Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shakespeare: Taming of the Shrew

H.C. Selous' illustration of Sly and the Hostess in the Induction; from The Plays of William Shakespeare: The Comedies, edited by Charles Cowden Clarke and Mary Cowden Clarke (1830)

Here is the audio version of Taming of the Shrew on Librivox.
Online text of the full play at Gutenberg

I'll be tutoring Classical Conversations Challenge 1 in the fall.  We will be studying The Taming of the Shrew, so I'll be adding resources as I find them. I may or may not use resources listed above, but wanted to have one post with all of them for folks who might need some resources.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Free Homesteading E-Magazine

The Homesteading Community Post
I just enjoyed reading this lovely e-magazine and highly recommend it!  I loved the article on keeping ducks.  It has been many, many years since I have owned ducks.  They were named Calvin and Hobbes and lived behind our little 14 x 48 foot trailer house when we were newlyweds.  You know, back in the good ole days.  It was an impromptu purchase for Easter one year.  I just couldn't resist buying a purple and pink duckling as an Easter gift for Mr. P.  Of course, I bought two because I didn't want lonely ducks!  These ducks were part of the reason we now have a homestead rule of "No new critters, unless their habitat/shed/ barn etc is built and ready to go."  Although I will admit it was many years before we realized that this should be a rule.  We purchased/adopted/ took in many other critters before I came to my senses on that issue.  I bought them and they lived in our tub for a while (can't remember how long, but long enough) and then we purchased them a really fine plastic kiddie pool from Wal-Mart.  Nothing but the best for those ducks!  Sadly, a plastic pool offers no protection from coyote nor the local school bus.  However, had I read this magazine, I could have made them a little pen for almost free.  Of course, then the internet was all but non-existent.  And people still used word processors and typewriters.  And cell phones were as large as a brick.  And gas was a LOT cheaper than it is today.  And we didn't eat a loaf of bread that I didn't make from scratch. And we were very poor because we were both going to college full time.  I guess a lot of things have changed in the 20 plus years since Mr. P and I married.  Where did the time go?  And then again, some things stay the same.  Maybe I should look into getting ducks so the kids can enjoy them as much as we did back then and maybe we can even make them a little pen like in the magazine and I can tell the kids the story of the two ducks I bought for Easter 20 years ago.

Mrs. P 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Double School Desk

As my kids get older, I’m finding that my home school room needs more than a table and a comfy sofa for our lessons.  My older children are really needing a personal desk area to store their school supplies, workbooks and room to work without distractions.   The older two have really outgrown my current table that once held all of us during a lesson.  Now, I can really only put two to work at that table and still have room for their books and supplies.  Ideally, though I only put one at the table at a time because it’s really pretty small.   (You can also translate that to mean that the two older children need a desk where it’s physically impossible to kick each other under the table, make faces at one another or put their stuff in the others space knocking things onto the floor accompanied by delightful screams from the older sister.)  I saw this double desk online at the DIYideas.com website which seems like it will be a perfect solution to my changing school room needs.  The best part is that the directions are all online is this easy to print PDF document. (link is no longer there, so I'm in the process of hunting it down.  Will update the link soon.)  So maybe you need a desk like this because your little home school students annoy one another or if your kids are unlike mine, then you may just want to make it because it’s so darn cute.  Even if my kids were perfect and always kind and loving to one another, I think I’d still want one solely on the cuteness factor.
Here are a few details from the direction sheet.
Skill level:-Beginner
Time to complete:-1–2 weekends, including painting
Estimated cost: $300, plus bookcase
Mrs. P

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Don't Cross That Bridge Until You Get There...

Reasons not to utilize GOOGLE...

Today, my new furniture is scheduled to be delivered.  According to the guy who called me I can expect it between 3 and 7 today.  As Mr. P left this morning he said, I sure will be glad to sit on the new ottoman.  And then he grinned a big grin while waiting for me to slug him.  It just so happens that his personal joke these last couple of weeks has been that after waiting 10 weeks, they will only deliver the ottoman.  And let me tell you if they drive up without all 4 pieces of furniture, I will slug him for making such a joke and jinxing me!
You see it all started 10 weeks ago.  We selected a nice sofa and then were told it would take 8 weeks to get it in stock.  8 weeks didn’t sound like too long.  It didn’t sound nearly as long as my day had been, shopping for furniture with an infant, 3 kids, and Mr. P (who isn’t exactly the best shopper for this sort of thing.)  He is all about rushing and hurrying and has NUMEROUS opinions.  ;-)   So considering that I had spent 8 hours with the whole family sitting on every single sofa in the Central Texas area, 8 weeks seemed like it was just around the corner.
Fast forward to 3-4 weeks ago when I called the furniture store to see if we were still on schedule.  I was told that they had the furniture arriving in June.  I was  a little surprised because by this time I realized that 8 weeks is really 2 months.  (Yeah, and I have a college degree and everything!)  So I decided to “google” my particular furniture store and see if they were typically late in deliveries.  First off, if you are ever concerned about your health or your new furniture, you should not google.  Just go garden, or watch a movie, or read a good book, because Google is the fastest way to introduce major stress into your life, thus shortening your life.  You know I’m telling the truth too.  We have all googled ingrown toenail or something like that to, only be convinced we have a rare genetic disorder and only have about 3 days left to live.  Well, it is the same with furniture.  I was shocked to find that in about a million websites, my particular furniture company scored 1 star out of 5 possible stars, with many, many, many of the reviews saying, “I’d give them a ZERO if I could.”  Panic set in.  The more I googled, the more I was drawn into these people’s stories of furniture delayed 6 months, partial deliveries, deliveries of broken furniture, stories of 6 month old sofas falling apart and looking more like they were 10 years old.  I was sick.  I mean literally sick to my stomach as I read over and over that most people considered this furniture to be “disposable.”  I sure didn’t feel like the cost of the furniture matched these horrid descriptions.
So I read my contract carefully, which again, should have been read carefully before I signed it.  Education does not equal common sense.  ;-)   I realized that in order to get out of this, I would lose 20% to a restocking fee.  So I did what anyone does when they can’t change something.  I stopped googling.  Cold turkey.  Then I went headlong into denial.  Denial is a nice place to be.  I also quit  reading the bad reviews aloud to Mr. P.   And every other person that I know.  (sorry Meme and Steph…I was weak)  I’m sure they were glad to be spared from my trauma over potentially bad furniture.  Nothing like listening to someone worry about something that hasn’t even happened yet and may not ever happen.  So that day, I decided to be positive (and remain in denial).  I have been remaining positive and just hoping that it will all turn out ok.  And Mr. P has been having a fun time with little digs here and there, teasing me about my google induced panic over something that might never be.
So hopefully, I will be posting a great post later today about how I wasted valuable life in worry over something that might happen.  And you know now that I think about it, isn’t that what worry generally is?  We worry over something that potentially could happen. You know, I even think sometimes we enjoy worrying.  It is consuming and requires your every attention.  Sort of like me and the furniture.  When I got to the end of one worry (What if it’s delayed 6 months?), I would then move onto another worry (What if it is a very poor quality and broken at arrival?).  We just take one thing and we multiply it and feed it and watch it grow into full fledged panic.  But the truth is none of those things had happened. Maybe we can stop the process, step back, and see if we have to worry…look at the truth of the situation.  So even though this was just furniture, I think I might have learned a little lesson about worry in general.  Something that Grandma Jane said her whole life just came to my mind.  “Don’t cross that bridge until you get there.”  And you know she was right.  I was all over the “what if” bridge.  I was doing a dance on that bridge.  Just wallowing in my worry over furniture, but not anymore.  Today I’m home preparing for new furniture.   I’m being positive (or in denial…whichever you prefer) and not crossing the “what if” bridge unless I have too.  And realizing that if I had only listened to Grandma Jane many, many years ago I wouldn’t have robbed myself of time that could have been spent in a better way.  And I guess if I end up on that bridge, at least it will be familiar since I spent so long there earlier…LOL
So the short version of the story is:  Don’t google (also known as borrowing trouble) and don’t cross that bridge until you get there.

The Rest of the Story:
The furniture arrived on the date that it was supposed to be delivered.  It was all there and in good shape.  It is now several months later and it just had it's first spill...Easter Candy.   How dare the children give the baby a chocolate Easter bunny to hold!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Habit Formation for Teens (repost)

Do you have any dawdlers in your house?  I know I do.  I’ve recently been reading about habit formation in some of my books about the Charlotte Mason method of education.  I didn’t have any particular reason to read those chapters, it was just the chapters I had gotten too.  It is one of the aspects of a Charlotte Mason Education that I’ve read the least on, in fact.  So I was reading it and seeing lots of benefits to good training in habit formation.  I had no idea that today, I would see the fruit of not spending time in training habit formation.
About an hour ago I went to put the baby down for a nap and gave Mr. C the instructions to take out the trash.  Which must sound just like, “play lego games on the computer,” because when I came out of the baby’s room, there he was happily playing lego games on the computer and there was the trash. It was sitting the trashcan right where it was when I left the room.  Just a few minutes ago, I told a certain teen to unload and reload the dishwasher.  Apparently that sounds a lot like “Wash your hair and paint your toenails,” because when I found her she was about to shampoo her hair and showed me her freshly painted toenails.  Just to be fair, I did make a phone call and ask another adult if in fact take out the trash and unload the dishwasher sound anything at ALL like, shampoo hair and play games.  It was agreed, that there must not have been a communication problem, but rather a “habit formation” problem.
So the children will be working on “habit formation.”  A quick google finds that other moms are utilizing Charlotte’s approach to habit formation.  Check out this article for a quick overview of the method.  This quote from the article hooked me in right away!  This woman must LIVE at MY house!  Or maybe, it’s just a universal issue with all kids????  Either way, I’m agreeing with Charlotte.  I have NOT trained them in the habits I wish they would perform.  And for their sake and mine, I will be training them.
Do you find yourself always telling or asking your children the same things over and over again?  I know I do. If I had a nickel for every time I told them to put the milk away, I’d be rich.  Charlotte Mason taught us that when you find yourself always telling them to do the same thing, you have not trained them in the habits you wish they would perform. She wrote, “the habits of the child produce the character of the man . . . every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.”
I also have a secret weapon in this training.  I have the “Grandma Jane” method of child training.  It involves weeding.  And fortunately for me, I am weed rich!  So in addition to what I’ve been reading, I think I will add on extra weeding just for some good character building.  And if that doesn’t work, I can fall back on my own parent’s secret weapon…rock picking up.  One summer, I spent a large amount of time picking up rocks.  (My parents were rock rich instead of weed rich. )  Oh how my mom and dad will laugh when they read this.  Because I think more than once I said something along the lines of, “I’ll never, never, never make my kids pick up rocks!”  and thus the cycle of life continues, one parent following in the footsteps that the said parent SWORE they would never follow.  How fun life is.  Do you think sometime when I’m old and gray, I’ll be giggling as Mr. C, Miss A, Miss J and Baby C are all having their own children weed and pick up rocks?  Somehow I think that is exactly what my future holds.
Mrs. P

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Teaching Good Eating Habits (repost)

Long time no blogging.  I've been so busy with my New Year's resolutions that I have not had much time to spend on my blog.  Well, I thought I'd share a few thoughts about one of our Family Resolutions to eat better in 2009.  Well, it's a family resolution only because I cook and no one else does.  If I'd had an actual vote...well you get the idea.

Torturing Kids with Food
Teaching Children Good Eating Habits
If you know my son in real life, then you know he is quite a character and has been since birth.  He is funny and creative.  He is full of energy and full of surprises.  He also is the pickiest eater you have EVER seen.  If he had his way he'd start off each day with donuts and chocolate goat's milk, followed by Hot N' Ready pizza for lunch and some Bush's Fried Chicken for dinner.  Before Christmas, I decided it was time for the boy to eat some vegetables, possibly even green ones.  I had high hopes.  So to accustom his taste buds to flavor (since her prefers the pasty glue flavor of white flour),  I began to add finely chopped or pureed veggies to all his foods.  If I made chicken soup, I finely chopped carrots, celery and onions and added them in.  He was suspicious of the orange flecks, but they were too small to pick out so he ate them anyway.  So through the month of December he had the tiniest ever vegetables in various things without his knowledge or consent.  Of couse then came the holidays and all the processed, sugary foods you can find.  To top it all off, the goats were dry and he was stuck with frozen goat milk.  He dearly loved the goat's milk fudge, chex mix, hot cocoa with double marshmallows and spray cool whip.  He especially liked that Meme was off work and had a bulk size box of Pizza Rolls.  By the end of the month his face was in a rash from his excess sugar comsumption as well as drinking homogonized cow milk (which he is allergic to).  It was time for him to detox.  January was quite a shock to this carb loving boy.  Here are some foods that he got to enjoy.

Poor Man's Cabbage
Taco Salad
Sprouted Lentil Soup
Roasted Turkey with baked potatoes

The first night he tried saying that he wasn't hungry.  In his defense, the cabbage smell probably did take away his appetite.  He ate a few token bites because it was required and woke up ravenous for breakfast.  Fortunately, he's always like breakfast, so he filled up on eggs.  At lunch he was surprised with whole wheat tortillas for his nitrate free ham.  Then he found that for a snack we only had whole wheat mini bagels with all natural peanut butter instead of his beloved and hydrogenated Jif.  Oh...he thought that maybe his world was falling apart and "how come the container says creamy but it feels like nuts are in the peanut butter?"

He really did enjoy watching the lentils sprout on the counter.. right up to the point where I dumped them into the soup pot.  The look on his face was priceless.  He was shocked that you could eat your school work.  I reminded him that sprouting helps with digestion and increases vitamins and enzymes.  A fact that was lost on this 7 year old.  Due to the fact that it was heavily seasoned with cumin and garlic, he liked the flavor, but not the texture.  I gave him a few corn chips and he pretended it was mexican food from Taco Bell.  It's a good thing God gave him a sense of humor and a good imagination.
Chili and Roast Turkey were no problem at all.  Meat is his second favorite food.  And baked potates, being a carb are his favorite.  So you see it hasn't all been bad and he hasn't starved.  After this week I was beginning to feel proud.  I was proud that he'd eaten a few vegetables, proud that he'd had a relatively good attitude the whole time, and  proud that he'd tried new things like sprouted lentils.  And of course "pride comes before the fall."  Proverbs 16:18
Last night I found a small tupperware of powdered sugar from the pantry on a low stool in the kitchen.  Miss J walks by and says how yummy that white stuff is.  I ask, "Did you eat this?  Do you know it is bad to eat sugar alone?  It suppesses the immune system."  (Yes, I really did say this, but my kids are used to me.  They don't think I'm weird because they don't know any better. )  She says that she wasn't eating it, Mr. C was.  So just when I thought he was on the breaking point of finally learning some good eating habits, I find he is surviving on powdered sugar.
Mrs. P

ETA:  The Nourishing Gourmet is hosting Nourishing New Year's Resolutions.  Go check out her resolutions.  And no, I did not read it before I sprouted the lentils.  Adding sprouts was actually one of my goals too!  But it does affirm that I'm not the only one who's read about how healthy sprouts are.  My other goals are to:

  1. eliminate refined sugar from our diet. 
  2. create recipes that use stevia
  3. eliminate all nitrates, hydrogenated and other unhealthy fats, and msg
  4. use more gluten free flours (especially since I'm finding I react to wheat)

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