Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our Ships Came In

 But they left, pretty quickly.  Specifically, we went up to Baltimore to watch the Tall Ships depart.  They had been in port to celebrate to bicentennial of the War of 1812.

We visited the Baltimore Museum of Industry, which happens to be perfectly situated on the harbor near Ft. McHenry.

We love the "corner store" exhibit.  It brings up everything I loved about living in Baltimore.

 As always, the kids favorite part of the museum was putting on a show on the sound stage!

This one involved a lot of dancing.
 Then we went outside for a picnic, and to watch the parade of ships leaving the harbor.

This is The Pride of Baltimore.  OK, maybe this was what I loved about living in Baltimore!

Choclo was absolutely convinced it was a pirate ship.

In fact, he and Oob were convinced that all the sailing ships were pirate ships.

I eventually decided to be charmed by that.

 Yes, those are the Zoomlians watching the majestic waterborne sight of....


Which, I guess, made it a perfect day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reverse Paparazzi

 It's the age of the camera phone and Choclo and Oob know it.

A trip to the hardware store turns into a photo op: Look!  A lawn mower!  Take a picture of meeeee!

Isn't it beeeautiful? Take a picture of meeeeeee!

And I do.

It's funny, in the age before digital cameras, the older kids got pictures whenever they did anything cute, while the younger kids got pictures whenever their parents could find the camera.  And film.  And batteries.

Now, I have a picture of Choclo amidst the furnace filters, holding something I couldn't identify then, let alone now.

And it's on the internet!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Last of the Mohicans

I know I agreed to this, mostly because I'm the one who actually did it.  Why remains something of a mystery.

Except that Zorg really wanted me to give him a Mohawk.  And it's easy.  And it's fixable.  Unlike the the time he wanted me to shave the top of his head but leave a fringe of hair around the sides.

So I did it!  I will note that it was the Emperor who went out and got the hair gel...

And Zorg was delighted!

And it's gone now!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Yes, as we mentioned last time, we switched Mother's and Father's Days this year. So today we are celebrating Mother's Day - and boy are we celebrating!  I was feasted with cinnamon rolls at breakfast, along with home made cards!

The Emperor wrote me a sonnet in his...

Then we all  went to Mass together.

Next it was a stop at the Arboretum for a picnic: fine cheeses and fresh cherries in the dwarf conifer garden, what's not to like?!

Then we came home where I discovered that the Zoomlians had pooled their money to buy me one really great present!

Why, yes!  It is a giant squid tentacle bursting through a porthole!

And I can hang it on my wall!!!!

You do know I like squids,  right?

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Cheery Homeschool Post

The Zoomlians have finished their research projects!

It was very interesting to see the different forms the projects took.

Klenda wrote 13 pages on the history of chocolate and provided us with a dramatic reading (but, alas, no samples!).

Leena made a poster about dolphins and did an oral report.

Zorg did an oral report on amazing bird facts, followed by a quiz show!

Choclo told us all about mummies.  After all the books on elephants, I think he was just done with that subject.  He has been playing a Wii Active Life Adventure game which he calls Mummy's Tube (which makes me think, "Like YouTube for mummies). 

Oob talked about...  What did he talk about?  I can't remember!

Mxyl finished a lovely typed report on swords the first week of the project, but has continued to research the subject.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Not a Cheery Homeschool Post

It's been a rough couple of weeks, emotionally.  Last Friday, I had a second sonogram because the doctor thought there was an outside chance that there was a a second pregnancy.  There wasn't, which is actually good news because if there had been, it likely would have been outside the womb (chance of survival = 0%).  The first baby hadn't changed.

We were nearing 4 weeks since the baby had died and my OB was getting nervous.  We were headed towards surgery, not a happy thought for me.  We decided to try medication last night, and thankfully, the miscarriage has started to complete naturally.

We've named the baby Mary Pascha.  Pascha means Easter, and her whole life spanned the Easter season almost exactly.  It's difficult to explain because I have been sadder, I think, than I have ever been with the death of this child, but I also have tremendous joy when I think of her.  She is not really separate from me.  She is with God and God is with me. 

I think the sadness has been more prolonged because of the strange circumstance: I was pregnant for long after the baby had died.  Does that still count as pregnancy? I didn't know what to call it. Time on the cross, maybe.

It's easier now that my body is finally letting go.  I think now I can start to let go of the sadness and, eventually, what will remain is Easter joy.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Leena: It was Strawberry Banana Monkey versus the Avengers!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Scout Baking

We've been doing quite a bit of baking for our Scouts!  Our Scoutmaster is expecting his first baby later this month, and the troop is throwing him a Baby Court of Honor (the Scout equivalent of a baby shower).

We made 3 dozen dark chocolate cupcakes.  They are filled with almond vanilla filling and frosted with baby blue raspberry frosting, topped with a chocolate fleur de lis (the scout symbol).  Recipe here.

When I say "we,"  I mean Klenda made the cupcakes, Mxyl made the chocolates, I made the frosting and filling, and everyone assembled.

We also made our daily ration of "Scout's Honor Rolls."

The main fund raiser for the troop is a charcoal chicken BBQ.  They grill half chickens and serve them with really great coleslaw, the best baked beans, and a really lousy roll.

Well that's something I can fix!  I set out to design a roll that would be the equal of the rest of the meal.

So, for the last few BBQs, we have made 300 plus rolls.  Again, that's not the royal we, everyone helps out!  We make one batch a day for 5 days to hit our quota.

These are too rich for everyday, too tender and buttery...  Mmmmmm.

Scout's Honor Rolls (64 rolls)

4 c. warm water
2 t. salt
scant 1 c. sugar
1 c. potato flakes
1 c. powdered milk
1/2 c. softened butter
4 eggs
3 T yeast
10 - 12 c. flour (I use 1/3 bread and 2/3 pastry, try all purpose)

I mix everything in the KitchenAid, leaving the dough soft and a little sticky.
Let rise until doubled (1 hour?)
I dump it out on a floured board cut it in half.  1/2 goes back in the bowl to cut up later.

That means the lump on the counter should make 32 rolls.  I cut that in half, setting aside half and keep cutting halves until I have 16 rolls.  Then I take the smaller set aside and make 16 from that.  While I'm cutting, the Zoomlians are grabbing hunks and rolling them into ropes.  They tie them in knots (get it, scouts tie knots!) and arrange them on cookie sheets while I keep cutting.

I preheat the oven while the rolls rise.  We bake at 375 for about 15 minutes, switching around the baking sheets for even browning.  As soon as they come out, we brush them with melted butter and let them cool.

When they are completely cool, we put them in batches of 20 in gallon ziplock bags and pop them in the freezer.

The night before the BBQ, we take them out to thaw.  On the big day we reheat all the rolls briefly  so that they are at their absolute peak!

And we always make one last batch for us... :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dangers of Homeschooling

Too funny! 

A Moment of Weakness

 We were in the grocery store, visiting the lobsters (do you ever visit the grocery store with small children and not stop to visit the lobsters?), when Choclo began wandering down the fish counter.  Look!  He was beside himself. They have FISH!

Fish, as I'm sure you know, comes in neat boneless fillets and steaks.  FISH!, comes with its eyeballs.

The last several times Choclo had asked, I had told him we might try it when I wasn't morning sick.  Well, I didn't have that excuse.

I looked at the red snapper skeptically.  The fish looked back, equally skeptical (seriously, look at that first picture, he clearly thinks this is not going to end well!).

I caved.

We bought the fish as a home school project.  It was too expensive to be just food!  We were quite interested in his lung-like gills.  I asked the fishmonger for some extra scales to look at under the microscope.

We examined him carefully, inside and out, rubbed garlic paste and salt on the inside, then stuffed him with lemon and basil and tossed him on the barby.  If only I had a Barbie... you know I can't resist a visual pun!

I must admit, he looked pretty tasty coming off the grill!

He tasted pretty good, but not $8 a pound spectacular.  It's hard for me not to compare it with an $8 a pound rib eye steak!  But it was more educational...

I think if I had to do it over, I would have marinated him and cooked him longer at a lower temp so as to get more "grilled" flavor.

Any whole fish cooking tips out there?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

To Spell or Not to Bee

We aren't actually prepping for a spelling bee, but we are going to brush up on our spelling skills this summer!

I've combed the web and found seven free online spelling games I like, and put them in the sidebar on the left (below English Sites). 

I would advise you to look at Hang Mau before you show it to your kids.  It will be perfect (I hope) for my spellers, but it may freak out younger audiences!

I also really like both Bookworm Adventures as I've mentioned in the past.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Litlle Mummies for Monday

 Really, don't you feel like this some Mondays?

Mmmmmm...  Mmmmmm...... Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm......


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dancing With Delight

 It's true!  Angel stopped by from Switzerland, on her way to get married in South Dakota!

She had enough time for a delightful visit, and to teach the Zoomlians to dance!

Wonderful waltzing, mostly, along with the box step.

The Emperor could not resist giving it a try with Klenda.

Thanks for the dancing, Angel!  Good luck and God bless you!  We wish you every joy!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Geust Blog by Mxyl and Zorg: Angel Came to Visit!

Hello and good evening to all sentient beings capable of understanding this rather complicated form of communication; aka: Hi guys.  What's with the big words?  But anyway, we have run into a considerably precious friend of ours, Angel.  I do not believe we have told you that Angel is getting married?  Soon instead of Ms. Angel, we'll start calling her Aunt Angel!  With a British accent!  What could be better?  Ahem.  Sorry.  Force of habit, digressing like that.  Can't help it. 

For example, did you know that my blog name started out as an abbreviation for Mxyzptlk, one of the villains Superman fights?  Or for that matter that Zorg's name originated because that used to be the only word he could speak in English? 

Actually, it wasn't exactly English, but rather ancient Zoomlian meaning a number of things, from "sweet dying moose" to "sweet moose that's going to make someone else die real soon" to... Oh, I'm digressing again, aren't I? 

Now as I was saying, Choclo got his name from loving chocolate so much, although he's mostly out of that stage and now he's obsessed with penguins, so maybe we should rename his something sounding a little like Pingu instead.  Oh, and speaking of Pingu, did you know that it actually isn't a--