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You can find me at the Carnival May 30, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.
6 comments

If you came here looking for my post about Homeschooling, it’s the next one down. I never thought a post I wrote would get so much attention! Thirty-plus comments might not seem like a lot to some of my popular readers, but to me it is pretty cool. And the most amazing thing is that not one commenter called me stupid or yelled at me or wrote anything mean at all. My husband offered to post an anonymous comment flaming me just to stir things up. Which is sweet and all, but not necessary!

All I can say is, a mention on two ClubMom blogs=increased traffic. Suh-weet!

But now it’s time to move on, much as I’d like to milk the post for all it’s worth. I have actually been doing other things besides questioning the educational decisions of other parents. For example, a post I wrote was linked to on a site called Carnival of Family Life. What is a blog Carnival you ask? I didn’t know either, until I was contacted.

It’s called a Carnival because each one is hosted by a different blogger, and can travel around between different hosts. Blog Carnival lists what looks like a hundred different Carnivals. Each one represents a group of posts about a specific topic. It’s published like a magazine, with an Organizer that decides when to publish and who should host.

The Organizer of the Carnival of Family Life found my blog on Blog Explosion, and asked me to contribute my post about Kaitlyn turning six months old. I originally titled the post “Look what she can do!”, but when I asked Kailani (the Organizer) which post she was interested in, her reply was “the one called Happy Birthday to my Baby”. Those were words I used in the post, and it was a catchy title, so I changed it.

Here’s a link to the site, my post is the third from the bottom. For some reason I’m listed under “familiar friends”, even though I’ve never contributed before. But that’s okay!

Next up for me is a contributing post at 5 Minutes for Mom. I contacted them after finding their site. I love what they are doing! In addition to blog posts, there are links to Mom-run websites and Mom-owned stores. They offer free promotion for stores, and offer readers special discounts. Plus, Janice, who runs the site, does a post on Tuesdays called “Tackle It Tuesday” where she takes a picture of a messy place in her house and then shows another photo after she’s cleaned it. It might just inspire me to start tackling my messy house!

So that’s what’s going on with me. Oh, and my friend Stacy had a baby this morning, a sweet 7 lb. 15 oz. baby girl named Gretchen. She has a full head of black hair and is very cute. Blogger is being a pain in my butt and not letting me post her photo, but I will as soon as I can.

Update: Here’s my Interview at 5 Minutes for Mom. Stay and poke around the site for a minute if you can. There’s a lot of great information.

What time does Homeschool start, anyway? May 28, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.
43 comments

I just spent about two hours going through all the blogs at ClubMom. Some of my very favorite blog peeps are there, like Dawn and Kristen and Becki King, and some new blogs that I really enjoy. But here’s the thing: there are four or five homeschooling blogs, which is fine, but I just didn’t realize how many different alternatives there are to traditional schooling:

The Charlotte Mason Method-reading books from original sources and spending lots of time in nature.

Classical Education-A Liberal Arts education that includes lessons in Greek, Latin, and logic.

Distance Learning-Using companies and schools to provide educational materials. Like school, except without the going.

The Montessori Method-This method advocates observing children, removing any obstacles to learning, and giving them real, scaled to size tools to use.

Cottage Schools-The one I understand the least. Basically, these are “mini schools” that provide Homeschooled kids with classes in certain subjects. Like going to school part-time.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with Homeschooling. While I suspect that most families choose it because it allows more religion to be included in daily learning, or because they don’t want their kids socializing with the “wrong” kind of people, I absolutely believe everyone has the right to choose what kind of education their children receive.

However, I do have to question whether or not the education a child receives as a result of some of the more alternative methods of homeschooling will translate into an ability to handle college, or life in the working world. Should a child really be allowed to decide for themselves how and when to study, or whether to study at all? What happens when they get to college? I know none of my professors ever wanted to “observe” me and then allow me to choose for myself what to study. Won’t these kids have a hard time transitioning into a set schedule of classes and subjects?

And what happens when they get their first job? Are there employers who give their employees a choice of which report to write first, or whether they should return a client’s phone call or take a walk outdoors first? I don’t want to believe that all Homeschooled children are automatically going to be shunted into religious service, although I would guess that even at Seminary there is a curriculum that must be followed.

The few Homeschool resource websites I’ve looked at make an effort to address the issue of Socialization. Is it necessary for kids to have certain social experiences? Is it important to a person’s upbringing that they attend football games and Homecoming dances, participate in co-ed P.E. classes and have Senior Skip Day? Do they need a Prom?

I know there are all kinds of carefully coordinated activites and groups for Homeschooled children. And maybe they will even have an opportunity to meet other kids from other socioeconomic backgrounds. Maybe they will meet poor kids and rich kids and handicapped kids and kids whose parents are divorced or alcoholics or serving in Iraq. Maybe they will meet Jewish kids and Muslim kids and kids who spend Sunday watching cartoons. Maybe they will meet kids whose parents are fast-tracking them to Harvard with extra S.A.T. practice and Advanced Placement Classes and community service projects that look good on a transcript.

On the other hand, Homeschooled kids will be less likely to start smoking pot and drinking in the seventh grade, right? Less likely to get pregnant because they slept with their boyfriend after school, yes? I can’t deny that keeping kids at home where you know what they are doing will certainly keep then safe from temptations. But how much sheltering is good for kids, and how much is preventing them from understanding what the rest of their peers are going through?

I don’t know why this topic gets me so worked up. Whether or not someone Homeschools their kids has no bearing on me, or my family at all. I just know that whenever I read a description that starts with “So and so is Homeschooling her four children…”, I wonder, why?

Here’s more information on the education of folks like Ben Franklin and Abraham Lincoln:

“The general historic foundations of home education originate with the informal education systems that existed in many parts of the world before the rise of publicly-run schools in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The usual situation in rural areas before 1860 was that most children were taught farm chores and rudimentary arithmetic and spelling. Reading and writing skills were not highly valued. Occasionally some families would pool and hire a traveling tutor, usually a young Yankee like Stephen Douglas. In exchange for room and board he would provide a few months schooling for the children in the group. In this fashion Abraham Lincoln acquired about 18 months of schooling.

Famous figures who are considered to have been homeschooled received that kind of education because that was what was available. Attendance at school was made compulsory in only a few states by the mid-19th century. In 1872 education for all children aged 5 to 13 was made compulsory with the creation of “public schools”.

Update #2: This post got a mention at Mom’s Daily Dose, the ClubMom blog written by Amy (also of Amalah.com). Holy Shit! Amy Storch read my blog! AAAHHH!

Update #3: Keep those comments coming! I just had a great one from a Catholic Mom who homeschools who has an Atheist neighbor who homeschools. I’m serious when I say this is something I want to know more about. Not because I’m considering doing it myself, but because I genuinely want to know more about people and how they live. I’m just nosy that way I guess. So please share your story!

114876864527673037 May 27, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.
13 comments

Here it is Saturday night, Memorial Day weekend, and in about an hour it will be just me and Kaitlyn for the evening. My boys are going on a sleepover-fight night watching extravaganza that involves driving to another city, and my husband is going to X-Men III with a friend.

I know, boo hoo, poor me. I have to sit here in a quiet house able to do whatever I want for the evening. You might think that sounds pretty good, right? Yeah, except not so much.

So I’m surfing my way through my blogroll, and I see a link to a new site being run by Blog Explosion called BlogCharm. Get paid to blog, it says. Um, yes please.

I haven’t signed up for Google AdSense because I know I don’t click on those ads when I see them (sorry, but I don’t). I’m not making any money selling t-shirts or even by begging for donations (again, I know, boo the fuck hoo).

BlogCharm will host your blog and put a thin adbar at the top, sell sponsorships, and then split the money with you 50/50 each time your blog is SEEN. Not just when the ads are clicked. Sounds pretty damn good to me.

Here’s the thing: they want a Blog Description. I had this same problem when I registered with Technorati and with Blog Explosion. I have no idea how to write a catchy description that doesn’t make this sound like the most boring blog on the face of the planet:

“I’m a stay at home mom with two boys ages 9 and 7 and a 6 month old daughter. I’m married to my High School Sweetheart. My hobbies include blogging and reading and watching TV and shopping at thrift stores. My turn-offs include people who don’t use their turn signals, spiders, and having to clean the cat’s litter box.” Snore, snooze, wha-huh?

Please, someone with writing skills, help me. What would make you want to click on a blog in a directory? What words would get your attention? I would be eternally grateful to anyone who has any suggestions at all. And would suggest you directly to my P.R. guy the next time he has a product to give away. I’m serious.

BTW, BlogCharm is still in BETA and doesn’t appear to be going live until next March. They suggest I spend the next 10 months “building up my blog”. Like I’m not trying already. Sheesh.

Sorry for the profanity, I’m a little drunk. What, it’s just me and the baby (who is asleep, don’t call the police or anything), the house is dead quiet, so I’m drinking a beer and blogging. Like you’ve never done it.

Update: You ladies sure know how to help a woman out. Dawn suggests a BlogHer description-writing roundtable. I’m thinking after enough drinks, we could come up with some pretty hilarious (at least to us) shit.

Nancy suggests I keep “I’m trying to embrace my inner housewife, but she keeps pulling away from me”, and add “Yes, I’m THAT Elizabeth”. HA!

Roo, who’s creativity apparently knows no bounds, suggests I think of it like a movie trailer:

“In a land called Michigan…
In a time called today…
ONE WOMAN
fights for justice, a cup of coffee,
and a night of non-stop television.
And she’s learning that it’s harder than it looks to find a
TABLE FOR FIVE!

(This blog is not rated. Coming soon to an Internet near you.)”

Is that not some brilliance right there? HA! That should get me some traffic!

Check out my updated profile on the top right. I love you guys, and not just ’cause I’m drunk.

Friday Fun With Stats May 26, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.
5 comments

It’s time once again to check in with Site Meter and see what’s bringing people to the Table:

  • “lost, elizabeth is libby” and “lost libby elizabeth” AND “libby from lost as elizabeth”

Did someone refer to Libby as ‘Elizabeth’ on “Lost” this week? Are people having a hard time understanding that Libby is a nickname for Elizabeth?

  • chris daughtry – have you ever really loved a woman video xanga

There’s a video on Xanga somewhere of Chris singing that song? Looking all sexy? You people have been holding out on me!

  • try to love one another right now

Sing with me-“Come on, people now, smile on your brother, EVERYBODY BLOG TOGETHER, try to love one another right now!”

  • Balmex (Technorati search)

A reference to my ” How to Change a Diaper in Ten Minutes or Less” post.

  • baby poop chart

In the abovementioned post, Sweatpants Mom left a comment that she thought a poop color chart should be included in baby books, like the chart used by Homeland Security to rate the terrorist threat level, only actually useful. HA!

  • final five- the ultimate coyote contest

Yes, it’s true, I like and own the movie “Coyote Ugly”, and I’ve been watching “The Ultimate Coyote Ugly Search” on CMT. I have no explanation.

  • my son drank expired juice

Ah yes, good times.

  • How To Make A I Love You Mom Card

This search linked to my post with the SuperMom trading card I made. Probably not what they were looking for.

In Other News: If you read about the Portable DVD player I received for free in exchange for writing and posting a review, and would like to know how you can be considered for offers like that, please email me and I’ll pass along some information. There’s plenty of free stuff to go around!

Poetic Justice May 25, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.
11 comments

Breaking news: The former heads of Enron, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling , were convicted Thursday of conspiracy and securities and wire fraud.

There were actually two trials for Lay- a corporate trial and also a non-jury trial for committing bank fraud and making false statements. He could get 45 years for the corporate charges and 120 for the personal ones. It’s apparently much worse to lie than it is to steal.

Skilling had 28 counts against him, of which he was convicted of 19. This is interesting: Skilling’s wife reportedly “couldn’t make it to the courthouse on time”. Are you kidding me? This is what Skilling claimed really happened:

“The panel rejected Skilling’s insistence that no fraud occurred at Enron other than that committed by a few executives skimming millions in secret side deals, and that bad press and poor market confidence combined to sink the company.”(Source, Yahoo! News)f

In Other News:

American Idol:

Okay, I know I said I wasn’t going to watch it, but I couldn’t help myself, there was nothing else on. Plus I got to see Chris Daughtry sing again, which is always a good thing. I can’t believe I ever thought Ace was the cute one.

What is my reaction to Taylor being chosen as the “American Idol”? America has no idea what good singing is. I’m sorry if you voted for him, really, but he has a TIN EAR. I read somewhere that his singing style was “raw”-no, his singing style is OUT OF TUNE. I just don’t get it and I never will. I’ll wait for Chris to join Fuel and then buy their next CD instead.

Lost: I MISSED the whole first hour! Chris was flipping around on the channels and I was downloading photos from the camera and all of a sudden it’s 10:00 and Chris says “honey, look” and I said CRAP!

It was great to see Clancy Brown as Desmond’s partner in the hatch. I didn’t really see the EMP crashes plane storyline coming, and who knows if it’s really what happened? And what is the deal with Penelope? What were the Russian guys at the research station talking about? September is a long time to wait!

You do know that Fraulein N over at Below The Eight has the ultimate “Lost” recaps, right? Waaaalt! HA!

Pictures from Picasa May 24, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.
9 comments

I’m trying out Google’s new photo organizer, Picasa(and no, not because anyone asked me to!). We have been uploading and editing photos in CompuPic, which we can still do, and Picasa will grab the photos and organize them into “albums” that are much easier to search to find a specific photo. Only basic editing is available, but I generally don’t do much beyond redeye reduction and color balancing.

Kaitlyn had redeye in this photo, which was easy to take out. You just draw a little box around each eye and Picasa automatically takes out the redeye. CompuPic makes you click all over the eyes with a tiny pointer which can be sloppy. The little colored square under the photo is the Picasa link if you want to check it out. Even if you don’t have a Blogger blog, it is still fun to play around with image editing.

Once the photos are edited, Picasa has what they call “Hello“, which is a Bot that automatically resizes the photos, adds captions and sends the photos to a new Blogger post. It’s free for now to Blogspot members. I like that it makes me look like I take better photos than I actually do.

By the way, I like how Kaitlyn has her hand up to her mouth in this photo, like she’s been caught in mid-giggle. Why Chris likes putting her squishy diaper butt on his head is a mystery to me.

Posted by Picasa

Practicing her Super WarioWorld skills:

Pimp That Product #3-It’s a BIG ONE! May 24, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.
14 comments

I got a new product in the mail yesterday to use and review, from the P.R. firm that sent me the redesigned Swiffer Sweeper and the Reynolds Fun Shapes Baking Cups. And all I can say is, some days it is just not too bad to be me. I give you my new toy, the Insignia 10.2 inch Portable DVD Player:


When I first got the email asking me if I was interested in reviewing it, (um, DUH), my first question was “do I get to keep it?”. Why yes, YES I DO! Isn’t it pretty?


I was skeptical of my ability to operate it, as I am generally somewhat tech-challenged-just ask anyone who’s ever had to help me fix a simple piece of blog code (pretty much everybody). Fortunately for me, it comes with an easy to read manual that points out exactly where all of the important buttons are, and how to get started. It’s very user-friendly.

I was probably more excited than a normal person should be about the quality of the picture on the screen. Our TV has the older curved screen, so I had no idea how good a movie could look on a sharp, new, flat screen. So which movie did I choose for the maiden voyage?

It comes with cables to hook it up to a stereo, but I used headphones to get an idea of how it would sound on, say, an airplane flying to SAN JOSE CA. The sound quality is very good. I’ll get my husband to show me how to hook it up to our amplifier, and I’m guessing it will sound even better in stereo.

I only have one complaint, and that is that it is very noisy when the DVD starts up. There was a loud, metallic whirring sound that I could hear until I turned the volume up pretty high. I did notice that after about 15 minutes, the whirring was less noticeable. But Insignia might want to work on making it quieter. I might not have been able to hear the noise with the headphones on and the sound turned up, but I think someone sitting next to me on a car trip would.

Speaking of trips, I’m hoping to get a chance soon to take a drive down to Toledo to see my sister-in-law, and I’ll take the Portable DVD with me and test the car charger. I’ll also test how hot it gets sitting on my lap for a whole movie.

One and a half thumbs up to the Insignia Portable DVD player. Make it quieter, and I’ll give it two for sure. You can get them at Best Buy.

And now, a shout-out to Charlie Kondek at Hass MS&L. Dude, this was AWESOME of you! Thank you so much. You know how the theme of this year’s BlogHer is “How is your blog changing your world?” I would say that I am becoming the embodiment of that question.

Oh, and for Jess and Dawn, a slightly blurry screenshot of our imaginary TV boyfriend:

Warning:No animals were harmed in the making of this post. May 22, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.
8 comments

I know, two posts in one day, I’m just impatient like that. Here’s me being very brave and taking advantage of Kaitlyn’s nap to record myself singing a song. It’s not quite Julie doing her Edith Bunker impression, but it’s the first time ever that I have recorded myself singing. And yes, I realize not everyone wants to hear me sing, but it’s my blog, so too bad! *wink*

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You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers! May 22, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.
10 comments

Mom-101 said her “husband-ish” is addicted to football, it’s like his crack, and do I have any addictions? Oh yeah, baby. There’s this one thing that I HAVE to have. When I see it, my heart rate increases, my breathing gets faster, and I feel this overwhelming urge to grab as many of it as I can.

Magazines. I’m talking about magazines. They are my crack.

I almost said books, but the more blogs I read the more I realize that I am not the only one with a major addiction to books. If you’re one of those people who only reads books from the library, I applaud you. If you have a towering stack of books next to the bed, a bookshelf in literally every room of the house, plus more books in your basement/attic/storage space, you’re my kind of person.

But magazines, they are my comfort, my escape, my trashy source of gossip, information, and news. Here’s a list of what I subscribe to:

Entertainment Weekly–13 years as a subscriber.
Time Magazine
Reader’s Digest
Kraft Food & Family
TV Guide-Have you seen the new TV Guide? It’s like Entertainment Weekly except just about TV. They really did a great job improving it.
Weight Watchers Magazine-Just started getting this one, it has excellent reviews, tips, recipes and menu suggestions. And it’s pretty to look at.
Consumers Reports
(Added after I read Dawn’s comment) National Geographic, a Christmas gift from Dad.

Then for the boys (mostly Ryan, he’s a Junior Magazine Crack Addict):
Lego Magazine Brickmaster Edition
Zoobooks
National Geographic Kids
Disney Adventures

That makes twelve that I subscribe to or come from a gift subscription, here’s what I buy at the grocery store checkout because I’m too lazy to send in a subscription:
US Weekly
In Touch
People (only if the cover looks really interesting)
Vanity Fair-EXCELLENT to take on trips because it takes so long to read every single article.

That means that at any given time there are as many as fifteen new magazines in my house, plus at least a few weeks’ worth in the wicker basket I keep under the coffee table, plus the ones Ryan reads over and over and leaves laying around. Lest you think I am cluttering up my city’s landfill with my discards, I do recycle. Although we’ve only been once since the baby was born, so the stacks of bundled and tied magazines in the garage is getting somewhat precarious. I also sometimes take magazines that I haven’t torn pages out of to the library. Our little township library runs a Book Cellar during the week where you can buy old books for cheap, and they also sell magazines for like 10 cents. I scoop up old Vanity Fairs when I can find them.

Question #2 comes from Sweatpants Mom, who asks Katherine or Taylor? Is this the last week? I vowed not to watch it and I won’t, but I’ll give my opinion. If the competition was being judged strictly on vocal talent, it would be Katherine. Of the two, she has the better voice control. Unfortunately, the competition is decided by “America”, and who the heck that is, I have no idea. I would love to see some kind of statistics on who actually votes.

What I think it all needs to come down to is who will actually sell CDs and Concert tickets. Kelly Clarkson, for example, hit it big because she went on tour and worked her ass off, and she gets everyone from preteen girls to working Moms to buy her CDs. Are preteen girls going to flock to music stores to buy Taylor’s CDs?

The other factor is marketability. Sure, Taylor is quirky and some ladies love that “silver haired fox” look, although I have to seriously question the “fox” part. As my husband reminded me, the man Taylor tries to emulate, Joe Cocker, sold tons of records and he’s not exactly pretty to look at. But what I think a record company wants is someone who will attract sponsors. Carrie Underwood sells shoes (Skechers? Candies?), for example. They want someone who they can splash on the covers of magazines and get to promote energy drinks and jeans.

For that, they’re gonna need Katherine. She seems so perfectly plastic and moldable to me. I think Simon’s record company can make her over into pretty much whatever they want. So even if “America” votes for Taylor, I would bet Katherine would be the one to have the bigger singing career. After all, heard anything about Ruben Studdard lately?

Blah Blah BlogHer May 21, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.
4 comments

I’ve added some new products to my CafePress shop at the suggestion of Arabella. Now you can help me with my BlogHer expenses by purchasing any of these items:

Ash Grey T-shirt
Fitted T-shirt
Sticker
Magnet
Bumper Sticker
Mousepad

All with my oh-so-catchy saying “I Might Like You Better If We Blogged Together”. Arabella also asked about a black t-shirt, which I would like to do, but damn if I can figure out how to put white letters on a transparent background in Photoshop. If anyone can help, please speak up!

A blogger called Minti is giving away 2 tickets to attend BlogHer. It is two separate tickets, you’ll have to contact him to find out if they are for Friday or Saturday. Register before this Thursday the 25th. If you win, you’ll need to pay for accomodations and any transportation costs. I can’t wait to see which deserving blogger wins!

I’m feeling a little tapped out on Blog subjects. Anybody want to ask me a question?