Friday, September 30, 2011

Owling?! Really?

We had a good friend come and stay with us for a couple of days and on the last night here, we had some other good friends come over for dinner and fellowship.  I had to leave to go to worship team practice for a good chunk of the time and when I came back, I was treated to a very interesting, um, experience.  While I was gone, our friend brought up Planking.  This is apparently where people go around and randomly lay across two objects straight as a board, hence planking, and just stay there.  Yeah.  Then, there is another random act of silliness called Owling, where one perches atop random objects like an owl. Again, with the Yeah.  Oh, there's more, upon discussing the random act of Owling, apparently, two of our friends had to demonstrate.  Gonna go with Yeah, again.  I really wish I would have been able to observe this first-hand because it was just so silly!  Plus, if you ever get around these guys...funny just follows!  Okay, here are pics:

 Jason is sporting a wig I found on the dollar aisle at Target.  I got one for him for his birthday a couple of week ago and one for the kids' dress up bucket.  He really likes it, I can tell... ;p

 Aaron is sporting a real beard...yep, that's his facial "sun screen" ;)
They are Owling on our picnic table...

 There was apparently need for more of a challenge, so Aaron moved on to our clothes line pole.

If I catch my kids doing this up there, I will blame Aaron, but not before I run inside to get my camera for a quick pic...

A Different Conclusion

As I stated in a previous post, I have not been a fan of hot tea.  I have now come to a different conclusion.  After consuming my body weight in tea the past couple of weeks, thanks to my over-active allergies, I do believe I like it.  BUT, I have figured out that I like only certain kinds.  Shocker!, I know.  In the past, the kind I had was types either my mom had on hand in the house or the kinds Sam preferred.  I know for a fact that I DO NOT like mint in my tea or any form of menthal-y flavor or smell.  Ew.  I do not like super strong tea, especially the black variety, unless it is sweetened and cold, which is the way it was meant to be, I assure you. :)  I do not like lemon in my all, and that is coming from an unabashed citrus (with the exception of grapefruit) lover.  I just don't believe it belongs in tea, hot, cold or otherwise.  I like fruity teas and I like teas, red, white or green, with cinnamon in it.  I like a good vanilla flavor, as well.  After trying several flavors, of my choosing ;), I find that I prefer white or rooibos teas with the aforementioned flavors.  OH and I like a little tea with my honey. :)  Its similar to the way I drink coffee, too, about half a cup, or less, of coffee and the rest creamer or milk and sugar.  Don't judge!  Its the way I shuffle.  So, in conclusion, a whole other world has been opened to me.  The end...or is it just the beginning?!  *pinky poised dramatically at the corner of mouth, single eyebrow raised questioningly*

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Starburst Mirror Project

So, I kept seeing lots of the diy starburst mirrors here in blogland and decided my wall needed one.

Here are some that I've come across on other blogs:

apartment therapy

Starburst Mirror












Here's mine:

I think I want to make that huge flower-looking one from nestingplace.  It would show up really well against my dark green walls. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Homeschool Mania, Week 2!

I don't know if I'm actually going to keep up with this topic from week to week, but I did feel compelled to do another post about it. :)

This week has been super-duper crazy.  We had our two round-trips to Georgetown to get the 'puter fixed, which totally disrupted those two days, Monday and Tuesday.  We ended up doing school work well into the first evening and then the second we had to stop short because we had a home group to attend.

Somewhere in there Zekey's curriculum arrived in the mail and I worked on and off printing out all the workbooks for him for next week..... He's very excited that he has his own school stuff. :)

Wednesday was kinda off because I woke up and couldn't really talk.  Sonlight has LOTS of reading involved for the parents and....yeah, you get the idea.  I still read what I could, but I couldn't do any of the different voices for the characters. :(  Sam, had to read the next chapter in The Red Sails To Capri that we are reading for part of Braden's history lesson.

Thursday, I was supposed to go to worship practice, but thanks again to these allergies 'o mine, I didn't think a croaking frog was going to help with the harmony there. ;)

Thursday was a bit better, but my voice was still playing hide and seek.  We didn't get anything done that morning, but did manage to get all the way ready for Co-op.  My 6-8 yr old science class went really well.  I way over-prepared just to make sure we weren't all twiddling our thumbs for 10+ minutes at the end of the hour.  I am so very blessed to have my friend and co-conspirator co-teaching my classes with me!  Thanks, Ali!  The 3-5s was chaotic to say the least.  We attempted to do an eggs on spoons race with plastic eggs on plastic spoons with 29 kiddos in a small space and well...we just didn't accomplish that feat.  I felt so bad because several of the kids didn't get a turn because we just stopped and did snack instead. :(  Oh, well!  AND, I had a new song to sing on my phone and with all the noise in the class we couldn't hear the words and it was nearly like a comic routine.  I definitely learn what NOT to do a little bit more each week.  I should have it down pat by the last day. :)  Anyway, I definitely want to tweak for next week.

We also had a birthday partay to attend and went to get some silly things for the gift.  Mission accomplished!  We went to the party and stayed out way later than we had intended.  (Good company will do that, you know! Happy Birthday, Jason!:)

Friday, a whole lot of nada got done!  I was exhausted and my voice was still being sketchy.  I did, however, get the house in some sort of order.  My "fang shooey" was constipated so I had to get my groove going again for the sake of my sanity!  Saturday was just a huge blur and Sunday we chilled (at least for a little bit until I decided the living room needed to be rearranged!), so we get to do a double day of school this week.  Whew! Basically, I've decided that I will be doing only minimal extra activities this week and possibly next week.  Need a break and I need to get back in a routine!

I now understand why certain homeschool heros of mine do not answer their phones during the day or after a certain age participate in co-op!

'Til the next installment of Homeschool Mania...

Friday, September 23, 2011

A movie review x2

I recently watched the latest Jane Eyre and Rango.

Jane Eyre was...interesting.  I really like the story and have read the book.  It seems like every time someone tries to remake this movie, they concentrate on certain parts.  I know it is a long and indepth story and would need to be done in the same fashion as the 1999? version of Pride and Prejudice to get most of the nuances and a real feel for the storyline and characters.  The most funny thing to me is that several of the newer versions of this have rather good looking people playing Jane and Mr. Rochester, when the book is very clear about her being plain and he not being handsome at all.  I did have to reconsider that, though, because in that time period, pretty and handsome were not necessarily the same as our definitions of those words.  I'm thinking now that Mr. Rochester was probably very good-looking, just ruggedly so, which would have been rather repulsive in that time of dandy-type men, who I think of as pretty boys.  I think Jane was probably rather pretty in a very natural, unmade up sort of way, which would have been looked-down upon in that era.  Then again, they could have both been ugly, indeed.  Who knows?!
Anyway, I did enjoy this version of it, all except for the ending.  It was extremely abrupt. The movie moves along at a rather climactic speed from the beginning and then the ending feels like you run straight into a wall, SCHMACK!, and that's it.  That is just a tad bit disconcerting.

Onto Rango.  I know that it is rated PG and that if you look at the ratings, it tells you why its rated that way, but I think it needs to be rated somewhere between PG and PG-13.  PG- perhaps?  Its a "cartoon" and the advertising of it definitely aims at kids and families like it is friendly for them to all watch and its just NOT.  I previewed this one after everyone had gone to bed. I'm really glad I did it that way and not just started watching it with the kids and then have to turn it off and explain to them why because of the pieces of vulgarity they would have been exposed to.  It reminded me of a softer version of The Book of Eli (I so wish that had not had all the language in it, amongst other things!).  So not what I want my kiddos exposed to!  Why, pray tell, do you need cussing in a cartoon?  Also, why do you need drinking and smoking in a cartoon?  I'm well aware that saloons are not nice places and I'm still wondering why that was necessary.  It was even complete with some sort of rodent or lizard (still not sure which), sporting bouncing, half-hangin' out boosies.  Yeah.  Why?  Droppin' this one OFF the movie radar.

So, there are my official two reviews for the...well, at least for now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Losing one's voice is not conducive to parenting... ;p

So, my allergies have been rearing their cumulative ugly head for the past 3 days and this morning I woke up and my vocal cords were covered in muck.  Any time the weather changes, I deal with major allergy mess.  I think all the smoke from the fires everywhere is involved, too.  Several years back, there were fires and the wind was carrying the smoke far and wide and my sinuses did a total revolt then, as well.  I'm not gonna complain, though, because I'd much rather deal with this than getting a virus or bacterial something or other.  So, yay! allergies! ;)

My voice is in hiding right now and I'm forced to drink hot tea with honey.  ichhhhk!  Not a fan of hot tea, normally.  This stuff isn't too bad, though.  Its Black Raspberry Green Tea a.k.a. Superfruit Tea and it has a good flavor.  Need to get some more of it for such times as these.  I'm thinking it would be waaay better as Sweet Iced Tea. :)  Voooiiiccce!  Come out, come out, wherever you are!  Right now, I sound like a hoarse frog and I'm having to whisper because my tonsils, vocal cords and larynx are sore.  Today is going to be a very interesting homeschool day....

A Mac Adventure

For some time now our Mac has been slowing down and we have had issues with the cdr/dvdr drive.  I had called about the drive before our warranty ran out last year, but since the nearest place was in Austin and it would mean we would be without our computer for a time as well as the driving there and back twice in a short period of time, we just didn't make it in to get it fixed.  Lately, it all seemed to get worse, so I called Apple to see if they would just sell me the part and maybe I could replace it myself.  You can laugh if you want to, but I could probably find a youtube video on just exactly how to do it.  I'm just sayin' ;)  Anyway, the phone call didn't go exactly as I'd planned.  Because I had called in about it and they had recorded it on our account and it had been within the warranty period, the guy I talked to got permission to open a ticket to fix it fo free!  I know right?!  Yay!  Doing a dance of exuberant happiness!  Okay, so, I had a choice of taking it in to an Apple store or having a certified technician that contracts with them work on it.

I went with the technician because he is located in Georgetown.  I called up Tyrosys Corp. and explained what was going on per the instructions from Apple.  Grant, the owner, was able to look my unit up on their records and verify everything and we agreed that I would bring it in on Monday, leave it there and come back Tuesday morning-ish;) to pick it back up.  I got there, with only a slight commotion where the kids were concerned.  (Ailey is also a seatbelt Houdini and I had to stop to address that concern.)  Grant had told me on the phone to call him when I pulled up so that he could come out and carry the computer in for me.  Yeah.  I'm a fan. :)  I followed him in to make sure of the arrangements and told him that I noticed the screen was a bit hazy and he confirmed my suspicions that it was probably dust.  I asked how that generally gets taken care of and he said that it gets cleaned when you bring it in for its yearly maintenance.  Hold up....what?!  I didn't know we were supposed to be doing any sort of yearly maintenance!  I didn't get that memo.  Oops!  I was used to the yearly upkeep of a pc, which means you hope it runs well for the first year, makes it through the second and then you most likely will have to get a new one after that...  Okay, so I told him that since it was there and he was gonna have it apart anyway to go right on ahead and maintain it. :)  So, I left it with him and had to stop at Taco Bell for a potty break and lunch for all four of us under $8.  Yep.

That night was pretty weird without the computer.  No emails, no surfing, no ability to work on lesson plans for co-op, no netflix, no zoodles for the kids, no facebook for Sam....weird I say!  Our computer is way too integrated in our lives....gonna have to ponder on that, I think!

Tuesday dawned bright and early thanks to my two girls who had apparently made plans with each other to both be awake before 7.  Really gonna have to work with them on that! Since, Braden's homeschooling on Monday went nearly up to bed time because we didn't get any done that morning, I decided to do several parts of it before we left to go pick up the computer.  It actually worked out well and we got a good amount done.  Then, we all loaded back into le van and headed back to Georgetown to go and pick up our very much-missed computer.  This time it was smooth sailing all the way there.  It helped that I had the ipod with the kids favorite music on toby mac and their collection of vbs songs from all the vbses they attended this past summer.

When I went in, he got the computer and gave me a run-down on everything he did.  Apparently, we had a whole colony of dust bunnies inhabiting our computer.  Ahem....oopsy!..sorry 'bout that!  3 years of no maintenance = dust gone wild!  We also were at 62% fragmentation.  Nice.  He repaired that.  Yay!  He also informed me of some other good practices that would help our computer live a longer and fuller life.  The fragmentation was due, in part, to our having our computer fall asleep if no one was using it after a couple of minutes.  Basically, we had our computer in a narcoleptic cycle that was throwing it into what amounts to computer bipolar disorder.  Another oops.  After that, Grant also gave some suggestions for future upkeep, like upgrading to more memory and getting an external hard drive to back everything up and then to upgrade our hard drive in the future.  He gave me a price list and I must say that it is all very reasonable.  I really love it when I find a place/person that gives me straight answers, does honest work and has decent prices for fixing things.  I found a mechanic, I have a favorite vehicle oil change/inspection garage and now I have a mac repair/upgrade/whatever-else-needs-to-be-done-on-our-computer guy.  I'm on a roll!

Before, I give all the details about this company, I do have to add that on the way back, Ailey was again practicing her Houdini tricks and I am considering investing in lots of duct tape.  Okay, moving on....

If you have a mac (or a pc, cuz he works on those, too:) and you want a calm place (unlike the Apple stores, which are always crazy busy and super noisy) to take it in to get it diagnosed/fixed/upgraded, here's the link for the Tyrosys website:

Tyrosys Corp

and here's the address and phone number:

2913 Williams Dr., Suite 220
Georgetown, Texas 78628

Phone Numbers:
512-686-0469 main
903-640-4951 fax

They also have a Dallas area location:

406 N. Center Street
Bonham, Texas 75418
Phone Numbers:
903-640-4900 main
903-640-4951 fax

Don't forget to tell Grant I sent ya! *

*(Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated or am I likely to ever be compensated for this unabashed plug for Tyrosys Corp.  I just happen to like the service I received and thought someone else might like to have the same kind of great experience I had.  AND telling him I sent ya just lets him and his staff know that word of mouth advertising is at work!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bath time fun

 Her little legs go nearly the whole time I bathe her.

Gotta keep those fingers in her mouth!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A River Sort of Runs Through It

We decided to go to Colorado Bend State Park to just hear a whole lotta quiet for an afternoon.  Its an almost two hour drive, but we get to drive through Lampasas, which has some really neat old houses.  The rest of the drive is through the countryside and then it takes fo'eva to get to the river from the beginning of the road to the park.  It is also nearly all caliche "paved".  Now, some of you remember the, um, incident regarding our previously-ours motorhome pulling the van on a tow dolly taking on a concrete barricade in a construction zone and not winning, while at the same time making the passenger-side door crunchy where it meets the wheel well.  Kay.  Because of the aforementioned crunchiness, there is a bit of a gap in that area and basically it makes a mini wind tunnel.  Now picture this through your mind... super dusty caliche road for about twenty minutes at around 30 mph, mini wind tunnel sucking in said super dusty caliche road for about twenty minutes at 30 mph.  Normally, our dashboard is a slight gray color due to the dust build-up on the black that gets cleaned a good 2 times per year, but because we had a minor "sand storm" in our car for, say it with me now, twenty minutes at 30 mph, it is now a powdery white color, along with every other surface on the interior of our van.  Sam was also powder-coated since he was the one sitting on that side of the vehicle.  I think he did a good rendition of Sean Patrick Flanery as Jeremy in Powder.  
On the way back, we did get a clue and plug the hole with a towel.  Yep, that was much better. :)  Especially, because it was now me who was sitting on that side. ;p  We got to the park, finally, and enjoyed ourselves for about an hour/hour and a half.  After that, the kids who decided they needed to fully immerse themselves in the water of the not-so-at-this-point-in-our-drought river and then came to the conclusion that they were cold once out in the wind.  I was getting fatigued carrying Brea in the Moby and sweating profusely because of same Moby, while hiking over rocks and sludge in the river and at the same time keeping Ailey steady on her feet.  When we decided that it was time to head back to the van so that I could chill and feed the Boopster while Sam took the boys on a walk, we got out of the river and part of the way up the bank when Ailey decided to poo-bomb her britches.  By this time, Brea was getting fairly fussy as well and I was just done.  Poor Sam!  We just decided to go ahead and call it a day and head back home, with a soothing ice cream stop on the way back.  Let's just say, we are glad we have a parks pass! :)

Here are some pics of our white-ish water adventure (Totally rockin' my sun-protector, too! Don't be hat'in', cuz you know you wanna rock one, too!):

 Don't you just hear banjos playing here...


For Reina: Stir Fry from scratch and Red Velvet cake turned trifle

A while back (at least 2+ mos. ago), I mentioned on fb that I made a stir fry from scratch (usually its in a bag or box or Panda Express...;) and I promised to post pics.  So, here they are, late as usual!

 I took this on the same day.  I was excited to finally have a terra cotta brown sugar keeper.

 This was leftover from friends coming over to our house for dinner and I decided it could be repurposed for our home group potluck.  I was going to make cake balls, but that would have been more work than I wanted so I went with a trifle.

 This was the sweet and slightly spicy sauce I made for the stir fry.  It was pretty yummy.

 I had all these veggies hangin out in my fridge, which is why I was going to make a stir fry in the first place.  They needed to be used before they all shriveled up and made my fridge stinky!

Now that I've made this, what I will tweak next time is when I add the sauce to the veggies and chicken.  I didn't drain off the liquid that came of the chicken and veggies reducing, so it was rather soupy and the sauce got way too diluted.  Next time I will drain the liquid off and then add the sauce.  Much better!

Homeschool Mania! Week 1

This week was our first week of school.  I originally was going to begin last week, but decided to hold off for another week to see how the first day of co-op was going to go.  This semester I decided to go for extra craziness and teach two classes.  Here's a breakdown of how it goes.  There are 3 hours of co-op.  The rule is you have to either teach or assist.  You can teach one and assist one, teach two, or assist two.  Theoretically, you get one of the three hours off.  Many times there is a need to fill in for someone who can't be there.  Okay, so there was a need and I decided to go for it.  Yeah.  I'm enjoying the teaching part, but the prep part is challenging.  I got one of my classes' itinerary finished completely, while the other one is still in rough draft form and I'm finishing up the guts of it each week.  On the plus side, I've started going to the library lots!  I haven't been to the library for about 5 or 6 years.  I never really needed to...the internet is so stinkin' handy at times.  Anyway, I'm enjoying using the library resources and hopefully, the kiddos will get to where they enjoy going, too.

We went with Sonlight for Braden and Cait's Curriculum for Zekes and possibly Ailey....  I am waiting to start Zekey's next week because I ordered his curriculum late and I am grateful for the reprieve to get Braden in a groove first.  Its been a crazy week, but its been good.  Braden stays busy almost the whole day.  I've got to figure out how to plan play/down time into our day, but we'll get it.  The Sonlight curriculum is VERY structured and I'm going to have to tweak it a bit to fit us a bit better, but so far, I really like it lots.  I like how it is set up and the kinds of info that is integrated all together.  I love how I didn't have to put any of it together, though I must say it would have behooved me to study the instructor's guide quite a bit more before the first day instead of just diving in.  You kind of have to figure it out.

The reason for getting Zekey started later is I really thought that the My Father's World curriculum that I have was pre-k.  Its Kindergarten.  So I got online and did a thorough search for Chrisitan pre-k curriculum and came across Cait's Curriculum.  It is a cd-rom that has all the stuff on it.  You can print out however many you need.  No limit.  You can use it with as many children as you want, which was a plus for us!  It is comprehensive and all set up as far as structure and scheduling.  All I have to do is print the stuff out.  It was also not much more than I paid for the MFW, which is good, but not the way I wanted to go this time around.  I want something that I don't have to keep purchasing the consumables with and that is a much more put together for me.  I intend to have the littles go through this curriculum and then Zekes will start on Sonlight next year, too.  By the time Zekey hits second grade, we'll only have to buy the full curriculum for Braden each year and only the consumables for the other kiddos as we go along in each grade.  LOVE that!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Visiting Nina and Padrino

We went to visit Nina and Padrino (godmother and godfather in spanish) over Labor Day weekend.  It was loooong overdue and we thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it!  They gave us the opportunity to go on TWO dates. TWO!!  We got to spend a lot of time in discussion and ministering to one another.  It was fantastic!  The kids, of course, could have stayed and wouldn't have batted an eye if we'd left them there for a much longer period of time sans us. :)  

Ailey and Nina had an especially...special time together.  Nina totally dolled her up.  She painted Ailey's fingernails, put makeup on her, got her hair did and put her in one of her dresses and wedge shoes.  Ailey was in little girl heaven!  She loved every minute of it!
Here follows the fun of it all:

 Ailey was all into what was going on...

 Ta-Da!  The finished result!

 She was being so funny about being in the spotlight...

 You could tell she liked it, but...

 she was a little shy about it, too. 

She wasn't actually posing here, though that's what it looks like.  Sometimes when she gets embarrassed she puts her hand back behind her ear like that.

The next day, I was determined to get a good pic in good lighting of Nina and Padrino and the kiddos together.  I used Braden for some test shots first....

 I'm tellin' ya, this kid has a whole bunch of silliness bursting forth!

 I finally got a good "normal" smile out of him. :)

Then the whole crew piled onto the couch.  The process was...interesting.  Keep your eye on Braden:

Wiggly Ailey. 

Nina, no making faces!

 Now Brea is causing confusion and delay (50 points to whoever knows where that phrase is from:)...



 Ok, 4 out of 6.

 Braden and Zekey!!!


 I'm losing them again...



 Ailey, Brea, Focus! Padrino, you too! ;p


I think this is as good as its gonna get....I'm done, I'm done, I'm done!