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"Everyone wanted to get rid of the old English rule"

September 25th, 2009 at 03:50 pm

That was the line I just read to my kids from a history book. Simple, direct, and false. Why on earth would anyone write that! Not only were there plenty of 'torries' there were plenty of folk who wanted to let well enough alone!

Why was it right for the colonies to rebel against their country, but not right for the south to rebel against the American govt?

Simplest answer, because the victors write history. I wish it were not so. I would like to hear all the honest truth when I study history. They say those who refuse to learn history are doomed to repeat it, I wonder what is to be said of those who feed false history to their children?

That's my girl

September 11th, 2009 at 02:36 pm

We were recently at a renfest with the two older kids. They had saved up some money for the trip, and upon entering JC immediately made a beeline for a cute little shop that sells knitted ornaments, dolls and the like.

She found a cute finger puppet for $3, when I pointed out she could get two for $5, and each would be cheaper she declined.

Cheaper per item, but more money spent. I constantly hear folk who 'couldn't pass up a good deal' failing to consider that they might need the extra money more than the second item.

Though I told her I would pay the $2 for the second and we could take it home for her little sister.

After a free ride on the butterfly swings she found a 'princess wand', she couldn't find a price. A nice shopkeeper came over and said it was $5. JC checked it would have used up all the rest of her money, so she decided to pass.

Then later she was looking at tiara's, at first she ooohed and awwed over various pink flower and ribbon contraptions, but then she put it all back. She told me she didn't think she had enough money for one. I offered to check, but she said no.

Meanwhile GMC was spending his money on archery (he loves this), and the frog thumping game, and beef jerky.

Mommy was spending hers on tips for entertainment (wonderful pirate show this year) and food....and a parasol.

When I got back, my MIL commented on how I could have gotten one at the dollar store. And proceeded to tell me how most of the clothes she buys the kids come from there (the ones that either fit weird, arms too long while you have to rip the wrist area to keep it from cutting off circulation, or are just plain small, size 5 on my 3 year old)

She also told me how cheap the chewy ships ahoy where there (stale, I love those fake cookie things, and I only ate a couple cause I took em before I realized they were stale) And how the cheerios always come from there (also stale, but I don't eat em anyway) Among other interesting things (those bandaids that wouldn't stick)

I am all for frugal and cheap, in general I do not waste (much) money, BUT if the quality is suffering I would rather spend a buck or two more. You would think I grew up on fancy foods all high class or something, but actually I grew up on peanut butter, cheap mac and cheese, and hotdogs, with the occasional curry by my father. Clothing was all handme downs (I had no idea some folk went 'school shopping'). Money wasn't spent on foil, but when we did buy store bought cookies, it wasn't cheap it was the good ones out of the red bag. now those are worth the calories and the price! (but not to often, like never bought any as an adult...)

Now I do not eat hot dogs, nor boxed mac and cheese. But I do still use mostly hand me downs.

Spending money is all about choices. I would gladly trade any amount of stale cookies for one really cool parasol (that I will still be enjoying for years to come).

Not that I fault my MIL for buying the cookies, her cookies, her taste buds, not mine. To each their own.

Frugal strategy number two

August 31st, 2009 at 01:10 pm

I don't drive...that is in some respects an obvious way to save, no insurance for me, no car, no gas, no car related expenses.

But there is more to it than that.

For one thing, I can't sign my kids up for tons of classes, nor take them tons of places every day. Not that I have anything against 'stuff'. Just that I have to be very choosy so that most activities are done when my husband is around to drive, or when a wonderful friend will drive me (in return for gas money) I know many a broke person who thinks nothing of spending hundreds a month on different children's classes. I believe children need a great deal of 'down time' to create their own play, too much driving form one class to another takes away that time.

Another more useful result of not driving, when I am out of something, I HAVE to make do, I do not live less than 2 miles from a grocery store, or any other store for that matter. So if I am out of something, I must improvise.

You can sub for just about anything.

Out of one kind of tape, use another, or use glue, or creative folding, or a stapler.

Spaghetti sauce on rice is perfectly edible. Seriously, make it spicier and it is called 'Spanish rice' Really rice can be a base for anything you would put on pasta, or potatoes, and vice versa.

Most dishes can manage without a spice or two, baking as well. and most items in a recipe have a decent trade available. google em Smile. When cooking it helps to know the type of taste you need to replace (sweet, hot, acid, whatever) or chemical habit of the item (binding, rising, ect)

Crafts are great examples, use a bobby pin instead of a paper clip, or a paper clip instead of a 'brad'. Look at what you have, not at what you think you need, I am always surprised at how inventive I can be when neccessary.

When I teach the kids a new game, or math concept, or science, I often find instructions calling for certain 'manipulatives' (items you can move). If I know the point I can sub. For example, 'teddy bears' are often used to count or graph. I have a bucket full of miscellaneous animals to count, and duplos are uniform in size enough to graph. No cash spent.

Need some shapes for tessellations? google and print em. Science is a little more random, but so long as you know what you are trying to do, you can fake it at least part way.

Not that any of my inventions will be winning awards, nor being paid for. But that isn't the point. Making a craft with the kids or playing a game, or cooking isn't about making money. It is about having fun without spending.

D is for .....

July 28th, 2009 at 07:45 pm

When you want to work on a letter sound with young children, you don't need full alliteration, you just need lots of words that begin with a certain sound. Suppose you start with D. Any kid can be prompted to come up with Dog, or Daddy. Most can follow clues to dragon, or dream. If you read Dr Seuss you of course go with Donald David Doo dreamed a dozen doughnuts and a duck dog too.

House rules will differ for each house, but in ours, whoever comes up with a word last wins. So saying half a dozen in a row to use up words is common. We also have very lax rules for the kids; they can repeat any word, while Mom and Dad must use new words. Oh and using any outside help, like google is cause for disqualification. Other than that, we just aim to have a fun discourse full of the letter of the day.

After an hour or so we have used up dreary, darning, disco, dwarf and all the compound words like doormat, doorknob, or daytime, daylight, and daylong. So we move on to bigger words like destroyer, destiny, declare, and deviate, or derivative.

Somewhere around lunch time we get desperate and decide to try all the places we know, like Denver, Dorchester and Dormont.

Then we start to borrow foreign words, like derriere, or dormir , dos , and deux.

By dinner time we start to get desperate and decide all words have various forms, so dine, dined, dinner, dining, dines, and diner all count as new words. Back to that French, conjugation is now fun. Je Dor, Tu dors, il/elle dort, nous dormons, vous dormez, ils/elles dormant. (And that is just for present tense, which is all I know)

By the time we head to children’s choir practice the other adults want to know we are fighting over who can conjugate the Latin Deo first, which essentially means remembering all the different forms sung in any song we heard, because neither of us knows Latin very well. (Dona, Donno? Domine, dues?)

If this is all done with the giggles and excitement of a couple parents competing for fun, kids will learn something. From how to compete (don’t get all worked up, it is for fun!) To how to graciously lose, kids are learning. Not to mention since you repeat the sound “d” so many times and “D is for desist!” at every word any young child has to pick up some letter sounds.

Now I decidedly must decamp,and deliberate some other kind of delectable drivel to delight the dedicated readers of my decidedly disaster of a drawn out note.


July 26th, 2009 at 08:48 pm

Kids will always learn, they are designed by God to learn. We as parents just get to direct them toward useful information. Or we try anyway. Somehow Starwars quotes and sports statistics crop up along with math and reading!

Every minute of a child’s day is learning, from the moment they are made till something ruins it, a child is learning, waking hours are spent noticing the world, cataloging, and filing away tidbits of information, sleeping hours are spent organizing and sorting through those tidbits.

I think the single most important thing parents can do is delight in the learning with our children. So stop and notice the worm, take a moment to see how high you can count in binary, or just read a good book. You don’t even have to read it to them, just enjoy it yourself, nothing makes a kid want to read more than seeing someone else chuckle and yet not be able to explain it. Many times I have said “You have to read the book to get it”.

We read constantly throughout the day. Before nap, before bed, while cooking dinner, and during nap time (which is an hour of enforced silence for the older two) books abound. Mom reads when she wants a break; Dad reads online how to fix a computer, or the latest sports news. While Google is the source of all answers, someone has to read those websites for the info. And even when seeking professionals, we still read. You didn’t think I paid long distance rates to talk with Grandpa, of course not; that’s what gmail’s IM is for!

I did long ago swear my kids would not grow up reading at the dinner table, not because reading is bad, but because I grew up where a family dinner meant 4 books brought to the table. So for those times we talk…generally about what we read during the day! Most topics begin with “I was reading today…”. Or “did you read about…”. Then there are the story reviews by the kids. Not some fancy format, but simply a child sharing what they read or heard that was worth sharing today.

We run most of our adult conversation through a filter to see what lesson the kids are learning. Not that we script anything, just that before we start or at least before we finish we think about the lesson. So yeah we talk about the sports scandals, and then we talk about how they could have avoided the situation, or what politicians should keep their noses out of. We talk about science, or history, or current events, all with an ear to the lesson. I am sure plenty of bad lessons seep through, but when we can, we aim for a good one. Even a conversation on winning the lottery can be educational…politically or mathematically.

Many conversations include math. Most adults use math every day without thinking about it. How many times a day do you check a clock? Whether we are checking to see if we are late, or to see how long before dinner, we use the clock and add or subtract time. Of course cooking uses plenty of math, from counting scoops, to converting fractions. Paying bills, or balancing a checkbook is of course math, why not skip the calculator next time and see if you can write it down like the kids? Go ahead and check your answer with a calculator, I do! So long as we do the math out loud with no complaint, children see that math has many uses. Though we need to not blame the math for our decision, math is not the reason we avoid yet another donut with 300 calories, the empty sugar and fat is. Math is not to blame for our bank account not having enough to buy a new playground set, the daily need to eat is.

We build the house to be educational; every little thing is another tidbit for them to sort through while they sleep.

Our Frugality is hurting the kids education!

July 25th, 2009 at 08:26 pm

You see when asked what someone would pay to finance a couch for a year, my son couldn't wrap his number crunching head around the problem. He didn't know what financing was!

He also apparently doesn't know how to capitalize properly, nor what a colon is.

But he does know enough to pass his test in the 97th percentile, so I am happy. (though a conversation or two is in his future regarding capital letters and colons!)

Wish them enough

July 21st, 2009 at 07:42 pm

I was thinking on how different folk want 'the best' for their kids.

I don't. Oh don't get me wrong I could think of quite a few good things to do with a spare million, but truth is them being better people than I is more important than them having more than I do/did.

I want them to have financial skills earlier than I, but am ok with them not having more money.

I want them to be better educated than I, but am fine with them not wanting a degree. (certainly no need of a 'brand name' one)

I would like if they could travel more than I have, but I don't need it on chartered jets. A mission trip or the like would do them better.

All the things I want for my kids, are not cheap, but are also not so costly that we cannot manage them.

And the biggest things, are free. Lessons in honesty, love, integrity, compassion, history, peace, empathy, cultures...

free but not easy. Would be easier if all I wanted for them was a fairy tale childhood.

I think I should like a terrarium

July 18th, 2009 at 06:01 pm

We have a number of frogs out of doors in the yard (one advantage to not spraying for weeds)

And the kids find them very interesting but it is very hard to study them at length, cause they naturally run, err hop from kid!

Anyway I was considering how to keep and observe them without endangering them, and I think a simple tank terrarium, or bowl would be ok. I just have to either make sure the kids let them go after a day, or find out what they eat (I guess flies?)

I have no desire for a pet resident, so not looking to spend a lot of money (or any if possible), I just want a temporary holding device that will last for a day or at most a week (though next year I mean to take the kids down to the creek and hunt for tadpoles early if possible-those we would keep till they morph, so long as we manage not to kill em)

Anyway, been racking my brain all morning, somehow a collection of computer parts doesn't lend itself well to a terrarium.

Why does NC require me to spend my own money testing my kid?

July 17th, 2009 at 06:15 pm

Why do I have to shell out $50-$100 of my own money on top of the tax money sent to test other kids?

If the gov't is so all fired curious just where my kid falls compared to average 7 year olds why don't they test him?

They do have these days set up for just such a purpose in the public school year, which my tax dollars fund not only the electricity, the supervision, and the grading, but also the salary of the person who decides what to do with the scores.

But will they share any of that tax funded time/space/grading with me? nope, require me to do it, but not one ounce of assistance for the process.

Not that I want gov't interference, just that I wish they would keep their grubby noses out of my business when all they want me to do is spend money.

had to use a book

July 15th, 2009 at 05:47 pm

So my internet wasn't working well yesterday. I normally spends 10-60 minutes with the kids looking up interesting topics.

So I went with the old fashioned book...seems those paper bound things do have interesting info Smile

Learned a bit about the Mercury and Gemini missions. Hope to read more on Apollo today.

Well I guess I will do it myself..

July 1st, 2009 at 06:04 pm

Since that co-op isn't working out for me I got together with a couple moms and worked out a mini option on Tuesdays. Still have something bigger in the thought process for Thursday..prolly not gonna do it right off the bat though.

Should be a good chance for the kids to get a few topics in and happens to be right before the GS meetings will be in fall. decent timing.

Though does make Tuesdays full!

The cost of piano/voice lessons

June 29th, 2009 at 05:28 pm

In the co-op there was discussion of offering piano and or voice lessons. I checked and GMC still wants piano (has been asking for a long time, either piano or violin or recorder)

And JC recently heard a teen girl sing opera and the Aladdin theme, JC was absolutely enthralled and wanted to learn how to sing that way.

Since I can't read music, nor sing beyond passable I figured they would have to get their lessons from someone else.

We are no longer doing the co-op, organizational issues, so I don't know if we can afford the piano or voice lessons.

Seems to be about $80 a month each. Which sounds like quite a lot.

The one dollar test

June 28th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Today my husband came home with two different kinds of bread. One a dollar more a pack.

All because the kids want to know it is worth the dollar more.

I haven't yet compared nutrition in each (though both are whole wheat).

Should be interesting to see if the kids really compare and certainly hope the cheaper bread is good enough!

Pandora vs youtube

June 23rd, 2009 at 04:28 pm

Pandora is the best radio station!

But for hearing a specific song it sucks, or at least I haven't figured out the trick

youtube is where it is at for a song request. But it is a bit annoying to have to keep choosing songs.

In short depends what you need, but either way it is free Smile