What’s the opposite of a green thumb?

Before I tell you an amusing anecdote, I must preface it with some information about me. First, I’ve somehow managed to kill every plant I have ever owned. To be fair, there have been few. But I’m just not great with remembering to care for them. And even the ones I try to tend to seem to just keel over. Second, when I moved into my current house, there were ants. And not just a few like “darn it is spring so there are ants”… like I brought in some food and my counters were CRAWLING. I was so pissed I almost moved the hell back out, honestly. If I had known what a problem and expense they would continue to be, I would not be here right now. We’ve got it livably under control… But once I escape this place, if I never see another ant it will be too soon. /tangent. Anyway, so I bug bombed just to give myself a running start. I left my plant inside. It’s the one plant I have. It’s still alive, obviously, but I wasn’t sure if plants can just be poisoned… And my husband teases me mercilessly. And lastly… I have had pets. I don’t kill my pets. Also, hopefully, an obvious point. Specifically, I have had pet rabbits. A wild one I found in the garden, and two New Zealand Whites. One of the NZW chewed his way free never to be seen again. But Bubbles (my nzw doe) lived a long, if quite over fed, life at my hands in a hutch in my carport.

Story time.

We’re driving to church the other night and my husband and I are talking about our lawn. It’s uneven and a bit overrun with weeds. So he’s not sure the little mower will be able to tackle it. I suggest that he invite his mother to bring up the goats and let them graze the place and then he can mow it after they’ve given us the assist. Which somehow reminds me that I saw mini jersey cows on pinterest (yes yes… I’m addicted) and I say that I think small cows are perfect for homesteads.

Husband: “No. We are not getting a cow!”

“Well, not now. But some day…”

“Ok. Some day. After I am dead. You can have a cow.”

“But I want one for milk for the family…”

“No. No livestock.”

“Except the rabbits….”

“A rabbit. One.”

“….What am I going to do with ONE rabbit?!”

“Keep it alive for 3 weeks without bug bombing it. Then you can have another one.”

I started laughing then, which sort of ruins my argument. He does understand that you can’t breed rabbits with just one. But since I’ll likely buy each rabbit from a different breeder (to make sure they’re not related) a little time between buying one and the next isn’t that big of a deal to me. Plus I can work on growing some of their food during their time. And building another hutch or rabbit tractor or whatever. Collecting things I need. He did look at me a little funny when I suggested that we might want 2 or 3 does… So I’ll probably start with just one. And then keep a doe from the first litter and let her start breeding when she is old enough. It’s a good slow start. Allows for a learning curve. My husband figures I shouldn’t name the rabbits, but I will probably nickname the breeders for my own use in record keeping. Then I can add a letter and number for their tattoos. Not that I’m entirely sure how to go about tattooing a bunny ear…

Today I’m going to work up a list of edible herbs and plants I’d like to pick up for gardening purposes. But that’s for after school. Today’s lesson is revolving around a “spring” theme. And a quick lesson on the real reason for Easter. They learn it in church but since the kids are allowed to watch TV, they see a lot of other stuff too. I don’t think they care about the Easter bunny myth… they just enjoy chocolate rabbits.

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Pump Day

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It’s pump day. This is a cell phone picture, but those are my Louboutins in the kitchen. Which, by the way, is NOT a place I’d actually recommend wearing them unless you’re filthy rich and can replace them left and right.

So I’ve be lax on posting about school. K is doing well at everything… But after church last week, I noticed that this child can NOT fill out a worksheet. We don’t tend to do them. I can’t even begin to describe what was wrong with it. So this week we’ve been focusing on spelling, writing, spacing and now I’m adding some worksheets to the program just so it doesn’t look like we’re doing nothing around her when we get back to church. Embarrassing. You don’t even think about these things when your kids are just breezing through lessons on penmanship, spelling and whatnot. Math is coming easy to everyone. Which is a relief. It was always easy for me as a child and I’m not sure if I’d know what to do if the concepts were difficult for the children. Although A has taken to skipping to 100 after he counts to 20 and he thinks it is hilarious.

A is actually going through a phase. It’s pretty funny. You wouldn’t think a 3 year old could be so… clever… But he is. And he KNOWS what he is doing. He makes “the face.” Yesterday, I asked him to stop winding things on daddy’s guitar. So he sat behind it and unscrewed a piece of the stand. Loop-holed by a preschooler.

Everyone in the house is sick so we’re taking it easy but we’re still doing school. I figure unless I actually get sick too and just can’t even fathom reading aloud to the kids, there is no reason not to at least do some relaxed lessons. Especially since we didn’t do hardly a thing last week with daddy home. Let’s just count that as an early spring break, shall we?

It’s pump day again….

We’re on lesson 5 of the Grasp Chinese videos on YouTube. My children seem to be much more interested in lesson 3. (We review the last two before starting a new one.) In lesson three they go over ordering coffee etc. So my children are now constantly telling me they want coffee. “Wo yao…” every food word they know. It’s cute. Almost as cute as the fact that my children walk around singing the Spiderman theme song. All. The. Time. And making up other songs… to the spiderman theme song tune…

Best story lately:

“Venom is not happy. He is always mad.” – M

“Yeah… It’s almost like the dementors sucked all his happy out.” – K

So I’ve managed to complete my Thanksgiving menu. We have almost all the ingredients at home. Mr. Music will be picking up the turkey today and we’ll be grabbing all produce this weekend. Below is the menu plan:

Turkey (of course)

Stuffing

Ham

Corn muffins

Green bean casserole

Candied yams

Mashed potatoes

Gravy

Olives

Cranberry sauce

Crescent rolls

Apples and caramel dip (for the kids)

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Spiced Apple Cider

Ups and Downs

It really does seem like when something is going right, something else has to be going catastrophically wrong, doesn’t it? Like we should be forever anticipating the proverbial “other shoe” whenever life is going smoothly for once.

We’ve been using GraspChinese.com lessons for K to learn some conversational stuff. Today we made it through lesson 3 and stuff seems to have sunk in. She also decided to read, all on her own. She just picked up a book and asked to read to her little brother. How can anyone not be proud of that? We’re trying to work on her penmanship and sentence structure as well. K wrote me a note on my refrigerator white board yesterday informing me that she would be in her room for the next hour taking some time to herself… and it was illegible. She ran out of room and just randomly popped words between other words. I was pretty sure that trying to decode it would result in an aneurysm. So today I busted out the manuscript paper and we wrote some classic nursery rhymes. And then the ABCs in upper and lower case. In unrelated news… K lost another tooth.

As for the things going wrong… Oh. There aren’t enough words. Let’s just say, I enjoy having water. And our utilities company is apparently run by insensitive jerks. Who don’t know the merits of having water when you have a house full of littles.

I started P90X yesterday. I’m a little worried about doing plyo today during nap when I know I can’t take a shower afterwards. I took my measurements this morning. I need to do plyo. I’m not going to share them. Just believe me when I say that it is true. Anyone else into fitness? I’ve been missing it lately. I was getting into the whole bodybuilding thing for a while over the spring. I miss my abs. Admittedly, I just snuck the leg off a gingerbread man… But I’ve been dieting the past few days and I’m excited to start seeing results rather than gain weight over the holidays.

Embracing other blog traditions…

As you’ve all probably realized based on the fact that I comment, I stalk other homeschooling blogs. And of course anything containing recipes for gluten free foods… or coffee… And today I’m embracing a tradition from one of my favorites: Pump Day. Just a little mid-week pick-me-up. I like to dress in my pajamas all day while I teach. I’m lazy like that. And it’s warm. I don’t exactly live in the warmest state in the world. But what woman doesn’t like to feel pretty occasionally? So today I decided to throw on some nice jeans and some pumps. I’d like to invest in a variety of colored tights so I can continue wearing skirts and dresses, but it’s not in the finances right now.  If you want to read more Pump Day goodness, head over to http://thehomeschoolmomblog.wordpress.com and read through her posts.

Back to talking about school… We’re bringing a little more structure to our homeschool classroom this week. My boys were getting wild and wiggly and distracting poor K from her studies. So we’re locking it down. A little more time on the workbooks, reading aloud and focusing more on conversational vocabulary for Chinese rather than just the songs and fun stuff. M is able to write his name without help now. A still just does an a… but I think that’s epic for a two year old, to be honest. K is working on her proper capitalization and doing pretty well lately. I’d like everyone to be able to hold a basic conversation in Mandarin by the new year and I think we are on the right track.

A lot is going on in my personal life right now, so I’m sorry if I’ve been neglecting the blog a little or seem distracted. I’ve been keeping a personal journal as well and it presses me for time. I have been spending the middle of my day in prayer and Bible study. Eliminating most of the time I would spend in the blogosphere.

Fall Jam

As we all know, yesterday was Halloween. Of course I chose a Halloween themed Chinese lesson for the kids, despite the fact that Halloween isn’t really celebrated anywhere but the west. My children aren’t well versed in Chinese culture or the meaning of Halloween, so I figured they’d let it slide. It was a good chance to add some vocabulary words, and make sure they actually know a few others. So they notice if I call the pumpkin anything but orange. Or refer to it as an apple. Fruit is oddly their favorite thing to learn about.

Last night, we dressed the kids up in their respective costumes and headed over to a local church for their “Fall Jam.” We enjoy large church events because it never falls to be cold and wet here in the Pacific Northwest. Last year we went to a place up in Everett that was pretty awesome. This year we hit CFAN. They seemed to be a little newer to the idea. A little unorganized and understaffed. But all their volunteers were happy to be there, they were generous with the candy, there was an inflatable, and the kids had a great time. I did learn, however, that my homeschool routine is greatly lacking the “dance party” arena. They had a room for a black light dance party. The Music Kids were pretty excited at the idea… But immediately froze in the middle of the room. They seriously just stood there. Eventually M (a power ranger) managed some jumping and arm waving. But K (Tinkerbell) cried and we cut it short. A (Buzz Lightyear) didn’t seem discontent being there… but he also wasn’t exactly getting his groove on.

At home we sorted through the candy. I managed to get rid of all the gum, taffy and war heads to a pair of trick-or-treaters who ended up on our porch because my husband didn’t realize that turning on your porch light means you have candy. And so now I’m doling out the not-so-chewy stuff to K, the gf stuff to M, and… primarily suckers A. His choice.

Today is, of course, the first day of November. So I’ve started my menu planning and shopping list for Thanksgiving. I’ll probably share my choices here. And I’ll just mention now, everything will be gluten free, or have a gluten free duplicate for M. So if you need a recipe, feel free to ask and I’ll share it. Somewhere I’m pretty sure I have a gluten free cream of mushroom soup recipe… which is a must have for making green bean casserole.

Pumpkin Butter

Homeschooling has become a pretty smooth routine for us. K is finally embracing reading… with a little bribery. I’m hoping some new books will spark her interest and she’ll develop a love for it. The kids have learned the days of the week. (In Chinese too.) We’re working on telling time. They’ve got the basics down. I’ll be trying to teach them that 3 is 15 and 6 is 30 etc. over the next few weeks. I haven’t been blogging due to my propensity for procrastination, my habitual blog neglect… and a lack of inspiring stories.

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We carved our first pumpkin of the season. K has her Tinkerbell costume. We need to pick up costumes for the boys this week (see my aforementioned procrastination issue.) With the kids away for the weekend, we’re planning on doing some “Drunken Pumpkin” carving tonight. I found some stencils online so I’m planning on doing a Mickey Mouse face and Jack Skellington.

I made pumpkin butter in the crockpot with the insides of the first pumpkin. I’m planning cookies, more pumpkin butter, some pumpkin spice coffee creamer and just some basic puree with the next few. So relatives can be expecting butters and syrups this year for Christmas. (I love Pinterest.) I may even get some cute jars for stuff. I’ve been reusing the Kerr and Ball jars that used to house some homemade applesauce. Trying my hand at some gingerbread coffee syrup soon too. I put pumpkin butter and almond milk in my coffee this morning and it tasted just like October should.

K and I have decided to work on knitting. Well, I’m working on it. She is just expressing interest. Figure we can get some yarn and needles for Christmas. For which we have just started our shopping. The boys are super easy to shop for this year, as they’ve not stopped being superheroes for like 2 weeks straight. They are constantly in costume and/or wearing a mask. K has too but there’s just less comic stuff for girls, I think. Any suggestions on great gifts for 6 year old girls?