Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'll be back

Hi! I'm sorry to be missing you this week, but we have guests. My parents are visiting so I'll be back on Monday with a Day Book entry!

Have a great week and weekend!

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm LDS *not* FLDS

Lately I have received questions about the FLDS mess in Texas with the social services arm of the government removing the children from the religious compound with no explanations or anything. Like many other people, that concerned me because of the ramifications to families everywhere in this country. Can the government do that?! I was very relieved when I learned that the Texas court has ordered the children to be returned to their mothers because there was no evidence of abuse. These questions have been addressed to me because I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly nicknamed "Mormons". The abbreviation of my church is LDS, not FLDS. The FLDS church often goes by the term Fundamentalist Mormons. They are in no way related to my church!

I'd like to attach my comments to a concerned friend along with links to others' posts that addressed this concern far better than I could.

I agree with your concern over what is happening in Texas. What the social services did has serious consequences for every family in this country if left unchecked. I agree with you that the potential is very frightening! I was extremely relieved when the court ordered them to return the children. If there was a concern about a particular child being abused or was coerced or whatever, then the social services department should have had more evidence of a legal violation (that would hold up in court)---not that they didn't like the religion. That infringes on the freedom of religion that we hold dear. The method that they used was despicable, in my opinion, and caused far more fear in the children than they had ever known and should have ever known. That's just wrong.

As to Mormons and polygamy, I need to first make sure you understand that the FLDS Church has no connection to the LDS Church, commonly called the Mormons. Polygamy has not been practiced in our church for over a hundred years and coercion was never part of the LDS Church polygamists' lives. Children and wives were well cared for, and each usually had their own homes/farms. I am a product of polygamy on multiple sides, and I am satisfied that there was no coercion in any case and the children were prized and cared for as children should be. I believe the first wife had to agree to polygamous marriages. Sometimes it was a way to provide for a widow. I had one great grandmother whose husband died, and he requested a friend to take her as his polygamist wife and care for her. It is interesting to note that only a small percentage of members actually practiced polygamy and the men were respected as upright men.

Here is a post of a blogger I follow. In that post, she links to another writer who explains the differences between the two churches even more. If you're interested, my father-in-law wrote a post at about this situation as well. He cites the LDS (my church's) statement regarding it. These links are some of the best I have found to date, and I would seriously urge you to read them. I learned some things I hadn't known, specifically as it related to the FLDS church.

That was the long answer. The short answer is that I was incredibly relieved when the court ordered the children returned to their mothers.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why get an education?

Don't fail to get a good education while you're young. It will come in handy when you have to help with your children's home work.

That quote immediately brought to mind a story my father told me about when he was young. He needed help with his math homework, I believe, and his father took his book, studied the pages before it along with the page he was assigned, and then helped him understand it.

I had a college professor that told us basically the same thing. In talking to a class of future educators, he told us that we would be doing very well if we could stay 2 weeks ahead of the students. As a homeschooler, I count myself fortunate if I have a vision of where we are going let alone the finite details!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I get the lesson: Let go and let Him

Reading back over my last post, I realized I am always in a hurry to accomplish my goals. Then when they don't always happen by tomorrow, I often get discouraged.

For example, exercise. I am pleased to report that I have upped my physical activity level. I have ridden my bike almost every day. I have been quicker to take the dog for a walk (much to his thrill level), and I have been faster to walk to the grocery store (a block away.) I have not reached for the tape measure in all that time although I confess to looking at myself critically in the mirror.

Homeschooling presents a myriad of times like that. Times that I felt like pulling my hair out because my children couldn't read or read well. Then I would just forget about it and go on, reading everything to them because I didn't want learning to stop because of that one lack. And then realizing one day that my "poor" readers were reading!

Math was another nemesis that somehow got conquered when I gave the kids their usual assignments but didn't sweat it. Amazingly, 2 out of 3 are conquering it. The third will get it too and probably soon if the past is any indicator. I'll keep working with them without over-emphasizing it.

I remember when we knew we needed to move but didn't know where or what job would turn up. Instead, I asked that the buyer for our home would be there when we needed to sell, that the job would be prepared that my husband should take, and that the home on the other end be ready for us at the same time. It happened, and most of the time I managed to keep my hands off the steering wheel. The buyer made the offer before the first day of showing the home was over. We found our new home and closed on both homes by the end of the month.

So maybe the lesson I have to learn is to wait on the Lord. Give him the problem and let him carry it. He does so much better than I do. I just turn into a frazzled mess when I worry and stew. I get the lesson. I'll try to not try so much and trust Him to take care of it even when I slip (which may be often.) Because there is no doubt in my mind that He takes care of the details so much better when I don't worry and am ready for promptings.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Exercise, workbooks, and trivia

The exercise plan is going well. I've been making the kids take me on bike rides. I have 4 inches to lose and not a minute to waste!

This morning we rode to the church and back this morning (not too far), then I accompanied the boys to taekwondo. A few minutes after I arrived home (coming back the long way), S-man steamed in after me wearing his white taekwondo pants and t-shirt. Apparently they forgot their belts, and he volunteered to come home for them. Awesome boy! It's only a 5-minute ride, but it's all uphill coming home!

I just realized I could ride to meet them on their way home. Make that 3 rides for today. Hmmm........... Nope, I'm making breadsticks for dinner. I'll take them to Scouts tonight instead.

BTW, I don't count calories or pounds either. I do not own a scale nor do I want one. The measuring tape is incriminating enough! Worse, though, are pictures from the back. Ugh. I was blessed with a flat bottom, but the hips, well, they are very capable of expanding. Hopefully, of shrinking too!!!! This isn't just "childbirth spread", I'm afraid.

The zoo was great. Lots of walking, but I got sunstroke so we came home earlier than usual. It was nothing that 4 Ibuprofen (or was it 5?---I was too sick with dizziness to care) and one long nap under a comfy comforter couldn't take care of. Jewell got to do lots of computer work, and Jim sailed home (I don't think his tires touched ground) to pick up the boys from taekwondo (TKD).

As to work, both boys and I sat down and individually worked through their workbooks. S-man and I worked some Singapore Math, Abeka Language, and American Publishing Maps and Geography, and J-Dawg did his S. math and Abeka too. We didn't get to his Maps and Geography workbook. It was time to leave for TKD.

Jewell and I will sit down with her workbooks tomorrow. Today she worked on her second grade software some more. Tomorrow we'll reverse the order of children.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

To the zoo!

I forgot! There are so many scratch-offs on my calendar for today that I overlooked the trip to the zoo with our literature circle today! The boys are polishing off (if you can do that in a hurry with a large yard) our neighbor's yard, eating breakfast, and going to the zoo--all by 9:30. It will be a good day!

We're only about halfway through The White Giraffe (which is the book we are reading). I wonder if we can squeeze in the other half. Hmmmm.............

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~ May 19, 2007


Outside My Window...leaves are waving, sun is shining, branches bend gently

I am would be nice if my children would talk more quietly but I'm thankful they are happy and exuberant. I am thinking about my husband on his way to see a client in Arkansas.

I am thankful children. My dog lying quietly at my feet. A new book I picked up at the library. The gentle, warm wind. Neighbors hiring my sons to mow their lawns. My son's eagerness to get his new lapbook.

From the kitchen...chocolate cake. My first from scratch.

I am wearing...grey knit pants with a violet t-shirt.

I am creating...children strong enough to withstand worldly pressures. Also a tiger lapbook.

I am begin a new term with my children while preparing the materials for fall---if I can wait that long to begin it.

I am reading...Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths, by Bruce Feiler. I saw the audiobook at the library and searched for the book. It looks interesting although I know very little about it.

I am hoping...that my wrist heals quickly. It has been hurting lately, and I bought a brace to immobilize it so it gets strong again.

I am hearing...sounds of eating. My boys made Ramen for lunch (their favorite).

Around the house...beautiful green. Green lawn, green trees. Well cut lawns adjoining (remember those wonderful neighbors that hire my sons?) A brand new garden filled with lettuce and spinach with a few other things. A picturesque swing.

One of my favorite things...anticipating a new read.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Mostly, I'm just planning to help my kids do their workbooks, launching the new term. I'm also getting ready for parents to arrive!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Go see other Simple Woman daybooks here:

Friday, May 16, 2008


Today was full of gymnastics, swimming, reading, and starting logs of income and expenses (for the boys). Can I just tell you that I am so grateful for Quicken to track our accounts? Pencil and paper reek. It is a pain. How else can I put it?

One of the Boy Scout Merit Badges involves estimating income and expenses and then tracking the actuals. They also keep a log of financial transactions. S-man felt it was far too boring. J-Dawg wasn't thrilled to start but got into it as we rolled along. Lots of math here!

On the reading front (for their Reading merit badge), we began The White Giraffe, by Lauren St. John. I read it a couple of days ago and enjoyed it. Our volume is the Literature Circle Edition by Scholastic so we will be doing some of the activities it lists at the end when we finish. The merit badge requirement just has them writing what their thoughts are on 2 lines when they finish their day's reading, but we first discussed it and hypothesized what we thought the beginning foreshadowed. It has quite the loaded beginning with an overpowering dream and then the main character's parents dying violently.

Then I spent some time figuring out how to live on almost nothing for the next 15 days. Necessaries will be provided for, of course, but we'll be living on food storage mostly. And eating lots of bread stuffs! It will be an interesting experiment. We had an emergency roofing expense so we are cutting back to handle that without credit cards (at least an absolute minimum.) Ironically, we had just barely paid a substantial amount down on a credit card before this happened! Two steps forward and one back? At least it was only a portion of the roof! I am ever so grateful we were blessed with the foresight to buy the boys' birthday presents early!

Of course, I forgot about dinner so I hurried and made pancakes. Yummy! Jim has been the chief pancake maker (mostly on Saturday mornings) lately, so it was a fun thing to make them tonight.

Jim was out late shooting gymnasts (with his 40D Canon camera) with a photographer that is going to China to photograph the Olympics and needs a few good photographers to go with him. Jim's hoping to get the nod. He has already been told by the COO of his company that they'd make a way for him to skip work during that time. How cool would that be?!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Education here?

What did we do yesterday?

We had lessons on seeing a job through, negotiation, communication, attention to detail, seeing a job through, working on the computer after seeing a job through, staying on the job until it is completed, collections, actions and consequences.

Is there a recurring theme here?

The boys mowed lawns yesterday. They did an excellent job, but I had to keep rousting them out of the house and computer and back to it. They did complete the job although they lost computer privileges for the week. (To their credit, they did their best job yet on the lawns!)

Collections was the closest they got to math today. They got paid. They also got a taste of banking when they loaned Mom some money. It's sad when I have to borrow money from my 12-year-old sons. I'm grateful I could, and they'll get it back when they say they need it. It was only $15. On second thought, I'll buy their gas fillup. That should be slightly more than $15.

For "formal" science, they watched a DVD on Planet Earth from BBC Video. We also almost finished the Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. We are also almost ready to turn in their Astronomy work to the merit badge counselor.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Here's my pictures!

Here are some shots of the pirate lapbook. It is made from 3 folders fit into each other because I wanted this to be a self-contained unit study. Put another way, I'm not particularly interested in pirates, but my son is.

So here are pictures of most of it:

On this spread, my son will define nautical and piratical terms and draw his own treasure map. I think he did the treasure map first!

On the right side of this one, he will write a summary about 13 famous/infamous pirates, one per flip page. There are questions on the front, inside, and back of each flip page about the person identified on the bottom. There is also a pirate play I found online for him to perform with his siblings or make puppets for and a "postcard" to draw and write as if he were a pirate writing home to his family.

The following picture has general pirate words like buccaneer, pirate, and privateer for him to define. He started this first but completed the treasure map first. Then the envelope (too big for the folder but I was out of small ones and didn't want to try to make one) has lists (printed online) of recommended reading for books and web sites. Most of the books are available from our library, and I X'ed the ones that weren't. Then he is to write a quick summary of 3 books and 2 web sites. Out of a list of around 40 options, that shouldn't be too hard! Hopefully he'll read more. (The web site that I got a lot of these ideas from was the Time Warp Trio one.)

The final page challenges him to look up the various Jolly Roger flags (which I have learned he already has) and then design his own.

Anyhoot, he's excited about it. The hardest part for me was actually sitting down and creating it. I kept thinking I needed to plan it out ahead of time, but I got bogged down in the planning. Once I threw planning out the window, I got it done!

Another thing I realized was that I didn't need to know all this stuff to include it. He is the one that is interested, and I am content with him being the expert. I know far more than I did a week ago, and I know how to find all the info so I can help him. As a college professor taught me, that is enough. Sometimes I need to be an expert but not always.

Pirate lapbook done/pictures coming

I finally got the pirate lapbook finished last night. I am so excited, and so was my son! I wanted to give him more practice using a dictionary and writing---at least a little bit---so there are a lot of parts requiring those skills.

My son woke up and went straight into the dining room where the lapbook was waiting for him. I managed to get him to stop for breakfast, but he's hard at it again. it's amazing how excited he is to do some "schoolwork" when it is about something he's terrifically interested in!

The only problem is that both his brother and sister are now eagerly anticipating their own lapbooks! S-man's face fell when he thought I was making the same one for his siblings. I quickly reassured him that J-Dawg's lapbook will be about Siberian tigers and his sister's about Dogs(their requests).

I'll be posting pictures of the pirate lapbook tonight. My husband took pictures of it but didn't download them to my computer. In the meantime, I'm thrilled with his excitement!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Gardening at last

My daughter and I finished putting in our garden today. True, it is a diminutively-sized garden, but it is our first. We will have lots of spinach and lettuce if I keep it watered! I planted a few herbs, very few tomatoes, and a couple of yellow peppers along with a spearmint plant. I'm not sure what we'll do with the spearmint, but it will smell wonderful!

After we were all done, my daughter brought in 2 packs of red cabbage that she discovered while cleaning up all the empty packages. I guess we will be digging up weeds and grass from another flower bed in a couple of days. (We're do for rain tomorrow.)

She commented, "I didn't know it took so long to plant." Well, it doesn't always but the garden isn't big enough to make it worth the rototiller so we used the old-fashioned shovel. Besides, I didn't want to risk hitting a tree root. Our main crop in our yard is Osage oranges and gum balls from some rather large trees. Lots of shade and the squirrels especially appreciate the oranges. (They aren't edible to humans.)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Designing, cleaning, and reading

I thought I would be able to post my pirate lapbook tonight. Not so. I'm working on it, and I have lots of neat information to include on it, but it is not the easiest thing I have ever done!

The research is done. Now I have to get in and design it. I was under the delirium of believing I could use someone else's template, no matter what the topic, and just reproduce it. I guess I was wrong. Now I have to design it, and it probably won't be as professional as the one I linked. It will be a beginning though, and that's good.

So . . . that's the long way of saying that I will post it, for good or for bad, when I finish it.

For now, I'm off to bed. My kitchen doesn't look terrific (I just reorganized cupboards and am not quite sure to do with some things that no longer have homes), but the dishes and counters are clean. I also have another cupboard that really needs to be gone through. And I need to take out the fluorescent light covers and thoroughly clean up there. I have those dad gummed pesky grain moths again, and I am simply not ready to throw everything out yet again. Anyone tried those pantry moth traps? Are they any good? (The nice part is that I haven't found any in my cupboards where I'm liberally sprinkling mint leaves, but the bad part is that I have no clue where they are hiding. I just find them flying around especially when I flip on a light switch when it's dark.) The other nice part is that the mouse problem we have been contending with seems to be gone. (Translation: No holes in cereal bags that are in the cupboard the mice seemed to frequent. Either my dog has made a dent in their population, the poison has, or it is simply too nice outside for them to stay in.) I'll take any one of the 3!

For now, we are on a break, school wise. Taekwondo, gymnastics, swimming, lawn mowing, and scouting are in full swing, but formal academia has taken a bit of a break while I track down these moths. Spring cleaning is in session! Reading is at a high point too.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Working 'til my legs fall off

I'm tired. Really tired. My sons are earning money for Scout camp, taekwondo belt rank tests, etc., by mowing lawns. Although they have been mowing lawns for a summer, their attention to detail is not terrific so I have been going with them.

As far as school goes, we are on an official break. If I could figure out a way to make a science study out of it, I'd be in heaven. Frankly, though, I'm too tired to give it a lot of thought!

However, I am going to make a lapbook inspired by Mrs. Darling's Thanksgiving lapbook, only this one will be about pirates (which actually ties into the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War---if on the more sordid side.) My kids are "into" pirates right now, and doing a great deal of reading on the subject on their own.

While we were watching S-man mow, J-Dawg was telling me all about various events and people in the Revolutionary War. I need to hurry and get ready to launch our next year's study or he'll have finished it already! Don't laugh! It happened with the medieval period! Now math? That's another topic entirely............

However, methinks I need to go buy a book on Molly Pitcher.