Friday, December 29, 2006

Lesson Plans for the New Year

I told the girls a few days ago that they didn't have to do school work this week. Chores, yes. School work, no. Their response? "Why?" I couldn't believe it! I guess they've gotten used to me telling them, "I don't care whether or not the public school kids are out of school, you still need to do school today."

I've been trying to put in some extra hours of work while I have the chance. My goal for today is to get my bedroom organized better. There is still a mountain of boxes of "miscellaneous" to do something with, from when we moved in August! It's driving me nuts.

I have also been spending some time this week getting lesson plans and materials all set up to start school fresh next Tuesday. My 11yo has an "auditory processing deficiency". We have been seeing a neurodevelopmentalist to help us plan out her school work to help her make the most progress. Her re-eval was the Wednesday before Christmas, so we have a new program to start. I've been gathering materials and printing out appropriate worksheets and setting up a schedule for her. I am modifying a chore pack that came with the Managers of Their Chores book I got last summer, to list all the various activities she needs to do. I'm color coding them to help her see which ones need to be done once a day, twice a day, etc.

For math, I've been printing out some worksheets from The Math Worksheet Site. I am so impressed with what is available there! I highly recommend it as a supplement to any math program. The site has a free section, but the subscription section is well worth the price! (You can subscribe for a month for $2.50 or for a year for $20.)

For Bible, I plan to print out some of the lessons at Calvary Chapel Children's Bible Curriculum. Top quality worksheets for every story you can think of in the Bible! And it's completely free!

Now, if I could just find some nice worksheets featuring Christian heroes of the faith. I've seriously been considering developing my own! My kids enjoy have puzzle sheets or coloring sheets to do as they listen to read-alouds.

I'm also looking for some color-by-number print-outs. That is supposed to help my daughter with attention to detail. I have found a few pages online, but nothing I'm real impressed with yet.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

CocaCola "stuff"

I got some fun Coke-themed stuff for Christmas... the cutest little Christmas tree ornaments, a tiny tin lunch-box, and some Coke-flavored Lip Smackers! The Lip Smackers were from my husband. He got them for a joke, expecting me to give them to our teen-age daughter... but, nope! I'm keepin' 'em! I am going to take the hanging cords off the tree ornaments and put them on my type-case miniature shelf, too. They are too cute to only see at Christmas time.

My DH is working late tonight, and I'm too tired to do anything that requires much brain activity, so I was surfing through a blinky site and came across a really cute Coke blinky. That made me think of my little goodies... so I thought I'd tell you about them and post the blinky here, just for fun!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas "Get-to-Know-You" Quiz

I got this by email from both of my sisters. Rather than emailing it out to all my friends, I thought I would post it to my blog. Feel free to copy it and pass it on (with your answers, of course)!

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends.
Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!!
Just copy (not forward) this entire email and paste into a new e-mail that you can send. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to you. 'Tis the Season to be NICE!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Paper, usually. present.gif

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial this year. Last year we didn't have a tree. The year before that we went to the National Forest and cut down a wild tree. That was fun!

3. When do you put up the tree? Whenever we get around to it. Sometime between the-day-after-Thanksgiving and about December 15 or so. tree2.gif

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime during the week between Christmas and New Year's.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, if it's homemade and non-alcoholic. snowhouse.gif

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Oh, my... I have a hard time picking a favorite of anything. We always had great Christmas gifts, even though we were very "poor" by today's standards. My parents always put a lot of thought and love into our gifts. Mother often sewed rag dolls and clothes. Sometimes she would find nearly-new things she knew we would like at garage sales. Dad made us wooden doll cradles one year. Another year he worked at a grocery store that sold toys at Christmas time. It seems like we got a lot of cool toys that year. I think it may have been discards that perhaps had a part missing or an open package or were for some other reason unsaleable. We didn't care! My favorite thing that year was a huge pile of ViewMaster reels and the viewer. We got way more reels than the standard 3 that come with the viewer, and then 3 per package for a ridiculous price. That was very cool!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. It's small... the figures are maybe 2" tall... and plastic. But very sweet. The children enjoy setting it up under the Christmas tree. When they were younger they would play with it and act out the Christmas story. That's why I bought a plastic one! candle.gif

8. Hardest person to buy for? Hmm... it varies from year-to-year.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My kids, of course. slip.gif

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Both. And also, hand deliver.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? My sister mentioned, "Ms. McKinley next door at our house in Lufkin when I was in the third grade gave us girls all a pair of boys socks – UGLY boys socks!!" I have to agree with that one. Mother said Miz McKinley later said something to her about never seeing us wear the socks she gave us. Can you believe she noticed?!? So Mother told her they were boys' socks so we gave them to our little brothers. Miz McKinley was just appalled. She had no idea! Bless her heart... she was trying to be nice! xmas04.png

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a Wonderful Life.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? As early as I can.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Sure.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? cookies

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? This year they are clear. I prefer colored, but clear are pretty.

17. Favorite Christmas song? O Little Town of Bethlehem bell.gif

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Usually stay home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? uh-huh, unless I forget

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Our kids open 2 gifts on Christmas Eve. They are always the same thing... a new pair of pajamas and a new Bible story book (or tape/video related to the Bible). We open other gifts on Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Charities trying to make you feel guilty for not giving more, especially on years when it's all you can do to put Christmas together for your own family. I've had a couple of bad experiences in this regard that kinda turn me off of the whole "give to those less fortunate" drive that goes on. Lest you think I'm a complete Scrooge, I do give to needs I am personally aware of as I am able... but I don't usually give to the big charity drives.

23. Does Santa leave the gifts wrapped or unwrapped? wrapped santa5.gif

24. Do you have Jesus in your heart this Christmas? No point in celebrating Christmas otherwise, is there?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rambling update

Every time I post, I think, "Well, that wasn't so hard! I should do that more often. Yup. Gonna start blogging every day." And then, of course, I don't because when I think about it, it just seems like too much effort...

Tomorrow is the last day of the fall trimester for our homeschool co-op. I'm so ready for the break! We don't start back up again until mid-January, and I finally bit the bullet and only agreed to do half-days for the winter trimester. I've been waffling on that for 2 months! First, I think we'll quit... then I think we won't... I weighed the pros and cons and still didn't come to a good conclusion... DH wasn't a bit of help. I begged him to make the decision for me. Doesn't he get the idea? I'm willing to be a "submissive wife"! Just tell me what to do! He won't. So... I finally compromised. We'll go for 2 classes instead of 4.

Got the kids' school pictures back today. The photographer captured great smiles! The only drawback was that for some reason all the pictures came back too dark. The entire homeschool group's pictures were all too dark. And nobody had backgrounds on their pictures. It was the kind of deal where you choose the background and they add it in digitally later, or something. I don't really understand how that's done... but these are just blah-dark... no color, not even really black. The photographer was just really having a bad day that day. He forgot some critical part and had to go back to Spokane after it, so the picture-taking was delayed an hour or more. It was a mess! They've offered to retake them, but I'm not sure I want to go through the hassle again. Hopefully they'll just refund our money. The disappointing thing is, they were actually really good pictures!

The mountain out my window has snow on it. Today was the first day the sun shone since it snowed up there. I really enjoyed my view today! But another storm is supposed to be moving in, so we'll probably get snow tonight or tomorrow. It will still be pretty, just not as dramatic as when there's snow on the mountain and not down here. We've actually already had snow twice, but both times melted off within a day or two. It's still a little early for it to stay any length of time.

Still working on trying to get the dog to not bark when we leave her home alone. Funny thing is, she's not usually a barker... at least when we're around. But we can't leave her home, because the other lady in the building sleeps days. We've been watching "The Dog Whisperer". Fascinating show. He recommends walking the dog for at least an hour a day to wear her out before we leave, but who has time for that? But then he demonstrated how to teach your dog to walk on a treadmill, if you don't have time to walk the dog that much. So now I'm looking for a second-hand treadmill, cheap! We think it's hilarious! But, hey... if it works...

Finally saw "Cars" on Saturday night. DH bought it for the kids. (At least, that's what he said! ) After our sojourn on Route 66 this summer, we especially enjoyed the extras on the DVD telling what inspired the movie. DH is a huge auto-racing fan, so he loved all the parodies of the race car drivers and other celebrities. I told him, "I'm sure I'm not appreciating this movie as much as you are." He said, "I'm sure you're not either!"

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Darling!

Today is our wedding anniversary! I've spent over half of my life with my very favorite person. Who could ask for anything better than that? No special plans this year. I'm kinda bummed about that. It just didn't work out. But I'm just reminding myself that it's a blessing to have such a great marriage... and every day is special because of that!

Yesterday was the 15th birthday of the boy in our youth group who was killed in a car accident a few weeks ago. He shared his birthday with his older brother, so I know they are really missing him today especially. Continue to pray for their family. The mother is improving, but her recovery will be slow.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Field Trip - National Weather Service

We visited the Spokane office of the National Weather Service with some other families from our homeschool co-op on Friday. We learned a lot about weather and what is involved in forecasting weather. The meteorologist who was our tour guide was very friendly and enthusiastic. He showed us a bunch of different satellite images and dramatic photographs. And then we found out that many of them are available on the NWS website! My kids want me to "put that website on their computer"! (We have the internet blocked on their computer, except for websites that their dad or I approve.) I think that's great! They can learn a lot by exploring the site, and then keep us up-to-date on the weather forecasts. Oh... and by the way, it's weather.gov, not weather.com. The .com site is the Weather Channel, which is fine, but it does have ads. The .gov site is the NWS and you don't have to worry about ads.

We also discovered that the NWS is who broadcasts the weather radio station that the kids discovered on one of the channels of their walkie-talkies.

The highlight of the field trip was at 4:00 p.m. when we got to watch them release a weather balloon. I have seen weather balloons occasionally, but I never knew they were released twice a day, every day, all over the world at the same time! (I think the guy said 1,100.) There is a small styrofoam box, about the size of a shoebox, tied to the bottom of the balloon with instruments to gauge things like temperature, wind, and moisture. The balloon is bigger than I thought it would be. Maybe the size of a bean-bag chair, if a bean-bag chair was inflated? They track the balloon for an hour-and-a-half. They said it usually travels 150 miles or so before it "pops". The box has a label on it so if anyone finds it, they will know to return it to the NWS. Our guide said that about 15% are returned. He estimated that it costs about $300 for each balloon that is released!

Speaking of weather, we had our first snow of the year last night and it's still on the ground this morning! Maybe a half inch or so. The kids are excited. I dread driving in it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tragedy in our youth group

A 14-year-old boy in our church was killed on October 13th. The newspaper tells more about it. Our whole church is stunned and grieving. Please pray for the family of this young man, particularly his mother who was also in the accident and was critically injured.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hunting update!

What a week we've had! We aren't used to this much "testosterone" in our house, so it's been a riot!

Last night the hunters came in without a kill, but with great pictures, video footage, and stories. That's as good as a kill, in my book. They saw several moose and got pictures. (They don't have moose tags, so couldn't shoot them.) What's amazing is that we have lived here for over 8 years and in that length of time have only seen 2 moose on 2 separate occasions. Yesterday they saw a cow and her calf, and a bull moose, and some others. They saw a grouse strutting its feathers like a peacock or a turkey. They also saw several deer, and I'm not sure what else. They just have a great time! (No bears, though.)

I'm not sure what time they left this morning, but they were long gone when DH got up at 6:30 to go to work. About 11:00 I got a call from them. How would we like grilled venison tenderloin for supper? One of them got a deer, and they would butcher it themselves! The others were still hunting, so they may come home with more than one.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Bear hunting!

My uncle and cousin and 2 of their friends are here this week from Missouri to go hunting. The season opens tomorrow. Their tags are good for a deer, a bear, or a mountain lion! They are all hoping for a bear! They are just sure they saw one up on the mountain above our house. There was a black spot there yesterday morning... and later it was gone... so it must've been a bear! At breakfast this morning they asked each other, "Wasn't it about this time yesterday that we saw that black spot?" Yeah, they agreed it was. So they went out with their binoculars to see if they could spot it again. (We've lived in the area for over 8 years and have never seen a bear, so the chances of them actually getting one are very slim, IMO, but maybe I'll be surprised! Wouldn't that be a hoot?)

DH took them on a scouting expedition today. He's not a hunter himself, but he took the day off to show them around since they can't shoot anything today anyway. They seem to be having a good time.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Just call me McGyver!

The North Idaho Fair opens today. I had intended to enter several things in the Open Class category, but I would have had to have them there last week, and I just didn't make it. Mainly because most of the things the girls and I have made over the past year are still in various and sundry boxes who-knows-where! However, I had also pre-registered to enter the table-setting category. They only accept 9 entries and you have to apply about 2 months in advance. So I had applied before we knew we were going to need to move in July. I did manage to get that exhibit together, and went last night to set up. (Good thing I didn't have to have it there last week!)

There are 3 themes for the tablesetting division, and supposed to be 3 tables for each theme. Turns out they only had 6 entries this year... 3 in the "Blue Ribbon Good Times" theme, 2 in the "Home for the Holidays" theme, and 1 in the "Baby's First Birthday" theme. Each theme is judged for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, so I think you're pretty much guaranteed a ribbon for even entering. If you're the only entry in a particular theme, I don't know if you automatically get the blue or what... but as it turns out, mine was the "Blue Ribbon" theme, so I have more competition. I assume they did the judging this morning... but we aren't going to the fair till tomorrow, so I'll have to wait to see how I did.

The girls went with me to set up, and we had to wait around a little bit because there was some tastin' and judgin' going on in the corner of the room where we were to set up. When they were finally finished we started unpacking and setting the table. One of the things I did was make a loop of wide blue ribbon and pin a small sunflower at the center of the loop, to lay across the tops of the plates as "place cards". As I carefully set each ribbon into place it became very apparent that they would not stay in place, because there was a fan behind my table blowing vigorously! That would not do! I had to think fast. No, I didn't have any tape with me. What else? A-ha! I pulled a package of chewing gum out of my purse. "Here, girls! Chew some gum!" And we stuck those ribbons to the plates with wads of chewing gum.

There's an ol' Ed'ards sayin' about that: "Necessity is the mother of invention."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I *still* love camping!

When I was a little girl, we mostly lived out in the country. So we never went camping. No need to, really. However, DH was a city boy and among his best memories growing up are the family camping trips. He taught me how to camp after we got married, and I've always loved it. I think mostly because I miss living out in the country. I also think it's a great thing to do with the kids.

We started off, all those years ago, with a borrowed tent and no supplies... but over time we gradually accumulated the necessary equipment, until finally this year we were able to get a nice family-size RV. Being able to stock the trailer has made it much more convenient to get away for a couple of nights at a time here and there. So... you would think this would be our best year ever in regards to camping, right? Well, you would think!


After the disasterous way our last camping trip at the near-by state park started off, we decided to go way out in boonies last weekend, to a national forest campground about 60 or 80 miles from here, to avoid the over-crowding problem we ran into before. So, we started off on Thursday evening. (Because of church responsibilities we need to not be gone over Sunday, so we plan our camping outings to be back home by Saturday night.)


It was raining a little as we left home, but we weren't too concerned because, after all, we would be sleeping in a trailer, not a tent! But as we got into the mountains the storm really kicked up. Still not a huge amount of rain, but sky-to-ground lightning and high winds. There were some small branches on the road in places. But we persevered. DH decided that maybe it would be better to stay in the closer of the forest service campgrounds (Bumblebee), rather than the one we had originally planned on (Kit Price), so we took the turn-off for it. We drove the 3 miles in to Bumblebee to discover it was closed! Good grief! We turned the rig around and headed back to the main road, and on in to Kit Price, about 10 miles further.


I want you to know, less than a mile before we got to Kit Price, we hit something on the road (still don't know if it was a rock or a branch) and had a blow-out on the truck! The great big Dodge truck that we'd had less than 2 weeks, with great big macho tires on it. Not one of the little, wimpy, cheapy tires on the trailer... no... it had to be one of the new expensive tires on the truck! And, of course, it was raining. Sheesh! Ya think maybe we're not s'posed to go camping this year?


We got out, in the rain, and got the stupid tire changed and pulled on into the campground and made camp.


The rest of weekend was fun and relaxing... so it was worth it... I guess. Maybe. Anyway, the kids had fun playing in the river the next day... finding pretty rocks, catching frogs and tadpoles, and visiting with other campers.


I hope our kids will have good memories of camping when they are grown, like their Daddy does! Maybe the "disasters" won't traumatize them too bad!

Friday, August 18, 2006

The "Do Not Call" List!

Oh, my!! Did I forget how bad telemarketing calls were back in the day before the "Do Not Call" list? Or have they doubled up on targeting phone numbers that aren't on the list? Or is it because we've just moved, so they think we need all these services? Since we've moved I've been getting about 6 or 8 telemarketing calls a day! It actually took me a week or so to realize that our new number hadn't been registered at the Do Not Call website. As soon as I thought of it, I did register it but it can take up to a month to take effect.

*sigh*

Where's that list of things you can say to a telemarketer to discourage them from calling? Ah... found it! (See below.) It's funny to read... but I don't have the patience or the nerve to actually try any of these.

How To Deal with Telemarketers

1. If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for bankruptcy and you could sure use some money.

2. If they start out with, "How are you today?" say, "I'm so glad you asked, because no one these days seems to care, and I have all these problems; my arthritis is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died..."

3. If they say they're John Doe from XYZ Company, ask them to spell their name. Then ask them to spell the company name. Then ask them where it is located, how long it has been in business, how many people work there, how they got into this line of work, are they married?, kids?, etc. Continue asking them personal questions or questions about their company for as long as necessary.

4. Cry out in surprise,"Judy! Is that you? Really?!? Judy, how have you been?" Hopefully, this will give Judy a few brief moments of terror as she tries to figure out where she could know you from.

5. Say "No", over and over. Be sure to vary the sound of each one, and keep a rhythmic tempo, even as they are trying to speak. This is most fun if you can do it until they hang up.

6. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up for the Family and Friends Plan, reply, in as SINISTER a voice as you can, "I don't have any friends... would you be my friend?"

7. After the Telemarketer gives their spiel, ask him/her to marry you. When they get all flustered, tell them that you could not just give your credit card number to a complete stranger.

8. Tell the Telemarketer that you work for the same company, they often can't sell to employees.

9. Answer the phone. As soon as you realize it is a Telemarketer, set the receiver down, shout or scream, "Oh No!!!" and then hang up.

10. Tell the Telemarketer you are busy at the moment and ask him/her if he/she will give you his/her HOME phone number so you can call him/her back. When the Telemarketer explains that telemarketers cannot give out their HOME numbers you say "I guess you don't want anyone bothering you at home, right?" The Telemarketer will agree and you say, "Me, either!" Hang up.

11. Ask them to repeat everything they say, several times.

12. Tell them it is dinner time, BUT ask if they would please hold. Put them on your speaker phone while you continue to eat at your leisure. Smack your food loudly and continue with your dinner conversation.

13. Tell the Telemarketer you are on "home incarceration" and ask if they could bring you a pizza.

14. Ask them to fax the information to you, and make up a number.

15. Insist that the caller is really your buddy Leon, playing a joke. "Come on Leon, cut it out! Seriously, Leon, how's your mom?"

16. Tell them you are hard of hearing and that they need to speak up... louder... louder...louder...

17. Tell them to talk VERY SLOWLY, because you want to write EVERY WORD down.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Lesson Plans

It's that time of year again... time to be thinking about what the children should learn for the next year. So, I've been doing the research and gathering my materials and laying out my plan for the year...

First of all, as church youth director, I needed to come up with something fresh and pertinent for the next few months (at least until time to start working on the Christmas program!). I decided that a study on the spiritual parallels in The Chronicles of Narnia might go over well, with the recent popularity of the movie. So I got:

We started that 2 weeks ago and it seems to be going over pretty well so far. A Family Guide lists scriptures for each chapter of all 7 books. I have found that very helpful!

Then, for our homeschool co-op this year I will be teaching a literature class where we'll be reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy, one each trimester. Don't ask me why I had the brilliant idea of trying to teach Tolkien and Lewis both at the same time, because I'm really beginning to think I'm quite nuts! I'll be using the Progeny Press study guides for the literature class.

I have also volunteered to be the coordinator for a new Keepers at Home club we will be starting at co-op. We have about 40 girls enrolled so far, ages 5 on up through teens. And several moms have volunteered to help. I'm excited about this as an incentive for both myself and my daughters to learn homemaking skills that I really do need to take time to teach them!

Naturally, we will again be using Sonlight for our main curriculum at home. It's what we've been using since we first started "formally" homeschooling 9 years ago. (Wow! Has it really been that long already?) We will be finishing up Core 7 (Intro to World History, Part 2), and be ready to start American History In-Depth next year as my oldest goes into high school. I deliberately planned it to take 3 years to cover the 2-year World History course, so that American History could count for high school. We were able to add in more books to the World History course that way, as well.

I'm excited that our co-op will be offering a class in conversational Spanish, since we bought the Rosetta Stone program a couple years ago and haven't really used it much. So I want to work that into our schedule this year.

My oldest will also be using Apologia Physical Science and getting her lab class at co-op. I was happy to discover that they have the textbook available in MP3 format, because she has a visual disability, and I read the honkin' big ol' General Science book to her last year! I really enjoyed it (love Dr. Wile's style), but it was terribly time-consuming on my part. Having the audio book will be a huge help this year.

My brain is whirling! But once I get it all organized in my mind, I'll be good to go. I'm tentively planning to start school the week before Labor Day, even though we'll be in Texas staying with my sister at that time. Life goes on... and the beauty of homeschool is that you can just work around it.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Sometimes ya just gotta wonder...

...why is it that some people never really grow up?

I have been hurt at various times throughout my life by numerous people... most of the time unintentionally, I'm sure. Or, at least, I like to give them the benefit of the doubt. I don't always understand someone's motive, so I try to excuse them that they didn't know better or didn't really mean it the way I took it. It still hurts, but it does allow me to basically shrug it off and move on. When we all get to Heaven either we'll understand... or it won't matter any more!

However, every now and then I run into someone so obnoxious that I struggle to understand how they could get that old and still be that immature and down-right ugly. My excuse with young people who act that way is that... well, they're still young... they'll learn. But what is excusable in a college kid is not-so-excusable in a middle-aged person! There is absolutely no excuse for some behavior.

A few weeks ago we were excited to get to go to a new Sonic in area. (Understand that I love Sonic drinks and until now it has been an 8-hour drive to the nearest Sonic! ) Well, apparently we weren't the only excited ones. There was a block-long line down the alley with a Sonic employee directing cars into stalls as they got to the head of the line. The line was moving pretty quickly so it was soon our turn. We were directed to a particular stall and as we turned to go in, a motorcycle zoomed up the alley and cut in front of us and darted into the stall ahead of us. We were shocked! My DH rolled his window down and called out to the guy, "You might want to wait your turn like everyone else!" The guy yelled back, "I'm on a motorcyle. I can do anything I want!" I was just so amazed that someone would be that blatantly rude. We talked with the kids (who witnessed it, of course) about what kind of upbringing this poor person must have had to make him think that was okay.

Another example: Several years ago I was involved in a friendly chat room. It was mostly older men (besides me) but the discussions were never inappropriate, always clean, and my husband knew I participated in it. In fact, he got to know a couple of the guys on there some. However, there was this one strange character that was just kind of an "odd duck"... Middle-aged and single (for good reason!), and a Christian man, but very lacking in social skills. He was constantly making unneccessary and rude comments. Nothing hateful or nasty, but just mostly chauvenistic and judgemental. Most of the other guys didn't care for his personality and one day he just took it a step too far so the administrators made the decision to ban him from the chat room. He had my Yahoo IM so occasionally he would try to IM me but by that point I just ignored them. He just kinda gave me the creeps. That was 4 or 5 years ago. And eventually I quit using Yahoo IM so I didn't hear from him any more. Recently I started using Yahoo again and when I booted it up I noticed that there were several messages from him dated way back in the winter and everyone of them just said, "Hi!" I figured he was just trying to strike up a conversation again, but I didn't think too much about it. Well, this weekend I got an IM from him that basically said that he noticed I was online and he wanted me to know he had zero respect for me and he was sure I was going to hell. The poor, sad man. No wonder he can't "win friends and influence people"! I told my DH about it and we just shook our heads. Obviously, I didn't bother to respond.

Then just today, someone very close to me was bombarded with some of the most awful attitudes and opinions and downright hatred that I have ever in my life seen or heard! This person also claims to be a Christian, but I'm sorry... there is just no way!

I just fail to understand... how can middle-aged people (who supposedly have the benefit of years to learn how to behave)... who claim the name of Christ (Who would never act or say such things)... who were raised in Christian homes and should know better... ever live with themselves for expressing such ugliness? (Okay, I have no idea if the motorcycle guy at Sonic claims to be a Christian or not, but the other 2 do.)

Lord, please keep me sweet!!!

Monday, August 7, 2006

A Train Puzzle

No, this isn't one of those brain teasers where you have a train leaving one city at a certain time, and another one leaving somewhere else at a certain time, and then way too many other details for me to every keep track of! This is a real-life mystery that I'm sleuthing around on the internet trying to put the clues together to get the solution! (Yes, I'm easily entertained.)

A railroad track runs past our new apartment. It's only about a half-block away so we have front row seats for every train that goes past both day and night! People tell us we will get used to it and begin to tune them out, but so far we haven't. The trains run frequently! We haven't kept a log yet... (I want to. I told the kids that we will have a unit study on trains this fall.) ...but they go by every 5 to 45 minutes. It's interesting to notice what kinds of cars are in each train... grain cars, box cars, tank cars, flat cars with containers, and several I don't know what to call. But, of course, we never see a passenger car. And that is where the "mystery" comes in.

About 30 miles northeast of us is an Amtrak depot (in Sandpoint, Idaho). The Amtrak route runs from Sandpoint to Spokane, Washington. So I assumed that the Amtrak train did come past our house, but just in the middle of the night, which is why we never saw it. (I remembered from looking up Amtrak once a long time ago that it only came through Sandpoint once a day, about midnight.)

Well, yesterday I happened to notice that there is another railroad track that runs more or less parallel to this one about 4 miles south of here. Hmmmm, maybe Amtrak runs on that one? So... that's my puzzle!

I hopped on line and did some digging around until I discovered that "our" train track is the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe. At least I was pretty sure it was. I confirmed that this morning when I noticed that the engines going by had BNSF on them. The other railroad, from all I can figure out, is the Union Pacific.

Ya know, it never really occurred to me before that each railroad track you ever cross belongs to a particular railroad. Probably because I never really thought about trains much before at all. Naturally, I know the story of the race to connect the Union Pacific with the Central Pacific to make the transcontinental railroad... but beyond that, I have no idea what's what.

So now the question remains, does the Amtrak train from Sandpoint to Spokane travel the BNSF line or the UP line? Inquiring minds want to know!

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Highway 1

On Day 5 of our roadtrip we drove up the central coast of California on Highway 1. It was pretty foggy – not ground fog to make road visibility bad – but enough to make it hard to see the ocean. I guess that’s typical for mornings this time of year. The fog finally burned off about noon and we enjoyed a sunny, clear day with moderate temperatures.

One place we stopped along the coast was beach where Elephant Seals lived. They are great big critters with funny bent noses (like very short trunks!). There was a whole bunch of ‘em snoozing – and snoring! – in a pile on the beach. Every now and then another one would come out of the water and scootch up to the pile to join in the community nap, or one would up and squirm back out to the water. They used their flippers like hands! They’d lay there and flip sand up on their backs… or lay on their backs and scratch their tummies with their flippers. It was neat to watch them.

Later in the day we saw a batch of Harbor Seals on Monterey Bay. They were smaller than the Elephant Seals, and some had babies.



The highlight of the day was a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We had a personal tour by one of the volunteers, who is the teenage son of a friend! They went with us through the aquarium, and knew a lot about it to tell us that we wouldn't have learned otherwise. DH and I had been to the aquarium once about 18 years ago. That was before we had kids. The aquarium has expanded quite a bit since then, so it was fun to see the new exhibits. My favorite exhibit was still the sea otters. They are so much fun to watch!

We spent 2 or 3 hours at the aquarium and then went to the beach for a few minutes to let the kids wade and look for shells.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Route 66

Day 4 of our roadtrip (see previous days below) called for an uneventful 10-hour trip from Williams, Arizona to San Luis Obispo, California. We continued to see signs about Historic Route 66 as we drove along and we talked about how much fun it would be to try to follow the old route sometime. We stopped in Kingman, Arizona for drinks (at Sonic!) and saw a museum about Route 66. I was just dying to go in, and we would have taken the time except it didn’t open until 9:00 and it was only 8:30. We decided we shouldn’t just wait around for the museum to open. So DH decided to get off the interstate right there and follow the old highway to Needles, California (about 50 miles) before resuming our originally planned route.

As we angled away from the interstate the highway began to look just as I had always pictured it in my mind. Narrow two-lane highway, no shoulders, sand right up to the pavement with the ribbon of road stretching across the desert as far as the eye could see. It was a surreal experience, especially as there was very little traffic and no buildings or other signs of human life for miles at a time.


We could see mountains ahead of us and I wondered how the highway crossed the mountains. We soon found out! This narrow two-lane highway twisted around and around and up and down, with hair-pin curves and sheer drop-offs (still no shoulders!), winding it’s way over the mountains. Now I could understand why the Joad Family in The Grapes of Wrath waited until night to cross the mountains so their car wouldn’t overheat! Did I mention it was already 100 degrees by 9:00 a.m.? Well, it was!



We passed through an authentic ghost town, somebody’s old car (from back in the day) that apparently hadn’t made it around one of the curves and was just stuck in the brush half-way down the mountain, and another “live” town that looked like something from the Old West with wild burros wandering through the streets. This stuff was REAL, too! Not staged for tourists.



By the time we finally made it back to civilization I was in desperate need of a bathroom! (Remember the Sonic drinks?) So we were happy to find a gas station, even if gas was $3.89 a gallon for regular! By then the temperature was 110.

We somehow lost the old highway about 10 miles before we got to Needles. The signs we tried to follow just led to a dead-end road, so we just got back on the interstate. I hadn’t noticed before how wide California is down in the southern part of the state. We drove across that wide expanse of desert, past Edwards Air Force Base, and gasped to breathe the next time we stopped at a blistering 114 degrees!

The rest of the drive was uneventful, and the coast was blessedly cool (mid 70s) by the time we got to our motel about 5:15 p.m.

I was just thrilled to get to experience this small portion of the historic "Mother Road"!

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Grand Canyon

We spent the first day of our trip traveling. We enjoyed southern Utah on the second day (see previous post). Day 3 was our day to see the Grand Canyon. DH had planned our trip to allow for plenty of time there. Our first stop inside the park was at an overlook that had a watchtower we could climb for great views of the Canyon. I was impressed to find plaques with verses of scripture (psalms of praise to the Creator) at various places... With it being a National Park I'm surprised they don't consider it a violation of "separation of church and state" or something stupid like that.



The next stop was at some Indian ruins, showing where the natives had lived 800 years ago. All that remained were piles of rocks showing where the walls had once been. It's hard to imagine how the human race has survived on the face of the earth for centuries before the modern conveniences we enjoy today.



From there we drove on to the Grand Canyon Village. We parked and took the shuttle bus to the Visitor’s Center, then back through the village to transfer to another bus that went along the rim of the Canyon to “Hermit’s Rest”. The bus driver on our way back told us about a mama mountain lion that had been seen in the area with 3 cubs. Apparently they were crossing the road in front of one of the buses one day and one of the babies just sat down in the middle of the road. The mama growled and fussed at it from the side and it wouldn't budge, so she finally had to go pick it up by the scruff of the neck and carry it off! I would like to have seen that! Sounds like some kids I know!

When we got back to the village we went to the post office for stamps and to the general store for ice cream and drinks. Then we hiked a half mile out to the rim one more time before we left the park. I would love to go back when we have more time to stay!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Bryce Canyon National Park

We just returned from a 10-day road-trip. Part of it was vacation, and part of it was work-related (homeschool convention). I'll be posting highlights of the trip as a series. There's too much to put in one post!

Our route took us from our home in north Idaho, down through western Montana, back through the bottom of Idaho, then down through Utah, hitting the Grand Canyon as we cut across Arizona to the central coast of California, then inland to Modesto where the convention was, and finally up through Oregon and Washington home again!

This first picture is of the highway through southern Utah. I love taking pictures of roads so this is a great one for my "collection". (That's partly why I named my website "Roads to Everywhere" referring to our love of road-trips!)

Our first sight-seeing stop was on Day 2 in Bryce Canyon National Park. We had never heard of it, but were passing right by it and we have a NP annual pass so we decided to see what it was. (We got our annual pass for $50 at Glacier NP when were in Kalispell, MT on Memorial Day weekend for the Montana homeschool convention. It cost $25 for a one-time visit, or you could pay $50 for an annual pass that would get you into any NP for 12 months. We knew we were planning to go to the Grand Canyon so 2 visits would pay for it. The visit to Bryce Canyon would've cost us another $20.) It was simply spectacular!

We stopped at one scenic overlook and it was a half-mile hike to the previous one (which we had missed as we drove past). It was along the rim of the canyon so we just hiked over there. The temperature was over 100 (a dry heat, but still very hot), so I suggested we catch the (free) shuttle bus and ride back to the car. Well, the shuttle system was kinda weird. The bus didn't go directly back to where we had parked. Instead it went in the opposite direction back to the gate and visitor's center. So we had to ride it back to the gate and catch another bus going back into the park. DH was a little frustrated, but the kids thought it was great fun to ride the bus, so I thought it was time well-spent!

After we left Bryce Canyon we cut across through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument... 40 miles on a complete unimproved dirt road! DH and his brother had accidently driven over that road last fall when they went to Phoenix to pick up a printing press. The computer trip planner actually routed them that way! DH was impressed with the scenery in that area so he wanted to take me that way.

Four...

I am cleaning out my inbox (from being gone) and came across this email my sister sent me. I thought it would be fun to post it here. Feel free to copy and paste to your blog, and comment here that you did so I can go read your answers!

A) Four jobs [outside the home] I have had in my life:
1. nurse’s aide at a nursing home for 3 months when I was 18 (I hated it!)
2. banking: teller, receptionist, bookkeeper (not all 3 at once)
3. sales clerk at Goodwill
4. assistant children’s librarian at the public library (best outside job I ever had!)

B) Four movies I would watch over and over:
I don’t know about over and over (I’m more of a reader than a movie watcher) but some of my favorites are:
1. It’s a Wonderful Life
2. The Grapes of Wrath
3. Gone With the Wind
4. Sabrina

C) Four places I have lived:
1. Louisiana
2. Arkansas
3. Kansas
4. Idaho

D) Four TV shows I love to watch:
Again, I’d rather read… but I do like:
1. The Andy Griffith Show
2. The Waltons
3. Little House on the Prairie
4. Monk

E) Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Washington DC
2. Mount Rushmore
3. California
4. Grand Canyon

F) Websites I visit daily: (or semi-weekly):
1. Paperback Swap
2. Sonlight
3. BzzAgent
4. My Blog (to see who has commented!)

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. popcorn
2. Crab legs
3. Cheese cake
4. Starbucks caramel machiatto (Does that count as “food”? It’s my favorite “treat”!)

H) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. On a roadtrip to anywhere with DH
2. In a bookstore with a latte
3. In a hammock in a forest campground (with a book!)
4. I dunno where else… touring Europe? That would be fun!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Grateful

May I just say that I am grateful to have a functioning computer this morning? I nearly lost it last night... and that's not a loss I can exactly afford right now!

We are staying in our camper for 2 or 3 weeks while we get moved, so I've been using my laptop. Yes, I do have 2 computers: my main one on my desk, which is currently disconnected/packed/in pieces/whatever! and my laptop which goes with me to conventions and anywhere else I go. My desk computer is also "sick" right now (DH says he thinks the motherboard is going out), so rather than risk losing data I have switched to using my laptop until I can afford for DH to rebuild my desk computer. (I have to have a computer for work!)
So... imagine how sick I was last night when a bottle of water turned over right onto my laptop's keyboard! I immediately grabbed it and turned it over to drain the water out. It was still on, so I turned it off and then we started trying to dry it out. We decided it would speed things along if we used a blow dryer on it. After awhile DH started trying to turn it back on. The power light would come on but Windows wouldn't come up. I was nearly in tears. DH got on his laptop to see what he could find out. The first bit of information he found was: Never use a blow dryer to dry out a computer. Apparently it can cause static electricity to build up which can be very harmful. Wonderful. I was just sure the computer was permanently dead. I went to bed, very discouraged.

DH continued to work on it. He took the hard-drive out and discovered that it was still damp inside. So he just left it to dry some more.

This morning when we got up he tried rebooting... I have never been so happy to see the Windows screen come up!! We still can't get it to run on the battery, only if it's plugged in. Laptop batteries aren't cheap to replace, but they are considerably cheaper than the whole computer.

I am grateful!!

The moral to the story is: Don't leave bottles of water near your computer. Or if you do, make sure it's just water, not some other beverage! And if you should happen to spill water on your keyboard, don't use a blow dryer to speed the drying process! (It didn't seem to harm mine this time, but now we know that's not a good idea.)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Time to move

It's time for us to find another house to live in. For the past 4 years we have been living in a house owned by the church we attend. The church has decided to sell the house, and we don't care to buy it, so we need to move. *sigh* I don't mind moving, but it's oh-so-much-work! This house is very small, and as the children are growing up we really do need a little more room.

We have been looking at various options and have about decided that now is not the time to buy. Housing prices are just all out-of-reason in this area, IMHO. The house we live in is less than 1,000 square feet, 2-bedroom/1 bath, and *old* and it appraised for over $150,000! I just cannot fathom that! It will be wonderful for the church if they can get that much out of it, though.


For now we have decided to rent an apartment that is attached to one of the print shops owned by the company my husband works for. At least in this case we'll know the landlord! Other good news: it's actually bigger than the house we are currently in and the children will each have their own rooms. However, it needs some electrical work, so my husband will need to do that before we can move.


I don't have time for this! I need to be working full-time this summer!


I was thinking wistfully today of the kick-back-and-relax summer days of my childhood. Is that life-style even possible any more?


We actually did some moving-type activities today, so the fun has begun! I've been bringing home boxes from the print shop this week, and last night DH brought the shop's utility trailer home and parked it behind the house. He told the kids to start filling it up! So they did! I had to work today, so I wasn't much help, but oh, the kids had a good time! I cringe just to think of what's going in those boxes and in what order... but hey, it's getting packed and moved. I'm just so pleased that the girls are finally old enough to be a real help. No, they don't do things the way I would necessarily, but it still helps.


After DH got home this evening we went over to the "new" apartment to do some measuring and figuring. DH for some electrical wiring that he needs to do before we can move in, and me to figure out where to put furniture and curtains and such. DH said I could have the whole upstairs room for my "dream library"! It's a great big room... 20 x 30' or something and will be our bedroom and office, too, but there is plenty of room for lots of bookcases! I'm so excited!

Our vacation is scheduled in 3 weeks. We talked about cancelling, but as the trip includes a homeschool convention (in Modesto, California) where I'm supposed to represent Sonlight, we decided we better go ahead and go. We plan to move when we get back. I'm ready to go on vacation now! I don't want to have to stew about the move for 3 more weeks.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I love camping!

On Thursday DH called to ask if I wanted to go camping that night and Friday night. Of course I did! We decided we could take the camper up to the state park that night and spend the night, then he would go to work on Friday. He thought I could stay out there with the kids on Friday, but I had to work, too. (I work from home but require the internet and phone, which we not available at the state park.) But we decided to go ahead and go up there that night in an effort to get a spot before the weekend rush on Friday evening.

We got up there about 8:30... still about an hour of daylight left. We found a nice spot so pulled the camper in and proceeded to set up camp. After unhooking and balancing the trailer, DH hooked up the water and electricity. Then he and the children "furnished" the campsite while I got supper ready. They put out the rug that keeps us from tracking so much dirt into the trailer, and set up the lawn chairs, and put a tablecloth on the picnic table, unloaded all the firewood and got the fire going. By then I had supper about ready, so we carried the food out to the picnic table. All that we lacked was to roast our hotdogs and we would be ready to eat. As I made the final supper preparations DH said he would go over to the camp host and pay the camping fee. The children went with him.

Pretty soon the kids came running back in a panic! (Scared me for a minute. I thought maybe something happened to DH.) But, no, apparently our site was reserved and we needed to move! It wasn't reserved till the next day so they hadn't marked it reserved, but we would not be able to stay there the next night, and since DH had to go to work early in the morning, we had to move that night! I said, "Well, let's eat supper first anyway, since we have the fire going and the food is all set out." DH said, "No. We can't. This campground is completely full. We have to go to a different campground [still within the state park] and the camp host there is waiting on us to show us where we can camp."

So... we carried the food back into the trailer, put away all the "furnishings" and firewood, dumped water on the fire, disconnected the hook-ups, rehitched the trailer and moved!

By that time it was after 10:00 pm so we didn't build another fire. We just nuked the hotdogs in the microwave, ate supper, and went to bed!

The rest of our camping trip was very nice, though. I enjoyed watching the sun come up with my coffee and Bible after DH went to work the next morning and before the children got up.

We got back out there about 6:00 on Friday evening. Still several hours of daylight. We had a fire and cooked hamburgers on the fire. Then DH and the kids went to a ranger program at the amphitheater to see a film about "Bears!". The dog and I stayed at the campsite to keep an eye on the fire. I listened to old time radio programs on my MP3 head-set and worked Sudoko puzzles while they were gone. The dog enjoyed watching the other campers and their dogs, and also the prairie dogs that inhabited the campground.

After that the girls roasted marshmallows and then went to bed. DH and I enjoyed conversation, the campfire, and the stars!

The girls had fun hiking and exploring and checking in on the walkie-talkies today. DH and I mostly just relaxed!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Montana trip

We took our new RV to Kalispell, Montana to the MT homeschool convention this past weekend. That was fun!

Since it was the holiday weekend we stayed over an extra day and went to Glacier National Park. We were disappointed that the pass on the Going-to-the-Sun Road was still closed, so we couldn't go all the way over it. We bought an annual NP pass because we plan to go to the Grand Canyon later in the summer, and the pass is good for any NP. Two visits to a NP pay for the annual pass! That would also allow us to go back to Glacier after the snow has melted to drive the complete Going-to-the-Sun Road. It's only about 4 hours over there, so we could make a day trip of it if we wanted to.


Since the main road wasn't an option we took a 27-mile-long gravel road up the western edge of the park. I was hoping we might see some moose or bears... but no such luck. We did see quite a few deer, though. And they were mostly just curious, not skittish. They would just stop and stare at us as we stopped and stared at them! "Nothing to see here. Move along please!"

The scenery is beautiful in northwestern Montana. Unfortunately for us it was a chilly, drizzly weekend. But we still enjoyed the trip!


Next up: Boise, Idaho next weekend for the Christian Homeschoolers of Idaho State convention.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Lay aside every weight...

"...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..." (Hebrews 12:1)

Life is so over-whelmingly busy, sometimes I wonder if I'll make it. It seems that there's never enough time to get everything done, and responsibilities crowd in on every side. As I read this verse earlier this week I began to think about what some of the "weights" in my life might be. What could I "lay aside" that would help me "run with endurance"?

I remember reading a quote several years ago that said something like: "God will give us the strength and grace to do everything He has called us to do." Has He really called me to do everything I've taken on?

Maybe not.

Friday, May 12, 2006

For your convenience...

Why is it, that so many things that are actually inconvenient are labeled, "For Your Convenience..."? Do "they" (whoever "they" might be) really think we're that stupid?

I was just in Safeway buying some cough medicine for my child who has a cough. In the cold medicine aisle was a notice: "For your convenience Sudafed products are now available in the pharmacy." I did know that. It's been that way for several years. But... excuse me??? For my convenience??? I don't think so! I understand why they had to do that, and have jumped through the hoops without complaining on more than one occasion to buy that particular product... but please don't try to make me think this is a favor you're doing me!

Okay... well... in a round about way, maybe it is. I guess it is for "my convenience" to help control drug abuse... but, really, couldn't they just say what they mean? "Unfortunately, due to abuse of an ingredient in Sudafed you will now be required to ask for it at the pharmacy. We apologize for the inconvenience."

I've also seen signs at various places, "For your convenience please turn off your cell phone..." What? Are we just so selfish we will only be coerced into being thoughtful if we can be convinced that it's in our own best interest? If so, that's kind of a sad commentary on our society!

But you know what? Maybe that's just the way it is. I have noticed repeatedly that most people (even Christians) are only willing to help out with needs of others if it's convenient for them first... and that's too bad.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Meet the Candidates

Our homeschool skate meeting was today. Typically the kids skate... the moms have a meeting, with time for fellowship (what I call "just vis'tin'") afterwards. Well, today we had an interesting experience...

I knew it was "Meet the Candidates" day at the skate, and while I'm not exactly what you'd call "politically active" I figured I would just take my knitting and find an out-of-the-way corner to just listen... or tune 'em out and daydream... as I knitted. As we approached the skating rink we noticed that traffic was backed up really bad. (Small city, main highway, but not an interstate. The highway has really lonnnnng stop-lights through that part of town, but traffic usually does flow pretty well.) We soon realized that the stop-and-go traffic was a result of the traffic light being out. It was a huge mess! I gingerly made my way through the intersection and arrived safely at the skating rink to discover that the power was out in that part of town! After some general confusion and chaos the skating rink people finally decided they could open all the doors which would allow enough light inside that the children could still skate, and the weather was pretty enough that the moms and the "candidates" could have their meeting outside. That worked out about as well as could be expected. I got the kids signed in to skate then went back out to find a seat in the sunshine. (The wind was chilly! I was only bearable when the sun was not behind a cloud.)

Now, like I said, I don't pay a lot of attention to politics. I am forever grateful to those who do! When it comes time to vote I usually just ask someone I trust who I should vote for! Not very responsible of me, I know, but I figure I do my part taking responsibility for other things in life. Today's experience was a perfect example of why I don't care for politics! I actually thought I might take away something worthwhile from this opportunity to hear each candidate speak. The homeschool organization had a short list of questions for each candidate to address. Guess what? Every last one of them had the exact same answer for every question! (Okay, there were a couple of minor exceptions, but nothing that would swing my vote one way or another.) Really, the only thing I had to judge them by was my general impression of personalities! Afterwards I was visiting with a friend and confessed my aversion to politics. She told me which of the candidates were "good ones" and I was kinda surprised to find that my "gut feelings" had not steered me wrong. But, overall, I considered the 2 hours of listening to the various ones speak a general waste of time. I still wouldn't know who to vote for if my friend hadn't told me!

Friday, May 5, 2006

Our new trailer

When change is gradual it seems like it's not quite so painful. Fortunately for us, most change is gradual. Every now and then, though, the seasons of life have defined lines. My family crossed one of those lines this week... we bought a travel trailer!

Growing up in the country, I never had occasion to go camping as a child. My husband, on the other hand, was a "city boy" and his family frequently went camping. He was the youngest of 5 children, so by the time his memories were being formed his family had a travel trailer. What is rather sad to me about that is the fact that those are practically the only memories he has. He remembers very little about his children except their camping trips.

I was introduced to camping as a bride of 6 months. We borrowed a tent and made do with whatever else we had that would serve as camping supplies. I remember sleeping in our coats on our first camp-out because it was in the 40s at night and we didn't have sleeping bags. We cooked our meals over an open fire. I absolutely loved it! Since then we've accumulated an assortment of "real" camping supplies, including our own tent and sleeping bags... and we head for the mountains or the forest as often as we get a chance.

About 3 years ago we "upgraded" to a tent trailer. I actually like sleeping in a tent, but we decided a trailer would be more convenient. We could keep all our supplies together in it (and not have to round them up every time we wanted to go camping), and if we wanted we could even travel with it. For camping it was great! But for traveling, it was more trouble than it was worth.

This spring we have decided that the time has come to get a real travel-trailer for a variety of reasons, camping being the least of them. For several years I have been a consultant for Sonlight Curriculum and we travel to various homeschool conventions each summer. We have been pulling a utility trailer to these events anyway to get my display materials there. Our tent trailer was not big enough for the display materials plus what we would need to live in the trailer for several days. Not only that, it had no bathroom. The new RV will give us what we needed in that capacity. Also, we live in a very small house. We have talked about building an addition to give us a little more elbow room. However, my husband has not the time nor skill to accomplish such an undertaking. But we can use the RV as an office and spare bedroom. And, of course, take it camping if we want to.

So... I figure... our tent-camping days are over. *sigh* We have officially reached middle age! *grin* I know we will love having the trailer... and it will be so convenient for traveling... but still... it's just a little sad.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Herpatology

My little girl is taking a "herpatology" class at our homeschool co-op this trimester. I had no idea what "herpatology" is. Come to find out, it's the study of reptiles and amphibians. Yesterday she proudly brought home a plastic cup full of frog eggs. They are going to hatch into tadpoles, and then turn into frogs! She is just sure of it! Not having a frog pond in my back yard, and knowing that gallon jar probably wouldn't be the proper habitat for tadpoles we duly trotted off to the thrift store to see if we could find something more appropriate. (I remembered from when we had goldfish that such critters need to have a wide surface of the water exposed to the air to get enough oxygen, so a wide shallow container is better than a narrow deep one.) I was hoping to not have to get something quite as large as a 10-gallon aquarium, since we are pretty limited on space. Fortunately, we found the perfect thing for $2! I don't know if it's a gold fish bowl, or maybe for crabs or turtles or something like that. It's good size... maybe 3 gallons? R was so excited. I told her we had to let the water age to allow the chemicals to evaporate before we could dump the eggs in. (Something else I learned from when we had goldfish.) I did some research on the internet and found out you're supposed to let it sit in the sun for 5-7 days before you get your frog eggs. Well, we had the frog eggs in hand, so I remembered I had most of a gallon of distilled water. I decided that would be a better choice. She put the water in last night and I made her wait at least overnight... not sure why... it just seemed like the thing to do. This morning she dumped the eggs in, and was absolutely fascinated to sit and study the things for the longest time! Hmm... reckon we could manage to look at one under the microscope? We should try!!

Anyway... such is our experiment with herpatology. We'll see if we actually get any little pollywogs or frogs, even, out of the deal!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Quote

"When she came to the end of one life it must not be to face the next with the shrinking terror of something wholly different--something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her. The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth." --L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Anne of Green Gables

The girls and I have been listening to the audio-book of Anne of Green Gables in the car over the last 2 or 3 weeks as we tootle about our errands. Of course I've read it umpteen times before but this is the first time I've listened to someone else read it! The reader does a great job! I am really enjoying it. I just love "Anne-with-an-E"! (My new little niece's middle name is Anne (with an E!). I suspect her mommy was inspired by this literary character, as I was by another one!)

One quote I heard today made me laugh out loud. Diana's aunt who took a shine to Anne said, "...She makes me love her and I like people who make me love them. It saves me so much trouble in making myself love them."

I thought that was great! I feel that way myself!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Children's Lit

I love children's literature! Lately I've been re-reading some of the books I enjoyed as a child. I don't know if it's the nostalgia factor or if books written back then just really were better than most of the newer stuff. Actually, a lot of the stuff I read when I was growing up (in the '70s) was written in the '40s and '50s.

I didn't start school till I was nearly 7. (The school where I started didn't offer kindergarten at the time.) I learned to read that year and just devoured books! I was reading full-length chapter books by the end of 1st grade. I remember that summer between first and second grade our tiny little library couldn't keep me in books. They would send off for books for me from a larger library in the county. The only books I was really familiar with at the time were the Little House on the Prairie books. I read that whole series that summer, and the librarian picked other books for me.

One book I remember reading was about a little girl who could read minds. I didn't remember the title of the book or much about the plot other than her brothers helping her win a spelling bee by sitting in the audience looking up words in the dictionary so she could read their minds and spell the words correctly. For some reason, I just really enjoyed that story. We moved away before too long and I never had a chance to read that book again, and I never could look for it in other libraries because I didn't remember the title, much less the author.

Imagine my delight last week when this book [The Trouble with Jenny's Ear] just jumped out at me at my favorite local book thrift store. The minute I saw it I just knew it was that book I have been looking for since 1973! And for a quarter! I finally got to re-read it, and guess what? The plot was exactly as I remembered it. Fun!

I also came across a copy of an out-of-print Lois Lenski book, Judy's Journey. I remember reading all of Lois Lenski's books (at least all that I found in the libraries over the years), but these days only a couple are available, even at the library. After I re-read Judy's Journey, I realized why. They wouldn't be considered politically correct any more. Such a shame.

I found a list of Lois Lenski titles and added them to my wish list on www.paperbackswap.com. Maybe I'll get lucky and find some more. I'm also looking for Betsy-Tacy books.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Just Ramblin'...

Currently Reading
Double Vision
By Randall Ingermanson

I really enjoyed this book. The espionage kept me guessing. The most interesting thing was that the hero of the story had Asperger's syndrome. A young man I know has that, and definitely has some challenges to deal with. This book helped me understand a little bit more about it.

In other news...

I joined www.paperbackswap.com this week. Looks like a pretty neat deal! Swapping books I've read and am ready to pass on for "keepers"! My user name there is "karlacinid" if anyone wants to sign up and give me a referral credit... or add me to your buddy list. You get 3 free credits (each credit is worth 1 book) just for listing 9 books, whether anyone requests them or not. After that, it's 1-for-1... one credit for each book requested.

I had some major dental work done Friday. A filling, a crown replacement, and a wisdom tooth extraction all in one sitting. I was doing pretty good until last night. I think I got a "dry socket" where the wisdom tooth was. Pretty painful. The dentist called in a stronger pain med for me, so now my brain is in slo-mo. It was weird through the night. I would doze off and dream, but in my dream I was always in pain!

Monday, February 6, 2006

Revival

Currently Reading
Revival Fire
By Wesley L. Duewel

Our pastor has a burden to see a real revival in our day... and I'm finally beginning to catch the vision. We have gone for so long without it, that I'm afraid I am (or was) almost to the point of not believing it could really happen again. Yesterday the pastor gave me some notes of a sermon he preached on revival some years ago (before we lived here). I haven't worked my way through all of them yet... but the following really struck me...

"...Most Christians talk about wanting God to have His way, and sing about it, but would be scared to death if He did. Regardless of what we say and sing about, God won't come unless He is welcome. We really don't want Him to come and upset our programs and plans and direction of life. It's that comfort thing all over. We don't come to church expecting God to move. We don't want Him to interrupt anything that we have planned. There is no place in our time-managed, clock-oriented, appointment-filled lives for any interruptions...

"And that is the precise reason why God comes so seldom on the church today. We can get along without Him. We go about doing the work of the church with our abilities and our strength, and we can be certain that we will reap the harvest of mere human endeavor." (--W.L. Boone, 1994)

God help us all!

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Blogging...

I keep putting off posting because I keep thinking I'll come up with something more profound than just the daily happenings in my rather mundane life. And, really... I do think about things I could post. Just never when I'm in front of the computer. I think the problem is mostly that I don't want to take the time to organize my thoughts.

I attended a writing workshop one time and one of the speakers said that most writers don't really like to write. They like to "have written". That's me. The writing process is hard work! It takes a lot of thought to come up with just the right words to express my thoughts. However, I do get immense satisfaction when a thing is done!

Okay. See. I posted!

More later.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Snow!

So it's been raining for weeks on end (seems like). I was awakened this morning by a phone call from the pastor's wife. "Better move your car. The snow plow is coming." (We live on church property and park in the church parking lot.)

Snow plow??? When we went to bed last night it was raining! And here there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground when we woke up. Surprise!

It's wet and sloppy, but the kids had fun making a snow man this afternoon.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Winter doldrums

..::sigh::..

The winter doldrums. Gray, wet, chilly days. Not even any fresh snow. Dark at 4:00 p.m.

..::sigh::..

And we're not even half way through January yet! It gets kinda depressing.

So... I guess it must be time to count my blessings. Here are some things I thought of to be thankful for even on short winter days in long winter months!

* A warm home. (It's tiny, but it's warm and it's home!)
* A fireplace. (The best feature about our crowded little house!)
* A contented husband to cuddle up with!
* Healthy, fun kids. (Most of the time!)
* The internet to "escape" on when the weather outside keeps me in.
* Free public libraries! (One of the best inventions of all time!)
* A cute, mostly-well-behaved puppy who makes us laugh.
* Plenty of food in the freezer for making hot, home-cooked meals.
* And that things are as well with us as they are.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

birthday party

We had a birthday party this afternoon! We invited the "girl cousins" over for a Hawaiian themed "party". One of the things I planned for an "activity" was experiencing fresh tropical fruit. I bought a pineapple, a coconut, a mango, and some kiwi fruit. The pineapple was a big hit. The cousins had never tasted fresh pineapple, but they ate it as fast as I could get it cut up! Kiwi was familiar and popular. The mango had mixed reviews. Some liked it. Some didn't. (I tell you what, the mango is one strange fruit to cut up! I guess I had never tried one before. I could only slice wedges off the side of it. The middle was hard, but pulpy. Weird. Maybe I need to learn about mangoes before attempting to serve one again!) The coconut was hilarious! The kids were really looking forward to it. They were sure they wanted to drink the milk. When my husband finally got it open (with a hatchet) most of the "milk" had leaked out, but there was enough that they could each stick their finger in it for a taste. Apparently it wasn't what they were expecting because no one asked for more than just that taste! And no one cared for the "meat" much either. They said they liked grated coconut better. I told them that was because grated coconut was sweetened. So now... I need ideas of what to do with a fresh coconut!

Monday, January 2, 2006

State Library

We just got R signed up to get audio books from the State Library by mail. It's a "free" (i.e. tax-supported) government program for the blind and handicapped. She qualifies because she has "an organic disfunction" that prohibits her from reading at grade level. We had to get an MD to sign for it, but her doctor was happy to do it. She's 10 and can barely read first grade materials. Actually, both girls have learning delays but they both love to listen to stories on tape. We have a bunch of Adventures in Odyssey, Sugar Creek Gang, and Your Story Hour which they really enjoy. And we have exhausted the audio books available from all the public libraries in a 40-mile radius! So we are super-excited that this program is available for our family. We got 5 books and the player to start with. As we finish a book we can just pop it back in the mail and they'll send us the next one on our list.

I know the kids will enjoy having a bigger variety of books to choose from, but the most exciting part for me is that since we use Sonlight Curriculum (a literature-based homeschool curriculum) about 2/3 of the books I need to read to them for school next year are available on tape! That will allow me extra time to concentrate on one-on-one tutoring subjects such as spelling, math, and phonics.