Friday, July 31, 2009

Strange Fruits

We are a fruit loving family. We eat lots of raw fruit.

So now that we are in Hawaii, we decided it was time to try some of the more exotic varieties found here.


Dragon Fruit


Rainier Cherries

Okay, it was a bit of a stretch to call Rainier Cherries "exotic". But we love Bing Cherries and we figured we would love these too.

We were right.

We have no idea if the fruits we chose were ripe.

We didn't know how to tell. So our opinions may be biased based on whether or not we bought under-ripe or over-ripe fruit.

The papaya had an unexpected number of seeds in it.

The papaya was not well received.

Pretend I remembered to take pictures of the mango here.

We liked it better than the papaya. Still a little odd.

This, my friends, is the inside of a Dragon Fruit.

This is really what we had been waiting for. This is the one we all really wanted to try. The others were just icing on the cake, but this baby was the one that made us decide to have an exotic fruit night in the first place.

Who wouldn't want to try something with "DRAGON" in it's name?

The inside of the Dragon Fruit was dotted with tiny black seeds and a bright pink lining.

It's taste is similar to a Kiwi, although slightly less sweet.

We all liked it as well.

The resulting carnage was not pretty.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Muck Wars

The youth group on post had a get-together called "Muck Wars".

It started with cooking a whole pig.

Ben was thrilled to help.

He went over at noon to season the pig. The rubbed in lots of spices, then put five whole chickens inside it and sewed it shut.

Then he went back at 10:00 PM and stayed up all night watching the fire and making sure the pig didn't overcook or undercook. He finally got to sleep at 6:30 this morning.

For this, he got dibs on the tongue.

I swear, she's got a great personality.

The promise of rolling around in a lot of muck really attracted the teen crowd.

A firetruck came to the field and sprayed a big sheet of plastic and turned the field into a giant slip 'n slide. You've never seen teens scream and squeal so much.

I don't know why protesters get upset when fire hoses are turned on them. Teens love it.

This was the teen highlight of the year.

Now, go make your own giant slip 'n slide.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Emily's Dolphin Adventure

Mama woke me up around seven. She said excitedly, “Emily! Emily! You’re swimming with dolphins today!” Big whoop. Let me sleep, woman!

After a few minutes, what she had said made contact with my brain. I sat up. After staring at the wall for several minutes, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and stumbled to the dresser.

I got dressed. An hour later, we were all in the car. After being caught in traffic, we arrived at Dolphin Quest, were I was going to do my thing.

A little while after we got there, we finally managed to find the area where I would be swimming. A trainer said my session started in about ten minutes, so how about we get me a life jacket? We went over to the closet where they kept them. We found one that fit, grabbed a pair of goggles, and then we were in the water!

There were four other people there. One newlywed (her husband was taking pictures), and a Japanese family of three. We climbed onto a platform over the water, wearing our life jackets and goggles, and got to meet the dolphin we would be swimming with. His name was Kaleho. I don’t actually know how to spell it, but it’s pronounced Kuh-lay-ho. At first, we just sat on the steps with our feet in the water and fed the dolphin some squid. Obviously, this was the highlight of their day. The trainer had us all introduce ourselves. The newlywed’s name was Jen, but I couldn't pronounce the Japanese family’s names. It was funny, because two of the trainer’s names were Jen and Emily also!

A few minutes later, we actually got in the water. Our trainer showed us the hand motions they used so the dolphins would do tricks. The first one was this: You hold out your hand, palm down, in front of you. Then you move it in a circle, keeping it level. At this, the dolphin would stand on its tail fin and spin in a circle. Dolphin hula! The second one: You hold up your hand, palm out, and move it in a J. At this, the dolphin will go underwater, swim a little ways, and then jump up in the air, his tail about five feet above the water. The third one: Actually, I don’t remember the motion for this one. I just know that after it the dolphin will stand on its tail and “Walk” across the water.

After that, the trainer got Kaleho to swim up to us and kiss him! It was totally awesome. Then we looked underwater, where he was doing flips beneath us! To end our session, we got to put a hand on the dolphin and swim around the pool with him! Then we climbed out of the water.

All in all, it was one of the best days of my life.

Monday, July 27, 2009

CEF Days 3, 4, and 5

On these days, it was mostly the same thing over and over. We ate, took classes, and played games. They really drilled us on our Bible knowledge. Every last detail was covered on how to teach the kids. From what I was told, it was much harder this year than it was last year. We had to write outlines on all of the classes we teach. We are never allowed to just walk up to the kids and read something right off the paper. We have to make eye contact with the kids and interact with them. So standing in front of the kids reading off a clipboard is a big NO. We can however, use outlines (which are the entire lessons reduced into on small card). We are supposed to be able to get to the point where we can just glance at one word and pull an entire paragraph out of it. I thought this wasn't very hard so I didn't have much trouble with the outlines. The outlines are required to be written and turned in in order to graduate. I was finished with most of my outlines by day three but my supervisor, Brinton, was always busy so I didn't turn them in until the last day. We were also given a test on leading children to Christ. We had to memorize the order in which we say everything and then had to have at least three people rate us on how we did. I passed that so things were looking good for me that week. Our running group was reduced to about 4 because so many runners were sick, tired, or too lazy to continue. Sean and I, were the only people who ran every single morning :). So, basically that week was the training and next week was the practice!

To Be Continued.....

Friday, July 24, 2009

CEF Camp - Ben's Story

This is the story of my two weeks of training camp.

Day 1: My carpool arrived at the camp-grounds; there were several buildings to sleep in and one for eating and teaching our classes. I went to the main building to turn in my money, medical form and permission slip and found about 40 bags sitting in a row with name tags on them... perfectly organized in alphabetical order, meaning mine would be somewhere in the front. There were two bags, one with my supplies, and one with my books and paperwork. I took mine and turned in all my stuff, then rode with Nate on the 100 meter drive up to our dorms. The dorms were in a U-shape and the boys had the middle of the U, while the girls had the left side(there was no one on the right). I lugged my back pack in the room and found a nice bunk, it was a top bunk, I like top bunks. Suddenly I looked at the bunk underneath me and.... JAY!!! Jay's awesome, however, I knew that I wouldn't be getting much of the little sleeping time I already had. Everyone put their belongings on their beds and went back to the main building (I called it the dining hall since that was my favorite part about it), the leaders introduced themselves and briefed us on how things would be run. After about an hour of explaining, they told us to eat our dinners that we had packed. I opened my pack and... SOBE!!! The best brand of drink ever!! I love my mother! The bottle proved useful for re-using as a water bottle, and attitude adjusting (it's made of glass so it takes only one or two swings). Not much else happened that day so I'll skip straight to bedtime. Everyone in my room was fighting over the two showers we had. I myself prefer to shower in the mornings, so I was safe enough. We went to bed and slept peacefully... unaware of the weeks to follow...

Day 2: We began the real challenge... We were supposed to wake up at 6:00, and be at the main building by 7:00. Some people were horrified by this wake up time, others (Christoffer) were thinking, "Yay! I get to sleep in!". One thing that several of us did, was to get up at 5:30 to run a mile every morning. At first, we had about 10 people running every morning, but that slowly decreased to about 3. After our refreshing run (yea, right), we showered and went to the main building to eat breakfast. They had some good food at CEF. I ate better there than I do at my own house. The first morning we had pancakes, nothing too special, but still pretty good. After we ate, Mr. Dekle, explained how everything would be run at this camp, and told us the schedule. First, we had this thing called Cohorts where we were split into groups and our Cohorts have a Bible study and discussion about the day. Cohorts meet after dinner but they wanted us to know all our members first. My group had Matt, Gabe, Gab (they took the E out of Gabs name so he wouldn't be mixed up with the other Gabe) and myself. Our leader was Sean, he's a cool guy, and a really good leader too. After we got to know our Cohorts, we went back into the main room and had a 3 hour class about how to teach kids. Then we had lunch (corn chowder with grilled cheese!) and more classes. We then had mandatory fun, which is an hour and a half of games and then ate dinner (shepherds pie!). We sang worship songs and then went to our dorms. Curfew was at 10:00, and it was 9:00, so everyone hung out for a while. We all slowly, one by one, went to bed. There was no place to put my stuff, Jay took the space under the bed and the foot of the bed was taken, and the bed next to me was filled with stuff also. The only place I could put my stuff was on my bed, more pillows for me :-/. We all fell asleep around 11:00 (I did anyway) and got ready for the next day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yesterday, as I walked into the kitchen, I noticed that the water in the dog's bucket needed to be changed. Rigger has a major drool problem, and the water in their bucket gets slimy and gross fairly quickly.

I made a mental note to clean it out as soon as I was done with the list of chores I was currently working on.

A little while later, I walked by it again and noticed it was full of clean, fresh water.

"Ben," I asked cautiously, " change the water in the dog's bucket?"

"Yes, ma'am," Ben replied without looking up from the computer.

" something that needed to be done....and you did it....without me telling you too??"

There's light at the end of the tunnel.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rainbow Pigeons

Well, I never.........

Have you ever seen such a thing??

These are pigeons!

For the founders day anniversary of our church, a local man who raises pigeons brought some entertainment for the kids.

He gives them food coloring as part of their daily diet.

He let each of the kids hold a pigeon, and they would make a wish and let the pigeon go.

One girl wished for a pony.

One boy said he couldn't think of anything to wish for.

Katie's wish was for her Daddy to come home safely. (That's my girl!)

He had all the kids stand in a row while he released a group of pigeons at once. He told the kids that if they caught one, they could keep it.

Those pigeons may look silly, but they certainly aren't foolish enough to get grabbed by a kid. They were probably home and eating their dinner before we were.


Here's another really cool Hawaiian experience:

This week we went "torching" up on the North Shore with some friends from our church.

Torching involves heading to the beach late in the afternoon with bright flashlights or lanterns, nets, and buckets.

When it gets dark you walk out into the ocean.

You have to go when the tide is low so you can walk out far enough.

You shine your lights into the water to attract fish.

And you use nets to catch them.

The lanterns (or "torches") make some interesting effects on film.

We caught a bunch of bright blue needle fish. They are quick and can jump. You have to be fast to get them with the net. I don't have a picture of them. Sorry.

We caught a puffer fish, but I didn't get a good shot of him either. The reflection makes him difficult to see.

We did catch this fabulous eel.

We put him in a bucket and he actually jumped out of it.

Much screaming ensued.

We also watched a sea turtle swim right by us. I wish I had gotten a picture of him, but my flash wouldn't fire!

There was also a nifty little cave that is exposed when the tide is low. All the teens climbed into it and came out somewhere on top of the hill.

We released all the fish when we were done. I wonder what the fish think of this whole ordeal? Do they go back and tell their friends and neighbors that there was a bright light shining on them from nowhere, and suddenly they were snatched into another world where they were examined by aliens and then put back in their own world?

I wonder if fish have their own National Enquirer?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Use For Tampons

This story was forwarded to me by a friend back in March. I'm just now getting around to posting it. Being a military wife, I like stories from soldiers who are in the thick of things, and this one is very entertaining:

Tampons to the rescue in Iraq !! Don't worry, it's a good story, and worth reading. It's even humorous in parts. It's from the mother of a Marine in Iraq .

My son told me how wonderful the care packages we had sent them from the ladies auxiliary were and wanted me to tell everyone thank you.

He said that one guy we'll call Marine X, got a female care package and everyone was giving him a hard time. My son said, 'Marine X got some really nice smelling lotion and everyone really likes it, so every time he goes to sleep they steal it from him.' I told my son I was really sorry about the mistake, and if he wanted I would send Marine X another package.. He told me not to worry about Marine X because every time I send something to him, he shares it with Marine X.

He said when my husband and I sent the last care package, Marine X came over to his cot picked up the box, started fishing through it, and said, 'What'd we get this time?'

But my son said they had the most fun with Marine X's package. He said he wasn't sure who it was supposed to go to, but the panties were size 20, and he said one of the guys got on top of the Humvee and jumped off with the panties over his head and yelled, 'Look at me, I'm a n Airborne Ranger!!!!'

One of the guys attached the panties to an antenna and it blew in the wind like a windsock. He said it entertained them for quite awhile. Then of course.......they had those tampons. When he brought this up, my imagination just went running, but he continued.

My son said they had to go on a mission and Marine X wanted the Chap-Stick and lotion for the trip. He grabbed a bunch of the items from his care package and got in the Humvee. As luck would have it he grabbed the tampons too, and my son said everyone was teasing him about 'not forgetting his feminine hygiene products.'

He said things went well for a while, then the convoy was ambushed and a Marine was shot. He said the wound was pretty clean, but it was deep. He said they were administering first aid but couldn't get the bleeding to slow down, and someone said, 'Hey! Use Marine X's tampons!' My son said they put the tampon in the wound. At this point my son profoundly told Me , 'Mom, did you know that tampons expand?' ('Well....yeah!')

They successfully slowed the bleeding until the guy got better medical attention. When they went to check on him later, the surgeon told them, 'You guys saved his life. If you hadn't stopped that bleeding he would have bled to death.' My Son said, 'Mom, the tampons sent by the Marine Moms by mistake saved a Marine's life.'

At this point I asked him, 'Well, what did you do with the rest of the tampons?'

He said, 'Oh, we divided them up and we all have them in our flak jackets, and I kept two for our first aid kit.'

I am absolutely amazed by the ingenuity of our Marines. I can't believe that something that started out as a mistake then turned into a joke, ended up saving someones life. My sister said she doesn't believe in mistakes.. She believes God had a plan all along. She believes that 'female care package' was sent to Marine X to save our Marine.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This Is SO Not Good......

Ben got up with a fever this morning. He's unable to teach at his Five-Day Club.

Katie came down with a fever this evening. She's unable to attend Five-Day Club.

Emily isn't sick......yet.

Things are going to be unpleasant around here if I catch it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Sort of Noise Are You Making Over There?

Katie and I went into a restroom today before her dance class. She went into one stall and I went into the stall next to her.

I've had a mild cold this week and I felt like I had a frog in my throat, so I started clearing my throat over and over trying to get it to go away.

There was a long silence from the stall next to me and then Katie finally said, "Are you trying to go poop?"

Our First Foray Into Formals

One thing that seems to concern people about homeschooling is: "What about prom?"

Many people seem to think a prom is the highlight of high school and that four years of "traditional" schooling is a small price to pay for the chance to attend a formal dance.

Well, guess what?

I don't remember my prom being all that great of an experience. My boyfriend and I had just broken up and I wound up going to the prom with a guy I didn't particuarly like. He was probably a nice enough guy, but he wasn't who I wanted to be at the prom with. I knew plenty of other folks in the same boat. High school romances are not known for being long-term, and many of us were frantically searching for dates at the last minute.

I remember two main things about my prom

1. We danced for too long before we had our pictures taken and I'm sweaty and my hair is a mess in our official prom photo; and

2. Fending off my rather handsy date later in the evening.

Seriously, I can not tell you one other thing about my prom. I don't remember who else was there, what anyone wore (except me, and that's possibly because I have a photo) or what the theme of the prom was (in the photo we are standing next to a wishing well and one of the seven dwarfs - I suppose that's a clue, but it doesn't bring up any other images for me).

Add to that, the fact that I attended a number of fraternity formals in college, and (too many to count) formal balls as a military wife.

So, I really don't understand the idea that a high school prom is some grand life event that my kids will forever mourn having missed.

However, if you feel a high school prom must be in your child's future, guess what?

Homeschoolers have formal dances too.

Ben attended his first formal this weekend. A homeschooling family from our church arranged the entire thing. As Ben does not own a suit, tie, or a pair of dress shoes (or dress socks for that matter) this became a major shopping event for us.

Luckily, Kerry has a fabulous tie with matching suspenders which I knew would be a big hit when the guys started shedding their jackets as the evening went on.

I was right.

I stayed long enough to snap a few pictures. Here is Ben with some of his best friends.

This is the sort of prom I wish I'd had.

Rather than just stranding a bunch of teens in a room with music playing, this prom included some fun games and some dance instruction. They learned to do a line dance, a reel, and a waltz. Names were drawn out of a hat to provide partners for dances. No one had to try to work up the nerve to ask a girl to dance, and no one was left out.

There wasn't a single wall flower at this dance!

I believe Ben's enjoying being unsocialized.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Slumber Party!

You can file this under "What the heck was I thinking?"

Emily wanted to have a slumber party as part of her birthday festivities.

For some reason, I thought this would be fun.

What I didn't know is................

When pre-teen girls get together...........

They go crazy.

They shriek, they scream, they squeal.

Any high pitched noise that can be made comes out at top volume.

I don't know why.

They eat their combined body weight in pizza.

And yet they stay thin.

So not fair.

They play games like "Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board" where they try to lift one person while each "lifter" uses only two fingers.

Again, I don't know why.

But they were greatly entertained.

They stayed up late; they woke up early.

It's just the why that eludes me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Wienermobile Comes To Hawaii (Yes, Seriously)

Your eyes are not deceiving you.

Yes, that is a giant mobile wiener.

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile has come to Hawaii for a visit.

I took Emily, Katie, and one of their friends to see it. I would love to know what all was required to ship this thing to Hawaii. It had to have been a massive undertaking.

The inside is all red and yellow. There are even hot dogs on the dashboard!

There was a door leading into the rear of the hot dog which we were not allowed to enter. I wonder if they had a bathroom back there.

Did you know you have to have a college degree to work on the Wienermobile? You do! And they only hire sixteen people a year!

The floor between the seats looks like a hot dog with mustard!

There were hot dogs with face cut outs to make cute pictures.

And they gave away free hot dogs!

I didn't have to make dinner!

The End

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This beautiful baby girl...........

Is now a beautiful twelve year old.

It's hard to believe twelve years can pass so quickly.

Being a girl, we gave her several purses.

Ben found this to be absolutely ridiculous.

Katie picked out a number of earrings in honor of Emily's newly pierced ears.

I gave her an earring tree to hold all the new bling.

"You gave her a set of tiny shelves?" said Ben when he saw it.

And one of the best gifts of the day:

An all expenses paid, two-week pass to ride in the front seat of the car - from Ben.