Monday, October 19, 2015

Lifestyle of Learning 2015 Edition: Volume Twenty-Six

October 11 - 17

Sunday:  Maceo attended his first wedding today.  He helped the bride and groom set up for the wedding then performed during the wedding.  Not only was it the first time to attend a wedding, it was the first time that he was paid to sing.  He's a professional now, I suppose!  (8 hours).  After the wedding he attended Huck Finn rehearsal (2 hours).  It was a full day for Maceo.
Lately Bishop has been going on walks routinely; he took two today.  He also made the most amazing chili which we enjoyed for both lunch and dinner while watching some football.

Monday:  Maceo had Huck Finn rehearsal this evening (3 hours) while Bishop went to his regular scout meeting and his Citizenship in the Nation merit badge class.  After helping teach the merit badge class I had the amazing opportunity to be part of an Eagle Scout Board of Review.  It was a new experience for me and an honor.  Also today, Bishop received another Try the World box.  This one highlighted the foods of Spain.

Tuesday:  Maceo had a cool experience today.  He traveled to St. Louis with some friends and attended a Chance the Rapper concert.  He had a blast, of course.  In the meantime, Bishop and I worked at the food pantry (4 hours), read history and experienced a new restaurant.

I had goat cheese stuffed wontons, wilted greens and grits.
Bishop had cast iron crispy chicken, garbanzo bean "fries" and wilted greens.
And we shared a most remarkable dessert - a bread pudding made from locally-made (and nationally renowned) donuts and topped with locally-made (and internationally renowned) chocolate.   It was amazingly yummy!!!!!

Wednesday:  Today Bishop attended his science and history groups.
In the science group we continued to study the skeletal system.  We reviewed the names of some of the bones by playing a bones bingo game and we tested their knowledge by having them label a skeleton.
We studied the different types of joints and made clay models of them.
We explored the spine, its different regions, and the structure of vertebra.
It was quite productive.
Afterwards we went to the park for a picnic.  The kids were very active in their explorations of the park.  Then we resumed studies by conducting history group.
We did a timeline activity

and mapped twelve different empires to inhabit Persia.

Bishop hung out with friends for the remainder of the evening.
Maceo participated in his pre-professional acting course (1 hour and 20 minutes), then went to Huck Finn rehearsal (3 hours).

Thursday:  Today Maceo had Huck Finn rehearsal (4 hours) and listened to an interview with one of his favorite playwrights, Anne Baker.  Bishop attended a meeting of our local branch of the Audubon Society.  The guest speaker shared photos and information about the wildlife of Yellowstone.

Friday:  Bishop had his pottery lesson today.

Maceo went to the touring company rehearsal (3 hours) then got to have a little fun by attending a Huck Finn cast party then a sleepover at a friends house.

Saturday:  Bishop attended a BBQ competition that some friends were participating in.  This is something he has thought about actually performing in so this served as a nice introduction.  Maceo returned from the sleepover long enough to take a quick nap and a shower before heading out to hang our with friends and go see a production of Hamlet vs. Zombies.  Afterwards he had a different friend come hang out.

These are some of the high points of our week.  There is so much that goes undocumented here.  Some of the undocumented things are things I am not even aware that they are doing or learning until they pop up in conversation.  It is always a refreshing surprise.  I love that it works that way. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

On the Road to Financial Fitness

Oftentimes frugality conjures images of saying "no".  A "no" that is related to deprivation.  "No, I can't go (or I can't do) _________ because I can't or don't want to spend money on that."  But, sometimes, the most thrifty thing to do is to say "yes".  Sometimes saying "yes" is deliberately frugal and at other times it is the pleasant result of having said "yes" to something altogether different.

After a Boy Scout Court of Honor there was root beer leftover.  I was asked to if I wanted it and I said Yes.  Now there are root beer floats in our future.

There was a native plant giveaway in the neighborhood.  I attended and brought home a few new plants.

Bishop and I worked at the food pantry and brought home recently expired canned goods and potatoes that needed to be taken home and used before the next time that the food pantry would be open again.

I have a friend who is a baker and caterer.  Oftentimes she has leftovers that she offers me.  I say Yes and the family is treated to delicious meals or dessert.

A man at church who loves to garden loves to gift our family with fresh vegetables.  I am pleased to say Yes.

I am often offered leftovers from potlucks and, of course, the answer is Yes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Some Small Frugal Successes

October 6-10
There are so many little choices that I make each day that affect my ability to be financially fit.  Just this morning I had a spot of breakfast at the bakery on the corner.  Prior to leaving I began to think that I wanted to take something home to Maceo.  I tried to talk myself out of it.  I told myself that it wasn't sensible, that I could prepare things at home for him then I ordered him some lunch.  That one little decision set me back $8.  That decision got me to thinking of all the little choices I make throughout the day that either contribute to my fitness or set me back.  The little things matter.  Do I turn the heater on today or put something with sleeves on?  Despite the fact that I am tired do I prepare a home cooked meal or order delivery?  Do I store the leftovers properly and put them to good use or do I say it's not that much, I can just feed it to the hens?
I am determined to get re-focused on all the small things that contribute to financial fitness.

-I have nearly $35 in Swagbucks.  I have been activating the Shop and Earn feature when doing online shopping and that is helpful.  I am going to work on getting back in to the routine of doing some of the simple tasks everyday; that also helps.

-Bishop used half a lemon in the making of his award-winning baklava.  I squeezed the other half into a jar to freeze for later use.

-I chopped some stray green onions and placed them in the freezer as well.

-I diced the green bell pepper that I got at Aldi 3 for .79.  I purchased two of those packages so six diced bell pepper go into the freezer.

-While I was busy chopping and dicing I opted to chop some yellow onion as I already had a half an onion peeled and waiting to be used.

-I was randomly given a $5 coupon for any online order at Panera.  I ordered Bishop breakfast before going to science group.  We ate at the restaurant though, socializing with the regulars.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lifestyle of Learning 2015 Edition: Volume Twenty-Five

October 4 - October 10

Sunday:  After a late night at the cast party and anticipating another performance today Maceo opted to sleep in just a bit.  Bishop and I, on the other hand, had breakfast with Papa and Helen before they have to depart.  Bishop took some of his pottery to show them and gave them the one shown below.  Isn't it gorgeous?

Maceo performed in the final show of this run of Grease and participated in strike.

Monday:  This proved to be a busy day as Bishop and I had to prepare for a Boy Scout Court of Honor.  We helped organize some decorations and, of course, had to prepare our dishes.  The event had an international theme and the boys each brought a dessert to compete for the title of International King of Desserts.  Bishop brought that really yummy looking baklava below on the left..
...and WON!

Maceo had pre-professional acting (1 hour 20 minutes) and Huck Finn rehearsal (3 hours).

Tuesday:  Bishop had a low-key day today.  He did read science and history and did independent studies.  Maceo went to troupe (2 hours) and attended his improv class (50 minutes).

Wednesday:  This is a full day for Bishop.  He went to science and history groups.  Had a picnic between groups then stayed at the church where we do these groups so that he could hang out with friends.  He attended youth group then spent the night with those friends.
The skeletal system was studied during science group.  The boys assembled an x-ray skeleton, counted the bones, and labeled the bones.  They then labeled their own diagram of the skeletal system for future reference.

In history we introduced the topic of slavery.  We mapped the trade triangle and discussed indentured servants, as well.  We defined indentured and made a venn diagram comparing indentured servitude and slavery.  Then I read excerpts from Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery in hopes of giving them a deeper understanding of indentured servitude and the origins of slavery in America.  It is far more complex then what is typically presented to young people.  I want them to try to grasp the complexity, at least to wrestle with the information.
Maceo went to pre-professional acting (1 hour 20 minutes).

Thursday:  Bishop had a pottery lesson today and watched several episodes of Face Off.
Maceo had a touring company rehearsal (2 hours) and voice lessons (1 hour).  He then spent some time just hanging out with friends before a special performance by some of the Grease cast.
A local university was having an alumni reunion with graduates from the early 1960's so our performers treated them to some songs from the production.
Maceo performed "Hand Jive".  Love it!!!

Friday:  Bishop and I did some volunteer work.  We helped individually box 8220 cake truffles for a women's conference.  A good friend of ours is a baker and was hired to make the truffles.  On the day of the conference they needed to be placed in the small boxes that will be given to each attendee.  We spent three hours having a blast and working hard.  Afterwards we were blessed to get to have lunch with these wonderful folks.  In the evening Bishop and I watched more episodes of Face Off.  We are almost caught up.

Maceo also had lunch with friends then went to see a local production of the musical Dogfight.  It was a good day!

Saturday:  Maceo had a wedding rehearsal this evening then went to the theatre for a Huck Finn rehearsal/promotional event.  A country club was having a major scavenger hunt event and getting a selfie with the cast of Huck Finn was something they had to do.  They did manage to get some rehearsing done between the arrivals of the scavenger hunt teams.

It's a good life!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Fun and Fabulous Court of Honor

Yesterday Bishop's scout troop had a Court of Honor with an "around the world" theme.
We pooled our global treasures to make centerpieces

and experienced amazing desserts - 
baklava and black forest cake,
German chocolate cake and French tarts covered in ganache,
American...I mean...Czechoslavakian brownies,
quiches aux fruites,
ice cream from New Zealand,
and flan!

Oh yes, the rest of the food was really amazing as well!

The desserts were prepared by the boys.  They competed for the title of "International King of Desserts" and (drumroll please) Bishop was determined to be the winner with his baklava.

Oh yes, meet the International King of Desserts!!!

It was a super duper evening and I may still be full from all the truly delicious food served up at this fun and fabulous Court of Honor!