Saturday, May 31, 2008

setting the table

This morning I came downstairs to Will unloading the dishwasher in the dark. While checking my email he asked me to help him print 4 copies of a homemade activity page with tic-tac-toe, coloring, and a maze. But it wasn't until I walked into the kitchen did I fully find out what he was up to; the child wanted homemade waffles so badly that he placed all the ingredients, bowls, and waffle maker on the counter. Will also set the table, making place cards for everyone and laid out the copies he made at all the children's places, even Timmy's.
It seems that we have been eating at the chain restaurants like Cracker Barrel a little too often, he even reproduced the cup of crayons in the middle of the table.

While our breakfast menu is a bit more limited, we have many more options of Crayola colors available.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm so angry I could spit

Yesterday I received in the mail the latest Catholic Heritage Curriculum catalogue. While I don't buy their lesson plans or workbooks, I have in the past ordered other books. Usually I can find suggestions for making homeschooling easier and inspirational stories in the quarterly catalogue. However, one of the quotes included was this one:

"Thank you for being here for us homeschoolers. I have always used CHC until this year (5th). I signed up for [Catholic packaged curriculum] with their counseling and turning in work. I paid a lot for it and it lasted a couple weeks before I got really frustrated and quit and lost all the money. I think [the program] is okay if your kids is at the learning level they think your child should be at (and you can sit daily without distractions to get the work done on time), but otherwise it is too much pressure to try to make my child the same as other children and pressure on my family to be on time with everything. I realized that this is why I homeschool, to adapt our year to our needs. Thank you so so so much for selling your curriculum without having to turn in work, etc. I can take your curriculum and adapt it to our needs without pressure. You also allow families that could not afford [the Catholic packaged program] to be able to have guidance and be able to homeschool... If it wasn't for CHC I believe I would have given up on homeschooling. God will reward you for your kindness in selling the curricula without making people enroll their children and turn in work... -Jennifer, New Jersey"

While it is perfectly acceptable to state why a company's program/books are deemed superior it was malicious of CHC to publish this letter. It is immediately obvious that the program being bashed is Seton Home Study School and the editor purposely left in all the parts that singled out this Catholic program. Why the mom felt overwhelmed and pressured by pieces of paper or didn't call the counselors I couldn't say, but I am upset with CHC for their unchristian conduct in publishing libel in their catalogue. I already called CHC and expressed my disappointment and have decided to find other sources for books and readers for our family.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

IHM Conference in DC

I went to this conference a few years back and had a great time meeting up with Internet friends, learning about great Catholic books, and hearing inspirational talks concerning homeschooling and Catholic life. Due to Timmy being born and moving to NC I haven't been able to attend recently, but have my hotel reservations and schedule all ready for June 13 and 14th. This morning I highlighted the talks I want to sit in on:

Surviving Siblings: Homeschooling Different Ages at the Same Time (Ginny Seuffert-mom of 12)

Tips for the Overwhelmed Mom: Keeping Your Children on Track (Dr. Catherine Moran)

Sports and Divine Providence (Rebecca Dussault-Olympic athlete)

Joy: Allowing the Eternal into the Everyday (Father Matthew Zuberbueler)

Man and Woman: A Divine Invention (Dr. Alice von Hildebrand)

Finishing the Race: Homeschooling Through High School (Ginny Seuffert)

The Central Importance of Order in Teaching, Learning, and Living (Laura Berquist)

Male and Female Complementary and Differences (Father Joseph Mary Brown)

Pope Benedict XVI and the Mass (Father Joseph Fessio)

Taming the Tough Teens (Dr. Ray Guarendi)

Essential Study Skills: The Path to Success (Dr. Ann Martin)

Christian Hope (Father Joseph Mary Brown)

Sensitive Subjects: Teaching Controversial Aspects of History (Prof. Brendan McGuire)

I'll try to take good notes and share here some of what I learn. If you are going to this conference, let me know and I'll save you a seat! (and share pictures of the kids)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

saying goodbye

While we were gone last week our babysitter and her family moved to Ohio. Gwen was a good sitter, not fantastically interactive with the children, but dependable. She showed up every weekday for 9 months at 2pm to watch the kids while I went running. Timmy usually slept through the hour, and some days I took one or two with me, but usually Gwen had 5 children under 10 demanding to watch a movie, read a story, and get a sippy cup of juice all at the same time. Yeah, my daily life, but the girl is 15 and only used to one sibling who can get his own juice.

My life these days has boiled down to # of XYZ left before we move. Will only has 1 more piano lesson tomorrow and 1 more Cub Scout activity. There are only about 2-3 weeks worth of school stuff left and we only have to make the hour drive to Mass six more times.

I am not the only one who has to constantly look at the calendar. On the way home from the pool yesterday I overheard another woman repeat to her husband what Maggie said moments before, "When is it going to be tomorrow so we can go back to the pool?"

Carnival of Homeschooling

This week's carnival is hosted by Jacque up at Walking Therein with an end of school year theme.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

Tim mentioned a while back that there was a to-do at the American Legion complete with military equipment so this morning we checked it out. Wisely we skipped the speeches, 'cause the kids would have been disruptive but instead let them clamber all over this Vietnam era Huey helicopter. Charlie certainly looked adorable after he put on a metal helmet so we shall see if his photos make the local newspaper. The little ones were more interested in the green jeeps so I left Tim and Will back at the Huey fiddling with all the switches and buttons.
After everyone tried out the driver's seat a dozen times we bribed the children back home with promises of a walk to the pool after lunch. Charlie was so wiped out by his exuberant splashing and jumping that later I found the poor little fellow sound asleep on the schoolroom floor. They had such fun that we will likely be hitting the pool every day until our big move. Too bad I can't take them every day to climb on a helicopter. Recognizing the sacrifice of our brave veterans killed in duty and spending the rest of the beautiful day outdoors made a perfect Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

home safe and sound

The girls and I returned home this afternoon after a visit to Grandmother in the hospital and Mass at St. Benedict's Chapel. After a very long Mass (2+ hours) Father Willis, the best priest I have ever met, announced that he is leaving FSSP to return to being a diocesan priest nearer to his family. Tim and I have learned so much from Father and have enjoyed his company while we were in Virginia. This reminded me that one constant of life is that things change, even if we don't want them to.

On our arrival the boys all poured out the door to greet and hug us, it seemed we were gone much longer than a week. They enjoyed their gifts from the aunties and after a respite from the usual bickering it was back to normal. "He hit me," "She is being mean," "I want that too," and "Gimmie!"

Well, the peace and quiet was nice while it lasted. Maybe I will get another respite from the fighting before they all grow up and move out, but I don't expect it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

quest finished!

After house hunting using my much planned list and striking out, the realtor and I pulled up recent listings and highlighted 5 houses closer in to DC. I was so excited about one place that I left a bit early and stopped by the empty house alone to walk around the lot, ring some doorbells, get a feel for the neighborhood. I was concerned that the lot slopes down steeply in the back, but decided that the size and location put it at the top of my list. So after a bit of paranoid flip-flopping I said, "This is the one." Afterwards I feel pretty dumb because I brought along the digital camera and didn't take a single picture! All I have to show Tim and the kids is one little black and white image of the front yard and my muddled description of the interior. I recall that the same thing happened on our last move. Luckily it really is a pretty house and I think we will be very comfortable and happy there.

After 3 days of dealing with horrid traffic I have decided to go back down the Eastern Shore and stop on the way to visit my grandmother. She just had surgery and is back in the ICU. Our detour will add a few days to the trip, but we aren't in any hurry and it will give me a chance to visit. I also admit that it will be nice go back on roads I know and not have to constantly scan the MapQuest directions in my lap.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling

Is up at Po Moyemu.

smoke and mirrors

oooooh, I despise traffic, but I'm pretty good at driving in it due to my 3 years of striving with the Italians. There, people would regularly back up on the highway, pass other cars on narrow, winding roads, and take advantage of the law that gives faster drivers the right-of-way. Routinely I would pull into the left lane to pass a 3 wheeled truck toodling along at 35 and see lights flashing and horns honking from a BMW driver going 100 mph right up to my back bumper. So, while stop-and-go congestion is not even comparable, I didn't enjoy 90 minutes in it to get to my appointment with the realtor.

After a trip to the potty, we set off in the realtor's SUV. She explained that her car needed oil and she had splashed some on the engine as she couldn't find the funnel. That was the understatement of a lifetime as for the next 3 hours the oil burned off the manifold and seeped out from the hood and into the interior. I sniffed my sweater while we were chatting with one tenant and I realized that I smelled like one of the pit crew at a NASCAR race. I promised myself a long, hot, cleansing shower whenever I finally returned back to my SIL's place.

We looked at many dumps and one diamond that I immediately fell in love with. It was a pristine Craftsman style cottage with every amenity one could imagine: hardwood floors, stone patio with grill, 10 rooms, wide porches, soaring stone fireplace, two fenced acres, and all overlooking a pond with wild birds. I said, "I'll take it," but the next hour was bogged down with negotiations over lease length, Tim's apprehension about the price and lengthy commute, and after overhearing the listing agent say she "was not comfortable with so many children in the house" we decided to let it go. It will take me a few days to get over my disappointment, but I am optimistic that it will all turn out for the best.

So, at 4pm I still had no lease to sign, but 6 more realistic options to consider after a return trip down to DC. Today my goal is simple: look again and this time walk away with a rental contract signed and a place to call home for the next 2-3 years.

Wish me luck!

Monday, May 19, 2008

7 hours later...

After our rainy drive yesterday I quickly realized that even a 10 mile commute in DC can turn into 30 minutes of torture. On an early Sunday afternoon which anywhere else would be a pleasant drive, we were stuck in traffic creeping along at 20 mph and passed the Capital Beltway exit Tim will take in to work in a few months. I can't imagine what the scene looks like today on a typical Monday morning. So after my brother-in-law lent me a map book of the county, I sat down this morning with my large mug of hot cocoa and methodically looked up each listing and determined exactly where on the map each was located. While several of the houses looked picturesque on 2 acre lots, I threw the cards away because renting any of them would force Tim to be in the car for over 2 hours each day.

After emailing the realtor with our pared down list of 8 houses, I am going to head up to my other sister-in-law's house (a very pretty and not crowded commute) to meet up with the girls and spend a day in the country walking the trails, wading in the stream, and spend many hours visiting with both my husband's wonderful sisters.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

road trip

The girls and I are leaving Sunday for the big house-hunting expedition. They are excited to have a big sleepover and play session with their aunties, while I am excited to look at all these houses I have stared at on-line for months now. I am also a little guilty of wanting to get away from the boy cooties that threaten to overtake the house and have a little girl-only time. We aren't going to play beauty parlor or anything too cutesy, just take lots of walks in the woods and fields. My appointment with the realtor is Tuesday so say a quick prayer that we find a great house and have a safe trip.

God bless and see you when we get back!

math program decision

Well, this morning while the older kids were putting on the final touches of their piano recital pieces, I took the little ones to The Homeschool Gathering Place in Raleigh. I sat down with Math-U-See, Saxon 3, Singapore Math 2A and compared the textbooks, the teaching manuals, and the time of each lesson and decided to put Mary in Singapore 2A for this summer and next fall. There are 5 books including a teachers manual, a textbook, a workbook, and two extra problem books. The books are colorful and full of solid explanations of concepts that MCP seemed to gloss over. There are fewer problems per lesson, but they are spread out so we don't have to copy them over onto scratch paper. I also picked up a used set of Math-U-See manipulatives, they seem just like Cuisenaire rods, but with markings to distinguish the units.
I am not a curriculum jumper, preferring to stick with the same program, but it was apparent that MCP just was making Mary miserable and not helping her grasp the big picture.

After looking at the material she wanted to jump in right away, but luckily I had the excuse of needing to leave for their piano recital. It is going to take some time to get the gist of how the program works. Likely next year math will be more time consuming than, "Do two pages of math," but I expect it will be far more productive and enjoyable for both of us.

Friday, May 16, 2008

good things

The drifting sweet aroma of honeysuckle during a 6 mile run.

Packing to go househunting.

A warm strawberry shortcake with lots of whipped cream.

Dental anesthetics. (finally got that cavity filled)

An excellent + performance by a 9 year old in the local piano competition.

A baby who repeats everything his brothers and sisters say, including, "Bye-bye Daddy."

Taking a girl to her last Brownie meeting. (I'm glad it is the last one)

A reliable babysitter so I can run. (today is her last day)

Children who are obedient and helpful. (about 50% of the time)

A gentle and loving husband.

Thank you God for all the blessings I have been given. Help me to be more grateful and loving toward those around me.

one less thing to worry about

New research at Malmö University Hospital (Sweden) has revealed that mothers who have more children and especially those who breastfeed their babies have a significantly lowered risk of arthritis later in life. Researcher Dr. Mitra Pikwer found that breastfeeding for more than a year reduced women's risk of rheumatoid arthritis 54% and breastfeeding for at least a month tended to reduce the risk 26 percent. Moreover, women who gave birth to more children tended to be at lower RA risk, with a 13% reduction for each child they had. ...there was no evidence of benefits in RA from the use of oral contraceptives, which contain some of the same hormones that are elevated during pregnancy. (

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

rushing homeschoolers into college?

Susan Wise Bauer is the author of many classical homeschooling books such as The Well Trained Mind (with a new edition just out), and the Story of the World series. This recent interview is in The Old Schoolhouse magazine.

Earlier this month I attending a presentation at our local homeschool support group with Jeanne of Books and Brownies. North Carolina offers high school students free community college classes in their dual enrollment program. Many homeschoolers take advantage of this opportunity to challenge gifted teens as well as earn free college credits. While I did like the idea of saving all that $$, I could see the potential problems of putting excess pressure on a 16 year old. Our discussion only touched on potential social and emotional difficulties. I was always the youngest kid in my high school class (I turned 18 at the end of my 1st semester of college) and it was apparent to me how much better I would have done academically if I had started a year later. It is nice to see a well-respected and famous homeschooling mom expressing a similar hesitation.

The other thing that I am getting increasingly irritated about is the focus on early college admission. Sending your child off to school at 16 (or earlier) is becoming a mark of prestige. Too many parents are using early college admissions to reassure themselves that they've done a good job. "I must have done something right-my kid is 16 and ready to go to college."

I really hate this increasing tendency to use early college admissions as a status symbol. I would like to see homeschoolers move more towards taking a gap year, a year off before college. We have this enormous flexibility; why don't we take advantage of it? I have taught college freshmen for almost ten years now, and I can tell which ones are 18 and which ones are 19 without even asking. My 19-year-old freshmen are better organized, they get more sleep, and they are happier. Most of all, they know what they are trying to get out of the experience. Emotional maturity can't be rushed; you simply have to live a certain number of years before you develop it.

I am not saying that no one is ready to go to college at 18. Sure, some kids are ready. But many, many kids would benefit from a year off. Taking a "gap" year before college is much more common in Europe than it is here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

living on one income

For the past 10 years I have stayed at home while Tim has brought in the $$. A single military paycheck is pretty paltry, especially since these days it is common for lawyers to marry lawyers and doctors to marry doctors, bringing in combined incomes of $300,000 and up. Instead of joining the competitive and exhausting world of dual income professionals we have lived frugally so we can be comfortable on one income. Tim sent me this article to tell me what a "trendsetter" I am.

Thanks sweetie, but I just try to follow the path laid out by generations of mothers and wives for financial peace: live within your means (don't go into debt), focus on God and not stuff (happiness is living in a state of grace, not living in a replica of Graceland), and pick a good husband (one who kisses his children each night, not just pays child support from another state).

You see lots of articles discussing ways to eliminate the second income -- things like clipping coupons, buying second-hand clothes, and cutting out vacations and cable television.
But ultimately, paring those expenses isn't going to cover the gap for most middle-class families, because those aren't the costs that drive them to the economic edge. The real problems are what Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren calls "the big five" -- housing, health insurance, child care, a second automobile, and taxes.'s families save less and carry more debt: In 1970, the one-income family saved 11 percent of its take-home pay and allocated 1.4 percent of its annual income to pay revolving debt, such as credit cards. In 2005, the two-income family saved nothing, and allocated 15 percent of its annual income to revolving debt.... In other words, the two-income family spends everything -- the second income, all of its annual savings -- and has piled on debt.

Lawrence, whose budgeting guide was first published in the 1980s, says it's harder to live on one income today because a number of innovations -- such as Internet access -- have become necessities. But just as important, there's so much more choice in luxuries than there used to be -- that is, so much more stuff to say "no" to.

This last part was brought home to me after reading Parenting, Inc. by Pamela Paul. It describes the excesses of new Mommy mania such as the $800 Bugaboo strollers that make up part of the $1.7 trillion American market for toys and baby gear. With all the new necessities of parenting even the Wall Street Journal figured a cost of raising one child to age 17 as costing a cool million dollars. I was amazed how much stuff new parents buy: boutique clothing and fanciful nurseries, baby classes in sign language and music, parenting coaches and exclusive mommy clubs, child tracking systems and car seats for stuffed animals.

As I was reading the thought that while these companies help our national economy, if people didn't buy all this junk they could afford to quit work, save for college, or have another child. As I am well aware, there are many families that really need mom to work, or mom needs to work a bit to stay current in her field or to feel productive. I too, have plans for working part-time or going into business for myself in a few years. I know many professional women who work to support an extravagant lifestyle and then claim they can't afford to stay home or have another child. However, there are many other women who would love to stay home and just need encouragement and financial advice.

My only suggestion is to research the options, live on one income for 6 months while saving the second paycheck, and have the confidence to live a pared-down lifestyle. While some days I wish I could walk out the door and not come home for 8 hours, I know that some of my kids wouldn't exist if I had a full time job and that would be unbearable.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

while the cat is away...

Tim and Will left this afternoon for their first overnight Cub Scout campout. Previously they had stayed for the activities, but not wanting to miss Mass they always came home before bedtime. However, due to Mass here not starting until noon, they equipped themselves quite handsomely at Target with new sleeping bags, lanterns, a camp stove, and mess gear. The rest of us didn't exactly see them off, as we had already left for a picnic by the lake, complete with a sailboat ride, face painting, and games. The only blemish in the day was when Timmy was standing in a swarm of fire ants and in the 15 seconds it took me to race down the hill and swipe them off he was bitten about a dozen times. He is quite a trooper though and only cried for a few minutes. Ever efficient I had all 4 of my charges bathed (bye, bye, unicorn) and fed by 6pm and in bed before 8pm.

You see, I have my own agenda for the evening and it doesn't include reading dozens of picture books or letting them watch movies. I have been utterly entranced by a series in the style and setting of Jane Austen's England by Elizabeth Aston. While I am still missing the first book, Mr. Darcy's Daughters, I have sped through The Exploits & Adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy, The True Darcy Spirit, and The Second Mrs. Darcy. So, with only the last in the series, The Darcy Connection left in the house, I am going to shut down the computer, pull out a bag from my hidden stash of m&ms and make myself a little nest to read, without any pressure during an exciting scene to shut the book and turn off the light. I certainly love spending time with my husband but I occasionally enjoy staying up late with a juicy story. Love, intrigue, fortunes, scandal, and always a happy ending, what could be better?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Timmy Houdini

The nice weather has kept us outside the past few days with more than walks around the pond and Will and Mary trying out their new fishing rods. Though Will caught a large mouth bass and Mary told us of several large ones "that got away."

When the big kids ask if they can go off to catch turtles or fish I usually say okay 'cause I trust them not to do anything dangerous. Preschoolers and toddlers are a different story. I am grateful that Maggie and Charlie stay in the yard, but Timmy goes right for the pond or the street. It has been a enormous challenge to keep this daredevil safe. I installed hook-and-eye latches for several of the doors, but he keeps testing them and 15 minutes don't go by before he finds one unlatched.

Out he goes.

Or he rediscovers that the back screen is a sliding door has a faulty latch.

Out he goes.

Or he enables his super sensitive radar to know when the garage storm door latch hasn't been tightly shut.

Out he goes.

I'm sure this desire to escape will serve some useful purpose in Timmy's adult vocation, perhaps he will be a performer in magic shows or a war spy. I can already tell that he won't be a corporate type working in a high rise, only able to look out the window.

As for me, I'm getting a lot of exercise hunting down and chasing my elusive little dude back into the house.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

good morning!

There are few things nicer for a mommy than to wake up late and find that the children have gotten themselves and their younger siblings dressed as a surprise. What was even better was when I sleepily asked, "Have you brushed your teeth?" they rushed into the bathroom in perfect obedience.

It doesn't happen very often, but it sure is delightful when it does.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling

This week's carnival is hosted by Melissa's Idea Garden with a lovely Mother's Day theme.

where is Wyoming anyway?

For the 4th quarter Will and I have been focusing on state history and US geography. I figured that we needed some fun practice so I turned to a game I found at the thrift shop called mad dash!. After our daily round I set a blank US map from Uncle Josh's Outline Map Book on the table and ask him to fill it in without looking at the giant map on the wall. He liked using the abbreviations so I printed out a list from the USPS website. I can't figure out why Connecticut and Massachusetts tend to be some of the hardest ones to fix in his mind, since he has been through these states over a dozen times on our summer pilgrimage to Maine. Of course he has never been to Alaska or Hawaii, but those are the first he scribbles down. In mad dash! those two states are the mad cards and when you try to make your road trip linking states together they can be used to jump over a missing state.

It has only taken about 50 games and a dozen blank maps for Will to think of it as a fun game rather than just a dopey extra assignment. Today he begged to play 3 rounds and filled in his blank map in about 10 minutes. I don't usually steer other moms to buying a particular product, but I have to say that we have had a great time learning with this game.

Monday, May 05, 2008

anxiety and angst

Many times in the past 5 years I have been intrigued by news stories about child prodigy homeschoolers. Recently an article in the Chicago Tribune starred Chelsea Link, who was courted and accepted to 7 Ivy League colleges. Chelsea wasn't merely taught at home By her dear mum, "her transcript includes courses ranging from... the Sorbonne in Paris to accredited online instruction from the Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youth."

"Despite all this excellence, Link's mother shared her daughter's angst."I'd wake up in the middle of the night and wonder: 'Whatever made me think that [home schooling] would be looked upon favorably?' " said Cindi Link, who prepared detailed course descriptions for the applications. The Links—who own their own marketing-analysis business—have been assuming responsibility for their only child's studies since kindergarten."

I was encouraged that even the parent of such a talented girl could share my anxiety about being solely in charge of a child's education. Last night I stayed up half the night staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep because of my worry over Mary's math skills. It has become increasingly obvious that her mind just doesn't seem to understand spatial relationships. She can't jump from plodding through addition and subtraction problems on paper to being able to doing it in her head. She will add 7+3=10, but if I ask her 10-3=? she looks at me blankly. She doesn't understand that adding 10+x=1x. Even the two times tables are frustrating to her.

I have started working with her in the afternoons using Math-It and it seems to be slowly working. However, my mind was stuck that since she is enrolled in a homeschool program she can't go slower or repeat certain subjects. Worry over far future PSATs, SATs, and college admissions put my mind into a lockbox. I needed to ask myself "Why not explore all the options?" Mary is only 8. She is too young for me to think that I have failed her forever by not somehow turning her into a math genius. We could switch to a more free-form curriculum for a year, repeat a grade, and/or simply take our time to get the basics down. Whatever we decide I can be confident that I have her well-being and future as my top priority.

Even if she doesn't get into Harvard.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

not a good nature walk for the squeamish

Yesterday afternoon, while Timmy was napping, the kids and I proceeded on a turtle hunt around the pond. Armed with a bucket, but no net, we were disappointed over and over when we would spy a red or yellow slider but watch them plop off a branch and disappear in a cloud of mud. Mary is our turtle whisperer, she seems to be able to catch them by being as quiet as a mouse and sliding her hand close in a flash. Unfortunately, with 3 other children along, such peace is not easily obtained so we only managed to get one little guy in the bucket.

As we continued to follow the path home I spied not only 1, but 2 big snakes resting in the brush by the side of the pond, not 12" from the path. I'm no snake expert, but the tan and brownish diamonds didn't look good so I hurried the children on and told them to keep their eyes peeled. Later in the afternoon we found that one of us had brought home more than he expected when Will found a tick down his underpants.

Each animal was a little science lesson as I tried to answer, "What kind of snake is that? Is it poisonous? Why do ticks bite? How big do they get when they suck your blood? Why do we have to put Brave (the turtle) back in the pond, can't he live with us?" While there are lots of ticks and other creepy creatures in Maine, there are no poisonous snakes, making for slightly less dangerous nature hikes in the future.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling

This week's carnival is hosted by HomeschoolBuzz with a futuristic theme.

your tax dollars at work

I thought I was upset when I heard that Nancy Pelosi spent $40,000 last year on flowers for her office, but now I find that many House members lease expensive SUVs and we pay for it. These are the same folks who refuse to drill oil in ANWR, refuse to eliminate the .50/gal gas tax (the oil companies only make .08/gal and they do all the drilling, refining, shipping, and distributing), and want us to radically change our lifestyles to reduce "man-made global warming".

What is it with these people? Can't they make do with a little less? Regular folks are having to trim back their household budgets, but the elitist politicians never seem to think basic economic principles apply to them. Many times while Will and I have read a chapter from Story of the World (Modern times) I have noticed that revolutions seem to occur when the regular people are treated like dirt while those in charge live in luxury. I don't yet see us at the brink of revolution, but there are a lot of ominous clouds on the horizon.

And it's not just the car, but gas, registration, insurance … the works. And there's no limit on how much they can spend. Congressman Charles Rangel was recently seen getting out of his Cadillac DeVille, which he leases for $774 per month. ...Congressman Gregory Meeks' Lexus LS460, which Meeks leases for $998 per month. All those leases are picked up by taxpayers through a little-known program available only to members of the House of Representatives.