Monday, June 19, 2006

Angel Update

Angel (Mom and teacher at Adulai' Academy Homeschool) had her surgery on Thursday moring. I spoke to her Friday evening and she sounded much better and is enjoying being with family to recouperate. Thank you all for your prayers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Beware the Mother's Curse

You know the mother's curse "May you have children exactly like you." (Usually said to a child having a strong-willed, trouble-making period.) Sometimes the curse is restated "Wait until you have a child who (fill in annoying, embarrasing, toilsome, or destructive bahavior here)." Apparently, when I was about 10, my mother uttered this curse because today it was fulfilled.

When I was a kid, we spent a week every summer in a rental cottage in rural North Hero, Vermont on the shore of Lake Champlain. It was a long drive from Central New Jersey where I grew up... especially when sitting in the back of our little, brown Honda Civic with my sister and our fluffy, energetic Chow/ German Shepherd mix. Our visit every year coincided with the Champlain Valley Fair where we would go and ride carnival rides, watch tractor pulls, see farm animals and eat delicious but very unhealthy food. My sister and I often saved up quarters so that we could play the games of chance on the Midway and win cheap treasures that we could haul home to document our ring tossing or number picking prowess. Usually, we walked-away empty handed, but one year we captured the gold medal of the Midway... two live goldfish.

Winning two goldfish wouldn't appear on the surface to be that big of a deal. You take them home, dump them in a bowl, get some fish food and enjoy them until they move on to the big fishbowl in the sky. (Carnival-won goldfish aren't known for their life-expectancy.) However, when you win those goldfish while on vacation 8 hours from home, it becomes more problematic. This is how my mom got her new lettuce crisper. Who knew that Tupperware could be so versatile? Sometime while my sister and I took turns holding the temporary home of our new pets in our laps as we drove through New England or maybe while we were shopping for a tank, gravel, food and other fish paraphenalia, my mom must have muttered the "mother's curse" because today...

We went to our town's annual street fair. We started the celebration in the traditional fashion. We stopped for doughnuts and drinks to go at the grocery store then went to eat breakfast while waiting in line for the library's book sale to open. After buying two boxfuls of books (not our best haul, but some good buys nonetheless), we parked Buster (our new-to-us, fire engine-red Suburban) and proceeded to the fair. After walking the length of the main strip, getting faces painted and eating lunch, we told the kids that they could each pick two activities (depending on cost). Primo and Terzo opted immediately for the rides. Secondo wanted to play a game and win something. Quarto was content to take everything in from his position in the carrier on Frodo's back (not that he had much choice). Frodo got ride tickets for Primo and Terzo and waited with them while I took Secondo to find a game to play. Upon spying the inflatable clownfish on a booth (the international sign for "win a goldfish"), she made a bee-line for the booth. We paid for our basket of ping-pong balls, and Secondo went to work. After watching a few tosses followed by frustration at their not even reaching the table, I encouraged Secondo to throw underhand. The next few tosses reached the table, but bounced erratically due to the fact that they were amazingly misshapen. As I was pondering whether the deformed balls were purposefully left in the rotation because of their erratic tendencies, I watched as one of Secondo's balls collided with that thrown by a couple next to us. The deformities on the balls complimented each other in such a way that they locked together and dropped directly into the mouth of a markedly small goldfish bowl. "I won a fish!" Secondo screeched in my ear. Secondo carried her new charge, aptly christened "Goldie", with great pride and care as we made our way back to the rides then on to the car. This is why Frodo had to leave for his study time early today. So that he could pick up a fish bowl, food, and other fish paraphenalia.

I have added a new lesson to our summer schedule. A science unit on fish.

And I will not mutter the "mother's curse." I will simply end today's blog entry with this moral:

Be careful what you wish for. Your child might get it.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Prayers Please

Angel, mom and teacher at Aduladi' Homeschool Academy, is facing emergency surgery. This is in the midst of other family health issues and other upheavals. Please pray for her health and for her family as they go through this time of physical, emotional and spiritual trial and join me in praising the One who promises eternal comfort and peace. May He be glorified in our suffering as we are sanctified through it. Praise be to God!

Update (as of Tuesday morning): Angel was released because the surgeon could not schedule her until Thursday. She is attempting to relax (with the aid of pain medication) until her surgery Thursday. Please continue praying.

Friday, June 09, 2006

It's That Time of Year Again

Time for the library's annual summer reading club!

Today we made our annual pilgrimage to the "big" library (the one with the greatest selection of books and the best reading rewards) to sign all the kids up for the reading club... even 2.5 year old Quarto was able to sign-up this year! Our library has great perks for participating in the summer reading program: minor league baseball tickets, coupons for free food, a big end-of-program picnic with live entertainment, family movie nights, free books, stickers, toys, and drawings for everything from stuffed animals to autographed baseball paraphernalia.

Most libraries throughout the country have some form of summer reading program, but don't forget to look for reading programs in more unconventional locations as well. Such as:

Barnes & Noble: Summer of Unfortunate Events

-Okay, maybe not "unconventional", but I had to mention it. This program is for kids in grades 1-6. For every 8 books he reads (each child may read 16 total), the student receives a free book from a preselected list plus a chance to win a signed copy of the 13th and final installment of the Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket (due out Friday, October 13, 2006... whenelse?) entitled The End. Primo's summer wish is to win the autographed book!

Commerce Bank: Wow! Zone Summer Reading Program

-Contact your local Commerce Bank branch and pick up a summer reading club form. Each child who reads ten books (limit is ten books per child) receives $10 in a new or existing Young Savers account. There are no fees associated with the account and your child will get personalized deposit and withdrawl forms. Commerce Bank also has free coin counting machines in every branch.

Red Robin Restaurants: Reading With Red

-Ask at your local Red Robin restaurant for a "Reading With Red" book list for your child. For reading ten books, your child receives a free kid's meal. This club is for children ages 10 and under.

Also, don't forget to check your local newspapers. If students complete our local paper's summer reading program, they receive a free child's ticket to a near-by major amusement park plus a pass for free parking.

BTW, each book read can go on ALL the different book club lists until you fill them up. And don't forget to encourage big sister to read to little brother because the book can go onto both lists. (Thus, why both Primo and Quarto have Berenstain Bears: The Big Road Race on all of thier lists!)

And while we are focused on reading programs, I hope you didn't forget to sign-up your homeschool for next year's Book It! program sponsored by Pizza Hut. Free personal pan pizzas are a great motivator!

Get out those library cards and get reading!

Just One Of Those Things I Never Imagined Saying

or have accepted as not that out of the ordinary.

Terzo: What's that out on the porch?

Tutor: That is what was left of your birthday cake that Frodo thought I threw out and I thought he threw out and that got left in the oven covered with plastic wrap so that when I tried to pre-heat the oven just now it caused toxic fumes from roasting ants and melting plastic wrap to rise out of the oven and form this big smelly cloud that is now in the kitchen, and I didn't have anywhere else to put it while I air out the kitchen and try to get these enchiladas in the oven before Frodo gets home. That's what.

Terzo: Oh, that.