A QUOTE TO START THINGS OFF WITH

A QUOTE TO START THINGS OFF

An Inning of T-ball is the most exciting 3 hours of sports - David Letterman




HSD Retro

Centennial Celebration

I tell my kids on a regular basis that people are more important than things. I tell them this, because I believe it is true. Like most true...

Three Dave's No Waiting

Friday, December 30, 2011

1 3 12 = 6

I recently  received an e-mail from Henry Cate and he says that the home school carnival has been going on for six years.   Since I am a host of the carnival, he has asked me to include a post for the upcoming anniversary and also to invite you, my readers, to do so as well.   After reviewing the guidelines, send  your post by  e-mail to CarnivalOfHomeschooling@gmail.com.  If you would like to participate, you should  do so by January 2, 2012, at 6 PM.   Now I just need to come up with a post by then!

My HSBA profile is on the winner of Best Nitty Gritty Homeschooler.  So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler is a fantastic blog that goes the extra mile.  Here is a Sample Post from Thanksgving 2011.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

From my mouth to your eyes

This is kind of amazing for me. Here I am, laying down ready to sleep, and I think , "Hey, I haven't really posted on my blog for a while." So, I grab my new Christmas gift, an I pod touch and simply start talking. Cool. I've talked before, what's different about today? Well I'll tell you what's different, I am using the Dragon voice recognition app. It is typing everything I say.

The past few days since Christmas, we have gone on our annual library week. It has turned out to be more screaming and yelling week. This is really a problem for our family, because I love screaming but hate yelling and Amy loves yelling (and Cheetos) but can't stand screaming. The goal is more libraries tomorrow and Friday sans the screaming and without the yelling.

Typing not talking here. In the future, I will not broadcast (pun intended) what methodology I used to bring these posts to life.

Have not forgotten about HSBA spotlight. The winner this year of best encourager was the Home Scholar. The thing I like about this blog is that the encouragement found within is practical and pragmatic. Here is a sample post.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas, Libraries and More

Sunday's Cool
A Link Up and A Look Ahead




A Link Up

This week we started Library Week amid all the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season.  I hope to utilize our home school blog more in the months to come and will post our library adventures there.  Here is the first installment

We interrupt this post with a Holiday Message

Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas.  We hosted our family today as there were few enough people coming to fit comfortably in our house.  With all the travelling we have been doing lately, it is nice to stay home and celebrate here.

A Look Ahead

This week in real life, we will be visiting loads of libraries,  and posting snippets here.  That won't start until Tuesday.  Tomorrow we will engage in a little excitement call Do Nothing Day.

You can read all about it next time.

Merry Christmas! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Musings

It is 9:oo p.m.  Christmas Eve.  Amy and I are relaxing on the couch as we wait for our children to fall asleep.  We never taught our kids to believe in Santa, but we do still like to put candy in their stockings from us once they are asleep.  Even though they know the big guy isn't coming, it is still hard to get them asleep the night before Christmas. 

While I wait for them to sleep, I thought I would take some time to say a few things here. Christmas is chaotic fun, chock full of family visits, car rides, old movies, good food, good conversations, awkward pauses, rousing card games, frequent questions like "So how long are you in town?" etc.  But we do enjoy the chaos.  At times, we do forget to be really thankful for the true meaning of Christmas.  Not what many people say, "baby Jesus being born." No, no. We are thankful that Jesus gave up his God-hood, and became a man, to suffer as we do (and much more) to make a way for billions of sinners He loved so much.  And that way He made for us is so simple and beautiful, almost too much so for so many, so that they miss their role in salvation...acceptance.  Oh no, I have to DO something to go to heaven. Or God doesn't exist for me, no God I know would allow people to suffer, etc.  God has made a way for us to know about him through his word and creation, and to know him through his Son.  Thank you Jesus!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Comparison Shopping during the Holidays

Christmas time is a great time for catching up with people you haven't seen for a while.  This is done through family get-togethers, parties and Christmas cards.  Sometimes after reading other people's Christmas  letters, I get a feeling of paling in comparison.  Earlier this week after reading about how great some of my relatives lives are going I became noticeably melancholy.

At least noticeable to my wife, who spent a few minutes working  at the computer and then handed me a sheet of paper.  The sheet had all the things our family had done in  2011 written on it.  At first I didn't know why she had done it.  It seemed too late to be thinking about sending out a Christmas letter of our own. 

So I asked her why she had done it.She said to remind you of all the great things we have accomplished this year under your leadership.  I have that list on my computer's hard drive now and will pull it up the next time a Christmas greeting has me questioning my worth.

I am so thankful for a wife who will stop what she is doing just to pick up my spirits.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Calculating Milestones in Days.

Every once in a while here in blogworld, someone will write a post about some sort of milestone in their lives (i.e. birthday, anniversary etc.) and make a comment about the exact # of days they have been alive or married or whatever. The problem is, each time I have read such a comment, the exact number of days has been incorrect.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. Let's say someone is celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary today. That means they were married December 18th, 1986. Perhaps they want to post about it. They might take out a calculator and multiply 365 by 25 and get a product of  9125 days. They might say we've been married 9125 days today.

That is not correct.

There are 2 mistakes that are being made. 1 is obvious and 1 not so obvious. Actually, both are obvious to me. Let's see if either one is obvious to you.

First, a little thing I like to call Lauren's birthday. Lauren is a sweet girl in our co-op. She has had 2 birthdays, and will have her third next year. The thing is, Lauren's 11. That's right, her birthday is on Leap Day.  The above calculation did not take into account the  extra day every 4 years that leap year produces.

The next mistake is based on the method used for counting days. Let's say you were born at 11:00 p,m. today. At midnight, it is the next day, and although you have been alive for 1 hour, you have lived on 2 different days.

This is the mistake I see people make when they are counting days by year. They don't count the day of the event they are commemorating. For example, I was born on 9/23/64. On 9/23/65 I had lived in all or some of 366 days, not 365.

If you are not totally confused already, let me teach you a sure fire method of counting the exact number of days (including parts of the 1st and last day) that you are commemorating. If you are totally confused, go do a Charlie Brown: pound your head against a tree, and say I can't stand it. You could also, as Amy is apt to point out,  do a Miss Piggy and say, "I don't understand any of this."   I'll wait.

Welcome back those of you returning from the tree, or your Miss Piggy impersonation.

In order to calculate the exact amount of days you have been involved in something, you need to know 2 things:

1) The current day.
2) The date you are counting from.
3) How many days are in each month. (access to a calendar will suffice.)

Here's our test case:

Amy and I were married on Apri l 11th 1998.

I want to know how many days (full and partial) we have been married, here is what I do . . .

1) Starting with April 11th 1998 I count out 4 year periods as 1461 days (365 per year times 4 plus one leap day.

April 11th 1998 - April 10th 2002 1461
April 11th 2002 - April 10th 2006 1461
April 11th 2006 - April 10th 2010 1461

2) Since April 10th 2010 is less than 4 years before today, I count out years as 365 days, unless there was a leap day and then I count it as 366.

April 11th 1998 - April 10th 2002 1461
April 11th 2002 - April 10th 2006 1461
April 11th 2006 - April 10th 2010 1461
April 11th 2010- April 11th 2011 365

3) When I get to where there is less than a year left til the current date, I just count out the remaining days by months. This includes the rest of April 2011 and the days that have taken place so far this month..

There are 30 days in April and I have already accounted for the first 10 in 2011. This means there are 20 more to put in our rendering. Today is December 18th. So the amount of days Amy and I have been married can be tallied like this:


April 11th 1998 - April 10th 2002                         1461
April 11th 2002 - April 10th 2006                         1461
April 11th 2006 - April 10th 2010                         1461
April 11th 2010- April 11th 2011                            365
April 11th 2011 - April 30th 2011                             20
May 2011                                                                 31
June 2011                                                                 30
Ju;y 2011                                                                  31
Aigust 2011                                                               31
September 2011                                                        30
October 2011                                                            31
November 2011                                                        30
December 1st to Dec 18 2011                                   18

4) Add all the numbers together

1461
1461
1461
0365
0020
0031
0030
0031
0031
0030
0031
0030
0018
5000


That means that as of today Amy and I have been married 5000 days. Wow, imagine that! The day I picked to do a tutorial on calculating milestones, was actually a milestone itself. I think I'll take her out to celebrate. Actually, I have been using this calculation for years and chose today because it is our 5000th day of marriage.  I am taking Amy on a secret surprise date to commemorate the occasion.
This explanation serves 3 purposes


1) The next time someone posts about blogging for 3650 days when they have actually been at it 3653, I will simply send them the link to this post.


2) To communicate to you what Amy has been putting up with  for 5000 days.


3) To commemorate an average day as a momentous occasion for the woman I love. I am touched by the holiday symmetry of this occasion. Our first day of marriage was the Saturday prior to Easter in 1998. Today, Day 5000, is a week before Christmas 2011. Amy is a lot like Mary Poppins, in that every day is a Jolly Holiday with her.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday 2 Questions @ Self Sagacity

I am not participating in Thursday 2 Questions. But that doesn't mean you can't check it out.

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Here's a puppyism that I heard at math today:

8 + 3, I don't need to use the number line, I can use my brain.


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HSBA Featured Winner

Ana Braga-Henebry's Journal - Best Super Homeschooler.

This is really a super homeschool blog.  It's interesting, informative, personal and loaded with variety.

Here is a Sample Post.




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Picture is worth 200 Posts

















Click here for more Wordless Wednesday



Speaking of Wordless,my HSBA spotlight blog is Mothership Adventures who won for best pictures.  They travel the country in an r.v which is cool enough.  The pictures are fantastic.  Here is a sample post.

As the title indicated, this is my 200th post with pictures in it. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Carnival of Homeschooling at Teach Beside Me







This weeks COH is up at Teach Beside Me. They have included my post on what happens at a FLL scrimmage in their mix.  Spider Droid's FLL tournament is Saturday. Here is a video that was at Why Home School  posted last month that shows a table run.

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Renee Abramowitz of School Sparks sent me a copy of her new e-book Christmas Worksheets For Santa's Little Helpers.

Here is  an page from the e-book with Christmas sight words.



Puppy and I are going to have fun doing many of these worksheets in the days to come.  Feel free to go to Renee's site and explore the many fine worksheets she has there and download the book for yourself.  Did I mention it was free?

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Best Variety is the featured category of my HSBA recap today.  The winner was Heartkeeper Common Room, a blog I have appreciated for a long time now.  This post does have an eclectic mix which I hope you will enjoy.  Here is a Sample Post.

Next Time: Obligatory Christmas Tree Post

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thanks Swimming!

I love t-shirts and would love to have one that says "I brake for symmetry".

I am always looking for book ends to catalog my life .  One such moment of symmetry appeared to me when our family was picking up my oldest niece in South Bend to bring her back to the Chicago area for Thanksgiving.  I invited our niece to go swimming with us in our hotel.  This was on Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving.  I realized that my younger sister had invited our niece as well as our family to go swimming with her 2 days after Thanksgiving.  So I', thinking swimming, Thanksgiving, swimming and it came to me, Thankswimming.

Here's A Recap . . .

Thankswimming Day 1
 

Then after drying off,

leaving the hotel,

inspecting the dorm,



Catching The Muppet Premiere,
 
Eating,

and waiting
for the tryptophan to kick in.
We were ready for . . .

 Thankswimming Day 2

This summer, my older kids started going off the diving board.  The problem was, every time I tried to take a picture of them, I would get this . . .



and then this . . .


This year, no doubt due to the miracle that is Thankswimming, I got this . . .

and this . . .


and even this . . .



All this  while Puppy paddled.

In short Thankswimming
video

made a big splash!


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Today's featured HSBA category is Best Homemaking or Recipes Blog.  This years winner, The Happy Lil' Homemaker seems to have a lot of great recipes like the one I saw today fro Spritz Cookies.  I was surprised that they didn't have any Thankswimming recipes.  Although this  Sample Post does look delectable.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday's Cool HOF Edition


Sunday's Cool!
A Link Up and A Look Ahead






A Link Up: Crazy Uncle Dave's sports blog had some exciting Ron Santo news this week.  I hope you enjoy 1 down 2 to go.

A look Ahead: Another busy week in real life life that will culminate with Spider Droid's Robotics tournament.  Here on the blogosphere will be busy as well with some posts featuring the carnivals and meme's I participate in.  I will also continue featuring HSBA winners at the end of each post.

For instance, today we will look at the Laugh With Us Blog which was the winner of funniest home school blog.  As another blog, that gets it's bread   and butter from quoting family member's crazy sayings, I must say I heartily approve.  Here is a sample post

Next Time:Thankswimming

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Six Word Saturday @ Show My Face Dot Com




Starting today, for the next week I will feature posts for all the meme's and carnivals I participate in, whether I have a horse in the race, or not.


I do have 6 words today they are . . .




Why I bring books to Library.




The reason I do this is because I am a chronic over-packer. I always bring along more things than I could possibly accomplish. Today, I brought 3 books that  I am supposed to be reviewing for this blog. I will probably not get to any of them, since that was not the purpose of this trip to the library. Come to think of it, neither was making this post, so I best be going. Before I do let me tell you about my HSBA featured blog. Today's category is . . .

Best Homeschool Methods Blog.

The winner was 1+1+1=1

Aside from the mathematically challenged title, this is an excellent blog which I generally carry around somewhere in my sidebar.  If you are looking for fun preschool home school ideas, this is definitely the blog for you. 

Click here for a sample post, and click here for more 6 Word Saturday.

Next Time: Santa comes early for Santo?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

War Horse: A review of a prescreening



I received an e-mail  invitation from a group called Grace Hill Media to attend a free preview of a new movie called War Horse. I didn't have time to open the e-mail let alone respond to it. However, my wife got a similar invitation from our churche's home school support group. She went ahead and reserved two tickets for Spider Droid and me to attend.

The theatre where they were showing the movie is in one of my old stomping grounds. The theatre has particular meaning to me because it is where I took Bunny to see her first movie at the tender age of 3, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. Now I have never been to a special screening of a movie before and did not know exactly what to expect. Amy had kind of got the impression it was a will call situation. The crazy girl got that impression when the person she contacted asked for the names of the people who would be attending. When we got there, 10 minutes before the movie started, they said the theatre was almost filled, and that if they did have seats available, SD and I would not be able to sit together.



SD was not thrilled by that, and wanted to turn around back then. I was able to coax him to at least go in the theatre and check out what was available. The closest seats were 5 or 6 rows between them, and we were right about to turn back when a very nice Mom offered to put her youngun on her lap for the movie so SD and I could sit close to each other. This was very kind of her, considering that this is a 160 minute movie.

It turns out that SD sat in a Captain's Chair type seat that was just in front of the first full row of seats and I sat diagonally behind him. We were able to switch popcorn and soda back and forth between us for the course of the picture.

The movie, which opens on December 25th, was incredible. Steven Spielberg directed this film and it is well worthy of the buzz that is associated with a Spielberg film. The movie is not wholly unlike Spielberg's WWII movie, Saving Private Ryan. It is just mostly unlike it. SPR was very deserving of its R rating and I am not sure that War Horse was as deserving of its PG-13 branding. After seeing Saving Private Ryan, Amy said it was like being in war. After seeing War Horse, you get an inkling of what WWI was like, but you don't feel like you participated in it. This is due in part to the cinematography which brings a regal and haunting beauty to almost every scene of The War Horse. The film is actually much more like A Little Princess or Heidi in that you see the main character, which is definitely the horse, interact with a variety of people and bring out the best in almost everyone it encounters.

Heidi similarities not withstanding, this  film is not for everyone. My son and I often  discuss whether his sisters will like a film we have seen together. War Horse pretty much has 2 acts: pre WWI and WWI. We are agreed that Bunny would like Act I but not Act II. While there were children Puppy's age (6) or younger, I don't think she would have enjoyed it. This is a war movie and there is plenty of violence to go around. Yet much of it is done off screen. This does not take the power away from it. In one scene ,a significant character dies in a battle and the viewer figures it out without even seeing a single blow.

The acting is first rate. It is great to go to a movie and recognize an actor or actress who plays one of your favorite characters in another movie. If there are any fans of Miss Potter, you should like the casting of the main human character's mother.

One aspect of the movie that I discussed with Spider Droid on the way home was how the movie handles the topic of war. It neither glorifies it or demonizes it. It also doesn't result in stereotypical portrayals of the "enemies." The filmmakers show goodness on both sides of the trenches.

War Horse is a great film that I look forward to seeing it again. I also hope to attend more prescreenings of movies in the future. Next time, I'll just arrive a tad earlier. ******************************************************************************************************************************* My current HSBA feature blog is Frontier Dreams which won for Best Crafts, Plans & Projects.  It is a gorgeous blog with precious pictures of darling children.  Click here for a sample post.
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Next Time: Obligatory Christmas Tree Post

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Misbehavior and Consequences

Rod Blagojevich was sentenced today.  Rod is the 4th former Illinois governor, in my lifetime,  to be convicted of a crime.  His crimes were many.  He, essentially, abused his power in order to make life easier for him and his family.  During the 3 year ordeal between arrest and sentencing, he maintained his innocence and offered no type of apology until today.  The apology appeared to be too little and too late, as he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

When Bunny heard the sentence, she wondered, if what he did was so bad as to earn 14 years.  I explained to her that yes, I thought the punishment did fit the crimes.  Here was a man, who had promised to change the culture of corruption in Illinois when he ran for governor.  (He sure kept that promise.  However, we thought he would change the culture for the better, not the worse.)  Instead, He sullied the  already tarnished reputation of Illinois politics.

He betrayed the trust of the people he was supposed to govern, and engaged in criminal acts without any sign of remorse, until today's grab to earn a reduced sentence.  I thought the firm sentence was a very good strong message that business as usual, look the other way, what's in it for me politics will no be tolerated. 

I was not only an observer of the justice system today, I was also a participant.  One of my daughters, I wont mention names, but the one with the birthday yesterday, did something she knew was wrong today.  She then lied about it several times before admitting her guilt.  It was very Blago-like.  Except we didn't have to go to trial.

Like Bunny with Blago, I also had to question whether the consequence (which I chose and administered) fit the crime.  The consequence for the misdeed was actually quite light.  The consequence for the cover-up was very strict.  Like the Blagojevich sentence it effected more than her it effected the whole family.  The Awana Grand Prix  was tonight. She had been planning on going and was working hard to prepare for it. 

Puppymobile Grounded
I had been assisting her and not only was it a fun event but it was also a competition that we thought she had a pretty good chance of winning a prize at.  Because she missed the event, Amy also had to miss it as well.  Meaning she could not watch Spider Droid and Bunny compete.  I will write another post tomorrow about how the event went.

I was tempted to make her nonattendance the only consequence.  The cars had been entered last night, so it was logistically possible for her car to race and be judged without her there.  I decided against that because:

A) That would not be fair to a kid who had not misbehaved to lose out to someone who did.
B) It would treat her misbehavior like it was an illness or a scheduling conflict.
C) Regardless of whether she won or not. allowing the car to race would be less of a deterrent for her not lying the next time.

My opinion on Blago's and my daughters sentencing are very similar:  The punishment fits the crime and acts as a deterrent for future misdeeds.  Whether it be politics or parenting justice can be served by following that pattern. 

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In totally unrelated blogging business, I am going to feature 1 HSBA winner in each of my next 20 posts.  Today's featured blog is  the winner of Best Home School Dad Blog, Families Again.  This fantastic blog is very deserving.  Here is a sample of  his fine work
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Next Time: Race Night Roundup

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A JJ Heller Style birthday

Today is Puppy's birthday. A few months ago Puppy heard a song on the radio by J.J. Heller. She calls it Love me for me which are the main lyrics in the chorus. The actual song is called What Love Really Means. Puppy instantly fell in love with that song and with J.J. Heller herself. She wrote her a letter and even got a response from her.

Since then I found out that J.J. Heller and I have a lot in common . . .

1. Her daughter has the same real name as Puppy.

2. She has a husband named Dave. I am a husband named Dave.

3. She blogs. I blog.

4. She made her daughter rainbow cupcakes for her recent birthday. We made Puppy rainbow cupcakes for her birthday.



5. She has a lovely singing voice. I have a lovely singing voice blog.



So for Puppy's birthday we got her the J.J.Heller C.D.. that has What Love Really Means on it. When Puppy found out that J.J Heller's daughter got rainbow cupcakes on her birthday she said I'm having a J.J. Heller style birthday. Puppy you bring your own style to every birthday and everything you do and as pal J.J might say we love you for you. Happy Birthday!

Monday, December 5, 2011

What happens at an FLL scrimmage?


Last Saturday the First Lego League (FLL) team that Spider Droid is on (TheFanatix) hosted a scrimmage in advance of the December 17th regional. It was quite a bit of fun.





The scrimmage was held at the Elgin Tower, the tallest building in Elgin. It's a cool building with a fully dunctional old time elevator manned by an elevator operator. The kids loved that elevator almost as much as the robots they created and programmed. Almost. Thanks again to the Elgin Technology Center (ETC) who let the host team use the facility.

I recently caught up with the coach of the Fanatix and asked her for a little more info on ETC.




While at the scrimmage armed with a camera, an ipod touch and no official capacity, I decided to interview participants, coaches, mentors and parents and give you an idea of what happens at a robotics scrimmage.

I talked to one of the hosts of the event ...



I spoke with a mentor of the fanatix who had participated in a scrimmage before. She told me of some of the personal benefits of a scrimmage.






Team spirit is a big part of FLL it is not uncommon for the team to dress alike. Many teams have custom t-shirts made.

Some can only afford milk jugs
Two of the 5 teams at the scrimmage were rookie teams. Both teams were from the same school. I spoke with one of the parents about what FLL has meant to him so far.




I talked to two members of last years state champion I-Lego Team.





One of the main reasons for the scrimmage is to practice table runs and technical judging in an atmosphere that is as close to competition as possible. At the onset of the scrimmage the coach for the Fanatix explained and demonstrated a bit about how the runs are scored.


The table challenges are based on the theme for the year. This year the theme is Food Factor. What makes FLL unique is that the robots are only part of the competition. Each year every team has to research to a theme related problem and then create a solution and then present that solution in several ways. I will be talking about this in a little more detail in a post later this week when I talk about Ask magazine's December Robotics Issue. In the radio biz, that is what we call a tease. I'm not in the radio biz, but some say I have the perfect face for it. Enough about me, lets get back to the scrimmage.




Here is a clip from one of I-lego's runs. I added the music with the help of youtube. It does have a food related theme.



I talked to members of the HCA Roarbots along with their coach about their experience so far as a rookie team.







Here they are demonstrating some of their program . . .





G2 is another one of the teams that was at the scrimmage. I spoke with their coach.

and his son, a member of G2.





Watching A Practice Run



The Fanatix discuss their technical judging component.

Fll means differen things to different people here is what one of the Fanatix had to say.




I hope you have enjoyed this behind the scenes look at an FLL scrimmage. Hopefully you have discovered like I did that FLL robotics packs in everything . . .

Plus the Kitchen Sink

For Your Consideration