Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. As August draws to a close, share what's been your favorite weekend of the entire summer? It was early in the summer. We spent a long weekend visiting my Aunt & Uncle in Massachusetts. The boys have started really looking forward to this trip. I've been trying to go each year. They live within walking distance of one of the best beaches on the Atlantic coast. We spent every day playing in the water and just exploring and having fun. I can't wait until we go back next summer! Oh wait, I don't have to - we're going for another visit in a couple of months. 




2. Labor Day is marked in the US of A on Monday, September 1st.  What paying job have you held that you've loved the most? Liked the least? I'll start with the one I liked the least. I lasted one full week. McDonald's. ::shudder:: I so disliked that job. I was going to college full-time and needed a job so I could move in to an apartment closer to campus (I was commuting an hour each way five days a week). They hired me on the spot (I should have been suspicious then.) I worked closing that whole week and lived 30 minutes from the restaurant. That meant I was getting home around one or two in the morning and then getting up for 8am classes. When I called to talk to one of the managers about this schedule I was told it would be fixed. When I got the next week's schedule, it was the same. I called in and quit. This is the only job I have ever left without any type of notice. I found another job in a couple weeks and liked it much better. 

The paying job I had that I loved the most? I used to work as a receptionist for a visiting nurse association. I liked the folks I worked with and I liked my job. Not only did I do receptionist work, but I also did medical coding (I have a degree in that) and helped to design forms for them to use. 

3. Does the new school year start before or after Labor Day where you live? When do you think it should begin? There is much discussion now about older students having later start times to their school day...your thoughts?  The school year starts when I determine it will since we homeschool. We get to follow our own schedule. About half the public schools started back today and the rest will start back next week.  Our official start date is September 2nd, but we've been doing "light school" all summer so we already have about three weeks completed. 

As for the timing of school - it's a hard call. This past week we've had really warm weather - some of the warmest we've had all summer. I'm sure it's hard to be sitting in a classroom when you'd rather be at the beach! However, once winter hits the possibility of snow days will mean the school year going longer next June. Again, a hard call.

And as for older students starting later - I think there is definite merit to that. I don't require my oldest student (who turns 18 today) to be up by a certain time on school days. I do require him to be in bed by 10pm, but he's welcome to read later if he'd like. He typically sleeps until 8am or later depending on how late he's been up. He has one more year of school. After that he can determine his own schedule. I know that it was in college that I became a "night owl" and I still fight having that biological rhythm. 

4. What's something you've worked at recently that could be deemed a 'labor of love'? 

This:

Before

After

I posted about this a few days ago. We have a very large flower garden that wraps around one side of our house and goes all the way across the front. The weeds have taken over. I am not fond of gardening but I am very fond of order so I've been working on hauling all those weeds out and putting down mulch. I love the end result!

5.Which of the following work idioms can you most relate to right now...'A woman's work is never done.', 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' 'Many hands make light work.'
I'm going to have to go with 'A woman's work is never done.' I started a "project list" on my Kindle of all the things I need to do. I was keeping all the accomplished items on there just so I could see how much I had completed but more projects kept coming to mind so it continues to grow. 

6. Crab or lobster or thanks, but no thanks? Favorite way to have your choice prepared?
I'm not sure I should admit this seeing as I live in Maine, but neither. I like clam strips and most fish but do not care for crab or lobster. 

7. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, 'Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.' Which of the three do you consider to be the most important? Share one of your own 'rules of work'.
I think the first one resonates with me the most - "out of clutter find simplicity." I find when the clutter takes over, I find it harder to get things done as I'm so distracted by it. Since moving to our house just about two years ago (or is it almost three?), I'm better able to keep up with less clutter and it's made a huge difference.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Today my oldest son turns 18. I find it hard to believe that this little guy...

Moments after birth

or this little guy...
age 7

is now this little big guy!

Happy 18th Birthday!!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

{Review} Veil of Tears DVD

Veil of Tears (2014) Poster

I think oftentimes we can become complacent about the type of world we live in - especially those of us blessed enough not to live in a Third World country. Jokingly we say "First World" problems when things like our internet go out or our cell phone stops working. I often wonder how much we really know about what life can be like not living in the "land of plenty."

Recently I was given the chance to view a documentary called "Veil of Tears" that chronicles the way women in India are treated. To say it is horrific would be a gross understatement.


The film is narrated by Natalie Grant. She is a huge advocate for Abolition International which works across the globe to help save victims of sex trafficking. 

The filmmakers did an excellent job showing how women are not valued at all in the Indian culture. One story they told is of a woman who had two daughters. After the second one was born, her in-laws made her life so miserable because she had not produced a son that she tried to kill herself. A woman's worth is bound up in her the number of sons she can produce. It is not uncommon for a woman to be forced to have an abortion if it is discovered she is having a girl.

The majority of the film does chronicle what life is like for many of these families. The day-to-day struggle of simply finding enough food so that everyone can have one small meal a day is heart wrenching. Near the end of the story we are shown a family who headed to the marketplace in order to sell their young daughters simply because they could no longer feed them and, in their minds, they were giving them a better chance.

The end of the film, however, does share some strides that are being made in India to help people like the women mentioned above. Hope is given to these women and families. Gospel for Asia has partnered with Veils of Tears to set up a store where you can purchase items like t-shirts or even a copy of the DVD. If you click on any of the other links listed, you can also make a direct donation (100% of your donation goes towards helping a woman in need) to a woman in Asia who needs help. Other ways to help are by sponsoring missionaries or by purchasing other gifts such as a sewing machine or a pair of goats (click on "give a gift.")

Overall this was an excellent film that really made one think about the plight of women across the globe.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Beautification in Progress

I have a professed black thumb. I confess that it's typically neglect that kills the poor things. However, I'm excellent at growing weeds! Here's photographic proof!

One of my poor sedum bushes in the midst of all this. 

Our house has wonderful flower beds. They run the length of the whole house and even wrap around the side and go down this small hill. 


This photo was taken before we even bought the house and moved in. See the rock wall running the length of the house and wrapping around? That is the scope of what I'm talking about. 

Well, the weeds are certainly winning this year as evidenced by the first photo I showed. The entire flower bed area is just way overgrown. Wild ivy and morning glories were making good progress at trying to take completely over. I do have just a few big bushes planted - all transplanted from our home up north. 

This week has been a lighter "extra" kid week, as in, I only had my "bonus boys" one day and no extra kids at all the rest of the week. So my boys learned the finer art of pulling weeds, trimming around trees, and cutting down the larger weeds that are trying to take over the hoop house out back. I tell ya, those weeds are determined this year!

For the last three days we have spent a couple hours every afternoon pulling weeds, laying down mulch, and trying to make the place just a bit more presentable. 



Before

After

I ran out of mulch (and steam). We still have the side garden to tackle. There is a lot more of that ivy in there. Although, I have to say, there is something therapeutic about ripping all those weeds out with my bare hands!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 

1. The month of July was named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. He's quoted as saying, 'Experience is the teacher of all things." So what has experience taught you lately?

What hasn't experience taught me lately? In fact, my hubby and I were just having this very conversation. It is very true that wisdom comes with age and we are certainly feeling wiser by the day.

2. Where did you last 'roam'? 


We went to visit my aunt and uncle in Massachusetts last month. We had a great time spending time at the beach and just hanging out.



3. Speaking of 'Rome'...pizza, pasta, gelato...you can only pick one, which would you choose?

Pizza. Hands down!

4. 'Rome wasn't built in a day', 'All roads lead to Rome', 'When in Rome...' which 'Roman' idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

I'm blanking. If I had to pick one, I'd probably go with 'Rome wasn't built in a day.' It's the end of our homeschool year and I need to get my oldest son's transcript done. I have the info but I need to put it into a workable form. That led me to think about all the other projects I have and so I created a "project list." I need to remember it's going to take a bit to complete them all.

5. What's a movie you've seen or a book you've read, that makes you want to book a trip to Italy?

Um....Ratatouille? I honestly can't think of one off the top of my head.

6.  Walt's original Disneyland opened almost sixty years ago, on July 17, 1955  Have you ever been to the California park? How about any of the other Disney parks around the world? What's your favorite amusement park ride or attraction?

I've never been to any. I think that one day I'd like to go but I also am not a huge fan of big crowds so just not sure how that would go either. My boys would love to go to Legoland some day as well. We'll see. As for rids, I have an inner ear issue that makes me get dizzy on spinning things quickly so I'd need to pass on most of them.

7. It's that time of year...when were you last bitten or stung?

Ha! I live in Maine. It's bug "season" right now. I have a few bug bites on me and will until fall when all the bugs die. I have one on my big toe where a mosquito bit me right under my sandal!

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

I live in Maine. Yesterday we had the second tornado watch in the last three years. Three years ago one (a small one) came through the town I used to live in. It dropped baseball sized hail on our house and did $3,000 worth of damage to my truck (lots of dents and cracked the windshield in two places). It took out a lot of trees but did no other property damage. 


Photo from the 2011 hailstorm/tornado
This is my hubby's hand. He took this photo an hour after the hail had landed. All those white balls on the ground behind him - more hail.

Tornado damage from 2011

Yesterday we had another warning. Definitely rare for our part of the world - thankfully. We had nothing more than some major clouds rolling through and some massive rain. Last I heard there was damage in other parts of the state but I haven't heard if an actual tornado hit. 

{Review} The Perfect Summer DVD


The Perfect Summer follows Jake, a 17-year-old boy from Chicago. He finds himself living in a beach town trading in the city-life for the life of a beach bum. However, it's not the place he wants to be. His mom relocated them after Jake's dad dies. They are now living this his Grandfather whom he knows very little about. Jake finds it a difficult place to fit in especially once he meets the local town bully.


I sat down on Sunday afternoon with my youngest son, age 10, to watch this movie. It was excellent. Both my son and I really enjoyed it. In fact, I just asked him what he thought as he saw me typing up this review. "I really liked it!" was his reply.

The movie features Eric Roberts as the Grandfather. He does well playing the slightly awkward, detached, grandfather who is trying to make up for the mistakes of his past. Jason Castro, of American Idol fame, plays the local surf shop clerk. 


I really enjoyed the movie. I honestly wasn't how it would be when I first watched it. However, it did a great job showing how you can overcome your circumstances. I was glad it was so family friendly. There is some mild violence in the film when Jake is beaten up a time or two by the town bully, but there is no language. And as I mentioned above, my 10 year-old really enjoyed it as well.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.