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Archive for October, 2006

The Singing House

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The Singing House

by May Morgan Potter

Fred ate his breakfast dutifully and then slipped down from his chair.

‘Now can I go over to Jimmy’s, mother?’ he asked.

‘But Fred,’ I said, ‘you were over there yesterday and the day before. Why not have Jimmy come here today?’

‘Oh, he wouldn’t want to.’ Fred’s lip quivered in spite of his six years of manhood. ‘Please, mother.’

‘Why do you like Jimmy’s house better than ours, son?’ I pursued. It came to me suddenly that Fred and all his companions were always wanting to go to Jimmy’s house.

‘Why,’ he explained hesitantly, ‘it’s cause–it’s cause Jimmy’s house is a singing house.’

‘A singing house?’ I questioned. ‘Now what do you mean by that?’

‘Well,’ Fred was finding it hard to explain, ‘Jimmy’s mother hums when she sews; and Annie-in-the-kitchen, she sings when she cuts out cookies; and Jimmy’s daddy always whistles when he comes home.’ Fred stopped a moment and added, ‘Their curtains are rolled clear up and there’s flowers in the windows. All the boys like Jimmy’s house, mother.’

‘You may go, son,’ I said quickly. I wanted him out of the way so I could think.

I looked around my house. Everyone told me how lovely it was. There were oriental rugs. We were paying for them on installments. . . . We were paying for the overstuffed furniture and the car that way, also. Perhaps that was why Fred’s daddy didn’t whistle when he came in the house. . . .

I . . . went over to Jimmy’s house, even if it was ten o’clock and Saturday morning. It came to me that Mrs. Burton would not mind being interrupted in the middle of the morning. She never seemed to be in a hurry. She met me at the door with a towel around her head.

‘Oh, come in. I have just finished cleaning the living room. No indeed, you are not interrupting. I’ll just take off this headdress and be right in.

While I waited, I looked around. The rugs were almost threadbare; the curtains . . . tied back; the furniture, old and scarred. . . . A table with a bright cover held a number of late magazines. In the window were hanging baskets of ivy . . . , while a bird warbled from his cage hanging in the sun. Homey, that was the effect.

The kitchen door was open and I saw Jerry, the baby, sitting on the clean linoleum, watching Annie as she pinched together the edges of an apple pie. She was singing…

Mrs. Burton came in smiling. ‘Well,’ she asked, ‘what is it? For I know you came for something; you are such a busy woman.’

‘Yes,’ I said abruptly, ‘I came to see what a singing house is like.’

Mrs. Burton looked puzzled. ‘Why, what do you mean?’

‘Fred says he loves to come here because you have a singing house. I begin to see what he means.’

‘What a wonderful compliment!’ Mrs. Burton’s face flushed. ‘But of course my house doesn’t compare with yours. Everyone says you have the loveliest house in town.’

‘But it isn’t a singing house,’ I objected. . . . ‘Tell me how you came to have one.’

‘Well,’ smiled Mrs. Burton, ‘if you really want to know. You see, John doesn’t make much. I don’t think he ever will. He isn’t the type. We have to cut somewhere, and we decided on non-essentials. . . . There are books, magazines, and music. . . . These are things the children can keep inside. They can’t be touched by fire or financial problems so we decided they were essentials. Of course good wholesome food is another essential. . . . The children’s clothes are very simple. . . . But when all these things are paid for, there doesn’t seem to be much left for rugs and furniture. . . . We don’t go into debt if we can avoid it. . . . however We are happy’, she concluded.

‘I see,’ I said thoughtfully. I looked over at Jerry and Fred in the corner. They had manufactured a train out of match boxes and were loading it with wheat. They were scattering it a good deal, but wheat is clean and wholesome.

I went home. My oriental rugs looked faded. I snapped my curtains to the top of the windows, but the light was subdued as it came through the silken draperies. . . . My house was not a singing house.  I determined to make it sing.

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10 Random Facts About Me

I got tagged by Bridget!!  ooh boy is this hard!

  1. I love to cook and bake…my favorite is home made bread hot out of the oven with butter.  Not only does it taste mmmmm good, but it also makes the house smell great and feel cozy and welcoming!
  2. I looove to wear long sleeved flannel nightgowns with lace…yep, even in the summer.  I know that makes me weird but I love the way they feel!  I look put together even with the littleies hanging off my skirts ;o)
  3. I really enjoy old movies…they don’t make them like that anymore!
  4. I love to read aloud to my older children.  We have the BEST conversations!
  5. I met my dh at the end of my freshman year (his sophomore year) of high school.  I met him in the hall and friends introduced us.  He was in a baaaad mood and the first thing I thought of was "I’ll NEVER date THIS guy!"  (why did I even THINK THAT??)  I’ll bet my guardian angel was the one rolling around on the floor in side-splitting laughter!…maybe even one of those…"if you only knew…" coments. LOL
  6. If you want twins, go to Disney World on your honeymoon!!
  7. My dh is a former Marine and I waited 5 looong  years for him to come home and marry me after he followed me around for years wanting to date me….it would have been helpful if he said something….but he was waiting for the right time…LOL!
  8. I have a weakness for good chocolate!…and I do like coffee in my hot cocoa…or is that..  hot cocoa in my coffee??
  9. I am into healthy and organic foods.  My dh is coping well with the change from 2 liter bottles of Pepsi and a bag of Dorito’s for a light snack…well..sorta
  10. I can’t tell a joke to save my life…I enjoy great jokes and loooove to laugh but, actually tell them??!  I think too deeply for words to be of use…that is my excuse and I am sticking to it!!:o)

mmm…I don’t know who has not been tagged yet…if you are reading this…consider yourself tagged!! :o)

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Young Mr. Edison (11) has a new link recommendation he would like to share with you…

At  Singing Science Records  you can sing your way through science on-line in the late 50’s-early 60’s style.  "Zoom a Little Zoom" is a local favorite and will be the kind of song you will hear your mom singing in the van when the windows are down at a traffic light while you try and pretend you don’t know who she is….
If you need to memorize your elements…try this site…but I don’t recommend anything else but this song there.

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Right now, young Edison (11)set up a Ball Run for his littlest sister (20mos) and it is sitting in front of him on the dining room table awaiting her.  He is pouring over the book My Path to Heaven: A Young Person’s Guide to the Faith and taking in the detailed pics just for fun.  There is an empty pan of brownies in front of him…no, he didn’t eat it all, but it is a sign of something we all shared in together.    The toddler comes in and  Edison sets it on the floor in a flourish of gentlemanly flair and the noise calls out the 3yods and they play happily at his feet.  He is back to pouring over the book with a smile on his face.  Little sister hugs his knees smearng chocolate crumbs all over him.  Ah, the Family Centered life…Ora et Labora!

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If you are going to be visiting
Ancient Rome, you need to dress the part!!

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Ck this out at Tobin’s Lab!

Bible_dress_upIt is a great match to this great Bible Dress Up

Why not start the tradition of the dress-up trunk ~as we have!  My dramatic kids love to ham up bible stories and their own unique versions of Shakespeare for Mom and Dad’s viewing pleasure! 

Their  rendition of "The Continuing Tales of David" was my particular favorite as David persued a mighty  lion …over my sofa?! …aaand after they wrestled with arms and legs popping up and out here and there along the sofa’s entire length, ….David emerged from the back of the couch VICTORIOUS wearing a lion-skinned coat!!  ROFL!!

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We have been traveling through Ancient Rome lately following RC History Volume II  using their book list and the Reading Your Way Through Ancient History list and our reading has taken us to some great discoveries that we wanted to share with you….of course we are adding to our Notebook of the Centuries and  embellishing our History Notebooks with Maps, poems, prayers, rhymes, and clip art from Mr Google!!

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oooh!  We read a great book (out loud) over the last 3 days.  I have no voice left…I am sorry it had to end!  City of The Golden House is a reprint available from Hillside Education.  Read more here!

A slave and a cripple,
A saint and a Roman officer,
An Emperor and a conspirator . . .
A city on fire!

This story meshes so well with out Ancient Roman Studies lately.  We have many Roman books in the basket and we are devouring them.  I am so glad we could add this book to our list.  They have a very inexpensive study guide available that helps to flesh out the story.  We used it loosely with everyone and it really made the kids ponder even more deeply the richness  that this story had to share with us.  The kiddoes drew a picture for every chapter we read (15 chapters=15 pictures) then used those pictures to relate the story back to me and explain the story (and what they thought of it, what it meant to them etc ) to their dad.   Some of their renditions were very unique!  …Not to mention the fact that it makes a great re-telling tool for the notebooks they whip out when grandma comes to visit!

First_christiansSpeaking of meshing stories together….this one goes with the other two too! …The First Christians by Marigold Hunt!  We were reading this story alongside the Acts of The Apostles and plotting Paul’s course on a map!

Some others coming up next:
We Knew Paul
The Man Who Never Died

Fr Lovasik St. Peter and Paul


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But of course if you are going to make a trip to Ancient Rome, you better bring along your Tour Guide… Rome is a big place!  Just use the Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient World and be prepared to learn by osmosis!  This book is a riot!  Not only can you ck out all the local customs of do’s and don’ts, you can also ck your map if you are ever to lose your way…after all …who needs to get hopelessly lost in history?  With this guidebook, you will learn about what to wear, what to eat and how to eat it, entertainment, what to watch and what you might not want to…currency, handy words and phrases, pronunciation tips and more!  This book is even Internet linked so you can go on a few trips and take in the sights without leaving the comfort of your computer chair! ..oh yes!  it covers Ancient Egypt and Greece too!

Be prepared by reading ahead of the kids by reading Famous Men of Rome online (via the Baldwin project) or in print. (…ok ok…I know you don’t NEED to do this…but!  It is a good excuse to read about some pretty interesting people.)  We have both,  but keep a handy tab at the top of our Firefox screen for easy clicking in between daily happenings.  What a great place to read OOP (out of print) works!  These characters make handy narrations in the notebook and their handsome countenance clip art images I copy to a Word document.  I type while the kids narrate to me about their lives and we frame the images in whatever color or style the individual child prefers.  The older ones have the option of keyboarding it on their own, but there is something about narrating TO someone that makes them much more creative…after all…who doesn’t like to pretend to be that important that they have their own personal secretary!!  The child also picks the font type, size and color.  These narrations look so professional!

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If you are interested in joining the army, you might want to take a gander at the Roman Soldier’s Handbook (Everything a beginner soldier needs to know) before you put your X on the dotted line.  You will learn how they wield their swords to how they impersonate tortoises… Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Army life …from life as a raw recruit to how to process in victory and everything in between!  Know what you are getting into before you become a Legionary in the most professional army in the western world!

ooh there is more!  But that is what we have been up to lately!   Later I will share what the younger set (3, 6, 7 yo) are doing with all this information!

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