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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Antarctica Unit

Theses are the books and resources we are using for our Antarctica study.
Antarctica (True Books)Trapped by the Ice!: Shackleton's Amazing Antarctic Adventure

Penguins!North Pole, South Pole (A Holiday House Reader, Level 2)

Something to Tell the GrandcowsMy Penguin Osbert in Love
Antarctic Antics Video - VHS (Scholastic Video Collection)Penguin Puzzle (The Magic School Bus)
Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))Penguins and Antarctica (Magic Tree House Rsrch Gdes(R))

We will be using many of the mini book (lapbook ) components available free at
These are part of the Polar Animals Unit and Lapbook

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My newest hobby, sewing.

This semester at our Homeschool Co-Op, one of the moms volunteered her 
time to teach a basic sewing class. This purse was my first project. It is quilted squares.
 I used the Mary Englebright material with a red star pattern to compliment the red colors. 

You cut out the material in 5 inch squares and put a 4" square of batting in between.
Then you sew a criss cross.

The purse is also reversible. This is the smooth side of the purse.

Another closer view of the smooth side.

This is the frayed side look. You clip the edges of each square to give a rag quilt look.
I haven't decided how I am going to close it yet. I may put in a snap or
just leave it open. It does not have pockets, so I have to have smaller zipper
type bags inside to store personal items like chapstick, gum etc.

Another view of the frayed edge side.

All in all I am very happy with my first sewing project. It actually took about 8 hours 
from start to finish. Cutting the material took a couple hours.
Then pinning and sewing each square. Then you sew the squares together and then 
make the straps.

If I had to do it again, I would use a little thicker batting because it really does not 
look as quilted as I would like for it to look.

But I think that I will be inspired to make a small quilt someday.
And maybe some more purses for gifts in the future.

My new sewing machine

Well I mentioned that I am taking a sewing class this semester at Co-Op. One of the moms was kind
enough to volunteer her talents to us and teach a basic sewing class. So, I needed to find a sewing machine.

So I looked and googled and looked, but couldn't make up my mind. I saw the Singer Pixie which looked great on HSN. But of course I am one of those people that reads reviews and keeps searching for more reviews etc.
What changed my mind...Well way more bad reviews than good ones.

Then I saw the Janome Sew Mini. (Only 6 pounds.) Top loading bobbin. Can be used for quilting.
OK so I read reviews and saw some youtube tutorials on it. The only drawback was that I could not get
it locally. (Ugh.) I just hate having to buy online, if there is a problem, then I am dealing with a company far away etc.

I found the machine for sale at I asked around to my buddies that have purchased from Overstock and most had a positive experience. So I decided to give them a try.

I was able to get a refurbished machine, pay $6.99 extra for a 2 year replacement warranty.
So the whole thing shipped to my door was $43.99.

Which I think was a good price. The only problem I have had so far is that the needle keeps coming un-threaded. My instructor mentioned to check the tension, so I am really hoping that will fix the issue.

Other than that is sews really well, and will be all I need for my purposes which will be mending,  light sewing, some quilting, and mostly paper crafting items like cards and scrapbooking.

Monday, January 25, 2010


We are currently learning about Antarctica. 
Today we learned about summer and winter. The coldest and warmest temps.
We also learned about the early explorers. 
Here are some beautiful pictures a friend sent me.     

Amazing   striped icebergs!

Icebergs   in the Antarctic area sometimes have stripes,   formed by

layers of  snow that react to  different  conditions.

Blue stripes  are  often created when a crevice in the ice   sheet

fills up  with meltwater and freezes so  quickly that no bubbles  form.

When an   iceberg falls into the sea, a layer of salty   seawater  can
freeze to  the underside. If this  is rich in algae, it can form  a
green   stripe.

Brown, black  and yellow lines are  caused by sediment, picked  up
when the ice   sheet grinds downhill towards the   sea.

Antarctica Frozen   Wave Pixs - Nature is   amazing!

The   water froze the instant the wave broke through   the ice.  That's  what it is like in  Antarctica  where it  is  the
coldest   weather in decades. Water freezes the   instant it  Comes in contact with the air.. The temperature of the water is already some degrees below  freezing.

Just   look at how the wave froze in mid-air!!!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Our God is Crazy Awesome!

Lexi drew this picture in Children's Church this past Sunday.
Our church is reading through a book called "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. I am really enjoying the book. In the first chapter he has you consider how awesome and amazing God is. In the 2nd chapter he really gets down to the fact that everything is really about HIM.
(Even though we think it is about us.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Little Dixie

Little Dixie is about 10 weeks old now. She is doing great at using the bathroom outdoors for #2 now. She still has some #1 accidents though. She whines to let us know sometimes. Most of the time we just take her out about every hour to two hours.
She is 15 inches long, and I really wish we had measured her at Christmas to see how much she has grown.
She still nips the kids alot, and Buddy, who bites her back. She pretty much terrorizes him. He often comes to me and whines. (The other day he was shaking..I think she makes him nervous.)
Gary took him out for a while so he could enjoy some fishing time, but it was just a little too cold for him.

She is sweet when she wants to be..

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My curly girl journey

My hair before curly girl. Here is is layered and styled. It doesn't look bad, but it takes
alot of goo to get it to be manageable. Here I would have shampooed, and conditioned, and then used some sort of gel or mousse. Then I blow dry it.

Before Curly Girl picture

Last night, Melissa, one of my friends, shared that she had recently switched to the "curly girl method" for her hair. I had heard her mention it before. But of course, I didn't think much of it.

I knew a little about it, mainly that you do not shampoo your hair anymore. (And of course that did not sound like something I would be interested in.)

But I guess last night the timing was right. So today I began to look into this a little more.

I do have to admit that one of the main reasons I did so, was because Melissa's hair looks great! I can tell a huge difference in how healthy it looks. She does have a cute do now too. She recently cut her hair shorter, which looks really cute too.

Now for some background. My hair is not actually curly. (At least I wouldn't call it curly.)

I would call it wavy though. My son's hair, however is curly. So I know he can benefit from this method as well.

I ordered the Curly Girl book from my library. (I am so glad they have it.) So I am hoping to get a little more insight into all this.

In the meantime (Because I cannot possibly wait to get the book, now.) I went searching online for information. A few things I have found out are:

1. Don't use products with xane, conol, and cone at the end of them. (Now there are some water soluable based cone products but I don't want to get all into that now.) These hair build up in your hair.

2. Avoid shampoos with "sodium laurel sulfate" these harsh chemicals strip hair.

3. Try to allow your hair to air dry.

So I began by setting aside all my products with those weird endings. (I haven't thrown them out yet, but they are on a back shelf, and won't be used by me or the kids while we are transitioning.

I decided to shampoo today, because I needed to go ahead and strip my hair of any products that I may have had building up. But for now, that shampoo has also been set aside since it contains sodium laurel sulfate. I will be on the look out for another shampoo that is free of sulfates. I found a list here on this blog. So I will start here.

I plan to keep track of what I try, and what does and doesn't work in the process.
One thing I do know is my hair feels really yucky if I don't shampoo. (So for me, finding a good, non stripping shampoo is what I will strive for now.) Maybe later I can transistion away from shampoos all together.

Here is one website I found informative on this subject. Here is another site for DevaCurl products. I would love to give these a try. They have a really cool video on the transformations that have been made using the products. Unfortunately there are no retailers in my area.

Curly guy journey

Picture before starting the curly guy journey.

Well since I decided to start the curly girl journey. I also decided to start ds on the same journey.

His may be different from mine because his hair is "curly". My hair is actually just wavy.

I would love to have his beautiful locks. Now one of the big issues I have with his hair is that the texture is always dry. It always feels course. Even though it may look good, when you touch it, you can feel how dry and strawlike it feels. Another big issue is that he too often hides these beautiful locks under a hat. (Because he doesn't want to fix it, or for me to have to fix it.)

It really isn't much trouble. He usually shampoos his hair, sometimes we put in a leave in conditioner. Most of the time we don't. To style it, I usually have a spray bottle of water, and just wet it, and add some conditioner to it. I can usually fingerstyle it or comb it and then do a light fingerstyle. So my main desire here is for the texture of his hair to improve.

He normally shampoos his hair every other day. Today will be his last day using a sulfate type shampoo. (I am using it to make sure all other products I don't want to use, are no longer in his hair.) Also something I do need to mention is that our water here is very hard. We have alot of lime in our water, so I am sure this contributes to the texture of our hair. I will see what we can do to overcome this problem. (Right now we have no plans for a water softener, we have talked to many people in the area and no one seems to actually have found a good fix for this.)

Now to contrast that, my daughter has beautiful, long, shiny, soft hair. And we use the same products so I know that some of the problem with ds is the products we are using.

Straight Girl

Here is a picture of dd at Christmas. Before I decided to try the curly girl journey.
One thing I have learned is that shampoos with "sodium laurel sulfate" strip your hair.
So we have eliminated that product from our routine. We also have eliminated products that have ingredients that end with "cone, xane, conol." (I realize their are some ok ones out there, but it just makes it easier when you begin if you can go with a few things you know.)

The main problem I have with dd's hair is that it is long and thick. (Every day her hair is very tangled.) She sleeps like a wild child. (I have tried braiding her hair at night, but it does not seem to help much. Right now her routine includes shampooing every other day, following it with a leave in conditioner, and then we use a detangling spray when we brush it. Another thing, I did read was not to use a brush on hair, so we will be switching to a wide tooth comb.

I recently got her hair cut into long layers, because I was tired of it just being straight.
Besides I just kept thinking, "what is the point of the long beautiful hair if we are just going to put it up all the time." I do like the way it lays now, but the tangles have not improved.

For the most part her hair is reasonably soft and shiny. Oh and her bangs, well I am letting those grow out too. (So that is why they seem long here.) I am tired of having to cut them every 3 weeks. So I opted that now is the time to let them grow out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Geography Week 2.

Here are some of the activities and things we learned about this week.
This page is a scavenger hunt page. For each letter, you must find a country that begins
with the letter. Lexi did half and Peyton did half.
We discussed several types of maps. We also ready through a book about Maps.

We learned about Physical maps
Road Maps
Specialty Maps

Topographic Maps
Ds did an Enchanted Learning Page activity on Topographic Maps

DD did this page on coloring the coninents and oceans.
(Also enchanted learning.)

This word search is in the GTG book.

We also learned the names of the 7 continents, the names of the oceans.
Which ones are smallest, largest etc.
These mini books below came from HSS.

We fnished our week by watching the Standard Deviants video on Geography.
This was the first time I had ever seen Standard Deviants products.
My library had the video, so I was able to review it for free.
I liked it and thought it was a fun learning video for the kids. It really is geared for
older children. Probably Jr. High level and up. (Just becaue of the vocabulary used.)
It seemed easier to just take one lesson a day with this, since it is alot of information to digest.
IMO talking about it -or writing something after the video would prove most useful.
I would love to see them do this for younger children.
But I will be open to using their products in the future.

Globe vs. flat maps

Trying to illustrate to the children how a globe and flat map differ.
A globe is a 3d type map. Since it is shaped like the earth it is easier to show
the relation of the continents etc.

So for this example I drew some continents on the orange.
Then I sliced the orange up and laid out the pieces in a flat arrangement.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

GTG Week 1 Maps and Globes

This week we spent time learning about general geography, maps and globes. (I really feel like GTG lacks in this department.) The trail guide does come in alot more handy for just general geography. But I have really had to go to other resources to find general work pages, minibooks etc.

We read through a book called Maps and Globes by Harriett Barton. I really loved this book. It begins with the history of maps, talks about charts, different types of maps. Does a little history in Columbus and Magellen etc. The illustrations are great too!

We read through another book called Longitude and Latitude. We learned these terms as well as the equator, and prime meridian.

One of my favorite resources is the illustrated dictionary in the back of the Trail Guide for World Geography. (It is small and simple.) GTG also has one if you want a page for each word. But for our purposes I really felt being able to get 6 words to one page is great.

We are making a notebook and each child is contributing parts to it. Some of the great resources I have found are from Enchanted Learning, The Complete Book of Map Skills and Geography Grades 3-6 (A book I already owned) and my library has a book called Mighty Maps (It is actually a workbook) and it has been a great resource for pulling questions and activities out of.

Our Notebook Cover

DD's notebooking page from Maps and Globes.

It says "The very first maps were just scratches in the dirt."

Longitude and Latitude activity from Enchanted Learning.

The mini book is an Atlas scavenger hunt from Homeschoolshare. I did have to tweak

this some. We used 2 different Atlases and the answers were not evident.

We had trouble determining silk was made in China. (Except that I already knew it.)

In one atlas there was a very tiny reference to silk production. The other atlas had no

information on silk. Cocoa beans was another problem, so I used coffee instead since it was evident in both atlases.

Trail Guide Illustrated Dictionary Blank Page

Here ds drew pics for and defined: globe, grid, latitude, longitude,

equator and prime meridian.

Equator and Lattitude lines activity page from Mighty Maps.

Grid activity from Mighty Maps

Grid work page from Map Skills book