Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!!

Yes... we went to see the Midnight Circus yet AGAIN yesterday! This time with our homeschool group. I'm really amazed by how each time we were there (5 shows total) there was at least one new act we had never seen before! We can't wait until next year!

I'm sooooo glad that this picture turned out... I didn't think to bring my wide angle lens (I had it with me last!) so I shot this with my 85mm which means I had to be waaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy back! :-)

The kids are finding it pretty hard to focus on school today so we'll see how things go. I'm having one of my periodic curriculum re-evaluation times. I love Sonlight but I'm loving what I'm reading in The Well-Trained Mind better. I have always loved the WTM philosophy but I tend to freak out if I don't have a complete schedule in front of me that tells me specifically what to do on which day. Well... yesterday over lunch my friend from our homeschool group mentioned that I was welcome to use the schedule she had come up with. Her schedule is amazing and totally doable for me! I think I may take the plunge next year.... yikes!!!

Oh... I posted a couple more pics from our trick-or-treating on Sunday on the Memory Makers Masters blog.

And.... now that the kids are actually working, I should go! But before I do, I will leave you with one pic of Clara in her dance class on Saturday....

Happy Halloween!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

trick or treat

So, it was a little bit early :-)

We're figuring out the whole trick-or-treating thing here in the city. In Texas we lived in the suburbs and it was a no-brainer... we went door to door in our neighborhood on Halloween night. The city is a little different. It seems trick-or-treating at businesses is more the norm. So, today we went to Southport since today was the day all of the business would be handing out candy.

I took a couple of pictures before we left....
Clara was all about making up her own poses!

Please ignore the fact that the shirt she has on under her costume is on backwards... sigh. (didn't discover it until after her costume was on)

Doesn't he look thrilled to be having his picture taken?
The kids had a blast and came home with a nice sized bag of loot. It was an absolutely beautiful day which was really nice. Once at home the kids sat down for some serious candy trading (Clara can't have chocolate). Fun stuff.... they can't wait for the actual day now!

Okay... off to bed!


Saturday, October 27, 2007

boy on a bike

Just a quick post before heading to bed. Alex finally got his new bike today and (if you can't tell by the look on his face) he's thrilled!!! He rode it all afternoon... and this was after riding 7 miles this morning with Jeff. He was one tired boy by bedtime.

More pictures to post and more to write, but I'm sleepy so they'll have to wait!


(thanks for Clara's birthday wishes!!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Clara!!

Today is Clara's 6th birthday! Can you believe it? I'm having a hard time accepting it myself!

To celebrate Clara's birthday we spent the day at Navy Pier. We started out at Build-A-Bear workshop where Clara got the new winter bear and Alex got the turtle. Then we ventured outside to ride some rides. First we all rode the big giant ferris wheel. It was so much nicer than I expected... the cars are enclosed so the wind wasn't a factor like I thought it would be. After that the kids rode the lighthouse ride....
Then Alex rode the swings (Clara wasn't tall enough)....
(oh... notice the item in the swing behind him? It's a skeleton... Navy Pier is Navy "Fear" during Halloween.)

He was pretty cold by this point...
And Clara finished up on the carousel (see another picture here)....
After the rides we walked up to Amazing Chicago. The kids both insisted that they wanted to go last time we were at Navy Pier. So, since it was Clara's birthday we decided to give it a go. Well... thank goodness my mother-in-law was with us because Clara freaked out about 10 feet into the place. So, Clara and grandma turned around and waited for Alex and I to make it through the maze. Jeff met us there about the time Alex and I came out so we grabbed lunch. We were going to go to the Children's Museum but we were all pretty chilly from our morning outside so we took a cab home to hang out instead. Clara was thrilled to relax a bit and open gifts. She had gymnastics this afternoon and afterwards we walked up to the bakery and bought a little cake to have after dinner. The birthday festivities are FINALLY coming to a close.... whew!

Okay... I'm going to go!


Monday, October 22, 2007

it's like deja vu...

... all over again! :-)

Yes... we went to see the Midnight Circus again today... and this time we stayed for two shows. I have to say that we were just as entertained and amazed as we were when we saw them for the first time last week. Given how different all three shows have been... it makes me want to see them yet again!

Here are a few from the 11:30 show this morning. I haven't touched the 12:30 show pics yet...

We had a crazy weekend! Friday was Clara's birthday party with our homeschool group here a the house. It was a great time... complete chaos, but a great time. We had 12 kids playing here at the house for nearly three hours and we all survived! lol!

Friday night was Alex's musical at church. I was so proud of him! He did soooo well! He's all excited about being on stage now and has asked about looking into other shows he could be in. Color me shocked!

Saturday was Alex's last show and Clara's rehearsal. After that we headed straight out of town to stay the night at a hotel with an indoor waterpark with a bunch of friends. The kids had an amazing time. I think that first day they played for about 5 hours straight. There were enough kids that everyone had someone to pal up with. Sunday they were pretty warn out and all of the kids were done and ready to go by lunchtime.

I've got a ton of photos to edit and will probably take more tomorrow given its Clara's actual birthday and we're going to out on the town all day to celebrate!

Okay... time to cook dinner!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

wow... thursday already???

How did that happen? This week has been a blur... just lots going on. I have a few assignments I need to be working on and a nice little stack of paperwork to finish up and mail off.

Today we went with our homeschool group to South Pond at the Lincoln Park Zoo for World Water Monitoring Day. It was really cool! The kids got to rotate through five stations taking a different type of reading at each station. They measured dissolved oxygen, nitrates, turbidity, pH and phosphates.

Here's scientist Alex... he wouldn't look at me because he was busy counting since he was supposed to shake the tube for 100 seconds....I wanted desperately to get a shot of Clara in the oversized goggles and huge blue gloves... but as I called her aside to take the picture, she took off her stuff as she walked toward me and handed it off to the person manning that station... sigh.

So, here's one of Clara sans her lab gear....
Like the shirt? She *had* to have it the other night at Bloomingdales.

Well... I'm going to run... tomorrow our homeschool group is coming over the celebrate Clara's birthday so I need to go and work on the cake!


Monday, October 15, 2007

midnight circus - photo overload LOL!

Today was a FUN day! I told the kids if they could get their math done super fast we would take off for a little while during the middle of the day. Well... they got their math done super fast so we heading down to Daley Plaza to see the Midnight Circus! It was so much fun!! The kids were completely mesmerized. We enjoyed it so much that I think we'll try to catch another show or two before Halloween.

Isn't this too much fun? The water in the fountains on Daley Plaza is orange!

FYI - this was Alex and Clara's favorite of the show... Ninja....

Isn't this sweet? LOL! Clara insisted on bringing her brand new American Girl doll, Kit, with her today. Slightly before this was taken, Kit had lost her barrette... although at this point, we didn't know it. We didn't realize it until after we had crossed the street on the way to lunch. Upon learning this... Clara turned bright red and burst into tears on the street corner. Fortunately, we went back and found the barrette next to the fountain... crisis averted.
I posted a couple of other pictures on the Memory Makers Blog as well.

Okay.... I'm sleepy so I'm heading to bed!


ETA: Hi Robyn! We once (briefly) lived in the western 'burbs.... at least I think that's where we were.... but now we're back in the city and loving it. If you have any homeschooling questions... please let me know! I'm not saying I have all the answers... but I know where to look LOL.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Halloween Sneak Peek...

The kids got their costumes today and Alex LOVES his. We made a quick trip to the Disney Store this afternoon and Clara picked up a Minnie Mouse costume (adorable!) and Alex got a Jack Sparrow pirate costume. The hat with the fake hair was just too much for him to handle so we're going the bandanna route.

Here are a few pics I took real quick on our back deck...
See my reflection in the telescope...LOL!
This one cracked me up... notice the big red ring around his eye from pressing too hard with the telescope...
We had a really nice weekend. Clara had dance again Saturday morning. I didn't get to watch too much as I was in the pointe class taking photos. Didn't go as well as I had planned, but I think I learned from my mistakes and will try again during one of the upcoming rehearsals.

Today Alex sang in church twice to promote the musical that the children's choir is doing. He had an extra long rehearsal so we took this opportunity to give Clara a birthday surprise. We took her to the American Girl store for lunch and shopping!! In order to cover up why we wanted her to bring her dolls to church... we told her that Jamie (her doll) had an appointment at the doll salon at AG. We convinced her that her Bitty Baby, Lauren, would probably like to tag along. So we took her in and I took her and Jamie to the salon while Jeff checked us in for our lunch reservations... she had no clue! Lunch was too much fun.... Clara loved the special seat for Lauren that hooked to the table and that they brought Lauren her own little tea cup and saucer. Lunch was good and then for dessert they put a candle in the little cake they brought and sang Happy Birthday to her. Over lunch we told her how much she had to spend and let her look through the catalog. That worked out well because she had her decision made before we left the cafe. It made navigating the crowded store much easier. I took a bunch of pictures, but I shot at a high ISO and they're pretty grainy... ugh. I need to find some kind of noise reduction software for mac. I may just put them on a thumb drive and run them through Neat Image which I have on my pc. We'll see how motivated I get.

Okay... I'm off!


Friday, October 12, 2007

the boxcar children

My kids love the Boxcar Children books (at least the first ones in the series) and so do some of the other kids in our homeschool group. Today at our playgroup they found a bunch of moving boxes and they used them to construct a house and played in that house as if they were the Boxcar Children. It was quite interesting to see that many kids playing that imaginatively that well together.

Alex and Clara running to the park...a close-up of Clara...
And finally, Clara standing at the front door of their "house"...

This crazy weather is messing with my sinuses so since my head is pounding, I'm heading to bed!


Thursday, October 11, 2007


That is where we stayed today and it was WONDERFUL!! We had gone somewhere everyday this week so it was nice to stay at home. Yesterday we went to the library and saw the Ultimate Science Show. It was sooooo much fun! The guy who did the demonstration was great. The kids loved it and were glued to his every move.

So today, to continue with our science theme we have going this week, we broke out Alex's K'nex Simple Machines: Gears kit. The teacher's guide which was written for a classroom said to allow 45 minutes for the model we built today. Well... we spent several hours at it. We (meaning Alex) built a crank fan. We also did all of the variations, using different sized gears and different combinations of gears. We drew pictures of gear trains, labeling the directions that each gear would turn. We learned terms relating to gears and generally just had a great time. To help with presentation skills and recall... the kids did a little mini presentation about gears and what they had learned for Jeff when he got home from work. Alex also did a little Q and A session at the end... LOL!

Once school was done, I sat down and tried to scrap. One layout is posted on the Memory Makers Masters' Blog... and the other is here...
details here

Well... I think that's it and I'm heading to bed!!


Oh... I recorded my first show as host of DiScTalkRadio's Inside the Scrapper's Playhouse last night. Fortunately Deann was there to bail me out as I totally panicked... so we co-hosted (meaning Deann did all the talking LOL) and I'm promising to get it together by next month! :-) (thanks Deann!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


... was a blur. We started out our day at the Adler Planetarium with our homeschool group. It is so much fun to be part of such a fun and active group. The kids had a great time yesterday and really learned quite a bit. I was afraid the planetarium might be short on exhibits and we wouldn't be entertained for long... but the kids LOVED it and we had to leave before we had seen it all so a trip back there is definitely in order especially since we're doing a year long study of astronomy this year. It really helped to bring to life several of the things we had talked about already.

Here is Clara seeing what she would look like while being sucked into a black hole....Alex doing a little research...
The kids really enjoyed the Zula Patrol exhibit. I had never heard of the TV show, but perhaps we should look it up. They loved all of the hands on stuff. I would love to go back there with them alone so we could study it all a bit more... and maybe next time we'll get tickets for the movie as well.

Here are pics of Alex and Clara experimenting with the wind display....

After the planetarium we went straight to Clara's gymnastics, then straight to Alex's rehearsal and then finally home around 8:30 so the kids didn't take their showers last night. Now we all need to get clean this morning before we head out!

Hopefully I'll post more later!

Have a great day!

Monday, October 08, 2007

monday, monday

Crazy weekend here again. We really didn't do too much though. Saturday was dance again as usual. Saturday night we watched the Cubs lose, but I don't really want to talk about that. We watched the original Shaggy Dog for family movie night. I wasn't sure how it would go over since it's probably the oldest movie the kids have ever watched (we watched the colorized black and white version)... but Alex laughed through the whole thing (Clara fell asleep but that's typical Clara). Sunday we didn't go to church since so many streets in the city were blocked off for the marathon. We stayed home and watched it on tv instead. It was extremely exciting this year... all three of the big races, the wheelchair, the men's and the women's... all came down to the finish. After that we walked to the bookstore to pick up the new Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame issue to see my layout. I got a chance to sit down and look at it last night and there are some amazing layouts in there. I think I found some new favorite scrappers to follow! :-) After the bookstore we wandered up to the ice cream store. Isn't it a bit sad that we were so hot that we were in search of an ice cream store on October? It was in the upper 80's!! The store we went to had pumpkin ice cream... Alex and I chose that... yum!

I attempted another Paris layout today but it didn't go well. Oh well... the roll I was on was good while it lasted. I did find this photo that I had ignored because it was so dark. I decided to play with it and although it is EXTREMELY grainy... I kind of like it.
It is from the top of the staircase in the Arc de Triomphe looking down. I was having a mild panic attack at the time so I didn't mess with my settings much, I just took the picture and hoped for the best... hence the reason it was severely underexposed.

Today was Columbus Day and the schools were out around here... however, my kids did not realize this so we did school this morning before heading to an art "class" one of the moms in our homeschool group was organizing this afternoon. They looked at fonts today and how different kinds of type can convey different feelings/meanings. They all seemed to have a good time and it was fun to hang out with our friends.

Just a couple of photos and then I'm out of here...
The kids on a bench.
And my friend's adorable little Yorkie. I love my Friday girl, but I get the itch to have a little lap dog every time I visit their house!


Friday, October 05, 2007

two in a row!

Yup... two pages in two days... what is wrong with me?!? I think what did it is that I finally let go of the idea of using the same kit to scrap my entire Paris album. I just can't scrap that way. Apparently I'm going overboard on this whole idea because the last two pages I've done have used very little in the way of scrap products. I love them though!
details here

Nothing much else to report. Today was experiment day. We're still studying water and this round of experiments was about "disappearing" water so we started a whole bunch of wait and see type of experiments. We have trays of water stashed all over the place to see which environment facilitates the best evaporation rate. Clara has been checking them repeatedly... and I'm pretty sure that there has been no change in the water level of the tray of water in the cabinet under the powder room sink.

It rained today so we decided to meet somewhere indoors for our homeschool recess group. So today we met at the Nature Museum. The kids had a great time. We got there just in time for the fish feeding. There were several kids all gathered around for the feeding but slowly, one by one they wandered off... by the end all that was left was our homeschool kids, asking and answering questions... it was amazing how focused they all were. Then we went up the butterfly room for the butterfly release. Each day they release the newly emerged butterflies into the habitat. Again, our group was glued to the woman who was doing the presentation... asking and answering questions... they were just absorbing everything. Here are a couple of pics that I took...

After that we got a sneak peek at their new Reptiles exhibit. The kids all loved it.... all kinds of turtles, snakes and lizards. We finally left when the museum closed.

So... that's it!

Have a great weekend!