Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hodgepodge Wednesday 2-23-2011

1. Did you know there is a National Day of pretty much everything in the universe? February 23 happens to be National Inconvenience Yourself Day...when was the last time you were inconvenienced?
Well, I'm not sure~ There are certainly times that I do something because it needs to be done, or is the right thing to do, even if it's inconvenient~ like when DH locked his keys in the car, with the car running, and I had to drive 20+ miles in rush hour traffic to rescue him. (That was a long time ago, tho')  

I think often, volunteering one's time to benefit others can be an inconvenience(Unless you truly have nothing better to do...). Inconvenience is defined as trouble or difficulty caused to one's personal requirements or comfort
We volunteer weekly at our AWANA club~ my DH, myself, and Eldest, while Middlest participates, and Youngest sometimes does. So, really for the sake of one regular participant, our family "inconveniences" itself weekly, to the benefit of the children in the program (I mean... we could be getting laundry done and watching movies together, or enjoying a family game night, but we choose otherwise). It isn't necessarily "Convenient" to have a standing engagement every week, but then again, it is a huge blessing to be able to touch the lives of the children we see each week. It's all in how you look at it, I suppose. :)

2. When a room in your house needs painting who does the job? 
DH is the more "Professional" painter in the family, but I am happy to help. (I like to say that I take direction well... ;) ) Too bad we don't have more time to get some of the painting done around here.... kind of goes back to the "inconvenience" question... It just isn't where we choose to spend our time.
3. Are you friends with your cousins?
Interesting question. I only have 5 cousins total. 4 paternal cousins and 1 maternal cousin. When my mom's brother passed away many years ago, I totally lost touch with my aunt and cousin (They moved to Hawaii, and I moved to the East Coast). This question today actually prompted me to do a search on FB, and I *might* have found that cousin! The other 4 cousins lived near enough to us that I knew them fairly well when I was young. However, we are now very spread out across the country. They are all my "Friends" on Facebook, but I've only seen 2 of them in real life in the past 12 years. They are "Family" and I expect that when I do have occasion to see them, we will find we are still "Friends", but we aren't "Every-day" friends, if you know what I mean. ;) 
4. Do you use an alarm clock? If yes-is it an actual alarm, music, or something else?
;) I don't use an alarm clock daily ~ I rely on my Youngest and/or the sparrows living beneath our window AC to wake me up at a reasonable hour. If I HAVE to get up at a certain time, I will use an alarm~ I used to have a CD alarm clock (My favorite method), but that has been taken over by DH who has to get up WAY earlier than I even want to contemplate. I prefer to let him use it. So... I use the alarm on my cell phone (Musical) with my watch (Beep) as a back-up. I have used my ipod a few times, but I'm not confident in it yet.  

5. What do you put ketchup on?
Not too many things~ the occasional fry or onion ring, and sometimes a hamburger or hotdog. (I have come to prefer blue cheese dressing on fries and hamburgers, etc...)
The only thing I can think of that really requires ketchup for me is a Pasty! (A sort of meat and potato turnover~ the website I linked to have a huge variety, mine is basic~ steak, potatoes, onions, carrots, in a pie crust... ketchup is my favorite topping, DH prefers gravy)
6. What smells make you nostalgic?
Pine/forest~ makes me remember the woods of my growing up years, and most especially time spent at Bible Camp on the West Gallatin of MT. 
The same for "horse"~ and summers spent reading on the back of my sister's mare, Freedom. Those were the days! 
I think apples and leaves in the fall would apply, as would the pine scent of a Christmas Tree.  

7. Have you heard about the high school English teacher recently suspended as a result of some things she wrote in her personal blog? You can read the story here but in a nutshell she vented a lot of frustration onto her blog. She didn't mention individual students by name but she did make some harsh comments about kids in general and their parents.
What are your thoughts-If you're a parent is your child's teacher online and are you 'friend' or 'follower' there? If you're a teacher are you on facebook and do you accept or friend students on fb? How about their parents? If you're a student are you friends with your current or former teachers online? Do any of them have blogs you read? If you're a teacher or a parent do you ever use your blog as a place to vent your frustrations with our educational system? So much to discuss...

I'm not sure what I think. I'm a homeschool mom, so I am my children's teacher. I think I would be dismayed if I read something so generally negative from an adult who is in charge of one of their outside activities(ie: baseball coach or dance instructor). However, if it was "qualified" as in "So many of the kids today seem to be....." then I would probably be nodding my head in agreement. It's the lumping everyone in as a bunch that seems to be a larger problem, and gives a greater sense of negativity.

There is also "Freedom of speech" to be considered, as well as the "quantity" of posts. If the entire blog was a rant, well, that doesn't bode well. But if it was more of a "letting off steam" sort of thing every so often, well... maybe, but perhaps these things would have been better as personal emails, or a "Private" blog, only open to friends and family, not the public. I think there is far too much "airing of dirty laundry" in public these days. Sometimes people don't think twice before hitting the "post" or "publish" or "enter" keys these days. There are some things better kept private~ 

So, do I think she should be fired? Um... probably not, but she's just made her job of motivating these "lazy" kids a whole lot harder. Much better to not let on that you know their "modus operandi" and creatively work to change it than to call them out for a showdown at the OK corral.... 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
I am exceedingly grateful for coffee, ibuprofin, heating pads and reusable ice-packs. Without  them, I don't know how long my generally 3-day headaches would last. Thankfully, the one I started with yesterday seems to be on its way out! God is good, and His creation is infinitely creative. :)


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hodgepodge of thoughts~

  OK, I just saw this Meme, hosted by From This Side of the Pond, and even though I'm supposed to post on Wednesday, I didn't find it until Thursday, so I'm joining in late. Maybe you'll learn something about me. :)(And visit the Meme to get some insight into some other folks' thoughts on this hodgepodge of questions...)
1. Your favorite chocolate treat?
Lately~ Reisen caramels~ YUM!
2. What more than anything else makes you feel loved?
Family~ pleasant time together~ people (Children specifically) doing "things" without being asked.
Friends~ "out of the blue" comments/compliments~ Wow! someone is taking notice? Warm fuzzies
3. Cherries or blueberries?
Oh, blueberries, definitely~ LOVE them by the handfuls, on cereal, in yogurt, on ice cream, and in pie (raw surrounded by cooked, and topped with real whipped cream~ YUM!) (Oh, and let's not forget pancakes, muffins, and even biscuits with blueberries~ who needs jam?)
4. What is the one trait you most want the leader of your country to possess?
I'll agree with many others~ Integrity, and all that it entails.
5. Are you a saver or a spender?
Um... I'm a saver of the money we don't have to spend. :)
6. If you gave a party for all of your friends would they already know each other?
Nope~ A goodly portion might, but we have friends (or perhaps, sometimes "Acquaintances" ?) from many walks of life. I'm always surprised when I find out that friends in different circles know one another.
7. Are you interested in antiques?
Well... sort of, but not in a "I have to buy that" way.... however, that being said, my whole family loves to visit those multi-antique stores to see what interesting things can be found. If I had more space and $, I'd be more interested in antique furniture, specifically. 
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm a day late to this meme, because I just found it, but I think it's kind of like "There's no stupid question"... in this case, "It's never too late to join", right? I'm so blessed by the access the internet has given me, to be able to "meet" people I would have little chance of meeting in "Real" life. There are some extremely special people whose hearts are filled to overflowing with love and caring for "The smallest" and/or "The unlovable". Very cool to see "Hearts to God, Hand to Man~ Salvation Army Band" played out on sometimes a daily basis.

This was fun~ thanks for letting me play, even if I was late... :)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Glee Gum Drawing winner~

So, today hasn't gone exactly as planned~ Here's the bad news~
  • I may have a little boyo with the flu... he's run a fever today and actually taken a nap or two, which is generally NOT a good sign
  • And our sump-pump has been going off every-so-often~ ummmm... the temps are below freezing outside, so it's not snow-melt.... Got a phone call tonight from DH while I was doing the chauffeur bit for Eldest & her dance practice~ time for a new water heater.... :p 
However, there are also the little things in life that bring us joy. One of them is being able to pull a name out of a hat, virtually speaking, and put someone on the receiving end of something fun! I finally got to head over to, and draw the number of the winning comment for the Glee Gum candy making kit.

The good news for the day~
Interesting to me, and proving that really is random, and that no place on the number line is any better than any other, comment # 2 by McMama "I would be interested in the chocolate making kit. (although they all look neat!!) February 9, 2011 3:20 PM" was the number picked. 

Lesson learned~ Never be afraid to be the first to enter a give-away! :D

Congratulations, McMama~ I'll be sending you an email,

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gum comes from a tree??? (Review and Giveaway)

If your children are looking for something to spend some of their Christmas $ on (Any left, now that it's February?)...
If you are looking for a slightly different take on a "Sweet Treat" for Valentine's Day....
If you are looking for an activity for February Vacation, OR  for your NEXT snow day, here's an idea!

Some time back I was offered a kit to Make your own Chewing Gum by the folks at  "Glee Gum" and VERVE, inc.  I had hoped to get right to it with my Middlest (The "gummiest" one in the family), and get my review (And a giveaway!) up before Christmas. However, illness and a variety of other "Bumps" in the road (And most lately snowstorms which require hours of shoveling) have taken over our lives.

NOW, however, with the advent of another "Snow Day" last week, and the fact that my DH had a snow day himself, (Which means I got a break from shoveling, Thank you, Dear!), we are at last going to record our experiences with our Glee Gum kit.

First a little information, and then on with the fun! :) 
  • Ingredients: Glee Gum is all-natural, gluten free, and feingold approved. Confectioner's Sugar (sugar, cornstarch), Chewing Gum Base(chicle), Corn Syrup, Natural Cinnamon Flavor and Natural Cherry Flavor.
  • Recommended for ages 8+
  • Make Your Own Candy Kits  List Price $13
Speaking of "Kits".... Make Your Own Gum is just one of the 3 kits offered by VERVE, Inc. They also offer Make Your Own Chocolate, and Make Your Own Gummies kits. These activity kits are all-natural, educational, and eco-friendly. Each kit focuses on the history behind and the origin of these candies. For a captivating look into the educational aspect of each kit, as well as connections to the global community, click here to see where all these yummy things come from.

 Alrighty, then, on with the show review.... :D
Kit Unpacked

What's in the Box
Looks kind of like Rabbit Food! :)

Chicle boiling in provided container

Mixing in the corn syrup
Sticky Stuff! Time to Knead!
This is where the favors get added in
After kneading the "Dough", you "pull" it like taffy for awhile, till the texture is fairly smooth. Didn't get pictures of that because, well.... my hands were a little sticky~ I worked with the Cinnamon flavor, Middlest did the Cherry.
Hey, I think we've got it!
Rolled and sliced

Thoughts on the process... Fun, Sticky (But not bad). Interesting and educational. One note~ The flavor doesn't last terribly long (But long enough for MY jaws!). We are interested in trying this again, and using our own flavored oils~ might last longer than the included powdered natural flavoring. The gum reminds me both in "Flavor lasting" qualities and texture of the "JuicyFruit" of the 70's, when I was a gum-chewing kid. Interestingly enough, in my searching the internet for information on the original JuicyFruit, I stumbled upon this article~ read all the way through, and guess what gum is recommended? Glee Gum! :)

Wrapped with our own foil
So, where can you find Glee Gum? Clearly, Glee Gum can be found on the Internet~     
But you may also be able to find Glee Gum at a store near you.
And a note to my East Coast Friends, Glee Gum is centered in Rhode Island, so a purchase today will be at your house in shorter order than you might think! :) 
Now, on to the Giveaway~ (US addresses only, please)
Shiny or Matte?
Glee Gum has graciously offered to send the Candy Making Kit of your choice to you~ Chocolate Making, Gum Making, or Gummy Making. I will keep this giveaway open until 12 noon EST on Tueasday, February 15.

Madatory entry~ (2 part... you need to do BOTH to be entered!) 
1. Follow my blog in GFC AND visit the Glee Gum website, then comment telling me which flavor of Glee Gum you want to try(And note if you are already a follower)

Additional Entries
2. Share about this Giveaway on Facebook (comment with a link to your FB post)
3."Like" Glee Gum" on facebook, and let them know that "Lis" sent you!
4. Post about this Giveaway on your blog(comment with a link to your blog post)
5. Comment telling me which kit you would like to choose.
6. Adding one more~ Tell me where you heard about my giveaway... helps me know where to spend my time posting! :) 

On Feb 15 I will draw via, and contact the winner and post here. (Make sure I have a WAY to contact you~ ) I will need to hear back from you within 2 days with your mailing address, so that Glee Gum can get your package sent right out to you.

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about Glee Gum and our gum-making experiences~
Now for something fun~ Say "Do you like Glee Gum" five times fast! :) 


Disclosure~ I received this kit free of charge in return for my honest review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 2 weeks worth of ideas(some links)

Menu Plan Monday~

Last week I just didn't get around to posting, so here is what we did:
Monday: Plumb ran out of time, hence no post... I used Ramen Noodles (No spice packet) to make a sort of eggy/veggie saucy one pot dish. Hey, the cupboards were a little bare, so I worked with what we had... ;)
Tuesday: Veal Stew from a recipe I created with my daughter when she was almost 2 :)
Wednesday: a Chicken and Rice dish based on This Recipe from RecipeShoeBox I did modify it a little~ crushed/pureed canned tomatoes, Brown Rice, I skipped the cilantro (One child can't stand it... ;(  , and I added some chopped black olives. It was Yum!
Thursday: Veal Stew Leftovers
Friday: Speedy Quesadilla's (PB&J for my Middlest who doesn't "do" melted cheese)

Now, on to this week! Sorry that I didn't have a chance to do more linking and/or including recipes~ BUSY weekend, and start to the week!

Monday~ Chicken Soup From the Wilson's Farm Cookbook (love the recipes in this book!)
Tuesday~ More Chicken Soup.... DH made a HUGE pot, with a whole box of Alphabet Noodles! :)
Wednesday~ If I'm ambitious, I'll make pasties (Just to give you an idea....look here ), if not probably meatloaf or Salisbury Steak
Thursday~ Stew or Soup, but I'm still choosing which what (picked up new cookbooks at the library book sale last week, and I haven't had a chance to check them out yet!)
Friday~ Pizza

If you need more inspiration this week, be sure to go visit Menu Plan Monday!

Critical Thinking Press~ Books for all ages

I have a few "The Critical Thinking Co."  books that I have enjoyed using with my children over the years, but as they have gotten older, there are some products I didn't own that I have wanted to examine in person. Timberdoodle graciously offered my choice of one The Critical Thinking Co. book for each child to use in exchange for an honest review. It was hard to choose, as Timberdoodle carries over 40 Critical Thinking Co. products. Read on to see what we ended up with and our thoughts.....

For my Eldest, we chose to use  Editor In Chief B.  (List price $16.99) I think our "Editing" skills have been a little neglected, and being busy (As most moms with 3 children, one of whom is a 3yo, usually are), I was very happy to have a product that includes an answer key! :) (Call me "lazy", I prefer "practical" :)

As opposed to the generic proofreading exercises in her spelling book, Editor in Chief has some great features that I am especially impressed with.
  • Editing Checklist ~ which gives hints to help the student remember what to look for in their editing tasks.
  • Answer Key that provides more than just the generic corrected  selection, but a list of the number and types of errors(so you can give hints, if your student is having a tough time finding everything), a paragraph with superscribed numbers showing the location of the errors, and a key explaining the errors with numbers referencing each item in the guide to grammar and usage (mentioned next), as well as a complete, corrected paragraph.
  • Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation in the back of the book, which covers all the skills found in this book. I appreciate having this to fall back on, occasionally, when explaining why something is wrong. Each entry includes at least one or two examples to further help in instructing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow~ Who needs to pay to snowboard??

OK, So I'm going to try to Blog Through the Month of  February... we shall see... ;)

Whew! We have had some snow where I live... I didn't take pictures of the 6-8 inches we got today, but this is what my son was doing in the front walkway of our house last Saturday~


Nice little jump that he built, huh? 

PS. This would have posted yesterday, but I couldn't get the pictures up for some reason.



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