Monday, August 13

Ghost (Ella Henderson)

One of the (many) perks of homeschooling is the ability to be flexible and to change the rules mid-stream.  While home schools don't actually need a mascot, we've always chosen one.  Unlike most schools, however, we didn't just pick a mascot and stick with it.  Where's the fun in that?

So each year, based on whatever we will be learning in our year-long unit study, we select a different mascot.
  • One year, when we were studying ancient history, we became the Spartans.  
  • Another year, they named themselves the Bumblebees in honor of their aunt.  
  • Last year, they selected the Patriots, since we were studying early American history and the Revolutionary War.  
This year, as we head into the Westward Expansion and Civil War, they decided to choose an animal - something that exemplified the Old West.  Well...that was the intention at the beginning...

I'd like to thank the good people of Deadwood, South Dakota for their winning enthusiasm and infectious sense of humor.  Thanks to them, for the next year, we are going to be the Ghost Chickens.

To be honest, it's somewhat fitting, since our house also seems to be where good poultry comes to be eaten by coyotes and hawks.  But that's beside the point.  How does one keep a straight face when announcing that they are a Ghost Chicken at school functions?  I love it.  

I look forward a deliciously silly year!  Bock, bock, bock, boooooooooooooooooock!

Ghost Chickens in the Sky 
v.1 A chicken farmer took a walk out on his farm one day
He paused by the coop as he went along his way
When all at once a rotten egg hit him in the eye
It was the sight he dreaded, ghost chickens in the sky
(Squawk and Cluck)

v.2 He'd been a chicken farmer since he was twenty four
Working for the Colonel for thirty years or more
Killing all them chickens and sending them to fry
And now they want revenge, ghost chickens in the sky
(Squawk and Cluck)

v.3 Their beaks were black and shining, their eyes were burning red
They had no meat or feathers, these chickens were dead
They picked the farmer up and he died by the claw
They cooked him extra crispy (pause) and ate him with coleslaw
Ghost chickens in the sky (Cluck)

Monday, August 6

Bullet with Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins)

If your summer road trip passes through Indiana or Illinois, but you have the option of an alternative, may I kindly suggest that you explore that alternative route???  We had the pleasure of having a ten-hour trip turn into a twenty-hour one on our drive yesterday. 
Survive the Long Road Trip!
The trip started out with smiling, happy faces at five o' the morning.  Yes, there are actually two five o'clocks in the day...who knew?  My night owl promptly went back to sleep, while my morning bird bounced around.  Did you guess which was which?
We rolled along swimmingly for a while, stopping at Burger King for a quick breakfast because my son felt sad that he had "never been allowed to go to Burger King before."  He's so deprived.  He got the crown, which apparently was the impetus for the stop.
We continued to drive along and figured that as soon as the schoolwork was done, we'd stop again.  I like to take turns working with each of the boys separately in the backseat, while the other has some one-on-one time with Dad up front.  Unfortunately, we got engrossed, and never got around to taking that pit stop.
Now, you haven't experienced true impatience and frustration until you've sat in the car, on the parking lot that they call the interstate, for four hours.  With two kids bickering in the backseat.  With the car parked.  And everyone has to pee.
See those bushes along the side of the highway?  No, we didn't, but we sure gave it a lot of thought.  We made friends with a few nearby truckers who kept us updated on the radio chatter.  Turns out, there was a lane closure about ten miles ahead.  While there were no accidents, it seems that no one had received the memo on how to merge. 
I did not even know that Vera Mae had a pedestrian mode until she popped up with this!!!  It provided a nice moment of levity for the situation.  While we began to move slowly about an hour later, this was just one of the three times that traffic stops of this magnitude occurred yesterday.
FINALLY, we got to Ohio.  One of the first things we saw was the Budweiser factory (photo lightened), and it was pretty tempting!  A glass of wine for us, and a scoop of ice cream for the kids, and we were ready to settle down and unwind our nerves. 

Wednesday, August 1

Spam (Monty Python)

Did you know that there is an entire museum dedicated solely to SPAM?  Oh yes, there is!  We happened upon this jewel of Americana as we made our way up the road to Wisconsin.  Being in desperate need of a stretch break, we hopped out and took a quick tour.

Do you see our happy faces at being out of the car, if even for only half an hour?  It was a sixteen-hour drive, and the company gave us one day to make it!!!  Lord-a-mercy.
At the SPAM museum, you can learn the history of Hormel Foods, manufacturing processes, and meat preservation techniques all in the same room.  Also, there is a heavy focus on the Depression and World War II years, as SPAM was provided to troops and citizens of war-torn Europe.
Personally, I liked the old radio station that played Burns & Allen shows on a continuous loop, and would have been quite happy to sit a spell and listen!  George & Gracie's late 1930's shows were sponsored by SPAM.  As you make your way through the museum, "Spambassadors" are wandering around handing out "spamples" of their products.
After going through the museum, you can try your hand at SPAM Jeopardy, view Monty Python's Spam-a-lot, and visit the gift store.  Two of us aren't put off by highly processed, potted meats, so a sampler pack was purchased.  They make 44,000 cans each hour, so there's more than plenty from which to choose!
Have you ever wondered what 4,000 cans of SPAM looked like?  (C'mon....I know you have...)  When I asked if Hormel has ever considered making a vegetarian SPAM, he said, "Some people do ask that question.  I tell them it's un-American."

All in all, it was a great, quick stopover.  We wouldn't have made a special trip to Minnesota just to see it, but it was worth the stop.  Did I mention that the museum has free admission???  Ready to make the trip yourself?  Here is some information about going...