Monday, May 30, 2011

Satisfying Sunday

It really was a lovely day. A bit hot, but that didn't stop us! First, there was a lovely bas mitzvah celebration and lunch, then I got home and rolled up my sleeves. We had two boys over who can wield a mean wheelbarrow, so between us we got LOTS of dirt moved from the front to the back yard. We flattened out the place where our above-ground pool will go by using a 12-foot piece of lumber with a level strapped to it. Eventually we got it just right and spread a tarp over it. Tomorrow - the pool!

I also got a flower bed planted near our veggie beds. I put in salvia, lavender, and primrose. We also had half a brick column that had been holding up the gate on the side of the house to get into the back yard. It had become loose, so Dean knocked it over so there wouldn't be an accident It's about two feet tall and hollow in the center, so I rolled it over the flower bed and plopped it in the middle. We filled it with soil and I'm hoping to get some of those cascading purple petunias to put in the middle of it, and then find some kind of raised support to add to the top so we can put a bird bath on it. It looks really nice, even without flowers or bird bath on it!

Raizel went to play with a friend (and is spending the night). The boys went to a friend's house for a little while, then youngest boy came back. The visitor boys stayed here a while, then oldest daughter went to dinner at their house. Avi fell asleep on the couch, and Eli had a snack when he came home then didn't want dinner. So... a rare event - only D and I were at the table for dinner! I made a pizza with arugula, basil, chopped garlic and tomatoes. YUM. Then D went out to get one thing at Home Depot for the pool and took the two bigs, and Avi and I went down the street to bring R. her overnight bag and to visit with a good friend and her new baby. Another YUM. I've never seen so many REAL smiles in a little baby. Definitely not gas. Totally precious. A nice way to end the day. Tired muscles, but not sore, and looking forward to another day tomorrow. Hashem is good!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Menu

Here 'tis!

mashed potatoes
mint cucumber salad (from the garden!)
roasted bok choi
roasted beets
angel food cake
lemon curd

some of the above, plus
deli meat
fresh corn
pasta salad (orecchiete, roasted asparagus, tomatoes, basil, artichoke hearts, garden greens in a vinaigrette)


Had a fun shopping experience yesterday. I went to Fresh Market (kind of like a small-scale Whole Foods) for the first time. I usually avoid those places because they are WAY overpriced. Amirah and I had fun, though! Certain vegetables were the same price as Kroger or CHEAPER! We got zucchini, bok choi, beets (can rarely even get at Kroger), Vidalia onions, asparagus, probably some other things too. And then I found two things that I've not been able to find anywhere else (kosher, that is) - sesame oil, artichoke hearts, and hoi sin sauce. HOORAY! I was really lamenting my empty bottle of sesame oil.

Enchilada sauce is another thing I haven't been able to find kosher here. I finally ordered a case from Amazon. It arrived and 9 of the 12 cans were dented (no padding!). I let Amazon know, and they gave me an immediate credit and said they couldn't take it back. So, I right away made enchiladas with one of the cans (divine!). Next, I'll boil the cans to see if any of them are leaking, and just toss the ones that have a broken seal. Hopefully, most of them are still fine despite the dents!

Good shabbos, all! (That is, all 5 or 6 of you that actually read this.) :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Math Mammoth

My first glance through the first chapter (2nd grade) of the Math Mammoth curriculum looks good. Things I like about it so far:

•All the instruction is located on the actual workbook page, not in a separate teacher manual. (I'd been wishing this forever, and I HATE using Saxon's scripted teacher manual!)

•The approach to mental math is very similar to Singapore Math, which was something I really liked, but the explanations look much clearer and are directed to the student.

•The price! It was (I think) $35 for all of 2nd grade, BUT it's a pdf so I can use it for all four kids. The price probably comes out to comparable to Singapore, and MUCH less than Saxon.

•Saxon had a little bit of 6-7 different subjects on each page and I just didn't like that. I much prefer Singapore's mastery approach, while also having the flexibility to start different topics in other sections of the book at the same time.

So, wish us well! I pulled out all the pages for things that I know Amirah has mastered. We just took two weeks off, and with three weeks of at pesach, then only two full working weeks after that, we've had a lot of off time. On the other hand, all we really have to do between now and June is 14 spelling units (each unit takes 2 days), 3 chapters of astronomy, as much math as we can manage, and continue with our chumash work (plus our usual davening and parsha study). The astronomy and spelling are even semi-optional, so we're in really good shape.

And today they all had a piano lesson! Raizel was first, and so very excited. We did the first couple of pieces in the Faber primer, did some improvising on the black keys, and learned some keyboard geography (10 minutes!). Then Amirah had a lesson. We got through the first seven songs and she had a great time. She also played by ear some of the songs she's learned on recorder. Hooray! Then Eli had his lesson and he LOVED it! He reminded me so, so much of a student I had from age 4-11. AW looked a lot like Eli and was so very sweet and enthusiastic. And very talented, especially when it came to Bach. I just loved the fond flood of memories of former students as I taught them.

So... back to semi-normal tomorrow! :)


Savta is coming! She has an offer in on a house 5 houses down from us on the same street. It has been beautifully fixed up and she could move right in. So we're anxiously waiting to hear if it's a go. :)

She was here for 12 days and we spent all 12 days inside, going not much of anywhere, taking care of sick kids. Amirah went down first (and needed some doctor intervention!), then the rest. Last to get it is Avi who started yesterday/today. Eli wasn't doing well at all for a couple of days then took a BIG turnaround when I used a powdered form of Mucinex that he can handle. (Liquid cough medicines don't agree with him at all...) So, that was a relief! I was afraid he was going to get as bad as Amirah, but no B"H.

So Savta got to just live life with us the whole time. Lots of laundry, dishes, and more laundry, and more dishes. A few stories. Pretty much just seeing us all at our worst and loving every minute of it anyway. :) And she quietly did more than her part and clean dishes magically appeared every day and she even guessed where everything went really well!!

In the beginning, while Amirah was sick, D and I were able to go out and get many errands done (including some secret birthday shopping trips!) and do some outside work. Despite not going anywhere, amazing things happened! The piano, the house, the fence delivery... It was a very full week, and very wonderful that it ended with Savta deciding to move here now while the kids were still little and could really grow up with her. Such a blessing!

So, stay tuned!

Monday, May 23, 2011

What a Day

The morning was a long time ago! D and I did some work in the back yard, removing an old pond, chopping down some shrubbery, sledgehammering concrete, and starting to level out the back yard. We want to get it ready for our pool, which we could have really used today when it was in the high 90s! I've ordered a saltwater filter system for it, which will be great. No chlorine that is hard on eyes and swimsuits (and a dangerous chemical). Just plain old salt (salinity that is about 1/10th the salinity of the ocean), and copper to kill algae. You salt the pool once and you're DONE. You just need to replace water as it evaporates. Since the salt doesn't evaporate you don't have to replace it again. Here's hoping!

After lunch, we headed out to the bamboo test gardens (run by the University of GA extension services). D got lots of good information on bamboo and bananas. We want bamboo for a fence, for building garden structures, for weaving sukkah mats, and while we're at it why not do some art projects too? :) It was a really fun trip there.

Then we checked out a house with ima. Unfortunately, D sprained his ankle before he went in the house. :( I ran home for ice (one block!) and brought it to him. Ow. We went home after that. Ima looked at a couple more houses with her realtor. D went home and I took the kids to the lag b'omer barbecue at shul. I probably should have left Eli at home. I think it was a bit much for him. He felt much worse at the end of the day than he had in the beginning. Poor guy! It's been a rough 8 days with everyone sick. It's so much harder with each day not really having a MISSION to accomplish and everyone just trying to get rid of the bug. Keeping up with dishes, laundry, and other housekeeping as best we can. Not exactly a very lively life here right now! Oh, well... Soon, BE"H!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A GREAT History Lesson!

This is a fantastic rebuttal to Obama's horrific speech...

Caveat Emptor!

I took Amirah to the doctor on Friday afternoon after she got much worse and we came home with five medications for her. I rushed through the drive-through at the pharmacy and exclaimed at the very high bill ($110!), and the cashier said it was xyz medication, but I wasn't even sure what that was. I was in such a rush to get home so savta could meet the realtor and so I could go pick up Dean at work that I didn't pause to reflect on the bill.

Woe was me, since I quickly realized that the $60 medication was a topical analgesic for ear pain. I had been using tylenol and the doctor said ibuprofen would be more effective, so they dosed her with that at the doctor's office. (And ibuprofen worked just fine!) The $33 medication was albuterol and I had NEVER paid so much for albuterol in my life! We had paid for it many times when she was much younger since she a couple of years of asthma. The others were more normally priced - just some oral antibiotics and some antibiotics to go right in the ear. B"H I had turned down the spacer the doctor had prescribed for the inhalers. Very young children might need such a thing since they don't always keep their mouth closed after inhaling, but an eight-year-old????? I was very upset with all the prescriptions. They had been faxed directly to the pharmacy so I didn't even know what had been ordered, and at the drive-through I just didn't have the wherewithal to cross-examine everything.

After picking up DH, we decided to make a pit stop at the doctor's office to talk with her and to find out if all of these medications were really necessary. I talked through an intermediary who walked back and forth with our questions. She admitted the ear painkiller was unnecessary if we were getting enough relief with the ibuprofen, and she gave us a free sample of the albuterol (equal to the size that was prescribed). Unfortunately, once you walk out with prescriptions that's pretty much it - you can't return them. The total bill could have been $170. B"H by turning down the spacer it was "only" $140, but the depressing part is that it could have been $50 if I had been on my toes. Aargh. Lesson learned. I think I'll no longer have prescriptions faxed unless I review the list with the doctor first, and I'll certainly be extra careful before I drive away with them.

Shabbos was just at home. Everyone has some form of this bug, hopefully much more mildly than Amirah had it!! Poor savta, having come 3,000 miles just to spend time with all these sick, cooped-up kids. But we've had a good time regardless, and she's gotten to see (and help a TON!) with some of the vicissitudes and seeing us when we're not really at our best. I'm really hoping, please, Hashem, that we can get out to the bamboo test gardens tomorrow (we'd love to maybe see samples of ebony bamboo, something we're hoping to put near the sidewalk on the side of our house). We're also going to a look at a house that ima may be interested in buying, and then, PLEASE, HASHEM!, go to a lag b'omer barbecue at shul. We'll see!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Outside the Box

D & I have been on an "outside the box" roll. We love figuring out new ways to use things (especially free or cheap things). So, two Home Depot trips ago we noticed these gigantic spools that hold bulk items like wire, chain, etc. The biggest of them (maybe a 3-foot circle) was exactly the perfect shape for a kids outdoor table! Or you could stack various sizes and make some kind of plant or seedling stand. Or you could put axles in them, use two of them, and make some kind of 4-wheeled vehicle. Or you could make stools. Or... :) So we put our names on a bunch of them and we should get a call when the spools are empty. That will be fun to play with and can join the rest of our (free) playground.

Last night, after celebrating Savta's birthday, we went out to some small town in Georgia and visited a man that sells junk. All kinds of great building junk, metal junk, wood junk. The best junk of all is very large fencing panels. Well, they're not actually fencing panels. They're Gulfstream packing crates for airplane tails and wings. They're made out of the pine heartwood (so the hardest part of the pine). Gulfstream used to just throw these in the garbage after opening the crates. They've been importing parts in from northern Europe. BUT (good news for Savannah), they're doing a huge ($500 million?) expansion in which they will no longer be bringing in those parts from overseas but manufacturing them right here. So the crates won't be available for much longer. Tonight, the wonderful junk man will be delivering all we need to do our side and backyard fences! Very exciting. And much, much (much!) cheaper than Home Depot.

But, wait, that's not all! They can also get a hold of 330-gallon liquid transport tanks that we can use for our tilapia growing tanks. They come with metal cages around them. Since they'll be in the front yard we have to think of a way to make them look, er, attractive. One way would be to plant something that vines and can take some shade. So, we'll see! We're going to start with just one for water collection and see if we can maintain a good water temperature for fish in it before we do the real thing with fish.

And then... they also had five-foot-tall translucent white containers that were maybe eighteen inches around. I just imagined it set up as a gigantic Japanese lantern by the front door, sitting just inside the garden, perhaps under our first water tank (which will up high so it has good water pressure). We could even rice-paper the inside (?), or paint the inside (?), or add a bamboo lid/cover (?), or ?. We're hoping to grow a lot of bamboo just outside our fence to use for garden structures, sukkah covers, or ? Dean is really interested in ebony bamboo, and he's figured out a way he could block it so it didn't invade the other side of the fence (i.e. our yard!). So... fun things to think about!

And the other good news... I FOUND A PIANO! A REAL PIANO! A piano that actually sounds very nice and has been taken care of. I'm the third owner. It's a Fischer piano, built in the 1970s. We're buying it from another piano teacher who was very nice to visit with. I'm beyond excited, having looked for a piano for about a year now (!). She also said when she first moved here she had a terrible time finding a piano. There just aren't that many available here. She said she's also had a hard time getting students. Much harder than where she lived in Kansas City. In Portland it was also easy to find students. I always had a waiting list and I often had to turn people down from the waiting list when I had ten waiting! But I also had a lot more exposure then, teaching 14 school classes every week. My studio location was also right at the school so it was very convenient for parents. It will be very interesting to see what happens when I decide to hang out my piano/recorder teaching shingle again!

I'm so excited. After excruciatingly doing all those choir/piano arrangements on a computer (easy if you an electronic keyboard hooked into the computer; SLOOOOOOOW if you don't!), it will be so nice to work at a piano. It also would have been nice to actually PRACTICE playing the pieces I was doing with the choir. I managed well enough, at least. I also really want to start Amirah on piano. It would have been nice to start at seven, but eight is still a good age to start. Nine starts to feel awfully late... I may even start Eli once I figure out how we're going to do Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 3rd grade without the day stretching out too long!

All right, time to go make Raizel's 5th birthday cake. Yum, yum. Chocolate. And beach picnic food, since we were supposed to go to the beach today. :( So turkey sandwiches, potato chips, salad. Happy Birthday, dear Raizel!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Gardening Ropes

Gardening in Georgia entails trying to rid myself of all the gardening patterns I ever learned in the West. None of those schedules apply here!! Planting time took us by surprise, and we didn't get starts going until April, when most of it needs to get going by January/February/March. Oops. It's only mid-May, but it's too late to plant anything but corn, sweet potatoes, and winter squash. I have whiplash. :) Of course, you can always run to Home Depot, eyeball the $3.88 per plant starts (OY) and give in to getting a couple of Japanese eggplants and a few $0.98 herbs so your herb spiral wasn't for naught. And some more-than-$3.88 salvia and primrose to bring in the bees. DH and I did have a lovely kid-less outing to Home Depot (thank you, Savta!) and got to relax and browse. We have heard rumors of $0.50 tomato starts at a local feed store and one can never have enough tomatoes, so we'll check that out tomorrow.

Now for the best news... we may have missed much of the spring planting opportunities, BUT in Georgia we get second chances! You can plant all of those delicious spring vegetables again... in August! And harvest them in October/November/December. There are two cycles of planting - February to May, and August to November. WEIRD! :) And there's probably only a month or so where NOTHING comes out of your garden. Just weird. So... this is our learning year and what a trial run. We've been having delicious salads, but I wish we had 10x the lettuce planted that we do now. The arugula is fantastic; definitely my favorite green. It's a good start, though. The tomatoes are coming along great, and there are little tiny baby cucumbers. Eggplants and peppers are moving along more slowly. Oh, yum. Such a joy after eating so much yucky, expensive produce that expires after 5 days. Wishing everyone a great week!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Quote of the Week

Eli: So, you're 42, right mama?
Mama: Yes, Eli, I'm 42.
Eli: You're younger than papa?!!?
Mama: Yes, Eli.
Eli: When you turn 49 you will be a lady!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The girls did their performance tonight - five pieces from the choir and seven pieces from the recorder ensemble. A few hitches... When I got there, the keyboard was plugged into the sound system and it sounded HORRIBLE. Fortunately, necessity brings on ingenuity where none existed and I figured out how to fix it. Good thing we scheduled the rehearsal for 5:00, since we didn't get going until 5:30. Also, the air wasn't working and it was 90 degrees offstage, probably more under the stage lights. Phew! One sweaty performance. They did get it working, and by the end of the concert it was only 80ish on stage. Finally, after several iterations of the program had gone around, the recorder program ended up being utterly deleted. Not sure what happened there, but oh well. I might make my own to add to my own records. :)

The last glitch turned out great. The final recorder piece we were to play three times: 1) all recorders, 2) voice and barred instruments, and 3) recorder and barred instruments. When we got to #2, the voice people didn't transition to vocal parts quickly enough so they missed their entry. NO ONE was phased by this. The barred instruments went on with their parts and I signaled for them to do it again, and the voices came in and did their part. The same thing happened between the #2 version and #3 version, but it didn't matter. They pulled it off seamlessly anyway. I was so proud! Something like this, especially for beginners, can really throw you for a loop. They carried on as if it was supposed to be that way! Flexible thinkers. Improvisers. Excellent musical skills to have. Hooray!

Other than those things, everything went off without a hitch. Oh, wait, there was the little problem of having bifocals and no music stand on the keyboard. The music was lying flat in indirect light, so that was a little, um, challenging... But again, it all came out fine. Happy music teacher.

We have three more classes left before school is out, so we're going to spend them working on compositions and arranging them for the various instruments in the classroom. They're excited about that, and so am I!

Math, Math

Still struggling a bit with math. I've been looking at lots of materials online for inspiration. One thing I have discovered - you can buy small sections of Math Mammoth to review specific concepts. We're doing GREAT on everything but math facts! I might go ahead and get the $5 Math Mammoth supplements for adding and subtracting (1 to 100) and place value. Between that, flashcards, and maybe locating some math fact (not-obnoxious!) music we could polish up our 2nd-grade skills. It's truly the only area of resistance there is right now and there has to be an answer for that somewhere.

It was a good day today. We had a tour of the airport with the local homeschoolers group. It was our first outing with them, and actually it was great. A Georgian secular homeschooling group is very different from an Oregonian one! Here, secular just means that we'll keep our religious beliefs mostly to ourselves. In Oregon, it meant (in my experience!) that you were in the midst of utter athesists and atheist ACTIVISTS. It was definitely not for us. So... this group will be great for the occasional field trip. Hooray. We got to see the airport fire truck and try on the firefighter clothes, and we mosied around the airport. The tour was a bit uninspired (lacking in information!), but we had fun with the fire truck.

After that, the day was so gorgeous we couldn't just go home for lunch and back to work, so we took our lunch to the park. We had changed into our swimsuits, hoping to splash in the water at the fountain. Unfortunately, they had blocked off all access to the water. :( Maybe it's permanent? There had been a lot of trouble keeping kids out of the pool part where the fountain mechanics were. I'm sure the fountain was subject to chronic damage from people trampling where they weren't supposed to. We were sad about not getting wet from where the water falls out below the fountain. Maybe it will be temporary. If not, next month they should have the spray fountains there up and running.

We got home just in time to clean up, get re-dressed, and have a recorder rehearsal for our concert tomorrow. The kids did great, and we're all excited about the concert - my first one in my new state!

Dean has started all kinds of new little seeds going inside over the last few days. He's been hauling dirt every day, and drawing up all kinds of homestead plans. He's having a great time. And so are the rest of us! Salads from our garden have been a huge hit with the kids. We're looking forward to planting the 5 beds that are ready for things to grow.

Time to rest up for another day. Get ready for Savta, do some learning, 5:00 rehearsal, and 6:30 concert. Should be fun!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Menu

Wishing my kitchen had glimpses of loveliness, but instead IT'S A WRECK! But the food will be worth it. :)

For dinner, a Israeli-Spanish-American sort of theme...

steak (the last of the 40% off meat!)
mashed potatoes and gravy
roasted asparagus
roasted bok choi
green salad with zaatar dressing
peach cake

and for lunch (throwing in Morrocan for good measure)...

fish cakes and aioli Worcestershire sauce
apricot chicken tagine
brown rice
Moroccan carrot salad
green salad with zaatar dressing
peach cake

Good shabbos, all! :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Glimpses of Loveliness

Today we had our weekly recorder class where we mostly just rehearsed the songs we are doing for our concert next week (shared with the choir). Even with only half of the eight students there, we managed a really nice rehearsal. There is one little piece I wrote for three recorder parts called "Shabbos." Even though each individual part is very simple, together the parts make for a really nice ensemble sound. Today they hit it. They hit the loveliness, the absolute sublimity that comes from total unison and perfection. Those fleeting glimpses we get of heaven that can appear when we make music together. It was so lovely, and they really got it too. They heard that moment. Lovely. I don't know if we'll hit it at the concert, but I don't think it really matters. They got it, and they understood what making music together can do. I'm a happy lady.

Then... I cuddled way past bedtime with Eli, then Amirah. Avi and Raizel had already fallen asleep during storytime (we started Kathryn Lasky's Lone Wolf tonight). Eli loves to talk about things he's interested in during the right before bed time. This is when you really realize that all those things he's absorbing during the day really stick for him. First he was telling me all about dry ice, and the temperatures on Mars, and how we would have to build a special ecosystem to live there, and how little he would weigh there, and the volcano that's there, and the meteor holes because Mars' atmosphere is much thinner than Earth's, and about how Hashem really did make Earth just right for us to live in. Then he moved on to coral reproduction and how coral is both male and female and they release eggs at night and how they serve as hosts to all kinds of sea life that depend on the coral to survive. He loves to chat right before sleep more than any other part of the day. It's a nice time to hear his thoughts.

Then cuddling with Amirah, who should have already been asleep, but how can I turn down my sweet girl? When it comes to cuddling, anyway. So we snuggled and talked for a little bit, and I tried to fix these moments into my mind so I can draw on them when I'm 12o, please Hashem! Hold onto the vocal inflections of my almost-six-year-old. Trace my almost-eight-year-old's soft profile in my head. Remember as many moments as I can. Such sweetness.

Good night!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back to Normal...

We had such a GREAT learning day today. We were back in our groove for the first time since pesach. Monday was okay, but today was really great. I got to everything I wanted to, other than wanting to have spent a little more time on Pirkei Avos.

We finished First Language Lessons yesterday (our grade 1 & 2 grammar book), and Amirah wanted to dive right in to Level 3. (Usually they can take a week of from the subject after completing a book, if they want to.) Over all, I really liked First Language Lessons (and get to start it with Eli soon!). I usually don't go for the scripted books (where teacher's instructional dialogue is written out), but this was easy enough to glance at the gist of the lesson and do it our way. The repetition of definitions, while the cause of some complaint, has really drilled the parts of speech into Amirah's head. Last week she couldn't identify parts of speech well at all, which surprised me, and I was worried we'd have to do a bunch of review, but yesterday she flew through it. Level 3 includes review of the parts of speech, so I think that will be good. We started Level 3, and after glancing through it, I think overall it's a better piece of work than Level 1/2. We'll see! We only have one more dictation left in Writing With Ease, then we'll be done with that too! It's nice to be finishing up a bunch of things!

Math, math. We're doing flashcards. Working to nail down our math facts. I think it's extra-important before we move on to 3rd-grade math, so I'll be postponing that until we've really got those down. We still have a bit to do in our 2nd-grade Saxon book. If we do 3 pages per day, we should finish at the end of June. Math is definitely her least-favorite subject, but there are so many wonderful things about math that I really hope we can enjoy it more after our facts become more automatic.

McGuffey Reader continues to get an A+ from us. Wonderful readaloud stories. I think there are only five or six more stories, then we'll start the third reader. We've been a little lackadaisical in getting to this... Maybe now that we're back in the swing of things. Her readaloud speed has increased a lot as we've gone through the book, and now she's reading at normal narration speed.

We did a triple history lesson today. The kids kept wanting to hear more and more. We read about the Reformation (the Lutherans) and the Counter Reformation (the Catholics), Queen Elizabeth, and Copernicus and Galileo (already favorite subjects of theirs). I want to find some good historical fiction for the Elizabethan age (any kosher suggestions, anyone????!?!?). Four chapters to go for history! And we'll be filling in the Jewish part of the Reformation/Counter Reformation/Elizabethan England. (The Elizabethan chapter will be quite short - Jews were exiled from England from 1290 to 1655, and only a very few actually lived there, and they were restricted to being money lenders or peddlars...)

We finished spelling around pesach time. We're on to Spelling C. She's a natural speller, so we don't need to spend too much time on this. We are starting to keep a list of words she tends to miss so we can polish up a little. And last, in astronomy, we're on to learning about Mars!

Chumash is going great. Her translation has gotten pretty quick, and she's usually able to translate about 80% of a pasuk the first time and master the vocabulary after three readings. It gets easier and easier (B"H!) for her. And we really ENJOY doing it together!!!! I'm starting to introduce an English Rashi here and there. I'm so grateful that she's enthusiastic now. She's also plugging away at Yesodot Halashon (working right now on this (m.) and this (f.) and these). She used to not like doing this very much either but she does it pretty happily now. We've not been doing Lashon Hatorah Beis (biblical grammar) very much, but we'll be getting back to it soon (BE"H).

Between Pesach and Shavuos, we always study Pirkei Avos (Sayings of the Fathers). I've kept our notebook from previous years, and each year we add more pages to it. We sing the songs we learned before, and add some new ones. We've read through the first chapter, but that's it, so I'm hoping to elaborate a little on the first chapter this week!

I just finished the attendance sheets we have to turn into Chatham County Schools, and we've officially had 170 days of "school." We're required to do 180, so we're almost there. We'll probably do another 33 days (our school year ends June 30), but at least I can stop turning in paperwork for a month!

That pretty much sums it up for now. Dean is taking the day tomorrow, and any day that he is home is a holiday. :) We'll be working on the garden, fine-tuning our new herb spiral, laying out the paths and preparing the dirt for planting. Once that's ready, we'd love to move on to preparing a (very) flat place in the back yard for the little above-ground pool we want to have there.

A few more things to do before sleep... Good night!