Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ding Dong!

August 4, 2017

On Wednesday, my pilot husband left for flight safety for five days. Last time he was gone, a crew of my homies came and helped me re-do our bedroom and bathroom, including, but not limited to painting walls, furniture, light fixtures, moving furniture, and bringing in new blinds, towel bars, bedding, curtains, lamps, towels, etc. It is sublime. Truly. The oasis I’ve always dreamed of having.

This set of five days, I calmed the heck down and decided on installing a new doorbell. Assuming this would be a 15 minute job, I didn’t start til Thursday. Seriously, look how easy these instructions are! Remove! Connect! Mount! BAM!

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You see, our doorbell has not chimed it’s beautiful song to signal the arrival of guests for approximately six years. It wasn’t real high on our to-do list, clearly. Here is the old doorbell in all of it’s fake brass glory with three-year-old stickiness from tape that held the sign, “Knock Loudly.” So classy, us Clampetts.

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This was my first attempt at changing a doorbell, but I consider myself quite handy. (Please see previous posts of my success building chicken coops and installing a water filter in the fridge.)

Standing in the doorbell section of the local hardware establishment, I found a little cheapy button replacement and figured I could scrub and spray paint the vintage brass circle then install the new button. Lo and behold, the little nonfunctional button pictured above was not removable.

Back to the hardware store for a classy black doorbell with it’s own lighted button for your nighttime pushing pleasure. Now it’s Friday. Rick comes home on Sunday. (Please note the paint on my hand……..)

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After removing the dead doorbell, I realized that the new doorbell was smaller in size than the ghastly brass number. AND our house was just painted two weeks ago so the old dismal peachy-tan color stuck it’s tongue out at me all the way around the classy new job.

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Locating the mammoth paint drum was the easy part of touching up the paint around the doorbell cavity. Upon setting down the paint pail in front of the doorbell location I noticed the easily-removable, small plastic lid on the giant lid. Perfect! It popped right out with a simple tug, but the paint was a good 15″ below the top. Even with my 16″ paintbrush it wasn’t going to fly. I snapped the little cap back in place and tipped the paint drum upside down to coat the inside of the little cap. Worked like a charm! Using the white cap as my pallet, the paint job was completed in three quick minutes. BAM!

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As I forced the little cap back into it’s hole, realization hit that it splatted paint the first and second times I closed the paint…. and the little white dots were waving at me from my turquoise pants. Hurrying to the kitchen sink, I grabbed a rag and scrubbed and scrubbed until there was no further paint removal progress happening. Favorite turquoise pants are now spotted painting pants.

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Remember the paint on my hand? … Below is evidence of where it transferred to the kitchen rag cupboard door.

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After the paint dried and my pants dried to a nice polka-dot look, the doorbell was installed. Sweet victory! Tonight I went out the front door to take a gander at the lighted up Cadillac version of a doorbell on our front porch. It sort of has a calming Close Encounters glow to it, doesn’t it?

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Time tally:  two trips to the store, 1.5 hours. Removing old doorbell and gathering tools, 15 min. Scrubbing spiderwebs away from the hole with an old toothbrush, 5 minutes. Locating, shaking, opening paint, 10 min. Painting, 3 min. Scrubbing pants, 11 min. Cleaning paintbrush, porch, kitchen cupboard, feet and shoes, 18 min. Installing new doorbell, 4 min. BAM!       TWO HOURS THIRTY SIX MINUTES.

Remove! Connect! Mount! LIES!

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How the Crosbys Measure Up

May 6, 2017

It was a depressing day for me. We decided to measure everyone in the family. Everyone either stayed the same (Rick and Austin) or grew (Keeve and NORA!!!) But I was in neither category, depressingly. I haven’t been measured in 12 years…. and in those 12 years, I have somehow lost 3/4 of an inch. I have been 5′ 6″ since I was TWELVE YEARS OLD! What in the world? I’m barely in my 50s. Old ladies shrink. Not 50 year olds.

Nora was thrilled beyond words to have grown a quarter of an inch in the last three months! She is hoping to hit five feet. (I’m not real hopeful for her… shhhh!) She is currently at 4′ 9.25″. And she is turning 14 this summer. Well, God does answer prayer, and she prays every day that she will grow!

That’s all the news. I’m going to bed…. hopefully to stretch out. Sheesh.

Seriously?

March 28, 2017

Once again, I thought I was being punked, or was on Candid Camera. Seriously, why do these things happen to me?

At the end of the Indiana Homeschool Convention, I traipsed to the ladies room before packing up by booth. There was one stall door in there that didn’t match the others. It was brown, obviously a replacement, and the rest were beige. Not only did the lone door make me want to sing “One of these things is not like the other” but it was the only gateway that didn’t rest in the closed position. All the beige doors looked like they were locked, even when they were guarding a vacant stall.

For some strange reason, I chose the loner door at 6:05 on Saturday night. As I entered my chosen throne room, I surmised, “This must be the most used stall because you have to bend over and look for shoes surrounded by pant legs to see if the others are available.” That should have been a clue to me. But no. I was a tad on the tired side… tuckered out… to say the least. I had just finished speaking six times. I LOVE speaking, but it can be draining.

Well, I was right. It WAS the most used stall and guess what it was plumb out of?????  Yep. TP.

It was too late for me to re-choose a new stall by the time I figured out my dilemma. Good gravy. Surrounded by silence, I wondered if I was alone in the bathroom. Oh, dear baby Jesus, please no.

Feebly I made public my private situation, “Help!”

No response.

With a little more gusto, “HELP! Is anyone out there?”

A lone woman was with me, and probably trying to ignore the first call for assistance. Her entire response was, “Yes.” Seriously? Couldn’t she have asked what I needed? Or how she could help? But I guess she did answer my question.

Pleading, I requested that she hand me some toilet paper. “Sure.” My prayers were being answered. I heard toilet paper being removed from a receptacle in another stall. Then my guardian angel asked which stall I was in… because the only one that stays open was shut and locked in front of my nose and knees.

Sticking my hand out under the door, she placed the golden paper in my fist…. all three squares of it. Seriously? At first I thought it was funny. Personally, I have handed my daughter two squares when she asked for help in my same precarious position. BUT THEN I HANDED HER A WAD and we laughed!

My guardian angel left. Exited the lavatory. The exterior door shutting behind her was the last noise heard in the bathroom… until I started laughing. Seriously?

I folded those three precious squares very carefully.  VERY carefully.

But it was not Candid Camera. I did not get punked. It was real life in a day of Laughing with Linda. I’m thankful I can provide entertainment for others.

You’re welcome.

Homeschool Bible Class

March 15, 2017

As previously mentioned here at MSJ, we are using Picture This! Bible curriculum. We love it! You get to color and discuss the Bible. It takes us approximately a week to get through one book of the Bible because the pages are so detailed as they summarize a whole book. We are in the middle of Leviticus currently, learning all about priestly duties and sacrifices and forbidden food, etc.

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Here is a rundown of how our Bible time went:

10:37 We gathered at the patio table with colored pencils, our color sheets, the fat curriculum binder and Nora’s chunky pink Bible.

10:38 I started coughing and returned to the house for water and cough drops. The washing machine buzzed and I changed the load of laundry.

10:43 We turned to Leviticus and reviewed what we have already covered/colored. Okay, this book was complicated. I didn’t even remember what all five sacrifices were for and there were code words to help you remember. Nora looked up several verses and we made our own additional code words on our papers.

10:55 A formidable shadow circled the back lawn drawing our attention and rendering us speechless as we looked at the shape of the wings.

10:56 The second circling shadow had us out of our chairs and onto the lawn, shielding our eyes from the sun, and staring at the hawk 30 feet above our heads. A discussion followed as we stood there, about why it would be circling above our house, what they eat, and what type of hawk it was. It was close enough for us to see it moving its tail back and forth with each turn. So cool. We realized it was not flapping its wings, simply soaring in a slow upward circular motion. So we waited on the lawn to see how long it would take the bird to actually flap.

11:02 I yelled through the screen door to my husband/pilot, “There is no wind. How can this hawk be circling for such a long time without flapping its wings?” He explained wind currents and changes with altitude.

11:06 THE HAWK FLAPPED, but just once, and kept circling.

11:07 Back at the patio table we read about the foods that were forbidden for the Israelites. Nora was truly sad for them because they could not eat bacon. For reals. She read through the list of fish that were approved and not approved. Then we googled an image of a shrimp so she could see what they look like before they get to Panda Express. She thinks they are ugly. She is right, of course.

11:20 We moved on to the moral laws for God’s chosen people. I decided to read these as they listed all the sexual sins and she didn’t need to be trying to pronounce all of those monstrous unfamiliar words. I refrained from glancing up at her because I already knew her dark chocolate irises had white circles all the way around them as I uttered those sins aloud, for God and country to hear out in public. When the list was exhausted, I casually closed the Bible and looked at the the next section in the teacher guide.

11:25 Nora was staring off at the tree over the fence while the wheels in her brain were processing SIN.

11:27 Processing complete, she inquired, “I thought the Bible was for everybody.” I reassured her that it is. “That part you just read is not for kids!” True. To aid to her disbelief of the contents of the Bible, I spouted, “Can you believe that God talked about all these things?” Discussion followed as to why in the world our holy God felt it necessary to mention women’s monthlies, incest and all the others thrown in with them.

11:35 She abruptly changed the subject and asked if we could have grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Sure. And Bible was concluded for another day.

Do you understand now why it takes us a week to get through one Bible book?

 

 

Thankful!

March 14, 2017

Today while I was minding my own business in the Butterfly Pavilion at the Desert Botanical Gardens, a woman approached me and gushed, “I don’t want to embarrass you, but I know who you are and I want to thank you for the article you wrote about your son not reading until he was nine.” I thanked her for saying something, asked about her kids and met her friends that she was butterflying with. She wasn’t done, however. “I cut out that article and put it up in my bathroom. I read it every day! And I say to myself, ‘If Linda Crosby can make it through this, I can make it through this.'”

Her willingness to approach me and spill her beans blessed my socks off. I am so fortunate to be able to speak to homeschoolers through seminars, articles and day-to-day meetings around town. My passion is to encourage others to keep on keeping on. I am so blessed this year to be speaking in five other states, so I can love on some hurting mothers who just want to quit. This home educating gig ain’t for the faint of heart!

By no means am I the Wonder Woman of homeschooling. Far from it. I have made more mistakes than most… ask my kids! No, don’t. It might hurt my homeschool mom feelings. But there is something to be said about hearing how another mom failed over and over again, and seeing that their kids actually turned out okay… mostly, as contributing members of society who aren’t too socially awkward.

Be encouraged, homeschooling mama! The days when everything goes haywire are the days the kids will probably remember the most. (Unfortunately!) Usually they recall how you handled rough situations and they watched you get up out of bed the next day and try again at the homeschoolin’ deal.

My advice for the “End of March Blues” is to relax. Hardcore-Textbook Mom, play some board games. Stick-to-the-Planner Mom, read a good YWAM biography to the kids. Neatnik Mom, break down and let the kids papier mache outside… with the back door locked. OCD-Math Mom, cross out half the problems on today’s worksheet. Live on the edge. It’s okay to relax once in a while and have some fun. Funschooling is real.

Know that you are not alone. Find another homeschooling family… or five, and go to the Botanical Gardens! We did! It was a great break and math will still be there tomorrow!

Training Your Kids NEVER Ends!

March 6, 2017

My 18-year-old son, Keeve, did not get my storytelling-gene… at all. I feel I have not trained him in good faith as his mother in this area. #momfail2277  I offer this story as evidence and my solemn vow to work with him on his retelling abilities. Pinky swear.

Crosby_Keeve_senior.jpg(Photo credit: Monica Hortiales, Youth Pastor and fine storyteller)

Our tale begins with some backstory: it was a Wednesday night. Keeve left for church at 4:45. Nora and I left at 6:00. Rick was supposed to leave at 6:20. Austin went straight from work to church.

Upon arrival at church the sweet greeter lady hugs my neck and relays, “Your son handled that like a trooper!” I smiled. I had no idea what she was talking about… nor which son she was referring to.

Nothing else was mentioned until we were getting in the van to drive home. My husband reached down between the front seats and grabbed a piece of paper and scotch tape, saying, “I’ll be right back.” I still didn’t know what was going on… OR if this had anything to do with the other stuff I didn’t know was going on.

Upon Keeve’s arrival home that night, his dad asks him, “So, what happened?” Here is Keeve’s entire story, “I got pulled over. The license plate on the car was stolen.” THE END. I inquired a bit further and discovered the paper and scotch tape were for the temporary plate that Rick printed off at home and brought to the church.

FOUR DAYS LATER…. we had our youth pastor over for lunch and got the whole truth. She was in the church, looking out the windows when Keeve pulled in, followed by, not one, but four police cars. Keeve was told to stay in the car as one cop approached his side of the vehicle. Then SEVEN MORE armed officers of the law got out of their vehicles and surrounded my innocent baby boy in his car…. in front of the church! Yeah, he forgot to mention backup.

The officer at the driver’s window asked if Keeve knew why he was being pulled over. NO! He proceeded to explain that the license plate on the car was a stolen plate and he needed to see Keeve’s license and registration. Another officer was removing the hot plate as they spoke. The remaining officers were casing the joint, because our church is in an industrial strip-mall of sorts…. perfect cover for a chop-shop to steal cars and paint them and switch out license plates and deter the law.

At this point, the youth pastor came out of the church and was waving her cell phone, mouthing to Keeve, Do you need me to do anything? Keeve simply smiled his shy smile and shook his head back and forth.

Next the kind officer asked Keeve, “What is this place?” My Keeve… hahaha… “It’s my church!” More inquiries, “Why are you at church at 5:00 in the evening on a Wednesday?” My son explained, “I’m in the worship band and we have practice right now.”

Eventually they let him get out of the car, and questioned Keeve about the damage on the driver’s side door handle. He explained the vandalism that had taken place in October when someone tried to break in. Made me think we should possibly visit a chop-shop???

“Do not move this vehicle until you get a 3-day temporary license plate,” the cop instructed Keeve. Hence, the call home to Dad, that I didn’t know about, and the printing of the temporary plate, and my husband’s late arrival at church.

Who knew thugs steal license plates? Now we know. And storytelling lessons will commence with embellished details as a side option.

 

Homeschooling is More than Workbooks at the Kitchen Table

March 5, 2017

When we were diligently studying WWII in American history in our homeschool, I assigned the kids the project of making a game. Foolishly I assumed they would come up with some sort of board game with the Axis and Allies picking sides and battling it out with cards, or dice or Popsicle sticks to dominate the world. I should have known better with MY children.

When I give my students active assignments such as this there is always a laundry list of requirements for their “class” presentation. Just like real school. This particular list included, but was not limited to: make a game that 4-6 people can play, design a game board, include historical information, wear an applicable costume when presenting, have props for the players and make it fun!

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(To my dismay, I did not take a picture of Austin wearing his costume… but this shows what he looked like at that time… thrilled to be giving a report!)

To say I was surprised when my son walked in dressed like Hitler is an understatement. He had absconded the master closet with a tan Royal Rangers shirt of his father’s. He designed a swastika arm band, found a skinny tan tie, and made gold medals for the getup. His blonde hair was slicked over and he had a felt mustache in miniature taped to his upper lip. Scarily, he did resemble the German fascist.

For props we all wore similar black felt mustaches and hand drawn arm bands. The game board was pretty straight forward with six columns leading to the top where he had boldly scribed, “Who Wants to Be Hitler?” … sort of like Jeopardy. At this stage I was falsely assuming that my son was glorifying a mad man and I was simply waiting for the moment to stop the game.

To my surprise (and relief), as we rolled the dice to move up the board, we had to answer detailed questions about the Jews, Germany, death camps, Hitler, the Nazis, Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), persecution, ethnic cleansing, the death trains, etc. The strategy of the game was well thought out. As players, you didn’t want to be Hitler, so you had to understand the times and his hideous plan in order to stay where you were on the board and not ascend to the top. For every wrong answer, you moved closer to “being Hitler.”

The process of playing the game brought home the idea that if you didn’t understand what was going on in society, you would be caught up in the nightmare becoming part of the problem. Discussions following the game were extremely contrite and somber. These kids understood the sins of at least THIS past generation, hopefully being somewhat equipped to stand up against injustice if a situation arose in their lives.

My son received an A on his game and presentation and the game was laid to rest forever.

Unfortunately, somehow the swastika-armband-clad-shirt ended up on a hanger in the front room of our house before it made its way back to my husband’s side of the closet. In the 18 hours it hung in the front room, the doorbell must have wrung at least five times for various and sundry reasons. When spying the shirt, several eyebrows were raised heavenward wondering what in the world was going on in the Crosby homeschool. Fumbling through various thoughts in my head, I knew I should NOT say, “We just played Who Wants to be Hitler!” I feebly came up with, “We are studying World War II,” and smiled my pretty homeschool-mom-smile… the one that makes people assume I have my act together.

Hindsight….. again…..

March 3, 2017

skiing-with-noraLast week, I took the kids skiing in Flagstaff on Tuesday. It is a 90 minute drive from our house, which is surprising because we live in Phoenix, AZ. But when you drive up to 10,000 feet, even in Arizona, there is snow in the winter. A blustery storm had blown through the previous weekend and the mountain was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. for my three skiers. No, I didn’t ski. Being the planning maniac that I am, I brought a list of TO-DO items that I was going to have checked off while I sat in the cozy lodge sipping cocoa. Much to my dismay, there was no phone service NOR internet connectivity at the lodge. What century are we in? And I brought NOTHING else to do. My to-do-list-checking-self had a hard time for eight long hours, as you can imagine.

At one point, I folded my arms on the table, in the middle of the noisy ski chalet between the cafe and the bar, put my head on one of my children’s discarded sweatshirts and took an hour-long nap. Nap. Check!

Wednesday, I drove north again. This time to Sedona, land of the red rocks, where my husband was on a three-day work retreat and wives were invited. Unfortunately, the first day was Tuesday… ski day. Rick and I enjoyed a flavorful Mexican meal at our favorite stop Javalina Cantina. Unfortunately, my mind was still frozen from the previous day and I thoroughly squandered salsa loaded with cilantro. Cilantro is my newly discovered #2 highly allergic food. DUH. That night didn’t end comfortably.

Thursday, for the first time in my life, I visited Jerome, Arizona. Rumor has it, people drive for forever to go there. Seven of my homeschool-mom-peeps and I were spending Thursday through Sunday at a cabin in the woods in Prescott… just to get away from it all. It was sublime. Anyway, there is a “highway” from Sedona to Prescott that goes through Jerome, a very sleepy little mining town that is truly built on the side of a mountain. I’m convinced that a map of the town would look like a Chutes-N-Ladders game. Currently it is an artsy tourist metropolis with next-to-no parking. Public restroom are in the fire hall… FYI.

The “highway” reminded me of the Road to Hana in Maui…. however, palm trees were replaced with pine trees, the drop off the cliff into the ocean was replaced with sheer rock cliffs to solid rock cavern, and the one-lane bridges were replaced with very narrow jaunts through the town. I can add this adventure and then check it off my bucket list. Jerome. Check!

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Sunday 1:00 in the afternoon… pending doom hit. I got chills that were multiplying. My body’s ability to regulate temperature was losing control. I climbed under the power that the electric blanket was supplying. It was electrifying. But I never shaped up. I needed a friend to drive my van home with me in it. After days of coughing, chills, fever, sweating and “sleeping” in my green birthday chair (instead of flat on my back in my bed) I succumbed to a doctor’s visit. Prognosis: Flu and Bronchitis. She inquired if a note was necessary for work to excuse me for several days so I could rest. I declined.

Then it started. ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE DOCTOR! I hadn’t even made it to the pharmacy to pick up my meds and my very first inhaler. “Can you swing by Costco and pick up a battery for the van?” “Mom, what’s for dinner?” “Can you cut my hair?” “We’re going to the park tomorrow, right?” “There’s a birthday party on Saturday.” “Can you please change a few things on my business receipt original copy?” “Are you washing laundry?” “I got Bon Jovi tickets for Saturday night!” “There’s no milk.” Oh my stars.

Never should I have declined the note qualifying my need for rest. What in the blazes was I thinking? I could have taped it on my bedroom door…. or my forehead. (I even declined the opportunity to see John in concert…. THAT’S how much rest I need!)

Rest well, my faithful readers. And use hand sanitizer. You don’t want what I got! Trust me!

Water Filter Infomercial

February 15, 2017

You either HAVE a water filter or you ARE a water filter.

We live in Phoenix, AZ, which is in the Sonoran Desert. Our sunshine state is not know for the quality of our tap water. I’ve heard that Arizona has three years worth of water stored in underground aquifers, for which I am thankful, even though it tastes horrible. So we won’t die of thirst any time soon. I think I could probably crawl out of Arizona to a neighboring state within three years if I had to.

Remember I just ordered a new water filter for the fridge that had the ice maker, the door magnets and the water dispenser fixed? Well, come to find out, my beloved Whirlpool side-by-side refrigerator DID NOT HAVE A FILTER! What? I am semi-grossed out by this news.

After pulling out the fridge to inspect the backside, I discovered lots of broken glass under there. The glass used to be the lid to my most-used and well-loved soup pot. Bummer, dude. It almost looked like someone swept it there on purpose…. but I digress.

I wish I had action photos for you… but no.

Today I am feeling like a boss. With my new filter in hand, along with several attachments and no instructions, I turned to trusty youtube and learned how to splice the water line and install the water filter ALL BY MINESELF. (That’s what our eldest used to say twenty-two years ago.) After the second try, it doesn’t even leak! Feeling like a homeschooler.

My assistants, (okay, I had a little help) my two “willing” teenagers, tested the water, wrapped white sealant tape, emptied the pail and moved the fridge back in its hole. Thank you, my children. We will have yummy water and delicious ice cubes for dinner!

Need plumbing or large appliance assistance? 1-800-LindaIsABoss. BAM!

Homeschooling and Brain Surgery

February 14, 2017

An 18-year-old, non-homeschooled friend of my son’s was at our house during our Bible lesson with my 13-year-old daughter. He was sitting on the couch not far from the kitchen table where Nora and I sat coloring our Bible lesson. Yes, you read that right… coloring. It’s the BEST Bible curriculum out there, in my humble 16-year homeschooling experience.

“Picture This!” is a walk through the Bible system that has pages for each book with lightly shaded lines for you to draw and color the history from the Word of God. We read Bible verses, then we draw, then we color, and then we read more Bible verses talking about each as we go along.

This is not a sales pitch for the curriculum, but I love it so much I wouldn’t have a hard time selling it. (I am making no profit from this…. in case you thought I had figured out how to make profits off my favorite homeschool ditties. Um… no.)

Here is the page we were working on when our story began:

“This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time,” says the Lord.
“I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.” Hebrews 10:16

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Wanting to always be RIGHT, my daughter asked, “Mom, what color are brains?

An honest question. I replied, “I think they are sort of pink.”

Nora inquired, “How do you know? Have you seen a brain?”

Then, as most homeschooling lessons go, we veered off to a bunny trail on youtube and watched a video on brain surgery so my girl could see a real live brain. The surgeon was removing some dark colored blob and we could see the blood still pumping through different veins. She thought it was the most supremely awesome video in the history of the galaxy. How is this my child?

Setting my phone down, so I didn’t have to hold all seven minutes of brain surgery in my hand, I concentrated on non-gagging images in my head… like watercolor pictures of flowers and birdies. I get queasy with blood and guts and bones and such. I realize this is surprising to some who know our family’s history of frequent ER trips. But it’s true. I’m an injured-anatomy wimp.

When brain surgery ended, we found another video (like one wasn’t enough!) with a scientist holding a recently harvested brain before it had hardened up. I didn’t realize brains harden up, but they do. I am learning so much from homeschooling. Miss Scientist was naming the different lobes while holding and squeezing it in her gloved hands, and showing the characteristics of a fresh brain. It was so gross to me I had to keep my eyes averted most of the little show. However, my daughter’s dream of becoming a scientist was planted a little deeper in her blood-n-guts loving heart.

Back to the non-homeschooler on the couch… his interest was piqued and he sauntered into the kitchen and viewed the videos with us. His only comment, “I thought you guys were doing Bible?”

“We ARE doing Bible. This is homeschooling.” And back to coloring we went.