Friday, February 28, 2014

Pinewood Derby 2014

The boys enjoyed participating in the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby again this year. They won some races, lost some races, had lots of fun. This year, instead of cutting the wood ourselves, we bought some pre-cut kits from the craft store. It was easier in some ways, but we had trouble with some of the intricate pieces snapping off. This year our pack also did a raingutter regatta. The boys had fun making and racing sailboats for that.

Ray's den served as color guard.

Adam's den sang a Pinewood derby song.

Weighing in and getting certificates.

Farewell February

Dear February,

You know how much I loathe you. Farewell again until next year! You tormented me with looonnnngggg coooolllllddddd days. You tried to do in me in this past week with that nasty head cold. But, ha! I have conquered you once again! Good riddance you vile month! I shall not miss you one bit.

And, even though your wicked step-sister "March" is set to come in "like a lion" with more of that crazy snow, I still like her better.

Be gone!

Katie, your arch-nemesis

P.S. I'm enclosing some pictures of some of the fun things we've done this month despite your dreadful attempts to plunge us into deep depression.

Hanging out with Francis!
At the Catholic Women's Conference

Lovely ladies helping me promote Catholic homeschooling at the Women's Conference

The "mobile tax unit" is fully operational. Jon's been working until about 6:30 at the office, coming home for dinner, and then working from home until he can't keep his eyes open. 'Tis the Season!

It's also "Cub Scout Season." We've had lots of den meetings as the boys work to complete all their requirements. Ray's den recently learned about bicycle safety and maintenance. Since it's tax season, I get the "privilege" of going to all these exciting meetings.
Ray spent the last seven Saturdays playing basketball AT 8:00AM!
That's all I have to say about that.
Our annual "Roll and Bowl" party with Jon's co-workers was fun as always.

A perfect new friend for Adam

The boys' "roll and bowl" loot

Jon's prize for being top scorer

This is where we were through most of February.... working away in the school room.

We've been learning Astronomy, times tables, adverbs, precepts of the Church, .... woo hoo!

The new obsession around here --- "The Lego Movie"
We enjoyed an afternoon field trip to the art museum with a co-op group.
We saw a fun Lego exhibit entitled, "Think Outside the Brick."


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winter Olympics 2014


We've really been enjoying following the action in Sochi! We've been watching the different events and tallying the medals of several countries.
Jon's been excited about the success of the Netherland's -- his family's homeland.
Ray's been upset that Togo (first time in Olympics, one athlete) hasn't won any medals.
 We made a cool "stained glass window" of the Olympic rings.

In our weekly Geography class, we made Olympic folders with lots of good maps and information about Russia, the Olympics, all the countries competing, and the various Olympic events.
We made our own Olympic torches that even light up! (They have battery-powered tea lights inside.) 

We designed our own medals.

We spent many evenings watching various events. We especially enjoyed the opening ceremonies.

We played a fun "Opening Ceremony Bingo" game.

We've jokingly been celebrating the multitude of "Putin Sightings."
We even have an original Putin song that we'll sing for you if requested. ;)
The last time the Winter Olympics happened, we were just starting our homeschool adventure! Ray was in Kindergarten and Adam was in preschool. Time has certainly flown by quickly!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's The Little Things

So often it seems like it's the little things that can make or break your day.

I have had a little war going on for the past few years.... with pencils.

In this modern age, why can't I find a pencil sharpener that sharpens pencils easily and effectively?

We've tried three different electric sharpeners and lots of little hand sharpeners.

Is it just me?

I know for a fact it's not. I've visited other homeschool families with the same grievance... and the same lack of sharp pencils.

The sharpeners get jammed, just plain don't work, or pull the lead out entirely.

I'm only a little bit ashamed to admit that this afternoon I had a bit of a pencil tantrum.

Although we own about 8 pencil sharpeners, we had no sharp pencils.

Compounding my frustration was the fact that Jon and I actually discovered a real treasure in his mom's attic last summer. I saw it on the wall and begged Jon to detach it and smuggle it to Ohio. (Actually, we did ask his mom's permission.) Somehow, however, it had never been hung up so it could be used.

At dinner tonight I begged my poor over-worked CPA husband to PLEASE hang up the vintage pencil sharpener so that his poor homeschooled children would be able to complete their schoolwork in peace without a mom/teacher ranting and raving about dull pencils.

Well, he really loves me.....

This beautiful American-made (APSCO -- American Pencil Sharpening Company!) fully-functional old-fashioned pencil sharpener now hangs in our garage. (We couldn't find a good place to secure it in our school room.... and our "dining room" won't be a "school room" forever, right?)

Check this out!!!!

It's sad how excited all of us were to sharpen pencils this evening. Like I said, it's the little things. I figure we can do twice as much schoolwork now! And if you have pencils you need sharpened, bring them over. Ship them to us. We're going to use this sharpener to its full potential.
Funny side note --- Ray thought we stole this sharpener from the church where we do Catechesis of the Good Shepherd! (As if!) He is so excited that we have a REAL school sharpener. We must be a "real school" now! Jon doesn't know the history of that sharpener. Perhaps one of my sisters-in-law can fill us in. But it's a treasure!