Monday, October 06, 2014

Botanical Gardens

Today we were able to go on a "field trip" to a local Botanical Gardens. While the program was structured for 5-6 year olds my 4 year old and 8 year old also had fun and learned a lot.

We learned how natives in area used cedar planks and loops to make their houses. We learned that Douglas Fir Trees do not burn easily in a forrest fire. My son was taken back to learn that parts of tree cellulose go into toothpaste. :)

As it goes, nature is always found easily in your own backyard too.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Curriculum Currently in Use

Story of The World Volume 1
Story of the World Volume 1 Activity Book

Language Arts
Daily Language Review 
(and weekly writing assignments)

IXL Math
Spectrum Math Workbooks

Harcourt 4th grade Science Wolf Text
Learn and Do Botany
Giant Science Resource Book

Art In Action

Alfred's Basic Piano Prep Course (with their piano teacher)

I also supplement with material I create myself, or find online and at the library.

my oldest 2 take Taekwondo
the youngest Ballet
all 3 Swim twice a week

1 month down

This week we will be completing one month of homeschooling. 

I have talked to other mothers who have children at our old school. 

Normal stresses I am missing out on:
- PTSA meeting with new principal
- Program I used to coordinate has no coordinator and they will likely drop the program
- School Fundraising Program (no nagging kids, emails, or letters begging for $200)"
- Picking up the kids up and rushing to extra curricular activities.
- Nightly homework struggles and short notice projects
- Worrying about Common Core in all its weirdness

Things I actually miss:
- Morning walks to the bus stop
- A quite(r) house
- Going places with only 1 child

Things I love about homeschooling:
- Completing the days (school) work by 9:30am
- Knowing what my children have learned and need to improve on
- Attending some extra curricular activities during the day
- Having extra help around the house
- Educational Outings 

I am still learning/improving upon:
- Our routines and schedule
- Adding more hands on activities to our week
- Organizing topics and materials (long term)
- Making sure the kids learn everything they should including the stuff I think is boring 

I really am struggling with activities to fill our down time (20-30 minutes here and there). I want activities that are educational, not boring, require no real prep for me, and not in front of a screen. Yes they already read 20-120 minutes a day. Thinking about getting a mini trampoline and slowly working towards a game/exercise room in the basement (since it rains a lot)...but it will take 5 years to complete this plan. :/


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

I want to be free

Is there anyone else who soon as my kids are grown, I just want to be on my own. I don't want to pick after others, feel like I have to buy food and cook. I don't want to listen to "I am a man, I am right" all the time. I don't want anyone to have control or offer unsolicited advice over any aspect of my life. I want to work and play hard for myself. 

Then I think, luck I'll get sick or something and need my spouse to care for me. Maybe we can just be roommates and friends with out obligations. Then I realize...oh yeah we kind of we're that (plus benefits) before we had kids....

Saturday, August 02, 2014

3 more weeks

3 more weeks until I regain my sanity. Aunt-in-law has been caught in lies. Mother-in-law doesn't know how to say "no" to direct relations but had no problem continuing to ignore me. Feeding the kids junk and only knows how to cook greasy foods, though she can't eat them herself. She insists on cooking but doesn't know how to cook. Burning and ruining my only pans. I understand they want to feel useful, and if that is the case, stop buying my children toys and food and then sitting on your computer. Start interacting. Seriously, if I could, I would hop in the car with the kids and road trip tonight. Did I mention I paid $700 for us to all sit around in a hotel room for 2 would never guess, but the beach was 100 yards away. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I am a jealous person or something....

In laws are here. First I get attitude from niece and nephew who suddenly think they can do whatever and not follow household rules cause their grandparents are here. When I told them that is not the case I got rude noises and talking under the breath. 

At the Grocery store they were asking that their grandmother buy them everything like spoiled children. She of corse bought then everything. 

Mother in law made rice and was treated as if she made a masterpiece. It was plain rice no real taste. 

My husband skipped over my salad dressing when I asked him to please finish it (vinegar, oil, lime, honey, basil, garlic) and opted for his mom's which is just vinegar and oil and tastes tart and bland. When I make salad he refuses, his mom makes the exact same salad using the exact same salad  ingredients and he has 2 bowls full. On top of that he says,  "You never make me salad." Really..cause I didn't make you salad 2 times a week for the last month plus and you refused.....

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Why do teens dig their own graves

We have had a teenager for a week now. We set the expectations. Everyone was in agreement that it was fair. When asked a question, you answer openly and honestly so we can best evaluate the situation and come up with fair and reasonable choices. 
  Due to former habits and examples, we get half truths with some lies sprinkled on top. How hard is it to say, we want to go out on Lake W with friends, in their boat. Instead of, we want to go swimming at some lake around here and a few girls I don't know are going to meet us. Playing the dumb card doesn't work well when you spend so many hours with someone planning outfits for school 2 months away, but you claim to know nothing about the next day's activity. Um, your friend just filled me in and was honest with me and was even willing to accommodate and adjust, but you blew it. 

Just keep digging....

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I just want a chance to be me

   My children (and I) have been a part of Music Together for 7 years. I love it, I know it like the back of my hand. It combines my two loves: music and children. I took a class so I could teach it. I dreamed of teaching as soon as all 3 of my kids returned to school or got close enough that I could figure it out. That would have been this upcoming school year. 
    I had not thought about it in 6 months. Today I get an email letting me know the branch of Music Together that I love and have been attending 6/7 years, is hiring and if interested I should contact them. Talk about being torn. My dream job or homeschool my children. Yes I want to cry. 
    I just want a chance to be me. I never wanted to be super mom...okay well maybe I did, but I want/ed to be more than that. I want to be part of something. I want to do something I enjoy. I want to un-tether myself from my job as a mom and just spend 4 hours a week being a 30-something woman who loves music and children. :(

Monday, June 02, 2014


Signed up for my first 5k since I was in college, a few months ago. I just got the green light a week earlier to run, after having some back problems. 

It was a perfect running day. 60F and slightly overcast. As I drove to the race a bald eagle even cruised above my car for 4-5 car lengths. I felt like this was a good omen.....I was wrong.

I started in the middle of the pack because I don't run 6-7 minute miles like I used to :) that was my first mistake. It was bike path narrow and I had to pass a few hundred people, some who were already walking within the first 1/4 mile. At the 1 mile marker I felt awesome! I was pacing with a few people and then slowly passing them. At about a 1.3 miles running on the bad ankle met a rock. Yes completely random and some kind of cruel joke. I wanted to cry. I wanted someone to come pick me up and give me a ride back. It hurt bad. I sat down for a couple of minutes hoping the pain would slow down so I could limp it in. It didn't. I got tired of sitting, so I walked. 
By the time I got on the grass again a mommy friend who is 8 month pregnant come jogging by. I decided what the hell I can just jog slow because I am feeling pathetic limping along. So I gimped along jogging. I got tired of that so then I said my farewells to the mommy friend and ran it in. The hurt. Every step on my left foot was felt up to my knee, but only 1 mike to go, and as gimpy as I was, I was still gaining on everyone in front of me. 

I finished in 33 minutes. Not exactly the under 30 I was aiming for. I seriously want a do over. There is another 5k there in August. I am thinking that next time, I need to wrap my ankle and start towards the front more.  

Lessons Learned. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Someone please send this to my child's school

This article was shared with me on Facebook. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. 
A high schooler to his mother, “You really haven’t been in school for a while. Now you know how I feel. I always thought it was my fault. I thought I wasn’t paying close enough attention. I thought I might have ADHD. It never occurred to me that they weren’t actually saying anything.”

Teachers if you have to say something 3 times for your students (collectivly)to get it, you failed. Say it once, show it once and then move on to practicing. Get your lazy ass out of the chair, walk around, and help every student who didn't get it. Have a challenge page ready for those who finished early.
....and while we're at it. Please do your prep work outside of classroom hours. I was a teacher, stop gossiping during lunch and and right after school. You want to go home an hour after school ends, move your ass and stay focused. Don't you dare put a non-educational movie or tv show on, so you can do prep work on my kids time! You especially have no excuse if half of your class parents stay at home and are only an e-mail or phone call away. 

Anyway off my high horse....

Here is a link to the article:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It's almost that time again

As anyone who has been following knows, I always wished for 4 children and I wouldn't complain (too much) if I would have had more than that. 
When my husband's nephew had problems he stayed with us for a year. He came to live with us when he was 15.5 years old. Now it is his sister's turn (for a different reason.)

  She will be joining our family days after her 16th birthday. I know it will be tough, but I have got to learn to deal with girl drama...after all...I have 2 daughters.
   She is scared and excited. Rightfully so. She is scared to leave her mom who she loves dearly. She is scared about having no friends. She is excited about having her own room and all the new opportunities she will have. 

Her younger brother will also join us for about a month. I love seeing things through children. I love taking them on new adventures and giving them opportunities to try new things. While 1 month is the longest I've had with all 5 of them, the more I think about it the more I feel like that is not enough time.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Phew ... it wasn't in my head

My son who is 5 and currently in Kindergarten took the Cog AT. Now we always said he was smart. Others always said he was smart. But no one wants to be like the American Idol contestant who has been told how well they sing by everyone and then shows up only to learn how horrible they really are.

You can imagine my relief when we received a letter saying he score at or better than 97%. Then you can imagine my happiness when I looked up his actual percentile up online and it said he scored higher than 99% of kindergartners nationally. 

As a mother my thoughts again turned to my oldest. She would have been in the 95-97% in Kindergarten and how now slipped to the 85-90% by 2nd grade. I pray I am as strong of a teacher, as I think I am. I need to capture her interest and love of learning once again.

Call me a Tiger mom if you must, but I want to give my children the best possible start. I don't care where they decide to go to college of if they go at all, I just want doors to be open to them so they can choose the best fit when the time comes.

I am ready

I read "100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriclum" and took the quizzes. I am an eclectic mix of Unit Studies, Charolette Manson, and unschooling. I have a Social Suzie and a Confident Carl, and I am not sure what category the youngest falls into yet. :)
It was an interesting book to look through, but not something I would invest in. Most of the information can be found online and in a more updated form.

I read through the curriculum and common core standards. Yes, it is as much fun as it sounds. 

I went to our local homeschooling bookstore. Thank God I knew what I was looking for walking in. So many choices and more than half of them Christian based/biased. I walked out with a Science text book that covers everything my children need to know in Elementary school, a math book for my oldest, a dictionary (we didn't have one), and Story of the World Vol.1 with activity book. Grand price $97.

I went online and added Art in Action home to our curriculum. 

Planned out the first 2 weeks of lessons.

My oldest was so excited she started on her new math text and read the first 4 chapters of Story of the World. I decided, go with it. So this weekend we all sat down and did Story of the World together and activities for the first 2 chapters. It went amazingly well everyone was engaged and participating.

 Now if only I can get my coordinating art lesson set up and ready to go by this weekend. 

Thursday, May 01, 2014

To homeschool or not to homeschool...

You would think living in one of the best districts in your state would amount to something. Not necessarily. 
Some schools look great on paper but once you are behind the scenes, you realize it was just a bunch of adults trying to better their careers. What good are fancy awards if the students are not achieving basic competence in regards to state and national standards for their grade level at school ? 

My oldest talks until she is blue in the face and rarely gets her work done at school. There is rarely enforcement of the rules. My son needs someone to engage his mind, not bore him to death. Both of my children need to spend more time on academics than assemblies and presentations on how to be a better person. Their 6th grade teachers will care more about their ability to multiply than their ability to resight the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (especially if the adults teaching them were not capable of being a good example nor enforcing them.) 

When they say a parent is their child's best teacher, it wasn't a lie :) 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

3 kids 2500 miles in 8 days

We just completed our annual drive to visit family. By we, I mean, a 7,5, 3 year old, and myself.

Day 1 - 615 miles. We left around 5:15am and stoped for the day around 5pm. 
Day 2 - 200 miles. Easy as pie. We left after breakfast and were done before lunch.
Day 3 - 260 miles. Picked up a 15 and 11 year old (cousins) to enjoy a mini-vacation with us :) 
Day 4 - 110 miles. Visiting local attractions. We also walked 3 miles.
Day 5 - 250 miles. Dropped of the 15 and 11 year old and went to my parents. 
Day 6 - Rest
Day 7 - 100 miles. Plus 5 miles on a steam train.
Day 8 - 860 miles. Left at 5am. Got home at 8:30pm. 

You add in the little side trips to eat, pee, get gas, etc. and my car picked up over 2500 miles. 

The kids had books, movies, mad libs, my iPod, and occasional use of a tablet. There was some fighting, but no one was injured. There was some napping, but not as much as I would have liked. 

We visited Pismo Beach, Morro Rock, Hearst's Castle, Jamestown Rail Road Opening Day. 

Splash Cafe in Pismo had the most delicious food by far. Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl there is better than any in San Francisco or Santa Cruz. The kids were also in love with their food there. 

Opening Day at the rail road was the most awesome experience as a family. Going on the tour of the roundhouse and watching the locomotive hook-up to the cars was awesome. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Moving down

I have about 30 miles in so far this year. 

We are on round 4 of everyone getting sick this week. Well almost everyone...I got sick once. Yes, it was kind of nice because I got to take a nap. Hopefully everyone's health will return soon so I can get out and start running again.

Diet bet finished up. I lost my 4% and turned my $10 into $17.50. I found that being so conscious of what I was eating for 28 days completely changed my habits. I am no longer on a "see food" diet and I don't crave chocolate and sweets, and then sit and eat all chocolate in sight. I actually tried to eat chocolate yesterday and I just got full and disgusted with it.  

I joined another diet bet game today. If I am successful I will hit my goal weight. I am kind of excited for myself to be that size again and at the same time scared I won't be able to maintain it as freely as I once did. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Just keep running

Jogged twice this week with the jogging stroller and spent some time on the ski machine. Got in 10 miles. My goal this year is 400 miles, but I would ideally get in 500 miles. 

It's funny to think back to when I was in high school and compare it to now. 12 years ago an 8 minute mile was jogging and 25 miles a week was average. Now 11 minute miles are jogging and 10 miles a week is my average. Just call me fat and old. 

There is a sprint dualathon in June. 3 mile run and 15 mile bike ride. Part of me wants to do it, and the other part of me is scared about the hill on mile 4 and 9, which happens to be the lower part of the hill I live on. I am not sure what my knees, hip, and bike are capable of. The good news is there is a 5k and 10k run/walk so maybe I can just tackle the 5K for time or the 10k for distance and then more seriously consider the dualathon for 2015. 

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Diet Better

In my efforts, or lack of lately, to move the scale, I have gone the wrong way. I picked up a couple of extra pounds and I am starting to realize carbohydrates clog my digestion. They don't digest right or take an extra 24 hours (TMI, I know). 

Over winter break with my niece here we had an awesome time running the local trails and it made me realize I need to make it a daily outing as much as possible. It makes me feel good about myself physically and mentally. So now I must find a cheap jogging stroller on Craigslist and give this a try. 

I am also trying a website called Diet Bet. You pick a challenge of either loosing 4% or 10% in either 4 weeks or 6 months respectively. If you meet your goal you get your money back and whatever is left over from those who did not meet their goal. I am starting out with a $10 investment and then I may try higher stakes next time. Money and others is always a good motivator for me, so I am hoping this helps keep me on track.