Monday, November 17, 2008

Adventuring with Huey & Dewey........

This was a fun filled weekend.
Friday Jeff & I went on a date etc. Billy & Ricky (Huey & Dewey) went to a Contra Dance lesson, dinner with their friends & a Bible Face off, Operation Christmas Child, game playing, dessert eating night.

Saturday We finally made it over to the Underground Gardens. Very impressive! This was of course sandwiched between soccer, music practice & a fencing project.
Sunday We hiked The Way of the Mono Trail after church (Bass Lake) with the Orazem family. We had a lovely picnic lunch at the summit with an wonderful view of the lake & some nice fall colors. We moved our party down to the lake, then over to the patio outside of the Starbucks/Jamba Juice area, and finally to their house for a pizza dinner & video games. A simple 1 hour-ish hike turned into a whole day together.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chi-Tu Do

When Jeff was growing up he wanted to do the whole martial arts thing, there was a summer session or something that he attended...the end. When Billy & Ricky were little guys they began asking if they could be "Karate-Men". We put them off. We didn't want to mess with the whole mysticism aspect common to the martial arts community/programs.
Fast forward to our 1st year of Homeschooling. We were at the Fresno Homeschool Convention when Jeff noticed his buddy on a continual play video showing a martial arts program for Break the Barriers. He stopped & asked the booth attendants about the guy who was teaching in the video. They said he didn't work there anymore & told Jeff he was teaching up in Oakhurst. A phone call was made & that was the start of the Vincent involvment in the Cunnings Chitudo journey.

The name Chitudo means "The Way of Christ" in Korean. They are members of the Christian Black Belt Association. They have badges for memorizing the 10 Commandments, Beatitudes & Amendments of the Constitution.

They pray as they start each class. They have a Warriors Code "To live a life of honor,. embracing my duty to God, family & my fellow men, upholding justice and mercy with courage & humility."

This is a mixed art consisting of Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Shiho Karan Ju Jitsu & Kabaroan Eskrima.

Now? All these years later? All three guys are still going strong. Jeff is now teaching the Children's class & the Adult class. Billy is a Jr. Black belt & a Jr. Instructor. Ricky is moving along quit well & will be there soon himself. They have made some wonderful friends along the way.
The school has been meeting in the local High School. They have recently attained a building of their own. These are exciting times for the Cunnings crew & my family. I pray this dream comes to fruition quickly & easily.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Iron Chefs

When my boys were teeny-tiny I started them in the kitchen. It all started with little kid cookbooks, cookie cutter kits & parenting magazine ideas. When they were in the beginning years of schooling I was in charge of "fellowship days" in our homeschool co-op. I had a rotation system of yard games, crafts & cooking projects for elementary children to participate in.
As the years went by I researched what each civilization that we studied would have eaten. We had a meal at the end of each unit. Sometimes we invited friends, sometime we just had a family dinner. I have carried over family favorites & holiday traditions from my childhood. I have picked up recipes from Jeff's family. I have created new traditions by adding my own newly acquired recipes.
I have been compiling a cookbook for my boys to take with them when they grow up & leave me. I have recipes from a friends family (traditional Mexican food) I have recipes from my Grandma (both Southern American & Armenian) I have recipes from Aunt Beckie's High School Home Ec. Class as well as my own class. There is a variety from family, friends & our own additions. I have written a story by each recipe, so the book is going to be quit the keep sake. (thanks for the idea Becky)
I remember loving to cook from a young age. I have memories of looking through cookbooks for recipes I wanted to try, showing them to my Mom & her buying what I needed to make whatever treasure I hunted. That is what I have done for my boys. They are trained. They have been set free in the kitchen. They love watching Food Network. They have a collection of cookbooks from there favorite shows. We also have cookbooks from different books read such as "The Redwall Cookbook".
A monthly dinner menu is posted on our refrigerator. Each boy is given two days a month to cook. All that I require is that they make a balanced meal & stick to what they have decided to cook, after all the ingredients have been purchased.

This is what they have made so far in this school year (Sept., Oct. & part of Nov.)

Shrimp & Hot Root Soup (Redwall)
Spaghetti, Garlic Bread & Green Salad
Breakfast on a Stick & Sliced Gala Apples
Tri tip Hoggies with Grilled Sweet Red Onions & Sweet Orange Bell Peppers
Enchiladas & Kiwi Slices

Moles Deeper-n-Ever Turnip & Tator deep Rot Pie with Rutabaga & Sausage. (Redwall)
Garlic Roasted Dungeness Crab, Fennel Ricotta Skillet Bread & Pomegranates
Truly Texan Chili, Corn Bread & Corn on Cob
Shrimp Scampi with Linguini & Green Salad
Sour Cream Potato Soup, Gingered Steak Strips & Boiled Carrots.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"I learned most , not from those who taught me but from those who talked with me" -Augustine

Electronic Devices

Jeff & I represent different ends of the spectrum on the subject of electronics.
When our boys were younger I had my thumb firmly planted on the situation. As little guys they knew the phrase, "no more electronic devices" They were only allowed a certain amount of time, period. That included T.V., movies, radio & computer games. When I left for an afternoon or evening B & R got really excited. It was party time! No time limits with Dad.
Over the years Jeff has seen the error of his ways. He began making the boys run off steam as well as preform manual labor duties. Then the three would sit down for video games or whatever with no time limit.
I have let go of the electronic noose. I have seen the light, so to speak, of Net Flicks. I order many educational or time period movies to supplement our schooling. Now that B&R are older & stay home alone from time to time they play more video games. I kinda like that because I know they aren't getting themselves into mischief, they are numbed-out in front of the TV. I have submitted to movies I don't like as they have gotten older, things I would never watch but the guys enjoy. I've succumbed to the cellphone because I like the ability to call my sons when they are away & vis-versa. I've allowed the ipod to enter our world although I don't like it attached to my boys. I think that makes it too easy to go off into your own world. Books on tape, Music CD or the radio are on a lot around here. We ultilize music, typing & foreign language computer programs.
We do block their ability to get on the computer if we are not home. They will NOT have TVs or computers in their rooms. Jeff regularly monitors their my space & email accounts. No video games, radio, emails or my space is allowed until all school work & chores are completed.
Hey, look at me, I'm writing a blog. It wasn't that long ago that I wouldn't even use the computer. I'm still in the world of "rarely use your cell phone". It's who I am. I would rather share some tea & chat face to face. I would rather see kids making projects, exploring outdoors, experimenting with different art mediums. theres is so much to life, so live it, don't watch it!
Billy & Ricky have finally bought their beloved wii. They worked real hard for it. I'm proud of them for setting a goal & accomplishing it. They have been trying to convince me all along that the wii is great for exercise. So last night I watched them play. It is true, you can get a good work out, if you choose the right settings. I would still rather see them hike our property etc....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Marine World?

Marine World is no more. It is now called Discovery Kingdom.

Yesterday we went to "Homeschool Day". We got in for a discount price, less then half of the original amount. The park was closed to the general public so even with all the homeschoolers, the lines were minuscule, very cool.

The park is much different now. When I went as a teen the emphasis was on the animTals. Now its the thrill rides. Don't get me wrong, I liked the rides & there was quit a few animals opportunities. I was just reminiscent of when my Mom, Monica & I went. I have always talked about that trip & wanted to take my family. I was disappointed in that I didn't get to share my memories with them. But, we made new awesome memories.

We went on every big & moderate ride, some even twice. We scared ourselves out of our wits! The bird show was neat, I love hearing them talk. I was reminded of the majesty of the feathered kingdom. The dolphin show was a treat, they are so sweet. We have decided to do the dolphin encounter program next year. Of course the killer whale show was our favorite. We sat right in the front, in the middle. Billy & Jeff got off easy, just a slight sprinkle. Ricky & I got a bath! I planned for that, I brought a change of clothes for everyone. We spent a lot of our time looking at walruses, seals, sea lions, giraffes etc.. We really liked the animal exhibits. An unforgettable moment was when Giant butterflies landed on Ricky & Billy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Photo Scavenger Hunt

The Boys both participated in a Photo Scavenger Hunt throughout the shops at River Park. Again, they were not placed on the same team-no biggy. They were given a list of places to go. On that list were also assignments to be completed at each spot. Such as "go to Target & find a shield, take a picture using it" or find the big horse & play horsey" This horse is obviously in front of P.F. Chang's. These photos were open to interpretation & you got points for the most creative choices.
After the Scavenger Hunt the crew went to the new Me & Eds across from Edwards. They had an awesome time in the giant new arcade. Billy's team won. The prize was pizza gift cards. Being teenage boys, they bought more pizza right then & there. FOOOOD!!!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

These are the days of our lives......

Yep, more drama!

First off, last weekend we made plans for this weekend...didn't happen.

Instead of soccer, seeing Madagascar 2 at the theater, going to a 4-H fundraiser dinner in Lemoore & Christmas shopping. We went to the emergency room (in Hanford), went to the aid of a dear friend (in the Chos) & worked on putting up an invisible fence for our turkey-butt Dalmatian & Chocolate Lab.

Eddy, our Dalmatian ran away. He was frightened by the thunder & lightening storm. We called, we posted, we prayed, we waited. He was gone for 3 days, but we do have him back with us. However, now he knows how to leave & has tried. He is on house arrest until we get the invisible fence up. Unfortunately it began to rain as the guys were working on that project. It is only half done. Guess what next weekend entails....

Sunday was a little more fun. After church Billy & Ricky went to a missionary friends going away party. Jeff & I took a long drive through a forest of autumn colors & ate some comfort food at a local diner. We picked up Kung Fu Panda on the way to get the boys, which we watched that evening. It was Billy's turn to cook. He made Spicy Shrimp Scampi w/ Linguini & a Green Salad.

We did manage to get school pictures & shop for our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes (x6) done this week. We had a nice visit with the Orazem girls & the guys all enjoyed the special Chitudo sessions with Ramero. The week wasn't completely wacked.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"For thousands of years, in thousands of places,
families educated their own. 

This tradition changed not because a better method was found,

but because economic conditions required it. 

To work one had to leave ones children. 

Ones children, furthermore, had to be trained for tasks no one in their purview could be seen doing. 

For these reasons institutionalized schooling was invented,

and while it adequately addressed a set of economic problems,

it inspired a new set of human ones that are psychological, emotional and even spiritual in nature"

-David Guterson

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bible Face Off

Our Homeschool group has started a Bible Face off League. Billy & Ricky are on separate teams containing 5 teens each. It plays kinda like Family Fued, however they jump up, instead of buzzing. They compete once a month. At the end of the school year they will have their grand finale.
Billy & Ricky have been great about helping each other study, even though they are not on the same team-I love that. Of course they have been busy at Star bucks & other such meeting places to study with their teammates. So again, a once a month things...isn't. They are having a great time with this & learning as well.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Big Fresno Fair

We went to Educational Day at the fair, which got us in free! I'm so glad I no longer have kidlets. I always felt the need to go over the history of the fair, its importance yada-yada-yada.....I mean they let us in for free. The boys have the story down, so I'm done.
We watched the pigs races, looked at giant produce, rocks, art, watched break dancers & ate our favorite Fair Foods.
Since today was also Christian Day we stayed after all the schools went home. Then it was off to the Midway. Billy & Ricky had earned enough money from their Grandparents to buy wrist bands for the whole day. So off they went to this ride & that ride over & over again!
We ended our day at the Newsboys Concert, one of Billy & Ricky's favorite bands. They were Awesome!!
We all had a great time. The boys had enough money left over to buy a Newsboys Souvenir.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

"I am much afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, 

unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, 

and engraving them in the hearts of the youth. 

I advise no one to place his child where the
scriptures do not reign paramount. 

Every institution in which means are not increasingly occupied with the word of God must be corrupt." 

Martin Luther