What we are reading and watching this summer….

Stumbled across a good book at the library and just have to share:  Recycle This Book: 100 Top Children’s Book Authors Tell You How To Go Green, Edited by Dan Gutman.
My kids and I really like this book.  It is a Who’s Who of Children’s Authors and the 100 or so writings in the book are short and sweet. Many of these authors are serious environmentalists and they have all kinds of inspiring ideas on how to save the earth.  We are getting lots of tips on living eco-wisely and we are finding new authors and new books to read as well.
Rick Riordan, Gail Carson Levine, Rosemary Wells, the author of Artemis Fowl, Henry Winkler, Mem Fox, Eve Bunting; all kinds of children’s authors are in the book.  My two older kids and I definitely recommend this book.

Also, we picked up a new book: Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Ultimate Guide.  We found it at our local library.  The DVD for the PJ movie is being released tomorrow so we are excited about that.  We are #1 on the list to get it from our library.  Woohoo.  Also, our librarian told us that Rick Riordan is coming out with a new series, The Red Pyramid.  We didn’t know anything about it until our children’s librarian clued us in.  We are #35 on the list for that book.  LOL.  It is supposed to be about Egyptian history. 
Happy Summer Reading and Movie Watching!

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End of a school year?

I am feeling incredibly chatty tonight; so glad I was able to get back to my blogging and re-acquaint myself with the chatty writer within.  It has been a while since I posted and although many things have stayed the same, many things have changed.  I have changed.  My kids have changed.  We have been busy in the backyard, trimming lilac bushes, planting tomatoes and other yummy treats, and trying to tame the beast that is also known as our steep backyard hill.  The kids have set up a rope swing on one of our huge cottonwoods and the hammocks have been in full swing. 

There is still lots of reading going on.  My 11 year old is reading the Warrior series and my 9 year old is reading more Hardy Boys books.  I am starting to read Cheaper by the Dozen at the request of my daughter.  She thinks I will really enjoy it and I have to agree that so far, I do.  We have been dealing with health issues and that has taken its toll but I am hopeful that doctors will be able to diagnose and treat in such a way that we can move ahead with even fuller lives than before. 

My 9 year old son is playing baseball for the first time this year and my 5 year old son is playing soccer for the first time.  It has been really good for both of them.  A lot of my 9 year-old’s games have been rained out or cancelled early due to heavy rains and lightning which is too bad because I have really enjoyed watching him play.  I love most everything about baseball: the uniforms, the teams (my son plays on the St. Louis Cardinals which has beautiful ruby red uniforms), the sound of the bat hitting the ball and the sound of the ball landing in a mitt.  I love it all.  My son has a great natural swing and seems really good at hitting so it makes for some proud mama moments.  He is learning a lot and hopefully he is getting to know the other boys on his team as well. 

I have been reviewing our previous “school year” and pondering what to do next year.  I want to do more than what we accomplished last year and will be making a busier schedule.  I guess I might be the opposite of most homeschoolers in that I feel we may have “underscheduled” ourselves.  I want to do more “field trips” and classes and I want to meet more homeschooling families.  I joined up with a local Christian homeschooling group in my area and am looking forward to learning more from them in regards to other educational opportunities in the area.  I want the kids to explore more musically and am thinking about putting them in formal music lessons.  Although they are learning a lot on their own, it seems, and their father is a great resource and teacher, I want them to practice/study on a more regular basis.  We now own numerous recorders, a couple of harmonicas, a ukulele, two acoustic guitars and an electric guitar.  My 9 year old has been making drum sticks out of lilac branches and he and the 5 year old have rigged up a great set of “drums”.  We have also been using cotton balls in order to avoid hearing damage!  I have been making a bucket list of things I want to do this summer and am hopeful that this summer will be our best summer ever!

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Little Women and the end of a writing block

My 11 year old daughter, who just came out of a year long writing block, showed me this passage in Little Women today.  She had me read it:

Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and “fall into a vortex,” as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace.

I do really love this book.  I never read it as a child and now I wonder why.  It is a wonderfully written book and we were lucky enough to be able to see the Broadway musical version of it at our local high school this month.  Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.  My daughter LOVED the musical as much as the book; maybe even more?  She has read the book at least 2-3 times and I am still working my way through it.  I decided to give copies of the book to my nieces for Christmas.  I hope they are able to read it while they are still little women!

(Written on 11/12/09)

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Quickly Thinking of What We Have Been Up To Lately

  • Went rock climbing with the kids for the first time.  Realized my fear of heights was going to prevent me from ever truly enjoying that sport but I had fun nonetheless.  My kids all love it and it is a great way to get out of the house when the weather is not so good or it is dark outside.  And it helps them burn off all that energy!
  • Started a NaNoWriMo “novel”.  A very meager start but it is okay.
  • Got back on the blog!
  • My dd is reading the Little House on the Prairie series and is starting to read the Rose series.
  • Went to a fabulous book sale at the library.  We bought lots of wonderful slightly used books for a quarter each.  We had to pay an entrance fee of $5 but it was so worth it.
  • Ordered my daughter some new Hanna Andersson pajamas/long underwear.  I had already ordered some for my son earlier this fall.  Yes, this is big news.  I just love the soft material and it is something that helps make the cold months in my area so much warmer and cozier.  I probably won’t take mine off until late May!  I am always so much colder than my husband….
  • The two older kids starting knitting.   Dd is in a knitting club and her younger brother is also “hooked”!
  • Committed myself to a daily yoga practice.  I am trying to do at least one pose a day.  Ideally I would like to do at least 20 minutes every morning.
  • Put out the lemon drop jar.  There is a book by the same name.  Each lemon drop is a little drop of sunshine in my house.
  • Committed myself to better oral hygiene.  Dd has gotten a lot of cavities over the past 6 months; not sure why.  She had amalgam fillings put in and now I am wondering if that was unwise of me.  Dr. Weil has blogged that there are no known risks of amalgam fillings but I think I really need to work on prevention.  I don’t want my kids to have a ton of cavities in their teeth, esp their permanent teeth.
  • Wrote up a list of goals for the year; had my daughter do the same.  Will need to get my sons’ input as well.
  • Joined the local arboretum; taking lots of trips there this fall.  Whenever I go there with just the kids, we end up seeing all these funny wild turkeys.  It is so nice to live so close to such a beautiful place.
  • W, my 9 yo son, is a reading maniac over here.  He is constantly reading.  Currently he is reading Hardy Boy books but he is starting to read my daughter’s Nancy Drew collection.  I think he has run out of Hardy Boys books to read.
  • C, my 11 yo daughter, did a freewrite using the words cherry, espionage, and computer.  This ends a very long writing block!  Woo hoo!
  • The kids and I spent a good amount of time writing thank yous this week.  They seemed to really enjoy it.  I think we might need to send out letters more regularly.  It is fun.  And it would be wonderful to see some replies in the mail box.
  • Took a Mother Nature class at the arboretum where we listened to a Native American talk about spirit trees (cottonwoods) and his tribe’s connection to nature.  Very interesting.  We also went on a hike with him and tasted elderberries  and wild grapes.
  • Am feeding the birds at the bird feeder regularly.  We have had a red bellied wood pecker, blue jays, cardinals, and chickadees regularly visiting us lately.  It is so fun to watch them.  My five year old claims to be a bird expert!
  • Wrote out a list of tools that I will use this school year to help me get through the colder months.  I will post more later.
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Facebook vs my blog

Facebook won.  It happened so quickly.   I looked into Facebook thinking I was signing up for a free tube of Burt’s Bees Lip balm and here I am months later addicted to the whole thing.  But I miss my blog.  I really do.  And now that I have figured out how to log in again, thanks to help from the lovely Andrea, I am back. 

 So much to talk about.  So much.  I signed up for NaNoWriMo on a whim.  I REALLY don’t have time for it but I love the idea.  I think I wrote 254 words so far.  Yes, a tad pathetic.  But hey, it’s a start.  And I think I have a story in me now.  It is so great.  Anyway, I am getting coffee and hope to catch up with the blog writing later.  I am SO EXCITED to be back!


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May I be at peace….

May I be at peace.

May my heart remain open.

May I awaken to the light of my own nature.

May I be healed.

May I be a source of healing for all beings.

Buddhist Tradition

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“This is my best day of my life!”

“This is my best day of my life!”

Said frequently by my 4 1/2 year old son.  At first when I heard him say this, I would respond with a smile and a laugh.  Now when he says it, I respond, “This is the best day of my life, too!”  I love this age! 

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10 things that my kids have done lately

1)  Watched the hilarious parts of “The Money Pit” starring Shelley Long and Tom Hanks.  Tried to skip over the more adult scenes and foul language as best as we could.  The kids watched certain scenes over and over; they were so funny.

2)  Watched “The Princess Bride” and enjoyed the sword fighting.  (The kids have been pretending to sword fight outside with sticks and paint stirrers).

3)  Learned about the game of soccer while watching my 8 year old son play.  Also learned that May 16 is too soon to put away the winter clothing for the season.  (I wore long underwear, a winter jacket, and covered my kids and myself in blankets while we sat on the sidelines and cheered on the soccer team today.  I was still really cold!)

4)  Learned how to shut off the gas line downstairs while watching their father and the service technicians.  We had a stove range installed recently and it needed to be hooked up.  The kids also watched the plumbers fix a leaking “ABS” pipe downstairs in our laundry room and install a new kitchen faucet.

5)  Spent time at the hospital visiting my dear husband who was diagnosed with a blood clot.  They brought him a backpack (8 year old son loaned his) filled with snacks, magazines, a Harry Potter book, a deck of cards, and a recently charged ipod shuffle.  Saw an emergency helipad up close.  (Is that the right word for a helicopter landing pad?)

6)  Finished reading the Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright.  Love that book!!!

7)  Celebrated their cousins’ First Eucharist, two weekends in a row!

8)  Picked rhubarb and ate it while dipping it in a small bowl of sugar.  (Just like Mommy did when she was a kid!)

9)  Flew a kite outside at a nearby park.  (This kite was bought about a year ago at Costco and my 8 year old son has been begging to fly it).  Hubby put it together this morning;  it is an awesome looking NASA Discovery Shuttle design. 

10)  Set up the boys’ Japanese dolls and Japanese “helmet for display” in honor of Boys’ Day, May 5.  We were a bit late setting this up.  We took the gifts out of their boxes on Monday, May 11.  My 8 year old had been wanting to see these dolls for years and I never found the time to display them.  So we saw them in their full glory for the first time in 8 years.  The dolls, which are of the Japanese Emperor and Empress in their traditional dress, were a gift to my 8 year old son from my Japanese friends.  The dolls were given to him when he was a baby and I never took them out of their wrapping until this week!  They are very beautiful and the boys (and my daughter) love looking at them and admiring them.  The Japanese traditional helmet was a gift to my second born son.

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The Four Story Mistake

We just finished reading the Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright together.  It had been our read-aloud for the last month or so.  It is a wonderfully written book about a family who moves out to the country to live in an old house.  There are four children in the story who each have their own way of adapting to their new surroundings.  It has been a great book for us to read right now because we also are considering moving out of our house in the “city” into an old house in the “country”.  I hope to read the author’s other books to the kids in the coming weeks. 

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This week’s meditation

I will protect myself from people who take more than they give.

I will surround myself with loving, giving people.

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