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Monday, January 31, 2011

I Ran

I ran.  I ran so far but I could not get away.  Away from the chores, the mess, the study issues, the parties coming up, my writing assignment, all the stuff I want to do; sheets and towels, dishes, math, spelling, therapy appointments and exercises and interrupted nights of sleep.

So, I ran....

But, I have to say I love my job.  And, YES, being a full-time stay at home Mom is a job.  I do a few little things on the side here and there to bring in some side nickels and cents.  The majority of my day is cleaning, tending, mending, preparing, feeding, scheduling.

It is sometimes the conclusion that stay-at-home moms have so much extra time on their hands.  Not so.

Other than allowing myself an hour a day on the treadmill for exercise which I combine with my reading time, I don't get to do much of what 'I want'.  I haven't scrap booked in ages, or worked on my WIP or entered a writing contest in...a long time.  [There are two contests I want to enter but I have to complete my Writing Assignment first.  Though this week is already dedicated to bringing up my son's multiplication skills and math grade, the popcorn party at the end of the week, and craft development for the Valentines school party.]

Again, I love my job.  But, I have to say it is very, VERY rare that I get an actual day off.  There is no vacation time, sick days, leave days or PTO.  But that just comes with the job.

I woke up this morning somewhat dragging for a Monday.  Typically, I jump at Monday's.  I lay on the couch for an hour before I actually needed to wake up; longing for sleep but anticipating the day.

Though, at the end of the day my duties will have been done; (well, we all know that nothing is every completely done).  And, then I'll grab my book and my booklight and I'll read myself to sleep with this song in my head.

And, I'll remember that I'm not perfect.  But, at least I did my best.  Leaving 'behind some reason to be missed'.  And, I'll 'leave out all the rest'.



Thursday, January 27, 2011

PATCH: Assumption is a Crime

Assumption is a Crime...

This is a story about bullying.   This is a story where the morals of rules and discipline are martyred by the tainting control of power.

What I like about this YA fiction is that it is based loosely on the personal experiences of the author.

To quote the author, Mucheru Njaga, "My goal is to shed light on the growing epidemic of teenage bullying....Abuse of power can shape the very fabric of society of left unchecked."

A little about the story, in the beginning:

Prince of Wales Boarding School for boys, was responsible for turning young boys into gentlemen, businessmen, educated men of power and authority.  Men who would participate in world government.

Gabriel, a freshman in high school, had lost his mother in fatal car accident.  He grew up in a lifetime of beatings from an alcoholic father.  A father who considered Gabriel useless, and told him so quite often.

However, Gabriel holds strong to maintain his strength and moral values even when bullied in school.  His principal sees an internal strength in Gabriel; even though Gabriel is in the Principal's office because of a fight.  Though physically damaging to another student, it was self-defense.  Fight back or be beaten.   Seeing merit in the young boy, the Principal offers Gabriel a rare opportunity to attend Prince of Wales Boarding school -- the school for the elite, the wealthy, the powerful.

From the outside, Prince of Wales promises a chance at a new life.  But once the reception has ended and the parents have cleared the campus we find that Prince of Wales is not what it seems to be.  The Dean empowers the seniors, the Prefects, to self-govern the rest of the student body.   And, they rule with threats and abuse in an effort to break the underclassmen; making them understand 'the system' to be later groomed for their rein one day as Prefects.

The Prefects abuse their authority, they disrespect the underclassmen and when someone fails at his duties there is severe punishment enforced.  Punishment that can end in permanent injury or even death.

I don't want to give away too much of this story.  What I've shared above is just the beginning.  It is a story of totalitarianism.  It is a story of the many being ruled by and abused by the few.  It is a story where one boy, Gabriel, sees the wrong and unfairness of this rulership, and his strength -- even though experiencing the physical abuse for holding strong to his beliefs -- rallies the freshman and the school to stand up for themselves.

This is a great Young Adult book for kids in middle school through high school. This would be a good book for teachers to have on their required reading list.  This is a book that opens discussions about the abuse of power and the impact of bullying, as well as how to break the cycle.

The end of this story tugged at my heart.  A lesson was well learned.  Changes were eventually made as the Prefects, well some, began to see the error of their ways. But at what loss?  A great loss. A great loss that brought about great change.

I do believe the wonderful people at phenix & phenix literary publicists are allowing me to offer three copies as  giveaways. YAY! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm going to keep this giveaway open until Friday, February 18th, 2011; to close at midnight CST.  I'm giving it a month because I really want to share this book and I am hoping all of you will help me.  We all know about the bullying in the media; and, the bullying that doesn't make it to the media.

If you know someone being bullied, or a school with issues, or have a child being bullied then you know the importance of this.  Encourage your children's teachers to enter to win a copy for their class.  Encourage friends and family, the Sunday school teacher.

To enter all you have to do is comment about my review, the book and/or about your thoughts or experiences with bullying.  Be sure I have a way to follow you back to your blog or your email address to contact you if you win.  THREE winners will be selected by a random drawing, the old fashioned way (paper slips in a hat). :-)


Monday, January 24, 2011

WTH is the micro-organism and why is it in my house?

Recently, as in the last two days, both kids have lost their 'sucker' fish.  Both died within a day or two of each other.  Both were bought at the same time along with Farmer, Jr.'s goldfish, "Aggie".  "Aggie" is fine.  "Rainbow" has done fine since we bought her this past summer.

So, a few minutes after fishing out said dead algae eater from FJ's little fish tank and tucking him (FJ) in, he comes back to show me 'what's this thing swimming in my tank'?  He actually fished it out and we videoed it swimming in a drop of water on his finger.  Ew.  Weird.  I'd load the video but my flip-cam is on the fritz (see previous post).

That's about the size of the, um, thing.  Here it his blown up for a closer look:

If you click on this you can zoom in even closer.  There are eyes, what looks like lungs or a respiratory system of some sort, a tail with like I don't know finny thingies, and fins on the side.  So, is this a cootie that got in the tank?  Or is it a baby 'algae eater'?  I've had little fish who've been pregnant when I bought them so I can recognize a baby fish.  They look like, well fish -- just really, really small.

This thing was wigglin' like an amoeba in that little drop of water on his finger.  But, amoeba's aren't visible to the human eye -- right?

Anyhow, I'm figuring it came from the local Wally-world where the fish came from back on FJ's birthday earlier this month.  Still, add that up to my list of things to do = change two fish tanks.  Just in case, you know.  Since both those littler buggers died.  And, one brought along this...  this... weird, funky, ewie thing.

Okay, a little bit cool.  Maybe 15%.  The other 85% ew.



Lil'Gal the videographer

So, Lil'Gal has this habit of stealing my little flip cam and making up lots of videos of her own.  *sigh*  She's about worn the darn thing out.  It locks up on me half the time now.  For her birthday, she will definitely be getting a little, cheap video camera of her own.  Some friends got their daughter one for $19.00 and it's a pretty fancy little camera.

I'll probably have to get me one too soon since mine is a couple of years old and warn out.  Anyhow, here's a couple pieces of her work.

Ahem, her closet was NOT that clean.  Notice the skort stuck in between the shelf and the rod?  Notice the cr@p on the floor?  She 're-aranges' her closet and room often - causing me frustration and grief.  But, at least she means well, LOL!

I found it hilarious that she got her hair caught while trying to back her head out of the bunny pen.  Seein' as she didn't have permission to use my flip-cam.  She has 24 inches of hair, easy, so this was probably quite the funny feat.  Too bad I wasn't a fly on the wall or a bunny in the pen to watch her finagle her way loose! ;-P

You should see some of the other stuff she comes up with... I'll have to start giving her more rein with her creativity. ;-)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Oh I Wanna Go Crazy!

Not really, but to the beat of this song?  YES!  Me and Lil'Gal love it and sing it at the top of our lungs while in the SUV (poor Farmer, Jr.).

Only, when Lil'Gal understood the ending, you know the wet... kiss, she said, "EEEEWWWWW!  Not a KISS!"  Personally, I find this attitude about that subject a good thing. >;-D  Let's see if that maintains until she's, oh-I-dunno 22 and graduated from college? LOL!

Anyhow, this version has the words.  I think it makes more sense to see it with the words.  So, Happy Thursday and ENJOY!  Go a little crazy!

[Update on the livestock show when it's all over.  Tomorrow the rabbits get judged -- they all made it through the sift -- and then Saturday is the long, all day, auction....  Cake and Shop Project have been judged....  deets to come at the end all together though!]


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Adventures of Rusty & Ginger Fox (Children's Book Giveaway!)

I am happy to say this review is for a children's book.  The book is about two adorably, curious little foxes who venture out of their log to see the world around them and meet new animals along the way.

What makes this book so wonderful is the photography.   The author, Tim Ostermeyer, is also a Master Photographer.  He spent the last 25 years taking award winning photographs of wildlife around the world.  And, now he is using his photos to share the outdoors with children though children's books.

The other wonderful thing about this book is that each page shares interesting facts about each animals the foxes meet along the way.

For example, on the page where Rusty and Ginger meet a wolf, the opposing page shares facts such as, A wolf's howl can be heard 10 miles away, they eat 20 pounds of meat in one meal, they are born blind and deaf and can run 40 miles per hour!  [There are more facts on that page as well.]

Tim is on a mission to encourage children to get outdoors and to get to know more about the outdoors.  Children are so distracted with iPods, Nintendos, X-Boxes, texting and television that they forget all about the beauty of what the outdoors shares.

So, he is bringing the outdoors to children through his magnificent photographs of nature and wildlife combined with the interesting and educational facts included within the story.

Tim shares a few tips to help parents get their children interested in the outdoors:

Incorporate nature into what children are already interested in:  if children love playing hide and seek, suggest they play it outside.  Encourage them to read books that incorporate nature and wildlife.

Add a creative element:  a disposable camera or drawing pad ensures kids are actively engaged by taking photos or drawing pictures of animals and surrounding scenery.

Schedule time for outside play until it becomes a habit:  it is easier to ensure children's safety by keeping them indoors.  However, with proper supervision and instruction, they can be just a s safe playing outdoors.

Plan an outdoor family vacation:  while crowded theme parks and tourist cities are popular family destinations, national parks and camping trips can allow more quality time and a better appreciation of nature.

I am SO happy to have received this opportunity and a copy of this book.  My children have really enjoyed it.  And, I'm also happy to say that I have been authorized to offer a copy as a GIVEAWAY!!

All you have to do to win is comment here who you would want to win this book for and why.  Be sure to include your email address or other way to contact you in the event you win.  [REQUIRED TO ENTER]

For an additional entries:

Tweet and provide link = 2 entries
Post on your Facebook page and let me know = 2 entries

That's it!  Thank you to phenix & phenix literary publicists for this opportunity and GOOD LUCK!

[This giveaway will end on Friday, January 21st, 2011 at midnight.  The winner will be selected by random drawing.  The winner will be announced on my blog and contacted via email.  If the winner has not claimed the book within 48 hours I will select a new winner.]


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Girl In a Truck

Hubby and I heard this song the day after Christmas and I've been searching the internet and iTunes since.  I couldn't find it anywhere until this morning I found a few videos on YouTube.    The album is to be released in the next couple of months.  Hopefully, this song will come to iTunes soon because I really NEED to have it on my iPhone.  :-D

As we listened to this song that day on our way out to a friend's ranch to let the boys dove hunt (Lil'Gal was with us) Hubby and I discussed how this song seemed to fit our Lil'Gal.  When we picture her all cowgirl'd up as a teenager [with exception to the beer on ice; she better not until she's of age!].

As it is she tells us, "I'm a cowgirl.  Because I'm a farmer's daughter and my Papa has cows.  That makes me a cowgirl."  She wants to be a cowgirl.

Anyhow, I'm addicted to this song now....

Some guys like their girls all dolled up. Mm-mm, not me, I like a girl in a truck!

Happy Saturday!


Friday, January 7, 2011

My Book of Words

My Book of Words.

My little hobby.  My own little collection.  I published this at Triond but wanted to put an excerpt here to share as well.  Though, the full piece is at Triond which I've linked to at the end of the excerpt. I hope that you will follow me there for the full piece. ;-)  Thanks!


I have a book of words.  True, I do have a dictionary and a thesaurus.  But, I have another book of words.  A detailed book of words.  Words that I like.  Words that I forget to use.  Words that are important or striking to me.

.....Sometimes I can be having a conversation with someone and that person will use a word that strikes me.  I often find myself making a mental note or sometimes even secretly typing the word into my phone or scribbling it on a scrap of paper found in my pocket....... Continued Here



Thursday, January 6, 2011

What I should Be Doing....

What I should be doing vs. what I'm floundering my time with.

I should be working on Farmer, Jr.'s Shop Project Notebook formatting the pics with the process he and his Dad have been working on as they build the project together.

I should be walking on the treadmill to finish the book I'm reading while the children are upstairs for a few minutes...  Though, I should have done that earlier instead of watching them with the dogs, and working on other personal projects.

It's just I haven't had much time for personal projects.  Well, okay.  Kid stuff, and all inclusive 4-H stuff is personal but really 'family' stuff.  I've been de-Christmasing the house, and it seems I'm cleaning the floors every day and I scrub at least two of three toilets daily though I might only get to one full vanity and yet -- I can't catch up!

So where does my creative time come in?  Like scrap-booking as I promised I'd get back into this year because I enjoy scrapping our keepsake memories of the kids and our family and our lives together.

And, what about  my WIP.  All my friends who I value and title as 'True Writers' work daily on theirs.  I guess I don't take myself seriously enough or feel I'm talented enough to put something out there so my WIP gets put on the side burner.  I can write 2000 - 3000 words in a two day period only to leave it for months.

I spend more time on laundry (I swear people mix theirs in with mine) than most find plausible. [OK, could be because I'm anal about my laundry....]

In a few minutes [after we weigh the bunnies; had to separate the two small ones for treats from the big ones though they always eventually knock down their barrier] it'll be time for the kids to each read their literature story to me so I can question and quiz them as we go along to prepare them for their literature test tomorrow.

I should be working on one to three content works to publish at Triond to build my monthly earnings.

I should be catching up with all of y'all on your blogs (as usual, I have multiple windows opened with each blog post to be read....  Problem is once I get about 20 or more I sometimes lock up the server or browser.  Then I have to start all over again....)

I should be doing all of this.....

But, I'm not.  I'm writing this blog post.  [Though, I should 'also' be keeping up with my blog, right?  I mean y'all are my friends and supporters....]

Now it is time that I 'must' be.  I must be reading with my children to prepare them for tomorrow's lit test.    I must be setting my phone alarm to wake me to wake Lil'Gal in the middle of the night to remind her to 'feel' her body and go potty before the potty goes for her...

And, what I mustn't do is visit the cool blog I came across today all about Bella, Edward, and the whole Twilight Gang.  No I mustn't.  But if you must, you can find it on my blog roll over there to the left. ;-)

Tomorrow will be dedicated to creating the animation of "Perry the Platypus" on a 1/2 sheet cake for FJ's birthday party on Sunday.  THIS is very important.  He approved the frosting colors (homemade). He actually picked out the gel to die the butter cream (I didn't want him to be able to blame me for not getting it right).  Now all I have to do is draw Agent Perry on the frosted cake and then decor him appropriately.

Wish me luck with what I should be doing, am doing, and am tackling tomorrow....

Good luck with all of your "Shoulds Coulds, Woulds, and Will dos".

FYI?  Tomorrow is What?  What is tomorrow?  Tomorrow is _ _ _ _ of the _ _ _ _!!!!!!