Friday, October 15, 2010

MY how time flies!

I can't believe how much time has passed since my last post.  Much has happened the past few weeks, but on the same note, not much has happened at the same time.  I can barely remember what we have been busy with, but will give it my best shot.

I suppose I should begin where I left off.  H has finally found a boy scout den to join, and the fun began with fundraising popcorn sales.  The idea of going door to door selling expensive popcorn did not thrill me in the least, but in the spirit of encouraging my son, I kept my mouth shut and smiled.  Luckily, the events of several days saved me from the anticipated doom....  Here is how it started...

We decided to take a week off school while I installed a new laminate wood floor in our basement. Of course this was news well received by the kids, and I was looking forward to the challenge of the project (After all, I had never-ever done any construction type work before).  The man unit (husband) didn't want anything to do with the nagging project since he had to work and was sick of projects, and so in my characteristic fashion decided that I would do it myself.  And so work began.  It was slow going the first day, but soon gained momentum as I gained practice and experience with the tools and materials.  Yes! I was thinking, I can get this done in a week...  By day 4 I was about half way finished, but then had to break for a few days...  What interrupted us?  An estate sale across the street....

The estate sale turned out to be quite an event.  For three days there was a constant flow of people in and out of the house across the street.  The kids and I found ourself "visiting" several times as well.  Yes, purchases were made, but I will tell about those in another post.  What we did decide though, was that it would be the perfect opportunity to set up a Boy Scout Popcorn table at the top of our driveway.  On our first day, H sold approximately $50 worth of popcorn in only two or so hours. He was very pleased!  Naturally, we decided we would have to set up again the following day, along with a lemonade stand for L.  What a great idea!  And to make it even better, we would sell muffins in the morning for all the early garage sale birds.  Let me say this - I was beginning to wonder if we should set up a permanent stand.  The kids did great!  It was well worth the effort, and the kids had a few solid days of real work experience.  Admittedly I was tired myself, but very pleased with the experience the kids got in sales and money handling.  Both of them gained confidence on many levels from the experience.  The added bonus was that H sold enough popcorn to meet his "suggested" minimum sales.  WoooHooo!  We wouldn't have to go door to door!

UPDATE:  H was awarded with the esteemed title of "Popcorn King".  He was the top salesman in his entire Boy Scout Pack!  WAY TO GO!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Boy Scouts

My son has finally found a cub scout den to join!  We have certainly had a tough time finding boys his age in the immediate area to play with, so this is the perfect answer.  He is thrilled!  I'm even having a tough time keeping him out of his scout uniform (Aren't they funny).  Our first meeting went wonderfully.  He knows a few of the boys from the short stint of PS so he doesn't feel like an outsider.  Also, it is a small enough group that he isn't overwhelmed.  Neither of my kids are large group types.  They definitely thrive in one-to-one or small group environments.  H is now on a mission to earn his patches.  He already earned a zoo patch at the pack meeting, and likely will earn another for his efforts in karate (need to update the karate situation in a later post).  Little L now wants to find a girl scout troop to join, so the search is on.

On a side note,  I have never heard of this before - the boy scouts sell popcorn for fundraising.  I know all about girl scout cookies, but not boy scout popcorn.  I don't know how I made it this far in life without ever hearing of it.  Oh well... The boys set up a popcorn table at the grocery store on Saturday and sales were fairly good.  I was actually surprised at how supportive people were of the scouts.  A very senior and enthusiastic former Eagle Scout even drilled the boys on their motto and promise.  He told us of all the fond memories he has of scouts, even after all these years. It was quite charming.  I got to sample some of the caramel popcorn... mmmmmm.  Yummy stuff.  Pricey but good.  I bought a bag on the spot (must have been hungry) with plans of more.  As you can guess, H is now selling popcorn to raise funds for the boy scouts.  Would you like to order some?  Here is H's link to the online ordering site.  He would be very thankful for your support.
Now I'm hungry.... sigh.  And not one popcorn kernel in the house....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Change of plans, just for a day

My living room floor... Gorgeous!

Instead of our usual academics we took a different approach to our day today.  The fall colors are simply stunning right now - leaves freshly dropped from the trees are crisp and richly colored and smell of earth and autumn.  I have had the idea in the back of my mind to get out and collect leaves for a fall project and today was the day.  With rainstorms brewing, we rushed outside with grocery bags in hand and headed up the trail.  Approximately 10 minutes into our hike we arrived at the mother load of autumn leaves.  All colors, shapes, and sizes.  Leaves, twigs, pine cones, and the occasional rock all made their way into our overflowing sacks.  The kids chattering the entire time, picking here, picking there, and helping the branches shed just a few more leaves, breathing the fresh autumn air and simply being in nature was therapeutic for us all.  I once again became the best teacher on the planet, at least for today.  Once our bags were full to bursting, and the threat from distant thunder drew closer, we headed back home with our bounty.  Immediately upon arrival, much like after a Halloween outing, the kids poured out their goodies all over the middle of the living room floor for closer inspection and sorting.  Fall had moved indoors!  As the world's best teacher I prepared for some actual crafting, the kids busied themselves with dreams of collecting more leaves to jump into and then headed to the kitchen table.  Today we are making fall wreaths with the added bonus of using hot glue guns for the very first time.  And a bonus it was!  H quickly discovered you could make some pretty neat crystal looking blobs with this glue. After the initial novelty of crystal blobs wore off, the real work began.  Here are some photos of our fall decor creations in progress and finished.  Oh - and the best part, we spent some quality time together, we all had fun, and the cost was FREE! (except for some glue sticks).  Life is good.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week 1 review

I am so very pleased.  Overall it was quite a successful week one of homeschooling.  Even with the behavioral hiccups, we had a great start to school this year.  A LOT better than last year I must say.  I hate to brag, but I would venture to say that this has probably been our best start yet!  I am very optimistic for a great year full of accomplishments and learning.  It is my biggest hope however, that my relationship with my kids will transform into something deeper, closer, and more harmonious than what we have experienced thus far.  As the teen years inch their way closer and closer, I am so much more aware of how quickly time flies and how soon the kids will begin to follow their own paths.  It pains me to say that I feel like I haven't been able to "really" have the kind of relationship with my kids that I envisioned not so long ago.  Thank goodness there is still time to change the tides in a more favorable direction.  I so look forward to building a new level of closeness with my kids, built on mutual respect and genuine interest and caring for each other.  There is no other time than the present...  My focus is clearer now than it ever was before, and I think I finally have all the tools I need to fulfill my vision.  A favorite quote of mine is ringing so true for me right now -

"Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's time for me to start living the life I have dreamed for myself.... 

ON A LIGHTER NOTE:  Boy did I go off on a tangent... Back to the subject of school now.  We had a fantastic week.  It looks like the schedule I pieced together is going to work nicely (although we may have to start a touch earlier in the morning).  Our accomplishments of the week included;
Basic math review and practice - place value to 100 million, carrying, borrowing, rounding and estimating.  Multiplication begins next week!
Language arts - basic spelling review (actually more like a total refresher), some actual writing (pen to paper) and light grammar and punctuation review.  I am SO THRILLED to see that the kids are much more interested in reading now!  Neither one of them was too thrilled about reading last year, so this is a major hurdle we have overcome.  YAY!
Poetry review - unfortunately the kids have forgotten about half of the poems they memorized last year, so we will begin anew with those.
And the highlight of the week (drum roll please) - the kids got their first official cooking lesson!  Woooo Hooo!  They had a grand time making chocolate chip oatmeal cookies!  I am now considered the "best teacher" in the world.  (Aren't they funny?) It really doesn't get much better than this does it?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A much improved Day 3 of HSing

What a relief!  Our HSing Day #3 went as well as Day 1.  The kids have come to the quick conclusion that it does not pay to be difficult.  Thank goodness!  We swiftly moved through all our lessons without all the moaning and groaning of yesterday.  When the kids showed signs of loosing control of themselves, a quick reminder served to shape them right up.  I feel good!

However, the kids aren't the only ones who learned a lesson.  I am getting back into the swing of things, and am finding that planning a lesson that's not too short or too long takes some practice.  Yesterday was a great learning experience for "what happens when the lesson goes too long".  Oh well.  We all survived and came out in one piece in the end.

I hope that other HS moms out there are having quick and easy success with their students/lessons! What a blessing for parents to be able to stay home and have this time with our children.  It feels so right to be the one who teaches my kids not just academics, but also good character and general life skills.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What a difference a day makes

Oh brother.  It's 3PM and my daughter is STILL NOT DONE with her schoolwork.  I have been at this table since 10AM this morning.  Obviously things have not gone according to schedule or even remotely close to how the day went yesterday.  The kids have been testing me ALL DAY LONG.  I figure if I stay tough today, we may have a chance at a smooth rest of the week.  I can only hope.  So, today we did get through all our studies, but not without lots of interruptions, goofing around, complaining, whining, several time outs, some arguing and a temper tantrum... Where is Santa with the pear tree when you need him?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Our first day back to homeschool!

What a wonderful start to our HSing year! We started on time, there was no whining or complaining, and the kids actually even enjoyed our first day! The teacher was quite pleased as well.  So - what did we do? 
After the kids finished their morning routine and breakfast, and after they tended to the animals (while I cleared the table), we all took our seats in the kitchen classroom.  The funny thing is that the kids happened to remember that last year's teacher had a very strange name (I forgot all about it).  Mrs. Kronable...  Yep, that's me!  They insisted that I introduce myself before beginning and so I did.  I introduced the schedule of the week and month to the kids and they seemed rather pleased.  It looks a bit like this -
M-F  Journal
M-TH  Math
MWF  Word of the Week (aka character study)
TTH   Poetry Memorization
M-TH Spelling
M-TH Writing
M-F  Music lesson and practice (The kids will be learning the recorder)
M-F     1 hour of daily quiet/reading time

Our Fridays aren't as academic

Journal and Math are still required, but then the remainder of class time will be spent on Life Skills.  We will be starting with cooking lessons.  The kids already have a long list of things they are ready to prepare.  Mainly cake, cookies, candy and chocolate.  They may be disappointed to learn that they will be learning more than just baking, but I won't tell them just yet.

Something I am doing different this year is incorporating one week per month of concentrated Art, History, or Science studies.  I had a difficult time before fitting adequate time in for these on a daily basis, so rather than have it all spread out, we will take a solid week to work on a unit study.  The kids       
thought this was a great idea.  I'm liking the idea too.  It just seems to make sense. 

SO - After explaining the schedule and the things that will be expected of the kids, the kids started with their first journal entry.  They were reminded to use neat handwriting, and were discouraged from writing the same entry over and over again for each day (something my DD did at daycare Public school).  (I had to laugh at myself over this issue.  At the end of PS, my daughter brought home her neatly bound and beautifully decorated journal from first grade.  It was a work of art which I eagerly looked forward to reading.  In anticipation of finding profound words of wisdom that only a seven year old could fathom, and glorious insights into the mind of my little princess, I opened her journal and began to read.  I turned the pages with mixed emotions.  I was glad to find that she really really likes our dog and our two cats.  But an entire journal dedicated to the subject was a bit disappointing much.  Out of approximately 25 or so entries, all but two introduced our dog and cats... over and over again... sigh.  So much for my profound reading experience.)

Next, we moved into some basic math review.  I figured I better make sure they remembered place values, and how to add, subtract, carry and borrow before starting with multiplication.  Thankfully they did remember (dd needed a little reminder but was quick to pick it up again).  We practiced a few questions on the white boards and then moved ahead with some basic worksheet practice.  It was quick and easy.  And a great confidence and enthusiasm builder.  ;)

We took a short break and returned to do some penmanship practice.  My son has always had messy writing and any bit of dedicated practice is of great benefit.  We didn't get into any language art instruction today mainly because I still need to figure out what to review and where to begin anew.  Tomorrow is another day, and I have another few hours to dig into our spelling lessons and figure out a starting point.  Anyyyywayyyy, once they finished their penmanship, they were free to have lunch and recess, followed by Quite/Reading time.  This seemed the perfect way to end our first day back to homeschool.  And so it was.

My son tonight told me he was happy to begin learning again and that the first day back to HS was "fun".  It makes my heart smile.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another Summer

Wow.  I suppose that the start of Public School signifies the official end of yet another summer.  It went by so quickly.  It was such a blur, I honestly can't really say I got much fun out of it. Oh well... I suppose that we come out of a difficult and blurry period of life with a new and clearer vision and understanding of ourselves.  Although I don't claim to have turned a new leaf, I find myself with a slightly new perspective of myself.  Priorities have made themselves known, and are now shuffling themselves into their respective places waiting for me to follow through. So here is where my life currently stands:
I am not going to sell the house.
I will not be moving to Oregon or California.
I will be Homeschooling the kids again (YAY!).
I am looking for various ways of generating a small income with my ultimate goal being to accelerate pay-off the mortgage (or at least having a hefty rainy day fund) and gaining a sense of financial independence.
Other difficult aspects of my life are not yet clear, but at least I am finally making some decisions and finding peace in those.
It helps to remember that "One step at a time will eventually get you to where you want to go".

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Had a lovely evening as I continue learning about beekeeping, and the kids made a few new friends in the process as well. Found a family actually living all aspects of the life I imagined for myself. It's encouraging to see that it really can happen. Now to find the secret.....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Made it!

Wow - what a long drive.  But we made it home!  My sore butt and swollen ankles were ever so happy to get out of the van and crawl into my own bed.  The strange thing is that both kids and I are ready to go back to California.  Go figure....  It gives us something to look forward to when we are up to our eyeballs in snow here in the mountains.  There is one thing that I am disappointed in myself about - I didn't get out and do any serious picture making while I was there.  Perhaps my photographer blood got cold.  Perhaps I simply just needed to do nothing.  I suppose everything happens on it's own time and agenda.  I will try to be quiet and just listen.  The answers to all my questions will eventually make themselves known.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Getting away from home sweet home

Sometimes you just need to get away from home to really appreciate it.  I've been in Cali the past 10 or so days, and as much as I like it here and still miss living here even after 10 years of being in Utah (after all I grew up in CA), I am looking forward to going back home...  My stuff.  My schedule.  My brief and fleeting moments of solitude.  My own four walls.  How is it that home can ever so quickly close in on you, but yet you are glad to return after only a brief absence? Perhaps it is as simple as just needing to get out more.  There is one thing however that I am not looking forward to - The LONG drive home...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gearing up for a fabulous Home School year!

I must admit that I am very excited to begin HSing again.  After sending the kids to 6 months of Daycare public school, and seeing the regression dismal progress they made, there is no doubt in my mind that homeschooling is what we need to continue with.  We have taken the entire summer off for decompressing and relaxing, which was badly needed for all of us, so it really amazed me when my DD started asking to begin school again.  It made my day and brought a smile to my face.  DS has also expressed his joy of returning home for our lessons.  We are at peace with our decision to come home.
So what are we doing this year?  We will basically be starting again where we were last year....  I plan on backing up a bit from where we left off and going through a solid review to bring us back up to speed.  I plan on beginning with MathUSee and All About Spelling.  I found some workbooks for the writing process (can't remember the title at the moment), so will be integrating those after a few weeks of warming up again.  We will be incorporating more read aloud time in the Charlotte Mason style as well, and will have one day a week for life skills and character study.  After the holidays I will make adjustments as needed and hopefully keep our learning sessions fresh and interesting.
I feel like I already had our school planned out since last year (but never got it off the ground), so my planning for this year has been easy-peasy.  YAY!  Now with some calmer and clearer weather in our household, we can actually apply the plan and see the fruition of our efforts.  I am smiling and sighing with great joy and relief.
New beginnings are often the Best beginnings!

What to do with loneliness?

A friend reminded me the other day to embrace moments of loneliness as a time for reflection. It was the best advice I've recieved in ages. Here's another reminder...

Christine Got a Quote from Deepak Chopra
“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.”

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The way things happen

Stopped at a little roadside store today to buy some raw honey. Ended up out in the middle of the apiary looking inside beehives for an hour. It was AWESOME!!! I love how things simply happen while traveling through life, at just the right moment.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Words of Wisdom

“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.” —Lao-Tzu

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Another distant thunder storm is rolling by.  The sounds of nature are so calming.  So grounding.  I feel an utter sense of peace from the naturalness of it all.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Clarity of thought and emotion

That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something. - Meredith Monk

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." - Victor Hugo

I absolutely love this quote.  What a reminder to show your pearly whites, and at such an appropriate time of year.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Family time

What a beautiful day today! The kids and I took our first official bike ride of the year complete with a stop at the playground. Then we worked a bit in the yard followed by violin practice (without moaning) and a yummy dinner that my daughter helped prepare. It feels so good to see the smiles on my kids faces. I am at peace today.

I am so excited about the end of PS and going back to HSing!  There's no place like home.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I love the sound and smell of rain. It's such a great cleanser for the body and soul.

Guilty or Good?

It's amazing how quickly things can change, right beneath our noses.  And it's also amazing how long the process of change can wreak havoc on our day to day lives.

I write this today with the (in my mind shameful) admission that in January I had to put the kids in PS.  Oh DREAD!   But in reality it was likely the best thing to do at the time.  My marriage and life in our household had deteriorated to such a point that I was physically, mentally and emotionally unable to function in any real capacity.  It took just about every ounce of energy I had to get out of bed and deal with the basics of meal prep and general household maintenance.  Yes, HSing was still taking place, but honestly, it was sporadic and always came with a dark cloud looming nearby.  Patience was no longer in my vocabulary, nor did I have the energy to combat the ever increasing incidences of student resistance.  Needless to say our HS schedule, and life in general for all of us, had been negatively affected by the incessant arguing between myself and my husband.  TOTAL BURNOUT had moved in and taken over our household.  It pains me to even think how dismal my world seemed at the time.

Fast forward 4 months.  Had it been so long???!  The kids have adjusted to PS and for a short while even enjoyed it.  My daughter has made progress in spelling, however has lost ground in math.  My son however has made no real progress in any subject that I can identify, but thankfully has not appeared to lose ground in any subject either.  Yet in the past several months, I have found greater clarity in WHY I felt so strongly about homeschooling in the first place.  I have reconnected with my values and my self.  I feel like I can stand on solid ground now, and not be shaken to the core by the negative energy that is unfortunately a very real part of life.  I have collected myself and I am ready to begin again.  This time with a new set of priorities, a clearer vision of how to meet them, and perhaps a thicker skin as well.  I couldn't have found this clarity had I continued to "go through the motions".  Yes, I still think of PS in negative terms, but at the same time realize that it was better than sitting at home with a miserable mom.  Sometimes we need to bite our tongue and do something we don't want to - in order to save the things most important to us.

The reason I write all this is that I know for certain there are other HSers out there experiencing tough times.  If I can offer just one bit of hope to someone out there suffering the effects of burnout, I am happy.  I have learned from experience that we don't have to feel guilty about sending our kids to PS for a while.  It might be the best favor you do for your kids and yourself...

Ready to start anew!  Look out HS - here we come!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sunshine on my shoulder

With the arrival of spring comes a lifting of the spirit and a renewed vigor for life.

I had the long awaited opportunity today to take a stroll on the beach.  My senses rejoiced to the sound and smell of the ocean, the caress of the breeze occasionally mixed with mist from a crashing wave, my feet sinking into the soft sand, the simple beauty of a clear blue sky and watching my kids revel in their many explorations... But what I noticed is that there was one single ingredient which magically seemed to pull all the others together to culminate in a deep sense of bliss.

The sun... The nucleus of our universe.  Without it, all creation will perish... And yet, we move through our days secure in knowing that the sun will shine and life will go on.  Even at night we are assured of it's ever-presence as we gaze upon the moon and the sun's reflected light.  Its permanence is seldom questioned... It provides us Warmth. Security. Energy. Life. Creation...  Is it God?  No.  God is ever so much more. But I digress.

As I contemplate this day I find that  the sun offers so much more than I had ever previously imagined.  And it does so generously and without demand.  Its effects are far-reaching not just in the physical world, but also our emotional and spiritual outlook.

The warmth the sun provides offers a feeling of security and safety from which we can view the world with positivity and confidence.  Bad things don't seem so dreadful when viewed from a place of security.  Yet, when the perspective is reversed, even the best circumstances can take on a negative tone when seen from a place of insecurity...

So, what can I say?  I love the sun for sharing it's warmth and it's light, and for offering comfort, peace, and clarity.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On Friendship...

True Friends are few and far between.  A true friend isn't afraid to tell you the truth about yourself, yet will still love you even when you don't listen.  Cherish the friend that tells you what you don't want to hear.  I Thank you for caring enough to set me straight.

"I believe that friends are quiet angels who sit on our shoulders and lift our wings when we forget how to fly." ---Unknown

"Friends are like stars... you don't always see them, but you know they're always there." ---Hulali Luta


Change is a natural and necessary part of nature, growth, and even degeneration.  And there is no denying that Change is upon us.  Both individual change and societal change.  I personally am going through a host of transitions in which I am floundering.  I felt like I needed a place to honor the good and positive things I experience as I journey through my days.  A place where I could remind myself of my many blessings.  And a place where I can nurture a positive attitude and a generous spirit.  By sharing my dreams and fantasy I choose to create a light and joyous reality for myself, and hopefully help to affect change for others in a positive manner.  Will you join me?