Thursday, August 28, 2008


There's a large number of homeschooling families in the Dallas area, and several are seminary families as well. That's how I got to know the majority of my homeschooling cohorts.

Last fall, I got connected with Stacy, who was a homeschool mom in South Carolina on her way to Dallas. We hit it off, emailing frequently and commenting on each others' blogs. (They finally got here in May!) She was frustrated about not being able to connect with different homeschool groups in the area, and I want to do some other field trips in addition to what my homeschool association plans. We put our keyboards together - we chat regularly through Facebook - and decided to do something about it.

We planned an outing at a local park where the kids could play and fish and the moms could talk about activities we'd like to do together and places we'd like to visit. Last month I hosted a gathering for a group of homeschool moms so we could look over each other's curricula, ask and answer questions, etc., so we started with that basic group and added others to our list as we thought of them.

The big question was not what or when, but where. If you take the two families in our group who live the farthest apart, it's probably an hour difference! Stacy and I threw around a few names of area parks, then I asked Kim about Samuell Farm here in Mesquite. She said it's her boys' favorite park. There are ponds for fishing, a playground, picnic tables scattered here and there under trees, old tractors the kids can climb on, etc. And it's free. We decided to meet there.

Today around noon, nine minivans and a car pulled into the parking lot. We trooped out onto the grounds and searched out a place in the shade to eat lunch. I don't think we had been there 5 minutes when a man with a video camera came walking up to the group, asking if we minded him filming us for a news story. The local CBS affiliate was doing a story on the park because it's part of Dallas Parks and Recreation and is in danger of being shut down. It just so happened that we were there at the same time.

As we were checking with all the moms to make sure there were no objections to filming, a reporter walked out and began asking us why we were out that day and who had been there before. None of us had! Since I was answering most of his questions, he asked if he could interview me for a news segment.

He asked me preview questions, then moved me to a shady spot and had a microphone put on my collar. The cameraman began filming and I answered the reporter's questions. Then he cut the video but kept recording audio while he asked a few more questions. He was fishing for a history angle since the park is part of an old now-non-working farm, so I gave him my best "we love learning about local history" answer. I hope he got a decent sound bite. I'm sure the video will be horrible - me all red-faced and sweating, trying to hide a half-eaten carrot stick in my hand. (Well, he was there during our lunch...)

We only decided to go to Samuell Farm on Tuesday, and I'm pretty certain none of the moms in our group would've alerted the local media for something as simple as what we were doing. Certainly no news station would've sent out a crew to film and interview a bunch of homeschool moms and their kids. It was just providence for the reporter - and the farm's owner - that we just happened to show up there today.

It'll be interesting to see what becomes of Samuell Park, if what we did on a whim will have any influence on the final outcome. In the meantime, you can see me and the rest of our homeschool group on the CBS 11 news.

Update: They didn't use the interview in the story because it didn't fit with the angle they decided to go with - upkeep on the out-of-the-way farm versus the beautiful Samuell Grand Park in the Dallas city limits. They did show footage of our group, though, as background to the main story. Jacob can be seen briefly walking between the swings. His back is to the camera, but he's in a blue shirt. Caleb can be seen even more briefly as he swings past the lens in his bright green shirt. It's easy to miss him, it's so fast. Stacy's boys are the ones fishing. You can see it here.

Bead Sale!!!

I just got an email notice yesterday that Beads of Splendor is having a sale today through Monday: buy any two strands of beads and get the third (least expensive one) FREE!

Wow!!! This is huge! I saw so many different strands of beads there, I can't even remember all the things I liked! I know I want to go back there and get some, though! I may break out my mad money and buy 4, get two free!

Okay, family. Now is the time to put in your orders for Christmas if you want any jewelry! This is some great stuff!

The Trap

When I first start exercising and trying to lose weight, it works. For a little while. Once I start seeing even the slightest of results, I fall into the trap of thinking that I can get by with a little extra snacking or a few more pieces of pizza. Then that every-now-and-then treat starts becoming "normal". The weight creeps back up and I wonder, Why is this happening?

A friend and I were talking about this last weekend. Something she said really hit me: "For me, it's a mental battle."

Exactly! I know what I need to do, but when it comes down to it, I argue with myself for what I want, not what I need.

One M&M won't hurt. Then that one becomes two and three and then a small handful.

One chip won't hurt. Then I've eaten a good portion of the bag. What's Lay's jingle? "No one can eat just one. No one can. No one can eat just one Lay's brand potato chip." And believe me, it's not limited to Lays.

I went to the gym yesterday for the first time in well over a month. With the busyness of summer and the loss of my regular routine, I just didn't make the time to go. I stood on the scales after my workout and was thankful that all the time away hadn't wreaked too much havoc on my weight: 166.5 lbs.

It was good to get back into a workout routine, though I'm going to change things up this time around. I'm still going to do my upper and lower body strength training, but I'm going to vary the walking and include some time on the bike and on the elliptical trainer. That's the easy part.

The hard part will be mentally keeping myself in check around food. I can't convince myself that it's okay to eat more food just because I've lost a few pounds. I can't snack on any random thing as I pass through the kitchen, especially when I'm not even hungry. I've already started cutting back my mealtime portions. Lunch is now half a sandwich again (instead of a whole one) with a huge pile of carrot sticks or some fruit on the side. I'll save the yogurt for my afternoon snack.

I think I can succeed at losing 25 pounds if I just don't fall into the trap again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Old Fashioned

When I think "old fashioned", the first thing that comes to mind is the museum at Spring Creek Farm in Richardson, TX - the home of Owens Sausage.

For more interpretations of "Old Fashioned", check out Photo Friday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's bothersome.

I hate watching the track events on TV. It annoys me to no end to see the runners slow down before they cross the finish line. It looks as though that's how an American lost a medal to a potential third-place finisher, who kept pushing on when the others slowed down. It paid off.

If my old high school track coach is watching, I bet she's irked, too. She was constantly drilling that into us, and although I wasn't too happy about it then, I understand it. You would think Olympians would, too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Self-Portrait 2008

I just had to tease my sister about my new iPhone...

For more self-portraits, visit Photo Friday.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Beads of Splendor

One day as I was waiting at a red light at Gaston and Abrams, I noticed the word "BEADS" in bold red letters on a shopping center sign. At the time, I had the boys with me, so I didn't even think of stopping. But I made a mental note that I definitely wanted to go back there and check things out.

Back in April, the boys had gone to stay for a week with Billy's parents. Billy and I had made plans to have lunch one day at Mai's, and I was looking forward to seeking out that bead store afterward. The day we planned lunch, it rained. No, it poured. Buckets. Streets were flooding. Thunder was cracking. Lightning was flashing all around. I decided it wasn't a good day to drive around aimlessly, looking in an unfamiliar shopping center for a bead store I didn't even know the name of. I didn't get another chance to find the store that week, so it had to wait.

This week the boys are with Billy's parents again. I was going to meet Billy today so we could get our iPhones (woohoo!), so I decided to hunt for the bead store afterward. Guess what? It was raining again. Thankfully it was only changing from sprinkling to a light drizzle - so I circled the shopping center twice and found what I was looking for!

Beads of Splendor is part of the store Splendor in the Grass. They have some beautiful beads and handmade jewelry, and they offer beading classes. (One of the other bead shops I go to offers classes, but it's so far away.) I don't know how long I spent browsing and chatting with the owner and the clerk.

I fell in love with some gorgeous rhodochrosite beads and donut pendants! I had never heard of or seen it before. It's got amazingly beautiful pink and white banding! Unfortunately I don't wear much pink..., but I might start!

I didn't buy anything today, but I'm going back tomorrow (after Billy and I have lunch at Mai's again), and I'm taking a few pairs of earrings with me so I can find some beads to make matching necklaces. I can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kids Play the Darndest Things

It's always funny seeing what "games" the boys will come up with to play. Of course there are the regular things like Hot Wheels, Legos, K'Nex, and board games, but then there are the things their imaginations bring to life.

They got their first Webkinz at Christmas and have collected a total of nine since. They aren't toys; they are their "friends", complete with names, birthdays, preferences - and voices, which can get really annoying. They played all sorts of things with their "friends". Then they started watching episodes of Unbeatable Banzuke, a Japanese game show where contestants had to race through various obstacle courses. Now their "friends" are the contestants as they watch the show, which leads to arguments over whose Webkin gets to play, whose Webkin should have won, whose Webkin gets to win all the time, etc.

I thought nine Webkinz were enough "friends", but then Jacob found a box full of Beanie Babies from who-knows-how-long-ago. Their "friend" count has climbed dramatically! I have no idea how many Beanie Babies were in that box, but now they pull them out daily and line them up for miles on the floor. I'll hear "One potato, two potato, three potato, four;..." as they determine who is "out" and who will "play" whatever obstacle course or other game they've come up with for the time being.

Not long ago, they discovered the weekly sale papers. I don't know what the fascination is with them, but they collect a week's worth and study them. They even take them to bed for reading material. Then when we go grocery shopping, they'll suddenly say, "That's on sale at (insert correct store here)!" Yeah, it was a month ago! Jacob doesn't want to throw any of them away, and I have issued an edict that they can't have new ones until the old ones are gone. I ended up getting rid of the old ratty ones last week, and they happily took the new ones that I wasn't in need of. They did beg for the Albertson's paper when I finished it, even though it had big green circles marking what I had put on my list.

Last week, Caleb got out the big box of scrap paper they use for drawing on and began drawing sections of the interstate, complete with cars, trucks, and semis, construction zones, numbered exits, and fast food restaurants and gas stations. Oh, and state lines, too. After he draws each section, he'll line them up end to end, determining where curves need to be to keep from running into a wall or under the table. Once Jacob started helping with drawing more roads, the "interstate" quickly doubled. They've amassed quite a stack of paper, and when they lay them end to end, there's up no room to walk in the playroom. That's fine with them, though. They get down in between pages and drive their Hot Wheels - their Webkinz' cars - across the pages, taking road trips only kids can imagine.

Now the Olympics are on. Can you guess what they're doing?

Beach volleyball is perfect since there are two players and two of them. Of course they're always the US team. They'll stand in front of the TV, jumping and throwing their hands in the air, making every move the athletes do. I think Jacob's favorite part is taking a dive on the sand (carpet). When they watch water polo, they act like they're splashing around and hitting the ball. Sometimes they let their Webkinz play.

But when gymnastics or swimming comes on, they sit spellbound, unable to imitate what they're seeing because they're so amazed by it. And they're impressed with all the muscles. (Caleb thinks he has a six-pack. *chuckle*)

All this reminds me of when Melissa and Lindsay were little. They would always act out favorite movies they'd watched a million times, and Melissa would always take first pick of characters: "I'll be Nadia and you be..." or "I'll be baby Jessica (who fell down the well in Midland, TX) and you be..." or "I'll be Annie and you be Miss Hannigan." (Notice she always took the starring role... Lindsay never thought it was fair, but Melissa never cared about that.)

I wonder what those boys will think of next.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Thursday, July 31

Friday, August 1
same store

At first glance I thought they had made a mistake on their sign, but after they changed the prices the next day, the "mistake" was still there.

The 7-11 about a mile or so down the street had the average 30 cents difference between regular unleaded and premium...

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Since I've been on Facebook, it's been fun seeing what everyone is up to at any time of the day. I've noticed, however, that on weekends, several of my friends and their families are busy running around town, going here and there, seeing sights, etc. We, on the other hand, stay home.

I look forward to Saturdays because I don't have to go anywhere or do anything. I can stay home and do nothing - or everything, depending on what doesn't get done during the week. Billy looks forward to having a relaxing day at home, and the boys enjoy spending the day playing on the computer, building with Legos, reading books, watching movies, etc. It's kind of the same as a "stay-home-day" during the summer, just with Dad home.

We aren't fuddy-duddies. We just prefer to stay in the quiet comfort of our own home and not fight crowds - or heat! Now I just need to get off my duff and invite some of our "jet-setting' friends over for an afternoon of fun...