Girls Weekend

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This last weekend I took a much needed breaking from being mom, wife, and teacher. I went with my three best friends from high school to the Lake of the Ozarks. Two of us live in St. Louis and the other lives in Springfield, this is a good middle ground for all of us.

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I didn’t take a drop of schoolwork with me, I went and I enjoyed myself. After being with my Monster Child as much as I am, I thinking it is important for us moms and dads that homeschool to get away and take a break. I am not saying take a two day break, like I did. But I think a few hours for yourself every few weeks is a much needed requirement.

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Taking the break allowed me to shut down, let my very taxed system rest, and then reboot all fresh. I am glad I did it and we are already planing next years getaway!

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We did shopping and a winery. This is Shawnee Bluffs Winery, I highly recommend it.!

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I got Tommy Hilfiger bag for $5.99 each! I also got a dress for $5!

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Sunrise over the lake is amazing!

I am going to be working this week to moving my blog to a self hosted site. So bare with me!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes!

Shannon

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That’s no moon…….

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It’s a space station!

We are doing energy this week in science and were watching a show on HuluPlus called Powering he Planet. This was about  technological concerns limited the adoption of clean, sustainable energy solutions. Today, economic and political issues often represent the biggest obstacles. What does the future of sustainable energy hold on a world-wide scale?

Now remember, my son…… he thinks outside the box.

This got us into a discussion on what it would take to power the death star. Yep, we went to Star Wars. This then turned into how would you power a light saber, speeder, Luke’s house, and Darth Vader himself.

As for the Death Star, we decided it had to be be a clean source of energy that could re-power itself. We found our answer on the Wookieepedia. At the heart of each Death Star was a gigantic hypermatter reactor, which possessed an output equal to that of several main-sequence stars. Within this chamber burned a reaction of prodigious proportions, fed by stellar fuel bottles lining its periphery. Facilitating the Death Star’s realspace propulsion were a network of powerful ion engines that transformed reactor power into needed thrust. In order for the Death Star to be a deadly threat, it needed to be mobile. Using linked banks of 123 hyperdrivefield generators tied into a single navigational matrix, the Death Star could travel across the Galaxy at superluminal velocities. The incredible energies harnessed by the station combined with its great mass gave the Death Star magnetic and artificial gravitational fields equal to those found on orbital bodies many times greater in size.

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This turned into how much energy would the vessel require to pulverize the Earth? We found that answer here.  Just in case you ever wanted to know……The Death Star’s superlaser derived power directly from the hypermatter reactor. Its faceted amplification crystal combined the destructive power of eight separate tributary beams into one single blast with the intensity of a stellar core. After firing a blast, though, the Imperial engineers had to recharge the reactor, which took at least 24 standard hours. Though the energy output of this blast could be scaled to fire at smaller targets such as capital ships, as was the case during the Rebel assault on the second Death Star, the two major instances in which the superlaser was fired were at full power at planetary bodies.

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Lightsabers we learned is also referred to as the “laser sword“. The weapon consists of a blade of pure plasma emitted from the hilt and suspended in a force containment field. This field contained the immense heat of the plasma, protecting the wielder, and allowing the blade to keep its shape. “Every lightsaber has a standard power source.  One of the other crucial pieces is a focusing crystal. The most powerful and sought-after gems are rare Kaiburr crystals. “

We have had quite the day talking about the power sources and how each thing was powered. We even found some Star Wars activities.

Snowflakes Snowflakes and Snowflakes

Rainbow Loom Lightsabers

Star Wars Lego Science

Star Wars Crafts

X-Wing Fighter from toilet paper rolls

Milk jug Stormtrooper

Star Wars Yoga

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We even found this parody about Star Wars that we have been singing all day now. You have to get past the outfits! *One bad word in the song!

Just remember that even young padawans need to learn…….

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Shannon

 

Rainy Voting Day

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It is raining here in Missouri today and it is cold. Does that crack not remind you of Dr. Who? Letting my geek flag fly here, but really it freaks me out a bit!

Usually, I love this sort of weather and it perks my mood up. I know I am getting burnt out and the tears in math don’t help! I have a Girls Weekend get away planned for this weekend with my two best friends from high school and yes that silly song from the hangover is playing in my head.

We’re the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have
We’re the Three Best Friends
That Anyone Could Have

When you think about it, we are a speck of nothing in a big big world. Neil Armstrong said it best!

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Today. I am having a very defeatist type of day. Nothing, I do seems to make a difference. Standing there in the voting both as I marked my choices in with a black ink pen, I had this sudden sinking feeling that I am just one person and in the big scheme of things my opinion and vote don’t really make a difference. As I went through the voting process and I noticed that year after year we have the same judges running and no one running against them. Why is that? Would it make a difference? Do I make a difference by writing in Santa Claus instead of voting for them. Does the choice I make matter?

I went a voted this morning and there are a few important issues on our ballet. First is a local school district proposition. It basically ask for a $0.35 tax levy increase. Why? The school district is the fastest growing school district in the state. They are adding close to 500 new students a year. Almost all schools are currently at or over capacity, one of the reasons we decided to homeschool the youngest child this year. What happens if this doesn’t pass? As student enrollment continues to grow (and if the number of schools and classrooms remains the same) alternatives would include larger class sizes and bringing in more trailers to use as classrooms. The Board has also discussed a year-round attendance model, which would divide the student body into four groups. Each group would have a staggered schedule with nine weeks on and three weeks off, with no set summer break. The last option would be a split day schedule where half of the students would attend an early session, for example 6:00 a.m. until noon, and the other half would attend a late session, 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. The split schedule option was actually adopted by the WSD for a short time in 1970.

This issue does matter to me! I have a child in this school district and monster child could go back to public school in a year or two. So, this does matter to me and my family.

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Kind of like this blog, I see that people are reading it but does it really make a difference? I am really a nobody, just a mom doing what I need to for my children. Do the things I put out here on this blog effect others? I don’t know! I do know it effect me, my family, and my circle of people. I can’t have this attitude and expect to make a difference in the important lives in my small circle. I have to have a positive outlook, the minds I have an effect on today could change tomorrow and our world.

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So, Today I choose to be happy and not worry about things I can’t control.

Love, Peace, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Lost & Found

Lost ~ We have been so busy last week with homeschooling I lost track of time and didn’t have time to blog to you all!

I will have several posts coming this week to show you what we are working on.

We finished the wands, built a candy corn catapult, and made Turkish Delight to go with our Lion, Witch & Wardrobe.

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Found ~ I have found this great blog that list all sorts of freebies out there. I think this is wonderful, especially if you are piecing your curriculum together like we are! Here is the link!!

I have also found time to blog to you wonderful people this week before my Girls Weekend this weekend.

Love, Peace, & Cupcakes

Shannon

Art Museum

We planned on going to the Art Museum when we studied Renaissance. It just so happened that this happened to fall on a weekend that the art museum and my mom’s company had a partner weekend and we got to do lot of cool stuff.

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I live just outside St. Louis and we have a lot of free attractions available, we are blessed. One of them happens to be the St. Louis Art Museum. Admission to the Museum is free every day. Admission to featured exhibitions is free on Friday.  They even have Family Sundays. Drop in every Sunday afternoon anytime between 1:00 and 4:00 pm for hands-on art activities and a lively 30-minute family tour through the galleries. Each month’s activities focus on a different, family-friendly theme. Family Tour leaves at 2:30 pm.

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This a great museum and it fun to go to. The do not allow photographs in exhibitions and non-flash photographs for non-commercial purposes in the collection galleries. We opted to just enjoy ourselves.

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Monster child had a Scavenger Hunt to go on.

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On the back he had to draw what the clues were leading him too. This was a challenge for him but a good challenge.

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We went on a tour and learned more about Mummys and Knights. That was exciting to learn about.

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After some lunch we headed upstairs and checked out the featured exhibit, Atua: Sacred Gods from Polynesia.

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This exhibit was a bit too much visual for Monster Child to handle. He doesn’t do nudity well and had a hard time with some of the pieces of art work.

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After this we headed to the make it and take it craft area. We got to make and learn about stained glass. This went perfect with our Renaissance study.

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Here is Monster Child’s hanging in his window.

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Mine has not made it up yet and hangs on the fridge.

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All in all we had a great day! He even made it away with 6 Feng Shui mini cats.

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BTW ~ This is Art Hill that is basically the front lawn of the Art Museum. The art museum sits inside Forest Park, which was the site for the 1904 World’s Fair.

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Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

 

 

The Giver

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Last week we finished up The Giver by Lois Lowry. If you have never read this book, you should think about it. Here is Lois Lowry’s website for more information.

A novel in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life.

 

Sounds like a parents dream! But it is not as sparkly with rainbows and unicorns as it sounds.

My older two children had read the book and loved it. My youngest son loved it He would talk to me each day about what he read and what he thought about the book so far. He was a little concerned with certain parts of the book and I kept having to remind him it was a book set in a different type of society.

We noticed that apple played a large part of the book. We now know that Lois Lowry used part of her life and the memories of apples and incorporated it into the book.

We decided that we would make a Giver Apple Pie!

Here is the pie crust recipes, you need two a mealy and a flaky. Mealy will do better with the juices on the bottom and the flaky is nice for the top.

Flaky Pie Dough

  • 10 oz pastry flour
  • 7 oz butter
  • 3 oz cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 oz sugar

Mealy Pie Dough

  • 10 oz pastry flour
  • 6.5 oz butter
  • 2.5 oz cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 oz sugar

Use hands and mix flour, salt, sugar

Butter needs to be cut into cubes, toss butter into flour mix. Make butter into flakes by pinching butter between thumb and finger. Make pea size for Flaky and hazelnut size for Mealy.

Add water and mix well.

It has to rest in fridge for 30 minutes, wrapped tightly in plastic.

Roll out to fit pie plate.

Apple Pie Filling

  • 2# apples
  • 1 oz butter
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 2 oz cold water
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3.5 oz sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz butter

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We use green apples when baking and the are a great baking apple.

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We cored, peeled, and sliced the apples. We than put them in the lemon juice to help with browning.

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We grated our cinnamon and nutmeg with a micro-planer.  We like doing it this way but you don’ have to.

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This is out nutmeg half way through grading. Kind of cool looking!

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We brought the fruit, first sugar, and water to a boil. We dissolve the starch in cold water and stir into the fruit. Return to a boil and cook until clear and thickened. Stir while cooking.

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Add second sugar, salt, and spices. Stir until dissolved. Cool.

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Have your pie crust ready!

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Add your filling and the last dabs of butter.

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Put the top on and pinch the side seams together.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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Remove and eat or let cool!

Peace, Love, and Pie

Shannon

Our way of learning

Recently on a Facebook homeschooling support group for my state this question was asked:

I decided to piece together my curriculum because that is what I believed would be best for us as we are on a tight budget and the kids are at different levels than they maybe in public schools.

This is only a part of the post but this was me this last July! I second guessed myself, I didn’t know what I should be teaching him, and worried about what if he went back to public school and would he be left behind.

First thing, if he goes back to public school they will test him and put him where he needs to be. Plus, he is working one on one with me and we are moving at a much faster pace then the public schools. He is not being left behind.

This is how we put together our curriculum.

I bought the books What your Fifth Grader Needs to Know and What your sixth Grader Needs to Know.

I bought teacher planner and I went through and marked the days we would not have school. We don’t go to school on Fridays and we are taking Thanksgiving week off and two weeks at Christmas, Spring Break is two weeks, and what not. I write everything in pencil in case things change

I then opened up the What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know book and I started with one subject and started filling in the days.

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This is last week’s lessons. I highlight when we did something, that way if we didn’t get to something I can figure it out easier.

I use Khan Academy for math and some science.

I subscribed to Brain Pop to help with other things. Math, Science, History, Health, and Art.

We also found matching Magic School Bus episodes to help with subjects.

I found free spelling lists here.

I bought one of the grade level Comprehensive Curriculum workbooks and use it for math, lang. arts, reading comp, and a bit of science.

I use a site Schoology to make computer tests and as a digital planner.

We use Duolingo for our Spanish, Flashcard Stash for our flashcards, and Timemaps for social studies.

Please let me know if you have questions!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Rock Candy

The joys of homeschooling is that you can be learning about one thing and all of the sudden is spirals into another subject all together.

We were learning about Erosion and the Rock Cycle a few weeks ago. This sparked a conversation about crystals which lead to us making Rock Candy.

We used the Science Bob method for making our Rock Candy.

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I let him do most of the work, but I was always close by.

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Having the candy thermometer can in very useful. It helps when mom went to culinary school.

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We even flavored our rock candy! This one was bubble gum!

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We watched as the crystals formed. It was very cool, I mean hot!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Chores of Life

I am the family historian for both sides of the family. I found this book written by one of my great uncles. We looked through and my son and I decided that these were life lessons that he should know. It is now a weekly study. It talks about daily chores and how they go back to a much slower time. It has bible references.1016714_10152262613381710_4484099900437415568_n

Here is section on the fall harvest.

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There are a couple on Amazon if anyone is interested. Hope you can find a copy if you want one.

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

The MesoAmericans

We recently learned about the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans. IMG_20140923_103751

We watched a Magic School Bus episode on it and several programs from the History Channel about them.

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We learned about the Mayans calendar and how it was not the end of the world, but the end of the calendar for them.

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We learned that each of them had very fierce religions that usually involved someone dying. He thought the whole ripping the beating heart out was cool and a bit disturbing. Remember he is 11 years old.

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We learned that Mexico’s flag is from the Aztecs.

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We also learned that the Mesoamericans gave us CHOCOLATE. The fruit of the Gods, as he would say repeatedly. So, let’s bake us some cupcakes!

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I got the recipe out and he made them all by himself. I stood back and supervised. I was very impressed with his math and culinary skills. Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 egg, at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup milk with 1 tsp of vinegar in it

Preheat oven to 350 and get your muffin pan with liners ready.

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Sift together dry ingredients.

In a mixer beat the sugars and butter together until light and fluffy.

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Add in the egg and vanilla until combined.

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Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, altering with the water and milk until just combined.

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Mix until smooth.

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We use a large scoop to divide our batter evenly into the liners.

Bake  for 18-20 minute, let cool completely on wire rack when finished.

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Lick the spatula and enjoy being a kid again!

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Last decide that they are far to horrible to have the rest of the family taste them and eat them all! Enjoy!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon