Category Archives: daily life

Two Weeks Down — 34 to Go



Just finished up our second four-day week of school (Labor Day). I am happy to report that it was an excellent week, with many solid hours of instruction and work put in by all of us.

Some highlights of the week:

A science experiment that worked!(photo of the kids’ feet demonstrating how our skin lets off water vapor)
Another wonderful poem written by Eli.
More good readings from “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – for Teens”
Happy, engaged students.
A positive outcome to the tragedy of running out of printer ink right at the wrong time.
Two whole weeks of homeschooling using the same methods and not thinking I need to make any major changes.

Adjustments next week include having Anna-Jessie tackle math earlier in the day since she tends to do everything else first. Also, I want to help her get more organized with her reading. And, lastly, continue to adjust how I give out assignments to students who are in two completely different grades, but doing mostly the same curriculum.

Oh Good Grief

In my decluttering attempts, I got rid of a really big desk and took a bunch of stuff to the basement. It appears that I may have alertly taken my last two packs of checks down there and they are somewhere. I discovered today that I don’t know where they are. This is bad.

Well, since I couldn’t remember whether I even had any more checks, I couldn’t remember the next number I was supposed to order. So, first I tried to order from the bank website, which is where I normally order. But I ran into snag after snag, mostly because I didn’t know that number. Next, I tried VistaPrint (Home of the Free Stuff!). I slogged through the process of entering all the data, waiting forever for everything to load, etc., and finally got to the part where I was supposed to get my free checks. They rightly figured that once you have gone through the extremely lengthy process to order your free 25 checks, you might figure it would be worth it to go ahead and get 150 for only $9.99. OK, sure, go ahead. The next screen asks me if I want duplicate checks for another $1.50. OF COURSE I want duplicate checks. Then we have to choose the shipping method — one of the choices was called VERY SLOW. Finally, I think we are about ready to check out.

BUT NO. Now I have the opportunity to go ahead and order business cards and notepads on this screen. And now a nice magnetized box for my post-its or some labels on this screen. After two or three MORE screens, I got the one that said I had earned a free magazine subscription, and I couldn’t find anywhere that I could say I didn’t want the magazine. How much time have I spent on this by now?

Finally, I said. FORGET IT!!!!

Got back on the bank website, called the bank to find out what is the stupid check number I need. Bank can’t tell me but transferred me to the check company who can. But the check company has to make sure it is really me going through this ordeal, so I have to verify everything under the sun. Getting the mysterious number from the check company is what told me I have some checks around here somewhere.

Back to the check company website to place the order. Finally, finally, finally, it is in process.

People out there probably like Vista Print, but I found the interminable upselling to be maddening. And I was reminded, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!

Eating without Distractions


This lady has the right idea, or you would certainly think so if you came to my house. Every one of us loves to read while we eat — we’ll even read the cereal box if there is nothing else available. (I think reading while eating is “the thinking man’s” version of reading while watching tv.)

Since we have five growing children in the house, we have noticed this phenomenon that happens — I go grocery shopping and bring the groceries home. The kids unload the car, and emit loud exclamations of enthusiasm as they see all the good food. As I unload the bags and put the food away, the mongering hordes swoop in and pick up a bag of this and a carton of that and four or five pieces of fruit (per person). I can’t even get the food put away before a decent amount of it is eaten.

The problem is, sometimes, a lot of times, we don’t eat until we are full. We eat until the bag is empty, or we have finished the page/chapter/book/article. I think I have alluded elsewhere to my love/hate relationship with food and eating, and I would rather not pass that along to our kids, even though I may do it unintentionally.

I recently posted a sign on the fishbowl on our dining room table asking everyone to refrain from reading while eating and I explained my thinking. Each time we eat now, we use bowls, plates, silverware, etc., and even NAPKINS! I asked everyone, as an experiment, to just focus on the eating process, the texture and taste of the food.

Here’s what I have found out. Eating is boring! If I’m reading a book, I can chew crispy foods for a long time. If I am sitting at the table, I can’t chew quite as much food. I just don’t want to take the time.

Do you think this could be a major diet phenomena all over the world? Could I get famous and be on Oprah? Maybe not and maybe not, but if I only eat while I’m doing nothing else, I bet I might even lose some weight.

State of the Union

Well, pshaw.

Greg took the [one phone charger we can find] off on his business trip (at my suggestion and with my blessing) and my phone is doing that desperate gulping thing it does as it slowly fades into oblivion.

We have cinched the belt really tight over the past week cause we sort of overspent and there was no room for foolishness since the mortgage was to be deducted yesterday. So we are down to a can of beets in the pantry, some really old leftovers in the fridge, and not a crumb in the snack cabinet. Imagine my SURPRISE!! when I discovered this morning in my daily online banking session that I had alertly and secretly arranged for the rest of Valerie’s camp fee to be deducted yesterday! So all our hard work to avoid being overdrawn by the mortgage was all for naught. And to that, I utilize a swear word I learned from my father — Fat!!

And this silly yearbook that I foolishly agreed to single-handedly create on a program I do not know how to use? Foolish, foolish. Why? Why did I agree to this? Just because there is one senior who wishes to have a yearbook. Good reason? I think not. But nevertheless I have alertly committed myself to the “little” project.

The good news is I know there is another phone charger if I can just unearth it; I have two checks to deposit and being overdrawn in the morning but not in the evening is just like not being overdrawn at all, so I will be waiting at the drive-through at 9:00 sharp; and somehow this yearbook will get done even if I have to use Microsoft Word. So, don’t cry for me, Argentina! I still have the best deal around when it comes to an outstanding hubby, and fine children who are strong and brave. I just hope they don’t mind beet pancakes for breakfast.

Friday. Finally.

This was the last week for the kids’ homeschooling classes, so it was a busy week finishing up all the homework that was due and/or overdue on the part of one young man in our home. Val finished up everything pretty much on her own. Joel and I had a nice, exhausting day finishing up his work. Not that I did his work for him, mind you, just sat upon him, more or less, to keep him focused and making progress.

Wednesday, the very last day for the year, kept me busy with a used book sale I had organized. It was quite enjoyable, but as usual on Wednesday, I ended the day pretty much used up physically and emotionally.

Yesterday, I started the process of digging out from under all the things I had postponed while trying to finish up the year.

Ho hum. Not too terribly exciting, I know. But things are always hoppin’ around here and I guess I kind of like the idea that I am SUPER BUSY and always have lots of things to accomplish. Because I still have many things to do and ideas to implement and hobbies to start and emails to write and places to go and books to read. I like being busy, but I hate being so busy that I don’t have any time to just hang out and do something I really want to do.

So, I guess the moral is. Busy good, if busy with stuff I want to be busy with. Busy not good, if I’m just having to do a bunch of stuff I do not want to do.

Thank you for listening.