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Archive for July, 2007

Pools cost an arm and a leg

July 28th, 2007 at 03:38 pm

We are doing early research on swimming for the fall. The kids love it soo much but I hate to have them stop for the whole winter yet again. I thought I would check a membership to the Y. you ready for this?

150 start up fee and 74$ a month, plus a 75$ class fee! Absolutely no possible way we could afford that!

I called another place and found class prices to all run 75-150 for a month of classes with 5-8 kids per class.

I called one more place and got a direct number to the instructor, she mentioned they didn't have classes set up yet but that she would offer a private lesson for $20 for both kids. I felt like I was being led into a selling spiel where you tell what your competition costs to numb customers to the high price of your item (I sold cutco knives, that was the gimmick, tell em what other brands cost so the 100 dollar knife seems low in comparison)

But the more I think about it, $20 for a private lesson, not stuck in a group of 3-5 year olds who prolly don't swim at all, while our two can not only swim, but GMC can swim well...not to much time for one on one.

That is for both kids, whereas the other classes are 75 per kid...and that is totally individual instruction....

Not to mention I think we might be able to let gmas know that lessons would be a wonderful gift.

But then again..$20 per week?

Ignoring money is good for some..

July 27th, 2007 at 05:42 pm

For us. See if I ignore the amount exactly of money we have, I tend to spend less, assuming we don't have enough.

Which means surplus tends to pile up and I have to go schlep it around to pay off the car. I kinda like that problem! I would prefer not to ever have to deal with it at all, but if I have to have a problem this is it.

Course it isn't enough to pay off fully, just a nice double payment every other month or so.

Most of the surplus is due to overtime, and more would be going to the car, except we keep buying groceries. We buy more fruit and veggies than anyone I know, I have got to learn to grow some. ON a plus note the sunflowers are still alive. There is hope, so long as I choose hardy plants that like to live.

Now to find food that is that hardy (I know you can eat the seeds, but I don't.)

The kids picked favorite fruits and veggies last night, GMC picked tomatoes, JC picked nearly every fruit we eat!

Bananas and Apples are out (though I wonder on the apple tree...not anytime soon, but for the future?) Blueberries...I didn't think they grew around here...Strawberries do...I wonder if they are very thorny? I was kinda hoping for something the kids could pick.

Peppers are favorite veggie for my husband and GMC...I wonder if they are easy to grow. JC and I like peas, and green beans.

Pictures..sunflowers, kids art, ect...

July 25th, 2007 at 12:51 am

While my husband was working on some model terrain making he let GMC use some spare parts to make what he wanted..



Pretty impressive for no help, just three straight sticks (no cutting was allowed)


Now for this one I did some cutting for him. He asked me to cut a piece in half to make two like the two he had...I suggested it would be two a bit small, so I found him another scrap, and was able to make 4 approximately the same, and one small piece.

Here is the result when he put it all together:



The picture was taken before we glued the front piece on, so GMC is holding it.

Here is what JC made, I helped to cut the frame, and I tore the tape, but she put it all on...it is primer-ed, so later I will have to try and post when she paints it all up.



We plan to put a magnet on the back and 'hang' it on her tin doll house...err will a magnet stick properly to that? I'd better check.

The sunflowers are growing! I have to get the kids to stand by them so you can see how tall they are.



Course you might notice the one side is pretty tall, the other side is pretty short...not sure why, though it is two different seed packets.

And here is the prize GMC won for reading from the library.



total disguise Smile

I guess about some things I am pretty brand loyal

July 23rd, 2007 at 10:56 pm

I took a survey and discovered I had no intention of changing my brand...I didn't even look at the price! Admittedly it was a product I rarely buy, and one I find quality to be top importance of. but still, how unfrugal!

I also discovered that out of sight is out of mind, I was asked about products we buy, but I don't use, the first question is 'what brands do you recall' I checked all that seemed familiar (I wish it was a fill in box, not a checklist) and then it asked what was in the house...I asked my husband and it was a brand I hadn't even remembered for the first question! sheesh..

you want how much for a pack of gum?

July 21st, 2007 at 05:53 pm

When I was a kid a pack of gum was 25cents...for a big giant pack of 25 sticks....

Lately I have had the urge to munch and thought gum would solve that with less weight gain...At the store I discovered not a single pack less than 50 cents and most had 12 or less sticks (or pieces)

good grief...has there been a recent blight of rubber trees or something?

Well that would save some people loot...

July 21st, 2007 at 02:59 am

While watching the printer print a new batch of worksheets for the kids I found this:

proffessor stops using textbook

I recall one of my old proffs who never once cracked the book, all her material and homework was copied from news articles and reports....Unfortunately buying a book was still required by the college.

What's my kid supposed to know?

July 20th, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Internet4classrooms

I found this site looking for some science papers, or links. It has the Tennessee requirements with links that will fulfill each one.

grade level list this page has links for each skill set and grade, find your subject and see what there is out there.

The website has 'links valid as of' from December of last year, pretty far away, but more recent than many I have seen. Hopefully in the fall they will update again.

"People give me too many new clothes"

July 20th, 2007 at 04:50 pm

That is an actual quote from my daughter last night. "people give me too many clothes."

I asked her what she would like to do about it and she said she wanted to give the extra to 'kids who need them'. So we headed off to her room and sorted out her pants drawer (the only one she was concerned with). Don't worry she is still a girly girl, all the neutral clothes were for donation, the pink and flowered clothes were kept.

But still warms a mommas heart to hear her little one wanting to share.

Google maps, great educational tool

July 18th, 2007 at 05:52 pm

Today we were talking about Hawaii, did you know they have and alphabet with only 12 letters? And that the chain has 135 islands on it? In an effort to see the rest of the islands (beyond Maui, and such) I tried a Google map search..no real luck, I think if I knew the name I could zoom in and find one, but without a name they seem to be too small to see from the last view of the main islands.

In an effort not to disappoint the kids I let them zoom in and out and look all around. First came a request for Asia, simple and not to precise, then the great wall of china..since the books say you can see it and I told them it was a satellite picture....apparently the books lie...or rather I am not that good at finding a squiggly unnatural line, in among a mountain range full of squiggly lines...but Google to the rescue, just type in 'great wall of china' in the map search and it takes you right to the center of it!

After he asked for Russia and I suggested we go to the capital, he asked for lots of other capitals..eventually since I don't know the capital of India we Google searched that first (capital India...New Delhi) among many other capitals.

And later we remembered to search out Guatemala, since our church is sending a mission team over there at the end of the month, we had been talking about it and gathering supplies to send with them.


I love spending an afternoon learning with the kids..for free Smile

When more is less

July 18th, 2007 at 12:14 am

From one of many email sap:

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

.....
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years.


Thought is was particularly financial related...more is often less.

Cool point from SA blog

July 17th, 2007 at 04:30 pm

[i]Decide what your time is worth: Take some time to calculate how much you your time is worth. Whatever you decide your hourly rate is worth, that is how much you must pay to watch each hour of TV over your allotted weekly free hours with the money going toward your savings.

This can be an excellent financial lesson for kids to determine their hourly worth as friends of mine with kids who adopted this strategy found out. If the kids set their worth too low in an attempt to watch TV on the cheap, you can hire them to do projects around the house for that same. low rate. On the other hand, if they demand too much money to do jobs that you want them to do, they won’t be able to afford to watch any additional TV over their allotted hours.] more here

Remind me when the kids are older to try that...prolly have to try it with computer time, not TV though.

Course the question is..I don't have cable, I don't watch 5 hours a week much less a day..so why don't I have a ton of money?...cause I am online instead Smile

Dishcloth is done.

July 17th, 2007 at 04:18 pm

Actually two are done, the firs is smaller and not in the slightest straight, the second is better and you can see it is supposed to be straight.

I am rather impressed with myself, not only did I finish...but I wouldn't be too terribly embarrassed to show it to someone.

before I wash it and find out how well it stands up to use I am going to show it to my teacher...just to prove I did it Smile, and ask for advice on crooked edges.

Now I have half a skein of yarn, purple, and not sure what to do with it. I would like to make something for my daughter, since she loves purple, but I don't know how. And I do not want to wait till Sunday cause if I stop working I will forget how!

Learning to crochet

July 16th, 2007 at 04:51 pm

I actually learned around age 5, my mother taught me. But I never got past a chain stitch, and I never made anything more than a hair tie for my barbies.

Now I am working with the people at our church, I had a wonderful lesson Sunday and now have a nifty...not well made, washcloth. I am going to try and make another and follow the pattern better, but regardless if it works I will have a free dishcloth, and I have too many in tatters to pass that up. Only trouble is the free yarn I was offered is purple, I hate purple.

Though I might give the next one to my mother in law, she has a drawer full of dish clothes that she doesn't really use, cause she doesn't want to get them dirty....I on the other hand use mine for everything and anything..I avoid paper towel use at almost all costs. And it shows, she has a drawer stuffed full of pretty looks like new dish clothes and I have a drawer mostly empty of holey well used dish clothes...so for looks, she wins...but..cost wise, I think I win.

Now my son is asking me how to crochet...I don't think he needs any hair ties..so not sure what he is going to do with them, but I will let him try...and did I mention it was free? Education is more seeking out knowledge, than paying for classes IMO.

I won!

July 14th, 2007 at 11:08 pm

I joined the adult reading club when the kids joined, mostly to convince my nieces and nephews to join up.

And I won! I got a free T-shirt and a bag. All for logging the books I read.

"Wanna know an easier way?

July 13th, 2007 at 01:46 pm

First I am admitting my lousy slang, I did just say "wanna" instead of the proper, "would you like me to teach you" but well...no one said I am perfect.

Second, this is it, I am letting you all in on the big secret of how I 'make' my kids learn.....I don't. Really I don't. I just offered to show GMC a faster way to multiply double digit numbers...instead of adding 40 up 7 times....his reply "nope".

So here I am online, not teaching him. Might sound terrible, but what good would a battle be? Why bother fighting when he will come back eventually wanting a faster way. It worked when I waited for him to want to read, I have every reason to believe it will work now.

Actually immediately after refusing the lesson, he pulled out a reptile/amphibian word search. We read the top about what they are, and came to a mention of caecilians ..I said "I don't know what that is", he told me..."its like a lizard worm" which based on wiki it is... Now if only I could figure out how to pronounce it.



So you see it might seem like I am not teaching, but apparently they are learning......just not on my timetable, nor on the states, nor on anyone else's time table. They learn what they want when they want, I just provide lots of opportunity for interesting information and experiences.

PS total cost of lesson...zero....downloaded worksheet, book from my childhood, and Google search from the internet we already splurge on.

Go..educational

July 11th, 2007 at 09:35 pm

Go is a very old game that my father taught me when I was very young. I never mastered even the simplest level, but I did recall fun times with my father.

Now my dad is a Grandpa, and he is trying to teach the new generation better. GMC received a set of stones and board and book last month and promptly learned to beat his momma. My skills have not improved much over the years.

So far I seem to hold my own if he has no handicap, but something about being 5 leads him to think he aught to have one.

Grandpa directed us to IGoWin a free download mini game of Go. So long as I have a 5 stone handicap I can win, once I start losing that the computer soundly thrashes me (GMC too, so it isn't just my pathetic skills)

Though the computer game is nice (and smarter than I) the board and stones are a bit more fun, something about having cool black and white 'stones' to shuffle thru your fingers as you await your next turn beats watching a computer beep at you any day.

JC and UE quickly discovered the fun and now UE knows the colors black and white and sorts beautifully. JC plays a simple 'capture the stone game' which she still has never won against me (though she beat her big bro once)

So what is so educational about taking turns plunking stones on a board?

- Keeping score, score is the total of empty area surrounded, which is either a counting skill, or a multiplying skill (if you have a rectangle of 3 points high by 4 across you get 12 points, 3*12) or adding (if you have an irregular shape, 9 from a square plus 3 odd balls)

Scoring also involves simple geometry principles...at the end game you can rearrange a messy looking territory into a nice neat rectangle for counting so long as you keep the area the same.

Not to mention negative numbers. Each stone of your own that gets captured is used to fill in your final territory, making it essentially a negative point. ( 'dead stones' are also negative points)

- Logic, and thinking ahead, and all that other stuff, the same reasons why people like to teach kids chess. Only go can be taught in under 5 minutes, no need to remember a bunch of different piece rules. (not that it is easier to master, just quicker to know the rules of). Not to mention a go board and set of stones can take up less space.

- Sportsmanship...there isn't much luck involved, a good player will win over a less experienced player every time. Bit frustrating if you are used to being 'let win' but good for you. Handicaps are the 'leveler' a good player gives free spots on the board to the weaker player before the start of the game. Which brings up a hidden point of knowing your own weaknesses...and not letting them stop you.

A Go board and stones have many other uses besides playing Go.

- Geometry is fun to explore by letting a kid make shapes on the board with several stones...How many different shapes can you make with 20 stones? Or patterns, black white black white is basic, how about BL,WH, BL,BL,WH,WH, BL,BL,...?

- Division and multiplication, addition and subtraction with stones is simple to see on the grid board. (of course area, you don't have to play a game to practice area)

- If your bowls are opaque (as in you can't see thru them) you can practice the principle of one more/one less. Show your child 5 and count them. place 5 in/under the bowl, then remove one, and ask how many are left. for a younger child they will most likely want to count (use your hand if your bowls are clear) Continue removing one down to zero, then work you way back up.

- Or use the stones to make letters, with or without the grid (a grid will help children recognize that letters need uniform proportion)

- Binary/ use the two colors and try to write the date with stones (eg today is the bl,bl,bl/bl,wh,bl,bl), using the stones instead of 1's and 0's makes the whole number for number a bit less confusing (just keep the system constant, black is always 1 for example) Or you could write your age, or years of scouting, schooling, or favorite number.

Wonderful wedding, plans for DDs, photos

July 9th, 2007 at 03:45 pm

My cousins wedding was this weekend, it was very nice, and the kids had a wonderful time at the reception.

My daughter loves to dance, but will not let me help her for any of the dances with 'steps' like the hoky-poky, or whatever (not that it is hard, but for a 3 year old....) So she spent the time finding other people to dance with, and was ADORABLE! I hope to have pictures to share soon, we took a ton.

Then we took all the pictures off the camera and burned them to CD to give to the bride and her mom right then and there at the reception...I think this would be a way cool take home gift...so long as the photographer is using a digital camera we can put some 'staged photos' on a disk ASAP.....a sticker with the 'thank you for coming' on the case and you have a gift, one that most close family/friends will actually use and enjoy.

Add that to my theory on staged photos being done before the ceremony of all the girls (to get the wedding party to the reception sooner) and you have an easy start.

I have been compiling a list of 'stuff' for my kids wedding ever since my own.

One new rule is for the bride and groom to decide in advance if they want to allow children to catch the garter and flowers....At this wedding an 8 year old girl caught the flowers and it took 10 minutes to convince three guys to go up, so we sent our son (5yo) and he was ordered to pick it up off the floor so he could put it on her wrist......I am thinking 16 and up, if not 18 and up....unless you don't mind kids, but ...eh. Up to the bride and groom, just so long as they think about it. Though GMC was adorable Smile.

Another rule is to make sure there are appetizers or at least fruit and veggies out for snacking while you wait for the dinner...which has to be in charge of a specific person...not the bride on the way to dinner going, 'oh food still in kitchen...oops'....not that it wasn't solved quickly by many willing hands, just something to try and remember if you are 'self catering'. Also there is a reason caterers have multiple trays ready to place out...unlike a small party refilling trays takes to long...I put out veggies, then moved on to fruit, and by that time I had to restock the veggie tray! having a sub would be better, and leave me less looking like an idiot standing around with ziplocks full of food...

Another thing to bring home from this wedding was a 'married couple dance'....they started with all married couples, then had us sit down year by year till the longest married couple was left, and asked them to give a word of advice to the newlyweds...I thought it was cute and a way to celebrate long running marriages (38 years was the winner)

I really want a photo someone took of us, the kids were a bit whiny so we danced with all three of them.....(kids were all sick, fever boy GMC just got rid of it that night, the other two had snots)


the cake made by my aunt, VERY good, pretty and tasted great...much better than at my wedding (though mine was a cool castle)


JC and all the toys, another thing I want at the future weddings, great to have something for the kids to do


UE...picking up pieces of balloons, he was the balloon guy, very insistent on finding all pieces to throw int he garbage soon as they popped...and they popped a LOT, not sure why.

Maybe expecting kids to take care of the parents isn't such a bad idea.

July 3rd, 2007 at 01:42 pm

When I first heard of the idea of a kid (grown) being expected to take care of a parent, I was horrified at the implication that people starting a life and raising kids would have one more burden on them (mom and pop).

But the more I think of it, the more I see how older folk are relegated to nursing homes and added to a chore list of 'people you aught to go see' but prolly never do. This is an upside down way to treat people. The two opposite ends of the age spectrum should be brought together not separated for time with 'peers' My kids would benefit so much more from a quiet talk with great-grandma than an hour with another short kid.

Notice I said 'great grandma' grandma (both of em) is still able enough to support herself, and spoil my kid. Not that time with grandma isn't valuable in its own right, it just has to be restricted to keep the spoiling a treat not an everyday habit (though not as restricted as the miles apart make it for us Frown.)

Great grandma on the other hand is a bit slower, a bit more philosophical on kids (read likely to laugh when they tantrum, not rail against my parenting ability, inward or outward), and a bit less financially likely to whisk them off for ice cream or yet another toy.

Unfortunately those miles separate great grandma as well, fortunately she has quite a few years before she can't support herself...and when that happens...well I would prefer to have her (and pappap) here, but I doubt they want to move that far.

Anyway I was just thinking there is more than money going into the decision of what to do with 'old folk'. There is the need to keep em around the 'young folk'. Moms and Dads need reminded they weren't perfect as kids. Kids need to know that mom and dad learned from their mistakes. Kids need to hear about how the world has changed. Grown ups need to hear the enthusiasm of learning in a child.

And the number one thing...two adults isn't enough for kids..they need more adults to guide them...love them....support them...and hopefully enough that you have options in finding a mentor.

Book notes 'the wizard of London'

July 2nd, 2007 at 07:11 pm

I joined the summer reading program at our library (check yours, some have em for adults!) And the book log is busted, so rather than wait a day and rewrite, I shall cut and paste the note for you, not that it is useful, or a good review, just happens to need stored online, and Jeffrey and Nate have made this site so easy to access...I can't help using it!

The method of recording includes a list of author name and title, so this is just notes...to remind myself that I read the book, not a formal report or review.

--------------
The Wizard of London is a wonderfully light story of children rescued and coming into power of their own, plus love (or at least friendship) conquering all.

Not at all what I expected when I picked up the book, more romance novel than fantasy, but pulled off well. Rather like a fairy tale, it would be perfect for reading to children at bedtime.

It runs in my mind (which is built like a sieve) that Lackey is fond of rewriting fairy tales. Something about a phoenix bird from an old Russian tale in a previous book.

This particular book is a loose telling of the 'snow queen', though of the two I would rather read Mercedes version.

I do think I shall take a way a useful tidbit from the book. At one point one of the girls offers some advice regarding forgiveness. 'not forgiving someone is like not pulling a thorn out of your foot because you didn't put it there'.

UE combining two words!..err not financial

July 2nd, 2007 at 01:26 pm

He did it! he said two words! a couple times, Last night we went to the potty and I said we had to take his shoes off before we could be and he said "shoe....offff" Smile

So cute!

Also, we are heading out tomorrow night for PA, I really aught to be packing preparing, but...I am not.