Archive for July, 2015

Week In The Life ( “……….Must Go, According to Plan”)

July 25, 2015

“And that’s why everything, every last little thing,
every single tiny microscopic little thing must go…
According to plan,” Corpse Bride lyrics.

I am pretty sure, I am not the only one that experiences things not always going according to plan. Well, that is exactly how our summer has been. Between all the rain, and my injury, you could say our summer has sucked. I feel sorry for the girls and Papa for having to pick up my slack. The girls made 3 dinners this week in the crock pot. That is about all the strength I have, crock pot meals. I could very easily start complaining about why I need to wait 4 weeks to see a specialist (I had to wait 3 weeks to get in to a gastroenterologist), and how backed up the health care in our country is, but I am really trying to make the best of it. It’s been hard though, there was SO much I wanted to do with the girls this year. We were just getting involved with homeschooling activities again.

From the garden:

Well, we did have another mystery crop this year. One child was hoping, fingers crossed and everything, for watermelon. It turned out to be cantaloupes instead.

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I am the only one in the family that likes cantaloupes. Like before when we had a mystery crop, it must have been from our compost.

The tomatoes have finally began to ripen, and we have been enjoying the grape tomatoes on salads, not eating tomatoes all year makes for a very special treat when taking that first bite, Yum.

We have also been enjoying a crop of summer squash, which brings me to ..

From the kitchen:

My new favorite way to cook summer squash is sauteed in a pan with a little onion as a side dish. I have also been enjoying summer squash, walnut, and spice, gluten free oat pancakes. They taste just like zucchini bread and I can eat them plain.

It is also that time of year again,

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60 ears of corn put back for the winter. We eat it as a side dish as well as add the kernels in soups, and stews. This family loves corn.

The girls made muddy buddies as their treat this week along with a few dinners. I do believe I will be in good hands if surgery is needed.

From the homeschool:

Mathematics:

The girls are still working through their workbooks and warming up with Xtra Math.

Science:

We watched the video on Apollo 11 and discussed the moon landing, celebrating its anniversary this week.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo11.html

American History:

I read Louisa May’s Battle by Kathleen Krull. It was interesting to learn Walt Whitman served as a nurse during the Civil War.

Language Arts:

English Literature:

We finished the Bronte Sisters’ book of poetry.

American Literature:

We finished part one of Little Women and started part two (Good Wives). The tablets are working out great for reading along.

Sky read book 4 of the American Girl, Samantha series aloud.

Little Sis finished book one of Twilight and has started on book 2.

Composition:

Both girls have been inspired to write their own poems (I hope to have the girls post them soon), and both girls are writing their own novels.

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The Arts:

Art History:

We watched The Wind Rises, Miyazaki’s last movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2013293/

We really liked it, even Papa enjoyed this one.

Then we watched The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness documentary (Netflix) about Miyazaki making his last movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3204392/

I too feel like a 20th century girl living in a 21st century world. Computers good, yes, SO much is available on-line for school. However, just because we can do CGI doesn’t mean ALL movies need to be made that way. I do like how we now have the ability to bring movies to life in a way that we couldn’t before, but  I also enjoy the artwork of 2D animation. I like watching Hitchcock’s different camera angles, or learning how Howard Hughes got some of his shots.

I believe computers have the ability to make us lazy. I get computers are a tool, and we can do so much now because of them, and do understand that television has the same ability as well as reading books. I am guilty of staying up all night because I couldn’t put the book I was reading down.

I also prefer to read an actual book. I enjoy the way they feel in my hand, the noise truing a page makes, how they can be used as security blanket, but am thankful for the convenience of having a tablet too. There will be some books we read for school, that I know the girls will not want to read again.

I guess the point I am trying to make is, why can’t we have the best of both worlds? Oh well, this is more than I intended to write on the subject honestly. 🙂

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I guess I will just end this post by saying,

peace for the journey.

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Week In The Life (My Little Women)

July 18, 2015

Well, here we are again, another Friday with more rain that we don’t really need.

From the garden:

We went ahead and dug out our potatoes for fear of them rotting.

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Not a whole lot considering how many plants we had. I am just thankful for any at all considering how the weather has been across the Midwest. I don’t think we will have much of a tomato harvest this year. Our plants are beginning to turn yellow from all the rain. Add this with the outbreak of the bird flu and the price of eggs going up, it doesn’t look like a very good year for farmers.

We actually have stopped eating eggs due to Papa’s high triglycerides and cholesterol (Heart disease is bad in his family, his dad died from it when he was 58.). We made the switch to Egg Beaters for baking needs months ago, but we only go through a container a week. So, I really don’t see that affecting us much. However, not having tomatoes, Papa will only eat homegrown, and not being able to make tomato sauce will. The family can’t stand store bought spaghetti sauce.

From the kitchen:

Still freezing fruit for winter smoothies. The girls are still mug baking. They tried their hand at mug coffee cake this week.

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The one on the left is my gluten free version using gluten free oats that I blend into flour. They turned out pretty good, a little sweet for my taste, so I want to try again next time using half the sugar and half the fat (We also made the switch to everyone using Earth Balance now.). Maybe a little maple syrup for the cake batter, and Splenda for the topping.

https://heatherlikesfood.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/2-minute-coffee-cake-in-a-mug/

We also have been using Splenda when maple syrup isn’t a possibility as we need to watch Papa’s sugar intake too.

From the homeschool:

Mathematics

The girls are still warming up at Xtramath.com. I like how this has helped them with their speed, which is why I signed them up in the first place. Both girls worked in their workbooks, Math Made Easy 3rd grade for Little Sis and Kumon Pre-Algebra book 1 for Sky. I am almost 100% positive Sky will be able to start pre-algebra from Khan Academy at the start of the year. We are heading into percents in the Math Doesn’t Suck book and Sky is pretty good at figuring them out from living real life mathematics. 🙂

Science

I gave the girls a general science quiz to see how well they would do, and they actually did well.

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/quizzes/trueorfalse.html

I am proud to say, science is not a weak link in our homeschooling. Honestly, I think this is because I have always let them be curious and explore their world. Sky loved Wild America with Marty Stouffer as a child. She actually would wake up early to watch it Saturday mornings instead of cartoons.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_America_(TV_series)

The same can be said about their Ranger Rick magazine subscriptions (that they have since outgrown 😦 ). They both don’t see “science” as a part of our school, but as something fun that we do. PBS Nature and NOVA, Sky actually sees what is coming on and marks it in my planner as a reminder.

This is something I want to continue by not bringing in a dry, boring old textbook. Talk about a turn-off. Science is the study of the living through observation and experimentation, not reading a textbook, studying and regurgitating facts.

Speaking of reading about facts, we read Science in the news July’s issue.

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https://www.sciencea-z.com/scienceweb/newsarchive.do

This helps ignite conversations about current events, and speaking about current events, we talked about NASA’s new photos of Pluto.

http://www.nasa.gov/feature/new-image-of-pluto-houston-we-have-geology

(Very excited about Ant-man we are, though I do hope they bring the female superheroes in soon.)

Language Arts

As you can see in the photo above, we took advantage of “back to school sales” by investing in tablets this year for the girls. I thought how much we would save, not only money but with space too, by being able to read all the free books online. So for starters, Little Sis actually is the one who chose our next read along, we are reading and listening to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

https://librivox.org/little-women-dramatic-reading-by-louisa-may-alcott/

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37106

I read Alcott’s bio from Lives of the writers by Kathleen Krull and printed off a page where the girls came up with 10 things they learned about her.

http://www.thecolor.com/Coloring/Louisa-May-Alcott.aspx

We also watched a video from Novels and Nonsense (YouTube) about her too.

Sky read and finished American Girl Samantha book 3, Samantha’s Surprise.

We are continuing with the Bronte sisters’ poetry (which the girls can now read along on their tablets) and caught the American Masters episode on Harper Lee.

A Twilight update, Little Sis has two more chapters until she finishes the first book. I see her finishing over the weekend.

The Arts

The girls made Victorian house lap books, I printed off color sheets and some paper dolls that the girls used to color and create their houses with.

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You can’t see the sides but they pasted stairs on each side.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B_tKMwVlpRx8flphdkJ6R2VQSHhqaXNfbVZiTWQzblJzOTVvTEs0OGdselN0ZHZrT0dFbnM&usp=sharing

http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/dolls/pd_scans/hp/hp_index.html

http://www.picgifs.com/coloring-pages/titanic/titanic-coloring-pages-1-701058/

(They cut this picture in half to use as stairs.)

There has been lots of creating and sewing on the girls part too. (For their Tinnies village.)

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It is long overdue for Little Sis to get her own sewing kit.

We have been loving, enjoying The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_of_Peter_Rabbit_and_Friends

We have the collection of Potter stories that have been read and reread several times (This series is very close to being tied for the most read stories with Ellen’s Lion.). So, finding a television series that keeps the integrity of the illustrations and stories were big.

Then for me to find a ballet, Britain’s Royal Ballet, was like striking gold I tell you.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067570/

Along with more paper dolls.

http://mostlypaperdollstoo.blogspot.com/2013/03/from-mind-of-beatrix-potter.html

No P.E. this week, I received the results of my MRI and I have a protruding disk in my lower back that is pinching my sciatic nerve making walking very difficult. My appointment with the specialist isn’t until August. My fingers are crossed I will not need surgery but steroids have not worked. I have been prepping the girls in the kitchen and they have mastered a few meals already in case I do. So, P.E. has been temporarily postponed.

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Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“Let Your Colors Burst”)

July 10, 2015

Well, if you live in the Midwest you are already aware of how much rain we’ve been receiving. I am ever so thankful for the sun shiny Fourth of July weekend we had but did not know it would be the last time that I would see the sun. I am glad I was able to capture it in case there is ever the need to prove that yes, indeed it did truly exist. I am thankful this year I didn’t purchase a pool pass, because with high temperatures in the 60s this week, swimming was the last thing on our minds.

From the garden:

We have yet to water our garden since when we first planted it in May. We have plenty of green tomatoes, thank goodness I like fried green tomatoes, but with current temperatures what they are I’m not sure they will ripen. (I am about to use our last few jars of tomato sauce too.) I am hoping our potatoes don’t rot with all the rain, fingers crossed. I am thankful our garden is on a hill to allow run off. Meanwhile, I have at least been able to use our onions, and do have fresh garlic to look forward to.

From the kitchen:

Thanks to the American Girl Samantha series, we attempted to make pralines.

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http://www.foodiemisadventures.com/2013/02/southern-pecan-pralines.html

With cooler temps and all the humidity, we ended up putting them in the refrigerator to harden. They were really good, too good. They will need to be kept for special occasions only good.

While waiting for the mixture to reach its hard boil temperature, I explained how really this could count as a chemistry experiment. Basically, we were breaking the chemical compound of sugar down by heat and depending on how fast or slow it cools, we are able to manipulate the size of the sugar crystals changing its texture.

From the homeschool:

Science:

Speaking of chemistry, we watched a video on the science of making hard candy.

We also learned the science behind fireworks,

the girls colored a worksheet to add in their notebook,

http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/chemistry-of-fireworks/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=July2015&cid=80.

and we finished the PBS series First Peoples.

Mathematics:

Both girls warmed up at xtramath.com.

Sky practiced run on decimals and changing decimals to fractions from Math Doesn’t Suck and Khan Academy. I found the perfect workbook to go along with the Math Doesn’t Suck book. Kumon Pre-Algebra workbook 1. It starts with finding common factors and finishes with the order of operations.  I just wish I had found it sooner, but it is a great review for Sky to work on.

Little Sis continued with Math Made Easy Grade 3.

Language Arts

We finished Sky Island and Sky finished reading book 2 Samantha Learns A Lesson aloud. We continued with the Bronte Sisters’ poetry.

We watched BBC The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne’s novel.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115387/

This is considered to be the first feminist novel, and I can see why. I have to say this is probably my favorite story from the sisters, with Wuthering Heights as a very close second.

Yes, we also watched the BBC movie version of Jane Eyre.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/jane_eyre_2011/

I will wait until after we read the three novels before I make my final decision, I prefer to read the authors actually words, but I don’t really like this story. Whereas in Wuthering Heights, the emotions seem real, I have been angry, I have felt jealousy, Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester just seems creepy. I felt sorry for Heathcliff, I never liked Rochester. Now in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, well, I love everything about it. I actually am reading it now myself because I can’t wait to read it with the girls.

Moving on, we finished the miniseries Bleak House.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0442632/

The girls and I really liked this series. Again, I will wait until after we read the story, but this to me is Dickens at his best.

We watched 15 facts on Dickens by Novels and Nonsense,

with the girls seeing how much they already knew, and they watched a video about him and took the quiz.

http://www.esolcourses.com/content/lifeintheuk/citizenship/literature/charles-dickens/listening-and-vocabulary.html

P.E.

We were able to walk around the block once in between rainfalls and Walked Away the Pounds.

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Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life (Wuthering Around)

July 7, 2015

Well, I had every intention to write every week even if we did take a week off. I mean, I have mentioned several times how homeschooling is a lifestyle after all. What does a week off look like for homeschoolers? For me, it is anything but exciting. I caught up with housework and the garden. Oh, and then there was rain, and more rain, and yes, more rain. Add to that my first root canal, first MRI and you pretty much see how I welcomed in summer (Yay 40) . Is there such a thing as needing a vacation from a vacation? What, the week can’t be up already? Thank goodness my planning was ready, even if I wan’t.

I also managed a highschool homeschool webinar, that I highly recommend if you ever get a chance to catch it (I am not the kind of person that just recommends things unless I truly find something helpful. Actually, I stay clear from certain “big” homeschooling blogs because they are pretty much just advertising products, insert eye roll. Which is why I take pictures of what we use instead of including links, unless they are free. And though she too is selling her service, and why not?, I get that, people need money, I found the webinar far beyond my expectations and extremely informative.).

http://www.thehomescholar.com/

From the garden:

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Our garlic and onions were ready to harvest and they are curing as I type. We had another really good crop this year. With all the rain plants have really taken off, just waiting for the tomatoes to ripen.

From the kitchen:

While off, I can’t even begin to count how many mug cakes the girls made. They are in love with the idea of being able to make a personal size cake in a matter of minutes. So, that is what culinary arts looks like for the girls right now.

I have been freezing berries to store during winter. This worked out great last year, being able to have a berry smoothie during winter when I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat one more orange was awesome. This year I am adding sliced peaches in with the mix.

I also made another batch of vegetable stock. We went through quite a lot during winter in soups, and I love adding it instead of water to cook brown rice. Favorite recipe, 2 cups stock, 1 cup brown rice, chopped onion, and 1 cup of fresh vegetable of choice like sliced mushrooms, broccoli, or peas, peas and carrots. Bring to a boil, simmer 50-60 minutes.

From the homeschool:

Language Arts

Our read aloud is Sky Island by L. Frank Baum.

https://archive.org/details/skyisland_1311_librivox

Sky is reading the American Girl Samantha series out loud and finished book 1, Meet Samantha.

Little Sis memorized and recited her poem The Song of Wandering Agnes by Yeats.

Little Sis has also discovered the Twilight series and is halfway through book 1. Yes, she has a bit of mama’s Gothic interest in her after all. I was beginning to think this child couldn’t possibly be mine. She is my “girly-girl” and where Sky fell in love with Nightmare Before Christmas and Lord of the Rings at the age of 2, Little Sis liked Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She doesn’t like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, or Marvel !! It was being introduced to The Phantom of the Opera that we finally found our middle ground. We recently discovered another common interest as well, but I am getting ahead of myself.

I haven’t read the Twilight books, I’m not really into the whole vampire thing. Shelley and Frankenstein is more my style. Which is why I never bothered with Dickens, but man was I wrong about him. He has some darker stories that are quickly becoming favorites. Besides, I have been in teen fiction with the Inheritance Cycle for so long I am ready for a bit more stimulation.

Which brings me to the Bronte Sisters. How do we turn from studying Ireland back to Victorian Literature? Irish immigration of course. Their father was born in Ireland and changed his name when he moved to England.

I read their biography from the book Lives of the Writers by Kathleen Krull. The girls instantly became fascinated with their lives. We also watched   Brontë Country: The Story of Emily, Charlotte & Anne Brontë from YouTube and I happened to find another homeschooler’s Vlog on them as well.

I love her enthusiasm of literature,because that’s me. I went from Cleary to King, just like Little Sis has gone to Twilight at 9. I recognize her need to be challenged like I did.

I printed out a color sheet and the girls came up with 10 things they learned about them.

http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/the-bront%C3%AB-sisters-colouring-page

We added their poetry to our read aloud, listening to about 3 a day. We read along while we listen.

https://librivox.org/selected-poems-by-bronte-sisters/

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1019/1019-h/1019-h.htm

This has led the girls to creating their own villages

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and writing their own mini stories too.

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They have made about 20 little books already by folding a piece of paper and their writing is even tiny.

http://ihavegoodbooks.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-to-make-books-by-esther-k-smith.html

Last but not least we watched the movie Wuthering Heights, that we loved!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1238834/

Where the hell was I during English Lit class!? How could I have missed this story!? I must have been too metal proud or something to be seen with it because I would have really liked it.I loved my English Lit teacher and her class so I don’t know how I could have missed it.  Anyways, our summer reading list is growing by the hour.

Mathematics

The girls warm up playing at Xtramath.com and Sky worked on converting fractions and mixed numbers to decimals from Math Doesn’t Suck and Khan’s Academy. She did really well, I think she finally gets where the decimal needs to go. Little Sis continued working through her 3rd grade made easy workbook.

Science

We watched the Bill Nye episode on Planets and the new PBS series First Peoples.

http://www.pbs.org/first-peoples/home/

Which fit in perfect with an article Papa brought home that I read how 6-9% of our DNA has been linked to Neanderthals.

American History

We paid a visit to our local Native American museum of art , the Eitelijorg

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and learned about Belinda Mulrooney and Gold Fever.

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P.E.

With the rain brought cooler temps and walks around the block, as well as walks to our local fireworks,

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as well as walks around the canal downtown.

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Lots of walking. 🙂

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Peace for the journey.