Saturday, August 02, 2008


Krista truly can sleep ANYWHERE....but this time she will not be flying and will be sleeping in a hotel in MT rather than skylinks and walking whatevers in DFW airport.

Krista, keep Bre off the caffeine for your own travel comfort. ::snort:: (Though a 5 lb bag of m/ms are essential travel food).
©2008 D.R.G.

The Power of 15 Minutes

I'm often asked how I "get it all done". Just as often as I'm asked, I respond, "I DON'T do it all!"

Catch that key before we proceed. None of us can possibly participate in EVERY opportunity that presents itself. I have made deliberate choices about how to invest my time. You have too.

There is, however, one little secret that does help me corral the chores, school, children, play time et al. The Power of 15 minutes! I believe this trick will work for you if you are single as well as if you are the Mom of a Super Sized family.

I first learned this concept YEARS ago when I began to read work by Charlotte Mason. Charlotte believed that young children learn best with short lessons. She recommended 15 minutes. At the end of that time you do something different...not necessarily recess...doing anything different for 15 minutes let's your brain "rest". This worked well in our school.....

The Power of 15 Minutes began to spread into other areas of our home life. I experimented. Several times during the day we have "15 minute pick ups". I pop in to blog for 15 minutes. I check email in 15 minutes. I go play for 15 minutes. I can begin a devotional in 15 minutes. I can clean a bathroom in 15 minutes. Most parts of a house can be cleaned in 15 minutes come to think of it. I can make a salad in 15 minutes, grind the wheat for using during the next break..... Our phonics, math, writing lessons are kept to 15 minutes.

Charlotte explains better than I that if you train yourself and your children to give something full attention you can accomplish more in a shorter period of time. You train yourself to be diligent and not to dwaddle.

Try it - it's worked well for us. (One more thing off my to do list - done in 15 minutes).

*Disclaimer - I've not read Emilie Barnes' 15 minute books (though I have one I'm currently planning to read) but I bet she mirrors Charlotte's thoughts.

*There are many wonderful Charlotte Mason sites out it.

*The series I first read about the Charlotte Mason method is by Charlotte, herself. The Original Homeschooling Series. I've since read many wonderful books about the method. I should corral a list of sites and books....but not until after vacation. ::snort::

More Super Size Saturday entries!

©2008 D.R.G.

PhotobucketPre- Departure List

Mike had thought to have Fri - Monday to get us ready to go. He had office stuff to do Friday. He'll have to go in tomorrow for office stuff, chapel services, studying....and Monday at 1:00 he'll be taking his next to the last ACSC test.

He woke up with determination and a LIST - a "pre-departure" list. I finally feel like we may make it out of here.

He and Jared replaced our attic fan which chose last week (triple digit heat) to go out.
drain pool
Jared and Zander began draining the pool. It's had "issues" - the lastest being that it turned green. We treated it and 1/2 of it turned clear and 1/2 stayed green. We were worried about kids getting in while we were gone. We'll drain it, clean it, and start fresh when we get home.
change oil
Mike and Nolan changed the oil.
grind wheat
Arielle and I cooked (see following post) - which meant we ground a LOT of wheat today.
Mike filled the propane tanks for the trailer.
game closet
Nolan cleaned the "game closet".

Truth be told, I don't KNOW all the things that Jared and Mike got done today. ::snort::
I worked on the book list (following post), food, laundry, cleaning - well I got 11 things on my list done.....not as many as lately...but all specifically related to getting our family out the door. That's good. I know it was a 3 trip day to Walmart and Lowes.....

Mike and Jared are running.

Jamin will soon be needing a ride home from work.

It's been a full day! Oh - oh - oh - we'll see the girls soon....and I'm praying Cy can join us.
©2008 D.R.G.

Photobucket Camping Food

One of the best things about the trailer is that we can control what Zander eats easier while traveling. One of the worst things about the trailer is we have less of an excuse to eat out (usually only on traveling days), eat junk food etc.

STILL - it's a lot of work. We often can't find the brands we need without additives, colors and flavorings while traveling; we take a lot with us.

Today Arielle and I began to get ready for 3 weeks on the road.

We made trail mix. (I ran out of nuts and rasiens or would have made at least twice this amount).
trail mix

We made 10 bags of pancake mix (only need to add wet ingredients).
We made 3 bags of cookie mix (again only need to add the wet - though I'm not sure how I'll bake them).

We dried apples.

What are some of your favorite camping foods? I have plans to make more things in the next few days but would love ideas! New ideas! Fresh ideas!

I had hoped to make dozens of hot pockets to take - but it isn't going to happen - I don't think. Maybe. LOL I have a long list of things to try to make: meatballs, chicken coating mix, spaghetti sauce, bagels, bread, "instant" oatmeal packets....

I was fretting about finding a substitue for "Dinty Moore" beef stew ::gag:: The organic stuff that has ingredients we can splurge on are EXPENSIVE. It's family tradition to go hiking and cave exploring - get RAINED ON - and have Dinty Moore back at the campsite. Deja reminded me to take my crock pot....throw it all in and go sludging up the mountain.

I usually bake muffins but for this long of a trip, fridge space will be at a premium. I have much more storage space UNDER the trailer and so will take bisquit and muffin mix along.

Alas - still no substitute for marshmallows (Squirell's Nest wasn't shipping) and I haven't a clue what to do about s'mores. I do have organic graham crackers and chocolate.

So....give me some ideas....camping comfort foods?
©2008 D.R.G.

Planning for Next Year...

We use a literature based curriculum. It's history focused. We race through history in a 4 year cycle. That means our children hit each century of history as a grammar (K-5), dialectic (6-8) and rhetoric (9 - 12) student. Nolan has ALWAYS been the youngest and what he's learned has been dictated but where they older student was. THIS year I decided to put him with Zander. He will be the oldest and that will allow him more leadership in his education. It will also allow for more "inviting" books that will hopefully capture his attention. By backing off the expectations in history, lit, etc we will have more time to focus on Language Arts (which are behind due to our speech and motor skills issues).

I took that list of books for the first unit and worked it again today.

I removed all books that I already owned.

I removed all books of which I had similar titles and felt confident skipping.

I ordered all books that are used 5+ weeks.

I ordered all lit books (or made sure I had access to a copy).

Then I considered that I won't be doing school as closely with our dialectic and rhetoric students - so I wanted to be sure to pick books that would have our worldview or would warn me when they don't (as is most often the case). I have found that the library has lots of books that I can easily substitute for the grammar levels but it is harder to find books for the older students that I can "tell" will be "ok" without reading. For instance our library had ONE book on a topic I needed for the Civil Rights movement for high school students (adults). I tend to buy what the rhetoric students need.

We are going to allow Arielle to move into dialectic (6th grade) because as a 4th grader she was reading all of the 6th - 8th grade assignments anyway. ::snort:: I want the confidence that I will be warned if there are "touchy" areas in her books since she is reading and learning above her age level.

I haven't been happy with the frequency of our Socratic discussions for the older children. I ordered the evaluation CD's for the older 3. This will give them tests and such that will document what they are doing on weeks when we aren't able to fit in a discussion. This will also allow Jamin to work at his own pace, rather than waiting for ME to discuss the week's work. It will be much easier for THEM to create a paper trail this way. Currently they create and save discussion notes from each week. We'll continue our round table discussions.

I went through the library and found which titles they had from unit 1.

I noted which books seemed to duplicate each other close enough to allow 2 or 3 levels of students to use the same book (art, fine arts, music).

I noted which books the library seemed to have LOTS of choices similar to titles listed and removed things like Marco Polo, Robin Hood, King Arthur from my shopping list.

I whittled the price from $778 to $556.00. I have a $200 credit with TOG (Thanks to y'all who've clicked the link in the sidebar before shopping!). $300 of the books I need to order are used throughout the year and some into next year - so that makes the first unit more spendy. I'll need to come up with $356 at this point but that is much more manageable than the FIRST time I entered EVERYTHING for all four levels for one unit - over $1,000.

Below are books that I plan to order on Monday. If any of you are familiar with titles and can say "that one is a duplicate of this one" or whatever - I'd love to hear your comments. I know some of these will only be used one week, but our library had nothing on several topics: Johannes Gutenberg etc. Any must haves? Any clinkers? I'm not so sure about the Music Appreciation book that is costing me $76. I was bummed as our library had many books that I WANTED to buy - De Paola and d' Aulaire..... but Mike and our budget will thank me. It was soooo nice last year to just order one of everything and be done with it....but I did miss those solitary library trips....anyone local care to find a sitter and make a date of it? We could sit on the courthouse lawn, sip some lemonaide or sweet tea and watch the action.

My Unit One List - clickable links

Pop Quiz Year 2 Unit 1
Year 2 Evaluations CD for Rhetoric Students
Year 2 Evaluations CD for Dialectic Students
Famous Men of the Middle Ages
Story of the Crusades
Year 2 MapAids (Redesigned Version)
Year 2 Redesign Tab Set
On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State
Discarded Image, The
Middle Ages: An Illustrated History
Faith in the Byzantine World
Vikings, The
Johannes Gutenberg: Inventor of the Printing Press
Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children
Medieval Myths, Legends, and Songs
Men of Iron
Aladdin and Other Tales from The Arabian Nights
Son of Charlemagne
Byzantine Empire, The
Story of the Middle Ages, The
Fine Print
Saint Valentine
Days of Knights and Damsels
Making of a Knight, The
Caedmon's Song
Brigid's Cloak
You Wouldn't Want to be a Crusader!
Vikings, The
Life in a Medieval Monastery
Johann Gutenberg and the Amazing Printing Press
Key Documents in Government Studies CD - Year 2
Theme is Freedom
Norton Anthology of English Literature
Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation
Story of Europe, The
Usborne Internet-Linked Medieval World
Renaissance, The
World Religions
Music: An Appreciation
Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions
Our Island Story

©2008 D.R.G.

The Saga of the Red Paint Continues....

Yesterday after the massive clean up -

Me: Put these towels in the laundry (meaning of course the LAUNDRY ROOM).

Helpful Child: Got it mom (and proceeds to put towels with red paint in the machine...with other clothes....the boys now have pink t-shirts etc).

©2008 D.R.G.


Sisters (2005)....
Sisters (2007)....
Lord help the mister that comes between me and my....everybody sing now... Sis TER!

And Lord help the sister that comes between me and my man!
©2008 D.R.G.