Friday, February 25, 2011

If money was no object...

**This will probably be an ongoing series of posts as I can always find something I would like to have if we were blessed with unlimited funds. :)**

Entry #1:

To assist us in our pursuit of homeschooling excellence:

An interactive whiteboard.  

Smart Technologies,

*sigh* They are dreamy and there are tons of software available for them now. 

It's time!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why did it take them so long???

Last year I read about this new product from Heinz ketchup (which is unarguably the ONLY ketchup worth consuming) and have been waiting patiently for it to make it's way to the area.  Friends, my wait is almost over!  Chick-fil-a has one box of regular squeeze packets left (Yes, I asked.  Is that strange? ) and then these little beauties will make their debut...Heinz ketchup dip and squeeze containers.
(Picture courtesy of my niece, Crystal, who lives in TN.) 
  You can pull the tab and dip or rip the end and squeeze.  
Simply.Brilliant.  That is all.

(If anyone in our area comes across these before I do, snag me one!  I have issues.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chock full of holidays

We are only a couple weeks into February and we have already celebrated three holidays.  

Groundhog Day 
We learned about the ol' 125 year old groundhog, Puxatawney PhilWe made our guess as to whether we thought he'd see his shadow or not and then decorated a paper bag to commemorate whether it will be six more weeks of winter or an early spring.  
 Dumb rodent.
Kelly needs one good blizzard this winter, man!  On the plus side, Phil is only accurate about 39% of the time. Have you seen this groundhog is treated?  Like royalty! We feel Phil is an elitist. I'm going to go with Murray, the ol' holler groundhog from Cumberland, MD.  She predicts six more weeks of winter.  Go Murray!  

Chinese New Year
Gung Hay Fat Choy! That is Chinese for "Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year."  Chinese New Year seemed the perfect opportunity to go out for, duh, Chinese food, oh, and make some cool crafts. Yes, shamelessly I will use whatever means possible to get out of cooking dinner at times.  Beef lo mein, extra spicy rocks!
We painted Chinese fans.

Julianna's turned out kind of tie dyed.  Was neat.  Word of advice, best to use markers on them though.  Dried paint made them hard to refold.

Julianna's dragons, Eyelash and Banzai. 

 Valentine Exchange Party
Last week we hosted a Valentine exchange party for our fellow HSers.  We had a full house of crazy, unsocialized kids that ranged from Kindergarten through High School.  We had crafts, food, games, card exchange and general merriment.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the action.  We all had fun though.  

For the rest of the month we will be learning about dental health (February is National Dental Health Month), maybe making healthy food choices (We were talking about vegetarian meals and Julianna informed me that she was a "sweetetarian" - she only eats sweet stuff. Ha.) and President's Day.  We just began North America today in Geography - seems like we've been in Europe forever and barely touched it.  We'll be studying Canada, United States and Mexico.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Julianna, Photographer

Periodically I will scan through the pictures on my camera and will have random shots that have been taken by Julianna at who knows what time.  So, for this post, I thought I would show you the world through Julianna's camera lens.
Photo subject:  Lanie, American Girl and her broken leg and crutches.

Photo subject:  A rainbow of Crayola crayons.  (Off topic, I love the smell of Crayola crayons.  I need to go Julianna needs to go tour their factory.)

Photo subject:  Holly, aka Psycho Cat

The little photographer herself.  Doesn't this face ooze sweetness and joy? 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What I have learned so far...

I've been a bit of a Negative Nellie to this point concerning our homeschooling journey...I blame a recent encounter with a certain man named Daniel and his non-discovery of the natural health benefits of coffee..., so I thought I would change my attitude and sit and reflect on what I have learned about it so far, halfway through our first year.

1.  It's hard work!
  • This isn't a great revelation, but it's still surprising to me nonetheless.  Maybe I was a bit overconfident going in.  I don't think I was naive about the work, but not having a kid who goes happily along with every planned activity is a bit of a buzz kill, dude. She's getting better though.  Most days. 
2.  I need to stop worrying.
  • I tend to be very hard on myself as a teacher (actually this generalizes in most areas of my life - unfortunately housekeeping is not one of them.)  While talking to a potential HS mom (almost got her in our clutches - haha!), I realized that I cannot worry about what the public school deems as the right academic scope and sequence.  I can use it as a guideline, but we are the ones who determine what we want to teach, otherwise, she'd be enrolled.  Goodness, if we moved to another state, the guidelines would all be different anyway.  I've got to relax.
    3.  I am addicted to curricula, oh, and catalogs.
    • I have always loved print catalogs.  Seriously.  Love them. I blame my cousin.  She used to send me bags of these unique catalogs:  Metropolitan Museum of Art, Heart Song, The San Francisco Music Box Company, etc. I would go over and over them. The beautiful pictures of all the goodies and the wonderful slick pages. *sigh* I have issues.  And I have always loved educational stuff.  Now, with homeschooling, I get to enjoy the best of both worlds in many, many varieties of catalogs. Oh, if I could just be a curriculum or product reviewer or a millionaire...  
    4.  Changes need made to the way we do things.
    • We're in a rut.  I think we are both bored with our routine - some things were instituted by me and others we have just fallen into.  How quickly bad habits can be established, huh?   I have discovered things that have not worked and now I need to rethink the plan and make some adjustments.
    5.  It has been a half year of new memories.
    • We took our first family vacation to the beach.  Julianna learned to tie her own shoes.  She climbed a tree by herself.  We celebrated her first day of Kindergarten.  She went ice skating for the first time.   She began Daisy Scouts.  She has her first wobbly tooth.  *sniff, sniff*  It's all happening so quickly.  When I was pregnant with her, my school's Principal told me, "Some days will seem long, but the years will fly by."  Oh, I can see she was so right. 
    6.  We're doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing
    • In my previous post, I told you we were going to visit a private Christian school as a possible placement for Julianna next year.  We did visit and while I can see some definite benefits of her being in a classroom setting (things that cannot be recreated (or at least not to the same effect) with just the two of us at home):  small or large group dynamics, social interactions with peers, school experiences in general (recess, going to specials, etc.) they don't outweigh the drawbacks (mainly which include doctrinal differences.)  I can't really explain it, but going to the school and seeing that it's not the total Utopian society that I had envisioned in my head (especially on those days - all you HSing mommas know what kind of days I mean!)  or was that perceived Utopia because I was imagining myself eating bon bons and reading a good book ALONE all day long?  Ha!  Probably more the latter.  Regardless, I came away with the peace about our decision and  that is something I have been struggling with since we decided to HS.  It's still not an easy journey, but we will make it through and we'll be all the better for even attempting to take the steps in the first place.