Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Do you know what we did today?

Absolutely nothing. You heard me, we did nothing. It's 9:32 pm and the boys are still in their pajamas. Their pajamas from YESTERDAY. Now while I assure you this is not normal protocol for us, it must have been needed because it was like we were all on the same brain wave this morning.
The rule in our house is "no electronics until after school" this means TV, NDS, XBoX,, what have ya. This morning we just kinda looked at on another and while no words were spoken, it was understood. No one had the mental fortitude today for anything except breathing and eating a bologna sandwich. So they walked over to the TV, turned it on and I did not object.

When I settled into this idea I thought, "good, I'll just catch up on the sewing today" but I was so irritated and agitated due to an ever so slight family drama that had transpired that I couldn't concentrate. It turned out to be nothing. Drama is usually that way. It's not even noteworthy.

Speaking of Noteworthy! T1 and I watched this tutorial today and learned how to convert midi files into sheet music! Who says we didn't learn??!?!

I can't say that I'm completely recovered and ready to go all "gung ho" with school tomorrow though. I really need to get over it and re-motivate. We can't afford to be lazy! It's so easy to get into bad habits. I feel like we have to stay on the ball all the time. People are watching us and hoping we fail. I don't think it's mean spirited. I just think that what we (the collective we, as homeschoolers) do is "odd" and people want to be able to say "see, it didn't work".
Wow. If that isn't enough motivation to get on the ball, what is?
But then again, I'm that kind of person. When someone says "you can't", I tend to find a way to prove the "I CAN!". I kinda take it personally.
Ask Mary what I did when the skydiving place in Gatlinsburg Tennessee said I was too fat to skydive. I bungee jumped! So did she. See? We're cool!
Ask my kids what I did when they said that it was too hard to do a front flip off the diving board.
With a torn rotator cuff, I did the front flip. OH LORD did I pay,, but I did it! Now so can the kids!
Perhaps my dr. is taking the wrong approach with me. He should say "Crystal, you'll never ever loose weight, give up".
'Em 'ere is fightin' words!

So much to do....

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

So we had our band kick off meeting this evening. It went pretty well. It looks like we'll have enough members, that's a good thing.
My T2 is going to play trumpet. He wants to play sax but he's 8 and yeah.... I don't want to constantly have the thing in for repairs! So I encouraged him to choose something with only 3 valves. He's very excited about it. He came home, went directly for the "T" encyclopedia and drew a picture of a trumpet and labeled it. He brought it to me proud as punch and declared that when he got his trumpet he was going to know all the parts!
Notice how all the words are in the right direction and the letters aren't backwards? Sure, it's wonderful,, but frustrating for me!
He's been very consistant with his guitar practice so I know he'll practice his trumpet too.
Tomorrow is going to be another busy day.
I just want to sew all day, is that so wrong?
Right now I'm tired but I'm too wound up to sleep. Perhaps I'll explore those extra "mommy's little helpers" they gave me for my my MRI. Gotta get some rest so we can tackle diagraming and fractions again tomorrow!

How addicted to blogging are you?

78%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Don't be suprised if I'm bald next time you see me.

Because I'm about to pull out my hair.

I'm making this quick because I've got cookies in the oven. Today I have:
  • Drove T1 around to lawns to mow
  • Been to the gas station TWICE
  • Finished a school day with the kids
  • made 4 dozen cookies
  • Washed and dried but not folded and hung 8 loads of laundry
  • Made a book of spread sheets and forms for Band tonight (be there or be square!)
  • Cleaned the house
  • Went to the grocery store
  • Scrubbed the trashcans
  • Made numerous important phone calls

Now I'm not telling all ya'll out there in the blog-O-sphere this to impress you with my productivity, I just need to sit DOWN! sheeww, I'm tired and it's only 4:12.

I smell burning cookies!!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Government School started in Cabell Co. today.

Last year on the first day of Government school we went swimming. It was a big treat for them but it still didn't take the sting out of not going and seeing their buddies. No first day excitement with a new teacher. No seeing if they'll have "new kids" in their class. Even the cracking of brand new text books was anti-climactic. I mean, we had new text books but they kind of filtered in, we didn't get them all at once.

This year, they didn't even notice. Sweet huh?
This year, T1 went out and worked his summer job. Mowing lawns. I went to the Dr. (UGH! Don't get me started) and we rand to the store to get cookie ingrediants for the Band Kick off tomorrow. We hardly ever do anything on Mondays anyway. In a week or so that day will shift to Tuesdays. We'll have Band, Guitar, Library, and Co-op on Tuesdays. Learning will happen,, I assure you, just not with books.
I've been humming "The Wall" all day. It's become our unofficial "fight song" at Backyard Academy. If you'll recall, the Arby's Oven Mit is our mascot so yeah......
we're an eclectic bunch.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tuesday Night lights! (or lack there of)

Click the pic for more info.

This week's Knitting

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Patten- Haiku
Needles- 10 US
Yarn- 2 strands held tog. of Caron Simply Soft in "bag-o-dye-lot-gone-wild-costs-$1.99"

It's for my niece's 2nd birthday.

We are Trogloxenes

This week's schooling here at Backyard Academy had a spectacular close! Our Co-op is so lucky! We have a daddy among us who is a real life Spelunker! He agreed to take us to Carter Caves and show us some stuff that the public doesn't get to see!

In preparation for this, we studied caves all week instead of Botany . Here are some quick facts:

  • Most caves in our area are limestone caves . (page down, it's really interesting)

  • Stalactites hang from the ceiling

  • Stalagmites form on the cave floor

  • Flowstones form around things like walls and other rocks

  • Columns form when stalactites and stalagmites meet

  • Straws are tiny columns that are hollow

  • "Speleothem" refers to all cave formations

  • Troglodytes are animals who live in caves full time and have adapted to their environment

  • Trogloxenes are visitors to caves (they hang out in there part time,, like us!)

  • When you touch a "live" cave formation, the oil from your hands will kill it. NEVER TOUCH!

  • Bats are really cool (and tiny too!). We would only exisist 6 months tops if all the bats died today. They are very important to our ecosystem. Never touch a bat when it's hibernating. It will die.

  • Caves stay about 57 degrees all year round. We were very greatful for this on a 100 degree day!

While we were waiting for a few more people to join us our head spelunker took us off the beaten path (to say the LEAST! LOL,,, there was whining, oh yes there was) to see an entrence to the cave that had yet to be gated off. We were glad that we toughed the trail out because it was REALLY cool.

Ok, get your gear on, it's time to go in the big cave!
This is our whole group before the hike. Well,, just the kids and our fearless leader (minus Steven, he was hiding). Including the parents I think we had 42 people?

We entered in a part of the pay cave. The difference between a pay cave and a natural cave is that the pay cave has electricity!

A hole in the ceiling from drip erosion.


An underground reflecting pool in Cascade Cavern

Columns. We also saw straws here and LOTS of bats!

This is how we felt after the hike. BLAHHRG! we were dead.

The obligatory daddy and kids shot.

The books we used were:

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I think perhaps I was born in the wrong state. I'd get along really well up north. Fuggetaboudit.
I really don't act this way because I want to be hurtful, I just say what's on my mind. I know,, it's something I need to keep working on.
99.9 percent of the time I start out very pleasant before I get sarcastic. I don't set out to be mean. Below was one of the times that I started out with the sarcasm. I think the person who took the order took it in the good natured way it was intended but I was still a little embarassed by my "tone" when I saw it on paper.

But still, really, $4.75 to ship on thin photocopied piece of paper? Fuggetaboudit. You can clearly see that it cost them all of 41 cents. Quite a racket they have going on there don't you think?But then there are time when it totally gets me in trouble and tonight was one of those times. April from Tri-State MRI calls to do my paperwork with me. We go down the list..
Eye surgery?
Cancer in the last 2 years?
"Are you pregnant?"
"Are you sure?"
"Well, I still have a uterus and miracles still happen so I guess there's a possibility but I highly doubt it"
"You have to be sure."
"I'm sure."
"Hold on."
silence while she goes and asks people stuff.
"Mrs. Newman?"
"You have to go get a blood test before we can see you tomorrow morning."
"We have to know you're not pregnant."
"Honey.... I'm NOT pregnant"
"You can go to the Emergency room since the lab's closed"
"I'm sorry, but since you said you weren't sure"
Hold on.
Dreama gets on the phone.
"Hi, tell me what's going on"
I recounted the conversation and we're both laughing.
"I'll see you tomorrow morning Mrs. Newman"
"Ok, see ya Dreama!"

Clearly...... Not everyone get's it.

Little bits of paper

I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to come up with stuff to do with the kids at Co-op in September. I always have grand ideas but they rarely pan out the way I envision them.

We also had to make a run to the library. One run turned into two. No sooner than getting home and getting comfy with my books did the phone ring. It was the library calling me to tell me that I had left my giant wallet there. Apparently when I was paying my fines. We're becoming quite familiar and friendly with our local librarians. It could be because I am single handedly paying for a new wing with all the fines I rack up. I know, I know,, renew them online. I get it.
I wonder if they'll name the new wing after me ?
So I got this great book.

It has all kinds of relevant information and activities. You see, we are studying the Civil war in September. There was one project in the book in which you make a Signal Quilt. I thought this was a novel idea but the instructions were for actual quilting. I sew, I knit, I crochet but I


Not that I haven't tried and I'd love to be able to do it, but there are RULES when you quilt and I'm not turned that way!
So out with the construction paper and the glue.

When I was researching the signal quilt online, I found so many patterns. So many in fact that I wondered how in the world the slaves knew which ones were signal quilts and which ones were just regular quilts! The bit of lore goes that when the escaped slaves were traveling north on the Underground Railroad they knew they had found a safe house when there was a "Signal Quilt" hanging out back on the line. The one I chose seemed the most self explanitory. You can clearly see that this quilt says "follow the north star".
Pretty neat huh?
The original plan was to have the boys help me but then after I got the little one inch squares cut out I decided I'd rather spoon my own eyes out than have them assist me in this task. Maybe before Sept 4th I'll come up with some other creative way to illustrate this concept and involve the children. Ideas?

Take the Book Quiz

Well, Duh!

You're 1984!

by George Orwell

You have this uncanny feeling that you're always being watched. Thus
life has become a bit of a show as you try to portray yourself as much more reputable
than you actually are. All around you, people seem to accept an unending stream of lies
and propaganda without flinching. Your only hope may be a star-crossed love affair, but
pain seems stonger than love. If you have any older brothers, be very wary of

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Free Educational Sight Word Post-it Notes.

These little dandies are just TOO CUTE! You can get a free sample HERE .

Do you like good deals and free stuff? You must check out this blog- Want Not. Check back often, she often updates many times a day!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nothing to report.

Nothing much to report today. T1 is 11.1 years old and sufficiently spoiled. T2 has been an excellent child lately and is currently enjoying his new hotwheels track that he got for T1's birthday. We call it his .5 birthday!
I slept in this morning. I must have really needed it because I was sleeping like a ROCK! DH got up, showered, went to the store, came back and we STILL were not up! After we lounged around leisurely I went to my knitting circle. I really look forward to it. We knit for charity and it's very rewarding.
It's storming now so I'm not sure that we'll go to the pool in the morning. If it's overcast and rainy it'll be too cold. Perhaps we'll just do a big art project tomorrow if we don't go swim.
Well, I think I'll knit a square or two for Warm Up America and hit the hay. Night all.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

11 years ago today.

Actually, it was 11 years ago last night.

It was at 9pm exactly. I was great with child. I don't mean that in a poetical, biblical sense. I mean it in the "I must have a teenager living inside of me, I'm so low that I'm walking with a foot in each state" sense. It was a warmish night and I was feelin' GOOD! Like, better than I had for months! So we decided to go to the Cabell county fair and see the crash up derby. Strange, because just 24 hours prior to this day I would have melted you with laser beams from my eyes if you had suggested that I spend my evening outside in the sticky August weather crouched on a grassy knoll. But whatever, I was game.

It was fun and we had a great time. After we left we stopped by the local Sonic Drive-in to pick up my most favoritest of pregnancy snacks..... The Ocean Water Slushy with vanilla ice cream!

Oh. My. God. I loved those sooooo much! I think it contributed to a majority of my extra pregnancy weight.

Still, I'm in the best mood. It's almost eerie really because according to my chart, I'm going on 10 days over due! At this juncture I'm eliciting stares and pity from perfect strangers. I'm HUGE.

So we head home and I'm straitening up the house and my dearest husband is laying on his stomach playing a computer game in the bed room. (Yeah,, don't try to picture how the bedroom was set up at that time, you'll hurt yourself!) If ever there was a burst of energy, I had it that night.

Then it happened. Mom always said "Don't worry, it never happens like it does on TV" so I was not expecting the lightning bolt of pain that shot through my back dropping me to my knees. When I regained my composure I looked up at the clock that was above the couch and it said 9:00 on the button.

So I kept cleaning up.

Then I let out a groan and gripped the kitchen counter. Waddling back into the living room I saw that it had only been 5 minutes.

"it's not supposed to happen that close together at first, this couldn't be it" I told myself.

This went on for 30 minutes. Every 5 minutes like clockwork a wave of horrendous pain would wash over me. So I finally resigned myself to go to the bedroom and tell the husband.

"Um, we're going to the hospital tonight"

he was less than enthused.

"when?" he said.

"probably soon, my contractions are coming on strong every 5 minutes"

"oh, well,, just tell me when you're ready."

UGH! wow, no speedy ride to the hospital, no frantic husband, nothing. Just "oh".

Talk about anti-climatic.

So I gathered up my stuff (that had been packed for weeks of course) and we headed out.

We got to the hospital about 10:30 and I was still contracting every 5 minutes but nothing more. They checked me out and I was indeed in labor.

So now what?

I walked the halls.

I walked.....

and walked....

and walked....

I was exhausted. So I went back to my room and tried to lay down. No such luck. You all know how it is. Someone's got their hand where it shouldn't be every time you roll over and then there was the "someones trying to pull out my spine" pain. At the time,, this being my first baby, I did not know that wasn't really normal.

Good thing huh?

So I labored ALL night.

They tried to give me an epidural and I'm a lucky lucky gal 'cuz my spine is situated in such a way that I can't receive one. Yeah!

My midwife came in to coach me the next morning to see if we couldn't get this show on the road. We tried every thing. Squatting, standing, heels over head, on the side, everything. She even brought out a mirror at one point to help me "focus" (eeewww). Patty (the midwife) was frustrated, hubby was goofy (watching Christine on TV and yelling "GET ME SOME ICE CHIPS,,, STAT!") So finally she brought out the big butch guns and started saying "You're just not pushing hard enough!" and "You have to get this baby OUT do you hear me??!?!". She enlisted the help of my Marine husband to start barking at me, I mean, count for me. I pushed.

I mean I PUSHED!! I busted blood vessels in my face I pushed so hard.

Finally we were all exhausted but T1 was crowning and not making progress so she brought in the dr with the skills to do a level 4 episiotomy. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I call this the "Reverse C-section". It is INVASIVE to say the least. I won't give you details,,, google it. That plus a suction cup and out he popped. I coulda swore I heard a grown man say "Wah, What's a baby gotta do to get a beer in here?"

T1 was a GINORMOUS baby. 11lbs and 26.5 inches long.

Let's review:

Toddler + no epidural = OMG.

Patty the Midwife came in to see me the next day and to say she was sorry!

11 years later, the man child sits in my living room perusing all of his birthday loot. He's a good boy. Honest to a fault, creative and sensitive.

August 18, 1996 after 4 years of infertility treatments, we became a family.

I'll tell you about his toddlerhood another day. Let's just say it's a wonder we reproduced again!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Praise the Lord anyhow....

Today started out better than yesterday. I didn't wake up feeling like a Mack truck had run over me. Well,, perhaps I didn't feel like the truck had run over me, backed up, noticed he missed my head, backed up some more to get some speed, and then run me over again. I just felt like I had received a "normal" flattening this morning. T1 apparently decided that he was going to sleep all day so T2 and I commenced with the learning.
First (because it requires the least amount of effort from me) he chose to do spelling. Have I told you guys about his new found love of spelling? Yes, this is the YOUNGER child! I'm not even joking! I subscribed to Spelling Time and he LOVES it! I think he's actually learning something too! If you've got a minute, take the tutorial. T1 wishes there was a "big kid" version and I do too!
After that I asked him if he wanted to play Timez Attack a little (again, no effort from me!) He really enjoys using the computer for school. It works well for us because the computer doesn't get frustrated and it holds him accountable. He tried to tell me a few times this morning that the keyboard wasn't typing what he was putting in. Uhhhmmm, NO. Nice try.
Then he went in and finished up the rest of his subjects and T1 wasn't even up yet! The morning went so smoothly that I wonder if the boys shouldn't have seperate school work times.
Then T1 got up. I won't tell you how late he slept, you might come after me with pitchforks and DHHR. I've been letting it slide because the child is getting BO and pimples. (Please do not tell him I said that on the internet) I see the corralation, do you? How is it that this is happening at 11 years old? At any rate he took care of his book work, practice and chores in good time. He looses focus a lot but always seems to get the job done so I don't care.

During both sessions of school today I occupied myself by cutting up a HUGE batch of Sweet Hungarian Banana peppers. I intend on canning something that resembles the things you get with pizza. Wish me luck!
Oh, and our little visitor was here again today! Mama was eyeing the garden but the fence prevailed again!

I had big plans for today but none of them panned out. I did make the required phone calls and finished things that had deadlines (read:: advertisement for our Homeschool band. More on that later). The biggest reason they didn't come to fruition? Here it comes,,, more whining, are you ready? I stepped on a bee. I know, whhaaaaa! But my foot is all hurting and swollen and I can't get a shoe on! I had FLIP FLOPS ON!! It's not like I was barefoot like I usually am! It got me right on my big toe. Can you see the hole in my red swollen toe? That little twirp took a hunk outta me! I know, gross right?
I better get it together. Next week starts the "Parade of too many things to do". Summer break is over for the rest of the world. This means, Band, Guitar, Co-op, and field trips. It's all good stuff, don't get me wrong but I hate being on the go all the time. I like being a homebody.
Speaking of Band.
If you're in my area (and you know who you are!) and you have children over 9, consider T.H.E.M.E.. It's a homeschool band and our fearless band director is the best! Here's his blog.
We're having an informational meeting at Christ the King Lutheran Church on August 28th at 6pm. He'll talk to you about band, help you with your instrument rental and purchasing needs, and even inspect your used instrument! I highly encourage you to give this a try. I don't have to tell you homeschool mom's out there how important music is to your child's education!
If you need more info,, just drop me a line @ Cnewmans at Yahoo dot com.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Free Science Posters

I was clued into a link today to International Paper.


Exciting stuff huh?

But wait! It IS exciting because you can get free sciencey posters! They just happen to go right along with what we're studying in Apologia Botany right now too!
Along with the posters there is also some wonderful learning materials.
As my Sister in Law would say....
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I really was not in the mood today.

If I were a public school teacher, today would be one of those days were I let "Lisa Simpson" run the projector all day while I laid, head down on my crossed arms, with a little puddle of drool on my desk blotter.

I feel yucky.

If I hadn't spent all day yesterday shuckin' and dewormin' corn I would have called in sick to homeschool. But alas, my ever studious children were required to put up with mommies foul mood and "do school".

I've got snot, and an upset tummy, and a headache, and muscle aches, and I'm chilly and I'm stuffy, and.... and... and.... UGH!

We finished all of our subjects without flare, labs, or drawing of diagrams. I mean, come on! They're lucky I fed them today.
Speaking of drawing diagrams. Does anyone out there love posterboard and sharpies as much as me? I seriously doubt it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Awwh Shucks.

We meant to "do school" today. Really! But a friend in need is a friend indeed! She had corn to put up that is no fun when you have to do it alone.
So when she called this morning and asked if I could help I said "Sure no problem! We'll be there at noon!"
Oh the corn. Lots and lots of corn. Shuckin' corn is nothing but I'm here to tell you, it's NOT the shucking, it's the DEWORMING! UCK! Oh. my. God. Worms are so gross.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
After all the shucking we needed to scrub it all. Gotta get all the silks off! That is NOT "good eats"
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Then comes cutting it off the cob. Wow, is my thumb tired!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Next, put it on the stove with a box of butter and let it come to a boil!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Between the both of us, we managed enough stock pots to get it all done.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Finally, we put it all up in family size servings and put it in the freezer!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Not a bit of it went to waste. Buttercup and Cannon enjoyed the treat!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

"Here Chick, Chick, Chick!" Get it? Chick, chick, chick? Har dee har har! I kill me.
The chickens enjoyed the "gross parts" UCK,, I just thought of the worms again!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

While the corn was cooling, we snapped beans, LOTS of beans.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Look closely, can you find the worms?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It was a lot of hard work but it was also a lot of fun! We fancied ourselves "country girls" today!
Next- Banana Peppers and Tomatos! Anyone have any good recipes?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I seems like when I blog about school, the only thing I write about is science. We do the other stuff too, I PROMISE! The picture to the left is a tiny sunflower I plucked from our garden. I split it in two pieces so the boys could get an up close look at how the little tiny flowers were at the tips of each seed. This helped illustrate how the hilum comes into existance and the corralation between that and our own umbilical cords / belly buttons!
We drew diagrams of seeds in our science notebooks and examined many different types of testa (seed shells). While we were intently looking at seeds under my high powered stitchery magnifing glass I hear T2 yell "SMOKE!" "NO,, FIRE!" and sure enough, we had inadvertantly set the table top on fire! After the excitement wore off and I had sucessfully extinguished the small, barely scorching fire, we spent lots of time trying to recreate the blaze! We were sucessful a few time but often accidentally. Subsequent times we put a plate under our object that we wanted to burn as to not burn the whole house down! Dad got home early today and they didn't have to ask him twice if he would go outside and set stuff on fire with them!

Supervised, of course.

We also read a book today that the boys really enjoyed. It was called "The Meat Eating Plants Next Door" by Sarah Glasscock. It's only 4 chapters long so we passed it around and finished it today. Cute book.

We had a visitor this morning. Aren't they cute!!! I don't think they are twins but we only see one mama. Sometimes we only see one fawn, sometimes 2.

All in all, we had an excellent school day. I only had to threaten T2 one time! Ok,, maybe twice but that's a whole lot less than usual!

Monday, August 13, 2007

7 things to do with a Hundreds Chart

I read 7 great ideas from Let's play math!. If you haven't read it or don't read it often, you should. It's a great blog!
I found a printable Hundreds Chart HERE because we are going to be on the go today.
Stop by her blog and say HI!
Thanks Denise!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

His Golden Years

Notice anything unusual about the recepit below? My strapping 30 somethin' husband got it today when he ordered his lunch. He said the kid at the register looked to be about 12 years old. It COULD be a mistake but as far as I'm concerned...... he'll never live it down!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket