5.28.2016

Dear Lucy, You're six!

Dear Lucy,

I can't believe you are six years old. And I am loving this stage right now. You are so much fun. It's the best of both worlds. You are getting bigger and have such great thoughts and ideas and we can have great conversations. You love history and learning about other cultures and how things work and are soaking it all in. You love Shakespeare and poetry and history and all sorts of lovely things. It's hard to believe you're my little girl. Despite the fact that when we measured you this morning, you had hit four feet!


But you are my little girl. And the little is still there. You love to color with me and play dress-up. Today you went to the grocery story in your Snow White outfit. You're old enough to want to be pretty and to have opinions about clothes and hair and things but not old enough to care what other people think. I love it!



You love to pretend still. Princess or history games dominate your play, inside and out. A few days ago I watched you spoon mud "chutney" into jars and seal them with "hog bladders" made from leaves then you danced around the yard singing princess songs. You also love doll play and are often teaching your dolls things. You love words and music and are almost always singing or reciting something or talking to yourself and explaining things to your dolls...when you aren't asking me questions, that is.



You love school and make my job so much fun. It's hard to say whats your favorite subjects are because there really isn't one you don't like. Piano is a favorite but it is also your hardest because you worry when you don't know something and your always learning something new but you've gotten so much better about being patient with yourself. I see you start to get frustrated than calm yourself down. I'm glad you are learning good hand positions and note reading but watching you try and grow your self-control is worth ten times that much.



Overall, I've seen so much growth in your character this past year, especially these past few months. We had a bit of a rough patch a few months ago but once those molars come in, you became a joy to be around (again). You're caring and sweet with Norah and Jonah and really try to be patient with them both (especially Jonah who is all boy and all three and makes this hard on you). But you're quick to forgive and go back to being best friends with him. And you've started to make some little girl friends and really enjoy playing with others too. You still in your own world a good deal and will happily play in it by yourself but are also developing empathy and this understanding that there is a different perspective than yours and will sometimes choose to come out and join everyone else. Watching you grow is such a joy and I can't wait to see what this next year brings!

5.27.2016

Lucy's Birthday Interview

What is your favorite color? Pink

What is your favorite toy? Samantha 

What is your favorite game? Enchanted Forest

What is your favorite song? The Star Spangled Banner

What is your favorite animal? Two actually, well, my favorite home animal is bunny... and kitty. My favorite farm animal is horse. 

What is your favorite book? My favorite chapter book is Laura and Mary (Little House on the Prairie) but my favorite regular book is firebird.

What do you like to snuggle with at night? That is a very big question. - My lovies (green blanket, owl blanket, baby owl, horsey, tiger)

What is your favorite movie? Aladdin

What is your favorite thing to eat? Our dinner tonight (White Chicken Chili) and pizza

Where is your favorite place to go? Playground

What is your favorite outfit? My Pocahontas dress (its a Hanna Andersson dress that has fluttery sleeves and different colors and isn't really anything like Pocahontas would wear but that's what she calls it)

What do you like to learn about? History. Things that happened a long time ago. 

What have you learned in the last year? I forgot. Shakespeare and clocks.

What is hard for you? Math puzzles and circle math (circle math is what she calls two part equations.  When we solve the first part, she puts the answer in a circle so she can remember it while she works on the second part)

What is your favorite thing to do as a family? Go to another state and visit people in our family.

What do you like about Mommy? She makes good breakfast.

What do you like about Daddy? He plays with me.

What do you like about Jonah?  He makes a good friend.

What do you like about Norah? She is happy and she likes to be played with. 

What do you like about yourself? I am pretty.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Take care of horses. 

5.25.2016

Things I love: Quality Tools

I'm a pretty frugal person but I do like to have nice quality tools. Especially ones I'm using often. Although I'm learning that I don't always even realize how much it can negatively impact me when I have to do a job with a sub-par too until I get a good one. Then I kick myself for waiting for long to upgrade.

Last week my dustpan broke. It had a tiny crack for several months that made it a pain to use and I every time I would use it, I would tell myself to add it to to my shopping list but then by the time I finished sweeping, I'd be on to another task and never remember. But the little crack became a big crack on a day that I just happened to need a few more dollars in my amazon cart to get to free shipping. So I got this one.



I love it! Even Lucy, who's morning chore is to sweep under our kitchen table, was excited about it. A dustpan has to be pretty darn good if a 5 year old starts raving about it. But she doesn't need my help to use it so it really makes our mornings run smoother. And since I do quite a bit of sweeping with a baby on my back, it makes my life a lot easier too. Best $15 I've spent in a while.

Another tool I love - my can opener. We had really bad luck with can openers. I've tried electric ones and hand ones, more expensive ones like the kitchen aid and super cheap ones that we really only had to keep in our emergency supply kit. One time we got a new one and it only opened 2 cans before it broke! 2 cans! I'd look at reviews and moan. I don't have high expectations from my can opener. It doesn't need to be any particular color or look fancy or do anything other than - open cans. I was about to try the pampered chef can opener even though it is a bit pricey and I had heard mixed reviews. But I was also getting desperate.



Then back in February, we went on our impromptu road trip and I commented on my aunt and uncles' can opener and then got me one as a present before I left. It's a  Swing-A-Way. It's amazing. It opens cans! Easily! Like cutting through butter. In this case, it wasn't that we needed to spend more money for a better tool, we just needed to find the right one. Now we have an we can sleep easy knowing that chili or peaches and cottage cheese are just a twist away.

Next tool I need to upgrade is my pencil sharpener. I owed these little metal ones and they are great. I lost both of mine recently but will order new ones because they are great for packing with our nature/art kit or for keeping in my little pencil box for on-the-go schooling. But now that we are doing first grade, even without a ton of hand writing, we go through pencils fast. And I'm tired of having to sharpened everyone's pencils. So time to upgrade to a bigger, better, faster daily use pencil sharpener. But which one?

A classic old-school wall mounted one is a top contender. So is this "Best Pencil Sharpener" which I've seen recommended by several people in homeschooling circles. Do you have a favorite? Please let me know because I have our big armoire/office full of paperwork, school supplies and manipulatives to clean out and re-organize and I need some motivation so I've decided that a pencil sharpener will be my reward!

PS - Those aren't amazon affiliate links. Just plain ol' links so you know what I'm talking about.

5.23.2016

Classics Challenge: Brideshead Revisisted

Look at me! I finished it! And relatively quickly. I knew if I lost steam, I would give up. And by the end I was actually enjoying it.

 I was originally curious about this book because I seemed to be getting two vastly different views on it from outside sources. The first group thinks its a great book that show characters of all sexual orientations. It's that 1920s world that sensual and deep and dark and artsy and rich. You can practically see the cigarette smoke eminating from the cover. Who wouldn't want to join Charles Ryder as he gets thrown into the  elite world of the Flytes?

And then there is it's inclusion on the Ambleside Online highschool curriculum list and Andrew Kern's recommendation, which was really my main inspiration to put it on my reading goals list several years ago. It's even on the Circe's list of 11 Novels every Christian should read. I mean, are these people reading the same book? I'll be honest, it wasn't it inclusion on Time/Newsweek/Modern Library's top 100 books list that finally got me to pick it up, nope. It was that question. Curiousity got the girl to read the classic. That's how that quote goes, right?

And now I see what happens. The first set think its a great book with a kinda random crappy ending. Or they get that its really about religion, not sex, and come away with the idea that its the world's worst Catholic apologetic. The second type of person thinks its a rough start (in terms of actions within the book, not the writing itself) to a book with a good ending. I'm of the later set. I made myself read a chapter every night until I was engaged. And it did take a while. For a couple days I was wondering why I was just stuck reading about these vapid people. I mean, even Ryder doesn't care about (most of?) them really. By the last third though, I finally was draw in and could start to see the point. I still didn't particularly care about any of the characters, which is why I wasn't bothered too much by the lack of wrap-up in areas, but I think that in and of itself is part of the book.

I try not to include spoilers in my reviews so I can't say much more, and even if I did, I'm not sure if I even could but it's left me with a bit to think about. I was right in that it really isn't my type of book and I'm sure I would have gotten more out of it if it was. And I don't think I'll ever read it again, unless perhaps  I feel like I need to for high school discussion with the kids way down the road. But I'm glad I read it.

Actually, I said above that there were two groups but there is another. The third group doesn't like the stuff in the first category but fails to see stuff in the third so bans it. Which is kinda throwing the baby out with the bath water. Yes, some characters are obviously homosexual. And some are debatable bi-sexual. So I wouldn't hand it to my twelve year old. But I hardly think one with a good handle on classic literature and other things beautiful and true would read the book to the end and think, "Wow, here are some people I'd like to emulate!" But it was banned which makes it perfect for my Banned Book Selection in the Back to the Classics Challenge!

5.22.2016

A Mother's Daybook - May 22

Ready for - Term 2! We start tomorrow. I was going to start next week and had lots of extra fun plans ready for our last week but we have to be home tomorrow to meet a plumber and the weather report for the rest of the week looks to be nothing but thunderstorms so...we'll just have fun with school instead! Insert tongue sticking out emoji here.

And I think we are all ready. Makes me laugh to read all the end-of-year blog posts when I'm ready to get going again and am really excited about all our new artist and composer and the fun folks songs that I picked out so the break did us good. That's the beauty of homeschooling. Although I am ready for extra curricular stuff to end. We finished up tumbling a few weeks ago and have our American Heritage Girls banquet this week so Lucy will be done with everything, I helped put on our church's women spring brunch this past Saturday so I just have one more women's steering event of the year and it is prep-free! We don't do a ton outside the home and those are well thought out but the break is nice too. I'm such a classic introvert it isn't even funny.

Reading - My first blogging for books book! And I'm enjoying it a lot. I'm so glad. I don't mind giving a bad review if it's a true reflection of what I think about the book, I have before, although those authors are often dead which makes it easier, but it would be a killjoy to start off with a negative review. So look for that soon-ish. Although I also have a back to the classic review to finish. I can't seem to write my review posts with kids in the room the same way I can these Mother's Daybooks. It hurts my brain.

Looking for - My blogging mojo. I miss writing consistently. And it bothers me that I don't get to do the review and editing that I'd like but if I do, I'd never post anything! I don't think most of y'all are judging my posts harshly so I'm not sure why it bothers me so much, but it does. And even when I do get time to write, so often it feels rushed. Not sure what to do about that but it is what it is.

Feeling - Sentimental. Lucy will be six in a couple days. How did this happen? That's one blog post that won't be hard to write. Lucy has grown so much this last year and I never have problems bragging on my kids but I'd better not even get started with that or this post won't get finished ;-)

Thinking - Up some read-aloud options for DH. I normally do one chapter of a read-aloud at naptime and at bed (in addition to picture books) before Craig takes over with bible time but Norah's bedtime is shifting. He'll take over read-aloud at bedtime now and I need some really dad friendly read-alouds for the 4-6 age range as we switch to a divide and conquer bedtime routine. I feel like we've done a lot of the obvious ones (little house, eb white books, etc) and most of the ones I've got on my list are a bit on the girly side. I mean, both kids are enjoying Betsy, Tacy and Tib but I don't think the next in the series is really on Craig's "must read" list, you know? And parental enthusiasm counts for a lot in reading aloud. We are going to try The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and I think it will either be a big hit or it will be too intense and nobody will get a good night's sleep. But if you have any good dad reads, please share!