Friday, August 31, 2007

park day

We got to Park Day early for the first time in a long time. We spent our 'early time' doing schoolwork and eating lunch. Then 3 hours later we all got rained out of the park.

Gayla called to let me know that Edgar is recovering from his Jersey bull accident and since the produce is going to waste at The Farm he is going to come to The Market tomorrow. He's in pain (yeah I think so, he broke 2 ribs and fractured his shoulder blade into 4 pieces) but they can't afford to let the eggplant, okra, peppers and basil get fed to the cows so he's toughing it out to make it to The Market.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


So, I'm sitting here blogging because I don't want to do the dishes sitting in the sink waiting for me since yesterday and the day before.
We spent today at Marie's without Marie - 7 hours of just me and 5 kids - and it was a lot of fun. I got that big batch of chili cooked up (thanks again for the kick in the rear, Cheryl) and fed the kids macaroni & cheese and got half of the September issue of Real Simple read and got 12 pages of homeschooling done. There were no fights, no bites and no crying for the whole 7 hours; well not until Marie & Roland got back home and then their 2 boys started to melt down. Giselle wanted to stay even longer! I sure hope that next Tuesday goes as well as today did!
Yesterday at the museum was a lot of fun, or did I already post about that last night?

Darn, I don't really have anything to say so I guess it's off to the sink. Maybe I'll release my chili recipe later this weekend - it's nothing spectacular but it IS a crowd pleaser. The kids gave it their seal of approval tonight with cheese, sour cream and hot dogs on top.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Not-Back-To-School Pool Party

So, today is the annual Not-Back-To-School Pool Party that the homeschooler throw at one of the City's largest public swimming pools. It's been going on every year for at least 12 years that I know of and this is our second year to go to it. It's a not-so-subtle way of saying "It's hot and sunny and it's the first day of public school but since we are homeschooled we can go play at the pool if we want to!"
Unfortunately my kids may not be up for swimming - Giselle has had a stomach ache for the last 2 nights that goes away during the day and Paul has some sinus congestion and pressure going on due to too much chlorine up his nose at the pool - but we gotta go for the school picture. There are usually around 200 kids there and the moms have to stand on the other side of the pool in order to fit all the kids in the pictures. The kids all stand on and off of 2 sets of bleachers that are 4 rows high with all younger kids down front. Oops, I haven't made my pot-luck dish yet and the party starts at noon.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

interesting but true

OK, so we are halfway through the series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and I decided to print out a map so that we could map the family's travels. In the process I came across this interesting page called The Story of Laura's Life in which you learn the real story - about how Carrie wasn't born yet when they left the Big Woods, about the baby boy that Ma had before Grace was born, that they moved back to the Big Woods for 4 years before moving to Plum Creek and all other kinds of things like that. I'm not telling Giselle this yet.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The TV shows we watch and our opinions of them

This post is actually a response comment I wrote on Mary's site - Owlhaven earlier today. Her hosting company didn't like me today so I had to post it here - it was too good to be lost in cyberland. She was asking about what shows we recommended for preschoolers.

Zoboomafoo - my 3.5 (boy) & 6 yr (girl) old enjoy the Kratt brothers and even watch their adult animal adventures that were on Natl Geographic channel. Animal appreciation taught by two humans, a puppet lemur and assorted real animals.

Blues Clues - tops with both kids and there are years worth of episodes. Early learning (shapes, sounds, numbers, letters, associations) for preschoolers and kindergartners; live action Steve or Joe and the rest is animated. DD likes Blues Room but DS does not, that's more about Blue having fun rather than learning new things.

Diego is a yes but Dora is a no! - The Swiper character on Dora is always caught being bad and shows no remorse whereas the BoBo brothers from Diego don't really mean any harm. Diego teaches about animals and their environments. Both are fully animated shows and throw in a few Spanish words for show.

Sesame Street is a no - I realize that they are trying to 'accurately demonstrate the way that real kids talk' but I want my kids to enunciate like me not like another 3 year old. The 6 yr old likes it but it bores the 3.5 yr old. I would rather they continue the old show The Electric Company.

The Wiggles - we love them and even purchased the live concert video. Absolutely 100% wholesome and fun! All live action humans who play 'brothers' and their friends. Music and dancing, the men that came up with the Wiggles (the guys who play them) met while studying preschool education in college.

My 6 yr old enjoys the Backyardigans more than my 3.5 yr old - he gets scared by the storyline occasionally. Music, games and the wild stories/adventures that 5 animated friends imagine while playing in their connected backyards.

Miss Spider's Sunnypatch - some of the characters scare my 3.5 yr old but it does have good teachings. A cartoon version of your family; 2 spiders have many kids - a dragonfly, a bed bug, a flying beetle, and 5 various spiders and they learn life lessons.

The 3.5 yr old enjoys The Upside Down Show but the 6 yr old isn't as into it. Goofy fun with two live action humans using your imagination and a pretend remote control.

Everyone in our house loves Peep, grownups included! DH used to watch it at night on the TiVo after the kids went to bed and we have to save all new episodes for him. Animated tale of 3 bird friends exploring the Big Wide World that exists in the neighborhood park that they live in. It's narrated by Joan Cussack.

Between the Lions is a puppet acted book and reading and literature appreciation show. It scares my 3.5 yr old but the 6 yr old is ok with it.

All of the assorted Steve Irwin (Croc Hunter) shows are greatly enjoyed by my kids - there is no snarkiness when real animals and the people who love them are involved! His love of animals and his family and friends make him an example of a true hero.

The whole family adores Charlie and Lola, an animated tale of 2 British children and their life together! Lola is funny and Charlie loves her.

Veggie Tales have good morals (it is a Christian animated production) but every episode has portions that cause my 3.5 yr old to run out of the room in fear.

Many of the cooking shows are enjoyed by both of my kids - Simply Ming and Everyday Food and Rachel Ray. They learn how to cook without burning themselves on my stove and the hosts are very kind people with kids of their own.

There is a PBS show called The Biscuit Brothers but it may not be available in your area. It's live action with humans and kids that teaches music appreciation to kids aged 3 to 9.

Both kids really like Higglytown Heroes and I enjoy it too - it's an animated show where they are all nesting dolls and it shows that EVERYONE'S job is important to society.

Wow Wow Wubbzy - animated creature and his 2 friends live in Wuzzleburg and encounter childhood emotions. Both of my kids love the show.

Little Einsteins - Animated music and art appreciation. Both kids like this but sometimes DS gets scared. I don't like that they use the same dozen works of music over and over instead of introducing other works.

Johnny and the Sprites - Live action and 'muppets' teach about getting along with others. Johnny is a broadway actor and a muppeteer so there is music too. Both kids are fans.

Handy Manny - Bob the Builder for the Hispanic crowd, we all prefer Manny here. Animated show teaching good citizenship.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - Typical Disney animation fare teaching good citizenship. Kind of bores the 6 yr old and Pete scares the 3.5 yr old.

Pinky Dinky Do - Animated show with a big sister helping her little brother with little kid dilemmas by making up demonstrative stories. I don't like it, DD does and DS could care less.

Wonder Pets - The kids like this paper collage-animation show but I don't like the way that the animals speak (again the enunciation thing) and I feel that it just repeats lessons learned in Higglytown Heroes.

All of these shows with the exception of the Steve Irwin shows and some of the cooking shows are on channels that are free of commercial interruption during the show.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gearing up for the start of school

Even though school at Casa De Galletti doesn't officially start until the day after Labor Day, we started ramping up for it this week. We are now doing about an hour of work a day, mostly maintenance work - double and triple digit addition and subtraction and reading.

This year we start doing the Pledge of Allegiance every morning - I've been teaching it to them in the car on the way home from the pool each day. Paul is going to do interactive learning with computer programs (we all really like the Edmark products for preschool and up) while I spend more time on more intense work with Giselle. I've got our curriculum workbooks and our science books w/CDs with more math and reading challenge CDs on the way. I've got my subscription to Enchanted Learning and Giselle is already familiar with the math printables on Math Fact Cafe and A+ Math. I printed out all 13 phonics books at Progressive Phonics (they were all free then) and there is Starfall too so that her reading can smooth out. I haven't worked out a schedule for our Virtual Field Trips yet although I will have them coincide with our geography lessons and there are several of us working on IRL field trips for the year too. The first field trip of the year will be next Wednesday since it's Homeschool day at The Bob Bullock Texas State Museum. All that's left is printing out the AISD 1st and 2nd grade curriculum and getting together with Marie and the other homeschoolers in our neighborhood to figure out what things we are going to co-op teach as a group.

almost a new record

If the three of us had not had attitude problems then today would have made 4 days in a row of going to the pool. But alas, one thing led to another and by 4 pm I no longer had any desire to take us to the pool.
We had Domino's pizza for dinner. Giselle threw such a fit about wanting delivery pizza when I told her yesterday that I was going to make pizza for dinner tonight that I didn't bother to continue the discussion tonight and just ordered the thing.
The office is about 2/3 moved into the playroom to makeway for Thomas moving in.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Seven #17

Seven things I’m thankful for this last week ending 8/18/07
1 – Giselle having a friend’s house to play at when her brother is acting up.
2 – Getting to go to the pool 3 days in a row for the first time this Summer.
3 – 19 wonderful years with Joe.
4 – An exciting creek to explore on Park Day and another one to explore on other days of the week.
5 – The toilet not overflowing too much on Friday night – just a little that was easily cleaned up.
6 – Getting an early start and finish on cleaning out the attic on Saturday morning.
7 – Good weather for Jaden’s 4th birthday party that we went to for 5 hours on Saturday.

Sunday Seven is a meme designed for giving thanks for the big or little things in our lives - or to recognize the positive things going on! If you'd like to play along, please go here to find out all about it.

I don't care about the conditions, who would actually let their kid go do this?

It's appalling to me what people will do just to get themselves or their children 15 minutes of fame. A CBS Reality Show Draws a Claim of Possible Child Abuse .
I assume that the producers were looking for some Lord Of The Flies type situations to occur but I just can't believe that a parent would willingly ship their 8 to 15 year old kid off to be on a television shoot for 6 weeks. If my kid were a movie star, I'd still insist on being at the set every day. I can only guess that these parents held some secret hope that their child would get 'discovered' from the show and go on to be a rich and famous actor in Hollywood.

I guess that it shouldn't really surprise me, especially after reading Dr Laura's latest blog post on how little value couples put on children these days when ranking the keys to happiness in a marriage. Read the post here:

Sunday Seven later today.

Friday, August 17, 2007

timed baking

So, feeling adventurous and impatient while waiting for the kids to clean the playroom 'Daddy Clean' before we could leave for the park, I made Quick Ziti. Which is pretty much the same as Quick Lasagna except using penne pasta instead of lasagna pasta. I took a box of Hodgon Mill whole wheat penne pasta and dumped it UNCOOKED into a 13 x 9 Pyrex baking dish. To it I added 3 diced (1/2 inch cubes) Rosa Bianca eggplant (each the size of my fist), 1 large scalloped squash (peeled and diced to 1/2 inch cubes), 1 small onion 1/4 inch diced. I mixed it all up, leveled it, poured on one full jar of Organic Prego Mushroom Pasta Sauce and half a jar of water. I topped it with some Italian Seasoning, shredded Parmesan cheese and shredded Mozzarella cheese (unfortunately it's the low-moisture kind so it doesn't melt well at all). I popped it in the oven at 2:15 AND (here's the exciting part) I set the oven to turn itself on at 5:00 to 350 degrees and bake for one hour! So while we were playing in the creek at the park my dinner was taking care of itself, and when we came home at 6:02 I just needed to cook it for 15 more minutes at 375 for it to be done. The extra time was needed because the oven is SLOW to preheat so it took about 20 of those 60 minutes to just get to full temperature. But the temperature is accurate - I installed an oven thermometer last week so I could double check. Next time I'll probably not mix the veggies with the pasta, instead I'll just leave the pasta on the bottom and use 3/4 jar of water instead of just 1/2. And the next next time I'll use frozen tortellini or ravioli, some meatballs, mixed veggies, pasta sauce and no cheese.
But that was great to be able to leave and come back 3 hours later and dinner be pretty much ready and waiting.

The creek was running full blast due to the tropical storm that came through yesterday and today so we had a lot of fun playing in it. We also followed the hike trail to the other part of the creek where we saw some small perch and some big minnows.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Hormel Chili - good!
Other Brands of Chili - BAD!
Read about the chili recall here
Oh, it's botulisim, by the way, that it's contaminated with.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Captain has left the ship

Well, the diseased (and deceased) snail that caused the death of 4 female and 3 male guppies has taken Captain America from us prematurely. He fought death long and hard but ultimately he perished this afternoon just before we left for the pool. We buried him in the front hillside garden on top of Charlie, his predecessor in both life and death. Afterwards I moved all the other guppies from their satellite bowls into the big main bowl. The other day I told the kids that since Captain looked almost dead that we would take a Betta break for a while once he died. If the guppies get too populous then we'll dump most of them into the neighbor's fish pond. They are OK with that.

But we did get to the pool for the third day in a row! Tomorrow is 100% chance of rain so I'm thinking that we won't be able to make it 4 days in a row, oh well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

19 years follow-up for Joe

Sorry Joe, no intent to slight our special day. It's just that I already said all the mushy stuff last night and don't really feel the need to blast it all over here too. But just for you I'll put some of it out here because that's the kind of wife I am.

I love you more now than I did when we started down this road together 19 years ago, good thing too because that love needed some work.
There's no one else other than you that I could imagine raising our/my kids with.
I don't feel that we need a special night out together to celebrate our love as we celebrate it at least a few times a week all year round.
We had almost 13 years together just the two of us alone, I'm delighted to share these past 6 years and future 50+ years with our children and someday their future spouses and children too. It's not just an anniversary of you and me, it's an anniversary of us and the beginning of our family!

All those years ago, you didn't fill an existing hole in my life but rather you shoved on in and created a place in my heart that only you will ever be able to fill. We truly complete each other and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I love you!

delayed summer

Well now that the rain has gone away Summer has returned. It's not a psycho summer like my friend Holly is getting in DC, it's just normal August weather - sunny and 99 to 103 degrees. I love it and totally missed it for the last 2 months. But the one nice thing about the previously unusually cool and wet summer is that we still have lightning bugs around! Now usually they're long gone by the time that June arrives so having them still be here in August is AMAZING! I love sitting here in the living room and seeing them flash outside the front windows. Did you know that they continue to glow even after they're dead? Well they do!

Oh, and the baby Red-Headed Woodpecker that was being raised in our front tree flew the nest 2 days ago so we no longer hear him squaking all day long. I sure hope that they keep reusing that nest over and over again - I really loved having them living there.


We made it to the pool for the second time in 2 days - a record for this summer. Tomorrow evening we will go for a new record of 3 times in 3 days! We have been swimming non-stop for the hour and a half that we are there. Well, actually we do stop for 5 minutes when they call break at 5 min before the top of the hour each hour but other than that we are never out of the water for more than 45 seconds. Giselle and Paul were carrying me from one side of the pool to the other about 6 times so I'm sure that they will be sleeping soundly all night. Well, until 6:00 am when Paul will start shoving me in the back with his feet and trying to tuck his feet between my thighs for 15 min non-stop before he goes back to sleep until 7:45.
And the kids did indeed have hot dogs with chili but I did not have a Zima, instead I had a bowl of Bearitos refried black beans with a few dollops of Daisy Sour Cream and some Goya brand Pico and green sauce. I used to live off of that it seemed, and not in my poor starving days at the record store but in my well-off days working at the insulation company.
I'm tired and I've got to lead a meeting tomorrow morning so I'm outta here!

19 Years and counting

Today is Joe's and my 19th anniversary.
The kids have me in a foul mood but we are going to the pool for an hour anyway - I want to go to the pool every day and I'm tired of the kids messing that up for me all the time. I'm not the one refusing to clean up the playroom or refusing to do schoolwork so why should I have to suffer the consequences of their inaction.
Crap, what am I going to make for dinner? Oh, hot dogs (no link to the nitrate-free Oscar Mayer hot dogs since they aren't listed on thier website yet) with chili (Hormel Vegetarian Chili) will do the trick for the kids and I'll have a Zima.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Seven #16

Seven things I’m thankful for this last week ending 8/11/07
1 – The fabulous shredded beef tacos that I made for dinner on Sunday and the 4 meals worth of leftovers that I have of it in the freezer.
2 – Getting to play all day (from 10:30 am to 10:30 pm) at Marie’s before they left town for the rest of the month.
3 – Giselle getting to play at Juliana’s for 3 hours while Paul and I ran errands – they don’t always shop well together.
4 – Finally finishing off the homemade chocolate ice cream.
5 – While I unfortunately missed our group dinner on Friday, I’m thankful that I did get a lot of work done at home while overseeing the 3.5 year old that was showing age-appropriate behavior.
6 – Light traffic on I-35 on Saturday morning so we got to the Biscuit Brothers shoot on time.
7 – Edgar not only saving 2 HUGE Costa Rican melons for us but also getting the 3 unsold ones left at the end of the market.
NOT THANKFUL for the disease that the new snails may have brought into our fish bowl.

Sunday Seven is a meme designed for giving thanks for the big or little things in our lives - or to recognize the positive things going on! If you'd like to play along, please go here to find out all about it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday Seven #15

Seven things I’m thankful for this last week ending 8/04/07
1 – Giselle getting to do the rainstick during The Rain Song when the Biscuit Brothers played at Central Market on Wednesday night.
2 – Paul not freaking out when Dusty picked him up for the Hokey Pokey during the Biscuit Brothers show at Central Market.
3 – Orkin Pest Control actually charging a few dollars less that our previous bug guy (who sold his business to Orkin).
4 – Park Day and getting to play in the raging creek – someone built a way cool dam just before the underpass.
5 – Taking a break during The Market to go see the Biscuit Brothers again at a new bulk cooking place called Dream Dinners.
6 – Getting a real portable toilet seat for the minivan.
7 – Thomas and his girlfriend being able to walk away from their accident with a drunk driver.

Sunday Seven is a meme designed for giving thanks for the big or little things in our lives - or to recognize the positive things going on! If you'd like to play along, please go here to find out all about it.