Saturday, April 9, 2011

Busy Times and Convention Finds

I think spring would be my favorite season if it weren't for the busyness that comes with it. We're surrounded with blooming trees, but there's hardly a moment to enjoy them.

Take yesterday for example:

5:00 a.m. Wake up and take care of last minute details.

7:15 a.m. Drop off glazed amaretto almond cheesecake for school auction at neighbors house and drive the morning carpool for school.

8:15 a.m. Arrive at homeschool convention. Spend too much money.

5:25 p.m. Leave homeschool convention.

5:45 p.m. Arrive at school spaghetti dinner and dessert auction just in time to serve my first volunteer shift.

6:45 p.m. Stew over the news that my cheesecake only earned the school $37. Was it worth sacrificing homeschooling on Thursday? Marc who has had my cheesecake many times kindly said he would have bid $100 for it. But this year we let the kids pool together their own money and decide together what they would bid on. They are now the proud owners of a pirate ship cake. Sorry, my pictures are terrible!


8:15 p.m. Ryne and I drive home in the van with the pirate ship and 82 olive oil bottles that had been used for centerpieces. The noise of the bottles clanging together was unbelievable. I've agreed to store these bottles until next year's dinner, so maybe before then I can find a way to soundproof them!

8:30 p.m. Home at last! Realize I haven't been to the bathroom since 5:00 a.m. (sorry, TMI).

9:00 p.m. Kids try out their pirate ship cake. I get scolded for saying it looks like there's a drunken sailor aboard. He must have fallen over on the drive home.


10:00 p.m. I crash harder than the drunken sailor.

And then I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to make lunch and pack for Anna's track meet today. I didn't attend the track meet because Grace is going to a birthday party, so after Marc and Anna left I went back to bed and slept another three hours. {Ahhhhhhhh}

I know I'm preaching to the choir. We're all this busy this time of the year. So let's change the subject and talk about what I bought at the convention yesterday. It will give you a little peak at our academic plans for next year.

My first stop was at one of my favorite vendors, Miller Pads & Papers. I bought a stack of these list pads for a dollar each. I found some similar pads last fall in the dollar section of Target and they have worked great for planning each child's day and pairing with our workboxes. Maybe I should blog about that sometime. I like the pads at Millers better though because they have more lines and are wider. I also bought a couple of small paint trays.


Next I stopped by the Rod & Staff booth to pick up the test and worksheet books for Ryne. It wasn't until later that I realized that we probably already have the tests and worksheets on our shelf because Anna never used them. I had bought all her curriculum for 6th grade before we decided to send her to away-school for 6th grade. Oh well, I guess we'll just save a set for Grace. Good thing it wasn't an expensive mistake.


Next, was a stop at the Institute for Excellence in Writing booth to pick up some writing lessons to go along with our history plans for next year. I traded quite a few emails about IEW with Dawn this year and hope these writing lessons work out as well for us as they have for her boys.


I also bought a couple of IEW's portable walls so the kids have easy access to all the writing models and word lists. Since we'll be using a history timeline next year, we will have limited bulletin board space, so these walls should work out perfect.


Here's the other side of the portable wall.


So far so good. Besides the small purchase at Millers I've made no impulse buys and have only bought things on my shopping list. But then I wandered into the Zeezok Publishing booth. They are best known for republishing the Opal Wheeler composer stories. We are scheduled to finish the series this school year, so next year I planned to take a break from composer studies and focus more on artist studies and actual art instruction. But those plans are all up in the air now that I discovered Zeezok has republished four new Opal Wheeler volumes! There are now two Tchaikovsky volumes, one for Wagner, and one for Paganini. Can you hear the pitter patter of my heart?


As we've been going through the Opal Wheeler series, I often thought I should create a composer timeline. But at the Rainbow Resource booth I found a composer timeline placemat that I will just pin up instead. Saves me a lot of work, but it was still another impulse buy.


The next item was on my shopping list and Rainbow had the best deal. Next year we're going to try to incorporate the Classical Conversations style of geography instruction (perhaps another future blog post), so I need some good maps for tracing. Uncle Josh's Outline Maps were highly recommended on The Well Trained Mind forums.


I did buy a few things for myself too. Last year I bought the first book of this family's modern day homesteading journey and loved it. The writing isn't always the highest quality, but the story is wonderful. So I planned to pick up the second book this year. I think I bought it at the Light of Faith Resources booth. If you're wondering why I'm reading homesteading books when I don't even have a garden, your guess is as good as mine! But I love reading books and blogs on this subject.


On the same shelving display as the Castleberry book was this catchy title. I know nothing about this book, but it's written by three siblings in a style that I think my kids might relate well to. I'll let you know if it was a worthwhile impulse buy.


One of the vendors was a local used book seller and I was excited to find a copy of one of my favorite books, The Heaven Tree Trilogy. I had previously read a copy from the library, and wanted to someday have a copy of my own. It's a great mom book to read before your study of the Middle Ages, so maybe I'll read it again summer 2012.


There were other purchases that didn't get photographed. I found a neat little field guide of the 115 most common birds in my state at the Rainbow booth. I also purchased all our Math U See products we'll need for next year. And a large portion of my budget went to renewing all the association memberships. We have four different memberships, which seems a little excessive, but each group serves a different purpose and has been beneficial. Oh, and I did go to a few presentations too. ; )

Have you been or are you planning on going to a homeschool convention this year? Do you have as much trouble as I do with impulse buying?


  1. I haven't had time to write you back but wanted to say quickly thanks for your good advice. I'll write again soon.

    After reading this post, I am even more excited about the convention I'll be going to soon! Our shopping lists are very similar. What a surprise! :)

    I'm still laughing about that pirate!

  2. Kellie,
    it's good to see I'm not alone with the running around and hectic three boys are on five different soccer teams, and two baseball teams.
    Those Ancient History based writing books look wonderful...I'm staring at them wistfully.
    Enjoy the time when you are at home and also the time running around. On Saturdays, Ernie and I grab ice coffees at Qtrip for a treat as we sit through hours of soccer games.

  3. As a family we will be attending a homeschool convention for the third year in a row. We treat it as a vacation and this year we will stay three days. Only three more weeks, can't wait.