Sunday, March 26, 2006

Finally some "socialization"!...

I have an older male friend, who I have mentioned before a few times (not that anyone notices - holy crap I sound like Eyore some days). He's kind of like a dad-figure, if your dad was a perverted, foul-mouthed redneck. I just love him! He adores my kids and often comes over to take them fishing or screwing around at the lake. He asks them to "help" around the yard, then pays them for their "work," even when they just run around playing all day. He's like a grandpa to them, and I think that's awesome since my husband's dad is mentally handicapped after an aneurysm and my dad is.. well.. I think my kids annoy him.

So this morning this friend calls me asking if it would be alright to sign the kids up for some activity, which he would pay for. I appreciate him asking, but it really was a no-brainer. I've wanted to sign them up for tumbling, tae kwon do, music lessons, something for quite a while, but we can't afford the lessons. I have been a little upset that we don't live around any children, and the children in the closest neighborhood are all complete demons. I can't even tell you how delighted I am that they can have this opportunity to make friends and find a hobby or activity they enjoy. They need to get out of the house once in a while. I need them to get out of the house once in a while.

Now, to find something my son will actually enjoy...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Portfolio panic attack...

I'm supposed to call my certified teacher to make an appointment for portfolio review. The review isn't until May, but I have to call her early in April to set everything up. I'm in a complete panic.

I haven't put anything in my son's portfolio at all.

I have got to be the laziest homeschooler on the planet. I technically have examples of his work for the portfolio, but I haven't stuck anything in the little binder all year. So now I have to go through everything, try to decide what would best represent his "progress," and organize everything in some sort of chronological order. Since we unschool every subject except reading and math, I don't really have a lot of examples either.

I'm terrified the teacher will think I'm some kind of idiot because all I bring her is a few math worksheets and a list of books my son has read. I'm afraid she'll say, "I'm sorry, but I can't give a statement of adequate progress to the district based on this information." I'm afraid I'll be getting a call from the district saying my son will have to take the state standardized test, and if he fails it, he'll have to return to public school.

In reality, the teacher I hired already told me she was flexible to all homeschooling styles. One could assume this also meant unschooling, and there will be no problems. I've been reassured that the reading list alone is impressive - he's already read almost 100 books this year. I just can't get past the irrational feeling that I'm somehow inadequate.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My baby turns 3!...

Today is my youngest child's 3rd birthday. I made her a cake.

Five years ago, I made my son a birthday cake. It stuck to the pan and was completely mangled by the time I got it out. It wasn't even worth saving at all, so we bought a cake at the local grocery store and had them personalize it.

Four years ago, I made my oldest daughter a cake for her second birthday. I remembered to grease and flour the pan so there was no sticking. It was white with flecks of pink, and I frosted it with white cream cheese frosting. I decorated it with strawberry halves. It was beautiful. After running over the frosting one last time, I turned to toss the knife into the sink and caught the edge of the cake plate on my shirt. The whole thing fell upside-down on the floor, completely smashed. My daughter immediately dug into it, eating cake and frosting from the floor. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Three years ago, I made a cake for my son's seventh birthday. Don't know what went wrong there, but it turned out more like a chocolate brownie than a chocolate cake. I swore to never make a cake again.

But this time, my youngest daughter wanted a pink cake, and since I thought I might have a hard time finding one of those at the bakery, I made one. And I didn't burn it, drop it, or smash it. Just in case, though, I took pictures of it after it was decorated. I'll post those as soon as I get them uploaded.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Homemade cloth menstrual pads...

Months ago, when I was obsessing about menstruation, I considered buying a bunch of cloth pads to use instead of the paper kind. I stopped using tampons altogether after reading some pretty scary stuff about their manufacturing procedures and ingredients, and after a couple of months I noticed a huge decline in clotting and a much shorter cycle. So why not go all the way and reduce paper consumption by using cloth pads?

Well, mostly because they cost about $10 each. Sure, you save money in the long run, but you have to have the money in the first place, and I just didn't.

But now, I have a sewing machine, and a bunch of leftover fabric scraps to make my own. I found a pattern to make your own cloth pads, printed it out, and made a couple. The pattern makes it sound so easy, but it was a big pain in the butt. Most of the thing didn't come together the way it was supposed to. The first one I made was too small. Four layers of batting is way too much to turn inside out. The whole project was a disaster.

I'm thinking of trying to design my own, but the rectangular pad I made caught on my underwear and looked ridiculous under my jeans, so I'm not really sure what size or shape to try. If anyone has any ideas about this, please let me know.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Obsession Train: Sewing...

So I got a new sewing machine. I got the bedroom cleaned out and a desk moved in to use for my sewing projects. I bought two patterns, one for a girl's dress and one for boy's pajamas. I was terrified the first night I used the thing, considering I hadn't sewn since junior high school, and even then I did it badly. I forgot to mention in all my begging for a sewing machine that I didn't really know how. I spent that first evening doing nothing but reading the pattern and the user's manual for the sewing machine. I looked up information on the internet and printed it out. I spent the next entire day sewing together a dress for my youngest daughter which, aside from the zipper, turned out amazingly well! Who knew I could sew? Then I completely lost my mind.

I just got home from fabric shopping. I bought seven different fabric prints, 6 zippers, a package of buttons, ten spools of thread in eight different colors, new scissors, a measuring tape, and half a dozen or so additional sewing-related items. I bought all this stuff at Walmart, so it might surprise you that I spent a little over $100 on that stuff. Wait - I thought sewing clothes was supposed to be cheaper than buying clothes??

I am really dissapointed in the small amount of patterns designed for boys. It makes complete sense, since most boys fashion centers around jeans and t-shirts. Jeans are a little tricky for this novice, and t-shirts are cheaper and much less hassle just to buy. Luckily for me, my son could care less if I made it or bought it, as long as he got something new.

I'm off to finish my second dress!