Tuesday, December 30, 2008
1) Look back to your archives for 2008.
2) Collect the first sentence you wrote every month for the whole year. (This doesn't have to be the literal first day of the month--just the first post.)
3) Entertain us on your blog, link back here, and post a comment here with the link to your blog. (And if you're blogless, just remember the first sentence you spoke every month for the whole year and post it here.)
Join in the fun at Small World!
I didn't start my Island Academy blog until April, so mine is a shortened version:
4/21 : I've been blogging for a couple of years now to keep family and friends up-to-date while we're living so far from "home".
5/1: One year ago today, we arrived in Alaska.
6/2: We have a new addition to our family - a baby girl named Victoria Rose.
7/1: I am trying to decide what to do with my recent picky eaters.
8/1: Kate spent a very wet, but enjoyable week at camp.
9/1: We start school in the morning.
10/1: Today we continued our poetry study by writing our own limericks.
11/1: To have some fun during our solar solar system studies, I purchased a home planetarium.
12/1: Outside my window...darkness.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
FOR TODAY December 29th 2009...
Outside my window...bitter cold. I can't even see through some of my windows because they are covered in ice!
I am thinking... (I just noticed that I skipped "I am thinking" when I posted this earlier. I suppose I haven't been all here today!)
I am thankful for...my husband who will soon be coming home to visit!!
From the learning rooms...We are trying to get as much done as we can so that we can take time off when Andy gets here.
From the kitchen...pancakes for breakfast. Whatever I can scrounge out of the cupboards/freezer for lunch and dinner. Grocery shopping tomorrow :)
I am wearing...jeans, t-shirt, hooded sweater, winter boots
I am creating...absolutely nothing. I'm on a creative strike.
I am going... to a doctor appt today(I think I have pink eye - YUCK!) and grocery shopping tomorrow
I am reading...Tapestry of Grace teacher's notes on Ancient Americas
I am hoping...that my eye gets better. It doesn't look very good :(
I am hearing...my kids playing upstairs.
Around the house...I will try to get things cleaned up before Andy gets here (not that it's a total mess or anything) but the floors and bathrooms could use some cleaning.
One of my favorite things...extra sleep!
A few plans for the rest of the week:Staying inside and trying to keep warm. The forecast says that it could get down to negative 50 by this Saturday. Time to hibernate!
Here is picture thought I am sharing...
We are always so busy and out of the house almost every day of the week. It's hard to stop what you're doing and find a bathroom in 2 minutes or less (and especially hard when you have 5 kids and it's 20 below zero out!)
So, I gave up for a while, but I've known that he was ready.
This week is a slow one. We are doing schoolwork (because Andy will be home soon and we want to spend some much-needed time with him!), but there are no classes or meetings to attend. Besides a trip to the grocery store, I don't think that I will be going anywhere. It's almost negative 40 degrees out this entire week anyway - and who wants to leave the house when it's that cold? Definitely not me!
So, this seemed like the right time. I put him in underwear right when he woke up.
At first, I couldn't get him to wear just one pair. He was so excited, that he thought he needed to wear about 5 pairs at a time. This would not make for quick bathroom trips :) I finally talked him out of that and I'm happy to say that he has gone about 10 times in his little mini-man urinal! We did have one major accident though and he was very uncomfortable. Thank God for wood floors.
Let's hope that I succeed this time and I get a diaper-free little boy by the end of the week!
Student at Blue Island High School Doing a Math Problem in "Boolean" Algebra
I have always dreaded that I would pass on my indifference for math to my children.
I'm not horrible at math. I made it through pre-calculus. I use it when I need to.
But I have never enjoyed it. It has always been a necessary evil in my mind. Something that has to be done, but isn't pleasant.
Ellie is really struggling this week. We are using Horizons 4 and she's about halfway through it. She understands the concept of division and she was doing fine until we started using larger digits (ie. 23,457 divided by 46) I know that it's going to just take some time and practice, but today was very frustrating for both of us. She needs to go through many more problems before the whole process becomes second nature. The problem is that she's too frustrated to sit and do tons of long division problems at at time. Today's math lesson took 4 times longer than normal. Whew, am I glad that she finally finished!
I know that one of the things that is confusing her is that she isn't keeping her numbers in neat enough rows. That is SO important when you're dividing by huge numbers. Some of her problems are halfway down the page by the time she is done - when they aren't in neat rows, it's all a jumble and she makes a silly mistake.
I guess I don't have any questions. I'm just voicing my frustrations and hoping that we get through this bump in her math studies :)
Friday, December 26, 2008
Is it really almost 2009? A year flies by so quickly. Sometimes I look back and say - what did I actually accomplish? I didn't have many goals in 2008. Having another baby and preparing for my husband's deployment were about all that I could handle getting done. I have my sights set higher this year and I expect more of myself. Here are some of the many things that I would like to accomplish in 2009:
1. To finish this school year by the beginning of May.
2. To spend May and June COMPLETELY preparing for the next school year (having lesson plans entered into Homeschool Tracker, worksheets/coloring pgs printed and in a binder etc.) so that we can start in July. I know, schooling through the summer doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but when Andy comes home in Sept, we would like to have a bunch of time off together!!
3. I have a rubbermaid full of genealogy documents (census pgs, newspaper clippings etc.) that I have not yet entered into my program. I WILL get them entered in and filed into my filing cabinet this year. Then, I can continue with my research...
4. I will get back into shape!! I will get myself up early and get on that treadmill every single day. Even when I don't want to do it.
5. I will work hard to get some of our bills paid off. We are making extra money while Andy is deployed and I want to make sure that his hard-earned money is being spent wisely :) We will soon have our vehicle payed off!!
6. I will take some time to myself every once in a while!! And I will try desperately not to feel guilty getting a babysitter.
7. To get Lexie reading fluently so that she can do much more of her schoolwork independently.
8. To start preschool with Nick this summer.
11. To get things growing in the greenhouse. It has just worked out to where one spring we were moving in and the next I was having a baby. This year, I would like to take the time to grow some things in our greenhouse.
12. I am thinking about making myself a reading list so that I have a stack of books I can work my way through this year. I never seem to have quite enough time to read as much as I would like.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
I now have 2 blogs, I'm on Facebook (which is really cool by the way!), I have cataloged my home library online (no Dewey decimal system though) and I actually own an ipod. Am I just keeping up with the times, or have I in fact reached a new level of nerdiness?
I don't know how I ever lived without the ipod. I have every song I own on it (over 5,000!) along with a couple of movies and TV shows and I still have TONS of room. I now have it set up to where I can plug it in to the radio in my truck - which is so much cooler than toting around CDs. It also plugs into my treadmill so that it plays through the treadmill's speakers. And since our portable DVD player died, I bought a new one that (you guessed it) my ipod actually plugs into. I can play the movies from my ipod on the DVD player. How cool is that?
Now if only I could figure out how to check my email on my phone. I'm still at a loss there....
I guess that gives me something to strive for.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
It marks the shortest day in the year. In most other places we have lived, we haven't even paid any attention to the solstice, but in Alaska it's a big deal. :)
Here in Fairbanks, the sun rose at 10:58 and it will set at 2:40. That makes for one very quick day. The darkness has really been getting to me lately. It has completely thrown off my internal clock. Now, day by day, we will get more sunlight until we reach the Summer Solstice (when it barely gets dark!). Talk about the land of extremes! I do better in perpetual sunshine than in this abysmal darkness though.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Today was the End-of-Semester Gymnastic Rec Meet (ie. not competitive). It was a chance for the girls to show off the skills they have learned over the past few months. The seating was crowded, but I plopped myself down on a comfy gym mat and melted into it for the next 2 hours. Nick fell asleep on me (thankfully, because he was cranky), Lexie sat next to me, and Tori stayed in her car seat for 2 whole hours without making a peep (and she was awake!). She is an amazingly good baby - it only took 5 tries to get one :)
I really wish that I was able to get better pictures, but a combination of factors (poor lighting, no flash photography allowed, and a 2 yr old clinging to me) led to a bunch of blurry shots. These are the best that I got.
I was very proud of the girls and how well they did. Ellie got 4 blue ribbons and Kate got 1 blue and 3 red! I think that Ellie is going to have to move up a level to be challenged, but I desperately wanted to keep the girls in the same class (for my sake of course). We'll see what happens...
Kate was nervous and sat and chewed on her nails almost the entire time - such a bad habit!! I suppose I will have to get her to stop somehow. She does it without thinking though. (see the top photo - I have about 10 of them with her chewing her nails!)
And now, it's a relaxing couple of weeks off from dance, gymnastics, art, and Girl Scouts. And a much-needed one I might add! :)
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thanks so much Christine for your wonderful box from Korea! It was a fun geography lesson this week. We had so much fun tasting different things and trying to figure out what they are! Ginseng, ginger, and other flavors that they are not familiar with.
The kids came to the conclusion that if that was what candy is like in Korea, they must have very skinny people :) I think they liked the ginger the best - and the one that tasted like the berries from some kind of cereal (I couldn't put my finger on it).
We had fun shopping for some "Alaska" stuff this week to send your way. It's all packed up and ready to go - as soon as I can get myself to the post office again :) It definitely won't be there before Christmas though!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
This week I want to invite you to share one of your favourite winter treats. A treat you look forward to making when the snow falls and include the recipe for it so others can try it out.
This is a recipe I got from my mom. I only make it at Christmas time, so I think of it as a Winter Treat. I am not sure if this was a family recipe passed down or not (I have Swedish and Norwegian roots), but I enjoy making it nevertheless :)
Ingredients (split between dough, topping, and frosting):
1 c. flour, 1/2 c. butter or margarine (chilled), 2 Tbsp ice water
1 c. water, 1/2 c. butter or margarine, 1 c. flour, 3 eggs, 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 c. powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp butter or margarine (softened), 1/2 tsp. almond extract, 2-3 Tbsp. milk or cream, sliced almonds for topping
Measure flour and put into bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut 1/2 c butter into flour until particles are the size of a pea. Sprinkle with water, mixing lightly with a fork until flour mixture is moistened and a soft dough forms. Divide dough in half. On an ungreased cookie sheet, press each 1/2 into a 12"X3" strip.
In a medium pan, heat water and 1/2 c. butter to boiling. Remove from heat and immediately stir in 1 c. flour until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in 1/2 tsp. almond extract. Spoon mixture over crust, spreading to 3/4" from edges. Bake 50-60 minutes. Cool.
Blend frosting ingredients until smooth. Frost cooled kringler and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Here is a not-so-fabulous picture of some that I made last year. Doesn't look so impressive, but I assure you that it tasted really good and that is all that counts! You notice that one of the loaves is already gone.....
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Virtual Volcanoes. You get to create and erupt your own volcano! This one is so cool!
Volcanoes on Video. The Discovery Channel has a nice variety of different volcano-related videos.
Virtual Supervolcano See what lies beneath Yellowstone National Park.
Here are directions on how to make your own Baking Soda Volcano. These are the instructions we used in making our volcano today.
Here is the video of our eruption. I think she poured in a bit too much vinegar! I only had cake icing dye and not food coloring. Maybe that is why our lava turned out pink instead of red?? The kids still had a BLAST doing it!!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Above is Kate's picture of the family working together to clean the house. Kate is checking off the checklist of responsibilities that everyone has.
They drew their pictures and then watched the movie Adventures from the Book of Virtues: Responsibility, featuring King Alfred and the Cakes and other Great Stories.
Affirmation: "I am responsible. I give my best to all that I do and keep my agreements. I welcome both praise and correction for my actions."
FOR TODAY: December 15, 2008...
Outside my window... the small amount of daylight that we get at this time of year is creeping in the window. It's not much.
I am thinking... that I can't wait for summertime!
I am thankful for...the fact that no one is throwing up anymore. (We had a long day yesterday).
From the learning rooms...Ancient Africa, Volcanoes
From the kitchen...nothing interesting unfortunately. Maybe I'll put a loaf of bread in the bread machine :)
I am wearing...athletic pants, a T-shirt, and tennis shoes. I'm prepared to jump on the treadmill at a moment's notice. Let's hope that moment comes :)
I am creating... a dvd of picture memories
I am going...nowhere today - thankfully we have a day to spend at home.
I am reading... decorating magazines that my secret sister sent me. Thank you!
I am hoping...that we are able to get ahead on schoolwork today.
I am hearing...Nick playing with his trains, Lexie going upstairs for a drink of water, and Tori making silly baby noises while sitting in her high chair.
Around the house...I need to tidy up my desk area and file the kids schoolwork. I have neglected it for way too long.
One of my favorite things...my new portable dvd player. I watched a chick flick in bed last night and it was so incredibly relaxing.
A few plans for the rest of the week:Ellie is in a Christmas dance show 3 times this week. I can't wait to see her perform!
I just wanted to share a cool website we found while we were studying caves.
The Virtual Cave : "From the comfort of your keyboard, browse the wonders of the underground! As a caver and photographer for over 35 years, I've collected images from caves all over the world. This site tells the story of caves in words and pictures: what's in them and how it got there. Because caves are so diverse, I've split them into four underground realms. Grab three sources of light, a helmet, some sturdy boots, and your mouse, and have fun exploring - there's LOTS to see! Please treat all caves with respect as these fragile formations are easily damaged. Our motto is: "cave softly and leave no trace of your visit."
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Happy Birthday, Roses
The miles that separate us are great, but I'm there in spirit :)
1. You will be such a fantastic mom someday. You and Dan just got married this summer, so I'm not trying to hint that you rush anything (although you know that I desperately want to be an aunt!). When you do finally decide that you are ready to become parents, I know that you'll be the greatest! You have such a wonderful way with kids. You seem to become one of them and they know that you are a kindred spirit.
2. You have always been a great sister. Even when I was mean and told you that Mom and Dad found you under a rock - (or was it a cow patty?) and that they were kind enough to adopt you, you still followed me around and looked up to me. Why? I'm not quite sure. (I'm so sorry!)
You are so brilliantly artistic. Somehow, you got a double dose of the artsy fartsy genes. I honestly think that you stole my share! You have painted beautiful murals on my walls. You make glass beads by hand. You can sew your own ball gowns. Sometimes I'm jealous, but mostly I'm just proud to claim you as my sister :) P.S. If you do indeed have my share of artistic genes, could you please return them? Otherwise, when are you going to come and paint my house again? I have some very blank walls.
4. You are passionate about your job. I know that you don't get paid nearly enough for the amount of hours that you put in, but I can tell that you truly love what you do and I think that is more important. I know that you sincerely care about the students that come into your gym. Come on, who would want to learn Russian just to read articles to better educate yourself in your field?
5. You have never cared too much about what other people thought. Remember when you decided to shave part of you head? Wait, you did that more than once :) You have always been very comfortable just being yourself and I find that very refreshing.
6. You can't spell and you write like a boy. No, I'm not trying to tease you. You got the artistic genes and I must have gotten the spelling and handwriting genes. I have fond memories of proofreading your papers and fixing all of your spelling mistakes :)
7. You are a homebody. You would much rather be at home hanging out than out on the town.
8. You are so strong and athletic. You have always been so strong - even as a kid. I am quite the wimp compared to you....
9. You follow your dreams. You followed your dreams all the way to the Olympic Trials. I am so proud of you for sticking with it and training for all of those years! It took a lot of sacrifice and I know you were living off of practically nothing for a number of years.
10. You look cute in a kilt. I love to watch you compete in the Highland Games. You amaze me with your strength and skill. I would NEVER be able to do the caber toss!
11. You are always such a good sport. You are competitive, but not ruthless :) You are always cheering everyone else on and you're never a sore loser.
12. You've been such a good big sister to our brothers. I know that I joined the Air Force and moved away when you were still in High School and the boys were still in Elementary school. I have felt bad that I wasn't around to be a good big sister. You were there for them and I can see that you guys still have a special bond.
13. You are goofy.
14. You are beautiful.
15. You have always had such a vivid imagination. I can still recall teasing you for having imaginary friends (Cookanani and Charm). They annoyed me and I sat on them when they were on the swing set. I'm sorry for squashing your friends.
16. You are so "low-maintenance" and easy to please. Lucky Dan! I think that you and I can both fall into this category of not being extremely demanding and not requiring excessive amounts of pampering.
17. You are confident.
18. You are such a hard worker. You have always put your all into every job and task you have had in front of you. People want to work with you because they know that you will give it your all.
19. You are friendly. You could befriend anybody with your smile and your easygoing attitude :)
20. You are creative. You are anything but boring.
21. You were there for me on my wedding day.
22. You are a great aunt! Man, my kids love you - and miss you!!
23. You have always been so brave! I still remember the time you chased me around the yard with a chicken eyeball. (That was very cruel of you, I might add) You'd do well on "Fear Factor".
24. You make me laugh.
25. You can do anything you set your mind to. Whether it's welding or sewing, if you decide it's something you want to do, you learn how. I have always admired that about you.
26. You survived the 80s with me :) We made it through legwarmers, jelly shoes, and ratted hair and have lived to tell the tale.
27. You are a great coach. I know that all of your athletes look up to you for guidance and help. You are a great motivator. I need you to come and be my personal trainer...
28. You have triangle nostrils and I think that is so cool :) Ok, I promise that it's not because I couldn't think of 30 things. I think it's cool that you are unique :)
29. You are a great wife, I just know it!! I'm sure you can back me up on this one Dan :)
30. You have finally joined me in the 30s :) Welcome - it's not so bad!!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
For more information on St. Lucia's Day:
Lucia's Day in Sweden
Friday, December 12, 2008
The moon is full and absolutely amazing tonight. I wish that I could have gotten a good picture of it, but I have not yet mastered the art of night time photography. The picture I took was through the trees outside of my house.
Here is what the NASA site has to say about tonight's moon:
It's no illusion. Some full Moons are genuinely larger than others and this Friday's is a whopper. Why? The Moon's orbit is an ellipse with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other: diagram. In the language of astronomy, the two extremes are called "apogee" (far away) and "perigee" (nearby). On Dec. 12th, the Moon becomes full a scant 4 hours after reaching perigee, making it 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser full Moons we've seen earlier in 2008.
This is both the brightest and (in the northern hemisphere) the highest-riding full Moon of the year. If you go outside around midnight it will be close to overhead and act like a cosmic floodlamp making the landscape absolutely brilliant, especially if there's snow. Full moons are always high during winter and, indeed, the solstice is right around the corner on Dec. 21st.
We have been busy studying Ancient China for the past couple of weeks. Ellie has decided that she is going to be the archaeologist who gets to Qin Shi Huangdi's tomb :)
We got Chinese take-out one night (I wasn't up for trying to make it myself). We have listened to the sections on China on the Story of the World CDs. We watched some Chinese children's videos and learned to count to ten. We used the book Long is a Dragon and practiced writing Chinese calligraphy. I just wish we were still in Monterey, so that we could take a drive up to Chinatown!
Andy and I were both born in the year of the dragon (but in different years). Ellie in the year of the rabbit, Kate - horse, Lexie - monkey, Nick - dog, and Tori - rat. They had fun with that :)
Here are some helpful websites:
Highlights Kids Story on the Terra-Cotta Army of Emperor Qin.
Here you can draw Chinese characters and print them out!
Get a Chinese name.
This website is full of Power point presentations, activities, and information on Ancient China (including the above 2 activities). When I looked at it further, I realized that the China section was only a very small portion of the entire site. The main page has many different topics and it looks like it will be very helpful!! It is called Pete's Power Point Station.
Here are some of the books we used in our studies:
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Chores. Unfortunately, they have to be done.
The kids have a list of things that they are supposed to get done before we start schoolwork in the morning. It includes both hygiene stuff and a few chores (ie. making their bed, putting their dirty laundry in the hamper, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning up the dining room table, wiping the counters, doing a check of the bathroom to make sure it is presentable etc.)
Then we usually take a short break during the day where we work on one thing - laundry, mopping floors, cleaning clutter, cleaning out the truck etc.
They have a list of things that need to be done before bed also.
Just last week, I found a great website called Handipoints. There is a free portion to the site, where you can set up chore lists for each child and print them out. There are preset chores/responsibilities, or you can enter in your own. The kids earn a certain amount of points for every thing listed.
There are two types of points - Handipoints are saved towards specific goals which you set up (ie. game time with mom, $5, a new book etc.). They can see what they are working towards. You can choose a number of items so that they can pick which one they would like. This is all free.
The second type of points earned are bonus points. For a monthly fee, your child can use these accumulated points in "Handiland", much like Webkinz world. They have a cat that they can dress, decorate their room etc.
We have only been doing this for a little over a week, but it has really motivated the kids to get their stuff done. They like having a list in front of them to check off. Then they know what is expected of them and I don't have to remind them as much :)
Monday, December 8, 2008
It's parent observation week at dance classes again. Where did the semester go?]
Sign ups are in a few weeks and we have some decisions to make. I know that I don't want to be as busy as we have been the past few months. I'm ready to slow down a bit. That being said, I don't want to quit too many activities either. It's cold here and the kids aren't getting any exercise outside. As much as I hate leaving the house so much, I also want to make sure that they are getting enough exercise.
It was hard trying to take pictures and keep track of Nick and keep Tori happy at the same time, but I think I did okay. I got a few cute pics :)
FOR TODAY : December 8, 2008
Outside my window...Snow, snow, and more snow.
I am thinking... that I wish my conversation with Andy had gone better this morning. His internet connection was bad and I felt like I was talking to Max Headroom on the webcam :) We couldn't even get a full sentence out to each other. At least I got to see him though.
I am thankful for...a good night's sleep - finally
From the learning rooms...still working on Ancient China and the Earth.
From the kitchen...cinnamon rolls for breakfast this morning.
I am wearing...jeans and a pink shirt.
I am creating...not much today. Just trying to get schoolwork and some chores around the house done before classes.
I am going...to the girls' last dances classes. It's "parent observation week", so hopefully I'll be able to get some good pictures :)
I am reading...nothing. I haven't had much time to read this week.
I am hoping...that my feet feel better. I missed a step walking down the stairs yesterday and I landed on my big toe/side of my foot. It REALLY hurts this morning when I move it or walk.
I am hearing...a Thomas the Tank Engine video. I am trying desperately to keep Nick busy while the girls are working on their math.
Around the house...more presents to wrap, a couple of packages to get ready for the post office (not looking forward to waiting in line...)
One of my favorite things...taking pictures of the kids
A few plans for the rest of the week:I am hoping to take the kids to "Christmas in Ice" here in North Pole.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...
To read more entries, or to join in the fun:
Sunday, December 7, 2008
That is because Ellie is carrying the beautiful purse that she wanted to borrow.
She's the kind of girl that needs shorts on underneath :)
They got all dressed up and had a great time. Ellie has been inspired to work even harder in ballet, so that she can dance like that someday :) Next year, hopefully we'll be able to go as a family.
I loved the new dressed they got this year. I think because they aren't the normal red/black.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
...on scrapbooking. Not that I ever really scrapbooked. Does a wedding album and a baby book 9 yrs ago count? I have lots of scrapbooking stuff. The paper is pretty. I don't like to scrapbook though. I don't have the time or the space - or the patience for it :) So, I've officially thrown in the towel and opened up the drawers of paper and extra scrapbooks for the girls to use.
They were delighted and dove right in. They each made their own little mini book tonight. Now that I take a closer look at their books though, they didn't really use much of the paper. They were happy enough cutting up pictures and putting them into the books. It kept them busy and quiet for over an hour. That's a miracle. :)
I now somehow feel a weight lifted. Sounds silly I know. I felt guilty having scrapbooking stuff and not using it. Now it is just part of the kids arts and crafts supplies.