Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Great Things

I was going to call this "Good Things" but then I rethought the title, because I realised that Martha Stewart probably owns that phrase, and the last thing I need is to get sued by her. I mean, the woman is impossibly well-organised, whereas I would be lucky to even remember to show up for the court date, let alone bring along my list of paltry excuses ("blonde", "4 children", "kicked in the head one (or two) too many times". . .) So I decided to one-up her instead. Take that, Marfa.

In light of the fact that I've not written a blog entry for over a month, I thought of making an excuse list for that as well ("homeschooling", "holiday season", "4 children", "writing like a madwoman", um. . . "blonde". . .)

And then I realised that your time would be more profitably spent elsewhere, so here are some yummy links for you:

a fantastic book, called "Homespun Gifts from the Heart"

another stupendous book called Making Doll's House Miniatures From Polymer Clay

and, er, Google. (OK, I admit it. It was a trick to get you to look at those beautiful graphics and listen to that beautiful music.)

We've been having way too much fun watching (and re-watching) Iron Man, reading good books, and working on holiday projects, some of which I may someday get organised enough to show you. In the meantime, I believe that Martha Stewart has a website you can go to that probably has real, fake pictures of impossibly neat children wearing impossibly clean clothing, capering around an impossibly beautifully decorated tree before eating their artistically sculpted yule log cake, decorated with real $600 truffles. And that can only be a Good -- well, you know.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Frugal Foody

As a household administrator (doesn't that sound snotty?), I've always found rising to challenges exhilarating. Yeah it can suck, too, when you see something you want or *need*, but there's something about not letting things get you down, not being beaten, that feels good.

This month's challenges include finding a way to go Organic and Non-GMO in a frugal way, and doing my best to handcraft as many gifts as I can for the holidays.

I was concerned about the expense of Organics, but I think there's a way to do it frugally. It will just take more work. MuNKi called this morning to say there was a rumour floating around at work that there is a possibility they won't be paid for the Christmas break. Which would be sucky. He thinks it may not affect the salaried employees, though (like himself.) Either way, if I plan ahead, we'll get through. I'm going to buy some bulk stuff from the co-op: oatmeal, beans, etc. We just ordered a bunch of flour from King Arthur when they had a free shipping deal, and I still have a ton of bulghur wheat, too. And I'm looking for a source for rice in even greater bulk than we already buy. So this week and the next will be devoted to finding some great recipes that stretch the food budget and maximize low cost ingredients. Feel free to share recipes and resources. I'll try to post some as I discover them. :)

I've decided to take my kitties off their conventional meds (one has a thyroid condition and another has athsma) and go homeopathic. Hey, if it's good enough for me, why not them? And bypassing the side-effects of the meds is a bonus, not to mention the cost difference. I should have thought of this ages ago, as homeopathics are what finally cured Emmett's UTI after 2 failed courses of traditional meds a year or 2 ago.

It's important, too, at this time to count my blessings. MuNKi still has a job, which is BIG! Today I'm making another batch of soap, and know that there are people at the co-op waiting to buy it. And the weather has been warm, so that keeping the thermostat at 61 just hasn't been a big deal. Yay! :)

But back to the food. Here's a yummy looking recipe for starters. My sis and I both had a thing about lentils leftover from our childhood, but we're challenging each other to make the yummiest and cheapest daal. This is going to be fun. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Loving the Lapbooks

I found the coolest site for some already put together lapbooking packs. It's called In the Hands of a Child. They're having a sale on each of their All American Lapbook Packs this month, and just by mentioning that in my blog, I earn a $5 coupon. Woo hoo! They also have quarterly freebies (this quarter's is Thomas Alva Edison - cool!) I love that you can buy the packs in eFormat and print them out right away on whatever paper you like.

Our Election and Ancient Egypt lapbooks are coming right along. We're planning a trip to the DIA on Friday with some other hsers. Planned activities include, but are not limited to:

~Tour of Ancient Egypt displays (BYOBoD -- Bring Your Own Book of the Dead)

~ Modern Art Mocking Competition (extra points to those whose kids sketch something better in 3 mins or less -- OK so everyone will get those by default. Extra, extra points if you can stick it to the wall when the docents aren't looking.)

~Find the "Dumbledore Stairs" Before the Youngest Ones Can Ask About Their Location for the 5,000th Time Race

~Lie On Your Back and Stare at the Beautiful Ceiling Event (bonus points to those who remain unembarrassed by gawking passersby)

~Translate the Latin on the Walls near the Diego Rivera Murals Race

And here's how the lapbooks are looking these days:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

True Confessions

Things that will make me seem like even more of a dorky geek than I already do:

~Driving the Saturn (low to the ground, manual transmission) makes me feel a little bit like James Bond.

~Monday night classes are becoming shaven-headed dad night again. Yummy! I have to concentrate on teaching and not let my eyes wander. ^_^ Fortunately for me, the class usually consists of about 18 kids with the attention span of squirrels on speed, so I don't have to try too hard.

~When I go to a movie (pretty seldom) I always stay to the end of the credits so I won't miss anything tagged onto the end.

~I'm at the point in knitting where I'm cocky enough to think I could tackle complex stuff, since I don't yet know enough about the things I don't know to be afraid of them. (Does that make any sense?)

~I've been putting off buying the kids' new math books because there were other things to buy that were more exciting. Fortunately, no one's really run out of math yet anyway.

~I've been putting off blogging cuz I'm too lazy to upload the pics I've been taking.

~I've been working on the novel a lot more. Some of the things that end up happening still surprise me.

~I want to see Wanted *blush*

~I also want to see Nights in Rodanthe and (maybe) Four Christmases. How eclectic is that?

~And last, but not least, I'm heartily ashamed to admit that for the last 29 years I've thought that that was Eisenhower on the dime, and I wondered why he got to be on two coins. :-P

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Photographic Dysentery

Quilt top for MIL:

DIY SuperPeople:


Bird Woman

"The Fringe"

"The Human Chrysalis"


Close Encounters:

Feeling Wild:

Major Milestone:

Close Encounters Deux:


Feeling Crafty:

Global Inferno:
Obscenely Crafty:


Nom nom:

Nom nom nom:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I think this Completely Serious Voting PSA pretty much sums it all up:

Additionally, one of our newest citizens had something extremely worthwhile to say on the subject of voting. I hope you can find the time to watch it all. Seriously.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Disappearing Nine Patch

"Beware the Jabberwock my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!"

~Jabberwocky, Lewis Carroll


OK, so what really happens is that you take your boring nine patch squares:

and whack them into fourths like this:

and then turn them however you like:

And then sew them back together. I was a little boggled by my lack of squares after reassembly until I remembered that I was turning blocks of nine into blocks of four. Duh.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Day of No Pics

~I'm working on a disappearing nine patch quilt for a friend's baby.

~I'm reading one of Kevin J. Anderson's new books for review and have another of his coming to me in the mail. Yay! He's a great writer, and dorky as it may be, I feel a little bit of a connection cuz he and MuNKi were friends in high school. I know that's weird. *shrug*

~One of my friends got to touch the Stanley Cup the other day. I think he may have licked it. I certainly would have. And then his sister went to visit it last night. I would like to go visit it it, too. Or at least some of those sweaty hockey players. ;-)

~I saved a snake from the neighbour cat a couple of days ago. Neither of them were too thrilled about that. Well, I think the snake may have been in the long run. I don't think I've ever been struck at by a snake before.

~And then I found a dead mole. This was the day after reading a blog from Somerset England (which I found by doing a search on quilt squares) which had a pic of a dead mole that the woman's cats had left in the yard. And then Mollusc came downstairs and told me she'd dreamed about finding a dead mole in the yard, so I told her about it. She dreams about stuff that's going to happen all the time.

~I think we're going to the beach today. Everyone else is in school. ^_^

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tempus Fugit

(more about this at the bottom)

So life has been crazy busy as usual. Yesterday I took some of my soaps (the few cured ones that remained) to the co-op to sell. We'll see how that went. (I got to just leave them there with their info sheets.) I plan to Etsy the soaps, too. But I need to make bigger batches!

I've also been surfing curriculum. O. M. G. there is SO MUCH good stuff out there. Topping my WANT list are Latin Copybooks, Song School Latin, and Cambridge Latin, as well as these classical reading and writing Early Modern History copybooks (That would be Fishy's. There are more advanced ones for the bigs, and I was able to download and print the free one for the Prawn.)

And what homeschooler's life could possibly be complete without THIS BEAUTY? Invention truly is the mother of necessity with the Bind-it-All.

I also have to order new Math-U-See books for almost everyone, but Sluggie's the only one ready for hers yet. Mollusc and Fishy still have a number of lessons to finish up in their current books, and Prawn had the old 1st through 3rd grade book and is about half-way through.

In my searches, I found this incredible lapbooking site (they also have a great notebooking section if you do that.) We're working on the Ancient Egypt lapbook right now to go along with our Ancient History class. I also printed out two different Election process lapbooks that we'll prbably begin next week.

And finally, (hsingwise) I have been using this fantastic review site. Linky-o-rama, and great reviews, too. Actually, the reviews are just one facet of the site.

In other news, I have joined 2 quilt square swaps at Amitymama. We're doing the 8 Sabbats and there was enough interest for 2 swaps. I got Lughnassadh in one (Fall harvest holiday) and Yule in the other. Whee! :) Each of us will do 8 identical squares representing what the holiday means to us, and then send them to the co-ordinater, who will make 8 sets of everything and mail them back. I'll get 2 quilt's worth, since I'm in both. :-)

I'm still cooking up my own Wheel of the Year quilt, but each holiday is so inspiring that I was having trouble confining it to just one wedge of my wheel, so I decided to also do individual hangings for each Sabbat. I started with Samhain (Hallowe'en) because that's what I was inspired to do. I never used to be a great fan of Hallowe'en until I learned more about the real origins and meanings. Things sure do change over time. :-P I didn't even think about measuring when I was whacking off the extra at the edges to bind this (I guess I was in kind of a fog by then), so it's actually a bit lopsided. Mollusc has been making some great symbols of Samhain from Sculpey, though, and I'm going to hang them from the lower left corner on varying lengths of ribbons to help balance things out. I love how it turned out, and my fave part is the printing. If you iron fabric to the shiny side of freezer paper, you can run it through your printer! :-) I'm in love with the Celtic Knot font I found.