It’s True…My family is NUTS!

It’s that time of year again.

Well, actually, we’re a little bit crazy ALL the time, but it gets noticeably worse at this time of year.

It’s nothing new. It’s a generational thing. My father-in-law passed it on to my hubby. My daughters inherited the disease from their dad. They came down with it years ago. There is no cure.

And they’ve done their best to infect their sweet baby brother.

The symptoms intensify in the spring. Last year’s outbreak was the worst. It lasted for months. But mercifully, it came to an end on June 10, 2010.

This year’s outbreak of insanity in our home may be shorter lived. Our Chicago Blackhawks aren’t the team they were last year. Last year, they ended their season by hoisting the Stanley Cup. This year they eeked into the playoffs with an 8th place finish. Last year our expectations were through the roof. This year….not so much. The 2011 playoffs didn’t start well for the Blackhawks. After three losses to the Vancouver Canucks, it looked like the season was about to come to a sad end. But then the Hawks won. And then they won again, and then 2 nights ago, they won again. In overtime. To force a Game 7. To say we reacted strongly is a bit of an understatement.

One of my daughters thought it might be fun to record us watching the overtime period. Just in case. The following video provides visible (and very loud) evidence of the insanity that resides here during hockey season.

Enjoy. And please, for your own sake, turn your volume down.

So, our season might end ended tonight. But even if it does, we’ll always have Game 6.

(And you should all be really happy we didn’t record our reaction to the short-handed goal that sent Game 7 into overtime!)

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I Heart Faces: Vroom, Vroom!!

This week’s I ♥ Faces theme is Vroom, Vroom.

The I ♥ Faces challenge is to post a photo based on an announced theme. Of course, the main requirement is that your photo feature a human face! All the rules, regulations, and TONS of pics of wonderful faces can be found at the I ♥ Faces photography website.

Below is my entry for I ♥ Faces: Week 37 • Vroom, Vroom Photo Challenge

Hmmmm….is that safe?

Jimmy goes to School!

Jimmy's First Day of School

After nearly 20 years of homeschooling, this week our family experienced a homeschooling “first”.  With the exception of a few PE, art, and music classes with our local homeschool group, none of my children have ever “taken classes” anywhere but at home!   All that changed this week!!

Last year, a local homeschool co-op was desperately in need of a “fill-in” teacher for their Classical Track, and Darcy was asked to fill the gap.  Being recently graduated, unemployed, and broke, she was eager to accept!  She was subsequently invited to teach middle school and high school students this year in the same program.  One of the perks of being a teacher in the program is that your children can attend for free.  Though Darcy doesn’t have children, she does have a little brother….sooo….

This week, Jimmy started school.

As a 1st Grade Student of the Quaere Verum (Search for Truth) Classical Academy, Jimmy will be spending every Monday attending classes in History, Language, Writing & Grammar, and Literature.  He has daily assignments to complete for each class in addition to the Bible, Math, and Science curriculum that I will provide.  It’s a completely different approach than this somewhat set-in-her-ways homeschool veteran has ever utilized, but hopefully, this old dog isn’t too old to learn a few new tricks!!

Here’s a look at some of what he will be studying this year:

Wow...lesson plans that I didn't have to create! Yahoo!

Summer’s Last Gasp…

Summer is almost a memory.

Over the last several months we’ve enjoyed several trips up North and have enjoyed day-trip excursions to Cantigny, Kline Creek Farm, and LOTS and LOTS of bike rides!!  Though I hate to see summer go, the hustle and bustle of fall activity and the beauty of the changing seasons is something to look forward to!  Nina’s back in school, and Janna has ramped up her studies again as she nears the completion of her degree.   On Monday, Darcy and Jimmy both start school (more about that next week!), and my fall projects are well underway.

But before it’s all gone, here’s just a bit of what summer brought us this year!

Jimmy and Daddy chillin’ at Cantigny:

Enjoying our yard and the fruitful yield of Jim’s garden:

Kickin’ back with a good book up at Grandma and Grandpa’s Lakehouse:

Enjoying some time on the water:

Getting up close-and-personal with a little bit of wildlife:

We’ll miss you, Summer!  Hurry back!

Lessons from World Cup Soccer

My cousin, Dan, is a new blogger.  He’s also one of the funniest people I know.

Hold that thought…I’ll get back to the point in just a minute.  I hope Dan’s in a somewhat forgiving mood, because I found a picture of us from a few years back.  Dan’s the one sitting on Grandpa’s lap (nice saddle shoes, Dan) and I’m sitting on Grandma’s lap…yeah, I’m the one with food on the corner of my mouth.  Some things NEVER change!

Old family pic

Anyway, back to the point.  Not only is Dan a great writer, but he’s also my son’s favorite wrestling partner. Whenever he comes over for a visit (not nearly often enough), Jimmy greets him by jumping on him and dragging him to the ground. Their wrestling matches can last for hours.

This summer, however, Jimmy took up a brand new sport.

Jimmy soccer

However, my budding soccer player still has a few things to learn about the finer points of the game….like how to kick the ball and run at the same time.   Well a couple of weeks ago, in lieu of a wrestling match, Dan and Jimmy decided to kick the ball around in the backyard.  Dan saw the need (he’s got a tremendous grasp of the obvious) and quickly seized on the teachable moment.  But it’s entirely possible that Dan’s been watching too much World Cup Soccer, because the lessons that Jimmy came away with might not be the lessons that Jimmy’s coach would place at the top of his priority list.

Now in all honesty, this post is really just a shameless plug for Dan’s blog.  So now if you’ll just mosey on over to DanielDSchell’s Blog, you can read Dan’s account of the lessons he’s learned from watching World Cup soccer these last few weeks.

And when you get there, you might also agree that Dan did a great job teaching Jimmy what it takes to become a world class soccer player.

Thanks, Dan.  I owe you.


Cheap isn’t always good….

Life is full of facts.

Fact #1:  If your children go out in the sun, they must wear sunscreen.

Fact #2:  Sunscreen is a rip-off.

Fact #3:  Getting a good deal is a good thing.

Bottom line…the facts do not always add up.

I needed sunscreen for trip to the beach.  I was at the dollar store (not planning to buy sunscreen) and saw SPF 30- Banana Boat Sport Performance sunscreen on sale for $3.00.   The label even boasted “Three-way Protection: Sun-Tested, Sun-Proven” and “Very Water/Sweat Resistant”.  Wow.  Sounds impressive.

cheap sunscreen

But give me a little bit of credit.  I’m not that easily swayed by catchy advertising!  The wise woman in me stopped the deal-hound fool from making a rash, yet frugal, decision.  This is the dollar store, after all.

Brand name?   Check.

Expiration date?   Check.

expiration date

Great.  Get it.  That’s one more thing I can cross off my list!

Fast forward to yesterday at the beach:  92 degrees and sunny.  No clouds.  No shade.  For 4 hours.

Now, mind you, I’m a good mother.  I know that just buying the sunscreen isn’t enough.  You actually have to apply the sunscreen in order for it to work.   And apply I did…exactly as instructed.  “Apply generously and evenly to all areas 15 minutes before sun exposure” and “Reapply at frequent internals and after swimming”.  This particular child doesn’t stop swimming when he’s at the beach.  So I reapplied.  Generously.  And regularly.  But after a few hours I went to the car to feed the parking meter and got a glimpse of myself in the tinted car window.  Yikes.  I was starting to sport quite a burn.  Hmmmmm….that shouldn’t be happening.  So I reapplied again.

Fast forward to bedtime:  OUCH!!!!!

Fact #4:  It’s only a good deal if it works.

So today, I did what any good mother would do.  I threw two cans of mostly unused sunscreen into the trash and went to Lands’ End and spent significantly more than $3 to be sure that my boy doesn’t ever get sunburned like that again!!

swim suit