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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stumbling...




Unfortunately, this is all too true.

Friday, February 27, 2009

How well do YOU compare to students around the world?

So I was stumbling .gov today, just for a few minutes!, and came across the kids.gov site. Thought I'd wander around in there for awhile to see what the government wants our kids to know about US government. There's quite a bit of good info, broken up by grade, so if you have a kid and want to help them understand government...check it out!

One of the things I found interesting on the site is a quiz you can take that compares you to students around the world. You tell it what subject, how many questions, and then take the quiz. It tells you how many you got right and wrong, then how you compare.

Go try it!

Then come back and post a comment with the subject you took, how many questions you had, and how you compare! Let's see those ADULT American scores!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Funny comic strip

This comic strip is from last Sunday's paper. I'm just now getting a chance to scan it in, but just HAD to since it reminds me so much of my brother Patterico. See if you can figure out why. :o)







AND FEEL FREE TO LEAVE FUNNY COMMENTS! They're my favorite thing about blogging!

Super Mom!

Okay, I'm not REALLY super mom. Nor do I wish to be...too much pressure! But I do have fun with some things that makes others THINK I'm super mom. I make my own yogurt, I make most of our bread, but tonight...tonight I did something extra special for the first time.

I MADE HOMEMADE TORTILLAS!!! Yes, homemade corn tortillas. Not store-bought. Not frozen throw in the pan and "cook" them homemade, but honest to goodness homemade corn tortillas.

They were not pretty. Next time I'll take a picture to post for the full effect. Next time I'll use a tortilla press, because now that I know how EASY it is to make them I'll be doing it all the time.

They were mighty tasty! And man, what a sense of accomplishment. I made tortillas.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why I'm not a Libertarian...

This picture shows one of the reasons I'm not a complete Libertarian. Sometimes we need a little government oversight...




An electrical pole with precariously mounted meters is photographed at a village in the central province of Quang Ngai, Vietnam

Picture: AFP/GETTY

Welcome to Patterico's readers!




My brother has a website which is pretty widely read. He linked my new blog on his today, so I'd just like to say a great big WELCOME to all of his readers. Thank you for checking out my blog! I know this is different than his blog, and I hope you enjoy the "lighter" side of blogging while you're here!

Welcome!

Stumble...

I found this crazy web site, service...not quite sure what to call it. It's called STUMBLE and it helps link you to web sites you might be interested in. They put a bar at the top of your internet web browser, as well as send you emails with links you might like. Now, I'm not into the service so far, EXCEPT...

On the "stumble bar", there is a button you can push that takes you RANDOMLY to any .gov website. Every time you push the button you go to another .gov page! So cool. Yesterday I tried this for the first time. I pushed the button, went to the NOAA ship tracker website. They track every ship they have and you can look at where it was in the past, present, or where it is going!

Pushed the button again, got a local government webpage for Seattle.gov. Nothing interesting there.

Pushed the button a third time (thinking, THIS is my limit for wasting my time on stumbling around random government pages) and was sent to...drum roll please...Recovery.gov. Yep, that's right, the recovery stimulus bill Accountability and Transparency page. Well...now we're getting somewhere!

While the House and Senate were deciding on this bill, I perused it just a bit. In fact, I wrote about it in an earlier post. I have NOT looked over the final bill that was signed by our President, so I thought I'd look it over since I was randomly sent to its webpage. Well, I tried. I went to the link. Chose to open it. Waited. Waited. NOTHING. Tried again. Waited. Waited. Looked at my downloads...it was there. Still, nothing. Oh well, it MUST be close to what I read intially, RIGHT? (wink, wink!) And of course, there are NO earmarks in this bill so it is completely straightforward and I would have no problems with it. RIGHT?

My question is, if I can't open it and read it (and although I'm no computer genius, I am fairly computer capable)...what about those people who are less computer literate than me? Oh well, let's leave it to those people we voted on to represent us. Oh wait! I didn't vote for THEM. Hopefully they'll still try to represent ME and not just a limited portion of their constituents.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Video of Family Pics

Shanon Bell's Photography

New Family Pics

We had some family pictures taken over the weekend. Our friend Shanon Bell is breaking into the photography industry and used us as guinea pigs! Here are the first round of what she took!













Monday, February 23, 2009

A Song to Tickle Your Funnybone...

Be prepared to laugh! JMonster, who is 2 years old, sings his favorite song. This isn't his major rock and roll version...maybe I'll add that one, too. But he LOVES the song America and wanted everyone to hear him sing it. Go ahead! It's less than a minute long, but will keep you smiling!

video

A transcript for those of you that don't speak preschooler:

"AAAAhhhh...Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the greatest show on the Earth. I have a song for you.

Um, I have a question for you...

whisper, whisper"

Swizz responds,"yes, you can sing America..."

JMonster sings America (with his own twists on the words)!

Finding out We Have a Kid with Food Allergies


When JMonster was just at a year old, he was a scrawny little thing. Tall for his age (at about 85th% at that point) he was not even ON the chart for his weight. My twin sister had plumped all 3 of her kiddos up using peanut butter, so we decided to try it out. Our first attempt to give JMonster pb&j was a failure...in more ways than one! He took one bite and spit it out. He HATED it! I couldn't believe it. I LOVE peanut butter. Absolutely could eat peanut butter, as well as almond butter, walnuts, almonds, and almost any nut, every day for almost every meal. So what was I doing having a kid that didn't like peanut butter?

After we gave him the bite of peanut butter, we took him upstairs for his bath. By this time (just a few minutes, actually) his face had turned red. Hmmmm...that's interesting. We undressed him, and noticed his chest was red. Even more interesting. We started bathing him and noticed his eyes swelling. Uh, oh, get the Benadryl! (And, we'd better not do THAT again.)

JMonster didn't walk until he was 16 months old. Around the time he was 14 or 15 months old we visited our family in Texas and he spent most of his time cruising the houses behind a push toy. One hot Texas afternoon he was pushing one of his toys around his Aunt Holly's house while Aunt Holly, G-Ma, and I were trying to get ready for a dinner party. He fell as he walked by his G-ma in the kitchen, so she bent down and helped him back up and off he went, pushing that push toy through the house. A few minutes later I noticed some hand prints on JMonsters arms and shoulders. They looked almost blistered! "Mom, what did you have on your hands when you picked up JMonster?" "I'm toasting the...WALNUTS. Oh, no. The walnuts! He must be allergic to those, too!"

When we got back to Atlanta we took JMonster to see his doc who sent him on to see an allergist. The doc did a skin test, but even before the results came back declared him allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts. We were sent for a blood draw so they could get a better idea of the severity of his allergies (this was a horrendous experience I can share more about later), which came back as positive.

So now we know, JMonster is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. He reacts to small amounts, as well as to foods that have been manufactured in plants with these things. He's reacted at a local jumping room...they serve uncrustable pb&j sandwiches as one of their party fares. He's also reacted to foods that aren't labeled as being a problem at all. Along with the peanut allergy, JMonster is also allergic to dogs. Dogs have a protein in their saliva that is similar to peanuts, making the connection between peanut allergies and dog allergies very strong.

We are now one of those families that carries Benadryl, epi-pens (more than one at a time, thank you!), eye drops, and an inhaler. JMonster wears a medic alert bracelet, and he gets zyrtec twice daily (especially now that spring is arriving...he also has seasonal allergies!). We pray that JMonster will either outgrow these allergies, or that the researchers will one day come up with a complete cure. Because, I'll tell you...food allergies stink!

I'd love to hear your experiences with food allergies and allergies in kids in general!

Friday, February 20, 2009

My views on politics (part 3)

I was driving home from getting my yearly physical and an MRI on an injured foot (I'll share about this in a later post) and couldn't believe the number of law enforcement officials out on the highway. Parked on the side of the road, driving...they were EVERYWHERE; more cops than I've seen on a non-holiday afternoon in a long time!

Then I saw the traffic update billboards.

There is an Amber Alert for two young girls from South Carolina, apparently abducted yesterday after their mother was stabbed in a domestic dispute. I didn't know the details at the time, just that the children were abducted and last seen in a tan Isuzu Trooper. My thoughts immediately went to the child(now I know children) and how I hoped and prayed they are safe. Admittedly, it's always possible to find these children safe and sound and that they will be returned to their families, but it seems we hear more and more about that NOT being the case...and I feared that it would end poorly this time as well.

So, what does this story have to do with politics? Weeellll...I think I'll share my opinions on crimes against the innocent (especially children), rehabilitation, and the death penalty since these are the things that crossed my mind while thinking about the abduction and the abductor.

It is my STRONGLY HELD opinion that there is a special place in HELL for people that hurt children! An even lower level for people that purposely hurt their own kids. I'm not one for overusing the death penalty, but in cases where children are involved...BRING IT ON. I'm also not one that is usually for revenge, but I think justice would be met if the family of the victims were allowed to follow an eye for an eye type of retaliation. I say this, and part of me means it, and another part of me is shouting that this would not help and justice WILL be served...by our Lord when they stand in judgment. But is that good enough for me? What if it were JMonster? How would I feel THEN? Would I be able to forgive, or would I want to hurt them in the same way they hurt my baby? I don't know. I've never been there. But it makes me ill to think that anyone that can do this is allowed to keep walking this Earth.

Do I think criminals can be rehabilitated? Absolutely. Some of them, but not all of them. Are there people I think are just evil and beyond helping? Yes. I do. People that have no regard for human life, for others, and sometimes even for themselves.

Do I believe in the death penalty? Yep, I do. If I weren't a believer, I would think that putting these type of people in a huge concrete silo in the middle of the desert with no food and no water and no way out would be too good for them. Sticking a needle in their arms and watching them quietly go to sleep permanently? No problem with it whatsoever.

This may sound harsh, and to some of you it may sound very much unlike me, but I believe in justice. Not the type the law hands out, for much of the time law and justice are not the same, but justice where people get what they deserve. That being said, I am grateful that our God DOESN'T hand out justice that I deserve. For as hard as I try, I fall short. He hands out mercy, for that is what I need.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My views on politics (part 2) UPDATED!

I took a fun little test today. Answered the questions as quickly as I could...trying to go with my first impression. Here are my results...I am so close to being in the middle of the compass, if it were any closer people would begin to doubt I really took the test! I'm not sure how I fell more on the left than the right...maybe I should retake it and deliberate on the questions a little longer. I'm thinking Patterico would be disappointed.



They also had a compass showing where past "leaders" fell...



If you'd like to take the test, go here http://www.politicalcompass.org/index ...and HAVE FUN!!

UPDATE: Oops, I put the wrong graph on earlier...here are my results!

Laundry Disaster...

In our house, I gather and separate all the laundry, wash it, lay it out (fold some of it) and The Rev puts it all away. A decent arrangement. This morning I went to change the laundry...JMonster had wet his sheets overnight (not a big deal, but needs to be dealt with quickly)...and move some of his clothes I had washed last night from the washer to the dryer. As I was moving them, I noticed some rather unusual lint all over them. Now, I've forgotten my fair share of tissues in pockets, but I was thinking that I must have left an entire BOX of tissue to get this much lint. I grabbed another pair of pants, and there...hiding behind the pants, was an absolutely huge, water-logged PULL UP! It had gotten so oversaturated in the wash that it had exploded all over the laundry. AAAAhhhhh! So I gathered the clothes from the dryer and put them back in the washer (after removing the offending pull up), and am rewashing the clothes with plain water. I'm hoping that all of that gel doesn't clog the washer, but is washed away. If it is still there, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do!

Just checked the laundry...all of the gel is gone! Wahoo!



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bad Fish...

(Is it bad to post more than once in a day? Hope not!)

I had this brilliant idea to fix a Mediterranean pilaf, tossed salad, and baked fish for dinner tonight. I made a wonderful marinade, fixed the pilaf, marinated the fish, and baked it. Everything was done just as JR walked in the door from work...perfect timing! I started to plate everything, took a little taste of the fish...and it was BAD! HORRIBLE! And I don't mean, "that marinade isn't my favorite" kind of bad. I mean rancid! UGH! I don't know what was wrong with it, but I'll tell you that (even though I've never actually tasted ammonia) it tasted like ammonia...or some other kind of chemical you'd find under your sink.

This is the second time this has happened to me this year using fish I have frozen and then thawed. I am now convinced that if I ever want to cook fish again, and boy do we eat a lot of fish, I am going to buy it fresh the day I cook it. Never to freeze again.

My mother says I should buy one of those vacuum seal food fresh systems and this wouldn't happen. Hmmmm...maybe she has a point.

An introduction to my views on politics (part 1)

As I mentioned in my intro to this blog, I am not typically a political person. I tend to avoid all sources of news, and put my head in the sand when it comes to things that might make me feel icky. This year, though, I decided I needed to be an adult and take an interest in the political campaigns...to really dig into the issues and vote based on what I found. So, I did.

Today, while eating a "picnic" lunch with little JMonster (this is what he has asked me to call him, so from henceforth JM will be JMonster!) I saw a bit of CNN on the flatscreens in the cafe. I watched our President arrive on his plane in Denver to sign the new stimulus bill...something that has me so disheartened I want to cry. I've looked over a lot of this bill (in the form passed by the Senate) and see so many things that are unnecessary add-ons, things that are ALREADY IN OUR BUDGET!!!, that I want to cry. Why? Because my 2 year old son is going to be paying for this. Because there were many, many ways to help the economy other than adding this many zeros to our deficit. Because I do not believe that any of the representatives of the people really read what they were voting for.

Now, here we are sitting in a cafe eating a lunch that we brought from home, and all I can think is that my son, my small precious boy, doesn't have a clue what is being done to him this very day. To him, his friends, and their children. All for programs that really aren't stimulus programs, but social programs that have been denied by the people for ages and are being pushed through in the form of an "emergency". An emergency? Can't we take a few more weeks to really review our options and come up with the BEST plan? Or even a GOOD plan?

What do all of you think? Have you looked over this stimulus bill...really? Do you know what is in it? How do you feel about OUR money being thrown around like this, with so little planning and very little regard for other options?

More on my views on politics in the next edition (part 2) of An introduction to my views on politics...and who knows when that will be!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sad Times


Dear friends of ours lost their son this weekend in a tragic accident. We pray for their family and friends as we all mourn the loss of Charles Knox Alford. This family has been through a lot this past year, as Charles' father was in a tractor accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. You can read their story in this month's Reader's Digest.





CHARLES KNOX ALFORD November 30, 1992-February 13, 2009
Charles Knox Alford, beloved son and brother, passed away suddenly on February 13, 2009, as a result of a truly tragic car accident. Charles, age 16, was the son of Mary and Gene Alford and the adored little brother of John and Bess. Charles was born at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas on November 30, 1992. He was the third child, the cherished baby of the Alford clan and he grew up encompassed by the love of his family. Charles, known as "Charlie Bear" by his family and "Chico" by his friends, was a kind, loyal and exuberant young man. Charles always had a smile on his face and greeted everyone he met with a happy, positive outlook and warm spirit. He was loved by all who had the honor of knowing him.

You can read the rest of this post at http://legacy.com/houstonchronicle/DeathNotices.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonID=124138021

I'm Starting a Blog!

So I've decided to start a blog! Not that anyone will read it or care about the ramblings I will put on here, but at least I will have one more outlet for all of this garbage I carry around in my head. One more way to process my days without attacking my husband as he walks in the door in order to tell him every single thing that happened to me that day. Okay, so maybe he'll still hear every detail...only time will tell. :)

So, who am I? I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, and a friend. I'm a stay at home mom with a 2 year old son, JM, who keeps my days busy (and sometimes my nights, too!), helps me to stay young, empties my wallet, and drives me crazy all at the same time! I'm typically not political (I'll explain my thoughts on politics in a later post), but have found myself more politically oriented these last few months. I believe in protecting our environment, in eating (fairly) healthy and organic as much as possible, and in exercise as a way of life. I am a believer. This doesn't mean I'm religious, it just means I have a personal relationship with my creator.

Hmmmm...what else? I help out at JM's preschool the two days he is there every week. I "float", which means I pretty much do whatever they tell me to do. Mostly I sub for teachers that are out, but I've been known to scrub a pretty mean table, as well as can shred documents like no other!

That's about it for my first post. Just wanted to get something up to make it official...I HAVE A BLOG!!!