Autumn Reading Challenge

August 31, 2006 Categories: Books | 7 Comments  

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I enjoyed the focus that the Summer Reading Challenge gave me, so I’m hopping on to the Autumn Reading Challenge that Janie at Seasonal Soundings is organizing. My goal for the summer was 18 books off my list. I achieved my goal and read a few that weren’t on the list, too. My list for autumn is much shorter, but the books are more challenging. Here they are:

To Finish:

~Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church by Phillip Yancey
~Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
~Trinity by Leon Uris

To Start (and finish):

~Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton
~Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
~The March by E. L. Doctorow
~Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books by Maureen Corrigan
~A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle
~A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
~The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
~Patrick: Son of Ireland by Stephen R. Lawhead
~The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart
~The Collected Works of Emily Dickinson
~Persuasion by Jane Austen

If you want to participate, click on the link and let Janie know – and let me know, too, so I can check out your list.

Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?

August 30, 2006 Categories: Books , Faith | 6 Comments  

I had the privilege of reading an Advance Reader Copy of Phillip Yancey’s new book, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? The publisher sent me a copy to read and then I filled out a review/survey at their web site.

This book will be released on October 1st, and I highly recommend it. I have so many passages I would love to quote for you, but I’m not supposed to until I check with a published copy to make sure they didn’t get edited out. As soon as I can, I will post some great sections that made me think.

I’ve always struggled in the area of prayer. I know I should pray – and I do – but I’ve always wondered how much good it really does. God is sovereign, right? So are my prayers going to change His mind? And why did He heal my friend’s dog when she prayed but didn’t heal my other friend who died of cancer?

Yancey covers all these types of questions and more. He doesn’t have all the answers (who does?) but he does address each issue with intelligence and honesty. I will be reading this book again, when I can read more slowly and think more deeply on what I am reading.

Homeschool Meme

August 29, 2006 Categories: Homeschooling , Memes & Quizzes | 5 Comments  

In honor of yesterday, our first day back to homeschooling for the fall, I thought I’d finish this meme I’ve had on draft forever. Yesterday went great, but I don’t know how we’re going to get back in the swing of things! We’re taking today off already due to the older kids having an art class this morning (the last one of the summer) and all of them going to an end-of-the-summer slip-and-slide party down the street this afternoon. So they’re out having fun and I’m sitting here sipping my decaf and blogging away. Nice way to spend the second day of school!

1) What country/region/state do you live in?

Northeastern Washington State – we’re the halfway point between Spokane and the Canadian border.

2) How long have you been homeschooling? Just getting started, old pro or somewhere in between?

We’re starting our fifth year – so somewhere in between I guess. Some days I really know what I’m doing and other days I’m wandering around muttering to myself.

3) Write a little something about your family. Ages? Stages?

Natalie is 9 and a half and is starting 4th grade.
Noah is 8 and is starting 2nd grade.
Jonathan is 6 (7 in three weeks) and is starting 1st grade.
Josiah is 4 and a half and is learning his letters. He already knows his numbers.

4) Share some good homeschooling advice you’ve run across.

Treat your children as the individuals that they are. What works for one will not necessarily work for another, and vice versa.

5) Tell us something you’re passionate about. (Besides your family and homeschooling, those are givens!)

Reading, writing, leading worship, crocheting, movies. Mostly reading, though.

6) If you could take the ultimate field trip, where would you go and why?

Boy, that’s hard. I’d love to take the kids to New England and tour all of the colonial and revolutionary sites. I also want to go to Ireland to explore our heritage – my maiden name is Shannon.

7) What is a resource you can’t do without?

Our computer and our public library.

8) How do you homeschool? Classical, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, Unschooling, Eclectic?

Ecclectic with tons of living books.

9) Share a website or two that you visit often – can be your favorite blogger or a curriculum supplier, just any sites you really like.

Bloglines – all of the blogs on my sidebar are terrific.

10) Tell us about one of your favorite projects/activities/trips you’ve had in the past few months.

Our Grand Adventure, of course! In June, the kids and I visited my sister in the Seattle area and took day trips to the Pacific Science Center and the Keyport Naval Undersea Museum, not to mention the beach.

11) What is a current/previous homeschooling challenge you’ve faced?

Keeping my house clean while homeschooling.

12) Share an accomplishment, something about you or your children. Come on, brag about it!

Teaching my kids to read has given me the biggest sense of accomplishment of anything I’ve done in my life. Three out of four so far.

13) What are you looking forward to over the coming year?

Getting back to our routine and learning about ancient history – something I don’t remember doing when I was in school.

14) Name three things you like doing in the summer with your family.

Going to the lake.
Playing at the park.
Lazy days with nothing to do.

15) Have a favorite homeschooling quote? Share it here.

My education was the liberty I had to read indiscriminately and all the time, with my eyes hanging out. —Dylan Thomas

Three things about my children…

August 28, 2006 Categories: Kid Stuff , Memes & Quizzes | 7 Comments  

PopTart Mom tagged me to do this one.

Three things about Natalie:
~She was only 4 pounds 12 ounces at birth.
~Her pictures at age 2 and 3 look just like me.
~She is a girly girl and loves to watch chick flicks with me.

Three things about Noah:
~He loves to draw – and is very good at it.
~He loves anything to do with animals.
~He has a special smile that he reserves just for me.

Three things about Jonathan:
~He has a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
~He is insatiably curious.
~He has more energy than the other three combined.

Three things about Josiah:
~His belly laugh cracks me up – as well as everyone else around.
~He is ticklish everywhere.
~He is a little charmer – and thus very difficult to discipline.

I tag: Andrea and Ron (I’m curious to see how your answers are different), Crissy, and Laney – if you want to and have time, of course.

If one more thing breaks, I’ll…

August 27, 2006 Categories: Rants | 13 Comments  

It seems to me that household item and vehicle breakdowns all happen in waves. Our early summer (and almost $1000) was spent on vehicle repairs – first mine, and then Kevin’s, and then Kevin’s again.

Here’s a run-down of the last two weeks:

~Last week, our modem started going out, causing our DSL connection to slow down like the old dial-up days, and causing much consternation and gnashing of teeth. Ordered a new modem: $100.

~Also last week, our DVD player started acting tired and cranky. It would play the first hour of a movie and then start skipping and freezing. Since we do not have cable, our Netflix subscription and DVD player are a must! (I know, I’m totally spoiled.) New DVD player: $50.

~Tuesday our toilet stopped working. It would flush, but the tank would not refill unless I turned the water main under the toilet off and then back on again. Kevin replaced the float thingy Tuesday after work. Not expensive, but a hassle.

~And now we come to Thursday night. I was in the kitchen, ready to prepare dinner. I turned the oven to the desired temperature and then pushed the Start button. It kept flashing and beeping at me as if I hadn’t pushed it. I tried several times to turn it on and push Start, but nothing happened. Nothing, that is, until the lock light went on and the oven went into self-clean mode – all while the knobs were all turned off! I had to unplug the entire oven to stop it. This happened twice. I finally managed to preheat the oven and put my teriyaki chicken in to cook. Halfway through, the oven started beeping and flashing an error message at me. I turned it off and back on and managed to finish cooking my chicken. I absolutely dreaded telling Kevin that one more thing had gone wrong. After calling the appliance store Friday and being told that new parts to fix that particular error message would cost $315 – not counting labor – we knew we needed to buy a new range. And it was only 8 years old! So Saturday found us shopping for a new oven. $467. Ka-ching!

You want to know the most frustrating part? To me, at least – probably not for Kevin. I scrubbed that darn stove from top to bottom just last week. It’s the cleanest it’s been in five years and it’s now sitting in our back yard waiting for the next trip to the dump.

Links for Friday

August 25, 2006 Categories: Books , Homeschooling , Kid Stuff , Music , This and That | 3 Comments  

A little late, but it’s still Friday on my side of the world, so not too late.

Ron has put together a Homeschooling for Dummies, Part 1 post to address some of the basic issues homeschoolers are faced with.

I’ve seen these cartoons featured on some people’s blogs (though I can’t remember offhand which ones) and I finally clicked through and read all the archives. Very funny and true to life. Just click on next cartoon to keep going through to the current one.

Faithful Mommy linked to this music video. Have the kleenex handy!

D. C. Roe is continuing in his effort to find 2,996 bloggers to commemorate the 2,996 victims of September 11, 2001. As of last Saturday, he needed 996. If you want to help, click on over.

Elizabeth Kennedy at the About Children’s Books page has put together a Calendar of Children’s Books. She’s included books for every month of the year, from major holidays to minor events like National Poetry Month and Read Aloud Day.

That’s it! I’m completely worn out from more spring (late summer) cleaning and then wonderful food and conversation with friends. Remember this post? Well, a homeschooling family moved into our area this spring and we have been slowly getting to know each other. They have two boys – and my kids are so thrilled to find fellow homeschoolers to play Pokemon and talk Harry Potter with. Michelle and I have a lot in common, including an addiction to books and love (and a heritage rooted in) all things Irish. They joined us for burgers off the grill and lots of talking and laughing this evening. I know that we may not agree on everything, but I believe I’ve found a Christian homeschooling mom who I can have a conversation with – even about things we disagree on – and come away as much friends as we were before. So tonight, I’m feeling grateful for new friends.

The Fair

August 24, 2006 Categories: Kid Stuff , This and That | 8 Comments  

We made our annual trip to the fair this evening after dinner, and I have to say I liked it much better than the madhouse that is Saturday morning at the fair. Number one, it was cool; number two, there were less people; and number three, the kids were well-behaved – probably because of numbers one and two.

After Noah and Natalie scaled the rock-climbing wall several times and Jonathan and Josiah went down the big slide and bounced in the castle – and we’d seen every horse, cow, llama, goat, rooster, chicken, guinea pig, rabbit, turkey, and duck under creation – we sat down to share an elephant ear. (Do all fairs have those, or is it a regional thing?)

Jonathan (6yo), my picky eater, refused to take a bite. I kept coaxing and finally got him to try it. As he licked the cinnamon and sugar off his fingers he said, “That’s good. So do they just cut its ear off?”

After we quit laughing, we quickly explained that it’s only called an elephant ear because of the size and shape, and that it’s simply fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. He was much relieved.

Three more things…

August 23, 2006 Categories: Memes & Quizzes | 4 Comments  

Pet Peeves:
Peope who condemn something that they know nothing about
Drivers who refuse to let me in on the freeway
Toilet seats left in the upright position

Favorite Sounds:
Thunderstorms
My children’s laughter
Silence

Favorite Candy:
Lindor Truffles
Snickers bars
Peanut M&Ms

Biggest Fears:
Losing one of my children
Losing my husband
Underwater aquariums

Biggest Challenges:
Being patient with my kids
Sticking to Weight Watchers
Keeping my house clean

Favorite Department Stores:
Where I live, we have one choice – Walmart
When I go to Spokane, I shop at Barnes & Noble – is that considered a department store? It has departments: literature, history, computers, religion, etc.

Most Used Words:
I love you.
Stop hitting (kicking, punching, pushing) your brother.
Please settle down!

Favorite Pizza Toppings:
Pepperoni
Sausage
Olives

Favorite Cartoon Characters:
Flinstones
Jetsons
Tom & Jerry

Movies Recently Watched:
The Ron Clark Story
Sharpe’s Rifles
Northern Exposure on DVD (not a movie, I know)

Favorite Fruits:
Nectarines
Bananas
Cherries

Favorite Vegetables:
Cauliflower
Um…

Hat tip: Everyday Mommy

Last night

August 22, 2006 Categories: Kid Stuff | 9 Comments  

Josiah came to Kevin last night after being tucked in and said, “I need to yawn, but I can’t!”

Kevin tucked him back in only to have him come out a few minutes later: “I need to go to Mommy. So she can take me to the hospital – because I can’t yawn!

This morning I asked him about it and he said, “I still can’t yawn.”

Then later on when we were in the car taking the older kids to art class, he shouted, “Hey, Mommy! I yawned!”

Little blessings. ;)

Help!

August 21, 2006 Categories: Writing | 8 Comments  

This month for my ClubMom assignment, I am supposed to come up with 5 questions pertaining to fall, winter, going back to school, cold and flu season, winter holidays, etc. Then, of course, I’m supposed to answer them. I did fine the last two months when I had to answer questions that were sent in by other moms, but I’m coming up with a big, fat blank when it comes to the questions themselves.

So, I’m asking for help. Can you think of any questions that moms might have (not necessarily yourself) that go along with those topics? The ages and stages that these questions are divided into are: Pregnancy, Babies (0-12 months), Toddlers (1-2), Preschoolers (3-4), School-Age Kids (5-8), Tweens (9-12), Teens (13-17), and Adult Children (18+). I would be every so grateful for any ideas you wonderful ladies have!