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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Marine Wife, Mommy & Life: ***Giveaway: Marine Corps Birthday Celebration **P...

Marine Wife, Mommy & Life: ***Giveaway: Marine Corps Birthday Celebration **P...: As a BIG thank you to my amazing Blog Followers and wonderful Facebook Fans I want to celebrate the 237th Marine Corps Birthday with a ...

Check out this giveaway from fellow Marine Corp Wife and Blogger Jenni

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

More Autumn Activities

 For the second year in a row Coryn insisted that her pumpkin be a "sad" pumpkin and have tears. We made roasted pumpkin seeds with his innards. For a change I put brown sugar and cinnamon on them instead of the usual salt and oil.  They tasted really awesome.

We have been trick or treating twice already and it isn't even the 31st yet! We went to the Naval Aviation Museum first. They had limited candy grabbing opportunities but an awesome play area that both the girls enjoyed. Coryn's costume this year is a simple "ballerina" out fit that she mostly designed/picked out herself. Claire, of course, has her awesome mermaid tail. Both at the museum and today trick or treating downtown businesses it got a lot of notice. I can tuck her legs inside of the tail and it acts almost like a swaddling blanket, keeping her nice and toasty, while I hold her. The tail drapes over my arms in this position and just looks awesome. People stop and do a double take when they see her and then break out in big smiles which makes me feel awesome. 

It got a lot of compliments today, maybe too many because I think Coryn was a little jealous that everyone noticed the "mermaid" but so few said anything about the ballerina outfit she was so proud of. I'm glad she got to be what she wanted, but maybe next year I'll try to lead her towards something a little flashier. Of course, it is really hard to compete with a baby in a mermaid tail. 

Amanda’s Books and More

Monday, October 29, 2012

Magnolia Corn Maze

Magnolia Corn Maze Trip

We were fortunate enough to attend a field trip, our first with the homeschool co-op we've been attending monthly since September, to the Magnolia Corn Maze (link in the header above). 
This is a picture heavy post. I decided to post one picture per station or activity that we participated in. . .but somehow I missed the pumpkin patch altogether. I guess we must've been tired at that point (we meaning Claire and myself; Coryn never flagged). 

We arrived early because I almost always arrive early. . .like ridiculously early. Like, we are waiting for fifteen to twenty minutes for the next person to get there if we are lucky and the next person is early (though less so than we who are crazy early). It's partially a family habit (my family is always the first on the scene) and partially that, since I get lost easily around the Pensacola area, I always give myself at least a half hour leeway which I expect to spend arguing with the GPS unit in my car. . .and yes, the GPS unit and I argued a bit as always. It still insists that 69th is a through street when I have told it over and over again that 69th is a dead end. I think the tone of the GPS lady changes when I disregard her instructions to take a left onto 69th even though I've disregarded them every stinking time because it is IMPOSSIBLE to take a left onto 69th. There's a gosh-darn house in the way! It also took me on a weird route to get to the main road, but it does that most of the time. Normally I ignore that too, but since this was the first time I'd been to this particular location, I was following it to the letter, for the most part. About half way there, I realized that, yeah, I was going to be early, crazy early, crazy, stupid early, and stopped for gas (I wanted to stop for a coffee or something but this area of Florida/Alabama is significantly lacking in drive-thru establishments and I wasn't about to get Claire our of her car seat for anything short of our destination. It took me forever to figure out how to pump said gas. This BP Station had really old pumps and I'm an Oregonian, so I've pumped gas maybe a dozen times in my entire life. . .three of these times were in the last six months and the others were all when we were living in California almost 4 years ago now. . .dang, you know, I've probably pumped gas less than a dozen times in my life. I still hate doing it. I know everyone is laughing at me and I just want to point to my license plate and say, "Oregonian! Not my fault!" 

So eventually we made it there with more than enough time to spare. Nursed Claire and went in. We'd paid ahead. We had special group rate so it was only $6 for me and $7.50 for Coryn (Coryn was more because her admission included a pumpkin), which, considering the amount of time we spent there that day, was a good deal. If you are in our area (we're in the Florida pan handle but the Corn Maze is in Alabama, which also meant I could add another state to my "states I've been to" list, nine total, if you count a layover in Atlanta as having been to Georgia), I'm not sure what regular admission is but they probably say on the website I linked above. 

Finally the time crept from "ridiculously early" to "just a bit early" and people started to arrive. We sat on the picnic tables near the entry to wait for a few stragglers. I pointed over at a scarecrow decoration and asked Coryn if she knew what it was. She informed me, "Yes! Those come alive and get people!" 

I explained that, no, that was only on Dr. Who, not in real life. I think she might've been mildly disappointed. I have managed to raise a child whose idea of fun is apparently fighting off animated scarecrows with a sonic screwdriver. I win!
The Entrance

The maze itself was made of living corn. This was actually my first corn maze as well, but I've heard a lot of them are made with dead and dried corn stalks. There was also an awesome bed of wildflowers growing all around the maze. Almost every flower had an insect on it, and when I say insect, I mean the awesome kind: butterfly, bumble bee, honey bee, and even some dragonflies. Later on one of the more rambunctious boys attempted to catch a bumble bee and ended up getting stung. I heard his mother ask him, "Well, what did you think was going to happen?"
Coryn of the Corn
Poor Claire. Our stroller literally does not fit in our car. I need to get an umbrella stroller to supplement, but at least I got an arm work out. She was such a sweet baby, but it was a long day for her.
Claire was such a good baby
At the entrance to the maze they gave us these maps but since Coryn was in charge of ours we didn't really consult it much. Coryn held on tightly to her map and fearlessly led the way, along with an older boy (about six) who, since Coryn is a giant, was roughly her size and probably didn't realize he was that much older. Coryn was in full out explorer mode. I had to call her back a few times because she raced ahead of me and the other moms. She was intrepid. I was really proud.

Coryn the Explorer
The maze was shaped  like the state of Alabama but I wouldn't have known that if they hadn't told me. It was just too big to get an idea of its shape from the ground. One of the other moms is married to a pilot and she mentioned that he'd actually seen it from the air and it is definitely shaped like Alabama. Inside there were stations named after different major Alabaman cities and signs showing the way. Some of these seemed to point to dead ends. We ended up finding five of the eight cities that were supposedly in there before ending up at the exit and just deciding we'd been in there long enough. 
One of the signs

She was very determined
When we went in they informed us that a big pig they kept for the "haunted maze" event they do at night had escaped that morning and messed up part of the maze and they'd just gotten him back in his pen right before we'd gotten there. Towards the back of the maze we actually ran into him. He didn't appear to be all that scary to me, though he was hairy and had some impressive tusks when he yawned. Coryn thought he was hilarious as did most of the other kids in our group.
After we had all made it out of the maze (not all at once, but they had a nice play area that Coryn could've hung out in for hours. . .she recently learned how to propel herself on the swings and whenever she can get on a swing she is in heaven. . . they also had large hay bales kids were climbing up on and jumping off of and Coryn and another, older boy, this one eight--being tall has led to her having more mature friends--were throwing hay at each other for awhile) we were escorted to the "Corn Cannon." This was an air cannon they were using to shoot rubber ears of corn at various targets. Claire did NOT like the noise and started to scream after a few shots. I carried her away but was able to watch Coryn take her shot. She loved it and told me over and over again that she'd knocked all the water bottles down.
The Corn Cannon
They also had a measuring station that was really cute. Coryn was actually taller than I thought she was. . .she won't stop growing.
My girl is so tall
And a cute scarecrow picture station . . .
When I told her we were coming here a few days before, Coryn had asked me over and over again what sort of activities there were, and the one she was most excited about was the petting zoo. I would've loved to spend more time there, for her sake, but it was hot, dusty, and smelly and Claire hated it. She was on meltdown mode by this point. Coryn was in heaven in the petting zoo. She seemed to spend the most time around the sheep, but they also had goats, donkeys, cows, llamas, and even a camel.
She was most excited for the petting zoo

they had a camel

but Coryn preferred the sheep
I was too preoccupied with Claire to get a picture of Coryn picking out her pumpkin or doing the "rubber duck" races. By that time we'd been there over two hours. We'd had a picnic lunch and all the fun we could ask for and there were still two activities left, the pig race and the hay ride, and Claire. . .oh poor Claire. She was fussing in my arms at every provocation and there were many. I personally could've skipped the pig races. For one thing the lady was trying to get the crowd warmed up and it was a little too loud for Claire. For another it was about fifteen seconds of race for five minutes of getting lined up and yelled at. . .I don't know what the point to this activity was. The pigs were cute, though.

Pig racing. . .must be a southern thing. 

Coryn was a little disappointed that the hayride was pulled by a tractor rather than a horse, but by that time I think she was tired even if she didn't admit to it, and it was nice to just sit for a bit. She did not want her picture taken. She scooted out of frame the first time, so I told her, fine, it would just be a picture of me and Claire. This reverse psychology actually seemed to work. . .or I thought it had until she made a pouty face right when the camera flashed. Shoot. A few minutes later, I glanced down and found Claire asleep in my arms, which was absolutely adorable. I wish I could've got a picture of that, but I couldn't get to my camera in my purse without waking her.

tired girls!

So that was our day. In the end we were ridiculously hot and sweaty and very much in need of a McDonald's or any other location that sells iced coffee. Thankfully Claire slept almost the entire way home. It was a pretty good time. 

Learning Opportunities

I think a lot of the reason people think they can't teach their own children is because they are intimidated, not by the prospect of teaching children their letters and numbers and basic phonetics, but by the organization and creativity of "real" teachers: the carefully designed work sheets with copyrighted artwork; the tidy classrooms with boxes of sharpened crayons; the bulletin boards with themed Learning Place boarders . . .I actually once saw a class devoted completely to classroom bulletin board design in a community college brochure.

In all honesty, I have a chip on my shoulder about these elements of education. A lot of people love and depend on these niceties, but they irk me. They just aren't me and they never will be me, and I have a hard time admitting to their value (If I were to give it some thought, I could probably make a list of "advantages" to all of the things I'm ranting about, but I don't want to and I won't). I was homeschooled, of course, but my mom is one of those people who likes niceties and in the beginning (the early grades) there were lots of Learning Place Boarders and new school supplies. She even went out of her way to buy actual school desks from a real school that was getting rid of some (I covered mine in Star Wars stickers and never found it particularly comfortable to sit at). I'm probably 90% of the reason she'd mostly given these things up by middle school, come to think of it. By that time, I had asserted that I liked to do my math and reading lying on my bed, sometimes listening to whatever I was into at the time (I went through both an NPR stage and a Rush Limbaugh stage, neither of which are particularly conducive to concentrating on algebra). I like freedom to learn my own way in my own place without any trimmings and trappings. That's the main reason I'm drawn away from traditional educational models.

My point? My point is that you don't need trappings and trimmings. That niceties are nice but not essential and you should never let your inability to design a pretty classroom space deter you from teaching when learning comes so naturally to young children. You just need to grab opportunities. Coryn and I used to go to the coffee shop and if we got bored I'd whip out small note pad I always carried in my purse and a pen and we'd do sight word games, counting games, and letter writing practice. With no planning whatsoever.

Today I decided out of nowhere that I wanted to teach her the difference between primary and secondary colors and so we made this simple "worksheet" out of a note pad page and some washable paint (we mixed our own secondary colors).

We put a drop of each primary color on the plate then I showed her what they mixed up to create and explained that these mixed up colors were "secondary" colors. 

I then made another page to work on reading color sight words. I got her to sound out as much as she could and then color in the circle when she figured out what the word said. 

More formal worksheets can be a lot of fun (and there are plenty available online for free if you look). My mom recently sent Coryn a set of workbooks and she's loving them. She gets really proud when she completes the pages. My main concern is that she moves through them so fast and (while I didn't ask how much they cost) they don't seem cheap. 

Here she is, proud of her book learning. 

When her daddy got home, we showed him her color work page. I asked her what the first set of colors (red, blue, and yellow) were and she said, "Primary!" She then smiled really big and said, "And now I know everything!"

So to reiterate: you don't need neat, artistic, professional grade materials to teach your children. Go ahead and make do! What matters is taking advantage of every moment as it presents itself. 

From Grandma With Love

Shared on the Peaceful Mom. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Autumn Preview: Posts to Come

I really should be going to bed now. Looking back over the last few days, I've broken three glasses. . .that's a lot. I'm not sure why, but it makes me suspect I'm not on top of my game and a big reason for this could be sleep deprivation. However, my husband has duty tonight and I'm just not thrilled about turning in without him. I hate duty. It's a mild hardship, I admit, having Matt away from home for a 24 hour period (and reachable by phone at that), nothing compared to a deployment or . . .oh, I don't know, serious problems that other women have with their husband, but I always wince a little inside when he comes home and says, "I have duty next week." It's especially bad on the weekends. I don't prefer to sleep alone.

The last few days have been eventful in an Autumny sort of way. I'm probably not going to go into depth tonight but here's a quick catalog of everything I plan to cover in upcoming posts about the week we just had:

I have been taking a lot of pictures lately, so these will probably be photo heavy posts. For now I'll leave you with one scenic picture I took of a butterfly at the fore-mentioned corn maze and the promise that I will get around to (hopefully) all of these posts, God willing and the creek don't rise or otherwise do whatever nonsense creeks do that prevents things from happening . . . dang creeks.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

The (Not so) Fascinating Life of Tabitha: Friendly Friday #7

The (Not so) Fascinating Life of Tabitha: Friendly Friday #7: Welcome to the ALL NEW Friendly Friday Social Media Hop.   It's Friday and that means it's time to GROW YOUR FOLLOWERS WITH THE FRIENDL...

Lots of ways to link your blog and other accounts!

Christmas Gifts: Pretty Penguins

I had some lofty goals about making more of my presents this year, but there are only so many hats my family members need and the stuffed toys, while adorable, aren't on most adults' Christmas lists. . .Fortunately, I have a niece young enough to appreciate toy animals, and for her I made this marching penguin family.

The baby is a larger version of this pattern, if you'd like to try and give it a go. The parents are another original pattern which I have yet to write down (sort of like my panda bear or fish; I have a  lot of pattern writing to do.). I'm hoping that they'll be lots of fun to play with. . .I know Coryn has already been begging for her own set.

If you are interested in acquiring your own penguin family, this smaller sized family is available in my Etsy shop:

 Check out my shop, Critters for Coryn.

Shared on the Peaceful Mom 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Moms

A long while ago (it seems like forever ago in baby land), I blogged about my excitement to introduce solids to my second daughter and my plans to make home made baby food.  Well, I didn't count on Claire the Contrarian. Claire does not eat solid food. Where Coryn was gobbling down jars of baby food from four months on, Claire turned up her nose at my avocado puree even at eight months and prefers a liquid diet. She mocked my mushed up carrots. She refused my home roasted and mashed sweet potatoes.

Her method of choice is to grab the spoon and hold on for dear life. If I somehow maintain control over the spoon she responds by turning her head away, mouth clamped shut. Airplane noses were a no go. Sometimes I could tickle her and get her mouth to open, but when I popped the food in she got mad.

So my carefully prepared baby food is in the freezer or thrown out. We've sort of moved on now. She's still not sleeping through the night and I think it has to do with her tummy emptying out too fast (Sometimes I can just give her a pacifier but most of the time she wants to nurse) and I after several failed attempt to introduce baby food I upgraded her to "finger foods." We had some luck with slices of bananas and tiny cheese cubes. I even broke down and got some Gerber Graduates. Coryn loved these things, but I was being all thrifty and natural with Claire . . .who apparently also really loves Gerber Graduates. I have to admit vanilla flavored puffs smell pretty dang good.

So she's making progress. Today she ate most of a banana, some cheese, a handful or two of "graduates" (banana flavored which is gross to me, but she loves them), and a bunch of brown rice, though with the rice it was hard to tell how much actually ended up inside of her. The dog was grateful. He's learned to wait patiently until the food drops because he gets in trouble when he takes it off her tray. 

Claire has this cute move she does when she gets really excited about her food. She'll fill her fists with whatever she's excited about it, hold her hands over her head, and shriek! She'll do this with other things she gets excited about too (including my hair, ouch), but it's especially cute in her highchair with her face covered in mashed banana.

Amanda’s Books and More

Monday, October 22, 2012

Marketing Research

This is a cat. It has nothing to do with the following post. It's just a cat.

I've mentioned before that I take a lot of consumer surveys about random products, advertising, shopping habits, things like that. It's a way to pass time and I get gift certificates and stuff out of it (I wouldn't advise it as a form of employment or even as supplemental income, but I'm one of those people who actually goes to the website at the bottom of the receipt and fills out a survey for the pitiful 5% off or whatever because I kind of like taking surveys.). As such, I am often amused at the way businesses are trying to get you to perceive them or to perceive yourself for using them. I laugh inwardly when clothing brands ask me if they "make me feel better about myself," or if I consider them a brand that "cares."

I personally find the idea of altruistic companies in general funny. It's not that I don't believe in companies giving to a cause. It's not that I don't think some of their causes are good. It's that I don't see that as the primary purpose of companies. Companies are there to make good business decisions and stay in business. This is how they benefit the world around them. This is how they benefit their employees and stock holders which in turn is how they benefit the economy and by default, eventually, me. That's just how it's supposed to work. That's what capitalism is about, not about whether or not I get ushy-gushy feelings when I purchase from them.

There are some "values" I appreciate in a company. I like honesty. I like to know that they are doing what they say they are doing (this especially goes for financial institutions). I like product labels to say what's inside and expect them to be correctly labeled. If I get a hint that a product does not deliver what it says it will, I stop using that product. That's buyers prerogative after all, and that's why it pays to be informed. I don't really expect a government agency to enforce transparency because I generally trust government bodies less than I trust businesses. Businesses are there to make money. Government bodies are there to protect their own power base, and to me a company that wants my business has a better incentive to remain transparent than a government that just wants me to let them continue what they are doing no questions asked because they're from the government and they're there to "help." After all, if I begin to distrust my bank there is always another bank. If I begin to distrust my government, I have a lot fewer options.

My most recent survey was about financial institutions and it was full of questions like, "Do I feel that this company is looking out for my best interests?" "Do I feel they are invested in helping me meet my financial goals?" "Do I feel they help me make smarter decisions?"

I uniformly answered no, not because I don't trust these particular institutions but because I don't feel that is their job to do these things. I don't feel a bank should attempt to educate me any more than a clothing company should give me an ego boost. It's my job to balance my check book. It's my job to spend wisely, pay off my bills monthly, make my own goals. Why would I expect a bank to do that? It's a bank's job to stay in business so I can continue to use my checking account, not to baby sit me through life.

Of course they are there to make a profit first and foremost. That's not a bad thing. I don't need to have them wrapped in other intentions, no matter how honorable or charitable those intentions may be. I want it to be in their best interest to provide me with the best service and products so that I don't drop them for another company so that they can continue to profit. That's just how it's supposed to work. It kind of falls apart when customers are worried about how a company makes them feel rather than the actual quality of products and services the company is providing. It's like companies are begging to be judged on their packaging rather than their content, and it bugs me that other consumers shop that way. It's so much style over substance. I'm not sure whether companies, through their advertising, are grooming us to shop that way because it is easier to be cool than to work for our money or if companies are responding to the way people shop and have to advertise this way just to be competitive in a society where a status symbol is often treated as a necessity.

Either way, I hope I can raise my kids to advocate for themselves rather than searching out a corporate babysitter or a governmental big brother to protect/educate/decide for them. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dawn's Disaster: Candle Swap

Dawn's Disaster: Candle Swap: Candle Swap 2012!  Brought to you by Dawn’s Disaster and Unorganized Chaos X3 What’s a candle swap?  Well, it is going to be the most fun...

I just found out about this through a link on another blog which linked me back to Dawn's Disasters. Doesn't this sound like a blast? Who doesn't love candles? (well, Jack Be Nimble, maybe. You should've jumped higher Jack.). I think I'm going to sign up. How about you?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stocking Up Etsy for Christmas

This year I'm going to make a sincere effort to have a full Etsy shop in time for Christmas orders. It isn't that I don't have the items made. It's that . . .well, it's mainly the pictures. I don't do photography. My camera is cheap because I am cheap and didn't want to spend too much on one. My settings aren't creative and I can never get the lighting right. I would much rather sell my stuff in person, but I haven't found any craft fairs or bazaars yet.

My critters are very tactile. I find that if I have a booth set up kids can't walk by without wanting to touch them and that leads to a sale about 50% of the time. On Etsy there is a lot of competition and if you are looking for a crocheted hat or toy, you'd have to wade through pages of similar listings before you get to mine. In person, my stuff comes across as original because most crochet divas stick to hats and scarves. I'm one of the few that makes stuffed animals her specialty.

Here is my latest creation:

My Panda

I want to post the pattern, but I didn't write it down as I went and I'm exactly sure on the head dimensions . . . yeah, it was one of those days where I was crocheting and watching CSI at the same time. That doesn't always end well. . .This is the panda that I had to start over because of Carlton's antics

But if you want your own Pablo Panda (I named him Pablo. I have no idea why, other than that it starts with P. . .He's not Latino, to my knowledge, but of course, I didn't ask.), you can purchase him on Etsy: Pablo the Palm-Sized Panda

I'm also going to post some turtle toys. Unlike the toys I've mentioned in previous posts (here and here) these are large sized.  I want to name them Yertle and Mac, but because that would probably tread on Dr. Suess's copyright, I'm leaning towards just sticking with T names, Travis and Taylor or Topper and Tipper maybe. Best turtle name? Dribble, of course, but again, I think its copyrighted. I wonder if I called it a "Tribute" I could get away with it. 

Linked on The Peaceful Mom.

" >Photobucket

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Liebster Award Tag Post

I consider myself a newbie to the world of blogging and any world that doesn't involve some sort of race of Halflings, for that matter (kids, Gnomes, Hobbits), but being a newbie makes every little mile stone so much more exciting, and such is my first nomination for a blog award. I copied the next few paragraphs about the Liebster Award from my Blogging Buddy, Krystal's blog Wildflowers 3. Check out her corner of the web and the other fine ladies she's nominated, 

The Liebster Blog Award is an award that is given by the blogging community to new up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.
**Here are the details on receiving this award**
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve nominated to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. No tag backs!

So, eleven things about me. . .
1. I consider myself to be above average intelligence but in ways that are weird and somewhat useless. I've mentioned my affinity for puzzle games and I've proven myself quicker at this sort of thing then other people whose intelligence I respect (my husband, for instance) as equal to greater than my own, but I'm easily flustered by simple manual tasks and things that involve "finesse." 
2. I'm kind of a book snob. I distrust any book that is "mainstream" or that people flaunt as being a "best seller." I have a lot more faith in things called "classic." Most of the books I enjoy are either written for children or are over 50 years old . There are a few exceptions here and there, but I figure there are enough good books out there that I don't need to get caught up in the latest book fad. If the book is still considered "good" after the hype has settled down, then sure, I might give it a go. 
3. I love my cheesy Star Trek. My first real television crush was Robert Duncan McNeil as Lt. Tom Paris on Voyager. I consider that my "secondary  type" where men are concerned, bad boy with the heart of gold and handsome, boy next door looks (Dr. Chase from House is another example of this). 
4. My "type" is actually tall, dark, and grim; originally modeled after Aragorn son of Arathorn (and by that I do not mean Viggo Mortensen; I had a crush on Aragorn long before Peter Jackson had that casting call).
5. I'm a rambler. 
6. I am a quoter, movies, books, tv shows. . .a lot of times I have to resist throwing references that no one else will get into a conversation, be it Psych or Star Trek or Lord of the Rings.  
7. I'm really very stubborn and like to do things my own, weird way. I can't remember the last time I sincerely sought advice from another human being. I can remember a few times where I complained and people offered advice that I probably should've taken, but I didn't particularly want advice. 
8. Like Jess from New Girl, I sing about everything. . .but probably shouldn't. 
9. I care a lot more than I should about people on the internet thinking I'm clever. 
10. I have been a barista and I still make fancy coffees with my espresso maker. 
11. My favorite authors are (from best to third place): J R R Tolkien, Kate Di Camillo, and Fyodor Dostoevsky .

That was eleven things! Yay! 

Now I have to answer Krystal's questions:

1. What's your biggest pet peeve I'm really hard to annoy. It's one of the reasons my husband, who loves to annoy people for fun, and I get along so well. Things don't bug me, even when they should. Text speak, I guess. Does it really save that much time?
2. Name 3 artists currently in your car CD player? Or last 3 music artists you purchased from. Well, huh. . .I'm actually not that into music. The last three artists I purchased were Ella Fitzgerald, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Phil Collins all because I had free amazon music credits to use. 
3. If you could only eat 1 meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? I love pizza but it has to be fairly plain, not a meat lovers or covered in ridiculous vegetables. It's a pizza, not a salad, people. 
4. What is your favorite line from a movie? Huh, hard one. . .I'm more of a TV show than a movie quoter right now. I think, though, the answer might be the repeated exchange of "Get it? Got it. Good." from The Court Jester. I also love to say, "What's in the box?" with the inflection Katherine Hepburn uses in Bringing Up Baby. 
5. Congratulations, you just won a billion dollars. What's your first purchase? This question would actually be easier if it were a hundred dollars. I want a fedora to go with my spy costume but that seems like too small a purchase to break a billion dollar bill on. . .we do have a mortgage to pay off and I have wanted a pet fox for awhile and those cost a few thousand. . .
6. What's your astrology sign? Capricorn, I'm pretty sure, but I'm just proof of how those things don't mean anything. The description for Capricorn, the time I looked it up, was laughably NOT me. 
7. Let's say hypothetically, you're an actor. What character role would you play in any movie? I always thought I'd be an amazing Helena from A Midsummer's Nights Dream. I also used to have a major affinity for Eowyn, but I don't think I could do justice for that character and I actually really like Miranda Otto. . .it's one of the pieces of casting for the Lord of the Rings that I didn't have at least some issue with.  Also, if an option, I'd just be any cat. I'd love to do a motion capture type role where I get to be turned into a cat on screen. 
8. What song would you pick to be the theme song of your life? Chris Rice's Everything's Okay. Most people will have never heard it, so here's a link to youtube.
9. According to your closest family and friends what's your signature/ trade mark (something that you're known for) Answering the phone in a weird voice. I started doing this because  my sister, my mom, and I have similar voices and the guessing game of people saying, "Tawny? Robin?" was annoying. Also, I make a lot of weird Geek references no one gets and always have yarn with me. 
10. what's your most treasured item? (nonliving) My entire book collection, especially my leather bound single volume Lord of the Rings. 
11. What's the best way to embarrass you? I don't get embarrassed by other people, only by my own mistakes. You could remind me of some of them, I guess. 

Now I need to come up with questions. Let the madness ensue! 
1. Is there a word that you can't seem to spell right no matter how hard to you try and what do you do to avoid having to spell it?
2. Is there a word that it really bugs you if you see someone else misspell it and do you point it out to them?
3. Do you like to play games? Computer or board or mental?
4. It's a death match: do you choose a battle of wits? A game of sport? Or and out and out dual? 
5. Favorite literary hero/heroine and how are you like them?
6. Favorite snack (keeping in mind that fruit and dried fruit are not snacks. ..sorry, Psych quote; couldn't resist).
7. Name three things within arms reach you would use to survive on a desert island. No, you have no internet connection or cell phone service so your laptop is basically a boat anchor at this point.
8. You are no longer human: choose an alien race, fantasy creature, or animal to be instead. 
9. Why do you blog? Is it a compulsion, a pleasure, or a calling?
10. Name your top ten sources of entertainment (possibly, favorite books or television shows, games, and mindless activities).
11. Do you prefer your stories to have hidden meanings and allegories or to just be straight out stories?

I'm supposed to nominate/tag eleven bloggers but the bloggers have to have less than 200 followers, and I'm not sure I'll be able to come up with that many. 

I'm tagging/Nominating 
Lydia at Not Afraid of the Snow, a great blog for crafting and home making.
Lisa at Ladybug Farms, check out her latest post about waiting.  . .for a baby giraffe among other things.
Liz at Howling at the Moon (okay, seriously, what's with all the L names. . .I swear, I'm not doing this on purpose.  . .) her most recent post has an adorable stuffed elephant and I envy her sewing skills.
Christina at Amanda's Books and More, who is always hosting awesome blog hops!
Lori at Be Not Weary, a wonderful, often thought provoking devotional blog.
Natalie at A Happy Hobbit Home because she has a Hobbit Home!

I may come back and tag some more people later, but these are my top picks. I hope they all have a chance to post and answer my questions!

Psych - Imgur

Psych - Imgur

I thought I'd share this link today because it involves the cast of my absolute favorite TV show and they're doing something special for someone with an illness. Apparently this young man has Leukemia and wanted to meet the cast of Psych. They shared these pictures online. I love Psych!

Nothing is going to get done

I'm having a bad day. I know it is all internal. Some of it may even be mental, but mostly I just can't seem to move through the wave of hormones that are making me achy and giving me weird hot flashes. I think my body is trying to regain equilibrium after the pregnancy. I managed to stay in bed for the longest time this morning. Claire was awake but she's got a pacifier addiction that kept her happy in her crib. Coryn was up playing computer games. I just lay there and tried to get back to sleep in spite of my head ache. I got up but didn't do much more than mope about in a sweat shirt, intentionally overheating myself (one of the few things that seems to improve these hormone mopes. I usually do a hot shower, but with Claire needing me I used the "bundled up" method.) . . .oh and vacuum the computer room floor because Caen had dropped half of his coat on it and Claire was picking it up.

When Claire went down for a nap at noon I got myself dressed, cleaned up the kitchen, and swept, but I'm not sure what else is getting done today. Today is mopping day, the day I'm supposed to do an extra good job on the floor. Due to Caen's presence, this is a very important task. I wish I could just vacuum Caen, but he's terrified of the vacuum. If I use the hose attachment he bites it. If I just push it around, he sits there and barks at it. If I'm in a good mood I push it towards him and say, "Exterminate! Exterminate!" That really gets him wound up.

Exterminate! Exterminate pet hair!
I thought about getting a roomba, but apparently they don't handle pet hair well which in my book makes them pretty much useless.

Claire also fears the vacuum. If she hears it going she freaks out, so I have to make sure she's secure before I start. I hate vacuuming but with Caen around, I'm probably going to have to do it more often. Hopefully Claire can recover.

I haven't had  a lot to say lately. I've been playing a lot of Nancy Drew and the Haunting of Castle Malloy which was part of the 5 pack of Nancy Drew games I got awhile back at Sam's Club. It's awesome! There was a puzzle/task to sheer sheep with a sheep sheering machine where you have to his a bunch of buttons to get certain sheep cuts. Coryn, who likes to watch me play, helped me pick which buttons to push and the result was a fluffy sheep with purple bows. She started giggling uncontrollably which of course made me giggle too. I'm also messing with an idea for a vest for Coryn. I kept trying different garment patterns but I wasn't liking the results so now I'm just winging it. Usually I end up making doll clothes when this happens, so we'll see how this ends up. Some of her favorite dress up clothes are crochet projects that simply aren't good enough to wear out of the house.

Well, that's it for now.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"Joys" of Pet Ownership

Ah, the joys of pet ownership. . .

Normally when I complain about our "pets" I mean my husband's dog, who is a good dog, but he's also a walking pile of fur, chews on random stuff, and thinks he's a lap dog even though he is already almost twice the size of my four-year-old.

However, sometimes, I have to admit that, as perfect as I want to say my little angel is, Carlton Lassi-Cat is a bundle of trouble in his own right.
Hello, Carlton Lassicat, Chief Cat Detective of the SBPD
But, no, as much as I love him, Carlton isn't perfect. Yes, he's the only cat who has ever slept on my bed without costing me the majority of my night's sleep, but he does sometimes sit directly on my neck and purr way too loudly forcing me to evict him. So far he hasn't learned that trick that a lot my past cats did where they roll onto their back begging you to stroke their belly then bite your fingers when you actually do, but he does occasionally play too rough and I have scratches to prove it. He's very patient with Coryn and lets her treat him like a doll (actually, if anything, he's a bit of a pushover and could benefit from standing up for himself more). . .etc.

What is most annoying, however, is his fascination with yarn.

You may say, well, what do you expect? He's a cat. Cat with yarn is trope (I have decided I don't use "trope" enough. I'm going to use it more and more and more until trope has become trope! Mu ha ha ha!). Yes, but I am a crocheter and when I'm attempting to crochet, he's drawn to me no matter how subtle I think I'm being. Soon he's sleeping on top of the project I'm working on and if I dare to let the strands of yarn move, he attacks. If I leave yarn in reach, he goes for it.

Last night, I was working on a panda. I've never made a panda before, though I have done a panda hat (here on the facebook page). I had it almost finished. . .well, I'd done all of the head and body, anyway. I was working on it while waiting for Matt to come to bed and put it down just needing to be stuffed and sewn up next to the bed (I still needed to make his limbs), and in the morning I woke up to find my panda was stretched out, completely unraveled, out the bedroom door, down the hall into the living room, through the dining area, tangled about the table legs, around the corner into the kitchen, through the kitchen and back into the bedroom. There, for whatever reason, Carlton had chosen to stop. All that was left was the head and it looked pretty ratty, like the cat had dragged it in, actually.

poor panda
The good news is, I hadn't been completely happy with the placement of the ears and Matt told me the nose was more dog like than bear like, and I wanted to rework all that, so I guess starting over is okay. Still, that was at least an hour's work down the drain, and . . .ugh.. .well, cats will be cats, even if they are perfect like Carlton. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Easy Masquerade Masks

Everything is better with a secret identity! 

It's costume time! The one time of year it is acceptable to dress up in public, ah, and how I relish it. I know that Halloween is controversial in some Christian circles and I've discussed my opinion on that  in this post, so if you'd like my take on that, please click and read. However, masks are not just Halloween. I personally wish there were year round Masquerade Balls, but I guess I'll just have to be satisfied with Renn-Faires and SciFi conventions. 

Also, you can't be a superhero without a mask (Superman, you really need to update your look). 
The other day Coryn got some used ballet "equipment" (a leotard, a skirt, and some tights) from her grandma (it used to be her aunt's) and was so excited that after we opened the package she slipped them on over her pajamas (that must've been toasty). She was having a grand old time just being a ballerina, but I was bored so I made her a quick mask out of some felt I had left over from fixing her shoes (see this post here). She looked awesome, and Captain Ballerina was born. 

So the next day when we were at Wal-Mart I hit the craft section and came away with the supplies needed to make these:

I made the black one. Coryn's is, of course, pink and sparkly. 

Here's everything it took to make them: some craft foam (I got the five dollar pack. They had single sheets for sell and smaller packs as well), some glue, some glitter glue, some "gems," and scissors. I cut out a pattern in paper first to trace onto the craft foam before I cut out the masks and then Coryn and I decorated. You could do this with all sorts of materials: feathers, stickers, puffy paint, glitter, ribbon, beads and buttons and bows (breaks out singing in the style of Bob Hope). I still have to attach some elastic to them for a strap, but I'm pretty happy with how they look. Captain Ballerina and the Mominator, to the rescue!

Amanda’s Books and More

Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

gifts-a ramble

My husband hates gift giving and receiving. I guess you could say it isn't his "love language." I'm honestly stumped as to what his love language might be. For anyone who has taken a class involving the love languages, they are:

Gifts (giving and receiving)
Words of encouragement
Physical affection
Quality time
Acts of service. . .

I may be forgetting one and if so that one is probably Matt's. There are two sides to the love languages, what you like to do for other people and what you like to receive. For instance, my expressive love language is probably gifts first. I love giving people gifts. I also love receiving gifts, but I would rather have someone say nice things about me (words of encouragement) than give me a gift and while I try to be encouraging, I'm not great at it with anyone outside of my close circle. Matt makes a big show of not needing or wanting all of the above in some way or another. If I were to take a wild stab at it, I'd say his is probably acts of service, which is probably the one I'm the worst at, so that's probably why I haven't noticed. . .and he HATES to give gifts. He has two settings as a gift giver:
A. Whoops, I forgot to order her something and her birthday is in two days. I better go to her Amazon.com wishlist, grab the top two items, and hope they get here in time.
B. Expensive (by which I mean non-costume) jewelry.

Not that I mind the expensive jewelry, but it doesn't usually feel that personal (even though he has good eye for stuff that meets my personal style without being "tacky." I admit my style is . . .off kilter. I have a friend whose husband once described her style as "cowboy Hobbit." I wish I could think of a cool name for my style, but as I may have mentioned before, I think Cats is a valid theme to decorate with, so I could probably use a style intervention in other ways as well).

So, Matt dislikes buying presents and I can often tell that his presents are last minute (he's one of those guys in line at Wal-Mart on Mother's Day with a bouquet of flowers and some random DVD he thought I might like), and because of this I appreciate whatever effort he puts into gifts . . .like the other day when he brought me home the above pictured flowers for no particular reason, I was thrilled even though he included a card that said, "To my nephew" with it because all the cards for wives were "too sentimental." Apparently no one ever told him about blank cards.

The best gift Matt ever got me was probably my espresso machine. . . definitely my espresso machine. It means something to me because he listened about it. It was sometime in November and I mentioned that I really wanted one and came straight out and said, "That's something you could get me for Christmas." Yeah, I knew what I was getting that year, but I knew that he was paying attention and that's more meaningful than a surprise.

I did the same thing a couple of Mother's Days ago with a brand of perfume that I felt was too expensive to buy for myself. I tried a sample of it a few weeks before the "big day" and then told Matt, being less direct than I was with the espresso machine, that I really liked it but it would have to be a gift because it was too expensive for me to justify buying. Luckily, he's smart and got that one.

I have a hard time buying gifts for my husband because he won't tell me what he wants and buys whatever he wants for himself . . . like the year he ordered himself a kindle two weeks before Christmas. Really? You couldn't have asked for it for Christmas and waited the two weeks? Of course, the one holiday (his birthday two years ago) that I didn't get him a gift (long story involving an order getting lost by the merchant I was dealing with) has also been brought up again and again and again.

So anyway, this was sort of just a ramble, so I thought I'd end it with some random things. First off, here is a screen shot I took of a survey question I was asked the other day:

If you can't read that it says, "Just to check, do you, yourself, use toilet paper?" Omgosh. . .I don't know what is worse, the question or the fact that they feel they have to ask it (it was a survey on what brands of toilet paper you buy most frequently).

Also, to white wash any bad images that survey question may have planted in your brain, here is some absolute cuteness:

Claire taking a rest underneath her saucer seat.

Coryn getting some loving from Carlton, her best buddy. 

Yay! Penguins! I'm making a large sized set of penguins for my niece for Christmas. I'll post pictures of them when I'm done.