Monday, January 28, 2008

Former Tooth Fairy Seeks Employment


The boy lost his first tooth before Christmas. Last week, he lost his second tooth. When he lost his first tooth he decided that he would not leave it for the tooth fairy, he would save it. I stuck it in a zippered baggie and put it on the counter and we haven't seen it since. This bothered me slightly but what can you do? It was a little crazy here before, during and after Christmas, we had lots of family in and I had done some silly things like try to make oh, 10 batches of fudge and plan a Christmas party for the home school group... etc, etc. I have issues. Anyway... so this last week the boy decided to leave his second tooth for the tooth fairy.

We put it in a baggy and wrote on it, "The Boy's Second Tooth." Once again, we tempted fate and put it on the kitchen counter. The next morning, The Boy came in to see me and announced that he had forgotten to put his tooth out for the tooth fairy. I told him that it was fine, she would still pick it up the next night. The tooth, in it's baggy, remained on the kitchen counter.

The next morning, The Boy came into my bedroom again, looking sleepy he announced, "The tooth fairy didn't come momma. I put it under my pillow and she didn't come." My eyes popped out of my head. I had completely forgotten! Yikes! He never said one word about putting it under his pillow!!! He just did it! "Sweetie, I am sure she just got confused when you forgot to put it under your pillow yesterday, we will leave her a note and I am sure she will remember tonight." My response was hollow from my mortified momma mouth. He walked sleepily back to his room.

The NEXT morning, The Boy walks into my room and says, "The tooth fairy didn't come... and I can't find my tooth now." Talk about dying, yet somehow STILL being alive... oh... my... word... I was beyond mortified.... my response, "This tooth fairy has some issues, but we forgot to put out the note. Perhaps we should write to her boss instead? I think the tooth fairy needs fired." He just walked away. Do I get the bad mom of the year award yet?

That night, I carefully crept into the boy's room, with a silver dollar and a container of glitter. The problem is that now the tooth in it's baggy was missing! I had to find it... so I crept back out to grab a flash light. I laid down on the floor with the flash light, I figured it had to be under his bed somewhere. He has these tubs of marble works under the bed and I spied it in the one tub. I carefully pulled it out, trying to think up an excuse for my odd behavior should The Boy wake up. He didn't because mainly he sleeps through anything, including the smoke detector. I got the tooth... I carefully put the silver dollar under his pillow and then, I did something a little crazy. I sprinkled glitter around it in the dark. I couldn't exactly tell how much glitter was coming out of this little container... it was very nice whitish glitter, and so I decided to put some under the pillow and some around the edge where the fairy would have been.

The next morning, The Boy walks into my room, and looks at me. His face and his hair were absolutely COVERED in glitter. I stifled a giggle. "Mom, the tooth fairy came, but she didn't leave me anything." He said this all through the glitter. I hid my huge smile under the covers and replied, "Perhaps you should go check under your pillow again?" He wandered off and came back skipping with his silver dollar, "Look! She left me this!" He was grinning pretty big. I nudged John who was mostly still sleeping, "Look dear, the tooth fairy visited The Boy last night finally." John opened one eye and looked over, "Uh huh." I don't think he noticed the glitter. The Boy was beaming, I smiled at him, "Well, you better go and put that in your bank, and um... have you looked in the mirror? It appears that the fairy dropped quite a bit of fairy dust in your room." I was trying SO hard not to giggle. Loudly. He skipped into the bathroom and came back with his eyes wide, "I have fairy dust ALL over me!" He was laughing and ran to show his sister. I rolled over and whispered to John, "Did you see him! He is covered with glitter!" John didn't really respond, except with another, "uh huh."

Later, we were all up and for some reason in Jesse's room, John looked at the bed, and remarked, "Well, that tooth fairy really dropped quite a bit of fairy dust here." The bed was sparkling all over. I have no idea how that much glitter came out of that little tiny bottle! He whispered to me, "You made it memorable... late, but memorable."

I may have made it memorable, but I am still so embarrassed that I forgot about this! This is one of those important things of childhood. Eh well... someday he will probably find the entire thing to be hysterical. In the meantime, I will continue to blush over my lack of pixiness.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Lightbulbs



Years ago when we lived in Washington State, the Air Force Base was trying to get the residents to be more energy efficient so they were giving out CFL bulbs. We happily went to get free light bulbs for our home and we quickly installed them and were quickly unhappy. The light they put off was glaring and harsh and yet not as bright as a regular incandescent bulb. They seemed to be a strange item hanging in my ceiling fan fixture. The self help store actually gave us 10 of them, all of them were these odd curly CFL bulbs. The one problem is that in Washington state, at least where we were, light was a very special thing. We didn't get much natural sunlight and we did use plenty of lights in the house, so good lighting was very much needed. Now, this was a number of years ago, actually, this was 6 years ago and I know that now they have nicer looking bulbs, but with an introduction as painful as this was, I wasn't ready to run out and plunk down four dollars for just one CFL for my home.

We have recently, however, purchased a few and have put them in places that we tend to leave the lights on, like the front porch light. We have this bad tendency of leaving the light on out there, frankly because we forget about it. So, we bought this nice weird looking bulb and installed it and found that now the glass cover doesn't fit over the bulb. How handy. We now look so chic with our naked bulb hanging out there for everyone to see.

I keep reading about these countries putting laws into effect that ban the use of incandescent light bulbs in houses by 2010 in Australia, and the EU is doing something similar, so I wanted to look up information on them. The thing is that although they do last longer than incandescent bulbs, John and I were not convinced that they lasted that much longer. We certainly didn't find that they were lasting for the years that the package promises.

What I found was startling, in several ways. Apparently, you can't put them in the trash, the CFC bulbs need to be recycled and not just anyone recycles them. Only certain places do, and it is because of the mercury in them. Yes, mercury, the same stuff that ruins ground water and causes us not to use the old thermometers.

I found this very interesting fact sheet, this is what you need to do if you happen to break a CFL in your home:

How should I clean up a broken fluorescent bulb?
The following steps can be performed by the general public:
1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
2. Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a sealed plastic bag.
~Use disposable rubber gloves, if available (i.e., do not use bare hands). Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the plastic bag.
~Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
3. Place all cleanup materials in a second sealed plastic bag.
~Place the first bag in a second sealed plastic bag and put it in the outdoor trash container or in another outdoor protected area for the next normal trash disposal.
~Note: some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken lamps be taken to a local recycling center.
~Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.
4. If a fluorescent bulb breaks on a rug or carpet:
~First, remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner, following the steps above. Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder.
~If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and put the bag or vacuum debris in two sealed plastic bags in the outdoor trash or protected outdoor location for normal disposal.

Makes you want to run out and buy some of CFLs doesn't it?

So, this leaves us with LED bulbs. The biggest problem with LED bulbs? They are crazy expensive! They run upwards of $40 a bulb. Yes, you did read that right, and yes it is outrageous! I will admit that all of my outside Christmas lights for the last two years are LED lights. I wasn't as fond of the white LED Christmas lights, they seemed cold, but I did like the red LED lights for the outline of my house. They are even more efficient than the CFLs and they do not break and spew horrible chemicals into the earth. I bought the LED bulbs last year before Christmas and the beauty of it is that for the first time ever I didn't have to buy more lights due to them being burnt out from the year before. They did actually pay for themselves because they lasted at least a full 2 years, which was a vast improvement over the CFL bulbs that I used to use.

This is a great article that breaks down the gist of both and I have found that this information is pretty accurate, except where it says that the light from either CFLs or LEDs is similar to the incandescent bulbs, that is pure fiction, but I don't think my grandkids will ever know the warmer light that is put off by the horribly bad-for-the-environment incandescent bulb.

Onward and upward then!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Walmart is Coming Undone at the Seams


We were away for a few days this last weekend helping some friends move and I stopped by Walmart for something I would normally just pick up at the friendly base BX. Anyhow, I walked the aisles looking for some hair bows for The Girl and of course didn't find those, but found 5 other things that I could use. One of those other things was flannel sheets for the kids. They were very cheap, on clearance even, and so I picked up a set for each of the kids. The Boy has been desperately wanting some flannel sheets ever since he snuggled with me in our nice set. I told him if he waited, I would get some on clearance since they would be much cheaper then and he really had sheets that were perfectly fine.

The moment had come!

He was thrilled and helped me select the sheets, as only a little boy can. I even pulled down some that had fun boy things on them, sports balls etc, but he decided that he really only needed plain blue, because it would match his bedroom better. Um... are you a kid? Then I showed him different ones for The Girl so that he could help me figure out what she would want and he decided that plain pink would be best for her because it would match her room better as well. I think he is weird, but he is right... so we got the plain sheets and went on back to our friend's house.

I washed the sheets yesterday and put them on the Boy's bed, but the Girl's sheets were still in the dryer so she had to deal still with the regular cotton sheets. This morning, I stripped off her sheets and attempted to put the flannel sheets on her bed except there was a problem. The sheets had a hole in the corner that I started with. The seam had come apart. I stuck them in the hallway so that I would remember to pull out my sewing machine and sew them, which I did this evening. The problem is that as I sewed up that corner of my brand new flannel sheets I decided to check every other corner on the set, and low and behold EVERY corner needed done. I begrudgingly sewed up every corner on the sheet and was very glad that I had a sewing machine, or I would be returning the sheets and I honestly hate returning things so much that sewing the sheets was much more preferable.

As I sewed up these sheets, I did contemplate why I even bothered buying things at Walmart anymore. It just seemed that this happens too often to put up with, and frankly, sewing up brand new sheets, happening even once is way too often.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Books and Blueberry Wine



I have a feeling that books are going to be a fairly normal feature here on my blog. John, my husband, has even commented that I should make this a children's book review. I am not sure that I want to do that, but I will be posting on books quite a bit.

I read quite a bit, I always have and I am sure I always will. We use a very literature rich curriculum for our homeschool and I pick up books here and there for the kids as well. I have found something interesting happening. I can't always explain what is going on in the book. I found this the other day... We were reading the book Mountain Born and something came up that The Boy didn't actually ask about, but I wondered about... and knew that I couldn't answer. Then I wondered how I would ever go about looking up the information if I wanted to. You see... the book is about a family of sheep farmers in, oh... the late 1800s... I think. I had this question, and I kept thinking about it as I read the one portion to The Boy. The family were leaving the sheep on the hillside all summer. Everynight. It didn't appear in the book as if the sheep were checked on AT ALL the whole summer. Now... how does that work?! Did they actually do that? Did they just ship the sheep on up there and think, "Gee, I hope they don't all get eaten by wolves." I mean... I can see leaving them up there and checking on them daily, or twice daily but leaving them up there and never checking on them just seemed really weird to me, and this is honestly what the book let you believe.

Here is my problem, I don't know anyone that was a sheep farmer back in the late 1800s. I don't even know how I would begin to search that in Google. What would I put in the little box, "sheep left on hillside, do wolves eat?" It just baffled me. Anyhow, this isn't the only book I have had questions about, there are many, and they are all older books and my questions are all concerning things that aren't as easy to find out anymore.

For example, one of my favorite series is the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery. She is phenomenal. Once again, this is from about the same time period, the later 1800s. I have heard that the annotated version of Anne of Green Gables is incredible. It tells you all about these things that you wonder about. The references to nature and politics etc. My problem is that for years, I have had a question concerning another of Montgomery's books, Magic for Marigold. This is another sweet book and in it, in one delicious portion, Marigold and a friend open a bottle of Blueberry wine and it goes EVERYWHERE. And the book mentions that they didn't know blueberry wine, or something like that. So... what does that mean?! I don't know of anyone even drinking blueberry wine at all, let alone making their own in the late 1800s?! How does one go about finding out about blueberry wine? Did you have to open it a specific way? Was it too aged? Not aged enough? Did they shake it or something when they brought it up from the cellar? I have no idea. I wonder if I will ever find out.

Maybe I should go ask Jeeves.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Day the Giggles wore us out!

Tonight, the kids and I sat down on the sofa for some good reading time. We read a couple of chapters in the book The Family Under the Bridge, we followed that up with the wonderful and whimsical book The Day the Babies Crawled Away.

We followed that with some lovely reading from the favorite collection of Madeline, and finally a wonderful couple of stories from yet another of my children's favorite books, The Usborne Book of First Experiences.

Admittedly, The Day the Babies Crawled Away, has not been on our shelf long, it is a new acquisition. We picked it up at a yard sale this last fall, for oh, about a quarter. It is a nice hardback book with a dust jacket. We all know that the dust jacket will not stay on the book, but I am willing to give it a fighting chance.

I will admit that we just giggled ourselves silly at this book tonight. It hadn't been read in awhile because it is a little too tall for most of my shelves, so it has to lay down on a shelf and it had gotten buried. I dug it out and we read it tonight and honestly, there are so many little funny details that my children just found hysterical. The kids often take books to bed and this one was one of the ones chosen. The Girl got the honor of toting this one off to bed and she was thrilled.

One of our favorite details of this book, that my children think is one of the funniest things in the world is the one little baby is almost constantly hanging upside down. In every scene, there she is! It is so cute! She has this little bow on her head, just like the ones I used to put on the top of my little baby's head and I think my little girl felt great connection to this silly little one because of that. In the last picture, it shows all the babies, through the windows, at home with their parents. Through that little bow-girl's window, we see the mom and daughter hanging upside down from the rafters in their house. My kids found this incredibly funny.

I don't think I mentioned that this entire book is done in silhouette. The background is in color, the sky softly changing to show the changing of the day... the silhouettes showing all the detail and all the charm. The illustrations are simply fantastic for a children's book, crisp and clear and so sweetly detailed.

My kids loved this book and what better way to put kids to bed than with lots of giggles.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pass the Buck

So, apparently some people are very, well... worried about us home-schoolers. This woman in the news this last week who killed her four children, was a "home-schooler." I use that in the loosest of terms with her. In my opinion, she was not a home-schooler, she was a mom who wanted to kill her kids without having the problem of the school missing them. This was a convenient way to do that. Say that you are homeschooling and just don't turn back.

I was a teacher... I saw people home school for reasons that were less than honorable. However, I am a home-schooler. I home school my kids for very different reasons.

This article discusses how home-schoolers can be a problem because teachers aren't there to catch the signs of abuse. As THIS teacher obviously caught abuse *note the sarcasm*. The social workers had been called in on the Jacks case multiple times before, I don't know that a teacher would have helped this situation much. They already had so many venues fail them when it came to intervening in this sad path.

The point I suppose I am trying to make here is that the majority of home-schoolers are probably parents that are over concerned with their children. We are not the type of parents who are likely to abuse or kill children.

The experts feel now that they need more measures in place to track home-schoolers because of this? I know this is going to sound bad, but how many moms have killed their kids in the last year? How many were involved in the killing of their children in the last year? How many were home-school moms? Where is the best place for them to be spending government money?

I believe, very strongly that they should seek out better ways to track these types of crimes. There are situations in which these problems are more likely to occur. This woman fit into other profiles of moms in extreme duress. Why are they simply classifying her as a home-schooler? Honestly, that is the last thing she is. What she is, is a mom who was very down on her luck. A mom who had run out of food stamps benefits, and whose partner had died, who apparently struggled with mental illness.

They are trying to pawn this off on home-schoolers, when what they should be doing is spending the government's money on things much more worthwhile, like social services for families in similar situations. Situations where problems like this are more likely to occur. They need to dig deeper in files... rather than close them when they haven't been able to get the lady to open her front door.

The government is trying to pass the buck here. They are trying to say, "Oh, this isn't our fault! Oh, No! This happened because they simply don't have enough laws in place for us to monitor home-schoolers."

I wonder how many in our country will buy that sorry excuse? I hope people keep their eyes open long enough to see that this poor woman and her babies were not home-schoolers... but they did need the intervention that they never got.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First

So, this is my first post. Pretty exciting isn't it?

I have been wanting to start a blog for a while and finally decided to just do it. At this point, I have no expectations. For me, this is in many ways simply a way for me to write about life, and just write in general.

I will try to update this often, but I make no promises at all. This is likely to be a pretty boring blog, particularly here in the beginning, maybe things will improve as we go along.

Today, we are just trying to get motivated to get moving. The kids are playing on the floor in their pjs, and I would really like them to get a move on it and get dressed so that we can get out to the Science Center sometime today. We just finished a pretty intensive study on Ancient Egypt and would like to see the movie on Pharaohs and Mummies that they have playing at the Omnimax theater. IF they never get out of pjs though, I don't really see this happening. Who doesn't want to live in their pajamas though? Why can't all of our clothes be like pajamas?

There that is the question of the day, "Why can't all of our clothes be like pajamas?"
 

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