Saturday, December 16, 2006

Homeschoolers house fire -- lose everything

Tammy at Reviews and Comments on the Fly blogged today about a family in Knoxville, Pennsylvania who had a house fire last night and essentially lost everything. Including their school. No one was hurt and even the cat and dog escaped, thankfully.

You can read about it here.

I haven't found any other info out there in the homeschool arena. Soooo....I emailed the reporter of the article. I got an autoresponse back from her that she won't be back from vacation until the 26th. So I then emailed the emergency contacts she left. I would like contact information so that I can make a small donation to the family, and further down the road when they get settled, perhaps there is a book or two on my shelf that they could use.

I'll be updating this when I hear back from the reporters.

I can't imagine a fire at any time of the year, but right before Christmas just breaks my heart. I hope they are able to find suitable housing. This family needs warm wishes and nice thoughts sent their way. And if you're the praying kind, a few prayers, too.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Things in Fours

Tagged by Kixque.

Things in Fours...

4 Jobs I have Had

1. Wendy's. First job ever, probably most demanding and most difficult.

2. Student assistant on a work program in my college's library.

3. Court Reporter

Aside from babysitting jobs, I have had no other paying jobs.

4 Movies I would Watch Over and Over

1. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

I have seen this probably 20 times and love it more each time.

2. The Patriot

3. Coal Miner's Daughter

4. Braveheart

4 TV Shows

1. Survivor

2. ER

3. The View -- hey, I love Rosie. I sometimes watch during the day if I get a chance during school. I never watched The View before Rosie came on and won't if she leaves.

4. Hmm, almost anything on Bravo. I like their programming.

4 Places I Have Visited

1. Europe. Seven countries in 35 days. Wish I were rich and I'd go again.

2. Disneyworld/Disneyland. I would love to take Thomas, although we just can't seem to afford it. (Maybe I need to get a job to include as number 4 above and to pay for some trips lol)

3. South Carolina -- Charleston and Columbia. Fell in love with South Carolina.

4. Shipshewana, Indiana. Lovely Amish community that is about my favorite place on earth.

4 Favourite Foods

1. Pizza Hut pan pizza -- the best

2. My chicken-fried steak -- again, the best lol

3. homemade mac & cheese -- why I'm fat

4. a good filet mignon

4 Websites I visit daily

1. Bloglines

2. Yahoo Groups

3. Yahoo News

4. Well-Trained Mind curriculum message board. Yes, I admit it, I read it on a daily basis.

4 Bloggers I would Like to Respond if they can...

Well, I don't know if people actually like being tagged or not. (I love to play along) So, I'll leave it open to anyone who wants to play.

The week from hell

This was the week from hell for me. I was on the go so much I didn't know whether I was coming or going. Three scouting events, doctor appointment -- physical, eww --, mammogram, early-morning lab appointment and I'm so not an early morning person, dentist appointments for Thomas and I, vet appointment for the dog, three meetings, Christmas shopping, shopping for scouts, chat with a neighbor, two unplanned play dates for Thomas, massive grocery store run.

Remind me again, what is school? It was school-lite this week with tons of reading, a little math, some DVDs, and science through the TV. Thank goodness there is a science channel and that Thomas loves it.

Yeah, I know, most of you probably have weeks like this every week, but not me. I just can't handle all that going. How did I manage when I worked??? Oh yeah, I was 10+ years younger then.

On a good note, if you have problems with your lipids, like I do, start taking fish oil. I started taking it on a regular basis instead of hit and miss, twice a day, and my cholesterol was 175 -- the lowest it's been in my adult life. My triglycerides were cut in half. Amazing!!! All from about two months of remembering to take them.

Right now, after 3 in the afternoon, I am sitting in my nightgown and loving it. This was my day to catch up with bills, house cleaning, etc. I'm happy as a clam, although a little on the smelly side -- soon to be remedied.

Earlier today, however, I was bawling. Why? Because dumb a$ me forgot to pay bills in November. Forgot. Who on earth can forget to pay the bills? November was such a hard month and we were gone almost two weeks of the month. But still! I was horrified and I think the stress of the week caught up with me and I sat at the kitchen table and bawled. Then my husband had unfortunate timing by showing up for lunch during the middle of my tantrum/crying episode. Poor guy. Yes, we had a fight.

All ended well, though, after he left. Thomas came and gave me the biggest hug -- the kind that melts a mom's heart. Amazing how much better you feel after a heart-felt hug. Then he went to the bookshelf and got a book I bought years ago but have never used. The Budget Kit by Judy Lawrence.

Cute kid that he is said, "Mom, let's turn this into school. Teach me how to do this stuff." Okay. So we looked through the book. Then I showed him how I managed my bills. I showed him my Excel worksheet that I made for monthly bills, I showed him the bills, and I showed him the checkbook. He's seen the checkbook before and we've gone over bills in a unit study we did last year or the year before, but this was a good refresher. I showed him our income. I showed him our house payment, our car payment, our credit card bills -- everything. My parents sheltered me from that stuff and was I shocked when I got into the real world. I won't do that to Thomas. And while I don't want to tell the world my husband's salary, our expenses, etc., I think sharing it with Thomas is a good thing.

Then we went into a brain-storming session on how to save money, cut expenses, do more fun things. All good in theory but doubtful we'd ever be able to accomplish our ideas.

I then actually paid the bills and Thomas stuffed the envelopes, put the stamps and return addresses on and sealed the envelopes.

I think it's time to revisit money and do another unit. We still have our checks and check register left from the kit I bought him at Classroom Direct. I think we'll play our game again in January where I have him get a job and apartment out of the newspaper, set up his household expenses sheet, and go from there. The last time we did that he learned the value of a good education and well-paying job. I think it will further drive home the point. I always tell him that you're not done with school until you have at least a bachelor's degree.

Next week will be a big Christmas unit study. I have tons of things printed and ready to start. But first I have to clean the house, catch up on the laundry, wrap the presents, ... lol

One thing I noticed this week was I am not as dependent on the computer as I thought I was. I quit over half my yahoo groups, and I didn't even read messages from those I kept this week. Aside from one group in particular, I didn't miss it. Hmmm. I did read a few blogs, but actually I only sat down at the computer for 10 minutes at a time. That was liberating. So I think that I'm going to give up my computer addiction, only sit down for 10-15 minutes two times a day and call it good. I won't admit how much computer time I log in on a daily basis.

And now I have things to do, such as take a shower and put on a clean nightgown. lol

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I don't like this

Friday night after we went out to eat, we decided to drive through the park. The city decorates the park every year for Christmas. This year they had some new features.

What I saw Friday night bothered me so much that Thomas and I went through the park again last night. I snapped a photo. Sorry it's blurry, I was in my car and too lazy to get out.

In front of an 1870s log cabin are two wolves preying upon a deer.

Uhm, excuse me, but how is that CHRISTMASY? I think this display is awful, awful, awful!
So did Thomas. And, so did my husband, who is a hunter, who lectures me all the time about what really happens in life.

What were they thinking? This is supposed to be a pretty display. It's supposed to be sappy sweet and make you say ahhhh. It's supposed to fit in with everything else in the park: A Christmas tree with great-big packages underneath, polar bears, flying geese, and fountains. Last year in front of the cabin they had a one-horse open sleigh.

I can just picture the wolves attacking the buck, tearing him to shreds. That's just the kind of mental picture I want after driving through a holiday display. Not.

After we got home I started thinking about it even more. I will be honest here: I don't like the town I live in. Aside from the fact that it is a very safe place to live, the people are RUDE, our neighbors are awful, and there is nothing to do here. My friends here are all transplants like I am, because the locals don't accept outsiders. I have lived here almost ten years and I still don't feel like this is home. Honestly, the people really are rude. The store clerks always throw your stuff around and are gruff. People aren't friendly and don't wave. Last Easter, my neighbor verbally attacked me because Thomas was playing in the gutter. What kid hasn't played in the gutter? It was so bad I nearly called the police on him. I should have because he could have been cited for tresspassing and illegal dumping. (He took it upon himself to shovel the contents of the gutter -- gravel -- into our yard. There are some nice people here, but the overall attitude is nasty.

So after thinking about it, I thought that the display was fitting. I'm the buck. The wolves represent the town I live in. That's how I feel living here. Maybe the idiot at the city who ordered the display was a transplant here as well. That's the only reason I can come up with why someone would order that display!