Saturday, January 31, 2009

He won!! He won!!





I feel like a little kid on Christmas!! After praying all day, my hubby called to tell me that Michael Steele was voted in as the RNC chair. I did a little "happy dance" when I found out. Since my hubby worked for his Senate Campaign in 2006, we have followed him closely. I am so happy for him and the RNC. Michael Steele is an amazing man of faith and has not wavered in his convictions. He is Catholic and does not apologize for that. Nor does he "leave his faith at the door" when he enters the political arena.

I love when the good guy wins!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Homeschool Review

Since we had our portfolio review this week, I think it is about time a give a review/update of how it is going.

We start our days with prayer, reading the Bible and read-alouds. J loves when I read to him and right now we are walking through the wardrobe into Narnia! We are also reading In Grandma's Attic.

We then head to the kitchen table for the rest of our work. We start with handwriting because this is what he likes least, and it is easier to get it out of the way first. We then practice our reading and phonics. J is doing so well with this. He really wants to read on his own and I have even caught him trying to sound out the words in the hymnal at church during mass!!

Math is going well too. I really like the Saxon curriculum. I love academics and tend to put a great deal of value on achievement, so when I started homeschooling, my biggest fear was pushing J too much. Saxon is nice because it goes at a nice pace and uses manipulatives for most things. J has fun with it and it helps me to keep us going at a nice, fun pace.

We finish with History and Science. J LOVES science and LOVES when we do projects. I try to foster his love for science as much as possible. He is really into fish right now and claims he will be a scuba diver when he grows up!!

The thing that has surprised me the most is how relaxed I tend to be about homeschooling. There are days when I wonder if I am doing enough, but most of the time, I just want J to have FUN and learn to love learning and desire to learn more.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Small Successes

FaithButton


Faith and Family Live is doing a new weekly blog called Small Successes. In honor of that, here are mine for today.

1. In an attempt to get my boys off of their morning cereal routine, I made the boys bacon and eggs for breakfast!!!

2. I played "tickle tackle" with the boys today.

3. This is no small success: Baby A slept through the night last night!! He had started sleeping through the night before his EEG, but since then, has not . . . two nights ago. He has now slept through the night two consecutive nights!!

A Matter of Semantics

While I had Colonial Williamsburg Fife and Drum Band music playing on our CD player, my two drummers were marching around the house. My 2 year old decided he wanted to take a snack break and he helped himself to Nilla Wafers that were on the kitchen counter. My older son then picked up the drum that my 2 year old was playing and proceeded to play with it.

My 2 year old came crying to me. "He's got my drum!!"

I said to him, "But you cannot play a drum. You are eating cookies."

"I am not eating cookies!" He said in a very stern tone.

"Then what are you eating?" I asked.

"I am eating Nilla Wafers."

Well, I guess this mom has been proven wrong. No cookie eating going on here!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Not Two, Not Four, but . . .

SIX!!!!

That is how many teeth my little monkey has coming in at once. This little guy does not like to do anything by the book!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - Januray 27, 2009

From the Simple Woman's Daybook . . .
Outside my window...
SNOW!!! I cannot tell you how excited I am to have snow. The Buffalo, NY girl in me has been wanting snow for a while and I am happy to have a little.

I am thinking...
I am very blessed with three wonderful boys. I just feel so lucky to have them. Even when they act or do not sleep though the night. Lately, all they have to do is smile at me or give me a hug and I forget all (well, most) of their imperfections!

Will I feel this way when they are teenagers????

I am thankful for...
Being off from tutoring today. The boys and I got to cuddle under a blanket this morning and finish reading The Chronicle of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew.

From the learning room . . .
We had out portfolio review yesterday. I am so glad it is over!! I did a lot of prep for it and I am glad I did, because she looked at EVERYTHING!!!

Today, we are labeling items around the house so J can know some more sight words and we are going to make some "flash cards" with words and pictures on them.

From the kitchen...
I am making Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry and Rice.

I am wearing...
Jeans, and white shirt with buttons on it and a black sweater over that.

I am creating...
I am still working on my new blog idea. thanks to the advice of a few others, I have decided to hold of trying to get it done and up and running. I will probably not launch it until July now. I am excited about it and hope it works out well. I have been trying to think of something more "civic minded" that I can do and this is something that just kept on coming to me.

I am going...
To work on cleaning the house once I am done with this post!! I am also going to search for a good retreat to go on that will not break our budget!!


I am reading...
I am actually between books right now. I am on a history "kick" right now and after reading about John Adams and watching the HBO miniseries on John Adams (I recommend it to everyone!!), I think I want to read more about Thomas Jefferson. History is so fascinating to me.

I am hoping...
That our President has a conversion of heart when it comes to his stance on Life issues. I am also hoping that more and more people in Government start to listen to elected officials like Ron Paul. He is very smart and is a good congressman.

I am hearing...
The house is fairly quiet right now. A is making cute baby sounds. His favorite thing now is to say "dada". J is taping two boxes together to make a . . . . well, I am not sure what he is making!!

Around the house...
K is napping. A is playing on his play mat and J is still taping two boxes together.

One of my favorite things...
Watching my boys play in the snow. I let them go outside right after breakfast and they had so much fun.


A few plans for the rest of the week:
Getting some of my tutoring stuff done. We have a few play dates with friends lined up as well.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
The boys enjoying the snow this morning!!

Green Living

Jolly Mom and Go Graham Go are asking bloggers to blog about simple things they do to be a little green. Although, I am not a fan of the term being "green" (I have no idea why, I just do notlike it), we do a bunch of things to help conserve energy and save us a little "green" too!

Here are mine:

1. We use energy efficient light bulbs. Although I do not love the light quality, they last so much longer than regular bulbs and use up so much less energy.

2. We unplug "vampire" electronics when not in use. We unplug our microwave, TV, VCR, DVD, coffee pot, etc when not in use. After reading a bunch of articles about how much energy they take up even when they are not "on", we decided to keep them unplugged while we were not using them.

3. We keep our heat low. Our heat is usually set at 62-63 during the day and 60 at night. We dress in layers and wear sweaters. I will be honest, I have gotten so used to it, that I get hot if I am in a house that is set higher than 65!!

4. We do not turn the air conditioning on until it is 80 in the house. I love fresh air, even if it is warm, so we are pretty conservative with the air conditioning. Plus, we belong to the local pool, so if it gets too hot, we head over to the pool to cool off!!

5. I line dry laundry in the summer. The clothes is unbelievably soft and smells so fresh. It dries fast too!!!

6. My favorite. I use cloth diapers. I love using them. there are alot of cute, easy styles out there. Try a bunch and find one you like. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Small Successes

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Faith and Family Live is doing a new weekly blog called Small Successes. In honor of that, here are mine for yesterday.

1. In attempts to get my boys off of their morning cereal routine, I made fresh oatmeal (and not the instant kind!).

2. I had all the dishes cleaned and out of the sink right after breakfast.

3. The boys and I prayed a decade of the rosary before school for President Obama and for the March for Life.

Saving Time Ideas

Go Graham Go and Jolly Mom are running a Mom Time theme now. They are asking for ideas on how to save time. Here are some things I follow:

1. I use fly lady's plan for cleaning and organizing my home as much as possible. I do not follow it exactly, but I take the ideas that she gives and implement them in a way that fits our life, home and style. My favorite of suggestion from the flylady is keeping the kitchen sink clean . . . I really do feel so much better when it is clean and there is nothing in it.

2. I use a crock pot as much as possible. I love getting dinner ready in the AM. It frees up my afternoons to get cleaning done, or just to have "me time."

3. I go grocery shopping once a week. I will plan my menu for the week on Sundays and once the boys are down for naps in the afternoon, I head out to the grocery store.

4. I have a monthly calendar and datebook always handy. I try to have my days as scheduled as possible, meaning I know what I need to tackle every day. If I have my datebook close by, with my list of "to-dos", I do not get side tracked doing other things. I get the most important things done first.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Great video

Go to Catholicvote.com to see a great pro-life video!!

I am just not ready yet

Today is the March for Life . I really wanted to go, but there are a few reasons I did not. First, I would be going by myself. My husband is probably still helping to pack up from the Mass and Rally for Life. I would not have minded going down by myself, or with our parish. The boys are generally good and with a double stroller and a carrier for A, I could keep them well contained. Plus, I am sure I would run into several people I know that would be willing to give a helping hand.

Yes, it would have been cold, but the boys could have blankets on their laps and A would have been snug in a carrier, surrounded by my coat.

So, what is the real reason I did not go?

I am just not ready yet.

I am just not ready yet to shatter Joshua's belief that all mommies want the babies that are growing "in their tummies." I am not ready to shatter that innocence. It is too beautiful to shatter yet.

He is too inquisitive to not ask questions. And I know the questions would have come. "What do those signs say Mom?" "Why does that sign have a baby on it, Mom?" "What is Abortion, Mom?"

Several months ago our parish had the crosses outside on the lawn to indicate how many babies are aborted every hour in the US. Our pastor gave a homily on it that Sunday. It was a great homily and he is so good at choosing his words carefully. I think he does it because he knows there are alot of families with young children. On the car ride home, J, who was at mass, asked about the crosses and what our pastor had said. I just explained that the crosses represented all the babies that die "in their mommy's tummy." J looked at me and said "Those mommies must be so sad." I asked him why and he said "Because all mommies want their babies." I started to tear up. Little did he know the truth about why those babies died.

At some point I will talk to him about abortion and explain it to him. He will need to know at some point. But, I am just not ready yet . . . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - Januray 19, 2009

From the Simple Woman's Daybook . . .
Outside my window...
It is cloudy and cold. It is warmer than last week, but the coldness makes me want to stay home and drink hot tea all day!!

I am thinking...
About the inauguration tomorrow. I have mixed feelings about it and am not sure I will watch it. I am concerned about Obama's disregard for the Constitution and I do not think I can listen to him taking the oath of office without getting mad since he has made statements that show he may not uphold, defend and protect the Constitution. Yet, it is truly a historic event, so I am not sure what I will do.

I am thankful for...
For opportunities that God is bringing into my life. I am not sure where they will lead, if they will lead anywhere, but I am thankful to have them in this moment.

From the learning room . . .
We are plugging along. I will probably write a whole post later this week about our progress. For now, we are working at a good pace and I am so pleased with how well J is doing.

From the kitchen...
I planned the menu for the week and Hubby said he would go grocery shopping for me today since I have a bunch of other things to get done. For dinner we will be having one of may favorite recipes from Southern Living . . . King Ranch casserole.

I am wearing...
Gray yoga pants and a black cable knit sweater.

I am creating...
Order to our home and life (at least attempting to). I have an idea of how I want our days and time to look and I have been spending the last couple weeks completing projects around the house, so that we can enter more fully into my daily plan. I have been reorganizing our back room and other areas of the house and decluttering.

I am going...
To get my work done for tutoring tomorrow and then read more of The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia) to J.

I am reading...
My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams --- This is so good and I highly recommend it!!

I am hoping...
That God makes His will known to us for a specific situation.

I am hearing...
The wonderful sound of silence!!

Around the house...
A and K are napping, Hubby is getting ready to go grocery shopping and J is looking at books.

One of my favorite things...
Spending time with my family. I love playing with A and seeing his cute baby smile. I love reading to J and K and knowing that Hubby will be with us all day!!


A few plans for the rest of the week:
Finishing setting up my weight bench and organizing the back room, spend some time reading. Get together with a friend (hopefully) and have a play date for the boys.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
I am not good at keeping up with this one . . . . the BGE service man just pulled up, I will have to do this later!

A well balanced breakfast

This morning, since my hubby is home, I thought I would make bacon and eggs for breakfast. I asked the boys if they wanted breakfast and K replied with a yes. He then added a few requests . . .

"I want sugar."

Then,"I want butter."

This boy will have high cholesterol and diabetes by the time he is 10 if I feed him what he requests!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The cuteness factor.

A is not to be "outdone" by his big brothers when it comes to looking so cute while sleeping.

Camping In


On the Feast of the Epiphany, the boys got their final present, a Wiggles play tent given to us by someone (a little disturbing looking, isn't it?). They loved it! The first day, we had it in the living room, but it is large, and our living room is small and since it took up most of the free space in the room, I moved it to the boy's bedroom. After I got it up there, J asked if they could sleep in it that night. I was a little skeptical of J and K sleeping in such close proximity to each other. I figured they would either end up fighting and pushing each other all night, or they would be laughing and playing all night. But I said yes.

That was over a week ago now and they are still sleeping in there at night. There has been no fighting, no playing, just sleeping. K even sleeps in it at nap time. I wonder when the novelty of it all will wear off and they will go back to sleeping in their beds?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Saving some pennies . . .

The following is an excerpt from an article called Small Investments With Major Returns by Brett Arends. I thought it was pretty interesting. To read the full article go here. The article gives tips on "investments" and how they can save you money. The parts in dark green bold are my thoughts.

There's no such thing as a hot stock tip right now, but these small investments could add thousands to your bottom line.

  • Buy a bread maker. You can buy one for $55. If it saves you just $4 a week on store-bought bread, that's $208 a year. A 280% return. I have one and use it ALL THE TIME. I have not done a cost comparison, but I am sure that we have saved money this way. We do not buy white bread or even the whole wheat bread . . . we usually only get whole grain bread. So using a bread maker helps save a bunch for us. Just one tip: do not bake the bread in the bread maker. The bread comes out better when you bake it in the oven. Also, another thing I have learned; you can make most breads in the bread maker. It does not have to be a "bread maker recipe".
  • Get a credit card with a great sign-up bonus. Like the AirTran Visa card. Cost: The $40 annual fee. After your first purchase you get enough reward miles for a free flight, saving maybe $250. Then cancel the card. Return: 525%. I am a Dave Ramsey fan and he says that you should NOT use credit cards. I would skip this "investment" and avoid the temptation of a new credit card.
  • Take out a local library card. Cost: Nothing. If it saves you $10 a month on books, that's $120 a year. Return: Infinite. Note: Some libraries now let you borrow electronic books over the Internet as well. I LOVE the library . . . it is our primary source for books!! You can find so much at the library. And even if your library does not have the book, most belong to a county and statewide network and if another library has it, your librarian can put it on hold for you.
  • Replace your premium cable package with a Netflix subscription and a $100 set-top box. You can download movies and TV programs as well getting DVDs through the mail. Cost: $100 for the cheapest set-top box, plus $17 a month for a three-movie subscription. If it replaces a $50-a-month cable package, that's a 98% return on investment. We do not have cable, nor have we had it since we bought our house. I must admit, I thought I would miss it, but I do not. Because we had an antenna, we did not get great reception and many channels did not come in, so we did not watch much TV. For Christmas, we were given an HDTV!! Now we get more channels (my husband loves the fact that he can actually see the football game now!) even though we do not have cable. Another thought on this point . . . skip the Netflix subscription and get movies from the library. Most local libraries carry new release DVDs and there is no rental fee!! There is usually a large selection of movies with many children's DVDs and family movies. Another $17 a month saved!!
  • Order a packet of seeds and plant them in a window box or garden. Growing your own herbs, spices, and even vegetables – depending on the amount of space you have – is a great investment. If you spent just $10 on seeds and saved a mere $50 in the year, that's a 400% ROI. Have not tried this. I would love to have a garden. I think it would be a fun project that J could help with. Maybe this year!
  • Switch to a prepaid cellphone. Cost: $20 for the phone, and maybe $100 a year for minutes. Move the rest of your talk-time to free Internet calls, and stop hemorrhaging $60 a month on a cellular plan. ROI: 500% We have discussed this one for months now. My husband's cell phone is essential and he uses it all the time. Even though we do not have long distance on our land line, I do not use my phone a lot. Because of this, we are considering getting rid of my phone, and I would use a prepaid cell phone. Hubby would keep his phone, but switch to a cheaper plan. After looking at plans and prepaid phones, we could save about $20 a month.
  • Start making your own coffee to take to work each morning. Cost: $20 for a Thermos, $10 for a filter and papers, and $60 a year for ground coffee. Then skip the $4 a day drive-thru. If that saves you $1,000 a year, the return is more than 1,000 %. Since I am a SAHM, this is not an issue. I do love a Dunkin Donuts coffee every once in a while, but I make my coffee at home. If you love lattes, etc . . . check out freecycle or go out and buy an espresso and cappuccino maker. I got a really nice small one off of freecycle and I LOVE to use it on weekends. Another tip with coffee; if you have any left over from a morning, put it in a container and store it in the refrigerator. Within a day you have enough for an iced coffee. This is my favorite thing to do with extra coffee in the summer.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook -January 12, 2009


From the Simple Woman's Daybook . . .
Outside my window...
It is sunny, but cool.

I am thinking...
The rest of today will be a nice day.

I am thankful for...
My wonderful husband! He is so wonderful and is so good to me!

From the learning room . . .
We have not done school yet today. A had his EEG this AM, so I am still trying to recover from keeping A awake until 2:30 AM and then having to watch him scream with electrodes on his head and being bundled and taped down (it was like a baby straight jacket!!) and me not being able to hold him.

From the kitchen...
Grilled chicken breasts, rice and peas for dinner (my boys favorite).

I am wearing...
Jeans and a green sweater with a white button down shirt underneath.

I am creating...
A plan of action for someone . . . . cannot share any other details

I am going...
To pray more this week . . . God is doing a lot and speaking clearly to Hubby and I on a few different things. I need more clarity and peace.

I am reading...
My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams --- great book if you love history!!

I am hoping...
A's test results come back OK. And that he continues to sleep through the night after last night's interruption. Yes, he is finally sleeping though the night . . . I did not need to do anything, make him cry it out, etc . . . he did it all on his own.

I am hearing...
K running around the house and running full steam into the couch.

Around the house...
A is asleep, K is running around and J is waiting anxiously to go outside.

One of my favorite things...
The excitement of seeing and feeling God work. Knowing that He is up to something and just honestly seeking His will, knowing it is the best.

Seeing my little baby smile after he cried so much earlier today.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Getting caught up on sleep from last night!! That is my only real thing that is pressing (out of the ordinary "to dos" of life).

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
I will have to take the photo later . . . my husband gave me this pretty heart necklace last night (one that I have wanted for a while). I will post a photo when I have time later.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Amazing people that were homeschooled

My family does not say much about the fact that we started to homeschool J, but I have a feeling they are a bit skeptical. To ease their fears, and to show them how great homeschooling can be, I will often try to tell them about amazing people who have been homeschooled. I try to keep it current. No historical figures, etc. For all you football fans out there . . . this is one I have "name dropped".

Tim Tebow

Do you know who he is? I certainly did not until my husband sent me an article about him about a year ago. My husband said "I think he was homeschooled." After some research I did find out that Tim Tebow was homeschooled all the way through high school. Due to a Florida law, he was able to play football for the local high school. He was pretty good. OK, he was VERY good and now plays for the Florida Gators as their quarterback. In 2007, in his sophomore year, he won the Heisman Trophy. In 2008, he came in 3rd in the ranking for it. And last night, he led the Florida Gators to victory in the BCS National Championship (and was named MVP).

The "icing on the cake" . . . he is an amazing Christian. His parents are missionaries and he grew up as a missionary as well. He has lived all over the world, served the poor, helped the sick. He has even lived in a leper colony. Even with his popularity, he could "take it easy" on breaks, etc. But instead, he goes on missionary trips and uses that time to serve others.

I saw the end of one of the games mid season. The Gators had won and a reporter was asking Tim some questions. The very first thing he said is "I would like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ". During last night's game, he had that black stuff under his eyes (I do not know what it is called) and painted in white on it was "John 3:16". He has turned down being on a "gentleman's magazine's" all star college football team because he said it was morally objectionable. This guy is authentic.

And he was homeschooled.

**Photo from www.timtebowfans.org

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Acrobat in training

I have often felt that our house resembles a three ring circus. Today was no different. Earlier today, I was sitting in the living room checking my email. J, must have been bored, because all of the sudden he came into the room and moved the coffee table that is between our two couches. He then proceeded to stand on the arm of one of couches and with an adventurous look in his eye, he leapt off that couch and tried to land on our other couch that is several feet a way. He missed, but was not discouraged and attempted this jump about 4 times. I just stared at him. Most moms probably would have stopped him the first time, but I think I was just dumbfounded. The only thing that was running through my mind was "What is he thinking?"

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A boy and his blanket

My 2 year old son is in a love affair . . . with his blanket. It has been going on for two years now. It started Christmas 2006, when he was 6 months old. My mom, made him a no sew fleece blanket for Christmas. It is the cutest Winnie the Pooh blanket, with tassels on the end. It is made of fleece, so it was perfect for the winter. He would snuggle up with it, holding some of the tassels with his fingers while sucking on his thumb. After a few nights, he settled in and it seemed as if he could not sleep without it. When the summer came, I knew something had to change. Instead of breaking him of his blanket, I decided to make him a new "love". One that was smaller and lighter. His new no sew blanket was light yellow and light blue, with tassels all around. We would keep his blanket in his crib and he would only use it for naps.


That all changed when he began to walk. Once we has able to navigate the stairs in our house, he would go up stairs when I was not looking and grab his blanket. Honestly, at the time I thought it was cute. This tough little tiger, was like a little lamb with his blanket in hand, most of the time sucking his thumb.

Now, he is 2 1/2 years old. He brings his blanket down with him when he wakes up in the morning. The blanket is discarded at times of play (usually left in the middle of the kitchen floor). He does not take it out of the house (although it has made its way into the sand box a few times over the summer. But when it is in his hands, he is holding the tassels, sucking his thumb and walking around with the rest of the blanket dragging behind him. Yes, his alias is Linus.


Since Christmas, I have decided to try to break him of this "love". In the morning, I tell him to say good bye to his blanket and that he will see it at nap time. So far, he has been pretty good about it, but he starts jumping around, all excited at nap time. His little face lights up and he yells "My blanket!" in delight.

I just have to laugh at the little guy!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook -January 4, 2009


From the Simple Woman's Daybook . . .

Outside my window...
It is overcast and dreary outside. It feels colder than it really is just because it looks so depressing outside!

I am thinking...
That it is nice to get back into a routine again. School has started. Hubby is back to work. Kids are on their normal nap schedules.

I am thankful for...
God teaching me to relax a bit. For several months now, I have said to myself "once A starts sleeping through the night I will . . .(exercise, sleep, clean this or that, read more, etc) " Well, God has been showing me that it is OK that A is not sleeping through the night. I have had a hard time adjusting to three kids (I know those of you out there with many more than three are probably laughing at me right now). But I realized in the last week it is because I keep on wanting A to fit into our lives in a specific way. I wanted HIM to adjust to what I expected him to be. He is so different from my others. He wakes up a lot at night, nurses all the time, and is really not happy unless he is near me. Now, I am learning to adjust my expectations of Andrew and myself.

From the learning room . . .
Today was the first day back to school. It started off a bit rough, but turned out to be a good day of learning. I am glad to be doing school again.


From the kitchen...
We are having steak (that I got on a super sale), baked potatoes, steamed beets, and salad

I am wearing...
A steel blue waffle shirt with a white baby doll short sleeved shirt over it and Navy Blue yoga pants

I am creating...
A knit scarf . . . my mom taught me how to knit at Thanksgiving and I am still plugging a way on the same scarf. I only knit a few rows a day . . . hopefully I will have it done before winter is over!

I am going...
To enjoy the rest of my day :)

I am reading...
Mothering Magazine

I am hoping...
To get into a good workout routine by the end of the week.

I am hearing...
A making noises . . . he just woke up.

Around the house...
A just woke up. K is asleep and J is watching a video about dinosaurs.

One of my favorite things...
A nice cup of hot tea in the middle of the day.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Setting up the weight bench. A trip to the library. Finishing final grades for St Peter's. Doing more research for my new blog idea . . . I am realizing that I need to be more realistic . . . I will probably begin in it in March or April.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
No picture this week . . . I have not had time to think of something to share for the week.