Thursday, April 30, 2009
The kids are watching Monster's Inc. right now and we just got a small box of Lego special-purpose pieces from the postman: transparent windshield bricks, rocket pieces, and base plates.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Meanwhile, in Germany, my nephew has to use a fountain pen to do his math.
Monday, April 27, 2009
- I have held back on reading for D, believing that he should first complete potty training. However, D is very interested in having us write out words for him to sound out, so he has read three of the Bob books with my husband. D read the first two Bob books for me this morning, but I saw signs of guessing rather than sounding out.
- C tested for the summer gifted program on Friday.
- C is studying the Civil War in school and she and D were attempting to play "Civil War" over the weekend.
- On Saturday, C and I went for a playdate over to a friend's house. The friend is hosting a baby chick from school (which will eventually go back to life on the farm). After lunch, we went to the children's museum and saw two puppet shows and a loud (is there any other kind?) outdoor chemistry show.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Greene's motto is that children behave when they can (I have some reservations on this one). He believes that the main issue is to teach explosive children skills and to provide scaffolding for the child to start problem solving. A great advantage of the method (which he calls Plan B) is that it is very simple:
- Express empathy
- Define the problem
- Invite the child to suggest possible solutions
The idea is to stick with 3 until a solution emerges that both parties can live with.
I like the fact that Greene invites us to stop walking straight into a brick wall and points out that we can walk around it or climb over it without compromising our parental authority. As you may remember, I'm a big fan of Howard Glasser's Transforming the Difficult Child, so while reading Greene's The Explosive Child, I've been haunted by the need to figure out how to fit the two different methods together. Here's my initial thought: I think Glasser's positive reinforcement methods should be the basis for relating to a difficult child during smooth sailing (and keeping the sailing smooth!), but I think that Greene's problem-solving method is superb for when you hit choppy water.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
It's been difficult to find the right prizes to motivate D. We had it pretty easy with C, back in the day, since she was crazy about little art kits (scratch offs, paint with water, invisible ink, etc.). This was effective, but very expensive. D has been much more finicky. During the fall, he earned points toward a bike. Later on, he earned points toward getting various dragons and elephants, but there were weeks at a time when he didn't have a clear goal and potty-training languished. On the bright side, he has been willing to work toward long-term goals, for instance items that cost 20 or 40 points. For the moment, we have a very cheap and highly-motivating set of prizes for D: various Lego doodads to go with the Lego set he got for his birthday. My husband ordered some doors, windows, propellers, wheels, base plates, jet engines and tail fins. That sounds very grand, but they all fit in a small box and cost $8 or so including shipping. We charge two points per item or set, some of which cost about 16 cents. For the moment, this is perfect. If his enthusiasm flags, we may have to go on another roadtrip.
UPDATE: I have the square footage now: it's an amazing 5900 square feet. Wow!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Somewhere in Mexico, the performance skirts are being sewed. We already have her ballet recital costume, although C won't be dancing in the recital since she missed so many practices earlier in the year. The ballet costume has a black plush bodice with spaghetti straps and pink roses and a skirt with one layer of black voile and one layer of pink. I look at it and think "saucy Parisian can-can dancer" (tfoo-tfoo) but C is going to love it once I hand it over to her for dress-up.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
D had a fever this evening, so I've had to rethink my plans for the morning. No walk and no downtown Tea Party for me. C had a slightly elevated temperature in one ear tonight, so she may not make it to school tomorrow.
Monday, April 13, 2009
The rocks came out this morning, some that came from the manufacturer, and some from the yard. They are smooth and very shiny and much smaller than when they originally went into the tumbler a month ago. C has some interest in making jewelry with the rocks. Thanks to all the house books that I have been consuming lately, I am thinking that it would be very attractive to keep some of them in a glass jar on a shelf along with my blue-and-white china and greeting cards.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (he substituted about 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for 1/2 cup all-purpose)
- 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- 12 oz. of Hershey's "Special Dark" chocolate chips
FROSTING (quantities have been increased)
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine (he used butter)
- 1/4 cup Neufchatel cheese
- 1 cup HERSHEY'S cocoa
- 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
It came out as a huge, rich two-layer chocolate cake. We had some this evening to celebrate the end of Lent and beginning of Easter, but the four of us barely made a dent in it. My husband thinks that the ingredients cost about $8. It's not exactly an economy item since Walmart chocolate cakes retail for that much, but it is blessedly free of plastic-tasting hydrogenated frosting and it does actually taste like chocolate rather than just looking like chocolate.
By the way, my husband says that you really can't go wrong by googling for recipes.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Husband: Your culinary experience isn't great, is it?
Husband: I long for the food of my native country: chanterelles and sheep cheese--smoked sheep cheese.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
On a happier note, we are putting in an application for a summer gifted program at the college. If it's like last year, it's going to be a week-long archeology simulation for 1st-4th graders. There's an application, there's testing, there's a teacher survey, and we need to supply samples of projects C has done. She may not get in, but a friend is applying, so it's worth a shot.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The technical side of it went flawlessly. I regret to say, however, that both of us have forgotten all the biology we ever knew.
Monday, April 6, 2009
It's been a very important part of my adult education to live as a renter in an older single family home. It's awe-inspiring to see how much money, skill and manpower is needed to maintain a house. Not only do you need to pay your contractor, but you also need to pay somebody to fix your contractor's mistakes. The longer we live here, the less eager I am to leave the protective umbrella of the college's maintenance department.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I went to mass by myself this morning. When I came home, there were two platefulls of pumpkin muffins with cinnamon-and-sugar on top cooling on the kitchen counter. My husband and the kids ground the cloves themselves. I put half the batch in the freezer and will be doling them out during the week in the kids' lunches.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
UPDATE: I found an unsourced wikipedia article entitled double-barreled name. As I suspected, the British hyphenated surname is traditionally an upper class phenomenon. There are even triple, quadruple, and quintuple surnames, but as a public service warning, I should point out that the family with the quintuple surname is apparently now extinct.
UPDATE: When I last looked in, the gold dragon and the red dragon were dressed up in pink doll clothes and a basket was fitted up with potholders as a bed for them.