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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars and Woodpeckers

We have three Milkweed plants, now. One gets huge, but it does not appear to be the kind Monarchs like. It does get caterpillars, just not Monarchs. At the end of May, we took a field trip to the Greathouse Butterfly Farm, and each kid got a Milkweed plant. Of course we planted them right away. We have seen tons of eggs on the plants, but never found a caterpillar. Until today. There were two big fat Monarch caterpillars on the one plant. There also appears to be a cocoon right on the post near to the plant. So, we have been watching that too. It might not morph completely until Spring because of fluctuating temps this time of year.

In the back yard Caitlin got a picture of yet another kind of Woodpecker. We have one building a nest in the dead tree in the front yard. I am glad I convinced my husband not to take it down. They are two different breeds, and I sure hope they won't eat my caterpillars.

We try very hard to make our yard nature friendly. Even though technically we are in town, we are still rural, and we get all kinds of interesting critters. We don't always get pictures of them, but we try.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, we did, and we will be on Christmas break until Jan 10th. A nice long, much needed break. DJ is reading, A Separate Peace, over the break, as am I. I think I read it in high school, it is very familiar to me. Next, he will be reading Romeo and Juliet. I would love to find a play for him to go and see it.






Monday, December 23, 2013

Political Rant Number 1: Homeschool Rights

I do not normally rant, or even care much, what people think or say about the fact that I homeschool my children.  Either why or how, as a matter of fact.  I do, however, answer questions from those who are curious or truly interested in what we do.  I do not entertain the rude people, or those who ridicule or are just nosy.  I do not extend my opinions to those who choose to send their child to public school, and I expect the same respect in return.

So, what am I all hot and bothered about?  Some political figure in Ohio, you can Google her name if you want, tried to get a bill passed that would say that anyone who wanted to homeschool their child, in Ohio, had to have Social Services OK it first.  Are you kidding me?  As if that was not bad enough, then I made the mistake of reading comments made by ignorant people who have no knowledge of anything apparently, on how this should be because all those wacky homeschoolers just abuse their kids, thump their Bibles, and teach that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.  And those are just the ones I took the time to bother and read.  There were more.

I know, I know homeschoolers pull their kids out of public school so we can hide them in a closet, make them work hard labor in the fields, abuse them with hot irons, starvation and refusal of medical care.  Really, why would we not have to be investigated just because we want to educate our children in the way we see fit?  Come on, educate yourself, before you get on your high horse of stupidity.  It is a beautiful horse and you ride it so well.

Child abuse is an all encompassing epidemic.  It effects all races, religions, and even educated well off people abuse their children. Homeschooling is a RIGHT.  You, nor the Government has the  RIGHT to try and take that away from anyone.  Once you start to trounce the rights of one group of people, be very careful for your precious rights may get trounced on too. 

If someone is suspected of child abuse, fine take the proper steps to eradicate it, but keep your hands off homeschool rights.  You might find we don't like having our rights trounced on.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bush Gardens Tampa Trip #4

In March we bought season passes to Bush Gardens, as part of our Christmas gift last year. We bought them in March because my fil was coming to visit, and we wanted to be able to take him. So we have probably one more visit left, before it expires, and I am thinking we will go in January, because they have some awesome deals. Must be Jan-March are their quietest months, because they have discounts available. The next time, we will catch some shows and take the Safari ride to feed the animals. We went to the water park, twice over the Summer, as well. The season passes are a nice family gift, and we have done it for Seaworld as well. Only one we have not, of the big parks, is Disney. Still not sure if we will do Disney. We will take a year off from a season pass, and then decide the following year. The big cats were super active this trip, and the kids got some awesome shots, for their next fair entries next Fall. These pictures were taken with my cell phone, and have been edited, they are mine, not my children's shots. I don't edit their shots, they enter them as is. The weather was beautiful, and we had an awesome day. Though 7 hours of walking will make anyone tired. We slept real well, last night.

I don't usually do political rants on this blog, but there will be one coming up soon, on two different topics. Stay tuned.





Thursday, December 19, 2013

Polar Express Pajama Christmas Party

Our Homeschool group was trying to decide on when to have a Christmas party, so I decided to have a Polar Express pajama Christmas party. It will be this evening, and Santa might just be visiting with the fire dept. Hope to get some cute pictures. The cups below are painted snowmen cups, that Caitlin and I did, for the party, with snowflakes hot glued on the back. DJ is making is homemade hot chocolate and I will be making popcorn. It should be a fun evening. Click the link to get the hot chocolate recipe that DJ loves, and is a big hit whenever he makes it.

My husband got today off, due to working too many hours, so we are officially on Christmas break as of today.  We are taking a nice long break, with some fun stuff planned.  DJ will have to read, A Separate Peace, as it is a library borrow and needs to be returned.  But other than that, no school.  It gives me lots of time to catch up on grading and planning.  Tomorrow we are off to Bush Gardens.







Tuesday, December 17, 2013

3rd Annual 4H Bakeoff

Our county 4H holds an annual bake off. This is the third year, they have done it, and the third year we have participated. It is not just for baked goods though. You can make a drink, appetizer, specialty desserts, and gift baskets. I really wanted the kids to do a gift basket, but neither had an interest. DJ knew right away what he wanted to do, homemade apple butter and homemade sweet corn bread. After reading the rules it said it must look Christmas like. How do you make corn bread look Christmas like. So we placed it in the Christmas tin. The apple butter and corn bread are delicious together. Caitlin waited until the last minute to decide. She knew she wanted to do a cake, but couldn't make up her mind for the theme. She finally decided on a Winter Wonderland cake, which to me looks more like Candy Land at Christmas. But, she worked real hard, made it from scratch, except the frosting, and it came out real nice. Now, we get to go see who won and eat all the goodies. YUM!!!!!

Did you know apple butter, has no butter in it?  It is more like a jelly than a butter, but it is so yummy.  DJ did not enjoy peeling and coring all them apples, lol!






Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ancient Greek Architecture and Art

Caitlin has been learning about Ancient Greek Architecture and Art, this week, for History class. Today, she painted some Greek architecture in a painting called Sunrise Over the Sea.  We got the lesson through Lesson Pathways, but Crayola.com had the art instructions.  You can see her painting came out pretty good.  Youtube has a documentary on the Greeks, and I think I will have both kids watch it, when Caitlin finishes learning about the Greeks.  DJ is studying the Middle Ages, but he will appreciate the video too.  I will share it later, when we get closer to it.  I am trying to keep up with school, before Christmas break, so we can take off our full three weeks I planned to take off.  We will be doing two different hiking trips and Busch Gardens over the Christmas break.  Plus we are having a Polar Express pajama Christmas Party.  DJ will be making his homemade hot chocolate, and I am making the popcorn.  I am still thinking about decorations, and of course we are watching the movie, The Polar Express.  The next two weeks are crazy busy, but I will try to post the fun things we do, not the mundane textbook work.  DJ has to finish his formal letter, for Language Arts, writing a Legend for History class, and a book report.  All this week, probably tomorrow, lol.  The book he started to read online, A Separate Peace, went away, so now I have to wait for the library to tell me they have it.  I am stopping over there tomorrow to jog their memory.  He will be far behind if I don't get it soon.
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Parade

We had another busy weekend, this past weekend. Saturday we went to our first Christmas parade, since moving here. I didn't think DJ would want to go, but both he and my husband wanted to go. Go figure! There was a craft fair, before the parade, so of course I had to check it out. It was very hot, for this time of year, and I am glad we did not go earlier than 3. My husband and son, got me some kind of surprise Christmas gift, I think it was from the Scentsy lady. I really loved the one jar, but it was too pricey for me. I think my husband went back and got it. It ended up being a late night, one of our family friend's daughter was singing there, I will share that later. She sang my most favorite Christmas song. Sunday, we couldn't get up in time for church, lol, but we did make it to the Ladies Christmas party later that evening. All in all a nice weekend, and the weather was splendid.

We were back to school today, and since we have moved Run Club to 1:30 in the afternoon, we were able to get all school work done before that fun event twice a week. We are very much enjoying our Christmas Around the World, that I added on to our regular History lessons. You can find the post and links on this in an older post. I am currently collecting all the links, and items for our Virtual Tour Across the US, that will start after Christmas break. I will share that when it is completed.















Friday, December 6, 2013

Earth Kids Meeting: Dolphins

Today, was our December Earth Kids meeting, and we learned about Dolphins. One of the members had a Dolphin book, that the kids read from, and asked questions. Did you know Killer Whales are dolphins? I kind of knew they were Dolphins because of DJ, but according to the book they kind of just called them whales because of their massive size. LOL, imagine! After reading, and lunch the kids each made a mixed media Dolphin picture. They used watercolor paints, glitter glue, colored pencils, pens, and crayons. You can see the results below. The day was splendidly beautiful weather, and the kids got some beloved playground time after. We are hoping to take a field trip to see Winter the Dolphin in St Petes at the end of our year. But, they are filming Dolphin Tale 2 starting in January, so I am not sure how that is going to go.



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ignoring This Blog?

No, not really, lol.  I just have not had time to get on and share this week.  The kids have been using both computers for school, and I just have not had a chance.  Next week, and the week after, are crazy socializing weeks for us.  I will be sure to get on and share all the fun things we are doing.  Tomorrow is our Earth Kids meeting, and we are studying Dolphins.  I will share our art work, and I am hoping to get a wire craft piece done tonight. 

If you are interested, check out my daily flash sales, for my Etsy and Ecrater stores, by visiting my other blog Melissas Jewelry and Gems. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Around the World for History Class

For the month of December, we will be studying Christmas Around the World, for History class. We have done some Christmas for other religions, in the past, this time we will focus on traditions and the holiday in other countries. I am sharing some links for you to pick and choose which ones you would like to use. Below is a video for your kiddos to watch, after you have completed the study. We will be doing one or two different countries each day. For our purposes their activity will be to read about Christmas in a specific country, write Merry Christmas in their language, say what the weather is like at Christmas, find the country on the map, songs, and symbols. Both my kids will be doing this. I probably won't do all the countries listed, as time is limited. After Christmas break we will be doing Virtual Tours of the United States. I am still working on getting that all together, but will share it when it is completed. In my archives you can find the popsicle stick game to help learn the states.

http://www.homeschoolshare.com/christmas_around_the_world.php

http://www.rochedalss.eq.edu.au/xmas/world1.htm

http://www.santas.net/aroundtheworld.htm

http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson041.shtml

http://www.the-north-pole.com/around/







Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Bread Cornucopia and Sales

Happy Thanksgiving, one day late, lol. I just didn't have time yesterday to get a blog post done. I hope you all had a wonderful day. We did, it truly was great. My husband had to do a structure fire in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning. Thank goodness they were able to save the home with only minimal damage done. Everyone at church on Wednesday was having cold symptoms, so the whole house got sanitized with bleach two days in a row in preparation for Thanksgiving company. It was freezing here, 25 degrees, so baking the turkey for six hours was nice for a change. My mom and some very special friends joined us this year, for Thanksgiving dinner. Craig asked me to make a Cornucopia made of bread. Um, never did that before, lol. I was supposed to use refrigerated bread sticks, but apparently they are popular and three different stores had none. So, I used crescent rolls and it came out just fine. The recipe said this was easy, I would not qualify it as easy. It was very time consuming, but it did look nice on the table.

My 25 Days of sales even starts today. So, hop over to my craft blog, and follow so you don't miss anything. Today, you can get an Amethyst ring for only 10 dollars. Go to Melissas Jewelry and Gems, to follow along. A new item, marked down at least 50% every day.






Monday, November 25, 2013

Tom Turkey Candle Just In Time For Thanksgiving!

I did not intend to paint a Turkey, but I had this big jar already cleaned with two coats of blue paint on it. So, I went ahead and painted Tom Turkey on one side. The other side is just as cute, but I won't share that side until after Thanksgiving. This will be a candle and part of my Thanksgiving Day table.




Sunday, November 24, 2013

Breaking Traditions!

This was my weekend off, and we had no plans, believe it or not. It was so beautiful yesterday, in the eighties. I got a ton of yard work done, dogs washed and even sat in the sun for a bit. Today it is like 50 and windy, ugh! If the weather stays as predicted, this will be the coldest Thanksgiving week since we have been here in Florida. Usually it is hot, humid and baking the turkey is torture. This year might be much different.

Last year, my husband bought a new Christmas tree, a huge one. I mean huge. It is so tall the top can not accommodate a topper. But, I did get to display all my ornaments this year, none got left off. I have a second small tree, that was my angel tree, it now has the advent calendar on it, which I will share in another post, it isn't quite finished yet. For as long as I can remember, starting when I was a kid, the Christmas tree went up Thanksgiving night. My husband and I have continued the tradition, until this year. He asked me if we could put it up early, yesterday. I really didn't want to, but you know what it worked out nicely. No one was over stuffed, tired, grumpy or wanting to watch football. Everyone participated and you can see the beautiful results below. Maybe breaking traditions is OK after all.

We are on Thanksgiving break all this next week.  We will be doing Run Club Monday, cleaning and food shopping on Wednesday.







Thursday, November 21, 2013

Like My Facebook Page and I Will Give Something Away

When my Facebook fan page hits 300 likes I will start a give away.  One lucky winner will get to choose an item from my new, shiny Ecrater store.  I am still adding items to it, but have over 40 items listed there.  To like my page, just click the highlighted link, then like the page.  Obviously you have to be on Facebook to like my page.  Come on now, don't dilly dally the sooner the better.  Also, starting on Black Friday, I will be doing 25 Days of Christmas, with a new deal every day.  You won't want to miss it. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving Turkey Fun Art Project

Today for History, we had some creative Turkey fun projects. I found on a free writing prompt website, the idea to write about convincing people not to eat turkey for Thanksgiving. I added to the project by having both kids draw a turkey in disguise. Caitlin drew a skirt and top on hers with shoes, and DJ made his all black with some funny sayings as film critics on the feathers. His will be posted to his blog, when he has completed and uploaded the writing portion of his assignment. Caitlin is still working on her writing assignment which was to write a Thanksgiving Day story, with a menu to go with it. You can use this turkey coloring page template, to start your turkey disguise. The original idea for this came from a Pinterest board, but when I tried to print her project, it would not print or open.  Both kids got everything they needed to get done today, so tomorrow we are doing Run Club, rained again today, and then off to my mom's for Caitlin to sew her fair project.  So no textbook stuff, but still learning. 




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Minecraft Mayflower, Ancient Greece Theater Mask, and Greek Dinner

I told you this week was going to be full of all kinds of fun things. Today, Caitlin made a Greek Theater Mask, of her own design and liking. You can see the results below. She also had to make a Greek meal. She chose lemon chicken, Greek salad, rice with vegetables. She put the chicken in the crockpot with minced garlic, some butter and olive oil. Then she squeezed two lemons into the crockpot, chopped the onions and green peppers and put them on top. Cooked on low for three hours. Served over cooked rice with the veggies from the crockpot over the rice. Then a Greek Salad, minus the Feta Cheese, no one seems to like it much. We just used regular Cheddar Cheese. At the end of the day, I saw a very cute idea for Minecraft players. I told each kid they had to make a Mayflower ship on Minecraft, and DJ has to make the Plymouth Rock settlement as well. Caitlin got right to work on hers, and after about two hours, her boat was finished. You can see the results below. DJ has not started his yet, and since it is a fun activity, I didn't set a deadline date. It can be worked on during slower days, though. For the rest of the week, for History, the kids will be doing a lot of Thanksgiving themes. I got some really cool things to share.







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