Sunday, February 7, 2016

Internet, Digital Games and Security

Touchy topic
At our house the subscription to a popular filtering program expired. I chose not to renew because we discovered the time limits did not function properly and a few of our children need the time limits because mom has a terrible memory.
One day when the children were in school I installed some trial internet filters. Wowza! they worked and we had some fallout.
Some children decided that it would be better not to have the device at all than to use an device that worked like that.
Surprise! we had a wonderful weekend enjoyable actually. Children played games that did not involve electronics and actually had fun. We watched a cooking show--- together and actually discussed which contestants we liked and who was cool. It was a British Bake-Off so plenty of great accents as well.

But then I was puzzled, if my children were using computer time to separate themselves from us/me why were they being so happy?

Hubby and I discussed it while on a date (three hours stolen in the middle of the day while the paid staff was on duty- otherwise known as school). He had great insight. Certain games that our progeny engage in are very competitive and involve throwing a ball harder, or racing around curves faster than the computer. Guess who normally wins and guess who always gives you a higher level to compete in? Hubby reasoned that those driving forces don't magically shut off when the time limit is reached and thus the reaction to firm time limits. (There is actually research out there that agrees with him.)

So for now we will enjoy the reprieve and anticipate the end of the month when there will be a 16th birthday in this house.

Since we are on the subject of limits and things....I almost had a conniption this week when one of my searches for an article/video on empathy vs sympathy also turned up images that I'd rather not see. I realized that our favorite search engine thought that since my 20-ish year old son was looking at basketball and football stuff he possibly is a young male interested in such things and I  was searching using his G*ogle ID.  Because when I put my g*ogle ID in and switched accounts the same images did not show.  I realized that we had not engaged "safe search" on our g*ogle search pages.  Go to and scroll down to search settings at the bottom of the page and choose "on". No it is not a way to KEEP  people off objectionable sites,but it definitely keeps the craziness to a minimum.  You Tube has a similar feature, scroll to the bottom of the page on you tube and select "restricted mode". It is super sensitive and sometimes blocks videos that would be can easily click "off" and watch that video, and usually the restricted setting kicks back in again.   Neither of these is enough to PREVENT someone from accessing gross sites you need a password and accountability for that.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Blizzard 2016

Yes, I know, the internet is flooded with pictures of snow, but this is my diary and an event this great should not be ignored.
The weather prophets were correct this time!
This was the storm that actually lived up to and exceeded the forecast.
I predict that the forecasters will be insufferable for the next two years. They will be riding high on the success of this prediction.

Friday night after it started snowing I took one last run to the grocery store for milk and baking supplies. I didn't get bread because we aren't into milk sandwiches--actually I baked bread on Saturday evening and made yogurt with the milk.
I sent a text to Ezekiel telling him it is snowing and he should head home from his quiz-team-shirt-shopping expedition. Received a text from Ben saying he successfully completed the first leg of his trip to the cabin. 

Then the bored people of the house settled into "doing-something-other-than-playing-mindless-computer games" The ones that don't appear on these pictures were playing mindless computer games.  Faith started on a cross-stitch piece.

Hope used up all my baking supplies. 

Shekinah tried her hand at sewing on buttons.
I worked on my quilt-that-is-taking-forever.
Until we got a call from Ben saying they were in an accident halfway to the cabin.
No one hurt, except for his car.
No other car involved. BUT his car is in a garage two hours away and they were waiting at a McDonald's until one of the youth advisers could come and rescue them. (Yes, "he" became "them" he has a girlfriend)
Talk about feeling helpless.
His phone of course had no coverage when they arrived at the cabin, but thankfully I found out that they did arrive safely at 2AM.

Saturday was a gray snowy actually snowed for 24+hours.
It must have been the weather, but I couldn't settle down to do anything worthwhile.
Shekinah struggled to walk in the stuff.
The 24" ruler that Faith stuck in the yard disappeared and the drive needed to be snow-blown at least twice.

Toward evening we dug out the cars that were buried in the driveway.
Zeke could just pick up huge chunks off the roof. The snow is a strange consistency.

Sunday AM the world looked better with the addition of sunshine. Church was cancelled.
I was supposed to be on ambulance duty, but our street was not plowed until too late and then they closed our drive when they did plow. I worry about the lady who took my place tho...she is about 5', they might need rescue to dig her out of a snow drift!

All the snow angels were made at the edge of the drive, cause the girls were afraid of losing a boot if they ventured into the yard.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas and New Year

We have too many cameras in this house! I almost thought I didn't take pictures at Christmas, then I found another camera.
Ben handed out his gifts that he bought for the girls in Thailand.
I love the colors!

Shekinah finally got her much coveted Our Generation doll.
" Her name is Olivia"
Unfortunately, she decided that she needs to re-name Ben's girlfriend .
" I think I'll call her Olivia."

I gave the younger ones some fuzzy worms that I had picked up somewhere. Initially Parker was sure they were alive and wanted "bug outside!" Eventually they were his best friends, he ended up collecting most of them from uninterested aunties and took them home. 
Cheap pets.

We have limited the amount of computer time during Christmas vacation.
Faith was going through withdrawal.

My family decided to make layette bundles for Christian Aid Ministries.
It is so much fun to go shopping for new baby clothes and package all of it.
Thanks to mom for making all the blankets, and most of the diapers.
Another lady that mom met donated all the little hats that are included in the kits.

We watched the weather forecast and decided that we would try a trip to the Phila Zoo.
Thanks to the State-Wide-Adoption-Network for making that possible.

December is a very good time to visit the zoo.
Very few other people were there and the great apes were actually active.
The drawback was that the giraffes and other African animals were not on display because of the cold.

But the troops got tired out by the time we did see what was on display,so we ate our sandwiches in the car and headed home.  I did get a phone call asking where I was, I totally forgot about a CPR class I was supposed to teach. It was a re-cert for only one person, but still. I hate when I'm forgetful.
One night this week I was happy to have the chance to meet with my cousins. We hale from a large family and family get-togethers were  always a blast.  

Shekinah: Can I have tape rolled up like a sticky bun?

The other cool thing that happened this week. I wrote this on Facebook.
Well that was interesting.
Walked in to my 85 y.o. patient on an ambulance call and started asking questions.
She said "you've been here before."
Me: "Maybe our ambulance has been here before but I don't think I have.
She started answering my questions then said "yes you were here before, you were at a yard sale here."
Suddenly it clicked! "Yes I bought my pressure cooker from you!"
Turned out it had to be about 13 years ago.
Either she has an amazing memory or I made one crazy impression on her.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Stress Balls and Other Stuff

A quick game of Chook toss

After daddy brought in the newly finished game
There are 3 more for sale with "chooks"

Then because  D____ had one at school we needed to make stress balls too

Fill a balloon with flour and add 2 more layers of balloons and a "mask"
See the video here

They weren't perfect but it was sorta fun. No one made me a stress ball tho'
maybe because I don't have stress?

For weeks my dryer was making a noise similar to a kindergarten on candy canes, or 
a number of small animals with their tails caught in a door,  or
...well you get the idea. He had tried to take the dryer apart a few weeks ago and gave up
"they probably don't want people fixing these things"
We put most of the Christmas bonus in the savings account because we were sure that one of these days there would be no more screeching and the dryer would just give up.
The other night tho, he was perusing a fix-it site and saw the proper way to get to the guts of this dryer. He found the problem, called the appliance store and -small miracle- they had the parts in stock! He used the leaf blower to clear out 10 years of lint and my dryer now runs beautifully.
Unfortunately, the Christmas bonus probably has to fill in the gap of 8 hr work days and no
Faith Builder scholarship fund as of yet.  The state budget hold up has trickled down to  that part of our lives.

I finished my litter of chickens

to go with the toss game.

In preparation for Christmas day, I made about 75 dumplings and 48 egg rolls
and didn't want to waste my quiet day, so I took a con-ed course on Bloodborne Pathogens.
I need to keep up with my con-ed if I want to keep my EMT certification.

The other night I thought I saw something unwanted in my pantry, so I started cleaning out.
I had been hoping to just buy those nice canisters from Rubbermaid, but decided not to wait.

I have glass jars and Sharpie markers. I don't have great handwriting but Hope was in bed.
We will have to see how long it no, there is not a" before" picture.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

He's Home!

But first a few things so I remember...and you might find them slightly interesting too.

Shekinah gets bored on her stay-at-home days and I quite frankly am not bored. It would be very easy to let her watch B-bear movies all day, but really how much mama and papa bear can we watch?
I remembered a craft from my elementary school days and thought maybe she could do it without too much supervision. Sure enough! I had to start the wrapping but after awhile she got the hang of it.

And best of all the other kids were impressed, they never saw that particular craft.

Hope and I have been saving our dollars from small jobs and finally
we had enough to buy an overlock! I really debated buying a medium priced ($400) machine, 
but settled for the $199 Brother 1034D off Amazon.
My mom ran a couple dozen diapers on it and we did some dresses,
broke a needle (operator error), and changed out threads a few times and I still like it.
It is noisy, but it has speed!

Then the much awaited Christmas Program. 
I only needed to make one dress this year. Faith could wear Hope's dress from 
Big Brother's wedding in 2011
and a dear friend gave Shekinah a hand-me-down last weekend and it was perfect.

Then finally! We went to the Inter-City bus station (I could write a whole blog post about that bus station. I'm pretty sure it was built in the 70's and only recently enforced the no-smoking rules.
The carpet is probably the original floor covering as it carries the odors of  at least 25 years of cigarette smoke. The ticket holders for the next buses were an interesting mix. There was one middle-aged white man making a number of phone calls. His phone calls included a call to someone in FL in which he compared our weather to theirs- it's the same. Then suddenly he took our Lord's name in vain and called another person and asked why they hung up on him-made me flinch he sounded so angry with Him. Then yet another number and asked for 'Nicole on 3rd floor a social worker'  and did she talk to so-and-so and what did they discuss.  We were distracted when Shekinah noted a woman walking on the sidewalk outside with large strategically placed holes in her jeans, 'MOM SHE HAS HOLES IN HER PANTS' I realized that she was opening the door of the bus station to come in  and I quickly, quietly told Shekinah that we won't talk about other people's clothes. That didn't stop the stares. There were other quiet people sitting and waiting and I wondered about their stories.--OK that is enough)
Finally,just before our parking meter needed to be fed more coins, the right bus pulled in the parking area! Sure enough, one person looked very familiar.
I expected a bus load of tired people to come down the steps, instead a total of three people were on the bus. I didn't realize they would run a bus 63 miles between the two cities for 3 people, but they did and I'm glad!

God gave Ben three seats to himself for the entire flight, so he managed to sleep some of the time.

Madam Shekinah was suddenly shy around "my Ben" but till evening she stuck like a leech.
We saw some of his pictures tonite. It is good that he saved some of the stories till he got home, but he had a stretching time, learned much independence <insert sad face> and will probably find our small house a bit confining.
I saw the title of an article tonite "Go and Let God Stop You" I reluctantly showed it to Ben and he said, "yeah, that's what I've been hearing the last four months."

Zeke responded with " Well, Jesus tells us to be like children, it's like 'get in the way and then He can tell you what to do'."

Well it's time for bed, the house smells good because I finally remembered to make baked oatmeal for my DH's breakfast, maybe I'll have a bowl before bed. I also started some kefir. Update on that tomorrow...or the next day. edited to see if e-mail works

Monday, November 30, 2015

Cyber Monday- updated 1

Cyber Monday didn't go the way it was supposed to. I was going to be busy sewing in the morning and about 10 AM was going to post all the things I have for sale. I am making Faith and Shekinah doll dresses for their dolls this Christmas and figured I could just make an extra couple of pieces and sell them...
Instead I was paying the credit card bills, and shopping for bread flour etc with a herd of cats.
The little chicken bean bags that are almost finished are missing the "beans" because my E-bay order did not show up on Saturday. Any way here are the little last minute things that Hope and I threw together in the last few days. Shipping should be around $5 per order, unless I can put it in a large envelope then it should be around $3.
2 zippers (one hidden) 5 x 7"  $7

one zipper 6 x 7"   $6

one zipper  4x 7  $5

#2 available  $10

one zipper  5x 7  $6

doll dress, fits 18" dolls (American Girl, Generation doll)

same size $7 bodice is lined- sold

I sold this particular one, but have fabric to make another
pink panda PJ pants flannel $3
dotty outfit $7 sold

Pillow, pillow case and sleeping bag
$15 (polka dot is sold)
sleeping bags close with velcro and are filled with quilt batting.
They are fun to make!
Hope was busy making clutch purses out of a pile of fat quarters I picked out.
She is letting some friends have first pick and then the rest will be for sale.
These are the chickens. I have a few finished but am waiting on my pellet order.
$4 a piece or $20 for 6...