Friday, November 30, 2007

It's Time to Make the Sushi.

I can't sleep. So what's any normal person to do when insomnia strikes? I don't know what normal people do, but I know I made sushi--at least some of the felt variety.

Remember, one of the things I wanted to make for the big kids this Chanukah is felt sushi. I combined the pattern I mentioned there with Lilly Bean's felt sushi (also linked on that post). I didn't even bother with the avocado the way the tutorial explains it. I just stitched a pile of green scraps together quickly. The whole project was super quick. It's probably the easiest felt food I've made thus far.

In the real world, we usually stick to the vegetable rolls, so I went with green in the middle to mimic any sort of vegetable. If I had a lighter green, I would have added that too. When I make these for friends, I think I'll use a mix of colors for those not bound by kashrut.

That was supposed to be the back, but with the (horribly sloppy) stitching, it looks much more like rice. In the future, I'll sew 2 pieces together on all 4 sides rather than creating a tube and only sewing on 3.

I've been craving sushi from one of my favorite restaurants. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. It's not helping my sushi lust.

At least I have something to show for my insomnia--and that something is faux sushi. :) I do so love my felt sushi. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

All the Cool Bloggers Are Doing it.

So I see Ima on the Bima (see the Chanukah Countdown on the left) and Robin from Around the Island (see my blogroll) are both doing the Thursday Thirteen. I love the idea and I feel left out. So, here's my first edition of Thursday Thirteen.

Thirteen Job Titles I would love to have
including some I already do

in no particular order

1. Supreme Ruler of the Universe

2. Actress

3. Photographer

4. Rabbi

5. Singer/Songwriter

6. Instant and Effortless Calmer of Screaming Children

7. Super Hero

8. Artist

9. Anything that gives me a price break at Starbucks

10. Midwife

11. Mother

12. Researcher

13. Mermaid (not really, but it's what Girl1 just suggested & I'm out of ideas)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Ima on (and off) the Bima posted this great link: Make-Stuff

Want some ideas on how to recycle a particular item? Head over there.

Oh the joys of parenthood!

I'm still laughing over this one.

The Cell Reception Is Atrocious
Frustrated mom: For the love of G-d, stop crying! If you don't stop, I'm going to shove you back in my uterus, close my legs, and never let you out!
Crying little boy: No! I don't like it in there!

San Francisco, California

via Overheard Everywhere, Nov 29, 2007

Quotation day after Wednesday

I realized late last night that I hadn't posted anything for Quotation Wednesday, so here's an entry a day late.

First, a funny:

You Going Somewhere with This, Prof?
Professor: Who can tell me the difference between a birch tree and a beech tree?
Student: A beech tree's got lighter bark.
Professor: But otherwise there's no difference?
Student: I dunno 'bout the leaves or anything, but when you buy furniture from IKEA, beech wood's always lighter.
Professor: But could you identify a birch tree from a beech tree if you saw one on campus?
Student: If I cut it down, maybe.
Overheard by:

via Overheard Everywhere, Nov 23, 2007

And now for the more serious couresty of The Quotable Jewish Woman:

"For, of course, the natural childbirth-breastfeeding movement Margaret Mead helped to inspire was not at all a return to primitive earth-mother maternity. It appealed to the independant, educated, spirited...woman...because it enabled her to experience childbirth not as a mindless female animal, an object manipulated by the obstetrician, but as a whole person, able to control her own body with her aware mind." Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

"I don't want to make money. I just want to be wonderful." Marilyn Monroe

"But suppose we viewed life not as using up our own limited supply but as the accumulation of moments--moments like treasures." Rabbi Shira Milgrom in Four Centuries, 1992

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The best gift ever

The fine folks and PBN and more people I've never heard of at Excitations (where they have lots of gifts I will never get) are asking about memorable gifts. I have a few.

1. Just before I got married, my parents gave me my grandmother's hope chest. It had lived in my parents' basement for years and was filled with pictures, cards, and scrapbooks from my grandmother (I'm named after her, but she died long before I was born). Through her collection, I saw relatives I had never seen before. I found my father's old report cards. I read cards with sweet little notes that my grandfather gave her.

2. On my very first Mothers' Day, the NICU nurses wrote up a poem about mothers and stamped each girls' foot on one. The poems were displayed on top of their incubators when we came in to see them. I cried.

3. The digital SLR camera dh gave me the day I had TheBoy. It was just before Chanukah. Not too long after my water broke (or my waters released for my fellow hynobirthers), dh gave me the camera. I got my son and an awesome camera. Cool deal! To this day, that camera is probably my favorite gift dh has ever given me. I use it all the freaking time. LOVE it.

4. I loved the gifts the girls picked out last Chanukah. It was so neat to see the thought process and so sweet that they insisted on getting a gift for TheBoy as well.

5. Maybe it didn't come complete with a bow, but I consider this to have been a gift which I was thrilled to get.

I could keep writing about this topic forever, but I'll spare you. Although, I can't promise that I won't post in the future about the worst gifts.

Chanukah: The countdown has begun.

Chanukah is one week away. Yippee!

It's a minor holiday, but I like Chanukah. There's so much meaning behind lighting those candles. It was the promise of sharing those candles with my children that first started my journey towards more traditional Judaism.

We didn't always keep kosher. We didn't always celebrate Shabbat. We never said Motzi before meals. While we have always had a mezzuzah, it didn't always have meaning. It was more of a decoration. We never acknowledged it on our comings or goings. Aside from the copy of the Tanakh and the anchient copy of Gates of Repentance dh got for his bar mitzvah, we had no Jewish books.

Then, on one occasion, I saw someone light Shabbat candles and it suddenly occurred to me that, while our children had every right to kindle those flames, they wouldn't if we continued as we were then. Dh's grandmother had gone through so much to escape Nazi Germany, yet none of her grandchildren were raising Jewish children. She lit the Shabbat candles and Chanukah candles in Germany even when doing so threatened their lives. Yet, her struggles were in vain because none of us planned on raising Jewish kids much less observant ones. Our children had a right to those candles just as Bubbe did. That connection already existed in their blood. Who were we to deny them that? What right did we have to extinguish that flame?

That inspired me to look deeper into Judaism. The more I searched, the more my reasons for considering myself a secular Jew simply fell away. Most of what I read resonated with me--with my sense of ethics, with my morals, with my belief in G-d. Judaism gives me the freedom to wrestle with those few issues that I don't understand or with which I can't agree. I love that freedom to search and that expectation to understand.

My kids have never known life without those candles. We light candles with them for Shabbat. We light the candles on our big silver menorah for Chanukah. And last year, for the first time, they lit the candles on their own ones that they made themselves in Sunday school.

In Judaism, Chanukah is a minor holiday, but for me, it is far more important.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

So is this completely inappropriate?

I sing to my kids all the time. There's a wide range of songs that I use for that purpose. One, though, is the Doors' "People Are Strange."

Is that bad? The songs we traditionally sing to kids often contain far worse things. We sing about babies falling out of trees, elderly men who are unconscious and possibly dead, and killing mice. So what's wrong with singing about being a tad bit eccentric?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Your bit o' wisdom for the day

Crib Chick said it and I agree.

Plus that comment made me laugh.

When you combine wit and wisdom, you get a gem that simply must be shared.

English Major
You do the math.

I apologize to the bloggers to whom I link. I edited out the word "The" if it was at the beginning of the titles. I have Blogger set to put the links in alphabetical order, but it was filing blogs by "The," and that's one of my huge pet peeves.

If you were wondering why your title isn't quite right, now you know and knowing is, after all, half the battle. :-)

Anyone wanna send me free stuff?

I'm entering all sorts of holiday contests, but have yet to win a single one. Pardon me while I sigh.

So, does anyone want to send me free stuff? Please. Pretty pretty please.

I wanna feel loved (or at least lucky).

I also want new handbags and strange gadgets.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

So many stupid people. So few comets.

Why do we place more value on Barbie* than on books?

In the past, we had an Amazon wish list for the kids for the holidays. That way, when the family asked for gift ideas, it was right there to make it easier on them. One year, my MIL ordered some things and told us, "There weren't many options. I wanted to get them something they really wanted, not any of that school stuff." :-o

I went back and looked at the list and there were actually very few school books on there (2 or 3 on homeschooling/the Jewish classroom for me). There were some that weren't fiction and a few language CDs, but that was it.

How does this make any sense? Educational things are bad? Then why are so many people jumping at the chance to buy Leap Pads and those V-tech educational video game systems? Is educational only considered a happy adjective if the item in question blinks and beeps and make ridiculously obnoxious noises? Why are school-related books bad? Our girls love school. They're out there right now doing some workbooks because they begged to do them. It's not uncommon for them to announce, "Let's do school." Their current favorite books are one about dead fairies, a few about dinosaurs and one about mummies.

I just can't understand why someone would rather buy lots of plastic crap that will be destroyed (or will be used to destroy other things) in a few weeks. Dh and I both adore books. We're forever reading. My MIL has always been proud that dh learned to read early. So why not do everything you can to give that gift to your grandchildren? Education is HUGELY important to both of us. Why would you give them a Polly Pocket who will be naked and headless in a month when you could give them a book that could stay with them for the rest of their lives?

Looking at the kids' wishlist this year, there are lots of educational toys on there. My mother called to tell me she bought bunches of things from their wishlist. While one is educational, all the others are frivolous things. The toys that my kids really want, but many consider "school things" remain largely untouched.

*FTR, I can't stand Barbie dolls and we don't have any. I just used her as an example.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Leah reminded me.

Leah left a comment with some ideas and she reminded me that I wanted to share some more ideas.

For TheBoy, I'm going to use some of my extensive collection of craft foam and make him letters and numbers that he can take in the tub (they stick to the tile when wet).

Leah also mentioned writing a book and that reminded me that one thing I'm going to do is make coloring books out of photographs. If you have Photoshop, then you have the necessary filters. If not, you can upload your pictures to this site, run the filter, and save the end result.

Now I'm off to get back to work on the bigger kids' Hebrew name bracelets that I'm making. I'll take pictures of those tomorrow, too.

Totoro? Then again, maybe not.

I saw on the Flickr group that someone had used the Wee Wonderfuls Bunny pattern to make Totoro bunnies.

If you have looked at my profile, you have seen that My Neighbor Totoro is one of my favorite movies. I've loved it for years. Dh got me my very own copy (VHS, we're kickin' it old school) a long time ago. So I thought that was a fabulous idea for the bunnies. I wanted to do the same. Mind you, I've pointed out before that I can do the simplest of hand stitching and that's it.

Well, I first attempted it earlier in the week. Genius me got distracted and instead of connecting the 3 panels, I attached 2 panels front and back. It wasn't what I was planning, but it was okay. Yesterday, I used the same Dollar Tree blue blanket along with 2 panels of a light blue print that I bought about 5 years ago, but never used (found during my Thanksgiving cleaning fest).

When I was done, I hated the face with a passion. I couldn't sleep last night because I was so upset about the face. So, this morning, I stitched on a new piece over his face and did all the work I was trying to avoid in the first place. He's not bad, but still not exactly what I was hoping for. I think I'm going to add a leaf to his head (disclaimer, I have no clue who those people are. I just came across that photo through Google and loved it). Maybe then he'll look more Totoro-like. We shall see.

Now TheBoy has 2 Totoros waiting for him this Chanukah.

Just a random FYI, I also love this face and plan to use it for inspiration as soon as I find my favorite grey super-soft felt that I saved from an old skirt, but which has since gone missing.

I have pictures of my latest creations, but I don't have the energy to upload them just yet. I'll do that tomorrow so that you can all tell me how very much my animals don't look anything like Totoros.

Bunny Totoro
Originally uploaded by ReizaRose

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I am thankful for...


I went on a bit of a cleaning tear earlier today. I emptied cleared off the top of my grandmother's hope chest and replaced the stupid stuff inside with sentimental things that have been cluttering this place. In the process, I found all sorts of stuff that I haven't used in their current state, but I can use now for holiday scrapping.

WTG me!

FTR, last night, I made three felt sugar cookies (completely by hand) topped with super cute faces and sprinkles. I think I also figured out a way to make the cupcake I made the other night (which appears to have special needs) look a little more cupcake-like and a little less like a special ed phallic symbol. We shall see, though. I'll post the end results after the kids go to bed.

There's a huge long list of things I'm thankful for, but that's on the top of my list right now.

How about you? Regardless of whether or not you're in/from the States, feel free to share with the class. We want to know what you're thankful for. I think I'll post a big long complete list this evening.

For those who celebrate, I hope your Thanksgiving finds you content. For those who don't celebrate, happy Thursday, although, depending on which part of the world in which you reside, it may already be Friday. So in that case, Happy Friday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bloggers against robots

I just had a little giggle. I posted a comment and had one of those blasted "Type in all of these letters/numbers that are so freaking close together that you really can't figure it out and will need to try 7 or 8 times before we accept your pitiful response" verifications.

I thought this explanation was hysterical:

This test is used to prevent automated robots from posting comments.

Poor robots! No comments for you. No one cares what you think about our human problems. Robots get no voice in the Blogosphere.

You can protect our stupid kids from harm (over and over again) and you can do our housecleaning, but you cannot, under any circumstances, comment on our blogs.

Unless, of course, you can figure out those damn strings of letters/numbers. I sure as hell can't. If you can beat us at chess, then you can probably repeat letters/numbers.

Lazy days and WEDNESDAYS

So I was about to title this post when I remembered I posted 2 entries for Quotation Wednesday yesterday. Since today is not yet Thanksgiving, it must be Wednesday. That, however, means that yesterday was Tuesday (aka NOT Wednesday).

Sorry, folks. I screwed that up.

Today (WEDNESDAY) has been a lovely lazy day. I'm still in jammies. The bigger kids have picked out their own outfits (which don't match at all and are horrible in the cold weather, but we're staying in today and it makes them so very happy, so who cares?). The boy is down for his nap (2 hours late, but that's because he woke up at 11:30--3 hours later than usual). I'm letting the bigger kids watch a little PBS Kids before we make cards based on a turkey craft I saw at Halfway Hip.

It's just a nice lazy day (Wednesday to be exact). And I really like it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Another one for quotation Wednesday

The Bitch Kept Inking Us
Chick: So, are you still trying to work out how to put a G-string on an octopus?

via Overheard Everywhere, Nov 20, 2007

The happiest place on earth? Then again, maybe not (sorry, Katie).

It is quotation Wednesday, after all.

Through Halfway Hip, I found my way to Overheard Everywhere. I used to read the NYC one, but I didn't know there was one open to the whole world. I love it.

This one made me giggle:

Disneyland Really Is More for the Kids
Mid-50s man: Is this another parade, Barbara?
Wife: Yeah.
Mid-50s man: Aw, shit.

Anaheim, California

via Overheard Everywhere, Nov 19, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

The easiest gift ever

A few years back, I had an awful time finding scarves for my girls. I was only able to find the neck-warming goodness available in sets with gloves and/or hats. We already had the head and hand coverings covered, so that was unnecessary. Plus, I just didn't like the scarves I saw in stores. I don't knit or crochet, so that was out.

I do, however, own a pair of scissors and a baby blanket. We had this gorgeous blanket that we got as a shower gift. It's a fleece type flowered small blanket. It's pink with flowers and very very soft. My kids had long since outgrown it, but we still had it hanging around. So I held my breath and cut it into long strips. Since it was baby-sized, it was perfect for my then toddlers. They cost us nothing. We recycled. And in my oh so humble opinion, those scarves were far cuter than anything I could find in the stores.

While at Target today, I came across these animal blankets in the $2.50 area of the Dollar Section. It's a nice big square of fabric with fringed edges. It's some sort of faux fleece. I found it in red stripe (think candy cane), pink with black paw prints and blue with snow flakes. I went with the blue and cut 4 strips--3 scarves for the kids and one extra for when someone loses his/hers (yes, when, not if). I still have half left to use to make softies.

I got to thinking that we could easily make some scarves as party favors for a winter party. I don't know that we will, but hey, we could and it would be CHEAP. True, they're too small for adults or bigger kids, but they're still super cute for the younger crowd (they'd probably be good until 9 or 10 depending on how big the child is). You don't have to be able to sew. You don't have to know what on earth you're doing with knitting needles. The only skill one must posses is the ability to use scissors. So, basically, as long as you graduated from the first grade, you're good to go.

From baby blanket to super-cute toddler-sized scarf:

Here's the current view of the coat hooks inside the closet door. That's where our brand new scarves have taken to hanging out:

I passed the old scarves on to the kids to use for dress-up. They pretended the scarves were bandages. Girl1 accidentally called them "Cabbages" at one point which amused me to no end. She has decided she much prefers that word and will now call all bandages, "Cabbages." Yes, she did make that proclamation. Although, I think the old scarves/bandages/cabbages will probably get thrown into the next load of wash and then miraculously turn up again reincarnated as softies for Chanukah.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Just say, "No."

Why is it that we go to such extensive and creative lengths to avoid simply saying, "No?"

Sometimes, we need to turn people down--whether that need is an immediate physical one or an emotional one is entirely irrelevant. So why don't we just own up to it? Why must we come up with cute or elaborate ways of saying, "Maybe," when we know full-well that we need to refuse the offer?

If I hear, "I don't know," or "We'll see," or "Definitely maybe," one more time, I'm going to scream.

Just say, "No," and eliminate the guessing. Does she mean there's really a chance? Is he trying to figure out how to fit it in?

NO. She's not going to do it and he has already decided it's a big fat, "No." He just doesn't want you to know that. They're hoping that if they push you off enough, you'll quietly fall asleep or get wrapped up in something else. So when you're disappointed or your kids are crying because they had their hopes pinned on seeing the person in question, well, that person can point out that they never did give a definite answer.

They're right. They didn't, but what they did give was a "Get out of jail free card." They can play the, "I never said yes," and "Did I say no," cards both at the same time. If we were playing Go Fish, that would be fabulous, but we're not playing a card game. We're trying to get a straight-forward answer.

So next time the answer is a honking negative, please just throw that out there. Don't bust out into the Maybe dance (very much like the Cabbage Patch and we all know that's not pretty, so please spare us all and just don't do it). Just give a straight answer. I can't promise the person in question won't bite, but I can wager.

Closed for gift-making. Be back soon.

It suddenly struck me that since Chanukah falls early on the secular calendar this year, that means it's only 2 and 1/2 weeks away (it starts Dec. 5). AHHHHHH. I decided to make everything this year.

Ut oh.

So I've been busy making stuff. Thus far, we have some hair clips half finished, felt green beans done (even though dh insists one looks like a jalepeno), some jewelry put aside, one pattern ready to use, and some definite plans and all the materials for my niece's gifts (which I can't share since her mom reads the blog).

I don't, however, have any ideas what on earth to make for dh. Anyone have any ideas? Please share. I have no clue where to start with guy's gifts.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My family is nucking futs
So here's a challenge.

There's currently loads of family drama as a result of my cousin's funeral.

The very brief version is that lots of people are hurt and they're all lashing out at each other.

I'm trying to play the peacemaker, but we shall see how that goes.

'm so freaking frustrated. I come from a bigger family and I believe that with larger families comes more room for dysfunction. For some reason, we seem to barrel down TotallyAndCompletelyFuckedUp Lane during and after funerals. This most recent loss is no different. Shut up. Sit down. Hug your damn cousin/brother/sister/aunt and be glad you still have him/her.

This has inspired me to issue a challenge. At any time this week, pick a day and take advantage of that time as complaint free. Do not rant about any family members. Do not roll your eyes when your mother makes another ridiculous comment. Do not call your sister screaming no matter what your kids flushed down the toilet this time. Do not complain to your spouse about how many stupid e-mail forwards your cousin sent you today.

Then come back and tell me how it felt. I plan on trying it myself. I won't tie myself to a specific day, but I promise to do it and report back.

  • Yes, pets DO count as family members.
  • While complaining ABOUT family members should be avoided, complaining TO them is allowed as long as the topic is not others in your family.
  • You commit to an initial 24-hour period. If you feel compelled to continue after that, you're more than welcome.
  • "Family" is defined by the individual. If your particular family includes those who are not blood relatives, you should avoid complaining about them.
  • After you have completed your day, please come back and leave a comment on this post.
  • No, it's not any sort of competition. I just want to see if it makes a difference in how we view and treat our families.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day

It's Veterans Day.

This time last year, dh had been home from his final deployment for just a few days.

I have no profound insight for you this year. For the first time since the conflict in Afghanistan began, I've been able to say, "My husband has been home for a full year." That's amazing to me. Sure, he's gone on a bunch of business trips, but civilian trips are far different than the, "They shot at my plane" military trips or even just the two week long, "This is what you do when you're left in the desert with no supplies" trips.

Honestly, I'm becoming used to being a civilian. I don't think we will ever fully assimilate to the civilian world. I can't consider us "military" any longer because we're not in the thick of that. It's an insult to military families to call our family "military" when we don't have to fear deployments. At the same time, we can never be fully civilian because we have survived deployments. No matter where we go from here, my husband will always be a veteran--whether he likes it or not. Still, we find ourselves moving away from the military mentality. It's freeing and heart-breaking all at the same time.

Instead of rambling any longer, I'll direct your attention to my post on the topic last year.

Brave or stupid? You be the judge.

The gift shop at shul is small and full of breakable things. We typically don't take the kids in there because we have common sense and no desire to pay for a very expensive glass seder plate that is now broken into 4 jagged pieces because a little person belonging to us backed into it while reaching for the brightly colored aleph-bet ruler that changes from English to Hebrew when you move it back and forth.

This week, though, at Sunday school, the teachers took their classes to the gift shop to let the kids pick out Chanukah gifts for the family. One teacher + a room full of fragile items + a bunch of first graders = ouch.

FTR, they apparently came through unscathed. As far as I know, nothing broken nothing thrown. Girl2 bought us something, but won't tell us what. She even asked the sales woman to put it in a dark bag so that the contents won't be revealed.

She explained how she contemplated buying something for her baby brother:

"I wanted to get him a soft Torah, but I thought, 'Hmmm...maybe he will not want this,' So I put it back and got your gift instead."

Yes, she said that exactly including the "Hmmm," and the "will not." Is she an android? Her reluctance to use contractions makes me wonder. I have no doubt that she's charming. Her use of the word, "Hmmm," in conversation convinced me of that.

It has been a full hour now and she has yet to give us the gifts or reveal what the package contains. Her patience impresses me. She has gone so far as to hide it away in her brother's room so that we won't open it. I did NOT have her patience at that age. I remember wrapping up my favorite ice-cream-shaped eraser as a gift for my mom and giving it to her just minutes later because I couldn't wait to give the gift. Mind you, this was probably a full month before the holiday.

In a genius move, Girl1 bought gelt. You see, we don't do candy. The only time the kids are really allowed to have chocolate is Chanukah and Purim. And so, Girl1 bought gelt. At first, I was annoyed by the fact that she bought that when she knew she was supposed to be buying gifts, but then she explained, "It's for all of us to share this Chanukah." I can deal with that.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I second that.

Irim said it quite well and so, I will direct your attention to her latest post:

Bring them home

There's oh so much I could say, but I won't ramble too much. I'll just point out that we were a military family. We would actually love to still be a military family, but this current conflict made my husband leave it all behind. It makes no sense. It makes my stomach turn. It makes me want to rant about it forever, but I'll spare you.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Stupid should hurt.

No offense intended to anyone who may have worked there in the past, but I swear Volde-Mart attracts the dumbest employees.

As though the endless mistakes, long list of stupid comments made directly to me, or the complete inability to perform the menial tasks for which they were hired wasn't enough, now we have further proof.

FTR, I am thrilled to death to finally get to steal a friend's idea and use "Volde-Mart" in a blog entry.

I'll have time to clean when I'm dead.

I am not a fan of cleaning. I am, however, a fan of the earth. I've been wanting to try more natural cleaning products and then I came across this review at the Crunchy Domestic Goddess. I'll wait to see if I win, but if not, I think I'm going to order some things from Lily's Garden Herbals. After looking around, I see quite a few things I want to try--not just cleaning products.

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wishlist

A friend sent me a link that I simply must share.

From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1

Here are a few of my favorites:

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I *heart* handmade.

Perhaps you've noticed the new image over there on the left. I'm all about handmade things lately. The recent toy recalls have frightened me and made me look around for handmade alternatives.

You'll notice I have added quite a few blogs from creative folks in the past few weeks. I'm being drawn deeper and deeper into the craft side. :-)

I'm planning on making gifts not only for my kids, but for friends' kids as well. Nothing will be show room quality, but they'll be cute in a folksy (aka: I still can't use a sewing machine and so everything is hand stitched and not always well) kind of way.

The good news is that I've heard reports that others are doing the same. I'm thrilled to report that my sister has ventured into making Waldorf dolls. I actually scoured the internet a month or two ago in an attempt to find some for the bigger kids. They're way beyond my level of craftiness and the prices were more than I was willing to spend. So when my sister told me she plans on making some for my kids, I could have kissed her.

I'm really looking forward to this holiday season. I love the idea of not only making things for my kids, but of getting handmade gifts as well. They really do mean so much more than the standard store bought plastic

Peel off that yellow ribbon and DO SOMETHING.

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Do you truly support our troops? Just slapping on a yellow ribbon is NOT supporting them. This former military family would much prefer you do this instead.

From Military Families Speak Out:

The Board of Directors of MFSO has just voted to endorse H.R. 3043, an appropriations bill currently before Congress, which would provide funding for critical services for our veterans, our troops and their families. We have joined with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Gold Star Families Speak Out (GSFSO), the National Coalition for the Homeless and other organizations representing thousands of veterans and soldiers, in signing a letter which was sent on Tuesday, November 6, to every member of Congress, urging passage of this bill.

Today, we are asking all MFSO members to individually contact their Congressional representatives and Senators to ask them to support this bill and to pledge to override a threatened presidential veto. In asking you to take this action, we do not intend in any way to let Congress off the hook for their continued funding of the Iraq war. The funding in this bill is a totally separate issue from war funding votes and our support for it demonstrates our commitment to our mission to "take care of them when they get home".

While most veteran-related programs are funded through the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services also provide vital services to help our veterans, especially for the two-thirds of recently returning veterans who have not enrolled in the federal veterans' health care program.

Specifically, H.R. 3043 would provide:

  • $231 million for Veterans' Employment and Training programs to assist returning veterans to find and train for good paying jobs
  • $23.6 million for the Homeless Veterans' Program. Currently 23% of America's homeless are military veterans.
  • $10 million for those veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI), for their rehabilitation, hospital care and long-term support. Thousands of returning National Guard soldiers rely on community-based systems of care that are not funded by the VA.
  • $3.4 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. With Army suicides recently reaching a 26 year high, our returning veterans suffering from PTSD and depression have an urgent need to rely on this funding.

This bill is currently being debated on the House floor. Bush has said he will veto the bill because it does not include $3.6 billion in cuts below last year's total funding levels. As military family members, we are outraged that this administration and Congress can continue to spend $5 billion dollars a week in Iraq and yet not care if our soldiers and veterans are denied practical help in finding jobs, shelter for homeless vets, and medical and mental health care.

Please take a simple action today. Call, send a postcard to or write a letter to your representative and senator and ask them to approve H.R. 3043. Ask them not to back down from overriding a Bush veto.

To find your Member of Congress and their local mailing address, you can go to You can call toll free using one of the following numbers that go right to the Capitol switchboard (ask for the office of your Senators, Representative): 800-828-0498, 800-459-1887 or 800-614-2803.

Tell them, as a military family member, what the funding in this bill will mean to your child, spouse, or loved one returning from Iraq. And tell them that passing the provisions in this bill demonstrate the kind of authentic support for our troops that every soldier and every American understands.

When I grow up,

I want to be this woman:

Monday, November 05, 2007

Quotation Monday

Yeah, I think it was originally supposed to be quotation Wednesday, but I never kept up with it. So here's a random quotation entry.

After returning from a much-loved and sorely missed mass of family, I've been wading through quotations about family, so I'll share some with you:

"No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?"-- Elbert Hubbard

"The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you." ~Kendall Hailey, The Day I Became an Autodidact

"We cannot destroy kindred: our chains stretch a little sometimes, but they never break." -- Marquise de Sévigné

"What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories? "-- George Eliot

Nobody's family can hang out the sign, "Nothing the matter here." -Chinese proverb

"Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future."--Gail Lumet Buckley

" The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life."--Richard Bach

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I'll probably be in a box lying down loosely suited in black.

He's burried.

The planning is over. The running around is over. Now we're all hanging around reminiscing. That part is nice. I just wish it could have been under different circumstances.

It's bizarre. I hadn't really been in touch with him in a while. I always kept up to date on what he was doing and we passed notes back and forth through friends/family, but we haven't been a constant part of each other's lives in years. And yet, I feel his absence so acutely. He had such a wonderful and excited spirit. The fact that it's gone is so very noticible.

This sums it up nicely:
Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling into at night. I miss you like hell.
Edna St. Vincent Millay