Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Comparing Apples to Apples

I saw some pins on Pinterest about how to keep an apple from browning.  I actually compared two of them. 

One was for apples soaked in salt water and the other was a sliced apple put back together and held by a rubber band

I used about 1 tsp sea salt to 1 cup water and placed the apples in the solution for about 5 minutes. The other apple was sliced and immediately put back together and held in place with a rubber band. Then to keep all things even, I placed them each in a zipper plastic bag, left them out on the counter and waited for 5 hours.

The result:

The apple held together by the rubber band is on the left and the salt water apples are on the right. Both browned a little, but the it is clear that the salt water apple browned less.

The rubber band apple had also turned significantly softer while the salt water apple still retained a bit of crunch.

The rubber band apple tasted like a browned apple (yuck) and the salt water apple did have a salty flavor (which I don't mind at all!).

The clear winner for our house is the salt water soaked apple!

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My First Week of No Teaching

So many have asked how my week "off" was.  I feel like I'm disappointing them when I have to say I didn't even have a chance to really sit and enjoy anything.

Monday and Tuesday Witt had half days, so I dropped the boys off in the morning and then picked up Witt at noon. Came home and went back to pick up the other two less than 3 hours later.

We had two rooms getting tiled so there were workers in and out of the house all day for the most of the week. (That also means two of the rooms in my house have displaced furniture... so my house is no where near "in order".)

I went grocery shopping, returned library books, went to the farmer's market, got my haircut , got the oil changed in my truck, brought Nathan to the dentist, and then we all had a chiropractor appointment.

I cleaned out lunch boxes every afternoon and repacked them (with the boys help). I packed afternoon snacks for each boy.

I filled out all the beginning-of-the-year forms and registered for things online. I went through the daily school work and signed notes from the teacher.

I ironed the next day's outfit for each boy. (don't see this lasting too long... LOL)

I did laundry and dishes and more laundry and more dishes.

I cooked breakfast every day. Lunch for Jeff and I almost every day and then supper most nights.

It was a full week and it was full of CHANGE.


By Wednesday, I needed to crash into my pillow. I called Jeff around 4 and told him I was feeling bad. Asked if we could go out to eat and not go to church (the boys and I really needed the extra sleep). So that's what we did.  The boys were in bed by 7:30 and I wasn't too far behind.

I perked up a bit Thursday, but then by Friday night I was exhausted again.

This has been a big transition for all of us.  I think we'll make it, though. :)

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Monday, August 26, 2013

First Week of School

Last week definitely had it's ups and downs. I'll start with Witt, he had the easiest/best week:


Monday and Tuesday were both half-days, so I picked him up at noon.  He really did not seem happy or sad to be going to school. The first two days were just touring the school and getting used to the surroundings and new rules.

He did ask a few times throughout the week, "How many days do we go here? When do we homeschool again?"  He wasn't disappointed that we weren't homeschooling, just a little curious about how this was all going to work.

He "stayed on green" or "clipped up" every day. (They have a clothes pin that starts on green and then can clip up or down to a different color based on their behavior.) He seems to be settling in very well.


This boy thought he got away with something when he fell asleep in class on Monday. On Tuesday he woke up again completely exhausted asking for a 7:30 bedtime.  Tuesday afternoon, I got a call from his homeroom teacher that he had his head down on his desk in all three of his classes.  She said Will just continued to say how tired he was and she wanted to know if there was anything external going on that she needed to know about.  We talked for quite a while about a few things and discussed the possibility that he is overwhelmed with the change from "quiet" (HA!) homeschooling to a class with 20 kids.  She was very pleasant and seemed willing to work with Will and us through this transition period.

When I picked him up on Wednesday he said he only put his head down once. I told him he really can't do that because that tells the teacher, "I'm not listening to you". Then he proceeded to tell me it was only after his assignment was complete that he put his head down. After a bit more probing, I found out that the other students were reading their library books after completing their assignments (he left his book at home).

Thursday and Friday seemed to be fine for him. No head down and he remembered his library book. :)


Poor Nathan. This has been the roughest on him. He went to school saying, "The best thing about school is recess!" Then it rained for two days. No recess on the playground. Then there was a hole in the plastic slide. No recess on the playground. Finally, on Friday, his class was allowed on the playground, but not on the slide area.

Monday was not a happy day for him. Tuesday I got a note from his teacher saying he is struggling following directions.Wednesday he "clipped up"! Thursday and Friday he "clipped up" and then back down. So he still ended on "green". I received another note from his teacher on Friday  - same reason.

It probably doesn't help that he has chosen to go by his legal name "Jonathan". He's not used to hearing that (unless he's in trouble).  I wrote "Nathan" on all his school supplies, so I had to go back and add the "Jo" to everything.  Now all of his supplies say, "JoNathan".  I've seen him write his name that way on a few papers last week - lol. He'll get it. :)

Friday he was in tears again. "I'm never ever ever ever going back to that school again! Everybody clips up and I clip down."

Just a background on Nathan, he does struggle with paying attention and following directions the first time. I wonder if it's because he couldn't hear well as a baby/toddler and just got used to being in his own world and tuning everything out. Will out-grew being in his own world around age 8, so I'm hopeful we'll see Nathan start paying more attention this next year.

Nathan and I had a nice talk about how he can try to pay attention better. I told him that when he hears his teacher he needs to "pause his brain" to listen and obey just like he pauses a video game to listen and obey. He snuggled in my lap while we talked and he finally calmed down. We talked about new rules and getting used to being in a class with lots of kids.  I told him that he was not in trouble, but that he did need to really practice paying attention and following directions the first time. He admitted that he could do a better job and would try.

Today... Monday of Week 2 ...

Everyone finished their chores and was ready to go early. We had a little pep-talk about listening and obeying on the way to school. All three were in a pleasant mood going into the school building.  I pray today will go well for all of them. 

I love my sweet boys.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Planetbox Lunch at School

Now that the boys are going to public school, they needed lunch boxes. I will save you the details of me scouring the internet for the "perfect" box and just say that I concluded with the PlanetBox Rover.

Here's a look at what they packed for their first day of school (clockwise): red grapes, Hormel Natural Choice Smoked Ham rolls, baby carrots with ranch dip, graham crackers, and 15 semi-sweet chocolate chips to fill the dessert section. 

Believe it or not, they are THRILLED about their lunch boxes!  I like it because there aren't any little baggies to deal with. It's dishwasher safe and being stainless steel - it will last forever!

At the end of the day, there were three "thumbs-up" on the lunchbox... one from each boy!

There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are to items we have chosen because we like them.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Public School Day Two: The Morning of

Day 2 started off pretty well, although the boys were pretty sleepy as they sat down to breakfast:

Will (5th grade): I didn't get enough rest. I might fall asleep in class again.
Me: Then we need try getting in bed earlier tonight.
Will: 7:30 sounds good to me.

I soaked my waffle batter last night, stirred it up this morning, and fried some waffles for them. Jeff and I had eggs with leftover sausage (although we both ate out of the pan because I didn't have time to plate our food. LOL! Plus, we are having our dining room tiled this week and we don't have a table to sit at anyway).

Clothes were picked out (and ironed! Go Mom!) last night.  Nathan picked out a collared polo and some khaki pants. He said he wanted to look handsome.  (Glad he's giving today another try with a good attitude)

The boys made their lunches last night so they were ready to go this morning. I prepared their snacks this morning (apples and a little bottle of water).

The boys had time to unload the dishwasher and pick up their clothes in their bedroom. Two out of three boys cleared their breakfast places, too!

We were at school on time and I walked Witt in for the last time.  Then I quickly ran upstairs to make sure Nathan made it to his class (he has a bad habit of wondering, but he was there pulling out his binder).

Now I am home, with the tile guys, drinking my coffee, making records of this life-changing event called public school.

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The Results are In

The first day of public school is now over. Here are the results:

Witt (Kindergarten)

He only had a half-day. He was neither excited nor upset about his day. Here's what he told me he did in the 4 hours he was there:

I saw the art room, the place where we eat, the princetaple (Principal) - we talked to him for a while.  We ate lunch and had PE. I learned to sit on the black line. We also got to stand on the rug. Someone stood on the red light, someone stood on the grapes, someone stood on the... (several different pictures).  We watched tv. Elmo and (pause) Barney (said in a disgusted voice!). Then I learned where I will wait for you to pick me up. 
When do my brothers come home? What can I do when we get home? Can I have a dessert? Can I play video games?  

Nathan (2nd grade) 

Full day of school. When I picked him up, I could see it all over his face that he did NOT have an enjoyable day.

The PE teacher sounded mean in her voice. We didn't play games. We had to do a meet-and-greet. I didn't like it very much. We didn't have recess either!
(Almost in tears:) I don't think I'm ready for this school. (break my heart!)
 (So I asked about math... he likes math.) Yes, we had math. But I didn't like their kind of math. They had too many words mixed in with the numbers. I like our home math. (I honestly don't know what he's talking about here because we did word problems ALL THE TIME.) 
(I told him that today was not a typical day. PE would get more exciting and recess would come when there wasn't rain. Then I asked him if he wanted some frozen yogurt. He was feeling a little better after that.)  :)

Will (5th grade) 
Full day of school. Relaxed with a grin on his face when I picked him up. Here's what he had to say:
(if you know Will, then you are quite aware that he starts everything with "well...")
I had a good day. I remembered some of the kids from my Kindergarten class. We spent our morning getting our binders ready for the school year. That lasted until 10:00! We had a meet-and-greet in PE. We went to music. I have some papers for you to fill out - you can go on the internet to take care of them. I ate lunch and I heard some mumbling from someone that they wished they had a lunchbox like mine. We had snack time.
 ME: What? No one told me you had a snack time? Nathan... did you have a snack time? (Yes) What did you guys eat? (Nothing) What? How come I didn't know about snack time? I am SO SORRY boys.
 Will, grinning: You've been homeschooling for 4 years... that's why you didn't know about snack time! 
 Back to Will's monologue...
We switched classes and in the third class I fell asleep. The teacher was trying to learn everyone's names and when he finally got them all right, he went all crazy-like and woke me up! (proud of himself and smiling like he got away with something).
Then I met up with Nathan and waited for you to pick us up. 
Are we really going for frozen yogurt? :) 

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Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day of Public School

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Monday, August 5, 2013

To Every Thing There is a Season

Ecc 3: 1-8
1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

After A LOT of prayer, consideration, thinking, and going back-and-forth, we have decided not to homeschool this year.

When we started this journey, it was never our intention to graduate the boys through homeschool. We always took our decision making year by year. It took a long time to be at peace with this decision, but I am finally there. I agree with Jeff that this will be the perfect year to give the school system a try.

This school year, Will is entering 5th grade so this will give him an opportunity to be a "big fish" in a "little pond". It will also give him an opportunity to make friends before moving up to middle school (assuming he continues in the public school system).

Nathan is entering 2nd. Witt will be repeating Kindergarten (only because he's a little young).

All three will be attending the same elementary school - which will be very nice. Easy for me to drop off/pick up and comforting for them to know that their brothers are in the same building.

The boys all took the news remarkably well.  We asked them what they thought about it several months ago. Then we would ask them again from time to time.  We allowed them to "overhear" conversations about the decision-making process. When if finally came time to tell them that the decision was made, they were all ok with it.

Will said he thought he would have a great school year. Nathan came back about a week later saying he wanted to homeschool instead, but it was just a brief little comment and he never brought it up again. Witt is fine with it, knowing that his brothers will be in the same building.

I took them up to the elementary school when I registered them and we were allowed to walk around and take our own personal tour of the building. Will remembered a lot of it, since he attended there in Kindergarten.  We saw the library, the art room, the music room, the cafeteria, the nurse's office, and the classrooms.  The boys were pretty excited after the tour. :)

And what if the public school system turns out to be horrendous? Well, I know I can pull them out and immediately begin to homeschool. Our cover school has agreed to keep our family "on hold" just in case. I'd need to order a bit of curriculum, but that's easy. :)

As for me, I won't be returning to an out-of-the-house job until at least after Christmas.  Jeff and I think it will be best for me to remain at home to help with the transition as much as possible.  I may even do some substitute teaching after Christmas so I can work only the days I want to and still be available for school activities.

Our family life is about to change substantially really soon. I think it will be good overall. Although, a few extra prayers couldn't hurt! (Please only leave encouraging comments)

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