Friday, June 19, 2020

7 Quick Takes about Cleaning Your Inbox, the Hazards of Fairy Houses, and Times '80s Movies Predicted the Future

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


There are two kinds of people: those with a million emails in their inbox, and those who sort everything into folders.

I'm a folder woman, myself.

When I'm done deleting all the emails I don't need and organize everything else into folders, my email shows me this little message with an inspirational GIF of a hot air balloon:

I like it a lot better than the old one. I can't remember the exact wording, but I do remember there was a picture of a trophy and sounded slightly passive-aggressive.

Phillip always used to joke that it said: "Congratulations! You have no friends."


Would you like to hear the good news or the bad news about the family hike we took last weekend?

The good news was that my daughter took this picture of Phillip, which I loved:

He was looking up the name of a water snake we just saw.

She's the same one who took the picture I loved in Take #4 here, so I guess we both have a thing for photos with water reflections.

My kids also had a great time running around in a meadow full of grass as tall as they were. We couldn't see the 6-year-old's head most of the time.

Younger kids frolicking; older kids calculating the odds of someone getting lost.


Now for the bad news. When we stopped by the brook to take a break, I heard the 8-year-old yell "Mom, I'm making a fairy house!"

"That's great!" I murmured, distracted by the other kids. Several minutes later, I went over to admire her fairy house and saw that she'd built it entirely out of poison ivy leaves.

Poison. Ivy. Leaves.

We scrubbed her off when we got home, but it was too late. Twenty-four hours later, she'd developed a terrible rash all over and her face was so swollen it was unrecognizable. When we went to a small outdoor birthday party the next day, a friend looked at my daughter and asked me if we'd brought along a cousin.

She was pretty miserable until the steroids we gave her kicked in, but as my 14-year-old pointed out, it could've been worse. Just think about the poor fairies.


Something interesting I learned this week is that there's this relatively rare thing called black-spot poison ivy.

After my daughter had her brush with the evil plants, I noticed a black spot on her cheek at dinner but didn't think too much of it. It looked like maybe she'd just gotten some ink on herself, and kids draw on themselves for no discernible reason all the time so I didn't even look at it that closely.

The next morning she'd broken out in a full-body poison ivy rash, and I noticed a few more black spots on her arms. They looked like black irregular-shaped melanomas that appeared overnight and all at once, which is a little disconcerting.

But apparently when you get exposed to large quantities of the oil from poison ivy plants (like if you, I don't know, broke off the stems to make a fairy house or something) it oxidizes on your skin and leaves black spots.

They'll go away with the rash in a few weeks.


Recently, we watched The Princess Bride. Everyone enjoyed the accidentally prophetic scene where Westley says that masks are "terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future."

"You should meme that!" my teenagers shouted.

I said I was sure someone had thought of it already, so they looked it up and there it was:

We actually found quite a few Princess Bride quarantine memes, but this was one of my favorites:

If you don't get it, go watch the movie. It'll be worth your time, I promise.


The kids continue to have fun with our new pet rats. They've taken to calling Piper "Pooper," for the obvious reason that I make them clean up after her when they take her out to play.

As for Scout, they started calling her "Fatty" because she always beats Piper to the food when we show up bearing treats. It's only been a week, but I think she's getting a little portly so we're trying to cut back.

The kids are making rat toys and building play structures out of waffle blocks. Mostly, we just enjoy pretending that the rats run over to the cage door so enthusiastically when we open it because they love us, not because they know we give them food.


My kids are finished with the school year! We still don't know what this fall is going to look for our public school, but my oldest daughter decided that she really likes distance learning and she wants to homeschool for her last two years of high school.

I am breathing into a paper bag right now.

For a number of reasons, I agree homeschooling would be good for her. But thinking about homeschooling one of my kids feels like middle school all over again: not only do you not know , you wouldn't even be able to formulate an intelligent question if you had someone to ask. You're so clueless you don't even know what you don't know.

So far, the Google search results for "how to homeschool" are full of vague generalities like "Find what works for YOU!" which just makes me want to throw a shoe through the screen. Like, that's not helpful if I don't know how to find what works for me.

What I'm saying is, if you have any tips or advice on where to begin, please leave a comment below or email me. I'll do my best not to keep my shoes on.

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jen said...

1.) Your daughter has an amazing eye for composition regarding photography.

2.) There are a bunch of people doing Quick Takes (like Kelly) who have homeschooled through high school. You might want to see if you can do a dual enrollment thing with a local community college so your oldest daughter can get college credit for some of her high school classes. It's too bad that you aren't in Washington because we have an amazing program called Running Start that does the dual enrollment thing. I was so jealous of it when I found out it existed. (I'm from California, but most of my family is in Washington and my dream school was the University of Washington. When I saw Running Start on the application and looked it up, I was furious because *I* would have loved to have had that option.)

Wendy said...

Just graduated my 4th homeschooling high schooler and have two more in home school high school.

Look up your local community college for dual enrollment. In our county, dual enrollment gets you half off tuition, and an associates degree from the community college gets you admission to any state school as a junior. I am not kidding, this is a cheap way to get a great education! My oldest went this route and just graduated with his bachelor's from University of MD.

As for your part of that dual enrollment, I would suggest starting with online classes for either everything they aren't taking for college, or just the things you don't want to teach.

Karyn said...

I would find local homeschool groups, maybe on facebook. They often have co-ops or classes or can at least give advice that's more germane to you. I also suggest the dual enrollment.....I'm not teaching any of my senior's classes next year.

Anna said...

BYU has an online high school program. Might be worth looking into!

AnneMarie said...

Oh my, I haven't seen Princess Bride in FOREVER (but was thinking of it yesterday when my 4 year old wanted me to chase him faster, and my third-trimester-pregnant self could only think "I thought I WAS going faster!"). Pandemic time would be the perfect occasion to re-watch it! After I watch Jo Jo Rabbit (currently borrowed from the library) I'll have to dive into some Princess Bride fun :)

I hope you are able to find a good resolution for your high schooler's education next year! My parents didn't want to attempt homeschooling for high school, so I have zero experience with that. But, as great as high school was, there are moments when I wish that I could have gone through it all homeschooled (so much less drama! More free time!). My husband was homeschooled for high school, and he seemed to have a good experience (he lucked out and, being from Washington, got to participate in the Head Start program and went to college with something like 44 credit hours).

PurpleSlob said...

Poor little girl! All she wanted to do is give some poor homeless fairies a home!! No fair!!
The picture is beautiful! Please enroll her in photography class!
double yes to dual enrollment!!

Ellen said...

I loved being homeschooled through high school! You might have good luck looking up mom blogs about homeschooling as a starting point. Also, most states have a homeschooling association and many are Christian, and they usually offer a conference and resources and can connect you to other families in your area

Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

I'm so, so, so sorry for your daughter (and the poor fairies). That is absolutely no fun.

Homeschooling - wow. (Don't take anything I say seriously, my oldest is just going into fifth grade, so grain of salt here.) What if you have her plan it out? Pull out a transcript form, and have her map out the classes she needs/wants. Then have her to research ways to make that happen. (Even if she doesn't get very far into it, it's a place to start from). A LOT of families I know go with the community college option. They often have classes early in the morning, and it's not the "college party" lifestyle.

Best of luck! And deep breath, you got this!

Jenny Evans said...

Ann-Marie: Ha! That's exactly what we're doing today. I asked her to write out all our state's requirements for graduation and what she'd be taking for the next 2 years if she continued in public school. Today we're going to look at what she found and see what kind of homeschool plan we can come up with that makes sense and fulfills those requirements. Our public school will still allow her do extra-curriculars there (band, theater, sports,) and we were already planning on including some dual enrollment classes - between those two things and homeschool curriculum materials to fill in any gaps, I'm feeling more and more optimistic that we can actually pull this off.

Paul Forgette said...

Love the Princess Bride reference.
Made my day!