Monday, January 31, 2011

Goodbye, January!

The year got off to a bang and ZOOOOM we were out of the gate!  Snow was the big deal this month, with piles of it still around in some places weeks after the fact.  Public schools were closed a full week, but not Northfield, we plowed right through pre-Algebra and by the end of February, will be well into Algebra 1.  I have started leaving assignments on the board and giving the kids the option of choosing when they get done, within a certain time frame.  We do math and science and history all together twice a week for each subject, then drawings, extra stuff and any other practice including handwriting, math practice and essay work are all done on their own and due by Friday.  So far, it's working well.  
They mainly do independent studies, and I have started requiring a summary each week-I know Ben can spend 30 hours designing roller coasters, I want to know what he's learning from that time.  Or more, what he is getting from it, I don't expect a list of accomplishments so much as hope for some insight into why he's so willing to work SO hard on something that lives in a computer.  Same for Jake and Chan, though Chan writes and is teaching herself piano and works on a half dozen other things in a day.

Weight- I have lost the few pounds I had gained over the holiday plus a handful more.  I am currently sitting in a holding pattern, but things are in play.  1, I am getting more exercise than I was and that has to account for muscle growth and increased metabolism-both factors that won't really release a torrent of weight until I have done them long enough to stabilize, then BOTH should be a factor in dropping pounds.  2, I have revamped and changed our diet over the last month considerably.  I was planning a slower transition, but decided it wasn't like getting used to the water or working my way from a slow jog to a sprint, it's FOOD.  Our bodies crave healthy, whole foods and since changing over, everyone in the house has been in a much better mood, even Jake, who loves pizza and fried things, is eating steamed veggies and does not seem the worse for it, he's grown more this month than last year.  
We are waking up earlier, actually getting the day started instead of sitting there bleary-eyed for the first hour or two.  It's a change, one I am glad we have made.  Even if groceries are costing more now, I have to temper that with the total halt in buying soda, chips, pre-packaged foods, drink mixes, junk food, treats and so on.  I do think that over time, we will eat less as our bodies adjust to not having to process so much food in order to get the nutrients it needs.

Money-I am on track with my savings goals for the year, even a tiny bit ahead!  Matt's check, after insurance and tax break adjustments, is $38 a check more.  That's going straight into savings as if I had never heard of it.  The first credit card is paid off, so half of that payment is now going toward the second card, the other half in savings.  We will be able to pay for our Disney tickets and campsite as soon as we get the dates!  Also, I renewed with AAA, which will save us 20% on the campsite, or $140.  Not bad for a $58 investment that will also come to the rescue if either vehicle breaks down.  I managed to skip a month on Jake's braces somehow.  So I am a month behind on that and so won't be done until May.  I opted to put extra on the credit card instead of paying off his braces sooner because the braces are interest-free and the credit card is not.

Travel-Between dental check-ups, personal events, birthday and the play, February is totally blocked in already, we don't have 2 free days and nights together to go do anything!  March will have to do as our first chance to get out, in the meantime, the camper has been checked end-to-end and found to be in good shape.  I have a few cosmetic things I want to do-replace the floor covering and remove and replace the sealant on the outside. I caulk it every year and every year, it cracks around the trim (from the twist and sway when it's being hauled) and when I put on more, the extra that gets smeared around the edges turns a nasty gray from road dirt.  
I bought a tool to remove all of the sealant and a spray cleaner that will dissolve the rest of it off the body.  I plan to use a flexible, clear silicone gel that's rated for sun and rain exposure instead.  I also want to buy a screen tent and an outside rug this year.  I am thinking about one of those shower enclosure tents that you can use for either a port-a-potty or to hang a solar shower in.  I want to put it in the corner of the screen tent to house the Rubbermaid bins that hold the power cords and tarps and the jacks and all that-body boards, inner tubes, sand toys.  I just stack them up under the bunk end now, and that works great-until it rains and they get filthy from the gravel and dirt splashing up on them and if the rain is hard enough, they also get wet.  It would just be one less thing to mess with.  I don't enjoy camping in the rain and flat won't go if it's going to rain most of the time I had planned to be out, but I can't avoid it all the time.  It usually rains once or twice a trip, no matter what the weather says.

So that's it, the year is going really well.  My only complaint, as it is, is that a couple nights ago, someone came by in a truck and stopped and got out and started looking over my camper!  Jake chased them off before he even told me someone was out there.  I heard the dogs going NUTS and heard Jake go out, so I did not rush out there.  When I went out to check, we could hear them pulled just a little ways down the drive way and they were talking, but I could not make out the words.  Since then, the camper has been moved further back into the yard and I have put a good padlock in place of the kingpin-so no one can lift the clip to put it on a receiver ball.
The police said small campers and even just utility trailers were being stolen all around, probably for use at deer camps and as meth labs.  : (  We are going to buy a good chain and chain the axle to a tree, Poppy is so light, I don't think she'd HAVE to be on a ball to be hauled, they could lash her to the bumper.
She's insured, for more than we paid, plus extra for any cargo she has in her at the time, which even 'empty' is still 2 heaters, 2 fans, her chocks and jacks, extension cords, memory foam mattresses, a microwave, fridge and a $40 carbon monoxide alarm.  It's not the money, it's that she's OURS and we love her and we have great memories and plan to make many, many more with her as our happy little home in the background.  I don't want someone to just take her and then use her for such bad things.  I honestly wish the punishment for manufacturing or use of meth was death by firing squad.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Not a bad day at all!  The weather was wonderful, we went to Cullman and walked around the big park and then over to the lake and walked in the woods a while.  Back home, the kids and I cleaned up more brush and Jake dug up a few wild walnut trees that had sprouted in the bulb bed.  We raked and raked and I moved rocks around to reform part of a retaining wall and piled dirt on the high side. 

Matt loaded the drums and headed to a gig, I have Letters to Juliet to watch later on and an interesting forensics novel I am just getting into laying on the bed.  I have had a hot shower and a good-for-me meal, feeling pretty fine all the way around today.  : )  

I had my weekly diet drink this afternoon at the park to help chase away a headache I was getting.  It worked, but it was like drinking a chemical mix!  I did not want it at all.  That's good, I had harbored the feeling that I was not doing as well as I could last year with being able to give up so much, but somehow not the diet sodas.  After a couple weeks of water, fruits and whole grains, when I eat or drink something with several additives or preservatives, I feel icky.  

I feel SO good these days, even when I am tired or something's bugging me, I still FEEL good, my body feels stronger and my brain is more clear. I am loving that!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lunch 2

Today I hit pretty high on my personal carb scale (aiming for 120 or less a day) eating fruit and yogurt at breakfast, so I was looking for a sensible lunch with some protein.

I found it with chicken broth, cubed tofu and eggs.  I heated the broth, added the tofu and drizzled the raw egg into the hot broth, added some sliced onion and sprinkled the top with chives.  It was delicious!  300 calories, 16 grams of fat, 7 carbs and 25 grams of protein.  And, it was under $5 to make the whole pot, which fed us all easily.

I was at a new low on the scale this morning!  Payday!  : )  I probably set myself back a week at MNO eating brownie AND chocolate malt balls, but only one brownie and only 4 malt balls, so...I am not going to sweat it.  I confessed to fitday, who assured me I was 54 carbs over my hoped-for 120 today.  Ah well. I need more than carrot sticks sometimes.  : )

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Since I can't find my newly-beloved Lean Cuisine butternut squash microwave meals at the under $2 price anymore, I was forced today to find a new lunch that still took about 5 minutes to make.  Not because I am pressed for time, but because I am really lazy at lunch and the kitchen is usually clean, I don't want to mess up a bunch of stuff.  The kids eat sandwiches or Campbell's 90% of the time.

I have been back over at fitday for the past week, trying to see what my food balance is like.  I need more protein over-all and I am not getting enough Vitamin A, my week-so-far levels are about 85%.

So, off to the kitchen!  I opened and drained 3 cans of tuna, chopped up 1/4 cup of walnuts and topped it with 4 tablespoons of spinach dip and stirred it up.  While it sat for a few moments, I quartered 3 Roma tomatoes, popped them in a bowl, sprinkled them with a little sea salt and put 1/2 of the tuna mix on top-saved the rest for Matt, he comes in starving.

That's 350 calories (348), 17 grams of fat, 13 carbs and 48 grams of protein.  The tomatoes boosted my Vitamin A intake 33%.  Next time, I will can leave out the walnuts and save 50 calories and 10 grams of fat!  Ack  It is the good kind of fat, at least.  : )

I am down one more pound today, if I don't get to 1500 calories, I don't lose weight, no matter how fancy my footwork.   I am trying for 350-400 calories a meal and then having almond milk, fresh fruits or green goodness for the extra calories.  I have had diet soda once in the last 10 days and have cut back on cheese by 80% and not had any chocolate or butter (or bread, now that I think about it).  I have walked a total of 7 miles, done yoga at least 20 minutes a day and done the kettlebell 3 times.  I wish I were down 10 pounds for the 10 days of effort,'s more like 1.5-2 pounds.  With some gains in there as well. 

Still, I FEEL better and that's more than a number on the scale, though I will admit, seeing a lower number now and then feels like a payday.   

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Katy posted a link several weeks ago that went to a post about choosing not a resolution or a couple of goals for the new year, but choosing a word to focus on.
There is a worksheet (.pdf) to delve more deeply into finding a word, it also explains the power of having a word to focus on.

I have spent a few weeks now thinking over what I want from the year.  Travel, Adventure, Joy.  I want to Attract new experiences, Explore, Enjoy.  I want to Shine and Transform.  I want Passion and Intent, I want to be in the moment I am in, not thinking ahead or back or distracted by a parallel universe in which I am probably doing a better job of things.

I want to recall details later, not JUST the details I captured via my lens.   I want to be where I am, to find the thing in each day, each experience, that means the most to me.  The things I can walk away owning and the things I can walk away from and release.  Let go of the negative, even if I have need to chew that bitter flavor a little while.  Ultimately I want to spit it out instead of swallowing it.  It does not belong inside me, I have no room for that.  I don't wish to spend any more of my time tending gardens of slights, making mountains of memories best dropped into a well of forgetting or tossed into a hot fire and allowed to fly out as ash, bringing a brief light into the world and giving some small nutrients to the plants.  Not festering in my way, not being mismatched socks in my psyche or nagging doubts when I want to try again or try something totally new.  

I had thought immediately that my word would be Create.  But...I do that already.  I don't really want to make more of anything, even if I do desire to improve my current ability.  I want to understand.  I want to filter and decide and make decisions based on my needs, the needs of my family.  To not do things because I should or because it's expected.  What I want for myself the most for the year turns out to be Truth.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Northfield Academy

Over the years, we have been through a half a dozen incarnations of 'homeschooling'.  I started off with Jake at 5, doing shapes and colors and letters and number 30 minutes a day while Ben and Chan napped.  We read stories about mail carriers and pilots and bears and earthworms.  We cut up fruit and planted beans in clear cups filled with cotton wool.  We spent most of our day outside.

Ben and Chan came into this experience easily, they joined in with art and nature study, they listened as I read, they scribbled while Jake tried to stay in the lines, they banged away on the keyboard and glued sticks to pieces of paper.

By the time Jake was 6, we were full-on Charlotte Masonites.  I followed the curriculum day after day and watched as his eyes glazed over, as he struggled to understand some of the vocabulary, as he plodded through his worksheets with only the end in mind.  We called ourselves Castle Academy.

At 7, I was into unit studies.  I decided my way of viewing school was wrong, it should be part of life, not a separate activity.  We would go to the library and he would name a topic and I would fill our basket with books, which we would read over the next 2-3 weeks, fitting in field trips and such when I could find something relevant.  We called ourselves Spring Hill Elementary.

At 8, we spent nearly every week in this way: Greenway biking 3-4 times a week, Nashville's Ben West library once a week, hiking 2-3 mile trails twice a week, Wednesdays were Wilderness mornings at a local park that did wonderful nature programs year-round.  Afterward, if the weather was good, we would hike the whole afternoon, eating picnics from our daypacks and having an ice cream on the way home.  Tuesday we went to storytime at the library, which was a busy affair with stories, dancing, art, puppet shows, ballet dancers, food tasting and loads of books.  We would meet the librarian at the park for lunch more often than not and she would clap and cheer as the kids swung high or jumped off something.  After lunch, we swam.  

We lived within an hour of 4 huge lakes, 5 state parks and 2 major Greenway systems.  There were parks, sandy beaches, nature programs, night hikes, Owl Prowls, turtle talks, rocks to climb. 

On Thursday was our homeschool co-op.  Jake dictated articles for the paper, they all took Spanish and art and did math and P.E.  We had field trips, hikes, playdays.  We went camping and swimming and would sometimes drive all the way to Cade's Cove to catch a mountain band or spend the day in Chattanooga at the Aquarium and ride the carousel over and over.

By his 9th birthday, we were back in Alabama.  By that point, I was keen on unschooling and child-led learning.  Chan was 7, Ben was 5.  We were in Alabama for 2 years before I even enrolled Benny.  Our first year back, Matt was without a job for 8 of those months.  we traveled, carefully parceling out his severance package and supplementing with unemployment while that lasted.  Then Jacki came for a month in October, after she left, I was...not okay.  I knew I needed friends and I knew I needed to get the kids out to see people, start doing things again. 

In January of '05, I went to my first skate day and met Heather, my first friend in Alabama.  By May, I had started roamschool and we had our first official group outing where I met Karen, my second friend.  The three of us did everything together for a long time before adding in "Crazy" Karen (as I thought of her when we first met, though now I worry she's the most sane of us all), Cathy, Suzette and Gina along the way.  Katy and Amanda, Eva, Pam, Regina, Michelle...and so many other moms who have come into our orbit and helped me find my footing, keep my footing.

When Jake was 10, 11, 12, 13, 14-we unschooled.  Ben's whole life has had little 'schooled' influence.  He reads, writes, does math, builds from a plan or from his own brain.  No one taught him.  Our idea of 'doing school' largely revolved around a couple of math sheets now and then to make sure they understood a concept or a marathon of history or science shows that I found to be inspiring.  Mostly, we played outside, did art, read books, played with friends and lived together. 

This past fall, Jake decided he wanted me to get his GED.  We started slowly covering 3 subjects a week-math, history and science-until he was at 'grade level' of 9th grade according to placement testing.  I started Ben and Chan at the same point, so they all are doing the same subjects the same way.  In 5 months, they have gone from somewhere around 4th-5th grade in math to Algebra I.  They can write essays and formal letters.  They have a good grasp of US History from the Native Americans through the 1960's.  They know all the states and capitals and can label them.  They can diagram the human body in detail, they can start from an egg and sperm and tell the steps through birth of the development of a baby.

They have a good grasp on physics, biology and can work first aid magic.  They can plan a nutritious meal, do the shopping, cook, serve, clean.  They can check the oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, tire pressure, can add wiper fluid, they can hook up the camper and unhook it, can balance it and set it up and take it down.  Jake can change the oil and change a tire and a battery.

I had worried the unstructured time, the whole years where they played and explored and gamed away the days one at a time, would leave them flopping like fish out of water, desperate to grasp what they needed to survive, but unable.  This delve into 'formal studies' has bashed that fear.  Instead of spending months drilling the multiplication tables, we started in with Pre-Algebra and they picked up on multiplication and division in a matter of days.

I stare at the page with the problem that looks like a product code filled with letters, numbers and symbols.  Ben comes along and corrects me.  "It's not 22, it's negative 22.  You take 28 from 6 at the end, not 6 from 28."  

Their total unconcern for what should be hard or what I think leaves me trying a new way of thinking.  All this time, I homeschooled mainly to allow them to live their lives as unencumbered as possible, they don't concern themselves about possessions or clothing, they listen to NPR and have only seen commercials when we were visiting somewhere with a TV.  Hairstyles means they brushed it...probably today.

We are now Northfield Academy, named for the pasture that is on the north side of the house.  We have been homeschooling for 10.5 years now.  I still don't have it all figured out.  I don't think I ever will.  But, I no longer think that's the point.

Friday, January 21, 2011


We have the feeders up during this cold snap.  I usually avoid feeding the birds because the cats eat a few a year.  I did move the feeders up to the eaves of the house, so far that has made a difference. 

I have been a little snap happy this afternoon, so I thought I would post a few shots.  I was trying to get a chickadee, but they are SO fast.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Today was a day that has been looked forward to for over a month now.  We knew we would be home over the holidays and that the first check of the year was going to be quite puny because of said holidays.  The 19th was Jake's orthodontist appt-and the day before the first full check of the year-and so we planned to have a day out.
Checking the weather over and over, I was assured it would be clear and sunny and around 47.  Even on the way into town this morning under heavy gray clouds and chill straight out of a freezer, the radio guy said it would clear around noon and be nicer all afternoon.

We finished at the orthodontist, went to the library for some books, met up with Heather, split up, I got gas and lunch (not from the same place!) and headed up to Green Mountain Nature Trail to meet back with her and also meet up with Katy and Cathy.

We arrived first and waited a while, then decided to eat, it was SO cold with the wind coming off the water.  Brrrrr!  We finished lunch in record time and ran for the van.  Everyone else showed up and we went over our options.  We decided to walk part way around the lake, hoping the wind was blowing toward us and would be better over there.  Not so.

We made it to the bridge and came back.  Heather opted to go on home at that point, she had a croaky kid or two and it was colder than any of us had planned for.  Before she left, she gave Chan a bag of clothes.

The rest of us went off to check out some labyrinths in the area, going to the one off Waverly first since it was closest.


Chan slid in the considerable mud and ended up with a soaked pair of pants.  Heather's bag to the rescue!  Yay! 

Next up was the labyrinth at the Mental Health Center on South Parkway.
It was our favorite of the day, huge and complex and well away from anyone else.

Mecha-shiva, mecha-shiva, mecha-shiva!

After we finished up there, we went to the last labyrinth of the day on Holmes.  It was in need of some work, so we just walked around and looked at the custom bricks.

 We opted out of the last one for the day, it was getting late and I was cold through.  The sun never came out and it never got above 38.  We made plans for another day and Cathy and I went to the local used bookstore before heading home.

In all, it was a cold and bleak day as far as the weather went, but I am glad we got out in it anyway.  I am tired of feeling trapped by the winter!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I've sunk to a new low

OMG!  And I am THRILLED!  : )

For some reason, the weight is coming off again and taking friends.  I had put back on a few pounds between the holiday and the snowy days and the general eating thing I enjoy.  I managed to get back down to about where I was at the end of November by eating less and doing some minor weight training and walking.

This weekend, we started easing into eating 'superfoods' again: soy, pumpkin, beans, tomatoes, oranges, yogurt, blueberries, tea, walnuts, broccoli, salmon and turkey.  These are foods that are nutritionally dense and loaded with omega-3, antioxidants and vitamins and are long-burning. I expected to feel a little better and after a week or two, maybe drop a pound or two.  This year my focus is more on nutrition than weight loss as some of what I eat is keeping me from having the energy and stamina I would like to have.  Plus, I want to eat regular meals again, we have gotten bad in the last month or two about heating up plates of food or making a sandwich and disappearing. 

It was like my body said, "Oh!  Okay, pumpkin soup and curry and layered bean dip* and fresh fruit (bananas and oranges) couscous with loads of greens! and what's that?  A turkey sandwich on whole grain?  Score!  You win!"  My prize?  A 4-pound drop in 3 days!  I know WAAAYYY better than to think it will keep peeling off at this rate, but in the meantime, I am under my lowest point from last year.

I feel newly motivated to keep the ball rolling, something I have talked about needing to get around to, but until this morning, was not really keen on actually DOING with gusto, though I have been walking.  I have been so surprised with having lost some weight that losing more just did not really seem possible.

*Layered Bean Dip:
In Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog, during Commentary on the extras, in the song "I'm Better Than Neil" which is an old sea shanty Nathan Fillion's mom used to sing to him as a child, Nathan mentions 7-Layer Bean Dip of the gods.
A little while back, he posted the recipe on Twitter and I will admit, just hitting refresh and seeing the lines appear was geek girl heaven because that meant Nathan was on line RIGHT WHEN I WAS.  Eep!  Matt tweeted him back, double eep!

I took his recipe and modified it so that it's A) not covered in olives and jalapenos and B)easy to make with what we have locally.

Here you go:
Layer one
Re-fried beans from a can
Layer two
Mixture of sour cream and taco seasoning
Layer three
guacamole (I mash avocados and mix in the spices from the pack, our store has never heard of guacamole)
Layer four
Salsa-I prefer garlic and artichoke salsa, so yummy
Layer five
Mexican style rice in the little packet you put in the microwave
Layer six
Shredded cheese, I like the taco seasoned cheese, just about half a pack will do (about a cup)
Layer seven

This will feed a family of 4-5, it's a LOT of dip.  You will need heavy duty chips or else they will break.  Whole grain chips are best.  I use a 9x11 glass casserole pan.

Nathan's dip has beans, sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, olives, jalapenos and cheese on top. 

Monday, January 17, 2011


I fell asleep before 8 last night and laid in the bed until after 9 this morning.  Winter is doing a number on me!

We did get out yesterday and walk several cemeteries, taking pictures to fulfill requests.  That's so rewarding, people are just thrilled to get the correct spellings and birth and death dates of their family, I have gotten so much feedback and thank-you's, it's a bit of an ego thrill, I will admit.  I have met some nice folks, too.

Speaking of meeting people, I joined an outdoor club over the weekend, it's run by women.  I am going to the first planning meeting in March, I am surprised I did it!  They are not homeschoolers and kids are not allowed to join-though they can attend outings.  So it's not a mom-centric homeschool-based group, which is very new for me!  But, I am down to my last 5 years at this gig, if that, thanks to the GED.  It's starting to be time to look ahead to when we are not homeschooling any longer.

Camping plans are looking like this:


Yeah, that's crap.  This time last year, I already had paid for reservations at Holt Lake and LBL!  I have not even been inside the camper in 4 months, we have not camped since last JUNE.  We camped April, May and June and quit.  Blah, that sucks.  I know this year I will be off camping all of September while poor Matt mans the post and keeps the animals fed.  But that's 7 months away.  7.5 months.  I want something in the works.  I still want to do the whole Natchez Trace, though the kids respond each time I bring it up as if I have suggested we go watch paint dry.

What else that's in the works is another weight loss jag, I am aiming for a 24 pound loss this time by September.  Matt and I are planning to walk the track tonight and tomorrow while Chan is at practice.  I have made our grocery list for this next trip on Thursday, it's full of things that are better choices as I have been...not making those just lately.

The kids have at least expressed interest in backpacking.  I got a little excited a few years ago and bought 2 tents, Kelty Jr backpacks for all 3 kids, poles, cooking gear, a little stove, a water filter and lightweight sleeping bags and pads.  We thought Matt's surgeries were going to fix his apnea and we would be able to camp without electricity.  That did not happen and the kids were still so young that I was not comfortable going alone with them.  I tend to bring too much stuff no matter how often I pare down.  I could only imagine how loaded down I would be with food and cooking gear and the tents.  I even bought Jess a big pack-but she can't carry weight now, her joints would suffer.  Maybe Kuma can come along-he could carry Zephyr in there.

With Jake bigger than I am and Ben and Chan able to hold their own on longer hikes, we have decided to lay out a couple local trips-the first in the pasture-and go from there.  I am hoping Jake's pack will still fit him, those things are NOT cheap. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

: )

Murder in the Snow...

I looked out today and saw this horrific scene in the snow!

First Responder, Jake, checks the victim for a pulse.

 I rushed out to capture what I could to make things easier for the Snow Po

The angry eyebrows and armpit hair made it all to clear what had happened. 

As we watched, food coloring dripped out of the wound.  Just after it was dripped on...

The snow, unused to being in Alabama for so long and in such quantities had gone insane.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow, Still

Ugh, I am tired of the snow, and irritated that THREE of Matt's TEN vacation days this year are going to cover being trapped in the house.  : (   Didn't the snow know we are going to Disney??

Monday, we played, Tuesday, we did 2 days of school work and yesterday, when it became apparent that Matt was not going to be able to get down the driveway, we decided to have a vacation day, made junk food and watched movies all day long.  Well, the last season of LOST anyway.  Just episode 16 and the double 17th episode left!

 This is how it STILL looks out there.  Yeah, the mail ran finally and another truck came FLYING down the road past the house, leaving tracks, but that's solid ice again and today is not getting above freezing.  Again.
I am looking forward to this weekend with the balmy 46 degree days and sunny skies in the forecast.
I am going hiking. 
Joe, the snow ghost.


We are working on the human body...kind of.  We just finished cells in science, we have been working on first aid and nutrition in health, we have been talking about different systems and how they work together in general.
So, I traced off each kid onto one of those 6 foot long rolls of brown paper you can get in the mailing section of most stores. Tuesday, they drew a cell to tape to their body page.  As we go, they will add in the things we discuss to their own body drawing-organs, bones, muscle...
I posted these very badly lit and blank outlines as a before, that way Progress will be Astounding!
Ben would not be still, so I traced a cantaloupe for his head.  Ha!



Monday, January 10, 2011

January Snow

Well, anyway, here at home, we got some 6 inches of snow last night! 

This morning, I got up and decided what I should do is go hiking.

So, off we went, Jake stayed in, Ben and Chan wanted to play in the yard, so Matt and I went down to the creek with the dogs.

We walked along the creek a while, then cut up the hill and then got lost a little, then disagreed with where we were exactly and split up.  Matt was right, I was heading toward Georgia.  He got home just enough ahead of me to decide I had fallen down the hill and smacked my head into a rock.  He spent a while going back and forth over being glad I was not dead to being mad that I was so stubborn and made him worry.  I think the dial is back around to glad, but he did shoot me a dirty look when I asked if he wanted to go hike again tomorrow.

My hip, which has been hurting for days, decided to quit allowing my right leg to actually move very far, so I was stuck sort of dragging it through the top layer of snow.  Kuma, bless him, would run ahead of me and plow the snow, then come behind me and nudge my legs.  When the path was wide enough, he would come beside me and put his head under my hand.  : )  He's such a good boy, I think I made him very happy being a straggler and forcing him to use his herding instincts to get me to the barn. 

I finally came out over in the pasture beyond the property line and walked up through the woods and past Judy's and down the road to the house.  As soon as I got my wet stuff off, my hip stopped hurting.  Grrrr! 

I figured out today that if we wrap our sock feet in heavy plastic, then put on shoes, our shoes get soaked, but the feet stay dry.  The kids were thrilled about that discovery.  I think probably cave moms figured that out thousands of years ago, but still, it was a leap in comfort and non-frostbitteness around here.

 Kuma has cleared the path ahead, all is well, we are safe.

 Jessie is a pretty dog.
Her limp never showed up today, she seemed in great spirits and played and ran for hours.

 My sweet Kuma.

 Matt locates a high point and looks for home.
 Jessie says, "I will eat your face and everyone will call you That Dog With No Face Over There and you wil have no face, bwahahahahahaha!"

Just kidding!

 Chan did these snowmen.

In all, we walked about 2 miles in the snow, which was around 6 inches deep.
Most of that was uphill.