Quote of the Day


Merry Christmas, I say. I'm such a rebel.

I'm taking a rebel stance on the Merry Christmas issue. I think we should all utter greetings appropriate to our own faith customs. I'll wish you Merry Christmas. You can wish me Happy Holidays, or Happy Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you wish. You'll learn that I celebrate the Birth of Christ. I'll learn that you celebrate whatever it is that you celebrate. We will all be friendly and cordial. It will be fine.

I posted the above in Facebook earlier in the month and then my clever cousin took the ball and ran with it all the way to a real paid article: go take a look. Doesn't she write beautifully?


stocking stuffer ideas

Some ideas, for your stuffing pleasure

:: bath poofs
:: toy mice for humans owned by cats
:: chewies and tennis balls for humans owned by dogs
:: postage stamps for anyone off at college
:: good cheeses
:: nuts
:: Christmas ornaments for young adults
:: pocket flashlights for the cars
:: chapsticks
:: winter-weight Atlas garden gloves
:: hand-warmer packets for those in cold climates

:: tulip or daffodil bulbs
:: long matches
:: smoked oysters
:: woolie socks
:: Starbuck's cards
:: Trader Joe's cards
:: iTunes cards
:: pencils and erasers for school kids - especially home-schooling families
:: chocolate oranges
:: bottle of favorite fragrance
:: paint brushes and  other artsy supplies (hat tip to Audrey)
:: LUSH bubble bars

:: drill bits
:: hairclippies and rubber bands for little girls
:: sparkly glue

What did I miss ?


The Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook

I tried to resist, I really did. I don't need another cookbook. I haven't cooked all the recipes in the cookbooks I have! But I succumbed. I want this one:


The Stall Question

Do your kids drive you crazy with The Stall Question? Of course not, for you are a paragon of patience and loving-kindness. Me? Not so much. They drive me nuts with the lame-o unnecessary already-know-the-answer-and-we-all-know-that-you-know-the-answer questions that they ask to put off the inevitable for one more second, or that they ask for the sheer joy of watching Mom's head explode. I suspect the latter.

Obviously, if I could remain calm, cool, and collected, the Crisis of the Stall Question would dissipate on its own. Until I can arrange for a personality transplant, however, my new strategy will have to do. Lines. For every ridiculous question, the child can scribe the answer.

Mom: Please tidy up the playroom.
Child: Do I have to?
Mom: Please bring me paper and pencil.
(Mom writes "When Mom tells me to do something, I have to do it." on the top of the paper and numbers the lines 1 though 5.)
Mom: Please copy this out five times.
Child: Do I have to?
(Mom adds some numbers to the paper.)
(Child whines and stamps feet.)
(Mom adds some more numbers to the paper.)
(Child resigns self to the task, does the copywork; reads each and every line out loud to Mama; we check it for capital letters and end punctuation; we make tidy corrections as needed.)

Mom: Please tidy the playroom.
Child: Yes Mama.

We'll see how that works. It has to be better than our current pattern.

Mom: Please tidy up the playroom.
Child: Do I have to?
Mom (crossly): Yes, of course you have to. When I ask blah blah blah blahbity blah blah blah blah blah blahbity blah blah blah blah blah blahbity blah blah blah blah blah blahbity blah blah. Now go tidy up the playroom.
Child: Do I have to?
Mom (more crossly): No, you don't have to. You may go sit in the little chair until you are ready to tidy the playroom.

Now this did work, but I was always at risk of being pushed into crabby-land and a great deal of time was wasted on the little chair which has no redeeming benefits, other than ending the conversation and removing the child from view for awhile, and there was great potential for stewing to occur in the chair.

But scribing has some great benefits. It puts the positive message in front of the child's eyes, through the brain, and out through the fingers and the mouth multiple times. It models sentence patterns. It provides fine-motor skills practice. It is, by its repetitive solitary nature, a calming task which yields something they could (theoretically at least) take some pride in at the end.


how timely

If you follow my tweets and/or know me in RL, you know this is Grading Season. I took a wee break last night from my huge grading queue to join the family for Reading Time. We are working our way through The Chronicles of Narnia and have just started "The Horse and His Boy".

Shasta and Aravis and Bree and Hwin have just met up and are exchanging stories.

Aravis immediately began, sitting quite still and using a rather different tone and style from her usual one. For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you\'re taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.

Alas, Lewis is right.


I know how to look it up

Dandy (10): Chickadee, what's a consonant blend?
Chickadee (8): I forgot, but I know how to look it up.
(I faint with pleasure at this.)
Chickadee: Why don't you know this already?
Dandy: It's not the sort of thing that sticks in my head.
Chickadee: Well then I'll teach you how to look it up, and then you are on your own.
(I briefly revive, and faint away again. If all else fails, I have raised at least one independent learner. Malcolm Knowles would be proud of me.)

She then gives him a nice explanation -- with examples -- of consonant blends and digraphs.