Jeneric Jeneralities ~ by JenIG
August 27th, 2008
Praying For the Drews Family

***** EDIT 


Emily has come up with a beautiful idea for Marsha, if you are racking your brain for something tangible to help express a message of love and support for the Drews family, Emily has come up with a way that’s extraordinarily meaningful.  Click HERE


Please pray for Marsha’s family.  She is so well loved by so very very many.  Please pray for their entire family.  Pray for God’s comfort and His grace.  Pray that she’ll be enveloped with an uncommon peace and that she’ll not only know that all grief is short, but that she’ll FEEL it thru and thru.


All life is so short; we have the great hope of seeing everybody that we love again.  SOON.  We will see them again very soon.


Oh God, WHY? I know you love her.  Why their family?  God please don’t be silent, but come near and truly comfort everybody touched by this.  Help us not to lose faith thru this, but, Lord, it feels too hard to go thru.  It is too hard to go thru.  Please just come back now so we no longer have to go thru this impossible life.  Just come back, soon, please.  God, this is too much to bear


August 27th, 2008 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 20 Comments

August 25th, 2008
Back to School Armor

We school year-round, which is a necessity because we skip so many days that I end up having to cash in our summer.  And really, this is fine by me because I like having something to do on dull days.


But soon as Sept starts creeping up I always get that ‘Back to School’ kick, so we have been in full swing this last week, especially with looking for new curriculum.  It’s exciting.  I always like it.


And still along the lines of ‘Back to School’ – around this time of year there is always a number of ‘keeping safe’ stories, and also, inevitably, stories about school violence.  The school shooting that killed a boy, which made national news, happened in the large town (Knoxville) near us.


And then all the homeschoolers come out of the woodwork to point out the multitude of horrors within the public school system and to say how thankful we are to keep our kids at home and how safe we are because of it.  Yes, there is truth that we have an additional layer of safety because of homeschooling, but there is also a danger that a lot of us disregard.


It is easy to become complacent and deceived by safe feelings.  


My ‘Back to School’ warning is this: There is every reason in the world for you to be borderline paranoid about the safety of your kids.


Evil runs amuck in the “Homeschool Community”.  Sadly, and tragically, evil runs amuck within the “Christian Community”.  Sinners saved by grace still have a sin nature.  Your friends have a sin nature, the people you love the most – people you trust implicitly – have a sin nature.  Their children who you also trust implicitly have a sin nature.  Our children – yours and mine — have a sin nature.


Our kindergarteners, and first and second graders, are especially the most vulnerable.  If they get ‘messed’ with by older boys or girls, it is a long road to haul.  Of course you “know” your friends; of course you love and trust the closest people in your life.  It would be insulting to doubt them or believe they or their children could do irreparable damage to your child, right?   Maybe it would be insulting, but your kid needs you to be paranoid and insulting.  


It is much easier to let people who you do not spend a lot of time with know the basic rules:


No playing in the bedrooms with the door shut

No two children allowed tromping off by themselves alone

Siblings are to always stick together (and keep a sharp eye) while playing with others kids

No sleepovers


And yet with the ones closest to us (and even with our own kids), we feel as though we can trust them fully.  Only other seriously messed up people with monstrous families would do ___________ .  


Yes, we are blessed to homeschool.  We have fewer snares and, to some degree, fewer dangers to stave off and fight against.  Do not let this blessing become your Achilles heel by causing you to forget that all humans, even very good humans, have a sin nature –  and that any social setting can turn into an event (or series of events) that will cause you and your child to suddenly be in a (long term) devastating circumstance.


So my advice is this… Be paranoid – yet still available and accessible. Trust no one – yet love everyone. Do not get peer pressured into putting your child into a situation that could be dangerous.  Do not get so caught up with ‘visiting’ with your friends that you don’t know what the kids are doing or how they are ‘playing’.  If need be, cut down on your own social time to implement this. Be wary of all teenage boys no matter how much you know them or how long you’ve known them or how godly they are.  Be wary of some teenage girls, but I think especially be wary of girls between the ages of nine and eleven.  Be wary of all children of all ages. Do not over estimate your own child’s virtue at *any* age.  I’ll say it again – Do not over estimate your own child’s virtue.


There is a reason why people are always always always stunned, shocked and amazed when their family is touched with the unspeakable.  Perhaps those who are already on their guard are never shocked because they’ve been able to prevent horrors before they happen. Having an attitude and mindset that assumes ‘the worst can happen’ can do a great deal in preventing disaster.


I’ll end this by saying that God is sovereign and ever present –even when/if something does happen.  Some things, I think, are unavoidable.  We do not have the omnipotent power to protect our children against all things and all people. Nor can we go back and protect them after they’ve been exposed.  But we owe it to our kids, right now, to make the best effort that we can.  


So, on that note, praise God for our freedoms to homeschool, but let’s not accidentally assume that makes us ‘safe’


August 25th, 2008 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 39 Comments


I have a new favorite treat.  Our friend, Mr. B, was guest preaching at a little country church so we went up to fill a couple pews.  Anyways, his lovely bride gave me a bag full of fresh blueberries that she had just picked.  I ended up sticking them in the freezer and now all thru-out the day I grab handfuls to munch on.   That is a really yummy snack.  Our family is going to go up on Saturday and pick several gallons.  Emmiko also made a banana / blueberry bread.  yums.  I’m gonna make blueberry jam, too.  Can’t wait.


We also had fun with Rachel and her four sisters on Sunday.  Boy are they crazy.  Rachel is the oldest of 12 kids – I wish she would have brought her mom.  I’da liked to talked to that lady.


In other news, on Monday Ryann and Bo butchered five chickens – they are getting good and fast at that job.  That was Bo’s first time at butchering.  He did a manly job of it.


Yesterday poor Bo and Emmiko had to go to the dentist and get a bunch of cavities filled. Bo had to have one of his teeth pulled. I think they had fun.  Anyways, it was fun for me to see them with puffed up chipmunk faces. When they got back, Emmiko told me the nurse asked her, “Do you panic like your mom does?” when she told the nurse, ‘no’, the lady sighed and said, “Oh good, this will be much easier, then”.


I think I’m offended.


Wanna see my new kitty cat?

Also, congrats to Jess who is now a professional ice hockey princess. And thanks, Jess, for the Isagenix box you sent.  Good heavens that was a big box!  I love you.


In other other news, thanks for the tips on good math picks.  I think I’m convinced with Teaching Textbooks.  So now my question is… where is the cheapest place to get it? … or, is anybody willing to part with theirs for a reasonable price?

August 20th, 2008 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 12 Comments

August 16th, 2008
The Right Now

I think it would be a great idea if somebody took the time to put together a resource compiling a list of materials specifically for the three types of homeschoolers – The Very Structured Teacher, The Sort of Structured Teacher, and The Very Lazy Teacher.  And then there would be a list to refer to with resources conducive to personal approaches. 

I’m sure there would be crossovers, but I would definitely include Explode the Code, AVKO’s Sequential Spelling, Bright Ideas Press Mystery of History, Jeannie Fulbright’s science books and Mike Venezia’s “Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists” set in the Very Lazy Teacher category because those books have made it possible for me to teach without wanting to chuck everything out the window and run away from home.


You’ll notice I didn’t list any math resources to include in the Very Lazy Teacher category.  I don’t think there are any.  You either have to not be lazy, or not teach math.  I take the latter approach. 


In other news, tonight we’ll have a gaggle of Canadians who we’re hosting for the evening.  My friend Rachel and her four sisters are taking a road trip and we’re one of the pit stops.  That will be fun.  Rachel is also the copy editor for Home School Enrichment –speaking of which, I think their new issue should be coming out pretty soon.


Lastly, I’ve really been enjoying Julie Park’s blog – it’s worth checking out.


Oh, but before I go, and this is for my own benefit so I can read back on it, last night (early evening) I had one of those times that get seared into memory.  When my girls were little (nine, four and three) I have this very distinct memory of being downstairs in the living room and watching all three twirling around and dancing in white fluffy dresses.  They were singing daintily, “Princess dance, it’s the princess dance, we are doing… the princess dance”.  At the time, even, I knew I’d always remember it because it filled me with awe of being a mom and caused me to realize moments like these would soon be gone – and they do go *so* quickly. My girls will never be nine, four and three ever again.


Anyhow, last night in the evening I was outside watching Geoff work on the riding mower and then he drove off to test it and my three boys started performing for me.  They had me pick out a tree for them and then they’d shimmy up like little orangutans.  They were all grinning at me, looking for approval and then swinging down and awaiting orders for a new tree to climb.  And then I told them to race, so all three darted off – eleven, eight and five tearing toward the apple tree– and little James was trying like mad to keep up, and Bo kept slowing down so Dippy could get ahead.  And I thought to myself.  “I will only have this right now 

But I get to keep that memory forever.

August 16th, 2008 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 27 Comments

 ***Edit and Update *** Today, Aug 13th, is the only day you can take advantage of this great freebie from Laurie Bluedorn / Trivium Pursuit.  Check it out!


Ok, before I get started, this morning when I was in the bathroom, I don’t know what possessed me, but without thinking I started brushing my teeth before realizing I had *not* finished my cup of coffee, nor eaten breakfast yet.  That is not a good way to start the day.  It’s probably one of those classic pre-Alzheimer’s signs.  And now I’m hungry but I’m stuck with that overpowering minty meal-ruiner taste.


In other news, I love my favorite CA reading chum.  This showed up in the mail on Saturday.  *SO* exciting.  She’s the greatest.


In otherly-ish news, the other day Chickadee left me a comment which stung me to the quick.  I was accused of wishing away her summer… which got me to thinking, “Why the heck would anybody *not* want it wished away?”  So then I started thinking about summery things that people might enjoy that I normally reject and avoid, and then, to my utter amazement (even more so, to my *kids* utter amazement) I asked Geoff the Great to take us to the lake.  And then we actually went.  Twice.  See? I even have pictures to prove it.  See how hot it looks?  That’s the problem with summer.


James at the Lake


Dip at the Lake


Bo at the Lake


Ryann and Emmiko at the Lake


Coie at the Lake


Geoff at the Lake — he actually swam, too.  Gross.  Lake water is nasty.




Me at the Lake.  Yep, that’s right, I stayed *inside* the nice cool car the whole time and watched the fun from the window (when I wasn’t reading).  I’m pretty sure I had the most enjoyable time.  And I am still looking forward to cold-y-ness.  But I confess, we all had fun.





August 12th, 2008 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 32 Comments

I turn into a lunatic when it gets too hot.  I don’t know about you, but I always find August dreadful.  It is dreadful.  The only good thing about August is the nice contrast that it gives Fall.  It’s almost worth being so vapid and deflated after autumn begins to whittle thru the mugginess and then breaks out in vibrant colors and restorative cuffs of cool sharp breathable air.  I’m looking forward to that.


Look what I made:


Picture by Ryann


Peach Jam.  I don’t know what it is with our peach and plum trees… for the last three years they wouldn’t give us a thing, but now, all of a sudden they’re making piles and piles.  The peach trees still need help; they have some sort of blight.  The fruit doesn’t look good on the outside, but the inside is excellent, and my family has declared this peach jam their all time favorite.  For a spiritual application to the real life fruit anecdote, see James chapter 2


Ok, in other news, uh, I don’t think I have any news.  This last week has been a real dragger.  Although I did finish Wives and Daughters – I liked it.  And now I’m reading Daniel Deronda by George Eliot.  I am not quite smart enough to read George Eliot, but I’m getting thru it, and now that the plot is in full twirl, I’m really enjoying it quite a bit.  Moonstone came in the mail yesterday.  I’m supposed to get Moonshine, tomorrow.  J/K …but I bet I could make moonshine now that I’m an almost real life homestead farmgirl.  And then I could sell the moonshine to support my book habit.


In randomness… I almost wish I had a tv so I could watch the Olympics.  Gymnastics is the best.


Here Charley, this picture is for you.  Geoff had all the kids on the zip line again last night.  It still scares me when James goes – especially when he does stuff like this:




August 8th, 2008 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 24 Comments



Surely I’m not the only one in the world who is unable to sleep unless their legs are shaved, right?  I mean, golly, to have them all pokey is just intolerable and hardly conducive to a good night’s sleep.  I had to get up in the middle of the night and correct before I could finally nod off.


Anyways, I’m getting used to these “all year long Birthday presents”.  My sister is so funny.  On Saturday this birthday card shows up in the mail, and on the back of the envelope it says, “I FOUND IT! I FOUND IT! Here’s your long lost birthday card! …I can’t remember what’s in it, but I’m sure it’s pretty funny”.  It was.  It also had a $50 gift cert for The Olive Garden and a $25 gift card for Starbucks.  The only thing that could make this gift better is if she and Choncho could use the cards with us. 


In other news, my friend Maggie Hogan recently came out with more brilliancy.  Here is a clip of info about the newly unveiled Illuminations program (which is a perfect companion to the Mystery of History books – but would also be a perfect fit with any ancient history course).  Here is some info on it:



For years, our company (Bright Ideas Press) has had the motto of “Practical, Fun and Affordable Resources for Teaching Geography, History, and Science.” Now we are branching out into Language Arts, Fine Arts, and more but our basic goal remains the same.

Practical – you will not find any assignments to “write a ten page treatise comparing and contrasting 6 major world religions” or “build the Great Wall of China to scale out of cereal boxes and recycled tires.” We are R E A L homeschoolers who recognize that there is more to life than academics.

Our schedule also runs on a FOUR DAY school week! This allows for:

Co-ops or outside classes

Projects, experiments, field trips

Catch-up days

Real life! 

Fun – no, not all education is “fun” but we want to help you build “fun time” into your schedule. For some, this could simply mean having a great read-aloud and discussion time, for others it might be making costumes out of left-over fabric and duct tape, or enjoying ethnic cooking together. We want your family to build F U N memories of your homeschooling years! 


We believe Illuminations will be Encouraging as well. We are on your team to encourage and equip you to diligently train and teach your children in the way of the Lord!  You can email Melissa if you want more info:



In other news, here is one of my family’s favorite meals.  Sheppard’s Pie. 




It’s so easy.  Make mashed potatoes, fry up some ground hamburger (with chopped onion) and then layer it : potateys, meat, potateys, cheddar cheese.  

Warning: It does not look pretty if it all gets stirred up.  So if you do make it, be sure to keep it out of reach of my naughty five year old.


Lastly, this morning when my husband was changing his shirt I noticed this monstrously savage, perfectly round black and bluish/purple bruise on his arm.  It was appalling; I asked him, “Where the heck did you get that?  He looked down, pointed at it and said, “This? You wanna know where this came from?  It came from YOU and your big mouth when you bit me” And sure enough, it dawned on me that I had sunk my teeth in pretty good after he had pounced on me with the classic Pin and Tickle maneuver.  I was uncommonly proud of myself to see the mutilation I wrought.  I should have taken a picture of it.  I wrestle with no rules — plus I’m very claustrophobic, so if I get in a tight spot I go tornado and become elbows and all teeth.  I got him pretty good and I think I could have done some serious damage except my kids wrecked it up when they came in whooping, bellowing and shrieking to body slam him and ruin all my fun.


August 4th, 2008 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 19 Comments

I have a theory that consuming sugar free sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet n Low make you dopey.  Every time me and Geoff the Great start consuming diet soda, sugar free pudding, ice cream with Splenda etc, we get really dim witted, like, and it’s hard to concentrate and uh, I always forget, uh, what I


In other news, I’ve decided that I will, indeed, vote in this election – but only on the condition that Mitt Romney is selected as the candidate for VP.  Otherwise, I think I’m gonna sit this one out.


I changed my bedroom around yesterday.  I have ever so much more room.  In fact, you won’t believe this, but I’m putting all of that extra room to good use by working out again.  Yep.  It’s true.  I’m not sure how long that’ll last, but it sure makes me feel less lazy.  I hope I get less squishy.  I suppose you have to exercise for a prolonged period of time to proportionately reduce the level of squish, which means I’m probably going to just end up staying squishy. 

I wish I could be like Jess and join a softball team and an ice hockey team.  That sounds so fun.  I love softball.  But I refuse to pitch.  Once, when I was ten, I got hit smack dab in the face with a line drive right into the teeth.  It literally knocked me out.  And I literally saw stars.  Literally.  And my lip swelled up the size of a grapefruit.  Thus, my days of pitching came to an abrupt end.  I belong at first base only.  How’d I get on this subject?  Sweet n Low.


In other news, a most hearty congrats to my friend Christine Masloske who just had a beautiful baby girl.  That’s fun.  I can’t believe my own little baby is going to turn five next week.  He was such a cute little baby. 




He’s still sorta cute.   

Poor little fella.  Emmiko keeps ‘doing’ his hair.

August 1st, 2008 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 20 Comments