Tuesday, November 28, 2006


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with more food than I have ever seen in one house! It was the longest I have ever seen everyone stay and hang out together. I couldn't begin to list all of the food. Since I'm not much of a traditional Thanksgiving food lover, I really appreciated my niece's husband making some of his family's favorites, like beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce! The girls got involved in a fun poker game with their cousins and we could barely drag them away. It was a lot of fun and everything was perfect.
The hosts invited a neat family from South Africa and I had a nice time talking to them. They had never celebrated Thanksgiving and had only seen it celebrated on films so they felt like they were on a movie set. Since they were considering homeschooling, I got my fix by giving my views on that and encouraging them with all of the wonderful benefits of home life. My kids say it gives me more of a rush than coffee does.
The day after we went to a exotic animal drive thru ranch where the animals come up and eat out of the purchased buckets of feed. Ostriches, emu, pot-bellied pigs, water buffalo and other various types of deer and cattle-like animals were everywhere. Some of them were a little aggressive. Others were quite gentle but slobbered all over the truck windows and sides. We had about ten people in the back of the pick-up truck but I stayed out-of-reach inside the cab. TheLittlestPrincess loves animals but was a little intimidated when an emu poked his head inside at her and she decided to keep her hand on the button that rolls the window up.
Saturday Mr. Potts and I went for a walk down to the creek and relaxed on the sandy bank. We saw many signs of deer and some raccoon tracks. It was a beautiful day.
Our stay was so nice that even my two home bodies, Bookworm and LittlestPrincess, were not ready to come home.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bedtime is Getting Way Out of Hand Around Here

I hear what sounds like a hen-party going on downstairs when the girls are supposed to be getting ready for bed - shrieks of laughter, music, banging doors- so I go down to put the muscle on them. Gone are the days of throwing fits and loosing my temper about the lack of promptness to obey or the condition of the basement. I try to muster it up but instead I start laughing at them and end up flopping on someone's bed and before you know it I'm a accomplice to the crime. I know I should be tough, but I just can't do it once I set foot in the party zone. They are just too funny now and it's just too much doggone fun down there! Heaven help us.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Good Point

Don't you love it when you find that someone has put your feelings on a matter (a pet peeve to be more specific) into perfect words and saves you the trouble of fumbling around trying to make some feeble attempt at expressing yourself? Well that's how I feel about this post at the Common Room: Imaginary Numbers, Real Children .
A couple of quotes to give you a taste:
"Do you think parents should have the right not to education their children? If you're a homeschooler you have heard that question or some variation on it from somebody advocating greater restrictions on homeschoolers. Often it will be accompanied with a sort of backhanded compliment something like this, "I know you'll educate your children, but what about the parents who won't?"
"Those who are truly concerned about uneducated children should focus their attention on the institutions producing the largest number of illiterate children- public schools."
There's lots more in between these two quotes. Go read the rest.

Wild Berry Fun

The boys (Smokeybear, Tigger, and their three cousins) and the Littlestprincess all built a few tepees on top of our hill. These have provided great entertainment for the last few days and I have seen them out the window every afternoon dashing back and forth. Smiling to myself, I can clearly remember the times I spent my afternoon happily playing indians on the hill with my sisters.
This particulair afternoon I had finished my school and was (weird as it sounds) not in the mood to read and was wishing I still got the same enjoyment out of playing indians. Well ,I decided it wouldn't hurt to see what they were up to so I donned a coat and set off for the top of the hill. When I got there they were all gathered in a circle and cracking up. They called to me and I came over.
I looked a little closer and I saw that Smokeybear had a stick and was mashing it up and down in a container and it was making a sick squelching noise. I looked into the container and it was a mass of purple globiness. They had squished up some berries and were delighted with it. I couldn't help but get involved and immediately started suggesting more ingredients. They added leaves, water, more berries, charcoal from the fire, and water. This was our lovely result.
They ended up showing me their teepees and I was brought back to the times when it was a hill with girls running back and forth making pies with wild berries and mud. It's too bad we have to grow up! :)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Christians and Public Schools

Several years back when Dr. James Dobson recommended Christians make a mass exodus out of the public school systems, I remember thinking, "Finally, he's seen the light!" I hoped with such an influential man standing against the agenda of the liberals in America's public schools, that many parents would wake up and realize things are much worse than when they were in school.
Talking with my mother the other night, it was interesting to compare her school experiences with mine and then take into consideration what is going on today. The downfall is obvious. There's enough information this topic to choke a horse, with evidence that should make any true Christian cringe and cry out to God for our nation. I live in a small town in the South (Remember the Bible Belt?) and I've heard enough stories from locals, let alone news stories from across the nation, that make me willing to go to war to keep my children from those kinds of experiences.
Here's a couple of posts on the topic with enough links to keep you busy reading for a while: Spunky's post and Biblical Womanhood And if you really feel ambitious check out John Taylor Gatto's site and read among other things the online copy of Underground History of American Education.
This is serious business folks and our children are the battleground.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Baby Sarah

Our niece, Baby Sarah, turned 1 last month. She's growing fast. But we do not despair! We are only weeks away from another baby, a nephew this time! Now we will have two to fight over. The past week or so she's been learning to walk.
Here she is with one of her cousins, who happens to be her most adoring fan!

Tommy's First Speaker

Pieces Suitable for Little Boys to Recite
Baby Is A Sailor
Baby is a sailor boy,
Swing, cradle, swing;
Sailing is the sailor's joy,
Swing, cradle, swing.
Snowy sails and precious freight,
Swing, cradle, swing.
Baby's captain, mother's mate,
Swing, cradle, swing.
Bird's Nests
If ever I see,
On bush or tree,
Young birds in a pretty nest,
I must not, in play,
Steal the young birds away,
To grieve their mother's breast.
My mother, I know,
Would sorrow so,
Should I be stolen away;
So I'll speak to the birds,
In my softest words,
Nor hurt them in my play.
Boys Wanted
Boys of spirit, boys of will,
Boys of muscle, brain and power,
Fit to cope with anything,-
These are wanted every hour.
Not the weak and whining drones,
Who all troubles magnify;
Not the watchword of "I can't,"
But the nobler one, "I'll try."
Do whate'er you have to do
With a true and earnest zeal;
Bend your sinews to the task,
"Put your shoulder to the wheel."
Though your duty may be hard,
Look not on it as an ill;
If it be an honest task,
Do it wil an honest will.
In the workshop, on the farm,
At the desk, where'er you be,
From your future efforts, boys,
Comes a nation's destiny.
Did Not Pass
For Many a Good Boy
"So, John, I hear you did not pass;
You were the lowest in your class,
Got not a prize of merit,
But grumbling now is no avail;
Just tell me how you came to fail,
With all your sense and spirit?"
"Well, sir, I missed, 'mong other things,
The list of Egypt's shepherd kings
(I wonder who does know it.)
An error of three years I made
In dating England's first crusade;
And, as I am no poet,
"I got Euripides all wrong,
And could not write a Latin song;
And as for Roman history,
With Hun and Vandal, Goth and Gaul
And Gibbon's weary 'Rise and Fall',
"Twas all a hopeless mystery.
"But, father, do not fear or sigh
If 'Cram' does proudly pass me by,
And pedagogues ignore me;
I've common sense, I've will and health,
I'll win my way to honest wealth;
The world is all before me.
"And though I'll never be a Grecian,
Know Roman laws or art Phoenician,
Or sing of love and beauty,
I'll plow, or build, or sail, or trade,
And you need never be afraid
But that I'll do my duty."
-Mary E. Burnett

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Science Labs

In the early years of homeschooling I used to buy fun looking science curriculum with pre-packaged supplies to do all of the accompanying experiments. They looked like so much fun but for some reason I never had the heart to do the labs. I would always put it off, preferring more literary science books. Being the junkie that I am, I accumulated all kinds of experiment books and supplies, thinking surely this time I would make myself do it. The girls were never very interested either. Finally the boys came along. They have been begging for years to do "experiments". I tried to dangle a carrot in front of them by saying, "As soon as you can read well enough, you can experiment until your heart is content!"
Well, that day has come. Today I gave them time to play with our science experiment books and oodles of science supplies. They had a grand time. Setting it all out for them like a great buffet and letting them help themselves to hours of fun worked wonderfully. I think we will have a new cold-rainy-day activity for the winter days ahead! For an extra bonus, next time I'll have to invite their cousins over to join in the fun.
This is the series that seemed to be the most popular one of the day.

Cool Composition Books

Hop on over to Bona Vita Rusticand Est and check out Tim's Mom's handmade composition books here and here. I love this idea! We usually use store-bought composition notebooks but one thing I don't like is how many pages are in them. We never fill one up before the end of the year and so they get put on the shelf half full because we all like a new one for the new school year. These can be made much smaller and therefore better suited to be used in a topical way. I can't wait to run to Staples today for supplies!

Friday, November 03, 2006


These puppies, along with another litter mate, showed up at Mr. Pott's business and of course, they just had to be brought home. We found out they belonged to the neighbors across the road and they let us keep these two. The first one is Tigger's and the second one belongs to TheLittlestPrincess.
This brings our total of dogs up to four. I've lost track of how many cats we have. I think the cat population is finally under control with all of the females spayed now. Needless to say, we never even see mice. SmokeyBear is begging for a German shepherd puppy so I'm suspecting when he earns some of the money, we will be adding one more dog to the mix.
Five dogs and 8 or so cats may seem outrageous to some but with seven kids and twenty-six acres it doesn't seem so bad, especially since only the westie and two of the cats are allowed in the house. (I have had to be firm with my crazy mother who has tried to talk me into making our huge Great Pyrenees a house dog! I can't imagine!) The indoor cats go in and out and don't even have or need a litter box. They actually meow at us and run to the door like a dog when they need to go out. Sometimes they just sit patiently by the door and wait until someone goes out.
We lived in town in a smallish house when I was a kid so one dog and one cat were the maximum amount of pets allowed. I remembered longing for a German Shepherd or Siberian Husky when I was a young. I wanted to raise and train it myself. I even checked out books on dog training from the library and put the methods to practice on a twelve year old cocker spaniel. Of course the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" was recited to me during the beginning of my attempts. We had to guard the door when we went in and out to prevent her from dashing out and disappearing down the street and she had to be put out on a chain to go potty. If you tried to walk her on the leash, she would pull as hard as possible, dragging you down the street the entire way. She went from that to being able to walk down the street without a leash, heeling at my side, stopping and sitting when I stopped. I trained her to be able to stay in one place until I walked away and called her to me then she would come immediately in front of me and sit. I never got to practice training the dog of my dreams.
After I was married, I actually did buy a Siberian Husky, but after having children to love and train, I just didn't have the desire to put all of that effort into a dog. Instead he just seemed like a hassle and when my babies were crawling around on the floor picking up pieces of dog hair, I was not happy. Having a flea on my baby did it for me. I didn't want indoor dogs with babies any more. When he disappeared one day, I was actually relieved.
Experiencing such intense longing as a child makes it really hard for me to say no to my children when it comes to pets, especially now that we don't have any babies or toddlers. Mr. Potts is no help. He grew up with such unusual pets as a baby raccoon and a squirrel among other things - and they did not live out in the country. Hopefully, my younger children won't know about this post so they won't try harder to exploit this weakness. :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Take the Time to Enjoy Life and Your Children

"The women - they were even more incomprehensible. They spent the long hours behind screened doors and windows (**my note: More like glass doors and windows thanks to the modern convenience of air conditioning. How many ever even have the windows open to feel the fresh air?), washing the same dishes and sweeping the same floors day after day. They, too, never raised their eyes to the blue sky outside, nor even to the crimson roses that peeped in at the window. They seemed rather to be looking always for dirt, yet not pleased when they found it - especially if it had been tracked in on the heel of a small boy's shoe!"
----from Just David
Fellow mothers, let us not be like this description! This reminded me of the Free Pass that comes once a month (which was today) in the daily email digest from Julie at Bravewriter.com , which I've posted here for your encouragement:
Skip your other commitments today and play games or take a field trip or go on a hike or have a picnic or paint a bedroom or dance like a teenager to your favorite CDs....
Games: Any game will do. You can check out a list of language games on Brave Writer: http://bravewriter. com/BWL/bwlgames .html
Field trips:
Art museum
Children's museum
Local guitar shop or music store (just walk around trying out instruments)Movie theater (see something funny on the big screen in the middle of the day; buy popcorn)
Farmer's Market
Coffee House for hot chocolate and muffins (bring along cards or checkers to play)
Get outside:
Go on a hike
Go to the beach (if you are lucky enough to have one, be sure to go often! I miss the ocean....)
Take the dog to a new park
Paint the deck
Visit a botanical gardens
If it is rainy and cold, or you are snowed in, or your car broke down, here's what to do if you choose to stay home:
Play cards
Light a fire and roast marshmallows
Drink hot chocolate
Make an indoor picnic with blankets and little sandwiches
Play video games on the computer or X Box, Game Cube, whatever you have
Paint something - windows, paper, votive candle holders, old chairs
Make brownies (they smell good)
And dance. :)
Your free pass comes once a month, so be sure to use it! :)

Tommy's First Speaker

Pieces Suitable for Little Boys to Recite
In alphabetical order
A Boy's Dream
Nine grenadiers with bayonets on their guns;
Nine bakers' baskets with hot cross buns;
Nine brown elephants standing in a row;
Nine new velocipedes - good ones to go;
Nine Kinckerbocker suits with buttons all complete;
Nine pairs of skates with straps for the feet;
Nine little drummer boys beating on their drums;
Nine fat Aldermen sitting on their thumbs;
Nine times running-I dreamt it all plain.
With bread and cheese for supper I could dream it all again.
A Little Boy
Where have they gone to- the little boys,
With natural manners and natural joys?
Who cherish their youth-at least till they're ten,
And wait for their manhood ere playing at men?
Little old men in plenty I find,
Boorish in manners and sensual in mind:
Who express great contempt for "only a girl,"
Spending hours on a mustache too honest to curl.
Little old beaux with gloves and a cane,
Aping their elders, their manners, their mien;
Little old fops, incipient dudes,
Who already suffer from "states" and "moods."
Once, in the beautiful long ago,
There were little boys I used to know,
Kind in their manners, real boys in their play,
Who whistled and frolicked the livelong day.
Who liked the girls because they were "mates"-
Girls who ran races and climbed high gates-
Who never said, "Oh, only girls, don't you know?"
Or "this is the fashion," or this is the "go."
Oh, where are these dear little gentlemen now?
Could I find one I'd give him a bow:
I would place on his forehead a crown of pure gold,
And a gem-hilted sword in his right hand to hold.
I would place him then on a beautiful throne,
And call all the children their king to own.
A Manly, Loving Boy
He walks beside his mother,
And looks up in her face
With a glow of loving, joyous pride
And a truly royal grace;
He proudly waits upon her-
Would shield her without fear,
The boy who loves his mother well,
Her little cavalier.
To see no tears of sorrow
Upon her loving cheek,
To gain her sweet approving smile,
To hear her softly speak-
Ah, what in all this wide, wide world
Could be to him so dear,
The boys who loves his mother well,
Her little cavalier?
Look for that boy in the future
Among the good and true;
All blessings on the upward way
His feet shall still pursue!
Of robed and crowned and sceptered kings
He stands the royal peer,
The boy who loves his mother well,
Her noble cavalier.
An Old Hen
An old hen sat on turtle's eggs,
And she hatched out goslings three;
Two were turkeys with slender legs,
And one was a bumble bee.
"Very odd children for such a mother!"
Said all the hens to one another.