Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2/28/12 written Sunday 2/26/12 cont. snow and names...

It snowed last week sort of heavy, with big flakes. Then it rained. A few days later it snowed with small light flakes that never made it to the ground. There was a light breese that blew them all around. Between the two snows we had about an inch of snow. It must have rained last night, the snow is all gone. It is the end of February and we haven't had a good snow yet. we shoveled once this year. We have had a decent amount of rain.

We were working on names for our Blog last night. Here are some that we thought of but didn't like: "is this a bad haircut?", "We found the remote" and "I'm texting your dog". Then it all broke down into all silliness.

Monday, February 27, 2012

2/27/12 written Sunday 2/26/12 Bible covers and backpacks on wheels...

We got Maggie's Bible cover and backpack. What a relief. She has a very large Bible so we took it with us to find a cover. My advice was to get a cover with a handle and a pocket. We found a store that has a few choices and good prices. Maggie went through the choices, unzipping them to see if her Bible would fit. She found one that she liked. It has an outer pocket, a handle and a place for two pens. She was very happy to have found a Bible cover.

We went to another store to get a backpack on wheels. We found a large duffel bag on wheels. It is as big as her current backpack. She opened it up to make sure that all of her things would fit in it. She tried all of the zippers and the arm that pulls out when it is being rolled. Maggie made her choice of colors, blue, and we took the bag home.

When we got home, Maggie moved all of her things to the new backpack so she could use it the next day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2/26/12 written Sunday 2/26/12 s'mores...

We made s'mores last night. Beth didn't want to make any. Maggie heated up her marshmallow in the microwave. She said that it would take less time and leave less of a carbon footprint. William and I got sticks from the backyard and toasted the marshmallows over the flame on the stove. William whittled a few sticks so that they had points. It smelled like camping in the kitchen. I said that we should all get our sleeping bags and sleep in the living room. The kids said that if they were ten years old, that would be fun. Toasting a marshmallow takes a lot of skill. It was hard to get one to toast and not burn. Beth did come in later and toast a marshmallow over the stove.

Friday, February 24, 2012

2/24/12 written Wednesday 2/22/12 Ash Wednesday, snow drops and backpacks...

Today is Ash Wednesday. Our new church doesn't have an Ash Wednesday service. On a normal Sunday they have four almost full services. If they had an Ash Wednesday service, they would need to have it four times. I understand, but I still miss the service. Maybe next year we can find a church to go to for Ash Wednesday.

The girls are at Bible study tonight.

Our snowdrop flowers have sprouted, and are blooming in the front yard. They are very pretty. The ones in the backyard and side yards haven't sprouted yet.

Maggie needs a new backpack and a Bible cover. We are going shopping for them this weekend. Her backpack is still good, but she has to carry so many things to school that it is too heavy. She has wanted a backpack with wheels for a long time, but all of the ones on wheels are small backpacks. A friend of hers at school has a suitcase on wheels that he uses. It seems to be OK at her school, no-one makes fun of him, so Maggie feels comfortable getting one. She is very excited. She will only need to pick it up to get it in and out of the house and car and up and down the stairs at school.

We have been looking for a Bible cover, but her Bible is so big that we haven't found one so far that will fit. We will look again this weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2/23/12 written Sunday 2/19/12 cont. household jobs, no chickens and driving tests...

The kids have switched household jobs. Maggie is now on break, Beth has the dishes and William has laundry.

This spring we are not going to get any chickens. We had chickens last year, and after about a year we gave them to a friend. It was a nice learning experience, but I need to be in the house right now. We still have the chicken coop, so we can get more chickens another time.

Maggie had mentioned last week that she was ready to learn to drive. I found on the website what paperwork we needed to take in for her to take the written driving test. I am excited. I think that she will enjoy driving. When I told Maggie what paperwork was needed to take in and that we could go next weekend, she looked panicked. Maggie said that she couldn't study for the driving test now since she has a big paper due this month. She said that she will let me know when she is ready.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2/22/12 written Sunday 2/19/12 pop bottle rockets, exercising and volunteering...

Maggie made a second rocket out of a two litter bottle for science class. She used more tape on the four fins and taped a paper plate onto the bottom of the bottle, which when shot is now the top. The top needed more weight. The changes worked. Her rocket shot up this time instead of to the side. She was very pleased with it.

I have started exercising. I have a friend who was talking about wanting to exercise, so we are both going to exercise each day and check in with each other. We are both trying not to be the first one to drop out.

I volunteered at a retreat at church this weekend. It was fun to serve. There were a lot of friends there that I usually don't get to see.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2/21/12 written Wednesday 2/15/12 cont. pop bottle rockets...

Maggie is trying to build a rocket out of an empty two liter bottle, for a school project. She taped four cardboard fins to the bottle and took it to school. They were launched in science class today. The goal was for the bottle rocket to shoot straight up. Maggies went off to the side. She got a new two litter bottle from her grandma today. The school will be launching rockets again tomorrow, so the kids have a chance to re-design their rockets. Maggie says that she needs to have a heavier cap. She is going to tape the four old fins onto the new bottle. She wants to make a heavier cap by taping a paper plate to the lid. She said that two kid's rockets flew up, everyone elses went to the side.

Monday, February 20, 2012

2/20/12 written Wednesday 2/15/12 cont. Beth is an Atheist...

Beth is an Atheist. She doesn't have beliefs in religion. I am not sure where the edges of her beliefs are, but she is sure that she doesn't want to be baptized. Our new church baptizes people as adults. The church that we now go to has a Sunday night concert for junior high and high school kids. Beth did want to go to that, it is more loud music...Christian music, but loud music...than preaching. When Maggie decided to join the Bible study, Beth said "No", it was not for her. That is OK with me. She should only go if it is something that she wants to do. At the Sunday night concerts, one of the girls started talking to Beth and invited her to the Bible study. Beth's is separate from Maggie's, they are grouped by grade. Beth said that she would try it out. The first time that Beth went, I asked her to observe a little and not start out by telling them that they are all wrong. The friend said that it was OK if Beth was an atheist and the welcomed discussion and other points of view. Beth wasn't happy after the first time that she went. She said that they were all wrong about everything, but she hadn't said much because I had asked her to observe.

Beth decided to go back a second time. She was beginning to get to know the kids. The second week she did join into the discussion. She didn't come out any happier. About two weeks ago she came out of Bible study and said that she was never going back. She is a teenager so she didn't tell me any more than that. I didn't ask why. I said that it was OK and I trusted her judgement. The next week she went back, not mentioning the prior week. When Beth was done she said that the kids had been happy to see that she had decided to come back. The next day one of the kids texted Beth and said, could she be Beth's texting buddy and send her Bible verses every day and Beth could text her and tell her why each verse was all wrong and the girl said that it was OK with her to debate about the verses. Beth thought that this sounded fun. The friend is following through and sending the Bible verses. Beth texts her right back with how they are wrong. Last week Beth came out from Bible study and said that they had had a forty-five minute discussion where they had debated about Christianity, Beth had said how it was wrong. Beth said that she thought that she had won.

Last Sunday at the church concert one of the kids from her Bible study introduced her to a boy who had been an Atheist and was now a Christian. They talked for a while. He said that he had read a book that had really helped him to become a Christian. I don't know the name of the book. I will share it when Beth finds out the title. The boy asked Beth if he brought in the book , would she read it? She said yes. Maybe he will have the book next week. I am hoping that little by little God is working in Beth's heart, through all of these people so that Beth can become a believer.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2/19/12 written Wednesday 2/15/12 yearbooks, candy bars and Valentines Day...

Maggie's school is pre-selling yearbooks. She is taking in the money tomorrow. She will keep the receipt. In junior high one year, they didn't record that she had paid for a yearbook and they didn't have any extras. Luckily we had the receipt, so Maggie did get one. Beth's school hasn't said anything about yearbooks yet.

The girls and I are selling candy bars to pay for the girl's mission trip to New Orleans this summer. Sales are going slowly, but we are still trying. We have a few more months to keep selling.

For Valentines Day yesterday, we bought pizza and watched "Lord of the Rings" while we ate. I know that it was a school night, but one night in front of the T.V. won't hurt. Our church is having a retreat this weekend. I am not going on the retreat, but I am hoping to go Saturday night to help.

2/18/12 written Sunday 2/12/12 cont. vacuums and haircuts...

Our vacuum cleaner died. We vacuumed the house Saturday. The kids said that it didn't sound good the last time that they used it. I had just finished the house when the motor started to get really loud. There is a vacuum cleaner shop down the street that we have used before. We have a lot of hair in our house, so we go through a lot of vacuums.

William and Beth got haircuts this weekend. William needed new tennis shoes too. Maggie was glad to stay home. She had a lot of homework to do this weekend. She has been working on the big paper that she has to write. Also, she has an empty two litter bottle that she is making into a rocket for science class. They have a lot of math to do for the rocket project, like figuring out how fast and far it will go. I think that they will go outside and launch them. I don't know what other homework Maggie has.

Friday, February 17, 2012

2/17/12 written Sunday 2/12/12 cont. homework, snow and Valentines Day...

Maggie turned in the rough draft of her paper on Friday. She was relieved to have it done. I think that the final project is due this month. Maggie thinks that it is due in March.

It snowed about two inches last week. Just enough so that we have snow on the grass, but all of the roads are cleared.

Valentines Day is this week. My kids are in college and high school now so we don't get the packs of cards for them to give out at school. When Beth was in the seventh grade she took in cards and gave them to her friends, but she was in junior high, so there was no party.

I miss having young kids, the Valentines Day parties, the Halloween costumes. Kids are always so excited about everything.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2/16/12 written Sunday 2/12/12 Morse Code...

We talked about learning Morse code last night at dinner. William had nothing to say about it, wheather he would learn it or not. Maggie is ready to learn it. She goes over each time that she sees another letter up and begins to memorize it. Beth says that her life is already full enough with school and friends. She is not learning it. She can do all of the sign language letters by memory. Beth says that this is enough. We now have the letter "C" up. I am still trying to learn the letter "A".

William noticed that if we have the family tree up on one wall and the Morse Code on another wall, he doesn't think that it will all fit. He thinks that I should put all of the Morse Code on one paper and be done with it. It would be quicker and take up less room.. I said that if the Morse Code starts to take up too much room we can always re-write it to one sheet.. I like having one letter go up each week, it gives us time to absorb it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2/15/12 written Wednesday 2/8/12 cont. summer vacation...

I like going on vacation with my kids. There was one summer when the kids were young, we couldn't afford to go any where. What we did was to get a map of our town. We found our street on it, where their grade school was, where the church was and we looked at which streets we drove down to get to each place. We also looked at which way was north and south. Then we looked at where some of the playgrounds were in town. We found playgrounds in parks and at schools. Each Saturday we would get out the map and figure out which parks we had already been to and where we should go to next. We went to different parks all summer. We kept the map in a spot where the kids could get to it. Sometimes on Saturday morning they would get the map out and look over it. They would try to remember which parks we had gone to and decide where we should go to next. One would say "We have been to that one already, don't you remember, it had all of the swings." or" it had the best slide." In the end we were taking containers of water with us. I thought about taking packed lunches and making a full day out of the trip, but we never knew if there would be a bathroom at each play area, so I never promised a full day. By the time that it got cold out we had other activities to do on Saturdays. We had seen a lot of play areas, but there were a lot of ones that we didn't have time to get to. When we were out and driving around town in the summer and we spotted a playground, we would try to remember if we had already gone to that one or if we should try to go to it next. There was usually a lot of debate. If the playground only had a slide and a few swings then it never made the list of possible choices. This was the best, cheapest and longest summer vacation that we ever went on.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2/14/12 written Wednesday 2/8/12 cont. thesis statements and Morse Code...

Maggie talked to a teacher today about her thesis statement for her project. The teacher had told her yesterday that her thesis statement was a statement and not something that needed to be prooven. Her thesis statement needs to be something that she prooves. The first rough draft is due this Friday. Today she had a chance to talk to the teacher and fix her statement. Her paper needs to be six pages long. Maggie has started to write the paper even though the thesis statement problem needs to be worked out.

The kids noticed the Morse Code "A" on the wall at dinner the other day. They weren't excited. They asked why it was on the wall. They said "Didn't we learn this already?" I said that we had only gotten a few letters into the alphabet when we took them down to sell the house. The kids don't want to learn Morse Code on purpose, but if the letters are on the wall, maybe the kids will learn Morse code by just seeing it all of the time. I would like to learn this language too. Sometimes I teach the kids things, but I don't really learn it. With this, when I walk past the letters, I am going to make an effort to say the letter and the symbol each week.

Monday, February 13, 2012

2/13/12 written Wednesday 2/8/12 new blog name coming soon...

Happy Valentines Day!!!

We are trying to find a new name for this Blog. I would like to name it something that doesn't have a name in it. Most people either have cute names or names that describe what they write about, like "Frugal Mom" or Circus Life". We are trying to re-name it as a family but we can't come to any agreement. We have thought of a few names like "this is how we grow" and "are we there yet?", but we all don't like any of them. If anyone has some suggestions for a name, that are "G" rated and describes our blog, please comment them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2/12/12 written Sunday 2/5/12 cont. Morse Code...

Since I was writing about Morse Code, it seamed like a good idea to start learning it again. I got some notebook paper and cut the sheets in half and put one letter and it's symbol on each sheet. I also wrote up the numbers. The letter "A" is now hanging on the dining room wall. It's symbol is "._" The rest of the pages are in my room. The goal is to put up one new letter a week. The kids can tell me if that is too fast or slow.

This is the first picture added to the blog! Very exciting!!!  
I don't have any plans for after church today. It would be nice to lay out my clothes for next week The kids get their clothes together each weekend, but sometimes I don't get to it. About two weeks ago, on the weekend, I got my clothes together and planned the meals. The next week was so nice. It is always such a relief to have some things done ahead, but sometimes I just don't get to it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

2/10/12 written Sunday 2/5/12 cont. family tree and updating the calendar...

We haven't done anything with the family tree on the dining room wall lately. Maggie has printed her family tree from the computer.What we should do is write the names and relationships on papers and hang them up. The reason that we stopped is that we didn't have any pictures of the next generation. We could hang up names and when we get pictures we can add them in. This would keep the project moving.

We need to get a back-up ink for our printer. Since Maggie has a big project due this month we will be using a lot of ink.

I need to finish updating the calendar. It was started at the end of December.The appointments have been added, but the repetitive events are not on it yet. I need to go through it again, month by month, looking at last years calendar and finish it. Also the dinner jobs need to be written in the corner. Their dinner jobs are, napkins, silverware and drinks. The kids keep the job for a month and then switch. They are written on the corner of each month of the calendar because we can't remember each month who has what job, much less to remember them day to day. My dinner job each day is to make dinner.The kids do help make dinner now and then.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2/9/12 written Sunday 2/5/12 cont. new journal and Made in America presents...

I have almost filled my journal. I went out last Friday to the Hallmark store by my house to get another one. The store must have moved. There was another store in its spot. I like writing in a journal, then the kids can have them when they grow up. Since the Hallmark store had moved I went to the Christian Book Store, to find a journal. They had a lot of choices, but they were all printed in China. I wanted one that was made in America. The cashiers said that they didn't know which, if any, were made in America. I did find one. It was the "Max Lucado Journal - Outlive Your Life."

At Christmas the local newscaster had a challenge for our town. Could all of us, when we bought our Christmas presents for people, give at least one present that was made in America? This challenge was more difficult than I thought it would be.There aren't many things in the stores that are made in America.The kids each received one present that was made in America.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2/8/12 written Sunday 2/5/12 cont. foreign languages...

The kids are required now to take a foreign language in college. We don't know any foreign languages. Maggie and Beth both took spanish in grade school. At home, for a while, we were playing a CD of Chinese language lessons while we ate dinner. I had hoped that we would learn some Chineese from it. We didn't. We also tried to learn Morse code. I don't think that the kids could take this in college, but it was fun. It is dots and dashes. I took a piece of writing paper and put an "A" on it and the Morse code for "A" under it and taped it to the wall. We found the code in the encyclopedia. The next week I hung up the paper for "B". After the kids learned all of them I was going to give them treasure hunts using Morse Code. I know that Morse Code isn't often used, but any time that they are learning it is good. We didn't finish learing the whole alphabet because we were going to move and they had to come off of the wall.

We have also tried to learn sign language. At one of the teacher supply stores we got a sign language poster. We have it in the dining room. Some of the kids picked up the alphabet very quickly. I am trying really hard with it. We need to start learning it again, this would be a good choice for a college class.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2/7/12 written Sunday 2/5/12 school project...

Maggie has a big paper due soon. The teacher is going to give them the details of what is required on Monday. The first rough draft, typed, is due on Friday and I think that the paper is due this month. The kids can do a paper, web site, documentary or they have a few other choices.They take their project to the local University and compete against other schools. Maggie got her books about a month ago. We have already renewed them once.The kids had to take their books to school last week to do their bibliography. Maggie wants to do a web page. She has her topic.Once the teacher gives the guidelines on Monday then she can start working on it. She will be relieved to have it done.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2/6/12 written Wednesday 2/1/12 cont. kids household jobs and maps on the dining room table...

The kids switched household jobs again, since this is the first of the month. William is now the laundry person, Maggie has dishes for the first half of the month and Beth is on break. It was tough for Maggie to do homework and the dishes last month (we do have a dishwasher), but she got through it.

We have a map of the world on our dining room table. There is a big sheet of clear plastic over it. (I like the plastic from the painting areas at the store. They are big, thick and inexpensive) The corners of the plastic are taped down around the under side of the table so that the map and plastic stays in place. When we first started doing this we had a map of our town on the table. We put it there at about the same time that we started using a map to see where all of the play areas were in town (see post from two days ago).Now we have a map of the world. I currently sit by California. William is by Russia. Maggie sits by the North Pole and Beth sits by the South Pole. I would like to put a map of the Universe on the table, but I haven't found a cheap one. The map of the world is useful. If we hear something on the news about another country, we can find it on the map.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2/5/12 - need web site address

Inside an Insane Mind left a comment. I can't access your blog. Can you please leave your web site? Thank you for thinking of me!!!

2/5/12 written Wednesday 2/1/12 cont. high school grades and college acceptance...

We went to a meeting at Maggie's school the other day. All of the kids from her grade were there. It was like all of the kids and their parents going to the guidance counselor at the same time to see how they are doing. We got a copy of her high school and college transcripts and her standardized test scores. She is doing OK. We were told that the kids should look closely at their high school grade point average and standardized test scores and make sure that they are high enough to get them into their field or college at the University. The Principal said that they could be accepted into the University with lower scores, but when it came time to apply to their college, like the College of Engineering, they may need higher scores. When we got home Maggie got online and found out what GPA and test scores she would need to be able to apply. I explained that the scores that were on the web site were the minimum scores to apply. If everyone else has higher scores than her she might not be accepted. We hadn't thought about that before. Now she has some numbers to strive for.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

2/4/12 written Wenesday 2/1/12 moving furniture and mission trip meeting...

Maggie and Beth share a room now. So far it is working out well. The girls moved the rooms themselves. Since they didn't want any help, I moved the boxes in the basement so that they aren't in front of the shoe shelf. We need to sort through the shoes on the shelf and have the kids get rid of everything that doesn't fit. It will be nice to get all of the extra shoes out of the kitchen and onto the shoe shelf.

We went to the mission trip meeting at church. There were a lot of kids there. The meeting was about how to raise money for the trip, what the kids would see and do on the trip and they had time for the families to ask questions. It looked very organized to me. They did say that everyone should go with an open mind because sometimes plans do change. If the supplies don't show up or if they had planned on an outside project and it starts to rain, everything changes. They said that everyone needs to be ready to make an adjustment without complaining. The girls each saw someone that they knew at the meeting. I was glad about that since we are still so new to the church.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2/2/12 written Wednesday 1/18/12 cont. church mission trip and moving rooms...

The girls want to go on a mission trip with the church to New Orleans. We got them boxes of candy bars to start selling to pay for the trip. We know that Beth is allowed to sell candy at her school. Maggie is going to check Monday and see if she can sell candy too.

We are going to move Beth's bed into Maggie's room. They like to be in the same room, and Beth's room has the old style of outlets, so Beth can't plug anything in. I am not sure that this will work, but we will try it. When I asked Maggie what she thought about moving Beth into her room she said yes right away.. Maggie started yesterday moving her things...book shelf, toys, table... into her closet. She said that she would rather have these things in her closet than in Beth's room.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2/1/12 written Wednesday 1/18/12 cont. plastic on the windows and freezing pipes...

William and I put plastic on the last window in the living room yesterday. It is cold out finally, so it couldn't be put off any longer. It got really cold on Thursday night. In the morning, all of the pipes were OK except for the one going to the tub. Only a small trickle of water would come out. The bathroom is built over a crawl space. There is a vent in the crawl space that leads outside. We have Styrofoam on the outside of the house in this vent to keep the cold air out of the crawl space. We take the Styrofoam out when the weather turns nice in the spring. If we didn't take it out, then there would be mold in the crawl space. We also have the door to the crawl space open to the basement and a screen over the opening. Then we have an infrared light in there all winter. The bulb in the light burned out Thursday night. In the morning the water barely came out of the pipe. I took the hair dryer to the basement and began blowing hot air into the crawl space. I am not saying that this is the correct way to thaw a pipe. I have heard of people who have done this and have had the pipe split which made a big mess and cost a lot of money to fix. This is just how I thaw a pipe. When it was time to leave, there was more water coming out of the faucet but it wasn't totally unblocked. Beth was home for the day. Her school had the day off. When the water pipe began to freeze up later, she went every ten to fifteen minutes and turned the water on. We can't leave it on because our tub only has an "on" and an "off", not a "slower" and a "faster" setting. She also took an electric heater to the basement and put it by the crawl space opening. She checked that a lot too to make sure that it wasn't overheating anything in the basement. The pipe didn't freeze. Beth did a great job handling this for us. We got a new light bulb and within an hour or two the pipe was unfrozen. We need to get a back-up light bulb.