Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Not Much Happening-Rant about furcadia

We didn't have a whole lot happening this past week, I guess. We have been working on making Christmas presents this week and of course playing lots and lots of video games. Marti's latest game that she has checked out from the library is called Harvest Moon and it actually looks really fun and I am looking forward to playing it myself. She hasn't been on Furcadia as much as she used to. From what she has explained to me, it is getting harder and harder to find nice people there. No complaints here, not after someone claimed to be a murderer recently.

Some might ask why I didn't pull the game away from her if that was happening and I did think about that, but I decided I wanted to let her make her own decisions regarding that game. She really liked it and I didn't want her to look back with anger.

In my vision, I can see her stumbling upon the game 10 years from now. Now, there are of course many, many outcomes possible, but two that crossed my mind were...
1. She looks back on the game and feels completely awful because I made her stop playing. There is tons of renewed anger that not only caused damage the first time (I mean obviously caused damage because she is angry about it now, not to mention the fighting and tears the first time around), but is causing damage at 17 as well.
OR 2. She looks back on the game and has fond memories of her mom "letting" her play even though mom was not fond of the game for a time (yes, I expressed to her that I was very upset about the "murderer" comment.

I decided to choose option 2.

Now that I went on and on about that, I did remember one pretty fun thing that we did this past week. We had a co-op with our local homeschool group (that are not unschoolers) where we learned how to do felted wool soap. We took a bar of soap and felted the wool to go around the soap so that it had a "built in" loofa of sorts which was also exfoliating. I forgot to bring the camera, but maybe I will take a pic of the soaps.

I think that is it for this week. See you all later.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Pics and more

We don't have too many pics for this week. Our gator and fish seem to have stopped growing and the girls decided that they will make good bath toys. Maybe they will grow bigger in the tubs.

We do however have pics that I have forgotten to post at various times.

Here are some science experiments from the beginning of November.

Static Electricity:

Making Music:

Marti rolling a book on the floor with straws (friction)

Here is Lilly reading by flashlight in the dark (of course, it doesn't LOOK dark because the flash was on, but I assure you, that is what she was doing.

Here are some pics of Marti designing a "Happy Birthday" book for me last Thursday on www.seussville.com as well as some other stories.

This is Lilly from early this morning playing with her new book that she got for her birthday from her grandma. It's got a "Lite Brite" at the top and the book shows you how to spell words with the pegs. Very cool.

And here she is with her camera from her aunt Mallory.

Finally, here are their Christmas pictures that I took this afternoon. Marti had two really good ones. Lilly was not into it today too much so we got one okay one. Then there is one of the girls together.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

This week

We have had a busy week. We got tons of advice on "meeting needs". I will share them at some point, but for today I wanted to get some pictures posted of this past week.

On Friday of last week, we had some friends over. Things were kindda crazy around here with 6 kids 7 & under running around, but it was a lot of fun too. Marti helped me pick up the house before they got here (without arguments) and we made chocolate muffins to give to our friends while they were here. All the kids (well, not little Maggie) had a blast jumping on the trampoline too. Here is a picture.

Lilly actually had a really hard time with this and didn't stay on for too awfully long because she wanted to control/direct everyone's jumping.

On Saturday we put up the Christmas tree. Here is a pic of the girls with their bulbs that their grandma had made for each of them.

Marti wasn't fascinated with decorating this year like she has been in the past. Most of the time that we were decorating she was playing video games with her friend Hannah who was over for awhile. Can't blame her. I probably should have planned decorating for when friends WEREN'T over, but she didn't seem upset or seem like she felt she had to choose between the two options.

Sunday we put together a couple experiments. First was the Naked Egg experiment.
Here is our egg freshly put into the vinegar, 8am

Here is our egg 13 hours later

And here it is at 7:30am the next morning

Soon after that pic I drained the vinegar and was going to see if the liquid in the egg would come out due to osmosis, but Lilly decided that the greater experiment would be "how much pressure applied to the egg membrane will make the membrane break". So now we just need to get another egg into some vinegar and try again!

We also put the alligator and fish back in distilled water on Sunday.
So, this is Sunday...


Tuesday... (we couldn't find the red fish at first, but we found it yesterday)

We also got to make bread mix (we put all the dry bread ingredients into ziplocs for quick breadmaking) and Lilly wrote "Bread" on every back. On the first bag I told her every letter and then she wrote that letter. On the second bag, she said "B?" I said, "Yep, B." She said "R?" I said "Yep. R." and so on. She forgot the letter "A". The third, forth and fifth bags she spelled out bread and I confirmed each letter. Here she is with her first bag.

On Monday we got our first really good ground covering snow here and the girls went out to play (yes, without coats).

We also made chicken noodle soup for lunch with homemade egg noodles and the egg noodle dough was shaped a little like Alaska which we thought was kindda cute!

Finally, on Tuesday we went to visit another friend and had a blast. While we were at their house they brought out their hairless albino rat named Remu (pronounced Rema) and Marti got to hold her. Marti said "it felt very nice to hold a rat. I've never held a rat before."

I think this week I will try and post a bit more often so I don't have such a long post all at once.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Meeting needs...

I have posted this question to some of my groups, but wanted to post it here as well. I often struggle with this.

First, How do you meet the needs of 2 or more children when they want different and often conflicting things? For example, today dd (4) wanted me to sit and watch a movie with her. DD (7) wanted me to make her some lunch. I did end up doing both, but narrowly avoided a meltdown by dd (4) because her attention was mainly with the movie. The meltdown came a few minutes later when I brought the girls lunch. Apparently dd (4) didn't want mac and cheese. In fact, she wasn't hungry. She was thirsty. I had brought her water, but she wanted sprite. I felt that I handled that decently though. I just turned around, went back to the kitchen, put the mac & cheese on the counter and got the sprite. I do think that I could have done it with more love though.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The last few days

Well, it has been about a week now since I posted.

We visited the ILs for Thanksgiving on Thursday which was really pleasant, except we missed cousin Izik who was at his dad's. We did get to see baby Tommy though. Here are the girls and baby Tommy.

He's getting to be so big. Here he was after he was first born.

On Saturday the girls were spending the night with my mom so dh and I cleaned the whole house and it was looking pretty awesome. I cleaned out my sewing room and took pictures of my workspace to post (sometimes it is fun to look at other people's spaces for ideas). So, here they are. Click on the thumbnails for a bigger view.

This week we have just been doing the usual, whatever happens to come up. Marti played Furcadia for 12 hours yesterday. I have to admit, some of the folks on the game have seriously irritated me. This one time several people made copies of my daughter's character with slightly different names. All these "Lia"s (my daughter's character) were going around being rude to her and to other people. We wrote to Furcadia about it and got no response.

Then, yesterday this 17 year old boy told "me" (I was playing my daughter's character at the moment) that he was going to find me and kill me, then when I brought it up a minute later he denied saying that and called me a liar. I was pretty pissed, but it didn't seem to bother dd very much so I just let her keep playing after telling her that I thought it was rude and mean and that she should just walk away from anyone being that mean to her.

I think she thought I was going to take the game away. I have done that in the past, but this time I didn't. She got "bored" with the game about 9pm last night. When she got up this morning she got back on Furcadia almost right away, but was bored with it within the hour. It was nice because we finally got a chance to connect with her today. She has been spending a lot of time on Furcadia and refusing to come and join us in what we are doing (which is perfectly fine, I was just missing her (I know I could have joined her, but that is a whole nother issue that I don't have time to discuss in this blog today.)).

Today she played some Phantasy Star on the Game Cube with Daddy. They started out by having to figure out what the best name would be because certain names (letters are assigned numbers) are best for finding certain cool items. I understand what dh was saying about it and got involved with helping pick a name, but it's hard for ME to explain in writing.

They tried Lara El (dh is a HUGE Superman fan), Marta El (a version of Marti's name) and Lila (pronounced Lil-a, a version of Lilly) El, but not of them worked the way they wanted to. The final name ended up being "Lila(space)El(space)" which got her an Oran (Orange) section ID which was best for finding daggers.

The kids also did a lot of jumping on the trampolene today since it was actually dry today.

So long for now, I have to get ready for class.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Goal: No complaining & More pics

A few of my friends and I are working on 21 days of no complaining. Man, what a chore it is becoming. Monday was day one. Tuesday was day one. Today was day two. Tomorrow is day one again, lol!

What we are doing is based on these websites.
Watch Your Language
Going Complaint Free

I was also reading on Sandra Dodd's website yesterday or the day before on her "Parenting Peacefully" page and stumbled on a quote by Ren Allen that finally made me "get" how to get myself to change for the better.

"I think in previous times, I was always fighting myself to try and change. That doesn't work so well. Mindfulness does change what you react to, but it happens so quietly and naturally you hardly realize it. A moment happens that is so drastically different than how you would have reacted in the past and it's almost like a slap (a good slap) and you're thinking "WOW"."

I even had a discussion with my best friend about these subjects last night that was ME giving HER advice, but I think that it was just as enlightening for me because now I know that I DO "get it".

Here is a couple more pictures of our local happenings.

This is the girls enjoying our latest Freecycle gift, a 15ft trampolene. They adore it of course!

And here is Marti last night showing off the Sudoku that she completed (with my help). We worked on one of these a few months ago and I am ashamed to say I pushed her too much, but this one she accomplished with no pressure.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I want this blog to be about us finding our way into radical unschooling. For now, we are going to start with pictures to show what we have been up to lately.

This was back in September, but it was a density experiment that Marti, Lilly and I did together. It didn't turn out exactly like the directions said it would, which made it even more awesome because we got to talk about why it didn't turn out that way. It was a lot of fun.

Here is some pictures from a "growing" experiment that we did. We got some creatures (alligator and two fish) from a "Chemistry Day" at our local museum and put them in water like we were told. We left them there for about 2 weeks. Then we took them out to let them dry up so we could put them back in the water to see if they would grow faster the second time. We haven't gotten (we keep forgetting to get) the water (has to be distilled) so we haven't done the second part yet.

Day One                              Day Two

Day Three                            Day Five

At the beginning of November we went to our local museum, which is currently host to The Magic Schoolbus Kicks Up A Storm. They really enjoyed being Weather "women" so we have started making our own backgrounds to attach to our very large television so they can stand in front of them and forecast the weather while being videotaped (the camera at the museum doesn't actually tape, just allows them to be viewed on a screen above).

Here is Marti casting the weather for the US

And Lilly being the camera girl (which she adored more than being IN FRONT of the camera). She even looks like a little director, doesn't she?

On November 5th, I got up early (5:15 am EST) to check the skies for this event. We had nothing but cloud cover. I was really bummed, but thankful I hadn't woken the girls so they could see "cloud cover".

I checked again at 6:30 am and most of the cloud cover had gone away so I woke everyone up.
We got to see the moon, Venus (which I had actually been seeing for several days out the bathroom window and didn't know it), Saturn, Regulus, and we are pretty sure we got to see Mars. We all enjoyed getting to see the planets before the cloud cover hit again.

Here is a picture of the moon and Venus.

Lastly for today, on November 11th we moved the couch out in my daughters' bedroom and found a hibernating (well we assume it was trying to hibernate) bat which led to discussions of hibernation (of course), bats, bat habitats (including our house), and even fear (mom and girls are afraid of bats). It also reminded the girls of the time we had a raccoon in our house. I will have to remember to have them dictate that story sometime for you. Perhaps in video.

Here is the pic of the hibernating bat.