Thursday, October 6, 2011

Our plumbing job

With all that has gone on around there the last 10 days or so, we kind of ignored a problem that could not be ignored anymore.  Emily's bathroom toilet.  The drain was clogged.  We all used the plunger--no luck.  We used the toilet snake.  No luck.  Something hard was in there and it wasn't about to move.

Armed with the years of DIY shows I have watched, times I have had my dad help me in the past, and a few websites and a series of TIME home improvement books I tackled the job.

First, we had to bail out the water and remove the toilet.  The old copper water line wasn't long enough to move the toilet over, so I also removed the water line, remembering to first turn the water off at the shut off valve. (My dad taught me that one!)  That proved the clog was in the toilet, and not in the sewer line.  It also provided an access to snake the toilet from the bottom.  After attacking in numerous times from the top and the bottom, out came the culprits...a deodorant lid and a make up case.

Then, off to Plattsburg Lumber for a new wax ring and gasket, and a longer flexible water line.  The twins and I then re-set the toilet.  It cost me $13.99.  Plumber wanted $150.  It works, and doesn't leak!

Would I do it again??  Yep, to save the money.  Would I WANT to do it again? NO.  I still think plumbers are over paid.....but....I don't feel so strongly on that as I did before.  It was a nasty job.  But, its done and hopefully won't have to be done again for a very very long time.

And, we have a couple of new rules around here now.  #1,  Nothing is to sit on the back of the toilet anymore.  #2.  Nothing else is to break while it is during the days my husband works 12 hour shifts.

I think my Dad is proud of me. I know my hubby is!


Here at the farm, we have sure had our ups and downs....

In March, Emily was a winner in her division of the local 4H speech contest day for her extemporaneous speech.  She made it to the state level in Columbia on September 24.  At that level, they had 2 rounds, and she made it to the second (and final) round and came in 3rd.  She did an excellent job.  She was not only up against other very good speakers, but 2 of them she was up against were college freshmen and several years older.  (She is a high school sophomore, but just turned 15--about a year younger than most her classmates as I started her a year early in school).  Our family is very proud of her.

We drove part way up the night before the contest  and stayed at my parents.  It was good to visit with them and my brothers family.  While we were there, we also got to visit with my sister in law who was in the hospital for pain management for her cancer.  After the contest ended, we had a treat at Dairy Queen and headed back, stopping back at the hospital so Emily could show her Aunt her trophy and we got in another good visit.  Then, back to my parents to pick up the twins and back home.  We arrived back here around midnight.  Seems everytime we visit family we end up back home between midnight and one a.m.  Sometimes it is just hard to leave.

Just a few days later, we received word that the girls dad was not doing well.  He has been sick for several years.  So, we headed to Kansas City.  They spent all of the 29th with him.  The decision had been made to transfer him back home for hospice care.  The girls stayed with him until the ambulance took him away that night, even riding down the elevator with him to the ambulance.  Our plan was to go see him again early the next morning.   It is an hour and a half trip back home.  He made it to the nursing home/hospice center, and passed away 4 minutes later at 11:23 that night. 

So, since the girls are all minors, I have been helping them with the phone calls, making arrangements, paperwork and such.  He thought he had it all planned and ready, but none of the paperwork was where he said it was.  So, it has not been a smooth process.

The girls were expecting it, had been told by him and me for some time that his sickness was going to eventually take his life.  But knowing it was coming has not made it any easier on them at all.  They could sure use some prayers at this time.

Needless to say, some of our schoolwork has gone to the back burner for a bit, but we are getting back on track slowly.  Volleyball has proved to be a good distraction for them, they have 3 games this week and practices.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Digital Scrapbooking and a $10 off coupon offer

We all know that making a scrapbook takes time and makes a mess, but I like to do it anyway.  I have now discovered digital scrapbooking and its wonderful--no mess!!  Anyway, I wanted to share this great deal with you.  If you go to to order, and enter the code of STMMMS29337 you get $10 off of your order, and $10 off anything in the store. (for a total of $20).  Feel free to pass the code on-it doesn't have a limit on it as to how many people can use it.  It is a download, so you don't have to wait on receiving it in the mail either.

You can make scrapbooks, photobooks, cards, calendars and gifts that make great Christmas presents.  Christmas is't that far away, so this is a great time to get started.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fencing anyone?? Kansas City area

You don't see this offered everyday..............

October 12 is the deadline for Fall Honor and Sword Registration.

Fall Dates are Wednesdays, Oct 26, Nov 2, Nov 9, Nov 16, Nov 30, Dec 7, Dec 14 and Dec 21 from 1:15pm - 4:00pm.

Cost is $130.00/student

To register email: Leigh Hinkel at

For more information please feel free to visit our website:

Honor and Sword is an eight week class intended to teach young men and women character and fencing

Our goal is to counteract the declining standards in our culture by seeking ways to train up this young generation in the practical concepts that will carry them through life in a manner which produces positive relational impact. In this course young people will learn the value of character while discovering the art of fencing where manners are not merely required but inherent.

This is a fun answer for your home school PE requirement with the benefit of solid character development.

Students must be 13 or older. Lecture topics include:

* Character: Revealing What You're Made Of
* Chivalry: A Code of Honor
* The History of Fencing and The Three Weapons
* Practical Manners: In Life and On the Piste
* The Seven Effective Habits
* The Feminine Heart : Lady Captivating
* The Masculine Heart: Sir Protector
* God: The Loving Warrior
* “Coming of Age": What Does It Mean?”

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Free U.S. Electoral College Map Poster (in Your Mail!) & More Online Free US Electorial college Map

Have you heard of C-SPAN Classroom yet? It's full of resources for social studies and history teachers (and homeschoolers & parents). They have a lot to offer virtually on their site, and they will send a free Electoral College Map!

Community Service Opportunities!!!

City Union Mission Youth Department desperately needs tutors for youth grades 2-12 (tutors must be 4 years older than those they are tutoring) on Tuesdays and Thursdays 4-6pm. Times on Monday and Thursday afternoons may be available as well. The Youth Department of City Union Mission is located in the Family Center at 1310 Wabash Ave, KCMO 64127. Please contact Kalie George at if you are interested!
You can get a letter documenting the service if you would like one - great for the transcript, especially for students competing for scholarships and military academy appointments.

Friday, September 9, 2011

There's still time to join in Carnegie Hall's Link Up!  This exciting program provides each student with a Yamaha recorder and student workbook as well as the opportunity to perform with the Kansas City Symphony inside Helzberg Hall! 

Link up linkHow does it work?  Carnegie Hall's curriculum is easily incorporated into your existing elementary music curriculum.  Teachers are invited to introduce this curriculum on their own time throughout the school year.  In addition to learning beginning to advanced recorder technique, students in grades 3-5 will learn repertoire that will be performed by the Kansas City Symphony on the Link Up concerts in May 2012.  Students will attend the concert, recorder-in-hand, and will perform these pieces along with the KCS inside Helzberg Hall! 

What do 1,600 recorders sound like? 
Find out on May 9 & 10, 2012! 

Reserve your seats online or call (816) 218-2609

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Therapeutic horseback Riding in KC area

Thank you for passing this information along to people you know who might benefit from a volunteer experience, or to parents of children who could benefit from therapeutic horseback riding.  Lisa Keefe, ph. 816-808-1106

The Northland Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC) focuses on improving the quality of life of children and adults with special needs through equine-oriented therapy and activities. At NTRC, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, therapeutic riding instructors, volunteers, riders and horses are partners in the equine-assisted therapeutic process.

We currently have openings for both volunteers and riders.
Volunteers serve NTRC as horse leaders or sidewalkers. Horse leaders should be comfortable grooming, tacking up and leading horses. Sidewalkers do not need horse experience, but must be comfortable around horses, as they walk beside our students as they ride. We ride on Tuesdays and Thursdays from now until Nov. 17 and volunteers are needed in one hour time frames from approximately 3-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday or Thursday each week. For more information, contact Lisa Keefe, Volunteer Coordinator, at 816-808-1106.

Therapeutic riding and hippotherapy assists riders with a variety of physical, cognitive and emotional challenges. A rider assessment and a doctor's clearance is required before participating. Parents may contact Mary Jill Webber, Co-Director, at 816-808-1209 for more information about having a child enrolled as a rider .

More information as well as rider and volunteer applications are located on our website at You may also visit our "Northland Therapeutic Riding Center" Facebook page.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Discount for homeschoolers from US Toy

US Toy, 2008 W. 103rd Terrace, Leawood, KS (just about a block south of 435W and State Line), is offering all educators, including homeschoolers and Sunday school teachers, a 10% discount every day.  

Their phone number is 913-642-8247.

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Movie Coming out Sept 23

Calling all Families! Calling all Moms! Calling all Homeschoolers!
Join thousands of families nationwide to see the movie Dolphin Tale on September 23 together. It makes a statement to Hollywood to rally behind movies that “get it right” and tell great stories without all the junk, twaddle, and moral compromise! This movie has all the good stuff we want more of and is truly entertaining and inspiring from ages 5-95!!!
It’s time the conservative Christian Family and Homeschool community shows Hollywood we have a voice. But how? We need a story we can support and get behind, a story that affirms who we are and what we stand for.

Dear Friends, Dolphin Tale is such a story!
This is a family movie that will inspire, instruct, and bring you to tears because of the great story line. This movie even has two homeschool kids who play the main roles! (The casting agents went to a local support group in California and found them!)
The bottom line is that the Homeschool Movie Club wants to show Hollywood that the those of us with Christian and strong family values are a big enough market to support other great movies with traditional, conservative family values. I am hoping you will be a part of this great opportunity with me!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Homeschool Coop

Today the twins registered for their classes for the fall semester of our homeschool coop.  Our coop is located in Independence MO.  If you want information about joining our coop, let me know and I can email you the information  for our director.  It is NOT to late to join, as we don't begin until the Monday after Labor Day.  Last semester we met on Fridays, this semester we will be meeting on Mondays.  So far, it appears some of our usual families will not be joining us, but it also looks like we have a couple of new families.

Coops are a great way for kids to meet other kids, and parents to network and get new homeschooling ideas.  They also help in that kids can take a class in a subject that may not be your specialty, but is of another parent/teacher.

The twins are excited that it will be starting back up, as they have missed some of their coop friends over the summer months.

Emily, however, is a different story.  She decided that for this semester she wanted to try public school (her first time).  While she was at CIY (Christ In Youth) this summer, she drew a card that told her to be a witness at her school.  So, we are trying it out.  So far, I am not convinced it is the right choice for us.  We got off to a rough start.  I had called ahead, and arranged an appointment to have her tested, meet the principal, tour the school and pick her classes.  When we got there, the principal then informed us they could not test her at that time.  Then we were told the next day she could not pick her classes or even start school until after she was tested and that she may not be tested until after school started and her results were back....  Our tour turned into wandering the building ourselves, and a nice janitor woman kind of showed us the upstairs.  After putting my foot down, and contacting the state board of education, they suddenly could test her the next day.  Her test results were great--and she tested on college level in most subjects.

However, she had 16.5 credits on her transcript, and the school refused to accept her transcript.  They only gave her credit for 7, which is what most freshman have.  Then they put her in health, which she has already had, and gave her Biology I.  Finally the principal changed it to Biology II, but she has already had both Biology I and Biology II.  So, she is repeating 2 classes that she tested high on.  

I don't understand the purpose of the testing if she isn't allowed to pick her classes based on the test results.  She is enjoying it for now, but this may be her only semester there.  She worked hard for those 16.5 credits and to have the school district not recognize them is not acceptable. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our week in Joplin MO

You probably noticed I have not been on here much this summer.  All summer, the girls and I have been home for a week, then gone for a week.

Last week was our last "gone for a week" week.  At least for awhile.

We spent part of our summer in Texas, then on to Flaming Spirit Christian Camp, then Mission Lake Christian Camp, then Girl Scout Twilight Camp, then VBS followed by a family reunion.  Then, last week we were in Joplin MO for 6 1/2 days.

After church, I headed up a group of homeschoolers to go to Joplin MO to work with IDES to assist with the tornado damage from the May tornado that removed between 30% and 40% of the structures in Joplin, including a huge hospital.  My church was good enough to let me use the church van to take the bulk of the group in, and then we met another family in Harrisonville and headed on down to Joplin.  IDES has their base camp set up at the West Side Christian Church in Joplin.  We slept in the church, and IDES has built portable shower houses, a laundry room, and tool sheds in the church yard.  In addition, they also have set up a lumber yard and 2 semi trailers full of supplies and tools.

Removing wood and rocks from a yard that a tornado family was moving to.

Spreading gravel at the IDES headquarters

Our group showing off some tools that were donated.  I think by the weeks end we used them all.

The shed we built.  IDES builds sheds for tornado families to put their belongings in if they are in a situation where they had to downsize or still have their land but no home yet to store their belongings.

Each week, a different team takes turns coming in and helping out, often taking up where the last group left off.  During our week, we did landscaping, cleared and burned brush, dug up a unwanted zillion yucca plants (which the kids gave me a hard time about as I drug a bunch of the better looking ones home to replant), removed a fence that was to be relocated later, removed bricks and mortar off of a house wall so that siding could be put on, helped with some roofing and siding chores, picked up glass, rocks and nails from a yard, primed the trim of a house, moved gravel by hand (2 huge piles of it), and in 12 hours time cleared a huge parking lot of the debris left from a concrete block church maintenance building.  We also removed some flower beds and enlarged the floor of an old shed site, and erected a new larger shed at the site.

Still many homes like this one standing--The kids called this photo "cook out?"

This is a pile of debris that we moved by hand.  We tried to get a bobcat, but due to all the glass and nails it had to be one on solid tires or tracks--and none were to be found in Joplin.  Under the brush is concrete blocks.

Our group.  We had 4 adults and 9 teen home schoolers.  Rick, the director was impressed by the amount of work these kids did each day.  He would make a comment to the effect that if we got done to point A or B, we could call it a day, but each day they kids were determined to get the entire project done.

The work was not easy--all pretty much hard labor and in high temperatures.  One day we had a heat index of 113 degrees, but we kept drinking water and kept on working. 

Free Book Bank by appointment only in KCMO

Here is a great book bank that is non-profit and everything is free! It is called Heartland Book Bank, it's located in the AT&T building downtown 1425 Oak Street, KCMO 64106 and the phone number is 816-472-5600. They are only there 3 days a week, so call and make an appointment.  You must bring proof that you are a teacher or a homeschooling parent.
There is a ton of teacher resource books, texts books for all ages, and just fun reading too! All kinds of books that you can ever imagine. And it's free, so how can you pass it up? See what you think, they are always getting new materials from publishers, school districts, retired teachers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Conference in Cameron MO area

Just a reminder that the FHE Back to School Conference is this weekend. It is not too late to come. 8AM to 9AM is registration with workshops starting at 9AM.

Families for Home Education
Back to School Conference
Saturday, August 27, 2011
The Old School House
116 W 4th Street
Cameron, Missouri
Guest Speaker Kerry Messer
Minister/Missionary to the State Capitol
and Your FHE Home School Lobbyist
A Special Update will be given on Joplin

Workshops include Homeschooling 101; Homeschooling Special Needs; Homeschooling
Elementary; Homeschooling High School; Homeschooling Dads; and many more

8AM – 9AM Registration
8:15 AM – 9AM Support Group Leaders Meet and Greet
9AM – Noon Workshops
Noon – 1PM Lunch
1PM Guest Speaker Kerry Messer; Past, Present, Posterity – Protecting Homeschooling Policy
1PM - 2PM Guest Speaker Kerry Messer; Past, Present, Posterity – Protecting Homeschooling Policy
2PM - 3PM A Special Update on Joplin, Q&A Panel, and Door Prize Drawing

We will be collecting basic school supplies to send to Joplin homeschoolers.
1 ream of paper 5 spiral notebooks 10 glue sticks 20 pencils
For each of these items you bring, you will be entered in a drawing.

This is a day of encouragement and refreshment for parents. While we love children, we kindly request that parents find childcare arrangements for their children. Nursing babies are always welcomed to attend.

For questions or more information:
Charyti Jackson, FHE Reg 1 Dir. 660-582-5903 or Lesa Verbick, FHE Reg 1 Assistant

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why the difference in the test scores?

After reading the previous post, those who are not familiar with homeschooling will not believe or will not understand why the difference in the test scores.  The reasons are easy for those of us who homeschool.....
  • Lower ratio  My "class" has a ratio of 1 teacher to 3 students.  Sometimes its 1 to 5,  But, it is never 1 to 24 or 1 to 30 as the traditional school setting.  This means each student gets more 1 on 1 with the teacher.
  • We do it till we get it right  If we don't understand it, we keep working at it.  A traditional school keeps moving according to schedule.  If a student doesn't get it, the rest of the class doesn't stop for them.  So, he gets further and further behind unless he gets worked with quickly.  When you homeschool, you can afford to adjust the schedule and learn it,  as your class most likely only has 1 to 3 in that grade.
  • Less time wasted  I can tell you from subbing the in classroom that we aren't waiting for people to sit down, quit talking or goofing off, taking turns to the water fountain, breaking up fights.....Then, when it finally settles down you have good 30 minutes before the bell rings.  Here, we just sit down and do it.
  • We can get more credits and electives  Homeschoolers tend to count or grade more things.  For example many traditional schools only offer home ec in middle school now.  We can offer it EVERY year.  Its called doing their own laundry, helping in the kitchen and with housework, sewing, mending, baking...every day life.  I heard a report on the radio once that said home schooled adults tended to have more and better life skills such as maintaining a budget, home ec, gardening and food preservation, cooking, making their own auto and home repairs....  This is probably why.  As kids, they were doing it for a grade, not just because they were told to do it.  If we find a TV program or video that deals with a recent lesson, we will watch it and count that time as well.  Often I will even make up a quiz to go along with it after we watch it.
  • We can school year around, and not have a 3 month "forgetting break" during the summer.
  • We don't rely on twice a year notices from the teachers to find our students weaknesses-IF our students even remember to bring the note home.....  We observe them at work on them immediately
  • We tend to get more "hands on" and fieldtrips.  Many people learn from seeing and doing or watching much better than reading about it in a text book.
  • We don't generally have to get up as early as some students do to catch a bus.  For many kids it is hard to get up at 5:30 to catch a 6:45 bus then be awake to learn at 7:55.  After school, they want to play, eat or nap, then they finally get to their homework (often after sports) and don't make it back to bed until 11 or after.  That makes it a difficult environment  to get enough rest which is necessary for our minds to work properly.
  • Everyone knows (including me) traditional schooled straight A students.  If you know anything about their family or home life, you will notice that they usually have parents who are very very involved with their children and their children's friends, activities and whereabouts.  Sadly for too many kids out there, that is not the case.  Since homeschoolers parents are usually their teachers (sometimes it is Grandparents or other close family members or friends), they as well tend to be involved in knowing their children's habits, learning patterns and activities.  Involvement is a huge factor in education.

Homeschooling vs Public Schooling

I'd like you to read this interesting article on a blog.  It is from Feb of this year...

It cites the differences between test results of homeschoolers and public schoolers.  Its very informative and factual.  

"Drawing from 15 independent testing services, the Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics included 11,739 homeschooled student from all 50 states who took three well-know testsCalifornia Achievement Test, Iowa Basic Skill, and Stanford Achievement Test for the 2007-08 academic year. The progress Report is the most comprehensive homeschool academic study ever completed.
National Average Percentile Scores
Subtest          Homeschool          Public School
Reading                89                                50
Language             84                                50
Math                     84                                50
Science                 86                                50
Social Studies     84                                50
Core-a                  88                                50
Core-b                  86                                50
Core-a is a combination of Reading, Language, and Math
Core-b is a combination of all subjects that the students took on the test.
There was little difference between the results of homeschooled boys and girls on core scores.
Boys – 87th percentile
Girls – 88th percentile"

This statement is great--defeats the argument we hear most often.....
"Educational level of parents:
Neither parent has a college degree – 83rd percentile
One parent has a college degree – 86th percentile
Both parents have a college degree – 90th percentile
Whether either parent was a certified teacher did not matter.
Certified (i.e. either parent ever certified)-87th percentile
Not certified (i.e., neither parent ever certified)-88th percentile"
Great information isn't it?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I.D.E.S. and Joplin MO

In August, I am leading a team of volunteers to go work in Joplin for 6 days.  This is to assist with the cleanup and rebuilding from the tornadoes in May.  We will be under the direction of I.D.E.S....

International Disaster Emergency Service or IDES has been supported by the Christian Churches since 1973.  When a disaster strikes, IDES goes in.  Various Christian Churches make up the teams.  Each team has between 10 and 15 members and go in for 6 days at a time.  When they arrive, they take up where the team that just left left off at. The next team to come in takes up where that one left off...So it goes until the job is done.  If one project is done, they start another, and keep going as long as the donations keep coming in.

On our way home from our vacation in May, we came through Joplin, just hours after the tornado hit.  Originally our plan was to eat breakfast there (as had driven straight through from TX) and then to show the girls Ozark Christian College.  As we got off the exit ramp we  saw a semi laid over, then every thing was fine again for several blocks.  Then, we turned the corner and it looked like a war zone.  A friend of mine since early childhood lost his home and vehicle in the storm (He had no insurance on the home).  Of course all the contents were also destroyed or blown away.

My team is responsible for raising our own support, as far as fuel to get there and back, and to operate on all week, as well as our food for the week.  However, a dorm and showers have been made at Westside Christian Church in Joplin for us to stay at.  We will be able to use their full kitchen and laundry area as well.
If you would like to help support our team, contact me and I can give you more information.  If you want to send money to ides, their information is on their website for you to donate online or you can send it to their offices in Indiana at:  

International Disaster Emergency Service
PO Box 60
Kempton, IN 46049-0060

Please specify where you want  your money to go:  such as Joplin, Katrina or any of the projects listed on their site.

Please keep my team in your prayers.  We still have a few spots to fill on it as well.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vacation Bible School (VBS)

Come join Clay County Christian Church for VBS this year. It will be held July 31 (Sunday), thru August 5 (Friday). from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday night will be our program. Our theme is a visit to Bibleland. We are located at 1200 B Highway, Liberty MO. The church phone number is 816 792-0282.

Children PreK (3 yrs) through 6th grade are welcome. Sunday night we will be issuing passports and will begin our journey.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

More camp

Sunday, Emily leaves for "Deeper Life" at Mission Lake Christian Camp.  The twins leave for a week of scout camp.  Emily will be a camper, but the twins will be helpers.  Emily will be gone all week, but the twins only spend every other night at camp, as it is actually day camp that they are helping with (spending the night every other night is just for the teen helpers).  I'll probably get confused, and pick up the wrong kid at the wrong place on the wrong day....  This is probably a test and I will fail at it....

We passed the second phase of 4H for the year. (Phase 1 was contest day in March).  Last Sunday we had the first shooting sports contest, and the girls turned in their projects.  I think this year we have 2 or 3 projects going to the state fair and or interstate fair, in addition to Emily doing her speech at state.  2 of the girls are also on the state archery team, and one is an alternate for the BB team.  Next, we have the small animal show.  That is always interesting, taking a vehicle full of cats, rabbits, chickens, ducks and what nots to the fair.......2 years ago a chicken got loose, and last year a cat broke out...Hopefully this year we will not have any escapees....(yeah, dream on..something WILL get loose...)

As for our homeschooling (we go year around) the girls have been working some on math, in the garden, and on science and reading.  We are combining our reading, language and history, as I have the girls reading true historical books, then writing a book report on them.  I am splitting the time between the 3 subjects and the grade.

The garden continues to grow.  I think Duke has finally figured out to leave my garlic alone (the lab was pulling it up as fast as I was replanting it.  He wouldn't eat it, just kept pulling up the plants then leaving them).  I have been very impressed with the raised beds.  Today I found some more herbs on clearance, so will get them in the ground tomorrow.  I am watching kids tomorrow (in split shifts) and one of them loves to "help" plant in the garden.  If only kids continued to "love to help" when they are teens the way they do when they are 2 or 3 years old!

I've been spending a lot of time this week working on my new business--rearranging my outlines some and buying some more equipment.  I've had real good luck on ebay this week--found a couple of CPR manikins for $40 that are in new condition.  The same ones in the catalog are now $87.  So, got 2 for less than the price of one, and free shipping.  Next year Emily will be old enough to take the instructor class as well, then we will have another one to help teach.   That will also give her some business experience, as well as the science and health she will learn while doing it.  I also started a second site, for my new business,  Take a peek and let me know what you think of it.   Since I am doing my own scheduling, this will work out great with homeschooling.  I can schedule what classes I teach around or homeschooling or vice versa.  My goal is to work my way up to about 12-15 hours of teaching a week.  It does seem though, to come in spurts, but that is mainly due to word of mouth after a class.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Historical Mt Gilead event for young girls

Girls Ages 8 - 13 years,
The Clay County Historic Sites are hosting a "Tea with American Girl Doll Addy (1864) at historical Mt. Gilead Church in Kearney, on Wednesday, July 27, 9:00 a.m. to noon.  We will be doing time-period games, crafts, serving refreshments, and a readers theatre story about Addy called "Friendship and Freedom".  Girls, ages 8 - 13, will learn a little about what life was like for children during the Civil War.
The fee is $10 and reservations are required.  Call the James Farm Museum at (816) 736-8500 for more info or to reserve a spot.  Seating is limited.
If you cannot make this date, another date, Saturday, August 20, 9:00 am - noon, will also be offered.

Buying fireworks in the KC area?? Look what this tent supports!!

As we celebrate our Nation’s Birth come and purchase your Fireworks from the tents representing Hillcrest Transitional Housing  They are an outstanding ministry that assists homeless families in crisis. Check their website to see how valuable this organization is to society.

The Morton Family runs two tents this season:

Lee’s Summit :  Summit Shopping Center :: Parking lot in front of Side Pockets and to the side of Waid’s Restaurant.  Big Yellow and White tent easily seen from 50 Highway.

Independence:  Black Cat Tent on 40 Highway in the parking lot of the Strike and Spare Bowling Alley, just west of Sutherland Lumber

Discounts to the following groups:

*Military with ID
*Civil Service (fireman, police)
*Home School families (come in and say you Home School and saw this email)
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Blueberries and Potatoes

We planted and mulched 2 blueberry bushes.  The like acidic soil, so I will be mulching them this fall with oak leaves.
Potato plants are doing well in their bed made of plastic pallets.  Chickens don't like it though, they can't get to the potatoes to dig them up and peck at them like they did last year!

Earlier this evening I caught one of the labs in the cantaloupe bed.  He and I had a "discussion" about that.....

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rebecca's Strawberries

Yesterday while in Gladstone we discovered Walmart still had some strawberries. (no one else has had any for several weeks).  So, my 3 strawberry plants now have some friends.  Rebecca promptly claimed the strawberry bed as her project, and planted them and watered them for me.

 I doubt, since it is almost the end of June, that we get any this year.  If we do, she will probably enter them in the gardening portion of the 4H fair.  It is next month with the small animal shows, as to do it in June with the projects is too earlier for gardeners.

For her effort, I gave her some Science time (as we discussed how strawberries reproduce by spreading runners), and some life skills vo-tech time.

Lift off!

Elizabeth is interested in space.  She has been studying the stars and planets, learning to fly a plane (yes, a real plane, off the ground), visited NASA, and now, she is into making rockets and setting them off.  So far, she has built 3 rockets (and flown 2 of them) and one space shuttle. (I think the space shuttle was due to the fact we were at NASA- Johnson Space Center during the last flight).

Wednesday night, she went to set off her rocket..It didn't go as planned.  Mission Control had to delay it due to bad batteries for the launch controller.  So, yesterday, while at Hobby Lobby, we bought more batteries.  Today, she went to launch it again.....another delay by Mission Control.  Dead batteries.  The batteries we bought were out of date and no juice.  In to town we went, and got more batteries.  Finally, we had good batteries and she launched 2 of them successfully.  And, just as successfully, the girls managed to find them both, as they landed in the front hay field.

Her rockets are Estes Rockets--they come in a kit and you build them.  Each engine is good for one flight, then you need to change engines for the next flight.

If you have a kit interested in rockets, check out their education section on their website.  They have online classes you can take in Math, Science, Language Arts and more.  The classes are for all grades.  I haven't checked them all out yet, but the ones I did look at are free classes.   They are partnered with NASA.  Next week, we will be checking out their online classes in more detail (after the county fair activities slow down some).

Elizabeth picked self determined as her 4H project, and entered her rockets today.

 The best part of this very very short video, is the dogs noise when it went off, my husbands "wow" and then Elizabeth yelling "It worked, it worked!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Garden Update

I already had 2 beds built and planted before we went to church camp last week.  Bed one contains onions and garlic, lettuce and radish.  My only problem with this bed is that for some reason, one of our labs loves to pull up the garlic.  He doesn't eat them, he just pulled them up, drops them, and pulls up the next one in line.....
Bed 2 contains 16 tomato plants, and 12-16 broccoli, collards and cabbage.  In between there are more radishes.  This works very well, as the radishes are small, and don't interfere with the roots of the other plants.

Yesterday my dad spotted an ad on the Kansas City Craigslist, and called me.  A man in Cameron is selling pre-made raised beds for $5 each.  We went and bought 8.  They are all made out of untreated reclaimed or recycled wood.  The ones I made cost around $14 each.  Even considering the fuel to go get them, it was cheaper to buy them than make them.  I may go get more later.  He had them stacked in numerous piles, so he has plenty more.  That was a real gold mind of a find my dad made!!!  Thanks Dad!!

So, bed 3 has peppers, egg plant, more broccoli and bed 4 has cucumbers.

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Bed 5 has strawberries and bed 6 has watermelon.
3 lonely strawberries-all the store has left..
Bed 7 has cantaloupe.
Bed 8 is only half filled with soil.  I ran out, and it got dark.  Good time to stop!
Beds 9 and 10 are still empty.  But, they will be filled soon.

My potatoes are doing well, in their above ground cube made out of plastic pallets.

It takes me all of 5 minutes a day to weed the gardens.  No tiller to run.  I just mow around the beds and I am done.
Next month when they crop dust, I can easily cover my beds with sheets and plastic.  I have lost several gardens to crop dustings that drifted on to my traditional garden--not this year!  If birds become a problem, I can easily cover these with netting.  If we get an early frost, I can also put hoops over these on either end and in the middle and cover with clear plastic for a green house.   The girls have been helping me, so I am giving them some school credit for helping.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Darwin is Wrong.....

This week the girls and I are in Holt County, at Flaming Spirit Christian Service Camp.  The twins are campers, Emily is a helper, and I am staff EMT.

Our missionary speaker this week is a very interesting and well educated man, Matt Miles.  Matt is part of the Creation Truth Foundation.  Our lessons this week, have us studying the Bible to see what it says about creation and what science has said about creation, and what science now says about creation.  And, science has changed it mind on several issues.  Seems now, thru DNA tests, it has been confirmed that we all came from one common female....and, that would be Eve.  Visit there website for a lot more information at .  There site also has some great links, and home school resources and curriculum.  Also interesting is the information on dinosaurs (yes, dinosaurs were real).

We have had a great week so far.  The weather has been great, the storms have missed us, and even with all the flooding going on, the creek at camp has stayed in its banks.  The food is wonderful- tonight we are having roasted beef, mashed potatoes, veggies and browns.  Twice this week we have bussed into Mound City to swim,where we have had the park and pool to ourselves.  When we were kids, we all fit into one school bus.  Now, the camp takes two buses to get us there. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Garden time.....finally

I finally got some of my plants in the ground.  This year, I am doing mostly raised beds.  Farmers in our area crop dust, and it drifts onto my garden preventing my harvest.  I think with the raised beds, when the crop dusting is done, I can easily cover the beds with old sheets to protect them.  They are also very very easy to keep weed free.  I have my beds spaced out 6 feet apart, so I can mow between them.  Two of the beds are made with new, untreated lumber.  The rest I will make recycling some lumber that we used to make the concrete forms for the pad in the chicken pen.  If I run out of used lumber, I may have to buy more.

My goal was to try and get at least 4 or 5 beds made this year, and then to add more next year.  So far, in one bed I have planted onions (which my dad gave me), garlic, lettuce and radishes.  The lettuce and radishes are planted in between the  rows of garlic and onions.  For some reason, this bed seems to attract one of our black labs.  Last night I noticed dog prints in it, and again tonight I noticed prints.  He is a huge dog, with big feet, so it wasn't hard to nail down the culprit.  But, the fact he had onion and garlic breath, was a huge give away also....

Bed two, has cabbage, 16 tomato plants, collards, more radishes and a few broccoli.  My potatoes are doing well in their bed, made out of plastic pallets.  They are planted in layers.

Still to plant is corn (yep, way late, but 2 times in the past I have planted it in mid June and had the best crop ever...), okra, cantaloupe, water melon, pumpkins and carrots.

I wanted to have it all in the ground by now, but this summer we have had a different schedule.  We had an out of state vacation, then home for 10 days, then I am leaving again for a week.  So, I didn't want it drying out and dying in the heat while I was gone.  However, as it turned out, it rained every day we were in Texas, so had I put them in the ground before we left, they would have been fine. 

What I like about the raised beds, is that they are easier to keep the weeds out of, and are neater and more compact.  I can put 3 to 4 times the amount of plants in an 8 x 4 bed, that I can in several rows of the garden.  I will save fuel, as I won't have to run the tiller between rows.  I can cover them easily at crop dusting time, and can easily add netting over the top if needed to protect from the birds.

The one thing I dislike about the raised beds, is right now, they dry out faster, so they require a bit more watering at the beginning.  But, this will remedy itself as the summer goes on.  As I mow this summer, I will mulch my beds with grass clippings.  As they build up, they will help hold the moisture in, and retain weeds and grass from growing in the beds.  I think each bed will probably last 4-5 years.  I made them from untreated wood, so that the chemicals wouldn't leech into the vegetables.  Next year, when I add more beds I am going to compare pricing and possibly make next years beds out of the plastic/resin decking  material.  It doesn't rot as the wood will.

When we built the beds, we layered newspaper and old paper feed bags in the bottom of each bed to kill off the existing grass under the beds.  The paper will allow water to pass through and will deteriorate over time.  Above the paper, I layered straw, then dirt.  Tonight I watered the beds for the first time and the dirt settled some.  I will see how it is next weekend when I return home and may need to add more dirt if it continues to settle.  But again, I think when I mulch it with grass that will help as well.  And, the grass will break down and add nitrogen to the soil.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Missing Homeschooler Adrianna Strurm--Please pass this info on.

Age 17

 Lives in Richmond MO, but disappeared from Merriam KS on May 18

Caucasian with strawberry blond hair, blue eyes 5 ft and 110 lbs.
Tips hotline 816 474-TIPS or the PD at 913 782-0720.
Her family loves her, and wants her back.
Adrianna is part of our homeschooling family.  She has been in one of my classes and my daughters know her from homeschool coop.

Please, please pass this on.  Somewhere, someone knows something.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Galveston Island, Texas

After our visit at NASA, our next stop was Galveston Island, Texas.  The drive there from the space station was less than an hour.  What we did learn real quick about Galveston is that the prices for lodging go up during the summer and on weekends., so plan your trip accordingly.   We ended up at Days Inn, which was less than a third of some of the hotels that were a little further south.  There were no rooms for under $100 on the weekend.

Had we planned ahead of time to go there (Galveston was kind of spur of the moment), I would have researched the area a little more.  There are so many things to see there, it is hard to pick.

We ended up spending the first day at the beach, as the girls had never been to an ocean beach before (only lake ones).-Well, Emily had, but she was only a few months old, so she didn't remember it.  The girls had fun and gathered a lot of shells.  It was red flag conditions, meaning the water was rough and you were not to go out more than waist deep. However, we found the beaches clean and no sign at all of oil.

JD had been there before and wanted to take us to a great seafood restaurant, Gaido's,  which was wonderful.  It is right across the street from the sea wall, so while you wait (expect a  90 minute wait) they give you a pager so you can go walk along the ocean.

We spent quite a bit of time at Seawolf Park, which houses two historic World War II ships – the USS Cavalla and USS Stewart.  Here, Emily ran into a very interesting gentleman, Dick Hoffman, who had served on the sister ship to the USS Stewart.  We spent quite a bit of time talking to him and asking him questions.

Be sure to take the free ferry, it starts where highway 87 ends, in the ocean, and takes you over to the peninsula, where highway 87 resumes.  On the peninsula, we visited historic Fort Travis.  Again, the girls got several more hours of American History.

On the peninsula, we noticed the sand is a different sort of sand, and the beaches have many many more shells.  I think we brought home half the sand and shells.

Nasa Space Center

Our next field trip was to the NASA Space Center in Houston.  Elizabeth was in heaven, this was her dream to come here, as she is planning on being an astronaut when she is older. We spent the entire day here.  It was a hot day outside, so we arrived early, so that we could take the tram ride and do the outdoor events before the heat really hit.

The tram ride take you from the visitors center, under the highway, to the actual space center where mission control and all the support units are located. As odd as it seemed, in the middle of all this high tech fly to the moon landscape, is a herd of cattle, or "space cattle" as we dubbed them.
Mock up inside mission control

The local FFA chapter keeps cattle on the NASA grounds.  They work with NASA and the cattle doing "special projects" ....or maybe, they are alien cows?????

 The tram tour takes you around several buildings, cows, and then you make a stop and go into Mission Control.  We spent quite a bit of time in this area.  They have mock ups of all sorts of parts of the space shuttle and the space station.  If anything goes wrong in space, they can recreate it here at the space center so that they can talk the astronauts through the repair process.  
mock up of a door and its lock inside mission control

We also visited the many theaters they have at the space center, showing various movies and the history of space flight.  We were here visiting for 6 hours, and the girls earned 6 hours of science for our homeschooling  for our time here.

NASA also has free curriculum for teachers and homeschoolers, which I signed up to receive.