Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Grandma Grooms Monster Dog

Grandma strolled over this afternoon while we were working in the yard blowing leaves, picking up odds and ends and doing our basic spring clean-up. Seizing the opportunity for a break, we sat on the porch and admired the beautiful day. While sitting on the porch, she noticed our dog, Pal, had some matted hair and burrs that needed attention. Before we knew it she was calling for the scissors and dog brush and the fur was a flying, literally.
Now, this is no ordinary dog mind you, this is a Monster Dog. From our living room windows he looks like a polar bear coming down the hill. Here is a picture of his paw next to our fifteen year old daughter's hand: -
Grandma got right to work and not only did Pal sit patiently through it all, he loved it. It actually went very smoothly, except for the time he jumped up to let my brother's dog know he was still boss. Just because he was getting his hair done didn't mean he was getting girly!
When he thought she was done, he tried begging for more.
Of course, Grandma obliged.
And finally, here he is looking very satisfied with himself.

Monday, February 27, 2006

More on Entertainment

This post from Spunky is about Focus on the Family's response to the television program LOST. A while back my children asked to watch the show, citing many Christian friends who watch it regularly. We tuned in and it wasn't long before we wished we hadn't. Once again we were saddened by the compromise Christians make for the sake of entertainment. I completely sympathize with Spunky's post.
Most of my friends know this is my personal portable soapbox that I carry with me everywhere I go. It has convenient handles and a nice little megaphone that fits inside just waiting to be pulled out when the occasion merits. But my blog friends have yet to learn how obnoxious and unrelenting I can be on the subject! :)
It's not that we think we are above it. We've been there. I'm sure we have watched worse things than any of our friends do now or possibly ever have. That's probably why it is such a passion of ours. We know the slippery slope all too well.
We recently had a conversation with our children about what the Bible has to say on the matter and I blogged about it here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Let the Children Come

TheLittlestPrincess and I were listening to Close Your Eyes So You Can See by Michael Card this morning since we had to stay home from church due to the flu. I'm trying to remember to play the children's tapes we listened to when the older kids were young because I can still see the benefit to their souls from listening to spiritually uplifting lyrics and I want my younger ones to have the same foundation. I can't tell you how often my teenagers break into song from one of the Donut Man's or Steve Green's Hide Em In Your Heart albums when they hear a verse that brings a song to memory. Just this week AdventureQueen, while preparing for her training class at the crisis pregnancy center, started singing Steve Green's You Knit Me Together In My Mother's Womb when she came across the Bible verse in her notes.
One song that we listened to this morning brought to my mind the modern practice of segregating children into their own watered-down Sunday school classes or worse yet Children's Church. One woman recently wrote to me about a church they had visited and found printed in the bulletin:
"The church services are designed for adults. Children are asked to join in the children's program. You may keep your children with you, but if they become restless, we ask that you immediately bring them to the lobby."
This grieved my heart so much!! And so many people don't think a thing of it. The children progress through the ranks and it all culminates with the Youth Group. Being sent away is normal to the children. Then parents wonder why their children's hearts are so far from them. When you've outgrown the youth group there are singles groups, young married groups, 30-something's, 40-somethings and on and on. I see this as a progression of the public age-segregated school system most of us grew up in. When will we learn that we all need each other????
I was not raised in Children's Church. All seven of my siblings were expected to sit quietly through sometimes long meetings. The younger ones were allowed to bring little toys to play with and, for the very young, even a little snack. Sitting on the floor respectfully playing was just a part of life. Even though as a child I didn't always understand everything, I did understand the Spirit. Now all seven of my children have grown up the same way. Our pastor is not always easy to comprehend. Some adults come away from Sunday mornings feeling like they haven't grasped it all. My older children are grateful that it is not difficult for them. They have grown up with meat and potatoes preaching. They often are astounded at the lack of depth of the sermons of other churches we have attended while visiting friends or family. The sad thing is that our society is plagued with the underestimating of children. The schools are not the only place where they are being dumbed down.
To use a popular Christian phrase, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO??? Well, if we read our Bibles, we will know the answer to that question. There is a story that tells exactly what He did do. And here's the song, Let the Children Come, that Michael Card wrote about just this subject:
Jesus looked so weary
From the worries of the day
But the look on His face lightened
When the children came His way
Before He could reach out to them
and join them in their play
His grown-up band of followers
Told the kids to go away
Let the children come
Don't dare drive them away
In them the kingdom comes
Hear the holy, foolish things they say
The spring time of their life decides
The adults they'll become
So please let the children come
Please let the children come
The golden gift of childhood
Lasts a lifetime if we try
The simple trusting faith they own
Keeps scholars mystified
And so the Lord adopts us
As His daughters and His sons
For the Kingdom is for children
So please let the children come

Friday, February 24, 2006

Favorite Chicken Recipes

The Kitchen Meme got me thinking of posting a few good recipes. Fair warning, we are not fat conscious at our house. Several of our inhabitants are bone skinny and need all the fat they can get. The rest of us just have to learn to exercise portion control. :)
The Best Alfredo Sauce We've Ever Had
1 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese
1 stick of butter
3/4 c. of Parmesan cheese
about 3/4 c. milk
Just put it all in the saucepan and stir with a whisk until it is smooth and creamy. This is very easy for a child to make. I have recently started using this to make creamed spinach. Just mix some of the sauce with cooked chopped spinach and sprinkle with some extra Parmesan. For a very low-carb treat, substitute cream for the milk. Yum! We make this sauce often for company and serve it with hot pasta, grilled chicken, a salad and french bread.
This next recipe has a funny story behind it. When I had just given birth to our fifth child someone had been so gracious to organize meals to be brought to us. For seven nights a different person brought us dinner. The first night was chicken and rice, the second night was chicken and rice, the next night was chicken and rice. The children began to wonder what was going on. I had to threaten them to not say a word if the next night brought chicken and rice. It happened again and again. Every night different people brought different chicken and rice dishes. On the last night, we couldn't believe it, another chicken and rice dish. This time a chicken-rice-broccoli casserole. We smiled and politely thanked our friends. You would think after six nights of chicken and rice, we would not be scrambling for the phone to order pizza but this dish was SO GOOD. We gobbled it up. We knew it had to be good to get such rave reviews after a week of the same thing. I had to get the recipe. So here it is. Enjoy!
First make homemade cream of chicken soup. Don't let that scare you. It's easy. Mr. Potts is allergic to MSG so it's no pre-canned soups for us. It's really simple. This recipe is not nearly as good with canned soup.
Melt 1 stick of butter and then mix in 3/4 c. flour, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 t. pepper
Then add 4c. chicken broth (I just mix bouillon and water) and 1 1/2 c. milk.
Stir with a whisk and cook until thickened. When done whisk in about 1/2 c. - 3/4 c. mayonnaise and a good squirt of bottled lemon juice.
Layer a 9 x 13 dish in this order:
chopped cooked broccoli
chopped cooked chicken
the homemade soup mixture
shredded cheese
a good thick layer of stuffing crumbs tossed with butter
Bake at 350 until hot and bubbly.
You won't believe how good this is! Even more so if you haven't had chicken and rice six nights in a row! :)
Tom's Super Simple but Savory Chicken
This is our 15 year old daughter's speciality recipe she created. Everyone loves it.
Place boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a cassarole dish. Sprinkle heavily (I mean coat those puppies) with Lawry's Perfect Blend Seasoning Rub for Chicken & Poultry and McCormick's Szechuan Style Pepper Blend. Then bake uncovered at 375 until the chicken is done. I think it's about 45 min. Just add rice or pasta and a vegetable (the creamed spinach goes good here) and you have a very tasty easy meal.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


What I Lost
Time is short
From birth to grave
I strive in vain
My life to save
He lets me choose
If my life
I give to loose
Though this pain
Cuts like a knife
I choose to give
My short lived life
What I gave
Seemed great in cost
But I gained more
Than what I lost
The life I lost
Did not compare
With what my Lord
And I now share
Now I see
Through my Lord's eyes
One does not live
Until self dies
By AdventureQueen
February 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bad News/Good News

The bad news is when ten people live in the same house, the flu can hang around for quite a while. First one or two people, then days later another one succumbs. Even after a week, it can still be found making the rounds. Currently we stand at four down, possibly two more flirting with it, and four to go.
The good news is by the time we get through with it all, SPRING should be close at hand. Then it'll be time for blooming flowers, picnics, baseball games and reading on the front porch! Yippee!

I Think, Therefore I Write... and Underline

Last night, I finally cracked open a set of little books I bought last year at a garage sale called The Pocket University. In volume twenty-three called The Guide to Reading there is a section called Books for Reading and Study by Lyman Abbott. Whenever I read a really good book, I simply MUST have a pen in my hand. Especially good passages scream at me to underline them. I absolutely hate it when the book is some special edition that I can not write in because then I must drag my journal out and recopy the special passages into it. If it is a really good book my hand usually wears out before I can get very far. Luckily this was one set I had decided to allow myself the privilege and joy of underlining in.
Here's the first part I underlined:
" In every home there ought to be books that are friends. In every day, at least in every week, there ought to be some time which can be spent in cultivating that friendship. This is reading, and reading is very different from study."
And then this:
"You do not need to decide beforehand what friend you will invite to spend the evening with you. When supper is over and you sit down by the evening lamp for your hours of companionship, you give your invitation according to your inclination at the time. And if you have made a mistake, and the friend you have invited is not the one you want to talk to, you can 'shut him up' and not hurt his feelings. Remarkable is the friend who speaks only when you want to listen and can keep silence when you want silence."
This article was packed with screaming sections and I was happily underlining when I came to this:
"If the reader is wise he talks to his friend as well as listens to him and adds in pencil notes, in the margin or on the back pages of the book, his own reflections. I take up these books marked with the indications of my conversation with my friend and in these penciled memoranda find an added value. Sometimes the mark emphasizes and agreement between my friend and me, sometimes it emphasizes a disagreement, and sometimes it indicates the progress in thought I have made since last we met. A wisely marked book is sometimes doubled in value by the marking."
This reminded me of this article, How to Mark A Book by Mortimer J. Adler, the same author of How to Read A Book, which is part of our home school curriculum. For some reason, it just felt good to get "professional" permission to mark my books. And not just permission but praise and encouragement for doing so.
I think better on paper. When I am planning one of the children's school years, I use reams of paper. Writing and scribbling until I get everything just the way I want it. I know it would be much more efficient if I would use the word processor but I prefer sitting on my bed with the old fashioned pen and a stack of real paper. I learn quite a bit about the time period they will study just by making so many notes and chronological outlines. I know it's not necessary but it helps me to feel like I have a handle on their course of study.
Recently, I think I have finally hit upon a system of journal keeping that will work for me. I used to have several journals. One for quotes, one for diary entries, one for books read and thoughts about them, one for Bible studies and church notes. It was always a pain to track down the exact one I needed. Recently, I decided to use one journal for everything. All of my thoughts, notes, prayers etc. will be in chronological order. An added benefit to this system is I get the pleasure of buying a new journal more frequently, which is almost more fun than the actual journaling!
Well, I'm off for my "hours of companionship". Tootles!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Kitchen Meme

I was tagged by the Deputy Headmistress at the Common Room to answer these questions on Kitchens and Cooking.
How many meals does most of your family eat at home each week? HOw many are in your family?
Probably about 19 meals per week. There are 10 of us. Sometimes we order pizza from Papa John's on Tuesday night when large pizzas are $5.00. Mr. Potts and I go out to dinner some weeks. When baseball season starts we eat out many more evenings, usually pizza or Taco Bell.
2. How many cookbooks do you own?
About 50. When I discovered the internet, it cut back on my cookbook purchases.
3. How often do you refer to a cookbook each week?
Many times a week, maybe four.
4. Do you collect recipes from other sources? If so, what are some of your favorite sources (relatives, friends, magazines, advertisements, packages, the internet, etc)
The internet is my favorite source. Taste of Home magazine and Southern Living are other favorite sources. I also recently copied a recipe for a yummy-looking peanut butter ice cream pie from a magazine at the hair salon.
5. How do you store those recipes?
Er, that's the project that is still awaiting my attention. I have a recipe card notebook that is falling apart and other printed from the internet recipes stuffed into pee-chee folders and still others in a 3-ring binder. I plan to buy a nice box from Hope Chest Legacy and get them all copied beautifully onto pretty recipe cards one of these days.
6. When you cook, do you follow the recipe pretty closely, or do you use recipes primarily to give you ideas?
I have an ongoing debate with a friend over cooking being an art vs. a science. I'm a mostly a scientist when it comes to cooking. When something is good, I want to be able to count on it being the same every time so I stick to the recipe. When people compliment my cooking, I always say it's as easy as following directions.
7. Is there a particular ethnic style or flavor that predominates in your cooking? If so, what is it?
Mr. Potts prefers country home cooking and is allergic to preservatives and MSG so I've had to learn to cook most everything from scratch. The children love anything pasta. I love anything spicy and hot and Mexican. To me, salsa is a kitchen staple! So we all take turns having our favorites.
8. What's your favorite kitchen task related to meal planning and preparation? (eating the finished product does not count)
Menu planning and making the grocery list.
9. What's your least favorite part?
Besides unloading the dishwasher, I dislike handling raw meat.
10. Do you plan menus before you shop?
Yes, though some alterations take place during the week.
11. What are your three favorite kitchen tools or appliances?
Breadmaker and grain mill (these have to go together and count as one), crockpot and rice cooker. I love to leave for church with bread making in the breadmaker, meat and veggies in the crockpot and rice in the rice cooker! I must mention a fourth favorite - the standing mixer.
12. If you could buy one new thing for your kitchen, money was no object, and space not an issue, what would you most like to have?
A rotisserie that cooked several chickens at once.
13. Since money and space probably are objects, what are you most likely to buy next?
Pretty new dishtowels and some sharp knives.
14. Do you have a separate freezer for storage?
We have 2 extra freezers and 1 extra refrigerator.
15. Grocery shop alone or with others?
Preferably with one other person, either with Mr. Potts or one of the children.
16. How many meatless main dish meals do you fix in a week??
Maybe one. Mr. Potts must have small amounts of protein at every meal.
17. If you have a decorating theme in your kitchen, what is it? Favorite kitchen colors?
Our kitchen, dining area and living area are all open, the kitchen being separated by a 14 ft. bar with cabinets above and below. We don't really have much room for decorating in the kitchen, everything is mostly wall to ceiling cabinets. Any available space is painted a deep purple (my favorite color). All towels, oven mitts and such are purple, tan or green to match the rest of the room.
18. What's the first thing you ever learned to cook, and how old were you?
I learned to make spaghetti sauce at 11 years old from my partially Italian step-mother.
19. How did you learn to cook?
Mostly by following cookbooks after I was married.
20. Tag two other people to play.
I have several friends I would like to tag, but alas, they are blog-less. Come on people! Get with it! (You know who you are!)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Another Illustrator in the Making

This picture by our own BLOCHhead struck me as being very similar to Pearlkeeper's work when she was younger. For those of you who don't already know, our PearlKeeper has illustrated the first three books of the Grandmother's Hope Chest series. Maybe her younger sister will follow in her footsteps?

What Do Coffee, Magic Treehouse Books and Sandhill Cranes Have in Common?

They were all a part of a wonderful afternoon.
SmokyBear and Tigger have been slow to really get reading. So I asked a friend for suggestions for easy chapter books and she showed me The Magic Treehouse books, which are on about a second grade reading level. Not great literature, but they looked like they would serve my purpose. I bought two books for each of them and told them that when they had finished all four, I would take them back to the bookstore and buy them more of the series along with their choice of a coffee drink. I was not above bribing them at this point.
I wanted something that was really easy that they could read before bed and these were a perfect fit. They really seemed to enjoy them even though the prize of an afternoon out with mom and the coveted coffee loomed larger in their view. SmokyBear showed up at my bedroom door at 11:30 one night with a huge grin on his face announcing that he had read a whole book that evening. He was so proud of himself! I was excited too because I knew he was making a huge step towards reading for pleasure. He also had extra incentive to finish before his brother so he could go alone with me to Barnes and Noble.
So, yesterday was the day. Just the two of us left the house at about 11:00 in the morning. The hour's drive was wonderful. The time was spent having good conversation, just between Mom and son. On the way we saw a huge flock of birds over the interstate. I was wondering what the heck they were because there were so many of them and they looked too big to be Canada geese. SmokyBear admonished me to keep my eyes on the road and he would check them out. He remarked on their long necks and thought they looked similar to great blue herons but we'd never seen herons travel in such large numbers. We had no clue what they were.
We arrived at Barnes and Noble and SmokyBear didn't know which drink to order. He's not used to coffee. He decided to "just get what the girls always get", which meant a caramel frappacino. Since we are studying zoology with this book

and the current topic is birds, we grabbed a stack of bird field guides to choose one to add to our collection. A lady sitting near us asked if we were getting started in bird watching and told us she had been doing it for about thirteen years. She told us all about our local orinthological society and about the interesting field trips. Last weekend a group had been out to a nearby refuge to see the sandhill cranes, which stopped here on their migration northward. I guess I'm getting slow in my older age because it didn't dawn on me until I got home and looked up the bird website and saw this picture that I realized the birds we saw over the interstate were sandhill cranes.
Thanks to this wonderfully friendly lady at the bookstore, we now have some plans to visit some cool wildlife refuges in our area that I didn't even know existed. We might even get to see a bald eagle, which are known to be in our area! That would make a cool blog entry!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What's My College-Age Girl Doing??

Here are some things AdventureQueen is doing with her time since graduation:
Ministry to young mothers - sometimes just showing up to help with dishes, dinner, laundry, etc.
Visiting elderly neighbors
Helping at home with shopping, taking the cat to the vet and other errands, painting the stairway (Yeah!), etc.
Reading on topics such as 20th Century history and literature, anatomy, worldviews, logic, geography, law & economics, theology, grammar, poetry and citizenship and all of these on a weekly basis, albeit a little at a time.
Working part time at her dad's business.
She was invited and went to a church youth group (not her own, we don't have a "youth group" so to speak) to give her testimony and speak on purity. A second larger church wants her to come speak to their youth group after their assistant pastor heard her at a smaller cell group meeting.
Volunteering at the library reading aloud to 8-13 year old children once a week. Today was her first day and the kids begged for more after three chapters. The book she chose was Toliver's Secret. She even implemented some narration techniques!
She has an application in to go through the training classes at our local crisis pregnancy center in order to volunteer there where her grandmother is already a volunteer counselor.
Another application is in at her favorite Christian outdoor adventure youth camp to be counselor this summer. The people who own this are her dear friends and have already asked her to be a counselor when she came of age, so she is really looking forward to this.
Add to this three local Bible studies available each week and various evenings out to a movie or trip to the coffee shop with sisters, a cousin or friend and special trips into town with her favorite uncle and it spells F-U-L-L L-I-F-E.
My purpose here is not to brag, but to show that life can be wonderful, full of learning and productive without college. It's not that we believe college is a wrong choice for everyone...we just want to show an example of other options.
Update: I forgot to add Dance class twice a week (with a Christian dance studio) and she has just been hired to go work with a special needs child 1-2 times a week.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

College Issues

We've been talking about this so often lately at our Friday Night meetings. I thought some of our friends might appreciate this post at The Common Room (Yes, I know I send you there quite often :). Be sure to follow the first link in the Common Room post which will take you here for lots of interesting reading and from there you will find still more...

Friday, February 10, 2006

It's Official

And now we are heading into the planning of a wedding. It isn't set to take place for another year yet. Our stipulation was that PearlKeeper must be eighteen, so it is tenatively planned for the first Saturday after her eighteenth birthday. These are two remarkable young people, if I may say so, and we look forward to seeing God's plans unfold in their lives.
After being betrothed for 2 1/2 years, Nathan was given the okay to give her the ring any time after she was seventeen. He didn't waste a moment. It took place on the evening of her birthday. Even though half of our community (even the ladies at our bank!) knew about the plan and had seen the ring, PearlKeeper was kept in the dark so she would have a big birthday surprise.
Over the years we (his parents and hers) have been taking them out on these occasional triple dates. This time Nathan had it all planned out. We went to our standard spot - a scenic pedestrian bridge over a beautiful river. We parents took off walking quickly (it was cold anyway so we had the nice excuse of wanting to keep warm) and left them some privacy for the surprise proposal. When we met back up with them, the bride-to-be was beaming and she was wearing the ring.
We asked them to pose for the picture above since we were not present at the original site and it was way too cold to stand around and take pictures anyway.
Afterwards, we all went to a lovely restaurant and had a delicious dinner. We had the choice of walking from the bridge to the restaurant or driving. On the bridge Mr. Potts had given PearlKeeper permission to take Nathan's arm for the first time. When Nathan's dad asked them if they would rather walk or drive to the restaurant Nathan replied, "I want to walk. I think you can see why! " That really tickled me for some reason. I guess it meant a lot to me that he could be that open with all of us.
The ring is perfect for her dainty fingers. Nathan can not even get it past his first knuckle on his pinky! Just one more example of his excellent taste! :)

Shakespeare Stick Puppets

Someone posted this link of time period figures on one of the Ambleside lists along with the idea of printing them off on cardstock as stick puppets. This is immensely helpful when reading Shakespeare stories, as keeping the characters straight can be quite difficult. These are the puppets we made today for our reading of Measure For Measure from Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare. The younger kids enjoyed coloring them and gluing them on craft sticks.


Tea For Two

TheLittlestPrincess enjoyed the rare company of another little girl this week. At and around our house it's only big girls and little boys most of the time. They had fun playing with the dollhouse and dressing like twins. Chocolate chip coffee cake and strawberry tea were served with the Mount Vernon tea set. Fun, fun, fun!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

My Favorite Poem

Beautiful Things
Beautiful faces are those that wear-
It matters little if dark or fair-
Whole-souled honesty printed there.
Beautiful eyes are those that show,
Like crystal panes were heartburning glow,
Beautiful thoughts that burn below.
Beautiful lips are those whose words
Leap from the heart like songs of birds,
Yet whose utterance prudence girds.
Beautiful hands are those that do
Work that is honest and brave and true,
Moment by moment the long day through.
Beautiful feet are those that go
On kindly ministries to and fro,
Down lowliest ways if God wills it so.
Beautiful shoulders are those that bear
Ceaseless burdens of homely care
With patient grace and daily prayer.
Beautiful lives are those that bless
Silent rivers of happiness,
Whose hidden fountains but few may guess.
Beautiful twilight at set of sun,
Beautiful goal with race well run,
Beautiful rest with work well done.
Beautiful graves were grasses creep,
Where brown leafs fall, where drifts lie deep
Over worn out hands-oh! Beautiful sleep!
by Ellen P. Allerton

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Hay Bales!

Our friends have a barn filled almost to the top with round hay bales. These hay bales have been a source of hours and hours of exploring and a lot of fun! Unlike square hay bales, with these there are big spaces in between and holes to explore. It almost feels like caving when we find several rooms connected! When anyone goes to the barn at their house we like to take a flashlight and dress covered all over because crawling in and out of holes gets us all scratched up if we don't. We often play hide and go seek there. It's a lot of fun, especially if we find a new hole were no one has been!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Poetry Luncheon, Part 2

I found this poetry book, 1000 Quotable Poems, at a library sale for a quarter and I couldn't be more happy with it. Poetry has never been my strong point. I guess I'm just too much of a black and white, give-it-to-me-straight sort of person. But I'm learning! And this book has been just perfect for me.
Here's the poem I read from 1000 Quotable Poems at lunch today, and I dedicating it's reading to the olive plants (Psalm 128:3) around our table.
Be Strong!
Be strong!
We are not here to play - to dream, to drift.
We have hard work to do and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle - face it; 'tis God's gift.
Be strong!
Say not the days are evil. Who's to blame?
And fold the hands and acquiesce. - O shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God's name.
Be Strong!
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long,
Faint not- fight on! Tomorrow comes the song.
Maltbie D. Babcock
The rest of the girls' poems, except for Tom's, I found online. Just click on the title and it will take you to the poem.
BLOCHhead's choice-
There is No Death by J.L. McCreery
Tom read this one. She said it reminded her of the cave that they tried to discover on our property when she was younger - or what it would have been like had they found it.
The Secret Cavern by Margaret Widdemer
Underneath the boardwalk, way ,way back,
There's a splendid cavern, big and black-
If you want to get there, you must crawl
Underneath the posts and steps and all
When I've finished paddling, there I go-
None of all the other children know!
There I keep my treasures in a box-
Shells and colored glass and queer-shaped rocks,
In a secret hiding place I've made,
Hollowed out with clamshells and a spade,
Marked with yellow pebbles in a row-
None of all the other children know!
It's a place that makes a splendid lair,
Room for chests and weapons and one chair.
In the farthest corner, by the stones,
I shall have a flag with skulls and bones
And a lamp that casts a lurid glow-
None of all the other children know!
Sometime, by and by, when I am grown,
I shall go and live there all alone;
I shall dig and paddle till it's dark,
Then go out and man my private bark:
I shall fill my cave with captive foe-
None of all the other children know!
PearlKeeper's -
Immortality by Joseph Jefferson
Adventure Queen's-
Waiting on God by Freda Hanbury
Another fun idea we have used is to draw names and everyone has to choose a poem that reminds them of the person whose name they drew. Then they copy, decorate it, read it aloud and then give it to their person. This has been hilarious at times! Other times we have had a theme, such as Spring, and everyone brings a poem about the topic. Making a special meal or tea just makes it more memorable and gives them fond recollections of poetry time.

Poetry Luncheon

Today we made a special lunch, lit the candles and had everyone bring a favorite poem to read aloud. As part of the educational plan everyone is required to read a poem every day and about once a week they copy a favorite into a nice hardcover journal, making their own poetry anthology. This way they get a fair amount of exposure to poetry in an almost effortless way.
Here's the poems chosen today by the three youngest children:
TheLittlestPrincess (I had to read hers) -
Some One
Some one came knocking
At my wee, small door;
Some one came knocking,
I'm sure-sure-sure;
I listened, I opened,
I looked to left and right,
But nought there was a-stirring
In the still dark night,
Only the busy beetle
Tap-tapping in the wall,
Only from the forest
The screech-owl's call,
Only the cricket whistling
While the dewdrops fall,
So I know not who came knocking,
At all, at all, at all.
by Walter de la Mare
Unfortunately the boys are very fond of Shel Silverstein. I stressed over this fact when the girls were enamored with him in their young lives also. Now that the girls are older, their tastes in poetry have, thankfully, matured (as you will see in the next few posts).
Tigger's choice:
Noise Day
Let's have one day for Girls and boyes
When you can make the grandest noises.
Screech -scream, holler, and yell-
Buzz a buzzer, clang a bell,
Laugh until your lungs wear out,
Toot a whistle, kick a can,
Bang a spoon against a pan,
Sing, yodel, bellow, hum,
Blow a horn, beat a drum,
Rattle a window, slam a door,
Scrape a rake across the floor,
Use a drill, drive a nail,
Turn the hose on the garbage pail,
Shout yahoo-hurrah-hooray,
Turn up the music all the way,
Try and bounce your bowling ball,
Ride a skateboard up the wall,
Chomp your food with a smack and a slurp,
One day a year do all these,
The rest of the days - be quiet, please.
by Shel Silverstein
Oh, this one is embarrassing. But here it goes...
SmokyBear's choice (read with a huge smile on the verge of giggles)-
Crowded Tub
There's too many kids in this tub.
There's too many elbows to scrub.
I just washed a behind
That I'm sure wasn't mine,
There's too many kids in this tub.
by Shel Silverstein
(and no, we don't bathe our children together, just in case you are wondering:)
Now, to lift my humiliation a bit...I will be posting the girls choices in separate posts due to the length of some of the poems.