Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Between The Dog's Butts

That's some good sleeping right there.

Art Class - Prints

Katie is taking an art class. I am loving this class and wish I had found it sooner. When Ben and Emily were little, I had lots more free time to plan art projects for them. Now that I am homeschooling three different grade levels and centering my life around carting them to their various activities, art time is not so easy to plan. Thank heavens I can outsource some subjects.

Their first project was printing with ink. All projects this session revolve around dinosaurs which is not Katie's favorite subject matter for art, but she's trying to be nice about it and not complain (too much) to the teacher (yet).

First, they covered a piece of plexiglass with black ink. Then they would use Q-tips and napkins to draw a dinosaur design in the ink. Next, they would crank it through a rolling press to transfer the design onto paper. The first drawing here is a "ghost print" which means it was the second run through the press. The second drawing is a first print, and is therefore much darker.

I thought this was a picture of a dinosaur eating a dog. But it turned out to be a dinosaur about to pick up it's baby.

I stand corrected.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011




Yes, that's his tongue.

*on a side note, after I uploaded this picture, I noticed Ringo peeking in the window between Emily and Katie's heads. He doesn't like to be left out.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Clothing To Go!

I told the kids to go through their drawers and get rid of all the clothes that don't fit or that they just don't wear.

Ben and Katie each filled a garbage bag full of clothes. We took them to our church to give to the needy. There are a group of us who all meet and sort out the food and clothes which have been donated. While we all chatted, I sorted through the clothes we had brought, folding them and separating them into sizes and styles.

In Ben's bag, I found a pair of Kerry's shorts, one of Kerry's shirts, and two pair of my jeans.

"Ben!" I glared at him while holding up the clothing I had just rescued. "What are these clothes doing in the give away bag?"

"You told me to get the stuff I never wear, and I never wear those!"

Friday, January 21, 2011


In case you ever wonder........

If you are vacuuming your daughter's room and you accidentally run the vacuum cleaner over a pen, the pen will snap in half and spew black ink over about four feet of light beige carpet. The spinning brush of the vacuum will grind the ink in quite well.

In case you ever wonder.......

A mom who has just smeared ink into the carpet, can sprint through the house and hurdle over a very large dog in search of a can of aerosol hairspray and be back to the mess in about fifteen seconds flat.

In case you ever wonder........

A can of aerosol hairspray and a carpet steam cleaner used 27 times can get all traces of black ink out of a light beige carpet.

In case you ever need to provide such information on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" - I could be your phone-a-friend.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Growing Up

Many years ago, when we lived in North Carolina, Emily took dance lessons. She had a very good friend who was also named Emily.

That's My Emily in the center, leaning on the star. Her friend, Also Emily, is on the far right with her chin on a star. Aren't they cute?

When we moved to Hawaii, Also Emily lived here already. We were thrilled to have friends here who could show us around and help us get settled in. We call the girls "The Emilys" or "Emily Squared".

See how they have grown!!

Now it's time for Also Emily to move away again. It's one of the hardest parts of military life, leaving our friends, or having them leave us.

And maybe in a few years we will have another photo of The Emilys when they are in high school and I will be able to embarrass the heck out of them with their dance photo.

Won't that be fun!?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Homeschool Jeopardy

Let me start by saying I did not invent this. I'm not sure who thought this up, but this is the way we review science with the middle schoolers at our co-op. All the other moms have been doing it this way, and as I was teaching the module on fossils, I did it this way too.

I just wanted to share this in case anyone else needs a good way to review a subject.

First, take colorful post-it notes and lay them out in rows and columns on a flat surface. I used a white board but it was very humid and some of them did not stick so well. There should be three post-its of the same color in each spot.

On the top post-it write the point value of the question. In this version, the easy questions were worth 100 points and the hardest questions were worth 500. You can make as many rows or columns as you need. It's easiest to have a different color for each column so the students can call out, "Yellow for 400, Bob!"

Underneath the point value on the second post-it, write the question.

On the third post-it write the answer.

On review day we divided up into two teams. One team would pick a question, "Purple for 200!" I, because I am the teacher (and also because I am constantly mistaken for Vanna White), would pull off all three post-its for that question. I would then read the question to the team which picked it. If they were correct, I handed them the post-it with the number of points on it. If they were wrong, then the other team got a chance and they would be awarded the points if they were correct.

After all the questions have been asked, the teams add up the number of points they received for correct answers.

This is an excellent way to review material before a test. It is entertaining for the kids and they are learning at the same time!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Plantar Fasciitis

Kerry has been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis.

He has to wear this brace whenever he can lie down during the day. Mostly he is supposed to wear it at night.

It has three very wide, VERY LOUD, velcro straps which hold it in place. It sometimes takes him a little while to get it adjusted properly and he has to keep readjusting those VERY LOUD velcro strips until it fits just so.

And he's also wearing these new shoes which have individual toes and make me think of the new Tron movie.

They also make me giggle like mad.

When he was fitted for the brace, the sweet lady who was helping him told him, "Hon, this is going to make your foot feel so much better! When you fall asleep at night it will be giving your foot a really good stretch and it's going to feel wonderful and then about two hours later you'll wake up and you'll want to RIP IT OFF because it's going to hurt so much!" And she smiled.

She was right.

Kerry managed to keep it on until 4:00 AM at which time he undid all 47 straps that keep it on. Then he slept for a couple of hours.

Then guilt got the better of him and he put it back on, reattaching the 325 velcro straps several times each.

Believe me, that brace is keeping us both from sleeping. But it helps him be able to walk without pain which is worth it.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cheeseburger In Paradise

We ate at Cheeseburger In Paradise this week when we were down in Waikiki. (We were on a field trip ~ and you can't say we weren't. I'm the teacher, I decide what's a field trip and what isn't.) I had one of the best hamburgers I've ever had in my life. It was truly excellent. The service was great, our waitress was super friendly.

But the highlight of the meal was..........

.........the waiter who carried everything on his head.

The kids were fascinated every time he came out of the kitchen. Sometimes he carried drinks..........

Sometimes he carried food.

He even carried four drinks on his head at once. He has to be fairly confident that he's not going to drop that on some unsuspecting customer.

How does anyone ever learn they have a talent for this????

Friday, January 14, 2011

Things My Kids Don't Know

I guess one of the side effects of homeschooling is that sometimes there are things that my kids don't know. Things they would have picked up from other kids at school. We often do not know who the latest celebrities are or what they are wearing. By the time we heard of Justin Bieber he was already something of a joke and my kids disliked him on sight without ever hearing anything he sang.


Katie and I were eating lunch the other day when she looked at me and said seriously, "Did you know people from Paris are called Parasites?"

"No they aren't," I laughed, "they are called Parisians."

She looked at me as if I were making that up, then burst into hysterical laughter. "Parisians? That's even funnier!" She laughed so hard she couldn't finish her lunch. Every so often she would gasp out the word, "Parisians!"


I was in a store yesterday and I heard Dwight Yokum's song, "I Ain't That Lonely Yet". You know how you hear a song from your early years and you remember how much you liked it? It occurred to me that I don't know if have any Dwight on my iTunes list so I woke up this morning determined to correct that oversight. Emily was sitting at one computer so I walked over to the other computer pulled up iTunes and said, "Do we have any Dwight Yokum?" Emily looked at me and said, "Is that some kind of sushi?"


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chilly In Paradise

I'm sure that in most parts of the country right now temperatures in the lower 60's would be a welcome relief from the cold.

But in Hawaii, where we are used to the temperature being 82 degrees pretty much all year round, getting down into the 60's is very, very chilly. I can't say cold because certain people in my household (masculine type, one each) freak out if I say it's cold.

And it's not cold. We lived in Alaska for three years. I know cold.

But it has gotten down to 56 degrees here and our blood has thinned over the last two years and it is very, very chilly.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Preparation For Parenthood

This was sent to me in an email. It's too funny not to share!

Lesson 1
1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the newspaper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their.
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breast feeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behaviour. Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel.
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out.
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favourite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8
1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Firworks Video Is Up!

Okay, I have fixed the fireworks video so it plays in the correct post now. If you couldn't see it before you can now!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Taller Isn't Better

Katie has been eating everything in sight lately, so I measured her again this week. She has shot up over an inch in the last couple of months. When we were in the kitchen, I noticed that she is able to reach the cabinets now. Usually it is her job to put away silverware and casserole dishes but not plates or glasses because she's never been able to reach high enough to put them away.

When I realized how tall she had gotten I said, "Wow! You're tall enough now to be able to put away bowls and glasses!"

"Yay!" she said, grinning at me.

Then her face fell.


Tom Sawyer, Whitewashing a Fence

Our back lanai has gotten pretty grody ("to the max"). Between the doves who walk all over the roof and coo coo coo and the trees which drop leaves all over it and the rain, rain, rain which has turned everything to a muddy mess, the lanai has turned green in some places and black in others.

(A lanai is a porch in Hawaii. In our case, it's a slab of concrete surrounded on three sides by the house and fenced across the end.)

We borrowed a pressure washer from some friends and Kerry set to work cleaning the concrete. He'd done about half of it when Ben came home and Kerry handed the task over to him.

I looked outside a little while later to see Ben using the pressure washer to clean up the crud, and one of Ben's buddies squatting on the ground watching the point at which the water was making contact with the concrete. He was literally just a foot away from it, staring intently as if it were incredibly fascinating.

A short while later, I looked out to see four teens busily taking turns with the pressure washer. Kerry came inside and said, "Wow. They not only cleaned the lanai, they cleaned the entire shed and the sidewalk out back."

I took our garbage can out back and asked if they would clean it out as well. One of the boys leaped at me and snatched it out of my hands yelling, "I'll do it!!"

Then they cleaned the street.

Then they peeled all the bark off a stick with it.

Then they took turns shooting each other with it. Actually, one would hold it spraying straight out and the others would run through it, ostensibly to see how much pain they could stand.

Because they're boys, that's why.

Monday, January 3, 2011

An Explosive New Year

Every New Year's Eve we go out to dinner with a big group of friends.

Then we go downtown and check out the results of the wreath competition.

Some are incredibly beautiful.

Some are incredibly creepy.

Then we check out the Christmas tree decorations. This one was decorated completely with origami.

This one was decorated with flip-flops (slippahs if you're local).

Then we check out all the Christmas lights which includes seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus starting their Hawaiian vacation now that the busy season is over.

Then we head over to a friend's house to watch fireworks. The fireworks in Hawaii are an amazing thing to behold. Even average citizens come up with an amazing amount of firepower on New Year's Eve. However, after an intensely heated debate, fireworks will now be illegal in Hawaii. There have been too many accidents, too many homes set ablaze, too many injuries. I believe the professional fireworks shows will continue, but ordinary folks won't be setting off fireworks in the street like usual. So this year was especially poignant for all of us as we knew it would be the last time we get to have this portion of our traditional celebration.

The cool thing about the fireworks in the neighborhood we go to is that the folks across the street have access to professional grade fireworks. And I'm talking about those huge ones that explode way up over head in giant colors and with giant BOOMS. We have a good time watching them light them and then get the heck out of dodge. It's fun to see them shoot up and then explode in the sky.

We were watching all of this with great glee when one of the moms asked, "Are you sure this is safe?"

One of the dads replied, "Of course, those things are really stable. The way its set up it can't........"

His words were cut off by an amazing series of blasts all around us. One of the professional fireworks was apparently put in a tube upside down and when it couldn't go up, it went out. A firebomb exploded against the cars to our left, then another explosion happened just to the right of our kids. I saw Katie lit up in silhouette as something exploded near her. Then another one shot into the crowd across the street. About that time we all snapped out of our frozen trance and started yelling for everyone to take cover and get out of the way. Three more explosions hit the house to our right before it ended. Luckily, no one was injured, and damage to the houses and cars was minor.

Ben described it best when he said, "Everyone went 'Ooooh. Aaaaah. OOOH! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!'"

Amazingly, one of the teen girls was videoing when it happened. This is her video of our explosive New Year's Eve celebration:

My favorite part is at the end when the videographer says, "I got video!" And a teen boy replies to her, "Can you send it to me on Facebook?"

We all have our priorities!