Monday, August 31, 2009

MckLinky Blog Hop--Favorite Baby Pictures

I am sure I could probably find a ton of my favorite baby pictures of the boys. However, this is what I scrounged up today, due to my unorganized tagging system. One of these days, when life slows down (yea right), I will organize our pictures . . . and maybe finish a few scrapbooks!

(Mr. Smackdown was born before our digital camera. Here he is in his daddy's hard hat.)

(Mr. Me-Too came fast and furious. We used this picture for his birth announcement. It was taken at the hospital.)

(Mr. Smiley is snoozing after a big storm that blew threw. He is probably a few days old here. We were thankful he wasn't born during the storm. I'm not sure our midwife would have made it!)

MckLinky Blog Hop

Communication is Necessary for a Haircut

With the money you save by cutting your family's hair, you can purchase a few more organic items for your home! (and no . . . this is NOT another review)

But don't allow a miscommunication to jeopardize your organic lifestyle!

Just when I thought that my husband and I were excellent communicators, I accidentally buzzed his hair.

But we still saved money. In fact, we will have saved some energy, too, as we won't have to cut his hair for a long time.

You see, for seven of the ten years we have been married, I have cut Hottie Hubby's hair. When he was in graduate school, we didn't own a clipper set. And when we lived in India, I couldn't top the scalp massage Hottie received with each hair cut.

(Tip: When we cut the boys' hair, we pretend it is like Cookie Cutters and allow them to watch a video. At times we have been known to reward their ability to sit still during their hair cut with something involving chocolate afterwards.)

But when we moved back here, it seemed more cost effective for me to cut Hottie Hubby's hair so that we could afford my expensive haircuts!

(We have used the same Wahl clippers for 7 years now. I can't imagine the amount of money we have saved by cutting Hottie's hair, and now our boys' hair. Some Wahl's come with instructional videos.)

Well, last week I cut Hottie Hubby's hair. Except this time, I cut it too close. I was expecting the haircut to occur in the same pattern that has occurred countless late nights. He does the initial once over shave with the #5. At that point, I come along and make sure that all obstinate long hairs are taken care of before switching to the #2 setting to create a trendy fade. However, it didn't happen that way that fateful night that truly displayed how well we have developed the art of forgiveness and unconditional love.

Because the Hottie Hubby knew that I was scheduled to be up late, he completed the #5 initial shave. But he failed to tell me that he had removed the #5 guard and replaced it with the #2 guard. When I assumed barber responsibilities, I quizzically looked at our beloved Wahl clippers thinking something was amiss, but dismissed my premonition because we have always trimmed his hair the SAME way for seven years.

Oh, sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks in such a soft whisper. I should have listened to that still small voice. Before I knew it, I could see Hottie Hubby's scalp. This uncontrollable giggle overwhelmed me as I confessed my honest mistake.

(The boys were pretty proud of their most recent haircut.)

We both admitted our fault and mowed moved on. What could I do but finish the cut and make it appear that the shortness was intentional, as if we were pretending that Indiana was entering the dog-days of summer, instead of the cool nights of September.

I have had many people react rather strongly that there is no way they could cut their spouses hair. Well, try it. You can buy an instructional video. With a little bit of patience, cutting hair becomes like riding a bike. You never forget how to do it. I enjoy cutting Hottie Hubby's hair. He is at my mercy and we often have a great time dialoging during his hair appointment! If you mess it, it will grow back!

Maverick Books

Homeschooling young children can be a little bit of trial and error, I am finding.

Well, actually more trials and lots of errors.

Being a former kindergarten teacher, it is hard for me to not educate my sons with the same expectations that I used to expect my 20 students to comply with. I am learning to loosen up, lighten up, and remain flexible.

One way that I have lightened up is by playing games. Now, I'll have you know, that playing games does not come naturally to me. It is something that I have forced myself to do over the years. I don't know if I have an unhealthy fear of looking dumb or losing or failing to understand directions. What I do know is that games can and are fun. They loosen lips, foster fellowship, and create memories. And don't tell anyone, but they can be educational, too!

A game Mr. Smackdown and I have been playing recently is Tornado ($12.99) from Maverick Books, involving Hank the Cowdog. If you have played Trouble (thanks Sarah), then you can easily play this fun travel friendly game. However, we had received Tornado before Mr. Smackdown was given Trouble for his birthday, and we were a little bit confused by the directions. Three adults on separate occasions had to ask for help to understand the written directions. So, if you purchase Tornado, let the wind blow your directions away and pretend it is the game of Trouble. Tornado is so popular in our household that it traveled all the way up to Canada with us on our family vacation. The playing figurines of Hank and the buzzard particularly appeal to my little cowboy at heart.

Now, other Hank items also cruised along with us through Michigan and the Canadian border. But we will probably have to wait to grant them entrance into the schoolroom. In an attempt to turn off the DVD player, we began to listen to Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowboy ($3.00). Though entertaining, it is not quite age appropriate for our young crowd (1, 3, and 5 years old). Our young cowboys are not quite at an age where they can handle hearing others name call and understand why they aren't allowed to participate in likewise manner. Additionally, there are some thematic elements that have yet to be introduced into our household such as murder.

A couple of years from now when my children begin to understand appropriately crude humor and can truly distinguish fiction from reality, then I would certainly revisit the Hank the Cowdog series. As of right now, author John Erickson, has written 54 books. This would certainly keep a youngster joyfully reading for several weeks, if not months! To check out Hank the Cowdog and actually hear a sample of several books, check out Hank's Ranch!

For other Hank the Cowdog reviews, visit The OldSchoolHouse Homeschool Crew blog.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Funny Comment

Further laughable moments during our sickness--

In an attempt to entertain the kiddos and keep us flat, we flipped on the TV looking for some extreme sports show to excite the healthy children.

Instead, we came across a pastor giving a rather animated and loud sermon.

Mr. Smackdown commented, "He must not love God."


"I don't know. He's yelling."

Hmmm . . . we all worship God in different ways.

Celebrating Life

I went to bed last night with the thought that we had the makings of an enjoyable weekend.

We had served as a family at the Festival of Life our church co-sponsored. I was blessed to be in ministry with not only my husband, but all three of our boys, one of which spent his time participating from my back bringing smiles to whoever looked at him. After setting up games for school aged children, our family worked together washing and chopping tomatoes and onions for the food that would later feed festival attenders.

It was neat to be a part of something larger.

It was neat to prepare for a party that wasn't just to celebrate ourselves.

Though we left before the festivities got underway, the Festival of Life provided a great teaching moment for our boys. There is joy in serving. There is fun in fellowship. We scurried around, much like we do for the boys' birthday parties, but we scurried with intentional purpose so that we could provide an opportunity for people in our community to feel loved, fed, valued, and blessed.

I hadn't realized how long it had been since I had participated in ministry outside of my home. And I had never served with my little boys.

It reminds me of the days when we hung out with the youth from our hometown, stepped out of our comfort zone by having church in a bar when we lived in Colorado, and unusual days of ministry in India. What a blessing!

Further blessing was provided by Sunsprinkles Rose journeying home with us for some shuteye. As usual, she greatly amused me with her low voice and signature "uh-huh" throaty replies that tickled my tummy.

And the grand finale of the day was enjoying an evening celebrating birthdays and listening to The Glen Miller Band at Conner Prairie's outdoor amphitheater.

You would have never guessed that it is still August by how INSANELY cold I was. I am proud to say that my non-habit husband stood in a 45 minute line just to get me a warm beverage. In honor of him--and I am sure he will appreciate me mentioning him--I am displaying his creative form of warmth, the camping chair bag on his head. Don't laugh! It provides 3 feet of warmth to your head!

Unfortunately, we aren’t behaving an a very granola way this morning. And that is really why I am writing today. Umm . . . not sure what is wrong but it involves bad headaches for yours truly and puking and tiredness for said Granola Mom and her wonderful spouse, Hottie Hubby. Thankfully I cannot infect you with the mysterious illness that crept into our house without warning this morning, and we cannot conduct an experiment on your immune system.

However, though we have been laid up, releasing all of our bodily contents, I am here to say that I still have joy. Even through all of this sickness, I am happy. Because even in our sickness there have been moments of joy and times of thankfulness.

I got the opportunity to sleep in until 10:30 AM. That hasn't happened since pre-kids.

I've had two cups of chai.

We have sat around and rested ALL day long.

I took a nap with Mr. Me-Too--a rarity and luxury for me to have him to sit still long enough to snuggle and fall asleep.

And Mr. Smackdown wanted to bless us by doing the dishes in order to help us feel better.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:11-13)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Speak HTML and Sound Like A Granola Geek

I wish I had watched Web Design for Kids (. . . And Curious Grownups) by Click and Drag Solutions and switched to Mozilla FireFox before I started seriously blogging.

I am the curious grownup that benefited from the content on this great DVD that founder Brian Richardson hosts and educates. Oh, how much time I would have saved instead of trying to figure out HTML code on my own and having things not work due to the seemingly incompatible language differences between Internet Explorer and Blogger.

I think that most people are intimidated by HTML code. If you want to sound smart or appear geeky--talk in computer code. (I do when I need to feel important.) However, I am finding that learning the code or understanding the code is like reading a Dick and Jane book. Basically, remember that HTML code needs to be treated like a sandwich. It doesn't have exceptions, like the English language. It is black and white, as far as facts go, like my husband sees the world. Web Design for Kids can easily get you started on the right track!

While my young boys aren't ready to be quite so technologically savvy, they weren't irritated with me as they heard the entire instructional DVD. I totally could see a student in the 4th grade through the nursing home, finding Web Design for Kids useful as part of their computer curriculum. The DVD is divided up into short sections that focus on particular areas of web page design.

The funny thing was that as I was contemplating what I would write about for this Old SchoolHouse Review, all I could think about was how kind and gentle Brian Richardson appeared on his video. (Really, I would really like Brian Richardson to be my Sunday School teacher, but I'll settle for my computer teacher.) He has a heart to share his vast knowledge with others in a way that is intelligent, at a beginner's level, and meaty enough for a novice to actually BUILD a viable web page.

I have discovered that through blogging, I have found community. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy physical people more that I can sit down and have chai with, but I have been seriously blessed and encouraged my many of my fellow blogging and tweeting friends. Brian's product makes web design an intentional, impactful, and conceivable option for a lay person to reach out to strangers, far away friends, missionaries, and virtually anyone in the vast sea of web users.

In a nutshell, Web Design for Kids (. . .And Curious Grownups) is a great addition to an elementary through high school school room. It can stand alone. The instructional content is specific and applicable. Another bonus is that when you purchase this DVD from Click and Drag Solutions, part of the profits are designated for particular charities. Get your DVD now--it is on sale for $19.99 plus shipping!

Check out more homeschool reviews at The Old Schoohouse Homeschool Crew.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Computer Games Enter Our House!!! The Quarter Mile Math Review

The inevitable event has happened. A computer game has entered our house. I must admit The Quarter Mile Math from Barnum Software isn't the our first electronic game, but it is the first computer game to be admitted to our schoolroom and will be used in our schoolroom.

Honestly, I have dreaded the day that technology would enter into the schoolhouse. Perhaps because it means that I will have to share my computer. With three children, and the dawning of their fascination with electronics, we may have to begin scheduling times to use the family computer. It also means that I have to stay technologically fit.

This game marks the advent of computer literacy in my child's life. I clearly remember the day I met my first computer and was allowed to use it. It was EXCITING! I was in 2nd grade when an Apple computer was rolled into our classroom. Mrs. Christian taught us how to enter some sort of code to make our computer create a picture. It was a tedious process that resulted in magic.

And now my 5 year old begins his journey into the world of computers. Even as I began to write this review that chronicles yet another milestone in my son's life, Mr. Smackdown saw the image of the horse used on The Quarter Mile Math logo, and requested to play the game. Note, he wants to play the game again. It must be fun.

This adrenaline producing computer adventure played out in his brain and displayed on the computer screen appeals to that God given sense of exploration. He can't physically go race a NASCAR or gallop through a big open field on a horse . . . yet. But through this learning quest he can put his imagination to the test. The more he learns about his numbers and alphabet, the faster he becomes in the computer game. I can only guess what it will be like when all three of my action-seeking boys create a Quarter Mile Math horse tourney!

Mr. Smackdown is currently learning to read. So the task of explaining and creating the sense of competition that The Quarter Mile Math provides falls on my shoulders. Even though the students race against themselves, Mr. Smackdown doesn't understand this concept. Additionally, because he is young and using MY computer, it isn't a game that I can comfortably hand the electrical reins over to Mr. Smackdown. At this stage in the game, no pun intended, I appreciate the software because it is a good introduction to the computer keyboard, provides stimulating entertainment, and is helping his math skills progress. For the homeschooling parent who often sits with their young child, using this program is an excellent supplement. However, if you want your non-reading child to entertain themselves, wait a few years before purchasing The Quarter Mile Math program.

I was given Deluxe edition of the software. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I encourage you to hop over to The Quarter Mile Math website and see the various editions that they offer, including a $2.95 monthly fee for the Deluxe Edition which allows you to directly download the CD instead of waiting for it to arrive in the mail, receive free upgrades, have access to over 70,000 problems, participate in Quarter Mile races with family in another state (!), and the ability to store student scores on Barnum Software Quarter Mile Math sever.

For a mom who didn't want to allow her son to enter the computer world, I must admit that Barnum's The Quarter Mile Math really has eased our entry into technology. The game is diverse, covers multiple disciplines, and is so simple that it is successful; yet its simplicity doesn't limit it from being utilized by kindergartners through 9th grade. As the primary individual who does maintenance on our new Quarter Mile Math computer program, I am especially pleased with the customer service and ease of the Quarter Mile Math website provided by Barnum Software. There is even a special section for homeschoolers! I don't have time to read a manual--but I do have time to read a website!
Smaller Size

And you, my blessed reader, can now receive $5.00 off any product at The Quarter Mile Math website, by entering in the following Referral Code: 7A7B7. This code will be valid until September 30, 2009.

Happy Racing!

Be sure to check out other homeschool reviews at:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday--Antonymns

Antonyms are opposites.

On vacation we witnessed both the hummingbird and the lake as antonyms of themselves.

However, I am only featuring them at rest.

(The lake pictures are compliments of the Hottie Hubby. I love seeing what he experiments with when he has a moment of rest . . . peace . . . and quiet. He surprised me with a view of my favorite place on earth. Thanks, Hottie.)

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.
Isaiah 26: 3, 4
Check out 5 Minutes for Mom for other Wordless Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

MckLinky Blog Hop--Time To Laugh

I am thankful that Brent gives us a heads up about what the following week's Blog Hop content is to be. I needed a week to come up with a funny moment. After tickling my brain to giggle something up that was funny for 5 days, I finally asked the resident comedian, my husband.

I hesitated to ask him. Though he supports my blog, I think it is a slight shadow that hangs over his shoulder. He never quite knows what I will say, and thus can be slightly uninterested (no offense Hottie Hubby--I know you like it, you just don't love my blog or totally understand the therapeutic effects of my blog or how it keeps me out of counseling or buying photo albums to collect dust and memories that would never actually get pasted onto the pages (am I rambling? Can your really have a ( ) within a ()?)

On a positive note, the blog is providing our homeschooling curriculum this year.

Anyway, on the way home from church I asked him for some funny material. Typically, I would tell you that Hottie Hubby himself is quite entertaining. But you really need him to tell the stories that have me in stitches. So, before we pulled into the driveway of insanity, he reminded me of the following video by Mike Williams.

It is a little lengthy.

It takes some time to get to the punch line--but this build up is so necessary! Enjoy!

And for a personal silly moment: we were driving in the car on our way home from gymnastics yesterday. It is always exciting for a child to spot a dog hanging out of a window. On this occasion there were two dogs, a Doberman Pincher and a Weimaraner, vying for the prime vantage point to catch bugs, pushing each others ears to look out the small Honda window. Mr. Smackdown was pretty excited about this spectacle until he saw the driver, who happened to be a retired woman. As only a child can so plainly state, though we might think it, he said, "Mommy, she is too old to have two dogs." Guess you had to be there.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, August 24, 2009

Date Night Delima

It isn't uncommon to hear the phrase, "Mommy, I will obey right away with a happy heart," from our munchkins . . . well, everyone except Mr. Smiley. (But who knows, maybe he is saying it amongst all of his precious babble because he hears it enough from his parents and siblings.)

But you know, I'm convicted about something and . . .

I don't want to obey all the way.
I don't want to obey right away.
And I certainly don't have a happy heart.

The Hottie Hubby and I were reading our parenting book yesterday afternoon. The book is supposed to be about parenting, not applicable to my personal life. It isn't supposed to infringe upon my date night activities with the Hottie Hubby. A parenting book is to be only about parenting.


The chapter was entitled, "Teaching them Biblical Truth." (If you are wondering, the book is called Parenting is a Ministry by Pastor Craig Caster.) Sounds like a very harmless and application oriented chapter to be used for my children not me, the parent.

Using Deuteronomy 6: 4-9,
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
Caster shares how to discipline your child by looking for opportunities to talk (not lecture), tips on dealing with privacy issues, the power of prayer in your child's life, instilling God's Word in our family and personal life, and how to have a family Bible study.

Don't these sound like nice topics?

Well, I left out one. There was a topic that caused me to get a bit squeamish. It infringes on my idea of fun. It ruffles my feathers and inhibits me from acting sluggardly on a date night or a hard day. And it most certainly convicted me on an issue that has been a mild avalanche that had recently turned near fatal to my brain.

Caster instructs us to monitor our child's interests (i.e. music, TV, books, etc.)

Sounds harmless. I can easily steer and direct my child towards clean TV shows, wholesome books, edifying music, and glorifying conversation. Being a pharisee, I mean, policeman, I mean, mom comes easily.

But I am terrible about monitoring myself.

Well, Self, here is a phrase to convict you: hypocrisy breeds rebellion. Thanks, Craig Caster.

If I won't let my child eat an extra piece of cake, yet I have another one in front of him, what feelings will spring up in his heart? Gratitude? Love?

If I tell him not to yell at his brother while I am yelling at him for yelling, do you think he will respond rationally to me?

Why should he listen to P.O.D. or KJ 52 (heavy metal Christian bands in case you are wondering) when he is a teenager, when I listen to lyrics that promote sex outside of marriage, lustful attitudes, gluttony, or whatever sin is sung about.

If I don't model the same high standard that I am demanding from my child, when they are older they certainly won't aspire to the prescribed plumb line I have set. If I don't keep my word, why should they? Hypocrisy in me breeds rebellion in my child.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that ONLY Christian material is to be allowed into my home and life. I am sure many of you know my affinity for U2 (we are going to their concert in a few weeks), Curious George, Clifford, and various rather granola literature. However, I am realizing the need to be a little bit more picky about the media that entertains my brain.

And so, though convicted and choosing to travel the higher road, I am struggling to have a happy heart about limiting my media influences.

You see, the Hottie Hubby and I have been super busy.

Yes, we are busy by choice. We have prayed about what we are to be involved in this season.

When the day is done, the weekend has come, and we want to have a date, we end up going to Redbox or downloading something from Netflix, specifically the NBC sitcom, The Office. We are tired, yet we want to do something date-like--relax and enter the mindless zone. We love each other, but at times we want a break. We want to sit. We don't want to talk. We just want to hold hands and snuggle. So, on comes the TV.

I admit. I think it is a funny show, The Office, that is. BUT would I allow Mr. Smackdown to watch it now? No. When he is 8? No. Would I even want him to watch it as a teenager? No.

The Hottie Hubby and I realize that we are tired. But we can get a little bit more creative with our dates instead of zoning in front of the TV. I want to model a godly, loving, fun and spontaneous marriage to my sons. So, I choose to not watch The Office any more so that I am keeping the same standard I have for my children.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
I don't want to be a hypocrite.

My will is set and I know that my emotions will follow . . . . eventually.

So . . . I need new date night ideas, specifically for stay-at-home-dates, since they occur more frequently than a night out-on-the-town dates. I actually have some ideas, but you hear me blab all of the time.

Time for you to link up and speak up.

I am challenging you to write a blog post about what you and your husband do for date nights. Spread the word. Let's encourage each other, AND strengthen our marriages. Please keep your posts "clean," even though we know that your date might lead to things of a more romantic nature.

(Let's be honest--how do you think we ended up with three kids?)

Write a post and leave your link on Mr. MckLinky!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Catching Fruit Flies Organically, Creatively, and Free

I think I have about 20 too many house guests. These guests weren't invited, snuck in unannounced, and don't give a tip after each meal.

No, they aren't people. They are fruit flies. I used to think that fruit flies only visited people who didn't have the highest of cleaning standards. Well, I don't have the highest of cleaning standards, but I'm not "dirty." I don't leave food out for extended periods of time. I wash my dishes. We take out the trash.

I think it is the nature of having a lot of fruit in the house . . . and a compost bucket.

A few months ago, I explained to you one way of getting ride of fruit flies. I am pleased to announce a new and improved method that I will be trying. This suggestion comes from a fellow blogging friend, Beth.

My mother in law taught me the most amazing fruit fly catcher and it doesn't require beer. And it WORKS. Take a narrow-mouth glass quart jar, and put a piece of fruit in the bottom. Actually even a coil of fruit peeling, particularly peach or tomato, work well. Peach pits do, too. Then take a sheet of ordinary paper and roll it into a cone, with the tiniest possible opening at the bottom of it, and place it in the jar. It's very important to have the sides of the cone completely touching the neck of the jar all around. The tip, where the tiny opening is, can actually be touching the fruit/peeling/pit. It may take an adjustment or two to get it just right and you can even tape the cone if the paper won't stay rolled, although it will if it isn't too stiff. Set the jar where you know the problem is, like next to your fruit basket.

The flies will go in the cone, drawn to the bottom and the 'lunch' there but they CANNOT get back up and out. You will be amazed at how quickly the jar fills with them.

What I like about this is that it is all organic, and completely free. When it's filled, you just remove the cone quickly and run hot water into the jar, swirling, to kill the flies, and down the drain they go. You can reset this jar as many times as you need, and during canning or preserving season you can have several of them around. And don't worry if the fruit is beginning to mold--that just makes it work better.

Try it. Seriously, you just won't believe how well this works. :)


And if Beth's trap doesn't work, then try The Passionate Homemaking's fruit fly trap. You have to have a freezer for this one!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Indiana State Fair

It may appear at times that I take the easy route and create a post filled mostly with pictures.

(You know your children are homeschooled when they get excited about a yellow bus.)

In reality, a post with pictures requires more work from me than typing out my thoughts. Posting pictures means photo editing and mundane moments of uploading (where I end up multitasking). Plus it isn't quite as rewarding to me because though I enjoy taking pictures, uploading pictures doesn't quite itch the creative outlet my blogging provides to my brain.

(See those purple bottles? Free.)

But I gotta make the grandparents happy. They want to see their grand kids. Which reminds me of a comment my MIL often says that cracks me up: "I feel sorry for all of the other grandparents in the world. I have the 4 (soon to be 5) of the cutest grand kids in the world!" I would agree, but I am related to all 5 of these kids.

(A goat is a kid, right?)

(Ohhhh, here is a kid they would rather see!)

So Nana, Mops, Mama and Papa, we went to the fair today. This post is dedicated to you.

(Have you ever pulled 120 lbs around on a little red wagon. The turning radius seriously diminishes with this much weight. But it provided great entertainment for many people at the fair. Glad I could help make them laugh.)

We weren't going to go because the thought of taking 3 children by myself into a multitude of people sounded about as appetizing as the gyro that made my friend Nickel sick this week.

(Mr. Smiley indulged in an ORGANIC Cliff Nectar Bar and wore the evidence until the State Fair food overruled his face.)

But I just couldn't get the nagging out of my ears mind from Mr. Smackdown fondly recalling memories of the fair last year. And my eyes saw the word FREE. Kids 5 and under were free. OK . . . no brainer. We are going to the fair.

(You always have to throw in a flower picture.)

(Which is safer to drink--our raw milk or the water coming out of that udder?)

(Those are some gigantic tires!)

(Combines are huge!)

(Boys are drawn to big machines!)

(That is my hand shadow, in case you were wondering!)

(This was Mr. Me-Too's favorite moment.)

And that, my friends, was our day. See you at the fair next year!