Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! {Early}

Since his birthday is on Monday, you have some time to look through the links and get some fun ideas for then.

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904. If you didn’t already know, Dr. Seuss is coming out with a new book What Pet Should I Get? His widow found the makings of the book among his things and handed it over to a publisher. Did you know that you can use Dr. Seuss books for teaching older kids? Sure, we love them for teaching reading, matching and rhyming words and phonics, but some Seuss books have deep themes and meanings and can be fun to use for a Literature study.

So, what can older kids look for? Elements of fiction for one. These are things that every story has, things like – plot, theme, character, setting, point of view and mood. Choose a book like The Lorax or The Sneetches. Give your child a notebooking sheet for theme vs. plot (like this one here) and let them go to work examining the story and looking for deeper meanings. You could assign a theme, or have them try to guess it. In The Lorax an obvious theme is don’t hurt the environment, can you find others? What about Yertle the Turtle? Can they spot the Hitler reference? The Butter Battle Book was actually pulled from library shelves because of its theme (The Cold War and the arms race.)

Don’t abandon fun things to do on this day too – who doesn’t love waking up to a breakfast of green eggs and ham?


Want more fun stuff? Give your child 6, 10, 20 or more rhyming words and have them write a story in Seuss style. A Lorax unit study here. Don’t forget art! Here is a guide to using acrylic paint to paint two Dr. Seuss characters. Need to integrate more than just reading and writing? Algebra and Dr. Seuss? Go here to find an Algebra story. Learn all about the political Dr. Seuss here, includes info. about the film, educator guide and more.

They sky is the limit, you can find ways to use these books for art, math, social studies, history, writing, reading and more.

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
Dr. Seuss

Thankful Tuesday

I’m thankful for my camera, which I use to take pictures of things like – snow.

I’m thankful for the library that keeps us supplied with free books and movies.


I’m thankful for my homeschool group, a group of friends that support us. I am thankful for the new medicine that the doctor ordered for my gout. I am thankful that we homeschool and that I can see learning happen!

Today we did school: volume of cones, right triangles, fractions, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, criminology, and English. Bethany drove to the library and then to Hudson gardens where we tramped around looking for birds.

We were just looking for them to take a picture, not to count.

I took some snow pics too – just because.


We had a sub teaching NIA class this morning, I like Jo, but she is go-go-go. I had just enough time to grab some stuff at the store and then do a bit of school before leaving for the library to teach my art co-op. Bethany used the tangram pieces for math, now she has to find the area and perimeter of all the pieces used and use ratios to translate that into a bigger model.

Hannah just used the pieces to play.

Here is a link to virtual tangrams.

At my co-op we were learning about Madhubani Indian painting.

Madhubani painting was traditionally created by the women of the Brahman, Dusadh and Kayastha communities in Mithila region in Nepal and India. It was originated in a Madhubhani village.

This painting as a form of wall art was practiced widely throughout the region; the more recent development of painting on paper and canvas originated among the villages around Madhubani.

The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts, but now they are also done on cloth, handmade paper and canvas. Madhubani paintings are made from the paste of powdered rice.

Madhubani painting has remained confined to a compact geographical area and the skills have been passed on through centuries, the content and the style have largely remained the same.

Madhubani paintings also use two dimensional imagery, and the colors used are derived from plants. Ochre and lampblack are also used for reddish brown and black respectively.

Madhubani paintings mostly depict the men & its association with nature and the scenes & deity from the ancient epics.

Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings. Generally no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs. Traditionally, painting was one of the skills that was passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila Region, mainly by women.

Map of India here. About India for kids here. Time for kids about India here. Indian henna designs here.

We talked about symmetry, repetition, borders, and bright colors. As you can see, some pictures were finished, and some weren’t. We read two stories, talked about Madhubani, looked over idea sheets, sketched and painted while Hindi music was playing, it was nice.

Bacteria, plants and fungi

That’s what Bethany was up to today in Biology. She did a slideshow here and here about her picks for bacteria and plants. The Cyanobacteria looks very cool when it’s microscopic.


We’ve seen it in blooms in a lake too, not so great looking then. You can find out more about Cyanobacteria here. Grace is working on volume of cones and applications for that in math. This site has tutorials for finding the volume of cones and pyramids. Hannah is still working on fractions, there are lots of good fraction games out there, here is one site that she likes.

After a bit of school we went to Pizza Doodle to have a ‘make your own pizza’ co-op. Hannah and Grace had their hand made pizzas, Bethany had a calzone and I had a nice salad. We learned how to play farkel while waiting on our pizzas and got addicted to it. Luckily we have more than 6 die at home, so no need to go buy the game just to get dice. After that we went by the music store to get Hannah a stand for her djembe and I also got a drum, a darbuka, so that I won’t have to borrow one at drum circle.

We have cabbage soup with carrots, onions and squash cooking in the crockpot for dinner. Drum circle at 6 and the gym at 8:30 tonight will wrap up my day.


I started off the day with a weigh in – 21 pounds lost since Dec. 30. That means I’m halfway to my birthday goal of 42 pounds and it’s going to be tight. I’m going to add in another 30 min. gym session in the middle of the day, so on NIA days that will be 2 hours and on the other days it will be 1 1/2 hours.

For school we were working on volume of cylinders, similar triangles, and fractions. Bethany is almost done with An Enemy of the People play, Grace is about to start Swiss Family Robinson and Hannah is reading poems. After lunch we went by Petco and got two more bettas. Here is Grace’s fish Blizzard.

He has a cute personality, he follows you around the tank, plays with dribbles of water that fall on the outside of the tank and is very curious. Midnight, Hannah’s replacement fish, is still very dark…just like his name.

He gets mad if you try to play with him and attacks anything around the tank. This is my fish, Sherlock, he seems curious and playful, but he’s just a baby.

Blizzard is a double tail betta, Sherlock is too small to tell what kind he is (and even if he’s a he, but if not I can call him Sherrylock.)

We got Modern Times in from the library and decided to watch it this Friday and see if anyone wants to come over and see it with us. We also have Robin Hood with Douglas Fairbanks coming from the library.

NIA, school, cooking and youth group

I had a good NIA class, it was the last day of the routine that focused on the spine and posture, next week we start something new. We jumped into school when I got home, math, reading, vocabulary and making sure that Bethany stays a few weeks ahead so that she isn’t behind when we get back from the cruise. Speaking of that, 30 days to go. Hannah wants a down-to-the-minute itinerary for the days at sea, but I told her that we will plan those things when we get the list of what’s going on the next day (she doesn’t want to miss any of the kids activities.)

Bethany passed up her driving time for time to write, then it was time to get Hannah to the library for the Sticky Fingers cooking. Today they were making vegetable bourguignon (the cooking class is vegetarian) and a fruit frappe. Hannah got to chop onion, garlic, zucchini and carrots, mix vinegar and grape juice and help stir the skillet when everything was dumped in. The chef taught them how to count in French and taught them a few French words. The frappe was grape juice, grapes, bananas and ice. Hannah ate her portion of the dish, but didn’t go back for seconds, she did get some more of the frappe though (she loves smoothies.)

Back at home I stirred the BBQ chicken in the crockpot, made asparagus for myself and Hannah made 3 potato mice (twice baked potatoes with decorations.) She also made dessert – layered strawberry surprise.

Potato mice

4 medium baking potatoes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 oz butter
5 tbsp milk
2 1/2 oz grated Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to season

To decorate

4 small Cherry tomatoes
4 Radishes
Spring onions

Wash the potatoes and pat dry. Prick them all over with a fork and put on a baking tray. Brush them over with the oil. Bake the potatoes in an oven preheated to 400°F oven for about an hour until they are soft. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut the tops off and carefully scoop out the soft potato centers. Mash the soft centers with the butter, milk, three quarters of the cheese, salt and pepper. Then pop the mixture back into the potato jackets. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the potatoes and cook under the grill for a few minutes until golden. Make a nose and whiskers with half a tomato held in place with a cocktail stick and chives tucked behind. Finish decorating with raisin eyes, radish ears and spring onion tails.

Strawberry surprise

3 spongecakes (like you use for strawberry shortcake)
4-6 strawberries chopped up
3 scoops of strawberry ice cream (we put fresh mashed strawberries into vanilla ice cream and made our own. )
3 mint leaves

Crumble the spongecake. Layer the cake, strawberries and ice cream in a sundae cup or wide glass, repeat until you run out of room (or ingredients.) Top with a mint leaf.

Bethany got dropped at youth group, the rest of us went shopping for pants at Wal-mart and then stopped by the bookstore to read. Even though I was tired, James and I went to the gym for our evening workout. I don’t like going late, but I have a better chance of getting machine 19 if we go after 8:30.

Tomorrow is a stay home and school day with a driving lesson and morning and evening workouts.


Yesterday we did school and then I ran errands. It was the 15th, so time for TNO. I’m glad we’re moving to another Whole Foods in January, the one at Belmar is too healthy. They had none of my favorites on the hot buffet and my plate looked like I was a vegetarian. I did have some good Virgil’s root beer though…and a creme brulee, so that part was good. We had a nice turnout and the Moms and Dad got to talk for a few hours.

Today I dropped the van off for a brake fixing, I think that will solve the wobbling problem that we’ve been having. We did school, Bethany finished up her finals and Grace did some semester tests, Hannah just did a few items on her list. She’s reading Little House on the Prairie right now, we’re going to have fun with that one. We just got a stack of books from the library, I am about to start reading this one:


It looks like a good read about a man who ‘After 20 days in a coma, Bauby awoke into a body which had all but stopped working: only his left eye functioned, allowing him to see and, by blinking it, to make clear that his mind was unimpaired. Almost miraculously, he was soon able to express himself in the richest detail: dictating a word at a time, blinking to select each letter as the alphabet was recited to him slowly, over and over again. In the same way, he was able eventually to compose this extraordinary book.’ We’ll be going back soon to get some more books to read over break.

This afternoon we’re making fudge and gingerbread cookies and maybe pumpkin praline cookies too. I need to have some cookies on hand for neighbors and for the homeless presents for next week….hopefully we won’t eat all of them today.

Getting crafty at the library

Bethany took her Biology final today and worked on her music project. Grace did math (functions) and grammar (irregular verbs) and reading. Hannah took a spelling test (missed one word), did math and reading. I got my Christmas cards in and got them all addressed and stamped. Hannah and Bethany walked up to King Soopers (Hannah has Grandma money burning a hole in her pocket) and Hannah bought a Barbie doll for Grace. When they got back home, Hannah told me that she thought the doll was $11, but she ended up spending $20. I looked at the receipt and saw that the doll rang up as $18, but Hannah was sure that the tag on the aisle said $11. I had to run to the store for more stamps, so I took her receipt with me and looked at the tag on the aisle and sure enough – it was $11. So, Hannah got her $18 back and a free doll (when something rings up incorrectly you get the item free and you get your money back if you already spent it.) She was very happy about the turn of events.

We went by RAFT so I could renew my membership and shop around. The girls all found some cool stuff and we stuffed a bag with books for $1. I got all the backpacks that we need for our H^3 Christmas event for the homeless (30 of them) for $6, I love RAFT. After that we went to the library for craft night.

We made cards and ornaments.

We made buttons and reindeer bags.


Breaking records

We broke the record low high on Tuesday and Wednesday night we broke the record low low. It was -12. Back in 1882 it was -4 on that day. I don’t mind the cold except that it means less snow, the snow is smaller when the air is colder, so it might snow for 3 days, but you only have a few inches on the ground. I’d rather it snow 4 feet and be sunny the next day. We might have a chance of that on Saturday (snow, not 4 feet of it though), snow and 28 degrees is expected, so a better chance to get some more snow on the ground.

Today we did some school and I threw a pork roast in the crockpot with some apple cider, apples, garlic cloves and onions. I did that for my dinner cooking sanity since I was going to be at the library doing a craft during dinner time. I went to the Denver library and made two terrariums. Everything was there for us to use, but I’m still going to need to go buy a plant for the small vase in the middle of the circle pot, I didn’t want just moss in there. I think they turned out cute.

Tomorrow it’s the zoo for us. Don’t worry, the temp will be in the 20′s while we’re there.

How cold is it?

Well, it’s been 98 years since it was this cold on this day in November. That’s right, the year Grandma Carberry was born the high for today was 16. We took off this morning to go swim at Apex. There were only 2 other families there from our group, not sure what happened to everyone else. The kids got to swim and the Moms talked and the snow fell. I was a bit worried about going up the huge hill on Ward, but the snow was crunchy, not slippery. It was so cold that the snowflakes were frozen in just the right way that every one that landed was this gorgeous work of 6 sided art. It was had to focus on driving and not just stare at them as they hit the windshield.

We did a little bit of school at home, then I started making angry chicken for dinner. It’s just angry because you use Angry orchard cider in it, which means that you get to drink what’s leftover. It was really good once the cider simmered down and formed a glaze, everyone liked it. It was so cold out side that when I put Maisy’s water bowl out it didn’t take long to freeze, so we just moved her water inside. You could tell it was cold because Maisy didn’t want to go out and pee before bed, fine…hold it all night.

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be even colder and we’re just going to stay in, wear pajamas and do some school and art. Sounds like a plan.

Happy Veteran’s Day, thank you to all who are serving and have served to keep our country safe.