Friday, January 30, 2009

Cabrillo Monument Field Trip

As bad as the last trip was to the Point Loma Lighthouse .... today was GREAT!!!
The movie was pretty good. I had no idea about all of the Spanish explorers, conquistadors. I couldn't keep up with the narrator and all of the names of the sea Captains, their ships, the cities they left from, the cities they went to in Mexico and the Kings of the time.
A whole new area of History to add to a long - long list.
Of course there were a LOT of spanish names, way too many to remember, especially for the kids or me for that matter.
But the gist of exploring North from Mexico city was very interesting.

The irony is that we had the SAME Park Ranger lady that turned us down last time. Whoa!
She was quite nice this time! She did a great presentation and was really good with the kids.

Except at the very beginning where she wanted them to all walk in a straight line... which they did and it was hilarious
to me.

I feel like such a non-conformist, rebel.... why make kids walk in a straight line???
Oh well. The kids were awesome, like trained soldiers. he he I had to take a picture!!

See just above Katie's head (in the pink) there is some land (brown) jutting out into
the bay. They believe that this is the bit of land that Cabrillo and his men landed on
when they came to (now called) San Diego Bay.

So as bad as we felt last time, this time makes up for it and we had a good time.
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in Spanish explorer costume

Derek was chosen to wear the chain mail and helmet of a Spanish Explorer.
She described each piece as she put it on Derek and Katie held the sword.

It was pretty heavy and he wore it for quite a long time. I don't know why he didn't smile?
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tangrams some links

Tangrams booklet & links
I like the link to the University's online Tangram game best

History of Tangrams

Make your own Tangrams instructions

PBS Kids

For iPhone or iTouch a free game from

Tangram -by; printable tangram, different tangram puzzles, more links

A Google search on "tangram" shows lots of pictures

OLD history texts for Catholic Schools links

Online Books for History of the United States for Catholic Schools

One by the Franciscan Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration published in 1914

The other by Charles Hallen McCarthy published in 1919

I have not had a chance to read more than the table of contents.
I thought they would be interesting resources to see what "History"
was being taught in early 1900's.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

High school musical on ice

I surprised Katie with tickets to see HSM on ice.
A homeschool mom arranged the great ticket prices way back in October. At the time January 28 seemed a Loooong way off.
But time goes by pretty quick.
We had pretty good seats close to the floor, but there was that space between us and the actual ice rink.
It was a fun girls night out.

Took a couple pictures with my phone.

They showed movie clips from HSM 3 on a video screen for the first few minutes.
Then the ice show started. The show was the HSM #1 for the first half. After intermission they did HSM#2.
Pretty amazing that the boys were out there on ice skates, singing, dancing and playing basketball at the same time.
Made we wish I would have brought my 2 boys. I like to have them see young men enjoying their job that may be considered "girly"... singing, dancing, ice skating... you never know what their passions and talents may be in life.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saint of the Year 2009

I sent my email to Marianne and was chosen by

St. Bernard of Clairvaux - Aug 20

To be chosen by a Saint, email

She has a blog too

May God bless you and grant you many blessings in this new year!
You will be so happy that you are participating in this beautiful devotion!

Monday, January 26, 2009

What's UP??

A few days before Christmas I decided to throw a Surprise Birthday party for my husband’s 50th birthday in January. I borrowed the plans Suzanne used for her husband’s party. (We missed their party because we were in DC the end of Sept.) She told him some friends were coming for dinner and surprised him with a lot of people for a party.

So on Christmas Eve I used Evite and sent out 60 invites to all kinds of friends new & old for his party.

Then the cleaning began!!

Everyone has been checking in on Unschooling Catholics Yahoo group about Flylady and believe me there was an enormous amount of cleaning going on around here!

The weather for the first 2 weeks of January has been in the high 70s and even over 80 some days. It was very nice for opening the windows and letting in fresh air.

I was worried my husband knew about the party when even he helped clean and he painted the family room! It had been on the “honey do” list for a while and now it looks great.

The party was on Friday the 16th. His birthday was actually the 24th. Mine was the 20th.

The Surprise worked! We disguised the evening & dinner as Suzanne’s daughter’s birthday which was the 15th. Our families do everything together so it was not out of the ordinary.

When he arrived home a few people were here and we yelled surprise!!

He says he didn’t know until he was in the driveway and my oldest was acting weird and was dressed nice in a polo shirt – this made him suspicious.

Over the evening we had over 45 people arrive. Neighbors, friends from church, from old jobs, from law school and I was able to email a few of his clients that came.

I went and picked up BBQ shredded pork from a restaurant and bought lots of appetizer trays from costco.

We had a chocolate fountain and brownies.

The party was a lot of fun and a huge success.
And my House is so clean!
Of course the normal chaos of 3 kids is quickly cluttering it up but when you start with a good clean base, it is easier to keep up. Flylady… tell them to have a huge party so the house gets cleaned!

Saturday I woke up and was sick the whole day. I drank a tiny bit so I was not hungover. I think it was a migraine mixed with the let down of all the adrenaline I had pumping for the few days before the party. I never left the sofa and sweet Katie stayed by my side all day helping with the bucket. My poor husband had to help too and also had to do dishes leftover from his party. Luckily I did most of the cleanup for an hour after everyone left at 10:30 the night before.

Monday we met Suzanne and 2 of her kids at Legoland and had a great time. (See we do lots together)

Tuesday was my birthday and I got to go to the DMV for 2 hours to renew my license.

I did get up in time to watch the Inauguration and then hoped no one would be at the DMV, but I think it was closed Monday and everyone had the idea I did, so it was really crowded. I took a book I’ve had for a couple years and was able to read 60 pages – The Two Women of Galilee. That was a good novel to pass the time. I stopped for a coffee & scone on the way home. Relaxed the rest of the day and then we went out to dinner. We used a gift card a neighbor gave us at our birthday party and we had the most delicious filet mignon!

I have been reading several (6) books about Padre Pio. I wrote in to Sabine & Beate to let them know I was reading a praying after Michael’s accident of my prayers and devotional time for his healing. Now I’m picking up “Revelations of the Divine Mercy” and doing research on my Saint of this year: St. Bernard of Clairvaux. I emailed in and that was the Saint who chose me this year.

Friday we left early in the morning and drove up to Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains. It is about 3 ½ hours drive. We put the kids in lessons, James was in snowboarding, Katie & Derek in skiing. Geoff & I were able to ski together for a couple hours. Then we skied with the kids. The hotel was nice and the restaurant in the hotel was very good Italian. Plus 2 kids ate free.

On Saturday Geoff got to ski for free because it was his birthday. James & Katie took 2 lessons and Derek took one. I had already paid for one lesson and a second lesson for them was only $5 more. They were having fun there, wanted to do it, and they could only go on beginner lifts.

For Derek it would have been $20 to take an afternoon class and his lift pass let him go on all lifts -- so we took him to the top of the mountain and it was incredible to ski down with him. I got some video of them in the next entry on my blog.

SO what else is up??

I struggle with the balance of do we homeschool or unschool. I let them play a lot (they are all on the Wii right now) but I try to get them to do spellingtime, vocabtime and the geography lesson on the internet.

James is good about doing it almost everyday, but Katie hides under my radar. She goes off on the porch or outside or into her room and "reads". Mostly she listens to music & sings. Whenever I mention doing some kind of lesson I just get huffing & puffing.

I have both of them doing Teaching Textbooks for math. It is level 5. James is finishing up the lessons. I let him skip a lot and just do the Quizzes for each chapter. If there is something, like adding fractions that I know he needs to know I have him do that lesson to make sure he can do it.

Katie is just starting TT and is on lesson 9. She is scoring 90-100 on the problems so it is at her level so far.

Derek is on lesson 78 of "Read in 100 easy lessons". He started on lesson 19 in Sept and zoomed to about lesson 60 before we left on our trip the end of Sept. After we returned it is worse than pulling teeth to even mention trying to do a lesson. He can read the lesson just fine, so I don’t know where his hesitation comes from. I see it from the “you’re almost done with this book” perspective and I just want him to finish this book.

But I also see that he is doing great and just turned 6 so there’s no hurry and I do let it go for days at a time.

We took a break and did a few booklets from the "Little Stories for Little Folks" Catholic Phonic series. That went well for a couple days break from the other book.

Today he opened up to lesson 79 and the first word was new. "I hate new words". I said try to read it. "Fast" Well he doesn't have any problem and we both laughed. He was interested in the story because it was "part 1" and tomorrow we'll read "part 2" He just stared doing CHC "My very First Spelling Lesson" He's done 3 lessons, one a day. To me it is more for handwriting. He is practicing 3 letter words that he can read and working on handwriting.

For math he just started a Math 2 by Seton book I had laying around that Katie didn’t use. He’s on page 16 and able to do the double digit subtraction so I know that book is not above him. Today it was Greater than >, Less than<. First I drew a sign and turned it into an alligator. I said the alligator always wants to eat the bigger number (of fish) so he always turns his head that way. He got thru 2 pages of work. "Wait! I only need to do one page a day!" So it wasn't so bad he kept going without knowing.

I’ve been having other troubles with Derek. I think it is developmental. Separation anxiety?? Wanting to be with mom and that pull to become independent. He's my most snuggly child. Still wants to snuggle and fall asleep right next to me on the sofa every night. The issue is : He is my only child that says he’s BORED. My other kids find things to do and would rather be left alone and finding their own things to do. But He will get into a tantrum and become angry when he is bored and can’t find anything to do. Of course I try to give him ideas or offer to give him all my attention with a book, movie, game, craft or legos or something. But it usually makes him more irritated that he can’t think of it himself and he turns it all down.

I think part of it is that he has boundless energy -- because it usually starts when he want to go outside in front of the house to ride bikes or something and I say that it is not a good time right then.

We just enrolled him for t-ball which starts in a couple weeks. I think that will help a lot with his energy and giving him an activity and an outlet. I also emailed about a homeshcool Karate class for both of the boys 2x a week.

Next Issue: Show me the Money!

My husband is a lawyer and has maintained his own office downtown (since '93) while also working the past 4 years in a salary position with a Mortgage company.

That company had dwindled down over the past year to nothingness. So we knew it was coming, but the actuality of not having a job & salary this month is scary.

I spent a few hours the other day looking into health insurance for next month. We thought we would be OK because the Mortgage company owner’s family and our family make a group medical insurance plan. The business has also gone under because the owner developed Stage 3 colon cancer this year. They found the tumor in Sept and he was on chemo for a couple months to shrink the tumor before they took it out in Dec. We thought we could stay with insurance with him, but it is not working out that way.

Geoff had a client interview on Friday with a restaurant that may file bankruptcy. He is trying to build up his own law firm again with clients to support our family. Otherwise he is also looking into joining another law firm. He has an interview with a firm this week.

We are all so “into” unschooling that he dreads punching the clock and working for another firm.

He set his own hours with his own firm and even with the Mortgage company. He would work some from home the past few months in the morning after exercising and then go in when he needed to.
I told him to do what makes him happy.
I’ve really come to learn that we can agonize over a decision and lose sleep over it when really all decisions can be changed -- If you try something and don’t like it then move on to the next thing. You don’t have to call it quitting.

So I am leaning toward a law firm job because we have 3 kids that need medical insurance and dental work and braces. He could try the law firm if they offer him the salary we need and if he doesn’t like it then he can try something else.

But I also really like our free schedule and having him home with our kids during the day. So having his own firm and own hours would be great too.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Snow Summit Ski & Snowboard

We were off to Snow Summit for 2 days skiing/snowboard.
They have free ticket on your birthday, so Geoff was free on Saturday.
We drove up Friday morning and arrived around noon.
Just in time to rent equipment for the kids and get them into lessons.
James took snowboard lessons, Katie & Derek took skiing.

I used my phone to video the kids on the slopes.
The beginning of this one shows Katie skiing between Geoff's legs *in blue.
then she comes near me in the black w/ pink hat.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Candy Bar 50th Birthday Card

Thanks PAM for Geoff's birthday card.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy BabyMoon Lissa !!

Best wishes and Blessings to Lissa & Scott for their Baby Boy.

Scott hacking into L's acct to say: healthy boy arrived 11:04am.
9lbs 12oz. Mother, child doing great, baby nursing as I type. My wife rocks
2 minutes ago from TwitterBerry

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Annual Lighthouse & gutter picture

It is getting to be an annual tradition to have the kids sit in this "gutter" in front of the
Point Loma Lighthouse and take their picture.
We are a couple months early this year but here it is:
January 2009
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March 2008 April 2006

Field trip to Cabrillo Monument

Field trip to Cabrillo Monument in Point Loma.

The lighthouse up on the hill covered in foggy mist.

ewwww. It is so cloudy and smoggy and overcast that we can't even see downtown
or the inland areas of San Diego today.

Derek noticed this HEART shaped cactus. So cute.

This was supposed to be a field trip, arranged by a homeschool mom,
to learn about the Lighthouse and the family that lived out there in the 1850's.
However, it was geared towards 2nd graders. Which we knew, but she had said that if you had kids a year or two before or after it would be fine. When the Park Ranger came out she asked for the 2nd graders to form a group.
Well there were about 10 families there with over 24 kids and none were really 2nd graders. Which we honestly admitted up front.
She wouldn't take any other kids that were not 2nd grade.

We tried to explain that we were all there, standing in front of her, eager and ready to learn..... nope, she says she's been there 8 years and tried it before and it just doesn't work. Her prepared paperwork and speech was for 2nd grade "State Standards" We tried to explain that we were homeschoolers, many of us unschoolers, we don't follow "state standards" by grade levels and our kids study subjects like science and history together no matter what their age.
She just walked away.
Well OK there.

It turned out OK. We looked around the lighthouse and then went to see a movie about whales.
I don't recommend that movie though........... I'm afraid I was NOT impressed.
The movie spent a long time about the mother whale in labor and trying to have the baby.
They don't show the whale being born just "here it is".
The filming is quite old. Not very good quality.
Then they moved onto the mating season.
Quite a few minutes are spent on the males searching out the females and the mating information.
Then it gets very dramatic when 3 males are trying to mate with the
new mother whale and almost drown the new baby whale.
A little more than I was hoping the children would see.

There are other movies i hope are better. One about Cabrillo and one about the tide pools.
We are coming back in a couple weeks to hear about Cabrillo and see the movie.
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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

I volunteered to make Thomas' 4th Birthday cake.
I asked what he wanted..... Dinosaur.... a T-Rex! Luckily I already had the cake pan for my 2 boys. Here's the baked cakes... I made the extra flat cake in case the formed cake was a disaster and I needed a plan B backup cake. I was going to carve a flat T-Rex shape. But you'll see that the cake works out. The 2nd cake was covered w/ chocolate frosting and came in handy for the parents & siblings at the party. Plus we got to take home some leftovers. My family was happy. It was pure torture to bake 2 cakes and they didn't know if they would get any more than a slice of one of them.

This is the Wilton cake pan. It's from like 1999 and not sold anymore.
I used the reverse like this to lay out the rolled out fondant and shape it and cut it to fit the cake.

Photo credit: James. Me coloring the white fondant with dark green gel coloring. Use lots of powdered sugar so it
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The finished result. Derek helped make the teeth. Katie made the driver's head.

I said "It's Mr. Bill". The kids said "Who?"

The birthday boy was very happy with his Dinosaur cake.