Thursday, August 30, 2012

WFMW: Homeschool Organization

I've been looking around for some kind of inexpensive container that would work well with...well...containing each child's school books on a daily basis.  I know some families use plastic milk crates, but I knew that Josiah's box, in particular, would be a royal mess and we'd end up with damaged books, crumpled papers, a fussy mom, etc.  I was delighted when I saw these Sterilite Locker Crates for $4 each at Wal-mart!  They are essentially narrow milk crates with a solid bottom, and they are perfect for our needs. 

They come in a small variety of colors (Robert's, not shown, is red and is in his bedroom) and are stackable on the short end.

Grace (6) asked me why I needed a box.  Oh, how I laughed.

Grace packed her box full of any workbook she could find around here. She is an enthusiastic student.

I put a small piece of (bright orange) poster board in Josiah's box--at the start of the school day, all of his books are in front of the poster boardAs he completes a subject, he puts that book behind the poster board so he can clearly see what he still needs to finish.  (Otherwise, he will get up to go to the bathroom or to get water, return to find a closed book, and think he's somehow already finished everything when, in fact, he hasn't completed one subject.  Sigh...)

I have a small Ziploc bag in my box where I keep a few things so they will be handy throughout the day.  I occasionally use the die with the index cards as rapid addition, subtraction (on the reverse side of the card) or multiplication drill.  Since the die are kept in my bag, they don't sprout legs and run off.  (So far, at least.)

We typically use spiral notebooks for most subjects, but with two lefties (Josiah and Grace), I am moving towards using composition notebooks with them instead so the spiral wire is not in the way while writing.  (Plus, I've only seen the composition notebooks on sale for $.10 each this year, so I bought fewer spiral notebooks anyway.)  I'll still use the spiral notebooks with Robert.

This is where I store all the unused notebooks:  in a shoebox under my bed.  Fancy, huh?  If I leave them out in any other place (bookshelf, etc.), Grace writes in all of them.  I may have another author on my hands...

At the end of the school year, any partially unused notebooks are returned to the shoebox after tearing out the used pages.  In a pinch, partial is better than nothing.  :)

On an entirely different note, I have had the hardest time getting Josiah (10) to label his answers to math word problems.  Since it became a daily thing, I tried to keep it lighthearted as I questioned him..."Do you mean cookies?  bananas?  squirrels?"...and I always kept "squirrels" as one of the possible labels.  He finally picked up on this just this week, and this is what I found on his math page:

Cherries...not squirrels, mom  =)

Whoo hoo!  A labeled answer!  

And, yes, he wrote a sideways smiley face like he's seen on the computer.

A little bit of organizational improvement--and a little well-placed humor--works for me!

Check out We Are THAT Family for more Works For Me Wednesday posts.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

This week's photo scavenger hunt items were:
  1. School
  2. Rule of thirds
  3. Side Profile
  4. Small
  5. Motion


One of my friends said that with my three kids' ages (15, 10, and 6), it was as though I were trying to homeschool in the most labor-intensive way.   I don't know if that's entirely true, although there are some days I feel it.  ;)  During our school time, we have this

Printing (for Grace) and cursive (for Josiah)...and reading glasses for me.

and this

Some of Robert's 10th grade subjects

and everything in between!

Rule of thirds

Raindrops on vinka

Side profile

...of long-legged Bono and his long-legged monkey.

Bono (5 months old)


Grace cleared off the table and wiped it well for me, and loved the results so much that she made a small attempt to keep it looking so great.  She wanted her note to read "Don't put stuff here."  Alas, suppertime arrived and things went back to normal.


OK, there is absolutely no detectable motion in this last photo, which is precisely why I am including it.  ;)  This huge light green moth found a safe spot on our front porch, and he apparently felt really safe there because he stayed for hours.

Photo is SOOC except for a little editing to "clean" my vinyl siding.

Click on the link below to see others' photographs or to join in the fun!  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Message on the Brownie

If you've been around here for a while, you may remember seeing Robert's various humorous notes that he leaves for us.   

This may not be the most recent note, but it is the last one I photographed.  ;)  I had made brownies one night in May, and wrote a note to the kids on the aluminum foil:

This is NOT your breakfast.  :)

Josiah (9 at the time) wrote "WAH." (Unfortunately, you can't see this part very well, but it's just right of center and circled.  I guess the Sharpie failed in his hands...which, let me tell you, is often a good thing.)

Robert's addition to the brownie note was  

I don't take orders from tin foil.

He didn't take the brownie, either, and that's what counted.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the Shadows

This post is linked to Wittle People Wednesday.

Reality Check

I received a lot of compliments on the photo I posted a few days ago of Grace--how beautiful she was, what a great photo it was--and I thought I'd share a little bit of reality with you.

Because that photo?  It was gorgeous.  She looked stunningly beautiful.  (I may be a tad biased.)  But the reality of it is that I am sooooo much more likely to get this kind of expression when I photograph my lovely daughter...

Grace (6), March 2012

and aside from the one really good photo, the rest of the shots that day looked much like the one above.  She is as silly and carefree as a 6 year old is supposed to be, and she doesn't mind showing her goofy side...repeatedly. (And when she is not in the mood to be photographed, you will know.)

Want another example?  I tried getting a picture of the two of us when we were riding on the Incline Railroad using the reflection of the glass ceiling.  It looked like a cute picture in the tiny screen on my camera...but when we got home, I found that this was what I captured:

Grace, sticking out her tongue like a little goofball, and me (June 2012)

And this is what "smile" means to her...

Grace (6)

When you try to get a sweet photo of her

Grace (5), February 2012

you really never know what you're going to get.  ;)

Grace (5), February 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I'm joining back in with Scavenger Hunt Sunday after taking a couple of weeks off to get school going around here.  It's going...

This week's photo scavenger hunt items were:
  1. Forest
  2. Morning light
  3. Touch
  4. Newspaper
  5. Coffee or tea

I found the sun setting behind the edge of our bit of forest at the back of our yard...

Morning Light

I captured the morning light through the trees along a road...


I was able to touch a dove this week!  OK, so it wasn't that kind of dove, but this kind...

the kind you can find inside a sand dollar.  I found a near-perfect sand dollar in a parking lot and let the kids break it open to see the "doves."  This was my first time seeing such a perfect "dove" from a sand dollar, and it was the only one in the sand dollar that looked this good.  Pretty cool, huh? (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

Coffee or Tea

I drink unsweetened iced tea year round, but that's rather uninteresting.  However, if you asked me, "Do you like coffee?" I would have to say no...unless, of course, there is lots of chocolate and possibly whipped cream involved.

November 2010, when Jason and I found coffee with lots of chocolate and whipped cream while on a date.


I think it's safe to say that I rarely like the way a photo of me turns out.  Some are definitely worse than others...but, as a whole, I could do without ever having my picture taken except for the fact that my children would never have any pictures of me years from now.  Well, before I even saw how this recent family photo turned out, it was in the local newspaper last month:

The article that ran with the photo announced a parenting seminar my husband was leading at our church. Grace (6) was goofing off, and had most of us smiling.  Robert (15) managed to resist her silliness.

Click on the link below to see others' photographs or to join in the fun!  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Sunset

Grace (6) came running inside one evening and told me, "Mom, you need to take a picture of the sunset set!"

I asked her if Jason had told her to say that (he does, frequently enough), and she said no.  She said that she said it, and that she thought the sunset was pretty. I was a little amused by this conversation but grabbed my camera anyway and followed her outside.

She was right.

This was our sunset...

And a little to the north, we had more clouds that were beautifully shaded by the fading sunlight...

This post is linked to 5 Minutes for Mom and Sarah Halstead at The Naptime Momtog for Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A St. Simons kind of humor

When you visit a new place, you can expect to see some humorous things, such as signs giving (what should be) common sense advice like "Do Not Feed the Alligators."

I don't think anyone would ever have to tell me not to feed the alligators. Seeing that sign on open property is pretty much enough to keep me in my car!   ;)

There are also the humorous stories that come about from talking with the locals, like when an older man told me the history of this pelican. 

The man declared that this old pelican is the most photographed thing on St. Simons Island.  The pelican sits all day long on a ladder at the edge of the pier and is fed daily by the fishermen who come to the pier because he is too old to hunt for himself.  He will not bother going after any fish that are accidentally thrown off the pier when the fishermen throw a portion of their catch to him but is content to eat what lands on the pier.  (And, yes, people are constantly taking pictures of him.)

Then there are the things that just struck me as funny, like the pelicans flying in formation over the beach


and the black crows that joined the seagulls in looking for bites of food among the blankets and umbrellas, like they would just blend in.

There are funny political campaign signs...

"Rootin' for Tuten"

There are the quirky things you find in quirky downtown shops...

like yoga frogs


 and really useful signs.


Some things you find humorous because of the company you keep, such as when my 6 year old daughter found wedding dresses in the back of a shop.

I heard Grace squeal, and when I saw what she had found I commented that I would have loved to have seen the expression on her face when she saw the she did her best to recreate it for me.  Somehow, I think this is a pale imitation of reality.

All of these things are delightfully quirky, and not too terribly out of the bounds of the ordinary, right? 

However, some things will take you completely by surprise, such as a notice of velociraptor that was "found"...

"Very bitey"...I love it!  I wonder if the person ever gets any phone calls?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Time for a change

Every once in a while, Robert (15) will peer over my shoulder while I'm blogging and tell me, "You really need to update those pictures on your blog."  (Translation:  "I don't look like that anymore.")

He was right--while I updated the kids' ages with each birthday, I didn't update the photos.  This is how old the photos were:

Robert...when he was 12

Josiah...when he was 7

Grace...when she was 3

They were so cute and little!  Now you can see how much they have grown!

Robert (15)

Josiah (10)

Grace (6)

I found that I really need to make Josiah take serious photos every now and then--most of the photos I have of him are "action shots" (where I may or may not have the back of his head), or goofy faces.  In just a few short years, he will be accusing me of never taking good pictures of him because he is the middle child.  ;)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Spanish moss

When we were at St. Simons last week, I had a bit of fascination with all the Spanish moss.

At least, that's what my camera card tells me...

Most of the following photos are from Epworth-by-the-Sea, where we stayed.

This is one of my favorites....

and this one's pretty cool with the gnarled tree twisted around another tree.

The sign reads, "I am very old as you can see, so please be kind and do not climb on me." And, yes, the limb is propped up--the post is partially hidden by the sign.

The entrance to the grounds of the historic Christ Church.
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