Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dave Ramsey

My 16 year old Business Administration major was thoroughly impressed by Dave Ramsey when we took Financial Peace University last year.  Today was her day.  She got her Total Money Makeover Workbook autographed by Mr. Dave Ramsey on her way back home from the orthodontist, thanks  to our good friends that didn't mind taking a detour to let her do this.  I've been saying all day long that I am jealous.  I told her that maybe when she gets to be a big shot business owner, she will bring him here to her own store so that the rest of us can meet him.  Whoo hoo!

We had a very brief little rain tonight after supper.  I insisted on taking Tarja outside to see the rain and hear the thunder, because it might be a long while before she sees it again.  You think that I'm joking, but we are in one of the worst droughts in our history, and it has been predicted to last until 2020.  That's a long time.

I've decided that instead of an actual nature notebook, I'm going to have Abbey blog about her nature findings.  This should begin very soon, so stay tuned.  Her love is dogs, and she researches different dogs all the time, so prepare to read a LOT of our dog Molly, and possibly the neighborhood dogs.  Her dream is to have a doggy day spa.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Living Books: Galileo

My friends probably get bored when I start going on and on about the benefits of teaching by way of the living books approach.  The biography that we are currently reading about Galileo is a perfect example of why I love this method so much.

Yesterday, we found a biography about Galileo at the library.  Finding it at the library means that we get to read for free, which helps to stimulate our household economy.  When we got home with the book, we set it aside, because it is time to read our literature lesson from Tales From Shakespeare.  Wouldn't you know that the our Shakespeare tale is set in Italy?  Afterwards, we begin reading the first two chapters from Galileo, and take note that he is an Italian scientist.  This is a coincidence, but a fun one.

Today, as we delve farther into the life of Galileo, we get into a discussion about the influence of the Catholic church on science and teaching during his time.  We talk about such things as the Reformation, Inquisition, and the meaning of "Protestant". A few tidbits of geography and a great deal of history also shine through, because they are important to the story of his life as a scientist at a time when anything other than theories accepted by the church were considered heresy.  At the point that Galileo discovers a supernova, Princess Abbey asks for more details. We pause our reading to look up a video on youtube that can explain the concept of a supernova, and find a great one that is from the History channel, thereby adding an even greater dose of meaning to the science lesson.

Therefore, because our science lesson comes from the biography of a scientist rather than a more traditional science textbook,  we have broadened our horizons with some extras that don't normally accompany a science lesson.  This makes my job of teaching easy, and her job of learning easy, so it's a win-win situation. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Worldwide Day of Play

The Worldwide Day of Play is a pretty good idea.....maybe. I admire Mrs. Obama for her efforts in trying to conquer childhood obesity, but I have a little wish list of things that I hope will someday be conquered.

There are too many things going into the foods that we buy, that should not be. For instance, why does mayonnaise, of all things, have corn syrup in it? Other ingredients are added to give it the tangy taste, so why did they have to sweeten it in the first place? I have to ask the same about some meats, cheeses, plain yogurt, and a whole host of other foods that aren't meant to be sweet, so why the corn syrup or sugar?

Since childhood obesity is a big issue, why are fruit juices made with anything less than 100% juice? Why, then, is it called "juice" if it's not really juice?

"No sugar added" products often contain many grams of sugar. If there was no sugar added to the product, then how did it get there?

Why do granola, cereal bars, and other bar type snacks that are marketed as "healthy" have as much, if not more sugar and calories than a candy bar?  Seriously, there are times that I have wondered if we would do better with a chocolate bar or bag of potato chips. 

As for fast food restaurants that are marketing healthier options for kids, why are apples dipped in caramel healthy?  I see that option all over the place.  I'm sure that they do have less fat in them than French fries, but why are we replacing a side dish with a dessert? 

There is a lot more to conquering obesity than a worldwide day of play.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lazy Sunday

You can get an idea of the way that I think about things, and the strange order of such thoughts, by viewing the playlist on my mp3 player. It recently dawned on me that all of my songs are listed in the exact order that I downloaded them. The two older princesses think that this is quite funny, so I will share the list with you:

1. Hips Don't Lie.....Shakira
2. Long Walk Home.....Bruce Springsteen
3. Girls in their Summer Clothes....Bruce Springsteen
4. Long Walk Home....(I guess I had forgotten that I had already gotten that one about ten minutes before.)
5. Raise Your Glass....Pink
6. On the Floor....Pittbull/Jennifer Lopez (this is my ringback tone)
7. Love Will Find a Way....YES
8. Go Your Own Way....Stevie Nicks
9. The Cup of Life....Ricky Martin (used this for the twirlers in the Homecoming parade)
10. Livin' La Vida Loca...Ricky Martin
11. Maria....Ricky Martin
12. She Bangs...Ricky Martin (I was in the mood for Ricky Martin right then)
13. Corazon Espinado....Carlos Santana (I can sing every word and roll every r in this song)
14. Guajira....Carlos Santana
15. We Weren't Born to Follow....Bon Jovi (speaks to my heart)
16. Highwayman.....Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and others (my ringtone that reminds me of Mama, but I don't really know why)
17. Keep on Rockin' in the Free World....I forgot who sings this one
18. Jesus is Just Alright...Doobie Brothers (4th of July parade routine, and was my ringtone for months)
19. Awesome God....Charlie Daniels
20. Proud Mary.....Tina Turner
21. Creek Mary's Blood....Nightwish(named Tarja after the female singer in this, and I love John Two-Hawks's part)
22. Phantom of the Opera...Nightwish
23. Vacation....The GoGo's (LOL!)
24. Everybody Salsa....who knows?
25. Macarena....a bunch of old men sing this one
26. Circle in the Sand....Belinda Carlisle
27. Gold Digger....Jamie Foxx (despite the foul language, there is a lesson to be learned)
28. Tarzan Boy....Baltimora
29. Calle Ocho....Pittbull (adhd anyone?)
30. Walking in Memphis....Marc Cohn
31. The Ketchup Song....las Ketchups
32. My Place in This World
33. Riders on the Storm
34. Total Eclipse of the Heart
35. Holding Out for a Hero...Bonnie Tyler
36. Radio Nowhere...Bruce Springsteen
37. The Breakup Song....(enough of the sentimental crap)
38. Spill the Wine....WAR(my kids say the lyrics may describe my thought process)
39. The Cisco Kid...WAR
40. Low Rider...WAR (Tarja thinks it's the George Lopez song)
41. Because the Night...Cascada
42. California Dreamin'....Dj Sammy
43. Boys of Summer....DJ Sammy
44. Tonight is What it Means to be Young...Streets of Fire
45. Nowhere Fast....Streets of Fire
46. Let my Love Open the Door....(mad cause this one was just part of a song, and right when you start dancing, it quits.)
47. I'm No Angel.....(this is Hub's ringtone, and always makes the Three Princesses laugh when he calls.) you know.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's kind of neat to have my children so spread out in age, because it's very confidence boosting to see how our educational methods are working at each age and stage. For instance, I get to see that the Charlotte Mason methods have created a graduate with a wonderful love for literature and the fine arts. Maybe she would have discovered these things with a different method, but would she have the extensive knowledge that she has of the great composers, artists, and literary masters at her age if we had not used this gentle art of learning?

Abbey doesn't currently love the arts as much as Melody does, but she has researched so much about the animal kingdom, all by herself, that I am starting to wonder if I would insult her with a more formal life science or biology class. Introducing the living books approach to our little school, has taught her to look much more deeply into the things that interest her. Instead of pouring over textbooks, she reads books and articles that are written by experts about the subjects that she loves.

Tarja, at age three, will listen to a story, and even interject to tell me what she thinks is wrong with the story. For example, today, she pointed out that there are no mermaids in A Midsummer Night's Dream. How did she even know that A Midsummer Night's Dream is a story of fantasy with fairies and magic, but lacks a mermaid? Until she made her objection, I thought that she was just playing with her dolls while her sisters listened. Charlotte Mason says that we should not read stories that are "twaddle" to our preschool aged children, and Tarja is living proof that we can, indeed, introduce fine literature at early ages.

It is so much fun to see education at work in the lives of the Three Princesses, and very rewarding to be able to see results from one age group to the next.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Diabetic Pregnancies

First of all, IT'S A GIRL!!!!! I will soon have to change the name of my blog to "Four Princesses". How exciting!

Next, it is important to be aware that I am not the only diabetic, pregnant mama, so I like to share this vital aspect of my life with you as much as I can, especially since it involves the life of our new princesses. Yesterday, was my first time ever, to be seen by a group of people that specialize in high risk pregnancies. Just the fact that I am a person that has to add this step to my prenatal care is scary. I didn't sleep all night, the night before. All night long, I kept reminding myself about how exciting it would be to have my ultrasound, and find out if we were having a boy or a girl. To my surprise the staff were really nice. I did not hear any grumbling about my situation in the hallway like I did at my first doctor's appointment. One nurse took me into a private room, and we discussed my health history, that of my husband's, all of my meds, and diet. My blood sugar is running higher than normal lately, but instead of the usual lecture that most diabetics get when their levels are elevated, I was given a definite game plan and quite a bit of encouragement. There was also a lot of stress on the fact that I did not cause this problem, and that I am at the point in my pregnancy that makes diabetes a little harder to manage. A general family doctor often treats elevated blood sugar as a condition that is only brought about by laziness and gluttony. After a video and lots more discussion with other nurses, doctors, and the radiologist who did my ultrasound, I was sent home with a huge burden lifted from my shoulders. The baby is fine, I'm fine (and will be even more fine as we continue to adjust diet/meds), and I have finally fallen into the hands of some people that actually care about and understand what is going on. For the next few days, I'm having to follow a diet plan with a lot more carbs than I'm used to having, and have to check my blood sugar around 7 times per day. I will then call the hospital to report my readings so that they can decide how to adjust my insulin and what they would like to add to it, if anything. I recently read an article about diabetes and depression. Studies show that many people feel that their blood sugar readings are a judge of their moral character. I think that I have fallen into that trap, and it's not a good feeling. The last month or so, I have been reminding myself over and over that for whatever reason, this is the way that God made me. I am who I am, and there was nothing that I could have done to have caused it and nothing that I can do to stop it. It doesn't make me a bad person, and it's not a just IS.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The only aspect of the Charlotte Mason method that we have struggled with as a family is the need to spend more time outdoors. This has been a real challenge for us, because we ended one of the coldest winters that we have been exposed to, and began an equally hot summer.

This is Tarja's first year to actually have "school", so we had to make a change in this area. I started designating some time between breakfast and lunch to go out into our own yard, and then we go to one of our local parks after supper, and stay until it begins to get too dark to play.

Another aspect that is really at work in our house is the living books method. Obviously, this method works well for my older children, but will it work for wormy, squirmy Tarja? We read to Tarja all the time, and it seems like she doesn't listen or understand. However, she has surprised me by retelling the stories to me, without my even asking for a narration. After all, one would not expect a toddler to be able to narrate. Indeed, she can give a play by play account of most of the stories read to her, even after the first reading. The most fun that we had listening to her retelling, was of Sleeping Beauty. She added her own perspective to the story by saying the Jesus helped Sleeping Beauty after she pricked her finger, and that while she was asleep, the King came up the stairs to see her and prayed. Wow! What a lovely addition. Maybe someday, she will write her own brand of fairy tales.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Today is the last day for me to work at the laundromat. A couple of friends and family called to find out if I was all right. I'm all right, but might not be for much longer if I keep up this pace. I had already made my decision, but just in case I changed my mind and decided to stay a little longer, God made things especially difficult yesterday to prove to me that enough is enough. Uuugh. It was ONE ROUGH day. Hopefully, things will be better today, but if not, I know that I can work through it all once more. On the home front, the Three Princesses have been practicing twirling with two princesses from another queendom for the local homecoming parade that will take place in exactly one week. Hopefully we can squeeze in a couple of other parades in some of the other little towns that are nearby. Tomorrow, we have our temporary tattoo booth in the Desert Reflections Car Show. Abbey organized the hundreds of tattoos into notebooks. Melody drew a huge sign, and Abbey colored it in. I have stood back and let them work out most of the details for this event, and they are doing a great job of figuring it all out. The plan is that they will tattoo the customers, and I will keep track of the money. They are really excited about their new business venture.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Princess Abbey had earned the Youth Freedom Award to go with her Youth Heritage Award. Hootie hoo! Now, onward to the Youth Citizenship Award. Congratulations, Princess Abbey!!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

For our next act, we have purchased a booth space in the Desert Reflections Car Show here in town for our small business pleasure. This takes place next weekend, and the girls are getting ready as I write. Actually, Princess Abbey is getting ready while Princess Melody looks up weird, foreign videos on youtube (I don't's just what she does). We're primarily going to sell temporary tattoos. Melody is also going to display her artwork. Tarja will probably be the tattoo model, since she has been known to wear 10 or 15 at the time. I hope that this gives the girls some fun business experience, especially since Melody wants to own her own business. Other than that, we have spent our Labor Day holiday doing hard time by cleaning out the garage. Every time that I thought we were done, another box came out of the woodwork, just begging to be sorted and picked through. Hopefully we never have to do that again. On the upside, this helped me to locate a lot of items that I needed for homeschooling, including items that I thought had been lost in the burglary during the time that we were moving into this house. I never could figure out what burglars would want with our lapbooking stuff, other than just to tear them up, but I am happy to have found boxes of completed work, lapbooks, and other books that I thought were trashed and gone forever. Abbey organized Tarja's little play area yesterday. There are now drawers with crayons, puzzle pieces, blocks and other little goodies that used to be just thrown altogether in baskets. She put bigger toys and dolls in plastic, lidded boxes. There are too many such boxes filled now, so Hubs is pushing for us to put all but one box away at the time, so that we can rotate boxes periodically. We'll probably start that project tomorrow. Anyway, it feels good to walk through that area without stepping over or on the toys. We still have a lot more household projects to do. It makes me dizzy just thinking about it, but I'll keep you posted if anything interesting happens. Nesting can be a great incentive to declutter.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

One of the chief complaints of medical care is the lack of sensitivity by medical professionals. I got spoiled over the years by a wonderful physician's assistant that treated me for about 12 years, and I had the same OB for all three princesses. Here I am in a new town, with doctors that don't know me, and I'm too far away from the aforementioned doctors to be able to go see them as often as I need to be seen. I'm hypothyroid, diabetic, and pregnant. Is that the makings for a good reality show or what? When you call a doctor to try to set up an appointment for prenatal care, the person on the other end of the line gets a brief history of your health. After they hear that you have issues, they tell you that they are all booked up, or that they may not be equipped to handle your high risk pregnancy. Hubs put his foot down and said that I needed to give the local doctor a chance, so I did. My appointment was at 8:30a.m. Being a diabetic, I went in fasting just in case they would want to get a fasting blood sugar reading. By 9:30a.m. I am finally in the door, and have to sit in a room until about 10:00a.m. while doctor and nurses decide if they want to take on my case or not. I can hear from the din in the hallway that phone calls are being made to other doctors on my behalf, and there are debates going on. At some point, the nurse comes in to tell me that they won't be able to treat me. A few minutes later, the doctor comes in and says that he will treat me, but with the backup of three doctors that specialize in high risk pregnancies in the next town. Are you surprised that by the time the nurse got around to taking my blood pressure, it was slightly elevated? The doctor seems to be very nice and appears to love his line of work, which is always a plus. He and the nurse do all of the routine things that are done on first prenatal visits, and the nurse says that she will try to set me up for sonogram for that afternoon just to confirm dates and things like that. How exciting! My excitement turns to fear and humiliation when I hear her and another nurse talking about me in the hallway. The other nurse was rudely and hatefully discussing my case and was telling my nurse that she will not be able to handle me, because apparently I am a freak that is not deserving of proper medical attention. A few minutes later, mine comes in with a paper giving orders for a sonogram in a couple of weeks with the high risk doctors in the next town. Fair enough. She gives me a few instructions and her contact info, and I am on my way by nearly noon, EXCEPT for the fact that I have to stop in and get a near lecture from the battle axe in the business office who wants to make certain that I pay all co pays, deductibles and 20 percent of my expenses before the birth of the baby, or else they will give all of my records to me and send me on my way. This comes after she sort of turns her nose up at me when she asks and I tell her that I am not on Medicaid. I have no problem with families having Medicaid, and have received it in the past, but I don't have it, and therefore am a freak without government assistance who dares to attempt to receive medical care. At this point, I don't think that Obamacare or any other government intrusion is necessary. A crash course in common courtesy might be all the reformation that the healthcare system needs.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I am miserably losing the battle between me and the girls on the 52 Books Challenge. We were supposed to read 52 books in a year. Although I am reading consistently, Abbey is in the lead with 24 books, Melody follows her with 19 books, and I am dead last with 16 books. The year is still young, so maybe I will catch up and we will all have read out 52 books. Tarja got her certificate from the library reading club program today. It is her very first certificate for anything, ever, so she thought it was a very special occasion. This is one of the things that I love most about tiny princesses. Everything is brand new and wonderful. Tarja really loves the last lapbook that I made for her, which you can read about in the previous post, so I went back to the library and printed off another one for Katy No Pocket. We already have Katy No Pocket in our home library, and it's one of her favorite stories. She helped by coloring the mother and baby kangaroos for the front cover, and then I made the little pockets and cards that we will play with tomorrow. The focus on this lapbook is on Kangaroos and words that being with K. You can find free lapbook units HERE. I have my first prenatal visit for Baby Santiago #4 in the morning.