29 January 2008

Misc. Stuff

Emily's beginning to talk more. Up until a couple days ago, she's been saying simple sounds for words. Mmm for milk. Buh for book, Luh for light. Wuh for water. Sunday, she started putting syllables together. She now says buh-buh for bubbles. She's also becoming more verbal, trying out more "words."

Emily is showing some great thought processes. When she knows I'm making dinner, she starts setting the table. The plates are in a low cabinet she can reach. She always notices spiders or moths. She points them out to me fully expecting me to kill them. The other night, there was a spider on the ceiling above the sofa. I told her I couldn't reach. (I also didn't really want to get up and deal with it) Well, she ran into the kitchen and started dragging the step-stool out, so I could reach. Also, when I change her diaper, she grabs the dirty one and puts on my slippers so she can take it out to the garbage outside. She also tries to put away the towels and washcloths as soon as I fold them. Now, I don't expect her to do any of these chores. She's not even two years old, after all. But, she sees us doing them and she makes the connections. I wish my other two were half as excited about doing chores.

Katie hasn't been feeling well. She's been sleeping a lot and running a fever. She slept until about 1pm today. when she woke up she asked for breakfast and ice water. As soon as she had those, she asked if I'd make sugar cookies. I don't know where she got this idea. I don't think I've made sugar cookies in at least two years.

Tiffany had a science lesson about the life cycle of frogs today. In the lesson it was mentioned that frog eggs look a lot like tapioca. She asked what tapioca is. I tried to explain it, but it's hard to imagine if you've never had it before. I bought some tapioca while I was shopping this evening, so she could experience it first hand. Besides, I kind of like tapioca pudding.

26 January 2008

Spelling Bee

Tiffany participated in her first spelling bee yesterday. It was good that she wanted to try because it helped her immensely with spelling. It got her thinking more about how words go together, and she's not skipping the vowels so much anymore. I think she had fun doing it. They gave all the children who participated a prize and took their picture.

23 January 2008

Ice Skating Take 3

I finally remembered my camera!

Katie started out with the glider again. During the lesson, the instructor pulled the children along with a jumprope. At first, Katie declined, knowing that she'd have to give up the glider. After she saw the other children having fun being towed, she cast it aside and allowed the instructor to tow her. She didn't go back to it for the rest of the lesson. After the lesson, however, she skated off and on with it. She found she could really pick up speed holding on to the glider.

I made this video just before I made them get off the ice:

22 January 2008

Gingerbread House

Our sweet neighbor gave us a gingerbread house kit for Christmas. Corwin and I don't remember ever making a real gingerbread house before, out of real gingerbread, so this is our first as well as the girls' first. It was fun decorating it, now they want to eat it!

Writing Paragraphs

Tiffany was supposed to write a two paragraph report for her literature class today. Every time she sees the word 'paragraph' she puts up a brick wall where she just freezes up. Now this is third grade curriculum here. The assignment doesn't just say "write two paragraphs," it describes in detail what the child should write, almost sentence for sentence. Tiffany has gotten pretty good at writing complete sentence answers for a question, so it has baffled me as to why writing a paragraph seems such an insurmountable task for her. I think I figured it out today. She doesn't know how to break the assignment down into parts. She sees "do this and this and describe this and answer that" instead of doing it a part at a time. So, I worked with her a little while to use a separate piece of paper and write numbered questions she needs to answer with a sentence to end up with a paragraph. Then she can answer the question out loud to form a complete thought before writing it in the paragraph. We also talked about brainstorming for ideas. I could see she could grasp the concept much better this way and was able to complete the assignment. Of course the next step is getting her to do it all on her own. I think, though, after a couple times, it will all be old hat to her.

21 January 2008

Schedule Update

You're probably wondering how the schedule is working out. Making a strict schedule is probably the best thing I've done with this program yet. It's fantastic! There are a few rough edges that need to be worked out, but Tiffany's getting her work done, and we are finished with school by 3:30, which gives me time to do more of my own chores and have dinner ready on time.

Ok. Here are my rough edges:
1. Around 2:00 we are getting tired. Tiffany starts to go silly, and my nerves start to fry. By this time, we both want a long break.
2. Tiffany says 15 minute breaks aren't long enough. She has trouble finding something to do, then when she finds something there's no time left. She suggested we skip the breaks, but I know she needs them.
3. She wants me to sit beside her while she's doing independent work. This is when I should be doing laundry and my other chores and spending time with the other girls. Sometimes I fold laundry near her, but mainly it's mildly irritating, because she can do it herself, and I have other things to do.

If you have suggestions, please suggest away. :) Other than those items, we're getting along great with the schedule and the school work.

20 January 2008

Whacking the Bush

Corwin got really busy. We have a very large English Laurel taking up most of our front yard space. The previous owners planted the thing only a foot from the house. It covered half the front, width-wise and was taller than the house. Last spring, Corwin cut the top off, and we had a very wide bush, that wasn't as tall. The reasoning behind this is that he did not want the plant to overly suffer by cutting it all back. So, he cut off the top. A little sunlight then penetrated the center, and a few leaves grew through the summer. Now he has cut off the sides and front, effectively decreasing it's width by half. If he hadn't topped it last year, the thing would have no leaves at all! Frankly, I like it better much smaller. It's an evergreen, so it adds winter interest. I had been advocating we get rid of the whole thing, because it's too big for our small front yard. However, I can live with it if it doesn't grow too vigorously this spring.

Here's what it looked like before any trimming took place. You can't see the top, but it's well above the roof line.

This is what it looks like now. Don't worry, it'll fill in. It'll fill out as well, which means more trimming. Notice we have windows? I bet you couldn't tell it from the first picture.

15 January 2008


I was in need of ocr software, so I found this really easy free program to download. For those of you wondering, ocr is a way to convert a paper document to text. If you want to have an editable copy of a document, you scan the document, creating an image file, then using an ocr program to convert it to text. Then, of course, because the software is not perfect, you go through and fix all the errors the software made. It sure beats typing the whole thing out, though. FreeOCR.net did not recognize my network scanner, so I had to scan, save, then open my image files. But, I was pretty impressed with the ocr part of the software.

Ice Skating take 2

Both girls started off using gliders. Katie held on tight throughout her lesson. She wouldn't let go even as the teacher asked them to stretch their arms out. Sigh. But she did learn to go backward a little bit. I guess you just wiggle to do it.

Tiffany used the glider for a few minutes, then gained enough confidence to go it alone. She found some other children to skate with while Katie had her lesson.

During her lesson, Tiffany learned to skate backward, to spin, and to balance on one foot. Of course, she still needs a lot of work, but she did very well. There were four children in Tiffany's class this time. I mentioned the other girl before. The remaining two were brothers who also school with IDVA. We had met them once or twice before, so that was nice. They didn't stay for the half hour after the lesson, but maybe they will next week.

Katie absolutely shocked me later on. The last twenty minutes we were there, she cast off the glider and skated on her own. She was making little baby steps, but she was doing it! I was so happy for her!

Neither girl fell down this time. At all. No injuries. What a relief! I'm sure it built their confidence as well.

14 January 2008

Tiffany gave another talk

I thought after both girls giving talks right after another in primary, I wouldn't have to worry about it for a while. Boy was I wrong! Tiffany changed teachers at the beginning of the year, so maybe the new teacher didn't realize that she just gave a talk. (Katie kept the same teacher, she simply advanced with the children). Well, I helped Tiffany again, suggesting sources and ideas-- which she mostly rejected. (This process took a long time) So, the end result is totally hers. She even found the scripture in Ephesians all by herself. So, I'll include here the text of her talk, because it was truly all hers:

Heavenly Father created the Earth because people needed bodies and needed to learn to be like Him. We can learn to be like Him by obeying His commandments. Heavenly Father has a plan for me to return to Him.

I need to be baptized. When I turn eight, I'm going to baptized. The reason Heavenly Father waits until I'm eight is that I've learned enough to be baptized. I will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and it will guide me. Doctrine and Covenants 39: 6 says “And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire.” Baptism of fire means being confirmed into the church. “and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.”

I need to go to church. I need to learn more about Heavenly Father and Jesus, and to learn the right ways. I like to sing at church. Singing to Heavenly Father and Jesus makes me feel happy. Psalms 108:3 says “I will praise thee, Oh Lord, among the people: and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations.” and in Psalms 66:4 it says “All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name.”

I need to repent. Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-13 says “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath arisen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!”

I need to be good on Earth. Ephesians 6:1-2 says “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)” Obey your parents!

I need to pray often, so I can feel the Spirit guiding me from what is wrong. Doctrine and Covenants 112:10 says “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.”

If I do these things, I will return to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ after I die.

11 January 2008


My children have been asking to use a paint program. They have been used to Tux Paint, which runs on the linux operating system. My computer does dual boot, but it is a lot of trouble to restart just to access Tux Paint. So, I searched on the internet for another free paint program. I found Paint.Net. It is not only a very easy to use paint program for the kids, but an awesome photo editor. I've found various coloring book pages on the internet, which the kids can color in in this program. They love it!

09 January 2008

Dr. Visit

I took Emily to the doctor today. She's more active than she has been, but has developed a cough. We wanted to get her checked out to make sure there wasn't anything more serious going on than a cold. She has an upper respiratory infection. Her lungs are clear. With the cough, that's what I was concerned about. However, both her ears are infected. Her doctor and I decided we would wait before giving her medicine to see if she will clear the infection on her own, or if it gets worse. Now we know what's going on, and what to watch for.

My sister emailed me today to ask about spelling helps. So, besides kidsspell (the link I have on the left), I'm going to add a couple more I've used. If you're interested, please take a look at Discovery Education's Puzzle Maker and a webpage that has a list of spelling game websites.

08 January 2008

Ice Skating

The girls had their first ice skating lessons today.

Katie's lesson was first. Tiffany skated around by herself for that half hour on the other end of the ice rink. I didn't know learning to ice skate was so difficult. There were about 6 children in Katie's class. They had a lot of trouble even moving forward on the ice. They were given a short off the ice lesson on how to fall, how to get up, how to regain balance, etc. Then they were each given a glider- a walker without wheels to help them with balance. At first, the children marched, but didn't go anywhere. It took them a little while to learn how to actually go forward. Soon, the gliders were taken away and they marched on the ice without them. There were a lot of spectacular falls.

Tiffany had a lot of spectacular falls, herself. She could actually propel herself along. I think the roller skating had a lot to do with that. Ice skating is apparently quite different. About 2 minutes before her lesson , she had a hard fall on the back of her head. She got a pretty good sized lump. We put some ice on it, the swelling went down a bit, then she went out for her lesson 5 or 10 minutes later. Her confidence waned, however, so she used a glider for the first bit. The instructor talked her into abandoning it, and she was able to learn to do a little hop and to glide by moving her feet in and out. There was only one other person in Tiffany's class. The instructor wrote lines on the ice, and the girls skated them. At the end of the lesson, the instructor blew bubbles and the girls skated around popping them.

After the lessons, I allowed the girls to skate another 30 minutes before we had to leave. They both skated with gliders. I wasn't too worried about that, because I figure they'll still develop skills with the gliders that will help them be better skaters. Katie got much better at moving herself across the ice, and the falls weren't quite so bad. Neither girl wanted to leave when it was time to go, they wanted to stay and skate all day.

07 January 2008


I added a new link on my side bar. It is for Family Search Indexing. It is a huge genealogical project. When it is finally ready for publication, all the resources (births, deaths, marriages, etc) will be available on Family Search to anybody researching their family, free of charge. They are asking for volunteers to help index books and microfilm that has been scanned in and digitized. So, if you have a spare moment, you, too could volunteer to help. You could just put in ten minutes here or there to help the cause.


We followed the schedule again today, but it didn't work as well. When it was time for math, after lunch, Tiffany just puttered around. It took her two hours to do her assignment. It wasn't because it was hard. It was because she didn't want to do it. I made her finish the assignment before we moved on to the last subject, Language Skills. She continued working on her report, taking her notes and writing an outline. That took two hours as well. She kept jumping up to see what Katie was doing. It all made me very frustrated. I told Tiffany that if she would have to work on it it until it was done, even if it took all night. Well, she was done just in time for her dad to get home from work. Even if she did take longer than expected, she finished her subjects.

I made calzones for dinner. I tried to find some frozen at the store last week, but couldn't find anything beyond pizza bites. So, I made them. The recipe for the dough did not turn out well. It was very sticky, so I had to knead a lot of extra flour in. Other than that they turned out well. I learned the technique of keeping them from being soggy as well. The first one didn't turn out well when I put the sauce down first. So this is how it works. Roll out a circle of dough. On half put cheese, meat, then sauce, then veggies, and last, cheese. Fold in half, crimp the edges, then bake. So, the secret is to put the sauce in the middle.

Emily is still ill. She made me hold her all day. She fell asleep several times, but woke every time I put her down.

Tomorrow is the first day for ice skating lessons. The girls are very excited. During her morning break, Tiffany put on her roller skates to skate on the sidewalks. It snowed most of the day, so she didn't really have a place to skate. She skated behind me as I shoveled the snow off our front walk. She said I was going too slow. I told her to turn around and skate the other way. She really is getting much better with them. (Emily walked around in the snow, then finally got tired and cranky before I was really done, and we came in.)

05 January 2008

It's Saturday!

Friday was a very good day. Since the schedule seemed to be working, I went all out and actually scheduled the whole day. I included two 15 minute breaks and a half hour lunch. Everything went very smoothly, except Tiffany didn't want to go back to work after breaktime, so I threatened to take her breaks away on Monday. She sulkily went back to work. :) So, as much as I didn't want to plan every minute, I have to admit that it worked quite well. School ran from 9:00 to 3:15. Absolutely perfect! I'm a little afraid to find out what errand day will look like, though.

The only bad thing with yesterday is that Emily has come down with a nasty cold, lasting throughout today.

The only remarkable thing we did today was clean and rearrange Tiffany's bedroom. We put her bed near the light-switch, to encourage her to turn off her own light after reading at night. That's the idea, anyway. We'll see how it works out in real life.

Oh, and we planned another project to do before spring. We are going to build a three bin composting system. I've been wanting this for a long time. Right now the compost is laying on top of my garden, but it will have to move by spring, so I can plant there. It will be nice to give my compost a permanent home.

I also forgot to mention that Katie gave her first talk last Sunday. She asked the primary president to help her, so I watched. She did very well. She simply told a story from the Friend magazine in her own words, then told what she felt Jesus would want us to do- "be nice and do good things and believe in him."

03 January 2008

A Day at the Library

Yesterday, we got a full day of school in. Tiffany completed all her required subjects for the day. She's officially off winter break, so that was good. I'm pleased she seems to be overcoming her fear of writing. She only objects once now, then buckles down and does her work. I told her I'd read the math assignment ahead of time so I wouldn't read the monologue out of the book. (I usually just skim to see if it's something she can already do) She was a little dismayed that I still used the book as a reference, until I explained I wasn't reading the lesson. So, I'm getting better, too.

Tiffany started, yesterday, to learn how to write a report. The assignment is to write about an animal from a supplied list. She chose the kiwi. We took a trip to the library today where she found several books to check out, and looked it up in the encyclopedia. She has to record her sources, make subtopics, and take notes under those subtopics. That's what she did today. Actually, I wasn't feeling very well, so when we got home, I lied down, and she read the books and took notes. She pretty much worked on only that all day long. I think it is good for her to get excited about it. I hate to make her put something away for another subject just when she gets excited about what she's doing.

As I said, I didn't feel very well. I was feeling very tired and achy. Why is it that when I feel like that, my children run circles around me? They shout and run and fight.

The trip to the library was a bit frustrating for me. I tried to give Tiffany time to take notes from the two encyclopedias we found. I had her sit at a table, while I stood trying to keep an eye on the other two. I would have sat down and read them a story or several, but for two things. I didn't really feel like it, and neither did they. They wouldn't slow down or sit down to listen. They found some "friends". Katie spent a lot of time talking to the librarian and wandering around the children's area. Emily found a little girl to play with. Now, remember, Emily is 20 months old. The little girl who befriended her was about 4. This little girl kept luring Emily behind a bookshelf where she would proceed to cover Emily's nose and mouth with her hand until Emily fought and screamed. She also pinched her and pulled her hair. And Emily would keep following her around. When Tiffany was finally ready to go, Katie had to use the restroom (and I had to help, because they have automatic toilets which my kids are afraid of), and Emily wanted a drink about a hundred times, and they had both removed their shoes. We found some books from the booksale section, so we had to go to the counter to buy them. The line was really long, so I suggested we check out the books at the automated checker then go to the counter to purchase the others. I set Tiffany up, so she could check out the books. Meanwhile, Katie was under the nearby staircase, and Emily was climbing the stairs. Tiffany finished checking out the books. That was when I realized I only had one dollar on me, so we had to put back two of the books (cash only policy). I sent Tiffany through the line with the money, while I suited up the other two, again. I thought about stopping somewhere on the way home for lunch, but after all that, I decided against it. We went home and I heated up frozen corndogs.

Corwin brought home a pizza, which saved me from making dinner. :)

01 January 2008

A New Year

Happy New Year!

We didn't do a whole lot today. I let the girls go outside to skate for a while. We spent a couple hours on the music curriculum, where so and mi were introduced, and the ta ti-ti rhythm was also introduced. We went grocery shopping, stopped at the library and bookstore. We exchanged some books Tiffany got for Christmas, that she already has. She bought some new Magic Treehouse books, and a Disney Fairies book. She's actually read all the Magic Treehouse books now, and is reading the next books in the series, Merlin's Missions. Her Aunt and Uncle gave her two Disney Fairies books for Christmas, which introduced her to that series. Her grandparents gave her a Mrs. Piggle Wiggle book, which she absolutely loves, introducing her to another series. :) As she says, "I'm addicted to reading!"

We signed up for a netflix account, so we're watching more movies lately than we have in a really long time. (which is why we watched Night at the Museum recently) Netflix has an immediate gratification option where you can watch a streaming movie on your PC. The quality isn't very good, but it's not bad for watching movies you don't care a lot about, but might watch anyway. Tonight we watched Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. It was kid friendly, though Katie thought it slow paced. After the first half hour, she commented several times on how long the movie was. I think the introduction was the best with several clips of early flight attempts and plane crashes. (Which all three children laughed through) The movie was set in 1910 London and was about a race from London to Paris in very rickety early model planes. I gave it 3 stars. It was all right, but I probably wouldn't watch it again any time soon.