Thursday, April 28, 2011

Frog Beautiful

While we were at the Arboretum, I thought we'd check out the dogwood garden. It was in full glorious bloom: clouds of white and pink hovering about a lovely lawn edged by stately trees.

I think this is one of my favorite gardens. It has a classic elegance which reminds me of Jane Austen novels.

The kids, of course, see it as a runway.

At the end of the garden there is a lovely fountain that has the most beautiful...
Well, frogs.

This was the first year Choclo was able to catch a few for himself!

While we were returning to the car, Oob had me sit down on a bench to "tink." When I asked him what we we should "tink" about, he told me, "Let's tink about how much God loves us."

So we both sat there and looked at all that beauty and the kids soaking it up til it shone out their eyes, and we thought about how much God loves us.

What a beautiful day!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Easter!

We went up and visited my folks in NJ.

Here are the kids in their Easter finery.

And here they are running around like crazy people near the lake behind the house.

And here I am, getting my third outrageously good hand (in a row) at Pigs Knuckles (Pinochle). Mumpy is so embarrassed, she's edged out of the picture (not really, a kid had the camera. Mumpy thought it was funny!).

I'm not sure I've ever won against my mom before, definitely not by that much, anyway, but we had a great time. Should I mention she had hurt her back and was on some powerful medication? Probably not.

Leena enjoyed playing the Dummy.

The kids built domino houses, which was very fun, although, eventually, Choclo decided an invisible person was blowing on his house and knocking it down. Ummmm. Actually he kept kicking the leg of the card table.

I wish I had gotten pictures of the egg hunts and the pinata.

Oh, well, we had a great time with lots of family memories and that's what counts!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Dirt on the Garden

It's coming along nicely!

Here you can see our "bean tent" near the bottom of the hill and our tomatoes tucked safely in their wall o waters.

I've noticed that when I don't baby the transplants with these, I never get many tomatoes.

I haven't used them in a few years. In fact, I think they are over 10 years old and still going strong.

In Klenda's garden, her parrot tulips are blooming!

It never ceases to amaze me what strange plants the kids find when I ask them to pick out something.

Mxyl and Leena found these Pocketbook Plants.

Kinda odd.

Here are Choclo and Oob's gardens.

They're kind of at the front of the shrubbery.

Yes, I have a shrubbery. The Knights who Say Ni should have looked here.

Last Fall, I bought a big bag of pastel tulips and planted some in the cutting garden and some here and there.

So far, my favorite juxtaposition has been this one with the sky blue grape hyacinth.
I love this one, too, even if the lacy green backdrop is actually my kale plant going to seed...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


We didn't manage a full fledged Penguin Day, but we did do a few a penguin activities before heading off to the Baltimore Zoo to see some of Choclo's favorite animals.

They have these African Black Footed Penguins.
Choclo watched with this look of intense concentration.

We saw them waddle, swim, and hop about.

After quite a while, I asked if he were done watching the penguins and he answered, "Mmmmm, not yet." About 5 minutes later, "OK, I'm done now. Thank you for showing me the penguins, Mom."

We even saw these rare two-headed penguins with hair. Very strange, but fun!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dominican Fun

This past weekend, our group of Lay Dominicans hosted another talk. This time we got our good friend, Fr. John Corbett OP to give a talk on how our choice of words influences our moral decisions.
You wouldn't think that would be a funny subject, but Fr. John is the funniest moral theologian I know.

Hmmm. That doesn't sound great, but, trust me, he's hilarious! Who else would use Plan 9 From Outer Space to explain the existence of God?
Anyway, it was a great talk, I'll have to remember to post the next time we have a talk coming up instead of telling you about it after the fact!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

More Fun Guys

Leena's mushrooms fruited again!

Yum! Yum! We got this one really huge one, and a few smaller clusters.

When we cut up the big one, we were fascinated by the spiral structure.

Phi, anyone?

We ate them on pizza and in another stir fry.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mad Scientist Girls' Night

We had a crazy fun week last week! Tons of stuff, and not much time to blog, but I'll try to catch up.

First off, or Girls' Night, we broke open the Tasty Science Kit.

Best tasting chemistry ever!

I pretty much let the girls run with this. It never ceases to amaze me how intense kids are when experimenting on their own.

They did a bunch of the experiments in the kit and then came up with the idea of creating pop rocks. Tasty science, indeed!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Preservation of Society

Recently, we've been trying to figure out an appropriate balance of TV/Computers/iPods/etc. I think this is something every family in our society has to make decisions about, and the answers will be different for each family.

I'm always interested in how others solve this, so I thought I'd post our "rulebook," a work in progress.

The Pavlat Preservation of Society Rulebook:

Flatscreen Use

Overall Rules:

  • No flatscreens between 6 PM and 8 AM (Saturdays: 6 AM) without specific permission
  • Maximum flatscreen time = 2 hours a day, plus level treats, parent-led educational videos, Saturday pre-breakfast TV, special occasions, sick days, and watching others play games
  • No flatscreens with guests without specific permission
  • Additional time for Wii, Plug and Play, Didj, iPod, websites, and other computer time may be “bought” with time spent doing approved useful stuff
  • iBreviary may always be used and does not count as flatscreen time

TV (videos/movies)

· Educational use with permission

· Saturday mornings (unless specifically prohibited on Friday night)


· Sundays (in 30 minute increments; timers must be used)

· Educational games during Fun Blocks or at other times with permission

Plug and Play:

· 30 minutes on Sundays (timers must be used)

· Other times with permission

Didj and iPod:

· Educational games with permission (standing permission for Mind Snacks)

· 30 minute time limit on useful apps or eBooks

· Other games may only be done with “bought” time or with Mind Snacks time


  • Total computer time may not exceed 60 minutes a day
  • Laptops may only be used in the living room, dining room, or library
  • Word processing does not count as computer time, but as flatscreen use

  • Computer games:

o 30 minutes on Sundays (timers must be used)

o Educational games during Fun Blocks or at other times with permission (standing permission for Rosetta Stone)

· Websites or Robotics Programming:

o Request specific permission to use the Internet or robotics programming

o All requests must include reason for use (i.e., tell what you will do and why)

o Websites from bookmarks list only (websites approved upon request)

o 30 minute time limit (timers must be used)

· Other computer time (including customizing Windows):

o May only be done with “bought” time or with Rosetta Stone time

o 30 minute time limit (timers must be used)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April Flowers

These pretty blooms are from Leena's garden.

I like daffodils in general, but these peachy pink blooms are my favorite.

Outside, everything is in bloom!

At the top, we have two cherry trees and a plum tree. At the bottom, our pear tree is also in full flower.

Last Fall, I splurged on some bulk bulbs to make a cutting garden! I love tulips, but I never want to pick them. We'll see if I have the nerve to pick these! I think I might as a gift to a dear friend...

I found this little Johnny-Jump-Up peeking out from beneath a tulip in Mxyl's garden.

Choclo wanted to pick the hyacinth in his garden. He picked two for his room - very fragrant!

He's really been delighted by all the flowers coming up in his garden. I'm not sure how much he connects it with the rock like objects he planted 6 months ago.

I've been enjoying the beautiful new leaves.

These are my roses (yet innocent of black spot!). After a long winter, the flowers could hardly be prettier than these leaves!

Below the roses, my coral bells are leafing out.

This morning, we took a gratitude walk. We walked around the neighborhood, down into the woods, enjoying things and thanking God for them.

For me, I just need to walk around my garden!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Shark Day

I've decided I've gotten into too much of a rut with my homeschooling. I want to go back to doing tons of cool stuff, so I asked the kids what they wanted to learn about.

Leena said, "Sharks!" So in the line of the infamous Squid Day, we had Shark Day. This is Leena's picture.

We started off with some shark websites. We liked Enchanted Learning a lot. This shark page was free! This page had great pictures. I also found a page with lots of printables: a wordsearch, maze, shark anatomy sheet, and one graphing shark sizes.

After the websites we did a packet of those printables, then read some library books: an Eyewitness Shark book and another really great one I can't remember.

I pulled our shark jaw out of the museum so we could look at exactly how all those rows of teeth work. Since the jaw is cartilage, we talked quite a bit about the plusses and minuses of having your skeleton be cartilage or bone.

For one thing, sharks can't really move their fins, so they can't move backwards the way a fish can. Cartilage is just too weak to support moveable fins. On the other hand, a cartilage skeleton is quite flexible and sharks can turn around really quickly... so it's really not advisable to tease a shark about not being able to swim backwards.

We moved on to an art project. My plan was to have the kids draw sharks participating in the food chain. The idea was to have them draw the animals in heavy crayon and then do a watercolor wash for the water. They had so much fun, they never got around to the wash. Here we have sharks feasting on luminescent squid.

That was the morning, and the rest of the day was spent Down by the Bay, collecting shark's teeth! I wish I had brought my camera for the actual collection.

It was the perfect day to go: too warm to be standing around turns into just perfect when you cool water lapping at your ankles! It was too early in the season for biting flies and jellyfish, and the beach wasn't crowded.

Best of all, everyone found plenty of teeth!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gospel Dessert Week 5

Today's gospel was the raising of Lazarus. Here we have a fairly lame attempt at making the tomb out of cake leftover from Mxyl's Confirmation party...

The chunk in front is the stone sealing the tomb. Can you see it?

Try squinting.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Mxyl was confirmed on Friday night!

He took the name Michael, after, you know...

The ceremony was really beautiful and several of his friends were being confirmed with him.

The bishop
was great! He was an amazing combination of reverent and down to earth. Very welcoming and friendly with the kids while still conveying great solemnity about the matter at hand. We were really blessed to have him.

You could really feel the presence of the Holy Spirit!

Thank you to all who prayed for him!