Saturday, January 28, 2012


So we've all had colds or something.  Nelson came down with it first.  Natalie succumbed next.  Sarah and I followed.  Yuck all around. 

But here's the interesting part: Nelson and Sarah never got as sick as Natalie and I did.  When he first felt the onset of the sniffles and sore throat, Nelson started drinking Emergen-C and taking zinc tablets.  I had read that zinc could both shorten the duration and lessen the severity of colds.  I gave Sarah some zinc when she first started feeling poorly as well.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a form of zinc that Natalie could take, and I kept flat-out forgetting to take it. 

So Nelson and Sarah didn't get as sick and didn't stay sick as long.  Natalie and I got progressively worse, and Natalie ended up with a nasty case of pink eye.  My advice?  Take your zinc! 

Now for the science nerds out there, I do realize that this is anecdotal evidence and not true scientific data.  I also know the old line that "the plural of anecdote is not data."  However, it is good food for thought. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

update on goals and projects

January is almost over, and I've accomplished about half of what I had intended for the month.  "The best laid schemes of mice and men..."  As many know, a round of sickness hit our house.  We have some sort of nasty cold or something, and Natalie got pink eye.

However, here is what I DO have done so far:
1. I read the e-book on blogging.  I have also been taking a weekly blogging class.
2. I read the e-book on AP style.  May I just confess that I don't like AP style?  Obviously, I am going to have to get comfortable with it, but I don't like it. I have not taken the proofreading test yet--I figured taking it when I felt awful wasn't a great idea. 
3. I am about 2/3 of the way through David Allen's Getting Things Done.  (Irony: reading his book is one of the things I'm having a hard time "getting done.")
4. I am partway through a You Version reading plan.
5. This afternoon I will have my first two loaves of sourdough bread.  This has been an interesting experiment, let me tell you.  I would not recommend trying something new like this when you feel as rotten as I have felt this week.  But I had mixed up the starter before the plague hit, so I figured I might as well go ahead and put it to use.  We'll see how it turns out.
6. I am taking a "J-term" class at church (I missed one class due to the sickness).
7. The girls have started their Kindermusik classes.  Thanks, Uncle Dave!   (Natalie actually missed her first class, due to the pink eye.  She was quite bummed.)

We aren't as yet making much progress on decluttering.  Hopefully once we feel better, that will change.  The girls' new insurance info came, so I also plan to call for an eye appointment for Sarah within the next week or so (she complains sometimes that reading makes her head hurt).  I am hopefully going to make a batch of homemade yogurt next week as well.  We'll see.  We have to recover first.  :)

How are your goals for the year going?  Better than mine?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

kids say the darnedest things

This is one of those posts where I hesitate to share due to the subject matter, but on the other hand it's just too darn funny to keep it to myself. at your own risk, I guess.  

The girls got a dollhouse for Christmas.  Currently it's set up downstairs.  Tuesday mornings find us getting ready for our homeschool co-op, and Natalie was hanging out near the dollhouse as she waited for Sarah to finish brushing her hair and putting on her shoes. 

As she was waiting for her sister, Natalie had a bit of a gas attack.  Now you should know that we don't use the "F" word in our house (no, not THAT "F" word--although we don't use that either of course--the crude "F" word that some people use to describe gas).  We don't like it (or maybe I just don't like it--whatever).  So Sarah learned quickly not to say it (a playmate had ever so kindly taught her the word), and Natalie's never heard it. 

All this to say, Natalie didn't really have a label for the noise she just emitted.  So she giggled and declared, "My bottom just fired on the house!" 

(I'm probably going to have to burn this blog post when she's a little bit older.  It's one of those stories that is terribly embarrassing later on.  However, for now just enjoy the chuckle.) 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

it can be hard to s-p-e-l-l

Sarah did her first spelling bee today.  The homeschool group we belong to did two bees, one for children in kindergarten through third grade and one for children in fourth through eighth.  Let me just say, some of those older kids were dynamite spellers!  The second bee ran really long because the participants just weren't missing any words.  They spelled words I hadn't even heard of (and I love words!). 

I taught Sarah to read when she was in preschool, because she was begging to learn (I hadn't been planning on teaching her that young, really).  She took off and is a phenomenal reader.  I gave her an online assessment partway through kindergarten, and she was reading on about a fourth grade level.  I am still, halfway into first grade, amazed by some of the words she can read. 

However, reading does not necessarily translate to spelling.  We've started to focus more on grammar and spelling this school year, but she is still new at it and it doesn't seem to be as instinctive for Sarah as reading is.  So I really didn't have any thoughts of putting her in a spelling bee this year.

But she knew about the bee.  Nelson had been recruited to work the sound system, so Sarah knew that this event called a spelling bee was taking place.  She wanted to do it.  So I let her.  But I'll be honest; I was nervous.  I wasn't worried about her performance; I know her well enough to know she was never going to win and I honestly didn't care.  No, I was worried about what her reaction would be when she missed a word.  Sarah is a perfectionist.  If we are doing a page of twenty math problems and she misses one, she wants another page of twenty problems so she can get a perfect score.  I was afraid she would miss a word and just crumble. 

Thankfully, it went better than I feared.  She did miss a word during her first round in the bee, and she was bummed when she sat down, but she was not inconsolable.  She listened to the rest of the bee, and she clapped quite enthusiastically for the winner.  She did get restless during the older kids' bee (because it was LONG), but overall I was very proud of her and I told her so. 

P.S.  Nelson did videotape the bee if you want to see.  She's not in it very long at all, but let me know if you want him to send you the video.

P.P.S.  When considering titles for this post, I thought about including a deliberately misspelled word.  I wasn't sure how many would get the joke though. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

verbing words is fun

Have you ever noticed how children tend to use words however they wish?  (Actually some adults do this too, I think.)  One of the gifts Natalie got for Christmas is lip balm.  She LOVES this.  When she first opened it, she was so excited about it that she sat in the floor with it and didn't open another present for about twenty minutes--she was too enamored with the lip balm! 

Natalie can identify most of her body parts--including her lips.  She knows what and where her lips are.  I learned this morning that apparently she refers to lip balm as "lips" as well.  She has also turned "lip" into a verb (future "Calvin and Hobbs" fan, maybe?  Or May Swenson fan, but no one's going to get that reference  Google "Ornamental Sketch with Verbs").  When asking for her lip balm this morning, her exact words, "Can I have lips so I can lip myself?" 

Monday, January 2, 2012

happy 2012

First of all, happy New Year to all!  I hope that 2012 brings hope and blessings to you.

A new year always brings talk of New Year's resolutions.  Some people love making resolutions.  Others adamantly refuse to make any.  Most acknowledge that keeping them is rare.

I think there are several problems with the traditional idea of New Year's resolutions.  First, most of them are too vague.  If one resolves to lose weight, exercise more, or save money, intentions are good, but what does that actually mean?  How much is "more"?  How do you know when you've met the goal?  What is even the plan for meeting it?

Another problem is being too ambitious.  In the euphoric fog of new year hopes and dreams, we think we can overhaul our entire life.  We will never touch sweets again, exercise every single day, organize our whole house, etc.  However, by about Jan. 15, it's cold, it's dreary, and it's getting dark way too early.  Motivation is hard to come by.  Suddenly chocolate sounds really good, and burrowing under a blanket is more desirable than working out.

However, I think the turning of the calendar does tend to make one introspective, and who doesn't want a fresh start every now and then?  I think making goals for the new year, breaking them down into manageable (and measurable!) chunks, and planning specific ways to meet them is very beneficial.  Obviously this doesn't have to be done Jan. 1; if you suddenly get inspired on May 27 to make a goal and break it down and start working toward it, by all means go ahead.  However, I happened to have made my goal list the week after Christmas.  I'm posting here in hopes of clarifying my thoughts a little more and giving myself a little extra accountability. 

I first thought about different areas of my life and the different roles I play.  I define myself as a Christian, wife, mother, homemaker, and homeschooler.  Most of my goals fit into one of these areas.  Others were purely personal or financial, but even those at least partly fit into one of those categories.

After coming up with a goal (or several) for each area, I broke it down into steps needed to achieve it.  I don't expect to do everything all at once.  These are goals for an entire year, so they don't all need to be done tomorrow!  (That certainly would be nice though.)  Some really are too personal to post here, but others I don't mind sharing.

I started using You Version in December; they had an Advent Bible reading plan.  They offer several other reading plans as well.  Some are rather short, but others have a bit more length to them.  Most are topical rather than expository in nature.  Anyway, I set a goal to complete at least three of their reading plans this year.  I will be doing other studies with our church, but I think this will be a good supplement. 

One goal that fits with both homemaking and finances is household organization.  When we moved into this house, I had a lovely vision in my head for how the house would look.  I won't go into the details as to why that never came to be; suffice it to say that it didn't.  However, I plan to change that this year!  We are going to work for fifteen minutes a day (very doable) on going through items we own.  Whatever we don't use and/or love will either be donated or sold (stuff that can be sold is the financial part of the equation).  We're going to start in the play room, then move on to other rooms of the house.  The last thing to be tackled will be the storage closet downstairs.  Once we are left with only beloved and useful items, it will be easy to keep them neat and tidy.

Another financial goal is to write at least three articles per week for Textbroker.  I am also going to read an e-book I found on AP style.  When finished, I will take Textbroker's proofreading test; this opens up more job opportunities.

I have a list of books I want to read and projects I want to try.  The books fall into various categories (some are spiritual, some are financial, some are homemaking), but I will post summaries and reviews after each one.  I've already started the first one, an e-book on blogging.  I will also post about the various projects as they occur.

I will also continue to tackle the grocery budget and the menu planning.  We did much better in December, and I am excited about our progress. 

I won't bore you by going on (trust me, I would bore you if I gave you my whole list.  I have a detailed outline and everything.  I'm a wee bit anal).  Hopefully this gives you the idea.  Since I plan to continue updating as the year goes on, you'll get to hear more anyway!  :)

Again, happy New Year!

This post is linked to Money Saving Mom.