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Showing posts from April, 2009

The Milk Safari

At our house, at any given time, we are either almost out of milk or all out of milk. Lauren phoned during the appetizer portion of Stuart's birthday date to let us know that the current milk status was nil. After we finished up dinner, Stuart and I went, hand in hand, on the milk safari.

We made it safely past the patio furniture and the tiki bar and the summer dishware to the farthest corner of the store. Two gallons of milk in hand, we made the trek back through the financial death traps, cursing store planners and their wily skills. We almost made it out of Kroger's with just the milk when I spotted the Butterfinger eight pack.

The self-checkout aisle beckoned and because Stuart was with me and doesn't have the same issues with self-checkout bagging that I seem to have, we sallied forth to make our purchase.


I scanned the first gallon.

"Please place your item in the bagging area." Cinderella's stepmother spoke to us in her pleasant yet condescending tone.


History Repeats Itself

Once there was a little boy. A mischievous little boy with a wind-up car. He took that car, wound it up and drove it into his sister's hair.

The little boy grew up and had a girl and he told her the story about the car and the hair. "That car turned your Aunt Ellen's hair into a rat's nest. A regular rat's nest your granny would say. I made a hell of a mess! They had to cut that car out of her hair."

The girl grew up and had a little boy. A mischievous little boy with a wind-up car. He took that car, wound it up and drove it into his sister's hair...

Mr. Morse and Mr. Gilbreth

Stuart rang this morning, "Have you seen the Google homepage yet?"

We had. John did a little Gollum dance in front of the computer to let us know. "Come quick! Hurry!"



Morse code. The kids all joined John in his little Gollum dance to celebrate their new favorite form of communication.

We read Cheaper by the Dozen a few years ago when the little ones were too little so, my chore time pep talks, "Frank Gilbreth would roll over in his grave if he saw you clearing that table one plate at a time," only generated blank stares. Finally, after Mr. Gilbreth came up for the twentieth time Faith got curious. "WHO is Frank Gilbreth and WHY do you keep talking about him?"

Out came Cheaper by the Dozen . We rolled our way through the chapters, holding our sides. A story of a motion study pioneer who practiced his techniques on himself and his supersized family with hilarious results. A born teacher, a man who made the most of his time. We were spellbound. When w…

Peppers and Pigeons

They stand, the one born in 2000 and the one born in 2001, side by side at the kitchen counter chopping up peppers for the freezer. This is new for these young hands and the work goes slowly. To pass the time they discuss their favorite subject, science. Tonight extinct birds are on the menu.



"Mom, did you know that there used to be such a thing as dodo bird?"

"Yes, but now they are extinct."

"Yeah and there is a kind of pigeon that is extinct too."

"You're thinking of passenger pigeons."

"Yeah, passenger pigeons. The last one was shot by a fourteen year old boy and now it is in a museum." Claire slices methodically.

"Oh, I didn't know that." I say while corraling chopped bits of pepper in plastic wrap.

"Yup. A kid the same age as John killed it. I wonder if he went to jail?"

Faith wields her knife like a sword. I try not to look. "The last pigeon died a long time ago. A long, long time ago. Like in the…

A Chompo Bar for Lauren

Charlie and I went to the book store to get Lauren a study Bible for her twelfth birthday. I laid the Bible on the checkout counter when Charlie came to a realization, "That present is from you and Papa. I want to get Lauren a present from me!" Perhaps the array of candy right at his eye level helped his line of thinking but at any rate I could tell by the enthusiasm in Charlie's voice that we could not leave without a present just from him.

"OK. What do you think Lauren would like?"

"How 'bout these chocolates?"

"Lauren doesn't really like chocolate."

"How 'bout these chocolates?"

"I repeat, Lauren doesn't like chocolate."

"Oh. Then these. What are these?"

"Cinnamon candies. I think they might be too spicy. How about this?" I held up a roll of Orange Creme Life Savers."

He studied the wrapper with great deliberation. "That's not shareable. I want to get something to share."

&…

Spelling Wisdom

One day while skipping around the internet, I came across these:




And when I clicked on the sample, I knew we had to change spelling curriculums. Again. Goodbye Spelling Power and MacMillan and Sequential Spelling! We've found our true love.

The problem with the afore mentioned curricula is sheer boredom. Memorizing lists of words is mind numbing and as my children don't like their school work to lull them to sleep, they often push spelling to the side in favor of more exciting lessons.

When I found Spelling Wisdom, I realized what has been missing: an idea, something to engage the mind so that learning the difference between than and then occurs almost incidentally.

Sandra Shaffer uses the writings of famous men and women (Helen Keller, Beethoven, Winston Churchill...), Bible passages and quotes from quality literature...poems and novels (Robinson Crusoe, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, All the World's a Stage...) to teach more than six thousand frequently used word…