Monday, March 28, 2011

Toyboxes & More Giveaway!

Be sure you head over to the Crafty Classroom blog and checkout the Toyboxes & More Giveaway!

Here is a little info from the Toyboxes and More website: offers high quality, affordable Wood Toy Boxes that are perfect for children of all ages; All of our products are built for real kids in the real world. The furniture and toys featured in our store are built to pass on for generations and make fantastic gifts and keepsakes. Our goal is to inspire children with the power of their imagination through unique and creative heirloom-quality wooden toys and room furnishings.

All you have to do is register an account with Toyboxes & More, and leave a comment on the Crafty Classroom blog telling her that you'd like to enter the contest and that you've created your account. Of course, if you already have one, just mention that. There are a couple of other things you can do for extra entries - like blogging about it! :-D

One lucky winner will receive a very cool Wooden Bead Maze. I know my little guy will enjoy it, and so will the many smallish visitors that come to my house. Make sure you go over and enter to win!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Aquarium Update

Abbie told me at the beginning of the school year that she wanted to study aquatic plants. I had no idea what we were going to do to accomplish that, until my mom reminded me that we could set up a fish tank. We still had a 20 gallon tank left from all the fish tanks we used to have, so we got that set up using Diana Walstead's "el Natural" approach. Basically, you put down a layer of potting soil (we used Miracle Gro Organic Choice, at the recommendation of our local fish guru), then tuck the plants in, and then add a layer of gravel on top. You can see a blog post about it here, and someone else's step-by-step instructions here. There's also a forum about it here, I've gotten lots of great help from the folks at Aquatic Plant Central.

To date, we have a breeding pair of dalmation lyretail mollies, and 4 of their babies are now about an inch long. We've recently seen at least one brand-new baby, so that's exciting. Here is a picture of what I'm talking about:

We recently added two golden wonder killifish, and they are a lot of fun. I think they are helping with controlling the molly population, which is good. I believe we have two male fish, so we won't be getting any killi babies.

We also added two creamsicle lyretail mollies. Here is a picture of someone else's:

They are so pretty! Abbie loves them. The female is pregnant, and we currently have her in a little breeding tank until she has her babies. She has figured out how to escape said tank, so we've had to re-capture her several times and put her back in there.

We also added some peppered cory catfish and an algae eater. We have a lot of algae in the tank, and our one little algae eater isn't making much of a dent. I don't think our planted tank plan is working out quite like it should. We shouldn't really need a filter, but we had a BioWheel mini running on it (I believe they are now called BioWheel 100), and it wasn't enough. The water was cloudy, and it just wouldn't clear up, even with frequent water changes. We ended up putting our Eclipse system on the tank. The Eclipse is an awesome system, but it's for more than our tank should need. I don't think the tank is getting enough light for the plants. We're supposed to install two fairly high-powered compact fluorescent lights over the tank specifically for the plants, but we haven't gotten around to doing that, so I think we're going to have to keep the Eclipse in place for now. The water is clearing up nicely. Unfortunately, part of the tube on the filter portion was cracked. Todd repaired it with some electrical tape, but it's LOUD. We ordered replacement parts and I hope they will be there this week. I don't think the fish like the noise.

On a very happy note, I called a fish store in Charlotte called Fintastic, and they are going to find me some julidochromis ornatus!

Todd and I had a breeding pair of them when we lived in Michigan, and we loved them. They had 21 babies, and we had to sell them back to the pet shop. I think they are my all-time favorite fish. We have a little 5.5 gallon tank, and it's all set up and waiting for the julies to come home. I can't wait!

Guidecraft Giveaway!

Head on over to Granola Mom for God for a giveaway for Guidecraft Block Mates Farm Animals! They are very cute. I think Isaac would have a blast with them.

Guidecraft also makes dinosaurs and safari animals. They are all cute! I can't decide which ones I like best, but I think Isaac would prefer the dinosaurs. :-) If we don't win the giveaway, I will have to put them on his wish list!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

I am not having fun today.

I decided to give up Facebook for Lent. I spend a lot of time online playing games and such, and as a homeschooling mom, I really don't have time to do that. Also, I should really focus on finding some friends I can hang out with in real life. I do love my online friends, and am going to miss them terribly for the next few weeks, but it would be fabulous if I could spend time with some folks face to face.

Since I never look at a calendar, I assumed that Lent started today. I was wrong - I could have had another entire week of Facebooking! Rats! However, I know myself, and I know that if I waited until next week to stop, I would have lots of reasons why I shouldn't really have to give up FB. I decided to go ahead and be done today.

I am struggling. Isaac has been having one of "those" mornings. Before I even got up this morning, he'd clogged the downstairs toilet with an entire roll of toilet paper.

While I was having breakfast, he soaked his shirt trying to play with his toy coffee maker, so we had to take it off. Then, he wet his pants, and left wet footprints behind him through the living room as he walked in his wet socks, pants around his ankles, to find me in the kitchen and show me his conundrum.

Shortly after I got him dressed in his second set of clothes for the day, he came downstairs again with no pants on, and told me he'd gone to the bathroom (poo this time) upstairs. He managed to do quite well for himself and didn't even clog the toilet! Good for him.

Next, he found a jar of Nutella that I had clearly not put up high in the pantry, and proceeded to eat it with his fingers under the dining room table. When he was finished, he wiped it on the back of his shirt. Actually, I was glad to discover that it was Nutella on his shirt rather than poo, which I'm sure you understand after reading the previous paragraph.

And then, he got his Cariboo game and decided to fill it with water. The base of the game is a cardboard box which didn't respond favorably. It's currently drying on the front porch.

It's only noon. The girls are supposed to be doing school; their math is taking an inordinately long amount of time and it's all we're going to get done today. We have piano lessons this afternoon, then Emma goes to Girls on the Run, and then we have kids' choir and I have adult choir this evening.

I WANT to go play on Facebook and ignore all of the chaos around me. However, I decided to come share my morning here, which has given me a few moments of peace, and will now go make lunch for us so we can leave for piano. I have been picking up around the house, and trying to get some laundry done. I did not get on Facebook and play games, so I count it as a success! Woo hoo!