Homeschool of Fish – Year 6, Part 5 – Knocked Off Track

in Homeschooling, Politics by on October 15th, 20121 Comment

Megan’s Ryan’s Voice – Murphy’s Law of Homeschooling States: Once you get into the swing of things something will happen to ruin it. Last week the big boys caught the colds from the wee ones. Since I am not a MERCILESS slave driver I gave them a bucket next to their desks in case they had to stop working long enough to toss their cookies. No, we took a couple of days off but now they will have to do some catching up since some of their classes are online and therefore less forgiving.

Kindergartener promptly contracted the same cold back from them and got sick again. Fortunately that doesn’t phase his school work since he still has just as much energy as always. It’s turned out pretty nicely having him on a schedule of work rather than the very loose lessons that comprised his preschool education. He is old enough now for me to tell him to complete X Y and Z before leaving his place at the table. That leaves me a few free moments to attend to Toddler 1.1 or do REALLY important things like…take a bath.

Liam Marcus’ Voice – Homeschooling is the kewlest thing one can ever do for their children, bar none – period. Those individuals who argue about, “Well, how about their social skills?” and this and that don’t know squat. Peons of a communistic educational system – indoctrinated zombies thinking in the same manner. Unfortunately, these are the individuals whom we need to be careful of. The may stop at nothing to destroy our right to educate our children just because they think they can do better.

Neither here nor there, it is exquisite to watch our children growing right in front of us. It is a treat to be able to teach them everything we know too. Oops, we get in trouble for that. :-P

Homeschool of Fish – Year 6, Part 4 – Getting Over The Hump

in Homeschooling by on October 5th, 20121 Comment

What the?!?!

Megan Ryan’s Voice – This week of homeschool was better than last (thank You, Lord!). The Teenagers got most of their scheduled work done and turned in to me in time with minimal cracking of the whip on my part. Kindergartener 5.0 is cruising through his workbooks with pleasure for a few hours each day. He practically FLEW through a whole book of ABC connect-the-dots pictures because he loved it. I’ll have to go out to Wally World (aka Walmart) and get him a few more. I’m taking the advice of other homeschool moms and breaking his work up with a few physical activities like a rowdy game of Simon Says, playing tennis up against the wall of the garage with his wee little racket, or a nice session on the trampoline in the yard. Garage tennis can be a bit tricky with Toddler 1.0, so we do it while she’s napping or put her playpen in the garage with us when she is content enough to watch and not yell to be let out of her cage. We’re still going out 2-3 times per week to various playgroups found through in an effort to decide which group we’ll make a long term commitment with. We already dropped one of them from our list because they were all public school kids. That was fine during the summer, but then he was stuck playing with the three year olds when all the other children his age went to school in September. We’re still looking for the ‘right group’ in addition to our usual Catholic homeschool group which only meets twice a month – not enough for our active little guy.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – This is all much appreciated. We can share the responsibilities, not that I’m doing anything. It is magnificent to see the little rascal walk all over the school material. He is very proud of himself too. It sure is a boost of positive reinforcement for him. I can see it in his eyes and his smile.

Homeschool Of Fish – Year 6, Part 3 – Times That Make You Want To Quit

in Family Life, Homeschooling by on September 28th, 20121 Comment

Megan Ryan’s Voice - It’s only week four of this year’s homeschooling, and already I can’t wait until it’s over…sometimes. Most people automatically assume the material/teaching is the hard part about homeschooling aka am I smart enough to teach? That’s not it. The REAL hard part is discipline, especially schooling teenagers. Being the teacher AND the principal and meting out the punishments, then stickin’ to yer guns. Teenagers are professional soldiers when it comes to emotional battles, and it’s all too easy to get stuck in trench warfare with them. Our teens are no different. They aren’t sassy, gum poppin’, eye rolling brats like a lot of public schoolers, but they are stubborn all the same. (Aren’t ALL teens??) They are having the usual difficulty (denial) in getting back into the new/old routine of school, and they are making everyone pay by shirking work and walking around with silent but dark thunderclouds over their heads. I’m SURE I was the same at that age – I freakin’ hated school.

As you know, I already warned them not to try last year’s shenanigans, but they’re doing it anyway. Neglecting subjects A, B, and C because they are at their mother’s house those days, and she doesn’t sit on their shoulders (like us) and ensure they complete all their work by the end of the day. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t crack a whip behind them all day shouting, “Heeyah mule!”. I write out the days work in a notebook and leave them to do it during the day. When it is finished, THEN privileges begin like having friends over and TV watching. If it isn’t done by 6 PM they have to stop for the day, do some push-ups (disciplinary action), and roll the work over into the next day and even into Saturday if need be.

It’s times like these Marcus and I fantasize about throwing in the towel. And I DO mean fantasize. “Hey honey the kids are in school! What do you wanna do today?! Drink ice cold beer at the beach?? Done! WHEEEeeeeeee!” Then we wake up and stick to our guns for one more day, then another, and another after that.

Liam Marcus’ Voice - Duh gone it! I don’t know how we’ve been able to manage without the public school system for, what, seven years. Well, well, well, a lot of patience and stamina; brain stamina. Ha ha ha. Hey, don’t sweat it, let’s have some fun. You know it’s been fun.

Homeschool Of Fish – Year 6, Part 2 – Preparing For Our First Week

in Family Life, Homeschooling by on September 17th, 20123 Comments

Megan Ryan’s Voice – We spent last week getting ready to start school today. I planned out the subjects the Teenagers would be learning on a marker board while they assembled the needed folders, notebooks, and textbooks. Then we mapped out each subject and wrote out a course outline to help us determine how to pace the school year. I decided to imitate the same style we had last year where they do subjects A, B, and C at our house and subjects D, E, and F during the days at their mother’s house. Since she is too busy to help them with their work they can bring the finished assignments back here with them for me to grade. I can already smell trouble brewing though. Last year they started to slack off at mom’s house and come back here with little to no work done on those subjects. I fear they’re going to give that another try this year. I’ll just have to be very frank with them and warn them ahead of time not to try it. It didn’t fly then, and it won’t fly now.

This will be Preschooler 4.11’s first official year of school :-D On his 5th birthday coming up I’ll have to upgrade him to Kindergartener 5.0! Even though we’ve been doing preschool and kindergarten workbooks since he turned four, he is still excited about having ‘school’ like his big brothers. The only thing I’ll change is to switch out his Pre-K workbooks for K and start teaching him to play the piano and read music. He has Marcus’ gift for music so we want to give him the tools to unlock his potential as soon as possible. As always, the biggest challenge will be to keep order and a loose daily schedule running smoothly. And most importantly, keep the TV turned off! It’s nice to have that ‘electronic babysitter’ for Toddler 1.0 at times, but the trick is to keep it to a maximum of thirty minutes per day – if I have to turn it on at all!

Liam Marcus’ Voice –It’s special. Once in a lifetime event. Okay, hey, maybe he can do some ka-ra-TE too. Just read an invite to “Meet ups” karate event. It seem inexpensive too. $40 per month for 4 lessons. One can even pay as one goes – kewl, heh?

I’d rather he start playing hockey, but hey, we will have to resort to roller hockey for a while instead. Musical talent?? Ah, shucks! I don’t have talent at all. It’s been hard work my lady, hard work, and even then, the work one has to continue to put in is even harder.

Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin Recipe

in Family Life, Organic by on August 29th, 2012No Comments

Megan Ryan’s Voice - We recently got back on the organic produce co-op bandwagon after a nine month hiatus. Meaning we haven’t been getting weekly bags of produce from a local farm or otherwise. Why? We let our rabbit farm CSA membership expire after the year was up because our two freezers were LOADED with food and we couldn’t keep up with the weekly bags of produce. Why did we stop getting anything for a whole nine months? Because that’s how long it took us to EAT all of it! I’m not freakin’ kidding. I thought it would take our family of six a few months at the most to empty the freezers, but no. And no, we didn’t get food from anywhere else except for the occasional foray to the organic grocery store for a good deal on one or two things like broccoli or sweet potatoes.

ANYWAY, I digress. This bi-weekly pickup of produce contained collard greens and potatoes among other things so I thought I would post our favorite recipe with these two ingredients. Both teenagers would be heartbroken if I ever stopped making this recipe. As a matter of fact, I always triple this recipe and use my four quart dutch oven just so we can enjoy the leftovers the next day. Kiss your box of Betty Crocker (aka Betty Crapper) potatoes goodbye forever because you’ll never want to go back.


Potato and Greens Gratin


3 medium unpeeled potatoes, cut into 1/8 inch slices (use the 4mm blade of a food processor)

2 handfuls of a leafy green like kale, etc., cut into shreds

2 tbsp. salt or more if desired

1 tbsp pepper

¼ cup butter (1/2 of a stick)

3 tbsp. fresh sage, or 1 tbsp. dried

4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

1 1/3 cups milk

3 eggs (from pastured hens)

1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded or crumbled

1/3 cup sprouted flour (Click Here to learn how to sprout your own)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring water to a boil, add potatoes and cook until ALMOST tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the greens to the water and boil until tender. Drain and discard the water, Click Here to learn why you should discard the water.  Set greens aside. Melt the butter in your pot, add the sage and garlic, then cook a few minutes until fragrant. Put the potatoes and greens back in the pot. Whisk together the milk, eggs, flour, and cheese then pour the mixture into the pot over the potato mixture. Stir gently until combined. Put the lid on your pot, and pop it into the oven for 50 minutes or more. It is done when the center is firm and will no longer jiggle. As always, all of the above ingredients should be organic for best taste and optimum health.

Homeschool of Fish – Year 6, Part 1 – Ready For A New School Year

in Family Life, Homeschooling by on August 25th, 20121 Comment

Liam Marcus’ Voice – We are gearing up for another homeschooling year. Determining which books to feast on will be a challenge. We wish to keep it simple and fun, yet intriguing and informative. Spanish will continue to be the subject of dependability upon me, but that has become a much easier subject to enforce since Preschooler started speaking it – it’s reinforcing to see him interested and responding to everything I say in Spanish; now I’m hoping it will continue to rub off on the teenagers.

Technical English Grammar will be the Achilles heel once again for the teenagers. I say “again” because I gave it a shot with them a few years ago, but they simply didn’t have the maturity for it back then, so I shelved those books until now. They have a great ability to write, and they seem to enjoy it, but technique is not fun, and I can understand. We’ll just continue to make it fun for them and resort to the occasional flogging when we must :-D

For history, we’ll be hitting something questionable, but deep. It’s call The Red Amendment by LB Bork. Some people have already called this guy names because of what is attempting to do to this country. What is it that he is trying to do? Well, to try to live under God’s laws, not man’s laws. It’s simple.

Mathematics will be the same as last year… algebra galore. Physical classes will consist of a healthy dose of trampoline jumping, running, hockey, and everything else we can do OUTSIDE.

Megan Ryan’s Voice - It’s been a great summer, but now I’m ready to jump into the new school year with both feet. Just for the sake of Preschooler 4.11 making some close friends I looked into a Catholic preschool around the corner. Yikes… Nowadays it’s all about education and structure with zero play time…for four year olds. Really?? I’m all for learning the alphabet, etc. but NO play time?? Our little guy would enjoy it, but he would be bouncing off the walls when he came home from all his pent up energy. Plus, how can you make friends without social/play time?? He gets all the education he can stand from me, but he needs playmates.

For da big boyz we’ll do some more classic literature, Catholic apologetics, and music like last year. New subjects will be driver education, and speech. Teenager 17.2 has a bit of a lisp that he can’t seem to shake so we’ll take it head on this year and exterminate it. Another part of speech will be public speaking. I’ll have them choose a topic, research it, then give a presentation to our Catholic homeschool group. We haven’t allowed them to get driver’s licenses for a few reasons, but mostly they just aren’t mature enough yet.

Insurance Agent: “How did the accident happen ma’am?”

Me: “Well, my son saw a pretty butterfly float past so he watched it a little too long.”

Insurance Agent: “How long was that?”

Me: “Long enough to travel through three red lights, go cross country through a public park, and carom through a crowded parking lot like a steel ball in a pinball machine.”

Not really, of course but it is the stuff of our nightmares I tell ya. How and WHY my parents ever let me drive when I was 17 is beyond me. :shock:

Are You Trusting Or Just A Sucker?

in Family Life, Motherhood by on July 27th, 20122 Comments

Megan Ryan’s Voice – Just like you see in cartoons, I had a light bulb turn on over my head the other day while Marcus and I were praying the rosary together. It must have been God’s providence. For a very long time I have wondered why certain members of my extended family have considered me to be gullible. They treated me as if I was a numbskull who would follow any foolish notion that came down the pike. Like they had to save me from myself because I could easily be led astray. Their condescension always puzzled me. I graduated at the top of my class in college, I never got suckered into paying too much for a car, I never gave any money to scam artists on the internet, I can smell a lie from fifty paces…and the list goes on. So WHY do they hold such opinions about me?? In comes said light bulb.

I trusted them.

But they were not worthy of my trust.

It is my nature to either trust somebody 100% or not at all. I don’t make friends easily. If I let you into my inner circle it is because I trust you. Completely. Until you get there, I trust you very little – if at all. Because they were family, I trusted them to always tell me the truth. But the trademark behavior of a narcissist is lies. A narcissist will lie to anyone in order to get what he or she wants, or to avoid the consequences of their own behavior. Constantly.

When I was in my late teens I had a pet snake. A Burmese python which is the sort that gets really huge. When I had to move to another state, I left the snake in their temporary care. Well, life got in the way and temporary turned into a looooong time. They told me they had to give the snake to the zoo because it had become too big for them to care for. I sadly agreed and gave them permission. Years later when I moved back to my home state, I went and visited it at the zoo. It made me feel better to see it well cared for there. Several years later they finally owned up and told me the truth. The zoo had refused to take on another giant snake. So what did they do? Did they say, “Hey Megan, find another home for your snake because the zoo won’t take it.”? Nope. My family members took it out to the back yard and put a bullet in its head. Then they lied to me all those years about it.

Well, because I trusted them to tell me the truth, and therefore bought the lies they told me all throughout my life), I was branded as gullible. Guilty of the crime of trusting my own family members. But wait, didn’t I just say above that I could smell a lie from fifty paces? Yes, I can. If you’re not one of those I trust 100%. If you are someone I trust, I don’t bother to look for lies. Yes, I’ve had that come back to bite me in the past, but who hasn’t? If that trust is broken, I then have to decide if you will stay in my inner circle. If the answer is yes, then I have also decided to trust you again. For so long I thought there must have been something wrong with me if they thought not all of my dogs were barking. Now I know the truth. There is nothing wrong with trusting, but there is a LOT wrong with lying to others and disregarding the feelings of others.

So at the end of the day I ask myself, “Okay, so how do I reconcile my past with the newly born Christian I am today?” Am I holding a grudge against those who’ve hurt me, or have I forgiven them? Christian forgiveness doesn’t mean I have to feel warm and fuzzy towards that person, it only requires that I wish the best for that person despite what he/she did to me. The best meaning here to be, wanting him/her to find salvation in Christ and be with Him in heaven someday. Forgiveness doesn’t require me to be a door mat, or to keep going back to that person for more abuse. Sometimes it’s hard to forgive – seemingly impossible. But when it seems far off I try to remember the sage advice of Johnnette Benkovic. She says that forgiveness comes gradually, and sometimes all you have to do to get on the road to forgiving someone is to pray a simple prayer. Talk to Jesus and say, “Lord, please help me to forgive them. Help me WANT to forgive them.”

Liam Marcus’ VoiceThey seem to have lied to Meg all their lives for various reasons. You know, to keep her from knowing facts about life, facts about them, facts about almost anything except the facts needed to have a life of emotional and psychological independence. Is this possible? To some it may be, but to others, not so much. In the long run it always seem to involve a timetable of sorts. Grinding certain phrases and behaviors into the victim’s psyche. The monotonous episodes of a narcissist can lead to the victim’s inability to look at their behaviors objectively. In the process one could become sufficiently self analytical because of the narc’s diluted care for others. One starts asking, “is there something wrong with me? Why is she treating me this way?” One’s ability to recognize a lie then becomes, for all intents and purposes, impossible. Thus the narc’s license to lie to her victim would then become the subject matter by which the narc would start labeling her victim a repudiated individual unfit to take care of herself for life. Little does the narc know that it is her own sick behavior which creates the presumption that her victim is gullible and unable to make up her own darn mind.

With a family member who uses her own flesh and blood in such a manner, manipulates her, coerces, lies to, and then unfairly condemns her victim for the narc’s own behavior, who the heck needs an enemy? This is a sorry fact pertaining to the reality that the family member is both an unfortunate addition to the victim’s family tree, and the worst enemy anyone can ever have.. for life!

Photo Credit

Adding To Our Medicine Chest: Catnip

in Family Life, Organic by on July 16th, 20123 Comments

Megan Ryan’s Voice – Well I finally got around to planting some catnip seeds. I’ve been meaning to do so for weeks now but just haven’t gotten around to it. Catnip ought to survive my black thumb since it is technically a weed. Although if you remember from our previous post I couldn’t manage to grow a weed then either! I’m not growing it for our kitties, but for medicinal purposes. It will be organic of course, so it will be more potent (and hopefully tastier – ugh!) than the el crappo stuff you get at the store. And just in case you think I’m exaggerating, Click Here for the site I found while researching how to grow catnip. YES research! I had to learn how to grow a weed. :shock: It is good for headaches, stomach upsets, diarrhea, fever, mild sedative, colicky babies, and is also yummy in salads and as a natural insect repellant. Click Here for a nice site on the medicinal uses of catnip. Since it is a weed I’ll grow it in a pot first, then if I’m happy with it I’ll turn it loose outside somewhere although I haven’t decided where yet – I don’t want to count my eggs before they hatch!

Liam Marcus’ Voice -  I haven’t taken care of our plants since I damaged my back. That’s been a little over two years. I would like to depend on the teenagers to take care of matters so they can get some experience for themselves should they one day wish to plant trees and such. Another reason why I’ve not spent much time with my green friends is because I got a bit dissillusioned at the fact that beneath the surface of the ground – there is nothing but wonderful, nutrition-less, dead construction sand. I’ve done all I can do to fuel the sand, though by dumping manure, etc. on it. It will take a while before the compost and other organic material I’m allowing to sift into the sand to propel some positive results in the manner in which plants get their nourishment. No, I have not completely deserted my green friends. I supply them with some organic juices from time to time – nothing artificial or commercial-like, mind you. Just the occasional dumping of freshly composted/digested earthworm dirt. I am super glad that Meg is doing something to help out. It’s great to be able to talk about my love for trees and green-and-brown-like organisms. It’s fun!

This post is being shared on Monday Mania

Mouthwatering Tomato Sandwich

in Family Life, Organic by on July 2nd, 2012No Comments

Megan Ryan’s Voice – One of the most delightful things about summer is red, juicy, homegrown tomatoes. My favorite gourmet, haute cuisine, fancy meal to make with them is… a sandwich. Yep, a mater sammitch. We just gathered the last of the tomatoes from our local organic farmer and have been savoring each bite. Marcus and the Teenagers like tomato sandwiches just fine, but Preschooler and I are NUTS about them. I’ll slap one down on the table in front of Preschooler and he’ll squeal like it’s Christmas morning. I used to put mayonnaise on them, but Yummy Inspirations gave me the idea of using plain homemade yogurt instead. It is delicious and Preschooler gives it his “squeal of approval”. So are you ready? Here is the super complicated recipe:

2 slices of bread slathered with plain yogurt

several thick slices of tomato

sea salt (If you’re anything like me, make that, “a ridiculous amount of sea salt”)


Okay, excuse me. I have to go eat another one now.

How Much Of Your Personality Is Based On Your Environment?

in Family Life by on June 22nd, 2012No Comments

Liam Marcus’ Voice – My personality is the result of society. Now that’s a statement worthy of study. What I have lived, how I have lived, how others affected me have shaped my personality. In essence, this must be true because psychology has taught us that through numerous scientifically deduced experiments, behavior can be shaped and that the environment is the epicenter of such a scandalous supposition. Now, one must define the environment. It could be one’s genetics as much  as it could also be the outside world. Genetics? Sure. The body is in and of itself a world rich with life, of which is composed of an autonomous system. This system can be plagued with outside agents and affected, can it not? Therefore, it is in and of itself an environmental establishment capable of affecting our consciousness, and our actions, to say the least. The outside world – really bad TV, dangerous friends, melodrama, etc. – mixed with one’s internal ups and downs (arthritis, spasms, etc.) can ultimately add to a reciprocal action or inaction expressed outwardly or inwardly by the being. Don’t take my word for it. After reading this, how do you feel? How did you behave?

Megan Ryan’s Voice – Funny, you and I were discussing this the other day Marcus. I was telling you about how, since my eyes have been opened to Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), I seem to be finding it all over the place. Even the so called good guy characters have NPD qualities. It bothers me how so many characters in the hero role are actually antiheros. Especially in shows that are geared towards children and teens. I think this sort of influence teaches kids that narcissistic qualities are acceptable and even desirable. Take the movie Megamind for example. On the surface it is a harmless, goofy movie about a bad guy turned good, but I won’t allow it in our house. Why? Because 95% of the movie is spent showing him as a funny but obvious bad guy who converts at the end of the movie. Yay for conversion, but I fear it goes largely unnoticed by children. Let’s be honest, how many parents are out there who watch everything with their children and then explain the morals to them? Not even Marcus and I fall into that category. Try as we may to do it 100% of the time, we still fall short. I miss the days when good and bad were clear cut like in the Andy Griffith Show.

What do you miss from the good ol’ days?

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