Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wireless High Speed

I finally got fed up with our slow dial up. I had called our phone company many many times over the past 4 years since my husband had the internet installed, and each time we were told that it was all they offered in our area. Someday, the assured me, we would get better service. I so wanted it from them, as this is the company I worked for for over 21 years, and supporting them in turn, helped to support my retirement check.

BUT,

I finally had enough. As homeschoolers, there were just too many things we were missing by not having a local library and by not having high speed. As a single being, I could nothing about the library, but I could on the internet. Some good friends of ours recommended we go wireless with isotech, Inc, out of Trimble MO. This week, it was installed. Wow. Gone are the days of turning on the computer, logging in, and then doing the dishes while it slowly slowly logs us on. For $49.99 a month, we can move quickly!! Next week, we will have the house phone and internet disconnected. The dollar amount will be about the same for what we just had put in. See www.isotech-inc.com if you are in the Clinton, Clay or Ray county area of Missouri. If you give them my name, I get a free month!!

Before, I could not even upload pictures for ebay or to send to family. Now, I can!! And, we can have up to 50 computers on it at the same time!

Potatoes are in

Thursday is the day you are supposed to plant your potatoes, in honor of St Patrick. Usually, we don't get ours in until later in the year, but this year we got them in. As last year, I planted them in a raised bed, made out of 4 plastic pallents on end, formed to a square. They are wired together.

To harvest the potatoes, we will unwire a corner, and remove what we need. Next time, we will unwire a different corner.

My pallets have a layer of straw, then dirt, then straw and more dirt. My potato eyes are planted in those layers. All year long I will be adding to it, and this usually guarentees potatoes up through November or
December. The combination of straw and dirt lets the potatoes get the right amount of water and is easier to dig. The pallet squares are large enough that it also offers some insulation, so that they don't freeze.

My potato scraps from the kitchen never make it to the compost pile. Instead, they go into the potato square. Some of them also sprout and produce adding to our harvest.

Meanwhile, my kitchen cabinets and my master tub continue to house watermellon, pumpkins, garlic, squash, zuchinni and cantelop. Around April 1 I will get my lettuce, radishes, onions and greens going in raised beds outside.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Time Change

If your area observes Daylight Saving Time, remember it starts this weekend.

'Spring Forward, Fall Back'.

Saturday night, set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed (unless you are one of those who prefers to change it at the official time change, which is 2 a.m.).

I will admit though, on Sunday mornings at church, it can be interesting to see the bewildered looks on peoples faces when they walk in an hour late, or those who never show for Sunday School come in an hour early thinking they are coming just for church! On those Sundays, I know God has a sense of humor!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Speeches

There are those who think that homeschooling families "miss out" on activities that other kids do.  Well, some activities we do miss, but because we want to!  Activities we really want to do, we find a way to do.  Speech and Debate are some of those activities. The activities are out there, you just have to look for them!

Emily, 9th grade, is big into speech and debate.  She has spoken for 4H contests and the Optimist International.  Her latest contest was yesterday, in the Optimist Oratorical Contest.  She came out the winner of the gold medallion, and will be advancing to the Regional level in April.  Next Wed she will be giving her speech again in Excelsior Springs.

If you think these activities don't exist for your homeschooler, try contacting various groups, such as Toastmasters, Optimist, American Legion, VFW, as well as your local electric coop. Most of these organizations

offer speech and essay contest that are open to all students, regardless of public, private or homeschool.

Other events we attend are music recitals, open gyms, book clubs, homeschool coop, music lessons, group history, spelling bees, science fairs, scouts, 4H and sports. If you truly can't find something, put out notices and see if you can start your own!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Watch Nesting Bald Eagles

Below is a great website that links you to a live cam about 4 or 5 feet away from a pair of nesting bald eagles near Decorah, Iowa. The nesting cottonwood tree is on private property near the Decorah Fish Hatchery in northeast Iowa.

This pair of eagles build the nest in 2007 and are currently laying on three eggs. Last year the eggs hatched in early April.


NASA


I received this one in an email--we will be subscribing to it.  I have a daughter who loves space, flying, NASA and such.  This will help her to see what type of math is used in space.  Check it out!!


NASA has created a downloadable curriculum series called Solar System Math that provides fun, hands-on learning. The Solar System Math series includes:
  • I: Size and Distance
  • II: Comparing Mass, Gravity, Composition, & Density
  • III: Comparing Planetary Travel Distances
  • IV: Analyzing Payload Size and Cost
Each of the above parts within the series includes a downloadable student workbook, a teacher's guide and an answer key.
The first unit of the series is Solar System Math: Comparing Size and Distance. (Preview now!)
The main concept of this unit: The Earth is the third planet from the Sun in a system that includes Earth's moon, eight other planets and their moons, and small bodies including asteroids and comets. These bodies all vary greatly in terms of their size and their distance from the Sun.
Math topics covered in the unit:
  • Ratio and proportion
  • Measurement with standard and metric units
  • Unit conversion
  • Scale
  • Data analysis
  • Problem solving
Major Focus Concepts
Math
  • Measurement involves measurement tools and measurement units that have been determined by people.
  • Different measurement tools and measurement units are used to measure different properties. (Example: rulers with centimeters or inches or yards are used to measure length.)
Science
  • In our solar system, nine planets of different sizes move around the Sun in oval orbits that are known as elliptical orbits. These elliptical orbits are very close to being circular orbits, so in order to make our calculations easier, we will assume that the orbits are circular.
  • The sizes of all of the planets vary greatly and the distances between them are so great that it is often easier to develop two small-scale models, one for size and one for distance.
  • The paths of most planets around our Sun do not vary that much, which means that their orbits are nearly circular.
  • Since each of the planets orbits the Sun at a different rate, the planets' distances from each other at any given time vary a great deal.
Preview Solar System Math: Comparing Size and Distance
Ready to download? The student workbook, teacher's guide and answer key can be download on the Christian Home School Hub. (There is a $1 a year subscription fee which allows for unlimited downloads from the CHSH site.)
You'll also find other related downloads as well on the Hub: Solar System Exploration (NASA), NASA Rockets and 321 Liftoff.
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Garden Update

I started my garden in February.  In Missouri.  Yep, I know, its not the norm.  But, I did it anyway.  I decided that this year, my garden is going to be mostly a raised garden, except for a few items, such as the corn and my bird garden.  I also decided, that I was going to do it on the cheap.  Last year, I spent just over $140 for plants.  This year, I am growing all, but the tomatoes, from seed that I had left over from years past.  You know how seed has expiration dates??  Well, ignore them--they grow anyway.  In fact, the leftover watermelon seed from 2006 is the best growing of the lot!!



My "plant babies" as my girls and I call them (while my husband rolls his eyes), sleep on top of the refrigerator at night, where it is warm.  During the day they are on one of the kitchen counters under a florescent light. For an added treat, on a cold day I can put my heat pad under them for 15 minutes at a time, several times a day.  They like warm soil.  I also have several pots of garlic, which are doing very well.  Until they go outside, I can snip of bits of their tops to use in salads and cooking.

Today I replanted the cantaloupe and pumpkins, as only a few of the original ones grew.  I also stuck in a few more of the watermelon, yellow squash, and zucchini.

I figured by using up the old seeds, I had nothing to loose--they were already paid for, so if they grew, they grew and saved me $$, if the didn't, they didn't.  And, most grew.  And, by planting them early, if they didn't grow, that gave me time to go buy fresh seeds and replant.

I originally planned to put the seeds in egg carton cells, but found the jiffy pots on sale left over from last year, for $2.  So, I opted for them.  But in a few weeks when I start more plants, I will use the egg carton cells in saved clear take out, cake and pie containers.

Now, lets just hope that the groundhog was right, and I can get these in the ground soon.

My next project will be to make a cold frame.  My walls will be haybales (squares) and I will simply put an old window over the top.  Then, the plants will move on to the garden.  The cold frame will help harden the plants off, and also protect them from the chickens and ducks.  That way they can free range a little longer.  We opted to fence in a large area around the coops rather than fence in the garden.

I am also going to make a "bird garden".  It will use the leftover seed, and I will add in some sunflowers and corn, milo and soybeans.  The purpose is to help feed the birds, and my chickens and ducks.  I have been trying to find an old fashioned corn sheller and if I do find one, I will start growing my own corn for the birds and my poultry as well.  Once, while staying at an Amish home in Shipshewanna Indiana, I was given a detailed tour of the families gardens.  One was just for the chickens, another was for herbs only, and another for the families vegetables.

The lady of the house also gave me a list of "companion" plants, which I will also try this year.  The idea behind companion planting is that one plant repeals pest that eat its neighbor, or that it provides a nutrient that its neighbor requires.

Only 14 days until I will be planting the potatoes.  My potato bed is set up and ready to go.

Can you tell I have a touch of spring/garden fever???

Confirmation Code: GHXMDCC14497266

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rebecca's Art Work

Drawing our her puppy, "Dreggo"
Rebecca is my artist. She creates art in the kitchen, and also in the traditional sense.

Water Flower
She does drawings, paintings, photography, works with polymer clay, charcoal, does bead work and more. So, I thought I would share with you some of her work.

She is 12, and has only taken a few hours of art instruction. However, there is an art workshop coming up this spring I plan to enroll her in.

Daddy's hand


Pandas, Kitty and Snake

Monkey's

Science Fairs....

Last week the girls had 2 science fairs to attend.  Since they were only one day apart, they were able to use the same project for each.  Emily had other things going on, so for the first time, she missed doing the science fair.


Elizabeth did her project on electricity.  She made several batteries, out of pennies and foil, apples and potatoes and lemons, that powered a clock.  Then, she made a windmill that ran an LED light bulb.  




Rebecca did hers as a research project and studied the solar system in great detail.  She made a replica of the system to accompany her display board.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why can't little girls just be little girls?........

This was the subject of two different conversations I had with two separate women this week.  Why can't little girls just be little girls?  Society seems to be pushing them to "grow up" way to fast.  I don't know how it is with boys, but it sure seems this way with girls.

I think it is silly how girls, really young young girls scream over stars and singers.  Just like they did years ago with Elvis.....why?  Is one more screaming in the ground going to somehow make him notice them??  And, what if he does notice them??  Girls going nuts over some superstar that doesn't even know that that girl even exists.... 

Then there is the clothing issue.  I hate that girls run around with their bodies half exposed.  I feel it is immodest, and often times down right embarrassing.  I really don't care to look at someones daughters midriff, thighs or rear end.  In fact, no one really does except for some young men.  Really parents, when you allow your girls to go off like that, are you really wanting them to attract young men that are attracted to them only based on their half exposed bodies??  If you do, then you need your head examined.

Don't even get me started on swim suits.....  Why does 1/16th of a yard of fabric cost $32 for a swimsuit??  And, where is the rest of that suit???

So, you are probably wondering what got me fired up AGAIN on this subject (yeah, its not the first time...) Well, WalMart did.  The girls and I just came from WalMart.  Men and Dads, don't turn away from this one--if you are leaving this one up to your wives, I'll tell you, some of them aren't doing so hot at the job of dressing your daughters.  Have you taken a good look at them lately??

All I wanted was some undershirts or bras for a young girl.  Hey manufacturers--a 10-12 year old girl doesn't need padding a half inch thick on her bra!!!!  That isn't a part of her body she needs to be showing off!!!  Trouble is, you can't hardly find any that don't have the padding.  As for the girls undershirts??  They only come halfway down their midsection....so, we have to buy them from the boys department, and sweeten them up with some lace.

Why is society teaching them not to be happy with what they have, so they "pad " it???  It isn't right, and it isn't modest.

I'm tired as a mom, and a shopper, of not being able to find modest clothing unless I sew it.  And, sometimes the patterns aren't too easy to find either, so I have to create my own..(Thanks Mrs Swisher, Mrs. Denker and Mrs Reynolds for teaching me those skills back in the 70's).....

Let's quit pushing them to grow up.