Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Yesterday's "home"school day involved being home only one hour all day.  We only opened one book all day, but we did plenty of school.  We volunteered at Samaritan Ministries all morning (volunteer work is part of our curriculum), and went to Forest Park Nature Center in the afternoon (which covered science and P.E.).  We stopped for an ice cream treat on the way home, where they learned what NOT to order when they go out on dates in the future (don't get an ice cream cone that requires you to flap your tongue out unattractively and can result in a melting, sticky mess).  Then Noah lost his first baseball game of the season after a five-game winning streak.  He could have learned a lesson about sportsmanship there, but he's already a good sport.  Then we went to a church softball game at 9:00 and finally hit our beds close to 11:00 p.m. 
 We folded thousands of newsletters.  Now the kids can put "office work" on their resumes.

 Doing a science treasure hunt at the nature center.

 Hiking the trails with friends at Forest Park.

He got a "Freight Train Wizard" at the Ice Cream Shack.  It had 9 different kinds of chocolate candy in it!

Today they are learning how to read medical bills and talk to insurance companies, by watching me do it and asking questions.  They also learn a lot from my parents' travels. Today my parents taught them what to do if the airline destroys your luggage.  Then I made the kids look at beautiful pictures of amazing trees while they listened to Paul Robeson sing about trees, and I read them one of my favorite poems ("Trees" by Joyce Kilmer) and the parable of the mustard seed from the Bible.  Science, poetry, art & music appreciation, and worship: done.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The homeschool day that keeps me going

Last week we had one of those days where I'm glad we homeschool.  It was midmorning, and we were sitting around doing our usual school stuff when the neighbor girl knocked on the door and said her 5-year-old sister was missing.  We threw on our clothes (yes, we weren't dressed yet) and fanned out in different directions to look for her.  A few blocks up the street, I saw a woman outside and stopped to ask her if she had seen a little girl.  She said yes, and just then, the little truant appeared from the back yard.  I took her home and set off to round up the rest of the posse.

I found a couple of them at the closest park. They had sent the other one to the next park.  We started heading that way and met her on her way back.  I glanced at a yard as we rode by and thought I spotted a bunny nest.  I stopped the posse, and we all went back to look at it, hoping to see baby bunnies.  It was a fenced yard, and we needed to get in there.  One of the kids suggested climbing the fence, but I said we should really ring the doorbell and ask permission.

When I rang the bell, a pleasant looking middle-aged man answered.  I explained that I had some homeschooled kids with me and were wondering if he would mind if we checked out the bunny nest in his back yard.  He was more than accommodating, opening the gate for us and showing us his chickens, garden, etc.  He said there had been four dead bunnies in the nest but it was empty now.  He let us go in the chicken coop and even let each kid take an egg home. 
Noah ate his egg for lunch.

He was great with the kids as he talked with each of them. He reminded me of a cross between Jesus and Mister Rogers.  On the way home, I told the kids that God honors us when we do the right thing.  If we had just jumped the fence, all we would have seen was an empty nest, but since we did it the right way, we got to meet an interesting, intelligent, kind neighbor who shared a little of his life with us.  It was a much better education than we were doing at home with the books. 


 Cute little Peep, pre-roasting

 Neighbor kid, horrified at Noah's Peep s'more

 my near-perfect s'more

 Good night for a fire

 Sarah going nuts in the tent.  I knew we wouldn't get much sleep.

 The boys playing baseball

 Mike and Marty watching the fire.

 The girls doing pullups.

 Happy campers

 My view all night long. There was supposed to be a meteor shower, but we didn't see any.

 Too bad the picture is blurry, but Marty loves sleeping in the tent with us.

We discovered a roach in the tent around 1:30 a.m., which caused a lot of commotion.  I didn't get a picture, in all the hubbub.  Noah tried to get it but lost it.  Mike finally removed its dead body at about 5:00 a.m.  I suspect its cause of death of asphyxiation by noxious gases produced in the tent all night after we ate chili dogs for dinner.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Baking with Jesus

Sarah and I are in the kitchen.  She's making cookies.  I'm washing dishes.  She puts the butter in the microwave to soften.
Me: You'll probably have to leave it in a little longer than you usually do, because I just took the butter out of the freezer a few minutes ago.
S: How long should I set it for?  40 seconds?
M: (turning back to the sink) Check it at 40.
S: What? Ask the Lord?  Ok...
[folds her hands, closes her eyes, says, "Lord, how long should I cook the butter?", nods, opens her eyes and tells me, "He said 45."]
M: I didn't say to ask the Lord; I said to check it at 40.
S: Oh!  Well anyway, it's always good to ask the Lord, right?
M: Absolutely.  If He said 45, do 45.
[45 seconds later...]
S:  It's perfect!  Jesus really knows his baking!

Then she whipped out this song:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The compromised Memorial Day pizza

I love fruit pizza.  This time of year when the fruit starts becoming reasonably priced, I can hardly wait to make one.  My ideal fruit pizza has a Pillsbury (the generic ones just aren't as good) sugar cookie crust and a lot of strawberries, blueberries, grapes, kiwi, and mandarin oranges.  I bought the supplies last night and was excited to make my first one of the season.  I gave the children a long math assignment and headed for the kitchen.  Then...
Sarah: Mommy, what are you making?
Me:  Ummm....(thinking about saying cauliflower with lima beans)....fruit pizza.
Sarah:  Oh yum!!!!  Can I help????????? Please oh please?????
Me:  After your math is done.
[She finishes her math in record time and appears at my elbow.]
S: Ok, here's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to use only the red and blue fruit, and I'm going to make it into a flag for Memorial Day!
[I like it when Noah helps in the kitchen, because he just does whatever I ask him ("open the cans, peel the potatoes", etc.).  Sarah, however, always has her own creative ideas and is usually more interested in making the food beautiful than delicious.  She likes to stay one step ahead of me.  Her bossy creativity bumps into my control issues quite often in the kitchen.]
Me: Hmmm.  Well, that sounds like a cute idea.  But I really like kiwi and grapes and mandarin oranges on my pizza.  
S: But I really want to make a flag.
M: there any way we can compromise?  Maybe a multicolored flag?
S: Ugh. No, Mom.  It's an American flag.
M:  Right.  Well ok then.  Make your flag.
She made this cute little thing.  Then I said, "How about I take a picture of that one and then add some more fruit to it?"  She didn't like that idea at all.

But I played the Mom card and did it anyway.  But I only used red and blue fruit, so it's still a compromise. 

Throwback Thursday

Feb 3, 2003  I was watching the memorial service for the astronauts who died on the space shuttle, and I was crying. Noah came over and peered at my face with a curious, worried look, and I realized he had never seen me cry before. He stared at me for a long time, and then he went into a little comedy routine. He started mooing and spinning around and flapping his arms. I laughed at him, and he seemed pleased. Then he got a ball out of his toy box and offered it to me. Is it possible that he is that compassionate at one year old? Another funny thing he did today...we were looking out the front window when all the sudden the meter reader appeared in front of the window from the side of the house. He was a large African American man, wearing a hood that covered most of his face.  Noah pointed at him and said excitedly, "Dada!"  He calls me Dada too.  I think he thinks all adults are named Dada.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A couple funny Noah stories

 I bought this St. Louis Cardinals bag for my sister-in-law, who is a Cards fan.  I had it sitting by the door in the kitchen so I wouldn't forget to take it to her.  Noah walked into the kitchen a few minutes later and immediately leaped back into the hall as if he'd been shot.  He pointed at it and yelled, "What is this horrible creature in the kitchen?!"  He's a die-hard Cubs fan.  

This morning I went to wake Noah up, and this is the hideous sight that greeted me.  You may recall from this previous post that jock straps are revolting to me.  Even worse than the strap is the nasty little thing that goes inside it.  I woke Noah up and asked him what that thing was doing on his doorknob.  He said, "Oh, you wouldn't get it.  It's an inside joke with Dad."  I said, "Oh, so it's a guy thing?" and he said, "Yep."

unfair baseball rules

Noah is explaining baseball to Sarah, and I'm amazed at how much she doesn't know.  She keeps coming up with different scenarios to ask Noah about. 
Sarah: Ok. Let's say you hit the ball and it goes way up in the sky.  If someone catches it, are you out?
Noah: Yes.
Sarah: Why?
Noah (looking blank):  Because...just because...that's the rules, Sarah.  If someone catches a fly ball, you're out.
Sarah: So you have no chance to score then?
Noah: No, not if you're out.
Sarah: Oh.  But what if you run really fast and you make it to first base before they catch the ball?
Noah:  You're still out.  If you hit a fly ball and it's caught, you're out.  That's it.
Sarah:  What?!  But that's so unfair!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throwback Thursday

March 2007, wearing her dress made by her great-grandma Opal
March 31, 2007 I discovered last night that the piano keys were really stiff and hard to push down.  Mike said it's so old it probably has rigormortis.  Took it apart, and discovered a stash of paper, books, pennies, envelopes, stickers, etc.  It had Sarah written all over it.  Must have been recent, because there were some library books in there that aren't due yet. We NEVER would have found those.  Didn't mention it to Sarah, but it didn't take long before I caught her red-handed, stuffing a piece of torn paper "in the mail slot".

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Delicious dirty lunch

I went out for a bike ride and was gone longer than I had planned to be.  When I got home, my wonderful children were making lunch!  Noah made macaroni and cheese, and Sarah made a salad with lettuce, celery, tomatoes, and cranberries.  When I had eaten most of my salad, she said, "Oh, I'm sorry I forgot to wash the lettuce."  I asked if she washed the tomatoes, and she said no.  I knew I didn't want to know, but I had to ask.  "How about the celery?"  She shook her head. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Scenes from the kitchen

We bought a new dishwasher!!  It's arriving today, so my handy husband removed the old dead clunker last night.  The cats have been investigating the hole. 
 In this picture you can see the pretty new rubber gloves I bought myself to encourage myself to have a good attitude about washing dishes all day long.  The water to the kitchen sink is shut off until the new dishwasher is installed, so the dishes are building up again.

 A couple nights ago, nobody was in the kitchen.  It was late at night, and we heard glass shattering in the kitchen.  We all ran out there and saw a glass bottle that had been on the counter was now in pieces on the floor.  No cats had been in the kitchen at the time of the incident either.  I tried to clean it all up, but today I shredded my foot on a shard. 

This is what happens when a kid loses a tooth while Mom is gone. He's the dishwasher man; I'm the Tooth Fairy.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Today I'm going back to the time when Noah was two years old, and his 14-year-old foster sister came to live with us for a month. 

January 19, 2004 On Saturday, Ji-Young and I made a Korean meal. It took us over 2 hours! She said her mother makes it in 30 minutes. She called her mother at 5 a.m. Korean time and told her about our cooking experience, and her mother said, “2 hours! Did you grow the flour and harvest it, and did you raise a chicken to lay the egg? What took you so long? Tell them that when they come to Korea, I will cook them a good Korean meal.” Mike and I liked the food, but Ji-Young said it was not good. We spent a couple hours making the grocery list before we went to the Asian market. One of the things on the list was “green pumpkin”. I had no idea what it was, and we didn’t find it at the Asian market. When we were in Kroger, she pointed to a zucchini and said, “Green pumpkin!” Yesterday she asked me for some “acetone” and I didn’t know what she meant. Turns out she wanted nail polish remover. She told us that in Korean “Jello” is called “jelly”. In Korea, when taking a picture, the subjects say “kimchee” instead of “cheese”. These are just a few of the little things we’ve learned. We bought Noah his first pet tonight: an 18-cent goldfish named Flipper from Walmart. Noah is a proud and attentive pet owner. Mike gives the fish 3 days to live; I say 4 days, and Ji-Young guesses 5 days. When he passes on, we’ll have to get a quick replacement before Noah notices. One of our favorite things that Noah has been saying lately is, “Dada do, don’t know”, which means “What is Daddy doing?” If he wants to ask a question about anything, he just attaches “don’t know” to the end of his statement.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Last night I bought some deli meat at the grocery store.  I also bought a bag of frozen corn to use as an ice pack to keep the meat cold until I got home.  My plan was to make sandwiches to take to Noah's baseball game tonight for dinner.  (It's hard to plan dinner when we're at the baseball field from 5:00 to 7:30).  This morning, I was staring around the kitchen trying to think what to make for dinner.  I finally remembered I had bought deli meat and was excited to have a plan.  Then I remembered that I forgot to get it out of the cooler in the car.  I called Mike at work and asked him to go all the way out to the parking lot at work and put the meat in the refrigerator at work. 

Meanwhile, I had to dream up a new plan for dinner.  I put some chicken and salsa in the crock pot for chicken tacos.  Not ideal, because I can't transport tacos to the field, but we could at least have something to eat before or after the game.  Then Mike called and said there was nothing in the cooler in his car.  What?  Where could it be?  I know I bought it.  I went to the kitchen, looked in the fridge, and there it was.  I don't even remember putting it there.  So now I guess we have two choices for dinner.  My brain is weary.

Missing Jason

Yesterday I got a postcard in the mail from Animal Control telling me that Jason is due for his rabies shot.  I had gotten him a 3-year rabies shot right before he died.  So I had to call Animal Control and tell them that he's dead.  It was all business until I blubbered, "He was the best cat I've ever known."  There was a pause, and the Animal Control woman said, "I'm sorry for your loss."  I felt a little ridiculous crying over a cat who died three years ago, but I was very attached.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sometimes I love homeschooling

Sarah asked me if we could skip the official spelling lesson today, and instead she would write a letter to her dad.  I'm glad I said yes.

Then again...maybe I should have stuck with the lesson.  Change the "y" to "i" before adding a vowel suffix.  But how cute is the garden sign she made?!
 Washing dishes together became part of the curriculum when the dishwasher died several weeks ago. I'll call it "Life Skills" on the official transcript.

I designed a specific curriculum for my mumbler, because I'm done waiting for him to outgrow it.  If you catch him in the act, please help me with the anti-mumbling campaign by encouraging him to enunciate, articulate, exaggerate, and amplify!  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Texas--last day

Wednesday was supposed to be Six Flags day, but it turns out that Six Flags is only open on the weekends during the school year.  That was a big disappointment for Mike and the kids, but we still had a good day.  We hung around the house all morning, and then Aunt Kathy took Sarah shopping and took both kids to see Rio 2.  I did some shopping, made chili for dinner, and took a walk. Mike pushed Noah into the pool (not a day went by without someone being pushed into the pool), and we packed for our long drive home.  We finished the night with some Bananagrams and Uncle Matt's homemade cornbread. 

 Sharing popcorn with Zoe Dog

 Putting shaving cream on Daddy's face

 Showing Aunt Kathy some ipad favorites

Watching a movie