Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fun on the computer...

Today we’ve been playing around with geeART16. Link here. I feel it is a great deal. You get Corel Painter Essentials with the year membership to the site, and that seems like a pretty fun little program on its own. The kids loved the free demo so much that I went ahead and splurged on the package. It was under $30 and I enjoyed the lesson and learned from it as well. So pretty much like it all around.

The other site we’ve been playing on is this.. Pokemon Learning League. It is aimed at grades 3-6 and definitely some of it will be over the kids heads but we signed on for the free month trial membership and have had several days of enjoyment from it. Besides, it got my kids to understand the different types of angles, went deeper into the water cycle than we’ve dived before (pun intended), learned about the earth’s rotation and how that effects days and seasons, and pretty much gives me ideas on other stuff to go into that I might not have realized they could be ready for.

The price for this straight off the site is high! I think $159 for a year of access. Ouch. It is aimed at school districts. But I found it on the Homeschool Buyers Co-op , which is free to join, and can get a membership through them for $50 that lasts until the end of December. Not too bad for what we’ve been getting out of it. But I think I will play out my free month and review the decision.

I know of so many people that are anti-computer for little ones. But I have always found them fun and useful and so do my kids. Ever since Starfall practically taught my daughter to read, I’ve been a fan of the computer as a learning tool. Besides, if my kids didn’t play with imovie, I would have absolutely no video of them at all. Bad mommy!

Holy Playmobil Heaven

What is the bad thing about paying down credit cards? Temptation!


And there is more. Like this.

It is like the playmobil people can crawl into my head and create the toys that invade my dreams. I wish they would stop. We have a very small house. At least they aren’t out until March. That is some time to either save up or talk myself out of buying more plastic toys. (For the kids of course, well at least they would like them too.)

I found out how long it takes to trash my house.


A little less than 4 hours without trying very hard. And I was sick and not trash-maintaining for over 18 hours! Yep, guess what I am doing today? We will be working on “life-skills” lessons. Grab a mop kids.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Peeps



The boy and I got our craft on today and tackled a nifty little kit that required me to teach a four year old the finer points of hot glue. Fun was had by all, and no one had any duck parts permanently grafted to fingers. We ran out of eyes and precut feet and beaks so we made due with what we had on hand. I like the mix though. I think the black beak ducks have a little goth thing going on. Ahhh, teenagers. Gotta love ‘em.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Caught Up

I’ve been struck by two things recently. One is Heath Ledger’s death. The other is some videos I came across for the first time, however it seems they are well known on the internet. Sally Anthony makes music and videos that relate to the Iraq war and political themes. I made it through a quarter of one. I feel they are probably one of the most powerful statements out there. But I can’t watch it. I can’t link to it because I would want people to understand what they will see if they click on one of her videos. Death, real death. Kid death. I just can’t go there, but in the few seconds I watched. I got her message loud and clear.

How are these two related? Well, so many people are shocked and distraught over Heath Ledger’s death. Me included. He seemed cool, artsy, familyish. What happened? The thing is, I don’t know him. That is the weird thing about celebrity. Due to the crazy media around “the beautiful ones”, not only do we see their faces over and over on the screen to the point that they feel familiar to us, but we are bombarded by personal information about them. Stuff I don’t even know about some of my own friends and family members who have died. I didn’t seek out this information. It is just everywhere. It is weird, for someone to be that exposed.

But in light of the pain and drama around one death, it is just as strange to see the flipside. The lack of drama around the (gory, horrible, lonely, painful) death of a child. I didn’t know her story, name, age, land, language, religion, family. But I saw a picture of her body and you can’t get more intimate through a computer. The contrast baffles me. Not as a statement about anything really. More in an existential way. Like, how and why is it like this? Why is it that the media hounds someone like crazy and we feed on that info, and then neatly avert our eyes at other stuff. It is all stuff that yanks us inside out.

I have a theory. It is magical thinkingish, but still, what if? We hear about the death of a celebrity we identify with and feel sad, a loss. We don’t hear about 600,000 other deaths that are possibly as tragic, if not more so. We don’t hear about them, but what if we feel them anyway? Maybe how we are connected as humans, the ways we can’t see - maybe this accounts for how depressed everyone is. How insomniac, workaholic, alcoholic, angry, road-ragish, foggy. Maybe we don’t know the name of the girl on the street in Iraq, maybe haven’t even seen her picture, but somehow we are feeling her death too, the same as the ones we hear about. If that was even partly true, wouldn’t it make it in our best interest to work harder at being nicer to one another?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tummy Bugs and Restless Me

My son was sick today. He is still small enough to hold in a small ball of warm kid all day and I am both grateful and weary from that fact. He used to be great at warning us when he was going to be sick. For whatever reason he picked up his sister’s trick of saying he is fine and throwing up as soon as he falls asleep. He “got” two beds, four pillows, seven blankets, multiple family member outfits, all of his pajamas, and actually hit the bucket a few times. Yes. That is a LOT of vomit. I was very worried for awhile as he did seem to get very dehydrated for a bit, but luckily he perked up quickly after that point.

It is so strange how a kid can go from totally healthy one minute, to completely zombie sick the next. It seems like whenever I get sick it sort of half gets me for days before it strikes, then lingers for awhile after. Though today was a rough day, I think I’d rather go back to the kid lightning round version of the tummy bug.

Bah, I don't feel like doing much of anything after today. I am rather skittish about going to sleep right now due to being awakened so often today in a blaze of kid illness frenzy. But I am not feeling clever enough to do much of anything. Sometimes I wish video gaming was my hobby (my whole family games), instead of everything else. Having one hobby would mean I could spend less time thinking of what to do and just getting on with it already.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Perfect Evening

Drinking hot, hot tea. Eating pretzels dipped in mustard. And listening to this. Awesome.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Warning: Poetry ahead...

Disclaimer: Poetry geek here. So if you choose to read this blog, you might get some on you. You have been warned. (Not that I am a good poet or knowledgeable in any real way about the poets I like. The right words just make me breathe better. So who can fight that?)

I know a bit about grieving and the death of young actors always brings back the pain from losing people too young. So an old poem of mine tonight in that sort of mood.

Sometimes I sit small and quiet, whispering
The questions I most want to scream
But reality seems to frighten my voice
I feel sluggish next to trees
And ungrateful in my weariness toward moments
I sleep long and fidget through the days
And oftentimes never once love myself
For any of the waking hours
I stand near the lake and think on you
As water rages white and pure and fierce
As angels; and I, human, so full of tears
Try to let the wind blow through me
But it is crazy how solid I am
Mortal miracle of flesh and water
In fear, sometimes I sit in silence, in darkness
And am grateful for the moon

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Playing with the camera

I have a window in the kitchen that I love. The light from it is always the type that fills you up inside, bringing peace and energy. Today I kept finding myself staring at the milk bottles, crystal snowflake and how they contrasted with the walls and light from outside. I had to grab the camera. Here is the view from my favorite window today.




I feel like it captures the balance between winter cold and warmth well.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ramona and the Fear of Smoking...

Viricapnity (VI-ri-KAP-ni-tee) - The aura of virile sexuality presumed to emanate from a man who is smoking.

When I was young (as in old enough to have fun and young enough to enjoy it without guilt and conscience), the above word described a particular obsession I had and therefore the unfortunate fact that most of my boyfriends were in fact, smokers. Now I am old, (aahhh.. but wiser?, and with the afore lacking conscience) and married a man who is the image of squeaky clean. Something both my mother and I still puzzle over but are happy about. :)

When I was very young I loved the Ramona series of books and have been sharing that joy with my daughter. We are on Ramona and her Father, the book in which 2nd grade Ramona goes on a campaign to stop her father from smoking. Silly me didn't remember the plot and was skipping over the random passages about Ramona's father having a cig earlier in the book (censorship, smensorship). Then, bam... the whole plot came to a point where the Quimby girls were at war to save their father from death, black lungs, air pollution, the whole scary works.

Now, my daughter has a mild phobia of smoking and smokers and keeps reassuring me that her future husband will not be a smoker. She is very worried about this.

I on the other hand... Sigh. There is just something about that inhale and slow exhale... You think if I got dh some candy cigs and he went through the motions of smoking, it would be the same? Am I sick?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Knitted bag

I knitted this backpack for my sister for Christmas.

I got the pattern from this book, Kids Knitting: Projects for Kids of All Ages. Before I worked through this book, I was a wanna-be knitter. I am still very much a beginner. But I can do it and have fun. I highly recommend it for beginning knitters.

I started a couple mini ones for my kids that I need to finish. I'll post those later.