Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mixed review

We see a lot of movies, but not many in theaters. I'm thankful for Netflix, since taking a family of six to see a movie in the theater is costly. That said, pardon my very late review of a movie you've probably all seen already. We just saw Horton Hears a Who today since it was the free movie of the week at our local theater.

I have to admit that I went into this movie expecting to hate it. I'd read just enough about the movie to know that it has an anti-homeschooling slant, and that was enough to irk me.

So here is my very short review:

The movie is adorable - beautifully animated, great voices, amazing music - overall a totally enjoyable movie.

I loved the "a person is a person no matter how small" concept that streams throughout the movie. As a very pro-life person, this was a sweet sentiment to me.

I did indeed dislike the "pouch-schooling" comments. Some have said it was just one comment. I totally disagree. The mother was self-righteous, narrow-minded, fearful . . . all things people tend to think about homeschooling mothers. She is the villain throughout the movie, guarding her son from all that she perceives to be evil, and her son is depicted as the "poor little pouch-schooled" kid, looking frustrated and sad and downtrodden throughout the movie. In the end, he becomes a hero by disobeying his mother. Yes, a happy thing occurs because of his disobedience, but he flatly tells his mother, "no!" and it's like we're supposed to applaud that.

Like almost every movie out, this movie had its share of innuendo that I consider totally inappropriate for a G-rated movie. I don't understand why these things have to be included. Can't we just have a pure movie and leave out the yucky stuff? Like I want my kids to go around calling people "boob". Really nice - thanks for that, Hollywood.

So there's my review. I'm glad we saw the movie because it was fun to watch and sweet, but mostly because it was a nice time out with my children and a friend.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Photo-Free Friday

Jenn over at Girly Do's posted such a fun challenge today! She posted directions for a hairdo bt no pictures to go along with it, and we're all to link up and show off how our version turned out. Go to her site for the directions - here's our version! Caris' hair is really long so next time I would do something different with the pigtails, because a huge poofy messy bun out of hair this long isn't the best or most practical look ever. :-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Oh neat!

Look! Caris and her pretty hairs were featured on Girly Do's By Jenn!


Friday, July 17, 2009

Fed UP with Google!!

Have you ever gone to www.google.com/maps and typed in your address? If you haven't, do so now. Then, when a picture comes up, click "Street View". Prepare to be horrified. This is NOT the same thing as Google Earth, which shows an aerial view of your home. This is a picture of the front of your home, and you can pan all around your neighborhood, so actually, you can see your home, your car, your neighbors' homes, etc. from infinite views.

The first time I did this, and saw my own car in my driveway, a wreath on my door, the flowers in my flowerbeds, I was shocked. Some argue that it's not an invasion of privacy, because anyone can walk up and down my street and they can even take pictures if they want to. I ask you this: can anyone, anywhere in the world, at any hour of the day, walk up and down my street and see what car I drive and where I walk? NO they cannot! Except wait, now they CAN!

Here's what's got me REALLY riled up today, though: this is not new! I first saw this - gosh, at least a year ago. I was incensed at the time and demanded that they remove any traces of my house. And they did.

So this morning? To randomly check it out again and find my house BACK ON THERE? SO not oKAY! Who wants to represent me in court???

Oh, and here - in case you hate this too, here's how to get it removed. I googled how (oh, the irony) and the instructions I found were up to date, because the sneaky snakes have made it harder.

Go to www.google.com/maps. Type in your address. When it comes up, there will be a little box showing a thumbnail of your home. Click "street view". Once the full picture comes up, you'll see a small watermark-style link at the bottom of the picture that says, "report problem". Click that and fill out the form. Make sure you click one of the blue links, then the bubble, so that you can explain why you want it removed.

Off to do some deep breathing and calm down!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Romancing the 70s

I'm up - gosh, I almost said late, but it's actually only 9:39pm. Call me an old lady, eh? ANYway, Alif's out playing soccer and I'm up alone, and because we do not have cable and there is nothing on and also because I'm too lazy to SEE if anything at ALL is on, there's a paid program on that's advertising 70s music. It is corny beyond belief.

But all of a sudden, in the middle of "stuck on you . . . got this feelin' down deep in my soul . . . " my eyes misted over. I didn't even know why! Then I got an image in my mind. Funnily, it was sort of washed out in 70s colors, like I'm remembering pictures, not actual memories - but the image was of my Dad and my Mom and my sister and brother and me. Jerod has on brown cords and a too-tight polo, Megan and I have matching bowl cuts. Dad has a perm (yes, I'm serious) and Mom's hair is in the classic Dorothy Hammill. And we are happy.

I would never trade my life now to go back to that time. I love being a Mommy and I love relating to my sibs and parents as adults and I especially love being a wife.

But man. Memories can be powerful, can't they? Holding tight to my Dad's shoulders as he glides underwater with me on his back . . . making my two cats get married . . . Megan saying "under to" instead of just "under" . . .

I couldn't wait to grow up. I thought when I was grown up I wouldn't have to follow any rules. Ha! And like I said, I'm really glad that I am a grown-up now, but man - I miss those times. I miss being a family. It didn't feel simple at the time, but it sure does looking back on it. Well, in some ways. I don't know, I'm just feeling a little weepy tonight thinking back on all of it.

I think I was better off watching Married With Children. This paid programming is for the birds!

Friday, July 10, 2009

How the Shhhedule's going

Most people would probably post an update about their new Summer Schedule after - say, a week. I have such a short attention span that I am here ONE day later to tell you how it's going.

It's going great!

Ha! Ha ha!

No, really, though. Yesterday we got back to The Horse and His Boy. We're near the end and I have to say that I thought I was not going to like this book at all, but once we got around halfway, I realized I was pretty into it and liking the new characters quite a lot. I think it maybe helped that we took a break for a week and read Traitor in the Tower while Malachi was at camp. That was a book I thought would bore me to bits but I really REALLY liked reading it to the kids and I learned a ton from it!

Also I felt good yesterday about doing Wii Fit, and I cleaned off my laundry room shelves, which had bred rags like crazy. Whew! Gotta supervise things in there!

Today I did not do any sort of exercise or outside time at all but instead read my e-mails and tended my farm and other things that don't actually matter. Then we started working on a Seeds book that I downloaded for free a while back. It's like a lapbook but all in workbook form, all about seeds! Fun! We did 4 pages of that and it was much enjoyed by all children. Then we went to Wal-Mart to return an ice cream maker and to the store for food.

We came home and ate lunch and read our book again, though I had to stop early because everyone was very interrupty today.

And now I have to figure out how and why one particular child has lost the 2" usb pluggy-inny-part of the mouse while traveling from the table to the desk and back. How does this happen?? And I should also put away the groceries and do those afternoon chores.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Summer Schedule

I had lots of ideas at the beginning of summer - activities, crafts, outings - but guess what? Laziness has taken over! We've done a lot of fun things but I've also wasted many hours farming on Farm Town (ahem) and other online silliness, while the children bicker and sit staring into the air, a leg thrown over the edge of the couch. Yesterday was the worst of all, and I decided it as time to get back to a little more structure in our days.

So - I made up a Summer Schedule. It follows the natural rhythm of our days, but gives me a time reference so that our day are a little more structured (most especially important for a time-waster like myself and a routine-needer like Graham) and so that I actually fit in all the fun ideas we have planned for our lazy summer days!

Keep in mind that each time block has PLENTY of time for the activities listed, plus some. There's plenty of downtime throughout the day for someone to stare if they want to, build with Legos, create things out of cardboard, draw with pens, swing outside, hose themselves down with water - whatever.

Wake - 8am (meaning, from when we wake up until 8am - my older boys have actually been waking around 8:30 . . . ) Mom shower, TV is on (PBS for the kids). This morning I had plenty of time since I got up at 6:30 so I went online for a bit.

8-10 Breakfast, Caris & Canaan bath, walk/outside time/exercise (today we did Wii Fit - the idea is to get some movement in early in the day, especially for mama), morning chores (this takes about 15 minutes - basically just getting pets taken care of, laundry going and dishwasher ready for the day)

10-12 Craft or activity (today the big boys are watching an old movie of David & Goliath that I unearthed when I tidied the laundry room), mini-school (a few things to keep us moving through our lessons - maybe 10-15 minutes per child)

12-1 Lunch, read-aloud - I just finished reading them Traitor in the Tower and now we'll go back to The Horse and His Boy

1-3 Mom's relax time, usually computer, and kids quiet time

3-4 Mom quiet work (paperwork, listing on eBay, whatever), kids computer/tv/reading/outside. Canaan's usually still sleeping at this time so the point is for us to be doing something interesting but quiet.

4-6 Afternoon chores - this takes a good chunk of this time, but I work with one child at a time so the rest are free to play. I'll also get dinner going during this time if we're not at baseball

6-8:30 Dinner, boys shower, Bible study, kids to bed

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Happy 4th!

Don't you love the fourth of July? I do! Patriotism abounds, the food is good, family and friends are around and - ahem - homemade ice cream. Yeah babuy!! Aren't the kids cute in their flag shirts? They're gifts from my Mom!

Last night was probably our quietest fourth ever! We had our dear friends over and the kids played in the inflatable waterslide while the adults made dinner.

I got the ice cream mix all ready to freeze, and then discovered that the ice cream maker was missing. Egads! Alif had a hazy memory that ours may have actually burned up last year, so he sweetly ran off to Wal-Mart to buy a new one. He bought the last one in stock, and I was really grateful until I saw that it had an inside part that had to be frozen overnight! What ice cream maker doesn't use rock salt and ice? Darn it all!!
Not one to be easily foiled out of homemade ice cream, Lynette remembered seeing where one could make ice cream using a system of ziploc bags! We did it, and it totally worked! YAY! Here's my family's recipe for ice cream . . .

Homemade Ice Cream
2 - 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand)
Use two cans to measure out 2 cans of regular homogenized milk
6 well beaten eggs
1 quart half and half
5 teaspoons vanilla
In large pot beat eggs well. Add both kinds of milk; beat well. Combine the half & half and vanilla with the milk and egg mixture and pour into 3 quart ice cream freezer container and turn on freezer.
- For fresh fruit decrease vanilla to 4 teaspoons and add 2 cups of sweetened crushed fruit.
- For chocolate add 1 can Hershey Syrup and decrease vanilla to 2 teaspoons.

And here's how to use ziploc bags to make it, courtesy of www.kaboose.com . . .

  1. Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
  2. Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.
  3. Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.
  4. Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.
  5. Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!


A 1/2 cup milk will make about 1 scoop of ice cream, so double the recipe if you want more. But don't increase the proportions more that that -- a large amount might be too big for kids to pick-up because the ice itself is heavy.

After the bbq and waterslide fun we set up in the front yard for Alif's Annual Fireworks Extravaganza. He and Malachi did a bang-up (ha ha - snort) job. Graham and Ellie, the two resident fireworks scaredy-cats, were no longer scared and sat right up close. They even did sparklers!

It may have been a quiet night, but it was a fun and memorable one. Thank you Lord that I live in a free country! I am so thankful!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Some-hair over the rainbow

I have done this hairdo on Caris a few times now. I like it because it's simple, it holds all of her shorter side-hairs in place longer than most hairdos, and because the rainbow of rubber band colors is just plain cute with almost anything she's wearing. She may or may not be sporting this 'do now, two days after I took these pictures. :-X

Start at the top corner and gather a diagonal section into a ponytail. Secure it with a small rubber band. I love Roy G. Biv, so I started with pink since there was no red.

With the next section, you'll move a little closer to the center. With the next one, right in the center. Then a little to the opposite side, and finally all the way down in the corner opposite where you started, so the final ponytail hangs coyly over your sweetie's shoulder in the front. Then use your flatiron to curl it all up, and give her bangs a once-over with it as well.
And just for fun, isn't Canaan cute cuddled up with Daddy at baseball last night? It was SO FLIPPIN' HOT but Alif looks cool as a cucumber in his old-man rocking chair. And just as a final sidenote, I would recommend that anyone whose toddler has fat Fred Flintstone feet go to Payless if you are in need of cheap shoes. I've now tried cheapos from Target and Wal-Mart and three pairs have left raw spots on his little footies. Ouch! These suckers from Payless were 14.99 and are comfy as can be.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Pique Macho

Years and years ago, we went on vacation in Northern California. I am pretty sure it was when we just had the two boys, and they were like - oh, 3 and 4 or something like that. While we were there we visited the family of a lady who was then caring for Alif's grandma. They had a lovely home, sweet children, and they were so, so hospitable.

They spoke hardly any English, having come recently from Bolivia, but Alif's parents did their best to translate and Alif and I picked up what we could with our limited knowledge of Spanish. The husband prepared a huge, delicious breakfast. He was gregarious and smiling as he wielded a spatula in one hand and a beer in the other, both for drinking and for pouring bits into the meal as needed.

We so enjoyed the breakfast and more than that, we enjoyed our time with these new friends. Before we got into our car to leave, they hugged us and said, in Spanish, "we are family now!" When we were settled and on our way, we smiled at each other and wished we lived close to this family. They would certainly be among our closest of friends if we lived nearby.

Once we were home, I googled and googled for a recipe for the grand meal they'd served us. I knew the name of it but not how to spell it, and my finest efforts were unrewarded. As silly as it sounds, every so often that dish comes to mind and I wish yet again that I knew how to make it. Finally last weekend I asked Alif to call his parents and ask if they remembered what all was in it. They didn't, but they did know that the family we'd met was Bolivian.

Well, armed with this knowledge and my best friend google, I finally came up with the meal! Pique Macho!! YES! That's IT! There are dozens of variations, so I just cobbled together the best version I could, drawing on my limited memory and what simply sounded good. Here's how we did it . . .

Get a bag or two of frozen steak fries, and pop 'em in the oven to bake while you work on the topping. Potatoes are the basis for this recipe.

Your topping will include:
spices (I used salt, pepper and cumin)
vegetables (I used onion, bell pepper, garlic and tomatoes)
meat (I used spicy sausage hot dogs, but strips of beef, regular hot dogs, breakfast sausage - anything like that would work)
eggs (I boiled and sliced mine, but fried eggs would be good too)
Next time I will probably add some beer. We do not drink - at all - but I think the beer would add something special!

Serve each person a little mound of potatoes, slop on some of the topping, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Oh, baby. Yes.