Mom Vs. Day Care

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
I was at a dinner party a few nights ago when a woman made the comment that in this day and age, both husbands AND wives have to work in order to get by, and children need day care.

Well, nothing puts a bee in my bonnet faster than such a ridiculous comment.

Before I go further, I do understand there are single moms who have to work - they have been dealt a tough role - but that is where families and churches need to step up to the plate to help these moms as much as possible, so that she can spend as much time as possible raising her children.  Please note, I am not advocating welfare - but time and compassion.  Kudos to dads who are raising the children.  We need to reach out to you, as well.

Picture of woman getting a pedicure.jpgBUT...we live in a society where most people feel they DESERVE to have the things they WANT (note, I did not say the things they NEED).  In Santa Clarita alone - there are more nail salons than Starbucks (and there are quite a few Starbucks!).  I cannot begin to tell you how ridiculous it is to spend $4 on a cup of coffee and a great deal more to have your fingernails and TOENAILS painted.  But we deserve it don't we?

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Soil, Sheep, and a Rainforest?

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
SonQuest Rainforest logo.jpgAdd together almost 16,000 cookies, 1500 children, 500 workers, and five parables - and what do you have?  Vacation Bible School at Grace Baptist Church!

The girls and I were extraordinarily blessed this past week to attend Vacation Bible School (VBS) at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita.  I certainly had a life-changing week.

Wendy and I shared a sixth grade classroom of 19 girls - in which Kelly was a student.  Emily led a table of first graders, and Amy sang and played the keyboard for Outdoor Music.

When the children arrived each morning, we attended a 35 minute assembly of music, drama, and information on the missionary that we were supporting.  The contest between the boys and girls was held each day to see who could donate the most money to our missionary, Ashley Ruffner, who works at a school in Ecuador.  The over $19,000 the students brought in will go to supply sports equipment, VBS materials, Bibles, and some new sound equipment to the school.  The donation also paid for a plane ticket home, so Ashley could see her father who had become ill and needed surgery.  Ashley was able to join us at the assemblies on Thursday and Friday.

After the assembly, our group went to our classroom (which our family had a blast decorating with rain forest themed decorations!) for craft time, then outside for some wet recreation time.  After a quick snack (some of those 16,000 cookies), we headed in for a message from one of our pastors or a drama group.  After that, we headed back to our room for our table time.

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Memories of Mrs. Linda Reece

Monday, June 28th, 2010
Roger & Linda Reece.jpgA dear woman passed into eternity to be with her Lord and Savior this past week.

Linda Reece, wife of Roger Reece, the pastor of Pine Mountain Christian Community Church fought illness for some time - although you would rarely have known it when spending time with her.

I had the opportunity to participate in a Bible study with Roger and Linda when they first came to the mountain community in 2007.  It was a Bible study based on marriage, and strengthening our marriages.  Roger and Linda were candid and wise.  There were a couple of nights when Linda led the meetings, as Roger had an elders' meeting to attend.  She did so with love and grace - and her witty sense of humor!  Linda was great for sly comments out of the side of her mouth - always polite and kind - but hysterical, nonetheless.

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20100617 - Hand writing letterThumb.jpgDear Mr. Iger,

I was quite excited when I learned The Disneyland Hotel was renovating their pool area and adding Monorail-themed water slides.  I was dismayed, though, to find out you were taking out the koi ponds and waterfalls in this same renovation.  

My family and I LOVED the waterfalls.  What fun it was to cool off in a wet and noisy place.  Sometimes, when you are unable to go swimming, it is a refreshing break on a hot summer day.

I am probably too late to get you to change your mind - especially since you have already given the fish to the Huntington Library in Pasadena - but I'm going to share an idea with you, anyway.

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"Chip" Comes to Visit

Saturday, June 26th, 2010
Chipmunk in the Front RoomFor the past few weeks I have been hearing noises behind the walls and in our ceilings.  Then, a few days ago, I caught sight of the intruder.

"Chip" seems to have been living behind the wall in my office and using a route'Chip' hides in the corner over my dad's office ceiling to get to our front room which currently serves as a greenhouse. One of the hazards of living in the forest is that "critters" love to move in with you.  Late last year we had a family of raccoons move in under our deck and now it appears that some chipmunks have decided to follow suit.


'Chip' prepares to hop into the flower pot for a snack
I was able to catch several great pictures of him before he dove back to his home, and it wasn't until the camera made a noise that he ran.  Oh well, we'll see how long this guest decides to stay at the Mack Family Bed and Board.  

How do you build an all-terrain robot?

Friday, June 25th, 2010
Build Your Own All-Terrain Robot Book CoverI recently finished another robotics book entitled Build Your Own All-Terrain Robot.  It was written by Brad Graham and Kathy McGowan and takes people with all levels of experience through the process of creating their own all-terrain robot with as little expense as possible.  This book provides great resources and is packed full of good advice and ideas.  Beginning by helping the reader understand exactly what he wants his robot to do, Graham and McGowan take the reader through the process of building two  robots, and leaves him with a reminder of the endless possibilities of all-terrain robots.

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Amy and Wendy Display their Awana Citation AwardsMonday, May 24, marked the completion of 12 years of hard work and service for Amy and Wendy.  That day they were each presented with the Awana Citation Award.  For young people involved in Awana, earning the Citation Award is the ultimate achievement. The Citation is their reward for thousands of hours attending group meetings, working with children, getting involved in their communities, completing 10 years of biblically grounded curriculum and learning more than 700 Bible verses.

The awards ceremony was held at Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita.  Wendy was the first of three students to speak.  She shared what the various stages of Awana meant to her spiritual growth and development.  Amy delighted all by playing the piano before and during the ceremony, including two of her own compositions.  

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Emily Displays Her First Year Awana Trek AwardNot to be outdone by her little sister, Kelly, on May 17, our Emily completed her Awana year.  Emily finished her book, and a plaque for her accomplishments.  She, too, went above and beyond and did the extra credit and earned a certificate and pin for her efforts.

Emily had a blast this year making a DVD of the year's accomplishments (including her participation on the Bible quizzing team, and the game team).  The video was presented at the awards ceremony, and the audience enjoyed it tremendously.  She's already thinking ahead to making a video for next year.

Way to go Em!

Kelly Receives Awana Award!

Monday, June 21st, 2010
20100510 - Awana Kelly T&T Graduation Third Book AwardThumb.jpgOn May 10, 2010, Kelly completed her 5th grade Awana year.  She not only earned her third book award, but she went above and beyond the call of duty and did all of the extra credit projects - including reciting 4 questions, 32 answers, and 32 verses in one sitting - by memory!!

Job well done, Kelly!  We are proud of you!

A Tribute to My Dad

Sunday, June 20th, 2010
This Father's Day, I wanted to share how much my dad means to me.  

Eric and Wendy pose for a pictureFor as long as I can remember, my dad has made it clear that the family is important to him.  Dad chose to work at home so that he can spend more time with the family.  He welcomes us at all times of the day to show him a craft or a test grade and he works hard to make sure that we don't feel like a nuisance but that we understand that he values our attention.

God has given my dad a passion for teaching.  Everything is a lesson, and it is rare that I walk away from a conversation without learning something.  A couple of days ago, while setting up a pantograph for my mom, he was excitedly explaining to Kelly and me the device's historical use by President Thomas Jefferson.  Family dinners are so much fun - especially now as Amy and I are approaching voting age.  We are often discussing or debating something, whether it be our stand on a political issue, or a historical fact, or how our government works.  Dad encourages us to pay attention in school by eagerly listening to anything we share - especially about history or physics.  It is not uncommon that we find ourselves the teachers and our parents the students!  Earlier as he was helping me with some technical aspects of a blog post - he took some time to teach me how to understand some of the code that he was entering.  Dad also practices what he preaches.  He not only tells us how important education is but he proved it to us by going back to get both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree!

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Which Brady are you?

Saturday, June 19th, 2010
20100618 - Picture of the Brady Bunch.jpg



Which Brady Are You?

Are you, like me, a child of the 70's?  Did you make sure every Friday night, the TV was turned to ABC for "The Brady Bunch" and "The Partridge Family"?  If so, then this site is for you.
Have fun!  



http://www.blogthings.com/whatbradyareyouquiz/

A tribute to my mom

Friday, June 18th, 2010
20080315 - Kathy's Turkey Pot Pie.jpgIn a society where so many are unreliable, lazy, or proud, my mom is the opposite.  She possesses the rare gift of a servant’s heart.

Mom’s days are spent serving others, with little time reserved for herself.  It is very rare that one can wake up before her as she is up preparing food for the day or working on accounting.  I have often woken up to the aromas of fresh muffins, bacon, and eggs with the realization that she woke up early just to make a “family breakfast”.  This morning, she woke up at 6:30 to do the laundry so that we had clean clothes to wear - all after going to bed at 1:00!

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A letter to Disney

Thursday, June 17th, 2010
Dear Mr. Iger...Dear Mr. Iger,

As most Americans my age, I grew up watching "The Wonderful World of Disney" every Sunday night, going to the theater to see Mr. Disney's newest release, and being fortunate enough to grow up in California - visiting Disneyland every year.  As thousands do, we consider ourselves a "Disney" family.  We love watching the old Disney movies and going to Disneyland.  My first born is even named "Wendy"!

Given the soft spot in our hearts for The Park and all things Disney, I've decided to write this blog to encourage you to keep the Disney name pure; to keep Disneyland just right, and to encourage you as the head of the most phenomenal company on our planet.  In this column, I'll write suggestions, perhaps share a memory or two, and tell you about fabulous Disney experiences.  So, here goes.

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I thought I'd share a paper that I wrote for my English class.  The requirement was to use at least two methods (I decided to use reasons and comparison and contrast) to develop the paper.  The assignment was to write a paper about why I prefer a vacation at the mountains rather than a a vacation at the sea shore.   I do want to clarify that, while I still would prefer a visit to the mountains, I do enjoy visiting and learning about the seashore.  (And I love to visit aquariums!).  Just thought I'd mention that.  Here's my paper:

For a vacation, I prefer a visit to the forest rather than a visit to the seashore.  The variety in color, sounds, and sights in the mountains are much more appealing to me than the variety at the seashore.

The color scheme of the forest is extremely varied:  green trees burst into a brilliant gold, orange, or red in the autumn and scatter their leaves; the brown forest floor teems with insects and animals in a splattering of blues, grays, blacks, pinks, browns, reds, and many other colors; flowers poke their heads out to dazzle the world with their delicate colors and beautyPoppies pop with brilliant color - Wendy Mack (2010); and berries pop out in delicious arrays of reds, greens, and blues.  While the seashore has a beauty of its own, there is very little color variety to keep me interested.  All is a blur of blue water, blue sky, white sands, white rocks, and white seagulls.  Most of the different colors in the seashore comes from the shells which have strips of pale pink or pale blue, and from the dirty brownish-green seaweed that washes up on the shore, and perhaps an occasional starfish that is washed into tiny pools.  There is an assortment of color, but not as striking as the collection of color found in the woods.


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Incredible Audio Books!

Monday, June 14th, 2010
Since our family does not have cable TV we enjoy listening to audio stories whenever we clean, do crafts, or drive somewhere.  Here are some of our family's favorites.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Here are Some Resources for Terrific Audio Books/Stories


Adventures in Odessy audio story cover.jpg

Nothing can top "Adventures in Odyssey"

      www.whitsend.org

This company has an incredible inventory

      www.blackstoneaudio.com

Christian Book Distributors offers these:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find/1000959138?event=HPT&category=Audiobooks&N=1014726&Ne=1000000&Nso=1&Nu=product%2Eendeca%5Frollup&Ns=product%2Enumber%5Fsold


In addition to "Adventures in Odyssey", here are some of our very favorites:

Peter and the Starcatchers
http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find/1000959138?event=HPT&category=Audiobooks&N=1014726&Ne=1000000&Nso=1&Nu=product%2Eendeca%5Frollup&Ns=product%2Enumber%5Fsold

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Television - No More TV.jpg

Many years ago, my husband and I pulled the plug on our television. I must admit, I was initially devastated with this decision. Looking back, I really only watched a few things - I enjoyed the Home and Gardening network, Vault Disney (Disney classics), and TV Land. I was becoming quite dismayed with TV Land, and had to stop allowing my children to watch classic TV shows because they would often broadcast inappropriate commercials, or worse yet, promos for their Showtime movies. These movie promos blatantly offered more information than my little girls needed to know.

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A few years ago, I went through the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT:  The Mayan Adventure.  I wrote the following review of the book and of my experience, but was unable to post it at the time for lack of blog.  When we finally finished setting up the Mack Academy blog, I decided that even though several years have passed, the book was so good that I had to post this review.  I decided to post it as is and not change anything in it, so please bear with me on the grammar.  

Mayan Adventure - Book Cover.png

When I first started reading the Mayan Adventure book and noticed that the user level was for beginners, I assumed that this was just an easy workbook.  (I soon changed my mind when I saw project two)

The way the book is written, you follow Evan, a kid summer vacationing with his archeologist uncle, through his adventures and challenges as he and the team try to reach the tomb of an ancient Mayan king.  Several traps were set up in the tomb so that only someone with a trained monkey could reach the burial chamber.  Evan uses his new NXT robotics kit to build innovative and creative robots to disarm the traps and get them into the chamber.

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