September 29, 2008

Hockey Player in the Making ???

I don't have time to share all of our fabulous vacation photos yet, but I just had to post this shot of Chase looking every bit the part of a hockey player.  He lost his first tooth about a week ago and then got a black eye to match. Pretty rough looking.

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I had to add this one too since it's so much less hockey player/brawler.  I love that kid's lashes.  Wish he'd gotten them from me.

If you're wondering what that mysterious black silhouette is in the bottom of the photo, it's the new Batman toy from McDonalds. You too can own one for the price of a happy meal and a trip to Phoenix. 

September 20, 2008

Fall Comes to the High Desert

I am loving these warm fall days.  Tonight as my dad was finishing up the new step and rail for the front door, I looked out to find this view.  The green field really improves the view from my porch.  Those pods actually did the job...not by themselves, but with a lot of manual (and sometimes woman) labor, the fields are now growing wheat.  We're keeping our fingers crossed that the Canadian Geese will return.

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I was so exited to get a new screen/storm door.  I had imagined it keeping all of the bugs out  in the summer, and the cold in the winter.  Well, the main thing it keeps out right now, is Chase.  He's having trouble getting it open and then maneuvering himself inside due to the spring closure.  So my dad widened the step and added a hand rail.  What a wonderful grandpa...the list of home improvement projects he's done at our house is not short.  One day I'll post pics of the playhouse he helped me build with neat little handrails for Chase.  But you'll have to wait until I either plant grass in the backyard or swallow my pride and show the world our cute, little playhouse surrounded by ten-foot joke.

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This picture made me laugh.  Parker and Hayes had been playing down at the barn and came home with syrup splattered on them.  We're not talking  Mrs. Butterworth's.  We feed this nasty smelling syrup that has vitamins and minerals in it to the cows.  Most everyone who works on the ranch has had their own run-in with the syrup. There must be a puddle of it down at the barn because the boys denied "getting in" the syrup; they merely stood on opposite sides of the syrup puddle and threw rocks into it, hence the splatters. I made them jump right into the bath and kind of forgot about them.  Hayes came and found me and wanted to show me something.  He was so proud of how he had dressed he and Parker in identical outfits.  Peas in a pod.

September 16, 2008

Tales From Shakespeare

In one of my home-school posts, I mentioned that you could find these tales online for free.  My mom-in-law Trish had a copy of the book and loaned it to me.  Hayes loves it...and so do I! (as a read-aloud) We finished Macbeth the other day and Hayes was asking for more. I do have to explain lots of it, but sometimes I'll go back and read it to him again after the explanation, and he gets it on his own.  As he gets used to to the language, he's understanding more and more on his own. I found it on Amazon for $6.99 with free shipping.  I think it is well worth it.

I was talking about this book with Kristen and she said she had read that Charles and Mary Lamb are brother and sister and that Mary murdered their mother.  Sounds like something out of Shakespeare, right?  I found that there are several books written about her and her brother including Mad Mary Lamb and The Devil Kissed Her: The Story of Mary Lamb.  You can find a list of their works and the works about them here.

The Office Trivia Challenge

I admit, I'm a true Office junkie.  I blame my Platt family for getting me addicted.  Spence and I usually wait until the season is over and then watch the whole thing on DVD, but I don't think I'm going to be able to wait this time.  The new season starts Sept. 25th, so in honor, I've posted the link to the Office Trivia Challenge.  Feel free to post me your scores.  I plan on challenging Spence as soon as he gets back from New Mexico. :)

Click on Dwight to be routed to the trivia challenge.

September 14, 2008

Outdoor Furniture---To have or not to have?

If any of you have dogs or cats or both, you'll know why the decision to have or not to have outdoor furniture is such a serious question.  I have been eyeing the great deals on a couple of sets at Walmart this summer.  They've come out with the Better Homes & Gardens line that has some really nice looking outdoor sofa sets.  But alas, do you buy a nice set just to have your pets destroy the cushions and possibly more?  Remember, I have 3 dogs, 2 cats, and 4 (yes we're down to 4 from 6) puppies that have taken over my porch.  My parents bought this porch swing at the beginning of the summer and my kids fell in love with it.  So when it went on clearance a couple of weeks ago, I bought it and jammed it into the stratus and brought it home with high hopes that I could protect it from the animals.  I put it together and decided that until the puppies are gone, we'll just keep the cushions in the house and sit on the canvas.  So far so good.  Amazingly enough, Daisy has stayed off of it (This is the dog who less than a year ago climbed on top of my car and chewed up my XM antennae) The cats get on it a little, but I've got plans for them.  And as for me and the boys.....WE LOVE IT.  It's not as cute as the little green wicker set I really wanted, but we have spent hours just like you see us below, hanging out on our swing.  Maybe someday we can sit on the cushions! :)

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"Done Gathering"---(White Corrals, Sept '07)

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The Round Pen

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left to right: JC, Trey, Spence and Daisy in the front (the dog)

Apache County Fair

It's the week of the fair.  The weather has been beautiful. I meant to take my camera and get pictures of Hayes and I riding the Inverter, but forgot. Now all I have  to remember the ride is a massive headache.  Hayes, Chase and I also rode the ferris wheel.  Not your average, slow-moving ferris wheel.  It was little and fast and actually made your stomach drop when you came over the top.  The kids were scared at first, but were soon laughing.  I wasn't sure how Chase would react, but he did great. Where was Spence during all of this, you may ask.  Standing with his feet planted firmly on the ground looking up! :)

Hayes got a blue ribbon for the wheat bread he made with Grandma Trish.  He was very proud (somehow he got a blue and Parker got a red out of the same batch they did together :) and has been planning with Grandma for next year. They ran out of prize money, so he'll have to wait for his three dollars.  He took it surprisingly well for a kid who LOVES money.

I think our favorite thing this year was the entertainment.  The junior high kids sang "One Tin Soldier" and it reminded me of  Marcie teaching me that song so I would know it before I reached the grade to sing it.  She taught me all the music songs at night when we were lying in bed.  Hayes loved the high-school singing group from RV until they did a song about kissing and hugging :) On Friday night we sat for about an hour enjoying the mariachi singers.  Unfortunately they didn't play El Paso City which used to be Hayes's favorite to sing in his high, 3-year-old voice.

We ate curly fries and funnel cake. We got the turkey to gobble at us and Hayes got the champion rabbit to eat out of his hand.  Chase's favorite was the pigs.  He talks about them all year long.  Every time we drive by the fairgrounds on the way to my mom's, he points and snorts and I have to tell him there aren't any pigs until the's a long wait when he's doing this in October :)

The only picture I got to remember it all is one that I hope we won't regret ten years down the road.  My kids LOVE tattoos (temporary of course).  So when there was a booth offering airbrushed tattoos for ONLY $10 (yikes), Hayes started making plans. He struck up a deal with me to pay part if he would pay part and got this lovely symbol across his scrawny chest (his favorite place to put tattoos which is fine by me since it's covered up when he wears a shirt....which is at least half of the time...OK, maybe a third of the time)

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Random Happenings

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Chase got a haircut....which if you know Chase and haircuts, is a major accomplishment.  My mom and I started it one day and got a bunch of the length off, then Spence finished it up a few days later with the buzzers.  A team effort and no one got hurt this time :)

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I thought this was a cute pic of him reading a book and turning the pages by himself with two hands (bilateral movement is good for fine motor coordination)

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Spence practicing the piano.  (Usually right around the time I'm trying to put the kids to bed)  I had to crop the photo since he was practicing in his underwear :) (Now I know where Hayes gets it from)

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A couple of weeks ago, Trish helped Kris and I bottle pickled beets.  Why does it look like Trish is doing all of the work? If you've never tried them; they're the best.

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Here's the recipe from Farm Journal.

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The boys (Britton, Chase and Charlie) cruised the CAT out on the lawn.

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Hayes and Parker spun themselves sick on the "toddler" swing.

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And they climbed on their favorite toy in the yard...the swamp cooler.  Charlie had a run-in with the corner of a dresser earlier in the week.

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The Chlarsons came for dinner last weekend.  What a mess of kids and food :) That's the way we like it. (from front to back: Parker, Hayes, Brin, Elise, and Chase) (And Doug on the left)  That reminds me, I saw Norma at the fair.

September 6, 2008

Environmentalism, Globalism, Climate Alarmism, Socialism, Communism & Fascism: "isms" might ought to be the next four-letter word :)

OK, so I'll try not to turn my blog into a political debate, but I was reading my favorite magazine of all time, RANGE, and thought these quotes were too good not to share.  You can read a lot of the articles online at their web site.

"America's new mission in which it increasingly sees itself as the protector and provider of every citizen in the world is a self-destructive endeavor that, if continued, will not only complete the transformation of our great republic to a global empire but will lead to national bankruptcy and the loss of our cherished liberties"

--Michael E Telzrow, The New American, March 17, 2008 ***to read the rest of this article, click here.

"Here are my questions: In 1970, when environmentalists were making predictions of manmade global cooling and the threat of an ice age and millions of Americans starving to death, what kind of government policy should have been undertaken to prevent such a calamity? When Ehrlich predicted that England would not exist in the year 2000, what steps should the British Parliament have taken in 1970 to prevent such a dire outcome? In 1939, when the U.S. Department of the Interior warned that we only had oil supplies for another 13 years, what actions should President Roosevelt have taken? Finally, what makes us think that environmental alarmism is any more correct now that they have switched their tune to manmade global warming?"
--Walter Williams

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
--H. L. Mencken, American author and humorist 1880-1965

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." -- Adolph Hitler 1889-1945

"I see the current danger in environmentalism and especially in its strongest version, climate alarmism. Feeling very strongly about it and trying to oppose it was the main reason for putting my book together, originally in Czech language, in the spring of 2007. It has also been the driving force behind my active involvement in the current Climate Change Debate and behind my being the only head of state who in September 2007 at the UN Climate Change Conference in New York City openly and explicitly challenged the undergoing global warming hysteria.
My central concern is – in a condensed form – captured in the subtitle of this book. I ask: “What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?” My answer is: “it is our freedom.” I may also add “and our prosperity”

"My deep frustration has been exponentially growing in recent years by witnessing the fact that almost everything has already been said, that all rational arguments have been used and that global warming alarmism is still marching on. It could be even true that “We are now at the stage where mere facts, reason, and truth are powerless in the face of the global warming propaganda” (R. McKittrick, private correspondence)." (link to this article)

"In the past 150 years (at least since Marx), the socialists have been very effectively destroying human freedom under humane and compassionate slogans, such as caring for man, ensuring social equality, and fostering social welfare. The environmentalists are doing the same under equally noble-minded slogans, expressing concern about nature more than about people (recall their radical motto 'Earth first'). In both cases, the slogans have been (and still are) just a smokescreen. In both cases, the movements were (and are) completely about power, about the hegemony of the 'chosen ones' (as they see themselves) over the rest of us, about the imposition of the only correct worldview (their own), about the remodeling of the world." (link to this article)

--Vaclav Klaus: President of the Czech Republic


"Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, who survived the communist system and now leads a country that emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet empire, is warning of a new form of communism threatening human freedom and progress.

Like former President Ronald Reagan, who developed his under-standing of the communist menace by fighting the communists in Hollywood, Klaus suffered under them during the communist era in Czechoslovakia. Because of this experience, however, he came to understand how Soviet-style communism, which collapsed as an empire and created the circumstances for the emergence of the Czech Republic as a free and independent nation, never really died as an ideology and that it has imitators in the West.

His book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles, published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, charges that the movement to "save" the environment has been taken over by ideologues who favor total government control over our lives. He says it can be considered a form of communism, socialism or even fascism. Whatever you call it, the result will be the extinction of human freedom." --Tuesday, June 10, 2008, "Environmentalism as the New Face of Communism", By Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media

Blue Planet in Green Shackles


"Once government gets its hands on new power, it is never relinquished."

--Henry Lamb, chairman of Sovereignty International

for more articles by Henry Lamb, click here.

(By the way...both presidential candidates promote the "isms"...wish I could vote for Klaus)

September 3, 2008

One Puppy Gone :(

Hayes helped me deliver Big Boy to Jeremy Platt's parents so they could take him down to Phoenix to his new owners.  Hayes was hesitant to leave but finally got in the car and immediately started crying.  We held hands for a little while and went and got a treat at Brides.  Luckily he had five puppies waiting at home to cheer him up. Animals really do dig him.

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Outdoor Cooking---We're really getting into this cub scout thing

Hayes's den leader asked us to pass off the outdoor cooking requirement at home.  My parents have their back yard set up beautifully for just such a thing, so we asked them if we could do it over there.  They usually do Dutch oven potatoes, which are the best, but we decided to do something a little different to involve Hayes as much as possible.  I found a few fun recipes for foil dinners and we tried them out.

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The Jackson Fire-pit....much snazzier than when I was a kid.

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Hayes helped Papa Bruce get the fire going ( I just didn't get a picture of him)

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The Recipe:  It was much easier for me to just take a picture of it than type it. We added onions and salted and peppered the veggies.

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The Result.  It actually turned out pretty good. Chase even ate it and he had hardly eaten anything all week.

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Hayes ate every bite.  He had to get one of every color in each bite.

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Eating off tinfoil makes for easy clean-up.  I love that.

Then for dessert, Hayes prepared crescent cinnamon rolls. 

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It made me realize how few times I let my kids help with the actual cooking.  I'm always in too big of a hurry or want it done "just so".  One of my goals for homeschool this year is to teach Hayes how to cook a few meals (while practicing reading and fractions of course:).

The cinnamon rolls were taking so long and it was getting late.  So I put them directly on the coals to speed things up.  Which did speed things up, but only left us with a few edibles ones.  Hayes devoured them.  We'll have to work on how to cook those better. Probably in a Dutch oven.

During, and in between all of this cooking, the boys found time for the swing set.

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Is there anything he won't climb?

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Papa helping Chase. Watch out, Purdy will be up there next (their dog).

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He's going up not down.

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It was a good night for all.

The Monkey

My dad was timing Hayes to see how fast he could climb up the rope and slap the beam.  His best time was 3 seconds. (He just told me his worst time was 5 seconds :)

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Up he goes.

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Back down is just as fun.

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It allows for a little creativity :)


NOW, it's Chase's turn!

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OK, maybe we'll have to work on his time.

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I think he enjoyed it every bit as much as Hayes.