Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Free help

The site Myfitnesspal is a wonderful free thing.   It has nutritional information, goals, exercise tracking, and best of all......so far so good it is helping me carve off the chub.   Of course I am the biking nut so that burns A LOT of calories.   I feel less like I am starving myself and best of all I am making progress.   Phew.   You can even plug in the ingredients of your own  recipes and figure out calories per serving.   It is one of those applications I found around a month ago.   Awareness of what I am doing is helpful.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Read to Me

I have had the pleasure of discovering the fun of having my kids read books to ME!   Not the kids who are learning to read, although we do that too, but the older kids.    I have wanted them to work on their ability to read aloud and their fluency anyway so my third dear son Martin came up with the idea to read Harry Potter to me.   I am going to encourage more of this behavior as it was very sweet and I enjoyed listening to the story.    It helps me to work with him on his vocabulary a bit and it is also endearing.  

Last night Cecilia and I hit the hay (my hay) at eight o'clock ish after spending an hour with Benjamin who was working on  his reading (a wee bit tedious at times).   I was too tired to read anymore of my own book so she perused my Nook library and peppered me with questions about what the books were about.   She finally settled on reading Aesop's fables and I suggested she read them to me as I drifted off to LaLa land.   She did and we had some nice discussions as to the point of each little tale.   It was sweet and sometimes funny.   She kept telling my about how the Rocky and Bullwinkle series told these same stories.   Yay, Rocky and Bullwinkle for assisting the education of my children.   I guess I will give her the second set for her birthday next Saturday.   It has been in my closet for over a year.  

Anywho, I am enjoying this activity more than I expected and hopefully the  younger ones will see this as something to look forward to.   My nest is the best nest for reading and snuggling with the kiddos.  

Adjusting the biking schedule

I get completely addicted to biking.    My favorite route has about six good hills on it and the hills are even more addicting!!!   But......they hurt my knees.   Gearing down and taking a little time off to set a new schedule is the new plan.   There is the boring route with no hills and simply speed and endurance which I need to do about every other day or I will have to give up biking altogether on the off days.    I am taking the whole weekend off to give my knees a break before they get any worse.    I can bike like the dickens up many a hill but have trouble walking up stairs?????   Not good.   

Friday, January 27, 2012

Also....fat thoughts

I don't understand fat.   I must have had plenty of it.   I have been biking my brains out and have only lost five pounds but two pant sizes.    It is nice to breathe.   Muscle must weigh A LOT more than fat.   I know I have lost all this weight before and gone down even more in pant/shirt size but seriously......when will the tide turn and the numbers go down faster.   At least I am having fun while I am at it and learning that Aldis Peanut Butter Wafers are not as high in calories as I thought.   I cave every once in awhile and eat one.   Love those things.   Pure nostalgic bliss.   Everything in moderation......

Progress report

There seems to be progress in all arenas.    We followed through with cleaning in the morning after catechesis/ read aloud time.    I have been giving each kid one little area to work on for 30 minutes and voila! There is definite improvement. 

In  have been pretty consistent with getting something done each day.   I hate that math seems such a priority as the rest seems more interesting to me.   I can't seem to speed them up so math takes up less time.   I guess they are making progress in math!   We are slowly tripping through American history.    Interesting as usual.....my neighbor Jim is reading our books in the evenings while kids flop all over the place in their nightly routine of flopping. 

There is progress in there being less of me.   I have gotten a bike ride in every day this week but need to discipline myself to gear down.   I was delighted to be able to get up the hills in third but THAT was a mistake!!!!!    Ouch.   Stumbling through the day and hoping I can get the pain to go away so I can keep up the regimen.   Yesterday was a soaker of a ride and came home a Popsicle.

Progress in less screaming......sort of.    Little children seem to become addicted to screaming.   Just had a little discussion with middlin' child about how the rest of us are far more relaxed and able to meet the day when there is less whining and screaming.   Time to instigate the "spend time by yourself in your room" study if said child cannot grab some self control.   Mommy controlled isolation for less stress for him and for the rest of us.

It is NICE and quiet here at the moment.    Ahhhh........quiet and calm are good things.   Now....where did I leave my coffee cup????

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The next thing

The day begins and I try to scramble in my head for solutions to whining students, plan a plan of attack and proceed.   One room school house.   That IS what we home school mom's have.    Wiggly short people and middlin' children who want to disappear in the cracks, youth who really want to follow their own plan.   At least this is how it is at my house many days.    Slow and steady wins the race.   I am still a turtle.   I went to bed at 8:30 last night as I was completely done listening and responding.   My reluctant reader is sitting beside me right now and lacks focus as I am typing this blog.  Stop typing this blog.   Keep going kid.   Do the next problem.   You can do it!   Find time with this child.  The younger kids are biting at his heals and he doesn't realize it yet.   Jockeying for position.   Mom needs  time to also spend time with her confused middle writers.   "I can't write!" cry the middle ones.   Slow and steady wins the race.    How do I clear away time and silence to just focus on them.   Where do I drive them to get complete quiet and attention.    It IS all working ultimately but that doesn't mean it isn't frustrating at times.   I get to hear all the chatter all day as I steer them to focus.   It isn't always easy as I said but the kids do seem to be turning out pretty well all things considered.   Deep breath.   Carry on.   Time for Catechesis kids!!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012


The weather is turning south and the roads were clear, so my biking obsession got the better of me.   I asked my five year old how the weather was as he had just come in and he said, "It rained.   Then it didn't.   Then it did.   Now it's done."   Okay.....good enough for me.    As it turned out it rained the whole ten miles and I got soaked to the gills but got the bike ride in.    The whole journey, complete with five deer jumping in front of me, had me mentally take a trip down memory lane.   I took several wilderness like trips as a youthling so all the rain and being stuck in it reminded me of the 50 mile canoe trip I took.   I have a sick love of a challenge.   We had many portages through rain and muck and I insisted on carrying the canoe across a muddy portage and one other hilarious journey for a mile with two packs on me, one in the front and one on the back.   A good friend and I got our shoes stuck in the mud and  somehow had to pull our shoes out with packs on  and feeling a lot like up-righted turtles.   I really had a sick love of the challenge.   Cross country, track, hiking mountains and running ridiculous amounts of miles daily.    

Nostalgic thinking led me to think of how I haven't given up that insanity and love of feeling strong and fit.   Nothing ever seems small with our family either, not the number of kids, our big old house which celebrates its 150th this year and all the challenges it has brought.   Then I was thinking how it makes perfect sense that my love of a challenge landed me a husband with extreme interests, endless energy, huge projects, excellence in engineering and a similar love of hiking, biking etc.   Nothing small.    Is it any surprise to me when I feel  that  release from conquering mountains.   Mowing 5 acres with a self-propelled mower walk behind, gardening and sweating, climbing dunes with the kids.    This has been the way of my life. 

So biking as hard as I can down the road for ten miles dodging ice and attempting to get up that next hill faster and easier than the last time.   Sometimes it is nice to make progress.   Sometimes it is nice to have less snow so you can bike like a nut in the rain and wind, get soaked to the gills and return to do the next thing at home.  It keeps my need of time alone and quiet and helps me face the challenges of the day. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Planning.   Organizing.   Thinking how to make it all go more smoothly.   Tomorrow is my infamous Monday.   I tend to loath Mondays.   A friend of mine and I joke that we should take every Monday off as Sunday can take tons of energy and leave us road kill.   Several years ago I had a system which helped me keep the family sanity of cleaning for 45 minutes or so every morning.   The idea came from a cd published by the Fundagelicals, "24 hours is All You Get."   Yep.   It the best thing I bought from the Fundagelicals as far as remembering routines and keeping it simple to accomplish more.   That particular year we cleaned a few rooms every morning.    I think it is time to pick up this habit again.

My neighbor Jim has trained my husband, of almost 25 years, to clean up the kitchen down to the counters every night.   Incredibly awesome.   My ego will not be shattered by the husband sweeping and wiping down counters.   Major sigh of relief.   In the house he grew up in, the mom did everything.   What his mom did though was quietly go about what needed to be done because it needed to be done.   This gene has finally come to the surface in her son.    Phew.

Figuring out how to hammer school and keep on top of the clutter is my goal.....again.....for this new week.   Catechesis and read aloud time will have to happen first or IT will not get done.   Nap time for a few hours this evening and then attack.   The nine kiddos and 45 year old me will give it a try.   Yay, older than 45 year old me husband has joined the club. 

Blessings on your week y'all.   

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Backwards planning

This is not a new idea but have started looking more closely at those things we have on hand in the pantry which were most likely purchased in the name of thrift and then not used up or were purchased for a recipe which was not used.   Yesterdays made up recipe was nachos to use up all the chips which were purchased over Christmas for the chips and salsa fan who isn't here now.    I took the stale chips, put them on the bottom of my large baking pan and cooked them for ten minutes while I browned ground beef, an onion, chili powder and cumin, a jar of salsa, and a few cans of black beans.    I put all of that on top of the chips in the onion and topped which some shredded Colby cheese.   The kids gobbled that right up.   Almost everything we eat I make up out of my head.   I will try to post recipe ideas as they come to mind.  

Friday, January 20, 2012


The week in review adds up to less fat on me and more school work accomplished for them.   Fighting the flab and getting in better shape becomes obsessive for me at times but it is nice to rid the closet of the clothes which don't fit anymore and revisiting the skinny wardrobe.   I found time for several bike rides this week and now we have snow the end of the week to shovel - yay!   The icing on the cake which I ate or rather lost, was a load of firewood to load for delivery.  250 pieces of firewood thrown in the back of the truck.   I wasn't able to do the whole load as I had to run a kid somewhere but it is still fun.   A few weeks ago I loaded 750 pieces of firewood.   I saw my dress I got in Milan today and might dream of getting back into it this summer.   Yes.    This all added up to bunches of calories burned and less of me.   Warms my heart.....probably literally.

In the homeschooling realm, I am doing my best to impress the love of learning on my little cherubs.   Time management needs some work, but otherwise kids were reading, writing and rithmeticing and not causing too much trouble.   Mondays always seem to stink as far as the wiggles and whining but by Wednesday we hit a groove and by Friday I am so exhausted I cannot wait to take Cecilia to piano lessons and go sit for an hour in peace and quiet and just listen.   Ahhhhh!  

My latest experiment with the kids to increase interest in history, is for the kids to take turns reading the books we are working through to each other paragraph by paragraph.    Every morning we have been able to pull off Catechesis and then read aloud time.   The reading aloud time hopefully sets a tone of HOW they should read aloud.   Remembering all these tricks is really the trick.   The little ones vying for my attention can generally make me nuts to be frank, but somehow we work it out and attempt to make some progress.
 I cap my evenings off with a good book and my nest before calling it a night and take a snooze till it all begins again.   It is almost time to find my nest.    Ta ta for now and happy family time to you all.   

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Second chance

I see January and the new semester as a second chance of sorts to get the kids immersed in their studies.   One way is to stay away from the internet!   Fostering independent learning will only happen through fostering so I have been trying to stay very close to the students and not distracted by laundry etc.   When I don't stick close to the students (aka my children), then they take a very quick trip to La La land.    "If mom never looks at my work, then why do it?"   It is a mental challenge to ME to stay with it.   Patiently going through factorization or grammar rules and how they apply etc. is mental exercise.   I suppose I am glad I remember how to do these things and not all was lost in the interim of my running gleefully away from my own education.    

One little trick I am trying for my reluctant non-fiction readers, is to have them sit together and read their history aloud to each other.   I was greatly relieved to find that the elder reader was not daunted by his younger sibling who reads a blue streak.   I was afraid he would get discouraged but that hasn't been the case.   He has enough wear for all to realize that if his sister reads, they will get through the chapter faster and tried to pull this little trick to get through.   It didn't bother him a bit he was a slower reader.   I quickly got them back on track to taking turns reading.   

It has been interesting to me to observe the different way each child learns.   For some it has been slow and painstaking and for others it has been a breeze.   Remembering that slow and steady wins the race, is the best method of all, is something I remind myself of frequently.    Perhaps I will begin collecting turtles as a reminder.   I don't want any live turtles, just the fake ones.   The kids who take longer to understand their lessons are a challenge but then I remember that the kids who learn quickly can QUICKLY be left all alone and neglected as it is too easy to assume they are doing okay.  

The school week is intense.  We keep very busy in our family culture here and come up for air for Scouts and evening services.  By Friday, I am ready to be alone.   I fantasize  Saturday mornings, the day will be productive and then Sunday I am usually in a restful heap.   Slow and steady would definitely describe my Sunday mood.   I love the rest though so it is all good.   I am looking forward to seeing my walking friend this evening and catching up on her life.   That is restful and rejuvenating too.  Onward.