Monday, August 29, 2011

Unsocialized Homeschoolers

School has begun at our house. Well, sort of.

Katie has finished her 7th grade Switched on Schoolhouse program, and Amanda and I have begun working on some remedial things. Sort of.

I have this philosophical issue with school starting before Labor Day, and the official end of summer. We have done some school work since all the girls' public school friends are back in school, and thus, not around during the day. And the pool doesn't open until 4:00 PM now, so we can't go laze around the water either.

But, we will do a bit of math and language arts with Amanda. I will set up Katie's 8th grade curriculum, but will give her a couple of weeks off. And, we are starting a serious reading program.

What has me boggled is how we got into so many activities! Today Katie starts soccer practice with the local Christian school in the hopes of making their team. If she makes it, she will be at practice Monday, Wednesday & Friday with games on Saturday.

Wednesdays will be particularly challenging, since I have to be a choir practice by 6:00 and Katie's practice lasts until 5:00. I'll have to run her home for a quick shower and then back to church - did I mention practice is actually at the church?

Wednesday night programs at church start back in earnest this week. Amanda loves going to Awanas, so we definitely have a commitment for Wednesday nights.

After Labor Day, and our trip to the beach for a week, we add other activities. Amanda will be going to art class on Mondays, we have a homeschool co-op all day on Fridays, and guitar and drum lessons twice a month. (I still have to figure out how I can get Katie to soccer practice at 3:30 when Amanda's art class doesn't end until 3:30)

All of this got me to pondering how in the world anyone in their right mind could think a homeschooled child is lacking in socialization! My kids are busy, and involved with other homeschooled kids. They attend church with a mix of kids in different schooling options. They play with kids in the neighborhood who go to public or charter schools.

We don't live in a cave. We are not in a commune somewhere or homesteading away from the entire world. Seriously, how do you not have any socialization?

Maybe people mean the kind of socialization that is prevalent in schools today. Class time when they cannot talk. Quiet time at lunch. Recess which involves a planned physical activity which can be counted towards PE time instead of free play and peer interaction.

Or maybe it means exposure to what is deemed appropriate socialization in society today. Dating early, unsupervised afternoons, detached parenting, pressure to achieve and be #1 or not try at all, "family" tv viewing that is anything but family oriented.

Possibly it is the idea that our kids are socialized to be "open minded" and "tolerant" by being exposed to alternate lifestyle options or curriculum demeaning the true basis of the founding of our nation. Or being tolerant of every other view except the Christian view. (Example being the PA announcement I heard right before we started homeschooling, "Attention teachers - please remember that none of your bulletin board items can say "Easter", they must say Spring.")

Stepping on some toes here no doubt. And, I realize that many people whose kids are in public school are strongly reinforcing a Christian worldview and taking a hand in countering the politically correct agenda.

Whatever the case may be, we have chosen to homeschool our children. We have chosen to tailor our teaching and curriculum to their particular styles of learning, and their interests and talents. We have chosen to teach them with a Christian Worldview which means seeing the world through the lens of the Bible and Jesus.

And it means interacting with all types of people. All ages. All races. All religions, orientations and whatever else people choose to define themselves as. It means loving them and being Christ to all of them. THAT my friends, is socialization.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I am constantly amazed at how two kids from the same gene pool can be so totally different. Katie and Amanda are like day and night, as are most siblings.

But lately, I have been watching the cats a noticing their different personalities. It is quite interesting, and since we have a plethora of cats, quite entertaining.

First, there is Topaz. He is the full grown cat we got at the shelter, Of course the shelter told us he was a she, so it is a wonder he doesn't have an identity crisis from being called "her' for 2 years!.

Topaz is our big gentle giant. He is HUGE and was once mistaken for a beaver (no kidding). He is the first one at the food bowl, and loves to give you head butts.

Next is Peach. Peach leads a charmed life. When we met the man at the animal shelter, he had just picked up then kitten Peach. Amanda immediately  fell in love with him, and Peach's feet never touched the bottom of a shelter cage.

Peach is quiet, and sweet, and knows he has a good life. Unlike some of the other cats he had never had a yen to bolt out and open door. He knows what he has.

Tiger is the other cat who we rescued from the shelter. She is a stealthy, hunting machine. She can jump unbelievably high, and perches in the highest spot she can find. She likes to carry off socks, and play with pipe cleaners.

Tiger and Peach produced a litter of 5 kittens - 3 of which still live with us. (The other two found new loving homes). The kittens are Fluff, Wiggles and Raccoon.

Fluff is just like his name - I giant fluff ball. He is loving and is always the first in line for a handout of people food. His meow is quite annoying, especially when he is sitting outside of Katie's room crying for her to let him in!

Wiggles is not wiggly, just skittish. If you looked up the term "scaredy cat" in the encyclopedia, her picture would be there. But she has lovely golden eyes, and likes to steal drinking straws from cups.

Lastly is Raccoon. She is a mottled mix of gray and brown, and her face does look raccoonish - although in reverse. She is sneaky. Nothing more to say about her.

The cats are fun and provide great entertainment. I am glad they are all different, just like all of Gods creatures!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Need an Alice

I need an Alice. Remember Alice from the Brady Bunch? The live in housekeeper who did all the shopping, cooking, cleaning and even went on all the family vacations?

Where does one find an Alice, because I desperately need one. I cannot get on top of getting my house in order, and home school my kids at the same time. Maybe it would be easier if we weren't here all the time, but I like my kids and love home schooling.

So, the answer is to get an Alice. I am not sure where she would live though. We don't have one of those secret spare rooms off our kitchen. I suppose we could put a cot up for her in the garage.

Maybe if I had an Alice I could be that Mom with the smart hair do (preferably a little more modern that Carol Brady's shag), groovy clothes and I could sit and needlepoint and dispense sage motherly advise with a smile of my face.

After all, if I didn't have to stress out over the sad state of my home, what's for dinner, and locating all the lost items that only I can seem to find, I would be able to think clearly and provide intelligent answers to burning questions too!

If I had an Alice, she could work her magic while we were doing school or at co-op or on any of our other assorted and sundry field trips and errands. Shoot, if I had an Alice and she would clean for me and do my laundry, I would gladly grocery shop for her!

I don't think my Alice would want to go on vacation with us though. I mean, when you live with the family you take care of, don't you need to kick back by yourself and let them go to wherever without you? Hmmm, maybe theres a message for me there...

I'd even be glad to give her time off so she could date her own version of Sam the Butcher. I am all for love as long as she doesn't get married and leave before my kids are grown.

So, anyone know where I can get an Alice?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Time Warps

I have been mulling over some oddities in my life - specifically how I always seem to be in some kind of time warp.

When I was growing up, I was pretty much always the youngest. My sister is 11 years older than I am, and so when I was in first grade she was graduating from High School and heading off to college. Most of my cousins were older as well, and the ones who were closer to my age lived away from us.

So, I spent a lot of time with my parents and their friends. Not that it was necessarily a bad thing, just different. Most of their friends kids were older or grown and gone. So, when we went to their house for my parents to play cards, I had to entertain myself or watch tv. I remember falling asleep on many a strange couch.

My sister got married when I was about 10 or 11. My nephews were born when I was 14 & 15, so the weird time warp thing continued. Now one of them has kids who are older than mine. And, he just turned 40 which was terribly surreal.

 I got married at 18. That somehow cast me into the "old" group despite my young age. Something about being married just makes you old, or feel old when everyone else is still partying and dating and you are keeping house.

Since I was married and pursuing my college degree, it took me 9 years to get my 4 year degree. Lest you think I was not too bright, I spent a semester working and a semester in school. It sometimes took me a semester or two to come up with the money for classes and books.

Since I was in school for an extended period, I quickly became the older "kid" in class. Add to that being married and I felt positively ANCIENT. It makes you feel really old when your class mates are going to parties and ball games and you are going to work.

I did graduate and get a job. I attended my 10 year High School reunion that fall, and most people had been working in their chosen careers for 6 years. Even the doctors were practicing.

Life moved on, and I entered a new phase as a newly single woman. Entering the dating game again at 30 is weird, especially when you left the game at 18. At 18 pretty much everyone you know is single. At 30, pretty much everyone you know is married,

And then the time warp kicks in again. The single men all seemed to be quite a bit older, and have kids. Once again I was the young one. Or, I was the old one with men younger than me asking me out. It was all too strange.

I did end up marrying someone younger than me  - though my philosophy was that I could then raise him the way I wanted to. Lest you think I totally robbed the cradle he is 6 years younger than I am. That gap gets less significant the older we get. And with the disparity in the averages ages of death for men and women, we ought to go about the same time.

Then a new era began, and we decided to start a family. At 35 I figured no problem - women have kids at 35 all the time right? Well, it took until I was 40 for our family to begin. Katie was born when I was 40 years old and 6 months.

 God chose to bless us with Amanda when I was 44. Both girls are the light of our lives, and I would not trade anything for them or when they came along. But, this once moved me to the "older" time warp again.

When I really sit and think about it, and realize that I am old enough to be the mother to most of Amanda's friends mothers and a lot of Katie's it depresses me. I mean, how can you talk about tv shows you love when most of the moms weren't born until after I graduated from high school?

But occasionally I run into another "mature" Mom and we immediately bond and commiserate our plight. I don't FEEL old until conversations turn to popular culture and I have no idea who they are talking about!

I am just hoping I don't enter the young time warp again as the youngest person in the nursing home or something! Maybe I just need to start lying about my age...

My sister Charlotte and I

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


We have been back home from our annual pilgrimage to Kentucky for a day now. Yesterday was a wash because it always takes time to recuperate from vacation.

I have always wondered why it takes a few days to get back into the swing of being home, and why I am always tired after vacation. Vacation is supposed to renew and refresh - right?

I have come to see that vacations with just my immediate family - like trips to the beach - do renew my spirit and energy. Vacations which involve visiting other family members - on either side - not so much.

I think this has to do with the stresses of family dynamics. We aren't around the other family members all the time and just don't know how to approach each situation. For me, this means constant worry that the wrong thing will get said or done, and that is just plain emotionally exhausting!

I also see, after being at a family reunion over the weekend, that times change, but people don't so much. Oh, we are all getting older. Some are no longer with us. New ones have come onto the scene. But the family hierarchy still remains.

It doesn't matter how old you are, in some situations you will always be 9 years old.

This trip also just put me into a funk. It seems that I am constantly wrestling with God. Looking back, I guess I have always done that, because I can't remember a time when I wasn't wondering if I was hearing Him correctly.

You would think that by now I would be confident in hearing His voice and knowing the promptings of the Spirit. But I still seem to be in a quagmire of confusion over what I am doing. Does this ever end? Will the path ever be clear?

Sometimes I think my Grandma and Grandpa had it easy in that respect. Their options were limited being that they lived back in a "holler" in Kentucky. Farming and raising your kids was pretty much what you did and there weren't a bunch of influences making you doubt whether or not that was God's path for you or not.

Maybe it is just that I am now 54, and I still worry that I am not doing right by the family by being at home and not working, or that I am somehow diminishing my kid's chances by homeschooling them.

Maybe it is because I see that there is technically only 11 years until "retirement" and we are no closer the financial security than we were 20 years ago.

Maybe it is because I can't see the path out that puts me in such a down mood. Am I missing God's direction? Have I misinterpreted something? Maybe I need and intervention.

I sure could use a burning bush about now...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Just Because You Can Wear it...

And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.  1 Timothy 2:9 (The Message)

I have been observing summer wear lately.

Now, I realize I am "old school", but seriously people, do you ever look in a mirror? Just because you CAN wear something doesn't mean you SHOULD wear it!

It amazes me what people wear out in public. I am still stunned that people actually go out to stores in their pajama bottoms. I mean, even if they have a cool design like, say, Scooby Doo, are they really appropriate for shopping at Target?

And Moms, if you wonder why your daughters dress so immodestly, maybe it is a reflection of the plunging halters in your wardrobe.

In May we took a trip to the beach. One of our expeditions was to the Battleship North Carolina. I just had to keep pushing my jaw back up at the women in mini-skirts, midriff baring tops and flip flops climbing up and down the ladders of the ship.

The one that still sticks in my mind is the woman I saw at the dentist one day. She was there with her young son, and I mean he was a preschooler.  She was a very pretty woman, and certainly in good shape. But I just thought the white short shorts, platform sandals and the t-shirt which said "Foxy" and had a sparkly fox on it was over the top for mom-wear.

Of course you know I am just living in the wrong decade (or century for that matter). But seriously, were has modesty gone? I am just stunned at the amount of cleavage I see these days, even at church!

Really, it is sad when there has to be a note in the church bulletin that we should dress to honor God and to be careful to wear modest clothing. Dressing like you are ready for the water park, or in a really low cut sundress is just not appropriate.

My girls know how I feel about this. Shorts have to be fingertip length. No halter tops. Tanks have to have 1 inch straps - camis DO NOT qualify as outer wear.

It gets harder and to find modest clothing for any of us. Why is that? Are we the only ones who think the "girls" should be covered in public? And if you have to hold down the hem of your skirt in the back when you walk don't you think that is a clue it is too short?

I also find that size doesn't preclude letting it all hand out - literally. I am a spacious woman myself, but I cannot fathom someone my size is comfortable in lo-rise jeans and a skin tight cami! Aren't you self conscious about those rolls? I sure would be!

There are times when I wish we would go back to dressing for events. Do they even sell men's suits anymore - I mean who wears them? Business casual seems to be the rule of the day.

And you can never find nice dresses - for any age. They only have dresses for the girls at Christmas maybe Easter. Oh, and prom time, and those are made to show a lot of decollete.

I just should have been born a couple of decades earlier. June...I miss you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings

Today is just a day for putting down thoughts.

I am struggling with many things right now, and so many seem to need an answer I cannot find. Even in prayer the voice is silent. Maybe writing a few things out will help.

One thing that is a struggle right now is balancing the desire to homeschool my awesome girls with the feeling that I should get a full time job and ease the burden of provision that rests on John's shoulders.

Some people would think this is an easy one. You've got schools available, put the girls there and get a job. Make some money, ease the financial situation, and avail yourself of some of the fun things there are to have and do. Disney World comes to mind. I think we are never going to be able to take the girls to Disney.

A lot of people we know can't fathom that the second income is not completely a necessity. They often view the things we see as luxuries as necessities. I am really tired of hearing, "I wish I could afford to stay home."

I know in my heart that homeschooling is what God wants for our family. This is a full time job. Even fitting in a part time job seems impossible. And it all just makes me tired.

I also struggle with the fact that my support system for homeschooling seems to be a person of one - John. My family is supportive, but I don't think they quite understand it, and that makes it difficult.

Friends just pretty much say nothing. Some other parents seem to encourage a desire in my girls to go back to public school instead of standing behind our decision when talking with our kids. Comments made when a word gets misspelled or one child doesn't know a particular thing taught in public school - "Well, she's homeschooled", undermine our efforts.

Being an older Mom gets wearing as well. I can't relate to a lot of the kids' moms. I am not as cool as most of them, and I just don't have the energy they do. I am a lot more old-fashioned, and draw the line in a different place on many things like movies and tv shows.

The struggles add up, and are small in comparison of things other people have to deal with on a daily basis. But, they are my struggles, and right now they are huge.

Prayers are appreciated.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Little Bit of this and a Little Bit of That

I have been struggling with many things lately. One is trying to define my identity beyond the wife/mom/teacher/maid roles. Especially the maid, which seems to be the biggest one.

I declared Saturday and Sunday days when I have some time to do things that I enjoy. Saturday has been set aside for sewing. I enjoy sewing - clothes mostly - and Amanda is still at the age where she will wear what I make for her.

I had this frog fabric in my stash, and a pattern for the dress, which I bought at Hancock for .99. So, I decided to make it for her. The doll dress I did without a pattern. I had to adjust it so it was easier to get on and off the doll, so Amanda ended up with her dress and one for each of her American Girl dolls.

I also made a dress for myself. It, is a simple shift out of some summery flamingo fabric. It is okay, but pretty much shapeless, so I guess it is a house dress for now.

Sundays have been declared scrapbooking days. I had to go out and get some new markers since mine were used and abused by two children who will remain nameless. I hate it because I loved my calligraphy markers the best, and they are all dried out. Can't afford to replace those right now.

I did manage to get a basic set of dual tip markers at A.C. Moore. They were 9.99 for 12 and I used my 50% off coupon so I scored a deal. Maybe I will pick up a couple of calligraphy markers each payday and replenish my stock.

On another note, our church, Grace Covenant Church , is having a month of service for July. It has been titled Servolution with the intention of deliberately impacting our community through acts of service during the month of July.

Service is an ongoing theme of course. We as Christians serve others because Jesus modeled service, and we want to put hands and feet to His words.

But for the month of July, there are many planned out reach programs. VBS is one. Rehabbing some Habitat Houses is another.

This past Sunday the four of us participated in making sandwiches to be given to the homeless on Monday, July 4. The goal for the 100 participants was to make 1,000 to be delivered to Urban Outreach.

We had a blast! We were at the tables making Ham & Cheese sandwiches, and we were baggers. The people at the head of the table assembled the sandwiches, and passed them to us. We bagged them individually, and passed them on the be packed.

It did not take long to make our 250 ham & cheese. (Other tables were making turkey sandwiches & peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to make the total of 1000). It was a fun and easy way to serve some one else.

Here is a picture of John & Amanda waiting for the sandwiches to come down the line.
We are also looking forward to Winning Edge VBS which starts next Monday. Amanda is attending, and Katie and I are working as volunteers. It will be our first time working VBS at Grace and it should be fun. I really like the opportunity it gives the teens to help out.

So, for now I continue on my quest to recapture part of myself. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Museum Musings

Since Katie is still in Iowa, Amanda and I have been taking surprise jaunts this week. Tuesday, we went to meg-art to paint pottery, to the $1 summer movies Wednesday, and today we visited the Schiele Museum in Gastonia.

We have a membership to the Western North Carolina Nature Center, which for $65 a year is an awesome bargain. This membership has reciprocity with tons of zoos and science centers including Discovery Place, the Schiele and the Catawba Science Center.

Anyway, since we had our card our admission to the Schiele was free. They had a great exhibit right off the bat (pun intended) about caves. It was well set up and had live animals including a raccoon and bats.

What I forgot about the Schiele is the "Evolution of Man" exhibit. We look at the exhibit, even though we believe in the truth of Creation, because I want my kids to know what is being taught so they can be prepared to defend their beliefs.

As Amanda and I were going through this exhibit, another couple of Moms came walking through. One of them proclaimed, very loudly, "How can anyone not believe this! They quote the Bible, but it is a book about how to live your life!"

Being non-confrontational, I walked on, but of course I wish I could have said something. Maybe I could have pointed them to Dr. Jobe Martin's DVD series, Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution. Dr. Martin was and avid evolutionist and his story is fascinating and can be read at his website The Evolutionist of a Creationist.

If you have not watched his DVDs, they are available through NetFlix. Each video shows different animals who have traits which do not fit into the evolutionary mold. One such creature, a little beetle, is what started Dr. Martin on his journey.

In addition to the issue of creation versus evolution is the part of the Mom's comment stating that the Bible is a guide on how to live your life. It is that - but it is so much more!

How much do we miss when we pick and choose what we believe in the Bible? So we take the good parts, the easy parts and toss the rest? We take the "love your neighbor part" and throw out the creation part because it is not politically correct?

It saddens me that this Mom and the comments she made are more of what the world believes, and what many Christians believe. We have watered down our theology so that it fits what science has purported to be true.

I applaud Dr. Ken Ham- Answers in Genesis- and other Young Earth proponents for standing firm in the face of ridicule. I wish more people would be open minded and explore what they have to say and stop taking the scientist's line as gospel.

Bypassing the Evolution exhibit shortened our visit to the museum considerably. We made a couple of other stops, and then came home to make cupcakes.

Much more fun, and tasty. But I still keep thinking about the comment. Maybe it's time to pray.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What a Difference a Decade (or 2 or 3) Makes!

Since the cancellation of DISH at our house, we have been watching NetFlix. One of the favorites of the younger set is the Cosby show. We seem to watch it almost every day.

As we have been watching this, it has become apparent how blatant feminist messages were in the t.v. shows of the 70's and 80's. We pretty much took them for granted then and cheered them on at the time. But today when I watch these shows, it grates on me.

It was a staple in the Cosby show that Claire, the matriarch attorney of the family, would take on any male who dared suggest that a woman do anything that was stereotypically female (a la June). Most of the time this would be Elvin, oldest daughter Sondra's erstwhile boyfriend and eventually husband, although there were other males who regularly made a hapless statement.

Elvin would make some comment about "woman's" work in front of Claire, which set off a head twitching feminist rant about equality. Claire got applause and cheers while Elvin was made to look like a bumbling, chauvinistic idiot.

I am all for equal pay for equal work. But, seeing these shows has made me think how indoctrinated we have become, and how much media played into and still plays into the indoctrination. Why wasn't and isn't being an at home Mom presented as a valid career choice?

And why did the message have to be presented so forcefully? Was it for the sake of the men involved? No, Claire was set forth as a role model, and the message had to be strong. After all, who wouldn't want to be a successful attorney married to a successful doctor and have 5 kids?

And I also wonder why the men had to be made to look like fools? Why was there never a civil conversation about equality and working outside the home, equal pay, division of household duties? No, it was always a scene to show the superiority of the woman, her wit, her verbiage and her intellect.

Media today still promotes women as the smarter of the two between men and women. You just have to see what passes as funny in advertising today to know that making the man look like an idiot sells

I am just using the Cosby show as an example here, but I know there were many others who promoted the same agenda. In mulling this over, I wonder what damage this has all done to women and society in general.

Growing up and graduating from high school at the height of the feminist movement, I can see how I shoved aside what I really wanted to be - what God wanted for me - because it was not "cool" to want to be a wife and a mom.

I went to college to be a teacher, still somewhere in the back of my mind thinking I could teach until the kids came. I ended up getting a degree in Human Development and Family Relations. If you don't think God has a sense of humor, think again!

I worked for 10 years in the nursing home industry, many in a nicely compensated position as a nursing home administrator. But, I was never happy with what I was doing. Something was missing.  
It wasn't until Katie was born and I began my new career as a wife and stay at home Mom that I understood.

Has it been easy? No. People assume you stay at home because you don't "have to work" and there are no money issues. I have heard it more than once "I wish I could afford to stay home" - well so do I! We have had to give up things that other people take for granted - DISH for example.

But I think what we have gained from my being at home, and also homeschooling the girls, has been far outweighed the things we have given up. Is it a mind numbing struggle some days? Of course. But isn't any job?

When it all comes down to it, I am doing what I know God wants me to do. In the end, it is doing what he asks of me that counts - despite what Claire Huxtable says.

Be blessed moms!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not Yo Momma's VBS!


Amanda has been attending Vacation Bible School at another local church with a friend. As I was standing in line to pick her up the first night, I began to notice the elaborate decorations and props. 

Now, this is not unusual, our former church, and our current church all do VBS, and pull out all the stops when it comes to decorating and making the theme come alive.

It just made me think back to when I went to VBS, back in the olden days. Seriously, were we just that easy to please?

I remember our assembly/praise/worship time consisted of being in the sanctuary, singing the usual songs "Deep & Wide" for example. The lesson often included a mission theme - I particularly remember the year we focused on Japan, and they taught us to sing "Rolled Away" in Japanese. ( I still remember most of this but don't sing it out loud for fear I will remember it wrong and might accidentally insult someone!)

Our crafts were basic, and generally had no connection to the theme or country we were studying. I remember taking frozen orange juice cans (remember those?), painting them, putting some stickers on them, and presenting them to our Moms as pencil holders. I think my Mom still uses hers.

Snack time was on the grass outside the church. It consisted of sugar sweetened <gasp> Kool-Aid, and cookies that came out of a big bag. Chocolate chip, those coconut ones that looked like little planks, or our favorite - the butter cookies shaped like flowers with the hole in the middle.

The great mystery each day was what color Kool-Aid we would get - red was awesome, purple was gross. And, could you eat the flower cookie off your finger without breaking the ring?

We were just easily entertained? Have our kids gotten so high-tech that we have to do more, more, more to engage them? Has all this spilled over into our church life as well? 

It also made me think about how there were no Toys R Us stores when I was a kid. It was a great time when, before Christmas, all the stores had 3 or 4 rows dedicated to TOYS! (And this never happened until AFTER Thanksgiving!).

The toys that were in stores year round were simple things like jump ropes, kites, jacks, hula hoops, coloring books and paper dolls. Sears, Penny's, Roses (remember Roses?) had a big toy section for exactly one month out of the year, and that occurred around the time the Sears Wish Book hit the mail.

I just wonder if all our progress has really helped our kids, or hurt them. How many kids can be content to just play with a ball, or draw and color, or even pretend without an electronic gadget? How many parents spend way too much money trying to keep  their kids engaged with new technology?

And how much of that spending and providing is an attempt to compensate for less time spent with the kids?

Okay, I have pretty much just validated that I am ancient, old-fashioned (channeling June here) and most cannot relate. And, I am thankful that our churches are willing to spend the resources on our kids to reach out to them with the message. But I wonder if the message gets enhanced with all the flash or it gets lost. Something to consider.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sun(day Dresses

Yesterday I got the idea to sew. Actually this idea has been brewing for a few days. Friday I went to Hancock Fabrics and got fabric for dresses for all three of us girls.

Katie and Amanda's dresses were made from the pre-smocked sundress fabric, with grosgrain ribbon for the straps. I opted to make the straps solid instead of two straps to tie in a bow. I just kept thinking that big knot of ribbon on your shoulder would hurt after a while.

My dress was made from a McCalls pattern which was on sale for 1.99. The fabric was also on sale. I haven't sewn on knit for a long time, and about lost my mind trying to wrangle the fabric, which seemed to have a mind of it's own!

Despite all the grumbling, the dress turned out pretty well. I am thinking I can make another out of a cotton fabric, even though the pattern calls for knit. I think I can put a zipper in the side seam under the arm without any problems - ala 1950s dresses. I also think I might make the shoulders a bit narrower.

I have some more fabric I bought for a skirt, but it might end up being a dress. I also have some cute blue fabric with frogs on it to make a top for Amanda. Sew on!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday - I want a Do Over


 I thought Mondays were the dreaded day of the week. As it happens, this particular Friday has been rotten.

I could not sleep last night, so I had to resort to an Ambien. This meant I was still sleeping peacefully at 8:45 a.m. when Amanda woke me up to tell me that a neighbor kid wanted to know if we could watch him so he didn't have to go to his sister's graduation. Long story.

Now, I had planned to run some errands and then take the girls to the homeschool skate today. This put a damper on my plans. 

I was already irritable, and sitting with my kids and the neighbor kid just made it worse. Finally, the arguing between my two girls just set me off, so I had to go upstairs and have a good cry.

I ended up running my errands. Got some fabric to make the 3 of us girls sundresses. Now I need to muster the energy to do it.

I brought all 3 kids lunch from McD's, and the decided to send Amanda and the neighbor to his house. Katie went upstairs to work on school work, so I grabbed the chance to read and take a nap. Put my ear plugs in and was out like a light.

Amanda and her friend came back. John got home from work and we all headed to the pool. As soon as we got there - it thundered. 30 minutes before we could get in the pool. It was 6:30 and the pool closes at 7:00. Do the math - no pool for us.

Amanda and her friend decide to play in the hose. The were swinging the nozzle around and the neighbor boy lost a tooth - luckily it was already loose.

Anyway, I suppose it was nothing really big, just a bunch of frustrations and inconveniences that added up.

Now it is off to bed and hope that Saturday is a smoother day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's All A Great Big TRAP!

Today we took an expedition to Walmart to get a new tire for the driver's side rear of the van. Now, mind you, we replaced the passenger side rear about 6 months ago, and the 2 front tires about 3 months ago. I asked at the time we were replacing the front ones if we shouldn't go ahead and replace the final rear tire.

You know what the answer was to that question.

The rear tire went flat yesterday while John had the van at work. So, he drove home on the donut they call a "space-saver spare". In turn, I drove to Walmart today on said donut to get the new tire.

We arrived at the Walmart service center to find 5 cars in front of us. They were almost all getting oil changes, so I thought it would be a breeze to get in and out with just a replacement tire. I thought wrong.

The tech who signed us in told us "give them a hour, it probably won't take that long, but just to be safe." In case you have never had your car serviced at Walmart, they give you this bar code tag and you can check the status of your repair by scanning it at one of those "Find The Price" here kiosks.

I had a few things I needed to get, so we grabbed a cart and started rounding things up. Periodically one of us would run to the kiosk and scan the tag - "Waiting". More shopping. We found tank tops for $4 for Amanda, so we tried some of those on and found 3 we liked.

Scan the tag. Waiting. Oh, I need envelopes to mail information in to the state for our homeschooling review. Scan the tag. Waiting.

Let's check our blood pressure. All good. Scan the tag. Waiting. It has been an hour. Surely the scanner thing is lying, so off to the service center we go.

The van is sitting in the bay. Are they working on it? Is it done? Scan the tag. Waiting. SIGH.

Off to get some band-aids for Amanda's hand. Scan the tag. Waiting. Well, might as well look at frames for some of the girls' artwork. Scan the tag. Waiting.

Text John. Anything you need? Yes, stop leak and anti-freeze. Off to the auto section again. Let's take a peek and see what's going on with the van. Still there. Still nothing.

Oh, we need soap. Back to health & beauty aids. Scan the tag. Waiting. Enough of this, we take the cart and park it outside the auto center waiting room and sit.

Finally I look and they are now taking the old tire off the rim. Progress! It is finally done, but not before we have gotten way more than we intended. Now granted, except for the Twizzlers and the Sno-Cone syrup, it was all stuff we needed.

Another lady was waiting with her grandson. She said the same thing. They had gone back into the store since they had to wait so long, and each time they came back with something else. In their case it was 4 squirt guns and a Pop the Pig Game.

I have determined it is all a big trap. Keep them walking the store and they will buy stuff. The longer we take to do the repairs, the more they buy. Bwhahahaha!

Rant over. On another note- how stinkin' cute is this? Who wouldn't want a crocheted gnome?

You can find the directions for Gnorbert the Gnome on the Red Heart Yarn Site - here:

Gnorbert the Gnome

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nothing to say

So, I actually have nothing to say.

It is quiet here.

Amanda is at a friend's house.

So is Katie (different house).

The cats are asleep.

The washer and dryer are running.

Candles are lit.

Time to read I think!

Maybe tomorrow I will have a great flash of inspiration.

Until then...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Time to Read Tuesday! Summer Reading Program Info

Good Morning! I have, indeed had my coffee so the world is now safe.

I have spent the morning searching for summer reading programs. Amanda especially loves the goals and prizes when it comes to reading. (Katie has unfortunately aged out of most of the programs.)

We love getting goodies and free books and such, so here are a few I found and thought I would share:

1) Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County - of course this only applies to those of us who live here, but most local library systems have some sort of summer reading incentive program.

PLCMC Summer Reading Program

These programs go from infant to adult. Prizes include being able to read down your over due fines, and earning book bucks for free paperbacks.

2) Borders - Read 10 books and earn a free book!

Borders Double Dog Dare Reading Program

3) Barnes & Noble - Read 8 books and receive a free book from a select group. (You can complete this one up to 2 times)

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading

4) Scholastic Summer Reading - read and log your minutes online to win digital prizes. Schools alos earn and you can register as a homeschool.

Scholastice Summer Reading Program

5) Half Price Books  - log your minutes between 6/1 & 7/31. Bring your log into the store to receive $5 in Back to School Bucks. Top reader in each age group receives $20. (NOTE: There is no HPB in the Charlotte area, but check to see if your will be traveling to a place where they have a store!)

Half Price Books Summer Reading Program

6) Pizza Hut Book-it Summer Reading Challenge -  Read 5 books and send in the entry form for a chance to win some cool prizes!

Pizza Hut Summer Break Book-It Program

7) H.E.B Summer Reading Club - This is a store chain out of Texas, but we did this one last year and got a really cute t-shirt and pencils!

H.E.B Buddy Summer Reading

8) Old Spaghetti Factory - read 5 books and be eligible for a free kids meal!

Old Spaghetti Factory Reading Program

9) Chuck E Cheese - read every day for 2 weeks and receive 10 free tokens

Chuck E Cheese Summer Reading

There are lots of fun programs to get kids reading this summer - ENJOY!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Musings

Monday again. Funny how that happens every week.

Today we went to a local minor league baseball game - the Kannapolis Intimidators. It was Education Day, and our home school co-op arranged tickets for us. The tickets were free, which was an added bonus.

The place was packed, lots of school buses in the parking lot. Our group was small, but Amanda brought a friend, and Katie met one of her friends there. I had some time for mom to mom talk.

John took the day off and went with us, although he stood at the top of the stands for most of the game. It was cooler there. Now I will be off all week thinking today is Sunday instead of Monday since John is home.

I always have great plans for Monday. Things like laundry and lots of cleaning, or a intense school session. Funny how life just gets in the way and that never seems to happen.

But, everything still get done. We always have clean clothes, and the house is tolerable (most of the time). My kids are progressing with the learning, and we still get to have fun.

Another one of the nice things about homeschooling!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Moving Day!

Awhile back I had a blog on another blog site with this name. I really loved the name, because it describes exactly how I feel most days.

However, I really like blogger and the ability to use Hot Bliggity Blog so I can have a really cool background without my having to figure out HTML.

I have been blogging on my Cats8People3 blog, but will be writing here from now on. Just seems to fit my life. Besides, 2 of our cats found great new homes, so we are now Cat6People4 and the title is just wrong!

So, I hope you will visit, sit a while and read.