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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Talking to computers

I am talking to the computer and it is typing for me.  It is actually amazing.  I just talked into a microphone and it typed what I said.  I’ve been having problems with arm pain.  I haven’t figured out exactly what the problem is.  However, using the computer aggrevates it the most.  By the time I got back from the reunion my arms felt great.  I spent 40 minutes posting something on craig’s list for Steve four days ago and my arm is still recovering.  It has been very frustrating.  I had one doctor tell me that I was middle aged and my body is going to start having problems.  He told me 35 and older is middle aged.  I haven’t seen a hand doctor but I’ve already spent enough money going to doctors and getting stupid answers.  Maybe I'll go in a few months.  In the meantime I’m trying to go easy with my arm and learning to talk to this stupid computer.

The girls are at their dad’s house which today is in Idaho.  In a few days it will be in Utah.  I miss them tremendously and am quite pathetic.  My entire life is wrapped up in the kids and is very empty without them.  I am trying to enjoy myself but for some reason it is difficult.  I spend a lot of time watching TV.  I’ve been teaching myself the guitar and playing for a few minutes every hour or so.  It’s been going better than it ever has before.  I’ve tried to pick up the guitar many times and failed each time.  I’m hoping my arm can handle the strumming.  I’m starting clarinet lessons to night with a kid in my ward.  He’s obsessed with the clarinet and is very excited about teaching his first student –me.  I hope I don’t let him down.  When I was at ISU, the clarinet was the hardest instrument for me to learn.  I’m hoping it goes better this time.  I’m starting a home school band this fall in our co-op.  I'm really excited and hope people sign up.  Another mom who is a flute player will assist me.   With an expert flute player I think I will be able to handle it since I am taking clarinet lessons.  Brass is pretty easy to teach at least, not necessarily to play well, but my skills should be good enough.  Steve will help me with the percussion.

Talking to the computer is exhausting.  I guess the computer will get better at recognizing my commands.  I certainly hope so.  I almost feel like I need a nap.  So far it is so unnatural I hope my sentences are coherent.
I'll try again later.  I really want to write some things we did this year for a record of our family and our home school.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Gracie with Russel from "Up" at Disneyland.  In Disney California they have the "Redwood Creek Challenge" which Gracie has always loved.  We often go there when the other girls are at Grizzly River Run, which Gracie is terrified to go on.  It is full of rock climbing, zip lines, rope climbing, tracking and the like.  Recently they added Russel to the trail and a map with badges to earn.  There were six badges in all and then a final badge at the end.  Gracie worked hard to earn them all and this is her with the final badge.  She was so cute taking it all so seriously.  It took us about an hour.  She is officially a senior Wilderness Explorer.

This is Gracie after her ballet performance in Cinderella.  This was her horse costume.  She also played one of Cinderella's mice.  The mice were turned into horses, so she had two parts.  Her dance teacher is amazing.  She wrote a Cinderella ballet specifically for her classes, giving everyone prominent parts so they were all on stage a lot.  Most of her students are homeschooled and it is a very small studio. Hopefully Anna will do it next year.  She says she wants to.  I've always dreamed of a ballerina for a daughter.  Not a professional, but getting to the level of point, because I think it is so beautiful.  And dancers have so much grace and poise.  Gracie is my last hope.  I've tried with all three, and none of them lasted more than two years in dance.  We'll see with Gracie.

Seriously though, there is nothing in the world like seeing your beautiful daughter in a tutu, on a stage dancing to classical music.  It is precious.  Sigh.  She made me very happy.  She had rehearsals all week, some of them very long (one was 4 hours!), and she did great.  I was very proud of her.

My girls are growing up and it is constantly entertaining.  At Disneyland yesterday, a very cute boy stared at my girls and Olivia(a friend we brought who is also very pretty) for probably 30 minutes while we waited for World of Color.  It took me a while to catch on to how enthralled he was, and when I caught on I asked him where he was from.  He told us San Francisco and asked us where we were from and I told him LA.  Now the second he spoke, all the girls but Gracie turned with all their attention to this beautiful boy.  They had been reading each other's palms and creating hilarious stories about each other's futures.  Immediately Aliese blurted out, "We're unsocialized homeschoolers."  Such a card when she tries.  And  low and behold, he is a homeschooler too.  We talked a little bit and then World of Color started.  He had to run back to his spot.  So evidently he had meandered his way down to check out Olivia and my girls.  He was in 9th grade.  Truly gorgeous.  Borderline celebrity type gorgeous, super nice, and homeschooled.  For the rest of the night Olivia and Aliese talked of Jonathon, searched for him constantly, regretted not asking for his phone number (at least Olivia did, Aliese is not quite to that point yet), and talked about his gorgeousness and perfectness.  Sigh.  She's growing up.  Funny side note, later on in the hulabalu of it all Gracie asked what boy we were talking about.  She met him, was unimpressed evidently, and promptly forgot about him.

School is officially over, though we have made academic and musical goals for the summer, which is only a month here, since they go to their Dad's in July.  Poor Aliese is going to do two classes online this summer to try them out to see if she likes the online learning approach.  If she does, she'll probably do several classes online next year, since she'll officially be in high school.  If not, then I'll be signing her up for some classes and get to run her around everywhere--yippee!  Seriously though, in a year and a half she can be a licensed driver.  We have some good friends who won't let their kids get their driver's license until they are 18!  When she told me that I told her the rule in our house is that if you don't get it when you are 16 I will kick you out!  Of course that is a joke, but early morning seminary starts at 6 AM here, and she starts in August.  I am afraid.  Very afraid, and I hope she will get her license when she is 16.  She is terrified and says she doesn't want to get one.  Yeah, well, whatever.  I need you to have one Aliese!  I promised her she could drive in town for 2 years if she wants before she braves the freeways.  The test isn't on any freeways.  Just in town.  She was very relieved to hear that. 

There is so much more to write.  But I have so many other things to do.  And my hand is tired.  It's been hurting lately.  I'm a little nervous about that.  I'm too young for arthritis aren't I?  Plus it's muscles, not joints.  Bla, bla.

I blogged Amy.  Happy?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I'm Back and I'll Try Harder This Time

March really disappeared, but to be fair to myself, my computer got a virus.  A really bad one.  A $200 one, and then I went and bought some software to protect it for another $50.  Sigh......for a really long time.  It took Staples 11 long days.  That's a really long time to live without your computer, especially when you homeschool.  Not that we use it all day, but we definitely use it everyday.  My tip for the decade is PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER.  If you don't want to buy software to protect it, at least install a free one and update it regularly.  It is a very violating experience to hand your computer over to a complete stranger to fix.  I felt like I handed over my insides.  Especially since I know so little about it, and my husband knows even less, so I was totally at their mercy to not rip me off, make my computer worse, ect. ect.  Again, PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER!!!!

Onto brighter subjects.  Gracie is 7 years old now.  I am very confused at where the seven years went, how she hasn't died of starvation (since she doesn't generally eat, but on rare occasions) and very terrified at how fast the next 7 years will go!  We celebrated at Disneyland. 
This is one of the mice from Cinderella, we met two of them!  We have never met them in all of the many trips we've taken.

The birthday girl.  She was delightful all day.  Of course, she got to pick everything we did, so it was pretty easy to be delightful, but nevertheless, it was a great day.  She wanted the earliest reservation we could get at Minnie's breakfast so we were there at 7:10 AM, and then she wanted to stay for Fantasmic, so we didn't leave until 10:00 PM.  It was a long day, even for me the Disney die hard.  I told Aliese and Anna, I'm not going to renew our passes in August.  I haven't told Gracie yet.  I'm ready try out some of the other wonderful things in LA.  Aliese and Anna were surprisingly fine about it.  I never thought the magic would wear off, but it has.  So a break will be good, and then when we can't live without it another day, I'll get passes again :)

We had a little party so to speak.  We hosted mutual for all the YW.  The YW president told me a few days before that they would be decorating cakes.  I asked her who was teaching them, and she said she didn't have much of a plan.  So I volunteered to teach them at my apartment.  It was super fun.  Our YW is small, but it was still very cozy.  This was Aliese's cake.
Pretty impressive hugh?

I'm trying some new things to save money that I'm hoping will continue to work and maybe even work better.

The first is homemade laundry soap.  It coast me about $7 to get started.  The first batch will last me several months.  Each time I make it I will need to buy another bar of soap which is a dollar.  I have enough of the other ingredients to make many more batches.  So maybe 50 cents a batch, less than 25 cents a month.  Not bad.  Basically free.  I'm really excited about it.  Been using it for a few weeks, and so far so good.  I'm still using Shout for pre-treating stains.  However, as my children get older, we are using less and less of it.  And since we're on the subject of laundry I made a big change in our household this week.  An announcement in the same line as deciding to be a vegetarian, or getting rid of your TV.  Drastic.  I divided up all of my laundry dividers among my family members, and everyone, including Steve and Gracie is in charge of their own laundry.  Everytime I think about it I sigh, feel peace and grin.  Few things have made me this happy in my life.  The next time someone doesn't have clean underwear, it won't be my fault.  My response will be, "Bummer, I hate it when I don't have clean underwear."  I can hardly wait for the first conversation when I get to say that.

So do you want my recipe for homemade laundry soap.  Here is the link-laundry soap recipe. The only change I made is that I used Zote soap from the 99cent store, because I couldn't find Fels-Naptha.  Zote soap is also used for laundry.  I bought the other two ingredients at Wal-Mart in the laundry aisle. The whole project took me about 15 minutes.

The next weirdo thing I'm doing is going "poo free".  Meaning shampoo free.  Now before you get totally grossed out, keep reading.  There is a whole movement out there of "poo free" people that aren't hippies, and don't live in Eugene.  Aliese prefers to say "homemade shampoo", I think "poo free" is far more fun.  We laughed over the term for so long I can't possibly stop using it.  Anyway...the recipe is...

Homemade Shampoo
1 c water
1 T baking soda

Put in a squeeze bottle or whatever you want.  Shake before each use.  Wet hair, add a little at a time all over scalp.  Massage scalp for 2 minutes rinse.

Homemade Conditioner
1 c water
1 T apple cider vinegar

Pour a little onto the ends of your hair, rinse.

I haven't used shampoo since Wednesday.  It's Sunday now.  I normall have very greasy hair.  If I skip a day everyone knows it.  I have used my new stuff twice now.  Aliese has used it once.  My hair looks great, very non greasy and actually a little fluffier.  When I brushed it after my shower, I started at the bottom and worked my way up, and surprisingly it was easy and not tangled.  Supposedly after a few months of this my hair will have more body, be shinier, I'll have no dandruff, the list goes on.  I'm pretty excited about it.  I haven't figured out the cost yet, because I didn't need to buy anything, but they sell baking soda at costco.  Hopefully they sell apple cider vinegar too.  Seriously though, we spend so much money on shampoo.  Everyone but Steve has very long hair, probably 6-8 feet worth.

And even though I am extremely non liberal politically, contrary to popular belief among liberals towards conservatives, I do care about the planet.  I love the fact that I will be throwing away a little less than before. Between shampoo, conditioner, and laundry bottles, my family has contributed more than our fair share of waste.  And even though I eat sugar and buy food with pesticides, in a small way, we are now using less chemicals in our home.  Bottom line, I just think I'm really cool.

Conference was awesome wasn't it?  We're such lucky ducks.  I watched the whole thing, and for the first time in my life, didn't fall asleep, or even fight sleep.  My Aliese and Anna watched all 4 sessions.  I was so impressed with them.  Gracie tried very hard, but failed miserably.  She's only 7 after all.  My favorite was probably Elder Holland, closely followed by many others. They were all awesome. I'm so grateful we have a living prophet to guide us and teach us.  I've always known Pres. Monson is a true prophet but I know it more now than I did 2 days ago. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Surfboard Rugs
I'm taking a short break from the kids (actually, I totally promise I will post one of them tomorrow, I'm definitely behind) and doing a post on Jensen Rugboards.  Jensen Rugboards is Steve's surfboard rug business.  He has been in business since 1997 and this is his story.

Steve has been laying carpet for many years.  He started learning the trade when he was a little boy with his dad.  He was successful at it for many years, but it wreaks havoc on the body.  Steve started surfing in the 90s.  He would get up early before work and hit the beach.  One day after surfing, sitting in his shop he realized that a surfboard is the same size as a carpet runner.  He made one up that very day and the first surfboard rug was born and he named it a rugboard.

Over the course of Jensen Rugboards, his surfboard rugs have been very popular with surfers in their decor.  Locals love Steve's surfboard rugs because they are beachy, unique and fun.  Tourists love the surfboard rugs because it is a quality piece in their decorating that can remind them of that "great trip" for years to come.

Jensen Rugboards has many kinds of surfboard rugs.  The original rugs are custom, handmade by Steve himself, and last for years and years.  People use these rugs everywhere in their house.

 He also has a manufactured rug that is machine washable.  The machine washable rugs come in a 4' long traditional surfboard shape and a contour shape that fits around the toilet.  These rugs are obviously good for the beach themed bathroom. 

Another kind of rug Jensen Rugboards has is made of a natural woven material called sisal.   This surfboard rug is for the surfer who's wife wants something that will "blend" in a little more. This particular rug has a Hobie logo on it. 
Jensen Rugboards can custom make any size or color of surfboard rug you want!