Here is what you need to survive with no power:

Large bottles of water

A candle addiction

LED lanterns and a few flashlights

A gas grill with a full propane tank

An almost empty fridge

Random canned good items

A good breeze

Board games

Ingenuity and an Imagination

We made it through Typhoon Songda with plenty of stories to tell the grandkids one day.

Don’t forget Giveaway #1!! The click is winding down for it.

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

Ok folks it’s time for the details of giveaway number one! This giveaway is being sponsored by St. Louis Homeschool Resources, Inc. They are a home-based homeschool materials supplier who also happens to be secular homeschoolers!

You can check out their website HERE, check out their blog Homeschooling Atheist HERE, and surf their Amazon store HERE.

So what goodies have Karen and her family offered up?

1) An Inflatable Labeling Globe

2) Building Skills by Exploring Maps: Ancient Civilizations Grades 4-6, published by Creative Teaching Press

3) Building Skills by Exploring Maps: United States and Canada Grades 4-6, published by Creative Teaching Press

4) Building Skills by Exploring Maps: The World Grades 4-6, published by Creative Teaching Press

Are you all excited? I know when Karen mentioned to me the inflatable labeling globe I almost fell out of my seat! I didn’t even know they made those!!

Here are the ways you can earn entry into the giveaway:

1. Poll your children and determine which three subjects are your family’s favorite subjects to study, leave a blog comment with the results. If you have already done this and submitted the results to me, just leave a comment on this post with your name.

2. Blog about the giveaway on your own blog and then leave a comment with a link to the blog post.

3. Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter and then leave a comment with a link to the twitter post.

4. Share the giveaway blog post on your FB page, then leave a comment letting me know, if you have a non-private account leave a link to your page.

5. Like Ramblings of a Dysfunctional Homeschooler on FB, and then leave a comment letting me know along with your name. If you have already liked Ramblings… on FB leave a comment with your name as well.

6 Like St. Louis Homeschool Resources, Inc. on Facebook, and leave a comment stating you’re a follower and your name as well.

7. Follow Homeschooling Atheist, and leave a comment stating you’re a follower.

8. Follow Ramblings of a Dysfunctional Homeschooler on Twitter and leave a comment with your Twitter name, if you are already a follower leave a comment letting me know.

Every comment earns you a chance to win! The winner’s name will then go into the pot for the grand prize drawing!

The winner for Giveaway #1 will be announced June 1st at 8am EST!

Comments will be shut off on this post at 11:59pm May 31st EST, so you have until then to earn your entries!

Good Luck Everyone!!
*Oh and remember if you are related to me you can’t participate, sorry!*

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

We’ve been adjusting to life among the locals, we’ve become acquainted with the neighborhood mom & pop convenience store, marveled at the garbage trucks that play music just like the ice cream trucks in the states do, and have figured out how to work two of our four Japanese air conditioners.

I think the one thing that has us most impressed is the way the hot water heater works. Now in the states you usually don’t think twice about your hot water heater unless it’s on the fritz. In our new home it is always on our minds, and honestly the way it works is not only neat, but really very smart not only for the environment but our pocketbook as well.

So here is the control panel:

Yes you read that right, control panel. Our hot water heater has a control panel…that is all in Japanese, but we have the gist of it figured out. Our hot water heater (here on out it will be referred to as HWH because that is quicker than spelling it out), isn’t electric it runs on kerosene.

You can actually smell it when the HWH is running, assuming you have the laundry room window open (which I often do). To have it running constantly, like what you experience with electrical ones, would be a huge waste of gas. So instead you have to turn it on and off. We only run it when we are showering or if there is something that just needs hot water. We actually think about the kind of water we are using and if we truly need to use it or not.

The other element about it that we really love, aside from being able to cut it off when we don’t need hot water, is the temperature controls. Now, every parent reading this has probably received the little hand-out from their pediatrician about checking the HWH to make sure it is set to a certain temperature to avoid burns on children.

We have all checked water using our elbows, wrist, and other available body parts to ensure that it is just right. We have all heard the yelps of “It’s too HOT! Or It’s too COLD!” after we have done our best to get a temperature that seems comfortable. It is just part of the bath-time headache.

Well…it used to be for us anyways. Now, we can set the control panel to a temperature that suits TBM and not have to worry if the water is going to get too hot or too cold. We just press the buttons on the control panel, move the shower knob towards the red triangle indicating hot water, and wash the kids. They are comfy the whole time, they actually want to linger in the tub and do most of the washing themselves now *since we don’t have to worry about the water eventually going cold*, it’s great!

I honestly don’t know why homes in the states don’t have this feature. It would probably save people tons of money on their bills, just think about how much you could save if your HWH had an off button, and there is the safety factor. No more burns because a little kid got too happy in the tub and turns the hot water knob instead of the cold one. No more wasting time and water trying to get the water just right. I love our HWH control panel. It is a feature that I will do my best to have installed when we purchase a home one day, and it will definitely be in the building plans when we build our own home.

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

I have been plotting…the good kind of plotting! What have I been plotting you ask? Well, a giveaway series my dear friends!
Yes, you read that right a series! How will it work? Look below for all the details!

Giveaway Series Details:

-The series will consist of three giveaways and a grand prize drawing. One winner will be selected from each of the giveaways, at the end of the series one of the three winners will be picked as the winner of the grand prize! I will use Random.Org to pick the winners in the giveaways and grand prize drawing.

-I will announce the winner on this blog/twitter/and our FB page. At which point the winner will have 48hours to “accept” their winnings through a blog comment and from there the winner’s information will be gathered so their items can be shipped to them; if the winner fails to respond within 48hours of the announcement a runner up will be chosen.

-If you when one of the three giveaways you can’t participate in that other two giveaways, also if we are related *sorry to the few family members who possibly read this*, you can’t participate. It becomes a conflict of interest if you win. This giveaway is open to homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers. Basically, if something being given away appeals to you, you haven’t won in the series, and you aren’t related to me then by all means enter that giveaway!

-The ins and outs of entering *these will be repeated on each giveaway post for your convenience*:

Entry must be done through blog comments; you leave a comment for every item you complete on the following list:

1. Poll your children and determine which three subjects are your family’s favorite subjects to study, leave a blog comment with the results.

2. Blog about the giveaway on your own blog then leave a comment with a link to the blog post.

3. Twit about the giveaway on Twitter and then leave a comment with a link to the twitter post.

4. Share the giveaway blog post on your FB page, then leave a comment letting me know, if you have a non-private account leave a link to your page.

5. Like Ramblings of a Dysfunctional Homeschooler on FB, and then leave a comment letting me know along with your name. If you have already liked Ramblings… on FB leave a comment with your name as well.

6. If the sponsor for a particular giveaway has a blog, twitter, and/or FB fan page liking/following these will allow you an entry for each one you like/follow. Leave a comment with the needed information to verify.

7. Follow Ramblings of a Dysfunctional Homeschooler on Twitter and leave a comment with your Twitter name.

8. Share, share, share! And comment with verification! That is the name of this giveaway game.

-The first giveaway will be announced on May 25th, the second giveaway will be in August, the third in November, and the finally big drawing will be in December.

We already have a sponsor for the first giveaway if you would like to sponsor one of the other two giveaways please contact me, and stay tuned for the first giveaway! There are some awesome goodies in it!

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

Well even though we are fast approaching lunchtime here in Asia, it’s still the 20th in America, so there is still some time to get in our chuckles!

Now here is some friendly advice for those floating away in a few hours to help all of us who will be “Left Behind”:

And for those of us left to fight the zombies the CDC has a preparedness list to help ensure the survival of you and your loved ones: Click Here for that information.

If you will be engaging in any looting afterwards please do so safely and ensure the store you are looting was run by someone who was “Raptured” and not by someone “Left Behind”, we don’t want to cut off their livelihood.

For those attending “After the Rapture” parties please ensure you have a Designated Driver, we will need to avoid injuries while we are re-evaluating our medical response teams.

Other than that folks CELEBRATE!

Copyright(c) Rayven Holmes 2011

This is one of the many series I plan to start on this blog *and you will be able to find a click link to it located at the top of the blog with the other blog tabs*. This one will be bi-monthly and will feature books I’ve recently acquired that I think are worth sharing. I may go into why I purchased them or even give you a bit of info on what I’ve read so far, my thoughts, etc. Or I may just list them all with links to them on Amazon. It will really depend on how that particular day is going.

The last few weeks I’ve done a lot of book collecting even though I really shouldn’t have due to having to actually put it all away while unpacking, but I can’t turn away a possible good book. So here are my finds *well some of them*:

The 5$ Dinner Mom: Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook- The book is pretty good, easy recipes and plenty of helpful hints that I am making plans to incorporate into our lives. I’m going to order her first book, but a lot of the discount stuff really doesn’t apply because my places to shop are rather limited *and mostly Japanese*. It’s good info to have on hand whenever we are in the states though.

The Family Dinner- This is one of two books that I feel should be in everyone’s home! Yes it’s that good! Tons of information with the purpose of bringing families together. I love the meal time ideas, the recipes appear easy to follow and relatively quick to make.

His Needs, Her Needs- This is the second book that everyone should have! While the author is clearly Christian the book is practical, honest, and useful. It doesn’t spend time preaching at you or saying that *insert religious deity* needs to be at the forefront of your marriage. It’s written by someone who has years of experience counseling couples from various backgrounds and it shows. While geared toward heterosexual married couples, I think anyone can take away something from this regardless of their status.

Grow Up- Why did I grab this title? Because it says “how to raise an adult by being one yourself”. That struck a cord with me. How many times do we expect our children to act like adults while we are acting like children ourselves? We demand, whine, fuss, and fight and then wonder why our children do the same. I am more than willing to admit there have been times when I’ve been frustrated and muttered *yelled* the phrase “Oh just grow up!”, in truth though they aren’t the ones who need to do the growing up *figuratively speaking*. This book also has a chapter devoted just to different parent types (single, adoptive, gay/lesbian, etc.) and the issues faced in those situations and how to handle them.

And last but not least:

All About Japan- It’s a colorful, fun, information packed book on Japan that the boys and I have enjoyed making our way through.

So what's new in your bookcase?

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

As humans we are consciously aware of the fact that we will die. Many live in fear of this fact, we know it will happen but we have no clue as to when, where, or how it will happen. It can be a scarier thing, but I choose not to live in fear of that which I can’t control. Yes death will come and I would like it to take its sweet time, but that doesn’t mean I must spend my life in fear of what is to come. Nor does it mean I must raise children to fear it and the unknown it creates. I have found the idea, the sheer notion, that I must raise children to believe X, Y, and/or Z because of what may or may not happen upon their death completely silly and downright morbid. Most people don’t want to die, but we will. So why spend time fretting over possibilities *that are statically damn near impossible* of what may happen when you leave this life and instead just LIVE this life?!

Dawkins sums it up well, and this video is just breathtakingly amazing. Enjoy and remember Carpe Diem!

Check out more Secular Thursday Bloggers!

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

For those who peek into this blog daily you will have noticed a change to the sidebar under the “Donate” heading. Instead of a Chip In button for FBB there is now one for Camp Quest. Yes, I still strongly support FBB and highly encourage donations to them, but there is currently a blog contest between PZ and Team Underdog in order to raise money for Camp Quest! And folks the stakes are high and hairy! PZ has vowed to shave should his team win; no matter if you are for The Great Beard or against it, Camp Quest is an amazing cause to donate to.

What is Camp Quest? It’s a summer camp program geared at kids from freethought homes, in which a safe and open environment to make friends, engage in activities, and further question the world in which they live in is provided. Of course I really love the idea of Camp Quest and am looking forward to sending T.B.M. one summer *or possibly more summers* when they are of age. Not only do they offer this safe summer haven to explore and question, but they also offer financial assistance to those who want to attend but can’t afford the cost.

So what does donating to this wonderful organization do? It helps more camps get started, expands the ones currently running, and gives kids a chance to experience the joys of summer camp in a safe and open environment. There are currently 10 Camp Quest locations in North America and 3 locations overseas (UK, Ireland, and Norway). We owe our kids a chance to attend Camp Quest no matter where they call home. So pick a team and give it your all!

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

That is how long we have left until we will be connected to the World Wide Web in our home once again. I’m hoping to have all of our boxes unpacked by this point and be back into full school swing again, so we can meet our June deadline for the school year. Of course we could go over it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I personally don’t want to. I like our upcoming schedule and intend to keep it.

And if you all are just waiting on pins and needles to hear what I have to say about the big news story of the year, that you would have to be under a rock to not know about, don’t hold your breath. The Spouse will still have deployments and TDYs, killing one terrorist didn’t end the war on terrorism so clearly it hasn’t changed our lives any, so why blog about it?