Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fair? Schmair!



I am now in utter agony. We spent all day at the Durham Fair (our local Big E) it was a fab fair, I haven't been to it in like 10 years. I was excited because a client of mine got us free tickets (as she had a booth there), and you were supposed to be able to get bracelets for unlimited rides for only $15/pp. Well of course the bracelets were 'unavailable' today....the face painting cost (wait for it) $10 - per child!!!! Can you believe it? Ten Bucks? Over my dead body. Food for lunch (Corn dogs for each boy child, fries for them to share, a burger for hubby and a bowl of chili for me cost us $45) But the kids had a great time. The horses were outside in the paddock so DJ didn't suffer from too much of his deathly allergy. (and we doped him up on allergy meds like every hour).

This is what's known in the north east as a Farm Fair - put on by the local farmers and craftsman. They had multiple buildings just for arts & crafts then a building for cattle, one for sheep/llama's and another for fowl & Birds & rabbits.

DJ & Xman in the Cattle House

There was also a Discovery Center building that had some scientific findings here in CT. For some reason there was a representative from NASA here who had brought some space rocks and a space suit. Xman made me almost pee myself when, after staring at the suit for some time turned to me in a loud whisper and said -
"So, that guy's dead?" Apparently he thought the suit was like a mummy.....LOL!

DJ & Xman at the NASA exhibit

Sadly, like 80% of the rides were set for people 48" and taller - which disqualified my youngest. So I allowed DJ to go on it with me, but refused all the rest of them since it was totally unfair to let him have all the fun (even though they all terrified him beyond words he still wanted to ride them...LOL). So I finally found a single ride they could both go on (aside from bumper cars and obstacle courses) it was a whirl wind thing, it didn't go up in the air but the 4 cars spun around and around. It was the dumbest set up imaginable. The seats were twice the width of my hips and they only allowed one person per seat. Well when the thing started to spin I was sliding all over and had to brace my legs on the center island. But my 5 y/o couldn't reach the center island and slammed his head into the arm bars several times before I had a chance to grab him. DJ went sheet white about 1/ way into the ride. The guy on the other side of him thought he was sick, but it was just sheer terror. So at least they had fun on one ride. My head still hasn't recovered. LOL...

DJ & Xman on the Swings
Xman on the Bouncy Obstacle course

DJ on the bouncy obstacle course

Xman (beating the bigger kids) on the bouncy obstacle course

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sick House

Ugh.... Yesterday we were celebrating the first day of fall. We talked on Monday about how the seasons come to be (astronomy) and we even pretended each of us were the sun and earth in order to 'orbit' each other.

The kids are pulling my hair out with worksheets lately. They've always love to do school, and had no problem with doing their vocab while at the gym's daycare before playing. But lately they just drag their feet. We'll have to nip that in the butt right away as there are only so many hours in a day for schooling = especially on mornings that I work.

For honoring the day we went to a local orchard and picked some apples, pears and peaches...the kids had never done it before - with my vascular disease, I have a hard time with all that walking - but we had to do something harvest related. The kids had a blast! The apples were in sad shape after all the hail and tornado's we've had this year. But the kids took the hunt for healthy apples seriously! Today we're doing apple stamping.

Now I'm ill - I think I have a sinus infection, so instead of sitting with the boys while they do their work I'm typing away on this blog... I need a nap.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Last week & This

Ok it's happened already. Only a month into our curriculum and I've deviated from the original.. . But DJ was struggling. He can't stand math - neither could I at that age. SO when ever I'd give him a worksheet that was just review addition he would drag his feet over it for HOURS! (I'm not exaggerating either!) So, instead of reviewing addition then subtraction then introducing multiplication and division, I decided to do our addition review then introduce multiplication (since it's just repetitious addition) then we'll do our subtraction review before introducing division.

So, last week I started with short cut multiplication - those little tips and tricks we all use....
  • n x 0 = 0
  • n x 10 = bouncing n over to the left a place value and add a 0 at the end
  • n x 5 = everything ends in a 5 or 0
  • n x 11 = n n (write the n twice, we're not doing adding the places yet so the n is usually a ones number)
  • n x 2 = everything ends in a 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8

Then there are the checks - like n x 9 = the answer, take the place values and break them up adding them together should equal 9 {for instance, 2 x 9 = 18.... 1 + 8 = 9}

He had a neat little workbook I printed (sorry I can't remember from where) that explained the cheat and then gave a worksheet where he had to write out the 'cheat' then do some equations. Well, the first sheet was on 10x. When asked to explain the above cheat on his worksheet he wrote (I kid you not) "It's easy". Now at first I thought he was writing that it's easy to remember or to execute but then I realized I'd introduced the whole 'cheat' concept as an 'easy way to do multiplication'.... he's so friggin literal!! LOL

SO here I sit, at nearly 8pm on a Sunday night struggling to figure out how I can reintroduce the whole concept to him this week. I came across this website. They actually have a little video lesson explaining how multiplication is just repetitive addition and they have flash cards and everything! Multiplication - no no, no need to thank also found these vid links for explaining the communitive property of addition and multiplication. Furthermore, I was frustrated with the lack of comprehensive worksheets explaining the topic and introducing multiplication. So I'm making my own (of Here's the intro worksheet: Cumulative Property. (remember to use the user name: kickbutttidbits and the password: kickbuttmama) I'll continue this week working on completing the mini-workbook. I hope to have a sheet for each number through 12 explaining the skip counting process and going from there.

X-man is flying through his Hooked on Math. My only complaint with it is the material they used for the flash cards. It's that really shiny laminated material. It makes it difficult to flip the cards as fast as the CD dictates, so he becomes frustrated. He's doing amazingly well. If you ask him an addition equation he stares blankly at you, but if you give him a worksheet or hold up a flash cards he's all over the right answer....Whoo-Hoo!

So we're doing more of the same this week. They'll do the next chapter in their horrible Latin book....I'm so disappointed. I've been wanting to use the Minimus series for years and was excited to find a relatively cheap used copy. But there are no worksheets. The 'book' is only 70 pages long. The first thing they learn is "Who are you? My name is...." It lists a bunch of examples. For instance under a pic of Minumus it said "Minumus sum, mus sum" It took me an hour of repeating it with the kids before I realized mus wasn't something they should be tacking onto their responses, as it means mouse! There are no colors or numbers, no alphabet....maybe I'm strange when I think they should learn these basics before learning the conversations?

Spelling is status quo, both kids are used to the process so it's a blissfully easy means of learning (at least one part of our day is!).

As I stated in a previous post instead of learning about the ocean first the kids decided they wanted to do their anatomy & physiology. As long as they want to learn who am I to gainsay?

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Boy did the kids LOVE learning about Picasso today. They each picked "Cat and Crab on the Beach" to draw on their's their work:

DJ's Picasso

Xman's Picasso

Egg Spiriments (LOL)

So we've been working on our Anatomy and Physiology. Even though I had planned on studying the Ocean first, the kids vetoed the decision.

We did a really cool experiments with eggs. One cup was full of water, one with vinegar and other with Coke Classic. Into each cup we placed an egg for twenty four hours. An egg's shell is made from calcium carbonate - much like our teeth. So we were trying to determine what effect certain foods had on our teeth if we didn't brush (as DJ has his first cavity! Even though he brushes every single day).

The kids were shocked and appalled. The vinegar completely dissolved the shell, and the Coke permanently stained the shell brown - no amount of scrubbing could clean it off. My kids aren't allowed Coke to drink now they think they understand why (we haven't gotten to sugar's impact on the body

So DJ was writing to his friend (an e-pal) and he said "we've been doing egg spiriments".....LMAO I think he meant egg experiments or else experiments, but both my BFF and I laughed and have decided all future experiments should be referred to as egg spiriments!

Patrick Swayze - RIP

It's amazing to me the imact some people can have on the world for very little. Seriously, movie stars aren't pivitol in creating world peace, they don't work to cure hunger (although many do do a lot of charity work). They basically get paid lots of money to play dress-up for a couple of hours in front of a camera....but we love them for it.

Dirty Dancing is right up there with Beaches, Grease, and the Breakfast Club in movies I watched a billion times in my tween and teen years. I absolutely wanted to marry Patrick Swayze when I was about 16 y/o. Grrr .

Sadly he passed away a couple of days ago...and I find that I really am somewhat sad, and I'm forced to ask myself - Why? Sure it's always sad to realize we're getting older, each of us another day, minute, second closer to the time when we'll pass - so I'm sure that's part of it. I'm sure some of it is that these actors are made to be somewhat super-human in our esteem...we're all shocked when they exhibit the same behaviors as us mere mortals - things like getting sick or dieing. But I didn't really know him. I know he had a drinking problem for several years and there were rumors of his really what did I admire about him? Only his tight buns and perfect biceps? Am I really that shallow? I don't recall if he ever did any amazing charity work or was an ambassador of peace or I guess I really am that shallow...that I'd be sad that the world has one less pretty person in it. So, now I'm somewhat ashamed. I think from now on I'll strive to only be sad when the world is deprived of a beautiful soul rather than a beautiful face......

I'm not saying Patrick Swayze wasn't a beautiful soul. I never knew him. I just watched Dirty Dancing and Ghost millions of times, crying my eyes out at the stupid line, "Ditto". Wanting to take up pottery, lol. But his death has made me realize that even though I watch very little t.v. and even fewer movies, I still have more growing to do. Until I can pass by then register at the grocery store and not be intrigued by the stupid tabloid mags spouting the latest gossip. I need to banish tv and movies for a while. Get my head on straight. That these 'stars' aren't really stars at all. They don't shine with a brilliance from within (again acknowledging that some really do). They shine because they had a lucky break, a beautiful set of genetics, are able to pay truck loads of money for spa treatments and plastic surgery. I no longer want to be that false.

Time for some soul searching!

And my obsession

Is it totally sad that I'm elated to have gotten a label maker? Seriously, my obsession with organization has now reached a whole new level! I've always had a hundred drawers and Rubbermaid containers, keeping everything was it really necessary that I put a label on the front of each one? I can see my DH shaking his head when he gets home...sigh...but I've craved one forever....I'll know I've reached rock bottom when I label the dish cabinets...LOL..