Archive for March, 2008

Seeing Stars

Not too long ago, my kids and I were studying astronomy, and I was trying to point out some of the stars to them. We were in the backyard after dark, and although I live in a small town, we could still not see the constellations clearly because of the lights from “town”. Town being the strip of stores and stuff on our one big street. And also, maybe the huge bank of super-bright lights that light the ball fields over at the high school. I remember thinking then that it was much easier to see the details of the sky back when I was a kid, and how I ought to go to my Grandmother’s and show them from there what the sky was supposed to look like.

For reference, there is no real “town” where she lived. At least not after 9pm. Unless it’s a holiday, and Miss Lois has her decorations out. Law, then Santa can use that road as a landing strip. Also the Easter Bunny. Just Sayin’. Serious light pollution going on there. It’s outrageous, and I ought to post pictures, but I always speed past as quickly as possible, because, people. Really. Its horrendous. Blinding, even.

Which brings me to the point of this post. No, not the Easter Bunny, silly. I mean being able to see the stars! This year is the 5th Annual Dark Sky Festival in Harmony, Florida. At 7pm on April 5th, the Dark Sky Festival will kick off.

Here are some excerpts from the press release:

“The Dark Sky Festival is intended to celebrate and promote the benefits of a night-sky free from the effects of excessive artificial lighting,” said Greg Golgowski, Harmony’s Conservation Director and a key member of the Dark Sky Festival Planning Committee. “Poor outdoor lighting not only washes out the splendor of the heavens, but also reduces visibility at night, wastes energy, and disturbs wildlife.”

As with the past four Dark Sky Festivals, attendees will be able to enjoy viewing the night skies through a variety of telescopes. There also be lots of music and food, numerous specialty booths, an educational zone with presentations from astronomers and other scientists, nocturnal creatures, a Cosmic Kids Zone and so much more.”
Local favorite, the Silver Clouds Orchestra, will start the entertainment portion of the evening at 7:00pm. This will be followed by a free concert by legendary recording artists, Rare Earth.

Rare Earth will take to Harmony’s outdoor amphitheatre stage at 8:00pm for a live concert chock full of their greatest hits including “Get Ready” and “I Just Want to Celebrate.”

The event is open to the general public and will last until about 11pm.

Unfortunately for me and my little stargazers, Harmony is a bit further than I want to go for a field trip! But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it if you happen to be in the area!

Kiddo Crack-ups

My kids were on a roll again yesterday! I tell you, life is never boring here. Ever. And if it gets boring, I just go wake somebody up. Yesterday alone, we had these three gems:

“Maaaaaaaaaama, she’s BUTT naaaaaked!” Said in regard to the diaperless DaBaby.

“I’m going to ply-i-fy you!” Said by Stuntman as he played with some tiny toy pliers.

And the grand prize winner, from Drama (remember, she’s three):
“Can I have some ice cream, because my life is just crap?”

Also, a new project has leapt into my brain, practically fully formed. I love it when I just hang out and wait and that happens. All I am going to tell you at this point is that it involves this yarn:

In a Slump

I’m feeling very uncrafterly this week. I pulled the floss to work on a piece of cross-stitch, but it is so very complicated that I am discouraged.I am sure that once I get out of the 40-11 shades of dark green corner that it will be less difficult, but right now it requires my full attention, and that’s just not something I have to spare, LOL.

I also have the log cabin blanket at my feet. That one is so simple I could almost do it in my sleep. It’s great for when I am engaged in conversation or whatever, but……..yeah boring. If crafting were home gym equipment, this project would be the treadmill. Steady, functional, boring. Sorry, blankie. I will love you next winter, to be sure.

I think I am actually itching to start a new knit project. Or finish a quilt. Or… I dunno. Something. And that something needs to make a dent in this pile of six craft bins sitting here in the middle of the floor.

Menu Plan Monday March 17, 2008

Well, happy St. Patrick’s Day to ya! Like half of the world, we’ll be having corned beef for supper, and I plan to put that in the crockpot shortly. I’ll fry cabbage to go with it tonight, and mos of us will love it. Can you believe I have a child who doesn’t like corned beef? The mind boggles, really.

On to the menu! In addition to the afore mentioned corned beef and cabbage, we’ll be having:
pork chops with potatoes and veggie
cheesy brat stew (I posted this recipe here)
beef roast with rice and veggie
seven layer dip and chips

And Thursday will be left over night. I don’t assign any other nights, because I like to be flexible, and I just cook what seems most appealing off the list. Or what we already have the ingredients for if I am late going to the grocery store, like I am this week.

Say, while you are here thinking about food, don’t forget to enter the giveaway I’m having. Details here.

Click here to participate in Menu Plan Monday.

Cheaper than Tuition

Holy cow! Oh my word. I think I just pooped myself checking out at Amazon. I ordered:

The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson
A History of US: Vol 9, War, Peace, and All That Jazz (A History of Us) Joy Hakim
A History of US: Vol 10, All the People (A History of Us) by Joy Hakim
Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Genesis: Finding Our Roots by Ruth Beechick
The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: The Modern Age: From Victoria’s Empire to the End of the USSR by S. Wise Bauer
The Story of Science: Einstein Adds a New Dimension by Joy Hakim
Kim (Barnes & Noble Classics) by Rudyard Kipling
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Story of the Greeks (Yesterday’s Classics)by H. A. Guerber
The Story of the Romans (Yesterday’s Classics) by H. A. Guerber
School of the Woods (Yesterday’s Classics) by William J. Long
The Story of David Livingstone (Yesterday’s Classics) by Vautier Golding

The bill might or might not be less than the weekly rental of one of those fancy Condo Hotels, but I am not sure. When I get back from Orlando in September, I will let you know. If I can still afford to go.

Playing Catch-up

This week, we have had a couple of serious catch-up days in school. Stuntman had a doctor’s appointment, and taking him made dh run late for everything, and so he ended up spending the whole day out with his dad. Cool for him, but it did put him a day behind. And then, I had missed a couple days doing check outs, so that put me behind. A couple days this past week going until 5 pm almost caught us all up with that. It doesn’t help the speed factor any when both the teacher and the the student get the giggles. Or when the other students walk around trying to incite said giggles. Just sayin’

Today, I must spend some time and a bit of money at is about to start Ambleside’s year 6, and it’s time to order the books. Yum! I can’t wait until they get here. I love the whiff that you get when you open a box of new books. So do my kids! We all get excited at book time, LOL, and it doesn’t matter who the books are for!

Ok, I am just procrastinating now. Time to get ‘er done!

School that’s Right for You

You know, I have some interesting children. If you don’t believe that, just scroll down to the post titled “Things We’ve Said”. Go ahead, I’ll wait. OH, be careful– Don’t be sipping something. Okay, now go.

Back? Good. Having read that, I am sure you can appreciate that one of the beauties of home schooling this crew is that I don’t have to try to pound those square pegs of mine into round holes. I can help them explore what interests them, and find new solutions to problems, and we learn daily that there isn’t just one right way to do things. I want that kind of education to continue for them, even after I’m not the one teaching them. I”m thinking that not all of them will prosper in a traditional university setting. Like most folks, my children learn better when they can get their hands on a thing, which is NOT a strong suit of most colleges. The co op idea behind Kettering seems like it would be of real benefit to kinesthetic learners. Encouraging students to put classroom knowledge into real world situations can only be of benefit. It’s late and my mind is having trouble putting this into words, but the picture in my mind is of a chemical reaction. You have one chemical in a beaker, and then you add another, and all of a sudden you have this bubbly, fizzy something that is bigger and better than either chemical can be on it’s on. That’s practical experience added to book knowledge, see. Bigger, better….fizzy.

I had an opportunity this evening to watch some videos put out by Kettering University, promoting their mechanical engineering program. They are pretty well done, and made me giggle, which is pretty unusual in a college advertisement video. Here, take a look for yourself:

And Kettering has been named by US News and World Report as “the #1 University in the nation for Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering”. When you visit the site, check out the article: US News Best Colleges. I’m thinking that I need to keep this school in mind, particularly for Stuntman, who invented the “mom detector” not too long ago. Besides, the young man whose picture was on the home page of the site when I first visited had a mischievous twinkly-eyed look just like the one my oldest boy frequently wears.

Folding with Brenda

*snicker* I can fold laundry with Brenda Dayne now, ya’ll. I can cook with Rachael Ray. Well, ok, they aren’t really here, but their voice is in my ear. That’s right, I finally got that mp3 player I have been jacking my jaws about forever, and I like it. It took me about 15 seconds to realize the powerful and wonderfully special magic that is having your favorite, and only your favorite songs with you, the ones you recognize from just two bars, even if you haven’t heard them for 20 years. Sigh. Smile. Stitch. Podcast. Song.

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