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Archive for the ‘Family Life’ Category

A New School Year

I know that most of you probably read the title, then checked the date to see if somehow a post from August or September had been somehow bumped to the top of the blog. Or perhaps it’s a typo in a post that is simply about “The New Year”.

Nope, it’s true.

January marks the beginning of this school year for us. The one that should have started last September.

We began Jewel’s First Grade year on schedule in September 2011… and things skidded rapidly off-course. That Fall I had bronchitis. In the Winter, both Littles, Nick, and I all struggled with antibiotic-resistant strep, and were too ill to do much schooling for weeks and weeks and weeks. We fought against our toxic house the whole year, and moved on short notice in July.

But above and beyond all that, what held us up most was the Jewel simply wasn’t “getting” reading. We considered her in First Grade, but her Language Arts / Reading program was Kindergarten level. And it was a seemingly impossible struggle for a full year. (At no point did we feel that the curriculum was a bad fit – still adore our Sonlight!)

Philosophically, we firmly believe that a child will read when he or she is ready, and that’s okay. Not reading at age six and seven is still within the realm of “normal.” I confess that I did begin to wonder if there was something more I could do to help her, beginning around the time we should have been starting Second Grade, and even started down the path of having her tested. Nick had learned to read entirely without my assistance, and before he entered Kindergarten – I was just somewhat at a loss with this radically different experience, and I was afraid I was missing something.

I didn’t push it very hard, though, and of course by going through the public schools I had inadvertently assured that things would not move quickly.

Before we got as far as any meaningful testing, Jewel suddenly began to have flashes of insight. Some things finally just “clicked,” and we finally polished off the school year in December. (Full disclosure: We had done everything but one read-aloud and a few activities before our Disney and Christmas break, and checked off those last couple of items this first week of January).

Does she read, really? No. Not in any meaningful way… Yet! But things are moving forward now, and I can confidently say “yet” and believe that the fulfillment is coming.

Once more, I learn to slow down and trust.

Trust in God’s plan.
Trust in Mama’s intuition.
Trust in my children.


Looking for Mr. Dole Whip

[By Wolf]

Have you ever had that feeling of flavor filled nostalgia?

We recently took a trip to Disney World and had a wonderful time. During all of our planning we each thought about what things we really wanted to do that would make us feel satisfied after the vacation was over. One thing on the list was to go have pineapple Dole Whip at the Tiki Room.

Well, we did have some Dole Whip at the Magic Kingdom and to our extreme satisfaction, we were able to have it 3 times. We found that the Polynesian Resort had self serve Dole Whip at one of its eateries. There we created MOUNT DOLE WHIP.

Now it’s in our brain … and taste buds. We are looking for Mr. Dole Whip.

I tried a recipe tonight that left us wanting. It tasted more like pineapple ice cream. It wasn’t tangy enough and was too creamy and too sweet.

The recipe used:

1 quart of pineapple juice
3 cups of whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 cups of sugar
and top it off with milk

The family all agreed that it was really good pineapple ice cream, but not the elusive Dole Whip.

So, the search continues. Perhaps we need to start with a sherbet or sorbet recipe?


Dressing for Disney World

Our kids have been eagerly counting the days (weeks and months, at this point) ever since we told them that we’re planning a trip to Disney World for early December 2012.

I grew up in Los Angeles, and Wolf lived in Southern California for nearly 20 years, so we’ve both been to Disneyland many, many times.

Nick has been there several times, since he was already 10 when we moved away, and Jewel was there once when she was too tiny to remember it.

Now that R.T is old enough to enjoy himself, we’ve decided it’s time to visit the theme park. And living in Mississippi, we decided we’d head for the other coast this time: Orlando, Florida, here we come!

We got a great deal by following some Disney blogs and Facebook pages, booking through a Disney Travel Agent who was offering an incentive, and pouncing on the Free Dining program when it was announced.

Then came the question of Disney World Costumes, since kids are allowed to dress up in the parks.

Jewel has several off-label princess costumes, so she’s pretty well set.

R.T. doesn’t have as many, so I was delighted to be able to put together a new outfit for him through a review opportunity from

Check out this adorable Mickey Mouse!

The costume includes the ears headband and cartoon-y white gloves – the rest is our own improvisation… right down to the white “buttons” cut out of paper and stuck on with double-sided carpet tape! He wasn’t too keen on wearing tights, but in the end it all worked out.

We’re on the countdown now. Disney World in less than two weeks!

M I C … See you real soon!
K E Y … Why? Because we like you!
M O U S E ! !


I received this product free from Anytime Costumes; I was not compensated in any other way for this review.
This review has not been approved or edited by anyone.
I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.


The longest half

The first quarter of 2012 is almost over.

And we’re just now getting to the point where we feel like human beings around here, after prolonged and repeated bouts of illness. So far, 2012 has been pretty much a washout.

Today the Littles and I tried to ease back into schooling. We’re wrapping up the end of a week we started months ago, interrupted by the beginning of “the plague.”

This is Week 17 of our curriculum. If we manage to complete Week 18 next week, we will reach The Halfway Point.

If the first half of the school year took us seven months, that doesn’t bode well for our end date.

Of course, the freedom to take the time off is one of the important benefits of homeschooling. As is the freedom to take as long as we’d like to finish this “year” of curriculum, thank you very much.

But, for me, I would like to finish this year at some reasonable time, enjoy swim lessons and summer fun, and be able to start fresh on a new school year after Labor Day.

Which brings us to the realm of choices. The kind that, while appearing simple, require some real thought about philosophies and priorities.

Say my goal is to get through 1.5 weeks of the scheduled schooling each week.

(A) Do I just do a little more school every day?

(B) Or do I leave some things out (more than what I might normally skip), so that we can get through more in the same amount of time?

Or is that a silly goal to begin with, and do I need to re-think my plan for starting next year in September?

It probably makes a difference to understand that my daughter is in 1st grade. We’re not really learning things daily in the “schooling” part of our day that are of drastic lasting import, nor anything that can’t easily be caught up when we see the topic again down the road.

Working my way up to that statement seems to have pretty well clarified how I actually feel about it, doesn’t it?

I guess CHOICE B (above) is probably the right choice for us.

This time.

Carnival of Homeschooling

“Worry” image from the Health Freedom Alliance, a website about which I know nothing further.

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