Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hand-Made Holidays

One of the things we've taken to in the last several years has been handmade holiday gifts. Granted, a large portion of that is because we're not exactly the most well-off of families, but it's also because a lot of times the holidays are a time when we all accumulate... stuff.  The state of the toybox is usually the listed culprit, but it happens to all of us.  So what do you do?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Plan to Eat!

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat
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I've been hunting for ages for a meal planning service.  I've done the FlyLady ones, I've done the Saving Dinner ones, I've done eMeals, and I've done them several times each. Each time, it's been wonderful for a few days, and then it falls apart. It's either entirely too expensive, or entirely too time consuming, not to mention there being entirely too many things we often won't eat, either because of various texture issues in the house, or because of food preferences. It got really expensive when we were paying $40+ per year, then adding in the groceries themselves, and, well, it's just far too costly. Especially considering the amount of food waste that inevitably comes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Teaching Thanks

Thinking about raising children, you think often about how they'll grow up. What kind of wonderful person they'll be, what kind of possibilities are open to them, and how much you're looking forward to seeing them grow and change and learn and do. What you don't usually consider, though, is how to teach them to be good people. I knew I wanted to raise Mad Natter to be a kind person, big hearted, generous, caring, sensitive, and strong. But what do you have to do to get there?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Appreciating because.

As we roll up on Thanksgiving, more and more thought turns to gratitude. How to teach it, how to live it. Something I said recently was that I'm learning to appreciate my father because. Not despite our clashes, not instead of being any other way, but just because. My father and I are very much the same person. He'll tell you that's bullshit. I'd have said the same until about three years ago. But, we're very much the same person. Interests, drives, passions, no. Not at all. I enjoy spending evenings watching Doctor Who. My father prefers sports games. I enjoy computers and computing, my father would love to throw his computer out the window. But, at our cores, we're the same. Impatient, demanding, temperamental, stubborn, headstrong, uncompromising, driven, focused, blunt, honest, deeply loyal, intense... the list goes on. This often causes more issue than it solves.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Resource Review: Homeschool Planet

I've had a number of years in teaching - both in classroom, and at home. Granted, not a lot of years, but still.  I'm used to having a planner.  A simple two-page spread showing each subject across all five days, so I know what I'm covering in each subject for the week. Unfortunately, that doesn't translate as well to our homeschool, where only four of our twelve subjects occur on all four of our school days. As a minor note, holy COW, we do twelve subjects in a week?!?  But, I digress.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We have ALL THE TOYS!!

Heading into the holiday season, just coming out of Mad Natter's birthday, it has rapidly become apparent that we have entirely too many toys, not enough space for them, and far too much parental nostalgia for our house.

Mad Natter is six. As a result, he gets a large number of toys for any and all gift-giving occasions. The problem inherent here is that very few people actually listen to suggestions on what to get for him, and so we have piles of games like "Connect 4" and "Star Wars Angry Birds Jenga" and "Crazy Forts" that he doesn't play with, are too big for our house, or have entirely too many pieces.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Finding Community

Sitting on the verge of pneumonia, it's pretty easy to see where community would be really handy. Someone to keep an eye on Mad Natter for a couple hours so I could sleep would have been a dream come true, but it shook out that Skeeve had to work, and our physical community... Well, either they were working too, or they were five hundred miles away wishing they could help, even though we all knew it just wasn't possible. It's one of those rare times that online community just doesn't help - about six hours before I finally fell incredibly ill, my brains started dribbling out my ears and I couldn't understand what my usually wonderfully adroit friends and comrades were saying, and worse, they couldn't understand me anymore either.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Harry Potter as a Read Aloud

We've long had a tradition of bedtime stories around here. Board books, picture books, then we moved on to Ralph S. Mouse and Mr Popper, and I'd hoped at that point to try Harry Potter.  We made it through about a page and a half before Mad Natter went all squirrelly, and he wound right up like a clockspring.  It was bad.  Very, very bad. He was capable of understanding the story, but listening to tales of people and not mice, penguins, dragons or otherwise, was just beyond him at the time.  So we set it aside. Not long ago, Mad Natter got the first three How To Train Your Dragon books, and we started reading those. But, eventually, we ran out, and we tried Harry Potter once again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Homeschooling and Timing

You know, one of the best things about homeschooling is the ability to make your own schedule, but honestly, there are a couple aspects of that idea that seem to get left behind when we talk about it.

We've had a really rough month for school. For health, really, but for school as well. I had originally planned to have school through October and the bulk of November, with a break for the week around Halloween - after all, who needs to try to have school while your first grader is hopped up on enough candy to give him diabetes within a week, right?

Monday, November 10, 2014

We Really Are All Mad Here.

The blog has been on hiatus this past week, unexpectedly, and that is part of what makes us Mad Here. The "unexpectedly" part, not the "hiatus" part.  You see, shortly after the Hoagie's hop went 'round, I learned that Mama is not invincible.

Mad Natter spent two weeks knocked on his keyster with the flu... and then a wicked cough. He's still coughing, actually, but it's not as big a thing as it was.  Anyhow, I somehow managed to navigate that minefield and came out expecting that I wasn't going to get sick.  I was so very mistaken. It took two weeks for him to get over it, then another week for my body to get the idea that my baby wasn't dying, so I didn't need to be in survival mode, and then... BOOM. I've been flat on my back for the better part of the last week, my brains attempting to leak out my ears, and any hope of blogging coherently completely gone.  However, I'm happy to say I'm back!  I might be a little touch and go as I recover a little more (and try to kick this headache out!), but I'm here! I haven't gone, I've just been epically sick.