Thursday, December 24, 2009

In case you were wondering...

...what kind of last minute gift to pick up for me... ;) I'm easy to please!


Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I found this meme on Mad Maggie Designs and thought it looked fun! Just copy and past the questions and fill them in on your own blog post. If you decide to do one, leave me a comment with the link so I can come read it and learn some more about you as well. Enjoy!

Making: time for reading for once! 
Baking: Actually, Walt's baking some potatoes to have with dinner right now.
Drinking: Walt's Mt. Dew.
Reading: Lyon's Pride by Anne McCaffrey (4 of 5 in the Tower and the Hive Series).
Wanting: A Tom Tom XL 340.
Looking: to get all the wrapping done tonight so I can chill with my family and check
NORAD's Online Santa Tracker with Spawn.
Skip Bo with Walt and Spawn after dinner.

Wasting: Money on too many stocking stuffers!
Sewing: my Coconut Joe's t-shirt back together. It's beat!
Wishing: for the same thing I always wish for - another baby. =D

Enjoying: my new barn star, cottage-style tree topper.
Waiting: for Christmas morning so I can see my guys' faces when they open their gifts!
Liking: Plantation Mint Tea with Orange Blossom Honey with Prosciutto & Brie to snack on. Yum!
Wondering: what my husband got me for Christmas and what he'll think of what I got him.
Loving: my family, friends, and pets!
Hoping: I get my Tom Tom before we go down to West Chester next week.
Marvelling: that Spawn still believes in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
Needing: to get my Christmas card-newsetters done.
Smelling: steak and potatoes.
Wearing: Walt's sweatpants and one of my old 
Callie's Candy Kitchen staff t-shirts.
Following: too many wonderful blogs to read them all!

Noticing: that I'm not getting nearly as much done as I wanted to before Chrstmas. :/
Knowing: that it'll all be worth it when I see their faces on Christmas morning.
Thinking: about our make your own pizza and sundae menu for Christmas Eve.
Bookmarking: too many blogs!

Opening: the suitcases I hide Spawn's gifts in. ;)
Giggling: I don't giggle. :p I have a big belly laugh. =D
Feeling: Twitterpated!!!

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I admit it...I'm addicted... Better Homes and Gardens Online. =D

Have you seen the beauty that is the Rainbow Tree?

 Or this cakeplate conglomeration of crystal and boxwood? Crystal Topiary

Yup, thoroughly addicted. And this affliction is even worse around Halloween! :o I don't even have the time to do this stuff! But a mom can dream. ;)

~ Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Reader's Digest Christmas Trees

I remember making these with my great-grandmother when she babysat me when I was younger than Spawn. =D I prefer the natural, recycled look of the unpainted trees, but spray-painting a Reader's Digest Christmas Tree metallic gold with glitter is a rite of passage for any crafty child. =D

Mine, made with a Better Homes and Gardens magazine (I have no idea why the dog is there! LOL! I didn't even notice her in the background until now. I thought that lump was a blanket. =D):

For directions, visit:

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Monday, December 21, 2009

Invisible Scotch Tape... NOT invisible nor is it as easy to use as the 9 for a $1 deal scotch tape you can get at the dollar store. The invisible stuff is thicker and harder to tear off the dispenser. I have invisible-scotch-tape-purchase-regret. :( Oh, and using fabric scissors because you're too lazy to go get your craft scissors - that's me, Empress of Stupid. :p

~ Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Happy Winter Solstice and a Very Merry Yule, too!


~ The Cyber School Family ~

Recycled Magazine Bows

In the spirit of the Winter Solstice, Spawn will be getting a few small gifts tomorrow - in a beautiful, polka-dot, reuseable, shopping bag, but a gift without bows is a poor gift, so I made these tonight:

I used a summertime FujiFilm ad from a Better Homes and Gardens mag. =D Took me about 10 -15 minutes from start to finish to make both. Not bad a for a first attempt, if I do say so myself. ;)

For instructions, visit: I saved the link to this MONTHS ago and was convinced I'd misplaced it, but it turned up tonight and I really prefer this to any of the bow-making tutes on

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Motivation, thy name is "Orchestra"

I've been extolling the benefits of music and instrumental lessons for Spawn to my husband and parents for months now, but coming from non-musically-inclined families, it's a hard sell. :p I was in highschool choir and, though my guys tolerate my singing, a singer I am not. ;) I can pick out a few tunes on a piano, but I can barely read music - and certainly not well at that. ;) I regret never learning how to read music or play an instrument and I'd hate for Spawn to regret something like that simply because we never offered it.I believe every language learned opens doors to new opportunities and I think learning to read music is just as important as learning to speak English!

I've been angling for a kids' guitar and lessons for Spawn for 8 months or more and, if the snow ever lets up, I'm going guitar-shopping for Spawn this Christmas. I just found out the Pocono YMCA now offers guitar lessons for kids ages 7 and up - private or group lessons - with an eye towards the Pocono Junior String Orchestra or the Pocono Youth Orchestra. (Previosuly, kids had to be at least 8 for guitar lessons at the Y!) Both ensembles are non-school-affiliated orchestras, by all accounts, so should be more open to home/cyberschoolers! (I had signed Spawn up for beginner lessons at one point, but then the music shop in town [owned by a local highschool music teacher] closed and moved to a much less convenient location, so we came back to square one. :p) He'll need two years of lessons under his belt before they'll even consider auditioning him for the orchestral group, but I think 4th or 5th grade will be a good age for attempting that anyway and it's a LONG way off. Here's hoping Spawn goes along with the plan and doesn't decide to start a garage band or something in the meantime. ;)

While Spawn himself may not be motivated just yet by the prospect of playing with a string ensemble or youth orchestra, I think his grandparents would be overjoyed at the prospect of attending seasonal concerts and doing 'typical' grandparent stuff for once. ;) Okay, so would I. =D

Now I just need to find a good beginner guitar! This is a hard step for me, though. When my grandmother passed away, I asked my mom to find out if the family was going to keep or sell all of my deceased grandfather's old guitars and banjos because I wanted to make an offer, at least for one of them. Mom never got a clear answer and in the confusion of clearing out the house and yardsaling nearly everything in it before it was sold after Gram's death, the guitars and banjos were sold at a yard sale, too. :( What I have left is a guitar pick of my grandfather's that Gram gave my mom to sew into my wedding dress for my 'something old'. (Maybe someday I'll pass that keepsake on to Spawn, but not before his wedding day, I think. ;)) The sale of all the guitars makes me especially sad because I was willing and able and OFFERED to buy one if necessary. :( I'm not bitter, just disappointed.

So, for those inthe know, is it better, when shopping for a child's guitar, to shop for a staid classic that he'll get several years out of before he outgrows?:

Or something less expensive, fun, yet functional that will engage him short-term and keep him going back to lessons and practicing at home without nagging?:


Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Wisdom of Hot Chocolate

On this eve of a major Nor'easter, we're snuggled up at home, watching Disney movies, sipping some hot cocoa and it reminded me of a story in the first issue of Baloo's Bugle I ever read last year - before I became an interim Cub Scout Leader. It was at the very end of the October 2008 issue and it actually came up during my first training session as a reminder to not choose favorites and to treat every Scout equally. Though, I often think of it when I find myself struggling to accept the cards I've been dealt and referring to it when Spawn has the same trouble.

With thanks to Baloo's Bugle:

The Wisdom of Hot Chocolate

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives.

Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: "Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you 're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups. And then you began eyeing each other's cups."

"Now consider this:

􀀹 Life is the hot chocolate.

􀀹 Your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life.

􀀹 The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have.

􀀹 Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate [God/Deity] has provided us.

􀀹 [God/Deity] makes the hot chocolate. Man chooses the cups.

􀀹 The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

And enjoy your hot chocolate!!
Chrissi, Cyber School Mom =D

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A peek into the workings of the brains of a cyber school mom...

Spawn will, naturally, be gifted with plenty of books this holiday season. CS Dad's family celebrates Christmas and Epiphany (or Three Kings Day), we celebrate the Winter Solstice (otherwise known as Yule), Spawn's best friend (son of my best friend) celebrates Hanukkah, and everyone seems to have some reason to gift the boy this time of year! We had countless celebrations last year and Spawn got an introduction to Hanukkah with our best friends. Here's Spawn and his BFF, T, listening to the story of Hanukkah being read by T's mom, my BFF, Dani:

Yes, the boys are wearing matching Hanukkah jammies. =D

Last year's Yule tree (made up for Christmas morning with most of the Yule ornaments removed for Christmas company):

We'll be visitng our Jewish friends during New Year's and exchanging Hanukkah gifts then, so Spawn's first gifting of the season happens this coming Monday, December 21, 2009 on the Winter Solstice.

Though we have observed Yule in the past with the traditional tree, decorations, cookie-baking, etc., we've never discussed the meaning behind the longest night in depth or why we mark the occasion. This is the first season we'll be taking on that particular discussion and it makes me nervous. I don't want to sway him when the time comes for him to decide what he believes. He's expressed an interest in Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Neo-Paganism recently, so it just feels like the right time to begin the discussion. =)

Yule gifts are more traditional, handmade, or heartfelt gifts. Things made with love or bought with special intent toward the receiver.

I've chosen a special family gift to inspire some discussion, handmade crafts, and goody-making (which I had to special-order because B&N doesn't even keep it in stock! :p):

And for Spawn, to inspire less time indoors on the couch and more time doing typical 'boy' stuff this winter:

I made some new Yule ornaments, but my plan for an ornament a day for December went quickly awry when Spawn informed me in no uncertain terms that he was not crafting EVERY day. :p We've done three ornament projects, totaling about 10 ornaments, 8 of which I ended up making myelf. :p He has decided, however, that the Winter Solstice is Gingerbread House-Making Day and despite the fact that his poor mother has no baking or cooking skills to speak of, he expects no less than my best try on Yule. Bless and keep us in your thoughts - KWIM? ;)

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Monday, November 30, 2009

Perhaps you may have noticed... extended absence. Anyone else who has had H1N1 for the last 6 weeks would have no trouble understanding. ;)

I was sick for several months beginning this summer. Stomach issues that never seemed to resolve themselves no matter how little I ate or how bland my diet. I knew we were going to be losing our medical insurance at the end of October, so I hightailed it to my doctor's office, got a referral for a same day gastro dr. appt. and was scheduled for my first ever colonoscopy and endoscopy within two days. :o Yipes! Not details I want to linger over, but while I was at good, old Easton Hospital, I came in contact with some staff member who was infected with H1N1. >:( Three days later - like clockwork! - I came down with a horrible cough, fever, and aches and pains. My birthday, which was 2 days later, was a total wash. :( Then our much-anticipated 10th wedding anniversary just 9 days after that - not a highlight of my lifetime. :p Still sick, I dragged my sorry, flu-ridden butt out to Knoebels Amusement Park and Resort (assured by my doctor that I was no longer contagious), so that Spawn would have one last chance to ride the two rides he would be growing out of this winter. Only one of them was open. :p So I paid for himto ride it as many tmes as he wanted. ;)

The following day I found out that the doctor strongly suspects that I have Crohn's Disease. On the last day I was going to have medical insurance for the foreseeable future. So, I have a possible diagnosis that I can't get confirmed because the colonoscopy was $19,000 (thank the goddess - insurance covered at least some of it!) and I'm in the hole and no one will perform the follow-up blood tests to confirm the diagnosis so I can get treatment without payment in advance. So here we stand, no treatment, no relief for my symptoms or pain, praying for a public option or universal health care. :( The constant stomach pain is keeping me pretty close to home - as are the other assorted, nasty symptoms. So I'm hoping I don't bore you with my hermit-ish blog and projects the next 9 - 12 months. ;)

It's November 30th. We've taken pictures every day, but having been sick and only fully recovered the last two days - those are some BORING pictures of my living room from the last 42 days! =D I'll try to get a few of them up the next few days. We did keep up with the Project 365 Photo Challenge, but there is no way I'm posting 42 days worth of nonsense pictures out of context! LOL!

In case you were wondering, yes, Spawn did fall a bit behind as both he and I were sick for so long, but he's made up all the overdue work AND managed to make Distinguished Honor Roll (all A+'s!!!). Not bad for a 7 year old wih ADHD!!! =D I am one proud cyber school mama!!!

He's re-enrolled at our local Y for both swimming and karate now, too. Swimming is going great. It's always Spawn's favorite. He starts up karate again next Saturday. We'll see how that goes. ;) After that class next Saturday, we're off to Petco for some photos of Spawn and Nugga with Santa for our Christmas/Yule cards. =D Then Spawn is off to Grandma's and CS Dad and I are going to look for a guitar for Spawn to start guitar lessons in January. (That's all only if the weather cooperates. ;))

We're starting a month of ornaments tomorrow and both a Christmas and Yule paper chain to countdown to both holidays, but instead of removing a link every day, we'll be adding one and making a snowflake every day between now and Christmas! (I mean, I know the paper chain idea is to remove one every day, but Spawn wants to put UP decorations - not take them down. ;))

Spawn can't get enough of the Christmas and Yule crafts, so we're looking for craft projects to try using basic household items. Please post your suggestions by commenting on this post and check back to see whose crafts we decide to make! Or subscribe to our blog to get updates emailed to you so you don't miss a single holiday craft!

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Project 365: Days 26 - 32 - Week in Review: Saturday, October 10, 2009 - Friday, October 16, 2009

1. (Top Left) Saturday, Day 26: Nugga was bored and begging for belly rubs at any cost.
2. (Top, 2nd from Left) Sunday, Day 27: Spawn and Nugga mug for the camera - for once!
3. (Top, 2nd from Right) Sunday, Day 27: Mushroom-Beef Stroganoff for dinner.
4. (Top Right) Sunday, Day 27: Egg Noodles we had with the stroganoff.
5. (Line 2, Left) Monday, Day 28: I disturbed CS Dad's and Nugga's nap snapping photos and the dog gave me the stink eye.
6. (Line 2, Right) Monday, Day 28: Extra cheese pizza we had for dinner beacuse we were being lazy. :p
7. (Line 3, Left) Tuesday, Day 29: The view up my dad's back walkway. We call it Holland Hollow. It's creepy! Spawn won't walk that way alone. ;)
8. (Line 3, Right) Wednesday, Day 30: Half gallon 'prep kit' that I had to drink all of the day before my endoscopy and my very first colonoscopy. Don't let them fool you. It says it has flavors to choose from, but it's still Satan's Kool-aid!!!
9. (Bottom Left) Wednesday, Day 30: The 'flavor packs' that came with the prep kit. Flavor is generous. More like scent packs. ;) Nothing makes the prep kit NOT taste like ocean. In fact, I think it's worse that it smells like lemon-lime and tastes like freakin' ocean!!! >:(
10. (Bottom, 2nd from Left) Wednesday, Day 30: Spawn writes out a word problem for Math and draws a picture to solve the problem he created.
11. (Bottom, 2nd from Right) Thursday, Day 31: Yup, it snowed about 3 inches - on December 15th! Spawn started walking the dog - and I finished with an unfortunate fall after the dog down the peein' hill. :(
12. (Bottom Right) Friday, Day 32: Spawn couldn't resist his trampoline once I hauled it out of the dormer alcove during his autumn bedroom purge today.
13. (Center) Friday, Day 32: Reorganized books, boardgames, travel games, and puzzles in Spawn's room. I love when it's all tidy like that with the books all lined up like little soldiers in their cots. Makes my heart go pitty-pat! ;)

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day Printables and Activities

You won't need a membership to take advantage of the Columbus Day activities on BrainPop Jr. this week:

There's some awesome Columbus Day worksheets, mazes, and coloring pages available at Classroom Jr., too:

I'll try to get some pictures up later of Spawn's Columbus Day artwork. ;)

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ten Honest Things About Myself

10 Honest Things About Myself

1. I'm an OCD slob. I don't like anyone touching or washing my laundry (especially my well-meaning husband), but when I wash and dry it, I hardly ever fold it. I get dressed out of the dryer or out of the laundry basket nearly every day. However, when I pack for a week-long trip, I pack and fold so obsessive-compulsively that I can fit 3 weeks worth of clothes in a suitcase intended to hold only 1 week's worth of clothes. (And my husband will tell you that suitcase weighs like 10 yards of wet concrete. ;))

2. I love margaritas and fruity-frou-frou drinks, but I never drink more than 2 - unless it's a white wine spritzer. Then I'll stop at 3. I'm not a total prude. I do drink. But past over-indugences and experiences with unruly drunks have taught me there's nothing cute about being a fall-down-drunk - even once in a while. :p

3. I'm right-handed, but I can write upside-down left-handed for some reason. I have no idea why!

4. I swear like a drunken sailor on weekend leave in a house of ill-repute. :o The more I try to prevent myself from swearing, the worse it seems to get. I know words and phrases that make my 37 year old husband blush like a schoolgirl. ;)

5. I love my auburn hair. (You jealous brunettes can kiss my butt. =D)

6. I'm named after Tina Lousie (Ginger from "Gilligan's Island"), Christina Holland (the secretary from "The Courtship of Eddie's Father"), and my dad's step-mother, Mimi Louise.

7. I had what I thought was horribly embarrassing acne as a teenager that turns out was barely acne at all. Obsess much? :p

8. I once worked in an adult toy and 'novelty' ;) book store. When I was much younger (but still legal!) and it was a cool place to work. The only job I've ever been fired from. Considering my predecessor was fired when he was discovered passed-out, drunk in the back room during business hours, I think I got a raw deal for taking a cigarette break in the middle of an unrelieved, 10-hour shift. :p

9. When I read mystery-romance novels, I usually skip the 'romance' parts because they're boring and predictable, but I don't read just plain mysteries. :p

10. About 12 years ago (1997 or '98) I was still dating my ex-boyfriend, T (and a friend of my husband's), and we all went out to Old Naz for coffee one night with a group of friends. I was sitting on one side of a booth with my boyfriend, T, and my future husband, CS Dad, sat opposite us with another friend, Tab. I was chilly, so I ordered some hot tea. CS Dad said, "you know what, that sounds good, I'll have the same." Without thinking, I blurted out, "Huh. I always thought I'd marry a man who drinks tea." :o I don't know what came over me or why I said it! (Possessed by my tea-drinking grandmother, perhaps? She hadn't passed then, but she always loved CS Dad once she met him. ;)) I dumped the ex not long after and several months later, CS Dad and I began dating - in August of 1998 - and 6 weeks later, I asked CS Dad to marry me. =D I found out later, he had been planning to ask me in the next week or two and had already bought an engagement ring and asked my mom's permission when he showed her the ring. =D
Chrissi, Cyber School Mom
* If you post this meme on your blog, please link back here and post a link in the comments here so I can read your 10 things!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

In honor of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize...

We're having an Obama-thon Weekend here at the Cyber School Ranch!

Check out these awesome President Obama-themed activity pages - with thanks to the folks at Space Jr.

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Reorganization Begins - Project 365: Day 25, Friday, October 9, 2009

I reorganized Spawn's desk area today. You may wish I'd taken a 'before' photo, but I'd have been too embarrassed to post it anyway. ;) The 'after' looks about 1000 times better anyway. ;) (Click the picture for more detail and book titles if you're interested.)

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Harvesting of the Bounty - Project 365: Day 24, Thursday, October 8, 2009

Remember that big squash plant with the tiny little half green/half yellow squash CS Dad discovered at the end of our yard in our old compost pile 2 weeks ago?

Today, this is what he found while he was walking the dog!

And there's about a dozen of them out there! CS Dad was floored that this could grow so well while being completely ignored! So, CS Dad and I are planning to plant a garden next spring to take advantage of the excellent soil we have here. Does anyone know of any good gardening blogs or resources for new gardeners? CS Dad has never planned a garden and it's been years for me, so I'm starting fresh like a newbie anyway. ;)

What kills me is that I had put squash and zucchini on the shopping list I had email to CS Dad to ask him to pick up on his way home from work this morning and Wegman's produce truck was running late so he came home without any zucchini or squash. Then he just finds this growing in our yard! LOL!

Oh, Nugga found this in the kitchen - a red light from Spawn's Nerf Dart Gun. (Let me just say - we did not buy the toy gun. >:( My mom signed him up last year for the Christmas party at the rod & gun club she belongs to and SANTA BROUGHT THE GUN. >:( We'd never had that problem before. They usually picked up fun board games and what not for the kids from Santa. The organizers got an earful from myself and several other mothers. >:( )

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Henry & Mudge and Glowing Eyeballs - Project 365: Day 23, Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Spawn, working on a Language Arts assignment:

Spawn, playing with his favorite Knoebels souvenirs - bouncy snowglobes!:

The little one is blue with a blue, light-up-when-bounced eyeball in it:

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Spawn's Skull and Cross Bones Phase Begineth - Project 365: Day 22, Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Spawn was so delighted with the new robe and glow in the dark jammies he got on Sunday, I couldn't bribe him out of them for days!!! Today, I finally took them away during bath time and hid them in the laundry room so he couldn't put them back on after. ;)

This was yesterday after I told him he couldn't live in his new jammies for the rest of his life:

His many silly faces crack me up!

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Lazy Day - Project 365: Day 21, Monday, October 5, 2009

My tummy was still giving me problems on Monday, so we had a quiet day - or as quiet as my guys could give me. ;) I discovered all 65 - 70 lbs. of Nugga napping on top of CS Dad like they do that every day. Sweet jebus! I can't imagine how the poor man could breathe!!!

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

You Sunk My Battleship! - Project 365: Day 20, Sunday, October 4, 2009

We're all about 'unplugging' these days. Spawn cyberschools, so he spends plenty of time at the computer. In fact, one of the reasons I started this blog was to show all the stuff we do that doesn't involve lessons in front of the computer because all of our friends assumed that cyberschooling meant Spawn spent his days being taught by a computer program! LOL! Not even close. ;)

I'm even more driven now that we're doing Project 365 to spice up our daily routines. I mean - how many pictures are you willing to look at of Spawn reading? :p

So, this past Sunday, we knew we had to make a quick stop at Target for some socks, jammies, and a robe for Spawn. (He's grown out of every darn thing he owns lately!) While we were there, we offered him the option of choosing one game or toy for $10 or less that had no buttons, batteries, or cords as a reward for his wonderful behavior the previous day at the fair. We were very impressed with his behavior the day before and we know how important it is to encourage good behavior through rewards rather than always just punishing the bad behavior. ;)

We wandered around and fiddled with some other toys. My handiwork on a Pin Print - Peace!:

Ultimately, Spawn settled on a boardgame: Battleship! He's played online versions before, but surprisingly, he wanted to play the unplugged version! (Oh, and it's ages 7 and up! Woohoo! It's right on the verge of his abilities, though, so keep that in mind if you have little ones. ;))

We weren't home even an hour before he began campaigning for the first game against CS Dad. Spawn, playing the part of commies and rocking his new skull and cross bones robe and old Mickey lounge pants, plots Daddy's (the other commies) downfall. (Everybody wants to be the commies when we play! Being the capitalist-pig-dogs is less fun, I guess. ;))

CS Dad plots like the sneaky, underhanded commie-Russian he is... ;) (Being Russian, the boys are going through a bit of a 'Hunt for Red October phase' these days. ;))

Spawn picked up the strategy of this game so FAST! CS Dad swears it's the latent-commie in him. :p

Spawn's winning game board. Look how close the final score was! Wow!

CS Dad pouts over his loss at the hands of a sneaky, commie 7 year old. ;)

Battleship - one of the best $10 purchases I've ever made!

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

The 155th Annual Bloomsburg Fair - Project 365: Day 19, Saturday, October 3, 2009

Just a sampling of our crazy Saturday at the fair!

We noticed the leaves turning as we continued on 80 past Pocono Summit and 380 where we usually get off to visit my mother-in-law. Pretty far north as the leaves weren't turning at our house or CS Dad's mom's house in Pocono Summit yet at that point. That's my dad, Poppy Neil, and his girlfriend, Miss Debbie, directly ahead of us in his car.

I wish I'd gotten a picture of the muddy parking lot, but there was no time! The lots were filling and we didn't want to miss the tram - in case it was the last one to come down the row that morning before it filled! My dad muscled the wagon onto the tram and the ride took forever to go 200 hundred yards, but at least we didn't have to slug through the mud before breakfast. ;)

My dad kindly paid our admission (thanks, Dad!) and as we walked through the gate, I promptly pulled the front muddy wagon wheel right up the back of my right leg. Good thing I chose dark jeans and brought a change of clothes for each of us. ;)

The day began heating up right away, so we made a quick potty break by the exhibition buildings and looked for a breakfast pavilion so we could get out of the sun, get some coffee, and carb-up. ;) I had an awesome sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit with coffee (so did CS Dad, my dad, and Miss Debbie). However, if I had to do it again, I'd have a Mickey waffle like Spawn. ;) He also had an apple juice, but it was a bit sweet for him and the lid/straw situation wasn't working so well. :p

Dad, Miss Debbie, and Spawn (the little, red hat in the foreground) check out their menus:

CS Dad checks in with his mom by phone because she hadn't called that morning as she usually does on Saturday mornings and made us worry ;) :

Spawn's massive Mickey waffle - which we had to convince him to try because he was adamant that he wasn't hungry as usual - that he ate every last bite of. ;)

After breakfast, we skipped the Farming Museum (saved that for later in the day) and headed over to the Educational Exhibits to get some learnin' in.

Look at these HUGE FFA sunflowers! (Spawn has been placed in this photo for perspective, but he's several feet away and you lose a bit of the awe we experienced when we saw these in-person. That one big one is larger than my biggest commercial-grade lasgana pan. :o)

I'm honestly not sure what this was about, but it looked like bath and body products made from EMU OIL?! Really? I was afraid of the impending lecture if I asked, so we just shuffled by this exhibit.

Spawn was fascinated by some of the projects made by fellow elementary-age children:

And it inspired an idea in him that I'll be mentioning to his head elementary teacher. He'd like to try to get his school involved in the fair - maybe even find ways to make the fair greener or suggest ways to vendors to make their stands more ecologically-friendly. (He was very upset over the styrofoam plate his breakfast was served on that morning and that his juice came in a styrofoam cup. :( We don't do that at home and the thought of all that waste at the fair upset all of us. :( )

One of Spawn's favorite booth/displays in the Educational Exhibits Building was made by Central Columbia High School:

Underneath the flower pot, it has a recipe for Carrot Patches. Sorry this one is so blurry! (If you click on any of the recipes, you'll see the high-res image and better detail.)

Below that was this little garden and these pepper lights that Spawn fell in LOVE with. =D

Left side of booth:


Right side of booth:


One of my most favorite displays (I'm so sad so many of these came out blurry without the flash on. :( ):

This display was based on the book "Eat This, Not That" and suggests that readers eat Twinkies?!?! Um...okay, but I don't think that's really the message they wanted to send. ;)

Poppy Neil explains how this display of an electrical system, circuit breakers, and switches works:

Spawn was all learned-out and needed to burn off some energy, so we did a loop through the kiddie rides by the old schoolhouse. I tried to talk Spawn into a Pony Ride or Elephant Ride, but he has concerns about animal exploitation (thanks to his vegetarian Aunt Bibi, methinks. ;)), so he opted for the greenest ride he could find - a walk-through fun house that he did with Poppy. (Spawn and I had done the same exact fun house 2 years earlier, so I was happy to pass this time.) Poppy had to talk the poor kid into going down the slide at the end alone. It's really high!

That's 6 tickets (1 ride for 2 people) = $7.50. For an attraction that takes 3 minutes at most to walk through. :o So ridiculous!!!

I missed most of Poppy Neil's slide as his weight carried him down the slide a LOT faster than Spawn. ;)

Spawn was delighted to find this little bulldog in the fun house mural:

From there, we headed over to the Poultry Barn (had some funnel cake and orangeade along the way ;)) just so Spawn could pose with what he thinks is the world's largest chicken. I'm sure there ARE larger chickens, but this is the biggest one he's ever seen. ;)

Just for Rachel - Baby Chicks!

Their little sign made me sad. I was glad they weren't out in the little open pen for petting when we stopped by. They looked a little peaky. :(

Our next stop was the Dog Show Barn. At first, we were just excited at the prospect of seeing more bulldogs, but when we started down the aisle, we realized unless you were one of the lucky dogs like this little guy on the end of the row, there was very little air circulation in the barn. :(

Anyway, while we were there, Spawn wanted to see a Chihuahua. He wants to get one as a pet for his Bulldog, Nugga. =)

We made our way to the cattle barns then.

This picture CRACKS me up! LOL! =D

Spawn 'discovers' where chocolate milk comes from and has a happy. ;)

The calf in the middle was born within probably an hour or so of our visit to the cow standing on the right.

I sat down on a bench for a few minutes to put my feet up on the wagon while CS Dad took Spawn to check out the horses, pigs, sheep, and - Spawn's favorite - the goats!

This a really huge horse named Fred. Spawn had to stand on a straw bale to reach him!

I think Spawn may have changed his mind about the adorability of goats after this little incident:

Ouch! Yup, Spawn got bit by a very hungry little goat!

CS Dad tells me the smell in the pig barn was too overwhelming to stay, so they made their way back after I called CS Dad's cellphone to see where they were for so long. Upon arrival at my bench, CS Dad reached for his cellphone to check the time and it was missing! :o Crap!

We left Spawn with Poppy and Miss Debbie and ran over to the goat barn to find it. I called it several times from my phone while we searched. Eventually, someone picked up. My dad. Uh..."Dad? You found it?" "Yup, come on back." When we got back, my dad explained that he heard the phone ringing several times and noticed it sitting on top of a power supply box at the entrance of the cattle barn they were sitting in front of. Someone must have found it just as CS Dad dropped it when he came back before and dropped it off by the doorway. We got very lucky!

Our day was winding down, so we went off in search of some dinner. My dad can't resist these usually, but he gave them a pass that day because of the heat.

I had seen a sign earlier for some cheesecake on a stick, so Spawn and I ran over towards Gate 3 to check out the ice cream stand near the kiddie rides while CS Dad took my dad and Miss Debbie over to check out the end of the world timeline crazies. =D Sadly, the ice cream stand was all out of the cheesecake on a stick, so Spawn had a twist in a cup and climbed in the wagon while we watched some nutter in the bull riding ring next door.

I opted for a half pound of fried cheese on a stick while CS Dad, my dad, and Miss Debbie all got some pizza. Spawn was happily eating his rapidly melting ice cream and I polished off my cheese, so I ran around the corner for a Lime Hawaiian Shave Ice. Yum!

After our quick bite, we made our way over to our last stop - the Farmin Museum (passing the old Cosmos Crystals trailer on the way and not even realizing it). Spawn checked out some horse-drawn sleighs and several piles of unrecognizable junk - according to Poppy Neil. :p We went back out to look for some blue barn stars as our last planned stop, but I couldn't find one I liked, so we decided to call it a day. As we were passing by the Cosmos Crystals trailer again, I explained to CS Dad that they were based out of Marshall's Creek - near where we used to live in East Stroudsburg. He stopped to look - because CS Dad can't pass up a hippie gift shop - and he realized he actually knew the two people running their booth! Never fails! He knows every hippie in PA!

Spawn was about tapped out at that point and feeling logie from his ice cream, so we made him a little nest in the wagon to lay down while we looked for CS Dad's deep-fried Twinkie before heading home. There were a lot of jealous comments and looks from adults as Spawn passed by in his wagon. ;)

Pulling a wagon full of 7 year old was wearing me down, so CS Dad parked us in a hot tub tent while he ran ff to look for his Twinkie and my dad and Miss Debbie shopped for hot tubs.

CS Dad never did manage to find the deep-fried Twinkie stand, so he came back to get us and we decided to head over to Gate 5 because my dad told us it was closer to where our car was parked. We passed this guy on our way - yup, that's a giant rubber duck on a massive hot tub. =D

We split up there so my dad and Miss Debbie could make a restroom break and we trudged out to the parking lot. We skipped the tram because the wagon was loaded, Spawn was beat, and the car was supposed to be so close. Ugh. Long, dusty walk! When we got there, Dad and Debbie were already there! They'd skipped the long restroom lines and cut across the lot and got there just before us - not being encumbered by a loaded wagon. ;)

We said our good-byes in the parking lot, knowing we would probably have to stop somewhere on the way home for some allergy meds for Spawn. The animal barns had not been kind to his poor, little sinuses. ;( He's still struggling with those allergies several days later. :( At the end of the day, though, we all agreed the animals were our favorite part of the fair. Spawn loved the goats!

Anyone else go to the Bloomie this year? Or another fair? What's your favorite part of the fair?

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom
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