Wednesday, February 29, 2012

  • ...I received this email today, and I realize that not everyone is a member of HSLDA, but this is VERY important to ALL of us in the KCMO area. Please call if you feel led to do so. This affects ALL of us that homeschool, regardless of if you belong to HSLDA or not. Thanks!
    It also affects those of us who do not live in KCMO by 2 ways-
    #1, other towns will follow
    #2 Do you go to KCMO during the day for field trips? or business and take your kids?  You could be stopped and quetioned.

    Urgent Action Needed to Stop
    Kansas City Daytime Curfew
    Daytime curfews do not accomplish what the proponents claim.

    Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

    Your help is urgently needed to block an effort in Kansas City, MO, to pass an ordinance that would make it a crime for young people to be in a public place during public school hours.

    The city council’s Public Safety Committee may vote on the ordinance at 10:30 this morning. If they vote in favor, the full city council could vote on the bill on early as tomorrow. Time is short! All members of the city council need to hear about your opposition.

    Daytime curfews do not accomplish what the proponents claim. They have a disproportionate impact on homeschool families because we allow our children free time while public schools are in session.

    Homeschoolers have been harassed and made fearful by policemen who treat them like suspected criminals for doing nothing more than being in public.
    Action Requested

    1. If you live in Kansas City, please stand up for freedom by immediately calling the city council members listed below to express your opposition to the daytime curfew. Your message can be as simple as: “Please vote NO on ordinance 120180, daytime curfews. It will reduce freedom, but it will not reduce crime.” Or you can express your opposition in your own words.

    2. If your last name begins with A through H, call those numbered 1-4 below. If your last name starts with I through P, call those numbered 5-9 below. If your last name starts with Q-Z, call those numbered 10-13 below.

    3. Please pass this on to other families, as well!
    Contact Information

    1. James, Jr., Sylvester Chair, Mayor

    2. Wagner, Scott

    3. Davis, Dick

    4. Ford, Ed

    5. Johnson, Russ

    6. Curls, Melba

    7. Reed, Jermaine

    8. Glover, Jim

    9. Marcason, Jan

    10. Circo, Cindy

    11. Brooks, Michael

    12. Taylor, Scott

    13. Sharp, John

    1. Daytime curfews do not deter juvenile crime. A recent California study compared the juvenile crime rates of counties that enforced curfew ordinances and counties that did not. The crime rates were the same. The curfews had no effect on juvenile crime.

    2. Daytime curfews allow searches without probable cause. The Fourth Amendment forbids any investigation of a citizen without a “probable cause.” The proposed ordinance allows policemen to stop and interrogate a person merely because he looks young enough to be violating the curfew. It is an invitation to harass homeschool families.

    3. Daytime curfews assume a person is guilty until proven innocent. In several incidents where homeschool students were stopped by police, they had done nothing to arouse suspicion. There was no evidence they had committed a crime or intended to. Nonetheless, the police interrogated them and treated them like criminals until they had proved their innocence.

    4. The ordinance allows some exceptions. Unfortunately, the only way for a policeman to determine if an exception applies is to stop and interrogate the frightened young person. By then the damage has already been done. The child may be afraid to go outdoors again. The right to homeschool includes the right to be free from fear—especially for young people, who are most vulnerable to feelings of fear.

    5. The ordinance pressures homeschool families to follow the public school schedule. Those who dismiss their kids while public schools are in session could face harassment.

    6. HSLDA and Families for Home Education are united in opposing this ordinance.

    Thank you for standing with us for freedom in Missouri!


    Scott A. Woodruff
    HSLDA Staff Attorney

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Seeds started

I started my garden today--inside with seeds.  I have 25 beefsteak tomatoes, 25 cherry tomatoes, 25 green bell pepper plants, 25 hot pepper plants (for the husband and a couple of daughters who like hot stuff), and a few garlic cloves.

Outside some garlic is trying to come up from last year, but I do wish it would hold off awhile longer.

I use the planting guide on to know when to plant what, but I don't order my seeds from them.

I also went on ebay and bought 25 strawberry plants.  They should arrive in about 10 days.

Last week, I got a little portable greenhouse, which I set up in the dining room.  It seemed to be the best location as it has a south window, and since we spend a good amount of time there, I will be able to keep an eye on the plants and remember to water them.   I have my jiffy trays in there (although one seems to be I am using its top as a second tray).  Since the greenhouse is a greenhouse, I won't need to have the lids on the trays this year.

You can make a greenhouse out of about anything--store bought cake/pie pans with the clear plastic lids are great.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Check out this blog for field trips  This has some real good links!

You know your a redneck when...

Or, at least that you live in a small farming town when.....The local high school has a drive your tractor to school day.  The FFA started it years ago, and today was the day for this school year.  We went by the high school a few minutes after school let out, to see the parade of tractors leaving the parking lot.  Staff and students alike drove their tractors to school for the day.  This morning on her way to school she sent me a text saying the bus just passed the high school secretary on her way to school on her tractor.  Daughter number 3 goes to the local high school (the other 2 still at home are homeschooled).  

Here is a few pictures of the parking lot after a good part of them had already left.  I missed getting the camera out in time to get the parade as they left.
This last picture makes me wonder...Was this a staff tractor or a student tractor, and what was parked first??  The cars on either side?? or the tractor??  If that was a kid backing in between the two cars, they did some pretty fancy backing.

Young Eagles--Free Airplane Rides for Kids

Young Eagles is a national program, designed to let kids aged 8-17  (strictly enforced) experience flight in an airplane.  Our family participates in this at the Lee's Summit MO airport, which just announced this years schedule.   If you are not in the Kansas City area, check with your local airport to see if they participate, or google Young Eagles to find an airport near you that does.

Young Eagles is run off of donations only and by volunteers.  Various pilots donate their time, fuel expenses and airplane to give kids free rides.  They do have a donation bucket you can drop money into.  (FYI, plane fuel is higher priced than auto fuel...).  At the Lee's Summit airport, they have a fundraiser breakfast at each event.  We always make that a special treat and arrive early eat there.  You can also just go for the breakfast and not fly, but watch.  Please, if you fly, donate--even if only a couple dollars to keep this wonderful program going.  

Kids do need an adult to sign for them to fly.  Go early, as they sometimes have more kids than available flights, and they go in order in which you sign up.  Some planes can take only one one passenger, and others are four or six seaters.

This is a great treat when you study aviation, transportation, or weather/clouds.  Also a great way to work on a scout badge or 4H project.

Kids are given a flight log book and information about flying.  Cameras are welcome.  On a rare day, when riders are light, pilots will sometimes even ask if a parent wants to fly as well (but if you have other children they can't be left on the ground unattended.)

Safety is important, so during bad weather, all flights stop. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Opportunity for Kansas City area homeschoolers to care for wild birds

  • I got this as an email, and no nothing more than what the email says, but I'm sharing!

    "Wild Bird Rehabilitation Needs Volunteers
    Hello, I am a homeschool mother. I am also a volunteer at the Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center in Overland, MO. I was asked by the director to put the word out about our birds and to make others aware of a need we have. Every spring we have a huge influx of rescued birds. Many are babies rescued after falling out of nests or rescued from cats or dogs. Some of the birds are injured after having been hit by cars or flying into windows. We get all manner of songbirds (which are the only ones we can care for) and are usually overwhelmed with starlings. The director would like help with caring for the baby starlings, as these are very hardy birds, and we have an overpopulation of them anyway. She will make up a booklet that explains how to care for a baby bird and then give the bird to homeschool families to take them home and raise them. The family can provide all the care and then release the birds when they are ready. It would be a wonderful learning experience for children, and Wild Bird Rehab will help and direct the care as needed. The director says that March is the month when our “season” of caring for the babies begins, and we are making you aware of this wonderful learning opportunity early so we can plan over the winter how to implement this. If you have any questions, please contact Carolyn Bast at 314-839-1399 or ."

Free spelling site

A free site I am using right now for one of my girls is  It has games, worksheets, lessons and words for grades up through 9th.

Some of the words we pick out each week to look up as vocabulary words, requiring the dictionary.  Usually I pick words that have more than one meaning, or words we don't hear very often for that lesson.

One more crossed off the list

I got another craft project crossed off the list today.  When my husband and I married almost 6 years ago, I moved into his home.  I always love the idea of a large bulletin board in the kitchen of the house, and he had one that fit the bill.  But, it is a little bland.  So, for 6 years I have been meaning to add some sort of interest to it, and finally got it done today.

First, I'll say it stands across the hall from my large antique potato bin--so, I went with the potato theme, which fits a kitchen.

I measured the bulletin board, and went on the hunt to find a potato sack that would fit the board.  I found one on e-bay that was a good size.  It arrived today, and thankfully it didn't smell too bad.  Often, burlap will have a smell and need to be aired out well, or cold water washed and drip dry, or even dusted with baking soda for a few days before you can work with it-but not this one.
I then took the bulletin board off the wall.  I then discovered the frame on it could not be removed, so I couldn't  do my original plan of removing the frame, adding the burlap and then re-framing it.  So, I went to plan B.
I measured the inside of the board (inside the frame) twice,  as my husbands motto is measure twice, cut once.  I then cut the burlap bag, so that the back of the bag came off (saving it for a future project).  Then I centered (best I could--when the bag was printed it wasn't quite center--it was made for hauling potatoes, not bulletin boards in a farm house...).  I then laid it over the board and stretched it, and temporarily stapled it into place to hold it.  Next, I took a butter knife and poked the edges under the wooden frame.  Then I removed the staples, and put in new staples along the edge of the frame, where they can't be seen.

Then, I rehung it.  So far I have only put the calendar back on it--it will fill up soon enough.
This is the potato bin across the hall from the board.  I think it was probably made in the late 1800's.  I bought it last fall at an antique store in the city.  It is missing one size of tongue and grove which happens to be the same size of what is on our front porch, which we will be doing some repairs on when we get some warmer weather.  So, I can fix that with the wood we remove from the porch, and I have enough of the green stain left to make it match.

Monday we used a carrot for something, and I saved the top.  The two preschoolers like doing this.  I put the top in a jar with a small amount of water, then placed it in a sunny window.  (You have to keep an eye on the water-don't let it go dry).  In a few days you will start to see growth on the top, and depending on the carrot variety, it may grow up to a foot tall.  It is rather lacy and pretty to look at, and the little ones like checking its progress.

Inexpensive homeschooling fun and learning!  This makes a good science project for preschoolers or kindergartners--to see what fruits and vegetables this will work for, and which it doesn't.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Field Trip Day in Kansas City

Today we took a field trip to Union Station in downtown Kansas City.  We went and saw a free musical (today's morning show only was free).  As a homeschooling mom, I am always on the lookout for free or inexpensive field trips.  This show was a history lesson in cowboys of the old west.  Many don't realize that the majority of the cowboys were actually black.  Hollywood seldom portrays them correctly.  It followed the cowboy life of Nat Love, AKA Deadwood Dick, who was a real cow  boy in US History.  See for more information on Deadwood.  We saw his adventures, work, and hardships and how it was changed when the railroad came across the west.  We are counting it as history.

Theatre for Young America (TYA), a non-for-profit,  has a musical running, featuring Danny Cox and his music.  The musical is "Black Cowboy in the Old West" at center stage.  It runs through Feb 25.   

They have several more shows coming up this year.  I highly recommend their shows.  You can find TYA on facebook to see what is scheduled.

Afterward we walked around for a bit before heading home.  The girls had fun checking out the ceiling--lots of interesting architecture, old fire equipment display from KCFD, and old trains outside.   We plan on heading back later for a visit to the planetarium.

I made 2 loaves of bread, Rebecca made a pineapple upside downcake, and we all pitched in to make some jambalaya.

On the way home we stopped at the store and bought shrimp and sausage for the jambalaya.  When I got home, I discovered my husband had the same idea on his way home from work and bought.....shrimp and sausage for jambalaya.  I guess great minds really do think alike???

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Writing Contest-homeschoolers are welcome-middle and high school


The Fourth Annual Writing Contest

for Northwest Missouri/Northeast Kansas

Middle School and High School Students

Prizes awarded Saturday, March 17, 2012.

The Irish are said to be lucky.

In what way are you lucky?

Or how is your main character lucky?


Prizes include:

1stPrize                      $25.00 Cash

2nd Prize                      $20.00 Cash

3rdPrize                      $15.00 Cash

Plus Certificates of Participation and many more prizes.
One entry per student.
See Entry Guidelines for more details.
All entries must be received by March 5, 2012.

 To be lucky, email your entry to:


1.         The work must be your own.

2.         The subject matter must be appropriate.

3.         The poem must rhyme.

4.         The poem must have 24 lines or less.

5.         The poem must be typed or data formatted.

6.         The poem should be single spaced.

7.         The author’s name should not be under title of poem.

8.         Cover sheet information must include:


                       Complete Address

                       Telephone Number with Area Code

                       Email Address


                       Grade in school

                       Category:  Poetry

                       Title of Poem

9.         Be sure to use grammar and spelling check before submitting.

Short Story and/or Essay

1.         The work must be your own.

2.         The subject matter must be appropriate.

3.         The short story or essay must be 500 to 1000 words.

4.         The work must be typed or data formatted.

5.         The work must be double spaced.

6.         Theauthor’s name should not be under the short story or essay title.          

7.        Cover sheet information must include:


                       Complete Address

                       Telephone Number with Area Code

                       Email Address


                       Grade in school

                       Category:   Short Story or Essay

                       Title of Short Story or Essay

8.         Be sure to use grammar and spelling check before submitting.

New 529 College Saving Plan for MO residents


State Treasurer says Missourians can take advantage of free college savings money starting March 1
Feb 20, 2012, 10:34 AM
JEFFERSON CITY – Starting March 1, college savers throughout Missouri might be eligible for up to $500 a year in free college savings money from MOST–Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan. State Treasurer Clint Zweifel said, for the first time ever, the direct-sold MOST 529 Plan will begin providing a dollar-for-dollar match on contributions up to $500 per year and $2,500 over a lifetime to the MOST 529 accounts of qualifying applicants.The MOST 529 Matching Grant Program, which is being funded with private money, makes Missouri the 12th state to offer such matching funds to college savers. Zweifel will mark the kickoff with events on March 1."Research and experience make it clear that when a family saves early for higher education, no matter the amount, it increases the likelihood a child will seek an advanced degree," Zweifel said. "The MOST 529 Matching Grant Program is about incentivizing and rewarding families who save and make that investment. Over the next four years, MOST 529 will provide up to $500,000 in matching funds to help Missourians save for college, technical schools and vocational institutions. I am excited about the prospects for families."At least $125,000 in MOST 529 Matching Grant Program funds will be available each year on a first-come-first-serve basis. Any unused matching funds will be rolled into the following year.*Missouri residents can qualify for the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program under the following guidelines:· Applicant must have a direct-sold MOST 529 account.· Applicant must be a parent or legal guardian of the beneficiary.· Account owner and the beneficiary must be Missouri residents.· Account owner must open a direct-sold MOST 529 account before applying.· The child must be 13 or younger when the Matching Grant is first approved.· The account owner's household adjusted gross income must be $74,999 or less, which includes 75 percent of Missouri households.· Account owner must reapply for the program each year.The availability of matching funds was announced in February 2011 as part of MOST 529's new management contract with program manager Upromise Investments. As part of the contract, Vanguard serves as the investment manager. The MOST 529 Matching Grant Program funds are distributed from contractually obligated funds, with no state funds being used."Not only did we cut MOST 529 fees by 44 percent and improve investments, we are now providing matching funds," Zweifel said. "These matching funds create an incentive that I believe will produce real results for children throughout Missouri. Long term those results are good for Missouri, its workforce and the economy.”To apply for the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program for 2012, Missourians can visit to download the application or call 1-800-992-8790 to request one. All applications must be postmarked by June 30, and applicants will receive notification of acceptance or denial by August 31. All Matching Grant Program funds for 2012 will be distributed into MOST 529 accounts by Jan. 31, 2013.To learn more about the MOST 529 Matching Grant Program, or to open a MOST 529 account, visit

Monday, February 20, 2012

Finally, our Coop Valentine Party

Last Monday coop (and all most of the public schools in the area) were closed due to the snow.

So, today at coop the kids finally got to have their Valentine Party, complete with making boxes during first hour.

The older kids all pitched in to help the younger ones.

They had a lot of fun.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Heading back to Joplin

Next month, I am taking a group of homeschoolers back to Joplin for a week to help IDES with rebuilding Joplin after the May 2011 tornado.  Most of the group have already been, but we are adding some new members to our team.

Last trip, we hand cleared a parking lot of rubble which at one time were part of a church, cleaned up a yard, did some painting, spread gravel, pulled yucca plants, moved wood and rocks, burned a brush pile, and built a storage shed.

Our duties for this trip have not yet been determined, but I am sure Rick and Joe will have plenty to keep us busy.  We could be painting, sheet rocking, or doing other inside work, or weather depending, possibly doing some outside construction work, landscaping or construction.  No matter what job they give us, these kids jump in willingly and do it.

We will again be staying at Westside Christian Church in Joplin.  They host all the IDES teams that come down.

The kids learn a lot, not only about disasters, or construction (hey, we had girly girls using the nail guns like pro's by Saturday morning last trip), getting along with others when it is 115 degrees outside and the deodorant has quit and you are sleeping 6 to a room, doing your own cooking and laundry, but also about people--how God takes care of his people and how they pull together after something like this happens.  We talked to several residents who "rode out the storm" and listened to and read about their stories of how they, when hurt themselves, went to help someone else or dig in rubble for a neighbor.

Our last trip was sponsored by Mission Lake Christian Camp--kids, staff and parents gave and gave and gave and generously sponsored our trip 100%, with money left over to give to IDES and for us to buy some tools that we left behind for future teams to use.

This trip however, we will be paying out own way, which is basically buying food and fuel for our vehicles.

We will also be taking down any tools or Lowe's gift cards that anyone cares to donate to IDES Joplin project. 

For information on donating tools or if you care to donate gas, grocery, restaurant or Walmart cards to either our group or IDES let me know and I can give you information on how to get it to either us or IDES directly.

Free for homeschoolers....

Perfect timing since this month is Black History month. 

Black Cowboy in the Old West by Theatre for Young America

Wednesday, February 22;  10am
Union Station, City Stage  (Kansas City MO)

This show only – free to homeschoolers (donations welcome)

Other shows this week only $3.50 each for homeschoolers

Call to reserve your seats and/or to check for other times

Tickets regularly priced at $8.

Theatre for Young America 816-460-2083

Follow tya on Facebook at

Black Cowboy in the Old West is appropriate for all ages and features the music of Danny Cox. Did you know that tya offers a teacher/leader’s guide for every show they do? Look for a free copy in the lobby or ask about one when you call to reserve your seats.

Danny Cox, well-known songwriter and folksinger, joins with TYA Artistic Director Gene Mackey to create a new musical theatre production about the colorful late nineteenth century black cowboys of the United States. This play commemorates their history and celebrates their contributions to the Old West.

Reminders: Union Station charges for parking. The Link between Crown Center and Union Station is completely climate controlled.

Feel free to pass this offer on to your homeschooling friends.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Red Lobster Entertainment

Tonight the husband, and 2 of our daughters and I went to Red Lobster for supper.    I have stock in Darden (owners of Red Lobster, Olive Garden and more) and when they have a profitable quarter, as a stockholder I get a gift certificate and we used it.  Orginally we were going for a late lunch, but had company show up, so it got delayed to supper.  Never again on a Saturday night.  It was packed when we got there, and our estimated 20 minute wait was over 30, but we finally got seated.  It was just as packed with a long waiting line when we left over an hour later.

We had an older couple (he told the waitress he was 92) slowly toter to the table beside us.  I couldn't tell who was holding who up.  Then they each had a couple of alcoholic drinks...(well, I was wondering at that point if they would be able to walk out afterwards).  Listening to them made my day.  According to her, he was to vain to wear his hearing aides while out, and she was tired of repeating everything three times every Saturday when they went out to eat.  She finally made him get up and move over closer to her so he could hear her better.  (Which later proved to be the perfect location for him to sit while cracking his lobster to make his shells fly and land in my purse...)

3 different people had to come out of the kitchen for their very percise cooking instructions.  Her things all had to be boiled (even her fish--yuck!).  He wanted the lobster that had the green band on its left claw from the tank in front.  He used to live in Maine, (I heard that 40 times at least, and he knew how to pick a lobster and how to fix lobster).  He told the waitress and all the kitchen help how he wanted it fixed--how long to boil it, how much water and how much salt in the water.

When their food arrived, they were happy with it.  They told the waitress it was their 70th anniversary.  They were eating off of a gift card that their children and grandchildren send them every year for their anniversary.  The card was enough for them to eat at Red Lobster once a month all year long.  Their daughters were both doctors (back in Maine, you know).  He also told her she was the best waitress they had had, and they had been eating out together for 74 years.

I hope I am that spry when I am 92.  They were a cute couple.

We left before they did, I hope they made it out ok, after their drinks!!

Plugged In

Wondering if a video, movie, show, music or game is clean or family friendly??  Check out this website  for reviews.  It is put out by Focus on the Family, so it is researched and accurate--not just some random guys view.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Countryside Life: Support our 4H Club and Get an Address sign for 91...

Countryside Life: Support our 4H Club and Get an Address sign for 91...: If you needed to call 911, could we find your home quickly? Proper addressing is very important to Emergency Services. In an emergency, whe...

Do you garden???

Check out  You enter your zipcode and it tells you when to plant what, and how to do it.  And its free.

If you want to spend money, you can subscribe and they will send  you the seeds.

Gardening together is a great homeschool project.  You learn about germination, growing, food chains, food pyramid, harvesting, preparing, preserving and you get to EAT it!!

I learned about from

Homeschool Skate Liberty MO

Tomorrow, Fri Feb 17 is this months homeschool skate from 1pm to 2:30.  The roller rink is on Kent Street, behind the library, in Liberty MO.

It is for all homeschoolers and their families, all ages.  You do not have to be a member of any certain group to attend.

Cost is $3 per skater.

MPE conference and Curriculum Fair for Homeschoolers

The 2012 MPE Conference and Curriculum Fair will be on April 20 – 21, with the keynote address on Thursday, April 19 at 7.00 p.m. The conference will be held at the KCI Expo Center ( again, and the keynote address will be at Emmanuel Baptist Church (

This year’s theme is “Telling the Coming Generation the Glorious Deeds of the Lord (Psa. 78:4)” and will feature Kevin Swanson (keynote) and Israel Wayne.

Homeschooled himself in the 1960’s and 70’s, Kevin Swanson and his wife, Brenda, are now homeschooling their five children. Kevin has 35 years of experience in the homeschooling movement and serves as Director of Generations with Vision ( – a ministry he founded to strengthen homeschool families. As a father who wants to leave a godly heritage for his own five children, Kevin’s passion is to strengthen and encourage the homeschooling movement all over the world, and to cast a vision for generations to come.

Israel Wayne ( is a homeschooled graduate who is leading his generation in defending the Christian faith and developing a Biblical worldview. He is the author of the book Homeschooling from a Biblical Worldview and currently serves as Marketing Director at Wisdom’s Gate Ministries. Israel and his wife Brook were joined in marriage without dating. Israel and Brook, also a homeschool graduate, are home educating their seven young children.

Exclusive tracks will be available for families who are beginning homeschooling and for families who are homeschooling children with learning challenges.

Registration is $50.00 per person (spouse free) at the door; $40.00 if received by April 5. Exhibitor Hall Only passes are available for $20.00 per family at the door. Register online at:

There will be a concurrent Children’s Program for 5 – 12 year olds run by CCI ( Registration is $30.00 a child for two days for the first two children, and free for any additional siblings. For one day, the cost is $20.00 a child for the first two children and free for additional siblings. Registration will open soon at!conferences/vstc6=kansas-city-mo

There is a special offer for Parents of Preschoolers – MPE offers free admission to the conference! Register online at

For more information about the conference, please go to This website will be continually updated with new details as the conference draws nearer.

Thank you,

Mei Upsdell
MPE Office

Arsenic and Old Lace in St Joseph MO

Missouri Western's Theatre and Cinema program presents the classic American stage comedy "Arsenic and Old Lace" Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 16-19 in Potter Hall Theater. The hilarious play tells the story of two sweet elderly ladies who have a macabre secret buried in the cellar ... it's way more fun than a play about murder should be!

Performances are at 7:30 Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and 3 p.m. Sunday.

If you attend opening night tomorrow night, you'll get a special treat: you will be among the first to hear the schedule for the 2012-2013 season!

Get your tickets today online at, by phone at 271-4452, or in person at the Potter Hall box office.

Martha Greer, Director

Center for Community Arts
4525 Downs Drive
Hearnes 101
St. Joseph, MO 64507
Fax (816)271-4295

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cold day, warm soup

This is the 3rd day that it has been cold and foggy outside.  Our crockpots have gotten a workout lately.  I use crockpots a lot--in the summer the crockpots keep the heat out of the kitchen as they are far cooler to use than the stove.  During the winter, it means we can always have something warm ready to eat.  In the last few weeks we have had cheese dip, soups, chili, and pork roast.

Yesterday, I made a home made chicken and rice soup.  Usually I do chicken and homemade noodles, but I got a late start on it as Elizabeth had a dental appointment in the morning, so I went with rice instead.  (Noodles have to dry out after you cut them before you can use them, or else you get a gummy mess)

First I boiled a chicken in my large stock pot full of water and saved the brooth.  I removed the chicken to cool before I picked and cut it, and ran the brooth through a strainer to remove any bones or skin.  After the brooth cooled, I skimmed the fat off the top with an ice cube.

Then, I added back into the brooth my cut up chicken, 3 cups uncooked white rice, 2 diced onions, 6 large finely cut carrots,  8 stalks of diced celery, two bags of frozen corn, salt, pepper, garlic powder.  I set it to simmer the rest of the day and basically ignored it except to give it a stir every now and then.

Normally this will be gone in about 3-4 days.  Any that is left will be put into the freezer, as it freezes very well.  I usually make about 5 gallons at a time for our family.  Any small amounts of chicken and rice soup sometimes get added into chicken gravy when we have chicken and mashed potatoes--sounds weird, but its good.  (Same thing with leftover beef stew and beef gravy)

For desert, Elizabeth made a cherry cheese cake.  Yum...........

Tonight, we eat at church (our custom before Wednesday night Bible study.  Normally it is a potluck meal, but tonight we are having leftovers from the Love banquet on Sunday evening).  Elizabeth made a lemon cake to take, as deserts were not leftover.  For an easy cake topping, she took a wooden spoon and poked holes into the cake, then filled the holes with lemon pudding, and then poured the rest of the lemon pudding on the top of the cake, instead of frosting.  This makes a very moist cake that usually goes over well.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Prayers needed

A small plane went down in Clinton County this afternoon. At least two males are confirmed dead.   Please keep their families in your prayers.  Since Elizabeth has been learning to fly a small plane, we know a lot of flying families, but no names have been released as of yet.

Also, Kim Bolin, a 36 year old homeschooling mom from Rogers, Arkansas passed away this afternoon in an Oklahoma hospital from a flesh eating disease. She leaves behind a husband and 4 young children.

Location needed for Spelling Bee in the Kansas City area

One of the local homeschooling groups in the Kansas City area hosts an annual spelling bee. However, the church they had been having it at now has day activities going on, so it is not available.

They are looking for a location they can use (free of charge, but we all pitch in and clean up afterwards) for a day. They would like to have it the first Friday in May or the last Friday in April.
Requirements are, one common room for waiting, snacking and issuing awards, and probably 8-12 classrooms large enough for each grade to compete, have room for the judges and a small audience (of parents).
If your Kansas City area church would be willing to host this Christian Homeschool Ministry, please get back with me and I will get you connected with the organizer of the event.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Free History Lesson in St Joseph

Family Day at the Museum

Free Admission and Special Programs
President's Day --- Monday, Feb. 20
10 am - 3 pm

The Pony Express National Museum has made special arrangements for the upcoming President's Day holiday.

Family Day is a chance to step back into the 1860s job of a Pony Express rider. Several stations will be hosted by re-enactors including history of blacksmithing, Civil War weapons, pioneer crafts, games, horses, and the Pony Express trail.

Also, a SchoolMarm will be doing lessons at the new One-room Schoolhouse on the half-hour (sign up required).

Free admission to all visitors, courtesy of a local scholarship fund.

Pony Express Museum

914 Penn Street

Saint Joseph, MO 64503


Ummm, I think NOT

Me to daughter #4:  "What happened here on your spelling, with your writing?"

Daughter #4:  "My pen shorted out."

As my husband stated, "dog gone those electronic pens"....Yep, they just are not reliable when it comes to doing your  school work.

Snow Day

It started snowing during the night, enough that the area public schools cancelled, and a few businesses.  It really wasn't that much, only a couple inches, but it was slick in many places and we had some drifting.  We have had a couple of flakes fall this winter season, but this is about the first time it actually stuck and lasted.  I don't think the sun really did come out--it peeked out a few times but that was about all.
We slept in for awhile today as our beds were nice and warm.  No school for Emily, and light school for my homeschoolers as our homeschool coop was also cancelled, and some reading.  When I peeked out at 11, all I saw was a lone set of dog tracks on one of the porches..

So, we decided to stay in and stay warm today.  There is a crockpot of chili on, so eating is on your own--when your hungry, just dish it out.

Tonight's Community Choir is cancelled, so at 5:30 I already have my pj's on with some hot tea and hot cocoa.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Lazy Sunday afternoon....

Yesterday was a full day.  I taught a CPR class in the morning, a first aid class in the afternoon, then we went out to eat last night.  No cooking!!

Then, up this morning for church.  But today is another no cook day, as it is our church's Love Banquet tonight.   (Our church loves to eat and we have breakfast at church as well, between church and Sunday School).  My parents came up for it as well as my mother and sister in law.  The youth of the church are doing the cooking right now, and decorating this afternoon and serving and any tips they receive will go into the youth fund to help with camp fees and youth summer activities.  (They also have garage sales, and wash cars, do odd jobs and such for donations as well.)

So, we are spending the afternoon hanging out in the house with my parents a particular little redheaded baby (who wants to play and not nap...), playing with firetrucks and green tractors.  Life is good.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

CPHE Used Curriculum Sale

CPHE Used Curriculum Sale

March 30, 2012

9:30 am to 1:00 pm

Heartland Church of Christ

6120 NW Prairie View Rd.

Kansas City, MO

Space is limited. Reservations willbe accepted on a first-come first-serve basis. You may email me your request,but your registration is not complete until I receive your signed reservation request and payment.

You may request a table; or you mayrequest floor space and bring your own table, bookshelves, etc.


8:00-9:00 am: room setup

9:00-9:30 am: Sellers will be admitted to setup their tables.

9:30 am to 1:00 pm: Book sale open to the public.

1:00-1:30 pm: Sellers will clear and clean their area.

1:30-2:30 pm: Tear down/restore sanctuary

ReservationRequest Form

Name: ____________________________________________ Phone: _______________________

Email: ____________________________________________ Cell: _________________________




Amt Due

CPHE Member Space

CPHE Member Table

Non-member Space

Non-member Table


I will help set up from 8:00-9:00


I will help tear down from 1:30-2:30


Credit cannot exceed subtotal.

Total Due:

I understand and agree thatClay-Platte Home Educators is not responsible for fire, loss, theft or damageto my sale items. I understand that Imust stay for the duration of the sale and that my fee isnon-refundable. I also understand that I forfeit any items not removed by 1:30pm.

Signature: ____________________________________________ Date: ______________________

Mail to: Lori Camper, 217 Wilshire Blvd., Liberty, MO 64068


Friday, February 10, 2012

Homeschool Skate in Liberty MO

Homeschool Skate in Liberty MO

Date:  Friday February 17, 2012

Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Repeats:  This event repeats every month on the third Friday.

Location:  Liberty Skating rink next to the Mid Contenent library on Kent St.

No outside food is allowed.  I think the fee is either $3 or $4 per skater.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Free piano concert in KCMO

Schmitt Music is proud to sponsor this FREE master class featuring concert pianist Konstantin Lifschitz working with piano majors from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Wednesday, February 15 - Schmitt Music Kansas City

- 1:30 - 3:30pm

- FREE and open to the public!

Seating is limited, please RSVP to Julia Scherer, Schmitt Music Piano Specialist.

Call 913-663-4756 ext. 215

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My goof for the day....

Given the size of our family and the fact that I do in home childcare twice a week, I tend to buy most items in bulk.....and, I normally do not use laundry softner, but vinegar instead.

Since gallon jugs don't fit in my cabinets other than the one under the sink, and with daycare kiddos I can't keep chemicals or cleaning solutions under the sink, that is where I store my gallon and five gallon bulk food containers..... (and I don't buy cleaning chemicals anyway, except for bleach--I make my own that are much safer for us and our septic tank)

So, just a few minutes ago, I started a load of laundry, using my home-made laundry soap (see recipe on this page), and proceeded to add my vinegar into the rinse dispenser.
EXCEPT.............Too late, I realized that in my hand was a gallon of (of all things) pancake syrup.......

The husband has had the flu (for the second time this winter, and he did have the flu shot as well) and I was trying to wash his blanket that he uses at his recliner...Guess it will get a second washing tonight, which will ensure all traces of the flu virus will be gone.

I can't be the only one out there...what crazy things have you done lately???

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Peanut allergies

OK, this has little to do with homeschooling, but, being an EMT and health educator, I sometimes find myself dealing with people who don't know things I assume they should know.  Peanut allergies is one of them.

If a child or adult has a peanut allergy, that doesn't simply mean that they can't eat peanuts.  It also means that YOU can not eat peanuts around them.  It also means that you brush your teeth and wash your hands if you were exposed to peanuts or items containing peanuts BEFORE you contact them.  YES, they can get a reaction by simply smelling your peanut butter breath.

To have a peanut allergy means they need to avoid ALL contact with peanuts.  Duh, this also includes peanut butter, peanut cookies, foods cooked, fried or baked with peanut oil, sport stadiums, restaurants or bars that have peanut shells on the floor, sun or lotions that contain peanut oil, or even foods that were stirred with the same utensil or cooked in the same kitchen as one that prepared peanut containing items.

Yes, people can die from peanut allergies, as it can cause them to stop breathing.

Often, people who have peanut allergies also have allergies to other nuts as well, and sometimes to soy products.  So, if you know someone who has a peanut allergy, do some quick research on it.  And, please, respect their allergy by not eating a peanut butter cookie in front of them .

Learning about stocks

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a "heavy trader", but I do have a few shares of stock in several different companies.  When they do well, they pay dividends, and a few companies out there also pay their stockholders with other rewards as well.

One of those is is Darden.  Each quarter that they do well, I receive a $5 gift certificate to use at one of their restaurants.  Darden is the parent company that owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and 4 more.  Since Red Lobster and Olive Garden both run coupons on a regular base in the paper, we combine the certificate with a coupon and usually end up getting one meal free. 

Now that the girls are old enough to somewhat understand stocks, I plan on getting a few shares for each of them.  This will be a great way for them to learn about stocks, the market, expenses.  I'm still looking for a good book that will explain it on their level.  Any suggestions??

Did you vote???

Monday, February 6, 2012

History class at coop

One of the classes I am teaching this semester is a history class where we learn weird and unknown facts, and learn off the wall things that are not found in all the textbooks.

So far, we have learned about ships found buried in odd places, (deserts, corn fields)due to rivers changing course or flooding, odd facts about presidents (do you know which one was so large he once got stuck in his bath tub and aides had to pull him out?  or, what George Washington's teeth really were made out of?? (it was NOT wood).

Today, we learned about Alaska mushers and what the Iditarod race represents (it was actually run the first time in 1925 to save lives.  Mushers were racing medicine to Nome to try and stop an outbreak of diphtheria).  The kids were wanting to know more about Alaska, and wanted to see what the sleds and dogs looked like (some were comparing it to Santa and his sleigh).  So, I brought up  On this blog, is video from the sleds point of view.  The kids enjoyed watching it and liked the scenery.  That then led into discussions on how transportation has changed, and how it varies according to climates and cultures, and another discussion on how Alaska is different than Missouri.  The kids also had some questions for the author, which he has already answered.  They will be excited next Monday to read his response. 

If you study different states (we do, trying to hit all 50), reading blogs is a good way (especially when you can question the author for more info), and applying online for a visitors guide to arrive snail mail.  The guide packages usually contain maps, magazines and info about that states history and geography.  Several of the states that we have learned about we have later gone to on vacations, because of our studies.

Another upcoming Science Fair for NW Missouri homeschoolers

MARSEF at Missouri Western on March 9 is for grades 9-12. Homeschoolers are most definitely welcome to participate if they live in our region. Anyone living in Platte county should apply to the Kansas City fair. There is also the Junior High MARSEF on March 12. That is run by the St. Joseph school district. Information can be found here:

Yes, we can extend the deadline. If you fill out the SRC forms found on our website(, we can process them ASAP. There might be some cases that we will not be able to accept, if they required Scientific Review Committee (SRC) approval before experimentation began, but did not receive it. However, if someone qualified checked out the project before it started, they can act as SRC. (I know there are a lot of rules, but we have to follow the rules of ISEF to send out students there.)

We would be very excited to see what your students have been doing! If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Dr. Jonathan Rhoad
Agenstein 332E
Department of Chemistry
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Missouri Western State University

Friday, February 3, 2012

Science Fair Part 2

The fair went well.  It was the 13th annual homeschool science fair in St. Joseph.  I would estimate there were around 40 homeschooled students there, from PreK thru high school with displays.  Many more people came in to look at the displays, so it was pretty crowded.

Rebecca's display board on fossils.  She has part of her collection on the table also, but you really can't see it in this picture. 

At this fair, entertainment and snacks are provided while you wait your turn to talk to the judges.  Judges call the kids up and discuss their project with them.  This gives the kids the chance to show they know more (or less) than what is in their display, and also gives them some "interview" experience.

Elizabeth brought a few of her rockets with her.  There would not have been room at the table if she had brought them all.

Elizabeth was able to explain to the judges what makes a rocket fly, describe the parts of a rocket and answer all the questions they asked her.

All the judges are volunteers and are rather knowledgeable in the field of science.  Various individuals and businesses donate prizes.  All the participants receive a prize, ribbon and certificate.   

Looking forward to next years fair! 

Now, to turn our focus to the upcoming 4H contest day and optimist speech contests.

Science Fair tonight

Tonight is the area homeschoolers science fair.  Even though we have known about it for 12 months, and been working on it for months, we have the last minute scramble going on.

One is taking her fossil collection and a board about fossils.  Many of the fossils in her collections are ones that she, I and her sisters dug while in Utah several years ago.  We stopped at a place I saw on a TV vacation channel called u dig fossils.  We have sent several other homeschooling families their direction as well.  Other information she researched, including info from Matt Miles at Creation Truth.  Matt came as missionary to church camp last year, brought lots of fossils and other interesting items.

Another is taking her rockets--both those she has bought in kit form, and the ones she has made from odds and ends around the house.  Yes, they really do fly, and all but one came back to earth.  (Really we were expecting a phone call from NASA regarding the one that didn't come back.  It was her largest and fastest.  It went up, up, up, no wind, should have come back down fairly close to where it went up from.  It didn't).  The rockets she builds are from Estes.

I notice every year when I mention the science fair on my blog, I get tons of hits.  I presume people are looking for science fair ideas.  Here are a few we have done, or have seen at various science fairs....

growing bacteria in petri dishes, by collecting the bacteria from family and pets and various surfaces; rockets; how airplanes fly; fossil collection; parts of a plant; plants grown in light vs plants grown in dark; objects (small clocks or LED lights that run off of home made batteries, such as lemon, oranges, potato, vinegar, pickle,  juice...); growing mold on various foods and various tempatures; comparing the weight of mice that started out the same, but one was fed good food and had an exercise wheel, while the other was fed junk food with no exercise wheel;  jaw bones of various animals with the teeth intact and identified, to show how meat eating animals differ from those that don't eat meat; home made engines that run off of rubbing alcohol; leaf rubbings and collections-all classified; models of the earth and planets

You can also visit lots of unline sites for ideas,

And, visit your local library.  There are numerous books out there on the subject of science fairs.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

You know you are a homeschooling mom when.....

You brake for skeletons that are in the ditch  (that sounds so much nicer than roadkill remains)........
Most likely this was a deer.
We also have an unidentified small animal, and a cow.
Now that we have a collection of sorts going, it will probably become a science fair project in the future.  They will be neat to identify, label and mount.

What weird things do you do for your kids?

Plastic and food concerns

Having just lost another family member to cancer, we are becoming more and more aware of chemicals, and what we eat and expose ourselves to.

I have read book after book, listened to doctors on late night radio talk shows, (I guess I am turning into my parents, I used to hate it when they listened to talk radio shows...) read reports, studied the Internet and I keep finding common threads, regardless what clinic, doctor or country the information is coming from.  One of those common threads is plastics.

We all know we have had an increase in cancer over the past few generations.  We also know we live a different lifestyle than our grandparents and great grandparents did.  They worked hard (physically), where many of us today have jobs that require more sitting than moving around.  We use microwaves, sit in front of a TV, hold cell phones to our ears, and heat and cook our food in containers containing plastic and Teflon.

Based on what I have found, we are now cooking in cast iron, glass and stainless.  No more Teflon coated pans or heating up items in plastic in the microwave.  No more storing of foods that are acid (catsup) or alcohol based (such as vanilla)  in plastic.

Many (most) plastics contain BPA, Bisphenol A, which has been linked to several cancers.  When BPA is heated, it leaches out, into our foods.  This also includes being heated in the dishwasher.

Avoid polycarbonate and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastics, both of which contain BPA. At the bottom of the plastic, there should be a recylcing code.  Code 7 is bad.  Sadly many baby bottles, bottle liners, sippy cups and plastic baby food containers contain BPA.  According to Gerber, their containers are all now BPA free (thank you Gerber!)

Instead, look for polyethylene plastic (also labeled PETE) and containers marked with recycling code 1, 2 (HDPE) and 4 (LDPE).  Polypropylene (recycling code 5, or PP) are also safe.

Some producers of plastic are now leaving it out, and when they do, they advertise that their product is BPA free, making it safer.

Think you are safe because your food is canned commercially???  Maybe not.  Many tin cans are plastic lined, and the lining contains BPA....
BPA is also found in many slick papers, water bottles, canned goods, and water pipes.  Also in water filters, cups, plates.....check your labels.

I pitched a lot of our kitchen items.

We have switched to stainless steel water bottles (Burlington Coat Factory sells a 2 pack of them for $3.98==the best deal around).  I also switched to stainless measuring spoons and cups, and glass measuring cups for the microwave.

I even got the dogs new bowls--stainless ones.

Do your own research.  But, when you hear of cancer patients who have high levels of BPA in their blood and urine, its rather scary.

4H Cookbooks for sale

The 4H kids of Clinton County have put together a cookbook of their favorite recipes.  They are selling them for $10 each.  If you are out of the area, we will be happy to mail you one for an additional $4 to cover the postage, after you prepay.

Contact me and I can give you an address to send your payment to.

Its not too early to start your Christmas shopping for 2012, and cookbooks also make great wedding and shower gifts, as well as a good item to give kids going off to college this year leaving their momma's cooking behind.