Monday, January 31, 2011

One Act Play Competition

This month L. has been practicing with her HS co-op friends for their one act play competition. On Sat. they presented it and won the competition!This year the plays were dramas. They presented The Summons of Sariel, a story about people waiting for God's summons to heaven. It was a very good play done very well.

We took lasagna, garlic bread and salad for the cast lunch.

Make-up and costumes
Cast picture: Carina, Jacob, Katie, Michelle, Isabel, Cassie, L., Rachel, Joe

Buddy, castmate and driver Rachel.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


W. made me help her research and write another paper this week. It was about snakes. She sees her big sisters writing each week for classes, so she wants to too! We spent about 4 hours on Friday reading, note taking, revising, typing, and editing. When we get each paper finished she turns it in to Friend Nancy for correcting.

She is also writing and illustrating a picture book about a fox and a wolf who are friends and have various adventures. The last paper she coerced me into helping her write was about foxes. She is already talking about the next paper. It will be on horses.

Here is the Snake paper.


There are 2700 kinds of snakes in the world. Snakes are one of my favorite animals!

Snakes have no legs. They can't see very well because they have scales over their eyes. They can never close their eyes. They smell with their tongues. They eat things like mice, rats, beetles and birds. Certain snakes eat snails. These snakes' mouths are made to take snails out of their shells.

Snakes are useful. People use their skins to make purses and belts. In China and Japan people eat snake meat. Snakes help farmers by eating pests.

Garter snakes eat frogs, fishes, salamanders and earth worms. Garter snakes live in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America. It is easy to know when you see a Garter snake because of the three stripes that run along its body.

Snakes are fun and useful. I'd like to have one as a pet...but my mom won't let me!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Globe Ball

The girls put together this puzzle ball this week. I ordered it when I got a few new things for this semester.

Our old spinning globe died a few years ago, and I decided we needed a new one. Little did I know that globes are really hard to find now for a reasonable price. Used to be you could go to K-mart or Shopco, etc. and pick one up for $15 or $20. Not anymore. I finally found one at a teacher's store, but it was $40! Sounds a bit much to me. This globe is not very large, but it fills the bill and was fun to do. It comes with a small stand, and in three versions- easy, medium and hard. This is the medium one. I bought it at I am keeping my eyes open for a vintage one on a rummage or at a thrift store. I'm sure I'll find one, but until then, this one will work fine.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fun Finds

I was haunting the Goodwills/thrift shops this week looking for some material to finish a costume for L's One Act Play this weekend. I found these fun goodies for myself.
This vintage clock makes me think of a sleek , round old blue car. I see it finding a place in our eventual kitchen remodel.
I found these little bluebirds (left picture) at Goodwill for $2 each. They will be fun to use on our big table (seats 12) with these birds in a nest S & P shakers that my girlfriend Brenda gave me. Fun!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Second Semester Arrives

It's second semester and we had a great break. I always try to switch up a few things in the second semester to raise interest and fight boredom for my students and myself! We tried some new workbooks this year and are using some old favorites again too.
We are loving these Language workbooks. They are very much like the Primary Language Lessons series by Emma Serle, which I love, but these are laid out as consumables with colored pictures and space for writing. Both our 3rd grader and our 6th grader enjoy these. It is pretty much self explanatory. They offer poetry, copy work, memorization (if you choose), reading, narration and some basic grammar.
We are also liking these Daily Geography and Daily Math/Word Problem workbooks. The Geography is such a simple, accessible and organized way to cover basic map/geography skills. They are split into such tiny daily lessons that the girls do a page or two a day which equals a week of lessons. They are very simple and quick, but help cover a lot of basic information painlessly. Our 3rd grader is loving the Daily Word Problems. I never could do word problems at her age, so it fascinates me that she seems to intuitively understand what to do for each one.

Explode the Code is a classic phonics program that my girls love. One of my greatest regrets in 21 years of homeschooling is that I did not use this program with the 3 oldest. I never bought it because I did not like the artwork! It is a program that literally teaches itself, is a breeze to correct and that my kids beg to use. Nothing else like it! Sequential Spelling is something new we are trying with our 6th grader. She and I both really like it. I think it is going to be as handy and loved around here as Explode the Code has been. We have tried several other spelling curriculum over the years and none made this much sense, were as easy to administer and were as enjoyable as this one. We usually do two to three daily lessons at a time for our 6th grader.

We are using some Calculadders this year to speed up and brush up on basic math facts. Again, drillwork that is simple to administer, simple to correct and that works great.We have used these for years as needed. Another classic program. I ordered all of these from

Decaffeinated Tea

Did you know you can decaffeinate your own tea? Manufacturers do this with two methods, water and chemicals. You know how people feel about chemicals. We will use the water method.

Decaffeinated Tea
tea bag
hot, nearly boiling water
cup or brewing pot

Heat your water and use about 1/2 cup more than you will need to brew your cup or pot of tea. When the water is piping hot but not boiling (boiling water boils out the oxygen and makes less flavorful tea) pour about 1/2 cup over your tea bag(s). Let sit for 30 seconds and pour off water. Immediately add the rest of the hot water and brew your tea.

White and green teas are best brewed 2-3 minutes and black teas should be brewed 4-5 minutes for best flavor. If this brewing time makes the tea too strong for your taste, you can dilute it with more hot water after brewing.

Most of the caffeine is released in the first 30 seconds of brewing. This will not eliminate ALL the caffeine-even decaffeinated teas you buy will have a bit of caffeine in them. Sources show this will reduce the caffeine by about 80 percent. Pretty good for an extra 30 seconds of your time.

Chili Days

This post is dedicated to my folks and all those living south of us who think it is cold where they are, and to my friend Ana who is visiting her homeland of Brazil and wrote in an e-mail yesterday, "Today my sisters and I enjoyed the pool and sunshine."

The good news is that the wind is not blowing, so it doesn't feel that cold. Really. So we came home from piano and dance yesterday and had big bowls of chili. Yum!

The low last night was only -6 and it is already 26 out today. It will be a great day to play in the snow!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

L and M are fighting colds and congestion. We are awash in tea/honey/lemon and scattered teacups. This represents one swipe through the house to collect teacups. We are giving the hand cleaner and dishwasher a real workout this week.

Taking Christmas Down

The tree came down this week. It was getting very dry, but I will miss it. I really loved the all white and silver tree we had this year. I buy a lot of vintage or used ornaments. A good tip is to use grocery store hard plastic containers from cookies or pastries to store Christmas breakables.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baked Potatoes and Broccoli

We haven't had this meal for a long time. We had some ham in the fridge, so we added ham. This is a great, easy, inexpensive, delicious meal.

Baked Potatoes and Broccoli

Baked potatoes
mozzarella cheese
cheddar cheese
butter or margarine

Cook the potatoes, cook the broccoli. Smash the potatoes and butter them. Top with broccoli and cheeses. Bake or zap in the microwave or until cheese melts and potato is hot. Customize with added meats, chili or different cheeses.

St Louis via Branson

We took a week and went to visit the folks in Branson.

All the girls on the couch. A. was out visiting friends. Card games were played and puzzles were done.

Nature shots out Grandma and Grandpa's window by L.
Mid-week Husband and I went to St. Louis for meetings he had to attend.

While he had meetings, I enjoyed the pampering at the hotel: reading, breakfast buffet, sleeping, shopping.
Then it was back to Branson to visit some more before heading home.