School went quickly this morning. There was a little less to do than normal, not quite sure why, but I liked it. Bethany had to watch this video and write about it for science.

Math went fast, triangles, line graphs and multiplication. We left early for dance because I had to stop by the shoe store to look for ballet shoes for Hannah. I am going to have to go to Penny Robinson, Payless just doesn’t have her size, she’s in this weird between size. We made it to dance early, a first for me…I’ve been late or right at 1 pm every week. I made a decision not to be rushed today and it worked out. Today we were talking about our identity in Christ, a new creation, beautiful, and looking at what God says our identity is versus what lies are out there. We hear them every day, you are stupid, not pretty, fat, lazy, hopeless, but that is not who we are. Listen to this song, close you eyes and really listen, this is who you are.

After dance we met Lola at the coffee shop and got to visit with her and tell her about our CA trip. The girls told her about all the cool things we saw, the whales, the tide pools and more. We talked about church, how fast kids grow up and watched the girls plunk dominoes and create a domino train. We had a long visit, then we said goodbye and went to the canal trail to get some Fall pics.

Tomorrow is a busy day!

Catching up

Some pics from the improv show Saturday.

A nice sunset.

Tuesday Hannah had an art class and made a picture of a macaw, then we drove Bethany to Parker for a teen writing class on how to write, edit and publish a book. Once again she said she wouldn’t like it, once again I scored.

Wednesday morning we made plant and animal cell cookies, it was for Bethany’s class, but we all made the cookies. Once the cells were labeled, we ate them and brought extra cookies and cell parts to the park. It’s much more fun to eat a peppermint patty nucleus than to make one out of paper or playdough.

Don’t know what the cell parts are or what they do? This site uses cards with the cell parts labeled and what their function is.

For park day we were at Fly’n B park and I fired up the grill to cook hot dogs and whatever else people wanted to throw on there. We also had a fire later for s’mores and I found the best s’more – toasted coconut marshmallow between 2 honey cinnamon nut thins….heaven. The park is full of color right now.

The pond is full of fish.

Grace found a hiding hole of a bullfrog, but no frog, we did catch some toads though. Hannah was being a ninja.

Analivia ate crabapples that I picked.

We saw 5 hawks circling through the trees (there are no hawks in this pic, just trees.)

And some children got wet, note the sign says ‘no swimming’ not ‘no wading.’

We had a great time at the park, met a new family, ate hot dogs and s’mores and pumpkin chips with pumpkin salsa, yum.

Today it rained and we stayed home and did school. Bethany had to compare some sonnets and finish up a Biology webquest. Grace was reading and doing grammar while Hannah was doing cursive, vocabulary and spelling. Bethany did a virtual lab with cancer cells, you can do the lab here.

My computer is still not working, but I’ve made a run around by using Hannah’s computer after buying a new camera cable. Tomorrow we were going to the library for some art, but if it doesn’t rain we’ll be heading to Daniel’s park instead.

I’m thinking

we might never get to play tennis this week. Monday it poured down rain and hailed like crazy everywhere but my house (but that’s okay.) Tuesday we met James for dinner after the park. Today we were just heading out the door when it started raining. There is a slight chance that we will get to play tomorrow after our hike…slight.

Today was the ever important count day for our on-line school (even though 2 of my kids are using the curriculum as homeschoolers, they still ‘count’.) So we did a lesson in every class, which didn’t take Grace and Hannah long to do. Bethany had some very easy things to do in most of her classes, one exam to take (but they went over the test in an on-line session), one report to drop, one essay to drop and a few quizzes thrown in there. She was working on an essay for Government about four powers of Congress that Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives it. There are more, but she only needed to talk about four. I’m pretty sure I took Government in high school, I’m pretty sure we talked about the Constitution and I’m pretty sure we talked about the powers of Congress, but we found out today that Congress can hire pirates to protect the US against enemies. I know, right? Pirates like the ‘Ahoy matey, avast ye landlubbers’ kind of pirates…I assume.

I’m pretty sure that today no one would think of hiring pirates to scour the seas of our enemies, assuming our enemies were on the seas. But still, it’s a cool thought. (Although I’m not sure Larry would scare many people.)

So, instead of tennis we went to the library. We got some cool books like:




new york



and some other random books. Hannah is making a salad recipe that she found in the cook book to go with our eggplant and chicken parmesan.

We had a very low key day, the rain was nice, we have to drop Bethany at church tonight so we might go to the gym during that time. I’m looking forward to getting out on a hike tomorrow, so I hope we’re done with rain for the next few days.

To end, here is something Bethany made for Government. It was her first try at using Moovly and I think we’ll be using it again. The music is lame, but it’s the only thing we had downloaded to use that worked. Next time we’ll download some more music clips.

Monday, Tuesday…almost Park day!

Monday went by fast. The girls worked on school stuff, then Grace, Hannah and I went off to dance. Bethany continued to work at home and then she read and wrote some fiction stories. James was working from home, so he took a break to go to the gym. Our devotional this week at dance was about Christ becoming human and divesting Himself of all His glory. We’re supposed to spend the week looking at the meaning of obedience and writing down thoughts of how the old and new covenants are different. Here is Hannah’s poem from last week:

God never lies
God is bigger than the mountains
He sustains my life
He protects me
He loves me
God is patient
He waits for me
He listens to me prayers
I dance for Him and He likes it.

-Hannah :)

After dance we ran by the shoe store to buy new ballet shoes, but they were all out of the sizes we needed. Back at home I made garlic chicken alfredo pasta. James and I had tickets to see The Treasure of the Sierra Madre at Alamo drafthouse, so we headed over there after dinner.


John Huston certainly made a winner when we made this movie, it’s got it all: characters, big names, great quotes, wonderful themes and truths about life. Bogart is Fred C. Dobbs, he’s gritty, selfish, greedy and not the brightest tool in the shed. Tim Holt plays Bob Curtin a likable character that chooses the moral high ground. But, the lead character is Walter Huston as Howard a down and out gold prospector that knows how the love of gold can change men’s souls. I don’t know if John Huston was always going to cast his dad in the role of Howard, but I can’t see anyone else playing that role as well as he did. Huston cast himself in the role of the wealthy American who keeps getting hit up by Bogart. Anyway, we got to see the movie playing from 35mm film – scratches and all. It was nice.

Howard: Ah, as long as there’s no find, the noble brotherhood will last but when the piles of gold begin to grow… that’s when the trouble starts.

Dobbs: Conscience. What a thing. If you believe you got a conscience it’ll pester you to death. But if you don’t believe you got one, what could it do t’ya? Makes me sick, all this talking and fussing about nonsense.

Dobbs: Let’s see, three times 35 – is a hundred and five. I’ll bet you 105,000 dollars that you go to sleep before I do.

Bob Curtin: You know, the worst ain’t so bad when it finally happens. Not half as bad as you figure it’ll be before it’s happened.

Tuesday the girls woke up late. We got some school done and I finished up a Shutterfly book about our CA trip (I was trying to hurry because there is a half off coupon good till Wed., just made it!) I made pork steak and pasta with tomatoes and olive oil in it (time to go shopping, I had nothing to add to the meal except pasta.)

Tomorrow is Park day and I have to remember to bring leftover things from last week to the park to be picked up. So far, a good start to the week.


Today, after doing school, we got the supplies for Bethany’s science lab. I made everyone do it because, well, why not?

Safety first!

The lab is pretty simple, but the reaction of the liver to the hydrogen peroxide was pretty cool.

Also, lighting matches with the oxygen gas being given off was cool too…

which led to lighting matches just for fun.

Which led to Hannah asking why toothpicks don’t light from the match books. I asked her if she thought the toothpick was the same as a match – one is wood and one is paper, but they both burn. She looked at the matches and thought that the stuff on the match must have something to do with why matches light when you rub them on the cover and toothpicks don’t. The chicken liver that we used bubbled up so much that it kept overflowing the test tube.

It was fun to listen to the pop of the toothpick relighting when it got near the bubbles from the liver. Hannah’s piece produced some nice popping sounds.

The same experiment with apple, potato, onion and carrot wasn’t as neat.

The potato and onion foamed up, but didn’t light a glowing match. The apple and carrot did practically nothing. You can find one version of the lab here

Doing laundry and cleaning up liver fluid overflows took up the rest of my day. Next week it’s a photosynthesis lab, that one shouldn’t be as gross.

Park day!

I tell you, nothing beats park day. The kids get to play, the parent get to chat, the shade was nice, the water was cool – it’s nice. We had a huge crowd today, probably close to 40 kids ranging in age from 2 to 15 (with lots of 8 and 12 year olds in there.)

But first, school. Bethany worked on Driver’s ed today (don’t worry it’s just the book work side of it – though I don’t know why you’d be worried, you don’t have to drive with her…), some Government and some Music. Grace worked on a Math test and got a 100, even though she was pleading to not do it. Hannah has started working on cursive and it’s true – when someone wants to do something, they will do it easier than when they don’t want to and you force them to do it. This week she took her training wheels off her bike and is riding without them and now she’s learning cursive. Maybe tomorrow she’ll ask to learn Algebra (I doubt it.)

The park was nice, we found 3 picnic tables in the shade and set up there.

2 boys (twins) had a birthday today and were turning 12, they brought cookies to share. We got to chat about our trip, vent a little about lots of things (not just me venting, other people venting) and play.

There were so many scooters that looked alike it was hard to keep track of which one belonged to which kid.

We stayed until 4:30 and then headed home with an extra kid in tow. Bethany has youth group tonight and we’re taking the girls to the pool until it’s time to pick her up. Tomorrow we’re all doing a science lab (that’s really only Bethany’s), so we’ll see how that turns out.

‘A day in the life’ {Thursday}


OK, so I could have picked any day this week. Monday was full of school and Chinese class for Hannah. Tuesday was more school and a walk at Hudson gardens. Wednesday is always light because of Park day, so I chose today. Yeah, I knew that we had a concert at the library and I knew that we’d be picking crabapples, but this is a more representative day – school in the morning, fun stuff in the afternoon.

So, I woke up at my usual time 7:30 am. I know this isn’t early for most people, but the girls and I are not early risers (unless we’re camping), so just pretend that 7:30 is early. I strive to start school by 9 am, so this morning time is mine to read my devotional, check my e-mail and HS group board, walk outside (sometimes), and do laundry-dishes-clean up around the house. This is also time to check over school to-do’s and make a specific plan of attack for the day (in general the girls know what to do, but if things are due, or big items are coming up, I need to let them know how to accomplish those goals.)

By 9 am the girls were downstairs working on school. Bethany finished up a report for English and this brochure for Government. Grace finished her Math and then worked on a map for History.

Hannah wrote her Math problems out (rounding), worked on her cursive and spelling.

There wasn’t too much school because we had to be out the door by 11:15. Our read aloud is:


Right now we’re on Clara Brown – Angel of the Rockies. We usually read at lunch time, but today we did it early because we had a treat for lunch, music at the library. Today it was Songs Judica and snacks from Whole Foods.

This time I brought paper and colored pencils so the girls could draw while listening to the music…music+art+culture.

Have a listen…..

The library also had an exhibit about Steve Jobs; giant i-phones were filled with US patents for his technology.

We saw a patent for a giant 1983 bulky computer and a 2009 i-pod and everything in-between. Walking back to the car we had to stop and take a picture in the red phone booth, even though it’s not blue…and not a police call box (you’d think someone would have painted it Dr. Who blue by now.)

We ate lunch at Chick-fil-a and waited out the rain. Back at home we used the delay in rain showers to head over to a local crabapple tree to pick enough apples to make jelly.

We picked about 10 cups (sans the ones Hannah ate.)

They have enough pectin in them to make jelly without adding pectin, so that is good news for us – first time crabapple jelly makers. We cleaned the fruit, cut off the stems and ends and boiled the fruit after measuring out 8 cups of apples. We picked the red crabapples because I thought they would make a pretty color of jelly (as opposed to the green ones.)

Then we strained the fruit, reserved the juice and boiled it again, adding in the sugar.

Finally we poured the jelly into jars and did a hot water bath to seal them. I had Hannah measure the amount in the jars versus what we started with. Let’s see…cooking+math.

Dinner was BBQ courtesy James, so I had time to plan out some more of our California trip (we’re leaving on Sep. 2nd…yikes!) We ended the night with a some TV and reading (not at the same time.)

So that is a pretty typical day in the life, some days are more schoolish, some days are more fun, some days are crazy and some days are snowed-in-sit-by-the-fireplace days….but they’re all good days at home.

See more ‘day in the life’ posts here.


More school today. The schedule will go slower once we get back from CA, but this week (at least for Bethany) it’s work, work, work. She finished up a unit in Government, did some English assignments, Biology and Music. Tomorrow it’s more of the same for her.

After lunch, we went to Hudson gardens to see the frogs and maybe try to catch some.

We didn’t see any frogs in the small pond on the first try, so we headed over to the other pond. We found 4 frogs, but they were all too fast to catch. The girls went back across the creek to raid the plum tree.

Grace found ‘the sweetest plum ever’.

The bridge and creek.

Back at the small pond….well, who do we spy hiding by the potted plant?

He was just out of reach. This guy was also out of reach, just daring us to fall in the water.

We didn’t catch any frogs, but we did catch this handsome grasshopper.

A delightful time in the gardens. Back at home I baked some fish and spaghetti squash and then we went to the gym to swim and walk on the treadmill. Hopefully it won’t rain for park day tomorrow.


Park day yesterday was wonderful. The kids played in the water, Bethany got some friend time, we found some snakes, met some new friends, played and talked.

Today we started school by trying to catch up the on-line system to where we are at. Hannah’s course were wiped, History we reloaded, but I’m having to go through everything else and put tests back in. Grace has a totally different Math and History, so those stand as new courses. Bethany did a little bit of everything and we all helped with the Science lab because, well, it was fun. Bubblegum lab (I did this as a co-op once.)

Use the scientific method to determine which bubblegum blows the biggest bubbles and why. Pick two types of gum (one sugar free and one with sugar.)

Control your variables (use 1 piece of gum, chew for 5 minutes, etc.) After 5 minutes blow a bubble, measure the diameter, repeat 2 more time. Repeat with the other type of gum.

After blowing the bubbles, stretch each piece of gum out and measure the length. Now you can answer the problem with the data and see if it matched your hypothesis.

I thought the best part of the lab was blowing the bubbles, Hannah thought it was the stretching of the gum, Grace thought it was blowing bubbles and Bethany thought chewing the gum was the best part.

The world may never know.

Tomorrow it’s off to Elitch for Grace and Hannah, while Bethany stays home to write and do some school work.

More school pics

After a long day of school (for Bethany anyway, she’s working hard to be ahead so that when we get back from CA she’s not behind) I took Grace and Hannah to Hudson gardens for their school pics. It’s always nice to be there in the evenings, nice light, great water reflections, pretty flowers,

frogs and flickers,

and bunny rabbits who want to be in the picture.

Hannah, 3rd grade. We use K12 through a virtual school, part-time, which means we’re homeschoolers under the law.

I filed my NOI 2 weeks ago….even though we started this school year in March.

We do Music (drums and harmonica), Art, unit studies and random things through our HS group’s co-ops throughout the year. While taking pics we found sour cherries, crab-apples and plums to snack on.

Hannah likes reading and doing anything on the computer. She likes hands-on learning or out-loud learning.

Grace is in 7th grade, also using the virtual school part-time.

She does Language arts, History, and Math through them, we supplement Art, Music (piano), Biology, classes from Coursera that look interesting and random co-ops throughout the year.

Grace likes quiet during school and often retires to the study to read.

She hopes to start volunteering in a fish store taking care of fish, eventually she wants to be a Marine biologist.

So, there you go, school pics for 2014/15.