I hope you never lose your sense of wonder. You get your fill to eat, But always keep that hunger. May you never take one single breath for granted. God forbid love ever leave you empty handed. I hope you still feel small when you stand by the ocean. Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens. Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.... I hope you dance.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


In Raiders of the Lost Arc, Harrison Ford's character says "Snakes. I hate snakes." Well I tell our children not to use the word hate so I absolutely dispise, dislike and am teriffied of spiders.

We have been visited by a ton of spiders in our condo. I guess because it was just before fall. For whatever reason poor Emily is lucky that her hair has not turned completely white. Can you tell, she has the same love for spiders that I do.

One day the girls were looking out the window and spotted a humungous spider web. Heather did not recognize the spider so she decided to get a closer look. She caught the spider and waited for me to return from the grocery store. I grabbed my Handbook of Nature Study by Anne Comstock. Much to my dismay it was not helpful. :0(

Below is pictures and even a video. Please let me know if you can identify it!

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Home school 2008

This year Sarah Elizabeth will attend classes part time at Edmonds Home School Resource Center. She take a math class this semester and hopefully a ton of classes next semester. She had hoped to take the sign language class but it is unfortunely full.

We also found out that through the Edmonds school district that they will pay for Sarah Elizabeth to attend a community college while attending high school so that when she graduates she will enter her junior year of college! Even better they pay for the college classes. I am going to explore is Sarah Elizabth can attend Cornish, the School for performing arts. That would be so sweet.

Sarah Elizabeth and I are required to attend a nine week orientation session. She is only allowed to attend a math and worls languauge during this time. So she will not be able to attend any first semester classes. bummer.

We are hoping to attend Seattle Children's Theater in the upcoming weeks with the EHRC. I plan to see if there is a school performance for it and Pacific Northwest Ballet Nutcracker.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Begining a new home school year in a new place brings so much uncertainty.

It seems like a life time ago that the children and I did anything that resembled home schooling. I realize that home schooling is not just schooling at home but a way of life. But the way our life has been the past few years the intensity seems to have been way too over whelming. We have spent the summer in Seattle doing so many fun as well as educational outings that we can cram into one summer. I do not know. Had we had a car we probably would have done more!

The year 2008 has been a year of ups and downs more complicated than we could ever imagine. It was a difficult year to home school but the girls persevered. On days that I felt bad they worked and on good days we had fun and worked hard. I have felt so guilty that the girls fell behind but I keep telling myself we will eventually “catch up”. Moving to Seattle gave promise to fun adventures and a new “playground” to explore: hanging at the beach, exploring places like the Seattle Art Museum, or walking along the streets of the Seattle Underground to name a few.

I have found that the local public school district offers an enrichment center for home schoolers. This is exciting and gives me hope that the girls will be back on grade level for math!

You know it is amazing what happens when the TV goes away. The first few weeks after we moved to our condo in Mountlake Terrace we did not have cable. Emily was sooooo bored she picked up a book to read. I was worried. Her reading ability up till now has been poor. She would try to read and constantly asking what is this word or that, but not this summer when she began to read. :0) I am not too sure how much of it she “winged”, guessing words as she went along but gobbled up the book and loved it. She wanted more! So I got her the next “Boxcar Children’s” book in the series. She again stuck her nose in the book and did not come up till it was finished. She was so proud of her self as to how fast she was able to finish the book! :0) “Finally!, I thought, it has clicked. She is on her way to reading. Taking the back seated approach to reading worked!” I have to tell you I am so proud of her. :0)

In the past I have always told the girls that they can choose to home school or go to school. I have to admit, I have tried to threaten to send them to school to produce work….I am a horrible Mom for this I know. I never expected that one day someone would choose to go to school rather home school because they tell me how much they love being home and having me as their teacher.

This year Emily surprised me. After moving to Mountlake Terrace she announced that she wanted to go to school. The bully from her class was no longer an issue and she wanted to make friends in our new place.

I was totally taken aback. At first I could not figure our why. For many reasons I began to realize. I always wanted to live in Seattle, and home school my children there. The opportunities were limitless. The same time though I was going to miss her being with me and that she had chosen another to educate her. I know this is silly but it hurts so much. I must admit, I have not been the best home schooling Mom. I think I give Home schooling Mom a bad role model name. I wanted to do so much with the children but have found it difficult. Emily has ADHD, dyslexia and I feel certain has a reading disability. Part of me is very fearful that when she goes to school that the teacher will think, “What the hell has this woman done with this child? Look how far behind she is.”

When we pulled her from second grade her teacher told me it was the worst thing I could do to her. Well she certainly did nothing for her but instill poor self esteem for not being able to read on the same level as the other children or because Emily could not pass ONE spelling and vocabulary test. The teacher blamed us, her parents, for not working with her or encouraging her enough. I asked for dyslexia testing and suggested the possibility of reading disabilities because of all the problems I had with teaching her to read and spell. She provided the excuses that dyslexia was not tested until third grade, period. It was all Emily’s fault for not trying.

I do not want to see Emily fail again or have her spirit again crushed. To be teased and called dumb. I am reluctantly letting her go. My oldest tells me that I hold too tight to them and need to let them go, so that they can come back to me when the need me. I just do not think that I have the strength or energy to fight a new school or system.

Joseph is another story. I worry greatly about him attending a new school. They are placing him in a special education class that has 12 children with mixed issues. They cannot provide him with in house occupational therapy so they will bus him to another school for 30 minutes of therapy a week. That is a loss of 90 minutes one day a week. This class eat in the classroom and do not go to the playground when the other children are there. But hey, they attend all the assemblies and the school picnic! I just do not have a good feeling about this.

Joseph usually will not produce “work” for me. To home school Joseph I really would have to think outside the box. Sarah Elizabeth shared recently that she is thrilled with the prospects of having me all to herself. What a compliment. Now that I am thinking of home schooling Joseph, she is so worried that I will have no time for her because all my time will be spent with Joseph.

I am more confused than ever. I wish someone could help and provide insight or confirm my fears. My friends are all anti-home schooling so I cannot talk to them about it. I have been looking at home school support groups around Mountlake Terrace. One person who I spoke with about becoming a member of their group basically told be how horrible I was for allowing my children the decision for their own education and that I was really not committed to home schooling. Boy did she make me feel horrible. I guess because she is right. I had told the girls that I was not going to home school this year that I needed a break, but deep down I don’t want a break. I want my girls with me. Maybe this is just another control issue with me. Who knows. God I wish I knew. I wish I knew the answers to all this. I just want my children happy, with great self esteem who know that they are smart and very loved. I don’t think that is too much to ask.

Educating Heather was so easy. She was like a sponge and just absorbed everything. She was so smart I really could not mess her up! But I feel that with Sarah Elizabeth and Emily I need to do more to make sure that they are prepared for this big world. Heather’s track record with public school was the pits. She never really had a chance with high school. She was so sick her freshman year with meningitis/encephalitis and the repercussions it caused. She was left out from the friends she knew in grade school and on. They had all changed and she was not prepared for that. She was an “odd man out” and was left to fall in to the obis of what was left in the pool of people and ended up in the wrong crowd and made poor choices for friends. I had always treated her as a adult and social she was not ready for the dramas that come from high school. She struggled and lost. She was wrongly accused which lead to expulsion. She was tossed into a world of uncertainty and I truly did not think she would survive. She struggled hard and wears the scars to prove it, literally. At times I think home schooling Heather was a mistake. She was so smart and so bored with school. She was too smart for me too. Instead of educating her, I played school and never really got to enjoy the benefits of home schooling. Life during that time was also so unbelievably difficult. No horrible. The bad out weighed the good and I was drowning but could not fight enough to get help. I fell into a dark hole of depression and stayed there for years not knowing I was even there. I find myself almost back to that point now, but know it will never be that bad again.

In the past ten years I gave birth to two amazing children, cared for both my Mother and Grandmother as they died from cancer. Grieved for my Mother’s boyfriend who died five days after she did from a broken heart. Lost Jeff’s dad two years after my Mom. Jeff has had several major job changes in the past few years and fear that he suffers undiagnosed depression. Joseph has had to deal with so many issues since birth. All but two of my close friends have moved away.
BUT, I have four beautiful children, a husband who loves me. I am about to live in Seattle for a year~ a dream come true for me. So what the heck does this have to do with home schooling my children? Everything! Our life is so crazy yet never ceases to amaze me.

So I will throw all these fears and feeling to the great obis of the cyber world and leave it there. Instead I will pray harder for God to grace me with the answers I seek and guide me to path I am to take. I will take these few weeks that I have been blessed with to school the children and be grateful I had this time.

When we get back to Seattle I will put my big girl panties on and throw my shoulders back with pride that Emily was brave enough to speak up and support her decision. I will keep my nose in Joseph’s classroom and if necessary make changes that best support him. Sarah Elizabeth and I will cherish the special time we have together and hopefully grow even closer.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


The girls acclimated to HutchSchool amazingly well. It is as if they have been going there for quite a long time. Last week was the lowest tide of the year, the day was rained out but they got to go two days later. Sarah Elizabeth was SO in her eliment! She had a blast and was the only one willing to get in the freezing cold Puget Sound to get a closer look at critters in the tidal pools. Yesterday there was a graduation ceremony and they received t-shirts and yearbooks.
Starting next week they will flip over to summer day camp. The girls will work with a tutoe two days a week, Sarah Elizabeth will work on Math and Emily on writing/reading. Click below for pictures of their school.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Homeschool lost

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

A friend recently shared this quote and it so hits home with us, especially now.

Since we returned home from Seattle, homeschooling has taken a major backseat, so I apologize for not updating any sooner. When we found out that Joseph's spinal surgery was scheduled for July 15Th we went into a whirlwind.

We were going to drive cross country. I spent hours on preparing lesson plans that would be appropriate to our travels. Then I had to have surgery on my leg. The surgeon said that my leg would not be healed well enough to drive (and the transmission dropped out of our van). So, now we are flying!

The girls are going to attend Hutch School in Seattle. Kids that live at the Ronald McDonald House attend school there. It will be a fun transition from home school to a more traditional schooling approach. During the summer they offer summer day camp which the girls are really looking forward to participating in. I am in hopes that Joseph will be able to be a part of this program as well.

When I was sick last fall and winter we were not able to accomplish as much as I had planned. The girls were going to work three days a week through the summer to get caught up. That was before we knew Joseph was going to have all these surgeries. So I am not going to stress about it.
I am going focus on Joseph and allow the Hutch School to help us get back up to speed. Fingers are crossed this will work! Otherwise we will need to double up next fall. Thank goodness homeschooling is flexible to roll with the punches. Lately I feel we have had more than our fair share of punches!

Please drop by www.caringbridge.org/visit/josephsprouse for better updates.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Finger Knitting

This semester has turned into a major hand working focus. I did not plan it that way, it just happened. One of my favorite websites http://heartsandtrees.blogspot.com/ had shared a link to learn how to finger knit http://youtube.com/watch?v=t3LKAlDz9ig . I could not wait to teach the girls. Our friends Lilith and Maura thought it was so cool they too wanted to learn!
It is so easy. I found myself "knitting" while watching TV and especially helped pass the time while waiting at doctor offices. :0)

I don't think this would fit the Charlotte Mason ideology for hand work. But as far as we are concerned, we love it! While we were in Seattle Emily, Sarah Elizabeth and I learned to knit. Both the girls and I absolutley love it!

Update on our window garden

You can imagine our surprise when came home from Seattle and found the girls seedlings had become full fledged plants! Sarah Elizabeth's sunflowers were huge. Unfortunately it appears that several days of watering was missed. Her plants are quite sad and droopy. I am in hopes that if we transplant them into better drainage pots they will come back. If not it is off the Greens Feed and Seed to try again. Our turnip had all but dried up~the growth on top however had been saved by draining all the moisture from the turnip top.

We have a new addition to our window garden peonies. Aunt Barbara gave each of the girls this really cool kit called an eggling. The kit came with seeds and a "egg" pre-filled with special soil. The girls cracked the egg, removed a little of the shell and placed the seeds on top of the soil. Add water and watch it grow. The girls had a lot of fun cracking their eggs and are anxious to watch them grow.

When I was at Target last night in the $ bins I found tiny little seed starters. A few more herbs, marigolds, lavender and a tomato plant. What luck! We are almost set with our garden. the girls would like to grow a few pumpkins, a strawberry plant, cucumber, zuccini and a red and yellow peppers. The girls are starting to get a little carried away!

Splatter Faries

Spring is in bloom in West Virginia!
Today was such a beautiful day! It was partly sunny and into the 70's, way to warm to focus on math and reading.
Somewhere I stumbled upon a great website: http://www.magicalchildhood.com/index2.htm I love it! When looking at the spring newsletter I found this great art idea. We were babysitting my girlfriend's 5 yo daughter, Maura (will be 5 tomorrow but she has started telling everyone she is 5! :0) and I thought this would be a good one to span the ages.....My 10yo and 14 yo would love it as well. I was right!

We used card stock and tempera paint. I placed the colors they choose on a foam plate so that they could add colors or start again at their leisure. The girls also loved to swirl the colors and mix colors on the foam plate. Sarah took a piece of card stock and gently laid it on top of the mixed paint. it created such a cool design. Right after she set in down to dry the wind picked it up and smushed it against the house. The picture was ruined but the house has a cool design. Good thing it is washable!
I will post the finished product for you to compare. The girls can identlify objects in their pictures (kinda like when you look at clouds~I was never very good at that)I sorta see what they see if I squint real hard and turn the picture upside down! :0)

Friday, March 14, 2008


As so many homeschooling families do, we use cooking for many things: home ec, math, science and down right fun. This is one of those occasions! On our AmbleRamble group, Dana shared this wonderful recipe. I could NOT wait to make it~usually we have a "special" breakfast...aka meat (bacon or sausage), french toast, or a coffee cake. The reason behind this was because Saturday mornings in the winter have a wonderful slow mode. We are all home and have time to really spend time on breakfast. I will definitely be adding this yummy recipe to our Saturday morning breakfast menu. Thanks Dana Wixson wixsond@hotmail.com

Basic Biscuits & Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, chilled
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips for scones (optional - NOT!)
1 beaten egg plus 1 tablespoon sugar for tops of scones
Makes 12 biscuits or 8 scones

Helpful Hints:For light, flaky biscuits and scones, be careful not to mixor knead the dough too vigorously. Biscuits and scones arebest when served warm.

Directions:Preheat oven to 450 degrees for biscuits, 375 degrees for scones.
Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and saltin large bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture resemblescoarse crumbs. Stir in milk until soft dough forms.Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 7-8times, just until dough is smooth. (For chocolate chip scones, stir in chocolate chips before kneading.)

FOR BISCUITS: Flatten to 1/2-inch thick and cut into2 1/2-inch rounds. Place 1 inch apart on large ungreasedbaking sheet. Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes.
FOR SCONES: Transfer dough onto ungreased baking sheet.Shape dough into flat, 8-inch round. Cut into wedges, butdo not separate. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle withsugar (YES!), if desired. Bake round until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.Separate into scones.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Monk food

Yesterday we read Chapter 3, volume II, Story of the World. This chapter addresses the spread of Christianity to Britian. One of the suggested activities was to prepare Lentil soup. I have never had lentil soup but loved the idea of eating as the monks would. We ever pretended it was butter so we could have butter on our bread! Emily could not get over that the monks were not allowed butter on their bread nor that they were not allowed to meat at breakfast. "No sausage or bacon? Poor them!"

Emily loves to help in the kitchen and this was no exception. She loved chopping all the veggies, adding the lentils and watching the spinch wilt. The lentil soup was wonderful and easy to make. Emily on the other hand has a different opinion, can you say YUCK! Did I mention that Emily is an extremely picky eater? At least she tried the lentil soup.
Because we are a larger family I doubled the recipe for lunch tomorrow. Well that was the plan, for evening snack Jeff, Sarah Elizabeth and I had another bowl. At Sarah Elizabeth's suggestion a few bowls were shared with their Godmother and Godfather, they called to say the soup was yummy! So there was no soup left over for lunch! ;0)

Lentil Soup

1 onion (we used a vidalia)
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 (14.5) can crushed tomatoes
8 C water
2 Tbs. vinegar
1/4 C of olive oil
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
1tsp. dried basil
1 C lentils
1/2 C spinich, rinsed and thinly chopped
Salt and ground pepper to taste

*Note: I added 2 Tbs. Johnny's Season (we sprinkle this on about everything!)

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery; cook until stir onions are tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano and basil; cook for two minutes.

Stir in lentils, add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. reduce heat,a nd simmer for atleast one hour. When ready to serve, stir in spinach and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste. Enjoy!
This makes about 6 servings.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What a truely amazing day!

Oh my golly spring is really coming! Today has been absolutely totally fabulous. I awakened to the sound of song birds and a cloudless blue sky. After breakfast I immediately re-evaluated the plans for the day. While Jeff is home with us we are trying to include everything we can because he has missed out on so many occasions and outings with us when he was working.

It took an 1 1/2 hours to get the girls out door for some reason...yikes they were grouchy. Sarah Elizabeth announced that the time change was not the sharpest idea from the crayon box!! I just chalked it up to teenagerness and the need to sleep forever at this age, LOL. I love you Sarah Elizabeth <3!>

Finally, we were out the door to explore. We went to Little Creek Park because it is close to home. Gas prices are really dictating where and what we do these days, especially with Jeff not working. Once the girls arrived at LCP their spirits changed completely......yeah!!!!!!! We drove around trying to decided where to explore and decided the creek was a great place to go. Dad was not happy thinking we were going to forge the creek! Silly Daddy.

I gave Dad the task of searching for tree buds and Emily did a great job sketching while Sarah bear was off exploring for a place to get into the creek without getting wet. She actually found this cool overhang rock that allowed her the opportunity to get as close as possible. All around the creek were shoots of one particular plant coming up. I was not able to zoom in close enough without getting wet, so I made a mental note that we would need to come back again a few times to see what blooms. My minds eye is showing it might be Lillie's of the valley. If so the creek bed will gorgeous next month.

Sarah Elizabeth commandeered the digital camera and off she went. She does have a great eye for pictures and I cannot wait to upload them to the computer but that will have to wait until our main computer comes back from the computer guru, aka their godfather David. Lately it seem to spend more time at his house than our. Gotta remember to cover the off/on switch so that Joseph will stop turning off the computer so that he can change sites rather than asking for help. Meanwhile Emily went searching for signs of a troll who might live under the near by creek bridge. (Hmmm~do you think that Emily has watched way too many episodes of watching Dora with her little brother, Joseph?!) No troll but there was a cool water fall under the bridge and old oak tree with a huge hole in its trunk beside the bridge. I took the opportunity to remind Emily that flying squirrels nests are usually inside tree trunks (We are reading Mystery in the Night Woods, about a flying squirrel). Much to her dismay there was no nest in the tree but she did spot several squirrel nests in the trees overhead. Sadly, deep inside the tree some litter bug dropped a water bottle in the hole. Sarah Elizabeth was just about to extract it but Dad nixed that idea. All in all it was a great time.

I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING! It is days like this that deepen my love of homeschooling. Emily loves field trips even more today: on our walk back to the car she found a very worn, dirty $1 bill. Her comment, "Homeschooling can really pay off!" Gotta love her. :0)

Well, dinner is not going to cook itself and kids will be home from choir practice soon. Tonight we are having lentil soup. This is suggested by History of the World to go hand in hand with studying the Byzantine Empire..."We are eating Monk food, yuck." according to Emily. When reminded she and Sarah are cooking dinner (big grin on my part :0) ) she cheered up. Did I mention Emily is the pickiest eater in the whole wide world???

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Project Budburst


Thanks to mailto:momtocherubs%40becksbounty.com for sharing this wonderful project that will be great to tie into the Green Hour...no child left inside. Whether you homeschool or not this will be great to do with your children.

Have fun enjoying the beauty of Spring.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ever have one of those days...

Well it has only taken three days to make and plant our herb terriariums and start our flowers. The girls forgot to water them after they were planted..oops. The beans started on Saturday are already making progress. The seed covers have popped open on Sarah' Elizabeth's pinto beans as well as her navy. Emily forgot to set hers in the light and stuck them in her cubby...another oops.
Sarah Elizabeth planted Mamouth sunflower seeds and moonshine sunflower seeds. Emily planted daisies and sweet peas. I had the girls examine and compare their seeds in size before they planted them. I made copies of their seed packets and they glued these into their notebooks. As usual Sarah Elizabeth took hours designing her notebook pages and Emily finished in under 2 minutes! Typical.

The girls will keep a diary of the progress their indoor gardens make and eventually move them outside. I sure hope the girls have better green thimbs than I do! :0) If so we should have the prettiest flower bed on the block.

The gentleman in the picture is from Greens Feed and Seed. Check out the size of the seed started bag. Did we really need a seed starting bag that ummm.....big?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Frozen Cookies

I would love to share with you the big freeze~AKA selling girl scout cookies in 20 degree weather BUT........I forgot to put the memeory card back in the camera. BOOOOOOOO HISSSSSSS.

Four 8,9, 10 year old girl scouts braved the cold and sold cookies outside today. Rita brought hot chocolate and boy am I glad she did. Otherwise we would have had frozen solid little girls. The day was beautiful. sunny, crisp and few people were braving the day. Did not sell as many cookies as we would have liked but it was fun hanging out with the girls!

Anyone want to buy any girl scout cookies? :0)

How does your garden grow?

Today we had a beautiful blessing of snow! Joseph was so excited when he awoke and found it snowing. It continued to do so into to wee hours of the morning. More than 6 inches! My poor SIL in Cleveland received more than a foot. Wish we were there!

Yesterday we went to Green's Feed and Seed store to pick out seed to germinate. The girls had a great time...just so many seeds so little space in the window! I am trying to home school on a shoestring since Jeff lost his job and I tell you it is so hard. Seeds and soil ended up costing around $20 (ouch!). Each girl had two different kids of seeds. I only hope that they either begin to grow before we leave on the 18Th or do not make their grand entrance until after we get back from Seattle on March 27Th.

On a side note: I know your thinking how can we go to Seattle with Jeff not working? Our son, Joseph, and daughter Sarah Elizabeth are going for medical treatment. Thanks to http://www.miracleflights.org/ we do not pay for airfare and we are praying that we will be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House http://www.rmhcseattle.org/ Joseph has a caring page at www.caringbridge.org/visit/JosephSprouse .

The whole garden thing began back when I followed the suggesting form Heart and Trees to grow a winter garden. We tried sweet and white potatoes, parsnip, carrot and turnip. Nothing grew but the turnip. The girls have loved watching it grow as well as Emily's friend Lilith, Every time she comes over she checks to see how much it has grown.

The girls planted their seeds in egg cartons. We were going to cover them with plastic wrap, this still might happen while we are in Seattle so that they are watered. The last thing I want is for them to die while we are gone. Emily is growing sweet peas and daisies (both are my favorites, and I promise I did not prompt her choice!). Sarah Elizabeth is growing two different types of sunflowers.

When we return from Seattle hopefully our NASA tomato seeds should arrive. I am uncertain what list I got the address to sign up but it sound really cool and tied right into our space and plants unit. http://www.tomatosphere.org/ Tomatosphere is an educational outreach project that reaches over 9000 classrooms across Canada, the United States.