Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I am feelin' the love. And basking in the glow of my popularity. Although, I am thinking that it is not really about me. But about Rhea keeping her top spot in the commenter widget. And Shannon is out for world domination. And Jennifer P just wants to be on the list. She doesn't have to be number one. Just there. On that list. Somewhere. And then there is Miss Stealthy. Who has gone back to the very first post on my blog and started reading. Reading every single word. And commenting on every post. She is catching up to you guys. Can you figure out who? She's sneaking in. If only she could REALLY sneak into another race.

And then there is the theme song for the day. No other song has gotten this many accolades. Who knew I could keep you coming back if I just played show tunes! I know I keep hitting refresh. And I now know all the words. And I am singing loud. And proud. Much to the chagrin of the kitties. I think I am reaching levels that only they can hear. And Katie keeps coming into the room to inform me that I am NOT popular. Yet she is also basking in the glow of her own popularity as Lula chose HER as the blogger she most wants to meet at Applebees.

And what is up with you guys and rules? Pick ONE blogger. Not thirty. Not none. ONE! So several of you were harangued by me to come back and pick just the ONE. And I love you all picking me. But I don't think that I need to win my own contest. Oh...wait...let me think about that some more...

Nevermind. Without further ado - the winner of the random popularity contest (and no, the irony of the title is not lost on me!) is:

Swirl Girl

And, the most popular blogger. The one everyone wants to eat with at Applebees...none other than


Not only are you winning gift cards to Applebees...but you have your very own blog bling!

So, what about you? Ever won a popularity contest? Homecoming queen? President of your class? Little Miss Sunshine? Latin club treasurer? Home owner's association secretary? Math team went all the way to nationals? Wait...that last one is probably not a popularity contest.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Popularity CONTEST

I told my husband the other day that I was the popular girl. One day last week, three different blogs mentioned me in their posts. I even had a brand new commenter who "came to see what all the fuss was about." Not that she's come back or anything. I will retreat to being the geek in the back of the room.

Over the weekend, I did a post about our gas crisis here in Atlanta. And CNN linked to me on their website. To me! Yes, it was quite short lived. Apparently they link to three blogs at a time - of people blogging about the topic. And mine cycled through rather quickly. But for a moment, I was popular.

I have been popular on my SITS day. On my BATW day. And now (said with tongue firmly planted in cheek) I am out meeting my fans. I have met Nissa. Angie. And yesterday afternoon, I had the great pleasure of meeting Hot Tub Lizzy. And I so wanted to call her Hot Tub Lizzy. But she said it was okay to just call her Lizzy.

We met at Applebees - and you can read her post to see about the blonde hijinx involved in getting to the correct restaurant. We talked. And talked. And even talked about things like sex. Politics. Religion. And gossiped about other bloggers. And laughed. And laughed some more. Did you know that Lizzy likes to cross her eyes when she talks?

Eventually the kind people at Applebees let us know that we had been warming the seats for over three hours and that we might want to move along -so we went back to my house. So that Lizzy could meet my family. And get the two dollar tour of the house. For some strange reason, Lizzy chose to leave to meet with Mr. B rather than staying for dinner. It was the gourmet treat of hot dogs. I just don't understand how Mr. B could compete with that option.

And, guess what? I am meeting yet another blogger on Saturday. Please maintain an orderly queue. No autographs, please.

So, what about you? I am going to GIVE you a $25 gift card to Applebees. Because that is THE place to meet up with fellow stalkers. What stalker blogger are you going to meet there? Quick, quick, pick one. No pondering. No multiple names. Just ONE. And, tomorrow morning sometime, I'll do a random drawing. And you could be going to Applebees. And because I have a strange sense of humor, the most popular blogger - the one EVERYONE wants to meet at Applebees, will also win a $25 gift card. (Can you just see me emailing Dooce to collect her prize? Please don't make me email Dooce. Or Black Hockey Jesus. Or PW.)

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Theme Song: Popular from the "Wicked" soundtrack - and because the last line of the song makes me giggle.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Did someone say crisis?

The cheapest I ever recall seeing gas was when I was in high school. Two gas stations on opposite corners had a “war.” And we, the public, were the beneficiaries. The price got as low as 43 cents – when the typically going rate for gas then hovered around a dollar a gallon. I remember adding to my tank in 5 dollar increments.

Naturally, gas prices increased over time. There was a short lived spike right after 9/11. But the steady increase in prices started about three years ago with Hurricane Katrina. That was the first time I saw gas over 3 dollars a gallon. Prices did go down – but it was short lived. And pretty soon, prices were higher than that first spike.

We started seeing signs like this – And the governor of our state even canceled school to save the money school buses burn every day via diesel fuel.

A few weeks ago after Hurricane Ike, there was another spike in gas prices – and we crossed the four dollar threshold.

Which generated signs like this: But now. People here in the South east would gladly pay four dollars a gallon. If we could only find a station with some for sale.

I was too young to pay attention to the gas crisis in the 1970’s. But I do remember the pictures. The pictures of those huge Buicks in line for gas. And I had a very retro moment on Friday night. We headed out to a restaurant for dinner – and we needed to try and find a gas station that wasn’t out of gas. We had no luck on the way there. But when we left – we found a station right away with gas. So, we got in line. There were 10 cars ahead of us for that one pump. At least the same number of cars in line for EACH pump – and I think there were 8-10 pumps at this particular station. Behind us – easily another 10 cars – plus more trying to turn in from the street. It took 2 hours for us to finally reach that pump. And because all the pumps were going…it took a full 15 minutes to fill our car with gas!

We were quite fortunate that we had a peaceful queue. There are a number of news reports about incidents of violence at stations – mostly due to frustrated customers and other customers accused of cutting in line.

Things are so bad here that there were even rumblings of canceling college football games. Which the governor declared “ridiculous.” However, fans were warned that if they can’t make it to the game and home on their tank of gas – they are likely to be stuck. And stuck for a while.

Today, we were out and about. Because I had a full tank. And this is what most stations look like.
And the ones with gas – have quite the queue. So…what about YOU? Is gas plentiful where you live? How much are you paying this weekend? What’s the least you recall paying for gas? Have you ever waited two hours in a line for anything?

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Theme song: Rolling Stones - Jumpin Jack Flash (cause it's a gas, gas, gas...)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Follies

It is time for our weekly dialogue:

Roller coaster or Merry-go-round?

Have you ever purchased something from a telemarketer? How about from an infomercial?

Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage in it head on?

What is the most recent compliment you have received?

Do you collect anything? What?

What are you currently reading?

Silence or background noise?

Pick one: hang glide, sky dive, bungee jump, hot air balloon, or fly a kite?

What is your favorite spectator sport?

You just won $50,000. But you have to spend it all in one place. Where are you spending it?

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

What kind of reader are YOU? Part 3

I remember the summer of 1981. It was the summer that my mother was reading "Cujo" by Stephen King. And her friend Patti “innocently” asks “did he die yet?” This has become the running joke in our family. That anytime you are in the middle of a book, someone MUST ask if the main character has died yet.

A few years after this, my 8th grade English class read “Oliver Twist.” We were assigned chapters to read. And I was sure to not read ahead. I didn’t want to confuse myself when quizzes were involved. But then there was a betrayl. And my teacher told us how it ended. BEFORE we were supposed to read the last chapters. I never finished that book. I didn’t see the point.

In 9th grade, we read “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I loved that book. I read my chapters as assigned. And it was so difficult to not plunge ahead as I was absorbed into Scout’s world. But it happened again. The teacher told us what happened to Tom Robinson. And I was just livid. I couldn’t continue with the story. I took notes in class, but I didn’t finish that book. And did not pick it up again for 20 years. Not until my book club decided to read it.

Then, in 1999, I started a book club at my church. I was so excited to have this forum. To talk with other readers about a book we had just completed. Our first book that we read was “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier. It was not light reading. I really enjoyed the book. And especially liked the parallels between Inman’s journey home to his love, Ada – with that of Odysseus and his long journey home after the Trojan war to his wife, Penelope. But then. I got to the end. And guess what happens at the end of “Cold Mountain?” He dies. After all the travails, our hero, WP Inman, is killed.

Did Homer kill Odysseus? Did he kill the hero of that epic poem? The guy that managed to survive the Trojan war, the Cyclops, the Sirens, the witch Circe, Scylla and Charybdis, and the will of the Gods? No, he didn’t. But Charles Frazier. Yes, he killed off his hero.

I don't need every story to have a neat tie up. A clear resolution. Or even a happy ending. BUT. That book, “Cold Mountain,” changed me as a reader. I am now one of those people who turns to the end of the story to see what happens before I read it. Invest my time in it. Escape my reality with it. I just have to make sure. Make sure that I know the answer to the question. "Did he die yet?"

So, what about you? Do you ever read the last page first? Do you NEED a happy ending? What book have you read – that you liked – until the ending ruined it for you?

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What Kind of Reader are you? Part 1
What kind of reader are you? Part 2

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Fall? Really? Where?

Do you know what happened on Monday? It was the autumnal equinox. But here. I think mother nature is confused. It's still summer. We are all in shorts. Madalyn even wore a tank top to school this week. Even my flowers are confused. My azaelas are blooming. I have new growth on my roses. And my crepe myrtles. They bloomed a month ago. The flowers died. And then last week. They decided to bloom again.

So...take a look at these "fall" pictures. And tell me what you notice.

Do you notice that there are no jackets to be seen? How about that my kids are barefoot? And even though these pictures were taken during the "official" fall season - most of you had moved on from Fall. Because these were taken on December 21st of last year. Yes, FOUR days before Christmas.

I know I shouldn't complain. We don't have four months of snow. Or four days. Or even four hours of snow. But, I just want it to FEEL like the correct season. I want it to FEEL like Fall!

So, what about you? What's your favorite season? Is your weather "appropriate" to your seasons where you live? Is it REALLY Fall in your neck of the woods?

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Theme song: Green Day - Wake Me up When September Ends

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saying "It's French" is explanation enough

Business first:

Today is the last day to sign up for the Favorite Things Swap. Just click on the picture there in my left side bar to read all the details.

Did you read my post yesterday? About getting to meet Angie? At the end of the post, I asked if you have any questions for me. You know. Fodder for a future post. Right now, I only have three questions. I beg your indulgence. I need a little more to work with.

Moving on...

I want you to watch a commercial. A commercial that my husband emailed to me several months ago. I have had many reactions to this ad for the French drink Orangina. Including:

1. WHY did my husband send this to me?

2. That I MUST show this to everyone. Or at least those that might not be offended.

3. Sometimes, I am not sure whether to gasp in horror, shock, lunacy, or hilarity.

4. My inner cynic wants to say: "No wonder French women don't get fat if this is what they do with their food and drink."

5. My inner puritan wants to say: "I'm outraged! What about the children?"

6. My inner liberal wants to say: "Get over it! It's French. Let them show orgasmic animals in their commercials if they want to."

7. My inner twelve year old boy wants to say: "Hehehehehe. You said orgasmic."

So...you watch it. Tell me what YOU say:


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Monday, September 22, 2008

Meeting of the stalkers minds

On Friday - I met my second blogger. Earlier this month I met Nissa. And now I can add one more to my collection. In a completely non-stalkerish way. Sort of. And that would be Angie from Angie's Spot. We easily fell into conversation. And into peals of laughter.

Ummm...Angie...what DID we talk about? Yes, it was one of those great meeting of the minds - where we laughed, talked, watched you tube videos, shopped, talked, laughed some more - and even though no drugs were consumed. Well, no hard core ones anyway. I can't recall the conversations. Except that they were fun. And I can't wait to do it again.

Before Angie left, I put my husband in charge of snapping a photo. Naturally, there were rules. No hips. And no double chins. Does anyone know how to photoshop out double chins? What about big hips? Not being so savvy...I decided the trick is to stick out your chest. And pretend that you have a giraffe neck. Natural, no?See...Angie..."antics" with Kat may cause memory loss. What do you think? Does black and white make us look thinner?

And I am already planning my third meeting! With Shannon from Welcome to the Nut house. Shannon - do you think that a random stranger will be able to take a picture of us - AND follow the rules?

And so...today...rather than ending my post with a series of questions for you to answer in the comment section - I thought you might let me know if you have any questions for me. Which I'll answer in a future post. But I can't tell you when. Because I don't know. I procrastinate that way.

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Theme song: The Police - "Don't Stand So close to me" - the penultimate stalker song

Sunday, September 21, 2008

And it doesn't even require a prescription

Last week I wrote a post for parent bloggers. They asked for bloggers to tell how we teach our kids about money. With the winner receiving an i-phone. This week, parent bloggers along with Yoplait yogurt, ask for us to consider this question: “What modern convenience do you rely on to get you through each day of motherhood?”

While contemplating this question – and pouting about not winning last week – I am really not sure that I have found THE answer.

The disposable diaper really got me through those first three two years. Oh, but wait. Without a bouncy seat, I am not sure that I would have managed to get into the shower during those first few months. Girls of the nineties need their vibrators vibrating chairs to lull them to sleep. Or at least to stop screaming for 5 minutes. And if the cries got to be too much. Or the smell of the unwashed a little overwhelming. I can attest to the powers of a handful of peanut m&ms to make everything calm. And serene. During the pre-school years, I am not sure what I would have done without indoor playgrounds of McDonald’s…Chick-fil-a…Burger King. They were great places to go when our own four walls seemed to be closing in on us. They are great places to go so that the girls could play with other children. And I could sit. And read my book. Or sometimes, I’d get lucky. And have a playdate of my own. Blessed adult conversation. With a side of peanut m&ms.As the girls delve fully into their elementary and tween years, I thank the Lord every day for giving someone the wherewithal to invent Sponge Bob. Webkinz. Or the Nintendo DS. Because it can all be taken away. I hear the whines. The cries that it’s unfair. Or not their fault. But the simple threat of losing privileges creates the “desire” to tow the line. Or, I could always self-medicate with another handful of my m&ms and all would be right with the world.What do YOU rely on to get you through your days?

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Theme song: Pink Floyd - comfortably Numb

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Homeschool Week in Review: Week 6

We all had a good week. There was very little drama. School work was done in a reasonable amount of time. Even Madalyn has gotten over her "subtraction is not my thing" and scored in the 90's for her timed tests.

GRAMMAR/WRITING: We are still plodding along with Wordly Wise and Daily Grams. Katie got her first writing assignment back from her coach at Write at Home. She did pretty well - and got some great suggestions for next time. This week, you must see her assignment. She has it posted to her blog - but let me explain what she had to do. The lesson this week was on proper sentence formation. Then she was given a list of 10 nouns and phrases that she had to use as the subjects of her sentences. Click here to see into the imagination of my whacked child.

LOGIC: We moved on from syllogisms to puzzles. I am sure that there is a fancy name for them. But it escapes me at the moment. The puzzles are of this variety: Connie, Virginia, Steve, Randy, Valery, and Karen are cheerleaders at Southside Junior High. One of their routines calls for them to form a pyramid with three people on the bottom, two people in the middle tier, and one person on top. Read these clues and then put everyone into their proper position. CLUES: 1. Connie is between Steve and Randy. 2. Virginia is on top of Connie and Steve but helping to support Valery. 3. Karen is on the right side of the pyramid.

GEOGRAPHY: This week we studied our first South American country: Uruguay. Katie was disappointed that she could not find a recipe that matched her taste buds. She didn't want anything with lentils or peppers in it. Maybe next week. I haven't planned for our next few weeks yet - something for me to do this weekend - but her request is somewhere with yummy food.

HISTORY: We have continued with Ancient Egypt - focusing on their religion, myths, and legends. Katie made this cool flip book of the Egyptian gods and goddesses. You can read what they are responsible for - and then because it is cut, you can flip flop the heads and bodies. She also read the book Tales of Ancient Egypt.

BIOLOGY: Katie stayed with the Mysteries and Marvels of Nature book - learning more about insects. She learned about how insects defend themselves, how they live together, and how aphids can even change their gender.

MATH: We finished up our chapter on triangles and moved into Chapter 7 on four-sided figures. Parallograms, rhombuses, trapezoids, rectangles, squares - and how to tell the difference.

LATIN: She is still reviewing Latin Prep I - this week continuing to review vocabulary, 1-3rd conjugation verbs, declensions, and translations. I am in my third week of teaching Latin to high school homeschoolers. They are really struggling with the language - but most of their trouble centers around their ignorance of English grammar. If they cannot find the subject; a prepositional phrase; a direct object in an English sentence - it makes it mighty difficult to find them in a Latin sentence.

So, what about you? Are you proficient in English grammar? Where did you learn English grammar- in an English class or in a foreign language class? What languages did you take in school? Do you still remember or use them?

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Theme Song: Doors - People are Strange

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Follies

It's time again for the Friday Follies. Our weekly getting to know you session:

This week, I did not win a copy of Photoshop (that I so would have given to one of YOU) from Pioneer Woman; a bench rehab from Kimba, or an iphone from Parent Bloggers. Which begs our first question:

1. Have you ever won anything? What? How?

2 Favorite candy.

3. Are you ticklish?

4. rule breaker or rule keeper?

5. exercise your mind or your body?

6. What is your favorite board game?

7. traveler or homebody?

8. What is your favorite room in your house?

9. What is one thing you would rather pay someone to do than to do it yourself?

10. Favorite fast food restaurant.

Have you entered the "My Favorite Things Swap" yet? Just click on the picture on the top of the left sidebar to see what it's all about.

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Theme song: Abba - The winner Takes it all

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Un-Wordless Wednesday: School pictures

School has started. And people begin to switch gears. From summer into fall. It's the season of leaves changing. Football begins. Baseball ends. And photographers descend upon our schools.

Madalyn had picture day at school last week. I had to pick a background. Pick between four poses. And decided how much I wanted to spend. ALL before she even saw the picture man. How was I supposed to pick a background color when I don't know what she will insist on wearing that day? Will someone brush her hair? Will they take this picture after she ran a mile for the presidential fitness test? And she's all hot and sweaty. Like last year.

At least the back grounds are solids. Unlike her pre-school pictures. One year they had a fall background. You know. Leafless trees. Squirrel in said tree. Looking like it was erupting from her head. Another year it was an old fashioned desk. With an apple on it. She was 2. And all she could do was look at that apple. Try to touch that apple. I am not in possession of either photo package. If I knew I'd be blogging, I would have purchased them. Just to show you how horrible they were.

And with homeschooling Katie...she gets left out of the horrid photo experience. Mostly because there are no school pictures. Except for the ones I take. But nothing posed. Suitable for a wallet size picture to exchange between friends. Or a 5x7 to mail to grandma. Now, there were a few years when I got my friend Teri to come and take pictures of our homeschool group. But those pictures are so good, they can't possibly count as a "school" picture.

This is me in 2nd grade - the same age that Madalyn is now.

I think it screams "THIS IS 1977!"

Or how about this one - 7th grade - a smidge older than Katie:

This one screams as well. From the wings. The Lacoste shirt. The purple eyeliner. Definitely 1982.

(**edited to add: ummm...after looking at these pictures again, I realized how straight my hair was. Really straight. And now - unbelievably curly. Ringlet curly. You'd think I have a spiral perm curly. The things that baby hormones will do to your body.)

So, what about you? Did your school pictures turn out well? Do your parents still have them hanging in their homes like a shrine to your childhood? Do you buy pictures of your kids from school?

Don't forget to sign up for the Favorite Things Swap!!

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Theme Song: Dave Matthew's Band - So much to say

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Swap time: My favorite things

One of my favorite things is to give things away. I have had so much fun with the contests that I have done. And who doesn't love to get things in the mail? Well...beside bills and junk. I think it's time to combine those two things (no, not the bills and the junk - the giving things away and getting things in the mail) and invite you all to share in the joy with my first ever swap!

What is a swap? All it means is that you are signing up to exchange themed goodies with a partner. Sort of like secret pals. Here are the guidelines:

1. Sign up here in the comment section by September 23. When you sign up, I will send you a set of questions to help out your partner. Names will be exchanged and you will receive your partner's info by September 26. Go shopping. Make something. Whatever. And ship out by October 6.

2. The theme of our swap is "Favorite Things." Meaning, you will be sending your favorite things to your partner. BUT one of the questions on the questionnaire will be about things you would not like to receive. If one your favorite thing is scented candles, and your partner is allergic - move onto another item. This should be FUN - and what a great way to learn about someone else - or possibly find your new favorite thing.

3. Feel free to take the badge above or even to post about the swap on your blog.

4. Please spend a minimum of $25 on your partner and if you want to do more, feel free. This cost does not include shipping.

5. Please let me know if you would be willing to ship internationally.

6. Email me when you mail your package and receive your partner’s package. No flaking out!

7. HAVE FUN!!!!

And many thanks to Rhea for the theme suggestion.

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theme song: Julie Andrews - My favorite things

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dirty Little Secret

I have a secret. It’s a part of myself that I keep to myself. Until now.

I am capable of blending in. I don’t think that anyone can figure out my secret just by looking at me. Maybe there is a radar of sorts that some might be able to hone in on it. And I do have this tendency to wear comfortable shoes. And I would wear a pant suit over a dress any day. But I really don’t think anyone knows.

I have never tried to convert anyone to my life style. Socializing with me will not turn you into one. Although if you get to know me, and how I really feel. You might want to try it.

A lot of the people who are like me live in the city. But I am hiding here in suburbia. Living life on the down low.

My friends think that I am like them. They send me emails and pictures. They direct me to blogs that they think I might like to read. They don’t know that I just hit delete. Because they think that I am like them. And I can’t bring myself to correct them.

They ask me if I saw the Republican convention. But I was watching “Ellen.” They ask me if I have heard the latest Toby Keith song. I plead ignorance. When really the Indigo Girls and REM are tops on my ipod.

But truthfully, I am not like my friends. It is so hard to keep this secret to myself. Only a very few people know. My husband knows. And I have his full support.

So, I decided that it was high time that I told you all the truth. I can’t live like this anymore. I must come out of the closet. Let my freak flag fly. Let loose the “L” word. And tell you that I am le…la…li...liberal.

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Theme song: All American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Homeschool Review: Weeks Four and Five

Didja miss my review? Or are you thanking your lucky stars that I am publishing this on a Sunday when you don't go blog surfing anyway? I must admit that it still amuses me to think that I wanted this blog to be completely about homeschooling. Yeah. That didn't last long.

A few days after I moved on from homeschooling, I thought I could do a blog about books. But then I remembered that I love to read books. I like to talk about books. But write summaries of books - or critiques of books - that is so not my forte. I wanted to do updates on the books I am reading for my 888 challenge...but I believe we have established that I am all about the big idea. With no follow through.

Speaking of big ideas. I have lots of them. I want to host a swap. Would you all want to participate? What kind of swap? I have no idea. Anyone want to do it? I must admit to being leary of the whole idea. I signed up for a swap back in May. My partner liked her goodies. I think she forgot about the swap part.

I want a blog stalkers convention. But...what to do? I could arrange for a hotel. Or better yet a house on the beach. But would there be activities? Who else is big on ideas - and is a DOER?

See...the meanderings? The segues? Like I could keep this blog on one topic.

Let's see if I can at least accomplish that in my week (err...two weeks) in review:

GRAMMAR/WRITING: We have really beefed up our activity in this area. Katie continues her work in Wordly Wise and Daily Grams. I have write posts for her blog most every day. We added in handwriting. And then last week she started with the formal writing program, Write at Home. I am looking forward to her getting back her first critique. And it being from someone that is not me.

LOGIC: We have moved on to syllogisms. Katie thinks that these are great fun. I never even knew what a syllogism was until college. And now my 5th grade daughter is learning about them in a 3rd grade logic book.

GEOGRAPHY: Last week we wrapped up our study of China. And I was informed that we must get Chinese take out. Because it would contribute to her "educational experience." Her words. Really. She might have even used a syllogism in her argument. We did get the take out. This week we studied about Kuwait. In her Geography book there were a bunch of internet links and she had fun surfing and learning about children in that country. And then today we made our recipe: Arabian Honey cakes. Who wants to learn how to make them? Karen? Anyone? Anyone? Are ya'll still with me?

HISTORY: Last week we wrapped up our studies of the Mesopotamians and moved to the Egyptians. Did you all know that the King Tut exhibit is coming to Atlanta? It will be here from November through May. I cannot wait to go see it. We also need to make a trip to the Michael C Carlos museum. This is the museum at Emory University that is sponsoring the Tut exhibit. They probably managed to snag this for Atlanta when they discovered that one of their mummies was a Ramses - and returned it to Egypt. I have a big guest room if anyone is coming to town!

BIOLOGY: Katie is getting a lot of use out of our microscope. She went down to the creek to get water to see what she might see under the lens. I was quite relieved that she really didn't see anything. But, Michael went back down with her and they got water from a more stagnant area and they did find something. What? I have no idea. Another day, she got dust from somewhere to look at. It was mostly carpet fibers. I think I would get majorly creeped out if there were visible dust mites.

MATH: Right now we are working on measuring angles and angles in triangles.

And, guess what? There's more! Last week Katie started her classes that she takes through our homeschool group. She began her fourth year of studying Latin - and right now they are just working on review. She is also taking a swimming stroke clinic and folk dancing. And because I am a glutton for punishment, let me tell you about our Wednesdays. In the morning she rides with me to drop Madalyn off at school. Then we head over to the pool where I take water aerobics. And she does school work while she waits for me. Then we go to her piano lesson. We come home for lunch, and she does more school work. Then at 2:30 she has tennis lessons. We race home after that to beat Madalyn's bus driver. Then she has about 45 minutes to finish school work. At 4:30 she has to be at church for girl scouts. It's over at 5:30 - and we just stay at church for dinner - and then at 6 she has choir practice. We are home about 7:30 - and it's time to shower and go to bed. I think I may have overscheduled her. Just a smidge.

So, what about you? Were you involved in lots of activities as a kid? Anything that you still do today? What activities are yor kids in? Are they overscheduled? How have you found that balance?

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Magical, mystery tour money

I am a collector of ideas. I read about them. I listen to the grand things that my friends are doing. I think about them all. And then I set the idea on my shelf. Admire it. Expand upon it. But follow through? I think not.

One of my favorite money ideas is the four jars concept. You know the one. Where you give your kids 4 jars. And an allowance that can be divided by four. One jar is for impulse spending. One jar for short term savings. One for long term savings. One for charity. I love the idea of it. The responsibility. The practicality. The wisdom.

But…easier said than done.

Because in our house, money is magical. It is mysterious.

If I tell the kids I don’t have money for something – they say “you have checks in the check book.” Or that “you can just use a credit card.” Because to them, money is magical. It’s just there when you need it. Want it. The tooth fairy puts it under their pillow. The Easter bunny puts it in their plastic eggs. And Santa gives them their own version of a credit card: the gift card.

We have tried to teach our kids the value of money. That you have to work hard for what you get. That you work consistently for an allowance. That you should be a contributor to this thing we call family. But, now they think that every good deed must be rewarded.

I ask them to get the newspaper. And I am asked “how much will you give me.” I plead with them to behave in a store. And I get “if we are good, can we get a Webkinz?” Or if we go to Target. And all I need is a tennis racket and yet we still spend $200. I might get the request for quarters for the gumball machine or the tattoo dispenser. You know. Insurance. So they don’t tell Daddy about our adventure.

What my kids seemed to have learned is that money is very mysterious. It might show up. It might not. Mommy might give out money for an extra chore. She might not. Mommy might resort to bribery. She might not. My inconsistency breeds their consistency in asking. But ultimately, they know to find true money magic. They just have to ask Grandma.

I am hoping for a little magic of my own. Parent bloggers is giving away three iphones in conjunction with Capital One. And I am sure that one of them has my name on it. I mean I did what I was asked to do. All good deeds are rewarded. Right?

So, how about you? Did you get an allowance? Were you rewarded? How are you teaching your children about money? Do you have an iphone?

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Theme song: The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Follies

We are still on the Friday Follies schedule. You'll notice that I did not post a week in review last week. Did you say "amen?" Are you sure? I thought that is what I heard. Anyway, we had a lot of drama last week. And today I am sure will be filled with some more as we finally pick up Katie's new brace. And try to fit in school work. I am hoping to have a two week wrap up this weekend. I am sure that you will sit by your computer with bated breath as you refresh, refresh, refresh...waiting for that homeschool review.

Moving on. Let's do our weekly getting to know you session:

Thinker or doer?

Have you ever performed in public (like music, dance, singing, speeches, etc)? Did you like it?

Do you have any tattoos? Do you want one?

What is your favorite museum?

Are you good at keeping secrets? Does it make you uncomfortable to be asked to keep a secret?

Can you play any musical instruments? What do you wish you knew how to play?

Whose voice do you find soothing? Irritating?

Do you sleep on the left or the right?

Other people's biggest misconception about me is ________________.

Do you have anyone's autograph?

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Things

I saw this meme over on Sissy's blog. Sort of. I made some tweaks to it. And it kind of goes with my inability to come up with a Thursday Thirteen. I have 37 lists saved in word. All of them with 7 or 8 items on each list. Maybe I should do a Thursday Thirteen of all my 7 item lists. I am all about big talk. Big ideas. And no follow through.

So, along those lines, here are 4, 7 item lists. Cause 7 or 8 would be too much work.

7 things I can't do

  • dance. I have no sense of rhythm at all.
  • remember song lyrics
  • watch gory movies
  • speak plant
  • speak car
  • drink alcohol. It does not like me at all.
  • drive slowly

7 Things I do well

  • read prolifically
  • teach
  • swim
  • play trivial pursuit. I have a bastion of useless knowledge on the tip of my tongue.
  • speak pedantically
  • procrastinate
  • cook

7 Things I have never done

  • Mowed the grass
  • Shopped at a thrift store
  • Cooked on a gas grill
  • Taken the presidential fitness exam. In high school I refused to dress out for PE on those days.
  • Watched an episode of "Friends"
  • Worn a hat
  • Had a cavity

7 Things I want to do

  • Renew my vows. In Vegas. With Elvis. AND at a drive through chapel.
  • Travel, travel, travel, and then travel some more
  • Get certified to SCUBA dive - and then SCUBA dive
  • Go back to school. And get that real PhD.
  • Somehow aquire the patience to learn a new language or to play piano or something.
  • See a play on broadway
  • Host a blog stalkers convention to meet all the friends from inside my computer

So, what about you? What can you do? Can't you do? Never done? Wanna do?

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And we have a winner!

Thank you all so much for your entries. Did you have fun? Or was that too much work? I am so not good at coming up with a title. So, when you can't, you delegate.

To pick the winner, I put all the different titles into a bowl. Well, first I had to find a bowl. I had a helper.

I put the names in the bowl.

This was most enticing. If it's in the bowl, it must be chewed on. Oh, wait, that's if it exists, it must be chewed on.

And then out of nowhere, hooligan sister arrives. It's dine and dash. Where the heck did she go?

And just as quickly, she's back. And on my table. With the winner. But, I can't see who it is. She growls at me. Obviously letting me know it's hers. And not mine. Oh, but wait...I can see part of it...

It's Antics with Angie with this title: "You see cute & fuzzy. I see weapon of mass destruction."

And did the hooligan not just pick one of the more appropo titles?

I wonder if the CIA knows that not only can I hook them up with torture devices, but weapons of mass destruction...

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Wordless Wednesday: a tisket, a tasket, a contest

Oh, it was going to be wordless. It really was. But I just can't help myself. Do you have a favorite? The third one is mine. I love it. It looks like she is leering at me. Which she might have been since she had been squirted so many times for getting up on my counters. Or the kitchen table. Or for chewing on the wires to my computer. And now the battery no longer works in the laptop. I don't know if it was shorted out by said cat. Or shorted out from all the water dumped on said cat and said laptop's wires. Hooligan.

So, who wants a kitty? Just kidding. (not really. I can hook ya up. Shhhh.) How about a contest? I love giving things away. Here's the challenge - these pictures need a title. You can title them as a group. You can pick just one and give it a name. And I'll pick. Or I reserve the right to do it randomly if I just can't pick. And the prize? A $50 gift card to Office Depot. I could hang out there all day. Except that I have to homeschool. Or drive to tennis lessons. Or remove kittens from the counters.

Enter now! Legalese: enter as many times as you like. Contest ends Wednesday, Sept 10 at 9pm Eastern time. Winner at the discretion of blog owner. Or random generator. Or which ever name the hooligan kittens pounce on. Have fun!

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