1 Year of Seminary Down… 12 More to Go…

Today was Ani’s last day of seminary for this school year. The last day of getting up at 5:45 in order to be at the church by 6 (thank goodness we live so close to the church!). Until the end of August at least. Then it starts all over again.

When Ani’s a senior, Cameron will be a freshman. Cameron will graduate from high school and the next year Fritz will be a freshman. When Fritz is a junior, Adrian will be a freshman (and when Adrian graduates from high school, Ani will be 26… that’s just nuts). No early morning seminary break for us for the next 12 years. Clearly I did not space these kids very well.


For one of her 10 hour personal progress goals, Ani did indexing. She loved it. Every so often she spends a couple hours doing it. I kept meaning to figure it out myself, but I never did.

Until Sunday. I downloaded the software and went through how to do it. Then I was ready to do a real batch. It’s addictive. Seriously addictive. And fun! Mostly I’ve done obituaries from 1991 from the Tampa Tribune. It’s neat how much information you can get from an obituary. I also did some death index cards from Delaware. They were in alphabetical order and ranged from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s.

Seriously. Indexing is awesome!

Planning Next Year

This school year is coming to an end. 5 more days of seminary. 9 more days of school for the big kids. 8 more days for the little guys. With the end of one year comes deciding on what to use next year.

Ani’s the easy one. She’s staying in public school. She’ll be in 10th grade. Let’s pause a moment to let that sink in. TENTH GRADE.

Cameron will be coming back home to do Texas Virtual Academy. He’s the only one of the four that will end up doing that which was the whole reason we originally put the kids in school. Technically, even though he didn’t finish the school year in public school, we could enroll Fritz, but we’re not going to (at this point it wouldn’t be a good fit for him). Jamie thinks we’ll only make it half the year with Cameron before going back to traditional homeschooling. We’ll see.

The little guys are the fun ones for me since I get to pick whatever I want for them. When I pulled them out in January, I just went with stuff we’d used in the past. We’re sticking with some things we’ve used before, but not everything. Some of this stuff I wish had been around when Ani was little. It would’ve been perfect for her!

Both Boys Together
Religion: Discover the Scriptures Hands-On Church History, Discover the Latter-Day Prophets, Doctrine and Covenants Scripture Stories (Ani will be doing D&C in seminary next year so I’m going to try to keep the boys learning about the same things Ani is as much as possible)
Social Studies: Texas History (Cameron will be studying TX History next year since he’ll be a 7th grader so, because I could find nothing pre-made that I liked, I’ll be making the boys’ TX History up as we go along based on what Cameron’s learning)
Science: REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry (Ani will be doing Chemistry in school)
Art: Discovering Great Artists
Music: World’s Greatest Composers from Confessions of a Homeschooler
PE: Taekwondo twice a week (well, Adrian is currently refusing to participate) plus PE class along with Cameron (he’ll be required to do specific PE things daily)

Math: Beast Academy 3, Life of Fred (he’ll be finished through Honey by the end of this school year)
ELA: First Language Lessons Level 3, Writing With Ease Level 2, Spelling Power (he’ll finish through the first half of level C tomorrow and then we’ll stop until next school year), D’Nealian Handwriting (he’s been learning cursive for a month or so now and will continue with that), Reading Eggspress, Life of Fred (he’ll have finished the first two of the four language arts books by the end of this school year)

Math: MathSeeds
ELA: First Language Lessons Level 1, Primary Arts of Language Reading (this may actually get finished over the summer) and Writing, All About Spelling (we’ll just pick up where we finish at the end of this school year for all three of those), Reading Eggs

Uncle Ralph


On April 12th, my uncle, my mother’s brother, died. He was 71. For the last week and a half, I’ve been in PA helping my parents go through Uncle Ralph’s stuff. He had a lot of stuff. He was a collector, not necessarily of things that were worth much, but of things he liked. He collected sports memorabilia, coins, first day covers, and records. He kept meticulous records for most of his life (until he got very sick). He even kept decades old speeding tickets and college report cards from the 60s. He is probably the only person on the face of the earth who read every investment prospectus and report he got.

He had some very, very good friends. People that would’ve done anything for him and he’d’ve done anything for them. One of them is in his late 70s and lost his wife just a couple years ago. He told me that he bumped into Uncle Ralph at their community mailboxes not long after they had both moved in in 2001. That started a wonderful friendship that he knows, at his age, he’ll never have like it again. Another friend told me that it’s hard to have see pictures from the time I was tiny and hear all about about me, my siblings, my children, and my nieces and nephew and what we were doing every time they came visiting and not think they know us all intimately.

Uncle Ralph never married and never had any children. He was as proud of us and our children as if we were his own kids and grandkids. He loved to give gifts and truly got extreme pleasure from watching us open them. Somehow, he always got us the perfect gifts. Every year the biggest “hits” on Christmas were always from Uncle Ralph. He enjoyed sports and watching movies. He took the option for early retirement from the government and spent the next few years going to every movie released, no matter how good or bad it was. He also loved food. He never cooked and instead ate out for nearly every meal. One restaurant in town would start cooking as soon as he walked in. They knew exactly what he wanted. My mom ended his obituary with the following: “In lieu of flowers the family requests you take your family out to dinner and think of Ralph.” That is quite a fitting tribute. He really lived a good life.

Forays into Essential Oils

I have a friend who is really into essential oils. She sent me a few to try out. They did amazing things so I bought some for myself. So far I’m liking them.

1.) I got a virus that’s going around. Most people are down with it for several days (up to two weeks). I felt off for two days and then really sick the third. I decided to try the oils that third day. My ears and throat hurt so bad and I had a 102* fever. I mixed peppermint and Pan-Away (which is wintergreen and some other spicy oils) and rubbed them along the outside of my ears and throat where it hurt. By the time I woke up in the morning my fever had broken and I was so much better. By the next day I was perfectly fine.

2.) My skin is used to east coast humidity. My cheeks are super dry. The last few days I’ve put some lavender mixed with coconut oil on them. They are so incredibly much better. I am sure the coconut oil is part of the reason for that, but usually coconut oil alone makes my cheeks feel kind of sore (I have intensely sensitive skin on my face). With the lavender mixed in I don’t have that odd feeling.

3.) Adrian probably could be diagnosed with ADHD if I pushed it. A lot of school time was spent redirecting him and telling him to get off the table and stuff like that. I started putting peppermint oil on him a few minutes before time for school. That gives about an hour of excellent focus for him, plenty of time for a kindergartner to get his work done. His reading has improved greatly since I started with the peppermint oil on him. One day last week I forgot to put it on him and couldn’t figure out why he was being so crazy until Fritz told me I didn’t use the oil. Adrian insists it doesn’t work. He is wrong.

4.) A couple weeks after my surgery I still had some swelling internally where the surgeon sewed up my muscles (he said that was normal). After my first class back at taekwondo, even though I took it easy, the swelling increased as did the soreness. I rubbed some lavender on my belly where the swelling was. By the next morning the swelling was down and has not returned.

There have been a few other positive essential oil experiments as well. If it’s just the placebo effect, at least we are getting to smell some nice things. But based on our results (and the results of some of my friends), I’m going to keep this up because I do think it’s the oils helping us.

Kindergartener + Cool Whip =

Almost 4 1/2 years ago, Adrian, at 1 1/2, played with Cool Whip for the first time. It’s been a while since the last time he did that, but a couple days ago we got some out for him. I told him the sounds letters make and he wrote the letter in the Cool Whip with his finger. And then he spent a while just generally playing in it.


Two things learned: 1.) One tub of Cool Whip can make a huge mess, and 2.) Our dog Lola really, really likes the taste of Cool Whip.