Category Archives: Lulu

Odds & Ends: Cabin Fever Edition

1-IMG_4953-001It has been a long week here at the House of Hope. Due to the winter weather and north Alabama snow hsyteria, not one of our scheduled activities took place this week.  NOT ONE.   While I definitely welcomed the break at the beginning of the week, by the end of the week I was through with snow forever, or at least for 2015.  :-)  The funny thing is, we really didn’t get any snow to speak of–some sleet or freezing rain, and the lightest dusting of snow.  Our area is gun shy about such because of an ice storm that actually resulted in a few fatalities when I was in college back in the 1990s.  Schools let out at the hint of snow or ice, and all of our activities follow suit.  The good thing is that because of the winter weather forecast, Steady Eddie had a crazy week, too, with late start times and even an early dismissal.  We were the beneficiaries of that!  He had the day off for winter break on Friday, too, so all things considered it could’ve been worse.  :-)

Friday's snow, er, ice

Friday’s snow, er, ice

On Thursday we spent the afternoon and evening in Huntsville at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.  We had no agenda in mind–just take in the sights and get out of the house.  This is the best kind of field trip, I think.


Quick Plane


  • The Saturn V rocket is gargantuan!





  • It was SO COLD that day, so we didn’t spend much time outside.  However, I did take time to snap this picture of a mock-up of the lunar landing.  I’m sure the highlight for my boys was the chance to go inside a Vietnam-era Chinook helicopter.  :-)



  • There’s a pretty neat exhibit on tour at the Space Center now–101 Inventions That Changed the World.  We didn’t get to tour the whole thing because the boys (and their parents!) were pretty much done by this time, but I did snap a picture of something I thought was interesting:  a corn cob curry comb.  Of course, there were quite a few things on exhibit that were a bit more impressive than this, but I thought it was neat.


  • After eating at a favorite seafood restaurant (where all the kids got chicken, of course), we headed over to the Huntsville Museum of Art to take in the Grandma Moses exhibit and the Rembrandt, Rubens, Gransborough and the Golden Age of Painting in Europe exhibit.  I loved it!  That was our first trip to this museum, but it won’t be our last!
  • School perked along pretty well this week, as well it should’ve, considering how much time we spent at home.  The thing I want to remember the most about this week is that Lulu took great pleasure in her writing assignment, which was truly a first.  She’s almost always a fairly willing student, but often it seems that she does her lessons more out of duty than anything, and that’s okay.  One of this week’s assignments (WWS W 13, D4)  was to rewrite last week’s assignment using sensory details.  She had a grin on her face the whole time she wrote.  That did this homeschooling mama’s heart good.  :-)
  • We’re gearing up for a super busy week next week.

Come on, springtime!  We’re ready!  :-)




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Odds & Ends

    • 1-IMG_4953-001We had one day of relative warmth this week, and we headed for the park with our Chick Fil A lunch in hand to soak up the rays.  This was on Wednesday after CBS.  We met dear friends there, and the kids had a great time running and sliding and swinging.  Benny slid down the medium-sized slides twice, with no one to catch him at the bottom either time.  He ended up with a mouthful of mulch and I was picking mulch out of his onesie that afternoon.  Fun times!
    • Query from the DLM as he lay in bed awaiting sleep one night:  “Mom, why are the Angry Birds angry?”  :-)  Deep thoughts from a four year old!
    • Singapore Math (Primary Mathematics) continues to go well for Lulu’s fifth grade studies.  It’s not exactly open-and-go, but I appreciate the clean layout so much and yes, I want to have to think to do the math.  Otherwise, I’m not sure I’d feel like I was doing a good job.  (Put this in the Homeschooling:  If You Don’t Feel Crazy, You’re Not Doing It Right category. ;-) )
    • Our co op hosted a skating party on Thursday in honor of Valentine’s Day.  Fun times all around.  None of my kids really skated–it was more like they marched around in a pair of roller skates, avoiding the non-carpeted areas.  The video games were the big hit for the DLM, especially.  He finally earned enough tickets (70? 80?) playing the proto-slot machines games to buy two Tootsie Rolls and a mini Three Musketeers.  Generous folks they are at this skating rink!  ;-)
    • We gathered up our sixty-something library books this afternoon to return today, on their due date.  I went online to renew a few that we needed to finish (or hadn’t read yet), and I realized our current bedtime read-aloud, The Orphan and the Mouse, was unrenewable.  Yikes!  We’re far enough into it that I don’t want to abandon it, so I guess I’ll be reading double-time this weekend to avoid more late fees.  (I pay late fees pretty frequently, yes, but I don’t mind too much because our libraries are SO good to us and I figure it’s a small price to pay for so many books that I don’t have to store!)

  • I think I only walked three times this week.  Steady Eddie’s early departure time twice this week really threw me off.  It has also been pretty cold, so there is that.
  • Fun Friday today saw us doing a couple of art projects (including the snowman resist which we started weeks ago), playing math games, “checking out” on our memory work, and catching up on a few other things.
  • I was piddling in the kitchen one day when the DLM came in and announced, “I don’t like to read!”  It was an “Elizabeth, I’m coming home!” moment for me.  ;-)  Then I noticed a mischievous half-grin and twinkle in his eye, and I realized my buttons had been pushed.  He then confessed that his hero, my fifteen year old nephew, doesn’t like to read, so neither does he.  I was just about to text my sister a threatening text when my better sense and humor took hold.  ;-)
  • I finally got a haircut this week.  I considered growing my hair out, but really, the only advantage I can think to having longer hair for me is more reading time while I dry it.  Simplicty wins!
  • The girls finally got their hands on the final Sisters Grimm book mid-week, and they have both devoured it.

    • I’m feeling the urge to purge, thanks mostly to Annette’s progress.  I finally started reading the book I won on her blog to help me along.  Now to find the time to dig in!  (This will be a LOOONG project, friends.)
    • I read Stephanie’s Project Life post this morning and immediately began scheming as to how to bring scrapbooking back into my life.  After taking lots of photos (some of which I’d love to share but can’t presently due to a communication problem between my phone and my laptop) and thinking about it today, I’ve finally concluded that my best bet is to use the Project Life app and make digital pages and have them bound into a photo book at the end of the year.  That’s my plan right now, and I actually think it might be doable!
    • Last week I mentioned that Benny has given up the paci, but as I feared, I spoke too soon.  What he has done instead is switch brands.  Yes, he has gone from MAMto Nuk.  Go figure.  :-)
    • I handed Lulu Toliver’s Secret this afternoon to read as a history go-along, and she read it in about an hour.  Granted, it’s not a classic, but it is about on a fifth grade level, and it’s of average length–well over 100 pages.  One hour seems super fast to me–as in I couldn’t read it that fast.  I don’t say that to brag, but rather, to ask: does this seem fast to anybody but me?  I asked her to narrate back to me the gist of the story, and she did.  Hmmmm. . .

  • Well, that’s it for me.  I’m headed to bed!  Tomorrow will be a busy day:  basketball, groceries, library, and then, our traditional Valentine’s Day supper of heart-shaped pancakes with strawberry syrup and all the breakfast fixin’s, to which we have invited all the grandparents.  I’m looking forward to it!

How was your week?

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Odds & Ends


  •  This was our alleged week off of school after six pretty solid weeks (plus a few days) of lessons.  However, since we still had all three of our out-of-the-house activities, plus piano and karate, it mostly only made me wonder how on earth we ever get our lessons done on top of all of that.
  • That’s not completely true.  It was very, very nice to NOT have the stress of prepping school each night way too late after the kids were all in bed.  It was also nice last weekend to not have to prep school because. . .
  • I gave my first wrap-up for CBS on Wednesday.  That means I spent most of my spare time last weekend working on it.
  • Speaking in front of people (this time about 250 women) usually doesn’t bother me too much, but teaching from God’s word is very humbling and not something to take lightly.  I was nervous, and honestly, I have no idea if I communicated effectively or not.  I just pray that God was glorified and the women were encourage by what I said.
  • I did manage to get our bedroom completely clean on Monday, and that felt good.
  • The girls did lots of reading, drawing, and crocheting this week.  They listened to Turtle in Paradise for a bookclub hosted by a friend, which they attended on Thursday afternoon.
  • They didn’t watch as much television or movies as I expected–only one movie, The Swiss Family Robinson, and an episode of Fetch Ruffman.  Of course, that doesn’t count what they watched at Nana’s and Mamaw & Papaws.  ;-)
  • In my weekly attempt to keep the children occupied while Steady Eddie is at school (after a VERY long day, I might add), we went to our city park.  One of the play structures has a “mountain climbing” area, and the DLM was so proud when he climbed all the way to the top by himself.  His announcement after he made it to the top and then back down:  “God and Jesus can’t do that.  It’s too hard for them.”  :-)
  • I ended up doing an abbreviated introduction to the letter B for the DLM this week.  I’m really just doing this more or less for the fun of it because he knows most of his letter sounds already.  We read books about bugs.  I went ahead and did it this week because we needed to take the books back to the library and replenish our stock.
  • The DLM has taken to teaching himself to read.  He asks me all the time what such and such–a string of three or four letters–spells.  He also tries to sound out words.  This is a leap from what he was doing just a few weeks ago–identifying individual letters on the pages of his board books.


  • I had more time than usual to read to the boys this week.  Above were this week’s picks.  The DLM has requested the other Virginia Lee Burton books (that’s Mike Mulligan, very appropriately, on the bottom) in board book form.  We have Katy and the Big Snow, but not any of the others (except maybe, maybe The Little House), an none of the others in board book.  I shall be on the lookout for them.


  • I picked up my first order of Cybils/Newbery contenders from the library, mostly in anticipation of this year’s Armchair Cybils.  I’m already engrossed in the top volume (West of the Moon by Margi Preus).  I sort of gave up on Jane Eyre, though now we’ve postponed the bookclub for a week, so there’s hope.  I’ve been listening to it via Overdrive while I cook, etc., but it’s a long, dense tale.  I have read it a couple of times before, but it has been a long time.

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  • This fellow turned eighteen months old this week!  How is that possible?  Sniff, sniff.  He’s a chatterbox (can mimic most anything) and loves to climb!  On Friday at the library he climbed on top of one of the tables in the children’s room that I finally just left him up there with a sister nearby to keep him from falling off.


  • He got his first haircut this afternoon.  Double sniff, sniff.  Steady Eddie started the haircut and I finished it.  It was a joint effort.  ;-)
  • One other thing we accomplished this week is that we finally, finally managed to get by the post office to mail Lulu’s hair donation from her haircut months ago.  When we went up to the counter to pay for the envelope and for the postage, the postal clerk informed us after I pulled out my debit card that the machine wasn’t working.  I looked sheepish, I’m sure, because I never carry cash or even a check book.  He then asked Lulu if it was a hair donation, and when she answered in the affirmative, he asked us if he could pay for it.  He said he used to have long hair, but way back then no such program existed.  What could I say but yes?  That really made my day.
  • I think we’re all ready to get back into the school groove, believe it or not.  I still have to get my act together, though.

What’s new in your world this week?


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Odds & Ends


It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these hodgepodge posts–so long, in fact, that I fear I’ll leave out much of what I thought I’d share as things happened.  I often think–“I should blog about this!”  But time has a way of slipping away.  I’ll share what I remember.  :-)

  • Lulu completed her first summer as a library volunteer with a pizza party at the library to which Nana took her.  I’m proud of her for her sticktoitiveness in a task that isn’t always a load of fun–shelving books!
  • Lulu also participated in the W.C. Handy Kidz Jam for the Handy Festival.  This event allows the piano students to play with a professional bass guitar player and drummer, jazz-style.  It’s a good experience.   I missed it because I had a CBS meeting to attend, but Steady Eddie recorded for me.  This happened the day after we got back from Dauphin Island, so it had been over a week since Lulu had really been able to practice.  She acquitted herself very well considering that.


  • We had our annual family birthday celebration in which we rent a local public pool for an evening at the end of July.  This is the fourth year or so that we’ve done this.  We did allow Lulu her own personal birthday party this year since she turned ten, but we usually just have a big celebration in honor of all the kids’ birthdays.  We invite everyone we can think of and ask for no gifts–everyone just come swim and have fun and eat cake and ice cream.  :-)  The kids (except Benny) all picked out the kind of cake they wanted and helped me make it.  Lulu and the DLM picked rainbow cake and Louise picked Texas sheet cake.  Isn’t the rainbow cake batter pretty?

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The finished products:



(Yes, I did warn everyone that if they ate the rainbow cakes, they’d be ingesting their yearly limit of artificial colorings. :-) )

  • We’ve managed to swim a lot over the past three weeks.  Good times.
  • We went to Montgomery with Steady Eddie on Monday and visited the Alabama Archives.  I’ll try to share pictures from that trip soon.
  • I still haven’t finished sharing pictures from Dauphin Island.  I’m optimistic that I might finish before Christmas.  :-)
  • Our little Benny is just a joy and a delight.  I think the early toddler stage is my favorite.  At sixteen months, he’s walking and talking up a storm.  He mimics what we say a lot:  hot dog, cracker, cocka-doodle-doo (from Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown), big boy, etc.  On Wednesday of last week he got into the pantry and poured out a whole box of vanilla wafers.  He cried hysterically at first, but then he realized he’d hit the jackpot.  :-)
  • On Wednesday our CBS class held registration, and I am thrilled and so very thankful that our fledgling homeschooling classes are growing!  Thank you, Lord!  We’ve registered more children in the whole children’s department (nursery-sixth grade) than the current director has ever had!


  • We started school on Thursday, despite my feelings of unpreparedness.  We had Circle Time, math, language, handwriting, and writing.  I also read aloud a good bit in a desperate attempt to finish our current read-aloud (Summer of the Monkeys) before plunging into our history curriculum.


  • I think everyone liked getting back into the routine.  We’re still working things out–aren’t we always?–including finding places for the girls to go when they need to have quiet to do their work.  (Plugging your ears while still in the same room with some Very Noisy Brothers really doesn’t help. :-) )
  • I was particularly happy to note that my dropping of the math ball over the summer (we were supposed to play games at the very least!) didn’t hurt their retention.
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  • We even managed rest time on Thursday, which is a tricky thing nowadays.  I have to be pretty persistent to convince the DLM that we all need quiet rest time.  The girls, of course, don’t mind–Lulu disappears with a book (The Warden and the Wolf King was a big winner!) and Louise reads or makes art or plays with her seashells or dolls.  She’s not hard to occupy.  Mama gets bonus points if Benny stays asleep for the whole time!


  • I’m still figuring out a schedule for the DLM.  It will involve a good bit of sisterly attention.


  • One thing that has been a hit for him are those dot markers with accompanying “paint by number” sheets.
  • On Friday morning we had our co-op orientation.  Benny just about wore me out with his aversion to being held, but it was worth it to re-connect with so many friends.  We celebrated by eating lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant where I was complimented by a stranger on the behavior of my children.  (I love it when that happens!)  :-)
  • We usually have breakfast-for-supper once a week, and this week I made a frittata (inspired by the PW, though I didn’t follow her recipe) instead of the standard scrambled eggs.  I loved it!
  • Last night we had my mom’s birthday supper here at home.  It was good to have everyone over–especially my nephews, who are the DLM’s own personal heroes.  They’re big high schoolers now, so we don’t see much of them.  :-)


  • We now have two parakeets:  Amber, our original, and Emerald.  Just in case you need a closeup:


  • The children all spent the night with grandparents (a boy and a girl with Nana and a boy and a girl with Mamaw and Papaw) last night.  Steady Eddie and I slept in a little, talked a lot, and went out to breakfast at Cracker Barrel this morning.  It was wonderful!
  • We’re gearing up for another busy week next week.

So how are things in your world?



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The end of an era


DSC_0018Two of our children have been finger suckers, and two have been pacifier babies.  Lulu sucked the same two fingers as Steady Eddie did when he was a baby–the middle and ring finger of the right hand.  It was quite ingrained in her–to the point that she did it well past her third birthday.  She did it so much that her fingernails on those fingers were flat and a little shriveled.  When she held up her hand with her fingers extended, her tall man and ring man stood close to each other, like best buddies.  One day I read something that made me realize that she needed to stop doing  it!   Today!  So I made a deal with her, and she quit.  Just like that.  She never looked back.

Louise took a paci, and while it was hard to break the habit, it was nothing that a well-aimed snip of the scissors into the paci’s nipple wouldn’t cure.

When the DLM was a few months old, we were astounded to realize that he had that some predilection for the middle and fourth finger of his right hand.  It seemed like too much to be just a coincidence.  What’s more, he loved those fingers even more than Lulu, if that’s possible.  He’s a very affectionate, physical little fellow, and if his skin ever came into contact with someone else’s–even down to his feet stepping on yours–into his mouth went his fingers.  It was downright annoying at times.  (Just ask his sisters!)  Even past his fourth birthday, I had no idea how to break the habit.  What’s more, I didn’t have the mental and emotional stamina to break it.  I just couldn’t even think about it.

So the DLM solved the problem for us.  He broke his right arm.  The angle of the cast made it impossible for him to put his fingers in his mouth.  We thought it would cause problems, especially at bedtime, but it didn’t.  He was able to go to sleep just fine with nothing at all in his mouth.   He had his cast removed at the end of July, and so far, we only know of one time that he’s had his fingers in his mouth.  That was at night while he was asleep.

It’s a pretty extreme (not to mention expensive!) way to break the habit, but it works.  :-)

(Benny is a paci baby, but we really wonder if he would’ve sucked those fingers, too, if the paci hadn’t won out.  When he was younger than a year old, he would often put those very same fingers up to his paci and rest them there.  Really!)


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