Monday, June 30, 2008


We had a really busy weekend. It's kinda a mixed bag when we do. On one hand, we usually are doing things that we love or at least doing things with people we love. However, on the other hand, when the weekend is over, it's over, without any downtime to relax. Then, Monday rolls around and my hubby is off to work.

Sometimes I feel a little guilty that I get to stay home with the kiddos. He drives off to work everyday while I'm comfy cozy in my jammies. I love being a stay-at-home mom. But, I know that my hubby would love to be home with the kiddos all day too. And, if there ever was a great candidate to be a stay-at-home dad, my hubby would be the best.

On days like today when I feel sorry for my hubby as he treks off to work after a busy weekend, I try not to focus on feeling guilty. I try to focus on being grateful. It's really not hard at all to be grateful for the life that I have. I have a fabulous husband who works his butt off so that I can be home with the kids. He is my best friend whom I trust 100%. He makes me laugh, comforts me, and supports me in more ways than I could ever count. We have two great children. They bring such joy to my life. Everyday is a new adventure with the two of them. I look forward to the years that lie ahead for our little family. I am so grateful for the love that our family shares. Yes, I am indeed grateful.

Today, I looked up some scriptures to help me keep an attitude of gratitude. Here's a couple that I found...

Colossians 3:15:
Be ye thankful.

I Thessalonians 5:18:
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Psalm 92: 1,2:
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord,and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:To show forth Thy loving kindness in the morning,and Thy faithfulness every night.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lost in the Translation

OK, so I'm behind in my blogging. Yep, it's rather frustrating. I've been putting what I learned in draft. Sometimes I write a little to get my thoughts down in a rough form to be revisited later. Other times, I upload the pictures so that when I do catch up, I'll have the pictures to remind me of what I learned. On really lame-oh days, I just put a title, assuming that when I see it in draft form, it will jog my memory and I will write about what it is I learned under that title. The latter is what I did for today's post. A little over a week ago, I learned about something to do with "Lost in the Translation." Today, I have no idea what that means. See, lame-oh! I'm sure it has something to do with my daughter's attempts to communicate with my hubby and I and our inability to thoroughly understand her meaning. But, for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. So, rather that getting even farther behind in my blogging, I am going to hope that one day I remember and I will come back to this post and update it with some really cute story about by daughter talking and my husband and I completely misunderstanding her. If not, then I guess that today I learned to never post a title only and hope to remember what it means a week later. Hmmm, dementia does run in my family...scary!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Today, I was going grocery shopping and I wanted to make Guacamole. My hubby loves it and I have come to really like it myself. (It's been a long road to get over being so doggone picky!) Well, the grocery store only had VERY hard guacamoles...the kind that teach you patience. Today, I didn't have patience. I figured that with my determination and the help of my food processor, the avocados would surrender to my will and become mushy. They did not. I was terribly mistaken. After fighting with one avocado for much too long just getting the peel off and digging out the pit, I placed it in the food processor. What I got looked like uncooked couscous. So-o-o-o, we did not have guacamole tonight. I learned that I need to have more patience and that unripened avocados do NOT work for making guacamole. Duh!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Boom Box

Drum roll, please...

...the Baby Boy's birthday present is finally done!

We weren't sure that he would know what to do with it but he started playing his boom box before he even had the paper off! As soon as he tore through the paper and saw the guitar strings, he started strumming away! Whoo-hoo!

As he tore through the paper, he would stop and examine all the noise makers. He loved the drumstick. It is just the right size for his little hands. He is using it to bang on the box like a pro!

I am really proud of how this turned out. My husband did such and excellent job! Here are more pictures of each of the sides of the finished product...

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy! Enjoy banging on your boom box and filling our home with your bangs of joy!!! I love you little buddy!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Country Pie

Today I made a really easy dinner. I pulled out an old copy of Kraft Food & Family magazine. It's the Holiday 2004 issue. In it, I found a recipe for Country Pie. It only has four ingredients...that's my style! The only modification I made to the menu was that I used shredded Cheddar Cheese instead of Velveeta. We don't really like the flavor of it and I think it's rather expensive. I'd rather spend the money on real cheese. Anyways, it was very easy to make and all four of us enjoyed the meal. Since it's Thursday, we had dance class tonight followed by eating outdoors at the picnic area next to her dance class. I packed up the meal and brought it with us. Afterwards, it made a really easy meal to eat picnic style and it sure beats PB&J sandwiches. I would definitely recommend this recipe!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Today I read about furoshiki. I had never heard of this before but I LOVE origami and this is so very similar. I had to go to the store today anyways, so I picked up a couple of bottles of wine for my husband. He loves wine and I was anxious to try furoshiki...we both win! I followed the directions for Bin Tsutsumi 2 or the Bottle Carry Wrap 2. I was very pleased with how it turned out. Not only did it look pretty in it's wrapping, the bottles can actually be carried securely like this. The knot at the top creates a very nice handle for carrying the bottles. Oooh, I can think of a million uses for the different furoshiki carries!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bandana Pants

Following the directions on Blue Yonder for Bandana Pants, I made my daughter a pair today.

They are so-o-o-o-o simple to make. All you need are two matching bandanas, some elastic, and your sewing machine. They are too cute on her and she is actually wearing them. She LIKES them! Miss PickyPants will actually wear them and she says they are very comfortable.

I used the left over material to make a matching scrunchy for her hair. No pattern for that...just guessed at it.

She wants me to make more pairs for her. She has big plans for all the colors that she wants. She says she wants to wear them every day. And, when I called them pants, she looked at me and said, "Look, Mommy, they're a little short. Let's call them Capris." I had no idea she even knew that word but apparently she does and she knows its meaning. So, yes, dear sweet child. I'll make you more bandana capris.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Memoirs of a Geisha

Last night I finished reading Memoirs of a Geisha by Aurthur Golden. This was a fascinating book that truly captivated me. I had a very difficult time putting the book down. I would often read it before going to bed at night and I would awake in the morning with thoughts of the story roaming around in my head. In my sleepy state, I had difficulty differentiating between the fiction and the reality.

I am really bad at writing book reviews so I will not attempt to do so. A friend recommended the book to me and her review is here. She read the book because she is participating in a summer book challenge on another blog. That blogger's review is here. Both of them express my feelings about the book quite accurately.

So, what did I learn from the book? Aside from the obvious lesson that I learned about a great book, I learned a lot about the geisha. I know that the book is fictional but Arthur Golden did extensive research before writing the novel and there were many things that I simply did not know before reading the novel. The very concept of a geisha was very vague to me. Now I have a clearer understanding of their life, their role, their struggles, and their successes.

In researching to learn more about the Geisha, I learned that Arthur Golden was sued for breech of contract and defamation of character by the woman he interviewed in his research for the book, Mineko Iwasaki, a former geisha. She was promised that she would remain anonymous when the book was published yet, Golden listed her in the book's acknowledgements. She later went on to write her autobiography in a book titled Geisha, A Life. Perhaps this will be a book that I read in the near future. Sounds pretty interesting.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Temporary Tatoos

We went to a car show yesterday and our daughter was given a set of four temporary tattoos. She wanted each of us to wear one of them. I vetoed the baby getting one since I wasn't too sure what goes into making the tattoos. I also knew that it would drive him nuts trying to pick the tattoo off of his skin. However, my hubby and I didn't escape our little tattoo artist.

Daddy and daughter got matching tattoos on their feet.

I got a tattoo on my ankle.
We had fun with the tattoos and I've had several people, including by dad, ask me when I got a tattoo. He-he. It does look pretty real.
I was still wondering what goes into the tattoos so I did a Google search and found this information. It turns out that most temporary tattoos are screen printed. Decalcomania is the process of applying water to the paper coated with transfer film and transferring the tattoo from the paper to the skin. The inks used must meet FDA standards.
The site where I found this information is called Wow, what a great site! Here's how they describe their site... " is a comprehensive online educational resource. Used daily by thousands of students, teachers, professors, and researchers, eNotes combines the highest-quality educational content with innovative services in order to provide an online learning environment unlike any other." I will definitely be visiting e-notes again.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ready, Set, MOW!

Today I learned about the US Lawn Mower Racing Association. Yep, I know it's weird, but it was really fun. After going swimming this morning, we headed over to the races to see what it was all about. Our kids loved it!

The drivers start on one side of the track and the lawn mowers are on the other. The announcer shouts, "Ready, set, MOW!" Then, the drivers run to their mowers and get them going. Boy, is that noisy! Imagine how loud it is with one mower mowing your lawn. Now, imagine the sound of you and ten of your neighbors mowing at the same time. It is NOISY!!!

The orange mower, number 524, was our daughter's favorite. She cheered for him as he sped around the track. He didn't win but it was fun cheering for him.

The announcer arrived in this green mower. His helmet was decked out with a green mohawk and when he removed the helmet, he actually had a green mohawk for his real hair-do! It was hard for the kiddo to figure out how the hair went from his head through his helmet. She was fascinated!

It was a beautiful day. However, the only bad part was the heat. It was very HOT today. The sun was brutal. Since we had just been swimming, we had the kids' towels with us. My hubby took the baby's hooded towel and used it to cover his head. Ya know, he's gotta protect that balding head!

If you ever have the chance to see lawn mower races, go! It's weird, it's quirky, it's noisy but, despite all that, it's just plain silly fun!

Friday, June 20, 2008

August Rush

Today we watched a fantastic movie. It was a gift that my hubby had received for Father's Day. Since part of his gift was going to a concert to see a young prodigy performing on the guitar. I thought that a movie about a guitar prodigy was apropos. So, we gave him the movie, August Rush.

We both really enjoyed the movie. It's one of those movies that just makes you feel good. And, it made both my husband and I feel very inspired. I imagine that our home will be filled with more guitar playing than usual over the next few days. Its a story about childhood, love, music, and hope. It is definitely a movie that is filled with hope.

In addition to the feel good tone of the story line, I also really enjoyed the music. Throughout the movie, they took classical music from one stage and rock music from another and played them simultaneously. It created a beautiful effect with the haunting tones of the classical orchestra music and the driving force of the rock. It was a really neat effect paired together.

A quote from the movie..."The music is all around you, all you have to do is listen."

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Grandma and Grandpa gave our daughter a lamb in her Easter basket. Not a soft cuddly one, a science project one. It involved taking cardboard pieces and fixing them together. A plastic head was placed on top of the cardboard "body." The lamb then stood on a stand in a little petri dish type thing. Then, the "magic solution" was added to the dish. Afterwards, the sheep grew "wool." Our daughter enjoyed watching it change and found it rather fascinating. We kept it up and out of her reach where it could be observed but not disturbed.

No matter how hard we tried, the lamb would get bumped and the "wool" would fall off in tiny flakes. It looked like the sheep was snowing. I was already curious about what the "magic solution" was but with it snowing in our house, I decided to investigate. The package said that it was "non-toxic" but that was all. There was nothing that identified the ingredients of the solution. I found an online company that sold them and emailed them my question.

Here is the response that I got...

Thank you for your e-mail.

I have had a close look at the instructions, and the ingredient is potassium phosphate. Now I did a degree in chemistry, but that was quite a few years ago! However this is not going to be something that is poisonous. Wikipedia has a piece about the three versions of potassium phosphate - - all of which seem to be used as food additives, among other things!

The instructions say that it should be used by children over 10 years, and that there should be adult supervision, which is probably sensible. There are the usual warnings – wash your hands afterwards, etc. The product has been sold in the UK for many years, although it is I believe made in Germany.

Basically, I would be happy for a 10 year old of mine to do this, with a little bit of supervision. To be really cautious, I would probably suggest that you do not allow the child to place it by their bed, in case they start eating it in their sleep, although I doubt that would do them any harm.

I hope this helps

Hendrik Ball

I really didn't think that I would get a reply and his made me smile. Gotta love a company with good customer service. So, I learned about Potassium Phosphate, fake sheep and an interesting website. I found that they have a section with optical illusions. Some of them are really tripped out and very fun to look at. It's weird when your eyes and your mind see two different things.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Postcard Postage

I'm getting ready to send out invitations for my daughter's 4th Birthday.

Yikes, did I just say fourth?!?!? How can it be her fourth birthday already?

Anyways, our invitations are postcards and I haven't mailed a postcard in years. I had to look up the postage and learned that a postcard stamp costs $o.27.

Ya, pretty boring, but it's what I learned today!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Birds and Bugs

Today was one learning experience after another for me. First, my mom came over for a visit. While she was here, we went in the back yard to look at our garden. She noticed that we had some pests that had munched on some of the leaves on our veggie plants. I expressed my concerns over using traditional, chemical pesticide....primary concern being that the kids are very involved in the garden. I'd rather let the bugs eat it all then expose my kiddos to harmful chemicals. She suggested a kid friendly alternative...a bit of dish soap and water in a spray bottle. We made up a batch and the 3 year old was more than eager to go try it out. I certainly hope it works.

Then, a friend stopped over to drop off a book for me to read. She also brought me iced coffee...yum! Her hubby noticed some of the birds in our front yard. One that he noticed was a Robin. He asked if we had a Robin's nest in one of our trees. I really didn't know if we did or not. I certainly hadn't noticed one. The reason he asked was because of one of the birds that he saw. It was a Robin whose underside was spotted in a blotchy sort of way. He pointed the bird out to me and explained that this was the markings of a young Robin. I had noticed birds like that before but never knew anything about it. I was happy that he had pointed it out.

Finally, one of our caterpillars spun his chrysalis today. Our family is fascinated by this. I watched it with my students when I was teaching but watching it with my family is really fun! Or curiosity was peaked, so we did some research. I learned that there are a number of "bugs" that have a pupa stage. From Wikipedia:

Holometabolism, also called complete metamorphism, is a term applied to insect groups to describe the specific kind of insect development which includes four life stages - as an embryo, a larva, a pupa and an imago. For example, in the life cycle of a butterfly, the embryo grows within the egg, hatching into the larval stage caterpillar, before entering the pupal stage within its chrysalis and finally emerging as an adult butterfly imago.
The superorder Endopterygota groups holometabolic insects. Orders in the superorder are :
Coleoptera - Beetles
Diptera - Flies
Hymenoptera - Ants, bees, sawflies and wasps
Lepidoptera - Butterflies and moths
Mecoptera - Scorpionflies
Megaloptera - Alderflies, dobsonflies and fishflies
Miomoptera (extinct)
Neuroptera - Lacewings, antlions, etc.
Protodiptera (extinct)
Raphidioptera - Snakeflies
Siphonaptera - Fleas
Strepsiptera - Twisted-winged parasites
Trichoptera - Caddisflies

I was shocked by some of these...especially fleas. Pretty interesting.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Impromptu Farm Visit

Today we went to a heritage farm that is owned by a forest preserve. The farm is no longer used as a working farm it is purely educational. We know the family who donated it to the forest preserve so it was a really interesting stop to me. Having grown up in rural Midwest farmland, it was like strolling down memory lane.

The place was a ghost town with literally not a soul there. However, that was kinda nice for us...peaceful, quiet, and all ours for the afternoon.

I didn't really get the point of some of the displays. Some of them were historical, some of them were informational, but others were just whimsical and a bit silly.

While some of the things we saw, did not make sense to me, the kids love it. So, I guess the curators must know something about their audience.

The place was full of metal large sculptures. Both children loved these and they made gorgeous silhouettes against the cloudy sky.

The kids favorite part was the chickens. They LOVED sitting on the eggs like a real hen. We had fun "hatching" our baby from his egg.

There was a large field of clover. This gave me a great place to feed the baby while his big sister picked clover. Then, we all had to be adorned with the clover...even the baby brother...

The absolute favorite of the day was "driving" the real tractor. Both kiddos LOVED it!

We definitely will be going back. Farmland is quickly fading from where we live. Where isn't it fading, honestly? So, to have a place to take my kids and teach them about our agricultural heritage is fantastic.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

After church today, the kids took their Daddy out to lunch for Father's Day. We had a yummy time at one of his favorite restaurants (he has several!). We made what was supposed to be a quick stop at the grocery store. I say "supposed to be quick" because it actually took a very long time. It entailed my daughter and I trying to find our way out of the store by trying to jump over an ocean of spilt wine. (long story) We eventually came home and he opened gifts, ate chocolate chip cookies and then, we sent the kids to bed for their naps. It was imperative that the kids get their naps because the big event was this evening...

My hubby loves guitars. He not only enjoys playing them himself, he is inspired by other guitarists as well. He has his favorites... Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen and others. But tonight we were taking him to see someone that he had never heard of. We were taking him to see Tallan Latz. Tallan, or T-man as he is called, is one of the world's youngest Blues guitar players. I had never heard of him before but when I heard about the concert, I knew it would be right up my hubby's alley. I contacted the wife of one of his guitar playing buddies and we went to the show with their family. It was great fun!

We enjoyed the show immensely. That boy is talented! For an 8 year old, he sure does have stage presence. Before the show and during breaks between sets, he would mingle with the crowd and play around just like any other 8 year old but the moment he stepped onto the stage and began playing his guitar, he would light up. He would jump around the stage and perform all sorts of fancy guitar moves. He even played the guitar behind his back!

The kids even got to meet T-man and get his autograph. Both kids were fascinated. The 3 year old thought it was really cool that he was a kid playing on the stage...not just watching. The 1 year old just kept watching the stage. He was enthralled with the music.

Ah, it was a great Father's Day! Good fun, good food, and good company.

Above is a picture of how the sky looked after the was beautiful!!!

Happy Father's Day, Honey! Our kids are so blessed to have you as their Daddy and I'm doubly blessed to share this parenting journey with you and to be your wife. We sure do love you!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Diving In!

I am a firm believer in the importance of knowing how to swim. We enrolled our daughter in swimming lessons the summer after she was born. She LOVED it. Every year, she has been really excited about going to swimming class or "see-bo-tas", as she would call it. Last year she did not go. We had a newborn baby which makes such a venture difficult. But I also wasn't too thrilled about trying to squeeze my newly un-pregnant body into a swimming suit for the parent/tot class. I'm not too thrilled about it this year but now I have no excuse.

Today was the kids first lesson of the year. It was a first for both of them. Our daughter is old enough to attend without a parent in the water with her. She was a little nervous but she knew three of the boys in the class already. We had told her that one of her friends was a little nervous about swimming without his mommy. When the teacher asked them to walk into the water, she grabbed his hand and the hand of another friend and they walked into the water together. I was so proud of her!

Leading up to today, I was a little worried about the baby. We have had water issues with him. He did not enjoy the water park at the Wisconsin Dells. He spent his first 9 months hating baths. He would scream and kick and work himself into a tizzy each and every bath. Some friends let us borrow their bath seat and he has been a changed little man. He actually enjoys baths now but only if he is in that seat.

I knew I couldn't take the seat with me to swimming class, so I was a little worried. The first half of the class, he was pretty stoic...just watching everything with a very serious face. Then, the teachers had us pretend to be motorboats blowing into the water with our mouths. He thought this was a pretty funny thing to watch Mommy do. After that, he loved everything. He was clapping and splashing the water and laughing at everything. Whew! What a relief!

I was very proud of both of my kiddos. I feel relieved that they both will be exposed to the water in a safe and supportive environment. So, here's what I learned today...I looked up what the American Academy of Pediatrics thinks about babies and swimming. They are not in favor of it until the kids are 4 years old. Here's what they had to say...

"Until more clear-cut scientific evidence exists on the effects of infant and toddler aquatic programs, the AAP recommends the following:

  1. Children are generally not developmentally ready for formal swimming lessons until after their fourth birthday.
  2. Aquatic programs for infants and toddlers should not be promoted as a way to decrease the risk of drowning.
  3. Parents should not feel secure that their child is safe in water or safe from drowning after participation in such programs.
  4. Whenever infants and toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within an arm's length, providing "touch supervision."
  5. All aquatic programs should include information on the cognitive and motor limitations of infants and toddlers, the inherent risks of water, the strategies for prevention of drowning, and the role of adults in supervising and monitoring the safety of children in and around water.
  6. Hypothermia, water intoxication, and communicable diseases can be prevented by following existing medical guidelines and do not preclude infants and toddlers from participating in otherwise appropriate aquatic experience programs.
  7. Pediatricians should support data collection, drowning prevention research, and legislation aimed at reducing the risk of drowning in young children in and around water. "

I actually agree with their recommendations. I don't expect my kids to be independent swimmers any time soon. I would NEVER leave them alone by water. And, I really don't feel it gives me a false sense of security in their swimming abilities. My goal of swimming classes is to help my kids feel comfortable in the water so that in future years they can learn how to enjoy it safely.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Today, Grandma came over to make chocolate covered strawberries with her granddaughter. When I first heard her idea, I cringed. Yikes, chocolate all over my house! Can't we do it at your house?!?!?

Guess what? There's a fairly mess-free option. Baker's makes a dipping chocolate that is in a microwaveable tub. You just nuke for 30 seconds, stir it and repeat until it's melted.

Nuke, stir, nuke, stir, nuke, stir, dip, yum-m-m-m!

When it's all melted, you can dip right into the container and when your done, it has a resealable lid. Leftover chocolate can be saved and melted again later. Pop the strawberries in the fridge for 10-15 minutes and they have a hard chocolate coating.

Simple. Easy. Yummy.

My daughter was so excited to give one to her Daddy when he got home from work. She was very proud of her early Father's Day treat!

It kinda makes Friday the 13th a little less scary!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Surprise House Guests

A friend that I used to teach with stopped by today for a visit and she brought friends...

Due to the unseasonably cold spring that we had, she had to wait to release her Painted Lady Butterflies that her class had been watching transform from caterpillars. The delay caused a problem. Those frisky little butterflies mated and laid eggs. Instead of tossing them, she called the company that she had bought the caterpillars from and found out how to raise them. The eggs hatched and she took care of a large number of tiny caterpillars. They grew and today she was releasing them into the wild. When she had 4 left, she thought of us. She stopped by with all the supplies that we need to raise Painted Lady Butterflies. My daughter was ecstatic!

What I learned about today helped us look at them up close, examining all of their details. The above picture was taken through a magnifying glass from Lakeshore Learning. It's called a Big View Magnifier. I've never seen one like this before. We LOVE it. It folds flat which makes it easy to carry around and to store. Once you unfold it, it is freestanding and it has the perfect amount of room for her hands to place objects under the glass. We have not only been looking at the caterpillars but EVERYTHING else too. My 3-year-old is fascinated with looking at the details of objects under the magnifying glass. It's on loan with all the other butterfly equipment from my friend but we will be buying's worth the investment.

We are more that happy with our new houseguests! I haven't raised caterpillars since I taught kindergarden 7 years ago. It will be so much fun watching them through my children's eyes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sewing Darts

After all the crafting that was done for the baby's 1st birthday, I vowed that I would not do any crafts this week. None. No freezer paper. No sewing. No scrapbooking. None. It has been a flurry of creative projects around here and other things have been neglected. Mainly laundry. So, I decided that I would catch up on housework and perhaps get to some organizing that I have been wanting/needing to get done...closets, cupboard, crawlspace, laundry room, etc.
Confession time.
I sew today. Not much, but I did use the sewing machine. The three year old's new pair of shorts were too big and she was very distraught over this fact. Out of necessity (really, it was necessity), I sewed two darts into her shorts. I really have no idea how to do this. I have never done it before and I'm sure I did it wrong. But, I did it. She tried them on and they fit perfectly. The first time! Success!
Now back to my vow of no crafts.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Art Imitates Life

My daughter has always been really creative. She loves all things that have to do with art. Her artistic expression sure has exploded this past year. There isn't a day that goes by that she isn't drawing something. I love to see what she comes up with each and every day. My chest puffs up with pride as she sketches her friends, her baby brother, her family, birds, trains, or the view from her window. One of my favorite things that she draws are experiences that she has had or things that she has seen. This is really interesting to me because it's a way for me to see what has caught her attention and what has stuck with her.
Well, today, there was no puffing of my chest with pride. No, indeed. The girl decided to draw a picture of something that interested her...the bugs in my light fixture. The bugs that I should clean out but that I hope no one notices...

The black circle is the light fixture. The yellow is the light shining. And that green, creepy, crawly thing? Yep, that's my bugs! The orange at the top is a ribbon that she attached for hanging. So-o-o kind of her! Here, Mommy, let's hang the picture up so everyone knows that there are dead bugs living in our lights! Geesh!

And, to show that art does really imitate real life, here's the light fixture in question (I'll only show one of them but, actually, there are two of them)...

So, yes, I did promptly clean out the bugs in the light. The cleaning was accompanied by a million questions about bugs and lights. She is so curious! But first, here's my clean light...

I was having a hard time getting this picture. It was hard to see that the bugs were actually gone. I tried with different flash settings and I got this picture. I kinda like this one. It looks like a full moon!

Anyways, all those questions about bugs led us to do a little Mother/Daughter research. We found lots of really technical sights that definitely weren't at the 3 year old level. But then, we found a site with a transcript from an interview with Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus.

We found our answer and some online learning fun! Bonus!

By the way, the bugs go by the light for several reason:

  1. They use the moon and stars to guide them at night and they get our lights confused with natural lights.
  2. They are attracted to warm things because warm things generally mean food.
  3. They stay at the light because they get very confused when they realize that it is neither a celestial light nor a warm body to eat.

Now, on to clean that second light!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Uniting My Address Books

I know that this post is nothing to write home about but hey, it's what I learned today!

I was working on thank you notes for the love that the baby received in honor of his 1st birthday. I was looking up an address on the white pages online. I noticed a button on the page that allows you to save the address to Outlook. It takes the address of your contact and saves it in you Outlook address book. I was able to get my house addresses and email addresses together in one place. This is big for me. I have been living with the info in separate locations and it is a pain in the rear. I've just been too busy (or lazy) to get the two pieces of information together. Now they are and it feels good. Check that off my to-do list!

So, today I proved that learning something new everyday isn't interesting. But, it is useful!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Red Robin

Immediately after church today, we helped move church supplies to the new location for the church. By the time we were finished, we were all VERY hungry - especially the 3-year-old. Across the street was a new restaurant, Red Robin. We had noticed that the sign said, "gourmet burgers." Seeing that statement means that it is just the place for my hubby! We went and he tried a burger but I tried something else. I ordered a Whiskey River BBQ Chicken Wrap. The menu describes it as, "A fresh spinach tortilla with a juicy chicken breast smothered in our signature Whiskey River® BBQ Sauce, all wrapped together with Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tortilla strips and a touch of ranch dressing. Served with fresh melon and Bottomless Steak Fries." Mmmm, was it delicious. I shared it with the baby and he loved it too! I have to say, learning about new restaurants and new foods is one of my favorite things to learn!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Peonies and Parties

The Baby Boy had his 1st birthday party today. Before we left, we saw that the ants had come marching in...literally. Our peonies were covered in ants.

My mom and my grandmother always told me that the ants were necessary for the flowers to bloom. Today I learned that this is just an Old Wives Tale. The ants are NOT needed to open the blossom into a flower. They are there to eat the nectar that the peony blossoms produce. So, the ants are just there to eat a sweet treat and with or without them we still get flowers...sweet!

So, today we celebrated the 1 year milestone for my baby with family and friends. The ants came marching in and the Peonies came out to celebrate the boy. That made me smile! The great thing is that this is only the start of their beauty. Those blossoms mean that there will be plenty more beautiful Peonies yet to come!

Friday, June 6, 2008

About Graduates and Play-doh

My third class of 4th graders graduated from High School today. Such a weird feeling! I attended the graduation and watched with pride as some of my former students received their diplomas. One of my students even gave a speech as class president. Yes, I was very proud.

It's quite an amazing feeling to know that that diploma represents the accomplishments of their 13 years of schooling. To know that I had a part in guiding their learning for one of those years is very rewarding. In a small way, I feel as though I own a part of that diploma that they are receiving. Heck, they couldn't have graduated from High School if they hadn't made it through 4th grade! Together we studied each of the regions of the United States. We studied rocks, the Solar System, and electricity. We learned long division, fractions and how to convert to metric. In 4th grade, they graduated from picture books and started on chapter books. Where would they be without learning all that?!?!? I know that I am overstating my role but it is hard to put into words the pride that I feel when I see one of my former students walk across that stage in their cap and gown and receive that diploma. In my mind, they are still 10 year olds hanging on my every word and now they are one step closer to adulthood.

Well, what I learned today is a quote. It's not from a former student but it is from one of the graduates...the Valedictorian to be specific. She ended her speech by challenging her fellow graduates to not forget the experiences gained from high school and their childhood, but to learn from them. To make this point, she challenged, "It's often said that you need to stop and smell the roses but I say that you need to step back and smell the play-doh."

I like that. Sitting there in those bleachers I reminisced about each student and I remembered the play-doh...the snotty noses, the scraped knees, the dandelions picked just for me...the successes and the failures...the experiences that shaped them and me. I hope each graduate does a little reflection and remembers the play-doh too.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Birthday Boy's Shirt

I'm working on my last project for the baby's first birthday party. I decided to take my new love of freezer paper stencils and make a birthday shirt for his birthday party. Today, for the first time, I tried using two different colors. I want his name to be in black with a large blue number 1 behind his name. To make the stencil, I used a font from Microsoft Word to make the name and number. I just picked a font I liked, made it the size I wanted, printed it out, and then used the X-acto knife to cut it out. Easy peazy.
My dilemma today was figuring out how to use the two different colors in areas where the two colors touch. I ended up doing one color first and after it dried, I painted the touching areas freehand since I didn't want to iron a new stencil on over the newly painted area. I was pretty nervous about whether or not it would work but it did. I am very happy with the results

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

WOW! What a Contest!

I learned today that Rocks in My Dryer is hosting a contest. Here's what the blog says about the contest..."The nice folks behind WOW Hits 1 are offering TWENTY winners each a boxed set of 17 CDs, one CD for each of the artists represented on WOW Hits 1." You could win 17 CD's! That's an amazing contest and their giving this set of CD's to 20 people. That makes the odds of winning even better. The list of 17 CDs is on the blog and you can learn about WOW Hits 1 here.

Go enter the contest. I did. Good luck!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Whisked Away!

We have a submersible blender that we use a lot for smoothies, shakes, etc. It is a very handy tool that we use a lot around here. Well, it came with a whisk attachment that we have never used. Tonight I was making pancakes and I thought it would be a good time to try the electric whisk. Bad idea.

(Blogger decided to turn this photo too. Tilt you head to the side to get the full effect!)

It shot the pancake batter out of the bowl faster than lightening. The sink, the counters, the refrigerator, the floor, the throw rug, the baby boy and I were all covered in pancake batter. The poor little guy was standing beside me when the stuff shot out and his face was at just the right height to get the blunt of the batter. Poor little guy's face and hair were covered. I felt horrible! I learned a lesson today...don't do that again! And, if I do decide to take the whisk attachment out again, I ought to read the instructions first.

I just have to post the following picture because today I learned that after dinner disasters, a little dress up can help cheer a mama up!