Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Oh Goody! A New Book!

Pajama School - stories from the life of a homeschool graduate

One of my favorite bloggers, Jasmine, just blogged about this new book in the homeschool world. Funny title, eh? I'm looking forward to this read. I love reading homeschool success stories; they're so encouraging!

So, um, how often do you school in your pj's??

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hungry in Labor

What do you think of this? Did this happen to you when you were in labor? What reason did they give you for this practice?

Friday, March 27, 2009


But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and respect
~1 Peter 3:15

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Out of the Archives

Once upon a time, I had two toddlers. Elena was 3 and Chloe was 2. Oh, those were the days! The hard days. And I kept telling everyone that I couldn't wait until they were a little bit older. Man, I was struggling. And everyone kept telling me, as some sort of cruel encouragement, that it doesn't get easier when they get older. Boy were they wrong!

I wanted to foster their artistic sides, so I gave them some paper and some markers and then went to fold laundry. Does anyone see anything wrong with my strategy?

Awwww. So cute! Look how precious my little girl was! A little artist in the making.

CHLOE! I only left you alone for 10 minutes and look what trouble you got into! Well, luckily you're still cute, green lips and all. Don't move! I gotta get the camera.

Oh great! Not you too! You're the older one! The more responsible THREE YEAR OLD, for heaven's sake!
(Oh my, what was I thinking?!)

Lucky for them, they stayed cute, even while I cleaned them up and lectured them about proper care and handling of markers. I couldn't stay mad for long.
(After all, it was my fault!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Preschool Reading List, Part 2

Read-Alouds for Four-Year-Olds

Whistle for Willie (and others by Ezra Jack Keats)
Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel
Burt Down, Deep Water Man
Time of Wonder
A New Coat for Anna
When We Were Very Young
Chester the Worldly Pig
The Giving Tree
Gregory's Shadow
Little Toot
Raggedy Ann Stories
Raggedy Andy Stories
The Ugly Duckling
The Taxi That Hurried
The Little Train (and others by Lois Lenski)
A Pair of Red Clogs
The Gingerbread Boy (and others by Paul Galdone)
Babushka's Doll
The Bee Tree (and others by Patricia Polacco)
Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny
Miss Fannie's Hat
The Trellis and the Seed
The Story of Ping
The Rag Coat
God's Wisdom for Little Girls
God's Wisdom for Little Boys

These are our favorites, please comment with your own family favorites.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Multi-Generational Legacy

LOVED this quote:
A smart man learns from his mistakes. A wise man, however, learns from the mistakes of others.

Amen and AMEN!

P.S. If you don't have time to watch all of this, watch the second half. ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Preschool Reading List, Part 1

Read-Alouds For Three-Year-Olds

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (and others by Eric Carle)
Millions of Cats
Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler
Owl Babies
Stranger in the Woods
Lost in the Woods
A Pocket for Corduroy
Harry the Dirty Dog (and other Harry books)
Little Book of Poems
Billy's Picture
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Home for a Bunny
Katy No-Pocket
Kitty's New Doll
McDufff Moves In (and other McDuff books)
Polite Elephant
The Saggy, Baggy Elephant
The Shy Little Kitten
books by Tomie dePaola
Catch Me and Kiss Me and Say It Again
Margaret Wise Brown favorites:
Goodnight Moon
The Big Red Barn
The Color Kittens
Little Fur Family

These are favorites of ours, taken from Simply Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Online. Please comment with your additional favorites!

A Night Out

This is my good friend, Lis. I met her at my monthly Charlotte Mason book club and she now teaches Music Appreciation and Art at our fine arts co-op. Two months ago, she invited me to join her for a night at the symphony. I l o v e the symphony! And luckily for me, her husband doesn't (so I got his ticket!) We sat in the choral terrace, first row & center, directly behind the orchestra. I had never sat behind the orchestra before and it was awesome! We got to see everything as it happened and it was very entertaining watching the facial expressions of the conductor, let me tell you!
A few weeks after our "date", I took the kids to the symphony and I specifically requested the choral terrace. I'm taking the kids again next month and we'll sit in our new favorite spot once again. I can't wait. And they can't either.
Thanks, Lis, for that tip! You're the best!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Freedom of Speech

I have noticed a trend in internet circles. People can say whatever they want, however they want, and no one should be offended. We say things to people over the internet that (hopefully) we would never say face to face.
But is this "If you're offended, that's not my fault" attitude biblical?

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

~ Colossians 4:6

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

~ Ephesians 4:29

I think it's easy in the cyber world to forget that it is real people with real flesh and blood who read our typed words. People who may not know Christ, but who know that we do. It's easy to disregard their sensitivities (or discernment) and hurt feelings. But as Christians, can we really afford to do that? Can we afford to care so little about the testimony and witness we give of the Lord we say we serve?

May our words, spoken or typed, always be seasoned with grace, edifying to those who hear or read. May my own testimony bring God glory, and not cause others to stumble. On my own, I can do nothing well. Praise God that He is willing to speak and minister through me, if only I will let Him.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Kindergarten Reading List

The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne and Ernest H. Shepard

All Beatrix Potter books
The Little House by Virginia Burton
The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Ox-Cart Man by Barbara Cooney
Stone Soup and other folk tale retellings by Marcia Brown
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
The Story of Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman

Brer Rabbit books by Joel Chandler Harris
Poems and Prayers for the Very Young by Martha Alexander
A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
A good collection including classic stories and folktales such as The Little Red Hen, The Gingerbread Man, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Aesop's Fables
Mother Goose collection
Poems for Young Children compiled by Caroline Royds
The Oxford Book of Children's Verse edited by Peter Opie

The Church Mice and others in this series by Graham Oakley.

Hiawatha by Longfellow, illustrated by Susan Jeffers

Paul Revere's Ride by Longfellow, illustrated by Ted Rand

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Ted Rand

Picture books depicting Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, such as The Elephant's Child

Roxaboxen by Barbara Cooney

The Tale of Three Trees illustrated by Angela Elwell Hunt

Wynken, Blynken and Nod illustrated by either Susan Jeffers or Barbara Cooney

Taken from Ambleside Online.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Patience Equals Money

Well, I did it! I really did it! And you have no idea just how proud I am of myself! I twisted Maya's hair myself! Woo-Hoo! (Normally I pay $60/month to have her hair professionally twisted and it takes 2 hours. It took me 4 hours, but it was free.)

Remember when I said that I cut everyone's hair myself, just so I'll have enough money to have Maya's hair done? Well no longer!! Now I can have Chloe's hair professionally cut if I want to! Or color my hair purple if I feel so inclined! Or purchase my weight in hair clips so we'll never run out of the pink ones! (We never have enough pink hair clips. Never.)

What an exhilerating feeling!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Many Worthy Books

We owe it to every child to put him in communication with great minds that he may get at great thoughts; … and the only vital method of education appears to be that children should read worthy books, many worthy books.

-Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education

This is one of my favorite quotes of Charlotte Mason because it sums up my own philosophy of education, which of course, I stole from her.
At my CM Book Club last week, one of the ladies was asking how you develop vocabulary and grammar, since those subjects are not directly taught in the elementary years of a Charlotte Mason education. They are taught indirectly through great literature. The most effective way to develop excellent vocabulary and grammar is by reading quality books. Many worthy books, Miss Mason would say.
When I am reading to the children, I don't stop to explain what words mean. We don't interrupt a great story to pull out the dictionary. I just keep reading. Think about it: when you talk, talk, talk to your little toddler, you don't stop to explain what a word means. You know that your chubby 1 year old doesn't know the meaning of yesterday or soon or maybe. But they figure it out. You just keep talking and they will start to use those words long before they really understand them fully.
A year ago, Maya was explaining something that happened to her in Liberia and she used the word "vexed". She used it correctly, but it really threw me off and I asked her what that meant. She said: "Um, it's like confused and angry." Um, yes, Maya that's exactly what it means. (She had heard it four or five times in Pilgrim's Progress.)
Isaac, who couldn't speak a lick of proper English at the time of adoption, because Liberian English is much better described as Creole than English, has started correcting his own grammar as he speaks. And not because he's slaving through a huge grammar workbook. He isn't. He just hears excellent grammar all day every day. (Through the literature; I don't claim to have perfect grammar. lol)
This type of thing happens all the time. And all because we simply read many worthy books.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Always Faithful

I had said that God would be my comfort, but I could not have imagined the lengths He would go to to show me this side of Him again. During the miscarriage, my hormones (aka emotions) were all over the place. Up and down. Up and down. I very quickly had to remind myself: I cannot trust my emotions.
The first day that I was down, I received a call from our pastor's wife telling me that she was going to bring us a meal and would lunch or dinner be better? She went on to tell me about a fairly recent miscarriage she had and was very encouraging. She talked to me for a good long while and I felt like my hand was being held through the process.
The next day that my emotions were down and I was irrational and wanting to crawl into a hole for the remainder of the day, I received a card in the mail which basically said: I know sometimes when things are hard, you just want to quit, but God is there. He is faithful and He will comfort you.
And someone brought me lunch that day when I was too melancholy to even realize how late it was and how hungry I was. Shocking how food alone can bring the emotions back into balance. ;)
Two days later, when I was doing much better but it still wasn't over, a friend from church called wanting to bring us dinner.
Thank you for the cards. Thank you for the meals. Thank you for the encouraging words. Always arriving just when I needed them. Even when I didn't realize I needed them.
And to all those friends who looked me in the eyes and asked, "How are you doing? Really."-- Thank you so much for letting God speak through you. You have no idea how much those simple words of caring meant to me.

This song has been my theme song of late. I hope it blesses you.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Love My Midwife

Robin and newborn Lydia

She just called me today to check on me. This makes the 5th time she has called me over the past week. She just wants to see how I'm doing.
She asked how I was doing physically. Then she asked how I was faring emotionally. Then she asked how I was doing spiritually and told me that she was praying for me, not only to conceive but also to draw closer to the Lord during this time.
Other than pregnancy itself, I am really looking forward to having her come to my house every month again. She is such a blessing.
How many of you know OB/GYNs who make so many personal calls?

I'm so blessed.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Day Mommy Went Shopping

Last weekend, I went to the thrift store to shop for Lydia and Daniel, who have apparently run out of clothes. How did that happen?
When I came home and showed them their new stash, they were giddy. They tried on each outfit and showed it off (Daniel, because I asked him to; Lydia, because she's a girl). It was so much fun for them to be showered with new stuff.

But like every trip to the thrift store, not everyone gets something. Isaac was particularly disappointed with this sad fact of life. Apparently, he was the only one who didn't take my word for it when I said I was going shopping for Daniel and Lydia only.

So, Kyle sympathized with him. (I didn't get anything for Kyle either, poor thing.) They boo-hooed together as I rolled my eyes.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Thank you so much, Shannon! These tiny roses bless me everytime I look at them.

We lost the baby.

Friday, my midwife ordered a sonogram, so Kyle took me to the appointment. I was numb as I left the office and we both immediately started talking about having to tell the kids. That's when I cried. I couldn't handle the thought of having my children disappointed in this way.
Kyle gathered the four big kids and told them. Maya started bawling immediately. We knew she would. Then Elena broke down and cried on my shoulder for a long time. Isaac quickly busied himself washing dishes. Chloe watched everyone's responses with a stoic countenance. Then she started talking about what we were going to do that night.
I am hopeful that this will be a growing experience for my children, spiritually. I am praying that they will learn to lean on God in their sadness, and realize how trustworthy and merciful He is. He is faithful; He is my comfort.

P.S. For those who were concerned about White Willow Bark, I didn't take it while pregnant, but the baby stopped growing 3 weeks ago anyway.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Anti Antibiotics

So, what's so wrong with antibiotics anyway? I mean, there must be some good reason why you'd be willing to hole yourself up with garlic breath for something as serious as Strep, right?

If antibiotics have no side effects, why not? The problem is that they do.

Antibiotics disrupt the immune system, and kill beneficial bacteria along with the pathogens. * Antibiotics also tend to create resistant strands of bacteria so that they do not work effectively when they are really needed. ** A further complicating issue is that strep bacteria typically do not disappear from the throat after a course of antibiotics. The bacteria will persist even after signs of the infection have disappeared. If a throat culture is taken after some later date, the bacteria will still be present and another antibiotic prescription will follow even though there is no active infection. Finally, studies have shown that when antibiotics are given for strep throat, the infection tends to recur more often than when they are not prescribed.
-Taken from Holistic Pediatric Association.

* This is why many people who take antibiotics, also consume lots of Acidophilus, to counteract this. They're helping to avoid the common resulting yeast infection.

** Any doctor who tells you otherwise, is a doctor who should be replaced. You're in charge. Hire a new doc.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Brace Face

Elena got braces! Only six because those are the only teeth that are a concern, but she does have crazy crooked teeth. She knows, it doesn't hurt her feelings. To her, it just means she get braces. How cool is that?!
I wish I could have captured this moment better. Elena just had the braces put on and was asked to rinse the "yucky taste" out of her mouth. All 5 siblings are standing there next to her, swishing imaginary mouthwash. The orthodontist was laughing, "Look how supportive they all are!"
Elena is extremely proud of this new smile. And since she isn't out-schooled and won't be able to truly experience the name-calling that goes along with braces, Kyle and I have taken to calling her "brace face" and "metal mouth". She just giggles. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

White Willow Bark

I was totally giddy about finding this herb! Tylenol has been my last hold out as far as drugs I'm willing to take, even though I know good and well it depletes the body of Vitamin C. There's an herb for everything, and this one is much better than the medical substitute.
When I decided that there just must be an herb I could take for pain, I looked it up in my handy-dandy, favorite herb book. It never lets me down. I found some very interesting information:

In 1827, Leroux, a French Chemist extracted a substance he called "Salicin" from the bark of the White Willow tree. Salicin is the pain relieving, main active ingredient of White Willow. In Germany, in 1899, Hofman and Bayer created a synthetic form of White Willow and marketed it commercially as "aspirin".

Aspirin is simply a synthetic form of White Willow. It performs the same role in the body as aspirin, but doesn't have the side effects of aspirin.

The three major uses of White Willow Bark:
1. Reduces fever
2. Pain reliever
3. Anti-inflammatory

Sound familiar?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thank You, Joshua!

My good friend, Lis, came over last night to do a book swap with me. In the bag of books that she left were these "Get Well" flowers made by her kids, Joshua and Candace. Isn't that a beautiful flower bracelet?  Candace made that for me. I love it and wore all evening.  

Joshua also gave me more Get Well flowers with long stems. I put them in my crystal vase. It's the fanciest vase I have. I wanted to show off my beautiful flowers. 

I absolutely love these, Joshua. Thanks so much to both of you for being so thoughtful!

Journal From One Quarintined, Pt. 2


Throat no longer hurting and swelling has gone down noticeably. I can talk again, without sounding like a have a golf ball in my throat. Great feeling. I'm not keen on embarrassing myself with nasal speak.

Still have a fever and serious sinus congestion. Boiled a pot full of water, added 2 tsp of Peppermint leaves, 1 heaping tsp. each of rosemary and thyme. That makes me want to sing a folk song, but I'm too tired to do that. Instead, I let the herbs steep in the hot pot of water for 10 min, then turn it to med-low heat and stand over the steam with a towel over my head. Takes a few minutes to break through all the congestion, but I start breathing through my nose again. An amazing feeling! I inhale the steam as long as I can stand there. It feels fantastic. Such relief!

I do that several times a day, in addition to the 6 cloves of garlic, and 10,000 mg of Vit. C. Also added GSE drops to my neti-pot, to kill any infection in my sinuses.

Feeling much better by now, just really weak. Awake a lot more, just lying around a lot. Kyle bought me kefir smoothies and greek yogurt. That was my first food.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Journal From One Quarintined

This is what took place last week, while I was puny.

Tuesday AM:

Woke up with a fever and dry throat.
Took one clove of raw garlic, set the kids up with a to-do list. Put Elena in charge, since she's the best reader.
Slept all day, waking only to take more garlic. Too tired to take any other vitamins. Not smart.

Tuesday PM:

Woke to discover that Elena made sure everybody got all their schoolwork done and chores too! I'm filled with gratitude. And a bit of wonder. I feel safe being sick.

Throat really hurting. Took two more cloves of raw garlic. One in the afternoon, one before bed.

Wednesday AM:

Woke with a throat on fire. Checked throat with a flashlight in a dark bathroom. All the tell tale signs of Strep throat. Oh crud!

More fatigued, but more motivated to kick this nastiness out of my body. Kyle set Maya up with a schedule and 6 cloves of garlic to crush for me. She brought me a spoonful of garlic every two hours. I wasn't thrilled to see her as she woke me up each time, but very thankful. Also, added 2000 mg of Vitamin C five times a day.

Again, Maya and Elena took charge of household duties. Kyle closes down school until I'm well. Maya cooks meals and keeps the littles in line; Elena made sure chores got done and the house stayed relatively tidy.

Wednesday PM:

I realize once again how blessed I am. But I'm fed up with this flaming sore throat. Start praying about it for the first time. Later that night, my throat stops hurting and my only symptoms now are fever, extreme congestion, and ensuing sinus pain.

Wishing there was an herbal substitute for Tylenol, but too tired to research it. Took 2 Tylenol to get rid of this throbbing whole-headache. (Turns out, there is an herb for pain, fever, and inflammation. But Tylenol is the synthetic substitute for it, not the other way around. White Willow Bark, sold in capsules in your neighborhood health food store. More later on this.)

To Be Continued. . .