Monday, December 24, 2007

There's No Place Like Home :)

I thought I wasn't going to post anymore until after Christmas, but decided to anyway. Reading the online version of my local newspaper, I stumbled across the following home for sale ad:

Price Township $1.5 Million Home For Sale


I do believe I know where this property is located, and I certainly wouldn't want to have to drive off that mountain in the snow and ice, LOL!!!

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish everyone a blessed and joyful Christmas!


Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm Truly Surprised

I am surprised my dh is getting me exactly what I want for Christmas this year. My little hands are itching, trying to get at that laminator I've waited so long for! I'm still fielding questions like: why would you want something like that, are you crazy, I'd kill my dh if he gave me such a thing. For those who think I'm nuts, maybe I am (only kidding!)

On a sad note, I know quite a few women who are petty and selfish. They want what they want when they want it, regardless of how it affects their family finances. One in particular unnerved me. She said her dh was only able to work part time, and they were having a difficult time paying the bills, but she wanted that all-important piece of jewelry that her husband promised her every year since they were married. "Forget about it all, let's throw caution to the wind and give me what I want," so she said. "So what if the electric isn't paid, we're using the charge cards to buy essentials, as long as I have my jewelry, I'll be happy. So what if the charge cards are maxxed out, as long as I'm happy who cares!"

I find that selfishness and unconcern for her family's future to be quite sad. I've been called plain and boring by some of these women, but at least I know I won't be in the poor house due to my being selfish. Ah yes, that laminator is the best Christmas present I will receive :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blog Blessing

Today, I received a blog blessing from Joann at The Creamer Chronicles. I was both surprised and honored she would think so highly of me. Thank you so much Joann!

The idea… it’s a game of tag with a difference, rather than looking inwardly, we look outside ourselves and bless, praise and pray for 3 blog friend. By participating in this endeavor we not only make the recipient of the blessing feel valued and appreciated, but we are having some fun too. We’re going to see how far the bloggin’ blessings can travel around the world and how many people can be blessed! Recipients of a bloggin’ blessing may upload the above image to their sidebar if they choose to. If you receive a bloggin’ blessin’ please leave a comment on this thread so that we can rejoice in just how many blessings have been sent around the world!

I want to bless the following bloggers:

1. Genny at Unschooling With The Duck

She probably doesn't know this, but she is my biggest inspiration when it comes to homeschooling. If it wasn't for her advice and support, I might have given up a long time ago.

2. Dani at Taylor Went A Bloggin

Dani has a wonderful sense of humor, and has shown me the lighter side of different situations. I can always count on her to give me a good laugh whenever I need it.

3. Tanya at Mama Tatiana

Tanya (or Blondie as she is known at DCF) has inspired my inner creativity. She has given me many ideas that I would not ordinarily have thought of myself. I'm amazed at how easy she makes creativity seem.

Lord I thank you for all you give to me. I especially thank you for the friendsip I receive from Genny, Dani, and Tanya. I pray your blessing on all of them everyday. Grant them strength, peace and JOY! For they let You bless me with these things through them every day. Amen.

So, Ladies, please pass on the blogger blessing to three other bloggers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Those Evil Christians!

Oh, how evil we Christians really are! Mike Huckabee ought to be ashamed of himself, planting the cross and three symbols of the Trinity in his Christmas message

Yes, some people actually thought the bookshelf and three ornaments are overt messages promoting religion. Just take a look at Meredith Viera's interview with Huckabee on the "Today Show"

Is she for real? Does she actually consider herself a serious journalist by asking such ridiculous questions about an ad with a Christmas message?

She has truly reinforced why I no longer watch network or regular news. All those pretty boys and girls are lacking intellectually. Frank Runyeon was right; the "news" is about who looks the best and can read the script well, not about true journalism.

It's time for Meredith Viera and her ilk to go back to doing dead game shows.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Christmas Movie

Thanks to Dana's blog, I took this quiz

Your Christmas is Most Like: The Muppet Christmas Carol

You tend to reflect on Christmas past, present, and future...
And you also do a little singing.

Why am I not surprised, LOL!

Snowflake Patterns

I've been on the hunt for some snowflake patterns to put up for the Christmas season and beyond. One set of patterns I liked (courtesy of Dave's Paper Snowflake Patterns):

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Looking at them, I think they would make great Christmas gifts for friends and family. They're simple, yet elegant at the same time. Maybe next year I should put this at the top of my list of things to do for Advent :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Thanks For The Prayers

From my blog post last week re: Serious Issues, thanks for the prayers. They truly have been and are still needed. I've been "laying low", and not posting here on my blog, due to those issues. I was unsure if a certain local group had a way of viewing my blog, so I decided not to post.

For those who don't know what happened, here it is:

I'm involved in our local newspaper's online forum. There was a particular article wrt what the county task force has said is a gang. Some people were up in arms at being given than label, including one Catholic mother who decided listening to a certain type of "music" with her child was normal. I send her a pm, telling her I hoped she had sought the guidance and counsel of her parish priest, and that I was praying for her family. That sent her into a rage, where she made some outrageous comments about my daughter and family. She also mentioned who her parish priest is, so I'm certain if he knew about this type of "family entertainment" he would have a fit and lecture her and her daughter about the dangers of their choices.

Another thing that scared me was how this group has stated they silence all their "haters", which is anyone who speaks out against them. The task force told me that while I should be careful around these folks, most of them are harmless unless they call in other members to do their deeds. It also seems they have decided to keep quiet over the past few days. Nice not to have to listen to them curse and swear at those of us who stand up for decency and the truth.

What's another shocker is the number of these members who are in three of the four school districts in my county. This was unheard of when we first moved to PA. I guess people decided to take their gang ways with them when they transplanted to what used to be a nice quiet rural area.

Snow, Ice, and Rain

We've been taking a beating in the weather department around here. I was watching a certain weather forecaster from a station in Scranton (the station and forecaster shall remain nameless, because the guy is such an idiot and I don't want to embarrass him any further) who made some of the dumbest comments about this last storm. One such comment: at least it won't be 15 degrees and all snow. No, it wasn't. It was closer to 25 degrees and mostly ice. Now it's frozen solid to the driveway and private road that it's impossible to walk on. I can't see the main road from here, but it appears to be okay.

Watching the extended forecast on TWC, and it has more snow/ice/rain for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. I'm hoping all this will pass us or at least fizzle out.

I'm also amazed how many people used common sense and slowed down on the ice. Around these parts, snow and ice are reasons for people to speed up. And they wonder why our insurance rates keep rising *rolls eyes*

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Serious Issues

My apologies for not updating my blog as frequently lately. There are some issues that are rather serious that have come up. I don't want to bring them up here on my blog, as the nature of these issues could cause problems for my entire family. Please keep all of us in your prayers. They are definitely needed!

Snowflake Tree

I was doing a search for some snowflakes to make out of paper, and came across this very pretty Chrismon snowkflake tree (courtesy of Christian Crafters).

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I might want to make some of these snowflakes to hang around the house, and keep them up until February. They are so pretty and ornate :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

What I Want For Christmas...

is an official Red Rider carbine action 200 shot air rifle (only kidding!)

Actually what I do want is a laminator. Yes, a laminator!

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There are many projects I've been meaning to finish, and only the laminator will do! When I told my dh about this, he asked me if I was sure. Of course I'm sure, silly! Seeing that particular model in K-Mart, I pointed it out to him. Some lady said she thought I was nuts for wanting something so "impersonal". Hey, it's what I want. Dh will be getting off pretty cheap if he gets me the Scotch model I requested :)

I told Amanda she can get me the laminating sheets to go with it. That was when she said she already made me a present. I'm looking forward to seeing what it is :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Remember Victor Borge?

I was going through some youtube videos, looking for classical pieces. When I typed in "Mozart", one of Victor Borge's videos came up. Anyone remember him? I used to love watching him when I was a kid. I was always amazed at his ability, especially playing the piano backwards.

Some videos I think everyone will enjoy:

Improvising On The Piano

Page Turner

A Mozart Opera

I wish there was someone today who had his talent and sense of humor.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Then Vs. Now

This was sent to me today, about the differences in school in 1957 vs 2007. I hadn't heard of these before, but I can say I do believe they are true. It's a sad telling of our society today. Even when I was in school in 1977, the earlier part would have been true.

Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.

1957 - Vice principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his own shotgun to show Jack.

2007 - School goes into lockdown, the FBI is called, Jack is hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors are called in to assist traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2007 - Police are called, SWAT team arrives and arrests Johnny and Mark. They are charged with assault and both are expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario: Jeffrey won't sit still in class, disrupts other students.

1957 - Jeffrey is sent to the principal's office and given a good paddling. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2007 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra state funding because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some Aspirin to school.

1957 - Mark shares Aspirin with the school principal out on the smoking dock.

2007 - Police are called and Mark is expelled from School for drug violations. His car is searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Pedro fails high-school English.

1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.

2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by local human rights group. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that making English a requirement for graduation is racist. US Civil Liberties Association files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English is banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover Independence Day firecrackers, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up an anthill.

1957 - Ants die.

2007 - Homeland Security and the FBI are called and Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. teams investigate parents, siblings are removed from the home, computers are confiscated, and Johnny's dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls during recess and scrapes his knee. His teacher, Mary, finds him crying, and gives him a hug to comfort him.

1957 - Johnny soon feels better and goes back to playing.

2007 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in federal prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Monster Has Been Created :)

Actually, I should say a mad pianist is being created. After her recital, Amanda decided she wanted to tackle some of the pieces the other music majors were performing. One of the main pieces is Brahms' Rhapsody in G minor Op 79 no 2.

Here's a youtube video of a young man's recital, performing this particular piece (we don't know who he is, but his interpretation is wonderful):

Another piece I think she wants to tackle is Aram Khachaturian's Toccata. Another youtube video showing a young man performing this piece:

It looks more difficult than it actually is to perform, although it does take some time to get to the proper speed.

Whew! Both pieces are awesome, and I'm certain Amanda will be able to play both with practice :)

Friday, November 30, 2007


We're in awe over Amanda's performance at her recital last evening. I was amazed how well she played. In fact, I was amazed at how well all the pianists performed. They did beautifully!

Here is her actual performance:

Bartok's Rumanian Dances


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Recital Hall

I was able to find a picture of the Cecilia S. Cohen recital hall @ ESU. This picture looks like it's one of their more recent concerts. When the students perform, the only instruments that will be in the middle of the floor are two pianos

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Being there in person is far different than looking at it in a picture. It actually seems larger in the picture :)

Daughter Practicing Her Recital Pieces

It's been a few days since I've updated my blog - busy, life, etc...

Here's my daughter, who has been practicing like crazy for her recital on Thursday. She's playing three of Bartok's Rumanian folk dances

Bartok's Rumanian Dances

She still has a little perfecting to do with number three, but overall I would say she's performed wonderfully, memorizing each piece exactly as it was written.

WTG Amanda!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Another Thanksgiving Favorite Video

I've always enjoyed the episodes of "Roseanne" for Thanksgiving. I especially like the first one, from 1989:

Being up at 5:00 am, stuffing the turkey, and dealing with family is what I've been used to until this year. What a wonderful slice of Americana!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Update on the GFCF Pumpkin Pies :(

Sad to say, the pies are not all that great. I think it was the change I made with the tapioca pearls, instead of the Minute tapioca. I've gone back, and changed the post to reflect not using them by removing their use.

Amanda said it was like eating pie with little lead balls inside. She's a big fan of pumpkin pie, so I know it had to be pretty bad.

On the upside, the stuffing was excellent. It actually tastes just like regular bread stuffing :)

Favorite Thanksgiving Movies

It's been a long tradition in my family to watch certain movies on Thanksgiving Day. One that began with my grandmother was "March of the Wooden Soldiers" with Laurel and Hardy. I've been watching for so long, I can't remember a year I didn't watch it. It's also a tradition we're passing on to Amanda. She even looks forward to the march at the end.

Another favorite that has always been tradition is "Miracle on 34th Street" from 1947. So far, I haven't been able to find more than a few minutes of the movie on youtube. I'm also grateful NBC has gone back to the b&w version, after the movie was colorized. March of the Wooden Soldiers has been colorized as well, but it seems so odd. I also have that movie on videotape from 1985. It's fun watching not just the movie, but the cheeky commercials of the mid 80's, LOL!

Oh, and for some trivia: the actor who portrayed Silas Barnaby was a mere 22 years old at the time! Talk about great make-up!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Peanuts Thanksgiving, Part Three

GFCF Recipes For Thanksgiving

This will be the second year we will be cooking gfcf. For those who don't know what that means, it's gluten free-casein free. While Amanda is now able to have some dairy in her diet, she must steer clear of all gluten. To play it safe, I decided to stick with these recipes we used last year. They are quite good, and even I can't tell the difference between regular and the alternates.

Two recipes I used are for GFCF Stuffing and GFCF Pumpkin Pie. I'll post pictures along with the recipes from the original authors.

Dan's Wheat Free & Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie Recipe (Parve) courtesy of Dan Swearingen

Corn based piecrust

Makes two 10-inch pie shells
2/3 cup margarine (Shedd's Willow Run Soybean Margerine)
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups crushed corn flakes (Nature's Path GF CF "Honey'd Corn Flakes") – a bit over one full 10.6 oz box of cereal.
Notes: I've specified brands that, to date, have proven to be okay to use. Many brands of margarine HAVE dairy products in them. Check the ingredients carefully. Almost ALL "corn flakes" have wheat in them. Nature's Path is an exception.

Crush corn flakes to a coarse to fine meal in a food processor. A blender should be able to do this too. I suppose you could just pound at it in a sturdy bowl but this may be the real excuse to buy a food processor! I use an attachment for my blender. The finer the better but you'll find you can't really turn it into a powder (but it'd be nice if you could!).

Melt margarine and pour into a large bowl. Stir in sugar. Add crushed corn flakes.

I find mixing it all up with a pastry cutter works best but almost nobody has one of these anymore. Pastry cutters were for "cutting" big blocks of butter or margarine into flour and that kind of cooking is so non-PC these days even the tools are now hard to find.

Anyway, if you don't have a pastry cutter, use a pair of butter knives and mix the melted butter/sugar thoroughly into the corn meal. Divide all but a little bit of the mix into the two pie dishes.

I then gentle the mix into a pie-shell shape using a lid from a plastic food container. You could also use the bottom of a small bowl. Start soft and then as the shape and amount are about right start really pressing it down.

If you find any thin spots, add the bit of mix you left in the bowl to cover it. Set the pie dishes aside in the refrigerator.

Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie filling

Makes two nine inch pies
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup tapioca mix (Minute tapioca works best)
1/4 cup tapioca flour (or omit and double the Tapioca Mix above)
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1 tsp. Ground cloves
1/2 tsp. Ground ginger
4 large whole eggs
2 large egg whites
1 can (29 oz.) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
3 cups Rice Dream rice milk (soy is OK too if you like it)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, clover, ginger, and tapioca into a small bowl.

Beat eggs in a large bowl (I use the main mixing bowl for my big mixer) and then add the canned pumpkin. Running the mixer, add the sugar/spice mix, lastly add the rice milk. Mix thoroughly.

Pour into the pie shells. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, turn down to 350 degrees (maybe open the oven door for a sec to let some heat out), turn the pies a bit if spots of the crust are burning, and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes.

The usually you say a pumpkin pie is "done" if you can stick a knife in the center and nothing sticks when you pull it out. That doesn't work with this recipe since it isn't doesn't make a pie that solid (when hot out of the oven). So, I say the pies are done if he center is not completely liquid. If you care, the pies solidify nicely when refrigerated overnight.

Here are our finished pies:
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You can see the tapioca pearls in the pies, so I hope they taste as good as they look!

Thanksgiving Stuffing (Gluten-Free) courtesy of Scott Adams,

5-6 cups cubed and dehydrated Food For Life Rice Almond Bread
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 cups chopped celery (or 1-2 Tbs. celery seed)
2 cups chopped onions
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. cilantro
1-2 tsp. thyme
1-2 tsp. sage
black pepper
1-2 Cups gluten-free Chicken Broth

Prepare 1 to 2 cups gluten-free chicken broth. Prepare Food For Life Rice Almond Bread as follows: Cut into ½ cubes and put in food dehydrator for 8 hours (or put on cookie sheet and in oven on the lowest temperature for about 2-3 hours - I've been able to increase the temperature to 300 degrees and dry for about one hour or so in the oven).

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Sauté chopped celery & onions in 2 TBS oil in large frying pan over medium heat until soft. Add spices & pepper as desired to taste. Pour in chicken broth & simmer over low heat for 15-20 min.

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Stir in bread until fully saturated in sauce & seasonings *note, I add the broth, onions, celery and seasonings to the pan of dried bread. It's much easier to mix*

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Place in 400°F oven for 40-50 min, covering as needed with aluminum foil, until done. If you want to cook the stuffing inside the turkey add only 1 cup of Chicken broth.

I always make this recipe the day before, just to get it done. Same with the pies above. I also figured since I'm making this for Amanda, she might as well be the one to do most of the work, LOL!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Peanuts Thanksgiving, Part Two

I like when Snoopy dishes out the "food", LOL!!

Shoes, Or Should I Call Them Bling For The Feet :)

I finally broke down and purchased organ shoes for Amanda. Yeah, I was mean, forcing her to play with bare feet. It's not easy to do, especially since she has been going through foot scales without the heel.

I spend time online at Organmaster Shoes, telling her I refuse to purchase any of the crazy colors, and that she would be getting black shoes. Well, the black shoes in her size went out of stock, don't know when they're coming back in stock, and boy was I upset! The ones they do have in stock - the Diana shoes:

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So, she got the shoes she originally wanted (the silver ones)! She's going to look at lot like Diane Bish when she plays at church, LOL!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007


I always loved holiday specials, especially the Peanuts. Since their Thanksgiving special is one of my favorites, I decided to post one segment tonight and each day until Thanksgiving.

Let It Snow!

Today, we had our first snowstorm of the winter. While it was nice to watch from the sidelines, I certainly wouldn't want to have to travel in it. My dh decided to work from home today. He really would not have made it down the mountain. Instead, he would have either slid off the road in a ditch, or hit something when the van went out of control.

The downside was power in some areas was off most of the day. Fortunately for us, it was out only for an hour this morning.

What beautiful views of the snow
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Friday, November 16, 2007

It Costs How Much????

I posted elsewhere today about my dd's playing on a Bosendorfer piano for her recital in two weeks. I had been told that these particular pianos cost $100,000 or more. Well, the one she will be playing on actually costs $150,000. Shocking, to say the least! Dd's attitude is she prefers her Wurlitzer to the Bosendorfer. I think if she knew how top of the line the instrument is she is playing on, she wouldn't make such a silly statement.

I'm having sticker shock, LOL!

This one is similar to the piano she will be performing on
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The pedals are very smooth, compared to most pianos I've seen, although the mechanism can still make that "clunk" noise when released too quickly and with a sudden jerk.

Now if only Queen of Peace could afford such a piano...........

Thursday, November 15, 2007

William Tell Overture For Moms

Even though I homeschool, and can't relate to the bus part, the rest is very funny!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cats :(

Someone ought to remind me why we have two cats. One ignores everything that passes her way, the other kills anything and everything she can get her paws on. I don't know how it got there, but apparently a mouse (I believe, not sure) died inside the wall in the bathroom. There is a small hole in the wall, probably made some time ago by this mouse. It must have gotten stuck, and starved to death. The "killer" cat has been staring at this wall for weeks now.

Overnight, she must have gotten the creature out, and decided to share with her mom (me). It was about 1:30 this morning, when the little darling decided to drop her treasure on my chest while I was sleeping. My reaction was "oh, Monica, what do you have for mommy", at which point I jumped up screaming "ew, ew, ew, ew!!!". What does my husband d? NOTHING!!!! He doesn't even roll over, just keeps on snoring away without a care in the world. I, on the other hand, am completely grossed out by this dried up creature I had in my hands not more than a few minutes before (I had hurled it across the room, and had to go hunting for Monica's shared treasure). I don't know how many paper towels I grabbed, but I think it may have been half a roll, just to pick up this poor, pathetic dried-out animal. I even lost track of the number of times I washed my hands.

Maybe we should rename this 5 pound calico "Killer"
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And to think I overreact to dead animals, yet allow bugs in my freezer *rolls eyes*

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wild Turkeys and Virtual Tour

Today, I went on some internet hunt of wild turkeys in NYC (no pun intended). My husband's boss had mentioned he knew people who were having problems with them where he lives (Staten Island). I thought there was no way wild turkeys would be living in the city. Boy, I was wrong! Doing a search, I found a website that had a picture of one in Manhattan:

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Here in PA, we take the sighting of a wild animal for granted.

The picture of the turkey is from New York City Walk

Going through this site, it is literally a virtual tour of Manhattan. There are many different views to be seen, that wouldn't be in any tour guide. I remember some of these places while I lived there, and completely forgot about. There are a few images inappropriate for the kiddies, but overall I would say the photographs are excellent.

Here's one image I found rather disturbing:
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The picture of the World Trade Center on the background with the bomb was unsettling, to say the least.

I wonder if there are any photo tours of other cities out there?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Met Another Famous Person

Last night and this morning, my daughter was the accompanist for a performance by Frank Runyeon. He has written several one-man plays, which he performs for churches across the country. Last night's was "Sermon on the Mount". Amanda played "Seek Ye The Kingdom of God". I hadn't heard that hymn in a long time, as it's never played in my parish (we did hear it when we were Lutheran).

Frank's show is a must-see! Today, he gave a talk to the kids at the confirmation retreat, about Hollywood, faith, and the real world. It made all of us look at television and movies in a way I hadn't thought about before.

He also spoke of his years as an actor, acting opposite Meg Ryan on "As the World Turns", about being typecast as either ethnic or a drug dealer (!!), about his family, how we as Catholics ought to live, etc. He was also talking about how he was literally starving himself to look thin for the camera. The man is 6'3" tall, and when he said he was down to 160 lbs while on the soaps, I was shocked.

Here's a picture of Amanda with Frank:
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She played the piano, while two girls who are identical twins sang. They were congratulated by everyone on their outstanding performance. I think they performed wonderfully!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Have A Real, Uh, A Real....

Life! Only kidding, LOL!!! Yesterday, I didn't have enough time to update my blog. Today, I had to take dd to her piano lesson at ESU. That proves that while dd has a real life, I have none. I just live vicariously through Amanda *VBG*

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hug A Friend, Get Detention

A girl in Illinois was given detention for hugging two friends, saying goodbye for the weekend. This "offense" took place on school property

Illinois Student Gets Detention For Hugging

Does anyone else think this is nuts? From the school's policy:

"Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved."

So hugs reflect poor judgment and bring discredit to the school, yet I can almost guarantee bullying is fine. We live in a world that is truly backwards. Shame on this district, and the superintendent!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Bloggin' Mama

I took the quiz from Therese's blog, and here's what came up:

The mom blogger quiz from MamaBlogga
Take the Mom Blogger quiz!

I'm not surprised, considering I've been spending more time with my blog than before. If asked this over a month ago, my blog would have been my neglected stepchild!

Practice, Practice, Practice!!!!

I think I've been saying those words repeatedly over the past week or so. While the pieces of music Amanda must memorize are relatively short, they have these little nuances she must perfect.

Here's the musical, bug girl, practicing like crazy:
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I pray she does well. The piano being used at the recital is different from ours at home and the one her professor uses for lessons in his studio. She's just gotten used to that one. Each one has a different feel, or so I've been told.

Introducing Our Newest Family Member

We decided to get a companion for our surviving guinea pig, Arwen. It didn't take long for her to display signs of depression after the death of Pippin.

Our newest member's name is Phloxxy, and she's 8 weeks old.

Her first picture:
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I love my veggies!
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Still a little piggie:
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She's barely the size of Amanda's hand, although I think she will be a pretty big pig :) She's also the only piggie we've had who turned her nose up at carrots!

We're following the guinea pig recommendations, and quarantining (sp?) her for at least two weeks before full introduction are made. Arwen knows there's another pig in the house, just by smell and sound. She sniffs us over, after handling the little one.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Should I Be So Shocked?

As I was going through some old bookmarks, I found the following video on Steve Kellmeyer's blog

Watching this, I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or scream. I don't know where this school is located, but I can say for certain the teens in the video have similar ideas about Catholicism as teens in my local Catholic schools do. What was more stunning was when the priest in the video didn't know the answer to the question. Is this what is being taught in Catholic schools across the country? Has the curriculum been dumbed down to the point where we can no longer distinguish Catholic schools from public ones?

Should I be shocked? No, and neither should anyone else, unless they're fortunate enough to have their children attend solidly Catholic schools. They seem to be more and more rare these days.

Next time anyone asks why I homeschool, I'll point them to this video ;)

Friday, November 2, 2007

See My Slide Show!

It took me awhile, but I was able to create a nice slide show of Amanda. I'm not sure how it happened, but the original slide show had music that was impossible to remove, so I had to go back and recreate the slides all over again. Let's just say I was not happy listening to music and watching a small video on the lower left corner of the slides.

Maybe I should go back and make another one of all the bug pictures, with a version of "Flight of the Bumblebee" playing in the background, LOL!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Changes She Has Gone Through

I've been looking at the changes my daughter has gone through over the years. Even looking at her Halloween costumes over the past three years amazes me.

This year's costume, as Miss Gothic

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Last year, as a lady of the Middle Ages

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The year before, as an Egyptian "queen"

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All I can say is wow, what a difference from 2005 until now. I should keep a picture diary of her, until she graduates high school. By then her hair will probably be green streaked permanently *shock*

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Another Baby Dies In A Hot Car

Baby Found Dead In Car Outside Hooters

How in the world does a mother forget her baby is still in her car? How can anyone forget a baby is in a car? This so-called phenomenon of parents leaving children in cars amazes me. What did they all do, wake up one morning and take stupid pills? The kicker is some of these parents escaped prosecution, because leaving the child in the car was an "accident" *rolls eyes*

I must go crawl back under that rock where I live :(

I Can Say I Knew Him When...

Two Pleasant Valley High Students Nab College Awards For Music, Photography

The young man in the article is a member of my parish, and plays the organ and piano every Saturday for 5 PM Mass, as well as substitutes for the choir director when she's not available. He is truly very talented, and has his own individual technique. He also comes from an orthodox Catholic family, strong in their faith. No matter what course in life he chooses, I'm sure Andrew will achieve great success!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Achievement Night Results

I'm very proud to report the results of Achievement Night. As we knew, Amanda took 2nd place as Top Exhibitor in our county fair, and Gretchen took 1st place. Amanda also took 3rd place for her poster on "Grow In 4-H". That was a fierce competition, as she went up against clubs; hers was the only individual entry. A wonderful surprise was Gretchen received the Jensen Award. This award is the highest honor in our county for outstanding service to the community. She won for all the service projects performed with the club and on her own. This is also the first time this award has been given to a member of the Insects Are Us club. The girls also placed in the top five for their Green Forms, which gives the description of what they accomplished over the year.

Some pictures from last night:

Amanda with her 2nd place check for Top Exhibitor

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Third Place poster award:

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The "Gang" with their goodies:

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From left to right: David, Michael, Gretchen, Amanda, and Greg

(Amanda is holding her 3rd place poster, which was placed in a local supermarket for one week for judging. Gretchen is holding the 4-H bear, which was also given to her as an award for cutest pumpkin in the "Grow in 4-H" theme)

Michael is on the 4-H State Council, has served as county ambassador, and is a fine representative of what 4-H is all about.

Congratulations to all!

Joy Notes and Saint of the Day

Joy Notes

Saint of the Day - St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tonight is the Night....

we will find out how Amanda has placed in 4-H this year at the annual 4-H Achievement Night. There are different categories in which she will be judged. Her leader has already said she and another girl in their club will both place in the top exhibitor category, as well as one of them will be overall champion this year. The girls compete against each other every year, and are truly great sports about how they place. Amanda is hoping that G will place ahead of her, since she is more experienced and has two more years in 4-H than she does.

I have to say the competition in this club is very intense, but always fair. The kids go out of their way to help each other, especially the newbies who need help learning about creating insect collections. They congratulate each other on how well they do. A lot of that has to do with their leaders, who have taught them kindness and charity in competition. They should also be awarded, because the kids will remember these lessons for the rest of their lives.

I'll post pictures from Achievement Night either when I get home later or sometime tomorrow. Probably the latter, because the event doesn't end until 9 PM, and it takes about 45 minutes to get home from there.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

How Many Of These Do We Really Need?

From the Pocono Record:

Best Buy Opens At Stroud Township Shopping Center

I have to ask: how many of these superstores do we really need? Considering most, if not all, of the products are made in China, do we really know what kind of poison we're putting in our bodies?

I have to admit, I am a transplant to the Pocono Mountain area. I lived my entire life in NYC, and moved here on August 31, 1995 to give my then 17 month old daughter a better life. For years, the township in question said they would never, EVER build on those properties (too much toxic dumping and not enough oversight). Well, we now have all this garbage from the ground going directly into the groundwater of each business. My husband and I have already said we will never eat at the restaurants nor frequent the businesses, because of the lax environmental rules.

It was one thing when the center that houses Target/Home Depot/BJ's was built; it was necessary. There were no other places to shop except Wal-Mart and K-Mart. Now the townships have gone overboard, and granted permits to almost every business (with the exception of Red Lobster and Toys r Us). Enough! We don't need more stores. The "growth" needs to end before it's too late :(

Friday, October 26, 2007

Meme From Lilder

Okay, so Dana has decided to tag me for a meme. Here goes:

1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo?
Novus Ordo. We have no TLM's close enough.

2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there?
The closest one I would be able to attend is about one hour away.

3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be?
Probably orthodox. I've even been accused of being a "rad-trad" by some of the cafeterias in my parish *VBG*

4. Are you a comment junkie?
I try to leave comments for posts that affect me most.

5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on?
Yes, I do try to go back and read the comments of others. I'm always interested to know what other people think.

6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog?
No. If I have something to say, I want the blog owner to know who it was.

7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on?
I'm already on DCF ladies, but would also like to be on Catholic homeschool blogs.

8. Which blog is the first one you check?
Usually I check my blog first*blushes*. I want to make sure I follow up on any comments left, so no one is left hanging.

9. Have you met any other bloggers in person?
No, I haven't.

10. What are you reading?
I just received my early Middle Ages magazine from Learning Through History today. I'll be going over that the next couple days, to see what we will use this year.

Bonus Question! Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II?

No, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time if I keep writing my opinions about the sad state of my parish.

So now that I have this meme out of the way, I have to decide who to tag.

I have decided on Mama Tatiana (Blondie) and Taylor Went A Bloggin (Dani) ;-)

Fun Website!

I had forgotten all about the Duck Tape Club
until it came through today from click schooling. There's a great activity just in time for Halloween for the kids (and adults, too!) to make their own treat bag.

Here's a picture from their website, showing how to make duck tape roses:

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I might make some of these, to place around my Blessed Mother statue. I wonder if She would mind?

School Choice - Ha!

Interesting, this article was published in today's local newspaper:

School Choice Usually Means 'No Choice' in PA

There are other choices, but parents either don't want to use them, or are afraid of what they perceive as negative consequences. I don't mean homeschooling or using the public cyber charters. Rather, I believe the parents should demand accountability from the districts on why they are failing so miserably. Of course knowing the history of the public school system would give parents the upper hand, if they choose to make a stand.

I've been told by some folks my homeschooling has caused problems for the district by causing a loss of funding. What a cop out! Some people will say "well, you abandoned the public schools, so who are you to speak for us". I didn't abandon the district; rather it abandoned my child when I was told she was "too dumb" to read. As long as they continue to take my tax money, I have a voice on how it is spent. There was talk here sometime last year about homeowners not sending in their school tax. What would the district do, foreclose on all those properties and put them up for sheriff's auction? It would be a nightmare for all involved, but even more so for the district which would lose so much funding (that's all they care about anyway).

Parents should stop complaining about the system, and start doing something about it. Otherwise, they don't have the right to come back in 10 years or so to complain about their children's lack of education. Education should never be mediocre; demand the best, and that is what the public will get. Until then, children will continue to fail while the adults stood by doing nothing.

Joy Notes and Saint of the Day

Joy Notes

Saint of the Day - Blessed Contardo Ferrini

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Farewell, Pippin

Today is a sad day. My daughter's guinea pig, Pippin, died earlier. She had never been sick before, so it was unusual when Amanda found her this morning displaying signs of illness. Guinea pigs usually go down pretty quickly, and I was grateful she died at home, instead of having to put her down.

Here's a picture of her from August, eating one of her favorite foods:

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Farewell Pippin, you will be missed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Muddying The Waters and Dumbing It Down

Over the past couple weeks or so, I've been debating with parents who have their children enrolled in one of the public cyber charter schools here in Pennsylvania. Some of the debate stemmed from the following PHEA article from 2005:

Public Cyber Charter School - Is It Homeschooling?

Most of the parents took offense to the reference they were not homeschoolers. When asked why, most of the responses were "because we're at home" or "because the curriculum is different from the one in the public school". Yes, I agreed, they are at home and the curriculum is different, but that does not qualify them as homeschoolers. I asked if they had to file their affidavit, along with educational objectives, every year. No, were the responses. Did you send in the portfolio at the end of the year? No, again. What was most stunning was the reference to our homeschool as "traditional", while their homeschools were "free". When I said they were muddying the waters between homeschooling and public cyber charters, I was told I was being "cruel" to refer to their children as public schoolers. My question then was: if they're not public schoolers, then what are they, because they are certainly not homeschoolers? Their education was being funded at taxpayer expense.

The muddying of the waters will continue as long as cyber charter students are lumped in with homeschoolers. The children are public cyber charter students educated at home. When the parents come to realize that, the debate over who is and is not a homeschooler will end.

Now, having said all that, I am a supporter of the public cyber charters as an alternative to attending brick and mortar public schools. The district where I live (Pleasant Valley) has one of the worst records in the state. While I don't believe a child's entire education should be tied to test scores, the ones from this district are very telling. The literacy rate has dropped three years in a row, from 11% to 9%. I've reviewed several PSSA tests in the past, and found the tests to be no more difficult than the regular tests we took in school. Many parents are so disgusted by what has been going on in the district, they've opted for the cyber charters. Some were sold on them, because of the curriculum used, i.e. one uses Calvert, another uses K-12, another uses (insert curriculum name here). There are parents I know who have several children enrolled in these schools. They have said the curriculum has been changed over the years, requiring far less work, and "dumbed down" to the point of being nothing but busywork for the younger grades. From what they have been told, the state has mandated portions of the curriculum change to match PA state standards, or entire courses have been removed because they weren't in line with normal school curriculum. Is this the future of the cyber charters? Are they going to become nothing more than branches of the local districts? If that's the case, they I will have no choice but to withdraw my support of such schools.

The schools were supposed to be an alternative to what was offered in the regular school districts. They were not supposed to become similar to our local schools. It would be a shame, and a disservice to the students of these schools, to change for the worse.

Joy Notes and Saint of the Day

Joy Notes

Saint of the Day - Saint Anthony Claret

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Our "Family"

While on a pet forum, I was asked how many pets do we have in our family. Someone said "wow, you keep mentioning all these names, are you getting mixed up". No, I'm not, so here are pictures of the family:

Mahogany (rabbit), Pippin (guinea pig with black around the eye), Arwen (orange and white guinea pig)
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Snowbell (she has a spot of green food coloring on her back to tell her apart from her sister)
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Monica, our snobby calico
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Gussie, everyone's cat :)
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Bernie, who just turned 10 last month
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This doesn't include the assorted insect "pets" Amanda has. It would be impossible to name them all!

Joy Notes and Saint of the Day

Joy Notes

Saint of the Day

Saint John of Capistrano

Monday, October 22, 2007

How Much Is Your Blog Worth?

My blog is currently worth $1,129.08 ;)

My blog is worth $1,129.08.
How much is your blog worth?

What Warm Weather We Are Having :)

Almost everyone I know is complaining about how warm the weather has been lately. Some have even said they wish it would snow *shock*! Here is a reminder for those who want the cold:

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That's my husband, trying to get the driveway cleared on St. Valentine's Day this year. Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it *EG*

View From My Window

Today, it is one of the nicest fall days we've had. I especially like the view I have to the outside while at my computer.

The trees are in full color right now
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Over the past two years, we've used Amanda's old turtle sandbox as a flower planter. My dad moved it, where he put back the Blessed Mother and Infant of Prague plant stakes. They're barely noticeable in the picture, unless you look very closely
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I didn't realize it, but in the picture foreground are Amanda's venus fly trap, as well as what's left of a very small passion vine. She had purchased two zebra heliconian eggs from a lady in Florida. One of them died almost immediately upon hatching, but the other she had been feeding since August. It finally decided to pupate the other day. Normally, they go through their lifecycle in a matter of weeks, but I believe because our temperatures are cooler, it took the caterpillar much longer to go through its instars. It's also very small, so I hope when it emerges it's reasonably sized.

Now I have no idea what to do with the passion vine :(

Joy Notes and Saint of the Day

Joy Notes for today:

Saint of the Day:

St. Peter of Alcantara

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saint of the Day

St. Maria Bertilla Boscardin

There are no Joy Notes today.

Word of the Day

Merriam Webster word of the day:

nonchalant • \nahn-shuh-LAHNT\ • adjective

: having an air of easy unconcern or indifference

Example Sentence:
Colette was amazed that Ryan could remain so nonchalant after being informed that he had won the scholarship.
Did you know?
Since "nonchalant" comes ultimately from Latin words meaning "not" and "be warm," it's no surprise that the word is all about keeping one's cool. The French word "nonchalant," which we borrowed around 1734, has essentially the same meaning as our English word and was derived in Old French from a verb, "nonchaloir," which meant "to disregard." "Nonchaloir" in turn combines the negative "non-" with "chaloir," which means "to concern" and comes from the Latin "calēre" ("to be warm"). "Unconcerned" is one synonym of "nonchalant," along with "casual," "complacent," and "insouciant."

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Angry Cable Customer

An interesting article from my local paper's online version:

Read the commentary from the locals. When I moved, we changed the cable setup in my mom and dad's home. They had basic cable, but I needed digital and high speed to keep my internet service. This guy showed up, and I don't know how he managed to get a job as an independent contractor. He messed up the wires, and it took him over 4 hours to set up the line for one computer and three televisions. He even had the audacity to tell me "we don't hook up vcr's or dvd recorders, just televisions, sorry you're on your own". Frustrated, I said to him "fine then, what the he!! do you do, nothing!" I called customer service, told them what happened, and was quickly told it was my fault for being so nasty to the technician, that I shouldn't have said anything to him about hooking up any additional equipment. What????? Never in my life have I heard of such a thing, not doing the job they are paid to perform.

Blue Ridge Communications needs to watch out, because what happened to me isn't the first incident reported about their lousy service. They might have several dozen angry customers show up at their Gilbert office with hammers *EG*

Joy Notes and Saint of the Day

Joy Notes:

Saint of the Day:

St. Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf and Companions

Words of the Day

Wordsmith's Word of the Day:

hierarch (HY-uh-rark) noun

A high-ranking person.

[From Latin hierarcha, from Greek hierarkhes (high priest), from hieros
(sacred) + arkhes (ruling), from arkhein (to be first, to rule).]

Today's word in Visual Thesaurus:

-Anu Garg (words at

"But the sense among delegates at Blackpool is good, the party hierarchs
are pleased - and the press has been kind."
Martin Kettle; Good in Parts; The Guardian (London, UK); Oct 3, 2007.

Merriam Webster Word of the Day:

pasquinade • \pass-kwuh-NAYD\ • noun

1 : a lampoon posted in a public place

*2 : satirical writing : satire

Example Sentence:
The article, a pasquinade mocking the proposed education reform, generated a lot of mail from readers.
Did you know?
In 1501, a marble statue from ancient times was unearthed in Rome and erected near that city's Piazza Navona. The statue depicted a male torso and was christened "Pasquino" by the Romans, perhaps after a local shopkeeper. It became a tradition to dress up the statue on St. Mark's Day, and in its honor, professors and students would write Latin verses that they would then post on it. Satires soon replaced these verses, and the Pasquino statue became a prime location for posting anonymous, bitingly critical lampoons. In the mid-17th century, these postings became known in English as "pasquinades" (from the Italian "pasquinata"). The term has since expanded in usage to refer to any kind of satirical writing.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Day In The Life Of A Homeschool Student

This video was sent to me this morning, from someone trying to make the statement that homeschoolers are lazy. Actually, I think this video shows the exact opposite, as it's made by a young woman who was homeschooled.

The girl even stated when posting it at youtube it was a joke. Some people have no sense of humor.

What Musical Instrument Should You Play

You Should Play the Piano

You are a true music aficionado who loves many musical style and eras.

You find music to be an escape. And you'd like to be relaxed and comfortable when you're making it.

You're very innovative, and you have a unique way of knowing what may sound beautiful.

There's a strong possibility that you could compose some of your own work songs quite easily.

While you have a lot of creative energy, you are also serious and conscientious.

Your musical talent needs time, practice, and lots of privacy to flourish.

Your dominant personality characteristic: your painstaking attention to detail

Your secondary personality characteristic: your natural tendency to be whimsical

Thanks to Leah and Therese for providing the link.

I'm quite stunned by the answer, as I have very little talent for playing the piano. I would have thought something simpler, maybe like the flute, would be me :)

Joy Notes and Saint of the Day

Joy Notes for today:

Saint of the Day:

The Feast of St. Luke

As a side note, the peace card at Joy Notes doesn't work again today. Hopefully, Sister Patricia will have that fixed soon :)

Words of the Day

Wordsmith's Word of the Day:

vizier (vi-ZEER, VIZ-yuhr) noun

A high official.

[From Turkish vezir, from Arabic wazir (minister).]

Today's word in Visual Thesaurus:

-Anu Garg (words at

"In fact, poor Jeff Immelt, the grand vizier of all General Electric,
gets only $15 million, plus perks."
Mark Drought; Love of Money is the Root of All Evil; East Texas Review;
Oct 9, 2007;

Merriam Webster Word of the Day:

aghast • \uh-GAST\ • adjective

: struck with terror, amazement, or horror : shocked

Example Sentence:
In an effort to impress his date, Adam ordered the most expensive items on the menu, then was aghast when the bill arrived.
Did you know?
If you are aghast, you might look like you've just seen a ghost, or something similarly shocking. "Aghast" traces back to a Middle English verb, "gasten," meaning "to frighten." "Gasten" (which also gave us "ghastly," meaning "terrible or frightening") comes from "gast," a Middle English spelling of the word "ghost." "Gast" also came to be used in English as a verb meaning "to scare." That verb is now obsolete, but its spirit lives on in words spoken by the character Edmund in Shakespeare's King Lear: "gasted by the noise I made, full suddenly he fled."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's Meme Time :)

I've been tagged by Therese for a meme.

I have to give seven things I like about myself:

1. I like I reverted home to the Catholic Church.

2. I like being my husband's wife.

3. I like being my daughter's mother.

4. I like my patience to homeschool.

5. I like that I'm becoming more organized as I get older.

6. I like my ability to let the small stuff slide.

7. I like being tolerant for allowing my daughter to use my freezer as her insect morgue ;)

Now, I tag Judy at A Mother's Love.

Joy Notes and Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day:

Saint Ignatius of Antioch

Joy Notes:

No Joy Notes for today :(

Words of the Day

Wordsmith Word of the Day:

fugleman (FYOO-guhl-muhn) noun

One who leads a group, company, or party.

[From German Flügelmann (flank man), from Flügel (wing) + Mann (man).
A fugleman was once a soldier placed usually on a flank during drill
to serve as a guide for his company.]

Today's word in Visual Thesaurus:

-Anu Garg (words at

"[Mencken] was trying single-handedly to drag American culture out of
Puritanism and into the twentieth century, to act as fugleman on this
side of the Atlantic for a literary and artistic renaissance comparable
to the one then taking place on the other side."
Jonathan Yardley; The Sage of Baltimore; The Atlantic Monthly (New York);
Dec 2002.

M-W Word of the Day:

enmity • \EN-muh-tee\ • noun

: positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill will

Example Sentence:
Having to work on the project together only increased the enmity between Ralph and Debra, who had never gotten along.
Did you know?
"Enmity" and its synonyms "hostility," "animosity," and "animus" all indicate deep-seated dislike or ill will. "Enmity" (which derives from an Anglo-French word meaning "enemy") suggests true hatred, either overt or concealed. "Hostility" implies strong, open enmity that shows itself in attacks or aggression. "Animosity" carries the sense of anger, vindictiveness, and sometimes the desire to destroy what one hates. "Animus" is generally less violent than "animosity," but definitely conveys active prejudice or ill will.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My "New" Bathroom

I'm almost finished with getting the bathroom done. My husband picked out the color, which I thought wasn't going to be nice, but has turned out to be exactly what I wanted. Amanda chose the shower curtain, and helped paint most of the room

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It is quite small, so I had to compromise and purchase "Bath in a Box" from Walmart. The price was very reasonable ($39.88), and included the over the toilet shelves, standing towel rack, and magazine rack

Here are some pictures of the room, just about done

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Now all I have to do is have the electrician come in, to install the lighting I want over the sink. We decided to stick with a simple mirror, and just have the light bar installed. Either that, or my husband is going to go cheap and have those puck lights hanging in there LOL!