Heifer International

October 30, 2007 at 2:51 pm | Posted in getting involved, Homeschooling, Personal, simplicity | 3 Comments

One of out recent home school co-op fieldtrips was to take a tour of the Heifer International Ranch.http://www.heiferfoundation.org/seminars/ranchinfo.cfmThe kids got to see some of the “sanitation stations” that Heifer is using to teach proper hygiene in other countries, meet the animals that are used to help others, and to see a global village that represents some of the living situations of the world. There were tin shanty towns,

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 African round huts, and a Thai home. This place was great for learning about how one animal can affect a family’s existence and bring their standard of living up. I really enjoyed getting to see how they do it all.

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We were able to see the different animals that Heifer sends around the world and learn how many ways each one can effect a family. I am still sold on a Llama for myself. Wool, milk, hauling, and protection (excellent guard animals).

It served to bolster my reasoning to becoming more self sufficient also because I can see how it is the little things that can make such a big difference. How just one animal can provide so much as to help one stay independent.

Some of the poverty issues were above the my kid’s heads, but overall, I think some of it sunk in. For, me, I left reminded of how good I have it, even when things are rough.

More fun times!

October 27, 2007 at 10:48 pm | Posted in Homeschooling, Personal | 3 Comments

So, in keeping with learning new things and trying new things out, the kids and I have been attending a story time at our library and they love it! They get to do a craft at each session and that is one of the best parts for me, art time without the planning!smalllibraryday3.jpg

I also took them for ice skating lessons, which they were ambivalent about. Poor kids, they slipped and slid all over the place! I guess the kids had better stick to roller skating, it is easier here to roller skate than it is to find ice! blogsizediceskating.jpg

Learning fun!

October 23, 2007 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Homeschooling, simplicity | 3 Comments

The kids and I have been busy~busy lately! I have made a commitment to do more activities outside the house and so far I am managing to do so. It is hard to manage both the kids in open spaces, around a bunch of other kids, all by myself. I am always paranoid that something will happen to them when I am distracted. So far, nothing has happened and learning has been going on. The coolest thing we are doing is a set of lessons offered by one of our local state parks, http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/pinnaclemountain/.The park rangers there are top notch at these lessons! The kids (and I) have learned so much! We have learned about camouflage and how animals use it to stay safe from predators. The Rangers had the kids dress in camo and play a game of hide-and-seek with some of the other kids being the predators (wearing hunter safety orange). All the kids had so much fun with this!

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We also were introduced to birds of Arkansas and the kids were so excited about that they decided to join the bird watching group in here called Wings over Arkansashttp://www.agfc.com/wildlife-conservation/birds/wingsoverark.aspxWe have been having fun identifying birds and the kid’s observation skills have greatly improved with how much time they spend looking for “new birds.”blogsizeduckcalls.jpg

We also attended a class that taught us what birds eat. This lead, naturally, to us eating bugs. Yes, we all ate a delicious larva! Here we are eyeballing our feasts immediately before ingestion. Yum. (shudders with flashback to the experience) blogsizedlarva.jpg

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And that is just a part of Pinnacle Mountain! We have attended a Dutch oven cooking class, and will have a separate entry for another big event we recently attended there where they had a whole weekend of re-creating the pioneer life of the 1830-1850’s!

Blog Action Day

October 15, 2007 at 2:01 pm | Posted in getting involved, Personal, politics, recycling, simplicity | 4 Comments

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Blog Action Day!(On October 15th – Blog Action Day, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind.In its inaugural year, Blog Action Day will be coordinating bloggers to tackle the issue of the environment.)Yup, even though I try hard to keep my world as environmentally friendly as possible, this is a great way to really raise up the issue and see what can happen. It is all those little changes one can make in life that add up.Last night I baked dinner in the oven. Since the oven was on (Energystar appliance), I went ahead and used the heat to finish several items that needed heating. My kids do not eat the “heels” of the bread and I am not to fond of them either on the store bought whole wheat, so I save them, cut them into crouton sizes, and when I have a substantial amount, I bake them. smallbread.jpgInstant croutons and bread crumbs! smallcrumbs.jpgAfter that, I used the remaining heat to re-season my cast iron cookware. I love using pots and pans that will be around long enough to pass on to my grandkids, but they do have to be taken care of! smallcastiron.jpgSo, with each use of the oven, the heat was being turned down, and since it was cold outside, it was keeping the kitchen and living room (where we were) warm without turning the heat on. It was all very productive, and I not only saved energy, but I cut down on waste and encouraged good nutrition! It is hard not to feel good about that!So, happy Blog Action Day! What have you done to help the environment today?

Crocheted washcloths/face flannels

October 14, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Craft, frugal, recycling, simplicity | 5 Comments

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So, the kids needed some new washcloths and I decided to try my hand at making them myself. I don’t own a serger, so I decided to use some Freecycled cotton to crochet them. I had just enough of each of the cotton to make a washcloth, or two, so this was a great way to use up the remains. The center, light purple one, I did with a single crochet, but I found it a little to tight and heavy when wet. I tried the yellow with red trim using a half-double crochet. I liked it much better, but I wanted the weave just a little tighter. I kept working down with hook size till I found that using a “h” hook with the HDC gave me a cloth that was not to heavy when filled with water, and was soft and flexible enough that the kids like it’s feel on their faces. So, here they are, my new set of washcloths, cost =$0, recycled = 100%, fun for the kids to have their own homemade washcloths (face flannels) = priceless!

Another Home School activity

October 13, 2007 at 2:31 am | Posted in Homeschooling, Personal, simplicity | 1 Comment

First, I must admit, I am not a bowler. So, when the home school co-op we belong to planned a bowling day, I was nervous. I did get my nerve on and go though! I just got the kids their shoes, one of the other moms told me how to set up the score machine, and pushed the button that puts up the bumpers. We shared all the lightweight balls so we were set. Now is when I should “teach” right? Wrong. I did what I sometimes have to do, I got out of the way and let the kids have fun. Since I don’t know about scoring or anything, I just let them roll the balls. They had a great time and apparently scored very well with Karma Girl bowling a 93 and a 96, and Karma Boy making a 83 and 90! blogsixedbowling-girl.jpgCool! They got natural talent, and they had fun. Karma Boy learned that you can still make a gutter ball even with bumpers! He was OK with it though, cause the real fun is throwing the ball down the lane! The photo is of him on the floor willing his ball to keep going by wagging his feet and yelling encouragement. blogsized-bowlingboy.jpgI have seen the parents that “over teach” everything and their kids can look so sad. I am glad that I am learning to take myself out of the equation every once and awhile and just let them have fun. Childhood should be about fun, and happy memories!

ABB goes NPR

October 11, 2007 at 8:20 pm | Posted in getting involved, Personal, politics | 2 Comments

I get so proud when the blogs I read have good things happen to them! Today, I found out that Angry Black Bitch was on NPR talking about her use of the word “bitch” and it’s place in linguistics and culture. She is amazingly articulate and it was a pleasure to listen to her, you can too at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15180194 And you can visit her site at http://angryblackbitch.blogspot.com/2007/10/that-npr-thang.html Keep on keeping on Shark-Fu!

And Karma boy turns 4

October 10, 2007 at 8:19 pm | Posted in Health, Personal, simplicity | 3 Comments

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I can’t believe it has gone so fast! It was just the other day I gave birth to him! He was little (7lb 14oz) and squishy. Now he is a wall climbing, tear things up, and wiggly boy! We had all his friends over for a party in the back yard. We are real low key for birthdays, healthy snacks and we request no gifts, and it has always worked for us. That way, if the time ever comes and they want a “big deal” of a birthday, we have something to work up to.

The birthday boy requested banana nut muffins for “cake” and we got to make some vegan cupcakes for a few of our guests. They were yummy! We also did our traditional meal at the Mexican restaurant. Gosh! Those folks are great!

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We had a second party at Grandma’s where the Karma boy was gifted a set of crocodiles. He immediately “gave” one to his sister and they have not put them down yet!

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They sleep with them, carry them with them shopping, and even out to eat. I love that my kids love animals, even the “less cute” ones!

Last bit of time with the cousins

October 8, 2007 at 1:47 pm | Posted in Personal | 3 Comments

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As the time drew to a close with the cousins, we crammed in a few more activities to round out the visit. Problem was, we had been going through a really dry spell, and hot, but when they arrived, it started to rain, and rained the whole time they were here. So, we took them to the RiverMarket and slogged around a bit and looked at the swollen and muddy Arkansas River. We ate at the Flying Fish, and took our photo by the giant Razorback.

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When it was time to go, we had to pry our hand crochet sock monkey gifted to us by the amazing Mimi V, off him. He was so in love with the concept of the sock monkey! They had never seen one, and he loves monkeys, so it was a match made in heaven. The kids would tuck the monkey into his covers every night so he could sleep with the monkey. Awww…sock monkey love!

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So the cousins are gone, finishing their travels around the world. They are so thoughtful that they even left little “thank you” notes for all of us when they left. You could not ask for better houseguests! They still try to keep in touch and drop us an e-mail when they get computer access. Peace and love shout out the Cousins, who should be in Hawaii by now!

Ye-haw! The English and rodeos!

October 4, 2007 at 2:40 pm | Posted in humor, Personal | 1 Comment

How country-fied am I?Well, let me tell ya! Since this was the first time we had family that seemed interested is learning about the “true Southern traditions” we proposed a county fair and rodeo. Now, I am not big on rodeos, on principal of animal treatment, but they are a way of life down here.My family really decided to accept in Karma Hubby when he went to his first rodeo and rode on my mom’s horse around the parking lot! He was so freakin’ cute!
I have a huge scare on my right arm from my brother’s horse, because I wouldn’t wear spurs. Now this was an old cutter horse he had rescued that had been abandoned in a field, and he took it in and turned it into a barrel racer. The horse was happy, but he expected spurs. I refused, so the horse tried to throw my a$$ off. I held on, but I wound up with an almost broken nose, a torn up arm, and lots of bruises. I never rode him again, but we had an understanding. The horse (Major) and I get along great now, especially since he is old and I feed him cut up carrots. The scars just provide good stories. So, back to the point, they seemed interested in going to the rodeo and fair, so we took um! And they loved it!     

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The kids loved riding the rides and going to all the exhibits. We saw big pumpkins and politicians, and ate popcorn and saw the ponies.

It was so much fun to watch the joy in the eyes of both the Cousins and the Kids as they wandered around.

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One could forget the fun of the rodeo clown, till one views one through the eyes of a person who has not seen one before! It can bring pure, simple joy to those around you, and if you take a moment to really look outside yourself, you can see that joy, and it can bring more happiness to your heart than you can ever know. So, as the highlight of their visit, the Cousins got to see a real rodeo. They sat and sweated, and were amazed by the pageantry of it all. Anyone who thinks the rodeo is all crass, has never seen the reverence the attendees hold to the event. It really is awesome to get to see it all though someone else’s eyes.

All this mush really is because I didn’t get to show them all I think is so great about my little world. I may not travel much, and this city may not have much culture, but there is so much here that is just historic and amazing. That may not always be good, but we learn from it and hopefully we won’t make the bad mistakes again. My kids cuddled up in the car, exhausted from family and fun, and fell asleep with happy dreams of cousins and rodeo clowns!

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