Thursday, April 17, 2014

Best Friends

Mica has a friend that he hangs out with all the time. I happen to call two boys that are the best of friends, having a bromance. According to the friend's mom they both are very smart, and connect on a mental level. It's funny because I try not to bring the fact that Mica does well in school up to him often. I don't want it to go to his head. I struggled in school big time when I was his age. We let him know he's doing a good with his homework and with grades, but we don't want him thinking he's all that!

His friend's family came to our house to pick up Mica 3 or 4 months ago. They made a trip to the library to play learning games. Then all of them came to our house to play. I wasn't expecting them to be there. My house wasn't exactly in the best of shape for visitors.

About four weeks ago we asked if his friend could go bowling? They could, and they all showed up. I was sort of shocked that they all came. His mom offered to help pay. I paid for their lanes and she paid for their shoes. She was wanting to give me more money, but I said, "No it's my treat."

About two weeks ago they asked if our family could come over to their house for lunch? We came with a huge salad, and homemade dressing. They had the works of Ethiopian food. We sat around on the ground and ate, and ate. They gave us special coffee, and tea. Their cousin showed up for the "Special Event". We were the "Special Event". We ended up staying for 5 hours that day. When we left I felt like they didn't want us to go.

I'm getting the idea that they do things as a whole family all the time. It's the Mom, and three kids. The Dad works all the time. Their Grandma and Aunt live with them. They are a nice family. I'm just not used to doing things with a friend's whole family. I do have to say that I'd rather have Mica be friends with a family that cares about their children, than a family that's not there for them. That Mom is there for her kids!

Some times I want my kids to play with just their friend. In my head I'm thinking, "Go have fun and play!" They are only kids once. Soon enough they'll loose their creative play. I need a break from entertaining my own children. Go play, be kids.

I struggled with what to do next. They are a family that wants to get together. They respect us highly. It's not like they are rude. They are very nice. They have done things for us. This must be how they do things in Ethiopia (where they are from). I'm not sure how birthday parties will be. His whole family will show up. I don't know if that's bad, good, or if it's just different?

We invited their family to come to the Lowes Clinic with us this last weekend.  They were half an hour late, so we were all wondering if they were going to show up...thankfully they did. I thought the Lowes Clinic would be perfect to invite them to because it's free, and they have never been there.

I helped the sister in 1st grade with her project, Daddy helped the brother in 3rd grade, and Mica and their Mom helped Mica's friend that's in 2nd grade. Mica's friend said, "I have to say that I'm much more of a technology kid! I'm just not a builder type." We all laughed when his friend said that. It sounded funny coming from a 2nd grader. 


Mica was laughing at his best friend.


They liked the event so much, that they wanted me to sign them up for the next one. It seems as though we have Lowes Clinic partners now. 

Isaak was grumpy because his recycling truck lost a piece. Even though Mica's friend's sister found it, he wasn't out of his grump state. 


Here's what they made:

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WW: Art Show {Linky}

Mica and Isaak's art teacher had a group art show. Two of Daddy's old welding instructors were in the show as well. Then I saw an old coworker, so we chatted to.

The boys were so happy to see many of their teachers there. I think they saw 5 in total.

I wanted to get a picture of the boys with their art teacher, but she was so busy.


Here they are in front of a metal cow:



The Apel's The Apel's The Apel's The Apel's The Apel'sThe Apel'sThe Apel's

Roasted Cabbage

My mom gave me this recipe. She called it Cabbage Steak. I'm calling it more what it is, Roasted Cabbage. It's so flavorful!

If you aren't a cabbage fan, try it anyhow. It takes on a new flavor when it's cooked like this.


The edges are crispy, the center is juice, and everything tastes so flavorful!

The best thing is that you could mix the recipe up a bit. Add, asparagus, do a mix of cabbage, and so on.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Smoke, Fire, Rain, Snow

It's been crazy in Nebraska and Iowa. It's so dry that we've had fire warnings. I know a lot of people got snow this year, but we were not high among those that did. We got some, and when it did snow people complained about it. We did not get what we should have. Besides the fire warnings, I'm worried about the farms, and what they will have problems growing this year. *Warning if you thought prices were high in the stores now, they probably will go up.

There have been a few fires start by our home. A comic book shop that has been there for years burnt down a month ago. Then last week what used to be a pharmacy for years burnt down to the ground.

My husband woke up to lots of sirens. I slept like a baby. As you can see fire took over this building!

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I'm glad the Y that we go to didn't get burnt down. It's right by this building.

On Saturday it was so nice. The boys wore shorts. We actually turned the air on in the car.

On Sunday it was rainy, dark and you could hear thunder rumbling all day. We started off with rain coats, and towards the end of the day we were back in our winter coats.

It snowed Sunday night. We woke up to an ice, snow mixture. At least it will melt off fast.

They said on the news that we had more moisture on Sunday then we had all of March and 12 day of April. It was certainly needed!

Here's what it looked like this morning:


I know others are expected to get snow. Are you supposed to get some this week?

Martial Arts for Kids Review + #Giveaway

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
I got a chance to review something a little different. It was my first set of online classes. The classes are to learn martial arts. In particular Kung Fu. I'm familiar with Jiu-Jitsu, but I've never watched any other martial art. I think they are all interesting! I have a student that has taken classes for many of the different martial arts.


At first I was thinking, How can one learn a martial art from the internet? It can be done! They show you everything, and explain why and how you do it all.

The Classes Thought Me and Isaak a Lot!

I watched these classes along with Isaak. There are 14 lectures. That is 3 hours of content. What is great, is that you can go back, and watch things over and over again. I feel that I have to repeat things with yourself a lot to remember the content.

There is also an in depth handbook.

They've been teaching the self defense art of Shou' Shu' Kung Fu professionally since 1995 in the comfort of your own home.

14 Classes: 
  1. Lecture 1: The Greeting Salute
  2. Lecture 2: The Formal Salute
  3. Lecture 3: Student Handbook
  4. Lecture 4: Tying the Belt
  5. Lecture 5: Hard Bow
  6. Lecture 6: Square Horse
  7. Lecture 7: Fighting Horse
  8. Lecture 8: Locking Elbow (part 1)
  9. Lecture 9: Locking Elbow (part 2))
  10. Lecture 10: Locking Elbow (part 3)
  11. Lecture 11: By the Numbers Facing Right
  12. Lecture 12: By the Numbers Facing Left
  13. Lecture 13: Fast on an Opponent Facing Right
  14. Lecture 14: Fast on an Opponent Facing Left



The Goals of the Classes:
  • Respect- I learned the protocols and meanings of these protocals. these are designed to teach respect for oneself and others.
  • Discipline- The martial arts instruction is inspiring. Children as well as adults are inspired to work hard and will thereby naturally develop self discipline.
  • Physical Fitness - Classes are energetic. Kids and adults will get lots of exercise.
  • Coordination - Shou' Shu' develops coordination. Especially due to that large amount of cross lateral motions. Cross lateral motions have been shown to enhance learning. Especially helpful for kids and adults with ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia or similar.
  • Ant-Bullying - Kids will learn to understand how to prevent bullying as well as determining threat level and appropriate responses.
  • Fun - classes your child and you will enjoy!
Requirements:

There aren't requirements for the classes, other than to watch them. 

  • It certainly helps to have a uniform. They teach you how to tie your belt. It's important to be able to do this along with the instructor. 
  • I also found it helpful to take notes. 
  • A punching bag, or large pillow is helpful. A mat is also great to have!
  • Target Audience: A beginner. That can be a child, or an adult. Anyone that is interested in learning. I thought it was a great bonding experience to watch with my child, and fun to do the things with them.
What is Shou' Shu? 

It means, "Fighting way of the beasts". It's an ancient form of Kung Fu. The motions are thought to be ways of fighting 7 different animals: Bear, Siberian Tiger, Mongoose, White Crane, Praying Mantis, Cobra, and the Imperial Dragon.
  
Want to Learn?

To learn more about this course, go here. Anyone that clicks on this link will be able to view the classes for 50% off.

It's Giveaway Time
  
This is open to US as well as Canada. It's for adults, and/or children.  You will get a code to use their online class. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The opinions on the post are my personal take on the product. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review. I did get products to help with the review.


The Apel's The Apel's The Apel's The Apel's The Apel'sThe Apel'sThe Apel's
 
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sing, Sing a Song Saturday

Sing, Sing a Song Saturday is all about me discovering something that is different. I don't want to post things that you and I have more than likely heard before. I want to find something different. It could be from another country, someone singing from the streets of NY, and more.

This week I'm featuring a singer named Oren Lavie. He's an Israeli songwriter, singer, playwright, and theater director. He's the same age as I am, born in 1976. Lavie was born in Tel Aviv and spent his youth in Israel. In 2001 he moved to New York. In 2003 he moved to Berlin.

His music video for Her Morning Elegance earned a 2009 Grammy Award nomination for "Best Short Form Music Video".

Source

I love stop animation videos. I googled, "Stop Animation, Music Videos" and that's how I found Oren Lavie.

Her Morning Elegance


Oren Lavie's music isn't the type to dance to. It's calm and relaxing. It's the type of music you can write and read while you're listening to it.

A Dream Within a Dream


Check out Oren Lavie's Website.
Check out Oren Lavie's Facebook Page.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Random Tid Bits

  1. I was thinking about the Statue of Liberty. My kids were talking about it. If it were made today; I think most of it would be from China. The materials anyhow.

  2. Source

  3. Do you ever think about the end to mankind?

    Do you think we'll ever die out?
    If so...how?
    If we do I personally think we'll destroy ourselves somehow.

  4. I've been reading a lot about Common Core this week. I'm not against it, and I'm not for it. If you are not familiar with it, it's all about showing your work, backing up why and how you got to the answer you did, and if you do not show your work...even if you got the answer right, you just got the answer wrong for not showing your work.

  5. Most of the things I was reading were negative, but the negativity was coming from parents. I didn't know if parents felt badly about it because they didn't understand it, or was it because they truly thought it was a bad thing?

    Isaak's using Common Core, but Mica is not. I think when they put any new structure in a kid's curriculum, and want kids to switch gears, it's bad. They have to start the practice from the beginning. If it's taught as an alternative, then they should introduce the alternative in the beginning as well. Isaak's being started with it now in Kindergarten. Don't take a kid that is in third grade, throw them into common core, and expect them to grasp everything. It doesn't work.

    Parents should be educated on what the schools goals are. They want parents to work with their kids on homework, parents should understand what their kids are doing.

    I don't think Common Core should be the only way of learning. Have a few chapters on it. Every kid learns differently. I know I'm very right brained, and Common Core could have helped me. I'm a visual learner. Flat facts were hard for me to understand. Math didn't make sense until touch math was introduced to me. It was new when I learned it. Once I got that, math was understandable. Not everyone thinks the same way. I've always been in left field.  

    Isaak seems to be grasping math better than Mica. His math is like this 8-5= ? There are 8 dots above the problem. He has to fill in 5, and then count the reminder to put in the answer. He gets it! He gets subtraction to! Mica didn't learn subtraction until first grade. I do like that kids are learning to not just spit out an answer, but reason and logic is there to back up that answer. I get college students in all the time that can say artwork is nice, but they can't back up why they like it. When they get in the real world as young adults they will have to back up their portfolio pieces to sell their work. Otherwise they may not get a job they are interested in.  

    There is a great article on Common Core here if you'd like to read it. In the end I think everyone learns differently. Common Core may work for my kid, but not yours. I think different math practices should be taught from the beginning, and each kid can choose a way that works from them.

  6. Next month my sister has her baby! It's both crazy and exciting.

  7. My students are working on a Children's Book assignment. It's one of my favorite assignments!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I Shop for Birthdays and Christmas All Year

Do you shop all year for birthdays and Christmas?

The upsides to shopping all year:
  • You can save money if you see a deal.
  • When you see something someone would love, why not go for it? The chances of you seeing that perfect thing later isn't a high chance.
  • Spending money periodically is much easier than getting things all at once.
With every up side there is a downside to:
  • All the sudden kids change their minds about what they want and like. If you already got them things, you can't go back and change.
  • It makes returns nearly impossible. 
I usually do not get clothes, because of the return thing.

I also stash away things I've won for myself, and for everyone else. If anyone needs a gift for me I'm like, "Here you go! I've been waiting to get this."

My husband thinks I'm nuts, and my mom doesn't support giving me things I've already gotten. Hey I'm still happy about getting it. It saves money. Why not?

I saw this on Zulily {see below}. The thing is...I stashed it in my cart, and didn't buy it fast enough. I tracked the product down, and the JuDanzy had it for about the same price, no shipping costs in the US and the price goes to the small business, not Zulily. I love Zulily, but they do tend to rip off small companies.

This is for Emerson's birthday in July. It's for ages 3-7. It was $20, and I got it for $15. It comes with the leg warmers, tie, and hat. I think it will look so cute on him! I'm not big into argyle, but my sister is, and I happen to love red. Win! Win!

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I have another nephew (age 6, Isaak's playmate) that would seriously sleep with a baseball bat if you let him. He's that into baseball. I found a baseball necklace and stocking cap, and bought them. They are for Christmas.


The necklace has 2 bats and a ball on one side, and a single baseball on the other. Source

For the new baby nephew coming in May I bought a turtle diaper and matching wet bag. Mainly because his oldest brother (Mica's playmate) loves turtles. I thought he'd get a kick out of seeing his brother in a turtle diaper. My sister uses cloth diapers. You can never have too many of them!

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I have many more things stocked up. Do you stock up on toys, and other gift items?

If Walmart Paid Its Employees a Living Wage

I posted this on Facebook, but wanted to share it here. Tell me your thoughts. I think Walmart should raise their wages.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hummel Park

A few weekends ago we went hiking. It's kind of sad to hike right now because everything is still brown. There is hardly any leaves on trees yet. It was still fun!

When things look brown they look more aged, and prehistoric. That's a good thing. 

I got some photos of Isaak, but Mica was running the whole time.

Nature Around Nebraska Right Now


Tree bark


An old mossy log


No log at all - It decomposed


This looked like a shark tail sticking out of the ground to me


A hut that the kids built the year before at camp


Do you like to go hiking?

Disclaimer

The opinions on this blog are my personal take on products and topics relating to motherhood. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me.

I am not compensated to provide opinions on a variety of topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are my own. If I claim to show knowledge of certain topic or product I will only endorse products or services that I feel, based on my expertise, are worthy of such endorsement.

If you have any questions about this blog, or want to get in contact with me please email me at: alissa4illustrationAThotmailDOTcom

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