Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Spark brought with his sword, just in case....I am not sure just in case what. Between the two of them where it is hard to see him the cat, Kacheekers, is wrapping around their legs. He follows us around when we are outside like a dog would do. He is strange cat who doesn't do many cat like things.
And that is a glimpse at the flip side of our lucky life :o)
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
In the picture above, you can see a "strike anywhere" match on the right, the one on the left is the "strike on box" variety. When I was a kid we usually had the Ohio Blue Tip brand, that's the one on the left, on the right is an off brand I got at a convenience store in a small town. I snapped them up as soon as I saw them.
I imagine everyone has heard about the rise of the drug "meth" in our country, especially in rural areas. It is easy to think that "meth doesn't affect me". It is possible that some people in my area are involved in making/selling meth. No friends of ours are, as far as I know.
I can tell you some ways the war on drugs affects me with regard to meth. The phosphorous containing tip of the strike anywhere match is used in making meth. Stores are discouraged from selling these making them a rare commodity (that's why I bought them right away). Lye is used to manufacture meth and homemade soap. To get lye to make soap I need to travel 18 miles to store that still sells it, again stores are discouraged from doing so. If you stop at grocery, or convenience store to buy cold medicine that contains indgredients used in meth, you will find they are all behind the counter or in a locked cabinet in accordance with our state's laws.
These are small inconveniences I will admit, but that's why it gives me joy to strike my match anywhere.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
He is looking over all the games and find one that he wants. He went out to the car to get his money and comes back in with a jelly jar of change and a napkin (we use cloth napkins so it was sturdy) full of coins tied up with a pink pipe cleaner. He dumps the change out and I untie the napkin, which only has dimes in it, and start to count it out on the counter. This did not embarrass Spark at all, he just went on like it was the most normal thing in the world to pay for purchases with jars and napkins full of change. The guy comes over and says he will help us count it because I can see he is thinking that this could be an all night affair and they closed in an hour. I think Spark had a total of eight quarters and the rest was dimes, nickels and pennies. Spark did have the exact change for the sale though! I asked the guy if he has many sales like this and we were his first one but he won't be surprised if he has more. I guess it would be better to get a napkin full of change than a bounced check.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I tell you they are a lot more helpful when they are selling the warranty than when they are honoring it. It was a huge deal that we had all the paper work, which we did in a neat little bundle. This seemed to bother then them, especially when they said, "do you have the original receipt?" and we did, still looking as crisp as the day we got it.
Next was to get the replacement camera from a bored, nineteen year old in the customer service who acted like she was doing us this huge favor by replacing our broken under extended warranty we bought with the camera. Then I asked her if the three years left on the warranty transferred to the new camera with the same paperwork. Nope, that warranty was done because we had already used it. So it wasn't a four year warranty it was a one time warranty? Yup if they can't fix the broken one, but we can buy a new one with this camera. Well I had better, I told her, they obviously don't work very well and I just spent a $175 dollars on this camera by using the warranty, plus now the cost of the new warranty. Now we knew why all the reports we read said that they don't fix them every often.
We had more trouble with the warranty than this but these are the highlights. Grrrr. Anyway we have a new camera that is exactly like our old one after two weeks without one at all, and for this I should be so grateful that it was replaced. I would have been much happier with the old one that had worked and not broken at all.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
1. This book flip flops between her past and her present time. Do you like that style of writing? Pros? Cons? Why might the authors have chosen that style for this book?
2. Isabel comes to crown Robert Bruce because that would have been the job of her family? She is married to a n enemy of Scotland. Should she have been true? She was married off for some land, is she obligated to be loyal to her husband's family?
3. Do you remember any reference to other people being in cages in the book?
- safe in the cage of her father's arms
-Isabel in a cage of marriage
-Longshanks in a cage of his own rotting flesh
-Longshanks - a cage of asking and having to fight not being able to die peacefully in his own bed
-Robert Bruce - Scotland was, according to Longshanks, not his kingdom but a cage. Scotland is surrounded by water on three sides and Longshanks on the 4th.
4. What cages do we live in? Do they protect us or restrict us?
5. Compare Longshanks to Robert Bruce. Who was worse? Better?
6. Compare Elizabeth and Isabel.
7. Marjorie thought Isabel was fabulous. Was she? How was Isabel dangerous? Was Isabel dangerous?
8. Why do you think Longshanks comes to see Marjorie so often? Does she fight back against him? Is it effective?
9. Day 3. When she is waiting for the peasants to come and see her she says "Well, let them come. I shall ignore them. They are low, common and English, not worthy of my attention. Dear Lord let me ignore them. Or let one of them speak to me."
-It can't be both ways. What are the costs of both? Which would you want?
10. Page 134. Acts of Charity - there were 7. One was feeding the poor and one to give drink to the thirsty. At day 15 Longshanks decides to starve her. On day 20 the monks come to feed her and give her drink. Was this too long for action? If it had not rained or snowed during this time she would have died before they came.
11. Marjorie said once to a monk, "Can someone order you to break God's commands?" "Can even King Edward order you to go against God's will?" At what point should we step in to help someone?
12. Who are the heros in this book? Brother Quintus, Elizabeth, The Abbot, The kids from town - Enid and her brothers?
13. Marjorie says she will die serving Scotland but Longshanks will die serving only himself. Is there any difference between their deaths?
14. Was Robert Bruce serving Scotland or himself? What price was he willing to pay for the throne?
15. Three girls come by to see if she is really a princess. She sings the song
Come pretty girl, tell me true
Am I as thin and dirty as you?
She says "Put a princess in a cage, I think, and in mere days she is like a peasant: dirty, hungry, horrible. Put a peasant on a throne....but my mind will not go there.
What was she realizing in this passage and song?
16. What are some lessons Marjorie learned from her stepmother?
These questions took us about an hour and a half to go through. Then we had pecan pie and blackberry cobbler for a snack. I had hoped to make baked oatmeal to represent the gruel she was given in the cage but didn't have enough butter so that was nixed. Dancer and I decided that the pie and cobbler would tie into the story with the last huge meal they were served at a castle they stayed at before their capture.
Monday, March 22, 2010
For example, she will ask, "Do you know what is gross?"
Sounds like a question so I start answering. "A kid who eats boogers, stepping in dog poo barefoot, the smell of food that gets left in the car in the summer?"
"Yes, but I am just going to tell you."
"Why did you ask then?"
Next time, "Do you know what is crazy?"
" Your brother, that I can't get anyone to pick up after themselves, that a pack of hot dogs and pack of buns don't come with the same number of product in each one?"
"Yes, but I am just going to tell you."
"Why did you ask then?"
And so this song and dance has gone on between us for the last year or so.
Now she will say "You know what I hate? Don't say anything I will just tell you!"
I guess she doesn't want my opinion anymore ;o)
Sunday, March 21, 2010
1/4 C butter
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 C. flour - no, that isn't a typo it is 1/3 cup flour
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs. Stir in cocoa and flour. This is the order we mix them in but you do it in any order you want. Put in greased 8x8 pan. Bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes. These are dense and chewy - a heavenly chocolately treat. Try them, you will be glad you did.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
He has spent the afternoon scouring the internet for solutions on what to do with it now. One place said that Game Stop will buy them and have them fixed - not true. He called them and as he was hanging up the phone he said "They pay zero dollars and zero cents for broken game systems." I wasn't surprised but didn't want to dash is hopes in case it really was true. Anyone out there have any suggestions? If he gets a new one it will be because he bought it with his own money so he is desperate to find a way to make it work.
Friday, March 19, 2010
So without pictures here is what we have been up to:
- Dancer has been sick. So sick one day that she didn't even want the t.v. on. You know a kid is sick when they don't want to watch t.v.
- We have been making maple syrup. The sap is running faster than we can cook it down. That is a good problem but it makes me feel like I am behind which in turn makes me a wee bit tense. Today we were cooking in front of the garage with the propane cooker. It is colder today so with the steam rolling off the top of the pot and hitting the cold air it looked like we were cooking up some witches brew. The syrup this year is beautiful. A creamy, light, golden color and oh so sweet.
- Spark has been cruising through his math lessons. Yeah!
- It is hard to do math or any other subject when the weather is so nice. A few time we have even been outside without a coat on. Another yeah!
- Dancer had dance pictures taken. She loves it, me on the other hand, well, she loves it. The girls wear their hair in a pony tail for their tap dance and in a bun for lyrical and jazz. We get there and I put her hair up in the bun with about 35 bobby pins, along with all but one other mother, and they decide to do the tap pictures first. Out comes the bun with the 35 bobby pins, take the tap pictures, and put the bun back in with the 35 bobby pins minutes after I just took it out. They also wear false eye lashes. Perhaps if you wear them every day they are easy to get on. When you don't they are about as easy to get on someone else who wildly blinking as it would be to knit behind your back while riding a roller coaster. She was beautiful and I am sure the pictures will be beautiful as well.
- I don't know if I have ever talked about our little goat Eeyore on here, he's is the one on the picture at the top. He is either diabetic or has epilepsy. We give him candy a few times every day and he does really well. When we don't he foams at the mouth and just lays a heap or walks around in circles in a daze like he can't see. We give him a syringe full of sugar water or syrup and he usually turns around quickly and is back to his normal self. Yesterday, when Dad went out to do chores in the morning, Eeyore was having one of his episodes and Dad had to work harder than usual to get him back to normal. Then last night he had another episode and he again didn't come out of quickly. In fact, he started grinding his teeth, fell over and started shaking. He did this twice. This is Dancer's goat so she is out in the barn crying and laying with him in his stall. The rest of us are out there trying to comfort her and figure out what to do to rally this goat back from heading towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Spark came out and prayed and Eeyore started to come back around. Sometimes I think that kid has a direct hot line to God because often when he prays his prayers are answered quickly. By 2 a.m. we felt confident enough to leave him alone and went in the house to bed. Actually Dad and I didn't think he was going to make it through the night but he did. After a sluggish day he seems pretty good tonight. It is amazing how much time and energy we have put into this goat but Dancer loves him so we do.
- Spark has a huge farm set and the kids set it up in the living room. It has been really fun to listen to them play. Dancer is the producer (goat and cow milk, cheese and ice cream) and Spark buys her products at wholesale prices and sells them retail. They have price lists and everything and are figuring out their profits. They are quite the entrepreneurs!
Those are the highlights. We have no commitments tomorrow and are so looking forward to a day of whatever we want. It will probably be cleaning the barn but at least it is our choice!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The meeting place was a church in the neighborhood by the university in town. No parking because it is so expensive to park on campus that commuters park blocks and blocks away from the school and walk. We went early with the hope of getting one of the five spots that the church has - we did yippee! The roads it seems are changed every year on which ones are one ways and which aren't. Most of the one ways I figured out when I was already half way down them, didn't cause any accidents thankfully.
There were about 20 kids who participated. They were each suppose to make a poster about any state they wanted. A few duplicates and then Alaska had three for some reason. Some of the posters were really well put together and had a lot research done on them. The kids each gave a little speech about their posters and it was clear who had really gotten into the projects and enjoyed them and who did one just to get it done. Over all it was fun afternoon, not something we would take part in very often but a nice change from our usual activities.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Along came Spark four years later and my stamping days were over. Eventually the bins got move into the basement and forgotten. I sort of thought as the kids got older that I would have more time but it is the other way around.
Yesterday we met a friend for lunch. A friend who doesn't have any kids. A friend who has a "stamping room." A friend who gave us a huge stack of cute paper. A friend who told us about all the cards she has been making.
Today I thought enough is enough, I am pulling those stamps back out. I brought them up to the kitchen table where Dancer took one look at them, sat down and got to work. We have been stamping all afternoon and evening. Spark even made a couple cards. We may not be having school or eating at the table any more but everyone we know will be getting a card from us.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Dancer's team did great, they won three golds, three first place trophies and placed 4th and 5th over all. They dance so beautifully that one of their dances made me cry. We are super proud of them, there are a lot of talented kids out there and the competition was steep.
Her team was done dancing by 9:30, we waited for awards at noon and we done about 12:30. With so much of the day left we were able to meet a high school friend for lunch, do some shopping and meeting Grandma for dinner on the way home.
Sixteen hours makes for a long day and we are all ready to fall into bed. Spark got a little bit of head start on us, he feel asleep in the car.
Friday, March 12, 2010
1. A. White color, go to question 2 (Q2)
B. Brown, go to Q8
2. A. Male--Klaus
B. Female got to Q 3
3. A. has a beard, go to Q4
B. No beard--Desdemona
4. A. Horns go to Q5
B. No horns, got to Q6
5. A. Spotted--Calliopi
B. Light brown on back--Veronica
6. A. Roman nose-Maggie
B. Flat or dished nose, got to Q7
7. A. Has a scur* --Elizabeth
B. No scur--Millie
8. A. Male--Eeyore
B. Female-- Veronica
* a scur is a horn remnant (after dehorning), it's short brittle and usually curved.
This a fun and educational project you can do with any kids. You don't need to identify an animal or plant either. Write up you own questions to decribe cars, or things in you house like clothes or food in the fridge.
What does Error 99, in bright red print none the less, mean? It means the camera can't figure out what is wrong with itself. Really? Wow, cameras have come a long way baby.
We took it in last night and it is so ill it needs to take a trip to Connecticut for two to three weeks. In that time Dancer has two dance competitions and baby goats due to be born, not the mention all the other goings on. If a picture says a 1000 words will I have to use a 1000 words to make a picture?
Thursday, March 11, 2010
We checked the serial number and the unit was manufactured in 1983. I mentioned that we had never had any trouble with it but it was getting older. The heating and cooling guys leaned back and reminisced how this company used to make really good water heaters and how long some of the older appliances would last and last, and how now most of their stuff is crap. Here it is, for your amazement and awe, the object of their admiration and accolades. Take a deep breath...
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
We cut back our usual lessons and did a couple other things this afternoon. We did some logic puzzles, a treat to my kids not a school subject, watched the movie "Where the Red Fern Grows", which followed the book reasonably well for a book made into a movie and played Alphabet Hunt.
Alphabet Hunt is a simple game that can be played anywhere. Just write the letters A through Z on a piece of paper and then find things that start with that letter. To make it harder you can do it only in one room, outside, in a waiting room, in a foreign language if you are that versed, using the letter for the end of the word, only using three syllable words, etc.
The kids did it all over the house, here is their list.
A - apple B - book C - cup D - dog E - eraser F - fridge G - glasses H - house plant I - ice pack J - jar K - knitting needle L - lamp M - mom N - nails O - oven P - plate Q - Q-tips R - remote for the t.v. S - stereo T - toothbrush U - undies V - vase W - wii X - x-ray block Y - yarn Z - zipper
For some reason then could not find any thing for the letter I. I told them to get out the dictionary and look through the words until they came to one that they knew was something in our house.
They worked together and the whole thing took no more than five minutes plus it made a nice break in our day. Maybe Spark and I will try a harder version when he and I are waiting for Dancer sometime.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
When I was a kid one of my favorite breakfasts was corned beef hash. I bought a can to let my kids try it and they didn't care for it at all. A few days later while making lunch I noticed a can of corned beef in the cupboard. I knew there were left over hash browns in the fridge so I made some corned beef hash for myself and the kids loved it. They have been asking for some, but "homemade". I took the time to make some on Saturday, here's the recipe:
Slice some cooked corned beef, then chop it either by hand or in the food processor. Depends how big you like you pieces of meat. I prefer them very small so I slice the roast as thin as possible and then pulse in the food processor.
I bought these hash browns because I have never liked making them from scratch. I really like hash browns but making them is so irritating to me that I can barely enjoy them. The frozen ones cook more predictably as well. I bought these larger southern, or country, style hash browns because they have onions and peppers already in the mix, the shredded hash browns work great too. Cook the potato portion of your hash first so they are browned to you liking, then add the meat. If you add the meat right away it will get crunchy or burn while you try to brown the potatoes.
Make some eggs, sunny side up or over easy, when the hash is almost done. That way they are both hot at the same time. I like the eggs to have runny yokes when I mix it all together on my plate. If you don't like runny yokes or your foods mixed together have a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch and look away.
Serve the eggs on top of the hash, poke the yokes, cut up the whites mix it all up and enjoy.
Friday, March 5, 2010
When Spark sleeps he likes to have what he calls "that vivid dream stuff" on a cotton pad and he puts it by his pillow. This morning he gets up irritated saying that he had foggy dreams and he can't find his vivid dream cotton ball! He was certain that one of us, during the night, crept into where he was sleeping and stole it. I am sure it is in or under his bed somewhere but I will be sure that he has a new one tonight.
Yesterday, when we went to town for Dancer's dance class, we only dropped books off at the library but didn't have time to go in and look around. The kids expect to have a huge supply of new books every week so this was a big deal to them that they missed a library day. So this afternoon we told them that we would take them to the library one town over from us. What we really planned was to go up the road a ways to a Super Walmart. Yes, sadly a trip to that store is a big deal to us. Well, it is to them anyway. I am not much of a shopper and so I don't do anymore of it than I have to. I like to run in and run out whereas they like to look around.
So we get in the car, library bag at the ready. We get into town where we would normally turn to go to the library and I said to Dad "you missed the turn." Sounding surprised he said "We can just get off at the exit and go that way." The kids didn't say anything. We get onto the freeway and when we get to the exit he drives right by. Again we go through the missed the turn dialog. We will go to the next exit and take the frontage road back. We missed the next exit too. Now Spark is getting excited because how can you miss the turn three times?! At the next exit we decide we will get off. Dad was driving too fast and missed the exit. Next exit we didn't take because we just weren't sure where the frontage road might be. Now even Dancer is getting a little excited because of course we know where the frontage road is. Well, now we might as well go to the town we were planning on taking them to. They don't know this and think we are just going daft and can't find our way around.
When we got there we saw a car with license plates from Texas. Dancer commented that they were a long way from home. Without missing a beat and dead serious Spark says "maybe they forgot to turn too."
That town does have a library branch in it so they did get to go to the library this week. It is the coolest library in the system too. It is an old historic building and they have it set up so cozy with actual furniture. The library we usually go to is trying to be ultra modern and the furniture, while it looks cool, couldn't be more uncomfortable.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
No, we are still on dial up. If there was such a service like this it, like any faster service, wouldn't be available in my area. Having slow internet has allowed us to develop some ways to pass the time waiting for uploads and down loads.
Things to do while waiting for a picture to download onto the blog:
Tuck point all the loose bricks in Great Wall of China.
Copy War and Peace onto parchment with a goose quill using non-dominant hand.
Take down the pyramids at Giza, carefully numbering each massive stone block, ship them back to the states and reassemble in front of the brother-in-laws drive way for a kickin' April Fools Day prank.
Clean hardwater and soap scum off about a half square foot of shower door glass.
I guess you get the idea. Hmmm, maybe I can talk to the bank about a 2nd mortgage to pay for satellite internet. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The food gets delivered by a tractor trailer to a friends house. There is a lot of work involved in sorting and weighing the produce, a few families pitch in. The food we get is great as it costs less than the supermarket and it is super fresh. The produce always looks great and it lasts a long time in storage, often several weeks longer than stuff from the store.
The temperatures here are finally above freezing for a few hours in the afternoon so we should have some of our garden bounty in a few months.
Monday, March 1, 2010
The chickens really don't like to get their feet wet. They haven't been out of the barn since November. They stick their heads out the door and then quickly retreat. They remind me of the ground hog, but instead of checking for spring once during the winter they check every day.
All the snow came off the top of the barn roof in one huge pile. Until that melts we won't be getting the gate closed.
The bird bath is making a come back. The cat uses this for it's drinking bowl more often than not. In the winter the cats and chickens drink out of the goat waters or eat snow. I think the cat has to humble himself to drink out of the goat's pail so this is an ego booster for him.