Sunday, June 29, 2014

Happiness. Lately. (Vol. 1)

(auto posted while I'm on vacation :)  )

I'm going to try something new: a monthly collection of "Happiness" - appreciating God's goodness in the little things and seeing his grandeur in the simplicity of my life and "Lately" - what I've been into and up to (books, music, food, great finds, etc...)  I'll test it out and see if I like the format enough to continue with a new edition at the end of each month...

Happiness.  Lately.
Volume 1 :: June 2014

Happiness is...



Littler helpers and planting my herb garden...

Strawberry picking, jam making, and vying for the title of "Best Mother on the Block" by serving scrumptious strawberry pancakes on the deck... for lunch!

watermelon with freshly squeezed lime - my favorite summertime snack...


Lately I've been reading...

Something Other Than God, Jen Fulwiler 

Emily of New Moon, L. M. Montgomery (the author of Anne of Green Gables.  I read the Emily trilogy when I was in high school and found all three books for 99 cents for my Kindle, so I'm re-reading it while I'm exercising on the elliptical.  So fun to revisit old favorites!)

Laetly I've been reading with the kids...

The Horse and His Boy, C. S. Lewis.  (still.  we having a hard time getting through this one.)

The Ransom of Red Chief, O. Henry  (we read this in anticipation of letting them watch a favorite movie from my childhood, "No Deposit, No Return." I can't wait!)

Lately, I've been eating...

salad every day for lunch.  This is huge for me, because I'd rather have any number of things besides salad.  But I'm trying.  And to eat so much salad I have been coming up with various combinations of tasty toppings.  Here's a great one: (greens, carrots, cucumbers) with dried cranberries, salt/pepper almonds, feta cheese, and lemon vinaigrette.  Yum!

Lately I've been working on...

getting the rest of the gardens planted.  In addition to our regular veggies, we're trying some fun and colorful carrots and swiss chard this year.  I hope they grow!

Lately I've been wearing... e.l.f. Essential Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in "Coco Loco."   It's $2 and it's perfect for summer.  Light but sweet!

 Lately I've been creating ... 

Mittens!!  It's never too early to start crocheting for fall!

don't get too excited.  it's decaf...
Lately I'm loving...

viewing my world through Susan's eyes.  That's just a poetic way of saying I've become enamored with the the "Susan" filter in ipccy.  I go through phases where sometimes I like my photos to be pure and "original" quality.  Then I go through a vintage-look phase.  That's where I am now - as you can see from all the above pics.  "Susan" seems to fit my mood lately.  Here are a few side by sides for your consideration.  (Susan is on the right!)

And there you have it.  My Happiness.  Me Lately. 

What have your simple pleasures been this past month?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Last Day Before Vacation and my Sanity is Mostly Intact (SQT - Stuff I'm Loving for Our Road Trip)

We don't travel much.  Actually, we don't travel ever.  That's why packing for a vacation is a big enough deal to warrant it's own blog post.  I like being at home.  And I like routine.  So you can imagine my state of mind during these past few days that we've been preparing to leave home... packing, for me, at least, means chaos.  My mind is in a roller coaster state of torment, excitement, anxiety, anticipation, fear, and just all around freaking out-ittutude.  The house reflects this.  There is stuff everywhere.  Some of it we're bringing.  Some of it we're leaving.  And some of it I have no idea where it came from, so I have no idea where it belongs, so I can't put it away.  Basically our living room and kitchen look like a refugee camp - some flip flops here, an unopened jar of salsa there, tie-died shirts hanging off of the fire place mantel, a plastic hamburger in a suitcase, and an unknown child climbing through the rubbish heaps.  

We're only going to be gone for a week.  To be honest, I'm more worried about the car trip than the week at the rental cottage. Google maps tells us the drive to the town where we're staying on Cape Cod takes 8 hours.  (That's 36 hours in large-family hours.)  We have taken only two road trips since having children.  Both of them happened when we had just three children which translates to "lots of unoccupied space in the mini-van." Now when we travel, we might as well put a sign like this on the bumper:

There is no room in the inn.  There is no elbow room.  There is no wiggle room.  There is no room to breath (because the sibling next to you might hear it and start complaining of the noise...)  This could be a scary trip.  Or not.  I really don't know because we've never done this before.

The only thing I can do is be prepared.  And that's what I am.  I think.  I don't actually know if I'm prepared because I have no idea what to prepare for.  You can see my predicament.   

I've stocked up on things that I think count as "preparing" for a long car trip.  I'm going to hit you with the Things I'm Loving for the Road Trip (Seven Quick Takes - Style) and when we get back in a week, I can let you know if they turned out to be as great as I'm hoping or if there really is no way to pleasantly travel in a seven person van with seven people.

Triple Goodness Road Trip Trail Mix
"Triple" because it has three nuts, three fruits, and three chocolates
(with a carb count!!)

(I want to commit to including carb counts for the food and recipes I post here as often as possible.  It makes sense since I need it for Aaron anyway and I'd love for it to be available to any other type 1 diabetes families out there.)

Combine 1 cup of each of the following:
(or 1/2 cup of each if you don't need a ton of trail mix)

dried sweetened cranberries
dried sweetened blueberries
milk chocolate chips
white chocolate chips
butterscotch chips

The carb count for this tasty trail mix is 53 carbs per 1/2 cup.  Enjoy!

and some Dover Little Activity Books

I got a new coloring book (or two) for each of the kiddos : Trucks (Aaron), Castles of the World and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Dominic), The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Ruth) and Owls (Clare)  

And a few of their $1.35 activity books: Robots, Abraham Lincoln, Alphabet Dot-to-Dot, and Animal Number Dot-to-Dot (sorry, no energy to link...)

These DOLLAR $ TREE finds!!
National Geographic Kids "Weird But True Fact Packs"

Aaron will be able to read these to us and we'll all be that much smarter at the end of the trip :)


What a find this was for me!!  We are huge fans of illustrator-crafter Clare Beaton.  I was thrilled when I found these alphabet cards from Mudpuppy featuring her artwork.  
These are for our own Clare :)

the Clare Beaton section of our board book library :)


Getting these alphabet cards for Clare reminded me that we have these beautiful 1-10 Number Wall Cards from Ee-Boo. 

 I haven't had them displayed for a while, but I really love them.  
I copied them at 60% using our printer (onto card stock), laminated them, and put them on a ring.  So now Clare has a some "homemade" number cards for the trip as well!


Here's what we have lined up for this trip:

The Horse and His Boy (C. S. Lewis)

Pollyanna (Eleanor Porter)

Black Beauty (Anna Sewell)

And from Jim Weiss:

Actual books
I used the trip as an excuse to pick up a few new books I've had my eye on, and to borrow a some others from friends.

For Aaron:

Who's There? (Knock Knock Jokes from Highlights)
Guess Again! (Riddles from Highlights)

For Dominic:

For Ruth:

For Clare:

A Car Counting Activity and Bar Graph Practice
(free printable!)

Aaron and Dominic have been obsessed with car companies lately.  Russ has taught them the symbols for all the major car companies and most of the minor ones as well.  They can identify makes of cars that I've only remotely heard of.  They greet the neighbors with things like, "I see you have a Subaru.  They are the only car company that puts four-wheel drive on all of their vehicles.  How come you didn't opt for a long-lasting Toyota for easy city driving?"   I'm serious.  They are obsessed.  

The past few months they've been keeping tally sheets of the cars that pass by our house. 
For the road trip, Russ created a new tally sheet with the intention that we'll also use it as a math lesson in disguise.  At the end of the trip we'll turn their information into a bar graph.  On the off change that there are other car obsessed boys out there and moms who want to practice bar graphing... here's a free printable for you :)  (It's just the tally sheet with the company logos.  You're on your own for making a bar graph.  I had wanted to get a bar graph document up here but I've run out of time.  Sorry.)

Road Trip Car Logo Tally Sheet 

*   *   *   *   *   *

So, do you think we have enough entertainment for the car trip??

*   *   *   *   *   *

After I wrote this, my wonderful, generous mother, who knows what it's like to travel in cars with kids, brought us these other great treats for the kids as well!!

Four different Mudpuppy magnet travel fun sets - robots, dinosaurs, mixed up houses, and planes!  Something for everyone and fun for all!

This trip has to go well!

(linking up with Jen!)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thoughts on Baby Wearing from a Self-Proclaimed Non Baby-Wearer

I don't consider myself a baby wearer, and yet I've been wearing my babies more and more frequently with each successive child.  

Awkward mirror selfie.  I don't think I'll be doing any of those again...
I count myself as a non baby-wearer because I've never worn my babies because it was the "right" thing to do.  I'm not an enthusiast because of theories, or studies, or philosophies, though I certainly respect moms and dads who enthusiastically wear their babies for those reasons.  For those families, encouragement like this is lovely...

But this kind of stuff...

... I find ridiculous, bordering on offensive.  I mean, really??  I'll wear a baby or keep him in a car seat or stroller as the situation warrants, but does that mean you have to portray me and my kind as unhappy-in-our-marriages, indifferent-towards-our-children, and living life in a black-and-white depressed funk??  Oh brother.  I'm actually not super offended by it because I'm confident in the parenting decisions I've made in this regard, but I do think it's unfortunate that this kind of thing even came up when I Googled "baby wearing images" :(

My choices don't get me down.  I feel very comfortable letting my babies often be near me, but not on me.  I'm happy to let a sleeping baby nap on his back or his stomach and don't believe that sleeping on me is any more valuable.   I may start out on a walk wearing the baby but switch him to the stroller once the toddler hops out.  As far as I know, my mom never "wore" me and we've had a close, healthy, loving relationship my whole life.  (Right, Mom?)  And I've witnessed that my own kids feel close, secure, and loved by me despite having been taken for walks in strollers between the ages of just-born and 3.  

So, I guess I'm not a baby-wearer in theory.  I'm just a baby wearer in practice.  I don't do it because it's important, or right, or healthy.  I do it because it's convenient and it's sometimes the easiest way to manage four kids plus a newborn in the day to day.  

I just love love love that tiny piece of face peaking through!
My reasons to wear babies:

* to enjoy the use of two hands (examples of activities that require two hands: making lunch for other children, giving insulin injections after said lunch, getting children out of trees that they climbed up but could not climb down, changing a diaper, and other mom necessities like crocheting and opening a bag of emergency I-need-chips-now ;) )
* to avoid having strangers ask to touch and hold my baby in public (this has been an especially critical technique for the grocery store, where it seems like everyone you run into wants to stroke your baby and hold him for a little while.  "Oh no, I'm so sorry.  He's plastered to my sweaty body with fourteen yards of elaborately wound fabric.  You holding him is just not in the cards today."  Crisis averted.)  
* to calm fussiness when nothing else will 
* to prevent baby from being trampled when other kids are playing "Running of the Bulls"

You too, may be cut out for baby-wearing if:

* you don't mind still looking and feeling pregnant even after the baby is born
* you enjoy having spit-up down your shirt and in your bra
* you appreciate the feeling of a sweaty torso
* you're under the impression that a drool-soaked shirt is the height of fashion
* you feel like having your hair pulled by sticky hands is sort of like getting a head massage
* you use your baby accessories as an easy way to strike up conversations with other moms at the playground and can easily use fancy words like Mei Tai, ergonomic, and sciatica.
* you believe that it's not at all awkward to have a tiny person attached to you by various straps and buckles and knots

Even though I'm not a baby wearer, I have seven - seven! - different baby wearing "devices."  (What???)  

When we had our first child, Russ or I would carry Aaron around in a (hand-me-down) Baby Bjorn because that was the thing to do in the trendy neighborhood we lived in. The Bjorn hurt my back.  

Then when Dominic was born, an acquaintance assured me I could not manage a toddler and a newborn unless I had a ring sling, because unlike the Bjorn, the sling could hold a toddler on your hip or back.  So I went and got some material and metal rings and made a ring sling.  I used it occasionally, but never to wear the toddler on my hip or back, only the baby close to my chest.  The sling hurt my shoulder.  

Then when Ruth was about 1 1/5 we were planning a trip that would involve hiking in underground caves, so we bought a Kelty baby backpack.  Russ wore Ruth down into the caves, hundreds of feet deep in the earth's crust, and we almost had to leave the two of them down there for good because that dang backpack almost got stuck in some pretty tight crevasses.  I would occasionally wear Ruth when we'd do normal above-ground hiking, but it never lasted long because you know toddlers... they want to walk independently... and slowly.  When in use, the backpack is not at all painful, when not in use, it is a major pain to store. 

Russ with Clare - hike to the Eternal Flame, Chestnut Ridge State Park
Then when I was expecting Clare I started to panic at the thought of expecting a fourth child while simultaneously not expecting to grow another set of hands or receive the gift of bi-location.   So in a moment of sheer terror, and having the assurance from those who know about these things that a Moby Wrap was the most comfortable way to carry a newborn, I went out and bought material to make three Moby Wraps.  (I don't know why I did that.  One for at home, one for in the car, and one for in case the other two were torn off of me by the vicious wolves we might encounter in our local suburban nature preserve???) 

Well, anyway, I love the Moby.  It took me one Youtube video to figure out how to use it, and then I. used. it.  (not so much though, that it disintegrated into shreds and necessitated having three of them.)  The Moby is easy to use, so comfortable, has  no bizarre straps or clips to adjust.  As your baby gets bigger, you don't have to do anything to the carrier, it just always fits no matter what.  I mean, sure, you do look a little like Moses while you're putting it on, but a few minutes of looking like an Old Testament figure while in the parking lot is worth a 1/2 hour of blissfully sleeping Moby-wrapped baby in the store.   

I had Clare in the Moby a lot.  I liked the Moby a lot. 

Letchworth State Park. Clare in Moby ::
Nature walk.  Clare in Moby :)
But there was always something else out there.  Something was always tugging at me. That something was the elusive Ergo Baby carrier.  I had heard that it was the Cadillac of all baby wearing contraptions.  It was for infants and it was for toddlers.  It was for your front, your side, and your back.  And it was the most comfortable option out there.  But it was mucho dinero.  And what if we never had another baby?  Could I justify spending that much money on an Ergo that I might only use for one child???  I could not.  My husband definitely could not.  And everyone loves their Ergo so much they are very difficult to find second-hand.  I know because I looked for years.  

After James was born, he spent a lot of time in one of the three Moby Wraps - brown, purple, or red - whichever one suited my mood or had the least amount of sour breast milk on it.  

Did you know you could tuck your yarn in the Moby wrap and crochet as you go??
I resigned myself to the fact that the days of acquiring a new baby carrier for each new child that I had were at an end.  But... you know what my mom treated my sister and I to a few months ago????  Lovely, wonderful, versatile, comfortable, worthy-of-all-the-hype Ergo Baby carriers!  I can't say enough great things about the Ergo (and my mom!) It truly is the most comfortable baby carrier I've tried.  And the only negative thing I have to say regarding it is, Foolish, foolish me for not doing this sooner so we could have been enjoying it with all the previous babies!!!!  

James hidden by Ergo
Allow my ridiculously vast experience to be your guide if you are hoping to have a baby or two and think there's a reasonable chance that you'll want to wear your sweet little one: Moby for newborn.  Ergo for all the other years :)  Nothing else needed.

I'm not a "baby wearer" but... I guess I kind of am :)

And, oh yeah.  One of the other reasons I do it?  To shower that sweet-smelling, silky-soft head with kisses (without the added annoyance of bending over, of course!)  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How I Homeschool (the Lengthy Self Interview in Which I Try to Sound Like I Know What I'm Doing.)

I'm linking my self interview up with the series "How I Homeschool, hosted by Micaela at California to Korea.  Check out some other fabulous interviews there (most of the moms over there actually know what they're doing!  I'm just an impostor ;) )

How long have you been homeschooling?
We've just finished our third year.  

Why did you start homeschooling?
I was entirely unfamiliar with homeschooling until I was in college.  Several of the professors and employees at the university I attended homeschooled their children.  When I was a senior, and then again a few years later when I was in graduate school, I was hired to give group tutoring to some of their children.  The students were delightful people - they were kind to one another, polite, could look an adult in the eye and carry on a respectable conversation, they were eager to learn and participate in lessons.  That was my first exposure to homeschooling, and it left a good impression on me.

Even after that very positive introduction into the world of homeschooling, I was never the type of mom that felt like we would homeschool no matter what.  When Aaron was four I shopped around for a pre-K program for him but for some reason, I just couldn't enroll him anywhere.  Even to this day, I can't pinpoint why, I just didn't.  The next summer, I took Aaron to a Kindergarten open house at a local Catholic school.  I'll never forget when the teacher said to me, "Oh, we love to celebrate the holidays in the classroom.  Like at Christmas we teach them that Christmas isn't just about getting presents.  It's really about giving."  I pretty much knew then and there that we'd be homeschooling at least for Kindergarten, because even my pre-K kids knew that Christmas was about the birth of Jesus.  

Since then, it's our policy to revisit our school plans year to year.  My husband and I are continually assessing the needs of our family and the needs of our children and basing our decisions for the next year on that.  I like it that way.

In a way, it's weird that we chose homeschooling at all because I always loved school.  Always.  And when I was a young mother I truly looked forward to my kids having the same fabulous school experience that I did.  Now, homeschooling feels "right" and makes sense for us.  I'm so grateful that it's an option for us and I love it.  And I don't think the kids are missing out on too much not being in traditional school :)

How many kids are in your family? How many are homeschooled? Are any schooled in a more traditional way?  

We have five children.  They are 8, 6, 4, 2, and 4 mos.  The oldest two were "in" first and second grade this past year.  Next year, Ruth will be added into the mix, doing some very basic "kindergarten" material.  So far, no one has attended traditional school.  The boys spend two mornings a week at a study center for homeschoolers that follows the Classical program of education.

Sometimes homeschooling looks like this...

What laws, if any, are there in your state regarding homeschooling? How does your family meet compliance?
From what I've read, New York is one of the more hands-on interfering states where homeschooling is concerned.  It's not just homeschooling, though; NY likes to be up in everyone's business.  Here's what a year of interaction with our representative from the city board of education looks like:

Early summer: We send a letter of intent to homeschool, submitting the names/ages of the children.   They write back and say, "got it."

Mid summer: We submit an IHIP (Individual Home Instruction Plan) for each child of (compulsory) school age.  It must include plans for the state-required subjects - which includes all the regulars plus stuff like health and physical education - and must indicate what books, programs, curricula we intend to use.  They write back to inform us whether it's been approved or not.  Mine have always been approved, I'm assuming if it wasn't they'd guide you as to the changes you'd have to make.
End of each quarter: We submit a quarterly report which includes how many hours of lessons were completed, who the instructors were, how much material was covered (I always say 25%) and the student's grades in each subject.  (I just use "S" for satisfactory.)

End of the year: In addition to the fourth quarter report we submit an end of the year assessment.  It can be as simple as "My child has satisfactorily completed the course of education laid out in the IHIP" (I also add, "and will continue appropriate review throughout the summer.")  Starting in fourth grade, however, the annual assessment must be an approved standardized test given every other year.  A student must score above the 33 percentile to continue homeschooling. 

Switching gears here: if you could summarize your homeschool philosophy in one sentence or mission statement, what would that be?

My mission is to sound enough like I know what I doing to convince myself and others that I've got this homeschooling thing down and won't screw up my kids with all the educational experiments I test out on them.  Kidding.  Well, only half kidding...

Seriously though, lofty missions and flowery philosophical language are not my strong suit.  Neither is saying things in just one sentence.  Soooo, that leaves me with this - a list of what I hope we achieve through homeschooling (besides reading, writing, and 'rithmatic):

* they will be exposed to great ideas in history, literature, and the arts and will come to recognize, appreciate, and hopefully seek out beauty and all that is good in our culture and history - to learn to "love those things that are lovely" (St. Augustine via Christopher Perin)
* to know our Faith and to pursue and recognize Truth   
* my children will be able to think independently and critically
* they will become life-long learners
* they will retain the childlike traits of curiosity and wonder throughout their lives
* all of this will prayerfully be ordered toward the glory of God and our growth in holiness as individuals and a family 

It all sounds very grand and pretentious.  It hardly seems like this is what we're doing when the kids are erasing math mistakes in frustration or painfully sounding out three letter words.  Much of the time I'm trying very hard to refrain from banging my head against the table and am not really worrying about beauty, truth, and goodness.  I'm trusting that God's grace will be at work in our school days and that He'll be responsible for a lot of that list :)  

.... and sometimes it looks like this...

What is your homeschooling style?

When we were first getting started, because I had loved "school" so much as I child, I thought we would be the type of family that had a little school room with desks and a chalkboard and wall maps and posters with the parts of speech hanging on the wall.  But we don't have the space in our home for a school room, which turned out to be a good thing, because that's not our style after all.

I'm pretty crafty, so some veteran homeschooling moms thought we'd go the unit study / lapbook route.  Not my style either.  That actually took me by surprise because I could have easily seen me being a crafty, projecty, cutting-and-pasting homeschooling mom.  It's weird, but I'm not.  

Then I read a lot of Charlotte Mason's educational philosophies and fell in love.  Turns out we're not Charlotte-Mason-ers either, though many of her ideas still influence some of what we do.  I think the reading involved in her approach is a little too much for me with babies and toddler in the mix.

We ended up "going" Classical sort of by accident, and it turned out to be the best fit for us.  I love the focus on the classics, the 4-year-cycle approach to history, the emphasis on memorization, and the academic goals of the final "Rhetoric" years : At this point, the high school student learns to write and speak with force and originality. The student of rhetoric applies the rules of logic learned in middle school to the foundational information learned in the early grades and expresses his conclusions in clear, forceful, elegant language. (from "The Well Trained Mind")  

We work on our Classical education at the dining room table, on the couch, on the kitchen floor, and in the car.  We currently have two large wall maps :) 

Do you follow any set curriculum?

We follow Tapestry of Grace for History, Latin, Literature, Writing/Grammar, and everything else I piece together.  A few of the programs I've really liked so far are Math U See and Handwriting Without Tears

What do your best homeschooling moments look like?  What do your not-so-good moments look like?  How do you stay on track?

The best, best, best moments are when the kids are learning and making connections and are excited about it.  Usually this means they're not sitting at the dining room table doing geography multiple choice or re-writing sloppy copy work.  It's when we're reading something for enjoyment or are out in the schoolroom that is the wide, wide world.  

The worst moments are when there are tears.  And yelling.  Both sometimes happen.  At those moments it can be crippling to think, "I am not the right person for this job.  Someone else could teach him to understand solving for the unknown in math equations without making him cry."  But usually I'm pretty confident that I am the right person to teach my children, and part of the reason is because they learn from me even when I lose my temper - they witness me apologize, ask forgiveness, reset my approach, and try again.  When they lose patience with me or with themselves and tear up, I am the right person to comfort them and to offer gentle lessons in perseverance and offering our best to the task at hand.  "Worst" moments are hard, but they don't have to derail the whole homeschooling operation.

Staying on track?  Sometimes it's actually accomplished by taking some time off to recharge and then approach lessons again with a renewed attitude :)

... and sometimes it looks like this...

How do you keep any non-school-aged kids busy?
It's not very helpful if I say I let them tear apart the house as long as they're quiet, is it?  

Ok, for real:  We have a shelf of Toddler/Pre-School-ish activities that are quiet and pseudo-educational.  (I'm hoping to do a post on the contents of that shelf near the end of the summer as we gear up for another year of the toddler and pre-schooler not really using the school shelf activities and just tearing the house part...)  Coloring.  Stickers.  Play-doh.  Playing with the math manipulatives.  Tearing the house apart.  And when all those options have been exhausted, I let them play Starfall.  (Bless you, Starfall creators!  Bless you.)

If you could give any homeschool advice to a new mom starting out, what would it be?

Just starting out and wondering if you're qualified to teach your children?  You are!  I wrote about it last summer...

Don't "do" preschool.  

Read to your children.  Read, read, read.

Find a family with similar values and a similar approach to homeschooling that you can share ideas and support with.  This is key!

Don't compare your kids' academic abilities to each other, or to traditional school children of the same age, or to your best friend's homeschooled children.  It won't end well.  (I know.)

Participate in their education.  It's fun and it provides them with a live and in-person example of a life-long learner.  If they're memorizing Latin vocab or a new poem, join in and let them quiz you.  They'll get a kick out of it!  Keep your own nature journal; use the field guides and the magnifying glass.  Do the art project along side your kiddos.  

Offer up every day to the Father.  It may not go as you had planned, but still give it back to Him.  Re-calibrate your homeschool when it gets off track and has become less about leading souls to Christ and glorifying Him in your efforts, and instead becomes more about counter-productive power struggles and your frenzied attempts to teach them ALL THE THINGS.  (I have to do this re-calibrating often.  I didn't really write that for other moms.  I wrote it for me.) 

...and sometimes it looks like this: "Kids, you get the rest of the morning off so mom can blog about homeschooling!"  :)

Wow.  I'm long-winded.  

Thanks, Micaela for a happy homeschooling link-up!  It's always fun and informative to read what other families are doing!

Want to get in on the fun?  I love to chat about homeschooling, our days, our books and curriculum choices, etc...  I'd love to answer any questions you have or hear about how you homeschool.  Comment here or email me!  Got a blog?  Link up with Micaela!
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