Friday, January 29, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday


1. Our family watched Night at the Museum 2 tonight and really enjoyed it!  Rosie Girl really wanted to see it since she’ll be going to Washington D.C. with the choir later this spring and will get to see several of the Smithsonian museums.  I’m, of course, totally jealous!!

2. I’ve started using progesterone in oil for about 10-14 days out of the month to try to help my migraines.  The oil preparation is really hard to use because it’s hard to get it to completely soak in to my skin.  This is one of those treatments that I’m doing because there’s no harm in it, but I’ve never seen any research to support doing it.  Everything I’ve read about it references one doctor’s work, and that doesn’t include any good, double-blind studies.  I doubt I’ll be getting any placebo effect from this one!!

3. Yesterday was the one day that I was out of the house for several hours and had to run several errands, but it was also the day that the temperature stayed below 10 degrees!  I try not to complain too much about winter weather, but this recent cold snap has been brutal.

4. My whole family (i.e. parents and brother with his wife and kids) are all coming to visit in August.  I found a house for us to stay in (since ours is entirely too small for 10 people) and sent in the deposit today.  We’re all looking forward to a week together.

5. My husband told me Wednesday night that I bring high maintenance to an art form!!  (The reference is from “When Harry Met Sally”.)

6. On Wednesday night, several churches in our town got together and had a prayer service for those affected by the earthquake in Haiti.  It was so inspiring and exciting to see Christians from different churches willing to pray together.  And, it was kind of fun.  One pastor had us get in groups and there was lots of praying out loud at the same time during his section of the service.  Another pastor was more liturgical and did a call and response prayer.  Most importantly, we prayed and we gave money.

7. Our church’s music director, who is a good friend of mine, borrowed some of my fingerless gloves/wristwarmers the other day and really liked having them to use early on Sunday mornings when it is still cold in church and the worship team is practicing.  So, I ordered some delicious alpaca/silk/wool yarn in a nice champagne color and am making her a pair for herself so her hands will be toasty warm.  And it’s nice for me to have a project on size 7 needles instead of 0 and 1 like the other two projects I’m working on!!

Check out what others have to say at 7 Quick Takes Friday!!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lagniappe – 1/27/2010

So, I sat down to write a deep and insightful post, but nothing’s coming out.  Instead, you get little bits of randomness.  Aren’t you glad you stopped by?  Don’t answer – that was rhetorical.

1. Did ya’ll see that football game on Sunday night??  The Saints are going to the Super Bowl!!  I normally don’t worry too much about Saints football, but I’m keeping an eye on the eastern sky expecting to see Jesus come back anytime because the Saints are going to the Super Bowl!!  No, I’m not from New Orleans, but I did spend 5 years at LSU in Baton Rouge and 4 years in New Orleans.  And, most of my New Orleans time was just down the street from the dome at Tulane Med School.  I always wondered at how people were so sad on Monday when the Saints lost – I mean, the Saints always lost!  But, now, the Saints are going to the Super Bowl!!

2. I’ve been three days without a migraine.  That feels like a record, although I know it isn’t.

3. For the last two days, we’ve had extra kids after school.  Today, we had kids over because their mom had a monthly staff meeting and they needed a place to stay for an hour.  Yesterday, three neighborhood kids had forgotten their key, so they couldn’t get in the house.  They came over here and stayed for a few hours after leaving a note on their door.  It’s been loud and rambunctious in our not-very-big house, but they are all good kids, so we had fun.

4. When my brother and I forgot our key when we were kids, we just waited outside till Mom or Dad got home.  But, we lived in Florida where it wasn’t 15 degrees outside.

5. I lost some of Wild Man’s All About Spelling tiles, so I’ve spent parts of the last two days cutting up new tiles and putting magnets on the back.  Aren’t you jealous?

6. I had two medical insurance questions that I had to make phone calls about yesterday – and I was dreading both.  I called the clinic and hospital first, and they were able to take care of both issues, so I didn’t have to call my insurance company at all!!

And that’s about all I have to say tonight.  I’m sure you’re bursting with excitement from reading it.  But, check back another time.  I might actually be profound eventually!



Sunday, January 24, 2010

Our Week In Review


I think we’re starting to get back into a routine!  We’ve had lots of learning, lots of fun, and, unfortunately, lots of headaches.

Rosie Girl started a Short Story Workshop through WriteAtHome.  The first week, she had to do her least favorite part of story writing and develop characters.  I think she might write lots of fan fiction because the characters are already developed for her!  In any case, I was quite impressed by what she turned in.

Wild Man started IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing) this week.  I started him on Level A (4th-5th grade) so it would be pretty easy for him.  He and I are both pretty happy with it.  I said it was a “Home Run”, but Wild Man clarified that it was a “Stand-up Triple”.  Anyway, he likes it.  He started this week with reading a paragraph and then writing the three key words for each sentence.  Then, he rewrites the paragraph in his won words from his key words.  He learned one “dress-up” this week, which is to combine sentences using “which” – in other words, making a “which” clause.  For the first few weeks, Wild Man will write or type one assignment per week and dictate the other assignment to me.

Rosie Girl had finals at public school.  For Art, they just watched a DVD about Van Gogh.  In Choir, she had to answer an essay question about Mozart.  She figures that she wrote about twice as much as her friends did!  She has been in two plays about Mozart, watched at least one documentary about Mozart, watched Amadeus, learned about Mozart in Choir, and is learning about Mozart in piano since she’s playing a Mozart sonata.  Clearly, she was fortunate in the choice of topic for that question!  She feels like she did pretty well on the rest of the test as well.

Wild Man is a little behind in History mostly because I haven’t kept up with reading to him.  I’m trying to read to him regularly and get him caught up because we are supposed to be studying the Civil War.  We are reading Across Five Aprils as a family and the kids and I are listening to Dragon’s Gate, which is a literature assignment for Rosie Girl but I thought would also be beneficial for Wild Man.

On Wednesday, both kids and I went to the Senior Nutrition Center.  It was the birthday party for the month, so we helped pack Meals on Wheels, but also helped serve 50 meals to clients at the center.  After lunch was Bingo and both kids got to play.

I had a headache that started Wednesday night, but became a migraine Thursday morning.  I was supposed to have lunch with a friend, but wasn’t up to going out, so she came to the house.  Mr. Math Tutor was a sweetheart and made us sandwiches and my friend brought some soup.

Rosie Girl sang with Show Choir on Thursday night in the high school’s Pops Concert.  By that evening, I was feeling really awful and was planning to stay home while Mr. Math Tutor recorded the concert.  About an hour before the concert, I took a cocktail of medications and strong coffee so that I felt well enough to actually go – and I’m so glad I did!!

The concert was excellent.  The Choir sang several songs in their black skirts and white tops with cumberbunds then changed into their “Bohemian” costumes to do a medley of songs from Rent.  Rosie Girl had a great time.  She isn’t going to be doing Show Choir for spring semester so she can focus on her piano music and the piano festival, so we’re glad that the concert was such a good experience.

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Rosie Girl was up very late Thursday night because she had so much adrenaline going.  But, Friday was a teacher’s workday, so she was allowed to sleep in.  Friday night, she went with some friends from school to an all-night skating event, although, she only stayed until about 12:30am.  She’s pretty excited that she’s starting to feel part of a group of friends at school.

Next week looks to be less exciting, but I could stand for a little bit of boring routine right now!!  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see how others have done this week!

Friday, January 22, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday


1. I have a friend!!  I’ve been very isolated since I quit working.  I have lots of acquaintances, but it’s been hard to maintain close friendships when I have so many days of headaches.  One of my newer friends and I, though, have both been struggling with loneliness, so we are planning to have lunch together every Thursday.  Last week, we went to a restaurant.  This week, though, my migraine started yesterday morning at about 10:30am, so my friend brought soup over here and my dear hubby made grilled cheese sandwiches.  It’s so nice to have another adult to talk with on a regular basis.  We have several things in common, but are different enough that we have tons to discuss.

2. For my mom’s birthday at the end of December, I made her a scrapbook using Scrapblog.  My regular scrapbooking supplies are all in the basement, so I decided to actually spend a little money at Scrapblog and make a nice little book for Mom.  I used a combination of free supplies as well as some that I purchased.  Over the course of three days, I made 18 pages that covered events of 2009.  I then had softcover 9x16 books printed – one for her and one for me.  She and I are both thrilled with the results!!

3. Rosie Girl performed with the show choir last night at the school’s Pops Concert.  They did a wonderful job!!

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4. My migraine started yesterday (as noted above) and was really bad right before the Pops Concert.  In fact, Mr. Math Tutor had the still camera and video camera and we didn’t plan for me to attend.  However, about an hour before the concert, I took a cocktail of coffee, Toradol, and another pain medicine.  Twenty minutes before the concert, I felt well enough to attend, so Mr. Math Tutor came to pick me up (we live about 2 minutes from the school).  When Rosie Girl saw me in the audience as they were about to walk in, her face lit up like I’ve never seen.  It was all worth it.  (I still have the blasted migraine, though!!)

5. Rosie Girl hardly slept last night because she had so much adrenaline in her system after the concert.  She really felt like part of the group!  Part of it was just from being in the show choir and going to rehearsals, but she is also starting to get some respect because she can do things like play enough accompaniment for the group to practice without the director.  The other kids know she can play classical music, but they are starting to see that she also can play stuff they can relate to.

6. Speaking of fitting into a group, Rosie Girl is off to the skating rink with some friends from school.  The skating rink is doing an all-night event, but Rosie Girl is only staying until a little after midnight.  Nonetheless, she was excited about going to something non-school-related with friends.

7. And then there’s Wild Man!!  I’ve talked a lot in this post about Rosie Girl, but our lives as just as full of Wild Man as they are of Rosie Girl.  This week, at the Senior Nutrition Center, it was Birthday Party Week and Bingo.  Rosie Girl won some candy, but Wild Man won a little triangular tool with flat-head screwdrivers on one side, Phillips-head screwdrivers on another, and a measuring tape on the third side.  He loves it, and I love that he can fidget with something that belongs to him instead of stuff of mine!!

Check out what others have to say at 7 Quick Takes Friday while I’m off to knit and nurse this migraine!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


In Genesis 38 is the story of Judah and Tamar.  It’s one of the racier stories in the Bible.  (By the way, reading Genesis to young kids is a real adventure.  One has to either edit quit a bit on the fly or do a lot of sex ed while reading!)  Basically, Tamar was married to Judah’s son Er, but Er was wicked and died without leaving Tamar any children.  As was the custom of the time, Onan slept with Tamar to give her children that would pass on Er’s name.  But, Onan didn’t want Tamar having his children who would get Er’s name, so he “spilled his seed” which angered God, so he also died.  (Another aside – this passage has given rise to all kinds of prohibitions, most notably masturbation and birth control.  It seems to me, though, that Onan was punished for being disobedient.)

Tamar then lived as a widow and was supposed to marry Judah’s youngest son, Shelah, who was not yet of age.  Judah, though, didn’t want them to marry, because he was afraid that Shelah, too, would die.  After Judah’s wife died, he took his sheep near where Tamar lived.  Tamar dressed herself as a prostitute with her face covered and solicited Judah.  Judah gave her his seal, cord, and staff as pledge for a goat so he could sleep with her.

Tamar became pregnant by Judah.  When Judah sent the goat to the “prostitute”, no one knew what he was talking about, so he didn’t get his cord, seal, and staff back.  Several months later, he was told that Tamar was pregnant, so he said that she should be taken out and burned according to the law.  As she was being brought out, she showed the seal, cord, and staff and said that the owner of those items was the father.  Judah admitted his guilt and did not sleep with her again.  Tamar gave birth to twins, Perez and Zerah, and she is one of the four women named in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1.

You might be wondering what the heck this all means.  Well, me too!!  Were Tamar’s actions right or wrong?  Is she a heroine or villain or something else.

In that time and place, women’s status centered around childbirth.  Tamar was sentenced to a very low status by not being allowed any way to have children.  Her situation was worse than infertility.  Her first two husbands had died, but the man who should have been her third husband had not been allowed to marry her because his father (Judah) was afraid that he (Shelah) would die as well.  Without children, who would take care of Tamar in her old age?  Without children, who was she?  In that culture, a woman was no one without children.

Tamar took matters into her own hands.  She knew that the only source of power for her in her society was pregnancy and childbirth.  She also knew that childbirth outside of wedlock meant death.  So, she decided to deceive her father-in-law to get pregnant.  He could prevent the death sentence as well as give her a husband and a name.

But, was she right or wrong in what she did?  I have no idea!  How dire were her straits?  She had certainly been wronged and had no one to stand up for her.  This is one of the more frustrating Bible stories.  We are told a story, but not really given a “lesson”.  Tamar was clearly important because she figures into Jesus’ lineage.  She was also a woman with some backbone who wasn’t willing to settle for the status quo.  She knew her only source of power and used it.

What do you think?  Is there a moral to this story – for women, at least?  How would you evaluate Tamar’s actions?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Come to Jesus

“The Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.’” Matthew 11:28-30

Are you weary? Do you have heavy burdens? I certainly do! My headaches are a near-constant burden. Parenting makes me tired. Pain makes me weary.

Jesus tells me to come to him and that he will give me rest. How? He will teach me his humility and gentleness. His yoke fits perfectly and the burden that he gives is light.

How can that be? Jesus knows all about me – how can he be restful? It’s because he knows the truth – that God is in control of all my circumstances. The burden that Jesus gives me is simply to walk every day in the path God has given me. And to let Jesus take the pain and weariness and worry. But it’s not a one-time event, apparently, because Jesus says that he will teach us. I must submit myself totally to Jesus and let him teach me to carry his light burden instead of my heavy one.

Lord Jesus, I pray today that I learn a little more each day about how to give you my heavy burdens of pain and worry and fear and how to take your light burden of truth.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Our Week In Review


What a couple of weeks we’ve had!  But, we finally did some schoolwork this week!!  And I’ve decided on some important curriculum changes.  I’m going to summarize what’s happened over the last two weeks since they’ve kind of run together in my mind.

Rosie Girl

Math – is now doing ALEKS online.  She enjoyed the story form of Life of Fred, but just wasn’t getting through the lessons and wasn’t learning as well as she did when she was in ALEKS.  So, she and Mr. Math Tutor decided to go back to a known commodity.

History – I originally was going to have her just read up to where we are in her curriculum and not do questions until next week (Week 18), but I’ve decided instead to ditch all the questions.  I planned to have her outline the chapters in the book, but the chapters are all so short that I am going to have her write a minimum of four bullet points to summarize the chapter.  She and I are both happy with this plan.

Science – Since she was going to finish her science book before the end of the year, I’m just going to push back science until she’s caught up in History.

Choir – Rosie Girl has the Pops concert next week so she had an early morning practice today and has a practice tomorrow evening.  Thankfully, the director said that she is mostly needed to keep the choreography balanced and that her voice isn’t as important because singing for any length of time still hurts her voice.

Piano – Rosie Girl is working on her pieces for festival.  They include pieces by Chopin, Prokofiev, and Mozart.  Wow!

Writing – I’m loving the WriteAtHome writing program.  Rosie Girl is also doing the Short Story workshop for the next six weeks.  She’s been writing a lot of “fan fiction” lately for Pokemon and Johnny Test websites and has asked me to help her with the grammar (she might learn punctuation yet!).  What’s most exciting, though, is that Mr. Math Tutor submitted one of her writing papers to Heart of the Matter and it was published yesterday!!  Read it here!!

Wild Man

Math – is using ALEKS online and almost has his addition and subtraction math facts down.  Because of his dyslexia, he has a hard time with subtraction – it’s not just addition backwards for him – it’s like a whole new operation.

History – We are definitely behind in History, but it’s because I need to read aloud more.  The migraines this week really messed with the reading aloud.

Spelling – We did spelling a couple times this week.  I was quite impressed with how much Wild Man has remembered.  He still does not have the spelling enough embedded in his brain to spell well when he’s writing for other activities such as writing a paragraph or writing an email.  Spelling is definitely a cognitive task that can only be done alone right now.

Reading – Wild Man is now on the last Explode the Code book!  He also chose a book from the library that he had no previous experience with and has been reading and enjoying it – without my telling him to!


We watched movies about the War of 1812 and Andrew Jackson this week and last week.  I’ve been quite pleased with how much of this Wild Man retains.  He fusses about watching documentaries, but I think they are an excellent learning tool for him.  And they’re great when I have a migraine!!

Rosie Girls’ tonsillectomy and complications were quite stressful all the way around, but both kids learned a lot.  They learned about biology, medicine, hospitals, family, and love.  It doesn’t hurt that I’m a doctor, so I explained a bunch of stuff during this whole time.  But, mostly, they learned to support each other as a family.

  What has your family been up to?  Check out the Weekly Wrap-up to see what other homeschooolers are doing!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday


1. I’m sure you’ve seen the news reports of the devastation in Haiti.  Please continue to pray for that country and contribute to a reputable charity to help them rebuild.

2. I went four entire days without a migraine!!  Now I’m on the third day of a terribly wicked one.  Actually, I got a break for a while yesterday, so I did go out to lunch with a friend yesterday, but the migraine was back with a vengeance before bedtime.  EEK!

3. My darling husband, Mr. Math Tutor, turned 43 years old today.  I’m almost exactly 6 months younger than he is, so I can tease him about being older than I am during these few months.  We were going to go as a family to see Avatar and then out to dinner, but my migraine prevented that.  I slept a lot today, so we were able to go out to a quiet restaurant for a nice family meal.

4. A friend and I have decided that we are going to start having lunch together every Thursday when I don’t have a terrible migraine.  I’ve been so isolated the last couple of years that it’s been hard to maintain any real friendships.  A regular lunch date is a great way to prioritize this relationship.

5. I’ve suddenly developed a hankering to learn Fair Isle knitting.  I always thought it was entirely too complicated before, but I’ve developed enough other skills that I think I might tackle it this year.

6. I might not hate the Wii Fit.  Until the migraine started, I was actually exercising pretty regularly.  And some of the Wii Fit games are pretty fun.  I was even in first place on one of the games.  Of course, it was because no one else had played the game yet.  As soon as Wild Man played once, he was in first place.  Sigh.

7. I love our Roku box!  Tonight, Mr. Math Tutor and I introduced our children to the original Star Trek episodes!!  And, I think Wild Man may be a fan!  Mr. Math Tutor and I were laughing about the extra guy on the away team who always gets killed and the skimpy outfits of the female characters.  Wild Man actually enjoyed the plot.  Rosie Girl seemed to have a good time, but not as much as Wild Man.

Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday and see what others have been up to!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Knitting Money-Saver

Guess what??  I saved money on something knitting related!!  Can’t believe that, can you?  So, here’s what happened:

In the KnitPicks catalog, I saw their nifty magnetic pattern/chart holder.  It is only about $10 so I was planning to order one.  Then, I decided to try to figure out if I could do it less expensively.  I checked out Staples online to see if they had magnetic whiteboards, which they do, but they are quite expensive.  Office Depot has magnetic clipboards, but they are also $10.

I usually keep my pattern on a clipboard on a music stand.  So, I decided to put a piece of magnet paper, wrong side out, underneath my pattern.  Then, I cut some strips from another piece of magnet paper and use them to mark my place in the chart.  As I go from row to row, I just move the strip of magnet paper down the chart.



That’s it!!  A quick and easy way to keep from losing your place while knitting from a chart without buying the fancy chart holder.  Of course, I’m still drooling over all the lovely yarn . . . but that’s another story.

Monday, January 11, 2010

On Safety

Abraham Piper’s blog, 22 Words, had this to say yesterday:

A guest post by Wesley Hill.

Why does a Christian radio station bill itself as “safe for the whole family”? Whatever else Christianity is, it certainly isn’t that.

This reminds me of of a sequence in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

"Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you, he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea...."

"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he--quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

In our culture, we tend to think of Christianity as being “safe”. What is safety, though? If we are talking about being risk-free, with no chance of pain or suffering, then God and Christianity are most certainly not “safe”.

When we give our lives to Jesus, we start a on an amazing adventure, but it’s not a risk-free adventure. In fact, Jesus himself tells us “blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). This is not the only time that this sentiment is expressed by Jesus. In Matthew 10, we are told to expect to be arrested and persecuted on Jesus’ account. Not exactly a “safe” faith.

So, why in the world should we follow Jesus? From what I’ve just written, it sounds like Christians must be psychotic!! The reason is found in the second quote – because Jesus is good – and he’s God. (In the book, Aslan is the character that represents Jesus.) We may not expect safety here on earth, yet we can expect abundant life!! I know that’s some kind of crazy paradox.

I think the best place to try to understand this (although, I don’t think we’ll ever really get it until we meet Jesus face to face) is in the book of Philippians. Paul tells us in this letter about having joy in spite of our earthly sufferings. Paul writes in the fourth chapter that he has learned to be content whatever his circumstances. The whole book encourages us to live life for Jesus, to pray regularly, and to keep our thoughts on Jesus. These are some of the steps we can do to keep walking with Jesus.

And even though every step is a new and exciting adventure, we can have peace that, whatever happens here on this earth, we have a Savior who loves us and is waiting for us. So, let us give up this illusion of having a “safe”, comfortable life that we control, and let Jesus tell us where to go and what to do next!!

P.S. I feel sure that the radio station advertisement was trying to say that their programming and ads are family-friendly, without foul language or other objectionable material.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Saturday Night

I’m not really looking forward to Monday.  Rosie Girl is feeling MUCH better today and will almost surely go to school for choir and art next week as well as start her homeschool work.  I’m just not feeling ready to get back to it.

Today was the first day that I haven’t had a significant headache in over a week.  Much of what I’m feeling is just physical and emotional fatigue.  I did exercise a little today, which I’m hoping will help.

I’ve already decided on some things to make next week easier to manage.  Most of this week’s schoolwork for Rosie Girl is just going to be cancelled – she won’t miss much by not doing a week’s worth of grammar or vocabulary.  I’m going to have her read her History and Bible assignments, but not worry about the accompanying questions.  Her science is already going to finish before the end of the school year, so I’ll just make some adjustments and she’ll get all that in.  Thankfully, she didn’t have a WriteAtHome assignment due this week – it’s not due till the 14th, and I’m confident she has time to finish it by then.

Mr. Math Tutor has kept the kitchen pretty clean and got the Christmas decorations put away.  Not much longer before we can have our living room and dining room back to non-Christmas status.  Our church is bringing us some meals so that we don’t have to worry about cooking for the next several days.

So I don’t think my problem is an overwhelming amount of work.  It’s just recovering from the last couple of weeks.  The headaches are rough and I’m learning to work around those.  Add to that, Rosie Girl’s surgery and complications and it’s just been a long couple of weeks.

Wild Man and I may watch a few more movies – we watched documentaries about the War of 1812 and about Andrew Jackson this week – if I’m not up to keeping up with his reading.  I am loving my new Roku box for educational movies!!!

I told my Facebook friends that I think we should start 2010 today instead of last week.  Let’s leave the events of the last week in 2009 and start 2010 with a clean slate – whatcha think??

Friday, January 08, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday – 1/8/2010


This first full week of 2010 has been a rough one!  We are quite thankful for modern medicine, technology, and our wonderful family at church.

1. We are so glad to be a part of a small group in our church.  Our small group leader called this morning to remind us of our small group meeting tomorrow night.  I told her that we might not be there because of our difficult week – she said that if we were there, we’d all enjoy ice cream together, but if we weren’t there, the rest of them would pray for us (and still enjoy the ice cream, I assume).

2. Our church is also bringing some meals for us in the next few days.  The friend who is also in charge of the meals ministry saw on Facebook that we were having a bad time, so she offered to have the ministry provide meals for a few days.  It will be very nice to be able to try to get life back together without having to worry about feeding the family.  What a great church family!!

3. Rosie Girl had another rough day yesterday, partly because she is just plain tired of sweet foods.  Hot and warm foods seemed to be making her pain worse but the only really cold foods that we could think of were sweet and Rosie Girl desperately wanted something savory.  Mr. Math Tutor finally tried room temperature mashed potatoes.  It doesn’t sound all that appetizing to me, but Rosie Girl was happy.

4. Last night, at 11:30pm, Rosie Girl was frustrated because she was in pain but had to wait another hour for her pain medicine.  I lay on the sofa with her and we watched Comedy Angels from Netflix on the Roku.  Between the distraction and the laughter, she made it to 12:30am and her pain meds (and bedtime).  This morning, she woke up feeling significantly better – still in pain, but much more like her old self!

5. I ordered myself a new mp3 player, but it didn’t come with a strap or belt clip.  Yesterday, I used some leftover fingering weight yarn (silk/wool blend) and made a little pouch that goes around my neck.  I felt so accomplished.  And I love the mp3 player – it holds about 10x more than my previous player did!

6. The Wii Fit and I are not going to be good friends, I don’t think.  I love the games, but I have been on it very irregularly because of my headaches.  Whenever I sign in, the board starts telling me about the importance of regular exercise – I want to scream, “BUT I’VE HAD A MIGRAINE FOR THREE DAYS, YOU STUPID MACHINE!”  I think the fact that I want to yell at a computer may indicate that I have issues.  Maybe.

7. The week before New Years, we bought Rosie Girl a Yamaha digital piano for her room.  Last spring, she borrowed a friend’s keyboard/digital piano and played for hours every day because she could play with headphones.  Given how much Rosie Girl plays right now, we decided it was time to get her an instrument that she can play whenever she wants.  She is one happy girl!!


How has your week been?  Anything exciting going on?  Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others have been up to!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Homeschooling Challenge – Clutter


One of the biggest challenges to homeschooling – based on what I hear at homeschool support meetings and read on homeschooling forums – is clutter!!  I think we all have times when we wonder if there is really a floor under all that stuff in the living room.  We have been known to search for days for a book.  Let’s talk a little about clutter in a homeschooling house!


Causes of clutter

  • Kids who are educated at home spend most of the day at home, giving them lots of opportunity to make clutter – there’s also lots of opportunity to clean it up, but somehow THAT seems to happen far more rarely!!
  • Homeschooling families generally have lots of educational supplies and books (even when we use the library regularly – how does that happen?).
  • Homeschooling parents are so busy educating the kids and making sure that the family is fed that housework often gets pushed aside. 

Aggravating factors for our family (I’m sure you have your own list)

  • It’s hard for me to keep up with household clutter with my frequent headaches.
  • Our current house is too small for our stuff.  Of course, Mr. Math Tutor would say that we have too much stuff for our house.  Whatever.
  • Living in The Great White North, we have snow for 3-4 months which means that we have lots of added coats, gloves, hats, scarves, etc. to add to our mix of stuff.SANY1351

How to deal with the clutter (Please note that I’m not remotely an expert here – I’m just giving you ideas that work for me and I’ll be asking you to comment and tell us what has worked in your home.)

  • Daily chores – My kids have chores to do every day that include keeping the living room vacuumed (requiring that it is at least straightened first).  We’re not perfect about getting them done all the time, but it’s a start.

  • Bookcases – We have bookcases filled with books in the living room, dining room , schoolroom (Rosie Girl’s and Mr. Math Tutor’s office), sunroom (my and Wild Man’s office), the landing of the stairway, the upstairs hallway, the master bedroom, and Rosie Girl’s bedroom.  In fact, every room except the bathroom and Wild Man’s room has at least one bookcase.  (The bathroom is too small and humid, and Wild Man just keeps a pile of books near his desk in his room.) SANY0981

  • Boxes – I keep the rest of our supplies in plastic boxes (Rubbermaid or Sterilite).  So, there is a box with microscope slides, another with dissection supplies, another with various art supplies, etc.  These boxes are kept in closets in the schoolroom and in the basement.  (By the way, I just adore these sliding trays in the schoolroom!!  We keep games on the top three shelves and plastic boxes on the bottom two.) SANY0984

  • Each child has their own desk.  Rosie Girl and Mr. Math Tutor share an office  (in what we call the schoolroom) in which they both have desks.  Rosie Girl works at her desk some of the time, but it is a good place for her to store her things.  Wild Man’s desk is in the sunroom with my desk.  Every few months, I have the kids clean up their desks.SANY0983

  • School throughout the house.  We didn’t have any room for a world map in our schoolroom, so we put it in the dining room.  Now, we have a world and US map in our dining room.  It’s actually rather convenient because we refer to it during dinner time discussions more often than we expected!  We use whatever space is available!IMG_0681

  • Library basket – I keep a large basket in the living room for library books.  Of course, the kids end up taking the books to their rooms, but before they start reading a book or after they are done with it, the books (or CDs) go into the library basket.  This shortens the book search right before our library trips.

  • Phone baskets – We have an antique radio (a large piece of furniture) in our dining room that mostly just looks nice.  I put four baskets on the radio along with a power strip so that we can all keep our phones in the baskets when they’re not in use and they can be charged using the power strip.  The kids can also use the power strip to charge their video games.  Our family whiteboard is right above this.


So, what about you?  How do you manage clutter in your home?  Enquiring minds want to know!!  I want to know!!

Check out Thirsty Thursday for more great homeschooling posts!


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

An Inauspicious Start to 2010

Back in the fall, scheduling Rosie Girl’s tonsillectomy for December 31, 2009 seemed like a smart thing to do.  We figured she’d only miss a couple of days of choir at school and it wouldn’t be hard to modify her homeschool work for the first week of January.  She’s a healthy kid, so her recovery was expected to be short and sweet.

Well, it hasn’t been.  The first week of 2010 has been less than stellar, shall we say?  Actually, the first few days after surgery weren’t too bad – well, at least, they were what we expected.  Rosie Girl took lots of pain meds and nausea meds.  On the third or fourth day, she started to get more nauseous and even threw up once, so we made sure to keep up with the nausea meds.  The pain meds were reasonably effective, but when I called the ENT’s office, they said that it was too early to use ibuprofen in addition to the other pain meds.  (Ibuprofen and aspirin-type medications prevent platelets from sticking together normally.  After some kinds of surgery, these medications are not allowed because of the risk of bleeding.  This is important later in the story!)

Rosie Girl didn’t make it to school Monday or Tuesday and didn’t look like she was going to go on Wednesday, either.  Since she only takes two classes, we weren’t terribly worried.  Wild Man got a little bit of work at home done on Monday and Tuesday, but those days were limited by my headaches (which has been going on for a full week).  Not only that, but we just plain forgot that Wild Man had band class on Tuesday afternoon!  Yeah, I know, not terribly responsible on the parenting side of things.  In our defense, Rosie Girl was still needing plenty of attention.

At 7pm on Tuesday night, Rosie Girl started having some bleeding from the back of her throat.  The ENT had warned us about this (said it happens about 5% of the time in teens) and had given us instructions on what to do if it happened.  So, Rosie Girl put a popsicle against the back of her throat to try to constrict the blood vessels.  It didn’t work immediately, so I called the ENT on-call.  While I was on the phone with him, Rosie Girl got the bleeding to stop with the popsicle.  So, armed with new instructions, we went back to watching TV while Rosie Girl drank ice water and sucked on popsicles.

At 2:30am on Wednesday morning, though, Rosie Girl knocked on our bedroom door to tell us that the bleeding had started again.  And, this time, after 20 minutes, it still hadn’t stopped.  So, the ENT on-call said he’d meet us in the ER.  We all (including Wild Man and Mr. Math Tutor) bundled into the car and drove into the city to the “big hospital” ER where we met the ENT.  Thankfully, the bleeding stopped about the time we got in the car, but we weren’t taking any chances.  This episode had lasted well over 30 minutes so she needed to be looked at.  We were quite fortunate – the ER was incredibly quiet, so there was no waiting and Rosie Girl had two nurses to get her all hooked up to monitors, etc.

Well, to make a long story not quite book length, the ENT said that Rosie Girl needed to have the spot on her throat cauterized which required another trip to the OR.  Rosie Girl didn’t really seem to mind this so much.  Once the i.v. was in place, Rosie Girl was just ready to have it done.  She seemed pretty nonchalant about the whole “surgery” part of things – it was quite a change from a week previous when she was so nervous about surgery.

Since the surgery was done before the regular working day started, Rosie Girl did her recovery in the pediatric wing, so she got a stuffed animal and a fleece blanket to bring home with her!  (Several weeks ago, Rosie Girl went to a project at the high school where they made fleece blankets for this pediatric department.  She said this pattern didn’t look familiar, so it might have come from another volunteer group, but it was a neat coincidence.)  We finally were able to bring her home at about 9:30am.

We got home and all went right back to bed.  Mr. Math Tutor had called all the appropriate people from the hospital to cancel his appointments for the day and to let the school know that the kids wouldn’t be there.  I called the Nutrition Site to tell them that Wild Man and I wouldn’t be there.

Now, it’s almost midnight and I’m about ready to go back to bed.  Rosie Girl is asleep on the sofa.  She’s been doing well with pain and doing a very good job of staying hydrated.  Wild Man is going to do some schoolwork tomorrow – I let him watch lots of TV today – and even going to go to his band class!  If my headache is calmed down, I hope to start taking down Christmas decorations.  But, the first priority is making sure that Rosie Girl is recovering well.

I’m praying that we’re getting the major stress of the year all done with in the first week!!  And praying that your 2010 is much calmer than ours so far!!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Lagniappe 1/5/2010

Yay!!  The first Lagniappe post of the New Year!!  Hang on for lots of random stuff!

  • Rosie Girl had her tonsils out last Thursday.  She was only in the OR for about 40 minutes.  From what I know about OR procedures, I’m guessing that the actual surgery must have taken all of 10 minutes!  Nonetheless, recovery has not been easy.  She has been taking lots of pain medicine and nausea medicine.

  • To add to the post-tonsillectomy fun, Rosie Girl started having bleeding from the back of her throat tonight.  The doctor told us that, if she had this complication, it would be obvious, and he was right.  She only lost about 5 or 10 cc’s of blood, but that sure looks like a lot when it’s been spit into the toilet bowl.  Thankfully, Rosie Girl got it to stop pretty quickly by holding a popsicle to the back of her throat for a couple of minutes.  Not only did the bleeding stop, but so did Rosie Girl’s (and my) anxiety.  Whew.

  • I got my new mp3 player today and I love it.  My old one played music quite well, but it had a bad habit of not letting me fast forward to the middle of a chapter in an audiobook.  I could fast forward to about 10 minutes and then it would skip to the end of the track.  This new one allows me to fast forward or rewind to wherever I want in the track.  It also lets me do playlists which the other player was supposed to do, but never did.

  • We’ve been watching lots of Star Wars movies – both old (i.e. my generation with Harrison Ford) and new.  Mr. Math Tutor and Wild Man bought them on DVD to help amuse Rosie Girl while she’s recovering.

  • Wild Man and I did a spelling review today and I was amazed at what he remembers from before the holidays!!  He is doing quite well.  I am going to have him start writing sentences this week so we can start working on actually doing writing (as in paragraph writing) later this spring.

  • Mr. Math Tutor bought me some Rubbermaid containers so that we can store our Christmas decorations in Rubbermaid instead of the disintegrating cardboard boxes that we’ve been using.  Unfortunately, right when I started to take ornaments off the tree was when Rosie Girl started bleeding from her throat tonight.  Our house is a disaster and I’m just not emotionally prepared to deal with it.

  • In the middle of all this chaos, I’ve had a headache (most of the time a migraine) for the last week.  Rotten timing, I know.  The house cleaning is probably not going to get done any time soon.  Blah.

So, that’s what’s up around here.  Not terribly exciting, if you don’t count bleeding and panicking, which I’m trying to block out of my consciousness.  How has your 2010 been so far?

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Tonight, I read in Matthew about John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. After that, Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert. Then, Satan came to Jesus and tempted him – talk about kicking a guy when he’s down. I don’t know about you, but being hungry, hot, and tired makes me pretty vulnerable. I’m guessing that Satan chose that moment to tempt Jesus because his defenses were down.

But, Jesus didn’t give in to the temptation. I’ve heard some people say things like “Yeah, but Jesus was God.” Indeed, Jesus is God, but when Jesus was on earth, he was also 100% human. He resisted temptation the same way that you and I do – by relying on God the Father. Notice that all of Jesus’ answers to Satan were Scripture. Jesus didn’t mess around with any arguments – he just quoted the words of God the Father.

The same thing happens to us. Satan attacks us when we are weakest – when we’re in pain, tired, or stressed. But we have the same power available to us that Jesus had – the words of God the Father.

Whatever it is you struggle with, remember that Jesus dealt with the same thing when he was on earth. Hebrews 4:15-16 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

No matter what’s going on in our lives, we have Jesus who has been through this before us. And, he’ll walk through today and tomorrow and forever right beside us. What wonderful comfort that brings!!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Abundant Life

Until a couple of months ago, we thought that our income would significantly decrease in about 18 months. Because of that, we have been living very frugally, trying to save up money and pay off some leftover debt. A few months ago, we found out that we had misunderstood some things and that we actually will not have a decrease in our income. We have been living as if we were poorer than we really are.

It’s very easy for us to live our spiritual lives this same way. As believers, we have access to God’s unspeakable love, grace, joy, and more!! But, too often, we live in fear and worry. It’s easier to sit back in our comfortable Christian lives of doing what’s easy and not taking any risks. God has so much more for us, though. All we have to do is reach out for this abundant life we’ve been promised. Jesus said (in John 10:10), “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

When we move through our fear and really trust God, the rewards are huge. A few years ago, our family went to Venezuela for a week’s worth of mission work at a boys’ ranch. It was a real step of faith, but the joy and love was amazing!

C. S. Lewis put it well in a sermon in 1941: “Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

And here’s how Steven Curtis Chapman interprets this idea.

God’s promises are truly amazing and I want to live life “to the full” in serving God! How have you learned to live God’s abundant life? How has Jesus been truly real in your life?

P.S. I don’t mean to suggest in the first paragraph that we shouldn’t live frugally even when our income allows for a more extravagant lifestyle. That’s a whole ‘nother discussion!! I’m just trying to make the point that we were living with incorrect information.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Seven Quick Takes Friday – 1/1/2010


Wow – It’s 2010!  It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s already a new year!!  And this is the first meme of 2010.  So, here goes . . .

1. I took lots of pictures before Christmas, but none of December 24-26.  It’s not really a big deal, but it seems a little strange – lots of pictures before the holiday, but none on the holiday itself.

2. I got myself a new purse that came in the mail yesterday.  It doesn’t seem like much of a big deal, but it really is for me.  When I quit working, I put my nice black leather purse in the closet.  For one thing, it was getting old and torn up.  But, for another thing, it was a representation of my working life and putting it away was a sign that I was now a stay-at-home mom.  But, I’ve been using a purse that I knitted or a bag that Mr. Math Tutor crocheted.  The problem is that they don’t have any organization to them, so I can’t ever find my cell phone (or anything else, for that matter) when I need it.  The new purse is similar to my old one (they’re both from Wilson’s leather) with several pockets and an organizer section so I don’t need a wallet.

3. One of my goals for 2010 is to read my American Family Physician journals.  I read a lot, but I haven’t been reading any medical journals or articles.  I don’t think I’ll be going back to work this year unless something drastic happens, but I do want to keep up with what’s going on in the world of medicine.  I want to work eventually, so I hope that reading regularly will keep me up on the newest developments.

4. We gave my nephew (age 8) The Dangerous Book for Boys for a Christmas present.  Wild Man has that book and has been making up secret codes so he sent an email to his cousin with a coded message and the page number where the key to the code is.  His cousin sent back a message yesterday and Wild Man wrote up another one today.  I think this is going to be good for both of them!

5. Rosie Girl had her tonsillectomy yesterday.  She actually didn’t feel too poorly yesterday, but is definitely feeling icky today.  I had my tonsils out when I was 4 years old, and I’m glad I don’t remember it.  But, Rosie Girl is doing a good job of taking her pain medicine and getting in lots of fluids.  The next few days are going to be rough, but I’m sure it will all be fine next week.

6. The Wii Fit is going to be a great thing for our family.  I have a hard time getting Wild Man to do physical activity during the winter.  Usually, he just walks on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day.  With the Wii Fit, though, he has done lots of different activities for up to a couple of hours a day.

7. I find it difficult to exercise when I have headaches, but I think I can do some of the Wii Fit yoga or balance exercises as long as the headache isn’t too terrible (even if I wouldn’t normally want to walk on the treadmill).  Of course, I am also finding that I’m not in great shape because I’m quite sore after doing much of anything with the Wii Fit.  I suppose this is good, though.

Check out what others have to say at 7 Quick Takes Friday!!

Christmas Memories – 2009

Our family has had a great holiday season this year.  I’ve already posted about all the musical performances that were part of our holidays.    The kids and I made Christmas cookies to send to some of our family members.  We read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever as a family for the first time this year – I think it’s going to be a tradition because we loved it so much.  We also read parts of Letters to Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkein as well as other Christmas read-alouds.

Of course, I did some knitting for my family.  And, of course, I forgot to take pictures.  You’ll have to use your imagination.  I made these gloves for my mom and my sister-in-law.  They were together when they opened their gifts, so I made one pair navy blue and another pair brown and told them that they could exchange if they preferred the other person’s color.

I did hats in camouflage patterned yarn for my nephews.  I made a pair of socks for my brother and started a pair for my dad and plan to make a pair for my husband.  For Rosie Girl, I found a really cool mitten pattern with owls on them.  Wild Man is a huge Packer fan, so I made him a Packer hat.  I did it without a pattern, as usual, but didn’t really pay attention to the number of stitches I was using.  I finished the pattern on the night of the 23rd.  When I fastened off, I realized that it was the size of a doll hat!!  So, I started another one and finished it yesterday.  And this time, it fits.

Santa was very generous this year.  The whole family got Wii Fit Plus.  The kids really enjoy it.  Mr. Math Tutor and I like it despite the soreness that it causes!  Rosie Girl got an iPod Touch from Santa while Wild Man got several video games.  Grams and Grandpa gave Rosie Girl a tenor ocarina which has a lower range than her current ocarina.  They (along with me and Mr. Math Tutor) gave Wild Man some new Legos.

I got a Roku from Santa so that we can watch Netflix movies on the TV instead of just the computer screen.  Rosie Girl gave me a Snuggie and Wild Man gave me a really cool pillow with ribbons to hold my book so I can read hands-free.  I also got the Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, a couple of knitting books, and some jewelry.  My family knows what I like!!  I’m a very happy woman!  (And I’ve changed my mind on the socks I’m making for my dad since I got a new knitting book!!)

On the day after Christmas, we had our “Christmas Dinner” which we shared with a friend and her two kids.  I made some good, old-fashioned Southern food – roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, iced tea, pecan pie, and fudge pie.  The kids had a blast playing games.

Since then, we’ve been mostly hanging around the house and enjoying our Christmas gifts until yesterday.  But, the story of Rosie Girl’s tonsillectomy is for another post.

I hope you and your family had a great Christmas and are enjoying 2010!!

Holiday Performances

Christmas season around here means lots of music and performances!!  There are recitals, concerts, and church performances.  I try not to add too much more to our schedule so we can enjoy the music of the season!

IMG_0977 Mr. Math Tutor plays bass guitar at church and had requested an Ashbory bass guitar for Christmas.  At Thanksgiving, the kids and I gave him permission to order the Ashbory as his Christmas gift.  He was thrilled!  And, because he got it well before Christmas, he has been able to play it during the Christmas season.





Rosie Girl played the first movement of a Mozart Sonata at her piano recital.






Wild Man was part of the kids’ Christmas program at church.  Rosie Girl sang with the adult choir while Mr. Math Tutor played bass guitar.  I just took pictures!!  You can see a video of the performance here.






Rosie Girl sang with the high school choir.  She also sang with the Madrigals at the choir concert and several other performances.





Rosie Girl accompanied the choir at church for a Christmas special.  This was her first time to accompany on piano.  And you can also see Mr. Math Tutor playing his new bass guitar.

I have great memories of the music of Christmas 2009!!