Monday, September 22, 2008

Fun Fall Activities

I LOVE Fall!! The dark rainy skies, the crunching leaves, the smell of burning wood in the air. It all transports me back to my childhood...and my grandpa's house. He lived in a wooded resort area, just off of a few huge lakes. I remember taking hikes with his daughter (my half-aunt, who is a year younger than me), my brothers, Grandpa and his dogs, Snoopy and Gi-Gi. In the summertime, we caught catfish in the lake but come fall, we opted for nature hikes with his big walking stick, his wood fireplace, and apple and pumpkin pie.

Grandpa loved to entertain. When we stayed overnight, he'd be up before the crack of dawn making a breakfast buffet that would put *any* five star restaurant to shame. Of course he had eggs any way you liked them, bacon, sausage, toast, etc. but his specialty that none of us have forgotten were the biscuits and gravy from scratch. And it wasn't this yucky sausage gravy that everyone serves - it was made from bacon grease. Y.U.M.

We'd wake up in his old down sleeping bags to the most wonderful of smells and have a long breakfast while visiting...and I never wanted to leave. Most would say it was because my half-aunt, Pattie, was the sister I never had but I think it was just that friendly, warm, inviting, happy family feeling.

I am always reminded of him more at this time of year than at any other. Though he died when I was ten and his family moved a few years later, I always have an urge to drive down and peek at the old house this time of year.

He fought in France during WWII in the National Guard. He loved to fish. I can still remember his deep husky voice to this day. He liked to wear cowboy style hats and drove an old yellow Ford pickup. I remember his smile and the love I felt. Happy Fall, Grandpa!

Grandpa's Biscuits and Gravy
1. Fry up some bacon till you have a lot of grease, remove bacon
2. Add enough flour to the grease to make a paste and let it cook for a minute to get the raw flour taste out.
3. Slowly pour in milk, a little a time, and whisk (or use the back of a fork like he did) until desired consistency. Go slowly because once you add too much, you can't really go back.

So while I enjoy my walk down memory lane, I'll ask something from you...

What are your favorite Fall activities? (you can choose more than one)

o Pumpkin Patch
o Hayrides
o Apple picking
o Shopping for/making costumes
o Decorating your house for Fall/Halloween
o Nature walks in jeans and jackets
o Closing down your garden for the coming winter
o Getting out the winter clothes from storage
o Taking a drive just to see the changing leaves
o Thinking about fireplaces and early Christmas shopping
o Baking breads and pies
o Making fall crafts (with or without your kids)
o Raking leaves into a pile for jumping in
o Planting
o Carving pumpkins
o Trick-Or-Treating
o Watch Fall/Halloween theme movies like "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie
Brown" or "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" or "Nightmare Before Christmas"
o Watch or play football games
o Build (or go to) a bondfire
o Go camping

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Down on the Farm

Jade has a recent penchant for pony tails. So this morning, on a lazy Saturday, she said, "Mom, you make me a pony?" I made her a pony. A while later, I got to playing with her hair. "Would you like a piggy?" "A piggy?" "Yes, a pig tail!" Squealing with glee, she vigorously shook her head yes. So I did a braid and showed her the 'piggy'. She was quite happy with that.

About 30 minutes later, she came back to me. "I can't like this piggy." This is also her favorite phrase. It's not 'I don't like this delicious dinner you've prepared', it's 'I can't like this delicious dinner you've prepared.' So after a bit of whining about not being able to like her piggy, I started to take it out. She said, "I want a sheep!" baaaaa

So I made her a bun and said, "There. There's your sheep." "Bink oo, Maw-ee!" (thank you, mommy) She went to show it to Matthew. "Look, my sheep!" After turning her around to see it, Matthew said, "It looks more like a bunny tail to me".

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wii've been busy!!

Yes, Wii have. ;) And today, I found a Wii Fit. I may not be blogging for a while. Teehee.

I think wii have a virus going around here. Rose is running a fever and everyone is quite sluggish. Matthew's Star Wars: Return of the Jedi birthday party is on Sunday though, so I'm hoping wii are better very quickly.

But, while wii are having fun, I leave you with that horrible H word (homework):
I ran across a really superb article by one of my favorite relaxed-learning-style champions, John Taylor Gatto. His article, The Exhausted School, is located here. It's not a quick read so allow some time or read it in chunks. So many great points in favor of relaxed learning or unschooling or child-led learning or whatever you want to call it. I say we put all these labels into one like, "Life Learning". I'm sure someone who is better at catchy terms could do better than that but there's my five second contribution. ;) But I digress...

An excerpt from that article:
Much daily misery around us is caused by the fact our schools force children to grow up absurd. Any reform in schooling must deal with its absurdi-ties: it is absurd and antilife to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from information you need to be sane, and cuts you off from your own past and future. It seals you into a continuous present much the same way television does. It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system compelling you to listen to a stranger read poetry when you ache to learn to construct buildings; it is absurd and anti-life to sit with a stranger discussing the construction of buildings when the rush of language inside you makes you want to write a poem.

Your homework?? Read the article and tell me what you think. My sitemeter tells me that there are routinely 100 readers each week. I only average about one comment per there are LOTS of you lurking...and you don't want to be a lurker, do you?? Tell me honestly (but nicely, please - my kids read my blog) what you think of the article, and if it's your first comment here, tell me why you're interested in my blog. Do you homeschool? Are you looking at options? Maybe you don't homeschool and just want to find out if wii are all as strange as you think. ;) I'm interested in you too!