Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Carrot Balls

After a long rainy day spent reorienting myself to all the growth Barefoot Books has been rightfully experiencing while I was otherwise occupied (have you checked out the Winter Sale?), Grace and I took some time to play Chutes & Ladders and make Carrot Balls.


She wowed me with her reading skills when, while I was trying to pull a fast one on her, she read "Eat now" in the Kinder Krunchies, Too cookbook we love from Discovery Toys. I had said we would need to put them in the fridge until dad got home, and she caught me! I was so proud.

The carrot balls were yummy, and life is good. The family is all snug inside with a fire... the baby kittens are starting to explore, Tiger is playing with Phoebe and Ford is settled in his big doggy bed. National Treasure is the backdrop for this evening... some people have TV on in the background all night, with us it's DVDs- from the moment Shawn comes out of the office. So even though I proudly proclaim to all my mommy friends, "We don't even have TV in our house"- I don't mention the spinning towers of entertainment that we have accumulated, nor the revolving door in our mailbox for Blockbuster Online DVDs (did I mention I LOVE their new Total Access program, best deal ever).

Oh and while I am on it, have you tried Roast-a-Roma? It's yummy...

Okay my consumeristic rant is complete.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Our first "multi"

Grace and I set off alone in search of a cache in a familiar place- our beloved Pala Community Park. This waypoint was the springboard for a 3 part hunt. We found the spot quickly and rooted around, hoping we weren't bothering the nearby tennis players. Having observed the warning about thorns, I was convinced it would be in the underbrush.

It was a thrilling surprise to notice the reflective numbers on the side of the strangely humming green box, and suddenly remember the title- Independence Day- brilliant! After getting the #s jotted down from the reverse of the cleverly dogeared magnetic find. She played on the swings while I "deciphered" the coordinates.

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We went back after lunch with Shawn, and he was quick to notice the next clever clue, once we ran across the open grass to the second waypoint. I wasn't convinced it was what we were looking for- so I hung back while Grace and Shawn went traipsing through the undergrowth. It was faded, so a little hard to read and I examined it closer and checked the other pole- noticing there was no writing on the sticker there, so I figured he was right and we all attempted to guess at the final, which we did not find... yet! We'll go back again. This is such fun stuff!

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Our first geocaching adventure!

Today we set out with the (much less intimidating- thanks to downloading and reading the manual!) GPS unit. We set our "waypoint" for a
local, small cache, GCWA56.

After a delicious and fortifying "lunch" -okay it was after 4:00- our meal times are unconvential, too- where we took our bearings and plotted our course, we headed out. We encountered a dead end at Butterfield Park and had to backtrack. Grace was the navigator...
We turned the wrong way when bactracking, but the genius of GPS got us there anyway- over a dirt road, past horse filled ranches and bare vined vineyards. I should have taken more shots along the way...

But eventually we arrived...

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And we searched for the cache...

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We found some delightful "treasures" (Grace chose a small rubber flippy thingy toy, and I picked a Jr Tribal Ranger sticker) and left our own (a "ruby" ring from Grace and 2 wetnaps from me.) We signed the log, and continued on our merry way...
See all the photos...

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Lately we have (finally) been regularly using the large easement behind the house which leads to the golf course and a dry creek bed. We have been trying at least once a day to walk down to the end of the houses at least. But a couple times this week, we have gone down into the creekbed to gather firewood, and hop across the rocks. Grace has gathered some terrific sticks, acorns and rocks, which she has (naturally) played with more than all the toys she got for Christmas and her birthday!

Our love of being out doors, combined with a sense of mystery and adventure in my heart, (along with the generosity of my benefactors who lent me the GPS unit- thanks, mom!) and researching other recent interests has led me to the new sport of Geocaching. After I read up a little more tonight (and figure out more specifically how to use this nifty little gadget) we are off on our first hunt tomorrow!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Great Minds!

Check out this family who had the idea before we did!! Anyone need a tent and raft?


Don't forget-

Be a part of (our family) history! Submit your item to trade for "We All Go Traveling By".

All aboard the yellow school bus! Learn basic colors, sounds and much more with this singalong I-spy journey. "A perfect introduction to teaching modes of transportation." - Books and More for Growing Minds

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Change, the only constant

Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope - a slight change, and all patterns alter. ~Sharon Salzberg

Well once again, our plans have changed!!

Our lease was up on this house and we were considering moving (I wanted to hit the road, but now - that plan will have to wait at least a year), plus we had some issues with our business. Well the slightest change can truly alter everything. All weekend we have been discussing how to respond to the changes that were presented to us on Friday.

Now here I sit, Sunday morning facing a brand new life, once again! I guess we do that every morning, face a brand new life, that is.

First we are going to sign another 1 year lease and Shawn is going back to work. He is getting a full time day job, and I am looking for a nanny job or some other child centered income source. I may start an in-home preschool type program, or homeschool enrichment program like I had dreamed of doing last spring, but it is appealing to be a private nanny so I wouldn't have to drum up business.

Either way I am looking forward to working with kids again. And being there for Grace; although I really believe we both needed this time while I was working at home- she learned not to rely on me for entertainment and has become so much more independent. I have always had the most fun when involved in learning projects with curious minds. The past 6 months, I noticed that I wasn't enjoying the stay at home mom activities- I think the stress of worrying about our (oh-so-inconsistent) income and the responsibility of helping run a federally regulated business really took it's toll. The sense of relief I have now is so calming.

We are still going to be doing loans, but (as in the past) only as they come. We've never had to go after business and we like it that way. The only ad we ever ran was to help generate leads for an employee, and that whole situation was such a mess. We have learned a lesson and now we aim to keep things simple and not involve friends (Steph, you were right!). Shawn's hoping to find a sales job that involves local travel so he won't be tied to a desk, and he actually has a lead on one in the CCTV industry- just like his job at Rainbow, so he's a shoe in! It would allow him to make/return loan calls while in the car and I can handle the paperwork for the few investment clients we have, so now loans will provide a nice extra income to help us save for that RV and pay off some debt.

Wow, the more things change, the more they stay- insane!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Universal Response Time

Well, I began asking the universe for a new digital camera about 4 months ago. I spent lots of time visualizing the photos I'd take, seeing myself crouching to get the shots, imagining the joy on my mom's face as she looked at precious moments captured in her darling granddaughter's life. At Christmas I got one.

Now I am asking for something just a touch bigger, and I doubt it will be delivered all wrapped up with a bow. My meditations and visualizations will require a bit more focus and so I am prepared to find creative ways (and work to find the opportunities that are waiting) to materialize the perfect vehicle for the next stage of our journey.

Here is one I like. And here. Here another. And while I'm asking...

Well there is a lot to research and I know we will end up wanting something more specific- but my bet is the universe already knows what we need and I plan to align myself with the right currents to connect with it.

If it takes 4 months to produce a camera, I wonder when we'll be on the road? Our goal is this summer.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I love lists

Revisiting some of the research I've done over the past few years in an attempt to pare it down and (hopefully) not feel spread so thin, I came upon this list:

"A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six", a reprint
of a curriculum outline from a Charlotte Mason school in the 1890's.
from Summer 93 Parents Review pub by Karen Andreola

1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns
2. to recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm
3. to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters
4. to read--what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child
5. to copy in print-hand from a book
6. to know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows
7. to describe the boundries of their own home
8. to describe any lake, river, pond, island etc. within easy reach
9. to tell quite accurately (however shortly) 3 stories from Bible history, 3 from early English, and 3 from early Roman history (Karen's note: we may want to substitute early American for early English! My additional note: also may sub any spiritual, cultural or mythological stories for Bible history)
10. to be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views
11. to mount in a scrap book a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found them.
12. to do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees
13. to know 6 birds by song, colour and shape
14. to send in certain Kindergarten or other handiwork, as directed
15. to tell three stories about their own "pets"--rabbit, dog or cat.
16. to name 20 common objects in French, and say a dozen little sentences
17. to sing one hymn, one French song, and one English song
18. to keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own observations.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

We All Go Traveling By

I will send you this book in trade for...???

We hope to have traded up to our BUS conversion or RV in early 2008; will you help us achieve the learning adventure of a lifetime?
If you don't feel like trading anything and would just prefer to get your quality children's literature the old fashioned way you can send cold hard cash (ok, a money order is reccomended) or enter some digits online on my website- check out the other wonderful titles Barefoot Books has to offer.

Monday, January 15, 2007

climbed a mountain

climbed a mountain magnify

Today we had a slightly windblown and scattered SpiralScouts meeting at our house; 2 new kiddos joined us and I felt the absence of 2 others sorely. After a cool science experiment involving warm milk, food coloring and dish detergent- the kids made calendars for the New Year and oohed and awed over one of the new kitties.

Afterwards we went to Maddie's birthday party. They have the most excellent creek and natural habitat just outside their back door. Grace and I had an terrific time on the hike. It was a grand adventure as we scrambled up banks and slid down dropoffs, using our walking sticks and encouraging each other.

Maddie really wanted to show us this "great view" and so we pushed on, leaving half of the party behind us. A little more than half way up we paused to take the above shot on my cell phone, Grace and the birthday girl high above the suburban neighborhood we had left below.

We made it to the summit (much further than I expected!) and then began the difficult part. Getting down is so much scarier than climbing up! We returned to the party secretly victorious- the mountain conquered.

We also met a family who fascinated me. They are travelling in an RV (well, a converted bus) - unschooling, living, learning, loving. I really want to learn more about their journey.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Time Flies- Grace's 5th

Time flies- Grace's 5th magnify

Yesterday my baby turned 5.

We had a nice relaxing day at home just like she requested. She awoke to a decorated house, balloons and streamers, and the Bellah Birthday Cake. A maze made of her new fort from Christmas led to our room, where (just like last year) she opened her presents in our bed. A new game for her leapster from me, and a pottery wheel from daddy.

Then we made a strawberry cake (she did most of it!) and tuna melts for lunch. She and Daddy made homemade ice cream, I painted her nails purple, she watched Barbie Swan Lake and she played all day.

Work was unfortunately a continuation of the nightmare it's been lately.


Shawn last finished Da Vinci's Last Supper in Nov! No time for puzzles this fall- can't wait until we are in our own place again!!
Are you a puzzler? Want to trade?