Thursday, August 28, 2008

School is In

We are cruising along, in week 2 or 3 or something. School is going well enough that I begin to feel I should be doing MORE! Grammar with Easy Grammar is fabulous, Sonlight core 4 is great, singapore and teaching textbook math are wonderful. Handwriting Without Tears is fun, especially for the 5th and preK kids. Science kits from Young Scientist Club and Snap Circuits are wonderful. Singapore Science is easy but good.

The football schedule isnt too bad at all. My son loves it. He is doing better every week and getting leaner, faster and getting to know the catholic school kids.

Soccer starts soon. Ballet starts soon.

We are settling down to a good routine and I like it.

Our weekends are full of a good mix of kid and adult stuff.

Moving back to IN from NJ was the best thing we ever did for our family.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What I know about Joe Biden

The man occassionally allows his mouth to overtake his political savvy. Possibly he'll be able to utter unspeakable truths. This can only be good. And its sure to be entertaining. is passing out free goods. I ordered my kid a sticker and a button.

I'll probably try to score a McCain one as well, but that one will just be a keepsake. The Obama one is our election day regalia.

I'm cribbing the rest of this fascinating post from some chick at Sybermoms.

1. In 1972, days before he was to be sworn in as Senator, his wife and 3 kids were in a horrific car accident. His wife and their 18 month old daughter died. His 3 and 4 yo sons survived but were seriously injured. Biden was sworn in in the hospital, and the boys' bedside.Biden's sister and BIL moved in with him to care for the kids and help Biden deal with everything. He wanted to quit the Senate.Here's a GREAT 7 minute clip from Biden's story:

2. His wife (he remarried 5 years after the car crash) has her doctorate and if a professor of English at a community college in Delaware, has taught in mental institutions, and was a reading specialist in high schools.

3. Biden is either the poorest or the second poorest member of the Senate His net worth is something under $250K, which for a 66-year old man is really low, and for a Senator is striking.

4. He's ridden the Amtrak train from D.C. to Delaware nearly ever day for 36 years; it's how he commutes.

5. He was accused of plagiarism in college, got an F in the course, and repeated the course (he claims he didn't understand proper citation). In 1987 or 88 he was caught on video plagiarizing someone else's speech, though on other occasions giving the same speech, he *had* given proper attribution. The college plagiarism came out as a result of the 1988 campaign issue.

6. He refuses to invest in the stock market (like Gore when Gore was in office) because he views it as a conflict of interest.

7. He voted for the war.

8. He was one of the chief proponents of the 2005 bankruptcy bill. He receives a large amount in campaign contributions from the credit card industry. Delaware is where many ccs are incorporated.

9. He won't meet with lobbyists.

10. He's known as a bulldog and isn't afraid of a verbal debate/fight/confrontation.11. He's one of the widest-read Senators and known for it.

12. He's been a part-time professor of Constitutional Law in DE since 1991.13. He's wildly popular in Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Friday, August 22, 2008


As seen on the Sonlight forums by the very funny Shellie:

Your car breaks down. Things just do, unless you define "devil" as "the law of entropy," or "sloppy engineering."

You experience financial hardship. It happens: see Adam Smith and Karl Marx for details.
You get sick. See "pathogen" and "carcinogen."

Your arthritis returns. Mama told you not to crack your knuckles... but see also, "genes."

Your church is screwed by unethical contractors. Sin, perhaps, but they are not the devil.

You are tempted to sin. See "biology", "addiction," "compulsion," and "choice."
You gain weight. See "genes."

You die. The Human Race: still an exit-toll.

You lose your hair. DHT, I think it's called.

You lose your house. Did you read the fine print...? It may be unfair. I'm sure it's inconvenient and even tragic. It's not the devil.

You are in an accident. Vehicles obey physical laws, not supernatural ones.

You levitate. The devil is not attacking you, he's levitating you, for purposes best known to himself. I personally do not lift people five feet in the air in order to deceive them, but then, I'm not infernal.

Your head spins a 360 and you projectile vomit. Well, okay, maybe now.

You have no money. This is tragic. But it is not the devil, unless you work for him and he does not pay you.

This timely post really did it for me. Probably because I recently saw a catholic refer to being under attack. And I dont even think she was a convert. Im pretty sure The Church doesnt teach the ATTACK! doctrine.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Local Mom Doesn't Care About Kids.

It was 2:30 in the afternoon on Thursday when a local 8 year old was given an assignment in his grammar book. The assignment, 2 pages long, required writing of actual words on two workbook pages. The child was to complete phrases using prepositions. No sentences were required.

"My mom doesn't care about me." The boy stated. He went on to say he "had a headache." Though his mother allegedly offered him an Advil, the child refused it. He angrily told this reporter that "That NEVER works."

"I've done enough for one day. This has taken me a whole HOUR."

The mother who doesn't care could not be reached for questioning because she was up to her elbows in dirty dishes and very busy not caring.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The First Day of School

Its 1:24

Science, Math, Grammar, Reading, Spelling and storytime are finished.

History and Writing are left to do.

We started at 10 and the pace is slow but its getting done.

Only one incident of murderous rage thus far. Hopefully they were all suitably impressed and terrified and are less likely to defy me again. *maniacal laughter*

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good News

I can fit in my black Isaac Mizrahi (from Target, dahling) dress.

This means I will have (old) clothes on at Lucy's wedding in September. I will need shoes. And probably some sort of wrap. I hope I need a wrap. Something to hide the upper arms which are not responding thus far to our friend in the workout video. Maybe if I did it everyday like you are supposed to... It makes me sweaty though. And its hard. I wish I loved that sort of thing. instead I love baking. And eating.

Babies can really change your body. My 4th pregnancy did me in. I wonder if I will ever really like what I look like ever again. It makes me sad that I didn't appreciate my body more when I was younger.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

so this week is the beginning of the Fall from hell where dh and I go in 3 different directions 5 days a week. Which is something Im sure all of you are familiar with. esp those of you with kids older than mine.

TWTh ds has football 5-7. Th Brenna has swim 7-8. Soon Al will have Scouts on W immediately following football. So on W and Th apparently we wont be eating at all.

Fridays Cal will have scouts and Al will have karate at around 6:30 so we'll eat dinner right after lunch I guess.

Mondays we have karate and CCD at roughly the same time I fear. Im going to go ahead and clone myself and maybe I'll make 3 of me so one can be at home getting dinner on the table?I need a freaking spreadsheet for my kids activities. I thought I could avoid this overscheduled stuff. Im a foolish mortal.

At least on Saturdays we only have karate and soccer games and on Sundays we'll have only football games.

I just realised soccer practice has to fit in there somewhere, but Im not sure where yet.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Managing Core 5- catholic/ secular style

I knew core 5 would prove to be a very challenging core for me to plan. Its probably the most missionary based core in the lower grades. Im not particularly interested in missionary lore as school, though some of it is useful and interesting.

As I read through core 5 I have breathed a sigh of relief for the adventurous books it oiffers. But I have also groaned because the tweaking is unprecedented. The scope of core 5 is so huge that we could easily spend 2 years on the subject matter- The Non Western World. This core really should be repeated at the highschool level. Many of the books are suitable for young AND young adult readers.

I've already pitched a couple of books in the bin.

William Carey? blech. Mary Slessor? Less blech but anti catholic (in life, tho the book isnt anti catholic.) The Escape to the Jungle book? no thanks. Don't care about missionaries in Africa. Want to know about the actual people of Africa. There are only a gazillion cultures to get to know there. Why would I care about the protestants there to convert them?

I am DESPERATE to remember the name of a book I used in Intro to Cultural Anthropology- it was a book comprised of formerly published journal articles and would be SO USEFUL. Cant remember it, though and have no idea how to find it. Google hath failed me. And so has amazon.

I've found some great ideas of books to sub in but I'm frustrated by the lack of one clear concise "this is how to make this core more secular/ inclusive." Maybe I could make that happen here.

We'll see.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

seen at the pool

a black bikini, with a letter on each breast. On the right breast was the letter R. You'd think there would have been a letter L on the other side but no. It was an O.

Bizarre costumes out there these days.

Of course, with my seersucker stomach skin (thanks kids! stretch marks are the gift that keep on giving!) I wont be needing my own breast labelling bikini anytime soon.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I sent out a package yesterday

I can not wait til it arrives. I hope the recipient has a sense of humour like mine- a little dark. a little twisted. I'm pretty sure she does.

More Product Review

In February or January I got all my hair cut off. I went in with hair past my shoulders and came out with it short. Not a pixie or anything but like 3 or 4 inches long, which isnt long at all.

As it turns out, with all the weight taken off my hair, I have a lot of curl. Enough that people say things to me about my pretty curls. It was news to me, I assure you. I've never seen a curl appear in my hair spontaneously ever. It would have made the late 80s much easier for me if I'd discovered this propensity to curl way back then.

So now I have this curl and Im trying hard to exploit it. I have purchased a diffuser to blow the hairs dry with. But I never have time or desire to blow dry to be frank. In my laziness I asked the Sybermoms about curl and was refered to Tigi bedhead products.

I use suave shampoo. Always have. The most expensive hair product I ever bought before this was suave's biolage rip off. I have nice hair. It didnt mind my shockingly cheap product.

Well so I got the curls rock conditioner and the curls rock booster spray.

All I can say is my hair seems to stay wet longer, is not curlier in the problem area (the front pieces dont curl as much as the back), and Im a whole lot poorer.

All in all I'd say stick with Suave.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Singapore- Reflections on math and science

We enjoyed Singapore math up through level 4a, at which point my own math idiocy began to frustrate my confused son. At that point I hired out the math explanations to the good people at Teaching Textbooks.

I feel like I need to point out here that my early math instruction didn't sink in at all. In 7th grade I fell off the math bandwagon and eventually landed in the less advanced math prep classes in my high school. My mind could not grasp percents and algebra confounded me. Geometry puzzled, me but trig kicked my ass. William and Mary took me in spite of my low math SATs. I dont think I ever exceeded 600 on the math portion. Funny enough, when I returned to college at age 28 I took college algebra and flew through it with 100%. I also aced finite math and calculus. This didnt help me to explain factoring to the kid last year.

Anyway, having ditched Singapore math for the bigger kiddo I felt I must make it up to the company somehow and decided to look at their science materials.

You may have noted that the husband is a scientist. He is a molecular biologist who is doing toxicology studies for a major agro chem business. He is no longer in the lab, for which I'm grateful. The stench of cell culture is behind us.

So my kids have a good working knowledge of science stuff just by virtue of eating dinner with the man who never was shy about discussing a day's work, even if it was about dissecting mammary tumours or rat brains. One of the issues I have with science study is that we go through the materials more often than not and say, "well yeah, we knew that."

Singapore science is no different actually. We know a lot of what science 5 will teach us. But I'm hungering for the simplicity of the approach. Read the well done little text. Do a little easy work book page. TAKE A TEST! What? yeah, I said take a test.

Anyway, science instruction in Singapore starts at 3rd grade, so level 3 isnt for us, despite having a 3rd grader. Its very basic. We could have covered it in preschool or kindergarten. Level 5 is as good a place for us to start as any, with explanations of plant and animal reproduction (seems timely) complete with drawings of anatomy.

The series is comprised of a text, a workbook, an activity book and a test book at each level. I ordered one of each. Each paperback book is about $7 from Rainbow Resource. After each portion of text for which there is an activity you are cued to go to the activity book. I didn't notice such cues for the workbook, which surprised me. The activities look simple enough for home. They are more "on paper" in some cases than I would have liked.

In addition to Singapore science we also purchased some kits made by the Young Scientist Club. They have a website where you can subscribe to receive a kit a month, but it was cheaper and easier to order their kits (packaged in sets of three) from Rainbow Resource.

Given that I love Sonlight and their approach to almost everything, it is a little surprising that we chose a different way to tackle science. After all, aren't living books the best? Yes. Undoubtedly. But even better than books are hands on activities. And while some people enjoy TOPS, which is included in SL science, I do not. Its designed for a classroom. The directions were too confusing for the science impaired. I had to wash out milk cartons. There was dirt involved. And the possibility of stinky milk residue.

So this year we'll dissect an owl pellet on the kitchen table and grow bacteria and fungi in the dining room. Somehow this is less gross to me than the possibility of stinky milk residue.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Third Time is a Charm

The 30 Day Shred didnt kill me today.

However, if you decide to try it I suggest you do NOT try it with your children. Or at least, not with my children.

Having finished it without disgracing myself too badly today, I turned to look at the 11 yo behind me. I was dripping sweat and puffing. He grinned and said "Is that ALL? I could run a hundred miles after that."

I suggested he get going.