Wednesday, November 30, 2011

School Update #3

We start our school day with the Pledge of Allegiance and a patriotic song.  One of our goals for our children that homeschoolers sometimes overlook is for them to know the different parts of citizenship and patriotism.  Since this is included in the A Beka Bible curriculum, it's pretty easy to include.  The first few weeks, the patriotic song has been "My Country 'Tis of Thee".  We've now moved on to "The Star Spangled Banner".

Our first day with a new song, I usually sing it for the kids, then we gradually learn it and sing it regularly together.  The first day, I gave them my heart-felt rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner".  Scott stood there mutely as I belted it out.  Then, as soon as I finished, he began to clap, then shouted, "Play ball!".

This is Reds player, Scott Rolen.  My Scott thinks his middle name is Rolen...seriously. 

Hmmm...I think he watches too many baseball games!  I'm glad it seemed familiar, though.  Hopefully he'll start associating it with our country sometime soon!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inflationary Language

I love Victor Borge's humor...this one reminds me of the sad state of our economy.  Try adding (ha ha) this into your everyday conversation!

Monday, November 28, 2011

An Unforgettable Surprise

This Thanksgiving brought me something surprising to be thankful for.  My romantic and thoughtful hubby, in his wisdom, knew I could use a break from the household routine.  So...instead of spending Wednesday evening with my wonderful in-laws, I was whisked away for a local romantic getaway.  It was refreshing, fun, and relaxing--a lot of enjoyment to cram into almost 24 hours without the kids!

Knowing my affinity for experimenting with the local highlights, Andy got us a room at a bed and breakfast in the Cincinnati area called the Symphony Hotel.  (I'll post a review sometime or other for you locals, in case you're curious!)  It was an adventure--we checked in, walked a bit to explore the area, then got ready for a night out.  We drove downtown to the Chiquita building where we stowed the car before walking to the river.  It was our intention to cross on the Purple People bridge, but couldn't figure out how to get there.  There was a pedestrian lane on one of the other bridges, however, so we walked across the Ohio (despite my childhood suspicion of bridges).  We went to dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant in Newport, Kentucky where I tried my first carbonara.  It was divine and inspiring--I've got to try making that at home soon!  We browsed around Newport by light of the Christmas decor, then took our moonlit walk back to the car.  Do you know how intensely romantic it is to snuggle by your hubby and cross the Ohio river by starlight...with no kids around?  It was lovely.

We made it back to our room where we could warm up, talk without interruption, eat cookies my Mom-in-law gave us, then watch TV until we fell asleep.

Do you know what was the awesomest kidless moment?  Waking up in the morning to quiet--and getting to lay in bed and read until I felt like getting up to a breakfast someone else made for us!  <<sigh>>

And guess what...all this loveliness happened without any chocolate consumption.  Yes--it was just that perfect!

Thank you, Andy, for loving me and spoiling me with such a fun and romantic getaway.  You are the absolute best of the best!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Word of the Week, Turkey Edition

For those of you trying to remember what it is in turkey that makes you drowsy, the word you're looking for is:

L-tryptophan: noun. an essential amino acid with a documented sleep inducing effect.  (as found in turkey, of course).

Here's an important note.  Don't leave off the 'L-'.  Apparently plain old tryptophan is a non-sleep inducing generic variety of amino acid.  Wouldn't want you sounding like a ning-nong.

So, when your father-in-law falls asleep on your couch after Thanksgiving dinner, you can impress everyone around you by teasing him with the accurate name of the soporific amino acid. :)

Just a head's up...I'll be taking the rest of the week off blogging to spend the holiday week with my wonderful family.  You should be, too, by the way, so get off my blog and go hug your kids or something.  That's right, I'm kicking you out...until Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shocking New Holiday Exercise Routine

Avoid weight gain during this holiday season by following our fool-proof exercise plan.  Doing this 40 minute work-out, 5-7 days a week, you can drop those pesky pounds! (Adapted from a real magazine to fit the REAL Mommy lifestyle!)

Here's the Plan:  You'll alternate between high- and low-intensity exercise;
research has shown that this combo is an effective way to burn fat.

Total time: 40 minutes

4 Minutes: Start at a light pace; pumping your arms at your sides, to warm up.

2 Minutes: Stop walking to pick up puzzle pieces you are stepping on.

2 Minutes: Walk at a moderate pace.

1 Minute: Chase your toddler into the other room and retrieve the sharp object    
from his or her hand.

1 Minute: Make another child stop whining with the threat of cleaning her room.

3 Minutes: Walk at a moderate pace.

1 Minute: Pick up your 26 pounder after she falls and gets another bruise.

1 Minute: Run into the kitchen and turn off the burner under the boiling-over

3 Minutes: Walk at a moderate pace.

2 Minutes: Walk as fast as you can while digging under piles of stuff to try to
find the phone before it stops ringing.

3 Minutes: Walk at a moderate pace while talking on the phone.

2 Minutes: Drag a chair over to the kitchen and repeatedly climb on it to keep
turning off the smoke detector.

3 Minutes: Walk at a normal pace while swinging a towel near the smoke detector.

2 Minutes: Walk as fast as you can without tripping on the toys strewn all over
the floor.

3 Minutes: Run excitedly around the house to figure out where and why the
toddler screaming is happening

2 Minutes: Discipline. (this really gets your heart rate up)

5 Minutes: Slow your stride, taking longer steps and relaxing your upper body.

Cool Down: Make your children pick up toys while you supervise under threat of
more heart raising activity (ie disciplining)

If you follow this fool proof routine 5-7 days a week, you could get the same
results I have---gaining 5 more pounds over the next year.  (I need a new
fitness routine!)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Keepin' It 1

If my house were more quiet,
I think I might diet.
But when squabbles won't budge,
I want to eat fudge.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A good excuse for today's laziness?

"The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."
Author Unknown

Hmmm...maybe sleeping in would be okay...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When Being a Royal Doesn't Pay...

Have you ever heard how Edward II of England died?  I just did.  Apparently he was killed by having a red hot fire iron shoved up through what we'll call the back door.  This was done by his wife.  Just goes to show...if you're not a success at home, you're not a success anywhere.

By the way, right now my hubby and I are watching the BBC/History Channel multi-installment documentary called A History of Britian.  It's fantastic so far...really full of interesting tidbits, as you may have guessed.  They say truth is stranger than fiction...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Word of the Week

Since it's fall, and all the food blogs are starting to hit the soups and stews, I thought I'd share a very multi-purpose word that has some pizzazz.

slumgullion: noun, a stew of meat, vegetables, and potatoes


a beverage made weak and thin, such as watery tea or coffee


the refuse of processing a whale carcass


a reddish mud deposit from mining sluices

Wow!  talk about a word worth learning...four definitions is definitely impressive.  How the etymology got from stew to whale carcass is a mystery, but hey, why not embrace it?   Let's see if you can guess which definition I had in mind for the following sentences:

"Here, dear.  Just a few more swallows of this delicious slumgullion and your throat will feel all better."  (If you guessed the whale carcass one, you're wrong.)

*** Spoiler Alert:  Don't read this sentence if you're reading Moby Dick!

Captain Ahab would have liked to reduce Moby Dick to a festering slumgullion, but alas, it was not to be.  (Yes, whale carcass fans, you've guessed right this time.)

When her husband asked her what was for dinner, the clever wife answered with  her newest vocabulary word, "How does some nice slumgullion sound?"  Needless to say, he was very impressed by her knowledge of both words and cookery.  (It does sound a lot more magnificent than stew, doesn't it?)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Every Girl Needs a Big Brother...

Those of you who have an older sibling, or in particular an older brother, will relate to this story.  I remembered it recently while my hubby and I were talking about how boys should look out for their sisters.

When I was in elementary school, we rode the bus home every day.  Since we all went to a pretty small local public school, all grade levels were in the same school, and therefore we rode the same bus home.  Ours was Bus #8, and was very rural, and was driven by Pete, the guy from whom we bought our farm.  (He should be the subject of another post!)

Anyway, one day I was haggling with another student on the bus over who knows what.  It was a boy near my age, and I don't remember much about him except he didn't like me.  He got nasty.  (I'm sure I was being a perfect angel and didn't give him any reason to dislike me so...).  He called me fat and ugly, and made me start to tear up.  Unknown to me, my older brother, Scott was sitting nearby listening.  We were near the back of the bus, so he slid to a nearby seat when Pete wasn't looking around with his eagle eye.  He got close to the kid and threatened him...may have even punched him a little...not quite sure anymore.  My brother is five years older than me, so to have an important high-schooler come to your defense is perfectly amazing.

I was on cloud nine.  I felt protected and loved and vindicated!  My quiet brother had been looking out for me even when I didn't know it!  The boy never made fun of me again, and my tears were soon dry.

We got off the bus...all four of us.  I sped to catch up with Scott, who could always walk really fast through the shortcuts.  I looked up at him in wonder and said, "I'm so glad you stuck up for me Scott.  You made me feel so special!"  (or something to that effect).

He looked at me without smiling, punched me hard on the arm and said, "Well, it doesn't mean that I like you."  Then he ran off.

Every girl needs a big brother to look out for her...but a brother is still a brother, no matter how heroic he can be!

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Haunted House

by My Mom after our visit

I don't want to wipe off the high chair tray.
I'll leave it go for just one more day.
Maybe that way Allie's face will stay
In my mind, with her toothy grin.

The plants to their regular stand repair.
No more blockade of basement door or stair.
No aroma of diapers to raise one's hair
Or show how full our home has been.

No toy cars to step on in the morn.
Coloring books the table no longer adorn.
The floor's swept clear of cereal and corn.
Every step on a crumb said, "Grandma, I love you."

Swimming laps is too quiet and boring now.
Where is my little man and his pal Kachow?
Does he like the farm because beef comes from a cow?
Reading books without Scott's help isn't as fun to do.

Silly giggles and hugs are Cara's cadeaux.
Absently calling ME "Mom" makes my heart glow.
Malicious butterflies should be avoided, as you well know.
There's no need to fear; Underdog is here!

The kids dressed up snazzy for church on Sunday--
Taking a walk or going out in the dirt to play--
A beautiful song, verse, or poem to say--
These missing things make my day too severe.

I'm glad Andy on the phone makes Hannah happy still.
Please take home an old movie and our extra dill.
(Now a dishwasher load takes two days to fill!)
Communion over chocolate and movies will keep

Till the kids are in bed, if I can stay awake.
I tried very hard for my dear daughter's sake.
Except for these memories, my clean house makes me ache.
The blessings of family take a lifetime to reap.

***Editor's Note:  What a great remembrance of our trip!  So many of these details could be changed by next year!  Maybe they'll be cleaner and not into cars and no longer scared of butterflies.  Well, at least Mom can count on me...blessings from chocolate are much more immediate.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Picture For Us Girls...

After girls grow up, get married, and have children, life changes a lot.  One thing that gets better with age is friendships.  There's nothing quite like the depth of a relationship formed through the ups and downs and dishes of family life.  This picture reminds me of my friend, Christine and a land without email and phones.  It's called "Chatterboxes" by Thomas Benjamin Kennington.

Nothing helps pass a dreary day of housework like some chat and humor with a buddy!  As a side note, I love the heap of 'stuff' piled in the corner.  Way to keep it real, Mr. Kennington!

Any other thoughts, readers?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sense and Sensibility, as regards my children

It is an unusually warm and sunny November day today.  We decided to bask in the glory of the sun while we still could.  After school and lunch was done, we all went outside to enjoy the weather.  Allison busily began throwing leaves and trying to put dirt in her ear, I sat down in the sunshine and read four chapters of Anne of Avonlea, and Scott and Cara explored the deep recesses of our back yard.  Scott scrounged up some random leaves and sticks to "cook" with.  While his pie was baking, Cara found four small worms.  She cradled them in her hand, showed them to everyone, and decided to adopt.  They were well cared for...Scott came over to observe.  She petted them, told them she loved them, and tried to feed them.

This all went along for half an hour or so, when I decided it was time to come in for naptime.  Cara asked to bring her new friends inside, to which I said an absolute no.  She was distressed, saddened, disturbed.  She busily created an impromptu habitat for her beloved ones.  She stocked up a food supply, splashed water on them, and did everything she could think of to make them comfortable until the next time she can come out.  All the while, she talked soothingly to the worms, so they wouldn't be frightened.  Scott watched and listened silently.  About halfway through the emotional tumult of preparation, he put his ore in.

Hands on hips and no expression, he said to Cara, "You know what we should do with them Cara?  Mom won't let us take them inside anyway, so we should just kill them and put them in the garage by the fishing poles for next time."

Always thinking intensely practical.  Unfortunately for Mr. Sense, Miss Sensibility is as shocked by his suggestion as her six year old emotions will allow.  Good thing for her, Grandpa looks out for Miss Sensibility when she wants to go fishing...apparently Mr. Sense can look out for himself.  I sure hope he marries someone nurturing some day, or who know what will happen to his kids!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Word of the Week

Most people don't realize that when you become a parent, you also become a creator of words.  Nicknames are very common for parents, but occasionally they bridge the gap and adapt themselves for everyday use.  Here's one I made up...a combination of Pookie and Precious..

pookalicious: adj. squishy and cute, babyish, squeazeable.
                               n. baby Allison

Did you know that you can adapt almost any song to use the word/name pookalicious instead of lyrics?  We consider it a challenge here. are a few sample sentences to try out.

Lucinda teared up as she looked in the mirror; her bulging gut was anything but pookalicious.

"Ah, my Pookalicious, I just have to squeeze you and smooch your fat cheeks all over...(commence smooching...)".

"Did you see baby Titus?  He was absolutely pookalicious!"

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gossip From the Home Front

My home town is very interesting.  It's kind of a real life, German version of Mayberry.  It's neat and quaint and full of exciting tales that run through the barber shop, then the local paper, often in that order.

Here's an interesting tidbit I heard about while I was visiting.  This was actually in the paper.  A man had been arrested on suspicion of breaking into the local pharmacy.  Apparently, before he could even get to the pharmacy, several trusted citizens called the police to report him as suspicious.  The reason, you ask?  He was wearing a hoodie.  (giggle, giggle...seriously!)  Yes, what would here in Cincinnati probably be called fashion profiling was praised in my home town by the local police chief.  Can you imagine?  My husband wears hoodies all the time when the weather gets cold...I better purge his wardrobe before his next visit.  Wouldn't want him being arrested on suspicion of stealing from an antique shop or anything...

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Rhyme for my Homecoming...

Upon my return
I really did strive
Some poem to write
Of our brief westward flight.

Our great tale of travel,
Swell places we've tread
But now that I'm home
My poor brain's half dead.

Oh well...maybe next time!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We're Back!

Hello readers!  We've officially returned from our long trek out west to visit my parents and brother's family.  I had these great intentions of writing something interesting, but I'm afraid that the mess in my house has reached fire hazard stage, so I'd better not ignore it.  I have been trying to clean up and unpack, but had to take that last morning to party with my Dad before he returned home.  Hopefully, my blogging will be back on track tomorrow!