Monday, August 30, 2010

Dentists are our FRIENDS...

I am briefly reminded of a short clip from one of the Disney movies where Bruce the shark tries to convince himself that fish are FRIENDS, and not food. Although I am by no means a cannibal, I still have a hard time convincing myself that my dentist is my FRIEND....a 20+ year phobia still exists, and even though I personally think my dentist is a wonderful man, I am just NOT looking forward to going -- EVER.

A couple of weeks ago I had a temporary crown put on a back molar, and when I went for the permanent cap, it was hurting every now and then. He filed it down a bit more and told me to give it another week. Well, that week is over, and much as I want to smile and tell a little lie and say "oh, yes, put that cap on; it feels great!", I know that I have to be a "big girl" and tell the truth. The result will most likely be another root canal, which I have decided is a form of torture that I'd trade in for many other things.....during the last one I sat and speculated on which of the Saints who were tortured would be best to pray to....I guess I'll have to start a new list today!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Trusting God in those tough moments...

I found out today that a family from our parish will have a funeral tomorrow for a foster/soon-to-be-adopted baby in their family. My heart just breaks along with theirs, as I can not fathom the sorrow that losing an infant or child brings. This family has always impressed me in their willingness to serve God as foster parents to babies and young children; to give of oneself totally and completely, knowing that your love and bonding may be taken away at any time must take an incredible amount of love and faith.

To finally have a child who will truly be a part of the family, and then lose them to death, must bring a particular pain to the heart. I can only think of Mary, standing at the foot of the cross, and find some comfort in knowing that she is watching over them as well as her Son.

May their new little saint in heaven intercede for them as well, asking for a special blessing of God's peace and healing to their breaking hearts...please keep them in your prayers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Shall we try ONE more time?

A friend just launched her blog, and as always, that inner voice starts screaming "write yourself! Get back to your blog!".....if only life didn't get in the way! However, recently I heard a piece of advice that I tucked away inside, and it seems to also be fighting to get out. Basically, that small goals are better than none. So here I am again, trying one more time to resurrect the faithful writing that lived long ago.

While my blog tends to focus more on homeschooling than Catholicism, I couldn't focus on ANYTHING without the latter....homeschooling is my vocation, no doubt, but my faith is the source of all in my life. Without it, there would be no need to "plod" toward holiness, or anywhere else for that matter.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Even the cats have spring fever....

Or maybe CABIN fever is more accurate! Our two felines have been racing around the house (and we have a SMALL house!) for the past couple of hours, and yet they still have no desire to head outside this early into the rain.

All of us have been feeling "cooped up" for the past week, which is why it was so nice to get back to the co-op for the day yesterday. My English Composition students got their rough drafts in on time (with the exception of one, who wasn't there), and so I'll be grading extensively this week. I am still amazed at the breadth of topices that were chosen for their research papers; I love teaching the older kids, as their individual personalities propel them in all different topic directions.

In trying to re-enter the blogging world, I'm going to try the same structure that my blog had, which means that today is "What's Cookin' Wednesdays". I'll pull out my crock pot today and throw together my "Fuss Free Chili"...I'm the only one that eats chili in this house, and I make a batch and freeze it in small containers. While I prefer the more "homemade" versions, this is a quick pantry version that's great for days when you don't have time to prepare the real thing. I use ground turkey, but ground beef can be used as well. I use kidney beans, but I've used other types of beans as well...

Brown lb. of ground turkey
Mix in slow cooker with one onion chopped up, one can beans, and one jar of salsa.
Cook 4-5 hours on low heat (you can use slow cooker or stove top), adding a can of mushrooms for last hour.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Monday's Meanderings: Plodding Toward Holiness.....take 37!

My blogging life has been nonexistant the past couple of years; helping to get the homeschool co-op off the ground just took most of my energies. However, Lent always is a time of retrospection for me, and I always feel a need to journal. I thought that instead of using my journal, I'd just blog instead.

Picked up the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis to read again. It's always been one of my favorite Lenten reads, and every few years I find myself coming back to it. This morning I read in one of Screwtapes' letters to his nephew the following:

When He talks of their losing hteir selves, He means only abandoning the clamour of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever.


This just really speaks to my heart, as it is what my blog's title has always been about. The more I give myself TOTALLY to God, the more I become the person He created me to be. In essence, a better ME. It's one of the faith's paradoxes to be sure. In the past six months, I've been working hard at giving up my self will, and trying to let His guidance direct ALL paths of my life. One of the areas I have struggled most with over time has been in my food choices -- wanting to eat WHAT I want WHEN I want it. Over time that self will has resulted in a body that was not only out of shape, but a body that was almost an insult to its Creator. Since last summer, when I just said "okay, I'll do this Your way", I've lost 50 pounds, and feel better than I have in years.

More and more I see the countless number of times throughout my day when I take that self will back, and I know that my "plodding" has just begun. My prayer for Lent is that I take that extra time each day to do exactly what Screwtape has described above....the more I give my will and life over, the more it truly becomes mine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blogging - Take 21....action!

There was a time when I was a pretty regular blogger....and then a co-op was born, and my time just seems to be so limited. At the same time, my partner -- the director of the co-op -- still manages to post somewhat regularly, and so I'm back to try this one more time. Even if I'll have about 5 followers at this point!

Wednesdays is supposed to be "What's Cookin' Wednesdays", but I don't have much of a fancy recipie for the day. I've been pulling out the slow cooker more now that fall has arrived, and find that a pot roast or pork roast feeds the family for several days, so I'll be using it more and more....besides, the house smells so good ALL DAY when you use a slow cooker! This week's meal was as simple as it gets: throw a boneless rolled pork shoulder roast into the slow cooker (take netting off first!), and smother with a small applesauce container (about 1/2 cup). That's it. Nine to ten hours later, dinner is ready....okay, you'll have to make the other items on your own, but we use this meal at least once every few weeks. The leftovers are then great for sandwiches and stirfrys!

Letting the girls sleep in as I usually do on Wednesdays; we've been finding that afternoon school is working pretty well, and I love having time in the mornings to get things done around the house or for administrative/teaching responsibilities for the co-op. Today I expect that they'll sleep in a bit later than normal as The Authoress had two friends over last night, and they left pretty late. I love my daughter's friends -- all of my students/alumni, actually. They are such incredible young people, with some wonderful ideas and even better questions about life. I love the fact that, as teenagers, they are already comfortable talking with adults about things that matter (and many things that don't!). Some of them have become like adopted children at this point, and I am grateful that my home -- cluttered, dusty, and cramped as it it -- is still considered a haven for them. As long as the floorboards in the living room continue to hold, I'm good for entertaining teens anytime!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Teachable Tuesdays -- Let the Lesson Planning Begin!

Now that my show is over (new photo is from my role of Carmen Bernstein in the show "Curtains"), I'm hoping to get back into a bit of blogging. Seems that last year the co-op just took all of my free time, but I think I can discipline myself to sit down at least a few times a week.

Yesterday I took almost an entire day off, but last night the urge hit to pull out the books for the coming year and begin again. Since we actually start our homeschool year later this month, I thought it best to do some prelimary work! Summer weeks are pretty light--especially since the girls take a lot of their core classes at the co-op. I sketched out the first month of math, spanish, world cultures, and chemistry. That plus drama camp in August is all they need until the year begins in earnest in September.

This morning I searched the web for various study guides and class activities for my theaer arts class....we'll be starting with Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, and I found lots of great resources. Will spend some time today typing up some specific weekly activities. I'm looking forward to teaching this class so much!

I also just got the scripts and music for the Music Theater class for next year; we'll be doing a 50's show, and the material looks pretty decent. Now I have something to do in the coming few weeks of free time!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nine months later....

No, I wasn't pregnant! Although, in a sense, this past year was one full of rebirth with the new co-op. It did seem to consume most of my free time. I've been feeling the desire to get back to blogging, and will try to get back to my normal schedule, but I'm not going to be too anal about it, either!

Maybe turning 50 was a good thing....seems I've finally come to that point in my life where I'm truly comfortable with who I am. What a gift that is!

Many things going on, but it's now 1:45AM, and I'm going to bed!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Meanderings

The Second Smartest Decision I Ever Made....was to stand before God 18 years ago today and share my vows with my cherished Ape Husband. It's been an amazing 18 years, and thanks to the Grace of God, a relatively easy ride compared to so many of the marriages in today's world.

The only thing I did that was SMARTER was to follow God's call home to Rome. I often tell my husband that my Catholic faith was the greatest gift that he gave to me, for he was the catalyst.

The only thing I DIDN'T seem to know at the time we set our date was that we were getting married on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My summer in the desert

I didn't REALLY spend my summer in the desert; however, that's what I've come to call the dry spells in my writing throughout my lifetime. Sometimes it is truly a case of writer's block, where just sitting at the keyboard brings empty pages and frustration. THIS summer it was the result of just being BUSY. With a major project to help plan and implement, I found I had little time left over for the blogworld. Whatever creativity I seemed to find was poured into writing new curriculum for the classes I teach this year. All in all, the summer passed by so quickly, and I now yearn for the quiet times with my blog and those that I used to read on a regular basis.

I was reflecting this week -- now that my planning time has settled down -- on how God has used my "desert" times for all kinds of growth in my life. Whether it be my writing, or my quest for better health, or my spiritual growth, my desert times have always felt dry and barren. Don't get me wrong; this summer was extremely productive and I'm thrilled with the result. However, in looking back at the past few months, I feel that the time was definitely less creative on a personal level. On the same note, my prayer life suffered, my diet and exercise regime fell back into stress eating patterns of long ago, and generally I felt like the little gerbil on the wheel.

Finally, I feel that the oasis is ahead, and that refreshing springs are within reach again. My desire to write, and to visit my favorite blogs (and find some new ones!) is growing, and I feel that I may actually have time to DO so! Most of all, I feel a new and deeper connection with my God, which always seems to be the case after a desert time. I really believe that God calls me to the desert....if only to experience the barrenness, and therefore turn to my faith to sustain me, so that I can better appreciate the lushness of newly found faith on a deeper level at the other end.

I also recognize that summer has ALWAYS been my least favorite season, and fall my favorite. I'm sure that the cooler nights and the crisp mornings has a lot to do with my attitude as well! With the first day of autumn just a week or so away, I'm looking forward to the year ahead. I hope to get back into the structure for my blog that I found just before the dry spell hit. For now, it just feels good to sit at the keyboard and feel the keys tapping below again!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The dawn has finally come!

As dawn breaks, my Authoress daughter is finally going to bed after finishing
Breaking Dawn. Last night we headed to the mall around 9:00 for a pre-release party, and I was amazed at how instant friendships are formed over book series. The minute she walked in she bonded with one other excited fan, and before the night was out she had been hanging out with another girl who I suspect will be an email buddy.

I went back and forth into the store, spending some of my time on a bench in the mall with a couple other parents and the security guards. They were amazed at how the crowd would yell out a trivia answer before the question was even totally out of the bookstore director's mouth! My daughter ended up being the "model" for her group when they had to make Bella's wedding dress out of toilet paper. Her group was chosen the winner by our security guard/judges, and once I get pictures back I'll post....it really was an amazing dress considering it was toilet paper! I tried to convince her that the duct tape prom dress scholarship was really something worth looking into, but somehow that's money I don't think we'll ever be in the running for! :O)

Several hours later we took our place in line, and by 12:40 she had book in hand. Once home, I went to bed and wished her a fun night....I thought it only fitting that she would be just finishing the book as dawn was breaking. Now I guess the countdown begins for the movie release of "Twilight" come December!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Scriptures....the parable of the Sower

I've been in a really "dry" period of my writing, and I suspect it has alot to do with all the lesson planning and getting ready for our new school year (which for us starts MONDAY!), but tonight's reading at Mass just spoke to my heart.

We've been struggling to find real family as of late, with my darling Ape husband working so many extra hours, and the girls enjoying "down" time with the computer and DVD player all month. Today, however, we took the time to go to confession together, and then Mass and dinner out. Just the Sacrament of Reconciliation alone brought about that more relaxed and calm feeling as we sat waiting for Mass. My favorite priest was on for confession today, and then also celebrated Mass. Just when I think he can't top his last homily, he hits another one out of the park! I know that we don't go to Mass just to get something OUT of it, but he is truly a vessel through which God speaks clearly to my heart.

He used the parable of the Gospel -- one of my favorite parables -- to illustrate how many of us come to Mass. Those with "attitude", who only come out of begrudging obligation, are those on barren soil that the birds snatch up. Those that come trying to make God fit THEIR demands are like the seeds that end up on the shallow soil with rocky ground....for awhile they're into it, but quickly tell God how to do things (for example, "okay, God, can you cut this homily short? It's getting HOT outside!"). Those seeds planted in the thorns are illustrating those hearts which come with the right yearning, but don't have the trust level yet to let go of everything else....the "busy" ones (I must confess that I'd spoken of exactly this sin a half an hour earlier!)....finally, the fertile soil is the fertile heart...the one that recognizes our NEED for God.

He then visually illustrated it even further, by going to get an unconsecrated host. Holding it up high for all to see, he explained how Jesus himself comes to us, almost the size of a seed, to find fertile hearts to grow in. When we recognize our sinfulness, when we truly believe in our hearts that we desperately NEED Him to give us a sense of life, it is then that the heart becomes fruitful.

The evening was a great way to spend some quality time reconnecting with my loving family, and also helped to start the new school year in a better perspective.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Recipie for a Sane Move

I've been absent for a LONG time in the blogosphere; between broken computers, getting the co-op up and running, and helping a friend get ready to move cross-country, it's been a crazy month.

Last night I went over for the girls to say their goodbyes, and I will TRY to get over today to do the same, although my day is full and I tend to say my goodbyes better AFTER the fact with a heart felt letter instead of in person at a time of just raw emotion.

Moving does not bring out the best of me; I'm not sure it brings out the best of ANYONE, but definitely not me. Part of the problem is that while I love my friend dearly, she has had so much going on in her life that organization for the move has been chaotic at best. (It was last time, too, and that was only local).

Rather than rant and rave to vent my own frustrations, I'm taking the high road and just adding it to another reason for my family never to move anywhere.

My recipe today for the sanest move possible?

If at possible, DON'T. If that's not an option, than call a mover. Any price is worth it....I'd give up half the profit from selling a house to not have to do all this by myself.

That being said, I know my friend has made the choices for her family according to her priorities, which are different than mine in this one. I ask for prayers for her and her children as she heads out today for a 3,000 mile move.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The fire's ignited!

Well, it's been a crazy and busy two months, but last night we had our open house for the new co-op, and it was exciting to see both old and new families come through the door. I'm hoping that I can get back into my regular blog mode now that the planning stage is over.

What struck me last night was just how diverse we homeschoolers are. Some are straight workbook mode, some unschoolers, some cyber-school, some traditional,.....the list goes on. But the one thread that seems to run throughout is a commitment to giving our kids the best education that we can find. I know that in the "big" picture we are still a small minority, but I also see those numbers growing each and every year. As one who was a reluctant homeschooler the first year, I've come to love it and embrace the whole homeschool philosophy. I also have recognized these past couple of months that not everyone IS cut to make this choice. AND THAT'S OKAY. For some parents, traditional school IS the best choice for their kids and family, for a variety of reasons.

My own choices have made me a stronger woman, and I've come to know other like minds that share the same vision. It's an exciting place to be right now!

Off to catch up on a few blogs....I feel so out of touch after these two months!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A month of obstacles!

No, I have not died or fallen off a roof.....my absence from the blogosphere can be summed up in two words: BROKEN COMPUTERS. It has been month of challenges and obstacles, with both our new computer and our "old" one being in and out of commission. As one who has truly become dependent on them for communication--not to mention the need for such while helping to get a new co-op off the ground--I have been challenged on every level. I am pleased to say that I have not thrown things, screamed, or further damaged hi-tech equipment by kicking or taking a sledgehammer to anything....but I HAVE cried, prayed, and banged some pots and pans a bit more vigorously in the kitchen!

Both computers finally came home last Friday; our new one began the whole thing on Saturday. We are, at this point, ready to call an exorcist in, as it seems to be the only logical explanation left at this point. Luckily the old computer seems to be working. We are wondering if Vista is the problem, or if we're just lucky. Whatever the case, I'm SO grateful to have a working station again!

My posts will still be light this week, as we have our open house for the new co-op next Monday. There are LOTS of things I've written out on legal pads that now need typing and revising. The Co-op is coming along wonderfully, and I am SO excited about the year to come!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sunday Saints and Sacraments ...... a bit late!

Yesterday I decided to have a day of rest, and even stayed away from the computer for most of the day. I came across a post last night that made me cry....thanks to Adoro Te Devote for a beautiful post on this feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord. At my parish, our priest had a similar homily, and pointed out that for Catholic Christians, "this is what it's all about....today.....the Eucharist." Because we ARE flesh and blood, we need to be saved HERE, in our flesh and blood...and as we receive, Jesus is saying to us, "YOU are worth it....YOU are part of me". It was an awe-inspring day for me.

While "resting", I read one of the books I had taken out from our local library. Ruth Sanderson's done a beautiful job with SAINTS: LIVES AND ILLUNIMATIONS. Here is her own website showing some of her art. I loved the book not only because of the stories of the saints, but because her illustrations and page borders are modeled after the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages.

All in all, it was a really refreshing day. Sometimes I really NEED to just take time and rest. It reminds of one of my favorite quotes by Augustine:

“Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee.”

Sunday, May 25, 2008

This is MY kind of thinking!

Danielle Bean
Busy Mom Tip post about carrot cake!
Posted using ShareThis

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Scripture Saturdays

Scripture Saturday – Psalm 19

(from Monday's readings this week)

R. (9a) The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.

R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.

R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.

R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


This has always been one of my favorite psalms; I especially love it when it's the Sunday Responsorial Psalm and I can sing it to God. This week has involved a lot of discernment – which is still ongoing – regarding the location of the new co-op I'll be teaching at. We started with a small church saying “yes”, and realized quickly that we would need something bigger. One morning I just started sending emails out to bigger churches in the area that could accommodate us, and told God “it's all yours...we trust you”. This week that trust has led us along several paths, but God's guiding hand is so evident along the way. I know that in the end He will lead us directly to the spot that He has prepared for us.

The command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye. Lead on, Lord!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fine Arts Friday --

ARTIST THIS WEEK: MARY CASSATT (1844-1926)


I thought it very fitting on this first “Fine Arts Friday” to start with my favorite artist, whose birthday would have been yesterday. Mary Cassatt was born in Pittsburgh, and went against her family's wishes to become an artist. She moved to Paris and lived among the Impressionists of the day, working side by side with Edward Degas, Berthe Marisot, Monet, and Renoir. In a time when women were supposed to grow up and become wives and mothers, she chose instead to commit her life to her work.

Her paintings reflected everyday life, and her subjects were most often mothers and children. Here are a few of my favorites:

Maternal Caress, 1896, Phiadelphia Museum of Art











Breakfast in Bed, 1897, Huntington Library and Art Collection


















Self Portrait, 1878, Metropolitan Museum of Art




For an activity, have your child gather either personal photos of moms and children together, or cut pictures out of a magazine of the same. Make either a photo collage with a painting of Cassatt in the middle (or a booklet with her on the cover) and all the other pictures around it. Talk about how everyday activities have changed over the years.

Next week for Fine Arts Friday I'll share on a famous composer!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thankful Thursdays

Today is the day that I give thanks with my new blog format.....and at the moment the Storm Queenis having a major temper tantrum over a pen, lying on the couch with her head under a pillow, ranting about all that's wrong with the world and this family. Okay, Lord, I'm thankful that they don't come as often and don't last as long......does that count?

In all seriousness, I'm SO thankful for my beautiful daughters; they have taught me more about selfless love than anyone else on earth, along with my Ape husband. I'm thankful for my family, immediate and extended. I'm thankful for some truly special friends that have come into my life in the past year or two, as well as some that remain cherished from a quarter century ago.

First and foremost, I'm thankful for my faith, which is what gives my life meaning, purpose,and true happiness.

I can even give thanks for the four furry felines that wake me in the night, throw up around the house, and get cat hair on whatever items that are most opposite in color from themselves (we have black and white cats, so they are always sure to pick the color that will show off their beauty the most!).....

Life is good.....even amidst the chaos!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's Cookin'? Wednesday -- Crustless Quiche

As my bronchitis seems to have returned a month later, I'm feeling a bit under the weather this week. Yesterday my thoughts turned to favorite "comfort" foods for when I'm sick -- including things like soup, mashed potato, eggs, and anything warm & creamy. Yesterday at lunch I made this quick quiche, so I thought it easy to share it today! It's
an old family favorite from my childhood. Although I don't used the BISQUICK all that often as an adult, I usually have a small box on hand for quick dishes every now and then.

CRUSTLESS QUICHE -- Preheat oven to 400

Use whatever "fillings" you want, and chop them up and put them on the bottom of your pie plate. I used chopped onion and pepper yesterday, but you can use any vegetable and/or meat combination.

Cover with a generous layer of cheese (any flavor)

Mix together 3 beaten eggs, 1 1/2 cups of milk, and 3/4 cup of BISQUICK. Pour over other ingredients and bake for 35-40 minutes.

I usually serve with salad and fruit.

Great warmed up in the microwave the next day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Couldn't resist this one....

Thanks to A Walk in the Woods for this one....I know the Authoress will need to take it later today to see if she can be Aragorn!!



Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Teachable Tuesday -- The Homeschool Portfolio

I know many live in states where the portfolio is not required; I also have spoken with many people over the years that believe that Pennsylvania is so "hard" for homeschooling families. I myself believe that they are right on the money, not expecting an outrageous amount from parents, but holding them accountable for their child's education.

This time of year is always busy at our house, getting the portfolios ready for evaluations and then the school district. While some families use just the 8-10 items per subject as suggested by many homeschool books, our family looks at it differently, and usually requires a 3-4 inch binder. Portfolios are far more than required books for the state at our house; they are essentially "memory books" for each year of the girls education. As I have been working on the girls books, they have spent hours going through past years, remembering and laughing together about favorite trips, activities, and "easy" work from days past. Some of you may be putting together your first portfolio; I thought I'd share a few tips that I've found helpful:

1. You need a filing system throughout the year; don't try and sit down in April or May and gather everything together from a million different places! I use a portable hanging file, with each child having four files:
--academic work for portfolio: this is pretty self explanatory....file all tests, reports, essays, etc.
--artwork: choose a couple from each month that stand out and will show progress; for bigger items that
can't fit in a folder, take a photo and use that
--photos/special events: one of the BEST pieces of advice I EVER got when starting homeschooling was to
carry a portable camera with me at all times; you never know when a "field trip" might present itself!
(By the way, the photos are also usually the "favorite" thing to look back on over the years!)
--(for anyone using photos, I also try to keep a "finished pages" folder in my files as I complete them)
--academic work NOT for portfolio: not EVERY worksheet, lab report, etc. should go into your portfolio; but
I usually keep a file for everything else until AFTER I get the final letter from the school district
acknowledging that we've "passed" inspection! After that I discard the remainder of this folder

2. Last year we started a new tradition that has saved me hours of sanity. Sometime at the end of January, I
choose two days for the girls to work on portfolios; usually it's a snowy or rainy day when it's too icky to
go out and play. We have a "P.J." day, and go through all our files from the first half of the year (this
includes cleaning out backpacks if they attend any kind of co-op classes!) and deciding what to use. We
then sort everything into subjects, and either start the portfolio or return everything to the file bin
until spring. In essence, half of your work is now done, and it's a good day for the kids to see how
far they've come already in the year!

3. For those of you that like to scrapbook, I find that nothing is more "therapeutic" for me than portfolio
scrapbook days in the winter/spring. I try to find an evening or a free couple of hours to take a few
photos from the year and arrange them. My youngest also enjoys scrapbooking, and one year I used her
pages as the subject dividers for each section; this year, she has a whole scrapbook done from a class
she took to include with the portfolio! My oldest isn't as crafty, but considers my scrapbook pages in
her portfolio one of her greatest gifts each year. A couple of years she even requested a "theme" for
her portfolio, and either horse or Beatrix Potter characters were found throughout.

4. Don't forget the "required forms" section for your portfolio...this should include your log, your attendance,
reading lists, and any required testing/medical items for the year. I also include a page on field trips,
books used for planning, videos relevant to curriculum, and websites used in our school year.

Finally, if you can afford it, the plastic sheet covers will keep your portfolios protected for years to come. We actually have a whole shelf on one bookcase that has portfolios from years past (this year I think we start shelf number two!). Eventually, the girls will take these with them as they leave, but for now, we have wonderful memory books from the past five years to enjoy!

For any of you who NEED to submit portfolios, I hope this post gave you some pointers! ONE FINAL NOTE: IF YOU LIVE IN A HUGE SCHOOL DISTRICT, YOU MIGHT WANT TO JUST SUBMIT THE SMALLER REQUIRED ITEMS TO THE DISTRICT, SINCE THEY HAVE TO MANY TO LOOK THROUGH....BUT MAYBE KEEP THE REST AT HOME!

Monday, May 19, 2008

An update on my prayer request...

Thanks to all who sent personal emails of support on my father-in-law. His pacemaker was inserted today, and he is feeling remarkably better already. He is due to go home tomorrow if all goes well during the night. My Ape husband is going to take the girls up to see him tomorrow for the day; I, unfortuately, have a got a nasty cold and/or sinus infection, and will most likely stay home to go to the doctor instead.

Thank you, god, for your mercy and goodness!

Meandering Mondays.....and a new structural plan for my blog

I've been spending some time this weekend thinking about a way to increase my productivity on my blog....it really has become an avenue for self-expression, but I also want it to offer something to others who visit. My problem has been that many days I sit down and feel that I have nothing to write about. So over the weekend I've come up with a loose structural plan for the week, giving me a starting point for each day. Granted, I'll still throw in the more spontaneous posts, but hopefully this will at least make it easier to have something to say each day.

Meandering Mondays will, as the title say, just "go with the flow".....my plans for the week, or thoughts about something in the news, or wherever else my brain takes me (that might get scary sometimes!)

Teachable Tuesdays will deal with homeschooling issues.

What's Cookin? Wednesdays will include recipies and issues on home and family life

Thankful Thursdays will simply be a reflection on all I'm grateful for in my life

fine Arts Fridays will touch on my favorite subjects....that of music and art. I'll try to include some
activity ideas around various composers and artists as well

Scipture Saturday will just be a short reflection on a scripture passage that I've read during the week

and finally, Saints & Sacraments will round out my Sunday posts, putting the focus where it should be for me on Sundays.

I'm excited about alot of the changes in my life right now, and the future ahead....

Right now, I'm off to get some strawberries for the Storm Queen, and then we head off for a breakfast meeting on the new coop! Sure to be a great day!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Prayer Request for all who visit

My father-in-law will be having a pacemaker put in tomorrow at some point. He's been having some heart trouble this past month (has had a heart condition for years) and the surgery had to be moved up due to some irregular heart activity. For all of you who visit, please keep him in your prayers. May God watch over him, the doctors, my mother-in-law, my husband, his siblings, and all the grandchildren......he is a much loved man by all!

Friday, May 16, 2008

One chapter ends, and another begins

Today was a big day for me, not just because it was out "official" last day of school, but because of a huge decision I've made in the past two weeks about my homeschooling vision for next year. For the past five years I've taught at a weekly learning center, and a couple of weeks back I was asked to join a few teachers that were leaving to begin a new coop in the surrounding area as a board member and teacher. After a lot of prayer, I truly felt that God was leading me in this new direction.

Tonight I sent my letter of resignation to the director, as well as a letter of explanation to all the families that I've worked with. I know that a few families will no doubt follow to the new place as it's closer to their home and a bit cheaper, but I will truly miss many of those families that I am leaving. In my heart I believe that the area is big enough to sustain several different groups, and that both will survive as homeschooling grows. However, I'm truly excited about this new venture! Our vision is much more of a CO-OP approach, where I think all will feel important and a part of its success. In the midst of lots of planning, I'm also realizing how much work I still have to do for the classes I'll be teaching. I'm glad school's out for a month and half!

I love being computer literate!

Well, I woke up at 4:00am again thanks to my little fur balls, and once again opted not to go back to sleep. It seems that from 4-6am I can almost always be guaranteed computer time! This morning I sat down to master a new task--that of learning to do labels with this new program I've got. After years of using Microsoft Office, we had this computer rebuilt and ended up with Evolution and Fedora as our stuff to work with. I STILL hope to have Office reinstalled, because I know it SO well, but today I at least know that once again I can figure things out after awhile!

I've been working on a new project that will be unveiled more next week, but it involved having to make some address labels. It took some searching to find the menu for it, but once I found it, I figured it out. I MIGHT even remember how for when I need to add to the database! :o)

Today we "officially" end the school year with our annual lunch out with Dad at a chinese buffet not far from his workplace. I'm already looking forward to my General Tso's chicken!

Today will be a busy day working on finishing up the portfolios. One is completely done, evaluation letter included, and ready to go to the school district office. The second one is just needing the completed reading/field trip/video lists, and then a last evaluation next week. I'm already looking at what needs to be done for next year, and the list is pretty long already! There are ALOT of things to do in the next month, and then my girls start up again in July. I've already told them MOM needs the computer alot in the coming weeks! They get to play awhile, but I crank into planning mode for June. (Don't worry, I find down time for reading books, too!)

Well, my Ape husband is moving about, so I'd best be off. This is HIS computer time before heading to work!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another year over!

Today my daughters finished their current school year....YIPPEE!!!! As promised, we will have a lunch date with Dad on Friday to celebrate, and now they truly have time to fight over the computer for games and surfing. Of course, now that portfolios are just about complete, MOM has to start getting needed computer time for next year's planning sheets and a couple other big projects in the works. We may have to have a "sign up" schedule for computer time in the next couple of weeks!

I am not writing much this week, mostly due to getting portfolios finished up. However, there is another issue underneath that is taking alot of inner energy....I'll be free to share more in a few more days. Until then, there is sense of unrest, so I'm trying to keep busy with lots of little things. More upcoming!

As of now, I am the proud mother of a FIFTH grader and a (gasp!!) SOPHOMORE!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Come, Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, and renew the weary parts of my soul. Fire my life with Your love, and give me a renewed zeal to live as a witness of God to the world. Let my light shine so that others may see Your glory!


On this Feast of Pentecost, I'm saying a special prayer also for mothers, who so often are true bearers of the Holy Spirit within.....may the Spirit of God rest upon each of you and make your job as "mom" the most rewarding thing you'll ever do.

Because after all, it is.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 09, 2008

I'm live again.....take two!!

Once again, we've been out of touch with the real world due to computer problems for the past couple of weeks. Our new computer, with all the bells and whistles that we loved so much, had a hidden defect somewhere, so our "tech" support staff sent it back and the new one is on its way. In the mean time, they rebuilt one of our OLD computers so that we'll eventually have a second one. For now, I've finally gotten a QUICK turn to say I'm back among the blogosphere....although I'll still be pretty quiet in the coming week. I have report cards to get done for several of my high school classes, and portfolios to finish up, and some other MAJOR areas of change that are weighing heavily on my mind. By next week, the "fog" should clear some and I'll have more time to discuss all that's going on in our busy life.

Tonight I went as a chaperone with my daughter on her first semi-formal, and the kids all had a great time. The girls all looked so grown up and beautiful, and some of the boys had even donned tusedos for the occassion. It was a joy to be a part of the evening!

Right now, I'm off to bed!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's good to be able to laugh at oneself!!

It's been a busy week, and I'm catching up after having been sick, so I'm late in posting this, but it was too funny not to share....

Last week we had our new computer delivered and set up -- it was built by
a student of minea and his dad, and they did a superb job -- and for several days there was minimal fighting in the house with the exception of "are you almost done?" or "Is it MY turn again yet?"....

Last Saturday I awoke to find that it had a message regarding an irregular reboot during the night; it also seemed to have a frozen mouse. I turned the computer off and back on in the back, only to find it totally dead. ARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!! Not after just three days! As the Aurhoress and I were heading off to a college visit, my Ape husband made the "call", and my student and his dad came back Sunday to look at it.

I was at work, and got the phone call.....it went something like this:

"Honey, the computer is fixed. It seems that there is an on/off switch on the FRONT of the computer that we also had to turn on!"

Gee, I'm glad I was at work! There really IS a switch, but it looks a pretty blue light for those of us less talented in the hardware department! One of the things I've added to my "to do" list for the upcoming month is to pull out the manual and actually READ it!!

Yes, it's good to be able to laugh at oneself....especially when we really deserve it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back among the living!!!

Today was like Christmas at our house! Our computer quietly died in its sleep well over a week ago--luckily it was show week for me so I didn't have time to miss it too much--and today our new one arrived.

One of my students -- an incredibly gifted kid in technology -- and his dad built us a new one, and now in the wee hours of the morning I can get a quick post up. This new machine has so many bells and whistles that it will take weeks just to find them all!
They were also able to retrieve everything from the old hard drive, and took both old computers to rebuild one of them for a second computer station down the road.

Getting to know this family has been a joy; they are caring, intelligent people with similar interests and views on homeschooling. They have fast become special friends, and for that I am grateful.

for now, I am going to take my cough medicine and try to sleep. AFter weeks of running on adrenaline for the show, I came down with bronchitis within two days of it being over. Yesterday I headed to the doctor and got some cough medicine with codeine, and I've been able to sleep for up to 4-5 hours at a time now. I'm definitely on the mend!