Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Sew" That's What's Happening!

Yes, we have been sewing!!! Princess TD had decided that she wants to learn to sew. When we went to the homeschool convention at the beginning of June, Princess TD saw a vendor that had a book on how to sew doll clothes. I bought the book, and the pillowcase kit for her to do. Well, she has been bugging me every day since then to do her "sewing school." I finally gave in, and have recruited reinforcements (aka Grammie) for future lessons.

Here she is making her pillowcase:

And the finished product!

We got a kid sized table from one of our neighbors after their daughter outgrew it. We have had it on our back porch, but at the request of Princess TD, we cleaned it up and put it in her room for a tea party table. She wanted a table cloth to use that had so many specific requests, no mortal mom could accommodate them. So, after our first VBS, we visited Interior Fabrics and found some fabric that she LOVED for her room. So, mom went into design mode to make a table cloth that resembled a flower when lain out on the floor. I think it needs some girly bling, but here it is:

Oh, and did I mention it's reversible?

And here it is all set up with tea for the bears!

Even though she looks so grown up, she's still a little girl at heart!

And for the final project of the week, a window seat! Mr. TD has wanted a covered cushion for the box window in our kitchen. I finally found a zipper foot that would fit my machine, so I was able to make the coordinating cording that he wanted. (He's really not that into decorating, he just wanted a cushion to match the valances.) I had bought fabric to make the valances, but ended up finding them much cheaper in a store. I ended up just making the one for our door. I didn't have enough fabric to make the cushion and match the plaid, so I was on the search for something that would coordinate. My good friend JSue was looking for fabric too, so we took the opportunity to shop the fabric stores sans kids (except Carter) while the kids were at VBS. She's still looking, but I found what I wanted. Here's the finished product!

Now, if I could only find fabric for the living and dining room curtains.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Bit of a Rant

I just read this post regarding the changes the new administration is proposing to reform our education system. Then this post regarding what could be done about it.

Let me just start out by saying I am so grateful to be living in the great state of Texas and for our Governor who refuses to sign on to this program, which from what I have read is due to the federal government overstepping the Constitutional bounds and trying to control something for which oversight has been granted to the states.

I am so against the standardized testing that plagues our public school systems. I understand that some testing can be beneficial, but I think the school systems have gone way overboard. This testing was in fact a major reason that homeschooling looked so appealing to me.

A couple of years ago, I was part a tutoring program to assist the church youth group with troubles that came up in their homework. It ended up being more for the elementary age children, but there were a few of the older students who needed help in math and science. I tutored several students in various subjects including: AP Chemistry, geometry, basic high school math, algebra, early elementary math and some other kids who were preparing to take the standardized tests. The only student who actually wanted to learn what we were working on was a private school student, not subject to the standardized tests. All of the public school students wanted to know was the correct multiple choice answer. They wanted tutoring in how to eliminate the obviously wrong answers and get the choices down to a 50/50 shot at getting the problem right. Math has been reduced to multiple choice. There was no concern as to how to do the problems or the logic behind solving it. They just wanted to know the right answer!

You may be thinking that because I am an engineer that math is easy for me, and it's terribly hard for others. Yes, that may be I had a period of time in my school career that I struggled with math. I mean really struggled. I had several adults who helped me through that time, including my Grandpa, who would say, "Ok, tell me what you know," and "So, what does that mean?" Those questions were simple enough, but it made me think. Thinking is what helped me to solve the math problem. Later I learned it wasn't about solving that particular math homework, it was about developing critical thinking skills. Those skills have helped me to solve many different problems, not just the math ones!

My tutoring experience was so frustrating for me! I wanted my children to want to learn. I felt then and still feel now, that I am going to be the one to teach them to love learning whether they go to public school, or I teach them at home. Either way, I am finding myself growing more passionate about what is happening in our school systems. I see myself following this situation and fighting for our rights to educate our children and not just conforming to some arbitrary standard that has been set by the government.

With government control of what our children learn, it's not too far of a leap to see that by age 4 the government will be determining who can be engineers and who can be workers at McDonald's and setting their "education" path from there. Does this remind you of a former republic which is no longer in existence?

We are the people who can make a difference! We just have to fight for our rights! Will you join the fight or will you just give in?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Our Family Vacation

We are still here! It has been a while since I posted. We have had a busy last few weeks. We were on vacation, and then I was sick.

We took our first ever family vacation where we didn't make the trip to visit family! It was so much fun. We took in the sights in San Antonio.

Our first day was Sea World. We were there when the park opened and stayed until 4:30.

The kids had a blast and we got to see the shows. Princess TD's favorite was Believe.

Little TD's favorite was the ski show!

Well, maybe it was just the boats and jet skis. Like father, like son!

Princess TD took her first roller coaster ride on the kids Shamu Express. Here we are on that ride. I had to document the first roller coaster ride!

After this ride, she wanted to ride one of the bigger coasters in the park. As much as we tried to dissuade her, she was insistent. So while the boys waited for the ski show, Princess TD and I headed off for the Steel Eel. (Really you need to check out the's a crazy coaster!) She did awesome. She didn't scream or ask to get off. After it was over and we were walking out, she said, "I may be tall enough to ride that one, but it's not for little kids. It's a little too scary." She was absolutely straight faced and serious when she said it. I couldn't help but laugh. So I said, "So do you think you might listen to me next time I tell you that maybe it's not something you really want to do?" To that she laughed and gave me a resounding "No!" That's my "independence" girl!

Our second day was spent exploring the Bass Pro Shop, the outlet mall in San Marcos and dinner with friends at the Gruene River Grill. Great food! Great friends! Our kids hit it off and played like they have never missed a day together. Now I just wish we lived closer!

The next day was spent at the Riverwalk and The Alamo. We did the Riverwalk boat tour.

We went to the Hard Rock Cafe for our souvenir t-shirts and then went on to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch. We had a walking safari through the three-story restaurant and the kids took a lot of pictures of the animals. Princess TD took this picture:

When she got back to our table, she told Mr. TD that she had seen God and taken His picture. Of course, Mr. TD wanted to see it, so she showed him. He must have had a funny look on his face because I then heard her say, "Well, Daddy, He's holding the world in His hands." You have to love the wisdom of a child!

After lunch we headed to the Alamo. Of course, we had to have the family picture in front of the Alamo. Little TD was getting tired at this point and refused to look at the camera. The whole time we were trying to get him to look, he kept laughing and looking the other way. What a turkey!

Of course, once he saw there were things to climb on, he perked right up and was ready to pose for pictures once again!

The next day we headed out to the San Antonio Zoo. We got some fun pictures there too, but I think this is by far our favorite. This was a python climbing up the glass of its cage. Only about half of the snake was climbing up the glass, the other half was still coiled up on the bottom! Very crazy!

We also got to see hippopotamuses! I don't think I have seen them in a zoo before, or at least I don't remember seeing them. They were just so huge!

Well, that is the condensed version of our family vacation. We had a blast and will do that more often!