Monday, July 21, 2014

19 Years Today!

It gets better and better with each passing year :)

Our breakfast in bed, compliments of Miss Mabel.  (Insert the sound of my beating heart!)

~  Patty  ~

Friday, July 18, 2014

St. Kateri Tekakwitha

On July 14, we celebrated the feast day of the Lily of the Mohawks.   I had ordered this DVD.

In Her Footsteps, The Story of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, is more of a documentary that takes the viewer to the beautiful woods of Albany, NY and Quebec, Canada where St. Kateri lived.  Where we did not learn more about St. Kateri, we did hear beautiful stories of her miracles.  I purchased it through Amazon, here.

The older girls watched it and liked it.  I'm not sure if early elementary age kids would sit still long enough to appreciate it.

St. Kateri, pray for us!

~  Patty  ~

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Our Evolving Classroom

The last house in Illinois that we lived in, we had built ourselves.  It was an 1800 sq ft ranch-style with a full 1800 sq ft basement.  While we waited on the completion of the finished basement, Sally would school at the kitchen table, the back porch, or the living room floor.   She was only in Kindergarten.

The friend who was finishing the basement couldn't believe I'd stay home to homeschool.  He must have felt sorry for me because when I requested a (simple) school room to be built in the basement, he made THE CUTEST school room that ever was.  (He even built tray-ceilings in it.)

It was adorable! I had a reading corner, had 'real' school desks (sold to me by an old Catholic grade school) and a computer center.  There were bright-laminated posters on the walls of colors, shapes, numbers, and maps as well as an old-fashioned pencil sharpener.  It was perfect except for the notion that I had convinced myself of: in order for my homeschool to "work", I had to make it look like a brick and mortar classroom.

I truly believe the old teacher in me coupled with my lack of confidence in these early stages of homeschooling had me convinced of that.  

Then we moved to Texas in 2007.

Texas homes do not have basements.

To find the space to set up homeschooling shop, I was forced to think  outside the box.  Many Texas homes have an upstairs game room (second living room).  

Our game room would become our schooling area as well.  

I was schooling Sally and Ester (first and third grade) by this time, and decided to go with a community table/desk idea.  We found this table and chairs at IKEA.

We went from a school room to a schooling area.

We designated a couple of shelves in the walk-in toy closet for school supplies.

(For the past two years, only Miss Mabel's books have been stored there.)

I also threw a plastic shoe storage holder over the back of the closet door to house other school supplies.

I HIGHLY recommend them!!  They keep the never-ending mess cleared cleared away and out of sight!

This entire set up was only a temporary fix.  Mabel was doing her pre-school/ kindergarten work on the couch, floor, or kitchen table and Sally found it difficult to concentrate as her subject material grew harder.

The following year, we purchased a desk from Target and a chair from IKEA for Miss Sally's bedroom. 

(She's currently away at a week long camp and hasn't organized her desk yet in preparation for the school year.)

NOTE:  I wish I would have been thinking further ahead when we purchased a desk.  She has pretty much outgrown this one and ends up sitting on her bed to school.  

She also has a bookcase in her room that houses all of her High School textbooks and lesson plans.

Our family continued to evolve.  Stan the man started his formal lessons which meant there was more shifting needed.

We purchased a desk unit and chair from IKEA for Miss Ester and put it by her bed.  (Ester and Mabel share a bedroom.)

This gave the much needed quiet space for Ester to learn and grow.  Stan the man then moved to the shared table with Mabel.

Then along came Miss Clementine.  When we moved her upstairs from out of our bedroom into her own, we moved Stan's bedroom set down into David's office.  I know having to share Dad's office for a bedroom is not the best, but would you want to share an upstairs with 4 sisters when you are the only boy?  Ha ha ha.

So Stan now schools at David's office desk.  (Purchased at IKEA.)

I have another smaller closet in the upstairs living room.  Way up high on the top shelf I store books and binders that are currently not in use.  (Here's a glimpse.)

In addition to textbooks, I have 3-4 binders per grade for organizing the paperwork:  Attendance, quarter report forms, & tests binder, answer key binder, and 1-2 lesson plan binder (s).  

We have come a LONG way from that adorable school room in Illinois.  We are on the opposite end of the spectrum now with everyone having their own space, their own quiet learning area.  I NE-VER would have thought my homeschool would be "successful" without a real classroom setting.  Thank goodness that with growing confidence I realized that a real classroom setting is whatever is most conducive to your child's learning.  

~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lawdy Be! It's Rain! - Daybook Post

Outside my window ~

Monday afternoon

A rare occurrence for our parts of Texas.

I am thankful for ~

The RAIN!!  (Just a scratch in the surface, Lord, please send more.)

My first relaxing day in 3 weeks.  No lie.

Our new flooring upstairs.

I am thinking about ~

Sally.  She left yesterday for a week long Catholic HEART Workcamp in Kansas City.

How different the house is with one child absent.  Wow! Wow!  Wow!

From the school room ~

Our school books arrived last week.

We start next week.  I always start in July. ( See my reasoning here.  I'm really not insane!)

(Checking out the science that they'll be sharing this year.)

(Little britches can hardly wait to start school, someday.)

Change in school routine.  When David owned a store front up in Illinois, the store was closed on Sundays and Mondays.  We schooled Tuesday through Saturday, taking off with him on Sundays and Mondays.

One of the stress factors for me for the past four years was not having him around as much.  He got into a habit of working Monday - Saturday.  So after discussing it, he went back to taking Mondays off and our school week will run Tuesdays-Saturdays, until David's busy season starts back up in January.

What I am reading ~

Nothing.  I've been way too busy.

What I am praying for ~

In thanksgiving for my mom's knee replacement surgery today.  She had no cartilage left and had a complete knee replacement this morning on her left knee.

For Miss Sally and all the youth and adults from our parish.

The families of these two tragic stories.  My heart just aches.  I literally have woken up from nightmares because of these :

The 22 month old Georgia boy who died after being left in a hot car.  The father has been charged with murder and second-degree child cruelty.

The drowning death of a precious two year old.  The heart ache the family must be reeling from.

*I am so sorry for being the bearer of bad news, but these tragedies have just disturbed me to my core.*

What I am listening to ~

Slovenian language!  See my mom teach us.

Matt Maher's ... All The People Said Amen

Around my house ~

After we dropped my mom off at the airport last Tuesday, we came home and prepared for the flooring guys to arrive.  The flooring guys dismantled room by room as they worked on the floors.

We lived with a topsy turvy household for 5 long days.  We used the same company from two years ago, but the install went bad this time.  (Different crew.) After ripping out and starting over in some areas, the job was finally completed last Saturday (8:30pm).    I am so so so grateful it is over.

Thought it would be fun to give a tour of our finished house update.

New carpet on the staircase, upstairs living room, hallways, and closets.  (The builder grade carpet that came with the house was so gross!)

The girls all received wood laminate in their bedrooms.  (The girls really wanted to be done with carpet in their bedrooms.)

(The new flooring makes this bedroom look SO MUCH bigger, I think.)

We started planning for this project 2  years ago.  What was really nice was that all the rooms got a thorough cleaning during this project.  (A great way to start the school year.)

Have a fantastic week!

~  Patty  ~

Monday, July 14, 2014

Speaking Slovenian with Grammy

My mom's family comes from the BEAU-tiful country of Slovenia.  Growing up, I ate many traditional Slovenian dishes, and heard only a little bit of the Slovenian language.  The Slovenian language was not really passed down by her parents since they insisted on speaking English as the proud, new Americans that they were.    So Grammy grew up speaking English and hearing Slovenian being spoken between her parents every once in awhile.

Where it is wonderful to speak English as a new citizen of the United States, I have often find it sad that so many immigrants "back then" chose to "lose" their native languages altogether, for various reasons.  I would have LOVED to know this part of my heritage growing up.

The last night that my mother was here, we decided at a late hour to video tape her as she gave the older girls and I a crash course in Slovenian.  Some of these sayings I hadn't heard in at least 30 years, so it was a WONDERFUL moment to hear certain phrases once again!

Without further a-do...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Stay-cation Pro Rodeo (with Grammy)

My mother usually comes down for a Texas visit in January or February to escape the dreary winter  of the Midwest.

This was her first summer time visit, and we planned it for the Fourth of July holiday.  She LOVED it!  (So did we!)

We spent the morning leisurely swimming in our subdivision pool.  The kids surprised Grammy with her own swim noodle, Horace the Sea horse :)

(Horace even had a seat to sit on!  Ha ha ha!)

For lunch, David grilled brats and hot dogs following it up with watermelon and creamy blueberry pie, and our layered July 4th drinks.  Yum!

Our EXTRA special evening was taking Grammy to the Pro Rodeo (a first for her)!

(Watching some pre-show action.)

She easily entertained herself as we waited for the action to commence!

Our tickets included a BBQ sandwich, chips, and a drink, as well as our seats.

The producers of the show made the night quite memorable for fans and veterans alike, especially when we witnessed a fresh crop of recruits take their oath to defend our nation, " help me God."

Amongst the bare- back bucking bronco riders, barrel races, calf roping, calf wresting, and bull riding, we saw a traditional Spanish Charro (with his horse Hollywood).

Got a picture of our crew on the jumbo-tron.

Stan and Mabel were a group of youngsters (12 & under) who tried to chase 2 calves in order to catch the flags on their tails hoping to win $$!

There were also mutton busting ... kids riding sheep bare back....the one who stays on the longest wins $$.  That was SO STINKING funny to watch!

There were clowns and BEAU-ti-ful horses and cowboys of course (*insert eyebrow wiggle*).

After the show, one cowboy was kind enough to take the time to visit with my mom and then pose for a picture.

The rodeo was SO MUCH fun and talk about an AMAZING opportunity for our visiting Grammy!  She just loved every single moment of it.

It was a great way to not only spend time with my mom, but a terrific way to end our stay-cation summer plans.

Pro Rodeo Cost ::

Veterans' special (David was in the Air Guard a long time ago)  $18 (seat, meal, and drink)

$18 @7 tickets (2 and under are FREE) = $126.00 for 2 hours of professional entertainment and food!

Stay-cation Total Cost ::

Rodeo $126.00
Hawaiian Falls  $49.00
Six Flags  $210.00
Museum $110.00 (year membership)


Not too shabby for our family's summer vacation plans!

~  Patty  ~


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