Thursday, August 28, 2008

Flickr Meme

Homeschoolshelter tagged me a while back (she's excused -- she didn't know this is a no-tag zone, and how would anyone know, since I removed my warning sign with my latest template code change?) with six quirky things about me.  I don't know... I'm so ordinary I don't have any quirks.  Or maybe everything about is me is quirky, and I just don't realize it.  So instead, I am doing this fun meme, which I found at Frugal Granola.  This is not according to the tag rules, but I make up my own. Unless it's Bible, of course.

Here's the concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.  (Be careful.  Flickr isn't filtered.)
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Mosaic Maker. You get the URL by clicking on the photo, then copying the url from your browser.

1. Sally Lightfoot Crabs, 2. "chinese" chicken salad, 3. Lone Cypress, 4. I don't wear masks, 5. Flag Day 2008_3319, 6. Huge Wave Crashes on the Petoskey Breakwater, 7. Planet Jerusalem - Old City, 8. the best dark chocolate ice cream ever, 9. بــحـط قــلـبـي بــيـن يــديـنـك هــديـه, 10. Translucent/ Looking at The Mirror, 11. Ordinary but nice i guess, 12. Sunny Side Up

And here are the questions:
1. What is your first name? Sally
2. What is your favorite food? Salad
3. What high school did you go to? Cypress High
4. What is your favorite color? Red
5. Who is your celebrity crush? John Garrison -- you don't know the guy :o)
6. Favorite drink? Cold water
7. Dream vacation? Israel
8. Favorite dessert? Chocolate ice cream
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Mom
10. What do you love most in life?  Rain.  Well, it's not what I love most in life, but I do like rain. (Now that we are desert-dwellers. LOL!)
11. One Word to describe you? Ordinary
12. Your Flickr name? None

If you do the meme, let me know!

High Altitude Hiatus

Thank you to all my lovely friends who came by and wished me a happy birthday!  Alas, I did NOT get the chocolate clock for my birthday, but I did get chocolate, and that is what I really wanted anyway.   And in addition, our parents both sent us money for a little family vacation for our birthdays this year, bless them. And we found a terrific way to spend it.  Yes, we are located in the waste howling wilderness, but there are about 7000 feet of elevation between us and the mountains one hour east of us.  And that means much cooler temps nearby, with green things growing!  We escaped civilization for a couple of days and nights and enjoyed God's beautiful earth (the mountain part) and our children.  We also enjoyed peace and quiet, the sound of rain, the flash of lightning, a fresh breeze through open windows, the buzz of little non-biting insects, the songs of many bird varieties, the curiosity of deer and elk, and even some friendly (to humans) Avrals, for those of you familiar with the Terrestria Chronicles. hee hee.  These don't quite match Ed Dunlop's description.  See below.  Avral is "larva" spelled backwards.

Our rustic little home away from home.

Company for breakfast!  We had deer and elk come begging for something to eat.

Got treats??

One of the biggest highlights of our little vacation, this little doe ate half our bag of trail mix!  Oink oink!  Oh, whoops, wrong animal. I resented sharing my peanuts and raisins (No, of course I did NOT allow the girls to feed this animal the M&M's that were also in the mix!), so we switched to corn tortilla chips.  She liked those as well as raisins.  And what a messy eater!  The birds came and cleaned up after her, and the girls in the top bunk had a ball watching them from their "upstairs" window early in the morning.  There were also another doe and a young buck right behind this deer, but they were too shy to get in on the snacks.

What are you looking at??

The girls found these hideous grubs right out in the open along a dirt road we were hiking on.  These babies are huge, about 3" long and about 3/4" wide!!!  They have sideways mandibles (I'm sure there is a correct scientific term for that)   (And they are sooooo gross!!!!)   *shudder*   Look at my brave little girl children.  No boy is going to gross them out with bugs, ever!  Emily thinks they are soooo CUTE, and Elisabeth named them James and Melissa.  LOL!!  I told her something that gross does not deserve a pretty name, lol, and we agreed on Tree-Killer and Sap-Sucker.  They are beetle larvae of some sort,and since we were curious to find out just what sort of beetles they were going to grow up to be (Julie, do you know??), we took them to the ranger station and inquired.  The ranger told me, "I'm not sure what kind of beetles they are, but they look like they are about to have babies..."  I said, "These ARE the babies!" He said, "Oh...that's not good!"  (Here I am losing my faith in the ranger's knowledge...)  The ranger's office had a preserved specimen of the notorious and infamous wood-boring beetle larva, which appeared as if it had been soaking in preserving fluid for about thirty years.  I drew his attention to it and asked whether he thought that's what these creatures were. The specimen was in cloudy liquid and looked like it had been bleached.  It didn't have the same markings, but it was the same size as ours. Our local mountains had an infestation of wood-boring beetles some while ago, and many, many trees were lost as a result. The ranger's eyebrows went up in recognition of this creature.  I told him we were leaving and that we would let the beetle babies go, and he said, "NO! Don't do that, heh heh.  I'll find out for sure what they are."  He is supposed to call us with the scientific info.

Where did these ants learn to build the opening to their hill in a perfect circle?  We know the answer to that.  Actually this is a tube about 1" tall and 1 1/2" in diameter.  I never cease to be amazed at the diversity and variety of creatures God made!!!

I could have sat there and just looked at this view all day.  I love the huge boulders and the fresh-scented pines, sigh....

Long hike!!  Taking a breather.

Double bunk beds!

The girls' roommate, a big fuzzy spider.  Oh wait, the fuzziness is my photography skill... or lack thereof!

Oh yes, I must tell you about the snakes.  The week before we stayed here the snakes (and mice) were out in numbers.  The office lady saw three of them in two days, one of which helped itself in the front door and  up the stairs inside the ranger's office.  That one was just a king snake, but she also saw two of the Mohave Green rattlesnakes.  Those are BAD. They are very poisonous and, for snakes, unusually aggressive.  God was so good to send cooler temps this week.  The snakes stayed in their burrows. I would have been wayyyy to nervous to go hiking, or to let my kids out the door of the cabin! 

Thank you to our wonderful parents (and grandparents!) for providing us with this much-needed get-away.  We love you!!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Perfect Birthday GIft for Me

I finally found what I want for my birthday.  Normally I don't want anything.  I have everything I need and want -- a wonderful Saviour, a marvelous husband, precious daughters, and a roof over my head. Oh yes, and air conditioning.  Every year, when I am asked, "What do you want for your birthday?" I never know what to say.  I have everything. 

Ah, except this:

This little cuckoo-type clock dispenses a chocolate bon-bon on the hour.  Perfect.  If you'll PM me, I'll tell you where to send it.   Hurry, my birthday's tomorrow!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling

There are oodles of entries at Janice Campbell's COH this week, but I've been too busy to spend any time over there (again).  Looks like my widget is out of order temporarily, so you can click right HERE to go to the Carnival.  As Janice says, "There's more to school than textbooks." Have a good time!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Education in Britain (I Mean, the USA)

Hat tip to the HSB Front Porch.  This is great!  Where can we get a Prime Minister like this one?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

For Music Moms

Are your kids taking music lessons?  I have added a new link to my sidebar, the site of Mr. Thomas J. West.  Mr. West is a professional musician with credentials a block long.  He has been teaching, writing, arranging, and performing music for many years. He has directed concert bands, orchestras, choirs, a cappella groups, marching bands, jazz bands, and piano students. On his blog Mr. West has begun a great series of practice tips for music students of all instruments.  Since he has been very helpful to me, I am giving him a plug here.   Do me a favor and check out his site.

See his home page.
And his blog.

Thank you!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Good Try

This morning my ninth grader gave me a very convincing appeal, seriously requesting that I would allow her to play Zoo Tycoon as a replacement for British history.


She had some good arguments, including the fact that if she actually read the information and didn't just play the game, she would be learning about all sorts of animals and their habitats and about good economic practices. Plus math!  And customer relations! You know, like a unit study!  Okay, I am willing to concede on the British history (how we came about having that for a school subject is a story for another time), but we will be replacing it with something history-related, not with Zoo Tycoon.

If we were doing delight-directed homeschooling, I would have had to say yes, wouldn't I?  No delight allowed here!  We only allow boring workbooks and textbooks!  That is just the way we do it!  Definitely not computer games.  ...But something in the back on my mind is nagging me with, "Why not??"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day Tripping

First of all, let me tell you the current COH is up at Sprittibee's.  I haven't had time to explore there yet, but you can get there by clicking on the gizmo (what's it called again?) on my left sidebar.  Widget, that's it.

Second, did anyone get the free download from HomeschoolFreebies yesterday, the ebook by Lorrie Flem on how to make perfect cookies?  We were out of town and  I missed it!  And my number ONE problem with baking cookies is having them turn out flat.  So if you can enlighten me, I would appreciate just that one little piece of wisdom.

Yesterday was my dear husband's birthday, so for the next few days I am younger than he is.   Here is a little sampling of how we celebrated (see photos).  Somehow we have managed to be in high elevations for several of DH's birthdays, and we spent this one in Flagstaff, AZ.  It was his idea to take the ski lift to the top of the Arizona Snow Bowl.  I don't know why none of us remembered that he is deathly afraid of  We had a great day together hiking and riding and playing. 

Behold the infamous "Shama Blazing Star"!!  (Inside joke for those of you who are Jonathan Park fans.)   Actually this is the Senecio franciscanus mentioned in the above photo.

White-knuckled on the descent! LOL!

A superbly gnarly Alligator Juniper

See the little horned lizard?  He was about 1 1/2 inches long.  He was so cute! (For a reptile, I mean.)

Too close to dusk.   Should have stopped for this one on the way there. Reminds me of the beautiful canola fields that surrounded us in Alberta!

You can tell who had the camera most of the day -- Booklover and me!  She took some great flower photos on our hike.  You can see those on her blog.  This is the problem when a family of six wants to do a two-mile hike together -- two want to rush on ahead for the exercise, one wants to photograph every miniscule piece of nature, two smaller ones complain that their legs are worn out, and the Mom brings up the rear with all the stuff no one wanted to carry, LOL!  Honestly, do I look like a suitcase? (Don't answer that.)  Mom and the three slow-pokes made it about 1/2 mile before turning back.  And that turned out to be a VERY wise move!  The two mile "easy" hike stretched on and on and up and down for the exercise buffs, and they finally came crawling back to the van after nearly two hours.  The littles would never have made it!

On the long drive home we had a very tired driver, so we kept him awake with scripture songs and the typical sibling squabbles that take place when a family is confined in a close space for more than a few minutes, lol.  We have the day off school today -- too tired.  One down for her nap, and one to go (that would be me!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Carnival and MOMS Challenge and Other Stuff

The COH is up at the Homeschool Cafe.  Just click on the link on my COH widget to your left to get there. Natalie says, "Hello home educators! Welcome to the NBTS edition of carnival of homeschooling. Today, we are celebrating our non-adherance to the traditional school year by lightly poking fun at those who do. Right this way to the bus stop..."  Lizzie, of A Dusty Frame, has a great post.  She submitted a list of links for homeschoolers, from classical music to schedules.  Check out the rest of her blog while you're at it.  I'm sure you'll be blessed.

In other news, the demised Silly Putty came out!  Hooray!  For your information, that was not my behind in the photo.  Do you really think I would allow someone to photograph my backside and then actually post it on my own blog?!?  Come now.  ...I am rather flattered, though, to have my wide back side mistaken for Emily's much smaller one.  Anyway, as I was saying, I sprayed the back of the fabric with Awesome Cleaner ($1 at Dollar Tree -- great stuff. Takes out everything except chocolate), then let it sit a minute.  Took a credit card and scraped off what was left of the Silly Putty, carefully lifted all the teeny little pieces with a paper towel, then took my chances on getting the rest of it stuck to the laundry that was already agitating in the machine.  There really wasn't enough left to stick to anything else, and the dress is not a gonner after all.  Thank the Lord for things like this. It was a cheapo WalMart dress, but $8 is $8.

We were blessed with several packages of fresh fish this week.  Some of it is tuna, and the rest, well, I'm not sure what it is.  It is either yellowtail (jack fish) or yellowfin (tuna).  Is there a big difference?  How do I cook it (any of it)?  How do I cook the tuna to make it suitable for cold salads and stuff?  Hey, speaking of tuna, I found a really delish recipe for tuna salad at, right here.  It's different and very good.  I held off on the sweet relish a bit, and next time I would add a bit less dill.  I really like the curry.  It's a nice mix with the tuna flavor.  Great on Triscuits.

AND. The other day we went to a big city to look for clothes for my tweenagers.  Dresses, skirts, and/or blouses, since they need everything.  After wandering around the mall for a long time and finding nothing that I would wear unless I wanted people to think I was for sale (but really -- what did I expect in a city where prostitution is considered an honorable way to make a living?!?), we finally found one skirt, in colors that we had nothing to coordinate with.  So an hour later we finally had a little jacket and tank to wear under it.  Finally we left the mall with a lot less than we hoped for, but thankfully with SOMETHING.  (This is a good thing.  My DH was along and witnessed the dearth of clothing for young ladies.  I think he doubted my doubts about finding anything.)  So next trip, JoAnn Fabrics.  It didn't take us too long to pick out two pieces of printed cotton (no poly/cotton dress fabrics?!) but we discovered that patterns for skirts and dresses for this age (12-14) don't exist anymore.  They go from a girls 16 (the few patterns in girls that come that size) to ladies 6.  Whatever!  (Sigh.  Sorry.  The longer I talk about this, the more I want to just take off in a big rant.)  We get home and wash the material, and I am struggling to get this bias skirt pattern laid out on the first piece of material. It's not working.  And you know why?  Because the fabric is only 41" wide, not 45"!!!  Arghhh!  Ice cream is being packed in smaller cartons, my Coast bar soap has been shrunk, and now fabric too.  Well, why not.  Hopefully we can figure something out.  If the store wasn't 90 miles away I'd be there right now taking it back.  And poor Booklover.  She is not even 11 1/2 yet, but she is 5'7" 5'8". She is still a little girl!  And she loves the younger styles.  Do you think there is anything in the girls department for her?  Zilch.  And don't even bring up the Juniors section.  That is the worst. See, I told you this would turn into a rant.

And finally, the MOMS Challenge.  I keep forgetting to link back to Becca with this.  If you want to join us Moms of Many (whether or not you have many) in finding time to exercise daily, and maybe even experience a little bit of bonus weight loss for your trouble, head over to her blog and sign her Mr Linky.  There aren't many of us, but it's encouraging to have a compassionate cheerleading squad.  I am on track on my walking schedule, although this week what I have been doing is more like a brisk hobble.  I nearly broke my pinky toe Sunday morning, and it does not like being squeezed into my tennies.  It was black for about two days, and now suddenly it is back to pretty pink again.  That means I have good circulation in spite of the fact that 1) I have had diabetes for close to thirty years, and 2) I am going to be 45 in two weeks. Can I joing AARP yet?

Good night, all.
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