Short & Quick Road Trip 

12 Jul

We had a whirl-wind trip through DFW/Arlington area.  The plan was to visit several good friends, go to the Madeline Tosh store, IKEA, and the IHS North Texas Catholic Homeschool Convention in two days.  Never enough time for good friends, yarn or books, but it was the most we could manage before coming home to get the kids to Totus Tuus.

 We rented a 7 passenger vehicle because for various reasons neither if our vehicles are completely trust worthy for that long a distance.  The air conditioning in the van comes and goes and the whole thing shakes like it’s going to shatter if you go 70mpm.  The small SUV seems to have electrical issues.  Fun stuff like turning on the radio and the windshield wipers randomly start. My Man was mighty happy to rent a Lincoln Navigator via Priceline.  I think now he finally understands my Nissan NV envy.  The whole ride there he was explaining the joys of that Navigator.

“Look!  The steps slides out and lights the ground when you open the doors!”

“OH! The wipers auto adjust their speed to the rain pressure!”

“OMG! If the seat is hot, I can blow cold air up my butt with the seat coolers!  Look, babe! Press that button to try to adjust your seat temp!”

“Did you see these buttons?! You can adjust your air on your side too.”

It was indeed one sweet ride compared to our 11 year old cargo van.  The kids enjoyed it too.  The picture is very blurry because life was in motion, but the happy came through clear enough.

 We stayed at a Residence Inn in Las Colinas. It was not near anything we had on our itinerary, but it was somewhat equal distance from all of it and the apartment set up worked well for the 7 of us.  The pictures are dark because I’m lazy and was in a hurry at the time.

I don’t know why, but the coffee they provided was really good.  I felt slightly bad bc when you have to order anything from the front desk, it means some poor gal has to schlep all over a small apartment complex to bring you extra coffee, pillows, towels and so forth.  And stairs.  No elevator. Everyone on staff was skinny though, so I guess there’s that built in health plan to mitigate things.  The hotel hot breakfast was good, plenty of variety and bountiful.  Major plus. The 4 year old was fascinated by the “little broken fans” and no amount of my saying they were not fans convinced him they were water sprinklers.  In his words, “Water sprinklers INSIDE?! That’s crazy.”We ate a lot of no where near whole30 meals.  Chick Fil A and McD happy meals. We knew the second they opened those Minion happy meal toys it was going to be a “turn the radio up” drive for a while.  IHOP for dinner one night and I had a flashback to my youth.  Frozen blueberries in lemonade, with free refills.

Chicken Express chicken is okay, but I just wanted their great fried okra.  The only thing we ate at IKEA were some cinnamon rolls and some dark chocolate for me. (I’m munching it with some coffee as I write this.) The chocolate is meh.  I’ve given most of it to the kids. The rolls were good.  They taste like my homemade ones without all the work and for less than a $1 each, that was a great treat for everyone.  We brought some home for the others. Osuba Hibachi was wonderful.  They had the best tiramisu I’ve ever had, but that might be the apple saki talking.  I thought the, “Do you want a large or small?” question referred to my own itty cup.  The gal came out with a small pitcher of saki and 6 cups. Woohoo!  Apple saki to share! One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me…  The bad news was all the non compliant foods caused massive swelling, especially in my feet, and a major headache and quite a bit of joint pain. (Even before the 3 saki.) The good news was I had too good a time to care very much about it.  I suspect I would have reached critical not happy physically if I had continued for another day or two off the W30 grid though.  Ugh.  Sucks to love food that hates me.  Thanks to this trip, we also learnedone of our children has a bladder worse than I ever had even when 9 months pregnant and it is made significantly worse if he has anything sweet and or carbonated to drink.  A significant portion of the trip involved finding a place for peeing every hour or so.

My friend moved to Texas and the stupid moving people lost an entire storage bin of her yarn.  So my awesome husband loaded us up and took us to the Madeline Tosh store, MadTosh Crafts.  That place was crazy awesome.  First time my husband had to reign in my spending.  The staff was nice too and really welcomed my friend to the area and to their store.  They had a large selection of luxury machine washable yarn, a major plus.  While I love luxury yarn/knit garments as much as the next gal, the truth is, it usually isn’t family friendly.  It’s probably for the best I don’t live in Texas.  I can’t wait to finish what I have come to affectionately refer to as My Damned Cardigan so I can start something with the yarn I bought at MadTosh Crafts.

 15 years of Catholic homeschooling and I had never been to a Catholic homeschool convention.  It was perfect timing because I needed to come see my friend and the IHS convention was free.  They had speakers, but I didn’t go to any of them.  Been there and done that and didn’t need to hear it again.  They also had a coffee and social session, but since I don’t live there, I skipped that as well.  I’m sure both of those things would be very helpful or inspiring to newer home educator.  I was all for the materials and vendors.  I was able to see some new materials for Seton I liked well enough to get for my 8th grader and 2 of my elementary kids wanted their Handwriting 4 because of the medieval topics through out.

The Our Lady of Victory table netted the Cursive 1 I needed and the Drawing God’s Magnificent Garden set too.    
The Sacred Heart Books booth was the biggest wallet grabber.  I found some books I had been wondering about for some time now and splurged on them.  The kids were happy with them, so that paid off.

 I was hoping Kolbe would have a bigger selection because I wanted to show it to my oldest daughter to get her input on it.  Thankfully they did have the new Miller Levine Biology for her to look through and since she liked it and liked what Mr Everett had to say about the lesson plans and virtual labs, we decided to go with that for high school science this year.

 The lesson plans won’t be available for purchase until mid-August though so he gave us a free shipping card on that future purchase.  I was very close to buying the Catholic Schoolhouse Year 2 but decided against it because I have done 4 years of Classically Catholic Memory and just do not want to do that type of thing this year.  If I were to buy it, I’d only go for the art and science and timeline cards.  I think the CD was superior to CCM, but the lack of quality maps in CSH was difficult to accept.  The year guide was not useful as a teaching tool as far as I could tell.  There are no lessons in the guide.  It’s mostly a graphic outline schedule.  I was glad to see Belmont Abbey College (North Carolina) and Northeast Catholic College (New Hampshire).  I don’t know how likely it would be for my kids to attend either of them, but I did appreciate a college from so far coming out because otherwise we would not have much of a clue about them. I gathered up their information materials and signed my teens up for information.  After we got back home, we discovered L left the 2 Kumon books we purchased and he begged to carry around at the convention. I added those to my Rsinbow Resource order.

And I decided this one item needed to be returned for a refund as I doubt I will ever actually use it. (It’s geared for classroom use.)

I’m also updating my 2015 curriculum planning page on the blog.  I haven’t finished it yet, but the bulk of it is settled and ordered.

Beware Bunny Cuteness

17 Jun

May 30th I went to check on the bunnies before going to bed and found fur flying about the cage. Pfeffer  had snatched poor Hausen’s back nearly bald. There’s only one thing to think when you open a rabbit hutch and see that – “She’s pregnant!” 

And get a nesting box in order pronto. Unfortunately it was late at night, so she had to wait until the next day when I purchased a larger cage for her and everything to make a proper nesting box. Within 30 minutes of putting the box in her new cage, she kindled 5 kits.

Pardon the terribly fuzzy first shot.  I just wanted a really quick look at them to be sure they were okay and then right back to the nest they went to stay cozy.            Speckles on the end there is a LOT more brown than black now. And s/he has the cutest little crown circlet of brown above the eyes now too.  

Day 8: A rare nursing video! That I can’t upload to WordPress. Drat. Oh well, on to …

Day 10 – Some personality is really starting to show. Don’t worry. They aren’t dead or scared or upset. They are ridiculously content and relaxed. And cute. Really really cute.  


Day 11 – Eyes are opening!  And they are self-grooming and trying to jump about.  


Day 12 – Much more active.  And are much fluffier than yesterday. Two of them “fell” out of the best today. I put them back, but I bet the box will need romoved tomorrow. I suspect they were trying to jump from nestbox to mom in feed box and landed on bottom of cage.  


I have some really cute videos, but I need to set up an account somewhere to upload them.    

More May in Pictures

31 May

We have mostly been schooling and enjoying the beginning of summer lull from busy outside activities.

The Sock Nemesis stuck repeatedly.  What happened that tore this sock from its lifelong partner? What brought it to this rulers and pencils drawer? We will never know. I suspect someone is just messing with parental minds.   It has been raining heavily nearly every day. So no pool to swim in yet, though the kids did gather up vast quantities of tadpoles out of it. 

The fish and flowers are appreciating the rain. My Awesome Man found another bobble head gnome to add to the garden.  The fan tails were coming up to eat out her hand.  I found this growing wild next to my ac units. Anyone know what it is? Hosta?  Of course, I’ve been working my yarn. The Tumble Cardi on my needles is taking most of my attention, so this flip flop flower princess doll is the only thing I finished. B loved it. 

I’m still keeping on at my Whole 30 – lost a bit more weight and an inch in the waist. Food hasn’t been particularly exotic for the most part, but I did try two new compliant recipes. This no sugar/dairy “milkshake” is frozen bananas, cashew butter, cocoa power, and a couple tablespoons of coconut cream blended in my Ninja until the consistency of a Wendy’s frosty. It comes real close to tasting like one too!

 Then I heard about a weird but great twist on a breakfast omlete. The Sweet & Savory Blueberry Tortilla. I was supposed to use fresh blueberries, but all I had was frozen.  I suspect the presentation and texture would be improved with fresh. Once again, I was happy l tried an unusual mix of ingredients. It was sort of blueberry French toast tasting, a yummy change of pace.  

 And last, but not least Hasen & Pfeffer made 5 kleine knodel! Here they are at 30 minutes old. Pardon the bad photo, but I was in a hurry to return them to their anxious mama.    That’s it for May.  I’m looking forward to a sunnier June. 

Spring is finally here!

7 May

I spent most of winter hibernating.  Spring’s arrival is a much needed reentry to life. 

I yanked all my lavender out of the front garden and planted what seemed like hundreds of new plants. It looks rather sparse now, but it’s already starting to fill out. The ugly edges of the itty fish pond I added this year should disappear into the growing foliage by summer.   

  I did manage to get deeper in yarn over winter. Nothing fancy, but still learned a few new things and enjoyed by those gifted with them.  

          Other than that, there has been the usual home educating.  I should be lesson planning for next year, instead I’m hoping the rain lets up for me to get the pool going and my veggie garden takes off for canning later this year.

Oh and thanks to that hibernation, I find myself desperately off the Whole30 wagon. I’m on day 4 of W30 rebooting.  Even though I was up by 7:30 this morning, after a cup of black coffee, getting kids up, chores, getting myself presentable, starting schooling..   Tho my own breakfast only took 25 minutes to make, I didn’t get around to making it until 10:30am. But it was yummy.

 Summer is usually quickly overtaken with busy plans to do various camps, VBS and so on.  I think this year I’m putting our foot and wallets down to enjoy a genuine break. Busy is not a virtue, but it sure gets in the way of a lot of them.

Now I really need to get back to work. 

Yarn Highlights

8 Nov

Sept/Oct 2014 Yarn

Playdoh & coffee kind of day

18 Sep

We* made homemade lemon koolaid playdoh “cookie” with my afternoon coffee and I wrote ‘MOM’ in cuneiform with a knitting needle. It’s amazing how many things I shouldn’t use my knitting needles for just because they happen to be nearby.




*’We’ is a royal we. A teen made the playdoh at my request and another teen made my coffee without my request. But I made them and did the cuneiform thing, so that brings it all back to that royal ‘We’ method of getting things done around here.

Corporal Work of Mercy

10 Sep

Today’s main lesson was burying the dead. Hermione the Cat, who has been a part of our family for 13 years, died of cancer at 1:30am. As my husband noted, she’d been a part of our family for longer than half our children.

She was holding up rather well until later yesterday afternoon, at which point, I suspected her end was close. It became clear she was hanging on waiting for her favorite person to get home from work. She’d get a little spurt of energy and purr when someone petted her or came near my lap, then realize it wasn’t him, and promptly stop in disappointment. Bless her heart, she hung on until he got home. She actually stumbled up a bit for him and was obvious she had been waiting to greet him one more time. She died very soon after. We are going to miss her.

Hermione the Cat



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