Archive for July, 2006

Kim at Starry Sky Ranch has a beautiful post entitled, "Just another day in paradise".   She so eloquently announces a call to count your blessings in motherhood:

"I am firmly convinced "happy" is a verb.  As my friend Elizabeth says it is a decision we make everyday to wake up and do it all over again. Not only to do it all, but to do it with the acknowledgment of the blessing hidden inside every trial.  We have to decide if this is "monotonous, lonely, and relentless" or if is it an embarrassment of riches.  We are swimming in blessing if we just open our eyes and embrace it. Shame on us when we neglect to notice."

Thank you, Kim!!

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Favoritethings5yodd :  Daddy?  What kind of meat is this?
Daddy :   Medium rare…
5yodd :   Well?… then…can my piece be High rare?

Image:   My Favorite Things   ~Morgan Weistling

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"Pray as if everything depended upon God and work as if everything depended upon man."
    Francis Cardinal Spellman

(This quote makes me feel good to be Catholic….I feel like everything has deeper meaning…most especially my daily duty…)

Do you suffer from educational printout clutter syndrome?
Well, I did!  (But I am now on the road to recovery.)
I HAD to make a few simple rules for myself regarding printouts for school…the baby kept eating and destroying my homework!  Really!

Let me explain!  I have a good excuse!  See, I would find something great to use in our notebooks or some other great educational page for school…pure paper gold!!  I would then print it out real quick intending to take care of it "later"  when "I have time"…what a great plan!  or so I THOUGHT…
Enter 18 mo old dd…the baby would climb up on the computer table…grab it with PB and J hands….throw it all into the air…and get down and dance on it, swim in it and spill something liquid on it…(and we DO have that rule about liquids near the computer…sigh)…often inviting others to step on the pages and crumple them in various geometric forms under the table and smoosh them against the wall…("oh, I’m sorry.  I didn’t see it.")

The NEW me….have a mommy binder for each subject. 
Start with a CLEAN work surface….(no tottering piles of very important stuff ;o)

As the golden printouts emerge from the printer:
have the binder open and ready
3 hole punch and insert in binder
label with a post-it
(remember all those great ideas regarding these printouts that will surely disappear in 5 minutes….now you can keep them!!)

So far so good!  I love the D ring clear view binders…they are great!
My categories (so far):
Montessori (Math, Language, Geography, Science, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and training manual- I am taking an on-line training course)
Religion (for ongoing lapbook project)
RC History
Living Math
Mommy binder (schedules, library lists,misc etc…this one has a clip board in it for quick stash items)
Household binder ( I still need remedial help in this area…ideas appreciated 😉

I have a shelf for just these binders…they look nice all labeled and standing neatly in a row….almost makes me look like I know what I am doing!…well, …almost ;o)

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Good_shepherdPlease visit Elizabeth Foss at Real Learning for her beautiful post about Leading the Little Ones to the Good Shepherd.  This post gathers so much for the heart to ponder regarding the great work of Catechesis.  Pour a tall glass of iced tea, read, and savor every moment!  Thank you, Elizabeth!!

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I was reading the boards at 4 Real today and came across the question of Math Journaling posed by Dawn of by Sun and Candlelight….once again it was a post that I was already working on, so I polished it up a bit and I will share my answer here.  I hope it is of some use to you and that you will share your thoughts and ideas on it too!!

Math_journal_2We have gotten Math Journals from Eta Cuisenaire  for the kids so they would actually USE them…I tried graph paper and 1/2 lined with a space for drawing…but mostly they just fell apart. Anyone could probably do this very well, but I needed something bound so….when I purchased these  they were always stacked with the school stuff and it was something ‘official’ in their eyes…worked like a charm. 

What did we use these for?
We would use them for any and all kinds of math explorations! 
We used a lot of LIVING MATH books and Marilyn Burns books.  There are more ideas here.

They would often record math explorations out of those books or use them as a springboard into real life.

….like graphing how many snap-cubes (or match box cars) long is the baby and each family member and graphing the results

….using Venn diagrams to compare the samples of those who like vanilla those that like chocolate and those who like both or neither kind of ice cream…(BTW ice cream is a great motivator…haha)

Once my ds measured the perimeter of our house and graphed his results on graph paper and made a proposal for how much bigger his room could be taking into account the local building codes…if it sounds complicated, it isn’t.   ~especially when it was something that grasped his immagination and he decided to run with it…journal in tow. 

His younger brother decided to measure out with a long measureing tape how long his favorite whale was based on our house size and included that into his drawing…"way cool!" says mom!

Then….share the results with dad when he gets home…encourage dad to have deep discussions as to how information can change based upon different elements changing…etc…ask "I wonder what would happen if…" questions!

Get the idea?…it is this and much more…it is for having FUN!  Find what they are interested in and go with it and make it more of a Math Adventure…Have them record new math terms, different kinds of charts and graphs,  problem-solving tips, and math jokes too!

This is a clever way of getting them to think deeper about what is in front of them.

Another thought that I am working on is for my math-minded son, young Edison (10).   I am going to have him write his own math adventure that can be elaborated upon in his journal and then have him work on the problems with his brothers and sisters in theirs…a case of one child enlightening another on a new case..a new adventure that just begs to be solved…stay tuned for the results!!

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Turning prose into poetry
~Saint Josemaría Escrivá

"When you started your ordinary work again, something like a groan of complaint escaped you: “It’s always the same!”
And I told you: “Yes, it’s always the same. But that ordinary job — which is the same one your fellow workers do — has to be a constant prayer for you. It has the same loveable words, but a different tune each day.”
It is very much our mission to turn the prose of this life into poetry, into heroic verse."
Furrow, 500

May this summer’s day be a day of poetry, a hymn of heroic love in your heart!

image:Summer’s Day in the Flower Garden by Robert Payton Reid

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Toys, Toys, Toys!!

When it comes to toys…Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight, hit it right on the mark with her wonderful post Nature Play and Stories and More About Tree Blocks.  There is nothing like the look and feel of wood toys and toys made from natural fibers or toys made from love.

Julie’s Stuff  is one of my favorite places to shop.. (or just press my nose up to the window most days…haha)  The wooden toys are great and the baby dolls are so lovely!  The baby spent so many hours snuggling her blanket doll and our little 3yo boy wanted his own baby sooo bad last year and we gave him the Gotz boy doll….He is made so well and looks so real!  He is a regular member of our household! 

When it comes to gift-giving, we would rather one or  two meaningful well made things than a whole bunch of STUFF that just takes up space and is not used.  STUFF just clutters our lives and gets in the way of real creative play.  We only have so much time, so why spend our precious time chained to maintaining all the parts to our STUFF?  I would rather place our toys of love on the shelves and back on the beds and get on to playing and loving with the kids!

Folkmanistiger1k_1Folkmanis puppets have been favorites around here for years…the little finger puppets are great gifts for the tiny ones in your life and if you have an animal enthusiast, they have the BEST large puppets…just ask dh…we gave him the large tiger for his birthday one year.  It was a consolation present, because you see….he wants a REAL one….sorry, hun! ..but you know something??… I think that tiger really IS REAL!!  It has such a great personality, as far as tigers go ;o)  They must be made with love as we have spent many wonderful family hours with them!

Max80040 The children never tire of the wood toys…the wooden trains, the building blocks, tinker toys, Lincoln logs, and our Fortress with the catapult with the "night-night bombs"(large pompoms).    They use these toys daily.  They SOUND great…they FEEL great…they INSPIRE great play!  So many of the other electronic gadgets and such go unused for so long that the kids forget we have them.  After a little while with these kind of toys, the kids tire of the toys playing FOR them…they want to exercise CREATIVITY!  These toys can be used in so many creative ways… So whether the theme of the day is Robin Hood, Little House and Pioneer living, the Wild West, or Knights in Shining Armor…you cant beat the creative play and the stretchability of these toys to span the ages and engage kids of alllllll ages! 

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