Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to School!

This was our first week of school. Overall things went really well. Monday was a long day for us because it took a while to get everything organized in between subjects. I think we finished up a little before 3:00. Most days we're through around 1:30.

Daily schedule:
9:00 - AWANA
9:15 - language Arts (journaling, spelling, Wordly Wise/vocabulary, grammar)
10:15 - snack/break
10:30 - math
11:30 - science
12:15 - lunch/break
1:00 - history

On Mondays and Wednesdays, we add beginning piano. I spend a few minutes going over a finger exercise or music theory concept, then they take turns practicing.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we'll be adding geography. Jacob has a basic map skills workbook he'll be working from. Caleb has a world geography workbook that we'll use over the course of two years or more. I hope to get started on that next week, after I get our scanner/copier set up. (I want to keep Caleb's workbook for future reference, so we'll be using photocopied pages.)

Fridays are short days. We do AWANA, language arts, and math. Then we go out for lunch, spend some time at the library, run any errands, and stop by ALDI for the next week's groceries.

Jacob had a meltdown a few days this week because he wanted to play instead of do his schoolwork. Both times I sent him to his room until his attitude was better and he was willing to work. The first day (Monday) he cried loudly, trying to distract Caleb from his work and trying to get attention. I warned him that he'd get a spanking if that continued, so he hushed. The second day (Wednesday) he cried again, but not nearly as loudly as before. Hopefully he's seeing that he's got to do his work and that throwing a fit isn't going to get him out of it.

I came up with a way to reinforce positive school behavior, and hopefully it'll work. I call it "School Spirit Stickers". Each day, whoever had the best attitude for school will get a sticker. At the end of the week, whoever has the most stickers will get to choose where we go for lunch on Friday. Of course, there will be limits on where they can choose. If I give them free reign on that, we'll end up at Cici's Pizza every week. Some weeks will have Cici's for a choice; other weeks will have Panera Bread as a choice; most weeks will have McDonald's, Wendy's, and Braum's, though. I may need to come up with a weekly schedule of restaurants so they won't accuse me of rigging the list each week. I should probably have the boys list their favorite restaurants, then divide them evenly each week...

Tuesday we went out to the pool after we finished our work, but we didn't get to stay long at all - maybe 20 minutes. When we left the house, the sky looked fine. But by the time I pulled into the parking lot, we noticed how dark the sky was to our north. I kept a close watch on the weather while the boys played with their new diving rockets. The clouds kept getting darker and rolling in a little faster. Soon the wind picked up, and before long the water in the pool was white-capping. Not long after that, thunder started rumbling, so the boys and I hurried out of the pool. After we got settled in the car, we saw a few bolts of lightning strike in the distance. Not much happened after we got home, just a lot of wind and thunder and hardly any rain.

Yesterday we invited some friends from church to spend the afternoon with us at the neighborhood pool. We spent about two hours out there - the weather was perfect! Tricia and I really enjoyed relaxing in the water or sitting poolside and chatting. The boys had fun swimming after their diving rockets or playing with the pool Frisbee. Some other friends from the neighborhood joined them for a bit. We'd like to have them out again before the pool closes for the season. Thankfully the management has extended the season to late September instead of Labor Day.

All in all, it was a great first week! If only the rest of the school year would go so smoothly...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - August 23, 2010

Yes, I know it's been quite a while since I posted a menu plan. With the boys gone several weeks this summer, and us busy the rest of the time, I didn't have time to post - or really even plan, for that matter.

Now we're back to school and back to staying home, so I can get back into my greatly-missed regular routine. Woohoo!

Here's this week's menu plan:

Shrimp Tortellini with Broccoli and Garlic Butter Sauce
I had purchased these items on a whim at ALDI, as I'm trying out different things there to see what we like and what we don't. It cost roughly $8.50 for all the ingredients. (I'll have a separate ALDI post later.) Anyway, I just threw this together and it turned out quite delicious. The boys liked it, and Billy took the leftovers for his lunch today.

Black Bean Quesadillas and Southwestern-Style Rice
These quesadillas have become quite the family favorite. I love that they're quick, easy, and healthy. All these ingredients were bought at ALDI, too, but I haven't figured my total cost on them yet.

Southwestern Cornbread Salad
At the last minute, it seems, I've realized what I can do with my leftover beans and corn from the quesadillas. Even having them for leftovers doesn't use them all and I end up throwing some away. This time we'll carry them over to the salad and nothing will go to waste! Why didn't I think of this earlier?

This was Caleb's last-minute choice, and I didn't think about sausage or bacon to go with it.

leftovers - if there are any - or eating out.

Dirty Rice (Tony Chachere's brand) and Caesar Salad

Hmmm... I didn't plan that far in advance. I usually plan from Saturday through Friday each week since I grocery shop on Friday afternoons (ALDI) and Saturday mornings (Wal-Mart for any produce and remaining items).

For more menu plan ideas, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Still Around

I know my posts have been next to nothing this summer. I haven't given up blogging, nor have I melted into the pavement - though I thought I was going to melt in the library last week. Their A/C was broken. This summer has been sooooo busy I haven't had time to blog.

But now we're back in school and staying home most of the week. Yea!!!

I'll try to catch up on all our summer activities and post some pictures from things that went on, but right now it's time to wake the boys for day 2 of school.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August 2010 Book List

33. The Martyr's Song by Ted Dekker

Eve, an old florist, sees an unattractive girl at the high school when she goes to make a delivery, and she can see what the girl thinks of herself. She invites her to visit the next day and promises to make her beautiful. Marci, at first angry about the old woman's insinuation, appears on her doorstep and ends up going inside to hear Eve read a horrible but fascinating story about a war, some soldiers, a priest, and another ugly little girl who finds true beauty. As Marci gets drawn into the story, she finds herself as one of the characters and finds beauty as well.

I've never been terribly impressed with Ted Dekker, though I have read a few of his books. I've usually felt a combination of fear and morbid curiosity as I've read them. One of his more psychologically thrilling books (Adam, I believe it was...) had me so uncomfortable, I couldn't get past the first few pages. This one seemed milder, and it was only a little over 100 pages, so I thought it would be "safer". I found this story to be intriguing and horrifying at the same time. In it, Eve says that everyone finds themselves a character in the story, and I found myself identifying with a few of them. I knew Dekker was writing about the beauty of heaven and the love of Christ, but the book didn't really touch me like I had hoped. I think part of it is my bias toward his writing.

I'll definitely give Dekker another try. I'd like to read The Bride Collector before too long. If it's like Boneman's Daughters, I think I'll like it. If it's like House, that he co-wrote with Frank Peretti, I probably will finish it but not like it immensely. If it's like Adam, I won't finish it.

34. Q Is for Quarry by Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton's "alphabet mysteries" are one of my guilty pleasures. When I first started reading them, I read several in a row before moving on to something else. Now I like to read one every few months or so, but there have been so many other things I've wanted to read, I just now got around to it.

This series follows the investigations of Kinsey Milhone, a twice-divorced 30-something private investigator who lives alone in a tiny apartment belonging to Henry, an 80-something retired baker who writes crossword puzzles for fun. Kinsey has been in all sorts of dangerous situations and always comes out on top, though often injured.

In Q Is for Quarry, Kinsey is hired by a retired police officer and his aging friend to investigate a cold case of murder they happened upon some 20 years earlier. As they work together to fill in the missing pieces to the puzzle, they come upon someone who wants the past to remain buried - and will kill again to keep it that way.


I am finally going to read J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. I'm not sure how long it will take me, but my goal is to finish in September. Is that a little lofty? Maybe October, then.