Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lifestyle of Learning 2015 Edition: Volume Twenty-Three

September 20 - 26

Maceo's theatre commitments are really picking up.  He logged 2 1/2 hours of acting instruction through a pre-professional training program and another 1 1/2 hours of an improvisational acting class.  The touring company has resumed rehearsal and logged 5 3/4 hours of rehearsal time.
He also performed Grease five times this week which was about a 17 1/2 hour commitment.  And, finally, he had youth performance troupe (an additional 2 hours) which involved participating in the filming of a public service announcement.  It was a remarkable experience.  So very cool.  Maceo logged 29 1/4 hours in theatre commitments and another hour in vocal instruction.

Bishop attended a scout meeting, had a pottery lesson, made stuffed sopaipillas and the best burrito filling ever.

Bishop continued science group.  We took a look at DNA at a basic level, primarily looking at the chemical ingredients that comprise DNA.  We made an edible model and we are looking forward to covering it in more depth in the future.  We also began getting familiar with the microscope by looking at prepared slides cells and tissue.
After a picnic at the park we did history group.  Bishop gave a presentation on Hideyoshi.
We also had a guest who shared information about her time in Japan

and we enjoyed some tea together.

I failed to mention this last time but Bishop and I attended an Audubon Society meeting where we heard an entertaining presentation on evolution given by an evolutionary ecologist.
This week Bishop went on a campout with his scout troop.  I am so proud of him as he planned the trip, making all the pertinent calls, etc.  He helped a fellow scout complete cooking requirements, went fishing (caught a striped bass with his hands), and went kayaking.

What a beautiful week!

Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments as I Strive for Financial Fitness

September 13-26

Just some simple successes that contribute to my goal of financial fitness:

-I went by Aldi to buy groceries for Bishop's scout camping trip.  While there I noted that they had strawberry-rhubarb yogurt for ten cents per container.  I have no idea if we will like this yogurt or not but I figured it was worth a shot at that price.  I also figured that I could use it in baking if we didn't want to eat it alone.  I purchase two packages.
I also found that they had cans of crushed tomatoes with basil discounted to seventy-nine cents each so I purchased a case.

-I have seen our theatre's production of Grease four times in the last two weeks and all for free (which has an approximate value of $120).  I ushered twice, worked boutique once and did flowers once as well.  One day I volunteered to help the guild with concessions during intermission and was gifted with a bottle of water and a cupcake.  Unexpected and delightful!

-Herb and I added free apps to our phones that allow us to text and call internationally at no charge.

-Bishop and I attended two more free events with the Audubon Society.  We went on a warbler walk.  We also attended their monthly meeting where they had lots of yummy food and a very entertaining speaker.  Not knowing that they would have food, I had fed Bishop dinner before going but I was able to graze enough to qualify as dinner.

-History group has restarted and, in fact, we have started a science group to be held on the same day at the same place.  The first week we went out for lunch at a Chinese buffet between groups.  The second week we decided to pack lunches and head to the park.  It was perfect.  The kids expended a lot of energy, we soaked up some sun, and we saved some money.  We have decided to picnic just as long as the weather allows.  (I really want to start planning ahead for this so that we are not scrounging each and every week as we did this last time).

-I used a toothpick and other implements to dig chapstick out of the bottom of the container until there was absolutely no chapstick left.

-Fed the hens all leftovers and scraps that were not going to be utilized by humans.

-After a busy day of performances I ordered pizza from Pizza Hut for some of the performers.  I took the survey offered on the receipt and received a $10 coupon.

Christmas Jar O' Change:  The previous balance was $140.57.  I added $15.82 for a new balance of $156.39.

Home Emergency Fund:  This meager fund was wiped out when I gave Maceo the money for a quick lunch while Bishop and I were out.  (I really need to plan better).  The balance is $0.

52-Week Savings Plan:  I did not manage to deposit money in this account for the last two weeks of September so the balance remains $984.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Remarkable Experience

Maceo had quite a remarkable experience today.
The thespians of Maceo's youth performance troupe had the opportunity to film a public service announcement.  Still photos were also taken that will be used in printed material.

It was great fun and a truly great experience!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lifestyle of learning 2015 Edition: Volume Twenty-Two

August 30-September 19

Whew!  What a crazy, fun, full three weeks it has been!

Our community theatre hosted a fundraiser for an Alzheimers foundation.  Maceo performed in the show with his youth performance troupe and...

...with the cast of Shrek (plus some other characters) and...

...with the cast of Grease!

I got to hear him perform the Hand Jive.
It was really fantastic and fun!

The show ended with all performers singing "Seasons of Love"

Some of the cast of Grease filmed a promotional video at an automotive shop.  Maceo was part of this endeavor.  It was a cool experience as filming is a bit different then performing live.  Performing and filming "Greased Lightening" attracted a lot of attention from passersby.  More fun!

Bishop continued with his pottery lessons.  He had the opportunity to work with another potter for one of his lessons and he is beginning to work on different shapes.

Bishop and I attended a 2 1/2 hour presentation on fungus.  We are armed with a significant amount of new information to utilize on any upcoming fall fungus forays.

Bishop and I returned to our volunteer work at the food pantry.

And we returned to history group.  We are using The Story of the World Volume 3 as the spine of our studies.  We covered the first two chapters of the book for our first meeting together.  We attempted to emulate the dikes of Leiden and how the destroying of the dikes helped them defend their country.

The production of Grease that Maceo has been rehearsing for has finally opened.  They have had eight nearly sold out shows over the last two weeks.  It is a dynamic show.  I have loved watching it and am blown away by Maceo's vocals which are very different in this production then in any other that he has done.

Maceo has continued his vocal lessons and has begun taking acting lessons and an improv class.  He has also continued with troupe.  The various youth performance troupes performed for the theatre's guild as a way to express their gratitude for all that the guild does.

One evening while Maceo was performing Bishop and I went to a special birding event.  We joined the Audubon Society on their annual "Swifts and Sundaes" event.
We joined them in counting how many chimney swifts flew into these columns to roost.
We counted about 500 swifts down from about 1800 in 2011 in this location.
Those little blurs in the sky are swifts.  They are crazy little things to observe - flying erratically then just dropping into these columns.
Then we joined them for some frozen custard.

We had a blast and decided to join them the following morning on a birding hike.  We went to the watershed area looking for fall migrating warblers.  Although the others did see warblers, I must confess that I did not.  But it was a beautiful day, a beautiful hike and both Bishop and I did see some really cool stuff.
We saw a green heron, a great crested flycatcher,

a flock of cedar waxwings,

a belted kingfisher,
some yellow billed cuckoos,

a muskrat,
a hairy woodpecker,

and a pair of night herons.
It was a remarkable experience.
As was the master class with Dave Clemmons that Maceo attended.  Maceo sang "Lonely Room" from Oklahoma.  Mr. Clemmons was really enthusiastic about Maceo's vocal abilities and then helped him express a greater range of emotions while performing the song.  I have video which I will try to upload at some point.  It was amazing!

Bishop and I attended a lecture on minerals at the Missouri Institute of Natural Science.  This lecture helps lay the foundation in our studies on geology that we will pursue this year.

Because I have failed to get the kitchen (and my life) in order Bishop has not made progress toward completing his culinary goals for September; however, we still managed a mini culinary adventure.  I ordered him a subscription to Try the World and his first box came in.
The foods within were from Paris and included tea, fig jam and cookies, sauces and a dijon style mustard, the best caramels I have ever eaten (other than Granny's homemade caramels) among other items.

This is going to be fun!

Bishop and I also began a science group in which we will be doing anatomy and physiology.  We had our first meeting.  We began with a body trivia game.  It was great fun and there were so many facts that I was unaware of.

The boys reviewed the anatomy of a cell and the role of each organelle.
They made a model of a cell.  The cell was a sugar cookie and each of the kids selected candies to represent each of the organelles.

After they constructed their cell they had to explain which candies represented which organelles.
It was yummy fun!
We took a lunch break then returned for history group.  Today we covered King James I, the Gunpowder Plot and Jamestown.  We discussed Guy Fawkes, V for Vendetta and anonymous.  We discussed Guy Fawkes as a traitor and/or terrorist and/or fighter against tyranny.  We also discussed how it is celebrated in the UK and enjoyed a traditional spice cake.

Bishop and I enjoyed a field trip to Fantastic Caverns with our nature study group.  This was a bit of a history lesson as well as science.  This cave was discovered by the landowner during the Civil War.  He did not explore it nor did he tell anyone about it for fear that it would be seized by Yankees or Confederates who needed bat guano to make the saltpeter needed for firing their guns.  After the Civil War the owner put an ad in the paper asking if anyone wanted to explore a recently discovered cave.  A group of young women from an athletic club responded and were the first to explore the depths of this cave.  Their names are inscribed on the cavern walls.  Our nature study group hopes to visit caves routinely throughout the year.

Maceo has been engrossed in the reading of Annie Baker's plays and had yet another troupe performance.  His youth performance troupe made their annual showing at Cider Days.  Always a good time!

And finally, while Maceo was performing at the theatre, Bishop and I went to the food truck festival.  We had a good time and enjoyed some really good fried okra and catfish (Well, Bishop had the catfish as I am really quite allergic to it.  Shucks!)

We have been mulling around the idea of a food truck as an entry point into the restaurant business so it was fun to see what was being offered.
Just for fun - this big lot was full of motorized food trucks despite the signage saying no motorized vehicles allowed.