Friday, August 22, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 40)

It seems that my drastic paring down of my Facebook friends to only those people I'm actually real friends with (or at least want to be real friends with) has kept me in a nice little bubble regarding various (often annoying or infuriating) aspects of modern culture.  For example, despite hearing about it for almost a month, I didn't actually see a single "ice bucket challenge" video on my newsfeed until just this week.  And who posted it?  My 60-year-old father.

On Tuesday, I made the effort to wake up really early at a reasonable hour, for once, and got myself and the three kids to daily Mass across the street.  I had mentioned to Sly that we were going, so he went to his room and picked out "church clothes" - pants with a belt, a dress shirt, and a bowtie.  I told him that I was alright with him not dressing up, since it wasn't a Sunday Mass.  But he insisted.  I've gotta hand it to him, he realized how inconsistent my rule was - I mean, Mass is Mass. 

All the daily Mass folk (a.k.a. retirees) were tickled by his outfit, and complimented him left and right.  So I'm betting he'll be choosing to dress up again in the future.  Suits me fine.  Little boys in bow ties are adorable.

All the homeschooling bloggers are busy writing posts about starting up the new schoolyear.  I keep seeing recommendations for curriculum, and the occasional suggestions for keeping yourself sane amidst the chaos and/or malaise that's in store for you in a few months.

Despite the advice I've heard so many times about not starting to homeschool a pre-school age kid unless they're begging for it....I've decided to dip my toes into the water with Sly.  We're testing out the oft-praised Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Sly loves books so much, and already spends hours poring over the pages.  He has many books memorized verbatim, and "reads" them to me or Stella.  He's dying to learn to read for real.  His verbal skills are pretty high, so I think he might be ready.  According to my mother-in-law, Tom "taught himself to read" at age four.  So this might not be too crazy.  Plus, it's just fifteen minutes a day.  Still plenty of time for playing and being a kid.

We've only made it through two days, but so far, so good.  If I realize we need to take a break from it down the road, no big deal!


Speaking of books, we made a couple good discoveries at the children's library this week.  Books that were so enjoyable, I'm considering getting copies of our own.

The first one is Nest, by Jorey Hurley.

The story is quite simple, with just one word per page ("nest", "hatch").  This makes it appropriate for toddlers, but pre-schoolers will enjoy it as well because of the sweet story about the little robin growing up from egg to adult.  It's a sort of introduction to life cycle or the "circle of life".  The illustrations are very "clean" and appealing.  Because the author shares just one word about each picture, it left plenty of room for discussion with my kids about what was happening on each page.

Tom reading the kids a totally different book (also a good one, though)

The other one is Train, by Elisha Cooper.

It follows five different types of trains as they travel through or across the US.  The author did a wonderful job capturing all the sights, sounds, and moods of the various experiences and landscapes.  The drawings are rich with lots of details to discuss.

But you don't have to take my word for it [anyone get the reference?!].  Keep an eye out for them both if you stop at your local library!

Why is it so impossible to find dresses that have sleeves these days?  I'm not even talking about long sleeves (that is truly impossible to find - why?  It makes so much sense for the winter).  I mean dresses with any sleeves at all that cover the shoulders. 

Strapless, spaghetti-strap, halter-top, etc. dresses tend to be unflattering on people.  Or at least on myself.  And aside from the potential immodesty issues with many of them, there's the fact that they aren't seasonally appropriate three-quarters of the year!  If I have to layer a shirt under a dress, or a cardigan or shrug over it to be warm and/or modest, then seriously, what's the point?  Why can't they just make a one-piece garment that functions on its own?!

I did a Google search just now for "dresses with sleeves" and the first result was Modcloth.  It's nice that you're able to narrow down their selection by that indicator.  I do like Modcloth, but it's like a black hole for me every time I get onto their site.  Their selection is massive, and I feel like I can never get through it all.

Stella loved her birthday gift, as expected.  We had a little mini birthday celebration on her actual birthday, and gave her our gifts.  The "big" party is this weekend, though.

 She's happy to wear her little Ergo carrier with dolls or stuffed animals, on her front or back.

Yes, I know babies aren't supposed to face out on an Ergo.  But it's just a stuffed bear :-)

Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary


  1. Reading Rainbow! :)

    Also, your new kitchen cabinets look great!

  2. Um... What's an ice bucket challenge? And how have we not found that train book yet? I'm feeling a bit out of the loop right now. :)

  3. The ice bucket challenge exploded all over my news feed just yesterday. Crazy. It was a clever tactic that paid off big time for them so props. I doubt anyone will tag me since they know I'm not that type. I'm kind of relieved. Not that I'm opposed to it or anything, but don't like videos of myself.

    Form what you say Sly definitely seems ready for reading. My oldest learned to read at 4. It was largely nurture I think but for the most part it was on his own. Highly self motivated. We did use that book, 100 Easy lessons, but by the time we realized he was ready he was advanced past the first 50 lessons or so. We still did the whole thing, but it's hard to credit the book entirely. My daughter is a young 4 and she's on the other side of the spectrum, she barely knew her letters at the start of the book but she's doing well with it all the same. If she continues to do well it will totally make me a believer.

  4. See, I actually prefer sleeveless dresses because being able to layer with them makes them more functional in different seasons. And also I get really hot all the time, so especially when I'm at home I need NOT to be wearing much of anything with sleeves... But yeah, I don't really understand why it seems to be either long sleeves or no sleeves - I'd love some elbow sleeves or something, but it seems like it's all or nothing! Lame.

  5. I wasn't a fan of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I much preferred the CHC Little Stories for Little Folks program. I taught my second daughter to read when she was about 4 1/2. For me, I felt it was much easier to teach the second one after seeing how my eldest learned in Kindergarten. Clothing shopping these days just makes me want to scream.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I had heard the name of that program before, but didn't look it up until just now. I will keep it in mind if I'm not satisfied with what we're using now!

  6. I've had really good luck finding dresses at Land's End - they have lots with sleeves that are nursing friendly! And, bonus, they usually come in both tall and petite as well.

  7. I love the photo of Tom reading to the kids :-)

  8. Dresses with sleeves are a love of fine; especially if they can be worn when nursing. They are just so darn hard to find!

  9. Oh, how I miss the real Reading Rainbow!! I sometimes get the old episode DVDs from the library for my kids so they don't miss out on the awesomeness :) (you can also watch some of them streaming for free if you have Amazon Prime.)
    I love the weekday Mass bow tie story. What a sweetie!
    I just did the first of the 100 Easy Lessons with my Ruth yesterday and she's already asking for more. I used it for my first son, and then used CHC Little Stories for my second son...he still can hardly read so I don't think I'll be using those again, though I'm certain it's not just because of the CHC program! I'm glad I decided to switch back to 100 Lessons and am interested to see how it goes for us the second time around. It's dry, but it's easy, and like you mentioned, it's only 10-15 minutes a lesson in the beginning... not going to crush their spirit ;)
    Finally - LOVE the picture of reading on the couch and the matching red converse! And the mini ergo! Love it!!

    1. heh - I didn't realize they were wearing matching shoes that day, but yes - it's pretty cute that he has "shoes like Daddy."