Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I have just finished the VERY long Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Not too long ago, someone had mentioned to me in passing that they planned to make a movie out of the first book and they thought that Jim Caviezel ("Passion of the Christ") was slated to play Jamie. This filled my hear with terror.

Not that Jim Caviezel is not a great actor, but to play a 6 foot 4 inch Highlander with flaming red hair? Not a chance. For anyone who has read the series you will know that adoring James Fraser is unavoidable. A few friends and I read the first book and were sucked right in. We went on to the second, third and then fourth before we started to wane in interest as a group. I kept reading.

We so adored the books that three of us had actually seriously talked about taking a trip to Scotland (my one friend from Bath, England was was going to be our unofficial tour guide as she had been to the Highlands before) this summer since I have roots there and it would be a kick, but one friend's hubby was transferred to Canada and my English friend had the nerve to get pregnant and have a daughter this past April. So, here I sat, petrified that some movie company was going to portray Jamie & Claire incorrectly. Another book made into a bad movie.

I finally got the nerve to go to IMDB (Internet Movie Database) and see the atrocity for myself. The Outlander movie coming out this year has nothing to do with the series. Life is once again, good.

Home, Home On the Range...

Where the deer and the antelope play...

Okay, not quite, but we are home nonetheless and quite thrilled to be so! I cannot believe it has been two weeks to the day since I last posted, but I did kind of vow to take a technology break and that I did!

We had a blast on our vacation and I actually got to read a book that was not school related and finally finish the last of the series. We went to Yorktown, Jamestown, Busch Gardens and hung out with Mr. Clean's cousin John for dinner and dessert. We hit the beach, pool and lazy river (at the condo on North Myrtle Beach) everyday without fail, went to Dixie Stampede (a hoot) and several geocaches. Life on the beach was good. To top it off, we had almost no humidity and weather in the low 80's.

On the way home we stopped at the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington and spent a couple hours on a self tour of the ship. It was a blast and quite hands on. The kids were thrilled to be able to open the oven doors in the bakery and see the large metal muffin tins that served to feed a battleship full of men. We called it a field trip and enjoyed it immensely.

So now we are home and I have some blogs to catch up on, MOMS Club work to get done and luggage to unpack (plus figure out something for dinner!). So for now I am signing off with a promise to post pictures very soon!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Are We There Yet?

Tomorrow we will be off for an 11 day, much needed vacation. I have yet to pack a thing nor scrub a toilet. I have no clue why I work better on "Last Minute Mary" frenzy phase, but I seem to thrive in it. Every trip, I try to plan well in advance and do well in that way, yet when it comes to packing up and cleaning up, I feel no need to do so ahead of time. After all, then we would have nothing to do at the ninth hour. How boring!

So tomorrow we will make our way to Williamsburg, VA for a few days and then down to Myrtle Beach. No school, no excessive laundry, no dusting (not that I do that here), just relaxing! But since we are having a friend come and "pooch sit" I best get off my duff and go scrub some toilets and make sure we have clean towels!

Ta-ta for now! If Mr. Clean brings his laptop along (strictly for vacation research only, no work) I will try and pop in and blog while we are gone.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wonderful, Yet Disappointing...

I just got home from my overnight in Harrisburg at the CHAP convention. As usual, The Tutor and I had a fantastic time and shopped hard on Friday afternoon. I got everything I needed (except some Rod and Staff curriculum I want), leaving today to just meander and enjoy the speakers.

Friday I commented to my friend how light it felt in the convention center as there did not seem to be as many people as in years past (translation: you could actually walk in some places) and the vendor list seemed to be shorter. We assumed that is how Fridays must be, since the past few years we goofed around on Fridays leaving our serious work to be done on Saturday. However, it was the same feel today. There were certainly more people, but the vendors seem to be lacking. Usually it takes a lot of time to see everything if you can even get to it, this year we saw most everything in one afternoon.

All in all it was a wonderful two days and I even ran into several people I know including a good friend from Maryland I had not seen in a while. One more year worth of education materials hunted and bagged. Mission accomplished!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Convention Day! Convention Day!

I am off to the CHAP convention in Harrisburg today! So enjoy some silliness! Doesn't Larry look a little like Mr. Clean in this video? Maybe it's the recliner!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

King Herod

On Tuesday the AP reported that archaeologists had fairly certainly found King Herod's tomb in Herodium in the West Bank. Cool find. Matches biblical accounts (no shock factor there). Here is what annoyed the tar out of me reading the article...

"The Herod of the Bible and of Christian tradition was a bloodthirsty megalomaniac, who flew into a paranoid frenzy when he encountered the three wise men on their way to Bethlehem with gifts for the baby Jesus, and telling of the birth of a new king of Israel.

"Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceedingly wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under..." (Matthew 2:16).

The biblical massacre figures in paintings such as Peter Paul Rubens' 17th-century "Massacre of the Innocents."

The account, however does not appear in other Gospels, and experts are not convinced of its accuracy, especially the implications of mass infanticide. Some believe the decree applied only to Bethlehem, a small town at the time, where there may have been as few as 15 toddlers.

Okay, bear with me as I interrupt your reading. Some believe that it may have been only in Bethlehem and only affected "as few as" 15 toddlers? So if that is true and Herod only had 15 toddlers wiped out, no big deal, right? Must make the Bible wrong about this King who only massacred 15 toddlers. Bet he was a great humanitarian! Yet as you keep reading the article, it says...

"Historians do agree that toward the end of his reign Herod slaughtered many political rivals and perceived plotters against him, among them one of his 10 wives and three of his sons. Josephus (First Century historian Josephus Flavius) says that as the elderly Herod lay riddled with disease, he ordered the cream of the local Jewish aristocracy to be executed on his demise, so that his passing would bring widespread and genuine mourning.

After Herod's death, Herodium became a stronghold for Jewish rebels fighting Roman occupation, and the site suffered significant battle damage before it was conquered and finally destroyed by Roman forces in A.D. 71, a year after they destroyed the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.

Kalmar said the sarcophagus could have been destroyed during Roman attacks or smashed by the rebels, who reviled the memory of Herod as a Roman puppet.

"We know that Herod had a lot of enemies," he said."

What a guy! Give me a break.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Monkee Mania

This year will mark 21 years of friendship with my high school partner in crime, Angela. I was wandering around YouTube and ran across this video. We were obsessed with "The Monkees" in Junior High (even though they were in their 40's at the time and doing their 20 year reunion tour) and we watched the sitcom reruns constantly.

So Angela, here is to 21 years of insanity (she thought this song was stupid, but it cracked me up)! Much love to you and here is to the next 20 years!

Monday, May 7, 2007


Four more days to go until the CHAP convention and I am so excited. My dear friend The Tutor and I go every year for an overnight as a Mom's retreat and have a blast.

Today also marks 4 more days until the end of our school year. I will keep up math and spelling for the summer (our "summer" is only until July 9th when the new year starts for us as we school pretty much year round), but the rest of May and June are FREE!!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A Picturesque Saturday?

Today in this part of Pennsylvania was gorgeous. Mid 70s, light breeze, big white puffy clouds.. you get the idea. Mr. Clean and I had planned a couple activities involving the great outdoors so we started our day early (for a Saturday anyway).

Our Mommy Mobile (read: minivan) was getting an oil change so all that was standing in our way for a picturesque family Saturday was picking it up. And that beeper. As soon as I paid for my oil change I came out of the Honda dealer to find my kids already transferred to the van and Mr. Clean prepping himself for the inevitable. The beeper had sounded. There are no two words in the English vocabulary that can simultaneously stop a woman's heart while making her hubby's ears perk up and heart jump with excitement like "structure fire".

Off he went to a help fight a fire at a three story warehouse. The building was built in 1881 and had been a flag factory in the past. Now it housed two businesses. The building was a total loss and razed almost immediately after investigators went through. After seeing the pictures, I am glad I don't get to know much in advance (plus hearing that the building contained paint and other combustibles...).

Mr. Clean on the fire escape (right) tearing plywood off the windows (the only reason fire is not coming out of these windows is that the interior windows were blocked by steel and drywall that the fire fighters had to try and remove after the plywood).

This is a historical town not far from us. Quite a few companies were called in to deal with this.

See those blocked off windows? All that fire and water collapsed the second floor, the roof and then the water came gushing out the front door.

Mr. Clean pulling a ladder off the truck (center). Can you imagine carrying all that gear he has on up that ladder? I must say, "First Responders" are amazing people.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


I think it is time to cut my hair. My hair is pretty long, about 15 inches from the nape of my neck (K.Z. measured it one day in a rash of "measure and runs"), well below the bra line (ladies will understand this form of measurement, LOL!).

Today I was making lunch involving dough (great lunch or snack, I will post it below) and noticed that included in one of the "ready to go in the oven concoctions" was a hair. I pulled on it and it kept coming and coming and coming. In horror I realized it was mine! Unmistakable, very long brown strand of hair. Granted, since it is so long now I do not use any product and my hair was squeaky clean from my shower this morning, but the thought of feeding my hair to an unsuspecting child at lunch revolts me (I have this hair-in-food phobia stemming from reading "James and the Giant Peach" as a kid).

I am not one to do the ponytail thing or pull it back into a braid so I think it is time to reel it in. I just need to figure out what I want to do with it.

Biscuit Sandwiches

This is by no means some great new invention, just something the kids love that I make from time to time, I am sure it has been done in many ways for many years...

1 package of biscuit dough (or make your own, but if you do, I don't want to hear about it...)
Cheese of any variety (I used American because that is what we have currently)
Chicken or turkey slices
Tomato slices

Cut each raw biscuit horizontally to make two "slices"
Layer enough tomato, meat and cheese to cover the circumference of the biscuit
Put the other half of the biscuit on top and seal (pinch) the edges
Bake according to the package directions and EAT!


Add on "teacher " to the article below and I definitely need a raise. This is nothing new, but I thought I would post it since it appears to now be "news worthy"...

NEW YORK (Reuters) - If the typical stay-at-home mother in the United States were paid for her work as a housekeeper, cook and psychologist among other roles, she would earn $138,095 a year, according to research released on Wednesday.

This reflected a 3 percent raise from last year's $134,121, according to Salary.com Inc, Waltham, Massachusetts-based compensation experts.

The 10 jobs listed as comprising a mother's work were housekeeper, cook, day care center teacher, laundry machine operator, van driver, facilities manager, janitor, computer operator, chief executive officer and psychologist, it said.

The typical mother puts in a 92-hour work week, it said, working 40 hours at base pay and 52 hours overtime.

A mother who holds full-time job outside the home would earn an additional $85,939 for the work she does at home, Salary.com.

Last year she would have earned $85,876 for her at-home work, it said.

Salary.com compiled the online responses of 26,000 stay-at-home mothers and 14,000 mothers who also work outside the home.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

When She's On, She's On!

C'sa is my little clone. She is like me in every way. Especially determination and grit. She was playing with her beloved Baby Tad, when his speech started to get slurred. Tad had either been hitting the bottle a little too much, needed an exorcism or just new batteries. This did not go unnoticed by C'sa. She immediately brought him over and asked me for new batteries.

Now because Tad is a newer toy, as opposed to the death traps we played with when we were kids, he is like Fort Knox when it come to a simple battery change and I was in the middle of a very important task; laughing at stupid e-mail jokes and munching on almonds (half of which she stole). I had no desire to do the complex surgery on Baby Tad and I was certain that the little battery thief herself had used all of them in her beloved flashlight.

I gently tried to dissuade her with the always popular, "let's wait for Daddy to get home, he can do it for you!" line, but she was not biting. As sweet as can be she asked me again.

"But sweetie", I replied, "I don't have any batteries, but when Daddy gets home we can ask him." (honey dripping from my voice)

Undeterred she ran for batteries and came up with two D batteries (Tad needs AA). I told her that I did not think that was the right kind, so I could not do it and besides, I needed a screwdriver. Off she went again and came back with a Phillips head screwdriver (I think she has a secret stash of her own tools). At this point I simply had to show her the batteries would not fit, she was too determined to believe me, so I cracked open Tad and showed her the three AA batteries firmly encased in his back. Off she ran yet again.

One AA battery in hand (I have no clue where she finds this stuff, she must steal batteries from the remotes like her father does) she came back beaming. I did not even know if her new find would have any juice left in it, but at this point all I could do was show her that it would not be enough to properly power her annoying little Tad anyway. I replaced one battery and pressed Tad's hand to prompt him to sing. It worked perfectly.

I think C'sa has a pact with the Energizer Bunny. She is his best sales woman.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Pooches

It's been four days since we brought Jack home and he is going just great. He is friendly and sweet and today he and Gromit started playing with one another by chasing each other around the house and wrestling. Jack is never far from Gromit. I have not been able to get great shots of Jack, but here are a couple and one of Gromit, just to make all things equal!

Jack running from the paparazzi

Trying to be incognito

Gromit, laying in wait to bark at the neighbor's dog, until he was busted, that is...