Thursday, October 30, 2008

Political Rantings

Ok, I've been given courage by my good friend Jenn. Like her, I worry about offending people with my political views. But it's my blog. Isn't that the point?

Basically, I'm scared. I'm scared that this election is in the hands of way too many uninformed voters...people who form their political views from "info" taken from The View, Saturday Night Live, Letterman, or their union my view, very biased and, often, incorrect sources. I'd like to consider myself very informed. I am a Fox News junkie. And for those of you who have heard that Fox is in the tank for the Republicans...very Right're wrong. They are very balanced...often presenting more liberal viewpoint than conservative. They question everyone equally.

I consider myself to be an Independent, but I am a Conservative. I believe in traditional values and small government. I am not in love with McCain. But, as opposed to those "Bush Haters" who are voting against McCain, I find myself voting against Obama. Here are my reasons....

He supports late-term and live-birth abortions. I am pro-life....but I also see the cause for concern in banning abortions altogether. But none of the valid points for abortion (rape, incest, etc) apply to late-term and live-birth abortions. None. To me, it's murder.

He supports sex ed in young children. We can debate all day at what age he feels it's acceptable, but to me, that's the job of parents, not government.

The economy. First of all, the blame for this crisis does NOT lay solely at the feet of Bush. The Democratic Congress pushed for loosening restrictions on loans, so that they could put low-income and minorities into homes. That's great....except that if you can't afford a can't afford a home. And then our greedy society crazy....everyone bought bigger and better. Whether they could afford it or not. Zero problem. Adjustable mortgage rate after 5 years that you could never dream of problem. Of course the housing bubble was gonna burst! Duh. That's what bubbles do. Anyway, so now we're paying for our greed. The greed of us, the consumers, and the greed of the financial institutions that let it happen.

Obama says lets blame the rich and tax the heck out of them...they can afford it! Spread the wealth! Sounds great, as we don't come close to his $250k cutoff (of course, it also sounds a bit like socialism). But nearly every expert I've heard on the topic says raising taxes in this economy will kill us. Small business won't be able to expand or hire new employees. And big business? How does every business cover increased costs? They raise prices! So, essentially, the taxes that Obama levies on business, really get paid by us, the ones paying for products and services.

I have more thoughts, really. I haven't even touched the fact that I don't trust him or his friends. But, I've got too much to do to rant anymore. If you don't agree with me, please don't vent out on me. But if I've raised any questions in your mind, please, please, your own research (with reliable sources) so that you can vote informed.

And thanks, Jenn, for the courage to speak my heart. :)

One of those weeks

When I just feel like I'm not accomplishing much. Ugh.

So Monday night, we had a bit of drama around here. Barry took the day off to hunt in the afternoon. When he drove back into town, he saw county squad cars blocking off traffic. Right after he got home, he decided to run downtown for some gas and milk. He called me to say that traffic was blocked off because the furniture store downtown (owned by our cousins) was on fire. He said it was like something you'd see on tv....flames shooting out of the roof.

He came home. We made a couple of phone calls (not knowing how long it had been burning, we wanted to make sure Dave & Pam even knew). Then he took off to see if they' need any help moving inventory out of the building. By the time he got there, they had gotten most of the stuff out of the store, and moved into a vacant building further down the block. He did help remove stuff from the bar next door, though. He called to tell me he was freezing because he forgot to grab his jacket. By now it was going on 8pm. I bundled up the girls and headed downtown to bring him his jacket.

Wow. That's all I can say. It really was surreal, like watching it on tv. It was actually the same feeling I had on 9-11...just thinking that this actually couldn't be happening. Well, long story short, I left with the girls after only 15 minutes, tops. They were a little upset and I felt like "mother of the year" for even having them there! The fire was a bit scary for them, but I think they were even more bothered by the fact that we know the people affected...this was personal. AND they were worried about our beloved library (two buildings behind).

I couldn't believe how smoke-stinky we all were after being there for such a short time! All of the hard work of the firefighters worked miracles....only one building was destroyed....neighboring buildings were saved. Luckily, Dave and Pam are insured, and he can continue to do his service calls until something is figured out.

Alana & I both suffered sore throats the next day (we're both pretty smoke sensitive) but weren't sure if it was from the fire or if we were getting sick. Erin woke up Monday night with a fever of 102...and was up and down til Wednesday morning. The worst part for her was that she missed her Girl Scout meeting. Poor kid.

This afternoon, I might take the girls to the pumpkin patch in Eleva. We haven't been to a "real" one yet this year...and I did promise them. And Halloween is

Monday, October 27, 2008

Life is busy

That's really no excuse. In fact, I don't really have time now (the girls will be screaming for dinner any second) but I knew if I didn't just take the time to do this, who knows when I'd "find time".

Ok, so we're back to last week. Anthony came for a visit last weekend (the 18-19th) for his birthday weekend. We had homemade pizza (his request), broccoli (his request also...seriously), and yellow cake with chocolate frosting. And if you look closely at the cake below, you'll find 20 candles. Yep, 20. That's two whole decades, people! If that's not enough to make a person feel old, I don't know what is!

But we enjoyed the little time we had with him. I even thought ahead this year and snapped some Christmas card pictures...just in case we're not all together again before that time. They're not perfect or anything, but they're my kids! And even though you can't see it in this pic, we've got the teams nearly all covered....Twins and Gophers on Tony (yes, we'd prefer the Badgers, what what can ya do?), Packers on Erin, and Mondovi Buffs on Alana. :)

It's definately fall. All of my flowers are nearly dead. The garden needs a major cleaning. The heat is on (after we called a furnace repair guy last week!), and one of the trees in the front yard finally decided to get pretty! (the other tree is still's a little slow!) And today, after I hung my sheets out on the clothesline, it started to snow! Just flurries, but still. I happened to be on the phone with my mom. She said my great-grandma Louise used to hang clothes in the winter, and they would freeze-dry. So far, so good!

On Friday, I had to take the girls on a shopping trip. They needed shoes, winter coats, and pants. Wow! I'm so used to shopping at Savers, I hadn't realized how expensive new clothes are! That trip put a dent in the checkbook! But everyone is happy.
We were all pretty tired, and had to get home for a Halloween party, but the girls wouldn't leave EC until we stopped at the GOP headquarters to pick up a McCain/Palin sign. Seriously, the girls made me. :)
As overheard the other night (the girls were in the shower)....
A: You see, Erin, they're both gonna raise taxes, cuz of the bad economy. Obama is gonna raise them like a trillion million dollars. But McCain is only gonna raise them like by $100. See the difference, Erin?
I can't remember the rest of the conversation. I was in shock that my 7 and 9 year-olds were discussing politics and the economy in the shower. :)
(And for those of you who are pro-Obama, please don't hammer me with polical arguments...I'm not picking a fight, really. I'm just documenting for posterity.) :)

Here's the girls modeling their new (but 55% off) winter coats!

And Friday night was spent at Erin's Girl Scout family Halloween party. Erin is a queen (it began as wanting to be a drama queen...for which she needs no costume) and Alana is a girl-pirate. They had fun, but we were all super tired!

Ok, I'm caught up! For at least a day......
But now my dryer is beeping, I still have blankets on the line, and my kids are "staaaaarrrrvvvviiinnngggggg"!
If you made it this far, thanks for hanging with me!
Until next time.......

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Homeschool Changes

No, we're not quitting. I'm still just struggling to find our groove. Which, for the first year is absolutely the norm. In fact, or "school" is supposed to change and grow with us as a family, so I guess the learning curve never really goes away.

So, my dear hubby thinks I need to give the girls a break...I'm too tough. This, coming from the man, who although willing to let me try this "homeschooling thing", I don't think really thought I could do it. He thought that either the kids wouldn't listen to me, and/or I'd slack off. Fortunately, neither has happened. The problem is, I try so hard not to fail, that I inadvertantly keep myself from achieving what I wanted. I'm too competitive. I will not fail. And it sure would be nice to kick the public school's butt. :) But there is my pride getting in the way. It's time to re-evaluate our goals.

We want to strengthen our family bonds. We want the girls to look to us, not to their peers. I want them to love God and have a strong, healthy, active relationship with Him. We want them to love learning...and to learn how to learn on their own. This world is full of information...I want them to learn how to find it, and to actually have the will and desire to do so. I want them to be educated, to be able to read and write, be competent in math and science, and to be aware of the people and environment around them. I want them to grow up and be able to do whatever they want to do. That means they should be able to go to college, if they so choose.

It just seems that we spend so much time pounding info and practice into them, that we miss those natural and enjoyable teaching experiences that come along daily. I want to spend more time reading outloud to them, discovering nature, talking..... It's time to back off and let God guide me in this, instead of my pride.

Wish me luck!!! :)

Mummies & Pyramids & Pharohs, Oh My!

We're just coming out of our section on Ancient Egypt in history. This year, we're following a Classical model of homeschooling, which believes in telling history as a story....starting at the beginning and following it in order. This, to me, makes much more sense than jumping around. Anyway.....

This is our hands-on project, a sugar cube pyramid. We learned all about the Nile and how the Egyptians created the first farms and agricultural practices that are still used today. We learned about hyroglyphics...the first form of writing. We studied pyramids and mummies. Did you know that the Egyptians preserved almost every organ except the brain? They had no idea what it did and therefore, it was not considered important. So much for the first great civilization! :)

After this, we transitioned into stories from the Bible (Abraham and Joseph). I think that's so my kids know where these "stories" fit into history...they can actually see the setting for them. Cool.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Field Trip Recap

We were extremely blessed in the weather department for our trip to Pepin on Friday, although the clouds had us a bit psyched out in the morning. It was also fairly windy, which I happen to like on a perfect fall day! :)

Our trip began in Durand to pick up subs for a picnic lunch (if you know my hubby and kids, you'll know that every trip begins with food!) Then it was off to Pepin where we stopped at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (pretty cool....we'll definitely be back when we're studying that time period in school), the Train Museum (not so interesting...don't bother) where the kids enjoyed a quick stop at the nearby playground, and then it was off to the birthsite of Laura, complete with a replica cabin (way cool). Here, we finally had lunch. I'm still wondering what it would be like to live in a home like that...after getting rid of 99% of the stuff we own. What a different, much simpler life that would be.....

Barry was in the mood to roadtrip the "Great River Highway," so onward we went. First, we stopped in Stockholm which is an adorable little town. Very artsy-fartsy. :) We stopped at a park/campground on the river where the kids were able to collect shells. Then we visited a pottery shop (for Alana....unfortunately, no working artisans there), and then we stopped for ice cream. Next, and last, was Maiden Rock, where we again stopped to check out the river.

Did I mention we stopped at every historical marker we passed? We took a picture and read them to the kids. Most were boring for them. But the Maiden Rock story of a young Sioux girl jumped to her death over love....that may bear further research. This was very impressive of my hubby, who is always in a hurry...his patience this day was almost freaky. :)

Then back down the highway to Pepin. We again visited the river and gathered more shells. Alana was thrilled to find clean fish skeletons! She brought some bones home and talked of starting a "bone club" in the garage. I guess this is what they call "unschooling", where the kids direct their own learning. Maybe we can later research the diseases she gets from touching all that stuff... And finally, we stopped at a roadside pumpkin patch to fullfill Erin's wishes.

Then it was home after an exhausting, but very happy day to our very distressed dog. :) Erin's favorite part? She said the pumpkins. Oh, and going on a field trip with her family instead of loud and obnoxious kids. (Point for homeschooling!) Alana's favorite part? The bones, shells, and ice cream. And me? The time with my family, the gorgeous scenery, and the chance to be on the water. I miss it. I got the same feeling as I do when we visit Duluth....the wind, sea gulls, water...I love it! Now that I know what's there...we'll be back!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Almost Friday...

I love Fridays. Especially now that it has become my "day off" since I reduced my work hours in order to retain a tiny bit of my sanity. :) Barry has Fridays off, too (he works four tens) and so often we're able to do family stuff. Last week it was a shopping trip to EC, for groceries and stuff. But tomorrow we're going on a field trip. I'm so excited cuz it's right up my alley! We're going to Pepin. We'll visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum (she was my hero as a girl), Lake Pepin, and whatever else catches our fancy on the way. Alana visited there on the first grade field trip, and since Erin isn't in school, and I want to go to, we're going. As an added bonus, it's the perfect time of year, with the leaves changing. Yep, I'm excited!

This past weekend, my parents came for a visit. We love seeing them, and wish we lived closer. Maybe some day. They went with us to see the house we've been eying up. Unfortunately, the realtor we'd list with, gave us a lower estimate on our list price than we were hoping for. AND felt that the house in the country was listed about right. So the financial gap between the two was much bigger than we had hoped. So now Barry has emotionally back out of the prospect. I totally back him up. It's his job to provide for his family, which is hard enough as it is in this economy without increasing our mortage payment. I still really want to move to the country. I think the girls would love it...and I would, too. We'll see....

School has been going fairly well. We're still plugging along at Alana's mastery of her muliplication facts. But she's making progress. She is able to correctly match over 80 Latin words to their English equivilent. She doesn't see the point...but I can see a much easier time at ACT tests in her future! And she loves to read...especially mystery/adventures. Erin is reading very well, but hasn't yet caught on to the desire to read for fun. Hopefully that will come. She's still breezing through math...a 2nd grade curriculum (she's in 1st grade) and is doing very well keeping up with the history and science stuff. Even on my worst days, I'm still gratefull to be home with my kids. I love it!

Well, I'm hoping to scrapbook a bit this weekend. We cleaned all of last weekend, so I think I've earned it! :) Barry will be in the woods or fishing, so it will just be us girls, I think, most of the time. I may have to cuddle up with a book, too. I've done it again...checked out too many books at one time! And then I've gone and started reading each of them! I'm working on a couple of homeschooling books and a couple of writing books (toying with the idea of writing...something...somewhere....)

Have a great weekend! :)