Friday, May 30, 2008

Licking beaters

I made cookies today and I was reminded about a funny that happened here a nice while back.

Around my house it's a normal thing that whenever I use my mixer, which is often, someone comes running to lick the beaters when I'm done. I think that's why the Dairy Queen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard commercial - the one where the guy talks about getting his tongue stuck in the beater - struck me so funny.

A few months back I was looking after a couple of little guys, ages almost 1 and 3. I made cookies one day while they were here and my Little One, 2, came running to get a beater. I gave one to the 3 year old and he looked like he wasn't sure what to do with it. He watched my little one and soon started in to licking and making "mmmmm" sounds of joy. I asked him, "Doesn't your mommy let you lick the beaters when she makes cookies?" His reply to me was, "No, she washes them."

My older kids were aghast at the thought that there were little kids in the world that didn't know the pleasure of licking a beater! DD, 15yo, wasn't impressed that I gave what normally would have been her beater to the little guy. I had to get another beater out of the drawer, dip it in the batter, and give it to her. :)

In his mom's defense I have to say that I mentioned it to her, hoping I hadn't taught them something she didn't approve of, but she assured me she was fine with it but she hardly ever baked so that was why licking the beaters was foreign to him.

His response cracked me up because he apparently thought that I didn't wash my beaters, but let people lick them clean instead. I assure you that isn't so. The beaters do get washed once they've been licked clean. :)

I've had the same little guys here the last few days and today when I used the beater I had three little ones running to get a beater. Last time the 1 year old wasn't quite old enough to get the pleasure but this time he came running too. I had made cookies the day before when they were here and I had taken an extra beater and dipped it in the dough for him. He loved it! Today he came looking for his as soon as he saw the others with theirs.

And yes, I did wash them once they had licked them clean. :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Little One Makes Her First Letter...

...quite by mistake, but that's okay. :)

Quite some time ago I read about Tot School on this post at Love's School and meant to join in the fun, but I didn't get around to it until now. Carissa started and hosts a Tot School meme. I love the idea of posting about Little One's growth and learning. I wish I had started it long ago.

Little One loves to join us at the kitchen table when DD and I are worked on school work. I give Little One a piece of paper to scribble on and provide her with one writing instrument at a time from a big assortment of markers, crayons, and leads. She happily scribbles while we work. - at least for a while. Some days she'll sit there a long time, other's not so long.

Friday she was happily scribbling when she decided she wanted me to scribble with her and she started asking me to make different people's names. This is a game we have played many, many times. She actually learned to recognize the first letters of our family members when she was quite young through playing this game. She didn't know the letter names, and still doesn't, but she knew who they stood for. Anyway, I wrote the names as she asked me, in between helping DD with her math, and Little One continued scribbling away. Suddenly she exclaimed, "I made me!" and pointed at a spot on her paper. I was shocked to see that, sure enough, she had made a scribble that looked very much like the first letter in her name. I know she didn't try to do it but it is still exciting to think that she recognized what the scribble looked like.

I don't know why I never thought about it before, but that day I decided I'm going to start saving her daily scribble sheets and using them as records of her learning. I'll date them and write little notes on the back and put them all together into a little booklet for her. It will make a great record of her growth and learning and will be so much fun to look back on.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A cleaning fit at our house means...'s coming's cranky has something she should be doing but she's avoiding it

...we've just come back from visiting someone else and Mom realizes what a state our house is's been reading blog posts about other people working on cleaning and she's feeling guilty

Got this idea from Dana's post, and she got the idea from Sylvia's post, who was inspired by Dawn's post. I changed it up a bit though because I wanted to ask like one of the commentors on Dana's post "What is this clean of which you speak?". Loved that comment! I sometimes go into short cleaning fits but seldom, if ever, does one last long even to actually end up with a clean house. :0)

Dawn's post is a wonderful, inspiring post and I really wish I could have her great attitude, but when I read her statement "We don't clean up messes to have a clean house. We clean up messes so there is room for more mess!" I just can't seem to take the next step with her and "think of cleaning up after my kids as replacing a canvas". I wish I could, but I can't. My response is, "Why clean it up if it's only going to get messy again." Sad, I know. I was really, really inspired by Dawn's post, until Dana's and Sylvia's post revived the real me.

I have to share a funny that happened while I was typing this post. I originally titled it "A cleaning frenzy at our house means..." until I looked in the dictionary to double check the spelling of "frenzy" and I discovered that it means "wild excitement", and I just couldn't bring myself to use it because cleaning does not excite me at all. I decided to try "spree" as a replacement, until I discovered that it means "a noisy frolic", and decided that wasn't right either. It may get noisy when I clean, but it's not fun and I associate frolic with fun. So I decided to try "fit" as a replacement. "any sudden, uncontrollable attack; an outburst, as of anger; in an irregular way". Yep, that's the right word. :)

"Whereever you are, be all there"

Anne included the quote "Whereever you are, be all there", by Jim Elliot in her amazing post today, How to Practice Being Present to the Presence of God, and it jumped at me. You need to go read her post because it goes in a different direction than I'm going here and it is so inspiring. Don't miss it.

Anyway, the quote itself reminded me of the two blog posts that I referred to in my Become involved with the kids and have fun post from yesterday. I kind of get the idea that God is sending me many differently worded, but same meaning, messages.

This year has been different. DD, almost 16, is my only "official student" and, while I started the year all excited about the fun we were going to have together, it hasn't been as much fun as I thought it would be. I'm realizing, however, that I'm probably to blame for this. I was not as present with her in her studies as I could have been. Instead of my dream of us enjoying our time together she ended up spending much of her time holed up in her room working on her own, with me checking in once in a while to see how things were going.

Off and on throughout the year I would realize that I needed to be more present for her and I would work on doing that for a while, but I soon forgot as I got caught up with other things. The posts the last couple of days have been a great reminder for me and the last two days have been some of the most fun of the year. We worked, talked, and laughed together. It was great. I hope I don't forget again soon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cool Mom Song!

You have to check this out!

Go Fish - The Mom Song

Become involved with the kids and have fun

In Melissa Wiley's post Drawing Together she tells about some "family drawing time" they've been enjoying as she "strewed herself" by becoming involved in the activity and instantly became a" child magnet".

I read Melissa's post right after reading Dawn's post Letting Go and Having Fun where she shares about "one of the most plugged in and conscious days" she's had with her kids in a long time.

The two posts just seemed to go together so well that I couldn't not point it out.

I really wanted to title this post "strew yourself and have fun" but I couldn't quite bring myself to do it because of how it might be misread. Sad, because it would have made a great title.

It's Carnival Time!

The 5th edition of the Canadian Home Educators Carnival is up with visits with homeschoolers in 5 of our provinces. Sure would be nice if we could get visits into each of the provinces. The Carnival blog has a new feature in the side bar - blogs featured in past editions are now listed in drop down menus according to their provinces. Right now some provinces don't have any blogs listed but hopefully it won't take long for that to change. There's a call posted for the next edition, which is to be posted May 27th. Sure would be great to see every province represented in it. Help spread the word about it to increase the chances of that happening.

The 125th Carnival of Homeschooling is also up. Sure hope the Canadian Carnival reaches that mark at some point and that it has grown as big as the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Some people may wonder about the need for a Canadian Carnival of Homeschooling when there is already a general carnival of homeschooling. I don't know about you, but much as I like to read about people from all over the world that have the same interests as I do, there's always something special about reading about people closer to home that share your interests. I think both Carnivals are important.

Monday, May 19, 2008

We all need somebody to lean on

Let's face it, there are times when we all need someone to lean on. In this day and age it is great that when we don't have people near us to turn to we can still get the help and support we need through the internet. For the 5th Home Educating Blog Carnival, in order to learn about different support systems that are available for Canadian Home Educators, it was suggested that we write about our local support groups, or online support groups, that we enjoy.

Homeschooling in Newfoundland and Labrador is not always easy, because our geography has us so spread apart. There is a fairly large group of homeschoolers in the St. John's area, but the rest of us are spread out all across the province.

CHENL, Christian Home Educators of Newfoundland and Labrador, is a provincial homeschool association that was formed in 2003 and is still active today. They offer an annual conference, I attended this year's conference just this month, and also have an email discussion group for members.

In our area this year we have five families that are homeschooling and we have made an attempt to get together regularly. Every second week the moms have attempted to get together one night just to relax and chat. In between these weeks the mom's and children have attempted to get together one afternoon a week for some learning and fun. I say attempted because it didn't always happen, but it sure was great when it did.

These are my only two "in real life" support groups and I am grateful that I have them, but I truly don't find that they completely meet my need for support. For that reason I am so thankful for the online support group that I have been privileged to participate in.

My greatest form of support has come from a private email list that I have been a part of since 1999. It was started by a lady that was at one time living and homeschooling in Newfoundland and knew the need for homeschooling support in Newfoundland. She and one of her friends moved away from Newfoundland but wanted to continue supporting Newfoundland Homeschoolers, so she started the email list. The list, however, has evolved over the years and is no longer specifically for Newfoundland Homeschoolers. New members can be invited to join by present members and members have come and gone over the years. We are presently a group of approximately 20 ladies all across Canada in different stages of homeschooling. The founder just graduated her last child this year. Though there are many miles, or kilometers :), between us we have grown quite close and we support each other through all of the different aspects of our lives, not just the homeschooling. I am so thankful for this group of ladies.

My newest form of support has been checking out homeschooling blogs - both personal blogs and blogs of different homeschooling organizations and resource people. I love getting a glimpse of the lives of homeschoolers around the world, but I especially like checking in on Canadian homeschoolers.

I think it is important to connect with someone, somewhere, somehow, to help you along the homeschool journey. It's not an easy road to travel on your own.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Learning to Appreciate

Life has been really crazy around here lately. Just the past two weeks we have traveled from one side of the island to the other. We spent a week with DH's family in a small community near Lance Aux Meadows. We came home for a day before repacking to go to St. John's for a weekend. Our provincial Home Education Association held it's annual conference in St. John's. It was very tiring for us with all the travel, but it was so good to connect with other homeschoolers. DH is gone to his parents again but I opted to stay home this time.

I was inspired by Ann's post, Dandelion Wine, today at Holy Experience. So often I find her posts refreshing, challenging, and encouraging. Today's post really struck me. We've been struggling with what could be considered the weeds of FIL's cancer. Ann's post reminds me that God allowed it, so He must have intended it for good, and we definitely have seen good in it. It doesn't mean we don't struggle, but we will get through it.

At times like this you learn to appreciate the everyday normal things and to pay attention to the beauty around you that you so often over look. You make the most of every day. Other things fade in the background and you reassess your priorities. You learn to overlook things that are not important. You're more aware of the importance of relationships and understanding. I hope they are lessons we won't soon forget.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Home Schooling Mentors

When I think back on my homeschooling journey there are two ladies that stand out to me as invaluable mentors. They each inspired and encouraged me in different ways.

I learned about the concept of Homeschooling in a parent's magazine article. It was a totally foreign concept to me, but one that immediately caught my interest. Shortly after reading this article I was told that a new family that had moved into our community, and had children in the same classes as two of my children, had been homeschooling before they moved here. I was intriqued and determined to find out more about it by getting to know the mother. Little did I know how important this lady would become to me.

Kathleen became my first homeschooling mentor. I asked her about her homeschooling experience before she moved here and told her about my interest in it. I think that my interest may have resparked her interest and before long we were both homeschooling our children and looking to each other for support and encouragement. We became very close friends and confidants, and remain friends even though Kathleen ended up moving many, many miles away.

Shortly after I started homeschooling I somehow heard about a number of families that were homeschooling in a community about 2 hours away from my community. I wish I remembered how contact was made but I don't, all I know is that I ended up getting an invitation to join their families for a Valentine's Party.

Kelly stood out to me at that party because her family was like an older version of my family - two boys, one girl. I was so impressed with her children and seeing them gave me confidence that I could do this. Kelly ended up moving away a year or so after this but she had the foresight to do something which I am so thankful for. She felt for those of us that would be left behind and she started an email list for us to keep in contact so that we could continue to support and encourage one another. I have continued to be encouraged by Kelly's family as I have watched her children complete their studies at home and grow into young adults taking their place in the world.

Thank-you, Kathleen and Kelly, for the part that you played in this incredible journey I've been on.

Monday, May 05, 2008

3rd Canadian Home Educators Blog Carnival is up can check it out here. Be sure to visit all the contributors and to leave them a comment.

We're having a nice visit with the inlaws. One of the advantages of homeschooling is that we can do this without worrying about missed schooling - we just take our school work with us and take advantage of learning topics and activities that come our way wherever we are. DD was checking out some history and geography information about this part of the island this morning and she was having a grand time learning things she wasn't aware of before.

Little one has been keeping everyone entertained. She's a little out of sorts sometimes. I think that's partially from missing her toys and not having the channels to watch some of her favorite TV shows. She told her grandfather this morning that he had to go to bed because she wanted to watch TV and she was afraid he was going to change the channel. How do you teach a very vocal 2 year old about respecting her elders? Especially when everyone laughs at her when she does stuff like that!

I managed to do a bit of scrapping the last couple of days. I made a card and envelope set each day and I'm really pleased with both. I'm hoping to post some pictures on my scrappin blog when we get home again.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Happy National Scrapbooking Day!

Some of you may not be aware but today is National Scrapbooking Day. I was introduced to Scrapping as a hobby about two years ago and it's something I greatly enjoy. I've been in a bit of a scrapping slump for quite a while now and haven't done much scrapping but I still keep on eye on what other people are doing and every once in a while I get out of my slump for a little while and enjoy creating again.

Carla, one of my local homeschooling friends is also a scrapbooker. Actually, she's the one that got me interested in it. The last time she was the host of our bi-weekly homeschooling mom's get together she had us all making cards. It was great fun! Shortly after that session we all gathered at another homeschoolers home and scrapped again and this time the teen girls joined us. We had a great time.

Carla helped plan an all day National Scrapbooking Day party in our community for today. I'd love to be there but I'm 6 hours away visiting with the inlaws.

The second edition of the Canadian Scrapbookers Blog Carnival was posted yesterday. It was a special edition with people sharing their plans for celebrating National Scrapbooking Day. Drop by and check it out.