Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book: Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, a memoir by Susan Jane Gilman, tells the story of her trip to China in 1986, upon graduating from college. At that point, China had only recently opened to Western tourists and there were many places within the country that foreigners were not allowed to travel. This didn't stop the author and her friend who plan the trip upon seeing a placemat--world map of pancakes--over breakfast at IHOP. "Naive" doesn't even begin to describe them. While I don't want to give too much away, there is also another huge piece to the story, involving the well-being of one of the women. Let's just say I stayed up til 11:30pm last night because I couldn't wait to find out the conclusion. I would even consider reading it again.

Disclaimer: This book may be so appealing to me because I recently visited almost all of the locations mentioned. (I was not, however, undressed in the Temple of Heaven...but neither was the author!)

If you are traveling (or have traveled) to China, you'll be interested to know that the women visit Beijing (and the tourist sites there, including the Great Wall at Badaling), Guangzhou, Guangxi Province (Guilin & more), and Hong Kong. The places they visit are described in great, fascinating, detail.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Reading for FUN!

Only recently a friend asked me if LilDude likes to read for fun. I told her that he happily does his 15 minutes of required reading a day, sometimes forgetting the time and going over, but that he doesn't often pick up a book without it first being a "requirement."

That changed this week.

For the last several days, he's been reading all day, everyday. Yesterday I MADE HIM put up his book to go play outside. He groaned. Presently, he is captivated by the Boxcar Children mysteries.

Amazing how much difference a week can make!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Well, DUH, Mom!

GG (age 3): "My hands hurt."

Mom: "Why do they hurt?"

GG: "Because I say so."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Very Last First Time

Very Last First Time (Five in a Row homeschool lesson)
We are reading a book about a girl that's going to walk on the bottom of the sea for the first time alone. We put water and rocks in a box and put a bag over the box and pretended that was the ice. We had people and a basket and a knife in the basket. We put something under the box and then the water went to the other end and that was the tide.

-reported by LilDude*, age 7

We will report on the rest of our lessons from this week. Please check back here for more exciting adventures from the book by Jan Andrews called Very Last First Time.

We got the idea for this lesson from the archives on the Five in a Row website. It appears that you need to join the forum (free) to search the archives. It's found in the ideas (great ones!) for Volume 1.

*P.S. LilDude typed this out by himself. We've spent the last couple weeks using free, on-line lessons from BBC Schools Dance Mat Typing. He knows all the letters. Now he's practicing. :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Plastic cups, BPA, and kids

A couple years ago I decided to eliminate most of the plastic storage containers in my kitchen. I bought class bins for flour, sugar, dry beans, pasta, etc. With all the new information on BPA, this week I finally took all the plastic cups--especially for kids--out of the kitchen. I started using something else for the kids months ago. Thought you might be amused to hear what...

My kids drink out of glass jelly jars. Half-pints for the half-pints. :) They are just the right size for little hands, they don't break easily, and they are heavy enough to not tip over. Love them for everything but outdoors and car trips. I have a few plastic cups saved in the pantry for outdoor use (minimal) and today I bought a couple of BPA-free tippy cups. While my youngest two are getting older, I still like to have something for use in the car and in carpeted rooms.

My youngest also still needs cuddle/bottle time for attachment purposes, so I bought some glass bottles today. I think it's hilarious. Decades ago people got rid of glass bottles because they weren't safe, replacing them with plastic. Now we get rid of the plastic and replace them with glass. Too funny. I did have an option for BPA-free plastic bottles, but I like the durability of the glass, along with the fact that it washes so well in the dishwasher. Plus, who knows what they've next discover is wrong with the plastic???

Still can't figure out what to do about freezer containers. I read one article that said that the older the plastic, the less BPA leaching. The freezer boxes I use once belonged to my grandma and are old, old, old. Wonder if I have a better chance using those than trying something new? I do use some glass jars--quart and pint--for freezer storage, but I don't like to use them exclusively. They're heavy, hard to thaw from if I'm in a hurry, and can break in the freezer.

So what are you doing about food/beverage containers and BPA?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Strawberry Girl & An Orphan?!?


I'm reading Strawberry Girl aloud to LilDude. It's a Newbery Award book by Lois Lenski. The text reads:

"Azuloy, a fifteen-year-old orphan, was Miss Liddy's helper. She did everything from threading needles to sweeping floors." p. 56

We haven't finished the book yet, but so far I haven't figured out the point of the "orphan" comment. It's the first the character is introduced in the book and nothing about "orphan" applies to anything...except she is working at 15.

So the point is.....??????

"Adults" & Children's Sporting Events

Sometimes the behavior of "adults" just astounds me. Particularly when it comes to children's sporting events.

No one came forward to coach my son's 7th grade traveling basketball team, so my husband agreed to take it. He has coached basketball several times before, including a traveling girls' 6th grade team, but this is the oldest boys' team he's led.

This team has taken immense amounts of his free time. This last week, four of seven nights were spent at games, taking time away from his responsibilities at home and his interactions with our other children. But my husband does it with an upbeat attitude.

It's me who has the problem.

I sit at games and listen to parents all around me whine and complain about dh's coaching. [This is a team that struggles; it includes several players who've never before played b-ball.] Parents who know nothing about basketball...parents whose kids are barely making the team...parents who were asked to coach and refused...sit there and complain aloud about my husband's skills.

Last night as we were leaving a game, my husband stopped one dad to tell him, "Your son did a great job tonight."

The response? "Your team needs to get more competitive out there." And then the parent continued to berate my husband's job as coach.

It just astounds me.

You know what else astounds me?

Last night, we watched a great game of basketball. With minutes left in the fourth quarter, and with their team well ahead, the opposing coach suddenly springs aggressively toward the court and screams at the top of his lungs, "STOP SLAPPING THE BALL AROUND!!!!!" The entire gym of people froze in stunned silence. I've NEVER heard someone scream that loud at a game before. Apparently, he was yelling at his own team. A ref told him to "settle down." Then one of the parents on that team asked him to chill out. The coach responded with an outbreak of profanity.

What in the world are we doing? These are SEVENTH GRADE CHILDREN. People are starving in Haiti. This is a GAME. Or it's supposed to be. What are we teaching our children?!?!
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