Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hittin' the Big Stage

Like many Americans we've practiced our own fiscal responsibility here at home. I've sold various unused items in the hopes of saving some extra $$ for vacations or other special items (maybe a new computer mine crashes). The kids sometimes tremble telling each other, "You better put that away, or mom will sell it!"

We've sold educational curriculum, plants, household items, etc. It's been a really great adventure so far.

Recently I listed a precious rocking horse. It is really special, but it was no longer being used for anything other than a step-stool when cleaning out the fish tank (that will be going too) or a clothes rack.

If I was a better display person, I would have found a great way to display it, but lately I've felt like less is more.

I was contacted by a gal at a local dance studio inquiring about the availability of the horse. I replied that it was still available. I met her at the dance studio for her to look at it. She LOVED it!! Not just liked it, but really loved it! She showed it to other employees and they loved it too. I don't know that the little horse has received so much love in the past few years. Even I saw it through different eyes as they raved over it. It really was a cutie little horse with great potential that was just hidden in our home.

The dance studio has very big plans for this rocking wonder. He will appear in The Nutcracker and The Velveteen Rabbit. He is Hittin' the Big Stage. We talked about going to his performances. We're so proud of our little star! Who would have thought? I guess he has his own "real" Velveteen Rabbit story that he can share- from wooden step stool to star of the stage...

Love Letters

I recently began reading I Love You, Ronnie. It's a compilation of letters Ronald Reagan wrote to Nancy Reagan. It's amazing to think he wrote her gushy notes throughout their many years together even into the White House and beyond.

As I read the book, I thought back to the many love letters my sweetheart wrote me while we were dating. I still have all but a few of the letters stashed away in a safe place. Like Nancy, I seem to be a saver. I try to organize and purge and am convinced the FlyLady is a necessity in the lives of most American families, but I hold on dearly to these special letters. I don't pull them out to read, but just knowing they are there is important since they represent the early days of our relationship.

So, in reading the book and thinking about my own stashed away letters I thought, "I wonder why I don't get letters anymore?" Well, no sooner thought (and I must add, my sweetheart knew nothing of my reading Nancy's book) I got mail.

My sweetheart had been down at his mom's house visiting and caring for her while she was in the hospital (she's recovering from surgery removing cancer from her pancreas). And while he was there I guess he decided to recussitate his love letter writing activities.

So, totally unsuspecting I receive a precious card with words of encouragement written inside. I can't tell you how this made my day!! It's not just little kids who love to check the mail and actually GET mail!

He returned home and I said, "Guess what? I got mail!" He smiled coyly. And then, guess what? I got mail again the next day too!! I love it!!

It doesn't take too much effort to make a girlie happy and I can assure you this girlie is a Smilin'!

Thank you my sweet!

Volcano Pie- An Ice Cream Treat

Here is the recipe for Volcano Pie...

Fudge Sauce:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Over low heat or in a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter. Add boiling water, stir well, and add sugar and corn syrup. Bring to boil, cover, and continue boiling for three minutes. Uncover, reduce heat and cook for two more minutes. Do not stir. Take off heat and add vanilla.

Ice Cream Pie
1 prepared chocolate-cookie or graham-cracker pie crust
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
Let ice cream soften a bit. Combine ice cream and peanut butter. Mix in chocolate chips (raisins or peanuts are also great). Pile ice cream into prepared crust and mold into your favorite volcano shape. Freeze until ice cream has re hardened (4 hours or more). Remove from freezer and scoop out a "crater" in the top of your volcano. Pour fudge sauce into the "crater" and let "lava" flow down the slopes of your volcano. Dust with cocoa and powdered sugar forced through a mesh strainer. Decorate with raisins, chocolate malted-milk balls, or whatever you like.
This recipe was gathered from Kids Discover Volcanoes.

Book Club- The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck

This year I decided it would be a great idea for our kids to be part of a Book Club. So we started one.

We are currently reading The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck. It is a moving story of two young boys in Japan. They are great friends and experience the fun and adventure of boyhood together. They've heard of the Big Wave (tsunami) yet no one expects what a big wave could actually do to change their lives. Jiya, one of the boys, experiences the pain of loss after his village and family is lost following the big wave. He also comes to learn about true bravery and comes to understand how wonderful life can be.

I found a study guide for the book that we are following and each meeting I supplement the learning with a science experiment and usually a little treat.

So far we've done two sections of the book. For our first meeting we discussed tsunamis, tectonic plates and earthquakes. We did a science activity where we simulated an underwater quake and saw how the ripple of the water would be created. We also focused on the geography of Japan and the surrounding region.

Did you know a tsunami (translated "great harbor wave" in Japanese) can produce waves that rise up to 100 feet or higher? Or that a tsunami wave on the open ocean can travel up to 500 mph? Or that an earthquake off the coast of Chile caused a tsunami that traveled 10,000 miles in just 22 hours to Japan where it hit with such force that 150 people were killed.

One week following our lesson we enjoyed Volcano Pie. It was a yummy ice cream pie. I found the recipe in Kids Discover Volcanoes. I will post the recipe for you to enjoy.

We've discussed melting points as associated with the inner earth so we could have a better understanding of magma. We learned about other melting points of water, chocolate, sugar, and even the filiment in a lightbulb that has a melting point that exceeds 6000 degrees! Wow!

This past week we watched a DVD about earthquakes. The awesome wonder of the earth is so amazing!! After the DVD we enjoyed a little Volcano Punch- Yum! Cool, Refreshing, Bubbly, and Tropical!

The boys are making "Lap Books" to record the vocabulary, geography, experiments and other important facts surrounding our study.

I'm not sure who is learning or the kids. I love soaking in this information. I find myself wondering, maybe when I grow up I should be a geologist, or a scientist, or just maybe I'll be who I am, a mom enjoying the learning.

Uncle Bubba Comes to Visit

We enjoyed a recent visit with Uncle Bubba and his wife. Uncle Bubba is my youngest brother. He was able to come to the kids' soccer games to spread his humor on the fields. He's one of the funniest people I know and kept us in stitches when we were growing up. He's still super funny and his "one liners" are hilarious.

He made many culinary requests that we enthusiastically made for him at a family bar-b-que. As I mentioned in an earlier post, some of the food choices of our family may not be common favorites, but we love them. So my mom cooked up some squid in a tomato sauce, I fried up chicken gizzards and squid. We also had wonderful bar-b-qued london broil, salads, and more.

This family get-together was a first in almost 3 years. Three years is much too long to wait to have loved ones spend time enjoying each other. I hope we are able to gather again really soon!