Monthly Archives: January 2007

Laundry and Groceries

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This entry goes in the category of "if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it", and I don’t want to forget little things like this . . .

There are some things you never expect to find yourself rooting around for in the laundry.  Hannah has taken a rather strange liking recently to a most unexpected object.  She likes bullets.  Now we always keep our guns locked up, out of reach, etc.  But bullets, being harmless in and of themselves, are different.  There is usually a bullet or two to be found on daddy’s nightstand, and Hannah likes them.  This is the girl who once became obsessed with putting things in her "pocket", whether she has a pocket or not.  So she asked me a few days ago if she could put one of daddy’s bullets in her pocket.  I told her to ask daddy.  She did.  And ever since then, when I do laundry, I have to hunt for the bullet in the toe of Hannah’s tights.  This is the "pocket" in which bullets ought to reside, according to her little thoughts.  I asked her why she liked them, and she said because they remind her of wedding rings.  So if you come to our home for lunch, don’t be surprised if my two year old makes a clunking sound with each step of her left foot!  It’s just her wedding ring bullet.

Isabelle is growing up so much, and loves being told that she will run a lovely house someday.  She glows when I tell her what a good mommy/wife she’ll make, and how I can tell because of what a help she is to me.  Today’s evidence was the groceries.  It was a late shopping trip, so everything stayed on the floor while we ate.  She finished lunch first as I was talking to daddy.  I didn’t notice at first, but she had sweetly taken the liberty of putting the groceries away for me.  It only took me ten minutes or so to "rearrange" the yogurts in the fruit crisper drawer and such!

Tracing Letters

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Here’s the link to the tracing font I mentioned in my last post:  http://www.billybear4kids.com/fonts/fonts.htm . The one we use is "Zyia Learns Letters".There are others available – a few more free ones if you do a google search (actually I found all sorts of free pre-k and k stuff online with just changing the search terms), and then of course plenty you can buy.  But this one suits our needs perfectly.  After you download it (which was very tricky for me to figure out – thankfully my mom knew how to get a file unzipper online for free also, so you might need that like I did), you have to add it into your fonts in the control panel (the Help menu should tell you how).  Then you can just use it like any other font in Word or your writing program. I always use it in a pretty large size since Isabelle’s just learning.  But of course it’s really nice to be able to make it smaller as her writing improves. One thing I realized after I started using this is that I could have accomplished basically the same thing by using any normal font, but making it light grey instead of black (kind of like the light crayon strokes to trace in the early Handwriting Without Tears books).  But in any case, Isabelle loves it, and she particularly likes "dots" as I made them for her by hand for awhile.  The font saves me a lot of time! Some things we use it for are:

I print out a "letter practice" page for whatever letter(s) we’re working on, or for any she needs particular practice on. It’s amazing – she could not seem to make an "s" before tracing, now she’s a pro at them even without the tracing letters.

Isabelle likes to write letters to her grandmas, aunties, etc.  She dictates  to me what she’d like to say to them, I type it for her and then she actually gets to write the whole letter herself (this works great for her, as she doesn’t tire of writing things, so she’ll write decently lengthy ones)

Thank you letters – this worked great for these letters after Christmas; once she finished writing all the letters, she got to decorate them how she pleased with stickers, "art" markers, etc.

Helping her learn her name and her sisters’ names, or recognize simple phrases like "I love you"

I make up little stories (very simple, like the first BOB books set, but shorter) that I know Isabelle can read the words in.  Then she can write them and read them.  I started this when I realized Isabelle could read the words in a sentence, but didn’t realize they went together to form a (miniature) story.  The first one I did was: Cat and dog ran fast.  She wrote it, then read it, then I asked her all these questions to help her see that it was a story: what did cat and dog do?  who ran fast? how did they run?  The light bulb went on for her after that, which was very fun to see! Of course she didn’t have to write on tracing letters to figure out the concept of reading a story, but it worked!

You can make any kind of worksheet you’d like with these letters.  Maybe paste on pictures (or have the little ones draw the pictures, if they’re the artistic sort), then print the letters for the word.  Or print a big "A" and a bunch of words which start with "a". Capitals and lowercase, numbers, etc. I don’t really have any pre-k worksheets that fit what Isabelle’s doing letter-wise (they’re either too easy, or not quite what we’re working on, etc) and I didn’t worry about it as I had no plans to use worksheets in pre-k.  But as I have a daughter who LOVES to write and would practically do it all day if I let her, this font is great fun for us!

Tagged

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Well, I lack the energy to make any real post, as I’ve been in bed with a horrid case of influenza all week.  Thankfully, in spite of a few days of high fevers (and a tepid bath which certainly made me understand better what little Isabelle goes through when she gets high fevers) the baby’s heartbeat is still strong at 170! Anyway, my sweet husband brought me his laptop so I could check my email, and I saw that Baptist Mommy has tagged me.  I think I have the mental energy for this. . .

1) ONE HOMESCHOOLING BOOK YOU HAVE ENJOYED 

Teaching The Trivium

2) ONE RESOURCE YOU WOULDN’T BE WITHOUT
My Bible

3) ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH YOU HAD NEVER BOUGHT

Dick and Jane books

4) ONE RESOURCE YOU ENJOYED LAST YEAR
Well, I’ll justify picking three since I only have preschoolers and thus these are just little books and such.  The girls all LOVE Animal Babies In Ponds And Rivers, and I love the short intro to a few different animals, and the photographs. We all love My Mommy, My Teacher by Johannah Bluedorn.  Lastly, I LOVE the free downloadable tracing/dot font I found – Isabelle loves practicing her letters this way, and it’s amazing how much she’s learned to write.

5) ONE RESOURCE YOU WILL BE USING NEXT YEAR

Winter Promise "Animals And Their Worlds" pre-k/k package – we’re excited about it!

6) ONE RESOURCE YOU WOULD LIKE TO BUY
I’ll pick a couple.  Someday I’d like to look more into Tapestry Of Grace or Mystery Of History.  I’d like to get Our Young Folk’s Josephus in the next few years.  And eventually I’d like to get the Beautiful Feet horses unit study, as I love horses and Hannah seems to be following me in this.

7) ONE RESOURCE YOU WISH EXISTED
The absolutely *perfect* curriculum-in-a-box. One with a classical style in the Bluedorn vein, every resource which would end up being my personal favorite, every day’s lesson planned out for me in a way that I could use, etc . . . It never hurts to dream .  . .

8) TAG ANOTHER HOMESCHOOLER, OR A FEW . . .

youngmommy

 

Now I have to cut and paste a funny story that my mom sent me today – it gave me a much needed smile:

 

A farmer named Clyde had a car accident. In court, the trucking company’s fancy lawyer was questioning Clyde. "Didn’t you say, at the scene of the accident, ‘I’m fine,’" asked the lawyer.

 Clyde responded, "Well, I’ll tell you what happened. I had just loaded my favorite mule, Bessie, into the…"

 "I didn’t ask for any details," the lawyer interrupted. "Just answer the question?  Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, ‘I’m fine!’?

Clyde said, "Well, I had just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road…."

 The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question."

By this time, the Judge was fairly interested in Clyde’s answer and said tothe lawyer, "I’d like to hear what he has to say about his favorite mule, Bessie."

Clyde thanked the Judge and proceeded, "Well as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my truck right in the side. I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other. I was hurting, real bad, and didn’t want to move. However, I could hear ole Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans. Shortly after the accident a Highway Patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over to her. After he looked at her, he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. Then the Patrolman came across the road, gun in hand, looked at me, and said How are you feeling?"

"Now what would you say?"

 

 

 

On Can Openers And Peaches

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Here’s a fun analogy for you:  I was recently reading Joy At The End Of The Tether, by Doug Wilson, which is a little book study on Ecclesiastes (one of my favorite books of the Bible, so I was pretty excited to read this study on it).  One thing that stuck out to me and so opened my eyes was an analogy he used.  There are many things in our lives which from an outside view seem completely not enjoyable.  Heck – there are many things in our lives which from our inside view are not enjoyable. These can be small like cleaning toilets, to things like having a painful terminal illness, to simply living a life of utter poverty!  We all have things (sometimes many things) in our lives which are difficult – that is the world in which we live. Yet somehow, some of the poorest people I’ve met in my life, with the fewest earthly enjoyments (in Romania, Mexico,  and Cuba specifically), have exhibited the most visible joy – and especially the most visible joy in worshiping our God!  I’ve often wondered at this, and been convicted in the times I’ve lacked that visible joy which I ought to be characterized by.  But I got off track.  Back to the analogy (which helped me to understand this ‘joy regardless of circumstances’ thing).  Doug compared our earthly blessings to cans of peaches.  One man could have two cans of peaces, while a ‘rich’ man could have ten thousand cans of peaches.  But the difference is that the ability to enjoy our blessings is also a blessing bestowed upon us by God.  So you might meet many a ‘rich’ man who is far from happy, but know a poor man who lives in joy. God bestows upon His people the blessing of a can opener. So look at the man with two cans of peaches who is blessed with a can opener. He is able to enjoy the sweet goodness of the blessing of those peaches because of the further blessing of the can opener.  That ‘rich’ man with thousands of cans of peaches may have no can opener – he can’t enjoy his riches!  So the conclusion of the matter is that we fear God; thus we can eat, drink and be merry here in this world where there is nothing new under then sun, where everything is vanity, where we are surrounded by many difficulties that could make it seem impossible to find enjoyment, and where the world might look at our life and think it’s the opposite of enjoyable. . . because we are God’s beloved. He has gifted us with a can opener.  So pondering all this made my prayer that God would bless me with the can opener – that He would grant me enjoyment in this life, even when it is wearying work.  He has promised strength for the weary, rest for the weary, and encouraged us not to grow weary in well-doing.  I find His burden is light (as He promised) when I am abiding in His love, for He graces me with the ability to enjoy this life far more than those who may have many more “eartly enjoyments” might be able to.  I want to enjoy the cans of peaches He’s blessed me with, few or many!

Conversations With Hannah

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I have a habit of sometimes “numbering” my conversations, to help me remember all three (or however many) things I need to tell Matt (ie.  “Hi honey, number one: court is cancelled for tomorrow; number two: Isabelle would like you to bless her; number three: I hope you sleep well, etc).  Isabelle has picked up this habit, and it does sound rather goofy to have “numbered” questions from a four year old.  But tonight Hannah tried it, and we were laughing so hard that I realized I had to write it down . . .  

Hannah raises her hand at the dinner table (we have them do this till they’ve finished their food, so they don’t get too distracted by talking and not eat; keeps the table orderly, too).

Mommy: “Yes, Hannah?”

 Hannah: “Mommy, number one: why is my pink phone on the table?”

 Mommy: “I picked it up off the floor for you, so you wouldn’t lose it, honey.”

 Hannah: “Oh. . . Number five, are there any more broccoli trees left? (this said with a giddy grin as she LOVES broccoli!)

Mommy and daddy: “Yep, there are so many trees left it’s like a forest!  When you finish your rice you may have some more.”

Hannah, a few minutes later: “Hey mommy, number thirty, may I please look at the broccoli trees forest??????” (looking at the yummy food she could have helps her to be motivated to eat the stuff she’s not so fond of.)

So I thought her version of numbered questions was funny enough.  Later I stood corrected . . .

Hannah, ten minutes after dinner, in a rather sad and pathetic voice: “Mommy, my tummy hurts; I ate too much broccoli trees and I have a bellyache.  Would you please kiss my poor little tummy?” (yes, these were her words)  So I kissed it, and said she could get a kiss from daddy too, and two kisses would surely make it feel better.

Hannah, overheard talking to daddy: “My tummy hurts, would you please kiss it?” 

Daddy: “Oh, why does your tummy hurt?”

Hannah: “There’s a big, bad dragon eating it!”

 I LOVE two year olds!!!!!

Hugs And Snuggles

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Aren’t hugs wonderful? I love hugs from Matt, and all my girls of course, but I’ve come to realize recently what a wonderful hugger Naomi is.  The other day I was feeling down, and she came up and hugged me.  The funny thing about her is you can rarely hug only once.  After I happily thanked her for the hug, she leaned in for another one.  Then she smiled and leaned in and gave me another big squeeze. . . And another . . . yet another.  This went on for ten minutes or so! That’ll give you a boost in the spirit!

 Since I’ve felt so scattered and hectic lately, and haven’t even been keeping up well with our reading aloud/cuddle times, I’ve been trying to snuggle and rock with each of my daughters for a minute before I put them down for a nap.  I sing a favorite song and look in their little eyes. Though it’s only a few moments with each, I do so love it, and highly recommend it.  What a sweet way to get off my feet for a moment, give some special  and much needed one-on-one time to my little ones, receive sweet snuggles myself, and get to look in their lovely little faces, being reminded how lovely they really are (a fact which can be far too easy to forget when one is weary!).  I suppose it’s the little things like this that can make each day (even difficult ones) sweet.

And it’s nice, too, when one of my little ones seems to be needing some extra love and attention, to just keep them up an hour or so later than all the other ones.  We did that last night with one girly who seemed a bit off.  She snuggled with us in our big, pluffy bed for awhile, then went to bed with a smile on her face!

Aslan's Feast

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The other day I was feeling very stressed out (this seems to be a common theme for me lately – hopefully it will pass soon!), and I was telling Matt that I think my life would have been much easier had I simply become a nurse, bought myself a cute little cottage on some beach, and a horse to ride.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always dreamed of being a wife and a mother, and I know I would have struggled with dreadful loneliness had God not provided these wonderful things (He sets the lonely in families, after all).  And I am incredibly thankful for my husband, and for the high (if sometimes scary) calling of raising my girls up into godly womanhood.  But it certainly cannot be called an easy task, and I was feeling particularly exhausted and overwhelmed by it on this day. I will admit that there are plenty of times a life of ease and pleasure seems so much more appealing. After all, what would have been so inherently sinful about my little dream cottage and horse on the beach?  Not that I would ever want to give up my family, but I did so long for the though of rest and ease! Well, my brilliant husband responded perfectly, giving me much to think about without in any way lording it over me how much more logical and wise he is (though I’m certain he is!).  He said “Would you rather have the witch’s Turkish delight or Aslan’s feast?”  That pretty much stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t think of anything to say to that.  Of course I’d rather have Aslan’s feast!  And of course the Bible teaches us how the man shall be blessed who fears the Lord – we are amazingly blessed!  But sometimes (I suppose most times – to whom much is given, much shall be required of him) those blessings have much attendant work.  And Matt reminded me that the world’s idea of a life of rest and pleasure is a lie.  It is not fulfilling the way it may seem to be. He reminded me that this is our season for work, not yet our season for rest and ease. But that season WILL come, and how I do long for it!  So while there are days (more than usual right now) in which I fight against coveting that little cottage and horse on the beach, God has placed me in a blessed season of work for today.  I only pray He will give me the grace and strength to truly LOVE that work and do it with joy for Him.  And one day, He will bring all of us, His children, into that perfect, perfect feast and rest – our perfect home with Him! Glory be!