Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Correction and a Little Randomness

I guess I should clarify something from my last post. I didn't actually cut up my wedding dress to get that quilt fabric. I just used the fabric we had left over, because my saintly Auntie M made my dress for me. (And a lot of the other dresses.)

I just went to an Arbonne party and I've decided that if it's going to cost me $400 to have a perfect complexion, I'll just have to live with acne. I went to the party because my aunt-in-law invited me, and well, let's face it, an evening with no kids is an evening with no kids, regardless of whether or not someone is trying to sell me something. But seriously, their 9-step skin care system costs $380. Right. As my husband pointed out, that's half a computer.

I would post more, but my eyes are killing me right now. My optometrist told me that my eyes have gotten a little bit worse, so I'm using the contacts with the more powerful prescription, and they're giving me terrible eye strain. The computer makes it much worse, so I'm quitting. Now. Really.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Quilts


I think my mother has about 3000 cousins, but I know very few of them because we haven't all stayed within the same 90-mile spread of countryside like my husband's family. (but that's another post) The only one I really feel like I know is my C'auntie J, who has recently started her own blog, called Still Waters Run Deep. She is a special-education teacher, mom to twin 18 yr old girls, church worker and an all around great person. As evidenced by the fact that she is making me a quilt. Maybe I didn't put quite the right emphasis on that. She is MAKING ME A QUILT! Now really, how many people on this earth would just do that for their first cousin once removed. Not many, folks, and that's why C'auntie J is getting a big bloggy hug from me. Please stop by her blog and tell her "hi". Who knows, maybe she'll make you a quilt too. (Just Kidding, C'J, don't have a heart attack please.)

Which brings me to my own abysmal failure at the handicrafts in general and quilting in particular. (Yes, Grandma, I'm about to say something bad about myself. Don't worry, I'm OK, really.) I have this quilt I cut out and pieced before Zaya was born (that would be a little over three and a half years, if you're keeping track). It's been pinned to its batting and back fabric since that time, but only partially quilted when I happened to have it at Auntie M's house one time. A lady in our community here showed me how to hand quilt so I can try to finish it, but let me just tell you how easy hand-quilting isn't. My stitches look like they were made by a three year old. Not just any three year old, but one with absolutely no small motor skills at all. None. At all. I'm serious. So, I think I'll be taking my quilt over to the house of this lady. (Who happens to be the new dorm mommy that took our place) and ask her to let me use her sewing machine...and knowledge...and abilities, maybe. I'm truly pitiful. (The quilt in the picture above is mine. It's made with fabrics from my wedding dress and the dresses of my attendants. It's baby-sized.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Moo!


My kids are still talking about the branding experience at Grandma and Grandpa's house yesterday. Mim says,

"Daddy! Gwampa bwanded cows!" Uncuh C gave dem happy juice!"

Zaya says, "Grandpa branded cows yesterday, Mom"
"Yes, I know dear. You told me about it. Did the cows like it?"
"No, they wiggled and shaked and mooed!"

We've been hearing about it all day. It definitely made a lasting impression on them.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rooms by A, Tacos by E


We're finally doing some serious work on our back rooms. I'm really looking forward to being able to live in our entire house, and not just the front half. My husband took off today and tomorrow so that he can get something done, not just get started and then have to quit, like happens on most weekends. Right now we're fighting carpenter ants and termites. This house hasn't been lived in, really, for years now, and since there was a leak in the back, the little bugs have been having a perpetual feast. Luckily they've been more interested in the paper fiberboard stuff than the actual 2X4s, with a few notable exceptions.

Grandma T watched the kids for a while today while I helped A work. When they came back this evening the first thing Zaya said was, "Mommy! Grandpa branded a cow!" He was so excited, and has told me about it several times since then, too. I asked him if the cow liked it and he said, "No! It mooed and mooed and mooed! But then Uncle C gave it some 'happy juice' and it was all better." Apparently Uncle C decided to call the fly ointment that they spray on their backs "happy juice". We already have Uncle C to thank for a lot of disinformation here in our happy little home. He has also taught both of my little darlings to flash the peace sign and say "peace out" when they leave him.



Just a little notice to everyone who isn't watching the World Series. Jacoby Ellsbury stole a base tonight (game two of the above-mentioned World Series) so Taco Bell is going to give everyone in America a free taco on Oct. 30 between 2 and 5 pm. Just so you know. Hey, a free taco is a free taco, and it occurs to me that someone who was very hungry, very poor, and quite unscrupulous could easily hit all the Taco Bells in their city for a free taco if they mapped out their strategy ahead of time. I'm not even sure we have a Taco Bell within a 45 mile radius of our little town, so I'm not planning to implement this strategy myself; just an idea.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #35


13 Possible Novel Topics for NaNoWriMo

I've decided to try to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November. I've only got a week left to think up a good topic. Here are some possible ideas and permutations of ideas. Please leave your vote. (I won't necessarily do the one that gets the most votes, I just like lots of opinions when I make a decision. I'm a wienie like that.) I don't know if any of these would be specifically Christian fiction, but I do know that they would probably be the cleanest works of fiction you've ever seen. I can't even write curse words. I'm just that inhibited.

1. Mystery set in 1930s/1940s Oklahoma. Probably with a farmer or a farmer's son as the sleuth.

2. Mystery set in present day Oklahoma with same possible sleuths.

3. WWII novel, set somewhere in Europe. Probably involving an underground resistance group.

4. WWII novel, set here at the home front.

5. Mystery at local newspaper office in small, rural town.

6. Fantasy novel with possible mystery theme rather than war/conquest themes.

7. Story of young man of independent means who travels the world disguised to learn about people and life in general. Probably set in the late 1800's, but possible also somewhere in the first half of the 1900's.

8. Mystery in which two teenagers (boy and girl) are the hero/heroine/sleuths. Also set in rural Oklahoma

9. Suspense/mystery about a missing/believed dead person from a terror attack, who actually just used the opportunity to hide and get away from some unspecified threat.

10. Mystery/story involving a preacher's family in a rural town.

11. Murder mystery where the crime is discovered through conversations and events that take place in an online role-playing game.

12. Mystery that is discovered/solved by people who work in a small family/owned photo printing shop.

13. A fantasy or sci-fi rendering of the current immigration issues facing our state/country.

Mika Mac


Our neighbor is a retired school teacher named Mr. Mac. His actual name is something like "P.R. McDonald", but everyone just calls him Mac, to the point where the local paper even calls him Mac McDonald when he's mentioned. My husband was a former math student of his in grade school, and remembers him very fondly.

Since all of Mr. Mac's grandchildren live in another state, he has set out to woo my children, and done it very effectively, by bribing them with Dum-Dum suckers. It has reached the point where Mim sees Mr. Mac, and forsaking all others, runs to him with arms outstretched yelling "Mika Mac gots suckas?!?!" Of course he always gives both kids two or three, so we've got a steady supply here. Mr. Mac is the only man I have ever seen Mim run too, excluding her father. Even her grandpas don't have the kind of power that our neighbor does. It's amazing what a good bribe will do. She says, "Mika Mac bewwy nice man." You'd have to hear the inflection to pick up all the adoring vibes.

Mim and Zaya both chew their suckers to pieces within minutes, so I had to hurry to catch a picture of Mim still in possession of her sucker stick. She had just finished, so I told her to put the stick back in her mouth and she got the wrong end. Another couple of interesting things about this picture: That basket you see next to her is our shoe basket. When the kids come in, the shoes go in the basket (especially in the summer). The blue door was painted right before my wedding back in 2000. I'm not sure why my mother used blue. I don't think it was chosen with malice aforethought. She just used what she had or found on sale. I'm sure she'll set me straight in comments.

(Mr. Mac also occasionally mows our yard, but that's another kettle of fish, which I am not prepared to fry up at this time.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My New Shirt



OK, Tina, I just want you to know what a supreme effort of will it is to post this picture. I look like a jackrabbit on drugs. Frightening! (Why is it always a supreme effort, do you think?)

My friend Tina gave me this great shirt, but I had to promise to post a picture of myself wearing it, so here it is. In case you can't read it, the shirt says, "Blogito, Ergo Sum". For those of you who may not know and wouldn't dare admit it by asking, it's a play on words from the Latin phrase "Cognito, Ergo Sum", which means, "I think, therefore I am." Thus, "I blog, therefore I am." Great, huh!

The only bad thing about it is it says, "Comments (0)" underneath. All bloggers know that seeing (0) by your comments is a sad, sad thing.

Thanks Tina! Oh, and sorry for not ironing it first. =)


Mim was standing next to me when my husband took my picture, and hers turned out much cuter.



Update: Tina bought this shirt from ThinkGeek.com. A really wonderful website for those of us who are, um, less than cool. I'll have to do a whole post about it sometime.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Seasick


This is an excerpt from an article I read in Popular Science. The series of articles this month is about "The Science of Cooking" and discusses how chefs are using technology to create new flavor options and etc.

**These days, servers at particularly innovative restaurants ask questions such as, "With those clams, would you like the seaside?" At the Fat Duck outside London, the chef Heston Blumenthal has concocted a multi-sensory experience he calls "Sound of the Sea." He presents a glass plate suspended above a bed of real sand. On the plate is a layer of sand-like particles, what looks like the foamy residue of a wave and, in between, clams and other seafood morsels. The particles and foam are edible and tasty.
But before you're given the plate, you get an iPod playing seashore sounds through the earbuds. On one special occasion, the chef brought out a fan whose blades were painted with an ocean fragrance to blow a gentle breeze on the diners. This is a fish course like no other - meant to satisfy, sure, but also to transport you to another place.**

I have to admit that my first reaction to this is disgust, for two reasons. One, I don't like seafood, but secondly, because that is not the purpose of food. Food was created so that we could sustain our lives, not so that we could entertain ourselves and spend incredible amounts of money on totally ridiculous things. I can only imagine the reaction of someone who has too little food, or no food, to an article like this. Someone told me one time (my mother, I think) that as we reach different socio-economic platforms, we respond differently to food. In poverty (ie the Great Depression) we ask, "Are you full? Did you get enough to eat?" In the middle class, where money is not as much of a problem, we ask, "Did it taste good?" When we have too much money, we ask, "How did it look?" This article really seems to verify her statements.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Of Socks and Men


Today I faced the formidable "Sock Basket". It was a fearsome task, but those of us who are left with the problems that no one else dare attempt discover honor and a special kind of pride in their completion.

The socks that you see in the basket are mine. Those in the great, frightening mound are my husband's. After I finished sorting the worthy from the unworthy, everything fit neatly into that fantastic little white basket. (I just love that it's made to carry on your hip, because you know that's how we women carry things anyway. Somebody somewhere was thinking.) I feel the glow of honest pride that comes from such great achievement.

I would just like to take a little time to address the truly disgusting nature of men's socks. This is true in many different ways. The socks of my own dear father would make even Mike Rowe cringe. I promise you, it's a whole new smell experience. My brother could destroy socks after wearing them only once. When he used to wear my sister's socks, or my own, we would just give them to him, because they were not usable by normal humans.

My husband's do not have a distincive odor, but the actual fibers of the sock seem to soak up some essence of man and die, one by one. There were socks in that pile that were only a shadowy ghost of their former selves, and I felt it was really only humane (sockane) to put them out of their misery. Oh, and another thing. My husband has this habit of folding his dirty socks together before he puts them back in the laundry (or his gym bag). If there's something worse than having to touch a man's dirty socks, it's having to manhandle (womanhandle) them out of a little inverted sweat bundle. It's hardly less disgusting after they've dried, and maintain their state even after unfolding. I've tried asking him to stop, but the man can't remember. Obviously he fails to grasp the true horror of it all.

In other news, my good buddy Tina gave me a great shirt which I've promised to take a picture of myself wearing. I will attempt to do so soon, but I have to wait for a time when I'm wearing make-up and have my hair done. In other words, you'll probably have to wait until Sunday. It really is a great shirt, so tune back in soon.

Thursday Thirteen #34


Oklahoma Wildflowers

1. Small Bindweed (Hedge Bells, Corn Lily, Corn Bind, Bear Bind) - These pinkish-white flowers have long stems that bind to and climb up nearby tall crops. I think they look pretty out in the fields, adding a bit of color to the wheat, but I know they're not something a farmer wants filling his field.

2. Wild Rose (Prairie Rose, Climbing Rose, Rose Blush) - The long stems of this plant are prickly, but if women are roses, then these pink flowers remind me very much of pioneer women. They're beautiful, but simply made, and you can tell by looking at them that they haven't had the luxury of care and cultivation. They grow where they are and make the best out of bad soil.

3. Queen Ann's Thistle (Musk Thistle, Plumeless Thistle, Bank Thistle) - It's a big no-no to have thistle in the fields around here. Farmers get fined if they have a certain kind that is particularly big and nasty. I don't know if it's this specific one or not, but I happen to like thistles. They're incredibly prickly, but I have just enough Scottish blood to think they're beautiful.

4. Antelope Horns (Creeping Milkweed) - The flower part of this plant are greenish clusters with little white tips. The inside of the stems are full of a thick, white, milky substance that I think looks and acts more like Elmer's Glue than milk.

5. Devil's Claw (Proboscis Flower, Ram's Horn, Unicorn Plant, Elephant's Trunk, Double Claw) - I can't say I've ever noticed the actual plant, but the big claw shaped seed pods are unmistakable. I remember these in West Texas too.

6. Purple Coneflower - I can't say I've ever really liked coneflowers. I can't describe why, I just don't. There's just something rude about them. At least the purple ones have some nice color to commend them.

7. Bluebonnet (Texas Lupine) - Ok, so these are mostly in Texas, but we have a few here, and I've always loved them. (Having been born in Texas)

8. Common Sunflower (Comb Flower, Larea Bell, Golden Bell) - These tall wild sunflowers grow everywhere. In big scrap piles, in the fields. They're very resilient.

9. Blue Morning Glory - It always makes me feel good to know that there are flowers that are early birds too. These are pretty bluish purple flowers in the shapes of trumpets (without all the keys and tubes, you know).

10. Large-flowered Tickseed - Despite the name, these are actually pretty little yellow flowers, and they will grow in rocky and dry soil where precious little else will grown.

11. Water Lily (Yellow Nelumbo, Pond Nut, Wonkapin, American Lotus) - These only grow in those dark murky lakes that give me the willies. I love the Lilies, but the lakes I've seen them growing in made me shiver. Ick.

12. Bear Grass (Soap Weed, Adam's Needle, Palmillo) - These tall thick petaled plants are very distinctive, growing along the highways and out in rocky places. They are a dessert plant, or at least look like one, and belong to the Yucca family.

13. Henbit (Dead Nettle) - Despite the unflattering names, this tiny little plant is actually one of my favorites. It grows in the yards of those of us who don't baby and fertilize our grass. They come out in the spring before the Bermuda Grass, so while everyone elses lawn is dead and boring, mine has this lovely purple flush to it, and green leaves.


These flowers were all found in the book Oklahoma Wildflowers by Doyle McCoy.

I'm in a hurry, so if there are typos and things that offend anyone's grammar sensibilities, please forgive me. I'm already late for something.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mess-Free Breakfast Cereal


Here's a little tip I picked up from a friend of mine. You can buy these little containers at Wal-mart that have a lid with a hole in it. They're great for cereal. Especially the bigger kinds like Pops. Fruity Pebbles are really too small and tend to get spilled. The kids love eating cereal out of them, and I don't have to add milk this way. It's especially great when they eat their cereal out on the front porch. They're joining Gatito for a little brunch in this picture. Mim's mouth is full of Corn Pops. Hence the funny cheeks.

I know, Grandma, this is not family tradition. What can I say? If I thought they'd eat and appreciate biscuits with gravy, bacon, eggs and toast, I'd be up early making them, but I know they'd just as soon have the cereal. Now, if someone would make all that other breakfast stuff for me...ah, dreams.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Moody Monday


Today was one of those days. You know, one of those days when I thought, "I am a lazy, undisciplined slob. I can't believe people trust me to raise children." As is typical on a Monday morning, the house was a disaster. There were(are) piles of laundry everywhere and we had(have) about a house and a half's worth of junk packed into half a house. It was better by this afternoon, but I was the poster child for postpartum depression this morning. (Yeah, my baby's two years old. What's your point?)

On a brighter note, Mim actually took a nap today, which gives me great and glorious hopes for the future. Tonight she went to sleep only after being given no less than four blankies, her bottle of water, two stuffed animals (Puppy and Bunny) and two dolls. (Baby and Nother Baby) Zaya is currently in the process of going to sleep, which involves Daddy reading him a story and chatting with him and generally being delayed as long as is humanly possible by his son. Zaya knows every trick in the book to get Daddy back in the room. He doesn't even try them with Mommy, but he knows Daddy will fall for them. I'm not going to complain. I'm just thrilled that Daddy handles bedtime by himself.

Speaking of which, it's time for Mommy to go take her bath. Ahhh.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Big Girl

This weekend we decided to turn Mim's crib into a toddler bed by removing the side rail. (It was designed for that.) With much fear and trembling I put her down to sleep Friday night, but everything went surprisingly smoothly. I'm not letting her have her milk bottle anymore, but she does get some water in her bottle. So far, so good. Both nights she's woken up in the middle of the night and fallen/gotten out of bed. I've just put her back and given her a bit more water. The next step will be putting her in an actual bed. That's an ordeal yet to come. I'm pretty sure she won't nap in this new and improved bed, so I guess my days of sweet naptime bliss are over. Oh well. It had to end someday. It's not like I was ever very productive during naptime, but at least I could stop and think (or sleep, if necessary).

Here's a video that Daddy took of the first scary (for Mommy, not for Mim) night. video

Friday, October 12, 2007

Japanese China


Last night we had a Ladies' Tea at our church, and each table was set with the china of one of the ladies in the church. It was fun to see everyone's fancy dishes, and they enjoyed being able to pull them all out for once. Thus inspired, A. and I pulled out my boxes of china (which are actually from Japan) from Grandma C while going through all our stuff in the back room. I've had them in storage while I waited to own my own kitchen.

Grandma C passed away when I was 4, so I remember only a very little about her. It meant so much to me to have that china, (which Grandpa and Grandma Lorene gave me many years after her death.) as a tangible memory and tie between us. I pulled it all out today and washed it, and it has left me a bit confused. Now, I know Nonnie (That's what we called her.) used her china every day, so some of the pieces are broken, however I can't figure out what size set she had, because every single piece has a different total. For instance, there is 1 medium-sized plate, and there are 3 bowls, 4 bread plates, 8 dinner plates, and 10 saucers. I have 4 tea cups, a salt and pepper shaker, a sugar lid (pictured), and four large serving dishes. So was it a set of 4 with lots of extras, a set of 6 with a few extras, a set of eight with quite a few broken and a couple extra saucers, or a set of 10 with lots broken?

I wonder if I should look on E-bay to finish out the set. If so, should I go to 6, 8, 10? How does one go about finding out what the pattern is called and where to find it? Any ideas?

Just a note to Grandma Lorene, who really has been like a grandmother to me all these years. Thanks again, and I pulled out the tea set you gave me too. I'm waiting for Mim to get a bit older before we have any tea parties with it, but I look forward to that time. Just wanted you to know.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #33


Thirteen Weird Words

Courtesy of the website 20 Weird English Words, a part of the List Universe.

1. Mungo - A dumpster diver- one who extracts valuable things from trash.
2. Mesonoxian - Pertaining to midnight
3. Lamprophony - Loudness and clarity of voice
4. Pulveratricious - Covered with dust
5. Selcouth - Unfamiliar, rare, strange, marvelous, wonderful.
6. Tyrotoxism - To be covered by cheese
7. Zabernism - The abuse of military power of authority
8. Limerance - To be in love
9. Inaniloquent - to babble
10. Nudiustertian - The day before yesterday
11. Erinaceous - Like a hedgehog
12.Rastaquouere - A social climber
13. Floccinaucinihilipilification - Estimation that something is valueless. Proper pronunciation based on Latin roots: flockə-nowsə-nəkələ-pələ-fək-ation.

Not a single one of these appeared in spell check, so make what you will of that.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This is a Title

Every thing's fine here at the Babystepper household, there just hasn't been much to write about. OK, that's not technically true. I've just been too lazy to write it. There, I said it.

I'm still not feeling the creative juices flow, so I'm going to use pictures to fill the gaps.

Here's a picture of my first attempt at pumpkin carving. As I mentioned before, I'm really not interested in having a jack-o-lantern at my house, but I like the idea of carving a design in a pumpkin and celebrating the changing seasons. I experimented a bit with this one. That's a maple leaf you see there on the side.





This next picture is what it looks like when Hubs messes with my silverware drawer on purpose, just to answer Lilibeth's question in this post.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Town-Wide Trash and Treasure

Today was our town-wide garage sale. It starts early (very early) and then fizzles at about noon. My mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law came and we made the rounds. We found a few things we couldn't live without, and probably a few things we should've lived without.



I found this great horse outfit for Zaya to wear. Boys need to play dress-up sometimes too, right? Mim got new dishes and food for her play kitchen, and she, her brother and her cousin had great fun dragging them all over the house. We won't keep all of the dishes and things I bought, but it was an all or nothing proposition, so instead of the "nothing" I should've taken, I took the "all". Oops.



Most importantly, my husband found something that I have been missing for over a year and a half. It was a piece of jewelry that was very important to me because of who it used to belong to, and I had lost it and thought I'd never see it again. I was so excited! Am so excited!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dr. Zaya and Mr. Hyde


I was all set on Wednesday to write a post about what a sweet little angel my boy is. Zaya impressed me so much in the way he dealt with his little sister, and I was so proud of him. She had been throwing a fit, and when she finally stopped and started on with Mommy and Brother on her tricycle he was so good with her. All I could say was things like, "If you hadn't been throwing a hissy fit, you wouldn't have fallen off your trike". Zaya said all of these things at different times on the short walk from the mailbox to the house: "Mim, you are a good girl. You stopped crying, Mim! Look, you are a very good pedaler. I like you, Mim. Sometimes you cry, but sometimes you don't!" He was such a good big brother. Then came the fall.

Not only did he wet the bed for the first time ever on Wed. night, but then he was a BAD BOY in the nursery (again) during Bible study. My friend, Maria, watches the nursery for us on Thursdays, and she told me he had disobeyed her and the other nursery worker, actually hit them by pushing his head on their stomachs, taken toys from the other children and who knows what else. I am truly devastated. That just isn't my little boy. I don't know what to do with him. I grounded him from games and videos yesterday, so we'll just see what happens next time, I guess. Maria said she didn't understand because he's usually very sweet and obedient in there. She excused it by saying that even little guys have a bad day sometimes, but I refuse to let that be an excuse for such terrible behavior. I'm so upset with him.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #32


Great websites for pre-schoolers and early elementary.

These sites get a lot of use here at the Babystepper household. Zaya loves them, and Mim does too if I want to take the time to sit in front of the computer with her and obey her every little command.

1. Starfall - This is a wonderful site. It's completely free, and it teaches reading in interesting and effective ways. They have something for those just learning their letters, all the way up to those who are starting to read well.

2. PBS Kids - All your kids' favorite PBS characters have their own games, coloring pages and puzzles. This site is especially nice because the games are made to be at the same level as the content of whichever cartoon character they are using. ie. Teletubbies is incredibly basic, while Sesame Street is teaching beginning letters and concepts and Arthur gives you a chance to write your own stories.

3. Noggin - My son loves Noggin, because it has an incredible variety of games starring characters like Dora, Diego, Blue, the Backyardigans, the Wonderpets and many more. We don't even get this channel on our television, but no kid growing up today can avoid knowing who these characters are. It also has a link to the Nick Jr. site, which is much the same, but with different characters.

4. Thomas and Friends - Good old Thomas. There are several games here and some coloring pages. Just a warning, though. Don't print out your child's certificates, because the entire background is blue, and everybody who enjoys buying color ink cartridges raise your hand. Yeah, I thought so. Me either.

5. Reading A to Z - Kids - This is a great site that my Aunt MP told me about. You have to register for it, which means a small fee, but it's wonderful for homeschooling, or for extra reading help and practice. It has online books for literally all levels of grade school, and even high school, really. The books start very, very basic, and get increasingly more difficult in language and subject matter. If your child goes to school, ask his teacher about signing the whole class up for this. He can even get on at home and work on things and she can monitor his progress.

6. Brain POP Jr. - Another site with lots of different games. These are mainly science related and teach lots of basic early grade school concepts.

7. Up to Ten - This site has lots of different learning games for kids, well, up to ten. I mean lots. An overwhelming amount, really.

8. Early Learning Coloring
Pages
This one is a resource site for parents, mostly. It's a compilation of links to other places on the internet for coloring pages, games, advice etc. Someone else has done all the work for us, all we have to do is browse.

9. Enchanted Learning - This is another site where you have to pay a small subscription fee to get to most of the material, but it's great material. There are printable books for every topic under the sun. Another helpful resource for homeschooling, I would think.

10. Bembo's Zoo and Little People ABC's - These sites are both just the alphabet, and some cute pictures/animations that go with each letter, which is why I've lumped the otherwise unrelated links together.

11. The Kidz Page - Another site full of little games, and coloring pages. They have a lot of things for specific holidays.

12. Insect Lore - This site has lots of games and information about, what else, bugs.

13. Learning Planet - Another resource site for parents, this one has links for teaching basic skills and ideas to pre-schoolers and Kindergarten.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteens.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Falling into Autumn


We are not really a Halloween type family. I'm not into fear as a cheap thrill, and I hope I can raise my children the same way. I do, however, love autumn. I'm always excited when the air starts to get colder and I get to pull out all those cute sweaters I found on clearance last spring. So here's my problem: I want to get into the autumn festivities, but I don't want to decorate for Halloween. I would love to carve pumpkins with my kiddos, but not jack-o-lanterns because I'm just not really happy about the symbolism. And here's my solution(s):

I found a great article in a recent Family Circle magazine that has solved my problem, partly. They showed several great ideas for turning pumpkins into, basically, candle holders. They don't have faces, scary or other-wise, just designs. I'm ready to give it a try this year. I will be celebrating the harvest and the amazing cycle of seasons that God has created, and teaching some great lessons to my children at the same time. (Of course, it's entirely possible that the only lesson I'll be teaching is that Mommy shouldn't try to play with knives or be creative, but we'll just see, won't we?)

Another fun thing my kids enjoyed last year was visiting a local pumpkin patch. Ours had a small farm as well, so they got to see donkeys and piglets and run around in the red Okie dirt getting filthy and (more importantly) tired. I highly recommend visiting a pumpkin patch if you have one in your area. It's really lots of fun for the little ones, and Mommy too.

(I was sad to discover today that all our rains this year washed out the crop at our local pumpkin patch. =( I'll have to try to find some little ones at the grocery store, I guess.)

For more ideas, check out the first edition of Scribbit's Winter Bazaar.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

In Which My Children Amaze Me


Here are a few verbal stunners I received from my children today.

Mim told Zaya "thank you" for something. (I think it was for giving her his gum wrapper to throw in the trash.) She was so proud of herself for saying "thank you" that she then told me, "Mommy, Me give Zaya hug." "Ok, you do that," I told her. Then I heard her in the living room hugging on her brother and saying, "Me like you Zaya." To which he responded, "Oh, I like you too, Mim." Let's all say it together, now.

**aahhh how cute**

A little later Zaya asked him if he could play Noggin. I told him no, since he's already completely re-beat his Dora RPG today. (little addict!) He said, "Mom, you are a good woman." To which his cynical mother replied, "Umm. Thanks. But you still can't play the computer." He just said, "That's OK," and ran off. Huh. Who'd a thunk it?

Then the world righted itself when I heard my son and heir yelling from the bathroom, "Hey, I made a big poop! It's even bigger than Daddy's!" I'm not even going to ask the question. I don't want to know.

Wherein I Ramble, But Briefly


Last night I was up with Zaya several times for breathing treatments. He's over that now, thankfully.

This morning he came up with that mysteriously absent contraction. "Amn't". As in, "I amn't going to fall." Why don't we all use that, I wonder?

In other news,

I am currently drinking hot water with honey and apple cider vinegar because there's precious little else I can drink besides plain water, and let me just tell how much I'm not interested in downing glass after glass of plain water. My mother-in-law swears by this unholy vinegar concoction, (well, she would if she swore that is) so I've decided to give it a try. I don't remember exactly what it's supposed to help/cleanse/cure, but I think it would help (in a psychosomatic way, doncherknow) if I knew exactly which organ I'm benefitting here, so I'll ask her sometime.

Speaking of my saintly mother-in-law, she's going to have the kids tomorrow morning so that I can run my errands and go to the YMCA. Bliss.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Milestones


Now this is a beautiful picture. Do you know what this is? This is a two-year-old entertaining herself. Did you catch that? Entertaining herself! What beautiful words to a mother's ears. In the past I've said, with foolish optimism, "Why don't you two go play on your own, please." Just recently, though, it's actually started happening. Zaya's always been willing to entertain himself if it could involve video or TV, but Mim is uninterested in either of those things, so it's taken a little longer for Mommy to get five minutes to do all those silly frivolous things like cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. Now Zaya and Mim will actually go play with each other. It's wonderful. Don't get me wrong; it doesn't happen very often, but it does happen, which gives me glorious hope for the future.

Mim had set up this Little People ark and brought some Little People from her other play sets in to join them. If you want to know what was happening in her little toddler head, as I did, watch the video. Hopefully. I mean, try to watch the video. I've never put a video on before, so I'm not sure whether or not it will work. It's certainly taking a long time to load. Let me know if it doesn't work right.

video