Saturday, October 31, 2009

King Dallas No Longer

King Dallas the dog likes to sit and survey his kingdom, preferably with a bone firmly fixed between his paws. He is enjoying the autumn beauty. He runs through the leaves and attacks any errant rakes that would steal his leaves away. He thinks he is king of the Mango kingdom.
He regularly patrols his fiefdom and tries to keep out any marauding squirrels or other critters. If any forgetful boy leaves a football lying around. The king assumes that it was left for his benefit. When we look out he usually has it grasped firmly by the laces and is running in big circles around his kingdom, hoping for a boy to come join him.

He really likes his new palace. It is lined with clean straw and an old rug. It is clean, warm and dry. Just perfect for the dog king.

He delights in getting his bones to submit to his fierce jaws. Life is good for the dog king. Except....
This week he became the dog Eunuch. There is no longer any chance of offspring to continue the royal line of accession. Poor Dallas has now been 'Tutored' in the realities of a dog's life. The vet wanted him to remain in the house for a week. It lasted 3 hours and then by mutual consent he was returned to his outdoor fiefdom. He has the run of his kingdom once again and my sanity has pretty much returned.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Homeschooling Myths

There is a myth that homeschooling is merely setting up school at home and all the children either are sitting around working quietly or gazing attentively at the teacher soaking up all her vast wisdom. Kind of like Ulysses is doing here. The Mango Academy is unfortunately not such a place. They do sit quiet while we are praying together, but somehow, once the teacher starts teaching, they all get busy with something else. I am OK with that as long as they are learning and still paying attention, but the other day things got a bit wild.

T-Bob started laughing and the children were being silly.

Elizabeth sat and sedately stitched on her project, but the bigger girls got absolutely silly. What was with that? The problem started when Brooke brought her hot curlers to school so she and Michelle could try them out in each other's hair.

Michelle's long bangs formed long 'sproing' curls that were so much fun to be slung around.

And how do you use these things exactly? Don't they make one look beautiful? Even some of the boys ended up with some wild hair-dos and the water from the spray bottle kept ending up where it didn't belong, so it was banned from the classroom.

T-Bob finally got bored with the girl's shenanigans and went back to his Legos.

Elizabeth got tired of sewing and decided to do some coloring. Believe it or not they really were listening and learning the whole time, and not just learning beautician skills. They had fun AND did their memory work and listened to the missionary stories and other biographies and history. As long as they don't talk or get too distracting it is OK. I have to admit that this day did get a little out of hand. I had to rein in a few of their activities. We had some good laughs though. It was memorable. Then they put the toys away and settled down with some good books.

Chance was reading Lois Lenski's Corn Farm Boy.

Ulysses found a Dr. Seuss picture book to go through.

Brooke was reading a novel by Christmas Carol Kauffman (What were her parents thinking when they picked that name?) Mr. Boots slipped out on the porch to check out the autumn scenery. He came back in and did his reading too.

Everyone found a comfy spot to do their literature reading. The rest of the day went much smoother.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Giggling in the Leaves

The leaves are falling off the trees. The van was parked in the back yard and managed to collect quite a few on top. It was fun to watch the leaves blowing behind us for almost a mile as we drove down the road.

The girls that JoAn babysits for came over to play in our leaf pile. It is the benefit and curse of having lots of big trees in the back yard. Fun to play in, but not so fun to rake up. Fortunately Mr. Boots bought a super duper high powered backpack blower. It has taken a lot of the pain out of cleaning up the yard.

I love the little girl giggles as they play. They are so precious. Elizabeth enjoyed the company. It is not nearly so much fun to jump alone.


Autumn in the Mango's Backyard

It is such a beautiful time of year. I love the color of the leaves in Autumn.

The green fades and the yellow is so vibrant. It changes the look of everything. THey are like beautiful flowers.

Even our grassless yard looks a lot better as it is covered with a blanket of yellow.

Thank-you Lord for your awesome creativity in creating the seasons!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Elizabeth and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Have you all read this book? It does make one smile and realize that things aren't really THAT bad.
Elizabeth had one of those days on Thursday.

She was playing on a rope swing, kind of like this one at a friend's house. They have a big dog who decided to bite the rope that was hanging down. Unfortunately, he missed the rope and got her thigh instead. I don't think he was being malicious as he let go quickly, but she had a slight puncture wound, a scrape and a pretty good bruise. I guess she wasn't emotionally traumatized, as she was ready to go back there and play some more about a half hour later.

Her brothers then set up this slide on the platform. However, it wasn't bolted to the platform and it fell as she started down the slide. Yep, another scrape and bruise to her behind.

That evening, the children were outside playing in the dark. Elizabeth was running across the yard and hit the guide rope that holds up the volleyball net. You can see the sun shining off of it just above Dallas's head. She cut her mouth on the inside and had a swollen lip.
At least someone caught her as she was hanging from the net by the roof. It twisted as she was climbing down. Fortunately, she has gotten quite adept at crossing the monkey bars and was able to hang on long enough to be rescued.
She hasn't said anything about wanting to move to Australia, yet.

Hearts and Brooke play Volleyball

Brooke likes to play volleyball and does so on the local homeschool groups team. Last Saturday was the State Tournament. It was a lot of fun. The girls played well.
Mr. Boots, Elizabeth and I went to the Junior High Tournament.

It was neat to see Brooke's entire family there. We are so glad that her Mom is improving and was able to come to the championship Match.

Brooke has a smooth and consistent serve.

Her team was runner up in the State Junior High Tournament. Way to go girls!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Congratulations Nathan!! (and Anita)

This is my brother-in-law Nathan standing beside his Mom. He graduated this summer with his PhD in Genetic Epidemiology from Case. We are very proud of our family's newest doctor.

He maintained a 4.0 for his entire study for his PhD. He was student of the year in his department. He is a very humble man. He never said a word about it. We didn't find out until Anita put out his certificates at his party.

Mr. Boots and his friend Houston had a great visit together.

Michelle made the center pieces. They are chains of DNA. She made them out of licorice and candy. They are held together by fishing line and toothpicks.

Sadie, is Nathan's daughter and she is a sweetie. About the only time she cries is when she is hungry or ready to go to sleep.

The two cousins Levi and Elizabeth enjoyed the celebration and the cake and other treats. It definitely was a family effort for Nathan to get his diploma. Congratulations to them all!

Afternoon in the Schoolhouse

Afternoons are a quiet time at the school house. It generally follows lunch and a rousing recess. The children will often spend an hour outside playing volleyball or some other game or taking Dallas for a run. They ride their bikes and Dallas runs for 4-5 miles. The weather is cooling off fast here. We even had snow flakes this past week. It seems a little early for that. So much for global warming. Elizabeth and Chance find a place to work where they can get the help they need.
Whoever has dishes needs to make sure that those get done after lunch.

All the children enjoy the swing in the schoolroom. Brooke has it on this occasion.

Mr. Boots has lots of reading and school to do. Why is it so much more fun to be outside or working on machinery? He is not excited about academic matters, but he knows he needs to persevere.

After recess finds Ulysses sweetly taking a nap. He finds our school day and hanging with the older children to be tiring, and he always goes down for his nap without complaint.

Most days finds Elizabeth and Chance working at the dining room table. Often T-Bob joins them. Things have been going well with our enlarged schooling family.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sweetest Day Tribute to my Sweetie

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come:

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

We are memorizing this sonnet for school this semester. Every time we recite it, it reminds me of I Cor. 13. It makes me appreciate being married to a godly man.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

ICorinthians 13:4-7

Love you Sweetie!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dallas, the hygenic Dog

Dallas is learning to take good care of himself. He is not wanting to have bad breath after all the garlic he gets fed and the bones he chews on.

He makes sure that he gets all the way to the back with his toothbrush. He doesn't want to have to visit the dentist.

He even tries to brush his tongue. He hasn't learned to floss yet, but he at least he has brushing down.

Where's the Beef?

The Mango's have a autumnal tradition of buying a steer in the fall and then using the beef the rest of the year. This year we went to a different farmer/butcher. This farmer raised black angus beef and they are much larger than the kind we had previously. This years steer was more than 461.5# of meat. Fortunately we split it up with our friends. They get a third and we get the rest.
Kathy and I very carefully divide it out. We make sure that neither family gets more than their share of the roasts and steaks. We aren't cut throat about this but we do take it VERY seriously!
JoAn was the arbiter. She was the keeper of the scale. We brought up the doctor scale from the basement and we carefully weighed everything out.

We sorted everything and then divided it out. The filet mignon were weighed out to the ounce. It was actually a lot of fun. We had so much meat that there was enough for both families generously.

When it was all done we put it back in the boxes and the boys (who had brought it in to the living room) then carried it out to Kathy's car and the basement and the sundry other places that we have it stashed. Our freezers are now full to capacity and we even had to borrow space from others. Dallas is once more well supplied with bones. For those who are interested It was a grass fed steer with no hormones, etc. Not quite certified organic, but pretty close. The price per pound worked out to be $3.55. This did not include the bones and other sundry parts we requested for Dallas. A little expensive for ground beef, really cheap for steaks and high end roasts.
I would be happy to pass the butcher info along to anyone who is interested. He also sells by the half and the quarter.