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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Puerto Vallarta Tequila

Chris and I don't drink. We're not anti-drinking, we just don't. Ever. We were very surprised/amused at how much drinking is part of the Mexican Culture. Every tour we went on had drinking, even a brief stop at a Jewelry store had a bar set up in the corner for a quick refreshing alcoholic beverage!  Our tour guide imbibed during a day-long tour! It was funny.

As part of one of our tours we stopped at an old, family run, Tequila making place, Tequila Don Crispin.

This is the agave that Tequila comes from.

These are the pipes...I think water runs through to cool something? I don't remember, sorry! It was a unique experience because here in the US everything is so regulated and so machine-operated, this is all by hand and old-fashinoned!

The thing we mostly took away with us is that Jose Cuervo is not real pure tequila. It is mixed, therefore the headache the next day. With this stuff, they say, "No headache!"

After the whole process was described to us, there was a tasting of 3 different tequila flavors. And, of course the ability to buy!  Wish we knew someone who appreciated pure tequila....we didn't end up buying any but it was a cool trip!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Party

It was soooo cold here the last few days! We had a Halloween Party scheduled for the park and I didn't want to go! So, we changed locations to my house! Works for me! 

One of the moms had all sorts of games and Halloweeny type food. Here's her "Witches Brew"

Here's Elias playing a game...reach in the bag and find the item listed on your paper. Black cat, witches wart, etc etc...very cool!

The teenagers even dressed up! And stayed amongst themselves for the better part of the day LOL

This was Sebastian's 1st real time dressing up and he LOVEDDDDD it! He was SO proud to be Spiderman. He wouldn't let me take the costume off to change his diaper!  Then he got a pirate's patch and was Spider-Pirate-Man...gotta love him!

Group picture

What a fun day!

PV Scuba Diving

See how far behind I am in posting?! This is from MAY! Oh well, better late than never.

Chris and I went to Puerto Vallarta and had a fabulous time! Very much recommend it.  So, while we were there Chris really wanted to do Scuba Diving. Me, no desire, no thanks, no way, no how!  So, the Scuba Instructor came to our hotel pool and gave Chris his first lesson.

I gotta admit, it looked very cool. But, still, no thanks! We went on a scuba tour, and off Chris went.

I hung out on the back of the boat, watching others scuba diving. I'm not really a strong swimmer, so I was very content to hang in my life vest and see the sights. Which included starfish!!

Here's another reason why I didn't want to go out there!  EEEKK!!  Jellyfish.  They look worse than the ones on the East Coast!

I'm glad Chris got to do something he's always wanted to do. Hopefully we'll get to do it again soon!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Puerto Vallarta Pt1

We're back from the most amazing vacation. Neither Chris nor I knew much about Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, but Chris won a trip there, so there we went!

Turns out one of his high school friends has lived there for years (Hey Martie!). We hooked up with him and his wife and WHOAH what an education we got! The area is so lovely and the people so friendly. We just can't say enough about the hospitality Martie and his wife showed us, or enough about the friendliness of everyone. The trip was truly memorable. I left saying I'd move there in a heartbeat.

Chris and Martin

We weren't trying to be all matchy-matchy poo...but we almost were

In later posts Chris and I will share the various myths that were shattered about Mexico, and some things we didn't know before going! Also, of course all the wonderful places we went to eat and the tours we took.

But for now, suffice it to say, it was amazing!

Killing Jar

At a recent event we found a Bark Scorpion. I brought him home taped to a sheet of paper (praying he wouldn't escape in the car!!).

I wasn't exactly sure what to do with him, but he looked so cool I knew we had to keep him! So, then comes along the idea of a Killing Jar. Perfect!

We invited some homeschool friends over and got started!

Newspaper, Shredder, baby food jars, masking tape, poison labels, packing tape, cardboard  & Nail Polish Remover....oh, and don't forget your creature! I also included a small pocket microscope.

Here are Elias and Austin shredding the newspaper needed for the bottom.

We traced the bottom of the baby food jars to create a shelf over the paper shreddings.  Austin is looking at the scorpion while mom is tracing!

Jill cut out all the Poison labels

Here are our beautiful jars...just awaiting some poor innocent creature!

And, what may you ask, were the toddlers doing while we were working on this project? What else but playing Tea!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bark Scorpions

 We recently found a scorpion, crawling around (ewww). Not at our house, thank goodness! A friend called it a bark scorpion, but I had to research it myself.  Sure enough...and here's what we found out:

"Bark" scorpions are Centruroides exilicauda. They are considered a medically significant species, meaning they can and will take your life. Use caution around them.

Arizona Bark Scorpion-   Centruroides sculpturatus

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Arachnida (Arachnids)
Order Scorpiones (Scorpions)
Family Buthidae
Genus Centruroides (Bark Scorpions)
Species sculpturatus (Arizona Bark Scorpion)

Originally Centruroides sculpturatus Ewing, 1928. Synonymized under C. exilicauda (Wood, 1863) by Williams (1980). But the distribution of the species is disjunct: C. exilicauda is endemic to the Baja California Peninsula, and in the north it is limited to the western side of the peninsula to near Ensenada; C. sculpturatus does not occur in BC, but is found in Sonora, Mexico, and the southwestern US in Arizona and the borderlands of adjacent states. Returned to C. sculpturatus by Valdez-Cruz et al. (2004) based largely on chemical makeup of venom, potency of venom, and DNA.

Explanation of Names
"sculpturatus" describes the sculptured appearance of the tergites (dorsal plates). "exilicauda" is for the elongation of the male metasoma (tail).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


This is my lovely BOY in a friend's headband. Isn't he GORGEOUS?!? The funny thing is, he looks exactly like one of his cousins in this photo  (huh, Andrea!!!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

1st Preschool Class

This year I am teaching an Alphabet Class, in the style of my dear friend Jene!  She offered one when Elias was younger, and he participated for 3 years. Now that she's moved away, it's my turn to take the helm with Sebastian.

Our first gathering was random crafts and activities, just to get the kids familiar with the routine. After that each week will be based on a letter of the alphabet.

First we did a pattern using Fruit Loops, and a toothpick stuck into a Styrofoam plate  (Yes, all I had left were Christmas themed ones!) Yummy activity too! This is easily it by pattern, count how many are being added, name the colors, whatever! This wonderful idea is not mine, it came from Teaching Two-Fruit Loops Math-Part 2. Thanks!

Then we did searching for items in rice.  I used the plastic Counting Bears. (also not my idea....darn, I save so many bookmarks that I can't find them later, so sorry!) This is very tactile, they just LOVED it!  I had 2 containers going at once, 1 person counted as the bears were found, while the other was "finding" them. Then they switched.  I saved the rice afterwards in a ziplock bag labeled "Not For Eating".

Lots of other stuff tried out that day, none of it photographed! But it was a fabulous success. I think the kids are going to have loads of fun! I'll post our "schedule" sometime soon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


We're going to be doing our first timeline. Seriously, first one.  I am not into the wall timelines...too long, too much work..etc etc. This year I found Mystery of History, which we'll use along with Story of the World, in chronological order, all hands on and fun!

The author of Mystery of History includes in the book exact directions how to make this simple Timeline that FOLDS UP! Space saving, portable, but nice when it's opened!

I also joined a YahooGroup dedicated to Mystery of History Vol I   and on there they have loads of pictures AND lots of resources you can download!

This is made of a Super Sewing Board. I found mine at Joann's.  It was $16.99  cause it's the SUPER sewing board. I love it.

I covered the white part with white contact paper. And once folded, I added the title with my beloved Cricut.

Here's the board open. On top is Anno Domini, and Creation is on the bottom. It works its way up with Christ's birth at the top. 

Here it is with the top and bottom flaps folded up

Then the next portion folded up

Then the final portion folded up

It's beautiful. I love it! I am so pleased with the way it came out, and how simple it is, and how it folds!  Love love love it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tissue Paper Flowers

Last month I wanted to do a craft for the nursing home we visit. After some surfing I decided on Tissue Paper Flowers. (I'm so sorry, I can't find whose blog I found this on.)

I had forgotten all about this simple yet pretty craft! It simply entails accordion folding tissue paper, wrapping a pipe cleaner around the center, snipping the ends, and opening the layers!

A few moms and teens came over and we whipped out a few baskets!

They were very appreciated at the nursing home.

Friday, October 23, 2009

JetStream Writing

Elias and I were at a local grocery store (Not Albertsons, they won't let anyone sell during the week...even if one of their managers previously approved it) selling Cub Scout Popcorn.  We looked up and noticed
an N and a heart in the sky. As we watched the pilot drew the P.

Wow, N "heart" P.  The first time he wrote it  (or the first time we saw it) it was horizontal. We were all amazed and talking about what a lucky gal "P" is. Then the pilot started doing it again only a different direction!  I got a photo this time.

Alright, "P" , he loves you! Lucky girl!

Airplane Ride

And, here's how I kept an active toddler busy on the airplane.

Thank God for digital cameras! He took about a zillion pics.

And he LOVED looking (the wrong way) through his binoculars.

He was very well behaved, and had as much fun as you can stuck in the same 2x2 ft for 4.5 hrs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Washington Crossing the Delaware

Growing up I lived in a small town. There were 3 small towns clustered together, and the kids from each all went together to the jr high and high school.  One of those towns is Titusville, where Washington Crossed the Delaware.

I grew up going to Washington Crossing State Park. Brian's been to see the annual recreation of Wasington Crossing the Delaware on Christmas (FRIGID) Day.

On this trip back east, we took Elias and Sebastian to the PA side and viewed some of the park's memorabilia.

Here they are at an old cannon.  While Sebastian looks like he's appropriately screaming at the bad guys, he's really wanting it all to himself and yelling at his brother! We can pretend he's really screaming at the bad guys!

This is the tavern at Washington Crossing, where George Washington penned a letter talking about the war. We got to enter the actual room and see it set up as it would have been in his time. The tavern is named in that letter.

These are recreations of the boats that were used to cross the River, back and forth, back and forth, on Christmas Day.

It is definitely a great piece of history, and I am so thankful that I am able to share it with my children, even though now we live so far away.