Thursday, December 31, 2009

A good Christmas

We had a great Christmas. It was the first time in several years that we had all the kids at the house at the same time! We have had them in town at the same time before, but it has not worked out to have everyone under the same roof at the same time. It was wonderful. Taylor took the little girls shopping before Christmas, and Tysa took them shopping after Christmas. We had a beautiful white Christmas. Snow and sleet started on Christmas Eve, and we have had some daily since. Several days ago it was measuring 11 inches in the front yard and 17 inches in the back. Some has melted (it got up to 42 degrees once day, but not for long), but new snow has replaced what we lost.

One of our Christmas get togethers got snowed out, so we still have one to go with my family.

The girls have played in the snow, and gone sledding, we have been stuck in the snow, pulled out and even had one kind stranger with a CASE backhoe dig out the end of our driveway. Whomever you were, thank you!!! Tomorrow I think we are going to make some snow candy or snow cream.

All 5 of our Christmas calves are doing well. The little white one blends right in with the snow.

On the homeschooling front, we have taken a break for the past 8 days. We have done some reading, home-ec and history, but have taken a break on our other subjects. We will start back on it this coming week.

Even though the Christmas holiday is over, I pray everyone keeps the Christmas spirit in their hearts year long, and remembers that Jesus is the true reason for the season.

Everyone have a happy and safe New Years.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Notice I said Christmas as in CHRISTmas, not the holidays. They have taken Christ & God out of the schools, tried to remove him from our money and most public places, and now the movement is on to remove him from Christmas. What do people think Christmas is about? It is a celebration of his birth. How can you have a birthday party without the birthday boy? Someone didn't think this one through very well. We have several friends who are without jobs this Christmas season. One thing I have noticed however about the friends from our church and our homeschool coop is that those who have their lives centered around Christ are adapting well. I am not meaning materially, I am talking about their attitude. They are focused on the true meaning of Christmas, and not about what they can not afford to buy this year. It is a lesson many of us should study.

Our tree is up (finally), gifts are under it. I still am not quite ready, but getting closer. For today and tomorrow, all our daughters are in town. We had a good lunch today and then we split up for Christmas shopping. There is still a huge pile in my bedroom to wrap. I did a big part of my shopping with no kids and it was wonderful!!! Tomorrow we will have a Christmas with all the girls, then Thursday a Christmas Eve celebration with JD's side of the family, followed by a candlelight communion service at our church. Then on Friday, my family is coming up for Christmas. Three family Christmas celebrations in a row, all involving food. Wonderful!!

We have been moving slowly the last few days due to sinus infections. Not fun at anytime of the year, but worse yet when you have baking, cleaning, painting, sewing and shopping to do.

Sunday night the church had their Christmas program. It was very good. The story centered around the kids trying to decide what to do for their program. To help them decide, they watched videos clips of older programs--so we got to see some clips from 10 years ago--it was interesting and fun to watch the kids grow up during evening on video. Our minister and his daughter wrote the play and did an excellent job of it.

This week we have taken a break from our formal schooling, although the girls have been raking in some home-ec hours with their baking and sewing projects. I will post some pictures later in the week of some of their sewing projects, but since they are gifts, I can't post them now or the cat will be out of the bag.

Our new calves are doing well, and we are still awaiting the birth of the remaining ones--hopefully before next week when some are being sold.

I did get our upstairs office painted. I had hoped to also have the living room done before Christmas, but this sinus thing I have been fighting got the best of me. In fact 2 days I didn't even get out of bed until after noon. I think I am on the mend now, hopefully.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

couple #1, couple #2 and couple #3

We had another calf born today, as well as one on Sunday right before we left for church. That leaves us with 3 on the ground and we think 3 more yet to calve. Newborn calves are cute. Evidently coyotes must think they are cute too, because we had one eye balling them earlier today. Elizabeth ran outside and it took off.

We are getting ready to sell part of our herd probably next week, so this is a great time to calve. Everyone that is born to a momma we were selling is more money. (I think I hear a new dishwasher calling my name.) We intend to build back up the herd we keep, mainly Angus, and we have already had 2 added to it.

Sunday afternoon I took the girls and 2 of their friends ice staking in St Joseph. They all had a really good time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow days....

So, if you homeschool, do you have snow days??? Well, in our house, the answer is yes and no. A good deep snow, is just too hard to pass up. So, we do have to allow some time to go out and play in it--after all, that is something you just can't do every day of your kid life, and unless you live in the northern area of Alaska. But, we still manage to also do some lessons as well, mainly reading and math. I never have to argue with my kids to do their reading. They all love to read. In fact, often we have the opposite problem, they need to do their other lessons and quit reading. But for now, they are outside sledding and trying to build a snowman. I say "trying" because Whopper, their calico cat is also trying. Evidently she has understood that while the girls are piling the snow, it is her duty to knock it back down again.

At one point I watched the "cat rodeo" from the window. Whopper got on Elizabeth's back. Elizabeth has on several layers, the last being a carhartt coverall so her movement is rather limited. Whopper took advantage of that and climbed up her back. No matter how Elizabeth wiggled, bent, moved, jumped, or squirmed, the cat hung on, with a look of satisfaction and determination on her face (very similar to that I just caught a mouse look that they get).

All the schools are around here are closed today, and most were also closed yesterday. It seems like they have more snow days now then they did when I was a kid. Also, the snow doesn't seem to get as deep as it did when we were kids-remember when we used to get snowfalls that came to our knees? Emily once told me it was because I was taller now, so my knees are higher. Maybe thats it.

Our new calf continues to do well. It is starting to wander off from its Momma some. The momma doesn't like that and calls it back. If the calf ignores her, she goes after it in a dead run. I think the calf is beginning to learn to listen to Momma the first time. I wonder what it thinks of this snow....

Yesterday, in the sleet, the girls and I went to Aldi. I spent around $180 and got food by the case, as usual. This should last us 6 weeks. By the case I buy, mushrooms, olives (but Aldi was out of olives...), speg sauce, corn, green beans, chili and kidney beans, peaches, pears, mixed fruits, cereal, oatmeal and more. We filled 2 carts full. In addition to having an upstairs kitchen and pantry, we have a large pantry in the basement and are slowly making a smaller kitchen down there, to use while canning. Right now the basement kitchen has a refrigerator and stove. We still need to put a utility sink in and then that area will be finished. I try to keep my foods by the case in the downstairs pantry. My husband laughs at my pantry, he calls it the "emporium". But, I notice he shops it quite often.

After our Aldi trip, we went and bought paint. I think I will start with our office. I don't do ceilings, but plan on hiring a church friend to do those.

So, we have plenty of food, paint and corn for popping. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....

Monday, December 7, 2009

PEARL HARBOR DAY a day that would live in "infamy"

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. Sunday, December 7, 1941 the Japanese executed a carefully planned attack on Pearl Harbor, a naval base in Hawaii. Just 18 months previously, FDR had moved our fleet to Pearl Harbor in an effort to help prevent the Japanese from attack. A good website to learn more about Pearl Harbor, and to see pictures is Lesson plans are provided at

President Roosevelt said it would be a day that would live in infamy. Yet, people are already forgetting, just as they are forgetting other wars in the past, and some claim that Hitlers holocaust never occurred. Soldiers did not give their lives for us, for our freedom in order for us to forget.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Missouri Legislative Academy Jan 5, 2010

Capitol Legislative Academy

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

10:00 a.m.– 3:00 p.m.
Jefferson City, Missouri Capitol
House Hearing Room 7

-Find your way through the Legislative maze and PROMOTE YOUR ISSUE.

-Learn the most effective way to approach your legislator.

-Gain knowledge from a mock hearing.

-Become skilled on how to present your subject matter.

-NETWORK with other like-minded Missourians.

Citizen lobbyist training
for the novice and the experienced!

Lunch and materials included.

RSVP by January 2nd 314-983-0680 or
Money must be received in advance to be assured of lunch.
$12 per person, children under 12 - $5

Checks: MO Eagle Forum, 229 Chesterfield, Business Pkwy, Chesterfield, MO 63005
Presented by: Missouri Eagle Forum
Concerned Women for America of Missouri
Families for Home Education
Missouri Family Network

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Life on the farm

Today we awoke to find we have a new calf. Last month I had told my husband I thought we had some new calves on the way, but this one was a total surprise. It is a pretty brownish-red color, like is Grandma. Its Grandma is a red shorthorn, but its Grandpa and Momma are Angus. Not sure about the daddy. Momma is named Ms. 54 (its her ear tag number) and is very very gentle. She loves to have her ears scratched. She is a first time momma and doing a very good job. The baby has been up some but doesn't wander too far from momma. It is nursing good and momma is staying right with it. I just wish she had had it a few days ago when it was warmer. Seems like that is a trend here on the farm, to have calves on the coldest days.

The girls put a heat lamp in the chicken coop last night. They also added more hay in the rabbit hutches and the pigs house. We had several inches of ice this morning in water tanks. Just a few days ago it was 70 degrees. What happened??

I just updated the prayer list on my sidebar. It was good to remove several, as they have been answered by our Awesome God. Susie's cancer is gone, Gracie's adoption is complete and she is now at her new home in America.

On the home front, I made some real good thrift store buys this week. In the last 3 weeks, we have managed to kill 2 vacuum cleaners. I went thrift store shopping and found a canister one (I hate bags), 2 velvet dresses for the younger twins for Christmas, some shirts for Emily, a pair of insulated carhartt coveralls, a couple books, and 2 educational math computer game CD's. All for under $30. Not bad in my opinion. The math games have been a hit. Rebecca hates doing her math and this is a good fun way to do some math and she doesn't realize she is learning from it.

Free Christmas events

This list came from my friend Bonnie.

Saturday, December 5, 2:00 - 7:00 p.m., Christmas on the Farm at Watkins Mill State Historic Site. Come see the Watkins' house all decorated in candlelight for Christmas including the Flaming Plum Pudding. For questions, call Watkins Mill State Historic Site at (816) 580-3387.

Sunday, December 6, 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. Open House, 1602 Park Lane, Kearney, (Regency Park). Come see old time crafts (jewelry, crochet, weaving, pillows). Call Gerri Spencer @ (816) 628-4397 for more information.

Sunday, December 6, 4:00 - 8:00 p.m., Christmas at Pharis Farm, Clay County Historic Site, 20611 EE Highway, Liberty (off of H Hwy, east of Liberty, near the Liberty Hills Country Club). Come see a Victorian Christmas featuring music, period decor and costumed historic interpreters, guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit. Refreshments will be served in the 1820's cabin. For questions, call Clay County Historic Site at (816) 736-8500.

Saturday, December 19, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Open House at the Kearney Historic Museum, intersection of Washington and Jefferson (33 Hwy), Kearney. Come see displays of Christmas during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

If your a KC parent of a 2010 Homeschool Grad....

and you are interested in receiving information about the Northland homeschool graduation, contact Tori Olson and Angelique Long at

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

For MO homeschoolers-a new site

I just found this website for field trips for Missouri Homeschoolers. Mainly it appears to be for those in the southern part of the state, but if there was something interesting, I am sure it would be worth the trip to join them. Their website is There are other things on their site as well, such as a printable form to record reading hours. Also, there is a list ring you can join to receive emails of upcoming trips.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Watkins Mill Christmas on the farm FREE event

Sadly our family will miss this due to a Bible Bowl Tournament. We have volunteered athe farm in the past. All activities at Watkins Mill are fun, educational and family orientated for all ages.

Christmas on the Farm

Christmas on the Farm will be held at Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site on Saturday, December 5th, 2009 from 2 p.m. - 7 p.m. Admission is free for the event and there will be an open house at the Watkins family home for the duration of the event. Activities at the home will include holiday caroling, reading of family letters, free samples of traditional holiday treats, plum pudding flaming demonstrations, and an opportunity for children to visit with Father Christmas. Activities at the visitor center will include kids crafts, live traditional holiday music, and a performance by the Lathrop Singing Mules grade school choir. For further information contact the park office at (816) 580-3387.

Free Concert in St Jo

Come hear the Griffon Junior Singers annual Holiday Concert! The concert
will be held at 7:00 pm Friday, December 4th at the MWSU Downtown University
Center, located at 515 N. 6th Street.

The concert is free, but donations of a canned good for the Second Harvest
food bank are being requested.
Griffon Junior Singers is an award winning choral education program that
offers children grades 2 - 10 the opportunity to participate in an
enriching choral experience. The choir consists of local public, private
and home schooled children.
The Griffon Junior Singers Prelude and Premiere Choirs will be performing a
variety of holiday and traditional selections.
Griffon Junior Singers is a partnership between Missouri Western State
University, The Western Institute's Center for Community Arts, and the St.
Joseph School District.

Financial assistance for Griffon Junior Singers has been provided by the
Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. This project is also supported in
part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Martha Greer, Director
Center for Community Arts
Missouri Western State University
4525 Downs Drive
Spratt Hall, Room 105
St. Joseph, MO 64507

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No, homeschooling ISN"T expensive (unless you want it to be)

I had someone send me a note that they thought homeschooling was expensive. No, its not. In fact, many parents report it is cheaper than PS or Private school as you have no lunches to buy, no school uniforms, no special PE shoes, you aren't required to have certain folders in certain colors and special markers and glue of only one brand. You also don't have to buy school clothes each fall.

In many homeschool houses, you find one parent often works from home or there is a stay at home parent. This isn't because they are rich, its because it saves them money. In the case of the work at home parent, it is cheaper than paying rent or mortgage at an office, in addition to the utilities. Often, it is a trade that can be passed on to the children to learn as well. And, if there are several children involved, a stay at home parent prevents having to pay for childcare and most often cooks from scratch, sews, gardens and does other things that save or generate an income.

You can buy books or computer programs each year for your children if you homeschool, but you don't have to. Here are some ways a lot of us save. Just get creative!!

1. Join a homeschool coop and take advantage of coop classes. Many coops also advertise and swap books and materials with each other as well.

2. See if your local public library offers homeschooling classes

3. Take advantage of free music recitals at local or nearby colleges. One tip I learned here is that the recitals at night often cost money, but if I go to the ones during the day, they are free.

4. Make your lesson plan for the year, then hit the library. Plan (generally) what you want to do for each subject each month or quarter, then shop the library accordingly.

5. Shop the Internet for websites that have free worksheets you can download. For a kindergartner or first grader, there are thousands of free worksheets on math, addition, telling time, letters, handwriting...

6. Wal-Mart and teacher supply stores have those great all in one books that are full of worksheets. They sell for around $9 to $11. You can use it and then if you see an area he needs more work in, go to the Internet for more free worksheets on the same concept.

7. Read, read, read. My girls learned a lot of history that way by reading books such as the biographies of the presidents, diaries from the civil war and letters from the underground railroad.

8. Plan day trips and vacations around field trips. Learn about where you are going then go. Many places (such as Fantastic Caverns) now offer "homeschoolers days", where they discount the price and offer a class in addition to the normal tour. Local businesses in my area are great for taking my kids to the back room and showing them the "behind the scene" tour. To date my girls have visited or even got to "work" for several hours at the library, a bank, fire department, pizza hut (they even let the girls make their own pizzas), vets office, auction, public garden, horse stable and more.

9. Each time you travel, map your route on a map with your child. This even works for short 20-30 mile trips

10. Most states offer free travel packages. We have studied about 20 of our states so far, by sending off to the state for their free state travel package. Its a good way to get a map, learn about the industry, climate and geography of that state.

11. Join Scholastic for homeschoolers. They offer some really good learning CD's for the computer.

12. a good incentive to read is to join Pizza Hut's reading program. It is free and open to homeschoolers.

13. Email, call or write companies and ask if they have an education kit or package. Many do and will send you information about their company, their history and a bit behind how their product was invented or started. Heinz sent us some really good info on pickles and ketsup that was fun to learn about.

14. Find another homeschooling family to "partner up with". Ideally they should have a child the same age as yours, or older (to give you advice what they did at that grade)

15. If you have access to the history channel, or science channel, they are great. If not, your local public library will have many of their programs on tape.

16. Take advantage of sales. When wal-mart has their back to school sales with the notebooks for a nickel, I buy several cases. I also go to the school districts when they have their sales to buy used books--normally I have paid less than $1 per book including text books and teacher books.

17. Visit homeschooling blogs and websites for ideas.

18. get together with other parents who homeschool and barter teach once a week or every two weeks. You teach Spanish and they teach math or whatever their speciality is.

19. Supplement your learning/teaching with activities such as 4H, Scouts, church youth group & Bible Bowl (we sometimes count church as history even, rather than religion, depending on the lesson). Don't forget music lessons count as well as any sports they are enrolled in.

20. Don't forget your phys ed --learn the history and rules of a game, then go play or watch it. My girls loved it when we did baseball--we went to a Royals game afterwards. We also spent $9 and went bowling one Friday after we studied the history of bowling.

21. Do you have a mechanic in the family or a friend who is one? Overhaul the lawnmower or change the oil and count it as a couple hours (or how ever long it takes) as votech-small engines.

22. Browse an antique store and try to guess what various items were used for. Why did the items change into what we have today? Such as a sad iron, being heated on a fire to the electric irons we now use.

23. Find the homeschooling contests in your area--we participate each year in a science fair, spelling bee, bible bowl and more.

24. Find a music teacher and have them tell you when their recitals are and go visit them.

Don't let cost be the reason you don't homeschool. Its like buying a car. You can buy a dependable car without the extras or you can get the luxury car with all the extras--but they will both get you to the same destination.

Be sure to first check your states requirements for homeschooling. In MO we have to have 1000 hours, with 600 of them being in the core subjects. But, even that leaves room for creativity--cooking can be cooking but if you have to double, triple or have a recipe, it can become a fun math lesson in fractions that you can eat! Making candles can be an art or it can be a history if you actually do some research and history along with it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Free Lesson Plan on the Iditarod Race

My girls and I like to follow the Iditarod each year. For those of you who don't know, the Iditarod is a dog race in Alaska. We like to do various things while we check the status a couple of times each day--things like checking he weather there vs the weather here at home, map studies--where are the racers on the map?, figuring out their mph, learning about the dogs, and reviewing the history of the race. The Iditarod Trail, is now a National Historic Trail, but began as a mail route and supply route. Gold came out this same route, all by dog sled.

In 1925, part of the Iditarod Trail was used to bring in serum for diptheria to Nome. This race was a race to save lives and records were set and broken.

Below is a copy of an email I received to help get you started. Just follow their links.

Hello from the Iditarod Education Department! The 2010 Iditarod is just around 'the trail' and the season of connecting the race to your classroom curriculum is about to begin! We hope you will be with us this year!

Herb Brambley, the 2010 Target Teacher on the Trail has begun posting lesson ideas.
The For Teachers section of the site has been undergoing some redesign with a better menu bar to help you locate information you need.
At the For Teachers section, you'll find many new items, pod cast information, Here's What's Happening, and a section for Students.

Many new items will be added soon!

My goal in emailing you today is to remind you that the newsletters will be arriving more frequently with the purpose of helping you meet the educational standards for your students and to help you know everything you need to know to follow the race.

You can review the newsletter that was sent out at this link: Scroll down the page to find the latest newsletters.

Let me know if you have questions or comments.

I am looking forward to the race this year and helping your students be successful.

Diane Johnson
Iditarod Education Department
605 228 6071

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Happy birthday to my dad!

We have had a very busy month. Next week it will start to slow down for us again. We have been to a play "A Christmas Carol" and saw several of our homeschooling actors and singers. They did a very very good job. We have had several training sessions for the fire department, made more laundry soap, started some Christmas sewing, had 4H activities, Bible Bowl, a wedding, a baby shower, youth group meetings, trip to Grandma & Grandpa's, and I had a 30 year class reunion planning meeting. We had 2 weeks where we had something going almost daily.

Friday was our last day of homeschool coop for the semester and next week we have our winter program for coop. Then we will break until Feb of 2010.

The girls have been busy selling Girl Scout cookies. They are also working on Christmas presents, which they tell me I can't put on here, as some people might find out what they are getting for Christmas!!

Gehmans Country Fabrics and More - Fabric, Slips, Dresses, and much more

Gehmans Country Fabrics and More - Fabric, Slips, Dresses, and much more

I finally found a place that sells little girls slips and pettycoats!! They also sell bonnet patterns if you are looking to make bonnets for little ones, or if you do any reenacting.

Their prices are good and the quality is very nice.

Monday, November 2, 2009

This weeks deals from

It is Monday, so start planning this weeks shopping. Check out for the best deals and the coupons to match them up with. This week it looks like I will be stocking up on Dawn dish soap. CVS has it on sale and I have several 75 cent off coupons and some CVS bucks, so I will get about 3 bottles for free. Not bad.

Halloween is over, so if you drew your pumpkin faces on, you can recycle them into pumpkin pie. I bought a few and plan on cooking them down later this week and then freezing them for Thanksgiving and Christmas pies. Just remove the stem, wash the pumpkin and cut into about 3 or 4 large chunks (more or less depending on the size). Then boil till mushy. Drain them well, smash up and put in freezer bags and freeze. I freeze mine 2 cups at a time, as that is what my pie recipe calls for.

This afternoon the kids and I are going to travel the US. I have several videos that I got from the library for my coop class that are due tomorrow, that we will watch this afternoon. We are going to watch the history of the discovery of the Grand Canyon, learn about the gold and silver rushes, the rocky mountains and the great lakes and about an Indian Reservation. A couple of the videos are very short, around 20 minutes but most are around 50 minutes. So after lunch we will settle down with some popcorn and watch. I will count it as history time and geography.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Printer Ink Tip

I just learned this one yesterday. Wish I had learned it long ago, as it would have saved me a lot of aggravation. I am assuming this is true for a lot of printers, so I am passing it on.

Being homeschoolers, we use a lot of ink and paper. To save, I have Walgreen's refill my ink cartridges (for an HP 2210) when they run their specials of refills for $5, or I buy the used/refurbished ones at Office Depot or Walmart. Usually they work, sometimes they don't. Or, I will have one that I have used several times and it will suddenly just stop-for no reason.

This happened again this week. My nearest Walgreen or Office Depot is 30 minutes away, so its a real pain to go buy one and bring it home only to find it won't work. And, the 2 I got wouldn't work. I called HP to see if there was a work around as I didn't want to drive all the way back again--I mean we are talking 100 miles for 2 trips.....

I was told to look at my cartridge for a date. There is evidently a microchip in the ink cartridge that tells the printer when that date has arrived. When that date gets here, it is considered to be an expired cartridge and will no longer work. the two ink cartridges I bought were indeed expired (sold to me by Office Depot in October and one had expired in April of 2007). That also explains why ones I have refilled over and over suddenly stop--the date came up.

So, I will no longer refill them close to or past the expiration date, and I will open the box and check the expiration date of refurbished ones at the cash register BEFORE I drive all the way back home.

I thought this was worth passing on!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkins Etc

This morning I took the kids to Pumpkins Etc. They all had a blast. I would highly highly recommend this pumpkin patch to everyone! It is family run. There were several patches to choose from. You can take a wheelbarrow with you to put your selections in or (as in our case) give a kid a ride. When you first get there, you will be greeted by cats. Lots and lots of cats, mostly cute babies. We were told that early this morning they had counted 21 of them. We also went through the hay bale maze. There is also another maze that we did not go through. They have a picnic area if you want to take your lunch. Prices were very reasonable. Admission is FREE, and you don't pay for anything except what you buy. They sell pumpkins, candy, gourds, honey (from Smithville)and mums. Get more info at They have a Platte City address, but it is actually on the Smithville side, more towards the Hoover area. It was very easy to get through and signs marked the way well.
If you have little ones with you, they will enjoy the airplanes from KCI that fly over often. We had to stop and wave at each one and guess where they were going.

We also saw a cute halloween display on highway 92 on the way there. It was all made of hay bales painted up. The kids had me pull over so they could see it better.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rodeo, Pears and Apples. Signs of Fall

Last night JD and I took 7 girls to the Annual Bayer/Dodge Rodeo at Kemper Arena (American Royal Building). We had a lot of fun. All 7 of the girls ride on a regular basis, so they really enjoyed it.

Before we left to go, the twins and I finished up the last batch of pear sauce. Last night JD brought me a bunch of apples that a friend from work gave him. His friend just bought a commerical orchard and they came from there. So, probably on Monday I will start making some applesauce. JD has also requested that I make him an apple crisp.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

St Joseph MO area-Remington Center Events

visit the website at for more information about the upcoming events, or call at 816-271-5499.

Friday, October 30 -- 5-8pm

Children's Halloween Party: includes magic shows, balloon animals, face
painting, food, and goodie bags. Free with paid admission. Wear your

Sunday, November 1 -- 1-5 pm

$1 Admission Day: help celebrate our One-Year Anniversary with $1 admission
for all seniors, adults, and youths. Children three and under are free.
We'll be serving refreshments all afternoon, as our thanks to our patrons.

Saturday, November 14 @ 2 pm

Second Saturday Story Time: We're reading "Blue-berries on Parade" from the
Disney's Pixar movie "A Bug's Life." Join us for a coloring activity,
snacks, and take-home goodies!

Saturday, November 28 @ 2 pm

Last Saturday Craft: Let's Play Nature Bingo! It's a fun way to learn about
animals and nature, and we'll have some cool prizes for all our contestants.
We're also making leaf prints for you to take home.

Saturday, December 12 @ 2 pm

Second Saturday Story Time: We're reading a book about snow, and having a
winter party! We'll be serving a snack, have a coloring activity, and even
have some take-home goodies for you.

Saturday, December 26 @ 2pm

Last Saturday Craft: Let's make pinecone decora-tions! You won't believe how
cool pinecones can look with this fun craft.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pear Sauce

Today I made up a batch of pear sauce. I make it the same way I make apple sauce, but use pears instead. I cook down the pears (whole) and mush. Then I run them through a sieve, add sugar, cinnamon and a little lemon juice (it helps to keep the color). I didn't make enough to can, just enough to eat-a few quarts. We also like to eat it on biscuits.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Its been busy

I have not blogged in awhile, I'll do better, I promise.

We have been very busy lately. We were in a parade with our church group in Liberty. MO.

Our new 4H group has taken off well, with close to 45 kids joining. We were in a very cold parade for the Plattsburg Fall Fest and our group came in 3rd place for organizations. The morning was in the 30's as we created our float. At one point during the parade route as we were downtown the temp jumped to 48 as the buildings created a windbreak. But, as soon as we turned the corner, it went back down to 41. The kids and adults who rode on the float were brave, and well bundled in blankets. As for me, well, I drove, so I had the heater on. A few of the younger kids rode with me, but we were still cold as we had the windows down. We celebrated national 4H week by decorating the windows of 3 local businesses. For a small town, Plattsburg has a very large and nice fall fest. The entire town is involved.

Our homeschool Coop has started a new semester. The kids were really excited to be back into their Friday routine and see all their friends. This semester I am an aide in drivers ed, and am teaching 'Awesome America'. One of my students is currently on vacation, touring the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Mt Rushmore. The rest of the class is hoping she will return with lots of pictures. So far in class we have learned about the flag and how to fold it, the history of the pledge, watched a video on the Grand Canyon, Lewis and Clark, history of Uncle Sam, and about Martin Luther King Jr. We also ate some of America's favorite snack foods while watching the GC video. As usual, the class really likes to eat.

On the farming front, we have sold some cattle and are planning on changing over to Angus. In about 2 more months our pigs (hopefully) will be ready for market. All they hay has been cut and the crop farmers have taken in the soybeans, but have not yet started the corn. It has been cold and damp the majority of the time. Our ponds are all full. I am afraid it is going to be a long hard winter though. The horses and cows are already starting to get their winter coats, and normally they aren't this time of the year.

On the home front, we had a family wedding last weekend on the Espey side in St Joseph MO. It was good to visit with family and as my dad pointed out very nice to see family at a happy event rather than at a funeral, which the past 10 years or so seems to be the more often case. After the wedding my parents spent the night here and we had a good visit. My dad grew up on a farm, so he likes to check the status of our farm every now and then.

We also spent a weekend at the Kansas Speedway for the Nascar races. Tysa came home from Chicago for the weekend and Taylor came up from Arkansas for the races on Saturday. However Emily and Rebecca spent Saturday in St Louis, but were able to go to the races on Sunday afternoon. So, all 5 girls were home that weekend, but never at the same time.

I am also posting an old picture that a friend sent me on facebook. It shows my family back in 1970. My kids got a kick out of it and so did I.

In Independence MO--for homeschoolers everywhere

November 11 at the Mid-Contient Public Library in Independence, they are having a home school expo from 9 a.m. to noon! This is located at the 3440 S Lee's Summit Rd in Independence, MO.

Go to for all the information.

Some of the featured events include:
Children's autor Christine Taylor-Butler
various booths
database classes
tours of the genealogy center
door prizes
storytime and crafts
clowns and face painting
police department
Burr Oaks (another neat place for homeschoolers!)
Steamboat Arabia (and another great homeschooling field trip)
Families for Home Education

Not just for homeschoolers....St Joseph MO

Sunday, November 1, 2009 from 1 pm to 5 pm

$1 Admission

Children 3 years and under - Free

Free refreshments will be served.

Remington Nature Center is located at: 1502 MacArthur Drive,

Joseph, MO 64505

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Soap for a year & Alpha Omega lifepacs

This afternoon Emily and I bottled up the gel /liquid laundry soap I started last night. It came up to around 12 gallons--enough for a year. The best thing about it is the price. It cost less to make a years supply than buying one bottle of generic laundry soap. It is better on the septic tank and has no perfumes or dyes to irritate.

Emily is now into week 3 of her new curriculum, Alpha Omega's lifepacs. I am really liking it. The only thing I do not like about it so far is there is no clear cut stopping point for lessons. Each subject can be bought individually for around $50. It comes in a box or kit. Each kit contains the teachers book/answer key and 10 - 12student books. The students begin with book 1. When it is done, they go to book 2 and so on. The books are designed to last a year. But, if you want them to last longer or shorter, you simply adjust the number of pages you do a day for that book. For example, we homeschool year around, so we would not do as many pages a day as someone who homeschools only 8 or 9 months a year.

The twins are not using the lifepacs yet, but I think I will start to phase them over to it as they finish up their current books. I bought Emily's at the Family Christian Bookstore in Independence, but I am also seeing them on ebay, so I may try that route first for them.

Mowing was on my list for this morning, but it was still too damp from yesterdays storm. So, hopefully I can get it done tomorrow. We also have training tomorrow night for the fire department on Forcible Entry, then I am back at the station again on Thursday night. Friday we have JD's work picnic at Worlds of Fun and Saturday the church has a float in the Liberty parade. Busy busy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

This is one way our girls Bible Bowl team is hoping to raise some funds. One weekend a month they quiz in St Louis MO. Next summer they will be traveling to Colorado! Funds are needed for travel expenses, their share of the church van expenses, Bible Bowl books and more.

Shared via AddThis

It is raining on the farm

Its raining. Rainy days around here are good for sleeping in. The girls and I took advantage of that. We had a very busy weekend with late nights on Fri, Sat and Sun, so it was good to get a good nights sleep and catch up on some much needed rest. JD worked all night on Sunday night, so the rain is allowing him a good days sleep now. It is a slow rain now, but early this morning it was full of thunder and lightening. Emily woke up to find Rebecca asleep on her bedroom floor. Apparently at some point during the storm Rebecca changed bedrooms, but doesn't seem to remember doing it.

The chickens are not so sure about the rain. They come out when it lets up, but run back to the coop or under an apple tree when the rain comes down heavier. The cows and horses are all gathered in the tree line, and the pigs have not ventured out of their hut. The cats are staying under the girls play shed, out of the rain. It doesn't seem to bother the beagle any, but the old black lab has taken to the barn. He has the same idea we had this morning--he is sleeping in the hay.

Rainy days are good for baking bread and making soap. I plan on doing both here in a bit. We are almost out of laundry soap, so I will make a batch. A batch normally will last me for a year, and I make it for under $5. This one didn't quite make it a year, but I also gave away 2 gallons of it. I do not add any dyes or perfumes to my soap as I try to keep it as natural as possible since we do have a family member with allergies. It is a 2 day process to make.

Rainy days are also good for catching up on the sock basket. (Actually it has grown to 3 sock baskets at the moment--isn't that terrible??) I have several library videos I want the girls to watch this evening, so we will sit around and watch them while we match socks and listen to the rain.

Originally I thought this afternoon we would have an electric free time, but it is too dark and overcast. We have fun doing an electric free days/nights during cool weather. No lights, TV, allowed. We light the oil and kerosene lamps and read, play board games or on one occasion coaxed my husband to play the piano for us. Sometimes we will even cook over the fireplace. It is also a good way to keep everyone in good practice for when the power goes out!

Last week the hay was cut again, raked and baled. It is all gathered to be loaded, but the rain stopped that.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Firefighting homeschooler

One way we "supplement" Emily's homeschooling is by her being a fire fighter cadet. She is a volunteer at our local fire department (which is all volunteer for both in town and rural). She is a cadet. To be a cadet she must maintain a good grade average and attending training, among other things. She attends the same training as the adults and goes out on calls just as a regular firefighter.

Friday night and Saturday our department hosted training on school bus accidents. We had several other fire fighter departments from the state that also attended. Emily attended with JD and was the youngest female to go through the course. It started out as a cool day, but got very hot. By the time you add in the weight and heat of the bunker gear, it was not pleasant....

Her highlight of the day was kicking out the front windshield of the school bus before it was rolled over. She also learned to operate the various rescue saws and how to right or raise a vehicle with air bags. They cut up the bus, removed seats and learned where the various unseen parts of the bus (such as roof supports) are located.

She has also taken her NIMS tests and passed. Her next test will be HAZMAT, and next week we attend a class on forced entry. She is also able to start most of the fire vehicles on the department, although she is too young to drive them.

Friday, September 18, 2009

New semester begins at coop

Today was the first day of the fall semester at our homeschool coop. We started out with a group assembly, so today's class times were shortened somewhat. All the kids were very excited to see each other again. Coop meets weekly on Friday afternoons.

I am teaching two classes this semester, and aiding in a third. I teach "Awesome America" twice (2 different age groups) and then aid in divers ed.

In the past, our coop has offered 4 class periods per semester per student, but this semester we are only offering three class periods. Classes my daughters are taking include Awesome America, baton, debate (a 2 hour block), Prairie Days, yearbook, The People in your Neighborhood, Games Galore, and PE Sports. Our wonderful coop also offers choir, band, photography and many many more classes for newborn through twelfth grade. We have 300 and some students and close to 80 or 90 families (at least those were our numbers last semester). One parent from each family acts as a teacher or a teachers aid. Classes change from semester to semester. In the past I have taught classes on the weather, US Presidents and Missouri.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

EAA Young Eagles Program Free Flight for kids 8 - 17

EAA Young Eagles Program

Get A Flight!
If you are between 8 and 17 years old, the EAA Young Eagles programs wants to offer you the chance of a lifetime. Turn your dreams into reality on a free Young Eagles flight and become one of over 1 Million Young Eagles! To find out where and when check out EAA Chapter 91 Young Eagle Events.

Young Eagle Events at Lee's Summit Airport (Breakfast is available 7:30-11:00 on Lee's Summit dates. $5 for all-you-can-eat pancakes, plus one serving of eggs, bacon or sausage, and juice or coffee.)
Date Location Time
September 19 Lee's Summit Airport 8:30-noon
October 17 Lee's Summit Airport 8:30-noon

What will the flight be like?

The biggest question on your mind might be about the actual flight. So what should you expect?

First of all, your pilot will explain what will happen during the flight. This might include talking about the airplane; reviewing an aeronautical chart (or map); identifying reference points during the flight; completing a careful "walk around" preflight inspection of the airplane and identifying the parts that control the airplane.

Once you are ready to go flying, your pilot will help you buckle your seat belt and describe the interior of the airplane, including the instrument panel. Pretty soon, it will be time to go flying!

Once in the air, you'll see the earth and sky in a new and exciting way. You'll experience the wonderful freedom of flight that many people only dream about. If you are like most Young Eagles, you'll remember this experience for the rest of your life.

Most Young Eagle flights last between 15 and 20 minutes. Once back on the ground, there will be additional time for you to ask questions about the flight. Ask away! Your pilot will be happy to tell you more about flying and their particular airplane. And don't forget, you'll also receive an official Young Eagles certificate, which is signed, by your personal pilot and our Chairman Harrison Ford.

We look forward to adding your name to the ever-growing list of EAA Young Eagles!

For more information, visit the EAA Young Eagles Website.

The program

The EAA Young Eagles program was launched in 1992 to give interested young people, ages 8 - 17, an opportunity to go flying in a general aviation airplane. These flights are offered and are made possible through the generosity of EAA member volunteers.

Since 1992, more than 1.25 million Young Eagles have enjoyed a flight through the program. Young Eagles have been registered in more than 90 different countries and have been flown by nearly 40,000 volunteer pilots.

Participation is easy. Simply contact the EAA Young Eagles office to find the closest volunteer pilot. From there, arrange a convenient time to go flying. We hope you enjoy a Young Eagles introduction to the exciting world of aviation. Make sure you come back to visit this web site after your flight to continue exploring the wonderful world of aviation!

Essay Contest

High School Juniors or Home School Juniors: Write a 600 word essay, earn a trip to Washington, DC next summer.

Topic: My carbon Footprint
Use an online calculator to figure your carbon footprint and explain what you learn about yourself, your family or your school.

Only open to juniors.

Deadline is March 3, 2010.

For questions or more info call 816 628-3121

Sponsored by Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative

Mid-Continent Public Library News

This is from an email from the library...

"We are having our first Homeschool Expo sponsored by Mid-Continent Public Library. This will be held, Nov.11, 9am to noon at our new Genealogy Center in Independence, MO.. We are trying to get the word out. It is free to the public. Our objective is to show patrons that we have 19 branches that offer special programming to homeschoolers in a program we call "Discovery Club." Patrons will be able to visit booths of each of these branches to participate in activities or view their programs. We will have a lot of other activities and quest programmers which you can see on the flier which I have included. There will be door prizes and hopefully people will be able to see that our library is truly trying to service homeschoolers. This is a family event and hope that you might be able to pass this on to those you know might be interested.

I would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions or questions. I appreciate your helping us to get the word out on this.

Nancy Huffman
Children's Services Assistant
Mid-Continent Public Library

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Free Magazine, Sorry Pigs, Fences and 4H

If you live in Missouri, you can receive a free subscription of the Missouri Conservation Magazine. But did you know there is also a free magazine for kids? It is the Xplor Magazine and it is also put out by the Missouri Department of Conservation. You can order it online at

Our pigs are rather put out at us right now. For some reason, all 6 of them got it into their heads that they were dogs, because in the country dogs can roam free. They also learned to climb panels like a ladder (in addition to rooting under them). JD and I had planned on reworking the fence over the weekend, but that is when he injured his neck and back. So, we had a couple of homeschooling brothers from our homeschool coop come and work on it. (I would recommend these two teens to anyone. They worked hard and got it done right.) Then we woke up the pigs (who were sleeping in the barn) and moved them back into the pen. It was rather interesting to watch the pigs as they discovered the electric fence. At first, they all gathered into a huddle and just stared at it. In fact, I don't think the pigs slept all night-I think they just stared in disbelief at the fence. Even though they all watched each other get shocked, one by one they had to go touch it and see (feel) for themselves with their nose. Now they are mad...They are acting like we have never seen before--just laying there looking at the wire.

We had our planning meeting last night for our new 4H group. We were very impressed with the turnout. We had 25 families who were either at the meeting, or called/emailed and said they were interested. Quite a few of those who expressed interest are homeschoolers. Personally I think 4H and scouts are two of the best programs a homeschooler can join. There are many activities that can be combined into homeschooling lessons, or that can spark interest in researching an idea further.

This afteroon the girls picked their classes for our homeschool coop which starts back upon Friday. They are excited and ready to see their friends again.

Japan Festival this Saturday at JCCC

Mark those calendars for Saturday September 19th for the 2009 Greater Kansas City Japan Festival. Go to
There are performances, exhibits, food, martial arts anime, lectures, shopping, a cultural village and more.
This will be located at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, KS

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kids in Kansas and Missouri are invited to enter the 8th annual Jif most creative peanut Butter Sandwich contest.
grand prize=$25000 scholarship fund.
4 runners up=$2500 scholarship funds.
kids age 6-12 can enter until Nov.13,2009 for all the details

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Homeschooling Update

Two weeks ago I switched our 8th grader over to Alpha Omega Lifepac for Language Arts, Science, History/Geography and Math. We are supplementing with Abecca Health, reading comprehension, Bible and Life Skills Math. She loves science and works through it rather quickly (she plans to be a microbiologist) which is why we have added the Health. We are also using the Life Skills Math as the book shows every day applications for why we need to learn various forms of math. It teaches everything from interest rates, loans, credit cards, doubling fabric and recipes, figuring square footage for carpet or paint...

All the girls are on our church Bible Bowl team, so for this year we are not using Bible curriculum, but Bible Bowl instead.

I create the girls vocabulary/dictionary words and spelling words, based on their lessons from the current or previous week. We also do a lot of home-ec such as cooking, baking, sewing, mending, laundry, cleaning, soap making. JD picks up a lot of the vo-tech such as changing/adding oil, changing a tire, tractors, mowers, basic engine repair and farming.

The twins are mainly using Abecca for language, health and science, Saxon for math. We are following Emily in History.

The girls also learn alot of skills, music, foreign language, art and record keeping in our other activities such as 4H, girl scouts, youth group, library classes and homeschool coop. We are heavy users of the library and their discovery classes and two different branches.

Last night Elizabeth came back home from spending a week with her grandparents. Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon Emily left for St Louis for a Bible Bowl meet. In the midst of all this JD hurt a disc in his neck and is pretty much out of commission. We are looking to hire one or two farm hands for a day to rework a fence for our hogs--any takers??

Other activities this week included welcoming 10 new baby chickens. Rebecca made one an origami hat and house. Later tonight we have a wedding and Emily returns back home. It has been an interesting week, getting school ready to travel with Elizabeth, and ensuring Emily had hers all done before she left, in addition to farming, feeding, and regular household chores.

On a sad note, our former school, JCCA (Johnson County Christian Academy) has decided to at least for this year dissolve its JBQ (Junior Bible Quiz) team. I for one would like to thank all of the parents and supporters who worked with the kids throughout the years. Often people don't realize how much time is spent "behind the scenes" when our kids have events. Special thanks to Bonnie and Adam and all the coaches and parents. We are blessed however that this year our church started a Bible Bowl team, (which Emily was already a part of) and the twins will move over to that team beginning next month. Most of their quizzing will be in St Louis, and later next year they will go to Colorado to quiz.

Silver Dollar City Days for Homeschoolers

Silver Dollar City is located near Branson MO and offers clean fun for the entire family.

October 3-4, 2009. Use code #78603 to reserve tickets for this big event!
Silver Dollar City $41.92 AD - $31.17 CH, 2 day tickets (This price includes tax)
You asked for special events, we have been able to do just that this year! You don't want to miss out on these wonderful events that will only take place on October 3rd for the homeschoolers.

When you arrive please come to the Horseshoe at the Guest Relations House . When you sign in you will receive goodies for your children, buttons, name tags, information about the day, etc.

One of the big request was for us to bring back the physics class, this has been done and on a bigger scale than before. Please note that the classes have to be pre-registered for due to limits for the classes. We have some classes that are totally free and others that you will have to pay either $5.00 or $10.00 for. The cost is to cover what the vendors are allowing the kids to do make and learn with but they have tried to keep it as low as possible. The classes have a limit so that the vendors can spend more time with each child. Again, all the classes have to be pre-registered for. The classes that you pay for will be registered through Silver Dollar City when you pay for them, a wristband will be worn for these classes so that the vendors know you are registered and have paid for them. The free classes need to be signed up through us, you will find the sign up form online.
If you have season passes you do not have to worry about buying tickets. However, you do need to pre-register for the classes and check in at the Horseshoe on Oct. 3rd.
Silver Dollar City has contacted several local hotels for discounts for the SDC Homeschool Weekend, this is only for the weekend of Oct 3 and 4, 2009. Make sure to keep scrolling down to see all the new information and what is going to take place this year. A lot of new things are being added. Make sure to check the different places out to see what specials they are giving. Some give a free breakfast, others have water parks, etc. So make sure that you check each out and see what they are doing for this big event.

We also want to point out a few things:
1. The $5.00 classes go on sale MONDAY, AUGUST 24, 2009.
2. Homeschool students will be given wristbands which identifies which class they've paid for and what time slot they'll be attending.
3. The 2-day Homeschool tickets are on sale NOW. Call 800-417-7770 for tickets or to a sk questions. Make sure to use code #78603. You may also buy a meal ticket to save money and not to have to worry about carrying enough cash around for the meal for these.
4. Parents can register their kids for the Culinary & Craft School classes NOW but they have to do it online at www.sdcculinarycraftschool.com5. Also, all the pre-paid classes are non-refundable because they take place in covered areas so we won't have to worry about the weather.
To see the schedule of events that are planned for that day go to
You must be pre-registered for the free classes. There is a limit on how many can be in each class and will be on a first come basis. So sign up NOW.
To pre-register for the Free Roller Coaster Physics Class go to pre-register for the Free Spelunkin' In Marvel Cave Class go to

Homeschool Classified ad source

This site was just pointed out to me by Liz on our homeschool coop loop. I've looked it over and like it!! You can find homeschool discussions, items for sale and you can list your items for sale.

CSI for homeschoolers


I am e-mailing about a program for homeschoolers that I am doing in Kansas City on October 24 and I am hoping that you can get this information to your members. The program is a crime scene investigation (CSI) program that introduces kids to the science behind CSI and allows them to do hands-on activities and use what they learn to solve a mock crime scene. This is a parent-child program, so parents are welcome to attend. I find that both the kids and parents have a great time working together on this subject and it allows them to take what they have learned home and do more with it.

I am a homeschooler myself which led me to tailor programs to homeschoolers specifically.

The program will be held from 12-5 on October 24 at the Kansas City North Community Center (tentative location). We will cover a range of evidence, including fingerprints, shoe prints/impressions, tire tracks, blood (synthetic), ink and document analysis, and the use of other sciences in forensic science (botany, entomology, geology, chemistry, palynology, dendrochronology).

One common question is the age range for this program. While the typical age range is 8-13, I often have kids outside of this range. With homeschoolers, I am not so concerned with the ages because the kids seem to work so well together regardless of age. The content and questions are age appropriate and are tailored to the ages of the kids who register. I can have multiple levels of activities and questions within the same program.

The cost for the program is $50 for the first child from a family, and $35 for each additional child. Parents are welcome to attend free of charge.

There is a page on my website about this program. The website is: and you would need to click on the "Kansas City" tab at the top of the first page.

I do these programs all over the middle part of the country, and homeschoolers seem to really enjoy them.

Thank you,

Thomas Jones
Crime Scene Camps
E-mail: crimescenecamps@yahoo.comCell: 815-501-1460

Free fo kids 8-18 from Tiger Woods

The Tiger Woods Foundation has a free kit you can order/download:

Developed by Target and the Tiger Woods Foundation, the Action Plan is a FREE program for youth ages eight to 18 that addresses three national priorities:
„ Character development
„ Volunteer service
„ Career exploration

Download and Take Action!
Tiger’s Action Plan is designed to help kids set goals, lead and create positive changes. Whether you are a teacher who will be guiding others or a high school student who wants to complete the program on your own, these materials give you everything you need to begin planning for your future. Be sure to begin by reading the Letter of Introduction from Tiger Woods.

Homeschoolers at Fantastic Caverns has improved!!

Dear Home School Educator,

For many years, the Fantastic Caverns Science Research Program has offered special tours and educational materials to area schools. In the past, we have offered special group rates to schools when they had a minimum of 20 participants. This requirement does not meet the needs of most home schools in our region and we would like to change that.

October 1-14, 2009, will be Home School Days at Fantastic Caverns. We will offer our school group rates for the educational cave tour to area home school groups regardless of the number attending. These rates are $6.00 for children age 12 and under (discounted from $13.50) and $15.50 for age 13 and above (discounted from $21.50).

The all riding tour addresses geology, history, cave life, karst and groundwater. The trip through the cave takes about 55 minutes and is available from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily. While we do not require a deposit, we do anticipate high demand for the tour. Please call or e-mail with your plans so we will be certain to have enough staff to serve you.

A free study guide, “Living in Cave Country”, and the cave-related magazine Ozark Adventure, is available at to assist your teaching efforts.

Our hope is that this time period of special rate availability will allow you to incorporate more learning opportunities into your curriculum. This is a time of year when we have available staff to devote to our educational programs and the cave is a Warm 60°, no matter how cold it is outside!

If you have questions or would like to make reservations, you may contact us at:

(417) 833-2010.

Thank you very much,

Kirk Hansen

Kirk Hansen

Fantastic Caverns

Science Research Program

The girls and I have done this in the past, while doing a unit study on caves, and I highly recommend it!

Friday, September 4, 2009

New 4H group forming

We have around 40+ kids who are interested in 4H, so we are proceeding with our plans to start a new group. Many of the interested are homeschooled kids, but not all. This new group has 2 main focus points: #1 to not schedule meetings on Sundays and #2 to be community service minded with possible service projects monthly. Right now Becky Black and I are working with the extension office in getting a new group going. Just to clarify, this is not a group splitting or anyone leaving because they are upset, it is simply that there is a need for another group that is not meeting on Sundays.

On Monday, Sept 14 at 6:30 we will have a meeting for any interested parties to come and learn more about 4H and for you to share your thoughts and ideas. I would encourage you to come if you are interested, but if you can not, we can fill you in later. It will be held in Plattsburg at the US Bank. The bank is about 1 block north of the intersection of 116 and C highway. (downtown main drag...well the only downtown drag in Plattsburg) From the intersection you can see the sign. We will have information & project books to pass out at that time. Also, our group will need a club name--so start thinking of ideas to throw out.

If you are interested, and have not already, let me know so that I can start directing future emails to those who are, rather than to everyone.

I did have several questions that were asked numerous times, so I will address those now:

#1. There is no uniform and you do not earn badges as in scouts. You do NOT have to live in Plattsburg or Clinton County. You do not have to be a farm kid. There are over 100 projects and a self determined one (which means you can decide your own project).

#2. Your child has the option to be in or not to be in the county fair or state fair. Kids can earn small premiums for showing at the fair and ribbons. Kids not only do their projects but are also required to keep records as to money spent and money earned while doing their project. They learn finances, record keeping and such as well as their project. 4H tries to teach life skills. 4H stands for head, heart, hands and health.

#3. Attendance to the state fair is NOT a requirement.

#4. Parent involvement is very much encouraged. Ideally the kids run the meeting with parental/leader help. The kids are the officers, not the parents. Kids and parents often serve on committees together. On the flip side, if a parent works during the meetings and is unable to attend, your child can still be in 4H-but another adult will need to be appointed to be over your child.

#5. Fundraising--If our group decides to raise money for a service project we may look for things to do to earn money--such as mowing, raking, cleaning a barn, labor auction, car wash.... Kids are not REQUIRED to sell anything. We may at some time sell for a fundraiser, but if you don't want to that is fine.

#6. What kind of service projects?? Ideas may include: washing police cars, fire dept trucks, kids adopting a nursing home pal, collecting food for the food pantry, cleaning a vacant lot, making a first aid kit to donate to a group..... The kids and parents will decide these projects as a group.

#7. What are Clover Kids? They are kids too young to be in 4H. Providing we have some, we would like to "split them off" during part of the meeting and do something on their level that would correspond with what the older kids are doing. At one time I was a Clover Leader and we did a simple lesson, and often a craft. It keeps them involved without being bored.

#8. Club meetings are held monthly. To show a fair project, you have to have made at least half of the meetings plus one more. There may be an additional meeting for a service project or they may be done during the monthly meeting--depends on what the group decides to do.

#9. Individuals pick their own projects. Some projects are self directed, others have parents volunteer to be the project leaders or project leaders may come from other clubs or in the community.

#10. Dues are $10 per child a year and if a family can not afford that, the extension office has funding to cover it for you.

#11. Volunteers (including parent volunteers) do undergo a background check.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

For Homeschoolers in near Olathe KS

Dear Home School Educator,

Zonkers Family Entertainment Center at the Great Mall in Olathe, KS has a very special deal for Home School Families!

On Monday - Wednesdays, from 11am to 3pm, you can enjoy unlimited rides and soft play activity area for only $7.49 (children over 36" tall) or for $4.49 (children under 36" tall). Normal pricing is $11.99 and $5.99, respectively.

Enjoy our 30,000 square foot facility with roller coasters, huge carousel, arcade games for all skill levels, batting cages and SO MUCH MORE!
Have lunch with us at the Tiny Rhino Cafe, and enjoy pizza, burgers, chicken and more!



Zonkers Family Entertainment Center has partnered with Parisole Arts Foundation to teach fun, art-related activities to children!

Monday, September 14th - Hula Hooping Classes! Interactive stretching, movement and hoop play!
3-4pm, max 100 students.
** You can use this class towards your Physical Education Requirements!!

Wednesday, September 16th - Illustration Story Hour! Children will create story and watch the artist bring the story to life!

Cost per child: $9.99
This cost covers all the following:

One hour of activity
2 slices of one-topping pizza
small soft drink
4 arcade tokens
Two Hours of unlimited rides and soft play
All classes are a minimum of 15 children per group.

**If you have an idea for an Edu-Tainment program, tell us!

Please also ask about our group tour special rates, birthday parties, face painting special group pricing, day passes, and corporate events!

Andrea Johnson
Director of Sales and Marketing
Zonkers Family Entertainment Center
(913) 689-9860 direct
www.Zonkers.com20070 W. 151st Street

Olathe, KS 66061

Health Care Reform

The below is a direct quote from Focus on the Family. It is just one of the many reasons I am against socialized medicine. I don't want my tax dollars going for abortions!!
"In less than two weeks, Congress will come back from August recess and health care reform will return to center stage. As we have mentioned in recent weeks, the current government-mandated health care reform plan will be the greatest expansion of abortion rights and abortion funding since Roe v. Wade.

But it is not just the preborn who will be impacted. The elderly, the infirm ... every family facing difficult end-of-life decisions ... may soon come up against a government-mandated health care system that is the single greatest legislative threat to our families that we have seen.

Government-mandated health care gives government officials unprecedented influence over health care decisions that have always been the responsibility of the family. And it will include mandated abortion coverage through the public plan and through private insurance premiums."

We are loosing our rights in this country. Now our president wants control over the Internet. He has raised our national debt dramatically since he took office. He is against homeschooling. One of the first bills he signed was to approve partial birth abortion. There is also a bill that is in the process to tax people who have gardens!! Add all of these together (and there are more) and you have to see these are just baby steps to eventually make us be completely dependent on our government. There are also people in congress working to do away with the term limits, meaning the president could be president for the duration of his life, not for one or two four year terms.

Did you know that Section 163 of the heath care bill states that the government would be allowed real-time access to a person's bank records - including direct access to bank accounts for electronic fund transfers??

Read Through The ENTIRE Obama Care Bill!

Did you know that 1/3 of nurses and 60% of general practitioners say they will refuse the swine flu shot YET the goverment wants to force us to get it?!!

Did you know that Obama says 'We are God's partners in matters of life and death'

This nation, which was founded on the freedom of religion needs to wake up and see what is going on at take action.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Combining sales with coupons is really is a good way for single family incomes to save money. Most homeschooling families are single income families or run a business from their homes.

Last week I shopped at CVS and Walgreen. My Walgreen receipt started out at $38. Then off came the Walgreen receipts, then a $5 Walgreen register buck, then my coupons from the Sunday paper. I walked away paying around $10 for 4 deodorants, 3 shampoos, 6 candy bars, 2 boxes of band aides and a Free air wick fresh matic ultra machine.

Then we went to CVS. I got a free welches grape juice and stocked up on rechargeable batteries. I got two brands--for a total of 4 packs of batteries. Name brand ones were on sale for $7.99. I bought 2 because I earned $5 back for spending $15 on energizer products. Then I bought 2 packages of the CVS brand batteries as they were buy one pack, get one pack free. Rechargeable batteries are another way we save money here at our homeschooling farm. We now have (along with what I bought the last time they ran the same sale) rechargeable batteries ranging from 9V to AA, AA, C and D. We now have 2 sets, so one set can be on the charger while the 2nd set is in the camera, flashlights, weather radio and lantern. Before winter I would like to get one more set of batteries for the flashlights. We have our share of ice storms in northern MO. On this trip I also got some free air freshener, and BIC razors for 50 cents.

Anytime I can get a nonperishable item for free or near free by combining coupons with sales I do. As long as it is stored properly, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, razors and such will have a fairly long shelf life. I would rather get it for free now and store it than pay for it at full price later.

I also don't drive to a store and waste fuel just to get one item. I shop at the CVS that is near the library we visit, and the Walgreen that is near our church. I am not brand loyal except for a few items. Even on those few item may still get them to donate.

Now, for this weeks deals go to I recommend you sign up for a free account. You can select your state for special deals. This site shows you what i on sale and what coupons from your local paper you can use for the very best deal. They also have additional coupons you can print off.

FREE is the best price--Get Super Drugstore and Grocery Savings 8/30 to 9/5

New feature! Print coupons for sale items directly from our individual store deals lists--we'll tell you all the printable and electronic coupons available for each sale item so that you can save the most and stock up on more than one deal! Check out our drugstore and grocery deals lists to see how easy we make it for you to save!

CVS deals this week include FREE Bic products, FREE Cover Girl products with purchase, FREE glucose monitors, bargains on Revlon, Sally Hansen and Dawn dish liquid.
Walgreens deals include FREE Carefree liners, FREE Colgate toothbrush, FREE monitor, FREE Mens razor system, FREE Rembrandt toothpaste and more!
Wal-Mart deals include bargains on Clairol haircolor, Febreze, 409, Hartz cat treats, Pringles and more.
Rite Aid deals include FREE GE light bulbs, FREE Reeses candy, FREE Listerine, bargains on Clairol haircolor, Maybelline mascara, Emerald nuts, Sea Breeze, and more.
Target deals include Edys ice cream 48 oz. for only 50 cents (or free if you have the Target printable too), FREE Schick razors, only $1.54 for Tide Stain Release, and more.
Find hundreds of deals at thousands of grocery stores across the country with our deals lists in our Grocery Deals by State section !

Newspaper Coupon Preview! There will not be any newspaper coupons this weekend since it's Labor Day weekend.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

free PE classes for homeschoolers (St Jo area)

The PE Dept. at Missouri Western is looking for homeschoolers to volunteer
to be in various P.E. classes so their student teachers can practice with
school-aged students.
This FREE opportunity has benefitted many families through the years!
Please register with the professor, Dr. Nannette Wolford, directly and do
not reply to this email.

PED 380 Creative games and exploratory activity with manipulatives
while working on locomotive movements.
Ages: Children in kindergarten-2nd grade
Dates: September 2, 9, 16, 21, 23, 30, October 12, and 14th
Meet: Arena in the Looney Complex
(These M-W classes run from 2:00 to 2:45)

PED 370 This class features games that teach health and fitness concepts
for ages Kindergarten-4th grade
Dates: 9/2, 9/9, 9/11 (These W-F classes start at 10:15 and run to 10:50)
Meet: Arena of the Looney Complex
More Dates: 9/16, 9/18, 9/21, 9/23, 9/25
(These M-W-F classes start at 10:00 and run to 10:50)
Meet: Arena of the Looney Complex

PED 382 Elementary games and activities that involve some sports skills,
fitness testing, parachute, cage ball, scooters, fitness activities,
challenge activities,
jump rope skills, tag games etc.
This class is for children in grades 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Arena in the Looney Complex
Dates: 9/15, 29, Oct. 6, 8, 20, 22, 27, 29, Nov 3, 5, 12
(These T-Th classes run from 10:00 to 10:45)

PED 245 Tennis skills and drills are taught; All equipment provided.
This class is for children in grades 4-12.
Meet: Tennis courts on the North side of the Looney complex.
Dates: 9/28 & 30 (This M-W class starts at 12:00 noon and runs to 12:45)

Badminton - Drills and lead up activities for badminton skills; all
equipment provided.
This class is for children in grades 4-12.
Meet: Old Gym in the Looney Complex
Date: Oct 14
This Wednesday class starts at 12:00 noon and runs to 12:45

Remember to email me at MWSU with your child's name and your phone number
before you come.
Please include the names, ages and reason the child wants to come.
I am looking forward to working with your child/children.
Nannette Wolford

Pre ACT testing for homeschoolers

This is part of an email I received. Please direct questions to the email address below, not to me. Thanks!

These are taking place in the Kansas City area.

Dates and locations have been set for the pre-ACT test, the PLAN, for October 2009. At this time there are only 2 dates and locations. (I am still looking for a Missouri location south of the river. If I am able to obtain one, I will add another date at that time.)

Mon., October 19 ~ Harmony Vineyard Church, 600 NE 46th Street, Kansas City, MO 64116

Thurs., October 29 ~ Brighton Academy, 10100 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS 66212
Brighton is located in the Emmanuel Baptist Church

This is a test designed by the ACT college entrance exam company. It is specifically designed for 10th graders, but all high school students are welcome to take it. The test covers the same areas that the ACT test does: English, Math, Reading, and Science Reasoning. Test results can be used to obtain good student discount rates with insurance companies as well as giving students practice for taking the college entrance exams. After the test, you will receive the test questions, along with the answers your student gave on the test, and the correct answers, if any are wrong. This will make it very easy for you and your student to understand what they missed and why.

It is a one day test. You may pick the most convenient date and location. Testing will begin at 9:30 a.m. and be over no later than 1:30 p.m. The cost for the test is $20 for the Missouri location and $27 for the Kansas location. You need to send the registration form and 2 self-addressed stamped business size envelopes, one with a $.44 stamp and the other with a $.61 stamp, along with the check made out to Monette Anderson. Registration deadline is October 5 for the Missouri test and October 15 for the Kansas test. If you have any questions, please contact Monette at or feel free to call at 816-781-5531. (Most days calls are being screened due to homeschooling needs.)

Student's name __________________________________________________

Address ________________________________________________________


Phone # ________________________ email: __________________________

Parent's names __________________________________________________

Please send all information by October 5 to: Monette Anderson 901 Cambridge Circle Liberty MO 64068

I will email you confirmation of receipt of your registration when I receive it, so please print the email address carefully. Thanks.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Future Vets

Whopper the cat (given her name because she 'whops' the dog) and I had a run in this morning, with a vehicle...I got her back left leg and her tail. So, the girls are playing vet and taping her up with vet tape. The grey cat watching is her brother Smokey.

The girls have worked some at my cousins vet clinic, for a homeschooling 'internship' and are rather good at wrapping animal legs. (Now, if we could just teach the cats not to sit on top of the tires or sleep under the cars.)

She can walk on it but doesn't like to and complains loudly when she does. I think part of it is for the human attention and extra treats.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We passed!

Today Emily and I took 2 of our required tests for the fire department. We took NIMS 100 and 700. I am happy to report we both passed. Next we get to do our hazmat testing, then our first responders class and test. (I've been told that the hazmat one is much harder, rather a bear of a test. I took one years ago, but I am sure like everything else it has changed.) What we did today had a lot to do with the chains of command during an emergency or event. I think I will give Emily some social studies or civics credit for it.

For those of you who may have missed it in an earlier posts, she is a fire cadet and JD and I are also volunteers with the local fire department. I do give my kids credit for the volunteering they do, as they do learn from it.

Free Homeschooling 101 classes

These are through the Trails Regional Library system and free to all. Don't worry about registering-just show up!

Thursday, August 27, 10am-noon
Odessa Public Library
107 W. Mason
Odessa, MO 64076

Friday, August 28, 10am-noon
Holden Public Library
207 S. Main
Holden, MO 64040

Here is the schedule of Homeschooling 101 Classes being offered through Mid-Continent Public Library for the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 4. FHE Board members will be teaching all classes. Register through the Mid-Continent branch the class you wish to attend is being held at. You can do so online at or by calling the branch.

9/1/2009 2:00 PM Oak Grove
9/1/2009 7:00 PM Kearney
9/3/2009 7:00 PM Riverside

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This weeks specials

I did good last Saturday at Walgreen. They had some toothpaste for $1 for which I had $1 off coupons for, and deodorant on sale for $1.99 that I had $1 coupons for. They also had cereal on sale for less than the grocery store and again I had coupons. I ended up with about 6 bags of items for under $15 and got a Walgreen register reward for $5 off my next visit. So, we are stocked up on toothpaste, deodorant and have a weeks worth of cereal.

Here is the link for this weeks sales and specials. Remember the best way to save is to wait for a sale and combine the sale price with a store coupon and the manufacturer's coupons. (yes, you can use both coupons on the same item) Also, don't be brand loyal-go with the best deal and sometimes the best deal still tends to be the store brand or a generic. Some stores, such as CVS give you extra discounts if you have their free register card.

CVS deals this week include free Carefree liners, free Reese's candy, free 3-day sale composition books and 125+ more deals.
Walgreens deals include bargains on Chinet plates, Goody hair accessories, Crest toothpaste, Kelloggs cereals, Scotch mailing envelopes, Scotch tape and many more deals.
Wal-Mart deals include Disney vitamins, Mead notebooks, Reese's candy, pet food and more.
Target deals include Hilshire Farm lunchmeat, grapes, Glade starter kits, Reeses 8 pack candy bars, Yoplait yogurt and more.
Rite Aid deals include free Colgate toothpaste, deals on Kotex pads and liners, free Mead composition books and notebooks with coupons and rebates, free Tylenol, 20-cent Reeses King Size candy bars, 50-cent Rubbermaid Take Alongs or bottles. Save even more when you Print a coupon for $5 off $25 at Rite Aid, too!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Summer Education Tips

I should have posted this earlier in the year, at least before summer started. This is a copy of an article I wrote that has appeared on some other sites. I was asked why I didn't put it on my, here it is. In the orginal article there are fancy graphics and the ideas are numbered. I could not get any of that to transfer over.

The topic I was orginally asked to write for was "Ways to Help Students Not Forget Over the Summer". But, these are things that can be done at home year around.


Play Math BINGO, I made mine from the plain (inside) cardboard on cereal boxes. I made squares and put numbers in each square. On small pieces of paper I wrote out all the multiplication facts through the 12's. The caller reads the problem, such as "6 x 6", and the kids look at their card. If they have a 36 on their card, they cover it (we use pennies as our covers). You could vary this game according to your child's math level for addition or subtraction.

Keep a critter's notebook. Each week or every few days, add a new animal or insect. You can add coloring sheets, research the animal in books or on line and write a report about it. My kids are older so their book is divided into the various animal kingdoms, and each animal is put behind the proper tab. You can take this with you when you visit the zoo and take animal pictures to add to your pages or to create new pages.

Discuss various businesses and call ahead to arrange for field trips. My kids have visited the bank, post office, grocery store, feed store, vets office, doctors office. By asking for a tour, you get to see the "back rooms", have inventory and business practices explained to the kids on their level. Many businesses, such as banks and the post office also have free literature to give to kids.

Have the kids shop. This uses home-ec, finances, math skills. Give them each a list, money and have them look for coupons and the best deals.

Discuss nutrition and have the kids each plan a menu for a day or week or month (depending on their ages). Then, they can shop and cook or help cook what they picked. Menus must meet the food recommendations.

Build medical models. We have built several skeletons and various organs. Older kids can learn the names of the bones. Get a newspaper end roll from your local paper. Lay out a long piece. Have the kids lay down and you can trace their body. Then they can color it all in. Little ones put on their face and clothes. Older kids draw in their organs and bones. Can be hung on their bedroom doors when finished.

See if your local library has a summer reading program, or a kid's book club. Read out loud together as a family. Also read a book, then see if the library has a movie of that book. You can discuss how it was the same and different. Learn the books of the Bible

Watch "Mr Smith goes to Washington" with Jimmy Stewart in it. It's an old clean movie that describes how the government works. Pick out several presidents and study them.

Find some educational place mats in the housewares area at Walmart. They have for 99 cents ones with the presidents, solar system, map of the world and more. Rotate them out every few days.

Get a free state map from your license bureau. Look up interesting areas in your state and then visit them in person or on line. Do you have a state park nearby? Visit the ranger station. It is free at most parks.

Have kids gather leaves. Take rubbings and then look up and find out what the leaves were from. Learn animal tracks, poisonous snakes and plants, then take what you learned with you and go camping.

Find the oldest cemetery around you and visit it. Read the tombstones. Who was the oldest? Who was the youngest? What is the oldest grave you can find? If you find a lot of people died the same year find out why? What illness or weather pattern killed them?

Work on family genealogy. Take the kids to visit older family members. Have them tell a story and have the kids tape record or video it to save for future generations.

Small kids can learn over the summer the months of the year, to tie their shoes.

Visit your local police and fire departments. Most will show kids the trucks, cars and give them information. Then come home and have kids create a safety drill for your home. Make maps and mark exits, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

Have kids learn to make butter, bake a loaf of bread or some cooking lessons.

Teach kids to sew. Start with a simple project such as a pillow.

Have kids take apart nonworking and unplugged items such as old clocks, radio, TV telephones and see what is inside.

Make a crystal radio.

Get a microscope and study bugs, pond water, hair, leaves, skin cells.

Visit your state capitol. Learn about your state and your state flag.

Contact your local conservation office and get posters of local wildlife, plants, trees, fish.

Study fish types and then go fishing.

Work puzzles. That uses the same brain cells that math problems use.

Watch such TV programs like "how is that made", and the history channel. If you watch Little House, notice and discuss how their life is different from ours today.