Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Month: November 2008

Thanksgiving 2008


A down economy and winter are looming, but there is still so much to be thankful for. The whole family is joining in on this post.

Good health. Reliable vehicles. A fireplace. Good neighbors. Playmates on the street. Reading time. Little Britches. Ballet lessons. Toddlers. Carman’s early morning routine. Good food to eat. Extended Family nearby. A roof that appears will hold up for another winter. Drawer organizers. A great room big enough to play in. A good summer camp experience. A new tent. Family camping. “Woggles and snuggles.” “Throw me on the couch.”

Thanks to Flickr’s Old Shoe Woman for the pecan photo. We eat pecans all year long. But they remind me of Thanksgiving.

Family Soccer – Making it Fun for All

Playing as a family is a great way to make memories, but playing with children of different ages at the same time poses its challenges. It’s usually too rough for the little ones or dreadfully boring for the older ones. We’ve come up with a way to involve all the kids (except 1 year old Rosebud) in a fun-for-all game of family soccer.

We generally break the 4 oldest – mom, dad, Carman (age 11) & Sudoku (age 9) – into 2 teams. Those teams play a regular game of soccer with sawhorses set up for goals.

Insert Doodle. Continue reading

Round 3 of “Teach Your Child to Read…”

A couple of months ago, I started the “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” book with Doodle. I used the same book with Carman & Sudoku when they were young. This being the third time, I’m very familiar with the book and am more relaxed and having more fun with it than I did the first couple of times. Doodle is catching on quickly, and it is fun to see his slow but steady progress.

Despite the book’s title, the lessons are not all easy. I try to limit each session to 15 minutes and only go beyond that if Doodle wants to. With Carman & Sudoku, I believe it took a little over a year to complete the book.

This book teaches phonics and uses a different syntax (rather than spelling rules) to help kids learn about silent letters and long and short vowel sounds. (The spelling rules are introduced later.) The syntax can be a turn off to some people at first (eat is spelled with a tiny “a” to show that it is silent), but I know many parents who have used this book to teach their children to read after first trying expensive, high tech reading programs with no success. As one mother of 5 said, Continue reading

Doodle Said…(VIII)

We were having chili for lunch. Doodle took a sniff and said, “This isn’t chili. It’s hot!”

Baby Signing Time

signing hat
signing “hat”

Rosebud recently started watching some Baby Signing Time videos we borrowed from my brother’s family. [I will be returning them at Thanksgiving! Thank you for letting us borrow them for so long!] Rosebud LOVES them. She seldom initiates signs, but if I suggest something with a sign, she’ll usually respond with one. This has been helpful with her, because, unlike our other children, at 18 months old, she is still not speaking (except for “ma-ma” and “da-da.”)

I recently read about how Baby Signing Time was born. Rachel Coleman, the singer & song-writer who appears in the videos, has a profoundly deaf daughter. Rachel & her sister produced Baby Signing Time, in part, to help make sign language more ubiquitous. Continue reading

Ballet Class

ballet class

Once a semester, Sudoku’s dance class has a visitor’s day. We got to watch her class a couple of weeks ago. Let me to you, childhood ballet classes are not what they used to be! Continue reading

Breaking the Finger Sucking Habit

We appear to have succeeded in helping Doodle stop his long-time habit of sucking 2 of his fingers. He had developed a pronounced overbite from four years of sucking, and we knew that the habit needed to be kicked before any permanent teeth began to erupt.

Instead of trying to coax him to stop sucking (as I had tried with Sudoku when she was little), we tried something a bit more devious. Continue reading

Greek Dancing & Grove Park Inn in Asheville

Our drive to Asheville, NC was just beautiful with the leaves at their peak. We went to celebrate the marriage of a dear college friend. The wedding was held in a Greek Orthodox Church, so we heard Greek, ate Greek, and danced Greek! It was wonderful.

It is beautiful to see an old tradition like that alive and well. Continue reading

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