Friday, September 30, 2011

It's a Canning Weekend

The pantry shelves in the basement are looking kind of bare.  Other than the rows of peanut butter, beans and pasta, things are looking kind of empty.  Given my thoughts on food storage, I'm not too happy with this at the moment.  Hopefully by the end of this coming week, the shelves will look a bit better.  I am hoping to fill them up with applesauce, apple butter, salsa and jam.  I'm debating a few other things but it will all depend on how much fruit is left.  I'm hoping to see full shelves in a few days.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Do You Eat in the Bathroom, Lady?

Ok, weird question I know.  Ellie and I were at the local Once Upon a Child store looking for some winter clothes for her.  I won't go into the idea that many of their prices were too much. I mean, when the tag still on it from the store is less than the tag you put on it, something is wrong.  Or the triple jogging stroller that I saw and was drooling over for a bit.  But I will say I am very annoyed with the response I got when I asked if there was somewhere I could sit to feed the baby before heading home.  Normally I don't bother to ask but I've found in baby oriented stores, there is often a rocking chair or couch or something which is much better than sitting on the floor. So I asked and was told there was a chair in the bathroom.  Um, seriously?  Trying to decide if this warrants further action on my part other than the slightly irritated and shocked look I gave the lady.  Just wondering what the heck they are thinking.  They should know that if you make nursing mothers feel welcome, they'll spend more money in their store.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waldorf Salad

Is very yummy.  And I'm thinking we'll have to make more this weekend since it's gone again.  You'd think Alan would have told me before this year that he liked it because we could have been making it all this time.  Silly guy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Flying Island Press and an Autism Benefit Issue

I recently had a chance to read a collection of stories put together by Flying Island Press.  This special collection of stories is designed to help foster acceptance and awareness of those with autism and is called Pieces of Eight.

This collection is filled with a variety of stories that draw attention to the unique challenges that come along with loving a person with autism.  I found in these stories many experiences and people I could relate to from my own life.  However, I do believe the overall feeling from this collection is one of depression or despair. I was truly hoping for a bit of inspiration or happiness in this benefit issue and was instead left with a rather unsettling feeling of isolation.

This collection of stories does a great job of drawing attention to the quirks and struggles that often accompany life with autism.  It does it's job in getting you to think a bit about what life is like on the other side of that mirror.  But if you are looking for inspiration, you'll have to look elsewhere.  Solid writing, creative stories but they won't leave you with a happy feeling. 

Just a note, I was given a free copy of Pieces of Eight in exchange for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kids Audio Workshop

Just wanted to share the final work from an audio production that a few of the kids were involved in. They all did a great job.  Click on the red title to hear the story.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Look at What She Can Do!

Apple Picking 2011

We went for our annual large apple picking trip today.  In much less than hour we were able to pick over 100 lbs of apples.  Everyone had a great time.  It's sometimes humorous to watch some of the other folks out at the orchards with us.  They sometimes provide a bit of entertainment. Then again, based on the number of times we are asked about our family, I have a feeling we provide a bit of entertainment as well.  Now we begin the task of making applesauce, apple butter, pie filling and apple jelly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Visual Latin

We've been struggling with finding a program to teach the kids Latin that was both easy to use for us and interesting for the kids.  It's been a struggle.  Since both Alan and myself lack any experience in Latin, it's been a bit hard to teach.  German or Spanish I can safely say could be managed with no struggle. Latin, well, there's a struggle.  And teaching Latin to children who would rather be outside rather than learning a language they will only hear in church and then only on those rare special Sundays is even more of a struggle.

The Visual Latin program has seriously changed all of this for our family.  When I received the first DVD, I was not yet sure which child I was going to select to work with me.  I decided on Sean since he was sitting alone in the living room when I was ready to pop the DVD in.  To say he was not happy is putting it mildly.  But after doing just a few lessons, he has asked that we abandon the Latin program we've been using and switch to Visual Latin instead.  I kind of view this as high praise.
The Visual Latin program is a DVD based program.  There are no books to go along with the program but there are plenty of worksheets to print instead.  Each lesson is broken into 3 small parts. You watch a short video section and then do the corresponding worksheet.  Starting with the first lesson, the student is translating short paragraphs from Latin into English.
Because the program is DVD based, it is a one-time purchase for your family.  This keeps the program very affordable for those with large families.  All of the worksheets, flashcards and assorted resources are available for download from the Visual Latin website.
The teacher in this program keeps the students engaged.  His presentation is very down to earth and humorous.  The short lessons are easy to absorb without being overwhelming.  After 3 lessons, my son who previously said he could not understand any Latin is now able to translate sentences.

I would say the only negative I can see with this program so far is that the worksheets are not available in an already printed workbook format.  Yes, the downloads keep things more affordable.  But there are times when I've been known to run out of printer ink in the middle of the day or a child needs something printed when I am busy feeding the baby.  I honestly prefer whenever possible to have the worksheets already available for the kids in a format that keeps them from wandering around the house.  It's easy to loose a single printed page around here.  Yes, I can use a hole punch and put them in a binder but when I'm pressed for time those things just don't always happen.  So I would love to see a workbook option available in the future.

If you are interested in the Visual Latin program, be sure to request a free homeschool catalog from Timberdoodle today. You can also find resources for teaching many other foreign languages to your students.

As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of Visual Latin in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I've been given a premium membership to for a candid, personal, online review. helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as Crossword Puzzle, HangMan, and Handwriting Worksheets.  Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of  free teaching resources such as sound-alike words, and contractions.  Be sure to come back in three weeks to read about my experience.

There might be more free memberships available for bloggers.  If you're interested, find out how you can review

Friday, September 16, 2011

Camp is Over

Camp is over for the year.  The kids had a blast and I am tired.  It's been a busy week and the younger 2 boys are going on 5 days straight of no nap.  Yup, it's meltdown city around here because they just cannot function without naps.

The kids learned quite a bit and had a great time.  Yesterday the older children had to be told they were not allowed to practice their fire starting skills in the backyard without adult supervision.  Although I have to say it is totally awesome to see them start a fire without the use of matches.  Very impressive.

While visiting the museum today with the younger kids, we found a dress for Abby to try on for a while.  She was thrilled because she really wants a chance to dress up like her big sister.

The kids had a blast and I am very glad that we take the time to start each school year with such a wonderful experience. It might not be book work but I think they get so much out of the experience.  I would have a very hard time duplicating these experiences at home.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cute Kids

No words are really needed here. Just a few pictures.

19th Century Kids

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Day at the Park

We were looking for something to do out of the house on Saturday and decided against going to the free air show due to the chance of massive crowds.  Turns out the crowds were huge so I'm glad we opted against it. Instead we headed to the park.  Everyone had a great time and we hope to head back again soon.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September Thoughts

I know now is the time for all of the patriotic remembrance posts but I just can't seem to pull one out of my head right now.  I am thinking back to who we seemed to be and where we were ten years ago and all I can feel is sadness. Incredible sadness for our country and the direction we are currently taking.

It seems for the most part that patriotism is no longer allowed.  The pledge cannot be said in schools because you might offend someone.  One school recently made the horrifying decision to place another nation's flag above the flag of the United States.  Most folks have no clue about our nation's history and only hear the national anthem if they attend a sporting event.

A nation founded on religious freedom is now one in which no religion is allowed to be practiced in public unless it is one that accepts everyone and everything that a person chooses to do.  Religious freedom is being taken away every single day in this country and the powers that be are quite happy with that.  If you want to participate in activities that I find morally reprehensible but are not illegal, I won't stop you.  I'll even say that you are within your right to do so.  But don't make me pay for your actions when they infringe on my religious beliefs.

We have become a nation of people who are in debt up to our ears.  Personal responsibility is at an all time low.  The idea of instant gratification is slowly killing our society.

Our schools are not educating our youth.  I don't look forward to the doctors and engineers and such that we will find attempting to service us in the future.

Our supposed leader is playing the kind of games that most people used to leave behind them once they left high school and the major media outlets are clapping him on the back in support of his antics.

I'm just saddened.  And perhaps getting a bit jaded.  I'm wondering what is looming in front of us.  What world will greet our children when they are starting their families.  Are we as a nation capable of raising real men anymore?  The kind we will need to support their families.  Are we as a nation capable of raising thinking women anymore? The we will need to keep their families together and close?  Are we capable of building the kind of adults needed to sacrifice and make the tough decisions needed to make our country a great place to live again?  I'm really not so sure anymore.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The 'Gospel' of Tolerance: You Must Approve - U.s. - Catholic Online

This very eloquent article explains so much of what so many people are tired of right now.  I am hoping my relative who choose to call me a hater for having these exact beliefs will read this and know that I am totally ok with her calling me such names if it means I am standing up for the truth.  I couldn't have expressed my thoughts better myself.

The 'Gospel' of Tolerance: You Must Approve - U.s. - Catholic Online

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ellie's Pictures

I received a free photo shoot and pictures from Sears so I took Ellie in all by herself.  Wow, it's so much easier to just take pictures of one child.  No wonder I used to take the boys so often.  Just wanted to share the link here for those of you who might be interested.  Enjoy.

Just a Link

Don't read too much into this link.  It's just something I wanted to share because I can relate to a lot of what is said.  She hits on many of the reasons why we are rather choosy about who we share the news of pregnancies with at each stage.  You always feel joy but get tired of the less than joyful replies.  The what were you thinking, the sister-in-law who thinks it's ok to write Happy Breeding on your Christmas card, the relatives who decide to question how you will take care of the child, the folks who quickly change the subject but then loudly rejoice in the news of another family member's pregnancy because they had the sense to only have 1 other child, the aunt who tells you when you are expecting your 4th boy that they had the sense to stop at 3 because they already had 3 boys and no one wants a 4th boy.  Even worse would be the family members who say people are allowed to say anything they want to us because no one likes us and we don't have the right to be mad about it.  Hm, whatever.  Just a reminder folks.  The only answer should always be congratulations perhaps followed by how are you feeling and is there anything that I can do that would be of help to you?  Seriously, I think folks have lost their minds in recent years.