Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Presenting the Deck

The back of the house BEFORE:


A view from an angle.

There you have it folks, the deck is done. Now if I could just get all the scrap wood picked up. :)

The Deck...

is almost done!
The steps are built. There are just a few loose ends to complete. Pictures to follow soon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mark Your Calendars

Crane Fest XIV
Saturday and Sunday, October 11 &12, noon- 7pm
Free Admission
Parking only $3
Where: Kiwanis Youth Area and adjoining Michigan Audubon Baker Sanctuary.

What to do-
Crane Viewing- Best viewing after 4pm
Literally hundreds of birds come and gather together for mass migration south.
Art Show and Sale
Nature Discovery- Free interactive exhibit of 40+ live species of Michigan reptiles and amphibians.
Guided Nature Walks.- Free Explore nature trails with an expert.
Live Raptors- Free Birds of prey shown by Michigan Hawking Club
Birding for Beginners- Free. Learn the basics from Audubon experts.
Earthbound- Awareness organization will be providing educational materials.
Wild Ones- Michigan native wildflowers and plants for sale and natural landscaping advise.
Book Signing- On teh Wings of Cranes- Lowell Schakes' biography on Lawerence Walkinshaw.
Cranes as Art- Bellevue High School.
Bird Seed Sale
Old Time Farm Equipment- Free Hay rides. Rope making, corn shelling and more. Old fashion fun for the family.
Nature Book store and crafts.
Food concessions.

Something for everyone!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Big Idea

Today is Gym day again and I lay awake this morning finalizing my plans when it hit me, my big idea.
But first let me back up to last weekend to give you a bit of history.
Last weekend my family went to help a family friend move his business to a new location across town. About 20-25 people showed up for the move and I have to say many hands make light work. Within a half hour the store front was empty and the first load loaded into the trailer. The second load shortly behind that with all the stuff from the back room. Now originally the owner did not want to burden his friends with a lot of work so he was thankful for the upstairs being done. When we saw what still remained in the basement we convinced him to let us help him get as much as we could from the basement or he would be there all month and beyond. So we set up a simple bucket brigade to hand along the items up the stairs and to the hands of someone who carried it to the truck. It was awesome. Small but heavy boxes passed easily from person to person and the load was light as we worked together.
So that is part one.
Then over the course of the week we have been discussing fire fighters, fire safety and you guessed it I remembered the bucket brigade and its original usefulness in helping communities put out fires.
So here is my big idea:
I am going to line the kids up in a line and have them pass basketballs toward a "fire." The person on the end will then throw the ball at the fire from a predetermined distance(we don't want to get too close to the fire.) Then they will take their "bucket" back to the end and keep going until I determine the fire is out.
I think this will teach them so many different things.
1. Taking turns
2. Working together to solve a problem.
3. Throwing a ball and aiming
4. Retrieving the ball
5. Getting back in line
6. History in fire fighting

I am super excited! I can't wait to see how it works.

Pictures for your Viewing Pleasure

P.E Homeschool Style.
The boy came up with this idea for goals. Ingenious.

Remember the muddy mess my kids got into? Oh Yeah, that whole little fiasco did not make it's appearance on the blog yet. So here you go...

It was not so much the muddy kids that bothered me. It was the mess after the mud. Very thankful for bath tubs, cleaning supplies and washing machine!

And these beauties are currently on my kitchen table. Adding cutting flowers to the garden was a definite hit.

Monday, September 15, 2008

If I Say Nothing Else Today...

Hear this!
You are loved.
There is hope.
You do not need to be alone in your pain.
There is forgiveness.
There is healing.

I have been reminded of how hard it can to be to live in this world.
A friend showed me this site last night and it's story is one I think EVERY ONE should read.
To Write Love on Her Arms
Go read it now...the whole page please.
Remember- God Loves You and So Do I

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Capital Area Transportation Authority
I just got word that if the millage does not pass this Fall things are going to be changing with our public transportation system. Drastically!
The first and most detrimental of changes will be that all services will end at 6pm. Leaving hundreds stranded.
And if you think this will not effect you; think again!
Our bus system gave over 10,000,000 rides last year. What will happen to these riders if services are cut and reduced?
-They will be stranded.
-They may call you for a ride. Costing you gas money to help them out.
-They may drive home drunk.
-They will put more cars on the road causing those already major traffic delays to get MUCH worse.
-They may cause gas prices to rise as the demand for more gas increases.
-They WILL put drivers and other employees out of work.
-It will have a trickle down effect if students are unable to attend evening classes. These classes may be reduced or cut. If employees are unable to get home after 6, they may need to close places of business earlier. Meaning that you no longer will be able to get what you want on YOUR way home from work.
-More cars, more emissions. So much for greener and cleaner.

Secondly-Weekend services will be dropped.
Thirdly- Some routes will be eliminated.
This is just for our traditional bus service.

This does not even begin to embrace the Spec-Tran services. It will effect them too.
What will happen if Spec-Tran is no longer able to take your elderly mother to her doctors appointment. That's right...it will effect you.

I know it is easy to think that our vote does not matter but it does!
It is also easy to vote down millage that you think will not effect you or for services that you may not use.
Yet remember, it will. And the price you have to pay will most likely be more than the $39.95 the projected cost of the millage. Heck a tank of gas cost more than that.

Please consider these things on election day and vote yes!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Gym Teacher

That is my new position.
Every Friday for the next 10 weeks, I will be the lady in comfy clothes, tennis shoes and a whistle around her neck. Yes that will be me.
Today started the fall semester of Enrichment Day, where the kids get together with other homeschooling families for Gym, Art and Character Counts classes. Since it is a co-op not a drop off each family contributes their services in some area, be it nursery, preschoolers, teaching art or gym. Since I enjoy being active I thought Gym would be a good fit for me this year.
Today was such a blast. This year we are in a group of young families so I had two groups, the first were second and third graders; the second Kindergarten and first graders. Which meant I had the privilege of getting to know 29 kids.
We started with introductions, then I had them run around the gym for a few minutes as a warm up. Then we stretched. Next we played a fun game called Rabbit Holes. We laid out carpet squares(rabbit holes) throughout the gym, a few less than the number of kids we had. At the start I would call out a way to move such as run, hop, walk backwards, etc. Then I had a shaker that signaled "the fox", whenever they heard the sound they were to go to the nearest rabbit hole. The object was to work together to make sure all the other rabbits made it safely to a hole. So they were to share their carpet with a friend to keep them safe. No one ever got caught, just chased toward the hole. Each round got trickier as I continued to take away a carpet square until there was just one left. So that last turn they all had to work together to make sure everyone was touching the rabbit hole. The kids loved it.
During a water break I tossed the ball to each kid saying their name and then they would throw it back to me as they said mine. By the end of each class I successfully knew each one of their names. Which totally is my goal, to get to know these kids.
After the water break we played a game called crossing the pond. Everyone hikes around the pond not going in the water, until I called out "cross the pond." At that point everyone was to go through the "pond" to the other side WITHOUT touching anyone else. The purpose was to teach personal space and awareness of others.
We ended the class with a cool down and chat time where we reinforced the ideas of listening, respecting others by not bumping into them and keeping our hands to ourselves as well as working as a team to make sure everyone is safe and has fun.
Then I tested myself with the kids names with them covering their name tags. Now we shall see if I can remember them all next week when they are wearing different clothes. I hope so.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mr Hicks and Momteacherfriend

I had a dream this morning and bare with me a moment as I do my best to recap the dream.
In my dream Shawn Wallace had come to town and was giving a public concert. For those of you who don't know, Shawn is a Jazz saxophone player that went to school at my Alma Matter and he went on to record his own CD's. So he is giving a concert and many of our former band members were there. During the show he was sharing old memories of the band and Mr. Hicks. While he was sharing his memories I flashed back in my mind to the band reunion, where I shared my own thoughts about Mr Hicks. And that is where in the early morning hours while still in a state of dreamland and reality this post was born.

I realize now what an incredible position Mr Hicks was in as our band director. In my immaturity as a high school student I could not comprehend all the different facets of who and what made up the man Mr. Hicks. There were days this man would instruct and we would get it. There were days when we would screw up and his vein would come popping out of his head. There were other days when he would gently pull you aside and say "Sarah, how are you doing?" And in those moments you knew that he genuinely cared. He nurtured, he taught, he disciplined and he became many students friend.
I can understand that now. I find myself very much in the same position. Not caring for over a hundred students but in caring for my two. You see even to my kids I have become Mom Teacher Friend. I did not know when I set up this blog how much those three attributes would come to define who I am nor how the three together would come to define this blog, giving me a new identity. Yet they have and this morning in that state of asleep and awake I lay pondering them.
I am MOM. I have been called to nurture and love my children. I am to direct them in the way of the Lord. I am also to discipline them when they have gone of course. I am the one who picks them up when they have fallen and scraped their knee. I am the one who tucks them into bed and kisses them good night. It is I, who prays with them and teaches them that God is good. It is I who corrects misbehavior and at moments it is I who becomes Momzilla with a vein popping out of my head.
I am TEACHER. While my class size is two, I understand full well that the responsibility is upon me to teach them well. I am the one responsible for teaching them to read, to write, the names of the animals , the planets and all the attributes of Math. But beyond academics I am to teach them life. For them to take care of their business. I am to teach them Godly character. I am to teach them how to be a good friend and to take care of others around them. I am to instruct with gentleness, patience and love while expecting(demanding) respect. Beyond my kids I am to share my knowledge with those whom I come in contact with. From me you may learn that the three bones inside your ear are the hammer, anvil and stir-up. Or you may learn that all is wisdom is from the Lord and that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
I am FRIEND. I am a friend to many. Doing my best to encourage and love. I enjoy connecting with people. I am an extrovert. I thrive in friendship. I have a heart that no woman be lonely. I have a heart to see others connect, relationally and with resources they may need. I am a friend that enjoys to have a good time yet will still be there in the bad or the sad. And with my kids, I desire when I am old and gray to be their friend. I want to have fun with my kids and be a person that they can share their hopes, dreams and life moments with.

There are many other aspects of my life that make up who I am. I am wife, daughter, sister, student and child of the Most High. I am Momteacherfriend.

Yes, I can relate now to who Mr Hicks is. I can appreciate all the different ways in which he has touched others. He has adopted many as his own, he has taught, he has disciplined, he has nurtured and loved, he has been a friend.

I love you Mr Hicks! You inspire me to do the same, be it for 2 or a 102.

Proverbs 13:24
Deuteronomy 11:18-20
Proverbs 17:17
John 14:6

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dear Fellow Homeschooler:

Dear Fellow Homeschooler:
I would like to take a moment and introduce you to an awesome resource we have been using for the last month.
The Homeschool Freebie of the Day!
Brought to us by the people at Wholesome Childhood, they offer a free resource every weekday. Such as today, they are offering a free living book called the Story Book of Science. Here is what was said about today's resource:
The Story Book of Science by Jean Henri Fabre (PDF ebook) - The wonders of plant and animal life are told with rare literary charm by Uncle Paul in conversations with three children in this classic “living book” of science stories brought to us today by Yesterday’s Classics. Besides such stories as the ants’ subterranean city, the spider’s suspension bridge, and the caterpillars’ processing, he unlocks the mystery behind thunder and lightning, clouds and rain, the year and its seasons, and volcanoes and earthquakes.

There is no catch, you simply check in daily to see what is being offered. Click and download to your computer.
Want a heads up, subscribe to their newsletter and you will get a note every Monday about will be offered that coming week.

Resources are only available the day they are listed so don't wait, sign up today. You don't want to miss out.

Other great resources put out by the Erskine Family include:
Great Homeschool Videos
Homeschool Radio Show


The Link for Little Girls Video

I am not sure why it will not play in the previous post but here is the link to it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Presenting Science Guy and Science Girl

The boy demonstrating pressure and the Eustachian tube inside your ear.

Little girl demonstrating the semi circular canals inside the ear and how they effect your balance.

The kids and I enjoyed our science experiments this morning. Then we spun around and stood on our heads.

This afternoon we had a field trip to the Sears Hearing Aide Center. There the hearing aide specialist explained how hearing aides work, checked their ears, put the kids in sound proof rooms and gave them each a hearing test. Praise God they passed. Then he took a mold of my ear using silicone. It was rather amusing. Who knew I would get a mold of my ear for my birthday? We all had a really good time!

After the hearing aide center we went to the zoo and checked out all the animals. Finding their ears and talking about how they use them to hunt or be alerted to predators.

Yeah! Having a great day!

Since When

I will admit we slept in this morning after staying up late for my fiesta. We were up late cleaning up and I had a difficult time settling the kids. I think it was around 11 when they finally fell asleep.
So this morning we are making breakfast and the boy looks at me and says
"Right we don't do school on birthdays?"
Since when?

While we will have a light school day with our field trip to the hearing aide center, WE DO STILL HAVE SCHOOL!
Happy Birthday me.
After the field trip we will do some geocaching and go to my favorite restaurant for dinner. Crispy Orange Chicken Bowl for me.

Friday, September 05, 2008

There ARE Still a Few More Weeks of Summer

However, the retail industry has not taken note of this fact. I looked for a one piece swimsuit today after hubby so kindly informed me that mine was now see through. I could not find one at either Value city or Wal-Mart.
Anyone have ideas of where I may be able to find one?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Video of the yEAR

While I was unable to locate a tunnel for our auditory canal I think we improvised amazingly well.
Hope you enjoy the video of the journey into our ear.

If you are wondering where we get some of our awesome ideas, the answer would be our Konos curriculum. It is fabulous. Activities coupled with incredible books= fun in learning.
For the ear my favorite read has been The Science of Noise by Lynne Wright. Excellent book.

On Monday we will go on a field trip to Sears Hearing Aid Center for a hearing test and find out more about hearing aides. I love learning!

Proverbs 20:12
Ears that hear and eyes that see— the LORD has made them both.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Color Science

Little girls Kindergarten curriculum was discussing colors this morning. Which made it the perfect time to do one of my favorite experiments. Thank you Steve Spangler!
Color mixing-

Red and Blue make purple!

Happy with the results.

Mad scientist.

Little girls finished colors.

Attempt at art.

We tried coffee filters and they did not turn out quite right. So next we just used white card stock. This showed their colors well but I don't think will dry with the effect we were looking for. Oh well!

So since the art project was a failure we did the boys FAVORITE thing to do with colored water. We made colored polymers.

Science is so cool!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day of School

After working most of the day yesterday, I know I was laboring on Labor Day, I got the basement cleaned and ready for school.
I am super excited about this year. I know it will have it's challenges teaching two different grades simultaneously but it will also have its rewards. Like our super awesome activities and field trips we have planned. Which by the way I am still in need of a tunnel.
And now for our traditional first day of school pictures.
Little girl- Kindergarten

The boy- Second grade.

A word of warning. The best way to reach me during the school year is email or facebook. I check these regularly at least twice a day. Where as the phone may not be answered during school time and I am notoriously horrible at checking the voice mail.
Have a great day!