Monday, June 29, 2009

Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt
flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

I have always loved this collection of poetry and drawings. I love the unexpectedness of every page. The randomness of the thoughts, the stark simple drawings that capture each poem so well.

I love all of a book. In life, not so much. When I thought about this book again, this week, I was thinking about Holly. Its been a "bad sleep" few weeks. I felt like I was at the end of the sidewalk with her. We've tried everything. But until these darn teeth come in, I guess we will "walk with a walk that is measured and slow". I mean, sleep deprived.

But then last night wasn't so bad. I only hope, I don't find this at our house one day:


One sister for sale!
One sister for sale!
One crying and spying young sister for sale!
I'm really not kidding,
So who'll start the bidding?
Do I hear a dollar?
A nickel?
A penny?
Oh, isn't there, isn't there, isn't there any
One kid who will buy this old sister for sale,
This crying and spying young sister for sale?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

For my 39th Birthday

The only birthday that might have been harder to grasp, was my 29th. Inexplicably, I had forgotten that I turned 28. For two years I thought I was 27. Then, bam, 29.

Today, my second day as a 39 year, not too bad. Holly is still asleep and I am posting this. :-)
We ended a beautiful day with this water fight below:

Lee has an unfair advantage with the actual water hose!
Holly thinks the game of "run wildly through the field" is great fun!

My true nature boy is ready to fire!
Since neither Bill nor Anna can get close enough to Lee, he chooses to cool off directly.

Ah, the one disadvantage to having Holly on your team. Randomly, as only babies do, she would cut off Lee's water supply. hee hee!

Bike ramp? No, a slide.
Some one missed their target, hits Holly instead. Close up below:
Hey! Where did that come from?

Anna and Bill reload
The switch off. Anna gets the water hose, Lee and Bill work out a strategy.
Anna soaks them both!

Bill's turn at the water hose, Lee tries to use his shirt as a shield or a diversion, not sure?
Holly starts to take up a water gun to defend herself. Don't fear the water though, she has a strong bat!
Me and Lee enjoying the best days of summer.
(I'm holding the camera, kids were tooooo wet!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Meal, I mean, Father's Day!

Bakerella posted these adorable desserts on her site, including the paper trays and french fry holders. Cupcakes, cookies AND paper crafts?!? How could I resist?

We followed her directions, with a few exceptions. My baking partner (because I thought something as nifty as this warranted 2 families!) choose to make her brownies from scratch. When she called to ask, cocoa powder or chocolate squares...I replied: box mix. She less than enthused by my suggestion : -)

Second change was in baking the french fry cookies. Bakerella rolled and cut hers, then cut them again after baking. I choose to use the mix, as directed, but scooped the cookies and flattened them with a mallet slightly wet dipped in sugar. Almost like rolling and cutting circles, without the rolling and cutting. Then cut the cookies while still warm into fry strips. I think I could have cut them thinner, if I had taken a little more time, but still looked just like french fries!

Happy Meals are ready to go! We just needed a Dad to sing too. Fortunately, Hugo was game for the "honor". We sang "For he's a jolly good fellow." And repeated the whole thing again once we got home for our own Dear Dad.
Nathaniel's burger, somehow, slipped through our quality control and had no ketchup or mustard. For that he scored a second happy meal! Bill looks ready to dig in!

Thanks Bakerella, for a great idea. And fun afternoon to boot.
Happy Father's Day Dad!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Homeschool...happy school

First the first time since we began, three years ago, I get to repeat a grade! Hooray! My second child is entering 6th grade, which my first child completed 3 years ago.

Compared to that year, I feel like a genius. We have been through 6th grade before. At last, a year where, everything is not NEW. I can finally, finally draw a little from experience and build our curricula with some actual first hand knowledge.

The grades coming up for us are: 3rd, 6th and 9th. Here's the tenative plan:

3rd grade: Continue Sing Spell Read and Write, Grand Tour. (this includes: spelling, reading, grammar and history). I will add CHC Tour a Country theme and modify it to "Tour a State." I liked Math U See this year, just need to find what level is right for this grade. Science we will work with our local co-op again, using Harcourt Science. Labs are done together in the group. Definitely will purchase Catholic Heritage Curricula's cursive handwriting and the Faith and Life books for this grade. Already have Catholic Tales and The Apostle on Crutches, we'll read that too. Can't forget: Latinia Christiana I with co-op too. That is enough!

6th grade: Continue Math U See (fractions) and pick up the next book when we are through with this. I really, really wanted to use the Apologia science series when we did this grade the first time, but was reluctant to buy more. However, never really found anything that I liked better, so this time around: Apologia! Already have Stories of the Saints (reading comprehension and history). Will add Catholic Heritage's Writing, Spelling and Grammar books. This particular child will also be signed up for Latinia Christiana II, Art and Discovery Place science, all group activities. Must stop here! Too much good stuff to choose from.

Now for my only new, new grade: 9th. Sigh. This has been a difficult decision to make. We are enrolling in Seton Home Study School. It will be a challenge, one I am sure we are up for. Lock, stock and barrel, we will be in. I like the accountability to some one else, I like the record keeping they will do, I like the grading they offer and the teacher available to help. I had reached the very tippy end of my knowledge in grammar this year. We need some one else.
This one may also pariticpate in the Discovery Place Science, like the labs and group setting.

There I said it. It's all in writing. Now I just have to follow through!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Holly - 18 mos

Yeah, I'm a big girl. Just hanging out here in the dining room ready for my grammar lesson.
Drinking out of a big girl cup, kickin' back with the big kids.
That's me.

She's doing great! We went to visit Dr. David (PS), got a good report. Saw Dr. Kearse (ENT) and he seemed satisfied with the tubes in her ears. No special treatment for the swimming pool (Hooray!) And we are set for another 6 months.

Holly's GI doctor is pleased with her progress too. She is down from 40 mg to 20 mg of Nexium! And sometime in July we will start skipping days to slowly, slowly wean her off this medicine altogether.

She is eating more, different foods although chicken soup like meals make up the marjority. We've added spaghetti, light on the sauce and some beef and vegetable dishes too. Most exciting food item of the summer is popsicles! And maybe Captain Crunch berries (just the berries) with Silk (soy milk).

No, I don't sort out the berries, but she does!

Holly would love eat some milk products and was quite adamant that she get the mac and cheese Bill was having for dinner one night. I caved. She had some, liked it and was up 4 times that night. Just up and up and up. Her tongue has that geographic thing going on again. So I think that's close enough to milk for now.

She loves the pool and I am having flash backs to when the others were little and playing in the shallow end. Very glad we have hung on the big yellow truck sand box. Love to play in the water with Holly there. Love, love seeing the others play with her and remember "when" too!

Looking forward to rest of summer. Hope you are too!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fools' Gold

This thought has been running through my mind a lot lately: All that is gold does not glitter. It's a very positive outlook on the world. Sometimes what I see really doesn't glitter at all. Like last week for instance.

A friend stopped by the other morning, and I said something like: too tired to do the dishes last night, sorry the kitchen is a mess. I think we both knew that was a lie. Really, I am too tired to do the dishes EVERY night. Even if I'm not too tired. I do not do dishes at night. I think she recognized the lie because in the recent past she has actually washed my hand. (hey, dish washer extraordinaire: thank you for being kind enough not to say anything about it.)

It helps to remember the gold/glitter reality of life. The real gold in my home is in the children, my husband and most of all in our faith.

The opposite of that verse helps too: All that glitters is not gold. When you see the shiny flashy side of life, just make sure you know what is your looking at. Something worthwhile? Worth your time, your effort, or just a diversion from the real gold in your life.

God has given each of us gold, just right for you and me. I think I'll try to polish up the house a little this week, to show the "gold" I love them :-)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Momma Braggin Monday

Anna made these all by herself! The idea is from the "Hello Cupcake" cookbook. Sooo cute!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


or Works for Me Wednesday! I love this subject title, so I am going to try and see if I can post something simple that Works for Me each Wednesday.

Year round school? No, I couldn't keep it up. Nor could I manage last summer's goal of a unit study. I loved the "idea" of a Charlotte's Web unit, visiting farms, learning about animals. But I couldn't pull all the stuff together.

And we don't do too many camps either, so the idea of keeping some school going during the summer is important to me. Here's the simple plan for this summer: Summer Bridge Competition. This set of workbooks are to "bridge the summer" between grades. 50 worksheets, one per day, on various topics. Some reading, some grammar, some math.

The competition is between the local cousins, with a trip to Putt Putt for all and medal to the cousin with the highest score at the end of the summer.

To round out the morning for my own students, there are a few books we didn't quite complete. Each child will continue working on ONE additional subject. For Lee (8th grade) it's vocabulary. Anna (5th grade) reading comprehension. For Bill(2nd grade) it's Sing, Spell, Read and Write Grand Tour.

Hopefully, the incentive of a celebration and reward will be enough to motivate them (and me!).
What are your summer plans?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Confirmation Cake

Ahhh! I had high hopes for this cake. It tasted good, but I went crazy with the icing and the whole thing collapsed on our way to the celebration :-P

I'm putting this in writing so I'll hope to remember next time what I learned: I still love Wilton's white butter cream recipe. I missed the fine print that said, add 4T each of corn syrup and water to ice cake. When I couldn't spread the icing, I added more icing and more and more....a little obsessively! And crash went the cake.

I also learned, that if you want to make one of those cakes with chocolate on one side and vanilla on the other, don't try to "stick" the halves together with icing. That created a giant crevasse in the cake. Just place them side by side. Not sure I'll try that again though.

Finally, I learned that to create the really thick center layer of icing, you should do what the experts say to do. Pipe a border around the top of the bottom layer and then fill that in. I tried to spread two layers of icing instead, and that make one corner slope. You can see it in the top right of the picture. Down it goes.

One thing that DID work was the air head candy decoration in the middle. Microwave candy for 10 seconds or less. It gets hot fast. Roll it out between plastic layers of Ziploc type bags. Use a sharp dry knife, rinse it often to keep the sugar from sticking to the blade. White airheads are "mystery flavor" and are usually sold in a variety pack with other colors.

There's always next time!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Momma Braggin Monday

Really, I try not to bore you. I mean, who can stand a brag? Thought the concept of limiting my bragging to JUST Monday might be effective. Here goes:10 years ago, my mother in law made this dress for Anna. Anna wore it every day for almost a year. What woman doesn't look better in tulle and sequins? Its good for church, parties AND the grocery store. Then I folded it and put it away, for what I thought was EVER. Until today!