Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Relative to the Thumb Not sure if it's spelled correctly, but it's pronounced "wa-cha-PO-teh".
Nasty little boogers these. Looks like something out of an old Star Trek episode. These things are no joke when they get trapped inside your sandal! The folks here call them espinas once they're inside your skin. Each tine has a little barb on the end which makes it rather velcro-ish and very difficult to remove!Up close

Just another lovely part of life in the desert!

Friday, June 20, 2008


Technorati Profile

Doh! The Technorati Monster escaped again.
We're currently experiencing backend issues and are working to resolve them as quickly as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.

What does that mean? What exactly are "backend issues" anyway? Do I really want to know? Honestly, we've been experiencing "backend issues" lately at our house, but I'm not sure they have anything to do with monsters. Well, maybe they do, but that's beside the point. I'm pretty-much a newbie at this, but IMO folks oughtta jist speak plain English, don't'cha think? Well, at least they're polite about it!!! ;^)

(Sorry, that just struck me as incredibly funny! "Backend issues". Hah! It's late. I should just go to bed...)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Don't Drink the Water!

One of several reasons why we buy drinking water...Edgar.

Edgar climbs into our cistern at every opportunity. How do we know it's Edgar? Simple. He has the black mask. We should have named him Zorro, but he just looked like an Edgar. Not to be confused with Bob or Tim. They don't usually hang out in the cistern. They frequent our shower. (Although we did fish Bob out of the cistern yesterday. I guess Edgar was being a bad example!)
So, when they say, "Don't drink the water!" There's a reason!

Mom's Braggin' Rights

Consider this a post for the Grammas and Aunties and the other homeschool moms reading this blog, and feel free to skip it if you don't want to read my bragging! I promise to be brief, but the kids have worked hard this year, and I want to share a bit.

So, we finished school officially last Friday. Yesterday, I finished grading "finals". There weren't really that many tests to grade, and they weren't that labor-intensive, but we've been a little occupied with other things (like...life) so I just found the time yesterday...while waiting for the mechanic to diagnose the problem with the van's AC (it's terminal, BTW, but we're praying for a miracle). At any rate, the results are in...everybody passed. Yeah!!! ;^)

No, seriously. The kids took a final exam in English From the Roots Up. All 5 kids passed with flying colors. Out of 62 Greek and Latin roots, 3 sections and 186 points, I think that the most anyone missed was 8. A couple of the kiddos got 100% on the recognition part of the test and a couple on the recall part and all 5 aced the usage section. Of course, Sarah gets an "automatic A" for teaching the class the better part of the year. I only took over the last month when she began to feel overwhelmed by her French homework. Somehow studying English, Spanish, Latin, Greek and French was too much. Go figure! Sarah took a "mid-term" in French last weekend and, although she was upset with her mistakes, she did very well, too. (I'm praying for a French/English dictionary for her for next semester if anyone has one of those collecting dust on a shelf...)

Math was a smashing success also. Caleb landed a solid B in Algebra, Sarah pulled a strong A from her Intermediate Algebra class. Both will be taking geometry next year (I'm praying for another used BJ Geometry textbook, too, if anyone has one laying around!). Neither are overly excited about that. Seth and Jess finished strong in their Saxon Math 76. I found a "Sixth grade math final exam" online which I printed out for them to take. Some of the questions covered topics we hadn't discussed (or at least not in depth) so we counted them as "extra credit". When it was all said and done, both finished with A's. Jessee did great, and I'm proud of the 9 bonus points he earned. Seth though, my mathematical over-achiever, managed to score a perfect 100% plus bonus points for a total of 117% on the final. Sound familiar, Mom? Andrew and Evie are both tickled to be moving on in Math. This year we worked on mastering addition tables and began multiplication tables. Next year...more of the same! ;^) Seth, Jessee, Andrew and Evie's books for next year...I already have! Benefits of having lots of kids!!! :^)

History, though, was my personal favorite this year. Here's a photo of our "Finished Product". The Mystery of History, Volume 1 covers creation through the resurrection. As you can see, we didn't quite make it to the resurrection. We had fun though!!! AND you can ask any one of the kiddos to tell you about any one of the little paper dolls or figures on this timeline, and you'd get an earful. Seth's favorite tidbit of information was about the Epic of Gilgamesh and his cubical ark. You can read more (as we did) about this famous literary work here. One of the reasons we traveled so slowly through time is that we kept learning things! For instance, on the actual day that we began to study Stonehenge, new discoveries were published online about the findings at a recent archaeological dig in England. How could we just read the lesson and move on? We ended up spending a couple of weeks on Stonehenge and then, suddenly, the school year was over. So there we stopped.
We'll pick up where we left off next year! I love home-schooling!!! Happy summer break!!!

Summer Fun Starts...

There is something decidedly sick and wrong with that statement.

We've been with US Bank for almost 20 years, but this almost makes me want to change banks...except that probably every other bank in the nation has the same philosophy. "You need more toys!!!" Anyone seen the Veggie Tales movie "The Toy that Saved Christmas"?

For the record, I can remember MANY summers that were a LOT of fun in which I did NOT take out an RV, boat or auto loan. I remember one summer, for example, when my cousin and I made it a point to climb every tree we could find. We managed to destroy more than one pair of jeans in the process. Another year I remember picking blackberries all along the rail-road right-of-way with the "Nutrition Lady" from school. She just happened to be out walking near our house. It was the first time I'd ever seen a teacher from school in shorts and a tank-top...and smoking a ciggarette! ;^)

That was the same summer my cousin and I learned that we could squash pennies on the train tracks. I forget how many pennies we squished, but I'm sure I didn't need a loan! I do remember squishing a couple of quarters, and then we decided that quarters were too valuable...although they did look really cool when flattened. The train engineers got so used to Liz and I hanging out by the tracks, that they began tossing stuff out to us. The first time they tossed out little boxes of water, we had no idea what we'd found! Who ever heard of water in a box?! But the water was cold and the weather was hot, so we drank it. Yum! Actually, it tasted a little bit like cardboard, if I remember correctly, but during a midwestern July afternoon, it tasted like really good, cold cardboard!

When the newness ran out of the penny-squishing, Liz and I built a dam under a railroad trestle. We thought we'd make a swimming hole. The pool ended up only being about 8 feet across and maybe 2 feet deep, but hey, we weren't that tall! It was fine for us! Since we weren't squishing our pennies anymore, we decided to spend them on some goldfish to put in our pond. At 10 cents each, it was a good investment! Would you believe that all 20 of them lived? Unheard of! We rode our bikes for miles and then splashed in our private pool -- with the fishes. They grew and as they grew the "pond" shrank. It doesn't rain much in Kansas in August -- only during the week of the county fair, but that's another story. By the end of August, our pond was just a puddle, and our little fishies were doing a little bit of flopping around. I rescued them with an old kitchen strainer, and Mom and I drove them to the strip pits. They grew to be very happy goldfish...about the size of small bass.

So August ended and September began and with it school started. We found ourselves caught in the cycle again -- get up go to school, come home do chores, get up go to school, come home do chores. No time for penny-squshing, berry-picking, dam-building, tree-climbing.

But that is why we had summer breaks. And our summer fun did NOT begin with a loan. I seem to remember that it began with the phrase, "If you're bored, I'll find you something you can do."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Evie picked a flower for me. Every time I look at this picture, I think of Evie's huge smile and sparkling eyes as she handed it to me!!! Pictures are truly worth a thousand words!!!

Cannon Ball!!!

As many of you know, we've had some rather odd pets during our 2+ years in Mexico. In addition to the normal cats, dogs and rabbits, we've also had a boa constrictor and hamsters (not a very good combination, I must say), turtles, a horse, a pelican named Bill (only for a short time -- Man! They stink!!!), a wonderful North American Oyster Catcher (bird) named Sam, a 4 foot long iguana named Felicita and a 10 inch long iguana named Neo. The kids in Boca, realizing that we like animals, brought us a couple of additions last week. Check out Sarah's blog to read more about these little critters.

Today, the kids were playing in the pool when they were suddenly joined by another swimmer. Apparently, a fledgling barn swallow heard the splashing water and thought he'd get a little drink. He did a nosedive into the pool and couldn't figure out how to get out. Andrew rescued the poor, bedragled thing and brought him in to me. I dried him a little and then put him into a tree to finish "fluffing". That didn't last long, because the dog noticed the little guy and tried to "play" with him. Again, Andrew rescued him, and we put him in a basket in the house to finish drying.

Later, Andrew took him behind the house (away from the cats and dogs) to set him free. Little Guy took off for the trees, swooped around in a big arc and...plowed back into the pool. OK. Back to the basket.

Hours pass. The bird is dry. The sun is setting and all the other swallows are coming out for their nightly feast of mosquitos. So we take our little Dodo bird out behind the house -- away from the pool -- to set him free...again.

Unfortunately, we hadn't put the cover on the pool yet. He didn't even swerve, but took a bee-line directly to the pool!!! Splash!!!

So, he's in the basket. In the morning, we'll try again. This time, the pool will be covered!!! Just what we need -- another neurotic, eccentric pet.

UPDATE: (Thursday, June 19, 2008) Well, Little Swallow rested well through the night and apparently out-grew his unhealthy fixation with swimming pools. When Seth took him outside yesterday morning, Swallow shook his tail feathers and flew, well, like a bird. Kind of sad to see him go...I feel like we shared some good times. ;^)

Evie's Playhouse

Evie and Andrew have been working on a "playhouse". We don't have a whole lot of trees here, and what we do have are a little "stunted", but in front of the house is a scrub tree (I have NO idea what kind!) which has been receiving a lot of TLC for the past year. I think it has almost doubled in size. Hmmm. I actually think it may have more than doubled in size!

Anyway, Evie wanted me to share some pics of her playhouse, and Andrew wanted to share what he's been building for her. What a creative bunch I have!!!

Evie's Playhouse

Even a Kitchen Sink!

And a Well


When Damaris and Ian come over, they play for hours under this tree. Great memories in the making!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday -- Sewing Project

This week I tackled the boys' baseball pants. One challenge about sewing in Mexico is that no one sells patterns. I didn't know that when we were packing to move here, so I gave away most of my patterns and all of my pattern construction books. I honestly haven't built my own patterns for a decade. So lazy!!!

Well, here we go...back to making patterns out of newspaper! My 14 years in the 4H sewing project pay off!!!

Thanks, Mom, for insisting that I learn to make my own patterns instead of always relying on Butterick!

Success!!! All the boys like their pants, and eveyone else on the team wants a pair!!!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Kitchen Supervisor

Lately I've had a little help preparing meals. It really doesn't bother me, except when I'm working with things like tomato, onion or papaya. Those foods just smell too good to my little observer and he has to come down and beg scraps...and if I'm not looking, he snags pieces!!! Can you see him? Look at the curtain.

Can you see him now? Meet Neo. He's Seth's iguana. Can't wait till he's 3 feet long! Something tells me he won't be hanging out on my curtain then!!!