Spring K-Drama Overload Part II

I hope that the title of this post, especially the Spring part, shows that I really don't watch 60 hours of k-dramas a week. But here is what I've been watching in the somewhat recent past.

Creating Destiny/Seeking Love - 3

I think this most have been a family drama or maybe it's just a family drama wannabe? It's longer, has lots more characters and extended family and well, it just has a family drama feel. Like most family dramas, it can be a tad ridiculous with its plot whiplash - "You have to marry her! 10 seconds later "I forbid you to marry her!" and I must say I fast forwarded a lot of the sister side plot once I could see it wasn't going where I wanted it to, but was taking a really long time to not go there as well as almost all of the random other girl's plot with her little sister crush. But I do love seeing the Korean adult child/parent relationships and the main couple is really cute. Especially when you find out they got married in real life. Watch it with your finger on the forward buttton, you will easily be able to figure out the plot but can still appreciate the sweetness.

Coffee House - 3.25

Cute. I really like Kang Ji-Won and it certainly nice to see him in something that isn't good but I'm watching for him anyway. He's really good at playing quirky and he really plays quirky here, my goodness. But that is what is nice about this drama, neither he nor the two female leads are terrible typical. Some parts of the plot were very interesting and different and others were way to standard (mostly the second lead male - although that might also be because Jung Woong-In will always and forever be a creepy serial killer in my mind so no matter how good his acting or the plot is, I just won't find him a reasonable love interest. That's not really the shows fault though). The beginning and end were the best, the middle dragged a bit and lost the funny which really is what this show did best. But a nice funny romantic comedy.

A Witch's Romance - 4

I wasn't originally interested in this one. The title just didn't strike me and I don't remember seeing many previews to catch my interest. And maybe the Noona romance turned me off which makes no sense because if you look at my reviews, I obviously have no issues with Noona romance storylines. And this one was pretty good. Because the main characters (and the actors) had some great chemistry and really worked well together. and for those of you with more, completely legitimate, issues, everyone is legal in this one so no worries.

It wasn't perfect, the middle dragged a bit when Mr. polar bear came back even though we all knew that wasn't going to work out and it was just a matter of time before she realized she who she was supposed to be with. There were also some weird editing issues. I'm not generally that particular about those sorts of things, but this was obvious. So if you watch it, yes, episode #5 is the episode after #4. you might not think that if you watched 4 and then started 5 but it is true. I know I wasn't the only one confused. I mean, the whole comment section was confused as well.

But the main characters were great together and separately. I loved our main female lead because she really wasn't a "witch" at all. She wasn't that stock successful but cold business woman that you might expect. Yes, she was successful but also this caring daughter to the world's cutest drama mom and a good friend in an still honest and real way. You didn't just see a scene or two to tell you that these were her important relationships and that was it, you really saw those relationships in the show which I appreciate in a rom-com. I like the romance to be developed but not at the expense of every other relationship in the show. And our male lead was just adorable. I really loved his bromance with his best friend "spinach." My guess is that character wasn't originally that prevelent in the show but the actor just brought him to life so they kept adding more scenes with him. Really, all the side characters were just spot on. They were well developed and the casting was perfect.

In terms of the main couple's development. I liked that they didn't focus on the age alone because that often involves the main conflict being how the parents are upset then close to the end the parents randomly change their mind with no logic so we can have a happily ever after and that always bothers me. With having all these awesome characters, they could have probably explored more without being tedious. Because even though it had flaws, tedious wasn't one of them. You could just tell the whole cast was having fun making this and that made it fun to watch. It was just adorable and fun and a great way to relax with a bowl of ice cream.

You're All Surrounded - 3.5

Finally I can see the appeal of Lee Seung-Gi. It only took three dramas! No, really. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho was okay but I didn't love it the way others did and I had major issues with The King 2 Hearts. I think I just don't like Lee Seung-Gi in that party boy that needs to grow up role. Maybe he's too good? But this, the hurt damaged hard shelled boy who's stuck in the past, that I can get behind. He was adorable! And I really this mix of fun action cop drama with our rookies figuring out how to be cops of the non-bumbling variety and our little quartet of newbie cops had great chemistry and of course, Cha-Seung Woo as Pan-Seok was a great reluctant mentor which I'm sure surprises no one. He's just amazing, from his expressions and deep emotions shown by one blink but also with the humor. He pretty much nails it every time. But I loved them all.

But going back to humor, why did that go away? It was so funny to start out then the cop story of the week took over and then our main mystery was the focus on the humor seemed to be dropped. I'm sure that had its benefits because the writers clearly had trouble at times keeping the balance - uhm, I'm glad Pan-Seok and his ex-wife were able to work on their relationship but considering the seriousness of what happened to them plus the whole divorce thing, his ex seemed a bit too flippant about things. Was that just me?

But while the whole group had great chemistry and the two side cops had a good bromance going on, I did feel like our main couple didn't really have great chemistry. That's not really anyone's fault but was a bit sad. They made it work because their relationship was a romance that wasn't all about romance but more about their friendship and respect and partnership. I do wish it was developed a bit more. I also loved Pan-Seok and Dae-Gu's relationship and how it begrudgingly evolved. And Chief Kang was probable the most interested female side characters in a k-drama ever. She was so perfect because she was so realistic and heartbreaking.

Basically, I wish this show had better writing. The acting was great but that was mostly in the acting. The villians were really flat and way over the top. The mood was kinda floppy. And there were a few plot points left dangling at the end.  All that said, I really really enjoyed it because of the acting and the relationships and character development. It was heartwarming and sweet and fun and overall enjoyable. I just wish we had seen more of that, but this show is really much more enjoyable than I'm making it out to be, I guess I'm just disappointed because it could have been so much more.


I finally branch into Korean movies. They aren't as great as dramas because they are movie length, but these couple have been cute. It's been a while since I watched them so you are getting my several months later really short recap. Also, keep in mind that while that korean movies are not nearly as clean as dramas tend to be. These aren't horrible or I wouldn't be recommending them, but it is something you might want to be aware of.

Finding Mr. Destiny - Super cute. I was confused about one actor playing two characters without the main female ever commenting on how they look similar. I guess it's just a "superman is wearing glasses" thing.

My Girlfriend is an Agent - This was fun but kinda weird. Again - Kang Ji-Won being quirky. I didn't really care about the spy plot line but the rom-com part was enjoyable. I think the Korean title for this is the same as Level 7 Civil Servant but I'm not sure if that drama was based on this movie or not. I haven't seen it (and based on reviews, don't plan to :-)

The Righteous Thief - I needed a bit more Lee Beum Soo after the let down that was The Prime Minister and I. I think this movie does the best of the three listed here at retaining some of what I love about dramas, especially the family interactions and relationships. I loved both his family and hers (especially "dad" from the answer me series. I've got a soft spot for him after watching him and his real life kid on Appa Odiga/Dad, Where are we going?). And unlike the last one, I actually did kinda care about the Hong Gil-Dong (Robin Hood) plot. The bad guys were a tad ridiculous and I know in a drama I would have been annoyed with them taking up screen time but a movie short enough that it worked. It's silly but enjoyable.


Helping your Preschoolers Go Outside and Play

Several people have asked me about the practical work of nature study/time and getting little kids outdoors. This is subject near and dear to my heart because I wanted it long before I was able to make it happen. This, along with nightly bible time and reading aloud were probably the biggest things that I really wanted to make a of our family culture. Reading aloud was easy. The other two took a bit more work and a large part of that is that, unlike reading aloud, they weren't as big a part of my life growing up. But we are making it happen. Hopefully, these few tips will let you benefit from what I've learned these past few years.

It starts with getting the kids outside. Yes, to study nature you should probably be spending at least some of your time in nature. And it seems so simply, just go outside! But it was really hard for me at the beginning. So if this is difficult for you to, don't be discouraged! Instead...

1) Be Convinced

I'm trying to limit this post to the practical aspect of outdoor time so I'll try not to get off track but practice comes from our philosophy so you really do need to start out with convictions. Don't do nature time because I say so or because another homeschooling family does and you feel you should too - or even simply because Charlotte Mason does. That won't provide real change. Be convinced in your own mind. I think reading section II of Charlotte's first volume would be a wonderful place to start but checking out Last Child in the Woods from the library could probably get you started as well.

My guess is that mother's of girls need more convincing than mother's of boys. Lucy enjoys spending time outside now and I know it benefits her but Jonah NEEDS it. When Lucy was sick last week and he was stuck inside, it was not pleasant. He doesn't seem to be particularly active outside, more walking and exploring than running, and our inside space is kid friendly so I wouldn't have expected it to make such a big different but by the third day of very limited outdoor time,  it was like trying to contain a tornado. So maybe you need convincing, maybe not.

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What better time to take a hike than a couple hours before a snow storm was about to hit our area? I knew we needed to let Jonah stretch his legs while he could so why not?

I can't possible leave this section without including what might be my absolute favorite quote of Mason's and it is her response to those who say the long hours outdoors she is suggesting are impossible.

Let me repeat, that I venture to suggest, not what is practicable in any household, but what seems to me absolutely best for the children; and that, in the faith that mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them.  Charlotte Mason (Vol 1, Home Education, pg 44)

Basically, she says what she thinks is best for children (and in the full volume, the why is included) and leave it up to mother's to make it happen because she believes they can and will. What faith!

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Jonah's first hike at less than 2 weeks old. 

2) Aim High, But Not Too High

I don't mean for this to counteract the first section but be reasonable as well. Don't go from the only time you spend outdoors being the walk to the mailbox to shoving your kids outside for 6 hours a day and expect everyone to be happy. We started with 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the afternoon and when we started, that felt like a long time for me to keep Lucy happy (and by happy, I mean not completely whiny and miserable until my head is about to explode and I've used up my allotment of patience for the day). We've slowly built up.

These days, my reasonable goal is 4-5 hours total. 2-3 hours in the morning, 2-3 hours after nap and if possible at least one meal outside. That works for us at this stage and season since we've actually had a fairly cool summer. On a really hot day, it won't be that much and if you live in Texas, July is probably not a good month to start trying to increase your time outside. But if you start with 30 minutes now, then increase that as the weather gets nicer, you'll be doing great!

I find Nature, being God's world, has a lot in common with the Bible, God's Word, in that the more time you spend with it, the more time you crave.

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3) Schedule it In.

I don't just mean fit it into the remnants of your schedule but actually arrange your schedule to best fit ourdoor time. I love the idea of getting up and getting bible done first, then chores done and dinner prepped first then move on to fun for the rest of the day. It sounds great on paper. In reality, that puts us going outside at 10:30 am just when all our shade is gone over the big toys and driveway and within 20 minutes the kids are whining that it's hot.

So for the summer, we get up and eat breakfast then go outside. I do take my bible but I leave the kids stuff for later. I do the basic kitchen cleaning, I'm not leaving dirty plates on the table but I don't waste the wonderful 8:30am weather on cleaning toilets. So by 11am, we've gradually gotten used to the heat so it doesn't feel so bad and we're even okay eating lunch outside and when it really gets too hot, we are all ready to head in and do some of our indoor activities and chores before quiet time.


In the fall as it starts to get cooler, I'll change it up so we do things in the morning when its still chilly then head outside before nap when the noon sun keeps us warm. I realize that this time period where I really can completely change my schedule to accommodate outdoor time is fleeting. Soon, demands of "real school" and activities will probably start encroaching but for as long as a I can, time outdoors is going to be a major deciding factor in our schedule.

We are really lucky in that our backyard area is large but even so, we try to branch out to other parks and nature centers regularly. If you don't have a great backyard, this is even more important. So make it a weekly event and let the kids know that Thursday is park day. They wont' let you forget.

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Snack breaks - a wonderful thing. 

4) Make It Easy

Inertia can be hard to overcome and if going outside takes a lot of work each day, it's not going to happen. So make it easy to get outside and make it easy to stay outside. This part is key when you have little people. At first I felt like I was spending all my time dragging everyone back in because someone needed water, or a toy or a diaper or to use the potty. It was exhausting. So all pottying/diapering needs to be done first, take water bottles with you, keep their sandals by the door. When Lucy was smaller, we even kept a small potty in our garage. Yes, it's a bit redneck but it made life so much easier - and luckily our neighbors aren't that close. Now that it's our boy that's potty training, the potty is unnecessary (ah, the joys of a boy!).

If you don't have a backyard and have to rely on parks and playgrounds, get a tote bag for your bubbles, a blanket, snacks and babywipes so after breakfast you can just grab it and go. I keep a picnic blanket in the car at all times along with an extra babywearing device so if I want to make a last minute decision to stop at a park, I can.

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5) Make It Enjoyable

This comes fairly easily for kids so let's start by making it enjoyable for you. I really enjoy getting outside because now that the kids are used to it, its a bit of free(er) time for me. I do my personal bible time in the morning while they play and after that I normally get some other free reading done too. Make sure you have a comfortable chair and water for yourself. If you're trying to spend your time sitting on the corner of a sandbox, you'll max out at 30 minutes. I've set myself up to get lots of outdoor time because I really enjoy sitting down in the share and reading and watching them play. It's fun and relaxing, why wouldn't I put in a little effort up front to make it happen?

Also, this might be hard at first, but don't try and entertain your kids the whole time because if you are anything like me, you probably won't enjoy it. Wait, did I just admit that while I love my children, I don't enjoy playing with them for hours on end? Yes, I did. I'll pull them in the wagon for a while or draw Lucy a "hot-spotch" board but for the most part, they know outside time means they play. It's not just for my sake but for theirs. They play differently when I'm directing them or even just tagging along in their games. I want them to be bored, to go off exploring, to look under stumps for bugs or find all the different types of leaves and make a pretend nest out of them or lying in the grass watching the clouds.

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There is a balance to that though. A good portion of my time outside is still spent kissing knees, tying shoes, putting helmets on, taking helmets off, and the list could go on. I don't ignore them, especially when they are doing the things I hope to encourage (like observing things, but more on that next time).

Once you are comfortable, make sure they are too. We've got rain gear, snow gear, sunglasses and hats if its really sunny. And yes, some toys are good. It doesn't have to be a toy store and shouldn't be because you want them to get out in the yard but a few things help. Our bikes, sandbox and dome are all loved but outside toys don't have to be expensive. Bubbles, chalk, a jump rope (neither of my kids is old enough to use a jump rope as it is intended but they still love it as a pretend play prop). A friend passed down a water table which we love for our front porch but in our backyard, we normally do buckets and measuring cups of water and that's just as fun. But even with all that, I will admit that at least once in the past week I have had to tell Lucy to stop staring at me and go play!

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With the right gear, a little rain won't slow you down. And if the rain stops before they are done jumping in puddles, you can always make some more :-)

6) Mow the Lawn

So what do you do if your kids don't play? They just sit there and look at you? Or bug you to play with them they whole time? This was our biggest issue in the beginning until I realized that my husband does not have this issue when he is outside with them. And that's because he's working. He's watering the gardens or pruning or fixing things or mowing the lawn. They would normally start off "helping" him but gradually get bored and find things to do to occupy themselves. So most mornings, I start outside time by trying to read my bible but if they kids just seem stuck, I get to work. Hanging clothes on the line and checking on our vegetable are easy jobs and while I don't particularly care about dandelions in our yard, I've been known to spend a good 30 minutes weeding. But mowing the lawn is my last hail Mary. Craig knows that if he sees a portion of the lawn mown when he gets home, I was struggling. I And if the whole lawn is mowed, well, he probably needs to offer to let me take a nap that afternoon because they must have been super clingy!

So now you know my tips and tricks for getting your kids outside. There aren't any miracle solutions but hopefully I was able to share at least a dose of encouragement. I didn't even touch on what to do with nature once your out there so I might be back later with that if you all express an interest but at the tinies and tots stage, getting outside really is half the battle.

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Thoughts on thoughts

I'm testing different ways to write about the small stuff in my life. I really want to get back into doing that. Big topics I've been thinking about are nice and those posts help me mentally sort my thoughts but I want to capture the story of our days right now. The backyard full of bubbles and baby pools and no where to go but the grocery store days. But I am finding it surprisingly hard. I'm not sure if it's a case of too little to talk about, too much or perhaps just no structure. I've done the "quick takes" before and of course there is always the random bulleted list but nobody really wants to read that, not even me. I guess I'll try a day book sort of post next. All that to say -  please be patient with me if you see all sorts of random posts but feel free to chime in if you particularly like a style or have any ideas.

So many things. Ack! While I like the practice of keeping several books of various easiness levels, I kinda got carried away and had seven going at one point last week. But my kindle broke so that took off two temporarily and then I finished two and I can breathe a bit again. But I'm sure my list will start expanding soon. I do need more light hearted and easy reads. If its 9:30 and I'm trying to choose between Guns, Germs and Steel and Charlotte Mason's 6th volume, I am apt to choose C and go with a k-drama instead.

Elizabeth Foss' Summer in the Little Oratory podcast. I just finished the book (see above) but I really want to go back and read it slower and think about how to apply it to my (protestant)life. I might blog about that.

Illnesses are the one time I pretty much let the kids have free reign with tv programs. Nothing really works as well at keeping vomiting toddlers in one spot as a screen to watch and that really is a key part to surviving a tummy bug with a child who doesn't understand the idea of a bucket. TV and towels, lots of towels. But since they aren't used to a lot of tv, I have to scramble to find things they want to watch. Peter Rabbit and friends on youtube was a big hit since Lucy knew the stories already. They are nice and slow and I don't mind watching them myself. The kids are all better now but Craig had a meeting tonight so he helped me get everyone ready for bed early and we watched The Roly Poly Pudding until it was late enough that they would actually fall asleep.

Where did summer go? I love school supplies at least as much as the next gal but it makes me a bit sad to see them so early especially knowing that many kids are headed back in just a few weeks. We're still trying to soak up as much fun and sun while we can though. That said, I do have education on my mind because...

Planning and Preparing
I'm getting ready for my first real homeschool conference! I'm headed to the Continuing the Conversation Charlotte Mason Conference in Peoria, Il this weekend and I don't think I've been this excited about an event in a long time. Craig and the kids will be coming along but exploring the city (and hanging out in the hotel pool) on their own which means I will have all that time to think and talk to like minded mamas and go to the bathroom whenever I want with no one complaining about how I'm abanding them. Bliss!

Checking for eggs multiple times a day. Our chickens started laying about a week ago. It's amazing how exciting it is. Thinking back to my fairy tale post, it's another example of the miracles of God's world. I know where eggs come from but when its your chickens and you look and nothing is there and then suddenly, there is a egg. Joy! The kids are even more excited which is why we have been checking every time we go outside and every time they see a chicken leave the coop or enter the coop or look at the coop. But I can't blame them. It probably won't be as much fun to trudge out through the snow this January so I might as well have fun with it while I can.


Preschool Priorities #2/#3 - Interests and those pesky Rs

If you missed Part I(plans and priorities) or Part II (A Rich Feast), check them out.

As I said earlier, my second priority is learning about what the kids are interested in followed by reading, writing and arithmetic for Lucy. Right now, for Lucy at least, those are often the same thing. 

Writing – This is her subject of the day season. She loves to write. If you come over to our house you’ll see tiny pieces of paper and notes all over the place. She’ll sound out words  by herself. Her CVC words are pretty accurate but the rest gets interesting. I just love sounded out some of the things she writes down because it normally makes a lot of sense auditorily although not visually. She also loves to write silly words such as “lulululubababawee” and then laugh hysterically when I read them to her.  And sometimes she actually asks for my help so I always take that as an opportunity to reviewing or teaching some phonics.

I’ve been hesitant to start anything in terms of lessons when it comes to actually handwriting because I know as soon as I do, she’ll move on BUT she consistently writes certain letters incorrectly and I don’t want her to learn bad habits so we’ll be working on writing. (She draws an e in three parts, first with a line across, then a swoopy bottom and lastly a curve at the top. This is probably the least efficient method possible. But it does look like an e!) While she’s interested we’ll do the copy work part of Alphabet path but if she starts to baulk, it will get dropped, especially the fine motor work.

Math – MEP 1 when requested (plus all that general everyday number fun we have). She's not in as much of a crazy math period as she was but she still asks for it a couple times a week. 

Reading – She got to Lesson 60 of The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Reading and stalled out. I tried not to ask if she wanted to do a reading lesson and just let her request but we had finished one of two lessons on the voiced and unvoiced th sounds and my ocd self couldn't take it and tried to at least finish up that but nope, when she was done, she was done. The little stinker wouldn't even finish the last half of a lesson! But letting that go, I realize that if where she is now is all she knows when entering first grade, I’ll still be happy and since we are getting review in with writing, at least for now, I’m content with letting this rest for now. 

If she or Jonah have other big interests that come up, I can probably fit them into a letter somehow or just take the week off to do fun stuff with that topic. With a whole year and only 24 of so letter weeks (a couple are combined), we should have plenty of time even if we take december and april off. And that's my plan.

I know it took me a long time to say it, but honestly, it isn't much at all and leaves us lots of time to play outside and in.
  • Daily Table Time with bible work, hymn, poem, folk songs and French song practice (probably not each subject each day though).
  • Music – Opera!
  • French – Get me caught up, read few French picture books.
  • Art – Daily open ended art time plus weekly picture study
  • Alphabet Path Extension – Read lots of books and maybe do a few activities
  • Monthly Preschool Co-op 
I think that's really reasonable. We shall see. I'm getting really excited for fall now - and not just because I'm ready for some jeans weather. 


Counting my cold creamy blessings

With all the dietary changes I've had to make recently, I've been counting my blessings on what I can eat. And I'm ever so thankful that my favorite food is still on my okay list. And that my friends, is ice cream. Today was National Ice Cream Day which seemed to fit this weekend for me. Friday was a church lady book club night combined with a ice cream social. Sitting around talking about a book with a group of wonderful women while eating ice cream - what's not to love? Well, nobody really liked the book that much (are you curious? It was The Book Thief) but everything else was a win. Basically the only kind of ice cream I don't like is coffee flavored, which makes sense since I also hate coffee. 

I can justify my ice cream intake because I mostly do homemade and use raw cream and milk, sucanat and grass fed eggs. And since our chickens recently started laying eggs, my next batch will be made with super local backyard eggs! Even if that wasn't the case, I'd still eat it. I've given up gluten but you'd have to pry ice cream out of my cold dead fingers. Yes, they would be cold, because they would be holding tight to my bowl of ice cream.

I've made many different flavors. From the plain vanilla - I like alton brown's recipe although take note of the typo there. Nobody puts peach jam in vanilla ice cream. That would make it peach ice cream which is all very well and good but its' not vanilla, kwim?! I've also tried some crazy ones like peanut butter cookie dough, lemon cheesecake, blueberry mango and salted butterscotch (all from this e-book). I still haven't found a really good chocolate recipe and I really must remedy that because chocolate is my favorite flavor, especially with some sliced bananas (only in the past as bananas are on my no list for now) or strawberries (still MacKenzie approved!). I'll keep trying though. But let me know if you have one I should try - it's for science. The perfect chocolate ice cream recipe is out there and I am determined to find it. 


The things they say

Lucy, frustrated that her duplo isn't working: Here mom, you try it.
Me: Oh, you're right, this one is really tight, I'm not sure why.
Lucy: I think it's been corrupted.

Lucy: Here is some pretend bread. Don't worry, I made it gluten free for you.

Lucy must have inherited Craig's love of re-invention song lyrics. She was playing with glitter glue when I heard her singing "When we glue, something new, let's talk about what we'll glue" (which is a spin of this Daniel Tiger song)

Craig comes home to two wildly silly kids and asks "Are you guys being silly?"
Lucy: Yes. Mama thought she was giving me a probiotic but she really gave me a silly pill.

I read the kids their naps stories and told Jonah to climb into bed while I tucked Lucy in. A few minutes later I heard him talking to himself "Mama la (loves) you, dada la you, noona la you, chickie la you..."

Jonah's getting very independent these days so to preempt tantrums I'm often asking him if he wants help or wants to do it himself. His response? "Me Jojo I!" Because you might not understand the first or second time I guess.

Since everyone else takes turns saying prayers in our house, he seems to think its time he gets in on the rotation. Last night it was "Jojo pray" so we said okay and bowed our heads "Da gah (pause) ah - may!" Short and sweet, just how I like them ;-)

Oh these kids, they are driving me crazy this week but I do love them so. 


Paper or Plastic

In my mind I'm an all paper girl. I imagine myself writing at a desk facing out a window onto a gorgeous view. I sit in the quiet with a cup of tea at my side, pondering deep thoughts and expressing them well to encourage and enlighten others. That writing girl in my head is probably named Cordelia. 

In reality, I'm a keyboard girl - and silence may be golden but they are both elusive in this house. I'm currently typing this reclined on a couch covered with towels with a sick boy sleeping on my chest - and a recovering but still incredible cranky girl fussing all around me because her blanket is too small to cover her head and her toes at one time but she refuses to use a larger one. So no poetic moments here but still, I'm writing. So I'm grateful for the computer using girl. Let's call her Anne. 

My other non-blogging writing is a bit more mixed. It's the same poetic Cordelia versus practical Anne. I've slowly succumbed to evernote but I've still got my paper notebook and home journal because sometimes inspiration strikes when i'm outside watching the kids play. I track most of my book reading notes on the kindle but every week or so I transfer them to my handwritten commonplace book. I practice my french on duolingo but still keep a paper french notebook with the words and grammer I'm learning. I love the convenience of a tablet or computer especially when I've got a nursling but paper is special. Paper is pretty, it's real, its got its own smell and its own sound. Who doesn't love the sound of a notebook crackling the first time you open in?  There is something that happens in my my brain when I write something down by hand, it captures it in a way typing doesn't. So in my day to day life, I will be Anne the practical girl, but deep inside lives Cordelia, lover of paper!

*Can anyone guess what book I've just re-read? It shouldn't be hard considering I spelled Anne with an e ;-)


Preschool Priority #1 – A rich feast at table time

I plan to use AmblesideOnline in the future. Well, technically, we are already in Y0. Ambleside Online has an extensive set of Riches (or extras that aren't really extra) such as classical music, hymns, folk songs, and art appreciation. I want to make those a regular part of our schedule now so first grade doesn’t seem like such a big switch – and because I enjoy them myself.

As I mentioned last time, we’ll be following Elizabeth Foss’s Alphabet Path. But we will be paring it down quite a bit (example - we aren’t catholic so we will skip the entire saint of the week part).  Most of what it will become our source material for Table Time this year using the Flower Fairy book, Favorite Poems Old and New (a favorite of mine and I have my mom’s copy so it still smells like my childhood to me) and the art book Museum ABC. Looking at her AP essentials, this is only 3 of the 9 she suggests although I'm also adding in an alphabet bible verse book I already have. All of this means I don't have to search for my own additions which was the hardest part of TT for me.

Last year we did bible verses and catechism in the morning and hymns, poems and folk/fairy tales at lunch. This year we’ll be adding a few new things

Morning Table Time
  • bible memory
  • bible catechism
  • hymn 

Lunch Table Time
  • Flower fairy story
  • Poems (1-2 alphabet themed ones daily + one to keep all month to learn well/memorize)
  • Folk song - We love to listen to folk songs around here but I think concentrating on one a month will help us (me included!) learn the actual words so I don’t have to listen to a certain preschoolers constructive criticism when I can’t remember what comes after “she’ll be wearing pink pajamas when she comes.”
  • French song/rhyme – After going back and forth about languages, I’ve picked French, mostly because I studied German and French but its easier to find French materials. I’m using Duolingo to brush up on my skills which is my main goal for this year but I've found a few songs and nursery rhymes for the kids to start with along with sneaking a couple French picture books to sneak into our book pile.
Other treats for the week:
  • More Books - Elizabeth Foss has a ton of book selections for each week. I’ll just select of a few for our book basket that week, using it as a change to bring out some old favorite from our book closet and try some new ones from the library.
  • Activities - If I want to do any activities or baking based on the letter, I can. I think Jonah might appreciate activities that are just for him and Lucy will like being the helper. The general theme of letters will make it easy to fit to our week and both kids. Depending on the week though, I might not do anything. We will also be a part of a small monthly preschool co-op with some friends. That will be another chance for all those pinterest type activities so if I don't get around to any myself, they won't be totally deprived.
  • Alphabet Book and Copywork - Activities or not, by the end of the session (1-2 weeks probably), Lucy should have a lot of options of things that begin with that letter. Hopefully we will have practice writing those letters a few times in multiple ways (salt, playdough, chalkboard, etc) and on the last day, she’ll make a page with 4 pictures of things that begin with the letter of the week. As long as she is interested in writing, I’ll have her write the letter a couple times and circle the best one. This will go in her alphabet path notebook along with the story. 
  • Opera – We loved doing studying specific works last year so this year I thought I’d pick an opera or two. I've found several sources of opera kid fun but I’m still working out details. I don't know much about opera myself. The one experience I've had involved and Craig and I falling asleep about 3/4 of the way through marriage of figaro although to be fair to us it was really hot in the theater. 
  • Art – Lately we've started having daily open art time between lunch and nap, mostly drawing, cutting and gluing but sometimes painting. That sounds more complicated than it really is - kids color while I do the dishes :-) We’ll keep doing that. I've got Drawing for Children so we might do a few lessons as well. Once a week or so, we'll do Art Appreciation using the Alphabet Path’s recommendation.
This is getting long so you'll have to wait to hear about rest in Part II.


7 quick takes

We got back last week from our third major trip this summer, not to mention Craig's trip to DC without us. Seeing as it takes us a week to prepare for a trip and about a week to recover from one, I've been dealing with traveling issues for over 6 weeks straight now. They were all good, but boy am I tired. I should say that this is it and we are done. I should, but I can't. I just signed up for a CM conference later in July. At least I know I'm crazy!
I never realized how many grocery stores I frequent until I have to replenish our pantry after being gone. I go to 5 regularly! Trader Joe's, Costco, Local health food store, regular grocery store with nice selection and the closest regular grocery store that generally speaking has a poor selection so I only use it for last minute things and eggs. I like their eggs. That's a bit ridiculous. Of course, I don't normally go to all 5 every week, but this week we needed to stock up at TJ's and Costco but I also needed toothpaste from the health food store and eggs from the nearby one. I still need to swing by our regular store and pick up a few things I couldn't get elsewhere but I'm too tired of being in stores. And so are the kids. I shudder to think what our grocery store schedule would be like if I did the sales and couponing things like I used to.

I'm really ready to start frequenting the pool. Last year the annual pass dropped to 50% off after the 4th of July weekend and I really hoped that would happen again but so far no luck. The pool wears me out but it always seems to wear the kids out more so I take it. Crossing my fingers this week is the sale although if not we can just pay each time, its worth it for a smooth bedtime.
Speaking of wearing kids out, anyone have tips on how to convince a toddler than he doesn't really want a 10pm bedtime? Right now we are trying to wake him up early every day plus lots of physical activity. I think it's working but I might just be too tired to know what day of the week it is, let alone what time of day.
 I recently hit my Goodreads challenge goal of 50 books this year. I guess I set it too low. This is my first year to track what I read so I really had no idea how much I normally read. I do know that I've read a lot more this year so far than normally I do. I'm not sure if that is because I set a goal for myself, because I have tried to make it a priority this year or because my kids are finally big enough that I can let them play in the backyard while I sit and read. Probably a little of each.
 I'll admit a little secret about these photos. Our camera is kinda broken. It keeps deciding that it doesn't want to fully open so I had to use some packing tape to manually keep the lens open. It looks ridiculous but I couldn't let the 4th of July and the cute patriotic outfits that accompany it go by without getting any pictures.
Wow, 7 things is a lot. I think for once, I've run out of things to say. Is that a first? Oh, but I do have a question for you all. Where do you buy t-shirts? They are pretty much a staple in my wardrobe but right now I only have one t-shirt that doesn't have a stain or hole in it, and that remaining one is white so its only a matter of time. Thin but not see through, available in colors not just b&w, and modest necklines. Embellishments nice but not necessary.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Toddler Tuesdays: Digging those dinosaurs

I've always joked with Craig that I didn't want a girl obsessed with horses or a boy obsessed with dinosaurs. Welp, I've got both. And of course, I don't care at all. I love their interests because I love them. And I have to admit, the dino thing is pretty cute when the obsessee is not even 2 and can barely pronounce "dino."

It all started when I picked up a toob of dinosaurs for our big road trip as a fun emergency situation toy. These were the surprise hit of the trip with both kids. After that, Jonah would get really excited whenever he would see dinosaurs. Tonight he just brushed his teeth with a dinosaur toothbrush (according to the box it might be a croc but it looks like a dinosaur and I'm not telling him so you all better not either), put on his dino pajamas and listened to his favorite dinosaur bedtime story.

Being in lazy summer mom mode, I hadn't planned on doing any dinosaur activities but a friend must have been planning a dinosaur themed birthday party because her party page started showing lots of dinosaur activities, a couple of which I knew Jonah would flip over and I couldn't say no to them if they fell in my lap, could I?


Dig Those Dinosaurs was by far Jonah's favorite. It repetitive rhythm is just perfect for that 1.5-2.5 year old crowd but Lucy enjoyed it the first few times as well. Mom and Dad could use a break but I think it might be a while before we get on since Jonah's asks for it by name and searches the house to find it before bedtime, naptime, potty time, etc. His favorite part - the drawing of the boy making a face at the fossil poop. Every time Jonah sees it he says "dino poop - ack!" and sticks out his tongue. I did really like that it was so simply I didn't have to edit it (for creationist/evolution discrepancies) like some of the others we checked out that didn't make this list.

Tadpole Rex is really about frogs and their life cycle but it has enough dinosaur tie-ins to satisfy both kids.

The How do Dinosaur series by Jane Yolen. We got several of these - and a board book. They aren't fine literature and they don't really teach you much about what dinosaurs actually do but they sure are cute and kid's love them. Jonah quickly figured out when to say "No" and "Yes."

Tea Rex - This was a library request that didn't came until the day we left for our trip so we haven't had a chance to read it yet but I wanted to include it because it looks so cute. I've requested it again so I'll try and remember to update this once we check it out.

Sensory Bin

I didn't find one that I wanted to copy exactly but I had wanted to try that magic/moon sand recipe I'd seen floating around anyway and I thought that would work well with this. It's just one part cornstarch to two parts sand + water. I started with just enough water to make it into a thick paste because I knew the kids would be adding more. It went into one section of our water table, water in another and then let the kids pick what add ons they wanted. We did our dino toys, some sea shells, leaves and some grass.

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The moon sand was pretty neat at the right consistency. It started out like plaster which wasn't so much fun but later we went too far the other way at which point the cornstarch dissolves in the water and you're left with just wet cloudy sand. If you can get it just right though, even the adults in the group probably won't be able to resist messing around in it. The good range was everything from moldable, which is nice for the neater kids who want to build things, to goopy but still mound-able which is perfect for making footprints then watching them disappear and for dramatic 4 year olds who want to pretend their dinosaur friends are drowning and need their other dinosaur friends to rescue them.

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We haven't done a sensory bin in a while but I really need to keep it in our rotation as they always really enjoy them. This one was particularly neat because as the water evaporated, the ground really looked like it was dried mud and some of the sea shells left impressions. Lucy loves this part and wanted to talk about the fossil making process; Jonah just wanted "Mo wa-wa now!"

Homemade Fossils

For the dinosaur fossil craft, we followed rainy day mum's instructions and the first part worked very well using our same toob of dinosaurs.

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We don't have a microwave so I cooked them in our toaster oven. The backs needed a bit more drying after that so I put them in the sun - and forgot about them while we were in North Dakota for the week. We came back to find that a rainstorm had turned them into a big fossil pile of yuck.

Oops! So we didn't get a chance to paint them or try matching our dinosaurs back. We might have to do this one again though, it really was fun and I think they would enjoy playing with the finished product if we can get to that point next time. And if Jonah's fascination continues, we'll have time for more of this craft and maybe even a few more.

Do you have any dinosaur books or activities that you'd recommend?


Do you believe in Magic?

Isn't it funny how some subjects just seem to come out of nowhere but appear everywhere you turn all of a sudden? This last week it has been magic and fairy tales. An acquaintance recommends a parenting book despite it having "magic" in the name, an evolutionist declares fairy tales harmful to children (or perhaps not), a blog I love talks about why they are okay with some magic in reading, boom - MAGIC EVERYWHERE!

So of course, Craig and I got talking and wonderfully, we feel pretty much the same way. I love it when that happens! But there were some areas where I knew what my standards were but still had trouble articulating why which wasn't good, especially since I'm about to start using a preschool program that focuses on fairies. But even putting that aside, I'm never really satisfied that I know myself when I can't explain it, I just have to keep working an idea in my mind until I can express it. So I did - and having written it all down. But consider this a "writing/thinking it out" type post, not a "you should do what I do" type post.

I do understand why Christians can be hesitant to embrace fairy tales and "magic" at first glance. We don't want to gloss over something the Bible calls evil just because the world thinks it is benign. And yet, I don't have issues with fairy tales - in fact, I encourage my children to read them. I separate magic into two categories. And I don't mean I think there is good/white magic and bad/black magic, I don't fall for that trap. Just that our English word "magic" can refer to two things, just like "kid" can mean baby people and baby goat.

If by magic you mean sorcery or divination - trying to predict the future using mysticism or mediums, control future events, communicate with the dead or otherwise attempting to delve into a very real world of spiritual beings for our own purposes, I want to stay away. According to the Bible, these things are clearly evil. The only talking to spirits we should be doing is using Christ's name to tell them to leave us alone. No Ouija boards, Tarot cards, or horoscopes for us. And no books glorifying those things or making them seem fun, lighthearted or otherwise interesting. I know many people think they are harmless fun or amusement but the Bible says otherwise and in my limited experience with these areas, those who have dabbled in them for fun have caused major problems for themselves.

But in most fairy tales, either the classic Grimm's and traditional folk tales or the more modern fairy tale-style books like Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit and perhaps even Harry Potter, magic isn't something done by channeling evil spirits to predict or determine who will win a battle. It's a literary device used to create another world and most often works like a superhero's "powers;" one doesn't gain them by calling demons up any more than one changes one's hair color by doing so. The abilities are inherent in the world the author has created, not derived from any spirit. These I am fine with these. I don't consider a "magical" story to be any less biblical than a story about wild things or talking animals would be, although it would perhaps be nice if our language had a different word for magic so that they could be distinguished imaginative magic from sorcery magic from each other the way I believe that God would.

I'm having trouble thinking of a specific example but I suppose there could also be instances where the biblical type magic is in the story but portrayed negatively and not glamorized. I'm not opposed to evil things being in stories as long as they are age appropriate and shown to be evil so I wouldn't consider an (evil) witch in a story to be much different from an (evil) murderer - but I draw the line at good witches (witch in this case meaning person who calls on spirits not "old lady") and good murderers.

But why even bother? If it's even questionable to some, why wouldn't I just avoid it? Better to be safe than sorry, right? Why am I, as I said about, seeking them out as choice literature for my very impressionable small children? It's not just that I think they are often fine works with great literary value (which I do) or that they provide common knowledge that is important for understanding many other literary works (which I do) but its because I actually think that fairy tales are an ideal and important way to impart real spiritual knowledge and understanding of God's world to them.

Modern science tries to convince us that everything is knowable, nothing is a mystery. We are all physical bodies and that's it. Now those of you who have been around here for a while know that I am a scientist and love exploring God's creation because knowledge of science can teach us much about God. But it can't tell us everything. Fairy tales and "magic" in the classical sense of the world teach us to rejoice in the mystery of the world, they bring out that awe of the world that children naturally have and renew it in me as an adult.

Reading a truly imaginative story, a fairy tale, is like looking at a newborn. I know the science of how babies come to be, the genetics, the development. It's successfully happened billions of times on our planet and can hardly be called a rare occurrence. I know it and would never try and convince anyone those facts are not true - but they aren't the whole truth. No, when you see a newborn baby, like I did at church this week, you don't think about those things, you look at their toes and their little fingers and smile at their little yawns and you know, that's a miracle right there. A human being that didn't exist 10 months ago is now right there in front of you full of potential. It's magical! It's the same with our whole word. In a fairy tale, a tree can grow candy but our trees on earth only grow what they grow because God was imaginative enough to speak them into existence and determine they should do that. It wasn't inevitable. And just as other worlds can be magical, when looked at with unjaded eyes, our world truly is a "magical" place too.

Fairy tales not only teach us the right way to view the world, not only in terms of wonder but also in wisdom. One of my most important tasks as a parent is to instill in my children the there is right and world in this world. Good and evil. That truth exists - but so do lies. This is tricky because my children are also innocent and I want to keep them sheltered to a certain degree. I don't let them watch the news, bad language, or the violence of the real world. There is time for that later on in their life. Fairy tales provide a filter of sorts. A way to teach the truths in a safe world of literature and imagination. Fairy tales have evil in them, but so does the Bible. I'm okay with reading both to my children as long as its done with the right context and age appropriateness.

Yet our job doesn't end at exposing our children to the idea of good and evil, we need to equip our children with the ability to distinguish between the two. Real life provides examples as kids get older but at a young age, my kids are around a lot more naughtiness than true evil (again, I proudly admit it, I shelter them!). There is also the issue of little children and their natural tendency to become little pharisees and tattle tales and I don't really want to encourage them to analyze the actions and motives of those around them on a daily basis. So how do we teach this skill? Literature. Non-fiction and more true life stories can do this but they tend to have more grey areas than the sharp black and white world of fairy tales. And, in the case of bad books, have more obnoxious preachy moral tendencies. Have you ever picked up a book and known just the situation/parent it was written for? As in, "Oh Timmy doesn't want to share so let's read him a book about other kids that don't want to share but eventually learn to share." Blech.

But fairy tales sharpen a child's sword. In them, children see good and evil. They know who's who and what side they want to be on. The decisions the heroes and heroines have to make might not be easy, but they are typically clear. While a child might sympathize with Edmund and his desire for more Turkish delight (while still probably wondering what the heck Turkish delights are, or was that just me as a child?), they are also screaming on the inside "Don't do it! It's wrong!" They know it but more than that, they know Edmund should know it. They know the princess is wrong for refusing the frog even if they also know that they probably wouldn't want a frog on their pillow either. Those are the skills they are going to need for the future and fairy tales develop them.

To summarize those last six paragraphs, I believe they not only are they not wrong but that they actually glorify God and thus have a place in our home and our imaginations.

But I'll end by saying this I believe this to be a Romans 14 issue. We all need to search the word of God and then our own convictions. If you feel that no type of magic deserves a place in your household, I will not be the one to encourage you otherwise. I heard a sermon about Romans 14 once that really stuck with me because the pastor mentioned that when we read that chapter and apply it to a situation in our lives, we almost always assume we are the stronger and our brother is the weaker. How true! I won't speak for you but I can say that I have never once read that passage and thought "Oh, I'm so glad that my stronger brothers are willing to grant me grace in this area." In reality, we don't always know which side we are on. So if you think I'm the weaker Christian in this area, be patient and understanding with me and in return, I'll do the same so together we can "not destroy the work of God for the sake of food fairy tales." 

Lots more on this subject:

Christians, Charlotte Mason and Fairy Tales

G.K. Chesterton on Fairy Tales

A Fairy Tale on Fairy Tales

Fairy Lore: A Screen and a Shelter

Ambleside Online on Fairy Tales (Note: While AO thinks fairy tales are beneficial, they also recognize that not all families are comfortable with them so they have listed alternatives. That's just to say - don't discount AO if you think it otherwise might be a good fit for your family)

An excellent thread on the Ambleside Online with various viewpoints. I love the AO forum and the participant's ability for thoughtful and kind discussions.

The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing - Haven't read this but it was recommended to me and I want to.

Orthodoxy by G.K. - Free for kindle! I'm only half way through this but it's good. It took all my self control not to skip right to his chapters on the Ethics of Elfland though.

*When I'm talking about fairy tales, I mostly mean stories in oral or literary form, not movie. Lucy has seen Frozen but no other fairy tale or Disney movies. I'll admit I am snobby about this stuff so it's because I think they are twaddle and prefer the classics be learned first but its also because I think the visuals of a movie can be too intense for small children even when the same story told orally is just fine.


What we've been eating

I want to record my meal plans for purely selfish reasons. I want to be able to find them later. But I can never seem to get it quite together enough to post them in advance. So while other people post about what they will be eating, I'm posted about what we just ate.

  • Breakfast - Old Fashioned Oat Pancakes - We really like these, especially because its a GF pancake recipe made with all normal ingredients (I do substitute coconut oil for canola though). Hurrah for no weird flours or gums. One tip - let the batter sit at least 5 minutes. If you do, perfect pancake. If you don't, a big crumble mess. 
  • Lunch - Tortilla Chips and Guacamole, Watermelon, Yogurt (We got back from a Trader Joe's trip and kids really wanted Yogurt and I wanted Guac so I just made it our meal)
  • Dinner - Gumbo* using GF adaption of sweet rice flour for roux (freezer meal) 
  • Dessert - Leftover GF Strawberry/Rhubarb Crisp. This used oats and was really good. I thought I had pinned the recipe but must not have because I can't find it again. Sad :-(
  • Breakfast - Cereal (Chex) 
  • Lunch - Leftover Gumbo, watermelon and cherries
  • Dinner - Rotisserie Chicken from Costco, potato salad* and broccoli - We had dentist appointments in the afternoon and Craig needed to swing by Costco anyway. I prepped the potato salad in the morning so all I had to do that evening was boil broccoli. Easier than a frozen pizza - or it would have been if Craig hadn't forgotten the chicken! He knew we were supposed to be having it for dinner but I forgot to put it on the list so we had to share the blame. He ran to our local store and picked up a chicken there but it was little and really pathetic looking. Another sad :-(
  • Breakfast -  Bacon and Eggs
  • Lunch - PB& J for kids, salad with veggie, leftover chicken, cheese and hard boiled eggs (I made extra when I boiled 2 for the potato salad yesterday)
  • Dinner - Bible Study Potluck. I was in charge of the mail dish and brought this Baked Ziti (using beef and brown rice noodles)
  • Breakfast - Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
  • Lunch - Picnic at the Park/Creek with PB&Js for kids, leftover potato salad for me, cheese sticks, cherries and oranges for all. 
  • Dinner - My planned meal of pintos beans and quinoa cornbread got bumped for leftover ziti. Yay! I love leftovers if it mean I don't have to cook, especially on a really nice summer day.
  • Breakfast - Was supposed to be eggs but we were out so Chex it was
  • Lunch - Picnic at the 4th of July parade. Sandwiches and fruit for Craig and kids, lunch meat, lara bar and fruit for me. I still need to work on gluten free picnic food. 
  • Dinner - GF Fried chicken**, the remains of what apparently was never ending potato salad,  baked beans (based on this recipe but with beans from a can because I was supposed to save some from yesterday but never made them) and salad. 
  • Breakfast - Eggs and Toast, minus the toast for me
  • Lunch - Mish-mash of leftovers, guacamole, chips, fruit, 
  • Dinner - Tuna salad (on buns for Craig and kids, on lettuce for me), carrots and snap peas with ranch. 
  • Breakfast - Muesli with strawberries and blueberries.
  • Lunch - Random leftovers/sandwiches. This is always the most rushed meal because we are trying to get kids down for naps after church before the donut sugar high runs off and they melt down.
  • Dinner - Pan-fried Pork Chops, applesauce and broccoli
*From Feeding Our Families. One of my most used cookbooks before going gluten free and still is because she has easy adaptions for almost all of her recipes.

** From Elizabeth Hasselback's Deliciously G-Free, a library book I'm borrowing. 


WOL Changes

I know several of you have mentioned that you plan to use Worlds of Learning next year which is great! We've really been enjoying it and I hope you do to. Alas, Scribd seems to be changing its terms of service and now charges a subscription fee. Boo, I want you all to have this for free! I'm not making money off of it, I don't even have Amazon Affiliates right now.

So if you have a Scribd subscription for other reasons, feel free to use it for downloading but if you don't, rest assured, I will be moving it. Probably to Google Docs but if any of you have another site that you would recommend, please share. In the meantime, if you've viewed it at Scribd and like what you see, just send me an email and I'll be happy to email you the files directly until I have this worked out.


A Charlotte Mason Preschool Feast - Plans and Priorities

As time has gone by, I've been moving more and more towards a fully Charlotte Mason educational plan. Even those few areas that I initially disagreed with, well, let’s just say I’ve come around. Reading/Phonics is my one last holdout and I know of a soon to be released CM inspired reading program that I’m pretty excited about. I don’t have any regrets with what I’ve done with Lucy in the past but I also knew that as she got older and our family grew, I would probably be doing less and less preschool and not surprisingly, this is the case.

She’s gotten better and better at playing by herself and being able to do arts and crafts with just a “here’s some art supplies, have at it” approach. I don’t plan on doing a formal kindergarten program (as in things she MUST do, what we do know is all optional for her and will continue to be until she is six years old) but even so she’s only got two years left to just play all day. So every year I’m more conscientious of going easy on things – while still realizing that my future self will probably be shaking my head at me saying “you didn’t really need to do that.” And I’m okay with that.

Planning with Lucy is a bit tricky because she tends to go all out on a subject for a short time, then saturate herself and move on. When she was into math, it was “can I do math?” all day, everyday. Even with my encouraging a diversity of activities, we made it through the second half of MEP Reception and ¾ of Singapore Essentials (Kindergarten) Math in about 2 months. Then she moved on (somewhat). The same thing happened with reading. Right now, she’s into writing but who knows what will be the topic of choice in 3 months. But even so, plan I must. Really, it’s like a disease of my personality. I have to plan!

I know most people say that with young children you should focus on the core of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic and don't worry about the rest. I plan to do the opposite for now. My goals are to get all those extras that Ambleside Online is so rich in firmly part of our schedule when we get to First Grade – the art, and music and table time stuff. That’s my first priority.  My next priority is fitting in what Lucy’s and Jonah want to do and lastly adding in Math and Reading as Lucy requests. It's not that I don't think reading, writing and math are important, they are. But developmentally, six is a better time for them to be formally studied and I don't want them crowding out other things.

So those are the goals but goals are not plans. I really had to wait on God’s plan for this year. I thought I knew what we might do but when I looked at it, it wasn’t right. Then I thought we would do nothing but Table Time until we tried that a few weeks ago and that did not work well for us AT ALL. The week’s trouble were probably exacerbated by dealing with post trip adjustments but still, it was rough!

Then I stumbled upon The Alphabet Path. I had seen it before but brushed it off because last year I was not at all interested in an Alphabet based/themed program.  This year Lucy not only knows her alphabet but is well on her way to reading so while it may not seem to make sense to learn our letters, in other ways, it will be perfect and I’m really excited about it. I think it goes to show you that you have to find a balance between keeping your eye on future goals overall but not stressing to get every little detail about how you are going to get there figured out.  Of course, being me, I can’t just use it as in so I’ll be back with more details about how I’ll be using it. Let the fun begin!



In an effort to encourage myself to branch out with what I write about and get back to enjoying blogging a bit more, I thought I'd try and follow along with some of The Sits Girls July writing prompts. The July 1st prompt:

If you were a superhero, what would your powers be?

I almost skipped this one because I couldn't think of one but luckily, we are in the midst of potty training and a near miss of an accident (and yes, I know what a near miss means) provided some inspiration. I would want to control liquids with my mind. Not to save the world from evil by controlling an ocean or anything. Oh no, I'm thinking practical uses here.

- 2 year old didn't quite make it to the potty. Clean up that puddle without a fuss.
- 4 year old insists on pouring her own milk at breakfast. No worries, just hold it back a little so it comes out slowly.
- Both kids love picking raspberries and wiping the juice all over their clothes. Pull it out molecule by molecule from those non-stain resistant cotton tees.
- Filled up the baby pool yesterday but didn't empty it. Don't bother with scooping out that warm, sandy and grass filled thing by hand. Just send it off to water the garden before any fully clothed child attempts to wade in.

Oh, that would be nice. Now excuse me, since I don't actually have that super power, it's time to get to my laundry.