Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday


1. I have had the most incredibly awful headache for the last three days.  It seems to be letting up today, but it’s still not gone.


2. Rosie Girl takes her driving test on Monday!!  Please send lots of prayers for her to be relaxed – she drives quite well and will certainly pass!


3. Wild Man spent yesterday and today at a waterpark in Wisconsin Dells with five other middle school boys and our Minister to Students.  He came back tired, but with lots of great stories.  He also came back with writing on his arms.  I asked if they went to a tattoo parlor or something, but he said that they were just writing on each other with Sharpy on the way home.  SHARPY!!!  He’s going to have black marks on his arms for months – crazy child.


4. Does anyone else up north think it’s been a hotter than usual summer?  I don’t recall having so many days of temps in the upper 80s and 90s.  These low pressure systems are killing my head – and I’m not as fond of the heat as when I was growing up.  Fall weather, we’re ready for you!!


5. The big Sonlight box came today.  The kids were going to clean their desks this week, but they managed to avoid the task by working up at The Knitting Nest.  Hmmmmm.  Next week, I need to have some clean desks so I can start putting away the books, etc.  I wonder if they will work as hard on their desks as they do at the shop if I bribe reward them with a latte from the coffee shop when they’re done?  I need some leverage, although I supposed I could always take away ipods, computers, and TV time.  Eh, offering a latte is easier on everyone.


6. I always love the Sonlight books, especially the read-alouds, but I don’t usually read the readers.  This year, though, Rosie Girl is in Core 300 (20th Century History), so she’s got One Day in the Live of Ivan Denisovich, The Old Man and the Sea, and a couple of others that I haven’t read but really want to.  I think I’m also going to make a few of her literature books read alouds since we’ve already read the Core 6/7 books once or twice.  I’m all about flexibility this year, though, so we’ll see how things go!


7. Silver and Sassy are enjoying lying on the wadded up paper from our Sonlight box.  Ah, to be happy with just some paper!


How was your week?  Check out what others are saying at 7 Quick Takes Friday!

Box Day 2011!!

It’s that time of year – the Sonlight box arrived!!  The kids don’t get terribly excited about Box Day anymore.  They like homeschooling, but the box of books doesn’t do much for them now that they are teenagers.  It’s almost bittersweet this year because this is our last year of getting a full Bible/Social Science/Literature curriculum from Sonlight.  We’ve done Cores 1-7 (in the old numbering system), 100, and 200.  Rosie Girl is doing Core 300 this year which is what came in the box.  Next year, Rosie Girl will be doing a one-semester American Government course and another 1/2 credit social science (not yet determined), so we won’t be getting Core 400.  We will be getting British Literature from Sonlight next year, and I’m sure that we’ll be ordering additional books and Instructor’s Guides for Wild Man over the next several years.

So, there’s a bit of an undercurrent of sadness this year, knowing that we only have two more years before Rosie Girl is off to college and five more years before Wild Man graduates.  On the up-side, that means we still have 2 and five years, respectively, to enjoy Rosie Girl’s and Wild Man’s presence here at home.  And I would not have traded any of our homeschooling time for anything!  Even when I was working full-time and PWM was doing the schooling, I loved that the kids were home on my days off and that we could take our vacations without respect to the school calendar.  Mostly, I’ve just been so glad to have time with my children.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Growing Up

About a year ago, I read Escaping the Endless Adolescence, a wonderful book that deals with the issue of young adults and their lack of maturity.  Having two adolescents in my home made this particularly pertinent for me.  This week, I’ve seen the authors’ thesis played out in front of me.  Basically, the authors point out that teenagers are not maturing as we would expect them to because they are given very little real challenge in their lives.  How can this be, when they are taking AP classes, playing sports, and generally being very busy?  Teens are having trouble connecting much of what they do with “real life”, so they feel like they are (and, in many cases, really are) living in a bubble.  Many adolescents spend most of their time around other adolescents.  They go to school, practice sports or music, and maybe even have a job, but they have a hard time connecting it to their anticipated adult life.  Yes, their grades are important, but college stands between them and “a real job” in many cases.  The authors point out that teens quite often “step up to the plate” when given adult responsibilities with appropriate feedback.

So, how does this relate to my life?  In the last week, The Knitting Nest started getting our yarn and other product shipments.  Earlier this week, Wild Man helped PWM inventory and price a bunch of the yarn as well as put together the wire display cubes and putting the yarn in the cubes.  You can tell that it’s Wild Man’s work because the yarn balls are all lined up nice and straight.  Yes, he likes order.  Rosie Girl spent all day today working with PWM to price and display more of the yarn.  (And they’re not done!)  Both kids have been very proud of their work in the shop during the last few days.  Wild Man was sick last week and watched more TV than anyone should watch, but he didn’t seem to miss his daily dose of Disney Channel this week.  The kids have been paid with drinks from the local coffee shop; clearly, it’s not money that’s motivating them.  They enjoy seeing that their effort is important.  All the yarn that they price is yarn that PWM and I don’t have to price.

One of the reasons that we teach our kids at home is because we don’t think that a school environment where kids are with their peers all day every day is the best thing for them.  We want them to be comfortable with people of all ages.  We also want them to learn to work.  We’ve been deliberate about giving them work to do here at home, including their own laundry.  Wild Man works at the Senior Nutrition Site helping to get Meals on Wheels ready as well as being one of the helpers in children’s church.  Rosie Girl works with our Worship Arts Director, helping with paperwork and making chord sheets.  It really seems that home education works in our favor in this case.

I have no idea how my kids are going to “turn out” – that’s largely between them and God.  However, based on what I’ve been reading and how I’ve seen my kids interact with the world, I’m pretty optimistic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The End of the Harry Potter Era

I almost didn’t want to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.  Now that I’ve seen it, there are no more books or movies to anticipate.  Well, there’s Pottermore, but we  don’t even know what that really is.  Here are my thoughts on the last Harry Potter movie (which I’m putting in a bulleted list which gives the impression of a well-thought out piece of writing – which this most decidedly is not).  Warning: spoilers ahead!

  • It was loud!  Of course, Wild Man and I were only 2 out of 4 people in the theater, so there weren’t the usual number of bodies around to absorb sound.
  • I think they did a pretty good job of deciding what parts of the story were critical and which could be left out.
  • Griphook was well-acted.
  • The special effects in Gringotts were wonderful!  And I really liked the dragon.
  • I LOVED Shell Cottage – very picturesque.
  • We could have done without Molly Weasley standing beside Professor McGonagall looking scared and helpless.  Because Molly Weasley is not helpless.  She didn’t seem to belong there.
  • I liked Aberforth and I also really liked how they made him more important later on in the battle than he was in the book.
  • I’m glad that they kept with the plot of Percy Weasley coming back and Fred Weasley getting killed.  I realize that there wasn’t time to include the whole scenes, but seeing the family together before Harry went into the forest was incredibly moving.
  • The shot of Tonks and Lupin was also sad.
  • They could have killed Snape without the violence that they chose to use.  I know it was mostly just sounds, but, really, a single snake bite would have been plenty.
  • I was concerned that the scenes in the pensieve would either get too long and involved or not be enough to show us about Severus, Lily, and James, but it was actually quite good.  Having Snape at the Potter’s cottage right after Lily and James were killed may not have been necessary, but it was OK.
  • Alan Rickman did a wonderful job with Snape, but I could see in this movie that he does look rather older than the Potters.
  • Neville’s sweater was amazing!  One of these days I’ll try to make one like it.
  • I cried when Harry went to the forest.  It’s a wonderful scene in the book and the movie.
  • Voldemort was much better acted (or directed) in this film.  In Part 1, I felt like his evil was more pedestrian.  This time, he was evil incarnate.
  • Neville’s speech when Harry is brought back to the castle was unnecessary and entirely too long.
  • The battle between Harry and Voldemort was longer than necessary, even for an action film.
  • I understand why they put the killing of the snake and the killing of Voldemort so close together, but it didn’t quite feel right.
  • I liked that the atmosphere after Voldemort’s death was subdued instead of jubilant.  Yes, they had won, but they had paid a terrible price.
  • I do not think that Draco would have gone back to the Death Eaters.  The Malfoy family leaving before the final battle was interesting – was it cowardice or a love for their family?
  • The scene on the platform at the end of the movie was just perfect.

So, what did you think?  Did they do a good job?  Was it close enough to the book?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Wedding at Cana

'Wine Barrels' photo (c) 2006, brian gautreau - license:

A couple of nights ago, I read John 2 which includes the story of Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding.  I’ve been pondering why that story is included in the Bible, besides the fact that it’s just one of the episodes of Jesus’ life.  From what I can tell, the book of John would be pretty complete even without it.  Why does God want us to know about it?  I’m not a Bible scholar, but here are some of my thoughts on the subject.

1. Mary, the mother of Jesus, already knew that Jesus was special and could have done something about the wine situation.  Did she understand at that point that Jesus was the Messiah?  Did she know that He would have to die?  I don’t know and it’s not at all clear in the story.  But, she definitely knew that Jesus was different from her other sons.

2. Jesus also knew He was different.  I’ve often wondered when Jesus knew of His true identity.  Did He skip the “terrible twos” because He knew that He was perfect, even at age 2?  I have no idea.  Yet, Jesus didn’t ask his mother if she was crazy with wanting him to deal with the lack of wine.  Rather, He told her that His time had not yet come.

3. Jesus honored his mother.  He told her that His time was not yet come, but then did what his mother had asked.  Later in the gospels, Jesus tells people that they must be willing to give up even their family if necessary to follow Him.  I don’t think that Jesus did what his mother asked because He was still under her authority as a child – He was, after all, a 30 year old man.  However, by doing what she asked, He showed that He was willing to change His plans to honor his mother.

4. They were drinking wine.  I know this seems pretty obvious since the miracle is usually referred to as “changing water into wine.”  Anyone who grew up in a Southern Baptist church can tell you, though, that this is kind of a sticky passage.  If alcohol is the evil that the early 20th century temperance activists would have had us believe, then why does Jesus change the water into wine?  No, it doesn’t say grape juice, although I have heard this explanation.  In fact, in a time when there was no refrigeration, alcoholic beverages were often the safest things to drink.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the alcohol level was relatively low and not the 12% of most modern wines.  However, there was clearly some alcohol here because the master of the house was impressed because he thought that the bridegroom had saved the best wine till later when people were already drunk.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen anyone drunk off grape juice, even the sparkly kind!

5. What hit me today was that Mary told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”  Well, no big deal.  This guy is going to tell us to run down to the corner store and get a few more kegs, right?  Uh, no.  Jesus had them fill up jars that were normally filled with water for guests to wash their feet.  I don’t know if people dunked their feet in the jars to get them clean or if they dipped the water out onto their feet.  In any case, I don’t think that these were “food-grade” containers.  You probably would not have chosen to drink water out of such a jar.  So, the servants must have been pretty skeptical of the whole thing.  But, they obeyed.  And the wine was better than what had previously been served.  The lesson here?  Jesus may ask us to do all kinds of things that are counterintuitive, but He’s God, and I’m not.  I may not always understand the outcome and may not always get wine out of the footwashing jar, but I can be like the servants in the story and do what he says.  (There’s no note about whether or not the servants complained or fussed, but it’s generally not good to fuss to the Creator of the universe.  Just sayin’.)  If I have a question on what to do, I can fall back on “Do whatever He tells you.”  When I’m unsure, the four gospels have lots of sermons and stories by Jesus, and they all boil down to the same thing: love.

6. So, why is this story even included in the Bible?  It’s really cool that some wedding guests in first-century Cana got some spectacular wine, but why was it worth using precious parchment and ink?  The answer can be found in verse 11: “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”  This episode was important because it was the first time that he was revealed as more than just a local carpenter.  It was also the event that convinced his disciples of his identity as Messiah – or at least got them started in that direction.  When I read back to the gospels, I see these miracles and think that they are pretty small potatoes compared to the resurrection.  Indeed, they are – to me, 2000 years later.  But, at the time, the host of the wedding thought this miracle was a really big deal.  I don’t understand why Jesus healed so many in Palestine in the first century, but left many more unhealed at that time, not to mention the millions of people who suffered before His coming and after His ascension.  But, for the three years of Jesus’ ministry, those who could get close to Him had a chance at healing – and it was a big deal for them.  This story of the wedding at Cana is the first piece of evidence that Jesus was more than just the carpenter from the next village.  It’s included in the Bible so we can see how He started in ministry.

7. This story also affirms the everyday joys of life.  Jesus participated in the normal celebrations of the community.  My life as a Christian includes these typical ups and down of living normal life with other people.  Jesus didn’t avoid these normal parts of life because He was busy with his ministry; this WAS His ministry.  He was involved in the lives of those around Him.

What do you think about this story?  What does it tell us about Jesus?

Friday, July 22, 2011


I’ve been reading a lot about idols, particularly this post and this post by Skye Jethani.  I’m also listening to The Screwtape Letters (book written by C.S. Lewis) radio drama.  Skye Jethani makes the very important point that we must not let our mission become our idol.  God doesn’t love us because of what we do for Him.  It’s the exact opposite – we love God because of who He gave us.  Doing activities for God, even things that are good in and of themselves, is only part of our life as a Christian.  If we neglect our inner life because we are always out “doing” something, we miss something vital.  I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve heard myself and other people talk about being too busy for prayer and worship.  So, we end up neglecting the part of life that isn’t immediately visible to the rest of the world.

C.S. Lewis, in The Screwtape Letters, makes the point that we should not make our faith solely a part of our inner life.  He emphasizes that we are both physical and spiritual creatures (he has Screwtape call humans “amphibians” because we live in the physical and the spiritual world).  One thing that really sticks out to me is that our position in prayer can affect our praying.  It’s not that God says the we must kneel or fold our hands or whatever.  Rather, by placing ourselves in a certain physical position, our body is reinforcing in the physical realm the reality in the spiritual realm.  In Lewis’ eyes, we need to make sure that we don’t sit around and navel-gaze without making our faith real by acting in a way that pleases God.

It might seem that Jethani and Lewis are saying contradictory things.  They’re not, though.  They are each writing to warn us not to go too far in the wrong direction.  It’s like we are walking on a very narrow path in which we are balancing faith and works.  The book of James tells us that faith and deeds are inextricably connected; you can’t have one without the other.  If we go off the road on one side, we make an idol of the good things that we are doing and hoping that God will approve us because of them.  If we veer off the other direction, we become so focused on our prayer, Bible study, knowledge, and spiritual feelings that we’ve made an idol out of being “spiritual” (because we know that works are not what provide salvation).

The balance here is that, the longer we walk with Jesus and tend appropriately to our inner spiritual life, the more that we will (if we are obedient) live a life focused on other people and meeting their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.  Our faith and  our works go hand in hand.  If we allow one to become our complete focus in life, we have made an idol of it.  When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will stay on that straight path with both our inner and outer lives being appropriately tended.  Clearly, I’ve not arrived at this state of spiritual maturity.  Too often, I find that I’ve been so busy trying to do good things that I’ve left Jesus by the wayside.  At other times, I pay close attention to my reading, Bible study, and prayer, but then act selfishly and in other ways that Jesus would not encourage.

I don’t have great advice on this subject, since it’s one that I struggle with.  I do think, though, that I’m learning to live minute by minute and making sure that I’m hanging out close to Him (in a spiritual sense) so that each decision I make or direction I take is with God.  That sounds really mystical, but it’s not as spooky and “smoke and mirrors” as it sounds.  The more that I pray, read Scripture, and study Scripture, the more resources I have to make decisions.  If I’ve just been reading about love in the book of 1 Corinthians, I’m more likely to act in a loving way; the more often this happens, the more it becomes a habit.  No, I don’t hear voices and I don’t trust impressions.  Rather, I rely on prayer and the Bible.

I hope this was helpful for someone reading it.  It was good for me to write it.  And convicting about my need to clean up some in my inner and outer lives.  Thoughts? Ideas?

7 Quick Takes Friday–July 22, 2011


I’ve posted lots of new stuff on The Knitting Nest blog, so hop over there to check it out.  We do have a life outside of yarn, so that’s what I’m talking about on this blog.

1. My dad’s birthday is today!!  Happy Birthday, Dad!

2. Speaking of birthdays, I had one last week, but got presents this week.  The kids got me Focus on the Family’s radio drama of The Screwtape Letters.  I am LOVING it!!  Andy Serkis does the voice of Screwtape and he’s wonderful.  The gift from my parents is a new mp3 player.  I ordered it early this week and should get it next week.  My other mp3 player died several months ago and I’ve been using Wild Man’s.  The problem is that I often have several library books as well as music from Rhapsody on the player and Wild Man’s mp3 player doesn’t have as much memory as I’d like.

3. Rosie Girl has her driver’s test in two weeks, so she’s been doing a lot of driving.  PWM and I are very proud of how she is doing – she drove home from her piano lesson in Appleton this week.

4. Rosie Girl has been babysitting three little girls for two full days a week.  She loves the little girls, but found out how hard it can be yesterday.  The heat has been extreme and the family she babysits for only has window units in the girls’ bedroom so they were all uncomfortable and getting crabby.  But, Rosie Girl is shaking it off and going back for two days next week.  I love watching her grow up!

5. Wild Man told me on Wednesday that he was bored of TV and video games!  There were extenuating circumstances, though.  Wild Man started getting sick on Monday night so he didn’t do much except lie around, watch TV, and listening to audiobooks.  Yesterday, I came home from the shop for an hour just to keep him company because he was getting lonely.  He’s all back to normal now – and isn’t lying on the sofa watching TV all day!

6. While Wild Man was sick, I realized just how much noise the boy makes!  The three days he was sick were some of the quietest we’ve had in our house.  I kept checking on him every hour or so because I was worried about how quiet it was!

7. Grandma came on Wednesday, so we’ve been enjoying her company.  She took everyone to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 this evening.  Well, everyone except me because I had a migraine that started this afternoon.   PWM and I will go in a couple of days when I’m feeling better.

That’s what’s been going on in our family!  How are things in your part of the world?  Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others are saying!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How to Live

6 With what shall I come before the LORD
   and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
   with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
   with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
   the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

I learned Micah 6:8 in elementary school.  I remember it so well because it was put to music.  Since we used the King James Version of the Bible back then, I always remember, “He has shewn thee, Oh man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

Right before this section, God is asking Israel to remember the things he has done for her.  In verses 6 and 7, Micah says that God is not primarily interested in offerings; in verse 8, we see that God wants us to “act justly”, “love mercy”, and “walk humbly” with God.

Micah was writing/speaking to Israel and Judah, that is, to God’s chosen people.  Moses had already given the people God’s instructions for life in the Torah.  When Israel followed God’s commands, it was showing that they were God’s chosen people and it was to be an example to other nations.  But, people being people, God’s chosen people had turned to idols (yet once again).  In the beginning of chapter 6, God reminds the people of His goodness in bringing them out of Egypt and having Moses lead them.

You might think that Micah would be exhorting the Israelites to get back to obeying the details of the Torah.  But he doesn’t.  Instead, he rhetorically asks about the value of sacrifice to atone for “the sin of my soul”.

In verse 8, Micah tells us what God really wants from us – “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah isn’t saying to forget the Torah (the Law), but summarizing the Law.  The Law specified how the Israelites were to “act justly”.  The first couple of commandments in the Ten Commandments teach us to be humble before God.

The details of how we behave as believers are not unimportant.  God expects us to live out our faith (see the book of James).  But, showing love and mercy to others, worshiping God, and working for justice are more critical than the more obvious sacrifice.  Jesus reminds us in the Sermon on the Mount that we are not to do our good deeds to be seen by men.  Micah is saying something similar here; God didn’t want Israel to get all the sacrifices (that were visible to others) done correctly but not love one another.

So, Micah 6:8 is a summary of what God expects.  Sometimes it’s easier to do the “flashy” or “obvious” good deeds, like participating in church activities.  Yet, God wants our hearts turned toward Him and to overflow with love.

How do we “act justly”, “love mercy”, and “walk humbly” with God?  This is, I think, the hard part.  It involves a minute by minute walk with Jesus.  Every interaction with every person gives us the chance to do these things.  It’s more difficult, but we can’t do it without God’s constant presence anyway.  When I allow my relationship with Jesus to inform every action of my day, I have done “what is good”.  This means that my Christian walk is going to look different than everyone else’s – which is good.

Micah 6:8 doesn’t tell me to work harder at being a better person.  Rather, it says to walk with God.  I don’t have it all figured out, but I hope that each day brings me closer and closer.

Your thoughts?



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Who Am I? Part 2

The last time I asked this question on the blog, I was having a little fun with coming up with titles for me in The Knitting Nest.  (By the way, PWM and are thinking seriously that he should be the “Yarn Rock Star” and I’ll be the “Yarn Groupie”!)  Today, I’m considering it from a more serious perspective.  You’d think that by the age of 44, I’d have this whole “Who am I?” thing sorted out, but it is more complex than it looks on the outside.

I found out today that some friends of ours from when I was in medical school have founded a medical ministry in a third-world country.  Which it totally amazing and wonderful!!  But it made me feel a little uneasy and almost sad.

You see, I’ve always wanted to “make an impact” or “change the world” for God through medicine.  I went to Tulane medical school because it’s an excellent medical school, little thinking that I might end up as a family doctor in a small town.  I worked for ten years as a physician.  And then, five years ago, I had to quit working because of migraines.  My counselor and I have been working through the issue of getting my self-worth from being a child of God instead from doing lots of good things for God.  When I couldn’t practice medicine anymore, my world was rocked pretty hard.  It’s not just that I had spent so long training to become a doctor, but because I saw medicine as my ministry.  And, even more, I saw it as my way to be a “good Christian”.  So I’m kind of jealous to see my colleagues doing such “great things for God”. 

I came across this article by Skye Jethani today and it’s saying a lot that I need to hear.  God wants us to live with Him and be with Him, not just do things for Him.  God may, indeed, call us to work in cross-cultural missions, but He might just think that it’s more important to have a couple of people open a yarn shop in a small town.  I’m learning to understand that God loves me because He created me, not because of anything that I do.  And I’m being reminded that my calling in a small town in Wisconsin is just as important in God’s plan as my friends’ calling in a third-world country.

Read Skye Jethani’s article.  He says it much better than I can.

Monday, July 18, 2011

School Year 2011-2012

It's getting closer and closer to school starting, so I need to put together a plan to make sure these kids get educated over the next year.

To start with, here are our general academic goals for both kids before they finish their formal education:

  • They will be fully literate with very good oral and written communication skills.
  • They will have good “number sense” with the ability to use math to manage their money as well as whatever math is required for any higher education that they choose.
  • They will have a good understanding of the tenets of the Christian faith and the contents of the Bible along with a basic understanding of the other major world religions.
  • They will understand the basics of world history and how the Church and our country fit into that history.
  • They will have read a wide range of literature.
  • They will know how to find information that they need.

Now, on to specifics for the 2011-2012 school year.

Rosie Girl (11th grade)

Bible – New Testament Survey

- Rosie Girl will read through the New Testament in conjunction with How to Read the Bible Book by Book and write an essay after she finishes each book.

History – Twentieth Century World History.

- Sonlight Core 300 reading with one essay after she finishes studying each decade of the 20th century.

Literature – Twentieth Century World Literature

- Sonlight Core 300 literature with an essay after she finishes each book.


- Write At Home – Research paper workshop in the 2nd quarter in conjunction with her science studies.

- Essays for Bible, History, and Literature.

Creative writing – She regularly writes stories for and will probably be in the high school writing club.

Science – The Science of Music

- This is a self-directed half-credit course. Rosie Girl will study either the science of how music is made and/or the science of how music affects people. (If she decides to do both, we will extend this to a full-credit course.) She will keep a journal of her reading, do a presentation after the first quarter of the year, and write a research paper (in conjunction with her composition course) in the second quarter of the year.

Math – Algebra 2 (ALEKS)

Japanese – BYU online course

Art 3 – Local high school course

Metals – Local high school course (in the art department)

Piano and Keyboards

- Lessons at Lawrence Academy

- Playing keyboards with the worship team at church once a month.

Music Composition and Arranging – at Lawrence Academy (if there are enough students to have the course.

Physical Education

- Tap dance class and perhaps acting as a demonstrator for more basic classes at Dance Dynamics.

- Regular exercise – walking, biking, etc.

Community Service

- Helping our church's Worship Arts Director once a week.

Occupational Education

- Working at The Knitting Nest (our family business – opening August 23) as we need her.

- Babysitting

- (Possibly) teaching piano lessons

Wild Man

Bible – Apologetics

- Wild Man will read several books on apologetics over the course of the year with discussions and journaling to supplement.

History/Science – Weapons

- Wild Man wants to study weapons this year. For at least half a year (and, perhaps, the whole year), Wild Man will read Warrior and Weapon, two books that study warriors and weapons through world history. He will then use other materials (books, internet, etc.) to study the specific time periods in history, the important conflicts, and the weapons that were used. He will also take Hunter Safety course as well as go with family friends to use various types of weapons (bows and arrows as well as firearms) on a closed range. He will learn to use weapons safely. This course will cover both social science and natural science as he learns the historical use of weapons along with the mechanics of how they work. Wild Man will journal daily and do a project each quarter.

Math – ALEKS


- Sonlight Core W literature (we have the books from doing this Core three years ago)


- Institute for Excellence in Writing

- Writing about weapons in his unity study


- Easy Grammar


- All About Spelling


- Band at the local middle school

- Drum lessons every week

- Youth Band practice every week at church

Community Service

- Senior Nutrition Site volunteering once a week

- Helping the Children's Minister at church on Sunday mornings

Physical Education

- 30 minutes of physical activity each day

-Tae Kwon Do

Occupational Education

- Working at The Knitting Nest as needed

One of the biggest changes that we're going to do this year is be more flexible and less scheduled. I've started by getting rid of their chore lists. The kids haven't been good about doing the chores regularly and PWM and I haven't been consistent in enforcing it. This does not mean that they won’t work around the house!!  They may actually end up doing more around the house since PWM and I will be working at the yarn shop!!  Instead of a schedule, we've asked the kids to step up and do things before we ask them. PWM and I will also assign the kids tasks around the house (cooking and cleaning) as needed. They won't be working less, but it will be less structured.

Instead of giving the kids school work lists each day, I'm going to have them take more responsibility for their education. Rosie Girl is going to have her Sonlight schedule and a Bible reading plan. For all of her subjects, she will journal the amount of time she spends on the subject as well as a paragraph about what she's done. Her science course is completely self-directed, so I'm expecting her to be very independent. She and I will have “conferences” every Friday so I can make sure she's keeping up.

Wild Man’s social sciences and natural sciences are a self-directed unit study, but since he’s thirteen, I don't expect him to be as self-directed as his sister. I'm going to have him read from one of the “spine” books (Warrior and Weapon) every day. As he gets interested in topics, I'll help him find more materials for study. Wild Man still needs my help with spelling, grammar, and writing, so we'll probably do those in the evening or up at the shop (although I'm hoping the shop will be too busy to allow us to do schoolwork there).

This has been a really long post, but it has helped me to sort out next year's schoolwork. One thing that I need to work on, though, is keeping up with Rosie Girl's work and assigning credit.

Fellow homeschoolers, how is your school planning going?  Everyone, are you feeling ready for the kids to go back to school, be it public, private or home school?  Are you wondering where all the time is going?!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Who Am I?

You may think that since I just celebrated my 44th (ACK!) birthday, that this post is going to be a philosophical exploration of my spiritual identity, emotional status, and or mental well-being. Well, it's not.

I may have mentioned once or twice (or a million times) that our family is opening a yarn shop. My question is really, “Who am I in The Knitting Nest?” PWM is the business owner and is going to be responsible for the day-to-day financial workings, getting items priced and on the shelves, etc. While we have been doing most things jointly, there are at least two or three days each week when I'm completely useless for a good bit of the day because of migraines and then another day or two when the headache isn't bad, but I'm just worn out.  I don't think I can really count myself as a business manager.  I will be doing lots of knitting of models, helping to teach classes, and various and sundry other things.

I think we should have interesting titles, kind of like how Starbucks employees are “barristas”, Disney employees are “Imagineers”, and Apple sales employees are “Evangelists”. PWM is the owner, so we can call him “Boss”, “Chief Yarn Dude”, or “Head Honcho”. I wanted to be the “Yarn Goddess”, but after the fiasco with my Fair Isle sweater, I don't think I can equate myself with a deity yet.

Here are some ideas I've come up with for a job “title” for myself:

  1. Knitting Aficionado. According to, aficionado means “an ardent devotee”. That seems to fit, although it's not very inclusive.

  2. Yarn Connoisseur. Hmmmmmm. Maybe.

  3. Knitting Nest Accomplice. That makes me sound like a criminal. I think not.

  4. Yarn and Social Media Maven. Getting closer.

  5. Girl Friday. Umm, no.

  6. Knitting Nest Gofer and Yarn and Social Media Artiste. Too long.

  7. The Mom (Wild Man's contribution). Rather limited – I'm only “Mom” to two people.

I'm not so thrilled with any of these. What do you think? Maybe I should just be “Catherine” and let people try to figure it out from there?



Cross-posted at The Knitting Nest blog.

Friday, July 15, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday–July 15, 2011


Friday, once again!! I celebrated my 44th birthday yesterday, so today's post is all about July 14, 2011.

  1. I was awakened by PWM and Wild Man who had made chocolate chip pancakes – my favorite! They had a candle in the pancakes that I blew out. When I pulled the candle out, the very bottom was just a string – the wax had melted in the hot pancakes! We cut the very center bit of the pancakes out so I didn't get a big bite of wax!

  2. We met with a sales representative for several yarn companies yesterday from 10:30am-1:30pm. I have learned my lesson – sales meetings take at least twice as long as I expect.

  3. After our meeting, I went up to church to hang out with our Worship Arts Director for a little while before my counseling appointment. PWM and the kids had stopped at Dairy Queen and picked up an ice cream cake and brought it to church for me to enjoy with my friends. Unfortunately, the cake was so frozen that we couldn't even get the knife through it! I put it int the church refrigerator and my friends and I had some after my counseling appointment.

  4. The kids were both at sleepovers last night, so PWM and I had the house to ourselves. Don't worry, though, there's still cake in the freezer for them.

  5. Wild Man is staying with a friend of his whose family owns a large dairy farm. He went over yesterday afternoon and is staying until Youth Band practice tomorrow afternoon. When he's over there, he works right along with the other kids. While this is a wonderful thing for him to do, it does mean that he's going to be pretty sore on Sunday and Monday. It's good for him, though.

  6. PWM made steaks, broccoli, buttered corn, and garlic bread for our dinner last night. It was a perfect birthday dinner!

  7. A birthday tradition in our family is that my parents always sing Happy Birthday over the phone to me. In harmony. It makes me feel very loved.

How was your week? Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others have been up to!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Family Camp - 2011

We are home from Family Camp (Fort Wilderness, near Rhinelander)!  It was, as usual, a wonderful getaway for our family.  Here are some highlights (and I apologize for the dearth of photos – I just didn’t think to take pictures all the time like I usually do).

1. The bugs are always bad in the Northwoods in July, but they were out in more force than usual this year!!  Despite our best efforts to keep ourselves coated with DEET, the bugs still feasted on our blood!

2. I had two significant migraines this year at camp.  Ugh!  Usually, I have one bad one that really stops me from participating for a day or so.  This year, I missed the Family Carnival and the adult dessert because of the headaches.

3. Wild Man and I went to a Nature Center class on solar energy.  They had some toy Viking-style boats that had oars that turned when the sun hit the photo-voltaic cell.  We also saw a demonstration of how air in a black plastic bag (a very LONG plastic bag) heats up and starts to float upward.  Really cool.


4. PWM and I took several lovely long walks on various nature trails.  I had some sore feet by the end of the week, but it was worth it.

5. The mattresses are just not good for old people like me and PWM.  Thankfully, though, the soreness was much improved after the first night.

6. For the last couple of years, I’ve gone to Lumberjack Breakfast with Wild Man while PWM went with Rosie Girl on Wrangler’s Breakfast.  We can only do one special breakfast each, so this year, I decided to go with Rosie Girl and let PWM go with Wild Man.  Rosie Girl and I were up bright and early to go to the stables where we got on horse-drawn wagons that took us over to Blair Lake.  When we got there, staff members had our potatoes and bacon cooking on the griddle and were ready to make our eggs to order.  Delish!  And lots of fun!


7. Wild Man and PWM went to the lake where the Lumberjack breakfast group was met by “Jacques” (who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Nature Center guy) who took them on the trail to Cranberry Point while discussing the logging lifestyle of 150-200 years ago.  They ended by having pancakes made to order (with toppings) and bacon at Cranberry Point.  A wonderful breakfast was had by all!

8. On Monday, July 4, I missed breakfast because of the aforementioned migraine so PWM brought me a scone to eat before the morning session.  Rosie Girl said, “There must be Revolutionary War soldiers turning over in their graves right now!”  I asked why, and she answered, “Because we’re eating British scones on American Independence Day!”

9. Another mealtime funny: We were sitting before dinner with two other couples and Rosie Girl and Wild Man.  Wild Man had been playing all afternoon and was starving.  He drank two glasses of milk and then served himself some pears while we were waiting for the rest of the meal to be served.  Someone asked me to pass the pears and Wild Man said, “Those are pears?”  I asked, “What did you think they are?  You just ate them – didn’t you taste them?”  Wild Man answered (rather sheepishly), “I thought they were apples and I inhaled them so fast that I didn’t really taste them.  I’m hungry!!”  Crazy boy.

10. On Thursday, Wild Man won first place for his age group in both the Archery and Riflery tournaments!!  He won two free double-scoop ice creams, which worked out very well because he had spent all his money earlier on Thursday when he bought a T-shirt.  He had one ice cream on Thursday night and the other right before we left on Friday morning.


11. PWM got second place in the adult section of the Archery Tournament and won a single scoop of ice cream from the canteen!  Congratulations, PWM!!


12. PWM and I forgot to pack blankets!  The kids each had a sleeping bag, so they were comfortable.  On the first night and last night, it got really chilly and I slept in my jeans and sweatshirt as well as putting jackets and towels over myself to get warm.  This never happened when I went to camp in Florida – we were always hot!


How was your week?  Anything exciting happening?  How bad are the bugs and heat in your part of the world?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday–July 1, 2011



1. We go to Family Camp tomorrow!!  We’re all very excited and can’t wait to get there.  A week of no cooking, just hanging out with the hubby and kids (and a couple hundred other people), playing games, reading books, and (of course) knitting. 

2. I’ve had a migraine all day today, so PWM has been doing most of the house-cleaning and packing.  Thankfully, the kids are old enough to do their own packing.   I really hope the headache is gone by tomorrow because the one thing that’s worse than having a migraine when I’d rather be packing is having a migraine during the drive and first day of camp.

3. Our week has been consumed with The Knitting Nest.  We have the retail space now, but still need to get fixtures.  We met with our first yarn company rep this week, too.  Check out The Knitting Nest blog for more details.

4. I just finished an excellent biography on Adolf Hitler.  I’ll post a review later, but suffice it  to say that the man was truly evil.  I’m also reading a book by an author who is part of the Second Generation, those whose parents were Holocaust survivors.  Yet once again, I’m devastated by the reminder of how awful human beings can treat each other.

5. Rosie Girl is making a crochet backpack with a theme from one of her favorite anime shows.  I may wish that she’d be this diligent with her Geometry, but she certainly knows how to keep learning new things and trying new projects.  It’s also been fun to have her help with the library knitting club – the girls really look up to her!

6. Wild Man made chocolate-chip pancakes yesterday.  I could get used to him doing most of the cooking around here!  Mom cooked week before last and we’ve been eating those leftovers this week and now we’re going to camp where we will be fed three wonderful meals each day, with the option for an afternoon snack (mint chocolate chip ice cream for me) at the canteen.  [Insert deep sigh of contentment.]

7. The last Harry Potter movie comes out in two weeks!!  I don’t feel strongly about going to see it on the first day, and I really don’t want to see it in 3D (that can’t be good for someone who has migraines on a regular basis!), but I do think we’ll get to it within the first week.  PWM has been learning to use his lathe and he wants to use it to make replicas of the “Elder Wand” that he can sell.  He carved one by hand for Wild Man for Christmas and it’s just gorgeous.  I can’t wait to see how his work on the lathe goes!

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