Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Berry Pickin'

Yesterday evening we went to pick blueberries!! Could anything be more marvelous?? I felt like I was in a wonderful fairytale land, surrounded by large luscious berries on every side. I can only imagine this is how my husband would feel if he were surrounded by cheesecake bushes.

All I could think about was the deliciousness of blueberries, and how very thankful I am that I have a God who is so loving to make such wonderful food!

Fred naturally turned it into a competition. "I bet I can pick more than you can." Ha!--fine game as far as I was concerned! Anything to keep him focused on winning, and not on how much I was likely to spend on buckets full of mouthwatering yumminess.

Of course, I made the mistake of feeding my family Mexican food for dinner. Too many beans. Fred kept gassing the area, and the kids and I would be forced to move upwind. Call it his secret weapon.

He underestimated me, though. Something about the passion of berries got my blood flowing, and I easily topped a bucket before he did. In fact, I would have stayed, maybe all night, if my husband had not dragged me away.

We took the Artist and Naturalist with us, and left the LiveWire and Little Lad. When LiveWire got into his carseat, at my parents' house, he saw the blueberries and grabbed a bag for the ride home. That's my boy!

Just so you know, my new "gift list" has only one thing on it: blueberry plants! I told Fred that's what I want for Valentines, Mother's Day, my birthday, Christmas, you name it. Just buy me a plant here and there!

In fact, my long-term plan now is to live out in the country somewhere and have some geese (just because I like them,) and berry plants of all kinds, a huge veggie garden, and an orchard. Oh, yeah. MmmHmmm! That's what Eden must have been like.

Actually, you all know I love my yellow cottage and I've put a lot of love into it. It would be hard to leave. Too bad we can't just pick it up and drop it somewhere out in the woods...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

the blog test

I guess it's time for the blog test again. Whenever I come across it on a friend's site, I always have to retest this Internet home. Just in case. So, the results are in:
blog readability test

Movie Reviews

I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a compliment or what? Am I intelligent or just hard to understand? ;-) Depends on the post and the mood, I suppose. Maybe I should use smaller words?

When I first got married,my in-laws would constantly ask me why I "said things like that." Why say "cul-de-sac," instead of "dead-end." Well, because they mean two different things, and I do indeed live on a cul-de-sac.

I remember my step-father-in-law reading magazines and stopping at short intervals to ask about the meaning of the words. Cracked me up at the time, but then I realized that they were laughing behind my back, too! ;-) At least there were laughs all the way around.

Recently hubby's sister said that he is starting to talk like my family. He puffed out his chest a little and said, "Yep, I've come a long way from y'all, haven't I?"

Saturday, June 21, 2008

what's with blogger??

Did I mess up my settings somehow? Or has blogger changed? My labels are not auto-completing anymore. And I don't have the "compose option" any more to switch colors and size. And what's with this URL Enclosure option?? I wasn't gone for long, so what has happpened to my internet home??

Boy Funnies

This week's funnies from the boys:

On Tuesday, Trevor asked me for some of my Buzz Lightyear. He was talking about my rootbeer.

Yesterday afternoon Trevor told me he liked my ring tones. He was pointing to my dangling earrings. Ha!

Last night Ethan asked what kinds of seeds would grow in his mouth. Seeds?
"Yeah, you said if we don't brush our teeth right, we'll get 'the seeds'." Ha! I was saying "disease."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Maybe a break is due?

Two posts in one day

and just to say

that I may need a break

for my sanity's sake

Too much going on

Too much going wrong

Head just above water

Scared I may falter

There's so much to do

I'll never get through

all this work that I see

but I need to just be

focused on them

and focused on Him

so a break is in order

my posts may be shorter

and farther between

but if I'm not seen

I'll still try to read,

at least that I need

And if I won't write

my time is just tight

but I care for you all

my orders just tall

And when I come back

don't give me much flack

just let me slip in

where I've always been.

results..yeah, I know I'm late

The 5.4 millage increase was passed.
The voting was 998(55%) for to 833(45%) against.

1831 people voted -

less than 15% of our population made the decision for everyone.

That is truly pitiful.

Ah, well. I stood where I believed I should stand, and I tried to get some facts out there. At this point, though, all I can say is that I hope the school turns out fantastic. I hope they spend the money wisely, and make it stretch as far as it will possibly go. And I truly hope that they don't come back asking for more money anytime soon. ;-)

So enough about the millage already, right?

Here's something to get your mind off of it. We went to the local waterfall on Sunday afternoon.

The Naturalist spotted several snakes!

They were close enough to reach out and touch. Yikes!

The boys thought this was "totally awesome!"

LiveWire wanted to keep this one for a pet.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Siloam millage-- my head is already on the chop block...

Okay, my head is already on the chop block. The nice thing about "crossing the line" is that once you've crossed it, you might as well take the baton and run with it. ;-)

Oh, the things that happen in small towns. The back-biting and manipulation. The social pressure and stigmas. It would be almost humorous if it weren't so darn frustrating.

I have seen many Vote Yes signs...and even a "Vote Yes" t-shirt.
(I wonder what will happen to those shirts, signs, buttons after next week?
Trash? And who is funding that? What a waste...)

Just for comparisons sake, let's look at the other area schools and facilities, shall we?

First up is the John McDonnell Field, built in 2006. Yes, I know this isn't a school.
But we'll get there.
Just wanted to throw this in because I find it interesting. It will be "state of the art for a track facility," says Michigan Coach Ron Warhurst. The facility cost about $ 13 million and includes permanent seating for 7, 000 fans, a giant video board, locker rooms and a huge press box. Wow. 13 million for all that. Not bad, right?

Next Up: Rogers Heritage High School. Should open this fall. Cost estimate $115 per square foot, for 330,000 square feet. Ouch. But this one even has buildings centered around a terraced courtyard. Pur-ty.

Here's a great one: Massive Springdale Har-Ber High School, completed in 2005. Have you seen this baby? Looks like a college campus building! At 385,000 sq. ft., that is something to boast about, right? Wow.

And it only cost $88.00 per sq ft.

Compare that to the estimate of $140 per square foot that Siloam projects,

which does NOT include another 3 million for site development and

10 million for technology & furnishing...

(if that didn't make you suck your breath in, maybe you should read it again!)

Estimated Building Size in Square Feet: 286,798
Projected Construction Cost: $40,151,720
Furniture, Fixtures, Fees: $10,037,930
Site Development Cost: $3,011,379
Construction Costs: $140/sq. ft.

This is taken from their own site. Absolute fact.

Now Bentonville voters just rejected a proposed millage increase in March.

The district asked voters to approve a 3.99-mill increase in property taxes

(compare that to our proposed 5.4 mill increase!!)

The increase would have made the district's millage rate 44.09 mills,

the seventh highest rate in Arkansas.

Well, ours right now is around 52, and will go up to 57.5 if this passes.

So what would that rank us??

So, you see, it's not just a gripe about taxes.

Or about funding public education.

Or about buildings.

It's about using the money wisely that they are entrusted with.

And when we make this kind of comparison,

it becomes very obvious that Siloam is being a bit extravagant.

Maybe they're aching for the big city flair.

Maybe it is just about having something to boast about,

like the paper said

(what poor wording.)

Education is really about learning.

It's about imparting knowledge and leading children into a

lifetime love of learning.

And, for that, large expensive buildings are not necessary.

We do not need to outdo everyone else.

We do not need to pay almost twice as much per square foot as Springdale's HarBer high, just to have something better.

Who can afford that?? This is not about one-upping everyone else.

It should be about education.

A very serious part of education in any field is training in wise use of funding.

How to get the most for the money...

not how to spend the most money to get something....

53 million is NOT necessary.
I Voted NO.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Playground

Well, it was a lot of work. I got my share of blisters, splinters, and ripped clothing...but now it is done, and we're enjoying the fruits of our labor! The kids LOVE it, and have already spent hours and hours playing. I have many people to thank: My dad for going with Fred to pick it up. Not an easy task. My uncle Chris for attempting to help Papaw put some things together. Heh. Papaw, for working diligently with me while he was here on vacation. And, most of all, my darling husband for helping construct and decorate the playground! This is a wood burning that Fred did for The Artist. We nailed in in the tower.
It has one coat of polyurethane, but it may need another.
The birdhouse that The Artist and The Naturalist painted, is nailed above the trapeze handles. Let's hope no birds poop on their heads. ;-)
We nailed a wooden snake and tiger up by the look-out.
You can see that LiveWire was helping by putting one of his superheroes up there also.
My flag banner thing is nailed to the playset as well.
It looks better there and gives them some more shade.
Yes, a lot of work. But totally worth it!!
Ethan said today that when he is a dad he will build his kids a playset, too. :-)
Awwww... Now, what to do with all the "extra" parts? ;-)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

WendyJanelle and The Sun-Kissed Savages

It's me!-- My site just had another makeover! You know how I enjoy mixing things up and beautifying spaces.

I've had a few emails and comments, that people didn't recognize me.

I should have announced it! :-)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Be informed about your taxes, and vote!

First, thank you to all my supportive friends who contributed to this Q & A. I appreciate your encouragement and help. And, by the way, I am a home educator. People like to bring that up, as if it's the "why" of my stand against this. I'm actually the only home educator who helped with this information. (In fact, one public school teacher got in on it, too. Thanks, girl!) We all believe that what the local government is asking for far exceeds what they need.

I think it's only fair that we have our own question and answer site. I understand where they are coming from, and I respect that view point. So I expect the same courtesy in exchange.

Now, let’s get down to brass tacks. Here's my PRO-family, PRO-home,
PRO-keep-your-own-money, PRO-wise-spending-for-education information:

What amount of tax increase are we talking about?

Passage of this proposal will increase taxes from 52.1 to 57.5, which is more than 10%. The most famous property-tax revolt occurred in California in 1978 when voters approved Proposition 13, which limited annual increases to 2 percent and led the way for copycat proposals in nearly half the states.

What would the new building cost?

$53,201,029 …yep, you heard right…53 MILLION DOLLARS. I guess we’re building the Taj Mahal.

Actually, they’re projecting $140.34 per square foot…did you know you could build on Hilton Head for that amount of money? Really. Look it up.

How can we afford 53 million dollars?

We can’t. With the economy struggling, people are already cutting costs and trying to stay afloat. I for one, think that money is used most wisely by the family who earns it.

Will local small businesses be affected?

You bet! Property taxes will go up for them, too. Our small businesses will be hurt as much as residential homes. 10% increase for everyone.

If the state funding follows the student and if the District is growing, why can’t the District build the new high school with the increased state revenue?

The money does follow the child. However, the state Foundation or Matrix rate of funding per student does not include a funding component for facilities. Blah, blah, blah.

This is a faulty system. There’s a tax pot that we can’t dip into. They have enough tax money, but they can’t use it…so they need more tax money. Clear as mud?

When the bond expires, will taxes go back down?

Hahahahaha. Oh, excuse me, I was rolling on the floor. When have you EVER known taxes to just go back down? Only when there is a tax revolt or tax laws are completely reformed. It might take a miracle. So, if this passes, be prepared to pay hundreds more EVERY year from here on out.

How much of our income already goes to taxes?

In 2008, Americans will work 74 days to afford their federal taxes and 39 more days to pay state and local taxes. Meanwhile, buying food requires 35 days of work, clothing 13 days, and housing 60 days. Other major categories are health and medical care (50 days), transportation (29 days), and recreation (21 days). YIKES.

Days Americans Work to Pay Taxes Compared to Other Expenses, 2008

How high are Arkansas’s taxes compared to other states?

Arkansas is ranked 13th in the country in overall tax burden. Four years ago we were ranked 15th. Five years ago we were ranked 29th. We are definitely moving in the wrong direction.

When is the election?

The election is June 10th.
Early voting starts TODAY, June 3rd (and goes through Friday) at the County Clerks on Lincoln Street.
Vote NO to another tax increase.
And, just for fun, if you’d like to look at figures, go here.
If you’d like to see a fun little tax song on YouTube, go here. ;-)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

After God sends the rain...

...we get to play in mud puddles!!

LiveWire goes for a swim in the "ocean." LittleLad checks out the softer puddle pools. Splishity Splash.

I had to take off his soggy diaper and put on a swim diaper.

We have pool passes, but this worked even better today! Check out those joyful little faces!

Then Littlelad caught us some din-din...

The Naturalist took a canoeing break down the river.

The Artist and LiveWire quickly followed suit.

When you pray for rain, expect the joy of puddles to follow.

Hope you all had a blessed, fun, and safe day!

Floodin' Funnies

I'm still undecided on a nickname for my crazy third-born. For now he will be LiveWire.

LiveWire at 4:30am "There's a TOMATO outside!" It was really hailing and woke us all up.

LiveWire at 10:30am, excitedly watching the water rise, flooding homes and cars around us, "Daddy, it's the OCEAN here."

LiveWire at 1pm, when he was told it was time to come inside to eat, "Okay, sure, but I'm just fishin'."