Tuesday, July 31, 2007

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T1 has a new found love. Building models. He's really good at it too!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Wet and Wild Mondays

On Mondays we try and go to the pool. This week we would have gone but I bought the kids a Slip-n-slide over the weekend and they were dying to try it out.
So we invited friends over for a day of slippin and slidin!
I told T1 that he had to mow the lawn if we were going to have company so he got up bright and early and cut the lawn. T2 cleaned the bathroom and went out and set up the slide.
No sooner did we turn on the water than the whole tube up the side burst.
It was still usable but we were all disappointed. No worries, as soon as our company arrived we hopped in the car and went to Target to see if we could find something better. We purchased ANOTHER slip-n-slide. This time it wasn't a generic one, it was from WHAMMO! so it's got to be good right? Wrong.
We get it home and the first kid goes down and pops the retaining pool.
They didn't seem to mind and eventually they came up with a way to combine them both into one whopping 36ft long mud slide! Oh my,, those kids (except for P2 here in the picture) were COVERED with mud and grass clippings! They had a blast tho and I now have a 36ft mud trough in my yard!

Lovely huh? If you'll look in the background you'll see one of the many wonderful reasons that I'll never be able to sell my house . I figure that the mud hole in my yard fits the overall ambiance that the neighbors are trying to portray.

On a sciencey front, our squash is going to outgrow this light box in no time flat! Today is day 8!

What's the fuss about? A sprout.

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We've got sprouts comin' up like gangbusters in our light box!

Mary, I forgot to get the fluorescent off of you but our regular one seems to be working just fine!

I have a feeling that we're going to have to move these gourds outside real soon or at least by the window!

We also have our moss samples in the light box and it's amazing how much water those things suck up! We water the moss at least 4 times a day and it's always completely dry when we check them!

Playdates are for babies.

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T1 HATES it when I call them that!
"PLAYDATE???" he says.
"Well,, it's a date and you're playing right?"
"Mother,, playdates are for babies, I'll be forced to refuse to attend if it is indeed a playdate"
"oh, ok, T2 and I will go then"
"will there be swimming?"
"is it a baby pool?"
"Ok, I'll go"
T1 get's a bit dramatic when he's feeling "dissed" He get's it from me. We feel a great sense of personal attack when we've been unjustly accused, attacked or "FLAGGED".
Someone flagged my other blog for inappropriate content and got me locked out. I'm feeling a bit "dramatic" about it!
But alas,, it's a free service,, what can you expect.

Hold onto your seats! Let's talk about NON VASCULAR PLANTS! WHOO HOO!

Did my last real post get me blacklisted? I don't know but I don't like it one bit.

Anyway...... onto school stuff.

Our next section is on non-vascular plants. Moss and Lichen more specifically. We're pretty fortunate to have our whole hillside covered in the stuff!

Here we have some lichen on a log and some moss on the ground.

Here we have some Reindeer Moss which is actually a lichen! This stuff is really cool. It's really hard and crunchy!

We gathered it up and took it inside to draw in our notebooks. I'd put up a picture of our drawings but T1 would be totally embarassed. He wasn't happy with his. I decided that we would put our moss in our lightbox and see what happened. We're spritzing it with water a few times a day. When I put it in the box, the bottom of the container was clear full of water and within a few hours it was BONE DRY! Those non-vascular plants really know how to get the job done!

OH! and bigger news yet,, we have a sprout in one of our containers! W00T!!! 5 days!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I've been sewing this evening

Ok,, If you're one of the dudes that read my blog then you may want to skip this one.

Really, if you want the mysteries of womanhood to stay that way,, turn back.

Still here? Ok fine.

I ran across a tutorial on how to make cloth menstrual pads. When I first saw it about 6 months ago I thought "wow,, you really have to be a hippy to want to wear those".

Well, I still think it but I've considered quite a few other things recently.

  • Regular feminine products often give me a rash. I know,, I'm sensative right? har har.

  • They would be perfect for my disaster kit.

  • They are frugal

  • The boys wore cloth diapers,, why not me?

So, I gave it a go this evening. I purchased $1.00 of fabric at walmart (literally ONE dollar). I had snaps and an old towel so no cost there. For the record though ,, snaps are like $1.16 for 36 and everyone has the towel that they have to hide from company! The fabric was half a yard of flannellette and half a yard of nylon lining. I have enough left to make at least 3 more. I have enought of the lining to make them from now till Kingdom's come! Well,,, maybe not till then but it was a 72 inch bolt instead of a 36 and you use less of it. So these pads cost about 25 cents and they'll last for years!

Here's the tutorial I used. There are many sites out there selling these things but now that I've made one, I can't understand why in the world you'd PAY for one,, it's so easy!!

Here's the front. I know,, exciting right?

And the back, you can see that I sewed a little snap to hold the "wings" down

Here's the back opened up. The backside overlaps to keep the absorbant liner in. Kinda like a pillowcase!

Here you can kinda see the inside and the liner. The burgundy is the nylon lining fabric. The swirly thing is the removable absorbant liner.

After I finished it, I was certain that I was not going to wear it. I didn't feel like it could possibly be comfortable. I tried it on and I was wrong!!!!! It's not bad at all! Then I poured a little water on it and tried it on again. Still,, not bad. I'll be making many, many more of these!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Apologia Light Box

We finally got around to building our light box for science today. It was kinda labor intensive but I think we got a pretty good result!

There is one major problem. For the life of me,, I could not find a fluorescent spiral 15w bulb for the heat source. I fear that I could be headed towards burning the entire house down. I pray that we're not home at the time (fingers crossed).

Instead I have a regular 15w bulb in. I'm still looking for the fluorescent to replace ours but it's looking like I'm going to have to order one. If anyone sees one let me know!!!!

I got some crookneck squash and strait neck squash seeds at the farm supply. I think they'll be good choices since we'll have fruit in about 90 days. Just in time to talk about genetics.
I have so many seeds left over. I think I'll go clear a spot in the garden and plant the rest. Maybe I'll have some ready to pick by late fall!
On other fronts:
T2 has memorized all of his first lesson of spelling words. I made a point of saying MEMORIZED because that's all he did. I want him to realize WHY words are spelled the way they are,, not just memorize them and spit them back out. But for now, and because he's T2, this will do. I didn't make him write his spelling words for his test today, I let him do it orally. I'm not thrilled but we'll move on to list 2 tomorrow.
He zipped through his math today tho! That is until he got to the section on double digit subtraction. He did it fine but none of the problems "carried" and he did every single one backwards. I reminded him and then about 2 minutes later,, I looked down and he's doing it backwards again. SOooooo frustrating.
T1 did very well with his spelling and math today as well. His list was pretty tricky. The only one he messed up was NECESSARY. I do so hate that word! No matter, we can BOTH spell it now!
Saxon 76 is getting right down to business this year! We're already doing algebraic order of operations and we're only 6 lessons in! T1 has got it covered though, both the boys are way better at math than I ever was!
Wow, another day down! Tomorrow is humpday. The days are flying by. Anyone know how to slow them down?

Monday, July 23, 2007


The boys and I started our day at the Barboursville Library. They invited a lady from the Marshall Forensics Lab to come and speak to the kids about Forensic Science. For a few days now I'd say

"Hey boys, do you want to go see what's going on at the library Monday morning? They're having a forensics lab there and they're going to teach you about fingerprinting and stuff."

They would both groan....

Not suprising though. They groan every time I drag them anywhere.

So we met up with some friends and sat down. The girl that was our speaker was very VERY VERY uncomfortable around children. She started talking about all the education she had and then something about different wave lengths of light.... and other stuff.... and..... she totally lost us!

So she was really nervous and there would very often be total "dead air". I finally said during one of the dead air moments "uhm, I don't think the kids here at my table are real clear about what forensice science IS"

Then she said "oh, yeah,, I guess I should have mentioned that!"

She talked like she was talking to college students. I just kept asking questions that would force her to "dumb it down" a bit.

Once she "got it" the boys started to get really interested! It was neat. We learned all about how to make a footprint mold, how to dust for fingerprints, how to classify our fingerprints (Arches, Loops and Whorls!) and a few other things.

I also asked her a lot of other questions and I'm reasonably sure that the other people in the room thought I was plotting the perfect crime!

"how easy is it to wipe fingerprints off of a surface?"

"how can you tell the fibers in my clothes from other people's clothes?"

"how much of a "window" do you have to cast footprints?"

Here's a tip for all you budding criminals, don't wear latex gloves because they can lift prints from the insides, fingerprints are easily removed from surfaces, if you wear plain white cotton forensics really can't track your fiber trail, and always walk in the grass!

After that we went over to the pool and swam for a few hours. It was completely dead today and we had the whole pool to ourselves. Rather,, the boys had the pool to themselves and I sat and read a book for about 4 hours.

I'm reading "They Fought Like Demons Women Soldiers in The American Civil War" by Deanne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook. It's really interesting but it doesn't have any story line. It's mostly historical facts and accounts of battle records. This book sheds light on the diminishing tolerance Victorian women had for their social restraints. It also makes clear that a great many women can step outside the "shrinking violet" persona and fight with dignity and vigor (thus the name of the book).
You might assume that the women who chose to take on a male identity and fight alongside the men were "rough and tumble" and possibly not very feminine. More often than not that was not the case at all! Many lady soliers followed their husbands, brothers and fathers into battle. They did it for love of family AND country.
Often I find myself saying, "I'm going to skip blogging today, I have nothing to say." This was one of those days. Wow,, not a thing to say huh?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ok, Is this normal? Really, I'm asking. Why is he still doing this? He's been writing for almost 4 years and he still spells everything backwards. (he's 8) He still makes his letters backwards too if I don't prompt him to point them in the right direction. 90% of the time he uses cursive so that won't happen but he struggles to write and spell so much! The example to your left, brought him to tears. He started writing and I said "stop, it's backwards" and he gritted his teeth and wrote the next letter, continuing to write it backwards. I wrote the word for him and put it in front of him to copy, he continued to write it backwards. He had to start from scratch and I had to point to the place on the paper to write the letter and tell him what letter to write. It's SOOOOOOO frustrating for us both! He also transposes all of his numbers but he's amazingly good at math! 456 will always be written 654 in his book. If I ask him "what's 3X6?" he'll tell me "18". If he writes it down,, it's always 81.

I've tried putting a sticker in the left hand corner of his papers to remind him on what side to start writing but he acts like it's physically painful to start on the left. Please someone tell me what to do before I abandon this child and allow him to become a ward of the state!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The 10 Homeschool Commandments

By request:
Our Ten Home School Commandments
(aka: what Mom and Dad expect)
1. Be up by 8:30am
2. Be ready to work by 9:00am
3. Get dressed
4. No XBOX or TV until all your work is done.
5. Have a good attitude and don't argue about your school work. It HAS to be done.
6. Finish your work in a timely manner
7. If you have to wait on mom for any reason, grab your leisure book and READ.
8. Do your chores without being told
9. Home School is a privilege, not an excuse to SLACK!
10. Remember, the faster you do YOUR BEST WORK, the faster you can get up and play!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. Today was the second day of school for us! I REALLY like Apologia Botany! We're going to start our light box on Friday afternoon.
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We finished all of our school work on Monday and then hit the pool with some friends.

Yesterday we went to the Spray ground in Milton with our Co-op. After that we went to the library for a "Lego Workshop". We were gone all day so we skipped school. I didn't get ONE picture! Stinks 'eh? Maybe someone will email me some? (hint hint)

So far (I know, right? 2 days?) I feel like we've made pretty good choices for our curriculum for the year. T1 keeps saying "why are we doing Amish English?" Whatever.... he's such a dweeb. It's Rod and Staff and it's a Mennonite and I like it alot. "So HUSH", I say.

The Alpha Omega Horizons math and the Rod and Staff "timed sheets" seems to be going ok for T2. He's less bored and intimidated by the lessons than he was with Saxon. T1 is using Saxon 67 this year. He does very well with it.

Spelling is a mixed bag for us. T2 has R&S 2nd grade spelling. He's working at least at a 3rd grade level everywhere except spelling. He is the WORST speller on the planet. Really. I don't get him, I really don't. He reads like Charlton Heston doing books on tape and can't spell his own name. Whatever. T1 is working out of a workbook that I found up at the Parent Teacher Store in Cross Lanes. It's says it's 7th grade but he can handle it, he's such a good speller. We're also going to study the scripps spelling bee word list this year.

Penmanship is R&S for both this year. Nothin' fancy,, just practice.

I mentioned before that we are studying Botany with Apologia. A+ GREAT book!

We're going to study a lot of history in Co-op this year so we haven't started history yet. Right now I think we'll focus on Botany while we have good weather. History will be better when it's cold.

They are both practicing their instruments of course and we draw a lot. I'd like to get something a bit more organized for art. They'd like it I think. Right now they are working on posters for the NRA's Youth Wildlife Art contest. LINKY

Well, tomorrow is another big day in the 2007-08 school year. Must sleep!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Back to School on 7-16-07

My dining area has once again become the school area. I spent this evening cleaning out the cabinets and setting our goals for the year. I placed all the fresh new text books in the cabinet and cleared the "catch all" purple cart of old projects and papers.

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The boys came in and checked out my charts and posters and said "Man, this year is going to STINK!" (Therefore breaking commandment #5).
I pointed out that everything on every list was the same things I tell them to do every day and none of it is any different than last year. Well, no we have desingnated weeks for certain chores so there is no more argueing (in theory) about who has to do what but still, same chores, different format.
I have high hopes for this year! We've learned so much and I want to start the year out on the right foot!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

100th post!

This is my 100th post here at Blogspot! Pretty cool!

Time to get geared back up! We've been slacking big time. It's summer, what do you want from me?!

We start our school year next week. The 16th specifically. Last year we started in the middle of July because I was freaked out and unsure of how the whole homeschool thing would go. I remember saying "if they wind up putting me away for loosing it on my kids in the first month, then they can still start public school on schedule" Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Well, it really worked out well. We took most of December off because of the Christmas rush and we were still done by the middle of April. That's pretty sweet! No one wants to be stuck inside when it starts to warm up! And now that it's so stiflingly hot (is that even a word?) everyone wants to be inside and veg out. Good time to hit the books if you ask me! We'll still take days off for field trips and pool dates and stuff but our summer vacation is pretty much over.

We went and picked blackberries last week. I made a ton of blackberry jam and a cobbler. YUMMY!
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Our garden is doing quite well too! I've been making pickles and eating cucumbers like nobody's business! T1 and I have also been eating more than our share of broccoli! Yup, broccoli! The plants that I thought wouldn't survive and I was 1 day away from pulling them all up! In just a few days we'll have tomatoes, beans and cauliflower! We have a ton of peppers too but I haven't used any yet. I'm saving them for the salsa I'm going to can using the tomatoes!

On the fourth we braved the rain and had a cook out at the park with some good friends. That was fun and I'll tell ya,, it's hard to play phase10 in the dark!

And in case you're into being bored to death. Here's a little video of the event!