Jeneric Jeneralities ~ by JenIG

Ok, this week went way too fast.  But it was a good week, a really good week, and of course that would make sense if you take into account the third law of Universal Time Measurement, which  calculates that bad weeks (and / or boring weeks) extend doubly in direct proportion to the individual boredom factor and vice versa for a good week.  So my actual UTM engendered only a total net 3 days for the entire week. 


Onto other things….my friend Crystal emailed me earlier in the week.  I like her, and wish she lived closer because she is a fun lady to have discussions with.  Anyways, she said that her five year old daughter was already noticing boys – the cute ones in particular – and she wanted to know what we did with that sort of thing.  So I’ve been thinking about that over the last few days.


I remember being as young as three when I first noticed boys.  I don’t know if that is normal or not, but I remember being fascinated with romance and would declare different neighborhood fellows as my boyfriends.  When I was in the second grade I was head over heels with a boy named Randy Beers – who did not return my adoration – and it made me so sad that I went home every day after school and sang Barry Manilow songs until I cried.  Yes… in the second grade.  Ridiculous? Totally.  And nobody ever told me to stop acting like an idiot.  My poor mom almost encouraged that sort of behavior, because I think she sort of thought it was cute.  Left unchecked, as I became a teenager, I pretty much spun out of control and ended up paying big time for ‘a fascination with romance’.


By God’s grace, Geoff married me when I was 21, and as a direct result of that, soon after I started getting a clue on how to live for God and act sort of normal.  When Coie was five I started to panic.  I remembered how early those little romances started up, and sure enough, one day she came home from Kindergarten and declared her love for Bobby Something-or-other.  She even named her goldfish after him.  Bob the Goldfish.


And just a few months around that same time, I think God realized my desperation and I ended up ‘stumbling’ upon some really good resources. Incidentally, it was also around the same time I started learning about a crazy idea called ‘homeschooling’.   We began attending a new church, and there was a trend among these Christians who refused to acknowledge the phenomena of ‘dating’.  They said it had only been within the last 150 years or so where pairing up and spending large amounts of unsupervised time with someone who was not your spouse became acceptable, and then eventually normal.  Historically speaking, ‘dating’ was just not the way things were done — and that the divorce rate had something to do directly with the dating phenomena.    


These groups of new thinking Christians made claims that dating simply had no benefits – only pitfalls– and that it taught young people how to prepare for divorce. You find someone you like, knit your heart together with his, and then rip it apart.  Wait a few weeks and then do it again.  Pretty soon, you become very practiced at mini-marriages and mini-divorces.  This made a lot of sense to me (along with many other things).  So Geoff and I decided early on that our children would not do the whole dating / boyfriend / girlfriend thing.  And hopefully this would protect them from some of the consequences that we had to deal with from our bad dating choices.


So Crystals question was essentially, "what does that look like"?  Um.  That’s a good question.  And there are a ton of facets to it, and I’m sure there are a billion different ways that the whole ‘no dating’ thing is done in other families.   


So, before I go on a long tangent of what we do, I was curious if any other families out there have this no dating philosophy, and what does that look like in your home?  What are your plans? What resources have been helpful to you? Or, what do you wish you would have done differently?  


September 29th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

September 25th, 2007
Three Cheers for Dippy


Today we finally had a break thru.  Dippy – all by himself – spelled: bat, mat, and sat.  Whooo hooo!


It really is amazing how very very very different each one of my learners progress.  I have three so-called ‘over’ achievers and three so-called ‘under’ achievers.  If we were in the government school system, I do not have any doubt that one of them would be pressured to get on heavy meds for hyperactivity, and one of them would have flunked two or three grades and no doubt picked up several titles like ‘learning disabled’, ‘dyslexic’ or worse.  My other three have skipped ahead several grades and breeze thru their studies without breaking a sweat.  Yet they are pretty near clueless about their academic loftiness because it’s not something we focus on.  The last thing I want are insufferable brainy-little-show-off-know-it-alls with an "I’m smarter than you" attitude. gross. We simply celebrate individual achievements in regards to set goals — not ‘education levels’, if that makes sense.


All this to say, I am *very* glad that we homeschool.  My ‘under’ achievers don’t really even have a clue that they would be considered as “behind”.  We approach school with little (to no) emphasis on what grade they are in, and our school days in general are very casual, very relaxed and for the most part, we all learn together sitting in the living room while I read out loud (learning as much as they are). 


My philosophy and goals for education are these:  I don’t want my kids to hate learning.  I want learning to be as natural as everyday living.  I want education to be part of who they are… not ‘what they have to do’ for a set period of time.  And second, my philosophy of education is that as long as I am seeing a marked progress in my students, I am satisfied with my school year. They are all learning and growing and excelling in different areas.   I’ve been doing this for about 12 years (which is not that long) and I have really seen first hand how learning comes in clusters and bursts. Children learn different things in different ways and at different times.  And when education is forceful and unnatural, life becomes dreadful and stressful for the entire family (believe me, I’ve tried it that way, too. shudder shudder). 


I figure the best model for brilliant pioneering independent clear thinkers are the students from early America.  They worked hard, VERY hard, alongside the family.  There were not the distractions and peer groups and temptations to be utterly lazy and useless.  The corn had to come in.  The animals had to be tended.  The bread had to be made.  The firewood had to be cut and ready for the woodstove.  If neglected, the whole family would suffer.  Life is education – and it is most certainly enjoyable when it is being done together, as a family.


Anyways, just thought I would share how happy all of us Igs were to see that phonics light bulb flicker on above little Dippy’s head.  It is so FUN when all of a sudden something clicks.  He is one excited boy, and we are all excited with him.

September 25th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

September 24th, 2007
Um. Once Again I Am Title-Stumped

Ok, I just got too much dangity stuff to say.  Let’s see if I can get it all down without sidetracking myself. 


But first, I just want to say that as much as I love Fall, I always always ALWAYS forget about the annoying inevitables that it brings.  I have a pretty mellow disposition (um…according to me) but there are a few things that drive me totally nuts.  The # 1 offender is hearing, or seeing, people eat.  Anybody.  I just can’t stand it.  Potlucks are a killer for me. And the second runner up is hearing people snort.  And without fail, every time Fall comes rolling around, all seven of my family members get hit with allergies and they wheeze, sniff and snort until I’m ready to staple everybody’s nose shut.    


Ok, where was I?  ah, yes, Maria FINALLY got back from her vacation that was entirely too long.  Hopefully she’ll post some pictures soon.


And, thanks to my friends Kellyque777 and DeeDeeUK for giving me a “You Make Me Smile” award.  You guys are swelliferic.  I am still waiting for somebody to nominate me for a: “You Make Me Roll My Eyes Every Time I Read Your Dumb Blog” award. It’s just a matter of time.  And yes, Christi, of *course* quixotic is a real word.  I don’t just totally make these up (most of the time).


Ok, what else am I about to forget?  AH! I could not forget this… we have another A.T.I.C coming up on Oct 12 at the Pigeon Forge Park (same as last time).  This is a FREE garage sale.  Just show up with any stuff you don’t want anymore and feel free to browse thru all the tables and take anything – and as much as – you want.  Maria has the full details / directions / etc, so email her and then show up! tnmomtomanyblessings at  It’s a *lot* of fun.  Coie is in charge of hauling all of the leftovers to a Salvation Army.  Unless somebody else wants to take it all and sell it on Ebay.


AND if you have not signed up for the Abingdon barn dance, you ought to do that soon.  We are *so* looking forward to this event, and best of all, the end result of our magnificent fun is aid and support for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Ethiopia.  The church is growing over there, and what an exciting thing to be involved in supplying their direct needs (medicine, vitamins, church buildings, bibles)!  If you are in, or near, my area (Morristown / Knoxville), there is a group of us meeting at (or near) my house to caravan up (it will take about an hour and a half).  Email me if you want to join our traveling party.


Lastly, my excellent, hardworking, dedicated, devoted, darling husband got a substantial raise.  His boss thinks he’s absolutely marvelous (I could have told him that).  Isn’t that wonderful?  Some of you know that the last six months have been relatively trying for us.  But these last couple of weeks we’ve been so blessed and flooded with gifts abundant (in all different forms).  What a kind and generous God we serve.  He is able to meet and surpass all of our needs.


Ephesians 3:20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen



September 24th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

See? I told you my new bread maker looks like R2D2



And sure enough… last night when I got up to get a drink of water, there was a light beam of Princess Leah streaming onto my kitchen counter, and she was giving step by step instructions on how to make cinnamon buns.


While I was getting baking tips from Leah, my sons were having quite a grand time camping (out back) with their favorite fishing buddy, young master Joshua.  They did not sleep AT ALL.  But they caught a lot of fish.  Check out this big guy



And look how pretty the pond looked this morning while they were sitting on the dock eating peanut butter sandwiches and drinking hot coacoa.  I’m telling you, I *love* everything about Fall.




In other news, I’m happy to report that vegetables promote artistic ambition.  My daughter Ryann says this art project was directly inspired from being served too many peas.  Lovely, no?  By the way, that’s teriaki chicken pushed up against the potato pea production.




And to wrap things up… earlier today I was telling Coie that I was ready for a road trip.  I don’t know about you, but after a while I’m ready for a cross country outing.  I told her that I must have gypsy in my blood, because I have always been ready to roam, and then she reminded me that while I’m always “ready to roam”, I’m always equally (or more so) anxious to get back to my cozy home after a few days of driving.  And thus, concluded she, I am not at all like a gypsy, but rather I’m more like a homing pigeon.  That girl sure knows how to ruin a good simile. Having pigeon in my blood is *way* less quixotic than having gypsy in my blood.  It seems a little unsanitary, too.


September 20th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

Jessica left me a comment in my last post about how she used to *hate* it when I used to make her wear “homeschool notifiers” i.e. “skirts” (she lived with us when she was eleven after our mom died). “homeschool notifiers”. That cracked me up.  She’s one funny little betty.  


Jess also reminded me that I also used to hate wearing skirts, too, with a passion and wouldn’t be caught dead in one. I had entirely forgotten about that. I don’t know why my tastes have changed so much over the years.  The other day Geoff told me that he heard our taste buds change every seven years. Not that I’m eating skirts now, but I sort of believed him.  Within the last seven years I’ve acquired a dislike for coffee (I am still in mourning), but it hasn’t just been for stuff I eat/drink.  I used to be a diehard stomach sleeper – but I noticed several months ago that now I wake up in the morning on my back.  Boy is that discombobulating. I also used to love the smell of oleanders.  Now it sort of makes me sick. So I am scientifically asserting that every seven years something from all five senses will change drastically.  Maybe my kids will luck out and I will start hating to have my feet rubbed.  


Anyways, Ryann and I are excited because all of her school stuff came yesterday.  Yippeeee! She has officially begun her ninth grade year.  Bobo has also really been cracking down.  He’s determined to get a full scholarship to West Point.  His first step is to earn an Eagle rank in Boy Scouts. But he’s never been in boy scouts.  I guess I should probably work on that. Good thing he’s only ten.  I should talk to the Boy Scout Wizard.  That guy knows everything there is to know about scouting.


Ok, I’m off to make chicken alfredo. Oh yeah, food related, I almost forgot… thanks to our most fabulous Burggraf friends, we are now the owners of a new bread maker. My bread making days have just gotten 98% easier. And you should see the thing, it looks just like R2D2. Seriously! It is super cool looking. I should post a picture of it. Boy will I be weirded out if a hologram flickers out of it.  Thanks for that and for the dresser, Burgys!  What a blessing!


And thanks to you guys who left great ‘sibling non-torture’ tips. Gina D, I hope some of that was useful! I really enjoyed reading thru those; you people are a wealth of knowledge.

September 18th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 20 Comments

Homeschoolers have a certain type of radar.  We can spot other homeschoolers johnny-on-the spot.  My daughter, Ryann, who has no pride, is known to shamelessly approach total strangers and say something like, “I see you’re all wearing skirts.  Are you homeschoolers?  Are you Christian homeschoolers? I’m not wearing a skirt but I’m also a Christian homeschooler.  Sometimes I wear skirts, and anyways, wanna be penpals?”  Man, I wish I were that brave. She’s made some really good friends that way. 


All that to say, in a round about and almost connected way, that me and Angie have started meeting impromptuishly at the park in Morristown (on Tuesdays at 11 if any of you other locals feel so inclined to drop in and help us take over the playground).  So last time we were there, this lady shows up – really lovely, beautiful kids, long tan skirt and a baby strapped to her back — and I thought, “That lovely momsie is most definitely a homeschooler, I wonder if I could work up the nerve to strike up a conversation” and then all of a sudden, she looks at me and says, “Jen? You’re Jen, right?”  And then I realized I KNEW her and she’d even been to my house (like a year ago or so).  On my word, I think I must have that one affliction, whats-it-called, where you forget stuff and such, you know?  So I felt like a total dolt but I was sure glad she came over and after I remembered who she was, I also remembered that I just so happened to really like her. So that worked out famously.  She has joined our non-official impromptu homeschool parkday group. Kris P, you totally need to show up for the next one.


Ok, in other news. I got this email from a lady named Gina D. who said I could share her question with you guys.  I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I’d like to hear your thoughts.  Here is what she wrote:


“My first born is a lovely 8 yr. old little girl and I could not ask
for a better oldest child.  She is mannerly, well-behaved, smart, creative,
and she has a heart for God EXCEPT when she is around my 4 yr old son!  She
turns into a mean, bossy, vindictive, vengeful, troublemaking, torturing
little girl…I kid you not!

I so want my children to love and care for each other, how do I encourage
this when it seems like things have gone so wrong the last few months.  I
consider myself a strict parent and know how to "handle my kids", but this
is one that I am stumped on.  My sisters and I were always playmates growing
up and still today we are best friends, so this is something that I simply
do not understand.”


I wrote out some thoughts, but they sounded, I don’t know, sort of canned. Plus it was SO LONG. So instead, I’d appreciate some of you to lend your input / ideas / expertise. And don’t be shy, for heavens sake, please do share your thoughts, or even your own struggles. Within this group I know there is bound to be a treasure of wisdom. One of the best resources we have for child training, and Christian encouragement is each other.  Which is another reason I am glad that we homeschoolers have radar so we can find each other when we go out.  But I digress. 

So… any takers?  Does your family deal with this?  What do you do?  How do you culture a loving, respectful child who ‘honors and esteems others above herself’ (Phil chapter 2)?  Do you require this in your home?  We do, and have had some success (it’s a continuous ongoing shaping process/struggle that most certainly does *not* come naturally for *any* of us).  But it can, and is, being done in Christian homes.  Give me your thoughts…



September 15th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

I have the greatest friends.  And I’m not just saying that because they give me stuff.  Well, I’m sort of saying it because they give me stuff.  I mean, how can you not be excited to get Blue Ribbon Oatmeal Cookies and a deer roast – yes, a DEER roast, and du meine Güte, was it exquisite! And that surprised me because I wasn’t particularly expecting to like it.  Deer roast is now my family’s favorite meat. And then today, my other friend (who seriously has to be the most generous person I’ve ever met) anyways, her son presented my son with an extraordinarily fine brand new fishing pole, complete with a tackle box full of lures.  It is not my son’s birthday, nor any other special sort of day, but apparently he inherited his family’s generosity gene because he spent half of his entire savings to buy Bo this gift – simply because they are best friends and he wanted him to have a good pole when they were fishing together.  Talk about heart warming.  I love that kid, and Bobo was just astonished to receive such a gift out of the clear blue.  Even though it was raining when we got home, he stayed outside for hours learning how to cast it.  Many thanks, young master Joshua, what a fine fellow you are.


Here’s Bo pictured with his gift.  And see that little black patch to his left?  That’s duct tape from when our screen ripped.  Aren’t you glad to know that?  You would have never even noticed had I not been such a thoughtful docent.



 and early the next morning:

In other news, my whole family received another gift. A rather unwelcome one.  We all have poison ivy.  Thankfully it is not as severe as the Great Poison Ivy Plague of 05.. I’m telling you, it does not always pay to be economical.  I’m pretty sure we contracted it from our clothes and sheets, which we had hung out on the line. BUT, I think I’ve discovered a remedy.  The other day Coie made a quart of colloidal silver as a gift for her dad, who is quite ill, and I got the grand idea to splash some on my poor tore up red blistery itchy skin.  And I daresay it was much improved by morning.  Colloidal Silver is our family’s cure all for nearly anything and everything. We used to spend a fortune buying it from natural health food stores, and it’s like a billion dollars for 8 oz of the stuff.  I think we paid $30 last year for the Colloidal Silver making kit and I know for positively certain we’ve made that money back tenfold.  So that’s my tip for the day.  Go make some Colloidal Silver.


Ok, almost lastly, I’m reading Agnes Grey by Whats-her-face Bronte. Coie told me it was excellent but I didn’t believe her.  But she was right, and it is one funny book.  I’m telling you, one of these days I am going to put together an 1800’s literature library.  Marshie’s going to run it with me (right Marshie? Books, Bok Choy & Bulgogi ). I cannot tell you how obsessed I’m becoming with that era.  Authors today just cannot compete.  Plus I learned a new word that I really like and have been trying to use in a sentence (without success / lack of opportunity).  The word? Loquacious.  Ah! Ryann and Emmiko are gifted with loquacity and can be loquacious at any given time regarding any given subject.  There. I did it.  Boy do I feel scholarish.   


Lastly last, oh never mind. This is already too long, I’ll just tell you next time I blog.

September 14th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

Seriously, I drove around for almost an hour and a half last night looking for the Lakeway Church off of 160, which *supposedly* accommodates the Morristown Chess Club.  So I ended up showing up (late) to a Lakeway Assemblies of God warehouse church (it was set up quite nice inside) and was helped out by three old Southerners who assured me that their venerable building housed no such gamery clubs of any sort.  I was in the wrong place.  And how did I know they were southerners?  Because they talked slow. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeal slow.  And the oldest guy, who talked the slowest, gave a superlative speech on the best way to find ‘that other Lakeway church’ which “must be thuh actual one bein’ sought fer by you’uns”.  Despite his most extended and protracted ruminations, we were still unable to find the place.  But somehow, and I don’t know how this happened, the instructions that he gave me led me directly to my house.  You’ve got to watch those old southern guys who hang out at warehouse churches.  So my poor kids missed their first chess club meeting.  We’ll try it again in two weeks and see if we have better luck.  Maybe I’ll use a map.


Anyways, when we got home, Coie had just gotten back from work.  She milked the goats and had her dinner and then went to the living room.  Minutes later I came in to fold the laundry (that our laundress had deposited on the couche) and found Coie lying on her stomach with her hands pinned behind her back, and with James trotting around, tucking her in with a blanket, and brushing all of her hair over her face.  In answer, she mumbled that James insisted that she lay exactly like that so he could take care of her.  So she stayed put, and I stood there folding laundry and talking to her while James flitted about.  And then the next thing I knew, before I could even comprehend what was happening, James grabbed the back of my silky jammy pants (which are too big for me) and yanked them down to my knees.  We all, including James, were somewhat mortified.  Coie was nearly blinded by the great flash of white light.  After the tree swing incident you’d think I’da learned my lesson. Note to self: Do not wear elastic banded pants if ever we have guests. 


Lastly, our pastor finally got thru Romans chapter 12 and is now going thru Romans 13 – and talk about perfect timing with all the election stuff starting to rev up.  He’ll probably be 8 to 12 weeks on this series as he works thru the text in Romans 13.  You can go thru this series with us, if you’d like.  The Sunday messages are posted (generally) by the middle of the week and can be found here.  The last one, from 9/9, was brilliant.   And just so you know, that picture of him was taken just seconds before he actually strangled one of the elders almost entirely to death. 

September 12th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

September 10th, 2007
Busy Busy Happy Busy

This is the fastest year I’ve ever lived.  I just realized that in three months this year will be over.  It’s just astonishing.  Saturday morning we took a bunch of pictures to send out for Grandparents Day, which was yesterday.  My husband insists on celebrating Grandparents Day — even though almost nobody has ever heard of it — but I suppose that’s because he was blessed with incredibly excellent Grandparents and he’s happy for another excuse to honor them.  And come to think of it, it must be hereditary because my kids are also blessed with incredibly excellent Grandparents and great Grandparents.  So now, I too, am a solid proponent of Grandparents Day.  Here’s the pictures that we took and will be mailing out today.




and no, I don’t know what James is doing.  I am suspecting that he thought the space between his buttons was a pocket.  Either that, or he’s reaching for a gun, which would have made sense on this particular morning…

…we all *hate* picture day.  It goes something like this,

me screaming: "Hold Still!  Stand Up! Quit Messing Around! I’m going to kill each and everyone of you. Knock it off!! Now SMILE"

September 10th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments


Last night Coie called me when she got off of work.  It’s my job to walk her out to the parking lot via her cell phone if she so happens to clock out after the sun already went down.  I’m not sure how I would assist her if she was ever mugged or snatched away by Coie-nappers, but it makes both of us feel somewhat better (well, really, it only makes me feel better since I am a full blown fatalistic, paranoid, anxiety-ridden fretter – she’s a little [lot] more even keeled than I am).  

Anyhow, as usual, she started telling me about her day.  She always has something fun to tell me.  This time she did not get another proposition from a creepy luna-hick, but she did tell me that they are having a cashier contest at her store (I immediately pictured her tearing thru the paint and plumbing aisles in a yellow hard hat racing a revved up shopping cart) and the winner gets a $50 gift cert to a restaurant called The Alamo, which, incidentally I’ve been wishing to go to ever since I caught sight of it and noticed how appealingly similar it looks to Chevys – there are NO Chevys in TN.  OK, still with me?  So, she tells me that the best cashier with the highest rating at the end of the month (not the fastest shopping cart) will win this gift certificate and she told me she is determined to win it. I told her, “I bet you will win it, because you’re the best worker ever.  And when you do win it, you should take your friend, Veronica, or one of your other friends – you’ll have a great time!”  And she told me, “No mama, I don’t want to take anybody but you and Dad”.  Ok, is that not just the nicest thing ever?  I have no idea how lucky I got to end up with her.

Speaking of which, I keep doing the math to try and figure out how many more years I’ll get to keep her.  If my master plan fails (she lives with us until both me and Geoff die), and if plan B fails (she lives with me and Geoff until I’m so old that I can’t remember who she is), then I’m guessing I can hopefully probably reasonably get to keep her for at least five more.  That’s not nearly enough.  

And I’m still holding out hope that she’ll marry a Jamaican – plus this gives me a little bit better odds of keeping her longer, especially if we stay in the South.  And wouldn’t that be cool to have a Jamaican son-in-law?  And then all the little grandkids would have those groovy accents, and maybe Coie would FINALLY learn how to dance (if her husband had enough patience to teach her; that girl aint got no rhythm).  

But with Coie’s luck, she’ll end up marrying a total backwoods hee-haw hillbilly since that’s the *one* type of guy she is determined NOT to spend the rest of her life with.  She should never say such things, I keep telling her that now she’s sealed her fate.  It never fails. For instance, I had less-than-zero interest in Asian guys.  I would even tell people, “I’ll marry any type of fellow except an Asian because those guys just can’t dance (I had really high priorities in highschool) and then to my surprise I fell crazy in love with a Japaneesy.  God knew exactly what I needed (and what I really wanted) and that was a Geoff Igarashi.  And here’s a true side note… the first time I ever met him, and after he repeated his last name seven times so I could sound it out for myself, I thought, “Landsakes, I feel awful sorry for THIS guy’s future wife”

Funny how those things work out. So the more Coie says that she will *not* marry a hick, the more I’m convinced she’ll end up with one.  

Have a splendid weekend. 

PS  Wanna buy this? Coie listed it earlier today.  She is so industrious.

September 7th, 2007 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

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