Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Update on the Dog

The more I thought about the dog the more I thought someone was probably missing her. She had on a good collar and was not skinny or neglected looking.
We took the dog to a vet around the corner and they scanned her and she was chipped. They found the owners who had been looking for her for 2 days. We were so glad to have a happy ending for her.

The Running of the Pitbulls

Last Friday there were a couple of dogs running loose in our neighborhood. One was a huge Great Dane. My kids were nervous about them because they were big. I called animal control but they never could catch them. It turns out the Great Dane belonged to somebody a couple of streets over and they got her back in. But on Monday the other dog was still running around and our neighbor and my son went looking for her owner. No one claims to own her or know where she might be from. The neighbor was going to call animal control, but my kids wanted to try harder to find the owner first, so we have her on a cable in our front yard. We are going to put up some flyers and call some local vets. I think she may have been abandoned. She is a very sweet dog. If we didn't already have a dog we would keep her, but we can't afford another one.
These kinds of dogs are frequently mistreated and it's almost impossible to find them homes. Hopefully we can find someone for her.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How To Get Started Homeschooling

Today's homeschool how-to post is dealing with daily schedules. You really have to schedule your days for your own convenience. You can't do someone elses schedule. It's an individual thing. It is helpful to look at how other homeschoolers schedule their day and when they teach this or that, but then make your own schedule. For families that are also keeping up with babies and toddlers it can be a challenge. Some homeschooling families wait until baby/toddler naptime to do the subjects that require more time or concentration. Some also put together a special box of toys that the toddler can only play with during lessons for the older child.
Lots of homeschool families do the basics in the morning and then projects in the afternoon. There really are no rules. You can tailor your day to suit you and your kids. You may get a great sounding schedule figured out and start on it but then figure out that it is not going to work after all. That's ok. It might take some tweaking and rearranging to get your schedule working for you. I have given some links below so that you can look at some example schedules. Take some time to look at what others do to get some ideas. For homeschoolers, other homeschoolers are really our best source of information and help because they are doing the same thing. There are lots of homeschool websites and books out there. Next week, I would like to link you to some great homeschool sites for all kinds of homeschool needs. So, check back next Thursday for some great links.
Here are some schedules of what other homeschoolers do. And some helpful things to use for planning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Raising Teenagers

So, you are raising a teen? It can be a difficult period of time for you as the parent but also for the teen. There is one thing that I have to keep reminding myself. This growing person is still the same person that a few years ago brought me dandelion bouquets and was always yelling "Mom, watch this!" So they are getting older and acting different and sometimes we don't recognise that this is still the same kid.

I also have to remind myself that teens still need their parents. They want to spend time with you. They need your positive influence when there is so much negative everywhere. They may not be playing Barbies or cars and trucks anymore but recreation with parents is important still. They need our time. Some things that come to mind that you could do with your teen are taking a walk/hike, going swimming, seeing a movie, just talking, riding bikes. There are lots of things you could do, but talking and more important, listening are in the top two. A friend and fellow homeschooler has a really cool way of talking with her kids. Of course we need face to face conversation, but sometimes kids have things to say that they may not feel bold enough to say to your face. She has her kids write in a shared journal. They write to her and then she responds. Or she writes to them and they respond. And it goes back and forth that way. That's not to say the entries are always something they wouldn't want to say face to face, but it's just a neat way to communicate on a personal and private level especially if there are other kids in the house. Teens don't always want their siblings in all their business. So for those of you raising teens that is just a tip of the iceberg of information out there. If you need support or help don't assume it's hopeless just do a little searching. It's out there.

Here are some links for great ideas for parenting adolescents.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lightning Safety

This short and sweet sluggish Monday post is a stormy one. Lightning is an awe-inspiring force of nature. We saw some beautiful, amazing lightning on our way home from dinner over the weekend. But lightning can also be deadly. So far, this year 15 people have been killed by lightning. At least one of those was a little boy here in Indiana. This is National Lightning Safety week. Do you know enough about lightning to protect yourself and the ones you love? So, lightning never strikes the same place twice? It's a myth. Rubber tires on your car protect you from lightning? That is also a myth. Look here for more lightning myths. It pays to know some lightning facts and safety precautions. People who are struck by lightning and live often suffer a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms. Here are some of those survivor stories. http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/survivors.htm
Teach your kids lightning safety too. Here is a page for kids. Since it is summer and we know that means storms that include lightning, it would be smart to learn how to stay safe and keep our families safe. So use this week to get educated about lightning.

Photo credit
Photographer: C. Clark
Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How to Get Started Homeschooling

This Thursday's homeschool how-to post will help you figure out what you need to teach.
What you will need to teach may be set out by your state homeschooling requirements. In some states you are required to teach a "standard" curriculum. That would consist of reading, writing, math, English, American History, the history of your state and maybe civics or health. For the most part you can cover the basic material in a few hours a day. The great thing about homeschooling is that after the basics, you can really get into subjects that interest your child. For example, your child can spend lots of time reading about subjects that he is into. Or maybe spend the day at the museum or library. You can stay up late to look at the stars if astronomy is an interest. Last August, my kids and I and another family that homeschools drove out to a country road at 1:00 AM to watch the Perseid meteor shower.
But as far as the basics, here are some resources for what to teach. Most of these books can be found at your public library.
This series of books tell you what your _ grader needs to know.

The Well Trained Mind tells what to teach using the classical method.

Worldbook gives an outline of what to teach on their website.

As kids get older there are all kinds of learning opportunities out there. They can volunteer at zoos or museums. Try searching for volunteer opportunities in your state.
Now that you know what to teach you may be wondering when am I going to teach. Next Thursday I will post about daily schedules.

Here are some more homeschool websites.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Strawberry Pickin'

Since my Mondays are sluggish, as usual, my post today, is short and sweet and red and juicy. We went to a nearby farm and picked strawberries. We are a little late in the season though and there weren't many left. The ones that were left were really small. These (below) are ones we picked today. They are small but they taste just fine.

Some things I like to make with strawberries are yogurt smoothies, strawberry pie, chocolate dipped strawberries, and of course strawberry shortcake. Here are some links for all kinds of delicious strawberry recipes.
Fresh, in season fruit is one of the best things about summer. Enjoy some for dessert tonight.

I can't take credit for this beautiful fruit bowl. I found it in the creative commons section of Flickr. This picture ( and I believe the fruit bowl) belongs to Lori.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

10 Things You Might Not Know About Lightning Bugs

When I was a kid, it just wasn't summer yet until we could go out and catch some lightning bugs. We would dig through the kitchen to find a jar or something with a lid, have mom poke holes in the top and we were off. So in honor of that fun summer tradition, I thought I'd post 10 amazing facts about lightning bugs/fireflies that you may or may not know.

  1. Lightning bugs are actually nocturnal beetles

  2. Most fireflies have wings, which separates them from other luminescent insects of the same family, we know them as glowworms
  3. There are 2,000 firefly species
  4. Fireflies have dedicated light organs, they take in oxygen and combine it with luciferin to produce light with almost no heat
  5. Firefly light flashes flash in patterns unique to each species
  6. The blinking pattern helps the firefly find a potential mate
  7. The light may also be a defense mechanism to let predators know that they taste terrible
  8. Female fireflies deposit their eggs in the ground, there the larvae develop into adults
  9. Underground larvae feed on worms and slugs by injecting them with numbing fluid
  10. Adult fireflies usually eat nectar and pollen, but sometimes don't eat at all.
Here are some websites with lightning bug/firefly information.



I will also be adding this handmade bug keeper to my Etsy shop later today. Have fun with a kid you know. Go out and catch some lightning bugs together. Now you can awe them with your great knowledge of lightning bugs.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How To Get Started Homeschooling

This Thursday's post on beginning homeschooling focuses on the cost of homeschooling, curriculum concerns and homeschool methods, and record keeping.

The cost of homeschooling is dependant on the curriculum and materials you choose and the activities you take part in. You could spend a few thousand dollars a year to homeschool, if you choose a fancy curriculum with all the bells and whistles. On the other hand, you could put together a curriculum with local library materials and a few purchased items for a very inexpensive school year. A lot of homeschoolers go for somewhere in between.
The kind of curriculum you choose will be determined by how much you can or want to spend and also the method that you choose. That's right, there are several homeschool methods to choose from. New homeschoolers may try out a few before finding one that's comfortable. Take a look here at some of the methods used. http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/methods/Methods.htm

I recommend doing an internet or library search on these different methods of homeschooling.

Some new homeschoolers have gone out and purchased an expensive packaged curriculum and found out that it didn't really fit. Just because one is more expensive doesn't mean it will be better for your homeschool. In another post I will look at some curriculum choices by subject.

Record keeping will be something that has to be done. You will want to keep an attendance record. What records you need to keep will depend partly on your state regulations. Here are some things you will need to record...

What you have done- Keeps track of progress and is a precautionary measure in case there are any questions or complications.

Some sort of records will be needed to document the student’s work and for placement purposes should you ever need to put your child back into a group classroom situation.

As the homeschooling parent, you are responsible for keeping adequate records. You should keep a listing of the curriculum you use.You will want to keep a record of the activities done each week; this can be in the form of daily or weekly lesson plans or a journal.
Keep all tests, projects, and lab reports. Most families keep a portfolio that contains a sampling of the student’s work, including writing assignments. A simple way to collect this information is to have a file drawer, file crate, or file box for each student, with a folder for each subject.
Most families have a way to keep track of progress (grading system), whether with formal grades or informal evaluations of goals and objectives.

You can get record keeping materials at teacher supply stores or find them on the internet to be printed. I would recommend a purchased lesson plan book to keep track of what you've done.

Here are some more links to help you. There are lots of topics on these links. Spend some time exploring them.




Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Featured Etsy Seller, AdornShoppe

My Wednesdays will now feature an Etsy seller. Whenever possible, I will be featuring newer shops. Nice shops that are just starting out. This week I am featuring AdornShoppe. She has adorable hair bows, barrettes and hair clips. And who can resist this sweet little springtime dress.

When I asked about doing a feature on my blog, Chantel from AdornShoppe offered some specials for NaturallyComfy blog readers.

If any of your readers purchase anything from my shop (Till next Wednesday at midnight) they will receive a coupon code for 10 - 60 % off of a future purchase.

In addition, ONE reader who makes a purchase will receive a coupon for a free item of their choice. No limits on what the item is.

ALL readers will also receive free shipping.

When checking out at AdornShoppe just put NaturallyComfy blog reader in the message to seller box.

AdornShoppe will be adding lots of new items in the coming days including dresses, bows, hats, t-shirts and other fun goodies. So stop in and take advantage of these great deals.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tiny Dancers

Mondays are my sluggish days, so it's short and sweet today. On Saturday we attended my granddaughter's dance recital. She will be 5 in July and has been taking dance for 3 years. She did such a great job.(am I biased?) Nah she is good. I am such a proud Granny.

I also made my second Etsy treasury over the weekend. It's a backyard barbecue theme. Check out my treasury and these cool Etsy shops.

So there you have it, my sluggish Monday post. At least there are beautiful pictures to look at. Have a great Monday!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Heeeere's Conan

It's time once again for a fun Friday post. This week, because of the end of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, I have looked around the internet and come up with some quotes from Jay Leno. He was on The Tonight Show for 17 years and in that time made some really funny remarks. Here are just a few of many.

The reason there are two senators for each state is so that one can be the designated driver. --Jay Leno

I went into a McDonald's yesterday and said, "I'd like some fries." The girl at the counter said, "Would you like some fries with that?"

Politics is just show business for ugly people.

The crime problem in New York is getting really serious. The other day the Statue of Liberty had both hands up.

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 9 out of 10 doctors agree that 1 out of 10 doctors is an idiot.

You can't stay mad at somebody who makes you laugh.

You're not famous until my mother has heard of you.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Teach a man to create an artificial shortage of fish and he will eat steak.

"CNN said that after the war, there is a plan to divide Iraq into three parts: regular, premium and unleaded." -

"If Arnold is elected, you know who I'd feel sorry for? The people on death row. Imagine, you're about to be executed, the governor calls, you think it's your reprieve, and you hear 'Hasta la vista, baby.'" -

As Jay leaves and Conan O'Brien takes over I have to leave you with a quote from the Year 3,000 bit on the Tonight Show with Conan O' Brien. In the year 3000 "Youtube, Twitter and Facebook will merge to form one super, time wasting website called YouTwitFace."
So it's out with the old and in with the new. Or, well, I guess that would be out and back in with the old X 2. Anyway, everybody have a fun Friday today!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How to Get Started Homeschooling

Lately I have had a few people ask me how to go about starting to homeschool. So I decided to devote my Thursday blog posts to homeschooling information for beginning or even pre beginning homeschoolers. For the parent contemplating it, it can be a little unnerving. It doesn't have to be. Arm yourself with the right information and you'll be an old pro in no time.
The first thing you need to do is find out the laws and requirements for homeschooling in your state. Here is a link to the Indiana Department of Education. It has requirements for Indiana homeschooling. Another site for Indiana is here. For those of you in different states look here for your state. Also look at this link http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp and find your state then click the Legal Analysis link.
The next thing is to read, then read and then read some more. Look at your local library. There are lots of books on homeschooling.
  • Homeschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith
  • First Year of Homeschooling Your Child by Linda Dobson
  • The Homeschooling Book of Answers : The 88 Most Important Questions Answered by Homeschooling's Most Respected Voices by Linda Dobson
There are many more books on the subject, just have a look around the library or book store. I will leave you with a couple more links to check out. http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/regional/Indiana.htm

There is a lot of information in all of these links. Read through it to get an idea of the legalities and homeschooling basics. Next Thursday I will be posting about the cost of homeschooling, general curriculum concerns and record keeping.

I Am Featured

Today I found out my shop is being featured on http://www.vegansamples.blogspot.com/. I was totally and pleasantly surprised. She is featuring my little ladybug rag bag.
I just wanted to blog a little shout out to say thank you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Ants Go Marching...

This week has brought an epic battle with ants. They have been coming in all over the house. I have used a product called Terro to kill them off. It works great. But recently discovered in my flower bed that's right in front of the house is an enormous anthill. When you think of ant hills you may think of this.

But the one under my hostas is sci-fi worthy.
All of that under the plant is ant hill.
I didn't want to use the poison outside for fear of poisoning the stray kitties around here. So, I went online to look for natural ant killers. One site that I found said that saccharin was originally used as ant killer. (good thing we are not ants) So, we sprinkled a bunch of SweetNLow around the anthill. Now we are waiting to see if it works. For us homeschoolers this will double as a science experiment. I will update later whether it was successful or not. While looking at the Terro website for this article I see that they have Terro for outside ants. If our science experiment doesn't work I will be looking for that.

This week I have also been able to get a couple of bags finished for my Etsy shop. These rag quilt bags are so cute. My daughter and I both use them. This one is ladybugs which is a favorite of mine.

This little trinket pouch is pretty and feminine. It has a vintage look. I don't know how old the fabric actually is because I got it from my Aunt, but it looks vintage. I love that old fashioned look. I will be adding this one to my shop later today.