Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blog to Learn

I found this on Edu-tube, but it is as relevant to homeschoolers as it is to regular school children.

If you want to see my daughter's blog, check out A Cup of Tea with Mom and Me.  Theoretically it is both or ours, but realistically it is more hers than ours.  And I would agree it has been a great platform to improve her writing.  It certainly isn't her only writing, but I will tell you that I don't have to beg her or plead with her to post.  It is all her and if you look through it from beginning to end, you will see that she has shown a great deal of development.  So after reviewing all the safety rules with your children, encourage them to Blog ON.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ordinary People?

I thought you might enjoy this:

Friday, January 28, 2011

If you could be any superhero, who would you be?

Tonight, my son is glued to Incredible Hulk the Movie (2000+ version).  I asked him if he knew that we used to watch this as a weekly series.  Apparently, he did because he even knew Lou Ferrigno who played Hulk (apparently he had a cameo on Sunny with a Chance today ironically).  We then started to talk about other Superheroes of our time.  He joked that I would have been Wonder Woman.  I corrected him to say that when I was growing up, I actually wanted to be Isis.  He of course had no idea who I was talking about.  Do you remember Isis?

Now mind you I would never be ashamed to be Linda Carter (the Wonder Woman of the 70's), but Isis was extra cool.  The show wasn't long run, but I loved it.  If you could be any superhero, who would you be?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Vegetarian Recipe that Even Meat Eaters Will Like

DD has decided to become a vegetarian.  She has been fairly diligent about her decision and frankly, fairly inspirational. Monday night when my husband was out and I had to make dinner, it seemed foolish to make a meal that one out of the remaining three of us wouldn't eat, so I started scouring her Vegetarian Times for something to make.  I flipped across this recipe and decided that that was what I was going to make.

I used my Tightwad Gazette dough recipe as I didn't have any refrigerated pizza dough in the fridge, replaced garlic powder for minced garlic, and olive oil for the non-hydrogenated margarine, but all in all I followed the recipe.  It was delicious.  This is definitely a recipe that we can all agree on - carnivore and herbivore alike.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Can a Homeschooler get into college?

One of homeschooling parent's worst fears is: have I done enough to help get my child into college.  Ok, maybe I am projecting my fear, but I do know some other parents who share this fear.  Well, we have actually now taken a partial step toward alleviating this fear.  Last night DD took her placement exams at the community college.  Mind you DD is technically a Sophomore in high school, but it has been my plan that she begin working on her Associates degree in the last two years of high school and then transfer to a four year school for her Bachelor's.  She then has it planned to go on for her Master's in Library Science at Simmons College in Boston (yes, this may be a little specific and hopeful, but she actually has already toured the campus and talked to a professor there and I think her heart is set).  She placed well on the exam.  So I can begin to breathe a little easier.  Next step will be registration for either summer session or fall and then it is up to her from there . . . Now, I just have to worry about her brother.  That one may be a little more complicated.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kim Kardashian Tweets about Teen Mom 2

Ok, I have to make an admission.  It is neither that I occasionally watch Keeping up with the Kardashians, nor is it that I have watched MTV's Teen Mom.  The admission is that when my husband travels, I don't sleep.  So this past weekend was very, very long and apparently one night I fell asleep to E! (not my normal channel to watch but it is tough to find something to watch the later it gets) and woke up to E!News.  The big "news" (I use that word carefully) was that Kim K tweeted "It seems that shows like Teen Mom are all of a sudden making teen pregnancy seem cool in the eyes of young girls...but girls, these are not people you should idolize!' Now that statement woke me up.

Having a daughter who is 15, I have seen both the Kardashians and Teen Mom.  Now I must say that I was apprehensive about Teen Mom the first time I watched it, but I was pleasantly surprised by the honesty of the show.  Pregnancy was by no means glamorized.  The show portrayed the good and the bad of being pregnant young.  Frankly, any glamorizing of the situation or admiring of the moms is occurring outside of the MTV show in the tabloids and other print media.  In contrast, Keeping up with the Kardashians and the other Kardashian shows are horrible.  In general, they promote excess: excess in spending, excess in drinking, excess in permissive behavior, excess in attitude.  While I appreciate that they try and support one another as a family and that we all have faults,  I think that one should maybe be self reflective before commenting about other shows.  And if truly Kim is concerned about how tv affects our youth and their morals then perhaps she should get more involved in the development of her own family's show.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Planning a Sweet Sixteen Birthday

Can you believe that it is almost that time?  My sweet daughter is about to turn 16.
So as everyone knows, 16 is the time for that time honored tradition of a sweet 16 party.  Unfortunately, not everyone is bi-statal (My new word for half living in two different states.  We lived in CT for the first 14 years of her life and have lived here now almost two year).  What does this mean for a 16th birthday party?  It makes it very difficult.  Where do you have it? Who do you invite?  She has made a few friends up here, but not as many as she had down there.  But now we've been gone from down there long enough that some friendships aren't what they used to be.  Needless to say, we have opted out of the traditional big shin dig and have decided to do a small but very special day at my cousin's tea shop, Tea Roses Tea Room.

We have planned a delightful afternoon tea and have rented out their back room. We have been very blessed with a tight knit Girl Scout troop that will travel anywhere to do anything together and so we are keeping it small with all the girls and their mom's (these girls have been together since Daisies).  After what I'm sure will be an unforgettable afternoon (it always is with this group), I suggested to DD that she contact an old friend to go to the movies.  DD and her friend haven't seen each other in a while but talk on Facebook, texting, etc almost every day.  So I'm hoping although this may not be the bash that she once dreamed of, but  that it will be unforgettable anyway. 

I will keep you posted on how the actual day turns out.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Comparative Religion Course for Homeschoolers

This year I have begun to undertake a bit of a comparative religion course with my son.  It is probably not fair to use the word course because that implies that I am using a curriculum or have created a specific timetable with specific resources, and this is not so.  Maybe I should call it an exploration of religions.  We are Christian - - -Protestant - - - Congregationalists by experience and practice, but I think it is important to know about other world religions.  We have thus far been reading about the three main monotheistic (One God) religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, but also came by a great book about Buddhaism.

DS has kind of expanded on this by visiting a Jewish service this past summer at the Boy Scout Jamboree.  So I am always on the look out for additional resources to add on to this exploration.  Last night, I came by a great resource on PBS to further explain Buddhaism.  If you have any interest in learning more or teaching about this religion, I recommend the show itself and the resources availalbe on the PBS website.

Watch the full episode. See more The Buddha.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Looking for a Sunday School Curriculum

Our church is unique in that our Sunday School is all in one.  There are no grades and not too much room to separate even if we wanted to, but I believe that a strong Sunday School makes for a strong church.  Thus, as usual, open mouth and instead of inserting foot, I add a commitment to my calendar.  I also kind of believe that if you are going to complain, you better be willing to do something about it.  Therefore, I am on the committee to help out with the Sunday School. 

This year we started working with an online curriculum called The Whole People of God.  The unique thing about this program is that you pay according to the number of people in your congregation.  It is available all online which means that we can have multiple people access the curriculum and no one can forget to pass the book along.  They are lectionary based and have lessons weaved throughout the congregation.  We even took our Christmas Pageant from the curriculum with some adaptations.  They have multiple levels to pull from, but since we teach the masses, I usually just use the Primary level and adapt from there.

If you are looking for a curriculum to use, after several months now of using it, I can highly recommend The Whole People of God.  Now, I can only pray that they don't stop publishing like the last one I really liked, BibleQuest.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Following Directions - Step by Step - Making a Prayer Shawl

Sometimes I am appalled by the number of things that can completely frustrate me.  I have a college degree and yet some things that appear simple are soooooo hard.  This week my challenge was crocheting again.  I have crocheted in the past, but I was trying a new pattern which I found  in:

I was so excited when the library added this book to their collection.  When I took the book out I was thrilled to see that many of their patterns were rated "easy", so I thought no sweat, I could finish it in a weekend. HA HA. My daughter finally told me that I couldn't give the prayer shawl to the intended recipient because I had sworn too much and it would take double prayers to release the negative energy I had put into it.  I didn't really intend to swear.  It was just that I had started it about 5 times.  I thought I was on the right track, but then after many rows and many hours I would look back and what should have been nice, even rows were wavy, erratic edges.  I had lost at least 10 stitches.  I wanted to give up, but then DD had to use her secret weapon - - -my own words. "Don't give up!" She said.  Uggggggggghhhhhh.
Finally, she, who has never touched a crochet hook says, "Give me the pattern."  She starts reading "SK first SC and DC in each DC after. CH three." She asked, "Mom, is this English?"  But in her confusion, she found my error.  Her careful reading and my translating brought forward that I was skipping a whole row and chaining three when I was supposed to be chaining one.  I was back on track.
Now if I can keep the cat from playing in my yarn,  I should be able to finish the prayer shawl. I think when I get this pattern down,  I will do the same pattern again for our dear friend.  Hopefully by then, I will have used up all my swears and be able to confidently and prayerfully finish her shawl.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Secret to a Long and Happy Marriage

I don't think I have ever been as excited about an anniversary as I am this one.  I am not excited because we are going somewhere wonderful or because I'm expecting some big present (I think we are going to the Outback for dinner and then shopping at BJ's for the Boy Scout pasta dinner and we banned gifts a long time ago.). I am just excited that we are at 19 years.  It seems like we are very lucky to have such a length of time together.  I see so many of our friends getting divorces and on second and third marriages and yet we are still together.

DH and I started dating in my senior year of high school.  Who knew we would still be together so many years later?  I will never forget my husband's words when he tried to give me his class ring and I refused it, "Don't worry. We are going to get married someday, so it doesn't matter if you don't take it now."  I walked into my house and told my mother that he was insane; but, I guess he had the last laugh and was correct.

For those of you that are in the single digit celebrations or contemplating a future together, you may ask what the secret is.  I think the answer is that there is no secret.  Living with someone for so many years takes a lot of hard work, a lot of communication, and a lot of compromise.  Love is over rated some times. Commitment is everything.  If you think you are going to love every moment, quit now and walk away.  There may be days or moments that you down right hate each other, but then you remember those special moments, those special times, and the reason you are together and the anger slips away. 

I can only hope that I will posting about our anniversary for years to come!  I pray that one day will celebrate our 50th or 60th together, and may God bless all those couples who have.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Cure for Depression

This weekend our family hosted a new foster child for the weekend.  This is called respite.  The child comes for a short period of time between placements, or, in this case, while the "regular" foster parent(s) take a break.  We were pleasantly surprised with a delightful teenage girl who fit in wonderfully in the family.  This morning we took her to church.  Afterward during coffee hour, I asked her what she thought of the church.  She looked around and said, "Everyone . . .everyone is. . . is, so . . . .happy." She was profoundly impressed by this. As I looked around I saw the younger girls marching in a parade, some middle grade boys playing Foosball, guys chattering, people eating.  I saw laughter and smiles.  I saw true happiness. 

Does this mean the people of the church don't have problems? No.  We all have issues and problems, but for a few brief hours we are removed from it all and given a shot of happiness and joy that we can bring with us out the door and try to spread in the world.  This girl had hit on it, church, God, religion, for me is happiness, joy, comfort, replenishment.  Even on the darkest days I have felt His love, and on good days, I feel so blessed to reflect that love and peace to others.

I sent this girl's observations to our minister, because I thought that he should hear the compliment.  We had heard the sermon and were reflecting God's love into the world.  Apparently, we had internalize the sermon so well that it was immediately obvious even to someone who had only met us all once.

Praise to God! May His goodness, kindness, love, and peace flow through me.  May He use my hands and guide my feet.  Might my life be used to His purpose.  AMEN