Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2 Thumbs Down Book Review

I've been doing lots of reading about how to write of late, getting resources together for my band of merry writers on Tuesday (I teach a group of homeschool high schoolers Creative Writing- lucky me!). Of course, suspension of belief, is a big no-no for writer's. In other words, your writing needs to be believable.

Which leads me to a book review: The Handmaid and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg. I love history. I adore ancient history, and historical fiction is my fav genre. So I thought I would love this book. It's the Christmas season, it's about the Holy Family and it had a lovely cover. The book ends with Joesph confessing that he doesn't believe in the immaculate conception, he doesn't believe that he was directed by an angel to marry Mary. He marries Mary based on his own desire to possess Mary's beauty, his own lust.
My summation of this book: Blech. The author is too shallow to understand that she toys with the divine, that she has written words that slander men in general, and God's appointed earthly father to His Son in particular. Oy vey. Sad to say that this writer could not conceive of a man that would lay down his life to serve sacrificially, to love wholeheartedly. Instead she paints a picture of a family that is based on lies and deceit, lack of trust, love that is stingy and wholly about sensuality. Mary and Jesus are the ones "in the know" while Joseph is the odd one out. I'm not a therapist or anything (o.k. I am) and it would be, oh to easy, to speculate about Berg's family based on the sad story she portrays in this one. As if it was too much to hope for something more than what we often see - a family conceived by the very breathe of God.

The virgin birth is the ultimate suspension of belief in so many ways. And apparently, Berg isn't buying it- at least she's not buying that Joseph bought it. Too bad for her.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week-end Wrap-up

The basement bathroom has a ceiling. It's not finished yet, but it's up. This was not a simple dry-walling job; this entailed having the electrician come in to do some fancy wiring, drilling a hole through the cement block foundation, building a small soffet, putting in the housing for the fan/light and then finally getting the drywall in. The first round of mud is on and by next week-end we hope to have the texturizing done. My dh is the man.

On his breaks from working on the ceiling, he pulled out a floor's worth of wood trim that he salvaged from the barn, 12" kick board, trim and 1/4 round for the doors. I sanded several pieces to trim out the bathroom door and floor, but ran out of paint so could go no farther. We'll give the rest a light sanding, paint it and trim out the entire basement in original wood trim. Booyah!

Daddy finished reading The Long Winter 2 nights ago, the kids and I blew through Little Town on the Prairie yesterday and we started These Happy Golden Years today. The only way I'll even come close to finishing 52 books this year is if I count the Little House Series. By gum, I'm gonna.

KB and Feeche are kicking back shrimp and soaking in the balmy GA sunshine, hanging with their campaign homies. They'll get back a few days before Miss R comes for Xmas vacation, then her beau, Barnie Fife will be here for a week after Christmas.It will be nice to have a full house for the holidays.

It's colder, down below freezing every night, but we got the trees and bushes covered and taped. Bring it on. (Or don't. I'm all about mild winters).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday Mom Gear Give-Away

I am thrilled to share with you Rebekah Scott Designs. Rebekah is the relative of my irl friend, Jannell (artteajannell) who is a talented seamstress. Rebekah takes it up a notch and created a business with her skills.
Above is the Barbie. One lucky person will be winning a Barbie of their choice!

Rebekah creates hand-bags, cutie patootie booties for babies and more. But the item I want to tell you about are her handbags. These handbags are a homeschool/working Mommas dream. They are sturdy, attractive and washable. Not only that but you can choose the design and the fabric that you want.

I'm not really a hang-bag kinda gal, but I do have one because it's a convenient place to store my "stuff"- you know, I.D., current book, cuticle cream, kids stuff, etc. However, finding a bag that is cute enough but not cutesy, affordable, sturdy, washable and comfortable is, like, a modern day miracle. I did finally find one but it cost a fortune and within a year the zipper broke. It was large and roomy but after a while that became a liability as it morphed into my own personal black hole. The thing that I really, really like about RSD bags is that they have pockets all around the inside of them!

Love that!

On top of it all, Rebekah is a really cool gal. She's a stay at home, working Mom, who puts in long days getting the job done and taking care of her family. A great product run by  a fabulous person. Win/win.
So, want to win the Barbie? Here's what you do. Go to Rebekah Scott Designs and sign up on  their mailing list. Come back here and leave a comment, letting me know which RSD product you like the best. Let people know about the contest through FB and Twitter and get another chance at winning (lmk you've done so!). That's it! We'll have the drawing on December 16, 2011. The winner will have 5 days to contact me with their contact info!
BONUS: To celebrate Thanksgiving you can take 10% OFF orders placed by December 6
(use Coupon Code: THANK10)
or purchase a purse to receive acoordinating Cosmetic for only $12!
(use Coupon Code: COSMETIC12)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Need some good reading? Check out the latest Carnival of Homeschooling. It's chock full of great articles. The theme this week is Thanksgiving. Totally apropos, eh?

When polled the only thing the kids all agreed on for Thanksgiving was "Pies."
We're having pumpkin, banana cream and pecan.

My patient but carnivorous husband wanted to be assured that lots of protein was on the menu. They'll be Turkey, but this year we are roasting an organic, hormone-free, free  range bird.
To complement the main dish we'll be serving up
Cranberry- orange relish
Relish tray
Spinach salad
Sweet Potato souffle
NM corn
Refrigerator rolls
Deviled Eggs
Cheese Ball

Drinks will consist of home-made grape juice.

Dessert will be aforementioned pies and pumpkin spice lattes.

What's on your menu?

Monday, November 21, 2011


Our older kid/adults scored what they believe to be the perfect job- feeding calves.
They get up at 0'dark:30 to go mix formula to bottle feed a bunch of bovines.
We had an impromptu field trip (literally!) yesterday.

First you mix and pour the milk...

...threatening your sibs with whatever implement you have on hand...

...Cap the bottles....

Drive out to the barns, or the huts, or the field.....

....and feed them babies!...Hopefully, they aren't stronger than you are!.... 'em....

...say how cute they are a million times...

.. Sweet talk them into eating...

...and then beg your Momma to add livestock to your life (NOT!)....

We've had a great time joking KB that she is
beauty queen by day,
construction worker by night,
 and field hand by week-end.
Come Friday she'll be back on the campaign trail!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Love Wins

A year ago my Dad died.  It's been a rewarding and hard year. We are still re-building from the fire. It has been fun and rewarding and exhausting and taxing all at the same time cause we live in a house under construction, meaning we haven't totally unpacked. This has led to double purchases and entire school subjects, as well as shoes and other sundry items, being missed. We continue to homeshool. It is, as always, fun and rewarding and exhausting and taxing. Our life is about extremes. Some we've created ourselves. Some have been thrust upon us.

Coming to terms with my Dad’s death has been rough. He is the man who got down on his knees with me and led me in the sinner's prayer when I was 20 after walking away from the pastorate and the church when I was 5. He is also the man who spent the last many years trying to talk me out of my beliefs, speaking with ridicule about those who commit themselves to a "model of conformity” and pedantic religion. My Dad was a man of extremes. Like his Dad he was charismatic and passionate and could talk people into complete and total paradigm shifts. He could also be moody and cold, his lack of response to people chilling. He read voraciously and was incredibly educated but would not engage in logical debate if it did not suit his purposes.  It could be fun and rewarding to be with him and exhausting and taxing. In that, I’m sure he is like any other person. The difference being that he was my Dad. Not a stranger. Not someone I was indifferent too.

My husband used a phrase this morning regarding a proposed interaction with someone: "It will only serve to underscore the basic alienation of the relationship." This is what Christ did for my father and I. Christ underscored the alienation between us. My Dad was always asking, always demanding, in his charismatic way, that I give up my religion (never understanding that it was the person of Truth, not a religion that I follow- but even that statement is divisive because who am I to declare “Truth”- as if I know and others do not? I only know because I know Jesus, the Son of the Living God), and follow something less hard, more “rewarding,” more power and wealth oriented, more “successful.”  

Years ago, as a new believer I was under the naive assumption that I would pray well and hard, witness vibrantly through words and actions and those that I loved would see the Way, the Truth and the Light, embrace Jesus as a Risen Savior and life would be happy and fulfilling. The prayers of a righteous man (or woman) availeth much, true? And yet, Christ was the divisor between my family and I. Scriptural, I know; immensely painful, yes. I’ve been told, that I should rejoice in sharing in Christ’s suffering, that His followers will share in his loss, his ridicule, his pain, his alienation. Truth is I don’t; I don’t take comfort in it, not really. I know in my heart of hearts that that is the way of things. But my heart hurts.

It has shaken me to the core this year how foundational my Dad’s thoughts, paradigms, love, has been to my life, even when we both choose radically different paths to follow.  I though that I was past caring what he thought. I was past being hopeful for his approval. I was past being a small child longing for their Daddy. But no; I am not.

I loved my Dad. He loved me. That is something I know. And I trust that Love – the person, the Truth, won out in my Dad’s life. Love won out.  

Shabbat Shalom link up at Pebble Crossing

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Opposing Views

This short could be titled either, "An Apologetic for Memory Work," or "Post Modernism's Big Win."

And this, "How to Make Your Pathology Work for You" (written very tongue in cheek- this is just brilliant.)


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sick Days

Under the weather this week with a bronchial/cold thang. Spent a lot of the week kickin' back the cough and cold meds and brewing tea.

Continued painting with the help of Gala and KB. Got all of the bedrooms, halls upstairs and down and bathroom upstairs done. Then re-did the master bedroom (my husband thinks off-white is an actual color- he is Neutral Man - however, I did agree with him on the first color- too peach, or something. One pink and one blue bedroom for the notsolittles. That's love, baby. The older kids are laying claim to the basment and the attic rooms. We also did the soon-2-be office room in 2 colors using a 2 part roller. It's very neutral with a lotta omph. I can't wait to get the espresso stained trim up- it's gonna look gorgeous.

Worked on Latin. Watched Plimoth Plantation videos on-line, watched Colonial Children DVD. Did a lot of mazes, dot to dots, number  and word searches. Didn't get a whole lotta other homework done but reading. Cub knocked out another Redwall book, Feeche continues to work on Citadel of God and Flower discovered a new series called Animal Ark about a little girl with a zillion pets. In our world of read-alouds we are  on to The Long Winter. I really, truly, do not like this book. I love Mrs. Ingalls Wilder's writing. I do. I just hate this book. We live an hour from the location of the aforementioned book. It's cold here, that much is for certain. I feel it enough already, I sure as heck don't need to read about it. And secondly, we saw the claim shanty last year, making the story all the more real, all the more cold, all the more traumatic. My take on this reading (6th time through) is that these pioneer type folks just went from trauma to trauma. Did you know that Laura had originally titled the book, "Starvation Winter" but her publisher thought it would scare the children. Um, yeah.
I watched Lincoln Lawyer during one of my sick days. Not our usual genre but great story. Loved the extras with author Connelly and his take on being an author. Loved seeing Matthew McConaughey as a hard hitter with heart.  Loved the shots of L.A. and recognized highways and locations - hey, I used to work in Van Nuys! I could almost feel the balmy ocean air. Loved how the tangled web was resolved. Mysteries used to be one of my fav genres. Poirot or Miss. Marple anyone?

Discovered a church library this week that is open to the public and houses a treasure trove of literary good stuff. Read my first Terri Blackstock book: Vicious Cycle. Not bad but the believability of a couple scenes didn't work for me. I'm working on Joesph by Joyce Landorf. Interesting perspective, beginning with the lives of Rachel, Leah and Jacob and Laban.

Published author Karen Schutte was a guest speaker for my high school writing class this week, talking about writing, getting published and selling books. Next guest speaker will be Publisher Jean Tennant of Shapato Publishing. I'm hoping the kids get inspired by hearing from those involved in the real world of books and publishing.

What did your week look like?
Find more inspiration at Conversion Diaries, the Friday Blog Hop and Homeschool Chick.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Envision and Do

The Time Warp Wife is having a 31 Days Challenge and today, Day 28 is a guest post on Dreaming Together. It struck a cord with me because, while my husband and I have done a lot of things ineptly in life, the one thing we rock at is dreaming. We are visionaries. And the other thing we do exceptionally well is do. We envision and then we put our hand to the plow. This explains the plethora of degrees and children that we have together, the number of times we've moved, the educational anarchy that we embrace, the house that we are working on and most of the details of our lives, including how we worship and study and the Messiah that we embrace. God's of wood and stone just don't give one ample enough opportunity to envision beyond oneself. It's so limited and narcissistic.

I was told by a friend several years ago that I am odd because most visionaries that she knew didn't "do" and most "do-ers" that she knew didn't envision. That just seems really bizarre to me cause I thought faith without works was dead and "submit yourselves one to another" were actual directives, not suggestions. The division of doers and visionaries in the current political climate of the American church seems to be a division of labor designed to stunt the growth of all involved, both queen/king and worker bee alike, perpetrated by the current business model that the American church has adopted. Those in "leadership" with the professional degrees are the ones that get to do the envisioning while the worker bees get to be the hands and feet. Leading to a lack of mutual accountability and the full development of the body beyond the head. My husband and I both have seminary degrees so maybe I've just seen too much. Maybe if I believed in the magical formula of higher ed more, or seminary more, or the head being the grand poombah of the church more I wouldn't be so cynical and keep writing these type of posts. And yet....

Back to the point of this post; what are we currently envisioning?
Our house being done. We've been sanding floors and walls and ceilings, texturizing, painting, washing out junk from clothes and brushes and rollers and talking about colors and what's next every spare moment. Our vision for this property from the time we moved here was to redeem, restore, rebuild and reclaim. We are doing that to the very best of our ability. I'm not sure what God has in store for this little acreage on the edge of nowhere but somehow we are part of it. And the character that is being built into us because of it- whew. Could we get it any other way? My goal for this week is to thank-God for the hardships that we endure. I am great at being grateful for the amazing God-answered prayers of finished but the hard won and exhausting producing "waits" or "not yets" or "suffer unto Me's," are more difficult for me.

An educational environment where study is worship; where people are challenged to go beyond themselves academically, educationally and ultimately spiritually. We have a very small circle, but we believe in being faithful in the small things (I count young children as "small things" all the time!)
A church environment that is more Biblical than American in culture. Have I mentioned being faithful in small things? It's what we do.
Writing. We have so many ideas and we are both teachers at heart. We are bursting at the seams with the ideas and are so hungry and yet we are stretched to the limit on time and money and resources with what we are doing. So far it's a "not yet" answer.

What are you envisioning? What are you doing?

Find more great reading at Time Warp Wife and at HHM.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week-end Blur

Yesterday, after a busy morning Friend Gala came over to help us paint on primer. We got the 2nd floor, ceilings and walls for 4 bedrooms, bathroom and hallway finished just after nine.

Late last night KB and bro were invited to GA for another round of campaigning, which means they'll probably miss T-day here and be gone a couple of weeks. The thought of seeing her campaign homies and having a break from school has cause KB to hum and whistle all day long, (though Flower cried for about 2 hours at the very thought of having everyone scattered for another holiday) even though she and aforementioned bro spent 10 hours feeding baby calves today. They are sore and tired. You know you're working hard when the teens are asking to go to bed!

Tomorrow we have on the agenda colorizing the aforementioned halls and walls, get classes prepped and homework ready for tutoring center.  I'll get more pictures posted of the rooms soon before the end of the world as we know it.

By the numbers over the past 2 week-ends we have blown through 15 gallons of dry wall compound. 15 gallons of primer/sealer/ and are have 7 gallons more waiting to colorize. Not to mention duct tape (different project). The ceiling of the basement bathroom didn't get finished but bills did get paid on time, so I'm thinking it was a good trade-off. Anyone who says paint is a cheap way to decorate hasn't bought much lately.

I love how God has provided different friends along the way of this little bitty house project to offer us encouragement, willing hands  and the blessing of fellowship. Thanking God for all of you who have helped in so many different ways!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What a Week

The 7th Annual Homeschool Blog Awards are up for votes! Head on over to Homeschool Post and cast your vote. Have I mentioned that I would love it if you voted for THIS blog?- you can find it under:

 Favorite Homeschool Mom Blog
Best Current Events, Opinions or Politics Blog (who me? Opinionated ?!)
 Best Nitty Gritty Homeschool Blog
 Best Homeschool Variety Blog

In our Homeschool
Academics consisted of the usual suspects: Math (Cub finished Singapore's Story Problem 5- on to 6!), LoF, Math Minute, Spectrum, Latin - LC I and First Form, History- Midieval and World, Science- A & P for Feeche and McHenry's pre-Chem for Cub, R & S, Writing. We also go out Sequential Spelling for Feeche again. He is much improved over days of old, but asked for more help.

We actually got around to doing some time line memory work with VP cards. What I love about it is that much of what Cub is reading for World History (read aloud so Flower gets the benefits as well) is that so many of the names/ places are familiar.

Had a great round the table discussion tonight about the Spanish American War, WWI, Franco and America's development as a super power. It ended with everyone conjugating poor Franco's name. "I, Frank," Uproarious laughter ensued. This is what happens when history buffs are random/global thinkers. Dr. Logical/Sequential left the fray in self-definse.

We also did a HUGE amount of house work this week
Consisting of painting 3/4 of the basement twice, first with a primer, then the large family room (currently kids dorm) with color. (See the last post for what it looks like). Viking Man and friend Mike texturized last week-end and the 3 younger kids and I got it primed on Monday. On Wednesday we added color. There is more touch-up work to do,  and we are adding a magnetized chalkboard to the area just next to the back door. We're fun like that.
Then we moved everything back into place which took a day 'cause we had to wipe down and clean everything that was speckeld with dry wall mud or dusty and do a few zillion 5 loads of laundry.
This week-end we'll tackle priming the 2nd floor. Then moving stuff around- again- so that we can get ready to tackle cutting and afixing all of the trim- hundreds of yards of it, already stained by yours truly and co. and ready to get cut and nailed on. It's looking good 'round here. Ait is soooo exciting to be making such great progress. The floors and texturizing were HUGE. The downstairs basement is almost done... I'm rambling and gushing. Sorry. It's just so kewl!

Just for Fun
Biology 101: Days of Creation Give-Away, just 'cause I want to pass along the goodness. Here's the review and how to enter.

A Picture to Share
KB's been having fun doing finger waves. Pretty cool, eh?

She had a blast researching Vera Ellen this week - one of our fav movie stars from the era of glam (you know, White Christmas, right?). We love the stories behind people's lives. Whose your favorite 50's actress/actor?

Story Prompt for the week for the High School Class was to create a sit-com. Oh my. I laughed so.hard. All 5 of these kids could make it B.I.G., change the world, rock your socks off. When they do, I hope they remember me fondly as their best writing teacher and convey thier gratitude in tangible ways (I'm shallow like that)! I also have my little fantastic 5 writing group (3rd grade girlies) in the a.m. of the same day. It's so fun. They are so stinkin' cute. We decided collectively that we're going to make a book together and bind everyone's weekly papers, and have a "Fables" Party, like it suggests in the book. Big smiles all around.

Took a walk tonight with the girls while Viking Man jogged and it's definilty getting cold out. We had on hats, gloves and as much wool as we could find. Passed a bow hunter coming out of the valley. The moon was just coming out, full and luminous in the east, and the sun was setting, full of vibrant color, in the west. Evening walks. We used to have that book. Loved it. Sweet and touching. Like our walk. Love my girlies.

How was your week?
For more great reading, head on over to Conversion Diaries, Homeschool Chick and the Hop

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Basement Love

We live in an old craftsman style 4x4 farmhouse. When we moved here it had a cellar. You know, like a grandma cellar? A bit musty smelling, bad lighting, dark corners, cobwebs, canning jars and the washer and dryer. Well, thanks to our house fire and a whole lotta working to the point of stiff and tired, really stiff and really tired, we now have a basement.


It's not totally finished (the floors still need done) and baseboard added (in the barn, waiting to be painted and installed), the ceiling in the full bath finished (on the agenda for this weekend) and then painted.

But, it's insulated, framed, finished (vs. cement block), lots of lights (vs. a couple of hanging bulbs), an actual paint color instead of kilz.

Don't you L.O.V.E. the texture?? Adds a whole new dimension to the place.

I realize this is probably a snore post for some of you. Sorry 'bout that. But if you only knew what it's taken to get to this point. I could cry thinking about it. Cry from being stiff, tired, and thankful. Thankful for my kids and husband who work so hard, often times singing while they do so, despite the fact that 2 of them work/school full time and 1 works p.t. (this is like a 2nd full time job, ya'll). Grateful that God, in His mercy, has torn down our home in order to create something infinitely more beautiful.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Biology 101 Give-Away

Hey Ya'll. I've received a Biology 101: Biology According to the Days of Creation DVD set, brand spanking new, to give away this week. All because the makers of Bio 101 have released the second in the series, Chemistry 101, sent it to me to review and graciously threw in the Bio 101 set as a bonus. Love that!

We've already viewed Bio 101 and thoroughly enjoyed it! The information is ordered and sequential, the pictures gorgeous. There is a study guide that you can print  out to ensure that students understand the material. Despite that it's what I would call "science lite." This would make a great spine for a high school biology course, but I wouldn't consider it a stand-alone. That being said, it's very much worth getting, if your kids love science, you have some extra curriculum dollars to invest, or you have the time and resources to ramp it up to a high school unit (Carnegie- 120- 180 hours of work), which would certainly be easy enough to do.

Some of you may want to know how this series stands on the age of the earth. From the creators of the 101 series web-site:  "The objective of The 101 Series is to provide fascinating, visually–rich, and biblically–sound teaching, especially covering topics on which today's culture and Christianity conflict." Consequently, Biology 101 presents topics from a "young earth" perspective following the biblical chronology of six days of creation (with God resting on the seventh day).
Chemistry 101, so far, has been fabulous. Wes Olson starts off with a history of the field of chemistry, along the same lines as some of Tiner's books (the History of Medicine, et all). My 5th grader is taking Ellen McHenry's pre-chem this year at Tutoring Center and is fascinated, and thrilled to say that he actually understood something from his class that was confusing him, because of this DVD set. My high school junior took chemistry last year at Tutoring Center (using Prentice Hall)  but is just as interested. Again, there is a study guide included, and I'm happy to see, it's almost twice as long as the Bio 101 set. Again, the photography and graphics are terrific and chemistry is simply explained. If you have a high schooler that won't be going into a science field, but needs to know the basics, this could be just the thing you are looking for. Again, I wouldn't consider it a complete high school chem course, but it would be easy enough to add to.

So, how do you enter the give-away you ask? It's simple. Follow this blog and then leave a comment, telling me you've done so (if you're already a follower, just lmk). Tweet or mention on FB about this give-away for another shot at it (again, leave a comment and lmk). That's it. I'll be announcing the winner on Nov 17!

Stop by HHM for more great give-aways!
Hip Homeschool Moms Button
The 7th Annual Blog Awards are getting voted on as we speak. I'm thrilled to have been nominated in 4 categories:
 Favorite Homeschool Mom Blog
Best Current Events, Opinions or Politics Blog (who me? Opinionated ?!)
 Best Nitty Gritty Homeschool Blog
 Best Homeschool Variety Blog
It's the little things and this made me very happy this morning. We spent the week-end texturizing the ceilings and walls in both the basement and 2nd floor. The house is in complete disarray. The kids dorm in the basement is squished into the middle of the room, they are all sleeping in the living room, there is drywall dust every.where. and we can't find clothes or books or shoes. We are one HUGE step closer to getting the house done and we are thrilled with the progress that we made this week-end but it was still exhausting, hard work and more chaos. It was nice to wake up to something fun and wonderful (not that the texurized ceilings and walls aren't, right ; )!
There are so many awesome blogs listed. I hope you have time to peruse a bunch of them and add to your list of favorites!
And, btw,
I would LOVE your vote!

Women of God

Women of God and women of the world

Love this.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Frosting Ceilings

Frosting Texturizing the ceiling and walls, around 1400 square feet worth, took the majority of our time on both Saturday and Sunday. I bought a bit of paint (5 gallons worth) and plan to paint ceilings and walls this week so that we can get the kids off the living room floor and sleeping in beds again.

It's hard to tell from this picture just how lovely it all looks. But seriously, the texture adds a whole lotta finished look to the place.

Now that the walls and ceilings and most of the floors are done, we'll be turning our attention to the stairs. Ayup. I found some funky, finished in paper bags stairs on Pinterest, which might be the new look we sport going down stairs. The upstairs stairs are partly sanded. It's just the long side going down that we have to finish. We figured out using a file works quite well to get the ugly between places with.

paper bag stairs?

Or this?
More stairs decorated with paper. Gorgeous!
What think you?

We love you, Mike (and Lori and kidlets- missed you, Girlfriend!). THANK-YOU for spending your Saturday with us,working like a mad- man! Ya'll are friends indeed- over and over again.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The 3 R's

We did a good amount of reading, writing, 'rithmatic. Not only am I a card carrying member of "I love Singapore Story Problems" but I also really dig their Math Practice books. Throw in some LoF and Prentice hall and welcome to our world a couple days a week. R & S Grammar and IEW for writing. Flower has written 3 1-page papers to date and is thrilled to pieces that she can do so. Both boys are cruising through First Form. Thank-you, Memoria Press!

I received a complimentary copy of Chemistry 101 and we all sat down to watch. It's interesting, kind of along the lines of the Tiner "Story of Medicine" series. This is supposed to be a high school course for Chemistry and so far I'm not convinced but  it's longer and more detailed than Bio 101 and includes a study guide. That's not to say I don't see the definite value of the program. In fact,  I'll be doing a more in-depth review of it later in the week, and including a Bio 101 give-away so stop back and check it out.
Feeche also started Apologia's Human Body. He likes Wile's  style and we have a friend willing to do dissections with us, so it should be a good class. He's 2/3 of the way through TC's Shakespeare and falls deeper in love with the Bard as he goes.

House Work- Dr. Fix- It almost has the bathroom ceiling in the basement drywalled. This included building a soffet and extending the studs of the ceiling so as not to interfere with wiring or plumbing. Everything takes long. It's one of my new proverbs. The up-side is that we have a door on that bathroom and a ceiling soon- it will be so warm and cozy. Woop!!
We have friends coming on Saturday to help frost texturize the ceilings.We have teh best looking old farmhouse ceilings you ever did see!

By the Books
I finished The Left Hand of Darkness by LeGuin- read my review here. Feeche continues to work through Citadel of God, Cub finished The Dragon and the Raven and Earning His Spurs, both by Henty. The deal was he could drop lit at Tutoring Center if he read a book a week. So far, not bad. Flower has fallen in love with Strega Nona. They are delightful books and I can't believe we've never read them before. We're also working on The Shores of Silver Lake. Very close to home. We feel the prairie wind a blowing.

Quote of the Day
"My books are my tools.  They also serve as my counsel, my consolation, and my comfort.  They are my source of wisdom and the font of my education.  They are my friends and my delights.  They are my surety, when all else is awry, that I have set my confidence in the substantial things of Gospel truth and right."  Charles Spurgeon 

Artistically Yours
I'm teaching Drawing to Jr. and Sr. High schoolers twice a month using Bruce McIntyre's Drawing Textbook. It's simple, covers a lot of ground and produces results. Flower begged me to start teaching her too, so today we sat down and did three lessons together. She was humming and chirpping the whole time and has been drawing since. Cub sat down and created a rocket- go figure! (see below)

What Intimidates Me
The weather. I'm not kidding. It's been chilly and overcast. NOAA is a home-page. It is reading colder and colder, with frost on the ground.  I'm getting ready for my yearly chill (I thaw about April every year). On the up-side, if you're gonna have winter, the way it's done here is nice. I live in the Sunshine State (seriously, and we don't grow oranges). Lots of bright sun all winter long, snow, city-maintained ice-rinks and good sledding. And, our valley is nice to tromp around in if your dressed for it. And you can walk on the lake, cause the ice gets so thick- broom ball, anyone?

A Picture to Share

"Flight Through the Flack" by Cubvinci

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Left Hand of Darkness

I've never heard of Ursula LeGuin until I came upon a book of fantasy authors, during my L'Engle-fest.  Le Guin sounded intriguing and my literary friend, Enak, conquered, mentioning The Left Hand of Darkness. Oy vey, what a read! I did not like this book to begin with. For one, it's set on a planet called, "Winter." I live in the Territories ya'll and we have winter a fair bit of the time, prepare for it before, during and after, and dread it during the off seasons. (o.k. maybe that's just me- other people like the cold- go figure). That alone did not endear me to this book. In fact, it took me 2 weeks to read the first 200 pages - and a day to finish the last 100.

It's one of those books that captures you in the beginning with it's intriguing plot, wraps it's word arms around you and leaves you with a longing to know more once it's over.
For one, LeGuin is a brilliant writer. I mean, seriously. Word smith, wonder woman. She crafts a world and people that are familiar enough to relate to and unknown enough to fascinate.
Secondly, the plot was intriguing (I have mentioned that my 7th grade English teacher read us The Marian Chronicles every day, haven't I? Fond memories of other worlds)! So, in a nutshell, it's a member of the Ecumenen going to form an alliance with the peoples of Winter. They are humanoid, but....
Thirdly, the theme was fascinating. The humanoids are androgynous, and are only sexual a few days a month. A fascinating look at sexuality, gender issues, and humanity. This is something we've actually spent a fair bit of time thinking about in our home, as we've given a few talks to parents and counselors and others on "Gender Matters." Gender is, in our world, the only thing we come born with. The recent decision by the Girl Scouts of CO to admit a boy into a troop, despite obvious evidence to the contrary, is a cautionary tale that post-modernism seeks to destroy something fundamental to every single one of us.
Fourth, have I mentioned that LeGuin is a master craftswoman?

This book would make a great addition to a class for high schoolers on Human Development or fantasy lit. An excellent read and a new favorite author!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Falling Rocks

Paradox: a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth

Today's writing class is gonna be fun : )

Check out my post on How to be Thankful in an Era of Entitlement at the HSV.