Posts Tagged ‘smile’

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!


(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.

This was a First for ME!

March 30, 2014

Toilet paper is apparently a current topic in my life.  Some of our children’s friends TP’d our house a few weeks ago and due to the extremely pokey trees we have in the yard, there are remnants of the prank still waving at us. Even our tall son and his hockey stick couldn’t remedy the situation. My extremely frugal husband was thrilled to find five rolls of TP with 3/4 of the goods still on the roll! We have been saving money left and right from this yardly joke.

This morning after church, I was visiting the ladies room and when I arrived in my chosen stall, I noticed a huge white rose where the toilet paper should have been. I did see the elderly lady who left the stall before me, and I wrongly assumed that it was a silk rose to clip in her hair that she inadvertently left behind. Upon closer inspection…. not so. The sweet dear had taken the time to make a toilet paper rose…. FOR ME!

toilet paper rose

Never in my life have I seen a TP rose! It made me smile. The thoughtfulness of that little lady. All for me. I feel the need to find a how-to-make-a-TP-rose video on youtube so I can pay it forward.

Wasn’t that nice of her!?!

?#8 from my Sister’s Jar – Smiles

March 4, 2008

april fools

“Don’t hate us because we’re beautiful!” ~ April Fool’s Day ’07

List ten things that make you smile. 

1.  A clean kitchen… especially after I’ve been away from the house and come home to a clean kitchen.  Ahhhhh.

2.  My kids laughing….. especially when it’s about something that is totally random.  I have etched in my mind a day when we had two guys come and trim our palm trees.  My two boys sat at the large, front window and burst into uncontrollable laughter with every palm frond that hit the ground.  Silly, but the memory still makes me smile.

3.  The movie line from Zorro when the woman is confessing that she has broken the fourth commandment, and Zorro, who’s hiding in the confessional replies, “You killed somebody?”  I don’t know why, but that is SO funny to our family.

4.  Deliciously stocked scrapbooking stores.  There is one in Mesa, Arizona to die for.  The paper room is larger than our master suite.  I think the name is Scrapbooks, Etc., but not positive.  It is the store where Heidi Swapp’s stock comes to from her manufacturer.  So EVERY blinging thing she created is there.  Excuse the drool.

5.  Reading funny stories.  Which is probably why I get a thrill out of writing funny stories, so others can smile.  I am reading Sound the Trumpet by Gilbert Morris currently set at the time of the Revolutionary War.  Larisa gave it to me for Valentine’s Day.  Anyway, I read a line last night that made me giggle out loud.  One of the characters is teasing a servant girl and she strikes him with her fist and says, “You — you blacksmith!”  He replies, “Blacksmith?  What kind of cussing is that? Maybe I better teach you something a bit stronger.”  O.K., it’s not quite as funny today.  Maybe I was tired last night.  :o)

6.  April Fool’s Day Memories.  For the fourth year in a row, I have been the victim of the April Fool’s Day Sink Sprayer Prank.  And 3 of the 4 years, I fell for it.  It started with Rick using a rubberband to hold down the trigger on the kitchen sink spray nozzle.  Then when the unsuspecting soul comes to turn on the water, they get sprayed.  The first year, I came into the kitchen and asked Rick, “Why is your shirt all wet?”  The kids were beside themselves with hilarity.  He set the trap and then fell into it.  However, the following 3 years, I have sprayed myself.  This last year, I walked into the kitchen and asked, “Why is there water all over the floor?” and then sprayed myself.  :o)  I then glanced over and noticed Larisa’s pjs were soaking wet too. 

7.  My husband doing the Bibleman dance.  He started this years ago…. to the soundtrack for the Bibleman show.  He turns backwards and puts his arms up in the air and shakes his booty incredibly fast.  I just laughed at the memory after I typed it. 

8.  Blooming flowers in my weedless yard.  Because of all the rain we’ve had, the weeds are, well, growing like weeds.  We have weeded about 70% of the way around the backyard.  But the colorful purple pansies, the royal blue lobelia, the yellow daisies and the hot pink Sweet William honestly make me smile.  God did good when he made flowers.

9.  Listening to my boys interact and play together…. at least when they’re being nice.  I think it is so cool that my boys are such close friends.  It was always our goal to have them fight back to back, defending each other, instead of face to face.  So far, so good.  They are so creative and I love hearing them make up stories or retell jokes.  They both appreciate humor.  They have a mental book being compiled of the 100 funniest things they have done.  Totally makes me smile.

10. When kids say the darndest things.  I always appreciate a good Mom story of something funny her kid said.  Kids are so imaginative and creative with their use of the English language!  When Larisa was 2 1/2 she was putting a puzzle together on the kitchen floor.  I noticed she was fitting a piece in the wrong place and I mentioned that it didn’t go there.  She hit it with her little fist and said, “Yep, it do.”

What makes you smile?