Friday, November 30, 2007

"Thinking of His Thoughts"

This picture was taken this summer, but it kind of looks like Declan's state of mind right now. He is often "thinking of his thoughts" as he calls it. It is amazing to me to see the progression of his thoughts move from himself to others to the whole wide world. This picture was taken at my mom's house, which is on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (in my opinion, but after all, it is my blog, ha ha) .


Declan and Gramma creating.
Declan's special creation in his favorite colors.
Totally edible (if you can stand to eat marzipan)
Marzipanimals from under the sea.

Okay, so every year, Ella's 4-H does this even called a Visual Presentation. Apparently, one of 4-H's big things is Public Speaking. So, the 4-H groups all practice, and then they have county-wide evening events, complete with judges. The judges decide who was the most well spoken, articulate, creative, etc.

Last year, Ella did The Duck That Doesn't Quack, DUCT TAPE! as her presentation. She won in the state competition and the county one. This has put the pressure on this year. She has had a number of ideas, the latest being marzipan animals. She would call it, Marzipanimals.

My Mother-In-Law, and artist with the Art Guild of Cape Cod has been making marzipan for Ella for Christmas every year for a long time now. She came over and helped the kids make all kinds of "marzipanimals".

Oh, but now the VP (visual presentation) is going to be on soap making.

Scrapbook Fun

We have found a wonderful place! It is called Simply Scrapbooking, and the woman who runs it, Michele, is awesome with the kids. We have been twice, and both times the girls (we have yet to get Declan or any boys to come!) made stuff they were really proud of.

It is so fun to hear them chatting in the "back room." Ella is really concentrating here.
Ahh! The finished product! A picture book for Dad for Christmas. Shhhh. . . it's a secret!

Best Buddies

How cute is this? We love these dogs. Lately we are really in love with Joy's cute (or so ugly she's cute?)-ness, because she has had a cone on for weeks! She is no longer in contact with the aliens.
She jumped on and off Declan about 6 times last night and he never woke up. It was so funny.

Monday, November 19, 2007

More Pre-Thanksgiving Creations

One of the things we love about Cape Cod are the cranberry bogs. We have a bunch near us. Jenny has taken some great pictures of them, so I won't even try to display some here when you can just link to hers.
There are so many delicious things you can do with cranberries, and we like to get some berries and mix them with corn meal from the Grist Mill in Sandwich and make muffins. But today we did something different, and turned the cranberries into this.
The recipe actually calls for almond extract, but given that I had walnuts and no almonds, I put some vanilla extract in instead and it was great.
I have to find someone to give these to before I eat them all....maybe a visit over to the neighbors is in order. Share the love, and all. Or maybe not.

We Made Butter!

Declan and Ella shook, rattled and rolled their way to butter! It was really fun, especially since Ella decided that we HAD to do it to music!

Here is the finished product. Yummy. I think it was a little bit more like creme freche, which I want to make now.
Hmmmm....Mr. Delicate Palate is wondering if, and I quote, "It will be to {his} taste"
Oh, baby, yep, it is!

Now, I am wondering, too, if you can make butter from soy milk....if not, why not?

Learning to Knit

Last winter, I became obsessed with knitting. Two winters ago, I tried to see if I could remember how, and I did, but by the time I was able to make anything t he weather was warmer and all those fun, chunky yarns that knit up so fast were not so fun any more.

During both of those seasons, Ella has determinedly tried to learn to knit. Since she is not crazy about writing (her hands get much more tired than when she types), and doesn't like to do things that have a lot of detailed directions, I approached teaching with much trepedation.

Each year, we tried different things. Someone else teaching her, teaching herself, getting a mushroom thingie, using a loom instead, crocheting (which I am much better at!), finger knitting.

It was all frustrating.

Until this year.

I got a book I have gotten for each winter, called Kids Knitting: projects for all ages. I strewed it in the bathroom.

It worked!! Hooray! Ella was finally ready! And while I was at work, she called to ask where the knitting needles were. I said I had seen some cool yarn (Lion Brand) at Ocean State Job Lot and I'd bring some home. And so, the scarf Declan is modeling above was born.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NaNoWriMo Update

Okay, so I have reached over 10,000 words, which still means I am behind if I was really doing 1667 words a day, but I am feeling pretty good about it.

I am confessing both the recent writer's block, and the fact that I reached that milestone because I am hoping that public admissions will make me complete this thing.

Then I won't have to publicly confesses that I didn't meet the goal.

There, there you have my true confessions for today.
I really love the older gravestones around here. There are lots of lost at sea ones, sadly, and here is a Captain's stone.

Isn't this an awesome pattern of lichen?

I would love that on my gravestone.

This is my attempt to be artistic with the camera.


Woo Hoo! The kids are easing back into skating, if not into the middle of the skating rink, yet.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

MIT Flashlight Building

We went to MIT this week to the Edgerton Center. They have an amazing outreach program for the city of Cambridge, and I did a little research and found out that homeschoolers can access it as well. We did a workshop called flashlight building. It was so fun. Maybe we should do it as a funshop at a conference. That'd be fun!

They had to make a complete circuit, but one of the best parts was "shredding the flashlights" and putting them back together so that they would work.

This is the innards of the flashlight. It is hard to see, but there is a light bulb, a circuit, a 9 volt battery and a set of straight and stranded wires all attached.

The finished product. As girly as it can be!!

I was able to make one, too (hooray!!) and I made it yellow and black for Declan in honor of the transformer Bumblebee.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Stella and Ella

Stella is the newest member of our extended dog family. She is Meg and Pat's and she is the sweetest love. She has even melted Bags's heart, they are so cute together. This picture shows her personality perfectly. That is Bags's tail right in the corner of the picture.

In case you are wondering, Stella is a Bassador, which is a Basset Labrador mix. It is an incredibly cute combo, and pretty much just how you would imagine the mix would look. There are tons of photos of bassadors on flikr and you can see one here.

Gobbling Up the Last of the Sunny Fall Days

We went on the Cape Cod Rail Trail today. It was a beautiful morning for a ride. You can see in the path there is quite an leaving of bits and pieces from the trees, but it was not too bumpy for riding.

We all rode three miles (round trip). It was about as far as Declan can do right now, and it was kind of complicated riding. There were more people out there than I thought! I guess lot of people are feeling like they need to have as much outside as possible right now.

It was cold enough to have to wear gloves, but we all just had long sleeved shirts and felt fine.

After, Ella had a craving for Wendy's and since we rarely rarely eat fast food, we stopped for some chicken nuggets. We decided not to do that again as the wicked fast food chemicals began to override the good endorphin flow we were feeling. We had to stop at a park on the way home and get more endorphins flowing.

Ella wants me to show her a math workbook this afternoon. She asked to do it! I'll keep you posted on how that turns out.

Aftermath of the high winds

When this branch (we are calling it "the stick") fell on our house, I was sitting right in front of that middle window. Our lovely sturdy house barely shook.

Tom and Jenny were with us when it happened, and we all tried to down play it as the kids were freaked out enough as it was.
Tree yoga.
These groovy little pumpkins stayed right on the porch all during the storm.

It seems that we were the beneficiaries of Mother Nature's latest extreme winds. In Barnstable, they were 89 miles per hour. And you could tell! We finally have phone/internet/cable again, and our power came on yesterday morning.
On a positive, I was able to get my word count on NaNoWriMo up to over 6600 yesterday without the distractions.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Was that a hurricaine?!?!

I'll post pictures later. I am using the lap top, as the computers are not back up yet. We were really hit with some serious winds last night. A tree branch about 12 feet long hit our house right in between the windows. What a near miss!!

The power is back on, but not the phone or the cable. I wonder how my mom is doing right on the water! There must be a cell tower out, since our cell phones aren't working. but we'll take a drive later to view the damage and to make some calls.

We had a lovely chili dinner last night (I had cooked all morning so there was food ready while I am NaNoWriMo-ing (is that a verb lol). Tom and Jenny braved the walk through the yards to joins us.

All is well and the sun is out.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

November is National Novel Writing Month

Well, I am going to try again. It is National Novel Writing Month again. Ella is actually joining me in this pursuit and we will see how it goes. So far, I have more than 2000 words, which sounds impressive until you calculate that I will have to write 1666 words a day and so today I have to write about 3000 words to keep on schedule.

I am being quite verbose, and every minute thinking of Mr. Burns (both mine and Richie's high school English teacher) saying I had "diarrhea of the pen." I am sure he is rolling over in his grave at all these writers writing for word count and editing in December for clarity.

So, how this will effect my blogging will remain to be seen. I am thinking either I will write a lot to "warm up" (read: procrastinate), or I will actually get to writing and not blog much.

Ella's goal, as a Young Writer, is set at 18,000 words. She has writing nearly 1000, and she had to kill off a character who just wasn't working. My goal is set by NaNoWriMo at 50,000.

Okay, with the near hurricane outside, I am off to try to get to 3000 today.