i forgot how big

i forgot how big

So, I have a confession to make. My sisters and I love the movie “Joe Versus the Volcano.”

It’s like we are in this little club of extreme geeks who are the only ones who will get it when we say blankly to each other,

I have no response to that.

Or

I know he can get the job but can he DO the job? I’m NOT arguing that with you. I’m not arguing that with YOU.

Or

Well, I don’t know what to say. You tell me you’re dying. You tell me you’re jumping into a volcano. My mind is a blank.

Joe-Volcano_1200_746_81_s

Or that we all know the answer to “Where should we go?” is “Away from the things of man.”

And that we should never really go anywhere without a waterproof steamer trunk. Or four. (A sure way to live to be a thousand years old.)

There is language, so for my fellow LDS friends, please don’t judge my eternal salvation on the fact that I have a ssoft spot for this film.

I also wonder if I may lose a friendship over this confession. I mean, it might be the final straw for some of my readers. (As if I haven’t been more offensive on an almost daily basis on Facebook. 🙂 )

I am willing to risk it. I am just a girl writing a blog, sharing her deepest secrets on the internet…

But, here I am thinking about Joe. He was diagnosed with a brain cloud, which apparently is terminal. So he quits his job and sets out for a grand adventure which is supposed to culminate with him jumping into a volcano.

JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO, Tom Hanks, Abe Vigoda, 1990

JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO, Tom Hanks, Abe Vigoda, 1990

And just today I thought it would be nice to remember what Joe remembered during his journey.

Because the people residing on this old planet earth–well, a lot of us seem to have forgotten that there is a Bigger Something watching out for us, and that we are kind of all in this together. All in this together, floating on a fragile, blue beautiful sphere in the immensity of forever.

We need to wake up and remember that there is also something bigger than us that moves in glory and beauty all around us and that turns all bad things to good for us if we let It. We need to remember that there is balm at the end of bitterness, because it is Truth. And it is Bigger than anything that can happen here on this little blue sphere we call home.

Patricia told Joe something her father taught her:

My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.

So, here is an idea for all of you who are feeling discouraged and disheartened and scared.

Look up.

Quit reading my blog for a second, and go outside and if it’s night, look up. Find the moon. Find the stars. Find the Milky Way.

Look up and wake up.

And remember.

Remember how big.

Remember that in the vastness of the universe, that Universe loves us. Loves us infinitely and perfectly and that there is truly, in spite of our limited understanding, a Greater Power that conquers all evil and vanquishes all sorrow. And that while we may feel like we are being beaten in a battle that is impossible to win, there are powers that we cannot see that will always turn the tide and that good and love truly can conquer all.

That’s what Joe did.

He was in the middle of the ocean, starving and thirsty, and then, the moon started to rise.

Have you ever seen the moon rise over the ocean? I am not one for “bucket lists”, but I think we should all get to see the moon rise over the ocean at least once. Or maybe over a mountain, or a sea of tall grass…

When Joe saw the moon, he remembered.

He remembered how big the Creator or whatever Higher Power you refer to…he remembered how big. 

Dear God, whose name I do not know – thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG… thank you. Thank you for my life.

 

What Would Jane Do?

What Would Jane Do?

Not my Jayne. My Jayne would crawl into the pantry and eat goldfish crackers straight out of the box and get them all over the floor.

My Jayne

My Jayne

And then she would look up at me with those cute pig tails and get away with it.

No. The Jane.

Ms. Austen, to be more exact.

I was at my sister’s home the other day and I saw a book on her bookshelf titled, “What Would Jane Do?” and knew that I must have one of my own.

I Simply Had To Have It.

I Simply Had To Have It.

I ordered it from Amazon and as soon as I had opened it, my daughters snatched it from me. I had to fight them to get it back.

Ms. Austen has gotten me through long winters and hard times, and I love her for it.

I have seen a lot of people posting on my facebook wall lately this little hashtag thingy:

#theresanoilforthat

Referring to essential oils, but I have to say I think that sometimes I think a better one would be:

#theresajaneaustenbookforthat

Seriously. When I am having a bad day, there is nothing quite as soothing as a hot bath, chocolate and Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne:

“I can listen no longer in silence.  I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach.  You pierce my soul.  I am half agony, half hope.  Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever.  I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago.  Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death.  I have loved none but you.  Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.  You alone have brought me to Bath.  For you alone I think and plan.  Have you not seen this?  Can you fail to have understood my wishes?  I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine.  I can hardly write.  I am every instant hearing something which over powers me.  You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others.  Too good, too excellent creature!  You do us justice, indeed.  You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men.  Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating in”
F.W.
“I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible.  A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.”

 

It transports me and I feel better.

Or what about if I am mad at John?

Several items come to mind:

What are men to rocks and mountains?

Or:

Angry people are not always wise.

Or:

I have not the pleasure of understanding you.

I also take comfort in this piece of wisdom:

Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.

IMG_1245

Friends.

 

It doesn’t end with Ms. Austen, of course. The first page of The Belgariad is an old friend:

The first thing the boy Garion remembered was the kitchen at Faldor’s farm. For all the rest of his life he had a special warm feeling for kitchens and those peculiar sounds and smells that seemed somehow to combine into a bustling seriousness that had to do with love and food and comfort and security and, above all, home. No matter how high Garion rose in life, he never forgot that all his memories began in that kitchen.

It’s almost as if part of me was raised in that kitchen. And no matter what is going on in my life, when I read those words, I am in a place and time that never existed in reality, but is more real to me than some of my own memories.

Josephine March is as real to me as my own sisters, and I have read and reread her adventures and been inspired by her, and commiserated with her:

A quick temper, sharp tongue, and restless spirit were always getting her into scrapes, and her life was a series of ups and downs, which were both comic and pathetic.

Yes, Jo and I are kindred spirits.

Narnia is just as any place on earth, and, in fact, sometimes moreso.

(We even have a room called “Spare Oom” in our house right now. It does not, however, contain a wardrobe.)

Aslan

Aslan

Growing up, I imagined I was a queen of Narnia, and that no matter what happened, I should act like one, because “once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.”

One of my biggest teenage crushes was Sherlock Holmes, the literary character.

I still love being able to read Beatrice and Benedick whenever I get upset with my husband:

Benedick: “What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?

Beatrice: Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?”

I sometimes wonder if I have been through a lot over the last few years, because it doesn’t feel like that much compared to other people.

But my friends say….and John says that I have.

And when my friends also tell me my “adrenals are shot” (Is that a thing now? Because everyone tells me that…and from what they say causes adrenals to be “shot” mine are long dead these many years…) and my neurologist gives me unpleasant news, and when I am really lonely for Joy, sometimes it’s not an oil or medication or a trip to Fiji or whatever that I need.

Some Of My Favorites

Some Of My Favorites

Sometimes I just need a good printed paper book and some quiet in a nice comfy chair and a snack.

I don’t know if there are any studies on what that can do for your adrenals, or your endorphins, and I am not sure it helps with someone’s “poor gait,” but it may.

Maybe it’s because most of my problems are in my head (literally! 🙂 ), that I feel like distracting and inspiring my mind actually changes my emotions and feelings and somehow actually physically helps….

For me, it’s some of the best therapy in the world.

a new christmas hymn and some favorites…

a new christmas hymn and some favorites…

I started off my Christmas season by attending the Epcot World Showcase Candlelight Processional. Gary Sinise was the narrator, and as he narrated Luke 2, it was obvious that this wasn’t about him. He has been doing this for 10 years. I really enjoyed it.

I just wanted to post this beautiful Christmas hymn, which has been offered for free download from my favorite composer, Rob Gardner.

It’s breathtaking.

My favorite part is the last verse:

We rejoice in the light, and we echo the song

Coming down through the night from the heavenly throng.

And the star rains its fire while the beautiful sing,

For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King!

 There are many Christmas hymns and songs, but there are some that just reach into the core of my heart and melt it. And then I want to change the world. That’s how I feel when I hear The Messiah.

Or this version of the First Nowell, arranged by Mack Wilberg and angels:

It’s the last verse that moves me every time:

Then let us all with one accord

Sing praises to our heavenly Lord

That hath made Heaven and earth of nought

And with his blood mankind has bought.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

Born is the King of Israel!

Breathtaking

Breathtaking

“Bring Him Home” from the Christmas Concert. Pure heaven:

I love this 32 finger version of “Angels We Have Heard On High”, because it focuses on the joy of Christmas:

And, I love this beautiful Nigerian carol. It makes my heart dance:

Hope you enjoyed some of my favorites!

bowls

bowls

When we moved into this home, the previous tenants had left some dishes. Here is an email I sent to my husband regarding these bowls…kind of gives you an inside view of the antics he has to put up with on a daily basis. He lovingly refers to it as “whimsy.” This is why I love John.

My Dearest John,

Recently, I have been pondering and thinking about the fantastical bowls that we discovered in this home when we moved. As I have contemplated moving and leaving them behind, I must confess that my heart has been full of a sense of foreboding–perhaps even dread.

In quiet moments as I am enjoying a generous portion of non-dairy, raw, vegan queso dip out of these dishes, I sometimes wonder if they possess magical powers.

Think about it.

It is true that we have used them for months and they have not been broken.

They seem to be able to contain a nearly unlimited portion of stir fry noodles. (Perfect for a ninja like you.)

A Bowl Fit For A Ninja Like You

a bowl fit for a ninja like you

Cereal never appears to spill out of them.

It seems almost as if they are from another world. A better world.

And here is where I must be absolutely honest with you. I profess that indeed,  I love them.

I love how deep they are.

I love that they are stoneware.

I love that they feel like they would be perfectly at home in the Weasley’s house, in a cottage in Ireland, or in a Tolnedran hostel**.

These Bowls Would Be At Home Here

these bowls would be at home here

I love that they are so very versatile: cereal or spaghetti, soup or ice cream, they never fail to please me.

Never before in my life have I loved a bowl the way I love these.

And tonight, it just struck me how empty our lives would be without this stoneware. We would only be left with the Ikea bowls that no one really likes. You know, the ones that break all the time?

They are crooked and break all the time.

these are crooked and break all the time

So, on a whim, I did some  painstaking research* and discovered the origin of these wonderful bowls.

They were once sold inside Target stores. But now, in some tragic turn of events, they are only to be found online in the Target clearance section, which means they are almost extinct!

Trying to steel myself from panicking, I took deep breaths and contemplated what you would want me to do.

I recalled the many times you have scooped up some delicious Blue Bell and smiled as you put it into the deep and roomy recesses of these beautiful bowls, and how happy you were when, not only did the ice cream fit quite nicely, but it stayed cold for a while, and also looked beautiful as you ate it.

Fits Snugly Inside The Ninja Bowl! No Spillage!

fits snugly inside the ninja bowl! no spillage!

I thought about the nights of bibimbap and how all the toppings to our rice and meat fit so nicely in the stoneware without spillage.

And I acted.

At first, I only decided to buy eight, but then I remembered that we have lots of children, and these bowls were going extinct.

I know! Devastating! But don’t worry.

I decided to buy 16.

They were $50. (Normally, they would have been $80. So I saved lots of money.)

And really, can you put a price on magical ninja bowls?

I know what you are thinking, but I am no hero.

I am just an average girl, doing what anyone would do in this situation. I just reacted quickly, acting mostly on instinct because that’s just the kind of girl I am.

No need to thank me. (But if you would like to show your gratitude, you know where to find me… 😉 )

And, thank you for rearranging the budget to allow for this special, once in a lifetime experience.

Love, Misty

**A nerdy reference to a fantasy novel I read growing up.

*By painstaking research, I googled “room essentials bowl”. It was tough.

i did it!

i did it!

So, I did it.

I went to DisneyWorld.

And for all of you who want to know, I did all of the Must-Do rides, like:

The People Mover: Watch Out!

The People Mover: Watch Out!

And:

The Carousel of Progress

The Carousel of Progress

This one was hilarious to be in–because my sister and I love it–and we were singing along and having a fabulous time, and everyone else was like not having a fun time and if someone were to look at us they would have thought:

Are they on the same ride as everyone else? Because they are the only ones having a good time.

The only reason there were people on with us was because there was a thunderstorm.  Actually, this was kind of a crazy ride for me to go, because I got really, really dizzy.

Forgot that it was actually a carousel of sorts that spun us around.  It was CRAZY!

And, finally:

At Night...

At Night…

Yes, we cruised the jungle–AT NIGHT! It was incredible.

I learned a lot about life in my few hours at the park on an electric wheelchair. I want to write about it, but I can’t tonight because I am tired and it’s A LOT. I hope I don’t have to do it very often (the wheelchair, not the writing), because it was hard for me. It’s just a different experience.

But, luckily, I had rented “Jazzy” the power chair. So, it was a lot more fun than the normal carts that people are usually on. Jazzy could come with us to lots of places, and he was smooth, let me tell you!

Jazzy

Jazzy

I even had MY lever on the left-hand side because I am left-handed. It was awesome.

And I really did feel hip and trendy, and a few people I talked with agreed that it was much more hip and trendy than the cumbersome scooters with their baskets and all that.

Not that I am trying to be a snob or anything.

Also, I learned how to do 360s.

I only ran over my sister’s foot three times in two days.

I love my sister. She is amazing. She said it was not a big deal, because she is kind that way.

(I did give her a foot massage the first night as penance…probably wasn’t enough, though.)

It was truly magical, and I am not making that up.

The only part that was hard was sitting in front of the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse and not being able to climb the steps to see it.

I really wanted to see it.

I admit that I cried.

But, I had Jazzy, and I got to go on a Jungle Cruise, and a camel spit on me, and I even got a glimpse of Mr. Smee, so it was alright in the end.

The SMEe

The SMEe

And I learned so much.

And I prayed to see that place through my sister’s eyes.

And I prayed to learn something from the experience of going in a motorized wheelchair.

And I prayed that I would be able to have fun and understand why.

And I realized that things are changing for me in ways that I could never have anticipated and I realize that I have been wrong about a lot of things and more right than I knew on so many others.

I have so much to tell you, dear readers!  I like to think Joy was with me, knowing that it’s her day coming up here on Friday. (It will be five years since she went home on the 5th of July.)

So, when you are done celebrating and you maybe are enjoying some quiet time over the weekend–maybe you can stop by and grab some leftover pie and read about what I learned from my weekend at the Magic Kingdom.

I think it’s worth celebrating!

Wishes

Worth celebrating!

Until then, goodnight, beautiful world!

 

 

 

here be dragons

here be dragons

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My 12 and ups really like fantasy novels, but finding a series that is worth reading is tough.  In a genre that has the potential to uplift and inspire (C.S. Lewis and Tolkien being prime examples), it seems difficult to find a series that does just that.

I spent the week reading a Christian fantasy series because it had everything my children were looking for–dragons, a strong female character, and adventure.  To be honest, at the beginning of the book I started to wonder if I would be able to get through all the made up words…there were a lot of them.  Thank heavens she has a pronunciation guide in the back!  But, after my initial confusion in trying to figure out which race was which and what they were supposed to look like in my imagination, I began to really like the book.

DragonSpell: I Enjoyed It

It is well written.  It has a nice vocabulary.  My only complaint is that there do seem to be quite a number of battle scenes.  The characters only fight “lower races” which are kind of like monsters–most of whom cannot reason–but I am not a fan of violence in any form.  The characters are careful to only defend…so that is good, but I would have preferred less of it–and much less description.

The story is a Biblical allegory, but I did not find it too preachy (although it is completely obvious, but I actually enjoyed it).  I liked some of the insights I was reminded of throughout the story.  The relationships developed are healthy and the romance is beautiful and chaste.  (For real chaste, not Twilight chaste).

If you are interested, the series is the Keepers of the Dragons Chronicles, and the first book in the series is DragonSpell.  I think it will be fun for my 13 and 15 year old (although my son might not be interested at first–the first book is from the female character’s point of view, but book three is a male point of view).  They’ve already expressed a great deal of enthusiasm with the storyline.

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And speaking of dragons, one of our family’s favorite fantasy novel series is called The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, starting with the charming Dealing With Dragons and practical Princess Cimorene.  Witty and with just enough adventure (but very little violence), this is a crowd pleaser.

Meant for kids, fun for everyone

My husband even enjoyed it.  My children have also very much enjoyed the audiobooks (although I find some of the character’s voice grating, the children don’t seem to, and Cimorene’s voice is very pleasant).

It’s an easy to read book, in my opinion, suitable for eight and ups.  Maybe even a little younger, if they are okay with an occasional reference to a dragon eating someone.

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I tried to read Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley, but I don’t like her writing style.  Yes, she has a great command of the English language, but just because you can use ten million words to describe something doesn’t mean you should.  With every single book I’ve read of hers, I always feel trapped.  The story is just interesting enough for me to feel like I have to read it to the end, but it is irritating the whole way through.

Smoked Oysters

It’s kind of like eating smoked oysters.  You really like that first taste, but the smell and the fishy aftertaste–ugh.  Then, when you have to brush your teeth six times, swish with Listerine, and get a new toothbrush, you wonder why you ate them in the first place.

So, that’s my review of works by Robin McKinley–they are like smoked oysters.  Also, the romance is just not real to me and sometimes seems kind of chauvinistic.

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Years ago, the “Ologies” series of books were all the rage.  All of the children have seen some of these books, but their hands down favorite (and one we have gotten in multiple copies), is Dragonology.

Inside Dragonology: The Western European Dragon

Whimsical and educational, this book has actually been very helpful when they decide to write their own stories.  They take Dragonology  and use it for “research” in writing their own books about dragons.

There are many more books by Dr. Drake on the subject of dragons which are fun and fascinating.

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I was first introduced to the idea of modern Christian fantasy with the Dragons In Our Midst series.  While I appreciated the original story, I found that the author spent a lot of time talking about demons and dark things.  In fact, it became such a large part of the story, that I decided we needed to quit reading the series.  Also, the premise that people could be dragons is a bit disconcerting.

Dragons In Our Midst: The Series Became Too Dark

What I appreciated about Donita K. Paul is that she doesn’t dwell on darkness any longer than is necessary, and the focus of the book is always light.

Bryan Davis, the author of Dragons In Our Midst doesn’t know how to dwell on light and still tell a compelling story, or he simply found it too difficult and defaulted to blaming it on caricatures of demons.

stroke of brilliance

stroke of brilliance

I am full of brilliance! Okay, maybe not brilliance.  But, I am shiny at the very least!

So, put on your sunglasses so you won’t be blinded and read on…

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Do you ever feel like Pinterest is kind of a little bit of a waste of time?  Well, I have found a brilliant, brilliant use for it!  Yes, I am kind of really excited about my wonderfully fabulously brilliant idea!  In fact, right now, I am holding in giggles as I attempt to unveil it to the world wide world…

Aaah…Pinterest.

I realized that Pinterest can be used to do good.  When I feel like doing something nice for someone who I know has a Pinterest account, I look at their boards and find one of the following:

  • Something to bake for them (this is usually not what I, personally do, because that would not end up as being something nice)
  • Something to make a care package out of  (for example, if they have pinned a craft or something they’d like to make with their children, get all the supplies together and mail it to them)
  • Something to buy them (have they pinned a book they want to get, a favorite author, etcetera?)
  • Something to make for them (my latest creation was a hardcover book at Shutterfly using all my sister’s favorite quotes from her Pinterest board along with pictures of her nieces and nephews–and that is about as crafty as I get).
Alright.  I will pause here as all of you stop and catch your breath as I know my brilliance just took your breath away.

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Speaking of Pinterest, in the spirit of trying not to have it be a complete waste of time, I actually have attempted to try out things I’ve found on there.  I will, as a public service to all of you, review some of them here, along with whether they were brilliant or…not.

Pineapple Angel Food Cake…WOW!

This is really, really bomb proof–so they said.  Simply dump an angel food cake mix in a bowl and mix with a can of pineapple, and VOILA!  Magic.

Verdict:  Tasted great.  Exploded in the oven.  The kids thought it was very, very cool.

The Pumpkin Wins

Not to be deterred (and since I bought angel food cake mix in bulk), we decided to try the pumpkin version.

Verdict: Did not explode.  Smelled like Christmas.  Tasted delicious. Oven did not need to be cleaned.  Mom thought it was really cool.

Nature Art

We tried this one day when we had friends over, and it was a smashing success!  I couldn’t believe how pretty all of their pictures turned out, and it kept them occupied for quite some time.

Finished Product!

Verdict: This is a keeper for the girls, definitely.  All we needed was glue and paper and the yard.

Whining

So, you know how you see all that sage advice in little quotable printables on Pinterest?  Here is one that I thought I would put to the test.  I waited for a misfortune, then I whined about it.

Verdict: Elder Holland is SPOT ON.  

Veggie Tostadas

I had a lot of Ezekiel’s Sprouted Corn Tortillas (we, as a family, heartily concur that the sprouted wheat tortillas taste like cardboard). So, we decided to make some tostadas.

Verdict: Easy and yummy for moms.  They crisp up just fine without any oil at all.  I grill them in my panini grill.  Sometimes I don’t use beans.  Most of the time, I am the only one who eats them, but I love them.  The littles can’t eat the tostadas because they are too chewy.

 -3-

They are brilliant.

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It is almost time to vote, and here is my next stroke of brilliance.

BEFORE YOU GO TO VOTE:

1. Go to see “The Price of Freedom in Arizona.

2. If you can’t go to the performance (or even if you can ),  buy the CD at Spire Music.

3. You can also view many of the original cast performing the songs on YouTube.

4. Only then will you really be prepared to vote.

 

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Finally, A Use For My Floor To Ceiling Bathroom Mirror!

I finally found a use for my floor to ceiling mirror in my bathroom…I bought dry erase markers.  I use it to record my weight and exercise accomplishments.  Or not.  Some days say things like “walked” and some say “ate ice cream.”  On the bottom half of the mirror, I let my littles draw me pictures while I am showering so they don’t burn the house down.  This website has some nice ideas for what you could write on your mirror.  Or your children’s mirrors.

 

From Amazon, Of Course

I got the extra dry, non-toxic markers.  The kids really like this stroke of brilliance!  And I get beautiful artwork and notes of encouragement every day!

five things for friday: robinson curriculum resources

five things for friday: robinson curriculum resources

We have used the Robinson Curriculum for the past six years in our homeschool, and we really like it.  I have been getting a lot of questions lately regarding it.  I wonder if I should start an online LDS Robinson Curriculum group?  It might be nice to see how other LDS families use the curriculum.

Anyway, there isn’t much to it, so that’s probably why it’s not as popular as other methods (which, by the way, can work just as well).  That’s why I like it.  While I have occasional bouts of romantic ideals, in reality, I have learned over the years to be a little more pragmatic in my approach to educating my children.  Robinson Curriculum has been lovely precisely because it is very simple.

So, here are five things that have to do with education, specifically with self-learning.  Hope you enjoy them!

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By far the biggest question I get from moms is :

“How do you implement the curriculum on a daily basis?”

Studying

They read through the course of study that Dr. Robinson has written and come away not really getting it.

I had to read it through for about two weeks before I finally “got” it.  I think it’s because it is so simple.  I was just looking for something more complicated and showy, I guess.  Here are some places that talk about implementing the curriculum:

  • Rosegate Harbour : This is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to learn more about this curriculum, and as an added bonus, the author of this site is LDS.  It has been a great resource for me.  Even if you are not homeschooling or using the curriculum, the list of free books and where to get them is a treasure!
  • Riverwillow: One family’s well-documented and in-depth review of the Robinson Curriculum.
  • Grammar and Spelling Books: These are the books contained on the CDs in the Robinson Curriculum, but I have loved them so much, I ordered the hard copies!
  • Robinson Curriculum Facebook Group : And, this is a great place to look at what other questions and answers people have about the curriculum.

And, finally the official website for the Robinson Curriculum is here.

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I recently posted how much I love nature study as part of a homeschool curriculum.  Because of this, I have added some books recommended by those who follow the Charlotte Mason Method of home education.  I have really enjoyed many of them, my favorite is the Handbook of Nature Study.

One Of Our Many Copies

Here is the Ambleside Online/Robinson Curriculum booklist, which incorporates many Charlotte Mason friendly books.  It is MS Word format.

And, I couldn’t not mention all of this without mentioning the wonderful blog “Handbook of Nature Study.”  It’s amazing.

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Reading for fun is a huge part of how we learn in our school.  We love older serial books like the Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift, Rover Boys, Dotty Dimple and others.  But, I have to admit, I am at a complete loss when it comes to post 1930’s books.  Oh, I have found a few that I like, but in general, I don’t have time to sift through all the horrible grammar (Magic Treehouse, anyone?  Ugh.) and really limited vocabulary.

Lucky for me, I have an amazing friend who has been homeschooling for almost 20 years, and she is great at finding more modern books that are good, clean fun, and grammatically correct.  Her name is Michelle, and her Great Reads for Childrenis a must-follow on Pinterest!

Michelle’s Great Reads For Children

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I May Forgo Lunch In Lieu of Afternoon Tea

Dr. Robinson, being a widower and a busy scientist, decided early on to forego lunch as a meal at home.  He and the children (mostly boys), ate a huge breakfast and dinner, but no formal lunch was served.  I have often wished I could implement this system, but I haven’t been able to do it.  Perhaps when the children are older they can stick to raw fruits and veggies at lunch hour, and I won’t have to come up with anything.   Until then, it is sometimes nice to get lunch ideas, because we have to come up with something on a daily basis.

My favorite is baked poatoes with toppings–I can put them in the slow roaster in the morning and they are ready at lunchtime.

Here are some great posts on homeschool lunch ideas:

After reading the last two articles, I think I may reinstitute tea time.  I had forgotten about tea. When we lived in Australia, morning and afternoon tea were part of life, and I really enjoyed it (but did not drink the actual tea, unless it was herbal tea).

Easy Lunchbox Ideas From Homeschool Madness

I know that it seems time consuming, but when I am not pregnant, I do like to make lunches ahead bento box style.  It seems the children like to eat them when they are in the lunchbox with dividers.  Homeschooling Ideas has a great article on this (without getting too crazy like making cucumbers into dragons, or fruit in the shapes of famous sculptures or anything). Homeschool Madness also has lots of examples of Easy Lunchbox ideas (we have Easy Lunchboxes for each of the children at our home).

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And, finally, some homeschool humor:

Kinda’ Funny…

And, of course, the Messy Mondays “Seven Lies About Homeschoolers” is funny both to homeschooled people and public schooled people alike, I think:

Smockity Frocks is funny and full of really great information!

zizzer-zazzer-zuz

zizzer-zazzer-zuz

Today is Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday.

Since I grew up thinking Dr. Seuss was actually a doctor, insisting that, in fact, a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuz must have indeed at one time existed, considering it was documented in The Doctor’s ABC’s anthology (and, secretly, if the truth be known, I was always a little afraid the Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuz, even if it did try to come across as friendly–I wasn’t convinced)…here are five things I’ve learned from him.

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Horton Hatches The Egg

It’s one thing to lay an egg, but another to faithfully endure until it hatches and finds its potential.

 “But it’s Mine!” screamed the bird, when she heard the egg crack.

(the work was all done. Now she wanted it back.)

“It’s my egg!” she sputtered. “You stole it from me!

Get off of my nest and get out of my tree!”

Poor Horton backed down

With a sad, heavy heart…

But at that very instant, the egg burst apart!

And out of the pieces of red and white shell,

From the egg that he’d sat on so long and so well,

Horton the Elephant saw something whizz!

It had Ears

And a Tail

And a trunk just like his!

And it should be, it should be, it should be like that!

Because Horton was faithful! He sat and he sat!

He meant what he said

And he said what he meant…”

…And they sent him home

Happy,

One hundred per cent!

This is an especially poignant lesson if you have ever been involved (or seen others who are involved)  in adopting children out of abusive situations.  There is this hope that these children, first neglected and left–sometimes to die–and then found, will someday emerge from their shells resembling the best of both sides of themselves–through the unselfish and often painful sacrifice of someone who has stepped in to be a literal savior–who has voluntarily taken on the burden and weight of someone else’s mistakes in order to love a child into having a chance at a beautiful life.

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Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

I am very lucky.

 It’s a troublesome world. All the people who’re in it

are troubled with troubles almost every minute.

You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot,

for the places and people you’re lucky you’re not!

…suppose that you lived in that forest in France,

where the average young person just hasn’t a chance

to escape from the perilous pants-eating-plants!

But your pants are safe! you’re a fortunate guy.

And you ought to be shouting, “How lucky am I!”

Sometimes, when I am having a particularly hard day, I remind myself that my pants are safe.  Somehow, just recalling the words and the picture of those pants-eating-plants makes me feel a wee bit better.

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You’re Only Old Once

I’m in pretty good shape.

You’re in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.  –Dr. Seuss

And, you know, that’s coming from a doctor so it must be true!  I especially like to remember this lesson when I am feeling like I’d rather have lived my life in the green pastured mountains of Fotta-fa-Zee.

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Oh Say Can You Say?

There is an end to the storm.

The storm starts when the drops start dropping. When the drops stop dropping, the storm starts stopping.

Only Dr. Seuss could come up with a somewhat comforting tongue twister.

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On Beyond Zebra

There is always more and better if we see beyond the temporal.

And I said, “You can stop, if you want, with the Z.

Because most people stop with the Z.

But not me!!!

In the places I go, there are things that I see

That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z.

I’m telling you this ‘cause you’re one of my friends.

My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!

If you stay home with Zebra,

You’re stuck in a rut.

But on beyond Zebra,

You’re anything but!

When you go beyond Zebra,

Who knows…?

There’s no telling

What wonderful things

You might find yourself spelling!

So you see!

There’s no end

To the things you might know,

Depending how far beyond Zebra you go!

The places I took him!

I tried hard to tell

Young Conrad Cornelius o’Donald o’Dell

A few brand-new wonderful words he might spell.

I led him around and I tried hard to show

There are things beyond Z that most people don’t know.

I took him past Zebra. As far as I could.

And I think, perhaps, maybe I did him some good…

Because, finally, he said:

“This is really great stuff!

And I guess the old alphabet

ISN”T enough!”

NOW the letters he uses are something to see!

Most people stop at the Z…

But not HE!

I feel like there are so many things “on beyond zebra” that I’ve experienced or witnessed in my life, and I am so happy that I am aware of that language beyond the alphabet–the language of memories and laughter and compassion and grief and the getting through it; the language of sacrifice, love, pain, and the overcoming of it…

There is something that happens when you know that language and you can see it when you look in someone’s eyes and you can feel that they know it, too.  It’s a beautiful language.  I hope to someday become fluent in the language of the letters beyond Z.

So, there are my five lessons for Five Things For Friday.  I hope you have a great weekend–and if you don’t, at least remember that your pants are safe and you’re in pretty great shape for the shape you are in.