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Archive for August, 2015

8/31/15 scholarships, birthday parties and Catan…

written 2.1.14 – Maggie went to school today to work on a scholarship. It is due in on Wednesday. The teachers go in and make sure that all of the kids have all of their paperwork together. Maggie has just started looking for scholarships.
Beth went to a birthday party today for a school friend at the ice skating rink. When they were done they went to Chuck E. Cheese.  Yes these are high school kids but that is where he wanted to go. They had fun ice skating. Beth said that there were a lot of people, and lots of little kids.
William got a board game for Christmas called Catan. I don’t have a real good understanding of the game yet, but I think that it is land and we each try to build the most settlements. It was fun, but there were a lot of the directions that we couldn’t figure out. We did setup the game at ten o’clock at night last Friday but by the time that it was set-up we were too tired to play. There is a web site that we can go on to get more information. We did have fun playing today though, we just filled in our own rules when we couldn’t figure a part out. We can play the correct way when we see the video on the computer with the directions.

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8/30/15 school, parent-teacher meeting and volunteering…

written 1.29.14 – zero deg today. I need to get our taxes done. School is closed today.
written 1.30.14 – We had a wind chill of zero today. It actually felt warm. It has been about five degrees with a wind chill of negative twenty to forty all week. We don’t usually have this cold of a winter…this is so odd. The schools were closed. Beth was upset, she loves school…really she loves seeing all of her friends. She spent a lot of time on Facebook with her friends and on YouTube listening to her music. It is so sad to see her sitting in the chair looking at the computer all day, but we don’t have any choices. School is closed, all of the roads are closed because of the cold and the snow. She can’t go out and all of her friends that used to live on this street have moved away.
We have a parent student teacher meeting tonight at Maggie’s high school to look at the her progress. We get our kids transcripts and see if they are on schedule. It is good to get together once a year with the counselor and Maggie to see if she is on track.
William said that he would start volunteering at church. He believes and goes to church with us…only because I told the kids that they had to go to church as long as they live at home. What they believe is between them and God, but they must go to church. We also volunteer about once a year as a family at church, he participates in that as well. We can’t volunteer at church every week unless everyone volunteers. I could volunteer with any of the kids that want to come with me at the early service and then go home during the middle service and get the other kid or kids, and then go back to see the last service, but I am too tired for all of that driving on a Sunday morning. And…the one or ones that volunteered with me would need to go home to pick up the others too, I couldn’t leave them alone at the church without me there. They are great kids and they are older but they aren’t that quiet when I am not there. So when William said that he would volunteer too, it was very exciting!

 

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8/28/15 Aleks math and snow days

written 1.28.14 – cold out. Hope the radio has good songs. Too cold to take gloves off and gloves too big to change radio stations. Forgot to take out garbage. Which countries went under last week? It seems like so much of Europe is in financial trouble.
written 1.29.14 – it is zero deg today.
School is closed today. I e-mail Beth’s math teacher. If school is closed can they do math assessments at home? Their math class on the computer program Aleks. It is online. The students do math, and take quizzes and at the end of chapters. After they have been on Aleks for about ten hours the computer gives them an assessment to make sure that they have learned the information. The quizzes and assessments must be done at school. Normally this isn’t a problem, but the weather has been so bad this year that the kids have been out of school for more days then they have been in school. Some weeks in January they went to school either one or zero days. If they can’t take any of the tests at home, that means that they can’t do any math until they get back to school and can take the quiz or assessment and will fail the class. The teacher told them that they must meet their goals for each letter grade, it wouldn’t be adjusted for the weather. So, I keep calling to ask if they can do assessments at home. If the weather forecast looks OK at the end of a school day and it snows a lot or gets to twenty below with the wind chill, the students will not have school and the teacher won’t be able to allow assessments at home because he needs to reset the computer at the school to allow the assessments at home. It has been very frustrating. Beth is at home and could do math all day, but she is blocked out on the first day because of a need of an assessment and then she has three more days off because of the weather and can’t do any math for any of those days.

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8/27/15 talents…

written 1/26/14 – We got about two inches of snow on Saturday. It was fluffy snow so the kids couldn’t rebuild their forts with it.
Our church services were cancelled on Sunday because of the weather so we watched the service online. The minister talked about the story of the person who gave talents to his people and went on a trip. He came back to see what had been done with his money. The pastor said that to the person that much talent was given, much was expected. Matthew 25:14-30 I have always wondered if I am doing enough. Raising the kids is a good way to use my talents. We do go to events at church and volunteer at Christmas. We could be doing more. But if we do too much we loose our handle on the kids homework and I don’t want to over-church them. Where is our balance?
Also, should I be doing other things besides raising the kids? Should I be crocheting hats to sell, be on a committee at church, raise chickens? I have other things that I am good at, but when I do them, there isn’t as much time for the kids. Where is my balance? I want to honor God with my choices, but I am not sure what to do. Where do you find your balance?

 

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8/26/15 movies and gardening…

written 1/26/14 – We have too many movies for our movie shelf. We moved some items off of another shelf to make room for the movies. When the movies were moved we now have a lot of the movies that were in the back row out in front. It is like getting a lot of new movies. I may go to the movie shelf and rearrange it more often so that we have fresh choices.
We need to look at our seeds and see when they need to be started. We have had a small garden for the past few years. We have a small yard so we have a small garden. I like to start the seeds inside in the winter…it is so much cheaper…but sometimes we have too much going on and we buy our plants at Lowe’s Home Improvement store.
One year we planted herbs. Some of them are high maintenance. Basil needs to have all of its leaves washed off the night before they are picked. This was too much work for us. We always have tomatoes. Two years ago we had tomatoes in one spot. In November we planted garlic there. The next year the tomatoes grew back, on top of the garlic. It was a busy year for us and we didn’t get the tomatoes moved. When it was time to harvest the garlic, we couldn’t see it. This year if the tomatoes come up in that area again, we are going to move them. Is it good to have the garlic grow for two years?
I would like to take the swing set down so that we would have more room for a garden. The kids say no. It is part of their childhood and they want it to stay. We keep it. If/when we move, I think that it would be a good selling point for the house.

Please be careful if you buy herbs, some of them spread at a rapid rate. Please ask someone who knows about herbs before you plant anything.

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8/25/15 pictures and gloves…

written 1.26.14 – I have been taking fewer pictures lately because it has been so cold out and because I only go to the same places every day. It is boring taking pictures of the same tree and the same piles of snow every day. Last weekend we went around town to do some errands. The day happened to be warmer, about twenty degrees, so I was able to take more pictures. It was so nice to get out of the house, so nice that the weather was warmer and the sun was shining.
Maggie has to go to different buildings for each of her classes. The other day on the way home she told me that she had decided to try wearing her gloves. It has been about four degrees above zero with a wind chill added to that. I asked her how it went. She said that she was warmer and was going to wear the gloves. Apparently this was a big decision.
When the kids were young I had them wear gloves and hats and zip their jackets in the winter. Now that they are older they can make some of their own decisions. They do have jackets, hats and gloves…I gave up on scarves years ago…but they get to choose if they will wear them. My kids are 25, 18 and 17. If it is cold enough that I would wear these items, I make sure that the kids take them when they go out, but they get to choose if they will wear them. They leave them in the car as we do errands or in their backpacks at school, If the car were to break down they would need these items while we waited for a tow truck. If the kids do get sick then I get to make the choices until they are healthy again. It was tough to let go, but it has worked out well. The kids are still healthy and I don’t need to watch them so closely.

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8/24/15 Goodwill…

1.26.14 Maggie reorganized her room and brought down some things for Goodwill today. When the kids were young we took a load to Goodwill at the end of each summer. It was a good time for us to sort things out. The kids have their birthdays in September, October and November, and then there is Christmas with another avalanche of toys. At the end of summer we are not into school work yet so we still have some free time, and the kids knew that they had more toys coming to replace the ones that they had given away. We had to do this or we would get buried. He girls would keep ten to fifteen dolls and ten to fifteen baby blankets, etc. William would keep about as much of his army men etc. They never were without toys, but a good sort out is sometimes necessary. The first year of giving was the hardest. The kids understood that they would be getting more toys soon and that they still had a lot. But it was still hard to part with anything. About two weeks after we gave to Goodwill the first time, one day after school Beth was just sobbing. She had given away a doll that was her favorite. She said that she had taken a long time to decide which dolls to give away…remember that she did keep about fifteen dolls…but she regretted not having this one. She was so sad with her tear stained face and sad eyes. I went to the trunk of my car where the Goodwill load was and got her doll. She was so happy. I hadn’t delivered the load because I knew that this would be tough and I wanted to have the toys in case anyone melted down. I kept the toys in the trunk for about another month. Then I asked the kids if it was OK to deliver them now. We had the birthdays and Christmas and the kids got more toys. The next year it was easier. They knew what was happening. I want the kids to have toys, but we can’t have so many that we can’t walk through the house. Now they do their own sorts when they rearrange their rooms. I do go through their items that they are giving away. Sometimes they throw away a yearbook or something else that is precious to them by  mistake. I still keep the items in the trunk for a week or too…just in case.

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8/23/15 lists and sleep overs…

written 1.24.14 – It is neg four degrees today. School is closed.
written 1.25.14 –  Last night I made a list of all of the things that we need to get done…from the kids doing homework, to people that I need to e-mail to making lunches for next week. Last week we were just holding on. With Maggie’s deadline for projects at school and all of the cold weather we didn’t get any extra things done. I need to catch up before I get buried.
Maggie and Beth had a friend stay the night last night. They watched movies and made brownies. Now that the kids are older I have them make brownies whenever they have a friend over. It gives them something to do…and eat. They also like to talk about the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse. The topic of how they will defend themselves and where they will live is very fascinating to them. I haven’t seen the shows so I can’t add anything in to this conversation.
When the my kids were little we had a lot of kids living on this street. Someone had a sleep over for the kids almost every weekend. It was so easy since all of the kids lived right here. They would come over after dinner, and in the morning we just needed to open the door and the kids could walk across the street to their own house. Having all of the kids around really brought us together as a neighborhood.

 

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8/22/15 the boiler, school breaks and the weather…

written 1.20.14 –  It was chilly in the house when we got up today. The pilot light on the boiler had gone out. We have lit it before. It usually only goes out in the summer if the basement windows are open and the wind happens to get into that small opening. I tried to light the boiler. It wouldn’t light so I found the directions and read them. I tried to light it again. It didn’t work. It is so frustrating to try to to everything for my family, take care of the kids, pay the bills, make the meals and then something goes wrong that I have no idea how to fix. It is extra frustrating when the boiler goes out in the winter and the house is getting colder and colder.  I want to do everything right for the kids, but how can I be good at everything? We needed to leave to get Maggie to a school function. How can we leave the cats here in a cold house. They have fur right? How cold can it get before they feel cold? Later I called the repairman. He came over and looked at it. A small part needed replaced. While he was here I asked if I had been lighting it the correct way. He said no and showed me how to light it. I am so glad to have the heat back on. It may get down to ten degrees tonight.
It is cold and there is snow but the roads are clear.
Beth is so glad to be back at school she loves seeing all of her friends. He kids were on break for Christmas which was at least two weeks long. Then they were off for the bad weather. Then they had finals week where they only had school for half days that week. Then they were off for Martin Luther King Jr day on Monday, then the teachers had an in-service day on Tuesday and the kids had a two hour delay on Wednesday. Beth is glad that there aren’t any more vacations planned soon.
It was about two degrees today. It has been cold for a while. When I was young it stayed cold and snowy all winter. Lately it has been back and forth between cold and warm. When the temperatures change a lot between cold and warm we end up with a lot of ice on the roads. This year we have had a lot of cold weather. The steady cold weather does mean that we don’t have the ice on the roads

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