Category Archives: Wrapping Up Our Week

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Amazing Spider Webs, Big Rocks, and Pompom Bunnies

Big Rock Park 3In my life this week… I saw my rheumatologist and she put me on a malaria drug. It will take 1-2 months to see if it works. Meanwhile, I’m really ready for spring. I’m not normally so gung-ho about spring, but this year, despite our mild winter, I am just ready to be done with it. I want to get our garden going and see how well our new non-genetically modified seeds do. Did you know that a lot of vegetable seeds are actually genetically modified? So many of us grow our own vegetables to avoid things like genetically modified vegetables, yet we end up growing our very own genetically modified vegetables! If you are interested in guaranteeing that your seeds are not genetically modified, you can check out this safe seed list from the Council for Responsible Genetics.Big Rock Park 1Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Today Dora and I went to a new park in our area with our friends. That is where we saw the spider web that I have pictured at the top of this post. I know it looks almost fake, but I promise its real, I even have witnesses! The photo above is of the kids climbing a giant rock. You can tell that Dora is my 5th, because not only did I let her climb the rock when it was wet and slippery, but I stood back and took photos of her climbing the rock. We did not go to the park to geocache, but as we were walking I saw a spot and said to my friend, “I bet there’s a geocache there!” So I went to check and sure enough, there was a geocache there! It was really weird, because there were tons of great places to hide a geocache at this park and I never have found a cache that I wasn’t specifically looking for. Big Rock Park 2In our homeschool this week… I tired to focus more on poetry and songs that had movement in them and Dora really responded well to them. She has adapted very well to our colored gnome days-of-the-week system and knows what our order the days/colors of the week go in and what happens on each day/color. She also has shown a sudden interest in Elsa Beskow books. We attempted a few craft projects this week. One was to make a pompom bunny. I read about this craft in several of my craft books and they all used cardboard circles to make the pompoms. We found this method to be incredibly confusing and frustrating. In fact, our pompom fell apart. So instead, I tried the method that I have seen all over Pinterest, of wrapping the yarn around your hand (I used this video tutorial for directions on how to do this). Dora loved having the yarn wrapped around her and it only took about five minutes to make each pompom. I then made some little felt ears and tied them to the pompoms. I contemplated giving the bunny some eyes and a nose, but couldn’t come up with a design I liked, plus Dora was driving me crazy with wanting to play with the bunny NOW.

Making a Pompom Bunny 1Making a Pompom Bunny 2Making a Pompom Bunny 3Making a Pompom Bunny 4

How about you? How was your week? What have you been up to? Has spring come to your neighborhood?

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Labels: Arts and Crafts, Nature Study, Spring, Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disorder, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Cabin Fever Sets In and I Get Another Diagnosis, Of Sorts

In my life this week… I do believe that I am beginning to go a bit mad. Dora came down with a cold last week and we have spent almost two weeks at home. Plus, Dora is a horrid child to deal with when she is sick. She won’t slow down or sleep any extra. Instead, she wants to go non-stop, as usual, but behaves irrationally cranky in the process. I finally took her to the pediatrician this week and she has tonsillitis. This is only the second time in my 21 years of parenting that I have had to deal with tonsillitis and the other time was just last month with Tertia, so it is a bit oddly coincidental. The pediatrician put Dora on antibiotics, but they don’t seem to be helping any, yet her symptoms are supposedly bacterial.imageIn other health news, I finally saw the rheumatologist. The diagnosis process is far from complete, but at this point in time I have been diagnosed with an undifferentiated connective tissue disorder. I’d love to explain a bit more about what this means, but I really don’t understand it myself, plus the rheumatologist is doing testing for more specific diseases, so this really might not be what my final diagnosis is. The rheumatologist needs to confer with my nephrologist, but the current plan will be to start me on hydroxychloroquine, which is a drug for malaria, when I go back to see her in two weeks and we are able to review my latest batch of lab results. Meanwhile, there is some concern that my liver may be damaged, which would mean that I would also need to see a hepatologist (if nothing else, I am certainly learning the names of a lot of medical specialists). Also, the bottom number of my blood pressure, which has always been very low, has been getting higher each month. I have no idea what that means, but it is not making any of my doctors happy.8th Grade CurriculumIn our homeschool this week… Dora has not done much of anything the last two weeks, but Gohan has soldiered on. He has really been struggling with the essay he had to write for his 8th grade Oak Meadow Language Arts assignment, but I think he may actually have a completed essay by tomorrow. My hair may have all turned gray in the process, but I think he is beginning to understand how to write an essay. (Famous last words!) Saxon Algebra is going fairly well, Gohan is struggling a lot with unit conversion (converting cm to yards and so forth). He understands the overall concept, but will make incredible computational errors when doing the problems. I feel that this means that his brain has to work so hard on setting up the formula, it just flounders when it comes time to solve it. He also is struggling some with the geometry aspects of the curriculum. He is almost finished with his world history studies for the year and he continues to take chemistry and chess at our local co-op. He has really enjoyed the chess class and has even begun competing in tournaments. His drama production class is halfway through and will be presenting their play to the public at the  beginning of May. I’m sad to report that he has dropped taekwondo, but am happy to report that I won’t have to fight him to attend anymore.Things I’m working on… Projects with Heather Ross fabric. I just learned, via a review of her book, Heather Ross Prints: 50+ Designs and 20 Projects to Get You Started, that you can buy some of her fabric designs from Spoonflower. They cost an arm and leg, but still are cheap compared to buying her fabric from anyone else. Plus, the overall cost of clothing made from these fabrics is still much cheaper than buying designer clothing. I bought some fabric to make matching outfits for Dora and the Waldorf doll that she received for Christmas. I also bought some fabric to make me some skirts, as I pretty much live in skirts during the summer. Sewing is not my strong suit, so I am hoping to keep these projects very simple.I’m cooking… I’ve been making a lot of soup and breads with recipes from The Waldorf School Book of Soups and The Waldorf Book of Breads. I find that both soups and breads are relatively easy ways to sneak in more vegetables and fruits to our meals. Dora has recently started resisting eating as healthily as she used to, so I am trying to be a bit more creative with her meal preparation. I doubt I’ll keep this up for long, as making soups, especially, can be very draining with all of the prep work, so I have been cooking them on Sundays. Soon my Sundays will need to be devoted to our garden though. The good news is that Dora will eat a lot more fresh produce once it starts coming straight from our garden, so I won’t really need to make soups anyway.

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Labels: Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disorder, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Possessed Strollers and Dealing With Public Displays of Domestic Violence

Woodland Park Zoo 5In my life this week… I’m sure a lot of interesting things happened to me this week, but they were all overshadowed by today, which was just one of the most bizarre days that I have ever had. Honestly, I could probably spend an entire year blogging just about today, but I will just share the two events that stood out the most. Today ended up being quite nice here, in the mid 40’s and very sunny, so Dora and I decided to go to the Woodland Park Zoo. As we were walking from our car to the entrance, a man, woman, and child came out and the man was yelling at the woman. His voice clearly carried across the entire parking lot. The woman’s apparent crime was suggesting that they park on the street, to save the cost of paying for a parking spot and that they bring in their own sodas, rather than pay the exorbitant cost of buying sodas at the zoo. I really could have cared less about this debate, but this man was yelling at the woman like she had suggested stealing food from an orphanage. Not only was he verbally abusing her, but he kept grabbing her shoulders very firmly, as if he intended to shake her violently. He was clearly in a rage and I expected him to become physically violent at any moment. Meanwhile, the woman just stood there, mute, eyes cast downward. The child silently observed, taking it all in. I stayed near by, ready to call 911 and physically intervene, if need be, but things never escalated to the point, where either option was appropriate. The man finally got into his truck and the woman walked away to wherever her car was parked. Even then, the man started yelling out his window, mocking her, saying she could have his paid parking stub. By that point, a couple of us mothers had formed a group, all of us itching for the man to cross that invisible line that would give us permission to let loose on him. The whole event soured my entire day and I spent many hours replaying the experience in my head, trying to think of what I could have done to help that woman. I can’t think of anything that I could have done that would not have just made things worse for her, but I am curious as to whether or not anybody else knows of something positive that I could have done for this woman (ideas such as hanging the man by his toes above a moat of hungry crocodiles have already occurred to me – okay, I’ll be honest, hanging him by his toes over a moat of hungry crocodiles would have been mild compared to what I really wanted to do to him). I felt so powerless, the man seemed to know exactly how badly he could behave without bringing down the wrath of a group of rabid, frothing at the mouth, banshee moms who would have gladly torn him limb from limb. I have had similar experiences where children were involved. Where I have been left with the feeling that if this is how the parent acts in public, most assuredly the child is abused at home. Yet, once again, the parent does nothing illegal and I don’t see any physical evidence of abuse, so there is nothing I can do, but wring my hands and worry.

Woodland Park Zoo 6The second event worth noting happened as Dora and I were exiting a bird building. We came out to see the back of a stroller, which I had previously believed to be empty, shaking in an extremely violent manner. I won’t lie, the first thought that ran through my head was that the stroller was possessed by some sort of exorcist-baby. Then I panicked, thinking that previously I had simply not noticed that there was a baby that had been left unattended in the stroller. Then I realized that no baby would shake a stroller like that and not be screaming his head off. I probably would have just fled the area, except for the fact that the possessed stroller lay between me and my stroller. I should mention here that I have a Bob’s stroller and love that stroller so much, I would have married my stroller, if I wasn’t already married. So I timidly approached the possessed stroller, to find that there was a squirrel ransacking the stroller. In was running in and out of the lovely baby bunting and just behaving in a generally insane manner. I managed to shoo the squirrel away from the stroller, grabbed our stroller and ran back to the bird building, by which point the squirrel had gone back to ransacking the other stroller. I ran in the bird building and hailed a father with his little girl, who I was pretty sure the stroller belonged to. I breathlessly told him that there was a squirrel in his stroller. He stared at me blankly and I began to worry that he was Russian or something and couldn’t understand me. So I repeated myself and started gesturing, at which point comprehension dawned on his face (it was only later that it occurred to me that I also would probably stare blankly at someone if they came running up to me and said, “There’s a squirrel in your stroller.”). He ran outside and chased the squirrel away, but the squirrel had taken some of his stuff and ransacked the bunting. He half-heartedly tried to convince the squirrel to give him back his stuff, but finally left dejectedly. There is probably some sort of life lesson to be learned from this experience, but I’m not sure what it is, other than “watch out for crazy squirrels”.

Woodland Park Zoo 3In our homeschool this week… Gohan continues to do much better with the 3rd edition of Saxon Algebra, though he is having to write his first full essay in his Oak Meadow Language Arts program and I may pull out all of my hair before we get through this ordeal.

Felt Envelope Valentines 1Things I’m working on… 50 handmade, felt valentines. We learned on Monday, the 4th, that our co-op is having a Valentine’s Day party on the 12th and that if we want to participate, we should bring 50 valentines and a dessert to share. Of course, Dora HAS to go. She is totally the type of kid who is into these things (in fact she recently told me that she plans to go to school when she is 7, because she wants to eat school lunches). So, I knew that I had to make the effort to make this work, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy the store bought valentines. So, I’m making 50 felt valentines in 8 days. Amazingly, I am not stressed about it at all. I’ve accepted my self-chosen fate and hold no resentment about doing this whatsoever, even though I consider not dealing with mass quantities of un-heartfelt valentines to be one of the many perks of homeschooling. I’m putting love into every stitch of every single Valentine I make, which no store bought valentine could ever do. I hope that the recipients are able to feel a bit of that love, which is what Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about. What about you, are you doing anything special with your children for Valentine’s Day?

A photo, video, link, or quote to share: The poem that Dora and I read this week is from Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature, by Nicola Davies.

The Horse

The horse is so big!
It runs across the field, mane flying.
It's exciting and scary at the same time.

But its warm breath smells of the barn,
of hay and comfort,
and when it takes the carrot from your hand,
its dark eye is quiet
and its nose is velvet,
softer than your own cheek.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.


Labels: Things To Do Around Seattle, Valentine's Day, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Still No Snow

In my life this week… I watched the entire third season of Downton Abbey. I even ordered some Downton Abbey fan shirts, one of which reads, “Free John Bates”. This is all very unusual for me. I think the last show I was obsessed with was Star Trek: Next Generation (in the late 80’sand early 90’s), and I never bought a fan shirt for that! I am happy that I don’t need to worry about reading anymore Downton spoilers! I won’t spoil anything for all of you though, so I won’t say anything more about the show, other than I am eager for season four.

It looks like Tertia did not have tonsil stones after all, she went back to urgent care and they diagnosed her with mono. I had no idea about this, since everyone I knew growing up, had their tonsils removed, but mono can cause horrible tonsillitis. The doctor gave Tertia some prednisone and it seemed to help some with her tonsils. Plus, her boss forbid her to come in to work all week, so she has been able to sleep a lot. So she is doing some better. The silver lining in this cloud is that Dora may have been exposed to mono and I guess young children don’t get mono as badly as teens and adults do, so she may never have to deal with full-blown mono when she is older. In fact, this might explain some of Dora’s recent “less than ideal” behavior. I know that some people bring their kids to “pox parties” to expose their children to chicken pox while they are still young, but it seems like they should also add “mono parties” to their social repertoire while they are at it.

Imagine Children's Museum 1

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… My mother-in-law left on Wednesday. Her visit was rather non-eventful, other than she was miserable with our weather and didn’t want to go many places, as a result. So, we did not make it to the Chihuly Garden and Glass, which is partially outside. I did take Dora to the Imagine Children’s Museum yesterday. We stayed for several hours, during which Dora spent the whole time stressed out, because other kids kept “milking” the pretend cow and Dora felt it should be her cow. I had no idea that she was so obsessed with cows, but now she wants us to buy a cow (not happening)! We finally had to leave when our paid parking was about to expire and Dora threw the worst tantrum in her life. She was so exhausted by the end of it! Waldorf educators warn about exposing young children to too much stimulation and I am not sure if that was not the case for her. The museum is always crowded when we go and many of the kids are out of control. It has tons of visual and aural stimulation and overall, I wonder if it is just not too much for Dora’s delicate sensory system.

Fall Gnomes

Things I’m working on… I’m still trying to finish Dora’s scarf. I also added acorn caps to the fall monthly gnomes that I made for Dora and I’ve cut out some felt to make flower hats for the spring gnomes. I still needed to settle on what I am going to do for the summer and winter gnomes.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… This is the song that I read with Dora this week. We are still trying to read poems and sing songs about snow, in hopes of encouraging some snow to appear, but still no luck. In fact, we’re about to give up. This poem comes from an anthology from Wynstones Press, entitled, Winter: A Collection of Poems, Songs and Stories for Young Children.

Where the country's deep with snow,
carts and coaches cannot go.
Now's the time to take the sleigh,
down the hills and far away.

Down the slipp'ry slope we slide
Bumping swaying side to side.
If you tumble now and then-
Climb the hill and start again.

-G. Russell-Smith

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.


Labels: Things To Do Around Seattle, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Tonsil Stones, Downton Abbey, Algebra Textbooks, Gnomes, and More

In my life this week… I saw one of the most disgusting things that I have ever seen and I will spare you a photo of. We’ve had a cold running through the family and Tertia, who never gets sick, has caught it badly. She had already been to Urgent Care and started antibiotics when she asked me to look at her throat, which had become much more swollen. I got a flashlight and had to look pretty far back, but her tonsils had pockets of pus all over them and there was even one black spot on one of them! Being the wonderful first aid student that I am, I did the exact opposite of what one is supposed to do when someone is injured or sick, I jumped backwards, yelling, “Oh my God! That looks horrid!” I had my tonsils removed when I was young and none of my kids have had any tonsil problems before this, so I had no idea how gross tonsils could look. She went back to urgent care the next day and learned that she has tonsil stones, which I had never even heard of. The doctor actually tried to drain some of the pus by poking them, but Tertia’s gag reflex was too strong to allow this. Anyway, I hope none of you were eating or planning to eat after reading my post!

On a positive note, I started watching Downton Abbey right after Christmas break, and I have now totally been sucked into the show. I never watch TV for myself, so this is highly unusual. I have managed to watch all of Season 1 and 2 and now need to see if I have some sort of access to Season 3. Mr. Mo and I have also been sucked into Sherlock Holmes, which we watched over Christmas break. We’ve contemplated a move to England so that we can see these shows 6 months earlier, but that does seem a bit extreme… then again we are talking about Downton Abbey and Sherlock Holmes…

In our homeschool this week… The new edition of Saxon Algebra arrived for Gohan. By lesson 4, we decided that we both hated the textbook with a passion and I ended up ordering the older 3rd edition (Saxon Algebra 1, 3rd. edition), which Primo, Secunda, and Tertia all used successfully. I am not sure what I will do when we finish this book. Saxon’s older edition series uses Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Advanced Mathematics to cover all subjects from algebra through pre-calculus. The Advanced Mathematics book throws things off, since it is supposed to be be done in 1 – 2 years, depending on your student’s abilities. At the same time, Gohan is off the traditional school schedule now anyway, so I suppose this does not matter much. I just remember having a lot of problems with being able to teach the material starting at the end of Algebra 2, since I haven’t used any advanced math since college. The good news is that Saxon now has instructional DVD’s for the higher level math books.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… My mother-in-law will arriving tomorrow for a week-long visit. We may take her to the new Chihuly Garden ad Glass exhibit in downtown Seattle, depending on the weather and people’s sickness status.

My favorite thing this week was… Secunda getting a job. She has been very stressed about getting a job since moving back to Seattle. Plus, since she will not be starting back to university until September, she has been very bored. This job involves her assisting deaf and deaf-blind adults to live in a more independent manner (various living arrangements, some live in groups homes, others live independently, etc.). It ends up that deaf-blind people can “hear” sign language by feeling the tendons in your hands move, which I find to be incredibly fascinating. I think that it is incredible that our society has advanced to the point that we recognize that someone who is deaf and blind can be as smart and as productive a member of society as anyone else (as opposed to the way such such people were treated in the past and are still treated in many other countries) and that we have come up with ways for deaf-blind people to communicate, such that they can have jobs, take public transportation, and live relatively normal lives. I am also proud that my daughter is playing an active role in this process.

Month Gnomes

Things I’m working on… I am making a set of gnomes to represent the months of the year, per Dora’s request. I have burned a symbol on to each gnome and am in the process of painting them all. I tried to burn the name of the month on to the gnome also, but my wood burning tool just does not allow me enough control to do that. I would like to have different hats for these gnomes than the felt ones I made for our days-of-the-week gnomes. I’ve contemplated seasonal hats, but haven’t gotten past using acorn caps for the fall gnomes. Does anybody have any ideas for winter, spring, or summer gnome hats?


I’m also working quickly as possible on my first knitting project in about a decade. Even then, I only took one knitting class, so I basically have had to reteach myself from step 1. Dora really wanted me to make her a scarf, in fact she keeps trying to convince me that the scarf is already big enough for her to wear. It is blue and pink, because she could not decide between the two colors. I’m sure if you can tell from the photo, but I have a strange tendency to add stitches. I have no idea how I manage to do this and I rarely drop stitches. I’ll notice it after a while and then will have to take up stitches. So the scarf’s width fluctuates a bit. Also, I have never changed colors in a project and ended up having to back stitch a row, because I didn’t know to leave enough yarn to attach the new color. I messed that up a bit, but Dora still loves the scarf, which is all that really matters. I’ll try getting a bit more perfectionistic and complicated when I am not hurriedly trying to finish a project before the season changes.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… This is the short poem that I read with Dora this week. We continue to read poems and sing songs about snow, in hopes of encouraging some snow to appear, but still no luck. This poem comes from an anthology from Wynstones Press, entitled, Winter: A Collection of Poems, Songs and Stories for Young Children.

Let's put on our mittens
And button up our coat.
Wrap a scarf snugly
Around our throat,
Pull on our boots,
Fasten the straps,
And tie on tightly
Our warm winter caps.

Then open the door...
...And out we go
Into the soft and feathery snow.
- anonymous


Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.


Labels: Knitting, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Hanging Out On Seattle’s Waterfront

Seattle Great Wheel 4In my life this week… I did hear back from my nephrologist. She said that it appears that I have a rheumatological disease that has damaged the tubes in my kidneys. She wants me to see a rheumatologist before she does anything more than continue to supplement my potassium, which may be all that she ever does, besides monitor my kidneys, anyway. She said that it is highly unlikely that my kidneys will get better, even if the rheumatologist gets my immune system under control. The rheumatologist is booked until the end of February and this doesn’t bother me at all, as I am in no hurry to start taking the medicines that are used to treat rheumatological disorders, which really seem rather unhealthy to be taking. I do know that the meds will help to prevent my body from attacking any of my other organs, which is good, but I am unclear as to whether or not I will have more energy once I am on these meds.

Seattle Great Wheel 8

In our homeschool this week… Gohan started Algebra 1. Mathematically, he is capable of doing the work, but the vocabulary is tripping him up (dyslexia rears its ugly head even in math). So he is needing much more help than usual. He is learning a lot about using an index and being more careful to be sure which word is being used (today he looked up the definition for “constant”, when the word he needed to know was “coefficient” – needless to say, this made him quite confused and led to a very confusing conversation between me and him, before I figured out what the heck he was talking about).

Seattle Great Wheel 1Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Last week, we did end going to the The Seattle Great Wheel. While it had been overcast at our house, it was clear and sunny, albeit cold, in Seattle. So we enjoyed a spectacular view. The top photo in this post was taken from the ground and is of the Olympic Mountains as seen across the Puget Sound. The second photo in this post is of the Space Needle, which I took from the Ferris Wheel. You can see the Seahawks’ flag was flying on top of the Space Needle, as this was two days before their intensely emotional defeat by the Falcons (I don’t follow sports at all, but even I can’t avoid, but to hear some sports news on occasion). The cars of the Ferris wheel are all enclosed, with heat/AC, kind of like mini-airplanes. Dora, Secunda, and I were the only three to go and none of us minded the height, but if you are at all prone to a fear of heights, it does go up 200 feet high. After the Ferris Wheel, we went for a short stroll on the Seattle Waterfront and Dora enjoyed some cotton candy and a ride on the merry-go-round.

Seattle Waterfront Carousel 4

Finally, we walked over to the aquarium for about an hour. We were all a bit pooped out and I wanted to leave early enough to beat Seattle’s Friday afternoon rush-hour traffic, so we didn’t get to enjoy the aquarium as much as we usually would have. Still, we saw many exhibits, including these sea horses…

Seattle Aquarium 20…and this very active octopus, which I had never seen before and which scared Dora. They had released an octopus last year, so I thought there would no longer be an octopus exhibit, but it sounds like they bring a new one in every year or so and then release it after having it mate on a blind date on Valentine’s Day (I really did not make this stuff up). Anyhoo… whenever I have tried to see the octopus, it always hides in the corner and looks very small and muted to me. This octopus was huge and a brightly colored. It was also moving around a lot. I didn’t get the best photo of the it, as I did not want to use my flash when it was so close to me, since I felt it would hurt its eyes.

Seattle Aquarium 15

My favorite thing this week was… Watching Kiki’s Delivery Service with Dora. One of the older kids started watching it and Dora got really caught up in it. I was quite surprised, but excited, as I am a real fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s films. Unfortunately, most of his movies are a bit too scary for me to allow Dora to watch them, but Kiki’s Delivery Service is a good movie, whose main character is a strong, grounded, and genuinely-kind female role model. Dora watched it a couple of times this week and it was lots of fun to sit with her watching one of my favorite movies and trying to answer all of her questions. 

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… This is the short poem that I read with Dora this week. We have been trying to read poems and sing songs about snow, in hopes of encouraging some snow to appear, but no such luck. This poem comes from an anthology from Wynstones Press, entitled, Winter: A Collection of Poems, Songs and Stories for Young Children.

Whenever a snowflake leaves the sky,
It turns and turns to say goodbye.
"Goodbye, dear cloud, cool and grey."
Then lightly travels on its way.

And when a snowflake finds a tree
"Good day," it says, "good day to thee."
Thou art so bare and lonely here
I'll call my friends to settle near."

- anonymous

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.


Labels: Things To Do Around Seattle, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Our First Full Week Back to Homeschooling

ID-10049990In my life this week… This was a stressful week. It was our first week back to our usual schedule and Dora had a very hard time with the transition. Then today, I had a nightmare doctor’s appointment. I went to the nephrologist for a follow-up appointment, just to learn that most of my lab work was supposedly lost. I was told that would have to go back to the lab to have it redone. When I got to the lab, however, I learned that the results were not lost at all, so I walked back to my doctor’s office to hand deliver the results (sadly just walking to and from the lab left me completely exhausted). Annoyingly, my doctor had a full case load today and was not able review the results with me. There were a couple of take things that I was able to glean from the whole experience. Firstly, it has now been 100% confirmed by a nephrologist that my kidneys are not functioning properly. Also, since I carried my lab results by hand, I could not help but notice that a few of the results were bolded, highlighted, AND asterisked, one of which cardiac/enzyme markers. I was majorly freaked out by this as no one had even told me that there might be something wrong with my heart! Being the modern and paranoid woman that I am, I Goggled the test results as soon as I got home and I learned that this particular test really doesn’t have much to do with my heart. Whew! The surprise, however, was that lab result and every abnormal lab result that I had, seem to point to me having an autoimmune disease, probably lupus (this part is based on my “professional” lab interpreting opinion, so don’t quote me). I guess the nephrologist had suspected it, which is why she ordered the test, but she hadn’t mentioned it to me, so it came as a bit of a shock. Now I am eagerly waiting to hear back from her to see where I go from here. I know exactly what time she will call, because it’s the only time anyone calls me – the minute I try to go to the bathroom.

In our homeschool this week… Dora is really responding to our Waldorf inspired approach to homeschooling. Today, both she and I were completely wonked out after the stressful day I had. We had not had time to do circle time all day and finally, right before our very LATE dinner, she was completely falling apart and I asked her if there was anything I could do for her and she said, “We haven’t done circle time all day! Can we do circle time?” So we sang our songs, read our poetry, and reread Trouble with Trolls, by Jan Brett. She immediately calmed down and was a much more pleasant person to be around for the rest of the evening. By the way, Trouble with Trolls is a great book! If you read it, be sure to follow the action that occurs at the bottom of the page, in particular, pay attention to the hedgehog. Meanwhile, Gohan asked to skip the rest of his pre-algebra book and go straight into algebra. Essentially, we covered most of pre-algebra last year with Montessori materials, but I didn’t feel he was ready to go into algebra this year for a variety of reasons. He has decided that he wants to start being more hardcore in terms of prepping for college, though, so we’ll be switching to Saxon Algebra 1. I’ve warned him that he will really need to buckle down and work hard, but he seems very determined. He even wants to do year-round school so that he can finish Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2 by the end of his sophomore year (he is halfway through 8th grade now).


Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… In theory, tomorrow we are going to the Seattle Aquarium and the new giant Ferris wheel they built on the pier. The mere thought of such an excursion exhausts me right now, however, Dora really wants to go, so we’ll see… We do have tickets to this Saturday’s kids symphony show. Otherwise, we just spent the week trying to get back into our weekly rhythm. 


My favorite thing this week was… The snowflakes that fell on my face as I trekked to and from the lab’s offices today. We’ve not had any snow this year and this snow did not stick, but it was a bright moment for me during what, was otherwise, a horrible experience.


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Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.


Labels: Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal–The Election Is Finally Over, Thank Goodness!

Making a Calico Corn Necklace 3

In our homeschool this week…Gohan was too sick this week to do any schooling. So Dora got a lot more quality time with me. With the short hours of daylight, these made for some long days. Fortunately, I had a few rabbits to pull our from under my hat. Firstly, we made a calico corn necklace. I read many sets of instructions for making these and I have decided that all appear to have been cut and pasted from one source. None of them tell you how to actually remove the corn from the husks – it ends up that you can just pop them off with your fingers. They all claim that you need to soak the corn in water just over night – after 48 hours, our corn was almost as hard as it was when I first put it in the water, so I finally microwaved the bowl of water and corn for five minutes and the corn softened right up. Then we were able to easily thread the corn with a sewing needle. Dora was even able to do some of it by herself.

Making a Calico Corn Necklace 1

Calico Corn Necklace 2

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Dora wanted to go to the Children’s Museum, but since she has turned four, she is no longer allowed to go into her favorite part of our local museum. So we traveled to Everett to renew our membership with the Imagine Children’s Museum. This is one cool museum, it even has a roof top playground to go on, if it happens to stop raining long enough while you are there.

Imagine Children's Museum 2

Imagine Children's Museum 4Imagine Children's Museum 3Imagine Children's Museum 5Imagine Children's Museum 8We also took Secunda’s dog for a hike at Evans Creek Preserve, a new park that just opened in our area. It was very nice to enjoy some of the last sunny days of the season, though the temps were dropping into the mid-40’s.Evans Creek Preserve 1

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Labels: Things To Do Around Seattle, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Adapting to a New Schedule

Ladybug Girl Costume 2

In my life this week…Halloween was pretty non-eventful, Dora dressed as Ladybug Girl and while everyone thought she made a cute ladybug, I was very disappointed that no one had heard of Ladybug Girl.

Shaving Cream Car Wash

Mr. Mo’s new job is very demanding, though he enjoys it much more than his previous position. So, for all intents and purposes, I have become a single parent during the work week. Fortunately, at this point in time, he is not having to work weekends. I also only have one little now, so it is not quite as exhausting as it used to be. Between Mr. Mo’s work schedule and the bad weather starting up, I realized that I had started to wander into “overscheduled” mode. It became apparent that both Dora and I need one day a week as a “just-stay-home day”. In fact, we stayed home almost all of yesterday and today and I was inspired by this pin to set up a shaving cream car wash for Dora. She spent hours playing with it! It was a great sensorial experience, all her toy cars got cleaned, and I was able to do some house cleaning.

In our homeschool this week… I had posted previously that Dora raised her own pumpkin this year. We also got several pumpkins from other classes and events, but Dora didn’t want to carve any of them. So, I asked her if she would like to try to grow pumpkins from the pumpkin she planted last spring, like the boy in Pumpkin Jack did. She was quite excited to do it, so we just tossed her pumpkin into one of our raised beds. Hopefully, this experiment will work, despite the pumpkin not being carved. Gohan Was Promoted to Green Belt

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Gohan had his taekwondo belt test over the weekend and it ran forever, but he was promoted to green belt!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…This is actually a poem. I have started reading a select poem to Dora every week, several times a week. This particular poem was very relevant to our life. We have had a lot of chickadees in our backyard and the best that we can tell, they appear to be eating up all of the grass seed that we so carefully sowed a few weeks back! This poem comes from A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme, which I have found to be an excellent collection of children’s poetry for all occasions. The author of this poem is unknown.

We’ve ploughed our fields
We’ve sown our seed
We’ve made all neat and gay.
       Then take a bit, and leave a bit
       Away, birds, away!

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Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Labels: Literature, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–Changing Our Approach to Language Arts


In my life this week… I got a ticket! When the officer approached my car, I was actually sincere when I asked, “Is there a problem officer?” as I knew I hadn’t broken any laws. Well, it ends up that our car registration expired in May! I don’t know how neither Mr. Mo nor I noticed this, it is not like us at all. I was so embarrassed, it felt like the first time I had an overdue library book (thanks to one of my children!), I’ve never let my tabs expire in my 28 years of driving. For some reason, having expired tabs seemed more criminal than speeding. Plus, I was right in front of the gymnastics school and a grocery store. Tons of people were walking by and giving me curious looks. I felt sure that they were thinking that I was horrible criminal and were gleefully waiting to watch me hauled off to jail in cuffs. I didn’t actually start the waterworks, but I was so upset, the police officer became apparently distraught himself. I still feel like I can’t wash the “driving with expired tabs” scent off of me. Plus, the ticket was for $216!!! In our homeschool this week…I started our new Charlotte Mason-ish approach to language arts with both Dora and Gohan. I call it “Charlotte Mason-ish”, because I am using Waldorf materials with Dora. I started using L M N O P and All the Letters A to Z, which is a Waldorf  alphabet book. It has one poem and illustration for each letter. Whereas Dora would have nothing to do with Montessori alphabet baskets or sandpaper letters, she begs me to read more than one poem a day from this book and spends a lot of time reflecting on the illustration and the words in the poem. Since I started reading this book to her, she has been talking about her A,B,C’s a lot and pointing out letters when she sees one that she recognizes. I cannot believe what a difference one book has made for her! 

Coating Leaves in Beeswax 2

We also continued to look at autumn leaves. We preserved some leaves by dipping them in melted beeswax. This was the first time that I had ever done this. The hardest part of the activity was keeping the wax at the right temperature. If I left the burner on too long, even on the lowest heat setting, the wax would start to boil. I was worried that this would cause the wax to burn, so I turned the burner off every time the wax started to boil. There would come a point, however, when the wax would get too cold and this would cause the wax to cake on the leaves. The finished leaves feel very smooth, not waxy at all, and look beautiful.

Coating Leaves in Beeswax 3

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… In addition to the usual drama, music and co-op classes, Dora started taking gymnastics with one of her homeschooled friends at a local gymnastics school. It’s an hour long, so Dora was exhausted by the end of class, but by the next morning, she was raring to go again. We had planned to go to our homeschool group’s park day today, but no one else was attending. We may look into joining another homeschool group that has weekly “meetings” in an old building that has a giant lawn to play on. The building is huge, with wooden floors and a stage, so there is lots of room to run around if it is too rainy to play outside. Plus they have some toys there and kids bring board games and so forth. We had tried attending the group once before and I was turned off by the long drive to get there. Also,  no one would play with Dora at the time. I want to try it again, though, as Dora is older and has much better social skills now. Plus, since we have been driving so far to attend park days recently, this drive doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

Ebright Park 1

My favorite thing this week was… The temperatures finally dropped to a normal range for this time of year. I could feel a nip in the air, a gentle reminder that winter is not far away.

Please note my left sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I am participating in.

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Labels: Language Arts, Nature Study, Waldorf, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff