Showing posts with label random. Show all posts
Showing posts with label random. Show all posts

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Our newest addition...Rosco

This year has been a year of many changes. We have never been pet people, much to Random's disappointment. I remember one Christmas, I put the cutest stuffed puppy hanging out of Random's stocking. As I tucked him in that night, I realized he had a great faith. He told me his prayer. "Mom I prayed that God would bring my doggie to life." My heart broke. "Well son, if God brings that puppy to life, we'd have to keep him." I always had a good reason not to get a pet. But I was softening. Miss Kitty, in all of her orneriness had grown on us. Please honey, can we get a cat?

This Christmas Eve, Random ran in the house, "Here Kitty Kitty!" He had found the animal rescue leagues web site. "Don't be silly, Daddy won't let us get a cat." He could hope. He didn't know Daddy had showed up too late to start the adoption. Daddy bought the litter box, litter and a scoop. When Random opened it up the next morning, he knew we were committed. He and Daddy would pick up the kitten the shelter had promised would still be there. Just show up Monday morning and begin the paperwork.

The kitten had a brother. The new owner couldn't bear to separate them. Random's kitten was now on it's way to his new home. They could add him to the waiting list. He waited 15 years to get a pet, his parents finally agreed, only to be put on a waiting list.

Just as Random was leaving, they suggested he see the older cats. It was love at first sight. Rosco climbed into his lap.  It was fate. He had been in the shelter almost 2 months. His time was running out, we sprung him from jail. His previous owner moved into a condo that didn't allow cats. We are so fortunate!


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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Random's New Hobby

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...Special Effects by Random

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Homeschool Conference Take Aways, Random Plans

Thankfully, I don't let my emotions run the show. Because there were many swirling around on the day I left. My thoughts were filled with homefront details, stress and dreams of military boarding school. My arrival was marked by peace and gratitude. I felt grateful for my dear friends who dropped me off at the hotel. My quiet enjoyment was temporally rocked, but all was settled.

I was ready to formulate my plan for next year.  I needed this time so I could touch, hold, read, analyze and sniff some books. I was in the right location to do it.

I first must make a public apology to the vendors. I know I have disappointed you. Normally, I drop hundreds of dollars and need a rolling cart or a strong husband each day to carry my purchases. This time I needed neither. My trusty orange backpack remained half empty. Forgive me?

This was a year of changes. I finally have figured out my strategy for Random. He loves learning on the computer and using online programs. He just had said to me "I regret not doing more online classes earlier."

Well, my teaching style cringes at the thought of a child hunched over a computer all day. My perfect homeschool family fantasy involves all of us sitting in my sun room discussing the Animal Farm and politics.  He, to put it bluntly, likes me to be his mother, not his 24 hour teacher. We are ready for the transition. I'm checking out online and computer options. We haven't made a firm decision yet, but we know it's the right direction.

He also is trying his hand at computer programming with a free program called Alice. I was introduced to this at a lunchtime seminar and knew Random had to do this. He has already commented that it is a challenge. Yeah! Alice is described as:
Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching tool for introductory computing. It uses 3D graphics and a drag-and-drop interface to facilitate a more engaging, less frustrating first programming experience. 
Back to the convention...I thought I'd share some of the goodies I did pick up:

Because Little Guy's new hobby is all about rocks, I hand picked each treasure and added a detailed Dover coloring to call it curriculum. Total for the thrifty minded: $2.50 rocks, $2.50 for the clearance book.

Paperboy will remain in Math-U-See, he gets the weird shaped book. How's that for a geometric optical illusion?

We all fell in love with these movie guides last month. The boys and I each picked a title, thanks to my cell phone. The convention special was buy two, get one free at $12.99 each.

The Gman and I have a new $5.00 stapler for the office that won't be easily stolen. 
This was purchased at the hospital gift shop where I met Marge, Heidi, and Katie for lunch one day.

I was blessed to meet Carrie from Keyboard Classroom. Paperboy will be her next guinea pig product tester to improve his typing skills. Look forward to an upcoming review of Keyboard Classroom.  I'm excited about this opportunity, and it may be in the interest of marital harmony that the Gman will be my next student.

I have so much more to share about MassHope, look more conference fun next week.
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bearing fruit in due season

This post is part of The Christian Home, an online magazine hosted by Mrs. White at The Legacy of Home. Please visit her site to read more of The Christian Home issue #10.

Here in the Northeast, when we buy fruit, usually it is not ready. I am forever on a quest to buy avocados at their perfect ripeness. It's a challenge to me.

It reminded me of my parenting ten years ago. I was trying to pick ripe, perfect, adult-acting children, when they were basically children. I don't know why I did this. I can't plead ignorance, I have a degree in early childhood education. I should have somewhat of an understanding of how a typical five year-old acts. I was trying to pick the fruit too early. Nothing is so dissatisfying as biting into an unripe cantaloupe. Blech. That's just what I was doing. I was becoming bitter that my children were not angelic beings and ceasing to experience the joy of being their mom.

When my middle sons were about 4 and 5 years old, going out in public was such an ordeal. I was continually plagued with bickering, disobedience and always stressed out. I constantly worried about my kids. I thought hopeless thoughts. I was discouraged. I had a vision, if they were this misbehaved now, what would they be like as teenagers? I had a serious problem of unbelief.

When buying a mango. I'm still learning, I have to give it a gentle squeeze. They can be very unpredictable. Usually, if I can wait a few days, the mango is delicious. My patience means, less eating of bitter things.

I've entered in that season and it's a blessing. Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised. I had to leave the boys alone, again. I ended up staying out longer than expected. The home was intact, there were no calamities or injuries. Things were smooth. Little Guy was well-behaved.

For that I am grateful.

It's the season now for ripe fruit.

I'm seeing it and it's pleasant. My middle guys are now 13 and 15. I enjoy their company. I'm at peace when their friends are over. They act their age. They still are boys, but they have matured. When we are out they no longer are climbing under the clothes racks in stores. The tables have turned, I tend to embarrass them, now.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Galatians 6:9

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Latin Alive: A review

As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, this year I am reviewing many homeschooling products that I have received for free. I am not paid to say nice things about the products, but I am obligated to use the product and share my honest opinions with you. In today's review, Random and Paperboy had the opportunity to try this Latin  program.

Just the facts about Latin Alive 1 by Classical Press:
  • The bundle pack includes the teacher guide, student book, 7 Dvd lessons and a pronunciation cd.
  • 29 lessons classically taught, in seven units, with tests. An average lesson is 30 minutes.
  • $139.95 for the bundle pack, products may be purchased separately.
  • Latin Alive 2 available.
  • Appropriate for grades seven and up. Students need no previous knowledge of Latin.
What I liked about Latin Alive:
  • Everything! I'm serious. In one word: Thorough.
  • The lesson starts with Great Seals, a motto or United States symbol. I love the tie in with modern day symbols, this appealed to the boys, also.
  • Karen Moore, the instructor, is engaging and correctly assumes, in our case, that the student or the parents are unfamiliar with any of the terms. Because of her clear precise teaching, I finally understand declensions, first conjugations and can parse a verb. Random doesn't have to be led by his confused mother anymore. I have Karen Moore to boost my confidence tackling a subject that intimidates me. If I ever meet her at a homeschool convention, I will be sure to hug her and buy her some grown up chocolate. 
  • I loved the format of the lessons. She breaks each one up with assignments, bits of history, chants and pronunciation. Since it was on the long side for Random. we just take it in smaller chunks each day, rather than the whole lesson at once. There is an easy way to do that with the formatting of the Dvd's. There is also a recommended schedule on the web site.
  • Student book. This is meaty, the only thing is I need two, the boys can't keep sharing. I have not been letting them write in the book. There are available worksheets at the website to use and forms from the teacher book to practice declensions, conjugations and sparsing of verbs.
  • There was no need to purchase additional resources. This is my pet peeve about bundle packs. They only recommended a Latin/English dictionary which I did buy. We haven't needed to use it yet, but, I am glad to have it. My boys are more comfortable utilizing an online dictionary.
  • This meaty program will count as a high school language credit. Completing this course will be a challenge for my boys.
  • The variety of the lesson content: Oral practice, parsing and labeling, Latin passages, culture corner, interesting reading passages, tests, and my favorite culture corner. Here the students learn about the Romans and their everyday lives. Now if I was teaching in the true classical sense, I would get my kids out of their Early American History lessons and go back to studying the Romans. Nevermind.
  • Random enjoyed choosing his new Latin name. He decided to take Julius Ceasar. Paperboy is simply Matthias. Salve, nomen mihi este Teresia.
  • Headventureland hosts an online game called Flash Dash to practice the vocabulary taught in Latin Alive. As a companion to the curriculum, you choose which book, lesson#  and the level of difficulty, it quizzes the student on the words. 

I want to include the things I didn't like, because I need to be strait up with you.
  • The plastic case that holds the dvd's is flimsy.  The plastic rings are broken. The Dvd sleeves inside need the punched holes reinforced. I'm sorry that's all I could find. 

Years ago, when I considered their Latin for Children, I decided to wait, since my boys were still mastering English grammar. I am thankful for this opportunity to try it with my boys, it has given me the tools I need to teach Latin. They have made this language "alive" for our family.

Don't just take my word for it, see what other crew members thought of this and other products from Classical Academic Press here.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Not-so Wordless Wednesday: I miss this guy terribly

Traditionally, last week was February vacation here. We celebrated by sleeping, sneezing, coughing and fighting fevers. Fortunately, Random missed out on all of the excitement. He and his cousin spent almost 2 weeks in sunny Arizona being spoiled by their Poppa and Grandma. 

I love that my son, who is a teenager, is zealous for fun.
He talked about going to the zoo for days.
Look Ma! No hands!
I miss my little nature loving photographer.

Photo credit, my Dad and his cool Android phone.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful Thrifty Thoughts

This Thanksgiving, Random is involved in the traditions. He has offered to plan and cook with me. Not only are we working on our Thanksgiving meal together, he's involved in the other tradition. The one where normal people lose their minds and camp out on concrete sidewalks to save some bucks. Where unmade-up women leave their homes while it is still dark out to purchase gifts at unbelievable low prices. The one where people in my area have been known to freeze for hours waiting in line to shop.

Black Friday Sales

Random is already a thrift disciple. Not only is he skilled at not spending his own money, when it comes to sales,  he is a little more high tech than I. He has an application on his iPod called free app of the day. Each day, he is offered free iPod apps that normally cost between 99 cents and $10. 

One of his newer apps can be really beneficial to the psychos bargain hunters like myself. He has an application called 86 in 1 utilities. It usually costs 99 cents, but he downloaded it for free. Out of the 86 apps, it contains a very important one. 

The Black Friday Sales App 

This Black Friday sales app is constantly being updated. It will let you know: when prices change, if new deals are added or if some deals are sold out. It will show you where to get the best price on almost anything. Something near and dear to my heart, it has coupon codes for online shoppers. There is no reason I should not be aware of any deals this year, thanks to my little techie.

As you can see, this app, is for serious shoppers
Random's best deal found on this app so far; a $20 iPod charging kit for $0.89. It looks like Random may be getting one of these from Amazon for Christmas. SHHH don't tell him. Thanks for the tip!

Are you a high tech thrifter like this guy?

"I don't think I will use these free mushrooms in our stuffing"
Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. I want to thank everyone one who was so kind as to vote for my blog. You have made my day, my week, and my Thanksgiving. 

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Friday, November 19, 2010

KB Teacher Review: an answer to lapbooks and lost books


I was given the opportunity to review the online resource KB Teachers. 
What is it?

Christophe T. Popper, Founder and CEO describes it on his site:

"KnowledgeBears was founded in 1998 in New York, and our award winning KBears is now a leading online destination for children of all ages.

KBTeachers brings the best the web can deliver to you and your students -- It is the one-stop destination for teachers and parents who are always on the lookout for new and engaging 21st century teaching tools and materials.

KBTeachers is also about value, choice and transparency. We do not charge per download or per workbook.

For a low yearly or monthly fee, you get full access to all of our content and services--which would cost you $1000's of dollars elsewhere.

Before you join, you can preview our entire library, and after you join,
you have 30 days to cancel your membership and ask for a refund.

If you can't seem to find what you are looking for, contact us.
Chances are we have it! And if we don't, we will build it."

Because my boys are 13 and 14, we did not use this site to the fullest. I can see what a gold mine this can be to families with younger children or multiple-aged kids. Before I became the mean high school teacher mom, I used to be the fun mom. I planned lapbooks, and many themed learning adventures with my kids and other children in our homeschool co-op. K B teachers web site has so much to offer to this type of home schooling mom. Many of their pages include maps, labeling, handwriting, that are based upon themes. This is what fun lapbooking moms can appreciate. 

How I used it:

Random was given the pages to the weather unit. He admitted it was very easy for him. Well duh, it was 5th grade level. We had an Usborne book on Hurricanes for him to read and do the worksheets. This was a welcome break for him, from his regularly scheduled science lessons. I found these to be a great enrichment, but not a stand alone science program. I also used the math worksheets for Random when he misplaced his math textbook. Thanks to KB Teachers, he could not escape his math lesson.


The materials available are flexible. You can choose a variety of subjects, grade levels, topics, and activities. The options for printing and creating are endless. You can use color, black and white, landscape, portrait, choose your amount of problems and even download clip art. 

If your student needs math help, there are so many flexible worksheets to reinforce. There are telling time, math facts, money, fraction practice, decimal conversions. When I used these in a pinch, for Random, the math book loser, I was thankful the answer keys are included.

One of my favorite sections were the writing prompts. These are short lessons to improve a students descriptive writing. I printed some of these, I plan on incorporating these in our writing and grammar lessons. The endless English lessons span alphabet, handwriting, grammar, and persuasive essay.

Another bonus to this program was the founder frequently sends emails. These updates share the newest available pages. I appreciated that because I am ashamed to admit, I had joined a similar site, forgot about it and felt like I wasted my money.

Visit KB Teachers here at
Price: $29 one year subscription or $49 two year subscription
Ages: K-12, I say K-8
You have the opportunity to try it for 10 days for free. Don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself here.

I received this product free of charge as part of the 2010 Old Schoolhouse Review. These are my own and my son's honest opinions. Read what other reviewers are saying about KB Teachers here.


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Help Wanted: Any Bibliophiles Out There?

My son Random needs some help. He likes to read action books, Christian fiction, and mysteries. He has a certian criteria for his reading. They can't be Debbie Downers. When I frequently assign historical fiction for him to read, he is resistant. He cannot stand it when the character is continually oppressed, tormented, falsely accused or is always down on their luck. He has endured the Golden Goblet. As a little boy, he hated the end of Charlotte's Web. The Long Winter set him in a rage. Injustice has always irked him.

In our dictatorship, we assign reading, but the benevolent leader side of me wants him to have some pleasure in what he reads. I am asking for help in suggesting some great books. He is in 8th grade, although in our homeschool, we don't put much emphasis on grade level, and a young 13 years old. He is not interested in witchcraft or sorcery. He just finished the Kids Left Behind series and devoured them as fast as I could order them from inter-library loan. We are loosely covering World and American history from 1600-1800 during this school year. Do you have any suggestions? What do your kids love? Is there any well written historical fiction, that doesn't depress until the last few pages? I just don't have the memory or the brain cells to recall some great books. Besides, I have never been a 13 year old boy.
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