Monday, November 23, 2015

The Wants

I've been wanting to blog.  Each time I open the page to write, I can never finish.

I'll just ramble.

One day I told Mr. A to bring me something tasty to drink.  He returned with Pelligrino Sparkling Water and flavored syrups.  Yummy!

After a few weeks I realized that my belly which had been expanding was shrinking.  I've been walking the track while QT is at practice but I've also realized that the sparkling water has replaced my soda intake.  All of the bad stuff in soda has been eliminated from my diet!  I'm so pleased by this discovery.

My mom's aunt is in town from Georgia.  Her aunt was born in California and moved to Georgia in the 90s.  Anyway, while my great aunt was here I showed her some of the things the kids have made. As I was showing these things I realized that TR knits, sews, draws, and makes things from clay, paper pulp and other materials she collects. The kids then went into the living room and QT showed her his drum set. I realized the kids are learning the drums, piano and guitar.  They are taking Spanish, Science and QT is running track and TR is doing 18 hours a week of gymnastics.

We are Tiger parents!  It's amazing because I've been calling this woman a tiger parent because her 9 and 6 year old kids do competitive gymnastics, play instruments, karate, cross fit. As I was pondering on the fact that we aren't tiger parents and considering this woman, I realized we do as much but because we home school our kids get during the day.

I've been enjoying hanging out with Mr. A and my kids.  Mr. A is a very fun person.  I chose well.  In hindsight, I realize how well I did chose because we've grown together and kids really made me realize how important marrying a person with aligning child rearing goals.  My kiddies love him and feel secure, and I enjoy that they are so secure in their father and respect him.

I've had 5 or 6 hearing this year.  I won all but 1.  Now to get paid from the ones I won.  I'm tired just thinking about it, but 2016 should be a good financial year.  Maybe we can build a fat cushion!

Have a lovely Thanksgiving and prayerfully I will be able to blog again before the day of Thanks.

I thank God for this life I've been blessed to experience. He is Great!

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Market and the Community

Mr. A designed a fun homeschool activity yesterday.  Before going to the store Mr. A went over people in our community.  Then he had the kids go over the food groups.  He made a graph so when we arrived at the grocery store, the kids could identify the food group the food we were purchasing belonged in, the price per pound of the food or the price of each item. Mr. A introduced the kids to the butcher, the cheese expert and a clerk, as community members.  They were all happy to engage with the kids and curious about what we were doing. Lots of people were stopping to ask if it was a school project or if we home schooled and expressed they thought it was a great idea.   

The kids used the last column of the graph to total what each item cost and if the price was per pound or we had more than 1, they multiplied.  Both kids did their own math.  TR tallied the total amount of the food. Her estimate was $69. The clerk rang up the sub total and said $63. Mr. A said to the clerk, did you add the melon?  When the clerk added the melon it was $69!!!!  Whoo hoo.  TR was right! We did math, health, community all in one grocery store trip.

That was the most fun in the grocery store ever.  We did health, social studies, math and meal planning all in an hour at the market.

Home school requires effort, planning and parental commitment, but the reward is worth the work and the reward is much greater than the work.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Too Much Beauty in the Closet

I gave TR a homemade hair smoothie on Friday morning.  My goal is to get her hair to its maximum level of moisture

The recipe included, a drizzle of Mediterranean Blend Oil, 1 heaping teaspoon of Coconut Oil, 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil, a drizzle of unfiltered grape molasses and a drizzle of raw honey, 1 teaspoon of Bragg's liquid  amino, 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise, a quarter of a frozen and then boiled banana. I love banana in my hair smoothies and they soften into a great consistency when frozen and then thawed in hot water.

I blended the ingredients in the blender. I then sprayed TR's hair with a teaspoon of baking soda in water.  I hear the baking soda temporarily opens the cuticles. I wanted to open them and let the smoothie moisturize.  I left that in her hair for  4 or 5 hours.  I used diluted shampooed on her hair  and  let her spend the rest of the day and night with deep conditioner.

On Saturday before I headed to the Farmer's Market and she went to gymnastics, I used watered down Knot Today to rinse the condition out of her hair, I then did the Max Hydration method as seen on youtube.  I added a bit or raw honey and mediterranean blend oil to Azteca facial clay and added water.  I then put the mixture throughout her hair.  I let it sit for around ten minutes and rinsed it out.

Her curls sprang back when I pulled them.  Yaaaay!  This has been my hair goal for her.

 While her hair was wet I separated it and used Knot Today, coconut oil and Kinky Curly Curling Custard.  The finally process took about 15 minutes. Her curls dried and survived 4 hours at gymnastics and an evening of trick or treating.

  I'm looking forward to doing the max hydration method again and seeing continued  hydration.  She is excited about wearing her hair in its curly state and wearing her hair down.

I did a length check sans the two strand twists.  I shall do another check in January.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Outliers and the Athletes

QT takes a once a week class through a charter school.  One week his teacher told me he knows everything, but he is gracious about his knowledge.

Last week the teacher told me that QT is an outlier. She spoke of his math abilities. Both of my kiddies have spectacular math minds. QT, thinks in math and loves to connect conversations with math.

In middle school I realized I loved math. Math challenged me and I wanted to understand it.  In 7th grade I had pre-algebra. I went to my counselor and asked for general math and he told me that my testing showed I was ready for pre-algebra.

I stayed in the class and passed with a C but had little understanding.  I remember a 9th grade boy who got to leave school after lunch to take a bus to the nearby high school to take geometry.  Back then schools accommodated high ability.  When I got to high school a few of my friends had trigonometry.  I would carry their book because I wanted people to think it was mine.

One year in high school, I eliminated an elective and took 2 math classes.  I was determined.   I was so determined that I demanded to be put in remedial math.  My counselor required that I sign to confirm I knew what I was doing.  Since I had gotten a C in pre-algebra and algebra the counselor didn't think I needed remedial math.  That class was the best thing because the teacher was great and I got a foundation, I had missed because I tested well and skipped general math.  After a semester I moved back to Algebra and got strong B.  Then I began advancing in math. Then I got an awful math teacher and got an A but learned nothing.

I decided then that I would  marry a man who was good at math so my kids would have a chance.

My kids have a good chance. They can add, subtract, round numbers, multiply and divide in their head and they understand the idea of fractions. They love math!


My kiddies are strong athletes and competitive.  QT started track last week. He joined one of the best track clubs in the area and so far he is enjoying it.  He's 5 so he hasn't yet figured out that he should compete against himself.  His goal is to be faster than his competition.  He puts in the work to be ahead of the kids in his group.  Our goal is to teach him to how to seek, find and exceed his own personal best.   He has to train to compete against the  kids he doesn't know.

I enjoy watching my little guy train and enjoy a sport.  TR has been in gymnastics since she was 1.  She has grown into a gymnastics schedule.  QT has done gymnastics and karate but he was hesitant to embark upon a sport of his own.  He was concerned about his loss of free time.

If boys had a sport they could enter at a young age, he would be used to that routine. He started gymnastics at 6 months old and karate at 5, but both were at times 45 minute and other times 1 hour classes and I think he has known it was an activity, not a sport that requires a time commitment. Track is now 2 days a week for 2 hours and will increase after the new year.

The other thing I enjoy about tracking is walking the track with the other moms.  I get to have exercise and connect with other parents.  I'm enjoying the childhood days of my kiddies.


QT has really taken to reading.  Sometimes he will get a book and get comfy in a chair or the couch and read.  He had been a little resistant to reading and didn't consider himself as a being able to read.  I gave him a pre-primer Reader and he was able to read the entire 100+ page book in a couple of weeks.

Then we moved to the 1st grade Reader and he began reading that.

 I think those books which were at his ability level, boosted his confidence and made him feel like he could read.

We went to the library this week and the wonderful librarian helped him select books.  She asked him his reading level and he said 1st grade.  He completed one of the 32 page books in two days and tomorrow we move to a new book.  He's been reading the library book to me and I'm watching as he quickly learns to identify, remember and sound out bigger and longer words.  I'm glad I got the beginning reader because once he got his confidence up,  it changed everything.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fakeness and Struggle

Maybe it's because I live in the expensive bay area but I struggle with the African-Americans who consider themselves bougie.  My bias is hard to reign in and I view most snooty Af-Am's through my skeptical sense.

I don't see how bougie people in 2015 think they are bougie when they work a non-managerial government job or non-managerial quasi government job.  That might have been an accomplishment when we were just exiting slavery and Jim Crow but now, we know that the government is pretty much the safest place for colored people.

Even in my great-grandfather's day self-employment meant success in the community but in modern times, people think working for some caucasian run company is success.  How is quota filling success?   I know I'm not the best Af-Am in the region but when I'm one of 2 Af-Am's in a building I know, I'm a quota.

I look at the local bougie childrens' groups and realize that maybe 1% of the families are financially secure.  The others have nice clothes and bills.  I also look at the many people I grew up around who were in those organizations and 98% of them have not been as successful or stable as their middle class parents.

By the time my grandparents were my age, they owned a house without a mortgage and were on their way to purchasing a home in an upper middle class part of the city.   The price they paid in the 60's would be the equivalent of a million in today's dollars.  People still stop and say how much my grandparents did for them, by giving them jobs and an ability to help their family or buy school clothes. They left a legacy.

I'm not as successful financially as my grandparents and my grandparents did not view themselves as bougie (though they could have), so I certainly don't.   I do intend to leave a legacy and that will be my success.

It thoroughly confuses me why some people think they are bougie, they don't have money, they don't have a network of people to help them progress, they can't give anyone a job or long term position, they don't have a business, they aren't making social movements that help communities.  Is the new black bougie all about consumerism, and having stuff and being able to go the places that caucasians didn't let us go in the past? I see so called bougie folks posting photos at Wineries, Martha's Vineyard, the Hamptons, ski trips, or at airports.  How is spending money the mark of success?  It's all so odd.

I miss the old bougie folks. The ones who got together and developed businesses and communities, the people who had a purpose beyond trying to spend their way into lifestyles as seen on t.v..  Where is their legacy?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


The government is banning so much and making so many things mandatory.   The state has banned smokeless tobacco at Baseball games under the claim that kids see it.  I don't use tobacco but the nanny state bugs me.

Our little homeschool group likes freedom for our kids. As the government rapidly removes freedom, the value in offering freedom to kids becomes more apparent.

It's quite dry but the parkland is such a relaxing atmosphere. Today was not my day to volunteer but I took the kids their lunch and relaxed on the blanket and watched them explore.

I watched them walk the terrain and make assessments on whether they could climb or descend hills, which way they should go to get up or down.  Watching them learn and observe and figure things out is a beautiful process.  I watch them grow in their independence and grow in confidence as they explore unknown terrain without me near. I'm nervous but they go forward feeling self assured.

  One of the home school parents is Russian and lived in Germany and in her prior countries, kids didn't start school until 7 or 8 years old.  She said she could not get used to the idea of sending a 5 year old to school so she began homeschool.  Her daughter just turned 7.  She told me she knew her daughter could sit quietly in a class, but she also knew the good kids get ignored.  I told her about QT's kindergarten class and his teacher telling me he was "moveable".  He got along with everyone and when other kids had conflicts and she needed to move those student's seats, she could move QT to different seats and into different groups because he would not have the conflict.

It's unfortunate that the good kids get ignored and the disruptive kids (who probably need the attention) get the bulk of a teacher's time.

 As I watched the kids brave the various elements in nature, I thought of the scene in Stand By Me when those kids were walking in park settings.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fractions and Length Check

Mr. A introduced fractions today.  The kids used counters to figure out what fractions look like. The kids cook and count money so they have familiarity with the concept.

After fractions I read The Life of Fred- Apples.  The book is great.  I look forward to reading it each day to see what trouble Fred will get into that day and what math he will use.

The kids have readers, so after I read Fred, the kids took turns reading their books aloud. We also did memory verses this morning.  

I made a length check t-shirt for TR.  Leaving her hair alone has been successful.  The photo on the left is July 22 , 2015, middle is August 23, 2015 and the photo on the right is October 9, 2015.

The nice thing about a length check t-shirt is if the length is not being maintained I know right away that changes in hair care must occur.