Thursday, July 31, 2008


Tuesday morning, I put my 'baby' on a plane to go visit his grandparents without me. Now, you may remember that I have had no problem putting the older two on a plane and sending them off into the wild blue yonder. But, this is my baby. It was a wee bit harder. Although, not as hard as you might think. I spend enough time with them that a break is a wonderful thing, at least for the first few days!

Since they're not here, I thought I'd share a few things they've said recently. Today, we'll talk about Dominic. He's recently started to think logically. Instead of just inputting large amounts of information into his brain, he's started making connections and spitting them back out. It has been very interesting listening to the way he thinks.

When his water bottle needed filling: "It's not empty, it's full of air." (See? He's the ultimate optimist. It's not half full, it's full--half with water and half with air.)

When told he had to have a hamburger (versus chicken) and asked what he wanted on it: "What can I have on it?" Me: "Whatever you want. What do you want on it?" Him: "Chicken. Hee, hee, hee, hee!"

There were a few others, but I can't remember what they were right now. If I remember, I'll let you know. Have a good night!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Today, I was thinking about control. The boys have different things they are controlled and motivated by. I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you.

It seems to me that most people are either motivated by fear of bad consequences or anticipation of a reward. There are also people who are motivated by love.

Gabriel is mostly motivated by anticipation of a reward. Any outside motivation has to come from anticipation. Fear does not motivate him sufficiently. If there is a fear that motivates him, I haven’t found it.

Dominic is motivated by fear of bad consequences. He is more than willing to wash his plate and put it in the dishwasher now that he knows it will end up in his bed, if he doesn’t do so.

Xavier, however, is motivated neither by fear nor by anticipation. The only thing that motivates Xavier to change his mind is love. This will be a great asset to him as an adult. In the meantime, it is a challenge. I love this fact about him. I just wish he would give in a few extra times a week, just for me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Children Want to be "Brown"

Well, Gabriel doesn't, but Xavier and Dominic have both expressed the desire to be "brown". Each of my children has their own story about "brown" people and I'll tell you each of them.

When Gabriel was 5, we went to the library. In the elevator, there was a little Somalian girl who kept rubbing Xavier's head. I'm guessing she, being a recent immigrant, hadn't been that close to a white baby before. Anyway, Gabriel yelled at her, "Don't touch my baby, you'll turn him brown!" Of course, Gabriel wasn't aware of the concept of genetics, yet...

Xavier really wishes Gabriel hadn't stopped that little girl from turning him brown. In preschool, he desperately wished he had been born into a brown family, a dark brown family. His beloved teacher was dark brown and he wanted to be just like her. He still complains that his family is peach.

Dominic also wishes he were born to a different family. However, he is doing something about it. He is slowly attempting to color his skin brown.

Unfortunately for my children, there is no such thing as reverse vitiligo. Perhaps a full body tattoo might work?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Because I Wanted to Share

And because it is my children's favorite video, and because it's stuck in my head and I wanted it stuck in yours to....

And, finally, because this one was animated by a young girl on one of my "lists".

Friday, July 11, 2008

The End is in Sight

The end of "summer" school is just around the corner. For the record, next "year" will be a year-round affair. But, this year was planned to end in May, with a bit of math all summer to stay in the groove. Unfortunately, our history and science got left at home when we went to Florida. So, we've been doing history and science this summer. The boys don't actually mind this. They love both history and science.

Next year's schedule is going to be done in six-week increments. I'm doing this because I scheduled 6 American History unit studies for the year, so it just made sense. I think it is better to work around the calendar because they lose less, thereby needing less backtracking. More on "next year's" schedule later.

The boys and I had planned to go to Maine for Gary's cousin's wedding in October. Unfortunately, that trip has been canceled. So, the boys are heading up early. They're going in August, instead. Unfortunately, the week they'll be gone is smack dab in the middle of the last two weeks of instruction I had planned. So, I'm stepping it up. With the pace we're setting, we should be done with everything in the next two weeks. That way, when they get back from Maine, they'll have August off to spend with their dad before he deploys. That'll be nice.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Look! He's a Reader!

We've struggled to get Xavier to read. Other than by force, he has not read at all. Soon after we returned from Florida, Gabriel refused to "play" Harry Potter with him unless he read the book. So, Xavier, who has NEVER read anything willingly before now, started reading Harry Potter. The first chapter took him 3 hours. The next chapters took less and less time. At first, he was forcing himself to read so that he could play with Gabriel. By the end of the book, he was pulling his hair, he was so enthralled by the suspense of the book. He had one chapter left to go when it was bedtime. He woke up the next morning and immediately started reading again. In all, it took him about 4 days to read it.

Now, I'm finding him reading all over the place. If he's not playing with his brothers, he's reading a book. I can't resist taking pictures of him. This is huge!!! The fact that he went from being a "sign reader" (he really like reading all the signs we passed, but hated reading books) to reading every book that comes within sight is a wonderful thing to me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Homeschool Olympics

Recently, we were studying Ancient Greece and read about the start of the Olympics. We decided it would be fun to do our own Olympics. This is the result:

Wednesday Hero

Sgt. Kenneth J. Schall
Sgt. Kenneth J. Schall
22 years old from Peoria, Arizona
2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division
May 22, 2005
U.S. Army

"It was very tough not to be touched by him in some way," said Terri Schall, Sgt. Kenneth Schall's mother.

Kenneth Schall was enrolled at Glendale Community College and was studying to become a history teacher when the country was attacked on September 11, 2001. The event spurred him to join the Army. He served a four and a half month tour in Iraq in 2004 and returned in February of 2005.

Terri Schall last spoke to her son on Mother's Day in 2005. "He sounded great — tired — but he said he was doing OK", she said. Sgt. Kenneth Schall died when the Humvee he was riding in was involved in an accident in Yusafiyah, Iraq.

Along with his mother, Sgt. Schall is survived by his father and two younger siblings.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dominic's Birthday

Dominic turned 5 on the 22nd. Here are the pictures from his birthday. The cake was a last minute decision on his part and took some improvising on my part (I didn't have enough frosting) so it didn't turn out as one of my best. But, it was a great cake anyway. See how we use the candles as guns? Also, Gabriel and Xavier decided that they were going to start buying gifts for people with their own money. Xavier bought him a water gun and Gabriel bought him a nerf gun. He was extremely happy.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Menu Monday 7-7-2008

I make a menu because it makes my life easier. It helps me when I can look at a menu and know what we're having for supper. Also, it means I know I have everything I need for a meal.
I only loosely follow the menu. In other words, while I frequently schedule the week exactly, I just as frequently change which day we'll eat what on.

Breakfasts: Each day, in addition to the bread, we try to eat a fruit and a protein. For Gabriel and Dominic, protein means bacon. For Xavier, it means a spoonful of peanut butter.

Lunches: I'm still working on making this a balanced meal....
Mac & Cheese
Hot Dogs

Tea: This is our afternoon snack. We eat it together at around 4. We eat supper at 6 or later.
Blueberry Scones
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Wow! I finally made this recipe last night. Before I pulled the final pan out of the oven, a full batch had been eaten. I even got Gabriel to clean 2 rooms for me in exchange for more!)
Lemon Poppy seed Cake

Mexican (tacos, tostadas, nachos)
Roast, Carrots, Potatoes, Dinner Rolls
Ham, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls
Barbecue sandwiches, chips, corn
Chicken Marsala

One of these days, if you're really nice, I'll share my ham recipe with you. It's wonderful and will have everyone eating out of your hand. And, you'll notice that Dominic is in most of my recipe pictures. I let him help me cook once, and now, I have to hide the fact I'm cooking if I want to do it without him.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

CVS and Rite Aid Savings 7-6-2008

I've been doing this on my other blog for several weeks, but decided to move it to my "family" blog in the interest of keeping my other blog about the things it was originally intended--mainly ranting and raving, with a few other fun things thrown in.:) I'll also be moving Menu Monday w/ recipes here. Enjoy.

Rite Aid has several good offers this week and CVS's Olay offer can be good as well. I only post deals that I am personally interested in. If you would like to see more deal scenarios, please visit Money Saving Mom.

CVS scenario:
$ 3.99 Gillette Body Wash ($1.00 man. coupon)
$11.98 Olay Body Wash 2 @ $5.99/ea (2 $2.00 man. coupons)
4.99 Olay Daily Cleanser ($1.00 man. coupon)
2.00 Dawn Simple Pleasures 2 @ $1.00 (2 $1.00 coup.--if simple pleasures is part of this!)
$22.96 before coupons
- 8.00 manufacturers' coupons
$14.96 Total Out of Pocket
$ 12.00 ECBS earned

Rite Aid scenario:
$1.00 Mead 1 subject notebooks 5 for $1.00
7.99 Gillette Venus Embrace ($2.00 man. coup, $5.00 rebate)
4.99 Infusium 23 ($3.00 man. coup, $1.99 rebate)
5.99 Oral B Pulsar Toothbrush ($1.00 man. coup, $4.00 rebate)
$19.97 before coupons
- 6.00 manufacturers' coupons
$13.97 Total out of pocket
$10.00 Rebate earned

Rite Aid's single check rebate system is very simple to use. You can input your receipt information online and they send you a check. The check is very quick to arrive. You can either cash it, or use it on your next purchase at Rite Aid.

Happy shopping!

School at the Laundromat

When our septic tank decided to flood our basement, we needed to use the laundromat. However, we also needed to do history. So, we took school on the road. They had a little (and I do mean little) table there for kids to play at. The boys did their coloring there while I read to them. Look at poor Gabriel's knees sticking out. That boy is all legs.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Planting a Free Garden

I had not planned to plant a garden this year. We were gone during prime planting season and I really need to use a tiller and get up all the weeds and stuff. But I got a lot of free plants. I got some flowers, tomatoes and 4 rose bushes. So, off we went outside to plant them. The boys really helped a lot. Ironically, we used dirt to fill in the hole on top of the septic tank two days before we needed to get into it. Now, it's a hole again. Oh well, it'll be filled again soon.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Horse Pull

The kids got their first real introduction to "country" life a few weeks ago. They had a blast! They can't wait to attend another horse pull. I thought I'd share some pictures and video.

This was a unique experience in a society that only socializes through organized means. We go to church, school and the gym. Unfortunately, the small town get-togethers seem to be going by the wayside. It was a pleasure to see the boys playing with other kids without having to be organized. They just did! The boys started playing and, slowly but surely, all the other kids there joined them. We had so much fun. Xavier even invented a "new" sport. Run, tumble and slide. They managed to get about 5 other kids doing it with them, trying to see who could go the furthest. It was a wonderful evening (that, by the way, the boys didn't want to attend) for all of us.


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