Thursday, March 31, 2011

Little Bit of This and That

Been busy and distracted over here in my neck of the woods lately!  It's been a while since I've had a moment to sit and put my thoughts down for all the world to see :~D

First, I want to give glory to God for the good report I received just this week.  It's been a long haul over just the past 3 weeks time since I discovered a lump on my body.  I had an exam and was sent in for some imaging and then told I needed further imaging on what looked like a tumor.  Zoinks! Not what you plan to find out at the ripe age of 33 going on 34...(in 3 days I might add).  Anyways, I couldn't get the results from the imaging until I met with a surgeon/specialist to read me my images and give me the run down.  Thankfully, I had my mom with me that day to be a second pair of ears- and a brain to help me think of the questions I would want to ask.  I was told it looked like I had 3 tumors, and they wanted to biopsy them to be safe.  It just so happened on that same day the office had an opening for me to have the biopsies.  I was so glad to get it over with. 

The nurses & doctor that prepared me and performed the biopsies were A-MA-ZING.  It was not what you'd call a fun experience and I actually went into shock during the procedure, which was handled so professionally and carefully.  I was so blown away by the end of the process that I ended up writing a letter to the president of this particualr healthcare organization to commend each of the 3 nurses & the doctor.  I really hope they receive some sort of recognition for it.  Speaking of recognition----I have to give glory to Jesus for being the One to care for me and watch over me.  I know it was His presence that brought the skill, care and wisdom of these people!  One of the tumors actually turned out to be a cyst that was able to be aspirated- which left two tumors for testing.

After much prayer...and more waiting...I got the call this week that the tumors are benign.  Praise God!  It is still a possibility that I will need surgery to remove them- but I will pray and leave that up to God.  He knows what's best for me.  What blessed assurance it is in knowing that with God in control of my life, everything is working according to His purpose!  I can't lose!  Ultimately, my life is in His hands.  Not to be morbid, but one day this life here on earth, as we know it, will end.  I'm thankful to be able to trust in a Mighty God whose thoughts & ways are HIGH above mine.  He is good all. the. time.

Now, onto my newest and strangest obsession.  I don't know if it's mid-life crisis time for me or not but let me introduce my new pet family that I got for a pre-birthday celebration!

Are they not the CUTEST things you've ever seen???? In case you've never seen these, they are Ugly Dolls.  I saw these at a little shop quite a while ago and fell in love.  I'm not normally a "stuffed animal person" but these things just make me smile. See- here's proof:

As far as school goes, we just got our unit studies in the mail today from Hands of a Child.  Jared picked The Magician's Nephew and Jenna picked Basic Survival Skills.  They are both 4 week unit studies, so we will be taking a break from the monotony for a little bit.

That's all for now.  Going to snuggle with my little Ugly Dolls...


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tudor Place

Today we took a field trip to the historic Tudor Place in D.C.  This was the home of Martha Washington's (George Washington's wife) granddaughter.  It was fascinating to tour this house & garden! I could have spent HOURS in each room of this house.  My friend and I joked about how cool it would be to sneak in and spend the night in this place. 

I felt like I was stepping into a Jane Austen novel as I roamed from room to room. From the servants bells lined along a wall, to the copy of one of the few letters remaining that George Washington wrote to Martha, to the antique books stocked on the bookshelves, to the china on the tables, to the drawing room, to the old dresses hanging in a closet, along with shoes and hat boxes lining the shelves.  Oh my, I could go on and on!  I was only disappointed that the guide had to continually usher us along to the next room.  We were the stragglers of the group!  I only had the chance to snap just a few pictures inside before I was asked not to take pictures.

The homeschool class we signed up for was Greek and Roman History. The kids were given 2 clues each and were to find these clues throughout the tour of the home.  We talked about Pompeii and the artifacts found there by archealogists.  We discussed how much of the art of early america, including architecture, originated from ancient Greek and Roman art. We also learned about gilding, which is applying thin gold leaf to surfaces like wood, stone, metal, etc. The kids even got to create their own work of art while learning to gild. 

This is a 200 year old tree

Jared, before he was nicely asked to get out of the "historic tree".  (Whoops!)

The kids were just as interested in viewing this home & garden as I was.  I will look forward to going back- and maybe next time I will do the self guided tour so I can take my time!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Science Experiment

Will the "Caped Avenger" be able to glide through the air armed with his cape and an umbrella?

Let us examine:

Here goes:


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My New Favorite Tool

I have a new freebie that I'm excited about- Quizlet ( ).  It's an online program that you can create flashcards for your vocabulary words.  You can then take practice quizzes and tests as it scrambles your definitions and words around.

The kids used it for the first time yesterday.  Jared's words are from the book he's reading (Hatchet) so we did a search and were able to use someone elses already created words/definitions.  Jenna was able to do the same with about half of her vocab list from Swiss Family Robinson and then added the ones that were missing.  You can copy and paste directly from an online dictionary or use their "auto-define" feature as soon as you enter a new word.  You can browse by subject , standardized tests, different languages,e tc. and you can even insert pictures with your definitions.  Each word and definition has audio with it so you can have the correct pronunciation.

It's great because I was just trying to figure out how to create a test for their latin words- and this is the perfect solution.  One thing you want to be careful of, though, if you're using someone else's words & definitions is to be sure they have the correct spelling and definition.

Just thought I'd share :) Check it out!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Forensic Anthropology Lab

We went down to DC today for a forensic anthropology lab at the Natural History Museum.  It was pretty cool! The kids got to handle and study real human bones. 

Jared was way into touching these bones and using critical thinking to solve this mystery.

Jenna was more into recording the information!  She didn't want anything to do with touching the bones but enjoyed participating in drawing conclusions based on our evidence ;)

We were to study different bones of a skeleton found around Yorktown, VA and to solve a mystery of who these bones belonged to.  We were given clues and information about each of the bones and how the different characteristics of these bones would help lead us to discover the sex, age and height of the person, what type of lifestyle they lived based upon damage to bones while living, and time period that this person lived in. 

We compared male and female sciatic notches, in the pelvic bones (check me out, people!), which helped us to determine that this was a woman.  Examining the damage on the vertebrae done antemortem helped us to find that this person often carried heavy weight.  We compared and examined different mandibles to determine the age of the person and found that she was over age 21. Nails that were used to close the coffin dated them to be around the 1700's.  We measured the femur to determine the height, which was around 5'5". 

We found out that these were skeletal remains of a slave during the 1700's!

It was fun to get out for some hands-on science, math and history today.

And...the daffodils are starting to bloom! Spring is on the way :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Walk in the Rain

It's been raining non stop today. While splashing through the puddles on the drive home from church today I decided I had to get out in the rain.  It's like a refreshing, cleansing spring rain that just beckoned me outside. I asked the kids if they wanted to come along for a walk with me and they were both excited about walking down to the creek. So we got our rain gear on and headed out. 

We walked along the swift flowing stream of water, which is normally just a small trickle of water, but today is swollen, overflowing and gushing into the drainage pond.  I couldn't help but reflect on the message my Pastor taught about today on Psalms 46: 3-5 "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved : God shall help her, and that right early."

As we made our way down the path we came across some gooey worms. Ew!...



Walking to the creek...

The creek is full and flowing under the train bridge...

Jared, taking in the sounds of the bubbling water rushing by...

I had to take a moment to stop, put my head back and let the rain fall on my face. Ahhhh! So refreshing! Maybe I'm weird, but every once in a while I just love the rain like this. 


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Hatchet" - Literature Unit

Since we've finished our Wordly Wise vocabulary workbooks I have been taking vocabulary/spelling words from the kids reading books.  We will probably do this for the rest of the school year.  It can be a little tedious for me to go through their books to find words but it's forcing me to read their books- and I like that!

I had just picked out the first set of words for Jared's book when I stumbled upon a free literature unit, including vocabulary exercises, for the book he's reading- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.  I love freebies!  This unit is full of neat ideas & activities to reinforce what's being read.  For each set of chapters there are questions, activities, story elements and a descriptive writing lesson.

Hatchet is an adventure book about a boy, Brian, who is forced to land a small plane by himself after the pilot has a heart attack in mid-air.  He survives the plane landing and finds himself alone trying to survive in the Canadian wilderness.  He has to learn how to find food and shelter and how to keep himself safe from all sorts of wild animals in the hopes that he will soon be rescued.  It's a good book.

One of the activities suggested is to compile your own survival book.  So, each time Brian comes across a wild animal we are adding that animal and all it's characteristics (habitat, what their tracks look like, dangers of that animal, etc) to our survival book.  We're doing the same with wild plants, berries and foods and how to find safe drinking water, how to build a fire, how to make a spear for fishing, building a shelter...all sorts of stuff!

Just thought I'd share my exciting freebie with anyone who might want to use it also! You can find the unit here.