Saturday, December 1, 2007

So far the CSI Unit Study is going slowly but we have been working on it. Big B has been reading the CSI books I got from the Library and I think his favorite thus far is Never Suck A Dead Man's Hand by Dana Kollmann. Sis hasn't really started reading the books yet but in order for us to continue with the unit study she at least needs to skim them so we're all "on the same page" so to speak. Then again, I can't talk because I've had my nose in Rosalind Miles books the last few weeks. LOL

As I said, I also bought a Fingerprint Kit for us to use and it's been hell trying to keep everyone out of it until we're ready! Even MonkeyBoy keeps telling his siblings to touch something so he can "lift your fingerprints and steal your DNA". *laughing* I'm afraid of what he might do once we get to the hair sampling part. HAHA.

Since deciding to do a CSI Investigation unit study we have developed an addiction. Yes, the older two kids and myself are hopelessly addicted to watching CSI (the original series). The addiction is so bad that not only do we watch the new episodes but we also watch older ones on Spike TV from 4pm until 7pm Monday through Friday. Every once in awhile we actually watch it the whole three hours while throwing food at MonkeyBoy so he'll leave us alone but usually we catch an hour of it a day. Considering this is the only TV we watch, I'm not going to feel too bad about it.

You should hear the language in this house though! This is some of the things said in my house this week...

*Big B to Sis after she entered his room looking for her pen* "Did you have a warrant giving you permission to enter my room? You do know that anything acquired without a warrant cannot be used in court right?"

Sis- "Tell it to the judge criminal!"

*MonkeyBoy to Sis while charging her with eating his cookie*- "I am going to send these crumbs to Trace and you better HOPE nothing comes back on it! I'll take a Qtip and steal your DNA!"

Sis- "I'll bite you if you come near my mouth!"

MonkeyBoy- "I'll send your spit to the lab!"

*Big B to Sis*- "Don't you think my room would look cool decorated in blood spatters?"

Sis- "Whose blood are we talking about here?"

Big B- "Are you volunteering?"

Sis- "MOMMMMMMMM, Big B wants to use my blood to decorate his room!"

Mom- "Big B, that would leave evidence all over your walls linking you to whatever crime you commit against your sister!"

Big B- "That's true...damn!"

Yes, we're a sick bunch but it's been fun!

MonkeyBoy has been practicing writing his letters alot lately. He likes to have you write a word and then let him copy it and he's getting pretty good at it. He also knows most letters by sight now so since this seems to be the way he likes to learn then we'll do this for awhile. He's also obsessed with counting and money as well so it has been quite interesting around here. I reviewed the Jumpstart World 1st Grade CD-rom last month with MonkeyBoy and that has also been his favorite thing to do. Surprisingly he has mastered alot more of it than I expected and it helps me gauge what he needs help with.

Big B and Sis have both been keeping up on their Copywork, Vocabulary, and Reading with a half-hearted effort on Math and Algebra. We all know we need to pick up the pace in that area it's just something none of us enjoy so we avoid it right now. I think the New Year is going to see us buckling down quite a bit though.

I took the reins on the Copywork and Big B is copying Robert Frost while Sis is copying Maya Angelou. I think both are great examples of prose and while I also need to have them do copywork that will teach them proper puncuation, I think it's important for kids to know Poetry and be able to name the authors when they hear the works.

Vocabulary and Reading have of course been centered around our CSI Unit. Sis hates all the technical words I'm having her learn but Big B has completely embraced this and is even talking about going to college for Criminal Justice in hopes of working CSI some day. Because of that I'm making sure that I don't glamourize the work these people do like they do on TV. The kids are learning the truth about crime scenes and all the gory stuff that goes with them.

My being sick has kept us inside alot lately as has the cold weather (no snow just cold) but I'm hoping to remedy that soon with some field trips to fun places. I have some pictures I need to upload from various homeschool endeavors so keep an eye on the Flickr badge on the left there for some new and exciting pics very soon!

Until then, feel free to visit me on Life With Heathens, LWH Reviews, Our Family Village, and hopefully very soon at GNMParents.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Who Are You? I Really Gotta Know...

Anyone who watches CSI: Las Vegas will know what the title is all about. Either that or just read this whole post. LOL.

I have sorely neglected this blog and I hate that because I have so many things to share and say. Time is not a friend of mine though and so I end up not getting to do half the things I want to.

Learning is going well. Big B and Sis both have finally realized that they need to put forth effort in order to learn. Instead of just blaming me and saying they're not learning because I'm not teaching, they now realize that I've put out many things for them to grab on to and learn from. They just didn't want to put any effort into trying to learn. Hopefully now things will go smoother though and we'll all feel a sense of accomplishment.

To work towards that end, the kids and I sat down the other day and decided to do a Unit Study together. It was hard to get to one they both wanted but finally we weeded through American Hockey, Italian Cooking, Football, and Thomas Edison to get to Crime Scene Investigation. Big B and Sis both enjoy watching the show CSI so I figured I would incorporate something they already enjoy into our learning and see where it takes us.

HOW do we do a unit study on crime scene investigation? Well here is what I have so far;

- I checked out as many books as I could find from the library on reading levels that suit all three children so they will be reading about how investigating is done and what investigators look for.

- I have bookmarked various websites on the internet that deal with crime investigation, evidence, and Science experiments that we can do.

- I have also purchased a Fingerprint Kit that we will use to dust for prints not only around the house but we're also dragging the girl across the street into our search. She's a good sport and thinks the whole thing sounds fun so I might even make her one of our victims. LOL.

- We will also be studying hair samples, do mouth swabs, collect evidence from a "crime scene".

- I plan on contacting the local CSI Unit to see if they would give us a tour/talk telling us about the new crime van they just bought and how they do their jobs.

- The kids talked me into letting them do chalk outlines of each other but I drew the line at chalking me. The last thing I want is to see how wide my hips are on the driveway!

- We will watch CSI (the Las Vegas one) and discuss the show as we watch it. So far we are getting pretty good at solving the cases before they do on the show. The kids are learning to look for clues and are even telling me what tests they will need to run on their evidence.

- We'll always remember to have fun and enjoy ourselves!

I have a feeling that this unit study is going to take a good month at least and I plan on covering all subjects while we do it (obviously...unit study...duh). My hope is that this will just be the first of many unit studies that we all do together. Big B even mentioned doing the Immune System next. Of course, he wants to learn about it so he can laugh at me and my suppressed immune system. Rotten child!

I will try to catch up on here and post more about our homeschooling fun. Also, I changed the name and url of my review blog. It is now LWH Reviews as an extension of my Life With Heathens blog.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Card Game Review: Bella Sara

When it comes to trading cards my kids have been through most of them. Pokemon? Two boys hooked. Yu-Gi-Oh? All three kids are into those even now. Digimon cards? Yep, we’ve done that too. While my daughter goes with the flow and plays the cards with the boys, I’ve never really found any exciting girl's (or neutral gender yet including the girls more) trading card games. That is until now.

Bella Sara trading cards were created for a girl named Sara by her amazingly talented mother. How great is that? From what I’ve read, Sara, is a horse fanatic and this was her mother’s way of giving her something new and wonderful having to do with horses.

What impressed me almost as much though was this sentence from their About page, "Bella Sara is an imaginative, joyful world of horses, where every girl is special and uniquely beautiful"! WOW, that is so nice to hear in this day and age of BRATZ and ads that aren't exactly healthy for our girls.

Each pack of cards comes with 5 cards and 1 game card. Immediately after opening the card packs sent by Bella Sara they were gone. My daughter is that fast? No, actually it was her and my four year old son who came in and out like tornadoes grabbing the cards! Yes, the youngest boy is immensely hooked on the cards as well.

Bella Sara cards feature horses in all forms- regular horses, magical horses, winged, and even horse hybrids. Not only that but they actually learn about horses as they use the cards. Even better still is the fact that Bella Sara has incorporated their cards into their website in a really neat way!

After buying a pack of the cards (easy to find at Wal-Mart, Target, etc) you can go online to register your horse in your very own virtual stable. Each card has it’s very own authentication code at the bottom that you type in giving you access to the horse and it's fantastic stable. After registering the card you can go to your horse’s stable and do so many things like feed, water, groom, give an apple to, and change the hay for your horse which my kids found to be their favorite parts.

Once you have taken care of your horse it will be ready to play games and explore it’s world. You can play games, read the first chapter of the online Storybook, print Coloring Pages, and tons more! We still haven’t made it through everything on the site and every time we think we’re getting close they add something new!

Since receiving the Bella Sara cards to review I have had to buy four more packs for Sis and MonkeyBoy because they just couldn't wait to have more! Considering that the packs sell here for $1.89 per pack, I'm not complaining.

So if you have a little girl or even a little boy, visit Bella Sara's website and also look for their cards in stores. You won't be sorry and the sparkle these cards put in your child's eye is priceless.

*I have not been paid monetarily by Bella Sara to give this review. My only compensation is being allowed to keep the cards*

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why I Love Homeschooling

My friend Summer over at Mom Is Teaching did a post on 8 Reasons To Love Homeschooling which I thought was pretty great. So I'm doing it here as well and encourage others to do the same. I'm not tagging anyone so don't worry. Just enjoy doing it if you wanna. ;)

8 Reasons I Love Homeschooling

1) When my kids were in public school we didn't get along very well. They were both extremely mouthy and disrespectful. Since we started homeschooling they have become so much more mature and appreciative of things in their lives. It's been amazing watching them actually grow each day. So many things I missed when they were little but now I get to enjoy these teen years.

2) I know my kids aren't being taught the crappy History and Geography lessons that I was in school. So little of actual importance historically is taught in school and by the time most of us graduate we couldn't recite the first line of the Constitution much less the first paragraph! With homeschooling I am able to share my love of history and geography with my kids and know that as adults they'll know where Madagascar is or what "The Plague" was.

3) I get to spend time with my kids. With my health being as yucky as it is most days I enjoy getting to be around the kids and make memories now. No mommy has to go to work or mom can't help right now. Laughing, talking, learning, reading, and enjoying each other's company now fill our days.

4) I really KNOW my kids now. I know what they like and dislike. I know who they have a crush on or who their best friend is. I am ashamed to say I didn't have time for those things as a single working mom so I am very thankful for this second chance.

5) Since my kids spend more time with me they are able to understand our disorder and the affects of it better. They see how it has affected me and the tests I take and know that if it's ever their turn for all this it will all be okay.

6) Not having to do the mad back to school shopping crap! I both loved and hated when it was back to school time. In a way it was fun to take the kids shopping for new stuff but it was never fun dealing with hordes of people or school supply lists. Now I just hit sales when I want to and enjoy the savings all year long.

7) FIELD TRIPS!! I never got to go on field trips with the kids when they were younger and now we can go on one whenever we want to. I love that! During our homeschooling time we've been to an ice cave and dormant volcano, a wolf sanctuary, a wildlife refuge, a pumpkin patch, several museums, the zoo, the botanical gardens, to the movies, hiking, and on and on. We've taken more trips in 2 1/2 years than they ever did in public school.

8) Getting to watch the youngest one start his homeschooling adventure right from the start. The difference in the way he learns and the way the other two were programmed to learn is amazing. No stress, no tears, and he doesn't have to sit still in a desk all day at the age of 4. I just wish I would have known about this when the other two were little so I could have guided them as well.

Those are MY eight things I love about homeschooling. Honestly? I think I probably could have kept listing things so it's probably a good thing this stops you at just eight. LOL.

Friday, September 7, 2007

A Real Post. Shocking I Know

I'm sorry to post back to back reviews on you. I like sharing with the rest of you great stuff I come across but I'm definately not turning this into a review blog. If you would like to see educational product reviews please keep checking my Sona Creidhe Reviews blog. I have 87 companies I'm doing reviews for and ALOT of great stuff to share with you.

Every review is my honest opinion and if I think something is junk I will tell you so. I'm not going to lie to you and say something is great if it quite frankly sucks. ;)

Our new year of homeschooling is going slowing. I've been so busy (and sick I'm afraid) that we've been piecing it together as we go. I'm happy to say though that Big B and Sis are actually doing work on their own now. Big B took a bunch of textbooks I got for free to his room and started going through them. I loved it when he said "Those are boring and leave out so much!". hehe My evil plan is working!!!! Just kidding. Sis is reading everyday and even doing MATH on her own. It's scary I tell you!

Thanks to doing reviews I have everything I need to teach MonkeyBoy this year. I still don't believe in organized school for kids his age so he is just enjoying playing with stuff as it comes in and he is learning so much. We received a Leapster from one company along with some other things and he is just learning in leaps and bounds with them all. He even showed me the other night that he knows numbers by sight now. *tear* I was so excited and it hit me so hard. Here I have been worrying over how to teach him these things in a fun way and he already knows!

So my little family is doing well. I hope to get on the ball with HSing very soon and I'm actually trying to do this thing called "ORGANIZING" this year. It's an amazing concept. hehe

Game Review: Pegs In The Park

*previously posted at Sona Creidhe Reviews but I wanted to make sure I share it with the homeschool community*

Recently JAX Games (also known as Jax LTD Inc) sent my family not one but TEN of their games to have fun with and then give our honest opinions on. Considering the games they sent, they made my job really easy.As soon as the games arrived, Lil Man went through them and his very first choice was Pegs In The Park.

The rules of this game are really simple- everyone chooses a Peg game piece, each player draws one of 44 cards with a positive or negative number on it during their turn, and then everyone moves their Peg the number the card shows either forward or back on their own path to be the first one to get to the Ice Cream truck in the middle.
Lil Man loved reading the numbers on the cards (which is something new for him) and he really liked competing against the rest of us.

Anyone who knows my youngest by now knows the kid won more times than anyone else on this game as well.

Pros Of This Game-

*Teaches number recognition and counting
*No reading to make it hard on younger kids
*No small game pieces for siblings to swallow (including dice)
*Competitive yet fun
*No name brand characters making you feel like a sell out
*Fun for some kids to even play alone (yes mine did that)
*A great addition for teachers or homeschoolers to a Unit Study on Counting, Number Recognition, or even Ice Cream. You could even intigrate it as part of a LapBook or NoteBook (homeschooling lingo)

Cons Of This Game-

*The pieces are a little hard at times for kids to put in the holes due to the fact that the holes are small and spaced close together.MY Advice? Maybe the company could make bigger bottoms on the game pieces and thus slightly bigger (maybe fewer) holes to put them in. This would make it easier for little hands to find the holes and fit in the pegs.

My honest opinion of this game is that it was fun and definitely educational as well. Jax Games has done well with this game- good price, being educational, and entertainment value.

Pegs In The Park is available at Amazon and most online board game stores. For more information about this and other games please visit their website.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

MotherTalk Blog Tour: Maximum Ride 3

For my first Blog Tour with MotherTalk I was given the chance to review James Patterson's Maximum Ride 3: Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports. My biggest worry when I received the book was that since I'm not a big Sci-Fi Fantasy fan, I would end up hating the book and spend two weeks trying to figure out how to nicely say it stunk. Thankfully that was not even remotely the case.

Maximum Ride 3 is the third installment in James Patterson's series (with rumor of a fourth coming out next year) featuring the winged teenage hero, Max and her "Flock". After reading this book I can say my only regrets are that I had never heard of the Maximum Ride book series before and that I didn't read the first two books first. Since finding the books at the local library was next to impossible I was relieved that Mr. Patterson recaps the first two books throughout the story so you understand what's going on now.

Knowing that there is a Maximum Ride website complete with forums, Fang's blog really does exist, and that Max even has her own MySpace made it even more fun as my kids and I read through each site. Having the characters as part of the "blogosphere" gives them a new dimension that young readers are usually not able to see with their favorite book characters.

My oldest son who is sixteen read the book before I could grab it so I decided to not only give my opinion on the book but his as well. My son loves to read and is very hard to please so I felt his thoughts on this were important. Here are some questions we both answered...

1- What was your favorite thing about the book?

**Jolene**- The story had great imagery, showed teens in a positive light (smart, responsible, and brave), and whenever I read the parts about flying it was almost like you were there yourself. I also really enjoyed Max because her sarcasm and attitude reminded me of myself at her age.

**Big B**- Whenever Max tries to balance the roles of leader, mother, and friend for the whole Flock. Also when Fang, Iggy, and Gasman battle the robot Erasers.

2- What did you dislike about the book?

**Jolene**- One of the deaths was a little sad and it got confusing at times trying to figure out if it was Max talking, one of the Flock, or if it was like Max was writing in her diary. I also thought the ending was kind of flat after all the build up and excitement throughout the book. It just lacked "umph" at the end.

**Big B**- When Max finds out who her biological father is. It was just disappointing who it was.

3- What kind of person or group would you recommend this book to?

**Jolene**- I would recommend it to youth ages 10-15, to teachers for use in the classroom as maybe a Unit Study or project, and to people who are interested in mythical winged creatures already (gargoyles, vampires, angels, etc).

**Big B**- I would recommend it to people younger than 15 mostly but I would still tell my friends about it. After reading this book I put the first two on hold at the library so I can read them as well. It was definitely interesting and a nice change from just Harry Potter books all the time.

4- How was the book different than what you expected, or surprising?

**Jolene**- Since the book is actually for kids I figured the story would be nice but not enough to actually draw me in. Surprisingly, I was just as eager to finish the book and find out what happened to the Flock as my son was!!

**Big B**- It wasn't a little kids book. It actually dealt with the problems that face teenagers such as love, identifying yourself, and wanting to fit in, which was cool.

So all in all we both enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the first two as well. I personally enjoyed having yet another book that I could read and discuss with one of my kids. Hopefully my thirteen year old daughter will take an interest in the book soon and we can all three have a discussion on it. I greatly appreciate being given the chance to read and review this book. The experience was alot of fun.
This review is part of a MotherTalk blog tour.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Finally, A Field Trip!!

Last week we finally went on our first field trip in a long time. Unfortunately, my health puts quite a damper on things pretty regularly but when we were offered the chance to attend with our new homeschool group I didn't care how I felt, we were going!

The group down here is small but very nice. I met several really nice women and my kids even made a few friends as well. Sis made lots of friends actually and they've all been calling each other ever since. Big B was the only person his age there but luckily we had a teen girl for a tour guide so they at least had music they could talk about. Lil Man made a new little girlfriend and all of us thought it was so cute watching them walk around holding hands. Yes, at the age of almost 5 he is already a ladie's man. I'm in trouble!

Our field trip was to a place called Wildlife West in Edgewood. Wildlife West is a wildlife preserve and "enhanced zoo," that is nonprofit and run completely by volunteers. The best part is that most of their volunteers are kids under the age of 18! It's great to see all that these kids have built and done with their own two hands.

Our tour guide, Karrie, was very good and did a wonderful job telling everyone about the animals. The kids got to see mountain lions, a black bear, birds of prey, and lots more. After we ate lunch in the pavillion the kids were taken on a tractor ride around the property and then it was time to go.

All in all we were there for about three hours and between the intense heat of the day and all the walking I was one wiped out mama by the time we were finished. I was quite proud of my older two kids because thanks to their time at the Wildlife Sanctuary they were able to help the tour guide with even more info on the birds.

The lady who leads the homeschool group and I have been talking and I think we're probably going to be able to come up with alot of future plans for this group like a Teen Group, field trips, tours, swimming dates, and all kinds of good stuff. I look forward to helping Theresa make this a great group and with all the great moms I met last week, I think that will be very easy.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Yes, No, Maybe?

Over the last few weeks the kids and myself have been considering whether or not we want to continue with homeschooling for another year. So many ideas and plans for last year that just never came to fruitation. Can I really give these kids what they need when I'm the only parent in the house who is for homeschooling? Am I helping or hurting these kids by having them learn at home? Should someone like me even be doing this?

So many questions with so many answers but of course, never the right one.

Big B wants to continue homeschooling so he can do the Dual Program at the college and still have his freedom. The only problem is that Big B wants to play football and that isn't going to happen unless he is in public school. :( As he put it "So I can go play football and get a crappy education or I can not play football and get a good one?" and he is pretty much right. Playing football is his dream though and I don't want to see him lose that. I'm a perfect example of what happens to a person when they give up on dreams and life in general. I want more for my kids.

Sis still just can't understand that if she goes back to public school she most likely won't be in the 7th grade. She fiddled around all year and truly learned next to nothing (even on an unschooling level she picked nothing up) so now if she wants to start junior high next month she's going to have to work for it. Over a year's worth of learning in less than a month. Of course, the only reason she wants to go to public school is because all her "friends" (I put that in quotes because they're actually spoiled, rude, and bitchy) on our block are PS kids. What she's not getting is that she won't be in class with any of them and going back just to hang out really isn't going to work.

I feel like my daughter has just already given up and if I try to help her she fights me and then all we do is fight. Definately not the relationship I wanted to have.

MonkeyBoy is excited to be starting "Kindergarten" this year. If he was in public school he would still be a preschooler because his birthday is in November but I printed up several "What Your Preschooler Should Know" type lists and he has covered everything on them so there's no sense in doing it for another year. He's the only one of the three that I feel like I won't screw up if I homeschool him. I guess it's just because I can start from the beginning with him whereas the other two were in 4th and 9th grade when we started.

So that's it for us right now. Just trying to decide what we're doing and figuring out the new "year". I do know that if we homeschool again this year we will do better and have more fun than in the past. Me being sick is no excuse and I really need to learn to adapt.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wooden Thomas The Tank Engine Recall

I just wanted to post this real quick because I know many of us have children who own many of the trains listed. Luckily for us, we only had the Day Out With Thomas one.

See, even Thomas and his friends have it out for your kids!!! I always knew those trains were evil just look at Diesel 10. You can tell he's a real meany in the morning!

Never trust something that can talk without moving it's lips. *wink*

By the way, there are pictures of the recalled trains if you scroll to the bottom of the page.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Black Thumb Of Death Strikes Again!!!

I told you everyone in this family has a black thumb didn't I? All the seeds we planted started out nicely and really would have done fine but we put off planting them. Then it started to rain here. Then it started to rain ALOT here. Our backyard is nothing but sand. Believe it or not sand likes to be blown around by the wind. Said sand smothered our seedlings.

What did we do? Not go outside to touch them for two days after that. LOL. We are such lazy gardeners!

So no Eggplant, Blue Boys, Marigolds, or Spinach for us this year. Also, NEVER buy one of those strawberry kits for $9.98 from Walmart because they are junk. So no Strawberries for us this year either. THAT one makes me sad. :(

The Tomato plants from the Tomatosphere experiment are doing very well though. They are growing strong and healthy! YAY!! I am also happy to report that MonkeyBoy's mixed flower seeds are doing very well also. His first flower bloomed a few days ago and the look on his face was absolutely priceless! I will have to take pictures to include in this post soon so be sure to check back soon.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Definately Having Doubts

As we're finishing up our second year of homeschooling I can't help but wonder if there should even be a third year. I had a long post all typed up but deleted it because I just don't feel right talking about the horror that is our homeschooling experience.

It seems the only one I should even consider homeschooling is MonkeyBoy and even that is questionable.

Who knew that children could sit on their ass and do nothing, treat their mom like crap, think they know it all, and still believe they are somehow ahead of everyone else their age! Wow, what am I even doing here? This isn't worth me getting physically ill all the time. This isn't worth watching them enjoy me getting physically ill all the time from this crap.

I think they've finally won. I can't do this for another year. Maybe they really are better off being put back a grade (or two in Sis' case) in public school. :(

Friday, June 1, 2007

Mine's Bigger

That title got your attention didn't it? Bad bad parent! :) I thought this was cute so I had to post it. By the way, if you believe in creationism please just see this as the joke it's meant to be and don't take offense.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Please Keep Her In Your Thoughts

*Update- She’s gone. Patsy passed away around 9:30 eastern time this evening, Sunday. Her breathing slowed and she was gone within a few minutes. She was wrapped in love, to be sure.

A very special mama from a few of the parenting boards I use to frequent might be losing her fight with lung cancer tonight- Patsy.

She has always been a bright light on the mama boards and despite being dealt such a crappy hand (the cancer) she has been such an upbeat person through her struggles.

Patsy has seven children and they just really need their mama for awhile longer so please pray, keep her in your thoughts, light a candle, or whatever it is you may do in times of need for her. I’m not very good at this since as an atheist I don’t pray but I’m not beneath asking those who do pray to for one of their own. She is deeply in my thoughts though and my heart breaks with each tear I shed and believe me, this woman is so special that if you even knew of her you would be crying as well.

Patsy- To say I admire your strength would be an understatement. You are amazing and I hope to someday have even half of the grace and class that you have. the strength you gave me through watching you. You are the epitomy of strength and you will always be one of my heroes. I am proud to know (even if not in the flesh) someone as wonderful as you. Thank you.

Fight mama, I know you’re tired but just keep fighting.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy 16th Birthday, Big B

I usually write a post each year on the kids’ birthdays at our Life With Heathens blog so instead of posting the same thing here I will just give you the link if you would like to read it.

Sweet 16 For WHO?!

For those of you who don’t frequent our LWH blog, heathens does not mean anything having to do with any religion. It’s used in the context of “my rotten little kids”. They are my heathens.

Here’s a perfect example of a heathen! lol

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

They LIVE!!!

The tomato seeds (and other seeds) we planted almost two weeks ago that is. It sounds goofy but the kids and I are ecstatic over this because we all have black thumbs. We fully expected everything to either not grow at all or die quickly.

On April 3rd, Lil Man and I planted a small pot of mixed seed flowers just for him. He talked about how big his flowers were going to grow and how pretty they would be. The Grim Plant Killer hangs over this family so heavily that while he was dreaming about his plant, I was trying to think where I could buy a small potted plant in a week or two so he wouldn’t know his had died. Bad mommy, I know.

The next day we started our Tomatosphere experiment. Two days earlier I had gone to Blahmart and bought one of those Jiffy Greenhouse Kits along with a strawberry plant kit, and some organic garden soil for when we transplanted the seedlings outside. Tomatosphere suggested peat pellets and I have to say that the Jiffy kit is a lifesaver if you totally stink at gardening!

We planted the tomato seeds, spinach seeds, Blue Boy seeds, and Marigold seeds in the greenhouse kit on April 4th. The way the kit works is you add water to the bottom of the container and wait for the pellets to soak it up. Then you put the seeds in the middle and voila, just wait for them to sprout!

While we were waiting for the pellets to soak we started the strawberry kit which was alot of fun. You start with a brick of coconut fiber, add water to it, and watch it expand. When it has completely soaked you scoop the “dirt” into the pot, plant the strawberry plants, and again you are done! I’m telling you, it’s like Gardening For Dummies!

By April 7th we already had germination! About 1/2 of the sprouts started to show from everything but the strawberry plant. Anyone know how long that is suppose to take? Packet “R” of the tomato seeds were the first to sprout but Packet “S” wasn’t too far behind.

By April 10th all of the tomato seeds that were going to germinate had done so. Out of 64 pellets for tomatoes planted (with a seed each) I think we only had one seed from each packet not germinate. We are still keeping an eye on them though just in case. Pretty good odds if you ask me! The Tomatosphere site says you get 70 seeds but we only got 67 (the cat ate three that Lil Man dropped).

Lil Man’s plant sprouted on the same day as the others so we had all kinds of greenery around here! The site says that you transplant the seedlings at around six weeks but ours are already too tall and the roots are too long to be in just the peat pellets. So Today we planted all of the “R” and “S” seedlings and their pellets in seperate large containers (to keep inside).

We also began digging a shallow trench in our back yard along the house to plant the Marigolds, Blue Boys, and a variety mix that I have in a few days. Our back yard is nothing but sand, some weeds, and an indentation where we’re guessing a pool use to be so we have alot of work to do on it. The little guy thought he was being a help by putting all of the pellets together that were left after we transplanted the tomatoes. Now we don’t know our Blue Boys from our Marigolds from our Spinach. This should be interesting!

I think the best parts so far are hearing Lil Man tell people that we are growing Martian tomatoes (I can not wait until he sees GREEN tomatoes starting! FUNNN!!!) and the joy and relief on the older two kids’ faces from knowing that WE are actually growing something.
I can’t get the Flickr plugin to work so I can add pics to this post but you can see the whole set HERE.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Why Sona Creidhe?

I know it looks funny but I swear it makes sense once I explain.

The words “sona” and “creidhe” are from the Scots Gaelic language. “Sona” means happy and “Creidhe” means Heart so put together it roughly translates to “Happy Heart”.

I say roughly because in Scots Gaelic it might read as creidhe sona for all I know. I couldn’t get a solid answer on it so bear with me here.

So we are pretty much "Happy Hearts Homeschool/Academy" and I like to say our motto is…

Exploring our world with “happy hearts” and open minds.

Of course, the kids think it's cheesy and hate when I do that so shhhhhhh, don't tell.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

We Should Study…

anything having to do with medicine because as much as I get sick these kids would have a degree by now! OY!! This time it’s only allergies or a sinus infection though so not a big deal.

I’m still working on putting together the unit study plus I’m trying to incorporate Spring into our studies just for fun. Thanks to Theresa at Lapaz Farm we signed up at Tomatosphere for their “blind” test and today we received our seed packets! I’m hoping we will get them planted and get started this week. Yet another reason why I love having other homeschoolers to share and learn from.

Big B has been using Shakespeare’s MacBeth for his Copywork lately and really seems to enjoy it. He’s even considering trying to get some other teens together to do an Act or two from it. I’m not sure how successful he’ll be getting others to join in but I commend him for wanting to try.
As yet we haven’t been able to meet up with the homeschool group I posted about but I have emailed and talked with one of the ladies and we get along well so if the others are even half as cool as her, we’ll do fine. It seems like a great group who actually enjoys doing things so I’m even more excited now!

Sis has been doing alot of worksheets lately (her choice) and I’m proud of her for continuing even though most of them are in Math and that is her hated subject. Thankfully she’s not like her mother (who turned in her book at the beginning of 9th grade and just took a “D” for the semester. LOL) and I hope it all eventually clicks for her. I found out they have free tutoring at the local library so I may start taking her to that each week.

As for me, I will finally be beginning a Tai Chi class the second week of April. They’re having a free weekly class at one of the community centers so I have no excuses not to go. I’m hoping this helps me cope with some of the pain better and even if it doesn’t, I’ve always wanted to try Tai Chi so now is my chance.

Also, the kids and I went to a Fishing Derby last Saturday. It was an experience to say the least. We mostly just went so Lil Man could go fishing and I’m afraid we only lasted about an hour because it was very very C-O-L-D! I have to admit that I was the first to wimp out but I sucked it up until Lil Man announced “This stinks, I’m not catching fish and I’m cold. Let’s go home and have hot cocoa”! Yep, works for me.

I think they have an egg hunt coming up in a week or two. We’ll hit that since it’s more our speed anyway. lol.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Go Me!

Today has been a pretty good day, I have to admit. This morning I received an email telling me that it’s my turn up at TopMomma (so be sure to go vote for me) which seems like alot of fun.

We also made progress on our “schoolwork” today, I got some of my writing done (for the free sites and the pays me money sites I write for), Big B is in a good mood because he talked to his girlfriend last night which means he isn’t moping around, Sis did her journals without World War III breaking out, and I bought myself some cupcakes when I went to the store earlier. Okay so I’ll admit it, the cupcakes I mean kids are what made the day so good. Yeah, I meant the kids. LOL.

Lil Man and I are currently reading the book From Seed To Plant by Gail Gibbons so he understands what is going on when we plant our tomato seeds this weekend plus he can feel more a part of things when we landscape our yard this Spring. So far he is very excited and even though today is an extremely cold day, he feels we should go do some planting now. LOL

Not a bad ending to the week and hopefully next week will be even better!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Crossing Fingers

Just a quick rundown since I haven’t been around in so long… we bought a house about 40 minutes outside of the city. Since moving here the kids and I have been pretty much housebound. A big part of that was because I was sick but it was also because there was nothing for us to do that was close by.

We knew of one homeschool association out here but it didn’t seem like the right fit for us right now. I figured that would be that and we would just have to figure out things for ourselves. Thankfully though the other day I came across another homeschool group out here that does sound like the right fit for us. They have children that are the same ages as all three of my kids and they do group field trips which would be nice for us.

“School wise” this coming week we’re going to try to get as much done as possible. Big B has been doing very well with the unschooling approach I took with him awhile back. He makes sure he does the things he needs in order to maybe get to start a dual program at the college this summer. Sis is still having trouble with Math so that will be our main focus again and Lil Man just likes doing tons of fun little worksheets, making crafts, and reading. So easy to please that one is. lol

I’m trying to get together a Unit Study on the Aztecs and Mayans that both the Middle Schooler and High Schooler can use. If they were a few years younger this would be easier but then it wouldn’t be MY life now would it? lol

Also there are some new “Homeschool” Pictures on our Flickr if you’d like to check them out.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Trying To Catch Up

I guess it’s about time I try to dust this blog off and catch up a little, hmmm? My absence hasn’t been due to laziness though and I apologize to the people who use to regularly read this blog. I just spent the last two months sick nonstop and being able to get online or post to anything was the last thing I could do.

In mid-December we moved into our very first house (buying) and of course, instead of being sensible and taking things slowly the hubby and I rushed moving everything ourselves. He ended up with an achy back and I ended up with adrenal crisis(I have no adrenal glands/adrenal insufficiency). Spent a week feeling soso and then the kids and I attended a playgroup and Lil Man brought home stomach flu which proceeded to make its way around the whole family. Lil Man had it for a few days, then Big B for 24 hours, Sis only got it a little as did Vin, and then it came to ME. Ugh. I was sick for almost three weeks because along with that came adrenal crisis two more times. As soon as I was finished with that there were other things to deal with, then migraines for two weeks, and so on. LOL.

During those two months “schoolwork” was very light but it was nice to watch the oldest two kids work on their own and find new ways of learning. Big B worked on his Algebra and US History during that time and is trying to get into the dual program at the college this summer. Sis found out that she LOVES to learn about History… as long as it’s through the Dear America books series. After she read the first one she wanted to read ALL of them so she’s been working her way through the books as well as learning more about the subjects of the books. For instance, one book was about Suffragate so she read the book and then went in search of more information about what it was like women trying to win the right to vote as well as about the important women involved.

I was shocked to say the least because Sis usually doesn’t like anything having to do with extra effort. I’m proud of her for not only being so interested but also going beyond just the information in the books.

Lil Man can spell his name now. He doesn’t write it in a line everytime but he can form each letter and tell you what it is. He is so proud of himself and loves to sign anything he can get ahold of.

As far as the new house goes… well we all hate it and regret buying it but it’s too late now. It has so many problems that we didn’t know about before plus my husband is for some reason just now realizing that living 25 miles outside of Albuquerque is a pain in the butt. Gee, didn’t see that one coming. Anyway- the homeschool group out here is pretty much worthless and we can’t afford to drive into town very often so the kids and I have been isolated out here with not much to do. It sucks and I’m hoping that something changes soon.

So that’s it. I’ve just been too ill to sit at a computer and type so I haven’t been able to update. Due to other problems with my health right now I won’t be able to post alot but hopefully the kids will start typing up and posting for me. Hey, it teaches them Language skills, Reading, and and… well it’s learning darnit! lol

Take care and I will try to post again soon.