Thursday, February 28, 2008


This is potentially our last cold front of the season, so we went with friends to the Springs to see the manatees. The temperature of the springs is always 72 degrees, so when the river water gets colder the manatees all converge in the springs. We also saw an alligator, turtles, and tons of fish.


Do you want to come over and help me hang clothes on the clothesline?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

AWANA Grand Prix

Tonight was the AWANA Grand Prix. Jonathan and Madi both had original designs and had Meme help them paint them when they were there this weekend. Madi got a certificate for MOST COLORFUL and a first place trophy for BEST DESIGN!! Her car was a tropical beachy volkswagon bug kind of car. Jonathan's was a Disney bus.

Happy Birthday to the one I Love!!

Mike's caught up to me, now he's 38 too...I was born three days before him. Jonathan and Madi made him scones and scambled eggs for breakfast. Jake gave him a SCRABBLE dictionary, Jonathan gave him a shirt, I gave him pants and a shirt, and Madi made him the beautiful butterfly needlework.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Going Green

Our family has been at least alittle "green" before it was the in thing to do. It helps a little that Mike is an ENVIRONMENTAL consultant. We've always recycled and can't understand why so many people, in our neighborhood for example, don't. I'd like to try even harder to have less throw away garbage, and I am amazed each week when I see how much garbage other people in our neighborhood have (sometimes FIVE cans for example and we have garbage pick up twice a week!). Jonathan has been interested in garbage and recycling since he was three. When he was a preschooler his favoite vidoes to check out from the library were "Garbage Day" "Crunch, Smash, and Trash", and "There Goes a Garbage Truck". At 12, he still always runs outside (or at least to the window) when the garbage or recycle truck come. We recently purchased an eco-friendly reusable bag from Target (I was so excited that is only cost $1.49 becuase I was under the impression that the Publix ones were about $9, but I found out today the Publix ones are 99 cents...we'll be getting more). I also just pulled out some other canvas bags that we've accumulated and I plan to make a conscious effort to bring them with me when I go to the store. Mike and I met while we were in college and both working at the UCOON CO-Op Bookstore. We joke to this day how even back in the early 90's we used to say to the customers "do you NEED a bag" instead of "do you WANT a bag" made a difference. I always try to bag my own groceries and have never liked how many bags they try to give you at the store (a bag for milk? a bag for a bag of potatoes?). So while we've always tried to reduce the amount of bags we've used, we plan to do even better with the canvas bag system. We always d0 a pretty good job of reusing the plastic bags we do come home with as well. Even though we buy the regular kitchen garbage bags, we always use that as a liner and then we put in a small grocery store plastic bag to catch most of the garbage. That way we just take out the smaller bag when it is full and can reuse the big bag again. I am genuinely excited when we get a big store bag that can actually fit in the kitchen trash can. Well who'd've thought I could have so much to say about bags?

Originally this post was going to be about our new clothesline. One more way to help the environment (and save money too!). It's only been a few days, but as of right now Jonathan, Madi and I are all excited about the clothesline...we almost fight over who's going to do it (but I'm a nice Mom and so I usually let them win!). Jonathan actually said yesterday, "We should sell our dryer at a yard sale"...I don't plan on going that far, but every little bit does help. Getting the kids excited about laundry can't be a bad thing either. I'm sure the novelty will wear off right about the time that the summer heat comes, but fot now we're loving it!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

11:30 pm still playing with the music

I'm still working on I just realized whatever I add will go right to my have fun with it, there should be something for everyone's musical tastes....

More about the music

OK, I was a little more pleased with myself when I thought I could put more than one playlist on here, but in trying to add some Casting Crowns songs I deleted the songs I had originally put on (they were on for about 5 minutes then gone). For now I'll leave what I've got, but keep checking back with me because I can tell I'm going to have a lot of fun putting different songs on here depending on my mood. There I was this morning bad mouthing technology and now I'm having tons of fun with it-- go figure!

A special thanks goes to Leisa whose blog gave me the idea to add the music and who I also copied by having Mike put up a clothesline for us this weekend!

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!!

Here I am pushing 40 and I just figured out how to put music on my blog...I have to say I am extremely pleased with myself! Now lets hope I can figure out how to add more...there will be no stopping me!

ps If you read this regularly and you know me, you can set up an account to occassionally comment so I'll know you are reading it (you know who you are)!

Another date/ 38

Last night I went on my second date of the week, this time with Mike! Today is my 38th birthday. A few months ago we won a $100 gift certificate to a restaurant at the SWAN Hotel at Disney. Yesterday afternoon we brought the kids to my parents' house (where they stayed overnight) and then went to the SWAN. We had a great time and a delicious meal (we have leftovers too). Here's a funny thing though... We debated about getting dessert and decided against it (first because we were full and second because we thought maybe we'd get something later while walking around the Boardwalk area). So we decided to leave the rest of the money from the gift certificate as a tip (yes, our meal came to $ is an expensive restaurant). Well they came back with our receipt showing that the tip was $11 and the total came to $89. We said we intended to leave the whole thing as a tip. Their system won't allow them to do that...they can only put 15% gratuity on a gift certificate. So we wanted to then get our change (or $11 back on a gift cert.). They don't do that either! Basically we were forced into getting dessert (flourless chocolate cake and berries--YUM)...then our total came to $99.96. The funny thing was that the 4 or 5 different people that worked their didn't seem to understand how crazy their system was that we couldn't either leave it as a tip or get the money made no sense to us and yet seemed perfectly normal to them. This is like a story I heard about someone buying one apple pie at McDonald's (they are 2 for $1). Apparently a woman sent her son up to the counter to buy an apple pie and he was charged 89 cents. The woman saw the sign that said 2 for $1 so she went back up with the 11 cents to get the other apple pie... the "register" doesn't allow this. Technology can sometimes make people a lot "less smart". Here's another one Mike told me last night. A few weeks ago he was on a business trip to New Jersey. The company he works for had booked his rental car. Mike was at the counter and his car was all ready for him, but there was a problem with the company credit card that it had been booked on. Mike said he'd put it on his card, and the person behind the desk said they'd see if there was a car available for him. "No, I'll just take the same car I was going to have" Mike said...and you guessed it once again the reply was "our system doesn't work that way"!!! They had to call an 800 number and get a supervisor to try to override the system, so Mike could drive away with the car that had already been resrved for him anyway! Crazy huh?

Friday, February 22, 2008

An Amazing date with my 12 year old

Jonathan and I went to the Casting Crowns concert last night. It was incredible! What an insirational night. We drove over an hour in pouring rain, not really knowing where we were going ( does this sound like a metaphor?). We didn't have time to eat on the way, so we shared a chicken nugget basket when we got there. Then it all began... I'm having a hard time finding the words to even describe it, so I asked Jonathan to sum it up for me. "IT WAS AWESOME! I don't know why they don't play ALL of those really good songs on Z88." Each one was amazing! It was a sleepy rainy day and more than once the thought crossed my mind that I really didn't feel like going out that night. I am so glad we did! Sometimes it is worth a long rainy drive (and even getting lost along the way) to get the reward on the other side!

The rest of the Wednesday saga...

Well after a relaxing day with Meme and Grampa Carlie we had to head back to our "reality" (see previous post). Actually the laundry, lone shoe, etc had been taken care of before we left our house the day before (more info on the kids' bedrooms to come). Jonathan and Madi are part of a book club at the library and had been assigned 9 chapters to read from the week before. Well here we were driving home Wednesday afternoon arriving in town "just in time" for book club (which ends "just in time" for AWANA). One of my kids had been able to finish the assigned chapters on the ride home the other had not . ( the one that didn't finish however is the one who flies through their AWANA memorization etc...the one who was "caught up" in the book is not so "caught up" in AWANA) All this to say I spent my drive home with this kind of conversation going through my head ("Do I expect too much of my kids?" "Do I expect too little?" "How can I get them to meet the deadlines of the activities they've committed to?" "How are they going to learn to do these things on their own without my prodding them?" etc...etc...) I had plenty of time to think and pray about all of this on the ride home because I couldn't be listening to our current book on tape because the book club book had to be read (in silence). All of those thoughts lead to the am I doing everything all right kinds of thoughts. I mean assuming every parent ever wanted nothing but the best for their kids why are there so many problems in this world? (my quick answer being a lot of those parents "missed something") Sooo, what am I missing? Are they going to turn out OK...etc...etc...?

So a quick drop off at bookclub, rush home to pull out somethings to donate to the AWANA yard sale, pick the kids back up, (they eat Wendy's in the car), and right to AWANA. Mike and Madi design and cut out her car for next week's AWANA race (I just realized I don't know how to spell the word "grand pre" grandprie? pree???). Then Mike and I were off to hear a speaker at our Church. What was she speaking on? Parenting of course! Coundn't have been better timing for me. This woman talked all about her 4 grown kids and how they weren't the "kids she ordered" when they were younger (they liked TV better than books, slept in yesterday's tshirt instead of jammies etc) yet they've turned out to be 4 people who she really enjoys spending time with (and they even married 4 people she enjoys spending time with). She spoke of one day years ago when she stood praying at the kitchen sink and she felt God tell her "you are not the mother they ordered either". She said how every night she would pray this prayer over each of her kids " Help me to be the mother they need". Here's where the kids messy bedrooms come into the story...she basically reccommended picking your battles and said she felt a disorderly bedroom just might be OK for preteens (and possibly part of their development). She told of the rules they had in there house and I've adjusted them a little and as of yesterday we are enacting this in our house...1. Clean laundry MUST be put away in drawers or hung in closet and dirty laundry MUST be put brought to the basket by the washer...this is to avoid the rewashing of the clean clothes. 2. There must be a clear path from the door to the bed (so Mom and Dad can get in to pray for/with the child) and a clear path from bed to window (she told her kids these were rules that the fire department had). Other then that the organization of the room is up to them. We'll see how this goes. I've added to this that they will be given even more responsibility to keep the rest of the house clean and in order, but I'm going to give them control of there rooms. I'll let you know how it goes.

A day at the beach

Wednesday we spent the day at Meme and Grampa Carlie's house and went to the beach for a little while. We don't get there nearly enough!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Keeping it real

I know everyone likes to see these reality posts from other moms once in a while, so here is my gift to my loyal readers...

1000 piece puzzle finished

The library recently had some puzzles for sale for 50 cents each and Jonathan and Madi got a few. Madi started this puzzle and got the outside done. Little by little I started adding to it and over the course of the time that it was on our dining room table I became quite attached to it. We finished it yesterday and I wanted to take a picture for blog posterity before I take it all apart. Time to pull out another puzzle.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Let's go Huskies!

We went to the UCONN-South Florida basketball game on Saturday. We won by one point in was very exciting!!


Friday we had this hawk on the light post in front of our house.

Giving out Valentines at the Nursing Home

We had a rewarding experience bringing Valentines to the reidents at the Nursing Home. At the last minute, I decided to pick Jake up from preschool early so he could come too. I'm so glad I did. As he and I were walking back into the hall after giving out our cards I asked him if he remembered going to the Nursing Home in CT to visit Mugga (my grandmother who passed away last year), he said he did and then added, "why do I always still see Mugga when I close my eyes?" (I think because she is looking down on him from heaven).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I figured I'd post these early and beat the Valentine's rush. We had a Valentine cake in Sunday. It was the recipe for chocolate cake off of the Hershey's cocoa container (and homemade frosting we had left over in our refigerator...not moldy and no preservatives!) Jake will have a Valentine Party at school tomorrow and Jonathan, Madi and I will go with the homeschool group to pass out Valentines at a Nursing Home. Here are Jake and Madi writing out Valentines...besides preschool Jake wrote out Valentines for kids at Homeschool PE and AWANA ( where he will have a party tonight). Parties, Parties everywhere Parties!


On Saturday Mr Joel and Miss Amanda from Theatre got us into EPCOT (and Anima Kingdom) for free. Mr Joel is the host of a VELCRO show at EPCOT Jonathan, Madi and Mike all got to participate.

A lot of Home Ec

In the past week we've made fried plantains as part of our Spanish curriculum--they were OK; "johnny cakes" as part of our history...they ate them in George Washington's time---they were not that good; and scones also for history--they were delicious (we've now made them two days in a row!)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Worse than mold

I recently showed you our moldy blueberry muffins/science experiment. Well here's something far worse... two months ago we had a Christmas Party especially to thank our friends that helped us so much during Mike's illness. We had a fire in our outside firebowl and bought lots of hot dogs to roast. This morning (two months later) I found a Walmart bag in the back of our pantry with two packages of hot dog rolls that we bought for the party that never got eaten....THEY ARE NOT MOLDY!!! The sell by date on the package is December 27, they have not been in the freezer or anything, just hidden in the pantry. If you didn't know any better you'd think there was nothing wrong with them. Can you imagine the amount of preservatives that must go into those to make them not become moldy two months later?? We will be feeding the ducks with them this afternoon.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

St Edward's Preschool

Jake has been attending St Edward's Preschool for a year and a half, loving it and thriving there. When Jonathan and Madi were preschool age, I didn't understand why homeschoolers would choose to send their preschoolers to a preschool building. In those long ago days our whole life was preschool. The kids painted regularly including fingerpainting, marble painting and walking acoss paper with paint on their feet to make footprints. We made homemade playdough, played with shaving cream and spent endless hours of water play in our big pool and in their little kiddie pool. They even dug big holes in our back yard. In addition to these things we'd attend two or three Mom's Club events a week, library storytime and spend lots of time with our friends. Back then I knew we were going to homeschool and I considered us unschoolers.

Then we had Jake. Little by little Jonathan and Madi got older and the pressure of a seven year old that wasn't really reading began to mount. I started to look at our family as "delayed academics" homeschoolers as opposed to pure unschoolers. By the time Jake was 2, Jonathan was 9 and Madi was almost 7, I didn't really think we could delay academics that much longer. Thus came the task of trying to "do school" with Jonathan and Madi while little Jake was left to fend for himself. I found myself telling him to go watch TV more times than I'd like. Jake's favorite way of playing has always been to sing, dance and entertain. Everybody knows it is much more fun to do those things when you have an audience. He loved watching Barney and singing the songs, but he wanted us to watch. He could play board games at an early age, but though he sometimes tried to play alone , he really wanted us to play with him. Many people can homeschool and keep an active preschooler happy at the same time, but we were having trouble. All this to say the driving factor in looking into "building preschool" for Jake was so Jonathan and Madi could do school work. That and the fact that by this time there was a lot less painting taking place in our house (and almost no finger or foot painting), fewer trips to story time at the library and no Mom's Club activities. Not that Jake didn't have friends his age, he had plenty (he was born with friends actually), and we were very active with our homeschool group (full of kids Jake's age too), but the activites we were interested in were geered toward the bigger kids' ages.

For years I had heard great things about St Edward's Preschool, we looked into it and the rest is history. It is the greatest place! Miss Shawnie is the best. It is so homey and comfortable and well organized. It is every child's (and parent's) dream come true. Madi is planning on working there when she grows up and can't wait to volunteer there. Now Jake is older, can better entertain himself and is not a "delayed academics" type of kid. He is learning to read at 5 and it will be so fun to homeschool him. However, with about 4 months left of Jake's preschool career, I am getting very sentimental about it. It has been such an amazing experience for him and all of our family. They just this week celebrated the 100th day of school. In the meantime I'm mentally starting to count down how fast the end is coming, and it makes me cry. It is such a big part of Jake's life. This past year they opened a Primary School (K-2nd grade) as well. While I fully intend to homeschool Jake next year, I can't help but sometimes think about how how much he'd love to go to kindergarten there. I actually mentioned to Miss Shawnie about homeschooling Jake, but sending him there two days a week for the experience of it. I'm not sure if this will really be an option or not. It is hard to put into words how wonderful it is. He wouldn't need to go there for the academics or the "socialization", he gets all those things. There is a lot of talk in our crowd about only doing the most excellent things. To Jake and our family St Edward's is the most excellent.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

7 random things about me

I was tagged by HillsideHollow to post 7 random things about me. Well, between my 100 things post and my 6 quirky things, I'm not sure I can come up with anything new, but I'll try...

1. I love showers and bubble baths. I average about 10 showers a week and probably three baths.

2. Our loft is a complete mess right now and no matter how often we try to use that as our "school room" we inevitably end up doing school down stairs.

3. Lately I've read a lot of books by Jodi favorite of hers was My Sister's Keeper.

4. I read one time that one way to (try to) prevent dimensia is to keep your brain active by doing things like brushing your teeth and shaving with your wrong hand or walking around with one shoe on and one shoe off. (I sometimes do these things)

5. SCRABBLE is another good way to keep your brain active and we've been playing it a lot lately. Mike and I are looking for new scrabble words everywhere.

6. Besides SCRABBLE, I've been looking for sticks (kindling) wherever I go because we've been having a lot of fires in our fire bowl lately and don't have a lot of trees.

7. I like the smell of skunk (or as Jake calls them STUNKS) (which you don't get much of in Florida).

and here's an extra...the smell one reminded me...whenever we run our dishwasher lately it smells like rotten eggs, we don't know why. I don't like that smell.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Prayer of St Francis

Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred let me bring your love; where there is injury, your pardon Lord; and where there's doubt, true faith in you. Make me a channel of your peace. Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope; where there is darkness only light; and where there's sadness ever joy.

Oh Master, grant that I may never seek so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, in giving of ourselves that we receive, and in dying that we are born to eternal life.

This is one of the things I'll be working on for LENT (which starts tomorrow).

Friday, February 1, 2008