All green, nature, and sustainability posts have been moved to Loving Nature's Garden

Friday, October 31, 2008

Avoid Chinese Candy and Frightful Technology

Please stay safe with your Halloween candy. I've read from two different sources that there are Chinese candies here which contain melamine. Avoid pirate gold coins. Personally I'd feel safer avoiding any candy that is marked as made in China. Here's a link to a report on I had a link to a site that showed three kinds of candies that are unsafe, but alas my computer got sick and was out of action for a couple of days here so I lost the link and was not able to post in a timely manner on this.

It's been a strange couple of days - technology can be frightful! For a couple of months we had trouble with our cable service. Eventually we convinced the cable provider to come and replace the cable. Quality cable is apparently expensive and they tried everything else first. Well, after the cable replacement everything was fine and dandy, expect the cable was lying along our yard unburied for 3-4 weeks; I was worried that the squirrels or chipmunks might investigate it with their teeth. Thankfully, the cable seemed to still be fine when the contractor came out yesterday to bury it. Despite great care and attention during the burial process, after the contractor left we discovered that our main phone line was now out of action! So we ended up unable to receive phone calls for 24hrs.

By sheer coincidence the upgrade Handyman Hubby had done on my computer 1 week ago suddenly caused an irrecoverable error last night. Well, basically I ended up with no computer for most of yesterday and today and no access to my phone book this morning. I do have a digital backup of my phone book, but I don't have a paper copy so I could not call the people I was expecting to call me and let them know to use a different phone number today. Now I think that making a paper copy of my contacts list must be on my to do list! Everything has ended up fine though because the telephone was quickly fixed for us today and Handyman Hubby is prepared. I have everything back tonight with my old computer disk back in use. The only thing lost was one day of Firefox tabs and a day of computer time. What a spectacular endorsement of having good technology backup plans :-)

I hope you had a safe and enjoyable Halloween with no frightful troubles!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cooking Lesson Plans

Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook at
To go straight to links on Cooking Lesson Plans please scroll down.

If you want to actually teach cooking you just might need a lesson plan, or even lesson plans. I must admit that I'm not much of a lesson plan person, I mean, I do sometimes get as far as creating a plan for something I want to do, but if I even get that far the chances are that the plan will get buried somewhere on my desk and go no further. So, what am I doing writing about cooking lesson plans then? This is where we talk about the power of Google. If you want to find something that isn't junk on Google you gotta know the keywords and if you want information on how to do something with your kids, "lesson plans" are two good keywords for searching with. The great thing is that you don't really have to be a lesson plan type of person to find something useful this way. Still reading? OK, let's talk about cooking with kids.

It seems to me that most homeschoolers are resourceful folk, people who actually know how to cook family meals, or at least are interested in learning. Since our kids most likely see us cooking every day, there seems little need to actually teach cooking in any kind of formal way; if they help out in the kitchen, or even just hang around while we do stuff, they will be learning a great deal. However, we all need a little variety at times and new cooking and food is great for this. I also hear over and over how kids who are very restrictive in what they eat will eat things that look fun or that they cooked themselves. My own kids are past this younger stage and are pretty adventurous eaters: I find I'm looking at helping them to learn what they need to know to be self-sufficient as they plan for independence. My focus is not so much on gourmet recipes as on good, healthy, simple meals that are easy to prepare, can be done with minimum equipment and contain inexpensive, basic ingredients.

With all of the above in mind I did a little, or maybe a lot of, web surfing to see what kind of good resources I could find to share.
As for helping my kids learn what they need for independence... that is a work in progress. One thing we've done, which was a lot of fun, was to meet weekly with another homeschooling family and cook a meal together then eat.

I've seen such great recipes with photos at blogs too - please do let me know your favorites :-)

Brought to you in association with - home of wonderful children's books.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

* Green Cooking

This article can be found at Loving Nature's Garden.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bits and Bobs

Handyman Hubby, my computer, and the internet won - tonight I had to go through all 48 or so of the Firefox windows (that's about 400 websites) I had open and either save or close them. My disk drive update is overdue and it's going to be installed for me while I'm out and about tomorrow. How nice is it to have someone to take care of that stuff for me :-)
Enjoy and have a good Saturday :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pay for Homeschool Writing

If you're interested in getting paid for homeschool writing check out this post at Freelance Writing Jobs. Also, you might want to take a look at Choosy Homeschooler, a place where homeschoolers blog about their product experiences. I like the idea of being a writer at other blogs, but experience has shown that I'm perfectly capable of getting involved in too many things and spreading myself too thin. Maybe someday...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Looks Aren't Everything

Sometimes looks are deceiving. I mean, they aren't everything! For instance, last night I decided to bake some delicious Yorkshire Pudding to accompany the roast beef we were having for dinner. Yum! I couldn't wait, and neither could my kids, to bite into that crunchy, golden goodness that tastes so wonderful with beef and gravy! I was even thinking that this might be a nice, simple recipe to share here, a recipe from the old country that others might like to try.

Ah, but looks aren't everything. Don't let this photo fool you; inside those golden Yorkshire puddings is uncooked mush! I'm still trying to figure out what went wrong. So far my conclusion is that the puddings need to be thinner. The first few times I made these they worked just fine, but we loved them so much that I decided they needed to be bigger. So maybe small is beautiful and greed can spoil things! Next time I'll try making them thinner. That way I can even make twice as many, which would be nice :-) Oops, am I being greedy again?

Why isn't my cooking as good as Living in the Kitchen with Puppies? Everything on her blog looks absolutely gorgeous and delectable. I swear my mouth starts to water just looking at the photos, or even thinking about them like I am now!

Let's all remember too that our daughters need to know that looks aren't everything. I mean, where can a girl go these days to see pictures of real women? The media is full of women who've not only been picked as film stars and models, but who on top of that have been Photoshopped to look decidedly waif like and unnatural, as if they had the slimness of a girl in her puberty growth spurt - they're just nothing but legs and arms - but with the hips and other stuff of a woman. Well, more on this later...

Scribbit Won the Give Away

Scribbit was the winner of my first ever giveaway, which was made possible by CutePiXelArt and my daughter Artist Girl. Michelle at Scribbit decided that she most needed a square button containing her logo and blog background. Here it is!

Thank you to everyone who entered. Don't ask me how I did it, but I managed to delete the original post. There were four entrants in the give away and Scribbit's number was drawn. Look out for future giveaways here.

Baby Dad

The Father's Almanac at
Once upon a time Handyman Hubby was a baby dad. He'd never changed a diaper, never bounced a baby, and didn't know how to play roughhouse. Sixteen years after purchasing The Father's Almanac, I looked up today in search of a favorite book to write about and saw this book still on my shelf. I guess that's some kind of testament - unless you believe that I've never, ever thrown a book out. Now, that's not a polite accusation! There may be a grain, or even a boulder, of truth in it, but I do actually take a lot of time over choosing what gets on my bookshelf in the first place :-)

Maybe I actually bought this book for me, or at least because I thought it was full of the kind of "baby dad" I'd like to have in my home. Just as I was starting to write this article Handyman Hubby chanced by my desk and looked to see what I was doing. When I told him that this book was the reason and source of the roughhousing that has been a favorite dad/kid interaction in our home since Artist Girl and Game Boy were tiny, he was surprised. Well, there is a lot more to this book than roughhousing safely, though I have to say that for me it was worth the price just for that alone.

Checking to see how many people who view this item actually purchase it, you'll see a figure of 55%. I can't say why 1/2 the people end up choosing something else, but I can give you a few gems from this book. And if you know someone who will be a father shortly, or who has a young child, you just might give this book a check.

First up, there's good practical advice about getting involved in pregnancy and in birth choices, with words of advice on such diverse things as back rubs, trial runs and emergency delivery. Moving on, the man in question will learn about bonding, celebrating, and big adjustments. Baby dad can learn how to do the football hold and how to build a hip baby seat (men just aren't endowed that way)! Moms to be will be reassured to know that dads will get an explanation on diaper changing, burping, and on comforting criers. I think all of that is great and as I read through this book again, I realize how much of that we did use. However, I think my favorite part of this book is all the little projects it details from old-fashioned simple toys like clacker blocks, and spinning tops to sleds, musical nails and a bouncing swing.

This book really is a complete pre-birth to preschool guide for an involved dad and would serve as a pretty complete preschool curriculum for either parent, or for both parents.

By the way, I do also own the equivalent Mother's Almanac, but it's not one of my favorite books and I shouldn't really give it shelf space. The Father's Almanac IMO is better organized, nicely indexed, and considerably more fun!!

Do you have a favorite baby advice book on your bookshelf, a favorite dad and kid activity, or a favorite dad and baby story to share. Let me know and I'll give you a link.

I have the most awesome readers who have amazing partners:
  • Janet of 32-Acre Wood reports that Mountain Man was a great baby dad. He stepped up to the plate and changed all her first's diapers after she was in bed due to a C-section.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bits and Bobs

Those firefox windows and tabs are multiplying on me again! Here are some bits and bobs - some homeschool, some just life.
  • Living with Bugs - a nice looking site that outlines common bugs and the least toxic methods of controlling. It even talks about the different methods of flea control. Sarah, I'm not sure that it will tell you anything you don't already know, but I thought it did a nice job of explaining the options and their effectiveness.
  • Got a bug enthusiast or budding entomologist? Learn about insect orders and families.
  • Usborne have brought out some great new reading sets - these are nice collections of hardback books (the size of your usual paperback) and perfect for every level from very early reading to age 10-12yrs. I'm not sure why they put the ugly red savings stars over the pictures of the books, but these are definately nice book sets.
  • Even our very own US government is blogging these days. The government blog looks pretty nice and it might be a much more friendly way to find your way around the tons of information out there which I'm sure we're funding through our taxes!
  • Just in case you're not done with the election: Time for Kids; on the candidates and potential first ladies; and Melissa over at Sweet Serendipity has a few more links, including one on Duck for President and old campaign ads. I want to take a look at the old ads - Artist Girl and Game Boy love ads!
  • Various lesson plans related to Japan.
Good, I'm down to just 46 windows now, so I only have about 300 tabs open. I'm working on it...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Albino in Tanzania

Apparently if you live in Tanzania and are albino your life is in danger because there is a witch doctor trade in the body parts of people with albinism. A friend of mine, who's daughter is an ocular albino, wrote to me yesterday to ask me to read about this and sign the petition. I checked it out. Most of the news reports I saw were by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). I was happy to sign the petition at What a horrific thing for human beings to do to each other. Of course humans doing horrific things is not exactly news! You can read an article about the killings at the BBC News site and read more about albinism at UnderTheSameSun.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bits and Bobs

Another attempt to share the hundreds of Firefox tabs I have open for your perusal and enjoyment! Hopefully you'll find something of interest and I might one day get few enough tabs open that Handyman Hubby can persuade me to shut down my computer for the installation of a bigger disk drive.

Here goes:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Daily Frustrations and Accomodations

I really appreciated the words of encouragement yesterday. Everything did work out - I sort of finished tidying the kitchen, and we sort of had dinner before the guests arrived, and I sort of made the sandwiches (some were made after a good number of people got here), and lots of other things sort of got done on time.

Maybe my fairy godmother HAD been secretly visiting with my kids though because when women started arriving in droves, ahead of the time I expected them and while the kids were still at the dinner table, my kids hustled and rushed around doing stuff at my request so that ladies had tables to put their tea cups on and such- like necessities. Game Boy did get a bit overenthusiastic and managed to fall down a few stairs in the process. This morning he told me that I was rushing so much that he felt there was great urgency and that he needed to run up the stairs and back down again, apparently without his feet hitting all of the necessary steps! He did survive the process and just had a couple of light scrapes to show for it.

So, I'm still working on updates to, not helped by the fact that my computer crashed in the midst of my work then Filezilla, which I need to upload my new html files for testing, helpfully did an automatic download of an update and wiped out the configuration that allowed me to connect and upload files.

Now I think all that has caused a brain-wipe and organized research and writing is the last thing on my mind right now!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Can You Get It All Done?

On days like today, there are just too many things to do. First there was homeschooling to take care of and I had to fit in a visit to the doctor's office in midst of that. Then I badly needed to update my business website to reflect gift ideas with the holidays coming up - still a work in progress because I've added a fair bit but I need to test the html before I put it live. Add that to the fact that I have a gathering at my house tonight and the kitchen needs another tidy and I need to make a quick dinner, clear up the magazines and books strewn around and move the furniture to accomodate more chairs, and make a pile of sandwiches that I still need to go to the store for ingredients for... Well, you might get the idea why I've not posted any homeschooling links today.

Of course my computer is so overloaded with Firefox links which I've found and really want to share with you that it's been on go-slow all day and I just can't stand to have to save them all because I know I'll never get around to reloading them again.

Well, I look forward to catching up with what is happening in your lives in the next day or so because there's been no time to go blog visiting today. If you just happen to have a magic wand or fairy godmother, or a handy Cinderella to send over to give me a hand do let me know!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Give Away ends Tuesday at midnight

The CutePiXelArt (graphic supplied by Artist Girl) give away ends at midnight tomorrow, Tuesday, October 14th. For details see Cute Pixel Art Give Away.

Homeschooling Elementary

Nebel's Elementary Education at
If you were to ask me to recommend just one reference book to guide you through homeschooling the elementary years I'd recommend Nebel's Elementary Education. Keep reading and I'll tell you why.

I started out homeschooling when my daughter was due to enter 5th grade and I bought "What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know". However, I could not read that book without feeling overwhelmed and questioning the way it dictates what a child at a certain age should be learning. That approach makes no sense to me - kids are not all ready for the same facts at the same age, never mind the fact that in my mind homeschooling, especially in the elementary years, is really not about learning facts! Needless to say at that point I just headed off from books that attempted to explain what I should do educationally with my daughter and made my own path.

A couple of years later an experienced homeschool parent recommended Nebel's Elementary Education to me. She told me that it contains everything you need to know to homeschool your kids through the elementary years. Well, that sounded like a bit of a stretch, but I was intrigued enough and the price was right enough for me to get myself a copy.

So what exactly is in this book? Here is a quote from the introduction, "Nebel's Elementary Education's beginning lessons in all subject areas are designed to tie into" a child's existing knowledge or experience "and build on it incrementally and systematically. All lessons begin by first drawing students' attention to be cognizant of what they already know or have experienced and then guiding them to make further observations through demonstrations , hands-on activities, or real-life explorations. Finally they are drawn, through interactive discussion, to integrate the new lesson with the prior knowledge or experience and thus expand their structure or understanding." In other words we're helping kids to learn and build on their knowledge through observing and interacting with the world around them!

Well, I could write all morning about this book and barely cover a fraction of it. However, it's time to get to homeschooling for the day. If you are curious be sure to leave me a comment or question. You can also read a review at and see more of what it's about at

Homeschoolers' Guide to the Galaxy is an associate site. See more books on homeschooling elementary at

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Homeschool Resources

Teach Your Own - The John Holt Book of Homeschooling at

Find links to a variety of homeschool resources on the left menu item titled Homeschool Resources. I've grouped items in the order:

- homeschool specific resources
- general educational resources - multi-subject and not homeschool specific
- resources with a specific educational focus eg literature, art, science

The list is already getting to be pretty extensive so I may have to come back and make separate lists - I'm not even anywhere near done with going through my currently-loaded Firefox tabs. I also have a bunch of resources bookmarked on my StumbleUpon account and I have hundreds of links bookmarked on Firefox. They go back years!

I mainly tend to bookmark quality, informative resources that are reasonably easy to navigate and which are free. Google searches tend to turn up a just a few sites that are actually free to use - I've had more success finding new sites through StumbleUpon. There are a huge number of organizations who provide information which we as homeschoolers can use. The trouble is that categorizing and being selective is a major task. For this reason I may remove links from time to time.

Please, if you have any good suggestions on how to organize all these links I'd really appreciate them! Also, if you have favorite sites that you think should be on any comprehensive site list, or if you've taken a good look at any links I've provided and found them to be lacking in some way, please let me know.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bits and Bobs

Find out about your morals and ethics and help with research at - an interesting adjunct to social studies at high school level.

Protect your computer from unwanted and invasive scripts when you're out web surfing by loading free software from NoScript - I use this and it works really well. You do have to specifically allow scripts so it can become a bit of a nuisance if you browse a lot of script-rich websites because you'll have to specifically allow everything you want the first time you come across it. It's rather an eye-opener though to see how many different scripts some sites are trying to load!

A good scientific point to raise for discussion with your kids. Why is only 3% of research funding for cancer aimed at finding the causes and preventing it rather than detecting and treating? Here's an article that prompts the question at The International Herald Tribune.

Is your family disaster ready? You can download a 204 page FEMA guide for citizen preparedness which acts as a unit study into natural disasters. Information covered includes: the type of disasters; which communities are likely to be affected; and information on preparing a family plan. Find more information at and learn how to store water and make it safe in an emergency.

The Homeschool Mom has provided 4 screens worth of links on the election. If you've not had enough yet you're bound to find something suitable there. Whew! That much is a bit overwhelming!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hot Chocolate Cake

Have you ever had a mug of hot chocolate cake? A couple of days ago I received this recipe from a homeschooling friend and I just had to try it out.

I made three mugs of this cake last night (photo not from for the kids and I for dessert. They gave it the thumbs up, though it's very filling and you could probably get away with just eating half.

So, if you're looking for a chocolate pick-me-up, if you want a quick romantic snack to share with hubby, or if the kids need a short project in the kitchen, give it a go. BEWARE the handle of the mug does get hot!

By the way, if you know the origin of this recipe please let me know so that I can give credit.

1 Coffee Mug
4 Tablespoons flour (that's plain flour, not self-rising)
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons baking cocoa
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons milk
3 Tablespoons oil
3 Tablespoons Chocolate Chips (optional)
Small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg
and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and
mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at
1000 watts. (My microwave is 965 so I cooked it for 3 minutes 20 secs.,
and I could probably have gone another 20 secs.)
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to share).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?
Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate
cake at any time of the day or night!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bits and Bobs

Election resources for teaching at Their website contains a variety of teaching resources and you can register to set up your own mock election. I'm probably being "thick" here, but I'm not quite sure how we register as homeschoolers. It does look as though we have the option to register a homeschool group, or just as a parent. If you've figured it out already do let me know.

Apparently children learn from praise while adults learn from mistakes. You can check this out at the Eide Neurolearning blog. Kind of explains a lot!

I keep reading about and I thought I should check it out. What a great way to contribute while testing and growing your general knowledge. They currently have quizzes on Art History, Geography, Chemistry, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Math on there - see the list of subjects. Since the questions come from Harvard I'm guessing it's worth working on a few. Watch out though, I can see how this could get addictive, at least for me (my two favorite things to do - learn and help others)!

How engineers fold t-shirts at YouTube. I love it!

Fantastic Contraption - a physics game. The music is a bit irritating though so you might click the speaker symbol to put it off.

Seven days left to register for my CutePiXelArt giveaway. Currently there are only 4 entrants and the prize is a really cute piece of customized graphic art. Check it out and leave a comment to enter.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling: 4-H Style

I am participating in my first Carnival of Homeschooling. You can see the carnival at Corn and Oil.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet at
Have you ever heard one of your children say, "Are we there yet?" Now that most kids are back in school I keep hearing about homeschoolers who're heading out to travel. What a great time of year to be on the road. Gas prices have dropped back down, many attractions are still open, the summer crowds are gone, and you can enjoy freedom from the worry of heatstroke!

Personally I'm determined to stay home. Maybe it's old age creeping up on me? Not long ago the idea of travel made my ears perk up, got my blood going, and had me rushing off to pack. My heart filled with the pulse of mountains and oceans and my brain zinged with the excitement of new horizons. Today I'd rather explore the world from my own couch. Could it be anything at all to do with the hours I drove this weekend? It's amazing what we'll do for our kids. While I'd have been happy curled up on the sofa at home Artist Girl had other ideas. Thus an adventure began. I don't have anything too exciting to share - mostly it was me saying, "Are we there yet?", from the driver's seat!

Sometimes we need to reflect back to fully appreciate either the past or the present. So, as we settle into our fall holiday season, looking back on your spring and summer what stories do you have to share? Did you go on an adventure, enjoy traveling, have a travel disaster, visit somewhere exciting, or boring, shed tears, laugh together, or just get grumpy? Did you discover something great to prevent the Are We There Yets?

Leave me a comment for a link. Humor is always welcome!

Friday, October 3, 2008

I Love to Laugh

How can anyone resist a song called I Love to Laugh? Need the words? You'll find them at Looking for the soundtrack? It's available with Mary Poppins stuff at Sorry homeschool readers, some people do get lost and end up here when they have no interest in homeschooling!

When Artist Girl and Game Boy were little they watched Disney's Mary Poppins over and over. What fabulous music and so many great lessons for life. I'm very fond of this movie, which was one of the first ones I saw myself as a child. I'm not sure which of the songs is my favorite, but I can't hear that song, "I Love to Laugh", without laughing a time or two.

I started with the intent to include lesson plans on Mary Poppins, but somehow this post has been hi-jacked by the song "I Love to Laugh"! So, let me know what makes you laugh. Send me a link for your funniest blog post. Why do you love to laugh, where, and at what? Mary Poppins will have to wait! Oh, and if you can tell me how to put up the option to e-mail me on blogger without getting a ton of spam I'd be very grateful!

To come later with Mary Poppins movie madness ...
Explore reading, London, Mary Poppins, banking, music, dancing, animation, penguins, fairground rides, morals and more. Whichever subject you want to cover with your kids, there's sure to be something inspiring from Mary Poppins.

From my readers:
  • Sarah wants to know how often you lose your temper. Sarah, I think you gotta lighten up there girl, or is it just that knowing other people's inadeqacies makes you laugh? Do you have a cruel sense of humor?
  • Julie recommends Luigi's blog - trot on over there to learn how to train your humans.

United States Election, Republicrats and more!

  1. While wandering today I discovered the Republicrats party. My kids had heard of the Monster Raving Loony Party in the UK (now in the USA too apparently), so I think they're going to like this. Be warned, the Vice Presidential Candidate for the party is seen with bikini clad women hanging on his shoulders. Republicrats, rated Teen?
  2. Melissa at Sweet Serendipity shares a way for kids to get involved in voting - read about it here.
Got any funny stuff related to the election? Artist Girl and Game Boy love humor in homeschooling. Share and I'll give you a link.

Tonia thinks it's important to keep a sense of humor about the elections. I agree!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Big Cat Photo and Cat Volunteering

When Big Cat (photo not by first came to us he was very, very shy. As you can see here, he also had some strange habits! His first few days with us were spent in our smallest room. We were waiting for him to learn that he loved us. He would learn that we are good because we bring him food.

Over the years we've learned some neat stuff about cats. It's hard not to learn a few things when you live with them! We've also volunteered at local animal shelters and read books. Our favorite books about cats are: Cats for Dummies, New Guide to Cat Breeds, Cats, Cats and Kittens. Working with cats of course helps us learn many things. You have to be both gentle and assertive at the same time. You have to be responsive and responsible, observant and patient. Sometimes you want to be playful.

Our volunteering for homeless cats began back when Game Boy was a small and very active 6 year old. Most animal shelters don't allow young volunteers below the age of 14yrs or 16yrs, but some allow volunteering with a parent. We only volunteer at no kill shelters where they keep animals unless they are aggressive or incurably sick. Game Boy is good at giving active kitties some playtime, while Artist Girl likes to patiently pet a lonely cat. Miraculously we've managed to come back home without additional animals!

In case you're curious, here's the lowdown on Big Cat:
  • loves his food and has to have it many times a day
  • loves to tell you that it's time for food, by putting his cold nose on your bare skin usually
  • very affectionate when it's time for food - gets right in your face if you're sitting down
  • likes smells - dirty laundry, anything plant, and anything that's been outside
  • eats anything plant-like regardless of safety - goes wild for catnip
  • will flop over and purr when he sees a hairbrush - loves grooming and expects it from Princess Kitty
  • in remission from insulin dependent diabetes
Big Cat is an affectionate and low-maintenance big guy, but don't expect him to greet you when you stop by to visit. He's the biggest scaredy-cat on the block; the sound of an unfamiliar footstep will send him off under the bed!

Know any pets with strange habits? Please share!

For Literacy - got books?

Information about this bookcase.
This is something you'll never see in my house, except on moving day. Once a book comes into my house it rarely leaves. You might say I'm a book collector, which means I'm of necessity a collector of bookcases. I'm a firm believer that you can't grow kids into readers without growing a collection of books (and bookcases)!

I'm always fascinated by what others have on their bookshelves. Invite me to your house, leave me alone in a room with a bookcase, I'd be busy for hours. In fact I'd like to spy on your bookshelves. I want to know how many bookshelves you have and what you have on there. What kind of books do you collect? Handyman Hubby collects the following: business and management; programming; DIY; action, science fiction and fantasy paperbacks. Didn't you just learn something about him there?

So, how many bookshelves or bookcases do you have and what's on there? Maybe you even have a bookshelf tie. Guess what's on mine if you like. Hey, I'd love to, but I can't, give away a free bookcase to one lucky winner who guesses right, if only I had one to spare! Know anyone who'd donate one to me? Sorry, we'll just have to be happy with the joy of sharing information instead. I AM however going to search out a bookcase design/plan for all my fellow booklovers who might like to build a bookcase. Leave a comment and let me know about your books, bookshelves and bookcases and I'll give you a link.

From my readers:
  • Renae has seven overflowing bookshelves. It sounds like she is a bookworm!
  • Deborah has nice new bookshelves, but no self-help book on book addiction! Got one of those?
  • I'm trying not to be jealous of Jeanne from At A Hen's Pace. She just got NINE new bookcases from IKEA. Oh boy, I've planned out exactly the ones I'd like for our master bedroom, but I can't stomach the cost of shipping and our closest store is too far away to justify the time, gas and hotel.

Do you need to be certified?

I'm not talking here about being certifiably mentally ill, though some days homeschooling might make us feel that way! Have you joined the Costco debate about whether parents should be certified to homeschool? You might be interested to hear that so far the consensus is "yes". Want to get over there and vote? Here's the link. BTW you'll need to enable scripts.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Family and Other Animals

My Family and Other Animals
I've never met a more eccentric homeschooling family than Gerald Durrell's. Many homeschool families have one or two pets, a few have lots of animals, but I dare say I'll never meet a family with as many animals as Gerald Durrell ended up with. Unless of course you know better. Go on, I dare you to let me know all about your menagerie. Or what about the special pets you had growing up?

As a teen I dreamed of the freedom Gerald Durrell had as he ran wild on the island of Corfu, filled his home with nature, and shocked his family with great frequency. I felt dejected with him when he was given a stuffy tutor, rejoiced with him when he escaped, and most of all laughed with him at all his family's antics. I rescued baby birds from our cat and raised them (with mixed success). I took my dog everywhere with me, except for school, where of course she was not allowed. At one time or another I've kept every category of pet that appears in my poll list, apart from large animals.

I wanted my kids to grow up with pets. When Game Boy was 3 years old we brought two rescue cats into our lives. Being the disorganized person that I am, I can't find a photo of Big Cat to share. Let's say he looks like Dewey over there on the left, except he's tabby, not orange. Big Cat and Princess Kitty are still with us 9 years later. We've had our ups and downs with them. I thought maybe two cats would be enough to satisfy us, but I was wrong. Current pet list: Big Cat, Princess Kitty, Goldie, Sweetie Girl and Huffy Girl, The Hissers, and 4 minnows rescued from being live bait.

What animals do you share your home with? One cat, two dogs, a flock of birds, a hamster, a tarantula, caterpillars and spiders? I want to hear. Have you blogged about the animals that share your life? What part do your animals play in your homeschooling? What lessons have you learned from them? I'd like to link to you. Leave me the keyword/s to search your blog and find what you've written and complete my poll if you're so inclined. Will dogs or cats win? Or are homeschoolers into exotics or furries?

Readers who shared about their pets:
  • springtreeroad who homeschools with cats and rabbits (wild) - link 1, link 2, link 3.
  • jugglingpaynes has cats and includes cats on her fun homeschool comic strip - read about her cats.
  • Who We Are......... shares her homeschool family life with cats Precious and Smudge, Toasty the budgie, and 2 fish. Her hubby does not like cats.
  • Wendy has 5 cats inside and one outside. At her blog she shares the story of Pepper's first litter.
  • Deborah has a dog and a guinea pig.
  • Scrappymom and Family! has a lonely zebra finch named Spot!
  • Randi has a dog, a cat and a teen daughter who sounds like Artist Girl - she can't wait to get her own house and fill it with animals!
Handyman Hubby is just growing into liking our cats after 9 years! He really feels bad for them when they get sick, which has happened more than I'd care for. And I thought moggy cats would be healthier!
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