Friday, November 28, 2008


This little guy has been climbing on our deck and raiding the compost bucket. He likes apples but he doesn't like the peels so he leaves those on the deck. He's really cute though and provides great entertainment for Amanda who calls him a puppy.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Neighborhood Diversity

Look! It's our tail-less friend from last sping! I haven't seen him all summer. He's more shy and doesn't come as close to the house like the other black, red and gray squirrels. It's the strangest thing to watch him move around. He looks like a short-eared rabbit that can climp trees. Live long and prosper, little buddy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Progress and Wit

Tyler improved his spelling scores by three grade levels in three months. That is so awesome! What are we doing? The Madsen Method. A complete English curriculum that uses the four pathways of learning-speaking, hearing, doing, seeing.

While progress is occuring in that area, some areas are still a struggle.

Dad: "Do you want to be treated like a adult or a child?"

Tyler: "Neither. I want to be treated like a teenager."

How exactly do teenagers expect to be treated? Lots of freedom and no responsibility.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Scavenger Hunt

This week at Co-op, the science teacher had the wonderful idea of doing a scavenger hunt. The teens had digital cameras and they were paired up with younger kids. It was so funny to see each teen with an entourage of short people following them around the house and yard.
The kids had a great time and the moms had a little time to relax. Tony's team won by finding the most objects on the list. They were very "creative" in complete the list! Here's some the pictures from Tyler's team.
Hole in a tree. Check.
Evidence of humans. Check. (Tyler's team mates. Aren't they sweet?!)

A stream.

Afterwards, during preparation for lunch, I heard lovely piano music wafting through the house. That's not uncommon, there's two pianos and multiple piano players, but I was surprised to realize that it was Tyler. He's really very talented and he loves to play. I was just shocked that he was playing amongst so many people.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

We survived Week One

Today as I was driving home from the dentist and grocery, it dawned on me that it was Thursday and that we have almost made it through our first full week of school. The first couple of days were rough, but today was better and work is being accomplished.

Here's the rundown of what we're using.

For English: The Madsen Method

For Math: Math U See Algebra 1, Saxon Algebra 1/2 and the Dive CD's

For Spanish: Rosetta Stone Latin American Spanish 1 and 2

For Science: Apologia Chemistry CD-ROM and Kit, In the Beginning CD-ROM

For Typing: Mavis Beacon

For History: From Sea to Shining Sea and numerous biographies

We also go to a co-op on Tuesday where I'm teaching IEW SWI Level A and the boys are learning IEW SWI Level C and we all do SuperCharged Science. (Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Writing Intensive)

And the kids go to for geography, vocabulary, grammar and chemistry practice.

Only one more day this week!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More Footage of Tony's Pet


Remember the snake from this post? Tony carried him around in this ball and everytime the snake popped his head out, Tony put his hand in front of the snake and he tucked back inside the ball.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Four Things

I've been tagged by Kelli, a new bloggie friend. I've never been tagged before although I've read about it. So it basically means I have home work! I hope you enjoy it.

4 Things that I was doing 10 years ago.

1. Running a small Day Care in Coleraine, MN.
2. Toting a four-year-old and two-year-old in a biker buggy.
3. Climbing to the top of the ski jump in Coleraine.
4. Learning how to cook real meat, not just chicken nuggets and corn dogs.

4 things on my To-Do list for today:

1. Organize school books
2. Read No Greater Joy Magazine.
3. Prepare posts for tomorrow. Apparently since I waited a week to post, they better be good.
4. Share my homeschooling wisdom with the neighbor.

4 random things I love about my husband:

1. He's tall.
2. He's strong.
3. He likes to drive.
4. He knows that when I lean forward it means I need him to rub my back.

4 jobs that I've had:
1. Delivery Driver for a printing company
2. Delivery Driver, salesperson and arranger for a flower shop
3. Salesperson, creator and applicator in a vinyl lettering shop
4.Day care provider and substitute

4 movies that I've watched more than once:

1. Twister
2. Hudson Hawk (Mike's favorite)
3. Speed
4. The Lord of the Rings (all three)

4 places I have lived:
1. Coleraine, MN
2. Oakes, ND
3. Cokato, MN
4. Grand Rapids, MN

4 places I've been:

1. Dallas, TX
2. Chicago, IL
3. Orlando, FL
4. Cave City, KY (I LOVE it there)

4 places I want to visit:

1. North Shore of Lake Superior
2. Elgin, IL (to see family)
3. Southern Ohio, (more family)
4. Cokato, MN (great friends)

4 TV shows I watch:

1. Kare 11 News (That's it. I really don't have time for TV. I'd rather blog.)

4 things you may not know about me:

1. I love school! I'm so excited when a new box of books show up at my house.
2. I need to be wearing comfortable shoes in order to get work done.
3. I hate spending money.
4. I rub my feet together or on Mike in bed to help me relax and fall asleep.

So, that's it! I tag Elisa and Monkey Mama.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Play Time at Gracie's


Here's some footage of yesterday's play group.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Doggie Business

Two years ago, I was looking for a way to get to know our neighbors and keep the boys busy outdoors. We came up with a dog walking/boarding service. We usually only have one family's pets at a time, but this week is very busy. We have three dogs. Two belong to my sister and the other one belongs to a regular client.
Tyler is holding Gracie (Irish Terrier). She is regular client in the neighborhood and she has a fenced yard so we brought all the dogs to her house to play. The neighbor boy is holding Kobie (German Short-Hair) and his cousin is holding Zena (Corgie/Border Collie).
This is Miiku (Yellow Lab/White Shepherd). It was pointless to try and get him to sit for a picture.

After a good romp at Gracie's house, they came home for swim in the pool.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Of Snakes and Gardens

Here's a lovely snake that Tony caught while camping with Mike. See more pictures on Tony's blog.
Mike and Tony weeded my garden! There was a verge of grass and dandylions growing in front of my hostas and columbine. I was just thrilled! Thank you, my lovies!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mystery Animal

The day before Mother's Day, we spotted a strange animal up in the oak trees. It looked like a squirrel only larger and without a tail. It was eating the buds from the tops of the tree. Then it ran down one tree, hopped across the ground and scurried up another tree. We couldn't get very close to the animal because it disappeared once we went outside.

A few days ago, we saw it again. This time it came closer to the house and we were able to get pictures. We're pretty sure it's a squirrel that lost it's tail, but we could be mistaken.

Since we've been reading "Summer of the Monkeys" as a family, all of us imagined what strange animal may have escaped from somebody's circus.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Random Science

We froze a meat thermometer in water. It was in our deep freeze and came out at -1 F.
After 40 minutes the temperature of the ice was 32 F.
After 3 1/2 hours the temperature of the ice/water was still 32 degrees F. Then we added a bunch of salt to the water and watched the temperature dip to 26 degrees F.
This is a red pummelo. One of our friends brought it over on Game Day to try. It tasted very much like a grapefruit. We like to eat our grapefruit with honey. In the first picture, the pummelo is shown next to the oranges from the map project to give you an idea of the size of this fruit. It served 9 people.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Snow Day

What do you do when you get twelve inches of snow in April and you'd rather be bike riding? Roll a giant snow ball, of course!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Game Time

Since having new baby in the house, it's been more difficult to get out to be with friends. So, we started hosting Game Time at out house. We do some indoor board games and then some outdoor games. It's great fun and we have some wonderful faithful friends who are always up for adventures.
Board games with friendsleads to more board games with family and the cat. Chicky just got a Yatzee.
Next week we're hosting Latin Pictionary. We picked easy to draw words from the first 10 Lessons of Latina Christiana and wrote them on little cards. We'll divide the teams based on age and Latin experience. There should be at least three on each team. The artists for each team will choose a card and get help from the adults if they don't know the Latin word. Then the artists will draw for their teams. We'll use similar rules to pictionary; no letters, numbers or symbols but gestures are okay. The first team to guess the word either in Latin or English will then have the chance spell the word in Latin correctly. The team will move one space or point for the correct English word, another point for the Latin word and a third point for spelling it correctly in Latin. We can use the pictionary board and timer to keep track. It should be fun and a great way to introduce and practice Latin.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Science and Geography

Here's a couple of school projects we've done lately.
The first one involved drawing the continents on an orange and then peeling to show the difficulty of showing a round world on a flat map. We learned than it's very difficult to write with ball point pen on waxy oranges and that the orange juice and oil effectively removes the wax and pen markings.
We also grew mold on potatoes. We boiled the jars and potatoes separatly. We put a clean potato in each jar. Then we put hair, bread crumbs and soil on three potatoes. Then we touch one potato with a dirty finger and one with a clean finger.

Then we put them in a show box under the sink and wait for four days. Here's the results. We hope you can read the labels. It was a very gross project.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Tony has the job of shoveling the sidewalk, garage pad and the back deck. When he shovels the deck he likes to pile the snow in one mound and then jump over the railing. It's about an eight foot drop. An exciting reward for a job well done.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tumbling and Tree Dancing

video video

More outdoor play invented by Tyler.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


We are playing soccer with Miiku and the neighbor boys and dog. Miiku is one of the dogs we watch regularily. Watch how the neighbor boy has to rescue his little brother from being closelined by Miiku's tie-out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2007 snappers & and company-TJ's evil brother Tut

Summer brought some very interesting firsts. While crappie fishing a monster painted turtle got its shell hooked by my line. My chrome-gray rod looked like an upside down 'J' as I brought him up onto the dock. I noticed that his front right and back left claws were missing (probably due to dogfish,pike, or bass). We hadn't brought a bucket, so, we drove home while I braved his claws (and jaws). At home we got a good bucket, filled it with water, put the brute in, and headed back to the docks. Dougy Dogfish snapped a line once again (each time we go fishing Dougy snaps a line). Tiki brings in a 1-2 lb. turtle. Moments later I reeled in a 1/2 pounder. Their names are: Ed, Edd, and Eddy(in order of catching). Immeadiately we had problems. Edd and Eddy wouldn't eat. Ed, however, did eat. Turtle food? All natural. Minnows (bought by our mom at the bait store) live and wriggling, worms (our grandma got those for fishing, but we improvised) creepy and crawling, and fingers (I made that part up, though it did come close), were all a part of his diet. Edd and Eddy were released where they were caught 3 days later. Ed stayed to put a dent in the bait population while hissing at those who challenged his authority (and snapping). When food ran out he was released a eigth of a mile away from his comrades.