Thursday, March 31, 2011

Aren't these great quotes??

In looking for whom to credit with the great saying, "If you and i were the same, one of us wouldn't be needed," i found some other great quotes.

Mark Twain:

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."   (This one needs to go in my chore book and sewing room!)

"Don't let schooling interfere with your education."  (I'm posting this one in the school room!)

And a little something appropo today, 
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself."  (especially when there is an impending gov't shutdown due to lack of budget.  Due truely to lack of funding, because companies like GE continue to make profits, pay ZERO taxes, and actually collect tax rebates. Isn't America great?  hurrah!

PS should you happen to know with whom to credit the "If you and i were the same..." quote, could you please leave it in the comments?  Thanks!

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Amazing, Trailblazing Kid

She won a whole pile of medals this weekend at the Emerald City Feis!!  Competing against 10 to 13 kids in each of her 4 dances, she took 1st place in Beginner I Reel, Beginner I Slip Jig, Beginner II Light Jig, and Beginner II Single Jig. 

Look out pocket book, here comes the bill for a traditional folk dress for her Novice competitions!!

Friday, March 25, 2011


One of my most favourite blogs in Blogland is doe-c-doe, written by the multi-talented and just plain fun Gina (whom is also admired for her kind, sporting, and fashionable dog, in certain circles.)  She's the type of person that i believe anyone would adore as a neighbour--i know i would--especially if she wouldn't mind bringing along her accordion to serenade the other guests at a party you might host!  :)

Recently she visited Seattle with her sisters, and i've immensely enjoyed her photos of familiar sights  (i'm still trying to figure out where some of those items in the antique posts are from and am desparately hoping she will allow me to purchase a copy of her photo of the laughing manequin!)

Also, i noticed that she expressed interest in the Elephant Car Wash sign that she didn't get to see before the trip was over, however mentioned a return trip.  I'd like to give her a few tips on other sites, if she would allow me to recommend some. 

Dear Gina,

Your photos from Seattle are amazing!!  Thanks for sharing your trip with us.  After reading about your wish to visit our area again someday, might i suggest the following sites for your entertainment value.
There's Buca di Beppo, a family style Italian restaurant near the Space Needle. 
Complete with their Pope's Table,
 colourful signs, 
 and poster covered walls, it makes for a memorable feast.
If you know when you'll be dining, you may find a reservation for the "kitchen table" in order (it's a booth just across from the kitchen, so you get to see what everyone else in the place is ordering.)

There is the city of Tacoma, WA.
Where you can find the gorgeous glass works of Dale Chihuly,
 And wonderfully intricate old buildings,
 and one of the famed Elephant Car Wash signs.

 If you happen to come during the holidays, you will be able to see the "Tacoma Self  Elf Storage".

For your shopping pleasure, there happens to be a couple little towns down south of here that are hubs for antiquing.  They even sponsor something called "Trail of Charms" , where you can build a charm bracelet as you visit the different stores.

If you ladies feel so inclined on a trip, a visit to the ol' skool skating rink is a must!!

Hoping you get to visit us in WA real soon again!  You may even want to plan a trip to Vashon Island (where the city motto is "Keep Vashon Weird") or down to Olympia because that place is oozing with coolness too!!  Oh.  And if you visit in the summertime, bring your SPF--contrary to popular foke lore, it hardly rains after June 21st.

P.S.  Sorry you didn't make it in time to enjoy the Enchanted Forest.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Homeschooling :: Gaining a New Perspective

From our State of the Homeschool addresses, one can gather that i have been consumed by scheduling this year.  Something about scheduling school out perfectly into 10 little months makes sense.  That is, until you encounter thee "Aaaaawww" reaction everytime you mention to your child that it's time to start school for the day. 

Recently, i heard about a type of class offered here in the state of Washington, that is meant to be a qualifying course for parents without the college credits required to qualify for homeschooling.  It is a 2 day course given on the weekend, 16 hours total, to cover topics from early child development to writing transcripts for the homeschool high schooler to submit to colleges.  Although i qualify through the time i spent in hell, er, i mean college, it wasn't something i hadn't considered attending until i had heard enough people mention that it was a worthy class to look into.  And hey, i'm all about learning new stuff.

Something a teacher in the class mentioned shook our current plan of action to its very core.  She was discussing methods of homeschooling, and scheduled students vs. unschooled students.  She said, "If your schedule is as rigid as the school down the street, and your child is expected to finish rote work each day, then what makes you different from a brick and mortar school?"  Heavy, eh? 

At first, i thought, you know, this lady is entitled to her opinion, however the tightened ship is working for us.

Then i woke up out of my lack of sleep-induced stupor and started thinking that maybe she has a good point.  I am coming from a public school education in my thinking and scheduling seems normal to me, as does having to stop in the middle of something i enjoy because someone in charge is telling me that there are other things to get accomplished.  As does sitting in a seat during the lesson seem normal to me.  Must be because they broke me well, eh? 

So last Monday, i challenged myself a bit.  Cookie's getting into multiplication and division and it hasn't been coming to her as easy as other things.  I've been lecturing her on her lack of attention to the lessons, and she's been "giving me the same excuse" of "I can't do it."  Our approach obviously needed to change.  So, we spent the day baking cookies as a way of practicing our multiples of 8.  One cookie sheet with 8 cookie gives us how many total?  And so on.  Not only was it a lesson in math and measurements, but also in household management/food storage, as we baked a few off, and froze the rest of the dough, portioned out by eights, for later.

The on Tuesday, we read.  A lot.  Cookie now knows a little about Venus and Mercury and about the Sui Dynasty of China. 

And the rest of the week we practiced multiples of 6 with half dozen egg cartons and multiples of 4 with the dollars to quarters conversion.  And we read some more.  But relaxed like.  Was she getting any grammar in?  Not structured grammar from her grammar text, however she was the authour of a newspaper called Animal Jam that compose with her Grandpa's old electric typewriter and some magazine articles for reference.  That's writing, technically too.

Today, we placed our seed order--she was in charge of gathering the order numbers, weights (for figuring shipping), and prices so we could do some "real world" math.  In the course of this math lesson, we realised that she still needs help remembering that one performs math the opposite direction than reading English.  We also happened to be splitting parts of the order with a friend, so she learned how to calculate percentages, as the cost of the items we are splitting and the shipping needed to be split fairly between both parties.  She was fasicinated by the fact that you wouldn't just split shipping and tax in half.    

Different?  Extremely!  Do i worry that we aren't ever going to get through to a new math book?  Sure.  Is it a race?  I thought so; to try to keep up with the school kids right?  But isn't it that one of the reasons we take our children out of a government operated education system?  Either they are held back in certain subjects they grasp well or they are pushed through material that they might need just a little more practice at to fully understand it.  All in the name of "Good for the Common Group".  Hmmmm .... 

We will be drastically modifying our "school model".  Who's to say that if Cookie and i are lying in bed reading or talking until 9am in the morning that we aren't discovering new words or discussing new concepts.  Why just last week, we were reading the reports from Japan's reactors on my phone (geography & science) and discussing why we might need to seal off windows or purchase a little more food in the coming weeks to stock up a bit.  That was a teaching moment.  What followed was more learning:  the one where Cookie asked if we could stop talking about this subject because it made her a little bit scared and not only did i show her manners when i did stop (health), we also talked about the value of being prepared (occupational education), and we discussed how much we loved each other (which can sometimes cover distance-math-and geography.)

And eventually, we'll work our way through multiplication and the Earth will still be spinning and life will be just as hunky dory!

Monday, March 14, 2011


I can't believe it! Eight years i've been enrolled in weight loss classes with minimal success due to being my own best obsticle. However, since October '10, i've been on a roll with the weight loss. Not that i haven't had my little battles with a 0.4 here or there, however the biggest battle seems to be won--the one where i used to come unglued and throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak, when i would experience a gain instead of a loss. And eat my way through enough food to gain 10 more pounds.

Last week i weighed in with another 2 pound loss. Hooray! Making my total loss since October 18 pounds. Yippee! This weekend was the first time i was taken aback by many things:

- walking around a college campus where i had a homeschooling/child development class and stopping in mid stride because i realised my knees weren't hurting.

- sitting in a chair in class and realising that i fit in it.

- walking past the windows of the bookstore and catching a glimpse of myself. I don't look like i could have a baby anyday anymore.

- i grabbed a quick bite to eat during our seminar's lunch hour and didn't regret foregoing the potato chips or cookie.

- i take the time to gauge portions now.

- one of our friends at church, a sweet woman and church elder, came up to Moose last week and told him "She's going down, huh?" :) Moose and i told her i was the incredible shrinking woman.

- Moose said the other day that after he hugged me, he was wondering where the rest of me was. Being an engineer, bless his heart, he informed me last night that by his estimates, what i've lost is the equivalent of 2 gallons of water.

...which was funny because i was just thinking about what combination of groceries would equal what i've sloughed off.

Here it is...straight from the pantry: pinto beans, brown and sushi rice (the latter being for a wonder little treat called rice balls), canned pumpkin, cabbage (for homemade sauerkraut), bananas, apples, russets, spinach, tamari almonds, and my guilty pleasure, peanut Sundrops. Wow!

I started placing this in a bag and couldn't hold it, let alone fit all of it in there.

And to think, i was carrying that all on my knees, bottom, and back. Youch!

I've been trying to think now what's changed so that i can be successful? Truthfully, it started out with trying to change all of our diets and shopping habits. First, i changed the amount of meat we eat each week. Granted, i don't have hard and fast rules, however i have a loose target of about 2 meatless dishes a week, increasing our intake of grains, alternative protein (beans) and veg. Going through the calendar and identifying days that we would like to cook meat of the course of the month, then making one trip to the butcher to buy in bulk. Reduced those weekly trips to the butcher where i would "just grab something" for each night of the week. I also went through the schedule and identified time-constrained days that i needed something fast like tuna melts or leftovers dinner. Put a limit on the number of new recipes i can try each week--1, and only if we have an entire day to stay at home so Cookie and i can prepare it in stages over the course of the entire day. I've stopped shopping numerous stores for deals too. Some people can do that, however that just enables someone like me that has shiny ball syndrome--ooh, look! Don't those cookies look great? I bet they'd make a great crust for a cheesecake. Gotta go back to get some cream cheese--ooh, look at that gorgeous Irish cheese infused with Guinness, that'd be great on crackers....mmm, Guinness, haven't had one of those in while so better swing by the liquor aisle. You get the idea. So, i've devised a plan of shopping for mostly produce and lunch items at our local health food store. One of the best things about this place is that the minute you walk in the door, you are in the produce aisle. No need to go through aisles of processed "organic" food items. Also helpful is a once a month food co-op. I try to order all the food we'll need from them, to minimize my time spent in the brick and mortar store. It's been working really well, as if they don't have it, i tend not to make it. For most things, anyway. Hoping for the day when i can stop going to the brick and mortar all together. Although, that would require the food co-op to start carrying peanut Sundrops. :)

Should you find yourself in a weight loss journey, i wish you much success in determining your motivation, focus, and determination. It's in you!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Really?!? Has it Been Two Weeks??

Hey. Hi. Remember me? Yea, it's been a while. How are you? Hoping Spring has found it's way into your part of the world. We've been up to our ears in spring drenchers around here, so no planting has been finished. I want my, I want my, I want my fresh grown broc co li... Wah!!

We've been super busy around here. There's been school, school, swimming, swimming, swimming, dancing, coffee dates, and more school. I signed up for a 2 day course on "how to homeschool" through our state association and thought i'd glean a few ideas, meet some new people, learn a little more about the law, and be finished. Oh, no! :) It's considered a college course. We have homework, people! Homework!! We have a week to read a text on homeschool methods, to write a paper, article, interview, or a letter to our child about why we do what we do. You can probably guess which i chose. And it's going to be graded! Eeek!

But before all this (thank goodness the final class is this Saturday, because i can't handle all this pressure) we'd been busy working on the embroidering the sash for the Communion dress, cleaning out the house more in hopes of listing it this summer, and accumulating and making items for a special someone's "60/60" package. That's when you send someone a gift to remind them to enjoy the last 60 days before they celebrate their 60th birthday. I made a little spring-ish bunting.

We've been enjoying the last few quiet days of winter. We're really looking forward to visiting with friends this Friday for a little impromtu DEAR Day party--the kids will be playing, maybe working on a little school or art project and whenever us parents feel like it we will shout out "Drop Everything And Read" and the kids will grab a book and their sleeping bags and get to it. Should be fun. We are even encouraged to go in our jammies. Hooray!

Hoping you are having a productive, yet relaxing March.

See ya here again real soon.