What I Learned This Week

I had a glorious day. And by glorious, I mean there was no school today which means NO STUPID ALARM CLOCK FOR ME thankyouverymuch!

And since there was no school, that also means I didn’t have to check any math homework. But, just in case you were wondering, Stevie did receive the requirements for yet another 4th grade project on Friday, less than a week after his last project – The Martin Luther King, Jr. passport – was due. Heaven help me, I’m sure there will be a time when I will miss scouring the house for pipe cleaners, and repeating “We need to get this thing done!” 419 times over a three-day period, but right now, I just need a break from the project. In the meantime, I’ll be overseeing the painting of a cereal box.

It was 64 degrees today so I decided today would be the day I would do all my runnin’.

First, we had to drop off scout shirts at the tailor because Alex is a first-time scout, and as a Webelos, Stevie changes from the navy blue shirt to the khaki one, so there are all kinds of patches to be sewn on. And no, I cannot do it myself, because 1. I don’t sew, and 2. I don’t think I even have a needle up in this joint. The cub-master made an announcement at our scout meeting that a seamstress at a men’s clothing store downtown charges $1.00 per patch, but I found that out to be a big fat lie when I was charged $21.20 for 18 patches. And then, when I discovered that I had given her the wrong information about Stevie’s Webelos shirt and returned to the store to let her know I only needed 8 patches sewn on, she told them to credit my card $5.00. I questioned her about the charge-per-patch fee and all of a sudden her broken english became EVEN MORE BROKEN and LORD HELP ME AND MY PATIENCE. After some “negotiations” they credited my account $7.00 and I learned a very important lesson today.

1. Next time, let McDaddy take the shirts to the Guard Base and be done with it, even if it takes two more weeks to get them back.

After that, we headed for the mall so that I could get my grubby hands on a copy of Big Mama’s book, Sparkly Green Earrings. Seeing Melanie’s name in print totally makes me want to write a book now (which will make my mother-in-law happy because she has told me for years that I should totally write one!).

And yes, I realize this wasn’t the greatest of hair days. You can blame the crazy West Virgina wind. Still, I am so excited for her. If I lived in Texas I suspect we’d be fast friends, because we share a love for reality television and chips and salsa.

And speaking of chips and salsa… (don’t you just love my segue?) I learned something else today.

2. Even during the Biggest Loser competition it is possible to eat your favorite meal at Chilis, even though combined it has more than 2,500 calories. The realization that I could just eat half the meal was like getting hit upside the head with a football. I was so proud of myself for sending 2 whole chicken crispers and half of my sides back.

I also learned:

3. I am really craving chocolate this week.

4. I am having a hard time not eating chocolate this week.

5. I have no business buying Betty Crocker’s Brownie Cookie Supreme Bars.

6. You can’t really count salsa as a serving of vegetables. Or can you? It is made up of mostly vegetables….

7. Those little 90 calorie Cokes are handy as all get-out.

8. An itty-bitty Peppermint Patty has 50 calories. A total waste of 50 calories in my humble opinion.

9. I really, really, REALLY need to sync my calendars.

10. Always back-up your beloved iPhone before updating your operating system.

11. If you lose your contacts when updating your IOS, it is possible to get them back, though, they may return in duplicate or triplicate form.

12. Zumba for Wii provides a great workout.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and then, be sure to link BACK TO MY BLOG. I have never really pushed this issue, but it’s the nice thing to do.

2. Paste the link to your post in the Mr. Linky form down below. Please be sure you are posting the link to your post and not the front page of your blog.

3. Visit the other participants and see what they learned this week, too!

Alrightythen. Ready, Set, GO!


Math Blaster – A Review

Recently, I received an e-mail asking if my boys (and I) would possibly want to check out the new features on the Math Blaster site. They were eager to get started because they really enjoyed the site the last time they were provided with a membership.

Math Blaster is a fun arcade-style video game that incorporates math into its space-themed site. The site ”Provides ”Blasters” with a fun way to learn essential math skills. In a nut-shell, Math Blaster is a futuristic online adventure site that is filled with wacky aliens, gadgets, and lots of math.”

According to the Math Blaster Site:

Once your kids are logged in and on board the spaceship to Math Blaster, they are able to design their own Blaster Cadet, a personalized avatar that will run, jump and blast through the Math Blaster spaceship. Using the Molecular Modulator, kids have their choice of different hair styles, faces, eyes, and even species for their Blaster Cadet! As kids progress through the game and tackle the math training activities, they will earn merits and achievements. When they earn merits, kids will climb the ranks in the Intergalactic Space Patrol (ISP), and their Blaster uniform will be upgraded for all of Math Blaster to see!

I have always been impressed that the site is suitable for both of my boys, in spite of their three-year age difference. I think this is largely due to the fact that the site has a nice variety of math subjects with different levels of difficulty. Both were able to quickly navigate the site and they really enjoyed creating their own avatars, or in this case Blaster Cadets to play with. Stevie, my ten-year-old (whose blaster cadet is named Jason StoneLaser) enjoys playing hide and seek with his Mutt - Cyber Xenon. His favorite thing about the site is “The robot who gives interesting information about different topics (how much the earth weighs, each fingerprint it different, Venus is the only planet that rotates clock-wise, etc.) when you click on him.” Alex’s (age seven) blaster cadet is named Sean SilverFireball and his MUTT is named Speedy Crater. Alex’s favorite part of the site is “The red alert door that requires you to shoot asteroids and soccer balls and cheese.”

*Knowledge Adventure’s Math Blaster is proof that video games can be educational and fun! As a parent, I love that. The site has this to say about Knowledge Adventure:

Knowledge Adventure is the creator of award-winning educational products like JumpStart and Math Blaster and is trusted by over 20 million parents. You can find our virtual worlds online at www.MathBlaster.com and www.JumpStart.com. In the Math Blaster galaxy, kids can explore a futuristic world, voyage to strange new planets and discover wacky alien races, all while practicing their math skills. At JumpStart.com, kids can explore magical worlds, discover and unlock games, videos, and story books that teach everything from math to reading.

Since they last visited Math Blaster, the boys were excited about some of the new features on the Math Blaster site.

  • In HyperBlast, players can hop on a hypercycle and blast through aliens while solving math problems.
  • The Monster Mutt Pod allows you to decorate, feed and play with your Mutt in its own room.
  • The Nebula Knockout allows your pet to train and then battle other Mutts.

Another cool feature of the Math Blaster site, is the Math Blaster Blog which is a great resource for parents (and kids, too!) because it is chock-full of math and science information, including family fun, current events, learning tips and science facts. I also “liked” Math Blaster on Facebook so I can keep up with new site features, games and stories.

 

Math Blaster is a hit around here. My boys and I appreciate the opportunity to play around on the site.

In the interest of full disclosure: I was given a three-month membership to Math Blaster in exchange for this honest review. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Just Some More Of My Crazy

It is Tuesday evening and I am watching Dance Moms. It is that time of the month and I would knock a joker flat-out right now for a chocolate cake donut connection donut. Folks, 39-year-old hormones do not play. Especially when they’ve been on a  five-week biggest loser quest.

Phew. It feels good to get that off of my chest.

And speaking of donuts, I am hungry.

I am also cold.

In fact, I have been cold for weeks.

It probably doesn’t help that its a whopping 27 degrees here. I’m cold outside. I’m cold inside. No matter what I do, I can’t really get warm and stay warm. McDaddy turned up the heat this past weekend, but I think the thermostat is on strike because it sits out in the weather and if I had to sit out in that weather, I’d just give up, too!

It’s so cold, that McDaddy found two dead mice (2 DEAD MICE) in a trashcan in the closet where our hot water tank is. The stupid suckers came in here to get warm and froze to death in a trashcan.  Luckily, McDaddy disposed of the bodies before I even knew they were here in the house, but don’t think I don’t look in that trashcan every single time I walk past that room in the basement now. McDaddy said they simply stopped by to see their cousins – Duke and Apolo (our hamsters) but we won’t even go there.

And speaking of two DEAD MICE, I am ready to MOVE!

Because if my math is correct (and it probably isn’t!) and provided that the very first mouse we ever caught in a trap around here was the actual mouse involved in the standoff, that brings the total mouse count over the course of three years in this house to FIVE. And the last four have been caught over the course of the last three weeks.

So… We’re looking for a 4-bedroom house, free of mice, with a level driveway, on a level road, that is not in a flood plain, that is free of mice, and has a large garage. Actually, a 2-car garage would suit me just fine, but McDaddy is of the opinion that you can never have too many garages. Or vehicles for that matter.

I am looking forward to spring. And so are my flip-flops.

And did I mention, I was hungry?

The only thing I have to look forward to eating this evening is the raw honey/Ceylon cinnamon cocktail I’ll have just before I go to bed.

I have several friends who are using this concoction for weight loss, but stupid me used the wrong cinnamon the entire first week, and well, after a little research, I learned that did more harm than good. I’ll be sure to let you know if it’s effective.

One thing I can tell you is that raw honey stinks and tastes nasty. At first, I was eating both the honey and cinnamon straight off the spoon while holding my nose. On several occasions, I gagged and came ever so close to puking before talking the little hangy-down thing in my throat into hanging on just a second longer while I swallowed that mess. It reminded me of Fear Factor and what those people must have felt like when they were challenged to eat a Madagascar hissing cockroach. Though, I’m sure this raw honey with its pieces of bee wings and pollen is much worse. McDaddy downs it without the first bit of trouble, but after 20 years of my cooking, I guess maybe raw honey isn’t so bad after all.

Yes, you read that right. McDaddy is taking the concoction too, which surprises me because he typically sings “The Witch Doctor Song” anytime I get the bright idea to try something at home that might be better treated by a real, living, breathing, Doctor.

Like when I told him I was going to let my friend Jessica do ear candling on me.

He had a heyday with that one (and still reminds me of it from time to time), but if he had eczema of the inner ear like I do, he’d try anything once. I would never want you to think I was peddling medical advice around here (though I’ve been known to self-diagnose myself a time or ten), so before you try the ear candling, you should know that most of the research regarding ear candles, well, just read this….

Ear candling, also called ear coning or thermal-auricular therapy, is an alternative medicine practice claimed to improve general health and well-being by lighting one end of a hollow candle and placing the other end in the ear canal. Medical research has shown that the practice is both dangerous and ineffective and does not help remove earwax or so-called toxins.

Dang.

I guess me and my PMS will go to bed, where hopefully I will dream of eating donuts on a beach and not a pair of dead mice in my basement trash-can.

You’re welcome.

Sit A Spell

It’s that time again, folks, and I have a doozie for you this week.

You remember that I’m doing this Biggest Loser thing, right? We are now in week five (of eight) and Tracy, our Biggest Loser Boss decided to kick things up a notch.

Everyday (or almost every day) she assigns a virtual challenge, which we can choose to do, or not do for extra points. I have always been a fan of the ‘extra credit’ – especially in 9th grade, where I could write down five Geometry-related words and their definitions and raise my test score from an ”E” to a “D”. And sadly, I am not even kidding. The extra credit is precisely the reason I can even remember that Goldback’s Conjecture was a Geometry-related term. Lord knows I didn’t know what it was back then and I have not a clue what it is 25 years later, but I remember using it on an extra-credit opportunity. Had it not been for the extra credit (and the fact that I had a tutoring session from a high school kid every Sunday at 3:00 PM), I would have failed the class. Instead, Goldback and his Conjecture helped me to ”pass” Geometry with a D-. I headed straight for Algebra II and never looked back.

But anyway, where was I?

Oh yes, virtual challenges.

Because we are in Week 5, and because Tracy really wants the very best for our bodies (HA!) she sent us two calendars with a set of exercises on each and told us they were our virtual challenges for the month of February. One is titled “Fab AB February” and the other? The other should be called DYING A SLOW DEATH IN FEBRUARY (DASDIF), but actually it’s called “February’s Wall Sits and Donkey kicks“.

For instance, the virtual challenge for today, on Fab AB February is 20 sit ups (or crunches) / 6 push-ups / 20 second plank. I’ll save the plank for another day, but you should know it is more than just lying face-down on a flat surface and taking a picture.

The virtual challenge for today on the DASDIF calendar is 60 second wall-sit / 35 donkey kicks (both legs) / 1:05 second wall sit.

I’ll say that nice and slow for you….

T-h-e  w-a-l-l  s-i-t.

I had never heard of the wall sit before Saturday when I did it for the first time. Imagine, if you will, holding yourself in a sitting position while not sitting. Believe me when I tell you it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the wall sit.

A wall sit, also known as a Roman Chair, is an exercise done to strengthen the quadriceps muscles. It is characterized by the two right angles (do we really have to talk about angles?) formed by the body, one at the hips and one at the knees. The person wall sitting places their back against a wall with their feet shoulder width apart and a little ways out from the wall. Then, keeping their back against the wall, they lower their hips until their knees form right angles. This is a very intense work out for the quadriceps muscles. It can be very painful to hold this position for extended periods of time. Wall sits are used as a primary strengthening exercise in many sports requiring strong quadriceps like fencing, ice hockey, sailing (mostly small boat racing), skiing and track and field. This exercise is also used as a disciplinary activity in the armed forces. It takes up little space, and can be administered easily in classroom settings to misbehaving soldiers-in-training.

The safety of this exercise is disputed; the knees bear most of the load, especially when held at 90 degrees. It is a terrible exercise for someone with an existing knee problem.

Just to be clear, a wall sit, when done correctly looks like this.

And no, that is not me in the picture. Nor did I take the picture.

The fact is, I had trouble wall sitting for 15 seconds on Saturday. Three days into the DASDIF calendar and I am still not able to bend to a full 90 degree angle, (stupid Geometry!) but I did surprise myself this evening when I was able to hold the position for 65 seconds.

After the 25 second mark, the wall sit is absolute torture. I began to sweat and my legs begin to shake. Who needs water-boarding when you could have them do a wall sit? And I also wondered if Micheal Phelps and Apolo Ohno do wall sits as part of their Olympic training.

I’ll give you a second to try the wall sit. And then, I’d love for you to tell me how long you could hold it before your legs started to shake. And then I can say, “I told you so!” The wall sit increases by 10 seconds each day which means by the end of the month, biggest loser participants wanting extra credit should be able to hold the position for five minutes.

FIVE FRIGGIN’ MINUTES PEOPLE.

Do you know how long five friggin’ minutes is, when you’re in that position?

After three days of the wall sit, my thighs are I am telling you the chances of me being able to pull that off will be slim.

TO NONE.

I’m just wondering if Tracy will allow me to write down and define donkey kick, plank, torture, quadriceps and wall sit….

That’s what I learned this week.

Care to share what YOU learned this week?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and please LINK BACK TO MY BLOG!.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Alrightythen. Ready, Set, GO!


We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!

McDaddy and I graduated from the same high school in 1992. In a lot of ways, it seems like a lifetime ago.

Despite the fact that we grew up just fifteen miles apart (and the fact that he lived less than a mile from my grandma), had it not been for a school closing and subsequent consolidation, there is a very real possibility that we would have never met. Instead, we both showed up for the first day of summer band, ready to make new friends and lasting memories. We both played alto saxophone  and immediately became friends. It wasn’t until much later that we actually started dating. In fact, I spent most of our high school years pining away for his best friend.

I kissed him (sounds bad, I know!) for the first time on his sixteenth birthday while he was at my house tutoring me in Trigonometry. I was never more proud of a “C” in my life, but I can’t help but think how much better I might have done had I kept my mind focused on working with angles, instead of working an angle.

By the end of our senior year, I was drawn to him. And why wouldn’t I be? He was polite, respectful, fun, brilliant, charming, and cute. It took some convincing, but by the time we graduated, we were a couple.

The rest, as they say, is history.

We’ve been together since 1992, which means I’ve been with him over half my life. This past weekend, we attended our 20th reunion. It was so much fun seeing and reconnecting with people we graduated with, but disheartening that out of 400+ graduates, only about 60 participated in the three events.

Through the years, we’ve been through a lot together…

1992 – visiting him at Tech School just after joining the Air Force.

 

1996 – just after engagement (I have no idea why this picture is so small)

 

1998 – Our wedding

 

2001 – London: The first stop on our European Tour

 

2002 – Pregnant at our 10 year class reunion

 

2003 Christmas Picture – We are parents! (Stevie – 1 year old)

 

2006 Christmas Picture – (Stevie -4, Alex - 1)

 

2009 – Deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (We visited the week of our 11th wedding anniversary)

 

 2011 – Summer Vacation to Florida

 

2012 – 20th Reunion

Wow, we are so blessed. There isn’t another soul on the planet I would want to share this ride with. I love you, McDaddy! 

  • 20 Years
  • 2 kids
  • 11 countries
  • 14 vehicles
  • 2 campers
  • 36 states
  • 2 motorcycles
  • 3 hamsters
  • 2 Lasek surgeries
  • 4 homes
  • 6 company cars
  • 1 deployment

We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!