February 22, 2013

TMD22 and Other Stuff

There will be no rhyme or reason to this post.

-Last night Eric and I substitute-taught the kids' class at our mid-week service at church. Now, I regularly teach a Sunday school class of 4- and 5-year-olds. I have four kids for about 45 minutes. It's pretty easy, honestly. Last night we had 9 kids from age 2.5 (Peabody) to 9. They're all good kids, though the youngest boys were antsy, and every time I had to tell one of them to stop talking or sit back down he would immediately respond, "I'm obeying!" or "I'm being good!" It made me laugh. The class went fairly well but I was glad Eric was in there with me because it was pretty much barely controlled chaos. I realize that 9 kids for less than 90 minutes is nothing compared to what most teachers deal with -- I have great admiration for school teachers and daycare workers.

-While the kids were coloring their worksheets Peabody turned hers over to the blank side and traced her own hand several times.
That kid never stops surprising me. I had no idea she could do that.

-Both girls woke up with colds this morning. Actually I was up with them three or four times during the night. One of the downsides to Eric working so many hours is that I get all the night-time wake-up calls. At least I can sleep later if I need to. Peabody ended up in bed with me after he left for work.

-The Boogie and I have been doubling up on many lessons in school. Since we are technically several weeks behind due to our vacation in September, we are actually catching up instead of getting ahead. But, since I've figured all along that we won't finish the curriculum, I like to look at it as getting ahead. Ha! Anyway, because we don't use snow days, it will be nice to take a day off here and there, especially once the weather gets nicer, without feeling like we're getting even further behind.

-Although the weather is not particularly nice, we are taking today off.

-Do your fingers ever type a word different from the one you're thinking? For instance, I just typed "dog" instead of "day." I wasn't even thinking about dog. My fingers have a mind of their own. I don't know what they're trying to tell me. Maybe this: "We're tired of typing. We want to scratch the dog." "Please wash us, we smell like dog food."

-The Boogie is doing well with basic addition; recognizes numbers up to 100; can tell time if it's on the hour (9:00, 3:00, etc.); can count in ordinal numbers up to 30 (though the other day she read twenty-second as "twenty-twoth"); can read simple one-vowel words alone and in sentences; is just starting to read two-vowel words; recognizes several sight words; reads with good expression. She still sometimes mixes up 8 and 6 when they are not in relation to their before and after numbers; often confuses lowercase "d" and "b"; pauses to look up at me after every word she reads; when sounding out words with a short "e" chants under her breath, "e says 'eh'." Her printing is alternately good then sloppy. The good can be very good, though!

Overall I'm so, so pleased with how well she's doing, and feel a great sense of satisfaction that I get to be a part of this process.

-Peabody loves to chew gum. The Boogie liked it at this age but would only chew for a few minutes then want to spit it out, and disliked anything mint-flavored. Peabody, however, will chew the same piece of gum for hours, and always begs for the minty gum. Therefore, she almost always has fresh breath.

-One of my goals for this year is to use more homemade products. By this I mean, replacing products made for a specific purpose with concoctions made from ingredients I have around. (Or, you know, ingredients I've purchased for my concoctions. What can I say ... before learning about homemade laundry soap I didn't even know Borax existed.) So far I've experimented with cleaning spray, powdered laundry soap, hand soap, hair detangling spray, shampoo, wet mop cloths for my Swiffer, and have plans in the works to try dishwasher "detergent" as well as wool dryer balls sometime soon. I've done homemade laundry soap before but it was a liquid and I just didn't love it. So far I like the powdered version better. I haven't been using it long enough to form a real opinion yet, though.

-One thing I've been using a lot more of is baking soda. Combined with vinegar and water it makes a great scrub for the tub and sink. I'll add some to detergent in the washer when doing stinky work laundry. I'll sprinkle it on a mattress and let it sit for a while, then vacuum it off. It's supposed to work as a carpet deodorizer too, but I'm not about to stick my nose into my carpet so I can't speak from experience there. Trying to sprinkle it from the box is a pain, though. It comes out in big clumps. So I cleaned an empty parmesan shaker and filled it with baking soda -- voila! The perfect way to sprinkle it around. Then I carefully wrote on the container and the lid "baking powder." Yeah. In Sharpie. I didn't even realize I did it until I was proudly showing Eric how clever I was to re-use a parmesan shaker, and he pointed out my error. Well, baking soda by any other name still does the job ...

-I don't expect to completely eliminate commercial products. There is a time and place for bleach and sanitizing cleaners (toilet bowl, germy kitchen sink, laundering washcloths and towels, etc.), antibacterial hand soap (someone has a virus), and Gain laundry detergent (in the washer with my sheets!) But I can save us some money by not purchasing that stuff as often, right? Right. Besides, I'm having fun with it.

-My experimenting, while fun, has produced several fails -- like dish soap -- so when something goes right I'm delighted. Last week I attempted homemade yogurt. The first try was a huge fail. I used a different method for the second attempt and it turned out perfectly! I was thrilled. I'm going for a third batch today, trying the first (failed) method again. I'm more informed this time so hopefully it will turn out. Homemade yogurt has a much more mild taste and a softer texture than what we're used to. I strained some of it to make thick Greek-style yogurt and it was delicious, even plain. The girls and I eat yogurt often, and I sometimes substitute it for sour cream in baking, so I imagine this will save some money. Eric has been reticent to sample the homemade yogurt, which really surprises me because he is Mr. I'll-try-any-food-once. I think previous experiences with plain yogurt have turned him off to it. I'll keep working on him -- I might be able to coax him into trying it with some strawberry jam!

-Poor Mama Dog has been cooped up in the house for many months now.
I walk with her whenever possible, but with shorter days and below-freezing temps it just hasn't been that often lately. At her check-up last month she weighed almost 30 pounds, a good four or five pounds more than when she was there last April. She was awfully skinny when we got her, and still would have had some filling out to do even if she hadn't had puppies, so I'm not surprised at the weight gain. I imagine she'll slim down a bit with regular exercise. She's been "asking" to go outside more, even with how cold it is, so I let her out in the backyard for as long as I dare before making her come back inside. Because of her new habit of rolling in dead grass, and the fact that she's been smelling particularly doggy lately, she is banished from carpeted areas until she has a bath. Oh well ... hopefully the weather will be turning springlike sooner rather than later so we can walk more, and she can hang outside for more of the day, watching cars and passersby and chasing squirrels. I'm planning to have the carpets cleaned in the spring -- once that happens she will be banned from the carpet for at least the summer, bath or no bath.

-My favorite pair of slippers has gone kaput. My feet have been hurting at the end of the day and I finally figured out that there is no padding left. I'm sad. The upper part is knitted in a great neutral color which means that when I drip coffee on them you can't see it! So now I must go shopping for slippers in February. I've learned that although February seems to be the coldest month of the year, stores have clearanced out all cold-weather garb (garb! what a great word.) In my case, that means I will find lots of flip-flops but very few pairs of slippers. Maybe I need to look online instead ...

Today I'm thankful for:
-roses for $1.99/bunch
-a $10 pair of slippers that lasted through almost two seasons despite being worn constantly
-being one day closer to spring
-daffodils sprouting in my garden
-a vaporizer to make sleeping a little easier for two sick girls

What are you thankful for?


Kali said...

I recently tried equal parts of vinegar and dish soap as a tub cleaner. It was awesome! Let it sit for a while and then scrub, which doesn't take much.

I've tried making yogurt too and it was a fail. I'd love to hear any tips you have and what recipe you used.

Chrissy said...

Aw...I hope your girls feel better soon!