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Everything posted by Alice

  1. I finished The Alice Network, for my book club. It was fine. I didn’t love it or hate it. I did find the real story of the female WWI spies interesting and would like to learn more about that but the book was a little too full of caricatures and simplistic. Someone in my book club commented that it felt like a screenplay and I think that was probably the perfect comment...I felt like the author was writing for the potential movie instead of really developing the characters. I also read two short stories this week with my 9th grader: Big Two Hearted River by Hemingway and The Bear by Faulkner. I’m still reading Diary of Anne Frank with him as well. I run a book club for my daughter and her friends and had to read a book for that. It was ok, but interesting in that it’s a self-published autobiography by the grandmother of one of the book club girls. The girl is super excited that we chose it and I think all the girls are intrigued because of the connection. Up next I think is Autumn by Ali Smith. I have a bunch on my nightstand stack but I believe that has to go back to the library soon so it will be next.
  2. For all the mystery readers, a book I read last year and really enjoyed was The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards. It tells the story of the creation of the Detection club which was a group that started in the 1920s/1930s of mystery writers in Britain. Lots of info about Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers among others. He also talks about a lot of real crimes that inspired them or that they were interested in.
  3. My oldest does Lukeion Latin. He’s in Latin II this year and did Latin I last year. He really loves it. It is a lot of work, but he does not spend nearly 10 hours a week on it. I’d guess it’s about 5-6 most weeks and 8 on a heavy week, like before the midterm. He had finished Lively Latin through BB2 before doing Luekion and I think that helped a lot last year. It made it easier as he was learning how to navigate the pace and difficulty level of Lukeion to have the vocabulary and grammar be familiar. I know that I’ve seen other people spend a lot longer but I thought I’d just chime in to say that’s not always the case. Could you start with one course and see how it goes and then add in another course the next year? I haven’t used CLRC so can’t compare it to Lukeion.
  4. I think the main reason that ours works is that it’s sponsored by a church and the pastor who started it many years ago does most of the organizational/support work. Also, it’s very large and has a mix of all ages. There are about 70 high schoolers, for example. That means that there are enough teachers that people can teach and also take years off of being the main teacher without feeling like there aren’t other classes to be offered. And there are enough people so that it works out that people can choose the jobs that fit their skills and stage of life. I did nursery and preschool when my youngest was that age, because I thought it would be fun to be with her. But that is not at all what I enjoy and I was happy to stop doing it. There are other Moms who have all high schoolers but who really love preschool and who keep teaching in there.
  5. We pay for Co-Op but the teachers aren’t paid. Fees go for supplies. Every parent has a job. Ours is divided into three class periods. Parents work two periods and have one off. The off period is a support group time with food, sometimes speakers, or just time to hang out. If you aren’t a Lead teacher you can be an assistant. You can work on the nursery or preschool classes. We also have a group that does support for the co-op...collects payments and paperwork, organizes things, runs the website, plans field trip. We also have a group of people who are floaters, they aren’t assigned to a class but fill in if someone is sick.
  6. Awesome! I’ll have to show that to my kids. At the time my daughter (the one who thought it was Writing Without E’s) was learning to read and doing phonics. So her world was all about letters and sounds and it kind of made sense for her to hear it that way. But still funny.
  7. I totally would. My kids would love that. Dh would probably think it was weird.
  8. I make the fried tofu from Budget Bytes a lot. https://www.budgetbytes.com/2016/02/pan-fried-sesame-tofu-with-broccoli/ The linked recipe is our favorite but she has lots of other variations with different sauces/flavors. I made this one of hers last week and everyone liked it. https://www.budgetbytes.com/2017/12/soy-marinated-tofu-bowls-spicy-peanut-sauce/ My middle son is a vegetarian and sometimes if we are having meat we just take tofu for him and slice it and then pan fry it just by itself in a little oil. He then seasons it himself with some kind of sauce. (BBQ, hoisin, orange, soy sauce, various seasonings, etc). Buy the extra firm. It’s better if you have time to press it to get rid of the water, but it works without doing that. For the kind where you coat it and fry it you really have to press it to get it to work well, but that’s easy. The linked recipes have steps to walk you through that. I find it in our produce section.
  9. My oldest hates writing. He called Writing With Ease “Writing Without Easeâ€. Which then became a family joke because we always called it that and then discovered years later that our youngest thought that it was “Writing Without E’s (the letter)â€. And we all agreed that would indeed be a challenge...no words with Es allowed. :)
  10. I finished Uncommon Type this week. It’s the book of short stories by Tom Hanks. They were enjoyable, definitely worth reading for themselves and not just the celebrity factor. Other than that most of my reading has been guided by reading for or with the kids. My daughter and I had the “mother-daughter†book club she requested on Friday. We had tea and blueberry muffins that she made and discussed Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth. It was a very sweet time togther. My oldest and I are working through The Art of Reading from The Great Courses. This week we read two short stories before listening to a lecture (Updike’s Pigeon Feathers and Flannery O’Connors’ Revelation). I began reading The Diary of Anne Frank, which I assigned to my son to read for English. As a family we are reading A Wrinkle in Time. I also just started The Alice Network for my book club. It’s about a ring of female spies in WWI. Haven’t gotten far enough to say much about it. I’m also listening to Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty on audiobook. The audiobooks are such ear candy. So fun and I love the Australian accent. It’s helped me keep my New Year resolution to exercise as I’ve been listening on the treadmill at the gym when my son swims.
  11. We loved those audiobooks. Other series we’ve loved... Gregor the Overlander The Sisters Grimm The Frog Princess The Sixty-Eight Rooms Harry Potter audiobooks are also really good, even if you’ve already read the series.
  12. Yes. We do it as it comes up in the curriculum. Depending on the kid that has been 2nd or 3rd grade.
  13. I have no idea but I think you won best thread title of the day award.
  14. Deep Space Sparkle has good projects, although a lot less of it is free than it used to be. I also like the artfulparent.com. We have done some really cool and fun art projects from there: making marbleized paper, scratch art.
  15. You can go to the website and enter the amount you walked and it will add those steps to your amount. I’ve done that when I was focused on a number of steps and for some reason it didn’t count or I forgot to wear it. I’m focusing on developing new habits incrementally as goals rather than the ultimate goal of weight loss. I had worked on sleep before the holidays, getting up earlier and going to bed earlier. I mostly maintained the amount of sleep over break, or slept more so it wasn’t a huge adjustment to go back to those habits the past few days. I’m tracking walking now with the goal of walking daily. I’m counting either walking on a treadmill, outside or a Leslie Sansone video as walking. I prefer walking outside but sometimes schedule and weather isn’t conducive to that. So far, so good: 1/1- Walked 4 miles on our annual New Year’s Day Walk with other families, 1/2- Walked the treadmill for 45 minutes at the gym while my son was at swim practice, 1/3- Did a Walking Video this morning before work. I think the biggest thing for me and exercise is to plan it. I always feel good when I do it but I it’s not my default. So for example, tomorrow I plan to walk in the morning with dh...but I know the weather might be bad. In that case I have a Plan B which is to walk at the gym during swim practice. I did one day of Yoga with Adrienne. I’m interested in yoga but I’m not going to track this or stress over it. It was fun, although I felt a bit goofy since the kids were in the room. Food wise I’m trying to stick with the No-S plan, which I’ve done so far and had started before the holidays.
  16. Dh and oldest are going to Chile in March for a missions trip. I just bought tickets last week to take the other two kids (ages 11 and 8) to San Antonio and Austin. I’ve never been to Texas and we are getting excited to start planning. We go to the beach every May with my parents. We’ll probably do some other long weekend family trip in the fall but not sure where.
  17. I’ve always read the or as part of the list of alternative places/forms to public school...private school OR parochial OR tutor OR homeschool. However, like I said, in 10 years of homeschooling in VA I’ve never worried about following a specific number of days or schedule and no one else in the fairly large homeschooling community I do either. I just quoted the law because I’ve heard other new homeschoolers in VA read it and interpret it as needing to do 180 days. It’s kind of a vague part of the law in my opinion, and poorly written. But the reality of homeschooling in VA is that it’s really easy.
  18. Also in VA. I’m on year 10 of homeschooling here. I’ve never kept or submitted any kind of attendance records. We often start and stop our school year on days different than the public schools. We roughly go through sometime in August to sometime in May. It varies a bit each year. I don’t count days, although now that I have a high-schooler I’m keeping track of credit hours a bit more closely. The code does say †during the period of each year the public schools are in session and for the same number of days and hours per day as the public schools send such child to a public school or to a private, denominational, or parochial school or have such child taught by a tutor or teacher of qualifications prescribed by the Board of Education and approved by the division superintendent, or provide for home instruction of such child as described†So, I suppose technically we are supposed to follow the exact same schedule. That’s probably where the person who told you that got the idea or where you may have gotten it. However, no one I know in reality does that. And since the code also mentions private schools following the exact same schedule and no private school I know of actually does that...I think it’s just a poorly written code.
  19. Northern Cardinal (male) for me too. I’m happy because they are one of my favorites. I don’t know much about their personalities or behaviours but I just love seeing the bright flash of red in the winter.
  20. I always start off the year wanting to post to this thread regularly but then not doing it. I’m realizing more and more in my life that I have these bad perfectionist tendencies, where if I think I’ll do it every week and then I miss a week, I think “Oh, well, that’s over for the year.†Which is really kind of stupid. I don’t usually do the challenges. My general goal is to read more. :) Right now I’m reading Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks and really liking it. I’m also deciding whether or not I want to finish a book that I read for my book club but didn’t finish before our discussion: Marting Luther by Eric Metaxas. I think the ship has sailed for me on that one, at least for now.
  21. Yep. I always do it before New Year’s.
  22. Nope. We watch a movie as a family and then the kids have a sleepover in the same room. Our bigger tradition is New Year’s Day. We have a tradition of doing a long walk with a group of friends, going on 15+ years now. We end up at someone’s house for soup and hot drinks. This year it’s our house and so far we’ve heard of about 40 people coming. Should be fun! I love the tradition of starting the New Year with friends.
  23. I’m trying something a little different than what I’ve done in the past. In the past I’ve focused on the goal of losing weight. And I try a bunch of life changes at once and do ok but then always fail. I have a lot to lose so I think it just seems too daunting and I give up. So I’m instead focusing on smaller habits that are health related. I’m hoping by focusing on the habits instead of just the end goal that I’ll improve my health. I’d like the number on the scale to be a lot lower also but I’m trying to change my focus to not just be that. I downloaded an app called Momentum that is a habit tracker. It’s free, or you can upgrade for like $3 so you can track unlimited habits. I started by working on sleep. I had gotten into the habit of waking up later than I need to and going to bed too late. I’m a night owl by nature but need to be up early for the day to go well and for work. And it’s the best time to exercise. So I wanted to get up early, but I knew that I also need at least 7 hours of sleep a night. So I tracked bedtime and wake-up time for awhile and have gotten back into the habit of sleeping from 10pm-5 am which works well. Because I was getting up early I could walk more so I also increased exercise. I stopped tracking sleep now that it’s pretty much a new habit and am working on tracking walking daily. When I walk daily I usually get 10k steps, although again I’m trying to focus on the habit instead of the number. When I focus on the number I found I get discouraged if I only get 8k or 9k and then I give up. I’ve realized that I’m a bit of a perfectionist in a bad way...when I “fail" I just decide it’s over and then give up. So I’m going to track walking daily and not the number of steps. Along they way, I’ve also been trying to make better choices about eating but I’m not tracking it so that if I “fail†or “cheat†I don’t beat myself up and give up again. I plan on adding in some other habits to track after the holidays but only work on maybe 2 or 3 at a time, and not all in the same area. I figure that this could take me a long time to lose weight, but I’m ok with that. I really need to change my underlying lifestyle more than anything and that takes a long time. So far, (about 6-8 weeks) I’ve lost about 8 lbs and have maintained my weight through the holidays.
  24. I don’t really do a bullet journal, like the original videos. I don’t use colors and tapes and cute things. I have a hardcover Moleskine notebook that I use. I like to do a week at at time. I take one page and draw a column about 2 inches on the right side. Then I divide the larger section into 5, one for each day M-F. On the day section I jot down things that need to happen that day. Like if I need to remember to take something to co-op that I usually wouldn’t take. Or if I need to make a phone call or send an email on a specific day. in the right hand column I make a list with little squares to check off of all the things I need to do that week. If something doesn’t get checked off I do draw an arrow and then I know to carry it over the next week. I usually end up having a page just for Sat-Sun with tasks for the weekend. That’s because my weekly tasks are more things that I don’t feel the need to write down (go to work, exercise, teach kid). But the weekends are where I am more likely to have errands or unusual tasks to get done. I also use the back section for notes for specific things...like i just used it to make notes about some school planning for dd for January. Or I had Christmas ideas back there. Occasionally I make a page with bigger projects...like in January I want to do some major decluttering and I’ll make a list of areas to clean. I did that back in November for a major kitchen clean and reorganization. It helped me get it done when I could see each individual task and then check them off one a time rather than think “I have no time to do this massive job.†I like that the hardcover makes it easy to slip in papers that I need. ETA: I also use a digital calendar that syncs with the rest of the family. So I don’t use the notebook as a long term calendar. I found doing monthly pages really wasn’t helpful to me and was just added work. I think I did it one month and then never again.
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