Monday, March 31, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I learned about Menu Plan Monday at Stephanie's and Christina's blogs. I had to go check it out. It was started by Laura and in her post today she had pictures of the things she planned on cooking this week. I just couldn't resist checking out the Taco Salad Bowls and the Pulled Chicken Sandwiches. They definitely sounded like something my family would enjoy and thus I was inspired to plan my menu for the week.

My youngest son, 18, who recently moved 6 hours away from home to work and live with his aunt, is home with us this week so I decided to cook some of his favorite meals for him while he's here.

At my house I only actually plan for one meal a day. Breakfast and lunch, or dinner as we call it, everyone is pretty much responsible for themselves. Mind you, it's often only myself and my two daugthers (2 and 15) that are at home for lunch so we just grab whatever whenever we're hungry. Supper, which is otherwise known to others as dinner, is the meal I try to have something good planned for.

We may all be heading out of town for the weekend so this week my plans are only for Monday - Friday. Here are my plans for this week:

Monday - Tacos/Taco Salad Bowl
Tuesday - Lazy Chicken Enchildas - from Company's Coming Lunches
Wednesday - Meaty Chili - from Company's Coming Lunches
Thursday - Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Participate in a Research Study

At the end of Ann's post "Interested in Easing Parental Stress" she invites people to "Feel free to repost this post in its entirety." so that's just what I did.

A university student (and mother) who reads here contacted me, inquiring if any parent who passes through this out of the way place might be interested in participating in a research study to reduce parental stress--- through practising gratitude... Yes! Care to join me?

She writes:

WANTED: Parents who desire to reduce child-related stress.

COST: A little bit of your time.

PERKS: Improved outlook and better parenting relationships! HOW? Introducing an exciting study in the works with an outcome that will benefit you! We are happy to present you with the chance to participate and hope that you will find this helpful to your daily life. Read on for more information ~

The Purpose of the Study:

- To consider gratitude as a method for reducing stress in parenting
- To measure instances of parenting stress using the method below
- To measure the potential benefits (and maintenance) of gratitude as a means of stress reduction in parenting

The Method of the Study:

The 2 Simple Steps:

[Prior to beginning, compile a list of 10 specifics for which you are grateful. This should make the required expressions of gratitude easier.]

#1: When you experience a moment of stress related to one or more of your children, “reset” your thinking by verbally expressing gratitude, either in reaction to the current stressor, or by reading/saying something from your list.

#2: Add a mark to your daily tally (so that we have a record of how many times this happens each day).

That’s it.

This exercise will be carried out for seven days, beginning on Tuesday, April 1st, followed by a seven day break, and then repeated for a second seven day period.

If you want to participate, please e-mail by Tuesday so we can have an idea of the size of the study. Give your name, age, and gender—although you are welcome to participate anonymously, if you like. Feel free to spread the word to as many adults that you know that wish to participate. (This would make a fun project to do with friends and/or a spouse—men being specifically encouraged to participate as most studies tend to neglect the impact of gratitude from a male perspective.)

What’s in this for you?

Multiple studies have shown that people who feel more gratitude are much more likely to have higher levels of happiness, lower levels of depression and stress. They are seen as more empathetic, agreeable, and extraverted. Grateful people should be more likely to notice they have been helped, to respond appropriately, and to return the help at some future point.

You mean, you’ll get all that, just by adding some gratitude to your life? YES!

Definitions, for the purpose of this study:

Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.

Parenting Stress is defined as those moments when life as a parent seems overwhelmingly unpredictable and uncontrollable (based on the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale). Within the context of parenting,

- you become upset because of something that happens unexpectedly.
- you feel you are unable to control the important things in your life.
- you feel nervous and “stressed.”
- you feel you cannot cope with all the things you have to do.
- you become angry because things are outside of your control.
- you feel difficulties are piling up so high that you cannot overcome them.

Obviously, this will be a largely subjective assessment—that is the difficulty in measuring an emotional state. Just try to be as aware as possible.

Thank you! We look forward to sharing the results of the study.

Join us at by Tuesday.
(Feel free to repost this post in its entirety. Let's give thanks in all things!)

I'd love to hear from you if you decide to take part. Just leave me a comment telling me so.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

more starred items

Great Spring devotional here.

This article by a Homeschool Senior (as in highschool senior, not senior citizen) is an interesting read. He reflects on the benefits homeschooling brought to his life. Learned about this article here.

Lysa TerKeurst posted a post a while ago called The Muffin Top Diaries that cracked me up. I have to admit that I, too, suffer with the same condition that she does. Check out the post and take the test to see if you suffer with it too. This week she posted Muffin Top Diaries, Part 2 and it is hilarious. She writes a letter to her bathroom scale outlining why it is no longer her friend.

In Becky's Uh-oh Canada post she shares about Pierre Berton's History for Young Canadians series and also points us to the Extraordinary Canadians site where you can learn about a set of 18 biographies geared for adults and older children that the Penquin groups is releasing over the next three years. Her post was prompted by a literary salute to Canada on another blog. Lots of links to check out there.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Today's Google Reader Starred Items

At Home Where They Belong I learned about She shared the site because of the great free printable Bible lessons - , and they are great, but I also like it for the kid safe internet games grouped by age appropriateness. Little one (2yo) and I had great fun there today.

From Robin and a discussion, that I'm thinking was brought on by a Journey North Mystery Class activity, she had with some friends I learned how to make an egg stand on it's end. I haven't actually tried it yet but I plan to.

Loved this post by Ann about how the small stuff is the big stuff, which also inspired a post from Headmistress along the same lines.

Also from Ann I discovered a great site, called The Tongue Untied, for teaching upper level grammar. I hope to use it with DD if not this year then definitely next.

Barb had an excellent post today on how to make your own field guide. This is number 7 in a series of Green Hour Activities she's been posting lately. I confess I haven't done any of the activities yet but I really am hoping to do some of them soon.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Carnival of Canadian Home Educating Bloggers

I love reading blogs written by fellow Canadian Home Educators so I decided to start a Carnival of Canadian Home Educating Bloggers.

If you are a Home Educator living in Canada I invite you to submit a post to the first Carnival of Canadian Home Educating Bloggers. I have decided not to assign a particular topic for this first Carnival. You can submit a post in the topic of your choosing.

The deadline for submissions is April 4 and the Carnival will be posted here on April 7.

Submit your posts to me at jacquelinehillieratgmaildotcom. Please indicate in your email what part of Canada you are in as I am thinking about using a "Home Educating Across Canada" theme in organizing the links.

Please pass the word along.

Edited to answer the "What is a Carnival?" question in comments

Wikipedia explains it this way:

A blog carnival is a type of blog event. It is similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule, often weekly or monthly. Each edition of a blog carnival is in the form of a blog article that contains permalinks links to other blog articles on the particular topic....

There are many variations, but typically, someone who wants to organize a carnival posts details of the theme or topic to their blog, and asks readers to submit relevant articles for inclusion in an upcoming edition. The host then collects links to these submissions, edits and annotates them (often in very creative ways), and publishes the resulting round-up to his or her blog....

Communities of blog readers, writers, and edition hosts form around specific carnivals. The carnivals provide an aggregation of recent posts by the community on a given topic, and the host provides a level of editing and annotation that helps readers find posts they are interested in. Writers who submit their articles to blog carnivals are rewarded with traffic...

Edited to answer size limit question:
No, there is no size limit for submissions. The post you submit doesn't get posted in the Blog Carnival, just a short write-up of some sort about it and a link to the post so that people can visit your blog to read it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chance to win new Rosetta Stone Language Program

I found out about this contest here. As you will read below, apparently Rosetta Stone, a well known foreign language program, has a new homeschool version and they are giving this lady, who will be representing them at conferences, a copy of it to award to someone through her blog. I have read about this program many, many times and I'd love to have a chance to get my hands on it, so I figured I'd give it a try. To have a chance to win you had to copy and paste the following paragraphs from her blog into your own blog and then post a link to your post in her blog post comments.

Rosetta Stone has been the #1 foreign language curriculum among homeschoolers for a while -- next week they are unleashing a brand new curriculum, and you can WIN the *all new* Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3… FOR FREE!

This is a $219 program (and believe me it's worth every penny!) and the winner gets to pick from any of these 14 languages: Spanish (Spain or Latin America), English (American or British), Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Irish, Hebrew, or Russian.

This will also include a headset with microphone, and students will participate in lifelike conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program. Rosetta Stone still incorporates listening, reading and writing as well, in addition to speaking. Many homeschoolers requested grammar and vocabulary exercises, and with Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3, they're included! For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program and allow parents to easily enroll students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, and view and print reports.

To win this most excellent program -- in the language of your choice -- copy these (blue) paragraphs and post it in (or as) your next blog post -- then to enter the contest, go to the original contest page HERE: and leave a comment with the link showing where you blogged about it. And please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post it. And good luck! The winner will be picked randomly on March 26, and will be notified thru the link they left to their blog pg. And if you have more than one blog, you can post them and enter those separately for more chances to win. Yay for free stuff!

Note: in her post all the text that is indented here was blue, so that was what needed to be copied about pasted. Oh how I hate doing that!

Life Has Been Crazy

It's been a little over a month since my father-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Our life has been crazy since then. DH, of course, wanted to be with him and help out as much as possible while they awaited news on treatment and as he went through treatment. That meant lots of travel and away from home time for us over the last month. It also meant that I was away from my computer. I did have access to other computers but I was having all kinds of trouble, especially with blogging, on them so I gave up until I got home.

We finally got home a couple of days ago. FIL is doing good. He's had surgery and has had his first round of treatment without any difficulties. DH felt confident enough to leave him for a while and come home, though he's ready to run again in a minute if need be. I've been trying to get back on track with things at home but last night threw another monkey wrench my way.

Little One is sick. I don't think it's anything serious but I was scared for a bit. She was complaining of a headache, her temperature was rising and then she started throwing up. It's been almost 24 hours now and she's still fighting a temperature and hasn't eaten anything but is throwing up whatever she drinks. She's spent most of the day in my arms. I'm hoping it's just a 24 hour bug and she'll be on the mend tomorrow.

Life will settle down again some day, won't it? Thank goodness I can find some solice in prayer.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Still Enjoying the Iditarod

I can't believe I didn't know about it before this year. It is so much fun and so interesting. It's amazing to read about all the different elements that these racers have to battle and figure out. And it's so much fun to watch as different ones take the lead at different times. I still haven't spent much time learning the history behind the race yet because there's so much interesting stuff to learn about this present race.

Today I enjoyed learning more about the racers, called mushers. There were 114 mushers that signed up for the race but only 96 started it. Of the 96 that started, 22 were females. Most of the mushers are from Alaska and other parts of the US, but there are 6 Canadians, 2 Germans, 2 Norwegians, 2 Belgians, 1 Italian, 1 Englishman (who is actually an English lady) and 1 Frenchman. I found it interesting to note that some of the mushers are racing against relatives - Blake and Jennifer Freking are husband and wife, Cim and Ramey Smyth, and Lance and Jason Mackey, and Darin and Robert Nelson are brothers. Darin's and Robert's father Louis is also racing. Martin and John Busers are another set of father-son rivals.

Another interesting couple of mushers is Rachel Sedoris and Joe Runyan. Rachel is legally blind and veteran Joe Runyan is running the race as her guide. He drives his team ahead of her and by two-way radio lets her know of any hazards, such as hanging branches, etc., that she might not see.

There have already been stories of broken sleds, run away dogs, spills, etc. Lots of excitement.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Writing Contest for Homeschooled Students

I just wrote a post on the Newfoundland blog about a writing contest for homeschooled students. You can read my post here if you're interested or you can go right to the Sylvan Dell Publishing site that is offering the contest here. Although it would be kind of rushy to participate now it would be a good experience. I will definitely be watching to see if this publishing company offers this contest again next year.

Following the Iditarod

Have you been following it? Do you have any idea what it is? I didn't, until I read a news article about 4 Canadians participating in it and it caught my curiosity so I went searching, and now I'm hooked.

The Iditarod is often referred to as "The Last Great Race on Earth". It is an annual dogsled race that takes place in Alaska and draws participants from North America and Europe. This is the 36th edition of the race. It started Sunday and runs for about 14 days. You can read all about it and follow along at the official website which I've linked above. I have their newsletter coming into my email and I've also been following the two official blogs of the race - Eye on the Trail and Zuma's Paw Prints, a blog for children written from the perspective of a dog. There are some great stories coming through all ready.

Right now the 6 Canadians are standing at 9th (Gerry Williamitzer), 12th (Hans Gatt), 16th (Sebastian Schnuelle), 30th (Warren Palfrey), 47th (Karen Ramstead), and 52nd (William Kleedehn). It is so much fun to watch as the positions change. The results are updated about every 15 minutes.

The latest news report said that weather may start interferring with the race. I found that interesting because in my research I had discovered that the Canadian Challenge - who know there was any such thing before! - had been called because of weather in February this year.