Seven Quick Takes, Friday, September 4

1. In the garden, Blue Hubbard Watch:

I also picked this albino cucumber:

I think it stayed this color due to being entirely sheltered from sunlight by the plants leaves and sitting on wet ground. Any gardener thoughts?

2. While discussing a Biblical text and how I interpret it, M said to me: “You realize that all of the tradition interprets it differently.”
Me: “Well, that has been my intuition about this my whole life.”
M: “That is because you are a modern traditionalist. I am going to start telling people that I am a modern traditionalist because my wife wears a brown veil.” We are pretty modern trads, aren’t we?

3.We finally got to going through our closeted basement stuff last Saturday and did the kind of giving away/throwing out that we have done with every move. We finally parted with a couple of things we have been holding onto for our entire marriage. I managed to hold onto a few especially memorable things, and few good laughs reading my “jrnlo” that my first grade teacher had us write in every day. My ode to “chiccin pocs” is my favorite:

I seem to have dedicated it to my brother. See how having chicken pox is bonding?

4. Last Sunday we canned the last of our jam. We took those strawberries that we froze back in June and mashed them up with blackberries and raspberries and made 2 gallons of triple berry jam. Yum, yum! I canned 14.5 pints and stuck the rest (from three batches) in a jar in the fridge.

A friend asked me a couple of weeks ago why we bother to make our own jam. I just think it tastes better, and I know all the ingredients in it. However, it is also because, G (5) has decided that she only likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with jam that M or I have made.  If I ever start making my own peanut butter, I wonder what she will decided then.

5. The first week of teaching kindergarten went well. I had to work the first day for a bit of discipline, and G said to me in a surprised tone, “You sound just like a teacher, Mommy!” Yes, my child, I am your teacher, so please listen to me and do what I ask. Okay? Thanks.

6. While we were going through stuff, M came across my senior thesis entitled, “St. Augustine and Free Will.” After reading the first paragraph allowed he announced to me, “This is not too bad!” It actually was better than I remembered it. My husband might have even given me a decent grade! I bring this up because I have been rediscovering my appreciation of St. Augustine through an album by Sam Rocha, Late to Love (click the link to listen). It is described as “original concept album that performs a reading of Augustine’s Confessions through soul music”. M is the one who discovered it back when it was a Kick Starter project. He is into soul music, and I am normally not, but this one is pretty catchy (Simcha Fischer even gave it a good review!).  I am pretty picky about the content of my music, but I can’t be too picky when it is St. Augustine. The kids really like it also, especially “In the Self’s Place” and what they call “The Alien Song.” Yesterday when M was working downstairs, L declared that he was “in the self’s place” because he was alone.

7. We had a great food week. Saturday we made grilled steak with Bearnaise sauce. The sauce was amazing, and I did not get super stressed making it, like I normally do with a Hollandaise. I neglected to take a picture of my plate of steak, sauce, fingerling potatoes, grilled vegetables, and red cabbage salad. It was all soooo good. We made our first attempt at grilled pizza yesterday and ended up having to just grill the crust and broil the toppings. It was yummy and grilled tasting, but I think we should have been able to do the whole thing on the grill. We have decided that we need to up grade from our camping grill to a normal sized charcoal.

That’s all, folks!

I am linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary!

Kindergarten For My Five Year Old: More Play than School

One morning in St. Louis last week my sister, my children, and I sat on my parents’ living room floor playing. First, we played the old Marbleworks set. My sister and I reminisced about playing with them as girls while we found a way to use all the pieces and keep the track sturdy and at a height my one year old would not be able to knock over. We were probably having more fun than the kids were. F (21 months) had a blast putting marbles down the tracks, and my sister and I did as well. Then we moved on to the old Lego brick set that we used to spend hours on. I worked on a house built to the specifications of three year old L, and my five year old, G, happily worked on her own. It was nice to have the leisure to not do house work and just play with my old toys with my children. I happily remembered my girlhood and the hours that I spent at play with my siblings. Ever since my oldest two could play together I have watched, listened to, and ignored their games, allowing their creativity to flow.

As I pondered how to home school kindergarten for my five year old, I have heard a variety of things from other mothers. I know a number of mothers jumping into a first grade curriculum for their five year olds, who would normally be in kindergarten this year. At the home school conference I felt really anxious looking through massive math textbooks wondering if I could even do this. But then I heard over and over again from seasoned home school moms that there is no need to rush G into first grade level work, even if she has the ability to handle it. It will be easier to teach her when she is more mature, and she does not need to be a grade ahead. I am seeing for myself her desire to play, to learn things when she is ready, and to keep her own pace.

Since last September we have made it through 85 of the 100 lessons in “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.” The lessons were not always easy for G. Looking back I think that maybe it would have been easier if I would have waited to start the book with her. She is still so young, still below the age of reason, and I want to give her time to play more before the stress of full-on home schooling. This year we are going to do some work, but mostly play.

I especially want the kids to be outside while the weather is nice. I want to see them gleefully swinging and hunting for natures treasures while I tend to the chores in the kitchen. I know if we did first grade they would not lose that, but I also know that G will be just find with another year of simple school preparation. I am also going to plan a weekly craft day so that I actually have to face the set up, mess making, and clean up instead of avoiding it entirely.

My main goals for school this year are for me to keep to a daily schedule. If I do not set daily goals for myself, I am likely to spend the day reading or putzing about the house. I am inclined to stay inside and relax if I am given the choice. So, to know that I can and will home school my children for years to come, I need to discipline myself now. One day I hope to be that seasoned home school mom who can do it without thinking, but for now I need to plan and plot my day carefully, so that when we finish our short, one hour-ish school day, my kids can go and play and play and play.

We are starting next Tuesday, the same day as M starts his semester.

Seven Quick Takes: Friday, August 8

Our rainbow…

 1. So, the reason that I did not write quick takes last week was that we have been extremely busy since the last time I wrote them. I finished my last ones talking about how we decided to repaint the exterior of our house. Minutes after I published it, M found rotten, disintegrating wood around four of our windows. The wood was under a metal cover that was put on when the windows were last replaced. We did some Google searches of rotten wood and stucco houses and saw some pretty awful scenarios. We were envisioning two whole sides of our house having rotten wood underneath the stucco, and then having to spend all of our money and more to fix the house. As it turns out, we found a really nice carpenter to come out assure us that it was just the wood around the windows that was bad, make a good offer to fix it that same week. So, we took him up on it, and while he did the work he told us that the stuff (I don’t know what it is called) behind our stucco is made of some indestructible material they used to make back in the day and even if water did get back to it, it would never rot out. And the day that we learned that the wood was not rotten beyond the windows, a rainbow appeared in the sky.

2. We went ahead with the painting, but first there was power-washing. Our awesome friends T and F own a power washer, which they lent to us in exchange for garden lettuce (well that is not exactly how it happened, but T sure likes our lettuce). Here are some post power washing photos (the paint was not this bad before:

Back of the house

South side of the house

Up close

3. We started painting Tuesday afternoon, doing the first coat on one side. Then we did all three other sides on Wednesday. M worked on the second coat and the windows yesterday. Tomorrow M, my sister S, and my brother-in-law are going to finish the second coat and the house will be repainted! Hooray!

The South side with one coat.
The back all finished up!

I did not realize how bad it looked until we did the painting. We have been getting comments from neighbors that we have not even met yet on how good it looks. So, of all the good things to come out of our repainting, besides maintaining our house, is that our neighbors really like the way it looks and our house will blend in really well with all of our snow.

 4. Remember my best squash friend, good old mother blue hubbard?

I was inordinately excited two weeks ago to discover female flowers on my squash plant. And now we have three baby blue hubbards. I am so excited for grotesque looking squash to grow in my garden and to make delicious pies, breads, and soups.

Tiny squash!
This one is trying to get out of the yard.

The biggest so far. And my does my plant need some water….

5. In addition to painting this last week, I have been getting ready for our summer visit from the W’s (my sister M, her husband J, and their four lovely kids) and my sister S. It is a lot of work to get a whole house ready for guests with a broken toe (which still needs the funny shoe but not hurting anymore). We had a birthday cake for three year old B yesterday and went to the zoo today. Mostly, the kids are just happy to be with each other. And the weather it absolutely lovely outside in the shade. We are going to try for a sisters’ outing one of these evenings. Hooray!

6. I think I can handle home schooling this year, and I am determined to follow a schedule. People tell me again and again that I do not need to do much for kindergarten, but the thing is, my kids do better with a little structure in their lives. And I am pretty sure and hour of structured school time for a five year old will not ruin her experience of childhood. Not that anyone is saying that it is, but it seems that a lot of seasoned home schooling moms think that kindergarten should be really laid back. We are going to stick with simple science, math, and catechism, and solidify reading and printing. I think that this kindergarten year is largely for me to realize that I can do it. I can teach and help my children learn. It is very intimidating to take home schooling on, and I have been trying to get a mental handle on it for over five years.

7. Finally, I have to confess that I had writer’s block. The piece I wrote for Truth and Charity yesterday took a lot of mental energy and I think it was met with a lot of spiritual resistance. But I persevered, and if you did not get a chance to read it and you care about traditional prayer or charismatic prayer, I hope that you will.

Linking up with Jen! Head on over to find more Quick Takes!

Seven Late Takes: Sunday, June 1

1. Happy June 1! June is pretty much the best month in the calendar year. We get my birthday and our wedding anniversary. So, you can’t do much better than that.

2. Am I being way to hopeful about the possibility of a curly haired child? 

It was hard to get a non-blurry shot.

 With these warm humid days we have been getting lately, I am really starting to suspect.

Here she is putting clean tissues in the trash.

 Is this a normal way for curly hair to appear. Her hair is much coarser, thicker, and darker than her sisters with dirty blonde, straight, silky hair.

3.  We bought a tree this week, and planted it in the front yard with the help of M’s farmer boy cousins who were in “the cities” from rural Wisconsin for the Catholic home school conference. I am hoping that it will one day shade our front window.

It is a snowdrift crabapple, which means it has white blossoms in the spring and red-orange fruit on the tree all winter. This means we are going to have a color besides white and dirty white outside our front window all winter long. Hooray!

4. Speaking of the home school conference. The boys babysat our girls for us while M and I went to the conference and looked at curriculum ideas. I am feeling pretty peaceful about what we decided on for the kindergarten/first grade level G is going to be at next year. The way I chose what I liked was purely based on whether or not I felt overwhelmed browsing through each book. When I looked at a book and I thought, “I can do this! This will make home school doable!”, then I knew it was a good choice. Not sure if that is the best way, but it is a start.

5. We had a lot of fun playing games with the cousins this weekend; and I even exerted my prowess over the eldest of our cousins by defeating him in Settlers of Catan after losing to him in our first game. They are really into board and card games, so that is about all we did with them when the children were asleep. That is why my Quick Takes are so late. I was playing games…

6. We have a nice Catholic family down the street from us of a school music teacher and three adopted boys, ages 6, 3, and 1. We have been seeing them a lot more since the kids have all been playing outside. Yesterday they invited us over for a May Crowning of their illuminated statue of Our Lady, which was situated in front of three bales of hay and surrounded by Christmas lights. Our kids were already in the bath, so we had to decline. This morning, when we arrived home from Mass, there was a fire truck in front of our neighbors house and the hay bales were blackened and smoking. It turned out to be an electrical fire. The cool thing was that Mary came out of it intact with just a little brown on the back of her head.

7. Oh, and M is finally on Summer break with grades submitted. This does not mean that he is going to play stay-at-home dad until September. It means that I have to try really hard to not bother him all day while he works in his study doing research and writing papers. We do have couple of vacations planned and some visits with family here, but otherwise he will be working away. It is nice though that I can run errands during nap/quiet time or do some exercise without worrying about kids needing me.

And that is it for Quick Takes! Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary.

Seven Quick Takes Friday, February 28

1. In your charity, please continue to remember my dad in your prayers. His recovery from surgery is still slow going. Specifically, he is having trouble with nerve damage in his left arm from his surgery. This is particularly difficult for him since he is left-handed, and playing the piano and guitar with his hands is a major part of his life. Please pray for complete nerve healing for him. Also, please pray that he has more of an appetite and is less fatigued. We are so thankful that he was able to have his life saving surgery, that a full recovery should happen, and for everyone’s prayers and material support.

2. One encouraging part of dad’s recovery is that he is allowed to travel. I think he is having a hard time resisting visiting his first grandson that was born to my sister earlier this month. I am excited to have a nephew; now I can peruse the clearance racks for cute boy clothes! After six granddaughters, my parents have a grandson. My brother-in-law probably thinks he is all that for having the first boy, but he is just giving us a chance to pull ahead in the girl department. I think we will try for 10 girls and then maybe have a boy.

3. I still can’t believe that people settled Minnesota. What were they thinking? I mean what kind of restriction is this?

A St. Paul winter parking ban will go into effect starting Saturday.
The city says snowbanks have grown so large that there’s not enough room for emergency vehicles to squeeze down some of the streets.

I am pretty sure that this is God telling us to all move to the South. It is time for a mass migration… We can bring our jobs, homes, and businesses with us. Let us just all move to the same place…

4. Look at our poor snowmen. They are going on 2 months and 3 months:

It is so cold, I feel a little bit sorry for them.

We went out when it was 2°F this morning to a friend’s house, and when we left the house around 1pm it was a balmy 13°F. What a difference! My nose was ice crystal free and I did not care if the one year old took her gloves off!

5. I was making pancakes for the kids on Tuesday for lunch, and M came home after his only class of the day to eat lunch and work from home the rest of the day. G and L were begging for “Nickey Mouse” pancakes with a round head and ears and chocolate chip facial features. M then requested Socrates smoking a pipe while riding on a dolphin. I gave it my best shot:

You see, since he is smoking,
that is a cloud of smoke off the side of his head…

6. Dolphins in our home are often called “dolphinium,” from the brilliant Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Little Pig Robinson. Our favorite passage:

After another hand, two sailors left the cabin and went on deck. They noticed something having the appearance of a large black beetle in the distance. One of them said it was an enormous cochroach, swimming with it’s hind legs. The other said it was a dolphinium. They disputed, rather loudly. Captian Barnabas, who had had a hand with no trumps at all after the cook dealing–Captain Barnabas came on deck and said:
“Bring me my telescope.”
The telescope had disappearedd; likewise the shoes, the sealing-wax, the compass, the potato pot, the straw hat, the hammer, the nails, the bucket, the screwdriver, and the armchair.
“Take the jolly boat and see what it is,” ordered Captian Butcher.
“All jolly fine, but suppose it is a dolphinium?” said the mate mutinously.

Go get the copy from your library today to find out more about the pig from the song “The Owl and Pussy Cat.”

7. Finally, home schooling, even preschool has been a bit of an adventure with a non-morning napping, teething one year old. She wants to get into everything, and when I strap her in she fusses until I let her have the crayons. Any tips for entertaining pre-rational children while trying to instruct older ones? I know I have home schooling readers… some cousin-in-laws perhaps?

There are worse things she could be doing…

Head on over to Jen’s Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes! Also, a bunch of bloggers linked up with her to post everyday this week. I could not commit this time around since I spent a bunch of time writing for Truth and Charity this week, but there are some pretty great bloggers posting out there!

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, February 14

1. Happy St. Valentine’s Day! I once had a miserable St. Valentine’s day. It was about nine years ago and the man I really, really, really liked, like had a huge crush on, was supposed to be a priest. He clearly liked me, too. Well I thought he did, but it was really annoying because we were both continually acting like we liked each other, but he was in the pre-theologate (pre-seminary) program. So I talked with some newly dating friends, and they advised me to get everything out in the open and then tell him that we need to put distance in our friendship. We happened to discuss this while going for a walk in the rain on Valentine’s Day. He eventually left the program, we dated, we broke up, he discerned some more, and then got back together again nine months after our first time dating. At any rate, we are married now and he is spending Valentine’s Day at a department meeting… And tomorrow he is planning on watch Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with some seminarians. I guess I still have to share him with the Church sometimes?

2. Today the girls and I went to our home school gym co-op and did a card exchange with the other kids. I got my act together about three weeks ago and planned ahead for once, and we did a craft!

G’s handiwork.
L’s inspiration with lots of mom help (I squeezed the tube, she moved the hand).

Each girl completed 20 after eight half an hour spurts on eight different days. I cut the hearts and the cards, and the girls each signed their names on the back of the cards, glued the hearts, and then decorated them. (L traced letters I wrote for her). I really should post on my blog everytime we do a craft and then you can all see how big of an accomplishment this craft was… Oh, and attached to each card is a packet of artificial dye free fruit snacks that I found at Aldi! The fruit snacks are even free of the evil HFC, just corn syrup and sugar… that might be evil also. Does anyone know?

3. We almost did not make it to co-op, due to an annoying stomach bug we had at the beginning of the week. Thankfully we were all recovered, and the entire house was sterilized before today. I even cleaned the light switches. Maybe stomach bugs are natures way of reminding us to clean light switches…

4. I mentioned the other day that the hardest part of my days is keeping the 15 month old out of the preschool work of her big sisters. I think maybe I was wrong. I am pretty sure the hardest part of the day is the reading lesson with G. Some days she loves it and we do it easily, but other days she gets frustrated and just does not want to do what I ask. Then I try not to get annoyed. And we are not very happy about it together. Then this week I read this post from Kelly, a home schooling mom. I have been keeping in the back of my head all along to not force G into her reading lessons or push her too hard, and I am wondering if we have hit a point where she is not ready to move forward yet. We maybe need to step back or just do the lessons when she is up for it. I guess I will tread more carefully in how I approach her reading.

5. I took this quiz and got this:

I have never even been to Wyoming. The thing is that on most of the questions I answered the only thing that I had actually heard of, so yeah… But maybe I should’ve encouraged M more when he wanted to try to get a job at Wyoming Catholic College…

6. Look at these highs we have next week!! (Look at the lows!) Some other co-op moms and I were discussing how we need to make sure we really plan something for outside on those 30s and sunny days. Knowing me, we will stay inside all day and then it will be 4pm and I will send the kids outside as the temperature is dropping. Maybe the Como Zoo? Woohoo!

7. Lastly, don’t forget to enter my first GIVEAWAY! I reviewed a short chapter book for kids by my cousin-in-law’s sister-in-law about a girl in a Catholic family. Click here to read the review and enter the giveaway! It ends next week. 🙂

And many thanks to Jen for link up, Seven Quick Takes! Sorry I can’t make your Edel Gathering. 🙁

Baltimore Catechism: Where Have You Been All My Life?!?!?!

Someone decided back in the 70s or something to change the way catechesis was done. That meant that the Baltimore Catechism was no longer used. Though my whole life I have heard it references in homilies, and wished that I, too, had memorized it as a child. When M and I were thinking about what sort of religion instruction to give G this year, we turned to the Baltimore Catechism. The first catechism in the series is the The New Saint Joseph: First Communion Catechism. So, we will spend three years on it, but why not start with something so solid that explains the truths of our faith so well?

To demonstrate the books awesomeness, I share with you a series of pictures from Lesson 7: Jesus Opens Heaven For Us:

 See God the Father with the closed Gates of Heaven.

 Then when Jesus died fire shot out of His and Mary’s hearts and burned up the sin which was barring us from Heaven. This is the best illustration EVER!

 Now the gates of Heaven are open! Don’t forget about Mary!

Oh yeah, and the Church still is, and always will be, the way Jesus established for us to go to Heaven.

Seven Quick Takes, Sept. 13/14

1. According to my brother, this is a give not a take. On Truth and Charity yesterday I wrote this piece: Eight Great Things About Having Three Kids Four and Under.  It happened to be one of those days where I can see nothing great about it, except maybe the opportunity for heroic virtue. But I still agree with what I said in the post, and I think that more needs to be said about how great it is to have kids, even when it is a constant battle for sanity.

2. We went to our first home school co-op this morning. G had an art class and a gym class. L ran around aimlessly in a gym filled with toys, toddlers, and older home school children. I got to meet and talk with Catholic home schooling moms. It was a lot of fun.

3. I was talking to one of the moms and she asked me about how I am liking life in Minnesota. I gave her a quick rundown of our busy past year and mentioned the basement situation. She told me that the same thing had happened in her basement and it had taken 5 MONTHS for the repairs to be complete. I pray that our timeline ends up being much shorter, but since we have made it to the 2.5 month mark, we must be at least halfway there.

4. Fridays seem like the worst days for me to write blog posts. I wrote the first three takes on Friday, I promise. Even now, Saturday morning I am supposed to be doing something else, like house cleaning I didn’t get to this week.

5. Today, Saturday, is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross. I thought about making hot cross buns, but we have no yeast. We do, however, have about a cup of frosting in the refrigerator from our Birthday cake from the Nativity of Mary. Maybe I will make a small batch of drop sugar cookies with the kiddos and put crosses on them.

“Jam for snacks and jam for meals, I know how a jam jar feels…”

6. We finished our yearly jam canning last Saturday. My parents had some blueberries that my aunt had brought back to St. Louis from Michigan that they had frozen for me to take home so that I could make jam with them. The other berries were crushed and waiting in the freezer. We made 4.5 pints of triple berry jam and 2.75 pints of blueberry lime jam. The triple berry is as delicious as it sounds and the blueberry lime is good, but interesting. I think it would be really yummy in the plain crock-pot yoghurt I plan to start tonight.

7. I am having mixed feelings about Autumn arriving. I am pretty sure summer is my favorite time of year, especially since our A/C works, but the cool air yesterday filled me with desires for pumpkin pies, pumpkin breads, apple crisps, pies and cider, hot cocoa on a cool evening, and a good book. Also, potato and leek soup. This morning G dressed herself in a skirt and t shirt and went outside to play. After about 60 seconds she came running in looking for socks, pants, and a jacket. So much effort just to go outside! See, mixed feelings.

And now I am linking up with Jen and the other quick takers.

Some of Our Reasons for Homeschooling

Another school year has begun. The kids have all had their first day. This is my fifth fall as a mom, and it has seemed like a very long time since G was born to when she is officially kindergarten age. She will not be until next September. Most kids her age are attending a preschool of some sort a few days a week or even every day. I have been thinking about what it would be like for the family if she went away even twice a week for the morning. There would definitely be a gap in my life. I felt it when I dropped her off to VBS for a week in the summer. It would not feel quite right to have her gone several mornings a week, especially since the afternoons are nap and quiet times. She and her sister would hardly have time to play with each other. We have many other reasons for home schooling, but now that I have disciplined myself to have a schedule of home schooling everyday after morning Mass before I do anything else, I am seeing how great it is for G (4.5) and L (2.5) to spend some structured learning time with me, have a snack, and then have the rest of the morning to play together. It is great. I would not do it any other way.

M and I decided that we wanted to home school any children we might have before we were even engaged. In fact we had a pretty long list of kids names at that point as well. I suppose we are planners. I am learning that when I plan, when I schedule, when the order of life makes sense to me, that is when I am able to best manage the home and keep family life pleasant for all. This semester I am starting to get back into the ordering and planning of family life. I have always had a loose structure, but I am going to get things together in a more ordered way (especially now that the printer ink has been delivered and I can print out my lists and things to put in my “homemaking binder”!) The kids are responding really well to more structure as well. More structure means that they have more free play time as well, and structured time with me helps them feel more confident in play time.

I went to public schools through middle school in a small school district in Webster Groves, a suburb of St. Louis. My parents thought that this school district was particularly good, even better than the closest Catholic school. All of my siblings went there. I had some wonderful friends in elementary school, some great teachers, but I see that my eduction was lacking in a lot of ways. The foundations of memorization, grammar, and the classics were not there. When I went to my all-girls Catholic High School I had to learn how to diagram sentences to catch up. I still am awful when it comes to naming the part of speech (but I can write creatively…). M, on the other hand, went to Catholic schooling from pre-school through his Masters degree. Coming from both backgrounds, we feel that our kids can do better than we did (isn’t that the American dream?).

We want our kids to have a classical education, and I think that I can give it to them, even if it means relearning the parts of speech at least three more times. Maybe it will stick one of these times. I am learning to read through phonics for the first time. But this is not about filling in the gaps in my education, it is about giving my children the foundation they need to know truth (which leads them to God).

I am pretty sure we are going to pick and choose books for each subject and not set ourselves into one curriculum. That is what this last year of just preschool is for us. I am easing in and stumbling looking around, and finding what works for us. For example, I really need books to come with instructions for me as well as my children. It always surprises me when the teacher’s manual tells me to say things and G actually responds to it more than whatever instructions I came up with. I suppose I will get more of an instinct for teaching as we go along, but for now I am a total novice. I am more full of conviction that I will home school my children than knowledge of how I am going to pull it off. It will probably happen one day at a time, and I know we will be better for it.

Seven Quick Takes-Friday, Sept. 6

1. It’s been a few weeks since I wrote Quick Takes. Last Friday (the normal day for Quick Takes) we were in the middle of our summer visit with my parents in St. Louis. It was a wonderful visit. We did all the normal St. Louis things: St. Louis style pizza, Cardinal’s baseball, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, Toasted Ravioli, etc.

Picture from St. Louis Business Journal

2. It was typical hot St. Louis summer weather, so we threw in a trip to Grant’s Farm to make sure we really appreciated the 97°F day. My favorite thing about Grant’s Farm was the hospitality of the employees. They did things like take our strollers for us when we got to the tram and gave free samples to the adults of the Bud Light Lime-a-rita.
I promise I do not ever drink Bud Light, but the Lime-a-rita served over ice was pretty good on a hot day with three little girls in tow. I appreciate the offer of a drink to parents out with kids…

3. The baby has reached the age in which car naps last 30 minutes and no longer. This means our 9 hours on the road was with her mostly awake and often not happy about it. Oh well. This, too, shall pass. All of the children are able to content themselves with books and toys in the car. They don’t even know that we have a DVD player in the car. I think we will keep it that way, since screens in the car for kids who never use any screens would probably be a recipe for disaster.

4. G (4.5) is finally at the point where she can follow audiobooks. Last trip we did Farmer Boy by Laura Ingals Wilder and this trip we did Little House in the Big Woods. We all enjoyed listening to the stories, and it made me very happy that I do not live in a little house in the big woods of Wisconsin with bears for neighbors. Also, I have time to do things like blog and read novels in the evening instead of constantly working to keep my family fed and clothed. I suppose I should think about that when I feel annoyed about having to shop for clothing… at least I don’t have to make it!

5. Saga of the Leaky Pipe Update:  Things are progressing slowly. The did not do much while we were out of town. I think we are still at least a month out from things being completed.

6. We started a scheduled life this week with our pre-school. I am trying to take the advice of every home schooling mom I have heard on the subject of pre-school and to not try to do too much. I am sticking with about an hour a day during the baby’s morning nap. I am finding that it might be easier to just include L (2.5) in everything G and I are doing. She likes to be included and if she is doing something different than G, G is completely distracted. I would not be surprised if we combine subjects with them in the future and if L is one of those really early readers.

7. Because of my scheduling, we are done with school around 10 am. This means I have a full two hours before lunch to get things done everyday! I need to get more disciplined with myself and get things done! Such as, taking the baby monitor out to the garage and starting a furniture painting project before it gets too cold around here. I am waiting on the basement to do any sewing things I have in mind.

That’s all folks. Head over to Jen for more quick takes!