Category Archives: Louise

SOOC 1: Snails

Steady Eddie and I celebrated fifteen years of marriage last week, and in honor of the momentous occasion, we purchased a new dSLR camera.  Our Canon Rebel is 8 1/2 years old and has taken thousands of pictures, and lately it has refused to cooperate.  We purchased a Nikon d3200.  I haven’t figured it out at all yet.  Not one little bit.  I’m eager to learn, though.  I thought it would be fun to occasionally share my straight out of camera (SOOC) shots here.  I don’t usually spend any time on editing–just crop and go.

My subject tonight was Louise’s snail collection family.  This child LOVES creepy crawly things, snails and slugs (ugh!) in particular.  She spends hours each week sitting in our yard, digging and studying and grouping and getting really dirty.  :-)  The ones she found tonight were tiny (tee-niney!  does anyone else ever say that?)  I thought I’d attempt some macro shots.  I think they turned out fairly well, considering the fact that I truly know nothing about what I’m doing.

To give you a sense of scale
To give you a sense of scale
Closeup of the little fella
Closeup of the little fella
Little guy on a wilted daylily she used as transportation to its new habitat in the back  yard
Little guy on a wilted daylily she used as transportation to its new habitat in the back yard


I have to admit it: they’re cute!

Odds & Ends


We left spring break behind last week and as we entered the new week, I knew it would be a busy one.  Now that we’re on the other side of it, I can say that this is the sort of week I really enjoy, though the level of busy-ness would get exhausting if it were the norm instead of the exception.

  • Monday was a normal day, with the exception that Louise’s art class has now moved to Mondays, so I had to remember that.
  • I made pizza Monday night, which is something I hadn’t done in a while.  I used my bread machine for the dough and followed this recipe.  I divided it into five parts and everyone had his or her own personal pizza.  It was good, but the dough ended up undercooked and doughy under the toppings.  Any ideas on  how to remedy that?
Steady Eddie and I had veggie pizza--sauce, spinach, purple onions, Roma tomatoes, pickled banana peppers, and lots of cheese (including feta on mine).
Steady Eddie and I had veggie pizza–sauce, spinach, purple onions, Roma tomatoes, pickled banana peppers, and lots of cheese (including feta on mine).
  • On Tuesday the girls participated in the 4H County Roundup.    It was a fun day for them.  There were about 150 or so (?) students from all over the county there.  They had lots of stations for the students to visit–water conservation, a mobile dairy (which we’ve seen before), etc.
Louise's art project
Louise’s art project
  • Lulu entered the Chef 4H contest, and Louise entered the Creative Endeavors event as a Cloverbud (which means she didn’t actually compete, but she did get recognized for participating).  The biggest and most welcome surprise of the day was when Lulu placed first in the Chef 4H competition!  She competed against four or five other students in a cooking demonstrations.  She made banana chocolate chip muffins from a recipe we adapted from King Arthur Flour.   I am really proud of Lulu.  Winning at the county level qualifies her for a regional competition this summer.
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  • I am really thankful to God for providing this 4H opportunity for my girls.  I have been wanting them to have a venue for practicing public speaking and making presentations, and this looks like it might be a good one.  I’m excited about the possibilities!
  • On Tuesday night I began feeling a bit under the weather, and by Wednesday morning I wasn’t any better.  Steady Eddie ended up taking the day off so I could rest and recuperate.  We ended up missing CBS, but we had a good, busy day anyway because. . .


  • Someone turned one on Wednesday!  It’s hard to believe, but we welcomed Benny into our family a year ago.   Steady Eddie did school with the girls that morning, and then in the early evening we headed out for a bite of supper and some time at the park.  We came home and Benny had his first official birthday cupcake, which he enjoyed immensely. :-)
  • Thursday was a regular school day, the last one of the week.  All things considered, it was a good week of lessons.  Here’s what we accomplished:
  1. We had two days of Circle Time, plus I added a new
    little activity using word roots cards from The Critical Thinking Company.  I haven’t actually figured out the best way to use these yet.  There’s a book that goes with them, but I wanted it to be more of a fun activity for us to do together than just another worksheet.  Any ideas?
  2. Lulu completed lessons 35-38 in FLL 4 and Louise did lessons 66-67 in FLL 2.  I’m to the point that I skip a lot of the guided part of the lesson for Lulu and let her do the sentence diagramming on her own, and then we go back and talk about it.  Lulu also did three 4-level analyses and we discussed them.  I’m considering Junior Analytical Grammar for Lulu next year.  Have any of you used this?  I think we’re ready to move on to something that requires a little less hand-holding.
  3. Lulu did one day of WWE 4 and I finally, finally decided that it’s time for us to be done with it, once and for all.  It seems so redundant to do the narrations in WWE 4 and then turn around and write paragraph summaries for history.  WWE definitely served its purpose for us, but now we’re ready to go forward without the hand-holding here, too.  Lulu is still plugging along in WWE 2 (she did three days this week), and we’ll continue with WWE 3 next year for her.
  4. Spelling and handwriting?  Yes, they did them.  Spelling is the thing I always run out of time for going over with them.  Arrgh!  That means homework for me before lesson time tomorrow.  ;-)
  5. Lulu did lessons 50-52 in RS E, which introduced hundredths of a square and hundredths of a dollar.  She and I also played a several rousing rounds of Quotient Race from the RS Games book.  (She loved this game!)  Steady Eddie worked with Lulu on some Beast Academy problems, but I’m not sure what they were.  Louise completed lessons 99-101 in RS C.  Lesson 99 was all about mental subtraction with trading,  which I’ve learned is quite the difficult concept to master.  (It helps so much to be on my second trip through early elementary arithmetic!)  Now Louise is embarking on a great voyage into the world of multiplication, and if experience has taught me anything, this will be met with much more delight and enthusiasm than was subtraction.  ;-)   Louise’s game of the week was Money War.
  6. Lulu wrote a history narration about Murad and the Ottoman Empire.  Louise gave me an oral narration.
  7. We had poetry tea time once this week.  I mean, I can’t let an April week pass without it since it’s National Poetry Month, can I?
  8. The DLM enjoyed several preschool activities this week.  He is pulling me, ready or not, into preschool.  I hope to write up a post about some of the things I’m (reluctantly, if truth be told) doing with him.
the alphabet train
the alphabet train


Circus sign

  • On Friday we went to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus!  Steady Eddie took off work to go with us.  We got great deals on tickets ($11 apiece, y’all) and had a fabulous time.  I think I enjoyed it as much or more than the kids!

clowns and animals

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  • On Saturday I gave our new dining room table its first application of stain.   Steady Eddie worked on rearranging the girls’ bedroom again since the loft bed set-up didn’t work out as well as we thought it would.


  • I’m almost finished with Gone with the Wind.  I know.  I can’t believe it myself.  :-)

What’s new in your world?

Odds & Ends


  • We’ve had an interesting week here in the Deep South, though since we live in North Alabama, we haven’t dealt with it too much.  A very unexpected snowstorm in the central part of the state stranded people in strange places, including in schools thousands of children spent the night in schools in various parts of the state when it was unsafe for their buses to run or their parents to come pick them up.  One of Steady Eddie’s colleagues was driving home from Tuscaloosa, a normal 3 hour or so trip.  It took her seven hours!  Another colleague was coming home from Montgomery, another 3 1/2 hour or so drive, and she literally spent the night in her car on the interstate.  After three or four times the length of time the drive would normally take, she was home.  Whew!  It’s one week I was glad I could stay snugged up in our warm home!  It has been so cold–single digits–this week.
  • We did have snow one day, but it didn’t stick.  I didn’t even let my children go out in it!
  • The reason I was a mean mom and didn’t allow the kids to go outside is that for about two weeks now, we’ve dealt with extreme snottiness and congestion.  This week (I HOPE!) we finally hit the low point, with two children having fevers in the past week and one having a sore throat.  CBS was cancelled due to the cold weather, and the girls missed basketball practice due to sickness.  I am ready for spring!
  • Yesterday, the outdoor temperature registered 67 degrees on our indoor thermometer, so I sent the big kids outside after Circle Time to shoot hoops, ride scooters, whatever–just to get outside and get some fresh air!  I snapped a picture of them and texted it to Steady Eddie and told him they were skipping school (and they were–I intended to do some dictation from their individual read-alouds this afternoon), but given the week we had, I’d say it was justified.



  • School was such a challenge this week.  I’m really struggling with my cute three year old.  He asked me this week when he’d get to do with Lulu does, meaning school.  I feel so guilty for not spending more time with him, like I did the girls at his age.  I remember reading about this dilemma on the WTM boards or on some homeschooling blog a few years ago, and I never dreamed I’d be afflicted with the guilt myself.  My rational side tells me of course their lives will be different from their siblings’; my emotional side mourns for the time I don’t have to just sit and play with them, talk to them, and read to them.
  • With that being said, the way I’ve saved my sanity (which might be debatable anyway) this week is by coming up with specific things for the girls to do with the DLM while I do math with the other girl.  I’ve always sort of done this, but this week I did more than just say, “Go play with your brother.”  I pulled out the big guns–play-doh, Memory, a stack of pre-selected books.  I’m re-reading through the Preschoolers and Peace archives and considering a letter-of-the-week “curriculum” (a term I use very, very loosely) using No Time for Flashcards as a starting place.  If you’ve hit upon a no-fail solution for managing the chatty preschooler in your homeschool, I’d sure love to hear about it!


  •  Steady Eddie finally got both the girls’ loft beds and their craft desks (Christmas gifts) assembled last weekend, so they were quite anxious to be in their room this week, working.  Lulu finished putting together her quilt top and Louise drew and drew and drew.


  •  This was a good math week, with both girls making lots of progress (5 lessons each) in their respective RightStart levels.  Lulu is working hard on fractions and was introduced to percents in level E.  (Let me say that RightStart’s way of introducing fractions using the drawing tools and fraction chart is brilliant!)  Louise is in the thick of the geometry/drawing section in level C, which includes basic fractions.  This week, instead of assigning any extra math via Math Mammoth, I concentrated on playing RS math games with them instead, and we managed to do it four days out of five.  Lulu played fractions games–One, fractions memory, and percent memory (which I really stink at); Louise played a speed skip counting a couple of days and Multiples Memory a couple of days.  Playing games is a much more pleasant way of doing practice than is doing pages from an alternate math curriculum.  Now if I can just stick with it!


  • This week we took a break from First Language Lessons to spend some time in Michael Clay Thompson’s Grammar Island (Louise, grade 2) and Sentence Island (Lulu, grade 4).  Lulu has been doing four level analyses for a while now–all year and some last year, too–but we never got around to doing Sentence Island.  It has been a good review and an alternate way to look at it.  Plus, it’s just fun.  We didn’t do it as many days as I wanted to, though.  (Isn’t that the way of it?)
  • I’m reaching the conclusion that Or should be the theme of our homeschool–do this OR this, not both.  Do CC or our regular history/memory work/etc. stuff, not both.  (This is essentially why we’re not doing CC this year!)   Do RS or Math Mammoth, not both.  Do FLL or MCT, not both.  It has been a hard lesson for this mama to learn.


  • I made soups three times this week: taco soup, some kind of Chinese chicken soup (pictured), and chicken stew.  (Too bad my children do not like it as much as I do.)
  • We read aloud a lot this week.  We finished our fun chapter book on Monday, so between finishing it and getting the next book in the series in via Amazon, I picked up Because of Winn Dixie to read aloud.  We’ve all already read it, but it’s next month’s mother-daughter bookclub selection, so I thought we’d enjoy reading it together to refresh our memories.  It’s such a sweet, quick read, and it brings back so many memories of when I was a library media specialist in a public elementary school before Lulu was born.  I read it to my third grade classes (if my memory serves me correctly) back then.

  • We were supposed to have art with friends on Friday, but since 3/4 of our kiddos were sick this week, I decided to postpone it until next week.   Fun Friday entailed making painted paper, doing math (review sheet for Louise and games for both girls), having poetry tea time, reading aloud, doing our final January check-in on our Circle Time memory work.

Making painted paper is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so Friday presented the perfect opportunity:

PicMonkey Collage



For poetry tea time, I read lots of A.A. Milne poems in honor of the anniversary of his death.  The girls, Louise especially, like to pick out poems to read aloud for me to guess the poets who wrote them.  They especially like to pick out Robert Frost poems since he’s my favorite.


  • I worked out (which is a very generous appraisal of what I actually did) once this week at the YMCA. We joined in the middle of January and now I’ve been once. Small steps, right? :-)
  • This week’s funny comes courtesy of eight year old Louise.  We were discussing hexagons in math, and she called them “jinxagons.”  (Get it?)  A hex is a jinx, right?  Ahhh, right.  ;-)

How was your week?