Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

Thank goodness this year is over! I am so done with 2010, its played out. It has been one heck of a roller coaster ride (Have I mentioned how much I hate roller coasters? no? O well consider it mentioned!) I am relieved that the new year is starting with new promises in it.

Here is a pictorial look back at some of my most cherished moments of 2010... There was some good in there, not a ton but some. ;)
selling girl scout cookies

Getting caught in the rain

Glass Beach Fort Bragg California

our anniversary in Fort Bragg

The Pacific ocean after a storm

Vietnam Vet memorial

My love escorting the Senator who wrote the bill

our actual anniversary
The sign says it all 

Jason singing to us

My beautiful daughter & I @ the concert

The main attraction

The Last Rodeo Brooks & Dunn

Big foot

Cheese factory mmm

Amethyst @ gem & mineral shop

The Jeffers clan 

Camping in the redwoods

we went here.
The kids on confusion hill

Labor day parade, my beauty in front with the flag. 

Christmas tree hunting.

My what a year its been! I am looking forward to 2011 and all the wonderful adventures that we are going to get. I hope that you all have a fantastic ringing in of the new year and that your year to come is blessed with all the good you can imagine. I hope that the bad is overshadowed by all the great and that you can see the good times even in those bad ones.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Ornaments

 So I wanted to post a pictorial of directions for how to make this years ornaments but I have not gotten them done yet. I made two different ones so far. They were examples for the girl scout troop but were lots of fun to make and my kids loved them! We also had another ornament planned for this years special ornament making event. We will likely get it done in the next day or so but for today here is a look at the ones I made for my daughters girl scout troop.

Penguin on a sled snow globe ornament

Snowman Snow globe ornament

The Wish list
We modified the wish list a little by adding the child's name to the top before the word wish list and then asking children what they wanted on their list.

these were a lot of fun to make. I must say putting the pictures in my blog today though was not so much fun! blogger kept putting all my pictures at the top of my page before all my words. I hate it when this happens and I have to keep editing my HTML just to get the pictures where I want them.

Off to do some fun things with the kiddos now... we are off to the Library! :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A most UnUsual Christmas thus far

Well 1/2 of my finals are finished! This is a great relief to me, the hardest final is out of the way. The other one while, I know will be difficult, does not have me in knots the way the essay one did.

So with that relief in my mind I thought I would tell you a bit about whats going on in my life besides Finals at school.

My other half is away for the first time in our history together, he wont be here for Christmas. This has taken some real getting used to. He will be home a few days later.  So to attempt to have some of the same traditions that have become so dear to our family we started early! Never in my life have we gone the day after Thanksgiving to get our Christmas tree but it was the only weekend we had the chance to do it where my mate would be able to join us.  We have made a tradition of going and cutting down our own tree at a sustainable natural growing Christmas tree farm. We have gone to the same one for 5 years now, Mountain View Christmas tree farm has beautiful trees and a wonderful fire pit to warm yourself by after you hike their 6 acre farm. Since we are staying with friends they joined us and we had a blast searching high and low for our 7 1/2 foot Douglas Fir tree.
going up the hill first to search for our tree
No matter how big they get, they still want dad's warmth
The whole gang together, that is an antique sleigh!

The Tree got dressed up in all sorts of home made finery. The tree has the theme of family this year. We have family ornaments from both families.

A few short days later we had to take the Mr to the Airport. He is gone doing some training for the Marine Corps and we miss him lots. We did take the opportunity to take a family photo together the morning we were leaving.
I love this photo for many reasons, but mostly because its just us loving each other a little.

That Dashing Marine is mine, those are our 4 beautiful kids who we are blessed to have. Maybe tomorrow I will get to share some craftiness with all of you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Its Finals Week

Its Finals this week for my 2 college classes. Of course this is the week that I come down with the mother of all Migraines! Everything I have done both naturally and in pill form has not gotten rid of the headache. I need to find some relief so that I can study for these finals and get them out of the way.

Once these finals are done I can get some really cute blogs going. I have some great blogs that are in my brain, Christmasy blogs even. Blogs all about our traditions. Blogs about our adventures, o yes we have had a few. Blogs about the changes going on in our lives. Blogs about fun things to do with your kids this time of year. See I have many wonderful tails to tell... If only I had more time to tell them in!

Now to get rid of this MIGRAINE so I can think! Any suggestions?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Teaching Independence?

Is this something we really teach or is it a way of life that some have and others lack?

I have always felt that my most important job as a parent is to guide my children into adults. I believe that children only become responsible when given responsibilities and given the support to do the task at hand.

I have always facilitated my children's independence. In every little thing they do I am encouraging independence in their lives.

Some of the ways I do this are to start them out very early. As toddlers I encouraged them to pick up their own toys as soon as they were done playing with them. We kept a basket in the living room with all their toys in it and they could play with them whenever they wanted but when they were done all the toys had to be picked up and put back. As they got older we increased the responsibilities according to their age and ability.

At this stage I have very independent children. Sometimes this is bad for me as the parent, but then I remind myself that it simply means I am doing my job very well. My job is to make adults, not create big babies.

I have come to realize that not everyone holds my ideals, not every parent thinks or understands that their biggest job is to raise healthy functioning adults. I am amazed that there are people out there who do not grasp the concept that teaching children to be independent is fundamental to them being functioning adults. It's as if they expect that on their 18th birthday suddenly a child goes from being a child to being an adult. This is no miracle. It happens gradually over the years if you are teaching it.

So what do you, my readers think? Do you think that its important to teach children how to be independent or is this something you feel that will happen over time?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

6 kids, 6 dogs, 3 adults, 2 rabbits,1 house.

This is the story of a generous woman, a full house and how we are making it all work.

My dear friend opened her home to us recently and even said we could bring the pets! This is astounding to me that someone who 3 years ago I did not even know opened her home, and let us come live with her and her children. Yes its short term as we should be getting orders from the Military for active duty soon. But let me tell you it sure makes people turn their head and wonder "How are you doing that?"

Well my simple answer is with organization! Truly it is one of my favorite things. everything has a place and if it always gets put back in that place then its easy to find and nobody is tripping over it all. This of course is not nearly as easy as it sounds. Especially when you are working with people who are not used to this type of living. Kids are all learning to share space quite well actually. I think my youngest two are having the hardest time mostly because they are not used to sharing their bedroom with the entertainment room. You see the house has 3 bedrooms and in order to not displace my friend from her room we doubled up the older kids and turned the front living room into a half bedroom half game room for the kids. This actually will work very well once we finally get a good system down. The kids computer is going in there and the movies and game systems. This will allow them to have a room to play in and a room for us to gather in. We are using a curtain to separate the rooms and if i could just get the older one to stop harassing the little ones verbally we would be golden.

The dogs each have their own "beds" because we have each of the crate trained. It was a challenge trying to decide what room to put their beds in but I think we have it worked out so that we have plenty of room for all the animals and plenty of room for the people.

Combining two households can be complicated... I think we are getting by fairly unscathed. There have been no major fights, not even between the adults. I also know when I have had enough and I go to my garage  room. Last night was one of those nights... I was burnt out after a whole day of paper writing for school. I made dinner and then my loving husband who is leaving in 4 days scarfed it down not saying a word and then went on to complete a project he was working on. It all left me feeling very weary and I went to bed early. I excused myself after tucking kids and dogs into bed and then got caught up folding clothes that I had neglected for many days now.   Have I said how hard it is to combine households yet?  

I am still searching for balance in my home education of 4 kids, college education for myself, and now living with another family that requires me to combine our households. It really isn't as bad as it might sound and I am so happy that we have a place to land until the rest of it works out... now the waiting for the rest of it to work out is the hard part!

I am also longing to get to the creative part of me and I simply do not have the time yet! maybe soon... I hope!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Todays Lesson~Reading

I love to read. I love all manner of stories and I find them most entertaining. I also know as a daughter, sister, and mother of dyslexics reading is not always an enjoyable experience. My son who has dyslexia has not really found much joy in reading yet. He is now 13 and A is doing so much better with his reading that I am consistently proud of him. We however have used audio books to spark an interest in his desires and I think its really helped. We found this web site called 'Books should be free' where there are hundreds of classic stories all with free mp3 downloads. I have enjoyed many books myself this way. it is nice to be able to sit and crochet or craft and have someone else read me a story.

Today we are going to listen to "The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus" by L Frank Baum (yes thats right he wrote more then the Wizard of Oz)

Today we are working on site words for the little ones, They already have a love of books. They love when someone else reads to them. Now I want to encourage them to read to themselves. Until now neither of them showed the signs of reading readiness. We believe that until the children show signs we do not force reading, or reading practice. We learned early on in our homeschooling adventures that pressing kids to early can cause frustration and anger. Some kids are ready early some are ready late but at any rate when you allow a child to learn at their own pace and when they are ready they learn quickly because they are ready. So this morning I found this site where all the dolch site words are in puzzle form in groups of about 10 words per puzzle. I printed off several for each child to practice today. I then created a printed page with lined paper for them to practice spelling the words, I wrote 10 of the 20 words on the practice paper and had them practice writing the words. We will probably repeat the same ones in a few days just to see which they remember and which they don't. I am also in the process of writing little stories in word format to go with these that they can practice.

ahhh the joys of reading, it all starts somewhere.

Monday, November 29, 2010

new look

So I spent way more time then I intended to spend editing my background and redoing a whole bunch of stuff on my blog. What else is new?

Life has thrown some serious curve balls at us but we are regrouping as best we can. We are blessed with great friends, who are supportive in more ways then one. We also learned some people are not as good of friends as we had thought. So goes life.

We only have a few weeks then its Christmas. For the first time in 17 years my husband and I will be apart for Christmas. I know being that he is a Marine I should count myself lucky that he has never been gone for the holidays but with everything else that has happened this year it just feels like Icing on the proverbial cake. The kids and I are going to make the best of it. We will be baking and making lots of goodies for friends and family. We will have fun searching for some recipe that is vegan friendly for my sister, and looking for wonderful things to make for my parents, brother and other sister. This will all be worked into their lesson plans for the coming weeks. We are looking at the Great Depression and learning a lot about life back then. How families worked together and how it applies to our current situations. Life is not always easy but if you learn how to make the very best of it and enjoy what you do have you will get farther in this world then if you are a negative nelly.

So for the most part the moving is over, most of our stuff is in storage, a few more boxes must go to storage and a few need to come back because they accidentally went. Moving will happen soon enough to a permanent location as yet to be named. It will be decided by the Marine Corps. Hopefully sooner rather then later.

I am going to be back to blogging on a fairly regular basis, hope you all didn't miss me to much.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Interactive video Andy Grammer

I know I said I was going to be away for a while but I just HAD to share this new interactive video by Andy Grammer. My good friend Zachary Rudolph is the Bass player in the band rockin the dreads in the video. Have fun changing the video around and discovering alternate views, its a load of fun!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stepping away for a bit

There are a lot of life changes going on at the moment and I will be away for a little bit. I am not real sure how long it will be but I hope to be able to resume blogging before thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis is Latin. Its probably the only Latin phrase I know. It means Always faithful. It is most well known or heard in its shortened term Semper Fi. Shouted at the top of the lungs of any United States Marine. It has become a term near and dear to my heart. The United States Marine Corps adopted the motto in 1883 on the initiative of the 8th commandant of the Marine Corps Colonel Charles McCawley.

Why you ask is this so important to me? I am married to a Marine. plain and simple. There is nothing better in my life and on this day, The 235 birthday of the United States Marine Corps I want to pay honor to the Marines in my life.

I want to post some info on the Marine Corps. Some will be history, some will be facts and some will be just things I love about the Corps.

The Marine Corps has the longest boot camp of all military branches. In the Marine Corps it is always called Boot Camp NEVER Basic training.

Every Marine is a rifleman. This means that ALL Marines are taught how to shoot a weapon with extreme accuracy no matter what other MOS ( job ) they may do in the Corps.

All Marines are always referred to as Marines. There is no such thing as an Ex-Marine. Former Marine if you feel you must but never should a Marine be refereed to as an ex-Marine, or a Soldier. A soldier is someone who serves in the Army. You can always refer to a Marine by their rank no matter if they are retired, discharged or active.

The Marine Corps Hymn is copyrighted and has been since 1891. The Hymn incorporates famous battles that the Marines have been part of since its inception.

During WWII the Marines used Navajo Code Talkers to confuse the German soldiers and win the war.

The most well known photo from WWII, and the statues erected in its image is actually the Second flag raising on Iwo Jima, not the first. The first flag raising was of a small company flag and when the fleet arrived with a larger flag the small one was replaced and returned to the Marine Company that it belonged to. This second flag raising is what is photographed and remembered.
First flag raising
Second flag raising

 There are many terms of  "endearment" that Marines and those that know them will use when referring to them. To a Marine these are not insults, that is unless you happen to be a squid in a bar and then you should hope you have plenty of other squids to back you up. A few of these are Devildog, Jarhead, leatherneck.

Devildogs is the english version of a German soldiers nickname for Marines and was given to the Marines during the battle of Belleau Wood in WWI, 1918. The actual name is Teufel Hunden which translated means devil dogs.

The Marine Corps Mascot is the Bulldog. This is because of the nickname that they were given in WWI by the German Army. The first English bulldog who was made a Marine was Jiggs. Jiggs earned the rank of SgtMaj (thats Sergeant Major to those who don't speak Marine Corps rank fluently) and passed away in 1927. However a new English Bulldog took his place each year until the 1950s when the new bulldog was named after LtGen (Lieutenant General ) Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller Jr. Since that time each Marine Mascot has been called Chesty.  Chesty even has his very own specially made uniforms.

For those of you who do not know LtGen Puller Jr. "Chesty" was the most highly decorated Marine in the history of the Corps. He is beloved by all Marines. You can learn more about Chesty here.

Marines are taught how to adapt and overcome every situation. It is somewhat of a Motto for a Marine. It holds true in everyday life and serves them well no matter where they are.

Nobody looks better in their Dress Uniform then a United States Marine!

Happy Birthday Marine Corps. Semper Fi do or die.
For good measure here are some rather infamous quotes:

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a MARINE and his rifle!"

"We're surrounded. That simplifies the problem!"

"I can never again see a UNITED STATES MARINE without experiencing a feeling of reverence."

"I have just returned from visiting the MARINES at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world!"

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Todays lesson brought to you by...

Annie Leonard.

Seriously at our Luminous Learning Academy we LOVE Annie! She is fantastic at putting big information into easily understandable mini movies.

Today was the release of The Story of Electronics...

I want to encourage everyone to watch all of the videos on the website. Not only are they great from an educational stand point, they are short and packed with lots of information. The Story of Stuff website has videos on "The Story of Stuff", "The Story of Cosmetics", " The Story of Bottled Water", and "The Story of Cap & Trade". We have watched each of these videos and they are fantastic. Annie doesn't mix words about how bad for us so much of this stuff in our daily lives is. She does put everything in a very clear down to earth terms so that even the youngest person can understand. My 6 & 7 year olds watch these videos with us and we are all becoming more aware of the things that we buy, use and how we use them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Craft purchasing etiquette

If you are someone who loves to purchase hand made crafts because you yourself are not crafty but can appreciate someone who is you should know a few things.

1. A crafters time is worth the money they charge for their items.

2. Just because you can find similar items cheaper at a box store does not mean they are worth less money.

3. Placing an "order" with someone you know who crafts, be it knit, crochet, sew, beading etc is not a polite way of asking if the person would be willing to make something for you.

4. Gushing profusely is completely appropriate.

5. Yes a handmade blanket REALLY costs THAT much! (see rule 1 for proof)

6. Unless a crafter has a booth, an online store, or other venue do not assume that they are willing to make and sell their crafted items.

7. Do not assume that a crafter is willing to create special items with your favorite color choices.

8. Compliment the crafter on their hard work, abilities, and color schemes.

9. Always tell people who the crafter is that created the item you love so much, when possible hand out extra business cards. If rule number 6 applies!

10. Share these rules with everyone you know so that we can all support one another.

* yes I am a crafter! I love to crochet, make jewelery, and sew. I however have gotten away from selling my items OR making them for people who do not appreciate them. To many people seem to think since they can buy a knit cap from a box store that my lovely crocheted items should be less expensive. The yarn alone costs between $5-10.00 and the hours it takes me to sit and make an item are still worth being paid a wage per hour. I am an expert in my field of crochet, which means I do very advanced patterns and my items are sturdy. They last a long time and are well put together. Yes you could probably find an item that would "work" just as well as my lovely handmade items, however they will be just like everyone else's. They also are machine made and took a fraction of the time to complete.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Time Change?

Experts claim that day light savings time changes actually save us electricity. I personally do not believe this.

My kids still wake up every morning at the same time and they go to bed at the same time so for me changing times does nothing but mess up my sleep patterns. So instead of the kids getting up between 7-8 am when we fall back they are getting up between 6-7am and they still go to bed between 8-9pm. Falling back actually causes more disruption then anything.

So I started looking up information on why they think it saves energy. This is illogical to me. We use the same amount of energy it just varies. Do we use it in the morning? Or do we use it at night? Either way you are still using electricity and therefor it negates any "savings" we could possibly be getting from changing our time every few months. I believe personally that this is more detrimental to our sleep patterns and causes more problems for our bodies then it could possibly be for our electric pocket books.

You can find a link to some daylight savings for energy savings info here. It is on the California government pages, there is also a link to a study on how daylight savings time actually increases the demand for electricity not the other way around done in 2008 in Indiana. Indiana research article is actually done in a college format paper. It is easy to read.

To back my claim that daylight savings time actually can be more harmful to the body then it could be to save any amount of money on energy here is a website that answers questions about how it medically effects your body. medical questions answered

So what do you guys think?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Trying to find balance

In my life I try really hard to have a balance in all the things I do. Since starting school that has been really difficult for me to achieve. I want to do well in school. I have never gone to college before and honestly I hated school when I was a kid. That was one of my many deciding factors in my drive to homeschool my kids. It feels like I do not have enough time to do the things I want to do, let alone all the things I need to do. I am only taking 2 courses online at the college. The online factor has been great. I love that I can either watch classes on the tv or online after the class has been on. I however have a major project that I am supposed to do in one of those classes and I have not even come close to finishing it. I have to interview someone for this and I have not been able to find anyone to interview. Of course this is mostly do to the fact that I am home so much and none of the people I know fall into the category that I need for the interviewee. I find that at the times that I am trying to work with the kids for their school I am thinking about all the things I still have to do for mine. Or when I should be relaxing I am worrying that I am not teaching the kids enough and their schooling is so important. I do not feel like I have enough time in the day and a lot of things are falling by the wayside. The laundry is piling up, the floors need a good cleaning, the dogs all need baths (again!) and well I am certain that my kids are missing far to much of me.

How do you balance homeschooling, going to college, taking care of a house & family, and play time? I have not found this balance yet. Something may have to give.... I just don't know what!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Greatest Generation

Yesterday I went to the funeral of my Great Uncle Mel. I remember this man as a laughing jovial man. When I was a tiny girl he would pick me up and let me rub his flat top back and forth "for luck". He always let me sit on his lap and play with the cb radio he listened to and we would talk to the truckers out there. His wife my Great Aunt (and grandma's sister) passed away several years ago. Each of her sisters has passed away and the only one left alive is my grandmother. An entire generation of our family has nearly become extinct.

This realization had me contemplating how the greatest generation is all slowly slipping from our world. It is just one person at a time and a great history of ours is slipping away from us. Why was this generation of 80-90 year olds called the greatest generation?

  1. They were children/teens or early 20's during the Great Depression. This gave them perseverance. The great depression lasted from the late 20s to early 40s. This taught many of them how to make do with what they had. Be creative, and resourceful. It also taught them that you get more in life when you work together. Whole groups of people lived together in communities to pool their resources. In other words people Helped One Another!
  2. They were the adults of the World War II era. These men went off to valiantly fight a war against a tyrant that tried to take over the world. This generation of women changed the world for all women by going into the work force during the war effort. 
  3. Not only did women work in the work force they were nurses and some even went into the Military.
Is it any wonder that these were the Greatest Generation? These men and women achieved great things in their time and they are slowly slipping from our world. If you have anyone left in your family from this generation talk to them. Get their stories ask them about the time they grew up in. What was the Great Depression really like? What were some of the main meals their family survived on during that time? Did They work in a factory, or were they in the war? Honor them.

Something strikes me as I ponder these things. Our children are growing up during a Depression. This may not be as severe as the Great Depression but things are not getting better as fast as politicians would like us to believe they are. The population of people who are still unemployed is growing, and more and more families are finding themselves put out of homes. I hope that I am doing my children a service by showing them how to persevere during this difficult time, I hope that they grow up to be great people and I hope that we are all learning from the history that is not so distant past.

My grandmother is 90 years old. She is not an easy person to talk to because she does not always remember what shes talking about, or if she told you the same thing 3 times or not. I do not see her often but I am grateful for all her generation did. I hope to learn from them and I hope to honor them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I have had several requests for a few recipes and I thought today would be a good day to share those with you all. I was going to make them again and take more pictures but life has just been way to busy for that and I really wanted to get the recipes out for those of my friends who really have been patient waiting for them.

Remember all of these recipes are my own. They are copywritted by me as they are my own personal adaptations and creations. If you are inclined to use them please also be inclined to give me the credit I deserve. :)

Zucchini Bread/muffins
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil (I use coconut oil but you can use just about any oil)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (or use 3/4 cup sugar and 4 tbsp black strap molasses, if you use this method omit the brown sugar completely.)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Dump everything into a bowl and mix. yep its really that easy! stir everything together just until its all incorporated and then pour into muffin pans or into a loaf pan and bake at 325* for 1 hour for bread pan or 25 minutes for muffins.

Blackberry Oatmeal Bars

1 cup flour
8 tbsp butter (use REAL butter not that fake stuff!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup whole oats
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 tsp baking soda

melt the butter and pour over the dry mixture mix well and then press about 3/4 of this mixture into a 13x9 pan. bake the crust for 10-12 minutes in a 375* oven until light golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool.

add 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts to the remaining crust mixture. This will be your topping.

in a small sauce pan combine
12 oz of frozen blackberries (if your using fresh you will need a good bit of fresh berries, I also use raspberries, blueberries or a combination of all 3)
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey, I prefer this instead of sugar)
simmer on medium heat during the time the crust is in the oven is usually about the right amount of time. The sauce should reduce and thicken slightly but still be fairly thin. You can mash the berries up or leave them whole. Pour over the slightly cooled crust. top with remaining crumb mixture and bake in the oven at 350* for another 10-15 minutes. remove to wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting.

I hope that you enjoy these recipes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

time flies when your having fun!

Somehow I am the mom to a 16 year old today. She has grown and changed over the years and I am constantly amazed that she is who she is. How did I get so lucky to be her mom? I mean seriously she is an amazing girl woman! She is funny and sweet, very down to earth but loves to dream with her head in the clouds. It doesn't seem possible that she is almost an adult, wasn't it only yesterday when she was a baby?

Then back in September she almost died when her appendix ruptured and leaked into her belly for a week. She did not have any of the typical symptoms at all, only flu like symptoms that did not go away completely for 6 days. She was in the hospital for 13 days, in the ICU for 9 days and it was easily the most terrifying thing I have ever been through. I am glad that she inherited my drive because on day 3 in the ICU she told her father "don't worry I can't die, I have to many things I still have to do."

Now how about a look through the years at my growing beauty? 
M's Kitty cat costume 2 years old

Me, Daughter M (2 1/2) and Son A 
Daughter M age 11
M & Snickerdoodle her first bunny, age 11
M blowin bubbles age 13
M searchin for easter eggs age 14
Me & M @ brooks n dunn concert 
M last week playing with the pottery wheel. 

Happy Birthday my darling Daughter. I am proud to be your mom and I LOVE you! 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finished... kind of

well I posted a few weeks ago and asked yall to help me decide what to make for myself out of this wonderful luxurious Alpaca yarn, you may remember it but if not you can refresh your memory here. I really struggled with choosing just the right pattern and I had to really think hard about how to decide what was best for the yarn, and for me.

I finally choose this pattern here called the Pineapple Shawl. It was not in the original mix of shawls but I found that it fit best into what I needed and wanted in a shawl.

I finished it a few days ago but was reluctant to post pictures or a blog because really it needs to be blocked to show off its true beauty! The biggest problem is that we have had one cold day after the next and blocking is a wet process and will require me to pin the finished product to my bed. This means I will need a fairly warm day void of rain to be able to leave the bedroom door open and the fan blowing on high in order to vacate the room of the smell that I am told will come from my beautiful project.

If you want to learn more about blocking please check out this blog. It is filled with wonderful tips and tricks on blocking projects.

now for the few pictures I took. I was not very good at taking pictures as I was working the shawl. It really didn't take me long to complete it. I calculated it took about 6 hours total, and only 4 days. that was working on it a bit here or there in those 4 days time.

The first picture I took was the first night and it was only an hour of work.

I used no flash, but I wanted you to see the depth of black
The flash washed out the black a bit in this picture, but you can see the stitches a little better. The edges are curled up slightly which makes viewing the true splendor of this shawl a bit difficult until its blocked. Once its blocked I will have to post a new blog to show you all the wonderful splendor of it completely finished. 

I am in love with my pineapple shawl. It lays perfectly and is warm enough when I just need that something light over my shoulders. I love how pretty it is and how elegant it looks if I use my Great Grandmothers Cameo to pin it shut. Please let me know what you think. 

O and if your so inclined to ask  "Will you make me one?"  or any variation of said question...

The answer is  YES for a price! I charge $10.00 an hour for my labor plus the cost of materials. The cost of Materials is to be paid up front and you are welcome to choose any materials you want. I also charge actual shipping costs, so if you live somewhere in a distant land you will be charged the cost of whatever shipping agent I can find is the cheapest to ship the finished product to you. I am allergic to wool so I do not ever work with it. I however am not allergic to Alpaca, Cotton, or any acrylic yarn. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

its all in the interpretation

There are always different ways to look at everything. I learned a while ago that I needed to stop looking at everything in black in white.

For example take this weekend:

Perspective 1~
we sat around all day long in pjs cuddled under blankets and snacked on food. We watched movie after movie and didn't plan anything else all day.

Perspective 2~
we spent the entire day immersed in education. We explored cyclones, learned all about the great depression & how hope was reborn, we journeyed to China & learned the true meaning of Kung Fu and then we adventured into medieval times where we learned about the code of honor.

Now perspective 1 is the typical view of how things are done. You certainly would not assume that if a family sat and watched movie after movie all day on a Sunday that they learned anything at all. Of course we are talking about movies and can we really trust the Hollywood version of anything? Well the truth is that a movie is where the interest sparks. Once we see interest in a subject we can delve deeper. As an organic learning parent my goal is to teach the children how to recognize their passions. So we spent the day watching movies and exploring where our passions could lead us today. 

For those of you sitting here wondering what movies we watched.
We started with a classic, The wizard of Oz. 
This movie has so much educational experience all rolled into one movie that its no wonder its a childhood favorite. You learn how to make new friends, but keep the old. You learn how to trust your friends will be there for you. You learn how to defeat witches, even if this requires you to have either A) a house or B) water. you learn that sometimes those minions who are doing evil deeds simply are doing them to have a job to do and would be happy to see the evil power vaporized so they could go about doing good instead. Of course you also learn the obvious things like you do not need a degree to be smart, you don't need to be noticed to have courage, you certainly do not need to wear your heart on your sleeve (or your metal chest) in order to prove you have one, and if you are lost Home is only as far away as your loved ones are. 

Next we watched Seabiscut. 
If you do not know the story of this amazing horse you should certainly watch the movie. Not only is this movie done well it is a heart warming story. The story of Seabiscut tells us about the Great Depression and how broken men and a broken horse came together to beat the odds. The horse was a tiny horse in comparison to all other race horses, he was broken in spirit and broken physically when his new owners took him and turned his life around. Seabiscut beat the triple crown winner War Admiral in a Match Race at pimblico. There is something to be learned from watching a little horse with a big heart win a race that most thought he could never win.
If you have never seen this match race before check it out:

Our next movie was the New Karate Kid
This was actually not a movie I had ever wanted to watch because I am a fan of the original and I honestly HATE remakes. That being said this was a great movie. Not only is it done differently with a different feeling and setting but it has same general gist of the original that you are compelled to watch it. Jackie Chan brings his expertise and is a wonderful edition to the movie. Jaden Smith is a talented young actor who I foresee going far in this business. The movie holds some great morals and teaches that fighting isnt always the answer. It also is great at proving that you can and do learn things in ways that are not typical to how everyone else learns. Jacket on Jacket off. ;) its the new wax on wax off. Get with the groove. 

Our final movie choice is a little known movie called Dragonheart. I know that many people do not know this movie but it is a good one. This movie teaches a lot about the code of honor. This code is what honorable knights of the round table fought by and is used throughout the movie as the basis for why the honorable knight does what he does. 

I learned a long time ago that it is important to change the way you view things. If I didn't change the way I viewed things I wouldn't believe that my 7 & 6 year old who are playing at my feet with their duel electric pianos were learning anything at all. I wouldn't believe that children could learn while watching movies, or that not everyone has to do everything exactly alike in order to learn. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday edition

The weekends are a lot like the weekdays around here only nosier because thats when all the neighborhood kids are around.

We are not early risers in this house. More of the mid morning type, not really late but some people would seriously balk at the idea of getting up every morning between 8-9am. Some mornings I think getting up earlier then the kids would be nice, but on those mornings when I attempt it they just get up early because they hear me doing anything in the kitchen and hate to be left out! That makes it contrary for me to get up. While I love spending as much time as I can with my kids (why would I homeschool if I didn't?) there are times that I really would like to just be alone with my thoughts.

This morning is no different. I got up first this morning. let the dogs outside, did my morning work out and now am sitting here with my hot drink trying to write up this blog and having my thoughts interrupted by children running around behind me tossing the ball with the dogs rolling on the ground playing 'keep away' and making other noises. I just do not understand how to get those quiet moments without them hearing me. Its like they have supper mommy detection or something.

In other news... The shawl is finished! Expect a blog all about it with detailed pictures to come soon. I was going to try and have it done today but I simply do not think that will happen. We are having guests for dinner and I still have to block it. I will take pics of it before blocking, during blocking and after blocking but I wont put the blog together until it is all done and I can show the process. Of course there are not many pictures of it in different stages of starting and stopping because I started it and worked on it a total of 6 hours. There was a few days in between but total work time was only 6 hours and I just never thought to take a picture at the end of the night when I was nearly finished with it.

I hope all you lovely readers have a great Saturday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In Awe

This morning I am filled with so much pride for our country and the world as a whole. I awoke to find the news that so far 17 Chilean miners have been removed from what would have been their tomb. 

Chili reached out to all the high tech people all over the globe and brought in as many people as they could to help facilitate a rescue of the miners who were trapped more then 2000 miles under the ground. These miners have spent between 69-70 days underground living off of nutrition supplements and water that was dropped down to them daily. 

It fills me with pride that so many people cared enough about these trapped miners to work day and night to help rescue them. This is what the true spirit of humanity is about. I am touched that so many people have reached out to help miners and their families. 
I have nothing more to add to this blog today. I am simply in Awe of the human spirit and inspired to reach out to people. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

10 reasons Columbus was no hero

My family and I feel very strongly that today is no holiday, should not be celebrated and is in fact a criminals holiday. I am working to set the record straight for some people who may not know the difference.

These are in no particular order and I will furnish links for as much of the information as I can to verify said facts.

1. Columbus did not set foot in what is now known as The United States. In 1492 Columbus discovered the Bahama's. It is unknown precisely what island he landed on, only that the island was named San Salvador by him although the native people of the island had a different name for it. 90-95% of the population he came in contact died within months of his contactverify here

2. Columbus believed that he had discovered a new route to Asia until he died.

3. Columbus enslaved the native people and returned them to Spain as 'proof' that he made it to Asiaverify here

4. Columbus was arrested on charges of tyrannyVerify here

5. Columbus was a liar. He made up stories of the Native people in order to validate his capture and enslavement of the Native people. While Columbus once referred to the Taino Indians as cannibals, a story made up by Columbus - which is to this day still taught in some US schools - to help justify his slaughter and enslavement of these people. He wrote to the Spanish monarchs in 1493: "It is possible, with the name of the Holy Trinity, to sell all the slaves which it is possible to sell Here there are so many of these slaves, and also brazilwood, that although they are living things they are as good as gold" Verify here 

6. Columbus was a rapist who encouraged his men to take what they wanted from the enslaved Taino Natives as well. verify here

7. Columbus was a thief. He stole what he wanted from the Native people. verify here

8.  Columbus was a bruit who would disfigure Native people if they simply did not give up what he asked for. verify here

9. Columbus was a racist. You can verify it from the last two links.

10. Columbus was a pedophile. "selling girls as young as 9-10 into sexual slavery" verify here

These are my reasons for not honoring this man on this day in America. My family is of Native heritage and this alone is enough to not celebrate this day as a holiday. These 10 reasons only fuel the fact that he is no hero.

One of the best books we have found in our organic learning adventures is Lies my teacher told me. Please do yourself a favor and read this book. It is a brilliantly written book that exposes the truth of many historical facts we were taught in school.

I would also like to take a moment to do some honor to my Canadian friends. Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. Canadian Thanksgiving began in 1959. I am thankful for my Canadian friends, they are such friendly people. :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The final decision

I made my choice on the shawl I wanted to start. It ended up not being any of the ones that I had posted pictures of. Go figure!

I took into consideration all the votes and I almost started the vintage pattern. I likely will still do the vintage one but just not in the black alpaca that I so desperately wanted to get my hands on! I love the vintage style and I agree with those that said it was so much like me. However it did not have quite the elegant style I wanted. I love the shape of the vintage style one. I wanted one that was round around the back, and had that flow to it. I wanted something that I didn't have to piece together later, which is the one thing that I hate about any square that you make. The pieces are a pain and it feels tedious! So while I loved the elegant shawl I posted I just could not imagine having to put all those squares together after having made them all.

So onto the style I did choose...

This is called a Pineapple shawl because the pattern resembles the pineapple in the center. I love how simple and lacy it looks and I think its elegant but could easily be worn with jeans and t-shirt. I started it night before last and have already come a good way. I only have worked on it for about an hour and a half so far, but here is a picture of the progress. 

The pattern is free, and can be found by going here. It is supposed to be an intermediate pattern but so far I do not feel it is all that complex. If you know how to triple crochet then it is fairly simple. I will post pictures and blog about the progress and the final process once the project is completed so please check back often to find out how it turned out.