Monday, June 28, 2010

St. Ireneaus

Today I remember my Grandma Irene, named such because she was born on the feast day of St. Irenaeus, over 100 years ago. I am going to hunt for pictures of her, perhaps to post at a later date. For today, I will be satisfied remembering the saint she was named for. Eternal rest grant unto Irene, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Examining Transliteracy, Part I

The Georgia Public Library Service, in collaboration with Georgia Library System are offering a Wednesday Webinar series. I recently attended their first Wednesday webinar, given by Bobbi Newman, who talked about Transliteracy. Bobbi is a the author of Librarian by Day, and a contributor at Libraries and Transliteracy. I have often wondered, these past few years, with the changing face of technology, what would happen to libraries and more importantly...BOOKS!!

Bobbi really set my mind to working, rapid-fire, on just how important transliteracy really is. To understand transliteracy, first we need a definition. Through the large cache of research tools I've mastered online, I was only able to come up with two rather offbeat dictionary listings. The first is from Word Spy which claims to be "the word lovers' guide to new words."

n. The ability to read and write using multiple media, including traditional
print media, electronic devices, and online tools. —transliterate adj.

The second is from Wikipedia:

Transliteracy is The ability to read, write and interact across a range of
platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print,
TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. (PART 2007) The modern meaning
of the term combines literacy with the prefix trans-, which means "across;
through", so a transliterate person is one who is literate across multiple

And from the Transliteracy Research Group:

Working Definition
Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact
across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through
handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks

We now know that transliteracy is a relatively new term, and basically means to literate across a range of media. It was explained at the webinar, and became obvious to me as I listened, that in order to be literate now and in the future, one MUST be transliterate. Libraries and schools, to remain relevant in today's world, must provide access to these skills.

Bobbi illustrated this point by saying that years ago, one benchmark of a good education was the ability to recite all the US presidents, in order. She claims that such facts are of little use to memorize when Google can provide that information in 0.28 seconds. Instead, schools need to teach students how to :

  • safely navigate the Internet

  • protect your private information while surfing

  • research and find the information you need
  • identify which sources of information are reliable

Libraries need to fill in the gaps and educate those who are finished with school and now need to become literate in all the newest technologies. As a result of this webinar, our library decided to put up a sign to poll interest "Computer Classes for the Absolute Beginner" Within less than a week, we had 8 interested people, all over the age of 35. We did no advertising. To put this into context, our town has a population of less than 3,000 people. We will be running a series of classes.

Watch for Part II of this Examination of Transliteracy. The topic will be: Social Platforms

Friday, June 25, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome to the hop!! Check out the details of the hop here. Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to finding some new blogs to visit, feel free to join in!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The E-mail Monster Within


My email accounts are taking over my life!! How exactly does one person accumulate so many emails? It started out simply enough. When we first had internet access, I did what I was told and got an AOL email account.

Then I got annoyed paying AOL for email and started trying out other accounts that were free. This unleashed the email monster that had been lurking inside of me. I did not know I had an email monster, it just sort of happened.

A few years ago I was really active on several list groups, when my children were small and life was settled. I had a gmail account which I used exclusively for one very active list, and a gmail account I used for all the other lists. I also had a personal email account.

Then we started getting into a little financial difficulty with my husband's employer trying to keep their establishment afloat. They started cutting salaries, and they eventually laid everyone off (over 700 folks) and moved operations to Singapore. If our phone bill was late my emails went into cyberspace never to be retrieved. I started a personal gmail account. At least I could access that from the library!!

Then I got a blog. I have an email for Lily, and an email for the blog. At last count I manage 5 email accounts, which does not include the ones I've allowed to be ignored. How is it that one person could need to receive so much email?

At last look, Lily's email account has over 557 unread emails. My personal account has almost 200. I won't even go into the gmail accounts used for my listgroups, but I will say they make Lily look like she is on the ball!!

I think I need to simplify. On my To-Do list is going to have to be taming the email monster. Maybe I will do that this weekend while I'm at work. At one of my jobs I can sit on the computer and do things like catch up on email maintenance! How have you tamed your email monster?
When searching for the graphic, I came across this great article (where I swiped the graphic from, tyvm). Go read the article for tips on taming the email monster.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tweeting on Twitter

Last week I attended a webinar on "Harnessing the Power of Twitter for Professional Networking" hosted by the Association for Heathcare Documentation Integrity. The speaker was Jay Vance, a technology products specialist from Superior Global Solutions, Inc.

I finally understand why people are so into Twitter.

I have had a Twitter account for some time now, but I never really have anything to tweet about; I could never find anything much to say that was interesting. I am not into celebrity news. I do not think my tweeting about current events would be all that pertinent because I'm just not that important or current. I had thought it would be useful for communication between Mr. Thorns and myself, but he is totally not into any newfangled techie things and flat out refused to participate. Then, all that was left was the fact that I was enjoying a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich. Frankly, I do not much think the world cares (though I'm not beyond posting that on my FB status) so the Twitter account has sat. And sat. And sat.

Now, I've learned that there are all sorts of tools on Twitter. You can find networks to interact with and locate people with shared interests, ideas, or professional skills. You can search by hash tags, insert hash tags into conversations, have private or public conversations, easily follow people, and be followed. You can sort the people you follow into useful lists, and you can quickly and easily process information in little 'tweets' following leads that are of particular interest to you. Also of interest is the fact that tweets are in real time therefore if you need information instantly, with the right support network on Twitter, you can quickly and easily accomplish this.

I also learned that you can sign up for client applications which will manage your Twitter, and other social networking, through a program you download onto your computer. Two big client applications are TweetDeck and HootSuite. I cannot comment on either one authoritatively as I have not had time to investigate. When I do, I will report back. If anyone has any comments I would love to hear your thoughts on either of those client apps. Of note, the client apps have built in tool to shorten links, such as TinyURL does now, this saves you a step.

Now, another thing on my To-Do list for this summer is researching client apps to put Twitter to good use. How do you use Twitter? Do you have any good tips?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Announcing! A family project!

I hinted at this a few weeks ago. I've just been too busy to get it rolling. All the kidlets are involved! Go check it out!


Dexter's Wild Life: The Many Adventures of a Cheeky Chimp!

Blog design by: The Oldest

Photographs taken by: Pretty much everyone

Loved best by: Bananas

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Review of Books

If you are looking for a good read, here is a web meme with over 50 book reviews! Enjoy!


Just wanted to remind everyone to drop by Alexandra's blog. (Click on the header, it is a link!) It is one of my all time favorite blogs. And for any of you book hoppers who also home school, it is not to be missed :)!! She covers everything from homeschooling, to parenting, to gardening, to books, etc.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

I'm joining this for the first time this week, so I'm going to post the information about the hop today. If you are here for the hop, please leave a comment so I can go and visit your blog too! Here are the rules, as posted on Crazy for Books:


In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! We get nearly 200 links every week!!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

If you start following someone through the Hop, leave a comment on their blog to let them know! Stop back during the week to see other blogs that are added! And, most importantly, the idea is to HAVE FUN!!

The Hop isn't just for you to throw your link in there and not visit any other blogs. It's all about networking and finding new blogs that are of interest. So, in the spirit of the Hop, try to make some time to visit other blogs and don't post your link if you are not planning on visiting other blogs in the Hop that week. This is a weekly event, so if you don't have time this week, that's fine! We'll see you next week!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

i so don't do mysteries by Barrie Summy

I can be a bit of a book snob. I have gone through phases in my life where I would only read certain genres. In elementary school, I spent a year reading all the biographies in the school library. Every single one. Then there was the Nancy Drew year. I spent a year reading every Nancy Drew book. And this was before the Internet made finding books easy. There were two or three early books that took me years to track down.

Then we had our bodice-ripper phase when I was in college. Herbal books, historical fiction, cookbooks, financial health books, religion, and even true crime had its turn. My all time favorite phase (will be ongoing for a while) is the classics. I love the classics. But I've discovered a couple of new categories lately: Fantasy and Young Adult.

There are some really awesome books in the young adult section of your library or favorite bookstore. Of course, I'm too old for them, so it will have to be our little secret.

i so don't do mysteries is a book I would never have picked up in a million years. It screams "tween" all over it. Just look at the cover art. I wanted to read it when I found Barrie Summy's blog, and I only read it because I found her blog. But, I have to say...i so love this book!!

This book is an adorable mystery book, the sort most every tween girl will love to lose herself in. There is dating at thirteen, not something I allow, but I would let my girls read this if they wanted to. Sherry (short for Sherlock) Holmes Baldwin is a 13-year-old girl with a few problems. She has had a crush on the same boy for a while and he starts to notice her. At the same time her father tells her that he is going to marry The Ruler, a teacher from her middle school. Her father did not divorce, her mother died. She was a police officer killed in the line of duty. For about half of the book Sherry's best friend is really upset with her. But the thing that makes this book different is the fact that her dead mother contacts her and asks her to help solve a mystery.

I had the mystery solved, for the most part, early on in the book. I'm not sure if it is because I'm a graduate of the Nancy Drew, true crime, and Kinsey Millhone Detective Academy, or if it is because the book was written for tweens, but either way, having the mystery solved just allowed me to enjoy the story. I enjoyed Ms. Summy's characters immensely. I liked the writing style. I thought she included some challenging vocabulary, just enough that maybe her readers will pick up an intersting word or two, but not so much a tween would feel intimidated. Overall, a great read, and between you and me, I'm going to pick up the next one!!

Brown Bag Success: A couple of recipes

I reviewed this book here, earlier this week. I thought I would share a few of the recipes.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies

1/2 cup of margarine, softened

1 cup of sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1 medium zucchini, grated (1 cup)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350º. In large bowl, ream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. Add zucchini and chocolate chips. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Drop cookie mixture by tabelspoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until browned.

Servings: 4 dozen

Calories: 71; protein 1 gm, carbohydrates 10 gm, fat 3gm

Exchanges: 1/2 bread, 1/2 fruit

Very Berry Muffins

2 cups flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

6 Tbsp. margarine

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup lowfat milk

1 tsp. vanilla

2-1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375º. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add dry mixture. Mix well. Fold blueberries into mixture. Spray muffing tins with cooking spray or line with paper liners. Pour batter 2/3 full into muffin cups. Bake 25 minutes or until light brown.

Servings: 12

Calories: 211, protein 4 gm, carbohydrates 33 gm, fat 7 gm.

Exchanges: 1 bread, 1 fruit, 1 fat.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Seminars and Webinars: A Week of Enlightenment!

This is one of the slides from my webinar on transliteracy.
This has been an exciting week of new skills and information for me. On Monday I spent the day at a seminar on podcasting, and what an exciting day that was. Our library system (over ... libraries) was awarded a grant, and eight member libraries were given the opportunity participate. My library was one of them. Selected teens from our community will be interviewing seniors, and will tell their stories through film, podcasts, and written media. I still don't know all the details of the project, but I'm really excited to be participating in the project!! You can listen to my podcast, the little project I made in class on Monday. I have never had the slightest idea how to put together audio, edit, add music and fun effects, and then broadcast. I have so many ideas now for podcasts for the library, maybe I'll put together some for my blog if I'm really ambitious!

Tuesday I attended a webinar on "Harnessing the Power of Twitter for Professional Networking." It was put on by the The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) and I learned all you would ever care to know about Twitter! Again my little peabrain is working overtime with ideas of how to use Twitter and all sorts of social networking tools to benefit the library, make new contacts for my MT career, and to enhance my blogger experience as well. I wish I had more time to work on integrating all the exciting technologies and social networking platforms into my life, but right now my job is mommy and student, teacher, and housewife and employee. All the rest of it is fun stuff for leisure time!

Wednesday's seminar was all about Transliteracy, hosted by the Georgia Public Library Service and the Georgia Library Association. Here's the blurb, doesn't this sound awesome?

The skills needed to be an active participant in today's society are
rapidly evolving. Literacy is changing, more is needed than the ability to
read and write. Digital literacy, media literacy, information literacy,
21st century literacy and other new literacies are all included in
transliteracy. Some are fortunate enough to learn these skills in a classroom
but in many cases peole are looking to libraries, all libraries for the
instruction they need. This session will cover the imporatnce of
transliteracy, the roles libraries play in educating patrons, and what we can do
to ensure our staff and patrons are transliterate.

So, this is a really exciting week for me. Lots of new ideas to get my brain working on all the possibilities of technologies I'm only beginning to understand. I intend to make some time to report on these innovative and/or educational projects as they unfold. As a little teaser, Bobbi Newman, presenter of my Wednesday webinar on transliteracy made a comment about how the education system is becoming outdated (oh yea, I'm a 13-year-veteran homeschool parent, that is like preaching to the choir!!) and she used a really fascinating example. Years ago (like way back when I was a kid) a measure of learning was how much you could remember, and we had to remember things like the list of US Presidents. Nowadays, we needn't remember that, we have Google to tell us in less than five seconds. What do we need to know today? How to write hacker proof passwords, how to be safe on the internet, how to find the information we need, where to go to get the tax forms, renew our driver's license, or get social services (ALL online now!!).

To be literate today we must be transliterate. That is for another post!!

Wordless Wednesday

As part of bloggiesta I looked for I am going to join Wordless Wednesday. I suppose I've already killed that idea with this blurb. LOL. Join Wordless Wednesday here.

Today's pictures are of my Boo, for his 10th birthday we had a Star Wars party, including light saber training!

Something fun

Monday, June 14, 2010

REVIEW: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

When I put The Elegance of the Hedgehog in the meme last Monday, I also included the synopsis I found at the BN website.

A moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the
inconspicuous among us.

I could not have said it better myself. Not having nearly enough time to read every day, I am delighted to have found this little gem to spend my time with. Each of us comes in contact with a multitude of people that we overlook every day. This book examines the lives of two such overlooked souls. Two very intelligent and suprising female protagonists. Every page contained some sweet surprise.

There was a lot of philosophy written into these pages, highly readable, well written philosophical passages. I was never once tempted to flip through the pages to skip past the philosophy; the exact opposite occurred, I wanted to read more. If I have more time this summer, I may pursue reading some of the philosophers mentioned in the text.

The characters are completely enchanting in their love for art, and appreciation of beauty in all around them. I am inspired to track down some of the obscure films mentioned in the text. Barbery's novel highlights the fact the trivialities of daily life have surpassed the simple appreciation of beauty.

Barbery has a talent for delicious passages of prose which readers of classic literature will devour. She writes descriptions reminiscent of Charlotte Bronte, possesses wit evocative of Jane Austen, and at times, the psychological complexities of Dostoevsky. Perhaps even Dickens can be recalled for his examination of social injustice and his sympathy for the impoverished of both body and soul. Barbery composes parallel movements in her two main protagonists that come together as a symphony of movement and emotion. This is a beautifully written book, the likes of which are not often found in modern literature.

TheElegance of the Hedgehog will be long remembered for its perfection. The unlikely friendship of a 50 something widow and a 12-year-old girl touches the soul and leaves its mark. They are each absorbed within their own selves, each needing a rescue. As the story unfolds, we gain insight into each of them, and when a wealthy Asian gentleman enters, he brings the two characters together. I grew to love these women, in different phases of life, and I wonder how many Palomas and Renees I am missing out on by being so very busy with trivialities thereby missing the big picture.

Lily Live

Hello, I'm at a podcasting seminar today, and I'm broadcasting my class project! This is an elementary podcast, but I'm very proud of it. I learned how to edit and add in a musical intro which fades into my dialog, and then resurges again at the end! Enjoy my class project!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It is Monday, What Are You Reading?

Dorothy Parker, boy I cannot wait to read about her life. I've never done any in-depth biographical reading about Dorothy Parker, or even read much of her work, though I've always considered myself a fan. Why? Here's a little taste:
"You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think" Dorothy Parker on being challenged to use the word "horticulture" in a sentence.
"Lips that taste of tears they say/Are the best for kissing"
"That would be good for them to carve on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment."
As you can see, I'm in for a fun 'unit study' on Dorothy Parker!

This week I'm going to read I So Don't Do Mysteries from last week. Additionally I have ordered an entire study on Dorothy Parker from the library. I do not know how much of it I will get through, but I am hoping to know much more about this most interesting poet/author by week's end. I may also choose a book from my collection of audio books on my MP3 player for a little break in my school routine. I am leaning towards Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Saijie, but I may opt for Everything on a Waffle, by Polly Horvath, from the J-Fic collection. Lastly, the book club at my library is reading Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I think I am going to start that one tonight.

Last week I did finish the Elegance of the Hedgehog, watch for my comments tomorrow.

113 Things to do by 13, by Brittany Macleod, is a book that will universally appeal to tweens. I read about half of the book, which was enough for me. The good: there are some excellent resources listed in the book, such as websites with information on volunteering, babysitting, and health. They also advocate for sweet and understated make up techniques. There are many good things promoted such as good study habits, personal hygiene tips, and talking to your mother about important issues. The bad: The book promotes pulling pranks (they advise to be sure that no one is hurt or humiliated but the examples were not the type of thing I'd want my tween to pull), Truth or Dare (never a good game), and they encourage a bit of boy-craziness, which in my opinion, tweens don't need any help in that area!!

Brown Bag Success: written by two dieticians Sandra K. Nissenberg and Barbara N. Pearl. My tween daughter read through this book and marked her favorite recipes. She wants to try the Very Berry Muffins, several of the trail mixes, the chocolate zucchini cookies, and she really liked the idea of the graham cracker, peanutbutter and banana sandwiches! She also made sure to tell me some of the soups looked pretty darned good! My daughter was also intrigued with the idea that mommies write notes on napkins when their kids go to school, things like riddles and messages. We home school, so I guess maybe I should do that for her sometime, I think she'd be thrilled! One thing I liked was a mini-chapter called, "Monthly Cycle Menu" which combines recipes from the book with typical staples found in every home to help you plan a month's worth of menus. I love anything that would get me organized for a whole month!!! Overall, this is a great little book, go get it out of your library to see if your kids would like the menus, if so, you may want to think about purchasing this handy guide.

I am pleasantly surprised that I managed to get as much reading done as I did last week. I've been so focused on school that I have been putting my reading on the back burner. Thank you to the blogger world for reminding me how much I love to read!! By committing online, I'm trying to stick to it. Making time for me is always low on the priority list, I'm glad to have managed some time for me this week!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Well, a little late but I'm throwing my hat into the ring for Bloggiesta. I'm not quite sure of the history of the event, but I have seen a couple of blogs participating this weekend and I'm intrigued.
It has been on my list of things to do, rehabbing my blog. I've been on blogger for about two years, I think, and I have never updated my look. I almost abandoned it for a while. I found myself with some time to work on this, time I cannot work on my studies, therefore, Bloggiesta here I come.

So, what is Bloggiesta? Here's the post that got me hooked, from Sheila over at Book Journey.

Here is my list of things I want to do:

* Find a new template

* Write a review of Elegance of the Hedgehog

* Plan a few posts for the Monday Meme I would like to do every week, to include planning out my reading material for most of the summer.

* Find other memes to participate in, memes that are interesting and inspiring, get the creative ideas flowing.

* Write a few posts for future use so perhaps I may consider trying the post-a-day format for a month, perhaps with NaBloPoMo.

* Finally figure out how to get the Catholic Mothers Online button on my blog.

* Maybe if I'm really fortunate, I will figure out how to do some really cool things, like strike throughs, and how to put tabs at the top of my blog.

* Organize the files on my computer to make things easier to find and use.

* Visit and comment on at least 30 different blogs this weekend.

Oh to be clever, and to have the time to pursue these interests. I guess that is what this weekend is all aabout. I'm already behind, so I think my list is a bit ambitious. But rather than procrastinate, I will see what I can accomplish, and if anything gets done I will consider it a success.

I will keep you posted!

Click on the illustration to see where it came from.

Update #1

New template
Rough draft of Hedgehog review
Added and fiddling with google reader, not even on the original list!!
Added Catholic Mother's Online to the blog
Found the originator of Bloggiesta and added the graphic to this post!
Linked to the official Bloggiesta site!
Still working at it while hubbie prepares a breakfast fiesta to go with the Bloggiesta...mmmm, smells yummy!

Update #2
Noon on Sunday
ACK! I've spent most of this time since update #1, posted around 9 am, messing up with all of my settings and redoing what had already been done!! Aggravation!! However, I learned where I need to go, what I need to read and (crossing my fingers) how to obtain the tabs that I want across the top of my new, pretty layout. So, next up is a shower, then off to work where, believe it or not, I will be able to continue Bloggiesta, and hopefully install those tabs that are making me crazy!! :)

Update #3
Terrible update!! I've wasted all afternoon and cannot get those tabs!! I'm starting to think it is not supported in my new template. In which case I will give up until my daughter is home next. If she can get it placed where I want, fine, otherwise I will just forgo really cool tabs :( until I find a supported template.

Update #4
Well, I did not get as much accomplished as I would have liked, but I did manage to get quite a bit done. I will continue visiting blogs, and I will keep working tonight. I have a few posts ready to go so I am ahead of schedule for the week! Yay!! I found a Saturday Meme I'm going to do, and I have found some awesome new blogs to follow! I am very much looking forward to the next bloggiesta where I can plan ahead and not be behind the eight ball the entire time! Now to enjoy my hubby's grill and bar talents. He is making me a burger and a frozen chocolate martini to go along with my blog reading this evening. I'm looking forward to enjoying everyone's blog!!!

Comments on the New LO_ok Please!!

OK, lemme have it!!! I've been wanting a new look. I don't know if this is quite it yet. I think I want something snazzier. But I'm still looking!!

What Not to Wear

I came across an interesting article today .

The article advocates modest dressing for all, and I am a fan. If you think of the range of fashion options as being marked by the swing of a pendulum, I've come close to both ends, though not to the far extreme on either side. I would consider prostitutes and some shock-value rockers as the extreme on the immodest end, and puritanic-style dress as the extreme modest. I don't really have any issue if people want to dress extremely puritanical, it just isn't for me. But it does offend my sense of propriety to have to look at the barely-clad who excuse their immodest dress by saying that it is too hot to keep covered. This article is very well written and advocates modesty for all without promoting extremes.
Incidentally, I was looking for a picture to go with this article, and happened upon this one when I googled, "Fashion Faux Pas" My thought: I'll say!! But, this photo does convey the point about immodest fashion without actual nudity or body bulges.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Roasted Corn Salad - KitchenDaily

Roasted Corn Salad - KitchenDaily

I'm not a huge fan of corn, but here is one recipe that appealed to even me! I think the link will take you to a video of
Chef Marcus Samuelsson preparing the dish. Here is the recipe.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Google Voice

Thank you to Stacy for this information, go check out her post!! Oh, and, did I say thank you?? BTW, Stacy, I love your blog!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I'm suffering with terrible procrastination today. Procrastination brought about by my migraine, and the fact that I'm struggling with "putting it all together" aka practicums. My first one was just awful. That is to be expected. It is a new skill and this is the first time I'm using it. But: I. hate. to. fail. At anything. But especially at things I'm good at, or ought to be.
I should be working on my classes. I have an unexpected evening free of both baseball and soccer, all cancelled due to rain. I should be cranking through the pages of work, migraine and all. But I failed at the first attempt to do a practicum. The page before the first practicum reminded me that this is a new skill and no one expects the first attempt to be successful. The purpose of hundreds of practice reports is to build proficiency. "Hah," I thought. "I'm always good at this sort of thing."
But then the unthinkable happened. An epic fail. Now I'm procrastinating. I'm watching the kitties play with the kiddies. I'm writing this blog post. I'm glancing longingly at the book sitting at my elbow. I'm thinking about the movies hubby has been after me to watch. And, I'm not working.
Well, time to bite the bullet. Time to get back on the horse. Time to...well, you get the idea...time to stop procrastinating and get back to work. Lord knows, the only thing I can do is improve.

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This is my first entry into this Meme, I had hoped to be able to review this first book for you, but I focused on getting through my midterm last week, therefore I lacked proper time to finish the book. I hope to be able to provide my own review soon. In the meantime, here is the Barnes & Noble synopsis:


An enchanting New York Times and international bestseller about life, art, literature, philosophy, culture, class, privilege, and power, seen through the eyes of a 54-year old French concierge and a precocious but troubled 12-year-old girl. A moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.

Next, I picked this little one up from the library. We don't pack lunches for school, but I am always looking for good ideas that will travel well for us.
Another little book that I found at the library. I have a 12 year old girl and as long as the book isn't too sexually oriented (we do not allow any dating before 16 years of age around here) she may like to read this. I thought I'd preview it before passing it on.
This is an author I discovered online, and I'm anxious to read her work. I hope to have time to read through this. It is quite far from my typical tastes but I do love young adult books, and I am a girl, so who knows? I will report back on how I liked it!

Again from Barnes and Noble:


Laughs, ghosts, and a lip-gloss-loving teen sleuth!

Sherry (short for Sherlock) Holmes Baldwin is spending spring break in California with her best friend, Junie. She can’t wait to hang out in the sun, hit the mall, and spend time with cutie-pie Josh.

Then . . . a freaky change of plans. Sherry’s mom, a cop killed in the line of duty, contacts her. Not only is she a ghost, she’s a ghost in danger of flunking out of the Academy of Spirits, and she needs Sherry’s help. Unless she solves an important mystery in San Diego, she’ll be banished to an afterlife for ghost failures!

If Sherry wants to be a normal seventh grader (as in, one who doesn’t communicate with ghosts), she can’t tell anybody about her mom—or what she has to do. Not her brother, not Junie, and especially not Josh. It’s up to Sherry alone to save the day. Except . . . she so doesn’t do mysteries.

That's it! my eclectic list for the week. A little different than my usual pickings. Being a librarian, it helps to have some idea of what is out there when a patron asks. Happy reading!

Fessing Up

First the update:

I'm pleased to say I've made it through my midterm. A real milestone! Now I will be getting into practicums and the real nitty gritty of my career preparation. I'm excited to be this close to a work-from-home career which will have a significant impact on our family's financial well being.

I spent the weekend with all my children home, that makes two in a row with The Oldest, who apparently does read my blog because she came home prepared to make fudge for Bananas (my 8 year-old daughter). The children are all excited to be having a tea party tomorrow.

We are watching David Copperfield (BBC version) while the Oldest is home. This is my favorite Dickens book though I've never seen the movie. So far, as holds true with most BBC adaptations of the British Classics, it is a well done film. I may need to add a copy of this to my collection of favorites.

I still have not finished my book, because I was pressing to get through my midterm. I have gotten about halfway and it is still lovely. I guess I won't make the meme this week, and I will have to shoot for next. Also, since I had a singular focus this week, our family project has not progressed beyond the template. Not a single entry has gotten into the blog, hopefully that will happen over the next couple of days!

Now the Confession: The Oldest tells me that I left a few things out of my "chores" post of a few days ago. Namely the behind-the-scenes negotiations and bribery that occurs, often when they think I'm not listening. Well, I never said they were perfect, haha, just that the system works, for the most part, and pretty well. Negotiations, bribery, dealing with manipulation and scammers, peer pressure and bullying, well they are important life skills! And where better to learn such life skills than in the safety of your home? is just life in a large family!! Is that better, dear?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Things That Go "Grrr" in the Night

Around 1 a.m. this morning, I was up studying. Mr. Thorns had just gone to bed. My eldest son was still up in the other room, getting ready to head up to bed as well. I thought the dog was still outside. The kitties were all playing on the porch. The kiddies were sleeping.

Suddenly, on the other side of the window fan, about 6 feet away from where I was sitting, I heard what sounded like canine breath sounds, then "Grrrrrrr." I thought to myself, "What on earth is that dog growling at now? She's going to wake the children." I was about to yell to my son to, "Get your dog in this house now before she gets into trouble." When the dog went flying past me right to the window.


To provide a little background, I live in RURAL NY. Up in the mountains. I've seen bears. There are foxes that live just over our property line, visible from the house. We've seen wildcats, vultures, hawks, all sorts of wildlife. Every night we have coy-dogs or coyotes (never wanted to go out and look!) in our yard howling. It sounds like they are in the living room at 3 a.m. most early mornings, though they are never right outside the window.

All I could think of was, "That THING wants to come in the house!" and if it did really want to, it would have been no problem for something with weight and desire to compromise the screen and send the fan flying. Oh the visions in my head at the moment!! Obviously, all is well that ends well. I had no visitors in my living room, but my husband, my son, myself, and the dog were all on adrenaline surges in the wee hours this morning. In fact The Mutt couldn't settle down at all, and this morning was running laps inside and outside the house trying to find what was out there last night.

Country living. It is definitely exciting!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chores in a Large Family

I've been a mom for almost 20 years. All of those years have been single-income years. We considered allowances but were afraid we'd be short and unable to pay the kids the money they earned. We also decided that we wanted the children to embrace the 'team spirit' and do things because they were part of the family. So where is the motivation in that? And what chores will they be required to do?

I think most people are surprised by the list of chores completed by my children. By nine or ten they can all cook something. On the stove. (I do not keep a microwave in the house.) For some it was eggs, others grilled cheese, one it was oatmeal. If they like to bake, by age 10 they are reading recipes and mixing it up, having help in and out of the oven. By time they are 11 1/2, they are using the oven (if they are physically big enough, I have some petite children.) By 13 they can plan and execute a simple meal.

We have no dishwasher, so dishes for 8 people are done by the children, starting at age 9. They work in teams to learn. An older sibling (teen) with a younger one. Until the younger one gets tired of being bossed and has learned the job well enough they ask for their independence. At that point they move on to everyone has a different day. To lessen the workload of the kitchen/dining room day, each child has to do their own dishes as they use them (an important life skill) thus leaving only Mommy and Daddy's dishes, plus prep dishes for the one assigned to the task. If it is not your kitchen day then your task is likely to be the living room plus laundry folding. For the children younger than 9, they share the family room (where most of the toy mess is).

Then, each child has certain tasks they are responsible for. My oldest son, 16, has to keep all the garbage cans empty, hang laundry on the line (he can reach!!), babysit and help with dinner if mom is working and dad is job hunting, and he usually mows the lawn. He will be having two jobs outside the home this summer, so we will see how that effects the home tasks. He also knows how to do all phases of laundry, and he enjoys doing some home repairs. Next on the list for him, learning how to properly clean a bathroom.

My 12 year-old loves to bake, so she gets a lot of that duty. She is also responsible for finding lost things (she can't be beat!!), and helping her two younger sisters with their jobs. When she is assigned tasks, she does them really well! She is currently learning how to do laundry. She also can get laundry off the line (hanging is still difficult for her), she helps out with the babysitting of the younger siblings, and is learning how to cook. She is often outside with the kids when they use the kiddie pool or want to ride their bikes. She also helps clean up after the kitty cats and makes sure they have food and water.

My 10 year-old son is starting to help out with the garbage duty, he takes kitchen rotation, and he also has to keep the videos put away and alphabetized. (You wouldn't believe how fast one's video collection grows with no television service and a houseful of kids.) He also is mom's drink fetcher, and was the "sock man" until recently. He was assigned sock duty because when he folded laundry, rather than sort through the socks and put them in the appropriate stacks to be put away by their rightful owners, he would put the clean socks back in for washing!! I think he learned his lesson. Sorting socks for 8 people is a huge job when everyone in the house saves sock sorting for "the sock man." LOL.

My 8 year-old and 6 year-old girls are a team. They are assigned to cleaning up the family room, they have to wash their own dishes they've used, they have to clean up after their own dirty clothes, and they help fold laundry upon request. My 8 year old also has to dust the trims and moldings in the house, and keep the hallways swept. My littlest one will make the beds in the girls' room and she feeds the dog.

So what keeps them motivated to take care of their jobs if there is no allowance? Well peer pressure for one thing. They know they cannot do fun things if their chores have not been completed. They also know that mommy yells a lot less when their chores are done and if the house is clean. But mainly, I think it is the "We're all in this together" attitude. They know mommy does not want to work. They know that daddy is having trouble finding a job in this economy, they see him out job hunting every day. They have learned that the team spirit makes things more fun, they are recognized for jumping in to help each other, they are granted privileges when they do good work, and everyone wants to have fun.

I also think that the penalties are stiff. If they do not do well, they get the kitchen for more days, thereby allowing their siblings days off from that chore. Or, they will get more jobs for more practice, such as the sock-sorting detail mentioned above. It may seem to be a lot of work, but children raised without a work ethic are lazy adults.

I think a part of my job as mommy is to be sure they are able to run and manage a household when need be. My eldest, nearly 18, has been on her own, out to college. She's doing great. The details are for another post, but the point is that she did not have to learn basics, she knew them. If she hadn't started early, she wouldn't have been ready to go off a year early to college.

Overall, I've always felt children are to be raised to be ethical, hard-working, compassionate people who will be able to contribute to their family and their society in a meaningful, productive manner. To that end, I think chores, without monetary reward, are important. I want them to know they do things because they should, hopefully because they want to, but that comes with time, maturity, and wisdom. Until then, they do it because I said so!

Click on the illustration, it takes you to a survey about chores!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What I'm Reading, and a TEASER

Well, it is back to the grind. I worked all weekend, even when my oldest was here, on my classes. I MUST get through them as soon as possible with all of the expenses we have!! It has been really difficult with hubby unemployed. I am really ready for a regular income, and he is having such a hard time finding a job. If I have to be the one to earn the income for now, then so be it, he is working so hard on finding a job. Back to the grind: for me this means classes and my two part time jobs, both of which I took the weekend off from !!

With all this studying and working, when do I have time to read? Well, it is a priority but I'm rather exhausted all the time, therefore the book must be worth the effort, and I found one! It is called The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. This is one of the huge advantages of working in the library, I have been able to discover some real literary gems.

I am less than one third of the way through with this beautifully written novel and I'm completely entranced. The novel was originally written in French, translated into English. I started the book Sunday, on the bus (which was a very relaxing and comfortable ride), after driving my oldest daughter back to her apartment. I'm reading it when I head to bed at night. I hope to finish it this week, I'm resisting the urge to ignore my schoolwork to just sit back and read! I have also heard the audio is irresistable, and if you are a regular reader of my blog then you know I adore audio books that are well done. I'll get back to you with a review on "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" hopefully by next Monday when I hope to join the Monday Meme over at Book Journey. Meanwhile, if you have a chance to pick up the book, I will go out on a limb, less than 1/3 in, and suggest you have a read! Let's hope the book doesn't break my heart in the end. ;-)

And in other news, oldest daughter plans to return home this weekend, to dance in the recital for her former dance school. She will be in the "Alumni Dance" and I am very excited to see her!! Oh, and if you are reading this, my dear, there is a certain Bananas who is hoping you will bring fudge with you :).

Lastly, for the teaser: we are working on a family project, the launching of a new blog with a real twist. The Oldest set up a template and a blogger account for the project, we have everything all ready to get started, now I just need to fine a few spare moments to write it. But it is coming, and I will keep you posted!