Monday, January 30, 2012

Just a Little Scrap of Wood

I think Bean spends all week between one Gramerly Night and the next plotting and hatching what he wants to accomplish.
A recent conversation
B- Did Pap get a message from me and Dad?
G- Umm, well he might have but he didn't mention it to me.
B- Well, we wanted to know if he could help me cut out my car for the Pine Wood Derby.
Enter Miss Bugg in the conversation- I hate Boy Scouts!
G- Why do you hate Boy Scouts?
Bugg- Because I can't go.
G- Well, that's true, but you can go to Girl Scouts.
Bugg- Yeah and you know what happens if you don't sell all those cookies?
G- What happens?
Bugg- You get to eat them.
G- Well then . back to Bean
G- I think Pap will be happy to help you buddy.
B- Okay, well I also want to make a flip book and ____(I can't remember what the other was).
B again- I mean I know that's a lot of stuff, so we don't have to do it all, but if we can.....
G- Well honey, I don't know if Pappy has all the stuff he'll need for your car, but we'll ask him.
B- Oh, I have everything we need in my back pack.
It seems the old PineWood Derby is done a bit differently now. All the car parts come in a box. In addition, all the other scouts it seems take their box to specified location and it's cut out with some machine. I guess the child gets to paint it, but not much other involvement.
Pappy and Bean cut out the car and Bean sanded and painted it. It didn't win, but I believe, hands down, he'll have a better memory of the event than some.
We did manage to get to the flip book that night, but since I can't remember the "other" item, I guess it will wait.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Well, making conductive and insulating dough with 24 kiddos turned out to be a bit more involved than I planned. Thankfully, we had several projects that needed completing, in addition to their knitting, so the ones not making dough were involved in their Civil War Diary, or pictorial timeline of Indiana History, while I led small groups through dough making for almost two hours.
At that point, I was beginning to think that Squishy Circuits weren't the best idea after all. Yes, I could have made all the dough myself, but I have this annoying stubbornness about them having to have their hand in each part of the experiment.
Anyway, after lunch and spelling tests (that I intended to be pre-lunch), I gave instructions on proper care of the battery pack and lights and turned them loose. The responses to sticking lights in dough and having them work made all the tedious dough making worthwhile. They were astounded at themselves. I passed around buzzers and motors and mostly enjoyed watching them create one thing after another and throughly enjoying their science/electricity experience- good times! Thanks Michael, that one is a winner.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's Electric

My sweet son-in-law forwards me sites he thinks I might find interesting. A standard in fourth grade is about electricity. I knew when I read about Squishy Circuits, I would have to do it with my students. I have always had them build a circuit board, and the custodian at work graciously aids them in getting it done. But it's mostly putting it together, there's not much room for messing around with it. Enter Squishy Circuits-awesome. I ordered the battery packs, lights etc and they kindly sent me extras. So, I practiced on my mostest favorite experimenters.
Let's just say it is way cool.

First, you make two types of playdough. The first we made with salt, because salt will conduct the electricity.

I divided the dough in the recipe in half and Bean kneaded his choice of green food coloring and Bugg pink, into their dough. Next, we made a different batch of dough with sugar to serve as an insulator.

Here, they stuck the battery terminals into two blobs of conductive dough, separated by the insulating dough, and lit up there bulbs!

There was a lot of trial and error about how it all worked, but with Pap's help, we finally got it all going. Before that, Bugg asked could she just play with the dough, but I encouraged her to persevere.
This is Bean's fierce bear, which he made growl with the buzzer.
Once Miss Bugg figured out how to make shapes, light lights, run motors and sound buzzers, she was all over it. Ceece and 1st. Lt. were impressed with their little scientists. I was grateful to have a better grasp of how it all worked before trying it with 24 students- good times.

Other times, well. Sister SuZQ and I headed to Pete's last night to help him sort through Kaye's things. Ahh, sad. So many memories. Handy Man came along and David was there. Later another niece followed. There was much to do so it was busy and that helped. Still, strange and heart breaking.
The cousin I mentioned early received more sad news today. Cancer, cancer everywhere. I'll be praying that every day he has is sweet and precious to him and those who love him. His name is Randy if you want to be praying too.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy 29th Birthday

Today is Drummer Boy and Rae-rae's birthday. I remember the ice storm of the day they were born. Everything was iced over, limbs falling under the weight of the ice, electric out all around. I thought I was going to have to have them without the benefit of the Handy Man, or anyone else known to me, but my doctor had to deliver a patient of a doc who had an accident in the ice on the way to the hospital, so they put off my induction and Handy Man made it.
Happy Birthday to the two of you. May you have so many more and good health to enjoy them!
I babysat Giddy-up for his Mama and Papa to have a date night for the birthday girl. I thought he handled it very well. That boy can eat! I enjoyed him.
Tomorrow I'll fix a birthday dinner for Drummer Boy and his family.
Never a dull moment.
I visited Trader Joe's for the first time today. I'm sorry it isn't closer, as I believe I would be a big fan.
In other exciting news, a new discovery. I love, love, love Big Red, but I seldom allow myself one because of the sugar, and nothing good. Though I drink Diet Coke, I've never cared for Diet Big Red. Well, happy day, we now have Big Red Zero and it's enough like the real thing to make me smile, the only good thing about it. Oh well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nearly There

Well, Handy Man and I have nearly completed our bedroom, the attic room and the craft, kid room with their bed and crib. I've gone through everything and sorted and sorted, trashed and packed cart loads to the Salvation Army. For now, the attic room is easy to maneuver and there's a place for everything and everything in it's place. Same with the kidlet/craft room. There is a worktable for me and two desks with stools and lamps and loaded with pens and papers, markers, stickers, cards, blah, blah. Yeah, it might stay that way for about fifteen minutes. Neatness is nowhere understood in my psyche. I just can't manage it.
Much to the lack of understanding from my friend-girls, I don't really pack a purse. I have one. It hangs on the doorknob. I don't smoke or wear lipstick and hardly ever write checks anymore. Our school doors must remained locked at all times. If I don't carry my keys in my pocket, they'll be lost. I also feel the need to carry my cell phone in the event of being outside and having a need for another adult, plus, I use it to tell the time. I take my students outside frequently. So, since I can only own clothing with pockets, I go ahead and throw a little change purse in there. The littlest change purse though is full of my credit card, library card, license, gift cards, Kroger card- okay, I know you get it. That doesn't leave any room for change. So, when I get home, empty my pockets, plug in my phone, I have a tendency to dump out the change somewhere. Remember the whole lack of a neatness gene? Well I'm not terribly picky where the change lands. This train has a caboose, just hang in there. So we're cleaning and cleaning and Handy Man is laughing every time he finds a handful of change somewhere. Like a little squirrel lives here and hides money. So he keeps finding and collecting, and rolling and laughing at me I might add, and gets a big kick out of the final total, $210.00, yes, in change.
Well, see I had this idea that I'd try to get my gramerlings to buy into the change saving thing and we'd get some chickens or goats for a family somewhere.
For whatever reason, Ol' Mother Hubbard finds this as entertaining as the Handy Man and has a moment in the Target store and thinks she'll buy me a present. All things considered it was a reasonable and needed gift. She knows me, so decides this gift needs to be something I can't miss and will manage my evil non-purse toting, change throwing ways. The gift- why a bank of course.

She's hopeful that it's big enough for me to hit while I'm tossing. Farmer John added a large hole on top and she decorated it with beautiful children as you can see. In addition to a much needed laugh after all that painful cleaning, this gift also inspired me with those sweet faces of all color. This will be a gramerling bank for my little gramerling who needs to come to Rae-rae through a different route. Adoption is so very expensive. $210.00 will be a nice start and the best use I know of my loose change. It's big enough if anyone else wants to throw their change in as well.
Soon enough, he'll be ready for a sibling and we don't care what color.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Wow, haven't posted in awhile. Mostly because I've just been working, working, working. My room and my upstairs needed a very serious taking apart and putting back together, which is about all the Handy Man and I have done for the last three weeks. We're getting there.
Today was a play day. I love me some three day weekends. With three day weekends I can actually manage a day of rest.
Today I went to Michael's, then to visit my handsome blue-eyed boy. Well, I guess that doesn't tell you much, as everyone of mine are blue-eyed, despite the fact that all their Papas are brown-eyed. Well, and they are handsome too.
Giddy-up and I had a long discussion about the differences in cylinders and rectangular prisms.
We also discussed finding the area of 3d and 2d objects. He was enthralled.
So relieved that he smiles now when I come in and I was able to hold and entertain him quite a bit today. He loves to roar like a lion and better still to eat. It is simply the sweetest thing ever when he signs and says, "mo." I told Rae-rae I didn't know if there would be much use in teaching him to sign as he is saying words as fast as he's learning the signs.
Rae-rae fixed us white winter soup and roasted chicken for a warm and tasty lunch.
And, wow, Gardener E. is fixing my supper. I feel so privileged.
Well, there was still a bit of work to be done today. I needed to clean Cluckingham Palace. Much to my dismay, there was a lifeless chickie girl on the floor of the coop. I decided to be a brave and dedicated farmer girl and bury it myself. I'm not particularly surprised that the older girls are giving it up. They have been busy and laid lots of eggs in their three years. What surprises me is it is different breeds. We've lost an Andulusian, an Australorp, a Silver Wyndotte and a Red Star now to unknown causes. I guess I would have thought different breeds had different life expectancies. I fear those new roosters have also caused a lot of undue stress for the girls. I won't make that same mistake again. I kept all of them, hoping I could find them a good home, since they are rare and beautiful. Sadly, no takers. If I can't find them homes this spring then chicken soup is back on the menu boys.
Many times here I've mentioned my beloved Aunt Lois and Uncle Berry. When Uncle Berry became so fragile and disoriented last year, their son Randy moved in to take care of him and keep him home for his remaining days. He has stayed on caring for my Aunt Lois. He went into the hospital this weekend with a bad case of pneumonia. It appears that there may be more wrong and he's in need of our prayers.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Good Grief!

Is there any good grief? I don't know. Pete wanted me to come by and try on some things.
It is very awkward, rifling through someone's else's things. Seems a bit like an invasion.
It does open lots of opportunities for remembering, talking, crying.
I gave him a book a friend gave me. Well, I bought him a new one, as I loaned mine out so often it finally disappeared. He's reading it now, A Grace Disguised. I think he's doing as well as anyone can under such circumstances.
We talked again through all the events of that last day and the days before. Ahhh, me.

It was poop-pie night and I was glad to see Bean and Bugg. I stopped by the store to pick up some Crisco before I fetched them. I forgot it last week, and couldn't make our blessing gems on New Year's. I use Crisco for donuts and Chi Mi Changas (prepared maybe two or three times a year, tops), not a product I keep around anymore. They enjoyed them as much for an after dinner treat as a breakfast one.
They are big into ghosts at the moment for some reason and brought up being scared at night.
I shared my remedy of just saying, "Jesus," over and over when my sleep is troubled. We talked about where people are when they are gone and I shared with them the Jewish thought of loved ones being a star that looks down on us as we go on. Bean said that was an Indian belief as well.
We ended the evening with a bit more of the Hobbit and a picture bbok for Missy Bugg.

I was out of the classroom today due to a couple of appointments. Gardener E. continued with the knitting I started on Wednesday. She e-mailed me that she still had all of her hair, and they had theirs as well, so it's all good.

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's Here 2012

Bugg did manage to get some peanut butter on the pinecone, but needed some New Year's peanut butter for her ownest self. You know peanut butter is a real treat.
The bird feeders have to go way up high to keep them out of Arwen's mouth.
Lest you think peanut butter was the dish of the day, we enjoyed our usual corned beef, cabbage and black-eyed peas.
Giddy-up thought it was all dee-wishus.
Time for his winter bath. Between the peanut butter and drinking straight from the fountain, you'd think we never feed this kidlets or give them anything to drink. The baby enjoyed a bath, a drink and live action of the chickie girls out of the kitchen window.
Before dinner, he was a bit resistant to napping, so I bundled him up and we took a big walk. He fell fast asleep and I basked in his chubby cheeked dreamland, holding him close while he snoozed. He woke up smiling and happy, so he and I continued to play and Mama got to eat her New Year's dinner with the Papa and the Pappy in relative calm. That's the longest I've had a hold of that boy since he was tiny.
So, to end the year cuddling a sweet girl and begin a new year cuddling a sweet boy was a terrific end and an equally marvelous beginning.
Pete took in a movie with David on the eve of the New Year, then he and Ol' Mother Hubbard visited his sweetie on Sunday. He's visiting shut-ins and attending grief counseling and doing the best he can.
I returned to work today, while the Handy Man had one last day off. My students return tomorrow.
Happy New Year to all.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Eve Tradition

Since Bean was a wee tiny fellow, five months old, we have kept him on New Year's Eve. On his third New Year we added Missy Bugg. So this is eight New Year's Eve's as grandparents. On his second, when he was 17 months old, we began the tradition of taking down the tree and moving it outdoors on New Year's Day. We made pinecone bird feeders to give our feathered friends a winter snack. I didn't think he'd think to much of it, one way or the other, but even so small, he enjoyed messing in the seed.
There wasn't much tradition to New Year's Evening as they weren't up for ringing in the New Year for several years. This year they were old enough and when I said I'd bought hats and horns and sparkling grape juice, my boy responded, " Umm, don't be offended, but I thought you were too old to stay up that late." After laughing a lot I informed him it wasn't my strong suit, but I'd taken a nap and then had a big mug of coffee, so I was prepared.
What to do? Last year I believe it was science experiments. This year, the temperature was fairly mild for December- in the forties, so I asked Handy Man about a bonfire. He thought it would be great.
Up the hill we went for hot dogs and marshmallows and a not too scary ghost story.
Bugg declared it all good when you have " a warm fire, a warm marshmallow, some warm hot chocolate and a warm girl." I couldn't argue.
Lilli asked if it was midnight yet at about 8:00. When she found we were a ways from the big event, she curled up in my lap and went sound asleep- still with her little ketchup mustache.

In case you didn't know the big news, Peter Jackson and cohorts finally have a release date for The Hobbit. I am so very excited. We started reading the book to Bean, while Miss Bugg napped.

Pappy introduced him to all thirteen of the dwarves. Bugg slept about a half hour and woke up happy.
Handy Man and I have been throwing out and cleaning. There was some old stuff to burn and the kiddos loved tossing it in the fire.
We didn't come into until about 11:00. A bit of play, then time to watch the ball drop in NYC.
Time for some bubbly and to call Mom and Dad for a Happy New Year's!!
They don't drink soft drinks, so were a little unsure of the sparkling juice and just sipped through the first moments of 2012.

By this time, ha, I was feeling my age and ready for a long winter's nap.