Monday, October 26, 2009


A friend of mine works at the Palace of Auburn Hills and the employees were given some free tickets to distribute. We got a few so Suzy, James, and I headed down to the venue Thursday night for a Pistons game. Another friend and her son went along and we saw another family there we knew.

I haven't been to the Palace in quite a long time, probably before David was born. I can't remember going there for anything else. Since James is sports-oriented, I thought he'd enjoy it and Suzy also wanted to go. The older two were offered the chance, but turned it down.

We arrived in plenty of time and found our seats without mishap. They were WAAAAAYYYY up high. The Pistons did well in the first half, but the Timberwolves overtook them in the second half and won.

We had fun!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - October 25

For Today... October 25, 2009

Outside my window... it's dark and chilly but today was GORGEOUS!

I am thinking... that I want a drink of water! Badly!

From the learning rooms... Preparation for NaNoWriMo (who is with us??)

I am thankful for... the ability to read and write

From the kitchen... Emily decorated a cake with her Sunday School class. They had a field trip on Friday afternoon and she had a blast. Suzy wanted to be in the pic.
From 10-25-2009

I am wearing... Jeans, red long sleeved tee, beige socks, slippers

I am reading... listening to A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Disc 27 of 48) by Diana Gabaldon (#6 in Outlander series). Reading unChristian and Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.

I've been watching... Management (Steve Zahn, Jennifer Aniston - LOVED THIS!), The Count of Monte Cristo (2 versions - Jim Caviezel and Richard Chamberlain), Secret to Treasure Mountain (Buttercream Gang, watched with my sons)

I am hoping... that my friends and I can get together for a scrapping weekend in December or January. Whaddya think, guys?

I am creating... Nothing out of the ordinary.

I am hearing... a movie on the TV, Bob walking around opening and shutting cupboards

Around the house... We are working our way through watching all of our VHS tapes and then getting rid of most of them

One of my favorite things... Nerds (the candy, of course)

A few plans for the rest of the week... Teaching my 3 Spanish classes on Monday, Tuesday is Young Marines for J, Thursday, Bob and I are going to hear Todd Wilson speak. Jury Duty call-in for Bob - last week. Trick-or-treating on Saturday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you. Hurriedly making a sandwich to take along to Spanish class, I looked down and saw THIS. Do you see what made me stop and snap a photo even though I was in a rush?
From 10-25-2009
And yes, I ate it. ;-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Suzy Soccer Pix

As I mentioned in the other post, the soccer season is done for James and Suzy both. They will play again in the spring with the same teams.

I didn't order soccer photos for those two; 'twas sadly not in the budget, but I will get a pic of Suzy with her team in the spring. Don't miss the other post with Jamie's soccer photos.

Suzy is also a strong soccer player. She has scored four goals this season, one in the last game. She thinks ahead to where the ball is going to be and she has a powerful kick. She isn't fearful at all of getting in and kicking the ball. I am so glad we stuck with it for her, and even more glad that I'm NOT her coach. Remember all the issues she and I had? ALL GONE with Coach Laura. Suzy takes joy in the game!

Here is her slideshow. Sadly it is short. I am sure I have more pictures than this! Where are they?

James Soccer Pix

This past Saturday was the last game of the fall soccer season for James and Suzy. The kids play again with the same teams in the spring.

James is a strong soccer player and I think he will do great in the spring. He has a very strong kick and he often kicks left-footed. David tells me James is ambidextrous. Not sure if that's true, but he is skilled at left-foot kicks. He also runs hard and thinks ahead. He is very solid and plays at a consistent level. He also gives everything he has and plays hard throughout the entire game.

James with his team:

Here is a slideshow of some photos from this last game and an earlier game. You can tell the difference - Saturday's game was FREEZING and even James wore a long-sleeved shirt under his uniform.

Don't miss the other post with pix of Suzy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spanish is Fun

Spanish classes are going well. I am teaching three classes each Monday afternoon in two different cities.

Because I have to be at the first class at 12:15, we leave the house after eating an early lunch around 11. Often I have errands to do on the way - library, post office, gas station. The kids load up their backpacks with independent work - don't forget the pencils! - and we back out of the driveway for our long afternoon away.

The first class is a high school Spanish class for another local homeschool enrichment program. The program is NOT a co-op but a fee-for-service program where all the teachers are paid. I have seven teens in this class and David joins in, as well. The other kids sit in the room and do their independent work or watch a movie if they finish early. We are working through a textbook and I enhance the lesson with games and songs, as I always do in my Spanish classes.

After the hour and 25 minutes of class, we pile back into the van and head north thirty minutes to the location of my other two classes. If we need to stop on the way, we have a little leeway, but not much as the second class begins at 3:00.

This class is twice as large and includes junior high'ers as well as high schoolers. Emily is taking this class, and David sits in as well, as a review. The fourteen students are working through the same textbook as the first class, but they are three weeks behind, so I have two lessons to prepare (although one is a repeat from 3 weeks before). Hopefully after Christmas, I can get both classes on the same schedule so I can prepare each lesson once. (And then David only needs to take one class.)

Each class ends with a Spanish song, so after I've tortured these teens with lyrics "en espanol", I dismiss them and welcome fourteen elementary students, ages 6-11. Suzy and James are enjoying their first real exposure to Spanish along with their friends.

This elementary class is designed for fun enrichment learning, rather than language mastery, so we cover topics like colors, numbers, days of the week, conversation words, clothing, food, etc... We meet for only 30 minutes so I jam every minute full of activities designed to increase language understanding in a fun manner. My prior elementary enrichment classes give me lots of experience to draw on in knowing how long a certain activity will take and how the class may react to it.

We end on the dot of 5:00 and close up the church, waving 'adios' to all our amigos who clutch their new language assignments in their orange folders as they head out to their vehicles.

Three hours of language teaching wears me out and my voice is hoarse when I finally pull the door shut behind me and herd my own munchkins out to the van. When I get home, all I want to do is pull on my comfy PJ's and collapse in my favorite chair and watch silly videos like this one. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NaNo Support?

So, you think it's great... this "NaNo thing" Lisa does. You couldn't possibly write a novel, though (or so you say).

But Lisa has your support though, right? You bring her coffee. Diet Coke. Chocolate. Hungry Howie's pizza with ham and black olives. Cheesecake. Taco Bell.

Of course, you read what she's written and offer helpful thoughts and unquestioning encouragement. You ask her how many words she's written today, this week, so far this month. You are full of amazed awe when she tells you, unless it's zero and then you firmly insist she sit down and write immediately.

Oh wait. What's that??

You don't?

You've never caffeinated her when she's droopy? You've never perked up her dismal mood by offering congratulations on her formidable word count? You've never offered her quiet sanctuary in which to write?

Remiss as you may have been these past two years, you now have the opportunity to make up for all those missed moments.

You can sponsor Lisa this year for NaNoWriMo.

All donations go to The Office of Letters and Light (the non-profit organization that sponsors NaNoWriMo every year), not to Lisa personally. Your donations help keep NaNoWriMo going, especially the Young Writers Program, which is close to Lisa's heart.

The continued operation and inspiration of The Office of Letters and Light is a very good thing. And every dollar will inspire me to write just a few more words. You can keep track of my progress and donate when you see me reach a certain milestone if you prefer. Right now the word count total is a sad deflated looking ZERO, but come November 1st, you will see that number begin to rise and steadily make its way to 50,000 words.

So, won't you please donate just a little today?

Or you could just decide to write your OWN novel this November!

Thanks for your support, no matter what form it takes!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Harvest of Friends

20 Questions That Will Give a Little Insight Into Who You Are
(Pick whichever on
es you want to use, use all of them - or make up your own)

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while you're blogging?
Popcorn or candy and a big glass of water. Oh, if it is morning, COFFEE.

2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?
Internet access

3. Beach, Mountains or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?
BEACH or by a lake. Done the farm thing already. lol

4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?

5. Who do people say you remind them of?
My mom??

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying at home with the fam?
Not "parties" but I like getting together with my friends. But staying home has its attractions as well.

7. What's your all time favorite movie?
The Lord of the Rings

8. Do you sleep in your make up or remove it like a good girl every night?
Remove it. But I don't wear it every day and when I don't wear it, I don't wash my face at night.

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it?
I've always wanted to learn to crochet and I finally have the chance. I am taking a MOM class at my homeschool co-op while my kids are in their classes. So far I can make a really long chain. lol

10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?
Finding information on the internet. I can find almost anything I need!

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?
His rebellious attitude. (Not really a plus, in the long run, I can assure you! LOL)

12. What is something you love to smell?
Lilacs; I can't WAIT for May every year!

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.
I am bad about interrupting people when they are talking. Sorry, everyone!

14. When you have extra money (HA!) what's the first thing you think to do with it?
Go to the movies or buy books!

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?
Loud laugher and I like to laugh at silly videos.

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?
Thrift stores, rummage sales, yard sales, secondhand stores

17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time?
Well, I will say scrapbooking. If I had more time AND MONEY.

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?
See #16. LOL

19. Who is your favorite character of all time (from a movie or book)? (Can't be real)
Mr. Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey

20. Would you want to be famous?
No. But I wouldn't mind having done something noteworthy! :-)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - October 18

For Today... October 18, 2009
I'll be doing my Daybook on Sundays from now on.

Outside my window... Sunshine! I'm loving it! I see leaves of yellow, orange, red, dark red, and still some green.

I am thinking... about heading out for a bike ride.

From the learning rooms... Quiet Time! I am going to be implementing an hour of quiet work time. We may have to work up to that amount, but the quiet is non-negotiable.

I am thankful for... Prayer!

From the kitchen... Man, I need to get to the store! I do have a turkey thawing.

I am wearing... Jeans, black v-neck stretchy shirt, big grey sweatshirt. And earrings!

I am reading... listening to A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Disc 24 of 48) by Diana Gabaldon (#6 in Outlander series). Making almost no progress on The Count of Monte Cristo, but it's CRUNCH TIME! Also perusing a book on starting an internet business and reading unChristian.

I've been watching... Northanger Abbey (twice), Daniel's Daughter (cheesy Lifetime-style movie), The Hired Heart (another, not as cheesy), Monsters Vs. Aliens (funny!), Cast Away (with David)

I am hoping... that the weather stays nice this week

I am creating... Spanish lessons, lesson plans for the week ahead

I am hearing... thumping from upstairs as the kids clean their rooms

Around the house... too many things that don't have a "place"! Time for some organizing!

One of my favorite things... Crunching through autumn leaves. Can't wait to JOG through them!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Teaching my 3 Spanish classes on Monday, Tuesday is Young Marines for J and Keepers at Home for S & E, Thursday, I am taking J & S to a Pistons game! Jury Duty call-in for Bob. Bob working daytime hours and me working on getting my business going and also working on expanding my novella. Friday Co-op, Saturday book club! WHEW!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you. This is what happens when the kids get ahold of your camera phone. lol

Friday, October 16, 2009


David was planning to do a stop-motion animation class for art this year. (He is a freshman.) However, buying the materials we need has not been in the budget. So yesterday, when I read this entry on the Math-U-See blog, my interest was piqued.

So I went looking for Google Sketchup, thinking maybe it was something David would be interested in learning.

Wow! It's a FREE 3D computer modeling program. Of course, there is a Pro version that bears a hefty $500 pricetag, but the free version looks pretty darn useful.

David is enthralled with the idea of trying it out and designing some 3D models, starting with some cell phone prototypes he's been sketching on paper. This won't be the first 3D computer modeling he's worked with, though. Another great FREE program is the Lego Digital Designer. The car graphic to the left is a screenshot from LDD.

So, he will be practicing 3D computer modeling beginning very soon. The other kids will also have the opportunity to explore the program and what it can do. However, David plans to build a career around computer-aided design in some fashion, so this will be great experience for him.

As I was searching for some good illustrations for this blog, I noticed that a Google Sketchup for Dummies book has been published. I've just requested that at the library and hopefully it will prove useful.

Check out Google Sketchup. Even preschoolers can use this program, as evidenced by the winners of the contest referenced on the MUS blog. They had a category for children ages 0-5. See what you and your children can do with this program!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Apple Orchard Trip

We visited a local apple orchard a couple weeks ago. It was a cool rainy day, but we had fun anyway.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who I Read

Bloggers worldwide have a lot to share, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite blogs with you today. Although I read blogs of some of my real-life friends and those are definitely great, these are all bloggers I've never met in person.

Inexpensively - A money-saving blog with tips on freebies, using coupons, cheap deals, and more! I subscribe to the RSS feed so I can get all the newest tips in my Google reader. Check the Deal Alerts for this great way to stay informed.

Jimmie's Collage - the adventures of Jimmie and her husband and daughter, Americans living and homeschooling in China. Jimmie inspires me with her homeschooling projects and entertains me with her often humorous and always interesting observations on living in a foreign country.

Lynette Kraft - Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground - I first found Lynette when she blogged about the losses of her infant sons and young daughter. Her entries brought me to tears and I continued following her blog in which she details her joyous Christian life with her husband and six living children, toddlers through teens.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shut up!

I wrote this post a couple weeks ago and was too anxious to actually publish it. But I am going to click that button and be brave in the interest of realism.

A lot of homeschool moms imagine that every other homeschooling mom has it all worked out. That their houses are clean and quiet. That their children do perfect work and never argue or pick on their siblings. That they know perfectly how to handle every situation and how to teach every child. And that she alone is the only one who faces problems.

Encouraged by a couple friends, I have decided to try "being real" about the struggles we face. I hope you can see beyond the occasional frustration and inadequacy I post. I had those when I taught school too, so teachers don't have it all down pat either.

So, without further ado or any editing, here is my original post, entitled "Shut up!" (And yes, I say it on occasion. Certainly more frequently than I ought. Just being real, now! LOL)

I am SO TIRED of constant noise as my children work (or not work, as the case may be). Yes, I have been known to shout the above words. Clearly not the best plan of action, but I'm just being real here.

One of my children seems to need to make constant noise - blowing raspberries, chanting single words or phrases over and over, humming just loud enough so everyone can hear. The others don't make noise constantly, but don't seem to heed that others around them need a quiet atmosphere to concentrate on their lessons.

I used to teach. My classroom of nineteen children could be quieter than the four children who live here.

Here is a small slice of our day. Maybe five minutes? They are supposed to all be working quietly. Suzy is silent reading, David and Emily are doing grammar worksheets, and James is waiting on me to do Spelling. I could have intervened in this scenario at any point, but I decided to let it play out and just transcribe what was said.

D: Captain American lives there.
E: Who's Captain America?
S: (not paying attention to THEM, but commenting on a picture in her book) It's a pepper!
J: What?
S takes book over to J and he begins to read aloud to her.
D repeats a phrase from the book and shakes a necklace around, making plastic beads clank.
D (in English accent): He's a spotted deceiver. He's a spotted deceiver.
J is still reading aloud with occasional loud outbursts.
D: CHEESE! (clear reaction to J's reading, which apparently mentioned the word)
D: CHEESE! Cheese is the answer to all the world's problems. I have to say that to Alex. Cheese! Cheese is the answer to all of America's problems. CHEEEEEESE!!!! (makes noises in his throat)
E laughs.
D: Cheese.
J reads on.
D: I know I said Cheese. My name is Cheese.
E: Dakota is a cat. Brody is a dog. (commenting on the read-aloud)
J reads on. D continues to mess with the plastic necklace.
J: Who could that be? (reading aloud)
D: It could be an intruder with a gun!
J slams book closed.
S: Hey, that's not all of it! There's one more page.
E: David, stop!!
D: I'm just practicing my acupuncture techniques on you.
E: Owww!!!!
Meanwhile, J resumes reading.

At this point, I have enough and call the room to order. See how inane it all is? Shouldn't a teenager know how to sit quietly so as not to bother those around him? For that matter, shouldn't a seven-year-old?

I am at a loss as to how to require silence during work time. I have heard people say (or write), "we just don't allow this kind of behavior" (whatever kind it may be), but how does that play out? How do you reinforce "not allowing it"?

What is tempting is the idea of putting them all in school and letting some anonymous teacher train them to be quiet in class. I did it for a bunch of kids. I should know how! Why is it not working? Am I just not strict? Am I stupid?

Input please!

Monday, October 12, 2009

To Read Aloud Or Not To Read Aloud

I got out of the habit of reading aloud to the children during the summer. When we started our lessons back up, it was one thing I didn't jump right back into doing.

Reading aloud is one of my least favorite things. I admit it, however reluctantly.

Does that surprise you? Maybe it does. I love to read. I love my children. I like homeschooling. (notice I didn't say love) I love books. I love to see my children enjoying books.

However.... reading aloud is SO SLOW. I can read way faster than I can speak. And no matter what I pick as a read-aloud, there seems to always be one child with whom my choice of reading material doesn't resonate.

The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald was our read-aloud in the spring. I remembered reading this series of books as a child and thought it would be nice to share with my kids. When actually reading though, I realized they weren't as compelling as I recalled, and I tended to think my kids were not really enthralled. We stopped in the middle of it and never picked it back up. (Yes, I will admit that too!)

So, when the kids started asking me when we were going to start reading aloud again, I began thinking which new book to begin.

They protested.

"But, Mom! We were reading The Great Brain!"

"We didn't even finish it!"

"Yeah, Mom, we left the kids lost in the cave."

Wow. They remembered the kids were lost in the cave? Maybe they were paying better attention than I realized.

"OK, I'll finish reading it."

"Noooo....." OK, there's the obligatory child who doesn't like the current read-aloud. Ah well, hopefully the next book will appeal more to that one, but the three who are enjoying The Great Brain will get to hear the rest of it.

And I will keep reading aloud because I know I ought to. And because they like it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - October 11

For Today... October 11, 2009
I'll be doing my Daybook on Sundays from now on.

Outside my window... I see blue sky and puffy white clouds. A slight breeze is riffling through the greenish gold and red leaves. The yard is freshly mowed.

I am thinking... about how best to use my time; how to arrange my day so that my children and husband don't lose out, but I can still accomplish my goals

From the learning rooms... NaNoWriMo workbooks for the kids - FREE at Click on Writer's Resources. These are AWESOME, even if you don't do NaNo, but just want to teach your kids fiction writing. There are Elementary, Middle School, and High School workbooks.

I am thankful for... God's provision and learning to wait on His timing

From the kitchen... Caramel apples

I am wearing... Brown long sleeved tee, soft pink hoodie, jeans, white socks, slippers, hair and makeup done

I am reading... listening to A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Disc 21 of 48) by Diana Gabaldon (#6 in Outlander series). Also reading No Need for Speed, a book on running, and finally making some progress on The Count of Monte Cristo.

I've been watching... Napoleon Dynamite (liked it better this time, probably because I watched it with David and he appreciated it very much), Meet Dave (better than I imagined, but still not very good - although the kids found it extremely amusing), & Van Halen youtube videos

I am hoping... that I can find a way to make some money besides selling everything I own

I am creating... a list of businesses to cold call

I am hearing... David and James washing dishes (peacefully for once!)

Around the house... lots of stuff that needs to be put away!

One of my favorite things... listening to Davina Porter read Diana Gabaldon. I don't usually enjoy audiobooks much, but Porter has a special talent. She does the accents and just is a perfect fit for Gabaldon's writing. She won the 2006 Audie Award for Best Female Narrator with A Breath of Snow and Ashes, which is what I am listening to currently. You can hear clips of her reading here. (Fiery Cross is the only Gabaldon book represented in the clips.)

A few plans for the rest of the week... Teaching my 3 Spanish classes, Last week of soccer games for Suzy (1) and James (3). James may be starting Young Marines, a field trip to the fire station. Jury Duty call-in for Bob. Bob working daytime hours and me working on getting my business going and also working on expanding my novella.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.
Here I am watching David's last soccer game. It was 46 degrees and pouring rain. And I'm still smiling! LOL That's because it just STARTED.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - October 4

For Today... October 4, 2009
I'll be doing my Daybook on Sundays from now on.

Outside my window... The sun is shining finally and the sky is blue. The leaves are starting to turn. The grass is really long! It's been too wet to mow most days. [8:52 pm - FULL MOON!]

I am thinking... about church

From the learning rooms... More handwritten assignment sheets. That seems to work well for my thought patterns right now.

I am thankful for... income! Bob got his first paycheck Friday. He hasn't had an earned paycheck since May 2002! (For you newbies, that's when he was injured at work.)

From the kitchen... I washed the fridge and tossed the undesirables. Now it's all clean and shiny for the groceries I will buy tomorrow.

I am wearing... Black v-neck long-sleeved stretchy shirt, grey exercise pants that are REALLY LONG and drag on the floor. White socks and black slippers. I straightened my hair. Oh, and I have on earrings!

I am reading... listening to A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Disc 18 of 48) by Diana Gabaldon (#6 in Outlander series). Also reading No Need for Speed, a book on running.

I've been watching... The Chorus (French with English subtitles), Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Robin Hood Season 3 (Episodes 2-4), Ghostbusters

I am hoping... that Bob will decide to have a conversation with me. A real live two-way conversation. Instead of just telling me what he's decided. That's not going over real well.

I am creating... Spanish lessons. More Spanish lessons. And a menu plan.

I am hearing... Webkinz World

Around the house... Trying to think of a place to hang the hammock INSIDE the house.

One of my favorite things... NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It begins November 1st, but I signed up this week. Are YOU going to write a novel in November?

A few plans for the rest of the week... Oh, it looks like a hectic week. Teaching not one but THREE Spanish classes, Soccer practices and games for David, Suzy, and James. Girls have a nature center outing, James has Science club. Jury Duty for Bob. Bob working daytime hours and me working in the evenings!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.