Sunday, September 30, 2007

Alpaca Shopping

I love Alpacas.

I mean, I REALLY love them! Someday soon I hope to get a herd. A smallish herd will be fine. (I don't ask for much! LOL)

They require little shelter- just a three sided building.

You can easily keep up to 6 animals on one acre of land

The don't eat much.

They are cute, CUTE, CUTE!

Their fleece and offspring yield high returns.

They are gentle.

They are "clean" and hypo allergenic

I knit. Come on,, do you need more reason than that?

The boys got to make a felted bar of soap while we visited Harmony Ridge Farms today. The owners were so knowledgeable and kind. We had them to ourselves for our whole visit! When it comes time to buy, I'll be visiting them again. I'll probably make an appointment to go up and learn more about them and take some training before that.
The whole family is completely enamoured with these gentle beasts of burden. We've justified the cost as being less than a registered dog and what great pets these are!
I mentioned to Jeff half joking (see the picture above) that I had free labor for quite a few more years because we homeschool and he told us that his grand kids homeschool too! Beware.... we home schoolers are everywhere!
On our way out the door we picked up a packet of information, some business cards and one of the personalized pens they offered.
What a cool way to spend a Sunday! We learned a lot, but don't tell the kids!

The Homeschool Bulletin Board

In our home school area, we have our "bulletin board". See it? It's nice, no? What? You don't see it? Silk trees make great bulletin boards! We hang all matter of stuff on it. Of course Mitt (our HS mascot) in always on the tree when he's not on the road with us. Which has not been often lately! Poor Mitt,, remind me to take him on our next outing!
I stripped the tree last night to dust it off (man, stuff in my house gets dusty, I mean D-U-S-T-Y) and change it's decor so there isn't any class projects tucked in the branches at present. I hit the dollar store for the decor. Spent a whopping $3. I'll probably find more junk in the attic if I can motivate to climb up there!
It will be our Christmas tree too. We don't have a lot of room for a big tree. I do bring out a few smaller trees at Christmas time and kind of make a "grove" by grouping them all together. Each tree has a theme. Not because I think it looks good ('cuz there is no hope for us there!) but because we have so many stinkin' Christmas ornaments! We have all the Hallmark Car ornaments and too many penguin (a past obsession) ornaments to count and a few years ago I got all obsessed with Scandinavian stuff. I will have to pull the lights off of it and string some new ones. I'm the laziest person alive it seems because all the strands of lights finally burnt out sometime in the spring and I just never took them off! But a Christmas tree must have lights, so I suppose sometime soon I'll make myself buy some new lights (all of ours are like,,,, first Christmas together old) and restring it soon.
I love doing weird and stupid stuff (like the tree). I think that's why we're so well suited to home school! I wonder if my kids will embrace this or just long to be normal!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Native American Fiction

Our local library has both of these books. Has anyone read either one of them? I read the first few pages with that cool thing has were you can look inside the book. They both seem to be very exciting and easy enough for my 8 year old to read. They are both strong contenders for our next "pass around" book. I think they'll also be good stories to reinforce our recent field trip.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Trumpet of the Swan- COMPLETE

We finally finished it up today. We all enjoyed it immensely as I've mentioned a hundred and one times. The ending was sweet and happy as I expected.
There was one funny thing that I did not expect though, more ironic than funny really! Keep in mind that this book was published in 1970. In the second to last chapter, a decision about a large sum of money needed to be made. One child in the crowd who was identified as ALFRED GORE suggested that the money be donated to The American Civil Liberties Union!
Funny huh? or is it prophetic? LOL
By the way, they money was given to the Audubon Society, not the ACLU!
Speaking of money. A friend of mine was telling me that she works part time from home. I was thinking "oh yeah, sure you do". Every time I hear that I think that it's too good to be true. She REALLY does tho! She does online customer service for companies like Sprint, Comcast, and AT&T. She gave me a link to apply but I seriously can't keep up with what we have let alone doing anything else. I guess it really is possible to work at home!
School went fine today. We were done by lunch time. T1 wasn't feeling good today but not so bad that he couldn't do his work. Isn't that the best thing about home school? What would have been an absence in PS was just a day with extra TLC for us!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Today's Field Trip

I intended on writing about our field trip earlier but I spent so much time putting the video together that I ran out of time. Now, everyone is asleep and I have the house to myself.
The site was easy enough to find, although initially I was a bit leary of traveling through some one's side lawn and around the back of a power station! I was sure that I was going the wrong way but I chalked it up to adventure and pressed on. What's the worst that could happen? (don't answer that!) The road eventually opened up into a field with homes and barns (relief!).

There were quite a few school groups there but there were enough stations that we could all stay spaced out nicely. The weather threatened all day but never poured on us.

The guy to the left was very knowledgeable and interesting. He explained how he makes and uses Revolutionary War Rifles and Muskets. We learned why a musket is different than a rifle (I didn't know! )

The Indian reenactor was probably the most well read, knowledgeable history buff I've ever spoken to. I could have listen to him tell us about Indian culture in the 1700s all day. SERIOUSLY. I have never even given much thought to Native American culture and history until today. To hear him explain the way it really was, was completely fascinating. Maybe we can do a little study of Native American heritage in November leading up to Thanksgiving!

The Story of Mary Draper Ingalls is also really inspiring. According to the family account, she went on to start a new life after her captivity with the Shawnee. I wonder if she was ever "right" again? I mean, I'd need some serious medication. It's amazing to me how strong the pioneer people were. All the hardships and none of the drug rehabs! LOL

It was a great field trip. I really enjoyed it! Completely worth the $9.oo we paid. (save the $10.00 I ended up shelling out for wooden muskets! )

Mary Draper Ingalls Living History Day

For those of you who didn't get to go,, here's a quick recap!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The birds and the bees

It's amazing how much the boys are learning about the mechanics (not the details! LOL) of procreation during our study of Botany. Apologia relates the reproduction of plants to how the human body works in almost ever lesson so far. Don't worry, it's done in a very tasteful manner and not embarrassing to read at all. It's always done in a very praiseful, Biblicaly accurate manner too. Growing up, I always heard it called "The Birds and the Bees" and it kinda made sense to me but now it's very obvious why it's referred to as such!
We dissected flowers today and the kids were FASCINATED! I mean, really, they were! You coulda knocked me over with a feather. I couldn't believe how "into it" they were!

On the math front, T2 has his 2s, 3s, 5s, 9s, 10s, 11s, and 1s (naturally) down PAT. I mean, he KNOWS them! Yipee! So we only have 21 actual more problems to learn.
Tomorrow we're going to the Mary Ingles Virginia Frontier Student Days. Expect pictures! I hope it isn't raining. We're still going to go unless it's pouring cats and dogs. I do love Autumn but the Sept., Oct., Nov. rains depress me because they knock so many leaves off the trees. I love the cooler weather most of all. I won't be purchasing any Arizona luxury real estate any time soon! I can't imagine living somewhere that doesn't have distinct seasons.
We are dragging out "The Trumpet of the Swan" as long as we can because the boys are loving it. They asked today "Is there a Trumpet of the Swan TWO?" They didn't even mind the worksheets I had them do as I read today. They're happy to do anything and everything to do with this book! Thanks E.B. White! You have my complete and total adoration! We haven't decided which book to read next, I'm taking suggestions!
Well, off to finish up dinner! See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A full day

Flip me a fish, we did a full day of school today. It's about time huh?
I guess the kids have become accustomed to slacking because before we finished they were both having a melt down. They stomped off to clean their rooms and I sat down at the computer to look for some supplemental worksheets so we can wrap up "The Trumpet of the Swan". Man, do I ever need new office furniture. My computer chair is just right down gross. Here is a list of links that will help you if you decide to read "The Trumpet of the Swan" with your kids!

They are both really liking Daily Grams. It's quick, it's easy, it's to the point. I love it. I think we may also put away T2s math workbook for a spell. I think concentrating on his times tables for a few weeks might be very beneficial. I taught T1 his tables using this technique
It was so easy that he knew most of his tables in just one setting! I don't know if it'll come that easy to T2 but we'll see. At least he's motivated!

Well, it's late and I'm tired. Just thought I'd write a bit before turning in! Have a great day at school tomorrow!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Gym Class

We could really use some regular exercise around here. I have grand aspirations of making the kids get up early in the morning and walk with me. We could all use it and it would be a great start to the day. Just one thing.... I don't wanna.

I get up early for many reasons but the biggest one is for the peace and quiet. Do I sacrifice my peaceful time to go out and exercise? I guess I should. I would feel better and possibly look better. People took lots of pictures of me this past weekend and wow.... I'm not happy. I wish there was some kind of miracle burn but the truth is,, it's just good old fashioned hard work that really does the trick!

Tomorrow I'll give it another go. If nothing else, I could get on the treadmill and walk a mile or two. Wish me luck!

Back to business.

"In the best most popular children's books, children almost never go to school"
(Schoolproof by Mary Pride) It's true isn't it? Think about it, The Narnia Series, Alice in Wonderland, Encyclopedia Brown, and Nancy Drew. So, where am I going with this, right? Yeah, you guessed it, we didn't really do much school last week other than Co-op. We were busy with all sorts of stuff and then I abandoned my family and drove to Findlay OH to party with some friends! Oh, it was fun. I wish it wasn't almost 6 hours away, but it was fun indeed.
Findlay is such a nice town! I don't think I've ever been somewhere that felt like home so quickly. It's small but still has everything you'd ever need. There are outlying towns that still have a post office that is also the bank, that is also the general store! When I gazed in the windows there were still old fashioned iron bars over the windows. Oh,, and there is lots of CORN up there! ha ha ha. I was told on several occasions that I was in "ooper Ohio" not "lower Ohio" ha!
We stayed in a hotel but if I had done my research, I would have liked to have stayed in a bed and breakfast . There is one in Findlay called the Rose Gate and it's very lovely. It's a great price too at $75 to 85 a night!
So when I go hang out with my "Oooper Ohio" friends it has become sort of a tradition to hit a yard sale and ask the locals where to eat breakfast. We heard from them that we should go to this little dive called "The Dark Horse" and OMG,, it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good! It was this Puerto Rican/German fusion kind of cooking and it ROCKED! I had something called Haver Grits and it was the most interesting thing I've ever had. I wasn't sure I liked it at first but wow,,, was it good! It's pin oats cooked with roasted pork. They let that set up (like oatmeal does) into a loaf. They take slices of that loaf and fry them. Wow, YUM.
Oh and WVians,, your yard sales STINK on ice! It's almost worth the trip just to go yard saleing up north!
Well, so now it's Monday and I have to get back on the ball. All good things must come to an end I suppose! Have a great week ya'll!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tuesday's Co-op

Chris came to teach the kids about Civil War Weaponry Tuesday at Co-op. It was a great change of pace for them. I think Chris had a good time doing it too! He brought some black powder rifles, swords, knives and cartridges. Of course the boys thought this was great!
He also brought a Confederate uniform and a Union uniform. The girls liked this part best!

From here we move on to WV history. This week's schedual went a little smoother than last time, I think we're getting the hang of this!

Relay 4 Life hat pattern

I'm making these hats in purple for the Huntington Area Relay for life. This pattern is very easy and turns out really cute. I've made 4 in 2 days! The reductions make a cute little "spin" on the top. I was able to get 4 hats out of 1 ball each of the yarns. Enjoy!
Relay 4 Life Hat

1 ball of Red Heart Soft in Lavender

1 ball of Bernat Disco in Motown Mauve

Small circular needle US 8

4-5 DPNs US8

4 stitch markers

tapestry needle

Holding Disco and Red Heart Soft together, CO 64 st

Rows 1-3 Knit

* At the end of row 3 break off disco and work the tail into the following stitches.

Rows 4-25 Knit

Row 26 K 16, PM, K 16, PM, K16, PM, K 16, PM.

Row 27 (Knit unitl 2 stitches before marker, K 2tog) x4

Row 28 Knit plain

Rows 29-36 Repeat Rows 27&28 4 times more

* change to DPNs

Rows 37-46 Repeat row 27

Now, barring anything unforseen you should have 2 st between each marker. Break yarn and thread onto a tapestry needle. Gather up remaining stitches and pull snuggly. Tack tail down on the interior of the hat. Weave in ends. DONATE!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Sept. 17 2007

I finished my first purple hat and I'm 3/4 of the way through my second one. The body of the hat is done in Red Heart Soft (not that scratchy stuff!). Colorway Lavender. The trim is done in Bernat Disco. Colorway Motown Mauve. Neither of those colorway names do any justice to the real color of the hat. It's a very vibrant purple.
I think out of those 2 balls of yarn I'm going to get 3 hats? Pretty good for clearance yarn! (as if I would ever pay full price! LOL)

We have been busy as beavers building our beaver dam diorama! Today I gave them some brown and black Sculpey Clay to work with. They fashioned some reasonable facsimiles of water rodents and of course, they had to make top hats for them!

After taking our sculptures out of the oven, we gathered up our things and headed outside to read our book. We kind of lost track of time. T1 came out of the house and said "hey Mom, you know it's 2:40 right?"


Band is at 3. So I ran myself under the shower quickly and we headed out the door. No sooner did I start the car than T2 said "you never bought me a book!"

Oh yes,, oh course it's my fault. He's only had one lesson and failed to mention it for a solid week but yeah, whatever. So I shoved them out the door at practice and ran to the music store (well, actually I drove but you get the idea). Peeled out, drove back and by now, I'm frazzled.
Time to pull out the knitting, it calms me down.
T2 had a good lesson, he's really excited about playing with the band.

After T2's lesson it was me and T1's turn. T1 went ahead and played with the high schoolers after that but I was beat so I hung out with the moms. I forgot how aerobic playing an instrument was! How sad is it that an hour of playing flute winded me?
Tomorrow is Co-op and Home school skating. My dearest husband is coming to help us tomorrow. The kids are going to love it because he's bringing WEAPONS! whoo hoo! Stay tuned for pictures tomorrow!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another Hat

It's the third Sunday of the month and that means it's time to go to Knitting Circle. I turned in my hats for the month and we got a wonderful visit from the community manager of the American Cancer Society. We just knit hats and afghans and send them off, we never know what happens to them. It was really touching to have the ACS bring us pictures and accounts of what a difference the hats have made. Such a simple thing, to knit a hat. It's just round and round and round. I'm not sure who feels warmer,, the knitter or the recipient! The lady from the ACS requested as many purple hats as we could muster before the Relay for Life in October. She'd like to see all the Cancer survivors in a purple hat when they walk the track. It'll be a huge visual impact as Cabell Co. got an award last year for having the most survivors per capita. Really cool! If you'd like to donate a purple hat to the ACS drop me an Email at Cnewmans at yahoo dot com!
The hat in the picture is one I finished this evening. I really like the way it turned out. It's nice and thin and has some nice denim blues in it. It's done in Moda Dea's Sassy Stripes. I'm about 3/4 of the way done with my first purple hat. Perhaps I'll show that one off tomorrow!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hello.... hello.... hello....

We're still alive.

I haven't posted in over a week. There hasn't been much to report! Let's see,, a quick recap.

Tuesday the 4th

Our first day of Co-op. It was a little hectic but went pretty well. We're studying The War Between the States (The Civil War).

Monday the 10th

Our first day of Band. All three of us are playing. I'm playing the flute, T1 is still playing Trombone (his 4th year!) and T2 is playing the Trumpet.

Tuesday the 11th

I had a Dr's appt.

Wednesday the 12th

Yet another Dr's appt. (we'll get this shoulder fixed eventually)

Today, Friday the 14th

The Fall Kick Off picnic. It was fun and the weather straitened up and stopped raining just in time. Good fun, fellowship and friends.

Shelly recruited me to train to be a tester next year. I may do it. I'll go take the training but I'm going to have to see how busy I am with the Presidential campaign in the spring. I may not have time to do testing too! We'll see.

More on why I'm going to be involved with the upcoming election later! ::: tease :::
I had a hat knitting experiment go seriously wrong this week. You see, I scored this ultra nice, uber soft eyelash yarn at Michael's this past week for FIFTY CENTS. Well,, there wasn't enough of it to do an entire hat. So I thought I'd do it in stripes. OH. MY. GOD. I do not recommend this. I dub this hat "Fraggle Rock" It's so so so so wrong. The worst part was that I stuck with it until the end! Usually when a project starts to go awry, I frog it (rip it, rip it, rip it) but this time I did not. As you can see, I probably should have! No self respecting chemo patient would ever wear this, but my niece might! ha ha ha.
As far as school goes, same 'ol same 'ol. We're reading "The Trumpet of the Swan" by E.B. White as our "round reading" book. The boys were devastated when I brought it out. "THAT'S A GIRL BOOK!"
"look, there's a little boy right on the front (of our copy)"
"SO! It's about S-W-A-N-S!"
"well,, let's read it anyway,, it won't kill you"
So they love it. I never read it as a child and wow..... what a cute, cute book. It's a perfect little boy book so far. It also includes lots of information about the swans and geography (on the sly!).

That's about all the news that's fit to print. Maybe next week will be more exciting!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

This week's knitting

I make a lot of hats. They're pretty quick, and sometimes they give me a chance to try a new yarn without making a huge investment. I donate them to the homeless and to local hospitals for chemo patients. My knitting circle donates a LOT of items. They're a great bunch of ladies.
The other night my husband came home and told me that not one,,, but TWO woman at his workplace have been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. They are a tight bunch down there and both of these ladies have worked with C for a long long time. He asked me to pick up my needles and get some caps together. The pinkish one is the first time I've knit anything lacy. I love this pattern! It took me a LONG time to master being my first lace project but I think I really have it down now. You can see the pattern HERE
Ya'll will have to endure "The Severed Head of Eric Carr" again. (He's getting kind of beat up. It might be time to replace him!)

This hat is so soft! I had some baby eyelash and some simply soft leftovers and I think it turned out nicely! No pattern, I made it up as I went along.

I haven't posted in a while

Last weekend we went for a hike and identified some plants. This flower is in phyla Dicotyledon (dicot).
Here's a flower in Phyla Monocotyledon (monocot).

There were quite a few things we could not identify. Does anyone know what these pretty berries are?

A sunflower is actually a dicot. You can't really tell by the petals but the leaves.

The sweet pea has us stumped but I'm thinking dicot.

We scrounged along the river. It's really low right now. We found all kinds of interesting things on the shore!

I see evidence of a large heron!

There he is!

There were butterflies EVERYWHERE! I was able to catch a few of them sitting still.