P365 – Day 59 (The Princess Bride)

How many times did you listen to yesterday’s clip of Inigo speaking to Westley? Once? Twice? Didn’t listen at all – really, you’re busy and don’t have time for random clicking on misc. blogs. “How did I get here anyway?” is the question you’re asking. That and “What is a Duckabush??”

In our house, I think we played the same sound bite over 10 times. The older two listened to it twice while they were reading the blog. I laughed and played it two or three times myself. Tim listened to it this morning. Daniel came by, wondering what I was doing, and made me play it. David heard the tail end and wanted to hear it himself. That might be closer to 15 times.

At lunch I had an overwhelming and totally surprising desire to watch The Princess Bride (hope that didn’t ruin the Obscure Movie Quote from the end of yesterday’s blog). Speaking of which, anyone recognize the other quotes?

I have to confess that we occasionally watch bits and pieces of movies during lunch time. Just one of those perks of homeschooling. Often they are educational films (amazing what you can define as “educational” if you put your mind to it). The 3.5 hours of Shackelton’s Stowaway lasted us a whole week of lunches (and a few dinners). We’ve watched animal films, nature and geography studies, and all sorts of science movies. It goes without saying, of course, that Civil War films show up on a regular basis. The younger set, however, have a fairly low tolerance for documentaries. Joshua usually grabs the Civil War library movies and heads out to the garage to “preview” them for me. I’m training him well – he’s already working on this week’s Civil War co-op agenda. My evil plan is working!

Today, however, we did not attempt to disguise our movie viewing under lofty scholastic labels. We skipped highbrow and went straight to comedy, adventure, romance and fairy tale all wrapped up in one delicious movie, The Princess Bride.

Six Things You Can Learn in The Princess Bride movie:

1) Vocabulary words like ‘inconceivable’
2) A little history of the countries Florin and Guilder
3) The definition of R.O.U.S.
4) An exposition on the phrase, “As You Wish”
5) The truth behind the Dread Pirates Roberts’ identity
6) The origin of Iocane Powder

And many more.

The Princess Bride is a pivotal movie in The Life of Tim and Kathy. The children know the story but haven’t really invested the time like Tim and I have. The film came out before we met but is probably one of our first ‘couple movies’ where lines are quoted and scenes watched over and over again.

I know, other people bond over adventures (real ones, not just the kind they watch on the big screen), common interests (hey, the fate of Buttercup and Westley was very important to us), or perhaps spiritual and intellectual pursuits. Not us. We relate through movie quotes. Sad but true.

I first saw The Princess Bride at the ‘cheapie theater’ when I was home from college one summer. Do they still even have ‘cheapie theaters’ anymore? I think the price was $1.50 or something outrageous like that. Sure you had to wait in line (if the movie was popular) and the floor was sticky but the price couldn’t be beat. I went with my parents and my best friend and her boyfriend. I can’t remember if my brothers joined us – probably, we all spent most of the summer together. My folks were rather wary of the movie, “Just what is this about?” was the question of the hour. As I recall, Jodi’s boyfriend had already seen it and SWORE we would love it (he didn’t actually swear, you understand, after all, my dad is a pastor).

We went in skeptics and came out devotees.

I asked Tim if he remembered where he first saw The Princess Bride (he really should be writing this blog but he had a killer day at work and spent the evening with the darling 5th and 6th grade boys in his youth group. I am not Tim but I will try my best to do the movie justice). With the question, a dreamy gaze came over his eyes (the darling 5th and 6th grade boys awaiting his arrival at church became but a distant thought).

“Ah, yes. I was visiting my brother in Germany. I was passing through to do laundry.”

If I had them I would insert scenic photo of Tim’s travels through Europe the summer BEFORE he met me. Hasn’t been back since. Rats. I think I missed my chance to bum around Europe with him, backpacks loaded. I think I’m really too old to “bum around” anyway. Maybe we’ll make it to Norway before the cousins move.

“This is my story, remember Kathy?” The musing, dreamy expression has been replaced by an indignant look, directed at me.

“Where was I? Oh yes, doing laundry in Germany. Mark and Liz had a copy of The Princess Bride and I settled in to watch it between loads. Gotta pass the time somehow.”

Another enthusiast was born. Tim says he saw it 3 or 4 times that week alone.

Cue forward to the next summer. Tim and I have now met and he’s in another scenic location doing laundry. Okay, I just threw the laundry part in to see if you were paying attention. He was working at a camp in beautiful Colorado. While at Spring Canyon, Tim met up with another Princess Bride fanatic. The two of them took to quoting the famous scene between Westley and Vizzini. In quote dramatic fashion, they could quote the entire passage from “And now it is down to you and it is down to me.” all the way to Vizzini’s final laugh (complete with his dramatic death fall – sorry for the spoiler but the movie debuted in 1987). I was privileged to see these talented thespians perform when I went out to visit.

They repeated the scene at least once a day. I wonder if they could still do it now? We’ll have to record Joshua and Tim doing the scene and post it online. A project for the weekend.

Mind you, the real treasure in The Princess Bride lies in the book. The movie is wonderful, a classic, but the book is a true jewel. Author William Goldman presents the novel as an abridgment of an older version by “S. Morgenstern”. The book, in fact, is entirely Goldman’s work. Morgenstern and the “original version” are fictional and used as a literary device. All of which brings us to the “Reunion Scene.” From Wikipedia

In the novel’s commentary, Goldman claims that he has added nothing to the “original” Morgenstern text. However, he says that he did write one original scene, a loving reunion between Buttercup and Westley, but claims that his publisher objected to this addition. He invites any reader who wants to read the Reunion Scene to write to the publisher (formerly Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; now Random House.)

I was one of those people! I wrote to the publisher and requested the letter. I completely and totally believed Goldman’s story (wasn’t totally sure about Florin and Guilder but hey, I’ve already explained that history was one of my weakest subjects). I received a letter in return for my appeal. Instead of the extra scene, however, the letter detailed the legal problems that Goldman and his publishers encountered with the Morgenstern estate and its lawyer, Kermit Shog. The letter was too long to include in the blog (after all, I do my best to keep these blogs tight and concise) but you can read it here.

The movie remains very faithful to the book and captures the whimsy and delight of the story full of creative characters, high adventures, and true love. It’s hard to choose which one, novel or film, I enjoy more. What’s your vote?

With lunch behind us and an afternoon of reading ahead of us, I went to the garage and grabbed one of our multiple copies of The Princess Bride and determined to sneak in a chapter two today. I saved it until the very end. We worked hard – we did our Proverbs devotional reading, laughed over a book about a Chinese emperor (pointing out all the Proverbs we found to be true in the book), studied some of an illustrated book on the country of China, and read our two Sonlight novels (both set in China).

When all of that was completed, I picked up The Princess Bride and set about reading. I had to edit the intro a bit as it was long and a bit inappropriate for my audience (do I really need to read about Goldman’s interactions with a Hollywood starlet, even if the whole incident is rather harmless and completely fabricated?). Joshua loved the book. He “got” the humor and excessive use of parenthesis (probably because he reads my blogs which tend to lend this way as well, ahem) and had no trouble following the story (from unwieldy introduction to rather slow start about Buttercup).

Here he TRIES to keep from laughing.

not laughing
laughing 1

laughing 2

laughing 3

giving in to laughter

Rachel struggled a bit more but enjoyed the story. At one point Daniel gave up and went off to get his math. He returned, lesson in hand, and worked while listening to the story. He raised wide eyes when we came to the description of Prince Humperdink’s Zoo of Death.

daniel and rachel

Poor David and Sarah, they waited patiently for us to finish reading. With all of school and then the extra chapters from The Princess Bride, they suffered from serious neglect.

david and sarah

Look how they suffer!

Tim came down just as I was losing my voice and struggling to keep reading (three hours of reading aloud does that to a girl). He immediately jumped in and finished the chapter for me. Not content to just read a wee little bit, he went on to read another whole chapter. As he started to read the third one, I realized if I didn’t get up and start cooking it would be cold cereal for dinner. Tim and the kids followed me into the kitchen and continued reading.

tim reads

Now we have the book and the movie to finish.

Is it time for lunch yet?


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P365 – Day 58 (Rachel’s New Look)

I asked Rachel and Joshua if they had any opinions on the blog – if there was anything I should add or change, what they liked reading and so on. Joshua, in his typical easy-going manner, didn’t have much to say. “Can’t think of anything,” he shrugged. Of course, he’s busy working on his own FIVE PAGE (so far) blog on the middle school retreat (you are now forewarned – it will be coming!). He’s distracted and trying to find his own blogging ‘voice,’ he doesn’t have time to help me with my soul searching or blog searching or whatever it was I was looking for. This morning, when I told him I posted three blogs last night he said, “Goody!” and scooted right over to the computer chair, so he must find something interesting to read in the blogs.

see no evil

See No Evil!

Rachel, in her typical manner (talkative, outspoken and yet contemplative), had LOTS of thoughts on the subject. She gave me all sorts of hints and ideas and helpful tips. I was surprised that she said she would like to see more blogs about our daily activities. Hmmm. I can see where there are some who might like to read a detailed accounting of our day (grandparents for example, the rest of the group would surely fall asleep) but I was a bit thrown off that it was what SHE wanted to read. “Um, Rach, you were there, why would you want to read a blog that talked about all the things we did all day?”

hear no evil

Hear No Evil!

I’m still mulling that over. Perhaps that is the power of journaling; reading over a description of the day captures the memories and holds them in place. Even the small pieces of the day are special. Maybe she likes the feeling of being a celebrity with your every move plastered all over the newsstands.

Obscure Movie Quote:

Hank: It’s gettin’ so as I can hardly go out in public any more. I mean, really, between the autograph hounds and the paparazzi…

Kate: Autographs and everything? I mean, just the one commercial, and you have paparazzi?

Hank: Yeah. I’ve never actually seen them, but, you know, they hide in the bush and… they get their shot.

So, in an attempt to please the masses (or at least one of my children), today I will blog about our day.

speak no evil

Speak No Evil!
David and Sarah illustrate some guidelines for the Duckabush Blog.

Joshua, my faithful early bird, was the first one up today. I think he likes having the house to himself for just a little bit. Who can blame him – in a family this size you have to seize your solitude where you can. Mine is late at night, his is early morning. We’ve practically got the day covered.

It also makes Joshua rub his hands together in satisfaction, chortling with glee knowing he gets a head start on school every day. He finishes his math before the rest of us are even up, much less calculating equations.

I’ve been staying up late blogging these days (what with the trauma of ‘advisor’ or ‘adviser’ it’s a wonder I can sleep at all) so there are often several children awake before me. Unlike those rascals, I am usually showered and dressed. They are disheveled and sleepy looking.

joshua reads blog

Joshua, in his cozy IKEA comforter, reads the blog.

While the children lounge around with an assortment of blankets and pillows that accompanied them downstairs, I turn on my computer and get started on breakfast. Then begins my morning refrain, “Get dressed! Get started on your math! Eat breakfast” With five children, four of whom are NOT chipper morning people, I say those three things often. Depending on their hunger, I either get blurry looks or demands for cereal and milk. Joshua and Rachel start their own, new little morning ritual – begging for the “first” shower of the day. We won’t go into details about what time Tim got up and took his. He assures me he is fully awake by the time he pulls into the office parking lot. I try not to think about his commute time. Can catatonic people drive safely? If they have a diet Coke in hand does that increase or decrease their driving abilities?

This morning we had several errands that needed tending, one of great urgency. There were OVERDUE library videos in the book bag!!! Horrors! We have discovered (and exploit whenever necessary) a fascinating little loop hole in the library return system. If you return your books or movies in the drop off spot BEFORE (this is key) the library opens they BACK-DATE your item to the last time the library was open. This has saved me more times than I would like to admit. Today I had three dvd’s to return (all due on Saturday). Since our library is closed from Sun until Tuesday, I could effectively return the movies before it opened in the morning and owe nothing! That’s right, nothing. Insert relieved, smug dance here.

I gathered the kids and set off for the library. We dropped the books and dvd’s off and then went on our other exciting errand: picking up Rachel’s New Glasses!

excited kids

These children don’t get out much. You can feel the anticipation in the air.

Rachel’s new glasses are beautiful! They fit her perfectly and look great. She does NOT need them for reading, only distance.

ready to go?fitting 1let's get them on

The woman handling Rachel’s fitting was a bit disconcerted about all the pictures I was taking.

“Is this for her scrapbook?” she asked.
“Just trying to appease the paparazzi,” I replied, “who knows how much I can make off of these shots.”

The three younger kids stood by in wonder and eager attention. Who needs paparazzi when you have younger siblings watching your every move.

three kiddos

When Rachel was all finished, David declared (in a firm voice), “I am NEVER getting glasses. Oh no.” I looked at him pityingly and started recounting all the people in our family (on both sides) who wear glasses. Even the receptionist was a bit amazed at the length of the list. I’m sure she was wondering if there was anyone in the family who doesn’t wear glasses. Um, Matthias the guinea pig has 20/20 vision, as far as we know.

I grabbed a pair of small frames and told David to try them on. See what you think, I said. Getting in the optical spirit of things, he was game to see how they fit.
david smiles

The red spot on the bottom of the glasses is a sticker not, as some have suggested, a wound inflicted by a sibling during the short time we were in the doctor’s office.

david's glasses

“I think maybe I want glasses,” was David’s immediate response. Ah, the fickleness of children. He does look pretty darn cute, I must admit.

From the doctor’s office we made our way back to the library. Ahem, we needed to actually go into the library – not just skulk around dropping off overdue books (did I just use the word ‘skulk’ in a blog??). Unfortunately we had twenty minutes to kill before the library opened. Rachel spent most of the drive reading signs and commenting on how clear everything was. Serious mommy guilt moment – how long has this child needed glasses??

We decided to head to the grocery store – get that free cookie for the day – and stock up on fruit (which my children eat at an alarming rate, any fruit trees around here?). By the time we had used up (eaten up?) the twenty minutes, we realized Rachel had left her jacket at the eye doctor. Back into the car. Back to the optician’s and back to the library.

Rachel, I am racking my brain as to why you think all of this would be interesting to anyone. Are you having fun reading the blog? Is this what you meant? I love you! I think your “new look” is very chic.

At the library we loaded up on books. Ah, the happy sound of that little librarian stamp as our books and videos (“I promise, Tim, we will NOT return these ones late.”) are processed.

Obscure movie clip (I don’t think there are any lines in this scene): The librarian stamps the books and each time he does so, the place rings with a LOUD, ringing clang. I love the look the librarian gives his little stamp. Priceless. There’s power in books!

From the library we go home (can it be possible this short outing took so long?) for lunch and the rest of our school day. Now I know why I don’t blog about our day’s events. It isn’t that it’s particularly boring, it’s just plain LONG! I start out tired from living through the day and am exhausted by the time I finish the blog. And, as Tim would graciously point out, my blogs are long enough as they are.

Last obscure movie quote (with link to sound):Let me sum up.

Read books
Supervised chores
Checked math
Made lunch
Mediated discussions/fights btw children
Did more school reading
Civil War movie
Talked on the phone
Prayer time with Tim
Bible chapter

And so on. All in a day’s work.


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Get this girl some math manipulatives

Sarah is obviously starved for some math study time. Look at what she pulled out and played with (for a good 30 minutes) this evening.

easter eggs

Perhaps other mothers wouldn’t immediately leap to the math manipulative conclusion. They might just think it sweet that their little girl has found some new toys. Some might even be grateful that the Easter decorations were out of storage and ready for use. I, however, am a homeschooling mother and my mind instantly translates these moments into school applications. In this case, preschool and kindergarten math.

Sigh, I am NOT a good kindergarten teacher. I am terrible at crafts and hands on activities. I do NOT have buckets and containers full of cool manipulatives. This site has literally 10 pages of items for sale under the math manipulatives category. I have deep envy for other homeschoolers who are gifted in this area.

looking closely

My math manipulative sense is heightened because this afternoon I was talking about math with another homeschooling mom and she mentioned how much her children are enjoying their new program (I believe it was Right Start Math) and all the creative ways it approaches math. Homeschooling moms have a perverse desire to talk about curriculum with other moms – it usually leads to some online shopping and, if you aren’t careful, a serious inferiority complex as the ‘curriculum is always more engaging on the other side of the homeschooling fence.’

Thankfully I stumbled across an article on creative (i.e. CHEAP) math manipulatives. It’s already late (I do my blogging in the evening when the distractions are in bed) but I immediately wanted to do further searching for other handmade manipulatives. I think I just like typing out the word manipulatives. It has such a great ring to it.

I have to be careful or I spend all my time reading and researching about interesting, creative curriculum choices but never actually do any teaching.


It doesn’t exactly look as if Sarah is suffering with her Easter egg manipulatives but I still might start praying for some good spring garage sales or a used curriculum sale (perfect places to pick up these type of things).

sarah pie


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Adviser or Advisor?

What do you think?

I am a BIG fan of spell check and I use dictionary.com and thesaurus.com regularly when I write (I’m just NOT that good of a speller). There are several online writing helps – those two just happen to be easy to remember (and my computer remembers the link if I can at least spell the beginning of the words correctly).

I forgot, however, to check the spelling of the Project 365 – Day 57 title. Oops. How embarrassing – especially since I am blessed to have an almost perfect speller for a husband. He’s always gracious when he corrects me. I am always gracious when I receive his correction. One of these two statements is NOT true. We’ll leave any further conclusions to the dear reader.

Dictionary.com says advisor is acceptable as is adviser. Hmmm. According to the Cambridge Guide to English Usage (Pam Peters, 2004):

Both these spellings are in current use, though adviser is the dominant spelling in both the US and the UK. The ratio in American data from CCAE is 20:1 and in British data from the BNC it’s 6:1. Curiously, advisor is sometimes said to be “the American spelling.” Whatever its past, advisor is registered alongside adviser in major British, American, Canadian and Australian dictionaries.

There you have it. Feel free to use which ever you prefer. I think I’ll use both as it keeps people wondering, “Did she mean to spell it differently? Which one is right? Do they mean two different things? Is she ignorant or just a sloppy typist?” All of that in just two words.


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P365 – Day 57 (Advisors for War)

Perhaps that title is a bit misleading, considering the news these days, but it is none the less appropriate. As I’ve shared before, we take our scripture studies seriously and Proverbs is part of our “daily” (i.e. when we actually get around to doing our devotions) homeschool reading time. We take a chapter of Proverbs each “day” (I have to put that in quotes to keep things on an honest level – gotta watch that sanguine tendency to slightly exaggerate) and read it aloud. Each “child” (okay, grownups read as well, not just the children. Boy this honest thing is difficult) reads a verse and then does their best to explain the passage. We are on our second month of studying Proverbs this way and it’s interesting to see how everyone is beginning to recognize the verses and glean some wisdom (I hope and pray!!).

In a moment of pure spiritual mightiness, we even did our family Proverbs reading on Saturday. Do you get extra points for each person who sits down and opens their Bible on Saturday? Do I lose points for even asking such a question? Is anyone actually keeping track of points?

Of course, any moral superiority we might have had went down the tube as a few tense moments came along and the entire thing ended up in a full blown parental conflict.

Is that clear enough while still preserving parental dignity?

There is just something really wrong about having a fight in the middle of Bible devotions. Not surprising, though, as Satan must just HATE having families sit down (on a Saturday no less) and read the Bible.

Thankfully Tim and I are learning mightily from our Love and Respect class (this being a parental conflict moment and not a problem with the progeny). We managed to get off the “crazy cycle” before things went on to ruin our entire Saturday. We found ourselves saying things like, “I think I felt really disrespected when you…” and “Oh, is that why you reacted in such an unloving way?” Yikes! We’re turning into little Dr. Emmerson clones.

Somehow, just using those phrases and recognizing what was going on, ended the tensions and brought us back to a place where we could communicate more lovingly/respectfully. All those opened Bibles helped, I’m sure. Apologies were issued, tensions faded, and the Proverbs study continued. I highly recommend the Love and Respect materials (and Saturday devotions).

Whew! I’d like to think that the children benefit from these little moments (sitting there like quiet dears) in that they can see how conflict can be handled in a positive and godly way. That’s my hope, anyway, otherwise Tim and I really should have gone upstairs and had that whole conversation in private.

What does this have to do with today’s blog? Sigh.
Nothing, I’m easily distracted when I write late at night.

Proverbs. That’s where I was going when I began meandering down this little path. Today’s Project 365 pictures illustrate how carefully the children apply scripture.


A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers. Proverbs 24:5-6

I mean, this girl is playing a game where she has great power and strength. Her brothers know that and thoroughly support her. However, they also know that, in order to wage war, she needs many advisers. Isn’t it great having such godly brothers!

watching the game

This group definitely looks solemn. They are dealing with serious stuff here. The fate of many lies in their hands. Help her out, boys!

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

We go to great lengths to apply the scriptures here in our home; from Pirates games to diligent chores, sleepless children to Noah’s potential destruction. In silliness, joy and all seriousness, we’re reading the Word, memorizing it and living it!

Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end.

Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Psalm 119:33-35


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