Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Cookie Sheet of Rice

The weather here lately has been horrid. It's been sun, sun, sun and temperatures in the low 30's that feel like the mid-40's thanks to the humidity. That's meant several days where the kids and I simply find a seat in front of a TV, computer or game system and slowly melt.

Harry has been wanting to play outside (He found some small construction vehicles in his dinky car basket and wanted to push dirt around) but he only lasted about 10 minutes before he comes back inside. So what to do? Well, I managed to drag myself off the sofa for long enough to grab a cookie sheet with a high lip and a cup or so of uncooked rice. I dumped the rice on the sheet, the sheet on the living room floor and Harry was ecstatic. He could play with his vehicles and not have to suffer in the sun.

Of course I realized I should have put the cookie sheet in the kitchen only after I realized I was out of vacuum bags.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

More Ads

I added an AuctionAds bar and I'm actually pretty pleased with this one. It links to Ebay listings and the ads focus around certain keywords I entered into my AuctionsAds account. And damn, most of the ads look like stuff I'd want to buy. If anyone is interested in adding it to their site I think clicking on 'Ads by AuctionAds' will get you to their site. And I think get me a kickback.

Oh boy, I'll be a blog mogul in no time!

Story of the World

Well, I managed to get a copy of the audio book version of this series and we listened to the first CD this week. I was well aware that this had a heavy christian slant so before starting, Catherine and I talked about history. We talked about how there are objective facts like dates and how there's interpretation of the meaning of events marked by those dates. There are fancy German names for both concepts courtesy of Wolfhart Pannenberg but bugger all if I can remember them. We also talked about myth and how, despite there being no facts involved, they can tell us a lot about the people who told those myths. On to the Story of The World.

It was really interesting. Catherine drew as I cleaned and when she had a question we'd pause the CD and talk a bit. When we got to 'Abraham and God' and 'Joseph' I'd make it clear that we were now firmly into mythical (possibly legendary) territory. It got interesting when we learned that the story of King Sargon of Akkad involved him being floated down a river to be found by a royal servent. Echoes of Moses anyone? So Christian myth gets presented as history but the threads that built the myths are still in there for listeners to ferret out.

I know there are workbooks availible but frankly, we'll have enough workbooks and worksheets when we start up some curricullum. Catherine picks stuff up easily enough when she's interested and worksheets often seem like busy work. To supplement I'll see what we can explore on the internet and look for some documentaries on early civilizations.

The Story of the World seems like it's going to be a nice resource so far. One you really need to approach with a little scepticism and the tools to question and research what it claims but that's really not a bad thing at all. I think it's probably good to introduce some materials that you intend to challenge so your kids can see that just because it's in a book doesn't mean you need to accept it all without question.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I Have Ads

Yes, I know it's a little stupid for a blog that only gets a few hits a day but I'm experimenting. I have an idea for a more commercial blog down the road and I was curious as to how Adsense works. I'll probably take it down or you might see other ads pop up from different companies. Feel free to ignore them.

A Funeral

Just to be a bummer, here's a second post about death. Funnily enough, although I knew this person (Max) in real life, have family connections and he lived but a short drive away I'm not greiving in the same way I am for Whitecree. This person was my husband's great uncle. I've met a lot of my husband's extended family (and what a great family it is) but I'd never really seen to much of him. I gather that he was a very good man.

So today we go to the funeral. The kids will be with us and this will be the first funeral they've attended. They've been told that their cousin's grandfather died but they never knew Max. We'll have to have a discussion on decorum and respect on the drive down.

What a weird week. We've got the highest of hopes pinned on it and yet both Shannon and I have lost people we cared about.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I found out a couple of days ago that a friend died. He wasn't someone I knew or had ever met IRL. He was a friend from the computer geek forum I've been frequenting for almost three years now. He actually died a couple of months ago but I only noticed the thread Tuesday. I had thought he was taking the summer off from posting and probably spending some time with his family. Not so.

His name was Whitecree. He called himself that because he was part white and part Cree. He was older then the average poster and a talented and skilled carver. A lot of his carvings represented characters from Cree legends. He had a severe disability - dial up internet in a forum full of geeks who bragged about their cable or DSL speeds. However, he'd post breathtaking photos of the forest that surrounded him in British Columbia and we'd all be jealous.

On the board he was one of the voices of maturity and experience. He was warm, funny, intelligent and straightforward. In my mind I had him labeled the resident Dad. He was also generous and thoughtful. I finally noticed the thread because his son had updated it with a post from Whitecree letting us know he had died and saying goodbye. He'd written it last year prior to an operation, "just in case", and his son was kind enough to share it with us when he found it.

There are people you have fun with on a message board and there are people you connect with but then their are the ones who, because they possess such a wonderful personality and strong character, are special. And that was Whitecree.

I'd always thought that if I ever went out to the other coast I'd like to look Whitecree up just to give him a hug. I wish I still had the chance.

This was his avatar;

I'll miss you Whitecree.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Free book organizer

Free software! Just thought I'd tip people off because this is a one day only thing.

It Libellus Book Organizer at Giveaway of the Day...

Some features of Libellus:
Organize / Manage (Book; Author; Publisher; Category; Favourite; Wishlist);
Search (Title; ISBN; Author; Publisher; Category);
Print book list;
Export book list (CSV; HTML);
Browse book information on the internet;
Import book from the internet;
Add book to wishlist from the internet;
View what others say about a book;
Buy book;
Many more…

It sounds right up a homeschooler's alley.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Here's Hoping...

I have tried to post time after time for the last couple of weeks. Even now I keep moving to type and then end up dropping my hands off the keyboard. The reason is simply excitement.

My husband is waiting for word on a new job.

He's been at the same job for a decade and a half and while his boss and co-workers are terrific he's gone about as far as he can go in terms of salary and challenge. Now there's a new job possibility on the horizon. The salary starts where his current one ends, the benefits are fantastic and there will the constant challenge of learning a new trade and upgrading skills. I think that as nice as the money will be (if he gets it), it's really a secondary concern. It's the fact that there's a whole new career path that offers lots of different opportunity within the company that's the exciting thing for my husband. It won't be the same thing day in and day out.

So the last couple of weeks we've been on edge (in a good, exciting way) as my husband studies, takes tests, has interviews and most of all, waits for phone calls.

My brother's getting married, I'm doing a graphic novel and my husband is hopefully stepping into a new career...What a year this is.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Vacation time! I'm up at my parents house for several days. They live in a tiny one-store village in a huge house with a view of St. Lawerence Bay. The beach is a five-minute walk away. Because it's only a five-minute walk we'e been taking it for granted and not visited it yet. Our days have been filled with Monopoly, drawing and long naps.

I'll be back home on Tuesday so I'll have something better to post about then.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Yesterday we made more headway in addition and subtraction practice in an hour with a game then we did in a month of curriculum. We played Math Card War, a game that Denise from Let's Play Math claims is worth 1,000 worksheets. I have to agree with her. Catherine was adding and subtracting like a pro and having a ball doing it.

In playing Math Card War I think I have an inkling of the balance I could strike between curriculum and my radical unschooling ideals. The introduction of skills and strategies is something out math curriculum does very well. The practicing of those skills is something Catherine does best when it's unstructured fun. So to the desk for worksheets when it's a new skill and to the living room with the games when it's practice?

The other really fun thing we did yesterday involved a book called Detective Dave's Mad Mysteries. That was fun. It's really a book of logic puzzles all wrapped up in a story that engaged us more then a simple puzzle book would normally. We spent about an hour curled up on the couch with it. It's only $4.99 and the one I've got my little Amazon link to is a collection of 6 books so it's a pretty damn good value.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Jesus, Dinosaur Rider

Stolen from The Friendly Atheist...

There should be a whole dinosaur-themed gospel. Joseph and Mary finding shelter in the curve of a friendly Brontosaurus' tail, Jesus riding a T.Rex into Jerusalem...Judas could be eaten by Raptors!

Monday, July 2, 2007

My First Meme

Not June Cleaver tagged me for a meme a little while ago but I missed it due to computer troubles. Now I have a brand spanking new XP install and EJ Cooksey has tagged me for a new meme. Whoo hoo!

I have to list 7 things about myself so here goes...

1) I sing as well as I draw, maybe better actually.

2) I take a size 10 or 11 shoe. Yes. I really do.

3) I was a huge horror movie fiend as a teenager and could tell you in detail how they constructed to model decapitated head and what they made the fake blood out of.

4) My favourite singer is Bing Crosby.

5) I used to be involved in provincial youth politics. Right wing party...But it was right wing in Canada so roughly the equivilent of the Democratic Party in the US.

6) I am not a very good housekeeper but I'm working on getting better.

7) I love Siamese cats but don't have one at the moment.

The rules of this meme also state I have to tag 7 other bloggers. I feel weird about that and maybe it's my relative noobness to blogging but I think I'll leave it open for 7 people to tag themselves.

Late Canada Day

Today we had our little community Canada Day Parade. Yes, it's July 2nd and yes, Canada Day is on July 1st but apparently the Father over at the big Roman Catholic church had a talk with the Chamber of commerce and asked them to move the parade because it would be hampering people from attending the church since the 1st was on a Sunday. I say tough luck. He could have simply moved the time of mass. If a church is a part of a community it should act like it and not hold itself above and seperate and feel it can dictate terms of community events. Yes, it pissed me off.

Canada day, the real one on Sunday, didn't feel like Canada Day. Since there was no parade, the little local fair didn't open. We ended up going to the in-laws for a b-b-q. Which turned out allright since there is where I found a book I've been looking for for weeks. A rather important one too since it's the account of the woman who's story I'll be illustrating in graphic novel form (new sketches over at I Wanna Be a Comic Book Artist).

Oh, and Catherine loved the Nintendo DS. She just about cried when she realized what she'd got and she's been thanking Shannon and I for the past 3 days. It was a little pricey but certainly worth every penny.