Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Good grief!

A couple weeks ago the kids and I went to a wedding reception. We ran into someone I've known since I was little. She is a kind, hard working, woman. But, I admit, I'm quite frustrated with how she interacted with my kids (Tyra mainly). I'm not only frustrated with her but her kind.

She naturally asked Tyra what grade she's in, which is fine, she was kindly starting up a conversation with Tyra. Once Tyra informed her that she's homeschooled she began to quiz her. Saying things such as, "So are you learning things like 11+21?" and then began to ask her multiple math questions and proceeded to give Tyra a math lesson right then and there in the middle of the reception as her husband stood waiting for her at the door.

Tyra, under pressure, had a hard time even answering the question "What about 4+3?" I know she knew the answer but here she was suddenly undergoing a math test by this woman she doesn't even know-she buckled.

So I'm left feeling frustrated. Why is it that people either A) have to prove to themselves whether homeschooling is a good thing (or not) by testing homeschooled kids? or B) Why does one make an assumption as to whether or not someone is smart (or not) by asking them academical questions?

I'm convinced that if she would have talked to Tyra in a human-like way, asking her what she is interested in or (if the woman's need be) ask her what she has been learning, I'm sure she would have been impressed with this little, yet big, individual.

Does one, when encountering a stranger/possible friend for the first time, ask them questions such as "Can you factor the polynomial x3yz4-x2yz3+2xy2z2?" to determine whether they are an intelligent or capable individual? The answer is obvious.

There's so much more to one's character. Who are they really? How do they feel about life? What drives them? What are they interested in? How do they relate to you? How much do they love to learn? How well are they able to connect with you in a humane manner?

Whether or not one knows a math problem is frivolousness (unless one is asking to learn).

Whether or not one has a good, well-defined, clear thinking, mind and character which thrives with an unclouded awareness as to what his own values are is what is vital.

Good grief, the last thing these kids need is to feel that academical facts are what makes them worth talking to or, of all things, what makes them an intelligent person.

There's so much more to intelligence than math problems or the like!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Great Foods

I've been really happy with some meals we've come across which have become part of our regular diet. Why, yes, I'll share...

First we have tomatoes. Nice and wonderful. Red and round. Not to mention fabulously healthy. What do we do with these luscious "fruits"? We boil them for 30 seconds or so until their skin is peelable. We peel them. Chop them up and freeze them....lots of them. Why, you ask? So we can use them for spaghetti sauce throughout the year.

The spaghetti sauce is quite simple and quite tasty. It's been handed down from John's grandma to his mom to her children. The recipe is as follows:

About 2-3 cups of tomatoes of the frozen tomatoes (let thaw or sit in hot water to defrost), about 6 tbsp of brown sugar, 1-2tsp of oregano, a large sprinkle of salt, let it warm up (don't boil it or it kills the tomatoes healthy enzymes) and Voila you've got spaghetti sauce! Some spaghetti and some cheddar cheese make it a real spaghetti meal and garlic bread is great with it as well.

We love this meal an extra lot because it's quick, easy and its definitely healthier than a box of macaroni and cheese. We've even use it as the sauce we dip our grilled cheese sandwiches in!

BIG P.S. Store bought tomatoes DO NOT work. Only the farm fresh tomatoes (or home grown tomatoes) work. Trust me, I've tried it. I buy my tomatoes from the little farmers market stands along the road for $15-16 a box.

Mmmmmm. My favorite salad.

It consists of this: Spinach, cut up apples, cranberries, sliced almonds and honey mustard salad dressing (all natural). I love it. I could eat it every day. In fact, we pretty much do.

Concord grapes. Pick as many as you want at Thanksgiving Point. What do we do with these? We have made them into juice. How? By picking them (obviously), washing them, chopping them up a little in a blender, simmering them, and straining them with some cheese cloth wrapped over the top of a large bowl or pot, (tightened onto it with a rubber band) and finishing off the straining process by scraping, smashing and adding a little water to the grapes over a seive.

It's messy, it's very purple but it's SOOO yummy. And, I might add, deliciously healthy.

And, last but, of course, not least. Is our Thai dish. Originally it's used with mangoes but we were introduced to this meal using peaches and love it that way.

All it contains is "sticky rice" (called calrose rice - you can buy it most anywhere in the oriental food section of the grocery store...or just use any rice), cut up peaches, and coconut milk (it's canned and is also found in the oriental food section of the store). It's a dish you don't have to feel guilty about eating throughout the day. You can eat this for breakfast, lunch, even dinner if you add something a little more filling like bread to it, and it's good for snacking between meals.

The kids come to me complaining quite often about how hungry they are...so I point them to the sticky rice and they love it!

PS here as well. Store bought peaches are okay but don't even compare to the farmers market peaches. Once again $15 a box which makes about 15 frozen baggies of cut up peaches.

Thanks Rosanne for introducing us to this one as well!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

6 Things Which create a Joyful Home

Aside from the uncommonly craziness of a few days before, our home has been filled with peace and joy. This is the most it has ever been filled with such feelings of unity and understanding.

There are 6 things I feel are attributing to this and I felt the need to share:

1) Saying thank you and please to one another

2) Complimenting one another

3) Loving touches, pats, hugs and kisses

4) Listening to one another, acknowledging feelings

5) Laughing with one another, laughing at things which normally annoy

6) Ignoring bad behavior

(unless it is the kind of a behavior which breaks an already solidified rule - which will result in the loss of a privelige)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Are you kidding me?!?!

So, earlier today we, meaning John, myself and the kids, went grocery shopping together. It was a very large shopping trip to say the least and after an hour, when only two items remained to be found and flopped on top of our heap of groceries which spewed out of our cart, I hear a child go bolting across the polished cement floor and suddenly hear a horrible double thud, which could only be made from something such as one's head, accompanied by a terrible vibration through the ground under my feet, followed by a terrible shrieking, which I then knew involved Ethan.

He grasped both sides of his head with both hands and wailed in horror of the pain which came from the terrible bash. His face lacked all normal color. Knowing it would be a while for Ethan to calm down I knelt down letting him wail in my lap, shouting to John what the last two items on our list were. After about 5 or 10 minutes, lots of stares from people and children- but no offer of help, Ethan calmed and we were able to find John.

Due to Ethan's unusually quiet behavior and pale face I feared the worst. After we got home and unloaded our groceries, which then, didn't seem so important anymore. I had him in the car to take him to the ER so we could make sure no internal damage was happening...you never know right? But, after deciding to wait it out, the normal Ethan returned.

SO...he decides to play outside and is pushing Millie on one of those handle bar trikes. Suddenly I hear Ethan calling me so I go to him and am confused by his worried expression on his face. I have a wild imagination and tend to fear the worst so I thought maybe he had lost his vision (from his fall) and was worried. But after hearing Millie screaming I instantly realized Ethan hadn't obeyed me when I told him, "be careful as you push her."

Millie is obviously hurting. I can see black road scuff marks on the sides of her clothing and new she had hit, head first, (on the same side as Ethan's interestingly enough) as well. Her face is pale her wailings would be heart breaking to someone whose heart hadn't gone numb yet...but unfortunately the incident at the store as well as the shopping trip in itself, the much whining and crying and chaos that seemed to follow me everywhere I went ever since I got home, and the stress of wondering if Ethan's skull and brain was damaged left me feeling very little.

I held her until she stopped crying. Fortunately her love for food helped calm her down. And she began to fall asleep in my lap. But, then I worried if she was falling asleep because of brain injuries as well (I know, there I go again) so I kept her awake by giving her a bath. I noticed a big goose egg on her head as I dried her hair. But, she's fine so far. I'm sure that throughout the night I'll be checking her to make sure she responds to my poking her and isn't twitching from having seizures.

SO...Tyra took her first shower today. It felt like she was suddenly all grown up and it's funny how clueless one can be when one has never taken a shower before. Well she was kind of excited and I left her and let her have her privacy (of course!) In the meantime I had Ethan and Cedric take a bath in the other bathroom. After they had gotten settled I went to check on Tyra. Who, when I got to her, had shampoo in her eye, and must of had some sort of wrestling match with the adjustable shower head due to the water sprayed up to the tops of the vaulted ceiling and the puddle of water next to the rug upon the bathroom floor. "What on earth?" Is all I could say. But left it at that.

I return to the boys' bath. For some reason they're both out of the bath tub Cedric is bent over waiting for me to wipe his bum...that's always a wonderful sight isn't it? And Ethan is in the process of finishing up wiping his bum and has succeeded in, once again, using half of the toilet paper roll for one bowel movement. I wipe Cedric's bum..."When did he poop? Did they have a pooping party?" I wonder. Ethan gets back into the tub. I try flushing the toilet. No luck, it's clogged. Ethan Mr. Solver points blatanlty to the plunger....but he forgets that the toilet is filled with poop. I'd rather try my luck with flushing it over and over again.

I suddenly notice little brown peices floating in the tub. Cedric must've squirt some inners from his bowels into the tub which Ethan was now bathing in....

This is where I think, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!"

It's only 8pm and they are going to bed!