Monday, June 25, 2012


I can't go into any detail, but the thing that has been stressing me out and haunting me for the last 3 weeks, went away today.  It was a project for work.  The Big Boss nixed it.  I was so happy, I could have kissed her. 

Let the summer relaxing begin!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

8th Grade Curriculum

It is done.  I've written our curriculum for 8th grade.  It took me one and a half weekends to do it.  It is a kick ass 8th grade curriculum if you ask me.  Which you didn't.  But I said so anyway.

Here are the highlights:

I only put links to the books I didn't think you'd all be familiar with.  I have more details on most of the subjects.  Except science.  We're going to read the encyclopedia and look for DVDs and other materials that go with the subject matter.  If you want to see any of our breakdown, let me know.  I can e-mail it to you or post it.

Some of the courses I'm not trying to have us do the whole thing in one year.  That would be too much.  And I'm famous for trying to do too much.  This way we can add more.  Or delete things if we want.  I'm pretty excited about it.  Told you it was kick ass.


Violet and I went to the thrift store to look for material and a throw pillow that could be used with the pillow cover she made.  We stumbled into a huge sale.  All the clothing you can cram into a paper bag for $2.  Total.  $2.  We know the ladies who work there, yes, we're regulars.  One told us you can get 2 men's suits into a bag.  For $2.  We ended up with 8 items between us including a jean jacket for Violet.  For $2.  Even if we only ever wear one thing, we'll still come out ahead.  Ladies' shirts are usually $4 each.

We also found a bunch of material, including a really cute Thanksgiving pattern.  I may make it into a table runner, if Violet doesn't do anything with it first.  We also got 3 yards of a really cute heart pattern for $3.  I bought yarn.  "My name is Freakmom and I'm addicted to yarn."

We found a soft, squishy throw pillow the same size as her pillow cover she made in class.  It was a bit worn, but clean.  For $3 it has now been stuffed into her pillow cover.  Pillow forms were over $10 at JoAnn, closer to $16 if you wanted a soft one (we used a 50% coupon, but still!)

While Violet was in sewing class I walked to 2 other thrift stores near the town square.  Neither are as nice as "our" thrift store.  But I found a white blouse to wear to the 50's night I have to go to at a conference in September.  Not sure if I'll just go with denim capris and bobby socks or if I'll get brave and try to make a poodle skirt.  I picked up some other odds and ends, like a new shoulder bag.  Which I've already replaced with a different one on clearance at Wal-Mart.  Consider my $2.50 for the first bag a donation to the women's shelter that the thrift store supports.  I still may use it from time to time and the shelter does really good work.

Recently I had to rewrite my bio for work.  They wanted us to put a personal statement at the end.  You know, "when not working John Doe enjoys golfing and traveling with his wife."  In fact, of the ones I've read, 90% say just that.  Insert Jane and husband some of the time.  I wrote, "When she isn't at the office Freak keeps busy homeschooling her daughter, volunteering with Girl Scouts, and frequenting thrift stores in search of that perfect bargain."  Maybe 90% of the people just aren't as interesting as I am!  (Insert hysterical laughter.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

An Update

Today I realized it has been a week since I promised you all an update and I still haven't given it to you.  I'm sorry!  Well, there's no time like the present.

This past week Violet took her third sewing class:  drawstring bag.  She made 2 bags during the class that they had hoped all the girls would finish just one.  It isn't just Violet, the other girls in the class are just blowing the minds of the sewing shop owners and the instructor.  They are looking to do advanced classes for them next summer. 

One of the girls who has been in all three classes had her 10th birthday this week.  Her mom got all the girls in the class material to make snap bags. They are little purses with measuring tape (you know the metal kind) as the closure so it "snaps". 

By Friday, Violet was almost done with her second bag so the instructor let her decide what to do.  Violet opted to use some of the leftover material from her bags to make scrunchies.  They turned out great!  Can you even buy scrunchies in the store any more?  We were looking for some while on vacation last year and couldn't find any.

The first drawstring bag
The second drawstring bag

The Scrunchies

The snap bag

In some ways the girls aren't getting the full flavor of sewing.  The instructor does all their cutting for them with a rotary cutter.  She has offered to teach Violet how to use it during quilt class in July (yes, one more class to go!) but she's said she doesn't want some of the other girls using it.  I've never used a rotary cutter and they sure do look nifty.  But I'm thinking she needs to try a pattern and hand cutting.  Of course, that is how she did Barbie's dress I posted.  She took the dimensions from the sewing book, drew it on graph paper, cut it out and pinned it on the material and cut from there.  Never mind, she's doing that part on her own.

I was back at work this week.  I did not adjust well to my return.  I didn't have a relaxing time off because of things going on there and didn't feel ready to go back.  I'd like to complain more, but I can't.  I'll leave it as, "if it was fun, they wouldn't call it work."

The sewing classes are in the downtown square where Mr. Incredible has his office space.  That has been very handy.  I've taken over his back room as my office.  One day he wasn't going to be there and I didn't want to mess with the alarm system so I spent class time running errands.  I checked out a new thrift store and bought Violet some material.  I'll take her back to it, the place was huge!

It has been hot and muggy.  Often June is pretty cool around here.  It has me worried about August!

I'm afraid that's about it.  I've been helping out with Abigail Adams Academy here and there, and doing a lot of reading on my own.  This morning I cleaned the first floor.  Tomorrow the upstairs awaits its cleaning.  I've also completed writing our 8th grade curriculum, but I think I'll do a full post on that.  Gotta keep them wanting more!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pillow cover

This will just be a short post to show you the awesome pillow cover Violet made this week.  The back is the yellow with star burst pattern.  She's working on another one, greens and blues if I remember right.  Next week she's signed up for drawstring bag class.  Her birthday is coming up soon and she's considering asking for her own sewing machine. 

I'll post more later with other updates.  But I just had to show off her wonderful pillow!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Sewist

Violet took her first sewing class last week.  It was held at a sewing store about a block from Mr. Incredible's office.  They learned to make pillowcases.  She made three in the three-day class (actually she almost finished #3, she finished it here at home today).  They are amazing.

She is quite the sewist. I had never heard that term before, and apparently Blogger isn't familiar with it either. But the ladies from the sewing store all use it. This weekend we got out my sewing machine. Violet helped me clean and oil it. And she showed me several things on it I had no idea were there! Yes, she has already bested my sewing ability. Gail gave us a lot of great advice! Thank you!!!  I found the book she recommended at our library and we checked it out. And we went to our Joann and just browsed for a while. Tomorrow Violet starts a class to make a pillow cover.  We went to the store and she chose her material last Friday.  There will be photos when she's done with it.

She also has an illustration class starting tomorrow.  It is with the same wonderful instructor she had last year.  It will be a busy week, but she's really looking forward to it.  I have the week off from work.  I just didn't need more stress on top of getting her to 2 separate classes in 2 different towns. 

I almost forgot, Violet also got out my old book Miss Patches Learn to Sew Book, and made a Barbie dress from it.  Violet admitted it looks a little like a hospital gown.  The ribbon helps lose that look a lot.  Barbie posed with the sewing machine, so maybe you'll think she made the dress herself (per Violet).  There is an evening gown for Barbie in the works, but we need elastic.  I'll get her some tomorrow from the sewing store.

Vacation and Casinos

I'm on vacation from work this week.  Except for Thursday when I have to go to a meeting.  But at the meeting I'll find out what my bonus will be for the year.  Crossing my fingers it is at least as big as last year.  One year I got zilch.  Didn't know I was going to get zilch.  It was a surprise.  "If I woke up tomorrow morning with my head sewn to the carpeting I couldn't be more surprised than I am now Eddie," surprised.  I didn't even get the Jelly of the Month subscription.

(Don't get the references?  Well, too bad.  Okay, I'll tell you, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.)

It has been a hectic last few weeks.  I had 2 out of town trips and a day from hell in the office.  Have you ever been late to a meeting you weren't invited to?  It brings staff meeting to a whole new level of awful.

One of my trips took me to a casino.  Not the actual casino, the hotel that surrounded it.  I don't gamble, so I didn't go in.  You know how some people don't drink, period.  That's me with gambling.  I don't.  It's a thing.  Anyway, staying at a casino was definitely an eye opener.  Did you know that casinos are open until 5 am?  And reopen at 8 am?  At least this one did.  At 3:30 in the morning I heard a housekeeper knocking on a door on my floor.  Maybe gamblers don't sleep.  I have heard they pump extra oxygen into the casinos to keep people alert and gambling longer.  I don't know if it is true or not.  I didn't ask.

I found it quite humorous that they hotel directory in the room had information on Gamblers Anonymous "in case you need help."  Yeah, I'm sure they are real concerned about their addicts there in the casino.

In the morning I didn't have to meet my boss until about 10:30, so before I put my suit on I threw on denim capris and a work golf shirt and went to the lobby to get coffee.  On my floor a lady was reading my shirt.  Oh great, I thought, a client.  I came back up with my coffee and she was still there.  She said to me, "You clean the rooms?"  (She was Filipino and had an accent. There are many Filipino women in my industry.  I figured she was probably with the conference.)  I said no, I wasn't the housekeeper.  Thinking, "I'm not your housekeeper, I'm your speaker!"

Well, I met my boss (after I was dressed up) and told her the tale.  She found it hilarious.  I decided perhaps I was dressed a little too casually.  Perhaps I need to rethink what I wear in the hotel, even "off duty".  When we did our presentation I scanned the audience (nearly 200 people!) but thankfully didn't see my lady there.  She was just another hotel guest. 

I probably should have asked what she needed.  Maybe I would have gotten an extra tip. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The end of 7th grade

I'm behind in posting, so I thought I'd spend a little time and write a post on each of several topics.  Today's topic is the end of 7th grade.

I wish we could have done a big finale celebration, but instead we kind of crawled to the finish line and just stopped.  We did a marathon reading of A History of Us to finish book 10.  We're going back to ancient history in the fall, so it made no sense to save 1/4 of the last book for then. 

We also did a sprint to finish the Botany Unit study, then we even set some experiments aside to do in the fall.  We spent a weekend cleaning up the garden and planting some seeds.  I hope they grow.  And if they grow, I hope the rabbits don't eat the plants.

Supposedly math is going into the summer.  So far, it doesn't look good for actually getting any math done.  I think her summer schedule is just too busy.  We'll see.  If she's busy learning and doing stuff, I don't mind letting it slide at all.  If she is sitting around bored and not wanting to get up and DO something, then we'll push it.

So we kind of petered out with school.  Which made for some awkward conversations when well meaning (busy bodies) asked her if she was done with school yet and she answered, "sort of."  Because she was "sort of" done.  Really, I wish adults wouldn't try to make small talk with kids.  "Got the day off from school?" makes me want to smack people!

We were mostly done by May 25th, and completely done by June 1st.

And I think, like 7th grade, this post is just sort of petering out.  We're done.  8th grade is a summer away.  And we are both firmly in summer mode.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Checking in

The pinched nerve still hurts, but it is so much better.  A lot of the time it is just a dull ache.  And when I get sharp pains, they aren't as bad.  Mostly just sitting at the computer and driving are problems.  I have to drive about 3 hours next week to my next conference.  I'm a bit worried about that long in a car.  I've been trying different set ups with my computers, keyboards and mice (yes, plural, one set I own personally and one work issued).  I think that is helping.  Plus some mild exercise and less mild house cleaning and gardening.

Anyway, here's what we've been up to.

School is completely over!  Yahoo!  Violet starts her first sewing class on Monday afternoon.  They meet Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon this week.  They'll learn to use the sewing machine and will make a pillow case.  I think she'll learn a lot and really enjoy it.  Monday night I'm going out of town, but will be back Tuesday evening.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do while she's in class on Monday and Wednesday (Tuesday I'll give a presentation about the use of nurse practitioners in skilled nursing facilities and drive home - a little glimpse into my professional life.)  The sewing class is next to a Starbucks.  And it is a block from Mr. I's office.  I'll have to get his key and alarm code if I want to go there and he isn't in.  Otherwise, I guess it is Starbucks for me!

Girl Scouts is on summer break too.  The girls had their potluck and badge ceremony on Friday.  We had a nice time.  Violet's stuffed shells were a big hit.  Even the little sister, who doesn't like anything, loved them.  We took that as high praise.  This year the girls did a journey, 4 badges and an earned patch from our council in honor of the 100th anniversary.  And they had lots of fun.  The group that meets at our house (yes, she's in 2 separate groups - we may merge them eventually, but so far it works like this) earned a journey, 3 badges, the GS Forever Green patch, and almost finished another badge.  Busy year!

Freddy and Humphrey the hamsters are doing good.  We got a second ball so they could both run around at the same time.  They love that, they crash into each other and roll all over.  But when they go back in their cage they fight for a couple of minutes.  Then they settle down and are friends again.  In the morning we find them curled up sleeping together.  So far no blood has been drawn or large clumps of fur pulled out, so sharing the cage seems to be working.  We'd just all rather they didn't fight.

Violet and I have been trying to clean out the garden and get some seeds planted.  Today we enlisted Mr. Incredible's help and advice.  It is really his garden, but he hasn't had time to work in it.  Tomorrow he's going to help us with some bigger projects.  We'll have to see if anything actually grows.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!