Friday, August 28, 2009

Ignorance is Bliss

Excerpted from The Heritage Foundation:

As a result of massive government overspending, "America will run its first ever trillion-dollar budget deficit this year," writes Heritage budget policy analyst Brian Riedl.

Riedl reveals the shocking numbers. In 2009, the federal government will:

  • Spend $30,958 per household -- the highest level in American history;
  • Tax $17,576 per household; and
  • Borrow $13,392 per household.

These numbers reflect a 22 percent year-on-year increase in spending, Riedl explains. This represents "the largest government expansion since the 1952 height of the Korean War."

The government's spending spree will likely cause this year's deficit to top 11.2 percent of gross domestic product, nearly double the post-World War II record of six percent.

"The new spending estimates are alarming and absolutely unsustainable -- and are the true cause of these appalling levels of deficit and debt," explains Riedl. "The result will be the highest level of spending -- and debt -- in American history."

President Obama claims to have inherited this staggering deficit of $1.58 trillion -- an amount greater than the combined deficits between 2002 and 2007. But his budget blueprint, which includes $1.4 trillion in tax increases and $9 trillion of new borrowing over the next decade, does little to tame it. And this doesn't even include the President's high-priced health care overhaul.

President Obama also claims he can cut the deficit in half by 2013. But that's not really an improvement: this year's deficit is nearly four times what it was last year, so cutting it in half would still leave a deficit that is double what it was under President Bush.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I've never been very good at fixing little girls' hair, which is unfortunate since I have four. :) I stumbled upon this blog and have enjoyed trying some new things on Lil and Row. Since today, we have somewhere to go (our first day of co-op), I spent some time on the girls' hair this morning.

This is what I did to Lily's. I really like the look of it, but despite using gel, a water bottle,
and hairspray, it started falling a couple of hours after I fixed it. So, now she's wearing pig-tails. Still very cute. I need to practice making the 'dos tighter.

Rowan's hair is shorter now, and pretty thin, so it's hard to find something that works for her. Still, she was pleased with the little braids I did.

Not sure to do with this girl's hair.

And here's the picture of my new haircut. Keely obligingly took this a minute ago. I really like how easy it is to get it presentable. I was getting tired of seeing my hair in a ponytail.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Two Americas: Conservative and Less Conservative

On Hospitality

There have been some great posts recently over at Girltalk on hospitality. I love encouragement in this area; it can be a struggle for me to be intentional about this in the midst of homeschooling and running a home! One thing Julie says is this:
A simple meal served by a relaxed hostess is preferable to an elaborate meal with a worried and anxious hostess.

How true! We've had such fun times with friends when the menu was grilled burgers and chips and store-bought potato salad! And I experienced something once that was very instructional to me.

Years ago I went to a women's gathering hosted by a lady from church. I didn't know her very well, and to be honest, don't remember her name. There were wonderful snacks and games and I think we even did a Christmas-themed craft. But what I remember most clearly was how worried this woman was about her carpet getting messed up! I just had the feeling that she was going to heave a great sigh of relief when she closed the door on the last guest. Needless to say, her attitude did not communicate love or warm hospitality! I have a tendency to be a neat and clean freak, and being on the receiving end of this attitude was a wake-up call for me.

Hope the link above is an encouragement to you, too!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No School in this Post: Gathered Links

Like many of you, I've been quite focused on school stuff around here lately. I woke up too early this morning, unable to go back to sleep, and thought I might catch up on some grading.

But I needed a little break from planning, organizing, and grading, so I've spent some time reading about non-school things today. Hope you enjoy some of the good stuff I found.

  • Blunt and well-said challenge to Christians asking, "How much of the world can I have?"

  • How does your church grow?

  • How do we women 'get' the abundant life that Jesus talks about? (Check out the pic of Calvin on the sidebar.)

  • Good words for parents in the daily grind of life with children at home. A 'bigger picture' encouragement.

Monday, August 17, 2009

More Ideas For Fun

My friend April shared an idea with me that I immediately stole. She made special 'snack bags' for each of her children. They would be allowed to pick one afternoon snack after they completed their schoolwork or woke up from naptime. The kids are really excited about getting to choose their own snack, and I think it will cut down on the 'what do I feed them for snack today' dilemma for me. Plus, they can help themselves if I am, say, checking my eyelids for light leaks.

And, I thought I'd share this link with you all: full of fun printables and activities to spur creativity.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Play-Dough Solution

My kids love to play with play-dough, and I do let them sometimes, but the cleanup seems to take forever...or at least longer than I like. I can't believe that I've never thought of this before! I think we'll be turning play-dough into a (mostly) warm-weather activity from now on.

Here's my recipe for play-dough. I love the homemade stuff.

Rowan and Joe had an alfresco only restaurant. Rowie was the manager and the sous-chef. (Did she get that from Ratatouille?!) Joe was the hard-workin' cook.

Health Care Costs: An Arm and a Leg

"A few weeks after President Obama slandered family practice physicians, the American College of Surgeons had something to say:
The American College of Surgeons is deeply disturbed over the uninformed public comments President Obama continues to make about the high-quality care provided by surgeons in the United States. When the President makes statements that are incorrect or not based in fact, we think he does a disservice to the American people at a time when they want clear, understandable facts about health care reform. We want to set the record straight…

President Obama got his facts completely wrong. He stated that a surgeon gets paid $50,000 for a leg amputation when, in fact, Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation. This payment also includes the evaluation of the patient on the day of the operation plus patient follow-up care that is provided for 90 days after the operation. Private insurers pay some variation of the Medicare reimbursement for this service.

Three weeks ago, the President suggested that a surgeon’s decision to remove a child’s tonsils is based on the desire to make a lot of money. That remark was ill-informed and dangerous...

The College of Surgeons was wrong in its characterization of Obama’s remarks. Obama actually said that a surgeon got $30,000-$50,000 for a foot amputation. But they are right that Obamacare would cost American taxpayers an arm and a leg — even if the doctors don’t get an additional dime."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kindergarten at Our House

At this time of the year, I'm always particularly excited to be homeschooling. As millions of Moms get ready to send their children back to school, I remember how blessed I am to be able to homeschool: to have an extraordinarily supportive husband, to have the financial means to stay at home, to have so many amazing materials with which to teach my kids about just about everything. Last year we decided to take more of a 'year-round' approach to school, so here at our house, we've cracked lots of books since May.

Before you start feeling sorry for those poor Dennis kids and their whip-cracking Mamma, let me just say that the point of year-round school, for us, is to be able to have a more relaxed approach all year and still get in our required 180 days of school. Today, for example, the two oldest are enjoying a day at the lake with friends, and #3 has the special treat of having a friend over to play after going to her pool. The 3 littles and I went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and played: a rare treat around here. Speaking of Chick-Fil-A, is there anything worse than coming off of a sugar high after drinking one (okay, two) of their lemonades? Those things are lethal.)

I certainly don't consider myself any kind of homeschooling expert. However, as I enter my eighth year teaching my kids at home, I guess I'm not a novice, either. I always enjoy hearing what others do in their homeschools and what works for them, so I'll be posting a bit about our approach with each of our children in the next few weeks. So let me begin by sharing what we do for Kindergarten. It's really very simple. Our main, priority, number-one academic goal for this year is to get the child reading. If that goal is accomplished by May, then I feel that the year has been a success. I've used the same phonics book to teach my oldest three to read, as you can probably tell by the condition of the poor thing. I paid $32.95 for it at Mardel, and I'd recommend it to anyone. Rowan and I have been sitting on the couch for about 15-20 minutes a day and going through a page or two. Then, when we progress to the point of reading simple three-letter words, I pull out our Bob Books, which is always very exciting for the child: Mommy, I read a real book!

So our pattern becomes 1)work through a couple of pages in the phonics book, and 2)have the child read a book (or part of a book) to me aloud. I find that this part (hearing them read aloud) is really great for working with the child on intonation and expression.

So, that's it for 'formal' kindergarten. Of course, we do lots of drawing and singing and swinging on swings and dress ups and blocks and character training and bible time and games. But that's just normal life. Must we call it 'school'? :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Paint and Monday Stuff

Today was one of those days. Just busy and constant and full of little problems, and looking back, I'm disappointed in how I handled some conflicts and frustrations. I know one good thing always comes from my failure: it's humbles me and causes me to go to my knees before the Lord. Crying out for help and mercy, and remembering He promises His Help and has already granted His mercy forevermore! God is so good and so steady; I am so thankful that He's not keeping score, but is throwing sins to the depths of the ocean floor and remembering no more.

Noah made me laugh today. I was busy folding clothes in the laundry room and asked him to go check on two of the little ones I hadn't seen in a while. He came back to report what they were up to, and said, "Mom, before you had children, you liked the quiet. You could relax and read a book. Now, it just makes you nervous that someone's up to something." Pretty true. That kid makes me smile with his little funny observations.

And, to complete this disjointed post, I'll throw in something else completely unrelated and share with you a project I tacked on Saturday. I've been tired of our red breakfast room wall for a while now, and wanted to change it but just wasn't sure what color to go with. Several months ago I was in a neighbor's house and fell in love with the color in her breakfast area. (Stealing colors is the way to go: you get to see it on a real wall and everything. No guessing about little paint chips.) I woke up Saturday with a very unusual burst of energy, and I am so thankful that the Lord granted it, because I completed several little projects that I've been wondering would ever get done, and painting this room was one of them. I love love the color, and it's in the red family so it goes really well with the curtains in there, I think. Here is a "before" picture and an "after."

Okay, so you can't really tell much of a difference from these two pictures! I need to take another 'after' shot tomorrow when it's light out...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Artsy Craftsy

Even though I had frozen stuff in the car from my grocery trip today, I couldn't resist stopping at a garage sale to check for treasures. The kids give a thumbs-up to my purchase: two paper-chain pattern books. They've been occupied happily for an hour now. This salves my conscience a bit about how little we do formal "art" here during the week. :)