Sunday, November 30, 2008

a soldier's heart


I would be honored if you would click over and read my story about Tara (her name needs to be said out loud and often), an Afghan orphan who died last winter. She has brought out the best in people after experiencing some of the worst. The soldier whose heart she touched is keeping her name alive. What a hero he is.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

his own tune


We celebrated the end of the semester for our homeschool co-op last week. Music class for the older kids now includes guitar lessons. Here, my boy is jamming to "Joy to the World."

Miscellaneous homeschool notes for the week:

  • Nolan is continuing to enjoy Time4Learning and it is resulting in much improved writing. He does not complain about it. That is no small thing.
  • If you are in South Carolina, I highly recommend the Leonardo da Vinci Machines in Motion exhibit at the South Carolina State Museum. We attended a class there last Friday and there were squeals of delight from our area. Nolan enjoyed it, too.
  • Despite the transparently slick marketing campaign (not because of it), I bought the first book in the The 39 Clues series for Nolan. He devoured it. We had to make him stop reading. (I keep calling it The 39 Steps. Not the same thing.)
  • Nicola Tesla was awesome. Sir Isaac Newton was pretty cool, too.

Monday, November 24, 2008

coffee service

Habitat For Humanity Fundraising Idea

Calicodaisy's daughter is raising money for a trip to serve on a Habitat for Humanity team. Head on over and buy one of these snazzy coffee sleeves to help her cause.

Drink coffee and feel good about it -- the perfect combination.

Monday, November 17, 2008

like sending my child out into the world (but not really)


I have enjoyed my foray into jewelry making. There is something extra cool about wearing a one-of-a-kind item and knowing it originated in my brain. (Maybe I am weird that way...)

But yikes, now I have listed a handmade bracelet in my Etsy shop. A little intimidating? Yep.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

tie up some brown paper packages...


with red and white baker's twine, now in my shop

Thursday, November 13, 2008

time4learning...getting started


We are currently enjoying a trial membership in Time4Learning. Though the site includes lessons in math, science, social studies and language arts, we are starting with language arts to supplement what we have already been using -- sort of.

I add the caveat because we have used Time4Learning for writing instruction this week with surprising success and we have used it to the exclusion of anything else. Remember -- Mr. Math and Science will tell you that he hates to write. He does love to use the computer, however, and anything online has at least some measure of appeal to him. (This became very clear when we started using StreamlineSC, an educational video service offered to {all} South Carolina schools through our public television system.) Like his mom, my son is also very much a visual and tactile learner -- we use videos, hands-on activities and real world experiences to supplement everything. Time4Learning plays nicely to his visual curiosity.

We have jumped right into Language Arts Extensions, beginning with writing paragraphs. I am excited about the possibility of the site walking us through the research paper that has been looming in my lesson plans like an angry bear. (Most of our school day is fun for both of us. Writing? Not so much.)

After two school days using the site, Nolan has four well constructed paragraphs (on actual paper!) that were relatively painless for both of us. I think this will be a big help as we move to essays and longer papers. So far, so good. I will continue to update...

Edited to add: He really does write a lot and often -- this is about prompted writing, a skill without which the rest of the world (read: test graders and colleges) will be unable to evaluate the good stuff cooped up in his brain. Just last week he finished a multi-page work of fiction. I swear.

equal and opposite



A balloon car -- Sir Isaac would have loved this.

how to know if homeschooling is going well


Take your 10-year-old (who just started learning about force and motion) to a one hour and 20 minute lecture and Q&A by a physics professor. Watch him sit still, take it all in and whisper "Cool!" when she uses a graphic to explain how computational fluid dynamics is used to analyze how airflow is impacted by splitters and wings on cars.

I would call that a good day.

Saturday, November 8, 2008



...proof that God loves us.

This was half a perfectly ripe avocado (which I hardly ever find, actually) mashed with a couple of tablespoons of homemade salsa. Today's incarnation of the salsa is below. The summer version is an entirely different animal. The same could be said about me.

Homemade Salsa: The Winter Version

28 oz. can of whole tomatoes

1/4 medium sized yellow onion

1/4 cup of pepper mix (I used a mixture of hot and sweet peppers from the freezer.)

Cilantro (A good handful of fresh, unless it's gross at your store as it was at mine. In that case, dried is a poor substitute, but I had to make do.)

A dash of sugar and salt

A generous amount of fresh ground black pepper

Drain tomato juice into food processor. Add onion, peppers and cilantro and pulse until finely chopped. Pour into another bowl and then pulse the tomatoes in the processor until desired consistency. Combine everything and add salt, sugar and black pepper to taste. Great with blue corn chips.

Friday, November 7, 2008

the prize


I have just been reminded to keep my eyes on it as temperatures turn cooler tomorrow and the days are so short and it's going to rain and I really don't enjoy winter (but for Christmas) and (yikes) Thanksgiving is in three weeks and I have felt food to make (long story) and I am probably not sending out Christmas cards again this year and...

Ah, yes -- a romantic getaway is definitely in order.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

wild kingdom of suburbia




I love when a hawk lingers in the front yard. I try not to think about the fact that he is just here for the food. (There's a bird feeder one tree over. He's here for the birds -- not the birdseed.)


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

did you?


If you haven't ventured out yet, take a jacket and a snack. Lines are long.


Or you can take a leopard print fleece wrap (wide and long rectangle of fleece sewn right sides together -- leave an opening-- turn and add a little free-motion quilting). I felt like Lovey Howell as I waited in line. It's always a good day when you can dress like Lovey.

The Mr. Goodbar leftover from Halloween actually melted in my pocket, but I was prepared for whatever the election commission could throw my way.



Now, I am off to be bribed by Starbucks.

one more story link

Sorry. This was supposed to be a writing site, you know.

I already have my my son's day booked to see the new Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the South Carolina State Museum. It is going to be a geeky good time for all.

Monday, November 3, 2008

escaped predatory animals and the mommy wars

If you are asking, "What's the difference?" -- the animals are more fun to be around. Just kidding... :)

Read a bit about said animals moving it in the forthcoming Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and how the mommy wars continue.

And vote tomorrow, if you are in the U.S.

Don't forget.


Do it.

when heaven is the church ceiling

So I spend five days in Florida and come away fully SPF-ed with no hint of sunburn. Sunday morning in church? Not so much.

All over town today, members of our church are sporting sunburns on the right sides of their faces, but it was worth it.  We celebrated the church's 15th anniversary with one big (really big) service at a local park.


My pictures in no way capture the mass of humanity there. It was like a rock concert, which is how we often do church, actually.



And the sun was incredible. (Here's Nolan texting Dad who was on his way back from a camping trip.)