A QUOTE TO START THINGS OFF WITH

A QUOTE TO START THINGS OFF

An Inning of T-ball is the most exciting 3 hours of sports - David Letterman




HSD Retro

Centennial Celebration

I tell my kids on a regular basis that people are more important than things. I tell them this, because I believe it is true. Like most true...

Three Dave's No Waiting

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hitting 300

Blog Insider - A look at the widgets, gadgets, and what-nots of Home School Dad.


Tonight's Episode: I'll Take Labels for 300.


I started this blog back in January of 2009. It took me less than 6 months to hit 100 posts. Click here or on my 100th post page to harken back to that time. 4 and a half months later I came in with post #200. Now, I have hit my 300th post.


I have labeled those posts with 71 distinctive labels. A label is a way of indexing the blog, so that it is easier to look up older posts by topics. A post can have many different labels at the same time. Today's post has 3: Blah Blah Blogging (Which is how I describe when I post incessantly about inane blogging practices), Blog Insider (where I talk about different gadgets, apps and tools I utilize) for this blog, and Posting in the Hundreds (Where I commemorate my posts that have multiples of one hundred). In a sense, all of these labels are very similar and there is a degree of overlapping in my labels.

If I could direct you to the label section of my blog you will see that instead of all 71, I have only 26 listed. This is because in celebrating my blogging longevity I plan to post about my 25 most popular labels in the weeks and months to come. There are 26 because there was a 7-way tie for 20th place. Instead of making a label for these labels, which would seem superfluous, I will be creating a page that will link to these homage posts. Until I have completed all of these I will have the label list show only the top 26.

Not listed in the top 25 are some of my favorite labels like: Hockey Lessons, An Open Letter, A Poem and FAQs of Life. But the 25 labels listed do give a pretty good insight to the kind of blog this has been the past year and a half. I hope you will enjoy the closer look behind the blog in the posts to come.

I plan to finish my D.C. trip remembrances before unpacking these labels, but as usual, prepare yourself for the randomness which is me.

As I bring this post to a close, I just want to give you links to my favorite posts of 4 labels that just missed the top 25:

Amy Roller Guest Blogger with Trudi's Garden.

Awana Scouts featuring Turtle Cake is Best.

The Labels Lincoln and Our Kid's Write are both featured in the post: In praise of Home School Kid's Write.

Next Time: Washington D.C. Day 8

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Frogs and Toads and Friends

As my loyal readers know our family loves libraries. One of the things I love most about them are the presentations they have for kids. This past Saturday Randy Korb, a wildlife educator and author came to our library with a live frog demonstration for kids. He brought in many samples of amphibians native to our area.


Mr. Korb told the story of Blinky, a frog who got hit by a car. His grandson found him and brought it to him and now Blinky makes the rounds with Mr. Korb as an ambassador for frogs.









In addition to Blinky, There were salamanders,



newts,

small frogs,





and big frogs.


It was an informative presentation and very hands on. Sometimes it was even frogs on, as this video will attest.




Charlie and Emma loved every minute of the presentation. Especially when the show was over and they made a presentation of their own.


Next Time: Hitting 300

Randy Korb travels through the Midwest 3-4 times a year with his live frog & monarch butterfly presentations. Learn more about what he does at stcroixwildlife.org.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How I feel about getting older

I discovered a new meme recently. It is called the Men's Monday Meme. It is at Families Again which was the winner of the 2009 HSBA for best Home School Dad blog. To see how I really feel about losing that particular award to him, go to my website I'mnotbitter.aargh!
Men's Monday Meme

Each week he asks a question or two on a topic. This week's question:

How do you feel about getting old? Do you relish it? Hate the thought? Are you somewhat scared?


Old is a relative term. When I was 23 years old and essentially beginning college, I felt old. I was around 17-21 year olds and while those ages remained the same year after year, mine just grew until I was 27, graduating with people 5 years my junior. When I was 32 and in seminary I didn't feel old at all. In fact I quickly realized what a pup I had been during my college years. Sure there were plenty of seminary students 10 years younger than me, but there were plenty who were 10 or more years older than me.

One thing that remained constant in my 20's into my 30's was that my body was in pretty good shape. Now that I am 45 I am having trouble with most parts of my body. 45 definitely feels different than 30.

In many ways I like my age. At least I like the stage of my life that I am in. I think kids keep you younger. My oldest child will be entering 6th grade in the fall and my youngest kindergarten the fall after. That means by the time Lucy is a senior in high school I will be 60. I did some math the other day and realized that when my Dad was my age I was graduating high school. I did a little more math and figured that when my Mom was my age my older sister was graduating college.

One thing about age is that it can be used as a measuring stick for accomplishments. When I was in my late teens early 20's I thought I would be married by the time I was 25. It's a good thing I didn't because I didn't meet Amy until a few weeks before my 26th birthday and marring her at 25 may have been rushing things a bit. I married her when I was 33 because that was God's timing.

When I did marry Amy, I started calling her my wife of 65 years. When you want to spend a lifetime with someone, you want that lifetime to last as long as possible. We just celebrated the 12th of those 65 years. Next year I'll be at the one fifth mark when we hit lucky number thirteen.

God gives us no guarantees on how many days he has in store for us. I am looking forward to spending a long life with Amy, our kids and any future family member He has in store for us. Growing older might not be all it's cracked up to be, but growing older with them certainly is.

For more of the Men's Monday Meme click here.

Next Time: Jefferson and Washington at Sunrise.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Six Word Saturday: Washington Trip Day 7

If you go on a long trip, odds are that one day will be your best day of the trip. Today was definitely that day. We drove into the city, walked to the White House, took a cab to the capitol building. We took a tour of the building which included an excellent movie. I have been inside the capitol dome 3 times and it never gets old. There was something immensely pleasing experiencing it with my family.



**** We now interrupt this journal for my six words, which I wrote in the margin of my notebook:






Nothing says freedom like flying kites!




We now return you to the journal entry, already in progress ****

After lunch, we flew kites on the mall as we made our way from the Capitol Dome to the Washington Monument. We rested there and enjoyed the gorgeous day and each other before going to see the WWII (The Big One) memorial, The Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. The Lincoln Memorial is by far my favorite spot in D.C. It is an awesome spectacle. We then walked the mile and a half (or so) to where we parked. What a day! If we could only spend 1 day in D.C. and this was it, it would haves sooooo been worth the trip.







FOR MORE SIX WORD BARBARIC YAWPS HEAD ON OVER TO SHOW MY FACE DOT COM. YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO HAVE CAPS LOCK ON TO DO SO.

Next Time: How I feel about getting older.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Washington Day 6 and Beyond

It's been almost 3 weeks since our trip to Washington.

It is now time for Things Fortnightly. Thing #1 will have to be my journal entry from day 6:

Charlie and I were slugs today. We drove in to DC with the friend of my sisters that we are staying with. With 3 in her car and 3 in ours we could both ride in the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicles) lane. In DC commuters meet up to be able to make enough passengers to get in those lanes. This practice is called slugging. Once we got into the DC area we took the metro to the zoo. At first,, neither of the pandas were very active or photogenic. While we were resting one panda started climbing a tree and spinning around.

Amy got footage.


I showed it to my sister and she said she doesn't know anyone who's been there and seen them be anywhere near that active.

We also saw many other cool animals like Orangutans climbing through towers outside of their usual habitat. After a number of hours at the zoo we went to the library of congress and visited two amazing exhibits featuring children's literature. One for authors and researchers and the other for young children to read with their parents.

Thing # 2. You can't believe everything you read.

Before the aforementioned trip to DC we read and read and read about how to prepare for said trip. One thing that we read and read and read over and over and over (I think you may be beginning to see the point here) was don't drive your car in DC.

This is why in past journal entries you have read about trains and slugs. It turns out that driving in D.C. is no worse than driving into Chicago. For us it was our preferred form of travel and was part of the adventure. Again we stayed outside of the city proper, and I could see the benefits of parking your car somewhere for a week if you were going to be holed up in some downtown hotel.

Thing # 3 In-flight Movie



Thing # 4 Endings

Charlie and his cousin Bobby finished cub scouts last week.
The kids finish Awana and another semester of our home school co-op Monday.

It's a good thing they all have at least one more activity they are still involved with. Otherwise people might start asking "What about socialization?" again!



Those are my things for this edition. Can I count on you to share some things by clicking on Mr. Linky below?


Next Time: Washington Trip Day 7: Saving the best for seventh.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Washington Trip Day 5

My fellow blogger Cristina of Home Spun Juggling is hosting the upcoming carnival of home schooling. I have decided to submit today's DC journal entry to the carnival. I do this for 2 reasons: 1) The entire DC excursion was like a home school field trip on steroids. 2) when I read this journal entry to Amy shortly after I wrote it she said that it sounded like I was making a blog post.

Day 5



My parents may have the right idea: Take 1 kid on a vacation at a time.

Of course, they didn't get or implement that idea until they were grandparents. What they do is take 1 grandkid at a time to Orlando for a week, usually the spring or summer before their 10th birthday. This is because at Disney 10 and over pay the adult rates. (What do you think I made up fun on a budget?)

When I was a young warthog, they did not have that idea and took all 5 of us kids for 2-3 weeks of vacation each summer. This may be why they came up with the 1 grandkid at a time scenario.

I mention this because today only 1 of my 3 kids behaved well.

It was a day where many things went wrong:

Our alarm clock said it was 15 minutes earlier than it actually was, so we left late. Then we went on parts if a military base, civilians are not meant to go. The signs about being allowed to use deadly force should have been a clue!

After that we took the wrong train. It went to the right place but since we missed the last commuter train we had to pay 200% more than we had intended.



Well we got to where we were going without further incident. The Smithsonian is awesome, but it can be very overwhelming. This may have been why we only had 1 kid behaving.

Amy was awesome. She knew when they need a break for lunch and also when to call it a day. Here are a few hints I learned from our initial foray into capitol land for any prospective DC goers out there:








  1. Packing a lunch is a good idea. Because of our alarm clock synchronization problem, we did not. This means we spent $38.00 for 5 people (2 kids shared a meal) at the food court. Yikes-O-Rama!




  2. You can bring library books into the library of congress without triggering security. Taking them back out is another matter entirely!




  3. There are many people begging nearby the exhibits. One time I gave loose change. Twice I offered food. One time they refused it and 1 time they took it.




  4. There is sometimes an up side of having your 3 children shouting "Let's go to Quantico! Let's go to Quantico!" over and over again when you are boarding a train with 50 commuters. The benefit is if the train you were boarding was not headed to Quantico. We got off and annoyed a new set of commuters.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE CARNIVAL!

Next Time: DC Trip Day 6

Friday, April 16, 2010

Washinton Trip Day 4


Still continuing my journal from our D.C. trip. We are up to the Monday before Easter. In real time six word Saturday approaches. My Six words:

What's up with 15 UPS trucks?!?!?

Lovingston, Va. to Stafford, Va.

We woke up, checked out and then broke fast in the van. Drove towards Chancellorsville, Va. a famous civil war Battlefield. On way there we passed 15 UPS cars in a row going the opposite direction. That must be some package!





Charlie loved it as he loves all things military. The battlefield is less than an hour from where my sister lives. The difference is substantial. From 19th century rural to 21st century suburban in no time flat.

Had a nice visit with my sister and her family. My sister's choir director is putting is up for the week, which is awfully kind of her. We are finally in the D.C. area and the trip becomes in earnest tomorrow. The weather is not supposed to get warmer until later in the week, So tomorrow, we plan to do some indoor things like the Smithsonian.

For more Six Word Saturday head on over to Show My Face Dot Com.

Next time Washington Day 5

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Washington D.C. Trip Day 3

Lovinston, VA

We all slept in past 9 am, which is a very strange phenomenon. Today it was partially by design, as the rest of the week is go, go, go. We drove to the hometown of Earl Hamner, the creator of the Waltons and spent a few hours a t the Walton's Mountain Museum. It was interesting, and fun.




We went out for lunch at a nice little restaurant by our Inn. I had an excellent Crab Cake sandwich. What we all dug about the place is that they had the kid's menus taped into children's books. What a cool idea!

After lunch we went back into the same mountains we drove through yesterday to get to Crabtree falls. It was a beautiful waterfall. Unfortunately, it started pouring rain as we got there. As a result, we didn't spend as much time there as we would have liked.
Click on this picture to see a video.
'>

We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the Inn.



It's about time to say good night John Boy. Tomorrow we head over to D.C. for the remainder of the trip.

Next Time: DC Trip Day 4

Monday, April 12, 2010

Washington D.C. Trip Day 2

Ohio to Virginia

It's nice to wake up and not have a number of tasks you need to accomplish for the day.

Today it was simply: 1) get up. 2) Drive to Virginia

Amy scouted a Waffle House by our motel, so that was breakfast. I used to live in South Carolina and Amy knows I sometimes wax nostalgic for the Casa de Waffles. After breakfast we gassed up and headed out. The kids listened to play-a-ways (high tech books on tape) we checked out from the library. After a while, we played some mad libs. I blogged last year that we scream marshmallow when we cross from state to state. So far the Marshmallow update is 2 yesterday (Indiana and Ohio) and 2 today (West Virginia and Virginia. Also we were in one of Amy's favorite geographical localities: The tristate area. There we were, just miles away from Kentucky, hopping from Ohio to West Virginia.

As we got further and further unto West Virginia we discovered on the highway food signs a new world, Biscuit World. Biscuit world is a fast food place that seems to be the biscuit equivalent of the Waffle House. We ate at one when we got into Charleston. This was our third meal in a row where the restaurant had the name of the food served in the title (Kentucky Fried Chicken, Waffle House, and Biscuit World).

While in Charleston we visited the State Capitol which is based on the Capitol Dome in D.C.






As we drove out of Charleston, we quickly discovered why West Virginia is nicknamed the Mountain State. As we crossed into Virginia the mountains continued. The last 20 miles we drove at dusk going through a mountain pass averaging 20 miles and hour (sometimes 5, sometimes 40). For some reason they didn't put up any guard rails until we got to the bottom. It was majestic and frightening at the same time. We arrived safely and we were glad to buck the food in the title trend with a take out pizza and salad from the Italian eatery across the street from our inn.

Tomorrow it's the Walton's Museum and maybe back in those mountains to see a waterfall.

Next Time : DC Trip Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jelly Belly Time















Jelly Bellies are awesome! Amy and I prefer Starburst jelly beans ourselves but when I had the opportunity to cross state lines last Friday and tour their facility on the Cheese side of the Illinois Wisconsin border we went for it.

It was one of those tours where you were not allowed to take pictures. What did they think we were going to report their latest accomplishments to Slugworth?

Oh well, the tour was free, the kids enjoyed themselves, and of course there was the two words every jelly bean lover lives for: free samples.


I was able to take these pics after the tour . . .








Here are a few tidbits learned on the tour.

  • Jelly Bellies were very popular with former President and California Governor Ronald Reagan. In fact, the blueberry jelly belly was created for Reagan's Inaugural in 1980 so they could make a special red, white and blue assortment. Reagans's favorite flavor was licorice.
  • Jelly Bellies take almost a week to make.
  • The current most popular flavor is Very Cherry a distinction formerly held by butter popcorn flavor ,which, by the way, my daughter Emma does not much care for.


Next Time: Washinton DC Trip Day 2

Friday, April 9, 2010

Washington D.C. Trip Day 1


It's Six Word Saturday time.

My 6 Words: My journal from our Washington Trip


Dos semanas pasado (not sure how I remembered how to say 2 weeks ago in Spanish) We left on our trip to Washington D.C. I wrote in a journal every day while we were gone. Over the next few weeks I will


Today was a fast paced high stress day. Had a 110 or so last minute details to attend to before heading out of town at 3 p.m.

Among other things I/We . . .



  • Drove Amy to work so we could pick her up at the end of the day and head out of town.

  • Put brake fluid in my car fir the first time ever.

  • An hour before we left, I received 500 baseball cards I had won on Amazon. Not enough time to even begin to wade through them. Oh well, they'll be home waiting.

I was about 10 minutes late for picking up Amy. otherwise all went off without a hitch. So far we have only forgotten thing of little consequence. Drove about 5 1/2 hours to Dayton, Ohio.


Ate dinner at KFC, had the buffet. We would eat at that KFC again, but the buffet was a little pricy and with the time constraints we were up against, it wasn't the best choice. Although they did have Okra, vegetable of the gods.


Got to Dayton about 10:30 Eastern time. Our Motel 6 lights were burnt out, so we are pursuing litigation against Tom Bodett. Heading towards Walton Museum area tomorrow.


That's Day 1. More to come in the future. For more 6 word Saturday head on over to Show My Face Dot Com


Next Time: Jelly Belly Time






Thursday, April 8, 2010

Things Fortnightly

Time once again for our biweekly thing festival. SO many things so little time. Let's get to them shall we.

Thing #1. Blog Insider - A look at the widgets, gadgets, and what nots of Home School Dad.

Tonight's Episode: Here but not here.

My family was visiting the Washington D.C. area last week. We had a wonderful time. I took plenty of pictures and even kept a trip journal. I will be sharing from both of these sources in the posts to come. While I let my face book friends know I was gone, I didn't want to announce on the blog my absence just to make sure that no unscrupulous types took advantage of our absence from our home. To that end, I used one of my favorite features of blogger and wrote and scheduled 4 posts that appeared the week I was gone.

If you click on the post options menu while writing your current post, you can schedule your posts in advance. This not only helps when you are warning to post date a post, it also helps if you start a post and save it and want to have a current date on it. If you save a post without changing the date and then come back and publish it later it will retain the original date and often get lost behind whatever you published in the interim. If you post date your work and save it, then you can change the date to the current date once you have made your revisions.

Thing #2 What's on my screen saver




Charlie is playing soccer for the first time in an organized league. He really enjoys it. His first game is Saturday. He is looking forward to it.

Thing # 3. Chock full of Chuck.

It wouldn't be Thursday if I weren't telling you about the awesomeness that is Chuck. As I have mentioned in the last few times here Chuck VS. the Beard was the Best Episode Ever. The 4 episodes that followed it and ended the current story arc all were very very good. I would have to say that Monday's episode Chuck vs. The Other Guy was the second best episode ever. No Spoiler alerts here, but many things transpired in this episode that would have been impossible to even fathom less than a season ago. But every plot point seemed to fall in place and seem very genuine and most of all immensely watchable. Chuck takes a 3 week hiatus until the end of April. This means that in the next things fortnightly, I'll have to fins something else to go on and on about.

Thing # 4, Something to count on.

Last year right around Thanksgiving time I applied for a temporary job with the Census Bureau. I worked with them in 1990 and was hoping to do so again this year. I got 98% on the test and was thinking I should have heard from them one way or another by now. They called and I got a job as an enumerator. I have 4 days of training in late April and then a number of weeks of collecting census data form the field. This is my first paying gig in 2 years and I am just excited that I'll get a W2 next year. Besides the training, I'll be able to work my schedule around the kids homeschooling. It is a real answer to prayer.

Well that's all the things I have for today. If you have some things you'd like to share please click on Mr. Linky below.







Next Time: DC Trip Day #1

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Remembering Keith

They say dead men tell no tales. It's been a year to the day since by brother died and his death had written a chapter in the story that may not have been written otherwise. My brother died a few minutes after midnight on April 7,2009. It was literally the longest day of my life. My dad woke me up about 3 a.m. with the news. His death still seems surreal to me, but at 3 a.m. the day of it was the most surreal.

I had seen Keith less than 72 hours before and at that point, it seemed like he was getting better. The phone call from my Dad, said otherwise. I was in a haze when I got off the phone and went back in the bedroom and told Amy. The death of a loved one is the ultimate alarm clock and once I told her we were both wide awake.

Amy took the day off work and later that morning we told the kids. We knew how the girls would take it, it would zoom over Lucy and send Emma into a fit of tears. Charlie was the wild card, we did not know exactly how he would react. It turns out he was much more upset than we expected him to be. He ran out of the room, very angry.

Time stood still for a while. Because Keith died the week before Easter, there was 1 week between his death and the funeral. After that the days slowly passed into weeks, the weeks turned into months, and before long it was Veteran's day and I was commemorating what would have been Keith's 39th birthday with a memorial here on the blog.

Now almost another 5 months have passed and we are at the 1 year marker. I still miss Keith fiercely. It also still feels like the whole thing was a gigantic hoax. I fully expect Ashton Kutcher to come out any minute with Keith by his side and tell me how I've been punked. Alas, that probably isn't going to happen. Keith never had the impulse control to keep a joke that long. As much as I'd love to have him here with me again, I know he's with the creator, and having the time of his life.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Emma's Favorite Day of the Year

The day after Easter is one of Emma's favorite days. This is because it blends in one of her passions with one we are trying to instill in her. The day after any holiday is usually a great time to get bargains on that holiday's merchandise. Which means that the day after Easter is a bunny lover on a budget's dream come true.

Some years we hit store after store for bargains. This year we just went to Walgreens where all Easter merchandise was 50% off. She got a really nice Webkins bunny. Also, she got her own real bunny back today as Smoky was being bunny-sat all of last week. It also didn't hurt that her favorite baseball team (White Sox) won their season opener today with her favorite player (Mark Buehrle) getting the victory.

All in all a great day for our bunny girl.

Next Time: By the Way . . .

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The lost art of exaggeration

My Six:

I love the words "Or So".
Steve Martin used to talk about two simple words: I Forgot.
At some point probably under his influence I came up with my own credo: If you're going to exaggerate don't forget to say "or so."
Over the years I've shared this credo with a million (or so) people. Okay about 17. But numbers are infinite. Lets take that million and compare it to a google (1 with 100 zeroes, not the search site). Comparatively speaking a million is much closer to 17 than it is to a google.
Well I have 117 or so things I need to do today. For more 6 or so words head over to show my face dot com.
Next Time: Emma's favorite day of the year

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool

Last time I shared some lyrics from one of my favorite lyricists, me. Now, I am a lyricist, a poet, I am no musician. One of my favorite musicians is Noel Paul Stookey. He is the Paul from Peter, Paul and Mary. I dig the singer, story teller types. When Amy and I got married my sisters performed his "The Wedding Song" as a processional.

One of his best songs to me will always be April Fool which he performed live on his 1982 album "Wait 'til you hear this!" with his band Body Works. It is one of those songs that is hard to misinterpret, It is obviously written to and about Jesus. Since April 1st falls on Holy Thursday this year I thought it would be a good time to share the lyrics for this song. You can down load the song at Amazon among other places

April Fool

Noel Stookey and Stu Davis
©1981 Neworld Media Music Publishers

April Fool
You wear your heart on your sleeve
And though they laugh when they leave
You call it Love and I believe (you)

April Fool
Why must you always play the clown?
You have the edge you laid it down
You give it up without a sound...

Oh April Fool
How can they say "love is cruel"?
They catch the ring but drop the jewel.
Like a teardrop in a pool...

April Fool
As the heart shows through the eyes
Before you were born you were recognized
And unto the losers comes their Prize.

Oh April Fool
Even as the hands were washed, you knew
We'd free the thief instead of you

April Fool
You said the Father was in You
You said we know not what we do
Forgive us...April Fool.

Next Time: 6 Words or so

For Your Consideration