31 December 2007

Cincinnati Children's Museum

We went down to the Cincinnati Children's Museum just before Christmas - met some friends we haven't seen since we lived in Kentucky. My but those kids have grown! And between the two families there are three more kids than there used to be, which was fun. I'm thinking we're gonna have to do that again sometime. And also hit some other children's museums: that place was cool! (It was my first trip to one of these children's museum things. Except when I was about 3.)


















Charlotte Mason Carnival

I found one of these a while back & really enjoyed the various posts. I'm not sure how to tell where it's going to be next time, but I stumbled across one today.

30 December 2007

Sunday Scripture 14




And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:6-7

23 December 2007

Making Ornaments

The cookies this year were completely Out. Of. Control. It's not going to happen this way next year. Next year, we're going to make ornaments to give to all those people that should get Something, but not Too Much. The great thing about the ornaments is not only are they fun to make, but I can make them a bit at a time all year, I don't have to wait for the holidays. Then, come Christmas next year, we just get them out and choose one for the various piano students, visiting teachers, friends that don't get "real" presents, and whoever else suddenly needs to have something. So I've been looking for ornament tutorials online. There's really quite a lot out there. Here's some of my favorites:

Family ornaments from polymer clay. The same lady has some cute snowflake ornaments. Since they use everyday sharpies on the polymer ornaments at the mall, I'm guessing that's how you get the names & numbers & things on these. If anyone knows differently, please leave me a comment!

Over at Feathered Nest, she's got a tutorial for these adorable mitten ornaments. I'm loving the idea of doing these because she's used tatted lace on them, and I know how to do tatting. But not how to fix mistakes, really. It must be possible, because I've seen some really BIG tatted pieces at the temple, but I don't know how. And finding people who tat is not the easiest. So this is tatting right at my speed. I may do these first. Does anyone know if dying the mittens with coffee like she suggests means that you need to wash them before they're done? Won't the coffee be... icky... if you don't?

PrideStampers has a very cool glass ball ornament idea that I'd also like to try. This one will likely wait a little longer as I don't have many Christmas stamps at all. But it's very cool. Also very cool, I discovered that there's a nice forum group for stamping! They have stamping challenges, and it's people that know what they're doing with their stamps who will let me pick their brains! It's called Splitcoast Stampers, and it looks like fun. From there, I browsed my way over to this place that has Page Maps for scrapbooks - that is, layout ideas & also some examples of what people have done with them. They put out a couple each month. I'm trying one out this evening (I took a break because we're having an ice-n-snow storm & the power keeps flickering & I don't want to loose all these lovely links) so when it's done I'll take pictures & post them if it turns out as cute as I think it's going to.

This one is a bit involved - I'd need to find a kiln to make her ornaments. But they're very cute. Maybe when I grow up I can have a kiln. But over at Earthenwood Studio she's making "Scent Cookie" ornaments. I guess that the ornaments take various smells pretty easily. Which is also cool. Also, she has a link to a place that makes custom rubber stamps for her. Definitely going to have to check that out & see how expensive that is.

This idea was grown up shrinky-dink ornaments, and it looks like a blast! I'm thinking those are also going to be early on the production list. Especially since I don't think that the shrinky-dink stuff is terribly expensive & her ornaments turned out super cute.

Here are some nice looking paper ball ornaments. These are also very easy looking. I don't have a scalloped circle punch (yet) so I'll probably wait for these until I get one of those - I think I'd miss the scallops if I tried to make this with a plain circle. And a punch big enough to make this ornament is going to cost some bucks. But probably not as much as all those cookie ingredients...

And, finally, there are these hanging paper ornaments. Personally, I think they're way too big for the tree, but I like them nonetheless. I made a couple of these and they're currently hanging above my stove. They're cute! I used a "deckle" blade when I cut the strips with my scrapbook cutter, so my edges are a bit fancy & I like it.

18 December 2007

New Blogs in my Blogroll!

I've spent some very happy hours recently reading new blogs that I've browsed across recently. The one I found today is the Herbwife's Kitchen. She's got some very interesting stuff on her blog! For instance, there's the recipe for a yogurt & green tea face scrub or there's the flaxseed hair gel. I don't use gel, but some of my family does. Too bad I've already got presents for everyone! I started thinking about homemade gifts a little too late this season. It's probably just as well, because with being sick & everything else that's been going on, I'm behind on the stuff that I was already making. But maybe next year I'll try the completely homemade Christmas.

I also visited several craft blogs - one was Sew Green, where I ran across the idea of the 100 Mile Diet. That one's not a blog, but it is interesting. They decided one day to only eat food that was grown within 100 miles of their home. Wow. I'm thinking that a little bit of that would be nice, but I may ease into it a little more than what it sounds like they did! I don't want to eat that many potatoes! I also checked out By Sun and Candlelight. Dawn's blog is a lot of fun to read! I got a peek into the fun things she's doing with her boys for the Christmas season, and a look at a variant on the Advent calendar that I'd like to try next year or the year after - when Monkey's old enough to actually care.

Fish in My Hair is just a good ROFLOL sort of blog! Check her out - she's been telling about their computer trouble and it's hilarious!! May I someday learn to have that much of a sense of humor! (Not that my husband would take 3 weeks & 3 external hard drives & a new computer to back up i-Tunes, or ever wish to be the Grand Poobah System Administrator. He's cool that way.)

16 December 2007

Sunday Scripture 13



Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
-Isaiah 7:14-15




For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
-Isaiah 9:6-7




And it came to pass after I had see the tree, I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou has shown unto me the tree which is precious above all.

And he said unto me: What desirest thou?

And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof ...

And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look! ...

And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?

And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?

And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

And he said unto me: Behold the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.

And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!

And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.

And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?

And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.

And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.
-1 Nephi 11:9-23

Cool Advent Calendar

Over at Sun and Candlelight they have this lovely idea for an Advent wreath - much like an Advent calendar, only prettier & she put activities on it rather than scriptures or chocolates or that sort of thing. I never did get the Advent calendar made this year - I'm thinking that January might be a great time to make it, when there's still lots of time! And then I'd have it for next year. The same thing goes for this wreath idea: if I make it sooner rather than later then I'll have it ready to go next year when it's time to use it. And as a nice bonus, it's really pretty, so it would count as a Christmas decoration!

11 December 2007

Snow Shards






It's the most interesting snowflakes I've ever seen! I used the macro setting on my camera to get as close as I could, then in each picture there was usually one small area that was in focus; I cropped everything else away. I just lve what's left! They were cool looking when I was outside this morning - but I didn't expect them to be this cool when I finished them. These snowflakes are breathtaking! The wonders of Creation seem even more wonderful when you realize the amazing detail -- in something that is so fleeting and tiny as a snowflake.

New and Exciting Ways to Kick Debt in the Teeth

This is cool - gutsy, even. The Adams Family is planning to sell off basically everything they own in order to raise money & meet their goal of paying off their debts by Jan 10. I'm impressed. That's commitment! Stop by & read their story, check out their E-bay auctions, see if you want any of their stuff. I haven't seen anything that I want yet, but I'll be checking back!

09 December 2007

Cool Snowflake Post

I found a new blog this afternoon, and was browsing through it and found this cool idea. They made a whole big Thing out of snowflakes - studying them and cutting them and just generally having fun with the Art and Science of Snowflakes. Now, Monkey's too little to do snowflakes; his Mean Ole Mom won't let him have scissors. But I sure like making snowflakes, so I'm going to be checking out some of those interesting links they've got for myself!

(This is complaining. Feel free to skip the part where I growl and stomp my feet about not being able to post this yet because Google has labeled my Perfectly Respectable blog a Scumbag Spam blog. I just want to post my stuff!!!)

Sunday Scripture 12



Therefore shall ye lay up these words in your heart and in your soul... And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door pots of thine house, and upon thy gates:

That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

-Deuteronomy 11: 18-21


Here, like so many other places, the Lord has asked us to do something. And like He so often does, He's told us "what's in it for us" right up front: a principle with a promise. I think it's interesting and cool that between here and the 5th commandment both children and parents have very similar promises given to them for doing their duty to each other.

07 December 2007

More Politics

Mitt Romney gave an interesting speech yesterday. At least, the parts that I heard were interesting. I really liked what he had to say about the constitution, and about the Founders' intent regarding religion in the public life. The excerpts from his speech are here, and I just kept going till they showed a clip from that Kennedy speech that folks keep referring to, like as if all the viewers and voters are going to remember what Kennedy had to say nearly 50 years ago! So watching that was pretty useful as well. I mean, the media keeps referring to it, but I don't think my parents were voting age when that speech was given in 1960!

A few weeks ago, I heard about this cool gizmo that Minnesota Public Radio came up with to match you with the candidate whose views most closely match your own. I was mildly surprised to find that Mr. Romney was not my best match - both Duncan Hunter & Fred Thompson are said to be closer. However, I don't know as much about either of the two of them. Particularly, I wish I knew where to look for what they say about the Constitution and the Founders, as neither of those are included in the MPR quiz.

Oddly enough, there were several candidates that I disagree with more completely than I do with Hillary. I was more than a little surprised by that.

Now, if Google ever decides that I'm not an Evil Spammer, I can actually post this, instead of just saving another draft.

In the mean time, here's some speeches from Duncan Hunter:

On Chinese trade "cheating" & off-shore jobs & a fence on the border


On the Senate Immigration Bill


On Iran, Immigration, defense, Manufacturing trade, & taxes, Iraq


On China


On fair taxes, off-shoring, free trade, and China, as well as Iran, Unions


On Right to Life, and Judicial appointments


Duncan Hunter & civil rights and gun control and on education at ontheissues.org.

I am NOT an Evil Spammer

Looks like my blog is locked because they think I'm an Evil Spammer. This is a bummer, but "they" say that these things are usually cleared up quickly. Keeley had this happen to her not too long ago... wonder what makes them think these things? In any case, it kinda stinks. I hope they have it all cleared up before the weekend, since I was planning to do the Photo Hunt this weekend, and of course there is the Sunday Scripture, and whatever other posts catch my fancy. But none of that will work as long as they think I'm an Evil Spammer!

06 December 2007

Baby Signs!


We have a copy of Joseph Garcia's Sign With Your Baby, and it's pretty cool. The things he says in the video make a lot of sense. But after I tried to get Monkey to sign "cheese" and he said "cheese" instead, I kinda gave up on ever getting much in the way of signs from him. After all, he had been waving bye-bye for a long time, had about 20 spoken words, and just didn't seem to be very interested.

Then he started signing more. Now we've seen more, apple, all done, all gone, and oh yes, cheese, all in just a week or two. This afternoon I discovered a lovely American Sign Language dictionary that has videos of people doing the signs! It's wonderful - and they have a special section for "baby sign," which is where they've separated out the most common signs that you want to teach to little kids.

Good News on the Scale

Well, yesterday was "official" weigh-in day at Tales from the Scales, but I didn't get it done yesterday. However, TODAY, I am down 1 pound from last week! Yay me!

05 December 2007

Happy Dance!

I'm doing the Happy Dance for 2 reasons - 1st because this is my 200th post! Guess I've had a couple things to say every now and then. And second because even as I type Andy is ordering me Miss Mason's books!
I've read a little bit of her stuff online, but you just can't curl up with a computer screen very well, so I have a very hard time reading longer stuff online. There's just nothing quite like a good solid book in the hand. I already know that I like some of her ideas, at least, I like the things that people say about them around and about. Now I'll be able to digest the stuff directly from the source. It should be here for my reading pleasure in 5 to 9 days. Yay!

04 December 2007

"You mean I don't have to be dumb?"

Scientific American: The Secret to Raising Smart Kids

Our society worships talent, and many people assume that possessing superior intelligence or ability—along with confidence in that ability—is a recipe for success. In fact, however, more than 30 years of scientific investigation suggests that an overemphasis on intellect or talent leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unwilling to remedy their shortcomings. ...

Praising children’s innate abilities, ... reinforces this mind-set, which can also prevent young athletes or people in the workforce and even marriages from living up to their potential. On the other hand, our studies show that teaching people to have a “growth mind-set,” which encourages a focus on effort rather than on intelligence or talent, helps make them into high achievers in school and in life. ...

In the growth mind-set classes, students read and discussed an article entitled “You Can Grow Your Brain.” They were taught that the brain is like a muscle that gets stronger with use and that learning prompts neurons in the brain to grow new connections. From such instruction, many students began to see themselves as agents of their own brain development. Students who had been disruptive or bored sat still and took note. One particularly unruly boy looked up during the discussion and said, “You mean I don’t have to be dumb?”

Read more...


Here's a cool article! One that makes me want to take a look at not only the praise that I give my son, but also the way that I praise my piano students & other folks around me. I'll have to pay attention to the way that I do things and make sure to give effort at least equal time. I'm really not sure exactly where I fall into this right now. What an interesting look into brain function & behavior!

Oh Baby, Oh Baby!

This is just exciting stuff! Or something. I'm working my way through Beginning CSS Web Development. That is, I read chapter 1 this afternoon. Someday, someday soon I hope, I'll be good at using CSS (cascading style sheets: fancy programing to make my webpages prettier). That day is not today. Today, I turned some text red in new and exciting ways. I think I'm going to move on to something more familiar now, like working the fleece jacket that I'm sewing for Andy. My brain is kinda hurting.

03 December 2007

Cheerful Anyway



I took my boy up to the doctor's office this afternoon, because his ears hurt him. He's got a double ear infection, in spite of the fact that he just finished up his 2nd batch of antibiotics. Last time, he had a single ear infection and bronchitis. The bronchitis is gone now, but his ears hurt. So in addition to new antibiotics, we also have a referral to an Ear-Nose-Throat doctor. In spite of this, he spends most of his days being remarkably cheerful! After we finished up with the doctor this afternoon I let him stop and play at the cool toy they have there in the waiting room. He doesn't feel good, but still wanted to play for as long as I would let him before we left!

02 December 2007

Weekend Snapshot: Camera Games


My camera is able to go fully manual. Only I don't know a whole lot about using that f-stop/aperture stuff. But it's fun to try it out. Today, while playing around with my camera I realized that if I push the shutter button halfway, then it shows me the settings! Quick, quick! Turn that dial over to manual & play with it! These are what I got.



Merry Christmas!

Sunday Scripture 11



But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratahm though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.
-Micah 5:2

01 December 2007

A Paragon of Domesticity

When I was in college, one of my girlfriends accused me of being a "paragon of domesticity." I was tatting on the bus. And I got the other girls to tat with me. It was fun. Except that I kept making mistakes in my design and I never got very good at getting them out. That was pretty frustrating. But I got a cool phrase out of the deal.

Today's activities made me think of that. Here's what we did today:

1. Reading. OK, I'm not sure this is actually domestic, but I think it might qualify. I tried so hard to get the picture of him on his belly reading the book, but once he saw the camera, it was all over. This is what I got instead:




2. Made cookies. Snickerdoodles, to be exact. With MissKate's recipe. It's the best Snickerdoodle recipe. How do I know this, you may wonder. Well, let me tell you. MissKate actually makes 1/2 batches of various recipes - several different versions of the same type of cookie - so that she can determine which one is the best one. I'm impressed. So when she says that these are the best Snickerdoodles around, I believe her.

Here's her recipe:
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c butter
1 1/2 cu sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt


Mix up the stuff like ya do - the sugar & butter & eggs & vanilla get to go first. The I like to add the soda & salt, & last you add the flour. Then you mix together the cinnamon sugar & roll little dough balls in it. (The ones you don't eat.) Then you bake those suckers for 6 minutes at 400F. Most good. I love cookies made on my pizza stone, but I don't think that she's got one, so that's my own little addition. Here's what you get at the end:




3. I spent time today Mom-ing. That's what it's called when you have to find something else for the baby to do because what he's doing isn't exactly bad... but it isn't exactly safe either. However, I did stop to take a few pictures first. Yes, those are my glass mason jars he's got.






4. I thawed my tights. Yep, I really did freeze them, and now I had to thaw them out. It's a rather odd habit of mine, but I find that it dramatically extends the life of my tights. It did the same thing to my nylons, before I quit wearing the silly things. I was on a roll, so I took a picture of that too.

Photo Hunt: Red

Theme: Red




I used a couple of pictures from this trip to the park for another photo hunt, and now here's a few more for the "RED" theme.



This has always been one of my favorites from the set. I love the way that the red tunnel gives him such rosy cheeks! I tried this in a blue tunnel once... he just looked sick and I quickly deleted the pictures, so we'll stick with red-rosy cheeks in the red tunnel.


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