Monday, October 28, 2013


TJ came down for the weekend
and got to run his first official 5K.

He was the 25th person to come in with a time of 26 minutes,
and Brandon crossed the finish line 10 people later.
(which made me worry a bit; he usually beats his bub by a few seconds.
He actually wasn't feeling very well 
and his lips were white after the race.
Tyler took him in to sit down while T grabbed him a granola bar.
He was looking more like himself in just a few minutes. whew!)

The four kiddos ran the 1K fun run.
Jeremiah and Josiah had wanted to run the 5K,
but I wouldn't let them since we hadn't trained...
(Speaking of not training - Brandon didn't get to run even one time in the seven weeks before the race,
since Robotics had taken up pretty much all of his time.) 

Josiah really wanted to win a medal,
so he gave it his all.
He was the first runner to cross the finish line,
followed closely by Jeremiah!
they weren't handing out any medals for the 1K,
except for the little plastic ones they gave to everyone.

Lexi was pretty serious about running, too.
TJ ran with her
and at one point she told him, "Step on it! We've got to beat that little girl!"
Silly nut!
I have no clue why my children are so competitive ;-)

Lily wasn't sure she wanted to run after all, 
but decided at the last minute that she would.
(I think maybe she thought she could have more granola bars that way ;-)


I'm proud of all of my kiddos!
Good job, Guys!!
kiss kiss, hug hug

Sunday, October 27, 2013

T's quilt ~ finally finished!

Over the years,
TJ has let me know reminded me, multiple times,
that he still was in need of a quilt.

I had been collecting fabric for a quilt for him for awhile,
but when I was about ready to actually start working on it,
I figured it might be smart to ask what kind of a quilt he had in mind.
Which turned out to be a good idea :-)
(and since it wasn't a surprise, I got to keep him updated on my progress, which was fun)

Instead of a bed quilt, he wanted a large throw for his living room,
so he could snuggle under it to watch a  movie or play video games.
His furniture is pretty neutral, but he likes bright colors,
so we decided to marry the two.

In February
I ordered fabric (kona solids) and designed his quilt based loosely on one that I'd spotted on Pinterest.

The top came together in just a few weeks,
and the back  - a vintage sheet that he loved, along with some pieced solids - came together nicely, too.

Then, the quilting...

He wanted some hand-quilting, 
so I hand quilted the very center, the outer border, some of each corner, 
and just a few random blocks through-out the quilt.
That part went well.

I ended up ordering a silicone lubricant - to actually spray on the fabric (that made me nervous - let me tell you!)
and then a thread conditioner to soak my thread in.
I had to go super slow, and I'm still not overly thrilled with the quilting,
and not even super confidant in it holding up long term
since I had lots of tension issues, too.
(It'd be fine and then all of a sudden, stitches were loose again....)
If some of the machine quilting does come out, since every piece was quilted individually,
it won't be a big deal to replace the machine quilting
with hand-quilting
as it's needed.

I think I've improved a lot as a quilter since starting this quilt
(I started, and finished, this one, and I've got a paperpiecing project - both of these helped my accuracy, I think)
so when I look closely, I see all the imperfections, and what I wish I'd done better.
But when I step back, and see it as a whole - and as a quilt for a young man - I like it quite a bit.

there ya have it 
 ~  T's quilt  ~ 
designed and carefully created with love for a son I love so much
and am so proud of.

I'm entering this machine pieced, hand and machine quilted 70" x 84" quilt in Amy's awesome Bloggers' Quilt Festival in the throw category.

And I'm still collecting fabrics for my original quilt idea for T. 
You know how it is - you get an idea in yer head...

Love you, my boy!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Big Red

My suspicions were correct.

looky here  :-)
(sorry; I can't figure out how to get my video here)

Saturday, October 19, 2013


For the past six weeks,
Tyler and Brandon
(as well as the other 8 members of the team and their dads, and sometimes moms)
have spent hours and hours (and hours!)
designing and building (and for the parents, facilitating and helping build)
a robot.

It's not all been smooth sailing
and as of last night, they were still finishing up the building and programming,
so they spent very little time actually practicing with or using the robot.

this was taken Thursday night ~ they had to take the bot
completely apart because of a problem with a center piece.
Brandon said, 
"It's pretty sad. If we don't go on to Regionals, our robot will be disassembled the day after it got finished."
"We spent 6 wks building a robot
for  5 - 3 minute battles." 

our tiny little homeschool team,
The Other Guys
fought hard and played well 
and won 2nd place in robotics in the Best Robotics Competition 2013
and will advance to the regional championship in December!!

We're pretty proud of our team!
They worked really hard, learned a ton, and did an excellent job.
They've figured out a few things that they need to do differently in the future.
For instance: as with all teams, it took a few weeks for everyone to get comfortable with each other
and figure out their roles within the team.
Getting the team together earlier
and doing some team building exercises and a small project 
would allow them to jump right into designing the robot as soon as the assignment is given at the competition kick off.

There was sooo much more to the competition as a whole than just the robots,
and we actually didn't do real super in some of those areas.
Not horrible, mind you, but we fell a little short of excellent....
Fellow students and fans loved Tog's booth;
they had a couple of mini-bots and a little game set up, similar to the real robot competition that people could play,
but the judges didn't really feel like it really inspired people to want to go into maths and sciences.

bad picture - but you can see some of their booth...

And they didn't document their work enough.
We also didn't have enough fans, in their opinion,
and the fans that were in attendance 
apparently weren't loud and flamboyant enough for their liking.
I'm not sure they took in to account the fact that our team was quite small, with only 9 members.

* a few of the teams brought along marching bands (we were competing against public school teams, as well as another homeschool team) and they would march around the stadium.  Lexi wanted to join 'the parade'. The students were sweet to her and high-fived her. One girl gave her a little pompom, and another time, she just went up and marched along side a boy and he held her hand for a few minutes and marched with her. 

yet another horrible picture taken from clear across the arena - but you can see how happy she was to be in the 'parade'

As far as the robot competition goes:
in a (very small) nutshell
There are 4 'playing fields'.

each color is a separate playing field

Only the driver and spotter (the one who controls where the robot goes, whereas the driver controls what the robot does)
are allowed on the playing field during the competition. 
(They can have 1 assistant to help them get the robot set up - they've got 30 seconds for that)

They use the robot to move rods and hangers and puzzle pieces to earn points.
Ultimately they can 'collect' enough of these pieces to 'build a computer'
but I don't think even the #1 team got that far.

I don't mean to brag, but this handsome guy was a big asset to the team :-)

in this one - the robot has a puzzle piece

here he's got a rod

it's in!!! 10 points!

aannddd ~ times up. Stop!

Team Tog had lots of trouble with their robot and various electrical issues.
The other teams were all very helpful in offering assistance and parts.
So even though it was a competition - there was lots of camaraderie, even among the teams, not just within the team.
There were also a couple of teams there who had so much trouble with their bot,
they didn't even get to compete,
but still the hung around, and worked on their robot - exemplifying perseverance.
I'm kinda sad for them. How bummy!

All in all, I think it was a very good experience for Brandon
(although, admittedly exhausting for the fam)
and he'll likely want to participate if our homeschool group puts together a team next year.
But right now,
he's got some more work to do
to get ready for Regionals...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Alfredo, perfected

I made 
what I think
was a perfect Alfredo sauce this evening.
before I forget how I made it, I'm writing it here.
We tend to lose scraps of paper magneted to the fridge.

I should interject - Tony once taught Tyler to make a very delicious Alfredo sauce,
but neither of us can recall exactly what he was taught.
I only can remember that it used egg yolks,
and being as my chickens are of a rather stingy sort,
I need all of my eggs, with yolks intact
for other eating.

This sauce was super easy;
I just turned the burner on low and tended it
while I was making the rest of dinner
(Philly wraps, if you must know, made with planned-over roast. Yum!)

In a small saucepan, I put
1 stick of butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz cream cheese

When it was melty and mixed, I added 1 c. of cream.
I thought we might need more liquid,
but I felt like things might be getting just a wee bit heavy,
so I added 1/2 c. almond milk, unsweetened, and unflavored, of course.

When that was all whisked nicely together
I added a cup of parmesean/romano blend cheese ~ just the dry stuff in a jar from Aldi.
and a few shakes of red peper flakes.
I let that cook on low until we were ready for it.
The texture, the aroma, the flavor
- all of it -

We ate it on spaghetti squash ~ the four weren't overly thrilled with it.
I thought it was positively scrumptious
and combined all of their leftovers in one bowl
and will eat them tomorrow :-)

(Just so we're clear - it was the squash they weren't fond of. The sauce, they seemed to like very much.)

Monday, October 14, 2013

welcome to another episode of - she should have been blonde

More than once, twice, thrice,
I have turned the water on to fill up the sink,
left the kitchen to do something 'real quick'
and come back much later to a veeery wet kitchen.

I'm no longer allowed to leave the kitchen when the faucet is on.
I forget.


We have a little spot in the kitchen, sort of above the sink, hidden behind a board that runs across the ceiling between the wall cabinets,
where it leaks when it rains.
For months, I waited for the the ceiling to drop; it was only a matter of time.
Sure enough, about a month or so ago, when Tyler was gone,
several chunks of ceiling and bits of shingles came crashing down into the sink.
I cleaned up the mess
and then thought it'd be smart of me to gather up all the dangling pieces of drywall off of the ceiling
before they, too, fell down
and made another mess.
Of course - I made a mess gathering them all up.

I waited several days (until Tyler would have a chance to do something about it)
before I even mentioned it to him.
He wasn't overly worried about it.
I, on the other hand, though not worried, per say,
am not overly thrilled with a gaping hole into the attic/outside
just above my head (sort of).


Tonight, after a hurried dinner,
Tyler and Brandon left for Robotics
and the kids went outside to play in the rain,
I put the drain plug in
and turned on the hot water to soak the dishes.

When I went to get more dishes from the table,
I found some scraps to feed to the cats,
so I took them outside.
The scraps. The cats were already out there.
When I came back in,
I set about clearing more of the table.
At which time 
I heard water in the kitchen
and thought, "Well, CRAP! That ceiling  and roof has completely given way
 and it's raining in my house!"

I ran in there
and saw
that I was still filling up the sink.

Monday, October 7, 2013

there really is a first time for everything

I went to peek on Lex' and she was still awake.
Thinking I might get an early bedtime out of a napless day,
I told her she could go ahead and get up.
She said, "I think I should lay down a little longer.
But I can get up when I want, okay?"


(p.s. she fell asleep)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

little nut

I tend to talk to, and about, other drivers.
Stupid drivers, specifically.

I become a bit more gracious when there's a new driver in the house, though,
because it helps me think perhaps that stupid driver
isn't really stupid,
so much as new.

Last night, I took the four (that's what I call them now that they aren't 'the little ones' - 'the four') to the movies.
It was the first time for the girls to go to a theater.
We saw Turbo, which I thought was cute and well done.
I think I like it more than Cars, even.
But none of that is relevant to the post....

Driving home from the movie,
 after we got icecream cones, using the kids' free coupons earned during the library's summer reading program, (which is also irrelevant)
we were behind a 
- shall we say -
less than stellar driver.
He (she?) was driving under the speed limit
and slowed even more when passing oncoming traffic.
I wondered aloud what was wrong with that driver.

Josiah, knowing that it is difficult for me to see at night without my glasses,
"Maybe he forgot his glasses."
To which Jeremiah replied, with a grin you could hear, 
"Or maybe" he drug the word out,
"he had too many glasses."
"Glasses of beer."