Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Jingle Bell Jukebox

This is cool: Jingle Bell Jukebox. I had never heard of it before. You can look up the Christmas song you want to hear and it will usually give you a choice of several people singing it. They don't have everything, but there's a lot on there.

Speaking of Christmas songs, I love listening to the radio when they are playing all Christmas music. They do that on one of our stations on the weekends. I noticed something disturbing this weekend, though. You know that song, "Happy Christmas" by John Lennon? (It's the one that starts, "So this is Christmas...") Well, I really don't like that song. It is way too preachy, and it's also not that good. I think radio stations feel they need to play it often, but I wish they wouldn't. Anyway, the chorus is sung by some kids and that's okay. There is always this one kid who cannot sing, but they leave him on there, and I've always thought that is cool. Except that for the first time, I realized "No, this is not a little kid, it is actually Yoko Ono." ugghhh. And she CAN'T sing. Not a lick! Listen to it sometime and you will see what I mean.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I have a really bad case of laryngitis. I have never had it like this before. Usually I call it laryngitis when my voice sounds really bad or it hurts to talk. This time it is just gone. I mean, nothing is coming out. It doesn't hurt much. Doesn't even feel very scratchy. I think it is some kind of a virus, because my temp has just been barely above normal. I don't really feel bad, although I was pretty tired this afternoon. I cut Peanut's school day short and we watched an "educational" video while Junior was sleeping. And I managed to doze off during the video, which I don't usually do.

I have been whispering to the kids all day. It is very hard. When I want to say something to them, I always forget and try to talk, which doesn't work. Then I snap my fingers, like that is loud enough. Then I have to go get right up to their ear to talk to them.

Junior doesn't understand. Well, neither one of them do, but I think Peanut kind of gets it a little. She knew that I was hoarse on Sunday and Monday, and it got worse. I had not thought of explaining it, I just said my throat was scratchy. I guess I said something about losing my voice, because tonight Jr. said, "Did you lose your voice?" I said, "Yeah." He goes, "Well, where is it?" I almost thought he was teasing, but his face said he wasn't. Then he said, "Did it go down into your stomach?" Hee hee. Bless his heart. I tried to explain it, then I told Todd he better talk to him tonight. I am not sure he is hearing me that well. He also told me that someday he will lose his voice too. I wonder if he thinks I will never talk again?

I found some extra Tang Tea. It tastes good, but doesn't seem to help so much. I am trying some "ginger tea" which has a little more of a tingle to it. And I've taken a lot of vitamin C. I am hopeful that tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Peanut and her AWANA club thing...

Did you know yahoo will remind you to update your blog? It will. So it has been reminding me and I've been ignoring it, but I decided I ought to update today. We have not been doing anything new and different in school. Peanut went to Awana's tonight and finished up learning the books of the Old Testament. Pretty good for a little first grader. Yay Peanut! I taught her the "Let Us Sing the Books of Moses" song, I was pretty surprised that she was able to finish tonight. Next thing for her is to memorize the 23rd Psalm, which she learned last year, so she will just have to review.

Junior had to stay home tonight, though. He had a stuffy nose this morning, but acted like he felt fine. Then he woke up grumpy from his nap, which is normal, but this time he did not get better. He was just having a really hard time, but I had already promised his teacher that I would help with his class. So Peanut and I went to church and he and Dad stayed home. I figured he would have already gone to bed, we didn't get home until almost 9:00. Nope. When I walked in his was singing and giggling in the bathtub. He was acting like his old self! But he probably needed a Wednesday night break. Sometimes you just do.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

New Drawings

Table with Flowers and Violets

This is a new drawing that Peanut did. After this, I gave her a nicer sketchbook so she can draw without the background lines. I notice today she is still drawing in a regular lined notebook, but I guess she will get used to it sooner or later.
The Big Bad Wolf

Here is another that she did in the same notebook, but I cleaned it up on the computer. I think this reminds me of something in a book. Maybe Maisy, but I can't remember. He looks a little bit crazy, anyway.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Here is a little toy that Peanut made for Junior the other day. She heard him crying because his mean mom made him take a nap. She felt sorry for him and made him a toy for when he woke up. The heart box has some of her bubble gum inside. Sweet.

I am training her as a "prep chef" in the kitchen. She knows how to peel carrots and then run them through the french fry cutter.


And Junior is actually learning to read! I sat him down the other day and showed him how to read "AT" and "CAT". Today he was tired of those and said he wanted to read "RAT", so I showed him how to read that. Boys!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Face paint and stuff

Peanut bought a face paint kit last weekend and the kids had fun with it. I think the idea was that she was going to paint Junior's face, but of course that's not going to happen. So for both pictures he is "A dog with a moustache."
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By the way, face paint comes out of carpet very easily with Fantastic and a dry cloth!

Here is a sample of Peanut's spelling test for this week. I'll try to put these up every so often to show her progress. I told her I was proud that these letters are all standing on the floor instead of hopping around up above the lines. She thought that was pretty hilarious. I have no idea what that is a picture of above the words. She wants to illustrate her spelling list. I let her do that earlier this week, but you can't do it every day. It would take all afternoon.

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For dinner tonight we are having Chicken Divine out of Quick Cooking Magazine. And some kind of salad I made up with broccoli, cauliflower, and cheddar cheese -- all from the leftovers from Summer and Dan's wedding. I have used that stuff so much, and I think it is multiplying in my refrigerator!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Starting back to school

I don't know why I never get time to update this thing, but now that we are back in the school routine, maybe I will get better. We started back to "real school" on August 1st. Peanut had been asking me pretty often when we would start back, even though we were doing some reading and stuff like that each day. But I think she thinks "circle time" that we do at the beginning of the day is "real school." So we started back on a schedule.

We are doing Sonlight curriculum, and it is very interesting. Peanut likes all the books that go with it, and I catch her "reading ahead" all the time...grabbing the books that are for later this year, and flipping throught them. Other stuff we are doing:
Language: Explode the Code - Book 2
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears
Math: Singapore Math Primary 1a
Spelling: We are going through a beginning phonics program and using their word lists for spelling words. We are getting Sonlight's Language Arts I next week. LA II was too hard.
Science: We just bought the Usborne Book of Science Activities Vol II and it has some little demonstrations and activities for us to do. Haven't started that yet, I just got the book a few days ago.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Final Cake Pictures

Here is my final cake from my class. It was a lot of work, but I am happy about the flowers.

Here is a view of the flowers on top of the bottom cake.
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Here is the whole thing put together.
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This is also made with the new, good-tasting, homemade fondant. Never use the Wilton stuff out of a box.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Another Cake Picture

Here is my cake from decorating class last night. It is the first fondant cake I have made, and it was very easy. I was surprised. I hate the color, it looks like Pepto-Bismol. But now I know not to use too much color paste in the fondant!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

My Cake!

This month I took a cake decorating class. It was fun and not too hard, just a lot of work. It was the Wilton II course. Tonight was the grand finale. Here is my completed cake:
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The little birds are icing too. I say that because Todd couldn't believe that part.

I think I am going to take Wilton III next month, because there is a big discount for July.

I know I haven't been updating this very often. Since the sun has been going down later and later, the kids go to bed later. It is just too hard to settle them down if it is not dark outside. But that means I don't have a lot of time between their bedtime and mine. For some reason wake-up time has not changed!

Now I have to go clean up my icing covered kitchen!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Birthday Party Pictures

Junior's birthday party with his little friends went well. He had a lot of fun. Here he is with the "Pin-the-Banana-on-the-Monkey" game we made.

We also had a monkey cake.

And here is his car cake from last Saturday.
car cake

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Getting ready for a birthday party

I have spent the weekend getting ready for Junior's birthday party. He is going to have his first kid party this year with his friends, as well as a family party Saturday. We made some invitations for his party. The theme is "Go Bananas" and I just happened to find the perfect blank cards (yellow and brown) in a bargain pack at Michael's. I guess yellow and brown are not the hot colors right now! And the perfect stickers too. I printed the cards on the computer, very plain. Then I put these little stickers on them. They turned out too cute!

They don't have the brown border. I just put that on here because it doesn't look right without the border. But all the invitations were either light brown or yellow paper.

I made cake yesterday. He found the perfect cake pan at Michael's. It is a 3D car. He is the funniest thing. He grabbed the cake pan and started hugging it and jumping up and down. At home he had told me he either wanted a guitar or a car. Well, Grandma Mary has the guitar pan and she always offers for me to borrow any of her pans I want. So I was just going to ask her for the guitar pan and that would be it. But of course he saw this car pan and loved it so much, what else could I do? So he will have a 3D car cake. He'll probably want the guitar cake later on, but this year it will be a car.

And for his kid party, we got a bear face cake pan that you can make into a monkey. So he will have that. I was going to do cupcakes, but then I decided that the monkey cake would be almost as easy as making a bunch of cupcakes which the kids would just lick the icing off of anyway.

I made icing all day today. A lot of icing, chocolate and plain. I am tired. I am going to listen to Swingin' Down the Lane and Riverwalk Jazz. Then I'll watch my BritComs and go to bed!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Baby birds

Our baby birds have hatched. Wish I could share a picture, but I can barely see them myself. I walked by the birdhouse yesterday evening and they were peeping away. I could see their little beaks pointing upward. I could see maybe 3 or 4, it was too dark to tell. I ran to get Peanut, but when we got back the mama bird had been there to feed them and she was flying away. So they were quiet instead of crying. And the mama and daddy bird were up in the tree just as mad as they could be. So we left pretty quickly.

I have tried to see them a couple more times, but the mama and daddy are very close by and they get really mad, so I try not to stay more than a few seconds. We'll be watching them for a couple of weeks to see when they leave the nest.

Our books arrived in the mail. Peanut was pretty excited. We will go ahead and start on math and handwriting next week, and then work our way into the rest. There is a lot...I have to remember that this is a year's worth of work!

Friday, May 6, 2005


Today was the last day of the Bible study I've been going to on Thursday morning. It was a really good one. We read Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

See if any of these hit home: "I can't help the way I am." "I should not have to live with unfulfilled longings." "I don't have time to do everything I am supposed to do." How about, "I can't help the way I respond when my hormones are out of whack." These are just some of the lies we need to hold up to the truth of God's Word.

Todd stayed home an extra day last weekend. Junior has still not gotten over that. He has missed his dad so much this week. He usually gets up 5 minutes after Dad leaves for work, then he asks when is Dad going to be home. I have been letting him call Dad at work during the day. It is pretty funny. He dials the number with me helping him and then waits on the line for Todd to answer. Today the conversation was:
T: Hello?
J: Dad? Um, well, um, um, um...mama said I couldn't...I wanted to drive my bike out into the parking lot...I wanted to drive my bike out into the parking lot from the driveway and mama said NOOOO! (starts to cry)
T: Son, you have to obey mama. She doesn't want you to get hit by a car.
J: (less forceful)Well, um, um, um...I wanted to go out in the parking lot and mama won't let me.
T: She doesn't want you to get hurt. You do what mama says.
J: I could get in a wreck and get hurt...but, but, okay.
T: Alright, you be good. Okay?
J: Okay.

(The "parking lot" is our cul-de-sac. He thinks he should be able to ride around out there anytime he wants.)

Monday, May 2, 2005

"ancient" history

I had an interesting discussing with the kids the other day. We stopped to eat at McDonald's at Walmart. A lot of the time they are decorated with the "50s theme", so we are sitting there and Junior pointed to the wall and asked about the "wheels." They are kind of 3-D cartoon records, just a decoration. So I was trying to explain to these kids what records are. Very sad. I finally told them that they are like CD's only bigger. I think Peanut has seen them at her grandparent's house, but she's never heard one.

Then we started talking about how things were in the "olden-time" days when Mama was a little girl. They cannot comprehend that we did not have VCRs or tapes to watch on TV. Peanut was sad when I told her that a Christmas show like Charlie Brown or Rudolph only came on once a year and if you missed it that was just too bad and maybe you would get to watch it next year.

It is hard for them to understand the timeline of these things too. Like Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny have been around longer than Grandpa Jelly. But Veggie Tales have been around just a little longer than Peanut. This was truly shocking news.

I remember when I was in grade school, there was this "push" to get kids interested in computers. There was always something in Weekly Reader or in your science book that was about how wonderful computers were. Why, you could add and multiply and divide! Maybe someday you could play games like tic-tac-toe and checkers!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

We have a butterfly

We let our butterfly go Saturday. Yes, out of five caterpillars, we got one butterfly. Pretty expensive deal. Hmmmm. I did get one picture that was decent.


Tomorrow night is the last night of Awanas for the year. They are having a little program for the parents. That should be fun. Peanut is sad about it being the last night. She really liked it. But before you know it, it will be time to start back again.

Friday, April 15, 2005

More bird stuff...

We watched our wrens today. I don't know if this is the mama, but I'll just say it is:

She spends a lot of time there now. Peanut saw one of them go in with a bug in their mouth, she wondered if they were feeding babies. They are either feeding babies or the daddy is bringing food to the mama. After explaining this, I had to make up voices for them and what they were saying which the kids enjoyed immensely.

The chrysalids are doing well. We are keeping them out of Junior's reach, so they will stay safe. He dropped the cup the other day. I pulled two fallen ones out of the bottom of the cup and put them on a paper towel in the bottom of our little "cage" thing. The website actually had info on what to do if any of them fell off the lid, so I guess we are not the first people to have this problem!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Update on the caterpillars

When we got home last night, we discovered that our caterpillars had started changing. I was able to get a pretty good picture this time when I tried. I think the key is that I opened the kitchen windows to let in plenty of light. I will try to remember that next time.
Here is what we have as of noon today:


The one in the middle is a chrysalis, and on the left is a caterpillar that has attached himself to the underside of the lid and is curling up getting ready. The one on the right is holding out. He is just crawling around very slowly, but he hasn’t quite made it to the lid yet. They ate a huge amount while we were gone. It looks like they almost finished up their food supply. When they are butterflies we are supposed to feed them sugar water sprinkled on fresh flowers.

Friday, April 8, 2005

Caterpillars that we ordered

I wish I could get a picture of our caterpillars, but my camera is not that good. We got these in the mail last Friday in a little plastic cup with a lid. The cup has about a half inch of some kind of solid agar stuff for them to eat. You do not open the cup at all until they are pupa. They have tripled their size in the past week, it is just amazing.

The cup thing is really gross now. Since you don't open the cup and clean it out...well. And the caterpillars spin silk to crawl around on. I think it would be more educational to raise them where you can just feed them with leaves, etc. It has been interesting to see them grow so much, but you don't get a picture of how much they eat. I wonder how hard it is to find their eggs? I'm sure this cup method is better for classrooms so you don't need to take care of them every day.

We are waiting for them to climb to the top of the cup and turn into chrysalids. Hope it is not while we are gone to Grandma's!

We'll keep updated and maybe I can at least get a picture of a butterfly. I looked online for a unit study on butterflies and I guess I will have to make my own. There are some available for purchase, but how hard can it be to make your own, especially for a Kindergarten/1st grader. I'll bet I can do better than representing the life stages with different shapes of pasta. Yeah, that was actually an idea. Ooookay.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

New drawing

Here is Peanut's drawing of the inside of the birdhouse. It has an attic and also a staircase for elegant birds who do not want the trouble of flying up there. They have stored a trike and a Christmas tree up there.

We had rain and wind today and stayed in all day. A squirrel ate all the birdseed out of our feeder, that was the most exciting thing that happened. Six feet from the bird feeder is a squirrel feeder where the food has not even been touched. But oh well. He was pretty funny, he had to do some serious gymnastics to get the food, so I guess he earned it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Stuff we've learned about our birds...

We have Bewick’s wrens. They are not migrating birds. They usually build nests near the ground. The male wren usually builds several nests rather quickly. Then he takes his mate from nest to nest so she can pick the one she likes best. Then she helps him fix it up a little better, and she lines the nest herself. She will lay 5-7 pink or white speckled eggs, one egg each day. She will brood the eggs herself. It takes 13-15 days to hatch the eggs. Both parents feed the babies. The babies will fledge after 12-18 days. Even after they start to fly, the parents will feed them sometimes for two more weeks. If the female is ready to nest again, the male takes over parenting by himself. They will usually have two broods each summer. Sometimes even three.

They eat primarily insects, but they may be attracted to peanut butter, sunflower seed, and suet.

They usually stay hidden in hedges and shrubs. Ours must be a little more brave because we see them several times a day, and the house is out in the open near our back door.

Saturday, April 2, 2005

April Fools stuff

This morning when Peanut got up I fixed her some cereal. I usually put their milk in a little cup to pour on the cereal. I put in a couple of drops of food coloring to make the milk turn purple. This is not as funny if you do not know how grouchy she is in the morning. Grandpa J. will be able to relate. She whined, "Ehhhhh, my milk looks PUR-PLE!" So I say, "Quit griping, it's just plain milk." "But....eeehhh, it looks PUR-PLE. What's WRONG with it?" "Oh, here, let me see..." I go look and then say "April Fools!" It took her a full ten seconds to process this, she just gave me one of her mad stares, then she busted up giggling. It was priceless.

Then she helped me with my more elaborate joke. I got the idea from a magazine to make meatloaf in cake pans and "frost" it with mashed potatoes. So we got Daddy with that one. It didn't look too bad. Mine was not as professional looking, of course. Here is the one in the magazine:
I also made the kids some jello with fruit in it that I put into drinking glasses with straws so it looked like punch. Beautiful, the only problem is that you can't suck it up the straw.

Then I made the traditional dirt cake for dessert. In a flowerpot-looking thing. This one I only fooled Junior, but it was worth it. I pinched some of the cookie crumbs out of the pot and ate them. He kind of half-smiled like he didn't know what to think. I said, "Try this, it's good." "No, mama, I don't eat dirt." He was so confused, so we had to tell him.

I know this is not what they mean when they say you should "play with your kids." But for one day a year, it is pretty fun.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

More birds...

Okay, apparently the chickadees lost the house. Or else they had just been hanging around outside like it was theirs. Because the wrens seem to have taken it over. At least I think these are wrens. They are very sweet. We spied on them all afternoon and finally came up with a picture. Here is one of them. I'm not sure, but I think this is the male. His markings are a little more clear.

They are still making a nest, even though we had seen that the nest was already large on Tuesday. This is probably their first baby! :) Anyway, they have a pretty song. They were carrying on a lot this afternoon, maybe trying to let the chickadees know to stay away!

Peanut drew a picture of what their house looks like on the inside. Complete with a baby crib, of course. I can't get the scanner to work tonight, but I'll try again tomorrow.

Such a blessing to have this little family move in close to us! They are precious to God, and he knows when each one falls. (Matt. 10:29)

Funny isn't it, how little kids sometimes only hear the stuff you would rather they not hear. We were trying to listen to music on the way to Bible Study this morning. They broke in with news, and Peanut heard just what they had said and started asking questions. We talked about this scripture, and I'll share part of it here:
"Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me..."Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?" He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matthew 25:41-46)
God have mercy on the souls of all those resposible for the cruelty towards Terri Schiavo. There is time to repent, but someday it will be too late.

Birds in the backyard

Peanut and I are excited. Last fall she and her daddy made a birdhouse. They hung it on the lamppost on the back patio. I told her not to get her hopes up too much, sometimes it takes a long time for birds to find a birdhouse and it might sit empty for a while. Well, they have found it! A chickadee couple checked it out and they apparently think it is a good place to raise a family. Last night she peeked in and it is full of grass, cotton, etc. We can't tell about any eggs, but they were going in and out this morning, so it looks hopeful. I think it helped that we started using the top of the old sandbox as a bird feeder. The birds seem to like that bigger area.

Little brother has amazed me once again. He can count to 100 using our number chart! I would have never thought he could do that. He used to try to count, but he would get mixed up because when you say "thirty" and "forty" the same way, it is confusing. Then he would skip some of the higher numbers, like all the 70s or all the 80s. But a couple of days ago, he grabbed up the number chart when sis was through with it, and started reading it. Yesterday I tried to really pay attention to him while he did it, and everything fell apart. He was trying to be funny, of course. So I guess he will do better if I pretend to ignore him.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Old Children's Books

This year I have discovered a lot of really good children's books that I either had forgotten or missed when I was growing up. Have you ever read any of these?:
The Story About Ping
Make Way For Ducklings
The Giraffe Who Walked To Paris
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Really good stories and I am glad I got the chance to read them to my own kids even though I don't remember reading them when I was little. I guess you're never too old.

Here is some artwork Peanut made today. I am not sure where she came up with this one, but it was very interesting.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Readin' and 'Ritin'

Last week at the homeschool meeting, one of the moms passed out some Braum's book buddies that she had leftover from another group. They are little cards with stickers and coupons. The kid gets one sticker per book read and when they get 6 stickers, they get a coupon for a free ice cream cone. So I got it out today and told Peanut about it. She nearly came unglued and went searching for books that she could read to me. I had to tell her calm down. We have all week to get 6 stickers, I think we can handle it. She was about to climb the walls all day. The funny thing is that we are going to see Grandma and Grandpa this weekend and they would take her to Braum's twice a day if she wanted. Hee hee. But she is excited about getting a coupon to bring along, so I think I'll ask her if she wants to treat one of them. They won't let her, but it would be nice for her to ask.

This morning Junior was tired, he is still getting over his little illness. He went in his room before lunch to lie down and ended up going to sleep. Peanut grabbed some paper and wrote him a letter:
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She is pretty cute. I was so impressed because she did this all by herself! She is doing pretty good putting spaces in between the words and using some lower-case letters too. I will have to find one of her notes from earlier this year and compare them. And that is a lot of writing for her, if I had asked her to do half of that, she would have been slumped over the table begging for a break! Hee hee...

Monday, March 14, 2005

A page from Peanut's nature book

Peanut has been keeping a nature book that she started in January. She is using it to record what she sees outdoors. It contains mostly drawings because writing takes so long. But I've been having her label the months. We started out in January watching birds at the bird feeder. We ended up just pouring out bird seed on the patio so more birds could eat at one time. The birds don't stay on the feeder more than a few seconds, but when they all can eat together, maybe they feel safer.

This is a picture she did Saturday. In the middle is a picture of a moth that she saw, and she is comparing it to a butterfly. I was proud of the moth drawing, because she used the actual shape that she could see, instead of making a cartoon-y drawing like the butterfly. I think at the bottom is a side view of the same moth.