Homeschooling Huzzah!

We are half-way through our first year homeschooling.

I have to say, I am really opening my mind to some cool new ideas; new to me anyway. At first, I started by trying to mimic the public schoolroom. Strict rigid schedule, desk, worksheets, etc…

That all really quickly fell apart, and my stress level skyrocketed.  Pushing her to keep up we both were miserable. Add in our regular play dates, holidays, birthdays, LIFE and my homeschool vision was just crumbling. I kept thinking, she has to keep up with the public school!

But then… does she? Really? Isn’t the point of me homeschooling because I want something different for her beyond the industrial machine of mass schooling?

I live in a “strict” state; who’s homeschooling regulations are comparatively stricter than other states. Homeschoolers in my state are more regulated and “watch-dogged” then say someone in a comparatively lax state. I have to declare my intent at the beginning of each year in the form of a notarized document, the district gives me a list of mandatory subjects I have to cover and at the end of the year we need to be evaluated by a professional; including examples of learning and progress. We also are required by our local district to give proof of medical services and provide a projected learning schedule and number of days we will do minimum. Being that my original intent was not unschooling, and I have never experienced homeschooling regulations in another state I had no problem doing all of this. However there are those who have objections to such things.

We have done so many fun things so far this year. I am currently considering not only doing homeschooling next year for first grade, but also going to a more year-round approach. The curriculum I wrote ends on May 31st 2016, however I am really considering writing up a lite work summer curriculum.

The further I get into this homeschool web the more I learn, saying nothing of what my Kindergarten girl and two toddlers are learning. I originally began feeling forced into this, as she misses the cut-off for entry based on age. I huffed and growled and decided that fine my smart and very ready Kindergartner can just be homeschooled this year and if I do a crappy job then no harm no foul she will be ahead for next year.

It is so much more now. It has become in such a short amount of time our way of life and as I envision our future I see nothing but possibilities. I am amazed how easily it has fit our lifestyle and our dreams of the future. Especially since I have begun to change MY attitude of what “school” means. Learning is so much more then just “schooling.” That is such an obvious thing to say. I grew up “in the system.” A daycare baby before my third month of life and put into Kindergarten at age four and that’s how it was. I saw the flaws even as a child and especially as a teenager but that’s the way it’s done right?

It doesn’t have to be. I love that we get to sleep in. I love that we don’t have to miss family time together. I love seeing her learning and being a part of that. I love how easy it is some days. (Yes, it’s REALLY hard some days too!!!) I love that we can do this anywhere and are not “stuck” here. I love everything new that I am learning and the relationship I am continuing to build with my babies. I love how happy she is to do her lessons (most days!)

I am in no way implying I can teach a classroom of kids, or even that public schools are bad places. Heck no. I am saying that this works for our family and I am genuinely excited for the possibilities and growth we are going through.

I can’t wait to see where this takes us!


Working on her Flamingo habitat.


Stories About Circumcision: One Midwife’s Perspective

This is great:

Wake Up, Mama!

circ photo

Circumcision can be a touchy subject. Parents are in the unenviable position of having to make this important and permanent decision for their sons with a lot of conflicting information. Those who choose to fully investigate the issue find an overwhelming spectrum of opinions amidst the facts, and most will encounter heated debate in the media, their social circles, or even within their own families. They hear from staunch defenders on medical, cultural, or religious grounds. They hear from others who consider the procedure unnecessary but relatively benign.  They hear from those who see it as a human rights violation, ethically no different from female circumcision common to other cultures.

As you may have guessed, I am among those who hopes cultural change will make circumcision a distant memory. In the future, I suspect we will all be scratching our heads in disbelief that this is what we used to…

View original post 2,384 more words

Talkin’ ’bout Breastfeeding Mama Talk

You all know I am a big breastfeeding advocate; fairly active on FB sites as well as the real world. I am asking my friends and followers who “like” Breastfeeding Mama Talk to “unlike” the page.

Here is why: The other day they posted an article I disagreed with. As you do on FB, I commented such. Then went to bed and didn’t think about it anymore.

Not only was my comment deleted but the I am no longer able to comment or “like” any of the posts they post (but I can still see them.) This means the mod has restricted me. I was wondering why my seemingly unpopular opinion was in such minority. Now I know; pretty sure they are deleting comments that disagree. Not cool in my opinion, especially for a site that claims to promote discussion. It seems they only want one side of the story.

One comment in disagreement with what they posted and suddenly I am all but banned outright. Not the kind of page I want to support. I obviously cant tell you what to do. But I thought I would share this anyway just to have the information out there.

For full clarity; I posted what some would call a “judgey” post. However, I have seen MUCH worse online and on this page in the comments. I do not have a copy of what I said exactly; I didn’t think it was going to be delete worthy so I didn’t think to save it. The gist was to stop enabling moms who get high while pregnant and breastfeeding. (Actually, I am thinking about blogging this topic.) To stop telling the mom who cant get through the day without getting high (Quoting here) that its OK. To stop thinking this is a “cake or death” situation that only has two options (get high/abuse/use a substance of some kind or die/suffer) I also quoted a scientific article that Breastfeeding Mama Talk themselves kept posting in the comments as if to justify this enabling; copy/pasting direct quotes from the article which clearly states the opposite of what the original article says.

The mods also deleted all my reply comments about how the cannabinoids found in breastmilk are in the same family however have key chemical differences then the cannabinoids found in pot. There are over 70 different types of cannabinoids and yes breastmilk (as well as other systems in our body) produce various types of cannabinoids and we thus have receptors for them this does NOT mean that getting high from THC is healthy or good for a developing baby. But that information and more is for the blog I really should write on this subject.

Anyway; it is here for you to decide for yourselves. Do you think it is right that Breastfeeding Mama Talk is apparently deleting comments that disagree with them? If so; let them know; spread the word and “unlike.”

A Brief Catch-You-Up

Hello Hello Again Internet-land!

Here I am again. With a 6 month old asleep on my chest, a 2 year old napping in bed and a 4 year old having quiet play-time.

Yes, we did it again. Little Gooey joined Mogwai and Pumpkinhead in our wonderful family of five humans and two felines. She came comparably quickly a few days before Christmas. Hubby then promptly got himself neutered. Except; the way they do it to humans so really not a “neuter.” I will perhaps write a blog about her birth story later.

I am back where I belong zookeeping again as well. I found a wonderful facility that has been so flexible to allow me to continue to spend the majority of my time with the kids; but still let me work enough to be sane and have some of my pre-baby identity back. I am very pleased with my current work situation.

We started our homeschooling journey a few months back. Well, I started it as I am doing all of the preparatory work. We have been introducing the concept of schooling at home to Pumpkinhead and she seems fine so far. We don’t officially start until September 1st. I will try to blog about it. We have a lot of reasons for homeschooling, none of which I am going to go into with this entry.

Hubby is enjoying his creative freedom at work and getting to do what he loves; cook for people and make them happy.

We celebrated five years of marriage this year. Hooray! Went to the spa together, got a fancy-schmancy upscale hotel room. Ended up with Gooey staying with us that night as she wouldn’t eat for Gramma and wouldn’t sleep. Such is having kids! We still had an amazing time and I can not even begin to imagine how I got so lucky as to have the life I have now.

We also a while back moved into a better and bigger apartment with an amazing back yard.

I also turned 30 this year… mixed feeling on that of course. On one hand, looking back at my accomplishments and what I have lived through I feel pretty proud. On the other hand I feel like I have so much more to do! For now, happy in my space.

January 2015

January 2015

My Sleep Deprivation

First the good news. Hubby got a promotion! While it is not the giant raise we were hoping for, it is certainly better than what we have been barely making ends meet with the past year. It will still take at least this month to get our finances figured out but we are back on the right track anyway!

Also, CHRISTMAS SOON. We have the tree up right now. No lights yet but we have it decorated besides. That makes me feel pretty good. The house smells amazing; that nice woody pine smell. I managed to get the kids some really nice gifts, not a lot but what I did get is pretty nice. They will both be happy. (Pictures after the Holiday)

On to baby issues. Mogwai is getting so big, his first teeth, sitting up on his own. He is even starting to want to explore (read: move!) and is so squirmy. He is also having a bit of a sleep problem. We try to be fair here as far as letting people rest. So hubby and I have been taking turns. With Pumpkinhead, Hubby worked until 2-3 am sometimes so bedtime was all on me no matter what. Consequently I was the only one who could get her down to bed. I love that his new job he is home in time to help me put her to bed and to help with him all night.

We have been putting him in his swing to sleep. By we, I mean Hubby. As Mogwai wont let me put him down in the swing. For one, if he sleeps near me he wakes constantly wanting to nurse and wont sleep unless I am holding him all night. Which is wonderful, but not very restful. For two, I can get him to fall asleep no problem, but when it comes time to put him down (crib or swing) he wakes every time. Every. Single. Time. You can see the dilemma. On nights like last night when Hubby had to be up at 5 am to open the restaurant I stayed up and took charge of Mogwai. Needless to say, it did not go well. We ended up both finally  asleep on the couch, Mogwai nestled in my arms, me partially asleep partially awake him out like a light. He even slept thru Hubby leaving for work. That is, until Pumkinhead woke up at 7 am and came downstairs. Also needless to say, everyone is pretty cranky this morning. Except Pumpkinhead. She slept like a hibernating chipmunk all night. So she is pretty happy. That’s a relief anyway.

I have no idea what we are going to do about this sleep situation. I also have to work tonight so I wont be sleeping tonight either, or tomorrow night. Again; work. Whats the saying about being able to sleep when you dead? That makes me wonder; if dying is sleeping then where do you wake up when you are rested?

I love watching his personality develop. He is so determined and stubborn. He loves to snuggle, and he is kind of lazy. I miss my little newborn too though. It goes so fast. I feel like this whole summer just flew by. This past year has just been such a blur. I almost don’t feel like I even have the same life. Mostly because I don’t. So much change in such a short time. I have been working on trying to slow down. Trying to live in the moment. Trying not to freak out about the future. Trying to enjoy the now. You get the idea.

As always, it’s one day at a time.

PS… we still don’t have a mattress; and the air mattress has sprung a hole. One day we can have a big people bed again! Lets hope for it before Christmas!

A Great Conversation

At my job last night working the graveyard I ran into a young lady who really made my night.

It was probably about 4 am and like me she was awake and busy. We began chit-chatting about this and that and she mentioned her studies in animal behavior, she is currently working on her Bachelors degree. I asked her if she planned to go into zookeeping and she enthusiastically said “yes!”

Of course I then spent the next hour having a wonderful conversation with this up and coming potential keeper. Everything from zoo internal politics to best brands of boots and work socks. The bonds we form with the animals, the unexpected highs and lows and of course some of the more comical aspects of keeping. We discussed the difference between an animal caretaker and an animal collector, the importance of networking, AAZK, and conferences, the sadness at losing an animal for any reason but the ability to know what is the best choice and how to deal with that. Whales and elephants in captivity, moral duty vs. wild population and saving species. The horror stories and the caution of always keeping your wits about you. We also spoke of my own path and how I realized quite quickly after my daughter was born that I was becoming a liability simply because I couldn’t maintain that level of focus while raising a small child. We spoke about how I can’t wait to get back into it in a few years when the kids are ready.

She took down my email and I hope to hear from her on her progress in the field. She certainly had that passion and fire for it. She seemed very interested in all of my so-called wisdom. It felt good to be mentoring someone in a subject I care about again. It was a very pleasant night. I am so happy that even though I am not directly affecting my field at the current moment, perhaps in some small way I can help influence its future development.

Currently listening to Amanda Palmer and enjoying my evening with the kids (despite my cold.)

Scammed by Kim’s Cake Creations

I have decided to write this blog, partly as a way to vent, but also as a warning to anyone around the Harrisburg area who needs a cake.

I am a firm believer in moral integrity and good business practices. Honesty breeds loyalty. One of the things that gets to me the most is dishonest people. People in this day and age ought to be forthright and take pride in their work!

To sum up, I wanted a cake for my daughter’s birthday. I had a good friend recommend a woman, I went to her Facebook page and saw other cakes that didn’t look bad and thought it would be a good match since my friend so highly recommended her.  My husband picked up the cake the morning of my daughter’s birthday and brought it home and I was just shocked by what I saw.

I attempted to reach some kind of understanding with Kim, gave her the chance to make up for her mistake. Everyone makes them, I can understand that. The responses I got I just could not believe! I honestly would have even been happy if she had just offered to pay the fee for having to cancel the check and gave me a sincere apology for her mistake. Her unwillingness to accept any blame for her “creation” shows how truly insincere her apologies are. She even accused me of STEALING from her, and made claims that many professional bakers don’t finish icing their cakes! Absolutely ridiculous!

Her attitude of “not my problem”  and excuses and passing along the blame is just shameful for a business person.

Perhaps writing this blog isn’t the most professional or adult thing to do either but at this point I feel I MUST warn people about who they are getting involved with when they order from Kim’s Cake Creations. I do not see any other way to do that at this point then in this medium.

Here is the back and forth correspondence between myself and business owner Kim. I have changed the name of my friend who recommended me to this unprofessional and dishonest woman for her privacy. I also changed the date of my daughter’s birthday and replaced my real name with “ME.”I also removed all numbers and addresses for privacy sake.

I leave you to decide for yourself if you really wish to take a chance doing business with her.


  • Conversation started October 11
  • ME


    Hello! Shelly* referred me and said you make awesome cakes and dont charge an arm and a leg lol I was looking for someone to make a milkshake shaped cake for my daughters 3d birthday in November. about 15-20 guests, most of them little kids so small pieces. Would you be able to do something like that? How much might that cost? I will send you a picture of what i mean so you can have a better idea. THANKS!

  • October 16

    Kims Cake-Creations


    Shouldn’t be a problem. Just need to know the date to confirm if I am open.

  • October 16



    November *date change*

  • October 18

    Kims Cake-Creations


    Will you need the cake for the *th? That is a *day. Aslo, the pic looks like it is a cake baked withing a milkshake cup. If that is what you want, I won’t be able to do it. If you would like an all cake milkshake, I would be able to do that. It would need to be just one flavor. I could do it for $25. If you are still interested in me making the cake for you, please let me know the specifics. Thank you, Kim



    yep her party is November *th (*day) at 3:30 pm I just sent the pict of the milkshake just as an inspiration for what the cake could look like I was thinking a 3d white cake with like cream filling, like pastry cream. Looking like the milkshake with the “whipped cream” on top, all cake of course lol. And the strawberry, I like the strawberry. that could be modeling chocolate I suppose if a real strawberry would be too small. Up to you, you know what your doing. I could come pick it up as well so you dont have to deliver it all the way to ****. (we live in ***, but her party is at **** in ****) My number is *** (text ok too)




    Kims Cake-Creations


    Okay, I can do that. I would just need to know what day/time you will be picking up the cake. We live in **** as well. ***** Harrisburg, PA *******



    Maybe the morning of the *th? how long will it keep in the fridge?

  • October 20



    do you think it might taste better with like a strawberry cream filling?

  • October 20

    Kims Cake-Creations


    I work, but I can make sure that my husband is home when you come. Strawberry filling would probably not be a good idea, from a stability stand point.




  • November 1



    Quick question, about how tall will the cake be and about how big around (approximately?) It will be the centerpiece for our buffet table and want to make sure I match everything up accordingly… Also, we have had a few last minutes guests sign on, how much would it be to make the cake for about 30 people instead of 20? Again, 15-18 will be toddlers so the pieces don’t have to be huge. There will be about 10 adults now though.

  • November 7

    Kims Cake-Creations


    It will probably be about a foot tall. In order for it to serve more people I can place it on top of a square cake that looks like a tablecloth. Price would be $35. Do you still want all white cake?



    That sounds great! all white cake is fine, dont want to make it too complicated. Doing a 3d cake is complicated enough! …do you want me to send you a picture of the tablecloth we got for her party?? I don’t know if you would be able to match it??



    our cups and tablecloth.

    —-Pictures of cups and tablecloth—–

  • Monday



    What time tomorrow is good to pick up? my cell number is ***** we will be needing to be at the party by 3pm to decorate, its in ***** so maybe we can pick up ion the way? how long can the cake stay out? or should we refrigerate when we arrive?

  • Monday

    Kims Cake-Creations


    I do not have to be at work until 8:15 AM tomorrow and my husband will be home util at least 8:45. If that doesn’t work for you, you can pick it up about 2:30 PM. I will just make sure that my husband is home at that time. The cake can stary out, it won’t need to be refrigerated, unless you want too.

  • Monday



    we can pick up between 8-8:30 if that works

    Kims Cake-Creations


    That works out perfectly.

  • Tuesday



    Kim, hello. This is ******’s Mom. I left you a phone message also – ***** is very busy getting ready for Pumpkinhead’s* party and asked me to contact you about the cake. Honestly, we are BOTH very disappointed in this cake! (***** is actually furious!) We were expecting a 3D cake – which would have a fondant cover, it does not, and even without the fondant cover, which we could’ve lived without, the quality of the cake is unacceptable! The filling is oozing out of the sides, the milkshake glass is leaning to one side, (we are afraid it’s going to fall over!) and parts of the cake show through the frosting – ie; not enough frosting on the cake! It just looks like crap. We did not drop it or anything like that. We have pictures of how it looked like when we picked it up. We are trying to “fix” it best we can. We went to the store and bought $10.00 worth of fondant to try and wrap the cake, (keep it from falling over!) but with so many other things we have to do today I don’t know if this’ll work. We will probably just have to call Tops and get a sheet cake for Pumpkinhead’s* party! These cakes cost $40.00 or more! (AND -One more thing for us to do today!) ***** has called the bank and stopped payment on your check. A $10.00 fee. We don’t have a lot of money, and **** said she used you because you came so highly recommended, and from the photos you have have posted on your FaceBook page, your cakes look much different that the one we have for Pumpkinhead’s* party! ****** just told me there’s a giant crack going down through the middle of the cake! Again, VERY UNACCEPTABLE. Bottom line here Kim, obviously we are not paying for this and expect you to pay us the $10.00 for the fondant and the $10.00 check fee. And, if the fondant that we bought to “fix” this does not make a cake fitting for a little girl’s 3rd birthday party, we expect you to pay for the generic “replacement” cake that we may have to purchase at the last minute! You have both our phone numbers.

  • Tuesday

    Kims Cake-Creations


    I am sorry that you are upset with the cake. The cake is in fact 3D. Also, I reviewed our correspondence and nowhere in our conversation did **** state that she wanted the cake covered in fondant. As far as the “not enough frosting on the cake”, that can happen with any bakery, and frequently does. The cake will not fall apart or fall over, as it is secured with wooden dowels. There were no giant cracks down the the center of the cake when I left it this morning. What happens during transport, is not my issue. If the cake is not supported correctly, then it may cause crakcing (if, you did not hold the cake underneath, but held it, on either side). Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of the cake, as it was, prior to pick up, so I guess that’s my issue. If you would have spoken to me, prior to stopping payment on the check, I would have gladly given it back to you.



    Kim, these are the pictures we took. It’s the weight of the top that is causing the filling to ooze out the sides and the cake to crack, not the way the box was carried. A professional baker would NEVER leave cake showing through the frosting, and the dowels are useless if the cake is set upon them crooked. We removed the layer of the frosting on the top part of the cake to put on the fondant, and noticed those layers are on the dowel off center. See the picture. Even with the fondant, the cake looks like crap. Plus, now the chips have started to slide down the side of the cake too. It’s been sitting on the counter all day. We went to The PA Bakery and bought two cakes from them for $50.00. ****** showed them pictures of your cake, and they said, “we can’t believe she let you walk out of there with a cake that looks like that. We would never sell a cake that looked like that. It looks messy and half done.”

    This is how the cake looked upon arrival. we did nothing but carry it into the house.

    This is the cake upon arrival, unaltered

    After we added fondant to try and rescue it

    after we scrapped off a little icing, you can see how poorly it was constructed

    After we scraped off a little icing to prep for fondant. total time sitting on the counter was under an hour. you can see how the top of the cake is sinking into the bottom and cracking it

    the cake upon arrival unaltered

    another view after we scraped off a little icing to prep for the fondant. you can see the poor construction and how it is leaning and sinking into the bottom causing the bottom to crack. total time out on the counter was under an hour.

    Kims Cake-Creations


    I apologize for not calling, but I am at work and I am unable to use my cell phone and I cannot use my work phone for personal call. I am writing this on my break, so it has to be quick.

    I am not a professional baker, nor does my facebook page say so, and……… trust me professional bakers do let cake show through the frosting. I have paid for enough of them to know. It even happend with my wedding cake.

    Bottom Line:

    1. You took possession of the cake and provided payment and took it from my home. This implies that you were satisfied with the product. (Did you say anything about your concerns to my husband?) You did not have to take the cake. You could have refused it and refused to make payment.

    2. You modified the cake on your own. You bought the fondant to try and fix what you thought was wrong. You did not ask me to replace the cake. I would have more than gladly made a new cake. I would have even delivered it for you.

    3. You stopped payment on the check, but still have the cake, so technically you have stolen from me.

    I am sorry that you were unhappy and you were stressed out about this. I hope your cakes from PA Bakery are wonderful, and again I am very sorry.

    Thank you,


  • Today



    I am absolutely flabbergasted that you think this is good business management. I did not pick the cake up, my husband did. I trusted that you could do what I was paying you for. Your refusal to take responsibility for your mistake is just incredulous!

    You have done nothing but make empty apologies and try to shove the blame off on us.

    We “modified” the cake in order to try and salvage it since my daughters birthday was only hours away. I did not ask you to replace the cake because I wanted a cake that I could present to our guests that would be done correctly.

    Later that night we also dissected your cake. True there were dowels, off centered. The cake was burned into about a half inch in. The cake was rock hard and difficult to cut, and although I did not taste it, my mother said it “tasted strange. not sweet or fluffy but just had a weird questionable flavor.” We then chucked the whole thing in the garbage.

    Your right, you are certainly NOT a professional baker, and you never will be with your “talent” and lack of professionalism.

    Shame on you for scamming us.

    I suppose I will just have to live with the lesson learned. You can be sure that I will be blogging about this incident, along with pictures. I suppose that is all I can do.

    This matter is closed.


    I have currently not received any further correspondence. The PA Bakery was able to supply us with beautiful and tasty cakes in time for my daughters party. They are amazing and I will be giving them all my business in the future. The staff was so friendly and understanding! My daughters party was a success and I can’t wait to leave this whole stressful mess behind us!

    Anyway, I hope I have at least saved some of you out there looking for a cake for your special occasion from having to go thru any issues with this person. If I have then at least I can take comfort in that!


    Here are the pictures from the PA Bakery of the cakes we picked up last minute. They were delish!

    PA Bakery PA Bakery

    Now THAT’S how you do a cake!



    UPDATE: 11/15/13

    received a reply yesterday:

    • Kims Cake-Creations

      Kims Cake-Creations


      I did not scam you. It did not get paid. Sorry you feel that way. Cake was not burnt. Never trying to be a professional baker. Unfortunately the pictures are not a very good representation of what the cake looked like when it left my house, because all I saw were pictures after you modified it. I look forward to your blog. Everyone has their opions. Again, I am sincerly sorry that you did not like the cake. Matter closed.

      Again she “apologizes”, but still refuses to accept the blame that she made a mistake and gave us a junk cake.

      The pictures I posted on here are the exact ones I sent her, including the pictures of the cake exactly as it looked upon arrival before we tried to rescue it. She even tries to say the cake wasn’t burned! When we download the picture into the computer you will be able to SEE how much the cake was burned ion the inside.

      It really gets under my skin when people don’t take responsibility!


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