Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What did you..with your child today?

Why do most days seem like whirlwinds?

Today, we had to take the child for an MRI of his knee so we will have more information for his surgical consult (2nd one) later this week. I suppose we could have chalked it up to a sick day from schooling, but we seem to school where ever we go anymore. There is so much to learn out there...what did I do before we homeschooled him. I seem to talk to him so much these days, more than I did before. Everything is there in front of us to explore. We take more side roads and more backroads now. We stop to explore more now. So, we schooled on the go today.

More preAlgera integer equations today. We will finish this chapter this week, in only three days...1 chapter in three days...today he was +, -, *, and / integers with parenthetical sets and absolute values mixed in...tomorrow will be more of the same and plugging the variable into the equations as well...

We took him to a museum in town and walked the historical/original buildings and walks of the local university. His mother is always more fascinated by these jaunts than he appears to be.

We started a science experiment this morning of how to shrink an egg. The experiment is on osmosis. I don't think there is anything remotely related to this topic in his science curriculum...at least I do not think there is, although there may be...but, that is the great thing about this...if we see something interesting, it does not have to be in the textbook and we won't get in trouble for learning extra on our own.  So, greatly awesome!

I think the 'historical' walk around the older building on the campus and downtown today will tie in nicely with the next unit in the history text which is about the 13 colonies forming and slave issues of the nation through the Confederate War.

So, I know that today we completed three sections of the arithmetic textbook, started a science experiment, took a short historical walk, visited a museum and saw artifacts from the state and surrounding border areas, and had a major medical visit...and it was perhaps more than he would have gained in a typical school day...

So, what did you teach your child today? What did you do with your child today? What did you learn with your child today?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stumbling Into Grace...a review

Everyday I am messing something up...yet, God's grace is ever present in my life. Lisa Harper describes a life of a woman who feels she is 'spiritually clumsy' at times. I can so agree with that comment, as it resembles and represents me many days of any given week. Stumbling into Grace is a book written by Lisa Harper in which she writes her poignantly truthful life tales about living the Christian life as a woman who still is human. This book is advertised as a part diary and part devotional. It is a good starting point for a woman to use as a devotional supplement or journal supplement.
When Thomas Nelson sent me this book to review, I was skeptical and hopeful at the same time. How can any one person recognize at any time what it is like to be in the shoes I wear daily and to continually have to lift oneself up again to be a Christian and walk the Christian walk. Lisa Harper is able to demonstrate that she is a person of likeness in Stumbling into Grace. What I recognize within the text of the covers of this book is that Lisa Harper is a woman who is living as a Christian and still makes mistakes from time to time. She demonstrates that it is still okay and does so in a manner that is at times humorous, but is always relevant.

This book was given to me free in exchange of my honest review.

Ashamed, in my own neighborhood...

A few months ago a new neighbor moved in next door. At first I have to admit that I wondered about these people. Since then, we have gotten to know the woman and her child pretty well...and my opinion has changed. And as usual, I am learning to notice that my first impression is not always a good one and that I need to be more careful of the opinions I form before knowing everything. I am writing this today, because of something that happened to my new neighbor this week and it makes me embarrassed of my neighborhood.

My neighbor, Kathy (name changed to convey anonymity) is a single mother of a teenage daughter with a baby. She is running the household by herself while still raising her youngest child, and helping her child with the grandchild. In previous posts, I wrote about the neighbor's dog who dug up my grapevines and other garden items...and would bound across my yard after a butterfly and so forth. This dog can scale his backyard fence in a matter of minutes...and for some reason he still seems to like my front yard grass more than his own at times. But, he has also learned to respect the boundaries of the electric fence and recognizes that my dog is the queen of her premises.

More so than the part of raising her child and grandchild alone, she is a very Godly woman. I would not have gotten to know this if it were not for my youngest child who agreed to watch her dog and feed it one weekend while she was out of town. As he had to go on a scout outing for one day of that weekend, his agreement to feed and tend came to rest on the shoulders of the mother who birthed him. I went with him to Kathy's house the night before his scouting adventures and he showed me the food and water bowl and the routine. Before we entered the house, I paused...checking the air to see what vibe I felt. My son turned to look at me pausing before entering, and stated two things. 1. The house is clear and clean. 2. She is like you, she has those Bible sayings stuck all over the place.

Explanations: 1. Clear and clean does not mean clutter and dust free. Not even in my own home. It means spiritually clear and clean. My child had already prayer walked the house in a matter of speaking and proclaimed it to be clear and clean. 2. Scripture postings were found in most entryways and in other conspicuous spots. Like at our own home, he had found a likeness he recognized of placement of the Word throughout the home in varying spots.

Friday, I had to take my child to the orthopaedic surgeon for a surgery consult. I was already nervous and on edge, fully engulfed in thought of self and child and the future implications of this doctor visit. A phone call from my neighbor, upset neighbor, brought me back to reality. She had received an ugly letter in the mail...supposedly from a fellow neighbor on the street. As, she read the letter to me (or tried to) it was obvious she was in shock at the meanness and the UNneighborliness of the letter.

A few weeks ago, Kathy cleared out her garage of unneeded baby items to take to the good will location. She placed these and other items in front of the garage on the driveway. That afternoon and night it poured down rain for hours. Alas, the items and boxes became wet. The next thought was to let them dry out. Then it rained. And thus, the cycle continued, though it was never originally meant to be the thoughtfor theitems to be left outside that long or to do it to anger anyone...apparently it they were and they do.

Rather than stopping by to ask if she needed help with the items or with other things or tell her it bothered neighbors to have her items in the driveway, a neighbor chose to be nasty and mean. She received an anonymous letter from a 'concerned neighbor' calling her names, using rude comparisons, and telling her to 'go back from where you came from.' Threats to do things to her property and her daughter's property were also made in the letter.

I see nothing neighborly in this type of behavior and must admit, it bothers me anyone on my road could write something so heated and mean to another individual in his/her immediate living environment. What happened to if you have a problem with someone or think they did something to you that you do not like, to come and speak with them face to face about it? How does it help neighborly conditions to make threats and call names? 

I am embarrassed that a road I was so proud to live on due to the way people treated one another and pulled together as friends/neighbors is now a place where others make threats and call names of their neighbors...even if you do not like how she lives or keeps her yard, what right gives anyone authority to threaten the property of another or to call them names or tell them to leave the property they own?


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wrapping up the Weekend.

I always feel like we are wrapping up things in the homeschool world - like we always have these piece of lessons left unfinished to wrap up.

This week we made homemade soda. It is an agave syrup, juice, sports concoction. In my opinion, it tastes like a mixture of Sprite and Mountain Dew. It was kind of neat to make it on our own and drink some. :) We also made homemade whipped cream for a peach pound cake I made last night for dessert. He thought it was neat to have it instead of the store bought version of whipped cream. I think we might make some herbed cheese again this week, as that went well last week and everyone liked it. It is now all gone. We are making more sun-dried tomatoes right now. They are delish. We also discovered last week that we really do not care for the taste of tomatillos raw, but sun-dried they have quite a nice flavor to them. We will have to add some to our garden line up next year to be able to dry and use for tasty treats!

making whipped cream!!

adding vanilla flavoring and sugar to the batch...

mixing and mixing and mixing...

whipped and almost done...

last step is adding it to the peach pound cake to eat for dessert!!  yummy!

The child went on a scout hike on Saturday for like 5-8 miles and the hubby and I went to visit a friend and baby in the hospital. We stopped off at Atlanta Bread Company across the road for brunch and found an older lady painting mushroom caps with her grandchildren's names. So, I painted one too!!  We brought it home and several others to conduct a mushroom dissection tonight or later this week. More to come on this later.  I am thinking it might be fun! There was a fairy ring of mushrooms there. I am thinking of taking the child by there tomorrow on our way to his occupational therapy appointment to show him. I hope they are still there. I think he might like that, as I am not sure he has ever seen an entire ring of mushrooms like that in one area at a time.

specimens laid out ready and waiting for proper dissection!!

this was the one I painted and then brought home for him to see...

more mushrooms...like 6 or so all total....

We finished the Frankenstein novel. We tried to watch the movie, but determined it is so much unlike the literature of the text, that it does the novel an injustice and turned it off. I think the child is becoming disappointed when he reads the novel and then I allow him to watch the movie and the picture presentation is nothing like the text. He will continually commit on how the movie is out of order, how something did not happen as it is presented, or how some scene never occurred in the book.

He completed all the online vocabulary and spelling accompaniments this week to A Beka spelling and vocabulary in lessons 2-4. I will load the words and definitions this week for lessons 5-9 or we will perhaps come back to these later and skip ahead to the poetry studies for a change in pace.

For literature, I think we will take a step back from novels for a few weeks. Reading three long novels in less than three months has been far from difficult, but I am not sure he has ever read as much when in the public school system. Next on the literature list is Sleepy Hollow/Rip Van Winkle...unless he chooses something different...which is fine as well. We still have a comparative essay to go along with the Frankenstein novel to complete and several chapter and vocabulary study tests. We read and discussed over 8 chapters today alone.

In math, he completed chapter 3 this week in PreAlgebra. I am still amazed at how much he knows and how much he does NOT know. But this fine, as isolation of skill instruction is something we can focus upon now. I love being the one who teaches him and watching it click and connect.

We did some Latin nouns this week and it is interesting to integrate them in with everyday language. I was asked by a publisher to review a Latin lesson series on DVD that is used often with homeschoolers. I thought it was perfect timing. I am waiting on it to arrive, but I write about it. I am excited about this opportunity. It seems as the child choosing to learn this was something that was meant to be. We won the entire Latin I series curriculum from Memoria Press earlier this year that we will use next year for Latin I with the child for one of his foreign language high school credits...and now he have this other one being shipped to the house.  How awesome is that?  So, once it arrives and I can review it and he can test it out, I will be posting a blog review of what we find. More to come on that topic...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...week in review



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Growing Pineapples @ Home

 twist pineapple top off of fruit
 shred off bottom leaves to find hidden roots
 roots are becoming exposed
 you can see the roots are the bottom of the pineapple top...because it is part of the bromeliad family, it will never have a deep or long stem
this was one planted about 6 months ago
same plant as above, showing new growth in the middle of the leaves
this one was planted about 4 months ago and seems to thriving well...the leaves are getting longer and it has new growth as well...
pineapple number 3 planted about 4 months ago or so, also very healthy.

We will plant the other one in soil in a day or so. It is in a cup of water now, not that it really needs to be. I keep forgetting to plant it and so it waits. It is supposed to take like two or three years for it to grow a full pineapple from the top of an old pineapple.

Braided Bread Casserole

Sunday Recipe How To!!

Peel potatoes from the garden and dice. (Put the peels in a side bowl to feed to the chickens!!)

Scrape and trim carrots from the garden and dice to bite size. (Put the trimmings in a side bowl to feed to the chickens!!)

Peel and cut up onions. These were from a friend's house. (Put the peels in a side bowl to feed to the chickens!!)

Peel and mince garlic. This is also from a friend's personal collection. (Put the peels in a side bowl to feed to the chickens!!)
Cut up the red cabbage...compliments of Publix. (Put the discarded pieces in a side bowl to feed to the chickens!!)

Cut up tomatoes from the garden. We cut the parts of the skins off thick to set aside to make sun-dried tomatoes later. The parts for the casserole is the tomato insides. Thus, the chickens get none of the tomatoes.

Shred some cheese.

Peel and grind/shred a bit of fresh ginger root.

Add leftover cheese made the other afternoon.

Wash and cut up the cowpeas from the garden. Washing is important!!  Chickens will get the stems and any part of the leaf cut away. These leaves have a spinach consistency to them once cooked or stir fried. But they can be eaten raw as well.

Leave all the veggies together in a pot to boil while you go do other things...like feed the chickens!! :)  Later, drain the water off the vegetables and transfer them to mixing bowl. Refill the same pot with water and bowl some noodles with a bit of EVOO. These can be cooking on the stove while you mix the veggies and homemade sauce mixture.

Crack one egg (compliments of heirloom chickens from friend/relative, until mine decide to lay some eggs of their own...). Separate the yolk from the egg white and set the white side. You will use this later.

Add some meat. I added turkey I had preserved and frozen earlier. I set aside family size portions. This is already cooked, so it is just a matter of thawing and cutting into bite size pieces to mix in the casserole.
Mix sour cream, mayo, spicy brown mustard, salt, pepper, basil, EVOO. I would tell you how much to place in the mixture, but I cannot. I use the dump and look method to cook. If it looks like the right amount, then that is how much it gets. If it looks like it needs more, I add more. If it is something my family likes the flavor of, I add more.

I did add a splash of wine...apple wine made by my cousin about a year ago...Makes for great flavoring in about anything you can cook up!

Mix all ingredients well. Stretch out pizza crust on flat pan. Add mixture to middle of dough in a row. I cut the sides of the dough into strips. Turn the edges on the ends up and over. There will be some extra dough on the corners. I cut this off and set it aside in a pile to use in a few minutes to place over the holes the strips don't cover when you 'braid' them together.

Braid the ends over...really just folding them over into place. Use the extra pieces of corner dough to cut into strips and stetch to cover gaps. Use the egg white to brush over the braided loaf. This egg white acts as a glue to hold it together while baking.
Sprinkle some EVOO on top for flavoring. Add some basil.
Bake at 375 for like 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

 Slice and serve!!

Making Changes...

Changes don't come easy, but some are being made in our lives just the same...
We are composting now.

We are raising chickens to be more organic.

I am recycling everything in sight. 

We are novice gardeners of the raised bed design. 

 We are doing container gardening within the house, as well.
We are homeschooling.

We are going camping now, by choice, not by Boy Scout design. 

And some things remain the same.

Christ comes first. 

Disabilities advocacy and special education consulting remain at the top of the vocation list. 

Snorkeling should be done as often as possible.