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

Making wands part one

Halloween is at the end of the week. This week we are studying the origins of Halloween and the myths that go with Halloween. Today we are learning about the Salem Witch Trials and witchcraft.

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Now Harry Potter has made being a witch not such a bad thing. When I was growing up you had a good witch in a huge fluffy gown or you had a bad witch with fabulous tights and great shoes, who was very misunderstood.

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Anyways, my son loves Harry Potter and has read the books three times. That is dedication!

My dad made when a wooden wand years ago and it still sits in his room and gets used. But I thought why not make our own wand? Where did I go to find help? Only place to go! Pinterest!

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After extensive searching I for this little gem.

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Not so hard! I am crafty, he is crafty, but do we have chopsticks?

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Chopsticks found!

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Gathered my supplies!

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Laid out craft paper so we didn’t ruin my kitchen table.

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You create the texture with hot glue. The glorious part to this is if you mess up, you can take it off and go again.

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Here is monster child’s wand!

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Here are a few of the ones I made.  I made the mistake of posting online that I was doing this and my two best friends from high school decided I should make them each one and bring them to our upcoming girl’ weekend.  I couldn’t believe I was asking two of my best friends what color they want their wands to be!

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After this I put a brown base coat on them and I have let them dry for a day. Today I will finish them and post when we are finished.

Peace, Love, and 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

 

 

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

Wind Walking

A few weeks back I had to be with my high school daughter while she was in the hospital being treated for MRSA.

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I give my dad one job, watch the boy. Understand my dad is a pilot and flies for a living, he also has a small private plane. This is the photo I received while in the hospital with my daughter.

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Now he is training to be a wind walker. How do I fit this into my homeschooling?

Science – aerodynamics, wind speed, how to properly fall from 10,000 feet up

Health – first aid, how to properly bandage broken limbs

no more ER visits 101

Psychology – how to drive your mom crazy and into a home in 1 easy step.

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I guess we look at this as a unique learning experience for two days!

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Don Quixote

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Shocking as it seems …………….. we do NOT use a curriculum for our schoolwork. I know shock and horror, right? A few of you might stop reading this now and judge us for it, that is ok we don’t mind. How we do our homeschooling works for us. What we do is follow along with the book What Your Fifth Grader Needs To Know and What your Sixth Grader Needs To Know. There are plenty of  free resources out there to help us out. This works for us, it also follows closely to what our local school district teaches.

In our Reading Unit, we are trying to read some classic works. We tried to learn about Romeo & Juliet, the basics of a tragedy. That went over well, NOT.  Next we read Tom Sawyer and he loved it. We are about and hour and a half south of Hannibal and will go up there in the spring, once we read Huckleberry Finn.

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One of the works that What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know suggest is Don Quixote. Now, I never read this book but I read the excerpt from the book and thought he might just like this. We put in a reserve at the library for an unknown copy of the book and waited for it to come in. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only was it the complete works but it was a graphic novel style book. Anyone who has a son that is between 9-14 years of age and is into graphic novels knows this is a huge draw!

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Now the book was not light, it was a bit thick. But he powered through it and finished the whole thing in two days. In fact when we got to the end he was a bit disappointed. He didn’t want to stories to end. I asked him how he would have finished the stories, which led to a three-day storytelling adventure.

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Last Friday we watched a movie I happen to find at our local library a movie about Don Quixote. It was actually a very cute and funny movie, go watch it!

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Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon