Tuesday, October 31, 2006

And now for some shameless begging...

I discovered that Kailani is having a Halloween costume contest and decided to throw my kids into the ring. So if you think my kids' costumes are adorable, swing on over to her site and leave a comment voting for me for cutest kid's costume (or scariest kid's costume, depending on your reaction to my photos).

Just scroll down one post to see the pictures. And send all your friends to vote for them, too.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Adventures in trick-or-treating

Thursday night we had trick-or-treating in our town. So at 6 p.m. we loaded up our boys in the van and drove to another neighborhood. See, we live on a pretty rural street and no one trick-or-treats here. It was a pretty chilly night, so there was a little complaining about that, but otherwise everyone had a lot of fun. The baby had to take every piece of candy back out of his bag and look at it. And my 7 year old, who had no costume ideas that morning, wowed everyone in his rapidly-homemade disguise. So without further ado, the pictures!

My 10 year old was an alien for, like, the fourth year in a row.

My four year old dressed up as a soccer player, complete with shin guards.

And here's the seven year old, as a red Lego brick! He just loved it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I have an awesome husband!

Hubby just bought us cruise tickets! A five day cruise after Thanksgiving, just me and him! Now that's my idea of paradise!

Friday, October 27, 2006

SPF - Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This time last year, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, so raising awareness is something important to me personally. She is fine now, by the way. But it has made me aware that breast cancer can strike anyone. So in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Kristine has chosen some somewhat related topics. Sort of.

Your pot holders The previous owners of this house were nice enough to leave lots of nails in the walls. I use this one to hold my pot holders. So I guess it's my pot holder holder.

Your pumpkins

These are the pumpkins we got at a local farm last week. And the cat is my neighbor's cat, who seems to think we belong to him. His name? Pumpkin, of course!

Something pink

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find something pink in a house full of boys? I finally stumbled upon this: strawberry Nesquik. Does anyone know why this is found in the Mexican food section of the grocery store?

So, there you have it. Did you play?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Today's local calendar

Ever since we moved to PA, we've noticed that their calendar doesn't quite sync up with everyone else's. When I was a kid, school started the day after Labor Day. Here, it's about two weeks earlier. Thanksgiving holidays include the Monday and Tuesday after. Why? It's the start of hunting season, of course! And Halloween hardly ever falls on Halloween.

The reason I mention this is that tonight is trick-or-treat night. It's very regulated here. It's from 6-8 p.m. and you can only go to houses that have the porch light on. That is so foreign to what it was like when I was little. We'd start out around 6, but we wouldn't stop until we hit every house in the neighborhood (our street was a loop), and we went to every. single. door. Oh, and we did all this on the actual 31st of the month.

So I will be cruising a few different websites trying to find a costume my 7 year old can live with. He's having trouble deciding what he wants to be. As long as it doesn't involve sewing, I should be able to come up with something. And don't worry, there will be pictures!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

WBW - Boo!

Less than a week to go before Halloween, and Kami, via TKW, has asked to see our costumes of the past. I think we've done this before. Shh, don't say anything.

This is me as a bellydancer, circa 1983. The costume is actually a pair of pajamas, with a red t-shirt underneath because it was cold outside. And of course a mask, because someone might recognize me otherwise.

And this is 1988, my freshman year of college. I am wearing an Indian princess costume which my mom made, because she's awesome like that. You can't see my mocassin boots, but I actually wore those in everyday life - part of my "dress like the Monkees" phase.

Ah, there are the aforementioned mocassin boots! They worked equally well for my hippie costume the next Halloween, didn't they? What's that by my elbow? An Apple IIc! I was on top of technology, I tell ya!

So, did you play?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pics from Saturday

I meant to post these yesterday, but things got busy, and then I got a migraine that lasted well into this morning. So, here are some photos from Saturday!

The boys were very impressed with this giant tire!

Noah had fun organizing everyone's drinks.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Boys and their toys

Blogger took so long to load up, I can't remember what I was going to write about. Hmm...

Oh, yeah! The weekend. The company Hubby works for makes very large machinery and on Saturday they had their family day. This is something they do every three years, when they invite all employees and their families to come see a demo of the big machines and supply lots of food, drinks, and balloon animals for the kids.

Well, I probably don't need to tell you that four boys plus large machinery equals big fun! They were so excited they didn't even want to eat - and that's really saying something! They ran from cab to cab, climbing in and turning the steering wheel and honking the horn. (Everybody was honking horns - I really wish they'd disconnect them before letting people get in. It was like being in a really big traffic jam for three hours). They were in a boy's idea of heaven.

Then some of the machines were actually driven around and demonstrated. Even the 22-month-old was captivated! And Hubby was in his glory, explaining the capabilities of each machine as it drove out and circled around.

The only bad part of the day was when my seven year old's balloon sword popped, right after his balloon hat had popped. The balloon guy had already shut down for the day, and my poor son was devastated. What is it about children's brains that can never retain the information that balloons pop? Oh, well.

Anyway, after my camera battery charges, I'll be back with some pictures from Saturday! Have a good Monday!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

THE END is here!

For anyone who's been reading A Series of Unfortunate Events, do you have The End yet? We got it at Sam's Club on Wednesday and I'm reading it out loud to the boys. We're on chapter six. I just love the way these books are written, and they're so educational for being fiction. If your kids haven't read them, I really recommend them. And if they have, go get the final book, The End. I don't know how The End will end, but I liked the beginning of The End, so the end of The End will probably be good, too.

Friday, October 20, 2006

SPF - ...and the kitchen sink.

Kristine's taking it easy on us this week. Which is good, because I need an easy week.

1. The Kitchen Sink Some of you might remember that I have two kitchens. (But not three, which apparently all the newer apartments have (reference to last night's The Office)). This is the clean(er) kitchen sink, the one in the upstairs kitchen.

2. Something you need to fix. This is my old Floormate. I have expounded before on the virtues of the Floormate - cleans any hard floor, vacuums, wet scrubs and squeegees. It's wonderful. When this one broke, it only cost a little more to buy a new one than to fix this one. But I'd love to get this one fixed and have one for each floor.

3. Something you're going to throw away right after you take the picture of it.

Last night's coffee grounds. Must make fresh coffee. Now.

Happy SPF! Did you play?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

And yet there have been no arrests

Someone is trying to kill Jerry Springer. It may be a conspiracy, I'm not quite sure.

Week after week, we have watched him dance the samba, the waltz, the paso doble. Week after week, he is clearly falling apart. And yet he keeps coming back. This week he was barely able to dance. Next week he has to do TWO dances. Are they insane? I don't know how old he is, but I do know he's too old for a serious dance competition. He's not going to win, so why do people keep voting for him?

Let the poor man go home. Or his epitaph may read, "His fans killed him."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Maybe the giant eagles from Lord of the Rings...

I was teaching my Knights and Castles class yesterday and I was telling the kids about the pages, who would have been their age (7). They had to learn all sorts of things to prepare them for becoming knights. One of the things they learned was how to care for the hawks and falcons used for hunting.

"Now, what kind of animal do you think a falcon would hunt?" I asked.

Immediately, a little boy right in front of me leaped out his chair, positive he knew the answer. "Elephants!"

I hope I didn't insult him too much by literally doubling over laughing.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The cat's away... again

Hubby left this morning for his third trip to Wisconsin in the last four weeks. I really hate it when he has to go away. But I try to make the best of the situation. Here is my list of things I can do when he's not here that I normally wouldn't do if he were:
  • Sleep in. By that I mean that I get up whenever the baby gets up, instead of when Hubby is standing by the bed saying, "Do you want a shower this morning?" I don't mean that I stay in bed until 9 a.m. or anything.
  • Cook seafood. Hubby just doesn't like it. All the kids love it, especially salmon. So if I have any, I usually wait until he's away before I cook it.
  • Sleep with the cat. Although last night, the neighbor's cat slept in our bed (long story), normally Hubby doesn't want even our cat in the bed. But kitty loves me and wants to sleep with me, so I let him when Hubby's not here.
  • Watch DVDs he doesn't enjoy as much as I do. If I put in a Lord of the Rings movie, I get much sighing and moaning. The same goes for many of the movies we have. This also applies to certain television series.
  • Have trouble falling asleep. I will often stay up until 1 or 1:30 because it's just not the same without him here.
Love you, honey! See you Thursday!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fun in the mountains

On Saturday, we went on a trip with Hubby's brothers and sister, his aunt, and some friends to the Skyline Drive in Virginia. His family makes this trip every year, but this is the first time Hubby and I have gone along.

Here's everyone crammed into the back of a 15-passenger van. There were only 13 of us, so the van's not even full!

Here are the boys posing in front of a scenic view. Joshua had to make a goofy face, of course!

And here's me in front of, um, another scenic view. We all climbed up on top of this tunnel. Actually, some of us stopped on top of the tunnel, and the rest went on up the mountain. Guess which one I did. Here's the view from on top of the tunnel. There's the van we all traveled in. And here's one of the little friends we met along the way. We saw over 40 of these guys before the day was out.

All in all a very fun if exhausting time was had by all.

Friday, October 13, 2006

SPF - Seasons change

First let me wish my cousin Amy a happy 40th birthday. I cannot for the life of me figure out how she got to be 40 already. But she is one of the coolest people I know and I hope she has a great day!

Kristine's assignment for this lovely fall day is as follows:

1. Show me your season changing. I know it's finally fall when we light the coal stove. This is some of the coal we will be using shortly. It was actually cold enough last night we could've used the heat, but I already told Hubby not to bother lighting the thing until he gets back from his business trip next Thursday. The stove and I have a rather tempestuous history.

2. Show me the beauty of where you call home.The most beautiful thing about home for me is that I can relax and just be me. Which is not to say I'm not me when I go somewhere else, but just that I can't 100% totally relax anywhere else. For example, white socks with black pants. I didn't even think about that when I got dressed because, hey, I'm at home!

3. Your favorite part of the weather changing.

Watching that red bar drop below 80 (or 24 for my Celsius-minded readers). As long as it's over 80, I can't get comfortable. I get a little thrill of excitement when I look at the forecast for the week and there's nothing over 75, and then it just keeps getting lower. I'm smiling just writing this! And is it any wonder I love the fall? First my birthday, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. What an awesome season!

So, did you play?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Have I mentioned I love the internet?

Last week, one of the other homeschooling moms at my co-op asked if I'd come speak to her writing class (which consists of two teenage girls) about writing a screenplay. This same lady had been a helper in my creative writing class the first time I taught it, and remembered me saying something about studying screenwriting in college. So of course, I agreed.

The day before I was supposed to do this, I got online and started researching. I know I should stop being surprised and thrilled when I find exactly what I'm looking for on the internet. But when I think that during my college years ('88-'92) if I wanted to find information about something I had to go to the library and research it, and now all I have to do is type a few words into a search engine, it just blows my mind.

So now you want to know what I found, right? Okay, check this out - this is so cool! There are places online where you can get complete movie scripts! There's this one, and this one. You can download some of them in PDF format here. I even found transcribed scripts of movies that are still in the theatre or not yet released on DVD (like Pirates 2). Chances are, if there's a movie you like, somewhere online you can find the script. And since the best way to learn screenwriting is to read lots of scripts and see how they did it, this is an amazing resource.

What else did I find? A free, that's F-R-E-E, screenplay writing program. I downloaded and tried it out myself, and it's awesome! What's the worst part of writing a screenplay? The formatting. This program does it for you, so you can concentrate on the writing. It's called Celtx, and you can get it here. I also found free novel-writing software here. No, it doesn't write the novel for you. It gives you tools to help make novel writing easier. I might use it for NaNoWriMo next month.

How did we ever get along without the internet? It's like Harrod's - if you can't find it online, it doesn't exist.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Help me, I'm fall-ing

Well, this week TKW is asking to see pictures taken in that most wonderful of seasons, fall. Now, if she's allowed to use pictures we've seen before, then I figure so am I. I found lots of photos taken in the right season, but not even one that suggested it was fall. No pumpkins, no dried up stalks of corn, nothing. However, I do have this:Now, I know what you're thinking: that's a Halloween costume. But you're wrong. You see, as you might remember, my birthday is at the beginning of October. So for my ninth birthday, I had a costume party. That's me in the front dressed like a witch. I'm actually wearing a dress with my mom's apron over it. We were all about making our own costumes. And yes, that's a broomstick I'm holding. My brother is the clown. Those are his real glasses.

So that's it, that's all I could find. Did you play?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Aloha E Komo Mai

That's Hawaiian for hi and welcome! The boys' obsession lately has been Lilo & Stitch, not just the movie, but the television series on Toon Disney. They're constantly talking about alien experiments. They can tell you the name and number of almost all of them. At any given time of the day, there is usually some sort of chase going on as two of the older boys try to capture the escaped experiment (the other boy). The baby just watches and laughs.

Well, being a homeschool mom, I see this not so much as an obsession as an opportunity. I asked them if they'd like to study Hawaii and they responded enthusiastically. So, tomorrow I'm going to do some research and start putting together lesson plans. We can study the history and culture of the islands, the language (I'm trying to teach them a Hawaiian word a day), even how volcanoes work. I'm also looking for Hawaiian recipes to try out. We'll be immersed in all things Hawaii for the next few weeks.

Do you think we might get a field trip out of this?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tired of sick

Two weeks ago I was sick. I thought I'd gotten over it, and then it got even worse. I spent all weekend in bed, trying to just relax, take it easy, and get better. This morning, I still have a sore throat, congestion and cough. I suspect what happened is that I got a second cold while my immune system was still trying to recover from the first one.

I've barely done any school work with the boys for the last week because my throat hurt too much to talk a lot. Today doesn't seem very promising, either. I guess I just need to rest some more today, because I have to teach co-op tomorrow and I have to be able to talk for that.

So, what do you think of my new template? I think I'll keep it for a while.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Folger's Gourmet Selections

One of the perks (pun intended) of blogging is that I get free coffee every now and then. Recently, Folgers sent me some samples of their new Gourmet Selections and asked that I review them. Free coffee? I am so there.

Now first, I have to admit I have never liked Folgers coffee. I wouldn't have agreed to do this if they wanted a glowing review. But they asked for my honest opinion, so I'm going to give it.

The three varieties they sent were Lively Columbian, Vanilla Biscotti, and Morning Cafe. They sent ground coffee, and I usually use whole bean. I imagine the taste would be a bit fresher if you grind it yourself. Anyway, I tried the Vanilla Biscotti first, using one tablespoon of coffee per cup of water. It was a nice medium roast with an inviting aroma. Now, vanilla is not my favorite flavor, in coffee or anywhere else. But for a vanilla coffee, it was quite good. I gave it to my parents and they really enjoyed it. It had a pleasant taste and a nice smooth aftertaste. If the Vanilla Biscotti was that good, I'd probably love the Chocolate Truffle.

Next I tried the Lively Columbian. It's a nice dark roast, and I always love dark roasts. This one has a rich flavor, but a bit of an ashy aftertaste. I happen to like ashy aftertastes, but if you don't, don't try this one. Again, I'd probably like it better in whole bean.

Morning Cafe flavor was just average, about what I expected from the name Folgers. Not very rich, kind of acidic, not a lot of flavor. It only comes in ground coffee, so I know I wouldn't buy it. But if you like regular Folgers, you'd probably really like this.

So there you have it. Now, as of this writing, if you go to the above link you can also get some free samples. But if you're too late for that, the next time you're at the store you might want to pick up some Gourmet Selections and try it for yourself.

Friday, October 06, 2006

SPF - Labels

Before I begin, I'd like to point out that today is MY BIRTHDAY! I will gladly accept well-wishes, gifts, and cash. Thank you!

Also, bid a fond farewell to Captain Jack and his cohorts. They've been loitering here for three months now and we all know a pirate doesn't like to stay in one place too long. Look for a new template by Monday.

Now, on to business! Kristine's assignment is as follows:
1. Your Label — If you made clothes, what would your label be? What kind of clothes would you make?
If I had my own clothing label, I'd call it Cool'n'Comfy because that's what all the clothes would be. I'm always hot. I even wear short sleeves in the winter. So I like nice cool fabrics like cotton and silk. And I like things that are comfortable, but nice-looking. I want things I can wear comfortably around the house or out in public.

2. YOUR personal Label — We all hate to be labeled, but sadly we are. What is YOUR label? My biggest, glaring, neon label is MOMMY. This is an old picture, about a year and a half ago, but I've been Mommy for over ten years now. I suppose my oldest will start calling me Mom at some point, and his brothers will follow suit. Then one day I'll be whatever my grandkids call me.

3. Your FAVORITE Label

I really don't have one. I've never been into labels, not in high school and not now. I buy clothes based first on how they look and second on price (cheap!). I couldn't even begin to tell you what any of the labels in my closet are.

So there you have it! Did you play?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bye bye, baby

It's really starting to hit me that my baby is not much of a baby anymore. He'll be two in two months. I always make myself stop calling the youngest child "the baby" when he turns two. I don't want to be one of those parents who still calls her 25 year old "the baby," you know? It's harder with this one, because I know he's the last. Plus, he's not really talking yet, which makes him seem younger than he is. Ironically, the only word I can get him to say consistently is "baby."

I haven't cut his hair yet, either. He's got all these adorable little curls that I can't bring myself to cut off. He's still got that soft, smooth baby skin that feels so nice. But lately, that soft skin is covered with little bruises from all his big adventures, or sticky from whatever he's been eating. And really, who wants to cuddle a sticky toddler?

I'll be 36 tomorrow, and I can't help but wonder where the time's gone. Wasn't I just 16 yesterday? How does twenty years go by so fast? I'll blink, and my "baby" will be twenty-two. So you'll forgive me if I hold him a little more frequently in the next couple of months, if I cuddle and kiss him just to feel that soft skin against my face. I need to remember this.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lost premiere - LIVE

Only ten minutes until the premiere!...

Good grief, Sara made it through on Dancing With the Stars? I don't believe that...

If you're with me live, don't forget to refresh your screen at each commercial...

No way! The Others have their own little suburban town in the middle of the island? I started out thinking, "Who are these people?" Then we see 'Henry Gale' (I'm guessing he's Ben?). So the earthquake was the system failure, and then the plane goes down. Is this season going to be the same sixty-some days from the Others' perspective now?...

Another flashback: Jack in a car. Spying on his ex-wife. Oh, it's a dream. Never good to find someone's drawn blood while you were sleeping. Okay, Jack's not going anywhere. On to Kate. So she's offered a nice hot shower, and poor Sawyer's in a cage in the jungle. Who's the other caged guy? Don't push the button, Sawyer! Don't... well, naturally, being Sawyer, you had to, didn't you? And who is Juliet? We'll see...

Panasonic Toughbook - I could've used that a couple of weeks ago...

Stubborn - good word to describe Jack, alright. Nice dress for Kate. Who's waiting?... Sawyer maybe? No, it's 'Henry'. Okay, I'd totally put on the handcuffs if it meant no coffee... Man, this guy's nasty...

Poor Jack. Why did she dump him? I think his question is valid - why is Sarah calling his father? Okay, that was freaky - how did his father's voice come out of that intercom? That intercom which doesn't work!! Yeah, starve yourself - that'll work. Yes, Jack's father was dead. But let's not forget the empty coffin he found, and the strange way this island has of healing people... Either this kid is really on Sawyer's side, or he's just trying to gain his trust. Oops - wrong way, Sawyer. So who is Karl?...

Bluff called, Jack - they know you're a doctor. A doctor who's going to get sloppy if he keeps obsessing about his ex-wife (who may be sleeping with his father?) Way to embarass yourself, Jack. And back to the present... What's outside that door that will kill them all? Water? Yup, water. And yet, they didn't die...

What is this? Sawyer is in a zoo? At least he has a pretty Kate in a dress to look at. She doesn't look happy. So I guess Sawyer isn't smarter than your average bear? Aw, he gave her his fish biscuit. At least he still has the bear chow. "You don't know anything about me," says Jack. Well, okay, maybe you know a few things about me. How did they get all that information? She bailed him out - that was nice. "Now you have something to fix." Well, wasn't he trying to fix their marriage? Oh, good, she's happy. Who cares? "Good work, Juliet." So what was she actually doing?

The real adventure is just beginning...

NaNoWriMo 2006

nanowrimo 2006

It's that time of year again, when bunches of crazy people decide they're going to write a 50,000 word novel in one month's time. Starting November 1, it's National Novel Writing Month! I participated last year, and it was really great for me. I finished my novel, and I'm still working on revising it, but the point is I finished! Do you know how many novels I've started and not finished? Neither do I, but it's a lot. Anyway, I'm looking forward to finishing another one.

So, do you think you have what it takes to write 1,667 words a day for thirty days straight? I'd love to have a partner like I did last year. We emailed each other our writing each day, and kept each other accountable. If anyone's interested, let me know. In the meantime, I'm going to finish my revisions on last year's novel and start sending it out to agents. Then I can concentrate on the new one. Wish me luck!

Lost premieres tonight!

Hubby is out of town again. Before he left, I reminded him that Lost season 3 would be premiering this week. I asked him if he wanted me to wait until he got home to watch it. Then I pretty much insisted he say no. I don't want to wait any more!

If you remember my theory on what's happening, I speculated that half my theory would be disproved in the next episode. So we'll see. But in the meantime, I'm dying to know what happened to the people in the hatch, what's going to happen to Jack, Kate and Sawyer, and what will happen when Hurley tells everyone they were taken.

I'm thinking I will live-blog along with the premier tonight, just for fun.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue to search my archives for a WBW picture. I haven't found one yet, but if I do, I'll be posting it later.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I am a slacker

I've been slacking on my Favorite Things blog, but I did add a couple new entries this week, so check them out!

I like a good mystery

From the creators of BlogMad, eXlinks is a new service set to launch sometime in the near future. It sounds like a new and interesting way to create traffic and networks for your blog, though exactly how it will work is being kept secret for now. So if you want to be in on the secret, just click on the picture, sign up, and you'll be one of the ones in the know.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Yesterday morning, Hubby opened the curtain in the boys' room to a curious sight. Our neighbor's yard was full of cows. Yes, cows. Actual black and white Holstein milkers. There was one standing in their garden, several lounging langorously in the nicely manicured grass, and one rather puzzled cow standing astride the mini-jungle gym.

I wish I could've gotten a picture, but it was still too dark outside. I'm sure the farm down the road just left the gate open or something, but it was really bizarre. We ran to the other windows in the back of the house, but there were no cows in our yard. At least not at that time.

We did however find a very nice cow pie left in front of our garage.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

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