Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy to be home

We did go to Wisconsin. The decision was made at 8:30 Saturday morning and by 9:40 we were on the road. That's why I had to pack before we knew we were going. I couldn't have gotten us ready that quick.

Turned out you can't get there from here. We got to within a few miles of their house and hit a detour. We followed it, thinking it would take us around town. After about 15 minutes of getting further and further away we called. Oh, we forgot to tell you about that. Yeah, you did. You shouldn't have taken the detour. Now you tell us. We got rerouted and only an hour after we should have gotten there we arrived.

It was fun seeing the cousins and the sister-in-law. Violet is the same age as one cousin and gets along really well with both the girls (the boy child is only 5, so he doesn't count). They played and talked. We walked the dogs. We ate dinner at 9 pm. Yes, they finally got around to feeding us at bedtime. SIL was also a little confused by that. She really wanted to get the kids into bed.

Violet actually opted to camp out in the basement with the girls. It was quite iffy whether or not she'd make it. I did let SIL know about the recent overnight incidents, since she was sleeping in the downstairs bedroom closest to the girls. She's a mom, she's been there done that with aborted sleepovers. Violet came up once right after she got in bed, but Mr. Incredible talked her into to trying it a little longer and she made it. Yippee!!

I didn't sleep so well. The air mattress was uncomfortable. The house was LOUD. MIL was up watching TV late. Then Mr. Incredible and his dad started in on some sort of plumbing project in the bathroom next to where I was trying to sleep. ACK. Violet is right. You should always sleep at home in your own bed.

The next day they planned this wonderfully educational outing for the kids. A trip to a farm to see cows. Oh boy. I grew up in the country. I've seen cows. I didn't want to go. Then when we got there the farmer announced we had to walk through manure to get to the cows. No thank you. Had I been told about that before we left home and I could have brought mud shoes and a change of clothes with, I'd have been all for it. Upon arrival, I was miffed. Farmer had boots for the kids to borrow and off they went. Mr. Incredible and I watched nesting barn swallows and their babies. We did get some good pictures of the boy child in pink flowered boots that will come in handy some day, like at his wedding.

We got home late last night, and today was spent catching up. Violet played at Red's house. (Red's mom is doing very well after her surgery 2 weeks ago. She's up and about, just slow.) We saw helicopters hovering around all afternoon. Turned out a guy had been caught (a link is there, I just can't make the color change) with illegal neurotoxins in his house not far from us. Very weird.

Tomorrow Red might come here to swim and play. Still more catching up to do. And lots of 4th grade planning. I'll start posting about school plans as soon as I get them figured out. For now I'm just happy to be home.

Friday, June 27, 2008

garden update

Every afternoon I've been out weeding and tending the garden. I'm feeling a little like the Little Red Hen. But I'm rather proud of how good it is doing. The rainy weather has helped too.

Our onions are definitely our best crop:

Did I tell you Violet took some in to her teacher? The teacher's brand new husband (she had returned from her honeymoon the night before the class began) was a little confused as to why someone bought them onions. Until it was explained that one of her students grew them in her garden. Then he got it.

The green peppers are getting buds on them:

And the tomatoes have their first flowers:

The broccoli and cauliflower are looking pretty good:

Both the free range and caged cucumber are growing:

I can't believe how good the spaghetti squash is looking! Can you believe how big it is?

I'm not sure about my little eggplants though. This is the best looking one of the three surviving plants:

Did I tell you we have current bushes too? I've been picking them every day with this crazy idea to try to make jelly:

My supervisor:

And Violet, enjoying the pool:

Still no word on the weekend plans. In between gardening and swimming we've laid a bunch of stuff out to take including sleeping bags, towels and a cooler. I suppose the coffee pot would be pushing it.

What a week

I don't remember Kids and College weeks being so busy last summer. It must be all the other stuff going on.

Violet loved her class all week. Although on Wednesday morning she got and announced she was crabby and didn't want to go. We built her a fort out of blankets and chairs and she spent most of the morning in there. Hiding out from the world helped and she was ready for class. She had a blast in class and even told me afterward that she was talking more in class. They did candies in soda pop experiments (Violet's trial was cola and Tic Tacs, not as dynamic as Diet Coke and Menthos she said, but fizzy), made volcanoes, ice cream, flubber, and lots more she forgot to tell me about I'm sure. Her next class is in a few weeks. It is called Zap! and is about electricity.

I have been working every day. Remember Wednesdays and Fridays off? Doesn't seem to be happening this week. I had planned to do more because we are supposed to be going to my in-laws all weekend so I'll lose my normal work hours. I've been preparing presentations for others in my office to give. Two of them weren't bad. I was pretty familiar with the topics and I could easily find supplemental material.

Then yesterday happened. A co-worker, who I absolutely love, called in the morning and said she did want my help on a handout. It is a topic she doesn't know much about and I know absolutely nothing about. Well, I'll do my best send what you've got. She sent very little. I head off to the college where I don't have e-mail access. Get as far as I can, then my laptop's battery run down. I call her and she says, "did you get my other e-mail?" No, we left early, we were meeting friends for lunch. Oh, that had more information in it. And by the way, this is due tomorrow. Nice.

We get home she's sent the other stuff, that should round out what I did nicely. I call her and catch her still at the office. Can I call some lady to ask more questions about all this? No. Asks me to put together one more section. I say I'll try. I did get the first section looking decent (I'm guessing of course, she hasn't seen it yet). The new section. Well, it is pretty much what she said over the phone typed up. Oh well.

Now today is Friday. I already have to do my regular weekend work tonight so we can be gone all weekend. I'm not answering my phone today. My horoscope recommends against it. "A coworker or friend might seem overly assertive or even aggressive today, making it difficult to have a meaningful conversation." I am not supposed to be working anyway.

Now you are saying, oh but you have a nice relaxing get away weekend planned. That will be good. We are driving to Wisconsin, through possibly flood-washed out roads to my in-laws. Where the Georgia cousins will be staying, with their mom and possibly other grandmother. There isn't enough room in their house for everyone. Father-in-law wants all the kids to sleep out in the backyard in the tent. He doesn't read my blog. He hasn't been through the sleepover trauma. Mr. Incredible and I have talked about camping out in their backyard or on their deck. There is a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms all weekend.

They want to go canoeing. The flooded rivers are not safe for inexperienced canoeists. They want to go horseback riding. Violet would rather have her finger and toenails pulled off one by one than get back on a horse. Mr. Incredible did tell his dad to count us out of both of those activities. Figure out what they were going to do, we'd see them at their house, if they don't wash down stream.

I don't know what to pack. I don't know where we're sleeping. I don't know what activities we'll be doing. I don't know who will be there. This does not work for me. I am uptight. I am an obsessive planner. I admit I have a problem. This is a nightmare for me. Mr. Incredible and his dad were supposed to talk this week to work out more details. They haven't yet, which means they'll talk about 10 pm tonight. He wants to leave early the next morning. Just how does he expect me to be able to get us ready to go when he gets off the phone at 11 pm?

In the grand scheme of things this is nothing. But in the small scheme of things, this has been a stressful week.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fizz, crackle, pop

Violet started her science class at the community college today. It takes place afternoons this week through Thursday. There are 8 kids in her class, with only one other girl. Violet was disappointed that there were so many boys, but we got her seated next to the other girl and I assured her that she knows more about science than any of those stinky old boys so she shouldn't let them intimidate her.

I took my laptop to the college and hung out in the library working on a presentation for work. Until I wanted to peek into her classroom to make sure she was settling in. She was, so I got some coffee and sat reading (sadly, more stuff for work, but later this week I'll do fun reading). After I picked her up she told me about making oobleck and mixing oil and various other liquids. And her teacher taught them the differences between solids, liquids, gases, plasma and something else she couldn't remember.

When we got home she had a package waiting for her: the first birthday box to arrive! Thanks, Piggy and Sweetums! It was Hello Kitty-erific and I can't get her to quit coloring to go get ready for bed. :grin:

Follow up note to the overnight issues. I was talking to my mom on Sunday and she said when Violet spent the night at their house a few weeks ago she wanted to come home about 10:30 pm. We'll skip past the "why am I just hearing about this now?" part and concentrate on the, "I guess she isn't up to an overnight right now" part. She had done lots of overnights there before, so she must be in a phase where she wants to be at home at night. I'm sure she'll want to go there overnight again and will want to try an overnight at Tinkerbell or Red's house, but for now she can stay here.

By the way, my mom said she just asked Violet what she'd be doing if she were at home and she said her Papa would be reading to her. So my mom read to her and they both went to sleep and she was fine. Still, maybe I should have known.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Overnight Success

Tinkerbell just went home a couple of hours ago. She spent the night last night and the girls had a blast. Violet asked her about the cats and they decided to close the bedroom door, although Tinkerbell didn't think they'd bother her. Mr. Incredible went out and brought back lots of toppings and set up a make your own ice cream sundae bar. I think he had as a good of a time as the girls. He doesn't get to be home often when Violet has friends over. He also got to meet Tink's dad and mom which was good. I think he and Mr. Bell have a lot of common interests.

Red is a really good friend, but I think she may be a daytime friend for now. By 8:30 she said they needed to get into their pajamas and brush their teeth. At 8:30 last night Violet and Tinkerbell were heading back out to the pool for more swimming. By 9:00 Red said they were up past their bedtime. At 11:00 I told Violet and Tinkerbell they needed to wrap up their reading and get into bed. Red is always up early. I woke Violet and Tinkerbell up at 9:00 so they could be sure to be ready when Tink's mom came to get her. Violet and Tinkerbell seem to be on the same Circadian clock. Perhaps it is the homeschool clock versus public school clock. Perhaps it is just family styles. Red can come over for the day and stay for dinner too. She lives just across the street, she can commute home at bedtime and we'll see her the next day.

We asked Violet if she'd like to try sleeping over at Tinkerbell's house. She said no, but she'd like to have Tink back here. That's okay, at least we'll know what they are doing if they are here. She'll want to try it there soon enough.

The rest of the day we are all resting and hanging out at home. Tomorrow Violet starts her first Kids and College class of the summer, Become a Frenzied Scientist. She's had a busy last 4 days with lots of hosting friends. Downtime today will be good.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Last update of the day

I promise. Boy, do I need a life? Or maybe just someone to talk to.

Red's mom called me back and said that Red felt really bad about leaving last night. Our cats freaked her out. One walked through the room she and Violet were going to sleep in and I just she started worrying what if she woke up in the night and the cat was standing on her or was staring at her. She has dogs, big dogs, but hasn't had a cat since she was a baby. Violet and Red talked on the phone for a bit and Violet assured her she wasn't mad. Then Red came over and played all afternoon.

The girls went in the pool and while they were splashing I checked out the garden. One tomato plant took a pretty hard hit from the hail. So did the lettuce. Most of the other stuff looked like it was going to survive. We thought we were going to get hit with another big storm, so I had the girls come in and get cleaned up. Then they were getting tired and a bit bored, so I sent Red home. Her dad was back home with Little Red and Big Brother, so she was happy to go see them.

Tomorrow afternoon Tinkerbell arrives and we'll try again for a sleepover. This time we'll ask her how she feels about the cats, if she wants them shut out of the room. And we'll make sure she knows that Preki is the household guardian. She watches over Violet every night. She has since the first day when we brought her home from the hospital. Actually it is funny, that cat didn't sleep for at least 24 hours straight when Violet first came here. She was sitting guard in the doorway of the bedroom. Finally, she was too exhausted and had our "assistant cat" Alexi take over and she fell asleep.


We had quite the thunderstorm just blow through here. Not too much lightning but lots of wind and hail. Enough to cover the ground:

You can even see the illegal pool in the background of this one. The hail was bouncing off the cover like popcorn.

Of course I did what any good homeschool mom would do and as soon as it was safe I sent Violet out to collect a sample to study:

Looks like the storm has passed us for now, so we're back to our daily nothing. I did try to call Red's house but got their answering machine. I left her dad a message to make sure she was alright and invite her over to play later. I'll let you all know if I find out more.

The sleepover that wasn't

Yesterday Red was sleeping over at our house. Earlier this week her mom had surgery and was at home recovering. We'd planned to have Red over to give her mom a bit more peace and quiet. I'm afraid it backfired.

Out of the blue about 9:30 Red announced she couldn't sleep here. She asked to call home. She talked to her dad tearfully for about 10 minutes, then said he was coming to get her (they live across the street). Violet and I helped her get her things and we asked if we could change anything for her so she could sleep here, make it darker, lighter, quieter, cooler in the room. No, she just wanted to go home. Poor kiddo.

I hope we didn't do anything. Violet wasn't sure but thought she just wanted to go back home. I hope it was just the strain of having her mom in for major surgery and in the hospital for 3 days just kind of got to her and she wanted to be in her own bed.

After she left Violet was really sad, but she hid it from Red. I told her how good that was of her. Red didn't need to feel guilty on top of whatever else was bothering her.

Tinkerbell is supposed to sleepover tomorrow night. Will we be too freaky for her? I'm thinking her freak tolerance is higher because she homeschools too.

I'll call Red's dad in a bit and see how she is. I hope we didn't do anything.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


That's been me lately. Irritable. Crabby. The personification of Donald Duck himself.

But I really don't think it is my fault. It is everyone around me driving me nuts. Answering questions with questions. Not remembering the least little thing. The inability to make a decision. Drives you nuts after a while.

And the crowds. Holy cow, where did all these people come from? I guess they really have been locked up in their public school prison. I can't wait until they go back. Stores are crowded. The library is horrendous. They are out in the streets. Driving is insane. And if I get my hands on the person who was blaring their music and honking their horn at 6:30 am this morning....

Can anyone tell me why it is necessary to bring a stroller into a library? They drive their SUVs to the library. Then set up their double wides or jogging strollers and strap a few kids into it. Then have more kids trailing along with it, and worse PUSHING IT! Who ever thinks it is a good idea to let a 4 year old push a stroller in a crowded building is insane! What is wrong with these morons?

I thought about complaining to the library people about it. The strollers are blocking the aisles and making it difficult to get to the materials. But I figure it plays perfectly into their hands. See the library wants desperately to expand. And to do so they require a referendum and more money. They'd like about double what they get now. Well, think of how there will be plenty of room for everyone, including those lovely children in strollers and their wonderful moms when they get it.

My favorite client got sold this month. The regulars that I've worked with for the last 8 or so years are all either retiring or resigning. They are all sad. I'm sad. I've lost 60 to 70 hours of steady work each year. And I've lost friends. Even if we said we'd keep in touch, we won't. They are over an hour and a half away, and it is awkward to stay in contact with ex-clients. But I'm still sad about it.

I was crabby long before that. And that doesn't explain the idiotic behavior of the rest of the planet. But it doesn't help either.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Party plans

The camping party is coming along nicely. Five of the seven guests have RSVP'd that they will attend, three are staying over. Haven't heard from the last two but their family could very well be out of town. We're going to try to make it out tomorrow to order the cake. We're also going to have pizza. We found some cute paper plates and napkins this weekend.

Violet wanted to do more craft activities than games. We've come up with painting drawstring backpacks, making toad houses (this may get scrapped as we look at the list and see if there is too much planned or it is getting too expensive, it will be painting terra cotta pots with a hole premade in the side for the toads), and making bead and safety pin, well pins I guess. In Girl Scouts we'd call them swaps. There will also be a make your own gorp bar (gorp is trail mix). If the weather permits we'll set it all up outside in the "art center".

For the overnight the girls will have to help set up the camp site, then they'll have hotdogs and s'mores. Not positive but I think we'll just do them on the grill. We're going to have friendship bracelets for them to work on. And Mr. Incredible is taking Ami. Mental's idea of a night time scavenger hunt and going nuts with it. He's getting a bunch of little stuff from Oriental Trading and making maps. It is going to be like geocaching and the girls will have to use clues to go from one box to another finding the stuff. Breakfast will just be cereal and fruit.

Of course Mr. Incredible and I are having fun with the theme. The powder room will be the latrine, the sink will be a wash basin. All drinks will be bug juice. We'd love to figure out a way to hang the cereal up outside in bear bags. The paper plates and things will be their mess kits. And we found cute little buckets in the Oriental Trading catalog to put their goodies in, the buckets will be called fire buckets. Violet is reconsidering Chuck E. Cheese, he's less embarrassing.

It is shaping up to be a good time. Now if only it doesn't storm!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Stress management

On Friday I went to an all-employee mandatory meeting at work. They blind-sided us with an hour of stress management training. Exactly who thinks that making 100 co-workers stand in the ballroom of a country club doing stretching exercises together at 9:30 in the morning will reduce their stress? The only thing that got me through it was watching my arch-nemesis looking like he wanted to crawl behind the curtains rather than reach up...and down.

It got me thinking of the special sorts of stress management techniques we homeschool moms have:

Hiding in the bathroom reading the Rainbow Resources catalog.

Sending the kids out back to play.

Signing the kids up for an extra-curricular activity that we don't have to participate in just so we can sit alone in the car for an hour.

Packing up all the math supplies in a box and saying that we aren't doing any more math, ever. Or least not for a month.

Declaring it a park day and taking off.

Hanging out in our favorite homeschool forums.

IM'ing with friends.


Not a single one of those are things I would have shared with the co-workers.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

On the go

I'm so tired of driving and running around. I remember now why we try not to schedule much. I think after tomorrow we'll be in for a long stay at home!

Last Thursday I took Violet to Tinkerbell's house. While she played there I ran errands, then went back for her. On Friday we drove to my parent's house for a visit. Dad and I went into town. On Saturday we drove to the new Girl Scout camp. Sunday we were home! On Monday night I went a few towns away for a Girl Scout registrar meeting/networking event. On Tuesday I refused to to anywhere. On Wednesday Violet was back to Tinkerbell's house and I had more errands to do. Today I took Violet back to my folks where she is staying overnight. Tomorrow morning I get up early and drive to an all-employee meeting nearly in Chicago, then back to pick up Violet and bring her home. None of this has been in the same direction. All has involved road construction and delays. I think I'll have logged over 300 miles by tomorrow night. See why we aren't moving once we get back here!

We got the pool set up in the backyard. It is 12 feet in diameter and 30 inches high. I think we may have needed to get a building permit to put it up. Oh well. Hopefully they won't bust us. While they are at it they can fine us for the work we did in the basement without a permit.

I need to get an inflatable ring, I intend to float in the pool all next week. Or at least until I have to answer the door for the building inspector.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How our garden grows

I've been promising pictures of the garden and I'm sure you've all be anxiously awaiting them! Well, today we out in it doing some weeding and planted more onions, so I thought I'd better get photographing before the bunnies eat much more of it!

First a photo of the whole thing from our deck:

Hopefully these will all turn out decent, it is quiet a sunny day. I'm not a good photographer, I'm a point and shooter!

Next come the tomatoes. We only have 6 plants this year, all big tomatoes, no cherries. I love fresh cherry tomatoes, but really by the 600th cherry tomato, I've had enough! These I can freeze:

Next are the broccoli and cauliflower. I didn't weed these very well as you can see. I didn't really weed anything very good, I mainly wanted the thistles out.

Here are the surviving pea plants. I found a few old tomato cages and stuck them around them to try to save them from the bunnies. Hopefully we'll get a pea pod or two. There is dill planted to the left of them and something to the right, but I'm not sure what. (Did I mention I garden as well as I take photos?)

Next are the onions. These are probably our best bet for actually harvesting anything, besides the tomatoes. There's a spaghetti squash plant on one end and a gourd plant on the other. The onions should be long gone by the time they get bigger:

The green bell peppers should do pretty good too:

The green beans are being eaten a little bit, but so far it looks like we might get a few:

Yeah, I'm not so sure about these eggplants. They don't look too healthy. This is pretty much as big as they were when we bought them. We'll see.

And last but possibly least, the cucumbers. We have one free-range cucumber and one caged cucumber. I ran out of little cages.

Thank you for joining us on our garden tour. Don't forget to stop by the gift shop on the way out and come back again in a few weeks to see photos of plant stalks and really fat bunnies.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Public or private?

I created a new poll to see how many of my readers share their blogs with people they know in real life. Mr. Incredible knows I have the new blog, but I haven't encouraged him to read it. "It is just my rambling on about homeschool stuff, I've already told you all the stuff in it anyway."

Once in a while I write something that I'd like to share with my real life friends. But I write so much more that I'd rather only share with my blogging friends. So I don't share the blog at all. This is my sounding board where I can come to figure things out with the help of my quite often more reasonable and cool-headed friends.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


We went to tour another Girl Scout camp today. It is the one Violet and I will be spending 2 nights at this summer. Now I have been to a lot of different camps over the years, but I have to say I was truly impressed today. I think this is the camp I want Violet to do her first solo camping trip at (solo as in just girls and counselors, no moms).

It was only an hour and ten minutes away. On the edge of suburbia, not a 6 hour bus ride to northern Wisconsin like our camp the past 2 summers. It was very compact, but not crowded, and it had everything a Girl Scout camp should have, and nothing it shouldn't.

The units had platform tents with washstands and latrines, but the latrines were modern. There was a real building and about 4 stalls in each one. They had a Nature Center, where the girls do all their nature related programming. An art house, with tons of art supplies. There was an outdoor in-ground pool, complete with a nice shower house (although I was disappointed that the shower house had a roof, there is nothing like showering under the stars). There was a pond for canoing, and an archery field. A dining hall. Lots of fire pits. And, ready for this: a creek for "creek stomping". Violet and I psyched to go creek stomping. Yep, you wear water shoes or old tennies and stomp and hike and explore the creek! Cool, huh?

It was a really nice, rustic feeling, natural camp. Clean, well-kept, terrific staff, good equipment with lots of choices, but not over the top. The camp we are going to for one night this summer was over the top. It was the camp I went to as a kid and they've built it up too much in my opinion. There are both indoor and outdoor pools. There are cabins and teepees as well as platform tents. Not really any canoing options. Everything is really spread out, which is fine but I know it will make Violet complain - I've heard her complain that her feet hurt.

Today's camp was exactly as it should be. I'm so excited to go! And so excited for Violet when she's ready to tackle it on her own!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Stormy Weather

There was a lot of stormy weather today, wasn't there? And yesterday and all week, and if it hasn't hit you yet, it likely will tomorrow or next week. Here's our stormy weather story.

We went to my folks again today. My dad and I went into town. (My parents live in a very small town, pop. 300, "in town" is the next town over where you have to go to get anything: milk, gas, a bank, a store, an education past grade 6. In their town you can go to the one church or get a drink at either of the two bars. Wonder why I ran to college at age 17 and never moved back? My mom asked me the other day if they moved if I would ever go back. I couldn't think of a single reason to.)

Sorry, I digressed.

We went to Farm & Fleet, the coolest chain of stores ever, not to be confused with Fleet Farm owned by the outcast brother of the Farm & Fleet family. Fleet Farm just isn't the same (I suppose loyal Fleet Farm shoppers say the same about Farm & Fleet). At Farm & Fleet you can get everything for your farm (including hormones for your horse or tools to repair your tractor), your car, plumbing or electrical supplies, work boots, overalls, gardening implements, lawn care. You're thinking, why on earth does Freakmom love this place? It doesn't sound up her alley at all! I do love the camping aisle, I had to keep myself from buying the 3 room tent they had on sale today. But the best part is their snack aisle! They sell the world's best and cheapest bulk snacks! They had one pound bags of whole cashews on sale today for $3.99! That's less than a gallon of gas! I bought trail mix and honey roasted cashews today. Dad bought orange slices. They have every nut or candy you can think of in big bags, very tasty and cheap!

Gosh, I should retitle this post "The Digression".

While we were browsing the snacks and eyeing the lanterns in camping, rain poured. Since it quit by the time we left, we went to the gas station so I could fill up (I'm close enough to Chicago to get socked with extra taxes at home). It is always cheaper by them, but today it was only $4.03! A good 25c cheaper than here. We heard a big clap of thunder on our way to the gas station but cheap gas was incentive enough to fill up.

When we got back to their house we broke into the snacks and were sitting around talking and chomping, when the tornado sirens went off. It was dark but not too bad. My mom is never one to go to the basement, she grew up in hurricane country and even rode out Camille in Ocean Springs, Mississippi only blocks from the beach with a 3 year old (me). But I think she wanted to set a good example, so she suggested Violet move her treasure box she was exploring to the basement and play there. We moved down and took our snacks with us. It never got bad there, but a tornado was sighted in town. I read there was no damage so it must not have touched ground.

We hung out at their house until the last orange and red had moved off the radar, then drove home and hit quite a downpour on the way.

To sum up: we took cover from a storm that didn't come near us, shop at Farm & Fleet, not Fleet Farm (and definitely not Farm King - a bitter disappointment), and who ever thought $4.03 for gas would be called cheap!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


We have a library book due tomorrow. Hank the Cowdog #27. Violet had me check it out for her via interlibrary loan. She insists on reading book series in order. She's gotten a little tired of Hank and is ready to take a bit of a break. I refuse to return the book just to have to re-interlibrary loan it in a couple of weeks when she decides she does want to read it. She's had it checked out for 3 weeks (most things we can renew, interlibrary loan books are a pain because our library has to check with their library...I say 3 weeks is plenty of time).

Anyway, she didn't want to finish although she was about half way through it. Then I told her that was fine, she could pay the late fee, 10c a day, for keeping it longer. What do you know, she's sitting on the couch reading it so we can drop it off tomorrow morning on the way to my folk's house.

It just took a little motivation from the piggy bank. I think she learned a good lesson today.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Party time!

Violet's birthday is in July, so we've begun planning her party. She wants to have a party here at our house and invite the girls to sleepover in a backyard camp out afterwards. She has 7 party guests, and I think only 3 are likely to sleepover. At the most it will be 5 plus Violet, because 2 are boys and we're only inviting the boys to the party portion. She's having the party camp themed. One of the next steps will be to figure out some camp games, crafts or activities to do during the regular party and during the overnight. We've discussed hot dogs and s'mores for the overnight, plus catching fireflies and playing flashlight tag. I'll post all the details when they are ironed out. In the meantime I wanted to show off the invitations we made today.

This is the outside:

And when you open up the tent flaps:

The inside will just be all the party details which we haven't printed out yet. They will be printed in a cool font Mr. Incredible found for us called "hobo". We'll probably do it on colored copy paper, but I don't know if she's chosen the color yet.

I thought they turned out cute. The plan for the camp out is to have the girls in our larger tent and I'll sleep out with them in the "counselor" tent. That way I can be nearby if they need me during the night, but I don't have to listen to the giggling as much. Hope the guests will be able to make it. Summer birthdays are hard with all the family vacations. And I have to admit this sounds much cooler than yet another ceramics party or trip to Chuck E. Cheese.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Those Darn Bunnies!

I went out back to check on the garden this afternoon (actually, I went out to dry off the swings so Violet could play on them after the rain stopped and wandered by the garden while I was out) and low and behold, the bunnies have eaten Violet's sunflower sprouts! Nibbled them right down to the ground! Every one of them!

Argh! Bunnies, we would have given you the sunflower seeds when the plants grew up and had flowers. We would have shared. But no, you got too hungry now even though there is green stuff all over the yard to eat. No, I don't mean the rest of the garden. Eat the grass, the thistles, the dandelions. They are all yummy. Even the clover, yum clover. Eat that. Please stop eating the garden.

What a bummer.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Yard Guest

We had an unexpected visitor in our front yard yesterday: a very large snapping turtle. I happened to look out the front door and saw him crawl under the peony bush. Mr. Incredible was working down in his basement office so I went and told him there was something he'd want to see. The first thing he did was get his camera and laid on the front lawn to take a bunch of pictures of him. He was about a foot and a half long.

We aren't sure where he wandered over from, we are a few blocks away from two different ponds. But we knew we had to get him back to a pond so he'd be safe. Mr. Incredible's first thought was to try to pick him up from behind, but when I Googled snapping turtles, Wikipedia strongly recommended against that. There was a suggestion to use a snow shovel to scoop him up, so that's what Mr. Incredible did. We put a blanket down in a recycle toter and put Mr. Snapper in that. Then we put the toter in the wagon to haul him back to water.

Here are a couple of views of him in the toter:

Of course, first we called Red's family. Red, Little Red, and their mom all came over to see the turtle and walk with us down to the pond. On the way Mr. Snapper stuck his front claw and head out to see where we were taking him. We think he'd been lost for a few days because he wasn't snapping or struggling, like he was very tired and dehydrated. We found a path down to the water and when Mr. Incredible tipped up the toter, Mr. Snapper happily crawled into the water and disappeared.

Here is his new home:

On the way we saw a much smaller turtle that had been crushed by a car. We were glad we found Mr. Snapper when we did (and not by accident when pulling weeds from under the peony!). He very likely would have met a similar fate.

In other quick news, we got the eggplants planted. I went back a couple of hours later and one had already been eaten! Chomped off at the stem. We think the rabbits were in cahoots with the turtle. Psst, Mister, go distract them in the front while we eat the garden in the back.

Never a dull moment at the Incredible Household.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Violet came in from the backyard the other day (yes, I'm a little behind in my blogging, exposing the truth took it out of me for a few days) and said some of our bean seeds had sprouted. We checked again yesterday and there are a bunch of things coming up: cucumber, carrots, onions, peas, corn, spaghetti squash! It is looking good out there. Today we have to go out and figure out where to put in the eggplants, they aren't looking so good in their tiny containers. I don't think the lettuce is coming up or the peppers from seed, so some can go in those spots. I think we just have to take our chances and plant them with something and hope they don't both grow.

I'll have to get some photos, won't I?

Friday we went to my folks house for the day. They only live 20 miles away but it had been ages since we'd been there. Needless to say my mom was more than a little anxious to see Violet. We got off to a rocky start. It was supposed to rain and the storms go to the south of us. We headed out to the Girl Scout's bank to deposit a bunch of the registration money I'd received from troops for spring registration (I collect the registration forms and money, deposit the money in the G.S.'s bank, then organize the troop info for our service unit and Council, then turn it all in with the bank receipt to Council. A really fun job for an organizational nut like me.)

While we were waiting for them to complete our transaction the wind picked up. Way up. The power flickered off and reset their computers. The wind kept up. The power flickered three more times, each time reseting their computers requiring them to start over on our transaction. They needed to make a call somewhere and have something completely reset and t was going to be another 15 minutes, if the power stayed on. At that point they offered me a handwritten receipt and to mail the computer ones later. I wanted the receipt to go to Council directly but didn't have the address (I don't know why it wasn't on their official deposit slips I had!). I asked for a phone book and found the address and left that with the bank. I took my written receipt as proof that I'd left the money at the bank. I had been there over a half an hour with Violet bored to death, and suddenly remembered I'm just a volunteer, I had other things to do.

The winds did die down a bit while we were in the bank, so in some ways I'm just as glad we were in there and not driving through country roads like we would have been. There were lots of branches down, but we didn't see any real damage. We had a nice visit with my parents and made plans to go back next Friday.

Yesterday Mr. Incredible and I went on a date. We hired the girl across the street to babysit and we went to an afternoon movie (the new Indiana Jones) and an early dinner (Bennigan's). Violet had a great time with the babysitter, she just adores her. She'll be a senior next year, we aren't sure how much longer we'll get to use her to stay with Violet. We don't go out much, but it is so nice having someone so reliable so close by. And it is an extra security factor that her parents are right next door and she knows all the other neighbors too.

Today I have to get back to work. It has been WONDERFUL not working for the last week. I'm also going to see if I can get Mr. Incredible to take us out to look at backyard pools. We've been talking about it, I think it would be nice to go ahead and do it. We'll see.