My ever increasing grocery bill

I am a mom of five, who has gone through many food shopping/necessity shopping changes over the last 30 years! Now it is just my 19 year old, my 11 year old and me. The bills are definitely less, but it costs a lot to buy fresh food. We feel better for it though, and we are definitely at the doctor less.

Muddy Spring Walks and Pipe Cleaner Insects

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The Oklahoma Botanical Garden in northwest Tulsa opened its doors for the season today with bug themed activities for the children, including pipe cleaner insects to search for outside. This was the first time my family had visited these gardens, which I believe opened recently. After we completed the activities in the main building, we hiked around the gravel trail which circled the ponds. The area was still undergoing construction, so the sounds of bulldozers was quite loud, oh well. There were a lot of small plantings which I am sure will be beautiful come summer. We were adventurous and hiked the “trail” which went through the fields behind the property. I say “trail’ because it was really wheel ruts which went through the field! The area was so muddy that our sneakers were stuck in the mud! Despite all the mud, my daughter, my grandson and I really did enjoy our time together. Just being outside in the fresh air, and listening to the birds singing. The muddy ground was perfect for spotting animal tracks. We saw deer tracks and some large cat-like tracks, we can only wonder what they belonged to (bobcat?).

Engineering Challenge

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Do your kids have an interest in engineering? Engineering is a complex field with a lot of career options. The middle school children in my daughter’s school participated in an engineering challenge in which they entered a variety of competitions. The categories were a penny boat challenge, a paper airplane competition, a math competition,  “Wacky Wonder Works”, the ping pong ball launcher, a toothpick bridge challenge, a robot competition and a graphic design challenge. Last year my daughter entered the ping pong launcher contest and this year she did the graphic design contest. The theme was “Engineering New Horizons”. Our school has quite a few winners, so proud of them! This is an annual event here in Tulsa and quite a few of the public and private schools participate. It was a huge turnout. There were also displays from colleges and technical schools. The competitions really encourage the kids to stretch their creativity and technical skills. Engineering Challenge 005 aluminum boat

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Big Hero 6, Nursing and Engineering??

How would you rate your pain? What does Big Hero 6 have to do with Nursing and Engineering? When I first saw the movie with my daughter a few weeks ago, I was expecting the same generic story line which it seems are in a lot of kids movies lately. I was in for a pleasant surprise. I am a nurse, and every day, I have to ask people what their pain level is. When the cute marshmallow man Bay Max starts doing the same thing, I thought I was going to loose it laughing!! How can you not love him as a health care companion? As for engineering, the plastic-looking suit that Hiro makes for Bay Max is created using a similar machine to one my daughter and I tried out last year at an engineering lab. So cool! Congrats to the creators of this adorable movie!

Where we live the local engineering club has a lab that can be used for a yearly fee. Interested parties can also try out the lab for free for a day. We decided to give it a try, and got to try out the Maker Bot, which is a smaller version of the machine Hiro used to create Bay Max’s first suit. The designer uses a computer to create a basic design, then transfers the information to the Maker Bot. The 3-Dimensional design is created layer by layer. My daughter chose to make a “W” (the first letter for Webkinz!). It is amazing what it can do. Although we could not join the club at the time, the members were very helpful, and gave use a lot of information about all the different machines they had available for use. Definitely worth going for the day.

Maker Bot, so cool!

The CULT of Mental Health

The majority of the patients I work with (I am an RN) list their history as having some type of anxiety disorder or depression! Are we as a nation really that stressed out? I would also say that about 75% of the patients I have also take some type of medication for their “disorders”. Granted, some of these people really do need these medications, or have genuine schizophrenia or PTSD. However, it just seems like it is the majority. Good article, I will look forward to your posts.

Culture Monk


by Kenneth Justice

~ In 1974 the American Psychological Association reversed its position on same sex attraction; what they previously defined as a mental disorder (some manuscripts even listed it as a ‘perversion’) they now stated was nothing more than a natural element of life. Prior to the APA’s reversal, if a person were to go to a therapist or psychologist and mention same sex attraction there was a good chance they would be told they had a mental disorder, and in some cases even be admitted into a psychiatric ward.

Psychologists and the APA have a long standing tradition of poorly diagnosing the public, from viewing women as a second class gender and suffering from penis envy, to throwing thousands of people in psychiatric wards throughout the 20th century and treating them worse than laboratory rats.

In the last 20 years we’e seen a massive increase in the number…

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Bleeding trees, magical snakes and other blessings

Very well written and interesting piece. I have never seen trees like those before!


svetlana baghawan maverickbirdI have always been fascinated with pretty words and frankincense had a nice ring to it. An aromatic resin used in making incense and perfumes, frankincense was one of the 3 precious items gifted to baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men. With such an invaluable legacy and a pretty sounding name, the aromatic Olibanum (scientific name of frankincense), had made me look forward to Diksam Plateau the next day. Located in the central part of Socotra island, Diksam is a national park, which is a treasure trove of rare flora and fauna. It had been my 2nd day on the island and I had been raring to dive deeper into the world’s most unique island.

Anwar had arrived at dawn in his faithful car, which had been my home for the next 7 days and I had gladly left dusty, sleeping Hadibo behind. Socotra’s only road had been modestly…

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Pet Store “Educational” Trip

I don’t know if a trip to the pet store can be considered “educational” for my daughter and grandson, but at the very least it was entertaining. The store we went to had a large variety of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. The little grandson liked the ferrets the best, as they were very interactive. My daughter loved the model figures better than the live animals! Oh well, you can’t predict what will catch their interest. The staff was also very informative, and told us a lot about the animals were were observing. I find that if you go at a quiet time, when the staff is not busy, they are more likely to engage in spontaneous conversation about the pets for sale. We learned a lot about the snakes and frogs they had on display (although mom here will not be purchasing any of those creatures!). What do you think? Have you used the free resources at your local pet store? I homeschooled for years and with proper planning, the local pet store can be very informative for children (and adults), and just a fun, free activity to do when it is cold outside. As an added plus, this store allowed people to brings their dogs into the store to the total delight of my grandson.

Winter Wraps itself around Oklahoma

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Winter has taken a strong hold here in Oklahoma. Yesterday as I worked, I could see the flakes falling heavily outside. By the time I was heading home, the snow had turned to frozen rain. Not a good combination! The highway was a nightmare, but surprisingly some of the main roads were okay. I made it home safe and sound, very grateful! Today my daughter and I ventured out, since the snow was melting, and took some pictures at a few parks around town. The blanket of white made a beautiful backdrop. If we stood still we could hear the sound of the snow dripping from the trees as it melted. In a local stream a group of ducks were fighting for a small open area of water. They really are amazing how they can tolerate the cold. It was in the teens yesterday with wind chills in the single digits. Today we hit 33 degrees. Lets hope this is a warming trend.

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The local ducks vying for some unfrozen water.

The local ducks vying for some unfrozen water.

Just strolling in the winter woods!