A Quote to Start Things Off

"Passive Aggressive. It works for my mother, it works for Duolingo" Luis Von Ahn , co-founder of Duolingo from his TED talk, How to make learning as addictive as social media.

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Pictures of Memories I

Pictures of Memories I
Snow kidding! These "kids" now range from 17 to 23

Sunday, February 27, 2011

HSD Rewind: The Oscars our Super Bowl

HSD Rewind: The Oscars, our Super Bowl.

Timely time to go into the vaults for today post.

Original Air Date : Feb 22 2009

My wife loves sports. She really does. She loves to play sports. She likes to see sports played by others live. What she does not love, or even like, is watching sports on t.v., listening to sports talk on the radio, and tracking statistics, magic numbers, and trade deadlines. So, we don't share the same enthusiasm for sports events like the Super Bowl.

Amy and I are movie people. Oscar night is our Super Bowl. The day the nominations come out we always say we have to see all these movies before the award show. We never get to all of them. I didn't see any of the best pictures noms this year. Amy saw a couple. Hello, 3 small children. I did see all the best animated noms. I saw Bolt 3 times. Don't ask.

This year was not the most rewarding of shows. We didn't realize until yesterday, that the show was today. We had a long day with church and visiting relatives and when we did watch the show, it was online while I finished our tax refund on the same computer. Amy is already in bed, and there are at least 5 major awards, a life time achievement award and my favorite, the "hey, look who died montage."

Amy, let's plan ahead next year and go to a Academy Award party or something. Cause watching the Academy Awards without you is as pleasing as watching the Super Bowl without commercials.

Meanwhile back in 2011:

We did not arrange to go to an Oscar party last year. However, as I type this post, I am sitting in my in-laws drive way (got to love wi-fi) waiting for puppy to wake up so I can go into a cousins 1st birthday party/Oscar viewing party. I am not sure if anyone besides Amy and I know it's an Oscar viewing party. But let's see them try to kick us out.

In preparation Amy and I have picked out who we think is going to win in all the categories. Puppy was upset to find out that Tangled only had 1 nomination (best song). That is one fine movie and our family liked it a lot better than Toy Story 3. But alas, we don't get to vote.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Six Word Saturday: Obvious to us edition!

I usually don't go ripped from the headlines here at HSD. But with all the rantings and ravings of one Charles Sheen. I thought my six words should be about what Amy and I and much of the Internet underground get that CBS and their viewership (It is the most popular show currently) don't get:

Very Simply, the show's not funny!!!!!!!!!

I have watched it on many occasions and have not thought about the possibility of laughing on one occasion. All 3 of the principals have been funny before and( if Sheen can keep off the stuff) can all be funny again. A few years ago the Internet was all abuzz with how dumb a show "What About Jim" was. What about Jim was certainly no Mad About You. But Two and a Half Men isn't even Patridge Family level!

It is too bad that it had take substance abuse to for the network of All in The Family,Dick Van Dyke, M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, etc ... to put two and a half men in the tank.

P.S. lest' you think that I think that there is no good comedy in prime time any more check out Hulu for the latest episode of Community. Community isn't even a show I watch every week. But this episode about a school election is a laugh riot from beginning to end.

For more Six Words click here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

That's Just Nutty

I was at Artic Blast with Spider Droid this past Sunday and Monday at Camp Timber-Lee in East Troy, Wisconsin. A full review is on it's way. Consider this a tease. The above picture is Pattertwig and me. (I'm the one that's not a squirrel.) Pattertwig (named after the squirrel from Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis.) just jumped right on me. He was on me long enough for me to hand my camera to the Timber-Lee Staff member who snapped this picture.
At our house Pattertwig would be named Nutty. All squirrels that Puppy sees are named Nutty. Unless of course there are two squirrels together. Than 1 is Nutty and the other is Puddles, Nutty's wife. If there are 3 squirrels: Nutty, Puddles and their son, Bob. If there are 4 Bob gets a sister named Sally. God in his providential wisdom has never let Puppy see more than 4 squirrels together at one time.
If there are 3 squirrels in our yard and two go away. Whatever squirrel remains is called Nutty, regardless of what we were calling it before. This special kind of naming has led to a joke in our house modeled after the Pete and Repeat jokes.
Q:Nutty and Puddles were on a boat. Nutty fell off. Who was left?
A: Nutty

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Six Word Saturday.

I am a frequent contributor to Six Word Saturday from my main blog. In addition to the six I penned from HSD I have a sports related Six to share here:

Pitchers and Catchers report. Nuff' Said!

This past week spring training began for all major league baseball teams and the Royals and Nationals as well. (Just kidding K.C. and D.C.) It is one of my favorite times of the year. Each team can start afresh. There is a revitalization and renewal in the Arizona and Florida air. A "this could be the year." mentality percolates in the hearts and minds of fans, players, managers and owners alike.

The pitchers and catchers report in about a week earlier than the position players to start getting ready for the season. I am very excited about all the White Sox moves during the off season and am curious to see how they will gel in Spring Training. I was a little disappointed that Ryne Sandberg did not get the managerial gig on the North Side, But I am interested to see how Camp Quade will shake out.

Soon enough opening day will roll around, but lets enjoy the hopefulness that is Spring Training while we can. For more Six Word Saturday click here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Six Word Saturday In Praise Of . . .

Here are my 6:

Why I Like Home Spun Juggling:

I have been a big fan of the Blog, Home Spun Juggling since I started blogging 2+ years ago. It may be because Christina (the blogs author) can do two things extremely well that I wish I could do at all. These are Juggling and Cartooning. I love cartoons but could not draw myself out of a paper sack. I spent most of 1997 in a paper sack as a result. (It's not something I am yet ready to talk about.) In the late 80's I produced a newsletter for some friends. One of the features was called "If I could draw, this would be a cartoon." I would describe a picture and then say what the dialogue or punch line would be.

Here is one I just thought of so I can give you an example . . .

Scene: A Tax Office. On one side is the tax consultant. He is looking rather put out. On the other side is his client who doesn't seem to like what He is being told.
The tax consultant says "No, Mr. Smith, "liking" your church on Facebook is not deductible."

But who needs to set up a scene when you can just draw one up like this . . .

If you click on the strip you will get to one of my favorite blogs: Home Spun Juggling. The cartoon and heartfelt post is an example of why Christina's artwork and writing is one of the gems of the homeschooling blog world.

Her beautiful explanation of the economic choices all families make to do what is important to them ends with a flourish:

"Can we afford it? I would think many of these families would say they can't
afford not to. We make it work, because we want it to. I'm thankful I made
the choice to homeschool. It's a tough job, and I know it's not for everyone, but
it was something I had to do."

I thought much about why we home school this week especially in light of driving to Springfield to protect our rights to do so. It is sometimes a sacrifice, an encumbrance, even an inconvenience. But in the end I I came to the same conclusion Christina did. Even if I do have to avoid paper sacks like the plague.

For more Six Word Saturday click here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dole - Now in 100% Juice Aloha Sweepstakes and other fragments

It is Friday Fragment time again. I have had a strange and wonderful week. Drove to Springfield with the Family on Tuesday to protest a bill that would take away some of the freedoms we have here in Illinois to Home School, The bill was tabled and I blogged about it here. ************************************************************************************ My next Fragment reminds me of the book and movie The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio. This is a contest to win a Hawaiian vacation. There are several ways to win. Any time Amy and I see a contest we know for sure that we are "slated" to win. It doesn't matter that, we often forget to enter and that we never win. We just know we are going to win. So enter if you want, but Amy and I have got the vacation in the bag. Dole - Now in 100% Juice Aloha Sweepstakes ************************************************************************************ We saw this add on Hulu this week. I know I've been sharing lots of commercials lately but this one is hilarious. Bunny Girl especially liked it. Even though one of her favorite creatures was threatened. ************************************************************************************ This commercial by the same airlines does a very good job of explaining why companies don't say Super Bowl in their radio and t.v. spots. It's also very funny. ************************************************************************************

Final Fragment. The pictures that started this post were taken last Saturday at our Church for Awana Bible Quizzing. Both Spider Droid and Bunny Girl were just a small # of the kids participating to get 8 of 8 correct in their multiple choice round. It is rewarding to put God's word in your heart!

It's done! It's done! The home schoolers won!

To see my original post about SB 136 click here.

A few years ago Bunny Girl started a pretty good post victory tradition while listening to White Sox games on the radio or following them on the computer (We are very 21st century) with me. She would get all animated and say "It's done! It's done! The White Sox won!"

For the past few weeks I have been following the SB 136 Homeschooling Registration Bill as if it were a late season White Sox playoff push. I even went on a "road trip" this past Tuesday in Springfield to show my opposition to the bill.

Here is some footage from outside and inside the hearing.

I have received information today that the bill has been tabled. Just like in baseball, government has it's own special terms. According to the glossary at the Illinois Gleneral Assembly website,Tabling means:
Laying on the table or killing. Tabling removes a bill, resolution, or amendment from consideration.

The ILGA site shows that the Bills sponsor Ed Maloney tabled the bill today. This is a great victory for home schooling in Illinois. Illinois continues to be one of the least restricted states for Homeschooling in the nation and I hope the coverage this issue has received shows that this is a good thing. A right worth defending.

Before finding out about the tabling I was all geared up to use today's post to get on my high box (combination of high horse and soap box) and clear up some misconceptions that the bill has brought up. Even though the bill has been killed, I would still like to clear up these misconceptions:

1) In a Daily Southtown Star Editorial against the bill, Maloney was quoted as saying: “There are virtually no regulations on homeschools. No curriculum, no periodic checks on their progress,” he said. “We want more accountability.”

Illinois home schools under the law are considered private schools. (This is I believe why SB136 originally wanted to register both
private schools and home schools. When Maloney started receiving push back about the registration, He then stated he wanted to rewrite the bill to include only home schoolers. Leading many to think that He was after homeschoolers all the time.) The law states that all private schools have to teach the same amount of hours of instruction and the same type of courses as the public schools. That is regulation. Homeschoolers as the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) attorney, Scott Woodruff stated at the hearing (it's in the video clip) that homeschoolers have to provide proof that they are homeschooling if asked. That is regululation. It is ridiculous for Maloney to say that home schoolers do not have a curriculum. I am a home schooler and I have curriculum.e I've driveen to Rockford at 9 a.m. on a Saturday for Curiculum fairs, for crying out loud. I just don't have a government assigned curriculum. No private schools do.

2) There seems to be a fundamenental difference in opinion as to what the state's role in home schooling should be.
In meeting last week with Homeschooling proponents Maloney told them that: since the State was responsible for the education of our children, the State should know who was being homeschooled.

The state is not responible for my children's education. God entrusted them to me, not the state. The state gets their power from the people, not the other way around. Perhaps Maloney will realize where his power base is after the next senatorial election.

Well that is all I have to say at this time. I am very glad that SB 136 has failed and I thank everyone who had a part of defeating it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Six Words about a smashing time.

Holy flying cars, Batman. It's Six Word Saturday time again.

My 6:

An amazing noisy, greasy crashing adventure.

In my previous post, I talked about the Monster Jam series coming to Chicagoland. Well Spider droid and I just got back and I have to tell you it was epic! The atmosphere was electric. It was a very exciting event. There are 8 cars and drivers participating in 3 events: Wheelies, 2 on 2 racing and Freestyle.

Maximum Destruction won the first two events. The completion was really intense. There were jumps, bumps, crashes and dashes. Spin outs and so much more.

Monster Mutt won the freestyle.

If you are in the Chicago area there are 4 more shows this weekend. $ 20.00 seats at all shows are just $10.00 for all children 12 and under. Check my previous post for more info or go to http://www.ticketmaster.com/ for tickets. Don't forget to use the promo code MOM for a 33% discount on some adult tickets.

Help, I've fallen and I can't get up.

It's a car. It's a pet. It's a carpet. (go to http://www.pillowpet.com/ if you don't understand this joke. If you don't like this joke, take it up with the management.)

And now a special message from Spider Droid . . .

For more six word Saturday click here. For more info about Monster Jam events coming to your area click here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

For VW "Force" Ever is short time.

Mommy's Idea

It's Friday Fragment time.

Fragment #1

Last week I posted that this VW Ad was the "best commercial ever". It turns out that ever did not last all that long cause less than a week later I have a new best commercial ever and like the VW commercial that ran at the Superbowl this is also sports related.

We have to go back to last years opening day baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox. Mark Buehrle who was in between back to back Gold Glove winning seasons was on the mound for the Sox when this happened. The play lasted the test of time and was elected the This Year in Baseball (TYIB)play of the year.

The White Sox generally have very good quality ad campaigns. The initial 2011 season ad came out this week . . .

The announcer is played by Sox announcer Ken Harrelson who along with Steve Stone made the call last year. The guy who says "Not bad" is of course Buehrle himself. As a faithful SOX fan and a great fan of all things Buerhle. This has surpassed "The Force" as my all time favorite commercial.

Fragment # 2

My second favorite super bowl commercial behind the VW ad was this masterpiece from Chevy. It's a great send up of the Lassie show that played when I was a kid. They use a comedy technique that I called piling on.

I'm not sure what is a better line "How did you get stuck in the belly of a whale?" or "I didn't know this town even had a volcano." In comedy we call such a quandary a good problem to have.

Fragment 3.

A few weeks ago, at our home school co-op I saw this sign on the men's room door at the building we use.


Those are all the funny little fragments I have for you today. For more Friday fragments click here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jelly and the Telly jellies with you. Jam and you Monster Jam alone.

Two years ago a really cool phenomenon hit the Internet. A cool Saturday Morning type show called Jelly Telly. It was from the mind of Phil Vischer one of the creators of Veggie Tales. It was an odd mix. Kind of the Muppet's meet School House Rock with a liberal amount of Sunday School material and a hint of Monty Python. In short our family loved it. it was even a part of our curriculum.

For a while it was available free and then it went to a subscription service. It has now been revamped and is merged with Focus on the Family. The new site also has other Focus on the Family videos like Adventures in Odyssey. It is again free and I can not recommend it highly enough.

One of my favorite parts of the show are the Fabulous Bentley Brothers, Here they are with A song about 2 Kings.

It is a great song but I do take a bit of umbrage with the line Paddle Boats are not cool. Paddle Boats are extremely cool.

But it's not all bible songs. There is Michael who reviews movies from his seat in his mini van. All the reviews end with the Star Wars plots being syncretized into whatever movie is reviewing. But even when you know the premise the results are still hilarious observe:

Michael’s Movie Reviews: The Lion King JellyTelly

Again, I encourage kids of all ages to check out the new improved Jelly Telly. Let me know if any of you like it as much as we do.
In other news I was contacted recently by the promoters of the Monster Jam series. They had read my blog and wanted to contact me anyway. They were especially intrigued by Spider Droid and his recent robtics adventures They thought that we as a family and perhaps my readership would be interested in their show that is playing this week in the Chicago area. If you are not in the Chicago area click here to see where and when it is playing near you.

What you may wonder is a Monster Jam? Monster Jam is a truck racing tour and here are some fast facts about the tour:

  • At Monster Jam, monster trucks face off in two different forms of competition -- side-by-side racing and freestyle:

    Side-by-side racing – traditional bracket racing, where the first truck, with the least amount of penalties, crosses the finish line is declared the winner.

    Freestyle competition – allows drivers a limited amount of time on the open floor to show off their skills. In this category, the fans serve as the judges.

  • The Grave Digger Team (pictured here) will celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2012

  • More than 4 million Monster Jam fans attend events each year worldwide

  • Typical monster trucks cost $600,000 yearly to build, staff, compete, transport and maintain on the Monster Jam tour.

  • Steel body full-size cars are the vehicles typically crushed during a monster truck event.

    Cars, as well as vans, buses, motor homes, airplanes and ambulances, are attained from local junkyards and returned after each event.

    Average number of cars crushed per year: 3,000.

That's all cool and good stuff to know but what you really need to see is some footage.

So now let me tell you close enough to the Chicago area about the shows coming this weekend to the All State Arena. There are 5 big beautiful shows. Friday at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 2 and 7:30. The Tickets cost 20, 30 and 55.00 (not including ticket handling charges) depending where you sit. On Friday all $20.00 dollar tickets have been reduced to 10.00 for both adults and children. All subsequent shows have children (12 and under) tickets in the twenty dollar seats available for $10.00 as well. The higher priced tickets are the same regardless of age.

I have been offered a special deal for my blog readers/ facebook friends. If you use the promo card MOM $20.00 adult tickets have been reduced 1/3 to 13.30. . The deal can not be used the day of the show. Tickets can be purchase at the United Center Box Office, The Allstate Arena Box Office and at http://www.ticketmaster.com/ or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Make sure you use the promo code:MOM. Click here for more ticket information.

Spider Droid and I will be attending on Friday Night. When I get home I will post a review here.

So there you have it, a little telly for your jelly, a bit of monster for your jam.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Of Expos and Carnivals

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is a well known resource in the home schooll community. Moreover they have a strong presence in the on-line community as well. Among other things they host an al on line home school convention presented from a Christian persspective each year called The Old School House Expo. The Expo will be held this May from the 16th to the twentieth. May is a long time away, and as my loyal readers know I am a professional procrastinator (A proprocrastinator), so why I am talking about it so early? Because I am a frugal procrastinator. And in my case the frugal comes before the procrastination.

All that to say is that there is an early bird special that ends very soon. How soon? less than 48 hours from now. Tickets are now available at $19.50. But only until Wed Feb 9th at 11:59 p.m. (ET). At Midnight the price increases to $29.00 through the 26th of this month. On Sunday February 27th the full rate of $39.99 goes into effect.

The speakers for this years event seem to me to be an extraordinary group. They are Susan Wise Bauer , Janice Campbell, Dr. Brian Ray, Diane Craft (whose idea we talk about in this post and video), Kim Kautzer, Diana Waring, Malia Russell, Carol Barnier, Maggie Hogan and Tyler Hogan, Dari Mullins, Carol Topp, Jim Weiss, Norm Wakefield, Mary Jo Tate, Terri Johnson, Molly Green, and Deborah Wuehler. There will also be a myriad of vendor workshops for a c list of all workshops click here.

Speaking of vendors, what home schoool convention would be complete w/o a Vendor Hall? The Old School House Expo has a vast virtual vendor (vliteration can be very vexing) hall. Click here to check it out.

Did you ever take one of those job aptitue tests in school? I am pretty sure that my 1st sourt election was Court Jester, which was just a bit ahead of Infomercial announcer. With that in mind, I must get back to the Expo pitch and say:

"But, Wait! There's more."

If you buy a ticket in the next 2 days will receive virtual goodie bags valued at > $200.00. Plus each ticket includes an MP3 download of the entire convention. They call this neat little doohickey: The Expo to Go.

Hey do you hear that? I think I hear my alter ego Crazy Dave of Crazy Dave's giveaways coming over here. Yep I would recognize his ruggedly handsome silhouette anywhere. He tells me that the fine people at TOS are making available a copy of The Expo to Go from the October 2010 conference available to one of our readers.

Here is how you can enter to win it. leave a comment on this post. You can earn another entry by going to the event's facebook page and clicking that you like it. You will have to return to this post and leave a comment saying you had done so. You can win an additional entry by liking my facebook page and telling me so. If you already are a liker of either page just leave that in your comment.

You can enter through the end of the month and I will announce the winner sometime in the first week of March.

Click here to find out more information on the conference and to get in on the early bird rate.

The Carnival of Homeschooling is being held this week @ Bugs, Knights and Turkeys in the Yard. Check out the "keeping it simple" edition which includes my post on SB 136.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Volkswagen Commercial: The Force

Haven't got into the 6 word Saturday swing yet this year. I usually don't steal post ideas from my 9 year olds blog but this was too good to pass up.

My 6:

This is the best commercial ever!

If this is not the six words you seek click here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

If we ain't broke don't fix it.

I am a sign reader. I especially like reading signboards over local schools. The ones that say things like Book Fair Tuesday through Thursday, or Congratulations to our students who were just in the state robotics tournament. Recently these signs have been more about money than merriment. Signs like Illinois owes our district 10.6 million dollars.

Yes, wherever I am in this great state of mine, I see signs outside schools telling passersby that they can't do the job educating their students because the state ain't showing them the money. I often joke with friends and family that I should put a sign outside our home/school that the state of Illinois doesn't owe our school any money.

So the fact that our state is broke and can't afford to educate the students they now have in the public system should be a problem that our lawmakers in Springfield to sink their teeth into. Instead one state senator , Ed Maloney (D-Chicago) is taking a different approach. He is trying to cost the state more money.

Maloney introduced SB 136 on 1/27/2011. The gist of the bill is to have all non public schoolers register annually with the Illinois Board of Education. Illinois law currently doesn't mandate any
registration annual or otherwise.

Home Educators in Illinois are considered private schools and pending this legislation, Illinois is one of the least restricted states in the country to home school. Last year my local state representative came by for a visit and wanted to know how he could help me. I told him that Illinois was one of the least restricted states for home schooling. I told him that if he wanted to keep me happy he should keep Illinois that way (Guess who's getting a phone call tomorrow?).

In Illinois my taxes go to public education. I am fine with that. On top of that I pay for all the materials and other learning (co-operatives, lessons etc.) for my students out of my own pocket. Home school families aren't the only ones, parents who send their children to private schools have to pay tuition on top of the taxes they pay for public education. I imagine that most private schoolers don't mind paying double as long as they have the freedom to educate their children the way they see fit.

I said earlier that State Senator's Maloney is trying to cost the state more money. What I meant by that is that overseeing the annual registration of all the privately educated children in Illinois is going to cost the state money. Money, they currently don't have. Money that could be going to pay all the school districts what they owe them. Money that could be used to hire more teachers, fund more programs and decrease class sizes.

But instead of using tax dollars for the job of educating the public, it seems that Sen. Maloney would like some of our tax money to regulating the private and that frankly is not a sign I'd like to see.

Note: I am certainly not the only one blogging about this issue. Click here, here or here for more views.

To return to the carnival of homeschooling click here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Obligatory Blizzard Post

Yes it snowed a lot and yes I took pictures and videos; it's what I do. No, I didn't see my shadow. I haven't even seen Green Hornet yet.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Went sledding today. Not nearly as cute as the kid pictured here. But still a lot of fun.

A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip