Shacking Up with Amazon

Finances are tight here and I signed up for the affiliate program with Amazon, where I get a small cut if people buy products I link to (or anything else, once they enter through my link).

If you shop on Amazon and don’t already enter through someone else’s links, I’d certainly appreciate if you’d click on my link to do your shopping.  🙂  It won’t change anything on your end but it’ll help us buy more books and groceries (probably in that order).

I tried to put a widget on the blog but I’ve given up.  Every time I paste the code and click save, the dashboard either converts it to another code or deletes it completely.  I am apparently far less clever than a widget generator.  Andrea?  Help?

And now I’m off to accomplish roughly 150 things in the amount of time I can accomplish 20, and to NOT waste time going down rabbit holes on the internet.

Random Bits

It has been oppressively hot upstairs in our house lately, where I unfortunately sleep, write and blog.  Hence, I’ve been spending a lot of time downstairs and off the computer.

Tonight we finally had a nice storm that cooled the world down a bit and finally brought a breeze.  While it’s under 100, I figured I’d post some random bits of info about life here lately…

  1. We’re loving our new Brock Magiscope and have now looked at hair from three of us, a swatted fly, a butterfly wing, a bit of a sea sponge, sugar, a whisker, coffee grounds, sand, microprinting on a dollar bill, the texture of a paper towel versus a kleenex, a bee leg and more.  I’m getting higher lenses ASAP so we can look at even more.
  2. Victoria has started writing the newsletter for our local food coop.  It’s a way for her to volunteer, get publishing experience and work on skills like editing.  Here’s her first newsletter.  They always run a “green” article at the start of the newsletter so she used one of mine from my new green living column.  I think she did such a great job!
  3. Anna has been fighting a killer ear infection since Nebraska.  While we were down there we had to drive her around for hours trying to find someone to treat her with our out-of-state health insurance and finally ended up in the ER.  Nearly 2 weeks later she’s still in pretty bad pain despite the medications so we’re taking her back in.
  4. Jack learned to ride a bike yesterday.  He hadn’t gotten around to learning until now and it took all of 30 seconds and he was off like a streak.  He crashed twice into curbs and once into the back of our van but he just bounced a bit and climbed back on.  He’s now racing up and down the streets on his bike every minute.  I really like the “better late than early” approach to so much in life.  Whether it’s toilet training, multiplying, reading or riding a bike, it really is fantastically easy to teach kids things when they’re more than ready.  It also helps alleviate my mama guilt when I think I suck for not having taught my kids things by now.  😉
  5. This article talks about a study that followed kids from childhood into adulthood and rated how successful they were based on personality traits they’d had as kids.  According to the researchers, being impulsive, talkative and adaptable were basically the biggest factors in being healthy, successful adults.  While it’s nice to hear since our kids tend to be all three at least part of the time (and schools tend to discourage much of that), Daryl and I both felt it was pretty rudely skewed in attitude towards introverts and other personality styles.  What do you think?
  6. I’m off to watch shooting stars with some of my favorite people.  Here’s hoping we spy some beauties!


Last week I was the grateful recipient of not one but two blog awards from two fabulous HS mothers I greatly admire.

In true blog award form, they came with instructions on how to properly respond and pass it on.

So I went to work compiling two lists of blogs I love, 10 words to sum up my blogging philosophy, 7 new things to reveal about myself…

And somehow crashed my computer and lost it all.

Apologies for not blogging for several days now, and apologies for not responding to the lovely blog awards.

Tomorrow I will start all over again, but for now I’m off to sleep.  🙂

An Unexpected Homeschooling Conversation

Today we took Alex and Anna to Worthington to hit the farmers’ market and 3 different grocery stores.  One of those was Walmart, and they were having back to school sales so I stocked up on markers, composition books, glue and such.

The young woman who checked us out looked up and asked, “Are you a school teacher?”.

I smiled and told her no, we homeschool.  I explained that we always stock up this time of year since the sales are good.

She told me she’d been homeschooled all the way until 8th grade, when her mother thought she ought to go to public school.  She said, “I hated it and dropped out of school.  Never do that to your kids!”.

I smiled and said we intended to homeschool all the way through.

By this time, I had paid and our assortment of wildly colored cloth bags were stacked in the cart.  She kept talking though.  Her aisle had been closed down so she could have lunch and instead of leaving, she went on about her family.

She said her mother tried to send her little brother to public school too and he hated it.  “After a year, she let him come home,” she said.  Then she said her youngest brother wouldn’t go at all so her mother didn’t even plan to try.

She told me it can get lonely for homeschooled kids, so I should put them in open enrollment.  By law in Minnesota, schools have to let homeschooled kids take part in classes or activities if they want to.  She rattled off those that she took part in and her brother’s choices.  Her little brother wanted no part of any of it, though.  Her little brother made me smile.

Anna and I enjoyed the conversation and relayed it to Victoria when we got home.

It’s always nice to talk to homeschoolers who have grown up and hear their side of things.

And now, my pageant stars are finally home at 1 a.m. and I’m going to listen to stories of their wild stormy night. Such excitement!  More on that later!


I am quite definitely, absolutely, unequivocally in a funk. Quite a deep one. I have no idea how to dig my way out. I am not fond of it, but am lacking the energy to try very hard to change it.

You know how they say girls are easier when they’re little but harder when they’re older, and boys vice versa?  Due to extraordinarily poor planning, I am now dealing with the worst on both ends.

Having a twelve-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy at the same time is not something I think I would choose to ever go through again.  Or at least this particular set.

At this point, I’m pretty sure I’m better at break dancing, neurosurgery, gene splicing, glass blowing and hang gliding than I am at mothering.  Or at least it feels like it.

And no, I’ve never attempted any of the above.

I’ll try to be helpful, interesting or somehow of use in the next post.

When Do We Get to This Homeschooling Business?

Egads, life gets busy with the pageant and summer craziness!

I keep meaning to finish this algebra curriculum I’m reviewing and days pass between times we get to it.  It’s a shame, since Jack was rocking at it and I really need to hurry and post the review, but summer is so chaotic.

What happened to lazy summer days?  Daryl and the girls are busy with the pageant every night from about 5:30 on, which means we have really early suppers.  We just finished Jack’s swimming lessons, which ran daily from noon to one (he passed!) and there’s library club and events we’re helping out at and all of these little things that eat away at the days.

Tomorrow is the start of our town’s “Fun Days,” which means it’s a sort of carnival atmosphere (minus any rides or real attractions).  Daryl is teaching old time instruments like dulcimers, spoons and washboards at the museum.  There will be mayhem in the park and fireworks across from our house in the evening.

There may be a parade.  I hope not.  I absolutely loathe the Minnesota tradition of hurling small, stale, cheap, junky candy by the fistful into the street for children to gather up like beggars as tanks, tractors and fire trucks roll towards them.  Is that just a Minnesota thing or is that all over now?  I am not a fan.

Fun Days will continue Sunday.  That will be plenty of fun for me.  😉

Then Monday it’s back to rehearsals, as opening night nears and the frenzy heightens.

Somehow we’re going to do some of the following anyway:

  • Run in the sprinkler
  • Do science experiments outside
  • Watch some more of that algebra video
  • Do art
  • Finish Dies Drear
  • Make goodies
  • Play outside
  • Finish cleaning out Daryl’s den, paint it and convert it to Victoria’s new bedroom
  • Fill the sandbox with more sand so the kids can properly play in it
  • Make more goodies
  • Read “A Little History of the World”
  • Fill the wading pool with fun stuff
  • Ride bikes together
  • Eat salads from the garden
  • Relax outside in the shade.  Lots.

And now, there may be some tornado-like action coming so I’m going to go batten down the hatches.

Migraines, Crafts and More

I had an especially bad migraine today and got very little done.  I did manage to write up an article about the conference the girls went to yesterday and also finally wrote up the electric griddle craft I mentioned last week.

Oh yes, and an article about the rest of the story with the recent sling safety alert.

But mostly there was napping with Alex, major cleaning to get ready for the fridge delivery and whimpering.  🙂

I still have a ton to do (mostly giant furniture to unload and move) in the morning, so I’m done yapping and will post more later.

PS  Here’s a bit of the art the kids have done lately.  I love that around here the overheard conversation would be more along the lines of “We do so much art.  We almost never have time for tests!”.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The good:

My kids are all taking turns on their backs under my dining room table, coloring their own version of the Sistine Chapel in honor of Michelangelo’s birthday.   Even Alex got in on it and triumphantly stuck his art to the fridge. I put more fun stuff here if you want to get in some HS stuff this weekend in Michelangelo’s honor.

The bad:

Nah, there’s too much bad in the world.  Instead, watch this bunny.  😉

The ugly:

New York City schoolchildren are often arrested, the suit charges, for minor misbehavior that might be a violation of school rules but is in no way a violation of law.

Full, outrageous story here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to read some more of “Jennifer Murdle’s Talking Toad.”  We’re all dying to know what happens next.