Thursday, October 27, 2011

Health Experiment & Art

Health Experiment

To demonstrate how our bodies compensate for environmental temperatures, we did a simple experiment.

One bowl was filled with ice water, another with warm water and the red one in the middle was room temperature.  Simultaneously, Emily put one hand in the ice water and the other in the warm water for 20 seconds.

Then she put them both in the bowl that held room temperature water.  The room temperature water felt really warm to the hand that was previously in the ice water and cold to the hand that was previously in the warm water.  She thought that was "so weird!"


There was a mosaic projected assigned a couple weeks ago that we didn't do.  While shopping one day, I just happened to find a mosaic kit on clearance for $5, originally $15!  So Emily started and completed the entire project on Tuesday. 

First, she glued the design onto the board...

Then she glued the mirror in place and began gluing each tile... 

Lastly, she grouted taking care to wipe off any excess... 

And voila!  It turned out so nice!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Zoo Day

We finally made it to the zoo!  And best of all, the whole family went.

I took a better picture of this komodo dragon but it got corrupted somehow. (Still trying to figure that one out & fix it, if possible.)

A creation from recycled materials...

Is this not the biggest funnel cake ever?  It filled a normal size plate and was stacked really high!  So yummy!!!

I have no clue what this is... or was...

Emily was being a stinker, so I have no pictures of her to share. :(

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up: Theatre, Rome... Reading

It's hard to believe I'm writing another wrap-up.  It seems like the week just started and it passed so quickly! 

I fulfilled my teaching duty at co-op on Monday, filling in for another teacher.  I enjoyed teaching the last two weeks but glad I'm not required to teach every single week.  I wasn't as prepared this week as I thought I was.  But it all worked out ok.

On Tuesday, we went to see a production of The Wizard of Oz at the Children's Theatre.  It was a fantastic play with an awesome set.  Emily and I decided that we would like to work on creating sets for playhouses.  How fun would that be?!!

I had to snap some pictures on the walk back to the car... 

The week really wasn't the most productive.  Co-op on Monday, field trip on Tuesday, and I started feeling a bit sickly on Wednesday, so that slowed us down a bit.  I even skipped Bible study Thursday morning and took a nap.  I rarely take naps - only when I'm extremely tired or sick.  I'm feeling much better now though.

In My Father's World, Rome to the Reformation...

After the deaths of Antony & Cleopatra, the story in Augustus Caesar's World declined.  It's back to being a bit boring.  We briefly skimmed over reading about the Druids.  It was optional.  I wasn't against reading it in its entirety but really didn't see the need to.  I mostly just summarized the gist of it and explained it the best I could.

We didn't do any of the health lessons this week.  But it's ok because the kids are taking health at co-op.  We'll catch up on our stuff at home.

We collected some items to make more projects from the Roman World book.  Emily wants to make sandals and a clay animal rattle.  I'm going to help Katie make a clay doll.

In My Father's World, 1st Grade...

Katie's reading is improving.  Some days are better than others and she doesn't get as frustrated.  This makes us all happier!  She is almost finished with her first grade workbook.  I told her that we would celebrate when she completes it. :)

Once she's done, we will continue reading her Bible Reader and I plan to start the McGuffey Readers.  Some of it will be phonics review and I plan to have both kids participate in those lessons because I think Emily could use a refresher.


We only did a couple of math lessons this week.  We did so many last week though, that it all balances.

I finally broke down Thursday and turned on the furnace.  It was only 64 degrees in the house and my nose was dripping.  I held off as long as I could!

On Friday, the kids and I made chicken noodle soup and tacos.  Odd combo, I know.  But with a picky eater, sometimes you just have to go with it.

Emily's first gymnastics meet of the season is this Saturday.  She was really nervous early this week but after her coach talked with her, she settled down.  I'm looking forward to watching her and the other girls compete.  I've got my Nook loaded so I'll have something to read during all the down time and Hubs has a demo HTC tablet that I'm sure he'll be playing with!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up: Cleopatra, Knucklebones, Imagination, & Date

MFW Highlights:

We should have just completed our sixth week on the MFW schedule but we just completed the fourth.  I'm ok with it though because we have already taken some educational field trips which were well worth our time.

This week in history, we continued reading Augustus Caesar's World, learning about Mark Antony's love life and the battles it provoked.  I found that reading it aloud while the kids eat their lunch seems to work well.  (Their mouths are occupied with food so they're less likely to talk!)  Although, the story has become so interesting that I haven't had many problems with it holding their attention.  In fact, we were so engrossed with the Antony and Cleopatra saga that we read beyond what was scheduled one day, anxious to know what happened next!  I usually summarize what we've read, have the kids narrate it back to me, or do a Q&A after each reading.  This helps us to keep things straight.  On more difficult chapters, I sometimes read it myself and just summarize it to the kids.

We started reading The Bronze Bow this week.  At first, I was skeptical.  By the time we ended the first chapter, Emily was hooked.  She said "I have to admit, when I first saw the book I thought it was going to be boring.  But I actually like it!"  Now that's something to get excited about!  Any excitement Emily expresses about a book is also exciting to me, even if I'm the one reading it!  I did not include Katie on this one.  She gets her own bedtime stories.

The Rome book is wonderful.  It has some really great illustrations and projects in it.  And even though the projects are not always assigned, we've done some on our own anyway.  On Tuesday, we sculpted "knuckle bones" from clay so we can play the Knucklebones game.

Emily even sculpted a little dish to put her bones in.

I often open the Rome book up to the assigned page(s) and leave it on a table.  Emily is naturally drawn to it, so I often don't even have to tell her to read it.  She just does.  Most of the time, she is more interested in the projects and pictures, but she still reads the text that goes along with it.  Her curiosity gets the best of her!

Our Bible time is spent reading the assigned scriptures and beginning to memorize the books of the New Testament.  I still have the girls recite the OT books about once a week, just to keep them fresh on our minds.  This time is special to me because we always go beyond just reading the Scriptures.  We discuss them and think of how we can apply them.  We exchange examples of what they mean in our own lives.  And we were blessed early this week with great weather so that we could have these discussions out on the patio.

Spelling We don't do Spelling Power, as recommended by MFW.  We've tried various spelling books and just started a new one with Emily this week: Spelling by Sound and Structure.

Grade 5 Spelling Workbook

It's heavy on phonics which I haven't done with Emily for quite some time.  So the first lesson served as a good refresher on how vowel sounds are marked in the dictionary.  Some might think this has little or no value in the big scheme of things.  And let's be honest, most of the time, no one even cares that a long u has a horizontal line above it.  That is, unless you need to know the pronunciation of a strange word and must find it in the dictionary.  Knowing how to decode those markings has immense value in that respect.

For Emily, we are still using Intermediate Language Lessons and Writing Strands, although she hasn't started back into either of them yet this fall.  I know that's just awful, isn't it?  I guess we are slow people because it seems to take us all day to accomplish everything else!  We're getting there.  Emily has been reading nearly every day, and mostly without even begin told to, which is a huge step.  She still tends to choose easier books, so once in a while I'll throw out a few challenging that she must choose from.

Katie has kept up with her reading and writing and is nearing the end of her first grade book.  She's so excited!  To help her to learn singular and plural, we used sticky notes.

I wrote a word on each sticky note and Katie stuck them under the correct heading.  It worked out really great.

Now this child, Katie, is intelligent and imaginative, but needs to hone in on her abilities.  She has recently been saying that she's stupid.  After being disciplined about name-calling, even to herself, she then started saying that she's "not smart."  Oh, this child.  I remember Emily doing the same thing at about the same age.  So I know that it passes.  I just have to be patient and encouraging.

I can't resist sharing a couple of Katie's Bible story summaries.  The first one is from the story of Samson and how God gave him strength one last time to take down the enemies.  Take a close look at her drawing...

In case you didn't notice, one dude was decapitated and blood is gushing out from his lifeless body laying on the ground!  Oh my!!!  I'm not sure if I should be concerned or impressed.  She's been listening in on Emily's history readings, which have involved the chopping of heads.  And, we went to the Renaissance Festival a couple weeks ago.  I just never expected the violence to translate into my baby girl's drawing!  Especially not this child, who is so kind, caring, and considerate of others.

The other summary made me laugh at the end because she wrote "King Saul was afraid of Goliath.  Goliath was a giant.  David was a boy but was not afraid.  He killed Goliath with a sling shot and a rock.  Goliath went down."  That last sentence is what tickles me!  "Goliath went down."  I wish you could hear the tone in Katie's voice as she's says this.  Too funny!

For the first time in a long time, Emily struggled with her math one day.  She missed four out of 18 problems on her review sheet.  We did math late that day and I think her mind was toast.  We are still plugging away with RightStart which I still love, for the most part.  We are starting to skip over parts of lessons that Emily has already mastered.  I know that the practice is good and I still incorporate practice in other living ways.  One evening, Emily took it upon herself to complete her practice sheet for the next day.  She was so proud to show me it was already done and I was proud of her.  Initiative!  I love it!!!  And it saved a little time the next day.

Katie isn't working much on math right now, although she has a couple math workbooks that she's been doing.  One came from her grandma; a multiplication book which she was anxious to open up even though she hasn't started multiplication yet.  I figured it can't hurt, so I let her do it.  She actually did pretty well.  She understands the beginning concept anyway, which is a big step.  I haven't done any RightStart lessons with her over the past few weeks because we've been focusing on reading.  It was a good move because she is now reading the problems in her math workbooks mostly on her own.  You have no idea how huge this is!  I might even call it miraculous!  We might be able to get back with RightStart this coming week.

The weekend was busy but was topped off with a Sunday date with Hubs to the football game.  Our seats were inside a suite where we enjoyed free food and drinks including chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick!  But, of course, I was there to watch the game! (wink)  Really, the game was great.  Our team won and I found that it's much more enjoyable to watch football in person than to watch it on TV.  :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yummy Cornbread

Basic Corn Muffins Recipe

First of all, I can hardly believe how prepared I've been with meals this week.  I'm just so tired of meal planning procrastination!  I think that cooking for my brother and his family last week reminded me of how much I really do enjoy it.  And I love the lingering odor after a good home-cooked meal.

We had oven fried pork chops on Monday with veggies, fruit, and cornbread.  I almost always make homemade cornbread rather than buying a boxed mix.  But I usually use self-rising cornmeal, of which I had none of on Monday.  What to do?  Well, I searched on-line for recipes and found this one that we all loved.  It's definitely a keeper and I thought I'd share it.  Click here for the link to it on All Recipes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

If It's Not Broken, Don't Try to Fix it!

Why did I even mess with it?  My blog design.  I totally messed it up and spent way too much time trying to fix it.  And it still isn't "fixed!"  I don't know how to get it back to where it was.  It's close, but not quite there.

Why did I change it?  Well, I wanted a 3-column layout instead of 2-columns.  I thought it would be easier to view items on the sidebar that way.  Now, I'm just frustrated and mad at myself for messing it up!

I'm so NOT blogger literate!

Weekly Review: Rome & Home

I'm so late doing this weekly review, but life has been busy for us.

As usual, we had co-op on Monday.  It was a busy day for me.  Usually, I don't do much at co-op besides run around taking pictures.  And I usually do a little lesson planning too.  Not last Monday!  One of the teachers had to leave for a little while, so her class was basically cancelled and a couple of families were absent.  So that left me to fill in the gaps.  I didn't mind at all.  In fact, that's one reason I don't teach.  It's always good to have a back-up person.

Tuesday and Wednesday were reasonably productive days.  We are learning more about Rome and have grown accustomed to all the reading.  My mouth doesn't dry out as quickly and I'm pretty sure I'm gaining muscle mass around my mouth!  We haven't started reading The Bronze Bow yet, but I certainly hope to start this week.

We had a field trip on Thursday to the theatre to see a production of Lewis and Clark with our co-op.

We expected it to be an actual play with many actors.  But, it was just one guy who narrated the account of Lewis and Clark.  He was an older, energetic man who delivered some humor into his narration, and used props, including children from the audience, to tell the story.  Two kids from our group were called up and spent most of the time up on stage.  Afterwards, we went to lunch with the grandparents since we were sort of in their neck of the woods.  Ordinarily, I would have packed a lunch but I knew my in-laws would enjoy having lunch out with us and there was an Uno's Pizzeria right next door to the theatre.

Friday was a slow day for us.  We accomplished what we needed to but I sure didn't feel too motivated to do much.  For some reason, I get like that after field trips.  I'm thinking that we should save field trips for Fridays, when possible.  Unfortunately, many of the school days at theatres and other places are not on Fridays.  Anyway, I somehow managed to meander along enough to be satisfied when we finished.

I'll back up a little to explain why writing this review was delayed.  We got some bad news late Wednesday night that my brother's mother-in-law passed away.  She was diagnosed with Parkinson's about 12 years ago and recently went downhill fast.  She was only 66 years old.  My sister-in-law doesn't have much family and was close to her mom.  She is just so sad and I'm sad for her.  The worst part was seeing my nieces and nephews so upset at the funeral on Saturday, having lost a grandma.  It was just awful.

Anyway, the lack of having family and friends close by left our family with making food to take over to my brother's house where everyone would gather after the funeral.  I was up until 3am Saturday morning making lasagna, chicken noodle soup, and cookies.  I would have had it done by midnight (or sooner) had I been more motivated on Friday and had I not gone shopping for something to wear to the funeral.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I literally had no nice pants or skirts/dresses that fit me!  None!  I gained about 15 pounds since we went to California in the spring.  Yep, a whopping 15 pounds!  That's horrible!  And what a slap in the face.  I bought one pair of pants and a pair of jeans.  I REFUSE to buy more at this size.  This is where being stubborn is a good thing!  So, please pray for me to take this 15 pounds off (and then some) so that I can feel better about myself and be healthier.

Saturday was the funeral and we spent the entire afternoon at my brother's house.  The kids enjoyed playing with their cousins.  My brother and his wife were totally wiped out but still had visitors when we left.

We had a very moving service at church this morning.  A mother of two young girls (5 & 3) sat with our pastor and told her testimony about the death of her husband.  He was only 33 when he died one year ago.  She talked about her grieving process and how much she clung to God through it.  It was such an amazing testimony of God's love and His hand on our lives.  No one knows why he died.  No heart failure, no stroke, no medical explanation.  I believe God was just ready for him, for whatever reason He had.  I know, without a doubt, that God will use her testimony to help others.  And I pray that those who heard it this morning will not forget it and that they will grow closer to God because of it.  And I pray that my brother and sister-in-law will cling to God during their time of loss as well.

After church, we came home to a somewhat messy house.  Knowing that my in-laws were coming over, we all pitched in and quickly cleaned up.  Not my favorite thing to do on a Sunday, but it had to be done.  My house is more neglected during the school year.  I wonder why???  We try to keep up with it and it's better than it used to be.  But it will never be perfect, nor would I want it to be.  One day, I might make a sign for our house that is like this one...

The only thing I might change is to say that "the family is making memories!"

And now, we are off to start another week.  I am filling in for a teacher at co-op for the next two Mondays, teaching a lesson about muscles.  I hope I do as good a job as the regular teacher!  She's so great and makes the class so much fun.  With God's help, I'll do the best I can.

In case you missed it, read about how I was the best mom ever and get a recipe for Baked Cinnamon Donuts!  (I'd love to give credit to the site where I found this recipe, but I have no clue where I found it!)

Linked with Weekly Wrap-Up and

MFW HH button
 MFW Highlights

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Best Mom Ever!

Yep, today I was truly the best!  But who wouldn't be after making homemade Baked Applesauce Donuts dipped in cinnamon/sugar?

Baked Applesauce Donuts
for the Bread Machine

  • 1/6 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/6 cup applesauce (we used plain, but any type would do)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, butter - cubed
  • 2 1/4 cups of flour (we used all purpose flour)
  • 1/8 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sPalt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (it sounds like a lot, but trust me, it's right)
  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • an additional 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 1 cup of sugar combined with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1.   Pour the first five ingredients into the bread maker.
2.   Top them with the flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and lastly the yeast.
3.   Set the bread maker to the dough setting, and let it run until well mixed.
4.  Lift the lid on the machine while it's still running and slowly add another 1-1/2 cups of flour to thicken the dough.  Close the lid and let it run until finished.
5.   Pat the dough out into a circle, about 3/4 of an inch thick.
6.   Cut into donut shapes with a donut cutter, or two round cookie cutters.
7.   Place onto greased cookie sheets (we put the donuts on one sheet, and the holes on another), cover with a clean towel, and let rise for 40 minutes to an hour.
8.   Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, until they begin to look golden - do not over bake!
9.   Toss them immediately into the melted butter with a couple of forks, and then into the sugar, and cinnamon mixture.
10.  Serve and enjoy! If you keep them overnight, treat them like muffins, and cover them loosely. If you wrap them up in plastic, they might get gooey.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What is it with Halloween?

Many call it a holiday.  Not me.  I call it an event.  Yeah, it's fun to make-believe for a night and dress up, and the candy is just to die for around here.  But all the gruesome stuff can take a hike.

I've noticed this year, more than ever, the neighborhood kids all talking about horror movies, bloody costumes, "Bloody Mary in the mirror" - whatever that is??? - and other weird and gory things.  Whenever I hear that kind of talk, I nip it quickly.  I'm ok with dressing up, in nice costumes, just for fun.  I'm even semi-ok with trick-or-treating.  But every year, I see more houses elaborately decorated for Halloween and less for Christmas.  I really don't get it.  I'm not talking "fall" decorations, I'm talking R.I.P. stones all over the yards, webs from one corner of the house to the other, and purple & orange lights hanging on bushes and gutters.

This is why I appreciate my friend's blog post where she wrote a little about Christmas.  I love that her family has such a huge passion for Christmas and gets super excited about it.  I used to be one who never would put up a Christmas tree before Thanksgiving because I wanted to get through one holiday before moving to the next.  But what better reason to be thankful than for the birth of Jesus Christ?  So this year, I do believe our tree will be up before Thanksgiving!  But this whole Halloween thing... I'm just not sure about it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weekly Review: Making Strides

Although they are small, we are making strides in reading.  Katie is starting to recall some of what she learned last year and it's translating into her reading.  We backed off on the math for a while so we could focus on reading.  Next week, I plan to return her to a full schedule.

Math remains Emily's strength.  And she is making strides in memorizing the multiplication facts.  RightStart has a great approach to drilling the facts in various ways that are proving successful.  All the while, we continue on in the book.  Love it!  The funny thing is that while I was randomly asking Emily what 6x4 is, Katie shouts out "24."  Of course, she was right!  So I'm hoping that she'll absorb some of this now so that when it's her turn, she'll catch on quickly.

So, last week, I was on the fence about the book Augustus Caesar's World.  This week, we actually enjoyed it.  Even better, the kids asked questions and made comparisons!  Since I stumbled through the reading at times, I searched the web for summaries about the book.  Well, there are none on this specific book.  However, there are plenty of resources on the web about the Caesars and other key people of that time.  Two sites I found most useful are World History for Kids and Ancient Rome for Kids.  They have brief summaries, videos, and even some neat printables that we will include in our notebooks.  I found these summaries very useful in helping me to comprehend it all better, which then made it easier for me to read the book and explain when needed.  This, in no way replaces reading Augustus Caesar's World.  I want to make that clear because there is so much great detail in this book.  And after reading a decent chunk of it, I've learned the writing style and kind of have a feel for it, which makes it easier for me to read aloud.

Katie started back up in her spelling book this week, which was a bit easy for her, but good practice.  And we meant to start Emily's new spelling book this week... but... I lost it!  Seriously!  This book was nowhere to be found!  Checked, double & triple checked all the shelves, under furniture, behind furniture... EVERYWHERE!!!  Well, obviously not everywhere!  Early Wednesday morning, I found it in a chair under some drawings.  And as much as I hate to admit this, I'm pretty sure that I was the one who put it there!  But that doesn't really matter, right?  Anyway, there was no point in starting it since we had a field trip to the Renaissance Festival on Thursday and ended up taking Friday off.  After the fun but exhausting field trip, I needed a day off!  The kids were thrilled.

I started Emily on a comprehensive curriculum workbook this week.  I mainly want her doing more reading for school rather than just for pleasure, and this workbook will accomplish that, and so much more.  She didn't like the looks of it at first, but she'll adjust.

The girls both love their co-op classes.  It was kind of a rough start this year but it's working out well for them.  They talk about it quite a bit so I know they are learning a lot.  The anatomy class reinforces our learning at home and visa versa.

That pretty much wraps up our week.  I would say that I look forward to having four full school days (plus co-op) next week, but I'm thinking of taking a day to visit the zoo.  The weather is supposed to be really nice next week and I want to take advantage of any nice days we get before we're cooped up all winter.  And we love the zoo! :)


Linked up to Weekly Wrap-Up