World AIDS Day

November 30, 2007 at 7:40 pm | Posted in getting involved, Health, Personal | 3 Comments

I can remember when AIDS was “discovered.” I had several friends who were gay and we hung out on a social basis. They would have these gay newspapers they subscribed to laying around the house. The magazines became full of stories of death. I remember seeing on the news that people were running kids out of school/town/playgrounds because they discovered the child had AIDS. It was a horrible time. Then, my friends started dying. It seemed that no sooner was someone diagnosed, than they became thin, and sickly, shortly after that, they died. I wouldn’t see someone for just a few months (all my gay friends lived in the next county) and would run into a mutual friend and ask where he was, and would find that in that short time, he was diagnosed, and died. It was horrible! The last bedside I attended was a young man that had been abandoned by his family. He lay in his hospital bed in a coma, all alone.

Now with all the new drugs and treatments, along with better understanding by the general population on how AIDS is spread, those diagnosed are living longer, healthier lives, often with family and friends all around them. I am so glad about that, but I am not glad that the rate of infection is said to be on the rise in young folks. Seems that they no longer see the “death sentence” we used to see, so they are not as scared of contracting the disease. This is such a shame. The disease is still real, and terrible. I can hope that having a World Aids Day will help folks remember that, and that they will do something to help ease the suffering of folks who have it, and even better, for those young folks to see the true numbers of those who have died, and start to see the number of people that each death affects.

I will be taking my kids to the Clinton Presidential Library ( ) to see the AIDS quilt ( ). Their father has cared for many small children and babies with AIDS and even carries a photo of a little one who didn’t make it in his wallet. I hope that my kids never have to lose a friend to AIDS, but if they ever meet someone with it, they will know to not be afraid and be ok with hugging them and can be a good friend. So, here is a thought out to all those affected by HIV/AIDS and a moment of reflection on those who have passed.


Speech Therapy

November 28, 2007 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Homeschooling, Personal | 1 Comment

Little Karma Boy is in speech therapy. Sigh. You could not imagine how many tests, and piles of paper work goes into getting a child diagnosed with a speech delay! I mean, we (the parents) knew it was there, but it was like we had to “prove” it, then had to find someone to provide services. I was constantly on the phone trying to find an available provider, meaning they were not booked up, trying to get our insurance to cover some of the costs, only to finally go with our Pre-School age co-op. I then had to sit through hours more of evaluation, development and vision, another meeting to go over all the results (which I already knew cause I was there!) and IEP planning meetings. Finally, after months, literally, we got him started in speech. So far he is doing amazingly well! Turns out he has a sever articulation delay, so we now spend our days walking around sounds like we have speech issues as we over-articulate words and get him to repeat. He is improving daily though, as several friends and family have pointed out. We are starting to get into a flow where it really is a part of our day and our home school lessons, so the stress is coming down quite a bit. Hopefully, it will not take him long to catch up with other 4 year olds in intelligibility.

New Link~Black and Missing

November 26, 2007 at 6:55 pm | Posted in getting involved, Personal, politics | Leave a comment

I am adding a new link over here, after a little reminder from Angry Black Bitch that I should check it often, I am adding it there so you all can too. As humans, it is important that we look out for each other and try to keep each other safe and happy, this is one way to do it.

Handmade and recycled cards

November 24, 2007 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Craft, frugal, Personal, recycling, simplicity | 5 Comments

In the continuing effort of going handmade

I would like to remind you of the handmade cards you can make. This is a post from last year as a reminder for all you “first timers” at the handmade thing!

Recycling those holiday cards

December 29, 2006 at 2:52 pm | In recycling | | Edit this post

Whatever holiday you celebrate, you probably got cards. These could come from anyone, including, but not limited to, family and your insurance agent. I have always just put them into the recycling bin at the end of the season, but this year I did something different. I looked around on the net and compiled some ideas for how to re-use them. This is a fun project for kids of all ages, a way to start pulling down the decorations, and a way to get a head start on your holidays next year!You take your cards and carefully remove the front from the back. gift-labels.jpgWhat we did is take Christmas and Yule shaped cookie cutters, or you could use Chanukah cutters, and if nothing else, jar lids, and then traced the shape around the inside saying. This was then cut out and decorated, if desired. We used some gold and silver glitter, and then hole punched it so that ribbon can be pulled through. Do not put the ribbon through now because these can be used for gift tags next year and your gift may already have wrapping (free wrapping) and you don’t want a smashed bow. All you will have to do is write names on it and attach. Then you have a sparkly and themed gift tag to brighten up even the most mundane present! If the shape is a long one, consider making it into a book mark. bookmarks.jpg Next, some of the more “plain” cards, we cut around the front image and again decorated them some if desired. If a person has written on the back side of the front of the card, gluing a piece of colored construction paper will cover it nicely. backs-of-cards.jpg

Now that you have this lovely card all ready, what to do, right? Well, you can use them to send as holiday postcards (we don’t do this cause we don’t send cards) or you can use them as recipe cards. So, when you make that batch of homemade play dough, or a loaf of bread, you can write, or print off on computer and paste, the recipe on the back side of the card and attach to the gift.This not only dresses up the present, but it also allows them to be able to re-create the gift for themselves. If you are a person who uses gift bags, you can even glue the card to the front of a plain paper bag to dress the bag up for the holidays.rec-cards.jpg

Finally, for the really pretty and ornate cards, we again used the front image, dressed it up if desired, and then we recycled scrap fabric by gluing it on the back side of the card.


You can also add that extra ribbon you didn’t use, or that came on a present, on the edge, or even crochet around the edges ( a great way to practice different edging techniques for those later projects). Anything to make it look super fancy. You now have a one-of-a-kind ornament. Again, this can supplement a gift, or you can give it as a gift itself.


We used mostly Freecycled paint, and cotton crochet thread to continue with the frugal theme. However, most of the craft stores have their Christmas and Chanukah item up to 70% off so you can purchase if you want without breaking the bank! To add to the fun, my kids enjoyed using the scraps of paper left over from all the cutting to make geometric (geometry lesson) pictures they glued onto (Freecycled) construction paper. Even our scraps didn’t go to waste! shape-cards.jpg

This project (or projects) can easily be broken down to child size time bits as you often must wait (dreaded four letter word to kids!) for paint and glue to dry. Doing this project also includes some of our home schooling lessons. While doing this we talk about recycling, consumerism, history (paper ornaments, ribbons, crochet), counting, and they also get some science in with viscosity of paints, and art in the color application and mixing. It also works on their fine motor skills and concentration abilities. I plan to put all of these in a small storage box so that if I find something I want to add to them during the year, I can. I also plan to start doing this with birthday and anniversary cards. So, I hope that this gave you a few ideas for things you can do with your cards. There are tons more ideas out there on the net, just look it up! If you want more details, let me know, I am full stuff ; )

Day of thanks and day of mourning

November 22, 2007 at 4:41 pm | Posted in getting involved, Homeschooling, Personal, politics | 1 Comment

The custom of Native Americans was to help those in need, to give freely. It was through the generosity of the Native Americans that the pilgrims were able to survive When the man commonly known as Squanto found a bedraggled group of pilgrims that had been decimated by hunger and disease, he reached out to help him, even though he himself had been captured by slavers and sent to the Caribbean as a slave to the Spanish. It was through his later return to the Americans through England that he had learned English with a great profiency. This enabled him to teach the pilgrims what kind of crops to grow, and what plants not to eat. They began to improve and soon were flourishing.

As was the custom of the pilgrims back in England, they decided to have a feast of thanksgiving in November. They invited Squanto and his family. The pilgrims still did not know enough of the culture of the native Americans to know that their families are quite large. So, when he showed up with all his family, the pilgrims did not have enough food to feed them all, Squanto sent his men back to get more food. So, it turns out that the native Americans provided most of the food for the first Thanksgiving! Both peoples enjoyed a time of peaceful co-existence, but this did not last long. Soon, more pilgrims came from England and they did not have the same grateful attitude to the natives as those first settlers did and culture clashes and land disputes ensued. The rest, they say, is sad history as it culminated in the death of 10-30 million native people.

The myth that Thanksgiving was continued year after year, is false. It wasn’t till 1863 with President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation that the holiday was revived.

So, on this Thanksgiving (we actually did it the day before to make an extra point) , my family ate eating the foods of the native people of America, and celebrating their ability to survive the atrocities they encountered.

We enjoyed a meal of butternut squash, fresh berries, potatoes, wild onions, and game (yes a turkey as it was donated by Karma Hubby’s work). We were lucky enough to have just had a class on Caddo (Arkansas’ Native Americans) cooking, so we were able to incorporate several of the recipes. It was great for the kids to be able to practice what they have been learning. We then checked out some books from the library and read stories of the Native American peoples of the Americas. May all of you celebrating this day, remember to celebrate those people who helped save the original Europeans from themselves. Have a blessed day!

I pledge to Buy Hand Made, or make it myself

November 20, 2007 at 11:54 pm | Posted in Craft, frugal, getting involved, Personal, recycling, simplicity | 3 Comments

Let’s face it, there is only so many bottles of lotions and perfumes a person can use in a life time.As many of you know, we did the simplicity route few years ago, so we have very few folks we gift to throughout the year. However, when we do, I try to make it as personal as possible, and homemade is preferred. So, I have been busy as of late with several projects for folks birthdays, and for holidays. Here are some photos of the “skunk” hats I made recently for a birthday present. These were for our park interpreter who teaches our Native American classes and told us that the tail was often left on the garment as a symbol of status, so that is what I tried to do. The first hat is the prototype that was made, and undone so many times that it is now a “dress-up” hat. It has no tail.


These are a set of Harry Potter scarves for a set of friends of ours. The kids are wearing the trial versions, and the larger and longer set are the final product.


We also have kippahs kippot on the way (no photo here so that the receiver can be surprised). This is so much fun! Happy hand made ya’ll!


November 20, 2007 at 4:40 am | Posted in humor, Personal | 2 Comments


For your viewing pleasure, here is Karma Girl’s big toothy grin! Poor child, two more of those teeth are loose.


Pow Wow

November 15, 2007 at 7:44 pm | Posted in Homeschooling, Personal, simplicity | 7 Comments


I am so behind on all the exciting things we have been doing around here! One of the coolest things we have done was to go to a Mountain Man camp at Pinnacle Mountain ( ).


We were able to enjoy seeing lye soap made, a blacksmith forging metal tools, and talk to the “traders” about the kinds of goods available in pioneer times. After visiting with the pioneers, we then went on to visit the Native American encampment. We were fortunate enough to be invited into a lodge by it’s owner and told about some of the contents and the ways of this tribe. It was fantastic! We really learned so much from the visit and the kids wanted to learn more, so the next day we went back for the Pow Wow. And the day after that too. The kids and I were so mesmerized by the dancing, and storytelling presented by the Inter Tribal Association of Arkansas. (I can’t find a working link for them)

 smalldancerwaiting.jpg    smalldrummers.jpg

 So, for now, here are some photos of the dancing and storytelling.


We know that my grandfathers on both sides were of Native American ancestry, but I have had no luck finding the name of the tribes they belonged to. I had held off on this post because I wanted to be able to announce my findings, but that does not look like it will be happening. I think the kids would love to be able to learn more about a particular tribe. As for right now, they are taking a series of classes with the Pinnacle Mountain park interpreters on the Native Americans of Arkansas. We have learned about their tools, and cooking (the Caddo) and are hoping to learn even more!

More plarn than you can shake a stick at!

November 13, 2007 at 4:24 am | Posted in Craft, frugal, getting involved, Personal, recycling, simplicity | 1 Comment

Well, shake a crochet hook at least!  


I made another bag using the pattern from

Which is more than slightly modified by myself because apparently I can’t read a pattern to save myself! Again, I used the bags that newspapers come in as they are a “softer” material which I like for a bag being carried over my shoulder and under my pudgy arms. I can easily hold a gallon of milk and some other groceries in this one bag! I love it that when it gets wet, all I have to do is to hang it up to dry! Also, our local stores now offer a discount for each of your own bags you bring in. Remember to ask for it as those pennies add up in the budget!

Plarn rocks, especially if you are collecting it from neighbors, not getting it yourself. This also allows me to remind them that I am doing this because all these bags are bad for the environment and ask them if they have started using canvas yet. Subversive? Yes. Effective? Not sure yet.

I also found that if you go to a store like Target, where they take a lot of returns, they just throw their bags at the end of the day, so if you ask a store manager, they will likely let you take them for your next plarn project. So, get out there and reduce the amount of plastic being sent to the landfill in your neighborhood ~ Crochet a bag!

Tooth Fairy

November 7, 2007 at 2:59 pm | Posted in humor, Personal | 3 Comments

Warning! If you are gonna dress as the tooth fairy and have the entire orthodontics office go out for lunch on Halloween, expect a few questions!


Karma girl lost TWO, count them TWO, teeth this week, in two days! She had four that were at various stages of loose, and one was barely hanging on, and with a little “checking” by the Karma Father, the tooth “happened” to painlessly come out. The second tooth that came out was after one of those “I am telling you for the last time to settle down and go to sleep!!!” kinda nights. Suddenly Karma Boy came running telling me to “come see Sissy mouth!” Turns out he had head-butted her during their rough housing and he had knocked a second tooth out (one of the loose ones).

So, where does that leave us? Well, two visits by the tooth fairy, in two days, and on the third day, we are eating a nice soft bean burrito when the orthodontics office from across the street comes in and there she is “the Tooth Fairy!” The Karma kids were so excited that they had to say “Hi!” Lucky for us, she was very nice, and quite sparkly. After a brief talk, we returned to our table to be peppered with questions from the Girl on if the tooth fairy was a pretty and soft, why did we call her “El Raton?”

( to all parents trying to give multicultural tooth experiences to their kids, sometimes the questions get tough! ( some fast thinking, I tried to explain that the tooth fairy handles the tooth situation here in the US, and that El Raton takes care of the teeth of our Latin neighbors. I then told her that sometimes, if one is on vacation, or if there is a special request, that they will do a kinda “Teeth Without Borders” thing and go into another territory to help out. She seemed to buy it, and I am so glad. I guess it will get harder when she learns about border patrols, and immigration reform ; )

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