Saturday, October 31, 2009

Over the Top - Blogging Award

A big thank you to Mrs. Momma for this great award!
I'm to answer the following questions with one word and then pass the award on to five other bloggers.
1. Where is your cell phone? charging
2. Your hair? brown
3. Your mother? (I have two mothers - a birthmom and a bio-mom, but I can do this in one word) Linda
4. Your father? (two of those too, but only know one) Loved
5. Your favorite food? pizza
6. Your dream last night? unknown
7. Your favorite drink? chai
8. Your dream/goal? family
9. What room are you in? living
10. Your hobby? hiking
11. Your fear? instability
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
13. Where were you last night? work
14. Something that you aren't? unreliable
15. Muffins? warm
16. Wish list item? freezer
17. Where did you grow up? Cowtown
18. Last thing you did? laughed
19. What are you wearing? clothes
20. Your TV? on
21. Your Pets? sleeping
22. Friends? supportive
23. Your life? blessed
24. Your mood? thankful
25. Missing Someone? mom
26. vehicle? Malibu
27. Something your not wearing? shoes
28. Your favorite store? craft
29. Your favorite color? green
30. When was the last time you laughed? lunch-time
31. Last time you cried? yesterday
32. Your best friend? Husband
33. One place that I go to over and over? bed
34. Facebook? yes
35. Favorite place to eat? Perk
Now to the five blogger's I'm sending this too...

Poetry Resource for homeschoolers

One of the really cool aspects of my job is that I get to hear some of the hottest info in education and get to see some of the newest / most interesting ideas for teaching. I will be sure over the next few months to let you know some of the info that I am privy too. The one I'm posting here today is certainly not break through but just cute. If you happen to be working with a student 7-13 on poetry styles, Scholastic has a game to introduce students to different poetry styles: Cinquain, Free Verse, Limmerick, and Haiku. It would probably only keep their interest for 20 minutes or so, but is a good intro / explination of these styles. Check it out and feel free to post any of your creations in the comments section.

Balancing Work and Play

You probably think I fell off the world. It has been days since I've been on and even now at 5:40am, I only have 5 minutes online before I have to go. I appologize, but as I'm sure many of you can identify with, life has gotten in the way. Fortunately, it is not a bad thing. We are taking our MAPP classes (classes to become licenced as foster parents) and my job started again. Balanced life may be a bit of an oxymoron right now. Actually it isn't anywhere near the crazy that it used to be, but it certainly means that I have not had time to sit down and type. If I could blog through my brain as I was driving you would have more blogs than you can imagine, but unfortunately that is not the way of the world (or maybe that should have started with fortunately, but you understand). I will try to do better this week. But for now I have to eat and run or I will be late to work.

Hope you have a wonderful Halloween and be safe.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Foster Parenting - Is it for us?

Big steps in our house. We have started our classes toward being foster parents. We have 7 more classes to go and our intensive home study. I appreciated how our instructor introduced the course, "We like to call this a mutual interaction course during which you will decided if this is right for you, and we can begin to see if you are right for us."

We are looking to be intensive foster parents i.e. foster parents for children with special needs/circumstances. Certainly, all children in the foster system have special needs i.e. the need for family and love, but these children exhibit larger issues or for some other reason require more time than children in the regular system.

One of the first questions we got at our first meeting was why were we considering IFC (intensive foster care)? My first thought was of a student that I had when I was student teaching (Let's call him Patrick.). When I started teaching, I expected to really like the goodie two shoes and find the difficult children to be my biggest problem; however, what I found was that the "trouble makers" were the ones that stole my heart. Patrick was always bothering other kids. He was actually known to jump over a table and punch other children. He was outwardly aggressive and extremely confrontational to adults (mind you this was 3rd grade). I cannot tell you the number of times I had to take this child aside to talk to him. One particularly difficult day, when I took him aside, he finally just admitted that he was hungry. His mom was "saving" the food for this weekend when a friend of hers was coming by. He hadn't eaten since yesterday at school. I knew from the background on Patrick that this was most likely a true story. The concept of a parent withholding food from their child was foreign to me (Yes, I was naive, but I wasn't even 20 yet). Henceforth, I kept snacks in my desk and told him to come to me any time he was hungry, but that is when I knew that it was these kids that held my hearts--- Kids with all the promise in the world that just needed someone to believe in them, that just needed some stable ground to begin to grow in, that just needed to worry about being a kid and not all the adult worries. Patrick was also and incredible artist. I can only hope that his home life changed and he was given an opportunity to develop this talent or that he remembers just one of our many talks and had the strength to hold on to his dreams. Patrick has been held in my heart from these almost 20 years, but as a teacher there is only so much you can do for so long. As a mother, maybe I could ensure that the Patricks of this world would one day become world renown artists.

I welcome any thoughts by others that have fostered or been fostered. Please let me know how we can be a good family for the children that will hopefully come through our doorway. We still have a long road to travel, but we are now a little farther today.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Have you ever found one thing leading you to another like an unfolding of a puzzle or the blooming of a flower? You weren't sure where you were going but you are very impressed when you see the final unveiling. Yesterday's post about Sir Ken Robinson let me to find TED. TED is as they advertise is "a small non-profit devoted to ideas worth sharing."

If you love any of the news agencies that I mentioned in my Watching the News post or are fascinated by new ideas; If you love learning; If you get Discover, National Geographic, Scientific America; this is a website you have to check out. I can't even imagine how exciting it must be to actually be at one of the seminars. The brain power and creativity must be electric. Even listening to these ideas over the internet is electrifying (ok, that might be because these speeches are my new background "music" while I was dishes). I have listened to stories by authors Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Love, Pray) and Amy Tan. I have learned about how food has developed our cities and should continue to do so. I've contemplated how this recession has actually been helpful and how Wikipedia is like no encyclopedia that anyone has ever known. It is like having the best college seminars ever at my finger tips: short, succinct, but provocative.

Have you ever heard the Eleanor Roosevelt saying that, "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people"? Well, this could be your first step to being a great mind.

Creating our Next Generation - an Education to Grow on

You have to see this. Anyone who has thought about education will find this video very interesting. It is especially relevant to homeschoolers who are already thinking outside the box.

It has left me with trying to find out more about the speaker and a trip to the library to find the book he mentions Epiphany (which I found out was published under the name of The Element).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Watching the News

I am a newsie. I love watching the news and learning about the world. I don't mean the evening news, where you hear about car crashes, murders, and sunny days that never actualize; but great news reporting like you find on PBS, NPR, and my favorite news broadcast Sunday Morning . Of course, I wish Sunday Morning wasn't on Sunday morning as I miss a lot of it due to church. I though find a great online resource for news stories like this PBS Frontline. I stumbled across the site the other day when I was looking up the Kidnapped Bride story and I am hooked. The stories that I have found on the site are global in nature; they are personal; and they are well presented. This will be a great site to use for my dd's homeschooling.

Here is one of the stories that I found when perusing the site. I thought it was an irronic story since I found it online, but let's hope that using the computer never gets like this.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Our Children

Our greatest joys
Our deepest sorrows
Our future
with the whispers of our past
the teachers of true deep laughter
and tears that may never stop
a reason to go on
a wish that time would slow down
Our treasures

reasons to work
desire to be home
traditions created
traditions created
traditions remembered
Our children
...........from us
...................through us
...........................but so much more than us.
.....................................................................(We hope)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kidnapping Brides

At the library where DD volunteers, there are often free magazines that you can take (a great way to Reuse materials by the way). DD loves to take Modern Bride - mind you she is only 14 and a few years away from matrimonial bliss. Together, we look through the magazine praising and heckling the designs. I'm actually surprised how traditional DD's taste is. This time though, the magazine surprised me. Among the beautiful wedding dresses and just before the description of exotic honeymoons, was an article, "This Woman is Being Forced to be Married" by Esther Haynes. Certainly, this was not typical bridal reading, but I am married, so I'm not the typical Modern Bride reader. I have to admit that I did not realize that in our current time such a practice was still in effect.

Apparently, in Kyrgyzstan, a country in Asia, it is still common practice to kidnap your wife especially in the more rural areas. I don't mean like a cute reenactment of an old tradition. I mean a brutal, scary abduction that leads a young woman to the house of someone she may barely know, where she is forced to marry. If she can resist the attacks of the woman of this household and can extricate herself from the situation where even the law turns a blind eye, she may be shunned by her own family for breaking the tradition.

The piece was so compelling that I followed a link to find more on this story which was covered by PBS's Frontline. Please be aware that this is not a story for children and the harsh reality of what is going on can be disturbing, but I believe that you cannot change what you do not acknowledge. Kudos to Modern Bride for bringing up such an important subject.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Random Dozen - 10-21-09

Today, I opted to participate in the Random Dozen by 2nd Cup of Coffee. I often read through her answers but never answer. I think it was the Candy Corn question that drew me in. Why are those little things so darn tasty and cute.

1. Candy corn: Your thoughts? I wonder who ever thought of this idea. Corn it is so good and healthy for you. Let’s turn it into a sugary treat.

2. Briefly, what was the first conversation you ever had with your spouse? (or best friend, if you're not married.) (Or someone significant, like your librarian.) Well, it wasn’t our first conversation as we grew up together, but DH actually asked me out on bet. He and his friends debated who was going to have the guts to ask. DH won or lost depending how you look at it.

3. Could you ever become a vegetarian? Yes – as long as I didn’t have to cook for DH and family.

4. Have you ever dressed up your pet in a costume? NO!

5. Name something about childhood that you miss (like Clark Bars, Teaberry Gum, Malibu Barbie, cracking fake eggs on people's heads with your fist and "It's the Great Pumpkin" airing only once a year).
Christmas at my Grandfather’s. It was so traditional we even had mashed turnip. It was like living in an old movie.

6. Have you ever won a trophy? If not, what do you deserve a trophy for?
I think dance when I was like 6.

7. When do you think is the appropriate time to begin playing Christmas music each year?
December 26th – I love Christmas music. It is appropriate all year round and love when it starts playing on Sounds of the Seasons.

8. What's your favorite board game? Hmmmm – Scrabble, Life, PayDay. That is a hard question. Trivia Pursuit, Monopoly, Made for Trade.

9. How do you feel about surprises (receiving, not giving)? Depends on what the surprise is. Surprise, DH is taking me away for the weekend or we won the lotto – yeah! Surprise party which you will have the joy of cleaning – Booo!

10. Is it easy for you to say, "I'm sorry"? I say, “I’m sorry” way too often – even for things that I have no control over. This is a very bad habit.

11. What is your favorite candle scent? Vanilla

12. October is traditionally "open house" time in public schools. If you had a literal open house in your home (like a reception) what light snacks would you serve visitors and what would you show them (as in art projects, graded papers) that would uniquely represent you?

Girl Scout cookies – since that is a huge part of my life (it would fulfill both categories).
I guess I would put out photo albums, play some music, and have books lying around.

A Beautiful Start to the Day

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook. I thought that you would enjoy this. Grab your coffee and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What we do for our children

I am sitting here looking through a magazine list to figure out what I am going to order. DD is selling them for her Girl Scout troop (you would have thought I got out of selling such things by homeschooling, but no they still find me).

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE magazines. I LOVE getting them in the mail. I LOVE reading them. If I could afford it, I would order 100 of them. I would probably personally be responsible for the destruction of the entire Brazilian rain forest, but ugggh:

1. How do I narrow it down?
2. How do I afford such an expensive habit?

Some of the magazines that I most enjoy are Home Education Magazine (which is not on this list but should be), Consumer Reports, Taste of Home, Discover, National Geographic. What are your favorite magazines? How about for the kids?

P.S. Don't think my reading is all good. Lately, I have been addicted to People magazine which I've been reading like crazy at all the doctor's offices. Once upon a time I would snub my nose at people who read People, but it has become a bit of an obsession. Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Here Lies a Woman

Remember the comment about homeschoolers being nerds? Well, here is the proof. This is my daughter and I with the Old Sturbridge Village Singers. I chose this song because it seemed most appropriate for the Halloween season. Plus, I just think the song is funny.

What things do you do with your family that others may say is weird?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Reading when you haave children

I have been an avid reader since I was able to read. My mother even tells of a story when I was in Kindergarten and started getting these inexplicable stomach aches. I was constantly getting sent home from school. My mother started keeping a journal of everything that I was eating and was getting ready to take me for testing, and then she asked me an innocuous question about what was happening in school when these stomach aches were coming on. I apparently calmly made some comment about already knowing the alphabet and wondering why I had to spend so much time on it. It turned out I did not have some strange disease, but instead a case of the boredom. To quell the boredom, I was given a special pass to library during the classes alphabet time and so I've been reading ever since. Well that is almost true . . .

after giving birth to my beautiful daughter, it was like someone put the reading brakes on. Who had time? and if I had a moment, that was all I had. During that moment, there were so many other things to do like showering, going to the bathroom, brushing my teeth. Thus, my reading material drastically reduced. Actually, it reduced not just in length of time but in form as well. With the lack of sleep that I was getting, I couldn't remember where I put my car keys, let alone keep track of a book plot. My reading materials shrunk down from books to magazines. Soon I was pregnant with number 2 and book reading was put up on the shelf for several more years.

I cannot even tell you how glad I was to read again. When finally the kids were older and more independent, I dared to turn the page again. I even joined a book club, so that I had a responsibility to read - - -no excuses anymore. I was thrilled to read again; Until, recently when I was reading Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. This book pulls you through it. There is no putting it down. There is one climax after the next. Every time you think everything is wrapped up, something else happens. Oh, what I would have done for a private island. It seemed as if my kids suddenly could not do with out me. "Mom", "Mom", "Mom". They had questions, requests, complaints. I couldn't get them to stop. Every time I fulfilled their needs and would get back to the book, another question was forming. AGGGGGGHHHHHHH! All I wanted to do is read in peace. Page by page with a million interruptions, I finally finished it last night. Wow! I'm glad I kept up the battle.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Phase 10 - a great way to spend an afternoon

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we spent the weekend in a cabin in Maine, one without electronics. While we enjoyed the out of doors, there were sometimes when we could not venture out due to rain and so we broke out two games: Boggle and Phase 10.

Boggle is always a favorite at our house. I love word games. Phase 10 though is a newer one for us. My father-in-law and his girlfriend enjoy the game but we have always pacified them by playing but never really got into it. This weekend though, the game got very serious. Even though DH kept calling it a stupid game, we all enjoyed it. DS actually stayed up with the adults to play until 1:30 am. Phase 10 is played in multiple rounds (a minimum of 10 rounds, but could be extended to many, many more depending on the luck of the draw). One of our games took over 3 hours, so do make sure that you have time to play. During each hand, you are trying to create a specific type of hand i.e. a run of seven cards. As you meet each set, you are allowed to move onto the next phase. Winning the game is a combination of getting through the last phase and having the lowest score (points are accumulated by adding up the cards in your hand when a player goes out).

DS was so enthralled with this game that he had to get it the next time we went to the store. It wasn't very expensive. I think less than $6.0o and makes a great stocking stuffer for those of you thinking of Christmas. Best of all, it is one of those games that require family time - something you can never have enough of.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Maine Tourism

I know that you all are going to think that I am getting paid off by the Maine Tourism Council, but truly I am not. As I have mentioned I have wanted to go to Maine for a long time, and this year that desire has come to me in spades. I have now been to Maine 3 times since September. This last trip being the longest.
This time we were a little farther north, a bit above Bangor. I would tell you the town, but apparently there is no town and no local government (my kind of place). We actually had to boat in to the cabin we were staying in.

We had no running water, no electricity, and an outhouse BUT we had a wonderfully relaxing time. Even the kids, who I thought might have computer / electronics withdrawl, wished that we didn't have to leave when the weekend was over.

Although it is my goal to get our passports this year, I'm beginning to wonder why we need them with so many wonderful places right in our backyard.

PS. The next state on my wish list is South Dakota and the next individual place is Mammoth Cave in KY. But I will admit that I've learned to take advantage of the opportunities that come along, so who knows where I'll be next. . .maybe another visit to my new favorite state.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Book Review - The Power of Respect by Deborah Norville

R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Aretha Franklin may have spelled it out, but Deborah Norville defines it for us. If you are a parent, teacher, spouse, public official, or boss, this book is for you. Deborah Norville’s book, The Power of Respect, does not set out to complain about the lack of respect in today’s society; instead, it defines respect and begins to layout plans and simple steps that we can all take to reintroduce / support the development of respect in our social structure.

The book is fairly short, only 224 pages, and is written in easy to read language. It contains many personalized stories to drive points home and illustrate her ideas. Although this book is probably not headed for the New York Times Best Seller List and will not be listed on the Syllabus for Contemporary Psychology, it is a book that raises some important questions about where our society is today and gives us some insight on how to change its trajectory. It is an interesting read that will spark much more conversation on the subject.

Note: This book was sent to me by Thomas Nelson for review. I am not paid for this review and the review reflects my own personal opinion of this book.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wine Barrel Table

Have you ever seen something on tv and just had to have it? The other day, I was watching House Hunters on HGTV and saw this incredible table.

Thank goodness that I was watching it OnDemand and could rewind and pause to get this picture. I absolutely love this table. Now I just have to find it. I have been scouring the Internet and have found all sorts of interesting furniture made out of old wine barrels, but have yet to find exactly the right one. I figure that this table is just the right size to put in the kitchen nook and will go well with my grape relief pictures.
What have you seen that you have just had to get?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Homeschoolers are weird

Please don't be offended. I am only saying that because we too are homeschoolers and sometimes we are just plain weird. DD has even finally admitted it (which is a pretty big step for a 14 year old girl). She and I were looking through books like some search for the Hope diamond. She looked at me and said, "We ARE nerds." I actually think she was a little proud.

The other day though, it was DS that lost his mind. We were making Honey Clove Turkey and combining all the ingredients. Just as I was getting ready to stir everything together, he stopped me and had to get the picture.

He thought it was very cool how all the ingredients remained separated. It reminded him of a project that we had done on density where we had purposely added liquids of different densities to see how they separate from each other and rise or fall depending on their density in comparison with the other liquids in the container.

NERDS - I know - - - -but at least we get a lot of extra laughs.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Identifying Sumac: Poisonous vs. harmless

I don't know that I have mentioned, but poisonous plants and I DO NOT get along well. DH husband used to be able to bushwhack the stuff and come out with nothing. I, however, can barely look at it without contracting it. Frankly, I'm so afraid of it now that if it is an the area then I am not. This posed an especially tricky problem this year as there was a cadre of sumac in the backyard. When I would mow, I would stay as far away from it as I could. You would not believe how well you can move a mower with just the very tips of your fingers. So I decided that I need to know if these were plants that I should be afraid of. Sumac can be both poisonous and not. I figured that you may also have to someday figure out the difference so here is what I found to help you identify the difference (please not I am not an expert and I highly recommend that you err on the side of caution unless you are 100% sure):

Where is the sumac growing? Poisonous sumac prefers damp, boggy areas. Regular sumac prefers drier areas.
What color is the stem? Poisonous is red; regular is green brown
How many leaves does each stem have? Poisonous has fewer (7-13); regular has more
What do the leaves look like? Poisonous are smooth; regular are hairy and jagged
What color are the berries? Poisonous has pale yellow / cream colored to white; regular has a red that looks more like a flower than a berry / seed
Where is the fruit growing? Poisonous grows at the base of the leaves and hang down in the fall; regular grows at the end and aim upward

This is poison sumac:

This is what is in my backyard:

I am safe.Phew! Now if I can just get rid of the Poison Ivy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Things to do with the family

Sometimes finding things to do with your family is half the battle. We have resorted to online visitor guides, local magazines, and even newspaper calendars. Being that we just are not familiar with the activities that about us in our new home, we have to really be on the look out for things to do. A few weeks ago, DH found one right up our alley - The Big MOE, otherwise known as the Massachusetts Outdoor Expo. It was a rainy day, but that did not curb our excitement. When we got home from church, we changed our clothes, donned some rain gear and headed out. We were treated to views of birds of prey

DS had an opportunity to throw an axe (gee, I wonder what is going in my backyard next)

DD got to test ride a mountain bike

The men built a bird house

And DH got plenty of ideas for boy scout lashing projects

So the next time you are looking for a fun family afternoon, pull out you newspaper and check the calendar of events. There is usually something interesting going on in your backyard almost every day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Remebering a Loved One

Losing a loved one is horrible. It is lonely, heart wrenching, and can consume you like a flame sucks oxygen from the air. Today is the eighth anniversary of my mother’s death. In June of 2001, she was diagnoses with esophageal cancer. Four months later, she passed away.

I do not tell you this for pity or understanding of my loss, but to inspire you. In the loss of my mother and others who I have loved dearly, I have seen grief impact people both positively and negatively. It seems strange to say that grief can impact you positively, but I firmly believe that if the person had a positive impact in your life then you have the obligation to let their death also positively impact you. Your loved one misses you as much as you do they. They do not wish their death to hurt you, although they know it will.

In the eight years since my mother passed, I have really thought about this issue. I have thought about what she would want me to take from her life. I know she would never have left if she could have helped it and I have found in the years since, that she really hasn’t left me. I find her in the ring I wear, the fabrics I use, my kitchen utensils. More importantly, I have made an effort to keep her with us. I donate flowers in her name at church. I use the items she left behind to impact others in a positive way. I speak of her often to my children.

Death pains us. But what do we say of the one we lost, if we let it consume us as well. Does this behavior honor their memory or tarnish it? Think of those that you have lost. How can you remember them well?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Half Way Through the Race

Ironically after yesterday's dream, we heard today that we have made it through the first few hoops toward becoming foster parents. We are by no means through the gauntlet, but we are well on our way. We are expecting the invitation to the parenting classes in the mail. When I went to church tonight to choir, I thought to myself I'm going to have a hard time not running up to this child and hugging him and telling him, "We've been waiting a long time for you. Welcome!" Certainly, I hope that I get that same message across but he probably doesn't need to be accosted on his first day with us.

Foster Care have always been on our mind, but this is the first time that life has been in a position that we could move on it. It has been so much on our mind that our children have always been told that when they were in high school we probably would foster or adopt children. It is somewhat ironic that we are exactly at that point.

So many times I have questioned if we would be good foster parents. There are times when I wonder if we are good parents (period) There are days when I'm frustrated or they are driving me insane, but it was this commercial series that haunted me and made me look at everything in perspective.

My husband and I may not be perfect parents, but we love our children and would do anything for them. There are far more days of laughter than frustration in our house. And if our kids are any indication, I think so far, we are doing ok. I am so proud of them. So if you could all pray that we continue forward in our path, I would appreciate it. Pray that God gives us continued guidance and support and that every child waiting for a family knows that they are loved and that the world grieves for the troubles they face. If any of you have experience with foster care, please send along your hints.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

God comes in Dreams

This morning at breakfast, my husband revealed that he dreamt about God. My husband dreaming of God is interesting on so many levels:

1. He has questioned God existence for so long and only within the last few years has been taking steps toward uniting with God. His feeling of being close to God in the dream haunted him when he awoke. It was very touching. He was not sure what to do with the feeling.

2. God came in the form of Sean Connery in the dream, which of course made me think of The Shack. I told him that according to The Shack, God comes in the form that He feels you would accept. I personally thought Sean Connery was a much better choice for my husband than the big African woman named Poppa that is found in The Shack. Especially, when DH knows how much I looooovvvveeee Sean Connery.

3. When I asked what he felt the message was, he hesitated and was / is unsure but came away feeling that he was being told to do God’s work, but didn’t feel clear exactly what said work was.

He thought the dream was especially interesting since he didn’t just remember it when he woke up, but instead dreamt throughout the night waking up several times and then receding back into the same dream. While certainly, he does not believe this dream is Moses’ burning bush; we both believe that God talks to us if only we will listen (certainly we never expected in such a direct way, but God does what needs to be done). I will be interested to see how this dream impacts him long term and what DH will do with this message.

11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

1 Kings 19:11-13 (New International Version)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting Rid of Asian Lady Beetles

Agggghhhhh! I've never seen such a thing. Yesterday afternoon, DD and I noticed a couple lady bug like insects by the front door. We grabbed the vacuum and sucked them up. A few minutes passed, there were more. Uh, oh. We sucked those up, but as we were sucking them up in the vacuuming more were coming in. I fled to the internet what were these things and how did I stop this onslaught.

I learned that they are not lady bugs at all but Asian Lady Beetles who were inspired by fall to find a place to hibernate for the winter. I learned that they are attracted by light colors (i.e. our house). I also learned not to squish them as they leave a slimy residue and stink. I furthermore learned that the best way to stop them from getting into your house is to have a sealed tight house. I took a breath - oh, no upstairs- air conditioners - vents in the attic. I ran upstairs and opened my bedroom door, there was probably 25-30 in my room. I screamed for DD to grab the screwdriver so we could get the a/c out of my window - a clear entry for the little critters. DD and I got it out and thanked goodness that I took the kids a/c's out last week, but DH likes to have his in year round (apparently that will not happen here). But as we took the a/c out, I could see there were not a few of these beetles but 100's maybe 1,000 swarming outside the house. That was another thing that I learned - Asian Lady Beetles swarm.

DD found two homeopathic recipes, one that is supposed to attract and kill the beetles and one that is supposed to repel the buggers. The attractor is a combination of a bright colored container, water, sugar, dish soap. the repeller is bay leaves. We'll have to let you know what happens from here. The tide was stemmed yesterday, but who knows what today will bring. DD informs me that her research online states that there will be two difficult times - fall and spring. Fall when they are looking for a place to hibernate. Spring when they have found a place to hibernate in your house despite your best efforst and are now looking to get out.

I did get a chance later in the day to talk to some locals to find out how they deal with the issue. Apparently, they just leave them alone and when they go into hibernation mode is when they finally vacuum them up (I'm not sure that that will work for me). I hear they also don't like shade. I think it is time to plant some trees. Otherwise, I'm sure when we repaint the house, I'll be edging toward the darker colors.

I know, I know . . ." All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small,All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all." Except Ants and Lady Beetles. I'll even acknowledge that there wonderful too, just not IN my house.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Planning for Christmas

I know it seems early to think about it, but Christmas is just around the corner. This is especially true if you wish to participate in Operation Christmas Child. It is time to order your materials and plan your collection. Here is a song to get you in the mood.

As I plan to the bring this project to our new church and got the ok to do so today, I will keep you informed of our plans. Let me know if you do anything unique or interesting with you own OCC collection.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

When are you most productive?

Oddly, I am most productive when my husband is not home. I don't know if is because I'm bored, because I have less to do, or because I'm free to do whatever I want; but, it is definitely true. When my husband travels:

  • I have been known to pull up on concrete walk and replace it with a stone walk
  • Repaint my living room, bathroom, bedroom and other various places
  • Pull down chair rail

My poor husband would wonder if he would recognize his house when he came home sometimes. In our new home, there is not so much a need to paint. Today, I opted to clean out the garage and ready it for winter. It is not so dramatic as repainting a room, but it surely will be more useful.

I had gone out to the garage to exercise on the bike, but as I rode and read (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society), I looked around and like lightening hitting a rod. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I still want to find an old set of cabinets to put against the back wall, but for now I put up the 8' table and two saw horses with a piece of plywood. I rearranged the exercise equipment (this way I could be sure that it would be accessible). I put things away that were not in correct home. Finally, I swept it all out and stood back to admire my work. I better be careful though, perhaps DH will start planning trips to see what I can accomplish.

Friday, October 2, 2009

We found it - Geocaching

As dinner was cooking tonight, we decided to take an excursion. I had looked up some local geocaches (it is amazing how many there are) and we plugged one into the GPS. While dinner boiled and roasted, DS, DH, and myself headed out. DD stayed home to supervise the cooking (and I think play on the computer a bit). DD is not a fan of hiking, not that you can call what we did hiking. That is one of the unique things of geocaching is that not all of them do require hiking. Some are planted in very public, very highly traveled areas. This one was kind of in between. Most of the walk was on pavement with only a few hundred feet in the woods. I'm glad that it wasn't a micro-cache as I don't think we would have found it. The GPS was less than perfectly accurate. But we did find it:

And her are my co-conspirators:
They claim taking this picture made them blind, so they backed up a bit for a better shot:

Can you tell my poor diabetic husband hasn't eaten yet. I did take him home to a delicious dinner of corned beef and roasted potatoes, carrots, and onions. I encourage you to go find caches in your area to leave your mark.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Science Curriculum

You that homeschool that homeschool will find this humorous. DD was coming to the end of her Science books and so last night I went on Christian Book and ordered her a new set of Science and Social Studies (she is almost done with those). So this morning, she decided that if she really pushed, she could finish her Science book and then have a few days with no science since her books were not scheduled to arrive for 3-5 days. So as she promised she finished her Science books at about 11:00am this morning.

Now you may think that that is my tale today and appreciate that we all find our inspiration in different ways, but this is actually a humerous tale and one with a cautionary message. At a little after noon, the UPS truck pulled up to our house with her new Science books.

Moral: Do count your chickens before they hatch OR don't count on being free from Science before the UPS truck comes.

Designer Grocery Bags

What is wrong with us! Designer Grocery Bags! Unless these people are giving 95% of their proceeds to charity, these are crazy. Ok, I'll admit they can be cute, but they are GROCERY BAGS.

How after spending between $15-$960 for a grocery bag can we still wonder why we have no money? My new idea will be to design a really cute reuseable grocery bag and sell it for $1.99+the cost of a year of groceries for a family in need. Then at least the obscene excess will go toward something good.