Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yes, It Is.

Yesterday my son checked out a book about weather and wanted to perform an activity in the book.  It required drilling a hole in the caps of two bottles, gluing them together by the caps (after having filled one with water) and when you turn it over and the water runs from one bottle to another...voila!  A vortex!

In theory that is.

My son got a lesson in drilling holes.  Fabulous.

Then came the 'gluing together' part...guess what?  No super glue.  Not even duct tape.

So I used masking tape out of desperation.  I KNOW.

Then the big reveal....which didn't work because the holes he drilled were slightly too small and the water dripped pitifully through.

So we discussed air pressure instead and showed how when you squeezed one bottle, the compression forced the water into the other bottle.

As we were cleaning up, hubby expressed his disappointment in the failure of our experiment.

"I think it went okay," I said. "He learned how to use a drill! Besides, we watched the Decorah Eagle Cam this afternoon and saw a chick hatch, so we have science covered anyway."

"Everything is a lesson with you, isn't it?" hubby muttered on his way out to the trash can.

Yes. Yes, its is.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Blessing of Getting Older

Can I just clear something up right now?

Getting older is really, truly awesome.

Here's 10 reasons why:

1.  Big underwear.  I spent my 20's wearing those tiny little underwear.  When you are over 40, no one expects you to sport the Victoria's Secrets.  Comfy, big underwear rocks.

2.  Those wild oats are SOWN, baby.  No need to go out on the town to the wee hours of the night, drinkin and lookin for Mr. Right.  I have my Mr. Right at home with me, just where I want him.

3.  When I WAS 20, there was no Twitter.  Thank goodness.  I would hate to know any of the crazy (read:embarrassing) stuff I did is not public fodder.

4.  I don't have to explain to anyone why I go to bed at 10:00.  It's what us 'old folks' do.

5.  No more tanning torture.  Remember those days of our youth spent laying out to get the 'perfect tan'?  Flip over every thirty minutes.  Raise your arms.  Sweat your fanny off.  Yeah.  If I get a tan now, it is purely incidental.

6.  So I have a big butt...who cares? I am alive and healthy. 

7.  Getting wrinkles and sunspots isn't that big of a deal.  Each one of those wrinkles was formed from a moment of smiles and laughter.  And my daughter calls my sunspots 'freckles'. So there.

8.  Courage.  Courage that stems from wisdom.  The kind of courage that allows me to step away from situations and people that would bring me harm or discontent.  Courage to stand up for something even when I am the only one standing up for it.  The courage to yell at the kids next door when they get on my lawn. 

9.  The older I get, the less I think about "Me".  I realize that life isn't all about "Me".  That in itself is liberating.  One surefire way to make yourself miserable is to only focus on "Me".

10.  Having children old enough to have meaningful, enlightening discussions with.  Priceless.

Oh, okay.  Make it 11 reasons.

11.  I'm old enough to remember the days before cell phones.  I'm not glued to it 24/7.  I fully utilize my voicemail.  I know that phone is truly for MY convenience. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

For Sale

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that our family is chomping at the bit to move out to the country, and of course the perfect piece of land is for sale.

Yay me, right?

Today the realtor is coming to photograph the house and put it on the market.

Yay me! and Sadface all rolled into one.

I know if we sell this house, I will be a basket case. Because I am uber-sentimental, I can't help but think about "This is the house I brought my babies home to".  All of the birthday parties, Christmases, laughter, love in these walls...would anyone else appreciate it?  And of course the morbid side of me wonders if I should mark where the dead pets are buried in the yard...I'd hate to know they'd been dug up accidentally.

I've already told myself if we sell, I'll never be able to cruise by here and see another family in the yard or their car in my driveway.  It would be like seeing your ex for the first time out on the town with another woman.

But change is good. If there were never any change, caterpillars would never become butterflies and all that jazz.  And I *am* exicted about having this new adventure in life.

But part of my heart hurts a little just thinking about it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mini Veggie Frittatas

One thing I enjoy as a homeschooling mom is that I have time to fix healthy breakfasts for my kids.  Here is one that they loved so I thought I would share!

First, let me just say that I LOVE frozen, chopped veggies.  They make my life so easy in the kitchen.

Mini Veggie Frittatas
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach (loose packaged...not the spinach-cicle in a box)
1/2 cup frozen chopped onions
1/2 cup frozen chopped broccoli
1/2 cup each diced ham and real bacon crumbles (found in the salad section, not to be confused with Bacon-bits.  This is the real thing, baby!)
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375.
Spray muffin tins (I used 8 cups in the pan, so spray about half of the cups) with non-stick spray.  Put all the frozen chopped veggies in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high for about 2-3 minutes, stopping every minute or so to check the broccoli for tenderness.  Mix into beaten eggs.  Stir in bacon and ham.  Fill as many muffin cups as you can, about 3/4 full.  Bake for about 15 minutes until puffed up and when touched, feel springy. (may take a little longer than 15 minutes.)

Remove from heat and sprinkle cheese on while hot. 

We served ours with cantaloupe, fresh pineapple and whole wheat toast.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

At Least It's A Start


I hate running.  I have never ever been a good runner. 

In the 9th grade our P.E. teacher video taped us each individually running and played the videos in the next P.E. class we had.  When my video came on her critique was "TOOO much 'hip action!'"  and of course that was followed by the kind of laughter that only 9th graders are capable of when nervous and embarrassed themselves.

Did I mention I hate running?

However, this morning...this lovely spring morning the kids and I decided to go for a walk. 

I was overcome with the urge to run.

"Let's run from this mail box to the next one!"  and we all jogged. 

We continued to jog every other mail box 'length' all the way around our block, which is close to a mile.

And I think I even had a little 'runners high' if you will.  Blame it on the Spring Fever.

Could it be? After all these years of being a certified Running Hater...could I maybe be 'getting it'? 

Tomorrow morning, the kids and I plan to do it again.  Every other mailbox.  Pitiful when my husband can jog an entire 5K track and hold a conversation at the same time.

Hey, it's a start anyway.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Budget Friendly

Like everyone else we are feeling the 'pinch' when it comes to our pocketbooks.  Higher gas prices, higher grocery prices, and saving for bigger goals leaves us very little money to 'play' with.

Can I just confess that can be down right depressing?

I cruise the Internet for field trip ideas.  I hear about wonderful homeschooling classes that are offered.  There are private schools that offer classes for homeschoolers.  There is curriculum that I drool over. But it all comes at a price, and that price ain't cheap. 

There are so many opportunities that I have to say 'no' to because of money.  I hate that.  Some days I feel like my kids might be missing out...that maybe when they grow up they will regret not having had those opportunities.

This morning I had a short conversation with a friend, and she changed my view on the whole situation.  She stated that, by being frugal, her children are learning about choices and managing money.


Having to budget your money teaches your children responsibility.  It forces them to prioritize and determine how to make wise choices concerning how and where their money (OUR money) is spent.  And when they grow up, hopefully they will continue making wise money decisions and be financially stable, responsible adults.

It's not about looking at what you don't's about being smart about what you DO have.  And appreciating what you have.

Those are the lessons I will gladly teach.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The FLY-Lady Made Me Do It

Ahhh...Spring.  Time for all of us ladies to think gardens, flowers, and Spring cleaning.

Here's my little secret weapon...the FLY-Lady.

Never heard of her?  Here's a link to her blog

She is an online organizational coach that helps to inspire and motivate us to get rid of the clutter and manage our housekeeping so that it doesn't take over our lives.

What I love about the FLY-Lady is her approach...which is basically to set a timer for 15 minutes and do what you can in that time span. When the timer stops, you stop.  Otherwise you would get overwhelmed while de-cluttering that junk drawer or cabinet and just shut down altogether!

She breaks up your house into zones.  You only focus on one zone a week, and just maintain the clutter in the rest of the house.  For instance, this week the zone was the kitchen. She supplies deep cleaning lists for each zone, which I love because who ever thinks to dust the vent cover in the bathroom?  Or to look for cobwebs in the corners of the ceiling?  

She also has little special 'missions' for each day... yesterday for me was to spend 15 minutes sorting through my plastic containers, throwing out those that had no lids or lids with no container and stacking them neatly. All it took was 15 minutes and my cabinet looked awesome!

Any way, by the end of the week, that zone has been cleaned from top to bottom and the next week you move to the next zone.  Eventually, if you stick to the schedule, you have a super clean house which is SO much easier to manage with light cleaning!

I suppose what I like the best about this whole thing is that it is a no-brainer.  All I have to do is go onto her website, find my zone and cleaning list and my daily mission and go to it. 

She even has a FLY kids section to give your kids a 'mission'...for instance, "Set a timer for 10 minutes, go all around the house and gather up what ever belongs in your room.  Then go put it away!" 

Hop on over to the FLY-Lady's website today and get motivated!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Little Help With Math

Math is one of those subjects that I am always trying to make more 'fun'.  Perhaps it stems from my deep, abiding hatred of math.  Okay, maybe not hatred.  Loathing? Anyway, as  kid I had terrible math anxiety. 

Here are some links I have come across that have made math a little more fun.

Xtra Math is a free website that aids in mathmatical fluency.  My daughter is in the 4th grade and honestly needs a little extra practice where math is concerned.  My son grasps math well, but improving speed is always a good thing...right?  Both children have enjoyed to speed drills and the 'race the teacher' games on this site.

MathMagician ( ) helps with multiplication tables.

Math Playground (  ) has games that extend into middle school.  It includes logic problems and word problems and algebra, oh my!

Edheads ( )  focuses on science, math and logic.  Good stuff.

Manga High ( )
Number Nut  (  )
Arcademics  (  )

These 'round out' the list.

How about you?  Are there any cool online math sites that you use for your students?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Little Bird Taught Me

My front porch has big columns that the birds just love to build nests on.  Doves, house finches, even swallows have provided us with plenty of 'nature' moments as we watch them build their nests, hatch and feed their babies, and of course the big moment when the little fledglings leave the nest.

Did I mention how much those sweet little things poop?  Oh my.  Every summer, after the babies leave, I am out there scrubbing bird poop off the columns and porches.

Right now we are in the process of trying to sell our house.  Poopy porches are not attractive to prospective home-buyers.

Day before yesterday a little mama finch began building her nest.  She worked all day and did a fabulous job.

 Too bad hubby had to go out and sweep it down before she laid her eggs. (Sad face.)

The next morning I opened the blinds and there was a nest in the exact same spot.  Huh.  That little mama bird was quick to rebuild!  

Too bad hubby had to go out and sweep it down.  Again.  (Notice hubby does this? I just don't have the heart.)

One hour after he swept it down....guess who was building in the same spot?  Yep.  Mama bird.

Too bad for hubby that my daughter sat and watched the nest building process and took immediate sympathy on the mama bird.  "She's working so hard, Daddy!  Please leave it there!" (I think she even batted her eyes.  Whatever she did, it worked.  Mama will stay.)

As I watched this little bird, I thought of myself.  How often does the work I do get 'undone' before you can say 'Jack Robinson'?  Then I get frustrated and upset.  Sometimes I pout.  I feel worthless, unappreciated.

Not that little bird.  She just kept building what unseen forces had torn apart.  She never complained.  She never pouted.  I am quite sure I didn't see her stamp her little birdy foot in frustration. Nope.  She just picked up the pieces and started over.  She worked just as hard the third time as she did the first time.  Never mind feeling appreciated.  Just doing what needed to be done and doing it with her whole heart.

I learned a lot from that little bird.