Friday, November 30, 2007

Chasing the Bus

Yes, this morning I got a chance to prove that I can chase down the school bus! I'd guessed it would work when several times I left 5 minutes or so after M left and had to wait behind the bus. This morning, M was on the computer (as usual) and ready to go, but I got distracted by entering a bunch of data into a spreadsheet and all of a sudden, it was past time for M to go. Not helped by the fact that he wouldn't be missed at the bus stop this morning as D usually takes him early on Friday for math team. No math team this morning though. Anyway, I suspected he might miss the bus, so when he came back we both hustled down to the car and managed to catch the bus on the other side of the neighborhood. Good thing as I really didn't want to have to drive him all the way to school - its a lot farther to middle school than elementary. I wouldn't bother trying to catch the bus with A - if he misses it and I don't want to drive him, I can usually get him a ride with our neighbor.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey Day Update

Thanksgiving went quite nicely. We ended up with 7 adults and 2 kids - a nice tablefull of people. Plenty of food (and plenty of leftovers too - yum). I promised I'd report back on the ginger on the pumpkin pie. It was OK, but not really anything special. I really like crystallized ginger, but somehow it didn't seem to do much for the pie (and M, as predicted, didn't want anything to do with it), so I don't think I'll bother with it again. I'll just much on the ginger plain!

We all had some form of leftovers for lunch today. M just the turkey. A had a turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich. I had turkey/cranberry sauce/stuffing sandwich. D had turkey and mashed pototoes (leftovers, but not from Thanksgiving) with gravy. And then we had full Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner. We've finished off the green beans now and that's fine. It's not quite so fine that we've almost finished off the turkey. I think we'll get one more day of sandwiches, but that's probably it. Now to figure out what we're going to eat all the stuffing with...

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2007 Christmas List

It's that time of year again.... time to think about Christmas gifts. While I have the best of intentions of getting started early on Christmas stuff every year, it never really seems to happen. Here it is the day before Thanksgiving and I have bought 2 gifts and only thought of 2 or 3 more. So I thought I'd throw out a list so you can see what we might want (also in the hopes that family might let us know what they might like also).

As you can see below, M is the only one who has done a lot of thinking about what he would like. As we think of more things, I will update the list. For the kids, especially, this is a WISH list. They are allowed to put anything they want on the list, but that does not mean that we, the parents, think that these are all appropriate gifts. If in doubt, ask one of us.

Fun Ride Deluxe
Nintendo Hotspot thing for DS or Wii
DS Internet (to go with Nintendo Hotspot)
Skateboard + equiptment
Nindendo DS Mario + Sonic at the Olympic Game
Wii (gift for M+A)
iTunes gift card
iPod speaker (regular or pillow)
Homestar Runner gift card
Full Collection of Strong Bad emails DVD
The Simpsons-The Movie
Iron Reaver Finger Blade (
Nintendo DS Drawn to Life
Borders Gift Card
Heelies (maybe)
Beyblade + launcher + equipment
Beyblade Stadium (gift for M+A)
Playstation 2
Kick the Cheat

Webkinz charms
Nintendo DS New Super Mario Bros.
Dragon Amulet for Dragon Fable
Beyblade + launcher + equipment
Guillotine (card game)
Webkinz trading cards
iPod nano
Star Captain for MechQuest

There's really not a lot I need. I'd be just as happy with a gift to the Heifer project

speaker for iPod - not a fancy, expensive one - something for the kitchen or sewing room
Jo-Ann gift card
cat fabrics - anything from scraps up to about a yard
blue chair cushions for kitchen chairs - any color blue would do, either 4 or 6 (if they are washable that would be a definite plus - I have 3 now after one didn't make it through the wash)
suggestions of books I might like to read - interlibrary loan has become my good friend
canisters for flour, sugar, etc. The ones I have are starting to crack after lo these many years. I find the most use for the larger canisters in a set, not so much the small ones.

Consumables are always a good choice. I like interesting food (esp chocolate. I particularly like European style milk chocolate or dark chocolate) that I wouldn't necessarily buy for myself.

charger for cell phone - for the car (1st choice) or one with a AA/AAA battery - one that says it works with an Oystr Virgin Mobile phone


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Getting ready for Turkey Day

I spent the afternoon doing my part of the baking for Turkey Day. 2 pies for tomorrow's dinner and a bonus loaf of cranberry nut bread for us.

The pie in back is pumpkin. I know it looks strange and mottled on one side - that's because it has crystallized ginger on top on that side. I saw a recipe that called for the ginger on top and decided that as much as most of us like ginger, I'd have to try it. But because M is not a big ginger fan, I only put it on half the pie. It called for making the pie as usual and then 30 minutes into baking, putting the chopped ginger on top. We'll find out tomorrow whether/how much it improves the pie.

The other pie is a cranberry apple ginger pie. Yep, there's that crystallized ginger again. I said we really love ginger! The recipe calls for approximately half a bag of cranberries. I know the bag says you can store the berries for about a month in the fridge, but I've never had them store well for that long. So, while the pies were baking I used the other half bag of berries to make the cranberry nut bread - the recipe is on the bag of cranberries. It was almost exactly the right amount. Yum. We've already sampled the bread tonight.

Tomorrow I still have to make the cranberry sauce. Sometimes I put crystallized ginger in it too, but I'm thinking I won't this year. I have made it both with and without some years too, but that has mostly been when we've had more people for dinner. I like the ginger in the sauce with dinner, but it seems a little odd when you're having the turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce sandwich for lunch later. D will be making his special stuffing (with more extras in it than stuffing mix) tomorrow too.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Thansgiving Quiz - corrected

In honor of Thanksgiving, here's a little quiz to see how much you know about the holiday. I must admit to guessing on some of these questions, but I still got 14 right. I'll have to see how M and A do...

Sorry I had a bad link there. Thanks to Scribbit for letting me know.

M isn't very up on his turkey day trivia - he only got 5 right.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Thank goodness its almost Friday! This week has been extra busy with the teachers trying to get stuff in before Thanksgiving break. A had his diorama to create, along with a paragraph about black bears. And then an essay on what he is thankful for. A is still working on what topic sentences are supposed to be. He had one which said something like "I'm thankful for my parents because they feed me lasagna and toaster strudel and give me presents and a bed to sleep on." Yeah. We broke that up into several different sentences... It seems that A is thankful for parents, church and school. Sounds good to me.

M had to get up early this morning to finish typing his MATH assignment. Huh? Yes, he had to type up the answers to a 4 page math worksheet. He even figured out how to put a table in there on the computer. Then tomorrow morning he has to work some more on his book review. D read it tonight and left him a bunch of comments where he needs to work on things. So he'll be busy.

Then after tomorrow, we have some breathing space. The kids are off school all week next week. We can all sleep in and rest up for that final push before the next holiday. Of course, M needs to do some serious work on his science fair project during that week... It never ends.

A said he wished he only had to go to school one day a week. Then M calculated that it would then take roughly 3.5 years to finish one year of school at that rate. "And you would be 41.5 when you got out of high school!" (or whatever age he calculated)


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Project time

A's diorama on the Great Barrier Reef from last week.

This week he has to make a diorama on the black bear and its habitat. Unfortunately we don't have any stuffed black bears - we have a blue bear, a white bear, a light brown bear, a dark brown bear - but NO black bear. Or rather, we do have one, but he is much too large to fit into the requested "shoe box size" box. So, tomorrow one of my tasks is to procure or figure out how to make a black bear. Or perhaps to get color ink for the printer so I can print a 2-D bear.

I told my mom tonight - I don't recall her participation in my dioramas execpt to find me 'yet another shoe box'. But its clear from looking at the projects (and often at the requirements) that parental participation is involved.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunday afternoon "fun"

Well, I'm not sure any of us would really describe it as "fun", but at least it was more fun with all of us there...

You may wonder exactly what M and D are doing. They (actually all 4 of us) were stripping shelf paper off the pantry shelves. This is the latest step in the BATTLE AGAINST THE PANTRY MOTHS. Unfortunately the pantry moths are still suiciding into the traps, so they are coming from somewhere. ARRRRGGGGHHHH

I was dropping some stuff off at my mom's this morning while her bug man was there. We talked about the pantry moths. He suggested that the next step be to make up some "stronger than label" bug spray and spray the pantry thoroughly, let sit for a week, then repaint. So, I suppose getting some strong bug spray is my next step. Maybe, just maybe I'll have my pantry put back together in time for Christmas. Heavens, I'd better, as we're having company for Christmas and there's nothing like telling someone to go hunt through half a dozen plastic bins for an ingredient (that not even I really know where it is).


Saturday, November 10, 2007

A's Walk-a-thon

A's school had their walk-a-thon today. Very different from M's school. This one was how many laps of the track could you do in 30 minutes.

They said they expected the average child would be able to do 6-12 laps in 30 minutes. They also said that the track is just shy of 1/4 mile. So I was thinking that 12 laps or almost 3 miles in 30 minutes would be pushing it for elementary kids. Well, either they are wrong on the track length or we have some pretty impressive kids. A walked/ran 14 laps! 14 3/4 if you ask him. I was quite impressed. Especially when I saw that he walked more laps than any of the other kids in his class (though there were only 5 others who walked). There is a prize for the top walker per class, so he should earn that, if he doesn't qualify for one of the top moneymaker prizes (not too likely, but he may decide to try to collect more pledges). He would bankrupt me if I hadn't put a cap on my pledge. You see, I pledged one dollar per lap number - ie
$1 for lap 1
$2 for lap 2 total $3
$3 for lap 3 total $6
This adds up FAST! 14 laps would be $105!!

But I put a cap of $50, so I'm still out quite a bit, but A did a great job. He walked and jogged and ran for 30 minutes straight and completed more laps than almost all the other kids out there. I think there were 2 kids who did 17 laps and one or 2 who did 15 - out of about 40 kids. WAY to go A!

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Book Character Parade

Our elementary school doesn't "do" Halloween. No costumes, no Halloween party, no real acknowledgement that the day occurs (well, they generally don't give homework that night). Instead, they hold book character parades soon after Halloween where the kids can dress up. The 1st, 3rd, 5th parade was Friday. Each kid who participates dresses up as a character in a book and carries that book with them and parades twice through the halls of the school.

A chose to go as Harry Potter, to no surprise. It was his Halloween costume and his favorite book character too. I would guess that many of the kids came in their Halloween costume. After all, you can get books about Transformers and Batman and Dis*ney princesses.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

On Living with Cats

I've learned a few things about living with cats the last few years. Some of these I remembered from other cats, some are new to me.

1. Do NOT leave the butter uncovered. You will come back to find it oddly smoothed... and then have to cut off a hunk of it.

2. Do NOT leave your water cup in the bathroom more than half full. The cat WILL drink out of it - in preference to his water dish, the water in the bottom of the sink or anywhere else the water is left strictly for the cat.

3. Watch where you sit. We've found urps from the cat the last 2 mornings - one on the chair cushion in the kitchen and one on the quilt in the living room. Luckily these are really just chunks of dry catfood, but I certainly don't want to sit in it.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Fall Colors

We're getting some nice fall colors at the moment, though they are not so brilliant as usual - probably due to the drought. This is a tree in a neighbor's yard. The photo doesn't really do it justice - but gives at least a feel for the many colors.
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Sunday, November 04, 2007

It's that time of year again...

The heat is on, the flannel sheets have gone on all the beds, and the cat is spending a LOT more time in my lap. This is all very nice, but it makes blogging in the evenings very difficult. I don't like disturbing Shadow, especially when we are both warm and comfy in the recliner. I guess maybe I need to remember to post earlier in the day.

We had tried to hold out on the heat until November, but one day last week it was just too cold. Upper 30's that night and the house was 59 when I got up in the morning. Brrrr. So the heat went on. And the flannel sheets on the kids beds. Then it warmed back up again until today. But this morning, thanks to the programmable thermostat, the heat was ON already when I got up. very nice. I love my programmable thermostat - I just wish it had 4 settings for the weekend, just like it does for weekdays.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Not really worth it

We had a yard sale today. Or as the signs said - an estate sale or a garage sale. But maybe we should have said basement sale because mostly that's where it was. My mom's basement to be exact - with her stuff, her temporary roommate's stuff and my stuff (including stuff that was my dad's). Plus a little bit of stuff from my aunt and one friend. And we tried to keep track of stuff that sold that the kids would get the money for. All rather confusing and lots of work.

I was up just before 6 this morning - oh the horror, on a Saturday. When I got over to my mom's just before 7, it was really still too dark to put stuff outside - I couldn't see what I was putting where. So we concentrated on taking boxes out to arrange once it got light and clearing paths inside.

The sale was advertised from 8-2, but we still had people coming up until 4 or later - even as we were taking stuff back inside. We left a lot of it set up inside - that's easier for today, but its even harder to force yourself to go back through things later. I did box up a large box of stuff to go directly to G@@dwill though. It's in the car and ready to be dropped off (Monday, I hope).

By the time we finished cleaning up (as much as we did) and counting money, I had made a grand total of approximately $80. Not much gain for a full day's work. But, then again, I didn't really expect to make a whole lot of money on this sale. I was participating because I was needed - and if I was going to be there, I might as well try to make *some* money. Amazingly enough, for me the biggest money makers were my dad's clothes. I think we sold 5 sports coats ($5 each), at least 12 pairs of pants (3 for $5), a few shirts and one pair of shoes. Usually kids clothes sell better than adults, but not today. I think all I sold of the kids clothes was 3 items and one pair of shoes.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Cats and Quilting don't always mix

I've finished up a project recently, despite the extreme need to "help" from Miss Pounce.

She was quite intent on sitting right in the middle of the fabric I was trying to cut. And then she would wander back and forth in between me and the sewing machine. I "still" can't see through her - not at the sewing machine and not at the computer!

Here's the finished product:

This is supposed to be a lap quilt size for someone in a wheelchair. I hope it is a good size. Before I make another to donate, I will check again and find out.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween costumes

Finally some pictures of the kids from last night. Seemingly it was the 5th or 6th time that was the charm. I got the first picture loaded on my 2nd try, then it took off and on the rest of the day to get these other two photos.

Here's A, making plans with a friend as to when and where they will meet up to go trick-or-treating.

And here's M ready to go out. He forgot his blood last night, but he still looks plenty spooky.

Somehow the iPod strings seem to make him even spookier...

The pumpkins.

I enjoyed the new camera which let me take pictures without a flash, so you can see the pumpkins all lit up. However, the kids weren't as good at staying still long enough - this was take #3. In the earlier shots we got a better view of kids faces, but this is the best I got.

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