Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year

I wish all of you a happy and blessed New Year. Do any of you make New Year's resolutions? I usually do, if only because I usually see a lot of areas where I want to improve. This year is no exception. We'll see how well I did a year from now!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas 2007

Hope you all had a very nice Christmas. We did, spending it with friends. The girls were very pleased with their gifts, and I got some nice clothes, two pairs of earrings, and a new, soft, suede-y cushion for my papasan chair. My husband loves that I have pierced ears because it opens up a whole new gift-buying category for him.

Plus, we will probably be getting together with my in-laws on New Year's Day, so it will be like Christmas all over again!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Wildchild's Christmas dress is just about done. I have to say, my Bernette sewing machine and serger did a great job going through layers of both the taffeta-type skirt and the heavy cotton velveteen. I did break one needle, but once I put a 90 needle in, I had no problems with the thick layers. I had problems getting the zipper right and ended up hand-basting it first. There's a couple of things I'd like to do, but it's very wearable the way it is. It mainly needs a hook and eye on the top back, which I will sew on tonight, and a velvet ribbon sewn around the bottom of the skirt, to hide a little patchwork I had to do on the back of the skirt, when I discovered that I bought a little less fabric than I needed. Of course, the four Joann's stores I checked had every other holiday fabric still in stock but that one. However, I was careful to match the plaids, and the join is way down at the bottom of the skirt, so I doubt it would be very noticeable, except by those people with whom I attend church who also read my blog!

I'm not sure that my Christmas apparel will be done by Christmas, but I'm glad the girls will have something nice to wear. Once I'm done with Christmas, I will go back to sewing everyday clothes, hopefully getting lots of sewing lessons in with the girls. I should also emulate The Elephant's Child and get started on Easter dresses, since Easter comes so early this year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Round and Round It Goes

I got tagged by Lynn at Homeschool 2.0, and I have to name seven random things about myself. I've done this a couple of times before, so bear with me if you've been reading this blog for a long time and know all about me. :)

1) I lived in the same small western suburb of Cleveland, OH, until I got married at the age of 24 (not counting boarding at college.) This included one house move when I was very young.
2) I fantasize about owning a summer house along Lake Erie near Cedar Point, or even living there year-round, even though I couldn't go to Cedar Point in the winter. Lake Erie in the winter has its own stark beauty.
3) I usually get the same thing at a restaurant, or the same flavor of ice cream at an ice cream parlor. I know what I like, and I stick with it.
4) I wanted to be a writer when I was young. Now, I don't know how good I'd be at it, or at least how good at making money at it. I think I got the writer idea because in so many of books I read, the girl characters ended up as writers. I imagine that's because so many of them were at least semi-autobiographical, like Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy series.
5) I was never allowed to take piano lessons as a child. I took beginner piano in college, and kept it up for a couple of years after I graduated. I might not mind studying it again if I didn't have so many other priorities.
6) My adult doll collecting started with a Caboodle Barbie doll my husband got me as a little birthday gift one year. Did anyone else own a Caboodle? It was a plastic makeup case, rather like a tackle box, all the rage in the early nineties. I've moved to more upscale dolls in my collecting, but I still have that doll, and my Caboodle.
7) I'm not a very good swimmer. I do well enough to keep myself afloat, but I hate to put my head under the water.

I'm not going to tag anyone, since I've already done this meme before. If you want to do it, go for it.


Twelve years ago today, the Scientist entered the world. It was definitely colder and snowier then than it is now; we drove through a blizzard to the hospital (two nights in a row!) I don't know what we were thinking having a baby so close to Christmas, except, well, you can't always time these things!

Here's some pics of her through the year. Happy Birthday, Scientist! One more year and I'll have a teenager!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Catching Up

So, let's see. Our furnace got fixed on Monday. It just took an adjustment to the computer controls, so the guy that fixed it was barely here. It's nice to have the house warm again.

Now our printer is acting up. It's not recognizing the cartridge on the right side properly, even though the cartridge is not out of ink. I use the printer quite a bit for school, so that is frustrating.

Also, the Evil Genius Mobile was in a little accident on Saturday, when Mr. EG was taking the Scientist to her horseback riding lesson. I'm thankful that 1)it wasn't Mr. EG's fault and 2)the woman who hit us has good insurance. We've already had the estimate and we're cleared to get the necessary repairs done.

Speaking of the Evil Genius Mobile, I got a little chuckle last week. Mr. EG was meeting the girls and me one night at a restaurant in the same shopping area as our grocery store. I was still inside the grocery store when Mr. EG came by from work. He sat in our minivan for a short time waiting for me, then left me a note and left. When I came out, a woman parked across from me asked if I had somebody watching my car. I guess she was concerned Mr. EG might be a bad guy. I did appreciate the concern, but I still laughed. Of course, I was glad Mr. EG left me a note, or I wouldn't have understood what the woman was talking about.

I'm ready to put the zipper in Wildchild's dress; I just have to go buy one. Maybe tonight.

UPDATE: We just got our first piece of mail today from an ambulance-chasing chiropractor. I'd forgotten about that fun detail of getting into an accident.

Pay It Forward Contest

Since I am a winner at Kate's Pay It Forward thang, now I get to play too. Here's the scoop: You have until December 26 to leave a comment in this post if you want to play. I will pick three people. If you win, you get a handmade (sewn) gift sent to you, sometime after the New Year. Hopefully in January, lol. :) Here's the rules: you need to have a blog of your own, and you need to agree to promise to send something handmade to three of your readers if you win. So comment away; let's have fun!

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's Makin' the Rounds

What Kind of Drink Are You?

You are a Fine Glass of Wine. You are sophisticated and refined, but also complicated and hard to deal with. Not everyone loves you, but those who do swear that you're the coolest thing since sliced bread. One of these days the people that matter will understand you. Until then, you will be sitting on your throne as the distinguished product that not everyone has the taste to appreciate.
Find Your Character @

Calling All Lutherans

A host is needed for the next Lutheran Carnival. Please go check out the Carnival home page, find out what the Carnival is all about, and let Dan know if you want to volunteer. In the meantime, check out the latest carnival for some Advent reading.

Keeping Warm

Of course the furnace picked yesterday to go wonky, as the temperature dropped and the blizzard started. Fortunately, it's not completely dead, so it does keep the house from getting dangerously cold; it's just not as warm as we would like. So things are a little disrupted here. Hope to get back to blogging soon!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I'm seeing examples in the news where people's rights are being or may be taken away, whether it's the right to live while not wearing a headscarf, or the right to have children without being taxed yearly because of their very existence (carbon footprints, y'know), but for homeschoolers, the decision of a German court (h/t Dana) in the case of a family that wishes to homeschool their children is a definite blow to their rights, and the rights of all parents there. Here's a quote from the decision:

"The mental and emotional welfare of the children is lastingly endangered because the first Party rejects and hinders the school education which is important for the development of the children in a pluralistic society. It is a moot point whether the home education of the children ensures an adequate transfer of knowledge, as children should also grow up in communal life."

Then there's some gibberish about "tolerance, the ability to stand up for oneself and to uphold a conviction that dissents with that of the majority." Hullo, isn't that just what the parents were trying to do in this case? Uphold their convictions to homeschool in dissent of the majority of Germans? Guess you can only stand up for yourself until the State squashes you down.

I'm reminding myself that God has allowed evil rulers to unleash evil in certain areas for a season, and that He is with us no matter what principalities and powers may do. For I know very well that there are people in this country who would agree with this court decision, who want the State to have the ultimate authority over parents. May God protect and keep us.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Little by Little

Thanks to you guys, I made progress on Wildchild's Christmas dress - the front is sewn together. Next comes cutting out the back skirt pieces and sewing them on to the top, cutting out the belt and sewing that on, doing the hems. I have to buy a zipper, too, and one for my dress, which I still need to start the muslin for. Maybe later after school, chores and taking Wildchild to her dance lessons.

Monday, December 10, 2007

In the Navy

You can make music videos.

The VAW-113 Black Eagles' answer to the VAW-116 Sun Kings.

Glad to see they're able to have fun while serving our country.

h/t Dave in Texas at Ace's.

Homeschool and Sports

Heisman winner for 2007, Tim Tebow, quarterback for the University of Florida, was homeschooled through high school. Apparently, there was some controversy during his high school years, due to the fact that he was homeschooled but was playing on the high school football team, even though this was legal by Florida law. He and his mom did have to move into an apartment to get him playing on the high school team he wanted, but how many parents have made such sacrifices to get their kids into a better academic environment?

It probably won't be an issue for our family, but I do think homeschooled kids should get the opportunity to take part in extracurricular school activities such as sports and band. I've read about homeschool sports teams, and sometimes they do very well, but I just don't think there are enough homeschoolers here in the Cleveland area. It seems strange in such a large metropolitan area, but in searching for local homeschool groups it seems as though most of Ohio's homeschool groups are found in the rural areas. Perhaps more parents in this area, who would otherwise homeschool, take advantage of the many parochial and private schools.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I got some pieces to Wildchild's Christmas dress cut out. I had to lengthen the bodice and shorten the sleeves. I put off cutting out the skirt pieces, as I think they'll be a pain to cut out. She wants a long skirt, otherwise "it's not a Christmas dress." So I'll be cutting out around 30" long pieces, and fairly wide, since they're going to be gathered.

I'm not looking forward to cutting out the pieces of my test dress. I want a nice dress, though, so I have to make myself do it. If I tell you guys that I'll try to do it tomorrow, maybe that will motivate me. :)

The Scientist is enjoying her horseback riding lessons.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Little at a Time

I made progress in the sewing room today, finishing a top for Wildchild out of the pink fabric. I used KWIKSEW's Sewing for Children, which is a great book of basic patterns. I have the toddler and baby books, too, and got plenty of use out of those as well. Now, one top for the Scientist out of that fabric to go.

I need to get started cutting out Wildchild's Christmas dress, and I would like to work on a muslin (or "test-run") for a Christmas dress for me. Hopefully this will be a good weekend.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Return to Narnia

Via The Common Room, I see that the trailer for the movie Prince Caspian, sequel to The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is now up. Although definitely not for purists, it looks like it will be a good film, that my daughters will enjoy. They liked the first movie well enough, although they are not Narnia crazy like their mother. I read the Narnia books over and over, and I wanted to *live* in Narnia. Or at least visit. Which is funny, really, because I'm not a person who likes the out-of-doors much, where most of the action takes place in the books. Not that I don't find Nature beautiful, and enjoy reading well-written depictions of things in Nature, but a lot of the time I'd personally just as soon be indoors. Just who I am, I suppose. Maybe I just liked the adventures.

Be warned, the trailer took a while to view properly, even with cable internet.


It's not exactly chaotic here at the home of the Evil Genius, but I feel like I'm going in circles. I'm just sort of drifting to whatever hits me at the moment, which is usually staying on top of the girls to make sure they get their assignments done. I'm the Cookie Mom for Wildchild's Brownie troop, there's a meeting tonight for Cookie Moms, and the pants I want to wear need to go in the dryer. I also need to get my fajita meat marinating so I can cook it for dinner tonight. Also, I know there were some errands I thought about yesterday that I wanted to run today, and I have completely forgotten what I wanted to get. Ack!

I'm having a "grass is greener at the other homeschool" kind of feeling. Now, there's a good reason we're thinking about switching the Scientist's math curriculum. My husband hates the way math is taught in this country (and not the fuzzy math kind, which I read so many horror stories about.) He's hated the way math is taught since he was in grade school. The Scientist thinks the same way he does, mathematically, and the result is that I get frustrated teaching her math, she gets frustrated trying to learn it, and her father can help her understand but is frustrated with the curriculum. So we're looking at Singapore math. In this case, it's good. But I have this general tendency to be constantly re-evaluating our curriculum and thinking there's something better out there. Not healthy, I know. I need to focus more on working with what I have.

BTW, the Scientist just took care of the dryer for me. She has some things she wants to get in the washer. Now I remember why having older kids is good. I'll try to remember this during her next hormonal moment.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Fabric Department

Miss Kate should love this fabric. It's pink, and evokes Paris with le Eiffel Tower and les Aristocats. I just got this lovely soft knit in the mail today from The Fabric Fairy, and I plan on making long-sleeved tops for the girls. Two more things to add to my sewing list!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Deja Vu, Sort Of

So, the four of us are sitting at the card table playing Settlers of Catan, when the pizza arrives, and we whip out plastic plates and paper towels, and I quip, "Why do I feel like we're in college?" Only I was never part of the gaming crowd in college. I did eat lots of pizza, though.

It's touching to me how you can keep being part of people's lives long after you are gone. The board game we played was inherited from a friend who's been dead just over two years. We just played the game at someone else's house, so we opened up his copy that's been in our garage. I bet he would have loved playing with us. Maybe we will play together someday.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


It's been a hectic weekend so far. The Scientist had catechism class, then a horseback riding lesson. Now Wildchild is off with her Brownie troop, Christmas caroling. Tomorrow morning is church, and then youth choir. Maybe I'll be able to relax tomorrow afternoon, if I don't get caught up with a sewing project with the girls.

And speaking of sewing... I'd like to start saving up for a new sewing machine next year. I'd like to get one with more stitches, and maybe an embroidery feature. I'm just frustrated, for starters, because sewing machine manufacturers don't give prices online. I can see lots of marketing-related reasons for doing that; from my point of view they just don't seem like good ones. I really can't afford to drop six grand on a sewing machine, and I'd like to have an idea what machines I can reasonably look at. Plus, prices can be found through other resources anyway, like ebay or sewing machine reviews, so why not give a list price? It would save my time trying to dig up this information.

I'm also annoyed because at least one sewing machine manufacturer puts a lot of restrictions on what their embroidery cards can be used for, and as far as I can tell, these restrictions are illegal. That is, once an item is sold, the manufacturer of the item cannot restrict what you do with the item. A pattern can be used to make an item for resale, fabric can be used to make an item for resale; I don't see any legal reason why you can't use an embroidery card to embroider anything you like for whatever reason. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, but Mr. Evil Genius knows something about copyrights and trademarks, as they relate to software and the creation of said. Anyway, it will be a while before I've saved up enough for any nice sewing machine, so I have time to look and explore things.