February 27, 2006

Agreeable Grammar Article

I ran across a grammar article worth reading recently that I thought I would share. Here's a snip:

"4) Dangerous malapropisms: Say what?
A friend who's in the media business told me the awkward tale of a colleague who kept saying "antidote" in a meeting, when the word she was grasping for was anecdote.

This is a classic malapropism, when someone misuses a word by confusing it with another word that sounds similar. A number of words sound similar, but mean very different things.

Indicted and inducted form another pair of potentially embarrassing swaps. When a person is indicted, he's charged with a crime. When a person is inducted, he's been given a new job or honor (or introduced to a new idea). You'd congratulate someone who's been inducted, and offer condolences to someone who's been indicted. Otherwise, you'd be embarrassed.

Conscience and conscious are another tricky pair. But if you stay conscious of the difference, you will have no embarrassing incidents weighing on your conscience.

Want more? Take the evil word-twin quiz.
Sounds interesting, eh? An evil word-twin quiz? Yes, I thought you'd buy in to that one. I did. Just follow the link above for the article and go take the quiz. I love learning new words. That's why I joined the VRP. I watched Hamlet the other night and really enjoyed the old flowery English (although it was strange to see it set to modern day time). My husband's comment after suffering through it with me was, "Really, Heather, we are getting a lot more stupid as time passes." Of course, he wasn't just talking about him and me (although the shoe would fit), he meant mankind in general (the de-evolution of our language skills).

I agree. So do you want your new word for the day? I thought so.

mal·a·prop·ism [ máll? pro pìzz?m ] (plural mal·a·prop·isms)


Definition: Unintentional use of wrong word: the misuse of a word through confusion with another word that sounds similar, especially when the effect is ridiculous.

February 26, 2006

Ignorant Olympic Bliss

The search page of Google (just the little daily cartoon characters that they put up) is the entirety of Olympic "viewing" I have done this year. I do like to watch the winter sports (mainly ice-skating)... but we don't have cable - or regular TV for that matter. I don't miss it much, other than at times like this... and when the president speaks (or elections happen). I truly believe that the cable company has some kind of freaky conspiracy going to scramble regular television waves so we can't pick up anything clearly. I hate watching live-stream on the internet (unless it is very short), and since watching sports isn't like watching news clips from FOX or CNN... we are without a way to watch this year's competitions. Maybe I can get a re-run video when we study about the Olympics in the future. That is the plan at this point.

I thought I would post my favorite 2006 Google Olympic Image so far so I'll have a record of it some day for the kids:


February 24, 2006

Field Trip Friday Foto Failures

I have been trying to post our Field Trip Foto Friday in order with our homeschool records to help with the general linear history of my blog...

You can view past Field Trip Foto Friday Posts here:

but as I read through the list of our first homeschool year's field trips again... I came to the conclusion that many of these field trips would have been photographed with 35 millimeter film (making it next to impossible for me to document here since #1 I have no scanner and #2 My 35mm photos are all in a storage unit in Texas somewhere). We didn't have a digital camera back then.

I dropped the ball last week on my Friday series (forgot what day it was because our weeks are all messed up with my husband's work schedule), and was prepared to make it up tonight by posting TWO field trips consecutively... but I am beginning to think I'm going to have to move on to the 2003-4 field trips instead. Hopefully I can get those photos sorted out and get them posted. In the mean time, as I like to say in the most wonderful Hindi accent, "please forgive". I just finished a plate of wonderful Indian fried rice with currants and popadums with tandori chutney.

Until then....

I'm heading out the door in a few minutes to go pick my husband up from work and then to stop at the book store to have coffee with another homeschool mom and her husband. We had the most awesome play day today. It is such a gift to be surrounded by godly homeschool moms. Tomorrow is a regular school day for us... so; I'll see you in-between subjects.

February 23, 2006

Thursday Challenge: Pink


Today's Thursday Challenge (which I'm pretty late for) is Pink. This is my favorite Pink photo... although it is kind of old. I think this was 2001 or 2... not sure. But, she's still my sweetie-pie. Her daddy and I think she's pink all the way down to her brain cells... although we've never seen them. My Morgan is a girlie-girl.

Where have I been? I've been enjoying my "weekend" (Wed.-Thurs. this week) off of school and my house looks like a "daisy-cutter" exploded somewhere in here while we were at the mall looking for men's pants. Hubby ended up finding some nice pants at Sam's for much cheaper than the "arm and leg" the Gap was going to charge us.

We ate Indian Food at home tonight with a Rotisserie Chicken from Sam's. Pretty good chicken, I might add... although this is not my food blog, and you probably don't care (and didn't come looking in here for food advice). I tried to make tamarind chutney tonight and it is edible, but not exactly right. I did research on a hundred sites (slight exaggeration) tonight and found so many variations in recipes that it made my head spin. I'll post the final recipe in my own "chutney contest" once I get the perfect one (for all you Indian Food lovers out there... if there are any reading this). Either that, or I'll run out of tamarind paste trying. I'm not much for those store-bought kinds.

As for the rest of blogdom... I'm in a bit of a funk (moody, depressed, missing Texas, tired, and a bit overwhelmed with the tons of things we need to get done)... so I apologize for the lack of wonderful homeschool inspiration. Even us 4-year "vets" tend to have our puddle-moments. Say a prayer for me to get my "groove" back! God bless!

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February 22, 2006

Weight and Wednesday Blabbering

Leftover Projects and Digital PicturesSorry for the "journal-type" entry today... I'm just not in the mood to do research or planning for a post. Today is the beginning of my "weekend" since Kevin is off Wednesday and Thursday instead of Saturday and Sunday like normal people... so I'm catching up on projects that we didn't finish this week. I am going to print off some photos from our field trips we have taken during our rock unit and we're going to scrapbook them (for our lapbook) and possibly finish painting the rocks (*sigh* I may never get to the solar system at this rate!). I can't to getting my pictures printed (that's the downside to having a digital camera... tons and tons of photos that you've never printed). At around nine dollars for 50 prints, it isn't a bad price... still beats my 35mm developing costs, and this way I get to pick the photos I print and delete the bad ones.

Shedding the Winter WeightAfter visiting a blogger friend of mine's site and discussing loosing some pounds... (and now that we've eaten up all of the sweets and have vowed not to buy any more), I'm ready to shed those extra pounds for the spring and summer. I went and got a ticker. It's pretty cute. We are joining a gym soon. Wish me luck as I have never been a gym person. My husband goes religiously when he has a membership... but I just find it so humiliating to exercise in front of other people. I much prefer a DVD (Pilates or Denise Austin)... but there's no room in this tiny apartment (and I don't think the downstairs neighbor would like me jumping up and down on the floor). I guess I'm going to have to go sweat in public. Yick!

Another thing I am trying to give up is cokes (and fast food in the process). It isn't like we eat out often, but when we do, it is usually something greasy like Mc Donalds or Popeye's. Nothing like a "heart plug" (buttery white biscuit) with honey oozing off the sides. I know... you are probably pointing your finger in ridicule since I'm the first one to get on the soap box about health foods (see here if you don't believe me). So, please go easy on me. I'm working on letting go of these vices. The first step was to start cooking all the time (which we have done). Now that we are menu planning and such, I think giving up the junkfoods will be a bit easier (especially since we aren't traveling much anymore). Another reason I'm giving cokes up is my joint pain (my shoulders and neck). Soft drinks are not good for your joints. My husband's knee troubles are always better when he lays off the sodas.

Catblogging and Cabin FeverIt is gross and rainy here (and cold). I thought I would share a snow photo with you... of course, it's not really of snow... it is of my cat, Minga... who was looking out at the "winter mix" (snow, sleet and ice). It represents the mood the children and I have had this past week being cooped up in the house without our vehicle and during the ice storm! I can't wait to get Kevin's truck fixed and for us to get outside more this Spring.


Happy Wednesday Everyone!

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February 21, 2006

Another Reason I Homeschool

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. - attributed to Abraham Lincoln

----- * -----

My son was reading a book about the Ice Age a few days ago (Frozen Earth: Explaining the Ice Ages by R.V. Fodor) and he said to me...

"Mommy, this book is being disrespectful to the Bible."

I replied, "Oh, really Kaden? How is that?"

"Well, on page 10, it says: Because religion was an important part of the lives of many scientists, some believed that the erratic rocks were washed in from the Flood of Noah's time. But that flood theory did not satisfy everyone."

"Let me see that book", Kaden, I said. And sure enough... here's what it said:

Geologists became curious about the many smooth and polished boulders that seemed to be lying out of place, scattered throughout the meadows and forests. Their presence was puzzling because these rocks were unlike those of the closest valley walls. The scientists of the time gave the name "erratics" to these out-of-place rocks.

One of the earliest explanations for erratics was that a great flood had carried them to the Swiss meadows. Because religion was an important part of the lives of many scientists, some believed that the erratic rocks were washed in from the Flood of Noah's time.

But that flood theory did not satisfy everyone. British geologist, Charles Lyell, argued strongly that icebergs once floating over Switzerland during a big flood had dropped the boulders. Sailors who had seen icebergs at sea reported that some do in fact contain boulders, so there was reason, then, to believe Lyell's icebergs-over-Switzerland theory.

Wow. A flood that covered all of Switzerland must have been pretty deep. Aren't there mountains in Switzerland? I think Kent Hovind's comet theory makes more sense than this nonsense. To read more, go here or here or here. If you can't afford the DVDs, Hovind has offered to let ANYONE who has them copy them as MANY times as they want and GIVE them away - so ask your favorite Creationist for a set!

So... I asked Kaden, "What do you want to do? Do you want me to read that book with you?"

"No, Mama, I think we should take it back to the library."

"OK, Kaden." I smiled at him and ran my fingers through his hair. "I'm proud of you!"

----- * -----

Postmodernists believe that truth is myth, and myth, truth. This equation has its roots in pop psychology. The same people also believe that emotions are a form of reality. There used to be another name for this state of mind. It used to be called psychosis. - Brad Holland

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February 19, 2006

Presidents Day Links

I thought I would share a few great links for tomorrow. May your President's Day be great.

Presidential Prayer Team for Kids - Biblical Presidents Day Lessons

Internet Field Trip by Scholastic - a bunch of Virtual Sites for President's Day

Presidents Day - Library Research Resources

Presidents Day Unit Study Material (includes poem and cherry thumbprint cookie recipe)

PBS American Experience: The Presidents Series

Kids Domain - Lots of Presidents Day Links

No Presidents Day is complete without "WhitehouseKids.gov"!

Totally cute: Hangman Presidents Game

Holiday Zone - just click the Presidents Day link on the sidebar

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February 18, 2006

Prudent Humor and Homeschool Ice Days


This picture was taken at the end of 2003 when Kevin came back from Iraq. It was a happy day. We were glad to see him. It's one of my favorites of all time.

The other day, I quoted some scripture to Kevin about how "a prudent wife is from the Lord" (Proverbs 19:14 - Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD).

He smiled and looked at me and said, "Then where are YOU from?" Ha!

He's so funny. Pray for Kev if you think of it today and tomorrow. He has to go to work - even in the ice storm. Being from Texas, we don't have to drive on ice that often (and look stupid doing it)... so I'm praying not to be worried.

He called me and told me he was at work safe after he got there today. Tomorrow, though, it is supposed to be icy again (and may be more solid than the sludge we had today). My kids are begging me to go out in it. It sounds like sand falling from the sky on the windows.

So... what's an ice-day look like for homeschoolers?
Well... here's our list (of course, we start our days later than most since Kev is working 12-9 shift):

Time with Daddy
AM Chores
Bible - Job 28 (Rocks & Wisdom), a few Psalms, etc./Discussion
Write Bible Memory Verse - Job 28:18b
PM Chores
Library Books
Rock Painting
Look up Lizards, draw lizards on rocks to paint tomorrow
Read through Enchanted Learning's Geology Pages
Thank You Cards
Rock Website (Test)
Researching our favorite Mineral
Writing About it
Language Worksheets
Math Worksheets
Gathering up Crystals for friends...
Watching Kent Hovind's Creation Seminar 4 about the Geologic Column Lie
Taking photos of our rock collection for our lapbook
Getting Photos of our rock collection printed for our lapbook
Scrapbooking our Lapbook
Crystals in the Mail for Pals
Visualize World Geography
Write to Pen Pals
Start our Timeline
Gathering up all the library books and making a trip to the library
Ordering our Solar System books online (putting them on hold at library)
Watching Rocks and Minerals videos

Hopefully we can get everything checked off. We're moving on to Solar System/Seasons Monday... er, I mean Friday or Saturday. I can't wait!

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February 17, 2006

Lord Teach Us to Parent

This poem is from a friend of mine who wrote it this week. My friend's name is Heather, too... although at her request, I am leaving her last name off of the blog. I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I did. I let my husband read it, too. My hope is that we find the time to be parents before our time is up.

"Lord Teach Us to Parent" by Heather P.

Mommy doesn't have any time to play.
The dishes and laundry all get in the way.
Sweeping and mopping, dusting and scrubbing...
So she puts off tomorrow what she should do today.
There never seems to be enough time to go outside and play.
The telephone rings, another hour goes by...
"Play with us Mommy!" her little ones cry.
Menu plans, lessons plans, too many places to be...
Yet at the end of the day she sits before her T.V.
She yearns for a time with nothing to do
but listen to her children as they whisper "I love you."

Daddy doesn't have any time to play.
Phone calls and emails all get in the way.
Driving and calling, coming and going...
So he puts off for tomorrow what he should do today.
There never seems to be enough time to go outside and play.
A meeting at the office, another hour goes by...
"Play with us Daddy!" his little ones cry.
Work plans, church plans, too many places to be...
Yet at the end of the day he sits before his T.V.
He yearns for a time with nothing to do
but listen to his children whisper "I love you."

She is so talented, is she not? She is a gifted mother with a heart for the Lord and her children. I have told her eldest a few times that he is lucky to have a mom like her. Her eldest son just smiled at me (as if he knew that already).

I am reading three things right now in-between chores, lesson plans, school work, play dates, cooking, etc. The books/pamphlets I am reading are:

Each of these books has quite a bit to say about the roles of children and parents that have been inspirational to me. In light of the recent holiday (Valentines), I thought I would remind us of a love that may have not been celebrated enough this week... the love of a parent for a child.

Here below are some excerpts from the books I am reading that I have found delightful. I hope you enjoy them as well:

"The home-life should also be made bright and full of sunshine. The courtesy of the true home is not stiff and formal but sincere, simple and natural. Children need an atmosphere of gladness. Law should not make its restraints hang like chains upon them. Sternness and coldness should have no plane in home-life or in family government. No child can ever grow up into its richest and best development in a home which is gloomy and unhappy. No more do plants need sunshine and air than children need joy and gladness. Unhappiness stunts them, so that their sweetest graces never come out." - J.R. Miller (Home-Making)

Proverbs 17:22 - "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine..."

"I have listened to the longest-faced women trying to assure me that they do indeed have the joy of the Lord, and I sat there wondering where in the world they were hiding it. The last part of the verse above says, "but a broken spirit drieth the bones." How are your bones doing? I mean your bones. The Bible is far more literal than you may think. A broken spirit and dry bones result from not having a merry heart. A merry heart is very good medicine. It is a love potion." - Debi Pearl (Created to be His Helpmeet)

I wonder if she knew that my bones in my neck have been hurting for more than two weeks? Maybe I should brush up on my Joy verses after all?! Forget all the ibuprofen! One of the suggestions she gives is to SMILE. And here is a great one that would certainly make my kids a lot happier:

"During the day, sing and play and dance as you work around the house. Your children will be delighted as you dance around the house with the broom or mop, and this lighthearted mood (visible joy is the only joy children understand) will be an encouragement to your children. The lightness of your soul will help put you in a good frame of mind for your husband when he comes home. If you have reason to be hurt or discouraged and yet you sing with thanksgiving, this is a true sacrifice of worship to God." - Debi Pearl (Created to be His Helpmeet)

"And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing" - Psalms 107:22

My bookmark for the above book is a little pink slip of Hello Kitty paper that has the words "i Love u so much mommy!" written in fat red crayola marker. My daughter has a habit of leaving love notes for me all over the place. Sometimes I even get upset with her for wasting so much paper... but this is her offering of love to me, and should never be discouraged. Her other favorite thing is to help me clean without my asking (sometimes her cleaning creates a worse mess than there was before) because she knows that I like to have help around the house. She is very intuitive and looks into others' hearts to find how she can bless them. I could learn many lessons from Morgan.... if I put down the lesson planner and dish scrubber long enough to spend some quality time searching out what makes HER happy for a change.

"It is vital to remember that your children are interpreting their childhood through their perception of what you're doing to them. They will carry these perceptions with them all of their life. You only get one shot at making memories with your children. So if you are overly harsh, demanding, and over-controlling, you'll win the battle but you'll loose their hearts. Their hearts will grow far from you. To keep yourself balanced, ask yourself, "When they grow up, will they choose to move far away from me because I've been so tight on them that they'll have to move away just to even function, or will they want to hang around me forever, because I'm the most affirming, loving person they have ever found to relate to?

There's a payday coming for our parenting. It's a sobering thought. It's not meant to paralyze us but to SEASON what it is that we're doing with our children now.

Remember that you're creating lifetime memories for your children. Your discipline fits into that picture. It's important to cross that will, yes, but it's also important to bond, to tie those heartstrings to you, to repeatedly tell your children how much you love them. You can never do too much of this!" - Renee Ellison (No Monkey Business)

Renee has such a way with words and people. I have been so inspired by the things I have bought of hers and by her awesome homeschool convention sessions. If you can't see her talk in person (which I highly recommend), you should order the tape from your local convention. She is a wiry little older lady with long, grey hair and a fullness of life and spirit like you have never seen! Her husband travels with her and they are a joy to meet.

For homeschool moms, her advice is even more precious:

"Planning your children's activities may involve some preparation on your part, either the night before or early in the morning, but you'll find that the more you prepare, the smoother your day will run.

Children get into trouble when they have nothing to do. You can just count on it. Mothers who take a shower or go run errands without first assigning activities, academics, or chores to do are setting their children up for deviant behavior and failure. "Idleness is the devil's playground." Children need something to do. To continually take things away from small children (because they are causing trouble with those objects) but not substitute something else more constructive to play with is not fair to a child. Their world of play is like your world of work. They problem-solve, experiment and role-play. They are not just going to sit and twiddle their thumbs. Letting a child use up a whole roll of clear plastic tape in the back seat of a car on a long trip, for example, might be bothersome to you, but it can't be that much trouble, and it gives the child something to DO. Re-evaluate: is the child's activity causing real trouble or is it just inconvenient to you. Say yes to all you can." - Renee Ellison (No Monkey Business)

So, with those wonderful words of wisdom in mind, and a call from the Lord for our hearts to be toward our children and for us to raise up godly offspring in love... maybe we all should buy our kids some scotch tape and sit on the floor while they tie us up in it! Ha!

Have a happy Valentines week... and remember to love those babies while you can.

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February 15, 2006

Pray for Hannah

Yesterday, this beautiful little girl was born close to 5am. Her birth mother (who already has three children) was un-wed and newly divorced, raising her other kids all by herself. She wanted a better life for Hannah... so she contacted a Christian adoption agency and offered her baby up for adoption. She got to pick the parents from a long list of hopeful childless couples. The parents she chose were friends of mine who lost a newborn child just a few years ago. My friends have waited many long years for this day to come, and I wanted to request prayers for them and this sweet child and her birth mother and siblings.

Please pray that Hannah will be healthy and able to go home with my friend tomorrow. Pray for the mother and siblings that they are at peace and feel good about this decision. Pray that the Lord would heal her wounds, her life, and her soul if need be. Please also pray that the birth mother doesn't change her mind, as this would be devastating to my friend after loosing her own son and suffering that loss not long ago.

Thanks for your prayers. May God bless you for your sympathy for his saints.

Fired Up Homeschool Projects

Ever wonder what to do with all those piles of projects that the children are so attached to? Yes, the toilet paper kangaroos from your Australia studies, the cardboard totem pole from your NW Coast Indians studies, the pressed leaves from your plant studies, the melted crayon art, the dinosaur shadow boxes, the planet mobiles, the clay volcano, the collages for the seasons, and the castle made of appliance boxes... all of these would take up more than their share of square footage in your home if you allowed the kids to keep all of them. Especially if you use KONOS (Christian character based unit study curriculum), you tend to attract STUFF... and with a limited amount of storage space in your house, eventually, you HAVE to get rid of it.

Another Konos mom emailed me a great idea for getting rid of this "project clutter" and yet making it memorable at the same time. Here's her awesome idea:
"... we have been using Konos for almost 4 years, and the collections of well-loved projects do build up in our little house. Every season, we photograph the projects for our scrapbook and then... have a big bonfire on the beach! It's really neat to hear my daughter talk about her memories of each project, as we add them to the fire."
So there it is! What a great idea!!! We have already started making photos of our favorite projects (especially the edible ones like the potato volcanoes and the Jell-O election map). This would be a fun way of helping the kids get to the point that they are WILLING to part with all these creations.

February 14, 2006

Building a Mini-Office for Your Student

One of the homeschool e-lists I'm a part of has tipped me off to this wonderful idea: Set up a "Mini-Office" for your homeschoolers! If you are like me, you might not know what a mini-office is. Here's a great link that was shared with our e-list ladies today, which I thought was so interesting, I HAD to share it with you!

This is a great idea for homeschoolers who are space-challenged like us (in a little apartment). You can fold these up and slip them into a closet or some other hidden spot until the next use.

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Middle of the Night Mumbling

I updated my Konos Rock Unit post tonight... but I really should be in bed. It's 1:56 AM here where I'm at, and we start our week tomorrow (Tuesday) since today was a day off. I was trying to get a little planning done, but have been distracted with rock links (so I added a few to the post). I also added a few of the rocks we have gotten in the mail from OH, FL, MI and NC to the "Rocks Across America" section. I'm still awaiting a few who have promised them... but we are going to continue that project for the rest of the school year (and possibly beyond) while we move on to our next unit soon. We spent a lot of time last week washing quartz, picking our favorites, sorting our rock collection, numbering a few choice specimens, and reading rockish books. I think the kids know enough about rocks that I can move on without guilt! My son even taught me something I didn't know. Apparently, we have a very interesting "twin crystal" quartz formation that is his prize rock now. He had read about it in one of the mineral books and taught me about it as we cleaned them up last week. Amazing little science-bug my boy!

With both birthdays out of the way for 2006, my neck on the mend, and piles of paperwork taking over my desk/life... I am going to try and get caught up in real-time before tackling blog projects. I did, however, get ONE recipe posted on my foodie blog. We eat a lot of international foods, and falafels are a favorite dish in our house... so I posted a good recipe I found on the internet for making them without a mix. We can't get mixes here for some reason. I miss many of the conveniences I was used to in Texas (restaurants, grocery items, cheap drycleaning, homeschool resources, etc).

I also thought I would share a link with you that I have found interesting this week:
Ice Man DNA Article
I find it interesting how preconceived notions find their way into artists finished products... hence the "facial reconstruction" they show.

I will leave you on that note (since I don't have the energy to write more), and hit the pillow... Happy Valentines Day tomorrow and I hope your week is sweet!

February 13, 2006

Blogging Haitus and Kate W.

I'm sorry for the lack of posts, but Sunday and Monday are our days off this week, and I promised that I would avoid the blog... but I did want to quickly stop in and request prayers for Katie. Please pray for her and her family. You can check up on her by clicking the title of this post. Happy Monday, all!

February 11, 2006

Valentines Day Graphics

I thought I would share some of my favorite web graphics with you as an early Valentine present. If you copy them (the graphics below), please DON'T LINK TO THIS SITE (or I'll end up getting shut down for lack of bandwidth). Right Click and SAVE TO YOUR OWN COMPUTER. I visited a great site that has some neato graphics and explains the reason why you shouldn't steal someone's bandwidth. If you don't understand, click the icon below and go find out! By the way, the Big BEE is from BEV who is sooooo talented. I scanned it in many years back. Thanks BEV!!!

We spent our morning making out cards, filling out envelopes, sticking stickers and stamps, and licking them. We rushed down to the mailbox and caught the mailman just before he closed up the boxes and left. I'm hoping that the cards get where they are headed in time. With my son's birthday and my neck problems, I was totally not prepared for the date creeping up on me like that.

We're going to a Valentines Day party next Tuesday with friends here. We might make a craft or two from Family Fun's website if we have the supplies on hand also. Daddy's days off this week are a little different, so our days off for next week will be Sunday and Monday. If we have time, we might do crafts Monday while Daddy is home. Hop over to Family Fun and see what kind of neat Valentines Crafts they have this year. You won't be sorry!

Happy Valentines!

February 10, 2006

Field Trip Foto Friday: Glenrose, TX




Ever wanted to see REAL dinosaur footprints? Well, you just did! These photos were taken in Glenrose, Texas - where dinosaurs once roamed. Not only did we visit the awesome Dinosaur Valley State Park there (where some lovely dinosaur replicas from the 1964-5 World Fair are on display), but we also stopped in at the Creation Evidence Museum that is relatively close to the park. Although the museum is not much on the outside, there are interesting artifacts, a video, and display items on the inside (Creationism doesn't pay well like state-funded religious beliefs do). Here's a snip from the Creation Evidence Museum website:

"As you browse our pages you will receive educational information presenting scientific evidence for creation and design by a personal Creator. This scientifically chartered museum was established in July of 1984 for the purpose of research, excavation, and display of scientific evidence for creation. The Museum's team, led by its Founder and Director, Carl Baugh, Ph.D., has excavated eleven dinosaurs (Acrocanthosaurus, Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, etc.), 475 dinosaur tracks, 86 human footprints, 7 cat prints, and other fossil remains - all in Cretaceous limestone. Excavations were professionally documented along the Paluxy River and various other international locations."



We really enjoyed this trip and hope to go back again some time. I have many of the books that they carry at the museum, and we still enjoy looking through them. My kids have requested that we return to this park... and we hope to do so when we return to Texas. While you plan your trip, be sure to check out the bible verses below that refer to a dinosaur:

Job 40:15-24
"Look at the behemoth,
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.

16 What strength he has in his loins,
what power in the muscles of his belly!

17 His tail sways like a cedar;
the sinews of his thighs are close-knit.

18 His bones are tubes of bronze,
his limbs like rods of iron.

19 He ranks first among the works of God,yet his Maker can approach him with his sword.

20 The hills bring him their produce,
and all the wild animals play nearby.

21 Under the lotus plants he lies,hidden among the reeds in the marsh.

22 The lotuses conceal him in their shadow;
the poplars by the stream surround him.

23 When the river rages, he is not alarmed;
he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth.

24 Can anyone capture him by the eyes,
or trap him and pierce his nose?

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February 09, 2006


This lovely shot of Wisteria Vine was taken in Texas last year. I thought I would share it for the Thursday Challenge. I am sure this vine is starting to bud right now... wish I could be there this year to see it. If you would like to know more about Wisteria, click the title of this post!


February 08, 2006

Texas Tarantula Hawk

I finally found out what that waspy thing was. My daughter pulled out a 3-D Bug book the other day and handed it to me to show me something... the book slipped and she lost her page - and the book flipped open to the page about Tarantula Hawks! I immediately knew it was the bug I was looking for! How cool is God?! So... Texas has some really freaky bugs.

This group of wasps includes some of the largest stinging insects in the world, and reportedly some of the most painful to be stung by, mostly due to the size of the sting itself and the volume of venom injected. Normally, use of this sting is reserved for their prey, which the venom paralyzes, but if mishandled by a person, they will use it in self-defense. They can be found essentially anywhere tarantulas and trap-door spiders occur, with the greatest abundance in the desert Southwest. Most SW species are black with metallic bluish highlights and orange wings, but species with black wings occur. There are two genera, Pepsis and Hemipepsis, which are very difficult to separate (subtle features of wing venation), but almost identical in biology. These wasps commonly visit flowers, especially milkweeds, for nectar, as this is essentially all the adult wasps feed on. The males are generally more often encountered than females, and can be recognized by their longer, straighter antennae, while females have short and rather strongly curled antennae.

Info from Frequently Asked Questions About Insects.

Here's a better picture than mine... and let me tell you - these things are BIG and scary looking!!! Any wasp that would take down a fat, hairy tarantula is a force to be reckoned with!

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Publik Skool Socialization

I am feeling the prayers... today I am up at my regular computer, and last night, Kevin got me a neck ice-pack to wrap around my neck and I helped him cook dinner. I apologize in advance for neglecting my other blog (the recipe blog). I have a stack of recipes piling up on my desk to add to the archives very soon. Today is our last day off, so we are having fun as a family (as much fun as you can have without straining your healing neck). I got this little essay from a homeschool list I am on. I thought I would share it here. Very cute. Enjoy!


When I mention we are homeschooling our children, we are without fail asked, '...But what about socialization?'

Fortunately, we found a way our kids can receive the SAME socialization that government schools provide.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I will personally corner each child in the bathroom, give them each a wedgie and take their lunch money. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will make sure to tease our children for not being in the 'in' crowd, taking special care to poke fun at any physical abnormalities. ... Fridays will be 'Fad and Peer Pressure Day.' we will all compete to see who has the coolest toys, the most expensive clothes, and the loudest, fastest, and most dangerous car.

Every day, I will adhere to a routine of cursing, being disrespectful, swearing in the hall, and mentioning our weekend exploits with alcohol and immorality.... and we have asked (our kids) to report us to the authorities in the event we mention faith, religion, or try to bring them up with any morals or values.

- adapted from the: Kolbe Little Home Journal, Fall 2005

February 07, 2006

The Bedridden Tic-Tac Lady

I'm still alive, and hopefully getting better... using my husband's laptop to check in with the cyber-blog-world. I re-traced my steps and can only imagine that carrying a heavy purse around my neck on last Tuesday during an all-day field trip is the reason for my neck injury. I guess I'll never know - but certainly won't be carrying that purse in the same manner again - just in case! The sunshine outside is beckoning... but I am strapped to the bed with a heating pad (alternating between ice pack, Icy-Hot cream, heating pad, and a friend's gracious gift: muscle relaxers with 600 milligrams of Tylenol).

My poor family has had two nights of greasy burgers and fries and Daddy is off work today and tomorrow, helping me do a small bit of school with the kids. They balked at doing Math and Language worksheets today because of the long break they have had. We have done little school since Thursday last week when I went down for the count. I was a little wreckless this weekend when we had visitors and took the kids to play laser tag (while popping 3 ibuprofen)... and I think I made the situation worse for my neck. I thought about doing "Bed-School"... but it hurts to move my neck up and down, side to side... so looking down at a book/papers is difficult. Even this laptop is straining me. The heating pad is not hot enough. The pills are scarce - and I need them to help me sleep... so I'm saving them for later... making the days longer for want of them. Neck injury or not, school must go on. I guess I need to assume my neck is going to continue hurting and just get piles of stuff together for the kids to tackle even if Mommy is in bed for a while.

So, say a prayer for my neck to heal... and for these papers I'm sending the tax man tomorrow to bring us back good news of large refunds! Hopefully I'll be back to my regular blogging, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, paperworking, lesson-planning self very soon. I know my family will be glad to have the ship running smoothly again. I'll be glad when Morgan can't say that "Mommy smells like a Tic-Tac" anymore (because of the wintergreen mint smell of the Icy-Hot cream).

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February 05, 2006

Under Attack

I really feel like our family is under attack right now. My neck has been popped out and sore for three days - starting on the fourth day - now (in terms of how much ibuprofen is good for you - this is really bad news!). I don't have medical insurance and really wish I had some narcotic pain killers right about now - or a muscle relaxer or something... other than just this heating pad. Kevin's truck wouldn't start this morning so our friends who were down for the weekend couldn't go to church with me this morning for lack of transportation (we couldn't all fit in her little car). I've been overwhelmed with all the tons of projects I have to finish (and feeling not 100% enough to tackle or complete them). Kevin had an awful headache this morning and he has been grinding his teeth at night - a sign of stress. We just really have had our share of difficulties this year in general (and for the past couple of years) - with finances, moving, and adjusting to living out of state most recently. I can see God's hand in all of these things pulling me closer to Him and know there is a purpose in these trials. There have been many blessings along the way as well. We have wonderful homeschool friends here and we love our church... it will be hard if we ever move home to Texas, and hard if we do not. Life is full of strange circumstances which we must muddle through, isn't it?

So, before I head over to the bed with my dayplanner, homeschool planner, Sunday coupons, coupon organizer, stacks of paperwork, bills, calculator AND HEATING PAD FOR MY NECK... I thought I would write down a few things to encourage myself for the battle ahead (and to encourage you - if you happened in here today)...

Things We Know About the Devil

1. The devil schemes against us.

Ephesians 6:11 - Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

2. We are to resist the devil. Knowing the Lord helps us do this.

1 Peter 5:9 - Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

James 4:7 - Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Daniel 11:32 - With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.

3. The devil wants us dead - and separated from God forever.

1 Peter 5:8 - Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Mark 4:15 - Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.

Job 1:7 - The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."

4. If we don't love our brother, or obey the Lord, we are children of the devil.

1 John 3:10 - This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

5. The devil has the ability to test us and persecute us at times which God appoints. He has to ask God permission, though.

Revelation 2:10 - Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

1 Thessalonians 2:18 - For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan stopped us.

Luke 22:31-32 - "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

6. The devil leads us astray... and he has lots of helpers. He sometimes tricks us into believing that he is a "good guy".

Revelation 12:9 - The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

2 Corinthians 11:14 - And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 - The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders

1 Timothy 5:15 - Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

7. The devil is angry with God and knows his time is short.

Revelation 12:12 - Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.

8. God will crush Satan and destroy him eventually. God is stronger than Satan.

Romans 16:20 - The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

1 John 4:4 - You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Knowing my enemy helps me to see with eternal eyes - see past the every-day anxieties into the real realm of spiritual matters. One day, the financial troubles, the neck pain, the hardships, the homeschooling, and all other things which vie for our attention will be gone. The one thing that will remain is Christ and His Word and how I lived in His presence. Whether I choose to believe that He is here with me - holding things together - or not... it doesn't change the fact that He is. Can I look past the choking weeds of the devil which distress and sidetrack me to the larger picture of this harvest before me... to the seeds of tomorrow in my children's hearts and in the lives of my husband, myself, and our friends and family?

A bible teacher once told me that if you are NOT being attacked by the devil, he probably isn't worried about you. So you should consider it flattery when you seem to be on his hit-list... because that means he sees you as an adversary to his evil cause... or in other, more wonderful words... a SOLDIER OF CHRIST.

James 1:2-3 - 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

2 Timothy 2:3 - Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 6:10-18...

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

May you take up the armor of God today and may God give you the strength to fight against your enemy.

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February 04, 2006


I found this nifty little picture on the internet and thought I would share it with you all. We really love Kent Hovind and Ken Ham and all the other creationist material we can get our hands on. I've got a friend from out of state coming today to visit, so I don't have time for a long post. Have a super weekend and God bless you and your family!


February 03, 2006

Field Trip Foto Friday: Armand Bayou Nature Center


From the Armand Bayou Nature Center's Website:
The Center's core consists of a boardwalk through the forest and marshes, live animal displays, educational signage, bison and prairie platforms, butterfly gardens and an 1800's farm site. These venues are part of the Center's vision of a "Discovery Loop" educational tour of ABNC, its habitats and Texas cultural history. ABNC also has the Martyn, Karankawa, Marsh, Lady Bird and Prairie trails that allow you to see and learn about the forest, prairie, marsh and natural bayou habitats once common in the Houston/Galveston area.
The Armand Bayou Nature Center is part of the Texas Gulf Coast. It is less than an hour from Houston, Texas. It has many wonderful opportunities for homeschoolers. They have stewardship programs, educational programs, special events, and wonderful hiking trails. The 1800's farm is worth the trip all in itself. You can ride the bayou on a pontoon boat or take a guided tour on a canoe as well. Visit the Bayou Nature Center's website for a virtual tour!

We took this field trip near the end of the school year in our 2001-2002 School Year. Our co-op friends had a birthday party at the center and we had a living history demonstration at the turn-of-the-century farm. They made cheese and let us sample it on crackers, we spun rope on a wheel, walked through the old-time flower and herb gardens, and toured the farmhouses. Of course, at five years old, my eldest student at the time who had just finished Kindergarten at home was more interested in the bayou waters and cattails. I hope we can go back to the ABNC in the future when they are older and can remember the trip like I did.

February 02, 2006

Blogstorm Snapshot

I visited my friend "A Dollop of Sour Cream" today and discovered a nifty little blog site that I thought I would share. It's a site called Blogstorm that scans your blog and creates a cloud list of your most-used words. This is different than the cloud list I have on my side-bar (which doesn't seem to be working today). It is a one-time snapshot that you can right click and download as an image. Here's mine:

Go visit the link and create your own!

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February 01, 2006

God's Smoke Alarms

I cooked some nachos for the kids the other day at lunch time. The recipe specifically said to cook them in the broiler for three minutes. I figured there was no way they could be ready in three minutes, so I decided to cook them for four. Somewhere in the middle of that fourth minute, the nachos on the outer edges of the pan started burning into a black crisp... and the smoke alarm went off. Wow, I thought to myself (as I also mentioned in my recipe at gatheringmanna.blogspot.com), "When they say three minutes, they REALLY MEAN three minutes!!!"

It occurred to me after this incident that our heavenly father uses signals to warn us when we are off track also. They may not smell like burning chips or sound like deafening beeps - but they are usually pretty obvious if we are paying attention. We have a recipe for life in His Word. If we stick to his ingredients and instructions, we usually have great results. When we do our own thing, most of the time... we get disastrous ones. The great thing is, though, that He gives us smoke alarms (warning signs) when we are not on track or following directions. Bruce Wilkenson created a helpful chart in his book, "The Secrets of the Vine" that shows us how to know if the hardships (smoke signals) in our life are "pruning" (when god uses trails to change us or teach us - God's "refining fire" because we are doing something right)... or punishments (wrath) to get us back on the right track due to sin in our life that needs to be removed.

The Bible is clear that as sons and daughters of the Lord, we should be glad for the Lord's punishments/discipline so that we can be spared from evil (Hebrews 12:6 - ..."because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son"). Although punishment hurts, it is only for a season, and serves a greater purpose in making us better Christians. After all, God is in the business of saving us (even if it sometimes saving it from ourselves). Pain is one of the tools He uses to get the job done. Just like pain teaches us not to put our hand on the burning stove... it can sometimes teach us larger life lessons as well. Better than an earthly father's discipline, the correction of our Heavenly Father only allows pain when it is for our GOOD (never for selfish reasons). He only allows what will be in our best interest and never pushes us past what he knows we can endure.

Job 33:29-30... "God does all these things to a man— twice, even three times- to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him."

I pray that we are all using our recipe book and following it closely. May you hunger and thirst for God's Word today.


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