Friday, October 31, 2008


Halloween means bat brownies at our house. This year we made (and consumed) them a little earlier than usual, so we had none left for Halloween.

Obviously, we had to make more. After a short trip to the library's Halloween fest, we spent some time mixing, baking, and cutting out the brownies. This year I picked up extra cookie cutters, so in addition to the bat brownies, we had ghost brownies and pumpkin brownies.

The first batch of brownies had been decorated as usual, but this year we decided to forgo the decorating. The urchins and I really aren't all that crazy about the taste of the frosting, and really, we knew there would just be a lot of this

And this.

That would just lead to this.

So why bother with all that pesky decorating? :)


Thursday, October 30, 2008

This comes as no surprise to those who know me

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Conscientious, Fulfilled, and Spiritual

24 Renaissance, 14 Islamic, 10 Ukiyo-e, -34 Cubist, -34 Abstract and 10 Impressionist!

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence affected literature, philosopy, religion, art, politics, science, and all other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance artists looked at the human aspect of life in their art. They did not reject religion but tended to look at it in it's purest form to create visions they thought depicted the ideals of religion. Painters of this time had their own style and created works based on morality, religion, and human nature. Many of the paintings depicted what they believed to be the corrupt nature of man.

People that like Renaissance paintings like things that are more challenging. They tend to have a high emotional stability. They also tend to be more concientious then average. They have a basic understanding of human nature and therefore are not easily surprised by anything that people may do. They enjoy life and enjoy living. They are very aware of their own mortality but do not dwell on the end but what they are doing in the present. They enjoy learning, but may tend to be a bit more closed minded to new ideas as they feel that the viewpoint they have has been well researched and considered. These people are more old fashioned and not quite as progressive. They enjoy the finer things in life like comfort, a good meal, and homelife. They tend to be more spiritual or religious by nature. They are open to new aesthetic experiences.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just to show how shallow I really am

Sassy has a cough. Our only planned outings this week were the homeschool swim at the Y (not a good idea with the cough) and a outdoor play day at a local farm/pumpkin patch (also not a good idea with the cough).

So since today was required to be an inside day, we went to the Redbox and rented the new Tinker Bell movie.

I was thrilled to hear the voice of Jane Horrocks -- I love her! AND Anjelica Huston, who is wonderful in just about anything. It's making me want to watch The Witches again.

Sass had decided that it was a definite for her Christmas list, but I'm trying to decide whether I want to buy it earlier.

Yes, I am that shallow.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekly Wrap Up

The week started off on the go, but after a few changes it ended up being a good week after all.

Monday -- Game Day with the homeschool peeps. Always fun.

Tuesday -- Toured the Botanic Gardens and participated in the Native American crafts class. The same day, I decided (well, really we all decided) that we've been going and doing too much.

Wednesday -- Stayed at home, sweet, home. The urchins worked a bit on their leaf collections. Mostly they just enjoyed being at home with the dogs and each other. They created several games that included lots of running and jumping.

Thursday -- Again, home! Yay! It rained all day, so we spent the day inside: reading books, doing various activity pages, baking brownies. Spyder created a spelling game for Sass, and they played that for almost an hour. We also had an excellent discussion on the stock market. That evening we saw Journey to the Center of the Earth at the bargain theater.

Friday -- Skeeter took his licensing exam, and we drove him to the university so he wouldn't have to worry about parking. That meant leaving home at 6:30 am. Yawn! The urchins and I made it back home around 8 am and stayed at home until time to get Skeeter at 5 pm. We had originally thought it would be nice to go to the children's museum an hour or so before time to get Skeeter from the university, but no one really seemed interested when it was time to go.

The stay at home days were lovely. I think everyone enjoyed having time to de-stress after all of the running over the last few weeks. We had plenty of time to do our work, plus extra time for the urchins to play freely. And there was even time for me to do those kooky things like pay the bills and do the laundry and play with my children.

Go check out the Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up linky to see what others were doing this week!


Grilling Goodness #4

1. The World Series has you watch it? (and do you care who wins?)

No. No. And no. Skeeter would care if the Orioles were in it, and I would feign interest. But since they're not ....

2. Is the inside of your car clean or 'garbage dump filthy'?

:snort: The back seat is usually filled with junk that belongs to the urchins, but that is only because I am driving the extra vehicle at the moment. I've been mostly successful at keeping the junk in my 'new' car to a minimum.

3. Who is the next person in your family to have a birthday?

Sass has a birthday at the end of January.

4. Do you wear glasses or contacts? (how old were you when it became necessary?)

I wear glasses, and I have had them since I was about 16. That year I had a teacher who required us to copy an entire blackboard full of information every day. My astigmatism did not take kindly to that, and not long into the year I had horrible headaches after that class. So bad that I often had to run to the bathroom to be sick between classes. Somewhere mid-year my teacher convinced my parents that I needed to see the eye doctor. I remember my mom grumbling that I just 'wanted' to get glasses. Yes. That is the goal of every 16-year-old girl, to start wearing glasses.

5. What is your major form of exercise?

Keeping up with the urchins. Oh, and the Wii Fit. Surely that's got to count at least a little.

6. What is something you could do to make your spouse's day easier today?

Hmmm. I don't know. I will ask him.

7. How much is gas where you are?

I passed by a station yesterday that was $2.39. I didn't quite believe my eyes, and I asked Skeeter to confirm it for me.

8. What is the furthest away from home that you've ever traveled?

Germany. I was there for about 3 months in 1989. The urchins and I are attempting to learn German to that perhaps, one day, we might be able to go as a family.

Pop on over and see Tina at Golden Goodness for more answers.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back in

Because I am attempting to get back in the habit of actually posting something every day. Or almost every day. Whatever.

Here are a few good things I wanted to share:

Top 10 Gifts for Christmas from the Bevans Family. Don't tell, but I am SO getting #10 for my sister. Or Jason. I haven't decided which yet.

Just Living Life is a (relatively) new money saving blog. Skim down a few posts and you'll find a ton of free samples. I am all about getting stuff in the mail!

Brighton is now Princess Runs With Scissors. I would love to be a student in her class!

Julie and I are the same sort of curmudgeonly. Literally.

A good read from on childhood memories.

Susan gave me the biggest laugh of the night -- the seniors v. the seniors, indeed.


And the winner is ...

Comment #3, CelticBuffy, chosen from the bowl by Spyder. :)



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In celebration

Of staying home ALL DAY today! Woot!

How about a book giveaway? I found an advance reader copy of Emily Giffin's Love the One You're With while I was cleaning out the bookshelves today, and I will be happy to send it to one of y'all!

Just leave a comment with what YOU did today (maybe I'll be jealous!), and I will have one of the urchins choose someone at random tomorrow morning.

Happy commenting!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So here's the deal

This school year has been, er, busy. I know, I know. It always is, but this is more than usual. Busier than a one-armed paper-hanger, to use one of my mom's favorite expressions.

I used to have a rule of no more than two outside activities per week. That started when Sass was little because I didn't want to drag her to Spyder's activities every day. Now that she's older, I've been seriously lax on that, particularly this year. That's partly because Sass was missing her BFF Olivia so much, and we participated in more of the activities to help compensate.

I overdid it.

We haven't had a completely at home day in over three weeks. THREE WEEKS, PEOPLE. That's just how far I went back on the calendar before I got annoyed with myself. It's making me a wreck!

We had commitments for every day this week as well. We kept the ones for Monday and Tuesday (today) and Friday's are tentative. The urchins are trying to decide whether they want to keep the Friday one, but I doubt they will. And in fact, I will probably definitely discourage it because Friday's commitments (yes, two in one day) require 45 minutes of driving to one, 20 minutes of driving to the other. One way. And they are nowhere near each other. One is east of our house; one is south.

We are SO back to the two days a week rule. Starting now.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Carving 2008

Yesterday's big activity was carving our pumpkins!

It's a little bit earlier than I really like to do them. They can get a whole lotta gross in the two weeks between now and Halloween. But we let the children choose their pumpkins at a local farm during Skeeter's company's "family day" and they were excited to get on with it.

I bought one of those "pumpkin carving kits" from Target for Sass to make it easier. She chose a happy face (not a surprise; she's a happy child). She gutted the pumpkin (loving the mess it made) all on her own.

Then she traced the pattern.

Then Skeeter carved it. With help.

Sass was quite annoyed that we wouldn't let her wield sharp instruments all by herself. Hey, what can I say? We are big ol' meanie-parents.

A little aside here: Can you believe that this was Skeeter's first time carving a pumpkin? Really! His parents aren't exactly the fun-loving, tradition-following types. Now I am a little embarrassed that I always did the carving in previous years while he was off at work.

Spyder's pumpkin-carving experience had nothing to do with patterns and everything to do with personal creativity. He decided to make a top hat and wand, in keeping with his "all magic, all the time" life theme. And for the first time, I let him do the whole thing on his own, with supervision of course, but no suggestions or advice from me.

He drew out his pattern on the pumpkin and started carving.

Unfortunately, he got a little too carve-happy and ended up carving out part of his design. Whoops!

Toothpicks to the rescue!

All better!

Sass's pumpkin turned out very cutesy, which thrilled her beyond measure.

Spyder's pumpkin turned out, eh, not as well as I had hoped, but he thinks it's awesome. And really, he is the only person who needs to be pleased by it anyway, so it's all good. :)


Friday, October 17, 2008

A little bit of a vent, but not so much

The vent:

I ordered The Book of Time Outs last week because we love the Wicked History of the World books, and this sounded similar. (It's not.)

The book came in the mail today, and not only is it NOT a hardcover, but it is NOT EVEN BOUND. It's just a bunch of loose pages with a dustjacket holding them together like a file folder. Seriously. How could I not be annoyed by that?

... grrrrrrr ...

But now the not so much:

I emailed the seller explaining the problem and asking for return instructions. Twenty minutes later he refunded the purchase and shipping. Apparently he knew he done did me wrong.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Reading in the lounge area of the bookstore. Nothing unusual about that, but I like the lines created by the mirror.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Menu Plan Monday: Oct 12-18

Okay, I admit. I'm hooked. I didn't do a menu plan for last week because I wasn't able to sit down and just do it over the weekend. Unwise. Very unwise. So I'm back again!

This is the quick and easy week because -- once again -- we're going to be on the go several days. The only day that will take real work is Wednesday, when we're supposed to be able to stay near home.


Beef stroganoff
Green bean casserole


Chicken with artichokes
Garlic pasta
Stir fried asparagus, squash, mushrooms, carrots


Eating out


Pork tenderloin
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potato fries
Crudite platter


Potato soup with a smorgasbord of leftovers




Chicken cacciatore in black olive and tomato sauce
Garlic pasta
Steamed broccoli
English peas

Check out this week's Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie for more great menus and recipes!

Food Fight

A most fascinating look at warfare from World War II to present day.

See if you can figure out which foods represent which countries.

Here is the cheat sheet to see if you were correct. The home page has a list of the battles, but that's a bit of a spoiler, so check it afterward. Then watch it again.

Thanks to my friend Christy for pointing me to this!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekly Wrap-Up

Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers has begun a "weekly wrap-up," which is perfect for me at the moment, since I can't seem to focus on one single thing.

Hmm. Our week. Well, let me just say, "unsocialized"?

Hehehe!! Harharhar!! Hoohoohoo!! *snort* Oh, excuse me. :)

We were on the go all week. I really don't care for weeks like that because it just feels like it's too much. The urchins had a great time though, so I suppose it's not terrible to have a week like that every once in a while.

Monday -- game day with the homeschool group. Spyder played chess. Sass played Pente.

Tuesday -- a class on rocks and minerals at the local science museum, then an extra-long trip to the bookstore. It's a good thing I know the peeps at the bookstore.

Wednesday -- had scheduled a class on volcanoes at the children's museum, but Skeeter found out that morning that he had to fly to Wisconsin that afternoon, so I spent the morning packing him. Flurry of activity, then a friend called and asked if we could see a movie. So, airport, movie, then back home with Spyder and Dude.

Thursday -- Sass had a friend over for the afternoon. At least we were at home ....

Friday -- park day; stayed an extra hour because the urchins were having a blast. Came home for about 45 minutes, then Spyder wanted to go to a different park to go fishing. He fished; Sass and I fed the geese.

No wonder I'm feeling all out of sorts.

In non-runing-around related news, this week we have
  • fallen in love with Skippyjon Jones.
  • revisited Nancy Drew (for the who-knows-how-manynth time) -- books, computer games, and the one DS game we have.
  • introduced Sass to Ramona.
  • read at least 11 Magic Tree House books (11 that I can remember for sure)
  • reread A Bear Called Paddington. I love that bear.
  • built castles (complete with moat) in the sandbox.
  • examined the tunnels of an ant hill.
  • discussed The Great Depression.
  • worked on the Christmas budget.
  • created and solved several backyard mysteries.
So you can see why I haven't been around too much. How was your week?


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Dude ... dude ... dude

Spyder had a friend over this morning. It is always so amusing to me to hear them. Each always addresses the other as "dude" and it just makes me laugh.

"Dude, look at this."

"Dude, let's play this."

"Dude, did you see that?"

I was working around the house, just smiling to myself in listening to them. Then I overheard the following while they were playing Rock Band (Spyder on guitar and the friend singing), making me have to leave the room because I started laughing out loud.

FRIEND: "Dude, you paused!"

SPYDER: "Dude, I had to pause!"

FRIEND: "Dude, start it up!"

SPYDER: "Dude! I have to PAUSE!"


SPYDER: "DUDE! I just tried to go into overdrive and smacked myself in the ear!"

Apparently Spyder was playing full-contact Rock Band.


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Grilling Goodness #1

My friend Tina at Golden Goodness has designed a fun little play-along. Fun, fun! And as usual, I'm slightly late in participating, but here goes. Let the grilling begin!

1. Do you snort when you laugh?

Um ... yes. I do, sometimes, when I am really into the laughter. This phenomenon only started a couple of years ago though. My children think think it's a riot.

2. Do you have any idea why we don't sneeze in our sleep? Wild guess?

Maybe because our breathing is more shallow? Maybe because our whole bodies are at rest and our systems are depressed? No idea. I'm going to have to look this up though.

3. Do you give much thought to astrology?

I think it's interesting, but I'm not an avid horoscope reader.

4. What is the most expensive thing you've purchased this year?

So far, Skeeter and I both think it's been the Wii, although one of Skeeter's engineering books came pretty close to that. Pretty soon those are going to be outstripped by a new dishwasher though.

5. What kind of shampoo do you use? Loyally?

Head & Shoulders is the only brand we always have in the house. The other shampoos rotate between Pantene, Herbal Essences, and Garnier Fructis.

6. Whose music are you really diggin' right now?

For the car, the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration, Raising Sand, has been in my CD player for a couple of weeks. For the house, I've been listening to blues, mostly Alvin Youngblood Hart, but also on some DVDs from Netflix (Keb' Mo, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and more)

7. What is your favorite thing about the Fall?

Mmmmmm. Fall. I love most things about fall -- the cooler temperatures that allow us to be outside, the change in season, the turn toward the holidays. I just love it.

8. Do you have a GPS?

Nope. We don't have a need for it at the moment. I'm pretty handy with a map.


A legend in my own mind

I have both been on the lookout for a good deal on Rock Band for our Whee! for a couple of months. A friend found a good price last week, and I ordered one.

It got here a few days ago. Spyder had it out of the box and set up within 20 minutes of the ding of the doorbell.

First song Spyder wanted to try was Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive.

He did his thing, then handed the mic to me.

How did I do? I, child of the 80s? I, of the big hair and acid-wash jeans? How do you think I did? I rocked!

My score: 100% Awesome.

Thank you. *air kiss* Thank you.

I never beat him at video games. Puzzle games, yes, but not video games. He said, "Of course you could do that one. You've been singing it since it came out a million years ago!"

Let the battle of the bands begin. I may be as old as dirt, but at least I am 100% Awesome dirt.


Friday, October 03, 2008

That's right

My daughter, who wears wisdom like a shirt. HAR!


Thursday, October 02, 2008

The most wonderful time of the year

Ah, fall. How I love thee.

It is so lovely outside this time of year. In summer the heat is just too intense for us to be outside for long periods, so we retreat indoors. But when the temperatures move back into a comfortable zone, the urchins and I spend most of the day outside.

And in keeping with our seasonally inappropriate behavior, we built a sandbox on Friday, just a few days after the official end of the summer season.

Loving. It.

Because I am lazy resourceful, I didn't use wood. I used garden edging that was serrated and easy to hammer into the ground. Even before we had gotten all of the sand in the children were having a blast.

Sass has been using it most though, building sand castles mostly, but occasionally burying one of her stuffed animals. (Good thing he is machine washable.)

And just for fun, Miss Lucinda the Escaping Dog keeping watch while Sass plays in the sandbox.

Seasonally inappropriate? Yes. But completely wonderful for us.