Archive for May 2011

Reading List May 2011

May 31, 2011

1.  Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey:  This is the second time I’ve read this book, but I’m still not sure that I’m completely ready to implement the Ramsey plan even though I think very highly of it.

2.  Helena by Evelyn Waugh:  This small work of historical fiction takes a hypothetical look at the life of Helena, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine, and surmises about her search for the cross on which Jesus was crucified.  I think it is an interesting portrait of the Roman Empire in the late 4th and early 5th centuries, and the development of Christianity once it was no longer an underground, illegal religion.

3. Divorce Busting by Michele Weiner-Davis:  No two people can share a living space without getting on each other’s nerves some of the time.  This is triple true for married couples.  This is a great book with real, concrete suggestions for individuals/couples to help smooth over rough spots in their relationship.  It doesn’t go all psychoanalytical, but instead it offers an approach that would seem counter-intuitive but actually works.

4.  The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins:  Well, the blurb on the back of my copy should receive an award.  I think it was better than the book itself.  I think it had a great premise, but its execution was a little long and drawn out.  And after reading the back cover, I expected it to be a grander drama than it really was.  I tried to take into account that it was originally published in small chunks by Wilkie Collins’ good chum Charles Dickens, but it was a bit of a slog to get through.  The only thing that kept me reading was the misplaced idea that something was about to happen.

5.  Girls Will Be Girls by JoAnn DeakI was familiar with some of this material from reading Michael  Gurian’s The Wonder of Girls.  Deak offers some interesting insights to the emotional and social development of girls from her time as a school principal and psychologist.  Again, though, I wish there was more research about homeschooled kids and if they follow the same patterns that are taken for granted as normal for kids who are stuck with the same same-aged peer group day after day and year after year.  It did give me some food for thought about being over-critical and being to keen to offer suggestions to “fix” my girls’ problems rather than sitting back to just listen and think things through themselves.

6.  When Homeschooling Gets Tough by Diana Johnson:  This slim little value is a great inspirational gem for homeschoolers with tips on preventing burn-out before it happens by figuring out our priorities (in homeschooling and life) and not expecting perfection in everything.  I realized that I had been slipping into the mindset of trying to teach my kids everything, a sure recipe for burn-out.

7.  Homeschooling 101 by Mark and Christine Field:  This is kind of your typical homeschooling instruction manual.  I got a few new resources to consider but not much else.


Bailey’s Great Idea

May 28, 2011

Sometimes there is nothing scarier in this house than when Bailey (8 1/2) says, “I have a great idea!”  So, when she proclaimed these words in mid-March, I braced myself.  Her great idea in this instance was to raise money for a local animal shelter.  While I applauded her generous spirit, I pointed out that we didn’t have any extra money in our budget to pay her for doing extra jobs, and we have a very limited social circle to ask for money as well.

Bailey didn’t let my pessimism stop her, though.  She started by hitting up her friends at gymnastics before I could stop her.  (This inspired a little talk about soliciting from other young children without their parents’ knowledge or consent.)  Then Bailey made a deal with her Memaw to earn quarters for every book she read in the month of April; Bailey could earn extra quarters if she read books of my choosing (I loved my mom’s sneakiness).  She set aside the money she received in her St. Patrick’s and Easter cards from Granny.  She collected $5 from our hair stylist during her hair cut.  And she even put the $2 the Tooth Fairy paid out for the tooth extracted by the dentist.  All total she ended up with a little over $28.

Bailey did a little research online to find the closest animal shelter in our area.  We printed out their suggested donation list, and then I e-mailed them to learn which items they needed most.  Then we went to the local pet supply store to purchase as much as she could afford.  The only thing not in the picture below is the 40-pound bag of cat litter (I wasn’t lugging it out of the car).

A few days letter we went to take Bailey’s donations to the animal shelter.  I started to get a little choked up as I introduced Bailey to the staff and explained what she had done.  One of the employees told us to wait at the reception desk while she put away the supplies we brought, and when she came back she had a little 4-week-old kitten in her hand.  His name was Donovan, and she explained that he was a kitten that she was personally fostering until they could place him in a home.  Bailey, Piper, and Katie each took turns gently petting his fluffy fur while Sabrina watched him squirm and meow.  Then it was time to go home.  (Yes, we left the cute little kitten there; I have my hands full right now with my own litter of human animals.)

I am really proud of Bailey.  She has such a generous heart; this is the second charity to which she has donated on her own initiative.  She didn’t let my concerns stand in her way.  She worked hard and sacrificed to reach her goal.  She should be really proud of herself.

Homeschooling Expenses 2011

May 26, 2011

Purchase #1Rainbow Resource Center 3/11/2011

Amount:  $154.76 +   Tax:  $10.45

Non-reusable materials for Bailey:  $32.75

  1. Singapore Math Practice 2A
  2. Primary Math 2 Extra Practice
  3. Vocabulary From Classical Roots 4
  4. Wordly Wise 3000 2ED 3 Student Book

Non-reusable materials for Piper:  $7.95

  1. Add & Subtract & Multiply & Divide

Reusable & Reference Materials: $114.06

  1. The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise
  2. Usborne Science Encyclopedia
  3. Just the Facts: World Atlas
  4. Usborne Encyclopedia of World History
  5. Story of the World Vol. 2: Middle Ages
  6. Asia
  7. Europe

Purchase #2: Staples 5/3/2011

Amount:  $17.44

1 1/2 inch binder, 3 packs of wide-rule paper, 1 composition book, 1 pack of three erasers

Purchase #3:  Rainbow Resource Center 5/20/2011

Amount:  $168.93 + 11.40 tax

Non-reusable for Bailey:  $8.25

  1. Singapore Math Workbook 3B

Reusable & Reference Materials:  $116.73

  1. Mindbenders A3/A4  Software
  2. Mindbenders B1/B2 Software
  3. Singapore Math 3B Home Instructors Guide
  4. Singapore Math 3B Textbook
  5. Story of the World v. 3:  Early Modern text
  6. Story of the World v. 3 Activity Book

Materials Purchased for Future Use with Younger Children:  $$24.75

  1. Singapore Math Workbook 3B (3 copies)

Miscellaneous:  $19.20

  1. Linga Angelica CD & Song Book:  This was really purchased because I’ve been looking for a good disc of Latin hymns to play around the house during certain liturgical seasons.  It may also one day be used for education-related activities.

Purchase #4:  TBD

Non-reusable for Piper:  $65.00

  1. Explode the Code Online subscription:  I will probably purchase this sometime in the fall.


Total Spent 2011:  $362.98 (does not include possible purchase of ETC subscription)

Bailey Only:  $58.44

Piper Only:  $7.95 (+ $65 after ETC subscription)

Reusable and Reference Materials:  $230.79

Future Use with Younger Kids:  $24.75

Miscellaneous:  $19.20

My homeschooling expenditures for this year will come in a little under$450 once I order that Explode the Code subscription.  That’s still about two weeks of groceries.  There were a few reference materials that I could have even done without for now, but I decided to splurge.  This should pretty much take us through all of third grade (Bailey), and Kindergarten (Piper).  The only other expenses that might occur would be a few preschool workbooks if Katie (3) starts asking to do schoolwork.

7 Quick Takes (v. 49)

May 20, 2011

1.  Today was supposed to be the last day of our homeschooling semester.  We are done with most subjects, but we have a little bit of math and spelling lingering.  I spent yesterday putting together our schedule for the summer:  math review and geography.

2.  Things have been super crazy lately.  This week’s schedule ran as follows:  Tuesday-softball practice, Wednesday-gymnastics, Thursday-softball game.  Tonight we have gymnastics, and tomorrow we have softball practice.  Repeat for the next two weeks.

3.  It has always been my dream to go to Europe some day.  I really wish that dream could come true right now, so that I could go see David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing in London.  I bet it is going to be awesome, and that’s probably my favorite Shakespeare play.  There’s a petition going around to have it officially recorded and distributed. I wish, I wish…

4.  I have fallen in love with The Graham Norton Show on BBC America.  I love how all three celebrity guests are on the couch and interacting at the same time.  I find myself laughing so much through the whole thing.

5.  So far the big plans for the summer include a guitar lessons for Bailey (with a little overlap of softball), gymnastics class for Piper, potty-training for Katie (or at least more aggressive potty introduction), and weaning for Sabrina (if I can get her to consistently eat more food).

6.  I had the house relatively clean in preparation for my parents’ visit two weeks ago, since they left it has fallen back into insanity.  We had another cold run through the house, and then all of our busy-ness has been exhausting (see #2).  While I have never had exceptionally high standards for housekeeping, I’ve been trying to accept that as long as everyone has clean clothes to wear and clean dishes, cups, and utensils that may just have to be bloody good enough.

7.  Monday is my 34th birthday.  My parents already gave me my presents:  a shelving unit for the garage and a new screen door.  Yes, the presents get more and more exciting as we get older.  But I really wish that screen door we ordered would arrive soon, so I could pull in a breeze while the weather is moderate.

7 Things I Love About Katie

May 9, 2011

1.  Katie is the biggest helper.  She loves to help me unload the dishwasher, load and unload the dryer, and clean up toys.  She’s always offering to go fetch anything that people just mention that that they need.

2.  Katie loves her sisters.  She has a special rapport with each of her sisters.  And while I was worried that she would be jealous of the new baby last year, she just embraced Sabrina as her baby.

3.  She is so funny.  Katie likes to do funny voices and tell knock-knock jokes, and she has a general love of the term “butt cheeks”.

4.  I don’t know of anyone who likes to snuggle more than Katie.  The second her Daddy lays down on the couch, she runs over and announces “Snuggle time!!”  She constantly is asking for us to join her for some quality snuggle time, or climbing into bed with her sisters.

5.  Her dimple.  Katie has a little dimple on her right cheek that none of her sisters have.  It makes her unique and adorable.

6.  She has such a sweet understanding of God and Jesus.  Katie is our first child to be raised going to Mass regularly since a baby.  She knows that the Church is God’s house.  She loves to look for Jesus on the cross or point out Jesus’ mommy.  And she often exclaims when the consecration bells ring, “Jesus is coming!”

7.  Katie is so smart.  Besides knowing her colors and shapes and most of her numbers and letters, she is really starting to make connections with things and starting to show a more advanced understanding of things that are happening in our lives.  I love to see her wonder at the world.

Happy 3rd Birthday to the Best Surprise Ever!!

7 Quick Takes (v. 48)

May 6, 2011

1.  We had a pretty uneventful Easter.  The girls and I got up at 8:00 to see what the Easter Bunny brought them, and then we went to Mass at 12:30….where my husband was a hero!!  It all started after communion.  I was trying to pray while dealing with a fussy baby when I noticed that the little boy in front of me (about nine or ten) was playing with his consecrated Host.  I was about to notify his mother when she noticed and then he promptly dropped it.  My husband and I searched frantically for it to no avail.  The kid’s mother gave a passing glance before going on with her praying.  My husband finally saw it two pews ahead, on the floor by someone’s foot.  He left our pew, rescued the Host, and consumed it immediately.  My hero!!

2.  I finished watching Jack & Bobby.  The creators seemed to have a heads-up that they might be canceled because they did a good job of tying up loose ends in the last episode while still leaving openings for a second season.  I really enjoyed the series, although episode 19 really threw me for a loop.  It centered around the Evangelical minister’s daughter getting pregnant, and I really can’t decide if it was stereotypical and cliche or brilliant.  It’s a shame that show didn’t get a second season.

3.  One perk of having cable and the DVR again = recording the new season of Dr. Who off of BBC America!!  Now if I could only find time to watch the recordings.

4.  Even though her first three games have included combinations of low temperatures, extreme mud, and 54 mph gusts of wind, Bailey (8) is really enjoying her first season of softball.  She likes being with all the girls and learning the league cheers.  And Piper (5) is enjoying learning the cheers and sharing in the after-game snacks without the inconvenience of actually having to participate in an activity.

5.  Katie (almost 3) and Sabrina (almost 11 months) have both been making huge developmental leaps in the past few weeks.  Katie’s understanding of more complex situations and her sense of humor have really broadened.  She’s not having quite as many crazy fits (yay!), but she also can not be as easily distracted from annoying behavior.  Sabrina has started playing more peak-a-boo type games with her sisters, is walking while holding on to things, and vocalizing more.

6. I must admit that I do kind of miss being back home in Louisville, Kentucky for Derby-time.  There are just so many activities in the weeks before, and there are so many memories associated with them (building award-winning parade floats, watching the steamboat race on television, participating in the walk sponsored by my high school, the hot air balloons floating over my house to finish their race at the nearby elementary school, Derby parties).  That’s one thing that I feel like my kids are missing out on by us living so far away.  But we do try to watch the race every year.

7.  I think maybe I had to stay sick for almost all of Lent so that I could fully appreciate what it means to be well.  Yes, I still get tired (hello, four kids), but overall I feel SO much better these days.  It’s nice to feel some-what functional again.