All Girls School

Damn Dog
June 12, 2008, 8:26 pm
Filed under: garden

The dog dug up all of my blueberries. They are dead. I want to cry over it. They were so pretty and full of leaves and blossoms. I kind of want to kill him. a lot. Next year I will plant them and surround them with barbed wire. I am so so sad that we won’t be eating any berries off the bushes this year.


Spring Fever
April 23, 2008, 4:17 pm
Filed under: baby, Bubba, garden, history, pen pal, reading, writing

We’re having a difficult time concentrating on anything but being outside lately. Spring is so lovely and we have lots of things to keep us busy in the backyard. We have planted everything except the pumpkins, as we’re planning on using them for jack-o-lanterns. The blueberry bushes are looking great and I can hardly wait for the first fruits to appear. One of the strawberry bushes didn’t survive, so I pulled it and stuck in some green onions. Since the baby destroyed the jalapeno starts, we planted extra green beans in their spot. Bubba had fun helping with the planting and watering. We’ve had our first garden watering turned sprinkler spray down of the year. The kids loved it and were soaked. It was warm enough that day that they dried out fairly quickly. I made a little corner area for the girls. I put down a bunch of concrete pavers and surrounded them by planting a wall of sunflowers. I put a bunch of wildflower seeds around it, too, so they have some lower “pretty” ones until the sunflowers grow tall enough to make the corner private.

We’ve been working on our summer history book, but have taken a bit of a break from everything else. We wound up most things, but I’m going to start back in with some subtraction work soon. We’re still reading every day, although she’ fighting me a bit on the silent reading. She prefers to read out loud to her sisters. I don’t mind that at all, I actively encourage it. But, when she tries to count these insanely easy readers as her reading for the day, I have to draw the line. For summer writing, I think we’ll stick to her pen pal letters and some small dictations from the history text.

April 15, 2008, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Bubba, garden, pen pal, photography, reading

I have been swamped with work in the evenings lately, so I haven’t been great about updating here. Bubba has agreed to doing a full year’s worth of history over the summer. We didn’t start out with a history curriculum, but have decided that we’d like one. Unfortunately, history tends to build on itself, so to get her to where she needs to be next year, we need to complete the first year. We started it this week and she is really enjoying it. The curriculum itself is broken up in concise and fairly interesting chapters and most are just the right length for her attention span. There are lots of recommended activities with that book and then we’re supplementing some deeper researching with another book that allows for a lot of hands on activities for her.

I think we may try to keep up with some math over the summer, too. It won’t be every day, just some worksheet problems or puzzles every three or four days. She likes math so much, but tends to rush through the problems and make unnecessary mistakes because she’s not paying attention. She’s got carrying with large numbers in addition down, so we’re working on borrowing in subtraction now. She gets the subject, but is not as strong in subtraction, so I think we’re going to scale back and just work on the basic subtraction facts for a bit before going back to the borrowing.

Bubba shot off her first letter to her pen pal and is anxiously awaiting her first letter back. It was nice that she was able to write an entire page with no whining or complaining about how she hates writing because it’s soooo boring.

The garden is doing ok. The strawberries do not look like they handled the transplanting well, but I haven’t given up on them yet. The blueberries are looking good, though, and I am very happy about that.

She has been continuing on with the photography. We have progressed to texture as her current subject. It’s fun to go through all of her photos with her and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of them. She’s got a great eye for setting up a photograph. We’re working on learning why the piece works so that she can discuss art works in terms of their design rather than just saying, “I like the way it looks”.

She’s gotten into reading magazines lately during her silent reading time. She likes the Highlights subscription that we get and a friend has been giving us issues of a Nickelodeon magazine that has been coming to her randomly. Bubba is a huge Nickelodeon fan, which is funny because we don’t even have cable. She catches it randomly and likes to go to their website to watch the show clips that are on there. I don’t mind too much, I grew up on Nickelodeon. I remember watching endless hours of Pinwheel and You Can’t Do That on Television.

Thunderstorms, Pen Pals, and a Tomato Disaster
April 9, 2008, 5:05 pm
Filed under: baby, Bubba, garden, summer

On Monday evening we were hit with a terrible thunderstorm. There was thunder, lightning, hail and wind. In fact, there was so much wind that it blew down part of our fence and many of the power lines that service our area of town. It took the service crews until 2am this morning to get power back up to our area. We kept busy by visiting friends and family that had power. When we came home after supper, we build a fire and lit some candles. The girls played some wrestling-type games for a while, then we cuddled up under extra blankets and read many chapters of our current book until they all fell asleep. Thankfully we woke up to working electricity and the heat warming up the house. It never really got below 60 degrees inside, so it wasn’t terribly cold. The girls and I kind of enjoyed the camping out at home experience. (I’m still really glad the power came back on as quickly as it did, as I know the novelty would have worn off by today.)

When I got back on the computer today, I found that we had been assigned a new pen pal. Bubba sat down right away and wrote a letter to her. She is about six months older than Bubba and lives up in Minnesota. The best part is that we have lots of family up there, so it’s conceivable that after writing to each other for a while, they would get the opportunity to meet in person. I am hoping that both girls stick with it long enough to develop a friendship, but I’m trying to be realistic in my expectations, too.

Later this afternoon I realized that we would, in fact, be purchasing some tomato starts this year instead of continuing the ones we had going ourselves.

That was the Baby’s handiwork. *sigh* It’s frustrating, but not the end of the world. The poor little peppers never even got a chance to sprout. Our blueberry bushes are looking good, though. (Even the one the dog dug up twice and broke in half once.) Most of the strawberries look to have survived their transplant and the storm, so I think that still puts us ahead in the gardening department.

We’re winding down the school year a bit, going outside more and focusing more on reading out loud and to ourselves. We’ll be doing some history through the summer and maybe a little math, but for the most part I think we’ll be focusing on swimming and friends and playing at the park.

April 3, 2008, 9:37 pm
Filed under: art, Bubba, garden, photography, reading

Bubba has started her photography project. We’re choosing one of the basic elements of design at a time and discussing them. Then we look around at the art and photos around our house to find examples of that element. After that, I turn her loose with our old digital camera for a few days. Then, we put the photos on the computer and go through each one and discuss them. She and I choose five of our favorites and delete the rest. After we get through the different elements, I’m going to print them out and mount them. I’ll make up invitations and we’re going to have a “gallery” opening, with fancy finger food and everything. She’s been really enthusiastic about the project and we’ve looked at her first element’s results and she had some really great shots. I’m excited to share her photographs on this site, but since some of you that read here will be attending the opening, Bubba has request that I wait until after the gala.

In other news, our second round of tomatoes have sprouted. We’re still waiting on the peppers. ? The chives survived Baby’s herb-pot-smashing and are coming in nicely. The girls have enjoyed checking out the little starts poking through every morning.¬† Tomorrow we’ll plant the spinach and the strawberries. Our blueberry¬† bushes seem to be hanging in there. I am really anticipating all of our fruit for this year. Supposedly we’ll get a good crop from the blueberries this year as the plants are three years old. We’re crossing our fingers.

Bubba and I are reading Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. She found the book at the bookstore and thought it looked interesting. We’re only seven chapters in, but so far I’m not loving it. It has been a nice break from the Little House series, though. I’ve been reading some of the Amazon reviews about this book and it looks like many people prefer Hale’s first two books to this one, so maybe we’ll check those out. We’re a little fly by night with our book choices, reading whatever strikes our fancy at the moment. I’ve considered putting more thought into what books we read and what order we read them, but that makes it seem like work and I want reading to be fun. When I instituted a mandatory silent reading time every day, Bubba balked. She really did not like the idea, but started with a Junie B. Jones book. She suddenly found out that she loves silent reading and I find her doing it in the car and randomly in her afternoon and even late at night when she’s supposed to be in bed. I can’t even say how thrilled I am about this, even the sneak reading late at night. So, since we’re enjoying reading random books as our moods dictate, we’re going to just keep on keeping on.

Sewing and My Inevitable Black Thumb
March 24, 2008, 5:57 pm
Filed under: Bubba, garden, sewing

We have a family friend that offered up a sewing project for Bubba and a friend. Today they finished it and it was an adorable reversible purse. I loved watching Bubba sew, she took it really slowly and has a great attention to detail. She loved being allowed to use the iron all by herself. Unfortunately, we left the camera at Grandma’s house yesterday, so I can’t throw a pic of it up here. She has carried it everywhere with her today.

All of our pepper and tomato starts were blown away. All I found was a single toothpick flag lying on the ground. Then, today, Baby decided to pick up two of the herb pots and throw them on the concrete patio. Yes, she destroyed them completely. So, all of the plantings we did last week are now gone. I’m going to have to figure out a wind and baby-proof method of starting seeds. At least it wasn’t anything that I did directly that caused these things not to grow.

Spring Break, the extended version
March 19, 2008, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Bubba, garden, mimi, spring

Well, Spring Break has slowly been creeping into two weeks instead of one. Oh well, we’ve been doing lots and lots of yard work and house work and playing with friends and visiting with family. We’ll get back on school seriously next week, but for today… here are pics of our starts.

Here are Mimi’s already growing blades of grass. (Thanks, Ms. K – she has been so delighted at how quickly it has grown.)