Saturday, October 29, 2011

Healthy salad (a little hard to eat)

Sarah wanted to make lunch for me today.  She said it would be a healthy salad.  I wasn't quite sure how to tackle this bowl of a few leaves of lettuce topped with chunks of carrots and celery fit for horse teeth.  I said, "Wow, thanks!  That sure looks...healthy" and tried to nibble a corner off a carrot.  She was very proud of it and said, "I was going to put radishes in it too, but I got tired of all that chopping." 

Crucified frog

I saw this on our bulletin board and had to ask the obvious question: "What is this?"  Sarah replied, "Oh, that's Noah's frog.  I crucified it."

Biking with my boy

Noah's buddies used to live right down the street, but they moved about a mile away.  The safest way to bike there involves making several turns. Noah has no sense of direction (Sarah can't remember that phrase and keeps saying he has no sense of humor. She has no sense of sense!), so someone always has to ride over there with him.  I told him I'd take him over there today if he took the lead and tried to find his own way.  He did very well until he got to one intersection and had no idea where he was.  I think if you're not born with that general consciousness of where you are in space, it's nearly impossible to get it.  No amount of training has produced any results.  He gets utterly lost at the same place every time.

He may not know how to get where he's going, but he sure can get there FAST!  I was pedaling hard, and I was always at least a block behind him, panting.  The whole thing reminded me of another time when I was on a bike ride with him, and I realized I haven't told my blog friends this story (since it happened pre-blog), and you might enjoy a laugh at my expense, so here goes.  I'll start with a picture, to keep your interest and show you the bike seat referred to in the story.

It's a cloudy morning in May.  I only have one child, and he's almost two years old, full of energy, needs to get out of the house.  I load him into his seat attached to my bike.  Glancing at the clouds, I pack jackets for us. We head out to one of our favorite playground destinations about two and half miles from home.  As we're playing, I notice the clouds getting darker, and it's starting to look pretty ominous.  I give little Noah the five-minute warning, so he can start preparing himself.  If I don't give him a warning, this is what can happen:

Suddenly the tornado sirens start blaring, and I panic. No time for a gentle withdrawal, I grab the kid and stuff him into the bike seat.  I don't even strap him in.  It takes at least twenty minutes to bike home.  I take off hard and put the bike in the highest gear.  I stand up and pedal as hard as I can, and soon feel like I'm going to have a heart attack.  The whole time, I'm planning what I'm going to do if I see the tornado coming at us.  I decide I'll crawl into the nearest drainpipe.  I entertain fantasies about somehow yanking off a manhole cover and going underground.  I come screeching into the garage in record ten-minute time, whip the kid out of the seat, and rush us to the basement.  My legs feel like flaming, quivering rubber, and I can barely make it down the stairs.  I turn on the TV to see where the tornado is, and there's no weather updates.  No watch or warning boxes on any station.  Just Barney singing the friend song . I'm confused.  Slowly it dawns on's 10:10 a.m.  It's the first Tuesday of the month. This was a test of the emergency broadcast system.  This was only a test.

Friday, October 28, 2011


I had a dream that I was at Mike's workplace (which was, of course, nothing like his real one), getting ready to leave for a wedding.  There were lots of private showers there, and a big room with several showerheads.  Nobody was around, so I had my choice of the private shower stalls, but every time I started heading for one, someone would appear out of nowhere and get in it before me.  This happened over and over, and I was getting frustrated and panicked, because I had to leave for the wedding in 15 minutes.  I finally decided to go to the public shower room, even though there were a bunch of men in there. I was totally embarrassed standing there naked in front of all those men.  I reached for the soap and found that it was a little mesh bag filled with dog food.  I rubbed it all over myself and washed my hair with it and got out. 

Then I was trying to find an outlet for my curling iron.  The outlets were all the wrong size, or in the wrong place.  I asked one of the office workers if she would give me a haircut.  She was talking to someone while she was cutting, so she wasn't even looking in my direction as she cut my hair wildly into choppy spikes.  In the next dream-scene, I emerged right on time, ready for the wedding, somehow smelling and looking fantastic!  I was wearing a beautiful blue dress on my perfect body, and my hair was long and flowing and looked gorgeous.  Only in dreams can you bathe your fat body with dog food and get a terrible haircut and come out looking like a supermodel.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hiking with kids

Today I took my four kids hiking. Ok, so only two of them are really mine.  The other two are regular visitors.  My plan was to follow a trail that I know well which ends in a nice clearing and have a picnic there.  But when we get there, the oldest kid tells us that he knows of an old Indian grave in another part of the woods.  I'm a little hesitant to take four kids deep into unfamiliar woods with no cell phone, but it sounds interesting, so we head off into the woods, blazing our own trail, going up and down lots of steep slopes.
We never found the legendary grave, but we made up lots of interesting stories about it along the way.  Noah whipped out his pocket knife and whittled at some decaying wood.
We found a bridge to nowhere that we'd never seen before.

The kids found some feathers to stick in my hair, and we called to the Indians.
Finally, we ended up back at the parking lot.  The sun had come out, and we had all worked up a sweat, so we left our jackets in the van and headed down the trail to the picnic clearing.  When we got there, clouds covered the sun, and the wind picked up, so the picnic was a little chilly.

We sat under the water tower to block the wind.  One of the kids with an active imagination was very concerned about the water tower exploding and flooding the city, so most of our lunch conversation centered around what we would do if that happened. 
The youngest two were complaining about being cold, but the oldest two wanted to play baseball in the clearing, so I hiked back to the van to get jackets.  By the time I got back, the sun had come out, and it was warm again.  The boys had brought baseball gloves and a ball, but no bat.  That didn't deter their game; they just found a piece of wood and used it as a bat.
Noah remembered a book we read about Paul Bunyan and John Henry playing baseball, and Paul yanked a tree out of the ground to use as a bat.  He was laughing about that while whittling the handle of their stick-bat.
The oldest is a tough coach.  If the boys make a bad throw or let the ball roll between their legs, he makes them do pushups.
We started heading back through the woods to the parking lot.  The wind was blowing lots of leaves down on us like a ticker tape parade.

On the way back, we stopped briefly at the playground.
And we finished the adventure with a visit to the new baseball field being built.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Soul Surfer

Sarah and I watched "Soul Surfer" yesterday.  Good movie, great story, but why couldn't they put some clothes on?  Everyone was wearing bikinis, even the mom.  During one scene, the teens were shopping for swimsuits, and one of them held up a one-piece suit and asked the other one what she thought about it.  She replied, "It's cute...if you're like a hundred years old!"  If you judge my age by my swimwear, I'd be about two millions years old. 

I used it as an opportunity to talk about modesty with Sarah.  I said, "When women dress like that, it makes men think about doing sinful things."  Her eyes got big, and she said, "Like the men would want to kill them?"  She's so innocent.  I hated to ruin it.  I just said, "No, not kill them, but do things with them that they should only do with their wives." 

You have been tagged

I'm pretty sure no homeschool bloggers read my blog, but I was tagged, so I feel compelled to respond.  If you want to take it and tag someone, feel free.

One homeschooling book you have enjoyed:
How Children Learn by John Holt (Really anything by John Holt or Raymond and Dorothy Moore) 

One resource you wouldn't be without: 
The internet!  How on earth did people ever homeschool without it?

One resource you wish you never bought:
  can't think of any.  I don't buy much.

One resource you enjoyed last year:
One resource you will be using next year:
the Bible
One resource you would like to buy:
a pool

One resource you wish existed:
a housekeeper/poolboy who works for free 

One home school catalog you enjoy reading:
I don't read those.

Now go tag another home school blogger!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good fall night

Fog forming over the creek
Jason in the foggy creek

Mike setting up the telescope and giving Sarah instructions.  She looks like she's listening and planning to obey, doesn't she?  She didn't.  
Noah spotted Jupiter and its moons.

Sarah didn't see anything. 

Jason doing a cool move in the tree.

There was a heron way far down the creek in the fog and dusk, so it looked kind of creepy.  Sarah thought it was a creek monster.

Happy day for Marty

Marty watching a purple finch

How spoiled is this cat?  The kids didn't think she should have to go all the way to the basement to eat, so they colored a picture for her, "laminated" it to make it a placemat, and brought food up for her. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sleeping cats

If you had to choose between a nice soft, warm bed, or a puzzle box five sizes too small for you, where would you sleep?  Marty actually chose first!


A friend gave me a bunch of kale, so I was searching for new ways to cook it. I found a recipe for Kale Puttanesca (at the end of this post, if you want it).  I didn't have olives, so I eliminated them.  I didn't have anchovy fillets, so I substituted a can of tuna.  I wondered what "puttanesca" meant, so I looked it up and found out that it's Italian for "in the style of a prostitute."  I hoped Noah wouldn't ask me about it.  He's always so curious about everything.  
Three of us really enjoyed the prostitute pasta.
 Sarah ate plain noodles.  I won't cook her a separate meal, but I try to keep everything plain and separated for her, because she's so picky. 

Kale Puttanesca:
1/2 (16 ounce) package whole-wheat
angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 (2 ounce) can anchovy fillets, drained
and quartered
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups coarsely chopped kale
1 (4 ounce) can sliced black olives,
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and begun to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in capers, anchovy fillets, and diced tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Stir in kale, and simmer over medium-low heat until wilted and tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Once the pasta has cooked and been drained, stir into the puttanesca along with the black olives. Toss and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese before serving. 


The mystery of the bloody paws

Jason came in last night with bloody paws.  I was afraid he was hurt, but after checking him over, I realized he must have hurt someone else.  Mike checked the dead bodies. Jason jumped up on my lap to take a bath.  I marveled at how easily the blood came off his paws just from his licking them. I had a lot harder time scrubbing the blood off my clothes.  While I was sitting there wondering where all the blood came from, I heard screaming outside.  It sounded like a bunny.  I never knew bunnies screamed before I had Jason, but believe me, they do, and it's not a pretty sound.  It was dark out, so I couldn't see anything, and eventually the screaming stopped.  We went to bed and forgot about it.

This morning, we werere rushing out the door in our usual Thursday morning exodus.  Noah said, "I can't put my shoes on.  There's guts in them."  Sure enough, his shoes were full of blood, fur, and guts.  Then Sarah yelled, "There's a dead bunny on my shoes!"  There was a disemboweled bunny all over the shoes and bloody pawprints all around it. Mystery solved.  I hope Jason goes back to using the altar instead of the shoe shelf in the garage. 

After we got home, I had to tackle the mess.  I'm hoping Mike will deal with the garage mess, but I did the laundry and tackled the bloody, furry pawprints all over the kitchen.  Sarah had just mopped the kitchen floor two days ago.  Whichever kid makes the biggest mess gets the mopping job.  Usually it's Noah.  But when the cat makes the biggest mess, I get to do the mopping.  I tried to figure out a way to strap four little rags onto Jason's paws and make him do it, but that didn't work.  Instead, this is what he did while I mopped:
He really is a delightful cat and well worth all the trouble.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cleaning the stable

As I was vacuuming this morning, I was thinking, "What is the point of this?  It's going to get dirty by the end of the day.  How many hours have I wasted cleaning things that are just going to get dirty again?"  As if to punctuate my point, Jason chose that moment to hurl on the rug.  I went to get the cleaning supplies.  In the ten seconds it took me to get back, Sarah had stepped in the puke. Such is life when you live with pets and children. I cleaned the puke and got back to vacuuming and thinking.  I thought about how my house would probably be cleaner if I didn't live with pets and children.  But having a clean house is not my goal in life.  Then a Bible verse came to my mind, something about a clean stable.  After I got done, I looked it up. Proverbs 14:4: "Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest."  I want the harvest, so I guess I'll have to keep cleaning the stable.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday morning

Is anyone interested in what we're doing on this nice Saturday?  Mike is at the men's breakfast at church and then we'll join him later to work in the food pantry.  In the meantime, we're doing some Wii Fit.  Sarah went first, while Noah was petting Jason.

She's very flexible.
Noah, Jason, and I did some good snuggling.  If you're thinking I look large in this picture, you're right.

Sarah exercising her whole body. Noah exercising his fingers. Jason doing a yoga stretch.
Marty getting her fat body on the Wii board.
Jason and Marty fighting over whose turn it is for the Wii.
Kids exercising together.
That's it for now.  Time to go...

Friday, October 14, 2011

The balls

Time for the annual fall tradition of removing all the balls that have collected in the gutters all summer.
Quite a collection this year!

school work

Sarah was working on her Bible homework.  One of the questions was, "Do you have any questions about your faith?"  Sarah wrote, "No."  It's all perfectly clear to her.  She really doesn't give it a thought.  Another question was, "Do you try to live out your faith?"  She wrote, "No, I don't."  Well.  She's honest, that's for sure.

Noah was doing easy true/false statements in his math book. For the statement "All animals can fly" he circled "true".  I questioned him about that, and he said, "Well I thought it meant if they were being picked up by a helicopter." *SIGH*

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall leaves and bad days

Three amigos raking leaves for a fort.
This is the first-aid section of the fort. The injured soldiers are protected here while Nurse Sarah tends to their wounds. There's even bottled water stashed in the leaves.
This soldier is ready to fight again.
We ended up having school and a snack in the fort after the battle.
Looks like a nice happy fall day, but I only took pictures of the good moments, which have been few and far between these past couple days.  This is the last picture of Teri and Sarah this week, because Sarah got herself in big trouble and has been forbidden to see Teri for the rest of the week.
Sarah loves to draw dresses.
Sarah and I spent a few good minutes today, drawing ourselves in chalk...
and playing in the leaves...
but most of the time, this is how we felt about each other.  
Hoping for better days ahead.