It's a Bouncing Baby…

We had an ultrasound today and got to see our little one up close and personal.

No, we weren’t able to tell the sex yet.

What we were able to tell is that this is a very bouncy baby!

Oh my goodness!  It was like a cartoon!  He or she was bouncing as if on a trampoline the whole time…

Bounce!  Bounce!  Bounce!

With lots of waving of arms thrown in too.  🙂

The kids were laughing at our little rubber ball baby!

I have a feeling we’re in for another boy.

Oh my goodness.  Those who know my boys know that means I’m going to need all the strength I can get.  😉

So that’s where all of my energy has gone…

We can’t stop smiling.

Pretty amazing stuff!



Lots of Nifties and One Book to Make You Think

Here’s all sorts of cool things online that have caught my eye lately…

I’m reading a book right now called “Radical Homemakers” and it’s led to some great conversations with the kids. I’m really enjoying it and the ideas the author throws out about how our homes and family goals have changed in modern times.  She points out that homes used to be about production (we raised animals, grew crops, made clothes, etc.) and now they’re about consumption (we buy food, clothes and services), and how we are now slaves to unsatisfying jobs in order to afford all of the things we used to happily produce ourselves.

I really agree with so much of what the author says, and it resonates with how we try to live.  While we’re not exactly raising goats and weaving our own cloth, we live on a fraction of what most American families supposedly need in order to get by — and I think we live pretty well.  I know that a big part of that is because we do run our home like it’s about production and not consumption.  We grow some of our own food and preserve tons that we acquire in other ways at harvest seasons.  We buy used and make do without.  We make our own meals, mow our own lawn, watch our own kids, paint our own walls, and so on.

I’d love to hear what other homeschoolers think of the book.  I got it from the library and am not even 1/3 of the way in, but I like the way it makes me think.  🙂


I am a terrible blogger lately. I am also a terrible house cleaner, homeschooler, bedtime book reader, writer and general person.

I mostly hold my belly and groan.

Hopefully I’ll be done with my progesterone soon and perhaps that will help.  Next week I have my first prenatal appointment (the doctor won’t see me until I’m done with the first trimester) and if all looks good I should be able to stop the supplements.  Actually, if it’s all bad then I’d be able to stop the supplements too, so either way I should be done with those soon!

I’m trying so hard to do good mama things.  I’m just so sick and so tired and so weak, I’m not that good at it!  🙂

Here’s some writing elsewhere to make up for my quiet here…

Easy ways to give kids the gift of good handwriting

Sure, you could have your kids do endless copywork and penmanship lessons, but for many kids that’s about as fun as watching paint dry.  Luckily for parents, there are lots of sneaky ways to improve their handwriting that they’ll…

Free lapbook and lesson plans to teach children about Japan

In the wake of the tragedy in Japan last week, many families are focused on the country.  If you’d like to do a unit study on Japan, here are some great resources around the web.  Lapbook Lessons has a wonderful free lapbook on the country with…

Happy Saint Urho Day!

Sure, much of the world will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, but how about joining in with the Minnesota-born Finnish-American festivities of St. Urho Day today?  St. Urho is a mythical Finnish hero who was created by imaginative…

Review: iHomeEducator’s Wonders of Old Ancient Timeline app

iHomeEducator has teamed up with Knowledge Quest to present Wonders of Old: Ancient Timeline, a unique educational app that uses photos, links and facts to create a new kind of timeline…

Researchers find that attached babies grow up to be better partners

A new University of Minnesota study shows that attachment parenting doesn’t just help children in the short term, but also helps them in their romantic relationships when they are grown up.  Researchers found that young adults who had been…

12 Great sources of natural mulch for your vegetable gardens

Do you mulch your vegetable gardens?  If you don’t, you should.  The right mulch helps retain moisture, prevents weeds from getting a foothold and even enriches the soil as it breaks down.  Here’s 12 great sources of natural mulch …

Anti-GMO groups call for boycott of Land O’Lakes for secret GM seed company

Minnesota-based dairy giant Land O’Lakes has quietly created a company to team up with Monsanto and produce genetically modified alfalfa, leading sustainable farming advocates and anti-GMO organizations around the country to call for a boycott…

Review: Thugs, Drugs and the War on Bugs

Every once in a while, you come across a book that makes you question everything you thought you knew…

Sixteen ways to save money on organic foods

Yes, organic foods do often come with a higher price tag.  The more you’re willing to work and be creative, the lower that price can get.  Use these strategies and you can eat delicious organic meals at less than your neighbors spend on drive-through…
Goals for tomorrow:
  • Get outside and puddle stomp with the kids.
  • Do a fun craft.
  • Order neat sounding books through interlibrary loan for Daryl to pick up, so I can still read buckets of books to the kids.
  • More laundry
  • Finally remember to get the beans soaking in the morning so we can have Mexican for supper (I may be unable to stand up, but I’m still going to make refried organic black beans from scratch for our burritos!) .  😉
  • More writing.
  • Brainstorm creative HS assignments and projects to throw at the kids.
  • Serve some green things!
  • Be gentle with myself, no matter how much I get done.
  • If all else fails, lots of snuggling.

Wish me luck!

Monday is Pi Day!

Don’t forget that Monday is Pi Day — 3/14.

In honor of the day, here’s oodles of fun ways to work it into your homeschool.

Celebrate Pi Day with fun games and activities

Crafts, songs, links, lesson plans and a video to help celebrate Pi Day (from yours truly).

Let Them Eat Pie!

Beth has posted on the MHA blog all sorts of links, pie recipes, lesson plans and more to help celebrate the day.

Here’s a few pics from our celebration last year…

(Check out the first article for instructions for the paper plate pi game.)

Lastly, here’s something I posted here a while back, Pi Poetry!

Here’s a mnemonic for pi in the form of a poem about Archimedes by A.C. Orr. The number of letters in each word helps you remember pi to 30 spaces.

Now I, even I, would celebrate
In rhymes unapt the great
Immortal Syracusan, rivaled nevermore,
Who in his wond’rous lore,
Passed on before,
Left men his guidance
How to circles mensurate.



And here’s a cute one to remember to 7 places

How I wish I could calculate pi…


Happy Pi Day!  (3.14)

Playing Hooky

Yesterday, I was planning on catching up on writing, cleaning, laundry, homeschooling, crafts, cooking and more.

But Daryl pointed out that it was going to be one of the nicest days we’ve had since October or so.  And suggested a road trip.

What’s the sense in having memberships to neat things like zoos and butterfly gardens if you never go, right?

So we dropped everything and went on a field trip instead.

If you sit still long enough, the butterflies will land on you.

Jack has become very good at sitting still.  If you knew Jack, you’d know that’s an accomplishment!

Anna had a long conversation with these two volunteers.

Afterwards, the gentleman said to Victoria, “So, you’re homeschooled, are you?”. When Victoria said yes, he said, “Yep, that’s what your sister said.  You know, we can always tell when homeschooled kids come in here because they’re the best kids.”

It  made her smile.

The zoo was wonderful fun, too, and we spent eons in the monkey house.

I think we all relate to those monkeys.  😉

The highlight for Victoria was when one of the tigers walked right up to the other side of the chain link fence from her, looked her right in the eyes, and GROWLED.  She thought it was awesome.  I would have been a bit unnerved!

Alex’s favorite part was stomping in puddles.

Anna particularly bonded with the farm animals and loved the new rhino who was nursing and snuggling with his mama.

And I think Jack most liked climbing the snowdrifts, starting conversations with the zoo workers and annoying his sister.  😉

Victoria will have to hurry and upload her pictures to Flickr, because I didn’t bother taking pictures and just enjoyed myself instead.

The day ended with many hours of me being fairly miserably sick, but it was still a fantastic day.  And just think what a waste it would have been to spend the day at home and to have been that fairly miserably sick!

I highly recommend heading to your favorite museum, zoo, aquarium, park or other fun place someplace soon!



March Comes in Like a Wildebeest…


Daryl always says that March comes in like a wildebeest and goes out like an entirely different wildebeest.

I believe it’s a misquote from an old Saturday Night Live sketch.

In any case, March is totally acting like a wildebeest for me this year.

For one thing, winter seems to be never-ending.

I kind of want to go stand in the front yard (waist-deep in the snow that’s been there since November), shake my fist at the Minnesota sky and shout, “Come on, really????”.

I’m so thankful for our trek to Florida.  I still have a light sunburn on my chest and the tiniest bit of a tan (with lots of freckles) on my arms.  And I am never sweeping the powdery white sand from the inside of my van, because it makes me inexplicably happy for it to be there.

But still… I want to plant a garden.  I want to gather compost.  I want to be able to reach my compost ball in the back yard.  I want to do spring clean-up and gather branches to do fun crafts with that I discovered in the super-fabulous book Tree Craft.

It would also be nice to be able to stay awake for more than an hour at a time and go more than five minutes after eating without feeling like I’m going to throw up.

I am now in about week 9 of this still-surreal pregnancy, and I seem to need to eat something approximately every 3 minutes or I get incredibly nauseated.

I’ve always had the sort of pregnancies where I threw up nonstop for several months.  This time, since I am not getting the shots that protected me from miscarriage and doubled my pregnancy hormones, I am just barely able to keep everything down (though I still feel as if I’m seconds from dashing to the bathroom).  And since the only relief I get from the constant nausea is to eat something new, I rather suspect I’m going to be 800 pounds by October.  Eek.

Speaking of which, I need to wrap this up and go find food again.  😉  Thank goodness I’m mostly craving healthy things like asparagus.

And the ice cream is gone.

Here’s a bit of what I’ve been writing when I haven’t been stuffing myself, sleeping and griping about winter…

ACS offers fantastic free chemistry curriculum online

Looking for a good resource for teaching middle school chemistry?  The American Chemical Society is offering an entire chemistry curriculum, complete with online lessons, a free downloadable book, activity sheets and lots more — absolutely free…
March is here, and it’s a fabulous month for a whole range of science and nature activities with kids.   Here’s a few…
More and more great groups, blogs and organizations are starting Facebook pages, and these are a fabulous way to stay in the loop about freebies, educational ideas and more.  Here’s five of my current favorites…
Most homeschoolers know that they’re eligible for educator discounts at some businesses like Barnes and Noble, but it can be hard to keep up with which businesses offer discounts and how much they are.
Have you and your kids taken part in Pizza Hut’s free BOOK-IT! program?  The deadline to register for next year is changing, so mark your calendars.

Creative ways to teach math, grammar, science and more

This time of year it’s easy to get in a homeschool funk.  Here in snowy Minnesota, it seems as if winter is going to last forever and we all are a little stir crazy.  One of the best ways to snap out of it is to do something new and fun in…

5 ways to go green and save money in March

March came in like an iceberg here in Minnesota, and it seems at the moment as if spring will never come.  That said, we’re right on the cusp of spring.  There are a slew of things we can do to get ready for the change of seasons…

Garden recommendation: Rainbow Swiss Chard

It’s time to start planning spring gardens, and one plant I’m definitely growing again is Rainbow Swiss Chard.Last year was the first year I’d grown swiss chard, and it flourished in my zone 4 Southern Minnesota garden with very little…

Authors write letters to their teen selves in moving new site

It’s hard being a teenager, and young adult authors remember that as well as anyone.  A new web site, Dear Teen Me, aims to share insight from these authors with teens with a collection of letters they’ve written to their teen selves…

Eating out with kids: How to make it fun for everyone

With four fairly young children, we have typically had our hands full when we have eaten out. Still, we’ve found some ways to make the experience downright enjoyable… or at least good enough that the villagers don’t chase us out with pitchforks.
As parents, it can be way too easy to slip into a pattern of yelling way more than we like.Not only does this create a scary, toxic environment for everybody, but it’s not even effective. Here’s 10 things to try instead.

Chore lists for every age — and how to keep kids on board

The subject of chores can be a tricky one.  We want to teach our kids responsibility and life skills, but we often get into power struggles with them over the topic.

On the agenda for tomorrow…

More laundry, more cleaning, more decluttering, starting the chemistry program from above, more preschool fun with Alex, more seed ordering, a dentist appointment for Victoria, back to ALEKS math with the girls, one-on-one time with Jack…

And a million other things.  I think I am just going to lie down a bit more…