Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week Six, Seven and a Note on Organization

I'm glad I started the school year early because it's been hard with all the appointments (speech for Howler is now twice a week plus all the extra OB appointments here at the end) to do everything I wanted to do. We're about three weeks behind on science, but oh well. They're enjoying it and that's what matters. We're still on schedule for basic work which I can't believe. Two months in and all I've had to shuffle is science. Oh, shuffle, here let me explain a bit better how our system works. I have a monster 2" binder with two sets of binder tabs, one for each of the older kids.

I put a week's worth of work under each tab, when this binder is full I am planned five weeks out. The girls have their own binders (color coded so they know immediately which is their's) I fill Sunday night. Since I have the days of each week separated by post-its, it's easy to move each day over to the tabs in their binders.

I've already stripped the binding off all the workbooks and three hole punched them so they are in the back of my monster binder. When I get down to one or two weeks prepped, I start shifting pages around to refill the vacant tabs.

It's been a serious time saver. I don't have to find all the workbooks, tab which page they are on, make sure no one skips pages (which always happens when working IN books), etc. They also know exactly what is expected of them for the week and in some cases happily do a week's worth of their independent work by Tuesday.

Did I mention in my last school post how much I am LOVING REAL Science Odyssey?? Because seriously, I am LOVING this and so are the kids!


Playing with rolly-pollies is one of my earliest memories. And I have to admit they are just as much fun as an adult as they were as a child. If you can't tell from the pictures the girls loved this science lesson!

It took a lot of convincing for them to release them.

One of our red claw crabs happened to meet an untimely death (no, not on purpose, but it did work well into our plans) so we got to look over his carcass as well.


We used my infrared thermometer to check the temperature of the water and fish so they could see that they were the same. We didn't expect the fish the think the laser sight was edible. They thought it was hilarious and have been teasing the fish with it all week.

Measuring fish in a tank was harder than expected, but what better time to teach about estimation. I don't advocate pulling fish out of a tank to measure and weigh. It stresses them out so estimation will do.

One of the books had a picture of a large walk through aquarium which caught Tamarin's attention. I wish we could go to the Oklahoma Aquarium, but right now my bladder is not up to road trips (haha). I'm lucky to make it thirty minutes before the baby starts bouncing on my bladder so an hour and a half road trip is just not in the cards. Dragging four kids into gas station toilets is NOT my idea of a good time.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bad Kitty Birthday Party

Count on my kids to pick the most obscure birthday themes. Tamarin wanted a bad kitty birthday based on the Bad Kitty Book Series. I did the best I could.


The first picture book has always been a favorite of ours. It inspired the table decorations, penguin pizza, jellyfish jelly, insect ice cream (chocolate jimmies and gummy worms) and sardines. I used a chocolate mold to make cat prints and chocolate covered peanuts served as cat poop :) Black pom-poms for hair balls and an old table cloth torn up completed the bad kitty ambiance.

What cat wouldn't love a spilled milk bottle (The spilling was accidental actually. It turns out while food safe these bottles were not liquid competent.) With some hair bands from the dollar store, one piece of pink felt and $5 worth of black fleece I made enough tails and ears for everyone for right about $1 a kid.

I'm not sure if it topped last year's pirate party, but she was happy with it :) She also managed to wait a month before devouring the fondant bad kitty. I think that took incredible restraint on her part.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

If you have no idea what this post is about then you've obviously been living under a rock for the last month. I have to admit I'm among those who didn't blink an eye at the videos at first, just kept scrolling, change the channel. Something about some disease and acting like a dousing of cold water on a hot day was unbearable. Whatever.

Most charities that draw my eye are about food and water shortages across the world. It's what I'm passionate about and what I've suggested people donate to many times on facebook as well as on this blog. What finally got my attention on this disease were the nay sayers, "Quit wasting ice and open your checkbook!" The more I saw this pop up on my feed the more I began to look into the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which, as of yesterday, has raised over $50 million more for the organization than they had this time last year without this trendy obnoxious goofy annoying awareness raising phenomenon.

Then a friend posted an article about the true origin on the challenge - jerk sports celebrities being idiots with each other. Well, I have to admit they have been dunking cold liquids on each other for years (which always struck me as a strange celebratory habit) so it's not that surprising that this challenge sprouted with them. Apparently it turned into a dunk yourself or donate to someone challenge after a while. Then if I understand correctly from the couple of news stories I've seen it made it's way around to an ALS afflicted ex-baseball player and that's when ALS became the focus of donations. 

So it didn't START as the ALS ice bucket challenge therefore we should all just stop it.... Do I really need to respond to that sentiment?

"But they're spending money on ice" (please read in the whiniest voice possible), yeah.... and? Organizations raise money with things like this daily. Concerts, auctions, marathons, bike runs, lock ins, selling candy or stuff... I don't see much outrage over these things.... And in these instances the charity organizations is having to SPEND money to MAKE money. I've participated in enough charity races to know it's not cheap to put on these events. Many sponsors don't have the extra money to donate right now which means the organizations have to put up more of their own money. I know some that have opted to cancel long standing events in recent years because the cost out ways the increase in donations.

Here is a fundraiser that costs the organization NOTHING. And really? We're going to fuss over what, in most instances, is maybe a dollar or two in ice and water? The credit card company is probably taking more than that in transaction fee when you donate what has become the obligatory $10 whether you bucket up or not (because if we're going to be honest most of us common folk couldn't donate $100 to anything even if we really wanted to). Come on! 

Sure, there's gonna be those that see the bucket challenge as a self promoting moment and don't donate anything. Yeah, who cares? I know people that have shown up at charity runs/walks, haven't raised money or donated squat and still use up the resources and leave with "free" stuff. That pisses me off more than people posting videos on youtube. 

What matters are the numbers. ALS cost: $0, ALS (and a number of other charities world wide I might add): Millions and millions of dollars. You can't argue with that. I wouldn't be surprised if you see other charity challenges pop up because this business model is brilliant. 

There's other qualms I've seen about it too. "It's not raising awareness." Before last week I had no idea what ALS was and here I am researching and about to donate to them. So, that's definitely bull. It's raising more awareness than your bra color or insinuating where you like to have sex as the so called "breast cancer awareness" facebook posts over the last many years. 

"There's people all over the world without water, it's a gross slap in the face to waste water." .... Okay, at first I kinda felt this way, but seriously? If we're gonna be honest about western culture there's plenty of other things that seem far more insensitive in terms of waste than a little bit of water and ice. Hell, how many people fill their pools with thousands of gallons of water every year and don't blink an eye. Tons of people water their lawns all summer long without a second thought to water waste. And yet we're gonna get up in arms about this? Give me a break.

Which brings me to this video:


Where my husband has been challenged. I'm making suggestions to him on who he can call out. I do hope it doesn't occur to him to call me out. We'll see here in a few hours I guess. I'll update then.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Week Four and Five: A Shocking Moment

We had two appointments, two playdates, and a birthday party to plan in week four. I brought it down to basics and skipped science this week. Nothing interesting, reading, math, that's it. I'll post pics from the birthday party later :)

Week Five:


The insect guide is pretty good. I'm seriously thinking of ordering this when the library wants their book back :)

Nesting set in this week. I've been cleaning nearly non stop for 6 days. While clearing out a closet at the end of the house the girls started screaming about a spider. Tamarin decided to capture it to study. I was knee deep in another closet so I didn't think much of it. It's common in this house for them to retrieve mason jars from the cabinet and come begging me if they can keep their new found pet.

I was expecting this:
(We found this guy dying in the schoolroom a few days later. He's a white spotted jumping spider.... or he was.)

Instead she came to me with this:

If you can't tell, this is a brown recluse. Yes, a fiddleback hiding among the shoes at the bottom of the closet. I can't believe Tamarin managed to capture it without getting hurt. My stomach sank when I saw this and realized how bad this could have turned for my oldest. I will definitely no longer shrug off screams about spiders.

The next day I returned to this closet to finish rearranging and I found this:

This closet will be further known as the closet of death. I picked up a door organizer for the shoes. The floor is now empty (save two pairs of boots and I'm seriously thinking of moving them somewhere else). I also spread lavender and peppermint oil in every closet of the house... okay so I may have actually spread it all over every room of the house.... enough that I am now out of peppermint....

Country life, so much excitement, but it couldn't have happened during a more appropriate week. Hands on schooling!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Country of the Dolls

Sometimes the way children play can be disturbing. For example, when they manage to find every doll in the house…..

I will admit I played with Barbie’s as a child (as unlikely as that seems), but I don’t remember having any baby dolls after I accidently (yes, it was an accident) pulled the head off my baby alive.

I swear that one just moved! Don't look at me like that! It did! It's the Bride of Chucky! Gaahhhh!!

When the girls go into doll mode I swear I feel like I’m in a horror film. Give me snakes and spiders any day! Just keep the creepy dolls away from me!

What toy do you wish you could throw out? Not because it’s loud or annoying, but it just gets under your skin for some uncanny reason.