Friday, June 27, 2008

Fun insights

I just got some insight from a fun survey I took about where I prefer to live. Try is and let me know what you think...

Also, one from Jessica of Savannah, GA, a survey about a personality preference towards the South or the North is found at

Lots of fun. My results were as follows:

70/30 Yankee from Iowa farmgirl "You're so Yankee, it's possible you've never even been to the South!" This is fun! It's true too b/c I've avoided East Texas, most of Georgia and Florida, all of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. I might also add that I do prefer to live in the central time zone over most definitely the East and West. The only other place to try on the North American continent is the mountain time zone for all kinds of majesty and personality.

"You are definitely an urban person, but not any old city will do. Live in a small city: You want a city that matches you well. For you, big cities lack individuality.You prefer a smaller city with lots of personality, local culture, and history." Small is good and I agree that the best stuff has happened in my life in Omaha and Johnson County Kansas, but all kinds of good stuff awaits in Chicagoland.

That's a gun Mom!

Yep, a pistil. That was the answer my kids remembered this morning when I used this broken lily to reinforce lessons on plants from last spring. We reviewed stamen, anther, filament, pistil, stigma and style. They remembered the purpose for the stem and leaves. I reminded them the photosynthesis term, but everything else worked. These children really are little sponges.

We enjoyed a summer visit to the prairie on Tuesday afternoon only after the application of mosquito repellent. We'd been there in the fall and now we've seen it with all the beautiful flowers on a restored mesic prairie in the middle of an industrial complex. Nope, there is no path; we just follow the ranger.
One of the ladies at new church is continuing her life with cancer. She just suggested in a prayer request email that we "Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly..." and to remember that "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain." It's as simple/complex as that.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A year older & a month wiser

Well, we've finished day camp (new name for VBS) at new church and I actually didn't hate being a shepherd to my 11-3rd graders. 8 boys all with names starting with J. I have enough trouble with 3 kids and G names. So, I had a few moments of brain dead adult. It was even more difficult to not be dimwitted as I turned 41 on Saturday after VBS (it's just what I call it and I'm not about to get politically correct here). I planned to show my kids and husband the immenseness of a rock quarry and then proceed to dig for fossils of the Ordovician Period. Now, for me the historical geologist just peeked around the corner of my personality until we drove the almost 2 hours (at over 4$ a gallon to fill the nasty minivan) only to find the quarry flooded.

You know, you can't always get what you want, but you generally get what you need (I'm a closet '70s music fan- yeah Z92). I got a beautiful drive with the family to Rockford IL and a tour in order to get more familiar with a very nice town (high water, but nice place). I was able to enjoy Indian food for my birthday dinner and a slow Monday morning to follow-up a not-so-brilliant birthday weekend. Well, compared to last year when I turned 40 in Istanbul, this was a bit of a let down, but to be with my family was essential this year.

Tomorrow we get to wander on a nature hike. I've also put the color-coded, weekly school schedule on a spreadsheet and I'm working on my to-do list in order to be ready for the August 4th beginning of 2nd grade for the oldest and 1st grade for my twins. I'm planned out for 176 days of school spread out over approximately 35 weeks for materials and curriculum. This year we don't have to fly by the seat of our pants. Yippeee

Friday, June 13, 2008

Painting in Living room & Entryway DONE!

Creme brulee is on most of the walls which is darker than what you might imagine. The focus wall is 3 shades lighter than that called Bonjour Beige. I have no idea where they get these names, but I chose the colors firstly b/c these were in the tan area of color wheel, but then finally on the name of the color from the company. My boys used the paint roller even though it was very heavy and the little girl was helpful to apply paint along the taped base boards. She is so much closer to that area than me and I taped it for help from the Daddy, but he wasn't able so the kids used the tape to their advantage. I never tape if it's just me painting, but this time I was wasteful and used a whole role on baseboards and ceiling boundary. It was a goal of the summer break and now it's done. Well, not quite all the way. I have to choose another shade for the stairwell and walls up the stairway. Daddy said that the creme brulee was too dark to go into the even darker space that has no light (yet).

The Daddy and little girl plan to go on a special girlclub campout tonite even though there is flooding in the general area of the camp site. The boys and I are on our own for 2 nites and a whole day. Maybe I'll get them to read a book with me. I read them a story about Ghenghis Khan yesterday that they enjoyed. Actually, the older boy started reading to me while I painted and when I was cleaned up I finished the story. It was part of my plan to study the Far East before August one. We started the Ms Frizzle book on Ancient China last night too. They are excited about the DK book on the Olympics that I'm starting soon.

It's time to supervise the AC guy outside fixing the condenser so I'll sign off for now. He may need some help against the kids out back too. HA!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Other Summer break activities

I've just found a new interesting blog They seem to be very multi-cultural, all too welcome to this Iowa farmgirl in suburban Chicago (I can only get so much from the walk thru IKEA). The latest reading material include the above pictured books. I've actually used librivox for The Burgess book.
Number one boy just lost his 2nd front tooth and enjoyed the book very much.
I'm beginning books about China with the purpose of covering ancient Asia and China before we officially begin school again at the beginning of August (prior to the 2008 Olympics in China). I've actually been accused of CIA behavior/writing and I fully intend to exercize my skills in home-schooling as well.
The little girl still insists on bringing up the issue of a purchase.

Calm, Monday morning

Sleeping in while the kids play games, build lego-creations and fix their own breakfast. Yep, they get their own cereal, toasted & cream-cheesed bagels AND juice these days. Soon they'll be going off to college and by-gum, they'll know how to feed themselves. Well, not going to college quite yet, but they have plans. Little girl wants to buy a Mattel Disney Enchanted Tales Deluxe Princess Castle and the boys are content right now to watch the library videos about transformers and hot wheels animated drama. I'm almost content to look back on the completed certification exams and first home-school conference experience and just enjoy a week of summer break. Next week I get to lead a 3rd grade group of kids at our church VBS or as they call it these days, "day camp." I plan to paint the front room and adjacent halls in order to get that ellusive can of paint off my shelf.

Kids are reading books for the library summer reading program, so I'll have to get back to you later. It's so exciting to listen to them read, I mean READ!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Imposing week ahead

Yep, school is over, but I get to do soccer practice and games 3 nights this week by myself as Daddy is not able to co-captain the delivery team. I'm set to attend a home-school conference and hear one of the creators of a curriculum we use AND meet those ellusive vendors of curriculum I can't find on their websites. I'm a newbie remember? I don't navigate vendor websites very well yet.

It is the first week our park pool is open and I look forward to a visit there. Maybe on bikes for the 5 mile round trip or maybe by van. We'll see. I know that the week will include some study time for my ICTS testing on Saturday to renew my teaching certificate in Illinois. Yep again, I'm a certified secondary teacher in the geography and earth/solar science subjects. I need to pass these tests though and I'm not good at that kind of pressure. Can't imagine the stress going back to work would hold for me someday, but testing is no picnic either.

No travel this week, but maybe some trips to the forest preserves or library to gently ween the triple G threat away for the two months of break. Can't have them getting soft, but need them to be ready for an amazing 1st and 2nd grade year. No major wisdom to impart and no major gifts to give, just really glad that the lessons and pursuance of their completion is on hold for a few months.

What will I do with the two months you ask? Well, I've already started. The garden is set as much as it's going to within my power. I can do no more to make it work. Sun, water and soil is how that "bird's gonna fly." Daddy and I washed the concrete basement walls down and I put a coat of paint (a whole paint can off the mis-tint table at home store) on those walls. The storage is now stored and play in the cooler basement will commence during the summer.

What more? Well, there is this living room, entry hallway and stairway that need a wash and coat of paint. IT maybe be one more can of paint off my shelf and that's ok with me! Then, maybe a wood floor compliments of the government's economic incentive check. We'll see if the Daddy can part with it for a wood floor in the living and dining rooms.

Bedtime for these people here and I hope/pray a good week ahead. My best to y'all too.