Friday, August 31, 2007

Chip mining ~ Geology at it's yummiest ~

Well today, I am blogging on the geology exercise we did. We actually did it the same day we did the gushy diaper crystals, but I wanted to drag it out so my blogs would be more fulfilling ~ ;-D ~ (I feel so fulfilled!)
All right, enough levity. This school stuff is SERIOUS BUSINESS! Well, ok, so it's not THAT serious, it's also fun ~ but GB ~ this is sorta just for you ~ We honestly did learn pertinent info to each child's grade specs ~ ;-D ~ but honestly, I am not a serious blogger, you know that. Well heck, ANYone who reads this blog knows that. I don't mind teaching it to the kids, but I just really don't want to recant it all on my blog ~ this is MY playground ~ ;-D
So, all that serious shhhhh-tufff aside ~ this is what we did for our intro to geology ~

Enter chocolate chip cookie mining!

The rules: Each whole chip is worth $500, each partial chip is worth $100, and for every piece of cookie left that is larger than a pencil lead, you get FINED $100.
The tools: Only a pair of double-tined toothpicks & a paper plate.
The time: Only 20 minutes, for every minute AFTER 20, you get fined $100.

It's a lot harder than you might think!

Ahhh, check out the messy table!! One thing I have to say, Learning is MESSY!!
AND, check out the winner ~ she made over $7,600 with her cookie. Of course, she was also the passer-outer of cookies, so, uuhhm , she may well have stacked the deck.
And what did they learn? About how mining resources can cause damage to the earth, the value of recycling, why minerals cost what they do, how difficult it is to reconstruct area that has been mined, how to pop chocolate chips & cram cookies; you know, the important things.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

polyacrylamides Science Fun (or gushy colored diaper crystals )

Yup, that's right ~ our science experiment was all about gushy diaper crystals! Of course, we don't have anyone in diapers anymore, so we just went to the store and got a bunch of these little science experiment kits, and they were cooler, anyway, cuz they were COLORED in bright pink, orange, blue & yellow.

Izzy presented the science experiment, ( dig his funky whiteboard drawings! ;-D)

everyone had fun *growing* them,

& we learned that polyacrylamides can get REALLY BIG!!!
See that little petri dish the crystals are all crowded into in this pic? Well, Kat took 2 out and put them in their own little petri dish, and decided she wanted to ~feed the monster~, and see just how BIG they really COULD get!

And here they are, one day later, EEWWWAALLGHHH!!

They really ARE gushy!
And to think I was changing my kids' diapers every two or three hours! I CLEARLY could have gotten at LEAST 3 days longer in them ~ those puppies suck up some SERIOUS moisture!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mental illness ~ could it be your drugs, the lack of God, both?

I was astounded by this article, & wanted to share it with everyone I possibly could.
I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Kupelian, as I have personally seen many examples on both sides of the coin ~

Why so many Americans today are 'mentally ill'

By David Kupelian

Posted: August 14, 2007 1:00 a.m. Eastern

"When I was lying in my bed that night, I couldn’t sleep because my voice in my head kept echoing through my mind telling me to kill them."
You're reading the words of 12-year-old Christopher Pittman, struggling to explain why he murdered his grandparents, who had provided the only love and stability in his turbulent life. He was angry with his grandfather, who had disciplined him earlier that day for hurting another student during a fight on the school bus. So later that night, he shot both of his grandparents in the head with a .410 shotgun as they slept and then burned down their South Carolina home, where he had lived with them........

To finish the rest of the story, please follow this link, it's long but VERY well worth it! ~

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Curry pork & rice cure all life's little ill's

I love curry, in bean soup, with any type of meat, and ESPECIALLY with rice. So, in an effort to love & be loved, I would like to share my curry recipe (well, tonight's recipe, anyway, it changes every time, since I am a ~pinch of this, pinch of that, till it smells right~ type of cook).

First off, I have to admit something, I use a pre-mixed curry blend powder from the bulk section at WinCo. It's not as good as the Spice Islands blend, & definitely not as good as fresh mix, however, it's cheap, and if I add some stuff to it, it works very well. Also, I only like to use fresh herbs, if I can at all help it.

The other thing I have to really re-iterate is, I cook to taste, always. So, sometimes it's spicier, could be saltier, could be garlic-ier, even green onoin-ier, just depending on my good ol' shnozz.

That said, here are the things I always use, in varying amounts.

fresh chopped Green Onions (stalks AND bulbs) ~about 4 to six stalks, or one bunch from the grocery store)

fresh minced garlic ~ about 2 Tbsp to 1/4 cup, depending on how garlicy you like it

Aloha Shoyu soy sauce ~ about 1/2 cup, depends on how salty you want it ( this is the ONLY kind of soy sauce I have ever liked, the flavor is fantastic, and compliments rather than overpowers)

sesame oil ~ probably a Tbsp or so

peanut oil ~ again, probably a Tbsp-ish

scant amount of dill weed ~ a pinch or a large pinch,, depending on how much hotness you want to cut

(dill weed cuts the hotness, so if you like a lot of spice flavor without the hot, dill weed is a perfect compliment, also, if you can't find this fresh, dried will do)

curry powder ~ about 3 to 5 Tbsp, depending on how spicy you like it, and how much you need to make

fresh minced ginger ~ about 2 tsp
coconut milk to taste ( add in with 2nd soy sauce, makes a creamy light sauce, it's HEAVENLY!),
chopped cashews for garnish (salted taste the yummiest!)

some sort of meat, if you eat meat, if not, make a gravy & pour it over rice & veggies

We only eat meat once in a great while, so usually I cut it into small chunks and use it to mostly flavor the food, about 1/3 pound or less for 7 people.

about 3 tbsp flour , mixed with about 1 to 2 cups cold water, to make a rue, or saucy sort of paste, to thicken what's left on the pan, if you want to make a gravy out of it, plus water to thin it to desired amount & thickness of gravy)

First off, I take some sesame oil & some peanut oil ( enough to cover the bottom of the pan, plus a splash or so more, also, I guess you could substitute with olive oil, but it won't have quite the same flavor) put it on the bottom of the pan, add in the green onions, garlic, ginger dill, & curry powder, plus about 1/2 of the soy sauce. Then I turn on the gas to small flame, and let that all simmer together for a bit, making sure to mix the powder in with the oils & soy sauce.

Once the green onions have started to wilt ( or are not as firm looking), it's time to decide if you are going to add meat or not. If you do want to add meat, stick it on top of the mixtre in the pan, let it braize for a bit, then turn them over, add the rest of the soy sauce(if you are adding coconut milk, now is the time to add it, as well), sort of scraping up the mixture, ( you can add a touch of water here too, if not using the coconut milk, if you think it looks too dry or you are cooking extremely lean meat), put the lid on the pan, turn it to low, and let it cook till the meat is done. ( I have a huge fry pan I use, and I just turn a huge wok over the top of that to make a lid for it)

Now, when the meat is done, or, if you don't want to add meat, you can take the mixture that's in the pan, and make it into a gravy ( leave it simmering on low), by adding the rue ( flour & water mixture, be sure you have gotten all the lumps out!) into the pan. It will thicken up quite quickly, so add a touch more cold water (or coconut milk) to the mixture, plus the rest of the soy sauce to thin it to taste, making sure you scrape up all the goodness off the bottom of the pan. Tast the gravy, and see if it needs more saltiness, if so add a little more soy sauce, if it tastes too salty, add a bit more water, and if it's perfect, it must be ready to serve! Once you get to this point, you can add a few long fresh stems of green onion, makes it look pretty.

I like to make up a pot of jasmine or basmati rice to compliment the curry, but plain old regular rice works too. Also, corn, broccoli, spinach, greens, beets, etc, compliment curry very nicely.

If you have left-overs, the best place for them is with scrambled eggs in the morning! No kidding, left-over curry and eggs are simply DIVINE! Especially in chapati's or even corn or flour tortilla shells, if you don't have chapati's.

Dinner anyone?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

today is monday~ monday bread & butter, it's all the same to me

Today is Monday,Today is Monday,Monday bread and butter,All you hungry soldiers,I wish the same to you~

reminds me of public school, and being ~ on the conveyor belt~ of public education, seeing my kids struggle on that conveyor belt, and feeling helpless to do anything about it.

What are some of the reasons people don't just get so disgusted they walk, & start homeschooling? I know there are many homeschooling families out there that have never dealt with the public system, & so don't understand why so many stay so long in such a broken system. Let me enlighten you & hopefully help other families teetering on the brink of indecision regarding homeschooling.

Because the public education system would have you believe that:

#1) You aren't capable of doing what they do, unless you have certificate stating that you are a professional (who gave all those mothers a certificate of motherhood, I'd like to know! Oh...God did....)

#2) You have no rights as a parent, the school & the government have all the rights, so just get over it and conform already! (anyone in the public school system can attest to this)

#3) Your child will not be ~properly socialized~ if they don't attend public school ( who ever said a Godless lot of 150 13 yr olds is the best place for a 13 yr old to learn how to act morally & become an upstanding citizen anyway?)

#4) Your child will academically suffer from learning at home, in fact, you could never offer your child the diversity that they will recieve with a public school education (in fact, time & again, even by the state standardized testing standards, homeschooled children score at least 95% better than public-schooled children, in ALL areas of testing)

#5) (the biggest lie of all) The public education system is ~EDUCATING~ your child, when they get out of it, they will be able to go on to college, &/or life; happily, with ease, able to make a living & join their fellow ranks of Americans, earning plenty & living the good life, knowing WHAT to think( but not how, don't be thinking for yourselves, there, America!). (This is so sad, because people automatically ASSUME that the only way to educate is to have a professional proclaim you ~Educated~, when in fact, all anyone can actually do is teach, each person must EDUCATE themselves. It is an ongoing, life-long pursuit, and does NOT in fact require any certificates, titles, or proclamations of ~Education~. And what exactly DOES public school prepare you for? Life on the conveyor belt, complete with debt up to your ears, hardly any real-life application {when's the last time you had to take a closed book test of life, were not allowed to get any help, and had to go home and write up 10 pages of completely non-instructive filler, just because you were ahead or behind everyone else?}, and a permanent job at the Walmart or McDonald's.)

If I could offer up just one book to families who are still trying to make the leap, and yet are unsure ~ please, if you can, read this book: " A Thomas Jefferson Education" by Oliver DeMille.

I realize that most of this is not new to those already homeschooling, however, for someone just falling off the public school conveyor belt, and ~de-toxifying~ so to speak, it can be a major revelation!

I just want to add that This is NOT an open attack on public school teachers!! I have a mother and I think all of my 4 sisters who are either teachers or professors in the public system, and they are fantastic individuals, as are so many of the teachers my children have had through-out the yrs. I firmly believe, however, that it is difficult to succeed within the framework that the government & states have built.

Homeschool vs Public school ~& the debate is on~

See?? I SAID I would post again, really really really soon, and I DID!! hahaHAH!

So here is the dealio ~
My kids have been public-schooled now since they were in Kindergarten. But last year, (2006-2007) I tried something new. My oldest child was in 9th grade and hating life. Released time ( for seminary) was her only repreve in long day filled with endless homework, memorized diatribe and media-stained filth & expectations. The only saving grace was that her sister was just under her in 8th grade, and so they might see each other in the hallway or at lunch once in a while.

These two girls had braved the realities of the current status quo "Jr High experience" for 2 & 3 years. They had friends in the same boat ~ just pushing through the filthy rush, hoping to make it through as unscathed as possible. In the midst of all this, my husband and I were constantly there, trying to unteach what the world teaches, giving what insight and hope we could to what looked like a very bleak picture of the future. (All along, I have always tried to supplement my children's education, not only with fun vacations, museum trips, cultural introductions, fact-finding quests, and trying out new and different things, but also as a teacher's aide, a substitute, room mother, PTO member, and finally, PTO president... I have been VERY involved, in all 5 of my kids' educational progress.)

Then, mid-year, I heard about a different type of charter jr. high - highschool, based on a Thomas Jefferson Education. I had never heard of it prior, and when they gave me a book to read called "A Thomas Jefferson Education", by Oliver DeMille, I about flipped! It was EXACTLY what I was after! AND, it neatly refuted all of my former concerns about homeschooling. I HIGHLY recommend this book to ANYone. After reading this book, I knew something had to change. I researched the Jefferson charter school, & switched my oldest two to it. Then I started looking into homeschooling very seriously, in fact, I even considered taking my younger three kids out of school that very year. Of course, I didn't. I let them finish the school year out. I planned and planned some more, made a lot of new contacts within the homeschooling community, found out about federal funding, (figured out how to use it to MY advantage), prepared a place within my home to hold school properly, & THEN made the leap.

My two oldest kids ( ages 15 & 14) have the option of attending either my homeschool or the Jefferson-based chartered highschool, ( they chose the charter, which is great, they love it, and so do I), while my three younger kids (ages 12, 10, & 9) will get to homeschool, & wait for that once they hit 8th or 9th grade.

And so, we've done it, I'ved applied for and recieved the federal funding, I've put together an AWESOME curriculum, my husband has finished off the basement to make a NICE school room, with plenty of lighting & storage for school supplies & curricula materials, my kids have adjusted to the idea that they will actually get to have FUN with learning, and voila! ~ another homeschooling family is born!

And I have to say, I NEVER thought I would be a homeschooler. See my previous post for concurrence on this; I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I honestly thought that most homeschoolers were a little "sstraannnge". ( And great and mighty is the fall there-of......;-D)
So, without further ado, I'll be the first to admit my snasty hypocrisy, and proclaim my repentance! For I , too, have joined the homeschooling ranks!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

my semi-blogginess sucketh tis true

And with that, I feel a poem coming on:

My semi- blogginess sucketh, tis true ~
I write only when I am bored or just blue ~
There are those who look on in disgust and distaste
For my blogging days hath been sadly mis-placed.

Indeed you might say,"HAH, look, a new day,
but no entry she gives a'tall."
"In fact, it's quite boring, I WAS all-adoring, but now, pft,
her entries are small."

You'd be right, of course,
in fact, I whole-heartedly endorse
a boycott of such extremes
that this blog ............

ah gee, I just can't finish it ~ any suggestions?

Look at what happens! I don't blog for a while, and VOILA! my poetic powers decline!
Sad, oh sad day!
BUT WAIT!! ~ There's MORE!! IF you act NOW, you TOO can have declining poetic powers! just enter the finishing lines to my poem in the comments section and we will ALSO include declining mental faculties. AND, if you act RIGHT this VERY SECOND, AT NO EXTRA CHARGE, we will also include declining bank account symptom!!!! Simply send $19.95 to this paypal account, and YOU TOO can be a decliner!! :-D (send payment to : )

Holy hannah ~ it COULD work, you NEVER KNOW.........( dee-nee neeeee nee, dee-neeeee-nee-nee...)

AARRGGHHH ~ I'm a blogger FAILURE ~ ok, ok, I know that was harsh ~ too harsh, perhaps. I mean, garsh, I DO blog SOMETIMES. But, like, if my family & friends were, like, depending on , like daily updates and stuff, like, whoooaaa, cuz, you know, I sorta suck at the daily scene.

Well, see, this is the dealio ~ I am going to post another post really really soon. No, really, Honest Abe, I am. Cuz guess what?
I am going to start homeschooling. It's true. Can't deny it any longer. Gonna do it. Can't stand the school system any longer. And guess what THAT means? My kids are gonna be ~all up in your face~ HOMESCHOOLERS. But I don't care. I'm gonna do it anyway. My poor kids were tinged with weirdness the day they were born to me simply by virtue that they were born to me, so...... whhheeeeewww... here goes. Gonna happen. Gotta do it. Can't stand the public school system anymore. I admit it, I used to mock homeshooling, in fact, I have to hang my head in shame, I DID, I really DID. And now, of all the hypocritical, turn-coat, low-down DEALIO's EVER, well, I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna homeschool.

My mother is a retired schoolteacher, my sisters all have teaching degrees, and I .. well , I have a life taught degree (along with some college, I ain't a total gonner :-P). I think they are all disgusted with me, but I don't care, I just can't stand idly by and let my kids be ruined by all the filth and politically censored crap that goes on in the public teaching arena. It's not like it used to be. Now-adays kids can get shot just by being a regular public school attendee. Not to mention all of the other crap they have to endure. I don't want to filter life from my kids, I just want them to live & be able to grow up. So, here goes.

Sorry to all of you who read this blog for the ~Foray into the Woodshop~ posts. I will still post fun, different projects as Tony gets them, but I will likely vent a bit about the whole school thingy from time to time now as well. Such it is.

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