Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I like Wednesdays

I've decided that I really like Wednesdays at the moment - not necessarily more than Friday or the weekend days, but definitely better than Monday, Tuesday or Thursday. Why? Because I don't have to pick anyone up at school on Wednesdays. And I've got an extra almost 2 hours on Wednesdays too.

The first Wednesday of bliss was 2 weeks ago. It was quiet for so long that it was almost eerie. Then last week, I took advantage of that extra time and my mom and I went out to Kennesaw mountain to a program there with a pair of reenactors and had lunch. We even had time to go to an upscale farmer's market (where I bought wheat germ and beer (lots of beer - because our local liquor stores are sort of boring in the beer they carry)). Nothing too exciting today, just plenty of lap time for the kitties. I can tell that Wednesdays are going to be my day for Christmas shopping and baking as it gets closer to the holidays.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Last Super Buccaneer

We just had our very last Super Buccaneer awarding tonight. A is now a 6 time winner. Hoo-rah. Somehow after so many times, it isn't quite as exciting as the first time. But, A is happy. And he should be, to be honored in the first quarter. I asked A if he knew why he was getting the award and he said, "because I get good grades". Well, I'm sure that's nice, but no - this is supposed to be an award for good citizenship. I doubt you could get the award if you didn't tend to do your homework, but grades aren't really supposed to enter into it.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sweet potatoes

Here are the first sweet potatoes we dug up last week - these were just the ones that I could see poking up above the soil. That one on the right, nearest the phone is almost 2 pounds!

Here's another picture of all of them (sorry its on its side, I'm not going back to fix it now). The one on the upper right is the same big one as above.
I estimate that all these, plus the 2 we've already eaten, the 2 more my mom found a few days later when she used the shovel to dig up the whole area and the couple I left at her house - all told I think we got about 12 pounds of sweet potatoes. I could tell that we got more sweet potatoes from the areas where we had amended the soil better. There were a few plants at the back or right at the edge of the garden that didn't produce as well. Guess we know what we need to do better next year!
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

The first cold snap

Brrr. The weatherman just says "unseasonably cool", but when the high for the day barely hit 50, to go along with rain/mist and wind, I say 'brrrr'.

I had the fun of taking M to his walkathon this morning, not realizing just how cold that upper 40s was going to feel. I'll tell you, it felt COLD. I had grabbed a scarf this morning, but left it in the car, thinking, "naw, I won't need it". After standing outside for 10 minutes, I went back and grabbed it.

M managed to get in 3 miles and lunch before it really started raining. It was misting off and on for the 3 miles, but not badly - and he had a hoodie. But once it started actually raining, we decided to head back home. Not nearly as many kids showed up this year - not sure if it was the weather or other activities or their new system. In the past, they've given the kids forms and asked them to collect money for walking. This year, they wanted us to provide names and addresses and they were going to send out letters. Well, I wasn't about to provide friends and neighbors addresses - I really dislike getting those sorts of money requests in the mail. I know that many of the people who sponsored M in the past gave him $2 - $5 and would probably do so again (but wouldn't likely respond to a form letter). He raised $200 mostly in this manner last year. So far this year $40 (just from us and my mom). He didn't like that they were stressing the form letter fundraising, and discouraging the in-person.

The house had been staying nicely near 70 during the day, dropping a bit at night, but not bad. But after several days of rain and cooler weather, today's 50 didn't do anything to heat up the house, but rather let it keep cooling down. When I realized at one point that the reason I was cold was that the house was down to 61, I caved and turned on the heat. And reset the programming to winter temps, so that the furnace wasn't trying to heat us up to 80.

The furnace is running again right now, which feels rather nice. I decided that if its cold enough for the furnace, its cold enough for flannel sheets! So it should be a bit warmer when I climb in bed tonight - and then in the morning the heat will turn itself on at 8 - so nice to have warm air blowing when I get up...


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Enough already with the rain!

If there is an antonym to drought, then that seems to be what we are experiencing currently. We had 4 inches on Monday (and more water seeping into the basement). Then I spent Wednesday worrying that we would get yet more water in the house. Luckily, it was a slow steady rain of only about an inch total all day, so we stayed dry inside. But I got to dry off wet cats a number of times. Yet more rain today, but again, mostly slow and misty - and with the wet cats again. I'm so glad that wet cats don't smell like wet dogs! They don't particularly smell at all different, its just not so pleasant to have wet fur in your lap.

They say we might see the sun tomorrow. Hooray! And an even better chance of sun over the weekend.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


It's finally done! Hallelujah!! Here is A's model:

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and then a side view:

As you can see, we didn't bother with fancy bits like railings on the terraces, which D thought we ought to have. Yes, it probably should have them, but A was having trouble with cutting through the foam board and I was getting mighty tired of cutting foam board with him. A's been working on this building for a solid week (with varying amounts of help), from finding scale drawings and getting them printed out big enough to work with, to finding materials we can cut to cutting, positioning, glueing, etc. I'm almost positive we have the plunge pool elevated when it shouldn't be, but there was NO way to get teeny tiny stairs to descend that much elevation in the little space we had (plus I think the river was supposed to be a bit wider there). But its DONE! finis. complete. at least as much as its going to be.
And, of course, while all this construction was going on, A was also trying to write a paper. Someone needs to teach a class for these kids on how to write a paper. I just thought tonight that of course, what I should have done is have A make notecards. It would have been easier to manipulate the info (and make sure that it was in his words) with notecards. But I only thought of it tonight, not a couple of weeks ago. I talked with A's teacher today and we both agreed that they need to do something to teach how to research because clearly most of the kids don't know how to do it effectively - from a book or from the computer.
Last, but not least, A has to give a presentation on his paper/project - which we weren't completely clear on until this morning. The rubric the teacher sent home didn't mention any oral presentation (and my message to her over the weekend evidently ended up in her junk mail folder, until I called today), so he didn't practice any until tonight. I caved and typed up notes from the paper for him to have for the presentation. I wish we'd had time so I could make him do them, but it was almost 9:30 by the time he went to bed as it was - and that was with me typing the notes and him only practicing once. I told him he needs to practice the presentation at least twice tomorrow morning before school.
The final fun will be tomorrow morning when I get to drive the project over to his other school. I don't think that asking him to lug the project on 2 buses is a good idea.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

I hate projects!

A has a project to build a model and write a paper for one of his classes. This is turning into a LOT of work, for A and unfortunately for me. When M took this same design class 3 years ago, they had to draw out a house plan for a specified situation (so much money, so big a family) and they did it all during class time.

Now, when A is taking the class, they are writing a paper on a building. Now, they did do some of their research in class, but they had short class one week due to conferences and they had no class at all last week due to a furlough day. So, he had chosen a building and done some (but not nearly as much as he should have ) research. Therefore, all week here during break, I have had to assign him tasks at the computer - go over the assignment with him and break it down into parts. ie, now write a paragraph about Frank Lloyd Wright's background, now about when and where and why he built Fallingwater, now about some other famous buildings he built.

Yesterday and today have been all about trying to build a model of Fallingwater. My word, but that building has a LOT of ins and outs! We found some plans online and D managed to blow them up and print them out. Then I helped A to trim the pages so we could tape them together. Next we traced the footprint of each level as well as the footprint of interior space on each level. Then pinned the level on some foamboard and cut it out. A did a reasonable amount of each of these, but some of them took more than 2 hands, and the cutting was a bit tricky. He did some of that, but the foamboard is a bit tricky for him to cut all the way through. He did much more of the cutting on the styrofoam by himself. Then he started gluing pieces together.

More gluing to come tomorrow. I need to remember to get him to glue the 3rd floor together before church, so it can be dry by afternoon. Then we can try to match up the 3 floors and try to glue them all together. Or maybe we need to figure out how to get the whole thing up off the board a bit so the stream can go underneath.

I will be SO HAPPY when Thursday comes and this project is done. Of course, between now and then, he still has to finish the paper, practice his presentation, and finish the building!

I imagine that the teacher didn't really intend for the building to be quite this involved, but I can't figure out how to make something that looks at all like Fallingwater otherwise. I did see that you can buy a Lego model kit of Fallingwater, but I'm not spending $100 on an elementary school project. (plus its backordered even if I had been tempted).

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Dinner and Snack

Tonight's dinner was by A. He chose to make baked ziti. He would have been content to leave it at that, but was "convinced" that a vegetable was necessary - we ended up with a spinach and mandarin orange salad. A thought that the oranges would be enough. no.

I've been enjoying the partial break from the kitchen this week. I informed the family right before break that each of them needed to cook at least one meal. So far D has made pork steaks and lentils. A made the ziti. M made ravioli and has plans for pizza later in the week (after a planned trip to Trader Joe's to get some of their pizza dough).

In celebration of the lack of dinner cooking and the general cool weather out, I made some pecan apple bread tonight. Yummy. I think it will be even better tomorrow morning, toasted. It was a big hit with everyone except M, who thought it was just ok, but too raisiny. That's odd - no raisins anywhere in it. Evidently he thought the apple bits were raisins.


Saturday, October 03, 2009

Fall is here

How can I tell fall is here?

Yesterday I had a cat on my lap at least 5 different times, for a minimum of 30 minutes each time. (Why yes, I did get a lot of reading done yesterday.) Both cats had their turns, and I didn't have to pick them up any of those times.

We had lentils for dinner yesterday (it just feels too hot for them much of the summer).

M started wearing a pajama shirt to bed. - long sleeved even

Taking the shortcut through the woods in my sandals got too many bits of leaves in the sandals.

I've started thinking of pies.

No attic fan or ceiling fan at night - that would be too cold.

Pounce has been spending all night in the bed with us.

I'm enjoying the fall weather. I hope it lasts a while longer!


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fall Break

We're off for a longer fall break than usual this year, thanks to budget cut furloughs. The kids were going to have a half day today and no school tomorrow, with the teachers still going through Friday, but now everyone has been home today and will be for 10 more days.

It was lovely to sleep in this morning and sort of laze through the morning (and afternoon). However certain someones couldn't keep their hands off each other and got banished to their respective bedrooms for a while. I hope that they got that out of their system for a while, because I'm tired of people attacking each other.

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