The Adventures of Team P

Archive for August, 2010


Winnie thinks everyone should have a carrot today! 


Cute pictures of some things we found in the house

Yesterday we discovered “evidence” of one of these in our pantry.  It had been nibbling on some birdseed.  Hope it enjoyed that meal, because traps are set now!

As soon as we were done cleaning everything and plugging up the entry holes (we’re pretty sure we found them), Gina went to do a load of laundry and picked up a tablecloth with one of these on it:

She found you a cute picture of that bug because the real thing was huge!  And disgusting.  Thomas was brave and took it outside while Gina died of fear.

If you really want to see what it was, you can click here.  Don’t though.

Summer’s over.

We started back teaching our college classes this week and all we do is work.  Fun’s over!

Winnie’s already wishing we were on vacation.

Happy Winniesday!

A public service announcement from Winnie

Winnie ate some gum on Friday.

He found it in Gina’s purse while she was upstairs.  We didn’t think anything of it (see here and here) until much later that day, when we started to realize he’d been acting funny.  He was super calm (that’s not normal!) and very sleepy.  He had a tragic look on his face and he wouldn’t walk up the stairs and Thomas had to carry him.  All he wanted to do was sleep.  So Gina went online to see if gum is bad for dogs and we were horrified to find out that our little Winnie had been poisoned by the xylitol in the gum.

Turns out that almost all sugar-free gum contains xylitol.  It is extremely toxic to dogs even in small amounts.  Winnie ate about 10 pieces and was really sick the whole day, and the amount of xylitol in the brand he ate (Orbit Mint Mojito) is less than 2%.   Here are our panicked math calculations:

Once we determined that Winnie had only eaten half the deadly dose for his size, we decided not take him to the emergency vet.  We know how expensive that is from the time that Bella got in to a bottle of Advil (Bella and Winnie both got their stomachs pumped that night).  Plus the gum had been in his tummy 12 hours and it was way too late to get it out.

He was totally back to normal the next morning, thank goodness.  Here is what we learned:

1. Xylitol is in pretty much all gum.  It is a sweetener. We did a little research and found out that one of our other favorite gums, “Ice Cubes,” lists xylitol as the first ingredient.  Just one or two of those pieces would have killed him. 

2. It is way worse than chocolate or raisins or onions or any of the other stuff that is supposed to be bad for dogs.

3. We are not buying any more gum with xylitol in it.  We found a new one at the store that doesn’t have any in it:

But Gina had to spit it out.  It is flavored with cardamom and it tastes like curry or spicy meatballs.  So, no more gum in the house for us.

4. Gina’s going to hide per purse better.  Seriously, looking back she is so embarrassed at how careless she has been with it.

Winnie’s sorry to be so serious, and he’ll be back to entertain you all on Winniesday!


Gina got a new computer!  Her old laptop put in 4 good years.  It was dying a slow death and starting to fall apart.  Literally the bottom was held on with tape.  We realized it might not make it much longer.  And we do have dissertations to write after all.  And it was tax-free weekend in NC!  So after weighing all the options and consulting with our tech support guy (Daniel) we decided on this one.  It is an HP Touchsmart.

Gina has always been a little “behind the times” when it comes to computer technology.  She still had dial-up in the house when she met Thomas because she honestly did not know there was such a thing as wireless internet.  But now it’s like she’s living in the future!  This new computer has a touch screen and it understands you when you talk. 

However we are not going to really use any of the cool stuff until December when -hopefully- we will be done with our dissertations and not needing the computer so much for word processing.  Right now it is tucked away in Gina’s office but when graduation day comes we will move it down to the kitchen and bust out all the fun stuff.

Summer Camps

Thanks to Moniqua we were able to put together a pretty awesome camp for our students last week.  The theme was Music and Art, and each day we learned about a work of art and a piece of classical music.  This book gave us great ideas to start with.  We added in dances, songs, stories, snack, games, and lots of other fun activities.  Each day the students created an original piece of art.  It was so fun to have a house full of kids, and we really enjoyed seeing the creative stuff they came up with!  We tried to vary the activities and work in a different art medium each day.

Day 1 was Japanese woodblock printing and The Flight of the Bumblebee.

Day 2 was an undersea collage and Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals.  We made a huge mess planning for this one!  But the collages turned out great.

On day 3 we learned about cats and opera singing with Rossini’s Comic Duet for Two Cats.  The kids loved pouring white paint on their paper to look like spilled milk.  This was our best project!  Their kitties turned out so cute and crazy looking.

The game that day was to unravel a ball of yarn to release pieces of candy, a game Thomas remembered from Germany.  It was a hit.

On day 4 students learned about the decorated elephants of India and listened to the Elephant from the Carnival of the Animals.  They each painted their own elephant, then attached fabric, bells, and jewels after the paint was dry.

The last day was all about knights.  We listened to Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet and the students created their own coat of arms, choosing colors and animals to represent their families.

We also had a tournament that day with many difficult feats of strength, like a ping-pong ball spoon race and a puzzle competition.

It was so much fun!  We are exhausted from the week, but can’t wait to do it again next summer.  All of the great ideas came from Monica, so thank you!