been soooooo long since you've had anything that tastes "home BAKED" know...because your oven's been broken for so many weeks you can't even remember how long...anyway...WAIT until it's at least a teeny bit cooler and take off the cover. Wait a little longer. Trust me on this one. Then slather a great big, heaping pile of dream whip on it and DIG IN! It really tastes baked. Like in an OVEN. But it WASN'T!
(Calories: I think about six zillion or so, Fat: YES, you will be after you eat half of it in one sitting, Carbs: only about one thousand or so, I think, I don't actually know what a HUMAN serving might be. Fiber: Doubt it)

Here's a picture of it and my stinkin' oven laughing at me and telling me to "F0". Do you see it? Do you SEE how it mocks me?

I got the last laugh tonight!

But... tomorrow's another day and eventually, Bocker is going to want tater tots. I'm sorry, but (If you are any kind of mom at all you should surely know that...) you can't make tater tots in the microwave. I think that if you tried to pull that one, your children might have grounds to call social services on you!