Saturday, August 14, 2010

Days of Play--Alphabet

Spend some time today working with the alphabet. 
  • Sing the alphabet song.  Do the alphabet in sign language.  
  • Go through the alphabet and think of an animal that starts with each letter (aardvark, beaver, coyote ...).
  • Eat alphabet soup.  
  • If you really want to have a good time, get on the ground and see how many letters you can make with your body.  
Your kids will love learning with you!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Date Night In--Themed Dinner and a Movie

I think "dinner and a movie" is the most common date night in (at least around our house).  Though it's common, there is no reason this date has to be boring.

Why not plan a themed dinner and a movie?  Eat and dress according to the movie theme.

For example:
Western Theme

  • Wear jeans, big belts, boots and hats
  • Eat bbq
  • Watch a western like Tombstone, Quigley Down Under, City Slickers, or Young Guns.
Vegas Theme

  • Wear a cocktail dress/suit
  • Eat hors d'oeuvres
  • Drink mocktails
  • Watch What Happens in Vegas, Honeymoon in Vegas, The Cooler, or Ocean's Eleven
80's Theme
  • Tag your jeans, wear three pairs of socks with some Keds, over-do the blue eyeshadow and rat your hair 
  • Dine on Hamburger Helper (which came out in the 80's) or blackened chicken with mud pie for dessert
  • Drink Daquiries
  • Watch The Wedding Singer, Sixteen Candles, Goonies, or Ferris Buellar's Day Off
Any other theme suggestions?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Things I Love--Not So Much

Sometimes my Things I Love day starts to feel a bit too PollyAnna for me--like I love everything.  Sadly, this is not the case.  So today, let me share some things I DON'T love.

Okay, birds are mostly harmless but I think their eyes are weird and they are dirty little creatures.  But what I really hate is birds waking me up at 5:00 am with their pretty songs.  I love birds singing after 7:00 am.  Before then--Boo Hiss!  Sorry.  I will be happy to accept my "grump of the morning" award now.

I can't stand corn.  I know, I know--you're thinking "How can anyone not like corn?  It's so good with butter and salt!"  LOTS of things are good when you smear them with butter and salt (popcorn, beets, asparagus, brussle sprouts...) so don't try to sway me with that one.  I don't know why but the corn flavor does nothing for me.  And I hate that it gets stuck in your teeth.  And has a specific type of poop named after it (corn poop).  And that it is all starch and no nutrition.  When it comes to me, you can have my serving of corn.  Deal?

I love clean children but I hate bath time.  You probably just gasped because like 90% of moms think bath time is a blast but I can't stand it.  I get wet.  The floor gets wet.  The tub gets ring around the tub (which means I have to clean it when I'm done cleaning the kids).  Suds in eyes, fighting over bath tub toys, trying to find where my turkey baster is (of course it's in the tub, that's an obvious bath time toy, right?)...  I wish I had a better attitude when it comes to bath time but I don't.

 Yes, that is poop.  No, not corn poop.  Yes, I got him out of the tub before he got a hold of it!

When I was on the nest with my first child the news was always so traumatic (or maybe it was the hormones) that I always ended up being a teary-eyed mess.  Shortly after my daughter was born I was having discussions with Matt about whether we would humanely kill her if society got *really* bad--you know, in the event that something like the holocaust were to happen again (you know what Nazis did to babies, right? *shudder*). 

Okay, not sound thoughts.  But if you've watched the news it's bad, on top of bad, with bad statistics, bad politics, bad celebrities, and bad news people pretending they are the only one's who aren't spinning the news. 

I haven't watched the news in four years and I gotta tell you, I feel great!  Now I can read news articles I'm interested in in about fifteen minutes a day.  No commercials.
What do you love to hate?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What I Think About--Homeschooling (Advice Appreciated)

As an educator, I'm passionate about teaching and learning.  I have definite ideas about what I want my kids to learn and how I think they should learn.  The problem is my teaching style and philosophies are WAY outside of the box when it comes to traditional public schooling (don't get me started on reward systems or homework).  Ergo, I've always assumed I would home school my children.

Whenever I mention this to people they give me "looks" and even a few judgmental comments:
  • Are you qualified? (Let's see, I have a BA in secondary education and middle school, a Master's in teaching history, I'm a year and a bit away from a doctorate in curriculum and instruction, I have teaching experience from k-college ... what do you think?)
  • Aren't you afraid your kids won't have social opportunities? (You mean outside of church groups, family, friends, soccer, dance, music, volunteering, 4-H, and play dates? Yeah, I think socialization starts before school, happens in places besides school, and continues post-school.)
  • Don't you know that home school graduates aren't taken seriously in the "real world"? (Really?  I wonder why every home schooled graduate I know has gotten into a good--I mean a REALLY good university?)
I clearly see many benefits to home schooling:
  • freedom of curriculum, 
  • freedom of time (no bus chasing), 
  • emotional freedom (no boredom waiting for other kids, less peer-pressure, less feeling bad if you don't keep up in math), 
  • one-on-one instruction,  
  • no busywork (or homework!)
  • field trips and volunteering possibilities ...

Not everything about homeschooling is positive, though.
  • Like time!  It is true that homeschooling my children will mean that I won't be running on a school district schedule but it takes time to plan, enact, and grade lessons.  
  • And you are around your kids 24/7 with no break! 
  • Homeschooling can be expensive too.  The curriculum costs a bundle.  There are virtual schools out there that offer curriculum but not necessarily the curriculum I'd like.  
  • Finally, it is hard to live outside of the perceived norm.
My oldest child isn't ready for kindergarten this year.  We are one year away.  But as soon as I see school supplies hit the floor in Target I start to falter on whether or not homeschooling is right for her.  She comes alive in her preschool and flourishes with her friends.  Will I rob her something if I home school her?  On the other hand, if I don't home school her, will she receive what I call a "mis-education"?  Will she be a small, shy voice lost in a sea of busy-bodies?  Will she be just another score on the PAWS test?  What is best for her?  For our family?

I just don't know.  And it's really tough on me because I've always been sure that I'd be sure about teaching her.  Am I wrong?

In sum, I don't know WHAT I THINK about homeschooling.  Thoughts are bum-tumbling in my head.  Do you or were you home schooled?  What do you think of it?  Pros/Cons?  I'd love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and opinions!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Your Words--How I Met Your Father

I met Matt at a party at the corner of Ninth and Ivinson during our early college days.  I was on a date with one of his friends (and by on a date I mean I was acting as a DD for some drunk punk who let another guy spill an entire glass of beer on me.  I should probably mention I was in a bad mood by the time I met Matt).  I was wet, smelly, and sulking in the corner of a room (which Matt thought made me look mysterious and sexy).  He came and started talking with me.  I asked him about his silver cross and we shared our testimonies.  He tried a line on me ("So, if I were to look you up in the phone book, what name would I look under?"  To which I replied, "I'm unlisted"--and I really was, "but I'd be happy to give you my number if you'd like it.)

When he picked me up for our first date his hair was yellow (a frosting accident.  This is why he stopped frosting his hair tips--thank goodness!).  We watched the Matrix and talked forever.  Our second date we never really "met up" because we didn't get off the phone ... for EIGHT hours.

And he'll LOVE that I admit this but I initiated the first smooch!

One day you'll have to tell your children all about how you met their daddy--where, when, first dates ... Practice now.

Where did you meet your husband?  Where were you?  What did you do on your first date?  Who initiated the first kiss?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What's Cookin'--8/9-8/15

Monday--Honey Pepper Pork loin and garlic couscous
Tuesday--Sweet and Spicy Chicken with veggie pasta salad
Wednesday--Quiche with salad
Thursday--Cranberry chicken and wild rice
Friday--Asain chicken salad
Saturday--BBQ ribs and raw veggies
Sunday--grilled flank steak and baked potatoes