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Friday, April 30, 2010


Anyone wanting to make this for my birthday, or a day ending in y, is more than welcome too!!

A good idea, I think

Boy Scouts introduce Video Game merit

Buzz up!

Evidently bored with building fires, tying fancy knots and helping old ladies across the street, the Boy Scouts of America have decided to hip it up a bit with a brand new honor rewarding their understanding of video games.
Boy Scouts Video Game badge
The new Cub Scout ‘Video Game’ loop and pin.
While that may sound ludicrous to old-school Scouts, the new "Video Game" award is intended to make Tiger, Cub and Webelos Scouts more responsible gamers.
Rather than shooting their way to success, they'll have to accomplish a number of far more mundane tasks to earn the new belt loop and pin, such as explaining the importance of the video game ratings system, working with an adult to build a schedule that includes chores, homework and gaming, and playing a game designed to boost math, spelling or other school-oriented skills. Belt loops and pins are the cub scout/webelo equivalent of merit badges for boy scouts.
Of course, earning the game award involves playing games, too. Scouts will have to show their shopping savvy by comparing games at different retailers for the best prices, install a gaming rig, and -- toughest of all -- play a game with a friend for one hour. Is there a statute of limitations on getting Cub Scout pins? Because I earn this one pretty much every day.
To be fair, the requirements do seem to fall in line with the overall Boy Scout mission of being a responsible citizen. And with harsh language and intolerance plaguing online gaming, anything that helps instill good sense into young gamers is okay in my book. You can check out the full list of Video Game award requirements here.
So does gaming has a place in the Scouts, or should they pull the plug on this in favor of more traditional outdoor activities? Earn your 'Commenting' badge and sound off!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Confronting the dark side

Why unsanitised (Disney) fairytales are important. 


I LOVE this list!  

The Public School Parents' Guide to Homeschool Parents  

"We all know that there are a lot of misconceptions about homeschoolers, and, while most of those tend to be centered around the kids, there are a lot of misconceptions about homeschool moms (and dads), as well."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


"I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built upon the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think. Whereas, if the child is left to himself, he will think more and better, if less showily. Let him go and come freely, let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sitting indoors at a little round table, while a sweet-voiced teacher suggests that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of strips of coloured paper, or plant straw trees in bead flower-pots. Such teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of, before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experience." -- Anne Sullivan

Socialization, exercise, and fair and share.

I went to the homeschool fair and share last night with Leanna.  It's a chance for you to see what curriculum others use and how they like it.   Plus you get a free curriculum item.  And lots of catelogues.  Leanna stayed in the children's section (right outside the door) and played with some kids who were there, then made friends with the teenage librarian.  They hugged when she left.  It's nice to be reminded of why you're making this decision and see so many other people doing it too, and doing it well.  I had some questions about portfolios and unschooling answered, which was nice. 
Saturday night we went to the park with Uncle Billy and had a nice long, active gym session.  There were a few kids maybe a year or two older than Leanna, and some teenagers.  They all played tag (uncle Billy included) and it was a competitive, fast-paced game!  It was funny to watch, and I was pleased to see that Leanna is just fine interracting with kids of all ages.  It puts to rest any doubts I have about either homeschool socialization or her old school thinking she just wasn't able to interract or make friends.  All the kids got lots of excersize.  And Uncle Billy kept up with them too! 

Rock N' Roll baby

Ha.  Nanny Sue has a  wiggles guitar and I told Jacob to go "rock" with it.  I meant in rock n'roll fashion.  He took the guitar and proceeded to "rock" it......back and forth like a baby. 

:  ) 

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I found this, looking for music websites for kids.  It's an online piano, you chose the notes and then it plays back what you've composed. 

There are plenty of bigger pianos you can find if you google Online piano. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

More on Math

I wish I were brave enough to do that!  It makes sense to me and fits in with much of what I've read about how children learn.  Self-motivation is key!

math games

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dishwashing: hand vs. machine

I was curious which is greener, to wash dishes by hand or use the dishwasher.  I know dishwashers use hotter water which kills germs that you don't get by hand, and I'd heard it uses less water.  But I wondered if the electric used kills the value?

Here's the last paragraph of this article on the subject:

"Built in dishwasher vs. hand-washing: And the winner is...
These numbers indicate that it's possible to be more efficient when hand-washing, but it's pretty tough. Can you successfully wash and rinse a soiled dinner plate in just over a cup of water? If you can keep the water use low, equal to an efficient machine, you'll require less energy, but doing an entire load of dishes in 4 gallons of water is roughly equivalent to doing them all in the same amount of water you use in 96 seconds of showering (using a showerhead that emits 2.5 gallons per minute).So, as long as you don't often run your dishwasher when it's only half full of dirty dishes, or unless you are very miserly with your water use (or have an old, inefficient dishwasher), the automatic dishwasher is likely to be more efficient. That is to say, it's possible to use less water and energy by hand washing your dishes, but it's not easy. Of course, if you do it just right, it might just be a wash.
Hit the next page to dig a little deeper and see where all these numbers and calculations came from."

So for the vast majority of us, the answer is to use a dishwasher!  I'm ok with that one!

Crushing spirits

 I enjoyed this post about someone's moment of clarity re: her role in bringing up her child.  Here's the most important part(to me):

"We have had to walk such a firm line with him to keep him from being rebellious. Well, we were up in his room. He was throwing a fit. I was sitting with him explaining that he's not to act that way. It hit me with a blow - I may never be able to control him. I may never be able to control him. That's exactly what went through my brain. I may never be able to make him conform to the image I have of a good child. He might always make me look bad. The next question that ran through my brain was, "Can I love him the way he is?" Can I accept him even if he's different than what I want? Maybe he'll walk a path that doesn't make sense to me.Maybe he'll show us a different perspective on life. If I try to make him conform to the identity I want him to have, our family may miss out on his unique gifts. So I set him free ... in my heart.
Does that mean I don't continue to train him on acceptable behavior? NO! It doesn't mean that I stop training him in good character. In fact, I didn't change a thing outwardly. I still discipline him. I still get frustrated and yell (sshhh, don't tell anyone). The change in me was so subtle. I had let go of control spiritually. Let me tell you, this has somehow changed Andrew in palpable ways. He does not struggle with anger like he did before I set him free. He is so much more open to listening. I don't treat him like I dissaprove of HIM, just the act or behavior. His little spirit can sense it. It's amazing to observe."
This is something I know, but reminders are always good.  I have four kids that act like the one she's describing.  I feel a lot of pressure to have "good" kids and often I do feel like people are judging me and that influences the way you parent.  Sometimes a reminder that it ain't all about you is good.  Your desire to make the child blend in more can crush them (which actually makes them even more difficult to handle).  I know people that I believe this happened to.  Particularly now, this is a good reminder for me!  

Christmas lists?

Also, family members take note!  I found this: Wishtracker 
You set up your wishlist and have family/friends do the same.  I can go in and see each member of my family's wish list, and mark an item as purchased or whatever. However, the person never sees what has been purchased, so the surprise is never ruined.  So it's like an amazon wishlist, but for everything.  

Shall we try it?

Random Recent Things

*It rained yesterday afternoon, and we ran outside quick to put the lid on the sandbox and pick up anything that shouldn't be outside.  I was babysitting a neighbor boy too.  I told them to get their sillies out, quick!  Then they all just started running in a circle in the rain, yelling at the top of their lungs.  It was hysterical, and they LOVED it!  (probably not loved by any neighbors who were home then, but it afternoon and they're KIDS)  They need more moments like that.

*I've discovered Justin likes history (or at least Roman history)  It's really cool to be reading something to Leanna and suddenly have Justin pipe in with a question or comment.  It's a great feeling to have these moments where you're discovering what neat people your kids are.

*The boys love watching the garbage truck come, since here it comes in the morning.  Jacob yells, "Come back Truck!"  They always say hi to the garbagemen. Leanna likes giving flowers to random people when we're out walking.  It's her own idea, and I think it's a neat way to brighten a stranger's day.

*Did you know that Roman bath houses were a lot like modern malls, but with bathing?  I knew they did public baths but I've now learned that it was a big social thing too.  They bought food there, could sunbathe, get a massage. The baths had hot and cold pools, towels, slaves to wait on you, steam rooms, saunas, exercise rooms, and hair cutting salons. They had reading rooms and libraries, as among the freeborn, who had the right to frequent baths, the majority could read.  They even had stores, selling all kinds of things, and people who sold fast food. I learn a lot through educating the kids!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Photo Mosaic

I love this idea, the NY Times is asking people to take a photo on Sunday, May 2 at 11:00AM Eastern Time and send it in within a few minutes.

The idea is to simply take a photo at that moment that day and upload it. (Which also happens to be my Dad's birthday)  From their announcement:
What matters more than technique is the thought behind the picture, because you’ll only be sending us one. So please do think beforehand about where you will want to be and what you will want to focus on. Here are the general topics:
Nature and the Environment
Arts and Entertainment
Money and the Economy
Social Issues
You can read the initial announcement here (includes directions):

Monday, April 19, 2010

Missing my camera

I miss being able to unload photos and share them here.
Our camera, our new camera that I had just bought on Black Friday, is dead.  Apparently got knocked over  or stepped on at some point after the move.  I found out the night before Easter when I went to take pictures of Easter egg making.  I still have our old camera, which does have more options (but less megapixels by far), so I am not camera-less.  But our compuer isn't up and running yet, so I can't unload pictures.   And I miss the smaller, less obtrusive camera.  It could safely fit in my pocket or purse and just wasn't so bulky.
I did check at a camera shop and I'd probably be charged $20.00 to send the camera to be examined, and then most likely about $80.00 for repairs, which is the cost of a new camera already.  
 :  (

Pass it on, baby!

I found this blog which collects children's clothes to pass along to other mothers who could use them. It's called Pass it on Baby!  A neat idea.   From the blog:

"One mother clearing out her child’s closet and packing up clothes she once loved on her own child, the other beginning to stock hers with a new size and some of those same loved pieces – meant for another to love."
As they point out, it brings joy on both ends. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

another kid cooking show

I just watched this with the boys-Jacob in particular liked it.  When she eats some chocolate chips he kept yelling at the computer, "Hey!  Spit it out!"   He was truly indignant, which is pretty funny considering that little Hot Chocolate, as Laura calls him, would be my biggest chocolate stealer himself!!

I'm rich!!

Wahoo!   I've earned .40 cents through Amazon!    LOL, I can almost buy Justin a snickers bar!
Still kinda cool though, cause I did earn it........took several widget adds, and unfortunately mutiple emails back and forth to customer service and the person who bought!

Nutella's Yummy

Sounds delicious, I googled Nutella to see if there were any interesting recipies.  Last night looking for a new way to get some fruits/veggies into the kids, I cut up bannas and added some Nutella.  Delicious!

I'll have to try this Nutella recipie from Anali's first ammendment next:

Nutella Banana Muffins
(adapted from delicious days)

1 stick = 1/2 cup butter (melted)
2 large ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup Nutella
1/2 cup vanilla rice milk
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In medium bowl, add melted butter. Mash bananas into butter with a fork. Mix in all the remaining ingredients except the flour. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Add flour and stir just until combined. I used my regular sized muffin pan and put in paper liners. Pour batter into muffin pan and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

*Updated 2/8/08* I had to let everyone know about this great recipe for homemade Nutella that I saw on the blog of Mr. Zen Chef himself, Chefs Gone Wild. Check out his very funny post and recipe for Zenutella!

(the post includes a story about Steve Martin! and Nutella!  How cool is that?!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Man this year is going fast!

Just a reminder, though I think a hand-picked bouquet is a wonderful mother's day present myself. : )

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I'm so relating to this one!

A quote from a blog on what to called There is NO cookie  cutter for motherhood:

'This isn't the first time I have seen the severe looks people give when they see a big family.  I was talking to my husband after last week and how I think some people automatically think that large families have naturally more wild children than the "average" person and that they will cause more trouble.  I would have to disagree with this train of thought.  Sure the noise level is going to go up a few decibels but I don't think that a boy that comes from a family of five or six is more apt to get into mischief than a boy who is an only child.  It just "appears" that way because there are more of them running around.  
I also think that in general, our world is becoming more and more impatient with children.  You don't want them looking through your stuff at a garage sale?  A.) Ask them politely if they wouldn't mind finding something else to do, B.) Find the heart to bear with their curious nature, or C.) Don't have a garage sale.
Don't get me wrong there is a need for boundaries to be set and rules to be obeyed but you wouldn't expect an only child to sit in the house all day twiddling his thumbs and not saying a peep.  Kids need to be allowed to run around and perhaps a little whooping and hollering while they're at it.  They need to be allowed to explore and get their energy out.  Maybe even to learning to deal with the barking of afamily pet is something we can all work on.  After all sometimes a dog is the perfect friend for a child. If a child happens to get into something they are not suppose to or try something you don't approve of, be a little forgiving, they're not perfect yet.  Having said this, there are times for punishment but not with a condemning lecture telling them what bad children they are.  Having a big family isn't always easy, if you notice a child doing something they probably shouldn't, politely inform the parents of your concerns but don't condemn the parents they are trying their best.  Raising a large family isn't an easy task.'


Since our move, I've noticed some changes in the kids.   Leanna and Justin are somewhat defiant, I've had trouble making them listen.  (more than normal)  Timothy was rather weepy for the first week and a half.  He was crying over little things that would have rated only a yell in the past.  With Jacob it's too hard to tell because he's just been in misery with his skin!  Since we moved here his skin has been awful, some days it looks like he has welts!  So he's generally been rather cranky and cries a lot, but given how bad he must feel, it's tough to say whether some of it is just from the move or not.
It makes sense that it's tougher on the older kids, they were more used to how things used to be......our routines and ways of doing things.  Leanna is particularly bothered by this and has been taking it out on Nanny Sue a bit.  She resents the change and the new way of living.  This should lessen as time goes by and I've been working on her attitude as well.  Our schedule is still all messed up, we just don't have a rhythm going yet.   We're here for two weeks now.  There is a lot of adjust to for all.

On the bright side, the kids like the animals and playing in the yard with the next door neighbor.


Made a cheesecake last night, first time I've ever tried that.  I thought cheesecake would be very complicated to make, but it was really easy.  We'll see how it turns out (haven't tried it yet).

Today's agenda: make healthy bars for kids from a recipie Jamie sent me a few months back.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Recent cuteness

Random cute stuff:

The week we left our house it was raining the one day and Jacob came out on the back porch and said, "Hey!  Who turned the water on??!!"  He kept repeating it, wanting an answer.
Last week he pointed up and said "turn the light on!" (referring to the sun). 

Yesterday Timothy told me when he grows up he's going to drive a motorcycle and a car.  (I hope not!)
But he's also commented on someone on a motorcycle and how they should have a helmet on, so if he does, maybe he'll at least be safety conscious!

We made Rice Krispie treats last night and Justin and Timothy helped.  I don't know what I'd do without Justin to stir in the love!!  

Saturday, April 03, 2010


Looks good, I've read good reviews........It's supposed to be good for keeping kids busy in a non-mind-numbing way!!