Sunday, July 31, 2005

As ready as I'll ever be!

Assignment sheets are printed out, kitchen/school room is clean, clothes laid out for tomorrow, and I'm going to get to bed on time!! We're all set for our first day of school! I'll post an update during rest time tomorrow!

For everyone who is starting school tomorrow, hope you have a lovely first day!

Feeling nervous!

Tomorrow we're "back to school"! We've had a 2 month break, which is the longest we've taken since starting homeschooling 3 years ago! I've been so very excited about getting started, and especially since our Calvert materials arrived! But now, I'm feeling something new... I'm feeling nervous!

What if Calvert doesn't help? What if the problem really lies with me, and even with having it all laid out for me, I just really can't handle it? What if Calvert is TOO much, and it's a struggle to get it all done with everything else going on? How will I get school done on Wednesdays when we have ST and OT for 90 minutes right in the middle of the morning? What if I fail?

OK, deep breath! ::inhale, exhale:: One day at a time! I think I'll get the house really clean today! That will help me feel more in control! :)

Church first, though! Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

We're going to grow butterflies!

Don't panic... you didn't click on the wrong blog by mistake! And nobody has hacked into my blog! I - Niffercoo- and my 3 adorable little homeschoolers are going to attempt to grow living things in our home!! Seriously!! LOL I think some of you still don't believe me!

I bought a kit tonight at The School Box, and you send off for some caterpillars. The caterpillars will (in theory) grow up to be butterflies! I am so excited!! We're going to get all crafty and science-y! I have to thank Calvert for making me get this kit! Bubba's science book has him doing the caterpillar thing, and at least with the kit, I have a fighting chance of something actually growing! LOL!

You know, this may just be the turning point year for the Black Pearl Academy!! We might actually do art, and science, and music! ;)

Friday, July 29, 2005

3 kids, a mom, and a Homeschool Expo!

Well, let me start by saying that taking 3 children to a Homeschool Convention is much different that going with 2 homeschool moms! LOL Not quite as relaxing and invigorating for some reason!

The kids went to meet Senor Gamache, their Spanish Teacher! We just completed La Clase Divertida Level 1, and were going to purchase Level 2. The entrance fee to the Expo was less than the cost of shipping, and I knew the kids would get a kick out of meeting him! He is a delightful man, and just as neat in real life as he is during the class videos! I forgot my camera though and was so disappointed when the kids hugged him goodbye and I didn't have a picture! Go check out the curriculum! It's an excellent and fun way to learn Espanol!!

That was all we went for! We browsed for a little bit and I purchased Moneywise Kids to play with. The game retailer that was at the convention in May was not at this one and I was disappointed! But that's OK! I'll order a couple of other games from CBD for Christmas instead!

OH! I got some cute homeschool stuff from a retailer. Her website is I got dh a ballcap that says "Homeschool Principal", a shirt for me that says "Time Well Spent... Homeschool", and a magnet for the van that says "An Education for Life... Homeschool".

They also had a shirt and bumper sticker that looked like a warning sign and said "Caution:Unsocialized Homeschoolers on Board". I didn't have the courage to buy it but dh says we need it! LOL Maybe when I'm feeling a little more confident! :)

We stayed for about 90 minutes... Peanut kept getting out of her stroller everytime we slowed down! So it was a little bit wild! But I'm glad I took them to meet Senor! Next year when we go back to get level 3, I'll make sure to take my camera!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The excitement is building!

Last night I pulled together all of the materials we will need for next week. I cut out the Reading Word Cards for both kids. I haven't decided yet if I want to put Bubba's cards on a Word Wall like I am supposed to do for Princess'. It's mostly a matter of velcro and how much of the stuff I want to end up buying! I also got the math pages for the first week taken out of the books, and the little stories from the 'Phonics/Readers Library" taken out and folded. I read everything the kids will be reading next week, and I wrote out the definitions for Bubba's study cards for science and geography. That way he can write the correct word on each definition and ease him into the amount of writing that Calvert requires.

I forgot how much I liked Calvert Math. I went away from it last year because of the cost, and the 3rd grade math looked like it would be too hard anyway. This year it's just right for him! Princess asked to look at hers and she approves!

A little bit of the guilty feelings have creeped back up into me for spending so much money, and for not pulling everything together myself! But I quickly pushed those feelings aside and know that Calvert is the best choice for us this year! I am going to start working on Peanut's schedule now that I've got the kids' materials ready. I want to get an index card file of activities for her OT so that I'm not having to think of things on the fly. Ultimately, I hope she will come to be able to tell me what she's in the mood to do. But for now, I want to introduce lots of new stuff to her so she'll have a wide range of things to choose from! Also I must get her boxes organized with the new toys I bought, and get out the HWT wood pieces and Capital Letter cards for her to start playing with!

I think we're all excited for school to begin on Monday!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The best surprise!

I came home today from a short weekend at my parents' house and there was a large envelope waiting for me! I instantly recognized the return address as being from Lisa, and was excited because she had told me she was sending me something to make my school year more fun! Honestly, I had NO idea what to expect! And let me tell you how surprised I was, to open the envelope and find...

A POTC folder with Captain Jack on the front!! OMG I have no idea where you found this, Lisa, but I will treasure it!! I have never seen such a thing before!! I thank you from the bottom of my heart! It is truly a mighty gift! Thank you dear friend! You have put a smile into my heart! :)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Our Schedule 2005-2006

Here is our school schedule for this year! I stick to it pretty strictly for a few weeks to a month, then it becomes more of a routine than a schedule! But it helps me stay focused on the times and see howmy estimates for how long something should take and how long it actually takes mesh!

6:00 Mommy wakes, curses homeschooling*, showers, dresses, does Flylady chores, and devotions
* just kidding about that!

7:15 wake kids: kids do their morning routine which involves getting dressed, eating breakfast, making beds, and their daily morning chore

8:00 Bible, AWANA practice/Preschooler's floortime
8:30-9:30 3rd grader's first lesson time (Math, Phonics, Composition, Reading)
Girls have playtime
9:30-10:00 1st grader's math and reading lesson
3rd works on his assignment sheet
Preschooler table time
10:00-10:30 RECESS (this is Peanut's morning OT time)
10:30-10:45 Snack
10:45-11:00 Preschooler Speech Therapy Homework
3rd Spelling/Vocab CDrom
1st works on assignment sheet (until 11:30, or sooner if she works fast)
11:00-11:30 Bubba's 2nd lesson time (Science or Geography or Mythology or Art)
11:30-12:30 1st finishes up any lessons we didn't get to before recess
Mom starts lunch
3rd finishes his assignment sheet
12:30 -1:00 lunch
1:00-2:30 Rest time

I may end up saving art for after rest time, depending on how time goes. Also, the history and mythology for Bubba might work well for reading aloud in the afternoons. The first few weeks will really let me know how long I can expect a typical lesson to take, and hopefully I'll start getting a feel for being able to look at the lesson manual and judge that myself fairly accurately!

The times where Peanut doesn't have something specific to do, she'll just be playing with her school boxes or like last year, sitting on my lap! I'll have to wait and see!

***Edited because it dawned on me that my Peanut is no longer a Toddler, so I changed the Toddler references to Preschooler ::sniff sniff:: ***

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Power of 10 List! (ala the Quing and some other person who quotes movies but shall remain nameless because I don't know if she wants me to say it)

10 things I need to do before school starts:

1. Design and Create Princess' Word Wall. DONE!

2. Get the kids' school boxes filled with fresh supplies. DONE!

3. Fill out and print the kids' assignment sheets for the first week of school. DONE!

4. Design Peanuts's morning OT program so I don't have to come up with it on the fly. I want to incorporate at least 2 new activities each week from The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. finishing it today!

5. Read through the teacher's manuals for the first week and gather materials. DONE!

6. Gather any science materials I need for the first 20 lessons. DONE!

7. Redo Peanut's school boxes to make them a little more appropriate for an almost 3.5 year old.
8. Decide where will be attending AWANA this year. DONE!

9. Wash the school desks and walls in the school room/kitchen. DONE!

10. Have the kids work through the prerequisite technology lessons for their Calvert grades. DONE!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Morning Routine run-through!

Today we started the new morning "before school" routine that we'll be using when school starts in 2 weeks! I didn't wake the kids up at the time they will have to get up, but just had them go through the motions of what all needs to get done before school time!

It went very well! Everyone was a bit slow, though... but I think that will work itself out with time and getting used to the routine! Also, anyone who doesn't finish their morning routine before school time has to finish at recess! ;)

I think we're all getting very excited about the first day of school! Or maybe it's me and the kids are just catching it! :) So the plan is to keep this up all week, and then next week the kids will start getting up at the time they'll need to be up for school! Should be interesting! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Another step closer!

Today I've made another step closer to being prepared for the first day of school! I filled out, printed off, and addressed the Declaration of Intent form required by my state! It sure was strange to see Princess' name on that document finally! It seems like she's been homeschooling forever, but now she's really official! I also filled in and printed off the attendance forms for this coming year!

I have gotten the kids' Read-Aloud lists finalized and ready for printing for their notebooks. Also, I got the cover pages for their notebooks ready to print for decoration on the first day of school!

Oh! I also got the kids' Morning Routines and Evening table chores made into a WordPerfect file so that can be printed off and placed on the fridge! I think I managed to get our daily schedule arranged, but it's going to require early mornings and some sense of order! We'll start getting up early next week and practicing the non-school part of the morning routine! :)

I am really excited about school starting back, and I think the kids are too! Now if I can get this darn cough to leave me and Bubba, everything will be set! Oh, and I have to go school supply shopping too! :)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Movie Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory




I loved this movie!!! It was absolutely delightful! I took my son and he and I both just had so much fun watching this film! (Older daughter lost the movie as a punishment for some behavior that was inappropriate, but I'm going to try to find a way for her to earn a chance to see it! It's that good!) I am not one of the people who was 2nd guessing whether this remake would be excellent, or compare to the original movie, or be creepy, or that JD was just pathetic for the role of Willy Wonka. I KNEW it was gonna be awesome, and I wasn't disappointed.

Pros: Um, everything! :)

Cons: It was only 2 hours long! LOL! Oh, and the first two Oompa Loompa songs I couldn't really understand the words very well! I will be glad when the DVD comes out and I can use the subtitles... or maybe I'll take the book with me next time and follow along! :)

I give this movie a 4.75 on the Savvy scale... it's just so hard to give it the 5 that's reserved for POTC or LOTR. But it comes SO close. Maybe more like a 4.99? :)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Movie Review: Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Let me start by saying that I'm very glad I used my Regal Crown Club points for a free ticket to see this movie! It wasn't bad, per se. But it wasn't all that good, either. It was just sort of there! There was lots of action and some romance!

Pros: Lots of cool stunts! Some funny jokes!

Cons: It just didn't keep my attention! I kept wondering when we were going to get to the end where they made up! :)

I give this movie 2 on the Savvy Scale!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Peace of mind!

The Calvert boxes came today and I spent the better part of the afternoon going through the materials! The kids are going to learn SO much this year! I am really excited! There won't be any lingering doubts this time next year if we've done 'enough'! I am a little nervous about the workload, because this will be more work that we've tried to do before. But we'll take it slowly and steadily and allow some time for everything to fall into place! :)

I am very excited and looking forward to the first day of school in just 2.5 weeks! I've got to make a word wall for dd6, and gather science supplies, and then we're all set!! :)

Poll: Should my movie reviews remain on this blog, or go to my family blog?

Comments, anyone? :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I'm getting excited!

This time tomorrow my Calvert materials will be here!! I am SO excited! I can't wait to get my hands on everything and get a feel for how our school year will flow!! :)

We start back to school in 17 days!

Back in focus!!

I wanted to let everyone know that I'm going to get back in focus on this blog! Back to homeschool stuff and not so much personal information that isn't what you're looking for!!

The kids' Calvert materials will be here tomorrow! Time to stalk the UPS guy! :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A bittersweet time!

Today I took my 9 year old son shopping for deodorant! I will spare you all the details about how we determined he was ready for it! LOL! So today we went down to the Health Food store to find a nice, natural deodorant! After sniffing what seemed like 50 varieties of Tom's of Maine deodorant, he settled on "Calendula" scent because "it smells like Dad!" He strutted his way to the checkout and I forked over the $4.50 for this all natural deodorant (remind me to rant at some point about why we have to pay so much more to buy stuff that has stuff NOT in it!). The cashier apparently recognized this moment and handed the bag directly to him, who then strutted to the van!

We got in and he said "I have to put my deodorant on now! 1-2 just like Dad taught me!"

It's sad and sweet all at the same time to see my 'little' boy growing up! Sad in that I know how fast it's all passing me by and for some reason I can't seem to manage to make the most of the ordinary moments! It's sweet though in watching my son just be so excited about this growing up stuff! So often, he doesn't embrace change! It's neat to see him jazzed about changes and becoming a man! :)

Monday, July 11, 2005

We're all set!

I placed our Calvert order this morning, and should have the boxes on Friday! :) I'm so relieved that this decision-making process is over and I'm looking forward to a productive year with Calvert!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Drumroll Please!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a curriculum decision!! I would like to take this opportunity to thank Hurricane Dennis and the 4 hour power outage he gave us last night which afforded me the time to ponder, discuss, and plan!

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for! Our curriculum for school year 2005-2006:

Calvert 1st and 3rd grades!!!

::insert cheeering and applause here::

I will be placing my order tomorrow, and this afternoon I'm going to start listing the things on the swap boards that I am not going to need this year! I am so glad this decision has been made, and a week early to boot! This will give me time to get the order from Calvert, go over the materials, and gather any supplies I'll need for science! I also want to come up with some sort of routine or schedule for us for our school days so it will be easier on everyone to know what to expect starting off!

I went back and forth and back and forth as usual, and last night I even got out the WTM book and my history supplies and sat down to try to do some planning. I just got all jittery trying to figure it all out! Calvert has what I WANT this coming year, and that's what matters. It's not a matter of being fearful that I can't give the kids a good education. It's that Calvert has what I am looking for in their language arts, math, and science programs. We will listen to SOTW 3 in the car because we enjoy it! I'm not terribly intimidated by the schedule or workload because I'm confident in my abilities to take what I need from it, and leave to the side anything that seems like busywork!

I think so much of the struggle I have with these decisions results from what I think people think I should use, or what my friends are using. But they aren't me and I'm not them! I'm so glad that my friends each use what works best for their families, just like I am! That's a very freeing feeling! For us, for this year, Calvert is going to be what we need! :)

Friday, July 08, 2005

And let the countdown begin!!

There are only 364 days until the release of Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest!!!!


Movie Review: Batman Begins

It's been quite awhile since I've been to a new movie! I was starting to have movie withdrawls! It was really hard to choose which movie to see, too! There were so many great ones that I haven't seen yet, like Bewitched, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, War of the Worlds, The Longest Yard. And of course, there was the chance to see Star Wars Episode 3 again! :) And we all know that Charlie and the Chocolate will be coming in just one week! YAY!

But in the end, I chose Batman Begins! I'm glad I did! It was a fantastic movie! Christian Bale was the best Batman I have seen yet! Perhaps it's because he's not a superstar? Personally, I've never seen anything he is in, but a trip to his page shows that he's been in several big flicks! I really enjoyed his performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman! Couldn't believe he is from Britain! He does a great Gotham accent! Also, Liam Neeson was superb, as usual! And the actor who played Dr. Crane/The Scarecrow was just incredibly creepy! I loved him! His name is Cillian Murphy!

There wasn't much I didn't like about this film! It was a bit slow in places, but the storyline still kept me engaged!

Pros: I actually was taken by surprise by a plot twist! That so rarely happens in movies that I was really excited! I won't spoil it for you here, but I was really not expecting it! The acting was excellent overall. Katie Holmes seemed a little young in her role, in my opinion. The car was the coolest! And Morgan Freeman's character was one of his best, reminded me his character in The Sum of All Fears!

Cons: Some swearing and the use of G-D which again was unnecessary! Other than that, not too much bad in this film!

I give Batman Begins a '4' on the Savvy Scale!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


not that I'm getting excited or anything... but my little peanut has not had a peepee accident in TWO DAYS!!! ::wooooohooooo::

Pretend you didn't read this, don't want to jinx it! :)

Nothing like a well-child visit to make you smile :)

Today ds9 and dd6 had Well-Child checkups! We have new health insurance and I was grateful for this opportunity for the big kids to meet their new doctor! What I wasn't expecting was to spend most of the time laughing at the funny things my children said and did!

First was my son. The doctor asked his age, what grade he was going into, and did he like school. He answered those and said he was homeschooled. The teacher said "What kind of grades do you get? As? Bs? Cs? Ds?" My son, who has never been graded in his life, said "Yes, but I really have known my alphabet for quite awhile!" The doctor just looked puzzled, then she turned to me and asked me what sort of grades he gets. We had a lesson titled "What are grades" on the way home from the visit, and he indicated he would like to start those in the 5th grade! :)

One more funny from my young man... when the doctor stepped out for a few minutes, he said "I'm worried." I asked what was bothering him. "I'm afraid she's going to tell me I need Tommy John surgery." Now for those who may not be baseball fans, that is a surgery that pitchers have when their elbows go out! I laughed so hard, I nearly cried!

Now onto my Princess to make me giggle: The doctor finished with ds and turned to dd to ask similar questions. She asked if dd was going into the first grade and was she homeschooled too. Also she asked "Are you starting to learn to read some words?" Princess replied "Oh I can read whole BOOKS!" Then the doctor asked "Are you learning some simple math too? Like, what is 3 plus 5, no that's too hard, what is 2 plus 3?" She said "Those are both easy! It's 8, and 5!" The doctor was impressed! So she asked her next to raise her left hand. She obliged, but then looked at me and asked "Mom, does she know that I'm SIX??" LOL Apparently Princess was a little insulted by the ease of the questions! :)

I have to say that I'm glad the kids were so animated for their appointment and not the least bit shy! But this was certainly one heck of a way to introduce ourselves to the new pediatrician! :)

Monday, July 04, 2005

Fireworks and Lightning!

I wish I could have taken pictures of it to share! Tonight during the fireworks show we attended, it was pouring down rain, thundering and lightning, all while the fireworks were being fired off as quickly as possible before they were ruined! It was so amazing! You didn't know whether to ooooh and ahhh over the fireworks, or over the lightning! Each were amazing!

The kids all did so well, despite being cooped up in the van on the side of the road until the fireworks started. Once they started we stood out in the rain and got soaked! But it was alot of fun! :)

Happy Birthday America! And God Bless America, my home sweet home!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Ben's Story

Today at church, I got to hear about Ben Bowen. I didn't get to meet him because he died on February 25, 2005 at the age of 2. He had a brain tumor. But I got to hear his dad speak to our church this morning, and was moved to visit his website: .

Ben's daddy was a firefighter who volunteered to go up to NYC and help with search and rescue/recovery at Ground Zero. He spoke to us about the nightmares he suffered from as a result of the sights he saw at Ground Zero. He also spoke to us about Job, trusting in God, and believing God. Then he shared how he was tested a year ago when their youngest son was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Ben's Dad (Tom) shared how he and his wife (named Jennifer, like me) had to decide then and there whether they were going to walk the talk that Tom had been sharing throughout the country when he would speak to churches about his experiences in NYC. Today was his first speaking engagement since Ben was diagnosed and died. I'm not sure how you could listen to this man's honesty in sharing his life over the last nearly 4 years and not be moved to tears.

I wanted to go over to Ben's Daddy and tell him how much I needed his message today, but I couldn't. I was too emotional! What I left with mostly, is that God has given us tools such as worship and prayer to help us live this life. And we should practice using these tools every day, just as a firefighter practices with his tools of the trade daily, for the time when they are needed!
It was a powerful message, and it has touched me deeply!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Out of the mouths of babes, er, big girls!

Last night dh got home from work early, and we all went outside while hot dogs were cooking on the grill! I said outloud to dh how this was just the perfect way to spend a summer evening: All of us together in the backyard. Daddy and Bubba having a catch, Princess sitting in the fort of the swingset drawing in her sketchbook, and Mommy pushing the baby in the swing, while dinner cooks on the grill.

Peanut took offense! "MOMMY!! I not a baby! I a big girl! I NOT a baby! I a BIG GIRL!"

Apparently she doesn't realize that I will always think of her as my 'baby'. (Especially since she's not potty trained! LOL)

But I just won't say it out loud anymore! :)