Friday, November 28, 2008

Shaping the future...

and the little minds it belongs to. Important stuff in our house, that edumakation stuff. Yep.

Confession time: I am an unschooler. I have issues with forcing my screamers to learn something that they totally do not want to learn. I firmly believe it stems from my own experience in high school. I had NO desire or need to learn Calculus. Yet I sat there, bored to tears, failing miserably because I hated it. I can do it, don't get me wrong, I have zero interest in it. Didn't then either. I can't make myself teach the screamers something uninteresting to them as a result of that one semester.

So, we spend our days playing (which is learning in and of itself): board games, card games, tag, hide and seek, pretend rope the cow/dog/sheep/whatever and anything else that their active little minds think up. The eldest has a few freebie games on the computer to help enhance his letter recognition (p.s. there isn't a letter that boy can't copy...he adores's going to be soooooo easy to transition him to bigger things), numbers (loves math too), matching and memory skills. BUT he doesn't get to play them all the time, not even every day. Recently he has taken to word recognition. Small things like hat, cat, jump, run and the likes.

Littlest screamer is a whole different field of fun. He is only 2, of course, but has zero and I mean ZERO interest in anything except coloring. Go figure. I try, he resists, I let it go. He'll come around eventually. See, unschool. It's the same approach I took with the eldest and he's ahead of the curve on a lot of things. Brag, brag, brag...I know.

No set curriculum, no set hours. We work when we want and on what we want. I've found that my little free spirits blossom under this approach in the past few weeks. Add to that the wonderful fact that we FINALLY got my large collection of books out of storage (what! you mean I can read something more than Harry Potter and Dr. Seuss?! Happy Day!!). The screamers see me reading all the time now. Devouring books one after another. They've taken up the same habit. Sitting quietly, "reading" books to one another. The time has come (the walrus said) to get the screamers something more. Not that they don't have a gazillion books just like mommy does, but something that mommy will enjoy reading just as much as them. I don't think "Clan of the Cave Bear" is really age appropriate, if you know what I mean.

So family, if you are reading this (yeah, uh huh) the screamers and mommy would love to have the following books:

The complete Oz series (there is something like 15 stories, you can get it all in one at Barnes and Noble dot com)
The complete Alice in Wonderland series (yes, the screamers like it)
The Tales of Uncle Remus : The Adventures of Brer Rabbit (I'd love the old Disney movie aka Song of the South too if you got the change)

Off now to take the youngest screamer BACK to his bed for the second time tonight...dang kid.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thinking on Reusables

You know, the things that you can reuse that we as a culture obviously need education about. Bags, food storage, etc. I've been listening to the older generation a lot in recent months chat about reusing plastic wrap, ziplocs and tin foil (aluminum to the uneducated, lol). I keep meaning to give it a go, though I already reuse ziplocs when I can. I keep forgetting to try it with the tin foil and plastic wrap though, mainly because my plastic wrap is usually crumbled beyond recognition by the time I get it pulled off of whatever.

So I did a little online recon for reusable wraps and bags, as part of the holiday wishlist for the in-laws (they need direction you know) and I willing share with you what I've found and added to the list.

Wrap-N-Mat: cool little wrap style sandwich "bag" that folds out flat like a placemat. Looks super handy. Psst, check out the other stuff in the reusablebag store too. Pretty flippin' neat.

Happy Sacks: The one that started the net search. Caught a bit on CNN earlier today about these that was actually the catalyst to my finally breaking down and doing a search.

Foilers (can also be found here): Intriguing little invention type gadgets that are apparently uber hard to get at the first link (second link has a few instock as I type). These little numbers have actually been around for about 2 years if memory serves, but recently caught the eye of shoppers. Designed to fit a bunch of different sized containers.

The pricing on all of the above seems garish at first, but you have to think (like with any other "reusable") about the amount that you would spend comparably on throw-aways. I'm hoping the in-laws get the message on that, I've been trying for years to convince them that I don't mind reusing things. Hence the cloth diapering. Alas, that boat seems to be very leaky as it departs the harbor.

Now, something I like to call my smartass comment of the day, it is not for everyone and will probably tick off a few, but I just can't help myself:

"These are God's chosen people, eh? No wonder he keeps trying to kill them off. Floods, would think they would learn."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Here we go again...

that title could lead you to many places...government nonsense, worldwide panic, money woes...but no, it's a bit more personal but involves the three in a way.

The spouse is on his annual re-enlistment kick. Yep, you read that right. Annual, always around V-Day, always the same routine. Research it, talk about it until I can't stand another word and end up saying "Do it or shut up about it" then it fades away to oblivion for another year.

This year is turning out a bit different though. More like the year that he would have re-enlisted if not for the dumb ass recruiter that kept trying to get him to BMI instead of weight (didn't know the rules apparently). Said recruiter kept telling him "5 more pounds" until the spouse ended up in the ER with bruised kidneys trying to reach that goal (of course it WAS his fault for running 5 miles). Anyway, I digress. The spouse has apparently been thinking about this seriously for some time now, at least since he asked for a raise and got told "I'll think about it" (it should be noted that the driver hired 4 months after the spouse is making more money and doing less work).

The spouse apparently has been to the local recruiter a few times discussing weight, options, duty stations and the like. News to me, but I guess after hearing annually for 5 years to "Do it or shut up about it" he did learn to do just that. He broke the news to me this week that he is officially going to "do it"...we'll see.

Am I worried? Nope, most secure job he could have...Army isn't going to lay him off or let him go because sales drop. Besides, he's a tanker. Frankly I'd rather him be in that big ol' can of steel than a ground grunt, if you know what I mean. I could go through a huge list of questions and comments that we've gotten before, most concerning what would happen to the screamers and myself should the spouse be shipped off to a war zone and killed. My answer to that is always "What any other widow with children would/should do...pull yourself up and live" or "He stands a better chance of being killed now as a delivery driver with no benefits than he does in a tank with benefits". Mom thinks we're crazy to even consider it, so we haven't said a word about it. The spouses' parents haven't a clue. No plans to say a word to anyone in real life until the contract is signed and the spouse is about to head out to WTC.

Besides, don't want to get my hopes up, right? Crazy, you say, to be going along with this. I could list reason upon reason as to why I am and will should it really happen. Would love for it to pan out mainly because being a tanker/military guy is the only job that the spouse has ever had that he loves, truly sincerely loves. The man lights up when he talks about tanks or the Army. He was a born soldier that never should have been taken away from it. I sincerely hope he can drop the weight that needs to go and get back. We were a better married couple for it...put us far from family and we had to learn to depend on each other. A true test of compatibility, in my opinion. Forget eHarmony, you really find out what your partner is made of when you are 3000+ miles from family and either thrive or dive. We thrived.

Keeping the fingers crossed, preppin' for the cold and holding out hope!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hmm...see ya Big 3 and a huge rambly rant

At the time I'm writing this, word is that Congress will NOT be bailing out the big three. One senator, I can't remember who, put it rather bluntly (and I'm mind does not trap everything you know) that the public would not stand for much more, there would be a rising up against it all.

Um...duh!!! There is already a rising up from those that actually pay attention. Not arms as of yet, but a plethora of words and speech. How about they hop on the net and take a look at what the public really blogs. It's not difficult Congress, really.

You type in bailout, then you hit search...if you have the nifty Google toolbar you can just hit the Blogger button. You'll get a fairly wide range of opinions there, vocal and concise. Read Congress, Read. You want to REALLY know what your voters think and want...ask them, read what they write, listen to what they have to say and for goodness sake if you value your cushy job...DO WHAT WE ASK!!!

Now is not the time to go looking for more places to spend money that you don't have in order to "help" our economy. Let the damn thing fail, let the credit boom blow up and let us learn a lesson in greed and gluttony. Maybe, just maybe, we can get back to being the country that we should be and need to be. Anyone, myself and the spouse included, that owns/owned a credit card, bought on speculation or gambled that the house that was outrageously priced and you just had to have would be worth more in a few years, is in part responsible. We should all take blame. I stand up and say, part of this is my fault. I owned two credit cards, both now closed and paid in full, that contributed to the credit mess. The credit mess has made the economy what it is.

The credit mess will make it keep on getting worse...why? Because as people find themselves with less money due to job loss, price increases or any number of problems resulting in less coming in, they will turn more to their cards to pay for perishable items like gas and groceries. Creating more debt with nothing to show for it. A vicious cycle that sucks the life out the economy and the card carrier.

So what do you do? You learn to live on what you have coming in. Cut up the damn cards, pay a little extra ($5 a month) on the balance to pay it off, quit buying freakin' Pringles and microwave pizzas and buy some real food. Stop going out to eat every weekend, think about how much those meals cost then take a look at what you can get at the grocery for that price, buy real food and cook it at home. If you can get by without it...don't buy it.

It's so simple really. But we have been programmed to no longer think simply. Everything has to be complex or "too hard"'s NOT. You make it difficult by refusing to really try. Don't you worry though. The day is coming that you will not have a choice. A simpler, harder but more rewarding (to me at least) lifestyle will be forced upon you. Sparkly new is not always better...get used to the idea that you won't be able to get that shiny new toy and you may, just may, have to live like the rest of us. Can you handle that truth?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Looking Forward (Holiday/Gift Related)

I've mentioned in passing several times our plans for a handmade/homemade holiday. This translates into lots of work for me, but it is satisfying knowing that the screamers enjoy the LONGlasting mommy made things more than the plastic battery eaters that they get from others.

This year I've gotten slightly ambitious. Two sets of flannel jammies for each screamer, a mommy made sweater each (these are the BANE of my existence right now), knit socks for the spouse and the oldest screamer (the youngest has hand-me-downs), knit hats for the father and brother and brother-in-law, dunno what for my mother and toys, toys, toys for the screamers.

I've enlisted my father in the wood puzzle making, mom in the "you are giving me that fabric" department and finally broke out the sewing machine after a summer of languishing away under the desk. There will be lots of cute little knit monsters and funny fabric animals, wood puzzles and maybe a wooden car or two, there is debate on purchasing yet more crayons, notebooks and such as the screamers have suddenly decided that "school is cool" and have been going to town with writing and drawing. I've picked up some of those $1 workbooks for the eldest...he does them like they are crack or something. No complaints, at least he likes math.

The point of the rambling above: I am trying to de-program the screamers. Remove from them the NEED that little people seem to have for plastic, store bought stuff. They have responded positively to the loss of most of the battery eaters. I take this as a good sign.

In the long run it means that they will hopefully have a deeper appreciation for things that someone took the time to make, that aren't bought at chinamart, things that require skill and imagination and no batteries. Simplicity, from the cradle...that's the plan. We've been doing this for a while, but this is the first Christmas that every gift from mommy and daddy and Santa will be not bought somewhere. I can only hope that in-laws just send clothes (never, ever going to happen).

A Facelift or Remodel

just a bit of tinkering with the blog today, not much has changed except I've added a list of Prepper Networks to the right. Just three so far...KY, UT, TX...hopefully there will be many more soon.

I've tinkered with the idea of starting up a MO one, but not sure if I should. Surely there is a more experienced prepper in MO out there that has been thinking of doing it...right...huh...nudge, nudge.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

A weak week

Okay, so longer than a week, but dang...I was down and down hard for three days with some kind of coldish cough flu thingy...that's the best I can describe it. Knocked me flat on my butt for one full day, couldn't even muster up the strength to play in the warm weather with the screamers. Got over it pretty quick though (thank you onion syrup, Valerian and OJ).

Did manage to get to the polls on Tuesday (decided to go along with the parental figures and take the screamers along for educational purposes). I won't go into the thoughts that were swirling in our house on Tuesday night. Many were off on the same tangent this week anyway. Our thoughts were not racially motivated (hey, the guy is HALF white), we have issues with lack of experience...143 days out of 4 years and no military experience...we are a former military family that strongly believes that the leader of our country should at least have some sort of military training (bomb making with buddies is not one of them though I did have a lesson in MRE I won't share). You see where this is going, so I'll stop here.

So this week I did a little shopping and found canned turkey...never seen it before but then again I don't usually look for canned turkey. Picked up 2 cans for $1 a piece just to give it a try. I don't like forking over hard earned cash on things that no one wants to eat, so we always do a trial run first. Canned some pumpkin, dried some pumpkin seeds for next year's garden, canned chili and homemade soup too (Mom's pressure cooker is coming in handy for me now, lol).

Cut off the net, using a freebie for now...tried going without the phone until the spouse pointed out that we need it for interview notification. He's attempting to get on at a local factory, we aren't holding our breath what with the massive unemployment rate and all.

Just settling in now to start some sincere work on holiday gifts for the screamers and the spouse...may even find time to knit me up something (not that I need anything, but a lacy scarf makes a girl feel like a girl after all).

Keep preppin' all....winter is way closer than it seems (see the Dakotas after this week's loverly snow).
The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts. --Edmund Burke