Monday, October 31, 2011

The Quality of Mercy

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.

Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (Act IV, Scene I)

Friday, October 28, 2011


Yesterday I was in the W.C. a moment too long, apparently, when I saw Bronwyn's fingers and golden locks appear under the door.

"Mama, can you get out?"

"No, not right now."

I hear rummaging around in a drawer in the hall.

"Bronnie, what are you doing?"

"Looking for sump-ing to get you out."

"I can get out, I'm just not ready to get out."

"Are you washing your hands?"

"Not yet."

"Mama, wash your hands right now!  See if you can get out."

Later that evening I was getting ready to go out, and I couldn't find my Phillips Light Touch Hair Brush... now, this is not paid advertisement for Phillips, but this brush does not pull or hurt... it glides through tangles like slicing warm butter... so you can imagine in a houseful of girls, this brush is in high demand.  Since I could not find *my* brush, I picked up a random brush I found on my nightstand (happened to be a Conair Gel Grips brush).

Bronwyn came in my room and saw me using that brush and asked "Mama, why are you using that brush?"

"Because I can't find my brush."

She leaves and returns in an instant with *my* brush.  "Here, Mama, use this.  That brush hurts.  Don't ever use that brush again."

Of course, I obliged.  That child is always looking out for me and my gray hairs.

Last night it was very chilly, and I sent Bronwyn to bed with an extra blanket... my favorite burgundy red throw to snuggle under in the evening while sitting in the living room.

This morning we woke up to several children with headaches, sore throats, and sniffles.  I, myself, have a headache and fever chills, even though warmly dressed, so I asked "does anyone mind if I crank the heat up?  I'm very cold."

Then I came in here to check e-mails.  A moment later Bronwyn came to me and said, "I brought your red blankie downstairs.  I went upstairs and got it so you can't be cold.  I put it in your chair."

Bless her sweet little heart.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


"Because," explained the king, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."  - Sagar Parsi

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Fanny will be five in nine days.  I am still trying to figure out what to give her.  Any ideas?  The conversations go like this....

Mama (46! Since yesterday!!):  Fanny, what do you want for your birthday?

Fanny (4, for now):  Penguins

Mama: You have been asking for penguins for every birthday and Christmas since your second birthday, you have a lot of penguins.  What else do you want?

Fanny: A bike.

Mama: Soon there will be snow, and it will be cold riding bikes.  You will get a new bike when the weather is warm again.  What do you want now?

Fanny:  School books.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fursty Chickens

Mary, Catherine, Lydia and I briefly discussed where the chickens were roosting as we left to go to a friend's house last night.  After a minute of silence, Bronwyn (3) said....


"I can say the same words you guys say."

Mama: "Yes, you can, but sometimes I can't understand your words.  I'm not always sure what you mean when you say 'I vewy fursty'"

Bronwyn:"You don't know what fursty mean?  Fursty mean when you fursty."

Well, I'm glad we got that clarified.  Reminded me of the "what makes you sad?" conversation.

"Tears make me sad"

What makes you have tears?

"Umm... water in my eyes"

What makes you happy?

"A smile on my face"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Today's Lessons

This tickles me.  I "do school" with Fanny in the afternoons but often she doesn't want to wait that long, so she will quietly take her box of workbooks to the other end of the table and put herself to work.  Something just tugs at my heartstrings to see a four-year-old so studious.  :)

Yes, I did my nails while they were working on their workbooks.  Busted!  :D  And Elizabeth came home from out and about and brought me a Frappacino.  Don't worry, I didn't drink that big thing alone.  No sooner was it in my hand when Bronwyn was looking at it longingly saying "I sursty", and she was only the first one in line.  Yes, mamas must always share, mustn't we?  :)

Friday, October 07, 2011

What We Use for History & Geography

We follow up our Bible time with History, because we are currently using the Old Testament for our History spine and since we already have our Bibles out for Catechism, it's handy dandy and we're good to go!

We are currently in Ancient Egypt.  This is our third time through Ancient Egypt in our 11 years of homeschooling as I like to rotate through history from Ancient to Modern times and back again.  Each time through the children are at a different level and take away different things.  Along with the Bible I use a family study handbook by Simply Charlotte Mason curriculum called "Genesis through Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt".  This handbook gives me ideas on how to expand our lesson with narration, suggests highlights to add to our timelines, and offers up some hands on activities to try.

Throughout our study of Egypt we also use the Oxford First Ancient History book, David Macaulay's enchanting book "Pyramid", and The Mystery of the Hieroglyphs, which is the story of the Rosetta Stone.  Some other books we enjoy are Boy of the PyramidsPharaoh's BoatPharaoh's of Ancient Egypt, and the Newbery Award winner The Golden Goblet.   Shortly after we read Pharaoh's Boat, NOVA broadcast their special Explore a Pharaoh's Boat, which largely followed the book and included online activities to complete the journey.

For the older girls I like to use Nancy E. Gantz' commentaries on the corresponding Old Testament book that we are reading.  With the younger girls I sometimes read our Bible history portion from Catherine F. Vos' The Child's Story Bible.

As for Geography (and Social Studies) I like A Child's Geography by Ann Voskamp with Tonia Peckover, Uncle Josh's Outline Maps (books and/or CD), and Then and Now Bible Maps.

Four books I leave laying around on the coffee table for the girls to look through from time to time are:

Peter Menzel's Material World,
and his Hungry Planet,
and What I Eat
and James Mollison's Where Children Sleep.

I feel these books give them some much needed perspective on the world we live in.

My next homeschool post will be about our Science and Nature Studies. :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

What We Use for Scripture Memory & Catechism

Catechism isn't just for Catholics.  :)

Our homeschool day starts with scripture memory time.   Lydia (8) and I work together on her verses in the dining room, while Mary (11) and Catherine (10) go into the living room and work together on theirs.  We set the timer for 15 minutes and, surprisingly this is sufficient!   Lydia usually gets one verse down in that time, and we still have time to work on her other verses.  I like to use the Scripture Memory booklets from Scripture Memory Fellowship.  Even though my personal favorite translations are the ESV and the NASB 1977 version, and most of our school reading is out of the NLT, we have chosen the NKJV booklets to memorize from.  For a long time I couldn't decide what translation to use for scripture memory... after all, these verses stick with you for a lifetime... but I spent so much time hemming and hawing I realized NO scripture would stick with us for a lifetime if we didn't start memorizing it, so I closed my eyes and picked one, so to speak.  :)

After our scripture memory time, we roll into our Catechism time.   I read from Training Hearts Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism.  I like this book because it is divided by days of the week, and all I have to do is read from that day's lesson.  After we have read through that, the girls open up their Westminster Shorter Catechism for Kids workbooks by Caroline Weerstra.   Lydia and I work through hers together, and Mary & Catherine work independently.   I feel the workbooks help cement what they learned from the devotions... instead of just listening, they get to write down what they learned, and give it that little extra boost.

That's what our homeschool does for Bible.   In my next homeschool post I will talk about what we use for History & Geography.  :)

You Are My I Love You

I am your Parent, you are my Child
I am your Quiet Place, you are my Wild

I am your Calm Face, you are my Giggle
I am your Wait, you are my Wiggle

I am your Dinner, you are my Chocolate Cake
I am your Bedtime, you are my Wide Awake

I am your Lullaby, you are my Peekaboo
I am your Goodnight Kiss, you are my I Love You

(From the book "You Are My I Love You" by Maryann Cusimano)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Fire Dresses

Bronwyn (3), out of the blue, very serious, and heading off to bed:  I don't like fire dresses.
Mama:  You don't?
Bronwyn:  'Cause you spin around, and then you die.

I wonder what happens if you don't spin around?

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Come Little Leaves

by George Cooper

"Come, little leaves" said the wind one day,
"Come over the meadows with me, and play;
Put on your dresses of red and gold;
Summer is gone, and the days grow cold."

Soon as the leaves heard the wind's loud call,
Down they came fluttering, one and all;
Over the brown fields they danced and flew,
Singing the soft little songs they knew.

"Cricket, good-bye, we've been friends so long;
Little brook, sing us your farewell song-
Say you're sorry to see us go;
Ah! you are sorry, right well we know.

"Dear little lambs, in your fleecy fold,
Mother will keep you from harm and cold;
Fondly we've watched you in vale and glade;
Say, will you dream of our loving shade?"

Dancing and whirling the little leaves went;
Winter had called them and they were content-
Soon fast asleep in their earthly beds,
The snow laid a soft mantle over their heads.