Puppet pattern

Just want to make a plug for Clif Desmond’s puppet pattern http://www.clifdesmond.net/ for moving mouth people made from 9×12 felt pieces (not affiliated to him in any way shape or form other than being an end user of his pattern).

I have made probably 20 of these puppets and have used them during Vacation Bible School for the past maybe eight years. These are great inexpensive puppets that can be put together quickly. For the body I do all of the sewing with a sewing machine, some parts very carefully and creatively though I don’t think that’s what the instructions call for. All the materials are also easy to buy from the local craft store. I have tried to make foam puppets and looked into other options but felt they were too cumbersome and frankly, we don’t have too much storage space. With these, we’ve found that the stuffing need to removed and aired out, which also reduces the space needed for storage.  We often use toddler clothing to simplify the prep work.

Anyway, if you are looking for a solid, cheap, easy people puppet pattern, try the one from Clif.

Pinata attempt

Okay, here goes another attempt at making pinatas.

My kids know me as the master of making tough pinatas.  My first attempt was a colossal fail.  I had paper mached so many layers that the pig (aka rock) was literally unbreakable.  I was able to stand on that thing and when I tried to hit it with the stick, the ricochet almost made me drop the stick.

For church during VBS, I’ve finally settled on 1 paper bag for the little guys, 2 paper bags for early elementary kids, and 3 paper bags for the late elementary kids (BTW, no paper mache paste between the layers of bags, tried it once and it was too hard for the kids).  Of course decorated on the outside with crep paper.  (A search for paper bag pinata should give you lots of ideas).

But this time we are talking about kids (including teens) from Tae Kwon Do.  Last time the store bought one was ripped open on the first kick by an 8 year old.

In the past, I’ve used Costco cardboard milk carton and just filled it with candy and it lasted through quite some beating.  This time, I decided to be more creative and opened the top and bottom of 2 milk boxes, rounded them into cylindrical tubes, glued two together (top and bottom), and glued a piece of cardboard circle to the bottom of the whole thing.  And to make sure that everything stays strong, I actually used some wood glue that I have sitting around (okay it’s the same paranoia that led me to make that fateful unbreakable pig on my first pinata attempt).  I spray glued black wrapping paper to the outside of the tube and sectioned off the inside with poster board circles so there are layers of candies.  So we’ll have a serious heavy duty “heavy bag” pinata for the party.  Hopefully it’ll be one that everyone can enjoy for a period of time.  But no, it’s not crazy hard like my first pinata which would probably break someone’s foot.

Nature or Nurture?

Just read an interesting article about abduction at birth and miss identified person.   https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-44242626

But what I thought was interesting was towards the end of the story when Paul Fronczak found his blood relatives that he realized that he was more similar in temperament to them than his “parents.” Perhaps the similarity is also a way that God had intended to help each family gel better.

But of course it brings up the old question of what is stronger, nature or nurture?  Unfortunately, I think we mistakenly smear the effects of the two and want to associate the sum of the individual to just one or the other.  It’s interesting that Paul does acknowledge the Fronczak’s as being loving parents who probably saved him though he also recognizes the ties to his blood relatives.

As a parent, I find this very interesting and it’s a good reminder that even though I could say that our kids do have a lot of our traits, but they are each individuals and have their own bents.  So as parents it’s not our job to change their nature, but to nurture our children to use their nature for good.  Too often we are so myopic that we want to twist our kids to what we think they should be or what we imagine to be the successful careers for them.  I’m still trying really hard to try to weed out what are my wishes versus actual Biblical principals that my children need to operate under.  Yes, let their nature flourish, but develop them with proper nurture so they can live their lives to the fullest to the glory of God.

Be Silent and Listen

Just realized that silent and listen are anagrams of each other. How apt is that. In order for us to listen, we must first rearrange ourselves sufficiently to be silent and I don’t mean just about not speaking but be silent in the heart and mind as well.

Too often when others are speaking my mind is else where thinking of other things. So even though on the outside it may seem like I was listening, but in reality nothing said was truly processed.

I suppose this is a good step for me. One can’t deal with any problem unless there’s first the realization that it is an issue. Of course like all problems, a single step does not a solution make but it’s a start.

Now comes the hard part. The plan of attack and more importantly, sticking to it. Be willing to put aside my own agenda and put others first. That’s funny, how many of our issues really do come down to self centeredness. Guess at least I have managed to flush out one of the root causes. Others before self… see what they have to say as more important than my own thoughts.

Keep Writing

We just took a family road trip to the One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop. It was a great workshop and very encouraging for me as well. I loved the variety of speakers who not only gave sound advice for writing but they were also very passionate for the craft.

Personally for me, I was encouraged to keep writing and on the trip I was listening to Oathbringer and it was a great reminder that the story is in the journey and if I stop the journey then that would be the end of the story. So here I am. I just pulled out my little forgotten bluetooth keyboard and paired it with my phone. Will I forget to write? Probably by tomorrow I’ll put it off again, but I will start today and even if I choose to put it off for another year, I will pick it up again until my journey ultimately ends.

Learning Latin

I recently got into a conversation with some friends about their classical school’s attempt at teaching the kids Latin starting with Wheelock’s Latin Grammar.  Talk about trying to take too big of a bite.  The older I’ve gotten the more I’ve learned to start simple.  I like the approach of Visual Latin from Compass Classroom.  It’s lighthearted but the students learn quite a bit and very quickly and then moving into Lingua Latina.  I did watch some of the Visual Latin lessons, but have not really tried to study Latin seriously.  Now that I’ve had this conversation with my friends, I’m actually motivated to go through Lingua Latina and then later get Wheelock’s just to learn. Lingua Latina is available online for free as a pdf file.

Anyway, so the additional resources I’ll be using are some YouTube videos and some handouts.  And probably utilize some quizlet.com note cards to help me review the vocabularies.

Here’s my plan of attack for each chapter:

  1. Watch the video (the book being read aloud)
  2. Read aloud with the video
  3. Learn the vocabularies
  4. Read each sentence and translate
  5. Watch video and read along
  6. Go through handout stuff to check out grammar and side notes
  7. Highlight and/or note grammar in text
  8. Do the exercises
  9. Finish by reading everything with understanding

I will try and post things as I go along hopefully with ideas and notes.  We’ll see how all this will go… I’m hopeful to learn Latin “easily”.

Here are also some nice additional handouts that might be useful.

More stuff found here at theLatinLibrary.com


Panic Response

Had dinner with couple of friends who were in Las Vegas over the weekend.  They were not too far from Mandalay Bay when the shooting began.  In fact, they had stayed at Mandalay Bay few floors below Paddock’s room just Saturday night and saw the concert from their room.  It was a very creepy thought.  Anyway, they were enjoying their time on Sunday when suddenly a crowd of people came in and raised the alarm of active shooter.  The interesting thing was people’s responses to the panic situation.  There were people who were in shock and just can’t think or carry out much, there were people who just want to hide, and there were some in such panic that they were fearful of others even opening the door to the outside.

Our friends decided to make a dash for it in order to distance themselves from the shooting and the crowd of panicked people.

I started wondering how I would have reacted in such panic situation?  The standard response to active shooter is to go into lock down, but is that really the best idea?  I think of 9/11 where the people in the towers were told to stay put, but many of those who took action were able to survive.  We’ll never know in a panic situation what would be the best response, but I think the most important thing is to stay calm and be able to think through your response and come what may, at least you were the one who decided.  I give thanks for all those people on Sunday who stayed on the scene to help.  Thank you so much for risking your own lives for the sake of many people who you may not even know.  It’s people like you who has made America great and I’m glad that you are not yet an endangered species.

How would I respond in a similar panic situation?  I have no idea, but I sure hope that whatever I do, would be thought through and consistent with loving and caring for others.

Las Vegas Shooting

Heart felt sorrows and prayers to all the victims and their families and friends.  We had friends who were visiting Las Vegas this past weekend and I’m so glad that they are fine.  I know that the strip is not that small and the shooting was in quite a confined area, but sometimes even being so close would cause people to stop and reflect on their own mortality.

I think I’ve just lived a very sheltered life.  Things have been very stable for me with family, church, and friends.  As details about the suspected shooter comes forth, I feel saddened by the instability and seeming emptiness of his life.  Is that how people in general live?  I guess I’d go berserk too.  I will thank God all the more for all my friends and family.  Imperfect as things may be, I have nothing to complain about…


The definition of integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness or the state of being whole and undivided.  I always like to think of integrity as living a life that is consistent with ones morals in every way.

I know we are all human beings, whether you agree with me or not, all have sinful nature that causes us to be inconsistent with what we say and do or between various actions.  We operate under different values depending on what we are looking at and often times we are the last to see the inconsistencies in our actions.

I think integrity is bringing it all together so that there is consistency such that we are a whole being rather than fragmented between different values.

Recently, I was witness to actions by some friends that was so jarring that I’m still trying to process it.  Their action towards another individual was so hurtful in one area of life, but then in dealing with other areas of life with the same person, it was as if nothing was the matter.  Perhaps my life tend to flow more from one part to another and I try hard to not compartmentalize anything, even trying to find harmony between literature, art and science and math with the belief that God is one and He is the author of math, science, philosophy, literature, and all other studies of life, thus there is harmony between everything.

So what makes each one of us so blind to so many things that we are truly inconsistent beings?  I’m sure that I have plenty of blind spots that are clear as day to others, but I’ll be hard press to admit it even when others point it out to me, though I sure wish that God would give me the grace to deal with it, if it truly is a blind spot so that I can be whole and have integrity in my life.

May each of us learn to be more whole in our lives, and live by good morals in every aspect of our lives.

Copycat Costco Asian Cashew Chopped Salad

I really like the Asian cashew chopped salad from Costco.  So it was great that I found a copycat recipe here.  We tried it for a crowd to save money and unfortunately the first taste we had was not quite right.  Then I remembered since this was from a paleo website, it’s not surprising that it’s lacking something sweet so here’s what we did.  Also it’s lacking almost crackerish item in there, but I didn’t fuss over that.  It tastes pretty close to the Costco version.  But if I want some just for our family, I’m still going to just buy it straight from Costco.  Tastes better and a whole lot more convenient.


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Copycat Costco Asian Cashew Chopped Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Prep Time 20 minutes
  1. Combine dressing. Mix the vegies and dressing, and enjoy.
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