Monday, August 29, 2011

If I Had a Hammer...

One complaint from my kids about being homeschooled is that they would like to have a locker. Ok, really it's the boy and the baby complaining. Of all the things they could have picked, this was an easy one. I'd like to get all the kids a locker they can keep in their room. IKEA is calling my name, but it's just going to have to wait for awhile. I had signed the kids up for a workshop at Lowe's for Saturday. Guess what they built? Lockers!! It's not what they wanted, but they had a great time.

 The big girl is so tolerant. I don't know how she puts up with me. It could be she doesn't have a choice, but still. Here are the kids with their kits.

 You gotta love these kits. They even have some for sale. You can make all kinds of things. Just not sure I'd want to pay for them. I'm cheap that way.

This is the all the pieces and parts spread out with the instructions. Doesn't seem like much, but I almost screwed it up from the get go. This is why I leave building to the professionals. And the kids.

 At one point, the boy realized he had a piece on backwards. I asked him what he planned to do. Start over was his answer. He took it apart, flipped the piece around, and went right back to it.

 The baby loved it. To her it was like a jigsaw puzzle, which she loves. But this was better because she got to use a hammer. I'd like that better, too.

                                                          The kids working hard!!

 The baby was the first one done. I think that was her favorite part. Normally her siblings are faster than she is. Today, she won the prize.

 The boy was pretty excited about his locker. He already had grand plans for sprucing it up and he hadn't even cleaned up his mess yet.

I know she loves her mama because she does stuff like this for me. And smiles. Whether she wants to or not.

The kids had a great time. The next one we have a little conflict with the date. I'm not sure if we'll make that one or not. They're making a police car. The one after that, though, is pretty cool. It's a stand to use for test tubes for science experiments. That may come in handy in a couple of years. As a treat, we went and had frozen yogurt after. Always a bonus!! I got a real smile for that one.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Amphibians on the Warpath

Sounds exciting, doesn't it? It wasn't all that. My niece, N, had a birthday party while we were in Texas. That was the first birthday party for one of my nieces that we've been to. It was so much fun. The best part, besides the cupcakes, was that my BIL had cleaned the pool and we got to swim. I don't just mean clean the pool, I mean ripped out the old liner, releveled the ground underneath, and put in a new liner. There had been a floater in the pool and Big Sis was not about to swim with the old liner. We still don't know if it was a cat, squirrel, or whatever, but I was totally with Big Sis on that one. They also have a small blow up water slide that they bring out for the smallish kids.

The boy and my niece P were champing at the bit to get in the pool or go down the water slide or both. BIL finally gave in and asked them to clean the pool while he set up the slide. I don't think they could have moved faster. Then the slide needed a good scrubbing. They loved it. And at the top, they had help. Somehow, a frog had decided to be the first one down the slide. Absolutely not, according to those two. Once they caught the frog, they had to show it off. Thanks, appreciate that.

At one point, the frog decided he'd had enough of the photo op and took off. Of course the kids weren't happy about it and they retrieved him. Just let the poor creature run while he has the chance. They did let him go by the fence on the hopes that he would go to his home. We didn't see him again. That's probably a good thing. But he missed out on some killer cupcakes.

Have a great day. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cheater Field Trips, Algae, and Science

Just a quick one because I have to get ready for church. I know, though, that if I don't get this written, I'll forget, then I would kick myself because I didn't write it. That was a really long sentence. I editted it, so it could have been longer. Oh, comma, you are my friend.

Most of the famly is sunburned. We went to a place called Wild Waters yesterday with our youth group from church. That was fun! They have a handful of water slides, a wave pool, and a really cool kiddie area that made me wish I was a couple of feet shorter. You know it had to be good if I was wishing to be shorter! I like activities like this because we can go as a family. I didn't ride the slides. I like the cool blow up water slides, but I am not much in to the big slides. Hubby, bless that beautiful man, took the baby and her friend S on all the rides. Hubby said he needed to start spending more time with her and this was a great opportunity for that. One of the other moms had rented a cabana so we rented one next to her. It gave us lots of room to put our stuff and some much needed shade. I spent most of my time in the wave pool because they didn't have a lazy river. I like a lazy river, but the wave pool did the trick just fine. The big girl went with her two friends all over the park. The boy stayed with his ride "buddies" K & B (love them!!) for quite awhile, then he hung out with me. The baby stayed mostly with hubby. Showers when we all got home and lots of Burt's Bees After Sun Care. This morning we only look like we were out in the sun for a couple of hours instead of all day. Amazing stuff. I counted it as a field trip, well, because I can. I saved the admission tickets and they'll go in the portfolio. One of the best parts was that a local radio station sponsored a day at the park. It saved our family of five well over $100! We couldn't have gone if it had been a normal admission day. We had a blast!

We had algae in our pool. Can't stand that. We had so much rain and then sun and then rain, it made the pH levels and chlorine levels all wonky. We haven't been able to swim in it for over a week. Hubby went to the pool store to see what we could do. We had tried almost everything. So we shocked it. I didn't want to, but we had to. The process should be done today, so hopefully we get to swim in it tonight or tomorrow. I'm opting for tomorrow since we are all sunburned and we have quite the busy day today. The pool looks the best it ever has I have to admit. The water is super clear. I'm not sure I want to see some of the bugs that inevitably find their way into the pool. It's like swimming in the ocean. I don't need to see the creatures I'm swimming with. Sometimes oblivion is a good thing.

We still haven't started our science yet. It is what it is. We'll get to it when we get to it. I am learning to get over it and myself. I just marked it out and went on. No science this week coming up because it's a veggie co-op week. We might get to it next week. Or we might not. Some of our extras are getting started and I need to get that worked into our schedule. I think I might try to get our bible lap book done in one day, which is totally possible. If I just do it and not lollygag with it. The kids are, however, loving history. That's how science got left out. We watched and talked about our history for over an hour one day. ALT, you would be so proud!! Love it when their minds are opened and learning and imagination and creativity just take over. That is one reason I love being home with my kids. I would miss that if they were in school and that is just too amazing to miss. 

So that's the run down. I did jot some things down for next time. Ooh, a list. Not that I'll follow it, but I have one!

Have a great day.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Four Favorites

When we were on vacation, I got to spend LOTS of time with my nieces. Gosh, I love those girls. I wish I could spend almost every day with them. Spending every day with me may not be conducive to them being sane! My youngest niece and the baby were too funny. First they had to out princess each other, then they were singing, skipping, and holding hands. OK, you big weirdos.

This is my niece, C. For some reason, every time I look at her, every time I hear her little voice say "I love you, Auntie", I know that all is well and good with the world. She makes me smile. It's like she has happy glitter she sprinkles around my world. I kinda float when I'm around her.

 My beautiful niece, P. You want to talk about smart and beautiful, talk about this precious girl. Love, love love to hear her laugh and see her smile. My heart just sings.

Look up "princess" in the dictionary, and you will see N's picture. It doesn't help that her middle name means "the princess". Too funny. She uses her beauty to her advantage and I have been her sucker more than once. I miss kissing her all over her pretty face.

DD. I dedicated a quick blog to her, so you already know how much I love this one. She is a super talented singer. She took on Christina Aguilera's Hurt and rocked it. She is so funny and is prone to her mama's "blonde moments". She makes me smile and laugh.

Look at those big girls. They had the best time together. When they were texting each other, while they were sitting next to each other, you knew they were plotting. It was probably how to take over the world.

I miss them, I miss them, I miss them. I need to hold them, and tell them how much I love them, and just spend time with them. One day, one day. Hopefully soon.

Have a great day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Friends Are Friends Forever

Funny enough, that was the theme for my senior prom. It wa a copycat from the year before, which was Friends Are Forever. Crazy people. Some are still crazy, some are crazier. Anyway, I got to spend time with friends while I was in Texas. There is no group of people better than those I call friend. They are amazing people that are intelligent, funny, beautiful, kind, loving, open hearted, open minded (you have to be to be my friend. Have you heard some of the junk that comes out of my mouth?).

 This is my friend ALT. She has a great blog over at High Strung Musings. She has great insight and her opinions and statements are usually spot on for me. Smart and beautiful. Doesn't seem fair, does it? My only regret about this night was not getting pics of my other friends that came as well. May the kicking begin. It was so great to see her and spend time with her. I miss her.

 The cute guy in the middle is my friend S. I have known him since the 5th grade when he woudl get all jacked up on red KoolAid. I love him like he is my brother. We spent many hours talking, working, and being bug nuts crazy. The handsome gentleman on the left is his partner, R. He is a very talented writer. He recently released his book What's Good for Gara? Loved spending time with them.

And this is my best friend from the fifth grade on, R. What an amazing woman she is. The cutie patootie on the right is her son T. I cannot believe how big he has gotten, but I have known him since he was a twinkle in his mama's eye. I absolutely did not get to spend enough time with her either. I miss her something fierce. Beautiful inside and out.

I have known these people since elementary school. There are so many more I missed. I went to school with most of my Texas friends through 12th grade. I love that. Of course, this was back when small town meant something. We all knew each other and everyone else's business. Maybe that wasn't a good thing. I'll have to think about that. Hopefully, next time, I'll do a better job of seeing everyone. I am excited about next time!

Have a great day.

Friday, August 12, 2011


We are officially done with our first week of school. I could have picked a better week. Next week would have better, but what kind of fun is that? On top of starting school, the kids had VBS at our church this week. We also had veggie co-op. I figure it's good practice for us when our extras kick in. It also led to some quality naps, let me tell you what.

We started off light.We only did language arts and math. Next week we add in history and science. I am looking forward to that. I was going to start with a history lap book, but I changed my mind. See why I plan in pencil? Instead we are going to start history with America: The Story of Us. I borrowed the DVD from my friend K. The History Channel has study guides for each episode. We aren't necessarily going to follow the study guide, but we'll do some of it. I am looking forward to the discussions. After reading some different views on the history that I learned, I am looking forward to the series. Some of it may jibe, but some may not. That should be interesting.

I bought my supplies for the science experiments. I only really needed a 100 watt light bulb. I have every thing else. We are not doing science during a co-op week. Just one more thing to shove into 3 days, instead of four. We will, however, do origami. Since we have to make an aluminum foil "hat" for the light bulb to keep from burning ourselves, our first origami projects are hats. We are going to make two different kinds. I am going to try to find origami to either coincide with science or history. Or not. I'll probably change my mind 14 times.

The big project that I started today was cleaning out the kids' dressers and closets. Mercy me. I've already done that once this year. You should see the pile of clothes stacked in the corner of my kitchen. You really shouldn't because it is a mess!! I unpacked a box so I would have somewhere to put it all. I'm glad I did. I found 7 pairs of jeans and two shirts for the boy. More importantly, they fit! Today started our tax free weekend. I have printed every coupon for every store I can. I have made a list so I don't forget what the kids need. I have coupons for shoes, clothes, underwear, and socks. I also have a plan. Yeah, we know how that goes.

Because I don't think we are busy enough, want to know what I did? I signed the kids up for some free workshops at Lowe's. Am I out of my mind? DO NOT answer that!! I didn't sign up for alot. I just signed up for a couple I thought the kids would like. And they're free. And the Lowe's I signed up for is right across the street from the frozen yogurt place and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. There is a method to my madness. Now if I could figure it out, wouldn't that be great?

I have bored you enough. I am on to researching field trips. I'll let you know what I come up with. Wanna go with us?

Have a great day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

See Her?

That's my niece, DD. I love her and I miss her. I wish she could come live with me, but Big Sis is selfish and won't let her. Big meany.

Have a great day.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

To Do List

I am a list maker. I usually make them in my head which could explain why I don't always get everything accomplished that I want to. School is about to start. I'm excited even if the kids aren't. We are about to register for dance. Just one more day until that happens. That helps put the lesson plans in better perspective. I've ordered the curriculum we need. I have changed a couple of things and I'm going to switch some stuff around. We are also going to try to work piano lessons into our already busy schedule. If it works, I'll be calling my friend N to see if she can work us into her busy schedule. That means there are some things I need to get done before all the crazy starts. Here's what I've got so far:

  • I need to make stock. I normally make all my own. I usually make chicken and turkey, but I am also going to dabble in some veggie stock. Sometimes I have some veggies left over that may not look very appetizing, but if I boil them up, yummo stock. I have some turkey and chicken bones waiting on me. Great, now I have to clean out the freezer.
  • One reason I make my own stock is because I crock pot. Stock makes a really great flavor base. It can make a pot of lentils just that much better. I need to get my recipes together and go through them so I have them in one place. I am going to peruse my favorite websites for some new recipes.
  • I need to get back to making a menu. There are a couple of days we will need to be out of the house relatively early. I need to get my kids fed before we go. If I have a menu, I can plan quick and easy on our busiest days. My kids will be happy and I won't have to drive thru. That makes me happy.
  • I need to start making some time for me. Good thing making time is so easy. I was hoping by saying that out loud it would make it come true. Did it work? I usually get up with hubby in the morning, but so do a couple of our kids. It's on from there. Now they need to go back to their room. The early hours are mine from now on.
  • I need to relax. If we get it done when it's on the schedule, great. If not, it's ok. That's why I plan in pencil. Do our best. That's all I can expect from us.
  • I need to get back to couponing. Having been gone as long as we were, I got out of the habit. I've already started and have a nice little stack to start the great pantry stock up again. What's funny is that most of it isn't for my pantry, that's just where I keep it. Saving money is just another hat I wear. That's funny because I have way too much hair to wear hats. 
I'm hoping that because I've told you all, I can make this happen. Wish me luck. I am gonna need it!

Have a great day.

Ala-BAM-a, Part 1, With Pics

Not just talking about the state. I'm mainly talking about the battleship. And the USS Drum, the submarine. Hubby and I have driven by the USS Alabama many, many times on our way to Texas over the years. Every time we did, we would always say, "We should stop." But when you have limited vacation time and it's a two day drive both ways, it's hard to make the time. We stopped this time, by golly. We decided that when we were driving back, we would take a day or so to just hang out. What better place than Mobile and the USS Ala-BAM-a. And that's how we said it every time. After not seeing hubby for 5 weeks, we needed some time to be a complete family. We also needed some time to decompress. It was awesome.

We are not seasoned travelers like many of our friends, but we have our quirks. For instance, we prefer to always stay at a Hampton Inn. It's the free, hot breakfast that really does it. One word should say it all: waffles. When someone who has never made waffles looks at the waffle iron while it beeps loudly and annoyingly, my happy family calls out "Flip it!" Turn it over, beeping stops. Hubby is the king of the waffle iron. Now I have a craving.

We stayed in downtown Mobile. It took us 5 minutes to get to the ship. It was easily navigated and we even found our way back easily. Love it when that happens. We walked to restaurants and shops downtown. And we had a balcony. It was easily one of the nicest rooms we have ever stayed in.

 The room was huge. We had plenty of room to spread out. And we made ourselves right at home, let me tell you what. I had to get pics before we turned it into our space. You know I mean trash the place. We were very good. There were no wild parties and nobody broke anything. When we reserved the room, we asked for a balcony. We were hoping for one with a view of the bay. What we got was one of downtown Mobile.

That actually turned out to be just fine. It was really neat to see the mix of very old buildings, not so old but old enough buildings, and very modern and tall.

 Hubby and I were very drawn to the white building with the writing on it. We don't know why. We just really liked it.
 The top of this building looked like it was made of glass. We wanted to go up there and see the view. Ok, not me so much, but as long as I looked out and not down, we were all good.

This is the coolest building. We don't know what it's for, but the very top floor had us wondering. If you look you can see lights on the top floor on the far right. There are people up there. The first night we were there, we could see several silhouettes. And then someone was taking pictures. We could see the flash. The next night there were people there again. You could see them gather on the balcony. We waved in case they were watching us, too. If you looked down at the street, you could watch people coming and going to or from a night on the town. Some people should just stay home, you know what I mean? We couldn't help but laugh at some of them.  
 The pics just do not do justice to the sights. This building was very pretty all lit up. Not sure how I cut off the top, but that was the best part. See how I am.

Whenever you take a vacation to a city that has a lot of tourism, you should get a map. We got this one at the front desk.

They were also at the battleship and a couple of the places we went downtown. They proved to be invaluable. It listed the attractions that were close, shopping, restaurants, golf courses. Downtown Mobile also has a free trolley to take you almost anywhere you want to go. The maps tell you how far away, or, in our case, how close things are. We wound up with three of these I think. Many of the roads in downtown are one way. It also showed that. That came in handy when hubby took a wrong turn.

And this we got from the nice lady at the gift shop at the battleship. She was a little tightly wound for some reason, but get her talking and she loosened right up.

Sorry the picture is crooked. I forgot to turn it. But, every time I go to crop a pic, I lose it. It just disappears. Not that that has anything to do with this blog. I'm just working through some frustration. This is a vacation guide to Mobile. Get one for whatever city you visit. Great information in this thing. It made us wish we had a few more days to spend.

We want to go back. There was so much we didn't get to do. We would probably stay at the same hotel. We had the best time. It was great to get to spend some time and just wander with no real schedule. We need more of that. And it's nice to know we can make it there in just a few hours. Lots of places we want to go, but if you are looking for a good time, I suggest Ala-BAM-a.

Have a great day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rodeo Pics

We went to a rodeo while we were in Texas. I will spare you the retelling because, really, it doesn't need to be told again. Go look it up. If I was smart, I would link it. I just might go back and do that. Anyway, my camera died while we were there, among other things. All you really get is the opening and the view of some of the animals while we teetered precariously on  a metal walkway. The big girl took the pics from up above the animals because I couldn't do it. I was scared for my life on that walkway. There are also some pics of the kids before hand. I didn't have time to crop these so sorry about the quality of some of them. That and my picture gallery thingy where I upload them is being wacky.
 A skate park. This little bitty town that celebrates Jim Bowie has a skate park. Well, ok then.

 The baby and my niece at the top of a climbing thing at the park where we ate. I really don't like those, specially when there's concrete underneath it. Get down now. Thank you.
 I couldn't even look down. I tried. Once. That was all it took. Thank goodness the big girl said she would take pics. When I say rickety, I mean RICKETY!! Scared for my life, scared for my kids, scared for the people that actually had seats up there.
 Beautiful horses. And just for you, Hillside Hollow, a butt shot. It's a little blocked by the fence, but there you go.

The bottom right hand side of this pic is the bulls. It was taken as we were descending the steepest stairs I have ever been on in my life. They were rickety, too. The big girl did a great job. What she didn't get, because I was so scared when it happened I almost pushed her off the stairs, was all those bulls starting to fight. They are alot closer than you think. I could have reached out my hand and touched them. If I would have let go of my death grip on the railing. That didn't happen til my feet hit the ground.
 More bulls. I need to say it. Can you believe there was more bull crap in one place than I usually spout? Hehehehe...
 Ok, here's the deal. The top left of this pic is the announcer booth. See the guy in the burnt orange shirt? That was the announcer. Good thing since he was at the booth. My point, though, is that was where we were on the rickety walk way. See all those people sitting above the chutes? Yeah, that's where we walked. When the horses and bulls bucked in the chutes, I cannot imagine how much that thing moved, nor do I want to imagine it. A good breeze could have blown that darn thing down.

 We had the best of both worlds: a rodeo and a parade. I like the way they roll.

 That is the most beautiful flag. Ever. Followed closely by the Stars and Stripes.

 The announcer booth again. Good grief, I have goosebumps just thinking about  the walk way.

 The parade coming in. So many people and horses. I thought it was cool to see people riding with their kids. Their little bitty kids. Some could not have been older than 4. Some as young as 7 were riding by themselves. Go on with it then.

 What good are pictures at the rodeo if you don't get one of the bull fighter? They are no longer referred to as rodeo clowns. This guy was great.

You might notice that the stands in the back ground are almost empty. That's because it was the sunny side. Who wants to sit in the blazing evening sun when it's at least 105 outside? Not me. Or anyone else that crowded our side. It did thin out when the sun went down.

We had a great time. It was small, but the real action was the next night. One night was enough for us. We yelled and hooted and hollered. We got to spend time with family. That was the best part.

Have a great day.