Friday, September 16, 2016

Toy Recommendation: Snap circuits and Magformers

I am getting a cold.  A bad, coughing, hacking, can't breathe, sinus headache cold.

Which is yucky.

But a lovely relative sent the kids some new toys, so our morning was surprisingly great.

The big kids played with this:

And the littles played with this:

It was awesome.

Note: I do not receive a consideration for mentioning these products.  The link goes to my Amazon associates account, so I get a few pennies if you make a purchase getting to Amazon from there, but neither Elenco nor Magformers has ever offered me anything.

I love these toys and they're awesome, is all.


Saturday, September 10, 2016


The toddlers have two kinds of memories: things that happened yesterday and things that happened "westerday" or any time in further past than yesterday.

I think they found and filled a gap in the English language.  We don't really have a single word for "happened a while ago."

As long as they are this little and perpetuate the usage between them, we have a valid new word.

Westerday.  It's a thing. Get on it.

Friday, September 9, 2016

It has been an... interesting couple of years.

I've been away from my blog processing everything that's been happening and also adding another little cuddle bug to our crew.

This year is a year for new adventures: I'm getting my Masters, the kids are progressing in their education and I've got a new job I love very much.  Teaching high school writing makes me very happy.

It's good to be back!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Best of Weeks

It was the best of weeks, it was the worst of weeks.

Seriously, it was pretty good, I was just tired and trying to keep it together.  Plus, two doctor's appointments in one week.  I don't know what the phobia name is for "fear of doctor's visits" but for me doctors rank up there with spiders on the "eek" list.

So, yeah.

Also, books.  As in, each kid got a homemade, blank book that they were over the moon about.  Oldest wanted to write his book about religion.  Next oldest made pictures.  Third child drew a picture of Mt. Doom on his.  At least, that's what he said it was.  That is the most bang for six pieces of scrap paper stapled together per child that I have ever seen.  It will now be a weekly occurrence.

Math continues on apace, reading and writing close behind.  We're doing well with memorization for religion and poetry.  This week we're kicking off science.

This week the third child surprised the heck out of me by asking for worksheets.  Like his brother and sister.  This is the kid who can't sit still or color with a crayon for any length of time.

But hey, yay for progress and peer pressure!

That's all from the trenches this week.  Shine on, you gorgeous diamonds!  I'm proud of you for every minute.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Lost Week

Last week I lost my voice.  Have you ever wondered what it's like to run a five ring circus with no voice?  The short answer is that you can't.

Luckily I had lots of help.  The kids had books read to them and spent time building their fort outside and they did lots of hands-on learning with other family members.

 The break from school didn't actually break their brains, which I discovered today.  In fact, they didn't miss  beat, except for a marked reluctance to clean their space afterwards (we'll keep working on the practical skills portion of the lessons).

The most important thing we all learned last week is that everyone needs help sometimes... and that's okay. It's okay to ask for help.

And that's a lesson I hope they never forget.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Reality Check (Trenches, Vol. 8)

So, it's Sunday again.

This week went well.  I figured out that I can do math with all three big kids at once, and that they love it that way.  I also found out that math should come  before phonics, because it just works better this way.  I also that the new arrangement gave me a free window, which I used for the maraudler* and Marty.  Marty needs individual attention to focus, so we made "star tracks" with crayons and stickers. I could never get him to practice drawing straight lines on his own, but when I was right there, putting the stickers on the paper, he loved it and spent loving time with it. Maraudler eats any crayons that fall into her hands, so I simultaneously entertained her by putting stickers all over her.  It was great for giggles and a good reminder of why we do what we do (hint: it's because we love our kids).

This was a good week to discover new fixes because it was my first week of teaching actual classes online instead of just introducing everyone and checking their audio tech.  Don't get me wrong, I love teaching bigger kids, especially the bright ones in my classes (spoiler: I'm pretty sure they're all bright).


It was exhausting, on top of the cooking, the cleaning, the everything else of life.

But we did it and that makes me proud.

Apparently it also makes me sick, because as of right now, I have completely lost my voice and tomorrow is Monday, when the whole thing starts over.

This is where push comes to shove.  Where something's gotta give.  I guess tomorrow we'll find out what.

Stay strong and make noise, my fellow soldiers!

*Marauder + toddler

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Notes from the Trenches, Vol. 7

This was a good week, overall.  We did a full week of school (not counting Friday).  I was able to do orientation for my online classes with a little help and school for my own littles didn't suffer at all.  That, for the record, is why I started school with the littles so early, to get into the groove with them first before life and jobs caught up with me and started clamoring for my attention. The strategy worked!

The marauding toddler (who shall henceforce be known as the "Maraudler") got to play with random stuff in a Kleenex box.  I picked up that little trick on pinterest, and who knew! It kept her busy! At least busy enough to do math and phonics with the big kids.

Marty needs his busy bags switched up.  He still loves the scissor one, but the others have become blah. He's still digging the nursery rhymes, though, and he keeps up with the prayers and catechism questions like a champ (for the record, those are voluntary for the 3yo and 4yo, but they want to participate).

Bri loves math.  Loves it.  As in, will work through math workbooks during her free time for fun.  I don't get it, but I am not going to argue with it.  Maybe she'll grow up to be a brilliant scientist or something.  What I know is, it is rare for a girl to *like* math (I suffered through it, didn't ever enjoy it), so she has a gift.

Robbie hits a slump the same day I do, Wednesday.  He gets tired and has trouble focusing.  That's okay. We still got the basics done with no tears or fussing.

I'm still fine tuning our school room and the Baby who Never Stops Nursing still naps in the morning.  I've also been lucky to have my co-parent around.  He reads aloud classics to the kids, helps with the baby and the toddler on the mornings he doesn't have to rush off to work, and is building a fort with them from scratch. He also gets them audiobooks for the car, practices their prayers with them, and answers the millions of toddler questions patiently.

Our schooling has become a team effort here and I wouldn't have it any other way.