Thursday, August 23, 2007

Back to our regularly scheduled program

OK, so for the summer, this blog has become more of a 'what's happening in our family' blog rather than an unschooling one and since school is starting everywhere, it's gotten me in the mood to get back on track.

Matthew and Rose have started a new game at snack time. It usually accompanies "the snack that smiles back" (you get bonus points if you know which one that is!) for some reason. Rose, now 4.5 yrs old, can now quickly tell you 1+1, 2+2, 3+3, 4+4 and 5+5 just from playing this game. I know she's memorized the answers because if I ask what 4+5 is, she gets out her fingers and starts counting. Matthew quizzes her on her math during this game while she excitedly shouts out the answers as fast as she can. Of course there are super bonuses (a very important part of any game they make up around here) to work towards as well.

Grammy started something a while back when she was goofing around at a restaurant one day with the kids. She made them a tiny paper boat out of a piece of paper. She babysat last weekend and I came home to kids who were trying to make their own paper airplanes. You can imagine the mess of folded paper on my floor. ;) But I found a good how-to-fold-paper-things website and Matthew has been working on new designs and we've been inadvertently doing science experiments with gravity, physics and mass as he makes new designs and compare/contrast them with the others he's made. We also had some new words that he asked me about..."What does bisect mean, Mom?" One of them that he made looked really good to me but he was really frustrated that it wouldn't fly. It did a nose-dive every time. He said, "The instructions said it's a slow flier but I'd say it's a fast faller." He came up with a great idea - he found a paper clip and fastened it to the end that didn't have much folding on it. But that didn't help much. Frustrated, he brought it to me. It looked good to me and I was trying to figure out why it wouldn't work when the idea struck me to turn it over. That was it! It glides beautifully. He commented that the poor instructions were to blame for his confusion in not knowing to turn it over to fly it.

In other news, the kids now have opportunities to make some dough. When Matthew was young, I fell into that trap that most moms do at one time or the other - buying little gifts here and there. The problem is that it usually ends up that most any trip you go on, you're buying a new gift. Maybe something small but it adds up and when I got to thinking about it, it doesn't teach them to appreciate gifts or money or rewards, etc. So I stopped that when Rose was born. Gifts are for birthdays, Christmas, Easter and very rarely, special treats (like the program/gifts he got from the Walking With Dinosaurs show they saw a couple weeks ago - more to come on this in a future post). So they have long dry spells in-between gifts sometimes (from Mom and Dad - grandparents are allowed their berth of course). I've seen Matthew eying the new Bionicle line all summer, frothing at the mouth and stating, "I only have one dollar in my bank." He doesn't ask because they've gotten used to me saying, "I don't have any money," or "do you have any money to buy that?" Hubby and I made the momentous decision this week to start an allowance. We're starting off fairly easy with mostly chores they already do such as making their beds, taking their dishes to the sink after meals, emptying the dishwasher of kid items, putting their dirty clothes down the chute, etc. They have so many opportunities for each duty every day. Then there are the once-a-week chores, etc. So all in all, they have 75 boxes to check off for one week. If they get all the boxes checked, they can earn $4.50 a week (this turns out to be basically one nice toy (or video game) a month). Not earth shattering but this whole thing is optional...and that is important to us that these be optional. After they get used to these and as they are capable of doing more, we'll change up the list. Of course, I had to add a Super Bonus (as they do to all games) - the Super Bonus is "have a good attitude all day". This doesn't mean they can't have a sad day or be allowed their feelings. This is basically the golden rule - treat others as you would treat yourself. If they get 10 checks for good attitude, their Super Bonus treat is picking out a special dessert for the family that they get to help me make. After showing them the chart and explaining it thoroughly, I have to say they're more excited about the Super Bonus than the money. Go figure?!?

As they were anxious to get started on their charts, Matthew started wiping down the lunch table and chairs. He said, "Mom, I get these jobs done a LOT faster when I know I'm going to get paid to do it!" I hope the enthusiasm stays long enough to start seeing rewards.

We spent two days this week cleaning out Matthew and Rose's rooms. *Not* an easy or fast task. But it's done and I'm excited to see how easy it is for them to keep clean if they tidy it everyday (one of their check mark items). I got this whole idea from Flylady - she's really helped me get on top of housework in the past and I'm excited to see the kids excitement about it as well.

And we had a big breakthrough for Matthew today. He's a slow-to-adapt guy. Always has been. If he expects one thing to happen and plans change, it's always a huge struggle with him. He also likes his room the way it is. I think for most kids, cleaning the room doesn't get done because they just don't want to stop playing to do it. But to Matthew, it's deeper - he is scared he won't be able to find things and scared I'll throw away things important to him. So cleaning his room, in the past, has been a big hassle. Today he was very willing to let his older Buzz Lightyear toys go. (And that was actually hard for Mom!...Buzz was such a big part of his life for a long time!) He was willing to throw away things and really help organize his stuff. He came up with some great ideas on where to place things, etc. He's come so far...sniff, sniff.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


First off, I had a total BLAST last night. Not only did we sing at the top of our lungs (thanks, Michelle!) but we were all given goodie bags full of interactive movie items. For example, anytime the guys got out their combs on screen, we got our our combs and did the motion. When Frenchie sang her "Beauty School Dropout", we all blew bubbles. When Sandy and Danny kiss for the first time, we had champagne poppers. When the dumb jocks came on-screen, we yelled out, "DUUUUUUH" and mustered up our best nerdy voices for "Euuuuu-gene". And of course we had little pom-poms for the pep rally and jingled our keys for the Thunder Road just name a few. It was a great fun time and quite a few people dressed the part. Here was my feeble attempt...

I'm posting a picture *only* because some friends have begged me. But please believe, if I'd actually TRIED to make a costume, it would have been much more authentic, as is well attested to by previous pictures of all of my *homemade* costumes (shown below).

Squanto (I didn't make this one) and The Dynamic Duo

Matthew the Chili Pepper (6wks old)

Bob and Wendy

LarryBoy and Laura the Carrot

Shakespeare the Meerkat, a black cat and Indiana Jones

So you can see that I take great pride in making our costumes (where IS that picture of me as Leia and Matthew as Luke?). This family tradition was started by my mother. Some of her handiwork...

As kids, we were always very grateful to not have a store-bought costume that looked just like the other kids down the street. If we happened to be the same character, at least *our* costumes were original. ;) So you see, if I had actually tried for a Grease costume, a Grease costume I would have had. Last night was me rummaging through my closet for something that looked like it would fit the part. Maybe I'll have a do-over and go as Rizzo for Halloween this year. Though that costume I had last night *did* get me some checkin' out by some 20-somethings at Walmart after the event when I stopped to get diapers. ROFLROFLROFL

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Which Grease girl are you?

Tonight, I'm going with some of my MOPS friends to a Grease Sing-Along. Yep, they're playing the original Grease at the movie theater and it's a sing-along. And you're supposed to dress up. I'm going with a Betty Rizzo style tonight but here is how I'm pegged in the quiz... Think they're right?

Which Grease Girl Are You? (pictures)

You're the after Sandy, sometimes known as the Bad Sandy- the sexy girl who wears black leather and catches all the guy's eyes!
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Free Flat-Panel LCD HDTV!!!

I am shameless. I want one. This would be Hubby's bestest ever Cmas present...Cmas in August.

5 Minutes For Mom
and Best Buy are hosting a give away. That's right. You just post about it and you're entered. Easy peasy.

Pretty please?? I've been really good and with the rate of the rest of this house, I'm sure our TV is the next to go too. ;)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Where are you?

A good question from my loyal readers. :) Here's my answer:

Well, I have been officially running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. I realize that my CA trip over Labor Day is fast approaching. I spent the last two weekends and several evenings shopping. The last time I dressed up, it was for a funeral...and not appropriate wedding wear. But other than that, I haven't dressed up in a very long time. So I had nothing to wear to the wedding. My mother and I got to shop together so that was fun. The hard part is that I wanted something summery and all the summer stuff is on clearance now and I am apparently a very popular size so it was nearly impossible to find. I ended up with a fall outfit but it looks nice and I just hope that the evenings are as cool as Hubby remembers from his time out there.

What? What's that? You want to know how the bay window ceiling repair is coming? First we thought it was just sagging from improper support. So Hubby ripped it all out, put in some 2x4's for support and put up the dry wall and corner piece. Then it rained. And the water came through the holes. So Hubby ripped it out and decided the water was coming in from Matthew's window above. He hung out the window (none of our ladders were long enough to reach up there) and used up 4 tubes of caulk around the window. Then it rained. And water came through the ceiling. After much more inspection, he realized that the plastic sheeting against the house was put up wrong and the water was coming down between the sheeting and the house. So he trimmed off the sheeting and put 2 more tubes of caulk on the inside of the bay window ceiling. Then it rained. And water came through the ceiling. So yesterday, in a last-ditch attempt, he came up with an out-of-the-box idea. He got some gutters from the hardware store, made a trough that he attached below the drip area and then added a tube that allows the water collected to drain out the bay. Then it rained...very hard...last night. And... and... and... there is no water coming from our ceiling. I only wish I'd taken a picture of the gutter work before he put up the insulation. Next weekend will be putting the dry wall up...again...and at some point, mudding...and then painting the whole living room. Really big job but I'm happy to get rid of the green.

I've also been busy shopping some more. I joined a MOPS group last year and loved it so much that I did the craziest thing I could think of...volunteer to be in charge of crafts while I have a new baby to take care of. I can count at least 53...nope, 54...reasons why this will go bad fast but so be's done. So in the midst of floor repairs (nope, still not done) and ceiling repairs and clothes shopping and excessive heat waves, I've been picking crafts and trying to find the cheapest ingredients and stocking up within my budget. So you can see why I haven't posted in a while.

In homeschooling news, we have a homeschooling group (not unschooling though) that has finally started getting together. We had a poetry 'class' and learned about and wrote haiku's. It was interesting to see what the kids picked up on. Rose wanted some help from me so I just asked her questions...What do you want your poem to be about? Cats. OK, what about the cats? What do they do? etc. Here's what she came up with...

Cat flies to Catwings
Silky wings lick flowers
Baby Rho-Rho cries so loud

After she told me the second line, she said, " more line and something surprising." I was amazed what she picked up from the very brief instruction of the mom in charge.

Matthew wanted to use a poetry machine. You know those books that have magnetized words and you can put them on your fridge and rearrange into poems for fun? Well, we had a box full of words like that and he worked quite a while rearranging words to make his poem. I can't find it at the moment though, unfortunately, so I can't share his with you.

So, my loyal readers, please don't give up on me. If it's a while before I post again, just know that we're really busy and though I'll be trying to post every day, I'll definitely be back to my regular schedule after Labor Day weekend. Until then, enjoy the rest of your summer and for those off to school, well...stay cool. ;)