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Friday, February 27, 2009


Time Away

Homeschooling means I spend a lot of time with my kids.

So, when school is done in the afternoon, I like to give them some time and space away from me. And me away from them.

I usually do chores around the house while the kids head for the Wii. Later I'll sit down at my computer to read email or work on various projects.

Yesterday, about an hour after school ended, my son wandered into my office and plopped down in the armchair.

I asked him, "What do you need?"

"Oh, nothing, I just wanted to see what you're doing," he replied.

I told him I was sorting through mail and scanning some photos. "Kind of boring," I said.

He just sat there, watching. Finally, I said, "Don't you want to go have some time to yourself? I mean, really, we just spent six hours around each other."

And then came the unexpectedly profound reply, which I'll remember forever.

He said, "But that was six hours of you being a teacher. Now I want to spend time with you being a dad."


Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Best Songs of 2008

Or, right-click here to download for later playback.

Is it too late for a "Best of 2008" list? I'm just getting around to it, inspired by Ed, of Zoe's Dad fame. He put out a request for new music, especially for his exercise routine.

So, I threw together a little something for him. And for you too, via my infrequent family-friendly music podcast, A Family Sings Through It.

It's not fair to say these are absolutely the best songs from last year, so maybe I should just call this mix "Really cool songs that we liked a whole bunch." But that doesn't have quite the same ring.

Here's 90 minutes of pop music bliss, featuring such artists as Tara Blaise, Elbow, Bruce Springsteen, Spongetones, Lucky Soul, Fall Out Boy, Keane, Carolina Liar, Ra Ra Riot, Josiah Leming, and many others.

Have a good workout, Ed.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Beating The Blahs

Thanks to all your comments, I've just about beaten these blahs.

If you're feeling a bit blah-ish yourself, here's what I tried:

Take a blog break - Naturally, this is the first place to start. Change your routine, get away from the computer, stop thinking about all the important stuff you have to write.

Go for a walk - Easier said than done when there's still snow on the sidewalks. But I managed to walk in the streets and around the park. Yes, it's good to soak up some sunshine and fresh air.

Get some extra sleep - My kids don't sleep in, and they don't let me sleep in, so getting some extra shuteye involves actually going to bed earlier. I tried it a couple of nights and felt more refreshed over the weekend. Although, I still fell asleep during Space Chimps.

Start spring cleaning early - There is nothing more cathartic, for me at least, than throwing stuff out. I managed to completely clear out our front living room, which had turned into some sort of junk/storage/toy room, and make it into a place of refuge, where one can sit in quiet meditation away from computers, TV, and clutter.

Laugh a lot - Watching episodes of 30 Rock and Full Circle with Michael Palin had me chasing away the blahs with giggles and smiles.

Dream of getting away - A couple of you recommended getting away for a weekend. While that was not possible, I could certainly dream of future travel. Trips to Disneyland, Yellowstone, Hawaii, Washington DC, and Australia are on our 5-year agenda, and I spent a bit of time mulling over plans and budgets.

Get well - In the end, I think what helped the most was regaining my health from whatever odd bug was trying to break me down.

I don't expect to see the blahs around my house for a very long time. At least not with me. My daughter, on the other hand, might be coming down with a case of them. It's been a challenge lately to get her to focus on schoolwork.

By the way, the winner of the Daddy A Go Go "Best Of" CD is Bryan. I have more awesome kids music to give away in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


The Blahs

You ever get the blahs?

It's not the blues, which is a depressed state of mind.

No, the blahs are a state of almost complete lethargy. I say almost, because I'm still keeping up with the basic needs and responsibilities of being a homeschooling stay-at-home dad.

But, boy, do I feel sluggish.

It all started last weekend when I was the last one in the family to catch a minor cold. No big deal, just the sniffles and a cough.

However, my first day with it literally knocked me out. I remember folding laundry around 3pm on Friday, then finding myself waking up at 11am Saturday morning with no idea how that happened.

Since then, I've just had the blahs. This listless, apathetic feeling is one of the more unpleasant experiences I've ever had. I think I'd really rather be throwing up or coughing my lungs out. THAT I can deal with.

Thank goodness my wife was off work this week. She picked up some of the slack with teaching and shopping.

Honestly, I just hate shuffling around the house with little to no energy as stuff pile up around me. I'm used to going from early morning until after midnight and keeping up with the household chores and projects.

I'm going to take a blog break while I figure out how to shake the cobwebs from my brain. If you have any advice for me, I'd love to hear it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Wordless Wednesday

Our homeschool mascot, Napping Cat, warms up the couch for the next reading break.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Daddy A Go Go Giveaway

Children's musician Daddy A Go Go released one of the most memorable CDs of 2008 with Rock of All Ages (read my review). He's kicking off 2009 in style with a career spanning "best of" compilation, drawing favorite songs from the six amazing kids albums he's produced over the past ten years.

Come On, Get Happy - The Best Of Daddy A Go Go features 15 toe-tapping tracks that are sure to bring a smile to your child's face. John Boydston is the man behind these tunes, and what I like about him is that he's a natural rocker who keeps his songs centered on the kids and what makes them tick. He's very clearly playing for the kids, with the occasional wink to the parents, rather than the other way around.

John covers a couple of familiar songs, like the themes to The Partridge Family, Scooby Doo, and The Courtship of Eddie's Father, but it's the original numbers that really shine on this compilation. My kids especially like "I Caught My Daddy Watching Cartoons." The Daddy A Go Go sense of humor gets a big thumbs-up in our house.

This sampler is a great way to introduce yourself, and your children, to the music of Daddy A Go Go. If you're not convinced yet, go to the Daddy A Go Go website where you can have a free listen to all of his CDs and maybe make a purchase or two.

I have a copy of Come On, Get Happy to give away to one of my readers, so if you and your kids would enjoy a bit of old-fashioned rock 'n roll to liven things up at your place, then leave a comment here. I'll pick a winner at the end of the week.


Friday, February 13, 2009


Veggie Tales

My kids love their veggies. But only under certain conditions.

Carrots must be raw, not cooked.

Broccoli must be cooked, not raw.

Celery must be 2 inches or longer, never chopped into small pieces.

Corn must be on the cob, never loose on the plate.

Tomatoes are evil, but ketchup is heavenly.

Beans are gross, while refried beans are delicious.

Green beans are tolerable by themselves, but disgusting when mixed with macaroni and cheese.

Peas are fun to eat, but if one gets smashed, the party's over.

Mixing different vegetables together is forbidden, as it's too much work sorting them out to eat individually.

I try to remember these simple rules to avoid a mealtime rebellion. None of them make much sense to me, but at least the kids will eat their veggies in one form or another.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Wordless Wednesday

Meatloaf, 1980.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Battle of Who Could Care Less

It's the most asked question of homeschoolers. You know, the one about socialization, and friends, and meeting new people.

I've answered it so many times that I now have a standard robotic response: "My kids are out and about all the time, they constantly meet new people, and have plenty of opportunities to interact with kids of all ages."

But I've been leaving something out. A little addendum to my answer that only serves to complicate the issue. Or perhaps it simplifies it. Just depends on how you look at it, I guess.

And here it is... You see, my 10-year-old son just could not care less about those things that seem so important to most critics of homeschooling.

Friends, socialization, hanging out, small talk.

None of those things interest my son in the least. You'd never know it from watching him interact with other kids. He joins in, plays along, engages, and participates.

He can be one of the boys just like, well, one of the boys.

But if he never went on another field trip or play date or birthday party, he'd be perfectly content. While he enjoys those activities, he enjoys his time alone and with family just as much or more.

He's been this way since he was a toddler. In pre-school, he would pass right by the other kids, beckoning to him to play with blocks and beanbags, to make his own fun with his own agenda. If he suddenly found himself surrounded by other kids, that was okay too, but it was never his first choice.

I used to worry about it, but then I thought that he has a rare gift. He has the ability to get along with all sorts of kids. Boys, girls, and of all ages. Just in the past year, I've seen him go from playing Frisbee golf with a group of high schoolers to patiently acting as a jungle gym for a bunch of hyper kindergartners.

At the same time, he is extremely comfortable and content with his own company. Give him a book, or a Wii controller, or a big pile of sand on the beach, and he's good to go.

He would be no different if he had continued with public school, most of which are brimming with kids just like him. These types of kids see school as a place to learn and grow, not a stage on which to fine-tune their social skills.

Maybe I'll change my answer to the "homeschool socialization" question and just reply, "He doesn't care, why do you?"


Sunday, February 08, 2009


ProFlowers Winners!

Thanks to all of you who left a comment about your favorite Valentine's Day celebrations. There were 66 of you. I hate leaving so many of you empty-handed, so here's a little gift from ProFlowers, just in case you were thinking of using their service anyway:

Follow this link to receive 20% off your order PLUS a free glass vase with any flower order.

Okay, now on to the five of you who will be getting 100% off your order of $70 or less...

The winners are:

Harry and Flora

You'll receive your $70 gift codes via email tonight! Contact me if I don't have your email.

Thanks to ProFlowers for the great offer. By the way, I have purchased from them before and have found their service to be excellent.

UPDATE: Cheyenne! Where are you? If I don't hear from you by Wednesday night, I'm going to pick another winner.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Chalkhills and Children

My daughter has excellent taste in music.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Nothing But Flowers

You still have five days to enter the ProFlowers giveaway below. Just to clarify a couple of things... The gift certificates will be delivered via email, so the winners will have them instantly Sunday night. They're worth $70 and can be used on anything at the ProFlowers site. Sadly, they can't be used on any overseas deliveries. Keep that in mind if one of you non-US commenters wins.

Did you know you can greatly increase your odds of winning one of these ProFlowers prizes?! I'm not the only dad blogger holding this contest, so why not pay a visit to some of these other sites and put your name into their hats. Add them to your bookmarks and blog readers if you haven't already.

Here they are:

Mommy Daddy Blog
Daddy Forever
A Good Husband
Building Camelot
Patrick Says
The Art of Manliness
Poop and Boogies
Rude Cactus
D is for Dad
You Served

That should keep you busy for a few hours. In the meantime, while you're leaving comments all over the place, enjoy a new song from Mitch Friedman...

Monday, February 02, 2009


Where Have All The Flowers Gone

What is it about a bouquet of flowers that makes women so giddy? If you ask most women what they want for Valentines Day, flowers are usually at the top of their list. Being a man, I don't get it. I mean, I'd be happy with one of those heart-shaped pepperoni pizzas from Papa Murphy's.

But that's okay. I don't have to get it. All I have to know is that you can't go wrong by celebrating special occasions with a vase full of neatly arranged roses, orchids, and carnations. Flowers are a fool-proof way to say "I love you."

ProFlowers knows this, of course, and wants to help you out. The online flower shop contacted me with a generous Valentines Day offer for my readers.

I have five, yes I said FIVE, ProFlowers gift certificates to give away!

Each one is worth $70, and is good for any item in their extensive online catalog. They not only have flowers, but also plants, candy, and romantic gifts for both men and women.

All you have to do to win one of these $70 gift certificates is to leave a comment here, telling me your favorite way to celebrate Valentine's Day (keep it family-friendly).

At the end of the week, I'll pick five lucky winners at random.

UPDATE: This contest is now over. Thanks!