Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gearing Up

I'm so excited.  We've got so many things that are about to go on here.  As I mentioned in a previous post, we're having the siding and deck pressure washed next week - Monday I hope, but they are calling for a 40% chance of isolated showers, so we'll see.  I really hope it doesn't rain.  Then we're staining/sealing the deck, refurbishing some of the stuff on the front porch, reworking the front beds, putting in the garden bed(s), reorganizing and cleaning the garage, doing some minor, touch-up cosmetic work in the house (read-fix a couple of dings the kids have put in the wall in the dining room, and fixing the place where someone tripped in the bathroom and pulled out the towel rack), spring cleaning the inside, replacing one of the outside faucets (this is mandatory as someone re-attached the hose at some point during the winter and the faucet coupling busted when it froze), replacing the mower blades so the yard doesn't look like someone chewed it up after it's been mowed, and (hopefully) sprucing up the mailbox; it's pretty "plain Jane" right now.  There are other things I want to do inside, like paint the bookcases in the workroom, put a shelf up in the sunroom, fix up a bulletin board to go in the workroom, and maybe get some curtains - at least for the living room.  The curtains have not been a necessity since we have plantation blinds up in all the windows, but the windows would look a bit nicer with them up.  I just haven't gotten around to really shopping for them, because we all know exactly how much I enjoy shopping.
We'll get started on it Saturday.  Superman and my younger brother are coming over to help get some of it done, and some of it started.  My brother will be fixing the faucet and changing out the mower blades.  He's already spent part of this week sand-blasting, sanding and priming the custom shepherds crook he made for me about 9 years ago.  It needed to be cleaned and re-painted, so he offered to help me do it (he just wanted to make sure it was done right - after all, this is his handy-work :D).  I'll finish painting it Saturday. I also plan on painting the corner rack that sits on the front porch at the same time. Superman will help us pull/dig the plantings out of the front bed that I don't want there.  We probably won't do the planting 'til the washing is done Monday.  The front won't be pressure washed since it's brick, but they do need to get to the gutters there, so I'll just wait to re-plant the beds after that.
All-in-all, a whole lot of work, but I'm anxious to see how everything turns out. I'm going to try and get pictures of some of the before, during, and after work - that is, if I remember.:D


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Ahhh....the sound all homeschooling mothers live for.  I've heard it several times the past few days.
The first time was when Kayla finally started to really grasp the math she's been working on.  I've heard it from her several times since then as I'm correcting her problems and they are turning out right.  Or just when she finally got a difficult one right.
Then there's the one I heard a little bit ago when I gave Ri an A+ on her report on New Zealand.  There was never any doubt that she would pass it; I guess she just didn't expect an A+.  I don't even usually give letter grades (it's always pass or fail here), but I really liked the way she wrote this one up.
Then there have been several YESSSSSSes from the younger girls as they have made strides through some of their more boring work lately.  I like to make work fun for them sometimes, but I don't like for it all to be fun.  Some things in life are just plain boring, so I think it does them good to tough it through some boring stuff on occasion.
So, all in all, things are going great in school right now. We've even nearly finished the Art History lessons, which weren't really a favorite with anyone.  I told them at the outset (you know, when everyone was whining, "Why do we have to study art?") that I had every intention of making sure that when they heard "impressionism" they didn't automatically think of a comic imitating other people, as opposed to a style of art.  I think we have at least mastered that.

On to other things...
We were going to put in a small garden bed this week, but hubby decided to have the outside of the house and the deck pressure washed.  Since the bed we're putting in is going to be next to the house it will have to wait until the washing is done.  I will most likely make this a flower bed next year, but I could only put in one new bed right now and veggies are more important.  If the weather is nice, they will be here the first Mon. in May, so we don't have to wait too much longer.  I also think the girls and I will stain and seal the deck once it's been washed.  I've often wished the deck was a darker brown.  I am also hoping to work on another bed this year, but it is an existing one in front of the house.  I've never really liked the arrangement in there, so if I'm able to, I will rip out and replace some of the plantings.  We did take out one of the rose of sharon bushes last year and replace it with a dwarf hydrangea, but that was because it had been planted too close to the steps and kept drooping over them. 

Well, I suppose I'd better run off now.  Come to find out Ri and I have different opinions on what slowing down a little in math is.  For me, it definately wouldn't be racing through one of my math books at break-neck speed, but for her I guess slow down just means something short of super-sonic.  It turns out that I have 19 MORE pages of math to correct today (and she just started this particular book yesterday!)  She said she feels a little like Baljeet (in Phineas and Ferb).  BTW - all the following is paraphrased.
Phineas - "What do you do when you're angry?"
Baljeet - "Math"
Phineas - "Okay, what about when you're sad?"
Baljeet - "Math"
Phineas - "And when you're happy?"
Baljeet - "Ma'ath!"
Phineas - "So every feeling you have makes you want to do math?"
Baljeet - "I do no know if it is so much cause and effect.  I just do a lot of math.  The feelings come and go."

I think I can relate too!!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Math, math, math

I'm seeing numbers, coordinate planes, fractions, line graphs, integers, angles, perimeters, circles, grids, triangles, and equations in my sleep.  Between helping the three younger girls with their regular math, helping my oldest struggle through her practical math course, guiding Ri through the rest of her advanced math, and tutoring my cousin through enough math to pass his GED, I'm going a little math crazy.
But...all is good.  Kay is still struggling, but most of her problems are not with understanding the various processes, but with simple mistakes in (usually) multiplication.  The more complex a problem, the more apt she is to make a mistake in a simple part of the problem.  Ri is doing well, but is on a little bit of an overload with everything (she's anxious to finish up).  After slowing her down a bit it's all going much smoother.  My cousin has passed the first of the three stage test process he must go through (yay!).   And, the younger girls are all doing fine, once you get them going.  Math is not a popular subject around here, but we will prevail.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Finally Fixed It... crock pot.  It's one of the best I've ever had, but there appears to be a design flaw:

Yep - it's missing the handle to the lid (just
ignore the schoolwork on the table - and the
fact that someone must have turned it off last
time by pulling the plug from the wall).

I've seen others like this without their lid handles as well.  I'm just glad mine lasted longer that the last person I saw with one; their's had only lasted a couple of months.
Anyway, I finally got tired of dropping the lid in the pot.  I was going to replace it with a small wooden drawer pull we had in one of the tool boxes, but hubby found this large one at the hardware store when we took the weedeater in for service last week.

Of course, it wasn't red.  I bummed some paint off Bree (our resident artist in training), and mixed a couple of colors in order to match the pot.

All done, and looking like it was made that
way...if I do say so myself :D


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Be Careful What You Teach

Once, not too terribly long ago, when teaching some part of history, I explained to my girls how, during much of history girls were not taught anything but home-making skills.  I bemoaned the fact that the pendulum had swung much too far in the other direction and that although women were now being educated to heights never before even dreamed of by most women, very necessary life skills were being neglected.  And smaller, less necessary, but highly worthwhile skills of making things beautiful instead of just utilitarian were being ignored altogether.  My  emphasis on all this was probably in support of my wanting them to practice their embroidery. :D
At any rate, what seemed to stick with Kay was the fact that at one time women did not have to learn math.  This little tidbit was thrown out again today during an especially trying day of math lessons.  You see, math is the only thing she needs to graduate, but it is the bane of her existance.  I eliminated all math but a basic, practical math course for her, but I insist that she make her way through this before I'll give her a diploma.   She hates it, and in her eyes it's only redeeming quality is the fact that she'll not be required to do Algebra.  She insists that Ri and I are speaking a foreign language when talking over higher math problems.  After all, what in the world do x, y, a, b, C, d, r, and P have to do with math?!? Let alone x2 (as in x squared, not to mention cubed, to the power of 4...), or 2x, or 4xy, or...   You get the picture.  She doesn't - and has no desire to.  Hence her soliloquy today on the heinousness of women's sufferage.  Did they not know that they were condeming subsequent generations of helpless females to the drudgery of MATH?!?  What could they have been thinking??  Why were they not happy to sit at home, learning how to cook, clean, and embroider (although this is not her favorite occupation it sure beats fractions)?  Why, oh why???  It was a very long soliloquy.  It made it's way through several rooms in the house and even followed me into the work room to ask a highly rhetorical question - I can't even remember the question, but one look in her general direction sent her off to another room, still expounding the horrors of  the success of those erstwhile suffragettes.


Saturday, April 3, 2010


We're soooo glad to see warm weather again.  Flowers blooming, leaves appearing, birds chirping,  you know the drill.  I love spring.  It's not my favorite season, but it's a clear second.  Ri and I went to one of the bigger Farmer's Markets around here today to pick up some herbs to plant this year.  I'll use seed for all the "normal" ones like parsley, basil, chives, mint, and a few others.  But, today we picked out some unusual ones and a couple that don't propagate from seed.  We got lemon verbena (YAY! I love growing this stuff!), pineapple sage (it's been a few years since I've been able to find this again),  a large rosemary (I'm impatient), summer savory, salad burnet, french thyme, wooly thyme, and apple mint (never heard of this before, but it smelled so good).  I can't wait to get started on the planting.

Easter Sunday!
Superman will be joining us for church tomorrow, and then we'll go to my father's for dinner after service.  He is very artistic and paints eggs for the girls each year.  In fact, because of him, I haven't had to dye easter eggs in forever.  I'm not all that artistic (read, not at all), so this suits me just fine.  Last year he made some where he took out a small section of the shell, poured the egg out, cleaned the empty shell (the best you can, I guess) and then once they were dry he filled them with confetti, glued a bit of paper over the hole and proceeded to paint them.  At first glance they looked no different than the others, but oh my did the kids have fun with them once he let them in on the secret.  He just had to clue them in as to which ones had confetti, and which were regular eggs.  :)

The children have done really well recently.  I've had to spend a good deal of time with my mother, mostly helping her sort through things, so the girls have been own their own for a good deal more time than usual.  Not that I thought they couldn't handle it, but with working through their own grief, I felt there may be a few difficult encounters.  Not saying there hasn't been, but it's not been bad, and they've held the house together quite well.  I'm very proud of them all.  My step-father's colleagues at the university have been invaluable with all their help in planning the memorial.  They even set up a fund in his name that will give financial aid to one student each year.  The memorial is set for a couple of weeks from now, so there's still a bit of planning and whatnot to finish up.  This, along with all the regular stuff (which the girls handle admirably well), trying to get back on track with our school and with tutoring my cousin, and all the spring stuff that needs to be done (yard work, the small garden plot, cleaning, etc.), I will still be strapped for time for the next few weeks, but I'm am at least trying to keep up with the reading of some of my favorite blogs, and I may be able to slip in a few posts from time to time.  I hope to have Ri get some photos of us doing some planting (and later this month - strawberry picking :D).

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter.