Friday, December 30, 2011

Artist Study - Winslow Homer

As we study American history I thought it would be good to read a bit about Winslow Homer. I found a book at the library. I admit it has been on our pile for quite some time and since it is due about on Monday after already being renewed at least once I decided it was time to read it. After a bit of reading, I gave J the assignment to pick a picture in the book and to draw it/copy it. I heard, I can't do it." To which I reply, "I didn't ask you if you could, I told you to do it." We have conversations like that at times.

He got his clipboard and a pencil and went to work.

I was very impressed and told him he did a great job and that I knew he could do it. He had found an illustration in the book and copied it. He did a great job.

Then Miss Me Too wanted her turn. She had to have her clipboard. She started drawing and I wandered away to do other things. I was amazed when I went and saw what she had done.

I know it is not that impressive but when I saw what she was copying.

I could see what she was drawing.

I think I might need to have her copy some other pictures and work to develop her drawing skills. She does like drawing and writing. She hears her brother often say, "how do you spell _____." and so she will say, "how do you spell epithelial?" Yes, that is what she asked one day. I had to look it up before answering her.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My husband graduated

Insert loud clapping and cheering.

In March 2005 he took his first class for a D.Min in Missiology. The beginning part of this year was spent writing the final project. Then in the summer he was editing it. In October he defended his project and earned the title, Dr. He did it in just short of 7 years. It was a long and at times difficult process and I wasn't even the one doing the work. I am very proud of him and the work that he did. His research topic was unique and he thinks that only one or at most two other people have researched this topic.

We decided that the children and us as well needed to celebrate the complication and so we went to graduation. They had a December graduation which was only for Graduate students. It was a nice ceremony. My pictures was the ceremony were not good. Here is one I got afterwards.

Now that this is done we are getting excited for what God has next for our family. For the past two years we have been praying and considering various opportunities. We made a list of different places were could live. We have looked at various organizations. Two days after he submitted the final edited project we had a meeting that made quite a bit clear. So now we are working through that process. This is an opportunity that builds on his research. His desire has been through all of this that God's kingdom would be built dup

It looks like the place we will end up living was not on our long list of places were we could live. So the following places are no longer being considered -- Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, University City, Paradise, Los Angeles, Seattle, Malaysia, and Singapore. God's ways are not always our ways.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Have your DNA and Eat it Too!

I saw this idea and link on Pinterest and though it would be a fun activity to add to our science reading. I was in the Amish grocery store the other week and found the mini colored marshmallows and so I bought them.

I had to help Miss K with her project. It took me a bit to figure it out but once I did it was easy.

She was proud of the DNA. She was telling someone that she likes science and we have marshmallows in science. It makes sense when you know what we did.

J got a bit frustrated. I was trying to understand it, help or rather do Miss K's and explain it to him. That was a bit more than I could do.

He did figure it out and was able to do it.

This is a good project and really helps to understand DNA a bit more. It is not that hard.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family. We enjoyed a wonderful 
morning at church and then time with family.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Projects

I remember as a child making candles with my parents. It was a family activity that we often did in the fall or winter. I remember saving milk cartons or actually buying milk in cartons so we could have the cartons and using juice cans, etc. I decided to try that this year with my children. I found paraffin at the thrift store and bought some things with coupons at the craft store (one week I got three 50% off coupons in the newspaper insert so the kids and I each bought things for the project).

I looked online and found a few suggestions. We got our jars and containers ready. Some of these were things that I have collected through the year.

The most fun for the kids was watching the wax melt.

I used some jelly jars and some teas that we have gotten tea in this past year. I didn't have any chopsticks to use to help hold the wick so I broke a bamboo skewer.

It was a bit more of a mama project but the kids did help. They had fun and have some gifts for grandma and aunts.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Piano Recital

In the fall we found a new piano teacher for J. The past two years he has taken lessons from someone local and things just weren't working out to continue. Through a local homeschool group we found Olga. We met her and loved her approach, ability, and kind manner. Olga does not teach twaddle (that is a word that I never heard until homeschooling and one I have always wanted to be able to use). J's piano playing has improved. He loves it and will often sit and play. He has asked if various places we are going have a piano for him to play. Tonight was the Christmas recital. Olga has 6 students in the area and we were at the home of two of the boys for the recital. One of the things that impresses me with Olga is her ability to teach the beginning student as well as the gifted and advanced (which is not J but two other local students).

Mummified Apple

As we study the body in Classical Conversations, we have begun to read Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. One of the first experiments in there was to mummify an apple. We had everything so I thought I would give it a try.

We peeled two apples and put each one in a mug. One had nothing just plastic wrap on top and the other one had a mixture of baking soda and salt. We put them on a shelf for a week. I was a bit concerned that the one with nothing was going to be okay. I had checked it halfway through the week and it wasn't gross looking. Thankfully, by the end of the week it was not looking so good. The fear that the experiment won't work.

The mummified apple had dried out and gotten smaller. It was a fun experiment and I am glad that it worked.

My Body

We finished our six week study of the body in Classical Conversations. For six weeks we colored and cut the various parts of the body getting ready for the final assembly.

Here is Miss K standing with her body.

Just the body -- J added the face.

During the previous five weeks they had been tracing one or two children each week. In Miss K's class they were actually cutting the body out which I would not recommend if you are using thin paper. The last week that they were tracing Miss K went over to the lady doing it and was insisting that she be traced. I didn't remember her being traced but the lady said she had been. Miss K kept insisting and so she agreed to trace her. When it came time to put the body parts on, they couldn't find Miss K's cut out body but they did find the body from the last week that had not been cut out. My thought is that Miss K knew she had not been traced.

J with his body.

Just J's body with the face that he made.

Now that I have pictures of the bodies maybe I can take them off my living room and dining room walls where they have been hanging. It just isn't quite the House Beautiful decor but it is the homeschooling House Beautiful look.

This project is from the book My Body by Patricia Carratello. I think it is an excellent way to show the various parts of the body and be able to see how it all fits together. As we worked through this, we have talked about how wonderfully God designed our bodies.

Math Graph

We are working on graphing and using a graph to sort things and then count. We made an actual size graph with shoes.

She sorted crocs, sandals, and sneakers. There is no doubt that she is a girl. She had enough shoes of her own to do this graph. It has been fun to see her learn math. We are currently on Lesson 72 of Saxon K and I would say that she has 90% of the concepts down. Saxon K does not have writing except for filling  in the calendar. She does have problems making a 2 but we are working on that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reading Day

We needed a change of pace and something fun. So I decided to have a reading day. I planned it and reserved a stack of books from the library. I am enjoying and blessed to have a wonderful library. I got a number of my book suggestions from this list. I just started at the beginning and worked my way down the list.
We did have green eggs and ham for breakfast. I could not add green food coloring to my eggs that was just beyond what I could do.

My kids loved it. I think it was one of their favorite breakfasts.
Some of the books we read that day included:

Angus and the Ducks by Marjorie Flack
Animals should definitely not wear clothing by Judi Barrett
And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss
Bambi’s Children by Felix Salten
The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward
An Amish Christmas by Richard Ammon
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
The Egg by M.P. Robertson
The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader
Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
Floss by Kim Lewis
Daisy Comes Home by Jan Brett
The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright
Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall
Morris Goes to School by B. Wiseman
The true book of Freedom and our U.S. Family by Paul Witty
Curious George at the Parade
Curious George goes to the hospital by Margret & H.A. Rey
Amos & Boris by William Steig

I think my favorite book was Animals should definitely not wear clothing. Daddy enjoyed reading Bats in the Library.

I thought I would be able to read more but I had a cold and my voice was giving out. It was a fun morning and one that I would repeat. We did get a long list of books read. It does require a bit of planning to get the books from the library.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

10, 20, 30, 40

Miss K is learning to count by 10's. That is a new concept for her. She is a visual learner and so I try to put things on paper so she can see what she is learning. I made flashcards but then we made a game. I just grabbed some colored paper and quickly wrote 10, 20, 30, all the way to 100. It was a spur of the moment activity. We have too many of those spur moment activities but we have fun and learn during those spur of the moment activities.

We were able to combine math and PT. We put the numbers on the floor and she hopped from 10 to 100. She loved it so much that she pulled it out in the evening wanting to play a hopping game with daddy.

I love our front room which gets the wonderful southern sun. Just a nice warm place to curl up for reading but horrible for photos.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fire Safety

Fire safety is the one big thing that evaluators look for in your portfolio. I know it so I know to make sure we do something related to fire safety and have it recorded in the portfolio. One year I just printed some things from a few websites. We colored and had some pages to include in the portfolio. Last year I just picked up some things including hats when I went to vote.

The year the fire marshall was invited to our Classical Conversations. I was sure to be there with my camera so I have pictures to include in the portfolio. It was a good presentation and then the students were able to see the fire truck and a fire fighter in uniform. I liked how they showed the children all of uniform so if in an emergency they would not be afraid. They actually had one of the moms put the uniform on.

I have a number of cards for my camera. The interesting thing as I was taking pictures was to see the first old picture on the camera.

That picture was taken almost three years ago. It was open house at the fire station in our town where we lived in Hong Kong. You see how much he has grown.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Heard around our house

Miss K's favorite subject in school is "surgery". She will ask to do surgery next.

We are quite advanced here in our homeschool. (insert chuckle) We do need work on speech because really it is history that she enjoys but she says it as surgery.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thoughts about growing older and aging

Maybe it was my recent birthday or maybe the passing of my grandmother at 95 years of age or maybe it was the old newspaper clipping that I found tucked away in a pile of papers or the comment wondering if it is time to color my hair or maybe a combination of all those things that have caused me to pause and think about aging.

What do I want to be when I get grow-up? J has asked me that question recently. I laugh a bit but then I pause and think that the character qualities and disciplines that I am building now are the ones I am going to have when I am old so build carefully. It seems that if you are a kind person you will continue that way and if you had a foul mouth that continues as well. So I want to work now and build the person I want to be when I am old.

I was reminded of that on Monday as repeatedly it was mentioned that my grandmother was a prayer warrior. Prayer warrior is one of the things on my list that I want to be when I grow up along with a listening ear and encouraging words.

As I grow old, I want to build memories. Memories seem to be the little things that you didn't plan as well as the big things that you do plan. I think of memories that were made along the way of life such as the night I called a co-worker and woke her up at home (that is what happens when you work 12 time zones difference) or shopping trips with cousins, and the big trips that were planned meeting a friend in LA for a few days. So I need to enjoy those little memories and plan the big ones as well.

My great aunt spent a large portion of her life serving the Lord on the mission field so it really wasn't surprising to read the article that I found "Just two days before her birthday she was saying that it would be no problem sleeping in a tent for two weeks if she went with a team to Nicaragua as a translator to help with work after the recent destruction caused by hurricane Joan. So what? Well that was right after her 78th birthday." I wonder what I will be doing when I am 78. I guess I should learn to sleep in a tent now.

This is the youngest age that I could find on my computer. There were color photos of me when I was young.

So tell me what do you want to me when you grow up?


Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Grandmother

Moved to her new home on Friday morning. She was ready to go home to see her Saviour. She was 95 years old. She missed be missed by us here.

This was last Christmas when we visited her. (Miss K was in a "I am trying to smile period" which thankfully she has outgrown.)

I have so many memories and various things around my house that remind me of her.

She was postmistress on a small town. The post office was connected to the kitchen. I remember sitting on the counter while she greeted the customers coming in to get their mail.

She used to do quite a bit of crewel-embroidery. Some of the things she made for me are now hanging in Miss K's room.

She later took up knitting and I think the only thing she knitted where dishcloths. We have lots of dishcloths.

She was a big Phillies fan. She watched the games and knew the stats.

I remember my grandparents taking up to Florida. We drove all the way there and back -- 8 people in the station wagon. That was in the days before we had strict seatbelt laws.

My grandmother made wonderful pies and oyster stuffing. There was also the brownies that needed to be cut with a bandsaw.

I have so many memories of my grandmother. I think one of the dear memories is the many times that she told me or wrote to me telling me that she was praying for me.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Adoption is a gift

Just as salvation is a gift in many ways adoption is a gift. They did not pay us to adopt them. They did not give us gifts. We gave them the gift of adoption and being part of a family.

He came to us with nothing except himself. When the adoption was final and we were taking the children, we gave him the clothing to wear. Just like us coming to God. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. We gave him new clothing to wear. God also clothes us in his righteousness.

Adoption is costly. We didn't keep careful records of the cost because honestly it would be more than we want to know. Adoption does cost. I will say that if God calls you to adopt he will provide the funds for it. At the same time the cost for God to adopt us was the death of his son, in our place.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November - National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month. It is also three years that J came into our family. I thought this would be a good time to reflect on some of the things that we learned about God during that process. I remember being in Ukraine for weeks and it was weeks and just being struck again and again with a new truth about God.

We initiated the adoption. We began the process and as you probably know it is a long paper chasing trail. We gathered documents from three countries (that is what happens when you are living overseas and moved to a new country within three years), documents from four different states, and stacks and stacks of papers. Let's not forget that we had to update all our paperwork as it expires. God lead us to adopt and we obeyed. J did not come to us and ask us to adopt him. We didn't even know the child that we would adopt. We initiated it just as God initiated our adoption.

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8

"What is it?"

That was the question J asked as he was pulling things out of a bag that Grandma had brought the night before. Grandma was cleaning out and I inherited some things -- a pink dress that I wore when I was a baby (my husband really wondered if I was that small), another dress that came from Mexico and this which caused the question. I laughed knowing right away what it was.

Once upon a time it was soft, clean, and pink. Once upon a time I dragged it around until it was no longer pink or soft or clean. I was a Linus. I had a blanket. Everybody needs a little bit of security. "What is it?" My blanket.

Now it is remembered here and I think we can get rid of it. There really is nothing to keep. I will have to find a picture of when it was soft, clean, and pink.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. I do celebrate my birthday. I am not too old or too young. I celebrate that God has been faithful and given me 365 more days of living, loving, and serving. The number of candles on the cake varies. Last night the kids put 4 candles on the cake. J said I was 34 and Miss K said I was 25. I love my children. They are correct once upon a time I was 34 and once upon a time I was 25.

My wonderful husband made reservations for us to go out and invited my parents. Celebrating my birthday with my parents is special to me. I think because of so many years of living overseas and not being together for birthdays makes it special.

My mom made a cake and we had that at our house. It was chocolate. We are still mourning the closure of our favorite bakery.

My mom said she is not old enough to have a daughter my age. I told her I am not that old so she doesn't have to worry.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What was she drawing?

The other day Miss K had a piece of paper and she was drawing. She told me what she drew.

Any guesses on what she drew? Give me your best guess or two.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My new love

Roasted Garlic -- We love garlic here. If a recipe calls for garlic; we usually double it. Last week I went to the produce store that can only be described as a fast food produce store. You walk up to the counter and tell them what you want and they pull bags and you pay and the next person starts their order. I needed garlic and wasn't really thinking that would mean I would get a bag of it. I got 12 bulbs of garlic. We like garlic but I didn't think we could eat it that fast.

I looked in a cookbook and discovered how easy it is to roast it and so I did that.

I cut the top off. Pulled off as much of the outer layers. Put foil on a cookie sheet with some olive oil. Put the garlic bulbs cut side down and baked for 30 minutes. We spread it on bread or just ate.


Heard around our house

Yesterday at lunch we were talking about where we would like to move to. We asked Miss K where she would like to move to. Her response, "Honolulu." That was not what we thought she would say. I guess she was remembering that we took her there for her birthday.*

Here she is in Honolulu.

*In case you miss the whole story about our trip to Honolulu and are quickly thinking that we are really cool parents to take our 7 year old to Honolulu I should tell the rest of the story. We were flying home from Asia on her birthday. We made it to Tokyo and missed our connecting flight. They told us we could spend the night on our dime and take the flight the next day. Then they were able to find a flight to Honolulu and on to San Francisco and finally home. We took that option and so Miss K went to Honolulu for 3 hours for her birthday. We saw the airport.

PS - We did have some serious discussion about where we want to move to. We would appreciate prayers as we seek God's leading for our family.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Fun

We had our annual candy hunt last week. I am guessing it is about the 35th annual or so. We probably skipped a few years. It was something that my parents started when we were young. Now they do it for the grandkids and the kids. We got candy this year, too.

The two little girls had a candy hunt like an Easter egg hunt but skip the eggs and look for candy.

Then the big kids had a treasure hunt.

The weather was perfect, warm enough not to need coats and the leaves were the perfect color. We didn't really plan it but we were able to get a few fall photos.

It has been a while since we got a nice picture of the two of us.

My baby is growing up. Miss K is not the easiest person to photograph. She tries but just doesn't look the right way and often her smile is forced. This is such a good picture. I am getting a larger print. One of my talented sister-in-laws took these photos.

We had carmel apples to take home and enjoy. Thank you, Em for the apples. They were yummy.


Art Museum

Our local art museum was having a special exhibition Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus. It was something that we wanted to see. It was the first time this group of oil paintings of Jesus were together since they left the home and studio in 1656.  We have talked about going to the museum many times but have not made it. The special exhibition along with a deal from Living Social for discount tickets made it worthwhile. That was the first time I had used Living Social and it made it possible to go.

In preparation for our trip we read a book from the library about Rembrandt. It did help to give us understanding of what we were seeing and also we saw a few paintings that we had read about. I think it really helped to know what we are going to see and having spent a bit of time preparing for it. It was fun for J to see pictures that we had seen in our reading.  It was also nice that we were given a headset that has some narration about the paintings. I think it is worth taking the kids to events like this. I admit it was my first time to go to that museum.

The top of J's list after the Rembrandt display was the Armor. Of course, he loved it. He is a boy and enjoys knights and castles.

Miss K was not feeling well and wanted to be carried. Let me tell you she is getting heavy.

This was one of our favorites in the armor display.

We did take a quick walk through the American Art section. We enjoyed some of the Shaker furniture and the Pennsylvania Dutch display.

We did not do the Rocky thing and run up the steps. We will have to do that the next time. The first Sunday of the month is "pay what you want" so maybe we will have to go back again and see another section. There is just too much to see.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Potato Cakes

This is a recipe from my childhood. I remember my mom pulling out the hardback Mennonite Community Cookbook full of notes and some cooking stains. My mom would  make these with leftover mashed potatoes. Now I do the same thing when we have leftover mashed potatoes. I love finding a way to use up the leftover mashed potatoes.

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

1 large egg

1 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoons cream

1 tablespoon minced onion, if desired

4 tablespoons fat

Mix ingredients and shape into flat cakes or drop from a spoon into hot fat.

Fry a golden brown on both sides.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Where have to you been?

I have been to London to see the Queen. It was a combination -- business meetings, anniversary, and D.Min completion trip. J & K stayed with cousins with adult supervision provided my uncle and aunt. That was as much fun in their minds as mom and dad's trip.

We had a car which made it possible to get to all the places that we were heading. Driving there just reminded us of driving in Hong Kong. I think we missed our car, Guztlaff.

We went to Cambridge to meet a few people and had a chance to walk around. One of the people we met there was from Cambridge and so he gave us a walking tour which made it very interesting and giving us a personal connection -- we saw a painting of his father in Trinity College, the garden where he had his wedding reception and a few other things.

King's College was begun in 1441 (that was before Columbus sailed the ocean blue).

We went in the Chapel at King's College with the fan vault ceiling and the stained glass windows. It was very impressive. 

See we were both there.

We had a day and a half in London so we hit the highlights.

We started by walking past Parliament and Big Ben on our way to Westminster Abbey.

 I had been to London years ago for a short time -- mainly to fly from there back to Asia. This was my husband's first trip there.

We did quite a bit of walking that day -- to Buckingham Palace.We went to Churchill War Rooms Museum. It was here that during World War II Churchill and his cabinet met. The map room was just like it was left at the end of the war including someone's rationed sugar cubes that were found in his desk. Also connected with this museum was a Churchill Museum. It was a bit expensive but worth it. It was not to have the kids with us so we could take our time and read everything.

We then went to St. Paul's.

My the end of the day our feet were tired. Sunday morning we went to All Souls Langham Place which is where John Stott was for many years. My husband enjoys reading John Stott's books so it was a special thing for him to go there.

It was a fun trip. We came home with quite a bit to pray after as we seek what God has next for our family.




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