Republican Politicians are Coyotes

Wolves and Sheep Frame_2I feel like more and more the GOP is just redundant. So long as there are Democrats, what, exactly, is the point of the Republican political animal?

When wolves were re-introduced to Yellowstone Park, one of the very first things they did is go around finding all the coyote dens and killing all the coyotes they found there. They did this because wolves have no use for coyotes. They recognize that coyotes are just liteweight wannabe wolves, competing for food and space that the wolves want, while doing absolutely nothing in the ecosystem that wolves or some other lower predator don’t already do.

The Republican Party has been in the control of the coyotes for far too long, and they are not interested in serving the interests of anybody but their fellow coyotes, with the occasional raw steak tossed to the wolves in the hopes that the wolves will be placated and will let them live.


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I’m sure you’ve seen this

But if you skip to about the 1:07 mark- from the moment that slim and trip ankle and foot comes into view:

To the point where that middle character turns and gives the little finger gun kaching- well.

When it first came out, a friend sent me the link and said, “Who does this remind me of?”

And I recognized my son immediately. Immediately.

That hair stroke? I am his mother and I am not allowed to touch the hair once it’s done.

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Good Enough

Don’t let life pass you by while you attempt to design the perfect schedule, the perfect activity, the perfect anything. Things do not have to be perfect. It’s hard for perfectionists to believe, but one can just do them.

I let my garden go unplanted for two years because I didn’t have my perfect plan laid out. My mother moved near by and came over and just planted seeds, willy-nilly, one day- and you know what? THEY GREW! Even without my plans and organization and perfectly laid out companion planting program. Now, it is true that the garden we got was not as good as my imagined plan would have been if I’d ever gotten it done, but it was a long sight better than my unfulfilled plan was! The tomatoes we got to eat were ever so much tastier than the tomatoes, peas, broccoli, and cilantro that were only sketched out on my graph paper.

I was so surprised when her plants just went ahead and grew without my lovely plan, and we still got yummy tomatoes and delicious spinach.=)

The rest of life is like this. Some planning is necessary, but it’s more important to actually do stuff than to get the plan just right.

do stuff

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One way to schedule

clockThere are many. I have probably used them all. Here’s one method I used for a while:

I set the timer for each subject and we quit when the timer rang, whether or not we got as far as I thought we should have.  Then the next time we came to that topic, we started where we left off.

We worked progressively through the material, but we did not have a rigid schedule for how many pages we had to cover each time we opened the book.

The timer might seem a little bit like artificially replicating one of the worst parts of the public school system, and it certainly could have devolved to that. In my case, setting the timer for our short lessons back in those days was incentive- to me as well as the children- to really pay attention, focus, and prioritize.

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Great Frugal Advice

This is really good advice:

Instead, I try to get people to think of things in 10-year chunks at a minimum and then move on to a lifetime perspective. For example, spending $100 per week on restaurants equates to a $75,000 hit to your wealth every ten years, compared to keeping that money and just investing it in a conservative way.

I feel like the savings part we really have down- even when we are not remotely frugal (we’re eating out way too often these days), we at least don’t food ourselves into thinking we were frugal because we used a coupon when we ate out, or when we bought those frozen pizzas. We could still make better choices.

If you have credit card debt, you should feel like your hair is on fire. You shouldn’t be eating anything beyond baked potatoes and tap water or doing anything besides working overtime and sleeping until you get out of that emergency. I’ve never been that frugal myself, but that’s because I have never gotten into credit card debt.

Where we are failing ourselves though, is the investment arena.

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Homeschooling Several Ages

index card files, vintage illustrations of children at playDo you teach the younger after you finish with the older ones, or first thing in the morning while the older ones do chores or read?

This is something that will largely have to be determined by your own family dynamics. In general, I would say it’s probably best
to do some special things with the little fellows first filling up their love buckets while the olders do their morning chores, grooming, or subjects they don’t need your help with (copywork, memorization, etc). It might help if you can get a routine going- something I was absolutely terrible at doing, so this is somewhat of a do as I say, not as I did.
Here’s what I mean-
-Set things up so that the older children know what they are supposed to do as far as morning chores and grooming.
-One or two school subjects they should begin with and do independently
-Then set out something a little different a few mornings to keep things varied:

  • A poem ready to listen to outloud from libravox, and a direction to sketch a picture of something the poem makes them think of.
  • A map of somewhere they’ve been reading about for them to label, colour, trace. Or a map card for Geosafari.
  • Set the microscope up with a glass side already for them to look at and ask them to sketch what they see.
  • A Bible verse to look up, and then copy.
  • A math page with just 5 problems on it for them to do.
  • A science experiment they can do independently. I have a shared a few on the blog, as well as links to other sites you might find helpful.

While the older children are doing their chores and morning grooming (teeth, hair, getting dressed)- which may well be something you have to supervise and oversee and remind them to continue diligently- do something with the youngers. Feed them, play with them, get them dressed, snuggle, read, romp.

Then, just before the older children are ready to do schoolwork with your closer involvement, get the youngers set up as much as you can with something else- blocks to stack, seashells and pinecones to sort, balls to roll (give them some empty water bottles to knock down with the ball).


interruptions there will be

I’m not saying this will work beautifully and without a hitch. It won’t. There will be interruptions, lack of cooperation, whining, stubbornness, laziness- and the children might misbehave, too. But it will go better than it might if you don’t have some sort of plans in place, and overtime, if you are steady in your efforts, things will improve.  It takes time, and remember to keep an eye on things.  Do not expect what you don’t inspect.

You can also rotate the older children so that one of them is playing with the younger children while you are doing something with the other older children/child. I did this for a time when our youngest two were a baby and toddler who were into everything. It helped a lot if I actually assigned the older children specific things to do with their younger siblings- and these assignments were based on the older children’s abilities and talents.

Examples: One child was asked to sing one or two folk songs with the littles (Old McDonald, Hokey Pokey, Itsy Bitsy Spider), another to color or string beads on pipe cleaners (easier than stringing on string), two were sent to take the little ones out in the backyard, another child might read a book or play ring around the rosey. I have at least 101 things you or your older children can do with younger children in the index card files category on the blog.

In addition, try varying the lessons so that you alternate topics that require intense mom with scholar time with things you can all do together- hymns, folk songs, nature walks, listening to poetry or classical music, picture study, Bible stories.

Slow and steady progress, that’s the goal.

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Recently Cooked:

Tortellini Soup

Tortellini Soup

Thai Style Pork & Noodles

Thai Style Pork & Noodles

more sushi

more sushi



2015-02-09 18.03.33

Golden, crispy, chicken

Golden, crispy, chicken

chicken over cous cous and roasted broccoli

chicken over cous cous and roasted broccoli

salmon quesedillas

salmon quesedillas

2015-02-12 17.53.08

curried salmon patties

curried salmon patties

croquettes from leftover salmon quesedilla filling

croquettes from leftover salmon quesedilla filling

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The “God hates gays” cake

…was a figment of the media imagination, or more likely, a deliberate fudging of the truth.

Bill Jack asked the bakery shop for two cakes, each in the shape of an open Bible.

He wanted the first cake to say “God hates sin- Psalm 45:7″ on one page and the facing page would say “Homosexuality is a detestable sin- Leviticus 18:22″

Then the second cake would say “God loves sinners,” and the opposite page would say, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us- Romans 5:8″

That’s apparently too nuanced for the press.

Marjorie Silva, owner of the baker that refused to make these cakes for him said he did NOT ask for cakes saying “God hates gays,” and she thought it  was weird that the news-stories about it had pictures of cakes with that wording, since that’s not what he asked for.

Marvin Olasky explains how he believes this happened- although you have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing.

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Air Pressure in a medicine syringe (or a turkey baster)

air pressure medicine dropper 2Use a turkey baster or, even better, a medicine syringe (not the kind with a needle, but like this Oral Medication Syringe , and play around with it.
Pull water up, push it out. What do you have to do first before you can get any water into the syringe? If you pull the syringe up half way before you try to draw in water, can you fill it up? How far can you fill it.
Why do you need to press it all the way down in order to fill it up with liquid? What’s happening when you press the syringe (or squeeze the bulb) all the way?
What makes the liquid fill up the syringe?

Another way to think about air pressure: It really is a good deal like the way mud comes up between your toes when you are barefoot. Your foot is pressing on the mud all around except in the spaces between your toes, and so the mud is forced up into these spaces. The air pressure on the water is like your foot on the mud, and the space in the medicine syringe is like the space between your toes. Since wherever there is air it is pressing hard, the only space into which it can force water or anything else is into a place from which all the air has been removed, like the inside of medicine syringe (or turkey baster).

If you have both a turkey baster (a giant bulb syringe) and a medicine syringe, use them both. What’s different about the way they work?

With the medicine dropper, why doesn’t the water just fall back out when you are not pulling on the plunger?

Is there a difference between the medicine dropper and the bulb syringe that makes the water stay inside of one better than the other?

The medicine syringe has a better seal, so no air is getting in the top at all. Also, with the medicine syringe, the hole in the bottom is too small to let the air squeeze up past the water, and therefore no air can take the place of the water that might otherwise run out. The seal of most turkey basters is just loose enough to allow air to seem in at the top, and the air presses the water down.

(some of the above wording taken from COMMON SCIENCE, NEW-WORLD SCIENCE SERIES Edited by John W. Ritchie)


More in this series on The Common Room Blog

Air Pressure, and Charlotte Mason Science in the early years

Air Pressure: Lawn Mowers and Straws

Air Pressure, suction cups, juice cans, and water glasses upside down

Air pressure: eye droppers, canning jars, sea of air, more

syringes, squirt guns, turkey basters

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At Dinner Last Night

This is not a verbatim conversation, just an approximation:

Little Bro: I’ve been thinking about when I was little, and sometimes I got in trouble for outing myself, and I don’t think that’s fair. If somebody confessed, you should have shown mercy.

Big Sister: they did show mercy for confessions. You didn’t confess, though, did you? You just talked too much, like usual, and accidentally gave yourself away and got caught. That’s not confessing. That’s being dumb.

Little Bro: yeah, but it was an accident.

Mama: Exactly. You think you got in trouble for being naughty, but actually, you were suffering the consequences of being both naughty and stupid.

Little Bro: But it was only accidentally stupid.

Papa: Don’t discount the dangers of stupid, son, especially accidentally stupid. There’s a whole lot of stupid around-

Big Sister: Yeah. About 6 foot 3 of it.

Little Bro: 6’4″ I’ve grown.

Family: (collective smirks)

Little Bro: Wait. Arrgh.

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