Thursday, November 2, 2017

Day 189

This is what homeschool looks like! Endless Algebra, science books stacked up, essential oil guide, Uno, Scripture study journal. There could be anything on our table--or everything.

We helped Sarah come up with a character for NaNoWriMo by asking her all kinds of questions. We started by asking her if her character was a boy or girl. Girl, of course. Then we asked about what she looked like; hair, eye color, height. Then her personality, her job and her age. She came up with someone very much like Kamille, which I thought was cute. When I told Kamille about it, she wasn't sure she was spunky; but I think she is. It means courageous and determined. She may not think she's courageous because she's shy with people, but that isn't all there is to it.

Jeff's dad called and said they're going to move into an apartment after Christmas. They've lived in their house for something like 43 years. It's going to be sad.

Then Jeff's brother called and said he knows someone that's going through training where Jeff works and the instructors he's had have been just terrible. Like not nice and very inconsistent. So Jeff called the guy and talked to him for a long time about some procedural questions and hopefully helped him be a little less stressed about the whole thing. I was gone while Jeff was talking to him, but Sarah said he sounded like he was speaking a foreign language the whole time. She said, "Dad, you sounded really smart!" Haha! It's like when our friends from Mexico first moved here and their little children could speak Spanish (of course). Those little 4 year olds seemed like geniuses to us! Jeff knows this whole other language!

I guess we're all geniuses in some way.

Rachel and I went to our "starting your business" meeting tonight. We talked about how to decide if our business ideas are actually what we should do. There are some questions you ask yourself and then decide if your idea is the best way to go about it. Also, you do a lot of praying for understanding and guidance. The idea isn't just to make money with your business, but also to serve some higher purpose. Something that can help people or fill a real need. We're supposed to interview several business owners and customers this week too. Sounds like fun, but a little scary.

See you next time!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Day 188-Not too many more!

So I'm hoping that when I get to 200 days, I'll be ready to switch over to my online magazine or blog or whatever it turns out to be. I don't know if I've told you it's called Homeschool Paradigm. I love the name because it means a clear pattern of how something is done, and I'm hoping to make it easier for families to homeschool with clarity and peace. I can't wait!

Sarah hasn't decided what she's going to write about for NaNoWriMo yet. So Rachel showed her some brainstorming she had done before starting to write Becoming Sencra's Queen. She came up with a character and asked all these questions about what could happen and why and what the girl was like. It was pretty impressive. I also told her she could do sort of a fan fiction story about one of Rachel's characters since she knows them all. I guess we'll see; it starts Wednesday.

We had Sam teach us how to make a stop action video today using a pencil as the character. We had it roll in from one side, turn around, and take off with a flame coming out the back. We had to draw the flames with our fingers. It was pretty fun. Next time he's going to show us how to use the erase function to make things look like they're floating through the air.

I was wondering if we just plan on taking Mondays off, if we would feel better. We usually do a lot less on Monday anyway, or we do a lot of things that are easy for us like video lessons from The Great Courses. I guess it's math and science that we don't feel like doing on Mondays. Maybe I should just embrace it and not let myself feel pressured from it. I always advise other people to do what they can and not feel pressure about the rest. Maybe I should take my own advice!

We've Started reading Amos Fortune, Free Man. It's hard to read it without thinking slave owners were just plain idiots. I'm sure there's so much more to that story than we'll ever know or be able to understand. It just seems like a no-brainer to not kidnap people and enslave them, doesn't it?

See you next time!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Day 187

Wednesday night at church, the kitchen was full of teenage boys. There must have been 20 of them in there having a stir-fry cook-off. The kitchen's not that big either, probably 12 x 12. Sam's team didn't think to make sauce, so they didn't win. They made cookies too, but they put the icing on while they were still hot. The judge didn't even want to try them. It was totally fun, and fun for those of us looking in the kitchen once in a while.

That group (or class) for starting your own business is pretty serious. You have discussions and commit to do certain things every day. Then you report to another group member about how well you kept your commitments. Rachel and I are partners this week. She's usually good at keeping me on track. Or trying to anyway.

We're supposed to go to a business each day and observe and ask ourselves questions about how we think they do certain things. Then I think next week we have to interview business owners. Also we have commitments specific to our business. Mine is to find out how an online magazine works this week. You know, how to even go about setting it up. I think Rachel's supposed to think about what she would put on an author page. Pretty fun!

We watched a video lesson in our photography course today. It was about taking photos of famous places while on vacation and having our families in them, but in an interesting way. Our assignment is to go to a famous place and take some great pictures with a different perspective than usual. So I guess we'll have to go on vacation. Haha! Maybe we'll just pretend our house is a castle or something.

How about a dose of cuteness? Here's a screenshot of Eliza looking at herself in the computer screen while we were video chatting. She's shy when she can see us, so Wilson hid us and she started talking up a storm. And smiling at herself on the screen!

See you next time!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Day 186--Family

We went over to my parents this afternoon to help with a few things. My dad is making a big beautiful armoire for their bedroom, and they needed some furniture moved to make room for it. It's huge! So we did that and a some other stuff they needed. Then I made stew in their pressure cooker. I've never used it before so I had to stop and look at the directions a thousand times. I'm kind of afraid of using it because my mom has told me stories about each of my grandmas getting burnt when their pressure cookers blew up! It worked well though. I guess if I got used to using it, it would save time.

My dad came across his baby book the other day, so we looked through it while we were there. We took a picture of every page so we could put it on the family history website we use. Here's a link if you want to check it out. I love it!

You can make a free account, put in your information and the information for your parents and grandparents up to one deceased generation, and it can show you your ancestors. It's very cool. There's a place to put memories (photos, stories, and even audio files), and we're going to put the pictures on there so they'll be stored permanently.

Last week we recorded Jeff's mom telling things about her mom, and we put that on FamilySearch. She said she couldn't think of any stories; but once he asked her some questions, it was a lot easier.

Last night we went to a seminar kind of thing at church about self reliance. It's a new thing they're doing to help people improve in that area. The people who were there formed groups that will focus on one specific theme for 12 weeks. We'll go to the group meetings once a week for 2 hours and discuss ideas and support each other in actually following through on goals. The group we joined is the one about starting your own business. Rachel's going to go too, since she needs to come up with an author website or something to promote her books and get her name out there. I'm going to focus on starting an online homeschool magazine. Then hopefully that'll give me an avenue to sell my books too--when I get them written! I'm totally excited!

See you next time!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 185--Planting and Ice Skating

Sam likes to draw while he's supposed to be doing math, and today I watched him doing it and the expression on his face matched the face he was drawing! I told him that and he said it helps him get it right. So Sarah tried it. She's got furrowed eyebrows in this picture in case you can't tell, and here's what she was drawing. Sam did enhance it a little afterward though. I don't see a way to rotate the picture so it's sideways!

Sam worked on coming up with a character for his comic strip class today. He tried several different kinds. He's SO good at drawing! I guess it might be in his genes a little. My dad can draw and my brother is actually an artist, so he's just amazing. I can draw a little bit if I have something to look at. I definitely can't draw from my head. My brother can draw anything he's ever seen and it's always perfect. Sam's more like that and working on it all the time.

We signed Sarah up for NaNoWriMo today. She set her word count goal at 10,000. I might do it too, but I can't decide if I should try fiction or just work on one of my many book ideas. Rachel already writes all day long, so I don't think she'll need any extra motivation. I wonder if she'll ever run out of ideas. I guess it doesn't work like that any more for fiction than nonfiction. I'm just amazed at anyone that can come up with stories.

We went over to my parents' house today and helped them plant a few things that will bloom in the spring. We planted this very twiggy little tree, and we were afraid it would get mowed down because it was so hard to see, so Sam hammered a stick in next to it to make it visible. We planted 5 peony bushes and like 50 starts of some kind of ground cover. Dad and my brother had already planted 140 tulip bulbs. They used a drill bit that digs out dirt so you can plant the bulbs fast. I wish we had been there for that. Sounds fun.

Sam and Sarah went to an ice kating birthday party tonight for one of their friends. They haven't done much ice skating, but they did great. Sarah got a lot more comfortable than she had been. Sam was pretty comfortable already. They were so cute. There were about 25 teens there and they all were on about the same level. It was good that nobody was terrific at skating, but they all were pretty good. Maybe we should go more as a family and I would learn to do it a little. Of course Jeff already can. He can do everything!

See you next time!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Day 184

I came up with a new book idea. I don't even know how many books are floating around in my head now. Probably at least six. I wish I could stay up all night writing instead of sleeping, since I don't have much time during the day to work on any projects. Actually, it's what I do all day that has given me anything to write about anyway. So no complaining here. It might just take me a few more years to get to it. That's not too long.

We went on a little road trip to see Jeff's parents last weekend, and on the drive I got finished with my first run through of Rachel's book, Sencra's Fate. Now she's going through it looking at my notes. She says it's easier to edit with me though, because we can bounce ideas off of each other and come up with something better than either of us can doing it alone. I love that about editing. It does work better for us if I go through and make notes and then go back together to work things out. It's so satisfying. It's like you can feel it physically when you say something just right. Is that strange? It's true though.

I think Sam would like to work on statistics and then he'd be more interested in the algebra that would come up. He's so set on doing it the way everyone else does it. I'm not sure where he got that. Maybe it's because we don't do too much that's like everyone else. I'll have to talk to him some more about it.

His Comic Strip Capers Brave Writer class started this week. It looks like so much fun! I think I'll probably do the assignments with him. He gets to draw a character over the next couple days. I'd like Sarah to do the assignments too. She drew an amazing bird yesterday. We were looking at a bird book, and I decided we'd draw a tree swallow from a picture. Theirs were better than mine. Here's hers

I'd like to see Sarah try her hand at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). She hasn't written much fiction, but it might be fun for her. She and the others started a murder mystery story a couple years ago, and she worked on finishing it on her own but never did. I think it would be fun for her to try this. You don't have to do 50,000 words; it can be as many as you want. It might be fun for me to try too, even though I kind of stink at fiction.

See you next time!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Day 183

Tell me you don't think that's the sweetest face ever! Friday was Rachel's birthday, and Tuesday was Jeff's. We ate birthday cake for lunch before he went to work. Kamille's birthday is tomorrow, mine was a couple weeks ago and Sam's is in 3 weeks. It's crazy! Wilson and Sarah are the strange ones with birthdays in July. I guess we added another one to summer, though, with Eliza in June.

Wilson and Kamille don't have many books to read, so I'm excited about Kamille's present. I put 14 books in the cart on amazon and she picked the ones she wanted and ordered them. I love books as gifts! We don't usually do birthday presents, but we got a wild hair this time. We all picked our favorite ones for her to choose from. She chose Little Women, Mara, Daughter of the Nile, The Three R's, and The Power of Everyday Missionaries. I think she's going to love them!

Rachel's still looking for the perfect picture for her next book cover. We were trying to take some of the moon with mysterious looking clouds over it the other night. I don't think we got anything we could use, but it was fun.

We went to a small funeral today. It was a graveside service for my Great Aunt Genny. She was so sweet. She was so much like my grandma (her sister); fun to be around. I think she was the last person in her generation in my family. She'll be missed.

See you next time!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Day 182

Look how serious they are when they're doing math! I've still got them sharing a book. I guess that's working alright. I really don't want to pay nearly a hundred dollars for another one. Also I'm not sure I can get one that's exactly like this one, and I like this one.

Rachel finished typing her third novel today. Now she has to read it before she'll want me to. After that, she went over some of my suggested edits for her sequel, and now she's sitting on the couch writing another book! She won't tell me what it's about. All she'll say is that it's about a girl and written in first person. That's the way she likes to write them. Oh and she did say she's excited about it.

Sam just got home from his Young Men's activity at church. They were learning to make chili and cornbread. He said that while they were cooking, the boys decided they want to have a bake-off among the young men. He says he wants to make garlic-cheese bread. That makes me want some of that right now!

We read the rest of the first part of An Old Fashioned Girl today. The next chapter is six years later. I can't wait to read that tomorrow. That book just makes me want to be good.

See you next time!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Day 181

This is a screenshot from our video chat with Wilson and Kamille Sunday. Eliza likes to sit and read books, and I love the way she's got her little hands on the page. Looks like she's concentrating. This only lasted for a minute, but it's longer than it used to be. She used to just sit down and flip furiously through the pages. Of course, this is what it looks like her parents are doing when they read, so she does what she sees. So clever!

We watched all of General Conference over the weekend. It was so good! It always is. Here's everyone on the couch getting ready to watch. We like to take notes on the talks and tonight for Family Home Evening, we told each other what our favorite parts were. One of my favorites was that you can't progress without effort. I think I need to work on my level of effort!

We watched some cooking lessons on the Great Courses today. They were about sautéing and roasting--my two favorite cooking methods. I love cooking shows. I used to watch them all morning long on Saturdays on pbs, when we had a tv. That was so many years ago. I don't even know how long it's been since we had a tv. At least 10 or 11 years. We've actually not had one more than we've had one during our 28 years of marriage. Or sometimes we would just put it in a closet and only get it out once in a while. I wouldn't want to have one now!

I made a list of steps for solving equations so Sam could keep it straight what he's supposed to do and when. He used it today, and I think it was better. Now to do that a thousand more times. Sarah didn't do math today because of a headache. She and I have both had one for a couple days. Maybe it's going to rain or something.

Here are the kids in the sandbox after school today. Sometimes they might be embarrassed to play in the sand; but I told them not to be, because adults go to the beach to play all the time and nobody thinks that's strange!

See you next time!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Day 180--Field Trip

Yesterday was my birthday, and we spent the whole day playing around. We went to a state park nearby and looked for fossils in a rock bed that used to be under water years and years ago. Eliza Jayne would have loved it, because rocks are her favorite things. So we sent her this picture of the kids each holding a big rock for her. Sam looks like a giant at that angle!

Then we looked at some log cabins that were actually lived in by early settlers of the area. This is the oldest one they know about.

We found this big old kettle they used to cook in, and the kids thought it looked like a cauldron so they gathered around to make some evil brew.

It was completely perfect weather too. So relaxing. After that, we went and got my parents some treats for their 60th anniversary (which was also yesterday--isn't that cute?) We got my dad salt and pepper pistachio nuts and goat cheese for my mom. We hung around at their house for a while, and then came home and watched a movie. It was such a nice day.

Today, some of us had headaches and we didn't do much academically again. That's ok. Some days I just feel like I don't know what to do for school. It's like I have no idea what they need to learn or work on, and then the next week I'm full of ideas. I guess it's cyclical.

We get to spend this weekend watching General Conference. It's a worldwide conference for our church, where the leaders speak to us; and I love it! It actually started last Saturday night with a women's meeting. Then tomorrow (Sat 10/2), there are two sessions for everyone and one in the evening for the men. Then we get two more sessions on Sunday. They're two hours each. It's my favorite. I listen to the talks over and over while I jog on the trampoline each morning for the next 6 months until we have another conference.  

Here's a link in case you're interested in checking it out. 

See you next time!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Day 179--Just when you think you have it right

Today Sam declared he couldn't understand any of his science. I don't think he dislikes the book, and I think he was understanding it before. I just think he's lost his focus for it. Maybe he's not getting enough sleep, and I know he's not getting enough physical activity lately. I've been so tired, and we've all been kind of sluggish. I'd love for it to be more fascinating to him. He really is quite willing to be interested in tons of things. If I could boil science down to statistics, he'd have no problem focusing on it.

I looked through the Great Courses list of classes to see what could take the place of his book, and there are several. I just don't know if that's the way to do it or not. I'll have to watch a few. Some of them are just not that exciting for a 14 yr old.

I think I need to do something different with his math too. He insists he has to take Algebra 1 this year or be behind. (I don't believe in "behind") It's hard for him to remember what to do at all. Algebra is so abstract. There doesn't seem to be any reason to do the things you do. And I can't get him past, "I'll never need this in real life." or "What good is it anyway? Let's just get it done." Ugh!

Rachel won a poetry contest today! She wrote a poem about learning about having faith like Esther in the Bible. It's called As Esther Saw. It's going to be published in an online magazine that's aimed at encouraging teenage girls in their faith. The poem was really great! I'll put a link to it when it comes out. I think it'll be two or three weeks. She won a gift card to a modest online clothes shop. They have some pretty cute stuff.

I'm thinking seriously about starting an online magazine about homeschooling. I'd love to get a few other moms to help me do it, and have other people writing posts regularly. I think it would be totally fun, don't you? Maybe even do some podcasts. I'm not sure about facebook live though. I always get so nervous when I'm live. I like recording things and then being able to edit. Editing is my thing, you know!

See you next time!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Day 178--Tennis in the Dark

I was too tired to write a blog last night after we went to play late tennis. It was only 9:30 when we got home, but I've been wiped out lately. We've never played in the dark before. Well there were lights on the courts.

But it was definitely dark out! After we pulled into the parking lot, a police car came in and parked not far from us as we were walking toward the courts. I thought we should slow down in case they wanted to talk to us. After all, there wasn't another soul there. (The sign says you can play tennis until 10:00) So we slowed down a bit, and the policeman hopped out of the car and went directly to the bathroom! Kind of a relief for all of us.

Since I didn't write about yesterday yesterday, I can't remember much of what I would have written if I had written yesterday. Isn't repetitiveness fun? 

We started reading An Old Fashioned Girl together. It's been a long time since I've read it, and both the girls have read it. I think Sam will like it though; he seems to identify with the 14 yr old fun-loving brother. Imagine that.

We got Rachel's Happy Light, and she's been sitting in front of it for a while each morning. I wonder if she needs to increase the time just a little. I'm not sure she's noticed much difference yet. It had started to get cold and she felt like her SAD was setting in, but then it got hot and sunny again so she's not so bad. 

I've been feeling so tired ever since Sam and Sarah have been getting a ride to Seminary each morning. I think I worry about it in my sleep. You know, about them getting up on time and being ready when they get picked up. When it's just them leaving with Rachel, I guess I don't worry about that. So I've been waking up at 5:30 before their alarm goes off and again at 6:00 when they leave and 7:00 when they get back. It kind of wears me out. Rachel has to take them a few times next week; so I'm hoping with the Happy Light, she'll be better and she can continue taking them. Then I can sleep all the way through. Because you know, I like to stay up at night writing or reading. I can't give that up.

See you next time!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Day 177--Ramblings

We were looking through some free photo websites today to find a picture for Rachel's next book cover. We found one possibility. I don't know if she'll decide to use it, but I like it.

She still has to write the synopsis for the back. She always waits til the editing is finished, in case anything changes about the story. We're about a third of the way through the editing. The story's pretty exciting so far.

In our church we're each asked to visit a few people each month to get to know them and see how they're doing. It's called Visit Teaching because we also usually give a little spiritual thought while we're visiting. So I have a new visiting teacher and she came today and brought me sunflowers.

Aren't they cute? 

One more picture from today.

It's bean cake. Sounds gross doesn't it? I don't love beans, but my family likes to eat a lot of them. So a few weeks ago, we decided to make "bean cobbler" which was beans on the bottom of the pan with cake cooked over the top. People say our cakes taste like cornbread because of using spelt flour instead of wheat, so we make cake with beans since we can't eat corn. Anyway, we thought it would be easy to cook them together. It's really yummy! Even to a semi bean-hater.

I'm thinking Sam would like geometry better than algebra this year. He doesn't seem to want to change what he's doing though. He's afraid he'll forget the algebra that he has learned. I say it wouldn't hurt.

See you next time!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Day 176--Real Life Day

I ordered Rachel a Happy Light! I'm excited to see if it helps her. It's also supposed to help you sleep better (reset your circadian rhythm) so I'm hoping it will help Jeff sleep too. 

We couldn't do too much in the way of academics today because we had a lot of real life instead. The missionaries from our church came over for a little bit after lunch, which meant cleaning up the house. I don't usually keep the house in such good shape that I want someone coming over without doing a little work first. Or sometimes a lot of work.

After they left, we had to plan for helping out with an activity for some families that are spending the night in a shelter. We talked about how everyone's important and how Heavenly Father wants each of us to feel good about ourselves and about others. We also taught a few of the kids a song that kids in our church sing called We Are Different. Here are the words:

I know you, and you know me. 
We are as different as the sun and the sea.
I know you, and you know me, and that’s the way it is  
     supposed to be.

I help you, and you help me.
We learn from problems, and we’re starting to see.
I help you, and you help me, and that’s the way it is 
     supposed to be.

I love you, and you love me.
We reach together for the best we can be.
I love you, and you love me, and that’s the way it is
     supposed to be.

It's pretty bouncy and I love the words. So there was a mom there that had been having a hard time not getting frustrated with her kids; but while we were singing, she came up and gave one of them a little snuggle on the cheek. I know that good music can make a huge difference in the way we feel and act. I guess she couldn't help but feel better about her kids while someone was singing "I love you and you love me" with them. It was a nice change. Here's a link to the music if you want to hear the tune. It's just a music player, so it doesn't have much feeling; but you can see what it sounds like. 

We had to do several things to get ready for the activity. We cut out circles from stiff paper and punched holes in them for necklaces that said, "__________ is important" and we put their names in the blank. We took markers and stickers to decorate them and yarn to put them around their necks. We also made a beanbag to throw around and have each person talk about what or who is important to them. It was like craft day, even though crafts aren't really our thing!

Sarah drove in the dark for the first time tonight. She said she felt like it was the first time she had ever driven at all. It's so different driving in the dark. Rachel gave her helpful things to think about. I hadn't even thought of some of those things since I'm used to it. Like your depth perception is a little different and you have to remember not to stare at the headlights coming at you. She did fine, but she said her shoulders were all bunched up.

See you next time!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Day 175--Shooting Guns

Sam had a young men's activity tonight. And it was shooting guns! He had so much fun. He said he hit the target 17 out of 25 times! Impressive! He used a pistol and a shot gun. Also there was some kind of ridiculously huge gun that sounded like of cannon or something. He could feel it in the ground and all through his body, even when he wasn't the one shooting.

We got to go see my niece Rebekah and her new baby today. They named her Ansley Jayne. Jayne with a "y" is a family middle name. My mom is Carole Jayne, my sister is Amanda Jayne, Her daughter is Rebekah Jayne (Ansley is Bekah's daughter), my Sarah is Sarah Jayne and my granddaughter is Eliza Jayne. It started with my great grandmother. Wait! I just looked up on my family history chart and saw that my great grandmother's middle name didn't have a "y" in it! It was Amanda Jane. I guess my grandparents added the "y" when they had my mom.

We watched another baking Great Course class today. It was about pie crust. They used so much butter! We love to eat butter, and we probably buy more of it that most people; but even we thought it was way too much. I'm sure it was extremely delicious though. And the texture. I could tell just by watching that the texture was perfect.

I miss real baking sometimes. I used to make some pretty incredible treats, but since we can't eat sugar or regular flour, we've had to change our expectations of how things are going to taste. We're pretty satisfied, but once in a while I just want some chewy cookies! Sometimes I make carmel out of pure maple syrup and put that in my cookies and they're pretty chewy. But if I don't eat them right away, they get hard. And it's a ton of syrup for just 4 cookies. Oh well.

See you next time!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Day 174

Some funny things happened today and I thought, "I have to remember that for my blog." Bad plan. I can't think of a thing now. Let's see. . . We folded every stitch of laundry in the house today. Go ahead and be impressed. I can't even tell you how many loads it was; and if any of you are looking for socks, they're here. I don't see how any socks are left in the universe.

We took a walk. Not very exciting, but the weather was nice. I can't take credit for this, but my niece had a baby yesterday. Total cuteness! I get to go see her tomorrow. Don't you love babies?

More reading, more math, more science. We watched a Great Courses class on baking. It made us all want dessert. We're easily influenced.

I got out an English textbook and opened it to a random page so we could learn some grammar thing nobody ever uses. It was about predicate nominatives. Do you know what they are? You should look it up. I told the kids they didn't have to remember it or worry about it at all. Bad homeschool mom! Really, I'm a writer, and I didn't know what it was. I bet English teachers have to look it up before they teach the lesson because of how little it matters.

I guess you'll never know about my funny stuff from today. I'll have to go back to taking notes!

See you next time!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Day 173--Stuff for Texas

I've spent the last 2 weeks sick. My sore throat turned on me. I spent some days with a terrible cough and that gave me a migraine. It's just about over (the cough and the migraine) after a week. I used some amazing essential oils for the cough, and it improved so much. I know it was going to be way worse and for longer. Everyone of us got sick. That never happens, and boy am I glad!

I ended up collecting a table full of stuff to send to Texas for some hurricane victims. Four or five people brought stuff to send. They were so nice. Some of them bought a bunch of kids clothes or giant packs of diapers. We even had some tools that'll be used in the cleanup.

We had a nice full school day today. It was refreshing after the last 2 weeks. We're doing a bunch of graphing of functions for math. It's kind of fun change of pace. The kids like using the graph paper because everything looks so tidy.

We've been reading Hattie Big Sky, and I think there's going to be some crying as we get further into the story. Sarah told me there are some parts that are going to upset me or make me emotional. I don't like crying while I'm trying to read aloud, you know?

We read about Devils Tower in Wyoming today. It's kind of crazy, just sticking up 865 feet in the middle of nowhere. I'd love to see it in person. The Natural Wonders of the World book is a fun way to study geography.

I've had to take a huge break from editing Rachel's book because of the migraine. I'm totally excited to get back to work on it tomorrow!

See you next time!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Day 172--Pity Party

Do you want to come to my pity party? No? Neither do I! But here I am.

Some of us have had some kind of virus for almost a week now. Today it hurts in a whole new way inside my throat. And I spent the day coughing and sniffling, which was new.

I'm trying to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, and I have a way to get some things to several families that have lost everything. I'm so excited about it! So I told over 50 people about it and said to bring stuff to my house this week and I'd get it to Texas. And only one person has brought some things so far. It really doesn't look like anyone else will be bringing anything.

So I'm having a bit of a self esteem crash. It feels like more people would have donated if someone more noticeable had been organizing it. People just don't seem interested in what I do. That's not generally too important to me, but once in a while it just gets me down.

Also, we're having a hard time getting Sam and Sarah to Seminary every morning. We've never had the kids go because of my fatigue and Jeff's job schedule and his inability to sleep. But this year, Rachel has her license and can take them. Except not. She had Lyme disease not long ago, and we got her cleared of it; but I'm wondering if she's having some kind of fatigue or something from it. Also, she has Seasonal Affective Disorder and she's starting to feel "wintery" already for some reason. I think I'm going to get her a happy light this year.

We did get to have school today, and we actually got some things done. We started the graphing chapter in Algebra. Fun. We did science, read a couple chapters of Hattie Big Sky,  Sam studied his architecture stuff and looked for info on a little report I'm having them do. Sam's been working steadily on his Danish, but Sarah's not too interested in a foreign language. I say don't do it then. Find something more interesting. Like piano. That's definitely more interesting to her.

See you next time!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Day 171--Volvox under a microscope

Today Sarah had to look at several bacteria and algae under the microscope, and Rachel got a very cool picture of our favorite one with her phone! Looks like it's right out of the textbook, doesn't it? It's called Volvox. Sounds like a Dr. Suess thing, and it looks like one too. These are actually colonies. They also call them Globe Algae.

Sam has to get information about all the kids in Seminary (the early morning scripture class) so he can do a spotlight every Friday. He emailed all the parents with a list of questions about the kids. It was a pretty good writing assignment for yesterday. He's so funny though, because he wouldn't even let me read it before he sent it. I guess he doesn't mind the other parents reading it. I think he figures I'll edit him. I didn't think I always did that. I'll have to pay more attention.

Sarah and Rachel and I did some editing on Rachel's sequel, Sencra's Fate tonight. I think I'm going to have to read it through once before I can really do it justice. There are too many questions for editing on the first read through. I think non-fiction is easier to do without reading first. With fiction, I need to know the personality of the character before I can know what they're trying to convey. I keep having to ask her, which is fine; but I think she'd like it better if she didn't have to explain things that are going to happen in the future so I can figure out what a person should say that will keep them in character.

See you next time!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Day 170--Solar Eclipse!

Today all we did was watch the eclipse. It was very cool. We didn't have any viewing glasses, so we used the telescope. We aimed it at the sun and put a piece of paper by the eyepiece to project the image.

And the shadows were totally fun. I'm not sure the kids believed me when I told them they were going to be crescent-shaped. 

The shadow of my hair was crazy--all feathered out on the sides. Looked a little 70's to me!

I think Eliza Jayne liked the shadows too. I snatched this picture off Kamille's blog!

The kids also started going to Seminary today. That's an early-morning scripture study class for the high school kids in our church. I think I've mentioned it before. We have a really hard time with things early in the morning, but they're trying it. It starts at 6:00am so it can be before school for everyone. They got out of the house without waking us up, so that's a plus.

See you next time!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Day 169--Legos!

We've had a couple sick days this week. My headache didn't go away after falling asleep on the couch Monday, and Sam ended up with a fever by Tuesday evening. Today was really the first school day this week because of it all. Why is it so hard to do anything constructive after lying around feeling terrible?

Jeff started reading a book with the kids called Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, I think. It's about an Antarctic explorer. It didn't start out as interesting to them as I had hoped, but I'm sure Jeff can make it better. I think if he just reads it to himself and talks about it like he likes to do, they'll want to at least look at it. Lead; don't push, right?

Sam bought himself a big Lego set from the Ninjago movie. It's a Mech Dragon. Of course it was almost impossible to concentrate on math because we interrupted the building of it. I could only hold him for so long. Good thing it was a review day and he didn't have to learn anything new. I think I would have had to changed plans if that had been the case.

We edited a pamphlet that we got from a company we bought some bulk food from. I was surprised how uncomfortable it was to read. I hope my teaching them to edit by using written material from companies doesn't cause them to be judgmental of others, but it really did need some work. I'm always looking for ways that labels and advertisements could be more clear. That'll come in handy soon, because I think we're going to try to make a product to sell and I'm going to have to write the label. I'll tell you about it a little later.

See you next time!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Day 168--Helping Others

We got up at five this morning! We drove an hour and a half to put together some groceries for some people that don't have enough food. We didn't love getting up that early, but it was fun to do the work. We were at a food storehouse that our church owns. We worked in pairs, but since there are five of us I got to work with a fun girl and get to know her a little bit. She's planning on coming every Monday for a while.

We've all been pretty tired from it. I even fell asleep on the couch, which immediately gave me a headache. It's not too painful so hopefully it'll go away over night. But that never happens. My head is ridiculous.

The only thing academic we did today was read a couple chapters of A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park. We decided to read another one we know we like. We watched old episodes of My Favorite Martian too. We'll call that history and maybe science. Jeff's still on vacation this week, and we need to figure out something fun to do. I don't know that we'll try to go back to that gorge to get some pictures this week or not. It's kind of a long drive.

The other day, we practiced framing photographs. Here are some where we tried to make sure there was something interesting going on in certain parts of the frame. If you draw a tic tac toe board on the picture, you should have something at the intersections instead of centering everything.
This is Sam's with a couple of the bushes placed properly. I love the sidewalk.
Sarah took this one with Jeff's head at one of the intersections.
Jeff took this one with everything centered and then...
he took this one for comparison. See how much more interesting it is not centered?
On to another lesson tomorrow. See you next time!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day 167

Another "vacation" day. We were going to go hiking today and take some amazing nature pictures, but we got lost! We were going to a place we've been several times, but we've only been there from our old house. We have to take a different way from here, and we never could find it. It was kind of ridiculous. So we ended up just going over near our old place to pick our car up from the shop. We have an honest and inexpensive mechanic there that we like, so it's worth the half-hour drive sometimes. Anyway, no pictures.

When we got home, we finished reading Frankenstein. It wasn't the most satisfying ending to a book that I've ever read, but it was ok. It was definitely well-written, though. After we got done, I looked for some words that were totally new to us and had the kids try to spell them. There were several words in the book that I've never seen before, so that was fun. I should go through it and make a list for us to look up.

We didn't do a lot of other things today. The kids took a walk or maybe they rode their bikes. Well, Rachel rides a scooter. The one we got for Wilson the first year he went away to college. It's the kind you stand on like a skateboard--not like a moped! It's fun.

We watched Arsenic and Old Lace before bed tonight. It's so funny, but I hope Jeff doesn't wake up thinking about it. He's so sensitive. Kind of like a little kid. He was awake thinking about a Hallmark murder mystery the other night. It wasn't even the most creepy one. Poor guy.

I asked for stories for my homeschool book today on a moms' forum I like. I'm looking for stories about just sitting there next to your child like I talked about the other day (Day 160). I think it's such a great concept. If you have any stories about modeling or just quietly being with your kids and it helped them get through a task, please put them in the comments or tell me you have a story and I'll get together with you to get it.

See you next time!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Day 166-New Bike

Today was non-academic. We read Frankinstein first thing (the monster killed again) and then we had to get ready to go. We went to the funeral of someone we knew years ago. Then when we got home we worked on putting together a new bike. Jeff has worked at the same company for over 25 years so they gave him this gift award thing where he got to choose what he wanted. There were some pretty nice, expensive things on the list; and we chose the bike. We got a women's for Sarah. We finally got it put together today and she tried it out. It was much better than the tiny one she's been riding with her knees hitting her in the chin!

It was a little tall for Rachel's comfort though. I told her that when I can't reach the ground on a bike, I feel like I can't reach the bottom of the pool. That scares me pretty badly. Our legs are much shorter than Sarah's.

We're making Jeff try this procedure for sleeping better that we heard on one of the Great Courses. You set your alarm and get up at that time no matter what, then you go to bed a little later than the amount of sleep you want--like half an hour--and get up at that same time the next day and then back up your going to bed time by 15 minutes until you have a day that you're not tired. Also, you can't take naps. And I told him he can't lie around in the recliner moaning and half asleep. I'm probably keeping him awake typing this in bed though!

Tomorrow morning we're off on a hike to take pictures.

See you next time!