the Poetry of Life – #005

While sleep continues to elude me00840022
I try to remember days less moody.
I’m certain there was a time long ago
When I didn’t swing quite so ‘to and fro’…
The life I had back ‘in the days’
Were full of friends, dinners, plays;
A time when I was more relaxed
Happy, carefree, less perplexed.
But none of the things from then I’d trade
For the life into which I’ve now forayed.
I wouldn’t give up the littlest bits
Of the memories I have with my own four kids.

copyright 2009 AKent

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the Poetry of Life – #002

stinkyOnce there was this super guy
I’m sure that he could even fly
A super hero – one of a kind
No stronger man you could find
“Stinky Diaper Pants” was his name
And of his smell he felt no shame
I didn’t think she’d mind, my mother
If that’s what I called my baby brother

copyright 2009 AKent

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Teenagers and MEDIA

Without the hardlined “Not in our house!” mantra, it’s pretty difficult to control teenagers exposure to all kinds of media that not only influence them and their actions/thinking, but also eat into precious family time. We’ve managed to find some happy agreements in our household, on most things. Here’s our take on it:

1. iPods : It’s “the thing to have” these days, and sometimes it’s hard to just say “no!” to these things, especially when they’re actually useful – and fun! My fear was that if we bought the girls their “own” iPods, they would be forever tuned out – headphones on, head down, no longer a part of this family (they have admitted they purposely do this to other people). Our compromise – a FAMILY iPod, that we can all download songs on (and Momma can keep an eye on what’s downloaded), and we can each take turns using when needed. Because seriously – nobody needs to be listening to anything all day long, every day.

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2. TV : WE CANCELLED CABLE!!! The girls both admit they actually don’t miss it at all. If we REALLY “need” to watch something, we can catch it on YouTube, get Gramma to “save” it on her Tivo for us or, in the case of hockey, catch it at a nearby pub. Otherwise, we buy a season’s DVD’s we think we’ll enjoy and watch it together, with NO COMMERCIALS – and actually turn it off when we’re done! The hours we save! We try to watch what the girls enjoy – Hubby even gets into Gossip Girl (what a trooper).

3. Movies : Well, the girls are getting older, and I can’t see every movie and rate it before they go. We’ve tried to teach them discernment early on, and now we just trust them to make the right decisions. At home, we have our own DVD library (some new, but most are off the “Previously Viewed” shelves) of movies we all really enjoy. Once a month or so we all sit down together and we make a huge batch of nachoes, fresh salsa and homemade guac and enjoy some family time. We used to call them “James Bond” nights, but we’ve since expanded our repetoire. Talking about movies you watch together can also be a great way to get into your teens mind and learn about them…

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4. Music : While I can’t oversee everything the girls hear, I try to listen to “their” radio station in the car with them, and I have my own favorites and talk to them about theirs. I think we have a very open communication about what we let our ears hear. I offer to buy their songs on iTunes (“we don’t steal, girls!”) and that way I can see what they’re buying, talk to them about it if it’s questionable, and REALLY talk to them about it if it’s just plain bad.

5. Facebook/MSN : We’ve had to, once or twice, put a time limit on “computers” for the girls. We reinforce that they need to make sure they’re balancing their life – time indoors, time out; time alone (computer), time with family, time with friends, time for homework. We’ve debated buying them their own laptops for their homework, but in the end I think that’s just giving them MORE ways to tune out from the people around them. We have a family laptop that is beside the kitchen, that we can see the screen of any time we happen to walk by. Done. And if I see the same boys name on the screen many times over, I know to start asking some questions…

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6. Cell Phones : The girls have each had their own cell phone since Gr.8, which admittedly has been very handy. I haven’t figured out how to control the texting, though… Not that I mind, but when I’m talking, I prefer to be listened to, not kind of heard while you’re texting someone else. That said, I probably text more with each of the girls than any of their friends… They’re simply not as interested in actual talking – other people might HEAR! Anyone have more ideas on this one??

7. Videogames : This hasn’t been an issue since Gr.7. We have a Nintendo Game Cube, and a Wii, but usually when the girls play it’s with their friends over, or we’re ALL playing (can you say ROCKBAND!?) together. Back in Gr.7, though, we had to put a time limit on it. We told them that if they could manage their time themselves, it wouldn’t be an issue, but that if they were spending too much time on the computer/videogaming and not balancing their time, we’d have to start making some rules. That was enough – it never became an issue again.

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8. Fashion Mags : A + I have a weakness for fashion mags! While I don’t get the impression she is overly influenced by body-type, it’s nice to sit together and read through the latest In Style or September Vogue and actually TALK about what catches her (or my) eye on each page. The 3 of us girls sit sometimes and we each pick a best/worst item (not person!) on every page.

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Best of quality-time-with-your-teens to you all!blog-signoff-215

Book Review : the “Ultimate”

Ok, so I don’t read a ton of books. Yet.
With 4 kids at home, it’ll be a few years still until I can find an hour or two out of their reach, and off the computer ;-).

However, here is one I love to peruse, and whether you’re a homeschooler or not, there are great ideas for learning to be found.

ultimate-book-of-homeschooling

This book is FULL of 1-paragraph submissions from people (mostly Moms) from all over US, Canada and probably elsewhere. All give a creative way to learn. There are so many (500+!) you can take and pick ideas, depending on your own child’s interests, learning level, fun-level.

Each “idea” is under a heading, such as “Communication”, then sub-headings such as “Spelling”, “Reading”, etc.

We’ve tried:

  • “Fundial” on p154 : Draw you child’s shadow at various points of the day in chalk on the sidewalk, always standing and facing away from the same point. Draw an arc to mimic the arc the sun makes in the sky.
  • “Rice Write” on p114 : Layer rice on a baking tray for practicing letter-writing.
  • “Tactile Letters” on p89 : I revised this one. We cut out a hard cardboard cutout of each letter of the alphabet and every week we’d decorate a new one, practice writing it, come up with words that started with it, and put it all in an “alphabet book”.
  • “I Love YOU” on p45 : Start with “I love you”, then the other responds “I love you too”. Keep it going with “I love you three!” and see how far you can get.

You can find the book on Amazon.ca (or .com I suppose!) : amazon.com

Enjoy!

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Homeschool #009 – Jammies Days!

Granted, we’re only in “K/pre-K” and not quite as “busy” as many older h.schooled kids, but we’re sure enjoying one of our traditions from as far back as… 6 months ago! Jammie Mondays.

Mondays have become JAMMIES DAY and we love it! What better way to end a weekend and start a week than relaxing…

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reading lots of books…

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enjoy a nice, relaxing latte…

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playing a video game or two…

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(Ok, so Momma was playing SW Lego while the boys battled and played… I just HAD to finish those last few levels!!!)

doing a craft…

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(In case anyone’s wondering… that’s Tt’s gum. Painted. Oddly enough, that isn’t the first time chewed gum has been used in a craft ’round here.)

or two…

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having peaceful naps that AREN”T in a carseat…

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having an imaginary war or car race…

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or teaming up against some imaginary “bad guy” stuffies…

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Ahhhh, Jammies.

Momma even got a few things done (in her jammies!) – I completely reorganized the boys books and craft/drawing supplies…

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and my homeschool shelf!

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(We won’t get into the lack of 2008 scrapbooks sitting nearby. I’m totally behind for the first time EVER! It stresses me out to see this shelf.)

Jammie days are EXHAUSTING. 

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Happy LEGO, Tt!

For Tt’s big FIFTH birthday we did a theme close to his heart – a LEGO party!

I keep thinking that we should venture out for one of his birthdays like to a swimming pool, or a skating rink or something, but I – we – just like being home. And since MY favorite part of any birthday party is hanging out for lattes with the moms and dads in the kitchen while the kids just go nuts, this year I hired my daughter A + one of her friends to “DO” the party bits so I could (kinda) RELAX and ENJOY!!

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(Like our juice boxes?)

What a marvelous idea. Why didn’t I think of this 4 years ago?!

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(the girls decorated the bread-pan cakes and cupcakes with icing then edible spray paint and a glitter icing pen – who knew such a things existed…)

They made thank you cards, did the party bags, made the cakes, played the games – you name it! (For a fee, of course – a kids gotta buy new tops for school, ya know).

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Best money I ever spent on a party. I’m definately doing the same thing for Boo’s upcoming #2.
Good job, girls!

dsc_9581(The goodie bags with a “Lego” thank you note, Lego candies and a mini-Lego kit inside)

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(They had this draw and planned a bunch of games for the kiddies in the bsmt)

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HAPPY FIFTH BIRTHDAY, my sweet, sweet boy!

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