nutritious popcorn balls

Perhaps it's a stage in every homeschooler's evolution that they start waking up late, acting like hung-over college student on the Sunday of a long weekend, making popcorn balls for lunch in her pajamas?  Or has living with a middle aged homeschool mom for so many years, one who considers pajamas and messy clipped up hair to be acceptable daytime wear, tragically impaired her sense of style?  Maybe the resemblance would be less strong if she didn't steal my t-shirts.*


* Girl child would like to note that she is a) not hung-over and b) would love to be a college student.


look up

The skies are grey. 
But there's a kraken in the sky.
So that's alright then.

monster pouch

I thought I was making a little change purse.

But when I handed it to the girl child, she says, 'Thank you, this is perfect to hold my spare pair of undies.'

Clever girl.  I always insist she takes an extra pair when she travels for sport.  Nobody wants to drive home in sweaty panties. 


A few reasons why we read out loud everyday

For about an hour every evening, my husband and I read out loud to one of our children.  The Man and I swap them every night, heading to our chosen corners of the house, and we each have our own books that we are reading through.  Currently girl child and I are working our way through Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and Boy child and I are on the second book in a Minecraft fan series called The Elementia Chronicles by Sean Fay Wolfe.  It will take a month or two to read an entire novel with a child this way.

There are so many reasons to regularly read out loud to your children and the Internet has probably said all the super legit and adult reasons already, so I don't have to.

BUT, I do have a couple of highly personal and self-interested reasons to read out loud wonderful books that children fall in love with and ingrain in their psyche.  They may not be the main motivators, but I think they fall under the category of perks.

Such as: Nearly Immobile Children.

Children rarely sit still enough to be able to cuddle them and still sip a glass of wine.  I drink red and am a terrible laundress. Not spilling is a big issue for me.  Children rendered almost motionless as their fertile imaginations weave the story into stunning pictures in their heads while tucked under my book holding arm leaves another arm and its attached hand free for wine glass lifting. The better the book, the more likely wine will go on the inside of me instead of the outside.

Channeling Their Favorite Characters As A Motivator.

When I ask my daughter to do something, she sometimes does it.  When Hermione asks her, she just does it.  Hermione has more sway than I because Hermione is always right and look what happened to Harry when he didn't listen to her, right?  Being the actual 'voice' of a beloved character gives me the Power to make almost any request seem like it's coming from someone more sensible and lovable than me.  I make sure that my book character voices are distinct and consistent, enhancing my ability to instantly invoke their authority outside of story time.  Perhaps some may think of this as manipulative, but I prefer to think of it as bringing in reinforcements and avoid having to get all shouty.

(Though, sometimes I do feel a bit smug when girl child is all, 'Why you gotta bring Hermione into this, you know I can't resist?!' and do a little Vincent Price laugh in my head.)

Getting To Read All The Great Children's Books You Would Never Read On Your Own.

I know I missed a lot of great books when I was age appropriate for children's literature because I was so eager to get grown up.  Getting permission to take books out of the adult section was a hard won privilege at my local library and once I was allowed to leave the children's room, I never looked back. Until now.  Because, man, children's books are the best.  Like catching up with Watership Down and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. But that's actually another topic.

What's just as great is reading contemporary children's literature that you may have never of even thought of reading.  Like the Bone graphic novels.  Reading graphic novels out loud, I admit, presents a particular challenge, but the boy and I actually worked out a pretty good system (though it cuts into my wine drinking somewhat).  I would never have the patience to read it on my own, but it turned out to be a great read with all sorts of interesting talking points (like, what is Thorn wearing now?!)  I also get to read stuff that may I want to read but couldn't really justify it since I have all sorts of 'adult' reading to do.  Like The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley or Adventure Time and Minecraft fan created literature which have given me great insights into the cultural worlds of my kids and happen to be pretty funny and entertaining.  In general, I may not read Kate DiCamillo in a coffee shop by myself, but I will happily read her out loud to my kids in that coffee shop (and I'm convinced that at least one or two adults around us being forced to listen in are also happy about it).

What are some of your personal reasons for reading out loud to your kids?

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Murder Mystery

I think the reason why my blog posts have slowed to a trickle over the past few years is that as I get older, I become less and less sure of my opinions.  Time and experience has revealed the multifaceted nature of most things I earlier had assumed to be one-dimensional.  Age has made me kinder and less able to judge.

Also, the children have stolen my computer.  

Actually, it's mostly the children's fault.

Over the years there's been a number of computer-y obsessions.  Minecraft, internetertainers (Good Mythical Morning!) This week's favorite is Roblox's Murder Mysteries.

How does one blog when one must shift a hundred pound child away from a tense round of Murder Mysteries?  That child is already wound up to the edge, murdering and being murdered, he's not likely to move away without a fight.

Roblox Murder Mysteries, for those who do not know, is an online mini-game that players can join where one player is the murder and the rest have to either figure it out and catch (kill) the murderer as a Sheriff with a gun or just try to avoid being murderer fodder as an Innocent.

As a parent, there are several things to freak out about with this game, but the one that usually gets me is IT'S THE GUY IN YELLOW! HE'S GOT THE KNIFE! HE'S RIGHT BEHIND YOU!  RUN! RUN!! RUN!!!

I have not the constitution for first person perspective murder games. And, frankly, I think that is a positive aspect of my character.

The children have quickly figured out that playing Murder Mystery is fun, but watching mom freak out because HE'S RIGHT BEHIND YOU is even better.  I try not to watch but our home is small and the laundry must be folded on the couch beside the computer and, damn it, my kids seem to have the survival instinct of lemmings.  I try not to get into it, but then I'm looking over their shoulders, and they stumble across a body and I can hear the shink shink sound of a busy knife and RUN RUN RUN!  They are always being murdered.

I'm starting to suspect that they are getting themselves killed on purpose, just to break their poor mother's heart. 

Of course, when they the are assigned the role of murderer, there is a whole new level of intensity.  My babies are the best murderers. Ever.  Or they would be, if they could listen to my advice.  Like, 'don't walk around with your knife out, honey, they'll know it's you and the Sheriff will shoot you,' or 'follow that guy into that empty room, he doesn't suspect us,' or 'look in the stalls, they always think they can hide from you there,' or 'LOOK OUT LOOK OUT, IT'S THE SHERIFF, HE'S GOING TO SHOOT Y- oh, nevermind.'

Anyway, the point is, it's really hard to find some time to sit down and write a post when the computer is constantly occupied by murdering fiends intent on giving their mother a heart attack.

Suggestions of playing Murder Mysteries outside, in, like, real life away from the computer, have been rejected. I even offered to craft up a miniature knife and gun (from soap?) that could be concealed easily in a hand, and each person could be given a sealed envelope with their role.  Then they could play out the mystery in the backyard with their friends.  Gosh, each person could even be given a character with a personality and background, and they could dress up and play out their character!  Sounds like fun, hey kids and not at all like something drama geeks from the '80s would do?

"Wow, mom, that's kind of sick.  You want us to murder our friends?"

Sigh, no.  But I do want to use the computer ever once in awhile, so maybe a bit of murdering is okay?  I mean, they already play Hunger Games, which if you think about it, is pretty deranged and it wasn't even my idea.  It's infuriating that they think it's okay for them to kill each other over limited resources in some contrived scenario and dispel blame with, 'the man made me do it,' but it's not okay to kill each other just for good old fashioned the sheer titillation of figuring out who the real psycho is.  Pssht.  Kids today.

Thus, the sporadic blogging.  For which I apologize, though it is entirely the children's fault.