No dirt here!

I love my front garden, it has a long way to go but it gives me great satisfaction to see flowers blooming and plants growing. What I don't like is dirt, to be more precise I don't like dirt on my hands and under my nails. In fact for years I thought that I did not like working in the garden due to the fact that I had always been schooled in the the line about how "real" it was to have one's hands in the dirt, feeling the earth and that true gardeners worked bare handed and relished the feeling of dirt in their nails but not me. That feeling... well to me.. well lets just not speak further since it gives me those freaky little chills up my back..eeeewww.

For me that all changed upon meeting a woman with a most spectacular garden and with it a most spectacular collection of garden gloves!.. Floral, stripes, leather, neoprene and more. She also had the most beautiful hands and a lovely manicure and yet worked like plowhorse creating a most eyepoping front yard by hand. It was from her that I learned that it was alright to glove up for work in the yard and then dig, pull and plant with wild abandon. From her I got my first pair of cotton work gloves from which I have gone on to buy many others over the years. All bright, all colorful and all that have gotten beaten to hell, lost, planted and one pair even met a rather grizzly end under the blades of our mulching mower!

So this year for Mother's Day I am asking that each of the kids pick me out a new pair of gloves and with luck they will last me through the summer. The rather nifty collection below was a gift recieved by another glove-loving soul on the internet, that lucky lady!

This blog entry is sponsored by Midol and an identity crisis

Join me now... while I sing, ~I love being a Girl~ Ugh. When in fact I do really love being a girl, (to be able to just look at a man and have him go slack jawed, yeh it's nice). but with the exception of my cycle and the mood swings that go with it. It's really more cosmic payback, karma x100, the divine laughing at me... you get it right?
All through my teen years, my 20's my middle 30's I had very little trouble with my periods, I mean it's not that I had a lot of them between 20-35 since in that time I was pregnant 9 times and gave birth to 6 children so even if you calculate in the miscarriages it was not a lot of time to cycle and i was sort of smug about my lack of trouble with the whole thing. In fact I just did not get WHAT other women were whining about, now I do. So thus is my payback. `~sigh~


In other non-bloated news I have been thinking through my first few months of 40 and trying to figure out who I want to be for the next ten years, what I want to accomplish and how I want to care for myself. I am still working on the weight, getting my hair cut this week and those vital parts waxed and buffed and even looking at some Summer clothes so I can feel good about how I look even if I am just around the house. To me this is important since I am the person my kids spend a lot of time with I think it's rather important to put my best foot forward for them as well as for myself. But it still leaves me with the question... I am a going to be more Ina-style or Nigella style... which would you pick and why?

For those who might be wondering

I have not lost a freaking pound and in fact it seems that due to the wonders of water weight gain I now weigh 2 more pounds than when I started this stupid diet. The only possible upside is that I really like this scale and am thinking of ordering it. It would come in handy since along with the weight I have gained in honor of being 40 my eyesight is going at a rapid rate and seeing clearly down to my feet to read the digital scale we have now is becoming a bit of a challenge. ugh

And they are off!.....

Believe me when I tell you that this might be my only 6 am blog post.. ever!.. Today my husband the little boys left out at 5am to catch a plan to the Windy City. I am totally excited for them and totally nervous beyond measure at the same time. Sort of that the same feeling I got the first time I saw those two little pink lines on the pregnancy test oh so many years ago.

It's going to be a whirl wind weekend and I am sure that they are going to have a great time seeing the sights and seeing Les's brother and SIL. I worry about the flying, I worry about the kids getting lost, I worry that.. well I just worry but it has not stoped me from letting them go. I well know that we never know how much time we have on the earth with the ones we love. It should be as joyful and adventurous as possible, but if you happen to be of that mind, hold them safe in your heart ..ok????

Update: The trip was grand.. the kids had a blast and are already planning their next get away with daddy!

The Day I Fell Off the World

It's this spinning planet, I just can't seem to keep up these days and for that I am sorry. There are a million times each day that I think " I should put that on my blog"... then more life happens and there is no time. Right now I am even sneaking time, or the better word might be stealing since it feels like it. Like I am snatching a precious jewel of moments to do something for myself while all the while other pressing things like laundry and dishes and floors that need sweeping call to me in scornful tones due to my inability to get it all done. ~sigh~

Above is a sneak peak of a project that is in it's last stages. It's to go with an article I wrote for The Link magazine. I think the article that this pattern will go with is to be published some time in late May or early June and I am trying to get it ready ahead of time, novel concept hu?. In any case it's the Vintage Scissor Keeper that was inspired by our study of the Victorian and Pioneer women and their superb care of their tools. Above you can see my sweet little guy Sam working on sewing on the little bird and nest that he picked for the front of his keeper.. toooo
So if I am a little quite, please forgive. I am just trying to find balance while all the while juggling the balls that are my life.

A Typical Day

Over the the course of our homeschooling years I try to take some time each year to record what is going on in our schooling so we will have something to look back on as the years pass and senility overcomes me *G* Not to mention that people are always asking me what our day looks like so it's nice to give them some idea.

Today is April 7th, 2008 and we currently have 4 kids homeschooling and 1 for all intents and purposes who is done and will get his diploma at the end of this school year in May.

My day began at the crack of 8am and then again at 8:45, I only closed my eyes for what I thought was a second to then be bolted awake by two kids fighting about the correct order to add the eggs and the milk when making crepes. Yes I know, it seems all you read about is the moms who are up at 5 am making time for personal devotions and feeding chickens, but that's not me and we don't own any chickens.

Husband is out of town on business and he would have been way gone by now anyway so I listen a bit more to see if the crepe recipe argument is going to escalate into the danger zone, decide it's not and slip out of bed and get dressed in relative silence while I contemplate what will be going on during our day.

I make my way downstairs with a pile of laundry in my arms, step over a cat on the staircase and let it be known that we will be getting to lessons as soon as I wolf down some breakfast. To this I am greeted with a chorus of objections that they were not done making crepes as was evidenced by the cavalcade of bowls and flour containers on the counter tops. I relent, and request some raspberry crepes and settle down to answer and few emails and pull some visuals of the black death to go along with the video we are going to watch on the very subject.

I eat my crepes and wash them down with some diet coke ( yeh, I don't drink coffee and juice spikes my blood sugar too high) I print off the black death doctor's masks and pop new ink cartridges into the printer cursing the price of ink under my breath. I send out my second warning that we are going to get moving on lessons, it's now 9:45. I settle one kid into his math on the computer, one into his book, daughter into ACT prep book and I start a reading lesson with the youngest.

Thirty-ish minutes pass and we are done with 3 reading lessons and 1/2 a chapter of reading to me from a Magic Tree House book. One son is done with computer math and and other is done with this reading so I switch them around, daughter asks ACT prep questions which I cannot answer and we must go look up. Set youngest with Grammar lesson and copy work.

30-40 minutes pass with me floating between all the kids answering questions and prompting better attention to task. Attention is seeming to flag on all fronts so I hand out snacks to everyone ( little cups of almonds and cheese sticks - don't get real impressed, we were out of cookies)

After snacks were consumed thus engaging the need to bathroom daughter get back to ACT and older son is directed towards his Grammar and away from his serious practise of the air guitar and drums. Little one works on his math while I teach other son the mysteries of diagramming a sentence. We do two diagramming worksheets while youngest does his math.

It's about noon and I get out the video (netflix-History Channel) on the Black Death, we pop some popcorn ( weird hu?) and I settle in to watch it with the younger boys. Lots of questions and stopping of the video ensue so that we can talk and answer questions. So 40 minute video takes an hour to watch. Then hand video to teen son to watch and the young boys and I do a journal page dealing with what they learned about the black death. I use the print outs that I made earlier and we find a great drawing of some evil looking rats and some great drawings of other black death points of ghoulish interest to put in our books. With journal and copy work this takes about an hour. It's now 2 pm, time for a fast lunch and then into the pool!!

The boys swam for about an hour while I did some email ( got to love pool side wireless Internet!).. 3ish we came up, i did some laundry, took teen son to the hardware store to get some rosin core soldier for some guitar repair work he is doing, swing by library and pick up books, come home, teen daughter asks me about dinner and she starts getting it ready while I make this post.

The evening will hold housework, more laundry and if I am lucky a bit of sewing or crafting. We need more milk, there is a suspicious stain on the sofa and guilty looking Great Dane, this was my life today.

Jumping Ship

As most people know I am diehard fan of Math-U-See and have used it with great success with my kids, both those who are math-minded and those not. It was not the first math we ever used but it was the first that the kids did not wail about. I have nothing bad to say about MUS and will still recommend it as one of the best ways I know to build a firm math foundation from the ground up and will continue to use it with my youngest child.

But... you knew there was going to be a "but" didn't you?? For the other kids we have switched to Teaching Textbooks and could not be more thrilled. So.. now I am sure you are asking... "if you were so happy with MUS why switch? The answer is pretty easy, TT is a "white board" DVD program that walks students through every problem in the book should they need help with that problem. The friendly disembodied voice never looses his temper, or lord forbid forgets how to factor a polynomial (quit looking at me!) and then feeling like a total fool in front of his child. The only down side to the program would have to be the price, but for what in essence becomes a full time tutor it's cheap at twice the price. Oh.. did I mention that it also keeps the grade book for you, grades all the work and lets you see how your child did on each problem?

..yeh...worth the price! Check out the website and the demos. The program starts with 5th grade work and on up but they plan on more books soon and I could not be more thrilled.

I Let My Kids Play with Sharp Things!

Yep, once again guilty as charged. Here is the proof! It's Sammy carving the stamp that he is using for this Birthday party invitation. For those who have not done carving before a great way to check out all the fun is with a Speedball easy kit. Much easier and softer than lino carving it's a prefect way to have some fun and make something totally cool! Make no mistake, these tools are sharp, in fact they are safer when they are sharp since when in top condition they smoothly like a hot knife through butter.
In the photo below Sam's shows us exactly NOT how to position your fingers and just seconds after this shot he nicked his finger with the tool. No real harm done and he was back to carving after a small bandage and a kiss.

If you want to learn more about carving check out this sight amoung many others out there on the WWW.

Please also drop by over at my other site The Crafty Homeschooler and see the sneak peek of my newest pattern and hear all about the details of the project.