Thursday, December 22, 2011

MFW-ECC - Week 19 - Farewell Africa!

This week was much better...thank you Jesus! 

I didn't get around to blogging much of it (as you can tell from this post), but I did manage to snap LOTS of pictures.

The kids had a BLAST doing some African face painting...

S opted for the tribal warrior look

A wanted to look like a cheetah...not bad! She did it all by herself too :)

J refuses to do any face or even hand painting (always has), but he did manage to paint a penguin. Shhhh! Don't tell him, but I think his penguin makes a better crow or black bird instead ;)

 The kids even made their own eggs and sausages all by themselves...

A had her tap, jazz, and ballet open houses...

J and Dad played a little golf...

A got her fingernails and toenails painted...
Purple...with sparkles! Her favorite color :)

And last, but not least, J and S had their very first Christmas band concert :)

A very FULL, but FUN week!

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

MFW-ECC - Week 18 - Africa (Kenya)

This week was pretty...well, weak

I did not take any pictures...not a single one.

We didn't have time to do any experiments, any art projects, or any games. 

We managed to complete (for the most part) math, language, Bible, and reading. We muddled through bits and pieces of science, geography, and music. The kids are really glad to be in Africa now. They love all the different animals found on this continent.

One more week till Christmas break. I think I can...I think I can...I think I can...

With God's help, I know we can :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

MFW-ECC - Thanksgiving week and Week 17 - Germany

Well, I didn't get hardly anything done around my house while we had off from school Thanksgiving week.  Instead, I had several doctor appointments to go to and the rest of my time was filled with worry and researching things on the internet, and of course, spending time with different families for Thanksgiving sprinkled here and there throughout the week.

My mom was diagnosed with cancer at age 44, which means I have to start my mammos at age 34. Well, I had my first one the Monday before Thanksgiving and it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r. It's not comforting when you get called back for additional mammo pictures as well as a follow up ultrasound. 

I got my results from both immediately ...which was great (at least I know what is going on...well, sort of).

Bottom line....I have to have a biopsy. The radiologist saw several microcalcifications, which they have decided to monitor closely..for now ...because, in a small percentage of people, these can be the beginning signs of a future breast cancer. They also saw a non-palpable mass he recommended a biopsy on because of my mother's cancer history. He thinks its just a harmless fibroadenoma. Let's pray so...

Needless to say, you can understand why my Thanksgiving week was filled with appointments, research, and worry. (I cried a lot too after my initial mammogram, but...) since then, I have been praying for peace and comfort and the Lord is continually answering my prayers :) God is so good - all the time! I'm also praying for him to guide me in what to do after the biopsy - pending the results.

Now....on to some school stuff...

Our Week in Review
After having a week off from school we decided to have an extra treat to get us in the mood for school. A helped fix everyone hot cocoa and ice cream sundaes. 
My little waitress

Don't ya just love the little straws and spoons in her apron pocket :)

Happy Customers!


The kids couldn't choose just 1 or 2 songs...they wanted to listen to ALL the optional songs listed in the MFW lesson plans throughout this week ;) 

We did not get a change to do the pressed flowers, but hope to go back and complete that activity sometime b/c the kiddos really wanted to do it...and we already have the picture frames for it.


We enjoyed the experiments this week. We were all surprised in our surface tension experiment at how much water bubbled up around the sides of the spoon without pouring over. We watched short videos about pond skaters and a Basilisk Lizard to reiterate how surface tension works. 

The river and mud model was fun, of course. The kids always love an excuse to play in the mud. LOL! 

They did a GREAT job! Love the 'coconut trees' and 'moss'. 

We finished up George Muller. I'm going to miss reading about him each day. Such a wonderful life story of TRULY relying on God!

We came across a blog with several great pictures of the Ashly Downs Orphanage and other old-timey pictures my kiddos enjoyed looking at.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

MFW-ECC - Week 16 - Germany

Our Week in Review

This week went by even faster than the last one! I am so glad to be taking the ENTIRE week of Thanksgiving off from school next week. The kids are REALLY excited about that! I need to catch up on cleaning and laundry something awful. I'm hoping to be able to relax a bit and look forward to spending time with family and friends too :)


This week, the kids made Edelweiss hats. 

As you can tell, they made each hat according to their own style and they didn't want to add the flowers and feathers. If you'd like to find out how to make your own hat, click here.


Somehow, we completely skipped the selected reading for Properties and Ecosystems this week :-o   That's too bad too, the freezing fresh and saltwater experiment looked interesting.  
In Living World, the kids enjoyed reading about freshwater plants and animals. We even watched a few interesting videos.
To watch a short video of cichlid fry coming out from its parent's mouth, click here. The background music is kooky, but the kids thought the video was cool and weird all at the same time ;)
This short video shows a huge paddlefish eating.


This subject was rather uneventful. The kiddos stamped their passports and entered Germany. We also played the geography game a time or two this week.


We are thoroughly enjoying reading about George Muller. I have enjoyed it so much that I wanted to delve deeper into his life by downloading his book, A Narrative of Some of the Lord's Dealings. You can actually download it for free if you would like to read it as well. Click here to go to that site.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

(This post has been linked up at 2 Ladybugs and a Lizard )

Friday, November 18, 2011

High School Text Book TRASH

My brothers have been staying with us while my dad has been out of town for work. As I sit here this morning, my eye catches my brother's science textbook. Holt Science: Science Taks Practice Workbook  (My teenaged brother attends the local public high school here in town. )

I picked up the book and flipped to a section titled 'Evolutionary Trees'. In that section, there is a very simple tree-like diagram. It begins with protista (no picture) and from there, branches off to things like mollusca (picture of a squid), chordata (picture of fish), to arthropoda (picture of a butterfly). The book "claims" in very fact-like wordage, that the diagram shows the evolutionary relationships among these organisms. It goes on to say, using the diagram, that we can see how all animal phyla came from protistan ancestors. Wait, what?!? Ummmm, no? I do NOT clearly see that from this picture. There are no facts to back up ANYTHING they have stated here as fact. Yet, this is the filth they are passing off to our kids! 
Holt Science: Science TAKS Practice Workbook (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston)

Next, I skimmed to a chapter titled 'Evolution of Living Things'. The book briefly mentions evolution as a theory, yet, offers no other theories along side this one and instead goes on, in great detail, to talk about evolution as if it is a fact. It goes on to say how scientists have all sorts of evidence of evolution without actually giving or showing any evidence. They talk about dinosaur fossilization, yet show a fossilized dog paw print.  Talk about implanting ideas! 

They show arm diagrams (NOT to scale mind you) of a bat, penguin, human, and alligator. They *attempt* to point out the bone structure similarities between each without really pointing out anything at all and because of this, they have concluded we all "share a common ancestry". Of course, they don't dare point out all the differences. Hmmm...I wonder why? 
Holt Science: Science TAKS Practice Workbook (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston)

They also talk about something I have never heard of...cytochrome c. Because this compound is found among different species (including humans), they make the assumption that all organisms (including humans) descended from a common ancestor. Couldn't be as simple as everything having a common Creator could it? No, that would just be too easy. 

In the public school system, year after year, book after book, our kids are bombarded with these lies and mistruths. Starting as early as Kindergarten, this fairytale of evolution is slowly built. It is neatly packaged and presented, then shoveled down their throats a little at a time. A great analogy I have heard before is the frog analogy. If you throw a frog straight into a pot of boiling water, he will want to jump out IMMEDIATELY. Yet, if you take that same frog, put him in a pot of lukewarm water and simply turn up the heat a little at a time, he'll never jump out eventually cooking himself to death.

This is happening to our children! And here we are we sitting around wondering what is happening to the Biblical worldview of our kids these days ...and the scientific realm is just the tip of the iceberg. 

It's times like these that make me oh so thankful to be able to educate my children here at home. We don't shy away from evolutionary discussion either. No, they need to be aware of what lies are out there. They need to be able to differentiate the truth from fiction according to the truths from the Bible. They need to be able to stand against these lies and build a solid case for the truth of God and creation.

I am so thankful my brother loves to study up on creation vs evolution and enjoys discussing and watching DVD's on how to combat this whole evolutionary theory. It could also partly be because he loves debating his teachers, but whatever works. lol! 

If your kids
are in the public school system like my brother, pray for God's guidance as you teach and train your children. Stay on top of what they are learning and what is written in their textbooks. Give your kids the tools they so desperately need to combat these false ideas and mistruths. 

With God's help and guidance, we CAN raise kids to stand strong in a world that has turned their backs on God.

Canning and Satsuma Jelly

We were wondering, with the drought we have had and all, if the poor, little, green knots hanging on our trees would ever plump up and ripen up into juicy satsumas. 

Well, they FINALLY did and they are DELICIOUS! The kiddos are eating them like crazy and there are peelings all over the yard. We have already bagged up lots to give away to family and friends and last night....we turned some into Satsuma jelly. YUM!

Satsuma Jelly Recipe

4 cups satsuma juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
5 cups sugar
1 package sure-jell

1) Bring satsuma juice, lemon juice, and sure-jell to boil in a high sided sauce pot. Stir continuously.
2) When you get a hard boil that will not stir down, time for 1 minute and stir continuously.
3) Add sugar and bring to hard rolling boil again stirring continuously for 1 minute.
4) Pour into sanitized jelly jars, then place sanitized lid and rings on jars. Screw down hand tight.
5) Process in boiling water for 10 minutes.
6) Remove from boiling water. Place on a towel lined surface and allow to cool. Once cool, let sit overnight. 
7) Check for proper seal by depressing lid. If lid pops, refrigerate and use. For those sealed properly, label and place in a dark, cool place.

*This recipe makes enough for 6 (8-ounce) Mason jars*

Check out the short Canning 101 video below if you are unsure about the whole canning process. It really is easier than you think! 

(We don't have a wire rack like the lady uses in the video. A hand towel or anything that raises up the jars a bit to keep them from setting on the bottom of the pot will create a good enough barrier.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

MFW-ECC - Week 15 -

Our Week in Review

Ok, this week went by waaaay too fast. 

This week, one of the songs listed was Frere Jacques. I remember learning this song when I was younger...don't know when or where, but as soon as I heard it, the words came flooding back to my memory.

We didn't have time for the silhouettes...maybe next week.


This week was kind-of blah, but the kids had some fun with the classification activity. I forgot to take a picture, but they separated their items into 3 groups: metals, plastic, and paper. From there, they separated them into 2 sub-groups. Then they documented their findings onto notebook paper.


The kids had a blast recreating the Eiffel Tower from wafers and icing. It was quite tasty too :)

For instructions on how to create your own, click here.

You can also create a LEGO eiffel tower. Check that out here.


We learned all about William Tyndale and how he was strangled and then burned at the stake (for committing heresy according to the Church of England)  for translating the Bible into the English language so the "common" folk could understand it. Until then, things were written and read in the Latin Vulgate, so not only could the people NOT read the Bible for themselves, they also could NOT understand what was being read to them. I was so intrigued by this story and learned things that I had never known about the Church of England that I started researching his story further.
I like how one report I came across stated it..."So what had Tyndale done in his translation that was so heretical? According to David Daniell, Tyndale had translated the Greek word for 'elder' as 'elder' instead of 'priest', he had translated the Greek word for 'congregation' as 'congregation' instead of 'church', the Greek word for 'repentance' as 'repentance' instead of 'penance' etc. Why were such differences important to the church? The Roman Church has priests, not elders. A congregation implies a locally autonomous group of believers guided by the Holy Spirit and not a hierarchical unified church subject to a Pope. The Roman Church is built on penance and indulgences to the priest and Church, not repentance to, and forgiveness from God. (See Martin Luther's 95 Theses on Indulgences, the debate that sparked the Reformation). In trying to faithfully render the Greek into English, Tyndale's translation exposed the errors of the church to the people, which quickly brought the wrath of the church down on him."

Anyway, I found it all quite interesting.

We are still enjoying reading about George Muller. Hearing more of his story and all the changes he made in his life causes me to want to make some changes in mine. So, I am starting to go thru each room of my home finding things I can give away...which my husband is all in favor of ;) My husband and I are pretty simple people anyway and I am still in the first room I started in, but I have already come across a few things that I know others can use.  

Here are a few pictures highlighting the homeschool co-op Thanksgiving Feast we participated in.
S and J with their sign language class signing to song

J playing his cornet.

A playing her recorder.

S playing his cornet.

We have had an awesome, eye-openeing week. How about you?

(This post has been linked up at Discover Their Gifts and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Home-made dishwashing powder: so easy and works great!

I told myself the next time I ran out of dishwashing powder, I would make my own.

Well, I ran out this week and I made my own :)

It was so simple, cheap, super easy, AND works GREAT! Makes me wonder why I never did this before.

I've used it a few times now and my dishes are sparkling clean. I've had to play with the the amount a bit, but I found, with my water hardness, about 1 to 1 1/4 T works well. I use the distilled white vinegar in the rinse  indicator hole too and everything comes out shiny.

To find out how to make your own Sayward's dishwashing detergent, click here

Friday, November 4, 2011

MFW-ECC - Week 14 - France, Monet, bats, and fall fest fun!

Our Week in Review


Given our last artsy *fail* with the soap carvings, we opted for something NOT dealing with soap. Since we are in France, we decided to try our hand at making reproductions of Monet's, the French artist, Lily Pond instead. The kids had a blast! It took us at least an hour to complete our works of art though (and yes, I got in on the action too), but the kids loved every second of it!




For directions on how to make your our kid-friendly Monet's, click here.


On Saturday, we went to a Bat 101 presentation at our local State Park. We learned all about bats, what/how they eat, where they live, etc... We also learned about caves in this week's required reading in Properties of Ecosystems. We opted not to do the little plant experiment because we are just about plant-ed out right now, so we did a fun little flapping bat craft instead.
Pull the string and the bat's wings flap up and down :) To find out how to make your own flapping bat, click here.


I was excited to enter into France this week as I have lots of fun things planned for the kiddos. Their passports were stamped, stickers stuck, and in we went. The kids took turns reading the various pages required this week in Illustrated World Atlas. Aleeya is fascinated by all the castle (chateau) talk ;)

For lunch on Friday, we had Ibex quesadillas. The kids loved them!
To find out how to create your own, click here



I don't know about the kids, but I am learning so much! Menno Simons' story is very interesting. I had no idea just how overpowering the Roman Catholic church was at that time and the lengths they went to to keep the truth of the Bible from being preached.

We are also enjoying George Muller's story. Man! He was a pretty bad kid when he was younger and even on up into his teenage and young adult years. We were so excited to hear, in chapter 3, how God took someone like George, completely turned his life around, and used him for His will. 

Here are a few other pictures which highlight some of the fun times we had this week!
Good times with mud bricks!
It's-a me-a....Mario!

Howdy Partner!

I'm-a Luigi!

Mario, Luigi, and Popstar Cowgirl

I hope you had an awesome week as well!

(This post has been linked up at 2 Ladybugs and a Lizard and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Raising Awareness?!?

So, do these "I Love Boobies" bracelets and "Save the Ta-Tas" campaigns truly raise awareness for breast cancer?

Well, in case you were wondering, here are my opinions on the matter...

I find them completely and utterly distasteful. 

My mother battled breast cancer for 8 long and agonizing years before ultimately losing her life to this terrible disease. In the process, she was severely disfigured from multiple surgical procedures as well as from the cancer itself. 

To me, these kinds of slogans and campaigns make a laughing stock out of just how horrifying this disease can truly be. They place the focus on a part of the body, NOT on the life of the person...which is what truly matters. As I stated earlier, my mother was left severely deformed, so these types of campaigns made her feel even more insecure about her breast disfigurements and was made to feel "less of a woman" without breasts because so much emphasis was placed on the body part and not the person. 

They trivialize the seriousness of the issue and objectify body parts of women thus turning this disease into something sexual. 

As a mother, I want my son to learn to treat women with respect...hearing others refer to a woman's body parts so haphazardly does nothing to help in this area.

As a woman and the mother of a daughter, I find these terms degrading and they cause men to focus on the physical appearance of breasts rather than the actual underlying disease. 

Some people will say, 'But they raise awareness and any publicity is good publicity'.

Really?!? Last time I checked, people don't go around calling mens' breasts 'boobies' or 'ta-tas'. These bracelets and campaigns totally gloss over the fact that men can have this disease too. Sure, not close to the extent in which women are diagnosed, but the threat is there nonetheless. (see statistics here)

Who do you see wearing these bracelets?

...Men and teenagers...mostly boys, but I have seen a few girls as well.  Moms - do you really want your boys wearing these?

Do they truly care about breast cancer or just the fact they can blatantly get away with wearing something that says "I love Boobies" out in public? And, seeing that males (more so than females) wear them really makes me raise some eyebrows as to their reasons for wearing them.

I think I'll strike up conversations next time. Should make for some interesting ones.

What if these slogans, phrases, and campaigns were used in the context of other types of cancers, would they still be so widely accepted?

Here is just a small list of them. I'm sure you can use your imagination as to what the slogan might be. No, I am not intentionally trying to be crude, but seriously stop and think about it. I am aware there is already a bracelet or two on the market that "raises awareness" of some of these cancers. And yes, I find those disgraceful and distasteful too.  I personally know some great men who had testicular tumors and cancers removed and a few nearly lost their lives because of it. Don't even get me started on the 'other' slogans being pushed out there. And would you want your daughters wearing those bracelets!?!...I digress...

anal cancer
cervical cancer
Colon Cancer
Colorectal cancer
Ovarian Cancer
Penile Cancer
Prostate Cancer
Rectal Cancer
Testicular Cancer
Vaginal Cancer

Sorry if this post offends you. With the close of breast cancer awareness month all my thought on the issue are finally spilling over. And yes, I am aware there are those people out there wearing these bracelets who have no clue of the message they are really sending or just how hurtful and harmful they can be to others. I just think there are more helpful, beneficial, and worthwhile ways of raising the awareness of breast cancer...

So...what do you think about these bracelets and slogans? 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

MFW-ECC - Week 13 - Being ignored, a sad kitty, and sky terrors!

Our Week in Review

Well, this week has been a bit crazy! Realized (a few days after the fact) that our cat was missing...and she's an inside house bad is that! We found her in the laundry room closet - traumatized, of course. Poor thing! She has a bad habit of running into a room just as we are closing the door. This week was insane running here and there that we just never stopped long enough 1) to realize she was missing and 2) to hear her crying and pawing at the door. Sad, sad kitty!

Tuesday was pretty much a wash. We attended my high school brother's cross-country meet and between that, the park, band practice, and dance practice that day, it left very little room for school-ish things. So we took the day off :)

Ahh, there's nothing quite like getting up early in the morning (with kids in tow), driving 2 hours round trip to watch your brother run, get eaten up by mosquitos THE ENTIRE TIME because they are immune to bug spray, then totally be ignored like you are not even there because your brother is too cool to even acknowledge your existence in front of his friends. Good times....NOT !!!


The kids thoroughly enjoyed the Lapp felt project. The felt was a bit hard to cut and I thought they'd poop out on me and give up, but I was really surprised at their creativity and sticktoitivness!  How do you like that word ;)



Science & Geography

Sorry, I know this section is pretty empty. We managed to squeeze in some of the required book reading, but had trouble completing ANY of the fun outside activities. The mosquitos were TERRIBLE! There was not enough bug spray in the world that could keep us out there. Oh, cold front, please move in quickly so these sky terrors will move out! We did manage to squeeze in a few zips around the merry-go-round at the park where my brother's cross-country meet was being held though. 

We also tried out another hair-do on A. This one was super simple and only involved pony-tails and a lot of twisting.

I get most of these hairstyle ideas from