Monday, May 31, 2010

May 2010 in Review

Once again I have failed in the monthly photography department.  A random summary of May in Arizona would have to include praises to the Lord for such a beautiful spring this year.  I don't remember it being this cool in May since we moved here!  So refreshing.  It's payback time, but I will just remember to be thankful for the extended coolness. 8)

I started a SlimFast diet.  It's definitely not Fast.  But my weight is coming off, even if it is milligram by milligram.  This was my supper.  The meatball is not part of the SlimFast diet -- it was extra, and probably added 300 calories to my meal that night.  I only ate one.  I think.

Emily again got the insatiable desire to sew.  We printed out a pattern and I let her at it with my sewing scissors.  For a six year old, she did a surprisingly good job of cutting!  The result of this mess

is this little kitty:

and one very happy little girl.

Amy sewed, of course.  If she doesn't have a sewing project to do, she mopes around like a lost puppy.  Thank goodness for sites like DIY Dish, Sew Mama Sew, Ikat Bag, and others, where she gets a lot of her ideas.  As you can imagine, keeping her in this much fabric would break the bank.  Providentially, a generous woman  gave us her huge stash of quilting and craft fabrics, and that will keep Amy in business for a while.  A few weeks, anyway. ;)

Oh, I see a model sneaked into this photo of a toddler's soft fabric ball:

My own creating this month was limited to this little graphic for my husband's blog.  Not too bad for someone who only knows how to cut and paste!  The little preacher just needs a little bit of gray hair, a 5 o'clock shadow and a suitcoat.  My husband preaches with his coat on.  But wait, maybe this is a Sunday night after church, and he is getting ready to go on a late night ride.  Yes, that's it!

As you know, getting to the end of the school year in a diligent fashion requires discipline and hard work, characteristics that some of us are sorely lacking.  We are finished with the school year, whether we got through all the material or not. (Not.)  Mostly finished.  Alison is still winding up her Apologia physical science course.    Two of my other students discovered yet another diversion from their school work:

Each fifth Sunday of the month the children of our church take over the music and add to the preaching.  Last night Emily played "God Is So Good".  (She was going to play AND sing, but she forgot to sing.  She was very displeased with herself.) :(  However, I was very pleased with her willingness to serve the Lord in this way! :D

And, this was the first Sunday that Elisabeth took part in making the music!  It was such a blessing to see her little smile the entire time she bowed along!  She did so well.  I think she is finally at the point in her violining, at which playing becomes FUN.

And you  already know about this:

We are out one good radio and the thermostat in my oven.  Thanking God it wasn't the air conditioner. :D

We're looking forward to a fun summer and a big trip later on, days at the lake, more sewing, some new shoes, getting together with friends and making some new friends.  Remember this song? I think it's a round.  Make new friends, and keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold. Everyone have a great summer!

While the earth remaineth,
seedtime and harvest,
and cold and heat,
and summer and winter,
and day and night
shall not cease.

Genesis 8:22

Friday, May 28, 2010

Solution to Word Problem of the Day

After the dryer quit and the brand new swamp cooler burned out this morning, I decided maybe these incidents were not coincidental.  (I'm a little slow sometimes.)  Feeling slight trepidations about the house possibly burning down tonight, I had a sudden inspiration to pick up the phone and call the power company.  Explaining to the nice lady that all of our electric appliances were being taken out, one by one, I asked whether we were having big power surges for the past few days.  No, she said.  She would send a technician out immediately to check our voltage.  In my ignorance I thought, How could it be the voltage?  What could possibly go wrong outside the house, that would cause all this trouble? How could the voltage to my house be more than that going to everyone else in the neighborhood?   But I thanked her, assuming we would either have to find a good, but very cheap, electrician late on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend, in a vacation community on the river (right), or be resigned to live like Mary and Laura Ingalls until sometime next week.

The tech came right over, and without warning, flipped the main circuit breaker off.  The girls' blogging was rudely interrupted!  Oh you should have seen how paralyzed these children were.  Without lights and electricity, they could not think of one thing to do!  (I laughed at them.)  Sure enough, according to the little voltage meter, our house was getting wayyy too much voltage.  How that happens, I don't know, except that a transformer wears out and wreaks havoc.  The service truck was called out, and four little looky-loo's were very entertained watching two skilled workmen replace a transformer right in our own backyard.  See Amy's recent post, complete with photos.  Within two hours, all told, everything was running again.  God is good to us, so good.  I thought we were going to have to replace a dryer and another swamp cooler motor and the air conditioner, too!

My dear husband phoned to tell me that I had just risen miles in his already high estimation of me for having the smarts to call the power company before the holiday weekend was upon us. :-D  He said it was worth many, many points.  (You know we women only award one point at a time, right?)  Now if I do something really, really dumb, it will be okay.  He will still love me. ;-)

WP Questions and Answers

Thought I'd write a quick(?) post on the things I have learned to do and those that I WANT to learn how to do here at the new HSB.  Take the info you need, and if you have the info I need, please share!

What I Know (Not Much):

  1. How to post YouTube videos.  So easy.  I did it the hard way accidentally, and then found out later how easy it was supposed to be.  Go to your dashboard and click on Plugins.  Activate YouTuber.  On your settings you will see YouTuber added, and if you click there you will see simple instructions on how to post videos.  Now, on your new post task bar you will have a button for YouTuber, right next to the "kitchen sink" button.  Click.  Paste the video url from YouTube (or Vimeo), and install it.  Delete everything in the url EXCEPT what comes between the "v=" and the next "&" sign. (ie. [youtube] [/youtube]  Now "cut" that code and paste it on the HTML page for your post (tab located on the top right of your task bar).  Now you can go back to the "visual" tab and finish writing your post.

  2. How to get rid of the Captcha code for comments. On the dashboard, under Plugins,  you now have Captcha options.  Uncheck "Enable CAPTCHA on the comment form," if you don't want your commenters to have to bother with that.

  3. How to post pictures on the sidebar. Easy.  Open your widgets.  Drag a text widget to the right place on your sidebar.  Open the widget and paste the <img src code that you used in your old template.  You did save your old template, didn't you?  Add buttons the same way.

What I Want to Know:

  1. How to remove post revisions using the plug-in.  It's activated, and in the settings it says I have zero posts and zero revisions.  But I do have revisions, and I don't see a place to delete them.

  2. How to use Dock or Accordion plug-ins.  I tried downloading the plug-ins from their respective sites, but then I didn't know what to do with the files.  When I activated the YouTuber plugin, a button was automatically added to my post task bar, but that didn't happen with these plugins.

  3. What is a slug?

  4. And, how can I keep from having Amy's and my identities mixed up here? When I post comments on other blogs, they are from me.  But on my activities pages, those same comments are attributed to Amy.  Do I have to clear the cookies every time I log on??

As I do more with WP I will have to write part 2 of this post, maybe part 3 and part 4, too!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Word Problem of the Day

On Tuesday, a woman loses her phone service.  It takes the repairman 38 hours to get to the house. On Wednesday, one of her radio speakers dies. On Thursday, while the phone company repair man is at the house, the internet service goes out and eight minutes later, comes back to life.  The light in the dryer burns out. Two computer speakers die. Later that afternoon the motor on the one working evaporative cooler peeters out. Since the outside temperature is 90°, she shuts the windows and turns on the air conditioner.  After a short while, the ancient air conditioner blower motor quits working.  For the rest of the day she cools the house by alternately running the two sick cooler motors for a few minutes at a time, until both of them quit permanently.  Firefox crashes for the umpteenth time.  While the four children are home alone that afternoon, one light bulb explodes and lands in two pieces on one daughter's frightened head.  The woman hears what sounds like a smoke alarm beep once or twice for no reason.  The question is:  What is the woman's name?  Did you say, Sally?  If you did, you are right!

Now, in a few minutes we are off to church.  We have yet to see if the only car will start.


Okay, good, it started.  When we got home another light bulb blew, and the toilet was plugged.

In everything give thanks. :D  And always be ready to laugh.  (It helps.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Search & Win

Amy has been "saving" for an MP3 player and charger, to use on our trip this summer.  Since she has no way to earn real money, she uses Swagbucks' search engine to earn "Swagbucks", which, when accumulated, turn into all sorts of prizes of your choosing.  So far, in just a few weeks, Amy has earned over $50 in Amazon gift cards, plus $20 in Paypal money.   I have been pleasantly surprised to see that this site generates no junk mail or email and no spam.

Whenever we want to do a search, we first enter the tag words into the Swagbucks search toolbar.  Amy often gets between 5-20 Swagbucks the first or second time she does this each day.  One time she got 50.  We rarely even look at the Swagbucks search results, but usually change the search engine to Google with one click, and go from there.  Amy does all sorts of fake searches just to get more  Swagbucks!

For those of you who would sign up to be a blessing to a kid, here's a tip:  Amazon gift cards cost fewer Swagbucks when purchased ("snagged") in $5 lots.  And, you can use multiple gift cards in one Amazon order.

So, the reason I am telling you about this is so that you will become covetous also and will sign up for Swagbucks using one of my links right here.  :)  Every time you earn Swagbucks, Amy will earn them too, up to your first 1000.

Swagbucks is a pretty neat way for a kid to make money, although I do have to admit I have this verse about "wealth gotten by vanity"  in the back of my mind...

To sign up, click right here, or anywhere on this page where you see Swagbucks!

Search & Win

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Quick Appearance!

Yippee! I'm here by accident. I was at my husband's blog and clicked on Dashboard, thinking I would go to HIS dashboard, and here I am at my own, very elusive dashboard. I don't know how that happened, but I'll take it. Where my blog and my other pages say "blogs", I still have zero, and no way to connect to my dashboard.

Quick, I'll write a post. More drivel for the "general" category. While three big sisters went to the orthodontist today, I took Emily to the pet shop. She was really needing some Mommy time (sometimes I really enjoy having big kids, and this little one gets left behind), and when I could not think of one good excuse not to go to a place where Emily could hold snakes and hamsters and hermit crabs, I grabbed my keys with a subtle sigh, and off we went. She knows better than to ask for a pet, so this is safe. I mean, if we didn't already know that Dad would say ABSOLUTELY NOT about a pet, I would stay away from there like the plague. TMG (too much guilt) involved there otherwise. We'd come home with an iguana or maybe a bunny in less than five seconds.

Alison was going to get her braces off today but Dr. White changed his mind again, and he says that since her mouth is a living, changing thing, that is his prerogative. Hopefully that will happen in time for our vacation later this summer.

Supper is in 40 minutes; I'm on the clock tonight. I had to discover this secret back door to posting right at supper-prep hour. I keep thinking of things to tell you all, but they'll have to wait! Later!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Under Construction... Again

So my template was deleted.  Nice of them to give me some warning.  But hey, we can rebuild it.  We have the technology.  I just wish I had saved my most recent Wordpress template's html stuff, because that was a lot of work, and I was starting to like it.  The little devil on my left shoulder is whispering vile things for me to think about HSB, and the little angel on my right shoulder is saying, "Look, in the scheme of real things, just how important is this, anyway?! Relax!"  I am going to listen to the little angel on the right, and maybe even wait a bit to do anything to this template.  I'd like all the major changes to be finished so that I don't have to keep re-doing.  But I know how I am.  I'll be back here in about five minutes to get to work...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Back to the Desert

Look what I figured out how to do.  It's because I am supposed to be making supper, and I am kind of tired of coming up with ideas for meals to feed my family.  I'd be happy with Cheerios tonight.  Hence I was looking for a diversion (there are plenty to choose from with the new platform).

Okay, next I am going to figure out how to make this font BIGGER!  Well, maybe not next.  I might not be that savvy.  (The woman figures out one thing and thinks she has it all mastered.  She must be spending too much time with her young-uns.) :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Greetings from the Ocean

How different from the desert can you get, except maybe lush, green grass, or maybe a thick jungle?  I figure as long as we are changing things around here, I might as well do it good!  For now.

Well, hooray, today I can access my dashboard and fool around with stuff, but you know, I could do this all day, especially considering the presence of my semi-techie daughter who keeps encouraging me to do just one more thing.  Seeing as how my HSB media storage is 90% full, I could go back and delete some meaningless blog drivel (most falls into that category, I'm afraid, including this one), but how much time is it worth taking to design in detail a blog that only five people see each day?  lol.  Well.  I have things to do today.  Don't we all? :)  Oh, blogging is such a good distraction from real life.  An escape.  Today I don't need to escape; I am rather enjoying my life.  So back to reality I go, and I'll be back to play some other time.  Bless you God today!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dwelling Together

Psalm 133:1  ...Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
for brethren
[sisters!] to dwell together in unity!
(I love finding exclamation points in the Bible.)

This post is proof that just living life is actually "school". 
About two weeks ago my kids got this bright idea.  No, actually the idea came a long time ago and it has morphed into various forms over the months gone by.  But we finally settled on a plan about two weeks ago.  Alison, Amy, Elisabeth, and Emily decided they ALL wanted to be roommates.  We got no school done that day, but some of them did learn to use a screwdriver, and how to maneuver an assembled bed around two corners without taking out the bedroom doors or putting a hole in the wall.  Spacial relationships, right?  Math.

Well, here is the result:

There is about 3' of space between the beds (wonderful for acrobatic leaps from one side of the room to the other), and space for nothing else except for this bulletin board, which has been a fine testimony of how things are going for four girls living in close(r) proximity to each other than they have before this.

The notes say such niceties as:

Free bed-making today! ~ Emily

Free desk-cleaning.  When it's done it will look as nice as mine, and I promise I won't throw anything away without permission.  ~Amy

To whoever made my bed today, thank you!  ~Betsy
Yes, thank you!  ~Amy

Amy, you are a wonderfull sister i am so sorry aboat binging such a mean sister I will try to be nicer
I wil tell you nice things about you.
1  you are a nice joyful
2  sister
3  if somwon does sumething bad about you, you don't make a fuss about it.

Dear ______________, I'm sorry I did ________________.
Love, ________________

Dear _______________, I forgive you.
Love, ___________

And other evidence that, indeed, it is pleasant when sisters dwell together in unity.  
Life school subjects: Interpersonal Communication, Social Studies, English Grammar, Spelling

Someone told us recently that the best child-training advice they ever got was to put as many kids as possible into one room.  And, after two week of this, I think I agree!  The girls are doing more together, getting along better (most of the time), and being a blessing to each other and their parents. 

"So," you ask, "What are you doing with the empty bedroom?"  Well, the girls turned it into their closet, music room, Bible-reading room, and place to be "alone" (in a house of six? ha!). 
School subjects: Sorting (clothes -- early math), Music, Reading, and I'm sure you can think of some others!

It's a great arrangement!  Life learning.  I love it.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I Think I Can, I Think I Can...

My good friend, Barbara, was telling me the other day about how she got the victory over her filthy mouth shortly after the Lord Jesus saved her.  She said she would pray and ask God to make her THINK before she opened her mouth.  And he did.  She would think first and cuss anyway!  Then she began to pray that the Lord would not only help her to think, but to make the right choice about the words that she would allow to come out of her mouth.  And he did that, too.  Pretty soon Barbara stopped cussing and using sailor talk, to the credit of Jesus Christ.

Now Barb is on a diet.  When she asked God to help her to THINK before putting food in her mouth, she did, and then ate it anyway.  Now she is using the same prayer tactic as before, but asking God to help her make the right choice. It's working; God is helping her, and she is losing weight!  That's a great victory!

About every ten or twenty years I reach the point at which I can't stand myself one moment longer, and I, too, actually make an effort to lose a few pounds.  (In between I just complain about it.)  This is usually brought on by comments (from people whose names will remain unmentioned) such as, "What size skirt are you wearing now?" and "Mommy, you are a good cushy pillow."  After four weeks on Slim-Fast-Slow shakes twice a day, I am down 10 lbs.  But I think half of those pounds I lost on my own before my first weigh-in.  SO that means maybe five pounds in twenty-one days.

That's not too shabby, but it's definitely not FAST.  The first week I GAINED five pounds and then lost five pounds.  How discouraging is that?  I had great expectations from a product called "Slim-Fast"!  The can says on it, "Do not lose more than two pounds a week after the first week." Or something like that.  So you can see why I expected to lose significantly during the first week. The second week I lost two pounds.  Week three I lost two more pounds.  Last week I lost one.  And this week I am at the same place, which is better than gaining, but still.

Now, don't anyone tell me that the reason I can't accomplish any substantial weight loss is that I like to add peanut butter to my chocolate shakes, or maybe fruit and yogurt, if I am using vanilla.  Or because I crave salt and fat at snack time, and not fruit and veggies.  Or because I don't get any exercise.  OR because I haven't asked the Lord's help. (That would mean I was really serious.)  If I am going to SUFFER, I am going to do it my way!  

Amy Scott, whose blog I enjoy, gives her own rationale for not losing any weight.  It's different from mine, and for that I am thankful.  (Amy had lasik surgery gone bad.  That is a good excuse, don't you think?)  Read here and laugh.

He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:30

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Mothers Day Gift

Last night I was in my bedroom and heard this beautiful sound coming from the kitchen. I sneaked around the corner with my camera, and what I saw warmed my heart!  I am soooo blessed to be a mom. Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Entering a New Chapter. Maybe.

Alison and I went to the DMV today to get her an Arizona photo ID.  She's not old enough for a driver's license, but she needs a photo ID to take a placement test at the local community college.  Come to find out, in order to get an AZ photo ID, she has to show a photo ID. Umm, where does a person get a photo ID if they need a photo ID to get one?  Brilliant.  Well, the alternative is to bring three other forms of ID.  Okay, birth certificate, expired passport with baby picture, and what -- library card?  homeschooler ID card (no photo) issued by the county? opened personal mail addressed to her?  We'll go back in the morning and see what passes. 

This all started with an exploratory trip to the community college to see if we can get her enrolled in a free class or two next fall.  Don't panic.  These would be online classes only, not on campus classes.  Maybe accounting or English or a history class, not sure.  What am I sure of is that while this child has great potential to be a good student, she needs 1) more self-discipline, and 2) someone other than ME to be accountable to.  For now we are just looking into this. 

As we were getting ready to leave the house, her mother from the dark ages reminded Alison to bring a couple of number 2 pencils, and, since she has never taken a standardized test before, I gave her some brief instructions on how to fill out the little IBM test answer sheet.  You know, fill the circles in completely, and all that.  Silly Sally!  Don't you know those tests are completely computerized now?   So, does that mean that once you answer a question, you don't get to go back and change it later? Or that if you skip one, you don't get to return to it?  Ooh, maybe this age of computerization has changed test-taking strategies.  I guess we'll find out!

In order to qualify for free tuition for some sort of dual enrollment or early start program, Alie would have to take the GED.  I am not too keen on the GED, because I know that if she takes that test she will pass it with flying colors, and then she will think she does not need any more "school"!  I am not ready for her to quit "school" yet.  But I am sometimes curious to see just what she would learn and how she would continue to learn on her own, if she did not have my rather in-the-box approach to education constraining her. I'll be more ready to find that out when she is eighteen.

So wish us success with the bureaucratic process.  DMV first, college later.  Maybe.

Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.
Proverbs 19:27

Monday, May 3, 2010

April 2010 in Review

After scrounging around in Amy's photo file I was able to find several for April.  If I am going to be serious about this photo-journaling business, I had better start taking a few of my own photos!  As it is, I have to steal them.  There are fewer this month, but that's okay.  We'll make up for it with videos.

In April we had a fun church picnic (was that this month??),

visited the 911 call center,

enjoyed some rain,

attempted a braided rug,

wondered over God's beautiful sunset,

played at the park,

made a pair of baby shoes,

and thanked God for his promises.

The big April to-do was our annual homeschoolers' fine arts recital.  That was held last Friday night, and since I am the organizer of this event, my mind has been busy.  (Quite the feat for my little brain.)  My replacement contact lens arrived JUST IN TIME!!  Thank the Lord!  My folks drove all the way here to see this, and we had such a good time with them. The recital displayed a wonderful variety of perfomances which included music as well as oral interpretation, recitation, scripture reading, and even a speech!  The girls think this was the best ever recital (they think that every year), and it just keeps getting better.  The speech was given by a girl we met at the park a few weeks ago, who, although she is homeschooled, participates in a local high school speech and debate team.  Her topic was courtship vs. dating, and she did a really good job.  I'm sure there were people in the audience who have never even considered such a thing. 

Here are Alison and Amy playing The Puppet Show:

And here, Alison's piano solo, Holy Holy Holy / Holy Is He, played by ear.  I love this piece.  You can sing Holy Holy Holy to either accompaniment.

Amy played Schubert's Waltz in A minor:

And one more.  This is Amy and  friend playing a beautiful arrangement of It Is Well With My Soul




Before the recital started, I left my camera in the kitchen, so I do not have videos of my younger two!   They are very disappointed in me, and so am I.  Elisabeth played a violin solo, and later, a trio involving clarinet (Betsy), violin (Alison), and flute (Amy).  Emily sang Ye Must Be Born Again and played He Leadeth Me on her violin.  Maybe I can figure out how to splice those out of the complete recital video that was done by one of the other families.  Hopefully I can post those later.

I'll try to do better about the photos in the merry merry month of May!

Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
Psalm 33:3,4

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