Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Penny Log

Although it almost kills us to get to violin lessons on time, the reward for me is sitting quietly and reading the newspaper.  Our teacher's studio is at the college, where the local papers are provided free for students and visitors like me.  So at least I know the Wednesday news, which isn't much in the News Press.  But I feel slightly more adult and sometimes more informed. Today, I also picked up two pennies beside the newsstand!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Apples for the Cooking Class

Today I started another round of "Boys Can Cook" at 3:00 homeschool enrichment classes, followed by "Girls Can Cook" at 4:00.  The main element for my teaching success is choosing recipes that can be made and EATEN within the one hour session.  Our first week's theme was based on Johnny Appleseed's late September birthday, so we made Apple Cake, Apple Fritters, and Fried Apple Pies.  The fried apple pies were pretty amazing considering we don't eat junk food like that very often.  Those crispy edges from frying in lard made Paula Dean's recipe the class favorite.
Fried Apple Pies
2 T. butter
4 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. lemon juice
1 tube (large) refrigerated flaky biscuits
Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat. Then add apples, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Cook for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. (Or stir into can of apple pie filling the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.)
2. When the filling is cool, roll the biscuits out on a lightly floured surface so that each biscuit forms a 7 to 8-inch circle. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling on each biscuit circle. Brush the edges of the circle with water. Fold the circle over the filling to make a half-moon shape. Seal by pressing the edges with a fork.
3. Preheat deep-fryer with oil to 350' F. Carefully add the pies to the oil and fry until golden brown, turning the pies as necessary for even browning, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar immediately.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's Getting Easier

Dorito wrote his first essay for Ancient History (this is Week 6) today.  He pushed back from the computer and said, "There's 468 words in less than an hour."  I was more than slightly amazed. It's getting easier to homeschool him or else this boy is maturing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Starting with Plato & Homeschool Philosophy

Dorito may be slightly behind the accelerated homeschool schedule of his elder sister, but we are still tackling the worthwhile literature suggested by Kolbe Academy.  Therefore, tomorrow we begin our study of Plato.  I am actually excited to break open "The Dialogues of Plato" again--and this excerpt from C.S. Lewis explains why I homeschool this way.

"There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books. Thus I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation of Plato off the library shelf and read the Symposium. He would rather read some dreary modern book ten times as long, all about "isms" and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said. The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator. The simplest student will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism. It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire." read more... (~C.S. Lewis from his Introduction to "On the Incarnation" by Saint Athanasius).

Penny Log

Unlikely, I know.  There was a penny on the carpet in the back of church.  I am the last one to leave so it was another chance to say "In God We Trust."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wedding Music

Dorito and I played music together twice today.  This afternoon, we performed all the fiddle tunes we have for the "Treasures & Trash" outdoor market.  This evening, we played for a wedding at St. James Church.  I haven't played for a wedding on the organ for several years, so I spent 2-3 hours practicing the same three songs over and over.  Trumpet Voluntary and Mendelssohn's Wedding March are tough to navigate on an organ with the pedals added in.  Well, the wedding was beautiful: Dorito did excellently on Ave Maria, and I managed to have no mistakes that people could notice. (*sigh of relief*)

He's a Good Babysitter

Dorito took his third babysitting job in recent weeks--he likes little kids, especially families that have young boys in Suzuki violin.  He also likes playing video games with them and eating their leftover pizza.

Friday, September 24, 2010

John Wooden Quote

My dad's all-time hero was John Wooden, and he spoke often about his coaching methods and philosophies.  Sadly, the UCLA coach died in June, just four months shy of turning 100 years old.  His quotes are oft-repeated so I decided to post one today, as my twins begin their sixth hockey season:
"Talent is God-given. Be humble.
Fame is man-given. Be grateful.
Conceit is self-given. Be careful." 
  - John Wooden

Thursday, September 23, 2010

30 Million Word Gap

Meggar is using this research in her persuasive speech, and it was so compelling that I wanted to share it:  

"After decades of collaborating to increase child language vocabulary, Betty Hart and Todd Risley spent 2 1/2 years intensely observing the language of 42 families throughout Kansas City. Specifically, they looked at household language use in three different settings: 1) professional families; 2) working class; 3) welfare families. Hart and Risley gathered an enormous amount of data during the study and subsequent longitudinal follow-ups to come up with an often cited 30-million-word gap between the vocabularies of welfare and professional families by age three. This number came from the data that showed welfare children heard, on average, 616 words per hour, while children from professional families (essentially children with college-educated parents) heard 2153 words per hour. The longitudinal research in the following years demonstrated a high correlation between vocabulary size at age three and language test scores at ages nine and ten in areas of vocabulary, listening, syntax, and reading comprehension." For a summary of this 1995 study, click here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good Manners

Dorito said, "I gave him a good handshake like Dad taught us." (after meeting his new hockey coach and general manager).  Making a high school travel hockey team is quite an accomplish for our sophomore.  He is excited to give his all to the Jr. Outlaws.  And their upgraded locker room facilities helped sweeten the deal.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Penny Log

I found a penny at the grocery store parking lot today. It reminds me: "In God We Trust."

Hot and Cold Buckets

Grandpa Gerald's sage advice came back into play at our house.  Winger asked for hot and cold water buckets to soak his foot.  I guess the soreness was less afterwards as he seemed ready for another hockey practice.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Soccer Injury and Speech Topics

During the Jr. High game today, Winger was kicking away for a goal at close range, when the defender's kick met his at full strength/speed.  Ouch!  He went down in pain, and I was afraid he might have sprained his ankle (which would have ruined hockey practice at 7:45 tonight).  He was pretty sore, but after 5 minutes with ice on the top of his foot he went back in (because LaZers had no other subs).  They ended in a 4-4 tie; not bad for playing against an older team.  Meanwhile, Meggar was calling to tell me about getting her topic approved for the chance to quiz out of speech: "Why Read-Alouds are Important after Kids Are Old Enough to Read to Themselves."  My cell phone allows me to do two things at once so--I was particularly glad to be somewhat involved in her academic progress whilst watching the twins play soccer. Crossing my fingers for her speech on Thursday.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Youth Group Games (and New Saint)

Our youth group theme was the Beatification of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman in England--especially because it happened today.  It's not an everyday occurrence for a new saint to be named by the Church, and I wanted to take advantage by celebrating this current event!  We also played another fun game--Swat Bucket with pool noodles.  It wasn't as exhausting as Pillow Hockey was last week--but then Oleg lost his glasses in one of the swats, and I switched to a different game.  Lastly, everyone was excited to get their new T-shirts (thanks to Jacque for the design idea) which are blue and spell out our EDGE mission and our prayer.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

'Cats Play at Arrowhead

Captain treated Dorito to the K-State v. Iowa State football game today at Arrowhead Stadium. The 'Cats won 27-20!  Here's the two of them at the valet parking stand.  They reported having a very pleasant afternoon in the Herzog Suite, which has been remodeled.  Good food, good football, and good to have some father-and-son time!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Soccer in Topeka

The nice thing about playing soccer in Topeka is the chance to see Winger's godmother: Mrs. Kim and Captain's sister: Denise, who brought Elijah and watched both matches.  Dorito's Varsity team lost 1-5, and the JV team lost 2-5, but were more closely matched. Winger had a shot hit the post! and good passes all game. Polar Bear was frustrated when his two shots were saved by the goalie, who was an excellent player on the Varsity team, too.  Mrs. Kim and I caught up on career news since she was laid off in July.  Meanwhile, Captain and Denise shared family updates.  We had the best of both worlds: good conversations while watching the boys play.

The Papal Visit to London Today

We watched part of the live streaming today during school.
We are excited that John Henry Cardinal Newman will be beatified on my brother Carey's birth date this weekend.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Club: Suite Francais

I failed to mention my monthly highlight of meeting with book club ladies on Tuesday.  Our topic was more somber than usual as Irene Nemirovsky's book was written during World War II. This French woman was arrested herself in 1942 because her grandparents were Jews, although she and her husband had converted to Catholicism.  She died in Auschwitz that August. Her husband also died in the gas chambers. Her two daughters managed to remain hidden throughout the war, thanks to their governess. Irene was a well-known author in her day, but this handwritten manuscript was not found until a few years ago and published recently.  The book is incredibly well written, with many characters revealing the funny and frail limits of human personalities during the stress of living with war on your doorstep.  I only wish she could have finished it.  Universal Pictures acquired the screen rights this spring, but I think it would be better to make a film about Irene Nemirovsky.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chess Begins

The boys are taking Choir and Chess with our local homeschool group every Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Chance to Buy Baby Clothes

Cousin Charlie and his wife Kara have a new baby girl: Sophia Jade.  I bought them a cute onesie and hat.  It has a horse which Kara will love, PLUS it's pink!  I couldn't resist.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sarah Palin Speaks in KC

My other birthday gift was going to the Vitae Dinner tonight with keynote speaker Sarah Palin.  What a treat!  She is an awesome mother, and I must say she lives her life with conviction.  Captain and I have been monthly donors to the Vitae Foundation since 1997, but this was the best program by far.  The truth is beautiful.  The Catholic Key blog also has a good report.
My friend Alison just sent me this link from two years ago when we campaigned in front of Missouri Western State University before Joe Biden's speech.  My sign read: "Biden 0 Catholic" but only Winger, Dorito, and Becca made the newspaper.  I think this was right after McCain chose Palin to be his running mate.

She's a New Alpha Gam Girl

I spent a lot of time on the phone this weekend with Meggar as she went through Rush at Truman State.  Thursday night she went to three parties, and Friday night visited the other three sororities.  On Saturday, each girl was invited back to four parties, and Meggar got her #1, #2, #3, and #5 choices.  Great! But to narrow it down to 2 sororities was tough.  She said she spent a long time juggling them in her mind and talking to her recruitment counselor.  Sunday, she was so excited to be invited back to her top two!  I had fun listening to her explain the reasons:  matching dresses, good songs, philanthrophy projects, etc. She had to rank them--then today get her bid.  She was selected to pledge Alpha Gamma Delta, and it was her No. 1 choice! The Rushies all met to "run down the hill" and here's the picture.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Own Birthday

Captain bought me some Brighton sunglasses!  And I'm looking forward to Sarah Palin tomorrow.  Today's a Sunday so I also played the organ for mass and ran the EDGE Youth Group meeting.  Being with my family is the best blessing.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Little Soccer

The twins are back in soccer because they are Junior High now (so old!) and the games are no longer on the weekend so they don't interfere with hockey.  They like the competition, and their black-and-gold cleats which match their team colors.  This week, they won their first game 2-1, and here are the pre-game photos.  You should have seen Winger do a fake kick that pulled the goalie aside for an open-net score by his teammage!!  Cheer!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Big Money

Today, Captain spent $4.1 million.  His job is way bigger than mine. I only tackled 4 million homeschool words including geometry proofs of congruent polygons, Bible memory verse from Revelations, divisibility by fours, i before e, Penelope's faithfulness to Odysseus, 3rd declension Latin nouns, erosion, atoms, Truman trivia, violin E-flat scale, formatting a paper in Microsoft, mapping the Tigris River, a few scoldings and settled arguments, followed by reading aloud from "Just David."  TGIF!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Homemade Dessert

Boys are always hungry. We were out of pie, out of shortcake, out of brownies. Basically, the cook was taking a mid-week break. We still had ice cream and then I spotted a few bananas left from the bunch. So we started banana splits and everybody got involved. Captain wanted pecans on top. Polar Bear found whipped cream. Winger said "How about coconut?" which I love. And I even found a jar in the back of the fridge with maraschino cherries to put on top! Yummy!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Scaffold Crew

It's a lot like weight-lifting.  The boys formed a scaffolding crew today,  building and moving then rebuilding a platform for Captain to use for staining the house.  Dorito could barely lift each section alone, while the twins stabilized it and added the cross beams.  Polar Bear was good at refilling the sprayer.  Winger took the photo--Good thing Captain is not afraid of heights.  Two sides of the house are done now.  Part two of the house solution is nearly completed. Outdoor repairs can probably start soon.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pool Leaks

Finally, we were willing to drain the pool enough to check the lines for leaks.  Nothing leaking there, but the skimmers did have several cracks.  Even though they looked small to me, the pool repair man said they could actually leak significant amounts of water.  Some epoxy should do the trick for another year or two.  One problem solved, and two more to go.

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Best Friends

They used to say "Best Friends" when I was in school, then it changed to "Bestest Friends" when Meggar was in school, now it's called "Besties" for the twin's age group.  They both went with Bestie Jacque and her family to Schlitterbahn for the Labor Day holiday. Meggar dropped them off on her way back to college.  Her car was loaded up with a new featherbed topper, more fall clothes, grilled chicken kebabs, and two girlfriends (Liz and Paula needed a ride back to Kirksville).  The kebabs are for tomorrow.  Meggar is taking her turn to lead the freshman book discussion on the Kite Runner.  We made 18 marinated chicken kebabs with Malaysian peanut sauce to warm up for her classmates to sample.  The flavors are a super savory combination.  She also printed off information about cumin, cardamom, coriander, and ginger root plus took some for show-and-smell.  I love book clubs  discussions.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Working for Scouts

Dorito always helps his Scout Troop with community service projects: like trash duty at "Trails West" and the Lowe's Lunch Stand fundraiser.  Grandma says she can tell he's had leadership opportunities because he steps right in to help whenever all the family gets together for a meal.  What do you think of his cool shades?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Face of KSU at Our Tailgate Party

Perfect weather for a football game--and a tailgate party!  Grandma Judy marinated pork and beef in Fr. Leo's famous Fusion, and Gr. Gerald fired up his grill.  Uncle Carey brought all his kids.  Meggar wore her purple Truman shirt and sat with her suitemate Liz, whose father came to Manhattan for a Vet School reunion this weekend. But the best part of the day was Dorito's face paint.  He did purple and black with a white stripe down the middle!  And recreated it on both twins' faces, too.  Then Dorito topped it off with plastic purple spikey hair!! Awesome!  "If I had $1 for everybody who touched my hair today, I would be rich!" he said.  Never made it on ESPN though I tried to get the camera-men's attention.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lauren's Birthday & Meggar's Homecoming

Lauren got a pass from House of Hope and came to our house for her birthday #15.  It was too chilly to swim, so we shot off leftover fireworks.  The boys think its fun to scorch their t-shirts and write their names on the street with smoke bombs!  Fun. Earlier in the day, Winger said we should make a cake for Meggar coming home from college.  Of course, it also held the birthday candles for Lauren.  She told us about her mission trip to Haiti this summer and seemed very mature and together.  Meggar told us stories about Truman State until I was too tired to listen anymore. Then, she took the boys shopping at American Eagle. They know I would never take them there. Good to have their big sis at home!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Starting Suzuki Violin

Our first violin lesson of the fall term is today.  The twins are moving into Book 3--that's good progress.  And Dorito is nearly done with Book 4's concerto. He likes the Matza duets.  Polar Bear has a new violin student named Thad.  He is very sincere in his teaching style.  Winger's student has taken a summer break, and Dorito's student comes back next week from vacation.  So our schedule is starting to fill up.  Yet, it is easier to only have three children at home instead of four.  At bedtime, I sent the twins to separate showers and told Dorito to brush his teeth.  But I caught myself saying, "Now what time is Meggar going to be home? Oh yeah, she's at college."  And the whole bedtime routine went a little more quickly. Imagine that!