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Friday, December 31, 2010

Always inspiring, Rosie the Riveter

I thought this was an interesting story, it's about the woman who inspired "Rosie the Riveter" who didn't know she  played a part in it until four decades later.  And she only held the factory job (where she was photographed) for two weeks.  Rosie's real name was Geraldine Doyle, and her death has brought attention to the famous recruitment poster and it's image which has been used countless times since. 
"Rosie the Riveter is the image of an independent woman who is in control of her own destiny," Beckwith said. "(Doyle) was a gracious, beautiful woman. Her death is the passing of an era, and we need to take note of that. We need to respect what she stood for."

I'm also fond of it because I used to have that image as a screen saver on my work computer at the English Dept. when I was in college.  In fact, my sister recently gave me a tile with Rosie-with the bulging muscle, but also holding a pot of coffee.

"it was Doyle's poster that would eventually become the central face of Rosies everywhere and the rallying cry for an entire social movement.

Her message resonates with women even today.

  "It's the 'We Can Do It!' attitude," said Cynthia Ghering, 41, an avid Rosie the Riveter collector and director of the Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections.

"My grandmother passed that attitude on to my mom, and my mom passed it on to me, and it's what I hope to pass onto my daughter. It's something that still motivates us. She reminds us that women can take on anything."

Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing (hopefully not!)

So as the name question has come up again, I've been looking around for ideas.......the girl name's been in place for years, we just need to figure out a boy name.  I'd say we need a name that suggests a mild tempernment, but as this kid's already dancing up a storm, I think that wouldn't do the trick.  We just can't make a child that isn't a little wild. 
Leanna looked around and came up with a short list of names she liked, interestingly enough, one of which was Lavinia which is a name used on her father's side of the family (and she didn't know that).  Timothy came down one day and announced to me that he knew what we could name the baby!!  Cat in the Hat!!  And Justin likes the name Jason (which would give an identical name of a family member in the area) and he also suggested Cinderella.  Jacob thinks we should just name it "Baby." 
Since I don't think we'll be using any of those names, I'm still looking.  Tonight I was reminded of sites like Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing.  With entries that amuse me like:
"I'm considering Christina/Kristina/Krystina for my baby girl that will be born in two weeks. I don't want to use a name that is too popular. I am also considering Christiana/Kristiana/Krystiana. Does this last group sound too fancy or sophisticated?

Don't worry, with a sophisticated name like Kystiana, she'll be moved up from regular lap dances to the Champagne Room in no time."
:  )

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I didn't know guys like this existed anymore......

Great to hear and raises interesting thoughts on how social media can be used in politics and to get things accomplished:  A mayor who lets residents notify him through twitter when they needed their streets plowed and he instantly notified the plows.......and when they couldn't get around fast enough, the mayor went over with his own shovel to dig them out!   And when one resident tweeted Cory Booker, saying his sister couldn’t get out to buy diapers, an hour later, Booker showed up, with a bag of Pampers!
 Wow!  This mayor actually is a public servant!  Obviously not the sort of thing a single person could accomplish in every city(many cities would be just too large) or even in this one city all the time.  Just refreshing to hear of a man in a public position who is willing to do such a thing, generally we only hear about power-hungry, ego driven selfish people who occupy public positions (the kind who don't feel they owe you anything once they're elected).

More details from the Time article:

The mayor was out clearing snow until 3 a.m. on Dec. 28 before heading back out three hours later after a few winks. "This is one of those times you're just pushing," Booker told TIME while riding around Newark early Tuesday evening, anxiously awaiting a Twitter response from a Newark resident who said her 82-year-old grandmother was shut in by snow. A few minutes earlier, Booker, who played football at Stanford, helped dig out a New Jersey transit bus. "It's an endurance test." This is not the first time Booker has responded to distressed citizens on Twitter. He shoveled the driveway of an elderly man last New Year's Eve after the man's daughter tweeted about his predicament. He also hit the streets during snowstorms last February.

When Booker first started tweeting a few years ago, some older Newark residents complained that his online obsession was a narcissistic waste of time. And while it's fair to wonder if all those unplowed Newark streets serve as an indictment of his administration, it's hard to knock his Twitter habit now. The media-savvy Booker knows his Twitter transparency is winning political points. (The mayor of one of America's most troubled cities, he has starred in two documentaries about his life, picked a jokey fight with Conan O'Brien that landed him on the Tonight Show, and is a darling of the East Coast elite.) Look at Cory go! But for a mayor who sometimes gets accused of being a dilettante with ambitions beyond Newark, he deserves credit for doing the dirty work that many politicians avoid. (Plus, Booker's national profile helped the city secure a $100 million education grant from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. His hobnobbing is delivering the goods for his constituents, who re-elected him in May.)
Booker's Twitter tactics have raised the bar for other local officials, and beg the question: In the aftermath of the snowpocalypse, are other northeastern officials grabbing a shovel and smart phone, and following Booker's lead? It certainly doesn't look like it."
Read more:,8599,2039945,00.html#ixzz19X00AGMo

Sadly common

Quotes of the Day »
"I absolutely could not believe the number of mistakes — wrong dates and wrong facts everywhere. How in the world did these books get approved?"

RONALD HEINEMANN, a former history professor at Hampden-Sydney College, who reviewed a textbook used in some Virginia schools at the state's request.
Read more:,8599,2039945,00.html#ixzz19WyovnKJ

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crafting Revolution!! (the revolution will be quilted)

See, I'm cool, you just didn't know it!  We are in the midst of a crafting revolution!  I love the part about crafting graffiti (reminds me of Leanna's guerilla art book), and that there are movements for men to craft as well.  ("The Butch Craft movement is returning manliness to the prospect of making stuff with your hands. Described as "the infusion of a cerebral-yet-virile narrative applied to rough work crafted in wood, iron, steel, marble, rust, paint, boiled leather, clay, baked agricultural waste, plant-life, gypsum drywall, and blood, sweat, and tears," the movement even had a fall 2010 exhibition at the Moss Gallery in SoHo. Not a crocheted earring, parking meter cozy or ruffle in sight.  Hacker spaces are also catering to dudes with a DIY edge. At these communal studios, men and women share tools and tips for making anything from a souped up bike to a robot.")   I do think it's a shame that men are often left out of crafting projects, or that the ones they do aren't recognized as such.  I know my husband is quite creative and can make wonderful things with his hands, but the creativity and talent this requires is not often recognized. 

From the story:
"Not that long ago, crafting was strictly for fluffy old ladies with too many doilies, cats and cotton balls. No more. Modern crafters drink booze while they knit bikinis. They crochet, but aren't crotchety. They wrap parking meters in knitted cozies like crusading street artists. And they stitch and really bitch, then sell their adorable wares on Etsy instead of at church bazaars."

For the rest of the article, go here

Monday, December 27, 2010

Science, mentos, and a snow trip!

We performed a science experiment today-Justin got a mentos/soda kit in his stocking and we tried it.   It makes a 25 ft. soda geyser.  Essentially you put mentos in a tube with a pin blocking them from dropping in a bottle of diet soda until you pull it out-from a distance!  Then the mentos fall in and the gasses push the soda out of the bottle.
But it was so cold they wouldn't stay outside.  Justin and Jacob immediately tried to slide down the hill and promptly fell in the snow!  So that was it for them, they went back inside and watched from the window.  Even when we shoveled snow today (with brooms and dustpans, lol) they didn't stay out for more than minutes at a time.  Justin was the only one who really helped me. 
So the boys stood at the back door to watch and Leanna was in and out, although she stayed outside for the actual gushing.  And I think our camera finally died (we've been using it without a button to push to take the pictures-we used a paper clip) so I tried to use the video camera.  But when I backed up to see the full geyser, I slipped in the snow and fell.  So it should be an interesting video to watch!  
For a mythbusters-one of Justin's favorite shows!- scientific explanation:

Or for a more entertaining demonstration of what we did today:


LOL at the first paragraph of this post from Sprittibee because I can sooo relate:

"Homeschool families are at a disadvantage when it comes to getting organized. Having children at home – and even mom at home – all day adds to the mess tenfold. Just imagine: three meals a day in the house, all of the school papers and projects spread out on the floors and tables, book cases and cabinets full of educational supplies, and chores that get neglected because of other, more important learning experiences. Add these all up and you have a colossal mess: a daily challenge to overcome that tends to overwhelm even the most dedicated of organizing mamas!"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Little reason to push children to read at an early age

With all the current hoopla over stuff like the "teach your baby to read" programs and the like, I find it refreshing to find a post like this one, which I've copied from here.  This is reassuring for me because I've been mainly working with the boys when they show an interest in a subject, and when they ask to do "schoolwork."  I haven't done a whole lot with reading because I don't think they're really ready yet.  It's very hard to do this though, because it's one of the first things people ask us about and because you worry about how they will do around peers who can already read. 

Copied from the post:
Research Finds No Advantage In Learning To Read From Age Five reports:
A University of Otago researcher has uncovered for the first time quantitative evidence that teaching children to read from age five is not likely to make that child any more successful at reading than a child who learns reading later, from age seven.
The ground-breaking Psychology PhD research, conducted by Dr Sebastian Suggate, has been placed on the University's "distinguished list" of doctoral theses for 2009. Dr Suggate has also been awarded a prestigious Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the Humboldt Association in Germany to the University of Wuerzburg in Bavaria to further his studies into childhood education.
Moore's wrote in Better Late Than Early that it is better for young children, especially boys, to wait on academics until they are eight to ten years old. Part of this has to do with brain development. While much of the body is basically formed at birth, like your fingers and toes, the brain keeps undergoing major changes until people are eighteen and twenty. In trying to force young children to read before their brains are ready, it is like trying to make them walk before they even have their legs.

Silent Monks Singing Halleluia

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I love Christmastime.  It's my favorite holiday.  Although it can be tiring and sometimes stressful I love it all and think it's well worth it.  It's hard to do a lot of the stuff we do with the kids while they're young, but I think it's so good for them (and in different ways for me as well).  It's tough at the time, but you go back and look at the pictures with such fond memories of that particular year, that particular time period......I absolutley wouldn't trade it for anything. 
And I'm always looking for new traditions and foods to add to our family holiday routine.  Especially since our lack of a family vehicle really cuts back on the things we can do.  But particularly this year, I am tired.  I think I'm going to do a lot of sleeping next week!  We've had so much going on lately......decorating the house, decorating the tree, advent calendars, planing and making gifts, making & decorating cookies and deserts, a trip to see Santa, going to Q-Mart, watching Christmas movies and specials, reading Christmas stories, taking holiday pictures, letters to Santa, wrapping presents, listening to holiday music, and all the cleaning and planning required to do all of the above! 
I hope everyone else is having a great holiday season as well!  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Letters to Santa

We sent (email) letters to Santa.  I wish I'd saved Justin's letter, but I didn't know the website didn't include a copy of your letter in the reply.  Some of the odder requests that I can remember: he asked for a moose hat, a metal toy sewing machine, chocolate and a bag of M&Ms in his stocking, if you can make that recipie!  He also asked what time Santa went to bed.  Leanna wrote her own so I wasn't involved in that one either......but I did manage to save a copy of Timothy's!

Timothy's email letter to Santa, I just wrote down what he said, there was no editing:
How are you doing Santa? Please can you get all these for Christmas for me Santa?

I want a whole bag of chocolates. I want a calendar. I want a toy camera too. And a toy lightning McQueen house. And a Lightning McQueen picture. I want a toy reindeer hat, a real one! And another Mickey Mouse ball, a big one! And a Santa suit. I want a toy racecar phone. A real racecar tv. A real Bible. A Handy Manny set. And a builder construction set that you can saw and make a pirate ship. And a real ironing board. And a cd player, my own Lightning McQueen one. And a candle, a real one. And a real camera too. And a big huge train that all of us could sit in, Mommy and Daddy too.

Goodbye! Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Student loans leave crushing burden

Couldn't resist posting this one, it hits close to home: Americans now owe more on their student loans than they do on their credit cards — a debt fast approaching $1 trillion with no end in sight.

A quote: "Alan Collinge, an activist and author, who drew on his own student loan default to found the group, says the student loan crisis is potentially far worse than the mortgage crisis.

"A defaulted home mortgage borrower — and don't get me wrong, it's a horrible outcome — they walk away from their house wearing a barrel and not much else," he said. "In the case of student loans, there is no walking away."
Unlike most other forms of debt, student loans carry almost no consumer protections and little ability to refinance. By law, they can't be wiped out in bankruptcy. Those laws were passed in response to the last student loan crisis in the 1980s. But Collinge believes it created a system he calls predatory.
"These powers would make a mobster envious," he said.
If you default on a student loan today, you could lose everything. "

Monday, December 13, 2010

Not wrecks, just pretty!

I'm going to encourage you to stop by the Cake Wrecks blog for two reasons:
1. They're encouraging their readers to donate $1.00 to charties every day leading up to Christmas.  When so many people listen to them and donate a dollar, it adds up.  A simple way to do some good and feel good!
2. Omigosh!  They have some beautiful pictures of gingerbread houses there!  Though the term "gingerbread houses" really doesn't do justice to some of them.
Update: I'm adding a link for the post I was referring to since the above link is just for the blog itself, which updates frequently.  Here's the link for the post with the pretty gingerbread houses

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Out of space.

Gah!  I'm out of storage space!  Can't post anymore photos unless I buy more storage.  

Kisses and more

Laura's Peanut butter kisses-she had too many kisses left.  I was wondering why she didn't just put two kisses on two of them.  Until she explained that it just wouldn't have looked right.  I thought for a minute and then Oh!  Yeah, she's right. 

The cut out cookies-our favorite to make

Jacob's was mainly just having fun with the dough, we just let him play.

We always end up with at least one big cookie.  They invariably break long before being eaten.

One of the most fun parts is chosing your shapes!

He was pioneering new methods of dough rolling. 

Getting ready to begin the cut out cookie making!

Getting Easier

This year was much easier, Justin and Timothy have matured a lot.  It's still quire a bit of work, but definitely much easier!!  This year the only one we had to watch with dough eating was Jacob!  (well, Timothy did start a bit at the very end!)
Nothing to see here!  Nope!  Nothing in my mouth!

The Little Bakers


It's that time of year again!  Holiday Cookie-Making!!


Leanna chose a recipie from her Strawberry Shortcake cookbook last week and made these cookies entirely by herself!  They're called Snowball Cookies.  We've been working a lot on lifeskills this schoolyear. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Makes me Smile! Snoopy Dance

From one of our favorite shows, Psych. 

Alleriges can make money/attitudes

An article on how fighting food allergies is turning into big business
 "A restaurant that goes from allergy unfriendly to allergy friendly can make an additional $50,000 per year," he says. That's based on his calculations of additional business and subtracting out additional costs for special supplies and staff training."

The article goes on to discuss why people with allergies have special needs.  It does mention that often they avoid eating out because it's hard to be sure even with places that claim to be allergy safe.  I wish they would use a better example than this though:

 "If a server is carrying a plate for my son, who has dairy allergies, and a plate for someone else with shredded cheese on it, and some falls onto my son's plate, there's no menu that can solve for that," he says. He says that restaurants that are truly allergy-friendly train the staff to avoid cross-contamination, sometimes even using color-coded plates."
I can just hear someone saying, well don't let your kid eat the cheese that fell on his plate and it'll be fine!  It's not always that simple though-people have different levels of sensitivity (a plate that wasn't washed thoroughly can still contain traces of an offending food which might be a problem for extremely allergic individuals), sometimes substitutions can be made, or foods could be safe ingredient-wise but be prepared on a surface or with utensils that touched a food you're allergic to.  Not to mention attitudes toward allergies can be a barrier to a safe eating experience-if your server thinks that allergies are just a weakness and not a real physical problem they aren't likely to take the necesary precautions.  (This attitude is still alive and well, many people do think this way.  Look at the stereotype of the nerd who very often has allergies to further prove his nerd status.  I've even seen it mentioned on a blog where the author said allergies were thought of as a sign of weakness in their family.  Or look at this study that shows that kids with allergies are often bullied and the bullies are often ADULTS!) 

We're pretty lucky since it seems our allergic child is only affected skin-wise, and hopefully will never have a life-threatening reaction. But many children can have serious reactions or die from their allergies, so it is important for as many precautions as possible to be taken.

Friday, December 03, 2010

From Thanksgiving morning

It was pretty with the snow outside and the warm and juicy smells of Turkey cooking on Thanksgiving morning!
(Just unloaded these pics)

I am also consciously trying to create memories with smells of the holidays.  I know that sounds funny, but research has shown that people do associate smells with  memories and particular time periods.  So I do a lot of baking because I enjoy it; but also because I want my children to have happy holiday memories even after I'm gone when they catch a whiff of cinnamon and apples, or the spice of Pumpkin and ginger.  There's so much about our lives that I've had zero control over in the past few years, this is one small thing I can do for my children. 


I thought this was an interesting list: 15 Great Scenes That Were Unscripted.  Reading the comments is always interesting, thought there's a lot of repetition and stupidity (as always!)  You have to appreciate the special talent of those who are able to improvise and improvise well.  I've always meant to see Dr. Strangelove, it's on my list of movies to see!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I made my own laundry detergent tonight.  Cut my hand twice while grating, but otherwise easy to make.  We thought it smelled lovely, Tom even asked what smelled so fresh when he came home, maybe an hour after it was done! 

Powdered Laundry Detergent – Recipe #4
2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated – you could also try the other bar soaps listed at the top)

1 cup Washing Soda

1 cup Borax

■Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.

■Use 2 tablespoons per full load.