Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Directional Fabric Onus #59872

Stink! Another issue with a fabric with a directional print. Will they never cease to plague me?

I set up my sewing machine for the first time since we moved (at the end of August). I've missed it SEW much! (har, har)

I decided to do more work on a quilt that I'm making for one of my uncles. There is one fabric in this quilt that has a pattern going a specific direction. It isn't a glaring, blatant, obtrusive fabric, but it was enough to catch my eye and make me be deliberate in placement. Yes, yes, my OCD personality traits demanded I take notice. Yet somehow, whether it be because I was doing my sewing at 2am or because I was doing my sewing whilst swooning over Mr. Darcy, I managed to sew quite a few pieces in the wrong direction. (WRONG only because there are MORE pieces sewn in the opposite direction.)

Now, of course, I'm unable to imagine leaving it that way. Why, it'll look completely cattywampus. How did I JUST notice this? How on earth did I misplace these squares while I was paying attention to how I placed them??? And all you people without OCD personality traits need not bother trying to convince me that it looks fine. :-)

Anybody need some directionally printed quilting fabric? I just may rid my stash of the needless burden. Grrr.

Can your Duck Speak Spanish?

Audrey has a very talented duck. With only the slightest bit of help it can speak any language imaginable. Up until now I thought that it only spoke "quack" but I was mistaken. I recently had the pleasure of overhearing Audrey discussing this with a Spanish-speaking person we know.

Audrey: "My duck speaks Spanish. Do you want to hear it?"
Lupe: "Sure!"
Duck: "Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack" (to the tune of Old MacDonald)
Lupe: "Oh!"
Audrey: "Can you speak Spanish by quacking?"
Lupe: "Um, no...I don't think so."

Perhaps next we'll get to hear the duck speak French!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Could this be Chicken Pox? Again?

Anyone in the mood to play doctor? Any childhood disease specialists hanging around? Want to take a look at my son?

My 12 year old son is in the middle of experiencing this:

"The first signs of chickenpox are usually a slight fever and a general feeling of illness. Within a few hours or days, small red spots begin to appear on the scalp, neck, or upper half of the body. About twelve to twenty-four hours later, these spots become itchy and develop into fluid-filled bumps. These bumps, called vesicles, go through a series of changes. First they turn into blisters. Then they break open, and scabs begin to form on top of them. This process goes on for a period of two to five days." (from http://www.faqs.org/health/Sick-V1/Chickenpox.html)

And he looks like this:
Not too many spots, I'll grant you. It shouldn't be chicken pox, since Timothy has had the varicella vaccination. He's also experienced this exact same whatever-it-is once before. At that time, our doctor's office said that they couldn't be positive what virus he had without running tests, but they thought it was chicken pox. Apparently the vaccine is only effective 75-80% of the time.

What is more convincing to me, however, is the comparison between the following picture of one of Timothy's blisters, and the picture on this webpage.

EXHIBIT CWhat do you think? Should I be warning parents around me and canceling long-awaited sleepovers?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Picture Day!

Enough procrastinating, already. It was high time that I took some "school pictures". Thanks to the persistence of my lovely daughter Melinda, it actually got done today. And to top it all off, we had fun. Here's some of the funnies:I quickly found out that getting Audrey to talk about the reasons why she loves horses is NOT the way to get a smile out of her. It is the way to get to the heart of her little philosophical self. Ha-ha...I couldn't resist snapping this shot (even though you can see my Quasimodo-reminiscent shadow in the foreground). There is something so funny to me about children willingly and uniformly lined up without a parent nearby. It's just. not. natural. :-)Oh my. I am SO tempted to make this be Andrew's official school portrait. What a face! He was quite disgruntled that the sun had the audacity to unceasingly find it's way into his eyes. The nerve!Whodunit? Definitely not Melinda. She's as innocent as can be, can't you see?Timothy's laugh and smile really sum it up. Picture taking was fun. (Much more fun than math anyhow.)

And now I must convince myself that I need to work on denying the temptation to send these pictures out instead of the more serious ones. I just love non-traditional quirky photos!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Eureka! We've Struck Gold!

Well, instead of talking about how homeschooling is going today, I thought I'd reflect on happier times. Today is, as Mondays will be, full of tears and anguish, moaning and groaning, and gnashing of teeth. Today everyone is complaining that everyone else is picking on them. Today Timothy's math hates him more than usual. Today the milk has run out. Again.

But ahhh, last week. Last week was golden. Literally. Last week we broke out all of our gold panning supplies and tried our hands at prospecting. We had 2 kits from Hands and Hearts, as well as the supplies included in our history studies from Winterpromise: American Story 2, so we had 3 gold pans going. All 4 kids got to try their hand at it, and I think that Audrey came out as the best (she was the only one not worried about losing some of her gold).We did our gold panning in an ice chest--leaving the cloudy water and gritty residue for Chris to find later that day. Oops.Melinda was SO excited to try this. She enjoyed it very much, and did quite well...after she got her mind around the fact that the ants on the ground were not out to get her.The Hands and Hearts kits had 8 bb/pellet things hidden in the sand and rocks. Audrey found them all without digging around with her fingers (like the older kiddos resorted to doing out of fear that they'd be washed over the edge). They also included a vial of gold flakes to keep.Studying the Gold Rush has been fun, especially being familiar with many of the locations talked about in the books we've read. Adding activities like this has been a remarkable way to make our studies more meaningful. We're really enjoying the approach that Winterpromise takes to learning history, especially in combination with some of Sonlight's great literature pics.

I'll post later about some of our other school activities.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yippy Skippy! New Furniture...

Today was like Christmas. Crying kids and all. Oh, except the food (we had reheated spaghetti for dinner). But the gifts and the mess and extreme emotions and all that...Our new furniture arrived today! The girls were very excited, while the boys remained calmly and distantly interested. This is our new dining table. It is currently missing it's extension but still seats 6. We have 8 chairs, and when the leaf arrives it will seat 8 comfortably. I love how wide it is, and the fact that there are no armchairs (only sidechairs) makes it feel very conversation oriented.A detail photo of the chairs. The table is at counter height, so the chairs are a bit taller than normal dining chairs. The height is another thing I like about the table. It is not as high as the bar height tables, but taller than a regular table. It gives it a unique look, as does the combination of straight lines and curves.I love this chair. It had me at "hello". It makes my heart go thump-thump and drop into my stomach. I don't know what else to say. This is my chair. I might actually go write my name underneath it, in case an issue should ever arise (the "I don't see your name on it" issue). *sigh*We now have a couch and chair in our living room. It's more of a "formal" living room (I often call it the "front room" since it is at the front of the house). I'm not much into formal, so this will our conversation room--no tv, and a nice view of our center courtyard. The above picture is of the new couch alongside my chair. Yes, it is another brown leather couch. No, it is not identical to our other one. It's difficult to see in the photos, but this couch has some character. It, like the dining room set, has a nice balance of curves and straight lines. It is very dark brown--near black, but with great contrast at the seams.Here's a detail of the couch seams. Hmm...still hard to tell from the photos. You will all just have to come over to my house and check it out for yourself!Another photo of my chair. This one is so you can see the adorable little munchkin wrapped around one of the legs. This is also so that you can see the art above the fireplace--it makes a great focal point (this is what you see when you enter the house)--and notice my new dining set behind the fireplace. :)

What a fun weekend distraction!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp. brown sugar-packed
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
dash cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
3 large eggs
2 Tbsp. butter-melted

Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in another bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry all at once, whisk until smooth. (Add more buttermilk if necessary for desired consistency.)

Cook over medium heat on a buttered nonstick skillet. Turn when bubbles form, cook until bottoms are golden brown. Serve with hot maple syrup.

Fall in Long Beach

I'm back in the land of no seasons. Or, at the very least, the land of very obscure, sublime, and subtle seasons. I have to make a concerted effort to make myself feel like I'm experiencing the seasons, for to be without the mere impression of seasons is for Melody's mind to turn into chocolate pudding. I sincerely hope we can all agree that is NOT desirable.

So I've been flavoring the air around me with the scents of autumn. Literally with apples and cinnamon, abstractly with a new burnt orange purse, and gastronomically with pumpkin waffles and beef stew.

I am blessed to have a tree on my property that has the decency to lose it's leaves at this time of year. It can't figure out how to make them turn orange, yellow, or red before shedding, but it makes up for that lack by being big enough to spread it's autumnal joy quite a far distance.

Hey, I'll take what I can get.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Lightbulb Goes On!

Or...The Idiosyncrasies of the English Language as Demonstrated by a 4 year-old American Girl.

I've occasionally heard my 4 year-old, Audrey, say things like "Melinda didn't HAIV" or "The boys weren't being HAIV" (pronounced like waive or wave, pave, shave, crave, etc.). I've never put a lot of thought into it, only assuming that she'd shortened the word "behave".

Today I realized that I was actually witnessing an excellent form of language and grammar assimilation. This is how young children build their vocabulary--they hear a word said and observe it's application, thereby learning it's meaning. Likewise with grammar, they apply common and logical conjugations to their new found vocabulary.

Audrey often heard me issue the instructions "Be nice!" and "Behave!" which, as soon as the lightbulb went on, I realized she heard as "Be nice!" and "Be HAIV!". Being the amazing language learner that she is, she fit what she heard into the patterns she already knew. HAIV must be similar to NICE, since it's used in the same context...therefore it must be conjugated the same as well.

What an enjoyable lightbulb moment!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mmmm...Comfort Food

Anyone know what this is? Well, as far as I know it's something that my mom came up with, so most of you are probably missing out. This is Comfort Food--HEALTHY Comfort Food. This is Eggs and Rice...this is something that every single one of my children enjoys eating. Typically this is something my mom would throw together for breakfast if she had leftover rice. I always have to make a ton in order to keep my boys happy, so I usually have to make rice specifically for this purpose. I'm sure my mom probably cooked it a bit different, but here's how I make it:

-2 cups of dry rice, cooked (usually cooked a day ahead and refrigerated)
-4 Tbsp butter
-9 eggs

I get my huge 12" deep dish non-stick skillet and heat it over medium heat. I add in the butter, wait until it's melted, and throw in the rice. Stir this around until the rice is mostly separated and coated with butter; cook until heated. Meanwhile, beat 9 eggs in a medium sized bowl. Add all at once to rice, stirring to combine, and occasionally while cooking (like scrambled eggs). Add salt and pepper to taste.

I was thinking of home, eating comfort food, and decided to share. Yum!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mission Trip to Honduras

Chris and I, and our boys Timothy and Andrew, just got back from our missions trip to Honduras. Our girls enjoyed a nice vacation with my parents, their Papa and MeMa. We were gone for around 10 days, and worked for 7. Our projects were located in the city of Catacamas.

We worked on two different projects. The first was replacing an old leaking tile roof and putting up a tin roof. The second was at another church that has been only halfway built for nine years. We put 2 more rows of concrete block on the top of the building, started the roof trusses, and poured the concrete floor and stage area.

The group we went with is mostly from around the Tahoe area with Church Family Missions. Including our 2 leaders, there were 19 of us in the group. Chris enjoyed being one of the drivers on the trip, and especially enjoyed the food. Timothy and Andrew had fun helping their dad and some local children get water from the river for cement and dishwashing purposes. They also had a blast trying to catch chickens, making paper airplanes, and playing soccer with the other children. I got to help with some of the cooking, dishwashing, shopping, as well as some of the other ministry and labor projects.Above is a photo of Chris (and others) behind the home of the family who hosted us for breakfast and lunch. The family attends and lives near the second church we worked on. The food was great, all cooked outside in the kitchen right behind Chris.
The above photo was near the first church we worked on. It rained, providing a small stream on the side of the road. This entertained Andrew, Timothy, and Jade (the other child on our team) for quite a while--which in turn entertained the local children.This is the truck that Chris drove, and this was the way that they got water from the river.Timothy's friend helped him catch the bunny rabbit that had been hopping around.Yay! Andrew caught a chicken! That was his goal as soon as we got to Catacamas.The cats and dogs (and chickens and rabbits and cows) all eat together. No food is wasted.VBS at the first church we worked on. This was one of the days with lower attendance!

I'm glad to be back home!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy 8th Birthday Melinda!

My sweet girl, Miss Linnie, has turned 8! I can hardly believe it--I still think of her as 7. We had a small celebration at home, where she had her BFF stay the night. We had Mexican food for dinner (her fave) and she picked out her cake and ice cream. She got her much desired Nintendo DS from Dad and Mom. We love you Linnie!