A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Our Week With a Scare


It's possible we'll get to find out what happens in our partially solar household when the electricity goes down.  Northern California is having a "wind event" right now, and PG&E has warned they may preemptively shut down power to 25,000 homes.  Lack of rain, dry vegetation, and strong winds are the scary recipe for horrific fires, so people are going to be a little on edge until the wind dies down.  



In other news... last week, I did candy pumpkin catapults with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.  


This is my example catapult, fully loaded with pumpkin candy.  I'm glad I did a test one, because I discovered that rubber cement wasn't strong enough to hold the bottle cap, so I used E6000, a glue I discovered in Cricut groups, for the rest of them.  (I did pre-glue the lids at home, but the kids did all the rest of the work on their own catapults.)  


See the flying orange projectile?


I did not do this activity with the high school students, but Jack wanted to "borrow" mine one morning before school started.  I told him he could, if I could take a picture.  


I was taking out the used Kitty Poo Club litter box, and saw that the neighbor's morning glories were growing under the fence.  This made me happy, as morning glories are one of my favorite flowers.  


I've emptied out 2 totes in the library!  You know, the buckets and boxes I have squirreled all over the room?  I've processed 2 whole bins, and started on a third.  I'm finally hitting my stride in there.  

These Highlights magazines were an interesting find from one of those totes.  They go back to 1977.  I kind of hate to toss them, as I feel like they're *so* old that someone must want them, but it's not me.  I'm going to leave them in the teachers' workroom and hope they disappear.  


The city had a book fair!  It seemed like a very librarian-y thing to attend, so I stopped by while I was out doing errands.  


It didn't occur to me to take pictures until I was leaving, so I got a shot from the parking lot, essentially to remind me to blog about it.  See the blue tent?  There were about a dozen in a line behind that one.  Friends of the Library, a local club, local authors, the youth symphony, and the literacy foundation were there.  I picked up some bookmarks, bought a book, and brought home about half a dozen new acquisitions for the library from the Literacy Foundation's free table.  

I also, finally, received my book order that shipped mid September.  It took just under 3 weeks to get to me.  I was really bummed, because I ordered October books, and had hoped to have them all processed by 10/1, which has not happened yet.  


Fiona is looking contrite, and for good reason.  She gave us quite a scare!  Someone didn't latch the front door, and she went exploring.  She was gone for over 24 hours, and I'd put up posters and checked the shelter website and notified the microchip people.  I was very relieved when she reappeared.  


Speaking of cats, Grumman likes to hang out under long skirts and dresses.  


I was a little afraid to move when I took this picture.  I happen to be wearing that leaf print.  


All's well that ends well.  

Monday, October 4, 2021

Our Week with a Birthday


How is it October already?  School *just* started!  


Jack helped me take the cats to the local pet store on vaccine clinic day.  


Grumman was Not Having It.  As little Jack Jack used to say, "It froke him out."  


They both did okay, though, and we got Miss Fiona microchipped while we were at it.  


She was being very photogenic one day, so I snapped some pictures.  


Other times she just sort of sprawls.  

Having taken a dozen or so shots of Fiona, I look over and see Grumman watching.  


"Okay, Grumman, I'll take pictures of you, too.  Look at me.  Grumman."  


"Hey, Grumman!"  :kissy noises:  Nope.  


Not going to look at you.  :sigh:  Turkey.  


I've started making coloring pages to go along with the books I read aloud to the preschool-2nd grade classes.  It gives the first ones that check out something to do while they wait for the rest of the class to check out their books.  And I'm hoping it will help the parents see what the kids are getting from the library.  


Fire Safety Week is this week, so I pulled all the fire related books and put them on display.  Yes, the kids are absolutely allowed to check out display books.  In fact, I often go around after a class leaves and pull more books to put on the easels because the kids usually take the books where they can *see* the whole cover instead of just the spine.    


The bulletin board over my desk got an autumn upgrade.  


My October Notable Events bookcase.  As these get checked out, I'll replace them with autumn/pumpkin theme books.  In fact, I ordered a box of October books last month, and they shipped on 9/17, but they aren't here yet.  Grr.  Not happy about that.  But I'm hoping they come today, since they made it to California a few days ago.  


Someone had a birthday!  


Paul made her cake from scratch.  It was quite tasty.


Still not happy about the way they keep growing up.  Katie's birthdays always hit me a little harder than the other kids' because she's the baby.  I've never had the baby be so old before.  Every year, it's a little more letting go of parenting children.  Now it's mostly adults, with a couple teens and a tween.  


Speaking of adults...  Heather took time off after Kasen was born, then when she had to go back to work, Zach took time off.  The package I sent arrived safely, there's Kasen in the bib I Crikey-ed.  Now it's time for Zach Zach to go back to work, and Kasen is off to daycare.  


I'm a little sad, wishing I was close enough to offer to watch him.  'Cuz he looks like a cool lil dude that I'd enjoy hanging out with.  


Ugh.  Fuel prices are crazy.  


Milestone for Matilda!  She hit 10,000 miles on this morning's school run.  Took over 17 months, so that's one upside to the pandemic.  She definitely still feels like a new car.  

Thursday, September 30, 2021

We The People movie review #godsnotdeadMIN #GodsNotDeadWeThePeople #MomentumInfluencerNetwork

I got the opportunity to see God's Not Dead - The Next Chapter, We The People ahead of it's release date.  I liked it!  I will say, up front, this was a 2 Kleenex movie for me.  I cry at everything, though.  
Quick synopsis:  social worker persecutes homeschool families, judge rules they must send kids to school or be found in contempt of court, which means hefty fines and jail time.  A trip to Washington DC happens, for the purpose of testifying at a congressional hearing.  

This picture is the 4th installment in the God's Not Dead movie series, which I did not know prior to viewing.  It does fine as a stand alone film, though.  It doesn't feel like you're jumping into the middle of the story.  I came away from it wanting to see the first 3 movies, though.  

There are several other fun threads that run through this production, of course.  There's kind of an underdog character who has their moment to shine, when a single mom stands before a senate subcommittee and makes a passionate speech.   There's a small whiff of romance between a homeschooled teen and a public schooled teen.  

One thing I realized while watching We The People, is that I've become really dependent on the closed captioning on all the streaming services.  The screening I watched was not closed captioned, and I know there were things I missed.  Oh, the joys of getting old.  

You can get more information about the film and showtimes on Facebook, or at the God's Not Dead website.  Buy your tickets for this inspiring, family friendly movie, in theaters October 4-6.  

Many thanks to Pinnacle Peak for providing this product/product information for review.  Opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive the product in exchange for this review and post.  

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Our Fun & Games Week


Have you seen the popper fidgets?  I spotted a game version on Zulily, and it's been a hit in the library.  


It's been interesting to learn the various grades' response to the library.  The preschool through second grade love coming to the library.  They're excited about getting books.  They like story time and crafts.  

The 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade classes, you start to see who likes reading and who does not.  I've really been enjoying these classes, because they're well behaved, and more engaged with what I have to say.  

The middle school and high school kids are much harder to herd.  I've read fun poetry (Shel Silverstein).  I've done Mad Libs.  I've tried passing out books for everyone to read from for 5 minutes and then switch to a new book.  I've read aloud from an adventure book.  They don't seem to like any of these, although Mad Libs was almost acceptable.  


Worksheets are met with, "Are we getting graded for this?!"  I've taken to bringing in things I hope might keep them entertained for a bit.  Games, art, toys, etc.  My hope that we'd have meaningful discussion about books seems to have been a fantasy.  I have a few readers in each class, but mostly, it's not "cool" to pay attention, participate, check books out, etc.  I'm not sure how to reach these guys yet.  


Ages ago, someone sent me a link to sign the girls up for stuffies with limb differences from Nub Tribe.  I had forgotten all about it, honestly.  This week, a squishy package arrived with a purple hippo for Katie and a pink one for Hannah.  


Miss Hannah also got her NEW LEG this week.  I think this was the fastest turnaround time ever from casting to delivery.  Paul took the girls to this visit, which was a huge blessing to me.  It usually takes several visits to complete a leg, so I was very surprised when he came home with Hannah's old leg, and no Hannah (he dropped them off at school).  


Jack was the yellow pieces.  We played a couple quick rounds while dinner was cooking.  We each won once.  


I've started to autumn-ify the library.  It's not totally level, but I'm working around a piano, so I'm calling it good enough.  Text & pennants by Crikey, garland from Hobby Lobby, twine I found in our gardening supplies.  


Out with the animal print shelf markers, in with the leaf print ones.  


The shelves are looking a little bare right now.  We've got over 150 books checked out right now.  


After taking 3 weeks to do the puppy book/craft with the kindergarten & first grade kids, I decided to go much more simple for the preschoolers.  They glued the puppy onto the page and some of them wrote their names at the bottom.  


Another new book order from Library & Educational Services.  I try to keep my spending to under $4 bucks a book, so I was thrilled to find a place with lots of $2 and $2.50 books.  I've got an order on the way from there.  Anyone else notice that shipping seems to be taking longer these days?  I've gotten so spoiled with almost instant Amazon deliveries.  


Library lions!  Another kindergarten/first grade project.  As a homeschooler, projects take as long as they take, and that's okay.  In the library, I get them for a certain amount of time, and then they have to move on.  I'm still figuring out what we can realistically accomplish in that amount of time.  


Good news on the Fi front.  Instead of Fiona chasing Grumman all the time, we're starting to see Grumman chase Fiona, too.  They're starting to coexist a little better.  

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Starting to Feel Like Autumn


We had our first day where the high temp was less than 80*.  I pulled down one of Hannah's new autumn outfits, and snapped a couple pictures.  


As Hannah has gotten bigger, I've been struggling with what she can wear.  


See, she has kind of a jumble of bones where most people have a thigh bone that points down.  This causes her prosthetic to be really bulgy at the top.  She can wear stretchy leggings, but she can't wear regular pants at all.  (I used to have her wear jeans from the boys department, and now even those aren't loose enough to accommodate her needs.)  


Now she's in that awkward stage where kid sizes are too small and adult sizes are too big.  It's been a challenge.  I was really sad when she outgrew a couple of my favorite brands.  But then I discovered some of them do adult sizes.  Like mother-daughter matching type stuff.  So, this gorgeous sunflower tunic that's close to perfect for Hannah is actually an XS adult top.  Having discovered a good fit for her, I'll be snagging some more of these the next time they pop up on Zulily.  


Up to more craziness in the school room.   


Those are toilet paper tubes, cut in half, and painted with tempera paint.


And a very stealthy proof of life photo of Jack, who hasn't been seen much on the blog recently.  

In-progress pictures

One of my classes has been learning about insect with their teacher, so I thought we'd do a bug craft in the library.  I put out the painted tubes, googley eyes, sticker eyes, pipe cleaners, scissors, black washi tape, black paint daubers, coffee filters, white glue, glue sticks, and tissue paper.  


I showed the kids 3 examples of bugs I'd made.  (There's a purple tube body under those coffee filter wings, even though you can't see it.)


But I told them they could do whatever they wanted.  They were actually super creative, and I feel like the craft was a success.  


Especially if the mess they left behind is any indication.  


Here's one of the K/1 class, student-completed puppy & bus pictures.  I like the idea of tying the book and craft together--although we don't have time to read the story, do the craft, and have checkout, all in the same visit.  


So it was story & checkout one visit; checkout & paint puppies one visit; and finally, cut out bus and glue puppy & bus to larger paper the third visit.  We reviewed the story at visits 2 & 3.  I'm hoping they can use the picture to tell their grown ups what happened in the story.  


The day I handed back their completed (and dry!) bus projects, we read a lion book.  


I've been cutting yarn during my TV time.  We'll be making lions next week, if all goes well.


I was outside and turned around to find Fiona watching me.  


We've dwindled down to a single library book being picked up from the city library.  Hannah needed this one for school.  Jack's class is currently reading Fahrenheit 451, and Katie's class is reading The Hobbit.  


This was a craft book project that Katie completed a couple weeks ago.  


"Mom?  Can you take a picture of this so I can throw it away?"  Okay then.  


Josiah was house sitting recently, and I think Fiona missed him.  He's her favorite.  


 She's a pretty little cat.  


The library white board is magnetic.  I took the Magnatiles to school and let the high schoolers play with them as one of the "stations" I did this week.  There were also a couple games, origami book & paper, and... 


The Thumbprint Drawing Book, which I set out with a stamp pad and some paper.  Some students produced drawings like this, similar to the ideas in the book, or even followed the book's tutorials to create exact copies of the examples shown.  


And one student went a bit further.  This was completely created from inkpad, fingerprints, and a black marker.  Obviously I'll be needing to provide more time for artsy expression.  


I had to fire up Crikey to cut out a bazillion yellow circles for lion faces, so I pulled out a few baby things I had socked away for Kasen.  


I Crikey-ed up a couple bibs and an orange sleeper.  


The color on this is horrible, that's red on royal blue.  I used a heart for the period.  


And this is where I struggled.  The longest word is 2.6".  Weeding this was a challenge to my eyesight.  Pulling off everything *except* the words from the fronting (like backing, only on the front) when my Crikey's knife is getting dull...  Tiny green on green not quite cut madness.  I'm really happy it turned out well, and I'm making a mental note not to attempt anything that little again.  


Snagged during a recent FaceTime.  Lil guy is adorable, and the big guy is smitten, which I think is adorable, too.  


I put out bookmarks for the students to take during checkout for all the classes from 3rd grade up.  Which means we go through a lot of bookmarks.  So I've been scouring the 'net for free ones.  Sometimes government websites have them in the teaching resources.  I also put out a request in a Facebook group for authors, publishers, and book reviewers, and that's where this pile came from.  NASA has some great printable ones, but my new printer is lousy, and printed them with stripes that shouldn't be there.  


Oh, the sacrifices my kids have made for this library!  Kellogg's is doing a promotion giving away free books with the purchase of specially marked packages.  So my kids are eating Froot Loops and other random Kellogg's products to do their part.  


Miss Fiona climbed right into my lap one day.  


I thought I had killed the plant Sam gave me for Mother's Day.  I'm terrible about killing plants.  But I started watering it regularly, and it came back.  I'm so happy to see it blooming again!  


Jack Jack participated in a charity shoot yesterday.  He had a great time, which made me happy for him.  


I zapped Zach some Amazon money for his birthday, and he sent me a picture of the hat he used it on.  With a little Kasen love thrown in on the side.  

Whew!  That's all for this week.  We're heading back to Shriners next week, hoping for big progress on Hannah's new leg, and maybe an ankle cover for Katie.