Friday, January 18, 2019

Random Tid Bits

  1. Yesterday I was distracted in the office because boss man and a building next door were have loud words exchanged. I was sneaky, and wanted to listen in on what was going on. I could hear loud voices, but everything was muffled because of walls and distance. When I went to move closer to hear, and pretend to look at books. Get this...his wife was doing the same thing. Ha! She wanted to know what was going on too. I went back to my office.

    This isn't the first time they've exchanged loud words. The fight is aways the same. They are arguing about the parking lot.

    Restore is a nonprofit that helps destroy things people don't want, and sells those things for cheap. The problem is, is that they drive their big ass trucks through our parking lot very fast. Our concrete surface has gotten destroyed on more than one occasion. It gets fixed, and gets destroyed again within a few weeks.

    Our school has fixed it, then they asked to share the price to fix it a 2nd time, then boss man blocked off the area to make them go the other way. Restore didn't like that! Boss man said he blocked it off to protect our students because they drive fast around the school. True, but it's not really the reason he blocked them off. Well after a few fights about it being blocked off, boss man I believe sent them the bill to fit the concrete. In boss man's defense we're not driving big trucks around the building EVER. Then Restore brought up that our students and staff park in their lot space. We're having them move.

    What's one to do in this type of situation? I hear about neighbors fighting over trees, or retaining walls. This is kind of a similar situation. Yes I could fight over trees and a retaining wall with a neighbor as well. We haven't, but we could.

  2. We have a ton of junk food left over from New Years in the deep freezer. I said, "Pull out some pizza rolls. We can have them as a snack. Travis said, "Careful the pizza rolls are hot. They just came out of the oven." I said, "No worries." I grab one to eat it. He said, "You're going to burn yourself!" I said, "No you just need to learn to eat them right. You nibble the long edge off. Then you open it up like an old 80s money clip/holder, and blow on it before eating it all." It took him a minute to know what I was talking about. Hey I never burn myself with this method of eating a pizza roll.

  3. We had a follow-up meeting with Mr. Principal last night. I went in saying, "Well it's good news, we now have an index card of things going wrong, verses a full letter page." It did go better!

    We found out that the biggest reason why Isaak got a C in Social Studies. It was because he went to go meet with his teacher and councilor on his own accord; then when he got back the Librarian didn't tell him what they worked on. She wanted him to ask his partner, which she did nothing the whole time, and had no clue. Isaak didn't understand what to do. Most of his packet was blank. He actually answered more questions than his partner that was there the whole time.

    Now he has to follow up from the packet he half did with a PowerPoint. Mr. Principal is going to have him work on the packet instead of some reading assignments he finds aren't making him grow. That's helpful! 

  4. It's getting ready to snow good in Nebraska. All the elementary, middle and high schools got off school. It didn't happen much until the 1/2 half of the day. The kids all have Martin Luther King's Day off as well. Yay for a 4 day weekend. Have you had any snow where you live?

  5. I'm a little nervous to drive home. It's a sheet of ice out there! 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

SOFT Style Guide

My sister facetimed her boys, while they stayed with us. That means I got to facetime with her as well.

I asked how her convention in St Louis was going. She said she needed a Style Guide, for a logo I created for the SOFT organization.

I have my students make a style guide. It takes all semester. In my mind I was like - Really, while I'm watching 3 of your boy, you're going to ask me to do this? I know she didn't know all she was asking. I think she thought I just needed a page saying the font and colors. BUT that's not all a style guide is. It's also used to show how not to use a logo. It also gets into the spacing around a logo. That can't be done with measurements. A logo can be used for something small - like a business card, and something big - like a billboard. You have to show the spacing with a letter or graphic in the logo.

I started working on it this week. Two weeks after she asked me.

I went in thinking I could do it on a page, but that expended to a mini book. Usually a Style Guide is a mini book.

If I've seemed absent from blogging it's because of helping Isaak with school, taking Isaak to basketball practices, and working on things like this SOFT Style Guide.

Soft Style Guide by on Scribd

Do you have any big projects you've been working on?

5 Boys!

A few weeks ago I watched 3 of my nephews along with my own kids.

A House Full of Boys!

I had Edison (age 4 1/2), Isaak (age 10 1/2), Elijah (age 10 1/2), Mica (age 13), and Evan (age 13 1/2). A house full of boys! My sister and brother in law went to St Louis  to a conference for Emerson (age 6) who has Trisomy 18.

I wasn't very on top of my picture taking game. It's hard when most of the boys don't want their photos taken. I'm also just bad about taking pictures when it winter time, for the most part. It's dark out, and difficult to get good lighting.

Nap Time

I took that Friday off. We ran errands and washed the car before my nephews got there.

The nephews came, they played outside, then came in. Travis got home from work. He asked me to have them keep it down, so he could take a nap. I said, "Ya right! You really think you're going to get a nap in the living room with 5 boys in the house?"

Nap time never really happened for him.

Game Time

The boys like this game called Pandemic. It's a survival game. Different wide spread illnesses occur, and you have to try and keep them under control. The game is team based. Everyone has to work together to win or loose.

They lost. It still was fun!

Sleep Time:

The youngest one - Edison goes to bed at 7! It kind of dampened the fun we could have had. Our house isn't big enough to put him in one wing of the house, while the rest of us hung out. We have 3 bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen with a kitchenet, and a bathroom. Downstairs is an art studio, a laundry area, and a storage room. 

Edison was excited to sleep over! 

Isaak read to him. I always did say that Isaak would be a better big brother than Mica. He's empathetic, and will stand up for people.  He also is a people person. Mica is more independent, bookworm, and goes with the flow - to not piss people off.

Edison said, "Aunt Wissy (Lissy) I have my Whitening (Lightening) McQueen sweeping (sleeping) bag. I’m spending the night for 2 nights here with my brothers." I said, "Yes you are! I think we’ll put the bigger boys outside under the stars though." He looked at me so odd.

We watched Incredibles 2 before bed. Thankfully I won that movie, and it went in Isaak's stocking.

Everything went great as long as Elijah and Isaak were together (10 year olds), and Mica and Evan were together (13 year olds). When they all get mixed up Isaak sometimes gets picked on because he's the younger one in the big kid group. Then he gets sensitive. It helped that the boys had their new and old Kindles. They could share them.


I made snowman pancakes for breakfast. I knew Edison would appreciate my creativeness. I wanted to do more, but Travis was breathing down my back about spending too long on something we were going to eat anyway.

Basketball Games:

Elijah was supposed to have 2 games, and Isaak 1 on Saturday! I felt a bit like we were going to live at basketball games that day. How do people do it will lots of kids?! My parents were going to help. Then the schedule got switched to just Isaak having a game on Saturday, and Elijah having his games on Sunday. 

We did find out Isaak's team was in too high of a league, for just coming from the Y. We're now lower, and winning games! It's so good to not have that negativity in our lives. The balance of winning some, and losing others is important. 

13 Year Olds:

I am so glad that we could leave the 13 year olds home alone. They got to hang out. We couldn't fit them all in our Subaru. 

What do you like to do if/when you have a house full of kids?

Friday, January 11, 2019

Random Tid Bits

  1. I was full steam ahead over break. Now I'm just blah feeling. It's like I have no energy for anything. Possibly I need to up that vitamin D. Possibly I need less stress in my life. Possibly it's from switching schedules so much. Possibly it's from Isaak's teacher. I'm not even kidding about that last one.

  2. Travis has been working more hours at work. His bosses were out of town all of the kid's break, one girl has been sick a lot, and another girl is pregnant (different appointments). Good for the checkbook, but he was less there for the boys. 

  3. I have a sort of friend that's always been a hot head. He's a liberal that's very out spoken.  He reminds me of the character Yosemite Sam, but he'd have a cigarette, and wouldn't ever have a gun.

    He's a college instructor. He said because of the government shutdown, students wouldn't get their financial aid checks. I check with our financial aid director to see if this was true. It isn't. While things may be slow, it's still going to happen. Anyone new to school may have trouble. Anyone already attending school won't have trouble at all. 

  4. Isaak got his first C in a class: Social Studies. I decided to order the book off Amazon. It was $6. It came in on the 2nd. They don't want the books to go home because there aren't a lot of them. It's out of print, so pricey to order in bulk.

    I had this wonderful thought that I'd act out his Social Studies. I had a teacher that did that for me, and I got into it! The problem is that the book is just really informative, with highlighted vocabulary words. Not really acting out material. It is what it is.

    I started to read to Isaak the first part because she said, "Unit 1", but what I was reading was "Lesson 1". Anyhow I read all of it out load to Isaak, made flashcards all for very little. It's not what he's learning right now, or being tested on. He got an earful from me on that.

    Isaak came home on Monday and said, "We're not learning that stuff Mom." He showed me where he was at. I started reading that material. Travis texted to see when his test is over Unit 1, and what pages it's over exactly. She texted back that she didn't know; it depended on the kiddos, and how much the retained. What ever happened to lesson plans?

    That night I got a text saying that there would be a test on Friday. He can use notes, but he was at Strings when she had them take notes! FLIP! Talk about random! So Thursday night was our cram study night. 

  5. Monday the boys started back up to school. I kept thinking, It's a new semester. Things can turn around for Isaak.

    Isaak went to watch the National Football Championship game with Travis. They didn't watch it all. Just some. They were out late for a school night. 

  6. On Tuesday morning I get a text from his teacher saying they had a math Standardize Test that day, and to eat a good breakfast. I was like, We always have a good breakfast! But bloody hell! They just got back from break. They are testing right away! How about send the text the night before to get a good night sleep!

    Isaak took the test. 20 questions in, the computer flaked out on him. Then it started him back at question 1 again, but the problems were really hard.

    His teacher said she'd take care of it for him. The next day his teacher said she couldn't do anything for him, and will give him a homework pass.

    I was at home thinking, He's not going to get into the middle school we want him to be in if he can't finish his test, and gets a C in Social Studies.

    I emailed Mr. Principal all these new concerns. 
    Part of our 2nd meeting with the teacher and Principal was saying that we'd have more time to help Isaak study, and be informed on when tests would be. He called me back in 2 minutes. He was clear, to the point, and told me that the testing was on each student's individual growth. No other school will see the results. He also looked up if Isaak has results, and he did not. So he will be finishing up the test. I felt better.  

Thursday, January 10, 2019


When New Years Day rolled around it was snowing, and very cold. I asked my parents to come over, but they didn't want to get out. We went over to their house.

We were all pretty tired from the night before, but hey we were chillin'.

We brought over Won't You Be My Neighbor?, and watched it.

I love that move. I found it the day after Thanksgiving, for super cheap-o. That makes me like it even more. 

I think my parents enjoyed us coming over, and the movie. 

I think this movie inspired me to get Travis these sweaters at Alpaca Mall. He had a button down sweater already, and wears it ALL THE TIME!

He likes the blueish greyish one best, but I like the brown one. Which one do you like? 

When he wears them I just want to sing out, "It's such a good feeling to know you're alive. It's such a happy feeling..."

The shipping was $9, which I dislike. Hey we both love the sweaters, and I spent less than $100. Most alpaca anything is super expensive! 

Disclaimer: This is not a review. I'm just sharing something I purchased. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Happy New Year #2019

We debated if we should have a big get together, or not. We invited many people on facebook to a Dance Party, and so many didn't RSVP. We had 3 people that said they were coming.

Isaak was sick prior to the big Dance Party. He invited about 5 kids to come. None of which said they were coming. Mica invited 2 friends. One couldn't come, and the other didn't respond.


One of Isaak's friend's (that wasn't invited) Mom messaged me on facebook, "Is Isaak still having a New Years Eve Party? My son didn't get an invite, and was wondering if he could come?"

Awkward considering that Isaak has kind of had a falling out with the kid. He cusses a lot, is pretty negative, and got on his friend's YouTube channel to make some not so nice comments. That was handled by the school though. We're not supposed to know anything about the incident.

Isaak was pretty bummed his friends weren't coming over, so I was not sure how to handle the facebook message. I messaged her back saying, "We haven't had very many of our own friends RSVP, so we're unclear if we're having a big Dance Party. He is welcome to come play games, and eat food if he likes."

Then I had Isaak asked a kid that hangs with the other kid. We had 2 crazy boys at our house for New Years Eve.

It wasn't until last minute that one of Isaak's other better friends RSVPed. Get was the kid that had not so nice things commented on his YouTube Channel. I informed the Grandparents that are much more involved in the kid's life than his parents about the situation. He came over anyhow.

Drama in Isaak's Room:

Isaak pouted as soon as his friends started rolling in. Much later, and after the fact I found out that Isaak was annoyed that all of his friends had smart phones. They were all on them talking about what games they each have. Isaak doesn't have a smart phone, so he was feeling pretty left out. He didn't communicate with me what was bothering him. I would have had a basket for phones to go; had I known the problem. Even when Isaak's cousin Elijah came, he too was upset that all of Isaak's friends were on their phones. He didn't say anything because he didn't want Isaak's friends to get in trouble.

I was preparing food, and talking to different people that walked in the door. I had no clue what drama lurked in Isaak Apel's bed room. It never occurred to me that technology would be so fun for some, and such a drag to others. Now I know. He's in 5th grade, so I didn't think I'd have to watch them like a hawk.

The next thing I knew the kid that came late had a knock at the door from his Grandpa to pick him up at 8. The kid texted him, and I again had no clue. I'm still wondering if something was said in that bedroom that offended this kid. If so it bothers me. I tend to worry about stuff too much. I'm where Isaak gets his strong empathy. I just like everyone to get along. I dislike school clicks. Isaak's classroom is full of them!

The kid who had his Mom message me on facebook was dropped off with a, "He's spending the night ok?!" I was like, "Ok." It kind of took me off guard. I wonder if she just wanted him out of her hair, so she could have fun. I guess that's ok, but I didn't invite him to spend the night. The kid has asthma worse off than I do. He was packing in the sugary food and drinks. Then his asthma went crazy. I called his mom and she said, "He has his medicine. You can drop him off at home if he's a problem." He's 10 with an asthma flair up. I don't think I'd ever drop a kid off in that condition. He crashed on our floor. Later on his parents stopped by to get him.

Our Own Guests:

We had 5 guest of our own show up. None of which RSVPed. All the RSVPers didn't come.

Poor Mica only got to hang with his cousin Evan just for a little bit. Otherwise he was on his own. He's fine though. It doesn't bother Mica in the least bit to hang out on his own.

He talks about kids, but never has too many over. His school is quite a ways away though.

Do you hang out with people on New Years Eve, or do you just have a quiet night at home? I told Travis I'd be ok with a game night, and food. He rolled his eyes at me when I first brought that up, but now I think I'm rubbing off on him. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Chocolate Gingerbread Rollout #cookies #recipe

We're not done with celebrations. We have New Years Eve, and New Years Day to celebrate!

I decided to make Chocolate Gingerbread Rollout Cookies to celebrate! 

They are super easy to make!

Start out by setting out 2 sticks of unsalted butter and 1 egg. They need to be room temperature.

Use a mixer to combine the 2 sticks of unsalted butter, 1 egg, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar.

Add In:

  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons of melted Chocolate Chips
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
Keep mixing until everything is mixed together throughly.


Cover the dough, and put it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Roll Them Out:

Flour a clean surface, roll out flat with a standard roller. I followed up with using a decorative roller.

One thing I like about this dough, is that it can be reworked, and reworked. It doesn't loose anything. You know how some doughs get brittle as they keep getting worked? This one didn't seem to.

Cut Out the Cookies:

I chose to use a star and a snowflake. I didn't want my cookies to be too Christmas(y), and more winter(y).

Spray a pan with cooking spray.

Bake in an oven set to 350 degrees, for 12 minutes. I do 6 minutes on the top rack, and 6 minutes on the bottom.

To Pipe or Not to Pipe?

I had left over frosting, but after asking my family if they needed to be piped they said, "No. They are freaking good as they are!"

If you choose to pipe them, wait until the cookies are cool of course.

They are the perfect combination of ginger and chocolate!

Piczzle #puzzle Review

I've reviewed a Piczzle Picture Puzzle a few times before. They did an excellent job with all our puzzles!

All the Puzzles have been from Christmas postcards we've sent, so I'm thinking when the boys get older they can take them to do with their own kids, or I can leave them here for the grandkids - if we have some.

Easy to Work With: 

Piczzle was super easy to work with, and order. The shipping was so fast! We got it in less than a week.

My only problem was working around Christmas activities to get the puzzle done, which was not Piczzle's fault.

The Box:

It came in a fairly small box. I loved that because so many boxes for games and puzzles are so big!

I do think it would be great if they would have a vertical orientation for their box, as well as a horizontal one. The image quality on the box wasn't as good as the one on the puzzle.

300 Pieces: 

It didn't seem like a lot of pieces. I've done 1,000 piece puzzles before. It's a fairly small puzzle, so it did take some brain power! We all took turns doing it.

Mica started, I followed, Isaak bounced in between because he was sick, and Travis finished it off. I couldn't believe how much Travis worked on it. He usually isn't a puzzle guy. I always did them with the kids. He looked like he was having fun though.


If you order a puzzle from Piczzle have patterns and color if possible. I had us wearing black and grey in the photo. When we were getting to Isaak's shirt, so many pieces seemed like they fit when they weren't a match. It would have helped to have him wearing a stripped shirt, or something we could go by.  


I do like the finished result! It's certainly a keepsake! 

Even though Isaak was sick, he enjoyed watching the puzzle process!  


It's a large sized puzzle (11"x17") with 300 pieces.


Their prices are really great! You can make your own picture puzzles. This one is worth $27.95. I think that's a great price for something custom.
  • Shipping priority is $7.23.
  • Priority Express, 3 to 5 business days is $21.92.
  • FedEx, 2 business days is $23.71.
  • FedEx, Overnight is $41.25.
All the puzzle pieces were there. I always worry about one being missing.

Overall I'm really happy with the puzzle. It was everything I hoped it would be. Piczzle really does a great job with their picture into puzzles.

Order a Piczzle Puzzle!   

Order a custom cardboard puzzle from Piczzle. You will not be disappointed! Like Piczzle Picture Puzzle on Facebook and Piczzle Photo on YouTube.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free with Piczzle. All opinions are my own. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Random Tid Bits

  1. Isaak got a gigantic keyboard, a sweet new bigger screened Kindle Fire and more for Christmas. I got the biggest reaction when he opened his Under Armor Boxer Briefs. I think he thought that when he put on his undies he'd look much like the man on the package. Ha! Skinny boy needs to work on those muscles. He actually popped up, and changed into his undies right then and there. No shame.

  2. I watched a documentary last night on a snowstorm that happened in 1949. Boy was that horrible! Livestock and people froze because it happened so fast, and the wind was so bad! They didn't have equipment to predict the storm, or to take care of the snow. It was horrible!

    It snowed here. One of my friends said, "The weather man said we were just going to get a dusting." Well compared to the 1949 snowstorm it was a dusting! It was lightening and snowing at the same time.

  3. My sister never believed my green pepper relish tray trick. She specifically told me not to put green peppers on a relish tray, so I made one where that's all I put on it. She said, "I know you're messing with me. Get the real one out here."

    I ended up making tasty fajitas with all those peppers the next day. Take that!

  4. I have 2 of my classes fully prepared for. I mean everything done! I'm just having a hard time getting into the last one.

  5. We've been trying to work with the boys on math. Just to bump them up with things they weren't getting. Mica needs to get the meaning of - show your work! Isaak gets all emotional about things he doesn't get.

    Isaak got all good grades except for Social Studies. Imagine that...his core teacher teaches that. He got a C. That's the first for him. I woke up one morning at 5, couldn't go back to sleep, and emailed his teacher asking for the name, edition and chapter of their book. I ordered it on Amazon. It's Mica's favorite subject. I'm going to try to read the book with Mica by acting it out. Sometimes I do think if we didn't work, homeschooling would suit us well. I feel like we're doing a lot of teaching at home. Anyhow I had a teacher when I was Isaak's age that acted out Social Studies. I love it! Sometimes I think different kids need to be taught differently. Isaak's a visual learner like I am.

#godseyes #ojodedios Made With Toothpicks

My mom had a cousin that passed away suddenly a few years back. Since she was married, didn't have any kids, had a brother that lived miles away, and a father in his 80s we went through her things.

She made doll clothes, so she had some creative things in her apparent. I walked off with a few dolls, a lot of beads, some embroidery floss and other random things.

I've been on a mission to use up a drawer full of embroidery floss.

It started with me decorating this stocking for Travis' work:

I'm not sure that I love how it turned out. The stocking was so small. I didn't really plan anything. I just went with it. 

I did however enjoy making the tiny God's Eyes also known as Ojo de Dios with toothpicks. 

I went on to make more God's Eyes also known as Ojo de Dios with toothpicks! One for everyone's packages + all my relatives that are older and didn't get a package. 

They are ornaments, or could be put on the fridge too. 

I took note of everyone's favorite color(s) before making them.

My favorite color is red/orange. I didn't have that color, but I did have red. Travis likes teal. I made a few of these for our tree.

My nephew that likes green, and the red was just an extra one.

Even though Emerson (my nephew with Trisomy 18) doesn't speak, he communicates. He shakes his head no and yes, likes to watch football, whines when he is uncomfortable or has to go to the bathroom, and gravitates to orange and blue.

My sister Terra likes fall colors. This is about as fall(y) as I could get with the floss colors I have. I like this one though!

I have some crazy family members that like pink. I'm not a big fan, but they are. My other sister said, "Pink and Grey", so the middle one is hers.

Another extra, or maybe I gave this one away too. I don't remember.

I wish I would have thought to do this earlier. Travis' parents would have enjoyed a few I think. They like homemade things. They live in Arizona, so doing it the night before Christmas Eve Day wouldn't have gotten them shipped there. Ha! 

The biggest frustrations: I got superglue on my fingers so many times, The toothpicks not staying glued, and the floss getting all tangled up.

Do you like homemade gifts? 

My favorite gift is that Isaak made us a snow globe all on his own. I'll have to photograph it! I'm horrible with photographing things at Christmas time! It's dark when we open up presents both times. It hasn't exactly been sunny out. 


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