O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118

The kids

The kids

Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas- Or Santa has a Sense of Humor

We had a lovely Christmas with B’s brother here. Like all our Christmases, it was quiet and peaceful and leisurely- just the way we like it.

Strawberry woke up first at about 6:45 which is only a little early for her and proclaimed, as usual, that it was morning time. Then she proceeded to try to wake her sisters. B went into the girls’ room and found her sitting on her sister telling her to wake up. Pumpkin Pie, who is my sleeper, told B that Strawberry was trying to wake her up and she was trying to go back to sleep! After everyone was awake and mommy dressed, the kids went and woke their uncle, whom they call Quack. Once everyone was awake, the children gathered on the stairs ready to go down. In past years, I have presented them with jammies, but this year they were blessed with beautiful nightgowns and jammie pants made by their grandma Jo. The pattern used for the nightgowns is an adaptation of the Victoria Jones Collection pattern here. My girls love the nightgowns so much, it is hard to get them dressed!

Dec 2012 088

We opened our stockings, then ate breakfast, and then opened Santa gifts. My kids usually play with most things at least a little before opening another present.

This year, Santa had a little fun with Tiger. Tiger is an excellent speller and almost never makes mistakes. This year, while we were doing our Christmas comes to America unit, he wrote a letter to Santa requesting a “Kindle Paperweight.” I have a friend whose husband is a glass maker. When I told her about his mistake, she volunteered her husband to make Tiger a paperweight… Santa wrapped up the paperweight and labeled it #1. He left a note, with a copy of the letter to Santa, saying, “Since you requested a paperweight, I did not wish to disappoint…”  Dec 2012 118

Here Tiger is reading the note and telling us, “You! You twisted my words!” ;)

Santa then had package number 2 with a note that said, “In case a paperweight wasn’t quite what you had in mind, here is a Kindle.” Tiger loves the Kindle and has been very happy to read even more classic books.

Dec 2012 120

In the afternoon, my kids helped walk Quack’s dog. It was rather miraculous that Tiger volunteered to hold the leash. He is very afraid of dogs. He also helped Strawberry hold the leash. She too is a bit afraid of dogs. She likes to look at them, but from a safe distance. 

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Quack and the kids before he left.Dec 2012 130

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Butterfly!

warm3 I can’t believe it has been 9 years since Butterfly made her entrance into the world. From the moment I went into labor she has always marked her own path. She is independent, creative, and incredibly loving. She loves all living things and always seeks to comfort those who are sad or in need. Over the years, she has continued to grow in her care for others. At times when her sisters have been sick, she has volunteered and even insisted on taking care of them- sitting by their beds, reading extra stories, and getting them sips of water. She has a fierce desire for justice in all things and a testimony that Jesus loves her. She is also very artistic and amazes me with the details in paper sculptures and drawings she does. If she could do anything all the time, it would definitely be art!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reason # 5465 to homeschool- socialization!

I have been reflecting on socialization a lot this week. This past week  was our last day of co-op before we start again in January. As I was supervising the Reading and Game room, Mommy and Me playgroup, and the park after co-op, my children and several others had several opportunities to interact in a more healthy way than their child-like instincts prompted. This was only possible because there were parents all around to coach them through proper peer interactions and teach them that their instincts weren’t as effective as other means.

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People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.
Vince Lombardi

In our reading and game room, which is for children who don’t have another structured class to be in, there was an incident where a boy carried off some Legos. My little Strawberry was a bit distraught as was another girl who they belonged to. Strawberry came up to me and told me about the incident. I told her it sounded like she wanted to disagree appropriately with the boy. This boy is 5. She agreed and went up to him. At first he didn’t want to listen to her because she is “little” and truthfully she is not much bigger than his 18 mo old sister, but my Strawberry persisted in her calm little voice to explain to him that she knew he wanted to play with the Legos but that she wanted him to bring them back. He did! A bit later, he picked up a Lego someone else was planning to use. The little girl started to whine and she was prompted her to disagree appropriately. She proceeded to disagree and the children were able to sort out their issue.

In playgroup, there were two sisters who were having a problem because it was time to clean up and one didn’t want the other to pick up the toys she had been playing with. The older one started to whine and again I prompted the disagree appropriately. She was able to disagree with her little sister and resolve the situation without tears, whining, tattling, or other negative behaviors.

At the park, this theme continued with prompting children who were whining about another child to disagree appropriately with the others. Over and over we watched as these children were able to handle their disagreements in a mature manner without resorting to whining, fussing, crying, pouting, etc.

In all of these cases, it certainly helped that the parents of these children are also using Teaching Self Government in their homes, but the skills could have been applied even if the parents were not using Teaching Self Government at home- teaching a child to understand the other person and calmly state their need is not trademarked to Nicholeen Peck. They are in fact life’s basic skills.

The biggest incident required a bit more parental involvement. So often on a playground a child will pick on another for some reason or other. Maybe the new kid comes in and doesn’t know anyone. Feeling insecure, he walks up and picks a fight with another child who is unaware that there is an issue. In our co-op we had something like this happen. Without parents immediately available to work with the children, the results could have been much different.

Tiger is one of only a handful of boys in our co-op. He and another boy have been friends for a couple of years now. A new boy, about two years younger, began to come to our detectives book club a few weeks ago. He was a little insecure and didn’t know anyone there. Two weeks ago, he punched Tiger’s friend in the face unprovoked. The parent teacher addressed the situation but now there was tension between these boys. Tiger was quite upset that his friend had been accosted and couldn’t understand why. On Friday, this same boy came up to Tiger and went to punch him. Tiger calmly blocked the punch and backed away to talk to an adult (thank you Sensei). Again the child was dealt with and the mother was spoken to about the situation. At the end of class, the boy approached Tiger’s friend cracking his knuckles and proclaimed that since he too was going to the park, he would fight him at the park. Tiger got in the car unhappy. I had a little information from the mother that the boy was struggling to know how to behave in new situations and she didn’t know what to do. I was able to have a conversation with Tiger about why this boy might be acting this way and what might be done. Tiger reflected that often the boy looked sad and perhaps he really wanted some friends but didn’t know how to go about being a friend. As we got out of the car, Tiger had a plan- he was going to talk to the boy about being friends. Everyone arrived at the park and sure enough, while Tiger and his friend were standing together, the other boy came up to them in a rather aggressive manner. Tiger was able to keep a safe distance between the boys in order to prevent violence but also he spoke assertively. For every aggressive step forward the boy took, Tiger stepped back and continued to talk. Tiger explained that he and his friend had no desire to fight. The wanted to play. They invited the boy to join them and be friends. The boy stopped advancing and put out his hand. I and the other mothers arrived close by in time to hear the boy say, “Ok, it is off.” They were now friends. They spent the next two hours running, playing, making silly videos, and having a good time. I was so proud of Tiger for being assertive and not accepting violence. He handled the situation in a mature manner that was only possible because adults were ready and willing to be nearby to coach and teach through the situation.

Homeschooling is allowing me the opportunity to properly teach my children how to behave in so many social situations. I am so grateful for that opportunity. As they fly into the world, my prayer is that they will be able to lead forth with compassion, understanding, and an ability to be assertive without being aggressive. They will know how to open doors for those with wheelchairs or strollers, provide common courtesies that are lost on so many, as well as disagree appropriately with those who seek to offend or don’t pay any attention. I am also grateful that I found Nicholeen Peck’s Teaching Self Government. It has provided me even more tools to move forward on my mission of parenting my children.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Time is Here…

Nov 2012 112 Happiness and Cheer…

Nov 2012 115Nov 2012 116 Nov 2012 136 As we pull the ornaments out, we always take a moment to talk about our special ones. Nov 2012 118 Nov 2012 126This year, Tiger was big enough to lift Strawberry and assist her. 

On our tree is a funny little elf that sticks out his tongue. It sat on my grandma’s tree when I was little and now it sits on mine. It always brings some laughter and fun.Nov 2012 141 Nov 2012 142

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me…

This year when B asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told him a clean house… I truly don’t want more stuff in the house. I just want things cleaned… so Tiger chose to clean the refrigerator top to bottom.

He cleaned all the shelves, drawers, etc. Ah, a nice, clean, organized refrigerator definitely sings Happy Birthday to me!photo photo

B and Strawberry cleaned out a car and the van. Ah, organization…

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Better Late than Never- Mini Vacation

Oct 2012 227Oct 2012 214 B and I have always tried to take our children to every LDS temple open house within a reasonable distance. Recently the Boise temple was remodeled and therefore it was open for viewing. We drove the 9 hrs out and stayed in a hotel, went to the open house, and then played before coming home. The temple, like all of the ones we have been to was beautiful. Oct 2012 222 Oct 2012 219  Oct 2012 224 Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of Pumpkin Pie- she didn’t want her picture taken. I think it is because she wasn’t feeling very well on the trip. She started to get a cold on the way out of town but remained well enough to play a bit and still have fun.

The mini grocery store in the Discovery Center was a lot of fun.

Oct 2012 248Strawberry figured out how to make the machine beep by hugging the sensor light. Oct 2012 244 Oct 2012 242

The bubble wall was a lot of fun as well. Oct 2012 255 Oct 2012 256

Butterfly learned about keystones. Oct 2012 259 Oct 2012 260

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


This year Thanksgiving was a little different- I had a helper in the kitchen! In the past years, I have done everything. This year, I was blessed with my son’s help. He stood by me the whole time cooking, chopping, measuring, and stirring. Thank you Tiger! I couldn’t have done it without him.

I got asked so many times what we had for dinner since we didn’t eat turkey. Here is our table spread. It was quite tasty. Nov 2012 104

The little dish in the upper right has roasted Brussels sprouts with roasted garlic and lemon sauce. Yams with apples, salad, cranberry sauce, and “special juice.” Nov 2012 105

Stuffing and lentil loaf. I am still working on finding the lentil loaf we like best. This one was not the best. :(Nov 2012 107

Mashed potatoes too!

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And of course the ever important pies… chocolate pecan and pumpkin. Both pies are made with sprouted grain flour. The Chocolate Pecan is vegan. I used this recipe. Really watch how long it bakes- if it over bakes it will burn. This one was delicious!Nov 2012 109 Nov 2012 111 Nov 2012 110